Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Applying for visas for India

India requires would-be tourists to apply for visas, which is entirely reasonable. But they have some very odd questions and/or answer options, and a decidedly glitchy online application system.

Should you find yourself applying for a visa to India, you should be aware of the following things:

Friday, 16 September 2011

Wheee! New toy!

Travelling up to Canberra reminded me yet again of the limitations of using a iPad as my sole form of contact with the internet/world. At the very least, you can't connect to a wired internet. Apparently no such doodad exists that can connect my iPad to a network cable. (Can a network cable be connected to a USB majigger, which could then be connected to a USB/iPad connector? I haven't found one yet.)

So, browsing today through JB Hifi (something one should always be cautious of doing), I ended up in the netbooks section. And am now the proud owner of a Acer aspire (AOD257-13DQKK, in case you care), for AU$274. While it doesn't have Bluetooth (to get that would cost an extra $70-$100, effectively), it does have wired and wireless internet, 3 USB ports, a monitor connection, and a built-in SD card reader. And a true browser. And a tactile keyboard. And is probably lighter than the iPad.

My son is concerned about my new infatuation - he's already told me not to forsake my current husband for my new beau. (JD and I chuckled about this, as I become a computer widow every time JD buys a new game.) I think it's far more likely that my iPad will feel like it's been superseded.

I still have to iron out a few kinks: the touch pad treats my thumb accidentally touching it as a command, for example, and I need to get used to the rather too short space bar (but it's not as bad as the iPad one which regularly sends me to the number keypad if I'm not careful). 

I might even post here a little more often...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Packing for Fight Club

Only Chuck Norris can talk about Fight Club.

That's okay, I'm not going to talk about Fight Club. Just what I'm going to take to Fight Club.

Stuff required for competitions
  1. Humongous bag, with two pairs of hand, foot, shin and forearm guards, two shields, headguards, three mouthguards (spare for JD), one groin guard
  2. Strapping tape (1" for thumb; 1.5" for wrist/ankles/Achilles), Deep Heat, Ice Gel
  3. Water bottles, sweat towels
  4. Doboks with TA badge on top and Victoria strip on pant
  5. Entry forms and membership cards

Ab on the road (but not abroad)

Tomorrow morning we set off obscenely bright and early to drive to Canberra. O'dark thirty is not my preferred time of day - I am a confirmed night owl. Nonetheless, we need to leave early so we don't get up there too late, and also to beat the morning peak hour in Melbourne.  It's around an eight hour drive (730km), plus stops.

So right now, I'm stocking up on Apps and podcasts and audiobooks and the like. Next, I'll be stocking up on things to feed the kids (and us) to help keep us sane. Later, I'll need to think about packing. Given we're not travelling by air, weight is not an issue for packing, but volume is: much of the boot* will be taken up with the humongous bag which holds our TKD gear.

Because, dear reader, we are going to Canberra to fight.  JD and I are competing this weekend in the Taekwondo Australia National Championships and Australian Open. (The kids are coming too, but not competing this year - they've both expressed interest for next year, though.)

This is JD (in blue) at the Victorian State Sparring Championships. There are no pictures of me, because I didn't get to compete (I was one of only two female Masters competitors).

In this picture, you can see his dobok (uniform), headguard, shield/chest guard, foot guards, and hand guards.  You can't see his shin guards, forearm guards, groin guard or mouthguard. And I have a similar set of gear (no groin guard). And that's why the bag to hold all the gear (plus strapping tape, instant ice packs, Deep Heat, Deep Heat Ice Gel, ankle braces, water bottles, sweat towels, and other crap) is so humongous.

[Edited to add picture of said humongous bag - the dining table is 3'6" wide.]

At least at the Nationals, we both get a fight. JD will fight the same bloke he fought at the Vic Champs, the only other competitor in his belt/age/weight category. I was originally uncontested, but another competitor is willing to go up an age group and weight group so we'd both get a fight (she was also uncontested). On the upside, all four of us (JD, me, and our respective opponents) are each guaranteed at least a silver medal!

Having my first fight ever at the National Champs is far from idea, but the reality is that there are very few 40+ women who compete: the entries for the Nationals show only four other women in that age group, all of whom are black belts (I'm a lowly blue belt). Oh, and they're all 10-15kg lighter than me. Even if my body can withstand the injuries from training, and I'm still competing when I'm a black belt, I will probably still be uncontested as there's no way I am willing (let alone able) to get below 62 kg to fight lightweight! Eh, I'll cross that bridge if/when I get to it.

* trunk, for my American readers.