31 May 2007

RIP You Old Fart

I've been writing this blog now for close to a year. In that time I've managed to attract a small group of regular readers, some of whom did me the honour of putting a link on their own blog. All of those kind souls that linked to me are in my sidebar, at least the ones I know of. They're all blogs that I enjoy reading regularly.

Unfortunately, one of those blogs will no longer be updated. The man known to his readers as Doddery Old Fart sadly passed away yesterday morning. He posted his final blog entry just the day before.

It's funny how you can become a part of someone's life even without ever having met them. With the little bits we allow the world to share via our blogs we invite them into our lives and make them a part of it.

I was hoping that on our next trip to New Zealand we could have met up with the old fart and had a beer or two and maybe a meat pie as we passed through his neck of the woods and admired his newly filled potholes. That won't happen now, but I guess we can still stop off at the Awakino Hotel and have one for him. It's on my to-do list.

Donna and I drank a toast to Doddery tonight. We never met him, and that's our loss.

Rest in Peace Simon.

30 May 2007

Do what you wanna do, be what you wanna be

I'm not sure who it was that sang that, but I can relate to it.

After spending four days at Lake Keepit looking at rocks, then four days at Arrawarra looking at the ocean, the birdlife, and the sealife, it made me realise that I don't really want to work as a geologist when I graduate. I've never gotten away from the wildlife side of things while I've been studying, but I think I've wasted a bit of time studying geology with the thought of getting a high paid job at the end of it. To get one of those high paid jobs I'd probably have to do a fly-in-fly-out roster based out of Perth spending two weeks at a time in the middle of a barren wasteland. Not my idea of heaven, especially considering I'll be in my mid to late forties by the time I graduate.

So I've withdrawn from the subjects I've been doing this semester and next year I'll be doing botany and zoology subjects, looking at living things. I'm not taking a complete break from studying though. I dug out an invertebrate zoology text book from two years ago and I'm reading that on the bus and during my lunch breaks. Invertebrate zoology was the subject I was studying when Donna and I first visited Arrawarra.

Spending that time on the beach and in the rock pools made me realise something else too. About twenty years ago I started a SCUBA diving course but never completed it as I missed out on the last dive. I've always been meaning to do the course again and so, in October when the water warms up, my brother Laurie and I are going to do the PADI open water course with Pro-Dive. Laurie's always wanted to learn to dive, but like me has never gotten round to doing it.

Because I'm so close to Moreton Bay, (if I was brave enough to get up on our roof I'd be able to see the water from home) I'm in an ideal place to go diving regularly. Now if I could only get a job working on the bay as well that would be great. It would certainly beat sitting at a desk all day and slowly going crazy from boredom.

26 May 2007

33 RPM

We still have a turntable that works.

We just sorted through all the Charlie Pride LPs and found an Elvis one, Flaming Star. Don't you just love the chick chick chick sound of dust on your records, and having to turn it over half way through.

Every man, has a flaming star, a flaming star, over his shoulder....

16 May 2007

Toilet Duck

No I don't mean the cleaning product that helps stop things sticking to the bowl. I guess I should have put a comma in there, or even a full stop.

As I've mentioned before we get a lot of wildlife in the yard. I was photographing about a dozen Rainbow Lorikeets on Saturday afternoon as they were feeding. I looked at the display on the back of the camera and saw that I had on shot left on the memory card and thought I'd better make the last one a good one. I couldn't be bothered to go upstairs and grab another card.

Lorikeets are strange birds, they'll sit around feeding or even doing nothing then all of a sudden they'll all take flight. They'll fly anywhere there is a gap. Rather, I should say they'll fly where there was a gap five minutes before. We've had lorikeets hit the car before and we've found them dead after flying into the side of our shed. Jess and Brett have looked after a couple of them with broken wings as a result of collisions. Needless to say, when they take flight and I'm in the back yard I've gotten used to ducking.

I was just starting to press the shutter release when this lot decided to fly away. I was standing in front of our garden arch at the time, one of the aforementioned gaps. I'm not sure if it was one of the birds, or my camera strap, but something brushed my forehead as I ducked.

I might start wearing a helmet while I'm out in the yard photographing birds.


Where does the toilet come into this you ask. No they didn't poo on me, not this time anyway.

I've mentioned our toilets at work before as well. To save water our urinals flush automatically, but not as often as they used to. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact today it was probably a good thing.

I went for a pee this morning and as I walked in I noticed that one of the two urinals in there was getting pretty close to the top. I couldn't understand why people would continue to pee in there when it was obviously blocked. I chose not to stand next to it and instead went and used one of the cubicles (the shy-guy toilets). While standing there thinking bad thoughts about people that make a mess in toilets I heard the urinals flush.

Ahh, thought I, as I realised why the tide was getting high in that particular urinal. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of water (and other stuff) spilling onto the ground.

Needless to say, it was reported and fixed pretty quickly.

03 May 2007

Getting fit

Just before we went away last month we bought one of those elliptical cross trainer thingies. If you don't know what they are, basically you get on it and while your legs are going up and down in a circular motion, your arms go backwards and forwards. A bit like jogging really except you do it inside and it's gentler on your joints as you don't have the impact that you do when you jog. Not to be mistaken for an air walker, those things are bad for your hips and lower back.

This particular model has a heart rate monitor, so you can set it to keep you at a certain heart rate. If your heart rate is too low it increases the intensity until you get to the target and if you go over that target for too long it beeps at you and stops the timer.

Donna and I have used it just about every day since we got back. I've been setting it to 150 beats per minute and training for 30 minutes. Each time I get on I find I'm going just a little bit further in those 30 minutes, yesterday was the equivalent of 7.2 kilometres. At this rate I should be ready to run the Bridge to Brisbane fun run in August.

Donna hasn't been using the heart rate monitor with it, she just sets it to a certain distance and goes for it. She's going a lot faster than me too as she seems to be doing about 6 kilometres in around 20 minutes. It'll be interesting to see who's training method works the best.

It's interesting that over the nearly 4 weeks that I've been on leave, I haven't been eating as much as I do when I'm at work and I've been exercising most days, yet I haven't lost any weight. Not that I want to lose weight, but I would like to redistribute what weight I do have.

On the other hand, Donna has been on the Herbalife diet for the past 7 weeks and has lost about 6.2 kilograms (that's almost a stone). With the increased exercise this week it'll be interesting to see what she's down to this Sunday morning. She keeps showing me how baggy her pants are getting.

You may be asking why the sudden interest in getting fit. I mentioned in another blog entry last year that I'd like to get rid of the gut I've been developing for the past few years. I'm not overweight, in fact I'm right slap bang in the middle of my ideal weight for height. The thing is, I sit at a computer all day at work and often come home and sit at this computer for a while and work on my photos. I have a very sedentary lifestyle.

The thing that has really inspired me to get fit though is this guy. Damien went on The Biggest Loser weighing 216 kilograms. Half way through the series he was running up and down a steep hill on one of their challenges. I would have trouble doing it more than twice. Damien did it 25 times. He lost 74.6 kilograms throughout the series, he's still a big lad, but he's a hell of a lot fitter than I've ever been, as are all the contestants from that show. Incidentally, Damien lost more weight than I weigh.

Anyway, it's time for me to strap on the heart rate monitor and get on the cross trainer. I hope Sarah's not in the shower for too long because I'll be dripping in sweat by the time I finish.