2020

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

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

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

Starting with the most important thing...

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

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

image 2129 from bradism.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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.


What We did on our Barossa Holiday

After months of not travelling to somewhere warm over winter I decided we really needed to leave the house for a few days, and once Nash had somewhere warm and distant to sleep Vanessa and I went to the Barossa for 48 hours of intense relaxation.

Neither of us are into wine, but one of my two criteria when finding somewhere to visit was that it had a fireplace. And that's what I found in a cottage in Tanunda. Ironically we were lucky that our first day was a perfect spring preview of 25 and sunny, before freezing showers and cloudy skies gave me all the excuse I needed to pile logs onto a roaring fire.

August 29

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Our trip started in Kapunda, to kick off our holiday with a visit to a country bakery for a country Cornish pastie, and to watch the locals with their big buckled belts and cowboy hats also enjoy Cornish pasties.

The Kapunda bakery eclair was also generously proportioned.

image 2094 from bradism.com

Next stop was Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park, one of the only places in the Barossa you can go for a decent walk without dealing with the monotony of grapevines and no sidewalks. The paths in the park weren't particularly friendly after a week of rain and little sun. While skimming puddles I did land on my arse, but it was sunny and there were lots of birds, so I didn't mind too much.
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We checked into our accommodation, then walked up the Tanunda main street, drank a coffee in the sun and shared a muffin. Dinner was two generous serves of Malaysian food. We watched a Polish movie and went to bed.

August 30

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Day two we got out for a walk before the rain started, visiting the Historic Goat Square (a sign we couldn't help but follow, unlike the sign for Historic German Farming Museum) and I ate an egg muffin with a hashbrown inside it. As photographed here by my phone's "Food Mode".
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The rain and wind chased us home, so we settled in for one of our favourite cottage pastimes - Rummy King. I had planned to spend some time at a local brewery, but after visiting and considering the proximity of their wood fire versus ours, I bought a six pack for sampling and brought it to the cottage instead. We lit the fire and I finished my book while drinking a stout in the toasty warmth. Holiday feelings accomplished.
image 2098 from bradism.com

image 2099 from bradism.com

Shortly before sunset the rain stopped and I wandered up the Heysen Trail a little way so that I could go for a decent walk adjacent to the monotony of grapevines.
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August 31
On our final morning we woke early to visit the Barossa Sculpture Park, mainly for the cloudy view of the surrounding plains from Mengler's Hill. No offense to the sculptors. The eagle head was my favourite.

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Although I have a soft sport for Poort.
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We drove back into town for our final meal, delicious porridge and pancakes that Vanessa and I both had halves of.
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Finally it was time to meet the second criteria for my next holiday - Mini Golf with Dinosaurs at Barossa Bowland. It was a high quality course, well maintained with challenging holes and featuring dinosaurs. My ten year old self would have loved this place, and I would have beaten him easily at mini golf.
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Once the mini golf was over we spent our last dollars on the basketball game juniour, where our holiday ended perfectly with equal scores after three rounds.
image 2106 from bradism.com

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.


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Birthday Month

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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