Monthly Archives: March 2008

Earth Hour

On March 31 2007, Sydney turned off their lights for 60 minutes in a movement called Earth Hour. The Earth Hour event was to raise awareness of the impact that coal fired power is having on the environment and in 2008, its spread and is now a global event.

Last night, Claire and I turned off all of the lights and fired up some candles. Princess wasn’t sure what was going on and the new fang dangled glowing things needed investigating. After a little bit of up close sniffing, she realised that they weren’t all that fun and felt obligated to have a cat nap after all the excitement.

To pass the time, it seemed like a good opportunity to bust out a board game; so we played Backgammon by candlelight for an hour. Pretty even actually, I got some lucky roles in the first game and Claire got a couple good ones in the second – it was a draw after the hour finished.

Stepping Up

Tonight I turned up at the squash courts for the semi-finals, only to find out that because of the timing of the Easter weekend that it was not scheduled for tonight.

As soon as I arrived and didn’t see the normal swarm of people, I immediately released what had happened. I was however, pleasantly surprised to find two A and one B grade players there having a hit; of course they realised that our semi-finals weren’t on and organised a hit none the less. At the time, both of the squash courts were free so with three players there at the time, the other court was begging to be used, so I asked if they’d mind if I joined them and they were happy to accommodate me.

Across the course of the evening, I was able to play each of the players a few times and it was an excellent opportunity. This has been the first chance I’ve had to have a serious hit with a bunch of players well above my grade, so I looked upon it as a training session and it was invaluable.

I managed to take a game off Murry (A), which was a bit of a surprise but a lot of fun and he got the second one by a much closer margin. The highlight though, which you might consider a strange highlight, was having my arse completely handed to me by Phil (A); who is the top guy in our fixtures and he wasn’t even working that hard on the court. Phil takes pleasure in holding the ball for as long as possible and then firing the ball where ever on the court he chooses. Since he is holding the ball so long, I always seem to be out of position and scrambling to get the ball, which just gives him more opportunity to hold the ball, hit it late and make me run a little more; it’s a vicious cycle.

I felt I played very well tonight and had good control of the ball, most of the time. My serve was surprisingly effective, I really expected the guys to destroy it but that didn’t happen. I was taking quite a bit of pleasure in changing the serve up, high lobs, driving into the wall or straight down the T; kept them guessing just enough. One thing I did feel that was letting me down tonight and it really was letting me down was my foot work. I continue to move on the squash court like I used to move on a tennis court, which while similar in some respects isn’t right. When the ball is moving fast, my tennis style foot work just doesn’t allow me to get my feet and hips into position fast enough to keep the ball tight down the walls when under pressure; so that is going to be something I’ll make a point of focusing on at the semi-finals next week.

Slow Fast Food

I consider myself to be quite a patient person in most instances, however there are certain things that frustrate me no end – one of which happens to be slow service at a fast food establishment.

I understand that from time to time, things go wrong in the kitchen and it takes time to recover. I sympathise when there is an unexpected rush of people and the kitchen is completely overwhelmed; it happens and I’ve experienced it first hand many times. However, when it’s slow all the time, something is clearly wrong.

To cite an example, the Nandos at the Helensvale Town Centre on the Gold Coast seems completely incapable of serving food at a reasonable pace. I’m not expecting the type of service that you’d normally see from the finely tuned machine that is a McDonalds – no, I’m talking about a number under 10 minutes.

In the last three months, I’ve probably ordered food from the Helensvale Nandos four or five times and each time, the speed of service is completely unacceptable. Under normal serving conditions, it takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes however on one occasion I waited for just under 30 minutes.

I realise that in most cases it isn’t going to be the staffs fault and is more likely the management cutting costs by rostering fewer staff on. Of course, the public will only tolerate substandard service for soo long before they simply stop going there. If it weren’t for the fact that you pay for your meal before receiving the food, I’m sure they’d be losing a lot more money from clients walking out the door, being sick and tired of waiting for slow fast food.

Improved Fitness

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been going to the gym before heading off to work in an attempt to improve my fitness.

When I decided that I’d start working out in the morning, I honestly wasn’t sure how that would pan out for me. It’s fair to say that I fit squarely into the night owl category in terms of sleeping patterns and I haven’t exercised in the morning since I was in high school. After waking up bleery eyed for a few days, my body was already adjusting to the changes and within a fortnight – it was feeling normal to be up and exercising.

A month has lapsed since adjusting to the morning exercise regime and in that time, I have increased all of my cardio work significantly. As an example, when I first started using a cross trainer or elliptical runner, I was feeling the burn after only 10 minutes on level 8 with a stepping speed of about 45 per minute. This morning by contrast, I exercised for 40 minutes on level 15 with a stepping speed over 55 per minute for the entire session.

One of the really nice side effects about improving my general fitness, is that it knocks on into other facets of my life. I’ve noticed after playing a couple of the top squash players in my grade, that I often feel aerobically exhausted and my legs are often quite tired as well. After losing a few kilograms and with the drastically improved fitness, I’m able to really take it up to the top guys in my grade; in fact three weeks ago one of them rolled me in a match and this Tuesday it was a roll reversal!

Next up I’m going to start blending more jogging into my morning exercise routine, in a hope of being in a reasonable state to complete the 10Km run in this years Gold Coast Marathon.