Last day of Autumn

I have this app on my phone called Timehop that shows you what you posted on social media one, two, three etc years ago. It’s a pretty cool little wander down memory lane.

So here’s what I’ve been up to on the last day of autumn:

One year ago, I had brekky with some friends in West End (Brisbane).

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Two years ago I walked through the soon-to-be-opened Legacy Way Tunnel in Brisbane when they opened it for pedestrians:

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Three years ago, I landed in Bougainville for a work trip:

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Four years ago, I went for a run in Melbourne:

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And today, I went for a long walk along the esplanade in Townsville and spotted some beautiful birds:

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What did you get up to on the last day of autumn?

Random acts of kindness

Kindness is free, so sprinkle it everywhere!

According to the Pastafarian holy calendar, today (30 May) is random act of kindness day. (I’m not a Pastafarian, but as mentioned in a previous post, I like some of their ideas and concepts). And regardless of religious persuasion, the concept of doing a random act of kindness for a complete stranger is a good one.

So today, it’s a reminder to be kind. Help out the old lady who is struggling with groceries walking down the street. Or the lost tourist. Or the mum who has her hands full with a toddler’s poo detonation!

What random acts of kindness did you do today?

 

It’s a matter of perspective.

In today’s fast-paced world, where everything is instantaneous, this iron chain will take ages to rust. The saltwater washing in and out with the tide will take weeks … maybe months … to turn each ferric atom into a small speck of red dust.

But in the big scheme of things, it will be evanescent. At the universal level, it will be zapped away in a relative instant. A fleeting moment in the annals of existence.

Earworm!

I’ve got an earworm – a song stuck in my head! 

…never had to knock on wood. And I’m glad I haven’t yet. Because I’m sure it isn’t good. That’s the impression that I get…

I couldn’t remember who sang it, so I googled it: The impression that I get, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. (It was released in 1997, for anyone that’s interested, and was the band’s most successful song, reaching #1 on lots of charts.)

But, as it happens, it has led me to another of Life’s Big Questions: if you could only choose five songs to have on your smartphone (or whatever listening device you use), what would they be?

This one first rose to questionhood when I was travelling through Morocco. I met a fellow traveller who was in Morocco studying French. He had all his French lessons on his iPod (it was before iPhone), and there was only space for five or six songs. He had to choose carefully because he was going to be away for several months! 

I thought about which ones I’d choose. You need to be able to cover off on a lot of different moods.  And when I got home from the trip, I posed the question to a dinner party. 

I can’t remember which ones I chose back then (it was 2006ish), but here’s my current list:

Africa – Toto. To me, it’s a quintessential travel song (it has Mt Kilimanjaro in the lyrics!)

Freefallin’ – Tom Petty. It makes me feel free. And inspires me to take road trips (I picture Tom Cruise in Jerry Macguire, tapping on the steering wheel, singing at the top of his lungs).

Thrift Shop – Macklemore. It’s a catchy tune, and I’m an op shop queen!

Rasputin – Boney M. It reminds me of an old boyfriend.

Down Under – Men at Work. Aussie cliche, gotta have it in the list!

So there you have it – my five songs. 

What would you choose?

Life’s Big Questions #1

Sometimes, life’s big questions just pop into my brain. Like this one: if you were a circus performer, which one would you be? I think it came to mind because I’m listening to the audiobook Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I watched the movie with Reese Witherspoon and the vampire guy ages ago and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give the book a go.

Anyway, back to the question at hand. Which performer would I be? I have considered the pros and cons of each and narrowed it down to a shortlist:

  • Ring Master. Starting from the top, the big guy. I have a bossy streak, so I could definitely see myself with the top hat and microphone, but then, it’s probably the most boring of all the jobs, and too much responsibility!
  • Lion Tamer. I love animals, but cats aren’t my favourite. And I’m not super-fussed on handling lots of red meat (and giant lion poops).
  • Trapeze artist or acrobat. This is a good option. I did gymnastics as a kid, but I’d have to find some of that flexibility again (and I’m not sure that’s even possible).
  • Human catapult. Um, getting shot out of a cannon? Pass.
  • Fire-eater. Pyrotechnics are cool! This is another potential option. Strong contender.
  • Strong-man. I’m not (strong). Pass.
  • Snake-charmer. Snakes are freaky. Pass.
  • Clown. I like to think I’m funny, but I know deep down I’m not really. Although dressing up in a colourful wig and bright red nose every day…
  • Roadie crew. Setting up then pulling down the big top every few days? Sounds like way too much hard work.

So, I think the winner is … fire-eater! A big life question answered!

What would you be?

 

Sand bar Notoriety

Ted Bundy … The Boston Strangler … Jack the Ripper … Notorious figures from history that conjure thoughts of evil criminals doing heinous things. I could write plenty on their notoriety and how we seem to be so voyeuristic toward the macabre (just look at the popularity of the spate of recent True Crime podcasts: Stranglers, Felon, Casefile, Crimetown, 48 Hours, etc). But I’ll leave that to someone else.

Instead, our brush with something notorious was a lot less sinister, but scary all the same. In March we cast off the lines and commenced our two-year sailing adventure up the east coast of Australia and around Asia. Within 24 hours of starting we had to cross our first big hurdle: the “notorious” Wide Bay Bar. Any seafarer knows that bar crossings are not something to take lightly. (For the non-seafarer, a bar is collection of sand that gathers at the entrance to rivers and inland waterways). Bars are dangerous because they are often shallow and conditions can change quickly and without warning, sometimes causing boats to capize. Just days before we were due to cross the Wide Bay Bar, a boat very similar to ours (a 12 metre catamaran) capsized on the bar and the sailors had to be rescued. In fact, lots of boats end up with the same fate on this particular bar each year, hence its notoriety.

Anyway, our day came. We had meticulously studied the weather forecast and chosen the 2nd of March due to the relatively calm conditions and morning high tide (so you aren’t looking into the sun when you are crossing). We contacted the local Volunteer Coast Guard to get the latest condition report and reference points … and then it was time to cross! We donned our life jackets, fired up the boat motors and set off. We had another catamaran in front of us and a fishing boat behind us. We could see breaking water on both sides of us (nicknamed the “washing machine”, which indicates shallow water where it is most treacherous) but we were cruising through the gap. No problems so far.

Part of the Wide Bay Bar’s notoriety is the extended nature of the bar. It’s also nicknamed “the mad mile” because it takes a while to get fully across the bar, but we continued to follow the Coast Guard’s reference points, and phew! Across. Just then we looked back and a water spout rose out of the water where we had just been! That would have made our crossing very interesting!

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For more of our sailing adventures, check out our sister blog, The Alpha Odyssey.

This week’s photo challenge is “heritage”. I’m a Scottish-born Australian, but after working in a number of remote aboriginal communities, I’ve developed a strong interest in the heritage of Australia’s first peoples.  All over Australia, Dreaming stories tell of the ancestor spirits who created the land and everything on it. Some of these creation stories have been recorded in amazing cave paintings.

The feature photo is from a cave near Deep Well in the Northern Territory (on a back road between Titjikala and Santa Teresa), which I was lucky enough to visit in 2015.

I’ve also recently visited rock art in Nara Inlet in the Whitsundays, and last year in Laura, far north Queensland (which is listed by UNESCO in the top 10 rock art sites in the world). Some of the art is over 30,000 years old!  If these caves could talk, imagine the stories they would tell. We are blessed to be able to get a glimpse via the rock art.

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A quinkan (spirit being) in Laura, QLD

Fear. Bravery. Courage.

“You only have to be brave for the first twenty seconds”, We Bought a Zoo

This week’s coagulation of ideas is about fear and bravery. The seed was planted when I rewatched the feel-good movie, We Bought a Zoo. I love Matt Damon movies. Throw in Scarlett J and lots of animals and you have a winning combo! But the opening premise of the movie is so true: you do only have to be brave for the first twenty seconds. Take a deep breath and … go for it!

My thoughts started to take more shape while I was reading possibly the worst memoir ever written: How to amputate a leg, and other ways to stay out of trouble, by Nathan Mullins. I applaud people who serve in the military and emergency services, but this guy was a self-serving tool who exaggerated stories to try and sound heroic. A particular low-point was the chapter on shark attacks, which was little more than a few interactions with a reef shark and a wobbegong! Anyway, I gave up reading it about halfway through, but I did flick through the chapter on fear. Mullins thinks he may be an expert in the field: “I suppose I have experimented with fear many times in my life. Maybe I’m an expert.” But he was right about one thing: being brave and being unafraid are two different things. Bravery is being scared about something and doing it anyway. If you aren’t scared, it isn’t bravery. This was also a point drawn out in the audiobook I just finished listening to: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. A novel based on historical fact. Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator who was the first person to fly non-stop from the USA to Europe was unafraid of flying. In contrast, his wife Anne, who he taught to fly in order to be his co-pilot, was sh*t-scared of flying, but was brave enough to do it anyway.

From all this stimuli, I’ve noted a few ideas for the sitcom. (If you are new to this blog, I’m collecting ideas for a sitcom. Read more here). In each “episode” the storyline will include different house guests at the health retreat. One of the guests can be a Nathan Mullins-inspired know-it-all idiot. He’ll be called Mac (an unflattering acronym which I won’t spell out here). And another can be an olympic athlete. Maybe of a really obscure olympic sport that noone has ever heard of. Or maybe it could be a cameo from a real olympic athlete, like Hussain Bolt.

Anyway, I traded in the crappy memoir for Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – still sticking with the themes of courage, survival and resilience. I haven’t seen the movie version yet, but I’m keen to.

I’m also:
-catching up on the Mamamia Out Loud podcasts
-up to Level 1853 on Candy Crush, and playing 9 people in Words With Friends.
-and trying to live by Eleanor Roosevelt’s motto:

“Do one thing every day that scares you”.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my world. Hope you are enjoying yours!

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What do Buddha, Wolverine and orange have in common…?

May the 10th, of course! It’s a busy day…

First up, it was Buddha’s Birthday. Happy birthday Buddha! How many candles would be on his birthday cake??

Secondly, in the Pastafarian calendar of holidays, it was Wolverine Day. If you haven’t heard of the “church of the flying spaghetti monster”, google it. Without wanting to invoke a major discussion about faith and religion, it’s a really interesting read. And personally, I agree with several of their points. From their website: “The system of Pastafarianism ethics is based on the “The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts” – a series of suggestions on how to live your life in a happy manner without infringing upon others rights to do the same with their own lives. The 8’s outline a morality which is based on harmonious co-existence, non-judgemental conduct and generally not being a dick.” Overall they shun the dogma of mainstream religion, including the idea of religious holy days. In pastafarianism, every day is a holy day! (My birthday is Underdog day. What’s yours?)

It was Wear Orange Day to recognise SES volunteers. I tried to get on board (because they do a bloody good job and deserve recognition), but the only orange clothes I have are singlets and shorts, and it was a cold windy, rainy day here, ie NOT singlets and shorts weather. But hoorah to the SES and the great work they do.

It was also the day I finished watching season 2 of Orange is the New Black. I’m always slow to catch on to good TV shows, so I usually miss out on the water cooler discussion when they are first airing, but it means I can binge-watch when I finally do get on board. Anyway, another great season. How good are TV script writers? I recently read a memoir, What I was doing while you were breeding by Kristen Newman and she works as a sitcom writer. She provides a few glimpses of how TV sitcom writing happens: a bunch of writers in a room coming up with stuff. If I was going to write a sitcom, I would definitely have a pastafarian as a character. So much content right there, and lots of crazy costume opportunities: for example Dec 19th, Dalek appreciation day.

But back to Orange is the New Black. For those that have watched it, have you ever listened to the opening lyrics: “taking steps is easy, standing still is hard”? So true, although arguably counter-intuitive. Anyway, the season ended with a bang, as they always do (spoiler alert: I’m glad V copped it), but there are still so many juicy plot lines unfolding. I need to track down seasons 3 and 4. I’m already missing all the characters.

So, I might have to explore the idea of writing a sitcom a bit more. At the least, note good sitcomy ideas here on the blog. So far I have a pastafarian, and I guess another character would loosely be based on me – an adventurer trapped in the mundane. I’ll need a good setting. Prisons have been done. Hospitals have been done (to death!) Groups of youngies living in apartment buildings have been done. Maybe a “wellness retreat” starting up in a remote island of an under-developed country. The owners and staff are a motley crew (including the pastafarian!) and then each week there are different clientele. There is always some disaster or drama occurring. Often they are first world problems (for example, off the top of my head, running out of soda stream gas canisters) but also big disasters, like cyclonic weather, or a volcano erupting (did I mention it’s going to be set near an active volcano…?). Ok, let’s see where this goes…

In the meantime, I’m:
-scuba diving in the Whitsundays and having a picnic with cockatoos. (seriously…this isn’t sitcom world anymore). To read more about that, head over to our sailing adventure blog, the Alpha Odyssey.
-reading a memoir that I’m not really warming to called How to amputate a leg by Nathan Mullins. (edit: I’m not reading it anymore, it was too painfully narcissistic. I applaud people who serve, but not who trump up their experiences to make themselves out to be heroes).
-hoping to start watching The Tudors, season one, except I don’t know how to get .avi files to work on mac.
-listening to the podcast S-Town which has been a bit hard to keep up with to begin with (it starts as one story and then goes down the BIGGEST rabbit hole ever), but it’s really interesting.
-trying to teach myself Bahasa Indonesia, but so far I’m not the most diligent student.
-trying to meet my newly-set blogging goals, thanks to Blogging U course from The Daily Post.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my world. Hope you are enjoying yours! (And if anything other than spambots is reading this, let me know what you are reading/watching/listening to in the comments.)

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