Wow, Such a Long Time Between Posts!

Well hello – it’s been over 3 months since my last post! Wow that’s gone fast. I have lots of reasons, lots of excuses – but really, I just didn’t make the time I needed to. There was always something else I spent my time on instead.

So I wanted to check in and for anyone interested, let you know what I’ve been up to and what’s happened over the last 3 months – it’s been a very busy time.

Keep on reading to find out more about my black belt grading, an operation, a new job, and more!

So Karate first.. I did get my Black Belt!

The black belt grading was an absolutely amazing experience. For my friends on Facebook, there’s been quite a few pictures posted from the weekend. I plan to add some here the next time I get around to posting! (hopefully soon). It was such a great weekend – physically and mentally draining, but such a buzz. We lived on adrenalin for 24 hours straight.

Breaking the Board

Breaking the Board

The sparring was really something else. I had 6 fights in a row, including Shihan Lliam and Sensei Josh. I think I held up pretty well. I had Sensei Josh as the last fight, and he went absolutely manic on me. I went down 3 times before it was called to a halt. But I got back up again each time ready to continue fighting.

Sensei Josh with a huge body kick

Sensei Josh with a huge body kick

I’ll post more about the black belt grading when I get more pictures up.

Now at Karate, I’ve been learning a new black belt Kata – Kunku Dai. It’s a great kata, very long. I’ll be competing with it at the BBMA Intramural tournament on Sunday. It’ll be my second tournament this year, and my first since the AKF event back in February! I’m competing in 4 events – 2 kumite and 2 kata. Should be great fun. I’ll hopefully have some videos to upload after Sunday.

In last years inaugural intramural tournament, it was a fantastic event and I did quite well. Hopefully I can do the same this time!

What’s this about an Operation?

I had a skin cancer on my ear which needed to get cut out. It was a nasty SCC type, but thankfully it’s all gone now. They had to take a lot of cartilage out of my ear which means it looks a bit floppy now. I’ll probably go back for another operation early next year to transfer some cartilage from one ear to the other to try and reconstruct it.

Combine that, with having a cold for 4 out of 5 weeks after my Black Belt grading, and it has meant a lot of non-training time in the last 3 months. I can feel it too – feeling unfit, inflexible and have put on 2-3 kilos. I really need to get back in shape before grading for 1st Dan in December. I started jogging again and after 4 weeks or so was able to get my time back to around 22:35, but the pushups have really suffered.

I’d post photos of my ear the days and weeks after the operation, but it’s really gross and might put someone off their dinner!

You started a new job?

Well, yes! Unfortunately I was made redundant about 4 weeks ago. Not a pleasant experience at all. So out I went on the job hunt.

After a slow few days, things picked up and I had a bunch of appointments and interviews and landed a job at RPData, still in the Real Estate Software industry. This time though, I’m a Product Manager instead of a Development Manager. A different skill-set, a bit of a career change, but I’m excited about the opportunities.

I’ve been there for about 3 weeks now, and in my very first week, on my very first day, they flew me to America! I spent a week in San Francisco and Sacramento, meeting some people from CoreLogic, one of the major shareholders to learn about their products and how they might be useful in Australia.

Mike at the Golden Gate Bridge

Mike at the Golden Gate Bridge

It was my first time overseas, so it was a real thrill. Didn’t get a lot of time to do sight-seeing, but did spend some time in San Francisco (a beautiful city) and also went for a drive up to Lake Tahoe (simply stunning!). Again, there’s some photos on Facebook but I’ll post more here as I get time.

Mike up at Lake Tahoe

Mike up at Lake Tahoe

So what about Astronomy?

Well, Astronomy really has taken a back seat this year. Low motivation and lack of time (mainly motivation) has meant I have barely done anything in Astronomy in the last 6 months. IceInSpace has still been kicking along – we just passed 8000 registered members and celebrated our 6th birthday, and I’ve been spending some time gearing up for IISAC2010 (which is only 3 weeks away now).

I went out to the David Malin Awards at Parkes in July, and received 2 awards (Honourable Mentions) for a couple of shots, which was nice.

Venus, Moon and Pleiades Conjunction

Venus, Moon and Pleiades Conjunction

But in terms of practical astronomy – zero, zilch. I haven’t even taken an image of Jupiter this apparition yet – which is a really sad state of affairs!

I guess that now brings us up-to-date.

I’ll try and post more regularly again, hopefully with an update after the tournament and then again after IISAC2010.

Thanks for reading!

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