Stepping back to catch my breath I left for home early on 2 days ago, taking the afternoon off to spend some time with Kiddo. I felt I have not been in touch with what her life has been like lately, and that she needed some input on the home front. I got home around 3, and we went out for some coffee and ice cream. We sat down, talked and I caught up with what’s been happening in her life lately. She’s got a whole range of songs in her iTunes collection – songs I’d never imagined would find a place in our home. She knows all these songs and can sing along with most numbers. She’s totally part of this iPod generation, I guess. I asked her why she would want – why anyone would want – anything more than say, 10-20 songs in her iPod and her response summarises the fact that I don’t get it. I don’t, I guess. I don’t get why you’d have more than the number of songs you’d listen to at any one time. On a typical day, I ride something like 45 minutes each way, on the train and tram. Even if I had an iPod plugged into my ears right through, that’s approximately 15 songs. For a return journey, assuming I’d only listen to each song once, I need a maximum of 30 songs. That’s what – 250MB? If she needed more songs, it’s a simple act of plugging that iPod into a PC and load up or swap around. Like most people her generation, she’d probably sit in front of a PC some time during the day anyway. So I don’t get why anyone would find it necessary to have a 4GB or 8GB iPod. Maybe this generation has a thing about having everything on call at the press of a button with minimum hassle. After coffee and ice cream we drove around a bit, then we went home and we talked some more before doing some other fun stuff like watching video clips and playing a play station game. While I felt terrible leaving work early when things have been busy at the office, I felt this was necessary to try and get kiddo and I back on track for a bit and for me to see how she’s doing. I hope she found this as beneficial as I did and that we’d have a continuous “centring” process like this. CSI I’m not quite sure what it is but it isn’t Crime Scene Investigation. It’s a group at work which does some charity work and does stuff like selling chocolates for funding. I think it means corporate and social involvement or something like that and its pet project (pun intended) is sponsorship of a guide dog. This afternoon, it organised a barbeque where it sold sausages, veggie burgers and soft drinks. It also asked staff to come in to work in casual clothes and those who do so contribute a “gold coin” ($1 or $2). So for the privilege of wearing my khakis to work and having a veggie burger and diet coke, I paid $5. The better bit must be the hour or so spent at the park where the barbeque was. Just idling on a park during lunch on a warmish spring day was really very pleasant. This was the sort of work environment I had imagined being in, when I thought about moving over to Australia. Yet it is almost 3 years later before this happened and it doesn’t look like it would be the norm. I guess globalisation means competitive streaks have crept into every nook and cranny of every trading nation. No longer is there anywhere in the world where you’d head for an easier workload or more relaxed lifestyle. Someone mentioned, during the barbeque lunch, that it was the first time in a few weeks he had taken a whole hour off for lunch. That has been true for me as well, with lunch often meaning a quick bite at the desk or a quick dash to the takeaway around the corner. Instead of the fabled 38 hour week the average Melburnian professional probably puts in easily 50-60 hours on the low end and closer to 80 hours on the other end and that is probably a conservative ballpark estimate.