I did Zero Chin-Ups Today

This time, a decade ago, I was in the final days of my six week weight-lifting and eating experiment I called BULKTEMBER. The fact that I’m writing this at my standing desk, wearing my sacroiliac belt, and twenty-kilograms below my old goal weight tells me something has gone horribly wrong since then. But, if I’m going to dwell on the events of the past ten years of my life, there’s one thing worth focusing on - breakfast.

On October 3rd, 2007 i documented the preparation of my daily breakfast smoothie. And of all the things the universe has taken from me since that day, fruit smoothies ain’t one of them (you tried, Cyclone Yasi, and Hepatitis A Infected Berry Pickers).

My Bulktember documentation gives me an amazing opportunity to see how I’ve changed as a person over ten years. As least when it comes to my smoothies. Some of the changes are related to my lack of current bulking, many others are the influence of Vanessa, who has bulked my heart since 2008.

image 1647 from bradism.com

I still make berry and peanut butter smoothies regularly, but today I thought I’d share my current version of the tropical smoothie, which has been tasting better and better in these first warm spring days.


20072017
6 Ice Cubes15 Ice Cubes
50g Frozen Fruit (mixed berries)500g Frozen Fruit (frozen mango, banana, pineapple ring)
3.5 Weet Bix50g Soaked Oats
200ml Skim Milk0ml Skim Milk
150g No Fat, Low Sugar Yogurt300g No Fat, Low Sugar Yogurt
30g WPI Protein SupplementNo protein
1tsp Natural Peanut Butter1tbsp desiccated coconut

First we can see a 250% increase in ice cubes. Ice cubes are calorie negative, and this basically extra breakfast for nothing. Vanessa taught me this one, she has a PHD in Physics.

Next we can see the amount of fruit has gone up… A lot. Like, an incredible amount. Like, having re-read a few of the Bulktember entries, I’m pretty sure I was just guessing some of these measurements, and surely I was using more than 50g of berries. But given how much of a tight-arse I was back then, maybe not. Anyway, fruit is good. Read Men’s Health, I’m sure there’s an advertisement pretending to be an article that talks about it.

Three and a half Weet Bix? I don’t remember this. Obviously I needed to eat more than 50g of berries back then, maybe then I wouldn’t have these memory issues. A bit of reasoning tells me at some point I switched from Weet Bix to ice cubes.
Up until this year I did continue to add a single Bix to my smoothies. That was until I tried being a vegan for a few weeks. Weet Bix are vegan, but wet oats help blending non-dairy smoothies a lot more easily than dry Weet Bix. Will I go back to Weet Bix again? Maybe. Come back in 2027.

Milk. I used to use a bunch of it, now I don’t use any. Why? Because I’m a vegan, who eats yogurt and meat and stuff. Every morning is like a running joke about how amusing I found veganism. Still, I guess there's now 1.4 litres less milk that gets drained from some poor cow between atmosphere-destroying farts, and giving some dairy farmer the false hope that they’re not in an unprofitable, dying industry.

Yogurt. I think I’ve covered this enough before, I really like yogurt. (Note to self, add ‘Yogurt’ as tag to future tags feature).

Protein. I get enough protein from vegetables, legumes, oats. And yogurt. And meat. Plus it’s expensive. Who needs protein powder. Right? Or Up and Go Energise, and Tribulus Terrestris and tight-fitting long-sleeve knits. It’s all just the invisible lead up to vanity above a vanity. Focus on more noble pursuits. I mean, why--

image 1648 from bradism.com

Coconut makes it taste tropical and gives it a bit of texture to help replicate that old Weet Bix taste. If it was a berry smoothie I’d use peanut butter again. I no longer feel the need to substitute skipped peanut butter with extra protein powder.

There’s no secret to mixing this thing, other than to defrost the frozen mango if possible/it’s winter. Also I stand by my 2009 Blender choice. It can, and often does, handle twice the number of ice cubes. It doesn’t have a “liquefy” button, but it has one that says “Smoothie” which does the job.

I no longer slam my breakfast smoothie down out of the jug. Instead I sip it through a straw. I think straws can make things taste different, maybe it delivers smoothie to different parts of the tongue first. Someone at Men’s Health should write an article about it to sell some brand of straw or something.

I also drink my smoothie’s with the help of my happy every day monkey cup holder, another of Vanessa’s influences on my smoothie process.

image 1649 from bradism.com

This concludes an eight-hundred word summary of my breakfast smoothie. What a bulky entry.


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Yolks on Me

There’s a controversial documentary that, among other contentious suggestions, remarks that an egg contains the nutrients to sustain a growing baby chicken for twenty-one days. And we “eat four of them for breakfast”.
It was at that point this documentary lost its credibility with me. If I want to eat 126 days worth of chicken-forming nutrients in a sitting then I goddamn will, and I won’t feel guilty or sick about it. I’m two metres tall, big brained, warm blooded, and at the top of the food chain. Also, the only thing more diminutive than my size in contrast to the expanse of the known universe is the minute fraction of its lifetime in which I will exist. I should be allowed to eat half a dozen toad in the holes.

I now feel slightly sick about it, but not guilty.

Overcoming

I was proud of myself today. I had no lunch, and I was faced with either choosing something from one of Adelaide's many vendors, or eating delicious cereal for lunch (hours after eating delicious cereal for breakfast). Normally I do the latter, because of my previously mentioned Analysis Paralysis.

Today I did a lap of a food-court and then gave up. I left, but stopped and reasoned with myself. I worried that I could be feeding a condition where I couldn't make decisions. If it continued to grow I might one day starve to death.

So I marched myself back into the food-court and up to a Thai food stall. I ordered a regular serve of satay chicken with noodles. It was very bad.

Glass Half Empty

I haven't touched any alcohol for almost a week now. I didn't plan that. I thought the end of work-Christmas-summer period would see me with a beer almost daily. Especially with 40 degree days, long sunsets and family gatherings. The week before holidays I even stocked up on booze thanks to an amazing Specials + AMEX Cashbacks + Flybuys Rewards + reusing online voucher for multiple purposes + Reduced to Clear stickers to pick up a case of half-litre Weihenstephan Hefe (cheaper than a flight to Munich) plus a carton of Squires Hop Thief, a Knappstein IPA four pack, a new variety of Fat Yak six pack and fresh bottles of Bacardi, Vodka and Gin. Add that to my existing random beer collection, the last few Hoegaardens from my 32nd, the (two kinds of) spiced rums I've got in the pantry, the Hennessy from my 31st, the single Sly Fox I've been saving for the start of Summer since April, the diet ginger ale that I bought (the best way to drink 12 year old whiskey) plus the Champagne, Aperol, Kahlua from 2013's Duty Free shopping... This is beginning to sound like a thrown away draft for a cheesy EDM rap verse.

Every day from lunchtime onward I think I should have or make a drink. Something always stops me. Maybe it's too hot, or I'm full of food, or I still need to go to the gym. The day moves on without me and then it's too late to have a drink and then I wake up and the cycle repeats.

It got to Boxing Day and I thought, maybe, I've reached this subconscious contentedness that belies the feelings of thirst and relaxation. Maybe I'm mentally unclenched, ascended, and found a new level of human existence where I'm buzzed on life itself.

Then I realised, when having yet another internal debate about opening a beer or making a gin and tonic, what was keeping me away from the liquor was not any state of higher feelings, but the exact same thing which fucks me whenever I run out of bulk lunch meals on work days and I have to pick a restaurant/food court/food truck from the thousands in the city. The days that I end up eating Weet Bix at my desk for lunch. Analysis Paralysis. I've accumulated so much booze that I am now unable to pick which one to drink first. It's the INTJ 1 Step Program.


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Cranberries

Life is about learning and the journal continues to store many of my past lessons, explicitly or sometimes in parables.

Last week I accidentally picked up a packet of frozen cranberries when I really meant to buy frozen cherries. I didn't even realise until after I opened the packet. I couldn't return them, so I vowed I would use them for something. I've almost got a degree in eating fruit and cereal by now. I figured if grapes can work for breakfast (which they do quite well), then cranberries could be equally as viable.

Before mixing cranberries through my yogurt and muesli I checked the back of the packet for recipe suggestions. Some kind of milkshake or smoothie idea would give me confidence to add them to my breakfast. What I saw was instructions for a grilled salmon garnish. I was not inspired. I taste-tested one of the defrosted berries and consumed about ten percent of it, before spitting the rest in the sink.

What the hell cranberries? Why do you taste so bad? You might be full of vitamins and sustenance, but it's 2016. Part of me wants them renamed to something that doesn't contain the word "berries", but this is naive. Really this experience has reminded me of the hardships that my hunter-gatherer ancestors must have endured. They must have spent weeks combing the forest for berries that didn't taste like shit. Finding muesli and yogurt in the forest must have also been tough.

Fortunately I had a ripe banana within easy reach, so I didn't stay grumpy for long.

Tuesday 27th September

6:50 I wake up when I hear the front door open and Vanessa returns home from her walk. I aim to get out of bed before the puppy runs upstairs and jumps on bed.
6:52 The puppy jumps on bed, waking me up again. I pat the puppy. I pat Vanessa.
6:55 Shower
7:15 I prepare breakfast. I cut up a bunch of strawberries. Strawberries are cheap and I eat a whole punnet. I eat them with cereal and milk. The Vanilla Yogurt shortage of 2016 has entered its third day.
7:30 I carry breakfast to the study, hoping to work on some writing for 30 minutes before work. I can't decide if I should work on Shady Slopes or Law & Odour. Windows Update has other ideas, and I watch for 20 minutes as it installs patches.
8:00 I decide to wear pants today, and not jeans. Perhaps because my shirt has blue colours in it, and it looks like a non-jumper day. I change. I put my jumper in my bag instead of wearing it.
8:15 I walk the two kilometres to the train station. I listen to the end of the new Grouplove, album, then I switch to Northeast Party House. It's Sunny, but chilly. At first I'm cold. After a few hundred metres I warm up. I feel vindicated about not wearing a jumper. A bird tries to swoop me.
8:38 I board the train. I read more of Dead Wake, which is fascinating.
8:55 I arrive at the office. I check my emails. I stretch my hamstring and my forearm.
9:30 I go outside and meet Jason for coffee. We only get coffee when we have a two-for-one shopadocket. I wonder if the coffee shop owner likes or hates us for only buying coffees with a voucher.
10:00 Back in the office I perform two code deployments.
10:30 I stretch my hamstring again. I drink some water. I listen to Krafty Kuts on PyroRadio.
11:00 I stretch my forearm. I eat an apple and nuts. I perform another code release.
12:15 During my lunchbreak I walk along the Torrens. At one point I see nine Cormorants all on the same log, floating in the river. They all have their wings spread. I leave the path to take a photo, but the birds hear me coming and they fly away.
12:45 I go to Coles on the way back to the office. The yogurt drought is over! I buy 2 tubs. There's a new two-for-one coffee voucher on my docket!
13:00 Another deployment is performed. I do some forearm stretching.
13:15 I put my lunch in the microwave for twelve minutes on medium.I do a hamstring stretch.
13:30 I eat lunch and try and find a nice bushwalk that you can bring dogs to.
14:00 Another code release.
14:30 I have a teleconference with the account manager of a DevOps Tool vendor. The call is regarding our upcoming licensing renewal. I know he mainly calls me because he knows we have thousands of servers. But I only manage thirty. I request a quote for thirty servers.
15:30 I drink another coffee. I do more forearm stretches. The afternoon stretches on without much excitement. At some point I eat a tin of tuna.
17:02 I leave the office and catch the train to the gym. I ride an exercise bike for fifteen minutes. I super-set hamstring rehab exercises with forearm rehab exercises, then hip rehab exercises with shoulder rehab exercises.
18:25 Walk home from the gym. The nights is calm. I listen to the new album by GRiZ.
19:00 Chop up a whole bunch of vegetables and a chicken breast and make some noodles in the wok. Vanessa leaves for the gym. Watch The Night Of. The dog watches too, but from the ground as her butt is wet.
21:00 Write up a log of the day's events for the journal. Try and think of a good ending for it.
23:45 Hamstring, hip and forearm stretches, then bed.

Holidays Suck

I'm sitting here in Adelaide. I've finished blowing the last of the black junk from the Piccadilly Line out of my nose, after flying for so long that I watched all of Fargo Season 2 on a tiny screen attached to a chair reclined to within inches of my face. If it's not clear, I've realised, European Summer Holidays suck. Of course, I'll list why:


  • It's sunny from before 5am until almost 10am. This makes it really difficult to take amazing photos without staying out quite late. The lighting during the middle of the day is too harsh. Super annoying. And I missed every sunrise for a month.
  • Deciding what to do each day is mentally draining. Museum? Park? Castle? Shopping? Hiking? Pub? How you'll end up wishing for the surprise-free routine of office and supermarket.
  • You can't buy Weet Bix anywhere.
  • Every time you visit a website you have to accept cookies. Sometimes also at hotels.
  • Only having one place in the room to charge your phone is a pain.
  • When you post something to social media you have to wait hours for your friends and family to wake up and like it.
  • There are tourists everywhere.
  • No matter how much fun you're having, there's a constant, nagging feeling that you'll have to go back home soon and return to reality.

Easy Beer Bread Pizza Bases

image 1554 from bradism.com


I was searching the internet today for a recipe for apple-cinnamon hot cross buns and I viewed enough cooking blogs to be reminded of the hatred I have for recipe posts that start with a gigantic boring story.

I mean, honestly, who cares if someone's garden was having a bumper crop of butternut pumpkins at the time of writing. Or if they had bought ten kilograms of frozen basa fillets because they were trying to reach a spending goal at a supermarket in order to earn bonus shopper points. The catalyst for someone else wanting to use the recipe will not likely be the same. Just get to the point!

Today I decided to fix the leaky shower head in the ensuite, which required me to replace a washer and to lube up a spindle. First I had to shut off the water, which required me to find exactly where the water shutoff valve was for my house. There was a redback spider on it, under a thick spider web holding a few clutches of redback spider eggs. I doused the whole spot with bug spray and returned with a stick to wipe everything up. The valve tap was so slick with bug spray after that I needed an allen key just to turn it.

Once I was done replacing the washer on the cold tap I turned the water back on. The shower head still dripped. I shut the water off again, disassembled and reassembled the tap, still it was leaky. I decided to replace the hot water tap washer as well. After that the dripping had stopped. Success! I had earned a beer, and I'd managed to handyman something without even needing to drive to Big Box Hardware.

Unfortunately it was barely after lunchtime and I couldn't start drinking yet. So, I made a coffee and sipped it on the toilet while playing Scramble with Friends.

Easy Beer Bread Pizza Base
__Ingredients__
4 cups Wholemeal Self Raising flour
1.75 cups warm Coopers Pale Ale
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
0 Weet Bix

Optional
1 tbsp garlic
Dried Herbs

__Method__
Mix ingredients into dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. Cover and leave somewhere out of the wind for an hour to rise. Maybe go for a walk on the beach while you wait.

After rising, punch down and roll out to make 2 pizzas bases. Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celcius.

Garnish bases as desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes.