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