Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That time again

Many years ago, my New Years Resolution was to not make any more New Years Resolutions. I never really got into them, seemingly arbitrary and easily forgotten. But I completely agree with setting goals and working towards them. It is pretty rare that I set goals for myself, but now I have one and I want to be SMART about it:

S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

What does that mean? It means there is no point setting an elusive or ambigious goal. "I want to have a better life" is a poorly written goal because it does not help or focus you. "I want to increase my income by 15% by the end of next year" is a much better goal. It is definite, it has a target and it has a time (and it is written down).

A few weeks ago, I inherited a guitar, an acoustic one. It is currently in transit, I should have it in my hands sometime next month. I had a drum kit and an electric bass guitar in the 90's but never got lessons or practiced. This time around, I want to learn how to play it, properly. With the caveat that I'm married with kids now so my budget is like... zero dollars. So no lessons. :(

On the plus side, this time around there is the internet and YouTube and a million and one tutorials available - for free!

So here is my first goal:

"I will learn to play three songs well, without notes, by 1st of December 2016."

With that, comes my secondary goal:

"I will practice for at least 15 minutes, at least 3 times a week."

But with that goal, I have two caveats - my preference will be to practice every day, but I have no idea what my schedule (or my families schedules) will be in the new year. Also, I have times when I have to travel for work and won't be able to take a guitar with me - so I wouldn't be able to practice then. Those trips will add up to months out of the year, which is why I set my first goal for twelve months away.

Monday, December 28, 2015


I might be putting the cart before the horse, but I worked out how to do custom thumbnails for my Youtube videos and set up a template for consistancy. This way I'll be able to keep a constant "look" to my videos.

Probably didn't need to do that, at least not yet. Pretty sure nobody is going to be watching my videos, at least not deliberately. :)

Itching for my guitar to arrive...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Changed circumstances

Writing: for this years' NaNoWriMo, I'm giving myself every opportunity to meet the deadline by ... cheating? Sort of. Instead of doing it across one month, I'm pushing it out across the whole year. Slightly ahead right now, but it remains to be seem how much time will be available on the schedule. Budget: $0 - but all I need is my laptop anyway. Do snacks count? No matter, budget is still zero.

Photography: ditto for time, but this hobby is more relaxed and has no timeframes. Budget: $0 - though I could spend a few thousand every month on buying new gear if I had the money. Should spend less time online looking at lenses...

Guitar: in limbo, until the guitar arrives. Once it arrives, we'll see how much time I can devote to it. Fingers crossed the humidity up here doesn't kill the guitar. :( The key for me I think will be regular practice. Budget: $0 - but there are loads of great resources on line. A bonus; found out I can use bread tags (the little plastic thingy that keeps the bread bag closed) in lieu of a pick. But if I want to splurge, I can get 10 for $1 from eBay - including postage!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Start of a new age

Today, things change. Hopefully for the better.

A few minutes ago my wife's plane landed in Darwin. My family will be living up here with me again. I hadn't been counting on this, for the last few years I thought the next decade or so would be spent only seeing my family for a week or so every few months, stuck kicking around the far north with nothing better to do with my spare time.

Having my family up here means I will have less spare time with little to do - but that time will be used with my family. Valuable time with them I didn't think I would have. <3

Saturday, December 19, 2015

NaNo planning

Due to work related timings, I am not sure if I will be around or near a computer next November.

But there is no harm in planning, so I might start some ground work for NaNo 2016. After all, it isn't like I have a whole lot on my plate at the moment.

Once my family and guitar get here, well, that's a different matter!


Had nice jog this morning. Carried some water on my back and drenched in sweat, despite going out first thing in the morning when it is coolest. I don't think it is a good idea to go running around in the heat of the day.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Found out (not that I was looking) that there are a few people around offering guitar lessons. The common price seems to be $50 an hour. Which sounds good for a human one-on-one instructor.

Not that I can afford that.

But at least I have an idea on how much I would have been out of pocket, if I had gone the paid lessons route.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

First video live

Whee, posted my first vLog to YouTube. First time sharing something creative in around five years. Feels good to be creating again, even if it is a really low budget "talking head" video.

I can think of a half dozen things I can do to make better quality videos but all of them require either an outlay of cash or a second person (or more). Well, I'll just have to work within my constraints.

I'm pretty disappointed I couldn't recover my old Tsbytomd YT account. The email account it was tied to doesn't exist so it is pretty much gone.

I created a new alias to release my guitar journey on. Not because I want to hide my identity (I'n showing my face, so that makes it hard), but just to make it a little harder to find if people search for my name.

I won't be advertising these videos, I'll just have them as my creative outlet.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Account recovery

Well, I found which email account I had used to set up my old YouTube account, and I'm fairly certain I know the password. Annoyingly, I tried too many times and now Google has locked me out because it thinks I'm trying to hijack my own account.

On the downside, that email account (and domain) don't exist any more. And the account was set up years ago, before we started putting mobile phone numbers as backups. So that is making it a bit harder...

First video test

...Was a success!

I was looking at a few options such as the webcam on my laptop, the camera on my phone and my dslr. The best results were from the dslr with an external microphone, so I will use that.

If I had to buy a camera, then I would just use the camera in my phone (which is still pretty good, despite being nearly four years old!) but since I have the dslr, I may as well use that.

The only down side is that the tripod I have is a bit too tall, so I will need to get creative in order to get the framing that I want.

Next step: try and find my password for my old Tsbytomd account on YouTube. I haven't used that one in five years. It's no biggie if I can't get that one back, but it would be nice to tie it in to my old EDM account.

Fly to Darwin, take two

*Sigh* Can't believe I missed my flight yesterday. And by only around 20 seconds. Stupid electronic check ins just go "nuh, time ticked, you're locked out".

Had to book a new flight for today out of my own pocket. Not saying that work should have covered it, but that was $300 flushed down the toilet that I shouldn't have needed to spend. Not that I can afford it.

Good thing I hadn't planned on doing anything fun for Christmas. Or New Years. Or Easter next year either...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Back to Darwin

I have to fly back to work today.

Nobody likes having to go back to work after a holiday but I wanted to extend mine so I could do more work packing up the house for the move. And more importanty, my wife is sick and I want to be here to look after her.

But there wasn't anyone available at work to approve an extension or change my flights. So back I go...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Time to practice

With the new guitar quest, the key will be making time to practice. Or more acurately, having the support from my family to be able to make the time to practice.

I figure if I can get in 15 to 30 minutes per day, then that would be awesome. Not sure how it'll pan out but I'll have natural breaks when we go out for work. Wouldn't take my guitar out into the bush.

I've started having a look online at advice on learning guitar and it seems that the common consensus is to learn the basics, learn to tune, loads of practice and have fun. Then practice some more.

Pretty sure I won't have any original music to put up, not for a long time yet. But not sure if I want to put up any covers. Aside from the legal issues, I'm sure the artists don't want to hear me butchering their songs!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Telstra *sigh*

And of course, internet is intermittant. :(

It has been an ongoing saga with Telstra and the aging infrastructure out here. We're in a slightly regional area and every time it rains, water gets into the pits and pipes that carry all the communications cables.

Technician gets sent out, applies a band aid to the best of their ability, but the cabling is old and the only real fix is to rewire the whole town. Which isn't going to happen. Not in our life times, I wouldn't think.

I think there is NBN available were we will be going to next, but I can't say I am overly impressed with what I have personally seen with NBN. My personal choice would be to get standard adsl instead of NBN. I'd only get the "faster" option if the two plans cost the same and included the same amount of data. Mind you, I get no say, so it's a moot point.


Prediction: I don't think any of our chickens will be alive by July 2016. We're moving out and will have tenants in the house. I seriously doubt they will look after the chickens like my wife does.

Don't get me wrong, I really hope they thrive. It'll be good for our tenant to fall in love with them and recognise their personalities (yes, chickens have personalities). But I don't see it happening.

Really hoping to be wrong about this one.

Guitar: Day -X

Well, I have decided to learn to play the guitar. I've had a number of different creative outlets that I've been looking at but not had the satisfaction from them.

That's a bit of a lie, I really enjoyed making stop motion animation with Lego (check out - free plug!) and really like photography but in both cases I lack resources to do it. Writing was okay and I like it, but it seems like I never write, which is kinda step one.

I can't afford to buy a guitar but my mum moved house and gave me her old guitar. I have it now, though it does need new strings.

I won't have the money or time to replace the strings and practice before returning to Darwin. And I won't be able to take it with me on the plane so I won't be able to start learning or practicing until all our home gear gets there... early next year (hence why this is Day -X since I don't know how much longer until Day 0).

At the moment I plan to try and record some videos of myself to vBlog my progress (or lack thereof). Not sure if that'll end up happening but it'll give me something else to create. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

She's home again

Bit of a scary time at the hospital but have the wife home again. Very glad she is safe, if a bit worse for wear.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Life takes a turn

...for the worse.

Now, home alone. Wife was in a bad way this arvo, so I took her to the hospital. So far tests have come back negative for anything serious but they wanted to hang on to her overnight for observation and some more tests in the morning.

Fingers crossed it goes well.


Getting off the plane and walking across the tarmac, I took a deep breath of that cool, damp air and felt invigorated. After many hours of sitting still, I just wanted to run and run.

Spent the afternoon with my wife, we attended her friends' birthday party then caught up with other friends. Felt great to be able to have some time together, just hanging out in a social setting.

Got home and chilled out in front of the tv for a while. We had a cardio session last night and another this morning.

Very happy to be home. Even if it is only for a week.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Currently at Alice Springs, waiting for a connecting flight. Definitely prefer this method. Only two hours to get here, as opposed to two and a half days!

Going to be really busy at home and it is only for a week, but will be good to have some family time again.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Last trip home

Been doing a lot of flying lately. Flown on more planes in the last 18 months than I have in my entire life. I get to go home in a few days, bur this will probably be the last time I get to go back to my home state for a few years.

Just have to enjoy it as much as I can.