Orbital Inclinations

Around about this time last hemisphere, when the summer solstice had just passed and the fireworks were popping, I was doing a lot of hiking, and eating yogurt and cereal for breakfast at waterfalls. I missed that.

With Adelaide's weather forecast for a max in the mid-twenties and zero flames, Vanessa as I decided an Australian PNW hike was the perfect start to the decade. I dug out my hiking boots and first thing this morning we did the Grand Falls loop at Morialta. The greenery was drier, the cars smaller, and the breakfast waterfall had no water in it, but it was a lovely experience that made me intensely nostalgic for the weeks of walking in winter-summer 2019, and a healthy way to kick off the decade.

image 1990 from bradism.com

I finished the day with the Australian version of the IPA.

image 1989 from bradism.com


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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?


What I did on my Summer Holidays

It’s not often I get eight consecutive days without work. That’s like two Easter weekends back to back. At least, that’s how I thought of it during the hot, smoky days between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.

Given this is my journal I thought it might be pertinent to document what I did during these free days before the events were lost to time, office routine and the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain. To be honest, I had to use my photo gallery, step tracker, calorie counter, and Chrome history to compile this summary.

December 24th
After a nice gym session on the last day of work, I caught the train home to make pizza bases. While the dough rose Vanessa and I went food shopping, then cooked the lamb and chicken and made yiros pizzas.

image 1992 from bradism.com

Then, as the late sun set, we took Nash to the dog park where she tried to start shit with a pitbull.

December 25th
Started Christmas with a walk on the sand at Grange, followed by a cherry smoothie for breakfast. Went to Alex’s for lunch where Nash and Wilhelm played with an energy that belied the heat and lack of shade. After the BBQ was done we retreated inside to eat and play Code Names.
Then it was back to the beach for more sand walking and a swim at sunset.

December 26th
Fried some potato and bacon for brunch. Played basketball in the afternoon when the UV levels went down.

image 1993 from bradism.com

Then Vanessa and I took a stroll along the river.
image 1994 from bradism.com

December 27th
Got to the gym again, watched some cricket and then went to J’s where we played Coup, Seven Wonders and ate pizza.

December 28th
Ate waffle bowls for breakfast after a walk along the beach from Grange to Henley. Played the first and last game of Age of Empires 2 vs Sam (I won), then went to Alex’s to dogsit Willy. It was hot. I threw a lot of tennis balls.

image 1995 from bradism.com

December 29th
I finished listening to Empire on Audible. That was a good book. I returned home briefly to make Hawaiian pizza for lunch with Vanessa. Went to the gym, then returned to Willy to throw more tennis balls and watch the Strikers.

December 30th
I can’t even remember. I should have prepared this entry progressively.

December 31st
Figured I should attempt my chores list, tried to do some plumbing then gave up immediately.
Went to Norwood for lunch and consumed a large beef schnitzel.
Went to the gym and tried to convert beef schnitzel energy into weight lifting progress.
Went to a New Year’s Eve games night and ate a lot more. Played Avalon and Kingdom Builders. I enjoyed both. Got home before midnight.

January 1st
Started the day with a hike and breakfast. Made pork in the slow cooker. Deployed the latest Bradism.com release, drank a beer, watched the sun set.

image 1996 from bradism.com

I would call it a win because, in hindsight, I ate a lot of food. Went to the gym. Saw family and friends. Played board games. Watched cricket. Drank nice beer. Went in the ocean twice. And I didn't go to work.

Routed and Unfiltered

I feel like I’m getting better at dealing with the plumbing in my house. Over the Christmas break I had a few jobs I wanted to complete, one was changing over the filter cartridges in my filter tap system. Of course, I delayed doing this until almost the final day of the break.

I opened the cupboard beneath the sink, slid the plastic tool that came with the filter tap system up over the first filter and twisted it. Nothing happened. I tried the other, but it was stuck too.

I Googled the brand and found an instructional video where a skinny blonde lady loosened the cylinder with barely a twitch of her bicep, so I tried again in the same fashion, however, the filters were not budging. A bit of a thump, nor a blast from the hair-dryer, loosened the seal.

In the past I would have then proceeded to search online for hours for ways to resolve the issue, tried different hardware and approaches, driven to Bunnings and spent money on other tools and aids, and generally cracked the shits. I didn’t need to do any of this to fix it. I just left the tap switched off, closed the cupboard and walked away.

I am not a handy man when it comes to the physical. Digital, on the other hand, I’m far more comfortable with. One of my other jobs for the Christmas Break was a couple of bug fixes on bradism.com. Well, one was an enhancement. On an old version of my website I used the path /getimage.php to render images, and while reading through old entries in preparation for the Top 10 Bradism Posts of the Decade I found a number of direct links to images which no longer worked on the new site. I decided to fix this by adding a Router configuration to map to the /images/show/:id path which I wrote to replace this feature. This should have been a simple task, requiring a regular expression to match incoming requests and rewrite it to the new path. So I could test, I ran a search in the database to find entries that had one of these old links in them and found only 18 entries had one.

At this point I had to make a decision, did I want to write code to fix this problem or just update the 18 existing entries. The regular expression would have been the same. I elected to fix in the code, based on it being a simple change, and also the highly-unlikely chances that there were other sites with links to my images out there on the internet that had been broken since 2017 but would still appreciate things working again. Maybe I just wanted to write code.

What I estimated to be a short task turned out to be painfully long. My Router supported rewriting of variables but not when they were passed through as query string arguments and it took me several hours to work this out. Updating the links in the database would have taken about ten minutes. Yet, I persisted, I learnt new things, and unlike my filter tap system, I succeeded.

What did I learn from this? Other than I prioritised bradism.com over filtered drinking water?


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Indentured Servitude

image 1997 from bradism.com

I don't want to write this entry, but I suppose I need to... There were times during my eight day Christmas break I found myself anxious to be back at work.

Worse, there was nothing specifically at the office which I was keen to attend to. In fact, last week during the quiet two days of a two-thirds empty office, faced with an exponentially emptier inbox, I still felt the same anxiety. I realised that what I craved was not a return to labour, but a reunion with routine.

This was bad. I've invested so much into perfecting my way of life over the past few years. I always know when to wake up. I know the macros of what I'm eating days in advance. I never miss the train. I never struggle choosing what to wear. Everything I need is at my fingertips, laid out in the exact order of my fingers. I've filtered novelty out of my life, which has been very effective at giving me a lot of free time, but at the cost of atrophying the parts of my brain that know what to do with it.

I finished 2019 almost the exact same way I started it. Same family, job, house, car, friends, phone, injuries and shoes. Sure, I started a workout program, tracking my calories, and playing basketball on Thursdays. These only consolidated the girth of the rails I've been choofing on.

2020 needs to be different. I need to shake some things up, purely for the sake of it. Not resolutions, nothing planned. I just need to nod my head at opportunities that the squishy parts of my brain would at present probably ignore.

If not, a whole Olympics could come and go without anything to remember it by.

The Redemption Arc

Ever since Disney bought Star Wars Alex invites me to watch the latest film with him. And every time it goes like this:

image 1999 from bradism.com

Brotherhood

My impressions of brotherhood - giving and receiving - have fluxed over the decades. I thought I might take a moment to snapshot how I feel about it right now, in reflection of the 2020 Brisbane Brothers weekend which has just concluded.

I’m close friends with both my brothers, and what I wondered about at times over this weekend was if I would like them as people if they weren’t my brothers. They both have different personalities to each other, and to me. I fit somewhere in the middle of their characters, and I suspect this creates an equally balanced triangle of personality. We like some similar things: board games, coffee, travel, Mum. Steve enjoys fishing, and walking slowly. Alex likes tight shorts and setting the air conditioner to 15 degrees, full fan. I like understanding how many calories are in my food, and walking around in bare feet in hotels.

I think most people would be friends after thirty years of shared experiences, so I need to consider if our friendship extends beyond that. I think what we share is more resilient. There is a level of competition, familiarity, and taking turns to metaphorically piss on the same piece of the dog park that normal, unrelated people wouldn’t tolerate if they didn’t have the same parents who would force them together again.

image 1998 from bradism.com

Our childhood days of bickering and power struggles seem long gone now we’ve reached our thirties (I won). But I like how, while each of us has found different places in life, has different goals, and follows slightly different ethe, my brothers are consultants I can call upon for free, and I am the same for them in return. I am an oldest, by my virtues of wisdom and fatalism. Alex is the youngest, as evident from his more stylised sunglasses and desire to hire scooters using an iPhone app. Steve is a middle child, based on his never-ending source of lofty goals and his nuance at playing everyone off each other.

I would definitely be friends with these people even if we didn’t share the same genes.

What I did on my Second Summer Holidays

It’s not often I get five consecutive days without work. That’s like one long weekend and one regular weekend back to back. Or 125% of an Easter.

Given this is my journal I thought it might be pertinent to document what my brothers and I did during these free days before the events were lost to time, distance, and once again the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain.

January 9th
After my taxi driver tried to kill me, I flew to Brisbane next to a crying baby. I had lunch with Mum in Bulimba, then met Steve in the city. After checking in to our hotel, we picked up Alex and then walked over the Story Bridge to Sealegs.

The first beer and the first board game of many.

The first beer and the first board game of many.

January 10
The sun rises at a quarter to 5 in Brisbane. I slept until after 6, then convinced both brothers we should exercise before breakfast. We followed the Riverside footpath to the Botanic Gardens, then back again. After that we ate fruit, muesli and yogurt.

image 2001 from bradism.com

After that, Alex and I took part in our annual Christmas-time ritual of him watching Star Wars and me napping through Star Wars. Steve picked up Jess, and we then went out to Chinatown for Japanese, and then to Soapbox brewing. After an IPA each we walked on further to Netherworld barcade for some Nintendo 64, Articulate and Codenames.
image 2002 from bradism.com

Then we went to Felons under the bridge to meet Mum and Mark. I drank a mango pale ale. Then we took a ferry to Southbank where I consumed copious amounts of Persian food. After dinner, Alex and I crossed the Victoria Bridge and power-walked back to the hotel. It was a very long day; thank goodness I got some sleep at the movies.

January 11
Neither brother responded to my rousing for another early walk, so I took myself alone along the New Farm Riverwalk to Sydney Street and back.

image 2003 from bradism.com

Much like this lizard, everyone was still asleep on my return, so I woke up Alex and convinced him to try the pool, and he convinced me to try the sauna. After that I was finally hungry again.

Following coffee, we played some Coup, then went to Queen Street Mall for Korean BBQ.

image 2004 from bradism.com

After that, Jess went to the airport, Alex had a nap, and I tried the hotel's odd little gym.
Dinner Saturday was at Mum's house where we ate roast chicken under the back pergola, listening to the rainstorm drum on the roof.
image 2005 from bradism.com

January 12
I walked with Steve over the bridge again, then we went out in the Valley for breakfast and multiple coffees.

image 2006 from bradism.com

After a game of Acquire back at the hotel, we set off to Victoria Park golf course for a round of putt putt.
image 2007 from bradism.com

We returned via Netherworld for burgers and Catan, before returning Alex to the airport. After that, Steve and I visited the original Holey Moley for another 18 holes and sickly sweet gin cocktails. Then it was to Fat Dumpling for dumplings, and Peach Spring Rolls to share. The one and only thing from the Brisbane Deserts Bucket List we tried.
image 2008 from bradism.com

January 13th
I walked myself along the river before breakfast again, then visited Steve's new house to tick off cartons as the removalists extracted them from the truck.
After purchasing my final coffees for the trip, I caught the train to Newstead for pasta and to complete my goal of reading the entirety of the Summer 2019 issue of Asimov's.

image 2009 from bradism.com

I left the old Gasworks and its population of office workers for a Monday afternoon schooner at Green Beacon Brewing. I nearly completed the final novella there, but ended up walking to Newstead Brewing to finish it off, with my last beer of the trip (and possibly month) the Key Lime Double IPA.

I enjoyed a very mellow train trip to the airport after that, and a flight of about the same length and napping as Rise of the Skywalker.

I think I worked out why I've been so tired this week.

How?

People in my office:
Brad, how do you stay so thin?

My supermarket loyalty program end of year points summary email:

image 2010 from bradism.com

Gym Musings

Purchase a 100 pack of these on ebay for $8

image 2012 from bradism.com

BAM, unlimited coat-hangers for the rest of your life.

The Top 10 Bradism Posts of the Decade

Everyone else was posting end of decade top tens back in December and I wanted in. Then I decided the only way no one would ever read it properly is if there was a way to embed cross links to other journal entries that I could add with BCode.

Many hours over many days of debugging PHP code later and here we are.

10. Plus Plus cereal

Breakfast gets mentioned a lot on this blog, but if you're looking for peak cereal insanity this is where you should start.
Casual Friday Breakfast III - Plus Plus Plus

Winter was when I decided I would create the ultimate bowl of Plus. Winter, or me saying to the Woolworth’s catalogue “Oh, Weet Bix Crunch is three dollars this week.” And Vanessa reminding there were seven boxes of Uncle Toby’s Plus in the cupboard which I’d convinced her to buy a few months ago and then never opened.

9. Man Journal Short Cuts

The tale of my first lawn mower.
"He mentioned that I should buy the oil removal next time I was in, because you need to change the oil every year, just like a car. And then he paused and stared at me to make sure the expression on my face indicated I understood this very simple concept. Which I didn't, but I recognised the conversation checkpoint and I faked a nod. Then I considered whether or not I should just take my lawnmower with me to the mechanic when I take my car there."

An insightful chapter on my journey to being the worst home handyman

Man Journal Short Cuts

This was not only my first lawn mower, but my first attempt at mowing a lawn. And also the first time I've felt solely responsible for the state of a petrol engine.

8. Diamonds and Guns

A succinct summary of the disconnect that existed between my soul and the universe in 2018.
Diamonds and Guns

Yeah, I carry a butt-pillow with me most places. I never know how to correctly answer the question, “How's it going?” I wear sunglasses on cloudy days.

7. The White Suburban

Life starts outside your comfort zone. Or in a comfort zone. A story of how I learnt that fitting in is not about how you look, but about following the dreams that were printed on the badge attached to you in the factory.
The White Suburban

"We'll upgrade you to something more comfortable," the car-wrangler told me. This was the first sign something was wrong.

6. Easy Beer Bread Pizza Bases

Another chapter in home ownership, a quality execution of internet recipe observational humour, plus a useful pizza bases recipe I still refer back to regularly.
Easy Beer Bread Pizza Bases

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.

5. Life, Man

I’m quite proud of this solid, three paragraphs double-entendre that I posted to celebrate the addition of Nash to my family slash Journal.
Life, Man

I was caught off guard by just how easy it is to buy a living thing and take it back to your house. No questions asked.

4. Breadism

This is a throwback to a bread story I wrote in 2003, back in the days of Brad’s Summer Journal 2. Maybe that’s why I like it, because it’s tinged with the nostalgia of updating a HTML file in notepad at 4:25am on warm summer nights, my lumbar spine firm and supple. It’s also the prequel to another tale of breadism in 2017. It’s a running joke that’s been going for over fourteen years. That’s longer than some of my wheatstagram followers have been alive.

It’s also a real insight into the mind of someone who has been working from home in a city he knows no one for several consecutive months.

Breadism

I was thinking about Baker's Delight's Twisted Delights. This made me search my journal for references to Twisted Delights and led to... places I want to forget.

3. Reject Shop Hacker

Who would have known in 2011 when I wrote this entry about how much I loved my HD515s that, in 2020, I’d still be using those same headphones. And in 2020 they would still be padded with those same sponges I got in a three pack for $2 from the Reject Shop in Engadine. Those very sponges are on my ears right now as I type this. And the third sponge? Well, I did actually get rid of that one after some amount of dishes.
Reject Shop Hacker

I want to foreshadow the amount of distress I felt earlier this week when I discovered my Sennheiser's were dying.

2. How To Replace a Smoke Alarm Battery

Potentially the dramatic end to the second act of my story of home ownership. The most wilful damage I’ve ever done to a building for the sake of a journal entry.
Learn from my mistakes.
How To Replace a Smoke Alarm Battery

It's very simple to open the smoke alarm and replace the battery.

1. Quiet Achiever

Short and sweet. I reveal my pride in my two year old facade in the office. My decade-long, lifelong, screen of Green Pig smiling politely, keeping my true thoughts in words on the internet.
Based on a true story.

Contractually Obligated

Contracts can be good and bad.

Whenever you make an offer on a house you should make the price end in an odd number.

That is the lesson of the decade so far

Life has not been boring recently.

Australia Day 2020

I poured myself a bowl of low fat, low sugar strawberry yoghurt after the gym today and before eating I decided to hand sanitize. This was on top of washing my hands before leaving the gym, and also when I got home. That's not coronavirus related, just my normal routine.

Anyway, unbeknownst to me, I'd got some low fat, low sugar strawberry yoghurt on my fingers which combined with the hand sanitizer that I spread across my skin. And up until now I'd believed that low fat, low sugar strawberry yoghurt hand sanitizer was something only Google AI would dream up to advertise to me.

I did still manage to consume at least one barbecued sausage in bread today.

Countdown to the Past

There was a public holiday today.

image 2019 from bradism.com

Double J spent most of the day playing back the Hottest 100 of 1999. I listened to it on digital radio as I cleaned my kitchen and drove around to buy packing boxes off gumtree. Listening made me nostalgic. Nostalgic for last year, when I was made to feel nostalgic by the Hottest 100 of 1998 on Double J. The classic tunes themselves also made me nostalgic for 20 years ago (and also yesterday) when I was playing Age of Empires II. How much and how little things change.

As the countdown went longer, and Filter's Take a Picture's opening riffs failed to emerge from my bluetooth speakers I was forced to check the track-listing and realised that it was January 26, 2001 that I spent a post-shinding day alternating between napping on the couch during the cricket, and creating Age of Empires scenarios on my computer which - much like my novels - consumed a lot of time and led to not much.

That's the problem with nostalgia. It feels nice, but it's not too connected to reality. Who knows what I really felt during the final days of the millennium when those songs played and I did my things. Oh well. Only two years to go until I can rely on early bradisms to confirm.

Progress

A few weeks after we returned from the Pacific Northwest last year, fences went up without warning around a large parcel of land near my house that happened to include the path I walked on to get to the train station. That's mainly relevant to reveal the scale of months that the development of this suburban infill has taken. I've watched its progress over the course of many dog walks around the block, and walks home from the train station.

I don't consider myself a handyman, and I most definitely don't consider myself an engineer, but I read the sensational-adelaide forums on my lunch breaks sometimes and I was feeling relatively confident that the urban planners would use this opportunity to underground some powerlines. In particular, a Stobie pole that was planted smack in the middle of my past and ideally future walking path. A few months into the development I was vindicated by the removal of several other Stobie poles, and the introduction of electrical infrastructure. But the one Stobie pole whose removal was clearly a dependency for the surfacing works required to complete the footpath remained stubbornly in place. It got to the point where every day after work as soon as I'd alighted from the train I'd be staring in its direction to see if it had disappeared. It never did. Sometimes due to the perspective I thought it had, but after getting closer I would always find it there waiting for me, immovable.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic. School Holidays are over, and work is busy with strategic projects and urgent issues to distract from them. I'm trying to buy a new house. I think I've sold a story that's been in a queue since April, learn Age of Empires II build orders, fix my sore throat, my hamstring tendon, and get my taps to finally stop dripping. Some days I make progress, other days I feel like progress makes me. Today was one of those days.

When I got off the train this evening the Stobie pole gone, and I think I felt a slight sense of accomplishment.

image 2020 from bradism.com

Poetry Corner Redux

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
Pissed on a tuft of grass at the junction
Because I am a dog.

Happy Birthday Nash

image 2021 from bradism.com

(Apologies Robert Frost.)

Spring Summer 2019 Playlist

image 2022 from bradism.com

The 2019 Spring playlist started earlier than usual, with late winter sunshine and happy tunes from Fitz and the Tantrums, and NVDES inspiring a Spotify collection at the earliest August date on record. What then followed was a drought of new additions, only DILLY DALLY and Waax coming out with songs that reminded me of spring storms and blooming flowers few and far between, the majority of new releases drier than average.

Rainfall during spring was less than average across Adelaide and the Hills, and I listened to songs by Phantogram and Plague Vendor during sunlit walks to Woodville railway station, or on weekend drives to Zap Fitness.

Night-time temperatures for spring were generally close to average across Adelaide and the Hills, and sometimes I drove with my windows down listening to Safia on the way home from nights of board games. For some reason I went to a baseball game and it was cold.

Then suddenly it was Summer. The driest December since 1972. I didn’t add a single new song to my Spring (and now Summer) playlist. I was too busy trying to manage migrating docker images from the development into the production cluster, and find alternatives to pie charts because senior management had decided pie charts were misleading. And occasionally there was a lazy summer day like 0171's 1000 Words.

When the New Release Radars of January finally started to include actual new releases and not remixes and covers I was in Brisbane, walking the New Farm Riverwalk listening to Crystal Fighters and enjoying the midday sun at around 7:30 AM. Both daytime and night-time temperatures were generally cooler than average for January, despite several very hot days. It felt like I was either behind the blinds on my computer, or sitting on the balcony, listening to Metric and Creeper and drinking the small assortment of IPAs I ordered myself during Black Friday's click frenzy back in November. February has seemed like it’s more sunset than anything else, and along with Tycho’s Outer Sunset that felt like a good point to wind up this playlist at an hour so I could focus on the Autumn playlist as soon as the next rainy day came.

Apricots

I've long been on a quest to find the perfect eating routine to prepare my body for basketball. I've ruled out everything from cocoa Weet Bix Crunch and milk, custard, and a bag of red frogs. Today I might have found the correct carboload. Despite the game being decided by a single missed three pointer (I shamed your jersey, Dirk) I finished it as full of energy as I began. My shots were falling, and I didn't feel bloated or tired.

For future reference the secret was 18 grams of almonds three hours before the game, followed by 64 grams of sun dried apricots two and a half hours before the game, and a medium-sized, overripe nectarine fifty-nine minutes before tip-off.

The strong flat white I had a 2:30 may also have helped. Perhaps the entire tin of corn I tipped into my gigantic lunchtime salad which I consumed 6 hours and thirty minutes, until 5 hours and thirty minutes before the game. It's hard to know where to draw the line. I ate even more corn last night, and spilt some of that meal on the very basketball shorts I would (wash and) wear before tonight's game. I watched an episode of The Stranger on Netflix during that meal, 22 hours before someone's six inch shorter, teenage son beat me in a jumpball. (But mainly because I jumped too early.) I took Nash for a brief stroll around the oval before that. Exactly 24 hours before the game started I noticed that council workers had whipper-snippered the passionfruit vine across the road that I'd been pilfering the occasional smoothie enhancer from this summer. Maybe that was the secret?

I think it was because the apricots were sun dried.

Cornices, and how to Negotiate Effectively

A black and white photo of a ceiling with no cornice.

It's about meeting in the middle.


About six years ago a clean-shaven, slightly tired-looking real estate agent was showing me the third storey of what would eventually become my home. “Look,” he said. “There are no cornices.”

“Wow,” I said, while thinking, “What the fuck is a fucking cornice?”

I was a lot more vulgar in my late twenties. And as someone who didn’t like paying double figures for a haircut the concept of half a million dollars of debt hadn’t enthused me to the home buying process.

He pointed up. “Where the wall joins the ceiling, there’s no timber trim. That’s a premium feature.”

A cornice is much like a house penis. One of those pointless architectural things that I’d apparently never noticed in my life despite spending large chunks of the preceding decades with my head dangerously close to the average ceiling.

“What’s good about no cornices?” I asked.

“Well, they can get dusty. You won’t have to keep them clean.”

That was something I thought about from time to time during the six years in which I never cleaned my ceiling.

Now the time has come to sell my home, and before I can sell it I need to paint it because Nash has used most of the lower half of all the walls as a butt rest/scratching post. I thought buying a house was a financially exhausting process, and now I’m learning that selling was no ten dollar haircut either.

I don’t have any objection to spending money, despite what people might think. I mainly struggle with the concept of spending money for something where I could have, in a different way, achieved the same result for less money. I also don’t like it when people see a conversation with me as a potential medium for obtaining riches. So like a good introvert I turned to the internet for advice on finding a painter. I used a website called hipages, and I arranged three quotes. The three quotes varied a lot, which didn’t help with my decision making process. I know that painting the house is an investment into the price I will hopefully sell it for. Picking the cheapest wasn’t necessarily the best option. In the end I decided the best approach was to choose the most expensive option and try and negotiate them down closer to the cheapest rate. I figured the painter with the bamboo business cards and CRM system probably had the most margin built into the quote with which to work in.

I turned back to the internet for advice on how to negotiate. I read some good articles, and I’ll distill this advice here for you and myself for future reference:

Before you even start negotiating you should know what you’re willing to settle for. This should be realistic, otherwise you might make the fake Oakley salesman in a Denpesar street market-stall cry.

When negotiations open, steal any counterpoints from the other party before they can use them against you. I opened my call with, “I’m not trying to go for the cheapest option, but rather find the right fit for the budget.” Now I can’t be accused of being a tightarse.

Finally, you need to understand what the other party wants. Obviously they want all my fucking money. But they probably want other things too. This painter had a nice instagram page with a lot of posts, so they probably wanted their ego stroked. They also had a pre-sales team, so they probably appreciated sealing deals and hitting sales targets in the middle of the month. And they probably wanted streamlined work, which was something I could offer in the form of a house with no furniture to move, and no ceilings to worry about (because the dog’s butt does not reach that high). So not only did I mention the other lower quotes, but I commented that I was impressed by their ‘gram. And that I was willing to put a deposit down today, and that I could be flexible with dates.
And there was one other deal sweetener we hadn’t mentioned in much depth yet...

And that’s how I saved $700 on a quote for painting by having no cornices.

Old Balance

The first of my house-packing archaeological digs worth sharing. The few NB 624s that I haven't thrown in the bin (yet).

image 2024 from bradism.com

Looking at this pile reminds me of daily life, back in the era of 2016-2018. Daily hamstring pain so constant I gave up on fashion, and daily Ozbargain visits to find the next secret discount code + free shipping code + cashback provider to buy new NB 624s for $60 a pair.

I wear N-5923's with my stretch fit chinos these days.

The Top 5 Best Carpets of My Life So Far

image 2025 from bradism.com

About six years ago a clean-shaven, slightly tired-looking young girl was showing me the hairier parts of what would eventually become my dog. “Look,” she said, pointing between the ears and the neck. “You need to brush here regularly.”

She might have said "daily".

That was something I thought about from time to time during the six years in which I constantly pulled up dog hair from my carpet. I'm not sure what the dog-anatomy-equivalent of a cornice is, but Nash has a lot of them. And they get dusty.

There's not a room in my house you can walk into and not find a stain or a spot where my dog has shit, pissed, ralphed or just sullied with her general dog activities. I'm at peace with this. I've been alive for over thirty-five years and there's not a single carpet I've ever looked back fondly at. I don't reminisce about the green, prickly flooring that I built and razed Lego cities on in my childhood. I have no affection for the cream carpet near my bedroom door in Ballara street where I laid on my back and stretched my hamstrings religiously each night before bed, my free hands running themselves across the heavy pile. The almost plastic fibres of the square floor mats I sat cross-legged on during primary school assemblies. That rug I accidentally threw up on in 2004 when we turned Milton-Bradley's Trouble into a drinking game. Carpets mean nothing to me. Dogs are awesome - even if they do make every dark piece of clothing unwearable after a certain amount of minutes. If the price of having a dog in a townhouse for six years is some 100 metres square of moderately priced carpet then so be it.

I had my first carpeting quote today as I don't think a new buyer for my house will see the character in the carpeting that I do. He lumbered up and down the stairs while Nash eyed the extensive tape measure warily as it stretched out and retracted. When he was back at the bottom of the stairs he scribbled some numbers on the top of the floor plan he'd been sketching in rough boxes and told me the price...

The price was high. Carpeting was going to cost almost three times as much as the painting. I'm going to try to negotiate. I don't think having no cornices will help this time.

Cornices, and how to Negotiate Effectively

About six years ago a clean-shaven, slightly tired-looking real estate agent was showing me the third storey of what would eventually become my home. “Look,” he said. “There are no cornices.” “Wow,” I said, while thinking, “What the fuck is a cornice?”

A Simple Chair

The aftermath of A Simple Space

The aftermath of A Simple Space


When I was reading through the 2010's for my Posts of the Decade I was dismayed to realise I used the same joke about physical theatre and the seats at Fringe shows in both 2015 and 2018.

I was instantly reminded of this mistake earlier this evening when - after a tasty dinner-snack of some Sri Lankan Kottu Roti - I aligned parts of my middle back and leg tendons with pieces of the plastic chair in the Octagon Tent. Vanessa and I were there to enjoy A Simple Space and after the first 60 seconds I quickly deleted any thoughts of back pain as we witnessed some extraordinary feats of acrobatics and significant abuse of spines. It was only a few days ago that I had pleased myself by back-squatting 60kg from a seated position, and that was with an evenly weighted barbell close to my centre of gravity. I was particularly awed by one man's ability to back squat another young man who was standing on his shoulders, while a woman hung folded off that man's head using her glutes as his hat. He displayed no evidence of pelvic tilt during this maneuver.

Then there was a part where a man jumped from back to back of two of his prone performers. After each jump the one without a fully grown human being standing on their spine would do a perfect form push up, slide themselves a foot further along the hard, wooden stage, and then lie prone again so they could be landed on by an even longer jump. My vertebrae throbbed sympathetically with each audible thud. One of the guys who had his back jumped on ten times then went on to solve a rubik's cube while balancing upside down on his head.

I would recommend this show.

Looking Back

I hired a three tonne truck today to move my furniture. All you need to hire a truck, apparently, is a driver's licence and enough cash to cover the deposit. I was given they keys and shown to the driver's cabin.
"Have you ever driven a truck before?" She asked me.
"Yes," I said confidently, thinking back to my weeks behind the wheel of the white suburban.

And that's the story of how I reversed a three tonne truck into a tree and gently scratched the side mirror.

For Me

This isn't panic buying. Despite what they thought at the supermarket. This is a normal amount of yoghurt for me.

image 2044 from bradism.com

Thursday Night Hoops

My Dirk Notwizki top is, among other differences, a darker blue than the rest of the singlets worn by the other members of the C grade social basketball team I've been filling in for over the summer. At half time in our last game the senior referee told me that for the rest of the season I wouldn't be able to wear it anymore. In response I Dirk'd a corner 3 during the second half - my first triple of the season - and we went on to lose narrowly.

It turned out that referee was right, and I would not be able to wear my Nowitzki singlet again in the summer of 2020 thanks to a global pandemic. Right when I'd got my eye in.

0 Beans

If there was a silver lining to this Coronavirus thing it was that the rest of society was going to adapt my personal level of hand sanitizer usage.

Unfortunately during my latest visit to the supermarket I learnt that the rest of society was also going to adapt my personal level of tinned 4 Bean Mix usage.

The Fourth Bean

Day 1 of the non-essentials shutdown due to COVID19. Unfortunately I did not panic buy more than a few salads in advance, and I'm already out of 4 Bean Mix. Vanessa did pick up some Woolworths Mexican Style 3 Bean Mix, and in what I'm sure will not be the last of these entries for 2020 I experimented in the kitchen.

Mexican Style 3 Bean Mix is no substitute for 4 Bean Mix. Something is missing, and it's not chickpeas because there was 75g of that in the hummus. Because it was Mexican Style I tried adding some pickled jalapenos in case they could be the fourth bean, but it was not to be.

image 2045 from bradism.com

Later, after a small amount of yard work on the house I'm going to try and sell during this global crisis, I bought a medium chocolate thickshake for the first time in twenty years in case McDonald's close in Australia like they did in the UK.

COVID19G

I came into a very desolate city today to work from the office, as I had two appointments in town along with a number of minor tasks that needed doing before the inevitable lockdown commences. It was also maybe my last chance in 2020 to wear a polo.

Between those minor tasks I decided to visit my favourite coffee place for a final medium flat white before society collapses.

Instead of the usual queue of caffeine addicts with Keep Cups out the door it was just me and the owner in the 8 square metre store and so instead of the brief hello we typically shared we had time to discuss Caronavirus and the impact to traders and the peculiar flavour of 2020 so far. The topic of working from home came up while he was frothing my milk, and he asked if I'd heard about the 5G problem, about which I assumed he meant the lack of federal investment into a reasonable fibre network for Australia would lead to excessive congestion on the wireless networks while everyone was in isolation.

No, he clarified that the 5G problem was that there would soon be antennas on every block on every street and the government was able to use the 5G frequencies to give people cancer and control their minds.

This was devestating to hear. I thought there were enough problems this year, and now I have to add to the list finding a new favourite coffee shop.

Like Riding A Bike

I went for my first bike ride of the millennium today. I felt nervous, but was pretty awesome. Riding a bike has all the advantages of walking, but twice as fast.

Never Been a Better Time to Sell

image 2046 from bradism.com

Sprawling over 3 levels this magnificent townhouse boasts a wonderful standard of living for self isolating through a global pandemic.

The mid level comprises 3 bedrooms, all with the convenience of built in wardrobes for storing extra toilet paper, and the master suite features a designer ensuite and private Juliet balcony that's well over 1.5 metres up from passers by on the street.

image 2047 from bradism.com

Loaded with extras including reverse cycle air-conditioning, security alarm, garage with auto roller door & direct internal access. A gated front courtyard slows the progress of the infected, and with Fibre to the Premise - connected by Ethernet to every room - there's no better place to work remotely or binge Netflix and wait out the collapse of society, while still being in the delivery zone of the cosmopolitan and increasingly popular Woodville Road for all your dining options.

The real wow factor of this home is the spacious family living on the upper floor. This sun drenched area is generous in proportions, perfect for gatherings of up to two people. A stylish kitchen features both intercom and dumbwaiter to receive deliveries and takeout without going downstairs. The open plan living area effortly flows out to the huge entertainers balcony that provides 180 degree views, and a perfect sniping position for targeting looters and attackers (or tipping burning oil in a pinch).

image 2048 from bradism.com

Some of Adelaide's best kept and most pristine beaches are just moments away, so if the burning city is visible through the floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows you can easily escape to the water and surrender your home and your dreams to the frenzied undead as you flee across the waves into another glorious western sunset.

Enquire now to schedule a private appointment, or register for an upcoming open home inspection via Zoom.

Going the Distance

Onkaparinga Gorge from above

It was our eight year wedding anniversary yesterday, another very normal kind of event that has come up during these very abnormal times.

Vanessa and I celebrated (after pancakes) by driving to Onkaparinga National Park for hiking and a picnic. It was an extreme - as well as enjoyable - form of social distancing. We did see on the horizon a few others out enjoying the pleasant autumn weather. I crossed Vanessa's path too, and she crossed mine, which is allowed because we are married. What she and I have and had over the past eight years is the opposite of social distancing. If we’re apart it’s typically a minimum of a sprawled out Golden Retriever, to a maximum of a table tennis table away.

2020 right now is certainly a reminder to appreciate the little things, and that’s what we’ve got, a whole bunch of little things to make this crazy timeline feel okay. If I have to distance myself from society for twelve months there’s no one else I’d want by my side.

The Organic Calendar

Back in mid-March - when days felt like weeks, and the Prime Minister's directive to stay home was echoed down from senior management - I knew I would need a way to track the coming months of isolation.

I decided to grow a beard to measure the progress of time.

I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror today and I can confirm isolation has been going for at least three days.

image 2050 from bradism.com

In my facial hair's defence, I did have to set it back an hour last weekend.

Easter Beer Hunt 2020

On Wednesday night a super moon rose above Adelaide which was supposed to herald the coming of the 2020 Easter Beer hunt. Alas due to the nature of current events I wasn't able to compete for glory on the fields of a reserve or park near someone's house after a BBQ with friends.

Fortunately I have my own backyard now and Vanessa volunteered to hide a few beers for me after dark. This was a new experience for me - single player beer hunt. I'll openly admit my proficiency in past beer hunts has been less due to my clever locating skills and more down to my speed across the ground and enthusiasm. I'm not good below my knees and I have a preference for not getting my hands too dirty.

I allowed Vanessa free reign to hide my two beers as trickily as possible, with the only condition that it was in a drinkable state afterwards. She set about outside and a few minutes later, head torch donned but no need for a basket, I was off and searching through the nooks and crannies of my new property racing only the clock and my desire for a beer.

If I'd done this hunt with Vanessa in my old townhouse's courtyard I think I would have been faster. As it turns out there is a lot of places to hide a beer in even a modest sized backyard. After I started lifting up pavers Vanessa gave me a few clues. In the end it took me over 30 minutes to find all the beers - a refreshing mental distraction from the isolation of COVID 19.

My final haul: 2 beers and a spare sprinkler head for the irrigation!

My final haul: 2 beers and a spare sprinkler head for the irrigation!

Cycles

Two weeks ago I was trying to cut a wooden skewer into pieces to fix a broken cabinet hinge so I could defrost some chicken breast while rescuing some frozen sausages that had fallen behind the freezer drawer, while simultaneously trying to make a giant salad for lunch.

My brain and handyman skills were not up to this task, given the context of so much parallel processing.
I considered myself a bad handyman before that day, and this was not improved whatsoever by the scissor-tip-shaped incision I put into the fleshy part of my left palm.

In the slowed down time between the wound appearing and the blood flowing I had time to reflect on how annoyed I felt with the universe. The COVID19 Pandemic already had me in a holding pattern - waiting patient and useless - as scientists I’ll never meet work to find a vaccine so I can go back to my important life of catching trains, pooping in the office, going to the gym and playing board games in real life. Now I was going to have a secondary period waiting patient and useless, unable to perform bodyweight exercises or ride my bike or wash the dishes until cells under my skin that I’ll never meet stitch together my muscle and flesh whole again. A cycle within a cycle.

It’s most likely you have never cut the fleshy part of your left palm, but if you have you’ll know it’s one of the hardest places on the body to bandage even if you have a wife to help you. By the time the blood clotted and the antiseptic was dry my left claw was more strapping-tape than skin. A cramped talon that, with every flex of my thumb or wrist, seemed to still be exposing the wound somewhere under there to the environment. I grumpily ate my salad. I grumpily stared at the broken cabinet. I watched the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan and empathised with the bodies being shredded at Normandy. I went to bed and slept and waited.

As they say: time heals all global pandemics, and while COVID19 is still affecting thousands in ways far worse than a cut palm at least my hand has healed enough that I can ride a bike and move the view around in Tabletop Simulator. I’m a lot less grumpy now. It took a while to cure that. It wasn’t only waiting that solved my mindset. It was, ironically, more cycles. Counter-spinning cogs. Innovating patterns for my new way of life. Finding a way to shower and feel clean on a regular basis again. Designing new workouts that didn’t need my fingers. Walking, working, washing in a repeatable routine that took the anxiety out of waiting.

I haven’t fixed the cabinet yet.

Traditions

Every year on Anzac Day, Vanessa bakes me a giant cookie to eat while we play Rummy.

This year I made a time-lapse of me eating it.

Dismayed

I could say a lot about May. There's only been six days of it so far and a lot has happened. Nothing that warrants a narrative, but I promised myself that when it got to the point in the evening where I felt like watching pointless videos on YouTube instead of going to bed (Catan strategy breakdowns for low ore boards? Really, that's better than getting a good sleep?) I would write something instead.

Despite the pandemic, our house sold. That good feeling alone has been buoying me throughout the week. We bought a Skierg to celebrate.

Haven't run out of toilet paper; still no bites on my DVD Collection on gumtree.

I picked up a basketball and shot it towards a basketball ring yesterday. It was a warm and breezy late Autumn day and the ball went swish through the net. In fact, my first four shots went swish, and each and every swish I elicited through twenty minutes of sunshine unpicked a miniature scab from my heart, which then stung after the sun set and the cold air got in under my ribs.

The bird of paradise plant in the garden flowered and I was so excited that I googled how to fertilise them, sprinkled some dynamic lifter around their base, watered it in with some pea-straw and then the dog dug it up and ate it. So instead I fertilised the lawn in a roundabout way.

I received the most amount of money I've ever been paid for something a story I wrote ($640!), but I wrote it like three years ago and it was rejected so many times, and the place that bought it hasn't actually committed to publishing it, so I'm kind of not sure if they just bought the rights to get the thing out of circulation while the world suffers through COVID19.

I broke the seal on porridge this year earlier this morning. Instead of mixing in banana I mixed through tinned apricots. It was nice, but missing something - probably banana. I believe today might actually be the first day of the year I didn't eat a banana.

Who knows what the rest of the month has in store.

What's On My Mantle

I’ve been guilty in the past of putting in a token effort performing some home maintenance in order to justify cracking a beer at the end of it. Ironically in these days of Coronavirus isolating I feel like the opposite has been occuring. Vanessa and I exhibited some proper diligence repairing a broken cupboard door today and I didn’t even touch the kristal or the dunkel in the fridge afterwards. This while it seems like most of the people I know are taking the Winston Churchill approach to this current threat to our nation - minus being in charge of anything. And also possibly the amount of bathing.

I was thinking about my lack of drinking recently, as well as the British Mass Observation diarists of the aforementioned era, and this inspired me to do some calculations on what I’ve been saving money on this pandemic. Craft beer, for one. In the twelve months before a state of emergency was declared (which, apparently, does not mean you can use that little hammer thing hanging on the bus windows) I drank quite a few craft beers and while it would not add up to a huge amount of litres it did add up to a significant amount of cash. A fresh pint of craft beer always tastes bad to me unless it costs at least thirteen dollars. So let’s call that $65 a month.

Isolation has also made it harder to procrastinate when responding to unimportant emails by going out and buying a coffee. I can still go downstairs and make a pod coffee (~80c) but at that price I’m still making a profit compared to the $4.50 for the “medium” coffee with keep cup discount I used to fork out two to three times a work week. On the downside, I do need to pay for my own milk now (~30c/coffee). I do not give myself a keep cup discount, although I have taken to using my keep cup at home to preserve the warmth in my autumn coffees all the way up the stairs and through the Zoom meeting I’m probably running late for.

There are other areas where I’m saving on costs. No public transport. No basketball participation or football games/beers. No gym costs. Yes home gym costs. I’m extending the life of my stripy polos an extra six to twelve months, and probably extending the life of my shaver even longer. Nash has gone from five Dentastix a week to about that many a month. I haven’t seen my physio since early March and I haven’t seen the dentist since 2019. Oh and I’ll also be saving at least $10K by not travelling anywhere overseas.

And yet, I’m still not drinking.

Eased

I went out and bought my first coffee in about seven weeks this morning, feeling a little bit shocked when I reached the outdoor dining already happening at 8:30am on a Monday morning. I'm still working from home, a bit too far from a little city cafe, and I had to settle on a little city-fringe cafe instead.

Look, the coffee wasn't amazing. It was on the smaller side, for a "large", and pricey at that, but I didn't complain. It was hot and it tasted like coffee and the sky was blue so I leaned against a fence near an arterial road and sipped it in the sun. And I don't know if it was responsible, but I felt like I was a little more chilled out during the morning stand up later that day. I even changed out of my North Face alpine hoody and into a stripy polo for the rest of my meetings.

Maybe we can control reality. Sometimes when I'm trying to solve a technical problem at work I think really hard about the issue and surrounding context and after a bit of Googling I find the perfect blog post for the situation . Maybe if we all think really hard about the future we want, it can happen too.

The Wave - A Reflection

I’ve written a lot about COVID19 and its impact on Bradism at a micro - down to the legume - level, but I’ve touched less on the macro. I have also been reading The Splendid and the Vile this past week which is a narrative retelling of Churchill and the Battle of Britain, sourced by Erik Larson from a multitude of personal diaries and other secondary sources. I’ve found it fascinating.

South Australia marked the end of all known cases of coronavirus yesterday (for how long, who knows) and I thought it was a good a time as any to reflect on the events of the past few months, and hope that someday perhaps a narrative retelling of Coronavirus might feature some of my words read in the audiobook in a suitably formal Adelaide accent. I wanted to remember what the new normal was before it became the new normal.

Adelaide Oval and the empty footbridge.

No football crowds on this sunny Sunday afternoon.


I flew domestically to Brisbane in early January, not fully appreciating it might be the last opportunity in a long time to stand in a packed queue at an airport; sit shoulder and knee to shoulder and knee in an aeroplane seat. I’m not sure where breastfeeding in the back row of the plane will land in the new normal, but back then I just read my book and watched the outback stretch by without a second thought.
At the hotel I stayed at with my brothers we had a stack of board games. Steve had brought Pandemic, but something we shared in our hearts meant it was the only game we didn’t touch that weekend.

From an Australian point of view, previous attempts by the world to spawn a pandemic during my existence have petered out well before they affected my life beyond something I read on a news website while drinking a smoothie, or eating cereal and yogurt. In February 2020 it became clear to me COVID19 was something different. Maybe it is South Australia, where isolation is almost like elevation, that allows a perspective different to other places in the world. COVID19 was a wave, a zerg creep spreading through the transport hubs of the world towards Australia, Adelaide. In late February in the office I was advising my team to buy sanitiser, and wash their hands. Actually I did that last year too, but in mid-March when the stores were all out and every craft gin distillery was horizontally diversifying I felt a little bit proud to see one litre tubs of sanitiser on each of my staff members' desks. Of course by that time almost all of them were working from home. On my final day in the office - March 25 - it did cross my mind that I could probably harvest a few gallons of sanitiser from the hundreds of empty desks on my level alone, to augment my income throughout the economic apocalypse which was sure to come.

The first wave broke over Adelaide that week of March. Seventeen cases, 31, 38, it seemed inevitable that the virus would run rampant, there’d be exponential growth in infections, everyone would shit blood and die, I’d never eat four bean mix again. I felt relatively safe myself. I already had exceptional hand hygiene, I protect my personal space on public transport and I keep my mouth shut when I’m walking. Back then it wasn’t as evident that surface transmissions were so potent. It was hard not to take a little delight in the available seats on the tram in peak hour, or the quietness of the gym despite knowing these were signs of circumstances that could negatively impact me and my family immensely. (Though the squat rack always seemed to be occupied regardless.)

And then the staying home intensified. For weeks all we did was stay home, other than essential trips once or twice a day to the supermarket, or Big Box Hardware, or some other shop to buy the things we'd need to continue staying home. (Plus extra trips back to the supermarket due to half the shopping list being out of stock that morning. To be fair, at the time I did unfortunately have to deal with two homes). The streets were quieter during my morning walks around the block. South Road as desolate as the toilet paper aisle at the shops. The malls were empty. The parks were empty. It felt not like everyone was staying home, but that everyone had been eradicated. Like most westerners I’m more familiar with zombie movie tropes than I am with epidemiology and while I wanted a more comprehensive understanding of the latter the day to day experience was like the former.

A highway with only a single car.

Peak hour on a Thursday morning in April.


Venturing out to the supermarket in particular felt like being a hunter/gatherer when man first picked up tools. Survival instincts flushed me with adrenaline. Free hand sanitizer flushed me with adrenaline (and sanitizer). You could trust no-one. Everyone was a carrier. Supermarket shopping had already been an all-senses experience before COVID19, satisfying my lizard brain with food and my monkey brain with bargains and pretty colours. Now it took on a new dimension, triggering gambling pleasure centres. Getting discounted steak and not having coronavirus a week later felt like a jackpot.

April turned into May and staying home became less intense, and more normal. New routines emerged. I walked thousands of steps without leaving my neighbourhood. We stopped experimenting in the kitchen and live streaming events we wouldn’t have gone to in normal times anyway. On Zoom even the managers had stopped wearing collared shirts.
Everyone else in Adelaide must have been getting used to staying home too. The new daily cases kept going down. The testing coverage expanded, hunting for the infected and coming back with nearly nothing. Somehow - with respect to the handful who lost their lives and livelihoods - in South Australia the first wave hadn’t even touched the goolies. There’s almost, almost the feeling like we missed out on the adventure. 2020 FOMO. I’m sickened and heartbroken for some of the cities I’ve had the privilege of visiting in the past, and thrilled my state has been relatively unscathed healthwise. I recognise these thoughts are irrational, survivor’s guilt, the implication I’m a bystander in the universe. But honestly I wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world this year. At least so far, it’s only May after all. Who knows what twists the remaining seven months of 2020 have in store? Maybe a second wave, the collapse of society, the rapture - dinosaurs raised from their graves, roaming the earth. That banana fungus taking out Cavendishes. I’m counting nothing out. Maybe 2021 is going to be even worse?

Play equipment covered in warning tape that has come loose.

Playground throwing off the shackles of government restrictions.


What I hope is that there’s a vaccine, we all learn a valuable lesson and all subplots are wrapped up in a satisfying way. I will settle for the world going almost back to normal, but there's more hand sanitiser everywhere and everybody else is as hesitant to shake hands with people as I am.

Whatever happens next, I’ll try to journal it.

The Blind Side

I have strong technical knowledge of multiple programming languages and application server stacks. I can make bagels from scratch. I've driven a small truck. I've gone to foreign countries, ordered food in their native language and used their train systems. I've written three full novels. I've bought and sold property.

One day I will work out how to operate Venetian blinds.

Birthday Month

Couldn't decide between waffles and pancakes for breakfast this morning.

image 2056 from bradism.com

Solution: Waffle Bowls containing mini slightly protein banana and dark chocolate Lindt bunny pancakes, served with Halo salted caramel icecream and a dash of sugar free maple syrup.

Enjoyed outdoors under the patio.

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)

Silver Linings

I visited the Nespresso store today to buy more pods to sustain me through the next few months of working from home. There was a guy standing at the door with a silver bottle of hand sanitizer on a fancy tray. He squirted a generous dollop onto my hands for me before I entered the store.

I know coronavirus is super bad, but I gotta say, that was like a dream come true.

Restrictions Training

image 2070 from bradism.com

After another stage of restrictions were lifted today I returned to the gym for some non-essential weight lifting.

On arrival, I queued outside with the other gym members and we took turns to enter. There was hand sanitizer at the door, and arrows on the floor to follow to navigate. The music on the sound system was upbeat, but I looked on distrustfully at the other gym members, who gave me exaggerated berths with mirrored looks on their faces in return.

The rower I wanted was unavailable so I had to use a weird one with no screen. I'd planned to bench press afterwards but they were out of benches. I later saw a guy with two.

Basically gym in June feels like grocery shopping in March.

My MyFitnessPal Pal

image 2071 from bradism.com

I use an app called MyFitnessPal to track what I eat. For dietary purposes, plus I like numbers and it's helpful for tracking how old some of the curries in my freezer are.

The app has a comprehensive, crowd-sourced database of foods and their nutritional information. For common stuff it's very accurate, but for more obscure brands and foods you're relying on the competency of strangers to have filled in the details.

Thus it was tonight when I scanned the barcode on a packet of imported Italian linguine we received in a gift basket, in the hopes I wouldn't need to type the carbohydrates, protein and fats in myself. The result:

image 2072 from bradism.com

At first I assumed the barcode had matched some common Japanese snack food, but after comparing the macros I realised that 1 three-legged-man-with-hat matched exactly the 100g stats of my pasta packet, and that meant somebody in Japan had at some point scanned and eaten the exact same linguine I was about to. Perhaps they too had bought a house and received it as a settlement gift from their Japanese real estate agent.

Even though I have no idea who this person was, this experience really drove home how similar we humans are despite our differences. And I felt a deep connection across the vast distance that separates us. I know they are a Japanese Brad, with their own Bradisms, they like numbers and they maybe also ate a delicious 59 day old Rogan Josh for lunch today.

Autumn 2020

My Autumn 2020 daily video compilation was almost #CancelledByCovid back in March. The videos I'd been expecting to make - nights out at the Fringe Festival, trips to the pub, the first footy game of the season, the city's transition from shorts and thongs into puffy jackets and scarves - all suddenly seemed very far away.

But as I kept filming I realised what I was recording was snapshots of my life as my society adjusted to a pandemic. The Autumn video was always going to be the season that showed the most dramatic of changes. What I ended up capturing would be a historic record of the transition to a new way of living. Which, in Adelaide, was kind of anti-climatic and the new normal turned out to be a lot of videos of trees.

The Concepts of Time

image 2073 from bradism.com
Live life like there's no tomorrow. If you don't succeed, there is always tomorrow.

Each payday brings me a fortnight closer to death.

On the bright side, there's only twelve more Tuesdays until spring.

Frosty

image 2074 from bradism.com
Seems the local graffiti artist shares my opinion about our fourth consecutive morning of less than 2 degrees temperatures.

No Jokes - Climate Change is Real

Cultural Evolution

Over the millennia, evolution has seen us progress from single celled organisms to highly intelligent creatures who know exactly the right ratio of ice, fruit, yogurt and protein powder to put into a blender for a delicious breakfast.

And yet - in what could almost seem to be an insult to all those fittest who survived - I can never resist licking the leftover yogurt from the lid of the yogurt tub despite cutting my tongue on the sharp plastic edge every single time.

You’d think the lesson I’d learn would be obvious. But what I’ve noticed lately is that, instead of stopping, I’ve adapted to use the exact right speed and force when licking the lid, resulting in all the yogurt and none of the cut tongue.

image 2075 from bradism.com

So, another win in the progress of evolution. Not such a good result for single celled organisms.

A Special Time With My Left Hand

There is no doubt that since 2008 I have had a favourite and a least favourite hand. Left has always been weaker, less outgoing, more annoying than right. I know you're not supposed to love one hand more than the other, but at times I resented left, and I think it knew it too.

Last weekend I went to the weights room at the gym for the first time in nearly three months and I may have overdone it trying to squeeze as much bench press, heavy carry and lat pull downs as possible into my allocated 45 minute window. A nagging pain in my right shoulder came on that night and it has persisted over the past ten days.

Unfortunately, you need to book your gym sessions a week in advance in these interesting times, and so I'd optimistically scheduled another weights visit for today hoping my right shoulder would be over it by then. I knew this morning it would need some more rest.

But! Maybe this was an opportunity instead of a curse. After all, left hand was still working. And it had been weak and shy for so long, perhaps some dedicated one on one time might be good for us. Like in a sitcom where two side characters get thrown into a plot together and find a common bond, perhaps I too could subvert some tropes with my left wrist for an efficient pump session on a cold Tuesday afternoon.

So we did one arm dumbbell bench press together, and single arm lateral raises together, and even planks while right hand could only watch on, hovering in the shadows. By the end of the 45 minutes I felt physically closer to left than I have in years. And right - the good sport - then proceeded to burn itself on the lid of a Creuset pot later in the evening like, yeah, that'll teach me to betray me. I'm sorry, right, but it's 2020. Sometimes men and their hands grow apart. At least until the next episode that is.

My Summer Solstice Winning Streak Comes to an End

image 2076 from bradism.com

I've been feeling rushed recently. Overwhelmed by urgency. There's so much I want to get done, but I can't seem to find the time to do it all. Maybe that's because my work day now starts the second I enable the WiFi on my phone. Or because back-to-back Zoom meetings deprive me of the brief walks and breaks I used to get between meetings. It could also be related to the 45 minute gym session limits, or 16 minute castle times. Or maybe it's because I decided greedily to borrow two library books for the same month and the due date is coming up fast.

Or maybe it's just that the days are really short.

Wintry, 2020

This week has been so cold and miserable that I bought a turnip to eat just to cheer myself up.

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