Recent blog entries for mikal

YA-90

    Ok, so now that I've rediscovered walking to trigs while pursuing my hobby of trying to kill Mr Carden, I am enthused to do some more urban walking.

    The only urban trig I haven't been to is YA-90 on Isaacs Ridge. There are also three geocaches along the way I'd like to collect to. I propose we stage a walk from Isaacs as there's plenty of parking and do this one some evening when its cooler.

    Total distance should be about 4km return, with about 150 meters of vertical ascent. It should take about an hour.


We did this walk on a warm afternoon on new year's day. The walk is pleasant, with plenty of shade for most of the way. In the end we only collected two of the geocaches, as following the ridge line to the third was considered an exercise for another day. A very pleasant walk. A 4.2km walk with 169 meters of ascent.

             

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20160101 photo canberra bushwalk

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Syndicated 2016-01-01 11:43:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

29 Dec 2015 (updated 30 Dec 2015 at 02:07 UTC) »

A year of being more active

A little over a year ago I helped host a panel session at the Paris OpenStack summit. The panel was three telco people talking about NFV, but that's not the bit I really remember. The bit that really stuck with me was how fat I looked in photos from the event. An example:



I weighed just over 110 kilos (240 lbs). I decided something had to change -- I have a new daughter, and I want to be around to see her well into her life. So, I joined a gym and started bush walking. My first walk was documented here as a walk up Tuggeranong hill. That rapidly became an obsession with climbing hills to survey markers, which then started to include finding geocaches.

I can't give you a full list of the tangents that one photo from Paris has caused, because the list isn't complete yet and may never be. I now run, swim, ride my bike, and generally sweat on things. Its all fun and has had the unexpected side effect that its helped me cope with work stress much more than I expected.

I've lost about 15 kilos (30 lbs) so far. Weight loss isn't really the main goal now, but its something I continue to track.

I thought it would be interesting to list all the places I've walked in Canberra this year, but a simple bullet point list is too long. So instead, here's an interactive map.

Interactive map for this route.

There are a lot more walks I want to do around here. Its just a case of finding the time.

Tags for this post: blog fitness health weight canberra bushwalk
Related posts: It hasn't been a very good week; A further update on Robyn's health; RIP Robyn Boland; Weekend update; Bigger improvements; An update on Catherine's health

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Syndicated 2015-12-29 15:00:00 (Updated 2015-12-30 02:07:04) from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Mount Tennent

I've been meaning to do this one for ages, but finally got around to doing the walk with a few friends. We went up Tennent from the Namadgi visitor's center, but walked back down on the far side of Tennent which seems less common. The far side is less scenic, but less steep as well I think. Along the way we collected 23 geocaches along the way, and a lovely walk was had by all.

Just over 1,000 meters vertically, and around 16km horizontally.

                               

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151228 photo canberra bushwalk

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Syndicated 2015-12-28 12:28:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Mulligan's flat

I went for a post lunch geocache walk in Mulligan's flat this afternoon as I wind down towards the Christmas break. A good time was had, and a cool wool shed found. I really like this area, perfect for cub walks!

                             

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151223 photo canberra bushwalk

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Syndicated 2015-12-23 12:43:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Street Orienteering

I went street orienteering for the first time with my little brother the other day. It was super fun, and a good way to get a run in as well. We even came first in our division (team b grade)!

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog orienteering
Related posts: Scout activity: orienteering at Mount Stranger

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Syndicated 2015-12-22 15:13:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Skimpy




ISBN: 9780733634383
LibraryThing
I've had a bit of a thing about biographies recently, having just read the very good The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson. This book is a very different story, but I think still quite interesting. Kellie was a country girl with no real plans and an impulse control problem. While the book follows her formative years as she parties across Australia in a generally northern direction, I think the underlying story about growing up and finding your way in the world is quite interesting.

Is this great literature while will enlighten the masses? Probably not. Was it a fun read on a flight and mostly about a teenager with no direction finding her place in the world? Yes.

Tags for this post: book kellie_arrowsmith biography australia
Related posts: The Crossroad; Don't Tell Mum I Work On The Rigs; In Sydney!; American visas for all!; In A Sunburned Country; Melbourne


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Syndicated 2015-12-03 22:54:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

The Chronicles of Old Guy

I found this e-book on Amazon while randomly poking around and read it on a recent set of flights. It was of interest because if looked like another bolo tank book, of which I have read many over the years. That said, its not in strictly the same universe as the other bolo books, and seems more like unofficial fan fiction than something which maps into the universe seamlessly.

The book is competently written and readable. However, it regularly strays into what I would consider fantasy fiction (medieval warfare, vampires, battling Godzilla) in a way I found jarring and annoying. Overall I don't think I'll read the other books in this series.

Tags for this post: book timothy_j_gawne bolo combat ai
Related posts: Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow ; Mona Lisa Overdrive; East of the Sun, West of the Moon; Bolo Strike; Bolos 4: Last Stand; Their Finest Hour

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Syndicated 2015-12-03 12:18:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Mount Stranger one last time

This is the last walk in this series, which was just a pass through now that the rain has stopped to make sure that we hadn't left any markers or trash lying around after the Scout orienteering a week ago. This area has really grown on me -- I think most people stick to the path down by the river, whereas this whole area has nice terrain, plenty of gates through fences and is just fun to explore. I'm so lucky to have this so close to home.

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog canberra bushwalk

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Syndicated 2015-11-15 12:20:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

A walk in the Orroral Valley

Last weekend was a walk in the Orroral Valley with a group of scout leaders. Embarrassingly, I'd never been in this area before, and its lovely -- especially at the moment after all the rain we've had. Easy terrain, and a well marked path for this walk. The only catch is that there's either a car shuffle involved, or you need to do a 12km return walk.

                         

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151107 photo canberra bushwalk

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Syndicated 2015-11-09 19:13:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Scout activity: orienteering at Mount Stranger

I've run scout activities before, but its always been relatively trivial things like arranging attendance at a Branch level event such as an astronomy night or an environment camp. They've involved consent forms and budgeting and so forth, but never the end to end creation of a thing from scratch. So, I was quite excited to be presented with an opportunity to take the scouts orienteering in an unfamiliar environment.

I chose the area of nature reserve between Mount Stranger and the Murrumbidgee River because its nice terrain (no tea tree!), but big enough for us to be able to do some long distance bearing navigation, which is a badge requirement some of the scouts are working on at the moment.

The first step was to scout out (pun intended) the area, and see what sort of options there are for controls and so forth. I'd walked through this area a bit before, as its close to my house, but I'd never bush bashed from the river to the trig before. The first attempt was a simple marking off of the gates along the bicentennial horse trail -- I knew we'd want to cross this somewhere for the long distance leg. That route looked like this:

Interactive map for this route.

The next recce was a wander along a candidate route with some geocaching thrown in for good luck. The geocaching turned out to be quite useful, because on the actual night with the scouts it meant I had a better handle of what was in the area, so when a couple of girls started losing interest I could say stuff like "Did I forget to mention there's an awesome tree house just over there?".

Interactive map for this route.

With that in mind, I then just started slogging out a route -- the long distance leg turned out to be the hardest part here. I wanted to avoid fence crossings as much as possible, and this whole area is littered with barbed wire fences. I think I redid that leg four times before I found a route that I was happy with, which was ironically the first one I'd tried.

Interactive map for this route.

Job done! Now I only needed to walk this route three more times! The first walk was to lay out the orienteering markers before the scouts attacked the course:

Interactive map for this route.

...and then actually doing the course with some scouts...

Interactive map for this route.

Comparing the two maps, I don't think they did too bad to be honest. There's definitely potential here for more navigation practise, but I think the key there is that practise makes perfect. There shall be more hiking and orienteering in our future! The final walk was just collecting the markers after the event, which I will skip here.

I put a fair bit of effort into this course, so I'd like to see it used more than once. To that end, I am going to put the documentation online for others to see and use. If you'd like help running this course, drop me a line at mikal@stillhq.com and I'd be happy to help.



Tags for this post: scouts orienteering navex

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Syndicated 2015-11-08 15:40:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

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