everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

A bike ride in Paris

This morning, I went for a bike ride around Champ de Mars in Paris. It was a ride of about 4km and the scenery was lovely. I saw the Eiffel Tower up close (I think I even rode under it), some Parisian pups, lots of tourists, and fit looking people running through the park. I saw all this today*, I did…

Bonjour! Off to a nice start...

Bonjour! Off to a nice start…

Lots of lovely pathways, although it did feel a lot steeper than this appears...

Lots of lovely pathways, although it did feel a lot steeper than this appears…

Et voila.

Et voila.

People even appeared to be taking my photo of as I rode past. Obviously, the photo would have just been a blur...

People even appeared to be taking my photo of as I rode past. Obviously, the photo would have just been a blur…

Les runners et les walkers.

Les runners et les walkers.

* OK, so the tracking information in the first two pics, along with the Google watermarks, show that I wasn’t really in Paris this morning. I was in sunny Sydney, sweating it out on my exercise bike, which features a clever black box designed to trick the exerciser into thinking they’re having fun.

This little iFit device links my stationary bike to the ‘live feed’ Google map of the route I am riding, so I can watch the images on my ipad as they update (along with the incline/resistance on the bike) to simulate my progress on a ride on this actual track. Oui oui.

As a gadget geek, I am quite taken with this new toy – I have already ridden through a park in Spain and Central Park is on the schedule too. Of course, looking at photos on an iPad as I pedal doesn’t take away from the pain and discomfort, and it’s not even close to being there in real life (or IRL as the gamers say). And there’s no incentive in the form of a fresh baguette or pain au chocolat at the end of the ride.

But it’s definitely better than staring at this…

Old school.

Old school.

Au revoir!

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EverydaySparks Book Club – Wonder

I am excited to report that I have read three books during my two-week festive holiday from work. I have also finished at least five magazines (and they were really big ones, guys, full of lots of words and info graphics and stuff). This has reduced the remaining magazine stacks to only semi-dangerous height now. (I did tear out quite a lot of pages for future reference, but since they go on a completely different pile, it doesn’t really count.)

Anyways, back to the books. I dedicate the first EverydaySparks book review for 2015 (the first of at least three reviews, I’ll wager) to a book that was recommended by my fabulous niece, Kate. The book is Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. The age guide is 10+ and let me say that it comes extremely highly recommended by a panel of reviewers aged 12, 30-something and 70-something.

"You can't blend in when you were born to stand out."

“You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”

It is outstanding. Accessible to kids, with its short chapters and contemporary pop culture references. Of universal appeal and education due to its incredible messages around being courageous, different, kind, grateful, and accepting the cards that have been dealt.

Without giving the game away, Auggie is a young boy who was born with severe facial deformities. Really severe. He is a source of much curiosity, sympathy, horror, and ridicule. But people can be so awesome. And that is all I’ll say about this book.

My dear old Dad says it should be compulsory reading for every school kid. I think it should probably be compulsory reading for every human. But we can start with the kids, I guess. You can buy it from book stores all over the world – and I really think you should!

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Some snaps from WA

Greetings from here, the sunny south west of Western Australia. Rather than document the picture-perfect scenery, I thought I’d share some other snaps from WA. Not ones that you’ll be seeing in the tourist guidebooks any time soon, but I think they provide an important insight into some aspects of life in the west.

Supermarket elves pre-peel the onions here

Naked onions.

Naked onions.

Customised car license plates are very big here

Hey

Mrs

Even churches put wacky Christmas ads in the local paper here

Uh huh.

Uh huh.

So, there you go. There’s so much more to this stunningly beautiful part of the world than the incredible beaches, wine and food. You’re welcome!

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Happy New Year!

Hello and I hope that your 2015 is off to a great start. I always like the first day of a new year (or month, or week…or the first day of most new things, really – but especially a new year). It definitely feels like it’s a chance to start afresh, with a clean slate, or a blank page, or a restarted ipad (if you prefer). And that’s super exciting, that sense of optimism and possibility.

'We are lucky ducks', I said yesterday to my niece Amelia (3) as we spent some of the last day of 2014 here. 'But we aren't ducks, we are PEOPLE', she said. Fair point.

‘We are lucky ducks’, I said to my niece Amelia (3) as we spent some of the last day of 2014 here in Busselton, WA. ‘But we aren’t ducks, we are PEOPLE’, she said. Super lucky, either way.

Whatever has happened before can be irrelevant, as the new year marks a new beginning. Whether it’s beginning a commitment to being healthy, reading more books, blogging more frequently, baking more cakes, taking more holidays, meditating regularly or whatever. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s a real beginning or a fake beginning (a re-beginning that is kinda more like a second or fifth or four-hundredth attempt). Whatevs, THIS could be the year!

Anyway, 2015 has not turned me into Deepak Chopra, so that’s the end of my reflection for today.

(Oh, and for the record, I am smashing my new year commitments so far – here’s a blog post, there’s a half-read copy of Amy Poehler’s excellent book ‘Yes Please’, we baked rainbow cupcakes yesterday, and I’m currently enjoying a short break in Western Australia. This year definitely has the potential to be the best ever. Because, why not?)

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