I haven’t done this segment in a while. I thought I’d share another favourite of mine when it comes to Youtube channels. I first learnt about the channel by link hopping from another Youtube source previously blogged about - Vsauce.
As the heading of the post suggests the channel title is a rather obscure word that when I first came across sounded a lot like one of the periodic elements. I later read from their Wikipedia page that the name is partly inspired from the elements, it is a “combination of the Latin word for truth, ‘Veritas’, and the ending common to many elements ‘ium”.
The videos are very sciency (I will use this word even if my spell checker will have a hissy fit over it) and tend to gravitate towards the subject of physics, nevertheless the host (Brian Schmidt ) makes each release very engaging and leaves your mind with something to ruminate on. In some videos Schmidt gets access to some rather restrictive areas of scientific research such as the below video shows ‘World’s Roundest Object! Or there is the Most silent room in the world.
In some videos Brian goes into the streets and asks random people, what appear to be relatively simple science question, as an example below the public is asked to compare the surface temperature of two objects and then comment on their temperate differences. A very interesting response and explanation of temperature follows from Brian.
Or there are just the random fun videos such as the slow-motion slinky that appears to defy the law of gravity.
If you wish to see the natural beauty of the East Australian coast, and you want to do it by foot I cannot speak more highly of The Coastal Track that runs from Bundeena (one hour drive from Sydney) to Otford. At 26 kilometres this is a two day hike, but if you are after a single day trek much like the group I went with, you can cut it in half and still enjoy a hot meal back home before the sun set.
Our starting destination was Garie beach inside the Royal National Park. At around 10 am we were finally ready to take the first steps through the long strip of beach until a hikers sign instructed us to proceed through the local greenery. As soon as our feet left the sand, the trail picked up altitude and we slowly gained height. After about ten minutes of this cuff building exercise, you could look back and see a panoramic view of where we set-off from.
For some time afterwards the track led us through low lying coastally adopted vegetation. The views were lacklustre as even the blue ocean vanished from sight. I was however fascinated to see how many ants inhabit the earth all along the track. At one point we saw a nest of what I later learnt were Red Bull ants with massive mandibles ready to do some serious damage. Perhaps due to their size, one of the biggest species in the world (up to 30mm in length) the ants operate with such a bravado that they can build a nest wherever they feel like, if it happens to be where us humans walk so be it, we have to go around them. One of the guys got bit on the foot as we were crowding around the nest taking photos. I hear it feels like a hot needle being continuously stuck into you eeek.
At some point the track opened up again to reveal the naked coast. We have ascended even higher by this time and were rewarded with gorgeous expanses of the ocean and terrifying cliffs beside us. I much like others were naturally was drawn to the edge to peer down the relentless waves crashing against the jagged rocks. It was not long when a sense of vertigo overtook me and I had to step back to a safer location.
The walk to Bandeena, our final destination, was littered with such breathtaking views as I mentioned above, each one different enough to be memorable in its own right. There were about four beaches that we passed on our hike, offering us a place to rest and for some a chance to cool-off in the water. Wattamolla beach was around the mid-point of our hike. It had a small lagoon and a giant rock that brave teenagers were constantly jumping off from. After reenergizing at this pit-stop we continued onwards.
At one point we took a wrong turn and lost over an hour by taking a boring stone filled fire-trail that led inland. After backtracking and getting back on course we finally reached the end point at 15 to 7, a whopping 9 hours later. The track should only taken about 3.5 hours as per google maps, however taking leisurely breaks, getting lost and being part of a group that consists of a wide spectrum of fitness all add up for a long day.
The Coastal Track was definitely worth my time, and I would recommend it to all that will listen. It was a great experience to see the beauty of the Eastern NSW coast. I only had a phone camera, but I have included my favourite shots of the day.
Levi’s first birthday party went off with a bang. The theme that was chosen – Mr Men & Little Miss (after asking Charmaine if she has read any of the books it turns out neither of us have, for all we know the series might be some violent erotica disguised as children’s literature). If you are not familiar with the theme it is based on a series of children’s books featuring characters that begin with Mr or Little Miss followed by some one dimensional personal characteristic. Talk about stereotyping… with names such as Mr Messy or Little Miss Ditzy that’s a great way to sap someone’s self-confidence. But I digress.
We chose Mr Happy & Little Miss Sunshine to be the representative characters for the day. Here are some highlights of the day. Party was organised at Blacktown Showground.
Charmaine and I can unanimously say that the last 12 months have come and gone at an amazingly rapid pace. Just a few days ago Levi turned one so yesterday we celebrated it with his very first birthday party.
A question I have heard asked is how I feel as a father after 12 months? It is one of those questions that when asked by someone like an older curious acquaintance produces a kneejerk response of “good”. What else is there to say? I think there a social expectation to wear a mask of confidence and joy when it comes to being a new father/mother, even if the first child has stretched you and your relationship to a breaking point. Having said that I truly feel that the last 12 months have been overall an amazing revolutionary time in my personal life. The journey had its bumps and rough patches, but when you zoom-out the overall picture is worth framing. We have been lucky not to experience to any significant degree the horror stories of babies not sleeping, not eating or falling into serious illness. There was the first month when Levi would scream his lungs out for what appeared to be no reason (we later found out he was lactose intolerant and the milk was hurting him). What was worse is that when I tried to rock him, he would push away from me with his legs into my stomach. I recall being very upset and taking it to heart, that here I was barely functioning with a few hours of sleep, and trying to help you, and yet you scream into my ear and kick my stomach! Of course it is irrational to attribute any malice to a one month old, but when your sleep deprived you are not rational anymore. I mention that little incident because I have a whole new degree of empathy to new parents who have to rough it out with difficult babies.
But all of those horrible incidents gets smoothed out when you have moments such as when your son walk up to you, puts his head on your arm and gives you a hug. Or when you tickle him and you hear the sweetest pure laughter.
I look forward to see Levi grow and develop more in the next 12 months. I attached a poster Charmaine and I made for his birthday that lists some facts about him.
My caretakers love me.
But I feel empty.
Not even the wind stirs my sorrowful heart.
Perhaps those distant pastures are the answer?
The world is laughing at me.
But I cannot laugh back.
They say this place brings joy.
Yet I feel nothing.
We are given all this freedom.
But we cannot escape ourselves.