Day 267 – Managers à Manger

99 – 100 best management learning websites

First off; don’t click that link above… it’s terrible. And as far as I can tell from a random sampling, so are the 100 pages it leads to. I know SlideShare can do great slide-packs, but this isn’t an actual example of that.

Tonight we had dinner with 12 managers around a table (one of my developers took on the honorary role of my current boss who couldn’t make it). Since we were all in the same place at the same time, this was a great opportunity to have a meal together and taunt/insult my fellow managers.

I have lost track of most of the salient points in the conversation, but at one stage exercise came up. I don’t know how we got from A to B, but the fact that a few of the women in the office do a Pilates class led to the suggestion of me in Lycra.

I suggest they severely over-estimate my sense of shame.
It’s a great way to figure out who around the table might actually know me somewhat.

Still, as I explained. Black Milk does not come in my size, so alas, they will have to find their entertainment elsewhere (or their bribery leverage, HAH!)

I do suspect the alcohol has loosened my tongue somewhat, so they were probably only a few well-placed questions away from juicy answers. Too bad for them. I’m having another drink in my room as I type this, but by tomorrow I will be well and truly sober again.

Also, on the management front, I should try to convince a few more people to listen to Manager Tools.
I’ve been trying hard to spread the gospel, but apparently “podcasts” are a foreign concept to many.

Nevermind.

Day 241 – H.S.H.

Home-sweet-home.

Dinner from the chicken shop down the road; I think they were humouring me because they were clearly intending to close just as I arrived. Three burgers and some wedges.

And now doing some chores to decompress if you could believe it. Been a very intense Melbourne trip this time around, so looking forward to the weekend. Once I earn it. Chores. Without too much thinking.

Thinking can wait till tomorrow.

Day 239 – And A Show

Tonight was delicious.

We had walked all the way along the river till we ran out of riverside restaurants. Only to spot a spiral staircase leading up to even more options. We selected the very first at that stage.

Apparently there was a show on somewhere, because we got asked several times if we wanted the 3 Course Meal that everyone was having before their performance. I still do not know what was on; I just know we didn’t go to it.

We did choose the Three Course Meal though. I had the cottage cheese/beetroot starter. Trout with the most delicious sauce and a zesty salad with sweet mango pieces. And crème brûlée for dessert. The portions were just the right size and absolutely delicious.

Heading back along the river we were then treated to a surprise show over the river.

I still do not know what the occasion was, but it was a nice way to end the evening.

Day 210 – Travel Fatigue

Theoretically there should be seas of time.

I wake up when breakfast is at my door. Once I’m showered and dressed, it’s a 5 minute walk to work. When I leave Sydney my calendar looks no different from the way it does normally. After work, I have nowhere else to be, so I have dinner with my colleagues and I’ll end up back at the hotel around 8pm-9pm.

And yet…

During the day it feels I’m in a constant rush to see everybody that needs seeing. Additional meetings materialise out of thin air to fill every available minute of the day. After I get back to the hotel in the evening I keep telling myself I’ll get some extra work done, but after I’ve settled in and had a little bit of relaxation it’s suddenly 10:30pm already, and if I don’t get to bed around 11pm, then waking up the next day starts getting harder.

I’ve tried to work out what it is, but nothing stands out in itself.
Is travel for work really this inherently tiring?

Day 170 – Dinner and a Show

Tonight I went to Wet’n’Wild with some friends… after work and the gym. You could call it a bit of a packed day. Had a great time trying a few more of the slides. I don’t quite have a complete set yet, but I’m working on it.

Maybe I’ll manage to complete the set tomorrow?

There was only one hiccup all night. The racer slides had a bit of a mishap when someone got stuck halfway down… we theorized that they might have lost momentum by not keeping the front of their mat pulled up inside the tube. Trust me, that sentence actually makes sense…

Everything else worked out brilliantly though.

Dinner and a Show
Dinner and a Show

And when it gets dark, they turn on the light-show on the various slides. I hadn’t had dinner yet before heading out, so I took the opportunity to sit down with a burger and some chips and watch the people come by with the flashing lights in the background.

Anyone else up for a day in the water? 🙂

Day 148 – Ho Ho Ho

A very full day just came to an end. It’s surprising how much packs into a day when I’m down here. Today I had mid-year conversations with staff from one end of the day to the other. I’d been keeping my notes up-to-date throughout the year, so it hasn’t been too stressful to get everything in order.

Still, by the end of the day my brain did feel a little fried.

And I have come to the conclusion that the rapidly changing weather isn’t helping either. When every day goes through four seasons twice over, a short three day trip starts to feel like I’ve been here for weeks… I haven’t, have I? Please tell me if I’ve lost track of time and I’ve been here for months.

Okay… counting posts… it looks like I’m okay.

Appetizers for Christmas Dinner
Appetizers for Christmas Dinner

This trip is the last one we’ll be seeing all the managers together before Christmas, so we had a little dinner together to celebrate the year. This wasn’t our first trip to the Waterside Hotel in Melbourne, and it’s great that even a second time around it doesn’t disappoint.

I can’t believe I’ve been in my new role for well over a year now; it doesn’t feel like a year. But then, by how much better I am at my job than when I first started, I know it must be true. And I’m still learning more every week. I’ve got myself some good podcasts, and a steady stream of challenges to sharpen my skills on.

Back on 6
Back on 6

But now the day is almost over… and I have another long day ahead of me. Due to circumstance I’ll be taking a late flight for my return trip, so work will finish around 5pm-ish, and then I’ll not get home much before 10pm. I feel tired just thinking about it.

Day 123 – Gravity

I’m a bit late to the game on this one. Gravity is definitely a movie worth seeing. I am not convinced it needed star power to work; no-names would have worked just as well as Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Using them just seemed a little gratuitous in retrospect.

Other than that, it’s a remarkably simple and tense movie.

All but the last few minutes takes place in space. Great black spaces with almost nothing in it except for our big blue marble. And great special effects… fire in space looks absolutely terrifying.

Actually, space looks incredibly terrifying. And painful. The number of times this movie involved slamming hard into metal surfaces without any brakes leaves the impression it’s remarkable astronauts ever return to Earth at all.

Blue Marble
Blue Marble

And yet, for me, the backdrop of our planet was almost the most captivating part. Seeing the lit outlines of civilization across the globe made me feel an intense urge to travel near and far. To go places. Dark and light. It probably taps into the same part of my brain that likes walking at night.

I get that fairly easily though.

When I watch a movie set in New York in winter, all I want is to own a loft apartment in New York over Christmas. When I watch a movie on the beach of a tropical island, all I want is to stay in a cabin on the beach. When I watch a bond movie, I want to go almost anywhere and everywhere.

As long as there is WiFi to blog in between.

Raw Fish Slices
Raw Fish Slices

I was trying to remember all the feelings while I was watching the movie, but then I had dinner and I think I forgot most of the nuance of what was on my mind.

I like sushi train; I like being able to pick just as much as I need to feel full. I briefly considered going to Criniti’s, but I think any meal from there would have been too large before even getting to dessert.

A Small Dessert
A Small Dessert

Which would have been a shame, because I love dessert.

There was a long queue at Max Brenner, but the post-movie conversation was a great distraction. I again exercised restraint and picked a relatively modest dessert. A praline platter with a selection of chocolates.

As I was waiting outside with my number, the staff showed up to ask me which chocolates I wanted. I asked her to surprise me. She checked if I had any allergies, which is a comforting sign. And I was not disappointed. But then, is chocolate ever really disappointing. Even average chocolate is still pretty good, isn’t it? Or was that sex?

All in all, a great thought-provoking and appetizing evening.

Day 107 – Post-Game Analysis

Last night the world returned to normal…
…we had a Wednesday for 4
…we had a cheese platter
…we had a dinner together
…we had a game of Trains
…Abbey fell asleep halfway through

Cheese and Fruit and Paste, Oh My!
Cheese and Fruit and Paste, Oh My!

Obviously, last week also had a Wednesday after Ken’s return from holidays, but that was mostly consumed with talk about said holiday. So this week felt more real than last week.

And with four it also feels a bit more real; Lexi came along as well… which was as well, because once dinner had been had, Abbey fell asleep on the lounge. If not for Lexi it would have been a one-on-one match of Trains between Ken and myself and that is just not as much fun.

Grey Geese in Glasses
Grey Geese in Glasses

We availed ourselves of the bounty of Ken’s travel; he brought back a goose in a bottle from the airport duty free. It was definitely good vodka, but I’m not sure if it was substantially better than Smirnoff Black. I must admit I am a little out of Vodka practice, so my taste buds may not have been as discerning as they could have been.

Cappuccino Crisp
Cappuccino Crisp

And as much as everyone else was enjoying the “New” Cappuccino Crisp chocolate, I was pretty certain myself that I had bought it at least once before. But why spoil the illusion by saying something? 🙂

I tried to restrain myself from having too much chocolate, or too much food, and in the end it looks like it might have been a successful tactic. Last night the scales only registered 1kg that hadn’t been there in the morning, which is not bad for a Wednesday.

G(ame) & T(ea)
G(ame) & T(ea)

I didn’t win the game.

This is after all Ticket to Ride. Ken always wins. (almost)

But it was a very enjoyable evening. And a tiring day all up.

Day 84 – Heaven in a Bowl

Coming back from a long weekend is never easy.

I upped the ante by packing in a Cycle class at the gym when my legs had barely recovered from their stretch in Yoga on Sunday. I am running with the philosophy that I should keep my scheduled class regimen intact until my legs just decide to comply and give in.

Dinner and a Drink and some News
Dinner and a Drink and some News

Still, there is nothing as good as getting home after a class, sitting in front of the TV with some dinner and a drink, and stretching my legs braced against the coffee table. I used to hate stretching until I started to do it more seriously as part of Pilates and Yoga classes. Now, I like nothing better than that feeling of my muscles slowly relaxing out of their tension as I brace my leg and flex my foot.

There is something wonderful about the heavy feeling in my legs after a good class that makes it so much easier to fall asleep at night.

And moreover, it is so much easier to sit still in front of a computer when the last thing my legs would like to do is move. It’s so much easier to focus deeply when the occasionally nagging ants in my legs are gone.

My Friend Ben came to Visit
My Friend Ben came to Visit

Second to the stretching were a few scoops by my friend Ben. The Chocolate Fudge Brownie has sat in the freezer for a long time now, and it would seem that the moist brownie pieces have actually partly dried out. It actually seems to add a certain something to the ice cream I think.

I contemplated another scoop, but I’m getting better at recognising when that’s a bad idea. I could finish it, but I wouldn’t feel exactly happy afterwards. So I guess it gets to survive another long cold winter.

Day 58 – Weather and Mooncakes

Today was very full. I woke up at 6:50am from the knock on the door. Breakfast. Early. Nghmf.

On the upside it meant I was well in time for my 8am meeting in the office. On the downside, it was a long long day. By about 4:30pm my brain was trying to tell me the day was supposed to be over.

I managed to squeeze a quick lunch in with my coworkers between 11:30am and noon. Tomorrow we have a slot set aside for the Sherlock Holmes (yes, Peter, I’ll be taking pictures this time!)

Tonight we had dinner somewhere near the big shopping plaza, in some nondescript alley that looked inviting. Very pleasant wait-staff and delicious food. When I got back to the hotel my bracelet told me I hadn’t made 10k steps yet, so I went out for another walk along the river where I took most of my pictures tonight.

Unfortunately it is quite cold out there, so I didn’t get very far before I felt like getting back to my room, to the warmth, to a cup of green tea.

And to this post of course!