After a few weeks of riding in, I started noticing an old man with a cap and walking stick standing or sitting in a bus shelter in Mosman in the afternoons. He was there almost everyday and after a while he started watching me ride past. The thing was, he wasn't watching my bike, he was looking at me. Immediately I thought 'sour old bastard glaring at us young motorbike riders' and I started glaring back at him (almost impossible to see beneath my helmet and sunglasses.)
A few weeks more went past and one day in an uncharacteristically good mood (doesn't occur often when battling Sydney traffic), I nodded at him. He nodded back. Holy crap, he wasn't glaring at me, he was just watching me. The next day, I nodded. He nodded back.
So this went on quite regularly. One week he wasn't there and I remember saying to Bec "Oh man, I hope he's ok". But he returned after a few days and we continued where we'd left off.
Another few weeks went by like this until about 3 weeks ago when he would start taking his hand out of his pocket to wave at me. So, I have started waving at him now as I go past. I try to watch other riders who go past too to see if they too say 'gday' as they make their daily commute. None have.
So yesterday we progressed again. I stopped at traffic lights about 30 metres from where he was and he started hurrying towards me. I started freaking out! What does he want? He got pretty close before the lights went green.
So, on reflection last night, I started thinking .. What if I have offered this old man something that I can't deliver? What if he wants a relationship with me? What if he only goes to the bus stop to wait for me every day? This became a nice, friendly 'hello' but now I'm scared of what I may have done inadvertently.
Either way, why should I be scared? What is there to be scared of? This is how I want the world to be, more smiles and waves and less frowns and growls. But now I don't know how to handle it. I have thought before about stopping and taking him for a coffee, but now I don't know.
Ergh, what an odd thing to be concerned about.
Tomorrow is Invasion Day.
In August 1770, Captain James Cook discovered Australia and claimed in 'No Mans Land,' dispite the existence of the indiginous people, the Aboriginals.
On the 26th of January 1788, Governor Arthur Philip arrived leading the First Fleet and 'settled' Australia.
Now, at this stage, the white settlers would have you believe that they just arrived and set up and we became an amazing country, just like that.
In actual fact, the 26th of January was the start of hundreds of years of oppression, mis treatment, murder, stolen babies, stolen land and more. Hence the title 'Invasion Day' and not 'Australia Day'.
In Australia, at any given time, you will see cars driving around sporting an Australian flag, or the Southern Cross somewhere on it... Either in the form of flags, or a sticker. Guys walk around topless with their Southern Cross tattoo's on their torsos or arms or where ever.
The level of patriotism in this country is super high, in fact as high as I have ever seen. I haven't seen people do this in other countries (apart from the states.) What on earth do we have to be proud of? I see nothing at all. We live on stolen ground with a tainted history. We do nothing special as a country. Ever.
As a side note, if I was not born in this country but were now living here, I would be offended by the flags on all the cars and feel as though this country could never be shared with people not born here. It sends a very strong 'this is MY country' message that cannot be ignored.
Why do people feel so strongly about the country they live in? Its a block of land in the middle of the ocean. You're not saying 'Yay Australia,' you're saying 'Yay our oppressive and overly aggressive governments.'
I love my rugby team. The Wallabys are just my team, I read about them in the off-season and I dont miss a game in the on-season. Its the only aspect of 'Australia' that I like, as a whole. Don't get me wrong, I am talking of Australian representatives, idols that demand respect. Not individuals, businesses, etc.
I am semi ranting again in this post. I am just cranky at people feeling proud of this country and what it has 'achieved.' Also, I used the Aboriginal flag in this post as I refuse to use the Australian flag. Ever.
About three weeks ago, I turned 30. It was a hard milestone for me, I had hoped to achieve more in my life than I have.
It arrived quickly, suspiciously quickly. I wasn't entirely convinced that 3 decades had indeed passed since I was born... But alas, it was correct and I enjoyed a few beers and some bloody red meat with friends and family at my house. The way everybody should see in 30.
I am my own biggest critic. I give myself a hard time for everything, I seriously cannot be happy with myself, so when I realised that I had made a lot of plans that I had wanted to have done by this age and that none of them had been accomplished, I got really down on myself. I wont go into what they are, mainly because they'll seem silly and people will say "but what about all these other things you've done .... " and its not for other people to comment on.
A few other things struck me when I turned 30...
- Its been 11 1/2 years since I have seen my mum. She passed in 1998 after battling cancer for 12 years.
- Its been 12 years since I had the accident. I lost three fingers on my right hand and spent a lot of time in hospital having a lot of different procedures that still make me feel like a scar-covered freak.
- Its been 13 years since I met my beautiful wife and the backbone of my life. Yes, I was 17, we were only together 8 months before my accident and 13 months before my mum died. She is my everything (well, her and Abbey.)
- Its been 19 years since my parents split. This is a big one, I couldn't believe it had been that long.
While I may occasionally be guilty of wallowing in my own misfortune while having a glass of wine and listening to nostalgia provoking music, I am not one to want or tolerate peoples pity of me. Others in the world are more deserving of that and I don't write posts like this in an attempt to go 'fishing' for comments. I write them because I feel better when I put my feelings into words.
I dont feel thirty. I sometimes hear my voice and think I sound like a 13 year old. I don't feel like I should be old enough for a mortgage, children, married life.... Its a hard feeling to describe. I'm not saying 30 is old, I'm saying I don't feel 30... Or old... whatever.
I'm a seriously lucky guy, I have a beautiful healthy family, I live in a great city within an even greater country. I am the ultimate optimist, I hate negativity, the glass is *always* half full and I sometimes fear I haven't entirely grasped the situation when I am positively moving forward while others seem to be going mad in their stress.
I created an email address for Abbey the other day so I can email her my thoughts and feelings (yes, I know she is 2) and I will hand over the login details for her when she is 16. I tried to keep a book for her, but I never had it on me when I had something to add into it. I also started a new site just for her... AbbeySays.com - somewhere for me to log her amazing adventure through speech.
Buenos Noches friends, I hope you'll be here when I post about my 40th.
8 weeks ago I embarked on a journey that would change my life. Little did I know at the time just how much this journey would affect me physically, emotionally and psycologically.
Lets go back a further 2 weeks. I started a new job as Senior Developer for OMG. We have a 'legacy' codebase for our CMS (Content Management System) which works, but needs some performance improvements. I have been given the task of fixing up this codebase. One of the areas that requires a lot of enhancing is our search engine, but its not quite as simple as writing a little query in SQL such as 'SELECT blah FROM table WHERE name LIKE "%search term%"'... Oh no, its not quite that easy.
Think 31,000 domain names, each with an unknown number of categories, each having either category niche (auto's for example) or a specific location match (Sydney, for example). Then, throw in almost 2,000,000 listings to appear on these sites in an ordering specific to their account type and account data and make sure that Tasmanian Lawyers do not appear on our Perth Plumbers site...
Enter an enthusastic new employee wanting to make his mark and you have an 8 week journey through 19 hour days, crashed servers, day-long data rebuilds and many more exciting activities.
We decided to build the search engine in Sphinx which is a full text replacement for MySQL, I wont go into the details of how we did this, but I will say that the code and indexes have been rewritten about 6 or 7 times inclusive. I have worked on this, day in and day out for 8 weeks. That is the longest time I have ever spent on a single component and a few times I have been curious about whether my boss thought he'd made an incorrect decision hiring me. More of my hair is grey now than it was 8 weeks ago and my wife is questioning my commitment to our marriage after displaying willingness to stay up and work rather than come to bed.
Last night, we pushed the latest changes to a staging server and replayed Apache logs (from a period when traffic was destroying our servers) to test performance... and it passed. To say I am happy is an under statement, we went into this to increase performance and to remove as much as we can from MySQL (for various reasons) and a few times there I was unsure whether we had just wasted our time, including one time when I made the suggestion that we use a different Full Text Indexer (such as Xapian.) But today, the finish line can be sensed, a term search across 1,900,000 rows is taking 0.07 seconds which is awesome, which only one or two queries in MySQL.
This is why I am in development, this sense of satisfaction you get when, after weeks of nutting something out, it works... and works well. Hopefully I'll still have a job now when my probation period is up next month.
I will be making a post about my findings with Sphinx and how to make it work well when you have multiple criteria to search within on Fliquid Studios in the coming weeks (once I am absolutely sure that this is working ok.)
This week I decided that I'd really start pushing my blogging again. I've been slack, mainly because I have had a lot going on, but also because I have been lazy. I dont spend much time online on the weekends anymore (on purpose) and I dont have time at work to stop and write for a little while.
So, todays post is a little different from the norm. I am a staunch Wallaby's supporter. They are my team. I go well out of my way to make sure I watch all of their games, I know all the players, I grit my teeth when other's speak badly of them. But lately, they continue to find ways to let me down, they have such an amazing lineup, a great coaching staff, huge levels of financial support from the ARU... But they can't win. Yesterday morning's 9-8 loss to Scotland was a big blow for me, I want to be the number 1 fan, but they continue to give me reasons not to be. I will continue to be an unwavering, staunch supporter, but maybe its time to come to the realisation that maybe Australian rugby will never reach the heights that it has before. It pains me to say that as for the first 2/3rds of my life, the Aussies have been very strong, winning 2 world cups and many Tri Nations and Bledisloe cups, but lately the trophy cabinet seems to get emptier by the day...
I am just bummed. I love my rugby, I love my sport, I just think they don't care anymore. To quote an awesome article today on FoxSports.com.au; 'Meanwhile the Wallabies were spending their chances like dissolute, drunken millionaires. Missed that chance? No matter, there will be another one along soon'.
Bleugh... I'll get over it. But I feel flat, heartbroken, I am suddenly not looking forward to the clash with Wales next weekend, not sure I'll cope with another astonishingly ugly performance.
Its been a long time since I updated this blog and I thought I'd better put something up before people think I'm dead.
My issue with this blog is so; I post my technical knowledge now at Fliquid Studios and my Green / Eco / Sustainability at Sustain Myself so I don't really know what to write here anymore. I do have a fair bit to write about from the news or a socialist activism point of view but don't really think many people like reading my complaints and arguments about how much better I could rule the world if I got the chance.
I recently started working at a new company after a potential business venture worked out to be too difficult for me in the current economic climate. The company I work for is fantastic and I am playing a fairly pivotal part in their moving forward in the market. My problem is that there are so many things that need to be done for this company and I simply can't sit back and wait for others to do it because there aren't any others. I could do nothing, but I can't do that when I know there is work to be done. I have also put forward a helluva lot of changes that I think are necessary and that means even more work, so I am absolutely flat out during business hours and I don't generally get online in the evenings (its the last thing I want to do). This means that its getting harder and harder for me to commit the time to a blog (or blogs).
I have started at the Gym though and three times a week I crowbar myself away from work to spend 40mins kicking my own ass. Yesterday I burned 220cal on the bike there which I thought was cool (of course my lunch was about 1200cals but thats a story for another day).
While I am enjoying my job (for the first time in a long time) I feel less energetic about other things. I haven't been spending much time with my fish lately and that upsets me as my fish seem to relax me and give me my own thing to concentrate on, away from everything else.
Have you ever thought that this is not where you planned to be? I had high hopes for myself, I was going to establish myself somewhere, somehow and I just haven't managed to do it. While I have been extremely fortunate in my life, I wish I had worked harder when I was younger and had less financial commitments so that I would be able to have more behind me at this stage of my life.
I was looking at houses for sale in Tasmania today and found this. I love it. Look at the view! And its more than $100k cheaper than the house we have bought. What an awesome lifestyle change that would be. I'd have to commute to Sydney, but what's a few hours flying everyday?
On a final note, I am more in love with my daughter every day and although she tests me so much, I think she's my main reason for staying sane.
Over and Out.
Well, today I found out that I am no longer required at REA Group (realestate.com.au). It doesn't come as a surprise but it is certainly not welcome.
I have a few things in the pipeline, but the most exciting is the partnership with Michael Little in Fliquid Studios which is a web application development company.
We have a lot of applications we are working on and will plan on launching shortly. I will keep everybody up to date with what is going on.
In the meantime, I plan on just relaxing a bit. Its been a busy few years and having a month off is very attractive right now.
About a year ago I came up with a funny idea to replace the finger cursor on links to a slightly modified version that I like to call 'The Bird'.
I drafted my friend Lauren to do the work as I am not as useful behind a Photoshop enabled pc as she is.
Anyway as I am not using the cursor (I will put it as a mouse cursor on one of my sites at some stage), I feel it is wasting away. So, I present to you, my loyal readers, 'The Bird'.
Its as beautiful today as the night it came to me in a dream after many-a-drink at the pub.
While I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to grow a decent beard and my moustaches look a little like patchy vegemite, I have still entered Movember every year since 2008. Sadly, I don't get much support doing it and most people just chuckle at me and my poor excuse of a Mo, I still personally support Movember and particularly Beyond Blue.
Its seven days in and I am yet to get a donation so I am asking any readers with a spare $2 to sponsor my mo.
My 'Movember' set on flickr (taken daily with my phone).
Say hello to the new Biggins family member, Baci!
Baci (meaning 'Kisses' in Italian) is an 8 week old Golden Labrador. She is beautiful and highly destructive. We've already had to buy a new power cable for my wifes Dell Laptop.
I was able to get these rare shots when she was tuckered out after pouncing on Abbey, eating Bec's slippers and slipping over on the wet balcony tiles.
Anyway, welcome Baci.