Autumn in Canberra

After enjoying Adelaide's unseasonably warm April, we finished the month by flying into Canberra on the uplift of a high pressure cell that was trapping cold, wet air over Australia's capital. This was tolerable for the sake of spending time with family and not working for a Monday.

Saturday began with a trip to the Fyshwick Markets, some rounds of Chameleon, a walk around the ovals with the kids, then a nap. After a Parma (not Parmi, infidels) and a pint (I'll forgive that one) Steve, Jess and I enjoyed a selection of local beers bought from Plonk that morning.

I also got my revenge and beat Steve at Acquire.

Sunday was even more rainy, though we did get a decent walk in along the flank of Mount Pleasant and then back along the lake.

In the afternoon there was an attempt to play Fortnite using a PS5 controller (0 points for both) and then some nachos for dinner and two rounds of Taboo. (The squeaker really makes that game).

Monday was even colder, but at least less rainy. Vanessa and I completed an eleven kilometre loop of our nation's adolescent Arboretum, then ate lunch overlooking it. A quick loop up Black Mountain (more of a hill) managed to get our daily steps for the trip back in line with our daily average. After that and a shower there was enough time for a few rounds of sardines with the kids before our flight back, via the Virgin Lounge for a complementary visit where I drank three beers and ate four pies.

A pretty packed weekend, I regret we couldn't squeeze in the National Rock Garden.

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If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?


The massive Colosseum was built in Rome in the first century AD and for hundreds of years was packed out for Senators and Civilians alike to witness glorious, zero-sum combat between man and man, man and beast, man and chariot, man and boat.

Two thousand years later it is still standing, and unfortunately there are now up to eight billion humans all clamouring to get a ticket to a modern wonder of the world, mostly so they can be on-sold for a massive profit to those who only have one day of their life in Rome to visit it.

The Colosseum website tries to manage this by selling tickets in small batches released 30 days to the minute before the tickets can be used. So tickets for 9am Saturday the 3rd of June go on sale at 9am Thursday the 4th of June. Tickets for 9:15am go on sale at 9:15am.

This does not really curb the demand, it just drags out the pain of trying to buy tickets only for them to disappear before you complete the Captcha every time in five minute intervals. Today was my day to face the gauntlet. I was ready when the portcullis lifted and the tickets started to fly. Available bookings flashed in front of me, and disappeared just as fast. Refreshing was like running blind in circles, hoping to see another available timeslot, swinging as soon as it appeared, being pushed back to calendar page again.

Finally, after three hours (and a little bit of tweaking using developer tools) I managed to skewer two tickets on the tip of my spear. I got through the checkout and now I have my prenotazione. And today I joined the gladiators of ancient Rome who have emerged weary, yet with glory, after a battle beneath the gaze of the Colosseum's stands.

Future Brad, I Owe You a Beer

Future Brad, if you are reading this and you haven't had your future beer yet, go and get one now and drink it. I don't care if it's eight in the morning. Why are you reading random entries at 8am anyway? Are you retired? Sounds great! Definitely drink that beer!

I can't drink beer this weekend. I spent time around children last weekend, and for that I got sick. Despite being sick I spent a few hours on Saturday trying to disassemble the ergonomic chair I spent $800 on because it was designed for people 180-210cm. (Spoiler Alert: It was designed for people who are 180-190cm.)

This chair was advertised as a risk free online purchase because you could return within 21 days if it didn't fit. The return policy also stipulated that the chair must be fully repackaged in the box it came in for this to work. Everything was going smoothly until it came to extracting the gas-lift from the seat-base and the wheelbase. YouTube was helpful in giving me tutorials that made it look easy, followed by comments that someone needed a tractor to extract theirs. Well, highly motivated, it took me an hour, some WD40, a pot mitt and a lot of mallet work to get it free from the base. That was the first beer. Another hour getting it all back into the box so it closed again was the second beer, with a couple of peanuts or something for also compressing the gas-lift to fit in the box using a dumbbell and my shit wrists.

Vanessa got the gas-lift out of the wheel base for me so Vanessa if you're reading this, go have a Rose Cider.

If that wasn't enough, today we mowed the lawn and mulched all the leaves around the house. So that's another beer I owe me.

After the gardening I tried to finally end the weekend by having a hot shower and shaving my beard of sickness away, but on my way out of the shower the rolling door fell off and I had to fix that after drying myself as well.

So, future Brad go get a second beer.

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In less than three weeks I will be in Italy. Even the weather this past week is acting like its summer again in a fortnight. That's perfect as I had a lot of hummus to get through before I go away.

Embracing Defeat

The history of Japan after World war two, as described here in John W Dower's Embracing Defeat, reads as a microcosm of human behaviour. War. Money. Fucking while starving. Propaganda photos. Steering committees and subcommittees. Using peoples' culture against them (plans to preserve and repurpose emperor). Cultural appropriating (both ways). Inventing "Joe Nip" and enjoying traditional duck hunting in the same breath. Ego. Hypocrisy. Drafting new constitutions in the restroom. Communism and black markets. Short memories. Ideals of peace sacrificed less than a decade later for more war. No clear line on when the past ended and the future began. No clear narrative or direction, just millions of humans doing what they think is best.

Emperor Hirohito, the same monarch who had led Japan into the war, penned a poem to commemorate the last day of post-defeat Occupation in 1952.

The winds soften, winter recedes
Long awaited
Spring has come
With its double-blossomed cherries

I found this irony particularly palpable. The allegory of a changing season underlying an even more appropriate metaphor for the cyclical nature of life itself, stretching both ways into perpetuity. And the tendency for humans to talk about the weather, also into perpetuity.

I'm Over Winter and it's Still Autumn

Some photos from recently, cropped at 5x4.

Keeping My Fluids Up

It was pretty chilly this morning, I had a smoothie. By midmorning it had warmed up and I had some sweet potato and lentil soup before a long series of meetings. I managed to finish the hummus in my last salad of autumn before more meetings. I completed the workday with two diagrams which earned me two beers at dad's tonight with dinner.

Despite perfectly executing my beverages and timing of 1kg hummus consumption before my upcoming holiday, I am also taking a view this week that I should ensure my expectations are not too high before I take off. Life is a bit cruel, and I don't want to feel the pressures that the month of June needs to make up for the first five months of 2023, nor what comes after. After so much holiday planning since Boxing Day, my horizon is now revealing life after Europe 2023. I will reserve some joys for that time too. I will have a lot more free time then when I can cease planning travel and forget Italian.

Autumn 23 - A Playlist

Autumn 2023 started with good intentions and good weather, and like the leaves on the mulberry in my backyard things went nowhere. Just hung around as the skies got greyer. I tried to distract myself with history books, NBA, programming and working more than I should have. Some of it was enjoyable. I do not feel as if I like myself more as a human being since summer ended. I did enjoy some music though, to see me through the positive times and the gloomy ones.

Anyway, the obvious solution must be to go and have another summer.