Happy New Year! 2013

“Sorry for the slight delay in posting this, but I’ve been pretty busy and I had to go back to work today” – Ben

nye2013

Amazing photo taken by my fiancé (more about that next)

Check out my video of the Sydney New Years 2013 fireworks finale;

“So in keeping with last years post, I’ll discuss my resolutions” – Ben

New Years Resolutions for 2012:

  1. Lose weight – Success! I managed to lose 18kg, and reach my first personal weight loss goal of being under 100kg.
  2. Catch up with old friends – Semi-Success, I’m still pretty shocking at keeping in touch with old friends; but I did manage to see quite a few people in 2012.
  3. Find some direction with my life – Failure, I found a job though I’m not certain it will be my career. I am still keen to find something awesome.
  4. Do some photography / art – Success. I completed the 365 project for 2012 (though I missed a few days).
  5. Learn a new life skill – Neutral, I kinda learnt a new language. I studied Korean throughout 2012, and while I feel like I only know 5%, I’m still happy I can read and say a few basic phrases. I want to learn more.

Bonus 2012 events:

  1. Engaged – I got engaged to my beautiful girlfriend whilst we were in Korea visiting her family. Very excited/Happy!
  2. Blog reached 1 Million views! – Still very excited about finally having that view count click over to a million; thanks everyone!
  3. Getting to be a part of one of my best friends weddings – I was really honoured and touched to be asked to be the MC at Wongsters wedding. I loved being part of it, though I was very nervous because I didn’t want to ruin their big day.

New Years Resolutions for 2013:

  1. Lose MORE weight – Now that I’ve reached my first goal (getting under 100kg), I want to reach 90kg – which I think will be a healthy weight for me. From there I can think about doing another few/5.
  2. Prepare & Plan for the wedding – This will probably be a 2013-2014 goal, but from now on I will be seriously focusing on this (obviously!)
  3. Get control of my finances – I have a few things I need to work on, and one of them is being less casual with my spending. 2012 wasn’t a good year for me money-wise, and I’m going to fix that in 2013.
  4. Do 365 Project for 2013 – Due to popular demand I will be doing the 365 project for 2013. Get excited! (you can follow me on instagram: @benjamin_lewis)
  5. Improve my Korean – So I’ve done the basics, I’ve been to Korea… now I need to practise so I can actually participate in conversations and not sit there like a goon.

What did I do for New Years Eve (2012/2013)?

  • I was fortunate this year to have access to one of the best views in Sydney – though I was very limited in the number of people I could invite.
  • I planned a very chilled NYE party which included a bathtub full of drinks:
Refreshing

Refreshing

  • I also managed to avoid the crazy amount of people in the public areas;
nye_4

The chaos that was McMahon’s Point

  • My photo #365 was a pretty cool selection of the 9pm Fireworks in Sydney;
#365

#365 – 9pm Fireworks

  • …and my sister’s photo was pretty cool too:

nye_3

Top 10 posts for 2012:

  1. Doodle God Walkthrough / Guide
  2. Boba Fett doesn’t give a fuck (gif)
  3. Cinnamon Challenge Gifs
  4. Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake – History of Rap (Parts 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Facebook – Happy Birthday Meme-Style
  6. Jessica Biel’s ass (Gif)
  7. Zahia Dehar’s Ass Shake Gif
  8. Here is where I would put a fuck, if I gave one
  9. Fuck yo couch! gif
  10. Cameron Diaz from The Mask

The Top 10 Posts of 2011.

“As a way of finishing up 2011. I’m going to list the top 10 posts for 2011.” – Ben

  1. Misty Cosplay: Win and Fail
  2. Facebook – Boil Water
  3. Doodle God Walkthrough/Guide
  4. Random Hot Asian Women, Part 2
  5. Jarah Mariano post
  6. Christina Hendricks has huge boobs
  7. Baxter, you’re so wise!
  8. Random selection of Hot Asian Women
  9. Jessica Biel’s Ass (Gif)
  10. Hot Women: Natalie Portman

“We are just going to ignore how many of those posts would be filed under Hot Women, hmm” – Ben

and on that note, farewell 2011.

Merry Xmas! (From Fiji)

“Merry Christmas everyone. I shall be in Fiji whilst you are reading this. Here is a photo of what I’m planning on doing today (taken a previous visit). Ahhh, it’s nice having this kinda things pre-written and scheduled to post. Hope you all get some good loot” – Ben

This guy has level 50 defence (GIF)

“I have started doing Taekwando and have practised doing sparring so I know how cool it is that this guy can defend himself against multiple attackers. I don’t know what happened, but the guy in the White shirt thinks he is hot shit and gets pwn’d at least twice” – Ben

Ben’s reflection on 9/11 a decade later.

“9/11 was a horrible and shocking event. I can’t believe it has been a decade since it occurred. I thought it would be prudent to reflect on my impression and memory of what happened on 11th September 2001.” – Ben

A sad image of the smoke.

That morning.

I remember my mother waking me up in a bit of panic. She is American and all I can recall her saying was “you have to come see the news” – she couldn’t even explain what was happening at that point. I saw the video footage of the planes hitting the towers and I thought it was a trailer for some new movie. It took a few seconds to realise that this wasn’t some Hollywood special effect – but happening in real life. I think that’ll be a comment impression. It took me the rest of the day to come to grips with the horror that had happened. The sheer amount of death and destruction is something you can’t really process quickly. Sad stories would later come out about people jumping (like ‘the falling man‘) rather than burn, all the amazingly brave and heroic firefighters and police that died trying to save people. It’s all really sickening.

My most vivid impression.

I remember standing on the train platform in Sydney waiting to go into school and no one talking. If people were talking, it was a very hushed conversation about what had happened. Everyone was in shock. Everyone was wondering what was going to happen next.

The rest of that day.

I was at school talking about what had happened and I recall everyone believing that America would be going to war over this. I was really impressed with how the USA responded to the attacks – it unified in pride and support. On the other hand, I think the global backlash on Muslims has been unfair. It is never fair to condemn an entire group of people for the actions of a small percentage who are extremists. It’s sad that some people in this world are still racist. I also think it’s pathetic for anyone to say “They [Americans] deserved it”.  The people that were killed, the office workers, the airline passengers, were not guilty of anything.

Stuck in the USA.

My dad was actually in Chicago when it happaned. He was staying in a hotel that was directly opposite the Sears tower and remembers SWAT teams storming the area to check for terrorist activity. The entire US airspace was shut down – which is called SCATANA and has only ever happened once in history. Like a lot of people, he was stranded in continental USA and trying to get back home to Australia and couldn’t work out how. They had a rather clever idea – hire a bus and drive to Canada and try and get a flight out. He managed to reach Canada and when he got wind of a rumour that LAX would be opening to allow outbound international flights, he got there and flew home.

The post-9/11 world

I think everyone will agree that it is a different world post-911. The most obvious effect is how painful airline security is now – but everyone respects why that is the case. It’s sad that these attacks continue around the world. I was actually in England in 2005 during the London Bombings. It was sad that even Australia has been effected with the Bali Bombings. Thankfully there hasn’t been any terrorist attacks on Aussie soil (*knocks on wood*). It would be a pretty sad event considering how multicultural Australia is – that and Australia really isn’t the enemy of anyone.

“I hope my ranting hasn’t offended anyone. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this.” – Ben

Happy 2 years

“Today marks the two year anniversary with my gf. I have a pretty cool day planned and here is the first thing that occurred. – Ben

A dozen White & Red Roses, Teddy Bear and two boxes of Chocolates.

“I wanted to do this post for her because she sometimes doesn’t get why I spend my time blogging.” – Ben

My First City 2 Surf Experience

“I decided to partake in the City2Surf this year. For those of you that don’t know of the race, it’s a 14km ‘half-marathon / fun run’ that starts from Sydney city and ends at Bondi Beach.” – Ben

It all started with Mikey convincing me that we should do the City2Surf this year. I previously would have laughed it off (like every other year), except he pointed out this would be a good excuse to go to the gym, do training and get fit. Since I started my heath kick in July 2011, and that he promised we could go in the Yellow Group (Jogging & Walking), I said yes.

I wasn’t aware of this initially, but the 2011 run was unique in a number of ways. Firstly, it was overcast, cool and rainy – apparently it is usually hot and sunny (making the run harder). Secondly, there was a record number of people (86,695) in this run. Thirdly, we were attempting to beat a Guinness world record for the ‘most number of people stretching simultaneously’. Whether Sydney is awarded that remains to be seen. I joked that there was no such record and this was merely an OH&S requirement for the event and they couldn’t figure out a way of making us all do it.

The World Record attempt for 'Largest number of people stretching at once'

I’m no runner. I have been doing a bit of running as exercise, but nothing that could be considered ‘near-marathon’ levels. I had previously bought new shoes, a heart rate monitor and had tried to get into running as much as I could beforehand. We woke up that morning sharing the same hope as the rest of Sydney, “please don’t rain”. I was able to snap a quick picture of the starting line for the Yellow group (below) which shows the sea of people all along College St.

My photo of The 'start' of the race (~8:40am)

At 9:05am the start gun went off and… nothing. One of the things you don’t expect is that the start of the race is really slow. You are barely walking for about 10-15 minutes as the mass of people slowly start to take off. We didn’t start running until we turned onto William St and it was downhill. The YouTube clip I found shows you the start of our group (unfortunately we were in the middle of that pack so it ends before we could have a chance to run by).

Running downhill was the easy part, I was silently dreading the ‘Heartbreak Hill’. I tried to live in ignorant bliss for as long as possible and not know the exact route or features until the very last minute. I was utterly depressed when I found out that the infamous ‘Heartbreak Hill’ is actually 4km long. Regardless I remained positive about doing it. I had been running a little bit and I did a 7km run at Iron Cove and managed to do that in 1:10 and that was with a lot of walking.

When I did see the route finally I wasn’t impressed that it didn’t go straight to Bondi, but rather loops around Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Dover Heights.

The course of the race - I tried to mark where Heartbreak Hill starts

One of the best aspects of the run is the people watching. There is a $5,000 prize for the best outfit and people have fun and run in all kinds of interesting outfits. Morph suits were abundant, but I’ve managed to track down some photos of the costumes I liked. The outfit I liked best was the ‘Sailor Girls‘ – which I used at various points during the race to gauge where we were in the pack. The photo provided immediately below doesn’t really do them justice, but I was happy to find at least 1 photo of them. If anyone has any more, or can find more, please let me know.

'The Sailor Girls' - Click image to view larger image. (Original Photo)

Photo sources from Flickr, visit the original photo here.

'Bananas' - Click on image to visit original photo

'Mario Brothers' - Click on image to visit original photo

'The Smurfs' - Click image to visit original photo

Photos sourced from MarzoSyd’s Flickr – Thank you for the awesome photos! It’s a shame I couldn’t find more photos online (considering almost everywhere you went there was a camera).

The run itself was a lot of fun. I even managed to sneak some time to live-tweet my progress at various points. I think I’ll do it again next year, though with more training and more running. I was able to find one image of Mikey & I stepping over the finish line.

Mike & I stepping over the finish line

After 14km you reach Bondi to a see of people. Stores, restaurants and venues are crazy busy. We had decided previously that we wanted to try (and rewarded ourselves with) Moo Burger. We managed to score a table and feast on meal that would make most people ill. In hindsight drinking a massive chocolate milkshake wasn’t the wisest choice.

'We made it' - Mike & Myself celebrating with a Moo Burger afterwards

.

p.s  - as an added bonus and thank you to my running coach Emma, here is a photo of Dr. Chris Brown (aka “Bondi Vet”) who took this photo demonstrating how to stretch before the run.

Dr. Chris Brown (Bondi Vet)

Ben’s August 2011 Update

“I used to do personal updates on my blog, I wonder why I stopped doing them” – Ben

This is a meme-esce version of my life, click to visit original post

The Man Behind the Blog

It occurred to me the other day that while a fraction of my readers know me, the rest have no clue about who this Ben guy is. I won’t get too into it, suffice to say that I’ve been feeling like I haven’t ‘written’ much on ‘my blog’. I’m going to try and contribute a bit more and force myself to write more than the occasional witty comment. Relax, this won’t become a soapbox for my insanity…. there will still be all the regular posts you’ve come to enjoy. How to start an introduction? I’m not sure. For now I’m just going to try and write a few more personal posts and see how that goes.

2011 – A Year of Changes

Whilst I am acutely aware that change is inevitable, I couldn’t have imagined quite so many things would have occurred this year. I have had my company bought out and had my office made redundant, I’ve travelled to the USA on my first business trip, I’ve challenged myself to a month without the internet or gadgets, I signed up for the City2Surf and lately I’ve been exercising. The later is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time (see NYE resolutions for 2009, 2010 and 2011). I am 6’1 and over 100kg, whilst my height masks my weight a bit – I’ve often had self image issues and basically hated the way I look in photos. I’ve spent July-August 2011 exercising 4 times a week and have managed to lose about 4 kg in 4 weeks. I’m pretty happy with that.

Australian Government needs to treat immigrants better

I have recently had to deal with the worst the immigration department has had to offer in watching helplessly as my girlfriend battled to get a valid Visa and continue to remain in the country. It’s sad that someone that has studied here, worked hard, paid taxes, done everything right is treated so poorly. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it was (and still is) knowing that people doing the right thing are getting punished whilst people that screw the system get away with it. I am very thankful that someone caught the mistake that was made and that instead of being ‘deported’ in 28 days, she was granted an awesome visa. It has made us both happy and we look forward to the rest of this year. This experience has shown me that perhaps our government doesn’t deal with these cases in the best way. I started watching SBS’s ‘Go back to where you came from’ and whilst it’s good that it shows the reality behind the hardships of these people, it’s also upsetting to see how ignorant people can be.

Comment, comment comment

I love it when I receive comments on posts. I get them almost immediately and will often reply to them. I appreciate my usual commenters; ‘JPS’, ‘gregoryno6′, ‘Wongstar’ etc. I also love it when someone new comments. I get a feeling that there are heaps of different people that visit and enjoy my blog. I average about 800-1,000 views a day – which is something pretty cool for a little hobby of mine. Unfortunately not all comments are good. It is a shame that people don’t read my FAQ about trolling. In my opinion everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’ll listen and reflect upon what is said… but if you say stupid shit I will change what you wrote and point out where you are a moron. Writing “your such a faggot” will become “you are awesome” for example. I was getting a lot of crap over the Misty cosplay post, and I got the shits and closed the comments on that. I didn’t want to close the comments, but I’m sick of having to justify and explain it – it’s a joke… get over it.

Share my posts however you like!

I recently had my best day ever because someone put my Facebook – Boiling Water post onto StumbleUpon. That resulted in my busiest day of 5,843 views. I get a kick out of it when someone references my blog. Did you know that if you search ‘Baxter Your So Wise’ in Google Images my site is the #1 result? Pretty cool.

New Sections / Content!

Coming soon – various forms of new content. Mostly food related, but also some other bits and pieces that involve my life. Keep an eye out for new pages appearing along the ‘About/FAQ’ & ‘Most Popular Posts’ area!