The Beauty of living in Tuggeranong, my top 10 birds seen around my office

This is Lake Tuggeranong, down the southern end of Canberra, what a beautiful shot.

How lucky am I, to work where I do (not the job, just the office location and surrounds)!

I work in an office complex set in a park like environment, with its own fake river corridor running right through the buildings. This morning was a loving morning and I sat downstairs for a few minutes drinking my coffee and relaxing next to the bubbling water and watching the wildlife parading in front of me. Now I may not have actual seen every one of these birds today, but I have seen all of them at one time or another, as they are frequent visitors to the trees and parkland that surround my workplace.

Sometimes I hate coming to work, but at that moment on this morning, once I was outside in my little wildlife nirvana, I was at peace with the world, even that DIRTY rotten milk thief (see yesterday’s blog https://captsavage.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/how-to-stop-a-thief-and-my-100th-post-yippee/) wasn’t bothering me today!!!

My top 10 feathered visitors to my office surrounds enjoy!!!

As per usual, they aren’t in any order…

1. Superb Blue Wren, often found hanging around the little bushes at the front of the offices

2. Rainbow Lorikeet, noisy visitor whenever the native trees and shrubs come into blossom

3. Red Wattlebird, see the cute little red wattles on its cheeks? This one has a really raspy nasty almost metal call

4. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, they are everywhere and the naughty buggers of the cockatoos, often seen ripping the rubber seals out of street lights or ripping flowers to bits just for fun

5. Eastern or Crimson Rosella, beautiful slightly timid birds, with a bell-like call

6. Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo, come around when the pine tree cones are ready to eat, nearly twice as big as the white cockatoo, but have a shy gentle nature

7. Blue Cheeked Rosella, brilliantly coloured, the young birds are actually greenish in colour

8. Australian Magpie, always hanging around on the balcony, begging for tidbits, and prone to swoop cyclists, have a beautiful warbling call

9. Eastern Yellow Robin, delicate little birds that dart around in the bushes around the buildings

10. Last but not least, a symbol of the Australian National Territory, the Gang Gang Cockatoo, have the raspiest call of all.

Yep I am so lucky to work where I am, and that’s not a compliment to the work I do, which is a different thing all together, it’s just great sometimes to sit quietly and watch the wildlife. Where else can you do this less than 1-2 minutes’ walk from your office door? Then it all came to an end as I had to go back in, tranquility shattered, normality crushed in, back to life as a Government drone…

Did you take these photos Capt.?

Nope, only wish I was that good with my camera, but I am intending to take my digital SLR to work in spring and try to get some of my own photos maybe for the blog or to frame.

Capt. Savage

(Next week I move onto the furry animals, and Carp Diem Rose, tomorrow is Karma Post Day!!!)

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Dependence, Independence and Interdependence

Stephen R. Covey died the other day (16 July 2012). He was best known for his top-selling book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ which sold well over 15 million copies worldwide.

Now I don’t agree with everything that Stephen Covey espoused, especially the idea that all you have to do is make the right choices, and that your future is in your own hands. But who can argue with his main messages which were built around fairness, integrity, service to others and human dignity.

One thing that I do agree with is his proposition that all of us as we grow from childhood to adolescence to being adults, move from dependence to independence and then finally to interdependence.

When we are born we are totally dependent on our parents, our carers and our families. As we grow we become more and more independent, more self-reliant, more proactive and less reactive to our environment. We start to plan things, to achieve things, and this leads to a level of independence. According to Covey as we strive for independence we achieve our own private victories.

The more challenging concept is that of interdependence. That is where we start to become part of the community, make a contribution to others, look to work together to achieve rather than just striving to achieve our own goals. As we become interdependent Covey suggested that we should first seek to understand, and then seek to be understood. Further he believed that the best solutions come from joint ideas and involve striving for all involved to winners, rather than just ourselves being the winners. He described this as our public victories.

I’ve read a few of Covey’s books and found that there was quite a bit that was of use to me, and maybe a bit of who I am now is thanks to Stephen R. Covey. My very best wishes to his family and thanks to Stephen for sharing his principles and ideas with us all.

CS

I’m turning into a slacker… And I’m loving it!!!

This morning I slept in and was casually wandering around the unit, getting brekky, listening to the radio, generally (and slowly) waking up, when I happened to glance at the clock and notice it was 8.30… Now I am actually supposed to be at work then, and being a manager I thought I better get my butt into gear and get to work. But then I thought better of that idea and decided what the heck, I made myself a cappuccino in my travel coffee cup, the beauty of having my own coffee machine. Then I casually wandered down to my car.

As I got into the car I noticed that I’d left my work phone off and decided to turn it on. That’s when the appointment reminder popped up to nag me about the 8.30 appointment I was already supposed to be at, OOPS. Hurried apology sent, but did I hurry to get to work, NO, I really am turning into a slacker.

(Yep, that relaxed feeling, bring it on!!!)

I eventually wandered into work just after 9.00, well closer to 9.15.

Why this slackness?

Well I’m actively starting to evaluate what’s important to me, I’m sick and tired of being a victim to my diary and other people’s priorities. I’ve started to turn my mobile phone off, not answer it if I am busy or don’t want to. I’m no longer replying immediately to text messages and emails, not religiously checking my blog for comments or forcing myself to post something each day. I’ve even almost weened myself off my Facebook addiction and now only use my Twitter account to promote my blog entries (when I make them) and then only automatically via the blog software.

Do I feel guilty?

No not the least bit, the meeting was not really that important (to me) although the other party may not agree with me. I’ve started to realise that I can’t always be that incandescently focussed person that some people feel I should be. My eureka moment recently is that maybe my life is better focussed on what I want to do, and I should be honest with others and not just commit myself to things to make other people happy.

(Cats really know how to do lazy)

So am I a slack arse? And does this create endless negative Karma for Capt. Savage?

Capt. Savage

(Learning to live the slack-arse dream)

This week in Karma Gathering – Capt. Savage, the challenge for the coming weeks and beyond!!!

So what have I been or am I trying to achieve in my search for Karma this week? So far all of my energy for the past week has been absorbed acting as a life support system for my three little kids. All other pursuits have ended up coming a poor 2nd or 3rd place in comparison (even my Blog, Facebook and Twitter addictions).

(Is there a 12 step program for my social media addictions?)

But having the kids and watching a YouTube video kindly uploaded by Rose from ButImBeautiful, see her post on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rose.livinginfairyland#!/rose.livinginfairyland/posts/300980526638632?notif_t=share_reply/ about Sherry Turkle’s clip ‘Connected, but alone?’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7Xr3AsBEK4/

It was food for thought for me and made me realise that perhaps a dose of reality is needed for Capt. Savage.

I totally agree with the points in the clip, that it’s so easy to replace real conversations and friendships with virtual personas and text messaging, Facebook posts, tweets, with the effort required to start and maintain a friendship. This is a bit of an admission on my behalf, but I think that I’ve been kind of separating my different worlds, i.e. my online persona from my reality, and investing far too much energy into the former rather than the later (reality).

I’m not saying I’m a social hermit, or that I don’t enjoy being with real people (although some do cause me to cringe a bit and gag in the worst cases), but it does sometimes seem easier to avoid making the effort required to keep in contact with friends by making conversation (real not virtual).

Now I do try to project my actual personality in this blog, although it is shrouded in my manufactured Capt. Savage character. Now don’ think that I am trying to hide anything, it’s just due to the nature of my work, both in my full time and part time military worlds, mean that I am required to be careful about what I say on the web.

So how does this relate to the great Karmic Challenge?

Well, I think it’s time I put up some aims that are a little more challenging for myself (and perhaps for Rose too)… To earn Karma I need to take some risks, stretch myself just a little further I think.

So what am I going to try to do over the coming days, weeks, months leading up to the end of this year (and the Karmic Challenge)?

How about this for the beginnings of a list, which I will add to as I think of things (or cross things off)…

  • Introduce myself to someone new every week and try to engage them in conversation and get to know them (and I mean a real in the flesh person, not via Facebook etc.);
  • Do a genuine good dead every day, doesn’t matter what, could be just letting someone in a line for coffee, giving someone a kind word;
  • Contact an old friend by letter or phone every month and arrange a catch-up;
  • Commit to a regular charitable donation like sponsoring a child, or making a regular pledge to a charity. I love kids so I’ll probably end up sponsoring a child;
  • Be a good citizen at work and make an effort to socialise (note Australian spelling) with others (even those I can’t stand, but without being too creepy crawly);
  • Commit to visiting my mum at least every month or so, she lives over 3 hours’ drive away, but she is 88 and she really appreciates seeing her kids;
  • Try to make someone laugh or get a smile not a frown (but I don’t think I’ll carry a feather sword like my colleague Capt. Feather-sword of the Wiggles);

(the famous Capt. FeatherSword)

  • Write an actual letter to my daughter every week for the rest of the year. Now this might sound harsh as I’ve excluded my sons, but due to their disabilities they have no language and can’t speak, read or write. My daughter however, well it’s hard to shut her up (but I love her regardless); and
  • I’m going to get a pet and love it to death, if I can’t get a real one due to the rules at my apartment block, I’ll adopt one from somewhere and take it for walks, and give it lots of love and attention. Maybe I should just visit Rose as she has an abundance of pets that I could spoil rotten…

Now this is not the end of my list, just a beginning, and I’m not sure how much of this I’ll achieve… But I think I need to get serious about earning Karma, because I think Karma isn’t little ticks in a box, it’s not makeup that I can just put on and take off, it’s life changing stuff.

So Guys (and I know guys isn’t very PC these days, but it’s me so get used to it), any other suggestions of heroic Karmic Challenge tasks that Capt. Savage should hurl himself at?

Or am I just getting carried away and should I pull my head out of my arse?

Any thoughts out there?

Capt. Savage

(From by Psychiatrist’s answering service; if you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly. If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2. If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5 and 6. If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press. If you are manic-depressive, it doesn’t matter which number you press. No one will answer.)

I am Excited (Not)…

The other day I received an email from my boss which scared the hell out of me… In this email, which was about business planning, he said he was ‘excited’.

Now why would this be scary you may asked? Well I spend my days trying to avoid bosses when they get ‘excited’, it means that I too will have to become ‘excited’ about something which I am pretty sure I won’t be .

Fellow Blogger Ben Parr has pretty much hit the nail on the head when he listed “The List of Buzzwords You Should Never Use”. He was talking about advertising terms, but I think it applies equally to management speak.

These days managers feel that to be effective any email needs to include at least one of these meaningless buzzwords to ‘motivate’. Believe me, inserting one or two buzzwords doesn’t magically make something that is totally boring ‘exciting’.

Ben’s list got me thinking, more and more management books are being published every day, and they are all flooded with these words. So I though what would make my Top 10 list of ‘Classic’ buzzwords, the ones that are perennially trundled out at my workplace, and maybe yours too, and just like Ben’s list, they aren’t in any particular order:

1. Game-changing – Since when has anything been ‘game changing’, well occasionally some things do change ‘the game’ permanently, but I’m damn sure that the email sitting waiting in my in-box from the combined brilliance of my employers management team isn’t like President Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon

Apollo Eleven on the Moon

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”  So will my manager’s exciting email about business planning be ‘game-changing’? not a chance…

2. Revolutionary– So if you come up with something that features a slightly new colour or maybe has a new name, let’s call it ‘revolutionary’. The truth is that almost nothing today is ‘revolutionary’, it is always ‘evolutionary’, i.e. the same old idea repackaged, or updated, or augmented, or just the same but with a new name. Now the invention of the steam engine, that was revolutionary!

The French Revolution

The French Revolution was Revolutionary. But business planning, risk management or having staff morning teas, sorry management gurus, they just aren’t ‘revolutionary’ ideas.

3. Solution – Time and time again at my work my boss or other managers come up with ‘the solution’, as if it’s the magic panacea to all the world problems, when instead they just dug into their bag of past ideas. What’s wrong with just providing an answer to a question, why does it have to be the one and only ‘solution’! A solution is a mathematical statement that not only provides answer to a problem, but also explains the logic or calculations used to reach the answer. A management decision is never the only alternative, and rarely ever gives clear logic for how the decision was made, instead it will give you the ‘benefits’ or justifications, therefore it just can’t be a solution… Get over it guys, you just aren’t that clever. According to Adam Sherk, the word ‘solution’ is the 7th most overused buzzword in media releases refer to his article at – http://www.adamsherk.com/public-relations/most-overused-press-release-buzzwords/

4. Never seen before– What a load of crap, how many times have I been told that this problem or issue have ‘never been seen before’! There is nothing that has never been seen before, the world has been around a long time,

Myopia, my boss definitely suffers from it… and I am damn sure that the the issue that my boss has just stormed into my office with, and demanded an instant ‘solution’ to, has been seen somewhere before, even in his myopic existence…

5. Synergy – whoever thought up or started to use this term needs to be shot… It’s only 69th on Adam’s list, but it’s used endlessly by motivational speakers, especially those who follow Stephen Covey, you can read all about it at http://www.stephencovey.com/blog/?tag=synergy/, just don’t choke on all the buzzwords. Why don’t people just communicate (i.e. talk to each other) and listen to and share ideas, make use of each other resources and skills, guess what, that creates synergies… why insert a buzzword? (Damn I just did…)

6. Killer Points – Somehow every document is SO much better when it’s a ‘killer’ document!!! I’m a part-time soldier, and a trained killer, believe me, no email or management pep talk has killer points when compared to the effects of a few well aimed shots from my semi-automatic … Why can’t a document just be good or effective, why does it have to be a ‘killer’ document with ‘killer’ points? I agree with Ben Parr, if I get an email with killer points, I reach for the delete button…

Now James Bond (aka Daniel Craig) definitely has some killer points!!!

7. Groundbreaking – See point 4, nothing really is ever actually ‘new’ or ‘groundbreaking’, get over it boss… It comes 11th on Ben’s list and 45th on Adam’s list, but it’s 7th on mine.  As I said before, nothing is ever that ‘groundbreaking’, the world evolves.

8. Transformative or Transformational Leadership – Why can’t you just be a good leader, who leads by example, is strong, is consultative, and i.e. gets things done. Why put a silly buzzword in front of things…

9. Paradigm shift– A paradigm shift is a fundamental change to a theory or belief, it’s not the latest management fad or trend. Newton created a paradigm shift when he discovered gravity, Copernicus caused one when he realised the Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe, A true Paradigm Shift, the Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe, thanks Copernicus.

Copernicus, the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology

Einstein when he put forward the theory of relativity, but the iPad and iPhone are not new paradigms, are you listening marketing gurus!!!

And finally, Ta Da…

10. Excited – Well what’s left to say, no boss I am not excited by another round of business planning, it happens every year and I am still to see anything to come from it apart from more work for me… Excitement is me winning the lottery, catching the eye of a hot looking babe, beating my personal best on a training run, or doing other things that I really enjoy. It’s the anticipation before the event, it is not opening another email from you!!!

Capt. Savage

(Part-time soldier who definitely has some killer points of his own)

Capt. Savage, can't you see the excitement written all over my face?

P.S. So was I excited by the bosses most recent ‘exciting’ email… No!!! my bosses email didn’t cause excitement, it had a similar effect on me as most election campaigns do… Although I don’t quite fill out my chair like these gents do… Got to love Americans… (See the excited folk below).

Excited McCain supporters at an US election rally