Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Downward trend

When I cut myself or sprained an ankle, it was almost inevitable that it would heal quickly and be bouncing along again on the basketball court. Have to warm up before games? Nope. Bruised from jostling for position? Should heal in a couple of days. Eaten a huge meal? My metabolism will take care of that. Should I would down that dark alley for a short cut? Why not, what could happen to me? Touch wood, I have never had a broken bone but I have had my fair share of scars along the way. Maybe I never really took care of myself all that much.

Back in those days, sleep and rest was the most potent formula for getting back on track. As much as I would love to continue down that familiar path, I have to admit that many recent events have more than made it quite apparent that things have been changing. Subtely, but changing none the less. Those cuts don't quite heal overnight. That injury has been more pronounced or takes a lot more sleeps to get over (my last two injuries have resulted in a combination of nine weeks of inactivity). The back feels sore after three hours of training.

Perhaps these physical changes have subconsciously nudged my mental side to start to take notice. Four days of sport per week has probably been taxing on my body, but I am probably the last to admit that and keep pushing myself that little bit more. There is obviously the denial factor thrown in there to confuse things a fair bit as well.

Sure, it may have been the years of abuse that I had given my body. No, I am not referring to massive amounts of drugs (ok, excluding alcohol, if you want to be pedantic). I am referring to the fact that these are true signs of getting older, or my body trying to hint to me that I need to take more care of my body. Where previously I could stay up all night whilst drinking, I can barely get by days without an afternoon nap. My doctor and a family friend have both noticed my sudden "filling out" around the belly and the face. How depressing...

Maybe this friendly reminder is telling me to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and pay attention to my own mortality. I think I need to be a more forward looking in my actions. The effects of rash decisions can be disastrous to say the least. It is not a race to the finish line - and I would rather reach the end fit and healthy than bruised and battered. I really should listen to my instincts a little bit more (and perhaps the doctor as well) but I need to take care of it and I guess make sure that I don't cause too much pain for myself. I think it is time to instigate some changes.

I hate sitting around while injured. It is so frustrating. I want to heal faster....I wish I were Wolverine.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006


I always like to learn some practical skills, so I learnt more about my car last week. Scouring through a host of forums and discussion groups, it's an enlightening experience to see that so many people know so much about their cars! It was an eye opener as some were discussing changing brake pads themselves as well as bleeding their car's brakes and changing the brake fluid. I managed to check my brake fluid and brake pads and reckon that that the brake fluid needs replacing on the next service. I dare not perform the brake bleeding myself in fear of the a-little-knowledge-can-be-dangerous well as the fact that most amateurs shouldn't meddle with their brakes (maybe I watch too many movies, but visions of brakes which don't work and veering through traffic and off a cliff just seem to come to mind). In the end I noticed that my front tyres were pretty worn and the back tyres had plenty of tread, so I rotated the backs tyres with the front tyres....and yes, of course I have washed the car.

Due to series of complaints I have received that my shorts are, well, too short and tight (due to lack of activity no doubt), I decided that I needed some new shorts (for basketball and indoor soccer). On a recent chaffeuring activity to Spotlight, I found some sports mesh material. Feeling spontaneously creative, I decided to make a pair of basketball shorts.
"Are you sure?" asked my mum, with a half raised eyebrow.
"Yeah. It should be fun and I can learn how to sew," I replied full of enthusiasm.
"Why do you want to learn to sew? Don't you want to do something woodwork or something?" she asked - almost half serious.
"Ok, so it is not the most stereotypical male activity, but one can have too many shelves and cupboards, but can always do with some extra clothes".
Still sceptical, she helped me draw a pattern from a large pair of basketball shorts. Yesterday, I spent a long time making them (or should I say, undoing my mistakes and re-doing them). Ok, I admit I had some help on the waist section which required the elastic and help redoing a bit of the pocket, but managed to finish it. Unfortunately, I was a little rough around the hem line as I got a little pedal happy towards the end. I do want to try to make one with as little help as possible. Anyway, so here it is - the finished product:

In a recent spate of nostalgia (probably after cleaning out my old room), I whipped out some old NBA games which I had watched some 10 years ago - when the Bulls were still the reigning champions and in favour. I noticed that I appreciate the plays and the individual's skill levels much more now that I had ever before (and considering that most of the team were older than 30). Maybe it is a sudden realisation that I am getting older and more injury prone (not to mention larger - ok, fatter - hence the need for larger pants).
On a separate note, listening to the commentators/judges (e.g. sports/Oz Idol/Think You Can Dance), some comments are harsh while others more diplomatic/euphemistic in their comments. Here are some examples:
"He is a defensive specialist" - translates to "He can't score".
"You look great" - translated to "You can't sing/dance all too well".

Ok, maybe I am overanalysing or maybe I am the one who is harsh. But I wonder whether people should accept the hard truth, as much as it may hurt, or should they be wrap in warm and fuzzy words just to make the recipient feel better. I sometimes coat some honey around the bitter pill of truth to make it easier to swallow, but other times I can be rather harsh (e.g. bball court). I can take constructive criticism - I guess don't take offense unless offense was meant.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Just Chilling

To be honest, the last three weeks have been absolutely awesome. Not having to worry about a thing in the world and soaking up Sydney life doing the things which I want to do - such as playing sports and video games.

In terms of sports, I am finally seeing my fitness return. Now I just want to play better and get those skills back!

On the gaming front, finally finished Vice City. It was long but the missions were fun - especially taking over businesses. Only finished the story missions and only completed 48% of the game!??
MGS3: Snake Eater is definitely cinematic and had a good story. It ties in with some of the other MGS games. Favourite characters had to be EVA and Ocelot....very nicely done. One of the good features of finishing the game is that the cut scenes are all accessible to be viewed at any time, so can watch it all again, without having to play through it. In a touch of nostalgia also played some SNES and original Nintendo games. I am bad at Mario Kart, NBA Jam brought back good memories and who can forget Super Mario Bros 3??? It's funny how one remembers things from around ten years ago - all the secrets and the different moves in the different worlds. I have to say that I do lack a bit of co-ordination when it comes to those good ol' platform games.

In other news, I am definitely excited about the longer summer days which are just around the corner. Apart from the stuffiness of playing indoor sports, it will definitely be a relaxing summer.

After four years of living in this place, I have decided to get a mirror for my bathroom and put up some towel racks. It was definitely a positive improvement as this means I don't need to go to other bathrooms to put in contacts and I can see how I look like before I leave my room. After drilling for three consecutive days and using up around five drill bits, I managed to put up a measly four mirrors and two towel racks. Do not underestimate the difficulty in drilling into porcelain tiles (which need to be treating softly). Only in my bathroom did the tile have a hairline crack. I don't think I am cut out for performing renovations, but it was definitely a fun experience to finally free up some space. I did learn a thing or two and I also managed to check out some of the wares at Bunnings and Mitre 10. Very interesting learning experience. I am thinking about what my next project will be.

There is something very satisfying when completing something one sets out to do. The sense of accomplishment and achievement is rewarding in different ways - like all that hard work was worth it.

With the entire online video phenomena there definitely have been some interesting posting on the internet. Call it sheer boredom or random surfing, but there is a mixed bag of stuff out there which I have managed to stumble across. Two interesting points were the Dove commerical (touching up can do wonders - I love those computer editing techniques as well) and the Stephon Marbury $15 shoes (great concept as well). Now, even news bulletins are coming at us over the web. Once streaming technology improves as well as penetration for broadband internet is higher, there should be even more videos out there. It is definitely more accessible as well as people at work take that 5min breather to watch a video here and there.