Hello, 2024

I’ve never been someone who has ever made New Year’s Resolutions, but at the same time looking back at my blog post about learning musical instruments and inspired by Georgie’s blog post the other day, I’m going to do a bit of this:

If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I don’t love making yearly goals or resolutions, but I thought I’d write down a few intentions for the year.

I think the main thing that’s really triggered it is the fact that I’ve had my guitar for three and a half years now (plus the Ibanez JIVA I got at the end of 2022), and I still can’t actually play any songs. I’ve got the basic open chords pretty well down (I’m even managing to mostly get the F Major barre chord fully ringing out about 80% of the time), and I can play the C Major scale accurately and at a decent pace, but that’s not a lot for the amount of time that’s passed.

Well okay, I guess that’s not strictly true, I’ve done a bit of mucking around and recorded a few things, the most recent and one I’m most happiest with being this:

But I still can’t do any sort of string-crossing like I’ve been learning on the bass, so stuff like the song above is just me sticking to the one string and moving up and down the frets. I’m by far and away the best at the drums, and I really need to knuckle down and actually get into a proper practice routine with the guitar, so hopefully the act of writing this blog post will get me into gear!

The other thing I want to do more of this year is consistent miniature painting. I’ve been documenting my efforts getting through Warhammer Quest: Cursed City and I started out strong and ended up getting through half of the sixty miniatures in the box, but then… completely stopped painting anything. I managed to do half of my Navis Breachers in September but didn’t do the rest, and after that did only two of the smallest goblins from the Warhammer Underworlds warband Grinkrak’s Looncourt in October. After that there was a whole lot of nothing until I started the Vargskyr last week. I wouldn’t say it felt like work, but I was just really uninspired and blargh, and that’s not really a good headspace to be in for something that’s creative. You could make the argument that it was just burnout from having painted 32 miniatures over the course of like a month, but I’ve had this same pattern pretty much every prior year as well. So I think I’m going to try to just do a bit of painting each week and get something done, rather than going boom and bust. 🤞🏻

On a more positive note, one thing I have been enjoying doing is reading a couple of chapters of a book before bed. This has gotten me through the entirety (bar the last book) of the 41 books of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, all of Iain M. Banks’ Culture series, as well as Timothy Zahn’s Quadrail one. Most recently I’m doing yet another re-read of the very excellent Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy, which is a continuation of Willow set fifteen years after the movie.

So yes, onwards and musically upwards!

A musical journey

Sixteen years ago today, I bought my first guitar! It was a Fender Squire in a $400 everything-you-need starter kit, but I never managed to stick with it enough to learn much of anything, barely even the most basic open chords. The learning DVD I bought was boring as hell, the guitar was really heavy and kept going out of tune, and the amplifier it came with sounded awful.

I didn’t get rid of it though, it moved from house to house with us, and it was just sitting in our back room collecting dust when on a lark during the first COVID lockdowns in 2020 I decided to pull it out and maybe have a stab at learning to play again given the sheer richness of learning resources to choose from these days. First thing to do was to get it tuned up, and the very first string I tried to tune immediately snapped. I looked down the neck and realised that it warped to all hell and back, and given I never particularly liked it—in either a nice-to-play or an aesthetic sense—I decided I’d actually splurge a bit and spend more and get a guitar that made me want to pick up and play it.

After a ton of research on learning all about guitar pickups and where the sweet spot is for a guitar that’s properly good in its own right but not unreasonably expensive, I settled on an Epiphone SG Standard in ebony.

A photo of a shiny black electric guitar sitting sitting upright against the wall.

It arrived in mid-June and looked absolutely mint. For actually learning how to play again, I started with Fender Play. It was pretty decent, and absolutely a huge step up from the extraordinarily dry learning DVD I bought in 2007.

Then come mid-2021 we had more lockdowns, even harsher than 2020’s, where we weren’t even allowed to travel more than 5km from our homes. At some point during all this I randomly remembered how much I’d always enjoyed playing the drums in Guitar Hero back in the day, and that a friend had mentioned he had an electronic drum kit from Roland, and I thought, “Why not learn to play the drums too!”

Cue more research, and I settled on Roland’s TD-17KV drum kit.

A photo of an assembled Roland electronic drum kit.

It arrived at the end of July and came with a trial of Melodics, which is a learn-to-play drums app (and also keyboard and also synth pad) where you plug the drum kit into your iPad or computer and it has an almost Guitar Hero-esque system where it scrolls across and you hit the correct pad or cymbal with the particular hand at the right time.

A screenshot of the iPad app "Melodics". It's showing a pattern of notes to hit on the drums, right/left/right/right/left/right/left/left on the hi-hat and snare, so you end up doing in groups of three, but for the kick drum it's on every second note.

It works really well, but while I didn’t want an actual in-person teacher, I felt like I needed something a bit more than just learning from the app. I discovered this drum teacher who’s based in the UK, Mike Barnes, and he puts out a ton of great videos on his YouTube channel, they’re really clear and he does them all in one single take rather than that thing that so many people on YouTube do where they’ll edit out every little bit of silence or gap. He’s got a Buy Me A Coffee page too where you can subscribe for a monthly fee and he’ll send you notations of the stuff he puts up on YouTube, works with you for a practice plan, and you can email him with questions or to get feedback on things you’re working on. I signed up to that in mid-2022 and it’s been really good, highly recommended if you’re learning drums!

On the drum kit itself, I’ve since replaced the stock hi-hat pedal and cymbal with a VH-11 on a proper acoustic hi-hat stand, and it physically moves open and closed and you get a much better sense of how to manipulate the pedal to get the sound you want.

I was thoroughly enjoying learning all this new stuff, and at the end of July 2022 I bought a for-real guitar amplifier with vacuum tubes, the extremely eye-catching Orange Rocker 15 Combo, and in August bought some guitar pedals and decided to treat myself to a new guitar. Nothing was wrong with the old one but I wanted some more variety. I did a bunch more research and became completely obsessed with Nita Strauss‘ signature Ibanez JIVA10 guitar, the amount of different tones you can get out of it thanks to the two custom humbucker pickups and the middle single coil is brilliant, and it looks so pretty to boot. 😍

Also at the start of August that year I ditched Fender Play and signed up for Guitar Zero 2 Hero, which is a course by this Aussie guy based in Melbourne.

For my 40th birthday this year, I decided to keep expanding my musical repertoire and bought a bass guitar and amplifier! A friend of mine had mentioned that he had bought a bass and was learning to play which is what inspired me. Cue another bunch of research and I landed on the extremely handsome Yamaha BB-434 bass and another Orange amplifier.

A photo of a Yamaha BB-343 bass guitar propped up against the wall. The body fades from black around the edges into a dark rich orange/red wood in the middle
A photo of an Orange Crush Bass 25 bass guitar amp. It has a black mesh on the front with the rest of it being the customary bright orange colour

I’d seen many recommendations for the “Beginner to Badass” course at bassbuzz.com so I signed up for that and can confirm it’s excellent. You get a really good feeling of progress and learning as you go through the course and it makes you want to keep playing more, and the guy that produces it gives a really good indication of when you should continue to the next course versus getting stuck in one lesson and losing motivation.

I actually ended up realising that I wasn’t feeling that sense of progress or learning from the Guitar Zero 2 Hero course and was kind of stuck in the mud and hadn’t been playing it. So I ditched that one and found multiple recommendations from people on the bassbazz.com forums saying the closest thing to the Beginner to Badass course for guitar is Justin Guitar (which weirdly is another Aussie guy). I’ve only been doing it since the end of September this year, but it’s very promising so far and I’m getting more of a feeling of progress. In the almost three and a half years years since I bought my guitar I still haven’t managed to get anywhere beyond basic open chords and a couple of power chords from the Fender Play course, but I’m feeling more motivated now to actually stick with it and learn, and I think the Justin Guitar course is helping.

And then finally, because I’m already subscribed to Melodics and it also includes a keyboard course, I bought a MIDI keyboard at the end of last month as well. 😅

A photo of a Roland A-49 MIDI keyboard in white sitting on my (also white) desk. As the name suggests it has 49 keys, and has a number of buttons and knobs on the left hand side.

I actually bought one waaaay back in 2004 but in a similar vein to what happened with my original guitar, never stuck with it due to a lack of good learning resources.

In terms of how well I’m going with things, I’d say I’m far and away best at the drums. Melodics has definitely gamified things and you get “streaks” for practising for just five minutes a day each day, so during my lunch break I’ll go out to the back room where the drum kit is and get my at-least five minutes done. I also discovered this guy Jack Curtis who makes drumless backing tracks, they all come with both regular versions and ones with a click track, and they’re such fun to play along with, so between that and Melodics, all up I’ll probably be playing drums for a good 30-40 minutes every day and I think it definitely shows.

At the start of this year I recorded myself playing along to one of Jack Curtis’ tracks and even between then and now I can see I’ve come quite a lot further again. I need to get around to recording myself playing some more of those, maybe even that same song, but the latest highlight has been playing the drums on this collaboration with some friends. 😁

In terms of guitar, it’s been less good, though I’ve made a few recordings. This one from May of 2022 really clearly shows how not-great I was at keeping in time, I recorded another in December which was a fair bit better, and added bass to it in April of this year. Finally, this from May is better again, playing single notes rather than chords but really only from a single string at a time.

My current goal is to really stick with learning the guitar and get past the basic open chords and be able to properly do justice to the JIVA10 I bought. I started again from the very beginning with Justin Guitar just to be sure I covered everything, and he’s got a separate music theory course that I think I’ll start on as well, and will hopefully report back with good news! 😛

Back to the office for a week

Back to the office for a week

My workplace has leant heavily into remote-first work since COVID hit and we’ve hired a ton of people outside of the usual places where we have physical offices (Sydney in Australia, Mountain View in the US, etc.), and even for those of us who were regularly in the office pre-COVID, working from home is the norm now. A side-effect of that is that we don’t have nearly as much connection between coworkers especially for people who can’t come into the office even if they wanted to, so as a result we have “Intentional Togetherness” events for teams every six months or a year—I forget the cadence—where we’ll actually fly everyone in the team over from wherever it is they are and hold a whole bunch of in-person workshops and collaboration and just generally hang out.

One of my coworkers does the same job I do but is based over in Austin in Texas and we flew him out as well, plus people from New Zealand, Brisbane, Melbourne, and probably other places I’ve missed. I’d never met the Austin guy in person for obvious reasons, and it was really nice seeing everyone else in person too. He actually arrived on Thursday morning last week and so I went into the office on Thursday and Friday, plus all of this week. There was lots of going out for coffee and figuring out what we’d get for lunch and all the usual things you do when you’re in the office plus just generally chatting. I posted the highlights (which are 95% food-related) here.

My commute is a fifteen minute walk to the train station then an hour on the train (thankfully the office is right next to the station), and pre-COVID when I’d be in the office every single day we’d get up at 7:10am to get the 8:00am train to be in the office a bit past 9am, and wouldn’t get home again until past 7pm. There was no way in hell I was going back to doing that again so instead for this week I’d get up at my usual working-from-home time of 8:15am, start work a bit before 9am, then walk to the station and catch the 9:37am train and work from the train while I was commuting. Bar the post-work events we had, I was also getting the 4:50pm train home and working for the last hour on it to avoid peak hour.

Even with those changes compared to the pre-COVID commute, it’s now Friday evening as I type this, and I am absolutely wiped out. My social battery is not nearly at as high a capacity as it was pre-COVID and looking back at what my commute and hours used to be, I can’t believe I used to do that five days a week. And outside of the social battery aspect, this has felt like the longest seven days I’ve had for a long time (and I had a weekend in between the first two days I was in the office and this week). I know some people hate working from home for all sorts of reasons, but man, personally I would never go back to having to be in an office every day. Going in once in a while to see people or to play things after work, absolutely. But every day? Hard nope.

Conveniently this weekend is a long weekend because Monday is the Labour Day public holiday, so I’ll have an extra day to recharge!

Apple Watch, one year on: fitter and healthier than ever

I blogged last year about getting an Apple Watch and the 23rd of this month marked a full year of owning it! I’m extremely pleased to say that I’m now fitter, healthier, and stronger than I’ve ever been in my entire life. 💪🏻 I’ve also closed all three activity rings on every single day since I bought the Watch!

I mentioned in that post that I was down to 70kg, after that (but prior to COVID) I hit 69kg, which I haven’t been since I was in my very early 20s. After we started working from home full-time in mid-March, I settled into a really good exercise routine: during the week I finish work around 5:30pm, then on every day but Monday and Friday I’ll go for a burn on the elliptical while watching an episode of something on Netflix (Saturdays and Sundays are also elliptical time, but at whatever point I feel like doing it during the day). It’s amazing how quickly time passes when you’re not concentrating on the fact that you’re exercising. I’d started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation prior to COVID, but went through the episodes much more quickly after it, and finally finished it last month.

Fun side note, I thought I’d watched way more episodes than it turns out I have… as I was making my way through the episodes, I’d remembered seeing the pilot episode before, then a random smattering of maaaaybe five to ten episodes in the middle, and then the series finale, but that was it. It was pretty fun to watch the progression of the series, and I think at this point I enjoy Star Trek more than I do Star Wars. After I finished TNG, I took a brief Trek break to watch Warrior Nun (IMDB’s blurb says “After waking up in a morgue, an orphaned teen discovers she now possesses superpowers as the chosen Halo Bearer for a secret sect of demon-hunting nuns.” HIGHLY recommended, I loved it), and have now started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I’m only a few episodes in, but again, I’ve definitely seen the first episode before but none of the other four I’ve watched thus far.

The elliptical has its own calorie counter in it, I have no idea how accurate it is because it doesn’t take into account your weight, and the Apple Watch doesn’t take into account the fact that I’ve got the incline on the elliptical at 14 degrees and the resistance set to 14 out of 22, but regardless it’s a hell of a workaround. After a typical 45-minute episode of a TV show, the elliptical says I’ve burnt around 650-700 calories, and the Apple Watch says 425-450 calories.

On Mondays and Fridays, instead of using the elliptical I do some weight training. I bought a pair of neoprene-coated 4kg dumbbells and have been doing twelve of each of the exercises from this article, three times each. I really like that Women’s Health Magazine article because it’s not pretentious and just says “Hey if you want some toned arms, do these things.” Pretty much all the ones aimed at men that I found were all of the “RARRRR GET RIPPPPPED BROOOO” which I just… just, no. 😑

As a result of all of this, I’ve actually gained weight and am now 71kg, but it’s all muscle mass, aw yiss. I’ve never actually had properly visible muscles, so this is a new look for me. 😛

On the odd occasion that I’m feeling a bit pooped-out for whatever reason, rather than using the elliptical or doing weight training, I’ll just go for a brisk walk on the treadmill and listen to part of a podcast. (Speaking of podcasts, I’ve basically entirely stopped listening to them except for when I’m occasionally using the treadmill… my commute into the city was my podcast listening time, and with that gone, I just don’t really do it anymore).

My primary use for the Apple Watch is still definitely fitness, but I’ve also really enjoyed the little notification buzz you get on your wrist when you get an iMessage or SMS. It’s totally unobtrusive and as someone who leaves all of their devices muted at all times, it means I don’t actually miss messages that need a timely reply, but if it’s not important I can just ignore it. The other handy thing I’ve found is using Siri to set custom timers. I don’t have any of the “always listening” Siri stuff on on any of my devices, but I have the Watch set to activate Siri when you hold the digital crown in for a couple of seconds. It’s super-handy when I’m timing my bread-making or barbecuing to just say “Set a timer for four minutes”, or whatever non-standard time it is, rather than having to futz around pressing things.

A year on, the Apple Watch is still one of my favourite gadgets and I’m keen to see what sort of additions Apple makes to it in the coming years!

Ten years of Atlassian

Today marks ten years to the day that I started at Atlassian! I blogged LiveJournaled at the end of the first week back in 2010 but looking back on it, it didn’t quite capture the brain-dribbling-out-my-ears aspect of when I started. Jira was — and still is, really — a complicated beast, and attempting to wrap my head around how all the different schemes interrelate was something else, especially when everything was called a <something> scheme!

I started doing support for Jira Studio at the beginning of 2011 — where we would host the products ourselves versus what I was doing when I first started, supporting Jira Server which is running on the customer’s own hardware—, was promoted to senior support engineer in 2014, and then left the customer support wing of the company entirely nearly three years ago and started doing support for our internal PaaS (platform as as service)!

I’m still in that same “Shield” role, still doing a good amount of coding on the side, and have been rewriting vast swathes of our internal documentation which has been received extremely positively. (We have very clever developers at work, but writing clear and end-user-focused documentation is not their strong suit. 😛) The coding has been primarily on the internal tool I mentioned in this post — except we’re now using Slack instead of Stride — and there’s been an increasing number of teams adopting it internally, and I’m actually getting feature requests!

Granted I’ve worked at exactly three companies in my entire career, but I honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else. Here’s to another ten years!

Another vehicular upgrade!

We bought a new car today! A shiny new 1.5-litre Toyota Yaris in white.

We’d been thinking of selling the old (2000 model!) Corolla and getting a new car for a while, and a friend of a friend of Kristina’s had an urgent need for a replacement car so we actually sold the Corolla a couple of months ago and have been managing with just the Cerato in the meantime.

We decided to go test drive the Yaris, and Kristina immediately loved it. The turning circle is hilariously tiny, and the visibility is fantastic, so we put down a deposit in early November, and went and picked it up today! It has a surprising amount of pep for a 1.5L engine, more than what the old Corolla’s 1.8L had — though granted that was also 19 years old. You definitely feel less like you’re sitting in the car compared to the Cerato… with that, you’re down in the seats whereas the Yaris has a much higher-feeling seating position. We’re getting a carport added to the front of the house so the Yaris isn’t sitting out in the open all the time (we’re still going to be parking at the station), but that won’t be until early January, so hopefully we don’t get any hail before then!

Cardiovascular health and a new shiny: Apple Watch Series 5

We bought a treadmill back at the start of 2014 and it came with a heart rate monitor that you wear around your chest, which is pretty cool. I gave the treadmill a pretty good going and was doing one of those Couch to 5K programs, but I keep having issues with my knees where running messes one of them up. We bought an elliptical in August last year — which apparently I didn’t post about here — and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying using it. The one we have has a tablet holder right at eye level so I’ve been watching TV shows on Netflix while using it, and it really helps pass the time.

The downside was that I had no heart rate monitor, as the one that came with the treadmill only works with the treadmill (it shows your current heart rate right alongside the distance and estimated calories burned and such). I’d been going pretty hard on it but had noticed that I was getting some heart palpitations, and had a couple of feeling-dizzy moments a while after I’d finished exercising. I went to the doctor and she suggested cutting down on caffeine to start with — I was on four admittedly only instant coffees a day — and see if that improves things to start with, and if not we could get an EKG done.

Quite conveniently timed, the Apple Watch Series 5 was announced on the 10th of September this year, and it comes with an always-on display. Prior models had their display totally black and would only light up when you’d either raise your wrist or tap on the screen. I’d been eyeing the Apple Watch off for a couple of years, and finally decided I’d jump on board because it’d be usable as a regular watch even if the screen doesn’t fully light up. I got the 40m stainless steel with black leather Modern Buckle band and it looks classy as hell.

(I also realised after my first workout that I needed to get one of the cheaper non-leather bands as well because man do I get sweaty wrists when I’m exercising 😛).

Apple has been leaning pretty hard into the health thing with the Apple Watch in recent years, and as well as the heart rate monitor — which is constantly taking your heart rate periodically throughout the day as well as constantly when you start a workout — it comes with an app called “Activity” on the iPhone to help motivate you to keep moving. The way it works is that there’s three “rings” you should try to close each day, called Move, Exercise, and Stand. Move is just generally getting up and about and not sitting on your arse, and is set to 1422kJ for me based on my height and weight. Exercise is 30 minutes of brisk movement — I walk fast enough that I get a few minutes counted towards it each time I’m walking to or from the station or taking the stairs at work. The stand goal is standing up and moving for at least a minute during a one hour period for 12 separate hours during the day, and if you’ve been sitting around for 50 minutes in a given hour you get a little buzz on your wrist at ten minutes to the next hour that reminds you to stand up and move around a bit.

Apple must have done a whole lot of psychological research into what’s most satisfying in terms of motivation because god damn closing those rings feels good. You get a little round fireworks animation of the given colour of ring when you fully complete one for the day, and the one with all three when you’ve finished all of them. I bought the Watch on the 23rd of September and every single day since then I’ve closed all three rings! You get little badges called “Awards” when you complete certain goals, like getting a full week of closing all three rings, which has meant that when I’ve been working from home I’ve been jumping on the treadmill or elliptical for just a quick half hour to get my exercise goal done. I also downloaded an app for the Watch called HeartWatch that gives you a little speedometer of heart rate when you’re exercising and ensures you keep it in the correct zone — not too fast and not too slow — for what you’re trying to do, in my case just generally be fitter.

I completed October with every single day’s rings fully closed, which I’m pretty chuffed about!

A screenshot of the Activity app for Apple Watch showing every single day in October having all three rings closed

We’d also bought a set of smart scales last year that sync with the Health app on iOS, I’ve been weighing myself each morning and as a result of all of this fitness I’m hovering around 70.2kg, which is a weight I don’t recall being for many years now; I was at 82kg a few years back. The heart palpitations have definitely decreased as well and I haven’t had any dizziness since I’ve been monitoring what my heart rate has been while exercising.

I don’t do much by way of outdoor exercising, but the Apple Watches all come with GPS as well so you can keep maps of the routes you’ve taken and see the speed you did during each section. Overall I’m wildly impressed with this bit of technology! I hadn’t worn a watch since about 2001 when I got a job and bought my first mobile phone, but now I feel naked without it, haha.

Twenty years of VirtualWolf

Today twenty years ago marks the earliest point I can find of where I started going by “VirtualWolf” online! That’s over half my life. 😮

I had posted previously back in 2009 (back when this blog was on LiveJournal) about being VirtualWolf online for around ten years at that point but it was pretty vague in terms of dates, and I’ve since consolidated all my old websites and put them up online. Further digging reminded me that I have a whole bunch of other sites that I never actually finished — I should add those to archive.virtualwolf.org too, now I think about it — and there was one called “DevlinSlayer’s Imperium” from February of 1999 so it was clearly after that.

The earliest mention of VirtualWolf I can find is from my Realm of the Wolf site from the 28th of June 1999, and the name of the Myth II map I’d created, “Realm of the VirtualWolf”. Unfortunately that file has been lost and I cannot for the life of me find the original anymore. I was able to recover all but one of my Marathon maps from various places, but I can’t even find the original pre-compiled image files for the Myth II map. The only image related is the overhead map view from the website I created after Realm of the Wolf.

Since that point, it’s been all VirtualWolf, all the time. I’ve owned the domain virtualwolf.org since the start of 2002, and have made a point of ensuring all the old links to images I’ve posted here and on Ars Technica still work even now.

Here’s to me making a post in twenty years saying “Forty years of VirtualWolf!”. 😛

Ten years of marriage!

Ten years of marriage!

Ten years ago today, on a very cold and windy but at least sunny day at Dee Why headlands, Kristina and I got married!


I have no idea how it’s been ten years, it doesn’t remotely feel like it’s been that long. I’ve mentioned on this blog before, and on LiveJournal before it, that everything is so effortless, and it still remains true!

We originally knew each other from Everything2, which is still around but very much dead compared to the old days, and has been for many years now (my registration date there is May 2000). There was a bit of a mass-migration from E2 over to LiveJournal a couple of years afterwards, and I have a happy birthday wish from Kristina on one of my LJ posts from 2003! She said I was always “That guy in Australia who likes metal”, but we got to chatting more towards the end of 2007 and then on a whim decided to come visit in March of 2008, and the rest, as they say, is history!

With both of us being keen photographers we tend to be behind the camera instead of in front of it, but we’ve got a few photos together over the years!

Kristina and I
The first one of us together, in August 2008 in Boston the first time I visited (we don’t have any of the two of us from March when Kristina first visited Sydney). This was right before I trimmed my goatee entirely down because it’d started just triangulating outwards and getting all wispy.
November 2008, we were up in the Blue Mountains when we got the call that the engagement ring was ready to be picked up!
Then our wedding, of course. I love this photo so much!
December 2011, being all arty!
This was taken in May 2014 when we bought the Fujifilm X100S. Kristina looks so hilariously unimpressed.
Kristina and me
December 2015!
Then an attempt in February 2017 at taking a photo with the two of us and Beanie. It didn’t go so well.
And finally the most recent one of us together from December of 2017, taken with the flash and massive parabolic umbrella directly behind the camera.

In the time we’ve been married we’ve been to:

And that’s not counting the day trips or single night trips of which there have been plenty.

Here’s to many more years of adventures to come! ❤️

Five years of Beanie!

Five years of Beanie!

As of today, we’ve had Beanie for five years!

We got him as a rescue dog when he was a year old, he’d already had three previous owners before us, and the house he was living in when we got him had two other much larger dogs that apparently were taking most of the food and generally bullied him. The idiot woman who owned him also had him on some “raw chicken” diet where he’d have basically just raw chicken pieces, and his hair was all short and his tail was permanently very tightly curled — which is how he gets when he’s nervous or anxious — and didn’t wag at all for the first three or so weeks that he was living at ours.

A very young-looking Beanie when he was one year old at the end of our hallway in the midst of running back to us.
One of the very first photos of Beanie shortly after we got him.

He had quite bad separation anxiety, we eventually went to the vet and got some anti-anxiety medicine because he would scratch at the door repeatedly when we’d leave the house, to the point that he was scratching the paint off it. The medicine combined with giving him a marrowbone treat whenever we leave for a period of more than an hour or two has definitely helped, he now gets excited we’re we’re getting ready to leave because he often gets a treat. 😛

He’s never liked other dogs, and generally still doesn’t, but we were able to take him to puppy training session where he at least got some exposure to dogs around his size, and that led to our now-regular visits with Leo!

Leo, a Jack Russell, and Beanie facing each other about to leap at each other.
Leo and Beanie playing in Leo’s backyard.

Because Kristina and I are out of the house for a good 10-11 hours a day, we have a dog walker to comes every day after lunch to let him out and give him a walk. We have her come around anyway if one of us is working from home or sick, and he gets so excited when she arrives.

Beanie is a good boy, he never gets into any trouble whatsoever: he doesn’t chew things, he goes to bed at night when we do and doesn’t get out of bed in the morning until we’re up (or even after we’re up on occasion), if one of us is sick he’ll happily snuggle up on the lounge with us. One of his favourite things to do is to “up” at us, which he frequently does after we’re lying in bed and getting ready to go to sleep!

Beanie sitting up on his hind legs, smiling.
He thinks he’s people!

The only irritation is his bark… there is ZERO wind-up or warning, and it’s an extremely loud and sharp bark that gives you a heart-attack! If he’s bored he’ll find things to bark at which can be super-annoying, but usually a quick walk around the block will tire him out and he calms down afterwards. Given how destructive other dogs can be though, I think we have it pretty good with Beanie. 🙂