back on the bike

This week I decided to try cycling to work again. I hadn’t cycled to work (or anywhere) in a really long time — maybe the start of the year, or toward the end of last year — and I thought it was about time I tried again.

Of course, that’s not to say I cycled every day this week. I only cycled on Wednesday, when I thought the workload would be manageable enough that I wouldn’t be left too exhausted to cycle home. Fortunately, the weather was also quite mild that day, so it seemed like the best opportunity.

Continue reading

kindness drive

I’m generally not an aggressive driver. I try to be aware of other vehicles around me, and always let others merge into my lane, provided it’s safe to do so. There’s a certain point on the freeway on the way to work where a lot of lane changing occurs. As we approach the CBD, there is a tributary of traffic flowing steadily in on the left, and then, up ahead, there are exiting lanes on the right and left (depending on which street of the CBD you’re headed to).

This means that there are almost always people in one of the righthand-side lanes that need to move all the way left, and people in one of the lefthand-side lanes who want to get across to the right. It’s at this juncture that I’m on high alert, and will generally leave enough space between me and the car in front to allow someone else to merge/pass by if needed.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you about a car accident. Continue reading

daily haiku: week 1

I’ve now finished seven days of writing daily haiku, so I thought it would be a good idea to look back and share some of my favourites. It’s actually been more than seven days, if you want to get technical about it, since I actually started thinking up haikus before the start of July. My mind was sort of preparing itself for the challenge, like warming up before a marathon.

Since July started on a Monday, the start of the work week, I tended to think up haiku on my way to work: while walking to the bus stop, on the bus, in my car, or while cycling. (Yes, my commute was very varied last week.) This meant that several of my haiku are related to the outside world: nature, meteorological phenomena, animals, etc. Whatever I observed gained automatic consideration for haiku topics. Continue reading

rationalising my commute

Over the last few months, I’ve been driving to work more. I still catch the bus/train on most days, but if I know we’re going to have a late finish, or if the weather is bad, or if I leave the house a bit late, then I decide to drive. Also, if I’m bringing cake/pie/fudge/whatever, it’s a lot easier to transport by car than by bus.

There were a couple of weeks around Easter that I drove to work every day. It was great – I cut down my commute time significantly, I got to work earlier and had time to enjoy tea/coffee before I started, and I often got some reading or studying done before work too (while drinking said tea/coffee). I walked with colleagues to the carpark after work, and complained with them about the lack of spaces in the lower levels. I listened to music while I was on the road, and had a chance to energise in the morning and to wind down in the evening.

After a time, though, it didn’t feel right.  Continue reading

1158 and other numbers

Today was a good day. I know that today was a good day because, after finishing work more or less on time, I had enough energy and concentration left in me to do some reading all the way home. This is good because usually I’m either too tired or distracted, and cannot focus long enough to read more than a few pages.

Can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this in a previous post already, but my current commute book is “The World According to Garp” (by John Irving). I’m finding it to be a very interesting book so far, to say the least. It’s written quite well – it’s so easy to read – but it’s also incredibly random. More than once I have found myself thinking, “what did I just read…??”

But I’ll write more of a review of it after I’ve finished the full book.

When I was reading it on the bus this evening, I came across the number “1158” in a sentence. For some reason, that tripped me up a bit. I felt like, in that brief second when my eyes scanned over that number, my mind couldn’t decide if it wanted to read it as “one-one-five-eight” or “eleven-fifty-eight” or “one thousand, one hundred and fifty-eight”. The final option sounded better in the context of the sentence (it was about how many pages of manuscript one of the characters had written) but because I’d considered the first two options, I lost a bit of reading momentum.

This is where I almost got distracted and didn’t continue reading. Almost.

I put a mental post-it note on the topic for later revision. What I was interested in wasn’t why I’d considered those first two options (it’s kind of obvious if you know my line of work – I spend all day dealing with numbers in the thousands, and it’s just quicker to read the digits than to read the number in full). What I was interested in was how people say numbers in a certain way.

This kind of relates back to that post from last week about listing things …and also kind of doesn’t. I mean, reading the number “1158” is sort of like reading a list: one thousand, one hundred and fifty-eight. Sure, the order is kind of pre-determined because that’s the order of the digits and whatever. But, theoretically, you could also say “fifty-eight, one hundred and one thousand”. It’s just that no one does that because it sounds weird and is confusing. I suppose it sounds less weird if it’s a two-digit number, such as “one and twenty” (21), and the writing style/context suits it.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

I started thinking about other numbers – mostly about numbers without any “tens” or “ones” (gee, I mustn’t have used those terms since, like, grade two), such as one thousand, five hundred (1500). Why don’t people say “one thousand and five hundred”? If it was 5043, it would be read as “five thousand and forty-three” (the “and” mightn’t be properly enunciated, but it’s still there).

So much to ponder about, so little time. Have to go to bed so I can be awake enough to read on the commute tomorrow.