Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: A Blogging Year in Review


red T2 tea cup
Another year, another tea cup.

Well, that's another year done  I'm never quite sure what to write in these 'end of the year' posts. Do I just talk about myself? Yes? Okay then, if you say so. I guess I'll just ramble, throw in some random pictures and at the end of this entry I can look back and review this year in review post. Actually, I tried to write 'review' in that sentence a few more times, as I've just noticed if you say 'review' over and over again, it morphs into 'roo-voo', which is quite funny for half a second.

First up, I've just noticed I did a lot more posts last year than this. Mm... Is that because I did more walking in 2011? No, what you'll find is that I turned most entries into long overblown convoluted examples of blogging, which would leave me spent for a fortnight before attempting another. I always say I'll write shorter posts, but I think I'm deluding myself.

Don't worry, I have researched the 'ideal blog length' online and what I've found is answers from people who appear to have no idea themselves. Long and rambling or short and sharp like a sudden kick to the testicles? The general consensus is that they've got to be short to stop people from dribbling uncontrollably as they slip into a coma. Well, I'm standing up for the posts that go on for eternity. Okay, now onto the roo-voo. It's actually a good chance to post random pictures that I couldn't fit in anywhere else during the year. Such as this one during one of my trudges home from work one evening.


australian raven standing on traffic light


Now, which entries did people read the most? I've just done a quick stocktake and this is my top three according to the statistics.

1. Mount Dandenong circuit walk, Dandenong Ranges National Park.

2. Lightheart SoLong 6: First impressions and the world of outdoor shelters.

3. Briggs Bluff, Winter, Victoria, 2012.

Mm... That's quite interesting and it confirms that even after all of this time I've no idea what works and what doesn't. Mount Dandenong is a mega-popular place in Melbourne, so I can see why that might get Googled. Then again, it contained a long running obscure joke where I substituted the word 'rock' from song titles and replaced it with 'bokeh'. Maybe that was the allure?

The Lightheart review affirms that gear talk gets read, which is disappointing as I find that sort of stuff a little dull. Actually, it reminds me that I've got to do a post on that tent again. In using, I found a flaw which totally turned the tent turtle (TTT) but it's back in action due to the skills of sewing guru Oanh who lives in the blog 'Unique Schmuck'. I must get that entry done soon, otherwise she'll do an Ed Gein on me with her new sewing machine.

Now, regarding most read posts, how about something different, like 'least read posts'? Before I do that I'll slot in a picture. I haven't just been checking out wonders of nature all year. Sometimes I like to visit the magnificent, historical places around Melbourne, but that can be problematic when the place has only been inhabited in the last five minutes. Check out this hallowed building.

plaque signifying 100th seven eleven store in australia


Is that blokes first name really 'Jere'? Please don't tell me he's funkified the name 'Jerry'? It had me thinking what I can do with my name. It's pretty dull, but I guess it can be spiced up with an extra 'g' such as 'Gregg'? Then again, like a real wanker I'd rather flip the whole scenario and go with 'Ggreg' instead. That's way more groovy, don't you think? All I have to do is slot in a silent 'q' somewhere and I'll be done.

Now, what didn't people read. Here's the top three.

1. Day 2. Cubbys Camp to Cobboboonee Camp, Great South West Walk, Victoria. Winter 2012.

2. New Dawn Fades, October 2012.

3. Day 5. Battersbys to Patterson, Great South West Walk, Victoria. Winter 2012.

There's a couple of problems with those three posts and that's two of them are of the one trip. Yes, that epic Great South West Walk (GSWW) still has another eight posts to go! Have people given up reading about it and I haven't even reached half-way? Well, to confound the blogging critics, I'm not giving up and will finish it no matter what the stats. Hang on. My dad dying is number two of least read posts? You bastards! I'm an adult orphan! Where's the humanity?!

Anyway, now that outburst is out of the way, back to the GSWW. There's lots more good stuff to come on that hike, just for sunrises alone. Like this one.


sunrise above lake monibeong


It also includes plenty of action from occasional hiking sidekick, the Smuffin. Here he is in his underpants (again) with his junk swinging in the breeze, collecting another food drop on the hike.


man running with underpants and boots on


As you can see, there's excitement aplenty in that saga and over the past year Smuffin really stepped up (in between cooking injuries). He may not come out again though, since he, Ben and I almost died from exhaustion on the world's smallest hike to Falcons Lookout in Werribee Gorge. It was termed (by me) 'the hot weather horror', but I think I've found one reason Smuffin suffered so badly on that day. Have a look at this. Whereas I employ a fairly straight ahead walking style...


walking uphill in straight line


 ...Smuffin prefers his feet to be at the 'quarter to three' position. Surely one has to cover twice the ground, making the hike a lot further with that method?


feet angled whilst walking uphill


He'll love that joke and without doubt I'll receive a one word text of a profane word starting with 'c' once he reads this post.

Now, I have to mention the Mayan apocalypse. What was all that about? Pay TV loved it, judging by the zillion documentaries they churned out, but I'd dismissed it pretty early on. Why should I put any weight on a theory by a bunch of blokes who didn't wear pants? Then again, I did go to bed wondering if I'd wake up surrounded in rubble from 'no pants driven uncontrollable random lava and other things that wreck stuff'. In the morning I peeked out of the blinds and was mortified to see the damage that had occurred overnight.

lemons on the ground under lemon tree
Mayan lemon apocalypse.

There's one thing I've done over the past year and that's I've hardly bought any new hiking gear. It all just seems more of the same, although there's a couple of things that have been going really well.

Firstly, there's the 2012 Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack which I picked up in their sales. So far it's been very comfortable and I've used it on most walks lately. Here it is with the 'super deluxe box set' of Never Mind the Bollocks. I think they both go well together.


2012 gossamer gear mariposa backpack and never mind the bollocks sex pistols box set


One thing I like about the backpack is its sizing for the taller hiker. I have the 'Xtra-Large' which finally gives me some leeway with the hip belt. So many packs hip straps seem to buckle up just under my nipples. Not the Mariposa. I can even run the strap half way down my bum if I'm feeling a little 'gangster' whilst out walking. Doing that though means I've tended to come across totally different looking hikers than I normally would. Check out these two.


skeleton and man with beard imitating gangsters
"Yo, I think you're misunderstood. We're from the 'hood to the wood."

What else seems to be working well so far? Well, on the GSWW my old Garmin GPS started to throw in the towel. It began going downhill when I kept having to empty water out of the battery compartment. It seemed the seals were done, so when I got back I splurged on the Garmin eTrex 30.


holding garmin etrex 30 gps


It's simple to use, the topo maps (I have the Australian and NZ maps on an micro SD card) look great and to top it off it has great battery life. I do like Garmin products, so its a pity their software is at times clunky as hell. Not to mention 'Garmin Connect', which is what I upload and store my walks on. I've seen this quite a few times...


screenshot of garmin connect website down


There you go. That's it for hiking gear right now. I do have to work in an office which is quite disappointing, but it's been made a little easier with some products I've come across this year. Firstly there's the banana carriage holder. I no longer have to arrive at work with bruised bananas.


plastic container for carrying banana


There's a new lightweight mobile phone I've picked up...


Motorola flare phone


...and if you combine them with 'fake awake' eye-patches, you truly do have the complete office essentials.


banana carriage holder, motorola flare phone and eyepatch with eyes stuck on front


What other epic events have happened? Well, I think I broke a new world record for sitting on the couch when I successfully watched five seasons of 'Breaking Bad' within 11 days. It went from 'Breaking Bad' to 'Breaking BadAss', but it was a lot of fun.

bluray box sets of breaking bad


Am I getting off track? Well, back to hiking. I didn't go too badly wrecking things this year. Here's what I found in the 'destruction box'.


small broken items including sunglasses, fork and lens caps


See? That's not too bad is it? I also blew apart a pair of pants on my hike to Mount Langi Ghiran when I fell down an enormous granite boulder. I think I destroy one pair of pants a year, so it's lucky there are constant sales happening in the hiking shops, otherwise I'll be destitute or hiking sans pants.

I did get thrown out of whack a bit when dad passed away. Not least when confronting all of the crap I've been finding stockpiled in the house. I detailed some of the trauma in my 'house cleaning' post. There's been constant surprises lately and another one was a vast selection of ties. Mind you, I never ever saw him wear one, so I've no idea what they were for. Here they are here...


ties piled on table


...and they were stored in bread bag. Not just any bread bag, but a 'Golden Toast' bag.


golden toast bread bag


The mind boggles.

Now, what post did I enjoy doing the most this year? Blogging keeps me entertained and Che 'Fifty Shades of Che' Guevara entry kept me going for a while. Mind you, taking the pictures for that was absurdly difficult. You try wearing a Buff headwear vertically around a tube of cardboard during a strong wind. Here's an outtake...


bearded man with tall hat on


Oh yeah, Smuffin was very critical of the photo in that post where I'm wearing an Elvis Presley wig. He said the caption should have read 'Chelvis', as that would have been both clever and funny. It can be a tough crowd sometimes.

I guess I should start wrapping this post up? If I don't I'll be finishing it in 2013 and that would defeat the whole purpose? Well, here's another picture that I came across. I'm not sure why a HMG Windrider Southwest pack is under the lemon tree (pre apocalypse) with both Obama and Churchill? There must be a reason, but I can't think of it right now.


statues of obama and churchill with hmg southwest windrider backpack


So, what's ahead? Well, I've got two months off work in April and May. It will be a make or break attempt at either something really huge, or maybe a shorter two hike combo. I'm not sure which and I figured my fitness might have something to do with the decision. I've been training a bit on the couch lately which usually doesn't transform into good mountain climbing stamina. Then again, maybe I'll do hardly anything, sit around and eat burgers, then head off into the alpine region? Surely the drama that such a ludicrous preparation like that would make for some entertaining blog entries?

Mind you, that paragraph sums up that whenever a flawless hike is completed, I end up with nothing to write about. Mm... The blogging dilemma...

Anyway, I made a mistake last year of talking about hikes I was going to do and then through a combination of reasons had to end up cancelling. It seemed that as soon as I mentioned one, it no longer got off the ground, so I'll keep all of my half-baked plans secret right now.

One thing is for sure and that's some things will remain the same. There'll be rampant polarizer abuse of evening clouds when I look out the front door during the evening...


Cirrocumulus stratiformis clouds


...and more ramblings about parents and the stuff I'm finding in boxes at home. This is good therapy!


letters notes and photos on a table


The moon during evenings when looking out my front door. With polarizer of course...


crescent moon behind evening clouds


Birds standing on random features (with the moon of course. Oh yeah, and polarizer). I think that's a juvenile Silver Gull, but then again it could be a juvenile Pacific Gull. Can anyone help me out?


juvenile silver gull standing on light with moon in background


If I had a choice, I'd prefer coastal over mountains, so you'll see more ocean action. Even idyllic...


small boat in water off flinders beach
Tahiti Flinders

...and not so. What's silly about the next picture is it was meant to be in the last post, but for some reason I mixed it up with another. Anyway, this was from the George Bass Coastal Walk and it's one of the bigger splashes against a rock I'd seen for some time.

wave breaking against rock shelf


You know what? I think that's it. In signing off for another year, I thank everyone who's dropped by for a read, left a comment or nodded off from an overblown epic post. Even this one. The one-legged bird is a perfect conclusion to this roo-voo...


juvenile silver gull standing on light with one leg


4 comments:

  1. That eTrex 30 is my favourite model of GPS for outdoor stuff. It's more or less replaced the eTrex Vista HCx which came before it, and both were awesome as long as you don't mind a smaller screen than the GPSMAP60/62 models which a lot of other people seem to like. (Can't comment on the software -- I barely use it 'cos I don't have Windows on my PC.)

    Just be careful when you change the batteries, because those microSD cards are tiny. I didn't realise mine was missing until a few months ago and don't have a clue where it might have fallen out.... and they're not cheap. :(

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    1. Hi Mike, the eTrex 30 is also my favourite GPS! The Vista HCx was actually the one I mentioned in the post about the seals going. That took me on some nice trips and I certainly didn't treat it very nicely with a few falls now and again :) It's no wonder it was on the way out, but it was time for an upgrade anyway!

      Wow, losing the microSD card is a bit of a horror story! I know exactly how much those things cost!

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  2. Speaking of lost cards, I came back from the U.S. with a brand-new iPhone 4S (too tight for a 5) only to find that it employs a micro-SIM card that my local phone joint here in Korea doesn't stock. After some angst I just sprang for a stapler-type kit on Amazon that cuts a regular SIM card into micro dimensions - but they don't ship to Korea so I had to get it sent to my girlfriend's place in America so she can forward it to me. And after all of that, I'll probably destroy the damned thing when I start on that project...

    Hey, I also came back from America with my first ever GPS, the E20. I've never, ever used one, so set myself the challenge of learning how to do it before returning to the States. You may well be receiving a few enquiries in the near future.

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    1. Wow, that card business sounds nuts? What's going on in Korea? I thought it was one of the most technically savvy places in the world?! That whole having to cut the card sounds like a recipe for disaster! I think you've got the same phone as me. I was going to throw mine out the window until Google released and Apple compatible maps app! It's all better now though!

      Actually, my 'go to' place for little electronic items is eBay. All of my camera batteries and cards I've bought through there. I've saved hundreds of dollars by getting them from those distributors in Hong Kong. Just in filters alone I've saved big. That could be a place to start for those fiddly little things? The ones I've bought from have all been reputable with fantastic service.

      GPS? Wow, you've stepped up! Yeah, I've got the one above yours. I'm not sure what's the difference? I think a compass in it? Anyway, I think you'll have fun with it? You could use it on your Korean walks. Feel free to send me any questions as my experience with Garmin is they make great products but the interface is clunky. If only Apple made hand held GPS!

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