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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Friday, 30 September 2005

Happy Birthday Damien!

I hope you have a great day, sweetie! :)

I love you!

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

功夫 - Lesson Two

I had my second gōng fu 功夫 class last night, and I'm feeling sore.[1]

It's so much fun!! We did the basic drills from last week, then a little bit of "monkey" style gōng fu, one of the bā guà 八卦 "eight diagrams" animal styles. The idea with animal style gōng fu is to break old human habits by moving like a different animal -- monkey, tiger, snake, dragon, crane, bear and so on. It's probably where "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" comes from too, so I expect I should be able to fly by the end of the year.

Still waiting for my employment package -- it should be in the mail tomorrow, and I will probably start next Monday. It's so hard to just wait! Once I'm working, I'm getting my own bank account and credit card (we will still keep the joint one of course, but it's nice to have some "secret" money, especially around Christmas and birthday times). If everything is timed properly I will get a home theatre system. I've seen, and want, a Sony with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital/DTS, and it is end-of-stock at Argos so it's half price: £150, which sounds like a lot, but it retails elsewhere for £299 so it's a pretty decent piece of equipment. I just hope it's still there when I'm able to buy it!

I don't need that much stuff, really, but a decent sound system is high on the list. I listen to music whenever I can, and at the moment we've only got the crappy little speakers on this Toshiba Satellite laptop. Music relaxes, soothes, makes the environment that much more pleasant.

I also see that in my absence Danielle got online and posted an entry. Well I'd just like to say that contrary to popular belief I don't actually hog the laptop at all. Sure, I'm on it 80% of the time. Sure, I haven't given her a login. Sure, I lock it in the cupboard when I go away[2]. But does that really constitute "hogging", I ask you?

[1] If you noticed that the hanzi for gōng was different from last time, you're very observant! Looking at a Chinese dictionary, there are two characters for the syllable, and I think it's 功 rather than 工 for martial (i.e. fighting) gōng fu. Actually, gōng fu really means any skillful art that has taken time to master -- did I mention that last time? So that a master chef could be a gōng fu master, or a master painter, and so forth. So I guess I'm really studying to become a gōng fu wǔ shù master[3]! In like 20 or 30 years that is.

[2] Nope, that's not even remotely true. But colourful!

[3] Even the word wǔ shù 武術 has different-but-related pronounciations and meanings. Like that, it means martial arts, but pronounced with a rising then falling tone it is wú shù 無數, meaning "innumerable". And if the first tone is high then it becomes wū shù 巫術, Chinese magic.

PS. Yes, I love all this traditional Chinese stuff. The language is so tricky, completely different to English but just as full of nuances and innuendo. I'd love to do a language course for a couple of years, if only so I could understand what they're saying on Serenity and Firefly! But until then I've got the Internet, and a self-paced course I bought whilst back in Melbourne, so I can at least get a head start.

PPS. And yes, it's only after gōng fu that I get so obsessive that I have to look stuff up. So it's only once a week that your browser will get this punishment! Can everyone see the hanzi 漢字?

something to laugh at

i've been looking at the abc website, and found this site that i thought mum and dad especially will like, this is the link to the 100 most misspelled english words
while you are there have a look at the poem, just click on the word chaotic or spiteful. that will save me from printing it up to take with me :)

The Family Bandwagon

The Family Bandwagon
Heya Guys,
Well this is my first contribution and I am glad to finally be able to, Glenn has gone to Kung Fu so the laptop is finally free! :) This is such a fantastic forum to keep up to date with what everyone is doing, and I'm sad to say that as soon as we have an income my first purchase is going to be a family bandwagon T-Shirt! The design rocks Damien! :)
Oh and a big happy birthday!
Things are going well here, slow but good. Glenn should receive his employment documentation in the mail tommorrow, which will contain a start date.... Finally! sheesh the employment process takes so long here! And my dream job Technical Project Lead has been put on hold for up to 3 months *sigh* but my recruiter informs me that I am first on the list when the position becomes available, in the mean time I am chasing up an Informix DBA contract to bring in some mulla.
The weather here is finally starting to behave like it was rumored to be in Melbourne, windy, sunny then rainny it is much more fickle than melbourne's weather. But the people are fantastic, very friendly, a strake difference to what you incounter in London. It's constant amazement how close everything is. We were enquiring the quickest way to get to Bath on the weekend, and we were informed that it would be quickest and cheapest to fly. I'm thinking do they do frequent flyers over here. Everything seems to be available via a quick flight whether it be France, London, Germany etc....
Okay guys! hope everyone is healthy and happy.
cheers Dee xoxox

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

Adelaide, getting fit, rest and relaxation

Hi all. We're having a great time here in Adelaide. We travelled to Victor Harbour on Thursday and walked along the beach to the shops to buy tea, then returned. That completed our week 1 walks. Friday we walked up the Bluff (800m with some very steep sections) then drove to the causeway for a gentle ride on a horse drawn tram across to Granite Island. We walked around the island (about an hour) then drove through the rain to check out Cape Jarvis. We watched the ferry leaving for Kangaroo Island but didn't find any where to eat so we drove north through more rain to Mclaren vale. Eventually arrived at Damien and Cheryl's aboout 4.30. That covered two walks for week 2.
Saturday we all walked to the Organic foods festival. Had some tasting, sipping, etc before our walk home. (That covered two more walks for week 2) We were surprised to meet Fred and Coral Davies while we were there. They were demonstrating the cold pressed flaxseed oil, an important source of Omega 6.
Sunday we watched Damien's Iaido class. Afterwards we went to see Hahndorf in the rain. Very touristy.
Monday we went on a Barossa Valley winery tour. We visited a toy factory, dried fruit factory, had lunch and then four wineries. Last night we visited Damien's boss's parents for drinks and a chat.
Today is for relaxation. Tomorrow we'll head for home. We have enjoyed our visit. Thank you Cheryl and Damien. Next holiday will be Canberra. I bought a tee shirt here to put a transfer on. Damien said I can buy the transfer paper at Big W. Dayna can you tell me more about what you would use.
Seems like we have the fun and yard work yet to get done. Since we're starting on the kitchen, that shouldn't be a problem.

Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Health, exercise, and kicking some ...!

Well I just got back from gōngfū, and I love it!

I'm doing a 4 week beginners course, which cost £25 and is 1½ hours on a Tuesday night. It's held in a room in a gym, so there weren't any weapons on the walls like the last place I trialled kungfu in Fitzroy/Collingwood, but was nevertheless what I was looking for -- a combination of traditional training methods, both external (strikes, kicks, physical stuff) and internal (qìgōng, tàijíquán). The sifu seems to know a bunch of stuff as far as I can tell, which isn't saying much!! But we will apparently touch on the animal styles, "bagwa" (that's how it was pronouced, don't know what it is), and all sorts of stuff.

The beginners course was pretty popular, too, with around 30 people turning up. But they only run the course once or twice a year, and it's the only way to get into the "full" class, so perhaps it's no wonder. I guess we will see how many people stick around through the 4 weeks, and also how many want to join the full thing. (I'm pretty sure I will, so I hope there's not a limited number of places or anything.)

The other thing that I find pretty amazing, and very cool, is that there are no membership fees ... at all! Most martial arts will charge something, sometimes quite a bit, but this one only charges £20 a year, and that's for insurance and licensing!! And they give you a nice little record book for your advancement through the ranks. The uniform and any other supplies are bought separately, but that's usually the case with other martial arts too.

This is really great -- I can do the course, sign up for the full class, and then think about joining the gym (for around £13 a week -- pretty expensive, but that covers all classes, all equipment and access to the pool, sauna and spa). At the moment I'm thinking that I will go straight to the class from work, which will give me a bit of time to have a swim or some other relaxed exertion beforehand. Of course, I haven't heard when I'm meant to start work yet -- they want a bank statement with my current address, which is getting sent out to me this week hopefully, before they can continue with the process. So I'm still going to interviews just in case -- I don't expect the bank job to fall through, but it's nice to cover all bases.

We had our walk this morning too. I don't think we're doing too much at once (thanks for the concern however, Damien ;-)) Rather, we're doing the challenge sort of, and doing the walk-jog-walk schedule in the morning definitely. They overlap, rather than adding up. Where the challenge says "15 minute walk, four times a week" the walk-jog-walk fills in the details with "stretch, walk casually for 5 minutes, walk briskly for 10 minutes, walk slowly for 5 minutes, stretch".

So now, of course, I'm tired, but pumped up too. I'm sure it will wear off soon, and I'll drag myself off to bed!

(Today's post was brought to you via the magic of the Character Map. If things look funny, it's your computer, not my irresponsible use of augmented letters. Hey, I could've used hanzi instead! **Glenn does quick google for Chinese characters ** 工 "gōng" 夫 "fū", and 气 "qì" 功 "gōng". Heh, lets see your browser handle that!!)

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Free DVDs and exercise.

Hi all,

Looks like thanks to my friends at www.telstrabluelounge.com.au, we've got 5 new DVDs to watch - I won a competition and got Ray, Finding Neverland, The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby and Sideways.. not bad I say :)

We've also finished our first week of the exercise challenge.. we made it, although only just. I tend to walk after work, basically doing a big loop on my way home. Of course it used to be a half hour loop, and now it needs to be a 45 minute one so the loop is getting bigger each week :) Cheryl seems to walk more before work, or on her way to work. How is everybody else going? Getting through it?

Monday, 19 September 2005

Well done Glenn

Congratulations to Glenn who now has a job. I'm sure you all keep in touch better than I do so probably know. Dad and I are going to Adelaide probably leaving on Thursday. looking forward to seeing Damien and Cheryl again. Dad is using lots of energy sanding and painting but has only found time for two walks. I'm worse since I've only done one walk but I'm sure we'll catch up with Damien and Cheryl's influence.
I went to Melbourne with Carolynn for a calithenics competition yesterday. Her team got three Highly commended's, against ten other teams.
Nana is going to Geelong today for a Spinner's conference. She'll be back Wednesday to do the Foxie feeding.
I'll ring you tonight Dayna. I've been thinking about you in your empty house. Did Tim bring some furniture?

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

6 week fit-for-summer challenge

Hi all,

As part of WWFM, they have a 6 week exercise challenge which has just started. I'm doing it (because I have to) and Cheryl is too (to be supportive).

It's really good, I started this year with it too.. things like a few 20 minute walks, maybe 30 minutes yard work, that kind of thing. It's not running or harsh exercise or going to the gym or anything over the top like that. And best of all, at the end of the 6 weeks you definately feel (and look) fitter.

So I'm sending out a challenge to the rest of the family (bandwagon). Who is brave enough to take the challenge with me? Put your name down here and I'll email you the details. There's three levels.. if you're not exercising very much or at all, you go with level 1. If you're exercising pretty much every day and are comfortable with it, well, level 3 is more like what you'd need. Don't try for a higher level than you should though, level 1 is enough to get going.

So yeah, who's game?

Friday, 9 September 2005


Turns out my "gainful employment" wasn't so gainful at all -- they pulled the plug the day before I was due to start. Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks!

I have an interview tomorrow, however, so maybe things will work out in the end. We also hear about Dee's job tomorrow, so fingers crossed we will have something to celebrate this weekend.

Sunday, 4 September 2005

Gainfully employed; spent it already.

It finally happened! On the last day of my two week "waiting" period, the company has hired me! Yay! It's initially a 6 month contract, with a view to a permanent position should all go well (and I can't see why it wouldn't). Very nice to know that we will have money coming in ... although I've already planned how to spend it.

(Danielle is revelling in the fact that she will be a "kept woman". I, on the other hand, don't expect that to be a long term arrangement!)

To celebrate, I've bought myself a bag, pictured right! It's Crumpler, and normally I would be resistant to anything with a known label (Crumpler is really quite popular in Melbourne), but I really like their advertising (for example, the label outlines their return policy in the following way -- "It just takes one word. You call us, tell us that your bag has sh@t itself and we will get its sh*t together and fix it." You have to admire a company that is so behind its product that it is willing to offend potential buyers. Rock on.

Also, I'm yet to see another Crumpler bag over here. So I can be a label snob AND an individual -- the best of both worlds!

Saturday, 3 September 2005

New glasses (almost)!

Hi guys,

Today while we were looking at new glasses, Cheryl had the brilliant idea of taking photos with my phone so i could actually see how i look wearing them from a distance.

So here's the photos of the frame I've picked.. it's got those magnetic sunglasses that clip on the front. Note the almost exact facial expression in each photo, for ease of comparison :)