These used to fit. That's 9kg less I have to carry around with me. A big "Woot" to me!

And I'm sure there'll be even less after this weekend. I've managed to develop a close relationship with my bathroom in the past 48 hours thanks to a bout of gastro. This is nothing like the weekend I had planned and is certainly not my idea of fun. 3 get-togethers and parties will all have to be declined now. :( But I'm looking on the bright side, I'll look even more fantastic for next weekend's round of socialising.


Sobering thought for the day...

From today's Sydney Morning Herald:
European avalanche victims still missing

A survivor of a giant avalanche that killed eight people near western Europe's highest peak has described the incident as a "a scene from the apocalypse"...
The Mont Blanc range is popular with hikers but every year claims numerous lives.
This summer season more than 30 people have died in the French Alps, most of them near Mont Blanc, and a further 60 have perished in the Italian and Swiss Alps.

Many people who know me know that I am preparing to ascend Mt Blanc in 2010. Part of my preparation has been looking into guides and reading a lot about the various routes to ascend this summit. I've become aware of the dangers and am taking preparation for this very seriously. I have given myself 3 years to prepare. Last year and this year I've been working on reducing my weight and improving my fitness. Next year I begin work on improving my alpine climbing skills. Part of this preparation will include a trip to NZ to be coached in ice climbing next year.

Accidents can happen. No matter how much preparation and planning you do you can't predict mother nature. I understand the risks. I've often said to my mum that if anything was to happen to me while I am doing the things I do that I hope she understands that I'm doing something I love. She says that's no consolation. I also understand her point of view.


Movie review haiku...

The Strangers

Whining Liv Tyler
The masked fiends took way too long
And then she survives...

(Ugh. I was sitting in the theater thinking to myself, "Hurry up. Just kill her. PLEASE!")


And yes, I'm posing....

however, that aside, I was mighty proud of the way my legs were looking this morning when I got in from my jog. I've also been watching my weight closely and after a trip to the doctors last week for an official weigh-in it seems I've lost 8kg since my last official weight check. Weightloss can be a tricky thing, but I've done it steadily with mostly exercise and only minor changes to my diet. This makes me very happy and quite proud, so here is a total show off picture of my right calf:

Now, please excuse me while I go and finish off my quarter pounder and fries...


Fancy footwork...

I've loved this clip (and song) for many years now.
So here's a question for all the SYTYCD fans out there:
What is the style of dancing in this film clip?
and part two for a bonus point:
Do you know where I can learn this in Sydney?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

PS: I love this song and came across the video for it today... Ummmmm WTF?


Oh, I know it's a cop out post but...

here's another meme. So how else will you get to know me?
Thanks Yani for this one.

# If I were a direction I'd be... preceded by "No! No! I said go *insert direction here*!"

# If I were furniture I'd be... your favorite pillow

# If I were a liquid I'd be... more than a mouthful

# If I were a gem/stone I'd be... unpolished

# If I were a metal I'd be... part of an outdoor sculpture in the grounds of an art gallery

# If I were a tree I'd be... lost in the forest

# If I were a flower I'd be... about to bloom

# If I were a fruit I'd be... still on the tree

# If I were weather I'd be... that change that's blowing in from the south

# If I were a music instrument I'd be... played by a school student who never practiced

# If I were an element I'd be... part of something bigger

# If I were a colour I'd be... that one the guy in the paint supply shop could never quite match again to your sample.

# If I were an animal I'd be... untamed

# If I were a sound I'd be... an echo an echo an echo

# If I were a lyric I'd be... hummed by millions

# If I were a song I'd be... sung with gusto by Dannii Minogue at the end of a Parkinson type show

# If I were a music style I'd be... more of a genre than a style

# If I were a perfume/cologne I'd be... unnoticeable by about 10am.

# If I were a feeling I'd be... that one that you have buried deep inside that you'd love to let out just once

# If I were a book I'd be... left on a park bench for someone new to pick up and read

# If I were a food I'd be... a dish that you tasted and loved, but can't remember the name of the restaurant you tasted me in.

# If I were a city I'd be... just waking up at dawn and slowly coming to life

# If I were a taste I'd be... hardly fashionable

# If I were a scent I'd be... attractive to hummingbirds

# If I were a word I'd be... in one of those "word of the day" desk calendars

# If I were a verb I'd be... a carelessly used predicate

# If I were an object I'd be... width="760" height ="420"

# If I were a piece of clothing I'd be... that t-shirt that you wear out, then strip off and stuff into your back pocket when you were too hot in the club.

# If I were a body part I'd be... the one that you just wanted to kiss

# If I were a facial expression I'd be... characterised by one raised eyebrow and a curled up lip

# If I were a cartoon character I'd be... two dimensional

# If I were a movie I'd be... downloaded, burnt then shared around with your friends.

# If I were a geometrical figure I'd be... rather boring by myself, I'd need other shapes

# If I were a season I'd be... the one you were really looking forward to about 4 months ago, but now just want to be over

# If I were a sentence I'd be... 4 years with good behavior.


Album Art Meme...

This one is doing the rounds. It's so simple and clever.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result:


I'm loving this right now...

One of my new fave blogs:
"It's Lovely! I'll Take It!" - A collection of poorly chosen photos from real estate listings.

This is truly one of the funniest blogs I have ever read. Totally laugh out loud material.


Postcard from: Moab...

- Hot and Dry. Just how I love it. This is the desert. The average temp was over 40c (100F).

- Riding here had to be completed as early as possible. We would start riding before sunrise. On one ride I felt like a vampire. I seemed to have one eye on the trail and the other was watching the horizon with fear that the sun would soon break through.

- Fantastic hamburger from the Eclectic Cafe

- The Lizard Ale from the Moab Brewery was my pick of the beers.

- The cliffs along Potash Rd were being used by climbers and abseilers. I looked on with both envy and lust.

- Arches Nation Park is a wonder.

- Don't ride one handed. If you need to adjust some part of your equipment stop and do it.

- Slick Rock was an amazing landscape. It comprised of deep valleys and ancient petrified sand dunes. Follow the white lines painted on these or you could find yourself riding straight off into a canyon, with many broken bones.

To finish I must quote from our guide book on the riding in this area. It was a slight cause for concern: (The grading system is 1 to 10)
"Techno Factor: 11. Big descents, big rocks, BIG danger. Fear factor: 11. Off the map unless you are blind or brain damaged. Okey, have you figured it out yet? This trail is simply not safe to ride in its entirety. Many parts of it probably shouldn't give you more than a compound fracture. A couple of pieces, however, have killed in the past - read the signs. If you find yourself on this trail without pondering mortality you are probably the type who wants to ride it all. My heartfelt condolences got out to your relatives - I'm serious."

This did have us re-considering our day's riding. We did however ride the "Kinda scary 2-track downhill, heinous in some spots on singletrack (with Death on the Right!)" with the added advice "Don't be afraid to walk them"... which we did occasionally.

Yes, that is a sheer cliff I'm standing on. Moab was my fave part of my holiday.


Ode to the 8th of the 8th oh 8...

My song consists of only two chords.
And both of them are minor.
Sung by neither ladies nor lords.
The Olympics are on in China.

Ok, I might not be the best song writer.



Inspiration can strike in the weirdest of places...

so you just sketch it out on whatever is handy (after going to the bar to get a pen), and jot it down on the paper bag your dvds are in.

Flickr Meme:

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Murray - opps, now is that the first time I've actually said my first name here? As if you would not have guessed.
2. What is your favorite food? Fajitas
3. What school did you go to? St Edmunds
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? I dare not speak thy name as I am not worthy.
6. Favorite drink? Tea - You thought I was going to say "beer" didn't you?!
7. Dream vacation? Mt Blanc. Been there, have the strongest desire to go back and conquer its peak.
8. Favorite dessert? Grandma's trifle
9. What you want to be when you grow up? An adventurer
10. What do you love most in life? Good kisses.
11. One Word to describe you: Contemplative
12. Your flickr name: Muzbot

Postcard from: New Mexico

- Hot.

- Food. OMG, I discovered my love for chili here. I've never been a huge fan of food that is too hot or spicy but here my desire for it grew with each meal. Our final night in town was capped off at a local restaurant where I enjoyed a baked dish containing whole green chilies which had been stuffed with cheese then crumbed in a sort of bread crumb and mashed potato concoction and served with rice and beens. It was so good. I also enjoyed the BEST fajitas ever. They were bought from a stall on a street corner. Seriously, the best food.

- Adobe style is the only way to live. I loved these buildings. I would love to build something like the one we stayed in in Santa Fe here in the Blue Mountains.

- Walked in Tent Rocks Canyon. This is an Indian reserve. Once you have negotiated the canyon and the long hot climb to the top you will be rewarded with the most stunning views of wide open plains that seem to go on for eternity.

- Stunning evening storms here.

- We rode the Windsor tail here. It was a bit of a lengthy start, due to an extra loop which we tacked on at the trail head, but an enjoyable ride. There was some fun downhill on this ride and I managed to get some air on a few of the bunny hops towards the end of the ride. We finished this ride at the Teseque Village Market. They serve great food. MMMMmmmm: tamales, green mole and blue corn chips.


Postcard from: Salida (Monarch Pass ride)...

- Cool early morning start.

- This ride climbed above the tree line up to snow drifts. These are impossible to ride. We had to guess the best route across these that would take us safely to the rest of the trail. One of these had a 10ft vertical drop that we had to slide down. I had a rather ungraceful slide, but boy was it fun!

- This was by far the most difficult ride. The conditions on the trail ranged from shale, dusty dry trails, deep gutters, to river crossings and heavily forested pine groves.

- I had a bit of a tumble on this ride over the handlebars bumping my head and knocking my kneecap out of place (and quickly back into place as I stood up on it). I could not put my weight on it for a few minutes and horrible thoughts went through my mind about what would have happened if I couldn't ride any further. For a moment the pain was quite unbearable. Luckily the pain subsided into nothing worse than a major dead-leg as I hobbled onto our rest point.

- The bump to my head must have had some sort of effect on my sense of smell. We were in the middle of nowhere and I could smell freshly cooked blueberry muffins. It was weird and I was hungry and in pain.

- Rocks featured heavily on this ride. It's amazing that no matter how carefully you maneuver the front tire around a rock, you can be assured your back tire is going to collect it.

- My confidence was a little shaken and I managed to have a couple of further tumbles. I was not overly happy, but I could not deny that we were in some of the most remote and beautiful countryside and those thoughts thrilled me.

- The end of this ride was down an unsurfaced road that was badly corrugated from years of off-road traffic. That road was the WORST I have ever ridden on in my life.


Postcard from: Europe in general...

Postcard from: London...

- Ok, this picture probably doesn't really show much of London, but I do love the local breakfast cafes in London. Big helpings, small price.

- Hung out mostly in the West End and Soho areas. So lively.

- There is a musical on here for everything.

- Had a great time catching up with Darth and when we finally found lunch it was delicious. Thanks DG, looking forward to our next meeting, wherever and whenever that may be.

- Could have spend a small fortune on T-shirts, and a LARGE fortune in Ted Baker and Paul Smith, despite both stores having sales.

- Rain. In fact a whole months worth in 2 days!

- The Tube. Brilliant transport system when it's working.

- Pret A Manger: Meatball wrap. Tasty!

- Fun bars. Couldn't help but have a small boogie to Marvin Gaye as one DJ really knew good music and kept me going all night.

Postcard from: Helsinki...

- The city is made of stone. Everything is stone.

- They have pokies in the supermarket?!?!

- Very friendly and well educated people.

- Don't fold your arms. It's a sign of rudeness. I was never conscious of how often I actually folded my arms until I was told not to.

- It didn't get dark. We walked out of a bar at 1am and the sun was rising, or was it setting??

- The bar was called "Albert's Room" and it literally was just big enough to be only a room. 20 people max in here at any one time. It was rather cool.

- The city was full of strawberry stands. The smell filled the streets and was so beautiful.

- This city is a cool, hip design hub.

- I wandered around a historic park that contained early Nordic houses that were being preserved. Very beautiful part of town.

Postcard from: Solden...

- Typical looking Alpine town. Beautiful.

- The first hotel we tried to get a couple of rooms in was fully booked (thanks to the Trans Alpine Mountain Bike Race), so we were sent across the river to the hotel owner's Mother's place. Kind of a weird experience, but we got 2 rooms none the less.

- Dinner was in a restaurant that was decorated with mannequins enjoying the sport of Luge across the ceiling. The pizza's here were HUGE! Way to big to even eat half of one.

Postcard from: Salzberg

- Nuns seemed to be wandering the streets aimlessly.

- Very wet. Sat outside a rather cool bar enjoying beer and a D&M with Judo about life while rain dripped down from the canopy onto our table.

- The town is alive with The Sound Of Music.

- Great beer options here.

- Had the biggest laugh as Judo and I drove through the traffic restricted area into the main square to the horror of the people sitting eating their sausages. A priceless moment.

Postcard from: Japan...

- What an amazing place.

- Wacky and totally entertaining. I was so tempted to splash a little water on the toilet seat in my hotel room just so I could find out exactly what sort of "trouble" I could get myself into.

- MMMmmmm Jellyfish. The food in Japan is not based on flavour, it's based on texture. Once you get your head around that fact, eating here becomes a learning experience.

- I will be back and I will spend more time here.

- I'll refrain from posting the pic of me in my Japanese robe.

Postcard from: Munich...

Hmmmmmm.... What can I say?

- The beer was ok, but I must admit I was a little disappointed.

- There are some very cool T-shirt shops here

- To visit here you must love sausage, potato or bacon with your green beans.

- Take a TomTom or a decent map if heading out to the suburbs to find the motorbike shops.


What a ride...

and I'm home. More to come. :)