Spring 2023, Summer 2024 Playlist

In the final week of Spring I was putting the finishing touches into the musical playlist that I intended to embed memories of the past months in. Spring 2023 had been pleasant, as best as I can recall it now. The fading glow of Giunio 23 had carried me through Winter. My work/life balance was correcting itself. My body parts were coming together with enough cohesion that I was even able to complete a mini, late-30s equivalent of Bulktember. A more age appropriate approach. Rehab repetitions prioritised over moving weight. Balancing pain signals with progression. I suffered only moderate lower back pain.

By the end of November, despite a recurrence of my dodgy, left shoulder I was moving well, energised by technology and the future. There was bacon in the Barossa, panini on lunch breaks, lamb roasts in the slow cooker, burgers before basketball games. Lots of coffee. Flowers were blooming, the outdoors was calling, and by mid November my index finger had some blood back in it.

Life was not perfect, but I was enjoying it. It felt like, as spring turned to summer around me that in my life too would bloom into sunshine and blue skies and a semblance of control.

Alas, storm clouds approached, as spring will do. Literally, initially, as late November rain pummelled the house and got into the gym literally hours before we were to set off on a cross country road trip.

December from start to finish was problematic. The road trip that was supposed to be a break was plagued by injury, weather, snakes (actually those were cool) and actual plague. Driving long distances in the rain just to isolate in cheap motel rooms was not fun. It was becoming apparent that my wrist injury was not minor, and the Napoleon movie totally lacked historical accuracy and nuance. In fact, I was craving a return to home life and work routine by the end, knowing fate would choose that moment to at least clear out my sinuses. We returned to a mouldy, ruined gym, more rain, a sad puppy and a whole train of minor inconveniences. The final two work weeks of the year did bring some sense of normality back, and then I got covid and missed out on Christmas. By the time it was 2024 I was exhausted. And I'd felt comfortable enough with where my feelings were to share my Spring playlist that just served to remind me of happier times.

Time never stops though. And through all of this, and the continued wrist pain, insurance drama, back pain, life stress, and shoulder pain it did feel like I've done this all before. It did feel that all I had to do was keep getting through work days, keep doing rehab morning, lunchtime and night, keep going to the beach at the end of hot days, keep making phone calls, keep taking the dog for a walk and mowing the lawn after limbering up that things wouldn't necessarily get better, but they might average out. I listened to the Spring playlist a lot, and of course new music and so I added to it already aware that I was now making a Spring/Summer double album playlist. In some ways it made sense, under the influence of the narrative fallacy: Spring was a rise and fall, summer would be a fall and rise. The perfect sine wave. With gym repairs scheduled and two weddings at the end of February to look forward to it seemed appropriate that by the end of summer I'd feel balanced and I'd have a second collection of songs.

Well, it worked to an extent. My wrist still hurts most days but not that much. I have no idea if the next storm will flood some part of my house. Jobs still cause stress. But I have a Spring/Summer playlist. And I know that I will listen to it for years to come sometimes when things are going bad and sometimes when things are going well and sometimes when some things are bad and other things are good. This is life. I am accepting it. Because I can't change it. Seasons will continue to come one by one and I'll relish posting a mixtape for each one for as long as I can.

Memories of:
Driving down South Road in sunshine. Lifting light weights in the gym. Driving to a bonfire. Books about Mars, and Nipples. Taking coffee breaks in the backyard on WFH mornings. Being in the groove in front of VS Studio while looking out over the Adelaide hills. More hours on my back on the rubber mats on the floor. Long stretches of country roads. FLOWERS BLOOMING. Feeling sad. Being in the groove in front of CS Studio with the air conditioner on and the curtains drawn. The same walks around Croydon. Memories of Paris. Passionfruit. Trying to hold a plank.

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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.

I Know What I Did This Summer

This was not how I expected to spend my Christmas break, but 1500 pieces later at least I can say I helped to do something.

Detroit Pistons

On Saturday morning, the first day of my ten day Christmas break, I watched as garbage man emptied a dumpster of recycling into the same compactor as he'd just lifted two dumpsters of trash into. I heard the metal on glass crunching as rinsed containers were pulverised into bags of leftover popcorn and snotty tissues. It felt like a bad omen. I was right.

The Detroit Pistons were my favourite team when I was a kid. I don't recall why. Grant Hill probably, because no other names on the 95-96 roster resonate with me except for Joe Dumars. I had two Pistons hats. One was an old school Snapback cap with a small logo on the side. The other was - from memory - a shiny blue hat surfaced with some soft material and a huge logo. My friend's dad gave it to me as a gift and it was an awesome hat. In fact, the hat may be why I was a Pistons fan.

I feel like a Pistons fan again today. They suffered their 27th consecutive loss, setting a new league record. I too have been taking L after L in December 2023. Today I registered another consecutive positive Covid test, leading to my sixth straight day of cancelled plans. My injuries are making it hard to even sit and do a puzzle. I don't feel sick, but I'm not willing to drink a beer until I get at least one day past a negative test. This is Covid in 2023. I almost, but not quite, feel like I should actually go out and spread this variant because it is so mild. But I won't do that. I will be a good social citizen and hope that someone out there appreciates that they're having a good time this weekend because I made a nice decision. For me, it feels inevitable that I will spend my entire holidays stuck at home until the day I go back to work.

Vanessa, Nash and I walked to McDonalds tonight for a socially distanced soft serve. The machine was not out of order. Maybe that's a sign that things are improving.

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The Inevitable

The inevitable happened. Not getting Covid, but getting Covid with the precise worst timing such that many enjoyable social, fun activities would need to be avoided.

The summer solstices of 2023 had been going so well for me up until now. In June the day started with breakfast and a walk around the shores of a lake in the Swiss Alps. And then an evening of music and sunshine on the cobblestone streets of a little French town. Today started with a sunny stroll through Prospect, and ended with a socially distanced walk along the sand at the beach.

While missing Christmas due to Covid will suck, I take comfort that at least I am not suffering from anything more serious. Like scurvy, thousands of miles from home on a rotting timber ship in the eighteenth century. Although at least that might have come with more of a sense of adventure.

In Bocca al Lupo

I have been in a good mood these past two heatwave mornings in January 2023.

Yesterday I walked to the supermarket to buy pitas for pizzas, as well as cheap salad ingredients.

Right after the three gigantic cucumbers I'd selected were bagged at the checkout I felt a sneeze coming on. Even with the sneeze barrier and the checkout girl's facemask I did not feel comfortable sneezing in public in 2023. Every muscle in my face did its part to prevent my diaphragm from propelling. I don't know what expression this suppression left on my melon, but the guarded way she said "have a nice day" after I'd paid made me suspicious that my lips had curled in an mis-interpretable way.

This morning I walked to a different supermarket, a bit further away, to buy beans and corn. On my way I crossed path with a woman walking a pug. The tiny dog was adorned with plastic fairy wings. As I passed I was going to say, "good morning" and perhaps remark, "nice wings" - as I thought that no one would dress their dog like that without hoping for a compliment or comment. But perhaps there was something to my stride because as we drew nearer she stepped off the footpath and onto the road to avoid me. The pug didn't see this coming, nor consent, and the force on its lead sent the tiny creature skywards up and over the gutter - briefly airborne. And I understood then the intention for the wings.

I also may have fortunately prevented a potential cyber security incident this week, so overall a pretty good Friday.


Only a few cars in the line up for a PCR at Adelaide's primary COVID Testing site today.

The Basketball Dream

I had the basketball dream again this week. Somehow I doubt it will ever go away completely.

Today I had a scheduled meeting which would involve being introduced to at least six new people in a semi-formal situation. Perhaps because of the dream I decided to wear my basketball socks so that if any of them were to see me and immediately say: "Wow. Do you play basketball?" I could say "Yes, did you ask this because of my socks?" And then I could have hitched up my pant leg an inch and shown them the socks. I figured this would have been a good mood lifter and acceptable out of the structured confines of a Big Four.

Alas, despite travelling quite a distance to meet them at their office, five of the six of them were working from home and we conducted the meeting on Teams. This is 2022, continued. The one person who was in the room did not ask me if I played basketball.

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