27 January 2016

2015: The Year of Revisiting Old Hobbies

Each year in review seems to come later and later in to the following year, but here we are - reviewing 2015 which has been a continued improvement over the previous two.

The title refers mostly to my renewed obsession with Lego exhibitions that were held in Sydney throughout the year. I think we ended up attending three or four throughout - this sparked a re-interest in Lego and buying up kits old and new from those I always wanted as a child but could never afford with my own money, to new kits that will look great on a shelf or wall unit somewhere when built. The joke among friends being that after buying up several kits, I never actually connected any bricks together for the whole year!

I also went back to my plastic modelling roots buying some sci-fi kits from Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, similar to the Lego hobby, hoping I would get back in to that. The acquiring of kits happened, but aside from gluing some old broken models back together, there's been little movement there as well.

My diecast plane collection has dwindled down almost to where it needs to be - just the aircraft I have flown on, and some interesting trips during the year allowed for some unique additions to the fleet.

The main hobby that's taking up my time continues to be video editing. AbraxasVideo passed 1000 subscribers and 1300 videos in 2015 with my catch-up to the present day on track - sort of. 2016 will see me celebrate a whole 10 years since I first picked up the camera to film aviation which I also dedicated a video to.

I also started vlogging towards the end of the year - so there's no end to the hobbies and things I can do in my spare time. The only limit is how much spare time I actually have.

There were more opportunities for travel in 2015 which saw us return to Melbourne in February to attend a Star Trek live concert and catch up with friends at a car show the same weekend. Then it wasn't until October where I travelled on my first solo international trip to Iran for some sightseeing and aviation awesomeness. I would return home for a few days before heading out on a longer trip touring Peru, Ecuador and Chile. The amount of flying done over the course of those five intense weeks certainly took a lot out of me though - and that's coming from an aviation enthusiast!

The year also provided plenty of social interaction among friends old and new. Moments like these are the ones I like to hold on to just as much as broadening our views across the world. All up, 2015 certainly delivered.

The Best of 2015...
Best Holiday/Trip - Iran Aviation Tour - October

It was close between the two big trips in October but I had to give it to the Iran trip purely as this was my first adventure on my own without a travel companion in a strange, yet wonderfully beautiful country. The anxiety I was feeling before departure was slightly concerning but I'm glad I got to experience Iran and all this before the sanctions from the western world had been lifted. Of course I met plenty of like-minded and interesting people during the trip and made new friendships, I got to experience some of the oldest flying commercial aircraft in the world, and rare planes that will shortly be retired for good. Another plus was connecting via Kuala Lumpur allowed me to explore the Malaysian capital, albeit very briefly and go up the Petronas Towers - something I've wanted to do ever since seeing Catherine Zeta-Jones in a skin-tight ninja suit :P

Best Movie - Kingsman: The Secret Service 4.5/5
Runner up - Roger Waters: The Wall 4.5/5
Honourable Mentions - Jurassic World, Fast & Furious 7 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens 4/5

A movie I had never even heard of until friends of mine started talking about how good it was, Kingsman: The Secret Service was a surprise, yet fun entry for 2015 being a spy movie at a level that Bond and the other established franchises can't quite get near. Roger Waters' concert-turned-movie, The Wall was a nice feature but perhaps not entirely a movie.

I enjoyed Jurassic World and how it felt most like the original Jurassic Park from 1993 than any of the other movies in the franchise, F&F 7 was a great tribute to Paul Walker and has wrapped up the franchise nicely (even though there is going to be another one) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn't disappoint as it continues the adventures in a galaxy far, far away - proving that you can pay proper homage to an established sci-fi storyline without changing everything.

It was another light year for concerts so I can't think of anything else worth rating from 2015. We'll see how 2016 goes I suppose. I'm hoping things will continue to be positive and more fun, exciting and interesting adventures await...

01 January 2016

BSG Review: Murder on the Rising Star & Greetings from Earth

Starbuck is implicated in a murder and the fleet come in to contact with humans from outside of their solar system...

Murder on the Rising Star
After a heated triad match, Starbuck's main opponent is found murdered and Starbuck is implicated as he was seen running from the scene. 

Apollo and Boomer come to his defense as Protectors and fight against time to find evidence about who the murderer really is.

This was a decent episode which showed the viewers more about life within the fleet and that things aren't always going well and that the characters are just as corrupt as we are. The flashbacks to Caprica help and add to the mystery until the murderer is revealed - and once again Baltar is shown to be resilient and defying death, even in custody!

Some of the storylines in this episode are touched on in the re-imagined series as well. 

My rating: 6.5/10

Greetings from Earth
A sleeper ship is found drifting through space and appears to be carrying humans. Once brought aboard Galactica debate ensues as to what should be done regarding the occupants. When one, identified as Michael comes to, he reveals enough to the crew about their intended destination and a potentially dangerous region of space the fleet is heading towards...

This episode comes to the DVD collection in the form of one movie length two-parter. The first half deals with the sleeper ship and the  ethics of waking the occupants with Dr Salik worried about the health of the crew while the Council want them awake as soon as possible. This conflict results in having the ship removed from the Galactica and returned to its original course which is accompanied by Starbuck and Apollo to the planet Paradeen.

On Paradeen, Starbuck and Apollo join the ship occupants and a couple of androids in the search for answers about Terra, Earth and a new potential threat in the Eastern Alliance, who Michael and his crew were fleeing from.

It's a lengthy episode due to the two parts being joined together. I have no doubt that it is also quite important as we are basically being introduced to a new rejoin of space which appears to be run by a dominant and powerful faction known as the Eastern Alliance. It would seem though that the Colonial Warriors have the upper hand - for the moment. The title is interesting as we are not entirely sure by the end whether Michael and the other occupants are in fact from Earth - we know they were running from a colony called Luna 7 and perhaps the theory is that these colonies are breakaways from Earth itself? Hopefully the next few episodes will reveal that for us...

Rating: 6.5/10