Monday, August 29, 2005

Running records (this is mainly for personal record for my memory, probably boring)

In the last two weeks, I have attempted to start running again. This is not the first time but I am hoping it will be something of a sustained effort.

My running habit was fairly strong all through school representing my primary school and high school at cross-country competitions. But soon as I started University, the regularity started to drop off. I still enjoyed the benefits of being fit but my aerobic fitness, flexibility, weight, and every other sign of fitness slowly deteriorated. The one thing that slowed the decline was my predilection towards walking. Even when I was in Taiwan, I seized the chances to go on day walks up through the mountains behind my University and up to the temples and tea-huts that were there. In an effort to save money I also walked rather than bus or take the MRT. Now that I mention it, I also ran on a track with a friend in Taiwan too.

Upon returning to New Zealand, On many occasions, I decided to start running but each time it seemed so very hard and I seldom persisted. Occasionally I was getting some in my ankle and arch too, so that complicated my attempts at rehabilitation. Then in 2001 I started to run with James semi-regularly. But one long run along the waterfront really did aggravate my ankle. I left it a little while and gradually the pain was less but I still walked with a lot of pain. Following that, I did purely masochistic walking, firstly my conquering of Great Barrier (which is a feat I still marvel at today) and then to circumambulate Auckland Harbour with Eric. Both I did with considerable self-inflicted pain and hardheadedness. It was only at the start of the next year that I visited a podiatrist to find that I was flat-footed and according to that specialist, would not ever be cut out for running.

Prescribed orthotic insoles helped me regain my walking habit while reducing the likelihood of pain. I walked again unhindered but through 2002 and 2003 I hardly ran a kilometre. In 2004, I had another setback with being hobbled by spraining my ankle. This caused me much distress. It stopped me walking for several days and then hindered me with a limp for several weeks. A few months later I was motivated to strengthen my system once more and started running short runs (the lesser and greater blocks), but after five runs something 'went' in my ankle and again I couldn't run. Early this year, I made myself run once more, but it was only once.

Now is probably the time when I have had most confidence in my foot stability, and I have had four short runs and recorded times faster than any others in the last three years. So far I have only had a few twinges in my feet but nothing that has stopped me to any great extent. My two measures of fitness are the lesser and greater blocks and I have records of 9:08 and 13:58 for them respectively.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

One-and-three-quarter clients

Well, I am still stuck with the one loving, and ever growing, client. I may have even more hours of work there as of next week. I might actually make more than I am spending (gasp!).

On the marketing front, I have had a little good news today. Firstly, I met with the ACT Asian Chapter about possible support. But they are completely run by donation of course (politics alone generates nothing), so they need to pass it by their treasurer, so they asked me to lower my price (to levels I was asking F&P for originally till I bumped it up). But there are no promises till after the election.

And also a company called In Step Limited, which provides staff support and services, has put me on their books although there is no guarantee of work till they have a client who needs my services. It is a start though and it is nice to finally get something from the phone calls I have been making.
The Liberation and Domestication of Push

Suburban Auckland is often the battleground of a feline turf-war. Territories are staked out and defended, patrolled leading to inevitable skirmishes and clashes. In such hurly-burly, sometimes there are losers and one of those losers, on a grand scale was Push the pussycat.

Push's weak psychological make-up is a map to the past, and it would not appear to be a happy one. When Push came to us, she was a sickly sight, her whole arm having got passed through her flea-collar, the fur under her legpit and skin had been mostly removed. She reacted with anxious hissing and hasty flight with anyone's advance. She was bony, probably diseased and a mess.

Her outright defensiveness and her miserable state might indicate irresponsible ownership, but to a house of two excessively caring suburbanites, Push was the ripe target for concern. Milk was put out and then tasty snacks. No gratitude was received for this, and no approach was possible due to pussycat paranoia and evasive action.

Then yesterday, coaxing with food on several occasions finally gave me the opportunity to get in contact with Push. The final session included about 10 minutes of tempting and slowly approaching. I ignored the hisses and eventually Push made the move to eat. I patted her for the first time and heard the most unlikely sound - a meow. I then slid a pair of secateurs under the collar and snipped it. Push whose face was immersed in the food hardly noticed, the collar however didn't fall off. It seemed stuck. I left Push but when I returned, all that remained was the collar with fur and maybe a little flesh lying there.

Push is still very defensive but we had a nice chat tonight and Mum even got a pat (that is, she patted Push). We are still waiting the SPCA to come around and take Push away, regrettably we don't need a cat. I am sure Push will either get the medicine she needs or at worst euthanaised. Er....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I forgot how brutal cold calling really was. Pinpricks of hope on an otherwise bruisingly unsuccessful time.
But there is hope nonetheless.
But I can't really consider myself succeeding till the number of my client companies surpasses the one very good-natured company I work with now...

Monday, August 15, 2005

The complete review of tea

Pu-Erh 4 / 6
- An aged Chinese tea from the province of Yunnan.

"Deep, Earthy, subtle aftertaste, light aroma, full-bodied, ancient, placed me in an old chinese village."
"Smokey, earthy, very warming"

Rangitoto Blend 4.1 / 6
-A blend of assam and ceylon teas with vanilla.

"Very creamy"
"Easy to drink but it had a charcoal aftertaste. Soothes the throat"
"Very palatable, with a hint of spice, perhaps a tad too bitter."

Oolong Earl Grey 3.6 / 6
-A cross between green and black teas with a flavouring of bergamot oil.

"Initial smokiness, further consumption brings othe the citrus smell - primitive comination of flavours"
"Bitter, reminded me of green tea but was quite drinkable, I liked it."
"Wheaty smell. The taste failed to excite but I would still drink it on the couch watching DVDs"

English Afternoon 2.7 / 6
- A traditional blend of ceylon tea.

"Tastes like rangitoto blend, maybe the English are sleepy in the afternoon so they mistakenly think it's a different tea."
"Insipid. Only for languid afternoons."
"Perfect for someone who wants to drink tea in a hurry."

Grannies' Garden 3.1 / 6
- A fruit tea with a mix of berries.

"Simple and fruity without being overpowering"
"Very sweet, but not too sweet, nice and flavoursome"
"Strawberry!! Nice!!! Love it!"
"This is not a tea"

Sencha Spice 3.2 / 6
- Green tea with indian spices.

"Very strong, pungent flavour"
"Makes me feel drunk. Strange texture."
"Reminds me of autumn in the Netherlands; a hint of pepernoten. The smell is more aggressive than the tast - doesn't overwhelm the palate."

Genmaicha 4.8 / 6
- a Japanese green sencha tea with popped rice (available in all loose leaf tea shops).

"Ricy and Zenlike"
"Pure and subtle"
"Tastes... er.... GOOD!!!"
"Hits the spot quite nicely"

Lapsong Souchong 4.5 / 6
- a smoked traditional black tea.

"Richly smoky. Textured like a gypsy's dress"
"Stays with you a longtime after drinking"
"Like lying in front of a wood fire on a sheepskin"
"Kind of moorish"

Bengal Chai 4.5 / 6
- a chai tea made with blacktea, cardamon, pepper and cinnamon.
(Purchased at Tea Total inMilford, $7.90/100 grams)

"Very nice"
"Perfect for drinking at a small town cafe on the way homefrom a roadtrip, A feel-good tea"

Rooibos Earl Grey 3.4 / 6
-South African rooibos with the flavouring of rooibos.

"Smells likes Jif washing liquid"
"The bergamot flavour destroyed the subtlety."
"Earthy but with a masculine taste of bergamot"
"I could drink a bucket of this."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Things that make you go....

Yesterday was a terrible day that got better and better. Today was a good day that had one period of complete confusion. There is only one hour of time that is really that interesting though:

After I finished my Fisher and Paykel teaching, I contacted my Dad to meet him and Adam, the newest member to my family tree. Anyhow, he is a cute little one, a little bit early apparently and certainly a bit dozy (he was on song last night). At first sight, he looks more like Dad than Armin but things can change, and I am yet to see him with his eyes open.

After chatting a bit, I felt a little hot, so I removed my vest, and then the world was a little shaky, and my strength faded. I made myself a place on the bed but then the world was disappearing. I felt like I was about to faint (I have had experience at fainting). Dad guided me out the door and got me to sit down outside. Ringing came to my ears and and the rest of the world became muffled and maybe for a brief period I was in a black void. Then I came back, and I could talk to my Dad again, the tinny sound, quieter now persisted for a few minutes more. It almost sounded like it came from around me so I had to check that it was only me hearing it. It was tinnitus - a condition my Dad has in a more severe form - Meniere's disease. I had better see the doctor to know exactly what this will mean to me.

After I got up and about again and said my farewells, I left to investigate Tea Lovers, which is owned by the same people as Darjeelingz. This could have been guessed due to the colours of the walls. A pretty shop and I indulged in an Irish Breakfast. Not too bad, and as it is in the proximity of Fisher and Paykel, I may fill up my card reasonably quickly! I also bought the leaves of the nastiest tea I have tried in recent times - Lapsang Souchong - which is starting to grow on me. Drinking it now, I am~

Oh, and one other good thing, I bought $30 of fuel this morning at $1.39/L and in the afternoon it was $1.43/L. I should have filled it up to the top maybe but $30 will take me a fair bit of time to go through.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New member to the family

I now the half-brother I never had! Adam Joseph Goudie was born today.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Well-worn paths

Sometimes skills and experiences from the past come to fore suddenly and you are thankful for experiences you have gone through. It was strangely coincidental that I did a speech at an AIESEC recruitment session at AUT just over a week ago saying what I had learnt through my AIESEC experience. Back in the day of my own recruitment, I remember forcing myself to call companies in my first year of AIESEC, then in subsequent years guiding the next generation to do the same and gaining the confidence to do so, and to be a model of how to do so.

Today I cold-called ASB and Telecom to offer my ESOL services and all of it was utilising the phone system navigation and marketing skills I had gained. Of course, someone without the experience could have done it but perhaps committing a few mistakes that maybe I can avoid this time round. It still remains to be seen whether it produces any outcomes but that is an aspect of cold-calling too. Understanding that effort in the short term does not always correlate directly with results in the short term, but has to be viewed in a long-term framework.

Naturally, this day turned out to be perhaps 300% more productive than Monday, not that it was a difficult task, I cannot say I achieved all that I could have today. I have given myself a rest from my Japanese drills and focussed on the business set-up, tutoring preparation and tea party preparation. I also gave myself a walk/run to get myself moving. Writing plans and a list of things to do have not been effective in getting me moving. As always it comes down to the mental push to go and just do things. Cattle-prods should not be necessary, but it is hard to psychologically rearrange oneself from a employee mentality (in which I tend to thrive). Probably the biggest motivator is to think financially. If I don't get my business going at fair rate, I will be earning only a minimum amount. I think I need to have a more materialistic, greedy mantra. "Making money is good", up till now it has been "Making tea is good!" (I have drunk soooo much).

The only hitch is that I am yet to complete the cryptic (something I have been doing almost at will, and usually quickly).

Tomorrow will be my second to last Japanese class, and I will be submitting a timed test paper. That means I will be getting a true measurement of my progress in relation to passing the second level test that I have put all the effort into achieving in December. If I am I will exert the next two months to preparing for the Chinese test (HSK) which happens in October. I think I can already get a pretty good score, but pushing the boundaries is a good idea. After that test I can properly brush my Japanese back up and assail the December test.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I haven't come off work well and I have struggled to step back into a productive rhythm. And what is worse, the price of organic chickpeas has skyrocketed (3 times what it was). But all is not bad, I have increased my F&P work by 1 1/2 hours a week which is nice. Also my disturbing dreams have ceased (well my memorable dreams). I am making my own social event and already mentally planning my birthday party.

I also tried to go completely crazy, trying to increase consumer spending over Xin's birthday weekend, which also coincided with The Food Show. Food Shows tend to make me go funny. I love to be surrounded by such interesting food and new products. Despite the exorbitant entry price ($18), you get a whole meal of samples and drinks, get vouchers to reduce the price of things you buy and get discounted things. Of course with me, I buy pricy unimportant things. I love buying (edible) oils. I got hempseed oil this time and came close to getting a wonderfully expensive bottle of olive oil, but I couldn't find the stall... The tea side of thing was good and bad. The Twinnings stall was very disappointing but Chai and Kerikeri Tea did well and one benefitted for my extravagance.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


With the sudden change in my working lifestyle, I am still out of kilter. I am not as good at working without structure so I need to be more regimented.

Since leaving my regular teaching, I have been beset by poor sleep (infected by Japanese study, words and sentences floating in and out of my mind for what seems like hours in bed) and then strange nightmarish dreams of suicide (using explosives or jumping off buildings). Such dreams are very out of the ordinary for me but it is probably not unexpected when you have a change in life.

But on the study side of things, it couldn't be better. I have two remaining classes and last night scored my highest listening test result. Either I was guessing better or just had a fresher mind to capture important facts or perhaps I have bombarded my brain with Japanese radio news and listening tapes since I began having more time ;-)

I found my listening skills was held back on two points, vocabulary and general listening speed. So often, even if I squint my ears (if that is possible) to not have a clue about the answer, only to find that the key words were all ones far yonder even my vaguely known vocabulary.