Day 268 – Essential Preparations

98 – 100 Tips to Prepare for a RTW Adventure

There was a lot of preparation involved before I was ready to travel to Melbourne for work. Luckily I had a handy advice-page to help me through the rougher parts.

Get rid of your belongings

Check! … Sold my trusty 20kg PC and my handy touch-screen tablaptop and converted them into an XPS15. Now I have everything handy in a single package that is convenient to carry around.

Find a way to earn extra money

Check! … I write a blog that literally has multiple readers. I haven’t put any ads up, but I plan to make up for that in volume. I’m sure my check will be in the mail any day now.

I also strategically got a management job 19 months ago, which helps.

Decide on Travel style

Check! … I’m no good at camping, so I’ve opted for hotels. I also decided on flying to my destination; I’m sure it is a little more expensive, but the hours I save translate into at least another 3-4 blog posts, so that’s practically money in the bank.

I considered walking, but someone told me it’s far.

Exercise and get in shape

Check! … I know there’s always more I could have done, but I’m in good shape and more than ready for the long treks to and from the office. Even the longer slogs for dinner should barely be an obstacle. I probably can fit in a few desserts as well.

The unusual essentials

Check … I travel with my bluetooth headset for entertainment. I’m not sure that’s too unusual, but it’s definitely essential. I guess I could live without the mouse for the laptop, but it’s too much of a hassle operating this thing without.

Is a razor unusual? Is my medication? I think I’ve thought of everything that’s worth thinking about.

Do you have enough blank pages in your passport?

Check? … I … I think I can get there without my passport. But I checked, and there is room… I guess?

Sell house or notify landlord

… Pardon?

Get cash for each country you know you will be visiting

Melbourne isn’t a country.
What the hell are you talking about?

What does RTW stand for?




Forget I posted this, okay?

Day 261 – Shiny Armour

This morning wasn’t what it was supposed to be. At all. I woke up early. I was aiming for an 8am arrival at work so that I could do a few chores before going into a meeting at 9:30am as a scribe.

At 7:55am I was grabbing my coffee.
At 8:12am I was stuck in slow traffic.
At 8:23am I was pulled over along Windsor Road.

The car had stalled; the fuel gauge was still showing some fuel in the car, but it had spluttered and died in the middle of the right lane… 500 meters from the petrol station I was hoping to pull into.

I sheepishly called in the Shiny Armour brigade.
“Help… I’m stuck… the car is out of fuel”.

I’m glad I had my podcasts to keep me company. Traffic was still heavy and it was going to take a while for my fuel-saviours to arrive. I was most definitely going to be missing my meeting, so I made the best of it.

After getting 4l of emergency fuel delivered, driving on to the petrol station, refuelling and cleaning the side of the car from a slight spill, I made it into the office at about 10:15am.

This was the longest morning-commute I’ve ever had into work.

And it was an exhausting day following that.
I’m going to sleep early tonight and hope for a more productive tomorrow.

Day 260 – A Long One

I had a long and busy day today. I foolishly accepted responsibility for too many meetings in one day tomorrow and I had to prepare for all of them today. So tomorrow I’ll be scribing one meeting, brainstorming another right after and then chairing a third right after that. A 7 hour marathon of meetings.

I’ll also be doing this with a sore midriff. I have been to the gym Monday and Tuesday, but to spare my shoulders I took on extra challenge on the legs and core. Which seemed like a great plan at the time, but might have been a strategic mistake in retrospect. Time will tell.

And tonight was fun relaxation at Ken’s with a cornucopia of cheese, fruit and chocolate, followed by a plethora of pizza and a sufficience of 7 Wonders. I feel thoroughly entertained. But also quite tired.

And I have to be up again at 7 to get a few things sorted before my first meeting starts.
So I’m going to leave this short and safeguard my rest and sanity.

Good night world.

Day 254 – Departure

Today was a very foodful day.

It was Jeff’s last day.
Jeff had started work at the company almost at the same time I had. I think there wasn’t more than a month between us. But after 10.5 years he was ready to find another challenge… in the form of some time off with his Steam account. It’s hard not to be envious.

But back to the food.
In the morning one of the other developers had brought in a home-made cake with cream and mashed fruit. I’m calling it breakfast. Over this aforementioned cake I took some time to “supervise” as Jeff, his wife and the graduate were setting up tables in the biggest conference room in the building.

Which brings me to food-the-second… lunch. Jeff has many-a-time organised an impromptu lunch. When the boss was up from Melbourne. When a co-worker was up from Melbourne. When it wasn’t raining. When it was raining. It really was just an excuse to get pizzas into the building (specifically an excuse for him to order a Thai Foon pizza). This time the crowd was a little larger than our usual developer-crowd. Instead of fitting 12-15 people in a room, we were looking for space for 60+. A lot of people like Jeff.

I was unusually modest in my lunch-intake; there were 6 salads, stacks of portuguese chicken, chips and I think about 8 flavours of pizza, stacked 2-4 pizzas deep in each flavour. It’s easy to get greedy when faced with that much food.

The day was rounded out with an afternoon tea-with-cake. This is that special occasion where the soon-to-be-departed is relentlessly mocked over anything and everything noteworthy during their tenure. As much as we kid about everything he touches breaking, it is really the most horrific exaggeration ever. He’s produced some amazing results over the years, and if not for him, the most recent project wouldn’t have gone anywhere as smoothly as it did.

It’s a great loss to us… but the only alternative to keep him I could think of was to sedate him and chain him up in the basement.
I’m told this is unethical.

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 238 – Another Destination

Travel to Melbourne makes for very long days. It is now 10:15pm and I am sitting down and unwinding at last. I haven’t had a shower yet, but that’ll be a thrill in its own right that only someone without a shower at home at the moment can understand. I’m going to send Abbey some thrilling shower pics… of the shower… all by itself… trust me, it’ll work.

I am not where I normally am.
Apparently there is a Grand Prix somewhere about the city and it has driven me out of my usual haunt. I think I disapprove, but at the same time I’m embracing the novel of the Novotel.

The hallways are maze-like and claustrophobic. The rooms are studio-apartment-like and face inwards to what looks like a shopping plaza far down below. But there is a certain compact charm about it. It’s weird not having a balcony though.

The taxi in Sydney was quick to hand me his card and suggest I send him my flight number for a pickup upon my return. I prefer the pot-luck of whomever is in the ranks at the time. And even if I did, he wasn’t a particularly good driver; I’d choose one of the earlier drivers I’ve had over him. He seemed a bit distracted from his driving, like he didn’t really want to be there. This also meant he was on the phone with what I think was a friend saving me from having to dodge a conversation I wasn’t interested in. I just disappeared into headphone-land with my personal musings.

The flight itself was a little rocky, but not overly so. Cloud cover at both ends, and rain in Melbourne. But the other passengers were clearly more uneasy on average than they usually are. I’m chalking that up to the Malaysian Airlines flight that’s still un-recovered. It’s odd how that makes people act like suddenly all flights are suspect… as if our plane was going to disintegrate with the very next shake or rumble.

The pilots were actually very good all things considered. You can always tell by the landing. Some just have that light touch that shines through when the rubber hits the road once more.

And now I feel a bit disoriented.

What do I normally do at this point in the first evening?
Without the internal-stair-climbing something just doesn’t click.

Oh yes.

Shower time.
And then my Kindle I think.

Day 234 – Siren Song

Last day of the week arrived just in time.
Although a day that consists of meetings from 10am – 4pm is not exactly the ideal way to end the week. I choose to focus on the ending rather than the means-by-which.

I had hoped to spend some time at Wet’n’Wild to disconnect the working week from the non-working weekend, but the weather had other plans. As I was driving to the park I got stuck in traffic, spotted lightning on the horizon, and had a downpour start on me.

When I got to the park, the gates were closed and people were leaving in droves. I waited a while with my friends to see if the situation would improve, but the lightning kept the park shut for 45 minutes after I arrived at which point I gave up. By that stage there were already only 23 cars left in the parking lot. I’d never seen it that deserted before.

Had the park re-opened, it’d have been an awesome way to end the week, even having to brave the rain. Having the park all to ourselves would have meant unlimited rides without queues. I would heartily recommend that experience, even at the price of a bit of rain or wind.

Instead I headed home.

And I moved the last vestiges of my Ativ 700 onto the XPS 15. One machine down, one more to consolidate. 15″ already doesn’t look as large as it did when I first got it. Maybe I’ll have a chance over the weekend to bring the contents of my PC across as well. Then it’ll be eBay time for both.

I need to make sure I don’t let myself be tempted by this PCs siren-song though. I really need to get a good night’s sleep so that I’m fresh for the gym. Too often before have I experienced “lost time” at the hand of my latest gadgets.

Day 233 – Just a Little Unwell

I still don’t think I’m entirely well. I feel much more tired than I should be, occasionally I still have a coughing fit, and going to bed at 2am yesterday probably didn’t help much either.

It’s important to call your mother on her birthday though, and I had forgotten due to Wednesday Regulars until after midnight when I had a sudden panic. She was trying to let me off the hook, but we had a good conversation for an hour, and I was happy to make the sacrifice.

Then the work-day unfolded with a lot more draining content than I was ready for, but alas, that’s the job sometimes.

And then I finished up with a visit to the gym. I had skipped Monday and Tuesday already, and at some point I just start feeling wrong. The class felt good at the time, but I’ve been slumped on the lounge all evening. And now I think I’m ready for bed. And another meeting-ful day tomorrow.

I need to throw something restorative into the weekend.
Maybe sleep?

Day 224 – Professional Juggling

Some days management feels like juggling.
With 7 clubs of differing sizes.
Whilst wading through 3 feet of treacle.

Oh, and one of the clubs may have sharp spikes coming out of it through half of the handle that you’d do best to avoid as well.

At the base level there is a certain routine to it. Things that happen every single week, such as catch-ups with staff and business interests, project meetings, team meetings, time sheets. Listening to concerns from others and then trying to take action on everything before I forget again what they have told me.

Making a routine definitely helps in leaving opportunities for people to remind me when something slips behind the sofa-cushions of the work week.

Where the juggling gets complicated is with the ad-hoc tasks that come my way. It’s a mix of all kinds, and because most of it seems non-recurring, it involves a learning curve each time. And often it’s not clear whether something is important or merely urgent. (And sometimes it’s the trivial disguised as one of the other two).

I really don’t know why I feel as swamped as I do, because objectively my team isn’t that large, and the number of projects we work on isn’t particularly overwhelming. There just is a lot of un-optimised process surrounding it all that I’m still learning to wade my way through most efficiently.

Maybe it’d help to drain some of the treacle though.
2 feet of treacle is plenty.

Day 223 – …

I’m not quite sure what to do with today.

On the up-side, the intermittent stomach-ache I’ve had since the middle of last week seems to finally have disappeared. On the down-side, it didn’t do so before making me miss out on Wet’n’Wild tonight. (I hope the weather keeps for later this week)

Work was a mixed bag of urgent, important and trivial. I think on the whole I achieved something, even though I cannot quite articulate precisely what.

And the gym was a struggle. But by choice. I don’t feel too bad after pushing through some extra weight, so either I’m improving quickly… or I’m going to pay for it tomorrow.

Watched some Fringe.
Helped with some analysis.
Played some Isaac.

It doesn’t feel very productive, but there was a whole lot of “stuff” in the day.
And now I’m just tired.

Maybe I’ve spent today too much inside my own head?