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.


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


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.

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.


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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.

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.)

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

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