Monthly Archives: August 2011

The (slightly demented) Running Man

One of the many good things about travelling is some of the interesting people you meet. I was at a friend’s place for dinner during my recent trip back to Glasgow and was introduced to a friend of her husband’s. His name was Mark Godale and, for all intent and purpose, he was a really nice, normal guy. But appearances can be deceptive, because behind this normal exterior beats the heart of a completeย  lunatic. You see, Mark is an ultra-marathoner. And not just any old ultra-marathoner but a very, very good one. He just happened to be in Glasgow for the West Highland Way Race, a nice little 153km jaunt in which he finished 3rd, in a tidy little 17 hours and 40 minutes-ish.

This is a seriously talented guy. Have a look at his US Track and Field bio on his blog and check out his personal bests. 50 miles in 5 hrs 30 mins, 100 km in 7:08, 100 miles in 14:15, and my personal favourite, the American record for 24-Hours of 162.4 miles. That’s 260 kms in 24 hours. Now it is easy to just say wow and move on but I want you to just stop for a minute and really think about that. That’s to Bunbury and back, and then nearly back down to Bunbury again, in 24 hours. That is nearly 11 kms every hour for 24 hours! How many of us could run just one lot of 11kms in an hour? I’ll make it easier, how many of us could run 11 kms at all? And as I said at the start, all this from a seemingly normal guy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well to be fair, he isn’t totally normal. When I met him he and my friend’s husband had just returned from a trip down to the south of England. As I got in conversation with him it became apparent that they had seen quite a bit.ย  I was guessing about 10 days worth. Wrong…3 days. Apparently they had taken turns to drive while the other slept and had basically done a speed-tour of England, even visiting tourist attractions in the middle of the night! So not totally sane. ๐Ÿ™‚ But a nice guy none-the-less.

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Free the information! Free the information! :-)

I was reading an email I got today from Crikey, a really good alternative news source for anyone who is interested, and this little snippet struck me as kind of cheeky.

“Game plan revealed. This Age article today gives away the IPA and Tim Wilson’s game plan for fighting the carbon price, says one Crikey reader:

Right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has received a warning from the Department of Climate Change after it submitted more than 750 freedom-of-information requests in four months. The institute, which strongly opposes carbon pricing, has made more than 95 per cent of FOI requests lodged with the department since April …

… It is believed Mr Wilson submitted about 440 information requests on one day in late July and more than 140 on one day last week. A government source said it took about 39 hours of staff time to process each application.”

Now, not only do I think it is a bit cheeky to bog the Department of Climate Change down with frivolous Freedom of Information requests but I think it is particularly cheeky coming from an organisation that regularly spouts off about how inefficient the public service is and how we need to let the private sector run everything. I am paraphrasing here, and they word it a little more subtly onย  their website, but that is basically what they believe.

In the interest of fairness (though why I should, it is my blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ ), you can read the IPA’s response here. I really like this bit though,

‘Mr Wilson has, very reasonably, agreed not to lodge more requests while the bureaucrats tackle the backlog. We hope this does not give them an excuse to dawdle. The department estimates it takes 39 hours for an officer to process one request, which begs the question of whether our public servants need a dose of productivity training.’

Good game plan. Make lots of requests at 39 hours a piece and then complain about how inefficient the public sector is. Did anyone notice the missing information in this seemingly reasonable piece about our right to know? If you said the lackย  of information about what the 750 requests were for then you are right. Bit rich coming from an organisation that believes ‘since in our book there can never be anything vexatious about exercising the public’s right to know. No ifs, no buts.’ and ‘Transparency is about putting as much information in the public domain as possible, not about limiting the flow’.

I mean, 440 requests in one day, how much information do they want to free?? You do have to admire their balls though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? Um, no, it’s tragic but not bloody ironic!!!!:-)

I’m not one to get wound up about trivial things. Aaahhh, not only do I crack myself up but I lie pretty consistently to myself as well! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyone who has read this blog at any point will know that I get wound up about the most pointless crap at times. To be fair I also get wound up about some pretty non-trivial crap at times as well. But I would have to admit that the constant mis-use of the word ‘ironic’ probably sits squarely in the ‘trivial crap’ pile.

But boy is the word consistently mis-used! I mean Alanis Morrisette wrote a whole song about it and didn’t use one piece of irony in it, unless you consider the idea that she wrote a whole song about irony and didn’t use any irony in it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Meeting the man of your dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife isn’t ironic, it might suck but it’s not ironic. And having ‘ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife’ is only ironic if you have been a leading advocateย  for replacing all knives with spoons at social gatherings! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not going to bore you with a definition of irony but basically something is ironic ‘if the actions taken have an effect exactly opposite from what was intended’ or if a statement implies a meaning in opposition to it’s literal meaning. By way of example, this is ironic. Tragic but ironic.

Next on my list of mis-used words? Awkward. A quick scan of Facebook would suggest that no-one has a f*&king clue what it means! ๐Ÿ™‚

Worryingily worried! :-)

Some people might find this hard to believe but I am quite a worrier. Sometimes I think it is something that has come on later in life but then I remember being the only kid who worried about playing defence during phys ed at school. So, in reality, I have probably always done it. And, to make matters worse, now that they seem to have linked stress and anxiety to poor health and a shorter life span I worry about worrying! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, in response to this, over the years I have picked up some strategies to deal with it. Word of warning…they are all a little weird. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have one where I imagine that my mind is a block of flats and the worrying or negative thought is an unwanted guest that need to be evicted. You need to actually talk it through by telling the thought it’s not welcome and has to move on etc. etc., (try not to do this out loud ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but it works pretty well for me.

Another one is my worst case scenario method. With this one I just imagine the worst thing that could realistically happen in a situation and whether I could deal with that. If the answer is yes, and it has been just about every time, then there is no need for worry. Again, this is pretty effective for me. And if the worse case scenario is something I can’t deal with, then my worry is a justifiable reaction and a spur to action.

The third main one I use is targeted at those thoughts that just keep running around your head, especially at night. If I think that I am going to spend a night mulling over something I try to be pre-emptive and schedule in some official ‘worrying’ time for the next day. Weird huh!:-) I even go to the extent of putting it into my diary or work schedule. I think this lets my mind let go of whatever I am thinking about because it has been re-assured that the issue will be dealt with. Funnily enough this one is pretty effective as well. Oh and, because things always seem to look better in the light of day, I have never actually had to use the ‘worrying’ time. ๐Ÿ™‚

And the other day I found a new one I might give a go at some point. Apparently what you need to do is write down what is worrying you on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. It is important to seal it because some new research has shown that ‘the metaphorical act of enclosing and sealing influences the memory, in the sense that the recollection of the emotional details of an event becomes weaker.’ And that it ‘will help bring you psychological closure and help you cope more effectively with your stress at work’

I’m going to give it a try next time I am worried or having negative thoughts about something. I’m just worried it won’t work. Aahh, geez I crack myself up sometimes! ๐Ÿ™‚