Planning and Learning

This morning I successfully acquired the right SIM for my new phone. The transaction at Virgin Mobile Blacktown was quick and painless. I will need to spend a few more days making sure I get everything I care about across from the Galaxy Nexus to the Nexus 5, but then I can wipe the former and dispose of it.

In an hour I have a 30 minute cycle class to break up the day.
And then…

I’m going to start on a Web 2.0 adventure. I’ve meant to learn some new skills and build something for too long now. Time to bite the bullet.

I have the outline of an idea for a set of related problems I want to solve (scratching your own itch has been proven the best place to start). I have VS2013 Beta on my machine (so an upgrade will be in order first). And I have a list of compatible technologies to explore.

I guess this also means my personal GitHub account will finally get some love.

Wish me luck!

Day 111 – Into the Nexus

Today my brand new Nexus 5, 32GB (Black) arrived.

Last Thursday I read that Google would be unveiling their new device overnight to the American market, and I was looking forward to picking one up sometime on Friday.

On Friday, as is my usual routine, I was skimming through Feedly to catch up on my news feeds from overnight before getting out of bed. One of the first articles from the US I hit on announced “Nexus 5 Sold Out”, which had me out of bed quicker than if the house had been on fire.

I hoped that Australia would still be lagging this news by at least a few hours.

Luckily this was true. I managed to place my order on Friday morning before several batches sold out. Over the past weekend every single variant has sold out; it may be a while till new stock shows up.

Originally my order indicated to expect shipping “By 8th November”. Which was fine with me. Then later on last Friday I got an email from Google saying that the device had been “shipped”, meaning they had taken my money and told FedEx to come and pick it up.

It indicated an estimated delivery date for today, the 4th. I wasn’t quite sure I believed it.

Parcel from Google
Parcel from Google

But there it was, by 6pm as indicated, I was in possession of a small well padded parcel that had come down from a warehouse in Hong Kong over the weekend.

Understated Packaging
Understated Packaging

The packaging of the phone has a very basic austere look to it. You’d hardly believe it contains the latest gadget from a high-tech company by the look of it.

Pristine new Device
Pristine new Device

But who cares about the packaging anyway? It’s all about the black piece of plastic with rare-earth elements inside.

It doesn’t look as large as I had feared, this nominally being a 5″-or-so device. Or maybe my Galaxy Nexus is just larger than I thought it was.

It is also very thin, and very light. As with all modern technology, I have a sneaking suspicion that there is nothing inside the shell, and that somehow they have figured out how to make actual honest-to-goodness magic to drive these.

Anyway… let’s get this show on the road!

Updating, ... Straight out of the Box
Updating, … Straight out of the Box

…Or not.

It appears that this Google device that was launched barely 3 days ago already needs an update before it runs. It makes me wonder how long these have been waiting in a warehouse for Google’s announcement.

And then there is the matter of the SIM. I still have a full-size SIM in my Galaxy Nexus, so tomorrow I will have to drop by a Virgin store to get a Micro SIM for this phone.

But I’ve had a play with it on WiFi, and it’s very slick and incredibly helpful. Google’s worked out where I work, where I live, where I go to the gym, and where I get my coffee. It’s basically figured out the centre of my universe and how to get around it.

And everything feels smooth and responsive.

I just have to go through all my apps and re-enter the necessary credentials. Although that can probably partially wait till tomorrow.

And then there is the matter of waiting for the case to arrive. It also comes from HK, but it doesn’t have the benefit of a very determined multinational behind it to speed it along. I’ll just have to be very careful for a week or so till it has some proper protection around it.

New-Visitor-Syndrome

I can always tell when someone new hits my site.

Sudden spikes of traffic as many successive pages get viewed. Every once in a while the truly dedicated drop by, and I can see a meticulous read-every-post-one-by-one-from-now-to-the-start-of-the-blog crawl through my stats.

I always wonder who it is, and what they might have been looking for. Whether they found something of interest, or if they were just killing some time. Fortunately there is no feature in WordPress to correlate this to IP addresses or anything else, because I’d totally turn into a stalker over these occurrences.

But I still idly wish they’d leave a comment somewhere. Just a quick acknowledgement of their presence and/or purpose. A chance to find out what of my writing (if any) connects or doesn’t.

Maybe I’ll spot a pattern if I stare at the stats a little longer?

Day 110 – Gale-Force Coffee

I like my lazy Sundays.

I slept in till 9am. Well, almost… I woke at 8:30am, confused at why my alarm had not gone off yet. I don’t often feel as rested in the mornings as I did this morning.

I took my time getting ready for Yoga. Class starts at 10:30, so plenty of time. A quick check on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. And a quick shower, which feels odd when I’m only going to get sweaty again, but I just don’t feel right if I don’t have one before I start.

The class was very full this morning. I’m not sure what happened, other than my suspicion that a few of the regulars brought friends. A class that normally consists of 15-ish people was crammed with over 30. Not a big problem, except for a few of the stretches where there wasn’t quite enough room.

I have felt nicely stretched all day.

And then on the way home I always stop for a coffee outside with my Kindle.

I got through 3 chapters, as I built up a nice healthy glow from the hot seemingly gale-force winds sweeping through the outside seating. To be honest it felt kinda nice; as hot as the breeze was it felt cooling as it ruffled through my hair.

As Sansa was learning the finer points of manipulation from Petyr, my coffee nearly took off from its saucer. I spent some time carefully arranging my possessions so that the heaviest were on top of the lightest. Miraculously the dusted chocolate on top of my cappuccino didn’t end up all over my blue shirt.

As Ahsa was manoeuvring to get support for her claim, various parts of the outside seating started flying. One divider toppled, and a few more threatened to follow suit. The ash trays were starting to gain lift, and the containers of sugar packets were rolling around on the floor. A couple of employees ended up dashing around to tidy away anything that might move.

And finally, as Cersei attended a wedding and set a bonfire, Carolyn walked past me and mused aloud whether I’d need tethering to my chair so as not to fly off myself. I don’t think I’m quite that light, but I told her I appreciated the implicit compliment.

The breeze was starting to get uncomfortably warm by this time, so I decided to head home. But not without another cappuccino. I was briefly tempted to sit down again when my order initially got written down as another mug… but the house needed me to clean it. *sigh*

Day 109 – Dan Savage @ FoDI

Today the Festival of Dangerous Ideas started at the Sydney Opera House. This is the first time that I attended any sessions, and had I known how much fun it would be, I’d have bought tickets for more than just the one session.

I have read Dan Savage’s advice column for years now, and I religiously listened to all episodes in his Savage Love podcast until I caught up. He is a great mix of entertainment and unconventional ideas. Although sometimes (less these days), he is just plain entertainingly snarky.

I mentioned him once before.

Dan! In Real Life! Less than a Chair's Throw Away!
Dan! In Real Life! Less than a Chair’s Throw Away!

Usually his sessions are heavier on the advice-to-audience-questions, but I think in the context of the Festival, he had to speak at length on his Monogamish lifestyle. Of an hour session, he spoke for about 40 minutes before getting to questions.

Monogamish is a term he coined for his mostly monogamous relationship with his husband, but which leaves room for other people as well. He categorised it alongside open and polyamorous relationships. By way of explanation he rolled out an anecdote from The View where he was asked “What Does That Look Like?” by Barbara Walters. I doubt she’d have been ready for his response: “Well, it’s where while I’m cheating with a guy, my husband is cheating at the other end of the same guy”. I wish there was a YouTube clip of the episode, because I can only imagine the response from the panel.

I don’t know why they didn’t make the session longer; the only thing better than an hour of Dan Savage, is two hours! I’d have happily paid double or triple for the privilege.

Some of the topics and angles he covered have come up many times in his podcast and column, which was noticeable in the way his well-worded phrases just rolled off his tongue. But it would be too easy to dismiss this all as just plain exercised monologue; when Dan engages with the audience, especially on some of the rushed questions towards the end, it is clear that his excellent answers come from real consideration no matter how brief. Nothing he said ever felt forced or detached from its context.

I cannot wait for the video to become available on the FoDI YouTube channel, so that not only can I relive the session I attended and memorise a few more of his memorable phrases, but also see the panel session he participated in that I failed to get tickets for.

For now, I’ll leave you all with the most tweeted quote from his session; Dan Savage on the topic of being good at sex being a learned skill that doesn’t just come out of nowhere…

“A vagina is more complex than a violin, and nobody just picks up the violin one day and nails it the first time.” – Dan Savage

I don’t know whether the double-entendre at the end there was intentional, but I would put it forward as prime evidence why Dan is such a joy to read/listen/watch.

And then there was of course the moment where a woman before asking a question told Dan how wonderful it was for him to have said “pussy” on stage in the Opera House. And how wonderful it was to have said it herself. To which Dan led the whole audience in saying it together.

Day 108 – Cycling, Bad with Pizza

Today felt very slow at work; I think my brain just wasn’t really in it. Luckily, I had a task that matched that level of mental energy sufficiently that it wasn’t a complete waste of a day. PowerPoint was my friend.

I decided to have a coffee before going to the gym to try and perk up a bit. I’m not sure if it worked, but I also hear that it does good things for circulation and makes cardio exercise more intense when had before. (Similarly, it apparently aids recovery afterwards… so ideally you should have two coffees surrounding your cardio class. Note: not medical advice!)

Then on the way home I went via Crust to pick up some dinner.

If you have never had Crust before, you really should try it sometime.

Tonight I had the chilli/basil squares for starters, which were tangy and zesty in just the perfect proportions to entice me to eat more than I should. And the every-meat-under-the-sun pizza was similarly leading to over-indulgence. I’m sure the scales will tell me the damage tomorrow.

And then… Breaking Bad.
To the end of Season 4.
Gus… just… you know.

I love the visual qualities of the show, and the theatre of it all. It has a very strong cartoon/Batman/western vibe about it. The way the bad guys get shot (in all senses of the word), the colours, the composition of the scenes. It all has a larger-than-life quality to it, whilst at the same time seeming so grounded and plausible.

It’s a magnificent work of art so far.

And now I’m just sitting at my PC… semi-comatose from food and entertainment. I think I might go read shortly. Or at least, stare at my Kindle and pretend I’m doing more than staring through the words.