Monthly Archives: November 2011

Crowd Dancing

I’m sure you must have tried it – especially if you’re a commuter … crowd dancing.

That last minute run to the station or the bus stop, or maybe it’s another situation, like trying to exit the movies?

For me it’s the all too often mad rush to Town Hall station. From the office to the station is around 4 minutes if everything’s clear … of course there’s always a but!

Where’s My Lift

It starts with the lift, well actually 3 lifts for 11 floors. It just seems that synchronisation is not a strong point for our office lifts … so four minutes has already blown out with a few minutes wait.

So this is where the fun begins … having left myself a copious amount of time to make the station (oh, say 5 minutes) it’s now the mad rush to get to the station.

Let’s Play Frogger

Out of the lifts and there’s the main road … standing between me and the mad dash to the turnstiles.

Anyone remember the game Frogger on those little hand held game consoles? Well three lanes of traffic, a pretty constant flow and a very keen pedestrian to get across.

Off I hop, skip and jump to weave my way through the traffic hoping there’s a sufficient gap and safe passage … really do feel like that little frog jumping through logs and dodging the cars.

Stage 3: Crowd Dancing!

Time to skip through the constant flow of traffic, the mass of humanity streaming towards a few tiny turnstiles to be shepherded onto trains.

crowd dancing in Town HallI have less than a few minutes to make the train, there are a sea of people between me and the platform and they seem to be more interested in chatting, window shopping and chatting on their mobile phone than moving in an orderly manner to the station.

And so, with the waltz and maybe a foxtrot, I dance my way through the crowd … don’t think I rival Fred Astaire but it sure does feel like I’m crowd dancing – more than once staring straight into the eyes of a pedestrian moving in the opposite direction forcing a polite sorry and rapid change of direction!

Yes, I know I should leave earlier, maybe even learn after the first dozen times that there are delays … but hey, how would I brush up on my dance moves!

XXX Olympics

London 2012 XXX Olympic Games

The Olympics – a test of courage, stamina, determination, strength, skill, speed and endurance.

It’s the pinnacle of sporting achievement. It’s finding your gift and using it to the maximum of your potential. Milking every last ounce, stretching yourself beyond what you first thought possible.

It’s the glory of gold, yet also the achievement of participating. It’s overcoming obstacles, challenges, trials.

It’s opportunity, it’s expectancy, it’s the best of the world performing at their best for a few brief weeks … in some cases just seconds. Where a millimeter, a microsecond can make all the difference.

The Spirit of the Games

It’s putting your heart and soul on the line in front of millions of supporters and combatants.

It’s standing for what you believe … it’s pride. Pride in your performance, for your team, your country and for the tradition that is the Olympics.

It’s about the fastest, the highest, the longest, the strongest, the closest.

It’s about records; your personal best, an Olympic record, maybe even the world record.

The Olympic games is about competition; it’s not just the winners but for all who compete.

There is No Overnight Success

Every single athlete that dons the colors of their country shares one thing in common – they have all endured endless hours of training, of setbacks, facing fears, challenges, they have stared down the face of insurmountable odds.

They all shared a dream that one day they would make it .

But ALL on the journey at some point questioned whether it was worth the sacrifice, worth the dedication, worth the suffering, the knock backs, the rejection, the early mornings, the late nights – yet each participant in the Olympic games has earned the right to be called an Olympian.

The Moment of Truth

Imagine stepping out to the stadium, lining up at the blocks, the countless hours, the pain, the preparation … all suddenly on the line.

There’s only one winner, one gold medal – some are knocked out as early as the first heat … but they did it. They dared to dream, they worked at it, fought for it and they achieved it.

They, all of them, stand amongst the elite, they stand as an Olympian.

All Things Orange

Today is the day for orange, a self proclaimed day of honour for the oft forgotten colour ORANGE.

For too long black, blue, red and, yes even, brown have dominated our homes, our work environments and our fashion.

But it’s time for change, time for renewed vigor, action … It’s time for ORANGE!

Do You Like Orange?

Orange, actually is named after the fruit, it’s synomynous with the Dutch, fanta, and a spray tan gone wrong. It’s the colour of the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s sunsets, the flowering Banksia, and safety gear.

Without orange we would just have stop and go – no speed up or slow down.

The amber ale, the amber stone, agate … and what about the entire district of Orange, NSW. Or the flags of Ireland, India, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire. It’s the national colour of Holland – the heir apparent is the Prince of Orange.

Oh, and of course the foods, oranges, carrots, mangoes, apricots, papaya, pumpkin, sweet potato, peaches, persimmons and tangerines.

Facts About Orange

Did you know that orange only became orange in the middle ages? The first recorded (written) reference as a colour was in 1512. It really is named after the fruit! Before this it was referred to as yellow-red.

Other facts about orange:

  • The Golden Gate Bridge is painted with Deluxe International Orange
  • Orange (or deep saffron) is the most sacred colour of Hinduism
  • On the Indian flag orange represents courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation

The Colour Orange

Orange is associated with halloween, Thanksgiving, Autumn (or fall for the Americans), it’s vibrant and considered an energetic colour.

Sitting right between red and yellow, orange is associated with excitement, enthusiasm and warmth. It is also linked with food, not only fruit, but ripening crops and considered a food stimulating colour.

Interestingly orange is also a polarising colour, you love it or hate it. It’s the attention colour, the stand out – it’s why in the States they clothe prisoners in it.

Spare a Moment for Orange

I ask you take a time to ponder the colour orange, to give this attention seeking yet polarising hue just a moment of your time. Does it elicit joy, warmth and excitement? Or do you just see the moment between red and green at the traffic lights? The work crew at a construction site? Or worse, the Annoying Orange!

So, with Halloween just gone, Thanksgiving on the way, and a friend’s orange t-shirt whisked away due to a perceived fashion faux pas I proclaim November 22nd as Orange Day.

What Keeps You Fit

Well last night I was back up at the local squash court forcing ny body to move in ways it clearly wasn’t designed to!20111117-233649.jpg

I started squash about 10 years ago – with the onset of my 30’s I noticed the departure of health. With kids, work, and responsibility it allowed little time for something selfish like exercise. After all it almost seems self indulgent!

Taking time out to get fit – or maintain these amazingly developed curves (rolls) became a luxury and so any definition I may have had was smoothed into gentle rolling waves of “looser” muscle. 🙂

The battle with weight catches up with most of us and, at least in my case coincided with a growing interest in food. Getting on the scales and seeing weights a test batsman would be proud of galvanised me into action.

So I stumbled into a squash court, took up a nice easy game that doesn’t overly test your fitness … well not originally because I couldn’t run after the first or second shot!

How Important is Exercise?

We pay so much attention to our finances, our worklife, our family – sometimes fitness becomes a distant memory, a long lost treasure of youth.

For anyone younger reading this it might sound ridiculous, it might appear unnecessary, for weight just never sticks to you – “I can eat and drink what I like and never put on weight” – well just “weight”, it will catch up.

So is fitness a high priority? Is it something that gets you up pounding the pavements at 5:00 am? Or, like me as I was cruising through my early 30’s, was it something that seemed to silently depart without you even knowing leaving a rather larger version of you as a result?


“Tell me why I don’t like Mondays”

Monday-itisThe famous line by Bob Geldof about a young girl who shot up a school because she didn’t like Mondays.

So many people start their week with Mondayitis – that sense of routine, mundane. A boredom of living through another Monday.

I’m struck by the ridiculousness of this – Mondayitis … after all Monday’s make up 1/7th of our life.

I know most don’t seriously write off their Mondays – but many don’t approach it with a sense of joy, of anticipation.

The March of Time

Life passes so quickly, it constantly marches to a rhythm, the “second tempo”, 60 seconds that turn into minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and then … they’re gone.

An old saying “you can’t put an old head on young shoulders” rings so true. Your childhood isn’t treasured till its passed. Your youth and its inherent beauty and potential are often unappreciated. Even your 20’s are all too often squandered, 30’s most likely frantic with kids – then your 40 and realising how valuable life is.

A Chasing of the Wind

“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” The opening lines of Ecclesiastes, a book written by the wisest man to ever live, Solomon.

The book goes on to say life is like chasing the wind – that we are but vapours that inhabit the Earth for but a few short decades, some might make a century? Yet before we recognise the value of life its gone, time will have passed, age will set in and life’s rhythmic march will be soon to end.

Leaping into Monday’s

I know most don’t actually want to miss Monday’s … that it’s a social idiom but I’d like to challenge people to embrace Monday’s – and Tuesdays, Wednesdays … mornings and evenings. Life is too short to be stuck in mundane, routine or worse, unhappiness, depression, addiction, sadness, loneliness – take action, make a decision that time is to be treasured and jump into life to live it to its fullest.

12 Angry Men

In the famous scenes of 12 Angry Men a panel of jurors were called to deliberate on a case which gradually turned as discussions ensued.20111114-090556.jpg

Well now it’s my turn, asked to attend the panel selection process for a 4 week trial. Four weeks seems a ridiculous amount of time to be extracted from life!

I understand someone’s life is in the balance, further that (at least in Australia) it’s a duty of citizenship – but for most people who are employed a 4 week break is extremely disruptive.

Trial of Patience

The first impression is that the process is a long drawn out system of attrition.

First is the briefing in small groups, then a large group briefing, a video, small groups, individual interviews, callouts and finally enpanelment.

Oh well, I’m seeing a theme to recent blogs around a teat of patience, from Manila to court – happy days!

PS Couldn’t upload this while in court complex but the update is I’ve been excused 🙂 which I’m pretty darn happy about.

Check 1 2 Check

So ends a whirlwind trip to Manila – and in true Manila fashion ends with the chaos of the airport.

I love the Philippines, its culture, people, their spontaneity and confusion.
Starting with the traffic, the smells, the labour surplus for every job.

The Filipinos are an amazing people, extremely loving and generous.

So to finish the trip it’s braving the airport – and with so little ability to predict the traffic we’ve left 3 hours to get to the airport – knowing like each of the last few trips it will only take 15 – 20 minutes!

It’s a true test of patience departing from Manila – the dozens of check points, the lack of commercial acumen, the chaotic nature all culminating in massive delays. But, now used to all this, I’m prepared – I have a blog to write.

Did we check you in?

You arrive at Manila airport and pass through the security quadrant, then through security screening – you’ve made it to the entrance!

Check your bags, pay customs and through security screening – check 1 2, check.

Approach the gates and, oh, through security screening – did I miss the exit to the roundabout?

We’re now into the main terminal, moving to our departure gate – the flight is called and … through security screening, bag check, frisk down, shoe check, passport and boarding pass check and now we’ve arrived at the gate.

Locked in literally to a cordoned off area. Hope you don’t need to go to the loo! 20111112-204450.jpg

To top it all off … flights are delayed by an hour and a half … but that’s the Philippines. I’m in travel mode so expect the wait.

Salamat Manila, I love travelling here – but please get some decent food and a few shops at the airport – Jollibee just doesn’t cut it! 🙂

The Morning Train

Are you a commuter? Jumping on public transport to get to and from work?

I’m amazed that we can squeeze so many people in such a confined space yet not say a word.

In fact we’re more likely to be texting, calling, blogging than meeting new people.

Sure the environment doesn’t lend itself to developing long term relationships – but I’m sure there must be stories of meeting your wife or forming a great friendship all seeded during a commute to work.

Not me though, it’s Angry Birds or Traffic Rush, maybe a podcast or some music – anything but start a conversation with the person next to you!

The Commuter Challenge

I must admit, there is something of a voyeur in me, I do enjoy sitting in the seat at the end of the carriage and for fun seeing how many people I can make eye contact with.

I think it’s time to break the ice, the commuter challenge or icebreakers – maybe start singing a the Albert Hammond song – I’m A Train, or call out “GROUP HUG”. Surely we cancome up with some great commuter icebreakers and lighten the mood of the train ride!

Guessing by now you’re glad you don’t ride on my train.


Just a Game

Tonight I’m on my way for a weekly squash game playing in a local centre in an internal competition.

Having just heard who my opponent is I’m already turned off … I’m up against that guy who takes his sport far too seriously.

I’m sure we’ve all met them, or maybe are one ourselves, the person who plays in the local competition as if life depended on it.

I’m not against playing hard, certainly prefer to win than lose … but now past 40 my aspirations of making the national team for anything other than maybe coach driver have all but dissipated!

Especially when it comes to squash – those guys are superfit, and if truth be told … Well I’m not. 🙂

When Does Social Sport Go Too Far?

So when does social sport become unsocial? What do you do when your opponent is ready to take your head off if you’re winning?

I play simply to get a little exercise, to maintain this fine figure attained after years of dietary abuse. I also play for enjoyment, for some time away from the office. But tonight I’d have been as happy to stay back.

20111103-194402.jpgSo far I’ve only spoken about direct competitors, older folk like me still silly enough to play – worse is the spectators, the parents who didn’t quite make it and now are riding their kids – saw plenty of this coaching.

I assume this isn’t just a modern phenomena, that this equation has been going on for generations but fear that today’s society increasingly is more concerned with winning at all costs rather than enjoying some down time and playing for fun – after all it’s just a game, isn’t it?