Field Notes Chicago and Portland

Melbourne Field Notes

I love notebooks and related stationery, and for my purposes the premier supplier is Field Notes. I punch through one of their notebooks every couple of weeks, and ususally have two or three on the go at any one time.

One of the neat things that Field Notes do is that they have suggested usages of their books in the back cover, varying from notebook edition to edition. They make a couple of Chicago- and Portland-specific versions, with localised recommendations. I like this, but I feel that Melbourne could do with a version.

Field Notes Chicago and Portland
Chicago and Portland

Therefore, I present below my sugggestions for a Melbourne-based version of Field Notes notebooks.

  1. Collingwood Vs Carlton attendance numbers
  2. Smashed avo recipes
  3. Punt road avoidance strategies
  4. Bad coffee to be pilloried
  5. St Kilda Beach sunning positions
  6. Brighton Iceberger membership list
  7. “Four seasons in one day!”
  8. Sensory Lab vs Market Lane vs St Ali vs Proud Mary
  9. Corner Hotel setlist
  10. Moomba birdman trajectory calculations
  11. Northside/Southside arguments
  12. Floral clock planting arrangements
  13. Beach road lycra choices
  14. Cold brew coffee vs coconut water
  15. Cup Day – sunburn or hypothermia?
  16. Preferred Dandenongs tea venues
  17. Batmania? Bearbrass?
  18. Jokes about Adelaide/Hobart
  19. End-of-season boys’ trip plans
  20. Seasonal Affective Disorder avoidance plans
  21. “We should have installed aircon last year!”
  22. Australia day beer stockpile list
  23. Monash Carpark thoughts
  24. “There should always be a Victorian team in the Grand Final”


Things I’ve learned after a year of lifting at home

It’s been nearly a year since I set up my home gym in my garage. I was originally motivated by a desire to free up more time to attend the gym by removing the commute, assuming you don’t count walking across my overgrown backyard as a commute. I wasn’t originally able to have more equipment than a barbell and some weight plates, so that has limited the scope of what I can do. However as I’ll discuss that has turned out to be beneficial in some ways.

Very close to running out of collar space

Given that, here’s what I’ve learned after a year of barbell training in my garage gym, as a 30-something, somewhat sedentary person with a demanding family and work life.

  1. It’s easy to squeeze in a quick session.. but sometimes I don’t. Although the commute is pretty straightforward, I should be able to punch out a quick 30-minute session on a regular basis. It doesn’t always work like that though. Often the only time I have available to me is at 8:30 in the evening when the kids are in bed, and my general lack of mental organisation at the end of the day means that I often seem to stretch these sessions out. Some days it’s super hard to even put on my training clothes and I collapse into the sofa. I should probably be more diligent, but I’m prepared to accept 2-3 times per week.
  2. The quick lifts seem to be the most beneficial. In the past I’ve mostly trained the powerlifts, but without a bench or squat rack I can now only deadlift. However I’ve not found that to be a problem. I seem to get a lot of benefit from the quick lifts from the floor – clean and jerk, and the power snatch. Something about the opening out and stretching of the snatch in particular seems to refresh me physically and psychologically.
  3. Forced simplicity delivers results. The limitation of my equipment means that I can’t waste time doing things that aren’t contributing to my improvement. My snatch, press, clean and jerk and front squat have all come up because… there’s nothing else that I can train. No doubt there’s a synergistic effect as well – a better clean is likely to translate to a better front squat.
  4. I’ve fallen in love with the overhead squat. Snatch a weight, then squat with it held overhead. I could never do these in the past, but I’ve had some time to fill and I find them very satisfying. They’re a great balance of strength, balance, power and core stability, but are nowhere near as fatiguing as normal back squats.
  5. Cardio still sucks. It just does.
  6. Sometimes I have to train in shitty weather. My garage is cold in winter, very hot in summer, and stinks all year round. It’s far from the optimum training environment, but in many ways that makes it perfect. Life isn’t an optimum training environment and I’m happy to sacrifice a few gold medal performances if it makes me generally tougher and more resilient.
  7. Guinea pigs make bad training partners. George, my kids’ pet, lives in the garage in cold weather. He’s bad conversation, can’t lift for shit, and is terrified by the sound of me dropping weights.

    World’s shittest training partner

After a year, I can wholeheartedly recommend a simple garage gym. I haven’t missed having a rack of dumbbells or cable-based machines even a little bit. If I were going to add anything, it would probably be a squat rack and a bench, but I’m in no particular hurry.

Simple works.