Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two weeks of nothing much happening....that I can talk about ;)

Wow, just saw I haven't done a blog for almost 2 weeks. So what's been happening? Not a hell of a lot is just being retarded like ...well...unfortunately that's becoming it's being retarded like normal. Lots of work planned but it is not hard work and just constant and unmotivatingly boring usually. Plus the Mass Spectrometer No.1 has died again and i'm still trying to fix it. As of today I think I have won and it "Should" now work with a bit (lot) of luck.

Foolishly bid on another mountain bike on Ebay. It had no reserve and no bids so I put a dollar on it, it's currently sitting at $167 which is 10% of it's retail price (my Max bid is $250). We'll see how I go....not fussed at all if I don't win. Been out riding most weekends now as the weather gets better and last weekend I went somewhere i'd never been before on the bike and I was so glad I did. It was possibly the best trail I've ever been on...very reminiscent of Germany. It was very "rollercoastery" and again I got overly enthusiastic and nearly repeated my crash that put me in Hospital for 6 months. Luckily I held it and nothing happened.

Today also is 4.00 weeks until I am in Adelaide again. I always look forward to trips to Adelaide for various reasons. However, this time i've actually worked myself into a frenzy of excitement (with a LOT of help from certain friends). It will be so awesome that I really can't wait for the time to arrive. Still way too far away for actual plans to be un-vagued .. but i'll be in Adelaide so that's already a brilliant start. I'll certainly be "doing" a lot that weekend :)

The new season of my Basketball has also been running for 6 weeks now and so far our team is 0 - 6. That's 0 wins 6 losses ..... not pathetic, but frustrating. We are losing mostly by 1 or 2 points so the teams are very evenly matched in this division for once. If we lose next week..then EVERYONE on the ladder has beaten us and we'll pretty much have an un-losable grasp on last place. Here's the ladder HERE My Team is SPAP (feel free to decode that anagram to describe us!). I've been playing well and am in danger of being our best player as I have really been brilliant lately. I've got pretty much 80% of our score every week, not because the rest of the team sucks ;) but because I get good passing and make it hard for the other team to stop me.

Alright...home time. This blog was brought to you by SGE :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More biking around

After a hefty sleep-in today I finally dragged myself out of bed at about 11am and decided that rather than go straight into the shower I would go and get sweaty. I grabbed my riding gear, bike iPod and water and set out on the bike once again.

Today I was going to see how quickly I could repeat the journey of a few weeks ago on the Eastlink bike path...but this time I was going to take the Dandenong Creek gravel path for the ultra-hardcore :)

I got to my turn around point from the last ride in about 25 mins...No shit. I couldn't believe that I got there that quickly but I kept going towards the "off-road" portion of the trail. Once I arrived I found out pretty quick that I wouldn't be able to take many photo's .. the trail was insane :) There were a few skinny little paths through the trees and some of the biggest hills I have ever seen. I even had to go down to the "1-1 Granny Gears" on the bike to get up a couple of them.

These photo's are just random ones I found on the internet....because I didn't really have time to take any photo's while riding through the undergrowth and over rocks, logs, mountain cats and bears etc. They do give an idea of the terrain I encountered while riding though. I would have said the terrain and hills I went up, through, over and around were 5 or 6 times steeper... :P

I did manage to take some at a rest stop though after I eventually found my way out of the wilderness ... these ones are real, but nowhere near as exciting :)

All up I was on the bike for a little under 4 hours and I was quite surprised how energetic I still felt at the end considering the completely "non-flat" nature of the trail.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just Crazy.

I got into work this morning and sat at my desk. As you can see my "Filing System" is well implemented.

Then because I had spent the majority of the weekend cleaning stuff......before I could stop myself...THIS happened.

How will I find anything now???

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bike Porn.

A while ago someone mentioned to me that they didn't think it was weird that they wanted to sleep with a new bike they had bought because it was so damn sexy. Well, I thought at the time that it, in actual fact, WAS a bit weird :)

Today, My friend Dave and I went looking at bikes in the several hundred bike stores around us out here in outer eastern Melbourne and now I TOTALLY understand the "Sex with bikes" way of thinking. :)

I have had my eye on this bike for a few weeks now. It's a 2009 Trek Fuel EX 8 full suspension Mountain Bike which retails around $4000.

During the week Dave and I researched where we could see one in the flesh and in a true piece of serendipity the BIGGEST Trek dealer in Melbourne is actually in Croydon VIC which is one suburb from where I live :).

We went in and they had 3 Fuel EX8's on display and my GOD were they nice looking bikes, like REAL GOOD LOOKING!! Two had Black frames with red highlights and the other was lime green with white highlights and was awesomely awesome. They were also on sale for $400 off retail. However, not actually being there today to purchase one (as above all else i'd hate to think I was that predictable) I just stood there and salivated. When the bike shop guy asked if I needed any help I almost asked him if I could take the bike to the change room with a box of was just soooo sexy.

Dave and I looked at several stores today and while the Trek was definitely a winner, at the Bayswater Cycles shop another bike caught my eye. This was also right up there in the sexy bike stakes. If only my bed was big enough for a threesome with the Trek and this baby here:

Merida All Mountain 3000-D
(Can you say "PHWOoOAAaaRRR!")

and in the flesh it's just as bike-gasm inducingly good.

This Merida and the Trek both had some of absolute BEST componentry that you can get on Mountain Bikes. Namely 29-Speed Shimano Deore XT derailleurs, Fox shocks, Swalbe or Bontraeger rims and wheels. All awesome and all expensive. The price for each bike was around the $3.5K mark with the Merida being slightly cheaper due to it being the current end of line model. Looks like I'll have to convince myself why I *NEED* one of these bikes in the very near future and take one home and show it a really good time :)

Also, due to nearly every store having a sale on today I managed to also get hold of a Fox Mountain Biking combo of shorts and shirt for the Paltry sum of $160. They are so comfy (I'm actually wearing them now while typing this :P). The shorts are fantastic they have inner chamois shorts (like lycra but not as tight, but make me look just as hot :P) and then outer tough nylon/cotton blend shorts just what you need to go whipping through trees without leaving welts all over your legs.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


That’s me coming back to reality again after another weekend in Gawler with Rachel and, this time, her full compliment of sick children. I had planned to just have a very lazy weekend with Rach doing pretty much nothing and just relaxing and enjoying her company ( know…she’s pretty awesome). The week prior to my visit saw her kids progressively fall victim to a virus that is currently doing the rounds in Gawler so by Friday all 4 kids were ill in varying degrees. 

So I left work at 4pm on Friday and drove out to the airport for my 7pm flight. I again had flights with Tiger Airways (because I am a stupid, stupid man) and true to form the flight was an absolute shambles. I arrived at the Tiger terminal at 5:30pm and joined the HUGE throng of people waiting to board planes. A quick look at the departures board showed that both scheduled flights that Tiger had were already delayed by ½ h. Great. I called the relevant people in Adelaide and informed them that the arrival/pick-up/delivery times would now be later and waited to be processed in the queue. 40mins later I was checked in (carry on only *thumbs up* ) and made my way to the departure lounge and settled in for a long wait with my iPod for company. 

I listened to music for about an hour before it dawned on me that we should actually be boarding now if the plane was 1/2hr delayed?? I went over to the departure board and looked again, the plane had been pushed out another 30 mins and was now running an hour late. I could feel the “Tiger Furrow” forming in my brow and my face contorting into a scowl. I once again informed the people expecting me in Adelaide that there were further delays and I would contact them again when I was actually getting on the plane (it couldn’t be that long …could it?). I sat there patiently waiting with a facial expression probably pretty similar to that which soldiers who are about to go into battle have. I was so annoyed at this airline and their complete inability to be on time EVER. They may be cheap but that doesn’t mean customers should forgive them for being ridiculously unorganised. 

The “revised” boarding time arrived and went. Finally we started boarding the plane at 8:20pm … not bad Tiger only 1hr20m late, a real improvement on the 4 ½ hrs delay last time. Thinking the worst was behind me now an I could finally relax and get ready for all the impending awesomeness of Adelaide I sat in my allocated seat (a Window .. SCORE!) and settled in for the flight. Then the captain of the plane came on the speaker and apologised for the delay citing some rubbish that I didn’t listen to as the reason for it. He finished talking and the cabin crew started doing whatever it is they do. The captain then came on the speaker again and in a shaky voice informed us that Melbourne airport had closed all but one runway due to low cloud cover and there was now a “Queue” for taking off and landing. We had an “Estimated Time of Take-off” 40 mins from NOW. You are F$#king KIDDING ME!!!! The annoyance of everyone on the plane was made known by a tsunami of expletives and sighing. The captain graciously let us all turn on our mobile phones and make calls to inform people of this latest delay. I called my mum and told her of the latest delay and her reply pretty much summed up what I was thinking, it was a four letter word starting with “F”.

Eventually we took off and flew to Adelaide I found mum and we left the airport (paying $4 for parking….WOW. The same park time at Melbourne Airport would have been $20). Mum was tired and didn’t really want to go out to Gawler but she could see how much I wanted too and agreed. Thanks Mum, I’m sure I was too irritated and pissed off after that flight to really show my appreciation at the time, but I REALLY did appreciate it…you rock :). I arrived at Rachels place around 10:30pm and she was still up thankfully. We had a nice chat and a quick Chai (which I forgot to pack yesterday when I left…DOH!)  and went to bed as I was pretty tired.

Saturday arrived and for the life of me I can’t remember what we did in the morning. I remember only going for a BBQ lunch (and Footy Final) at Rachels parents place with all the associated brothers, sisters and respective partners and cousin etc. I also remember that I was somehow able to cut up a whole heap of fruit salad for this party “The wrong way”. That’s right, you read correctly...apparently there is a wrong way to slice up fruit....who’d have thought anyone could stuff that up?? :P In all honesty  the days actually just blurred into one and while I remember individual events…their order is a little hazy. This is due to very disrupted sleep patterns (and not in the good way). With Rach’s kids all being various degrees of “Sick” night times were absolute chaos to someone who has for the last 36 years gone to bed at hour X and slept uninterrupted through to hour Y to be woken by an alarm. The amount of times Rachel has to get up and deal with a child throughout the night was quite an eye opening experience for me. I know it’s easy for me to be completely overawed by it when in actual fact it is probably normal behaviour for every mum that has ever existed (and my limited research into the matter has proved this to be the case .. if you count looking at me with a somewhat disgusted look when I ask if that is normal for mums). Nevertheless the complete sleep deprivation she put herself through over the weekend by just being a mum was astonishing and to do it without a second thought really is impressive. I tried my best to offer assistance and help out in any way I could because, to me, what she does daily is herculean and if it was me I’d be a wreck in a few hours...well, probably minutes actually.

As usual the weekend was over far too quickly I wasn’t looking forward to it ending at all. I had made plans for Monday to have brunch with my Brother and then lunch with an old uni friend of mine who had been most offended that I hadn’t visited her on previous trips to Adelaide and I decided I just couldn’t snub her any longer :P. On Monday morning when I awoke I was lying on the fold out bed of torturous pain in the lounge room. Obviously, I had relocated there during the night at some point...I can’t quite remember why...I’ll just assume it was some huge act of kindness or chivalry....probably both. I was drifting in an out of sleep and at about 7am I heard the familiar sound of little feet circling the bed. I cautiously opened an eye and there was Rachels youngest daughter Sophie inquisitively trying to gauge whether I was asleep. I said “Hello Sophie” and was immediately greeted with a huge grin and she immediately launched herself on top of me to give me a hug. How can you not love 3 year olds? 

The sounds of me being awake instantly brought the other 3 kids into the lounge room and they proceeded to amuse themselves with the Wii, PC and using me as some sort of obstacle course. After a while I had to go get my phone and call my brother and as my phone was in Rachels room I tried to be extra quiet as I assumed she would be sleeping as all the kids were occupied with me. I went in and she was awake and so ill I really felt sorry for her. After looking after her kids for nearly a week while they were sick she had eventually succumbed to the virus herself and it had really hit her much harder than she deserved. She could hardly move as all her muscles hurt and she had “daggers in her eyes”...sounded nasty. I went and got her some Nurofen for the aches and pains and asked if there was anything I could do. She gave me the monumental task of fixing breakfast for the kids. I foolishly thought it would be easy....Oh how wrong I was :). I called my brother and cancelled brunch as I wouldn’t be able to make it anymore and making breakfast was way more important :P. I eventually got the kids that actually wanted to be fed fed, “Flute Doops” and “Fruities” were the order of the day. Unfortunately I had no idea what “Fruities” were ... and the looks I got from Hannah and Sophie were priceless when I headed to the huge fruit bowl and they both yelled in abject horror “NOOOOO!! That’s not fruities...they’re here in the pantry!” and pulled out a packet of Rice Bubbles. The one breakfast cereal in existence with NO fruit content at all. Hahahahaha.

After breakfast my weekend sadly came to a close and I had to get ready to leave. I packed my stuff and said good bye to the children and to Rachel and walked to the train station. I used to catch this train everyday during the first 3 years of Uni and I hadn’t caught it since then I don’t think. It was really freaky and a total flashback to pass through all the stations and look at just how much everything had changed over the years from what I had remembered. The train journey was a little under an hour and when I arrived in the city I had coordinated so well with Jen that I stepped out of the station onto north terrace and she pulled up in her car seconds later. I haven’t seen Jen for maybe 3 years, we were in the same research group for our Ph.D.’s at uni and therefor spent a lot of time around each other. She is another of these women in my life that look absolutely no different to how they did 10 years ago. We immediately slipped straight back into being friends like no time had past. Jen was always my “moral compass” and “whingeing post” for girl issues in Uni as I had the most terrible time with dating and girls in general and she took it on as her hobby to try and help me out (god bless her :P). If you’ve seen my Facebook picture where I am being hugged by 5 different ultra-hot chicks with a massive smile on my face THAT was Jen and her friends helping me out. I was chuckling internally when this is all she wanted to talk about now years later too. How was I? What are my girl plans? Etc She heard all the relevant info then preceded to deconstruct it all, analyse it and inform me what I should be doing to achieve my goals. She’s a smart cookie.

Jen had her newest child with her (8 months) who was quite possibly the happiest little tyke I had ever seen (even happier than my nieces). We went to King William Rd CafĂ© district and had lunch and coffee and chatted for about 2 hrs. She then was gracious enough to drive me out to my mums place where I filled out the rest of the day until the dreaded flight home. It is still very hard for me to like the Adelaide Airport it holds such bitter sweet memories for so many reasons and when I am there to go on a plane back to Melbourne I reckon that’s  exactly what going to prison must feel like. It’s harder and harder each time to get on that plane when I have just had more fun, excitement and happiness in the short time I am usually there than I have in a whole month in Melbourne. Reality is a cruel mistress indeed. Nothing for it though but to soldier on and play the waiting game until one day all the planets, stars and moons will align and I will be able to come back and STAY.

Anyway, I got to the airport and headed for the Tiger check-in. The sense of dread building with each footstep and mentally preparing myself for what ever unbelievable incompetence I was sure would be greeting me at the counter. Would the inevitable delay be only a ½ hr or would the plane be leaving at midnight again?? To my absolute amazement … the flight was not delayed. It was on schedule and no delay was anticipated?? I actually asked the guy checking me in if that was a mistake as Tiger had never once been on time ever for me. Apparently it was true, so I wandered over to the coopers lounge and got a beer and sat in their ultra comfy chairs and got out the iPod and started using the FREE (are you listening Melbourne airport because I am talking to YOU!) internet access. I caught up on the stuff I read on the net and did some facebooking and pretty soon the departure time arrived and the plane was STILL on schedule (can you tell I was expecting something to go wrong at any minute?). We boarded and the plane left on time and arrived in Melbourne about 15 mins early due to a strong tailwind all the way to Melbourne. 

After getting off the plane and heading out the gates (Carry On luggage for the win) I headed to the car park and found my car. I did all the pre-drive checks. Four Wheels CHECK, All inflated CHECK, Mirrors folded out in Drive position CHECK. All windows intact CHECK. So I got in fitted the Stereo and GPS and turned the key. The car roared to life and then POW, POW .. BOTH my headlights blew. Both of them. F$#K. Luckily I had anticipated this would happen soon and I had (albeit a few months ago) serendipitously bought replacement globes and stored them in the car in anticipation. Still, replacing headlight globes in the outer edges of the long term carpark at Melbourne airport at 10:20pm in 8°C would not have been my 1st choice where to change them had anyone given me the option. I struggled for nearly an hour to change the globes with only a small torch and a screwdriver but eventually succeeded and drove home. I got home just before midnight and went straight to bed reviewing in my head quickly the fabulous time I’d had (yes Rach, really) and a little sad that, once again, it was all over and my Melbourne existence would fully smack me in the face in 8 short hours.

Once again thank you Rachel for your hospitality in what was obviously not ideal conditions. You rock so hard :). Thanks also to my Mum for helping me out on Friday night also in less than ideal conditions.

Additional: It’s Wednesday and I’m still virus free. Yay for the super immune system :)