On Sunday November 2nd, 2008 (at 1pm AEST) my father, Les Jones, held his 70th Birthday party in Sorrento with close friends and family.
I was asked to do a speech for this very special occasion... a loose transcript of which (including associated slides) follows...
Les Jones 70th Birthday speech by Dean Jones.
OK. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dean Jones and I am Les’ eldest son.
Firstly... id just like to say thank you to you all for coming today, hope your all having a good time.
I’d also like to thank Nanette for organizing everything for today including the lovely food and generous servings of alcohol.
This is really a special occasion, the 70th Birthday of a very special person.
I've been thinking lately about how I might feel at the age of 70, that is after living through a cold war, a world war, a space race, an Internet boom and bust, the current financial crisis… and becoming a father and grandfather.
My first thought is that I'd probably be a little tired and ready for a radox bath and a bit of a rest.
But look at my dad. 70 years old, and in better shape and more active than many people my age.
As famous US Journalist Dorithy Thompson once said…
“Age is not measured by years. Nature does not equally distribute energy. Some people are born old and tired while others are going strong at seventy.”
1938 was an eventful year that saw the US economy go into recession, the birth of Superman, the Invention of the Photocopier, Nylon, Freeze Dried Coffee and the Biro pen… and it was the year when the famous Orson Wells dramatization of the "War of The Worlds" radio programme caused wide-spread panic when it was broadcast more like a breaking news story than a play.
Closer to my fathers interests, 1938 also saw Howard Hughes set a new Round The World Record of 3 days, 19 hours and McDonnell Aircraft, a leading producer of military aircraft, was founded.
1938 was also the year my father was born. November 6, 1938 in Parramatta, NSW.
Shortly after being born, my dad and his mother moved to Mein St. Spring hill, Brisbane spending part of WWII there.
In Brisbane, his Mother met Stan Jones who became his stepfather.
At the end of the war, around 1945, the 3 of them moved to Aspendale/Mordialloc where his step dad Stan opened a pastry cook business.
In 1947 when my father was around 8 years old he moved to Carlton and went to Rathdowne St Primary School.
Around this time he started working to help support his mum and step dad and had a morning paper round… and sold evening papers on the corner of Elizabeth St and Bourke St City.
In 1951, when my father was 12 years old, the family moved to a farm at Maryborough. There he would ride to and from school 8km’s every day.
2 to 3 years later, the family moved into Maryborough Township where my father, then around 14, started playing for Maryborough Seniors Cricket team
In 1955 he won the ‘Defence Department Cadet Engineer Scholarship’ and was subsequently paid a salary to go to school.
He moved to St Kilda in 1956 and stayed at a Methodist church Hostel whilst attending RMIT.
That same year my father joined the department of defense as a Cadet Engineer.
Around 1956/7 he moved to his Aunt’s (Ruth and Uncle Peter) residence in Nunawading and started playing Cricket for Nunawading. He also bought his first car… an Austin A30.
In 1958 my father graduated from RMIT with a ‘Fellowship Diploma of Engineering’ (Communications Engineering). At the completion of his tertiary education and work experience he became a Design Engineer at Government Aircraft Factories (GAF.)
That same year, his parents moved from Maryborough to Webb Street, Narre Warren where he met his future wife, and my mother, Irene.
In 1959 he moved to Adelaide for 6 months to attend Weapons Research Establishment as part of his Cadet Engineer training.
He returned to Melbourne late 1959 and started work at the ‘Government Aircraft Factories’ as a Design Engineer on the Jindivik Drone.
He bought his second car that year… a Vauxhall Velox.
The 60’s were an extremely eventful time in my fathers life.
In 1963 my father married my mum, Irene and very shortly after they were married they built and moved into their first house in Madelline St, Glen Waverly.
The 60’s were defined by 3 things… my fathers working at GAF, his starting a family and his love of dogs.
In 1966 my father would have me. 2 years later in 1968 my younger brother Evan was born.
My father started breeding and showing dogs in the 60’s and would enter them at the royal Melbourne Dog show winning many awards.
I have some very fond memories of our dogs… including my favorite… Prudence.
I remember when I was very young my teacher Ms Nichols at Yarra Valley asked the class to compose a sentence using the words ‘mate’ and ‘hate’.
I quickly raised my hand and said… “Daddy mated prudence and I hate yoghurt”.
In 1970, when I was 4, we moved to Park Orchards to a newly built house on a little under 5 acres.
I have some great memories of growing up in Park Orchards… and in particular the family home which had 36 fruit tree’s, 16 geese, 14 dogs and 4 donkeys… and lots of snakes.
Speaking of snakes… I remember my brother and our then next-door neighbor found a snake ‘very’ close to the house. My father almost fell over trying to race out the door and put his pants on at the same time.
Something I loved doing with my father while growing up was going camping… and it was during the 70’s that we started going on a regular basis both with my father’s friends and families at GAF and with my school friends from Yarra Valley.
In the late 70’s, early 80’s my father was promoted to Design Manager at GAF in charge of 38 Engineers. Around 1986 he was promoted to Chief Designer managing 250 people…and also became a member of the advisory committee for the Civil Aviation Authority.
Dave Prowse will be saying a few words shortly… and he will elaborate on my fathers time at GAF.
I left Yarra Valley in 1983 and soon after became a nightclub DJ.
As an little aside for the 80’s… I was the Park Orchards tennis club champion 3 years running only to be pipp’ed in the final for the 4th consecutive title by an in form Warren Kidd.
This pic (pointing to the pic of me and dad above) is also significant as it would be the last one with my father and me where I was shorter than he was.
In 1989, my nephew and my fathers first grandson Alex Jones was born.
In 1992 my father retired from GAF.
What does a retired career engineer do next…? Obviously, he starts a nightclub with his son.
In 1993, my father, myself and a group of friends including Charles Edleston, who is here today, started a nightclub in Ringwood called Jooce.
The venue was a huge success and everyone involved had a brilliant time.
Jooce would be the first of many business ventures that we would do together.
In May 1994, the 2nd of 3 grandchildren was born… Aimeelee.
Daniel, was born 4 years later in November 1998… and for anyone interested in buying him a present, he is turning 10 in a few weeks.
I think its fair to say that Alex, Aimeelee and Daniel have all brought enormous joy to my father… and to be fair to me, Uncle Dean.
(Short break from my speech where Alex, Aimeelee, Daniel, Thomas and Amelia each delivered a short speech to my father.)
In the late 90’s, early ‘naughties’ my father and Nanette became a couple. Shortly after, September 2000 to be precise… Nannette and my father became ‘official’ at their ‘co-habitation’ party… held here (at their place in Sorrento.)
The 2000’s also saw more grand children, this time from Nanette’s side of the family, with Grandson Thomas and Grandaughter Amelia.
In 2003 Nanette celebrated her 65th Birthday, also held here it would appear (Nanette: "No it wasn't")... and as you can see with this picture both my father and Nannette make a great couple.
I have never seen my father as happy as he has been in recent years and I know much of this has come down to his relationship with Nanette.
Not only are they great friends… but Nanette also shares my fathers love of Travel and Golf.
Over recent years they have traveled extensively overseas visiting China, Slovakia, Turkey and Istanbul.
Anyone that has met my father would know he is a mad golfer… and a very good golfer at that.
My father has made a lot of friends through Golf, some of them are here today.
Which brings us to today… my fathers 70th Birthday.
Dad… I have a couple of helpful tips for turning 70…
Tip number 1... Develop the power of a photographic memory – take photographs of everyone in your life you need to remember.
Tip number 2... Keep a personal diary – it will be a handy reminder of what you did yesterday.
Turning 70 though does have its advantages…
Things you buy ‘now’ won't ever wear out.
You can eat dinner early at 4 P.M.
You have a 'wild' party and the neighbours don't even realize it.
Your investment in private health insurance is finally beginning to pay off and
Your personal secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
(My friend Richard called Joe to bring the special 'guest' to the party)
This last shot was taken recently and shows Nannette and my father enjoying a quality glass of red together. To me this sums up my father.
He is happiest sharing a nice wine and a having a chat with the people he loves.
As I have grown older I am constantly both amazed and re-assured at how smart, generous and patient my father is… more so it would appear, as he gets older. He is the smartest person I know.
Were always told as children that you don’t understand what your parents do for you until you stand on your own two feet and do it yourself.
As Mark Twain said… "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished a how much he had learned in seven years!"
Since around the time I started working… and especially so when we developed Jooce Nightclub together in the early 90’s… we have become very close and have met on a weekly basis where possible… usually over a couple of Pizza’s at Sophia’s in Hawthorn to talk about pretty much anything… and nothing.
It is my favorite part of my week. I think dad enjoys it to.
Not only do I have a wonderful father… but as we have got older I have also gained a close friend and mentor. Happy 70th Dad.
So let's all raise our glasses to my father. Happy 70th Birthday Dad.
OK... I now have a little surprise (looking at my father)… someone you haven’t seen for a while… a special 'guest'.
Now if everyone other than my father can please walk outside to the balcony.
Dad... come with me (facing the opposite way.)
Everyone but my dad has at this stage worked out what is going on. Nanette, my fathers partner (whom unfortunately is out of shot in this pic), is a little confused at this point thinking that I have brought a strip-a-gram to the party (will make sense 'why' she thought this a few photo's from now.)
Penny dropped... 'Happy 70th Birthday Dad.'
Special 'guest', my fathers 70th Birthday present... a 2008 Mercedes C200 Kompressor. This shot was taken while my friend Joe was waiting to bring the car to the party.
Picture of car taken in driveway at my fathers 70th birthday party.
Photo of me and my dad taken shortly after my speech.
Special thanks to Richard and Joe for helping me keep the present a 'surprise' and for helping me on the day.
Special thanks also to Steve for the great pics.
Well... thats about it. An amazing party... and an amazing day. One that will stay with me for a lifetime.
Thanks for letting me share this with you.
I am often asked... "How do I get traffic to my website?"
The challenge when answering this question is that for most businesses with an online presence, getting more people to a website is only part of the problem (in fact in my experience, getting more people to a particular website is the 'last' thing you should be doing.)
For a website to be successfully it isn't enough to simply get visitors (or more visitors) but to focus also on what happens to those visitors once they get there. That is to get them 'to and through' the website.
Most people tend to overlook this point, focusing on getting any and every user they can to visit their website and in doing so paying little attention to what happens to them once they get there.
For me this is the real world equivalent to spending large sums of money to drive an audience to a retail outlet... for the visitor to then be greeted by poor customer service, a confusing offer, too many/too few products on offer, inappropriate fit out etc...
I would call this the 'shotgun' approach to marketing basically firing off as many marketing bullets as you can in the blind hope that you will 'hit' some potential customers, and better still, maybe even convert a few to sales.
This approach doesn't work offline and is even less effective online where a user leaving your site to go to a competitors is only a mouse click away.
Some time ago I created a 4 part marketing methodology which provides an easy way to measure the performance of any marketing system (in this case a website) and affect its performance.
For a website it goes like this...
1. Are enough potential customers being exposed to your business?
Here you need look at everything from self maintainable generation of traffic (URL Forwarding, Search Engine Optimisation, Doorway Pages/Mini Sites, Link Exchange Programs etc...) to external programs (Search Engine Marketing, Banner Advertising, Website Sponsorships etc...).
Additionally, given the way Search Engines 'index' page content, work needs to be done on 'visible' copy before the website goes live. This would include restructuring main area copy towards the terms that potential customers/visitors may use to find the website (or the various goods/services you are trying to sell.)
2. Is your businesses 'core offer' being seen by enough of your target customers?
Work here includes modification of website navigation, page size (speed), copy and design to maximise the number of people that will see your businesses core offer(s).
Analysis of your website statistics will determine where potential customers are going within the website. This data can be used to determine what pages require improving and what pages could be left alone (or in some cases deleted altogether.)
Fundamentally, this section involves doing what you can to get more people to see what it is you built your website for in the first place.
This could be anything from trying to drive more people to sign up for a newsletter through to viewing a range of products/services that your business offers.
3. Are you getting enough potential customers engaged in the sales process? Do you have enough enquiries?
This is one of the more critical areas for review.
Here you are trying to get more website users to move from 'just browsing' to being actively engaged with your business. That is to call your 1800 number, fill in an enquiry form or view the various products/services you have on offer.
This could include things like modifying the 'product' (or service) copy for Search Engines, re-designing e-commerce forms to be easier (and quicker) to fill in, improving the forms 'call to action', better placement of contact information etc...
Installing external functionality to move people to or engage people in your offer is also an option.
Some time back I discovered a brilliant platform that does just that called LivePerson (or the opensource version, PHPLive) which can both push potential customers to the 'offer' and more importantly, prompt people to engage in the quoting/buying process as soon as they enter your website.
4. Are you converting as many leads as your business is capable of?
Improvement in this area will cover everything from ensuring that the quality of leads (in the case of a sales driven website) getting to the sales people is high through to making sure that each and every lead is promptly addressed, given to the relevant sales person and most importantly, entered into the system for follow up.
Once again, technologies like LivePerson and PHPLive will help close more sales.
Analysis of your websites stats would help determine which type of customer generated more sales and therefore allow you to modify various marketing programs, website copy/design etc... as appropriate.
Importantly for this section, you need also review 'non website factors that contribute to helping or harming the sales/conversion process.
I once provided some advice for a very large business in the 'moving' sector that was getting a strong volume of leads but not converting as many of these as they would have liked.
The problem boiled down to 1 fundamental issue... poor management of the leads coming from the website.
Here leads were often getting lost (they were printed out by reception and handed on paper to the sales staff) and in the main were not being addressed in a quick enough fashion (what worked for the offline business wasn't working online where quicker, more nimble competitors were responding in 'web time'.)
3 things I suggested ended up contributing to an approx. 500% increase in sales for this business.
- All leads from the website were automatically submitted to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
- All leads from the website were to be responded to within 24 hours of them being received.
- Casual staff were employed to work weekends such that leads received on a Saturday (where almost 50% of leads come from in the moving space) were addressed shortly after they were submitted.
The above 4 area's are constantly repeated as you gather data from your websites statistics, SEO, SEM, customer feedback, marketing performance and competitor analysis... 'Feedback Loops'.
Importantly by improving each of these 4 marketing touch points, even incrementally, you should see a profound improvement in volume of leads/enquiries from your website marketing efforts... and hopefully therefore in actual sales, membership subscriptions or service contracts (or whatever you would define as a 'conversion' from your website.)
In a previous post, I mentioned the then pending launch of Exitreality, a Company I am an advisor for that converts each and every website in the world into a 3D environment... right inside a standard web browser.
The launch yesterday in Melbourne, Australia was a huge success with extensive coverage in online and print media.
A sample of the coverage follows... Australian Company Launches 3D Internet Tool, Exitreality with 3D Web Browser, Australian Company Launches 3D Web Browser, Exitreality Rurns Web Sites Into 3D Sandboxes, Three-Dimensional Web Pages Possible With Browser Plug-In and Web Browser Takes Surfers Into The Third Dimension.
It has also been covered by most of the Australian TV networks during their prime time news programs. Exciting stuff.
A little over a month ago I wrote a post here called 'Geek to Freak... its on!' on my attempts to start a new weight program based on a similarly named blog post from Tim Ferris which itself is based on something called The Colorado Experiment.
In summary, the program involves (in my case at least) substituting a 4 - 6 sessions per week, 4 exercises by 3 sets program (12 overall sets per session) with 2 sessions per week, 8 exercises by '1' set program.
This substantially lower number of overall sets per week will supposedly produce 'better' results than a regular weights program through a focus on the following (in summary... the full program is shown in my previous post on this topic.)
- Chose enough exercises to ensure you cover all major muscles.
- Perform each exercise only once to failure. Rest at least 3 mins between exercises.
- Perform each repetition 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down (very slowly.)
- Focus on multi-joint exercises (such as overhead press and dips.)
- Exercise less frequently as you increase strength and size.
Despite only being on this program a matter of weeks, it appears to be working. At the very least at this early stage... I haven't lost any muscle size despite exercising substantially less times per week 'and' less frequently.
One small problem though...
I am currently OS for business. Normally when I travel, I ensure 2 things before I leave... that the airline knows to serve me vegetarian food... and the hotel I will be staying at either has a gym or is close to one.
No such luck on this leg of the trip.
The Villa Resort I'm staying at in Tacloban, Philippines has no fitness centre and the nearest town, 30 mins away by car, doesn't have a supermarket or hotel... let alone a fitness centre/gym.
The challenge then was how to maintain my fitness program without access to a gym... or for that matter without access to gym equipment.
I came up with the following program using objects and/or my surroundings... exercises that could be reproduced just about anywhere.
In order to exercise the main muscle groups, I have produced a short program of 7 exercises, covering... shoulders, chest, upper back, arms (biceps and triceps), stomach and legs.
Allowing for the 3 minutes rest between each exercise, the program took around 30 mins.
N.B. I should point out before proceeding that the following program may not suit everybody and that you should seek professional advice (doctor/personal trainer) before considering doing all or part of the program yourself.
(I had attached start/end position images for each of the 7 exercises below, 14 pics, however as I had to upload this post via Webmail... Posterous has clustered the images into 1 file, now at the base of this post, and I can't separate them and place them against their appropriate exercises. Damn.)
1. Push Up (Chest.)
Start with your body in the extended position (as shown in the image above), legs together, toes touching the ground.
Arms should be almost straight with fingers pointing forwards and your wrists in such a position that your forearm stays at 90 degrees to the ground at all times throughout the exercise.
Body should be straight throughout the entire exercise, no arching of the back or bending of the knees.
Take 5 seconds to move from the starting position to a point close to the ground (not touching) and then take another 5 seconds to return to the original position. Importantly, there is no resting between each upward/downward movement... and no 'sudden' movement when changing direction.
Repeat to fail... that is do as many push ups as shown above until you are unable to do anymore.
For me, and I am around 90 KG's, this is around 10.
2. Shoulder Press (Shoulders.)
For this exercise I found a solid wooden stool that I'm guessing weighed around 10 - 15 KG's (possibly heavier... hard to tell.)
The key here was to choose something not as heavy as I would normally lift at a gym... but light enough that I could get around 10 rep's in for the set.
I aimed for around 50% - 80% of the weight I would have used for a regular shoulder exercise.
Start with the chair placed above your head, biceps horizontal, forearms perpendicular to your biceps (90 degrees.)
As with the push ups above, move slowly... 5 seconds lifting up, 5 seconds returning to the original position. No stopping and no sudden movement between pushing up and down.
Repeat to fail.
Footnote: Have given some thought to alternatives that would suit should a suitably weighted chair not be available.
2 x 2 Litre water bottles filled with sand/dirt might do the trick... although using these would likely take more reps to complete the exercise (as they wouldn't weigh as much as a chair.)
Another object you could substitute for a chair, appropriate if you are traveling like me, would be a small piece of luggage (about the size you would use for 'carry on') and fill it appropriately for your chosen weight.
3. Still Squat (Legs.)
This one is a lot easier to explain... but ended up being one of the more painful, in a good way...
Simply stand against a solid wall or door. Ensure you are around a third of a meter (or 1 foot for my US friends) from the wall/door.
Crouch down such that the bottom half of your legs are perpendicular to the ground and the top half is horizontal (or 90 degrees to the bottom half.) Your back should be resting firmly against the wall/door.
Hold this position for as long as you can. Simple.
4. Sit Ups (Stomach.)
Using the same chair from the above-mentioned 'Shoulder Press' exercise, I laid on the ground with my legs placed over the chair.
The starting position had my entire back and head touching the ground and my legs positioned such that my thighs were at a right angle to my stomach and my lower legs were parallel to the ground (resting on the top of the chair.)
To begin, place your hands to the side or your head (not behind your head) and lift your upper body up slowly, as close to your knees as you can. Without stopping, return to the starting position... 'stopping' just before you touch the ground... and repeat.
5 seconds up, no break, 5 seconds down, no break... and so on.
Repeat to fail.
5. Biceps Curl (Arms 1.)
Using the same chair from the previous Shoulder Press (Anchor?) and Sit Ups (Anchor?) exercises... start with the chair placed in front of you... with your forearms 90 degrees to your biceps.
Lift the chair up slowly... as far as you can, ensuring your elbows remain in the same position throughout the entire exercise.
5 seconds up, 5 seconds down... with no stopping between up and down... and no 'swinging' of the body or sudden movements (ideally only the elbow through the forearms area should be moving.)
Repeat to fail.
6. Triceps Dip (Arms 2.)
Again using the same chair from the exercises above, start facing away from the chair with your hands placed on the top front edge of the chair, facing forward and around your body width apart (that is your thumbs should be aligned with the edges of your hips.)
Place your feet around half a meter (approx. 1 foot, 8 inches) forward from the chair. Your arms should be almost straight with your upper body vertical and your thighs horizontal to the ground.
Slowly move your upper body down towards the ground, stopping before you touch the ground. Using your triceps, push up to return to the starting position.
5 seconds up, 5 seconds down... no breaks.
Repeat to fail.
7. Pull Ups (Upper Back.)
I knew before I set out creating this 'on the road' weights program that finding an appropriate and suitable exercise for my upper back would be a challenge.
Luckily the Villa I am staying in has a double door, opening outwards from the middle. Now importantly these doors were very solid (strong) so able to carry my weight and by using the trusty chair from the earlier exercises, I was able to fix the open doors into position by wedging the chair in the middle between them.
The size of the chair ended up being a perfect fit, leaving the doors ajar around the width of my shoulders (slightly further.)
Kneel (or crouch) on the chair between the doors... and place both wrist on the top of each door close to the edge where the 2 doors meet when closed.
Starting position for me had me lifting myself up from the chair (from the kneeling on the chair) such that the the top of my head was slightly above the level of my fingers.
Lower your body slowly to a point where your knees are almost touching the chair and your arms are reasonably well extended.
5 seconds down, 5 seconds up... no stopping... repeat to fail.
Since completing this particular exercise, I have given thought to some alternatives. I'm sure that most places I will stay at when OS... or for that matter even where I live in Australia... wont have a double door... let alone one strong enough to support my weight.
Earlier today I experimented with a new upper back exercise using a standard hotel bathroom towel and an outdoor pole (the one visible in some of the images within this post) strong enough to support my weight.
For this exercise I stand facing the pole with my toes touching the base of the pole. Next I wrap the towel around the pole, firmly holding the ends of the separately in my wrists.
Starting position... I slowly lower myself till my arms are fully extended with my body straight... and about 45 degrees to the pole and ground.
I then slowly pulled my body up to a point where my chest touched my wrists... then lowered myself down slowly to the starting position. 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down. Continue to fail.
I haven't actually done this exercise in full as yet... will do so tomorrow and provide an update on its effectiveness as well as any other additions/changes I might make to the program.
And speaking of additions/changes. If anyone has any ideas as to how I could improve the above exercises effectiveness... or even some alternatives... please add your thoughts to the comments section below.
Am particularly keen to find alternatives for the Shoulder Press and Biceps exercises as I lucked out on the chair I have here at the Villa Resort.
Not only is it the perfect weight... the flat panel legs (2 legs, not 4) are a good fit both for 'grip' on the Shoulder Press and for 'control' on the Biceps Curls (impossible to move the elbows during the exercise.) Am unlikely to find something similar on my next trip OS... should I need to.
Maybe I could use several full water bottles bound together in plastic shopping bags. Mmmmmmmmm...
As some of you may know, I have been extensively involved with the ExitReality ("The entire Web in 3D") project since 2006, initially as an investor, then as CEO.
The Exitreality platform is launching to Public Beta in the next couple of hours.
News of the launch has already started to spread... a short story on the launch in Melbourne, Australia is featured in the online edition of The Age newspaper, Internet set to get 3D makeover.
A longer, more in depth story is featured in Virtual Worlds News, ExitReality Launches to Public Beta: A Connector for the 3D Web?
The new 3D web browsing plug-in (3.5mb) can be downloaded for free from the Exitreality Home Page.
I feel privileged to have been able to help nurture and grow ExitReality to a point, that in the full passage of time it will be seen as one of the truly great, global online technologies and businesses.
The time is now appropriate however (mission accomplished) for me to devolve my front line activities and take a position on the ExitReality board of advisers as the company launches into its very exciting public beta stage.
I wish Danny and the team at Exitreality all the success that will deservedly come their way.
In addition to joining the Exitreality board of advisors... I will be focusing on my own projects, ranging from a more active role with some of the companies I have invested in over the past several years... through bringing to life ideas from my 'Idea Books' (plenty to keep me busy.)
I will expand on my own projects shortly... look for a change in the Whodeani LinkedIn profile in the coming weeks... and of course I will post updates here on Posterous.
One of the things that inspired me to finally start my own blog was an article I read on Tim Ferriss' blog... specifically this post... From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks and also this post How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise.
Inspiring stuff... so much so that after a few false starts... I have decided to follow the 'Geek to Freak' post... The 'geek to freak' program boils down to this (quoting from Tim)...
Here are the six basic principles that made it happen:
1. Follow Arthur Jones’ general recommendations for one-set-to-failure from the little-known Colorado Experiment, but with lower frequency (maximum of twice per week) and with at least 3 minutes between exercises.
2. Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.
3. Focus on no more than 4-7 multi-joint exercises (leg press, trap bar deadlift, overhead press, Yates bent row, dips, incline machine benchpress, etc.) and exercise your entire body each workout to elicit a maximal hormonal (testosterone, growth hormone + IGF-1) response.
4. Eat enormous quantities of protein (much like my current fat-loss diet) with low-glycemic index carbohydrates like quinoa, but drop calories by 50% one day per week to prevent protein uptake downregulation.
5. Exercise less frequently as you increase strength and size, as your recovery abilities can only increase 20-30%, while you can often increase fat-free muscle tissue up to 100% before reaching a genetic set-point.
6. Record every workout in detail, including date, time of day, order of exercises, reps, and weight. Remember that this is an experiment, and you need to control the variables to accurately assess progress and make adjustments.
Today I started the program (as above... after a few false starts) and the work out itself was very different to what I am used to (and took considerably less time.)
Having said that my muscles are the 'right' kind of sore today.
Will try and ramp up the protein as well in the coming weeks... and jog more often.
At this early stage I plan on sticking to the weight program... that is 2 days of 30 minutes only per week... and to jog at least twice a week (possibly 3 times if I go twice on the weekend.) Will take some progress pics shortly... and post(erous) here.
Who is the builder of the year...?
Mr Disco... who is and why was 'Mr Disco'.
Before 'Anatomy of a Hit' and well after Deuce by Cleva Cleva (and after Motional... another story)... there was Mr Disco... the heir apparent to the Cock Rock Crown.
In Australia during the 80's, there was a famous rock band called The Angels whom used have a huge hit with a song called... "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again".
The band had quite a large live following... I remember seeing them at of all places the Skate Ranch in Nunawading during an all ages disco (again... another story.)
The song "Am I Ever..." was a particular crowd favorite with the audience answering the question posed in the Chorus... "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again..." with "No Way Get F'd, F off"
Fast forward to more recent times and I had the wild idea to not only cover the track 'and' include the audience refrain... but to also convert to a dance/disco number.
Genius... maybe not.
I got together with my good friend Richard Mataska whom helped me get all the base music into the computer... and we then wrote new music to go with music and samples from the original.
I have the track somewhere in storage... will endeavor to find it and upload it here for a future post.
For now though... to follow is a cut and paster of a BIO put together with Tim Giles (a seriously talented and funny writer I have worked with in several businesses dating back as far as 1999) answering for all time who is and why was Mr Disco...
“Am I ever gonna see your face again?… No way get f____d, f__k off!!!”
If you entered any high school in the eighties it would not take long to find a group of teenage boys calling themselves a band. A rite of passage along with pimples and stolen kisses, a musical dalliance to be explored through gigs at birthday parties and youth clubs, and if you were lucky perhaps even the local skate ranch. With unbridled enthusiasm and a mastery of three chords they were the true believers of Oz rock. Playing music as god intended it, as a means to pick up chicks.
Most soon succumbed to vocational realities. Cutting their hair and getting “real” jobs packing shelves rather than the stadiums of their dreams. Days in cock rock that never quite made it past puberty. But then there was Mr Disco.
Armed with a fourth chord and enough pubic hair to satisfy even the most hirsute fetishist, Mr Disco burst out of the eighties to become one of the most influential bands of the post Gulf War era. Bourbon fuelled and provocative, Mr Disco pushed the limits of a conservative society crying out to be liberated, (or for their money back, one could never be sure). They were the avant guard and set the precedent. In fact judges in criminal nuisance cases are following many of these precedents to this day.
Mr Disco formed back in the crazy days of the early eighties at that bastion of adolescent intimacy, the Blue Light Disco. Lead singer Art Pamphlett fondly recalls…
“I was pashing this chick and the next thing she starts spewing up Brandavino and Twisties everywhere. So I go an’ tell one of the supervisors to go get a mop and who should show up to clean up the chunder than Lucky Quimby. Seems he was on a bond for some thing or other, and the coppers had him on mop duty at the Blue Light. Every time I smell vomit nowadays, and lets face it that’s quite often in a rock band, I can’t help but thank that lucky quirk of fate and gastric juices that brought us together.”
Art’s distinctive vocals have been a feature of the band since the earliest days. Somewhere between a yodel and a Muslim call to prayer, the squeaky falsetto tones are a legacy of a locker room towel flick gone wrong. Rather than being a setback, however, Art sees having testicles that refuse to drop as being the godsend that set him on the springboard to rock immortality. It also came in handy during the subsequent clashes with schoolyard bullies and nightclub bouncers that punctuated his earliest song lyrics. One cannot listen to “But my names on the door you sadistic prick” off the “Beer Bong” album without sharing his pain.
Art’s startling blue eyes and shiny, bald head, are in complete contrast to the boyish good-looks and rock-star spiked hair of Roger ‘The Admiral’ Browning. Almost replaced by a drum machine in the late eighties, Browning managed to hold his spot in the line up due to diligent practice and the need for three people to move Quimby’s antique bass amp around between gigs.
Further illustrating the differences within this unholy trinity is the effeminate locks of Lucky Quimby. Looking more like a pole surfing alter boy than the bile spilling anarchist he aspires to be, Quimby pushes the limits of artistic performance through energetic stage presence and pitch perfect flatulence. Known for his penchant for squeezing one out to give resonance to a bass line, Quimby adhered to a strict dietary program that enhanced his performance. He pioneered the use of rectal release as an art form. A path since followed by luminaries Mr Methane, The Tokyo Shock Boys and Anthony Mundine.
Caught in the twilight between street credibility and commercial acceptance, Mr Disco were the true outlaws of the beer barn era. They played hard and they partied even harder often to the chagrin of their contemporaries. Pamphlett still bristles at the hypocrisy of the time.
“Cold Chisel go on the Count Down awards and trash the set and end up as legendary anti heroes. We do the same thing on the Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and we get hounded out of town.”
The off stage exploits of the band should not overshadow the music. Whilst the bar room brawls with the rhythm section of Wa Wa Nee made the papers, it was the live show that stamped the Mr Disco sound. As the world recoiled at the threat of Aids and hid their love behind layers of latex, Mr Disco championed the truest love of all on the “Feeding the chooks” EP. Pamphlett summing up the mood of the times with the tortured refrain…
“How can you ignore me and say its not right, when I paint your portrait on the inside of my sheets every night.”
Despite the success of the 1990 international tour, personal differences began to surface within the band forcing them to leave “Fairstar the fun ship” in Vanuato, and make their own way back to Australia. A dark period for “the discos” and despite Art Pamphlett’s brief re emergence into the spotlight as “Sphinktor” in televisions Gladiators, individually they could not capture the magic that sparkled when they were together. Until now.
Older and wiser, the original members of Mr Disco stumbled into each other at a St Kilda soup kitchen one frosty winters night in early 2001. Agreeing to put their personal differences aside the trio vowed to have one last crack at the big time. Pamphlett and Browning are now 36, with Quimby the baby of the group at 34. Sober and focused for perhaps the first time in their lives, Mr Disco have rediscovered the edge that catapulted them to the second or third tier of rock stardom in the eighties.
Mr Disco’s new single, "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" is an interpretation of the Angels Oz rock classic. The song has evolved into an anthem with the sing along chant "no way, get f____d, f__k off" becoming an Australian tradition. Whilst never having the opportunity to grace the stage with Doc and the boys back in the days of Count Down and thin leather ties, Mr Disco share a special affinity with this song having been told to fuck off more times than Nikki Webster’s publicist.
This new version of “Am I ever…” has a distinctive, unique style somewhere between rock and 80’s disco with fast-paced rhythms, driving base and sharp vocals.
Mr Disco are…
(Lead singer of Mr Disco – Art Pamphlett – backstage at the 2001 Aria awards.)
Art Pamphlett or ‘Art’ (pronounced ‘Art) was born Arthur Mendleson Bach Pamphlett in the foyer of Her Majesties Theatre in 1966. He arrived unannounced during intermission in a performance of Wagner's Die Walkure, in which his mother had the lead. Young Art's first impressions were of his mother clad in full Nordic operatic regalia, complete with helmet and horns, a factor that perhaps could explain his later fondness for bovine company.
Being born into a musical family exposed Pamphlett to a world of classical music that would influence his later artistic endeavours. Somewhat of a child prodigy he possessed an angelic voice and by the age of seven was the featured attraction of the local church choir. Despite a propensity for random displays of public nudity, he appeared headed for the conservatorium until fate intervened in the form of a senseless locker room prank.
Despite the efforts of the best surgeons in Melbourne his testicles could not be retrieved, leaving Pamphlett with a distinctive quavering falsetto that would become his signature.
Once the stitches healed, Pamphlett attempted to return to the life of a normal Boronia schoolboy. Disillusioned by classical music, Art threw himself headlong into the vibrant music of the time. "The Stars on 45", "Hooked on Classics", it was an exciting time to be alive and by the time he reached high school Art Pamphlett knew he wanted to be but one thing - a rock star.
(Lucky Quimby during rehearsals for Young Talent Time)
As a child Lucky dreamed of joining the Young Talent Team. Together with his imaginary friend Jerome, Lucky practiced the routines he hoped would ultimately let him join Johnny and the team and make him a star. Each Sunday afternoon he sat glued to the small black and white TV that his new dad "Macka" had installed in the trailer and fantasised about singing duets with Sally, and punching the shit out of Jamie.
Around this time Lucky discovered that he had a very special talent. The ability to fart in perfect pitch. Jerome was very impressed and convinced Lucky to audition. In the weeks leading up to the big day Lucky practiced his act until he could produce a rendition of the shows signature "All my loving" tune that would bring a tear to the eye of all present. Jerome suggested that in future perhaps they should open a window or that Lucky should lay off the Pickled Egg and Asparagus Salad beforehand at least.
What followed at the audition has been the subject of conjecture and speculation ever since. What is not in dispute is that fact that Quimby's Luck ran out. When he regained consciousness Lucky would tell those present that Johnny Young threw the first punch. Young denies that the alleged incident even took place. Jerome feels that perhaps Quimby should have used a microphone rather than straining for extra volume in the spacious sound studio. At the very least he should not have worn his cricket whites even if it was on the way to the match.
The humiliation of the YTT rejection cut deep within Quimby sending him on a downward spiral of petty crime and delinquency. Until that fateful day when fate introduced him to Art Pamphlett and the seeds of Mr Disco were sown. Jerome faded quietly into the background.
(The drum machine that almost replaced Roger during the 80’s.)
Roger ‘The Admiral’ Browning
Roger Browning never quite got over his abandonment as a child. Unlike Kipling's Mowgli or Rice-Burrough's Greystoke, Roger did not emerge stronger and wiser from his experience being nursed in the wild. Whilst Romulus and Remus went on to found Rome after suckling at the teat of an obliging she wolf, Roger simply re entered civilisation confused and with a yearning to be able to lick clean those places that his Dingo foster family seemed to attend to with glee.
One of thirteen children, Browning had simply been overlooked by his parents as they packed up the station wagon for the trip back to the city. By the time they realised their mistake they were already several hours into the return journey and enjoying the added space that Roger's absence provided.
They agonised for minutes over whether to return to the remote picnic ground. The deadlock finally being broken by his father who decided that twelve was probably a more manageable number and was looking forward to returning to Melbourne in time to check out Abigail's tits on "Number 96" on the tellie.
When Roger stumbled naked and filthy three years later into the sleepy seaside town of Neptunes Kiss, he had no memory of his previous family. What followed was a series of orphanages and foster homes before Roger was finally adopted by Gladys and Frank Browning, a retired couple who had devoted their lives to the pursuit of naturism and sailing.
Freed from the constraints of clothes at last, Browning began to slowly adapt to his new environment. It was not uncommon to find him most afternoons out on the small bay in his dinghy, a habit that possibly lead to him receiving the nickname "The Admiral". (Art Pamphlett disputes this however claiming that it was more to do with his habit of dropping Bovril Bullets that would sink the Bismarck, one of the reasons that Art's mum to this day locks the bathroom whenever Browning visits)
Barely able to speak and with limited social skills it was only natural that Browning would be drawn to the drums for artistic expression. Unconstrained by artificial restrictions of tempo and rhythm Browning developed a unique style that was instantly recognised by Art Pamphlett whilst holidaying in Neptune’s Kiss one summer, and made him a natural choice for Mr Disco. The rest as they say is history.
***** UPDATE *****
Have just posted a new story on my 'finding' the long lost recording of Mr Disco's classic 'hit'... Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.
You can read the back story and listen to the track here.
Greetings from the United flight deck between LA and Melbourne (via Sydney.)
A quick meal... a bloody mary or 2 and the creative juices are flowing.
Over the weekend just passed (July 4th long weekend) a couple of packages arrived for me in my quest to learn to read, write and play music.
I now have a portable, roll up keyboard called appropriately enough... "The Roll Up Piano" (by Yamano) and some software by eMedia called "Piano and Keyboard Method" for my Macbook Pro.
In addition to the above... I also have Logic Express 8... again for my Macbook Pro.
For those not familiar with the music industry... Logic (now owned by Apple) is pretty much the Windows of the music writing and production space.
I remember reading some time ago (late 90's if memory serves) that around 90% of all Grammy award winners had their music written and/or produced using Logic
I'm familiar with the Logic series of software... having used it as far back as when it was on the Atari 520 ST... and as recently as a couple of years back while writing/producing a few tunes Richard and I wrote together (as per my previous post Anatomy of a Hit...
Richard the one that can actually play... me the one that 'played' the computer.)
I didn't have much time over the weekend to familiarize myself with the new set up (after-all Hancock and Wall-E wouldn't watch themselves) but I was able to play a tune on the Hand Roll that had been running through my head (while jogging no less... excuse the pun)... and then manually enter it into Logic (at this stage my Midi cable had not arrived.)
Will be back in Australia this weekend coming... and am looking forward to starting with the lessons... and making a start at the tune eluded to in 'Anatomy of a hit'.
Before I left on my current US trip (am in LA as I type this) I hooked up with my brother for his 40th back in Australia.
Had a brilliant time (with the exception of one incident with an idiot friend of his) and while sipping a beer or 3... I asked him how his home brewing was going... specifically an idea he had for a beer that he could potentially market beyond friends, family and work-mates.
You see... my brother is quite the brewmiester... and has been fine tuning his craft in small batches for friends and family for a while now. One of his beers... a Pilsner... I would rate as one of my favorite beers ever.
We've often joked that he should go commercial on a small scale with this pursuit... and maybe now he will.
As many would appreciate however... the secret to a good beer is equal parts technique and marketing... so while my brothers beers have always tasted great... that in itself wouldn't make it successfully commercially.
He threw a name at me for the beer which after I stopped crying (literally) with laughter, I thought... "you know what... jokes aside... that is an absolutely brilliant idea for both a name 'and' positioning of a beer..."
An easy to remember name that also accurately positions itself with its target. Brilliant.
I'm reminded of a similar situation back in the 90's when I used to run a nightclub in Australia called Jooce (for the alert readers out there... the Deuce by Cleva Cleva track referred to in an earlier post was originally written as the theme song for a TVC we did for the venue) and one of the countries largest beer brewers released a beer called 'Duff'.
Yep... as in Duff Beer from The Simpsons. As you can see below... it looked very much like it was from (or associated with) the cartoon.
It wasn't... and shortly after its release it was taken from the market.
The point is that what many people didn't realize back then... was that the actual beer in Duff Beer was a poor selling beer (at the time) called 'Long Brew'.
Long Brew would have been lucky to sell 1 box (of 24 cans) per week... and yet re-branded in a Duff Beer can... it was selling well over 100 boxes per week.
Seems people liked walking round the club with a Duff Beer can in hand... the power of branding.
Need now to bed down the beer itself and finalise the branding. Once my brother has done that... he can go hunting for a suitable micro-brewer.
Happy drinking on this 4th of July weekend.