Archives for category: Life

My Mum was taking care of my son, ‘The Pok’, at home yesterday as he was sick and I was unable to take the day off work. Mum enjoys spending time with him and showing him things on YouTube sometimes. As she recounted the story of one video it prompted me to write this post. In the 30+ years since I was a child the changes in technology have been astronomical. Things that were cutting edge are now obsolete and for ‘The Pok’ and ‘Kiki’ they will only see this stuff being done in a museum.

1 – Winding an Audio Cassette Tape

This was what prompted the post. When ‘The Pok’ saw the video he was totally confused. He did not even know what he was looking at, and more importantly why the person had a pen stuck inside the hole of one of the reels. The two of them will never know about waiting up late at night to record the radio when your favourite songs were being played (and cursing when some silly DJ would voice over the intro of the song). Nor will they ever know how important someone with a dual cassette deck player was – the beginnings of media piracy.

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2 – Use a Sony Walkman

My generation was the first to truly experience personal and mobile audio – via a Sony Walkman. Yes it was a machine that played audio cassette tapes, but it was also a personal machine that allowed me to escape in my own personal world of music. So when my parents were playing some daft music on the car radio as we drove on long car trips, I could listen to my own personal playlist. The Walkman came in all sorts of models, with a multitude of buttons appearing on the more expensive models. You were a lucky kid if yours was a Walkman Sport with radio, and MEGABASS. My favourite model was the first I ever received – and it was quite a basic model, with two advantages being ultra compact and light. It wasn’t fancy, just black and small but I loved it. Apple has a lot to thank Sony for, particularly for not taking their technology to the digital hard drive phase. The evolution of the Walkman was cassette, compact disc, and then mini-disc (which was great technology, but ultimately short lived). Some elements of this technology have lived on though, just have a look at the plethora of headphones that you can purchase for absurd prices.

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3 – Need to look up a paper TV guide

I still can’t believe this, that to find out what was on the five television channels you had to buy either the newspaper or a special magazine like TV Week in Australia. By the time my kids are all grown up, media will be on-demand and you will interrogate any number of devices to tell you what is available. You probably won’t even type in what you are searching for, as the voice recognition software is already mature enough for the big electronic companies to be embedding it in everything – ‘ask Google’?

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BTW – Kate Jackson was my favourite Angel, not Farah Fawcett. And I thought the 6 Million Dollar Man was a legend. I can’t remember a single episode of Starsky and Hutch but I do remember the car.

4 – “Tape” a TV show

VHS players and tapes exploded during my teenage years. This was a pivotal point in media technology, and so much so that when I speak to my wife about recording a show from cable TV I often say that I am going to tape it. My kids will never “Tape” anything. Tapes are pretty much a thing of the past, and in most respects this is brilliant. I can remember what would happen when the VHS player went on the blink and would develop and appetite for said tape. Or when one of your brothers taped over something you recorded to watch later, with the ensuing sibling conflict. Hard drives will soon be replaced in their entirety by solid state media, and no doubt that by the time my two reach adulthood that a new technology will be used to store their favourite media.

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5 – Wait till a scheduled time to watch a show

Other than live sport and new TV shows or films, the concept of watching media to a schedule is almost obsolete. The same could be said with radio, where streaming and subscription services cater for what you want when you want it. Not only is on-demand now the way it will work, but the predictive software that analyses you audio and visual tastes will be able to prompt you to listen to other similar music or shows. With all of this, the only thing holding up the business models of the past is archaic and corrupt legislation – where lobbyists cajole politicians to favour their outdated media empires. Anyone for Netflix or Tidal?

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Writing this post made me thing of a plethora of other things in this field. I think there may be a second post of things that my kids will never know.

Lest We Forget – for all soldiers, their families and friends, both living and passed.

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Christmas has arrived, and I am happy. I am enjoying Christmas Day with my wife, son, daughter, and in-laws. My son has been spoilt, and we are enjoying a cold Christmas for the first time in years. Here is to a chilled Boxing Day (maybe watching some football or cricket – or both), and in parting I wish to repeat the annunciation to the shepherds by the angels.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Merry Christmas all!

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It has taken me a bit of time to work out what I would write in this post. By now the majority of people who will read this post know what happened in Sydney just over 24 hours ago. And I would be lying if I did not say that the incident has shook me up.

I was never in any danger, Sydney is a big city after all with over 4.5 million residents. But I think the siege hit home because at one time I was close to the cafe where the tragedy occurred. I worked directly opposite the Lindt cafe for over three years. Out of all the surrounding cafes, this was my favourite. After all, the Lindt cafe does the best hot chocolate in Sydney. That’s my pick me up – not coffee. Of course, it is stocked with all sorts of chocolate goodness as well. I would love meeting up with co-workers for a sneaky chocolate snack in the afternoon, in the guaranteed knowledge that the Lindt cafe would have a dark chocolate goodie. And a workers in the cafe would always hand me the snack with a smile.

On the day when the criminal assailant walked in, we received an email informing us that something was going on with our office across from the cafe, and the physical lock down procedures were put in place. I sensed something was wrong. Then the TV in the kitchen started to show our NSW Police Officers deploying around the cafe. I have worked very closely with the Police in the past, and I knew immediately that I was watching the Tactical Response Group in action – things were serious. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the NSW Police and the job they do. They deal with bad and the ugly on a daily basis, and very seldom the good. What was unfolding before my eyes was bad. I rang my wife to tell her to stay at home and not meet me for lunch. My wife was confused, until she saw the TV coverage. My son was upset that he would not see me for lunch, but my wife lovingly shielded him from the real reason. At the time no one knew whether this was a coordinated and planned attack – or the act of a lone deranged criminal with a completely shattered moral compass.

Most people now know how the events tragically unfolded…

It all came to an end while most of Sydney slept. We woke up to the awful news. As I kitted up to go cycling training, I could not clear my head. To say this totally clouded my thoughts is an understatement. As I pushed the pedals I could not think of anything else, and my session clearly reflected that. I was not the only one, we were all collectively flat. I was sad, angry, empty, all at once. I waited for any news of who the hostages were, and whether any of them were my old work colleagues. As the reports and the names came in, thankfully none of them were.

Putting it in perspective, this is not about me. Two people lost their lives to a criminal who should have been locked up – not out on bail. He likely planned the murder of his ex-wife and was up on 40 counts of sexual and indecent assault. He took the p!ss when he applied for asylum into Australia under false pretenses, and should never have been let into the country. Then when he got here, he actively fought against the fabric and foundations of our society – flaunting our faces incredulously in our own tolerance. Even when he got here he should have been extradited back to Iran because he was a criminal fraud over there. And all the while our NSW Police knew exactly his character and pleaded with our Legal system who failed to lock him away. He even smeared his own religion with his unconscionable actions, trying to tarnish thousands of Australians of the same faith.

It would be too easy to call this terrorism, the fact is that is was an evil crime.

While I read today about over 140 children who were killed by extremists in Pakistan, the tragedy of my own city is what is occupying my thoughts. I know enough about the world to know that this can happen in my home city. I am not that naive. But I can’t help but feel an indescribable loss. My city was attacked by one person who wanted to take down my fellow Sydneysiders, for no reason other than his own evil motives. My city fought back, and did not allow him the vehicle or platform, and people were hurt as a result.

For Sydney and all those who were dragged into this horrible ordeal, I say a quiet prayer. No photos, no hashtags, just a quiet prayer. And maybe one day I will be able to explain to my son and daughter the real reason why they could not meet me for lunch that day.

Last weekend’s big ride really cooked me. I mean really cooked! My quads haven’t felt that sore in a long time. I know the reasons why; not enough tempo rides (slower 60-80km spins), dehydration, and wearing cold weather gear on what turned out to be a warm day. Oh, and some pretty steep inclines too.

So when I rocked up to Wednesday morning’s training session it was no surprise that I hit the wall. What I meant to write was “blow up”. I hadn’t recovered properly before trying to knock out a sprint interval session. The blow up was… humbling (or was that humiliating?). As a result, my head was not in the right place. Throw into the mix my baby girl thinking that she lives in the Fijian or Tahitian time zone rather than on Australian Eastern Standard Time – I must be missing a few REM cycles too.

So that left me with a choice for this morning’s training session.

Show up or pike out?

I was trying hard to build my excuse list, heaven knows I had reasons. When the alarm clock went off at 5am, the question that entered my head was, “why are you doing this to yourself?” It is the same question that pops up when I hit struggle street on a tough ride. It is a question from the wrong space in my head. The negative space. [side note – cravings for dark chocolate cookies, Carribean rum and Coke (multiple), and two quarter pounders live in this space too]. So what is the answer to that question? I have a prepared response for this challenge which is another question, “When I am old and frail, do I want to look back on all the opportunities that I missed to live to the fullest?” That second question was formed when I was 20 years younger, lying on a hospital bed recovering from a knee reconstruction. That whole experience was a collection of harsh lessons, with one hard reality – to not take for granted my mobility and feel blessed that I have it, while I have it.

I made my choice. I showed up. It was a struggle, but I showed up. I set my power targets at 80% to what I normally train at, but I showed up. And as I warmed up my lithium batteries kicked in. I was still tired but I managed to churn through the session and in the end I spun at over 90% of my normal power targets. After the training session I suited up and arrived at work chuffed. I have won this morning, maybe not the Tour de France or the World Championships, but I won.

In the end there is no excuse or choice, it is show up – even if it hurts.

So for my 200th post on this blog, I am proud to write about the arrival of my little girl. As if right on cue she announced her arrival in a flash. We almost didn’t get to the hospital on time, and 10 minutes later my wife would not have been able to make it through the main entrance. But my “Superwoman” wife did what she has been preparing for over the last nine months and right on the due date she delivered our beautiful baby girl healthy and full of buzz. My wife was awesome and seeing this again for the second time I think that us men underestimate the pain threshold.

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All her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins are very excited and we have been spending a lot of time on Skype. I am fortunate to be able to spend a couple of weeks at home with my wife and the new addition to our family. Of course our son, AKA “The Pok”, is quite excited and can’t get enough of her. He was quite disappointed tonight when he was not able to get a third cuddle. When I dropped him off at his pre-school this morning I packed two photos in the bag for him to show his classmates, he was so proud and apparently wouldn’t stop talking about her.

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And what I thought was a strange coincidence, upon leaving the Birth Centre at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney was another one of the conservation rhinos that Taronga Zoo had commissioned. Only this one was special, it was a mummy rhino with a baby rhino painted inside of its womb. One of the obstetricians took a fancy to it and purchased it in the auction, subsequently donating it to the hospital.

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We are so blessed with the arrival of our little bundle of joy, and I thank the heavens that both my wife and daughter came through unscathed. I look forward to the nights of listening to my baby girl’s little cries, and watching the reaction of our son to the new kid on the block.

P.S. They measured our girl’s VO2 Max (all the cyclists out there will know what I am talking about) – 95! (apparently that is normal for all babies, but with numbers like that she would smash the pro peloton up Alpe d’Huez).

P.P.S. Our son arrived on his due date as well, the odds of that happening for both are 1/4 of 1% – time to buy a lottery ticket I think.

 

This blog has been neglected of late, and for good reason. I can’t blame cycling – I have been off the bike for a few weeks now with quite a nasty respiratory bug. I could quote work (which would be correct), but life and the contents of this photo are probably the biggest influence.

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My son is about to get a baby sister!

She is due any day now and we are excited (and me a little nervous). The Pok has been getting all excited for the arrival of a baby who can play with him (boy is he in for a shock).

So for my 199th post, I wait with nervous anticipation for a phone call from my better half. Do you think it would be cheeky for me to ask for my wife to time the delivery after the Australia v Holland Football World Cup match?

I haven’t posted anything cycling related for a while, and I think we could all use some inspiration. I hope to be riding in another 40 years time too.

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Something for all of us to look forward too.  What will our grandkids think of our carbon bikes then?

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Visiting my parents in Summer is always a fun opportunity to get up to mischief in the backyard pool. The Pok (AKA my son) loves the opportunity to go for a swim with his cousins and anybody else that is prepared to jump in.

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But this year Santa delivered a variety of water weaponry; water pistols, water pumpers, and the piece de resistance is the nerf water rifle with its water cassette.

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I grabbed this last one as my weapon of choice, and so the battle began. I thought I was doing pretty well with my 20 feet of hyper accurate water sniping over the other low volume weapons (and the equally inferior family opponents who were carrying them) until my 9 year old niece, C, yelled out…

“Hey Uncle Chris. If you unscrew the orange lid on the cartridge, and keep that part of the gun underwater while you keep shooting, you never have to reload. You will have unlimited shots”.

What ensued for me was total domination of the battlefield (the pool). And I just got schooled in re-engineering my weaponry.

My niece C will either become the next “Tony Stark”, or end up being a globally hunted weapons smuggler. Either way, she has that “criminal cunning”. Respect!

PS – no permanent casualties were suffered in the pool, and whatever applicable parts of the Geneva Convention were adhered to.

Yesterday, on the way back home from our long weekend away, I received some news that I knew would eventually come but not so soon. My uncle Marc (Gaëtan) Nemorin passed away after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He was a happy man to be around and always had a smile on his face and a tale to tell. Marc is and always will be the husband of my godmother Ghyliane Nemorin, and is also survived by his two children – my cousins Shaun and Ariane. He was a good father and took care of his children well. Marc loved football (soccer) and was an accomplished referee who officiated at the top level of the sport in Australia. He kept very fit, and I feel that he has been robbed after living a very healthy life. Marc was definitely a child of the 60s and 70s and the influence in his tastes in the arts stem from this period. I remember vividly to this day this painting – “Wings of Love” by Stephen Pearson, that he had hung up in his lounge room. I did not know the meaning of it as a child, but I just remember how vivid the painting was and the depth to the fantastic scene.

Wings_of_Love-Stephen_Pearson

His other love was always music, and he had some cool taste in music. Marc enjoyed singing and jamming with bands often in the studio crooning out tunes. And if there is one thing that he has imparted on me is some of his musical tastes – it is because of Marc that I love Roxy Music.

Marc has been taken away from us far too early, and I feel a great loss not only for me as one of his nephews but the great loss for my godmother, and my cousins who have been robbed of a grandfather for their children.

Gaëtan, may you rest in peace and live on in your children and their children. Enjoy a bit of Roxy Music up in heaven – I am sure Bryan Ferry would not hesitate to jam with you.

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