Friday, 27 December 2013

2013: A year in review

So I’m sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee, working my way through Christmas chocolates and thinking about the year gone (how quick has it been!?). What’s this year been like? I was initially thinking…. it hasn’t been that exciting. But… then I thought about all the things that have happened. It’s actually been a pretty damn cool year!


I won’t bore you with the less interesting stuff like work other than its a good role in a good company and I’m pretty happy there. (EDIT: just thinking about this, there is one work event I should mention as I got to meet the Prime Minister of NZ and show him around where I work. That was pretty cool. It’s not often that you get to interact with the leader of your country!) I’ll mainly focus on my key interests. Hopefully it makes for an interesting read and isn’t to dull as I know what interests me may not always interest others.


So where to start…. well I figure the best place to start is the start of the year with a pretty awesome event namely this……



First up was the Harvard (well second really, but first for this year :) )…. a scenic flight around Auckland city. Great fun and a great day, not a cloud in the sky so you could see for miles... coast to coast. Hot and bumpy ride though. Not helped by the fact that I forgot I could open the canopy during the flight.

Harvard Flight Harvard Flight - Auckland City Harvard Flight - Just out for a cruise Harvard Flight


Later on came this one…. the P-51D Mustang! Great fun. Best bit was when we “strafed” a barn and the pilot made gun noises over the intercom system as we dived in and attacked! Just awesome.

P-51D Mustang Flight P-51D Mustang Flight P-51D Mustang Flight P-51D Mustang Flight


And just cause…. it’s not part of 2013, but was pretty close (end of Dec 2012)… the Spitfire flight. This was the big one. Aerobatics too! Who would have thought I would ever be able to fly in a Spitfire and even have the controls… even if it was only for a few moments! I didn’t even feel ill…. although I was a little delicate after pulling a few G’s in the full loop! And, yes that is a parachute that I am wearing…..

Spitfire Flight Spitfire Flight Spitfire Flight Spitfire Flight - One happy boy!


Both pilots were fantastic and clearly enjoy what they do. Both look after you in their own way though :)


You can book here for flights. Go on…. you know you want too!


Lee did :) Didn’t take much arm twisting to photograph it.

Harvard Flight Harvard Flight


The Mustang flight was in the lead up to the next big highlight as I had originally considered going for the flight during the next event. Next stop…. Blenheim and this:

Classic Fighters Omaka


It’s a show that I’ve always wanted to head down to. So, I was pretty happy once Lee and Rob agreed to head down to check it out. First time in Marlborough and it was good fun. What’s not to like…. wine and classic aircraft! If you ever head down, then the Omaka Heritage Centre is a must see! Weta Workshops were involved in putting together the displays. They are very lifelike!


Here’s a few pics from my old point and shoot camera…. really just a taste of what was on offer. A fantastic event in a great location with some great company.

Classic Fighters Omaka Omaka Heritage Centre Omaka Heritage Centre  Wither Hills, Blenheim Classic Fighters Omaka  Classic Fighters Omaka Classic Fighters Omaka Classic Fighters Omaka Classic Fighters Omaka Classic Fighters Omaka Classic Fighters Omaka 


Oh and we went all out. Gold Pass. No hanging out with the peons for us! :)

Gold Pass! Oh yeah!


After feeling inadequate at Classic Fighters due to my very small camera….. I went out and splashed out on a new camera. I’ve always been keen on a little bit of photography so it was an easy decision. I should point out that since buying my Sigma 500mm lens, I now have the biggest lens out of the three of us :)



So its been interesting getting into some decent photography over the last few months. I feel I’m getting the hang of photographing aircraft, but still have a lot to learn. Especially all the different settings and modes on my camera. There’s so many! I’ve still got a long way to go, but there's plenty of time. Anyway, here’s a few of my favourite pic’s from various locations. Not always the best, but a good starting point. Hopefully we can keep up with some sort of monthly photography outing.


Thanks for all the pointers so far Rob and Lee… along with the perseverance with all my questions :)



 Ganet, Muriwai Ganet, Muriwai wIMG_3030 Sunset, Muriwai



Who’s idea was it to get up at 4am to get to Miranda to photograph the sunrise only to have the day turn out to be drizzly and generally crappy!? Should’ve stayed in bed :). Oh and there were hardly any birds around ‘cause it was low tide!

Sunrise, Miranda Sunrise, Miranda Stilt, Miranda Geese, Miranda



 Mangonui Fantail



Tall Ships Festival Tui


It wouldn’t be a blog post or a reflection on the past year without reposting more airshows pics. After all, that is what I got the camera for and I always enjoy them. We’ve got too a few this year. So again, a selection of some of the better shots…



Ardmore Open Days (D-Day anniversary and 75yrs of Harvards)

Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day Ardmore Open Day


Armistice in Cambridge

First time going to this show. Well worth it.

Armistice In Cambridge Armistice In Cambridge Armistice In Cambridge Armistice In Cambridge Armistice In Cambridge Armistice In Cambridge


Okay, enough of the photography. Time to move on.…



Fitness and general health has also been a big focus this year. Really just building on from the last few years. This year though, I think there has been real development. I’m pretty confident that this is the strongest and fittest that I’ve ever been. I reached my weight goals (trying to build muscle to gain weight) whilst keeping my fat percentage down. Pretty happy with the change I’ve had to body shape – slimmer waist, broader shoulders. Even running is getting easier… still don’t like it, but I’m happy to get out there and do it. The boxing fitness is also paying off. Just need to maintain technique and work the heavy bag properly heading in to the New Year. Makes the pad work sessions tougher :)


Hard work pays off, but it’s easy when you have a great PT and a good crew to train with at All Seasons. Thanks guys! Am looking forward to more of the same in 2014.


Still contemplating picking up Crossfit in the New Year as a change, but I don’t really want to change or drop any of my other sessions since they’re working for me. I’ll need to figure out how to work it in. Injury is the other worry, I’ve had a few more injuries this year, but I’ve also been training harder. So its to be expected. Currently, my right rotator cuff is saying… maybe just hold off on those Crossfit thoughts for now. All I’ll say is watch this space.



As always, it’s been a good year for gaming with our regular Sunday sessions working well. Quite a variety of games were played over the year even though we have far too many gaming systems! As with the training, its easy to game regularly when you have a good strong group of gaming mates. Thanks for a good year guys and especially Mark for hosting.


I think my win/loss ratio is pretty healthy at the moment, so I’m looking forward to continue to kick butt in the New Year :) Here’s some pics of what we played this year…. (btw, if you haven’t noticed I generally label the picture with a comment… just hold your cursor over them. It’s supposed to be for search engines, but this is more fun. As I build my Photoshop knowledge, I’ll try and do it differently in the New Year).

 For the glory of Rome! - Field of Glory    BOOM! - Dust Warfare I've got you now Rebel scum! - X-Wing Bring some law back to the Old West - Legends of the Old West Infinity Malifaux "Operation Market Garden", 4000pts per side - Flames of WarOnwards for King & Country! - Flames of War


Only downside is this - I’ve not made enough of an effort to get to tournaments and was disappointed to have missed on Flamescon due to illness. With most tournaments now offering a 1-day option, there’s less excuse for 2014. So I better hurry up and decide what I’m going to do for Battlecry.


Finally…. there was one other huge highlight for the year. Having seen Roger Waters perform the entirety of The Wall last year, there was only one other big act that I’ve always wanted to see live. I’ve been waiting... oh… only 15yrs or so for these guys to play a gig here (and the lead singer basically lives here!?!). I was not disappointed. They finally came along. Venue was crap, but Killing Joke are awesome!

Killing Joke


I need to figure out how to upload videos…. so I can link up my favourite KJ track. Go check out Love Like Blood. Concert set list was fantastic and covered the whole range of their back catalogue and then some. Can’t wait for the new album! Speaking of gigs…. I’ve got some State of Mind on in the background as I type this. I think I need to get to some DnB gigs in the New Year.


So, all in all a good year.


Oh and I started a blog this year :) I hope its been interesting reading so far (the blog, not just the post). Always happy for feedback.


One thing I haven’t done enough off is reading and painting. I’m building up quite the stash of interesting books to read (more so now after Christmas) and I really should make more of an effort. I’ve always tended to have runs where I’ll read a lot (especially if I really get into a book). So I think less TV and more reading next year. Now to decide which one to start on…

Books and more books


As for painting. I have such a huge pile of unpainted lead (just like every other gamer). Again, I just need to get back into the habit of doing a little bit each night (before I go to bed to read :) ). Perhaps I need to set myself some goals (and tidy my painting bench)? I’ll finish of the Dust units I’m painting, then I think I’ll have a crack at Seamus and his crew. So, the goal for next year? I’ll paint a small Dust force, Seamus and crew and one of my Empire of Dead gangs. Oh and I should finish off my Romans. And I should paint my Victorian era buildings. And maybe some more Flames… so much to do!?! So little time!


I suppose…. I probably should also think about the next step of my career, buying a house, settling down and what not in 2014, but meh. You never know though. Who knows what 2014 will bring.


I’m ready to rock and roll. Bring it on 2014! 


But wait there’s more! 2014 is already shaping up to be a good year. Some big events are already locked in for the first part of the year…


First up, Lee, Rob and I will be off to Tauranga for this:

Tauranga City Airshow


Then at end of Feb…. Rob and I are off to Melbourne to see the sights. But really, its to see this… :)

RAAF Centenary Airshow


Right, that's enough for now. I’m off to watch the Dr Who Christmas special before people post too many spoilers online. Happy New Year everyone!