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    The 150 best science fiction movies list from Rolling Stone 🍿

    Rolling Stone recently published a list of the 150 best science fiction movies of our time. As with any list, it’s subjective and comes from the author’s point of view. There are some movies I wouldn’t have included and others I would have.

    I’ve seen a lot of these movies but not all of them and some I haven’t seen in years. I’ve decided I will work my way through the list starting at 150, the 1995 Tank Girl, and eventually reach number 1, the 1968 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    No idea how long it will take me and I might skip some that I didn’t enjoy the first time round but instead of doing the flick around trying to find something to watch I’ll have a starting point.

    An early morning bike ride 🚲

    I haven’t gone for an early morning bike ride in years. I prefer to do my exercise at the end of the day.

    I have a friend though. I’ve tried many, many times to say no to her in the nearly 37 years I’ve known her. My success rate is probably 1 in 50, she is very persuasive. I think it’s the red headed Irish girl that lurks beneath the surface ready to pounce if there’s a hint of resistance. When that girl is in full flight you get onboard or get out of the way.

    We had lunch on Saturday and she said she was going for a bike ride in the morning and I should come. I can’t was my reply, I have a pre-existing plan for breakfast.

    Let’s go before, you can work up an appetite she said. I’ll call you and get you moving in the morning she said. I’m good I replied, let’s do it another time.

    No, we’re going and I won’t take no for answer. It was at that point I knew I was riding in the morning but hoped she would change her mind.

    She did not change her mind.

    At 5:45am my phone rang. Her number is one of the few that I’ve set to allow to ring at any time. I might need to review that setting. It didn’t wake me, I’m generally awake by 5:30am these days.

    Hello I answered with a tired sigh. Was there a reply? Did she apologise for the early call? Not at all. Instead, all I heard was part of Mad About You by Belinda Carlisle playing.

    Something about you right here beside me
    Touches the touched part of me like I can’t believe
    Pushing the night into the daytime
    Watching the sky’s first light
    While the city sleeps

    Then she says, we’ve missed the first light but the city is still asleep. Let’s go riding and wake up.

    We went riding.

    Phasing out the Apple Watch (sort of)

    Towards the end of 2023 I started to make a pivot towards removing some of the digital from my life. I love my tech and shiny gadgets but I’d started to think maybe I didn’t need so much of it in my life.

    Coincidentally, a watch I was given for my 21st birthday had recently stopped working, so I bought myself a new one as a birthday present in January.

    I’ve had an Apple Watch since 2016 and always ensured I was closing the rings and keeping streaks going. Trying to make sure I scored those monthly awards. It was convenient for checking notifications and messages without needing to use my phone, tracking exercise and sleep patterns, using the timer and stopwatch, and gave me quick access to weather details (a minor obsession).

    I’ve now spent two weeks wearing my new watch and only putting the Apple Watch on at night to track my sleep or when I exercise. I genuinely thought I’d miss the Apple Watch more than I have. There were a few times in the first week I swiped the watch face to check for notifications before I remembered it’s a normal watch, no data other than time and date.

    It turns out the main thing I’m missing is the timer. I used it whenever I made a cup of tea. I brew tea as I don’t like teabags and the timer on the watch was perfect for a quick three or four minute countdown.

    I’m pretty happy with going back to just a normal watch. It’s an automatic mechanical watch so no battery involved, just a spring that winds itself while I wear the watch. No need to charge it or replace a battery every few years.

    As I said to a friend the other day, I’ve read enough end times fiction to know I can also trade it for supplies when the world starts collapsing around us.

    Turning 55. Is that retirement slowly becoming visible on the horizon?

    I recently turned 55. I’ve now moved into the next age range on surveys and forms, no longer in the 45-54 it’s the 55-64 bracket for me. The slide towards retirement.

    I have a plan for when I’ll retire that I have no intention of sharing with my workplace. I have to give four weeks notice and that’s all I owe them. Don’t get me wrong, I like where I work. It’s big enough I have been able to change positions over the years and do new things without leaving the university. I’ve been there for approaching 32 years in a succession of positions and on the whole it’s been a good employer.

    None of that means they need to know exactly when I want to pull the pin or if a request to reduce to a fractional appointment is the precursor to retirement. Succession planning is something that gets referenced in conversations at work when people are approaching retirement age but why do I need to worry about that, I won’t be there. My employer could make me redundant tomorrow, with the requisite payout, and there would be no succession planning then. I’d just be cast adrift. The restructures, redundancy rounds and change processes I’ve seen in the last decade has emphasised to me more and more it’s important to remember your employer pays you in return for doing a set of tasks. You don’t owe them anything more than that.

    As an aside, join your union. They care more about you than your employer and will be on your side. Don’t talk to HR about your plans. Their primary goal is protecting the employer and you can be assured they will be telling your boss about your retirement questions.

    I took a bit of time in early January to think about how I might approach the remaining years of my working life. Transition to retirement is important. Once you have less years of work ahead than behind you is probably the best time to start. The Fair Work Act in Australia means I can ask for more flexible work arrangements now I’m 55. What would that be is something I’ve been thinking about. Do I want to work from home three days a week instead of two? Do I want to have a nine day fortnight? Do I want to start earlier so I finish earlier? All questions I’ve been turning around in my head for a few weeks now.

    I’m at the point where I’m happy with the level I’m at. The salary pays my bills and the position gives me the flexibility to turn off for the day and live a full life in my personal time. I’ve reached my plateau if you like and don’t want to do the extra unpaid hours or give up my weekends to work on something so I can chase that next promotion. My email and Teams notifications turn off at 5pm and turn back on at 8am. They’re off all weekend. It’s not that I lack ambition, it’s that I’m perfectly happy with what I have.

    I’m also mindful that I had what the doctor euphemistically refers to as “the cardiac event” at the end of 2020, a hypertensive episode due to undiagnosed high blood pressure and a bit too much stress on the heart. It helps to reset your approach to life when you reflect on the fact women are long lived in your family, the men not so much.

    A long way of saying I’ve had a lot of introspection over the last few weeks and I think I have a rough plan for the years ahead. That said, you never know what’s coming. There’s a 200 million first division prize in the lotto tonight, my retirement plans might change tomorrow.

    The joys of body corporates

    Body corporates are a legislative necessity in Australia. They have similar counterparts in other countries around the world.

    Someone has to be responsible for the building, collective responsibility in an ideal world. In reality it falls to a small group of people that want to have input into how the place they live is maintained.

    Some residents will have no clue on who or what the body corporate committee does other than those notices that appear in the lift. Other residents might complain they interfere too much or have stupid petty rules. Some will get the body corporate committee, the body corporate manager and the building manager confused. It all comes down to down to how the committee operates and how visible it wants to be.

    We have six people on our committee and five of us live in the building so can have easy communication. Except we now have two new people on the committee and they want to have preliminary meetings to discuss what will be talked about at the formal meeting. I spend way too much time in meetings at work, I’m not going to have extra meetings in my personal time. Unsurprisingly, the two people keen to do this are a retired person and someone who works from home a lot. People who have time in their day as they don’t have to travel to work and back.

    Looking at the items they want to discuss I can see it’s going to be a long road. Trying to resuscitate an issue we’ve dealt with and don’t have money to do and also trying to ask what we’re doing about flood mitigation measures. One of these people opposed the special levy we implemented for flood mitigation works and managed to get enough people onside to spread over a two year period. We don’t have all the funds yet. Are we paying with bottle tops as my Nan used to say?

    Collective responsibility, what a wonderful concept. Pity it rarely works where it’s imposed rather than organic.

    Murray Gold returning as Doctor Who composer 📺

    The news that Murray Gold is returning to Doctor Who is quite exciting, for me anyway.

    I love the way each season he created new material, giving each important character their own piece. You hear Clara’s theme and you see that leaf blowing on the wind. You hear “I am the Doctor” and you see Eleven leaping into action.

    Hearing his theme in 2005 when the Doctor finally returned to our screens was just so exciting. It was a new arrangement but so familiar and took me straight back to how hearing that music as a boy meant the latest episode was starting and for 25 minutes I was going to be caught up in an adventure in time and space.

    Organising my digital life - continued.

    Organising my digital life – continued.

    I've spent some more time thinking about and looking at options for how I want to craft my thoughts. Not the tools I want to use but more the way I want to publish, if at all.

    Do I need a website beyond what I already have or am I happy with it as it is.

    I've primarily been using it for micro posts but now that I have settled into a good routine I want to start writing longer posts. This is what I keep coming back to. Are these going to stay as distinctly separate content on write.as or will I keep them all together on the one site.

    Thoughts on organising my digital life

    I have been spending quite a bit of time trying to decide how best to arrange my digital life. In particular, longer thoughts or posts but also my photos.

    • Do I connect everything to the one website?
    • Do I keep everything on micro.blog?
    • Do I need a new stand alone domain?
    • Do I use sub-domains pointing at different host sites?
    • Should I treat writing differently to photos or see them all as a blog entry?
    • Will anybody even read or view my random thoughts?

    With regard to the last point, I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. This is a project for me. If someone else happens to read it then even better but it’s not why I’m here.

    I don’t want an online journal or diary. The best analogy is online scrapbook or perhaps notebook. The pages will contain whatever was relevant at the time.

    I've been spending quite a bit of time trying to decide how best to arrange my...

    I've been spending quite a bit of time trying to decide how best to arrange my digital life.

    • Do I connect everything to the one website?
    • Do I need a new stand alone domain?
    • Do I use sub-domains pointing at different host sites?
    • Should I treat writing differently to photos or see them all as a blog entry?
    • Will anybody even read or view my random thoughts?

    With regard to the last point, I've decided it doesn't matter. This is a project for me. If someone else happens to read it then even better but it's not why I'm here.

    I don't want an online journal or diary. The best analogy is online scrapbook or perhaps notebook. The pages will contain whatever was relevant at the time.

    Old friends

    On Sunday I spent a lovely afternoon and evening catching up with my best friends from high school and their partners. The ‘80s seems so long ago but also just like yesterday when we’re together. Distance means we only manage it every few years now but I feel blessed to have friends in my life that have been there for 40 years. We slip into a comfortable groove that’s been slowly deepened and smoothed over the course of shared adventures, highs and lows, probably way too many drinks, and much much laughter.

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