I have always enjoyed spending time in water - the sense of freedom-of-movement is awesome. But I was a shocking swimmer till my father kinda made me work on it. He has been a swimming instructor on-and-off over the years and during my teens he took me to a weekly intensive lap swimming session incorporating a lot of corrective instruction from the staff there. At the time swimming lap after lap was so boring but now I am thankful for it because I am a half-decent swimmer. As someone who has never been sporty I value this. Nowadays I try to swim weekly and go to a local pool with some friends. Swimming with others is an incentive to go as it becomes a commitment to others (rather than to just oneself). Also it’s fun to chat between laps.
Fantasy & Science Fiction
If you enjoy exercising your imagination and exploring the imagination of others then these genres are the best things to get into. I will say more on specific films and books in another post but for now will relate what part fantasy and science fiction has played in my life.
My mother got me involved in the South Eastern Science Fiction Club (which at the time was the newly formed 'Dandenong Valley Science Fiction & Futurist Society') at the age of 13. Introducing me to a group of adult strangers was a brave thing for her to do but also very worthwhile. It was important for an awkward introvert like me to get that kind of experience. I am still involved in the group till this day.
Then at 18 I came to Monash Uni. I joined a number of clubs at Orientation Week 1991 but the one I got most involved in by far was the Fellowship of Middle Earth (FOME). I met many of my friends at that time (including my current housemates) and we still keep tabs on the current FOME group (who are running things very well as far as I can tell).
I have always enjoyed singing and it is the only 'instrument' I have ever developed any skill with (setting aside tapping a pattern on your lap). I have been involved in a few amateur choral groups from my uni days onwards but at present I only sing along to recorded music. The choral experience enhances the fun of this however as I frequently sing the 'backing' parts and sometimes sing in close-harmony. Singing with my iPod as I walk along the street is fun but sometimes a bit embarrassing if suddenly I become aware of another person walking by!
History is made every time an event is remembered and retold. And politics is just human relationships engaged in decision-making. As such political history is much more than just who was Prime Minister in 1901. I have been interested in societal structures and decision-making processes for a very long time. I remember even assigning functions and status roles to my plush toys at a very young age.
It’s hardly surprising then that I majored in history and politics at Monash Uni. It’s also hardly surprising that I am active in political life as a member of the Australian Democrats (among other things). To some extent I regard this political involvement as an extension of my scholarly interests. I love the interplay of diverse interests and perspectives that can be safely observed in a representative democracy. As much as I have my own partisan convictions I also feel an allegiance to the complex organic whole that is the Australian polity. It’s ever-changing and full of surprises.
I have got some good friends from involvement in things political like the ADs and also the life-enhancing experience that was the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) Tertiary Conference 1991 (the camp went for a week and I am still friends with some of those met there).
For commentary on other aspects of life reflected in the sidebar see here and here and here. For a tiny bit more info on family see