Omaha to Matakana
I’m trying out some timelapses on my new GoPro. This is the sun rising from my bedroom at Omaha
Me bush coding to ease the pain (slightly graphic)
In December 2011 I completed Outward Bound with a tremendous group of people. A full blog post is coming as I spend the next few weeks mulling over it.
One of the key values Outward Bound has is to encourage its students to engage in community service. For me the idea of performing community service was a challenging concept, what could I do more of to help the world around me? Other people in my group spoke of helping out families in need, disabled children and animals. Wonderful causes, one of the many reasons why I have such respect for the people I spent those 21 days with.
The others in my group seemed to get such satisfaction from these activities. I was jealous, my dilemma was what can I do?
Today I experienced what that satisfaction feels like.
Unlike other caches I’m requesting that you bring a bag along and pick up some rubbish if you see it. This beautiful area is very tidal so rubbish is sometimes found on parts of the walk. Let’s help keep it clean for all its marine inhabitants!
Cache in trash out is the idea that we install a geocache in a location and those who find it it take a bag and clean up the environment immediately around it. I think this is a terrific concept.
For me, since I started Geocaching in 2008, finding the cache is only part of the experience.
Back to today’s experience. I received an alert from one of the finders of the cache that an ant’s nest had been constructed in my nearly two year old cache. My sister and I set out to perform maintenance, a hefty walk.
When we reached the cache I cleaned it out, put in a new log book then walked back. I came across a tangled mess of popped balloons and ribbon clearly a bunch of helium balloons that had popped out at sea.
I had to pick it up.
I then saw some weathered and broken jandals.
I had to pick these up too.
Stupidly I hadn’t brought a bag and picked up every piece of rubbish I laid eyes on. I walked on filling my arms with trash like a velociraptor with bone degeneration.
Once we reached the nearest rubbish bin we laid down all the trash we had discovered.
The satisfaction I got from this deed was immense. My sister and I had cleaned up everything we could see along a few kilometers of beautiful coastline and, believe it or not, had fun doing it.
I propose that my service is a bit different. I want to do everything I can to keep these beaches as clean as possible. We’re blessed in this country with such stunning coastline and if we can do something as simple as pick up bits of rubbish it can make a lasting impact. I propose the following:
If anyone is interested in finding out more or helping me please get in touch.
Lets explore and keep our coastlines clean!
On South Georgia at a penguin colony. 11 pm at night. 100,000 breeding pairs.
My hero Steve Jobs.
Two months ago I stopped eating meat.
I stopped because I had a chicken burrito and it was gross.
I didn’t do this for the animals, I didn’t do this to for dietary reasons, I did this for me.
I’m a selfish vegetarian.
Over the years Mother has tried every diet in existence, even some that don’t exist-
Rinse and repeat with slight variation.
This year, much to my father’s and my dismay, Mother went vegan. However this time, after a month or so, I decided to embrace the change and give it a shot as a vegetarian.
So what did I find?
Sleep - I get full nights of undisturbed, deep sleep since this dietary shift. This was a rare occurrence prior to the change.
Sickness - No more tummy aches, no more greasy skin, less acne.
Self confidence – I’m proud of my vegetarianism. My meals are full of health, you really become what you eat.
Weight – As a developer and uni student my time for exercise is small. However since cutting meat out of my diet I’ve lost five kilograms. Not bad for not trying.
Eat better - The temptation of a fatty burger or a sausage has been eliminated. I’m cooking for myself and others again. I love nothing more than going to the Matakana markets on a Saturday morning to get fresh vegetables and other produce to cook dinner with.
Try new things - The limitation of what you can eat at a restaurant is a double-edged sword. On the one hand I have a smaller selection, on the other I try new things because I’m forced to.
Burden - The worst thing for me is the feeling that others think I want to inflict this choice on them and guilt trip them. I don’t.
Prearranging meals – How do you tell people to prepare you a vegetarian meal without seeming demanding? Mother did this and the person kindly prepared her fish. Contrary to what you might believe fish is still a meat.
Another limitation - I don’t like most cheeses, this coupled with vegetarianism results in a minute subset of meal options. This always complicates my meal orders.
This has been a great lifestyle change for me with the benefits outweighing the disadvantages. The most surprising part of it for me is how easy it was to do.
One night three years ago whilst overlooking La Jolla, San Diego, I said to my friend (who I had, earlier that month, flown halfway around the world to see) “wanna know something silly?” - “What’s that?” she said - “I think I love you” I responded.
Over the last 21 years, I’ve acclimatised and adjusted to rapid evolutions in information access, entertainment, diet and education - but no evolution has been as drastic as that of how we communicate with each other.
I recall coordinating friends to come over for a slumber party through a phone call to their house, the novelty of sending my first fax, the moment my first website loaded, the first email I sent, the first text I sent, the first instant message I sent, the first YouTube video I watched, and the first social network I signed up to. Things have changed. I think the fundamental difference between then (when I would make phone calls to organise sleep overs) and now (when I open Facebook) is how much we all know about each other.
It scares me.
In high school english, the concept of ‘show not tell’ was driven into us - displayed in Keat’s odes or Shakespeare’s sonnets. Put simply, the expression states that portraying an idea or concept indirectly rather than directly creates more interest and, therefore, has greater impact. I believe no statement summarises my thoughts on Facebook more aptly than this.
The mystery of meeting someone - finding out about their life, getting to know them - is lost. This human interaction, I fear, will be a thing of the past. Facebook’s nature of unleashing unparalleled intimacy between complete strangers is unnatural. The mystique of finding out about someone has been lost. You can evaluate the core areas of a person’s life, what they enjoy, who they know, their opinions, their social lives. Unfortunately we can become overly judgmental of others - purely because of this exposure.
I was in a long-term, long-distance relationship until the end of last year. For the first two years, the partner in question had a notable absence on Facebook - as a result of her parents. I found this fascinating - the picture I painted of this girl was angelic, I never paid attention to the negatives because the positives carried far too much weight. The relationship that developed between us was one of extremes. Extreme separation, extreme care for each other. Then she got a Facebook account. Things changed. Gradually this picture I painted of her decomposed - causing rifts in our relationship. I was exposed to aspects of her which I did not anticipate, most of which were likely misconstrued by yours truly. What she was placing in this very public environment started conflicting with who I believed she was as a person. The destruction of that relationship, I’m sure, was at least partly the fault of this aforementioned ‘exposure’.
Typically we build our networks in a variety of ways. We find people we know. We add them. We find people we know of. We add them. And in some cases, we find people we don’t know. We add them. I am guilty of all three of these scenarios. The odd thing is the term ‘friend’ is applied to all these people we add. The vast majority of these people are not friends. More concerning to me is the idea of ‘un-friending’. I’m certainly guilty of watching my friend count, aware of declines. Such an act carries weight, and makes a statement. The idea is primitive, black and white, odd and (most likely) irreversible. The introduction of these new social conventions add complexity to our interactions. But is any of this positive or natural? If you walk past an ‘ex-friend’ in the street, do you still acknowledge them?
Facebook played a key role in the demise of a relationship and also, more importantly to me, a friendship. We have not been in contact since the night that relationship ended. And I was unfriended fifteen days later.
But this is just Facebook. What about Twitter?
My passion for Twitter starts where my disdain for Facebook begins. Twitter is unique. If Facebook is the ‘tell’ then Twitter is the ‘show’. We gain a picture of each other from what we discuss and how we discuss it. This to me is far more natural - we inject the imagination, we create intrigue, we find out about each other. One of the most important people in my life was the result of a candid discussion about Adobe branded toys.
To me, the magic of Twitter is the fact that, in most cases, I have never met the people I communicate with. Yet, somehow, I care implicitly about what they say. I care about what they say far more than the drivel on Facebook.
The kicker of the situation is meeting these people in the flesh. In Facebook’s scenario, the sheer quantity of information results in a plethora of conversation enders. But Twitter’s strength is its ability to create conversation starters. These 140 character messages provide snapshots into people’s lives - allowing one to draw on Tweets to create conversation.
I’ll use this example to illustrate my point of Facebook not being effective as a conversation starter. Last year I went on a date - four weeks after my long-distance relationship ended. I thought it would be clever to do some ‘research’ investigating mutual friends and such - in an effort to perform some apparently not-so-subtle name drops. As it turns out, this plan backfired - the friends in question were loosely acquired and my lack of subtlety made me look like a stalker. Had I not ‘researched’ (or lost the car in a cavernous car park) the evening might have gone a little better.
The way in which we communicate with each other has changed - for the better and for the worse. These are my observations, my experiences and my opinions. It seems that others share similar views, and the approach of Google+ reinforces this. The move away from classifying people, uniformly, as “friends” creates a delicious concoction of freedom - the ability to create these fundamental constructs based on what people mean to you is empowering, and feels more natural. I look forward to seeing the conventions that will arise out of Google+, and the impact these will have on the social networking landscape.
In my experience, a little privacy (and a little mystery) go a long way - in order to discover who a person is, fundamentally, as opposed to just reading about them. Because at the end of the day, people are so much more than just a profile.
People sometimes mix up my stance on Apple with fanboyism. Upon Steve’s announcement of his leaving his position as CEO I have never once been concerned about the company. Just the fact my hero since I was a little lad can no longer continue holding this position.
This man has been my greatest influence outside of family.