Korean Seaweed Soup Recipe (Miyeok-guk / 미역국)

Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeok-guk / 미역국) is a tasty beef & seaweed broth that is good as a simple meal, but also is used for health reasons. The soup is primarily known as a postpartum (after childbirth) food in Korea because it is very soothing for your stomach. Actually, I had an upset stomach recently and this is what led to me cooking this. Because of this soup’s association with childbirth, it’s also a Korean tradition to eat miyeok guk on birthdays.
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Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeok-guk / 미역국)
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Boiling pot of Miyeok-guk
Ingredients:
  • Korean dried seaweed (Ottogi Seaweed) 50g package.
  • Chuck steak, 300g, diced (if you are fortunate enough to have a Korean butcher, explain to them “it’s for seawood soup”, they’ll get the right one and cut/prep it for you!.
  • Sesame Oil, ½ Tbs.
  • Garlic Minced, 1 Tbs.
  • Korean Soy Sauce for soup (Guk Gan Jang), 3 Tbs?
  • Korean “Magic Sauce”** (Yeon Du), 1 Tbs. **This is the name I’ve given this particular ingredient, it’s an vegetable extract/stock that acts as an alternative to salt.
Method:
  1. Take 25g (approximately half the 50g pack) of dried seaweed, place into a large bowl, soak in cold water for 10 minutes. You can set a timer on your phone to help you remember when you started.
  2. Fill your kettle and boil a large amount of water (this will be useful later).
  3. Whilst the seaweed is soaking, cut your meat into chunks (if not already done), and also prepare garlic mince, set both aside in separately.
  4. In a large pot (2-4L capacity), put 1Tbs sesame oil on medium heat.
  5. Add the meat and brown over the medium heat, stirring constantly, browning for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Drain the seaweed by carefully pouring out water and retaining seaweed in bowl. The trick here will be to use your hands to squeeze the excess water out of the seaweed, whilst letting the water drain (best done at the sink).
  7. Once the meat is browned, and is still mostly rare, add in your strained seaweed and garlic. Stir for 1 minute on heat. This is essentially stir frying all the ingredients a bit.
  8. Add in a splash of the boiling water from the kettle. You are just wanting enough to semi-submerge the steak (not a lot, a few cups at most).
  9. Stir over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  10. Add boiling water until all contents are submerged.
  11. Use scissors (and tongs) to cut the seaweed up into smaller pieces – whilst it’s on a medium heat.
  12. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the better the taste.
  13. At this point, have a quick look at the surface of the soup. Sometimes the beef releases some “muck” that you want to skim off and dispose of. This is just a remnant of the cooking process.
  14. Add in 2-3 Tbs of the Soup Soy sauce, and stir in.
  15. Add in 1 Tbs of “korean magic sauce”, stir.
  16. At this point you’ll want to have a quick taste (be careful as it’ll be boiling hot). If it tastes like it needs more seasoning, add 1 Tbs of Soy and Magic Sauce, stir and taste again. Repeat until you are happy (note, it really shouldn’t be more than 3 Tbs of each).
  17. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  18. Serve with Brown rice and Banchan.

Photos of Ingredients (to help you at the Korean grocer);

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All the Korean ingredients (minus the meat).
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Ottogi Seaweed (50g pack)
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Korean “Magic Sauce”.
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Light Soy (Soup Soy) Sauce

 

Hope you enjoy it!

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What it’s like to start driving for Uber in Sydney

I’ve recently started driving for Uber. I think people will find this an interesting topic to read about… so here is my story. Here is what it’s like to become an Uber Driver in Sydney.

*DISCLAIMER: this is my personal experience and not approved by Uber in any way.* I debated whether I should add this part, but I probably should. This is just my honest view of the whole process – and a story to share. This doesn’t represent the company or their business officially in any capacity.

sydbridge
I’ll be one of many Sydney Uber drivers… so I thought it would be fitting to use one of my favourite photos of the bridge (borrowed from my wife’s instagram account).


Why did I start driving? (#WhyIDrive)
This is probably the first thing you would want to know – why drive with Uber? It all began because my sister actually started doing it for some extra cash (we’ve all got credit cards to pay off). We got chatting, and being a tech savvy and curious person I decided to do it too. I have a car that is perfectly suited to it (Hyundai i30) and who wouldn’t mind some additional money in their pocket?

Money isn’t the only reason I’m doing it however. I work in a customer-service/people facing role and what I’m also doing is honing my interpersonal and communication skills. I don’t have a problem with talking to people, but I’m wanting to always refine and do a better job (plus it’s an interesting challenge – zag on ’em).

#WhyIDrive is something I saw Uber doing… trying to get stories of why people sign up to drive (because some are interesting). I’ve heard a good one about a retiree who does it so he can just meet new people and have a chat. That’s pretty cool.

What’s involved with signing up?
It’s pretty easy. I’m not sure I’ll cover it all sufficiently, but in essence you need to have a car that is less than 10 years old, car insurance, and a sufficiently good driving record. You don’t have to have a completely unblemished record, but let’s say if you’ve ever been to court your probably fighting an uphill battle.

All you do is sign up, and then Uber walk you through all the steps. You’ll have to get your car inspected… other than that, it’s pretty pain free.

What I did to prepare before my first drive
I must admit I was pretty nervous about just starting to drive. This is new and different, and I didn’t want to screw it up. I watched some videos on YouTube and learnt some good tips (which I’ve made into my golden rules):

  1. Always start your trip once a person is in the car.
  2. Ask people if they are ok with the GPS, Google Maps, or want to direct you. Be cool with whatever they want to do re: how to get there.
  3. Clean your car… and have it super clean all the time. A great tip for this is to bring windex and paper towels and quickly wipe the insides of the windows every couple of trips (the smell of windexed windows is a very subtle but strong “clean” association for people).
  4. Introduce yourself and greet them by their name warmly.
  5. Pick up on the vibe of the trip and run with it. Couples will likely want to chat among them selves, as will groups of friends. Solo riders will likely want to chat more. If someone isn’t really talkative, don’t push it.
  6. Open your windows in between trips to try and air out perfume/drunk-smell. (If it’s bad, use a cleaner or something to make it better).
  7. When dropping off people, ALWAYS check that they have everything (especially ladies in the back seat – purses etc).

My first trip as an Uber Driver
My first ever rider was a young woman in Lindfield. I grew up around there, so I was comfortable with the area. The GPS misled me off the beat and I nearly drove right past her, but managed to fix that up. The moment she got in she was happy, talkative, and just perfect. I was so nervous about what to expect, what should I say / do, the fact she was really nice and happy made it all so easy. We chatted as I drove, and I confessed that she was my first ever passenger. She thought that was great, and we talked a little bit about why I was driving.

The rest of my first night.
Whilst I know bits and pieces of each of my passengers from the small talk I had with them, I am going to try and respect their privacy and just paraphrase (unless it’s a good story). My second passenger was a great guy and we had a big trip from Chatswood to Petersham. That’s across Sydney and was a good trip. He was really cool, directed me where he wanted me to go, but had a great talk the entire way.

The next trip was for two girls heading from Petersham into Crown Street. This trip was interesting in two ways; 1. the girl who booked the trip had a mutual friend, and 2. the friend that was with her was in a wheelchair. Now, as a complete rookie I have to admit that I was super chilled with this prospect. I think working in health helped in this instance because although my mind was racing with thoughts like “oh man, I’m I allowed to do this?!” etc, my face and attitude was nothing but cool with it. Turns out there is a special kind of super compact/collapsible wheelchair that I guess people using for going out (?). It wasn’t a problem and these two girls turned out to be my favourite trip of the night. We chatted and found when I heard where “A” worked, I laughed and said she must know my neighbour (which she did). Small world.

Later that night I picked up 4 middle aged business men that had been drinking in Mosman and needing to be dropped all over Seaforth. No biggie, I drove quietly whilst they told stories and joked. In the end the guy who booked me said that he wouldn’t have picked that this was my first night.

Outcome of the first night.
I ended the night at 10:00pm, was happy and had fun. I did 5 trips and made $98.00 – which is pretty good. I did some quick math and worked out that I was earning more than $1.00 per km driven, which is good. I wanted to drive again!

My second night as an Uber Driver.
I was pretty happy with how the first night of driving went, so I decided that I would go out the next night (Saturday) and see what that was like. I picked up a ride straight away and no joke spent the next 3-4 trips circling around my own suburb. This was good because back-to-back rides are good for money… but short trips are kind of lame. I admit it was good being in my own neighbourhood because I was super relaxed and knew all the shortcuts. One rider stated that he didn’t think it was possible to have a clean black car… but mine was. I liked that. Another rider was really curious how I had a perfect 5 star rating. He asked if I had beers stashed in the back (for passengers; to bribe them for ratings). I laughed and explained that since this was night number two that the laws of averages were in my favour. He joked that he would give me a 4 star as he got out… but didn’t… but did leave me a cheeky comment about it.

I decided that whilst I was happy with my previous night’s efforts, I wanted to try and snag a “surge” trip. Surge is like extra money for high-demand areas. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t bother chasing them… as they are random and often disappear as quick as they appear.

Here is an example of the surge radar for Sydney…

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If you zoom in, you can see how much surge is in effect. The example below says 2.0 x… which means that trips are worth double if started in this area. So a $10.00 trip is now worth $20.00 – sounds good!

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(I’m wondering if Uber will get annoyed about me posting that image… but I don’t think it’s a massive secret… plus it’s really interesting).

The joke is… I spent the whole night driving and never got one. I even pointed my car near the stadium for when the Super 7’s match finished thinking I’d get it there… turns out all the other Uber drivers were around and thus there was never a surge. See… it’s fickle.

In conclusion.
I was a little annoyed I didn’t get a surge.

I was really happy to learn that I have a perfect 5 Star rating. For every trip that I have that has been rated (which is 7 trips) I’ve been given a 5-star rating… so 7/7 ….that’s really cool. I know that it won’t last (it’ll only take one person voting anything less than 5 to topple that…) but I’m happy for the time being.

I’m going to be doing it more, so there is a chance that one night… you might have me as your driver.

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See you on the road.

Why I really want you to start listening to ‘My Brother, My Brother and Me’

Have you every found a new piece of entertainment that is just so good, so amazing, that you wish everyone you knew appreciated it too? You know what I mean though, like that kick ass TV show you’ve just gotten into… you want people to join you in those good good times. This is my pitch for you… and others… to become some cool babies.

mbmbam-tv

What is My Brother, My Brother and Me?

Comedy genius? auditory gold? something that will make you laugh out loud in public… it’s all of these things. It’s Three brothers, doing a (comedy) advice podcast where they take questions and provide their advice. I’m not doing it justice… seriously… it’s the best thing in the world and my hope that you’ll check it out.

mbmbam-thread

Here are some samples…

Here is a taste… “I hate you Ron”;

and I’m going to have to back that up with “Am I Good?”

…and even thought I’ve posted this already… I have to give you “Glass Shark”;

What are you waiting for… subscribe and start listening!

Now I’m hoping that after listening to these three goofs you’ll want to grab your phone, find their podcast (iPhone; Podcast App / Android; I dunno… podcast addict?) and then start listening.

It’s perfect for driving in your car, whilst cooking dinner, cleaning the house, …bus commute… anything!

I’m going to be posting more about MBMBaM – so I hope you all start getting into it.

and one last thing… they’ve been so good, so funny, they have had it made into a TV SHOW;

 

 

….and here are three more, because… you just need to get into this;

Self Colonoscopy

Tit Liquid

Travis Supercut

 

Korean Cold Noodle Recipe (Naengmyeon / 냉면)

Since today is Lunar New Year / Korean new year (Seollal;설날) I have decided to post the recipe for Korean Cold Noodle Recipe (Naengmyeon / 냉면) that my wife made last night.

Naengmyeon is a very refreshing cold noodle dish that is perfect for a hot summer meal. It’s really great, and perfect after some Korean BBQ.

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Naengmyeon / 냉면

Ingredients (1 serve);

  • 1 Pack of Korean Cold Noodle Stock (I’ve taken a photo of the packet we used, see below).
  • Korean pickled radish (Ssam-Mu, 쌈무)
  • Cucumber
  • Buckwheat Soba Noodles, 130g

Method:

  1. Take frozen Korean Cold Noodle Packet and thaw 80% (you want to still have frozen/ice parts). Tip: you can microwave one of the sauce packs for 1:30* to thaw slightly (*note different microwaves will take different amounts of time).
  2. Chop up cucumber/radish.
  3. Boil a large pot of water and boil/cook noodles for approx 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on the noodles as they cook very quickly. Constantly check them. Around the 2 minute mark turn off the heat and test the noodles to make sure they are ‘just cooked’.
  4. Immediately strain and run under cold water.
  5. Combine all in a bowl by placing noodles, sauce/stock, and other ingredients on top (like the main photo).
  6. Enjoy! (tip: adding different types of kimchi enhances the dish!)

Photos of Ingredients (to help you at the Korean grocer);

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Korean Cold Noodle stock packet

 

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Korean pickled radish (Ssam-Mu, 쌈무)
Korean pickled radish (Ssam-Mu, 쌈무)

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Korean pickled radish (Ssam-Mu, 쌈무)
Korean pickled radish (Ssam-Mu, 쌈무)

 

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How to wish someone Happy New Year in Korean!

새해 복 많이 받으세요! (sae hae bok man i bad eu se yo)
Happy Lunar/Korean New Year!!

Learnt from the awesome people at “Talk to me in Korean”;

 

Trivia: Naengmyeon (Korean Cold Noodle) comes from North Korea!

I didn’t realise this, but the dish actually originates from the capital of North Korea (Pyongyang) but was spread throughout Korea during the war. Wikipedia is always good for interesting facts!

Happy Australia (Benstralia) Day everyone!

My birthday falls on Australia Day (Australia’s national day) which I like to call ‘Benstralia Day’. Personally, I think it’s great and everyone needs to chill out. This is a day for spending time with your family and friends with a BBQ and beer. – Ben.

So kick back, relax, and let’s appreciate Australia for that awesome place that it is:

The best 15 posts of 2016

I decided to hand pick what I think were the best posts on the blog in 2016. If you click on any of the images it’ll lead you to that post (in a new tab), alternatively, the URLS to each post are listed at the end.

 


15. IT Crowd – People, what a bunch of bastards (Gif)

The IT Crowd is one of my all time favourite shows, and is something everyone should watch. This gif is perfect for a wide array of uses.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/05/28/it-crowd-people-what-a-bunch-of-bastards-gif/

 


14. Let your reputation speak for itself.

This powerful message / image is great because not only is a strong message about work ethic/hard work… but it also ties really well back into pop culture with John Wick;

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/12/13/let-your-reputation-speak-for-itself/


13. Love Star Wars

You all know how much I love Star Wars… and this image sums up that feeling pretty well;

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/12/09/love-star-wars/

 


12. Collection of Awesome is back!

So, big guess as to why I included this post in my best posts of 2016… well it should be obvious. In May 2016 I decided to re-launch the blog. You can read all about it via the link or by clicking on the icon below;

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/05/04/collection-of-awesome-is-back/

 


11. Take a nap (Evil Kermit)

I really liked the Evil Kermit meme that came out in 2016 and this one in particular really spoke to me.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/11/29/take-a-nap-evil-kermit/

 


10. Tech Support – Husband 1.0 is not working as expected

Often you’ll hear about wives complaining about their husbands, this brilliant back and forth is great. It’s well worth the read.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/11/24/tech-support-husband-1-0-is-not-working-as-expected/

 


9. Hero firefighter saves life with incredible resuscitation (Gif)

When I saw this gif of a firefighter saving the life of this toddler with this incredible resuscitation I had to share it.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/11/11/hero-firefighter-saves-life-with-incredible-resuscitation-gif/

 


8. This is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause (gif)

When I first posted this back in May 2016 I joked that we could all post/share this if Donald Trump was elected President… little did I know we would all need this come November;

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/11/09/this-is-how-liberty-dies-with-thunderous-applause-gif/

 


7. How to care for a sad person

This whole comic strip is just really cute and perfect. Sometimes we have to help out someone who is sad, and these steps would really help cheer someone up;

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/10/26/how-to-care-for-a-sad-person/

 


6. Bojack Horseman – Rose-coloured glasses

Sometimes comedy TV shows can have profound moments. This scene from Bojack Horseman is one of those moments.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/10/03/bojack-horseman-rose-coloured-glasses/

 


5. Glass Shark comin’ for you (MBMBaM)

I am a massive My Brother, My Brother, and Me (MBMBaM) podcast fan. I wish I could convert everyone I know to the show because it is so great / funny. This is just one of their random moments… seriously check them out and get back to me… I’ll wait!

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/07/19/glass-shark-comin-for-you-mbmbam/

 


4.  Two-Face no longer wants his Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Poor Samsung… the problems with the Galaxy Note 7 have meant they’ve lost face in the tech world… and this meme/image takes that joke literally.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/10/13/two-face-no-longer-wants-his-samsung-galaxy-note-7/

 


3. How to Drive Across the U.S. Hitting all the Major Landmarks efficiently

This post from June was just really cool. I want to do a massive roadtrip across the USA and I’m glad that someone took the time and effort to map out the more efficient route to do that;

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/06/15/how-to-drive-across-the-u-s-hitting-all-the-major-landmarks-efficiently/

 


2. Ben’s head is filled with useless information

This is technically something I posted a while ago, but I really liked it because we all know a friend like this… and it is also relevant because it’s BEN.

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/05/21/bens-head-is-filled-with-useless-information/

 


1. CollectionofAwesome’s 2016 – a year in review

I have always wanted to do a yearly recap, but focus on the parts of the year that I liked. I spent a lot of time on this, and I really hope people liked it. Please check it out and let me know what you think (or share it!)

https://collectionofawesome.com/2016/12/26/collectionofawesomes-2016-a-year-in-review/

 


 

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my hand-picked selection of posts from 2016. Let me know if you liked this, thought other posts were more worthy… happy to hear from you.

Happy New Years 2017!

Happy New Years everyone!

Sydney welcoming in 2017
Sydney welcoming in 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Happy New Years post, so I thought I’d keep this short and sweet.

I’m currently on the road, driving from Sydney > Noosa… so blogging isn’t my ultimate priority.


Recap of 2016 resolutions;

This is easy… I didn’t make any… woo.


2017 resolutions;

I’ve decided to keep it to two items, and to actually achieve them;

  1. Lose Weight – I’ve been overweight all of 2016… and I’ve already joined a gym at the beginning of Dec ’16.
  2. Learn Korean – I’ve been too slack with this and I really do want to learn. Time to crack the books and practise!

Sydney Fireworks Video (thanks @Shezzzel)

I know I’m biased, but I do think that Sydney does the best fireworks display for New Years. Below is a video a friend of mine captured and I had to share it!

 

Bring on 2017 !

I know that I’m happy to see the end of 2016 (check out my recap of the year), so let’s bring on 2017 !!!

 

 

….and lastly… if you didn’t have time to watch the entire Sydney NYE 2016/2017 fireworks display, here it is in 20 seconds!

CollectionofAwesome’s 2016 – a year in review

I’ve always wanted to write a “year in review”, so here is my version of what has happened in 2016.  This year has been full on. It’s in no means comprehensive, and I admit there are bits and pieces I’ve left out, but what I’ve done is hand-picked the key things that have happened throughout the year;

January 2016 – Started off losing great people.

Each year we say goodbye to great people, but 2016 seemed particularly notable because it was just so many of our favorites.

08.01.2016 – David Bowie

 

14.01.2016 – Alan Rickman – One of my all time favourite actors.

 

21.04.2016 – Prince – Another loss for the music world.

 

03.06.2016 – Mohamed Ali – The Greatest. You can view the full sized image here.

 

19.06.2016 – Anton Yelchin – Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films, was tragically killed by his own car. An awful accident that claimed a talented young actor. It was sad seeing him in Star Trek Beyond, knowing he had just passed away.

 

08.08.2016 – Midget Farrelly – Australia’s first surfing champ… I wrote a post about Midget.

 

29.08.2016 – Gene Wilder – another one of my favorite actors, gone. The one and only Willy Wonka!

**Update: after posting this, George Michael and Carrie Fisher passed away.

25.12.2016 – George Michael – another music icon.

27.12.2016 – Carrie Fisher – Farewell Princess Leia, and an outstanding woman.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-11-02-57-am

 

This is obviously only a very small number of important people that died in 2016… from this point onwards I’ll have the rest of this review in chronological order (because I’m a big nerd).

 

 

05.01.2016 – Obama tries (and cries) to enact stricter gun laws in the USA, but fails.

Gun violence, gun control and the USA have an extremely complex relationship. Following a mass shooting that opened 2016, Obama was actually wiping back tears as he remembered children killed. It’s depressing that people can now come to expect them to occur. Obama urged American voters to reject pro-gun candidates. Obama made it clear he does not expect gun laws to change during his remaining year in office, but pledged to do what he can to make gun control an issue that is discussed in 2016.

 

13.01.2016 – Adele Carpool Karaoke

James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is a fantastic reoccurring bit but nothing beats the one where he picks up Adele for a drive around and they sing some of her classic songs. Adele closes it by rapping Nicki Minaj’s “Monster.”

 

15.01.2016 – Donald is slowly becoming a real option.

I promise that I will keep the mentioning of Donald Trump and the US election to a minimum. We all know what has happened. In mid-Jan we laughed at him, we mocked him, and he became the Republican front-runner. Republicans have for some reason selected Trump as strongest candidate. I believe that they mistook attention-focusing (seeking) with actual political leadership… something that various people realised far too late when they had to voice their own objections (with no effect). His awful commentary and hate-speech prompted this great photo;

 

28.01.2016 – The DeLorean is coming Back from the Future

We’ve gotta go back, and bring the DeLorean with us!!! The DeLorean Motor Company announces that it will build about 300 replicas of its 1982 DMC-12, the model featured in the “Back to the Future” films. Roads? where we are going, we won’t need….roads.

 

February 2016 – The world enjoys Ryan Reynold’s lifetime ambition to become Deadpool

11.02.2016 – Deadpool

The release of Deadpool in Feb 2016 was a real highlight of the year. The love and passion that Ryan Reynold’s has for the character came across in the big way in this film. You can tell walking out of the cinema that this was his pet project for years. This is a ground breaking movie in that it is the first time an R-rated action/comedy has performed so well. The rest of the superhero movies in 2016 all took note and add in their own “deadpool-esce” touches. 

 

12.02.2016 – Flint Water emails/update

This is the date that emails about the Flint Water situation were released. Now I’m not going to go too deep into the horrible situation about the tainted water in Flint. I can just say that the contamination in the water supply and outbreak of lead poisoning in Flint, Mich. means that the mayor is beginning the work to replace lead pipes (duh).

17.02.2016 – Obama voices that the USA is not stupid enough to vote for Donald Trump.

Through out the year President Obama was publicly against the concept of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. On this date he basically said that Trump will not be President: “The electorate will not pick him, said Mr Obama, because “they recognize that being president is a serious job.” This is a pretty mild statement, but impressive that it was done publicly at all.

 

18.02.2016 – Ted Cruz is Kevin from “The Office”

One little bit of fun from the US election nightmare was this great image about Ted Cruz being the character ‘Kevin’ from “The Office”. There was also

cruz

 

19.02.2016 – Channing Tatum does Beyonce’s “Run the world (girls)” on Lip Sync Battle.

I actually missed this completely… but once I heard about it I had to include this to bring a smile to everyone’s faces. Channing Tatum seems to be a hit on Lip Sync battle.

 

19.02.2016 – The US government pressures Apple to decrypt iPhones

Throughout early 2016 there was a legal battle in the USA between law enforcement/court and Apple regarding the decryption of phone information. This all revolved around the government wanting Apple to unlock and decrypt the iPhone 5C used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who shot up an office party in a terrorist attack in nearby San Bernardino in December 2015.

Now in theory this is fine (we need to know what the bad guy had hidden), in practise however it is a very terrifying and dangerous step for a government to take. It means that they were mandating a flaw/weakness into the core of a phone’s security which would legitimately make everyone’s devices vulnerable to attack by hackers. Having a known-exploit in any device that holds information is a beacon for trouble.

John Oliver did a segment on Encryption on Last Week Tonight;

 

22.02.2016 – On a personal note, I launch “BJL_Photography” whilst on my trip to Japan

In late Feb I went on a trip to Japan and also launched “BJL Photography”. This is a pet project of mine; I have always loved photography and wanted to take up a hobby that I could share with anyone. Below is one of my all time favourite photos from the trip – a picture of Dontonburi in Osaka. I set this up as an Instagram account (@bjl_photography) but also set up various connected social media accounts (facebook page, tumblr, and twitter account). Please feel free to check it out and give me comments/feedback. I’m learning about how to be a photographer and really appreciate feedback.

bjl

 

28.02.2016 – John Oliver talking about Donald Trump

One of the other highlights of the year was listening to John Oliver repeatedly discuss Donald Trump. There were so many moments in Season 3 of Last Week Tonight that were exceptional, here is a sample of just one of his rants from late Feb;

 

28.02.2016 – Leonard DiCaprio finally wins his Oscar. 

Leo finally does it, he gets his Oscar (and a meme dies). He won Best Actor for his role in The Revenant. There was a long-running meme about Leo not getting an oscar (and deserving it)…

leo

March 2016 – Batman and Birds

06.03.2016 – The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Another cultural highlight of the year was Netflix’s release of The Umbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I’m very pleased that Netflix is creating some awesome content (and bringing joy in 2016). I think that as a comedy this show is brilliant. The character of Titus Andromedon, although completely over-the-top, is one of my favourite characters from the show;

 

17.03.2016 – Zootopia

If you have told me the premise of this movie without any context I don’t think I’d have seen Zootopia. But seeing images of it pop up in memes, online, and hearing it was great I gave it a watch. I’m happy to say that this was one of the best “feel good” movies of the year.

 

20.03.2016 – Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Who can talk about movies in 2016 without mentioning some of the more notable disappointments. Everyone was hyped up to see Batman vs. Superman… and what we got was… meh. I was more excited about the idea of tying in the rest of the Justice League, but I didn’t like it overall.

 

20.03.2016 – Obama visits Cuba

President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. The restoration of the relationship between the USA and Cuba is a big deal. One thing I appreciate is that Obama stipulated that he would only visit Cuba if he could meet with Cuban dissidents – “If I go on a visit, then part of the deal is that I get to talk to everybody.

 

25.03.2016 – Sad Ben Affleck meme

On the back of the reviews of Batman vs. Superman this incredible video / gif was created. I love it so much;

darkness

 

25.03.2016 – Bernie / Bird

A tiny bird interrupted presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ rally in Portland, Oregon, on Friday afternoon, to the thunderous applause of the crowd.

and then this brilliant scene with Donald Trump and the Eagle;

 

April 2016 – I dunno, The Jungle Book?

07.04.2016 – The Jungle Book

A new version of Jungle Book came out and it was really well done.

 

13.04.2016 – Kobe Bryant Retires 

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m almost completely oblivious when it comes to sports. I am aware of who Kobe Bryant is… and that his retirement is something of note in 2016.

 

27.04.2016 – Captain America: Civil War

Another year, and another Marvel instalment. Civil came out and was a bit meh. Deadpool took the 2016 Superhero movie in my opinion.

 

May 2016 – The Blog is back!

04.05.2016 – CollectionOfAwesome returns.

In May this year I resumed the blog! Is it a coincidence that CollectionofAwesome.com came back on May the 4th? No… you all know how much of a Star Wars nut I am. The only issue is, that the blog quite literally had to start from nothing again… which was an interesting challenge. I started posting new content, but also searching for old content that I could revive.

It turns out, that nothing is really ever “gone” from the internet. I found a way of reviving old posts, but it takes a lot of effort to do.

Below is a little screen shot of my blog view stats… 570 views in the month of May… ha, gotta start somewhere!

codmay16

 

18.05.2016 – X-Men: Apocalypse

I actually liked X-Men: Apocalypse. The highlight was Quicksilver’s scene running through the Xavier Mansion;

 

12.05.2016 – Oldest Woman passes away

Susannah Mushatt Jones passes away at 116 as the Oldest Woman. She was born on an Alabama farm in July 1899, was also the last living American born in the 19th Century.

 

22.05.2016 – Game of Thrones – “Hold the Door”. (Season 6, Episode 5)

The world was sad to watch “The Door”. This was a great episode of Game of Thrones.

 

24.05.2016 – Bottle flipping became a thing…

The world went nuts for water bottle flipping for some reason. It apparently started with this talent show clip;

 

27.05.2016 – Obama Visits Hiroshima. 

President Barack Obama will become the first sitting American president to visit the site of the U.S. atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima, Japan, the White House said Tuesday, a charged final-year stop meant to advance his goal of nuclear disarmament.

28.05.2016 – Harambe

The Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a more-than-420-pound gorilla called Harambe. It was manhandling/attacking a small boy who had fallen into its enclosure on Saturday afternoon.

 

June 2016 – Violence, Britain, and Brexit.

02.06.2016 – Brock Turner rapes a girl and gets a slap on wrist.

The courts finally reach a verdict on Brock Turner for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a campus party and decide that six months confinement in the Santa Clara County jail to be followed by three years of probation is a just sentence for rape. There was a loud outcry from many Americans about this.

12.06.2016 – Mass Shooting in Orlando

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

 

13.06.2016 – Microsoft buys LinkedIn

Microsoft buys LinkedIN for $26 billion. This is reasonably important to a lot of people because a large percentage of the world have a professional LinkedIN account. I’ve heard LinkedIN jokingly referred to as “Facebook with a tie”. How will Microsoft change/use the information on the site? No one knows.

 

16.06.2016 – Finding Dory

Another brilliant movie, the sequel to the massively popular Finding Nemo… Finding Dory revolves around the story of Dory trying to find her parents. This was really well done, but also dealt with some deep themes regarding dementia etc.

 

16.06.2016 – Jo Cox, a British MP killed. 

A British member of parliament was “stabbed and shot” in her town on Yorkshire. This senseless and horrible act is something that is pretty uncommon in Britain.

 

19.06.2016 – Game of Thrones – Battle of the Bastards

Another awesome Game of Thrones episode was released.

This meme summed it up perfectly;

rickon

 

 

22.06.2016 – Independence Day: Resurgence

The sequel to Independence Day came out and I have mixed feelings about it. I loved that they got some of the old cast involved, and I liked the Sci-Fi parts… not sure.

 

23.06.2016 – Brexit

Britain voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity. Global financial markets plunged and many British citizens immediately realised the error they had made.

I posted the following photo on my bjl_photography account;

brexit

 

July 2017 – The world becomes obsessed with Pokemon Go!.

05.07.2016 – The Shooting of Alton Sterling

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot several times at close range while held down on the ground by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This sparked a huge series of protests, demonstrations and violence. Unfortunately 2016 had a number of police shootings.

 

06.07.2016 – Pokemon Go. 

Pokemon Go launches and becomes the fastest and most popular game in the world. It uses real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon. In Sydney it was crazy;

Here is an actual photo of people swarming a park with an unusually high concentration of pokestops/rare pokemon.

pokemongo

 

07.07.2016 – Star Trek’s Sulu is going to be gay in new movie, and George Takei (the original Sulu, who is gay – and amazing) isn’t happy about it.

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Roddenberry]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.” Takei said Roddenberry was very supportive of the LGBT movement, but envisioned Sulu as heterosexual.

 

12.07.2016 – Dallas police use a robot bomb to kill cop-killer

A violent man was killed after he killed Five Dallas Police Officers claiming to be upset about “the recent police shootings,”. The suspect eventually was killed by a bomb that authorities detonated, “We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,”.

 

14.07.2016 – 84 people killed in Nice, France

86 people were killed in Nice, France when a truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera. This awful attack was then met with unity and love from around the world.

 

14.07.2016 – Ghostbusters (2016)

It happened, it was mocked, and rightfully so. I wish I could have that time back.

 

15.07.2016 – Stranger Things

Hurray! this is something that many people were thankful for in 2016. We all enjoyed this great show and are now all eagerly awaiting season 2.

stranger

 

19.07.2016 – Trump becomes the GOP presidential nominee

Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman whose outsider campaign has both galvanized millions of voters and divided the Republican Party, is the 2016 GOP presidential nominee.

The rest of the world watching the American politics is like:

 

 

 

 

 

…and to most American’s it’s like:

 

21.07.2016 – Star Trek Beyond

A new Star Trek came out, it was pretty good.. I liked it. It was sad seeing Anton in it though. I liked this third movie more than the second.

26.07.2016 – Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

Hillary is naturally the Democratic nominee.

 

27.07.2016 – Arthur’s Fist meme

I’m not sure if it’s because of the political situation, but a lot of people really loved the idea of pent up rage that Arthur’s Fist demonstrates.

 

29.07.2016 – Zika Virus appears in Florida.

An outbreak of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Florida, marking the first time the virus has been found to be transmitted via infected mosquitoes within the continental U.S. The outbreak has infected at least four people, three men and one woman, through local transmission.

 

 

August 2016 – Olympics.

01.08.2016 – Suicide Squad

A hugely hyped movie, that fails to really deliver. At least it’ll spawn some Halloween costumes?

 

02.08.2016 – Obama unleashes on Trump.

President Barack Obama offered one of his sharpest denunciations of Donald Trump to date Tuesday, declaring the Republican nominee entirely unfit to serve as president and lambasting Republicans for sticking by their nominee. The strong rebuke in the White House East Room came after Trump’s criticism of the family of a slain Muslim US soldier, along with comments that displayed apparent confusion related to the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

 

05.08.2016 – Rio Olympics

Summer Olympic Games occur in Rio. I think it was something positive in 2016.

08.08.2016 – Angry Michael Phelps Meme

Images of American swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps looking angry while focusing on his pre-game meditation for the 200-meters Butterfly semifinals match in men’s swimming at the Summer Olympics in August 2016 was turned into a meme;

 

25.08.2016 – Pen-Pineapple-Apple Pen

 

27.08.2016 – Jupiter Flyby

NASA arranges for Juno to do a close flyby of Jupiter… yay.

 

 

September 2016 – The iPhone 7 and no headphones.

07.09.2016 – Apple iPhone 7 announced.

Apple announced the new iPhone 7, and everyone was barely impressed. The only notable thing about the iPhone 7 was the fact that it no longer has a headphone jack, forcing people to adopt wireless headphones.

 

22.09.2016 – Aleppo

The Syrian town on Aleppo is the subject of intense warfare. Airstrikes rain down on the rebel-held neighborhood in Syria’s east.

 

October 2016 – Shark Bait

12.10.2016 – The Mannequin Challenge

Oh god I’m not going to describe the Mannequin Challenge. It’s people posing as if frozen like a mannequin.

 

13.10.2016 – Great White Shark Cage Breach Accident

This is one of the best videos of 2016… where a great white shark breaches a shark cage… and there was a person inside!!! Watch it;

November 2016 – Cubs, President Trump, I am holding your hand.

02.11.2016 – The Cubs win the World Series

To the joy of long time cubs fans they won the World Series.

06.11.2016 – Evil Kermit Meme

Probably my favourite meme of 2016 was the rise of Evil Kermit…

09.11.2016 – Donald Trump wins the US Election

To the shock and horror of the rest of the world… Donald Trump has won the US election.

When watching the results online….

9-11_2

I snapped this screenshot of the time & date of this occurring… and though, “huh, 9/11”.

9-11

I love how Australian newspapers reported it;

9-11_3

 

10.11.2016 – Travis McElroy supports everyone post-election via “I’m Holding your Hand”

One of the sad facts about the result of the 2016 US election is that a large number of Americans (and everyone) is afraid of what will happen now. Many fear what will come during a Trump presidency. The day after the result, amist the anger, fear and panic… Travis McElory (one of the three brothers that host my favourite podcast; My Brother, My Brother and me) shared this inspiring 8 minute message (click on media below to listen):

 

December 2016 – We are given hope by Star Wars: Rogue One

14.12.2016 – Star Wars Rouge One

The newest Star Wars movie is great. Yes it technically lives outside the storyline of the STAR WARS (episodes) but it ties in and explains some gaps in the Star Wars lore. I thought it was well done. My favourite part was near the end when Darth Vader unleashes on a group of Rebels… this finally shows what Vader is like in combat… a terrifying unstoppable killing machine. Perfection!

 

The Blog is coming back strong.

Since it’s rebirth on May 5th, the blog has been slowly getting back up to it’s old strength. I’m happy to share that we are nearly back to a point where we have 1,000 views a day.

coa_dec17

 

Lastly… John Oliver’s Fuck 2016 finale

John Oliver beat us all to the punch in November by closing season 3 of Last Week Tonight by saying “Fuck 2016” with this video;

 

Thanks Everyone!!!! – PLEASE SHARE/LIKE this etc.

Thanks to everyone for reading. Please comment, share, like… post links to your facebook… I would really appreciate it if you could share this around.

 

Merry Xmas!

Imgur has removed RSS support

Anyone that still uses RSS for Imgur.com will be sad to learn that the site quietly removed RSS support 5 days ago.

No communication, no notice, no warning… just… gone. I was wondering why my RSS feed had suddenly gone silent.

Here is the response I got from Imgur (which I’m glad they responded to, but just really disappointed that they would remove it for… what reason?).

rss_gone

I don’t see why RSS should disappear / no longer be available… I’m sure there are plenty of people still using it.

We will remember them – “For the fallen”

11.11 marks Remembrance Day, a memorial day to remember those in the armed forces who have died in the line of duty since World War 1. In Australia, we observe a minute silence at 11:00am and recite a small passage of Laurence Binyon’s “For the fallen”;

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

(the entire poem is below this great image)

remembrance-day
The Sydney Opera House lit up with red poppies to mark Remembrance Day (Source: news.com.au)

 

“For the fallen”

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

I’m Fine.

Whenever I use the word “Fine”, it’s typically because something is wrong but I’m not wanting to talk about it.

I think we have all experienced days where we feel like everything is going wrong, you didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, and the one thing you a dreading throughout the day is the small question of “how are you?” (or the more Australian version of “How you going?”). This is usually when I feel like I have seem like everything is OK, (which feels a little bit like wearing a mask), take a moment to control your voice, and say “Fine”.

I’ve just realised whilst writing this, that almost every time I say the word “Fine” back to that question… something is actually wrong but I’m not being honest about it. Now, that isn’t to say that it’s always something major or horrible… but I think it’s a little social lie that we accept or at least don’t question. I usually use the word to just avoid the conversation about what is really going on. Like I said before, sometimes it’s so trivial that I don’t want to get into it (ie, I haven’t had a coffee this morning and I’m wishing I did), but other times it could be anything.

I’ve had days where just answering people is tough, but I know that it’ll pass, and that something good is on it’s way. I think everyone has “down days”. I’m also trying to take the time to recognise when other people are doing this… and just giving a heartfelt “No really, is everything OK?”. I don’t know about you, but sometimes opening up to others (and checking on them) is a really awkward thing, but I really think it’s important.

Last week I thought someone was upset and when I checked on them, they laughed, and said they smelt something really awful and that was why their face was like that. At least I picked up that something wasn’t right.

I’m going to try and listen for the word “Fine” and think about why it’s being used (whether I’m saying it or someone else is).

But then again, sometimes people are just fine 🙂

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

R U OK? Day

Today is R U OK? Day. This is something I really support because I really do think that sometimes just having someone check in on you can make a huge difference. I’ve checked on people when I felt that something is out of whack, and all I’m hoping is that everyone takes a second just to check and ask people if they are ok – it’s about caring.

ruok

This short story from news.com.au is pretty moving;

One weekend he was working on his house when he noticed a work colleague who lived nearby standing in his driveway. He said hello, but his colleague didn’t reply, just stood and stared for a minute and then wandered off.
His colleague’s behaviour concerned him and he made a snap decision to follow his colleague home and ask him if he was OK. He found him in his carport making preparations to end his life.

If you want to read more, learn about it… read the News.com.au article.

Here is a video relating to “R U OK?” from a leader stand point:

RIP Midget Farrelly – Australia’s first surfing champ

Today is a sad day for Australia, and the world of Surfing, with the passing of Midget Farrelly. Midget was Australia’s first surfing champion winning the Makaha International in Hawaii in 1962 and the 1964 World Championships at Manly.

I was fortunate enough to know Midget through Whale Beach Surf Club and I know that his passing has come as a shock to many (myself included). I regret that I have only ever had a handful of opportunities to speak with him over the years – but one thing I know is that he was a friendly man that really cared for everyone around him. The other thing most people would agree on is that he was completely at home in the water. Surfing, Surf Boats, Swimming, Paddle boarding… it didn’t seem to matter as long as it was in the water. Midget was quite active in the surf boats at Whale Beach, here is a great photo of him in action;

I’m now slowly reading over all the amazing things he’s accomplished in his life. I’m sorry that it’s only because he has passed away that I’ve learnt about his background. The Encyclopedia of Surfing said “from 1962 to 1970 he was arguably the best competitive surfer in the world“.

I know that many people will be shocked by this news. It’s sudden, abrupt, and we’ve lost a friend and a great man.

I don’t really know what else to say other than I’ll miss him – and that everyone else who knew him will to.

…oh…I have to share this great YouTube clip of Midget surfing:

(note: the quality of the video isn’t great but I’m guessing that is what the original footage looks like).