Friday, 8 April 2016

214 days later

He completes the Norwegian Bokmål course on Duolingo, phew. A brilliant learning resource when used in conjunction with memrise.

I have also started using the immersion plugin for chrome (windows only unfortunately)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Learning Norwegian

I'm trying to learn Norwegian crammed into a few months. Here are some of the tools i'm using, things i'm doing:

 1. Initially i listened to the Pimsleur Norwegian courses. A good introduction, i think, but nothing more than that.

 2. I mostly use my desktop pc for learning, so installed Norwegian Bokmal keyboard/culture setting on to it. (pc: control panel -> region & language => keyboard and languages). Means all system text is in norwegian and i can easily type the Æ, Ø, and Å characters (here for mac).

3. Duolingo Norwegian Bokmal course, great on the ipad using microphone, but I mostly use on desktop pc as typing is faster.

4. The only issue I have with duolingo, is the lack of a vocabulary page. In others words you can't see a list of the words you have learnt or are learning. Luckily, someone has created a memrise course for the duolingo course.

Memrise is probably my most used app at the moment, i use it on the desktop pc rather than ipad. I'm doing 2 other courses: 5000+ Most Common Words Part 1 A1 - Beginner Norwegian with Audio Learn Norwegian The benefit of memrise is the structured learning of Norwegian vocabulary; i'm trying to get 2000+ words into my long term memory. Memrise is similar to anki, but I've found this far more productive

5. Also, LearnNow is a great site put together buy the Norwegian Department of Language and Literature. I think the grammar pages in particular are the most useful i've found anywhere, but it is a shame that the English translation stops after Chapter 2.

More to come.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Thursday, 22 December 2011



Time on a plane
Head cold
Marriage proposal
Swim in the sea
Go on the swings

Second Christmas.

All happened within the last month or two; has been busy. Ingunn, Jessica and I just returned from a trip to Noosa, stayed in a large apartment with swimming pool and was complete relaxation – way beyond all our expectations. Has made me realise how desperately we need more space though, the place feels way smaller now that we are sharing it with a toddler that has just mastered running. So, the search for a new house/apartment to buy is the main focus for 2012 and will begin in earnest in January, I wonder where on earth it will lead us to..?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Daily progress for upcoming Sydney 2011 marathon:

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

March Surge

Unusual spike in page views on my website mid-March. Eventually tracked it down to this bit of news:


Tony Hawk's best friend Matt Goodman has told that he's "totally cool" with the skateboard legend dating his estranged wife Cathy Goodman.


Was baffled why i'd been getting such an increase in  "matt goodman wife" queries ending up here.

Alas, iam not that Matt Goodman; he seems like quite a cool dude though.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Last Couple of Months

It has been awhile since I've posted here. In that time, I ran the Sydney marathon (3hrs 34min), been learning Norwegian each day, finished reading Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, and  Contact; have finished another batch of homebrew and finally sawed through the lock on my bike for which the keys had disappeared.

The marathon took place on September 18th this year on a slightly different course from previous ones. Weather conditions were far from ideal, the temperature reaching 31 degrees centigrade by the time most people were coming through the finishing line. As usual i started way too quickly and 30 km into it was in pieces.  I’m not sure what went wrong, as I'd done alot of 35km+ runs in my training and was comfortable with a faster pace than i managed on the day. I was expecting to finish around 3 hrs 15 mins, so to be over 20 mins slower was rather baffling.  Am putting it down to the heat (+big blisters) or maybe too much running in the in last couple of weeks + groin strain. At the end of the day, that was my fourth marathon, i know I'll do a fifth someday, but i found the training rather consuming me in the last 8 weeks, so may leave it a couple of years.

Here is a picture from yesterday, I'd taken Jessica for a walk around the cliffs of Coogee. She is now unbelievably crawling and walking; the rate of change is just astonishing.


Out and about


Today is Sunday, tomorrow is a public holiday, Labour Day in Australia i think. I intend on doing very little, other than nursing a mild hangover i picked up after watching England narrowly beat Scotland in the Rugby World Cup.

Monday, 27 December 2010

2010, the last six months

Click here for the first six months.
So by June, we’d moved back to Sydney after a two year stint in London, spent six weeks travelling, learned that we were having a baby (due 6th December), found a new apartment to live in and both secured work.
July: Start off the month by buying a second hand car. A vehicle of some sort is essential in Sydney, not only is the public transport here is diabolical, but it is compounded by the fact that everywhere is so far apart. I wanted a ute, but we end up with a Holden. No more baby scans for another 10 weeks almost, still seemed as if Ingunn was going doctor appointments every other day through. Break the news of a impending Grandchild to the families back in Europe, much surprise/delight. Start to worry about how different our lives will be after a baby, and why some couples seem so comfortable during the pregnancy stage? Come to the conclusion that the best approach is to try and be as realistic as possible, which means being informed; after initial hesitation, we sign up for ante-natal classes. Just hope we don’t get all the horror stories.
August:  Still life goes on, starting to feel slightly more relaxed, I start guitar and cartoon drawing courses on Tuesday and Wednesday nights; discover I have no talent in either. Ingunn’s bump is starting to show, and we feel slight movements. The foetus is about the size of a mandarin, but still didn’t feel real, is a baby really in there? Towards the end of the month decide that we need to find a new place to live, the only place a baby could fit in the Avoca St shoebox is in my sock drawer in our bedroom. Prospect of apartment hunting again is appalling, it is getting towards the busiest time of the year and means about 3 or 4 Saturdays spent viewing apartments and bidding against 50 other equally desperate couples.
September: I start a new job with Westpac energy trading, Ingunn finishes her current contract and begins a new one till end of October. Going to interviews whilst you are pregnant must be one of the hardest most awkward tasks, very proud of her. Buy a new surf board, and loving it, aswell as the new job. Last two Saturdays of the month we attend the ante-natal course at the Royal Randwick Hospital we enrolled back in August, so much for apartment hunting. The course covered pretty much every conceivable outcome of a pregnancy, and ultimately how to care for a newborn. Felt quite reassured, although some scenarios are terrifying, forewarned is forearmed i guess.
October:   Out of the blue a regular midwife appointment reveals the baby might be slightly on the small side for it’s current gestation. Not to worry though, was done with a tape measure, got a scan booked for 3 weeks time. Weekends are taken up with apartment hunting, situation begins getting a little desperate, so many other people looking for places at the moment, facing possibility we may end up moving in November, not ideal. Stroke of luck and we finally have a tenancy application accepted for a Coogee apartment, still no idea how we got it?  Moved into the apartment 23rd October, the apartment is on the top floor with no lift, so my back is broken and arms are now 3 meters longer. Monday 27th, Ingunn has a scan which reveals the baby is indeed smaller than it should be, reduced blood flow from the placenta looking like a culprit. Ingunn is told to stop working immediately, go home and do nothing. Literally, nothing. Follow up scan on Friday (29th) morning; lots of dark thoughts, but we are reassured this is a common procedure and all will probably be ok.
October 29th –31st: These three days felt like a month in itself. It began at 8am, arriving at our follow-up appointment at the Royal Randwick hospital, I swear Ingunn had got bigger in those few days so was expecting to be on out of there and on my way to work within the hour. The scan was conducted by 2 doctors, they were checking the blood flow around the placenta and how much amniotic fluid was around the baby.  After a short time they decided further tests and analysis are needed. And, by mid morning, a doctor confirms that blood flow from the placenta has got lower, and that the baby is running out of space: “Better out than in” we were told.  Oh boy, wasn’t expecting that. Ingunn is admitted to hospital then and there told the baby will be delivered by caesarean section in 48hrs (the two day buffer was allow a couple of steroid shots (helps prepare babies lungs)) It is at this stage when events were happening so quickly that we began to feel very out of control, terrified, in disbelief, confused… yet strangely excited. In 2 days time we knew we’d be parents, this wasn’t supposed to happen for another 6 weeks at least. The next 48hrs were spent sat around agonising, waiting, worrying, reflecting, furiously trying to work out a name.
Sunday morning went backwards it felt. The caesarean was booked in for 13:00, and the closer it got the further from reality the whole situation felt. Ingunn seemed so calm, i wanted to run around like a madman. Killed time by deciding on a final name; Markus for a boy, Jessica for a girl; how on earth had we managed to decide in such a short space of time?? Impossible.
1pm arrives, we are taken to the operating theatre. We are in a room with a line-up of suited nurses and doctors. Ingunn has a epidural administered and having realised I'm the only male there am sat in a corner feeling quite emasculated, like a little boy. The doctor performing the operation tells me to make sure i have my camera at the ready.. wasn’t planning on using it, but i mumble yes obligingly. Taken aback how calm everyone is there. The operation takes 15-20 minutes during which jokes and stories are told. At 2.21 the doctors tells me to get my camera ready.. my hands are shaking.
Out comes a very small baby, with a foot in it’s mouth, i bravely managed to focus and press the button. Silence…. then a gurgle, then she begins crying..
November: Jessica Elise Goodman, my daughter is very much alive and kicking. She is taken straight to the special newborn care section of the Royal Randwick for premature babies where she will remain for the next 3 weeks. Tests confirm that she is healthy, albeit very small for her age (-5 1/2 weeks). Ingunn was walking about less than 24hrs later, you can hardly tell she has been pregnant, amazing. I’m pleased my prediction of a girl is correct, means a year of shirts being ironed. The remainder of this month is spent going back and forth from our apartment to the premature baby section. Exhausting and frustrating, just wanted to take her home; but it gave us a chance to recuperate buy some baby gear, and pick up a few tips from the nurses. 2 1/2 weeks later, that spare room in our apartment had a resident.
December: Adjusting to about 3 hours less sleep a day, watching the Ashes, loving the Australian summer once again, and watching an amazing little girl blossom.
As I write this, Christmas has come and gone, England are thumping Australia in the cricket and the sun is shining outside.  I can hardly believe how much has happened in the last 12 months, and am wondering what the next year has in store?

Friday, 24 December 2010


What a year, it’s worth recapping.
New Years Eve 2010, spent in the Curtains Up pub West Kensington pondering what the next 12 months had in store over a few glasses of mulled wine. We really had no idea.
January: Still in London, had decided to move back to Australia by now though. This wasn’t a spontaneous decision by any means, and to be honest still weren’t totally sure about it.  Ingunn had already quit her job, i was still working with Elliott, and planning to finish up in February. Starting to plan our route back down to Sydney, do we go through South America: Inca trail, Patagonia, Galapagos Islands, or North America, Tahiti, New Zealand , or perhaps via Asia. By the end of the month we were boxing up all our belongings once again, and shipping them off Australia.
February: Starting to feel sad and guilty about leaving London our UK/Norwegian families behind. Alot of last minute soul searching, but decide returning to Australia has more opportunities to offer us for the moment. Discover that the Inca trail is shut indefinitely, so our route back to Sydney is decided: New York, California, Tahiti and New Zealand. Tickets booked, we’re leaving Saturday 20th. Start saying good bye to friends family, and frantically packing our remaining belongings, the last couple of weeks really were intense, there is alot more involved in moving to the other hemisphere of the planet than just packing your bags.  I finish my job on Friday 19th, the next morning,  we fly out to New York.  Doesn’t feel real yet.
March: A blissful month of travelling, some of my highlights:
  • Seeing a plum of elephant seals in the wild near San Simeon, CA.
  • Spending a night in the Sequoia National Park and visiting General Sherman
  • Kayaking around the coral reefs of the island of Moorea, Tahiti. We stayed in the Linereva resort; run by an exceptionally hospitable French couple would certainly go back there.
  • Bicycle tour of the New Zealand Marlborough wine region.
  • Trekking around NZ south island, place of exceptional natural beauty.
We arrived back in Sydney 25th March, felt great. Some of the bad feelings about leaving London had dissolved, replaced by excitement, anticipation.  I promptly flew to Melbourne with Jon for the Grand Prix that weekend (27th) – our annual pilgrimage. That evening, I get a txt message from Ingunn saying that the hotel she in is disgusting and that she has a little surprise for me..
April: So we have just arrived back in Sydney, and have discovered out that Ingunn is pregnant. Experiencing that news is a real mixture of emotions. Absolute joy, wonder of how this is going to change your life, followed by sobering fear and a sense that we really need to get ourselves in a position to support a newly born baby. At this stage we were living in hotels, had no jobs, not even started looking. Neither of us had the first clue about babies either, I mean they feed and put themselves to bed each night right? A long chain of sleepless nights soon turned worry into panic, should we just head back to the UK/Norway was a recurring 3am thought?  The rest of month was spent looking for apartments (not easy in Sydney, here are some tips) whilst looking for work. And more importantly is this baby going to be a boy/girl?  My bet, a daughter.
May: After turning down a couple of offers, both were still looking for work at the beginning of the month, we had however found somewhere to live in Randwick, and a short walk to Bronte beach. Eventually take a job with MetaBit and some of the stress is alleviated. The reality of a baby had really sunk in now, starting to buy hundreds of books to find out what is going to happen for the next 8 1/2 months? What hospitals do we need to visit, doctors to visit, terrifying. We are here in Sydney alone, feel incredibly isolated/helpless at this point. The job market seems to be slowing, but Ingunn picks up a great contract by the end of the month, our belongings have arrived from the UK by now too; happy days.
June: Life starts returning to a familiar pattern. A scan confirms the baby is healthy, we see “it” for the first time but decide not to learn the sex. The baby name debate is starting to get complex, so I create a speadsheet which allows to to vote. Some massive storms hit Sydney, the surf is the biggest it has been in along time; rains shrimps.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Jeg Day 48

Took this one this morning. Her eye colour has been somewhat of a mystery; starting off brown it has recently turned into a very intense blue. If you look in the top right of the picture you can see where she gets it from.  Wonder what they’ll end up like?

Blue Eyes

Saturday, 27 November 2010

More Jessica

Day 28, although due-date is actually 8 days away. We’re off for a stroll to the hospital this afternoon to weigh her and have a chat with the nurses at the special-care unit. They are the fountain of premature-baby knowledge and I always come away with full of tips and tricks to try out.

Update: 2.64kg; exceeding expectations.

All of these were taken today.


On the beach with the mobile bed

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Jessica Elise

Born in Sydney,  Sunday 31st October 2010 : 14:21pm; 1975g, 46cm. 

Jessica Elise Goodman

She arrived 5 1/2 weeks earlier than expected so is currently in special new born section at hospital but doing very well.  More to follow.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Now governed by the empire. Try it.

Here’s the inside of our new car (on the way to the Northern Beaches)

Inside the new car

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Jobs in Sydney

.Net developer in Sydney looking for contracts?  - here's a spreadsheet I knocked together awhile back which may come in handy..  just gets the latest lisitngs from seek and jobnet rss feeds.  It forces google to auto-refreshes every minute or so.


Sunday, 20 June 2010

Star Trails

Another clear night, so back off to Centennial Park, armed with the camera, tripod, remote shutter control and a intent to capture star trails. The lesson I learnt from the previous night was to use a distant street light to get your infinite focus (just AF on it, then switch to manual). I had my remote shutter control so was able to use the BULB exposure setting. For all pictures, i was using the widest focal length my camera would allow (F32 i think). I left the camera exposed from anywhere between 10-25 mins, and got some great results. Here’s my favourite (25 min exposure):

Star trails

Next time i’ll try a night when the moon is in a waning crescent (nearly full at the moment so alot of light pollution), and will definitely not use the Long Exposure NR (Long Exposure Dark-Frame Subtraction Noise Reduction) setting on the Nikon D90 as it essentially doubles the amount of time you have to wait. Not sure why Nikon even have this setting on the D90 infact.. a throw back i guess.

Another star trail here.

Here’s a shot of some people playing volleyball on Coogee beach this afternoon:.

Volleyball @Coogee

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Starry Night

Just around the corner from where I live is the Centennial Park, an expanse of grasslands and tropical plants/trees. Due to the lack of anything nearby, at night time it becomes very dark and an ideal spot for someone who wishing to take pictures of the night sky.  So, wanting to take pictures of the night sky in a dark open area, I headed down there last night to have an attempt at capturing the fantastic view of the galaxy.

I’m using the 10.5mm fisheye lens with my Nikon D90 and a tripod. I was doing exposures from 10-30 seconds on 600 ISO, white balance set to Tungsten.  The initial issue I had was focus, so i ended up switching to manual and infinity.

Night Sky

Here are a few more, with plenty more trips there planned. I loved the absolute stillness of Centennial Park at night-time, the only sound coming from squawking birds.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The day it rained shrimps..

So, a couple of days ago after a particularly long downpour, I went out on to our patio and found to my disbelief, literally, thousands and thousands of dead baby shrimps everywhere. Here are some pics from our patio. Perplexing, perhaps cats & dogs have gone out of fashion?



Raining Shrimps



Here some got trapped in the glass candle holder:



Raining Shrimps

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Surf Move #1 : The Wipeout

Last Sunday I was photographing a handful of brave surfers during a especially large swell along Sydney's coast; and lateron came across this picture on my laptop. I hadn't noticed the guy to the left at all at the time, and am abit puzzled as to how he ended up in that position? Possibly he had been surfing the wave then cut back using the wave as a ramp?  Who knows




More pictures up here.