2020

When I submit this entry it will be the 2020th one I’ve posted on bradism.com. Unless I am hit by a (let’s face it, extremely debilitating) case of writer’s block for the next two months it will also likely be the only time in my life the entry number and year are a snap.

In olden times I liked to use milestone entries to reflect on where I was a mile earlier, but given that the universe is treating 2020 as a chance to mix it up I figured I would use my 2020th entry as a snapshot of life in 2020 for me, Brad.

It’ll be something we can all look back on in the coming years and decades to remember what my specific life was like.

Starting with the most important thing...

image 2128 from bradism.com

This is my Fridge in 2020. I’ve had this fridge for about five years after I got taken by a commercial saying it used different coloured LEDs to keep fruit and vegetables fresher, longer. (Note - actually seems to work). Here it is in our kitchen. Featured magnets are mainly of Nash and calendars from the vet which Vanessa wants to keep for some reason.

There’s also a photo of me, my brother and my Dad on the day we carried this fridge up two flights of stairs in my old house. I got that photo turned into a magnet for all of us. A “fridge fridge magnet” if you will. I could turn this photo into a magnet and that would be a “fridge fridge magnet fridge magnet.” Well, that’s Christmas sorted.

image 2129 from bradism.com

I’ve only taken a couple of photos of the inside of my fridge over the years, and in hindsight it’s something I wish I’d done more because it’s fascinating to reminisce and reflect on how your diet changes over time.

Well, if you’re the kind of person with 6% of 2019 entries that are tagged “Breakfast” you will find this fascinating.

The 2020 fridge census is extremely Vanessa & Bradism. Bulk meals, including one pre-bagged for transportation to work to minimise backpack leaks. Low fat, low sugar yogurt (for breakfasts). A kilogram of hummus. A shitload of protein bars. And some very fresh looking fruits and vegetables.

Okay, this was really the most important thing...

image 2130 from bradism.com

My 2020 couch. It has motorised recliners and headrests. And that's Nash, looking particularly unstressed by the events of this year.

Fun fact: this photo completely confused Lightroom's new auto-geometry feature.

image 2131 from bradism.com

This is Vanessa in 2020, with a giant coffee. Yes, that is a protein bar she’s eating.

image 2132 from bradism.com

This is my house in 2020. The roses are in bloom right now. I don't want to add anything else incase I dox myself.

image 2133 from bradism.com

This is my car in 2020. It’s a comfortable drive, with nice quality of life features, and it was relatively affordable.

It’s a very Brad car: bigger than average, but does its best to blend in. Here it is at the lookout above the Barossa Sculpture Park on a crisp winter morning in 2020.

image 2134 from bradism.com

This is the backyard in spring 2020. The mulberry tree is fruiting and somewhere in there the slugs are eating the strawberries before Nash can get to them.

I recently paid for the water feature to get fixed and that bubbles all day which is very pleasant.

image 2135 from bradism.com

My bike and my backpack, 2020. These are ranked number 1 and 2 on the list of “my things most likely to topple over after I put them down”. This picture illustrates the only way to guarantee they'll both stay upright - lean them into each other, like when you tape a buttered piece of toast to the back of a cat.

image 2136 from bradism.com

My office view, 2020. Also featuring my office view from 2014. On my desk is my coffee cup from 2019, and my coffee cup from 2006.

If you take a step back from where this picture was taken you’ll crunch a very, very mouldy almond.

image 2137 from bradism.com

My home office view, which I spent an unexpected amount of time at in 2020. It’s kind of crazy how I sit in the same seat during the day making “important business decisions” involving people's time and an organisation's money, and then at night get beaten by teenagers at Age of Empires II or write journal entries like this one.

Lots of classic callbacks here on the 2020 desk, including my HD 515s, Uniball 207s and my 2019 coffee cup from above photo.


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When Life Gives You Lemons

They sell lemons at the supermarket for about a dollar each, and sometimes three for two dollars.
I bought a house earlier this year which cost a lot more than a dollar, and it came with a lemon tree that has produced a shitload of lemons. And based on my year 10 understandings of botany it will do this every year? Which means...

Sadly, a shitload of lemons are only better than a handful of lemons for the purposes of: being given to your friends; improving your relationship with your neighbours; and leaving in a bag on the kitchen counter in the office with a post-it saying “Help Yourself :)”

A lemon tree overhanging a fence.

And this isn't even my lemon tree, they're the bonus lemons from my neighbour leaning over the fence to introduce themselves.


And there has been a pandemic this whole citrus season. I’ve left lemons on the kitchen counter while working from home several times but rarely have they disappeared or transmogrified into a three-quarter-eaten cake that I exercise my willpower to ignore while eating almonds

And then, back in April, two people in head-to-toe orange hazmat suits told me that there’s also a fruit fly pandemic in my suburb. The government advised I couldn’t even distribute lemons to my friends who lived more than a fruit fly’s flying distance away. Like me, the lemons needed to #JustStayHome.

Life had given me - metaphorically and literally - lemons. And obviously nothing could prepare you for a situation like this. So I asked the internet what to do, and it came up with some - actually, quite a lot of - suggestions which I’ve been roadtesting recently, and will now share for the benefit of all my readers.

An assortment of lemons on the official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People

An assortment of lemons on the official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People


It turns out lemons are good for a lot of things beyond eating raw like a juicy, slightly pointy mandarin, or adding to gin. You can turn milk into buttermilk, create fire-starters with rind, write invisible messages. But the main uses of lemons that I’ve ascertained from multiple articles are in the domain of cleaning and insect control. In fact, after reading about all the different chemicals, de-scalers and deodorizers that can be replaced with lemon juice I have had to ask myself, truly, are lemons even safe to eat?

Cleaning the Microwave

The first trick I tried was to “clean my microwave without any scrubbing.” This was, incidentally, the same method I’d been using to clean my microwave since I bought it in 2008. But this time it was intentional.
The method is to slice up a lemon, place the slices into a bowl of water, and microwave the lemon water on high for ten minutes. The diluted juice-steam will cover all the interior surfaces of the microwave, allowing built up stains and oils to easily be wiped away with a cloth or paper towel.
And that’s what I did. And there was indeed sour-smelling condensation on the walls and roof of my microwave. After wiping them off the microwave was clean of all that built up lemon smell and lemon rind.
Sadly I do not have a second microwave to use for a control group, but I’m not convinced I couldn't have achieved the same result by steaming a bowl of plain water for the same amount of time.

Cleaning the Kitchen Sink

I turned my eye to the kitchen sink, where I could experiment at least by cleaning half the stainless steel with a lemon and the other half with just a sponge.
A dirty portion of a kitchen sink.

Before cleaning with lemon.


Obviously I prepared the sink in advance to be dirty so I could test out the efficacy of the lemon.
I cut the lemon in half, used the juicy part like a sponge and the rindy part like a scourer, and cleaned the cleaning rack part of the sink.
Compared to just a sponge, it resulted in shinier metal.
A clean portion of a kitchen sink.

After cleaning with lemon.


This might be a life hack?

Cleaning a Frying Pan

I’ve had this Circulon Frying Pan since 2009, and while I definitely wash it after every use it’s safe to say there is a fair layer of seasoning between what gets cooked these days and what came out of the factory.

I took the same approach on the corrugated surface of the pan as I did with the sink.

A slightly-stained frying pan.

I’m not sure if this is a before or after pic, which should tell you everything you need to know about the results.

Probably for the best, as I’m pretty sure that the echoes of a decade of stir fries, chilis and Moroccan lambs only adds to flavour of the things I cook today.
I’m considering making a lemon chicken tomorrow.

Clean a Cutting Board

I cut myself a fresh lemon on our little cutting board, then decided I would see if the lemon-sponge approach would work here too.
Lemons are apparently good for cleaning a wooden cutting board, but I didn’t have a dirty one of those.
After a bit of elbow-work on one side, I rubbed both sides down with an Oates scourer.
a small cutting board cleaned by a lemon half.
A small cutting board cleaned by a sponge alone. It's slightly less clean than the lemon side.

The lemon side did have the built up stains stripped a bit more effectively.
Ultimately I think you could clean the entire stain off a cutting board with lemons, but you’d need a shitload of them.

Inspire Journal Entries

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I Know What I Did Last Summer

It’s cold in Adelaide. And Dark. On the weekend Vanessa and I huddled together and watched I Know What You Did Last Summer, which reminded me of last Fourth of July, and the week leading up to it which I spent in Oregon hiking and drinking IPAs. It also reminded me that I never posted the collection of beer reviews I wrote over those final days of my Pacific Northwest experience. I found the old Doc and fixed the spelling mistakes. The rest I leave in its pure form.

I drank quite a bit of beer in Washington, from the breweries of Seattle to the breweries of Packwood. It wasn’t until Oregon that I realised I should try to capture my feelings about the beers I was trying so that I was doing more than tickling my brain with hoppy, mild poison. I used my Safeway club card in Sandy to buy a mixed 6 pack of longneck IPAs that looked delicious and photogenic and started my reviewing journey in our cabin at Government Camp at the bottom of Mt Hood.

Worthy Strata IPA
Bend, Oregon

image 2057 from bradism.com

The colour is appealing straight out of the bottle. Rich, light brown and with aromas of beer. The flavours are deep and moreish; not bitter but not sweet. A refreshing, mid-thick ale that fills the mouth but doesn't overwhelm the senses. Despite saying IPA on the label it's described as an “Australian Style Pale Ale”, and maybe that's why a dash was spectacular for caramelising some onions.
Would drink again: Yes

Portland Brewing Ink & Roses IPA
Portland, Oregon

image 2058 from bradism.com

Slightly bitter IPA, highly alcoholic. Not rich or hoppy without a strong aroma. Beery in colour. Enjoyable, but no hints of anything.
Would visit brewery?: No

Elysian Jasmine IPA
Seattle, Washington

image 2059 from bradism.com

There's a jasmine vine I walk past daily in Adelaide and every springtime it flowers and perfumes a stretch of my foot commute. Jasmine is probably my favourite inedible plant, but that might have to change as these guys have added real jasmine flowers to an IPA. The fragrance is noticeable immediately upon opening the bottle. The flavour is more subtle, adding a slight, sweet and polleny taste to the otherwise effervescent, deep IPA texture. It's not particularly hoppy or wheaty, just a pleasant mouth filling beer with the novel aroma of flowers.
Would drink this beer once a year? Yes, in springtime.

Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA and Fresh Haze IPA
Bend, Oregon

image 2060 from bradism.com

I'd already enjoyed the Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA before trying the Fresh Haze purely based on the can art. The smaller Squeeze is hoppier, with the mosaic hops in particular dominating a thick, wet beer.
Fresh Haze has hops as well, though the orange-citrus zest overpowers the strength of the hops and I'd classify this closer to hard orange juice than beer. The sweetness isn't strong, nor can it completely mask the 6.5% alcohol content, but expecting something really hoppy I felt a little disappointed. However with the right expectations, and a greasy breakfast, this beer could be the perfect indulgence. Would drink again.
Number of IPAs in this IPA: Just Right

Mt Hood Brewing Co Ice Axe IPA
Mt Hood, Oregon

image 2061 from bradism.com

On a day when the low cloud engulfed Mt Hood, we walked to the town’s obligatory micro-brewery to break up the bottle tastings with some freshly poured.
The Ice Axe IPA was served chilled, like a Government Camp morning. The hops are strong, and take the edge off any bitterness - like a bushy tailed squirrel flitting across your slog up the steep inclines of Zig Zag canyon. There is a crisp, malty aftertaste with each sip that tastes like malt.

Mt Hood Brewing Timberline Tucker Double IPA
Mt Hood, Oregon
The 8% alcohol content of this double IPA (whatever that means) is hidden behind a wall of hops, thick beer, and the alleged aroma of grapefruit.
The Justin Timberlake Timberline is a place of beauty, alpine meadows and snow-covered pines beneath the brutal gaze of Mt Hood's barren, icy slopes. The double IPA is like that, a beautiful, looming mountain of a beer ready for the courageous, and dismissive of the weak… It may have been ambitious to review two full strength pints in the same hour. I may have consumed more IPA than water over the past few days.

10 Barrel Brewing Apocalypse IPA
Bend, Oregon

image 2062 from bradism.com

An IPA which explicitly encourages drinking after physical activity, the Apocalypse IPA was the appropriate end of day beer after the last of 19 consecutive days in the Pacific Northwest's national parks and forests. By which I mean I was so numbed to the various hints and hops of Oregon’s beers that I noticed nothing notable about this beer, other than I would enjoy drinking it again and also doing 19 consecutive days of hiking instead of working again.

At this point on my beer reviewing journey we drove from Mt Hood to Salmon Street in Portland for the final few days of our holiday. Not only was there a Safeway a few blocks away, but the hotel provided a new craft beer selection to guests for free every night. I was put in the difficult position of drinking all my remaining beers before flying out, while also trying to buy more IPAs.

PFriem IPA
Hood River, Oregon

image 2063 from bradism.com

An intense IPA, strong in hops and hints. Aromas of citrus. Aromas of citrus that fill the nose FROM INSIDE THE MOUTH. It has bears on the label.
Particularly refreshing after a long afternoon on the streets of Portland.
Would drink again: Yes.

Deschutes Tasting Paddle
Bend, Oregon

image 2064 from bradism.com

1 - watery beer. 2 - beer. 3 - extra-fruity beer. 4 - IPA-flavoured IPA. 5 - chocolate and coffee in a stout? Groundbreaking! 6 - sours are terrible.

Fort George The Optimist IPA
Astoria, Oregon

image 2065 from bradism.com

The human body is 80% water. My body is now 80% IPA. And thus, this one tasted like pure water. (By which I mean IPA, I wouldn’t want anyone to misinterpret that this was an amazing IPA. I just mean that by this point, and another day of walking the cool-summer streets of Portland I would definitely have tasted like an IPA.)

I probably should stop drinking beer.

10 Barrel Tasting
Bend, Oregon

image 2066 from bradism.com

I drank 10 beers. Highlights: a rocky mountain brown ale, an extra-IPA flavoured IPA (Pearl). A cucumber water infused sour that tasted exactly like a watermelon warhead. Sours are amazing.
Not pictured - the IPA I drank at McMenamins on the way to The Pearl District.

Sunriver Brewing Vicious Mosquito IPA
Sunriver, Oregon

image 2067 from bradism.com

A strong IPA in a little can, like a mosquito [note - I don’t think I finished this review. Not because I was drunk, but because there are only so many synonyms for hoppy].

Several more undocumented beers later

image 2068 from bradism.com

Hair of the Dog Green Dot Triple IPA
Portland, Oregon

image 2069 from bradism.com

IPA is more than water to me now. It is my body, my soul, it is the air that I breathe. I'd seen Double IPAs on brewery menus in the past, but this was the first triple IPA I'd encountered. The strength was intense. Finally, a panacea to the IPA ubiquity that had dulled the cans of the past few days. If IPA was the air that I breathed, the triple IPA was the equivalent of me being a bulldog, in the car on the freeway, my head out the open window and the air-beer blasting into my brain at 77 miles per hour.
After this, I watched the 4th of July fireworks and then went to bed.
This was the right way to end my beer drinking in the IPNWA.

(If you’re wondering where the 6th longneck ended up)


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InstagramIsm

Smoothie jug and a cup full of smoothie, and a cutting board raised on wooden legs.

My Morning Smoothie #fitspo #fitfood #Iblendforlike4minutestomakeitallfluffy #OfficialBradismRaisedCuttingBoardforTallPeople


A tram with a mustache stickered on the front passed by me in the city this morning. This reminded me it was Movember, and a sweeping glance across the crowd waiting with me for the pedestrian light to turn green revealed very few - perhaps zero - mustaches.
This surprised me a tad, as I expect a reasonable percentage of the young, male population of Adelaide would be using this as their annual excuse to grow shit facial hair. They have in the past.
A coffee cup on a desk next to some post its.

But first, coffee. (After walking to the train station, drinking a litre of water and answering a bunch of emails). #FreeOfficeMilk #HardToMakeLatteArtWithAPodMachine


I wondered if this was a Generation Z thing. And I wondered if the ubiquity of mobile phone cameras, and the fakeness of Instagram, was influencing them not to look less than perfect for a whole month. Then I thought about how I had deleted Instagram a few months ago and how much better my life was since then. I still catch glimpses of Instagram now and then, and I see a lot of the same content which says nothing, but which I guess the subjects are using to remember the events of their life for later nostalgia. Unlike me, who uses an online Journal for that.
A golden retriever stretched out and looking like a jerk.

Nash #Dog #Dogs #JerkDogs #Golden #DogsOfBradism


And then I remembered I hadn't added any of my real life to my journal for a few weeks.
A shower at the gym

Sneaky Post Gym Shower Pic


So I decided that I would take a little Instagram #inspiration for my life events for a day. But instead of staging tableaus, filtering them and putting them on Social Media I would just crop them and leave them on Bradism in all their averageness, for my later nostalgia for November 20, 2019.
Post-Sunset light in a car park

Sunset #Sunset #Nature #Beautiful #Blessed #MissedActualSunsetTryingToGet70BucksSpendAtColesForFlyBuyPoints

How To Make Freaking Awesome Microwave Porridge

Every year, one morning close to the winter solstice, it takes me thirty minutes to drink an icy smoothie and suddenly I remember that I like porridge. It’s funny, if you asked me in mid-February if I even knew how to make oats I’d probably give you a blank look, but like an old, crinkled-up tissue in a jacket pocket, June brings things back to me. And each year I’m forced to recollect my porridge recipe.

This year I’m writing my recipe down to save myself some time in 2019, and maybe share some tips with you, internet. I’ve called this post “Freaking Awesome Microwave Porridge” because there is already heaps of search results for “Best Microwave Porridge” so I’m trying to market on an angle.

I make my oats in the microwave. You can make them on the stove, but then you have to clean a saucepan. This way you can eat them straight out of the bowl.

image 1733 from bradism.com

These are my ingredients. You can use steel cut or plain rolled oats. Garnish berries are option, but banana is essential.

The number one secret of Bradism Porridge - banana first. Mush it up like baby food in the base of the bowl.

image 1734 from bradism.com

Then, add one cup of oats, a tablespoon of cinnamon and mix it all through.

image 1735 from bradism.com

Then, add a cup of water on the top and stir some more. Microwave this for 90 seconds on high, then add half a cup of milk and microwave another 90 seconds.

The porridge magic will start to happen. Depending on the moisture content of the banana, and the effect of entropy on how densely the oats stacked themselves in your measuring cup, you’ll need to stir and heat a few more times to get the consistency you need. For me that’s usually the following: 60 seconds, 60 seconds, 40 seconds, 40 seconds, 30 seconds, 30 seconds.

image 1738 from bradism.com

Use the brief intervals of molecule vibration to tidy your kitchen and assemble your lunch for the day, or prepare fresh berries for garnish.
Frozen berries also work. You can chuck these in on the second-to-last mix through and they will reach the same temperature and consistency of the oats by the time you eat them.

image 1737 from bradism.com

Fresh strawberries should not be microwaved. Lay them on the surface where the steaming oats will instantly gel-ify them. Add honey or maple syrup to taste.

I ate the above bowl at 7:30 AM for breakfast today, survived several hailstorms and did not need to eat again until after 3 PM. Freaking Awesome.

The Day Before Winter

The day before winter. Cold start, but blue skies. Perfect walking weather. Vanessa and I set off not far south of Adelaide for the Marion Coastal Walk.

image 1704 from bradism.com

The coastal walk is essentially Mount Lofty by the sea, a challenging ~10km return walk. But with more places to park, and a few less groups of dri-fit clothing models in the way. The trail goes up and down some serious sets of stairs. Unlike Lofty, there's no split between up and down, so your heart will be challenged all the way out and back.
image 1705 from bradism.com

We started our walk from Seacliff (in fact, we started it from the top of the infamous Seacliff Zig Zag Path, meaning one more slope to conquer on the way back). The walk goes through Hallet Cove Conservation Park where there is an amazing boardwalk circuit taking in the geological sights of past glaciers. Beyond that is Hallet Cove beach which has some new facilities including a public toilet that plays classical music while you lighten your load for the return trip.
image 1706 from bradism.com

The Marion Coastal Walk is an awesome alternative to Mount Lofty Summit hike, beautiful on a clear day at this time of year, with views out into the gulf.
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The last day before winter was also Vanessa's birthday, and there were dog balloons.

Andechs

Visiting beer gardens in the city was definitely high on my list when visiting Munich, but an experience like Kloster Andechs was what I was really looking forward to. We woke up Monday to blue skies, fluffy white clouds. We caught the S-Bahn out of the city to a town called Herrsching on the lake Ammersee. (Or should that just be Ammer?)

There was a river that joined the lake at Herrsching. We followed it in the opposite direction, through gorgeous Bavarian forests up into the hills. It was a four kilometre hike through the trees to the peak of one of the hills, the location of Andechs.

image 1582 from bradism.com

The Kloster is a centuries old settlement, first established over a thousand years ago and most recently converted into a monastery in 1455. Sometime shortly after the abbey was built the monks started on the piggery, the brewery and the beer garden.
image 1583 from bradism.com

It was sunny and warm on the long, wooden tables of the Andechs beer garden. I worked out self-service without any troubles. I ordered a litre of the special Dunkel, my day's pretzel, and half a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle). All local. A sausage and fries were thrown in, all up less than 20 Euro. I was happy.
image 1584 from bradism.com

After lunch we climbed to the top of the bell tower. It was a climb not made for tall people. The extra-strength beer helped convert the risk of head-smashing and falling into a thrill. From the top of the tower were panoramic views of the green countryside.
image 1585 from bradism.com

I wanted to thank the monks for making such delicious beer. I never saw any of them. Regardless, the day was kind of spiritual.

Easter Beer Hunt 2013

The Easter Beer Hunt is a seven year old tradition. It's a simple game. Under the full moon of a Good Friday evening bottles of beers are hidden within the boundaries of a large, outdoor area. Essentially in the same kind of way that chocolate eggs are hidden on Easter Sunday mornings: under leaves and bark, in nooks and crannies, and in haystacks behind giant spider webs.
The formula for number of beers to be hidden is:

N = x * 9/2
where N is the number of beers and x is the number of hunters. (You can also change this however you feel like that year)

image 1288 from bradism.com

All the hunters contribute an equal share towards the beers before the hunt begins.

image 1289 from bradism.com

After it's dark all the hunters gather somewhere indoors while the hiders determine the boundaries and hide the beers. When the hiding is complete the hunters are notified and, after any extra rules or important information is conveyed, there is a countdown and the hunt begins.

image 1293 from bradism.com

Hunters are allowed a torch and a basket as tools. In the original Easter Beer Hunt a wicker basket was required, which added a challenging element to the hunt when running at speed with several beers bouncing in an open basket. Since then baskets have been expanded to buckets, protein containers and shopping bags. Torches have also extended to mobile phone lights, lanterns and head torches.

image 1290 from bradism.com

Hunters work independently to find beers in the dark. A cap is set of six beers per hunter. After the hunter finds six beers they are out, but they may continue hunting to locate other beers and discretely switch them with an existing beer if the brand is preferable. They may also assist other hunters who are struggling with hunting or equipment.

image 1291 from bradism.com

They may also choose to open and drink a beer, but that's only if they've finished the beer they opened after their first find.

image 1294 from bradism.com

I've never taken photos of the Easter Beer Hunt because I'm always hunting in it. This year DJ Chow was happy to carry my camera/flash about for the night and take some photos.

image 1292 from bradism.com

Good times.

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