Shazzan!

Where's my genie then?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recently I was joking with my sister-in-law that I only blog when I buy something new. It seemed that way for a while, but unfortunately that's not true. It's coming up to 2 months without a new post and yet I'm surrounded by new purchases. Well strap yourselves in, this post has the makings of a short essay.

I'll start with the ERC camp I went on last week, since everything else is actually about stuff I've bought. I've been doing these camps for a while and I think I do quite well remembering everyone's name during the camp (there's normally about 60 people on camp and I usually know everyone by first name after a day or two). But the problem is after camp there are long breaks before seeing most people again, by which time I've forgotten a lot of names. Well no more! I've decided to start taking pictures of the other volunteers I meet (can't take pictures of the kids due to policies) so I can see them more often. That should cut down on the awkward "I remember you but don't know your name" parts of conversations. This camp I only got half the volunteers, but it's a start. Also along ERC news, the Annual Charity Ball is coming up which I'll be going to. It's a sort of dress up thing, this year the theme is Celebrities. Someone suggested I go as Aragon (Viggo Mortisen) since I'm looking a bit scruffy. Maybe it would work, my brother suggested Borimir (Sean Bean) though since I have a rounder face. And lastly maybe I should go as Brendan Fraser since I get a lot of comments about looking like him. I'm still undecided, suggestions are welcome.

I got myself a new phone about a month ago, nice little Sony Ericsson W810i walkman phone. All up it's pretty nice, but I was expecting a little more on the walkman side of things. I can't quickly create playlists (like selecting "Add to Now Playing") and editing saved playlists seems impossible. I seemed to have lost about half the storage on my 1GB Memory stick too, but I think a reformat will fix that. Apple updated iSync so that it works with the W810i a few weeks ago which I was very pleased about. I'm trying to synchronize my contacts, calendars and whatever else between my phone, laptop and gmail account. A little tricky but I'm getting there. The camera on the phone is 2 megapixel and seems to work well in bright light but low light has a lot of noise. While it might have been a little expensive (I bought it outright, don't really like these 24 month contracts) it is nice to have a phone/camera/walkman all in one. Maybe there will be some firmware updates to improve the walkman, but I'm not holding my breath.

Just after camp I also caved in and bought a digital SLR camera; the Canon EOS350D standard kit (comes with an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens, not USM). A little later I'll get some more lenses, but I think I've spent enough money lately. It takes very nice pictures and I'll bring it to volleyball next Saturday to take some action shots, compare them to the film ones I took. Of course I didn't have 1600 film for them, so it's probably an unfair comparison. The lens is a little slow for indoor sports, but that's common among zoom lenses. I have thought of getting a fixed lens just to get an f2 but I don't know what focal length it should be. I've played around with the camera over the weekend, took some night shots, pictures of the nephew and niece. There's a few that might warrant posting to Flikr, but I'll let you know if I put them up. But now I need to concentrate on getting my photography skills up so I can justify getting this great camera.

My other weekend purchase was a car. It seems I've shrugged off the biker image and joined the ranks of four wheeled automobile drivers. It will be a little sad to not have a bike anymore, but when I really thought about it I just couldn't justify getting another bike over a car. I had gotten all I wanted from my VTR250 and was about to upgrade to a larger bike, but common sense got the better of me it seems. Instead I friend was returning to Singapore and needed to sell his Toyota Celica. He was about to sell it to a dealer when I called him. It seems very much like Paul's MR2, except with 2 extra seats and probably less power. I got it pretty cheap but it does have some scratches and high kms, not so much as to make it a bad deal I think (I hope!). Now that I've been looking at it and other like it, I really like the idea of a '97+ Honda Prelude VTi-R but that would have been twice what I paid for this Celica. I might start saving and planning for the Honda, but I'm pretty happy with this Toyota for now.

My kettlebell collection has become rather well rounded with the recent arrival of a 24kg and a 16kg bell. The quality of the Australian Kettlebells seems to have improved from when I first bought one, the only downside being that the two 16kg kettlebells I have are slightly different shapes. Not a big deal since they're so light, but I'm sure it would make a difference in the 32kg size or maybe even the 24kg. I can do a lot more with the 32kg, including snatches and presses but it has highlighted my left shoulders weakness. I'll have to really work on my form as I have a slight tendency to "cheat" some of the presses. To fix that I'll go to a lighter weight and do slower and stricter press variations. I'm also thinking of cracking out the barbell and doing some deadlifts for a while to see if there's been any progression with that for me.

As for my volleyball, things are going alright but on a slight decline. After having last year off I returned very fresh and broke through my plateau. Now, playing for both Norwood and Flinders, I feel myself getting a little worn again. I think I should play only a little (if any) volleyball over the summer to give myself a good rest period. That way I can focus just on fitness over summer and really work on skills next year. My plyometrics hasn't gone anywhere yet because I had ordered some stupid things from the US but they hadn't arrived. I had given up on them and thought I'd send off a quick email to the company (JumpUSA.com) but didn't hold much hope for a response. Much to my surprise, the very next day they had refunded my money and told me that the order was probably lost. I've now ordered the same stuff but found they had an Australian distributor so it should be a lot less hassle.

Can't think of anything else just now, but I think I've rambled for quite long enough. I haven't even put in any links to stuff, maybe I'll come back and do that.

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