Saturday, 29 March 2014

Number 79: Answer a Personal Ad

Completed 21 March 2014
The Elephant, Fortitude Valley, QLD Australia /

So while the actual item to complete was "Answer a Personal Ad", I made two slight changes to this. First, made the call that online dating sites and mobile apps such as Tinder counted as personal ads since they are just the modern version of the classic ads in newspapers and second, it would only be completed once I actually met/had a date someone from one of these sites.    

So I had actually been on dating sites for a while, but more just lurked for a long time. Not really messaging or arranging to meet anyone. I tired a few different ones, all with the same result of me not really getting too into it. Something in my mentality changed when I joined Tinder the dating/hook-up app, whether it was a boost of confidence or just Tinder's more direct approach to forcing communication between mutual matches. 

But one bored Friday night at home with a few drinks and internet access, I started messaging a number of people that seemed interesting. One caught my attention more than most and it wasn't long until we exchanged numbers and by mid the following week had made the call that meeting might be a fun idea. 

The plans were simple, nothing with too much pressure, just a chilled drink or two at The Elephant, before the possibility of catching a movie or something. So after ducking off early from my work awards night that was set for the same Friday night, I headed around to the pub to meet her. 

We had a few drinks there before heading to my place where we just ended up talking until the early hours of the morning, I think it was around 3am. Although the fact I had a date didn't stop my workmates from sending many many texts, guess they just missed me since I'm normally always out late on awards nights. 

So overall I think it went well, although I have left the last section of the page blank since it talks about long term aspects and it's still early days, granted I have seen her again since. 

Mark 79 as done (except the last part)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Number 102: Experience an Earthquake

Completed 26/29 December 2010
Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu and Tanna, Vanuatu.

This was the first additional thing that I added to the existing list, making it 102 on the list. While it was something I always wanted to experience, I also knew that it would be very difficult to actually be in the right place at the right time. But it happened while on the same trip as "See an erupting volcano" over Christmas 2010 in Vanuatu. 

The major initial earthquake hit at about 12:16am on 26 December 2010, so as you might imagine my partner and I were asleep at the time and were woken by the movement. What did it feel like, it was surreal. Since I just woke up I thought I was still dreaming and it felt like I was walking on the deck of a stationary yacht at sea. 

We were not the only ones that were awoken either, a number of guests and management of the hotel we were staying at were awake. It was a bit of a worry since we were staying at a beach side resort and my scientific brain went straight to the thought of a following tsunami. Now that coupled with the lack of clear information we were getting, we decided to go for a drive around the island to higher ground... Blame a state of sleep deprived panic and the fact that it was a very low tide at the time which we found out several hours later.

The first aftershock was around midday that day and was much lower magnitude, but it was more enjoyable to be awake when it occurred and  the second major aftershock was several days later and was a bit stronger. We were also closer to the epicentre of the earthquake since we were on the island of Tanna instead of Efate.

So what did I get to experience?

Initial magnitude estimates were:
7.3, 6.2 and 6.6 respectively.
Revised magnitudes:
7.3, 6.0 and 6.4 respectively.

Mark 102 as done

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Number 98: Go on a Demonstration

Completed 05 November 2013 
Brisbane, QLD Australia  

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. <insert Law and Order sound>

Completing number 98 came about in a matter on a couple of weeks after a friend of mine Simon Says invited me to an event via Facebook. The event? The Million Mask March. 

A global event that generally lands on Guy Fawkes Day for supporters of a number of different ideas such as freedom of information, opposition of both corporate and political corruption, a free and independent media and general personal freedom and equality and government and corporate accountability all of which are views I support. 

Unfortunately the Anonymous movement also does seem to attract a fair share of conspiracy theorists that have been debunked time and time again such as 911 “Truthers”, Moon land hoaxers, Chemtrailers and HAARPers. My views are simply this, conspiracies do happen but simply believing unscientific nonsense does nothing but damage your own cause as when scientifically literate people see slogans like “Stop spraying me - Chemtrails” they will write off the entire movement.

Far right.
It also married up that the state government had introduced new "Anti-bikie" laws recently that were of great concern for example it can be used on anything classed as an "association" and it sets the stage for someone to be charged by who you associate with and not the crime you commit. Dangerous road indeed.  

However personal views aside, the walk was set for 3:00pm on 5 November 2013 and I got my gear ready since I would be leaving early from work to attend. The date also coincided with the Melbourne Cup so our audience would be quite large while we walked and I was semi-suited for the event.
Ready to rock this.
So I met up with my mate Simon Says and we walked right around the Brisbane CBD with our police escort which chants, songs and a fair degree of disorganization. But we did it in the super hot weather and celebrated with a couple of cold beers on a school night. 

Spot me if you can.
Mark 98 as done.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Number 83: Skinny Dip at Midnight

Completed 02 February 2013 
Brisbane / Southbank, QLD Australia  

So it's been a while, but in the meantime I did manage to tick one more thing off the list being number 83. 

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. <insert Law and Order sound>

This one ended up being quite impromptu, unplanned with more than a couple of drinks to make it seem like a good idea. I should also mention in advance that I don't really live in the middle of the bush, so this was a city adventure.   

So it all started after work drinks on a Friday night when Jimmy the snitch* suggested we go swimming at Southbank, which we had done on one other occasion previously... Unfortunately the time was only around 11:30pm when we got kicked out that time. 

The Southbank pool
I checked my watch, 11:30pm already... by the time we got there I might just have a chance to tick this one of I thought. I was in. So a few of us jumped in a cab and headed over. 

We picked our spot with as much cover as possible
We picked a spot and jumped in... 11:45pm. I was going to make it I thought, but I thought that minutes too soon.  A security patrol spotted us and warned us to get out and pack up. Ruined, we did what they asked... Until they left, boom 11:55pm back in and counting the minutes. 

12:00am - 83 Completed.  

Now I would have thought the hard part was done, nope, not yet. No one said this bucket list was going to be easy or cheap. A lesson I was just about to learn. 

After packing up our gear and clothes I noticed that a few things of mine were missing, namely my phone and wallet. It was better than the alternative of my clothes being missing granted, but ouch. So walking home it was with a quick stop off at a police station to log a police report for future protection. Thank goodness I still had my keys. 

Mark 83 as done

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Number: 49 See Both Solar and Lunar Eclipses

Completed 16 June 2011 and 14 November 2012
Total Lunar Eclipse and Partial Solar Eclipse. 

So as a bit of an astronomy nerd, this one was going to be completed with or without a bucket list.  

The total lunar eclipse took place in June of 2011 with the maximum being at around 4:50am and in the middle of June that meant it was quite cold (for Brisbane). It also turned out to be a perfectly clear night for viewing, not a cloud in the sky. 

My astronomy set up.
So I started setting up my gear at around 3:00am including telescope, mount, camera and accessories. Oh I happen to be using a Skywatcher Black Diamond 130mm Mak Cass mounted on a Heq5 Pro tripod and a Nikon D40x. 

Lunar Eclipse - 16 June 2011

The solar eclipse was much more of an event on 14 November 2012 with the maximum being at 6:58am. So lots of research  to find out what time, where to be, what percentage we would get. I woke up really early that morning, around 3:00am to get ready with all my camera gear and walk around to the roof level of the nearby car park for the uninterrupted views of the eclipse.  

Path and percentages of the eclipse

And while it was not total in Brisbane (83%), there was a noticeable changes in both temperature and light levels as it took place. It was a strange thing watching it through the solar glasses seeing a massive slice of the sun missing. 

Partial Solar Eclipse - 14 November 2012

Mark 49 as done.