"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 28: Counting My Steps

On weekends I work in Harvey Norman demonstrating LG TVs to customers. Last Saturday I was chatting to the guy that demonstrates the Sony TVs and he mentioned that he's downloaded a pedometer app on his phone. I thought that was a cool idea, so I decided to do it myself. I downloaded the app he was using to my phone and then put it in my pocket and forgot about it. Three hours later I checked it to see just how hard I'd been working.

109 steps? In three hours? How's that possible, that's less than a step a minute! The Sony rep smiled and pulled out his phone.
'I'm on four-digits now. But whatever, I'm not bragging.'

I bristled at his bragging and stalked off. That's when I decided what my new thing would be for this week. I'd find a pedometer that works, keep it in my pocket for a week and see how many steps I can take in an average 7-day period. It would be interesting to know how active I actually am.

So first I had to download the right app. I searched for "pedometer" on Google Play on came up with three more good-looking options. The first was called Noom Walk. It was a basic app with just a counter and nothing else. That would prove different with the others. The second one was called Runtastic. In addition to a step counter, Runtastic gave me a speed, distance travelled and length of workout. Then the third one. It was called Map My Walk. I realised it didn't actually have a step counter, but you could turn on the phone's GPS and get it to track your route. I like that idea, I thought it would be cool to get to the end of the day and see where I've been as I went from home to work to my other commitments. I decided to try them all. I had a double shift coming up on Monday handing out Lindt chocolate. I'd be walking around and around for nine hours straight - a perfect opportunity to see which one I wanted to use.

I woke up Monday morning and get out my phone to set things up. Noom Walk was easy enough, it didn't have any settings to play with. Runtastic asked me how long my stride was and how fast my maximum speed would be. This is stuff I neither know nor care about. Moving on. I took a look at Map My Walk and noticed that I could pick the type of workout I could do. How cool! Let's see...walking... running... cycling...cheerleading... gardening... musical instrument... intimacy? What do they mean by int-

SEXUAL ACTIVITY??? How on Earth would they measure that?? My pants would be on the floor while I'm- um... Never mind.

I finished my prep and set about my day. My battery went flat half way through, but I'd seen enough to make things clearer. The Noom Walk seemed the most accurate. It was time to start the new week and see how my travels went...

Not a good start. My phone dodgy phone charger stopped charging my phone at about 30% last night. I had to keep it plugged into the wall when I wasn't moving. And with the GPS running and a couple of different apps using it, it didn't get far. The phone went flat half way through my first shift. I put it on charge again in the staff room and tried not to move much. And again in the car on the way to my second shift. No good. It went flat again late in the second shift as well. I decided that tracking my movements wasn't a good option. I turned off the GPS and just stuck with the pedometer.

Luckily I wasn't moving around as much today. I had to set up a table and stand around that, so there wasn't nearly as much walking. In fact, I was quite bored that day.

Steps: 9696
Distance: Who knows??
Total: 9696

On Thursdays I help out on the admin desk of my local radio station Fresh 92.7. As such, I'm sitting down all day. Now that's not to say that I wasn't working hard. The station just finished a fundraising promotion and we have literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of new station subscribers to enter into our database. All the helpers that come in immediately sit down to attack the massive pile of papers that's been placed there. So I made it my mission to get through as many as possible. I hunched myself over the keyboard, not breaking concentration for anything. Afterwards, I posted on our group's Facebook page that I managed to enter 118 subscribers for the afternoon with a record of 41 in one hour. Beat that everyone.

I would usually have training for footy umpiring on Thursday nights, but it's school holidays at the moment, so it's not on. It's a shame, I really like having a reason to train - I can't motivate myself to work out without one. However, I'm not sure how wise it would have been to have my phone in my pocket while doing shuttle-runs.

Steps: 4541
Total: 14 237

Back to work again, and it was another double shift. Because I was no longer using the GPS, my battery lasted the whole day. So I got a more accurate readout.

I finished at 7 o'clock and rushed to Jason's house for a late dinner. He's going away to Europe and Asia for four months and we were having some goodbye drinks for him. I had pizza that night. I can't describe to you how weird that is for me. I don't think I'd had pizza in 18 months. I'm going to have to take a lot of steps tomorrow to work that off...

Steps: 10 701
Total: 24 938

I was back at work demonstrating TVs, but this time at JB HiFi in Melrose Park. It's a much quieter store, and it's also July, which means that retail is quiet following the End of Financial Year sales. So I didn't have much to do that day. I spent the day joking with the salespeople and gazing at the movies they had on the TVs. I had a debate with one of the sales people over weather in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Obi Wan Kanobi cuts off his one good arm as well as his legs or just the legs. He picked up a remote and pointed it at the TV it was playing on and rewound to the part in question. We decided the results were inconclusive, but I still think he lost his arm too.

In the evening I watched Thor with Jerida and my family, so not much movement there. I took the opportunity to put my phone on charge.

Steps: 6311
Total: 31 249

I started to think that maybe the Noom app was starting to undersell me, so I tried turning on the Runtastic app as well. I turned it on and went downstairs, took a look at it and it said 109. That's a bit too far in the other direction. I turned it back off again.

Maybe the fact that everyone was watching Port Adelaide play was the reason work was so horrendously long and quiet today. I could practically watch the whole game on one of the TVs at the store. Not much walking going on. It was made even worse by the fact that I'd woken up at five in the morning from the cold, so by the time I got home and collapsed into a chair, I didn't move much more that night. I watched another movie - this time it was a weird niche movie starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin and it was about birdwatching. It was called The Big Year, look it up.

Steps: 4796
Total: 36 045

Back to doing grocery store food sampling. I tell you, the boring days are starting to frustrate me. I walked around my area, bounced up and down on the spot and drummed on the demo table for four straight hours. It was only a single shift for once, so I found I had the afternoon free. I played a bit of drums on Guitar Hero and realised that with my phone in my pocket and my foot operating the kick pedal, my results may have become a bit skewed. Oh well, stomping is kind of like stepping...

Steps: 7521
Total: 43 566

On the final day of my week of step-counting, I had breakfast at the O'Connell St Bakery with Sarah and Kelsey. I ate a pie and a fruit salad, which is a LOT less than what I normally have. But then after that I went to Fresh 92.7 to start writing the news for that afternoon. I was there from about midday to 6pm, and sitting down practically the whole time. Not a good way to finish off the week. So for the last two hours of my night, I played some more Guitar Hero-drums. I finished the week playing Hotel California - and kicking ass at it - but I screwed up the end when my Dad came out of his room with perfect timing and said
'Michael! I need to get some sleep!'
It distracted me just enough to miss the last four notes and I thought it was a fitting way to end a pretty uneventful week.

Steps: 5799
Total: 49 365


  1. I don't see how a phone pedometer app could actually work unless there was some space satellite hovering out there above you monitoring your every movement... and if there is... it probably just exists to set up a government data base that allows the military to initiate a drone strike on you if need be. Michael I think your life may be in danger...

    1. That's my new thinv for next week - outrunning an army of cybernetic organisms sent back in time to eliminate the one threat to their imminent supremacy. Should be fun.

  2. It must work on the same principle as car's sat nav. A sat nav will record your position even if you walk while holding it. I'm not sure how it monitors sexual activity - maybe it listens for the right noises.

    1. Most smartphones have gyroscopes in them that sense movement. If you put the phone in your pocket and walk, the bouncing up and down registers on the sensor. As for sexual activity - you could always put the phone in... No, better not.


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