Apologies, website is undergoing a revamp.

Number 49 - See both Solar and Lunar eclipses

Apologies, website is undergoing a revamp.

Number 98 - Take part in a Demonstration

Apologies, website is undergoing a revamp.

Number 11 - Storm Chase a Tornado*

Apologies, website is undergoing a revamp.

Number 67 - Visit... The Grand Canyon

Apologies, website is undergoing a revamp.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Number 42: Hit Your Targets

Completed 1 May 2014
Beretta M9, Remington 788 .223 Sniper Rifle, FN P90 and Heckler & Koch MP5
The Gun Store, Las Vegas

So go shooting, number 42... what better place to do this than America and what better place in America than Las Vegas. Sin City, The Diamond in the Desert where the firearm laws are lax and pretty much anything you want to do is on the cards provided you can pay.

Now I initially when I started searching there wasn't actually too many websites/gun ranges that where around. But I found one that offered the setup and experience I was looking for,

Browsing there website, I found the basic package I wanted, a simple "Pick 3". and went about selecting the weapons I wanted to fire. The original plan being the .223 Sniper Rifle, the Glock 17 Carbine and the Beretta M9.

So the day rolled around while I was on my 6 week USA trip and we caught the shuttle out to the shooting range. After we checked in, we were asked to pick our targets and weapons for the pick 3 package. I changed it up on advice that "You're only here once" and picked a full machine gun (MP5) along with the Beretta M9, the .223 rifle and the weapon from Stargate the FN P90.

Beretta M9
The first gun I have ever fired and really not as scary/loud as I thought it was going to be and far less kick. Although it should be a fairly easy to use weapon since it's used by the United States Navy, United States Army and the United States Air Force. My accuracy was terrible and my range instructor could not work out my camera for this first one, so no photos, sorry.

Remington 788 .223 Sniper Rifle
The bolt action on this one was a huge amount of fun and my accuracy was great, although granted the target was not nearly far enough away. But still a lot of fun, fire, up, back, forward, down, fire.

FN P90
Now this was my favorite weapon I got to fire, the gun they use in the majority of Stargate SG-1. It was great, lightweight, quiet, practically no kick and easy to hold, aim and fire. If earth ever got attacked by the Goa'uld this would be the weapon I would run for as well. Good choice Stargate command.

Heckler & Koch MP5
This was the full on machine gun I picked out of the line-up since it was one that was generally my favorite (apart from sniper) in games like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield which my mates and I used to play. As for the gun itself, ea sy to hold and lightweight, but the kick really did add up after more than 4-5 shots in a row. A strong up and to the right pull which you can see on the targets.

Overall, a great experience and worthy of being on the list. Something I will definitely look to do again in future.

Mark 42 as done.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Number 38: See These Animals in the Wild...

Completed 17 May 2014
Update r. Eagle/Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

So this is an update for Number 38: See These Animals in the Wild for the eagle. 

Now while I was on the tour for the Grand Canyon there was possible sightings of eagles however I was unable to get a photo or confirm that they were actual eagles as America has quite a few birds of prey species a number of which look similar to eagles by an untrained eye.   

The tiny town of Walden, nice little place.

So I had written seeing an eagle off, thinking it wasn't going to happen, when one morning in the Rocky Mountains during the storm chasing tour when we were staying in a small town called Walden. 

Bob the amazing storm AND bird spotter. (yellow jacket)

We looked up and saw the most iconic of all the eagles. An American Bald Eagle circling high overhead, at first I wasn't sure if it was what I thought it was, but Bob (one of the drivers from the tour and super awesome guy) was fairly knowledgeable on birds and wildlife and he was able to confirm that it was a Bald Eagle. 

Number 38 won't be marked as complete until all of the animals listed have been seen in the wild.

Grizzly Bear
Polar Bear

Friday, 30 May 2014

Number 36: Visit Every Country/Continent

Completed 24 April - 29 May 2014
Update c. USA/North America

So this is an update for Number 36: Visit Every Country/Continent for The United States of America and North America. 

There is a few updates to come from this trip, so I'll be brief in this one and just give a rough overview of where I went, why I went and mention a few of the other updates that are to come.  

About a year and a half ago, my mother mentioned that they would be in America the same time as my 30th birthday and that I should come over. To me sounded like a great idea and opportunity to attempt completion of a few things on my list. So I launched into saving mode and subscribed to all the local airlines mailing lists for deals. 

The rough draft plan
Many hours of research later and changed plans (since America is kinda huge and I ran out of time and money before I could see everything) I ended up with the rough plan of where I was going, for how long and what to do. 

Can't do America without Walmart
Over 100 flavors from this vending machine

The plan was: 
Land in Los Angeles and spend a few days
Head to Las Vegas for friends and family meet-ups and birthday
Then off to Tucson for the Boneyard
And finally over to Oklahoma City for storm chasing before back to L.A. and home. 

In those few stops there was about 5-7 things from the list that could be either completed for partially completed. 

Number 11: Storm Chase a Tornado
Number 36: Visit Every Country/Continent
Number 38: See these Animals in the Wild
Number 40: Get a Free Upgrade on a Plane
Number 42: Hit Your Targets
Number 50: Write Your Name Over a Star on the Walk of Fame
Number 67: Visit...
Number 68: Save Someones Life

Not marking it as complete yet as there is a still more to visit. 

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