How Long Is Your Daily Commute?

Greg, a tech blogger from the US, mentions his 140+ mile daily commute (also worth checking out is his recent post on his VIP tour of Universal Studios).

I can get to work in 8 minutes if I start early. 15 minutes is the norm. I can't imagine driving over 200 kilometres each day!

How long does it take others to get to work?

The Gym

I got a gym membership about a month and a half back, with the aim of going twice a week after work and "improving my fitness" i.e. shedding my fat. My beautiful wife Olivia was very encouraging, and we both came to the conclusion that because my job (sitting behind a computer all day) is sedentary, I need to consider my health and make sure I schedule some exercise as part of my routine.

Well, I'm really enjoying the gym. The couple of times that I wasn't able to get along because of other commitments, I've really missed going. My routine for the past couple of weeks has been split into two nights, doing 20-25 minutes of bike riding/rowing for cardiovascular exercise each night, and one night doing machine bench press, lat pulldowns, bicep curls and shoulder presses, the other night doing hyper-extensions (back exercise), sit-ups on an exercise ball, vertical rows and tricep pull-downs.

I couldn't find a decent website to link to to give illustrations of the above exercises...sorry! And I don't even know if I've got the names right anyway. Basically it's 1/2 an hour of moderate aerobic exercise (including the walk to the gym), and 10-15 minutes of "working out" with weights. It's still fun, and it's working (coupled with some lifestyle changes regarding food - but that's another post).

XBox: An Early Christmas Present

Joytech Ultimate Travel Pack
No time to write, but...last Friday Olivia picked up our XBox off lay-by, which is the family's Christmas present. It came with 3 games, and we bought 2 accessories: a remote control so we can play DVD movies, and a Joytech Ultimate Travel Pack so the kids can watch movies, on the XBox, in the car on long trips. We bought the kit from Gamehead, and we got good service from them too.

It works great, kept the kids quiet on our 3-hour trip to Bendigo for Bridie's birthday, and is a cool geek toy!

Now, back to the games...

Travel Bug

My bro Dave goes to France (and Rome), my aunty and uncle just get back from a 2-week tour of parts of the US West Coast (followed by Hawaii), and Greg blogs about his VIP experience at Universal Studios (with cool photos too). Enough to give me the travel bug!

Oh, and Michelle is enjoying Google Earth - that seems to be cheaper!

Fact is, our family is not planning a big trip anywhere, any time soon. BUT, I have reassured Olivia that we'll get to Vanuatu (and even stay at Le Lagon again) for our 10 year wedding anniversary in 2009, and I will take her to Disneyland, one day.

For now, I'll take my travel virtually...

10 Stages of Church Experience?

An interesting article on stages that a Christian might go through in joining a church (I don't want to give too much away), via Brian. One to print off and pass around...

Wallets are not Purses

I have a wallet. At the moment it is bulging (not with cash). So what do I have in my wallet right now?

  • baby pictures of Maya and TJ (which need updating)
  • credit card(s)
  • my driver's license
  • movie ticket stubs - I Robot, Alien vs Predator, Passion of the Christ, Incredibles and The Interpreter
  • ScienceWorks ticket stub
  • scrap pieces of paper (what the...?)
  • petrol station reciepts (10 or 15 of 'em)
  • my business cards (10 of these - taking up too much space!)
  • video shop membership cards and assorted expired vouchers (4 different video shop cards)
  • reciepts for Olivia's gifts over the years (I haven't wanted her to see the reciepts, that's why they're still in my wallet)
  • $4.15 in coins, and 1 $5 note
  • Medicare card
  • assorted membership cards hitching a ride in my wallet (some of them are expired)

So that is why it took me 5 minutes of looking through my wallet last night in embarrasment (while TJ laughed at me, and the lady behind the counter laughed at him), to find my library card!

One other thing that's in there, thanks to Olivia: an organ donor card. Thanks Wifey for helping me do the right thing.

Hmmm, Food...

Lunch smelt so good today that, while salivating over its aroma straight out of the microwave, a tiny little globule of drool dropped from my mouth. Roast vegetables and corned beef. Yes, it was that good ;-)

I'm glad I got that off my chest. I'm one of those people, who, unlike those who eat just enough to keep going, I keep going just enough to get to my next meal. I love food. Picture the guy who has a plate load and puts on a big grin as he asks for a "bit more". Or the person who can always squeeze in the last whatever - that's me.

Top of the list is a good roast lamb. Both Olivia and my Mum cook a good one. If I can teach TJ and Maya to cook roasts, we'll probably eat a roast lamb every other night!

My next most favorite meal is a tie between lasagne, Pork Bulgogi, sushi, barbecue chicken, and wedges with chilli sauce. For dessert, anything chocolatey - and if it's too rich for most, it will be just right for me!

Just thinking about all these things makes me start to salivate again...oh, no...

Elliott Smith

It was about 6 years ago when I "discovered" music by Elliott Smith. I heard a snippet of a song on Triple J and bought the CD for my then-girlfriend (now wife) Olivia. In the months after that I bought two of his older CD's too. His music is melodic, Beatles-inspired, and often just him and a guitar, although his later CD's included rich layering with orchestras. I see a lot of his songs as being "sad" music, whether it was about girls, addiction, or life in general; but his music stood out to me as having a "real" and honest quality, and he was a skillful guitarist with a good voice and fantastic song arrangements.

I actually gave away all my CD's at one stage (including Elliott) when I was undergoing a fairly big life change. I had basically forgotten about the music until late last year when I thought I'd check a fan website, to find out that he had committed suicide a year earlier.

I was both sad and angry, and I'm still trying to understand, "Why?".

All this to say I still enjoy his music, I have bought a few of his CD's, and I found some live performances at the Live Music Archive (warning: large downloads). In my quest to stay up-to-date I also came across a post at Melbourne-based about Elliott Smith too.

Elliott Smith music still has a special place for me - it evokes images and recalls memories of a couple of years back, is still skillful and honest, and is made all the more sadder because there's not going to be any more (although I thought a "live" album may be in the works). It doesn't have the grip it once had on me. I wonder if listening to music by someone who is really depressed would make you depressed?

Giggles from BBSpot

Recently I chanced on a site called BBSpot (I think I thought it had something to do with Blogspot, which it doesn't). The site has some funny articles - my favorite is "Fans Outraged at New Character in The Return of the King" (here's an excerpt):

Wellington, New Zealand - A recently leaked trailer for The Return of the King has Tolkien fans outraged over the apparent addition of a new character - Jar-Jaromir. The scene depicted in the trailer shows Jar-Jaromir shouting, "Gondora gonna fallsa"; he then trips over a corpse and knocks down a couple of Uruk-hai.
Other funnies include "Microsoft Announces Ads for BSOD" and "Fengtek Releases Motherboard Designed Using Feng Shui Principles".

Ah, satire, 2nd lowest form of wit...

The True Cost

Once I was walking down the street in Victoria's surf capital Torquay, and I noticed an automatic teller machine (one of those "holes in the walls") that had a fresh, crisp $50 note in its withdrawal slot. I looked up and down the street, and aside from a mate of mine who was looking in the window of the shop next door, there was no-one in sight. I honestly looked at that money for about 30 seconds, wondering what to do, and I even pointed the owner-less money out to my friend - "I'll take it if you don't!" was his astute observation.

I took that money, and so I gained $50, and went and bought lunch. But the cost of that action was only apparent later:

• I expected to get a call from the bank - surely they had security cameras?
• I almost expected to be seeing my picture on "Australia's Most Wanted" (my friend thought that was stupid).
• I made sure I used up that money real quick so I wouldn't have to give it back - and so I didn't really get any benefit of the money (e.g. I didn't save it or use it to get anything good: I may as well not have had it!)
• I lost a little bit of faith in myself.

That last one was the real impact and indicates the True Cost. It would have been better if I had taken the $50 into the bank and reported it. Then I wouldn't be thinking about it 12 years later.

I don't feel bad about the money itself now, and I have prayed for forgiveness, but I learnt a lesson and I experienced guilt for years disproportionate to the size of this little matter. I can't make amends now - the time for that is past. And I am still learning to trust myself to do the right thing again.

Facts of Life

Michelle posts about her Facts of Life, and in the same vein (thanks for the inspiration, Michelle!), here's my Facts of Life:

  1. I'm never going to be a pop star, a famous person, or even remotely trendy. I wear pretty old clothes most of the time. I like shorts and t-shirts and loose clothes - definitely no "cool" factor there.
  2. I have a thing for chocolate. There is no cure.
  3. I will never like mainstream music. I've tried, but I hate anything that is fake/overhyped/phony (like artists that are "made"), has dumb words or is too "cool" in a posturing kind of way (see number 1 above - I ain't "cool"). My music will always be slightly off-beat and individual (and chances are I'll be telling everyone about it for a long time).
  4. I'm never going to be an astronaut. It was my dream when I was a kid to join the Air Force and then move on to being an astronaut, but not possessing perfect vision ruled me out from flying for the Air Force (although I could have dreamt to be a navigator).
  5. I'm never going to be Mr Universe, because I have a little bump of bone that sticks out of the middle of my chest. Oh, and I'm not very muscly ;-)

All the rest of my life is up for grabs, but these couple are day-in, day-out certainties!


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