Friday, December 30, 2011

Week 1

Amazingly, I've only been on holidays for a week but it already feels like a month away from work. Which is a good thing, given the legitimate concern that a year off will fly by all too quickly.

So, what do I have to show for this strangely stretched time?

Firstly, a return to walking (although still a bit of a struggle) and weights (very light, but a start).

Secondly, some drawing. Well, ok, one drawing... But it's my first in 2 months and so I have to rebuild a routine.

Thirdly, lots of time with family, with Christmas gatherings spread across 2 days plus my usual Thursday dinner.

Fourthly, reading, with 2 more finished books taking me to 70 for the year. Not the 100 I was on track for back in April, but a step ahead of last year, which was an increase on the year before that. Perhaps 2012 will see a century...

Fifthly, some DVD watching. I'm still working out where I'll draw the line between relaxing in front of the tv and doing more constructive things. Overthinking it threatens to suck the life out of me, so I'm just going by feel for now.

Finally, I've written this post, a rare occurrence indeed! Hopefully there'll be more to come.

When I write it up like that, I can convince myself I've been much busier than I really have :) Lots more to do though!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why a PM?

Here's a little taste of the kind of thought that sit in my head, and explains why even the briefest taste of "news" both drains me and makes me want to scream...

Are there any compelling reasons why we have a PM, and a Cabinet, which have some kind of precedence in decision making? Come to that, why do we need any aspect of an adversarial "govt vs opposition" approach? This makes a mockery of proportional representation, since all those who have voted for their local member, presumably on the basis that he or she represents local interests most effectively, are left without any kind of effective voice in decision making. It also disregards members' individual expertise.

If collegiate decisions could be made by the parliament as a whole, using the entire knowledge and skills of the group, surely the results would be more representative?

There would be no need for factional fighting, for arguments over who should lead, for secrets between or within parties which weaken the collective decision making process.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011


Got past a brief crisis of mental strength after my last post, where I stopped believing my health will improve and also had the feeling that reading books and watching DVDs was futile, no matter whether I was enjoying them or not. Always searching for something 'important' to do...

Luckily, today the sun shone on my longest walk for 6 weeks, even if it was for the dreadest of purposes - grocery shopping (gasp!). Survived ok, although the day after has usually been when the CFS hits.

Added to that, my sister lent me a handful of her recent TV-on-DVD purchases, giving me something new to watch as I eagerly wait for Fringe S3 to arrive.

First up was a mini-series, The Lost Room, which was only 4 hours long (thus just a snack) but excellent. Strong taste of Twilight Zone to it.

I've now started into Leverage S1 and after just 2 eps I'm totally sold. Fast-paced, funny and with the great helping-the-little-guy theme that makes The Pretender one of my favourite shows. Nice to know there are at least 3 more seasons after this one too.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Encouraging signs today. Turns out that if I spend 15 hours in bed, and do zero exercise, the pain I've been in the past week or two fades almost completely. Ok, that's not exactly practical longer term, but it's a platform to build on.

I really need this upcoming year off, my management-speak habit seems a little out of control in that last sentence ;)

Friday, September 09, 2011


My road back to health continues at the opposite of apace. As soon as the bulk of my new (and thankfully temporary) symptoms eased off, good ol' CFS kicked in again, so the past week or so has been a bit of a struggle. It's been awesome to be out of bed and making my small work contributions again, though :) Also good being able to read for more than a few minutes at a time (after arrogantly trumpeting my return to books not long ago!), and walking the extreme distance of 800m every few days (with disproportionate pain and fatigue, but it's something!).

And that's why I've had nothing to write! Does the above at least sound moderately positive amongst the frustration? I hope so :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reading again

After the complete stall in reading that was May and June, putting a very large dent in my 100 book plan for the year, I've finally regained momentum. Over the past 4 days I've finished off 3 novels, and started into a 4th :) It's nice to have the ability to concentrate for more than 15 minutes at a time again!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Told me so

I seem to have bounced back ok from the cold that hit me almost immediately after I wrote that last post... Coincidence sure does make it hard to stave off superstition! On the plus side, since I had to rest the last few days anyway, at least the weather was ordinary and I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything :)

Today I let my team and my key clients know of my plans to take 2012 off, so the wheels are really starting to accelerate towards my "Year of Adventure"! (Disclaimer: Adventure not guaranteed.)

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Almost didn't write this, then realised it was just my superstition about writing positive stuff getting in the way of shelling out more good news health-wise.

Today was my 10th walk in a row, as well as being my longest walk for the year (4.4km in 45 minutes). The best part was that the walk felt easier as I went on, something which is definitely not the case when my fatigue is a factor. With awful weather scheduled to kick off from Monday, there's every chance I will be cutting back on the walks, but I'm hopeful that the routine I've returned to will give me the impetus to partake of some indoorsy exercise as a replacement (that exercise bike won't ride Itself!).

I have lunch plans with 2 friends already scheduled for next week, my tenants finally move out tomorrow, and I'm generally just enjoying feeling normal again :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Seven straight days with walking (roughly 16km total) and the last couple of days have actually felt good. Nice to walk for half an hour and feel like I have more in me :) I had a timorous target of returning to what used to be my usual 6km walks by the end of the year, but there seems every chance I'll manage it far sooner. Now if only I can restore my optimal sleep patterns, i.e. get more than a few 2 hour snippets a night, the sky's the limit!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


So begins what I hope will be a successful return to exercise. Unsure whether it's been triggered by my impatience, or that my body had finally had sufficient bedrest :)

After some light weights on Wed, I've had 3 straight lunchtime walks, with today's effort a 30 minute stroll. While that gave me a slight stitch and aggravated my various tendonitises (to be expected after such a sedentary dual-month), I didn't get hit by immediate fatigue-y symptoms. Will have to wait a few more days to really see whether I've pushed too hard...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time passing

Well, the last 6 weeks have been filled up with an average of 17 hours a day bedrest, and an inability to do any exercise. The remaining hours are taken up with my brief work week, and a couple of family meals.

Luckily for me, the spectre of depression remains unrealised. Plus the severity of my fatigue means that despite eating more than usual and rarely moving, my weight remains steady, so I won't have that burden to deal with when I can ease back to a normal walking routine.

Annoyingly, I'm struggling to read books, with the brain fog crushing my concentration (I pretty much use all my mental energy on work), so it's been a diet of podcasts and rewatched DVDs.

Thus my excuse for no updates is portrayed, and I may once more return to my repose :)

Friday, May 20, 2011


Well I've felt crappy all week, including having my second sick day of the year on Monday, but my usual Thursday dinner with family, plus today's lunch with Em and my first phone conversation of the year with B somehow make everything seem all right :)

Tomorrow I make another tentative attempt to return to exercise, after some less than positive short walks the past couple of weeks. This time it's some easygoing strength work and stretches, since apparently I'm now allergic to fresh air... Or the cold... Or whatever... ;)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Civic in autumn


Had a thoroughly enjoyable time hanging out with Liv this afternoon, taking photos along this wandering path:

For more pics, just check out my Flickr.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don Quixote

While I'm glad I've read this, classic as it is, it was a bit of an endurance test.

The first half in particular was very repetitive, with overlong sentences, although definitely luxuriant prose. Perhaps because my own writing consists largely of technical stuff these days, where short simple sentences are the aim, I see wordiness as a weakness?

The second half was largely written to attack another writer who had stolen the characters to write a nominal sequel, making for an interesting (although not too deeply hidden) subtext. The close felt quite rushed after so much preceding material, but I was relieved to be at the end anyway.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Some overdue book "reviews" from recent readings:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and of Huckleberry Finn
Enjoyed reading both of these again. The first, written in the third person was funnier and easier to read, but the latter, written as first person, gave a deeper and more interesting view of the time in which it was written, and the growth of a young boy, making his own choices even when they conflict with societal norms.

An indirect follow up to this was reading The Fabulous Riverboat, part of the Riverworld series, where a reincarnated Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is the main protagonist.

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dracula had more humour in it than I expected, and the format of only using journal entries and letters was successful in keeping the story moving apace, as well as bringing multiple viewpoints to bear on the mystery (although obviously it's hard to see the outcome as a surprise given the flood of vampire lore in popular culture!).

God Emperor of Dune
The fourth in the Dune series, this was an easier read than the preceding Children of Dune, as it was more plot-driven, and somewhat less conceptual since it could build on the previous book's hard establishing work. It may also have been easier because of the volume of recent reading, certainly making me feel more confidence in my ability to concentrate for extended periods and get absorbed into the flow of a book. Looking forward to the next one!

Monday, April 04, 2011

So far

The first 5-and-a-bit days of my hols have been good. I haven't magically discovered energy again, but I have done a few drawings, am about to finish off my 4th book and even dared venture into the horror of clothes shopping. It took a visit to 7 different shops (waaaay beyond my usual solo shopping tolerance) to finally find a store with any 3/4 pants at all, and thankfully Best & Less saved the day for me, fulfilling all my clothing needs, and letting me forget about shops again until sometime in May when my food next runs out :)

What? You can't believe I haven't watched any DVDs? Well, I'm successfully sticking to my don't-buy-any-more-DVDs-since-I-already-have-several-shows-on-preorder-and-heaps-to-rewatch commitment to myself, meaning that I'm now re-enjoying Lost, Seinfeld and Mythbusters when I've got nothing left to give to more active pursuits. Kicking out all my current tenants, and my plan to take 2012 off work means practise at saving money is actually useful!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Keep reading!

Twenty-eight books added to my "to read" pile thanks to the Lifeline Book Fair, including the one book which was missing from my Dune hexology. Definitely need to keep my 100-book-year momentum going before my shelves again fill up, invalidating my heroic give away efforts of the past year or two!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Books books books

I've avoided making a hard commitment, as is my way, but progress towards a 100-book year is steadily being made. 24 books in so far, and thoroughly enjoying recapturing the reading bug. So far I haven't really targeted anything too challenging, but as of now I'm embarking on a Dickens of an adventure (worst pun ever? You be the judge).

So far in life I've only read 2 of Dickens' works, but my goal is to read the other 18 of his novels. I do want to taste several more of the literary classics, so perhaps it won't all be complete come 2012, but it appeals to the collector in me nonetheless.

First up (technically 3rd...) is Oliver Twist, which I've never even seen a movie or musical version of (Gasp! Cultural horror!). Obviously I'm aware of the "please sir, may I have some more?" line, which turns out to be "please sir, I want some more" in any case. Either I misremember the never seen scene, or the original seemed too impolite :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Work of art

Occasionally I check to see how people are getting to my Flickr photos, and today I found that, if you look on Wikipedia under "work of art", you'll find a photo I took at the National Gallery. Of course it's not my work of art, but at least it means I can autofocus a good picture of some :)

Customer service

Had two very good customer service experiences this afternoon. Firstly, I'd been having trouble with my iPhone, so called up Apple Support. Not only did I get straight through, but they identified it as a hardware problem and gave me options on how to replace the phone, one of which was a good one for me, so I have a new phone winging its way over the next few days.

The second one was a courtesy call from my credit union confirming use of my credit card for a couple of charges outside my usual usage pattern. Nice to know my money's being watched over!

Now off to do my daily mindfulness, then settle down to watch the just-arrived-this-arvo Spin City S4. Everything's coming up Milhouse... I mean Bertie :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Watching the Deep Astronomy vodcast last night reminded me of the SETI@Home project. Until recently, my computer power and internet connectivity have been entirely swallowed up just doing the things I want to do day to day. However, since I got my new machine I haven't come close to using all its CPU power, and I have internet quota to burn.

So this morning I installed the BOINC Manager, and established links with SETI@Home, as well as the World Community Grid and Einstein@Home. For the first time ever, I saw all 11 of my CPU cores at 100%, using my personal grunt for the greater good :) Now all I have to do is balance the preferences so I don't fry my computer or explode my power bill...

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Have still needed lots of bedrest today, but ventured out for lunch and a photo stroll at the National Botanic Gardens. A little bit of sunshine and fresh air just has to be good for me :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brighter day

Embarked on my first real exercise since Friday, a slow walk of the dogs at the edge of Lake Ginninderra. While it wrecked me, that was all the excuse I needed to go back to bed and finish off Tony Martin's Lolly Scramble, which I finally bought via Kindle the other day, after having it sitting on my book wishlist for years. Many laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book, and very glad I finally got around to reading it.

I now have Tony's other book, A Nest Of Occasionals, sitting on my iPad as my next reading target, along with Shaun Micallef's reprinted Smithereens. All part of keeping my smiley self going :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Watts up

I continue to get most of my historical and/or art knowledge from TV fiction :)

Dark Skies, having finally been released on DVD, has given me a chance to see lots of American 60's intertwined with aliens and conspiracies aplenty. My pre-early-bedtime ep this evening showed the amazing Watts Towers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How come?

My aspiration is for the new subtitle of this blog - Nothing but sunshine - to reflect a new focus. While there will still be complaining of some variety, I want to focus more on the silver lining aspects of my life. Here's my first example:

The past few days has seen my CFS flaring up, forcing me into a whole lot of bed rest. I've had muscle weakness and spasms, lots of twitches and fine motor control issues preventing me from much in the drawing space, and plenty of general aches, pain and tiredness ("Still sounds like the same old whingeing!" I hear you say...). Well, my attitude, as I'm forced to lie down long before dark, and entirely walk-less for another day, is to look forward eagerly to finishing off yet another book, perhaps rewatching some Mythbusters on DVD, and listening to my growing stockpile of podcasts, each the fallback option as my tiredness grows.

Dunno how successful that was as a piece of positive writing! Hopefully practise will improve me :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I know you just love to see stats about my walking, so here's the latest high-tech addition to my arsenal, and hopefully my secret weapon in maintaining motivation. I haven't made the route maps public for obvious reasons, but trust me when I say they add to the excitement :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cleanup 2011

In the last couple of days I've returned to necessary steps in removing clutter from my surrounds. Last year I managed to finally relinquish my hold on the majority of my books, thanks to the lure of giving to Lifeline. This year I intend to add CDs and games to my donations, to further clear my bulging shelves.

Today I sent on their way most of my defunct electronics: a 3-in-1 stereo which had become a 0.5-in-1, my last VCR, my MiniDisc deck and a flaky DVD player, plus all my VHS and audio tapes and MiniDiscs.

I also finally threw away all my Uni notes and assignments, none of which I've referenced since the end of my degree in 1996.

Next on the list:
  • going through the many boxes that made the move to my house almost 13 years ago, and have remained closed ever since,
  • disposing of a whole second house's worth of furniture,
  • scanning/photographing anything I don't really need to physically hang on to and getting rid of it.
By the end of it I can only assume that the past's hold on me will be eased somewhat, giving me a little more impetus to target my thinking towards the future.