The Life Aquatic With Steve Smoothou

I hope at least one person gets the reference
I hope at least one person gets the reference

It was hot when we landed, it always is in Dubai, but it’s a heat that reminds me that we’re truly out of Australia.

We disembarked the plane at 7AM Dubai time after a fourteen hour flight from Melbourne, that left at 11PM the previous night. It’s a really good time to fly out of Australia with kids. The excitement of an airport and boarding a plane takes a couple of hours to wear off before sleep takes hold. But when you’re shifting backwards through time zones it really is a great start to re-adjusting the kids sleeping habits.

But back to Dubai. If you haven’t disembarked at the airport before on your travels, then very early morning is the time to do it. Not only because very few people out of Australia get off the flight in the morning, meaning customs is a breeze, but the airport really is a great introduction to the fantastic architecture that abounds in the city.

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Chasing Dragons

Lili and Bella on Toothless - No WritingSometimes you get a great opportunity. Sometimes you’re lucky and that opportunity comes around again.

In 2014 we managed to make our way over to the UK for a 12 week stint for my work. While I ended up working long hours we did manage to have a lot of fun and managed to make the most of our weekends.

We were able to take the kids to several theme parks, Disneyland in Paris being one of them, and spent many evenings at Trafalgar Square. Sitting near the large lions, watching the fountains come alive with colour, before riding up the top of a double-decker bus for our trip home.

It was a great experience for the girls, even though they were so young they still remember much of it.

And now we’re going back.

For a bit longer this time.

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A Little Bit Of Fit

FitBit Charge

Sometimes you need a bit of motivation to exercise. Or just to stay active. Sometimes you just want to measure exactly how active you are each day. Luckily we’re reaching a time in society where wearable technology is becoming more prevalent, and more intrusive, in everyday life. This means that there are now quite a number of fitness products in the market that will allow you to track your activities.

One of the recently released items is the FitBit Charge. A wrist wearable tracking device designed to provide a battery of information about your daily movements. It is not an item you should buy if you want 100% accuracy in tracking your movements, I don’t think anything could claim that, but it does offer an excellent indication of your activity levels throughout each day.

And it is more than that. Wearing my first fitness tracking device has changed how much I exercise, and how much I want to exercise. I am now ever conscious of how active I am during the day, and after several months I am acutely aware of how sloth-like I feel when I have one or more days of not reaching my goals. And not the cute baby sloth-like either.

Baby sloth says "Hi"
Baby sloth says “Hi”

The FitBit has been a very good positive influence on my health. Since I have increased the number of weekly steps I want to consistently achieve I feel healthier, fitter and stronger. Not bad for a 38-year-old man.

It’s definitely something I recommend if you want, or need, that bit of extra motivation, or you just want to quantify the amount of exercise you are doing.

The following are my impressions of the device over the few months that I have used it.

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Little Big Adventure – The Beginning

The Queen 2

The boarding passes are printed and we’re less than 24 hours away from departure. Wait! What’s going on?

Well this started several months ago when my then Project Manager discussed the possibility of spending a few months in the UK working on a client site during the final implementation stage of our project. As projects are want to do, they slip, they slide, and they rarely stick to the damn time frames that are given them.

What initially started out as a very early June departure soon became mid-June, became end of June, became mid July, became we’re not going because nothing is bloody well booked. Thankfully the last minute visa process that my employer started managed to see our passports returned to us on Tuesday, with a massive three-day break between the entire trip being booked and our impending flight. Certainly not something to stress about.

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Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 7

You Died

This journal will document my time in Dark Souls 2. More importantly it will record my deaths – each and every one – my general progress and other memorable experiences as I play through the diabolical world of  Drangleic.

Part 6 of the Journal of Despair can be found here.

You Discovered

Now that I have defeated the Dark Wraith, and know most of Huntsman’s Copse well, my treasure hunt continues. After dropping off the bridge to Undead Purgatory and making the leap across the gap into a tunnel I discovered a chest with Ricard’s Rapier snuggled inside. Of course, I had to take care of some oversized butterflies first but now I’m back using a rapier as the second weapon to my Craftsmans Hammer. It certainly has an interesting heavy attack.

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Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 6

You Died

This journal will document my time in Dark Souls 2. More importantly it will record my deaths – each and every one – my general progress and other memorable experiences as I play through the diabolical world of  Drangleic.

Part 5 of the Journal of Despair can be found here.

Death 41

I’m not sure where else I am to go at this point so I decided to return to the Belfry Luna now that I have some pyromancy spells, and the gate to the three damn Gargoyles is open. I made it through to the Gargoyles without being invaded, hallelujah, and dropped a Lingering Flame for the first flying vermin that moved. This did a nice chunk of damage to the first enemy, and from that point on I was very sloppy in defence and paying attention to attacks. I almost killed one of the two Gargoyles before that sloppiness killed me.

Death 42

FUCKING GARGOYLES. FUCK.

Death 43

Four fucking Gargoyles now! What the fucking hell is this? Fuck these arseholes.

Continue reading “Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 6”

A Sturdy Individual

1397135461TBCM1436_2286At almost 37 years of age competing in my first obstacle course race was probably not the wisest of decisions. Age, fours years of relative inaction after becoming a father for the first time, and many years of punishment playing football and cricket, and multiple other sports, had left my once relatively fit body feeling somewhat less than that.

Yet this challenge is something that I was wholeheartedly facing on Saturday 1st March as I lined up to tackle the 7km Tough Bloke course at Clifford Scout Park outside of Melbourne. Not exactly a daunting distance for a race, but I was feeling a certain amount of trepidation at the unknown before me. I did not fully know what to expect, both from the course and from the overall event itself.

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Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 5

You Died

This journal will document my time in Dark Souls 2. More importantly it will record my deaths – each and every one – my general progress and other memorable experiences as I play through the diabolical world of  Drangleic.

Part 4 of the Journal of Despair can be found here.

Death 33

Damn you, The Lost Sinner. The fight took the same path as the last one, except this time I had him less than 25% health. A couple of lapses in concentration on my stamina maintenance were all it took for a huge sword to come crashing down on top of my head. I know I can do this, I just need to maintain concentration. And roll some more. Always with the lack of rolling.

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Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 4

You Died

This journal will document my time in Dark Souls 2. More importantly it will record my deaths – each and every one – my general progress and other memorable experiences as I play through the diabolical world of  Drangleic.

Part 3 of the Journal of Despair can be found here.

Death 25

Noooooooooooooo. I was so close to defeating the Ruin Sentinels. So, so close. I defeated the first with some trouble, and then attempted the two-on-one dance down on the floor with the others. I was biding my time really well, moving in for single strikes when the two were not covering each other, and rolling out of the way or defending with my shield to avoid their damage. I had one of the two down to an infinitesimal amount of health before I tried to roll away from their spinning attack instead of taking the hits on my shield. It was enough to take my remaining health while leaving me screaming in silence lest I woke my sleeping kids. I was solely concentrating on hitting one of those Sentinels, and if I had killed it the fight would have been over for the remaining one.

Continue reading “Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 4”

Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 3

You Died

This journal will document my time in Dark Souls 2. More importantly it will record my deaths – each and every one – my general progress and other memorable experiences as I play through the diabolical world of  Drangleic.

Part 2 of the Journal of Despair can be found here.

Death 16

After many times helping others defeat The Pursuer in co-op I decided to try to use that knowledge in single combat. The relentless focus on my character makes it extremely hard to get some breathing room when fighting this boss. I have been able to effectively roll out of the way from most of the attacks, but the problem is being able to move in behind my enemies’ wide sword swings. I initially tried throwing some fire bombs, but the animation on the throw takes too long for it to be effective in a one-on-one scenario. Next time I might try to stay in tighter and roll to avoid attacks.

Death 17

That didn’t work out against The Pursuer. I stayed in tighter so I could attack, however it left me in a constant state of stamina maintenance. Rolling several times would deplete most of my stamina and only allow me to land a single blow before retreating, or rolling again. It only took two hits to end my life, with the second landing mid-roll, completely destroying my theory. Or my execution of the theory.

Continue reading “Dark Souls 2: Journal of Despair – Part 3”