Win Win


Prior to my 7 AM admission for surgery today I was advised of the requirement for a negative RAT result upon arrival. Acute awareness of this checkpoint has led to forty-eight hours of pre-admission anxiety about every throat tickle, moment of fatigue and headache (reduction of caffeine intake explains that last one).

Part of the reason the RAT felt stressful was because the hospital is far from my house, and I had to take a taxi there. Not only would a positive test delay my surgery and recovery plans, it would also cost me nearly $100 in taxi fares for the pleasure.

To mentally handle this during one of those tickling throat bouts I looked at the map and confirmed the eleven kilometre trip home was mostly along the river. If I packed an emergency breakfast and some headphones, and I was positive for Covid, I could take a pleasant morning walk home, and my sick leave was already booked. If I didn't have Covid I'd get to have my operation. This was a win win, I reasoned.

Only in 2022 would I consider either having my wrist cut into and stitched back together, or walking eleven kilometres while infected by the virus behind a global pandemic, a "win win".


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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.


Hands Away

This morning I had a 4D CT Scan. If you’re curious about the fourth dimension - it’s time. My appointment was at 8:15am and I didn’t get my hand inside the future donut until nearly 9am. Each time you do a dynamic movement with your wrist in there you have to wait ten minutes for it to recover…

One silver lining, or perhaps that should be newfangled inner-padding lining, was that I was given a futuristic face mask to wear while in one of Australia’s leading scientific research institutes. It was green on one side, and the mouth side material was apparently more absorbent which prevents glasses from fogging up. Have they been sitting on this technology for the whole pandemic? I kept the mask when I left and I tried it with my sunglasses on once after I was outside. It was a nice autumn day. My sunglasses still fogged up. My goal of wearing polarised sunglasses, a face mask, noise cancelling headphones, and a black hoodie remains a dream.

At lunchtime while my tuna and olive pasta from last night reheated I did some exercises where I practised getting onto the floor and back up again with only my left hand. I’m getting better at it. Hopefully with a couple more weeks of practising I’ll be able to get up off the floor without using my arms at all. It’s actually the getting down without arms move that’s the hardest. That’s something I definitely want to become proficient at before any future bike rides.

Deflating

I didn't like inflation when it triggered a bunch of stock market sell offs in January. I really didn't like it when I was walking around the supermarket this morning and noting how the price tag for nearly every product and service had changed since last time. Low fat, no sugar yoghurt is now $4.50. That's a 12.5% price jump! Does Covid, supply chains, and higher fuel costs truly justify such a steep increase? Can't they just reduce costs by putting even less sugar in it?

On the plus side, I have a salary review coming up.


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Summer Morning Hike

Having zero social engagements is convenient for hiking.

We did not see a single person on the trail, and only 1.3% of Adelaide has Covid...

An Autumn-like beginning.

An Autumn-like beginning.


A nice trail to follow.

A nice trail to follow.


Morning fog over a quarry.

Morning fog over a quarry.


Colourful wildflower bells.

Colourful wildflower bells.


Some summer bark textures.

Some summer bark textures.

Shaver Variant

I was supposed to be in Sydney this week, for no other reason other than to be somewhere different and maybe do some writing. I cancelled my flights last month when Omicron was looming and with the refund I got for my hotel booking I bought a new electric shaver.

Now every time I shave my face I will be reminded of not going to Sydney. And also reminded of how terrible and bad for my skin my old shaver was.

What I did on my Summer Holidays 2021 Edition

It's semi-often that I get eleven consecutive days without work. That's like an Easter, an Adelaide Cup long weekend, plus Anzac Day, and plain old regular Sunday all wrapped up.

Given this is my journal I thought it might be pertinent to repeat my previous summer break traditions of preserving an essence of those long summer days for posterity, unlike the other 354 days of the year which are abandoned in the mists of time, distance, and as usual the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain.

December 25th
Christmas morning started with a beach walk with Nash on the sands of Grange. Lunch was at Dad's with many extended family members. It was a nice time.

image 2299 from bradism.com

December 26th
First thing on Boxing Day was a hike up Mount Lofty where for the first time ever I got a car park at Waterfall Gully. After we reached the summit we sat down for some choc-raspberry-oats and yoghurt. I saw black cockatoos and sulphur crested cockatoos.

image 2300 from bradism.com

After that was a trip to the homemaker centre and big box hardware, and following a salad I set about knocking off half my break's todo list with the things I brought home. Alas, these were all the easy things like attaching sticky hooks to the shelf by the front door, and attaching a new hose head.

Finally, before the sun got too low, I rode to Alex's to meet up with Wilhem and throw a lot of tennis balls.

image 2301 from bradism.com

December 27th
The ten person household limit kicked in, and I attended a small BBQ with Josh, Claire and Timmy.

In the evening I drank a beer and started reading From Russia With Love.

December 28th
After breakfast I rode my bike to St Clair for an Albanian coffee, some more reading time next to some birds, and then I bought heavily discounted custard and rode home.

image 2302 from bradism.com

That evening I ate a sticky date pudding and played Borderlands 2 with Josh and Sam.

December 29th
It was very hot, and so we stayed inside in the dark and watched Matrix Resurrections and had a smoothie.

Later in the afternoon we drove to Aldinga for dinner and another walk on the beach. Nash tried to hunt and kill a partially submerged rock, and got bopped on her bottom by an unexpected wave. Much mirth was shared.

December 30th
Another stinking hot day where we tried to get a long walk in before breakfast, again along the Torrens.

image 2303 from bradism.com

It was around this point that another item on my todo list - Upgrade bradism.com to newer version of PHP and framework - began. I expected it to take me most of the day.

At some point I got sick of holiday software development and drank a beer while making pizzas.

image 2304 from bradism.com

December 31st
Omicron hysteria was everywhere. We went on another Torrens walk, then after breakfast to Costco to buy bulk strawberries and salad.

image 2305 from bradism.com

I did more Bradism upgrading.
In the evening I made Afghan chicken kebabs and then we rode to Semaphore, swam in the ocean, drank champagne in the dark and then rode home.

image 2306 from bradism.com

January 1st
I fixed my flat tyre. The Bradism Upgrade efforts continued. Vanessa made me a mousse cake.

image 2307 from bradism.com

January 2nd
We went walking on the beach in the morning. I forget which beach.

image 2308 from bradism.com

Later in the afternoon I strapped a Bluetooth speaker to my handlebars, told Spotify to play radio based on Don't Stop Believin' and Boston's More than a Feeling. I rode to Glenelg for another ocean beer, and watching the sunset at the Unit with Gus and Timmy.

image 2309 from bradism.com

January 3rd
Invigorated, I slow cooked a pork leg for eight hours and set about trying to finish as much of the second half of my todo list. I ate pulled pork for dinner. The Bradism upgrade continued...

It was a nice break.

Greenway to 2022

There I was, beer in hand, half-submerged in the ocean and watching the last light of sunset paint the sky red. Tired but satisfied.

Halfway through the return ride my back tyre got a puncture. I had to wait at a train station with a slightly crazy stabbing victim who'd just left the emergency department. I wheeled my bike onto the train and put my mask on.

If there is better symbolism to wrap up 2021 than getting a flat when you're halfway home, rising hospital case numbers, and being forced to wear a mask for the rest of the year, I don't know what it is.

I Quit

It's time to yeet another year and I wanted to reflect on it before my memories become unreliable and I have to query some future voice assistant to learn how I was feeling at times in the last 12 months.

2021 was a year that went both fast and slow, like when you orbit a clock around the Earth at high speed, and then you check it afterwards and it says it's 2022 but everybody around you looks like it's 2020 still. It sounds messed up, but it's a good answer when people ask "where did the time go?"

2021 was in a lot of ways a year of giving up. And I don't feel smug for announcing in January that the pandemic was only going to get worse. Mutate nine tames, shame on you; mutate fifty times, a shame for all of us.

The theme of giving up shouldn't be construed as giving in. Giving up can be a good thing, like giving up chocolate, or social contact... I mean, social media...

I've achieved a lot in 2021, my work life alone is testament to the fact that this year has not flown by, as I only started my consultant role eleven months ago so there's no way I could have been doing it for years (even if full time working from home means you can fit three work days into every 24 hours). But it's true, my first quit at the start of 2021: I left my job of six years. That's two years longer than I owned my VK Commodore.

I gave up Age of Empires II. It was a time consuming folly that I burnt a lot of evenings on trying to recapture my youth. Ultimately I think this was a success, because I wasn't very good at Age of Empires when I was young either. So I'd classify this as "Won and Done".

I gave up on flying. By the end of 2019 I flew so much I took it for granted that I could buy a ticket and go anywhere if I ever wanted to. 2021 was the first year I didn't get on a plane since 2005. At some points during the year even seeing a plane in the sky was a surprising experience. I hope I will fly again. There's not that much I haven't already seen between Port Broughton and Port Elliot.

I gave up Netflix, and BBL, and the idea of watching television and movies in general. Now when I watch television it's probably because my hamstring tendon is inflamed, or because drinking a beer is better when slippery men are bashing into each other in pursuit of a football, or watching NBA socially, or if there's a movie that has a story I want to hear the end of. Other than that I will stare at things on my tiny giant phone thank you very much.

I came real close to giving up Lego. I packed away most of my sets and told my brother I would send the boxes back home with him after Christmas. Then I thought about making a photo series about giving up Lego forever, and after clicking a few pieces together I realised maybe I wasn't ready to surrender this part of my youth. I did reposition my pirate ship so it's not visible in the mirror during Zoom calls though.

I gave up basketball and weightlifting, and I gave up having a bicep tendon that attaches to my labrum. These things are - or were - connected. Health and fitness remains important to me, but I have to concede being strong and hitting corner 3s if I want to stay healthy and fit long term. Who knows what this will look like in 2022. Pilates and riding/hiking probably. At least those can all be done during lockdowns.

All of these things make 2022 seem very exciting, with the long, grey cloud of coronavirus obviously still diffusing the rising sun. As I pass the midpoint of the life expectancy of an 80's born Australian male I will exist with a refined and streamlined lifestyle, set of habits, and functions. I know what I can do with my life, and what I can't do as well. Determined and focused, I should really excel at quitting a whole bunch of additional things in 2022.

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