Archive for the ‘Kev’s Blog’ Category

22-Apr-2017 Out Of Time by Miranda Sawyer

Saturday 22 April 2017 Leave a comment

I still read quite a lot – blogs, online articles, my massive feedly feed of articles. And still a few books, but not as many as I’d like.

I’d hate to think that it’s part of the dumbing down of the world, short attention spans and what not. I am into getting lots of sleep, cooking from scratch, lots of exercise, trying to balance work with play so it is just hard to fit in the time.

Anyway, virtually all of my book-reading is on my phone with the kindle app (I am into reducing devices and don’t “even” have a tablet).

I bought this book Out Of Time by Miranda Sawyer. It was about :

“a very modern look at the midlife crisis – delving into the truth, and lies, of the experience and how to survive it, with thoughtfulness, insight and humour.”

I don’t think I am going through a midlife crisis or anything but am conscious of the constant drip drip drip of time ticking by. Kids getting older, now into late teens and early adulthood, and the gradual ageing of parents ie I am getting older and you just can’t ignore that. Anyway I didn’t really like her style much and didn’t particularly enjoy the book, and very nearly discarded it a few times, although I did persevere and finish it. I found that the following paragraph really did resonate with me :

‘You’re at the life stage you’re at. Accept it. If you have children, then all things have their season, and this is the season for staying in and looking after your children. Acknowledge where you are, accept where you are, move through it and enjoy it. Because the other option is to actively not enjoy your life.’

We do go through life stages and people should just be patient and accept it rather than just fight fight fight all the time. People can do many things but they can’t do everything all at once. If you are always pushing against the grain it makes it a lot harder and a lot less enjoyable. I could go off into a rant about “mindfulness” although there is too much rubbish written about the concept, but in general there is a lot of merit to it all.

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28-Apr-2016 Reading.. some quotes

Thursday 28 April 2016 Leave a comment

As always I have been reading a lot, A LOT. I scribbled these quotes down:

Expeditions allow me to commit to a goal of my own choosing; any problems I face are mine to deal with, and success or failure is a direct result of my own abilities or shortcomings. Each trip brings new confidence, new experience, and new ideas. from:
You can dress up a bug and call it a feature. You can also put dog crap in the freezer and call it ice cream. But people can taste the difference.

12-Mar-2016 Shanghai Stopover

Saturday 12 March 2016 Leave a comment
The flight was good. On time & had my vegan meal & it was excellent. Watched a Chinese film and an Indian film (Bajrangi Bhaijaan), which was really excellent but did make my cry, so was probably perfect for being on a plane. I had bought a little gizmo at JayCar that allows you to use your own cool headphones with the plane entertainment system, much better than their own headphones. I was also lucky enough to have 3 seats to stretch out over and could actually lie down! I listened to music & dozed a bit. I think the air con dried out my sinus out so my head felt a lot better. We, the whole plane (China Eastern Airlines), even did a synchronised set of Tai Chi movements whilst seated ! We arrived in Shanghai at 5am for my 7hr stopover.  Temp was 2C and I was just wearing a short-sleeve polo shirt as it was hot in Sydney yesterday !! I only went outside briefly as that’s where all the smokers were and it WAS cold. Inside it wasn’t a lot better. Virtually everything was shut so I just walked around a lot… lucky its a big airport with connecting terminals!
At past 6am I found the row of local food places and got some rice congee with red aduki beans – very traditional I guess? With a small plate of spicy pickles.
I walked around a heap more.  Decided against going into town as the first train wasn’t until 7am and I didn’t really have time to do more than go there & back. I went thru customs and read a book and walked more and sat around .. typical airport terminal soul destroying stuff. Was very tired indeed. I did some pushups to get my blood pumping although I did a lot of walking as well. The terminals and connecting routes were very long. I had a coffee at Starbucks. I really hate that place as it is the same everywhere and the coffee is not good which is the whole raison d’etre. However it was the only place with anything like good coffee. From past experience, the rest of Shanghai is ok for coffee, just not the airport.
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11-Mar-2016 Leaving for the UK

Friday 11 March 2016 Leave a comment

Today definitely didn’t start well although the damage was done last night (Thursday): I knew I would be home late from work and Dawn was working overnight so my aim was to pack and tidy up so I would have a clear run on Friday morning to go for a last run & swim at Jibbon, see Dawn and go to work and then the airport straight from work.

A great plan that failed failed failed.

I got home late on Thursday as expected maybe 8pm+ as I always get caught up trying to finish off work, and I had to buy some gifts for Kody’s Japanese exchange buddy who is coming next week (who I won’t see or be able to help with… that didn’t go down well). I got home late, felt like crap as I have been burning the candle at both ends, had a bath and went to bed at 10pm, thinking “I’ll sort it all out early tomorrow morning).

Friday morning I still felt awful. I drove to Jibbon for a cold but gorgeous swim. At home I made a half-hearted effort to clear up, and took work calls then went to bed till 11.30am and then worked & did chores & packed all the way till 4.30pm then went for a good swim with everyone except Kody, even Charley the dog came. I then almost missed the ferry as I was on the phone for work and even in the train and at the airport. Yuk. It just felt horrible. Was still emailing instructions all the way up until the plane left at 9.30pm.

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3-Jan-2016 Still on holiday!

Sunday 3 January 2016 Leave a comment

razors-edgeI am still on holiday and hanging out at home, doing lots of sport, running, swimming, gym, possibly too much as my arms and legs are very tired and I have trouble getting out of bed before about 10am!

I finished reading The Razor’s Edge book by Somerset Maugham. I really enjoyed it … this review is better than I could give it:

In the evening, gone 1030pm, me and Dawn walked thru Bonnie Vale campsite to Maianbar and as it was low tide crossed the beach to the spit and walked back on the beach. I gave her a piggy back across the stream! We got back home approx 11.30pm, it was warm and we worked up a sweat.

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2-Jan-2016 It’s time to stop giving a damn

Saturday 2 January 2016 Leave a comment

Great article as always in the Guardian [link here]:

Drowning in commitments? It’s time to stop giving a damn
The key to beating stress is to care less – and if that means wearing your pyjamas to the corner shop, so be it.

If you’re like me, you’ve been caring too much about too many things for too long. You’re overextended and overburdened by life. Stressed out, anxious, maybe even panic-stricken about your commitments. I was almost 30 years old when I began to realise it was possible to stop caring so much, but I was nearly 40 before I figured out how to make it happen.

Little by little over the next few years, I stopped caring about small things that annoyed me. I unfriended some truly irritating people on Facebook. I refused to suffer through another reading of friends’ plays. And I stopped getting dressed up just to go to the grocery store behind my house (pyjamas are the new black). Little by little, I started feeling better. Less burdened. More peaceful. I hung up on people calling from call centres to sell me things; I said no to a weekend trip with toddlers; I stopped watching season two of True Detective after only one episode. I was becoming my true self, able to focus more on people and things that actually made me happy.

… and more at the article: [link here]


24-Dec-2015 Christmas Eve, Marley & Presents

Thursday 24 December 2015 Leave a comment

Forget the presents, my Christmas wish happened today: going out for a bush walk and picnic with my wife and 3 teenagers. Won’t be long before they won’t want to come. Spending time with people you care about is best, or call them on the dog-and-bone or if they are not around then spend a few minutes thinking of them. We took photos but it’s good to under-share sometimes so not posting here.

Merry Christmas all and hope there are many more to come!


18-Dec-2015 Last Day Of Work For The Year

Friday 18 December 2015 Leave a comment

Today was my last day at work for the year as I will be off until 11th January. It’s interesting as the last few years I have had 2, 3 or 4 weeks off over Christmas, New Year and the summer and had time off mid-year. However it feels like I have been hanging out for my break for weeks now or months even! The last few weeks it feels like there has been a gradual dis-interest at work (by everyone, not just me…) greatly exacerbated by the xmas party season. The kids feel it too, hanging out for school holidays. In fact its probably the whole of Australian society in the gradual slow grind to the break. Probably it being summer does not help.

Today started off early as I was swimming at Cronulla at 6.30am so was up at 5.15am. A great swim around Shark Island with Stu and Steve and a bunch of others, then breakfast & coffer overlooking the beach – a great start to a cruisy day!

Luckily today at work was just clearing the decks, setting my out of office notification, clearly emails and telling people I can’t do stuff or passing work onto my team mates. Me and my team went out for lunch for two hours over the road sitting outside in the shade just chatting, then we tried the new coffee place “coffee handsome”. I left work about 5.30pm – early for me. It was very hot 30C I reckon.

At home I went for a run and a swim at Jibbon and I could just feel the pressure lift iff my shoulders. 3 weeks ahead of… fantastic !!

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17-Dec-2015 Commuting to work

Thursday 17 December 2015 Leave a comment

Commuting to work .. it’s nice at this end of the trip. Left my car in Sutherland last night after work drinks.





7-Nov-2015 Leaving the City

Saturday 7 November 2015 Leave a comment

Although I have been working for the same company for “quite a long time” I have always work in the Sydney CBD, but still managed to move offices more or less every year or two. So much so that moving is no big deal as I have few to no papers or files or anything. In a modern corporate job you are encouraged to be lean. Anyway after some long drawn out time (I have been split 50:50 between the CBD and a far flung southern Sydney suburb, Kogarah for a few months), today we actually packed up to leave for good. Or whatever counts as permanent in these fast-moving times. Probably till the next “flavour of the month” 🙂

Anyway this photo is of a little note that I had pinned up. I can put up a new photo at my new place of work, except, I don’t have an office or a desk but I do have a locker ! I guess it’s a bit like school where you just fight each day for a space.

It’s actually quite a good place to work, lots of cool areas to work, wifi everywhere, no desk phones only mobiles, but you know there is just this lingering thought that it’s not for my benefit, it’s to save money and squeeze even more blood from a stone productivity from the workers.



6-Jun-2015 Saturday .. some joy

Sunday 7 June 2015 Leave a comment

It seems I have been working harder & longer at work the last few months, so today it felt like a real luxury to sleep in until about 10am with my wife and have a coffee sitting out on the back deck.

After dropping Kody off at a friends place I went running, not a huge long run, just an hour on what is becoming my fave route – to Jibbon beach and up the Eric St track then back down to the beach on the Sandy track. I did it last weekend in barefeet but today I wore shoes. My running is going very well, just frightened now of doing something silly and getting injured!

Then I went swimming at the beach – which is rapidly becoming my favourite spot to swim as it’s so clear and gets deep quickly – often just 1m from the edge it seems over my head! – just to the right of the rocks and across to “Devs” (as the kids call it) and back again. The water was chilly but not too bad. Maybe 17C in the water I’d estimate. Then jogged home afterwards.

Took Chelsea driving, then went to see Kody play soccer at Heathcote.

After seeing off Dawn to work and skyping with family in the UK, I “went to the gym” over at the oval:

5 sets of:

  • 50 skips with skipping rope
  • 20 step ups with 15kg “sandbag” on shoulders
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 knees up whilst hanging from climbing frame

It’s pretty clear that doing sets of reps is a good way to do heaps more than just straight through. I felt extra virtuous as it was so cold outside (10C) .. ha ha must be going soft !

After dinner I took Chelsea out driving again, this time to Sutherland and back. Relaxed in the evening listening to alt-country playlist on Spotify.

23-May-2015 Beatles!

Saturday 23 May 2015 Leave a comment

beatlesI had just been running this afternoon, and was just about to hop into the shower when John down the road knocked on my door and gave me two free tickets to see the Bootleg Beatles this very evening. I would have to leave home about 6.30pm and it was already gone 4pm. Unfortunately Dawn and the kids decided they wouldn’t bother and friends I contacted couldn’t do it at the last minute so I went by myself.

The Theatre was really cool and had only been renovated about 6 years ago .. very 1920s, lots of carpet, wood, chandeliers etc. The other people were from that era too .. I felt like I was one of the youngest people there!

The Beatles music was the soundtrack to my life and about 45 years after the originals last played a gig together it was a weird feeling indeed. Quite a spiritual moment and certainly proving that old stuff still has a place in the world… the Bootleg Beatles may not be the originals but to a large crowd of people in Anita’s Theatre at Thirroul thought they were certainly close enough. I really enjoyed it.


16-May-2015 Jamie Oliver Petition

Saturday 16 May 2015 Leave a comment

Today I signed this petition to help get kids taught how to cook food at schools. The good news is that all of our kids know how to cook good food from scratch, vegetarian of course. In face the older two are pretty good and even little Kody is coming along nicely. You could say that this was great planning on our part – but the kids would say that we are never at home and they taught themselves to fend for themselves.

In particular in these times we have taught them that “cheap food” at the supermarkets is rarely ever the best quality and you don’t need masses of poor quantity but an honest amount of quality is the most important. They are learning that.

As Michael Pollan says “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”

There was a video that with he Jamie Oliver “Food Revolution Day” here:

2-May-2015 Driving in the rain

Saturday 2 May 2015 Leave a comment

I didn’t have anything planned for today, and was looking forward to a lie in as I had been up early all week. Combined with the rain and wet weather and general speed up of corporate life, I felt like a bedraggled, drowned and wrung out rat. Unfortunately Jaz was going out at 7am to a soccer referee course way over at Norwest, a good 90mins drive away, if you don’t get lost on the way. I awoke at 06.30am and asked if she’d like me to go with her. She said Yes. Grrr. So we left, Jaz driving. We got there in time for her 9am start, and then I went to Kogarah to pick up 2 persimmon trees that Dawn and Jaz had lined up. They were both about 30cm high. Then I went to Ramsgate Farmer’s market for some veggies. Then went to Cronulla to buy some stuff from the health food shop. Had an hour at home (had to go the long way as the weir was flooded). Had a lie down and some fruit then drove out back to pick up Jaz. Unfortunately it was really raining hard and was just miserable. However she is now a fully qualified grade 4 soccer ref. We got home just in time to see Dawn before she went to work. But by then I was buggered and didn’t fancy running and it was too dark to swim.

I cooked dinner and then went to bed early 0930pm. I was lying in bed listening to the rain and frogs thinking how great it all was. Then the phone rank and it was Ko asking if I could go pick her up from a friends place and so I had to go out in the driving rain, again. However when I finally made it back into our warm dry house it was great, and I still made it to bed early. I am trying to get more sleep and find that it’s just great and I love it but rarely make it to be bed early – more times than not it is still 1130pm or later..

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23-Apr-2015 Be a light unto yourself

Thursday 23 April 2015 Leave a comment

I read this quote today by Vimala Thakar which I liked, it just jumped off the page at me :

Don’t follow anyone. Be a light unto yourself.

Searching on the internet, it looks like The Buddha said something similar. I am not surprised:


I try not to follow anyone, ever, and just do my own thing, for better or worse.

Dawn says it makes me painful, not wanting to listen to anyone.

22-Apr-2015 Rain Rain Go Away

Wednesday 22 April 2015 Leave a comment

The newspaper called it the “Storm of the Century” and it was pretty bad. The Weir was closed, obviously, and it was just a crappy day yesterday, so I worked from home as I didn’t have any meetings. Mostly it was just pouring rain and quite cold. I did go out for a run in the afternoon and it felt pretty dangerous as it was also blowing a gale and branches etc were coming down everywhere. Wednesday, today, was even worse, but I just assumed that it couldn’t stay bad for so long (it had started on Monday afternoon). But it was probably even worse, although I did go to work in jeans etc.

Here are some photos.

Charley dog in our back garden:

charley in flood

Audley Weir approx 2m under water:


Footpath near Audley:


The street next to ours. Ours wasn’t so bad:

liverpool st

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12-Apr-2015 Coogee Ocean Swim

Sunday 12 April 2015 Leave a comment

coogee1 It seems to be a tradition of mine to do the ocean swims at Coogee beach, around Wedding Cake Island (2.4km) – they have the “Cold” water swim in November (approx 17C water temp) and the warm water in April (approx 23C). Although today’s temp was only around 20-21C.

I drove to Coogee, it takes about an hour. Luckily these swims start at 1000am or 1030am so there is plenty of time. I even know that parking is really bad so park miles away and walk for 15-20mins. It’s good to just hang out. I saw my old mate Paul Every and we spent a fair bit of time catching up as it’s probably a year since I saw him last. It’s almost 25 years since we first met. The swim was good and I really powered home in the last half – maybe all the gym work paying off ?

I came in  341st position which was weird as I also number 341. I finished 56% of the way down the field in 51min 11secs which is on the better side of normal for me. Afterwards I had a look round the shops and had a coffee. It’s a bad photo with “goggle eyes“.


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5-Apr-2015 Chocolate at Easter

Sunday 5 April 2015 Leave a comment

I am not really a big fan of chocolate (*), and I am not really sure how it came to be associated with Easter. However I saw this article and video today about these cocoa bean growers who didn’t even know that their beans went into chocolate, didn’t know what chocolate was and had never tasted it. So it was cool to see them try it for the first time … originally via the great Guardian – Why cheap chocolate eggs are bad for us – and terrible for poor cocoa farmers.

(*) – to be fair I do have a little bit in the evening, usually if I feel a bit peckish. However I often have our own home-made roasted nuts instead. Jazmin first started roasting them … the ones in the shops are not really roasted, even if it says so on the packet, they need be a very dark brown, even black to taste right !

Our kids usually get 2 or 3 Easter eggs each, and I think that’s because Dawn is as much a fan as the kids are. I remember back when I was a kid we used to get like 10-15 each, maybe as we had lots of uncles, aunts, grandparents etc … something our kids definitely do miss out on, although they don’t really realise as that’s the way it’s always been for them.

14-Mar-2015 Six Foot – Not this year

Saturday 14 March 2015 Leave a comment

Today would have been my 13th Six Foot Track Marathon but I was injured so I couldn’t run. It’s a bit like a ritual going up to the Blue Mountains each March at the tail end of summer. I have been up there most years since 1991 (a long time now!) However I didn’t go up there to watch this year … I hate watching.

There is a meme about people running a “sicko” time at Six Foot and it sprung from a Tshirt had made about my pb on the course .. not really an elite time but certainly a great yardstick for a reasonable runner.

The Six Foot organisers posted this on Facebook : [link]

The Six Foot Sicko: 4 hrs 11:05
by Kevin Tiller. Race Director 2001 – 2009

Ultimately the sicko “benchmark” was due to a Tshirt I had made – see attached photo. This was in 2006. I was race director from 2001 and each year many people would remark “you put so much effort into the race have you ever run it yourself or ever thought of running it ?” I had actually run it approx 7 or 8 times between 1991 and 1999, once finishing in 8th place and once in 9th place. My pb was 4.11.05 set in 1994 when I came 9th. I thought it would be a good idea to have a shirt made with my pb on to show that I was a sixfoot runner. Because at the time I was putting a lot into the race in terms of time but also digging out some of the history, organising training runs ete, I just tacked on “six foot sicko” onto the shirt. I then wore it each year at the race and people just started to use that as a target for the keen runner (at the time I had a marathon pb of 2hrs 49mins so a sub-4hr sixfoot is only achievable by the super human. 4hr 11mins is a tad easier. It’s interesting that today a 9th place finish you would need a run A LOT quicker … but then 1994 only had 257 finishers! times change.


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21-Feb-2015 Frozen Berry Recall!

Saturday 21 February 2015 Leave a comment

I was pretty annoyed with the recent recall of frozen berries that had caused Hep A in some people. I had the berries and out of our family it’s mainly me that uses them in my breakfast. I took them back to Woolworths and got my money back. I guess what annoys me is that I suppose I knew that something is fishy about the whole situation – let me explain: fresh raspberries are about $4 for a 100g punnet making it approx $40 per kg. So when someone sells them at $9 per kg then you just know it’s going to be cheap and nasty. Anyway, I have decided not to buy them anymore and the idea of getting cheap raspberries from China, you kinda know you are not buying the good stuff. I will just buy either Australian and/or Organic and wear the extra cost. As it turns out reasonably local (NSW) raspberries about $15 per kg. Maybe I am just annoyed at myself thinking I am getting a great – but we can all remember this : You get what you pay for.

Refer article in the SMH:

Patties Foods maintained samples of the berry products were tested four times using Australian food standards and they have also been working with the FSANZ to keep the public informed of their investigations.

Its chief executive Steven Chaur said there was still no “firm association [of hepatitis A] with our recalled products”.

“Many Chinese food production facilities also supply European and Japanese food markets, and they also have extremely strict hygiene and quality standards,” he said in a press release.

“Despite public misconceptions, many Chinese food production facilities are at least as hygienic as those in Australia and operate to similar regulatory compliance regimes.”

The outbreak has highlighted concerns about country-of-origin labelling on food.

Consumer group Choice has tested 55 packs of frozen mixed fruits and mixed vegetables and found nearly half the labels on the packs had “vague” or “unhelpful” information.

Choice said some of the worst claims included “Packed in New Zealand”, “Packed in Chile from imported and local ingredients” and “Processed in Belgium”.

It also found 12 per cent of its 700 members were not able to understand the meaning of “Made in Australia”.

“These claims offer very little information about a product’s origin and are largely meaningless to consumers,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

“Consumers deserve to know where their food comes from which is why we have launched a petition calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, to take action on country of origin labelling.”

Mr Joyce has supported changes to the country-of-origin labelling laws to stop manufacturers from using “sneaky terms” to “earn a premium” on cheaply made products.

Under current laws, the term “made from Australian and imported ingredients” is common, providing no detail on the exact origins of all the ingredients in a product or where it was packaged.

“There is a good way that you can avoid all of this and that is to make sure you eat Australian product,” Mr Joyce said on Wednesday.

“I want to make sure I do everything in my power to say to people your safest food is your domestic food. That is why you pay a premium for Australian product. It is clean, green and healthy.”

Mr Joyce’s spokesman confirmed a white paper on the potential legislation changes is due to go before the cabinet.

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