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Aug. 6th, 2010

the deckchair guru

I write like…

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I’ll have to read some of his stuff, I guess!

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Aug. 5th, 2010

the deckchair guru

PO, BO

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve had this post in my drafts folder for yonks now. Yes, YONKS!  That’s a long time, right… I know. I am lazy and I am sorry.  Hopefully this post won’t stink… (hehe).

* * *

I have always had a bit of a sweat issue.  Let’s cut to the chase – I am a pale redhead, and I am slightly on the cuddly side.  Therefore, I sweat pretty easily.

It is also a genetic thing:  my father, who was not a redhead and was a reasonably fit bloke, would sweat at the thought of sunshine.  True story!  We used to do Taekwondo when I was younger, and he’d be drenched in sweat 5 minutes into our warm-ups.  The incredibly creative people there called him ‘sweathog’.  Left brain people, all of them.

So anyway, I sweat.  The past few months have been especially challenging, and I am not sure why.  I have long been an anti-perspirant user, and for the past few years, Speed Stick have helped keep me natural.  Then, they stopped being effective!  I was all underarm phooey and dank patches in shirts once more.  Unpleasant, to say the least.

I tried to outflank my BO, by using a bunch of different deoderants for a day here or there, and mixing it up in between – never let my sweat glands relax, y’know?  IT DIDN’T WORK!

Then, I finally cracked the shits and spent $11 on some Rexona Clinical Protection… and hey presto! Problem solvered.  It has been a month now, and I am nice and fresh once more.  Sure, the weather’s cooler, but that has never really bothered my pits, they sweat all year round.

But now I am clean and happy and thankful to Rexona. Even if Ricky Ponting endorses them, I don’t care. They work for me and that’s enough.

Postscript: I have embraced my Ricky Ponting-inspired life choices, and now take Swisse Men’s Ultivite daily. Vitamins, eh Ricky?

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Mar. 27th, 2010

the deckchair guru

Poppy in absentia

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

Today marks 12 years since my father died. I’ve written about it previously so won’t rehash it all here.

I miss my father and I am sad that he isn’t here to be a Poppy for my children.

But this is the hand I was dealt, and I’m making it work as best I can; having a wonderful wife and two healthy boys is a pretty sweet life :)

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Mar. 24th, 2010

the deckchair guru

Parenthood 2.0

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

I am a father again! My wife and I, the delightful Mrs Guru, welcomed our second child into the world on Monday 15 March, 2010. We had a second son, and we named him Gus.

This isn’t a recount of the birth adventure (which was timely, standard and quite pleasant this time around, all things considered); I will save that for my other website, which I am still working at updating, though I will cross-post that one when I do write it up.

No, rather than the birth, I wanted to reflect on the unbelievably selfless and challenging role that parenting is.

I’ll be honest, I had no idea just how damn tough being a parent can be. I love my kids and I love being a parent, that’s not the issue – I just had no idea at what was demanded, which is basically handing over your every moment (waking and otherwise) to little people who won’t ever really appreciate it themselves until they continue the circle and have children of their own.

Baby Gus is feeding quite a lot, as he was a little tiny thing and needs to fatten up a bit. My wife has spent a lot of the past week just sitting on the couch or lying in bed, feeding and feeding our wee lad. She has a sore back and is very tired, but she keeps going because she is, like most mothers, simply amazing.

A second child is an even bigger challenge than a first, as not only are you welcoming and settling in a new one, but also taking care of your first child as well. This very moment, for instance, I am sitting up with my eldest boy Leo, who is sick and miserable and wants only to watch In the Night Garden and snuggle on the couch. Nothing else is helping him so this is where we are, at 2.30am on a school night.

Parenting is hard and I had no idea beforehand at just how demanding it would be. Not for a second though do I regret having my children – they are the best thing I have ever done, and a happy family is my sole ambition. I am exhausted and so is my wife, yet the tender moments of cuddles and smiles are as good as sleep most of the time, so we adapt and we soldier on and we raise our babies.

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Feb. 5th, 2010

the deckchair guru

Twitter chose my soccer team for me

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

Over the past 48 hours, I conducted a little ’speriment. I used Twitter to make a decision for me, and I have sworn to abide by its verdict.

You see, I’ve never really been all that big a fan of soccer, or The World Game (SUE ME SBS!) and so have never had a team to follow. In other sports I have teams (Carlton in AFL, Storm in NRL, Brumbies in S14, Vic in everything else) and I like following someone.

Enough. It was time to find a team and jump on board!

A few people I follow on Twitter are huge soccer fans and seem really quite passionate about their team and results and 0-0 draws after 90 minutes (NOTHING HAPPENED! DON’T YOU WANT A REFUND?!) and so on.

Joining the dots, I devised an evil scheme:

I would put it to a vote and let Twitter choose my team. And I would fall in behind the result.

For a 24 hour period, I invited people to vote for their teams and I’d support the one with the most votes. It started slowly at first, but more votes piled in, until the end of the 24 hour period…

I HAD A 6-WAY TIE!

6 teams had been voted for, by six people. Get the maths of it (and low voter turnout)? Six people said their team, and they were all different!

Rather than call for a run-off and further embarrassing vote numbers, I put the names of each team onto a scrap of paper, then into a semi-clean lunch container where they were shaken and shaken. I then asked a work colleague to choose a sticky note at random.

The verdict… I am now an Arsenal fan.

The gunners, yeah! I don’t know much about them, so I did some digging and came across a recent blog entry from Nick Hornby. I like his passion for his team, and so I feel ok about supporting them now.

My thanks to the tweeps who voted in my poll:
@cherriemoore
@Heath_Eddy
@PostProdEditor
@MrTHill
@clubwah
@euaneggs

Let’s go Gunners!

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Jan. 26th, 2010

the deckchair guru

Procrastinating Pro

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

I am HOPELESS at just sitting down at the computer and getting stuff done.

I have been trying to get some work done for a couple of hours now, and each time I start to write a few lines, I do the old ALT-TAB and flick across to see what’s making the news, and whether I have any new emails (even though I get a desktop alert if I get an email).

This blog post is an attempt to force myself into writing something – even though it’s not the work that I need to be doing. I figure if I sit down and type some stuff, perhaps I’ll get into the groove and then be able to get done the things that I need to.

I guess I should talk about something then… what I got up to today? Kinda predictable, but what the heck. It’s a start.

Today is Australia Day. My count-them-on-one-hand readers are all Australian, so they know this already and have no doubt enjoyed themselves today. I woke up about 9.30, with the little lad having had a sleep-in, owing to a late night out at a friend’s BBQ. He woke up just after I did, which was handy. I hate it when he wakes before I do, and robs me of sleep! My wife was going in to work this morning, so the lad and I had our cereal and a shower, before heading to the shops to pick up some groceries and a present for a neighbour across the road. The neighbour in question was having a 1st birthday BBQ today, so we got a present and a card and came home to quickly wrap it up and write on the card. The shop we went to was having a sale, so I picked up a couple of cool dude t-shirts for the lad as well. As you do.

My wife got home at lunchtime and we headed across the road. The BBQ was a post-actual-birthday affair, and this one was for the mothers’ group people, but we scored an invitation owing to our recent establishment of a relationship with these neighbours, who are lovely. We walked in and got the introduction to all these couples and their children, and rode out the first bit of newbie awkwardness without too much trouble.

After a bit, lunch was ready and we sat down to a far of BBQ meat and yummy salads (though the ravioli and apple, covered in potato salad dressing, was a bit weird). The table we were at was pretty chatty and everyone was nice, talking about kids, houses, burglaries and the like. Normal suburban conversations for parents! As the mothers drifted off to the lounge room to watch over the kidlets, us dads were sitting down and enjoying a cold beer. Conversation soon turned to football, as it does at these things when a bunch of men are meeting for the first time. Was a good footy chat though, without anyone being too ‘Mike Sheehan’ and acting like a tool. I had to duck off about 3, as I was meeting a mate to hit the driving range! I bade farewell and headed out.

I’d been wanting to have a hit at the driving range for a couple of months, since I played a short 9 holes with a few work guys a couple of months back. I had never been much of a golfer at all, playing a handful of rounds and being quite sucky. But this past time I had a ball, and really enjoyed the walk and the outdoorsiness of it all. I have a terrible swing though and a strike rate of 50%, so the driving range was a good place to try and arrest that.

My mate and I got a bucket each of 80 balls, and headed out for a hit. I was ok, and connected about 75% of the time – an improvement! By the time I was down to my last 10 balls, I was making acceptable contact and actually getting some air. Up until then, there had been a few worm-burners and skimmers. I can feel now that I’ll be sore down the left-hand side of my ribs and stomach tomorrow, but that’s fine.

I should also mention that I bought myself some clubs the other day! I was only after a cheap and reasonable-nick set, and after combing Cash Converters with no success, checked out eBay. There were some great sets going for cheapish prices, but I still couldn’t justify $300 on clubs, even if they normally retail for $800. SO I found another website which was selling sets of clubs that were actually marketed to beginners and occasional golfers. It comes with a bag, most of the clubs I’ll need, and the bag even has pop-out legs for easy standing. All for $99 plus delivery! So after getting the seal of approval from the wife, I purchased a set of these bad boys. They should arrive in a week or so, and I can’t wait to get them out and have a swing.

After that, I came home and played with the lad for a while. He’s a bit of a fan of wrestling with me at the moment, so we mucked about for a bit before I cooked tea.

Dinner was an Aussie standard – steak and veg. The rump was a bit tough, though my steamed vegies were delicious. I find it hard not to overcook vegies for some reason, but these were just right. A fair dash of salt, and all was good.

After that I tidied up a bit and put the lad to bed. The wife is making cupcakes tonight, some of which I am taking to work for my team. They’re a good morning tea snack and a nice gesture.

And here I am now, after a couple of hours in which I’ve done about 15 minutes of proper work. These 1,000 or so words have flowed pretty well though, it’s good. Means I should be able to try and keep up something resembling a schedule of writing now. For a long time I’ve struggled to just type at home. Work is ok; perhaps the salary makes it easier to let words flow from my fingers? Home writing has been a bit of a challenge in the last couple of years. Part lazy, part hard. I like what I’ve done tonight though, which is just write about anything, no matter how boring an uninteresting, and just get the fingers moving about on the black keys.

Should do more of that!

Later skaters.

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Jan. 24th, 2010

the deckchair guru

Jump-start my heart. And by heart I mean blog.

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

September 1st? As in four and a half months ago? Wow, it has been forever since I actually posted something here. I cannot believe it has been that amount of time. Since I set this lil thang up back in late 2005, I’ve missed the odd month here and there, but never 4 months between content. I mean sure, I posted one of those Downfall clips we all love, but that’s just a YouTube link, innit? No excuses. I need to pull my finger out and make this blog worthwhile to my 4 readers, or else I’m just another git taking up room on the interwebs and offering fuck all in return for it.

In my defence (I’ve done well to wait until par 2 before justifying my laziness, eh) I have been superbly busy and otherwise occupied. At this minute, my wife and I are just 7 weeks away from welcoming our second child into the world! Super-excited and really starting to wish time away so he (we’re told it’s another boy) can join our little family.

My side project – being a daddy – is months behind in content updates as well (about 9 for that one). I need to type up all these notes I have on pads and scraps of paper, and get the record up to date and start in on that weekly parenting pseudo-column I originally had in mind. There was a flurry of activity over at that site in September last year, where I churned out about 20 posts in a couple of weeks, but then it was back to stagnation and the traffic dropped off, as it does.

I have been very active on Twitter, as you can see from the sidebar where my tweets appear. I think Twitter suits my inability to focus on things for more than 15 minutes at a time – a half-way readable decent blog entry takes me about 30 mins to draft, proof and publish, and sometimes I just don’t have that kind of time. Twitter makes it all so short and sweet, which is handy. But it isn’t really a decent record of your rants and raves, is it, as context is generally pretty critical if your thoughts are to be more than a ‘look at me’ moment.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that enough was enough in the physical health stakes, and made an appointment with my long-neglected local gym. I was weighed and measured, and found to be wanting. No surprises there. But I had a plan drawn up, which has me doing 3 sessions a week of 60 minutes each, alternating between cardio and weights training. In addition to this, I took a leaf out of a few tweeples books and jumped on board the Couch to 5k bandwagon and downloaded the app for my iPhone. I forced myself through days 1 and 2, and then had to get my longstanding ingrown toenail cut out, as it was ripping my toe to bits whenever I ran. That happened on Thursday, so mid-week this week I should be able to whack the runners back on and start pounding the pavement and treadmill once more.

Back in September I was approached about a job offer, and so being a polite man, gave the enquirer the courtesy of 5 minutes of my time. I couldn’t believe it, but the role they were looking to fill was everything I wanted my next role to be, and it was time to move on from my last employer, so the timing was perfect. I’d hit a wall work-wise and nothing was going to change – I’d learned all I could there and was jack of the place. So all went well over a few chats and coffees, and the job was mine. I snatched it up, enjoyed a couple of weeks respite between (where I planned to get my online life up to date, but was distracted by the backyard and Bunnings) and started in early November. It has been absolutely fantastic since, and I’m loving work for the first time in a few years. Nice to be able to say that.

As for my creative self, I have neglected that too. I have a Moleskine in my satchel which hasn’t had its cover opened since about October last year. It always happens to me – every time I try and start some sort of regular journal, I give up after a few months. I don’t know why as I love the idea of a journal, but I seem to baulk at recording real journal-y stuff in case someone finds it and takes it the wrong way. To counter this, I set up another side-project online, which nobody knows about, and am ready to start using that as my non-identifiable channel to really open up and examine myself in the cold light of day. I’ve created a persona for that project, twitter account and all, and will see how it goes. I do plan to be still doing it in six months though… we’ll see.

For now, I think I’ll sign off. I do promise to make more of an effort to share something of dubious value on a more frequent basis, and hopefully someone will find it interesting.

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Sep. 18th, 2009

the deckchair guru

Hitler critiques the All-Australian team

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

Humerous response to the AFL All-Australian team, which never leaves everyone happy.


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Sep. 1st, 2009

the deckchair guru

Diving right in and working my arse off

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

A little while ago I was reading an old feature article about the now-axed Tony Martin radio show Get This. In it, Ed Kavalee said of Martin’s influence on him:

“He’s made me learn that there’s no substitute for working your arse off.”

With this as my inspiration, I have pulled my finger out and will now use much more of my ’spare time’ to write, write, write and do less faffing around.

To assist, I have recently procured a lovely little 13″ Macbook Pro, and my iPhone is capable of tethering, so there is no excuse for not being a much more active writer and keeping my various online projects going.

To that end, I have made a conscious decision to update, re-skin and re-launch one of my side projects, beingadaddy.net. This week, I am spending my lunch hours and nights catching up on around 11 months worth of entries (I have been keeping notes offline, but never got around to writing them up) and trying to build some non-blog-post content as well. Any suggestions welcome.

I plan to relaunch the site in a couple of weeks, and then really work my arse off at building it into something people will actually want to read. I’ve come across a lot of possible publishing avenues of late in the parenthood genre, where I’m sure if I was to pitch a piece here and there and have a decent blog of work behind me, I may have half a shot. May as well chance my arm!

In a similar vein, I’ve recently built the company website for my brother-in-law’s security business and really enjoyed that. So I have enrolled in a short course at the Melbourne CAE for 4 Monday nights, starting next month, and will sharpen up my skills in this area. I’d love to have my own little marketing outfit and just wile away on small jobs for local businesses, building websites and doing some other freelance and business writing. Can’t make it happen if I don’t try though.

With a concerted effort to build up my skills and creative output, I do hope to be in a position where I can consider giving it a decent nudge.

Aug. 3rd, 2009

the deckchair guru

Body body everywhere, even twice in a headline

Originally published at the deckchair guru. Please leave any comments there.

A doozy of a sub-edit FAIL from The Age.

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