Monthly Archives: November 2011

Dukan Do It!

So, I’ve stared a new diet. I’m not really into fad diets or anything, but this one seems to be okay.

It’s the Dukan Diet and it’s all about the protein. I’m starting off with the “Attack Phase” and thats basically just eating protein and nothing else. You do that for a few day and detox your carbs and fat and then go into a cruise phase.

The cruise phase is alternating pure protein with protein and veggies. Then after that you get into a proper normal healthy lifestyle.

The way I see it, we’re talking the meat and two veg diet. Not really hard.

Anyway, I wanted to kind of track how I’m doing with the diet so I can keep a record of how I’m going with weight loss and maintaining.

I’ll keep updating this post as I go. I’m going to keep tracking daily, but only because I’m worried that I may lose too much! Note that Day 1 = Wednesday 23rd November, 2011.

Day 0 – 97.7 kg

Day 1 – PPa – 96.5 kg – Daily loss: 1.2 kg – Total loss: 1.2 kg

Day 2 – PPa – 95.1 kg – Daily loss: 1.4 kg – Total loss: 2.6 kg

Day 3 – PPc – 94.7 kg – Daily loss: 0.4 kg – Total loss: 3.0 kg

Day 4 – PVc – 93.9 kg – Daily loss: 0.8 kg – Total loss: 3.8 kg

Day 5 – PPc – 94.3 kg – Daily loss: -0.4 kg – Total loss: 3.4 kg

Day 6 – PVc – 93.6 kg – Daily loss: 0.7 kg – Total loss: 4.1 kg

Day 7 – PPc – 93.1 kg – Daily loss: 0.5 kg – Total loss: 4.6 kg

Day 8 – PPv – 92.6 kg – Daily loss: 0.5 kg – Total loss: 5.1 kg

Day 9 – PPc – 92.1 kg – Daily loss: 0.5 kg – Total loss: 5.6 kg


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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Fitness/Weight Loss


Securing the Joists

I’ve kinda worked out exactly how to secure joists using the stirrups I have concreted into the ground. I thought I’d do a quick post showing the exact steps to make it easy for anyone else who wants to do it.

First, I assembled the required tools for the first part of this.

  • Hammer Drill – preferably corded
  • Masonry drill bit
  • Screwdriver – phillips head
  • Hammer (for persuasion)
  • 2 screwhead dynabolts
Using the masonry brill bit, drill holes into the concrete through the base holes of the stirrup. Make sure the holes are deep enough to fit the dynabolts in. Also, wiggle the bit around a little so that the hole has enough room for the dynabolt to go in.
The dynabolts work by tightening up and expanding when you screw them in. Make sure that the dynabolt is tight, but not yet expanding before you place it in the hole. Push the bolt into the hole until it’s difficult to push in any further.
Then use the hammer for a little gentle persuasion to push the bolts right down, fully into the hole. If the hole is deep enough, it should go right to the bottom and then be ready to expand.
Once the bolts are all the way in (and try not to damage them with the hammer), use the screw driver to tighten them up so that they expand and hold the stirrup firmly to the concrete. Don’t worry if they are a little raised because we’ll lift the joist up off the ground anyway.
Speaking of which, to raise it up a little off the ground, we just need to put the bolts in once the gap is until the joist. To do this, just grab a handful of dirt to rest the joist on while we measure up where to put the bolts.
Next to make sure that the joist is the right height, we need to measure the level across this joist to another. To do this, put the joist in (there has to be another joist next to it that’s te right height) and then the bearer across the top. Sit a spirit level on the top to make sure it’s level, using more dirt under the joist (or less) to make it level. Try to have the joist in the right place where it would be bolted when doing this.
Wile the joist is in place, shuffle it around to make sure it’s exactly where you want it. Then put a marking on one side. Once marked (I’ve used a plus sign), draw around where the bolt holes are using a sharpie (marker). Make sure the joist is flush up against one side of the stirrup. There will be a gap on the other side of the stirrup and marking it there will make it less accurate. That’s why we mark the “good” side.
As above, once it’s marked, we can drill the holes through. The best way to do this is with a drill press that will ensure that the hole is the right angle. I don’t have one, so I just use the drill. However, because we marked the other side, we can tell how far off we are.
As carefuly as you can, drill through starting on the side with the marking. Use a drill bit that is the same size as the bolt, that way you get a nice tight fit.
Once those holes are drilled, remove the shavings and turn the whole thing over. We want to see how far off we were from the other side.
You can see in the photo above that I was pretty much on the mark with one of the holes, but the other was a little off. I’m going to use the good one to put the bolt through. Once through, I’ll be able to match up exactly where the other hole should go and then fix the other hole.
In the above photo, I have got the nut, bolt and shifter ready to get it through the hole. The next step is to sit the joist back in the stirrup (remember to brush the dirt away) and screw the bolt through the hole.
Keep screwing the bolt all the way through to the other side (you should need to use the shifter if the hole is nice and tight). When it reaches the other side of the joist, make sure the bolt goes through the bolt hole on the other side.
Next, while it’s in there, we can now work out exactly where the other hole should end up so we can put the other bolt through. To do this, the first step is to get that spirit level and put it against the side of the joist and move the joist (pivoting on the bolt) to make sure it’s standing up straight.
We need to make sure that the stirrup is sitting flush on both sides to fix the other hole, so it helps to put the nut on the bolt. To do this, firstly screw the bolt on finger tight then get a shifter on the other side of the joist and attach it to the nut. Tighten it up until the stirrup is sitting flush against the joist.
One you’ve tightened it up, take it back one half twist and just make sure that it hasn’t moved – get the spirit level back on it again.
Now we’re going to us the other side of the stirrup to where we marked to start our second hole. This is so the two bolts are done up on opposite sides. Also because the hole on the marked side should be right anyway. Get your sharpie and draw around where the hole is so you know where to widen the hole.
Once that is done, unfortunately, you’ll have to unbolt the bolt again and take it out. Then remove the joist and lay it down ready for drilling.
You can see that it’s a fair way out. I’m using a size 16 hole cutting bit. If the second hole is too big it doesn’t matter because the first bolt olds it perfectly, the second bolt just keeps the stirrup closed to support the weight. Drill through expanding the existing hole.
Now you can put the joist back in place, put the first bolt through, and then put the other bolt through from the opposite side. Don’t forget to use the spirit level in between to make sure it remains level.
You can see in the photo above that although the stirrup isn’t level, the joist is and that’s what is important. Next do the final check to make sure that with the bearer on top, it’s still level.
And then you move on to the next joist and start all over again. 🙂
Next post – putting the bearers together.
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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Critique of an artwork

I’m not an art critic. I know what I like and I know what I don’t like, but more importantly I know why. I have studied a lot of art theory over the years and dabble in trying to be an artist myself. I kind of get it. However, it’s not very often that I see a painting that draws (no pun intended) me in. I therefore wanted to write about it.

Currently there is an exhibition on in Darling Park (Sussex St, Sydney CBD) of a different kind. I say different because I have worked in and around the building for around 4 years now. I walk past scattered paintings and sculptures multiple times a day. Often there are exhibitions which amount more to littered pieces of junk with little white tags next them. Today however was different.

I went downstairs to get a coffee and I noticed that they had just set up a new exhibition. It was only of 9 pieces and all in a row. Convenient. I thought I would give the paintings the benefit of the doubt even though if past form is something to go by, this wouldn’t be worth the four step detour.

I casually glanced at a couple of the paintings and generally liked what I saw until I came to one particular painting. I stopped and stared at the painting for around 20 minutes. It really spoke to me and I stood there and just listened. And I liked the story it was telling me, revealing more about itself to me as I watched. After a while my sense of time returned and I released that I really needed to get back to my desk. I headed for the lift with the exhibition flyer in hand so I could look up the artist on the internet.

When I got back to my desk, I discovered two things. The artist, whose name is Alberto Santiago, is a young guy from Sydney that had ventured into physical paintings after receiving multiple accolades for his digital and design work.

The other thing I discovered was that I forgot to get my coffee.

I really wanted to put down on virtual paper my thoughts about this painting that had enthralled me. So, without actually concurring with the artist and based purely on my own hack ability as an art critic, I wanted to share what the painting said to me. Below is a photo of the painting “Portrait of Audrey and Rose” – please don’t steal it like I did against the artist’s copyright.

I want to talk about the painting itself first. It is an oil on canvas, small size for an exhibition painting – 14 by 18 – with a rather gaudy frame (let’s be honest) that sort of compliments the almost Kubrickesque, twins-in-the-hallway first impression. This painting is part of an exhibition called “Lolita Portraits” though I believe Humbert Humbert would not have agreed.

The stark contrast of the gold background (and it is gold if you see it in person, not as the picture above) to the monochrome palette and dress sense of the (what must be) sisters also strikes you immediately. The artwork it self is not classically impressive, though the traditional Victorian portrait style is anachronistically contrasted by a Japanese manga influence. In fact this whole painting, to me, is all about a sense of antithesis and dichotomous unity.

Looking closely at the picture, you see that the siblings only have one leg each. So, together they stand on two legs, as good sisters do, but individually would not appear to be normal children. Taking the sister assumption further you notice also that one is much more pretty than the other and also more dominant. But the question begs, is it a kind or malevolent dominance? The sister on the left has her hand in front of the other sister’s hand, but they ARE holding hands. This seems to imply that the pretty sister is leading the other one. But again, it’s not clear if this is due to pity or love.

Thinking about this Lolita theme, which I firmly believe is more to do with their Harajuku dress style than any inappropriate urges, I can see that the prettier girl is looking right at you, head tilted in an age old technique of attraction. Her sister gazes bored at something more interesting over your shoulder. Both are wearing the same clothes and have hair exactly the same, but the “other” sister has slightly different proportions to her face… her eyes too far apart, her hair crooked… while her sister has the perfect visage.

Looking even closer at their faces, the pretty sister seems to glow, has a faint hint of artificial highlight around her eyes and looking closely at her mouth you sense the small beginnings of a cheeky smile. The ugly sister seems to be forming disdain with her lips and has no colour to her face at all. However, you get the impression that they may actually be twins, but their personality is so strong in opposite directions that they appear so totally different.

The relationship between the two starts to become a chain of supposition in your head as you watch this drama play out before you. Pride for the good sister helping her maddeningly boring sibling to be confident through the ordeal of being children told to stand still for a portrait. Love for the pretty one who discards her own popularity to encourage the disliked misfit that holds her back.

However, the gold background contrasting with the bland and work-a-day dresses the girls are wearing implies that it is gold leaf – a gilt portrait being a metaphor for covering up something that is decidedly ugly. Could it be that the “good” sister is the being overshadowed by the pretty sister? What dark torture does the pretty one inflict behind closed doors? Is it bordem in the plain sister’s face, or is it the closing down of the portal to the soul to protect itself from being ever hurt again?

I could stand there for hours. I found it difficult to tear myself away from building hypothetical dramas with sweeping plot twists and being drawn into my own imagination at the prompt of a painting.

If the measure of a good piece of art is the evocation of a reaction from the viewer, what rating is given to a painting that conjures Edwardian soap operas?

I recommend that everyone should see this exhibition. There were other paintings there that I enjoyed thoroughly and although not to the same extent, each one seemed to prompt a story for me. I will be watching out with keen interest for future artworks from Mr. Santiago.

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Art


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Drawing 31 October, 2011

More drawing practice last night. I didn’t get a great deal done because I turned up late and the models had already started with the longer poses. However, pretty happy with how things turned out.

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Drawing


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