It's awesome being friends with Group Fitness instructors because sometimes they bring in their "toys" and they let you play with them. In this case my instructor friend happened to win a Les Mills Smart Bar and Smart Step set.
Last Saturday I got to complete an entire BodyPump class with it - WHOOP WHOOP!
So how does the SmartTech compare with traditional Don Oliver / Australian Barbell set commonly seen in Group Fitness classes?( Nerding Over SmartTechCollapse )
CONCLUSION: SmartTech equipment had some really nice features. But the real downside is PRICE. SmartTech equipment is INSANELY expensive and there's no clear advantage to using it over traditional barbell sets.
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Hey Neglected LJ, how've you been all this year? Quiet? Everyone leave you for other social media sites or dropped off the Internetz?
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I guess all I can really do to make up for lost memoir dump is a "borrowed" meme and short paragraph summaries...
( 2013 In ReviewCollapse )
( And so, looking towards 2014...Collapse )
I've been spending the past couple of weeks listening to the following musicals on YouTube over and over and over again:
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Legally Blonde: The Musical - Broadway Version — It's currently playing at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney which I watched at the end of October. It was hilarous and I'm totally obsessed with skipping ropes now. Every single song is earworm. Someone taped the Broadway version off MTV.
A Very Potter Musical — Found this in the right-side bar where all the related videos are listed. Realised that it was Darren Criss (Blaine from Glee) playing Harry Potter. The show is completely fan-made and stars students from the University of Michigan, so the audio isn't all that good in some bits. The musical is a parody, so it's best if you turn your brain off and just accept the jokes as they come no matter how crude they are sometimes. Back To Hogwarts and Granger Danger are my favourite tunes.
Les Miserables - 25th Anniversary Concert @ O2 — I'm surprised that a couple of YouTube users managed to upload the entire concert and so far get away with it. The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast is also available in full.
Then again, I probably wouldn't have gone ahead and impulse bought the 25th Anniversary Phantom of the Opera / Les Miserables double on blu-ray if I didn't see it on YouTube.
Whether you like the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast better compared to the 25th Anniversary Cast is a matter of preference. I think both concerts were well done and it's hard to compare because the presentation is different. 25th Anniversary had more of the story while in the 10th Anniversary, most of the story telling was replaced by one sentence summaries.
Nevertheless, speaking for myself:
( 10th Anniversary Dream Cast vs 25th Anniversary Cast — My 2 centsCollapse )
Incidentally, Phantom of the Opera made more sense to me during the 25th Anniversary concert than the movie. Hrm.
Yes, I'm still alive! It's the usual "I'm too busy" / "Currently in a slack mood". When you're constantly time deprived, taking the time to write down thoughts for random Interwebs lurkers to see is usually the first habit to go.
Might give a month-by-month run down on 2012 so far, maybe sometime this century... if it doesn't feel like an obsolete exercise to carry out.
Speaking of 2012, the Summer Olympics have come and gone. Despite some early gaffes (bus driver getting lost, mistaking the flag of "Naughty Korea" with that of "Nice Korea", so many empty seats that the Army were called to fill them, etc.), I think London 2012 was fantastic.
Had to get up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning to see the Opening Ceremony and the lack of sleep was definitely worth it. Mr. Bean and the Chariots of Fire sequence is probably all that needs mention to describe how well done it was, but other highlights include:
- opening sequence introducing the four "countries" of Great Britian and the evolution to industrialisation
- an army of Mary Poppinses defeating Lord Voldemort and other dark minions in classic English literature
- lighting of the cauldron and how it was formed by bringing a bunch of torches together to symbolise unity was also pretty cool
I'm not sure what made me so eager to follow the event. I don't recall being this enthusiastic with Athens 2004 or Beijing 2008 unless a Gold medal win was involved. Maybe it was because I had a friendly bet going with an British Online Gaming friend. Anyway, I watched more TV over the past two weeks just watching the Olympic coverage (even though it was handled pretty poorly by Channel Nine) than I have for a very long time. (Not including watching NCIS DVDs!)
My favourite day would have to be Day 11
when Sally Pearson (100m hurdles) and Anna Meares (cycling, sprint) salvaged a very mediocre AU Olympic campaign (compared to previous performances) by taking gold in their respective events. Both had inspiring background stories coming into the Olympics. Both inpsiring in their success at achieving Gold medals in London 2012.
Actually, let's harp on Sally Pearson some more. Slightly embarassed to mention that I've been a little bit obsessed with her lately.
Inspired by Cathy Freeman's 400m Gold medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Hand-picked by her long-time coach at a young age for her potential. Raised by a single mum who sacrificed everything to support her daughter's dream. Literally trains her guts out. She took Silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and made plans to go one better at London 2012.
.. and "she bloody did it"
Sounds like something out of a sports manga.
I was actually able to see the race live. Thank goodness the race was only 12.5 seconds - I would have missed my train to work. I ran out of the house as soon as the results were announced.
I found it really interesting to listen to her Beijing 2008 post-race interview
and comparing it to her Gold Medal (and new Olympic Record!) win at London 2012
. You can really notice how much she's grown as a World Champion athlete.
It's too late for me to form any sort of Olympic dream. But I hope I'd be able to nuture whatever talents my little one
might have the way Sally's coach and mother did.
Except for more triumphs over the water thanks to the AU Sailing team, all other prospects fell short. We (as in Australia) finished 10th on the medal tally. Great Britian finished 3rd.
Bother, wonder what kind of punishment Stoobles has in store for me...
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Needless to say, 2011 was a big year for me first and foremost because of this memorable event. Late February, my world was turned upside-down and shaken around like the little hard-plastic shapes that Ninjaspawn likes to tip out of a container and scatter all over the floor.
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I've been wondering what kind of goals I'll set for myself in 2012. Now that I have a little one to look after, most of my needs and goals almost take a backseat to her needs. Not that I'm lamenting or anything - thankless self-sacrifice is a big part of being a parent.
( 2011 In Review and Then BeyondCollapse )
There are lots of other little goals on top of these. Probably way too many to fit in given my living, breathing time sink.
But hopefully I'll find the time to fit it all in!
Here's to 2012! \o/
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This Last year's Christmas rocked for the following reasons (in reverse order):
5) Assembling Christmas Trees with mah little girl
4) Practical household items as presents (my dishwashing detergent supply was replenished - whoo! \o/)
3) Chocolate and Sweets/Treats as presents
2) Lots of FOOD!!
1) Filo Family Christmas Parties
( Cuchinta~ *nom nom*Collapse )
I've only done it three times, but despite the crazy amount of crowds, the City2Surf has become my favourite event to attend. Actually, it's really the only regular event I attend... and it's sponsored by my company...
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I almost missed it this year because I was on maternity leave for three months. Fortunately, I came back just before the cut-off date.
The weather on the day wasn't as nice as it was the last two times I participated. Apparently it's the first time in years that the weather wasn't bright and sunny. At least it didn't rain during the event - that would have been annoying because I had another (family) event to attend afterwards.
The results were published this morning and I got...
The "competitive" side of me can't help but feel a bit disappointed at being 12 minutes slower than last year - especially when you consider the fact that I was 14 weeks along at the time so I was holding back on purpose.
The "rational" side of me knows that the result was fitting consider: (1) I took a break from high-impact exercise for a couple of months, (2) I'm not able to attend all the group fitness classes I used to attend, (3) I didn't do as much outdoor jogging in the weeks leading to the event like the previous years (4) I was placed in the Yellow group this year which meant more people to trip over - which I ended up doing. Have a scraped knee as a souvenir.
Pending any "unplanned" events, maybe I can achieve my goal of breaking 80 minutes next year :)
Two days on, my legs are still complaining to me. It's amazing how many stairs I actually climb on a day-to-day basis when I have to stand there and think about it...
I'm in really good spirits today for a number of reasons. Here they are in reverse order:
#5 - Scored a free VCR from work.
They were just going to throw it away anyway. Video tapes are pretty worthless these days but when you've inherited an extensive collection of fan subs and religiously taped favourite childhood TV shows. It's something to be excited about. Too bad my dubbed Sailormoon collection got ruined because the last VCR we had ate it :(
#4 - NCIS Seasons 1 to 6 - GET.
I got seasons 3, 4 and 5 on sale at JB-HiFi last year. This year they were on sale again, so I decided to snap up the rest of the seasons up to season 6 because I'm just so completely obsessed with the series. So much so that I've officially decided to call my daughter's Rubber Ducky, "Dr. Mallard".
Now I just have to wait for season 7 and 8 to become "affordable"...
#3 - It's Saturday Tomorrow!
Saturday means Gym Time!
(BODY COMBAT Time to be precise.)
As a parent of an infant, it's really hard to find time after work to toddle off to the gym. Especially if you're required to nurse. I'm looking forward to when she's on solids so I can hopefully get the chance to do the Monday and Wednesday evening classes I used to do.
(Not looking forward to the smell though.)
This one is more of a team effort than an individual achievement. The people involved with the project where tasked with developing and documenting
an environment that complies to all of the relevant requirements for cardholder data security. The task was huge and the deadline was aggressive, but we managed to scrape through.
I don't really like to blow my own trumpet, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I saved my team's bacon in this one. I went back to work part-time one month before I was officially required to return from maternity leave because as it turned out, my maternity cover was a bit of a flake.
Also, with everyone busy running around getting our Payments system compliant, no one had any time to pay attention to documentation. Which would have caused serious problems with the project considering that documentation of compliance was just as important as building the system itself.
It worked out for me because I was getting slightly bored and I love working with Confluence. I had a month an a bit to complete as much of the documentation as I could.
Apparently the auditors were really impressed with the way I structured the content - so big notch in the career belt for me \o/
#1 - I Get To Be in Parent-Mode! \o/
Might seem like an odd thing to have as #1 reason to be in good spirits about. Indeed, sometimes you hear parents talk and there's nothing "spirited" about their whinging.
Maybe I'm still a little bit naive about the whole raising kids thing. Maybe I'll change my mind later when she's old enough to run around and be rebellious.
Working full-time five days a week with long hours and a long commute back home, it gets a bit frustrating sometimes because I only get a couple of hours with the DD before I have to put her to bed and spend the rest of the night sterilising bottles.
Then there are the parts of the week when I feel like I'm Debra Barone
from Everybody Loves Raymond
But I get to forget all that because the weekend is here and I get spend the next two days being "rumbly tumbly" with mah little girl <3Bonus Reason: Next Thursday OFF! WHOOT!
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I was supposed to post this rant on Mother's Day (second Sunday in May), but time slips away like a flash flood these days I've decided to post it on the second Sunday in June.
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( tl;dr - Raising Spawns is Rewarding, but you Pay With Your 'Life'Collapse )
This long weekend was a reminder of how lucky I am to have such awesome friends and family.
Love youse all!! <3 <3 <3
It would appear that no matter how much time has passed since quitting International Ragnarok Online (iRO), I always regress back to it some how.
Last year, I joined a private server for a few months with some old iRO buddies and managed to make a LV99/xx Assassin Cross. Best fun was playing King of the Emperium which was like a mini-guild war session held every hour and lasts about 15 minutes. Mobbing undead in the new areas was also good fun. Nothing like the sound of multiple mobs marching their way into a well timed ME (magnus exorcismus) cast.
And of course - my favourite past time - hat collecting.
The other day ArtemisDream (an old buddy from the Dragon's Pride guild we used to be allied to for War of the Emperium) AIMed me saying how iRO was to become Free2Play come March.
Apparently all three servers - Chaos, Loki and Sakray will be merged too.
My, times must be tough for Gravity...
As tempting as it is to ressurect my old gimpy 99/55 AGI-STR equipment CRIT 'Sin, and see some old friends again. It just doesn't feel right to "exhume" a character that's been resting for well over 6 years.
I'd start again with a new character, but iRO was even more grind than "classic" FFXI.
I guess I'll just have to satisfy nostalgia by listening to RO BGMs and the following YouTube videos:Theme of Alde Baran - Studio A RemixPurity of your Smile (Amatsu Town BGM) - Piano Version
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I don't know about everyone else, but 2010 was a pretty awesome year for me.
While I only achieved two of my 2010 goals, the ones that were crossed off where pretty major:
My goals for the year:
1. Be able to do chest push ups on my toes.
2. Carrying over from last year - loose 5 kgs.
3. Pass Japanese Language Proficiency Test (at the end of the year).
Goals I didn't even consider because I'd break it on day one:
1. Sleep earlier.
Something I wish would somehow fall into my lap this year:
1. Funds to go visit my brother and various assorted friends in the UK ._.;;
I guess I'll be carrying over the ones I didn't get around to.
Actually, I like meteordust
's year in review
meme, so I'm going to "yoink" it:( 2010 In ReviewCollapse )
I guess it's pretty easy to see what memory dominated 2010...
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December 2010 has been a pretty busy period in terms of social gatherings and family obligations.
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Here are my two cents on various games and movies I've come across:
( Joysound Wii DX - Turn Your Wii into a Karaoke Machine!Collapse )
( Tron LegacyCollapse )
( Harry Potter & The Deathly HallowsCollapse )
( MegamindCollapse )
... When the folks go on their holiday cruise and I get "exiled" to the "main house" to babysit the family "baby" (yappy little dog named "Gizmo").
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Living away from home for so long has really changed his behaviour towards me. On the first night that I started staying over, he spent the whole time moping in his little corner in the laundry.
Things didn't really improve the next morning. I needed to go to work, but he hadn't moved out of his corner to "do his business".
Solution: Wake up extra early before work to walk him and force him to "go outside".
Seems like waving around his little green leash is the only thing that gets his tail wagging for me.
Another difference I noticed is that he's a lot fitter these days. In the past when we took him for walks, at some point he'd just stop moving - which indicated that he was tired and didn't want to continue further. We usually had to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way.
On the first time we started going for morning walks, the little runt took me on a 45 minute tour of the neighbourhood. I ended up having to carry him back to force him to go home.
The duration of the weekday morning walks would vary from morning to morning, depending on how much time I spent watched NCIS or Harry Potter DVDs the previous night. On weekends however, I let him go for as long as he wants and take him out in the afternoons too where possible.
In other news, the faithful old Lanos continues to disintegrate under my hands. The last time we had to get it serviced, it was to repair the passenger side door handle - which detached itself when I tried to open the door. This time, the driver-side window handle decided to detach itself.
I honestly don't know whether it's because the car is a good 12 years old or I have some kind of hidden super-strength thanks to all the gym classes I do :\
Anyway, because the window can't be closed, there's no way I can use it to get to work (or at least the station). Luckily, my parents left the key to the Corolla for me!
Bad News: It's a manual car.
Good News: I've been given manual car lessons by my Dad for a few months before we stopped because of timing issues.
Bad News: The clutch was replaced recently and I've had little experience driving around in the traffic since then.
So far I've been able to drive myself from my parent's house, to my house, to the station, and to the gym in one piece. I do get the occasional stalls at round-a-bouts and for some reason, it's a pain in the ass to park the car in the driveway (it's slightly inclined).
And today's impulse buy is...
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Last week I lucked out on some cheap(ish) tickets to the Sydney production of Wicked at the Capitol Theatre. A co-worker's sister bought four tickets but double booked herself and couldn't go. So I grabbed two for chuuchuu and I.
Despite wanting to see it for a while, I didn't actually know much about the musical itself until I saw it that night.
And I was completely blown away by everything: the set (I was literally blinded by the brillance of The Emerald City), the performance (AU Glinda and Elphaha were awesome), the storyline. Especially the storyline - I was very impressed by how they turned the original Wizard of Oz story on its head and all the foreshadowing statements as well as homages it the original story littered throughout the plot.
Right after the musical, I was psyched up about trying to get my hands on the original novel that the musical was based on, but after reading about how dark and depressing it is, I decided to give it a pass ( sorry, I like my "Disney" endings (/.\) ).
As for a the music, earlier this week, I commented to meteordust how I didn't think the songs in Wicked were "epic". I'm going to take that back for the sake of the following song: Defying Gravity. I wouldn't call What is this Feeling? and Popular "epic", but they're up there with songs I'd play on endless repeat.
I don't think the Ensemble songs are as moving as Les Miserables, but overall it has its moments.
It's too bad they probably won't make an Australian recording of this show. I really liked the way Lucy Durack (Glinda) and Jemma Rix (Elphaba) played their characters. Especially Glinda - she was a lot more hilarious than the other Glindas I've seen on YouTube. And boy can Jemma Rix really belt out "Defying Gravity".
I've seen a totally of three musicals in my life time: Miss Saigon, Avenue Q, Les Miserables and now Wicked. Based on performances at the time, I think it's safe to say that Wicked is my new favourite.
EDIT: Added Avenue Q thanks to kawaii_no_miko for reminding me XD
Ever since I did the City2Surf last year, I've been looking forward to doing it again this year. It's pretty crowded, but the atmosphere was great, the weather was fantastic and the event itself is challenging and fun.
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Well, I suppose describing the event as fun depends on your personal preference. If running or walking long distances isn't your thing, then going on a 14km course from the middle of Hyde Park in the city CBD to Bondi Beach probably isn't for you. But since I've always been participating in cross-country events since primary school, this was right up my alley.
Like last year, the day was blessed with fantastic weather and great atmosphere. This year the record for attendance was broken at around 80k. They had to create a new area for the participants in the back-of-the-pack group. Being the 40th anniversary of the event, they also created a group specifically for participants who've been in all 40 City2Surf events.
This year I started in the SH1 group. I think they put the people who ran the event under 100 mins last year. It was hard trying to figure out where the pack started (more like ended) because the back of the group sort of got mixed in with the back of the queue for the toilets.
My goal this year was the same as last year: break 90 mins. My net finishing time ended up being 1:30:59, so technically I didn't actually make it. But I'm going to call "close enough" - mainly because I was asked to "take it easy".
Having better preparation leading into the event as well as an entrance and exit strategy at the drink stations should improve my finishing times for next time.
I think I want to move the bar to 80 minutes next year >:)
Official event photos can be found here. We got to run in "team gear" this year - score! Note my well-defined calf muscle in the first pic (hehe).
Instead of the usual Saturday morning Body Combat, my local gym decided to launch a "Zumba Taste Tester" this morning.
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For the uninitiated, Zumba is a dance fitness program that fuses Latin and International music.
Usually I'm somewhat awkward when it comes to dancing. Sure I was pretty good with the running man in my Pimary School days. But despite having a slight interest in dancing (mostly hip-hop), I've always thought that my hips were attached like Lego figurines. So I was a little bit apprehensive about trying out the class.
But my favourite instructor(s) were teaching, so I thought: "why not".
When I rocked up to the gym this morning, the car park was packed. I decided to park at the adjacent shopping center instead because I knew I wasn't going get any spaces.
When I got to the studio it was PACKED. It was more like a mosh-pit - there was barely enough room to move around.
But when the music started, everyone tried their best to make do with the space they had. Toes were stepped on a couple of times. But in general it was a lot more fun than I expected. Things started getting comfortable when the moves started to resemble moves from other group fitness programs I do regularly: jabs, knees and elbows from combat classes, curls and step-touches from attack classes. There were some pretty energetic moves too - which makes me happy.
Hopefully it will be slipped into the September timetable without affecting my current favourite classes. I'll probably have to look at starting pump classes for strength endurance purposes because core classes are probably going to be axed :(
In other news, I've finally grown tired of being a "culinary retard", and every week, have been making an effort to try out some simple cookbook recipes.
So far I've made Napolitana, Creamy Carbonara, (boring) Fried Rice, Philippine Long Life Noodles and Spaghetti Bolognese.
Nothing beats home cooking though. Really craving for some sinigang right about now @_@
They had to open this AFTER I was there, didn't they.
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Marvel Super Heroes 4D @ Madam Tussauds.
I totally wouldn't have minded paying through the nose just to see Hugh Jackman's Wolverine statue :(
Call me "sad" but there are two things in the world that get me worked up:
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1) "train wrecks"
2) "justice wins"
Today's story is about the latter.
I work for a company that sells marketing services. For the past few years or so, CompanyA have hired us to develop the backend of this particular campaign and hire ThirdPartyB to handle the marketing and presentation side of it.
I started sometime in the middle of all this. ThirdPartyB where pretty slack wen I started and X number of campaigns later, they haven't changed at all. In fact, they've gotten sloppier.
Two months since the campaign started, and I'm still dealing with cross-browser weirdness. Apparently they assumed that everyone has a high-resolution screen and browses through maximised windows.
So of course when someone who likes working in low resolutions or who (like me) have several cascading browser windows opened comes along, the site no longer works because the hot spots on the form "buttons" have moved. I say "buttons" because they're actually DIVs over a background image of something that looks like a keypad.
And for that matter, what kind of nonsense is using a background image and hot spots to create a form button. Form elements should be form elements dammit!!
Anyway, two months after launch, CompanyA are finally taking user acceptance testing seriously and have come back to us with an issue that ThirdPartyB believe was caused by us.
And so, with much exasperation and eye-rolling, I dig through my email archives and found the thread that explicitly mentions that feature C works like that because ThirdPartyB TOLD us to implement like that Y campaigns ago.
Being vindicated feels good =)
Moral of the story: It pays to hoard useless information like that sometimes so write everything down and keep everything documented and archived!
P.S. I sure hope sentxd's claim of brain rot past 30 years is false or I'm going to be in trouble.
P.P.S. Still going to try to prove you wrong dammit!!
On Monday, I attended my "favourite class" as usual. Monday classes are usually lead by "the other instruction" (as opposed to the "the-really-cool-instructor-with-the-washboard-abs") She's alright, but tends to forget the occasional move and mangle the choreography.
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You know you attend a class waaaay too much when "the other instructor" recognises you, and then expecting that you remember all the moves, jokingly asks you to come on stage to help her out.
I didn't take her up on her offer of course... Besides, I only remember the moves from my favourite tracks or "easy" ones.
On the way home that day, I noticed that they had new timetables out, and were offering Yoga classes at 7:30pm on Thursdays nights.
I've always wanted to add another day to my weekly after-work routine, but I'm still adverse to running my guts out on machines by myself - it's just way too boring.
So out of curiousity, I rocked along to give it a try.
The classes didn't prompt me to go out and buy my own Yoga mat, but I didn't find it completely uninteresting. There were some parts of the exercise that really challenged my balance and made me realise just how little strength I had in my feet.
Like with all new classes, it will take a few sessions to get used to all of the moves. I guess it's a nice break from all the hyperactive classes that I tend to prefer.
EDIT: and then I went home and Chewie and I had two boxes of Dominoes pizza...
I'm hopeless (/.\)