Throwing knives and a YouTube doco

In my last post I wrote about sucking at stuff in 2020. I started by using my throwing knives and the GoPro (for separate things) and I wasn’t disappointed at my expectations of sucking.

On the 1st and 2nd of January I set out in my kayak with the GoPro attached to my head to film what I thought would be an awesome documentary on the Burrum River. I paddled around for ages giving a running commentary of the goings on, while imagining how great it would all be look once I was able to edit and post it on YouTube.

When I got home I was excited about watching it and making it look really cool so my fantastic footage could go immediately viral. Rubbing my hands together in anticipation of critical acclaim and vast fortunes, I set about attempting to view what I’d recorded. I could see it on the tiny screen on the GoPro itself, but none of the media players I have on my computer would let me see the visual. I could only hear the audio. I downloaded it this way, then that way, then yet another way, but none of it made any difference. After around five hours of dicking around and being close to tears of frustration, I decided I’d better pack it in for the day.

The next day I went out and took some more footage with different settings on the GoPro. I was certain this would be the answer. It wasn’t. I dicked around with it a bit more, but after a couple of hours I still felt like crying, so I had to leave it, and googling the problem wasn’t any help.

On the third day I posted my problem on a hiking facebook group that went something like this: Help me, I’m too stupid to work a GoPro, and lots of lovely people, who were once stupid, just like me, responded with helpful advice. In the interim, I’d decided that I’d just upload it to YouTube as it was because I had an inkling that YouTube might be running under a better system than my Asus laptop, which I’ve had since 2009. Guess what? I was right, YouTube’s system is better than Windows10. Who would’ve thought! This is the video here:

So, what I learnt here is that  I made a buttload of assumptions about how this whole exercise would pan out, which is probably something I do all the time.  I also learnt – quite sadly – my laptop is too old to edit stuff from the GoPro and that no amount of dicking around with it is going to help. Now I forge on with the advice provided by the hiking group to see if I can download some of their suggested software to bridge the gap between my geriatric laptop and the already superceded GoPro Hero 7. I almost cried a few times while learning this stuff and it made me feel really annoyed, but I made it through the challenge and came to no ill fortune.

Then it was time to throw some knives. This is one of the activities I highlighted in my most recent post: I’d never thrown knives before and I thought it would be interesting to see how I progress at learning something totally new. I knew I’d suck at it to begin with and yep, I was right:

As you can see in the vid I miss every single one! At least some of them are actually hitting the target. I managed to get one knife into the target out of about forty throws, but it was right on the very edge. I lost one knife in the leaves on the ground and the cool guy I’m married to had to go and buy a rake so we could find it the next day.

It’s hard not to be good at something. It makes me feel stupid and useless. I know that’s normal, but it’s still a difficult feeling to embrace. I guess this is what stops most people when they discover they aren’t an expert straight away when they try something  new, and probably prevents them from even trying in the first place.

The start and finish are irrelevant because

GREATNESS COMES ON THE PATH

 

How much will I suck in 2020?

2019 wasn’t bad. It wasn’t all easy though. Some shit went sideways and I said goodbye to a few relationships and also some beliefs that I’d been hanging onto for too long. I also extricated myself from a toxic workplace. None of this was easy because it’s hard to see people for what they really are. I don’t want to believe that people are intentional arseholes, but the truth is that sometimes they just are, and contrary to what said arseholes probably think, that’s not actually my fault. It would have been easy to blame myself and say that I should have done this, I should have done that, I should have learned how to breath underwater, defy gravity, turn water into wine, tame dragons, control the weather, and I should have kept my mouth shut about the shady shit that was going on, but I didn’t because it’s not right to do bad shit to people and it’s not right to accept that from anyone, be it your boss, your brother, your neighbour, your best mate or a government department.  If I kept accepting that kind of treatment then I’m just as crappy a person as the ones who are treating me like shit because I’m teaching them that I deserve that kind of treatment. I’m also teaching them that they can treat other people the same way, and that’s not OK with me.

I did some pretty amazing stuff in 2019: I hiked 450 km on my own to Brisbane and got to meet some really cool people, and I raised over $6000 for brain injury while doing it. I read close to 100 books, exercised for 377 hours, ran more than 180 km, learnt some wicked skipping drills, went to some great gigs, grew out of my clothes because I built new muscle, got my first reading glasses, survived a bushfire, and made some freakin’ awesome plans for 2020.

In 2020 I’m going to see how much I can learn. Can a skill in one sphere emerge in another sphere, giving rise to an ability where none previously existed? Basically, will a lifestyle of breadth, rather than depth facilitate emergent abilities? I believe it will. It’s going to be tricky to measure this, but I’ll do my best. I’ll be recording everything I do and putting it on YouTube so everyone can see how much I suck when I first start out, and how that’s actually OK, because everyone sucks to begin with!

Watch me as I suck at these things:

  • playing video games*
  • knife throwing
  • tap dancing
  • learning a new language
  • skateboarding*
  • graffiti
  • juggling*
  • rubix cube*
  • macrame
  • physics
  • wood carving
  • singing*
  • kiteboarding
  • navigation*
  • chess
  • playing the banjo*

* These things I’ve tried at least once before, but was never any good at and/or it’s been over twenty years since I’ve done them.

Here’s what I’ve been doing in the last couple of days:

Snorkelling around the snags in the river. It’s a hard life.

Kayaking up the river and down a creek. This is where I suck. I made this ridiculously stupid and hilarious documentary about the Burrum River on a GoPro, but can’t get the damn thing to transfer to the computer so I can upload it to YouTube. Waaaahhhh!

See, it’s ok to suck, because that’s what pretty much everyone does the first time they try something, and this was the first time I’ve used the GoPro.

Learn by way of failure

Because

No one ever started off being an expert

 

 

 

The Magic Clothes

I recently learned that my clothing has magical qualities, namely the ability to disappear. Luckily this only happens when the clothing is not on my body otherwise it might make for an embarrassing episode of unexpected public nudity. I’ve only noticed the magic once so far and that was on the 13th of November this year and I wrote about the incident that lead me to believe in magic here.

After the people in question stole my clothing  I submitted a complaint via the relevant online portal for that particular state government department (yes, it was public servants who stole my belongings) suggesting that my clothing be returned or I be paid the amount of money I calculated to be a fair sum to replace the articles that had gone missing ($194.95: pocket knife, lip balm, hat, sunglasses, New Balance running shorts and branded t-shirt). Imagine my surprise (sarcasm alert) when the department denied that my clothing had been stolen, which of course absolved them of the need to return it and meant that they wouldn’t need to compensate me, or even take any responsibility for anything that happened that day. How convenient for them! I wonder how I would have fared if I had done the same to them?

Ok, so if I’m insane and the cops didn’t steal my shit, here’s what I think might have happened. I have a few ideas. I’d love to hear what you think of them:

  1. China has been secretly tunneling to Australia and the opening of their new tunnel just happened to be directly under my clothes and the clothes got sucked into the negative airspace, fell at an alarming rate, and through a fissure in the rock came to fiery demise in the earth’s core. See the accurate diagrammatic representation:
  2. A giant squid, and I mean really giant, was laying in wait for all of us to turn our heads so that she could steal my stuff as an offering to the Kraken, who she’d fallen out with in recent times over the beheading of medusa. This is what she looked like:
  3. I’ve been living on this planet as a spy for an alien race. After 40,649 years, my people finally came to retrieve me, but their navigation system was disrupted by a solar flair, so they mistakenly took my clothing instead of me, damning me to twelve more lifetimes of human existance. I was so sad when they flew off
  4. An escaped naked convict happened to be hiding out in the bushes and seized the chance to dash down under his cloak of invisibility to steal my clothes, so that he could pursue his lifelong dream of living as a woman. He’s now beautiful:
  5. The clothes never existed in the first place:

 

I don’t hate you.

I just lost all respect for you.

 

Aside

There has been terrible bushfires in this area and I almost lost my home. I was forcibily evacuated by the police, which was not a good experience and the residents of our small township were left to fend for ourselves after being told by the police to go to the Woodgate Bowls Club, which was closed. We all waited at the park in front of the hall (next to the Bowls Club) for three hours for someone to come and tell us what to do. No one came, so we all had to find our own emergency accommodation. Most of us had no clothes or food with us, which added to the challenge. The power was out because the powerlines had been burned down. There was also no internet and almost zero phone reception. It took several days before we could find out if our homes had been destroyed and we were only able to return yesterday. The fire service worked very hard to save our homes and I am extremely grateful for that. I am not grateful for being treated like shit on two occassions by the Qld Police Force. In one incident an officer called me a fuckwit twice, then took a pile of clothes I had arranged on the river bank, spread them out into puddles and stomped all over them. Later, after I’d gathered the clothes up again, he came back and either took them or threw them into the river when I wasn’t watching. Either way, my clothes are gone. He can’t claim that the tide took them out because the tide was receding, which can be proven by the tide charts for that day, and there was no one else there, but him, his sidekick and myself. There was another incident the next day, which was much worse, but I really can’t be bothered talking about it anymore because I am totally aghast at the way many people in this area were treated by the police. I got a tiny little glimpse of what it must be like to be Indigenous.

BEFORE THE FIRE ARRIVED:

Bulldozing a fire break across the road from my house

Smoke from approaching fire

sun

AFTER THE FIRE:

Along the road to my house

At the end of the street

I Tricked Facebook

Haha! I did it, I tricked fakebook.

I set up a personal fundraiser the other day that was rejected by fakebook because it thought that I was using the personal fundraising platform to raise money for a not-for-profit. Obviously they aren’t humans reviewing the fundraisers, but bots, because they picked up on the wording of my story and didn’t like it.

This time I used different wording for THE SAME fundraiser and it slipped right by them. Sucked in you stupid bots!

Click here to see my subversive fundraiser, which isn’t actually subversive at all.

I’m fundraising to buy this tent for a 450km charity hike I’m doing for brain injury:

Nemo Hornet from Wild Earth at Burleigh Heads Qld

 

 

 

Hervey Bay Section

I’m hiking from my home in Woodgate to the Brisbane CBD soon (map coming soon). I wanted to do it anyway, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to raise awareness and hopefully some funds for something that’s really close to my heart (or head, if you will): brain injury.

Around 700 000 Australians are living with brain injury (Brain Injury Australia, 2018) and I’m one of them. It’s likely that many people would look at me and think, there’s nothing even wrong with her, which I guess could be right because the impact of being brain injured is pretty difficult to measure, especially in the eyes of those who have no idea what it’s like to claw your way back after losing almost everything. Some people have even sought to use this against me to serve their own purposes. Sounds awful, right? Yeah, it is, but it’s caused me to come at this whole brain injury thing anew and that’s really why I’m doing this hike. I wanted to show these particular people that you can’t keep me down and that what they did was wrong in the worst kind of way because , what they did demonstrates a broader attitude to disability; an attitude that is just not on.

This is the route I will take on the hike, which begins on the 20th of September 2019. There are four basic legs:

1st leg Walkers Point (Woodgate) to Hook Point (Fraser Island) = 138km

2nd leg Inskip Point (Rainbow Beach) to Brahminy (Cooloola) = 98km

3rd leg Tewantin – Caloundra = 60km

4th leg Landsborough – Brisbane CBD = 150km

(distances are approximates taken from Google Earth Google Maps, therefore, not particularly accurate)

The whole thing will take 33 total days and I will be walking for 27 of those days.

Anyway, the whole point of this post was really to write about Old Mate.

I called into a local establishment in Hervey Bay to ask if they had rooms at their venue. The answer was no, which is fine, so I explained what I was up to. A blank look was the response I got, followed by more blank looks when I asked about a road at the bottom of the property. “It doesn’t got all the way through,” he re-iterated several times. I wasn’t sure that he totally got what I was asking and that he even knew what hiking was, so I said, “it doesn’t really matter about vehicle access because I’ll be hiking. What that means is  [insert simplistic description here],” met with yet another blank look, after which I decided that talking to this guy was a total waste of oxygen.

He went on to say that I’d need to contact the owner to ask his permission if I wanted to camp on the property. I wanted to leave, but I was conscious of not seeming rude. I also started to get curious as to if he might actually come ’round. Would something inside him click? Would he think to ask some questions? Would he eventually show some interest? No. It was obvious he thought I was a complete idiot.

me: what’s the owner’s name?

him: John

me: what’s his last name

him: Johnson

me; what’s his phone number?

him: I can’t give that out

me: but if I have to ask his permission, I’m going to need a way to contact him, so maybe you could give me the number of the establishment or the office and I could call him during work hours.

him: gives me number

me: thankyou (smiling on the outside, wanting to strangle him on the inside)

him: Ha, yeah, good luck (said with much derision while glaring at me because obviously I’m the biggest dickhead of all time)

I’d done another long distance charity hike in 2016 and couldn’t recall coming across anyone like this, so I started to worry that I’d imagined the wonderful and encouraging way I’d been received by pretty much everyone I approached for assistance back then. Maybe this hike won’t be like that one, I thought and I got a bit worried because I didn’t know how I’d face someone like this guy at every turn.

I needn’t have worried. The very next person I came across was a breath of fresh air, even if initially I thought she was going to get up me. I guess my meter was set on defensive-disappointment after old mate. Her name was Kim and she was working on road construction. I asked her about a patch of bushland near the site she was working on and if she thought I could camp there. She was so friendly and enthusiastic. She shook my hand  and offered me a campsite on her own property after I told her what I was doing. “That’s a great cause,” she said while shaking my hand again and smiling broadly. “And yes, I reckon you can camp here,” she said as she pointed at the vacant land while I looked at the colourful tattoos behind her right ear.

I hope most people I come across will be like Kim. This is what pretty much everyone was like on my last long distance hike.  Even in non-hiking life the world could use more people like Kim.

I’ll be mapping the Landsborough to Brisbane leg of the hike next week. I hope it’s not too hard to pin it down. I’m not familiar with that area, so I have no idea what to expect, plus I’ll be on my way to the Byron Bay Writers Festival, so I won’t have too long to spend faffing around trying to work things out. Fingers crossed it goes ok!

Wake Adventure Sleep Repeat

The $40 000 Fundraising Project

Featured

On the 17th of September 2019 I set off on a 450km solo and unsupported hike from my home in Woodgate to the Brisbane CBD (itinerary). I did this to raise funds and awareness for Brain Injury and also because I wanted to have an adventure. During the hike I raised in excess of $5000. My target is $40 000, so I still have a ways to go and the best part of the year to get it done. All that money will go to The PA Research Foundation and STEPS, which are collaborators in providing rehabilitation for those struck down with a traumatic brain injury. Please contact me if you are interested in collaborating with me. I’d love to hear from you!

Having a brain injury myself, I am a member of my local STEPS support group who meet in Bundaberg every month. Brain injury is known as the invisible disability and I got to talk to a lot of people, including the Minister of Health (Hon. Dr Steven Miles) about what it means to live with such a disability. “Gees, you look fine.” “There’s no way I’d ever think that you had a disability.” “Yeah, but there’s nothing wrong with you though.” Were some of the responses I got from people I met along the way.

This was the second big hike I’ve done. In 2016 I walked almost 400km to raise money for brain cancer. Since I completed that first hike I’ve been training pretty hard, which made my hike to Brisbane much easier than the 2016 hike. My attitude has probably shifted a fair bit too because on that first hike I came to learn that I am an amazing person who can achieve unbelievable things, but that I’m not special. I’m just like everyone else; the only difference being that I’m someone who had an idea and I made the idea happen. All of us can do that; you have my permission to be awesome too!

me, damien and Minister

Damien Topp (CEO PA Research Foundation) Me and the Hon. Dr Steven Miles (Health Minister) in Brisbane on my arrival. (photo: Sue Wright STEPS).