Monday, 28 July 2008

rundown on ride-around

Sunday morning was the Brissie To The Bay charity ride, a 50km ride from West End to Wynnum and back in support of Multiple Sclerosis sufferers.

My preparation for this ride was not, it must be said, ideal. I went out for drinks on Thursday and Friday nights, and on Saturday night I stayed up until around a quarter to 2, watching Le Tour and hoping for (but not getting) inspiration from Cadel Evans. I set my alarm for 5:40am, but slept through the radio until 6:10am, which meant I had to hurry to get my things together and cover the 8.5km to Musgrave Park for the start, without using too much energy.

Anyway, get there I did, and I took my place with the more-than-2500 other riders on the 50km ride (there were also 25km and 10km rides). I was in the fourth tranche, figuring that I was neither especially fast nor especially slow. My aim was to finish inside 2 hours, for an average speed of 25km/h.

I took things reasonably conservatively on the way out, expending a bit of energy but not too much on the hills (I tend to pass quite a lot of people on the short climbs, in general), and just cruising on the flats. After a 10-minute or so break at the Wynnum rest stop, I headed off again. I pushed hard along the long flat section near the start of the return, keeping right on 30km/h for perhaps 3 or 4km, with an old chap on my wheel. I took a turn on his wheel after a break, a little bit slower but not much, and started to get cramps in my calves around 38km. I pushed past him (and quite a few others) up a hill, and pushed on through a bit of fatigue, trying to get home inside 2 hrs. The last 5km or so through Woolloongabba were quite stop-start with the traffic, but I managed to get home in 1:56:37, just inside my target, and an average speed of 25.8km/h.

Once again, I enjoyed being on an organised ride: the idea of riding with other people, with marshalls to help with traffic and to show us the route. Were it not organised, its highly unlikely that I'd do a 50km ride through Brisbane, and I thus wouldn't get the sense achievement.

I also like the fact that the ride is linked with a charity. I've managed to raise a nice chunk of change for MS ($230 at time of writing), a good proportion of which wouldn't have been donated otherwise. Dad noted this morning that I'm up in the top 100 fundraisers for the event, which is surprising and pleasing. If anyone still wants to donate, or if anyone was waiting until I'd finished the ride, donations are still being accepted for another fortnight or so (after that point, just go to the MS society site).

My next organised ride is probably going to be the 100km Brisbane to the Gold Coast ride in October.

older, certainly no wiser

So on Friday I got a 3 rudely tacked onto the front of my age for the first time in 27 years (too cryptic?). I suppose I feel older today, although I don't put that down to the passing of time so much as the way I'm passing time. It was a busy week.

The anniversarial celebrations kind of stretched out over 4 days in the end. On Thursday night the trivia team - Paul & Julie, Ali & Jesse, Andy, Mick, Jez and I - followed up our impressive 93/100 (only 3 questions wrong all night) with a trip to the Bowery for a few cocktails. Then, on Friday night, a bunch of us - P&J, A&J, Mum & Dad, Andy, Lach and I - hit the German club for some bratwurst, beers and schnapps, which was fun. On Saturday afternoon, Jesse & Ali came around to mine for cake and coffee, and on Sunday I followed up my ride (post to come) with a trip to a new patisserie, which was a bit of a treat for me.

I also scored a few gifts, from a bunch of people mentioned above, all of which were most unexpected and much appreciated. I'm not usually a birthday person, and I certainly failed this year to properly organise anything, but the things that happened, and the weekend as a whole, were most enjoyable.

Monday, 21 July 2008


Well, a couple of months on from its original ill-fated date (or is that ill-dated fate?), the Brissie To The Bay bike ride has rolled around again. This Sunday at the quite unreasonable hour of 7am, I'll be pushing the treadly from Musgrave Park out to Wynnum and back, for a total of 50km.

All proceeds go to help people with Multiple Sclerosis. To sponsor me (those who haven't already), just grab a credit card and head over here. If you'd rather wait to see whether I actually make it, that's a sound strategy, and I'll be sure to post here after the event to let you know.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

the days continue

Things continue.

At work, we're coming up to another drop deadline with our project leader, next Thursday. This time he's bringing with him a chap who might be interesting in commercialising the software, which adds a little bit of pressure.

Paul had a health scare last week. He had been getting dizzy and nauseous when he stood up for too long, which worsened during the week, and he wound up in hospital on Wednesday. Fortunately, they worked out what it was, and he's out now and although it won't go away, he's able to deal with it.

Trivia continued under that shadow - after what we thought wasn't our best effort, we finished strongly and came in a credible 8th. Craig and Em were a surprise sighting playing for Specials - we managed to pip them by 2 spots, which felt good :)

Last night we had a group outing to the movies, corresponding in membership to our trivia squad - Jesse, Ali, Julie, a freshly discharged Paul, Andy and me. We saw Dark Knight, and were all very impressed, I think. I had been a little bit ambivalent about Heath Ledger, but his turn in this was really very impressive, and made me feel a bit sad that we won't be able to see him develop in that role and as an actor.

This morning, I'm running my machines. Scheduled weekend laundry, a run for the bread machine passed on to me from Mum, a very good coffee from my espresso machine, and a bit of a blog on my new black ted :)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Yesterday I went along to a meeting to do with developing a new research program for the next iteration of the construction CRC (to which I'm seconded this year). There was a lot of talk about the network the CRC has developed, the shared but not identical research goals of the faculty and the CRC, and about co-investment to further those goals.

Afterwards, I had a chat with Karen about the subtexts of the meeting. I had felt that I was essentially there as a show of force for my (absent) boss, but Karen made me think about whether that's really the case.

I haven't really thought much about my career path in the last year or so; I've been happy enough to just toil away at whatever I've been working on, without thinking about where it might be leading. Yesterday made me wonder whether the time has come to work out where I want to be heading, and to make some moves towards getting there.

a few more games

I backed up after my weekend of golf, for another game, this time with Neil, Andy and Dave at Vic Park. We played ambrose matchplay again, and Neil and I got up 3-and-1, shooting 78 (+13) for the round. My driving was appalling, but since my irons were OK (albeit not great) and Vic Park is so short, it didn't matter. More importantly, my putting was very good again - I didn't hit as many long putts as the previous week, but I can only recall missing one short-to-mid-range one all day.

On Monday night, Matt and I went for a hit of tennis at Laff's. We hit the ball well considering we haven't played for probably a couple of months. After quite a bit of hitting up, including a workshop on between-the-legs lob chasing, we had a set. I won the first 6-1, getting my serve going and not letting Matt into any sort of rhythm, and Matt was up 3-2 with a break in the second when we called it quits.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

plain colours only

I've gone away from posting and commenting on news reports lately, but this one piqued my interest.

So let me get this straight. No national flags/symbols. At the Olympics. Didn't we popularise sport in order to provide a safer outlet for partisan feelings? If you can't wave a flag at the olympics, exactly where can you wave a flag??? The more I think about this, the more confused I become.

Also, the idea of a (the) major sporting event without commercial images is just hilarious. Of course, the official sponsors will still be plastered everywhere, I expect, so having a ridiculous regime is the best thing that ever happened to the official sponsors.

(I struggled for a word here - totalitarian and oppressive go too far - but I reckon there can be no debate that the organisers are open to ridicule, especially if they sanction policies like this one).

So if we rule out sporting national images, commercial images, political images, religious images, what can we wear? Plain colours, I guess. Except orange (the Dutch, the Irish), red (communism), green (environmentalism), black (black power), white (nihilism), blue (depression), yellow (cowardice), purple (sexual frustration).

Better go nude.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

flogging a wet horse

The weekend began, as it is wont to do, Friday night. Andy's birthday party was held with a hobo theme, in Mick's backyard, replete with 44-gallon drum for a fire and brown paper bags to drink out of. The costumes were pretty solid, especially Ali and Andy (I thought), and it was a pretty good night.

Meanwhile, the sporting plan for the weekend was solid: 18 holes at St Lucia on Saturday morning, 18 at Vic Park on Sunday morning.

We played about 6 holes on Saturday before the rain arrived, and 4 holes afterwards, with decreasing satisfaction to be had. I was 4 over or so through the first 6, but started haemorrhaging shots pretty quickly once it started getting slippery. By the 10th, I didn't care any more, and we walked back. I reckon I had about 44 for the 9 holes. The highlight was knocking a 5-wood about 3 metres away on the allegedly-par-4 3rd hole (251m on the card, but playing about 204m), although I missed the eagle putt. Neil struggled a bit, and had 72 for the 9 holes - he's slightly better than that, and improving.

The weather was better for Sunday at Vic Park. I putted better, I reckon, than I've ever putted in my life, draining 3 or 4 long putts including a 6m bomb on the first, and also chipping in at one point. I was 12-over through 14 holes and looking at a good score, but I had brain explosions on the 15th (a +6 10) and 18th (a +4 7) to finish with an 89 (+24) for the 18 holes. With the exception of the 15th, I drove pretty well, avoiding the slice I'd been struggling with, and at one point knocking a driver over the green on a 228-metre par 4. As for the others, Matt had 92 and Lach 94, the latter having the shot of the day knocking a 3-iron stiff to a metre and a half and making the putt for birdie.

After that effort, a beverage was warranted, so we headed to the Ice Bar for a beer. We were joined there by Lach's better 'arf Kirsty, and her friend Alex. Good chat continued until the bar closed around 10, at which point we rejoined to Kirsty's place for some wine and a gander at the first set of Fed-Nadal. I was very impressed by Kirsty and Alex, and the crowd they represent, whom I had met but not engaged much with at Lach's birthday last month.

Friday, 4 July 2008

the right to arm bears

the right to arm bears, originally uploaded by jsteel.

The new season of trivia started last night, and our new team, The Right To Arm Bears, made a creditable start by coming in 6th. Members included regulars Paul, Julie, Jim and Mick, and newcomers Jesse and Ali, who made valuable contributions to do with the offspring of tennis and soap stars.

My personal highlight was getting the Teletubbies question right. We also won a bottle of wine for knowing the year One Nation were at their peak. Mareeba FTW!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

half-time report

At the start of the year, I laid out 3 sporting resolutions for myself: play 12 rounds of golf, 12 tennis outings, and 1000km on my bike. Having just passed half-time, I guess I can see how I'm going.

The cycling goal is done. Looking at my counter today, I'm at 1207km, well over the 1000km only halfway through the year. The vast majority of that, I reckon at least 80%, has been commuting to and from work, which is about 13km return. As a rough estimate, that means I've probably been riding to work about three and a half days a week on average.

I reckon I've played tennis about 10 times, most of that being fixtures, so I'm almost there. I'm not sure whether I'm going to play fixtures again this coming season - I didn't entirely enjoy last season - but I'd be surprised if I don't get this one finished soon.

Golf is about halfway done. I reckon I've played 6 times, at Nudgee, Eustondale, Borneo Barracks, Mullumbimby, Bulimba, St Lucia and one other that I can't remember (4 of those were 9-hole outings, so I'm only counting them for 3 rounds, I guess). I need to play more golf, but my lack of wheels (Hi Mum) is probably holding me back. It also takes more preparation, in terms of getting a tee time and organising other people. Still, I reckon I'll get there - I have 18 holes scheduled for Saturday at St Lucia, and another 18 for Sunday at Victoria Park, which will bolster the count a bit.

In the play-more-sport spirit of these goals, albeit not on the list, I've also completed a full season of beach volleyball. A quick counted suggested I played 15 times in the first season, and last night we played our first game of the new season, up a division. We played pretty well, particularly in the third set when we did a better job of calling and getting everyone involved, and we had a win, which was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008


I feel gormless. The word popped into my head as I was looking for a catchy headline, and upon further investigation, it fits me to a tee.

I need a nap. Not a long one, just a week or so. That would cover it, I reckon.

Its not work, I don't think. Last week was productive. I engaged my colleague more than I have, and we completed a fairly significant task. On Friday, I even sketched out an approach for the next task; I was content that it had been a good week. This week is not, thus far, so good - finding it hard to get going - but it is young, and I hold hopes.

I don't think its the weekend. It was a good weekend. On Saturday morning, Mick and I had a late breakfast at Atomica and headed up the coast to Marcoola, picking up essentials like an iPod car adapter and a pair of bodgy-looking sunnies, on the way. There, we had a walk on the beach, a beer or two, and a few board games with Jesse, Ali, Afe and Trish. On Sunday we even ignored the grey sky and greyer surf to have a swim that was surprisingly satisfying.

I got home just in time to see the last quarter of the Lions losing to Melbourne. Maybe that was it - didn't enjoy that.

Probably, though, I've been staying up too late. Doing nothing can drag on late into the night.

One way or another, gormless. Lacking in gorm.