Is it just me, or is Zwift completely unusable with a dumb trainer? 🚴🏼‍♂️

I understand the need to dial down dumb trainers in races, etc but maybe a “joy ride” setting to let those of us just on Zwift for shits and giggles to just enjoy the ride without impacting the more serious virtual cyclists? As it stands, I find some routes completely boring at my current max speed of 3kph, which I suspect is because I don’t have a $1,000 smart trainer hooked up. I’m not interested in virtual racing and really just need to keep my legs pumping and my wheels turning.

Maybe one of my followers can recommend a “virtual touring” alternative to Zwift?

People in my town walking out of shopping centres with armfuls of toilet paper; barely any wearing masks, none hand sanitising or checking in on the QR. Is it really the slow vaccine rollout or hotel quarantine foul ups holding us back? Or basic human stupidity?? Maybe both…

Off to the big smoke

Travelling into Melbourne on the train today for the first time in many months, to visit my sick grandmother. Was worried about getting a seat on the V/Line due to my back, etc but the train is almost empty and we’re approaching the halfway point of the journey.

Sometimes when learning French I come across a sentence that says something much better than in English. 🇫🇷 «J’ai envie de faire du vélo» just captures exactly my sentiment so much more than 🇬🇧 ”I want to ride my bike”. 🚲 Maybe it’s just the use of ‘envie’ and association with envy. I dunno. I just know I can’t ride and it sucks and I want to and the French phrase feels like it communicates that better.

Watching Star Trek: Lower Decks. 📺🖖🏻

It’s pretty funny in parts, much of the humour is geared towards Trek fans, but even so I imagine new-to-Trek fans might also find it amusing. The character mannerisms, especially Beckett Mariner, are quite contemporary and will likely become dated. But even that is in keeping with much of Trek tradition, so in twenty years one can look back and know they’re watching a 2020-era show. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Watched Coffy today with Pam Grier. 📽🍿 Thoroughly enjoyable revenge blaxploitation flick that obviously inspired Tarantino a lot. Grier is just absolutely gorgeous, and the 70s style oozes off the screen. The soundtrack is great, the action good even if the plot is sometimes a bit silly, but otherwise great escapist Sunday movie fun. Will have to check out Foxy Brown next…

A good documentary that highlights just how bankrupt the culture of the GWS Giants is. 📺🏉🦠🎥

Watched Amazon Prime’s Making Their Mark docu-series, finished the last episode last night. Some clubs and personalities come off well, others don’t, but I have to get right to the point and say it: what a damning indictment on the culture at the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Stephen Coniglio is made the club’s first-ever solo captain in awful circumstances, some unexpected, some totally foreseeable:

  1. The Giants lost the 2019 Grand Final. They didn’t just lose it. They were comprehensively destroyed, kicking not only the lowest score for a Grand Final for 60 years, but their lowest ever for their club.
  2. It was this backdrop, with this kind of hurt in the playing group, that Coniglio is elevated to sole captain, replacing Ward and Davis. Nobody had ever captained this team alone.
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic strikes, forcing first an initial abandonment of the season then a forced interstate relocation for entire football departments and their respective families.
  4. The Giants struggle to perform on the field for a myriad of reasons.
  5. Coniglio struggles with form, despite preparing well he seems to suffer mentally.
  6. The playing group and coaching staff then proceed to almost completely isolate him. With the exception of Heath Shaw, his mate, and some bullshit “motivational” platitudes thrown at him by Leon Cameron and the rest of the GWS coaching staff, at no time does the film show any kind of assistance or outside help given to Coniglio to help him establish his leadership over the group, or even just to check on the bloke’s mental health.
  7. They then DROP THEIR CAPTAIN, the first time in over 20 years an AFL club had done so. Much was said at the time, and a perspective could be argued that Leon Cameron was using a strong message to try and shock his group into form, but WHERE WAS THE ARM AROUND THE BLOKE AFTERWARDS? (except for Shaw).

So looking at the list of events above, (1) the club didn’t expect to lose like they did in 2019 but surely the mental difficulties of the overall group, and a newly elevated sole captain (2), were as plain as fucking day. Compounded by the unforeseen COVID pandemic (3), the group suffers (4). Again, completely foreseeable issue. Richmond were smart enough to not only tell their players how resilient they were, but to check it was so continually throughout the year, enabling the team to weather many embarrassing off-field dramas and claim the premiership. And watching this documentary it’s obvious now why they did it. Because they supported each other in a way GWS did not. They didn’t rely on bullshit motivational sayings and sporting clichés. They got around each other, even as they sometimes bickered internally1.

The treatment of Coniglio had me screaming at the screen. Not since Ryan Griffen in 2014 at the Bulldogs has a club so absolutely missed the mark with their leadership. Now, I understand that the documentary is edited, and a camera can only capture so much, but the distinct impression was that of a bloke completely hung out to dry in every sense of the word.

Now it’s here I make a non-disclaimer-disclaimer: I am a fierce Bulldogs fans, have absolutely hated GWS since their very inception, almost as a matter of course and as such, I am biased.

However I hate the Adelaide Crows with even more venom and history, and came out of this documentary thinking what a remarkable team they put out last year: continually smashed on-field, worst match day results of the club’s history, but the group stayed positive and grew from it. Rory Sloane comes off looking like future senior coach material. Stuart Dew and the Gold Coast Suns also come off a poor-performing season with positivity and togetherness: never even played a final in their club’s history, yet they are there for each other, as Dew, having — ahem! (how do I put this?) — lost the physical conditioning he had as a premiership player — nevertheless gets on an indoor bike on Zwift and tries an Everesting challenge: he has no chance of coming close, but does it purely to bond with his players.

So whilst my GWS-hatred is strong and true, it just infuriated me seeing a guy go through what Coniglio went through. As a kid, Leon Cameron was one of my childhood heroes when he played for the Dogs between 1990–99. I still have his autographed footy card. In this documentary he looked like a totally unfeeling leader of young men, lacking much in empathy and insight into the blokes he’s in charge of. The closing shots of Coniglio sitting alone in the weights room post-season, a metaphor for a bloke wanting to put the season behind him and grow from the experience, but doing it completely alone, will likely stay with me for years. No wonder blokes like Jeremy Cameron got the fuck out of there, and he certainly wasn’t alone.


  1. Trent Cotchin’s wife breached COVID protocols, then a couple of their players did so at a strip club, causing a huge controversy and costing the footy department $100,000 (someone lost their job). [return]

Scott West, sit down before you hurt yourself 🏉🔴⚪️🔵

Reading about Dogs legend Scott West’s spray against Bevo. To Scott West I say this: I loved watching you play and you’re a legend of our club, but it must be said, you were a legend of our club during a time when individuals prevailed over team, and we suffered a 62-year premiership drought as a result of much strife and financial problems. So now, to rip into a coach who is part of a new face to the club, an administration that has delivered us a premiership, that is currently 2nd on the ladder with the best percentage, a club that is going places and considered a contender (at least at this early stage of the season), a club where players now want to be traded/drafted to us instead of dreading it… and all because your son got dropped after getting five touches of the footy, which resulted in five clangers and who laid only two tackles. I can stand a player getting 5 touches if he lays 10+ tackles. But he also gave away a few frees to boot. Just a dad being an ugly parent writ large. Sorry Scotty, Rhylee can earn his spot like everyone else. Others are tearing down the house in the VFL and struggling to squeeze back in, why should little Rhylee be any different?

Just watched Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury for the first time since I was a kid (watched it with my father at about 9–10). Still love Ping-Ou Wei’s overacting as “Wu” the interpreter. Classic kung fu movie that still holds up as a nice bit of escapism on a Monday night. 📽🍿

Ça fait cent jours d’apprendre le français. Je me suis amusé.

We went on a beautiful bush walk today along a new local track called the Grass Tree Track near Canadian. Lots of MTB singletrack and old abandoned gold mine shafts. Beautiful scenery, nice and quiet, and only 10 minutes from home. Love living in the country!

Ballarat Botanic Gardens in autumn

Religious nutjob ruins a perfectly nice afternoon’s outing

Just had the most lovely and relaxing walk around the Botanic Gardens in Ballarat, flowers and trees in full autumn bloom, so relaxing……… then I get back to my car and some religious fundamentalist nutjob1 approaches me and starts full-on preaching at me about the Lord, about how he gave his son, blah blah blah, heaven and hell and so on.

I start off polite: “Look, that’s not really for me but thanks anyway” … she keeps preaching … “I appreciate these are your beliefs but I don’t adhere to the same, please leave me be” … she keeps preaching … “Look, I don’t want to hear any more, just go away” … she keeps preaching

So I did the only thing I could think of in that moment: put some metal on, loudly pledged my allegiance and my soul to the Dark One and just reversed and drove off whilst she looked on in horror. She kinda asked for it though, to be fair…

On the plus side, I got some beautiful shots of the Gardens.

Autumn colours on a tree in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens

  1. I try always to be respectful and tolerant of everybody’s beliefs: right up until they’re either intolerant of mine or try to force theirs on me. If you’re a Christian, and a good person, good on you, we can be mates. If this post offends you, maybe you lean a bit too far to the right for us ever to get along anyway… [return]

I’ve started to keep a basic diary in French. 🇫🇷

The idea is to practice daily, writing how my day was, and also to practice writing the days and times; but because my français is so basic it shall be the world’s dullest diary! 🤣 For example, yesterday’s entry was 🇫🇷 « Jeudi 6 mai 2021, seize et demie. Il faisait beau, 19C. J’ai marché dans le parc. Je pris un café avec mes amie, Felicity. » or 🇬🇧 “Thursday 6 May, 16:30. The weather was nice, 19C. I walked in the park. I had coffee with my friend, Felicity.” Riveting stuff.

Really starting to feel the coooold here in Ballarat! 🥶🌧

Watching the original Star Wars trilogy, just because. 📽🍿

Another day, another whale doco 🐋📽📺

This one about humpback whales and their songs. They all get together off the coast of Western Australia and the males start singing a song together. Fun side fact: I used to be in the Navy and sailed around these waters, and we both saw these humpbacks quite often, as well as listened to their songs through the sonar array and ‘underwater telephone’. Humpbacks in the Pacific, 5000kms away, hear this song that travels that far and start to sing it too. Just amazing stuff, and that’s what I love about documentaries, always come away feeling closer to nature and able to parrot some interesting facts.

I honestly saw that result coming a few weeks back. I hope the Bulldogs now go back to basics a bit and stop playing like millionaires. Want to see plenty more hard tackles, contested marks and accurate field kicking to accentuate our handball game.

Just watched Kingdom of the Blue Whale and saw footage of a baby blue whale! 🐋📺📽

These beautiful creatures, the largest animal ever to have lived in the history of the world, can grow to 30m (110′) and 150–200 tonnes. The babies are born 6–8 metres (25′) long and weigh 3 tonnes at birth. Just amazing that even an attempt to visualise that massive size without a comparison (like the common two big buses bumper to bumper) is difficult.

This documentary is American but pleasingly dispenses with the over-the-top drama endemic to Yank docos and sticks to the science. They track some Pacific blue whales down to Costa Rica and discover new things about these animals, which we don’t really know much about.

I really liked this one. Great footage, neatly and adequately explained without dumbing it down, and just beautiful creatures to see. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Having some juvenile fun with my Strava walk today

Française classes 🇫🇷

Just finished my first in-person Française class, with Alliance Française de Ballarat. Learning face-to-face is so different, and good for both my pronunciation and my ear. Thoroughly enjoyed the class, looking forward to next week…

Driving lesson #1(b) 🚙

Took my boy out for his first real driving lesson on a quiet road in a park near our house. We learnt how to:

Altogether he did OK. I figured we’d argue and the lesson would take all of five minutes but he listened and obeyed and it was good, far better than my first with my old man, which resulted in a road rage incident1, me throwing a man’s keys into bushes nearby and not driving for another 5/6 months!

  1. The other driver caused the road rage incident, angry at having to wait at an intersection for an ‘L Plater’. [return]

Check out the awesome patina on a belt I made for a mate, who has worn it every day in the years since.

Watching a model yacht sail the pond at Victoria Park in Ballarat, during one of my ‘Recovery Walks’. Had a nice chinwag with the ‘sailors’, one was an actual Navy sailor until 1985, we were the same rate! Beautiful and interesting afternoon…

Sharks of Lost Island documentary 📺📽🐟🌊🏝🇵🇳

Just watched Sharks of Lost Island on Disney+. It was a little ‘American’ in parts — what I mean by this remark is that American documentaries tend to overexaggerate how dangerous a reef shark is, etc for ‘dramatic purposes’ that aren’t truly needed for a good documentary. Sure they have teeth and might bite. So might a poodle. Nature is inherently beautiful and fascinating and awe-inspiring. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) need fast racy music and suspense to grab viewers’ attention. I find this style most prevalent in documentaries made for the American market and hence my remark.

That said, I watched this doco for two primary reasons:

  1. I love fish, sharks and underwater footage; and
  2. I have been intrigued for years about Pitcairn Island and its centuries-old history and troubles with modern day sexual assaults and culture.

On these points the doco doesn’t really disappoint — the sexual assault stuff is not mentioned, of course, being out of the ‘scope’ of a nature doco — and the viewer is treated to an up-close view of one of the world’s most remote, and difficult to reach, islands. At 45 minutes it’s worth watching just for these things. There was also a young bloke named Alan Turchik who was pretty funny, a kinda wet-behind-the-ears greenhorn on his maiden sea voyage who is all nerves and nerdiness and has to prove himself to the team after a mishap, which you can either watch in the doco or read about on the National Geographic blog. This was very interesting and endearing and something you don’t always see in documentaries (‘character development’ of doco crew).

Recommended. ⭐️⭐️⭐️