The Longest Day of the Longest Year

I've been rather social since my last update, tripled-down pandemic considered.

Last month was a good time to buy a new mask.

I spent two hours tonight floating in a pool. That was good. If the number of friends I have with pools is an inverse parabola function of age then I hope I am now on the upswing.

I've walked on the sand a lot too.

I discovered an amazing toilet at my latest office.

I ate some ribs.

I wore the shirt from my LinkedIn photo to work for the first time ever.

I haven't exercised for about a month and my body feels as good as it has in years.

I've seen family.

I've eaten some raspberries.

I built some APIs and made some diagrams, and drank some coffee.

I'm using my fingernails to try and keep the days from blurring together.

The sunset tonight was amazing.


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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 Catch

There are way more than five senses, and lately I’ve discovered a new one that a sheltered life in Australia has withheld from me up until now. It’s related to the current coronavirus strain which is infecting people everywhere, and I wanted to write about it as part of the running gag I’ve got going about being a modern day British Mass Observation diarist, whose wartime purpose I have already bastardised twice to justify talking about myself in the context of a global pandemic.

Every time I leave the house I have a sense that I might be locked up just for going about my day. Maybe it will be a stop for petrol at the wrong service station, or a pint at the wrong brewery, or a seat on the wrong tram. A QR code, or a credit card transaction, or a partial facial recognition might be all that's needed for a computer to place me at the same location as a specific spike protein and I will receive a text message and either be stuck at home for fourteen days, or worse, imprisoned in a hotel room with no mantel while my cherry tomatoes are left behind to the elements.

There are reasons that can be rationalised for this way of life, which affects everyone, not just those who have a journal. I won’t comment on the logic because I didn’t really like being in charge of a team of six people, let alone making decisions about a state of more than a million during a pandemic, so I don’t judge as much as I experience.

The threat of being forced into isolation at any time creates unpleasant behaviour patterns. Every time I consider going into a shop or restaurant I have to weigh up the risk of that venue later being a hot spot. And if I’m with Vanessa, is it strategically better for only one of us to go inside instead of both? Is checking in an overall net negative or net positive action? Did my dog ever sign the social contract? It’s impossible not to think about these things. It’s only been a couple of weeks like this; always fighting the urge to open the internet to see if new exposure sites have been added. Is staying at home indefinitely to avoid being stuck at home for a fortnight even any better? (Yes, if I’m not required to isolate, I can still walk on the sand at the beach and ride my bike around the place).

For those reading this expect the customary pun or meaningful conclusion, I don’t have one. I just wanted to capture these feelings for what I hope is their uniqueness, and reflect on them one day in the future when it’s easy to make plans and get a coffee without feeling the way I feel now.

Power Blend Smoothie Ice (Auto Pulse)

Today was the last time I used my Breville Professional 800 Blender. This is a product I have used on average daily since October 2010, and which has been squealing and disintegrating way past its retirement date due to my inability to find a replacement blender that also has a two litre jug and is on special.

Finally, after a year on my to-do list, I bought a Vitamix Explorian E320 to replace it. I had to pay for a Costco membership to be able to purchase it, and after visiting Costco and seeing the contents of the average person’s trolley there I understand why it was only at Costco that I could find a blender with a gigantic jug.

The Vitamix, based on how much it cost, better give me a lot of good breakfast smoothies. But that may be an entry for another decade. Today was about saying goodbye to the Breville. That Breville has seen some shit, and I wanted to make sure it knew I appreciated it. I’ve been putting two full trays of ice cubes in it each morning and Vanessa sometimes adds more than that later on the same day. It’s made cherry ripe smoothies at Christmas time, raspberry and orange juice smoothies on tropical Engadine evenings. I perfected the recipe for the homemade smoothycino in it. It’s made smoothies with no milk or yogurt when I was a vegan in 2017. Banana and honey smoothies with Bundy on Australia Day, 2015. Smoothies with no protein during some of my many years of not lifting weights. Smoothies with no ice because for some reason I occasionally made bad smoothies. I made smoothies with Weet Bix in them. Smoothies with Reese's Pieces in them. Chocolate Banana smoothies after basketball games. Once I even blended some spinach and spices together to make a sauce for a chicken saagwala. Smoothies with mango and pineapple and cocoa and watermelon and cinnamon and blueberries and maple syrup and passionfruit and grapes and peanut butter and rockmelon and strawberries and so many flavours of protein powder and sometimes creatine and oats soaked in water and the yoghurts. So many yoghurts.

Which of these, or the many, many other smoothie recipes of the past eleven years befitted the bravura that would put the Breville behind me? Multiple states, multiple jobs, houses, a marriage and a dog all powered by what those blades had made.

All of them, I decided. The ultimate smoothie. Today I was going to make a breakfast that was a combination of all the smoothies that had made me the man I was since 2010.

Today was the blend of an era.


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Bulk Billed

This morning I took another pleasant ride to the sports hospital and locked my bike up at the now extremely familiar bicycle parking.

After yet another nap inside an MRI yesterday I was to learn what was happening in my shoulder. I was expecting bad news: failure of the labrum anchor from May, another surgery, no explanation for my shitty tissue.

Instead, my surgeon shared his surprise that the labrum repair was intact and unremarkable. My AC Joint, however, was extremely inflamed. Instead of surgery he wanted to try a cortisone injection to confirm the location of the problem, and give me another month of structural integrity limbo.

I suppose this is relatively good news, although a microscopic part of me was disappointed that I couldn't write today's journal entry about the torn labrum omicron variant.

I had been beginning to feel queasy that every year was going to follow a pattern of coronavirus mutation, shoulder injury, significant lifestyle changes.

I'm trying to suppress the memories of the last time I got a cortisone injection into a chronic injury hotspot in the weeks before Christmas.

Then I cycled home.

Pinched Off

The backyard...

image 2291 from bradism.com

It was only after the tomato plants grew over my head that I realised I had an indeterminate variety. I'd been feeding them Seasol and keeping them trussed and partly shaded and hydrated and protected by a layer of pea straw. These were some healthy, in-tune with nature tomatoes. Too healthy, it seems. Doing everything right had backfired. Long limbs are a source of weakness in plants. They need a strong trunk to be balanced. The best method? Pinch them off at the top. Only once the plant stops growing up will it dedicate its energy to the existing structure to thrive and produce healthier, heftier fruit. It's a little bit of pain for a lot of potential. Don't overthink it. Just find the top shoots, squeeze between your finger and thumb and squeeze. Don't worry if you get one wrong. The frost will kill them come winter regardless.

Two Decades Documented

Twenty years ago today I began my habit of writing my thoughts on the internet on a daily basis. Not all of it is online still, because today is not the twentieth anniversary of filtering my thoughts before I put them on the internet.

I like to think that having a journal to record life in makes me do things that I otherwise wouldn't have done, like quitting my job, overseas holidays, eating every flavour of Uncle Toby's Plus in a single bowl, and planting coriander in a giant wok.

Years before people started "Doing it for the 'gram" I was doing it for the 'ism.

In 2011, on the ten year anniversary of starting to recording my life online, I reflected on the meaning of journaling and I shared some quotes from the previous decade that provided insights to my growth as a person and how journaling had influenced my development. The following ten years have been even more significant. I became a husband, writer, dog owner, home owner, and an IT professional. I didn't really journal about any of those things. When I bought a house, got Nash, and changed jobs in the same month I posted a single entry in three months.

For my 20 year anniversary I'm going to point out some of the great puns from the past 10 years that you probably missed.

Round
Iron
Finances
Upstairs Bathroom
Four
Too many to count...