Archive | September, 2011

Suits

29 Sep

I’ve just finished watching season one of “Suits”, which is essentially a legal version of the medical hit House. While it lacks the depth and polish of an HBO series, it is still a fantastic show with some great characters. The protagonist is a young man named Mike Ross who has plenty of self-confidence and a photographic memory. Although he has been involved in some shady dealings he is presented as good-guy at heart. He is given a shot at the big time by Harvey Specter (pictured) who is the top lawyer at a prestigious Manhattan firm. The story is about Mike’s struggle to fit in with the Harvard crowd and make an impact as a Lawyer while still adhering to his strong moral code.

The most interesting character for me though was Harvey Specter, in some ways modeled on the successful Don Draper character from Mad Men (which I still need to really get in to). He is in many ways a true gentleman. Although at times he may seem callous and harsh, he is very fair and always comes through for those around him. He is loyal, confident and capable. Harvey wears some fantastic suits, is passionate about cars and has an appreciation for the finer things in life. Not to mention a fantastic gift with women!

Some nice light watching with some great, witty writing and an awesome, fresh gentleman character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to be Forest Gump

28 Sep

A capable man: Health

This post is part of my quest to become the most interesting man in the world. As a base for some of my later goals, I decided I needed to become fitter.

So I started running.

I’m a terrible morning person. I prefer to sleep in, however I currently inhabit the corporate world so lying in bed until 11am is not an option for me. My normal routine is to sleep for as long as possible, quickly get ready for work and then grab a liquid breakfast on the way out. I usually go to the gym after work. Almost all the material I read about getting fit suggested working out first thing in the morning and ensuring you consumed a good breakfast. This was obviously going to be a problem for me!

Then I came across this fantastic post about becoming an early riser. I decided that now was the time for change and that I should become an earlier riser. Here is how my first week went:

  1. Monday: Left the blinds open when I went to bed and set my alarm for 7:15 (early for me). I woke to natural sunlight at around 6:15 and promptly shut the blinds. I rose to my alarm at 7:15, put on some running gear and got my iPod. Ran for about 20 minutes and realized just how far my fitness had deteriorated. Made fantastic breakfast – yoghurt and fresh fruit, toast and juice. Made it to work early and feeling fantastic for the first time in ages!
  2. Tuesday: Decided to leave the blinds shut and set my alarm. I snoozed for 10 minutes then got up and ran again, this time pacing myself a little better. Took the time to read the paper and have a similar breakfast – things looking good.
  3. Wednesday: I planned to run Wednesday morning then give a friend a lift to work on my way in. I woke up to the alarm at 7:20 and it was raining, so hit snooze. I next woke up to my friend ringing and asking why I hadn’t picked her up! I was so tired from running in the morning then hitting the gym at night that I slept through my alarm and right through to 8:40. I think this routine may take a bit of easing in to…
  4. Thursday: Day off as I had to be at work early and had a function that night – still set my alarm for 7:20 but ended up snoozing until 8 anyway.
  5. Friday: Up at 7:20 and running again. Realise that it’s going to take a while to get back the level of fitness I had when I was playing footy and decide to ramp things up very gradually. Straight out after work for a big night, which probably undoes a lot of my good work from during the week!
  6. Saturday: Hungover.
  7. Sunday: Smart decision to have a quiet Saturday night. Go for a nice run in the sun with a great playlist and feel fantastic for the rest of the day.

As you can see my first week wasn’t perfect but I was happy with four runs and two gym sessions. I think it might take a little while for my body to adjust to the early start and extra exercise but I will persist. Here are a couple of things that have helped me so far:

  • Put your alarm out of reach: There is much less temptation to press snooze this way! I put my phone across the other side of the room so I have to get out of bed to turn the alarm off. This has helped me a lot with getting up and about!
  • Get some sun! I also open the blinds and let in some natural light which helps you wake up and if it’s sunny, motivates you to get going.
  • Set out your gear the night before: Don’t give yourself any excuse to bail on the jog. Having your clothes all ready to go stops you from having to rummage through the cupboard and potentially put you off.
  • Down a glass of water: This gives you a reason to get out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. It hydrates you and kick starts your metabolism. Drinking a couple of glasses of water is the perfect way to start your day.

The next thing to focus on is getting the right breakfast, so I’m on the hunt for a few good protein smoothie recipes. Once I’ve found a couple of good ones I will post an update!

First world problems

27 Sep

I have lived in Melbourne, Australia for almost my entire life. It has consistently been voted one of the most liveable cities in the world. Having travelled to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – I have some appreciation for what life is like at the other end of the livability scale. I am unbelievably blessed to not have to worry about basic things like food & shelter, things that a large portion of those on this Earth have to struggle for on a daily basis. I believe it is my obligation to make the most of my blessings and live an extraordinary life, while also trying to help others achieve their dreams. Living in Melbourne it’s still surprising to see how dark and dire the news is – people complaining about late trains or the fact that too many seagulls are making it hard to watch the football… seriously. We need to remember just how lucky we are.

For a light hearted look at this, check out this twitter account that helps put things in perspective in a hilarious way: https://twitter.com/#!/FiWoProblems

Then check out this great clip – “Everything’s amazing and nobody is happy”:

Now take some time to appreciate just how good we have it and make the most of your blessings!

Ed Sheeran

26 Sep

Ed Sheeran is a red-headed British singer-songwriter who has hit it big this year with his single “The A Team”, which is about a young girl and her battle for survival on city streets. He has a fantastic voice, poignant lyrics and can play guitar – not bad for a 21 year old! For those who haven’t heard him, here are three of my favourite tracks.

The first is a tragic and emotional track about the loss of an unborn child – this as raw as it gets as he strums along while floating down a river – good luck getting through with dry eyes:

The second shows his vocal range with some clever looping:

And finally, enjoy a slightly more upbeat track with a fantastic film clip featuring some fresh sign language:

Now go buy his album!

The most interesting man in the world

25 Sep

I want to be the most interesting man in the world.

The above clip is from a series of advertisements for the tasty Mexican beer – Dos Equis. Each ad contains a series of Chuck Norris like facts and some wonderful imagery. Like James Bond or Jason Bourne, you get the impression that this man can do anything. Phased by no situation, intimidated by no person and interesting to everyone – I believe he embodies the essence of my quest… and how about that beard! I tried to identify a defining characteristic for men like these and landed on self-confidence. They are supremely self-assured at all times. I believe that this self-confidence common to most great men stems from two things – Capability and Experience. 

This will be the first of a two part post that describes these two characteristics and will focus on the first – Capability.

When I think of the most capable man I know, the first thing that comes to mind is my Dad. He is a fantastic role-model and like many men of his generation, a very capable man. He is a successful businessman who at the age of 60 is still running-half marathons. He is able to fix cars, repair things around the house, an excellent outdoorsman, financially literate, able to ride a motorbike and four-wheel drive among many other things. Like most boys growing up, I looked up at my Dad as someone who could do anything. Over a number of years he acquired a number of skills that allowed him to present this image.

I lament that my generation is not as capable as those that have come before us. Although some of the skills and capabilities required in previous times may no longer be relevant, I think many that are have been ignored. While we may no longer need to know the inner-workings of an internal-combustion engine, we do need to know how to change a tyre, charge a battery or check the oil. It astounds me how many young people today can’t do these basic things. Although we are technologically adept, we are not the men that we should be.

So begins my quest to be a more capable man. There are many capabilities that I would like to acquire – advanced driving and firearm training for example. I decided to start with some more practical things to get going however and figure I will add to the list as I go. I have tried to focus on four rather mundane things that perhaps most men my age have already mastered, though I am ashamed to say I have not. These are the pillars on which I will build my capabilities and hopefully become the man I want to be, the man that my future sons and daughters will look up to.

Cuisine

I love food, but unfortunately can only cook one decent meal – my favourite. I can prepare poached eggs on sourdough toast, with shaved leg ham, diced tomatos and salt and pepper. It is an incredibly simple dish and I can do it well – the problem is that is the extent of my culinary ability. In Australia the world of masterchef has taken the nation by storm and cooking is suddenly in vogue again. While the amazing dishes prepared on the show are tasty and well presented, I’d prefer to focus on simple, tasty and nutritious dishes that are easy and efficient to cook. I love eating, though see cooking as a chore. I hope this challenge will allow me to add some signature dishes that are interesting, tasty and impressive.

Health

When I was at high school I was fairly fit. We had compulsory school sport training twice a week as well as matches on a Saturday, physical education classes, cross country, swimming and athletics. In addition I played basketball, football and cricket for clubs outside of school. I had an overactive metabolism and never got into weight training, so was tall and skinny. The problem was that when I left school, I suddenly stopped all this. I hated jogging and only played football in the winter. At the same time I went to university and started drinking. The problem only grew when I started working full time. Long boozy lunches, less time for football and more money to spend on beer meant my fitness plummeted. I half-heartedly began lifting weights so that my body size would hide the growing lard. 4 and half years after leaving school I have a small little pot belly and terrible body shape. My diet has been particularly to blame. For many reasons, it is time to turn this around.

Mixology

I love to drink. I have a particular appreciation for fine cocktails and a fascination with those from the prohibition era. I have a dream to open a speakeasy style cocktail bar that sells classic cocktails made from high quality spirits. To do this though I need to learn the Art of Mixology – how to make amazing drinks. My current specialty is a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned, but I have a lot of learning to do. Fortunately there are plenty of cocktail bars in Melbourne and I have a feeling that this challenge will be particularly enjoyable. Part of it will be building a collection of fine spirits and cocktail essentials while the other part will be learning the craft.

Music

Music is a huge passion of mine. I listen to it for hours each day and delight in finding new (and old) songs to listen to. I frequent festivals and gigs around Melbourne and spend much of my time online searching for new tunes to appreciate. When I was younger I learned the Piano and became relatively good at it. How I wish that I had picked up a guitar instead. My favourite thing is listening to a chilled out acoustic guitar strumming along – at a beach bar or a mate’s backyard barbecue, there is nothing more relaxing than an acoustic guitar. I was lucky enough to receive a quality acoustic guitar for my 18th birthday so the dream has been around for a while but I have so far not managed to keep practicing for more than a few weeks at a time. I hope that writing it down and making myself accountable will allow me to master a capability that would bring me never-ending joy.

Over the coming days I will attempt to post a little bit more about how I plan to tackle each of these before tackling the second part of my quest – Experience.

Any advice will be gratefully accepted!

Submarine

10 Sep

I just watched a dark-ish comedy from the UK named “Submarine”. It was well shot with fantastic dialogue and plenty of moments that make you smile, rather than laugh-out-loud. The casting was spot-on. I recommend watching while lying somewhere warm on a dreary day. The highlight though for me, was actually the soundtrack. Composed by Arctic Monkey’s frontman Alex Turner, it is sublime. His brilliant lyrics are well matched with this equally well written script.

Here is the trailer:

And one of the tunes:

Linked-in

6 Sep

I’ve updated the blogroll and added four sites that I regularly visit / particularly like. I’d like to think all of them influenced me a little in the idea to start a blog and so I thought I’d write a little bit about each of them.

  • Art of Manliness: This site is a fantastic dedication to all things manly. Some of the highlights incude a “So You Want My Job” series which interviews different men with interesting careers. I also highly recommend their lists of books and movies that all men should read and watch.
  • All Men Are Liars: This is a blog about anything and everything in the Sydney Morning Herald, written by Sam de Brito. Sam is a lad from Sydney who tells it like it is, warts and all. He is by no means perfect, but he is brutally honest and often confronting. His books are pretty good too.
  • Impossible Cool & Conversation on Cool: The first ever tumblrs I’ve followed, these have some fantastic old school photos of some of the coolest people ever to walk this planet. Regular posts keep you equal parts entertained and jealous.