Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I know I should be more serious but...

I know that I should write something serious and political here today, but I really don't feel like it. I'm feeling a bit apathetic. Maybe it's because I'm avoiding all the junky right-wing blogs. Maybe I've just eaten too many cashews? Maybe I just don't feel like it because a whole lot of people died in today Baghdad and New Orleans is underwater? Or maybe it's because I'm just getting back into the swing of things at work? You decide.
Anyway, I'll get back to it in the next few days. In the meantime, go and check out the new improved Webdiary. Alternatively, go and check out Road to Surfdom, which operated by Tim Dunlop, the guy tipped to replace Margo Kingston at

Monday, August 29, 2005

I'm back from holiday!!!!

Crap. Back from holidays...

Sorry everyone no hard-hitting blogalism today. Just worked my way through the inbox and, well, it took most of my day and my brain is fried.

Though, to keep you all reading this blog, here are some cool pics from my travels.
To begin with here is a photo of my brother and sister (half pissed) in a not-so-typical but totally cool english pub:

Now, next is an obligatory tourist shot of me and Sarah by the Thames. If you look closely (well, not too close actually), you can see "Westminister", "Big Ben", and the "London Eye" in the background.
And finally, I ended my holiday by visiting Sarah's home town, "Bad Laasphe", where they were having their "stadtfest" (for those non-Germans out there, it's basically just a big pissup that the whole town goes to). Oh yea, Germany can be really pretty when it wants to be.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'm on Holiday!!!!

I'm now on holiday! Yay! I'm going on a real, proper, holiday this week. Tomorrow my girlfriend and I are flying to London to meet up with my sister (who lives in London), my bro, and my bro's girlfriend (both of which are en route to Vancouver). It should be absolutely awesome. I haven't seen them all since March.
I was planning to post a bunch of hard-hitting articles on issues including: multiculturalism, global warming, industrial relations, and "negative quantum information" but screw it, the world can wait a week can't it? For the next week or so as I don't intend to do anything more taxing than trying to decide which Indian restaurant to have dinner in...
Stay tuned for much more ranting and raving in the following weeks...
Oh yea, if anyone is interested in my brother's travels they should go here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fightbacks in frisbee (The Lovers lost again :-()

So, for all of those out there that care, the UQ lovers lost the "Dog Cup" final last week. The team went down 11-9. It sounds pretty close but from what I gather the team started slow, got behind and spend the rest of the match playing catch-up. Nice try though guys. Really, from what I've heard there was some great play and you put on a bit of a spectacle for the crowd. I heard that a lot of the crowd were backing the Lovers to take the cup home this year. I still wish I could have been there, I'm sure a bunch of the ex-Lovers would have liked to be there screaming "GO LOVERS" from the sidelines... Oh, and Jill took some photos at the match here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Debate question:
I wish I could get some stats on how many games of frisbee are won by teams that get a lead and hang on to it. I can't remember too many games that I've played in that have had a successful fightback. I've been in plenty of fightbacks, but normally you tend to miss out by a point or two. Basically, you always end up hitting the time-cap. I also wish I knew how much fightbacks are related to the team in the lead running out of legs versus this team running out of motivation. I guess these two things are related, but is there a general rule about which comes first?
On a related topic, is it smarter to come out onto the field "all guns blazing", totally pumped up to win the first few points - and then suffer the inevitable adrenaline/energy crash; or to come out calm and just hope that you win the first few points and save energy for later in the match? If it is true that frisbee games are often won when a team gets a lead at the start then you could mount a pretty convincing argument that says that you should go out onto the field without any notion of energy conservation. That is, put the best 7 on the line and tell them to run their pants off for a few points. I'm sure this doesn't work at the elite level, that is when two equally matched teams are playing each other, but maybe it isn't such a bad idea as a tactic early in a tournament?
If anyone has thoughts on this issue drop them in the comments box. I'm really interested in hearing what people have to say about this.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Frisbee training schedule

*Frisbee post warning!*
Last night I played in the weekly frisbee scrimmage between the Old Sox and the Flying Circus. Well, it wasn't so much "between" the teams last night as "with", we kinda mixed up the combos for a bit of fun. Anyway, to the point... I was asked by one of the players how much training I do each week, kinda after a point involving some pretty crazy sprinting. So I figured I'd write a bit of a post about my training regime. It isn't a perfect regime. It isn't even that great for frisbee. I know a lot of places where it could be better (especially with running and skills training). I'm also not doing a very serious regime at the moment either because I'm not getting ready for any tournaments any time this year that I'm taking very seriously... But if you want to comment on ways I can improve it would be more than welcome. So here goes.
Loosely, this is what I do in a good week that isn't interrupted by the shear craziness of life:
  1. 3 gym workouts
  2. 3 running sessions, 1 day dedicated to running
  3. 2 frisbee scrimmages/training sessions

Ok, I should explain a lot more.

Gym sessions

I have 3 gym sessions a week, each works out different muscle groups. I do vary the workouts a bit, especially if I've been doing the same thing for a few weeks and I'm bored. For each exercise I normally do 3 sets of 6, 8, 10, or 12, it depends how long I've been doing the exercise. As is typical, when I start a new workout program with new exercises I start doing reps of 12 with a low weight, and then every few weeks I increase the weight and drop the repetitions.

Here are the three different workouts:

Chest and tri's

  • Warm up chest with off-the-wall pushups and stretches (5 mins)
  • dumbbell benchpress (or normal benchpress, I switch between these every now and then)
  • Incline benchpress
  • Tricep exercise 1 (Normally tri-pulldowns with a rope)
  • Tricep exercise 2 (tri-pulldowns with something solid)
  • Tricep extensions alternating with barbell bicep curls
  • Abdominal exercises (2 or 3 different exercises, depending on how tired/bored I feel)

Legs and Shoulders

  • Warm up, probably running or cycling
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Lunges
  • dumbbell shoulder press
  • 1 arm bent over dumbbell shoulder rows (the ones where you but a knee on a bench and lift the dumbbell up to your side)
  • Lateral raises
  • Abdominal stuff

Back and Biceps

  • Incline bench rows (dumbbell or barbell, depends on my mood)
  • Lateral pull downs
  • Seated row
  • Standing barbell curls (aim for power)
  • Seated dumbbell preacher curls (low weight, aim for better form)
  • Back extensions

Ok, like I've said. I normally do an ab routine when I go to the gym. I vary it all the time, I've found that if I stick to the same thing week-in week-out I get bored and I don't gain that much after a few weeks. Normally I do 2 or 3 different exercises. There are a million different exercises that one could choose...

Running sessions

Ok, this is a little more random than my gym workouts. I try to do 1 day a week where I do nothing but running and stretching. Lately this has taken the form of a 10km or so run along the In river (the river that Innsbruck is built on). I chose this route mainly because it is a really nice run and has nothing to do with trying to train on flat ground vs hills or anything (something that I sometimes do think about).

When I get closer to a big tournament I tend to drop the distance running and spend some time working on sprint training. Normally I either do hill sprints (anyone who's been to Innsbruck or Brisbane would know that you can do this anywhere...) or I do some sort of shuttle run things.

The other running sessions that I do are mixed in with my gym sessions. Sometimes I have some quality time on the treadmill at the gym (normally when the weather is pretty shitty) where I run for 4 or 5 kms and try to do a pretty decent time. Other times I run to the gym, do my workout, and run back. This is actually a pretty good running session. I have a 1 km downhill followed by a 1 km flat on the way to the gym. This gets me nice and warm for my workout. Then I have a 1 km flat and a 1 km uphill home. This is a pretty serious workout on its own. The hill is an absolute bastard...

Frisbee training

Ok, obviously this depends a lot on what the team (Flying Circus) is doing and what season it is etc, but at the moment our team has a training session followed by a scrimmage every Sunday. Every Wednesday people in our team drive to a nearby town to play the Old Sox in a scrimmage. Thursday nights people play beach ultimate, I pretty much always skip this though. At the moment this is pretty light frisbee training for me. Back in Brisbane I'd play at least 2-3 days a week and would do skills training at least 2 days a week. I'm not doing as much here basically because I don't have the time and there aren't so many people here banging down my door asking if I want to o do some skills training with them...

Ok, so that's it. Like I said, it isn't perfect or even that intense. I've taken training much more seriously in times past, especially when training for Australian mixed ulti championships last year with the Lovers. I guess I'll take it more seriously at times in the future as well...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Go the Lovers!

My old frisbee team, the UQ Lovers, are playing in the Brisbane MAL (Men's A-League) final tomorrow. I am totally stoked that they made it! They knocked off the top seeded team (that they had never beaten) in the semi-final to make it into the final. We did exactly the same thing last year! I swear that semi-final was one of the best games I had ever played in. The final wasn't too bad either, 'cept we lost by 1 point after time-cap....

Anyway, good luck guys! I expect emails telling me how the game went!

For those of you that are interested in nostalgia, here is a photo of our team taken after the final last year (aren't our campy 70s style shirts uber-cool?):

Anyway, good luck again guys. Go one better than we did and bring home the "Dog Cup"! I will be sleeping in my Lovers jersey tonight to bring you guys some luck...
Oh yea, whoever is marking Matt, stay on him like a shadow. Whoever is marking Mike, um, good luck...
And one more piece of advice, play a tight game! Any long swill will be eaten by Mike (but it isn't as though Guns won't have said this already!).

Am I an angst-filled rock star?

In order to counterbalance yesterday's rant, my posting today will contain almost nothing political and hopefully will make you all feel happy and balanced (maybe, except for Helene as there are photos of her drunk in this post - but she never leaves comments here so I don't care :-).)

For those of you that don't know, I turned 27 last Friday. For those of you that did know, thanks for the birthday wishes.

(Speaking of well-wishers, Lora (from the US) email me about playing frisbee in Innsbruck. We are always happy to play disc with new people here :-).)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Last Friday I turned 27. For those of you that know your angst-ridden rock star history you'll know that most of them seem to die at the age of 27. One could pose the question, "am I a rock star?". This might seem like a stupid question to ask, but at least one person in the last 2 weeks has asked me this question - some guy came up to me on the bus a week-or-so ago asking if I wanted to be in his band because he thought he'd seen me playing before... Weird doesn't begin to describe it... Anyway, if I die in some unfortunate circumstances this year I guess I was really meant to join that band and be a rock star...

OK, that's more than enough smack-talk for one day.

I had a great birthday and lot of people helped me to celebrate it. I was a bit worried (as was my Mum) that my first birthday in Europe would be a bit of a lonely affair. Well, that didn't happen as I seem to have found myself some really nice new friends, not to mention the efforts of some really nice old friends that also conspired to make me smile a lot.

Some special mentions include my girlfriend who started the birthday shenanigans for calling me at midnight to wish me a happy birthday (though not forgetting my mate George who messaged me 4 days in advance :-)). Another goes to my new(ish) flatmate Karolene (who's name I've probably misspelled) who baked a totally awesome birthday cake for me. I woke up to find that my three flatmates had organized cake and coffee for breakfast. It was a really nice way to wake up. Here is a photo of the three of them (Helene, Maria, and Karolene):

In the evening we cooked a serious Thai food feast (kinda inspired by me going crazy and buying everything in the Asian grocer downtown). The green vegetable curry was great but I was disappointed by my attempts at a laksa (if anyone has a good recipe, send it to me!). The dinner was made extra-special because an old friend of mine from home, Pat, happened to be in Innsbruck on my birthday and could make it to dinner. It was really cool to catch up with him. Anyway, here's a photo us all about sit down to the feast (from the left: me, Maria, Georg, Maria, Stefan, Helene, Pat and Karolene was taking the photo...):

The only down-side to my birthday was that the following morning one of my flatmates, Helene, moved back home to France after spending her summer here working with the experimental BEC group here in Innsbruck. Helene was a lot of fun to have as a flatmate, and as I threatened her I would, I'm posting some photos from her "going away" party last week:

Here is a photo of Helene madly preparing food for the 30 guests that were agout to burst through our front door:

Here is a photo of Helene at about 2 AM after she drank more glasses of wine than she could accurately remember (note the beanie she's wearing, this was a gift from the BEC group that she received that night, she was very proud of the beanie...):

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I think I feel sick

This editorial that has appeared in today's Australian makes me feel sick. There is nothing at all rational about the argument for voluntary student unionism. In the editorial a paragraph is devoted to attacking National party senator Barnaby Joyce, I quote:
In effect, student unionism has been little more than a playground and training
facility for Senator Joyce's political enemies. He has a short-sighted view of
his own interests if he throws it a lifeline.
What exactly are Senator Joyce's interests? Does he believe in democracy? Do you think the editorial would read the same if the Labor party were in power and they were making efforts to destroy the National Farmers Federation, the AMA or any number of other breading grounds for Coalition members of parliament? How exactly is it in the interests of the country if it decided that it is okay for a government to blatantly economically destroy their political enemies. It's really nice to see that the editor of the Australian believes that the government doesn't need to win political battles by, gee I dunno, providing arguments and evidence for there point of view.
What's next? Maybe they should make payment of membership fees to the Labor party voluntary.
As for the argument that VSU is about implementing a "user pays" system of service and support in universities, well, this is just plain bullshit. This argument that "only a fraction" of students use student union facilities is total crap. Apparently:
students are grown-ups and perfectly capable of choosing what they wish to spend
their money on.
Again, total crap. Student unions are mini-governments. In fact, they aren't even so mini. My old university had a population of about 50 000, the student union organizes and provides services for these 50 000 people. This is not a union, it's a government. The notion that student unions are purely left-wing political organizations is also complete crap. Students VOTE FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP is it the left-wing organizations fault that THEY WIN THE ELECTION. Students don't want Liberal party leadership of their unions. They don't like the Liberal party. So students are being made to suffer because of their political preferences.
Would the Liberal party be happy to let student unions change their name to student governments? Maybe then the "union fees" could be called a "tax", which everyone should be forced to pay. The point I'm trying to make is that the student unions ARE GOVERNMENTS. The argument that they are unrepresentative can equally be made about any government at any level. It is bullshit, they are representative.
There is one more extremely disturbing point to the arguments put forward in this editorial. The editor tries to argue that good universities will get more students, will have more funds, and will subsequently be able to chose whether or not to spend money from their budgets to spend on services. It seems like a reasonable argument. I know plenty of pro-VSU people who put this forward. Again, it's complete crap. I'm going to bypass the whole "they probably won't use the money for services because they are broke anyway" argument and get to the real problem. The pro-VSU camp likes to say this is all about choice. They are giving people the choice to spend their money on what they want to spend it on. In short, they are not being forced to subsidize the union.
Where this argument falls down is that by letting universities decide how to allocate support budgets they have completely taken away the only control that students had over their money. It could be countered that all services on campus become strictly "user pays", thus letting economics become a quasi-democratic process. Well, this might happen, but it is unlikely. I believe it is much more likely that services will be subsidized by the university as as attempt to try to lure more undergraduate students. Universities with nice campuses, good facilities, and an active student life will attract more students therefore the big, wealthy, universities will introduce a service budget which won't be controlled by student unions but nevertheless will control services (especially sporting clubs and counseling services etc) that were previously administered by the student body. Democracy is definitely vanquished by choice. With student unions, students can vote for a party that decides on how money is allocated. With VSU, the university administration is the sole arbiter of service funds.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It's meant to be bloody summer!

It freakin' snowed here last night. It's August and we are in the middle of summer. This is nuts...

Here are some pictures I took today: