Day 298 – Shouldered Burden

68 – 100 no-equipment workouts

Physically, today is off to a tough start.

I’m not sure whether it was intentional or not, but this morning my two classes instructed by Nikki were very heavy on the upper body, and specifically the shoulders. My Saturday morning routine consists of a 30 minute class at 9:30am, then a stroll on the treadmill to recover, and then another 30 minute class at 10:30am.

I barely made it through the shoulder exercises in my second class.
Nikki was laughing.
I suspect it wasn’t entirely an accident.

I nearly dozed off with my Kindle and my coffee at Michel’s. The second time I almost fell asleep I decided this was a sign for me to do the shopping and go home.

The shopping list was longer than I expected. Late mothers-day-shoppers forced me to park further away than I normally do. The bags I ended up with were heavier than expected. I had to stop 5 times along the way to the car to let my shoulders relax and my hands recover.

I’ve been napping and heat-packing ever since I got home. I think it is paying off. My shoulders feel like they’ll survive. I hope I’ll be up to my Yoga tomorrow.

Day 181 – Ginger

I followed through on my massage this morning. It wasn’t as excruciating as I was fearing; not at all actually. I disclosed the state of my shoulders right up-front, and other than a little extra care with the wet towels there proved to be no need to worry.

Remarkably, with the massage oil, even very firm pressure didn’t hurt (other than where there were knots in my muscles). So that was good.

For the rest of the day I had been banished from sunshine though. I had been told in no uncertain terms that I was not to let the sun touch me. Which was easy enough in the morning (overcast) when I went out to my massage, but by the time I returned the sun was poking out from behind the clouds. It’s remarkably how much a few rays can sting (Sting-Rays?) even when exposed only for a few seconds.

I was scuttling from shade-to-shade for the rest of the day.

Most of my time was spent inside arranging pictures for the eBaying of the redundant pieces of technology. Perhaps using a DSLR for eBay pics is a bit of overkill, but I was enjoying myself, so there! 😉

I had a brief trip outside to Rouse Hill for some shopping.

And then I got lathered up with Aloe again before heading out to the gym. It’s a really odd sensation when it dries caked on. Every time I moved, it felt like my surface was cracking under the strain. It’s a very unsettling skin-pulling-sensation. 10 minutes into a Cardio class I stopped paying attention though; being out of breath has this way of making everything else in the world seem trivial.

Getting through my plans is proving slower than anticipated. But so long as there’s forward momentum I’m not going to complain. Relaxing is more important than achieving right now.

And on that note; I think some sleep is called for now.

Day 153 – Twelve Days of Rush-Mas

So far I have managed to dodge the bullet. I haven’t had to go out into the crazy. But the longer it lasts, the closer it gets, the worse it will be when I inevitably do.

I wonder if eventually this is the death-knell for local retailers here in Australia. They are already continuously whining about the fact overseas purchases under $1000 are exempt from taxation on importation… but if they think it’s merely that 10% that’s stopping us from buying locally, they are kidding themselves.

In many cases online easily saves 40-50% or more.

And it’s not merely price either; often things can be had online that simply are not available locally. Sometimes there is stock where there is none in the shops.

Or sometimes you do not need to queue in an insane line.

If I could do all my Christmas shopping sitting in the convenience of my home, I wouldn’t care where it was shipping from. And I don’t think there are many Australians that’d feel differently. Convenience always wins out, because out there *waves hands* is almost like psychological torture now.

Much better to relax into Christmas from the PC.

Day 114 – Highly Entertaining

I had to bail on my gym class tonight. My head was pounding about three tracks in despite the Panadol that Peter kindly donated to my cause around 4pm. I did a little cool-down on the treadmill to get some steps in, but I still didn’t feel quite right about it all.

Got a coffee on the way home.

Forgot the shopping.

You know, the usual.

Upon arriving home it becomes clear quickly that I’ll have to fend for myself tonight, so I decide to kill about three birds with one stone.

But What to Buy?!
But What to Buy?!

I have to get dinner anyway, so I may as well go window-shopping along the way. Whenever I am near a JB Hi-Fi, I just have to go in to see if there are any cheap BluRay movies/series that I must have. Nothing there tonight.

But I’ve also been looking to replace my entertainment solution in the living room. Currently I have a PC running the TV, and a Pioneer amplifier that I’ve had for about forever*.

I’ve settled on a solution where a QNAP NAS becomes my media server somewhere on the network, and I’ll get something-DLNA in the living room to stream all the movies/shows/music. As well as a dedicated BluRay player for sheer convenience.

Harman Kardon, with All The Connectors!
Harman Kardon, with All The Connectors!

I had looked at a Harman Kardon amplifier with a network port that can stream media. I decided to have a look at it In Real Life. I almost waved over staff to find out whether there was a deal to be had. But instead I walked away without it. I’m sure had I decided to ask for a deal, I’d probably have walked out with an amp.

But I kinda decided that I really should first find some form of Region-Free BluRay player. None of the JB models claimed this spec. I’ll probably buy a cheapie from Kogan online, and if it breaks I can re-evaluate then.

After all that, I wandered around a bit longer. The evening temperature was actually very nice out there, and there were a lot of people out and about enjoying it. I should have dragged someone along for an excuse to stay out longer, but alas… next time.

I also tried another few stores for the dark double-coat Cherry Ripe.

I have no idea what has happened to them, but nowhere seems to stock them anymore.

I hope they haven’t been discontinued.

Slightly dismayed I drove off forgetting my shopping and dinner. Which I fixed by swinging by Stanhope on the way home. I had a healthy** burger, and some kitty litter***, and headed home.

And now I’m contemplating more Panadol and an early night.
It’ll probably be another few hours before I actually do though.

* – Forever = <10 years
** – Okay, maybe health-ish … I mean, it had lettuce and a bun, right? And whatever that Oprego sauce is, bound to be dairy**** in that
*** – Not for the eats… I have very demanding owners that send me out shopping for their toilet
**** – I’m just wildly guessing here

Day 67 – Shop / Walk / Shop

My original plans for the day fell through, so I was suddenly faced with seas of time. My day always starts with a simple sequence of: shower, weigh, check sleep pattern and log weight on PC, and then on from there. Today I spent another hour or so typing up some notes before doing anything of consequence.

I drove to Rouse Hill first. I had a shirt to return to Jay Jays; apparently in some shirts I’m not even a Medium at the moment. I have no idea when that happened. It took the shop assistant some time to find me a small to exchange. There didn’t seem to be any, but the system said there should be. Turned out there had moved across the store in the intervening week.

Then I walked the block of the shops, and decided to grab a 2-and-5-Juice at Boost to enjoy in the sunshine before heading home.

After recovering at home and eating some cookies (I hadn’t had lunch yet at this point), I decided to go walk up and down Stanhope Parkway. I drove my way there and parked in a side-street.

I had decided I needed to park in a side-street on the side of the Stanhope Gardens shops. Because that was the only way to walk a loop all the way along the parkway without crossing my own path. Because I had to do some shopping, and I decided I’d arrange it so that would be the shortest part of the walk.

I should have just parked at the Stanhope Gardens shops right off the bat and walked the lap from there. I had a shopping list with me, and I hadn’t looked carefully yet. I had decided that the shopping couldn’t be much of an issue anyway.

After walking up and down the Parkway for 90 minutes, carrying 10kg in each hand for another kilometre isn’t actually as trivial as it had seemed in my mind. Additionally, the 10kg back of clay litter didn’t have a handle, so I had to keep swapping hands carrying the bags to give my hands a rest.

It took a while to get back to the car.

But as a reward, as I walked into the shops, my bracelet got all excited telling me I’d passed the 10k steps mark for the day. So there is that at least.

I didn’t do much besides watching Breaking Bad for the rest of the day.

Day 33 – Dutch Treats

I’m a little concerned what connotations the title of this post might have, so I am specifically not entering it into Google for fear of what I might get back. I recommend you do the same… or at least, don’t tell me about it, or complain afterwards what you might have found!

This post is just about food.

I am sure every country has its own specialities food-wise. Things that are hard to get anywhere outside of the country of origin. Things that just do not seem to get traction anywhere else.

When family members first come to visit me in Australia, I delight in letting them sample Vegemite… a true delicacy! Alas, none of them seem to like it. Similarly, a favourite in the Netherlands: Salmiak, seems to be beyond most foreigners’ palates. There is a very entertaining American blog that taste-tests salmiak treats readers send in… Salmiyuck!

But I digress.

Today started with the age-old hunt for Hagelslag in Australia. I have unfortunately eaten through the whole supply we had before. For those not-in-the-know, Hagelslag can be seen in the header image at the right end of the picture. They are chocolate sprinkles for eating on sandwiches. A large part of the Dutch population starts their days with sprinkles-on-toast, or sprinkles-on-“Beschuit”.

We had to go by 3 shops to get some seriously over-priced Hagelslag to tide me over till the other stores stock again. Or maybe it’s time for a trip to “‘t Winkeltje“, the Dutch shop in Western Sydney.

As an aside, Beschuit I think took a bit longer to get stocked consistently mainly because the local retailers mistakenly assumed it was a type of biscuit. After just writing that, it occurs to me that the similarity in spelling might have had something to do with that.

Beschuit is by no means a biscuit. It is a dry baked rusk-type food that also is a breakfast staple in the Netherlands. Without anything toppings, it’s the kind of thing no-drinks-allowed-eating-challanges are made of.

Anyway… I now have some Hagelslag and some Salmiak.

I don’t think it’ll last long.

Day 18 – Trains, Camera, Snapshot!

Today was the day. The online part of the research was completed yesterday. And after having missed the window to get expedited same-day delivery from the online store arranged, we decided to travel into the city so we could handle the Canon EOS 6D before making a final decision.

Station Platform (Galaxy Nexus)
Station Platform
(Galaxy Nexus)

I don’t like driving into the city in general. Some parts of it are bearable some parts of the day. Darling Harbour at night is do-able due to the very convenient flat-rate parking under the convention centre.

But King Street was never going to work for me.

So in the afternoon we set off into the city for our shopping trip.

Wynyard Station (Galaxy Nexus)
Wynyard Station
(Galaxy Nexus)

I don’t take the train very often, but when I do I enjoy people-watching. And people-listening.

There is nothing as entertaining as listening to a non-screaming (this is a very important detail) young kid having “logical” discussions with parents. It definitely made time fly by; I barely got any newsfeed-reading done along the way. (Frankly, I never tried, but that is beside the point)

We arrived at Wynyard station since that looked like the closest stop to King Street, although I think Town Hall would have been just as close.

Abbey and I had only just started playing with the display model 6D, when Lexi arrived on the scene. With two superior photographers in tow I didn’t feel the need to ask too many questions; until I do all my learnin’ I was just there to expertly wield the credit card and pay for our bundle. We sent Abbey away so as not to scare her with the total.

It wasn’t too much over the birthday present I had to spend.

Thong Vending (Galaxy Nexus)
Thong Vending
(Galaxy Nexus)

Having bought and bagged the camera, we made some quick decisions on what else we had to do in the city before returning home to charge the batteries and start playing.

First, that chocolate store that I spotted before we went into the camera store. Always a mistake. Putting me near chocolate. I buy it.

Second, a little pastry bakery right next to the chocolate store which Lexi rightfully recommended. I had a delicious pistachio pastry. Gone in under a minute as we walk.

Third, a book/stationery/misc store I’d been to once before with Abbey and Lexi. A slight mis-calculation. They have pens. Abbey has gotten (re-?)addicted to pens. She listens to a pen podcast.

I don’t judge.

I reserve the right to guffaw though.

On our way back out of the mall, the most curious sight. A vending machine selling what no vending machine ever ought to.

Havaianas! Thongs!

The city is a weird place indeed.

Camera Unboxed (Galaxy Nexus)
Camera Unboxed
(Galaxy Nexus)

After another train trip that I could have sworn was longer than the one in (Christmas Eve and New Years Eve also are longer than the other 363 days of the year,… you know it is true!) we arrived home where I could impatiently unbox our new toy.

And then…

The battery needs to charge all the way up first.

How long? 2.5 hours.

So one dinner, some television shows and some lively conversation later, I can finally stick the battery into the 6D, load the 32GB SD card, and have a play.

The following are some of the shots taken… they were probably all taken by Abbey and Lexi. Did I mention they are just better?

Chocolates (EOS 6D)
(EOS 6D)

I bought 6 chocolates at the store I mentioned earlier, including such delicacies as: Lavender, Mango Chilli and Mint/Lime.

Lexi wondered aloud if I needed a protractor. I may have fussed over the arrangement a little more than the quick experiment in sub-optimal lighting conditions warranted.

Jerry Himself (EOS 6D)
Jerry Himself
(EOS 6D)

Then Abbey took the steering wheel and took some shots, including the one above. I tried to crop it to make myself look better, but the pixels didn’t want to yield anything better than reality so I gave in.

Dog, full frame (EOS 6D)
Dog, full frame
(EOS 6D)

And our final victim, the dog… this was the best one out of a long series of dog pictures. Specifically chosen to showcase the amazing resolution 20MP give. All these grabs are from the same single picture, just taking a smaller and smaller detail out of the whole, ending with 1:1 pixels.

Dog, Detail (EOS 6D)
Dog, detail
(EOS 6D)

Detail from the previous picture… everything looks good.

Dog, detail smaller (EOS 6D)
Dog, detail smaller
(EOS 6D)

And closer still; … still going well… careful now…

Dog, detail smallest (EOS 6D)
Dog, detail smallest
(EOS 6D)

Oh, damn… so close! I clearly should have chosen better light, or RAW.

I think JPEG has let this one down a little. It looks like there is enough detail there, but the compression has just blurred together too much detail in the hairs as far as I can tell.

Or I did something else wrong. Soon I will be less equivocal about these things. When I kinda/sorta know what I am doing.

In the meantime, I’m very pleased with how easily the camera produces pleasing results even when I don’t have a clue what I am doing. It’s like it knows what I want from the picture.

Could it be… sentient?