Sunday, 31 May 2015

Good Kiwi Things.

Despite the gentle ribbing and sheep jokes and taking the pi55 out of the accent (fush and chups, bro) there is a very genuine affection between Australia and New Zealand. Must go back to the ANZACs. I am forthcoming in saying that NZ is ahead of Australia in some things; Marriage Equality, environmental friendliness and, dare I say it, the Rugby.

My fella is Kiwi, and he is orright, too.

This week has been a big week, full of a few good Kiwi things.

NZ punches above its weight in terms of making good music, to the point that we will adopt some bands as our own. One of which is Crowded House. There are very few people who don't like Crowded House, or Split Enz. Such catchy and eclectic music, something for everyone there, and some of the songs are just made for karaoke nights.

On Wednesday, we went to see Crowded House frontman Neil Finn at the Recital Centre.

There was a lot of love in the room. It was Neil's birthday, and a few songs in, somebody shouted "Happy birthday" and passed a present and a card to the stage. The room erupted in a chorus of Happy Birthday. Neil, in his sheepish way, sort of smiled and shuffled his feet. Later, he became bolder, bantering with the Audience and showing a sense of humour. He played piano, played the guitar, and even trotted out a string orchestra. He even picked a member of the audience to play a few notes on the piano to accompany him.

One of my favourite songs from the set was this one. Take the time to watch the video, it is one of the most cleverly arranged songs I have ever heard.

He also did a beautiful stripped-back version of "Message to My Girl", the audience burst into applause when the first piano riffs of the song were played. I struggle not to cry when I hear this song, particularly when stripped back and heartfelt like he played it.

It was a magic night, one of the best concerts I have been to, and the Audience were on their feet afterward.

I confess to harbouring a bit of a crush; he has aged well, even better than my other ageing crush, Johnny Farnham.

The other good Kiwi thing this week:

We has a dishwasher! It is a Fisher and Paykel, and the knowledgeable of you might know F&P are (were) a Kiwi brand. The Parent company is now Haier, a Chinese company.

As far as I am concerned, the house is complete for the time being. I hate washing dishes, my talents lying elsewhere.

The weekend has been taken up with being a mock examiner for the physician exams, and thesis writin'. No rest for the wicked, etc.

Any good things for you recently?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The End Is Nigh. Masterchef.

So the end-date has been set and the clock is ticking....10/8/2015 is the due date for submission of the thesis, but I hope to get a full draft to the supervisors prior to me going to Barcelona in mid-June. I am now officially balls to the wall, trying to get it done. Goodbye weekends for the time being. I respond well to a deadline, particularly with something nice like a big trip afterward!

I am super looking forward to Barcelona. For the first couple of nights, I have booked a nice hotel with a pool so I can get over my jetlag. There is this whole thing about "earthing", getting your feet onto grass, sand or into water is very therapeutic in treating jetlag.

I also look forward to the Barcelona sunshine. Here in Melbourne, the weather has got the winter memo a bit early, and it is a bit foul. I am craving cosy knits, soups and thick socks. And, as always, chocolate

One TV show that speaks to me of winter is Masterchef. It is about the only reality show that I am able to tolerate, although I get super stressed out when the contestants stuff up or get close to time.

It is Marco week on Masterchef. Old Marco Pierre White. I actually don't particularly like him, he looks like he is acting as a baddie in a C grade drama. The "nice" words he has with the contestants are entirely unconvincing. In fact, the only time I felt he was being himself was when he told a chef (bought in for an immunity challenge) that he "hates" salmon roe and it "ruined" the dish.

We had our garage sale last weekend, and sold some stuff. I am in the process of selling some more stuff on ebay.... super interesting, I am having to measure lots of lengths. I have already had an item "bought" by a Phisher...

Perhaps induced by my deadline, the weekdays seem to whizz by very quickly. I am getting my hair did on the weekend, perhaps a bit shorter.

How do you go with deadlines?
How do you manage jetlag?
What reality shows can you watch?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Melbourne Chill. Perth. Garage Sale.

Melbourne weather, go home. You are drunk.
Seriously, the forecast maximum for today is 12 degrees. The current temperature in my workplace suburb is about 9 degrees at 2pm. I am sitting doing the PhD thing, feeling very ratty. I would dearly love to go outside and purchase some thinking fuel (ie Chocolate and chips. With coke zero as sugarfree drinks cancel out the calories of the food...right??) but I really don't want to go outside.

I am also counting the days 'til I head off to Barcelona. 34. Barcelona in June will be nice and balmy.

With the recent chill, the dog has been going stir-crazy, as she does not get walkies as frequently. She has taken to licking my partner on the back of the neck, ears and face to try and get his attention. Yet she does not seem to like to go outside when we send her out for a piddle (she sleeps and spends the day indoors, the spoiled thing).

Last week, I was in Perth at a conference. The weather was gorgeous there. I stayed in a hotel on the banks of the Swan river, and this was the view from my room at sunset. Gorgeous, huh!

Despite the enforced sedentariness of a conference, I managed to utilise the hotel gym to work up a sweat. 
I got to present my paper arising from my PhD data, my 15 minutes of fame. It was well-received. I won a young investigator prize. This is me with my prize. It is nice to be recognised by one's peers.

In Perth, I got to see some long-lost cousins, who live there. I hadn't seen them in over ten years. It was wonderful to catch up. Time flies.

But back to reality this week. The cold and the hard work. The end is close but it can be hard to maintain focus and keep faith in what you are doing. Just gotta keep at it.

Our neighbours arranged a whole-street garage sale, which is being held on Saturday. I have a lot of things I want to cull, but they are a bit too nice to put into an op-shop. My partner is the same. We will be spending our evenings price-tagging our goods.

I hope that you are staying warm and dry, wherever you are.
Do you have any tips re running a garage sale?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Turkish Get-Ups. In defence of trakky daks.

Well happy Sunday to you all!

Melbourne weather had gotten the memo regarding Autumnal weather, with sunny days but crisp mornings, interspersed with the odd bit of rain. However, it has obliged us this weekend with some mild mornings. Such mild mornings are very compatible with leaving the house early (ie 7:45 am) of a Saturday to get some exercise done.

As I think I have bored you with mentioned before, I have really been enjoying Crossfit classes. There are a lot of things I can't do in this class. Jumping onto a 20 inch box is very difficult, for example, and a bit hard on my recovering ankle. However, most exercises can be scaled down then gradually increased as your ability gets better. For instance, I started with jumping on 3 weight plates, about 11 inches off the ground. If I have a lot of jumps to do, I use only 2. I relish the improvement.

The other thing I relish is the new physical skill set. I love being able to do pull ups (even though assisted by bands) and olympic-style weight lifting. A new skill that I learned yesterday was the Turkish Get-Up. I did it without any weight in my hand, to get the movements right. Here it is when somebody does it properly

It is harder than it looks, even without a weight. I went ker-splat a few times. Then, after practice, I got the movement and did 3 in a row, each side. I still wobbled a bit but I did it.

Any complex movement that involves moving your body from flat on the ground to upright in a repeated fashion (eg burpees etc) is very good cardio, as well as working just about every other muscle in the body. These kinds of exercises were developed for the military, as these guys had to get super-fit without a lot of space or equipment. They are great even for us mere mortals!


Some people are very anti-trakky dak, and won't be seen anywhere with them. That is cool. I have been a long-time lover of the soft pant. Yet as I get older, I get vainer, and now I am after a look that is super comfortable yet nearing trendy. I need weekend outfits that take me from brekky out at hipster cafes, for walks and then, as I am now, to sessions of PhD writing and a bit of stretching during breaks.

Currently the sports luxe look is in. Trakky daks are referred to as Joggers, and some have been appropriated as workwear. I have found a couple of great pairs that can look less bogan with a bit of effort. Behold:

The denim Jacket is from Esprit, the kicks are the most expensive item in the outfit and from Frankie4. The trakky daks are Kmart, $15! Photobombing dog, provenance unknown via the Pound.
Well, I had better get back to doing my PhD writing. On Tuesday I am off to Perth for a conference. I get to present some of my research there, and I am very excited about this. I also get to see some of my Perth-dwelling cousins who I've not seen for ages, and meet up with colleagues at the conference.
I hope that your week goes well.
What have you got planned?

Are you pro trakky daks?<