Love, Actually

Love Actually is one of my favourite movies! I had a “Love, Actually” moment earlier today whilst in Tiffany’s buying a gift voucher (recall the ‘would you like it gift wrapped‘ scene from the movie). For a small credit-card sized gift card, it went into a large square card with a special cutout; but only after being inserted into a small ribbon. The card was closed, and the fellow retrieved a large, square card-shaped box. Once he’d opened the box, inserted the card, and popped the lid back on (the right way around), he proceeded to pull out a length of ribbon to wrap the box. When I thought it was over, he then reached up into a cupboard and pulled out the gift bag! After inserting the package into the bag, he finally handed it over to me. Did I feel special? I sure did!

Later in the day when recounting my story to some of my work compatriots, many of them said they’d never seen (let alone had heard of) the movie. Of those I asked, only 1/6 women I asked had seen it, despite it being one of the best chick-flicks out there – I immediately implored all of them to go and watch the movie!

Have you experienced a scene out of one of your favourite movies? Let me know in the comments!

FFTD (Feel Free To Delete)

I was wondering whether there was a way to indicate to someone online that you had a ‘throwaway’ line when you commented or posted on someone else’s page (Facebook, Google +, etc). We can ‘like’ and ‘unlike’; we can add a post and delete a post; we can add a comment and delete a comment.

But what if you wanted to add a comment to someone’s page or post to someone’s page/status and not have it hang around for eternity?
What if you did not care of the other party wanted to keep the comment or not?

What mechanism is there to indicate that you want to leave a comment, but do not mind (or care) if the other party did not wish to have it there?

Enter, FFTD – Feel Free To Delete

Use it next time you wish to throw out a comment that you believe in, and that you believe is warranted at that point in time, however won;t be too upset if the owner/author doesn’t want hanging around. Try it in my comments below…go on – I won’t mind you using FFTD 🙂

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Cruising!

We ended 2014 with a 12-day cruise through some of the South Pacific Islands, a holiday for the whole family that we’d planned in Oct 2013. Once we’d made the booking, we a 300 day wait for our departure day to arrive.

Now that we’re back from the cruise, here are some of my thoughts, recollections and good/bad points of the trip – There are a lot of tips in here for would be cruisers:

  1. The staterooms are smaller than you think. This is not really an issue as you wont be spending much time in there, but it is on the small side.
  2. You will eat way more than you need to. Food is in abundance and it really is up to the individual to police what goes into their stomachs! The saying is that for every week you’re on a cruise, you’ll gain 1Kg in weight.
  3. It’s up to you how much or little you do. If you’re part of the FOMO crowd, you’ll be non-stop for almost every single day of the trip! You can also choose to take it easy and partake in as many or as little activities you wish. We learned to
  4. Gym/Exercise. Getting to the gym early in the morning or later in the evening was bliss – if you happen to be able to exercise at sunrise or sunset, it’s even more special (only if there’s a view of the outside world!) It was a popular part of the ship and often had queues for some of the equipment.
  5. Powerboards. Ask whether you can take a powerboard/powerstrip on board BEFORE you go. Our powerboard was surrendered (returned at the end of the trip). We didn’t need to worry as we had 4 power points in the room and enough adapters to charge the necessary devices (thanks to being a frequent traveller in a previous role, however 1 adapter and powerboard does make sense if you’re travelling )
  6. Kids. The kids’ club was great as it allowed the kids to have some time away from the parents. It was a great break for the parents, too! Travelling with 2 other families made the process easier to manage
  7. Peace & quiet. With all the activities on offer, you need to seek out and locate quiet little corners of the ship where you can slink off to for a few mins breathing space. Even though we enjoyed the trip and filled our days with as much as we could, you still need some time away from others to be able to relax/recharge. I found it on one of the mornings when I awoke well before anyone else, went to a quiet part of the ship and revelled in the early morning sunrise whilst chilling out to some music.
  8. No-one cares what you wear! There are decency standards on the ship, but many times you’re able to walk around in whatever you’re comfortable in. For many this meant they stayed in their swimwear most of the time!
  9. Laundry. Every opportunity we had to rinse your clothes and hang them to dry we did – the laundry fees were steep and we didn’t
  10. Packing. I hardly used my socks as we wore sandals/thongs most of the time. barefoot (in certain places) was also acceptable, although in any food or entertainment venue, footwear was required.
  11. Groundhog Day. Our regular dinner time made me think of Groundhog day – the feeling you have lived it all before. We had a 6pm sitting and on a few of the days we simply could not eat at 6pm (due to coming back in the mid afternoon from a shore excursion). The Casual dining options would also have been fine for us, however would have added to the issues outlined in point 2, above)

For our first cruise, we all did have a wonderful time. Personally I did not sleep well and was tired before I got on the ship, and tired when I got off it. Most people do sleep well due to the sumptuous pillows and fantastic bed – just not me.

Silence is the enemy – speak up!

Speak up when you need to – only you will know when is the right time to speak up, but it is something you consciously need to do.

Too many people stand around and assume someone else will do it. What the world needs is for more people like you to step up and speak out.

“There was a job that anybody could do. Everybody thought that somebody {else} would do it: in the end, nobody did.”

My blog is back!

After a number of months in the wilderness (read: viral/malware attacks on my site) and the lack of time I had to spend on writing blog posts meant I have not had much of a communication channel for a while.

Some of you may have noted my twitter conversations dwindled, as well as my interactions on Facebook. I am still regularly posting pictures to Facebook/twitter as I do like sharing the weather from my part of the world and the discussions it’s opened up with various friends, followers, lurkers and stalkers.

So, my blog is back and I want to say I hope to become a part of your lives again 🙂

What’s your indulgence?

I recently had lunch with a fellow I went to school with 21 years ago, and during the course of the conversation, he asked “What’s your indulgence“? I was stumped for an answer, as I could not think of anything in my life that I’d deem an indulgence!

I’m a practical person, enjoying what I have and not wanting for much (to the lament of the rest of my family who are asking where’s my ‘Christmas list’). Overall, I’m not sure I have any indulgences – I have a broad interest and can get stuck into many different topics, read various articles or books and have conversations with many different people on varied topics.

I’m wondering if I should adopt an indulgence in 2012 and see where that takes me. What do you think? What do you think my indulgence could be? More importantly…What’s your indulgence?

Black Dog Ride Thank You Honour Roll

Now that my 2011 Black Dog Ride adventure is over, there are a number of people I need to thank for everything they did for me and my ride.

First & foremost I’m sending out a huge THANK YOU to my wife Eva and my boys. 2010 was an adventure and a wonderful event, however backing this up with another Black Dog Ride turned out to be an enormous sacrifice to my family in more ways than one.

In 2010 the event catalysed my decision to move on from my previous job role and let my life take a different direction. This year my goal was less about life-changing and more about enjoying a ride with great companions for a great cause. The ride, however came at a huge sacrifice for my family in both time and money. Although I had enough money to complete the ride, The necessary servicing of the bike plus loss of income for the two weeks put us behind financially – it also coincided at a time where I’m working less & being paid less than this time last year (all a necessary part of my future career journey). In hindsight it was probably not the best use of finances in our current environment.

The biggest saving grace was to change our journey to be home on Father’s Day – this was a great thing to do and one for which I am happy to have done.

Other Kudos

  • I want to send out a big “Thank You” to Kim (mum on the trip) who drove the support vehicle and supported us as we rode. In truth I could carry everything on my bike that I had brought, but being able to put the soft panniers (containing my tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat) in the car made the ride easier. Kim’s contribution to the ride is immeasurable, from providing advice, sharing stories or helping to get James moving in the morning! Kim undertook this adventure at great personal sacrifice and needs to be recognised for her commitment to the cause.
  • I want to acknowledge DazzaB (who did an awesome job in 2010 with shooting on-bike video) who overcame the odds to be able to participate in the BDR this year. Dazza had carefully saved his pennies for months to be able to attend the ride, and unfortunately was struck with the flu part-way through. Dazza, it was an honour and a pleasure to ride with you again, it’s a shame you needed to turn back at Port Augusta.
  • James, thanks for being there to help out with any mechanical issues for anyone along the trip. It was great that you were only ‘needed’ a couple of times on the trip so you could focus your time on riding. I am sure Peter from Hills Ulysses is eternally grateful to you, too! 🙂
  • Rod, Thanks for sharing your story so candidly with us in Coober Pedy. As I’ve mentioned before, through our own personal stories do we learn more, teach others and invite others to become part of our world. You’re doing a wonderful thing with your group on Facebook and it’s a pleasure to have met you on the ride. It’s through people like you that help me understand depression even more.
  • I’d also like to send a shout-out to Monty Hamilton from Telstra who’d arranged for the use of a Telstra Elite wi-fi 3G modem for the use by the NSW members of the trip (arranged through Tony Hollingsworth). This allowed us to blog, upload pictures, Skype with family members and keep in touch with Facebook, Twitter and email whilst on the ride. Thanks for supporting the Black Dog Riders, Monty (and the @Telstra Team!

LinkedIn Premium – sneaky behaviour?

During my recent job search, I signed up for a ‘free’ 1 month trial to LinkedIn’s premium ‘job seeker’ package, designed to provide me with more tools to be noticed by recruiters/companies looking for new staff. The message came to me through my primary email address. In fact, up until this point everything has been coming to my primary email address:

  • Requests to connect on LinkedIn
  • Updates to any of my contacts (who has changed jobs, updated experience, etc.)
  • Updates/comments/posts in any of the Groups I am part of or conversations I am involved in
  • Special Offers (such as the 1-month free Premium membership)

I decided to cancel the premium membership after 3 weeks, due to a combination of finding a job as well as not needing the service (and not needing to pay the ongoing monthly fee for Premium features). I’d set a calendar reminder to look into this for Tuesday this week (2nd Aug). I went onto the site and cancelled my Premium membership, which was straightforward.

At around the same time, I received an email in my secondary email account (see below) extolling the virtues of the Premium Service, and that if I do nothing, they will begin to charge me the monthly fee. It’s not even a message confirming that I want ‘out’ of the Premium service – it’s an FYI (Information) email only! Did this email arrive because I cancelled, or is it just coincidence that the email arrives on the day I cancelled, (albeit it to an email address they’ve not used before)? Alarm bells went off in my head at this.

I have contacted LinkedIn to ask them how this happened or why this message went to my secondary account – I am wondering why they sent any communications to my secondary account when everything else has been going to my primary account? I understand why they ask you to provide a secondary email address (for security/access reasons), however I have removed my secondary email address until such time that LinkedIn can explain what happened and whether it could happen again.

No smiling allowed!

No smiling! (from Validation)

I recently applied to have my drivers licence renewed at the RTA (Roads & Traffic Authority), and as part of the process, another photograph needed to be taken. I’ve gladly submitted a smiley, happy face in the past and thought this would be no exception, until I heard the words: “No Smiling, please”

I wasn’t sure I heard the lady properly, so continued to smile, until I heard her say: “No smiling, please. As part of our new facial recognition system you cannot smile”

What?!? I cannot smile? I’ve made it a feature of almost any picture taken of me that I absolutely DO smile! I was immediately transported to the the scene in “Validation” (see below) where Hugh Newman was asked not to smile and shown the poster that stated: “Absolutely NO smiling, smirking, humor or general gaiety permitted. I honestly felt like I’d been transported right into the movie in the place of Hugh Newman! 🙂

My new pic

I stuck with my charming smile with the lady at the RTA, but she was having none of it! Once my photo had been taken, I spoke with her and she said that the facial recognition software worked best with a neutral face, not a smiling face. I am not sure I had my ‘best’ neutral face on for the picture but am happy with the result, in light of things – see for yourself with the picture at left. *cheeky grin*

I checked out the information on the RTA website, and sure enough, here’s what is says:

I LOVE the short film Validation and urge you to spend the 14 mins to watch it through. I found it extremely inspiring and try my best to make other people feel better each and every day.

Loss of routine

My Water Bottle

As you may know, I took an opportunity to change my working situation (Many of you knew this – if not, you can read my goodbye message). In this former role I worked from home and had a fairly steady routine (even if I had been up until 2am on conference calls, or up for a conference call at 5am), and part of this routine was to drink 1-1.5L of water per day.

There’ve been days recently where I’ve felt ‘flat’ and didn’t have the usual amount of zing that I regularly have. For the most part my routine is now different, granted; but I am eating the same food, going to bed at the same time, and waking at the same time, so something else was missing – I wasn’t drinking enough water!

I am looking forward to what’s ahead both professionally and personally, and am relishing the opportunity to explore the wide world and where I could go next. However, I now need to ensure I drink enough water during the day to keep me on top of things!

Some of the benefits of getting enough water and staying hydrated:

  • Improves mental clarity
  • Improves organ functions (such as the heart, brain, kidneys, muscles and joints)
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves digestion

My recommendation for drinking water each day:

  • If you know you need to get away from the desk at regular intervals, fill up a large glass and refill it when you see it’s empty. This works well when the tap is some distance from your desk 🙂
  • If you don’t need to get up, fill a large water bottle (like mine, pictured) and top up a glass/cup each time it’s empty. I make an effort to empty the bottle by lunchtime.
  • One note: There’s conjecture out there about not drinking before or during mealtimes as the water can dilute your stomach acid and slow digestion. I don’t usually drink during meals anyway but recommend you do what feels natural.