luckycanuck: (Mr Strong)
It has been a busy weekend.  I was up early on Saturday when Renaissance Priest came by to pick me up to help him move.

We managed to get a sofa bed into the van, but to do so we had to get it through a gate.  Rather than put it down and fiddle with it, I convinced him that we could do a clean and jerk with it.  From carrying it, using the same motion as in the clean and jerk, we managed to get it higher than the fence and kept it there as we walked through the gate.  That and some other lifting was my improvised workout for the day.

We wound up just outside Sydney picking up a heavy old desk before driving all the way back to Young in our rented van, the largest vehicle I have ever driven.  It didn't have a massive horn to warn everyone to get out of your way, but you can't have everything.  It also had manual transmission and I managed to only stall it once.  I also managed to keep an even temper towards the end of the evening when he and his mother in law were in the van all the way to Young for hours while fatigued after being up since early morning and packed into the cab of a moving van with two people who were talking a lot.

This morning I was up at 5:00am to get the van back to Canberra.  Immediately I got home, picked up my gear, and was off to my fire brigade assessment.  The theory exam wound up with us discussing the answers with the assessors and we marked our own tests, so everyone got 100%.  It's not meant to be an exercise in memorisation they said.

There was going to be a prescribed burn, but it was called off on account of rain.  We did demonstrate our skills in setting up hydrants, rolling and unrolling hoses and working with pumps, and operating the radios including spelling our names using the phonetic alphabet.  (For the record: Lima, Uniform, Charlie, Kilo, Yankee, Charlie, Alpha, November, Uniform, Charlie, Kilo.)

The burn will be done some time soon, and provided I don't run off the fireground in a panic, I will qualify as a bush firefighter.

Now I'm exhausted.
luckycanuck: (Default)
Ok. First the links.

Click for links and pics )
So although things in the gloom department have been going a lot better recently, this weekend there was a bit of frustration at being lectured on things I should be doing.

Fired Up

Nov. 25th, 2011 11:27 pm
luckycanuck: (Default)
I had my first day of Rural Fire Brigade training on Wednesday and came home with temporary firefighting gear that will do until I can get properly fitted gear.



There was also a presentation on grass fires and tactics that go with fighting them.  Keep one foot in the black we were told, so if there is a sudden change in wind direction you won't get caught between a fast moving grass fire and unburnt fuel.  Also, wear your gear.  All of your gear, all of the time.  There was a video recounting the story of an Oklahoma firey who went too fast towards a fire, trying to get on top of it before it could spread.  He wasn't wearing all his gear and he got into a bad position by trapping himself on the fire side of a barbed wire fence between the flank of the fire and heaps of dry grass.  When the wind changed, he was caught between the fire and the fence, and without his gear he was burned badly enough that he died the next day.

So yesterday I did a workout whilst wearing my gear, including my helmet.

YW: Row 400m, run 400m, 20 kettlebell swings, 2 flights of stairs farmers walk w 15 kg in each hand, 10 burpees - 5 rounds.  I call it "Fired Up."  I got some funny and occasionally disapproving looks from people, but then I thought "would you rather I DIDN'T do this?"

My studies are going fine, and I'm most of the way through the Cert III textbook.  This part of my qualification shouldn't take long.

NBS, after languishing for ages, has now gotten a sort of takeover offer.  They aren't proposing to buy up the company's stock.  They want to buy all the assets and then a dividend can be paid to shareholders.  With this, I'm out.  I've been trying to get out, but with the stock price jumping 25% today I will be able to get more for my shares than I would have if I hadn't cancelled an order five minutes before the market opened this morning.  I don't trust management not to screw up the sale or to pay the shareholders the proceeds.  I would trust them to burn up the cash on themselves, however.  Luckily, I have held the shares long enough to vote against the directors up for election and their pay increases.

VMG now has options on the market, and in addition to the ones I was granted, I bought more.  An announcement of the terms of sale of a subsidiary is imminent, and it should mean a large cash infusion for the company.  This should be reflected in an increased share price, and a magnified increase in option price given the lower price compared to the shares.  I'll sell these after that announcement comes through or when the share price recovers and circumstances are advantageous.

Off to an ordination tomorrow for Renaissance Priest.  Also Ginger Harpist is leaving.  I don't like the atmosphere around her now that her guy is living here, but they move out tomorrow and the kettle will remain plugged in.  Our household BBQ is going ahead, technically, but only Roxy and Esky have people coming.  With the ordination in Goulburn and another party that a number of friends are already committed to, I thought I would have a better time elsewhere.  There will be another party, perhaps on Australia Day like earlier this year, in the new year once the new arrivals are settled.

I did some media preparation for Black Dog Pushups in Canberra, which will likely be done next week provided I am fit.  I won't do as many as in Sydney, but I will still do a lot.  I will be contacting local TV, radio, and newspapers ahead of time, and Tweeting the day before to a number of politicians and sports teams in the hopes of getting it to go viral.  I also received my Black Dog Pushups business cards (and consulting business cards, but BDP is more interesting in the short term.)

I was also asked at a former work function on Wednesday night if I would be interested in offering group training sessions during sitting weeks in the morning or in the evening.  These former colleagues, passing the hat around, could be my first clients.

There are now four jobs that I am being put forward for.  I rang the agency that set me up with the two "you're too political" job interviews and mentioned how much this bothered me.  In a round about way, I asked if there was any point in looking for any public service jobs.  I probably will (this is Canberra) but my estimation of the institution is low right now.

Also, running is fun.  Running in the rain is more fun.  Running in the rain when you cannot possibly get any more wet is awesome fun.

Update

Oct. 10th, 2011 11:42 pm
luckycanuck: (Mr Happy)
Another review post.

Investing: There seems to be more confidence in the market now, and some of the stocks that people were shorting are now on their way back up.  I like to imagine that the people who were pushing the price of my shares down are now scrambling to close their positions and losing money.  Aurora, Billabong and ERA are gaining momentum, and I've got orders out to pick up more as I think they seem to have turned a corner with plenty of buyers waiting in the wings.  Service Stream looks like it has been oversold and I picked up more today now that there is finally support, and I got more Eureka last week.  It seems drastically undervalued.

Gym: I managed a workout on Friday that involved 25 calories of rowing, 25 marine pushups, 25 pullups, and 25 burpees repeated 6 times.  It took me 52 minutes and I had a real thousand yard stare going from the burpees.

Pushups/Gloom: I've also been doing large numbers of pushups on a regular basis so I can get freakishly good at them.  The idea of taking some time next year and doing Pushups Across America to raise money for charity is gaining steam.  I think I may have found a charity that might be suitable for this project of mine.  It's called To Write Love On Her Arms and it is a group that tries to fight depression by setting up intervention programs and funding crisis hotlines.  Apparently they are quite switched on, and they have contacts and chapters all over who may be able to help me out too.  It's early on and I would have to do a lot of investigating, but it might be especially appropriate for me.  Pushups, and working out generally is a great help for me when I get the gloom.

Church: To Write Love On Her Arms is a vaguely Christian charity.  It chooses not to identify itself that way because a lot of people find the term alienating (I can well understand that) and they have discontinued links with some questionable Christian groups some time ago, but the founder is personally religious as I am.  It has been a long time since I felt particularly religious (or even spiritual) and in the year to date I've only been to church for services twice, and even that is contingent on counting my attendance on Easter Sunday at an airport chapel for fifteen minutes before my flight in Orlando.  I really haven't felt like it.

On Sunday I got up early and drove up to Young because Renaissance Priest's daughter was being baptised.  It all went very well, the sermon given by a priest I know in Canberra was excellent and was all about a very difficult passage (those are so often the best), and given the circumstances and the atmosphere, I was glad to be there.  It was the first Eucharist I've had since Ash Wednesday.  I'm not going to be a regular at church all of a sudden, but it was good to be back.

Rugby: On Saturday I donned a Wales jersey and watched the Wales/Ireland match in an Irish pub.  There was me and one other red shirt in a sea of green, but luckily rugby is the kind of game where you can do that without getting glassed.  In fact, if I could have faked a Welsh accent I could have had half a dozen drinks bought for me after Wales won.  If I had been wearing England gear I doubt I would have been as well received.  People really don't like England.  I think it's excessive.

Friends: I wound up meeting a couple of guys at the pub, one of whom is an old friend of Helga (small world) and had a couple of drinks with them.  I've not been much for going out for drinks for quite a while, but I felt up to it this weekend.  It was as though I had a lot of mental energy and could stand going out after the Wallabies/Springboks match (or maybe I was just in a very good mood given the result.)  I've not been out for drinks with the guys for a long time.  I've not even had "the guys" for a long time.  That's not to say these guys are the guys, but for part of the weekend they were.  We wound up out at a bar in the city that had an overabundance of fake tan and ridiculous hair on excessively muscular wankers, and the "I want to be a reality tv contestant" women to match.  Normally that atmosphere would have sent me into an aspie tailspin, but for some reason I had a good time.  I really can't account for it.
luckycanuck: (Default)
New exercises were discovered today.

There was doing clean and press with kettlebells in both hands simultaneously, then putting them down and doing a pushup over them.  There was also lying on the floor with a 15kg bag on one shoulder, then getting up to a standing position while keeping the bag on the shoulder.  Good for core strength (but did inflame the twinge slightly.)

TW: Rowing 2km as a warmup then trying out new things with kettlebell fun and weighted bags, then burpees, then chest contractions and pushups done in turn in sets of 10.

I have to find a doctor or dentist or mayor or judge or lawyer or police officer to sign off on my Canadian passport application.  It's kind of annoying.  I know plenty of MPs and Senators but no Mayors.  If I had to I could probably get a Cabinet Minister to act as a guarantor, but that won't do.  Not to worry.  A former housemate is a lawyer and I'm sure he will help out.  Soon I will be able to get in and out of America without paying the visa waiver fee that Australian's have to pay, and I can enter the country of my birth using something other than a Australian passport.  People always tell me it's important to have two passports if you can.  For me, it's not an especially big deal, but if it will help I'll do it.

I think there will be a lot of gym this weekend, but I also think Renaissance Priest is being ordained as a deacon in Goulburn this weekend so I will have to go to that if I can.  It could have been me, but it's better that it's not.  Also, it turns out that he and his wife are going to be parents soon, which is good news.  All of it just seems to fit, which is something I've not been feeling recently.
luckycanuck: (Default)
... of why I'm neither a politician nor a priest.

I was at church this morning having been invited by Renaissance Priest, and was reminded of being back in Mackay on the campaign.  I was surrounded by people that I would not choose to associate myself with for fun and whom I had little in common with.  Many of the people at church could have been interchangeable with the geriatric hens from campaign HQ.  I had no interest in making small talk or in socialising with any of them.

(Ironically, the reading today was about extending kindness not just to people who can do things for you in return, but in being there for the sick, the destitute, the oppressed, and the lonely.  I have no qualms with that.  But the Bible is strangely silent on extending kindness to the annoying, the petty, the busybodies, and the passive agressive.)

I do like church, and I do like politics, but the socialising that is expected in both can very easily get on my nerves.  If I am at church alone or with people I know and trust and like, or if I am working on something political under the same circumstances, I am fine.  But I haven't got the wherewithal to do it on a regular basis and on demand the way a priest or a politician is expected to.

So it's probably best that I didn't become either.

I did enjoy having lunch with RP and his wife and the rector from this morning though.

And I enjoyed a long sweat in the sauna that seems to have helped the crick in my back.  Perhaps tomorrow I will be back to running up mountains.
luckycanuck: (Kokoda tractor)
Jeans were bought today.  I managed to find a pair that fit well in the waist, and were loose enough in the legs and elsewhere to accommodate the rest of my frame.  And the odd thing was it was in Harris Scarfe.  A discount retail place selling jeans for under $30.  So I now own jeans and I didn't have to fund the international cartel of denim artisans who think jeans should be worn by people with skinny chicken legs who look like the singer in a lame emo band.  I would have bought two pairs, but they only had one in my size.  Still, HOORAY!

I had though about going to the gym, but after sleeping in and shopping and picking up some fruit and veg (I really need to expand my Lent cooking repetiore) I still felt some leftover fatigue.  I did, however, walk into Kingston to view the Skyfire fireworks and to have the last veggie burger at Brodburger.  There was a 30 minute wait for burgers at the little red caravan, but it was worth it.

Renaissance Priest was there with his wife and in laws and we watched the sky above the lake being lit up, some local ducks paddling away in a panic, and some local underage bogan teenagers getting drunk.

Tomorrow perhaps I will run.
luckycanuck: (Default)

Click here for the thoughts of Whingy McWhingington )
Ok. Career whinge complete for now.  But there are other aspects to this which will follow.

I had some vegetarian BBQ today with Renaissance Priest.  You can make good burgers with chickpea patties, haloumi, salad, hommous and tzatziki.  They even taste good when you are eating with a nerdy, black clad, greasy haired, wispy bearded software engineer who doesn't realise it's kind of creepy when he follows people around talking to them, and doesn't realise that an invitation to the Collaroy Castle is meant for the people the inviter has actually met before rather than everyone in the room including said software engineer.

No gym workout today, but I did go for a nice long sauna to relax and hopefully sweat out the sore throat that felt worse this morning.
luckycanuck: (madmen)
The wedding was long.  Both couples take their liturgy seriously and both are very much into church music so anything that could be included was included.  There was a sung eucharist (so the Sanctus went on for ten minutes) and very long hymns (up to eight verses I think.)  The whole show went on for nearly two hours.  It was the most avowedly religious wedding I have ever been to, which was perfectly appropriate given the religious inclinations of Renaissance Priest and Mrs Renaissance Priest.  I've always been a bit baffled by secular couples who want to be married in a traditional looking church but ask "can you, like, not mention God, at all?"

I enjoyed it though it left me rather hungry.  Luckily, cake (quite good and made by the father of the bride) and champagne was had right after the service rather than at the reception.

The duty I had volunteered for involved driving the bridesmaids from the hotel to the church to the photos to the reception to the hotel again and back to the reception.  For this I was assigned to a 1979 Mercedes 230.  It takes a while to get used to driving any new car, and the fact that the accelerator was in a bit of an awkward spot and the fact that I was driving a car with ribbons coming from the top of the doors to the hood ornament on suburban streets meant I didn't set any land speed records.  Still, I do get looked at funny when driving a car that is nearly as old as I am.  It was cool, but now I'm back to my not at all flashy Magna.

After dropping the bridesmaids off at the hotel for them to fix themselves up for the reception, I parked around the corner when the heavens broke and curtains of rain began to fall.  I ran to get into the hotel, but the front of my suit was pretty heavily soaked.  The bridesmaids invited me in and one of them proceeded to dry off my trousers off with a hairdryer and a towel.  Errr... hello stranger.

The reception went very well.  There was a pretty young crowd and no embarassing drunk uncles or racist aunts were in attendance.  The mother of the bride sang excerpts from Fiddler on the Roof and Edith Piaf, and I had a chat with a female priest during which I tried not to vent too much about my frustrations with the selection process for priests.  (Abridged version: How can I have any confidence in a process or an organisation that apparently takes no interest in whether or not I actually become a priest?)

I wasn't up late.  Some of the revellers were talking about going out afterwards (including a Tongan bouncer who knew Renaissance Priest and I whilst he was also doing theological studies towards ordination.  He looks like any heavily built polynesian bouncer, but is in fact about he most soft spoken and gentle guy you could ever meet.)  I was home just after midnight, and managed to doze a bit in the morning before Cinnabunny came by for tea and pictures of Kokoda.

A couple of afternoon drinks and a long chat about a variety of subjects and eventually dinner was had with Gundachick.  Tonight will be a pretty early night I think.  Perhaps I will make every night this week an early night (i.e. in bed by midnight.)

I've spent a great deal of the last 36 hours surrounded by women.  Well, I do seem to have a lot more female friends than male friends.
luckycanuck: (madmen)
I'm going to spend the day driving bridesmaids around Canberra.  I've been told they are good looking, and if they aren't well you can forget about it.  I won't be lied to.  I was promised good looking bridesmaids, and good looking bridesmaids I shall have!

Renaissance Priest is getting married.  He and I went through the vocations process together, and he is on course for ordination.  I think he fits well into the priest role and for that matter into the married role.

I spent years assuming I fit the married role and in fact trying to fit myself into the married role, but it never came naturally to me.  Even when I was engaged it wasn't natural.

Overall I think marriage is a wonderful thing.  People close to me (like my parents who have been married since 1974) have given me a pretty good impression of the institution.  But over the past couple of years I have come to wonder if it fits me.

Trying to find a role has been tough.  I spent years trying to do it but after 32 years of looking I still haven't found one.  Career roles, personal roles, the question of identity still remains unanswered.

Enough.  I'm off to pick up my BMW.
luckycanuck: (Default)
TW: Another dry run at the 300 workout, this time done with slow and deliberate repetitions. It's takes longer but the extra work and strain should make it easier when I do it for real. For some reason the fire exit was open in the men's changing room when I got back, with a clear line of sight to the car park. A good reminder to wrap a towel around myself when walking to the shower.

I had dinner tonight with Renaissance Priest (so named because he has had a lot of varied jobs in getting to this point) and his fiance. RP and I went through the vocations process together a couple of years ago. He and I were the token young guys in the group. I was 30, he was 24. The next youngest was in his 40s. While I didn't go forward towards the priesthood, he did. He's a natural with this.

They are getting married in January. (I'm driving three bridesmaids around, and I'm told they're good looking. They had better be.) Until then they are living together in the old rectory at St Paul's. Officially, she is living in the rector's spare room until they are married. This is the cover story to avoid the disapproval of nosy busybodies in the parish. Because as we all know, when you are ordained to any clerical office, you give up your private life. Anything the clergy do is the business of every chattering parishioner. So what if they've been engaged for over a year and are getting married in about a month? We can't have them living under the same roof now can we? End sarcasm.

I ate plenty which is good, because I only realised whilst walking to my car that tomorrow I am having another round of dental surgery. Bring on the implant. I'll have to have a workout in the morning before heading off and I'll take a day away from the office.

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