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The world’s most prepared vehicle

31 Jan

I’ve added a new “Capability” category – Survival. I’ve been reading a little bit about survivalism lately and have been quite intrigued. Topics range from just being prepared for natural disasters, power shortages or freak weather conditions right through to bunkering down for nuclear armageddon. Without getting carried away, I think a gentleman should be adequately prepared for lots of situations – particularly when driving in your car. You may be taking your special girl for a getaway at the beach or a romantic country retreat, and when it is just the two of you, it pays to be prepared.

Check out this fantastic, comprehensive list of items that you should store in your car. While you may not personally think you need all of them, the list is fairly exhaustive and you should get some great ideas. Currently all I have in my car is a street directory and an umbrella, so I will definitely be adding some things after reading this!

http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/bugging-out/vehicle-every-day-carry-items-vedc/

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!

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!