I spent about 40 hours at the Australian Open this month and didn’t watch a single game of tennis (live)! It’s COVID policy to come into contact with as few people as possible, and that means not entering the arenas. I still watched a couple games on TV with about 20m of concrete separating me and the Djokovic himself. The patients I treated over six shifts were:
A ball kid with a bleeding nose
A couple people who wanted paracetamol
A person with an allergy who ate something that ‘may contain’ the allergen and was breaking out in hives
I was also going to go to a free Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concert with friends, but we had one too many so I volunteered for St John instead. I got to watch most of the concert anyway, and my friends stopped by the first aid tent during my dinner break (to chat – unfortunately not for aid).
Last month I had a photo of a poodle-mix called Murphy who was absolutely nuts. This month I met my coworker’s cavoodle, independently called Murphy. This Murphy is about two months old and really well behaved. Later that week I also saw the other Murphy who is only barely in frame because he was trying to jump onto the table.
Here are some photos from my runs around Melbourne.
I’ve retired the old running graph as it no longer represents the physical activity I’ve been doing. I’ve been consistently climbing and training for canoe polo twice a week each, leaving me sore pretty much every day. Polo competitions are back on so I need to make sure I’m ready! We’re thinking maybe we could put together a B-division team for nationals but I have a long way to go.
I dropped $160 on a new pair of climbing shoes as my old, second-hand ones have a hole. You can see how easily I complete the following climb in them at Urban Climb in Collingwood, which requires you to hook onto the holds with the top of your toes. I was wearing a mask in this video because it was shortly after the Sydney outbreak which spilled into Victoria; masks were off by the end of the month.
Various pizza-themed photos. Not my dog. Not his pizza.
It’s nice taking time off work. On December 10th I submitted timesheets for nine weeks of leave for Arup until February. I’m also working full-time for the Department of Health and Human Services (soon-to-be Department of Health).
I’ve been climbing about twice a week for the past two months. Makes up for all the weeks I didn’t go climbing at all.
I wanted to make a dessert to bring to a friend’s house for New Year’s Eve. Why not try a mirror glaze (which I’ve never tried before) on mini chocolate mousse brownie cakes (which I’ve also never tried before)?
My running decreased while I was submitting that research proposal, and also hasn’t picked up because now I’m going climbing much more.
I’ve had a couple 60 hour weeks in the past month which isn’t ideal. There’s a constant pressure to do more, which is a hard sell when your hourly rate across jobs ranges from weekend casual rates (twice my salary rate!) down to unpaid overtime. I’ve also been writing up this research proposal every evening for the past two weeks, on optimising control strategies for plant disease interventions.
Lead climbing photos – where you take the rope up with you and clip it into anchor points as you go.
Victoria is celebrating one month without cases now so we’re finally getting some good press! We also no longer have to wear masks outside.
In boring news, I realised this site has been periodically crashing (in case you’ve seen the “cannot connect to database” error) because it runs out of RAM! Instead of upgrading my RAM, I added a scratch file because I want to keep the site on Google Cloud’s free tier. I also updated the SSL certificate that tells your web browser this website is indeed the site it says it is, and has a secure connection. Took me a couple hours to figure out how because I didn’t document it the first time. I haven’t documented it this time because I’ll remember how I did it in 90 days’ time.
Arup has been treating us with the food delivery credit this month! On one Friday, we simultaneously had a group VIC/SA Infrastructure meeting ($20 each) and our final graduate programme meeting ($45 each – don’t ask me how). Some people bought alcohol but instead I went to the Hawker Chan page, went down the list, and indulged myself with Singaporean takeaways for the next three days. For the Oves awards evening (delightfully named after Ove Arup…) they’ve also given us $25.
Good stuff going on at DHHS. I took this screenshot for someone else to put my work into perspective. The red arrow is roughly when I began my work.
This data visualisation was provided to the press. Aaron Smith does not realise how on-the-money yet simultaneously off-the-money he is, as I am simultaneously a Visio monkey and a member of the developer community who would like to be automating this stuff.
If anyone reading this is not on the mailing list but wants to be emailed monthly… let me know.
In DHHS news, there is a huge amount of organizational change going on as you can imagine. Our team has completed the backlog we were originally hired to deal with, so while I don’t know what position I will be in in a month’s time, in the meantime I will be working as a Surveillance Officer, monitoring all the cases in a geographic area and alerting the relevant people if anything concerning appears. I do know there are efforts to place me in some more mathematical/computational areas, but it turns out there are multiple teams doing this work so I can’t say where I’ll end up.
One of my project teams at Arup organized a series of indigenous Zoom cooking classes through Mabu Mabu. I signed up for the pavlova class and they posted a set of spices to my house in time for the class. Below is a wattleseed and chocolate pavlova with lemon myrtle cream and a strawberry gum compote. I gave a box to our neighbors, a box to a coworker who printed my absentee ballot for me, and a box to Tom and Vida from Auckland.
Look at this window of a New Zealand store in Southbank. I correctly guessed that the owner was from Hamilton.
Enjoy my most recent running chart. By the way, this is a custom graph I created in R that reads straight from Strava.
Rosh and I decided to try a new delivery place in Brunswick. Mains are pretty up there – my spanner crab bisque, fresh handmade linguine, chilli, garlic and parsley pasta was $28. Not the most expensive meal I’ve ever paid for out of my own pocket but pretty close! Please appreciate the first photo being after plopping the pasta from its delivery container, and the second after tousling it a bit.
I found a new running track near my house and I’ve started running a bit earlier in the day to avoid more people (only casuals go for late morning walks…).
Despite technically starting on the 28th, I think I still need to wait to hear more about this upcoming Department of Health and Human Services job. Unfortunately, it seems both myself and the team I am assigned to have been resourced according to incomplete information – I didn’t even interview, so now I will need to take the time to position myself better. It definitely was strange going into an office, but soon the DHHS will all be working from home as well so I’ve savored the view while I can.
Because I’m working two Melbourne-based jobs and the DHHS is only just transitioning to working from home, I’ve cancelled my September 3rd flight to Auckland. Air New Zealand made it super easy to receive a credit – all I had to do was click a button on their website. I certainly hope to use that credit in the next twelve months.
Looks like I was wrong by two orders of magnitude! So long for going climbing, or doing another first aid duty, or …
At least I can still go running though [Editor’s note: written on the 30th]. I’ve worked out that if I get up early-ish and run through Docklands (the newly developed, high-density area, which is pretty soulless) through to Port Melbourne (industrial), I don’t come into close proximity with anyone. There’s actually a really nice reserve (Westgate Park) with a network of well-maintained trails. It’s also where the periodically pink lake is, but that’s normally in the heat of summer.
I took a little time to take a look at the data from my Strava account. It turns out I am remarkably consistent with my mileage without even realizing it. People say you shouldn’t increase your distance more than 10% week on week, otherwise you risk injury (as I have faced before both of my marathons in 2016 and 2017, only fully recovering from my 2017 tendinitis since early this year). The constant trend shows an increase of… nothing.
I probably spent a full working day making these two charts (the top one is interactive). Yes, April 18th does coincide with the start of working from home.
Unfortunately, this weekend the running streak is going to come to an end. We received notice via a flyer outside our gate that someone in our townhouse complex has tested positive for the coronavirus. I might do some skipping on the roof just for the Strava, but won’t rack up my ideally-20km weekend run. Yes, I did get tested after we found out (July 31st).
For some positive news, here are some food photos.
And Arup (specifically, the Infrastructure business group) was very kind and sent us a care package. The option was posed as “do you prefer alcohol or brunch?”
I hear the end is in sight but I wouldn’t mind being back in New Zealand right now. Arup’s Auckland office reopened, but they definitely have to take it slow here.
They’ve reopened public parks, so I tried doing pull-ups and I’ve lost a third of my capacity so that’s worrying. Luckily all the gyms are opening with booking systems to limit numbers and give staff time to clean. I booked myself in for the 22nd, but unfortunately after the spate of infections the government decreased maximum crowd sizes so my booking was cancelled. I didn’t bother booking again because Hannah works at the Department of Health and Human Services and really does not want to get sick.
Below (left) is a photo of my impromptu mukbang because I didn’t cook dinner soon enough before our friends’ Zoom call. Roisin is also eating whatever I cooked – I can’t remember now. Later I tried to make Malaysian curry puffs (right) with an ex-Deloitte colleague but we were chatting for too long and they burned.
Roisin and I have started to look for a new flat with one of her friends I also know. It’s too early to do viewings, but I did do an experimental run to Footscray to see what that would be like. That crater in the middle of my pace on Strava was me stopping to look at food.
I’m aiming to sit the GRE in July or August so I figured I should brush up on my reading and writing… I’ve been rote-learning from a list of 3500 words. I also realised that while I read lots of articles and textbook-style writing, I haven’t read anything older than the 1980s since high school. To that end, I read Northanger Abbey (Austen, 1803) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde, 1890). Jane’s sentences are dated and take a long time to read, and Oscar rambles about random musings that have no connection to the plot. I read both with a dictionary handy on Google.
Here are some food photos from this month. Half-eaten oatmeal pancakes (left), burger from the pub down the road, and Woolworth’s dairy-free ice cream I’ve been eating too much of lately (right).
Come to think of it, you probably could’ve figured out which was which on your own.
And here are some photos from around Melbourne. (Left) View from the shrine of remembrance, (center) Melbourne across Albert Park Lake, where the F1 would normally be held, and (right) some park near the Prahran market.
The Prahran markets are a bit out of my price range. They even arrange their ramekins in circles.