Weekend Post Workout Sunshine Tunes

They say every day is a gift, but I'm notoriously tricky to buy for.

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Unit

It was 1997 when Regurgitator's Unit was released. Almost twenty years ago. I liked it then, though I never bought it.

More recently I added it to my offline music in Spotify, and I listened to it on a couple of nighttime walks. I realised something I never could have thought of as a thirteen year old: This album is the most concise summary of the feelings I have about being in your thirties.

I don't think that was intended by the band. Most people probably won't feel that way. But the more I listened to it the more I recognised my feelings and attitudes reflected in the music coming out of my headphones. It started from the opening track. I like your old stuff better than your new stuff. It was an immediate assault on any feelings of nostalgia for the past. Half 80s synths, and half faux-future voice effects - it was a middle finger to complaints about change. Yeah, I probably did come up with better stuff when I was younger, but before anyone can complain about it, fuck you.

Then the punchy riffs of Everyday Formula kick in and again I feel a strong affinity for the message.
"Everyday I shit into the sea. It's strange but it doesn't mean much to me."
The detachment from modern life is masked perfectly by the poppy melody and cheery background hums. Nothing in this song is a complaint, it's an observation. "My whole world's cheap and phony," but, "It's going to be alright."

I mean, at no point in listening to this album do I think, man, this lyrics are poetic and deep. But the delivery just sticks to me.

"I don't go to parties cause people tend to freak me out. Watch their lips to work it out. I can hear the words but I still don't know what it's all about," begins the next track. The meaning of this song is really about dancing in your lounge room. However, I find the introverted perspective relatable, and the accompanying bouncy funk to perfectly present this perspective as okay. Not just okay, struttable. In my twenties I used to feel a little ashamed of how much I disliked being in loud, noisy environments where I was supposed to be having fun. Now I love that I know what I like in a social event. Lower volumes, smaller crowds.

The rest of the album goes from strength to strength covering topics that are still relevant in 2016. Topics such as materialism, over-sexualisation, exploitation, digital dependence and depression are sung about. The attitude is not one of anger or apathy or anything else strong, really. They're just more observations or non-preachy lessons. Suggestions about what maybe could be better about life if we wanted a utopian society, but as someone in their thirties there's a really familiar lack of personal responsibility to change anything. As it says in Mr T: "I take freedom's path and I'll let my life be. Soul dedication to all my realities... It's the way it's meant to be."

I feel like the underlying message of Unit is that, we all know our world could be better if we worked together (I mean, the album's name alone is possibly proof of that), but ultimately, the young can't change anything and the older people (that is, over thirties) are too self-involved to cause any kind of revolution. As it goes in I Piss Alone, "I need a place where I can close and lock the door. There I can stop and let it flow."

It's a great album, which has aged about as well as I have I guess.

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Opening after Closing Ceremony

I can't believe another Olympics has flown by, and with its passing comes another opportunity to ignore the athletes and instead reflect on the past four years since the last one from my own perspective. This will hopefully go better than last Olympics' census night.

So much has changed in my world, and in the world, since 2012. Unlike the results of the Men's 100 Metres which was again identical.

Since the last Olympics I have (un)moved states, changed jobs, become a dog owner, and become more career focussed - at least from an outside perspective. I have achieved my Olympics resolutions of owning real estate, visiting Europe, and walking my dog. My goal of getting something published in somewhere took a backseat to my career focussed from an outside perspective achievement, however, I am the third-leading contributor (in terms of lines committed) to a popular open source Puppet module on GitHub - that must count for something.

I haven't climbed Mount Kosciuszko, not even a little bit. I think I might have been drunk when I came up with some of those resolutions…

A lot more little things have happened in the past Olympics. I finished a manuscript, over 80,000 words. The only thing left is to build a drawer into my desk so I can print it out, staple it together, and leave it there until I die.

I changed cars again. And phones. I also went to the USA, and to New Zealand about 10 times. I learnt how to make bagels, pretzels, pide, and Spanish omelettes. I saw Federer at the Australian Open and Tim Duncan at Madison Square Garden.

I now have a Spotify and a Netflix membership. I'm on Snapchat and Instagram. I'm connected by network fibre to the world wide web, and I've had my first colonoscopy.

Some things haven't changed since London though, like my marriage to Vanessa which goes on strong. And this website, which hasn't had any new features since before some of China's Rio gymnasts were born. I also play Scramble With Friends with about the same frequency as four years ago. My train trips are now shorter, but my bathroom breaks a little longer.

My resolution for the next Olympics - do whatever I want, really. Try a bit harder to write something people want to read. Maybe make a new friend. Be more spontaneous. Sign up for an expensive credit card with an awesome rewards program.

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A Tip for Cutting Up Pumpkin

Last weekend I came up with a tip for cutting up a pumpkin. I'll journal about it here, because one of the things I like about this website is reading entries years later and seeing the lessons I learnt.

My advice is, you don't need a whole pumpkin. Not for two people. That's too much pumpkin.

Sure, when it's less than a dollar per kilo, it might not seem like buying half a pumpkin is the smart option. Otherwise you have to open the fridge an extra two times. And you might not make as much purée as you need. Better to have excess purée. Buying a full pumpkin makes the most sense.

No, ignore that thought. Not unless you've got the stamina and concentration needed to dice a whole pumpkin in a single standing. There's a lot of hardy skin to cut through, a lot of time to stand at a kitchen bench with your hand covered in pumpkin residue. Your back and legs will fatigue. Wear gloves, that's another piece of advice. And use hand sanitiser on the wound. Change the dressing every few days to make sure there's no signs of infection. After about a month everything should be back together. I hope. I'm only basing that on a similar tip I gave when cutting through a bagel in 2014.

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Missing Memories

Almost everything is back to normal since my return from extra summer to Adelaide winter. All the old routines are running, except for my nightly backups.

See, before I left the house for a month I hid important things in obscure places for extra security. Not the best thing to do in the post-procrastination frenzy that took place in the hours before the airport. I found my car keys inside a Lego truck the day after we got back, and my supermarket rewards cards were with my socks. They were easy. But it was only today, five weeks after returning, that I found where I hid my external hard drive - it was in my office in the city. I guess I'd really been worried about a fire wiping out my MP3s and those sitcom episodes I wrote in high school.

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Sunny Days

When I think about society and the bad things, like corruption, and oppression, and bigotry I feel so frustrated and upset and powerless. So I don't think about them.

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At Work

At work there's this annoying guy who keeps coming to meetings. He spouts the most uninspiring drivel I've ever heard. "We need to improve the integrity of our metric collection so that we can track improvements more reliably over time." "It's vital that we standardise our approach across all services within the organisation to decrease the complexity of maintenance in the future."

It's all so airy and vapid. "Consider the risk profile in comparison to the associated maintenance project budgets for this financial year." This is the interesting stuff that he says. The duller interjections he makes are so boring I doubt he even remembers the details a sentence or two later.
This person is, obviously, me.

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Dry July

I'm back at the gym this week for a return to my hundred-year rehab plan. Because of my holiday it's been five weeks since I last sacrificed my leisure time for moving bits of metal around, so I was being extra cautious with my weights and rep choices. At one point, when I was moving just the bar up and down I was reminded of my old life in North Adelaide. By my house there was a gym for retirees. On sunny days I'd often see their group fitness classes being held on the oval outside. Frail, wrinkly men and woman on colourful mats moving tiny hand weights above their heads with the speed of snails.

I thought to myself, as long as I don't go that hard, I should be okay.

Anyway, this entry is not only for sharing that joke. Many years ago I shared my life-changing secret about using the hand-dryer and paper towels together for a luxurious post-urination experience. I don't know how I missed it until recently, but due to my gym's policy ("Members must use a towel at ALL times") I've now experienced drying my hands using the combination of cotton towel AND hand-dryer. It makes using paper towel and a hand-dryer feel like the folly of serfs. My mind was blown. As were my hands.

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