Normal Annual Service

The car was due for its annual service, it's first in the COVID19 world.

The mechanic sent me messages before and after I booked it in assuring me that they had "implemented numerous steps to continuously provide a safe and healthy environment ... such as express servicing and cabin sanitisation." I even got that same message while they were servicing it.

There had been free hand sanitizer in the office when I dropped it off, but other than that everything seemed like the old normal. When I collected the keys in the afternoon one of the service staff walked me to the car while again reassuring me that everything had been cleaned, wiped and decontaminated. He wasn't wearing gloves or a mask. Then, in a final gesture of customer service, he offered to pull the car out of the parking bay for me and before I could stop him his hands had touched the gearstick, the steering wheel and both inside and the outside door handle.
I felt very reassured. I guess only the workshop mechanics were the ones I needed protecting from. I also didn't have the heart to tell him that I'd needed to catch the bus to get back there anyway, so the dice were already rolled for the 18th of August.

image 2091 from bradism.com

Earlier in the morning instead of the bus I'd been given a ride into town and I spontaneously asked the guy driving me to drop me off near my old house in North Adelaide. (His peak hour driving skills may have contributed to this spontaneity). I decided I would take this opportunity to retrace my old daily commute to work from previous strolls to the office in 2009. This was a very normal thing for a person to do, I thought.

Along the way I listened on shuffle to a playlist of songs which reminded me of 2009 I happened to already have prepared. That's a normal thing too I'm pretty sure.

After the soundtracked walk was over I reflected about it on this web journal I've been maintaining for the past twenty years, which may be on the line between normal and narcissistic.

In 2031 if I repeat the same walk while listening to a mashup of songs from 2009 and 2020, featuring a spoken word acapella of this journal entry, I'll know for sure if that boundary has been crossed.


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


The Inevitable Return of the Great Striped Polo

What the fuck is this?

image 2086 from bradism.com

What the heck is this?

image 2087 from bradism.com

What the...

Insert picture of iron and ironing board, KeepCup, a pair of pants that don't have a drawstring, a building access card...

Hmm, looks like this journal entry is about as anti-climatic as my first day in the office in the best worst part of a year.

My regular coffee guy forgot my name. I guess it has been four months of 5G waves dissolving his mind...

Coffee was better than Nespresso Pods though.

When Life Gives You Lemons

They sell lemons at the supermarket for about a dollar each, and sometimes three for two dollars.
I bought a house earlier this year which cost a lot more than a dollar, and it came with a lemon tree that has produced a shitload of lemons. And based on my year 10 understandings of botany it will do this every year? Which means...

Sadly, a shitload of lemons are only better than a handful of lemons for the purposes of: being given to your friends; improving your relationship with your neighbours; and leaving in a bag on the kitchen counter in the office with a post-it saying “Help Yourself :)”

A lemon tree overhanging a fence.

And this isn't even my lemon tree, they're the bonus lemons from my neighbour leaning over the fence to introduce themselves.


And there has been a pandemic this whole citrus season. I’ve left lemons on the kitchen counter while working from home several times but rarely have they disappeared or transmogrified into a three-quarter-eaten cake that I exercise my willpower to ignore while eating almonds

And then, back in April, two people in head-to-toe orange hazmat suits told me that there’s also a fruit fly pandemic in my suburb. The government advised I couldn’t even distribute lemons to my friends who lived more than a fruit fly’s flying distance away. Like me, the lemons needed to #JustStayHome.

Life had given me - metaphorically and literally - lemons. And obviously nothing could prepare you for a situation like this. So I asked the internet what to do, and it came up with some - actually, quite a lot of - suggestions which I’ve been roadtesting recently, and will now share for the benefit of all my readers.

An assortment of lemons on the official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People

An assortment of lemons on the official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People


It turns out lemons are good for a lot of things beyond eating raw like a juicy, slightly pointy mandarin, or adding to gin. You can turn milk into buttermilk, create fire-starters with rind, write invisible messages. But the main uses of lemons that I’ve ascertained from multiple articles are in the domain of cleaning and insect control. In fact, after reading about all the different chemicals, de-scalers and deodorizers that can be replaced with lemon juice I have had to ask myself, truly, are lemons even safe to eat?

Cleaning the Microwave

The first trick I tried was to “clean my microwave without any scrubbing.” This was, incidentally, the same method I’d been using to clean my microwave since I bought it in 2008. But this time it was intentional.
The method is to slice up a lemon, place the slices into a bowl of water, and microwave the lemon water on high for ten minutes. The diluted juice-steam will cover all the interior surfaces of the microwave, allowing built up stains and oils to easily be wiped away with a cloth or paper towel.
And that’s what I did. And there was indeed sour-smelling condensation on the walls and roof of my microwave. After wiping them off the microwave was clean of all that built up lemon smell and lemon rind.
Sadly I do not have a second microwave to use for a control group, but I’m not convinced I couldn't have achieved the same result by steaming a bowl of plain water for the same amount of time.

Cleaning the Kitchen Sink

I turned my eye to the kitchen sink, where I could experiment at least by cleaning half the stainless steel with a lemon and the other half with just a sponge.
A dirty portion of a kitchen sink.

Before cleaning with lemon.


Obviously I prepared the sink in advance to be dirty so I could test out the efficacy of the lemon.
I cut the lemon in half, used the juicy part like a sponge and the rindy part like a scourer, and cleaned the cleaning rack part of the sink.
Compared to just a sponge, it resulted in shinier metal.
A clean portion of a kitchen sink.

After cleaning with lemon.


This might be a life hack?

Cleaning a Frying Pan

I’ve had this Circulon Frying Pan since 2009, and while I definitely wash it after every use it’s safe to say there is a fair layer of seasoning between what gets cooked these days and what came out of the factory.

I took the same approach on the corrugated surface of the pan as I did with the sink.

A slightly-stained frying pan.

I’m not sure if this is a before or after pic, which should tell you everything you need to know about the results.

Probably for the best, as I’m pretty sure that the echoes of a decade of stir fries, chilis and Moroccan lambs only adds to flavour of the things I cook today.
I’m considering making a lemon chicken tomorrow.

Clean a Cutting Board

I cut myself a fresh lemon on our little cutting board, then decided I would see if the lemon-sponge approach would work here too.
Lemons are apparently good for cleaning a wooden cutting board, but I didn’t have a dirty one of those.
After a bit of elbow-work on one side, I rubbed both sides down with an Oates scourer.
a small cutting board cleaned by a lemon half.
A small cutting board cleaned by a sponge alone. It's slightly less clean than the lemon side.

The lemon side did have the built up stains stripped a bit more effectively.
Ultimately I think you could clean the entire stain off a cutting board with lemons, but you’d need a shitload of them.

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My Summer Solstice Winning Streak Comes to an End

image 2076 from bradism.com

I've been feeling rushed recently. Overwhelmed by urgency. There's so much I want to get done, but I can't seem to find the time to do it all. Maybe that's because my work day now starts the second I enable the WiFi on my phone. Or because back-to-back Zoom meetings deprive me of the brief walks and breaks I used to get between meetings. It could also be related to the 45 minute gym session limits, or 16 minute castle times. Or maybe it's because I decided greedily to borrow two library books for the same month and the due date is coming up fast.

Or maybe it's just that the days are really short.

A Special Time With My Left Hand

There is no doubt that since 2008 I have had a favourite and a least favourite hand. Left has always been weaker, less outgoing, more annoying than right. I know you're not supposed to love one hand more than the other, but at times I resented left, and I think it knew it too.

Last weekend I went to the weights room at the gym for the first time in nearly three months and I may have overdone it trying to squeeze as much bench press, heavy carry and lat pull downs as possible into my allocated 45 minute window. A nagging pain in my right shoulder came on that night and it has persisted over the past ten days.

Unfortunately, you need to book your gym sessions a week in advance in these interesting times, and so I'd optimistically scheduled another weights visit for today hoping my right shoulder would be over it by then. I knew this morning it would need some more rest.

But! Maybe this was an opportunity instead of a curse. After all, left hand was still working. And it had been weak and shy for so long, perhaps some dedicated one on one time might be good for us. Like in a sitcom where two side characters get thrown into a plot together and find a common bond, perhaps I too could subvert some tropes with my left wrist for an efficient pump session on a cold Tuesday afternoon.

So we did one arm dumbbell bench press together, and single arm lateral raises together, and even planks while right hand could only watch on, hovering in the shadows. By the end of the 45 minutes I felt physically closer to left than I have in years. And right - the good sport - then proceeded to burn itself on the lid of a Creuset pot later in the evening like, yeah, that'll teach me to betray me. I'm sorry, right, but it's 2020. Sometimes men and their hands grow apart. At least until the next episode that is.

Autumn 2020

My Autumn 2020 daily video compilation was almost #CancelledByCovid back in March. The videos I'd been expecting to make - nights out at the Fringe Festival, trips to the pub, the first footy game of the season, the city's transition from shorts and thongs into puffy jackets and scarves - all suddenly seemed very far away.

But as I kept filming I realised what I was recording was snapshots of my life as my society adjusted to a pandemic. The Autumn video was always going to be the season that showed the most dramatic of changes. What I ended up capturing would be a historic record of the transition to a new way of living. Which, in Adelaide, was kind of anti-climatic and the new normal turned out to be a lot of videos of trees.

Restrictions Training

image 2070 from bradism.com

After another stage of restrictions were lifted today I returned to the gym for some non-essential weight lifting.

On arrival, I queued outside with the other gym members and we took turns to enter. There was hand sanitizer at the door, and arrows on the floor to follow to navigate. The music on the sound system was upbeat, but I looked on distrustfully at the other gym members, who gave me exaggerated berths with mirrored looks on their faces in return.

The rower I wanted was unavailable so I had to use a weird one with no screen. I'd planned to bench press afterwards but they were out of benches. I later saw a guy with two.

Basically gym in June feels like grocery shopping in March.

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