Cycling update

February 23, 2010 – 10:53 pm

It’s been a crazy few months, well, more like several, or more maybe. One job ending, the next starting (detail saved for another post at another time) plus the Christmas and New Year silly season. Chaos!

I’m back into training, slowly ramping it up. Trying to do triathlons, even short sprint ones was a bit too ambitious. I completed one, but it smashed me. So I’m concentrating on cycling for now, which is my favorite of the 3 sports.

I’ve started riding to work, its 11km one way, lots of hills. Work has decent showers and change rooms, which makes it easy.  So, I’ve caught the cycling bug big time. I’m buying upgrades for the cannondale bad boy and visiting bike shops.  I was gawking at TT/Tri bikes and pondering what bike to get next. I was thinking to get a TT/Tri bike as I’m still wanting to do triathlons.  I do pretty much all my riding alone, so I didn’t think there would be any downsides.  I saw Cervelos, Felts, Cannondales, Quintana Roos, Kuotas and Argon 18s. I’d narrowed them all down to the Felt B2.  Then i started hearing some good advice; going from flat bar road bike to TT/Tri bike is nuts, it’s a huge difference in posture.  The final straw was a Cervelo S2 SRAM Red on sale at Cheeky Monkey, with the offer to take it for a test ride.  What a sweet sweet ride! It blew me away. I’m just good enough to appreciate the bike. I could see that going straight to a TT/Tri bike really was crazy. This was more than enough speed.  So i bought it. 🙂 2009 model, big discount.

Then it rained and rained, which pissed me off no end. I finally got to Centennial Park on the weekend and did some laps.  Can’t wait to ride again this Saturday.

Note: this isn’t my bike, but it’s the same except for the wheels.

Update 13th of Mar: More laps of Centennial park. 8 laps this time. next time, 10.


Christmas Dinner

January 3, 2010 – 9:46 pm

A while back we got lucky and managed to score four bottles of the ultra-rare and amazingly good Clonakilla 2007 Shiraz-Viognier. The first one got opened on Christmas day. We had it with my favorite pasta recipe from Sean Moran of Sean’s Panaroma; orecchiette pasta, pancetta, fresh peas, pecorino, basil, cream etc.

Sprint Triathlon series

December 21, 2009 – 12:56 am

Did my first sprint triathlon not long ago. It was hard, but not the way I expected. The early morning was very hard; out of bed at 3:30am! At the event by 5am! But I was glad later, by the time i finished just after 9am, it was getting close to 30degC.

Sprint Tri = 750m swim, 20km ride, 5m run. The swim was the hardest, as i should have expected as i’ve not done any real swimming training at all. The run was my best,  again, as i should have expected as i’ve been working on my running all year. The next event of the series of four is on the 17th of Jan. I’m trying to do as much swimming as i can before then.

I bought a wetsuit before the event and I’m so glad I did. I love it, it makes you feel like you’re swimming downhill. You slip through the water with less drag too. I went too hard (despite trying not too), conked out after about 100-150m and did breaststroke for the rest of the way. This smashed me, drinking and breathing in loads of salt water didn’t help either. My transition took ages as i fought off nausea from the salt water. My bike leg was slow, but by the time i got to the run I was ok. I cranked out a respectable 26min 5km.

Japan vs. Australia

November 20, 2009 – 9:17 pm

Our Pavlova

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and their Pavlova

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I remember them more like this

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Japan

November 9, 2009 – 8:57 pm

I was in Japan recently for a holiday. This time it was longer than usual, 3 weeks. Chika went ahead of me and stayed an extra week too.  We traveled around together; 2 weeks in Osaka and 1 week in Tokyo. This was my first proper trip to Tokyo.  I love it!! I’d very happily live there.  Hopefully my career will take me there in the future.

I dusted the camera gear off and took it with me. I mainly focused photographing all the food we ate. For me Japan is food paradise.

I bought a new lens in Tokyo, the Canon EF-S 17 – 55 mm F2.8 IS.  This is a sensational lens for pics indoors without flash. Perfect for food pics 🙂

This time i was introduced to properly good Izakaya(s). Also, we visited Tsukiji markets in Tokyo.  Check out the pics in the gallery (also linked at the top of this page).

Here’s a sample

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Dining at Quay

September 25, 2009 – 12:00 am

We are starting to form a bit of a tradition by going to Quay every year for a particular special occasion. Tonight was particularly good. Last time the wine we picked wasn’t ideal, but this time it was sensational.  Highlights for me were the wine and the lamb main. “Oh-my-god!” awesome.

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We had;

White – BURGUNDY – CÔTE DE BEAUNE
Puligny-Montrachet
1er Cru Champs Canet
Carillon
2006

——————
Chika:
Poached Western Australian marron,
seaweed jelly, cucumber, fennel, lime crème fraiche

Daniel:
Mud crab congee, hand shelled mud crab, Chinese inspired split rice porridge


Both of us:
Gently poached partridge breast,
bitter chocolate black pudding and walnut crumbs,
truffle custard, fresh palm hearts, white borage buds


Chika:
Bass Groper, parsley crust,
slow braise of baby abalone, periwinkles,  sea scallop, winter melon, hasuimo,
green tea and seaweed consomme

Daniel:
24 hour slow cooked milk fed Suffolk lamb,
sheep’s milk fromage, heirloom baby carrots, Arbequina olives, capers,
nasturtiums and rosemary flowers

Both of us:
Eight texture chocolate cake
featuring Amedei ‘Chuao’ Chocolate

Chika:
Dessert Wine
2007 Jurançon Uroulat Charles Hours, South West France
Daniel:
Cognac
Tesseron lot 53 XO Perfection Grande Champagne

Cloud Computing

August 28, 2009 – 10:14 pm

I attended CloudCamp at Google HQ in Sydney last night. Interesting mix of attendees. Lots of discussion.

“Cloud Computing”, is a hot buzzword at the moment. Probably used most often by people who have no idea what it means. Some people use it and have AN idea, but its different to the idea that other people have. Arguments result. People get tired of hearing the term.  There is good stuff behind the hype however.

NIST have released a draft definition paper. If we can all agree on what to call things, then we can come out of the hype phase and start figuring out what is good when and for what (etc).

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

Another way of describing “cloud” is “the stuff i don’t have to care about”. This has been used in various forms by a range of leading minds in the area. I didn’t make that up.  It’s a pretty good definition I think.  It’s common practice for network engineers draw clouds on their network diagrams to represent bits of network they don’t control, usually service provider networks.  Cloud Computing works the same way. “They give me computing resources of a particular type with a service description and an SLA and I don’t need to worry about the details”.  If you need a certain amount of security, get it in the contract. If you need a certain guaranteed performance, get that in the contract too.

It’s early days. Cloud Computing offerings are still maturing. The types of offerings are still evolving.  In my opinion, there are some exciting changes starting to happen.

IT departments in many or most enterprises are in an ongoing wrestle with their business masters. Both sides complain about the other, saying they don’t understand, they don’t deliver or don’t listen.  When IT departments don’t support their businesses, wholesale outsourcing usually results. However that’s had limited success and it’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  You need healthy competition for an optimum result.  An internal IT department effectively has a monopoly, holding the business to ransom. Outsourcing the lot just moves that monopoly elsewhere.  We need to eliminate this monopoly situation.

Network services have become a commodity because we now have standard networks. Everyone uses IP, ethernet, MPLS etc.  Switching from one carrier to another is a relatively painless process. Many companies use a mix, moving traffic and infrastructure onto one or the other over time. Competition is good!

Cloud computing has the same potential. Running your company’s servers or apps on a service provider’s platform and being able to move from one service provider to another easilly is key. Hooray, true competition!

Yes, this will most likely mean lots of job losses in IT departments all over the globe.  But this is a change that needs to happen.  If you work in IT, ask yourself, “how am I contributing to the profitability of my company?” If you can’t answer that, you better make some career changes so that you can.

Company executives will start looking at IT departments as business enablers, not just a cost.

Burned Out

August 25, 2009 – 11:40 pm

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I need a recharge, been going too hard for too long.  We’ve a holiday in Japan coming up soon. I can’t wait.

Confidence

July 24, 2009 – 11:12 am

Whilst looking through the www.savagechickens.com cartoon archive, I saw this. Very apt. This is a great summary of my experience being technical in a sales department.

chickenconfidence

Fitness progress – winter and an injury

July 20, 2009 – 10:12 pm

It’s been a while since I last posted. I’m struggling through winter, which I hate. The days are short and cold. This makes it much harder to get the motivation to get out and do exercise. I always feel good once I’ve warmed up, but the first little while is torture. Summer, you can come back now. All is forgiven.

I’m halfway through my current 9 week period between setting new goals. I’m aiming for 12% body fat. I’m down to 13.2% from 14.4% five weeks ago. I’m on track but I’m only just keeping to the plan. Getting enough hours of cardio per week has been an ongoing struggle. Last week, in desperation, my trainer scared the bejeezus out of me with a cardio super-circuit. Holy moley! It felt like i was going to die. Tunnel-vision. Dizzy. Pounding head. couldn’t talk  AT ALL due to heavy breathing. So from now on, i meet my cardio goals each week or he hits me with the pain train! Its working so far, i got in 3.5hrs of good bike riding on the weekend. Lot of hills.

The left leg is still annoying me. Pushing myself through the half marathon, in retrospect, was a bad idea. No permanent damage, but the muscles in my left leg are cactus. I had heaps of problems with poor posture, bad running style, tight muscles etc before the HM, but the HM pushed them all over the edge. I’ve got an excellent sports massage guy who’s doing wonders at fixing me up. The physio was good for checking i didn’t have a serious injury, but did nothing at all to help me recover.  I just have to keep running and getting massages. I’m slowly increasing the distance i can do before the stabbing pain comes back.

As with just about everything in your body, when you feel pain, you’ve got serious problems. Get checked out before the niggle becomes AAAAAGGHH!!! You’ll be able to recover sooooo much faster.  As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”