Saturday, January 31, 2009


Ramping up

Whew.. it has been a long time. I'm in Haverhill, MA today trying to become more efficient and motivated (this seems to be a recurring theme). But we're getting there. Today I've already read ch XVI and XVII of Don Quixote and the entire Eagle Tribune (local newspaper; takes about 15 mins). I'm putting this up to make some goals for today.

1) Spend 3 hours on job hunting, including finishing pages for LinkedIn and and sending resumes to companies A, B, and C.
2) Find a gym in the area that has a pay-as-you-go option. Go to the gym, run 35mins on the treadmill, light weights.
3) Read ch II and III of "A Passage to India".
4) Create schedule for the weekend and early next week.
5) Review goals.
6) Write 30 minutes.

That should be enough for now...

Here are some pictures to keep you going:

Thursday, January 15, 2009


The end of the week

Yesterday - Wednesday - ended up being an off day. I had Kerry's birthday dinner to go to so after work I just went over to her place and we went to Cafe Rosco for a drink while we waited for Ula and Tracey. Dinner was nice at Hotel Max on Commercial Rd with a group about 10 or 12 and we got home around midnight.

Tuesday night it was so hot that I had to sleep downstairs on the couch and I still didn't get much sleep. That coupled with last night and a 7am in the office meeting this morning I'm a bit tired. I'm running with Dave's group tonight around the 'Tan and hopefully I'll get to bed a reasonable hour because I have another 7am tomorrow (which is also my last day of work for a while) and then we're hoping for a big night out.

LTC needs to be finished before I leave for the US. I'll be plowing through that this weekend. DQ can go on hold because I'm bringing it with me - maybe that will help me sleep on the plane.

Pictures of the cricket that I promised ended up on Tori's facebook, which you can get to through mine because I was tagged in them. I'm also working on my goals for the year and for the trip to the US and they will be up here in the next couple of days. Only 3 more days... I'm nervous.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Running, Cricket, Rice

Sunday was a busy day; I woke up early for the Sri Chinmoy race up in Princes Park. This race organization is worldwide and if anyone is trying to get into running races but may be a bit timid to do so, I recommend these. They're also great for training purposes or to add to your race schedule if you've been running for a while. They're generally small, inexpensive, and they have a pancake breakfast at the finish. This race was 10kms and ran along a path on a 5k loop and had only one 180 degree turn, which you had to do twice. I was aiming to break 43 minutes but came in at 43:45, which is just over 7min/mile. Running may take a backseat once I get to the winter in the States so it's something that I will really need to concentrate on and make sure that I keep it up.

I then mowed the lawn and read some LTC and DQ. In the midafternoon I headed up to the city by train to meet Tori and Tracey at Riverland in Fed Sq, which is a great outdoor bar on the banks of the Yarra River. We had a couple of warmups before we went to the cricket at the MCG for a twenty20 match agains South Africa. It was a crazy match and even though both teams brought in their batters, it was mostly dominated by bowling. The Aussies lost 9 wickets and South Africa went all out - this is unusual for this type of cricket. The Aussies won in the end and it was good, fast-paced (for cricket) match. A lot of fun. I'm trying to get the pictures from Tori to post here.

LTC - 330
DQ - Finished the first part and have begun the second, which has 74 chapters plus a preface so if I keep with this pace up then I should be done by the end of March but I am hoping to increase the pace during my trip.

Plan for today:
Running group in Aberfeldie in the 100 degree heat.

Congratulations to Jim Rice for making the Baseball Hall of Fame. I followed him when I was a kid but am even more amazed now when I read about what he accomplished. Rice played left field and I remember one game in particular when he was close to the wall in foul territory and a fan took his hat and ran in the other direction. Well, Rice went into the stands after him and got his hat back.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The bike is ready!

Well, it happened; I got on the bike. I only rode a few k's but the important thing is that i fixed it up and this has been on my to-do list for months. I didn't need to do too much; clean it up, work on the chain a bit, make some adjustments. The front brake is dragging a bit too so I'll need to adjust that.

There really aren't too many places to ride around here. Melbourne's really good for bikers, bike lanes, and bike paths but just coming out of the garage without driving anywhere can be tough out here in Berwick. Not all of the roads accommodate bikes, there are a lot of neighborhood streets that require a lot of slowing down, and the drivers aren't as used to bikers as they are in the city. But I'll find some places and maybe drive up to St Kilda and go along Beach Rd with all the other biking nuts.

Next will be the mountain bike. I'm hoping that this one will be just as easy but I think there may be some other issues as I am prone to fall off of that one and I know that it has a few dents, not to mention a bent brake lever. There's a great mountain bike path system about 5km from here, where they held the Commonwealth Games in 2006 (sort of like an Olympics for the countries that were part of the English Empire and consider themselves part of the Commonwealth).

LTC - now up to page 240.
DQ - read ch XLVIX and L
Greek - read some
Running - ran a short one around the block to stretch out for the race tomorrow. Aiming for 42 minutes on the 10k.

I also made banana bread. This I've done before and it's come out very well but this time not so much. It's fine, it's edible, I'll eat it, Ula says that it's ok, it just doesn't say 'banana bread' to me. We'll try again. But I only have one more week here and I don't think perfecting banana bread is at the top of the list.

Tomorrow, like I said, I have the 10k race up by the zoo in Princes park, I'm going to come home and mow the lawn, maybe take a nap and then I'm heading to the cricket. There are 3 types of cricket and I may have explained this in a previous post but this is the homerun derby of cricket. The bowlers are bowling fast, the batters are hitting hard, and there should be 75,000 fans there so it'll be a good time. I'm going with Tori and Tracey and we're meeting up with some people beforehand at a pub called Riverland. Riverland is where you want to be on a nice afternoon in Melbourne, plus it's right near the MCG, where the match is being played. My concern is that with 75k people, I think a few might have the same idea and the place will be packed. Tori disagrees because we'll get there at 2. Ok, the match starts at 7:30, is 3 hours long, and we'll be drinking there; now we have a 5 hour warm up? 8 hours of drinking on a Sunday afternoon - great way to start the week.

And to Corrigan's comment: I have heard of the place but have never been there. Maybe I'll go with my all of the extra time that I'll have while in the D.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Today was somewhat productive but most importantly I was able to face what's holding me back from being very productive and that is just that I am in and around the house all the time. I've faced it but I haven't fixed it. This blog is to help me over this hump as well as to organize my thoughts to help me along. Plus it doesn't hurt to have some support.

LTC - got to p210. I'll write some stuff about the book and GGM tomorrow.

DQ - it's 10pm (on a Friday) and I'm about to go read the next chapter.

Greek Mythology - didn't read any.

Yoga - read a few pages. I'm going to write down some poses for when I'm in the US. I have trouble remembering which ones I should do.

Running - Ran 6.5kms today. I have a 10k race on Sunday. I also had a good stretch but one thing that I really need to incorporate into my daily routine is my ankle strength exercises. I've always had bad ankles from soccer injuries and they've been bothering after long trail runs. Now my coach (yes, I have a running coach) is telling me that I can't run on trails until my ankles are stronger so I need to do the exercises.

I booked my flights within the US today. I arrive in Detroit on the 19th of Jan, fly to Boston on the 24th of Jan, Colorado on the 10th of Feb, and back to Boston on the 15th of Feb. I'm not sure when I'm heading back to Melbourne just yet.

Last night I bought tickets to the cricket Twenty20 match - Australia vs South Africa. I'll get some pics for the blog.

I had lunch with Ula and a friend of hers from work - they're both working this week. We were going to go to a Vietnamese place but it was closed so we went to a cafe instead. Generally the cafes in Melbourne all have the same boring veggie focaccia sandwich but this place had a couple of different ones and I got a Mediterranian wrap that was pretty good.

After lunch I went to the Wilson Botanic Garden in Berwick, which is nice; they have a lot of older trees and it's well laid out.

Tomorrow I will be riding my bike. Probably my road bike. Why is this a big goal? Because I haven't ridden either of my bikes in months and they're both sitting in pieces in the garage. I don't even have all of the necessary tools to fix them - most of my tools are still in the States. This is a better goal than saying that I will work on my bike tomorrow. No, I will ride my bike tomorrow; if only for 5 minutes.



I finished up yesterday by reading chapter XLVIII in book 1 of 'Don Quixote'. I was supposed to run but I didn't with the rationale that my legs were tired from some hard runs earlier in the week even though I promised myself that I wouldn't deviate from my program. I did walk to the shops to buy some groceries; though that was only 3kms all up. I then read Tom Friedman's column from the New York Times. Lastly, I read from 'Greek Mythology and Religion' before I went to sleep.

Today we'll talk about reading:My sixth grade math teacher once advised us to read everything we could, even cereal boxes and I took that to heart. I had always been curious and read quite a bit but this gave me a quest though not a reason. That reason became apparent later when I became aware that one had to build a foundation to their lives, their knowledge, and their character. You never stop growing, you never hit a pinnacle in your life. To me that would mean that you're finished.

In ninth grade we filled out a survey, which included a question asking how many books you read in a year: A) 1-3 B) 4-6 C) 7-9 D) 10+. Even though I really didn't read the books that were assigned to me in school, I was surprised to find that I fit into the '10+' category, which I was secretly proud of.

I'll read just about anything and if it's on my shelf then I'll force myself to read it. I'm also a bibliophile, which means that I want every single book that I can get my hands on and I don't want to get rid of any of them (much to the annoyance of my mother and now Ula - who will soon learn just how many books I own when I ship them to Australia some time this year). I have fiction, history, religion, philosophy, sports, biobraphies, cooking, garending, language, college text books, math, science, essays, poetry, etc, etc, etc. It doesn't stop. Now I'm not going to pretend that I can remember all if any of the content of the books that I've read but I would describe it as a quest that has no end, though I certainly hope that it has its benefits. I do believe that I am growing from the experience. I at least enjoy it.

Like I said yesterday, the books that I am currently reading are 'Don Quixote' by Miguel de Cervantes, 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 'Greek Mythology and Religion', and I am reading/studying 'The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga' by Swami Vishnu-devananda, which has more words than the title suggests.

I consider the internet the second most important invention in history, next to the printing press. Without the distribution of knowledge we wouldn't have the exponential increase in technology that we have now. Yes, there are downsides to this as well and we don't seem to be improving in other facets of life but I'm getting ahead of myself. The point that I started was that the internet now allows us to receive our news immediately from anywhere in the world (as well as watch major league baseball in places such as Australia) and over time I've created a list (neatly orgainzed in my 'favorites' tab of Internet Explorer) of websites that I get a majority of my information from.

News Sites:
BBC - from the
Boston Globe, lately I've been using it just to get a quick headline read, see what's happening with the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and to see if it snowed last night.
CNN - where I get a majority of my up-to-date information.
Detroit News - just to see what's happening in the D.
The Associated Press - where everybody gets their information from.
Herald Sun - Aussie new.
CNN Political Ticker - one of CNN's better features.
El Mundo - I hate to think that we get all of our information from our culture and our news media. This Spanish news site gives me a perspective different from ours but I do need to work on my Spanish.
Business Week - this engineer is trying to figure out business and finance. Those people are crazy.
Financial Times - more information from Europe.
The Wall Street Journal - when I finally learn how to read Japanese this will come in handy.
The New York Times - mostly for its opinion section.
The Washington Post
Yomiuri Online - also waiting for me to learn Japanese.
The Age - Aussie news.
Fox News - There's no doubt that the media is slanted and no matter how much the liberals disagree, it's obvious that it's slanted to the liberal mind. If you keep reading one side over and over again then eventually you're going to believe it. I hope that Fox's right wing stance will keep me objective.
The Boston Herald
Times (of London)
Asharq Alawsat Newspaper - a Saudi website in English that I haven't gotten into much yet.
The Times of India - to gain a perspective from a very important country in the world.

Research Sites: - used as a second opinion to the next entry.
Merriam-Webster Online - my choice for word definition.
Wikipedia - used quite a bit but with caution.
Google - I'm starting to question their validity.
CIA-World Factbook - the best source of international statistics.
The library grows...

Columnists that I read:
Maureen Dowd - NYT
Frank Rich - NYT
Thomas Friedman - NYT
Jeff Jacoby - Boston Globe
And there are others that I read occasionally and this list should grow as well.

Newspapers - to get off the internet for a bit:
Local Berwick papers
The Herald Sun
The Australian
The Age

Any suggestions are very welcome.

And that's enough for today. I'll recap today's work later tonight.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Let's start...

We all wish that we had more time to do the things that we enjoy doing or to do the things that we've always wanted to do: read the books in the 'to read' pile, spend more time outside, redefine ourselves and our careers to make us happier. I've had that time this week as the company that I work for is back from the holidays but where I am based is not, which leaves me at home replying to the scant emails that I receive over night and then the rest of the time is for myself. I had promised that I would work through projects and read books that I have been meaning to and I have been doing just that. But as I move closer to inevitable unemployment and while thumbing through a Nick Hornby book ('The Polysyllabic Spree' from his column where he tells the story about the books he buys and reads during a month) that Kelly recommended to me and that Amazon delivered to me this morning, I thought I'd involve everyone else in this quest to build a new and better me.

I have always made lists of projects that I'd like to do and even current hobbies that I have just so I don't forget what it is that I enjoy doing. I have one Excel file called 'CURRENT', referring to what I am currently working on and one called 'Life', which lists my interests and goals. First we'll run through life goals and then we'll get to specifics.

I'm going to work through my daily life and you can help me out, keep me motivated, tell me I have too much time on my hands, whatever.

Life Goals (general - what most people want; not in any particular order):
Career - have a pretty good career as a mechanical engineer but will need to clean it up. I'll be unemployed very soon so this is a big focus at the moment.
Mate - done; her name is Ula, no need to do anything there.
Where to live - at least for the next few years I'll be in Melbourne VIC Australia; I'm currently applying for permanent residency so that will be included in the quest as well.
Travel - I've travelled a bit so far but, like books, there's always more.

That's a place to start for today. Let me quickly go through what I did today:
1) I'm currently reading 'Life in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I am on a schedule that requires me to read 30 pages per day so that I can finish it by the time I fly to the states on the 19th of January. I got up to p180 today.
2) I'm also reading 'Don Quixote' by Miguel de Cervantes (coincidentally, both of these books were translated by Edith Grossman) and since this one is a bear for me, I read one chapter a day. I haven't read that yet today but I will.
3) The third book that I'm reading is 'Greek Mythology and Religion', which Ula got me when she was in Greece. It has a lot of pictures and I mainly read it at night.
4) I tried to play catch with Pepe (the dog) but she wasn't feeling up to it. Maybe this afternoon.
5) Cooking - I made Japanese curry for lunch. I've made this many times before so there's not much to learn with this.
6) Job search - I'll have to let you know. It's been very frustrating because the economy's bad and not all companies are back from the holidays yet.
7) Permanent residency - I checked my online status again today and they still haven't received my medical check yet. I'm waiting a couple of days before I call.

I'll start on the lists tomorrow and we'll see how I can incorporate them in my daily routine.

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