Tipped

image 1891 from bradism.com

There are a lot of things to worry about when traveling to America. Did I pack everything? What will the exchange rate fall to? Can my body survive a whole day of economy class? Will TSA find any bad jokes on my social media accounts and send me off home on arrival? But my worst fear was tipping...

Tipping is a nightmare. You walk a fine line constantly between a social faux pas, or worse! Paying more than full price for something. But in my first twenty-four hours in the USA - despite the jetlag - I seemed to be getting tipping right. I tipped with credit card at a restaurant. I carried my own bag to my room. I tipped a friendly bartender. I didn't tip housekeeping because I left a Do Not Disturb sign up for a whole day. I didn't have to work out if I should tip the barber because I got my hair cut short before we left Australia.

At a quarter to eleven on my first night, when my body had just reached REM state for the first time in two days, I was jerked from sleep by a sound that my brain took a while to process: the fire alarm. Rushing to dress, we joined the rest of the hotel on the fire escape and gathered on the sidewalk (footpath) to wait for rescue. Fire trucks soon arrived and, thankfully, it was a false alarm. Though it was good for one thing. A succinct reminder of how close to danger we always are, and how trivial such concerns can be in the face of a real threat. One second you're warm and dreaming, the next firemen are running through the lobby with axes looking for smoke, and you're counting yourself lucky just to have your loved ones safe and the shirt on your back.

image 1892 from bradism.com

As the alarm finally silenced and the firemen filed out and back to their truck my fear finally receded. Until I realised, wait... I have no idea how much I'm supposed to tip them.


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The Precipice

image 1888 from bradism.com

We've been balancing a fine line the past months between living in the present, and planning our hiking holiday. Fortunately I don't need to learn any new languages to order beers this time.

Part of that balance involves the occasional practice hike to ensure equipment and processes are all good for the real thing. We've been up and down the Adelaide ranges testing shoes and learning lessons.

Lesson one: when taking a pre-walk selfie, find a background nicer than the toilet block.

Lesson one: when taking a pre-walk selfie, find a background nicer than the toilet block.

This weekend we did Lofty the long way, an 18km walk starting in Chamber's Gully. I don't think there will be many cafes with hot, fresh coffee on the summits of the mountains we're going to, but when we reach the top you can always rely on a view to make all the hard work worth it.

image 1890 from bradism.com

Bare Branches

It crossed my mind, this morning as I crossed a bridge, and a southerly wind whipped at my face, that Autumn is the most dramatic of seasons. Less than three months ago it was forty degrees, I could literally walk outside in shorts at any point of the day, and now I'm contemplating driving the long way home just to keep the heater pointing at my feet. I'll have to remember this for next Autumn's video...

image 1887 from bradism.com

Yesterday I had a craving for pasta, and all I really had to cook was a whole butternut pumpkin and a whole bunch of leftover pulled-pork. Well, it turned out pretty well after I turned it into a soup and dished it up on wholemeal spaghetti.

This morning marked the one week mark of having my new mouth-guard. It did turn out I opened my mouth too soon when I journal-jinxed my first major dental and not long after the temperatures dropped below the high-thirties the pain in my tooth returned. My endodontist's current theory is that nocturnal grinding is stopping the inflammation in the nerve from settling. Honestly, I don't believe that, but so strong is my desire to eat Weet Bix and berries with tiny seeds again that I was willing to pay $200 for a night-guard made custom for my mouth.
My dentist warned me that the first week would be challenging and that I might wake up to find the mouth-guard out of my mouth, under a pillow, or have trouble sleeping. I've had none of these problems, from the first night onward I've put it in, fallen asleep, and woken up with it in my mouth six and bit hours later. This is only reinforcing my theory that I am not a restless sleeper. I think it's also character revealing. I'm well trained at ignoring people and things that interfere with my personal space even if I don't want them there. One morning on the train a woman had the point of her high heel stuck into the toe of my shoe and I went twenty minutes without even clearing my throat.

In the USA they don't call it Autumn, they call it Fall. As in, I wonder how much further the Australian Dollar will fall before I start buying cereal and yogurt over there. At least it won't actually be Autumn in a couple of weeks, in both hemispheres, and at least I don't have to pay for major dental in US Dollars.

My Mind

Three major projects, on top of normal work, and family, and a dog, and eating healthy and keeping fit, and injury rehab, holiday planning and home maintenance, and I decided to write a trilogy.


Like my words? Want to buy one of my books? I think you'll like this one:

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

Chase: A Tomorrow Technologies Novella. Available Now for Less than a dollar!


Kept My Chin Up

image 1883 from bradism.com

A month ago my physio told me that I should remove pressing, pushing and lifting exercises from my gym routine, in addition to his previous ban on riding the stationary bike. This was on top of the bans on running and leg exercises that my hamstring doctor had already enforced.

During most of my previous gym comeback tours this probably would have been enough for me to suspend my direct-debit indefinitely and never return, but in 2019 I decided to stay strong and continue exercising anyway. I divided my workouts into pulling/upper-back exercises, core, and rehab. Instead of giving up, I decided I was going to focus on pulling up.

The last time I performed a pull up was in 2008, when I was 23 and had never had surgery. Since then I believed I would never pull up again. But in the last six months I have watched Vanessa's progress from someone who watches fitness documentaries on the couch, to someone who competes in novice CrossFit competitions. While parts of my body have betrayed me, that's nothing compared to the rigour and violence Vanessa has suffered through chronic endometriosis, a shattered shoulder, and countless other undeserved afflictions.

Vanessa was the one who inspired me on my own journey the last few months, and when I pulled my chin up over the bar on Saturday for the second time it was her I immediately messaged to share the news. (Because you haven't done something until you've done it twice.)

It takes strength to pull yourself over a bar from a dead hang, or snatch an olympic bar over your head, or get out of bed and go to work when your insides are in chaos and your head and body ache. Vanessa has that kind of strength, I see it everyday, and she gives it to me, and I try to give it to her. We give each-other power. Together, we are strong.

Markus

More money, more problems, is what Grammy nominated mathematician Kelly Price once sang on a Biggie hook.
If her theorem is accurate, and behaves according to accepted algebraic principles, that means problems minus money equals less problems.
And that is why I will spend all my money on chairs until I find one I can sit on, or I go bankrupt (also known as tendinopathy of the savings account).