Posted in junior pixels, life, little whale, quotes

a barrage of questions

The youngest member of our tribe, Little Whale, has just turned three, and has begun asking what seems to be an endless stream of questions: “how you make jellybeans?”, “why you go to work Papa?”, “how you make oranges?” etc.

If you’ve been around kids you’ll have no doubt noticed that they seemingly never stop asking questions, which can get a bit annoying TBH, but I recently read a quote that put it all in perspective:

Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question — you have to want to know — in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.

~ Clayton Cristensen via Jason Fried

This makes me realise that asking questions should never be discouraged; so I’ll do my best to answer each and every question they ask. After all they’ve made a slot in their mind for me to fill!

In that vein: Junior Pixels (nearly 7) recently asked Kitty:

“Mama, why is it in your heart that you feel love?”

Posted in nature

cairns

There’s something rather splendid about rocks; perhaps it’s just their age, or that they have played such a huge part in the entire history of our planet. Places like stone henge are amazing for this reason. 

All of our boys are obsessed with rocks; whenever we’re at a park or some place new they will discover and collect a few rocks that represent different things. 

Today I walked to White Rock and back. I walk a track that is a little less known. The track goes along the top of a ridge and towards the end of the ridge, just as you get into the ‘flow’ of walking in such a breathtaking environment, you’ll come across a beautiful collection of cairns. 

cairns near white rock

Each time I visit this park, which can be a few weeks or few months apart, there seems to be a few more cairns added to the collection.

There’s something transcendent about seeing cairns in nature; they encompass balance and some orderliness in nature, which has a tendency to be the opposite.

On my way back I couldn’t resist but add my own cairn to the growing collection of cairns. I hadn’t created one before and it was a very relaxing activity building something that balances on its own. 

I’m hoping my cairn will be there next time I walk through, which I believe will be the case as there seems to be an unspoken respect for this collection of sculptures that will stand the test of time. Well here’s hoping. 

Posted in family, nature

on picnicing

One of our family rituals is going on picnics. We have found it’s a lo-fi activity that increases our families’ wellbeing. This has academically been proven to actually be the case:

“A marriage can cause an increase in happiness equal to a quadrupling salary. Making a good friend is equal to tripling a salary. Belonging to a club can cause an increase in happiness equivalent to doubling a salary. And going on picnics three times a year is the same as receiving a 10 per cent raise.”

~ Harvard Psychologist Robert Putnam quantifying the effects of good relationships (and picnicing)

Since we go on a picnic at least once a fortnight, we’ve established a picnic basket (which Kitty calls our ‘caravan’ – long story) which is always packed and ready to go. We typically do a BBQ picnic so we just need some food and the basket contains everything else like plates, cups, oil, sauce, BBQ utensils and even a thermos for hot water to make tea. Kitty picked up the picnic hamper, unused, at a nearby op shop (thrift store) for two dollars (bargain!). 

We’ll usually visit a park with some bushland or a place for the kids to play and explore before we cook our food and enjoy it together. 

This afternoon we found an old gold mine that still has some remnants left which the kids loved exploring and imagining how it worked almost one hundred years ago. 

the remains of a track that carried the mine carts across the creek

Afterwards we had a lovely BBQ in the light of the sunset:

mt coot-tha sunset in brisbane

We did have some over-confident, brazen kookaburras who managed to steal almost all our sausages from our plates as we ate, which freaked out the boys a little, but it was very fun nonetheless.

I love activities that require little effort but provide huge amounts of wellbeing, and picnicing, unlike motor-boating, seems to be just that 😎

Posted in technology

twitter’s toxicity

Deleting my twitter account* was one of the best things I ever did (which I did because I was being harassed/bullied by some of the ‘leaders’ in my field of work). Twitter is not only a blatant waste of time, but a toxic wasteland where online harassment continues to go on unnoticed. Clem Bastow says it best:

“…the feeling of cautious vindication I experience every time someone deletes or deactivates their account adds fuel to a fire burning deep within my soul: a strongly held belief that Twitter is, with scant exceptions (almost all of them to do with community organising), a steaming cesspool of virulent entitlement.

And that maybe, just maybe, if more notable and “valuable” people leave, the people left behind will start to realise they are not entitled to anything.

Twitter has proven, again and again, that it doesn’t care about meaningful steps towards stopping harassment. It’s time for us all, celebrity and otherwise, to delete, deactivate, and go elsewhere – pick up your toys and leave the abusers and their facilitators sitting in the piss-soaked sandpit hell of their own making.”

Clem Bastow – Delete your Twitter and leave the whole thing to the trolls

I know a lot of people are too afraid to delete their account for FOMO reasons, but trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.


*My professional blog has it’s own twitter account where it publishes blog updates to – much like its Facebook page and LinkedIn profile – but I don’t follow anybody or actually use this account – it’s just a publicity outlet linking back to my blog.

on being homeless

“I’ve seen a lot on the streets – there’s a lot of drugs and other stuff out there. Seen stabbings, people getting bashed, seen people jump on heads and break legs. Even found a dead body once – that kind of stuff sticks with you. But the other side of that is when you’re really down you’ve got nothing to lose, you can really only get better.”

~ Magoo – A homeless The Big Issue vendor in Brisbane

I love reading The Big Issue because it reminds me that when I’m having a shit day or a shit week that there’s so many people out there who have it so much worse than I (hopefully) ever will – and I should do something about that instead of worrying about this.

At the same time it sickens me we have Australian cities with a median house price of over one million dollars and still have people sleeping rough every night.

Posted in books, family, fitness, life

being a good role model for your kids

Children learn by imitating adults. They copy what they see you do, not what you tell them to do. Seeing your three-year-old stomp around in your high heels is cute. Experiencing your 18-year-old drive the same way you do is terrifying (and I really, really wish I had never ever used a mobile phone while driving with them).

~ Michelle Archard – I Wish I’d Been A Better Role Model For My Kids

I believe one of the best things you can do for your kids is to be a good role model (and not be a hypocrite). Continue reading “being a good role model for your kids”

Posted in junior pixels, life, quotes

good mistakes

Six year olds can be so wise:

“You know there’s good mistakes don’t you? Good mistakes are when you make a mistake but the mistake is still okay. Like if you’re reading a sentence and you get the word wrong but the word you choose still makes sense in the sentence. That’s a good mistake.”

~ Junior Pixels, age 6

Studying IT at university was a good mistake. I shouldn’t have done it, but the outcome still makes sense in my life.

Posted in nature, walking

omg it’s so spiky

Today was the second time I’ve seen an echidna in the wild; both times have been in Toohey Forest which is a short drive from our place in Brisbane.

Seeing an animal in the wild is so much more amazing than seeing one in an animal sanctuary; I stood there fascinated for about ten minutes whilst it went about doing its thing, fairly content with me being quite nearby until I got a little too close for a photo and it curled up into a spiky ball with its head in the ground 😊

Oh, and the wildflowers in bloom were also pretty amazing today.

Posted in walking

pokemon go is a genius 

Full disclosure: I have never seen or played Pokemon Go and I don’t even know what it is. 

Something strange started happening a few weeks ago; I started seeing young people outside! They were glued to their phones but they were outside!

I realised this is part of Pokemon Go’s genius plan.

Step One: Convince (mostly) young and (mostly) overweight video game players to walk around outside holding their phones trying to capture Pokemon

Step Two: These video gamers realize that capturing Pokemon is actually pretty boring but it’s rather nice walking outside in the fresh air 

Step Three: Video game players realize they don’t need video games to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy just walking without their phones instead


#genius

Posted in software

instagram stories, ffs

A lot of software is made by companies. Companies are all about growth. Growing software means adding new features. So consumers of software are often burdened with ever increasing bloatware containing nonsensical features that someone dreamt up in the name of ‘growth’. Constraints can boost creativity, the same way that endless choice can be paralysing. 

Instagram used to be so simple; square photos and filters, captions as comments. Comments contain no links. Shown in a reverse chronological timeline.

Then they added videos. Then photos of any aspect ratio. Then direct messaging. Then ‘algorithmic’ timelines to show you what they want to show you. Then ‘instagram stories’: disposable video slideshows that last 24 hours. 

Instagram will soon add re-posting, reactions, and who knows what else. 

The same thing happens to almost all software. Evernote once was a great piece of software. Then they added ‘work chat’ and various other needless features. Then everyone left. Each iOS release (mostly) prioritises adding new features over keeping things simple and speedy. 

Does anyone else want good/simple/fast apps to just stay that way?

Posted in travel

travel throughout your decades

Travel in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, because every decade you will have different constraints and experiences. e.g 20s may lack money, 60s may lack health. So don’t wait. It is money well spent.

I found this little gem on an Australian forum I frequent. 

It’s easy in your thirties with young children to forgo travel by putting it in the ‘too hard’ basket, but it can still be very rewarding when you actually do. 

I imagine the forties will have similar challenges of traveling with teenagers, but I don’t want to get too old to realize I haven’t traveled enough. 

Posted in brisbane, photography, street art

urban exploring 

I love urban exploring, especially when you find an old abandoned building covered in graffiti and inhabited by squatters. 

Found today in Fortitude Valley, from the outside:


And inside looked like an odd combination of some carpark flooring and an office ceiling 🤔

Posted in nature, walking

wattle

I love this time of year when the sun shines and the wattle blooms. It’s so lovely to look at on long walks in nature. 

Posted in blogging, walking, writing

→ blogging as therapy

I am so happy that my darling Kitty has started blogging. Her recent article ‘blogging as therapy‘ holds so much truth: the process of writing a blog post is so therapeutic (even if you don’t hit publish at the end), but like other therapeutic activities, for example nature walking, it is so under-utilised!

Life is a roller coaster

It’s great to see Kitty take blogging off the pedestal. Like the saying that walking begins by simply putting on foot in front of the other, I believe blogging begins simply but putting one word in front of another. Well done.

 

Posted in fitness, walking

beerburrum 26k walk

I did a fantastic walk today with a friend around Mount Beerburrum in the Glasshouse Mountains in Queensland.

It was an organized walk by the Trail Runner’s Association of Queensland so unsurprisingly there were mostly trail runners completing either the 26km circular route, or running it twice. We entered the walking category and did 26km (or about 27.5km according to my watch).

The walk was much more challenging than the 35k walk I did in May in Byron Bay; I believe mostly this was to do with the terrain and also some of the altitude.

I’m proud to have completed it as just a few years ago this would have been mostly impossible with how unhealthy I was. Oh and did I mention it was the most glorious weather today?

Posted in life

lots of children

I found these quotes from an old article I had filed away written by Sam de Brito, an Australian author who mysteriously died late last year.

Man I miss him so; his writing had such an impact on my whole outlook on life; I hope he’s in a happier place now. 

“Life with a large family is as expensive as you make it.

If I was a rich man, I’d forgo the yachts and fast cars and splurge on life’s greatest pleasure; children. Lots of ‘em.

Granted, you don’t need to be wealthy to raise a large family, it just strikes me as kinda pointless having lots of children if you spend the majority of your life at work supporting them.”

and

“Since having my own child, it’s made me realise fatherhood’s not about expensive presents and trips to Luna Park; the currency kids value most is what I call ‘knee time’ because that’s usually what you’re clambering around on when you engage with their world.

Around my neighbourhood, however, time is the thing people seem to have the least of because they’re so busy paying for their renovations, third car and … school fees.
It always makes me wonder, if you could travel to the future and give their kids the option, which would they choose: you can go to a private school but see less of your parents or, attend a government school and spend more time with mum and dad?


In my family, the knees have it.”