End of 2017

It’s now mid-January, and I’m winding back up to full speed after the Christmas/New Year break.  

As I look forward into 2018, I thought I’d have a reflect back on 2017.

I’ve been doing this for a while now – check out the same wrap-ups for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

If I’m honest, last year was possibly the best year I’ve had in the past 20 years.

Some of the biggest highs, and lowest lows, and great new experiences, and I’m really enjoying working as a sole operator – and have found a good outlook on life.

Good Stuff

  • Mountain biking weekend trips – Rotorua, and Falls Creek
  • AUDAX ride to Lake Mountain
  • Otway Odyssey MTB race – other than a PayPal hack the night before (!!)
  • Attended PauseFest 
  • New home computer
  • Cirque Du Soleil with the kids – and Melbourne Show (Grand Final Day)
  • Drove a Porsche !    And went for a ride in a V8 Mustang
  • Enjoyed a bunch of PodCasts – S-Town, MS Cloud Show, This American Life
  • Read a bunch of Books – George Lucas biog, Bryan Cranston biog, Subtle Art of NGAF, Sebastian Bach biog, Jack Reacher
  • Trying to get along to YOGA more regularly
  • Family Day out at Lysterfield, and lunch at The Piggery
  • Finished off TV series “Halt & Catch Fire”
  • Presented a conference session in Sydney – and won a Google Home !
  • Attic Group roof box installed for more storage

Not Good Stuff

  • Bike got stolen !     Fvkcers !!
  • Mike Hall died – so sad, even though I had never met him (IPWR)
  • Chloe.    Losing her REALLY broke my heart – and still does.   I think this made the end-of-2017 very hard, without her around when stressed/etc
  • Owen’s funeral – the day after Chloe died
  • Work chaos/anxiety – mild panic attacks
  • Arguments with friends – and FaceBook dramas
  • Mum getting older, and needing some time in hospital (mid-year)

Amazing Stuff

  • Travelled to Europe in July/August – bucket list items
  • Amsterdam – cycling around town/country
  • High Speed train across to Germany
  • WACKEN – just incredible – hopefully go back again some day
  • Autobahn – 200 kmh in a Mercedes
  • Berlin Wall, & Prague (Skoda Factory)
  • Copenhagen to visit cousins
  • New company car !!    Skoda Octavia
  • Carnival Cruise after Christmas – 11 days with family
  • House plans for extension, we’re almost ready to go !


For 2018 !!?!

This year is shaping up a little differently – but will be amazing for different reasons :

  • Cameron starts high school – Wantirna College
  • Teenager alert !    Cameron also turns 13….!
  • Commencing house extension in February – $$$ ahead
  • New TV, stereo planned – already worked out what to get (LOL !)
  • Dog for the family – Golden Retriever, or Greyhound (adoption) – or both !!?
  • We will celebrate 15 years of marriage in October – wow…

We’ll have to wait and see how the year pans out – it’s begun with a flurry of activity, getting ready to remove our garage, loading boxes into the new Attic Room, and a new garden shed, and new IKEA furniture.   

The travels will be much less this year – concentrating on the house extension.

Similarly, less time for bike riding/training – but the 2nd half of the year will be “get fit again” – and perhaps plan for the THREE PEAKS in March 2019…(?)

It’s amazing how time marches on – it waits for no man, as they say…

Hope you had a great Christmas + New Years time – and a wonderful 2018 !


Charlie is now 8 ! (and a 1/4)

In the increasing trend of LATE blog posts, it’s now mid-October, and Charlie turned EIGHT in late-June…    (!)

It’s been a busy few months, I’d worked my butt off on project work before ~3 weeks in Europe – and then busy after returning.  

And – a new car – and lots of work with plans for a new house extension – but…

We’re hear to talk about CHARLIE – Happy (belated) Birthday to you, buddy !!

Have a look here for some blog posts for his previous birthdays : ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX and SEVEN.


Charlie’s teacher is a wonderful supporter of our little guy – Mrs. Loonstra – had some great things to say about him at the parent-teacher interviews earlier this year.

In grade 2, he’s been loving his Maths, and lots of Reading – and he’s always writing too – little notes, or letters – or inventive stories.

She’s impressed with how he’s come out of his shell – and developed a wonderful personality – and a nice set of friends.

His main buddies are Ashlee (of course !) – and Tai, Aquila and Suha.

Mrs Loonstra, and Charlie – she even gives DONNA a hug when she sees her !


Off to school with his brothers


I always love his happy smile when they strut off to school


Getting an award at assembly : for…?


School sports day – GO LAWSON !



During the September school holiodays, we had a wonderful family holiday to Queensland, with some visits to theme parks, and then a few days in Noosa to splash & rest.    Charlie was too small for many of the big rides (at theme parks), but he still had an awesome time.

When we were leaving from home, he nicked out to the letterbox, and was sneaky/suspicious – he’d left a note in the letterbox for the whole family – to read when we got home, saying “I hope you had a great time in QLD” – just lovely, thanks Charlie !

The view from our balcony in Surfers – checking out the beach & morning sunshine


MovieWorld – getting away from Wile.E.Coyote


MovieWorld – waiting for the parade

Charlie had gotten wet on the flume ride, and so we got him a Batman T-Shirt – and he was wearing it as the parade went past – and the Batman character pointed at his chest and said (in a big deep Batman voice)…    “I LIKE YOUR SHIRT….”

Charlie was bursting with excitement – the highlight of his holiday, I think !


Road Runner 4D cinema


SeaWorld – flume ride – despite the look on his face, he loved the ride !!   (LOL)


He loved the penguins, we made a 2nd stop in to SeaWorld, as Charlie’s choice


SpongeBob Squarepants Roller Coaster, with Mr.12, happy to just do a ‘gentle’ ride


Being a tough Ninja Turtle – at SeaWorld


Enjoying the walk in the rainforest


Trying to lick his elbow (!)


Ready for the pool – goggle on from before-we-left-the-apartment (+ goon Cameron)


FaceTime video to his friend Ashee, to show her around our apartment


And – we were across the street from Thompson St !   (Ashee’s surname)


Great to spend time with Dad, while on holidays


And even got Mum in the swimming pool for some fun !


Charlie woulda swum all day if we let him – he just loved it with his pool noodle



As you can see, Charlie is a wonderful happy dude – he gets along great with both brothers – most of the time !   But, often the first one to get hurt – the others forget how little he is, sometimes !

We have a great time together – he’s always dealing out cuddles & hugs – and Mum gets 20+ kisses on the cheek when we tuck him into bed.  

There’s a few nicknames that he gets – usually Chaz – but I mix it up a bit with Magoo (Chazz-a-magoo), and MonkeyMan, and SuperDude – basically, any cool name – as he’s a cool little guy !

When I took off to Europe for a fortnight, I’d left a note for each boy – and I had a note under MY pillow when I got home – from Charlie.   Such a lovely thought – I’ve kept this letter, and use it as a bookmark.

Out for a movie with Mum


Playing Lego with Liam


Family day trip – fun to have a family selfie (felfie !)


Cracking up laughing at the goofy mirror outside Pancake Parlour


Family out for dinner – Dad’s birthday, this time


More hugs for Mum, always more…!


And a hug+chat with Nanna


Another movie day – selfie pic with Mum


Hugs with Dad this time – and cookies


Riding the new car – Charlie loves the back 3rd row – LOL !


Fathers Day evening with school chaplin (Church Group)


No dress-ups for Charlie – “that’s too silly, Dad”


The face says is all – Daaaad !


Getting down to work, gloves on, smashing the letterbox (!!)


Charlie enjoying the sledge hammer – a bit TOO much (LOL !)


Macca’s lunch with Dad


Checking out Liam’s game on the iPhone


Merry Christmas, Mum !!


And Merry Christmas to you too, Dad !!



Charlie has been amazing at Karate – the focus & determination when he’s training is wonderful to see.   This past 6 months, he’s be doing both karate AND basketball.

He’s started in U/10’s basketball – missed on U/8’s by only 3 days.   But, he has a great coach – ME !   And he was loving having DAD as coach since before the first game.

The team did great, almost making finals, but Charlie was so little on the team, he didn’t get much of the ball.   But – he scored his first goal, and was overjoyed (but I missed it – as I was overseas for a few weeks).

Soon – he’ll have to choose which sport to continue – I think he’s SET on basketball !

Karate grading


With his sensei Lindel – and Brett


His friend Ashee came to watch him get his belt


Ready to rock – look out !


First game – he had the same number as his brother Cameron – awesome !


Fun & Games

Again, like his brothers, Charlie loves playing video games – often he’ll play on his own, but lately, has been joining online games on the PC.

Usually MineCraft, or Roblox (he had that for a cake for his 8th birthday).

He loves the Lego Star Wars games, and was getting good at Halo – but they don’t play that so much anymore.

And, of course, Lego !    (and recently picked up Loom Bands again)

Outside, Charlie will be playing basketball, or on the trampoline – or having a nerf gun fight – or, bike riding, if he doesn’t crash (trying to keep up with the big kids !)

Pokemon !


Bike Ride with Dad – we went all the way to Knox (and back !)


Gravel road biking – near Nortons Park


BIG CRASH – he skidded on gravel, and lost the front wheel – we had to call Mum


Growing Up Fast

Sometimes, Charlie can come out with amazing words & insights, and he shows his awesome little brain for all to see.   Hearing him use a word like “phenomenal” always makes me smile – and often – perfect context.

When coming home in the new car, he had the rear heat seater on – and when we got home, he exclaimed “my butt feels phenomenal !”    (LOL)

Of course, part of growing up, is losing a few teeth – and a visit from the tooth fairy.

Charlie had BOTH front teeth loose, and wiggled, and got them both out, in less than an hour – it was an expensive visit from the Tooth Fairy that night !

Two wobbly front teeth


Both teeth gone !


Double $$ from the Tooth Fairy that night


Goofy Fun – aka, happy, lovely FUN

What would a birthday blog post be, without a few smiles & funny pics !!?!

He really does have a wonderful happy face – and smiling eyes…

Scoffing marshmallows


The shirt says it all !


Out the sunroof, in the new car – our Kia Sorento


Concentration – playing MineCraft or Roblox


Listening to some music – Black Sabbath !


Playing loom bands – with a YouTube lesson


Gotta love ice cream – it was mid-winter, and freezing cold that day !


Playing Guitar Hero – on a coffee table, of course !


Pokemon cards – spread out in 5 seconds – food court at Knox

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Cuddles with Dad, and our lovely dog Chloe (RIP)

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Sparklers for New Years Eve – he made it till almost 1am !


Ropes & climbing – he’s quick & agile – and fearless !


Trying out Dad’s new car – BEFORE we even got it home !




New T-Shirt for his 8th Birthday


Happy Birthday !!

Such a glowing, and happy, smiling boy – we love you so much Chaz !


Cameron has turned 12, a few months ago

Yep – well, this is my most OVERDUE birthday blog post ever, it’s late-May – I guess 3 months late is better than never.   I was worried it would be after Charlie’s birthday in June – LOL !

Suffice to say, it’s been a crazy busy household, now that Donna has started back at work – and – my work has taken over a number of evenings, but, I always intended to get to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Cameron.

We’ve talked as a family – and this might be his LAST birthday blog post – next year, he’ll be a teenager, and he can write his OWN blog post perhaps !

You can see the previous birthday blogs for Cameron : 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd birthdays (not for his 1st or 2nd – doh !).


Cameron was in grade 5 last year (2016), and now in grade 6 with Mr.Grimwade. 

He’s been enjoying the garden club, and is the “PA monitor” to set up the speakers & microphones for assembly.

His year in grade 5 was awesome – he’s advanced a lot with his Maths, and enjoyed preparing speeches for school – including a “be a famous person” speech in which he chose ELON MUSK and spoke about PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and so forth – awesome !

Cameron also did a speech for school captain, and put a lot of himself into – but was voted into 2nd place, a blessing in disguise, but still a bit emotional let-down after it all.

There’s been a big change in all the kids, as they’re starting grade 6.  The teachers give them more responsibility, and self-management – and fun stuff that “only” the grade 6’s get to do – like dress up day.

He’s had some great fun at school camps with a three-day stay in grade 5 (Sovereign Hill, Ballarat) – and then grade 6 was a full week in Coonawarra, near Sale.

We’ve signed Cameron up for “Wantirna Secondary College” for 2018.   We did a tour recently, and he really enjoyed it – and looking forward to it.  He’ll be attending with his good buddy Callum (“my best friend”) – and Josh + Luke too.





Homemade board game – gold rush theme


Off to school camp, on the gold bus !



It’s been amazing to see Cameron’s skill level improve over the last year or so – his coach Kat has been wonderful, and got them to a Grand Final, and a premiership !   An amazing dream-season, with a great bunch of kids.   His next season with her was harder, with some changed players, and they didn’t make the finals. 

But, Cameron was the 2nd highest goal scorer for the grade – amazing !

He’s now into U/14’s – and had his first game today – and it’s a much higher grade of gameplay & skill – it will do him well to push the level…   #NextLevel !

Backyard practice – the home court gets a lot of use !


Great team of kids – they won a flag !



After party at Macca’s – good friends…


His cousin Michael also won a flag, on the same day !



For his 11th birthday, Cameron got a “gears bike” and has been able to ride further, and faster, and we’ve been mountain biking a few times already.   He entered the club race too, on a Friday night at Lysterfield (FFLL).   He’s been regularly riding to school, and is a great ‘shop-rider’ in case we need a loaf of bread, etc.

Ready for his first ride at Lysterfield


First RACE at Lysterfield







Computer Stuff

Cameron’s greatest past time over the last year has involved a screen in one or more ways.   Either playing XBox, or PC games (Terraria, MineCraft) – or using the iPad to create an iMovie – or his new birthday gift of an iPod Touch (he was super excited).

He began recording his own gameplay videos, and uploading to YouTube – we bought Camtasia, and he’s now a master of video editing – so much so, that he’s keen to look into this further at high school – and perhaps as a career path.  

I’m assuming he’ll move into something ‘tech-related’ – he just loves it.


After recording his clips, and editing, he uploads to YouTube.   He has 30 videos, as of today.  

His channel is “LegendBuilding” – this is his ‘intro’ :

Video games are just great, aren’t they?
Join me and my friends with action packed adventurous content such as pvp on Minecraft or boss battling on Terraria. So go on click or tap on one of my videos and well sit back, relax and enjoy!



He has a few ‘subscribers’ – mainly friends at school – and excitedly tells us about other YouTuber’s like DanTDM – especially if someone responds to a comment of his.  

He had a few friends doing videos also – but one kid “unsubscribed” to his channel, and Cameron was devastated.   I guess it’s the beginning of the ‘cyber’ stuff – we had to explain that video editing was for HIM, not others – and to not worry what people think or say.   He’s recently made a few videos for the “fun of editing” as opposed to wanting subscribers, or comments.

Video Games

Of course, Cameron still loves MineCraft – but it’s the extension packs that he loves these days – such as “EggWars” – and “PixelMon”.   Most of these are run-around-and-shoot-each-other games, and so I introduced him to HALO, and STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT.   He played some TOMB RAIDER too – which was great fun.

And – Santa brought him OVERWATCH – but, he didn’t really get into it very much.   

However, he has been bitten hard by the CALL OF DUTY bug.   This is his favourite game – by far – although, we have had to restrict him a little.   He’s very good at it, I can’t actually keep up with him these days – I recently had a hissy fit after he wiped the floor with me – I could barely get a kill !    

Family Holiday

Last September, we had a great time as a family unit, with a trip to Queensland.   We’ had some days at theme parks, before a more relaxing stay in Noosa.

I’d assumed Cameron would be the daredevil on roller coasters, but he got scared on the first one (Scooby Doo Coaster) – which went backwards, in the dark – and he didn’t want to go on anymore !    We had a blast at Wet-N-Wild – he loved the waterslides.

And – he went on the JetSki ride at SeaWorld – we all had a great time…

Heading off to Queensland



Family selfie (felfie) at MovieWorld


Waiting for the parade at MovieWorld


Another family pic – SeaWorld this time


Goofy fun with Dora – LOL !


Sandbed – he looked so comfortable !    (Surfers Paradise beach)



Rainforest walk in Noosa


With Dad

It’s been great to get out for some more bike rides together, and have some 1:1 chats together.  As he grows into a young man, his Dad is an important part of a boys life – and I’m making sure to keep in check with him, we have a great relationship.

There are a heap of fun gags & jokes that only a Dad+son can enjoy – often something gross, or related to farts, most likely – LOL !

We’ve been to see some great movies together – JURASSIC WORLD, GHOST IN THE SHELL, and I sat with him and watched THE MATRIX – which he loved (no surprise !)




After a bike ride – 7-11 slurpee


And – to Jells Park for an ice cream


Heading off to the Glen Waverley swimming pool – goon face !


Out for his 12th birthday – I’d got his T-Shirt on my trip to NZ


Christmas photo shoot – nice one of Cam & I


With Mum

Of course every kid needs his Mum – and while Cameron and Donna ‘clash’, they have a great friendship.  She has taken him on a few ‘dates’ including the surprise movie to see the final HARRY POTTER movie – he was overjoyed !

It’s amazing to see/read some of the cards he’s done for her recently – including a home made ‘massage voucher’ which he gave her for Mothers Day.

Before-The-Movie selfie with Mum


Christmas Photo with Donna + Cameron



Cameron is an amazing big brother to Liam & Charlie, but he can sometimes get very frustrated and annoyed.  Especially if he’s getting hangry, and needing to eat.   Again, getting older, he needs some space, and often retreats to his bedroom, or the computer, and enjoys some chill out time on his own.

But – we’re a wonderful family – we have a lot to be thankful for, and it all started with our first-bubba Cameron.

He loves to talk with Auntie Kath – and also has a lovely soft way with Nanna, and understands that she likes to talk slowly & just hear about his life.  

The recent ‘family fun’ has been to play Nanna’s favourite – Scrabble !

O’Connor Family Christmas


Goofing at Pancake Parlour


Saying goodbye to our Holden Commodore – Cameron was 6 mths old when we got it


New car !   Kia Sorento – they love riding in the back seat


Playing in the pool at Uncle Marks – with Millie & Micheal


Out to see the basketball (NBL)


Another Macca’s lunch – just me & the lads


Other Random Fun

There’s never a dull moment with Cameron around, he has a great sense of humour, and loves to do goofy faces & noises – he’s a delight to hang out with.

Cameron had a comment from “HEX” after my Instagram photo of him reading their new book


Demolishing a “fan feed box” at Macca’s


Yummy bliss with a chocolate sundae


Groucho Marx, with a KitKat cigar


Sparklers on New Years Eve


Turned 12, compared to the day he was born


Sticky-tape and foam – being a goon (again !)



Cardboard cutouts – some of these are hilarious !




Happy Birthday

Dear Cameron – you’re growing into an amazing young man, we’re very proud of you.  

I love to hear about your day – good, bad or otherwise – and to discuss/support you – especially as the next year brings newer & bigger challenges.   

You’re becoming a basketball star, it’s so awesome to watch you play – and hopefully we get out for some more bike rides soon !

Thanks for all the LOL’s, LMFAO’s, FAIL’s, TROLL’s, and OMG’s.   We love you !

Mum + Dad…     x


Goodbye to 2016

It’s the last day of the year – has been an amazing year actually.  

There has been a bunch of social media stuff saying “worst year ever”. 

Yes – it’s been sad to say goodbye to so many celebrities – notably, David Bowie, Prince, George Micheal and Carrie Fisher.   And – yes, the year of BREXIT and TRUMP – it will be curious to see what changes happen in 2017.

For me, personally, 2016 has been a BIG year – starting out as my own sole operator, initially as a contractor (and sub-contractor), and then more freelance work.

I’ve managed a full year solo – and I’m doing rather well, IMHO.

Anyways – it’s time for a 12-month wrap-up and look back at the year that was.

I’ve been doing this for a while now – check out the same wrap-ups for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

It’s hard to know where to begin, with a BIG year of activity.  

I ended up looking at the calendar, and photos on FaceBook and Instagram.    It’s a lot of ‘family’ and ‘bikes’ and ‘music’ – that’s life these days !


As our boys grow in age, we can do more and more amazing activities with them – as well as a variety of school related fun (and friends) – as well as sport – basketball and karate.

Donna is (as always), the lynchpin in the household – we couldn’t do it without her.

Here’s a quick memory list of some fun we’ve had through the year :

  • Took the family for some kayakking fun at Lysterfield Lake
  • Liam won a pancake parlour voucher – nice to go with him for a ‘dessert’ treat
  • Invited to a 40th party in Wodonga, took the whole family for an overnight road trip (Anthony Cheesman’s house)
  • Donna completed her course in Education Support – lots of study and reading/writing – and then placement, graduation, and starting work soon (early 2017)
  • Had a camping trip to Inverloch with the Lowes – Big4 caravan park, with swimming pool, and close to the beach
  • Another voucher, had me out on roller skates with Charlie
  • Went to a school information night about China, for Cameron (!) – but ended up that it clashed with our family holiday – will be other opportunities in high school
  • Easter time fun, took the boys to a tree top maze in Red Hill
  • Had fun with ex-OBS people at Andy’s 40th
  • Many (MANY) games nights with Thompson’s + Stella’s
  • Friends night out to a Trivia night, in Ringwood (Church fund-raiser)
  • Fancy-Schmancy-Dressy-Uppy dinner in Brighton
  • Great evening with the ‘mums group’ friends at Nicky’s 40th
  • Chris & Flip’s boy Aiden had his Christening – and recently 1st birthday
  • Family fun with a casino night at Martin’s 40th
  • Great house party to celebrate Sarah’s 18th – eldest daughter of my buddy I’ve known since high school – we were 11 when we met !
  • Did a high school tour at Highvale – Cameron will be in high school in 2018
  • Coached Liam’s basketball team – 2nd season – and then handed the reins to another Dad – helping, at arm’s length (assistant only)
  • “Tried” to complete the survey on Census night – along with all other Australians – as an IT person, I was embarrassed and angry at such a stuff-up
  • We got a new car !    Goodbye to Holden Commodore after 11 years, and a 3-yo Kia Sorrento – Donna is very happy, and sometimes lets ME drive !
  • BIG family holiday to Queensland – 4 days in Surfers, and went to Theme Parks – MovieWorld, SeaWorld, Wet-N-Wild, and then four days in Noosa, with some friend visits to Mark, and Sarah.   And – I managed to go MTB’ing in Noosa, dodged a magpie – and – grew a beard !
  • Home in time for Grand Final day at Nathan & Tracy’s – great win for the Bulldogs !
  • Bought ourselves a Table Tennis Table for Christmas – has been getting lots of use on the back patio – summer arvo’s + evenings
  • New Star Wars movie !    Rogue One – went to see it in Gold Class, and the again with the whole family – greeaat movie…
  • Cameron had a basketball Grand Final – and won !

The year was not without some sadness – we said goodbye to my sister Kath’s cancer (thankfully), but poor Uncle John fought it too – and lost.  

My Dad’s brother John, who he was very close to – it’s been a tough few months – and then, arranging funeral, and house auction, and all the paperwork, etc.   It’s been tough for Dad – I think Christmas was hard for him – I need to keep in touch with him to see that he’s OK.

For 2017 : enjoy the wonderful fun & games that our growing boys can bring, support Cameron through grade 6, and prepare him for high school.   Assist the household where I can, while Donna is doing more work – and needs more help at home.   Re-commence basketball coaching, and help Charlie with his first season !


With my new business venture taking off, I had assumed (and allowed) myself to take the focus off cycling, after a massive 2015 – with 6,000km.   A lot of this was via commuting km’s – and the uncertainty of work placements would mean less consistency.    I was super bike-fit earlier in the year, but that waned off after mid-year – with winter time, and no regular work placement (bike parking/showers).

Also, I skipped a few MTB events, knowing that I was less practised – some months were less than 100km – as opposed to 100km a week…  

As a brief-run, here’s some highlights :

  • Had a split frame in my mountain bike, and needed a new rear triangle.   So, had a lot of work done – fully rebuilt suspension, and running gear – like a new MTB !
  • Went to a Specialized Demo Day at Lysterfield – Enduro, Epic + 6Fattie
  • Went to watch the National Road Race with Dad in Ballarat, was a regular event for my Uncle John, but he was too sick to go.   I’ll go again with Dad in early Jan 2017.
  • Did an ‘after work’ ride to Sky High with Dave Biggs, during summer, after realising we were both working close by
  • Stopped off in town to watch the opening section of the HeraldSun tour
  • Cameron turned 11 – and we got him a MTB !    Trek 27.5 hardtail
  • During April/May, was riding to work lots – BEST parking area ever, at Kiandra…
  • You Yangs MTB race – did 136km in 6 hours – felt great, best MTB race ever
  • The following weekend, did the Otway Classic 205km – tough conditions, and support vehicle (Dad) had to take a few riders who had DNF’ed
  • Did the Vic Enduro Series race at Lysterfield – met up with John Lazzara from High School days – now a regular riding buddy, better friends than 20 years ago
  • Watched the MTB DH – LIVE from Cairns
  • Rode MTB’s at Wombat State Forest – cold !
  • After not much riding, took a ticket for Ol’ Dirty in Marysville.   I’d needed a bike adventure, and suffered+sweated+swore, but regained a piece of joy – after not much riding.   Was a GREAT day out, in hindsight !
  • My buddy Jimmy & Christian both got new MTB’s – we have a good crew of riders, as well as Jake, Haider, Lawrence, and others – good to have a chat group using WhatsApp
  • Plans booked for a Rotorua MTB weekend’er in January – will be great to go back to NZ
  • I got a new bike – S-Works !    I’d promised myself a ‘carbon road bike’ as a present to myself, for starting my own business – and had a good deal with a friend who works for Specialized – thanks Matt !   
  • Rode the “Around The Bay” 135km from Geelong – and had baaad headwinds !    Great day with Jimmy & Dan – but hard work…
  • Melbourne Cup Day, did an MTB ride day at YouYangs
  • LDTR club ride at Plenty Gorge
  • Also, went MTB’ing at RedHill – first time riding there – short trails, but good fun
  • Has been great to ride Lysterfield on a regular basis – looking forward to more ‘crew rides’ in 2017 (Gentlemen Of Lyster Dirt – GOLD !)
  • Cameron did his first MTB race at Lysty – Friday Fun Lazy Loops
  • Santa got me a new Garmin for Xmas
  • Went for a Dandenongs ride with Bianca, Denis and Ben – after Christmas

For 2017:  I need to shape-up a little, and do MORE riding – make sure to get fit again, and ride the Otway Classic again – as well as enjoy riding in NZ.   And – there’s a Otway Odyssey in March – which will be a great camping weekend, but some hard hills and MTB trails.   And – I’d like to re-hit some of the VES 6-hr races.

I need to get outta bed earlier, do some local laps, and keep doing YOGA (had done a one-month trial in Glen Wav – and now found a better/closer group in Scoresby).


Like my cycling in 2016, my exposure and attention to music has taken a back seat.   Rather than listening to music at work (a lot), I would often go a week or two without any ‘metal’ in my ears.

I still managed to get to a few gigs, and enjoy some new artists/albums.

  • No SoundWave – it was weird to NOT have a big event to prepare for, with Spotify setlists, and excitement on the day – it was a noticable omission in the calendar !
  • Went to see Fear Factory – as well as a pre-show backstage pass !    Very cool to chat to Burton and Dino – and get photos
  • Got a ticket to see COG – although my other friends missed out – doh !   I enjoyed the show on my own, and loved the support band/s.
  • Shihad – happened to be a few days after COG – I took my bro-in-law Mark as a birthday present
  • SleepMakesWaves – I went to see them in a headline show, after the support for COG
  • Baroness – one of the best shows all year – at a small venue
  • New album for Metallica, after 7 years – some good, some bad
  • Also – new album for Gojira – can’t wait to see them again

I’ve decided to NOT go see the big GUNS N ROSES show in February – I saw them back in 1993 – and keen to keep the old memory.   Also – it’s Cameron’s birthday !

For 2017 : Make sure to still enjoy some music, and metal – I’ll be getting some NURA headphones in April, which will change my listening – I’m already thinking of some bands/albums to try.   Also – WACKEN !!    I’ve already been loving the discovery of bands, and tunes – and will travel to Germany with friends, in August, for a four day camping trip – awesome !

Other personal stuff

On reflection, there’s been a heap of stuff that I’ve done – in/around the busy household schedule and work activities.   Sometimes, I dunno how I’ve managed the time – when you see a list like this :

  • Been to a HEAP of movies with Luke – we loved the Revenant, Jason Bourne, The Accountant, DeadPool, Independence Day, Captain America – and a whole stack that I can’t even remember
  • Attended the JetBack Coaches meeting – did a 2nd season of coaching for Liam’s team – but taking a break over the current summer season
  • New Lego Millenium Falcon, and Boba Fett Slave 1 – and a new display cabinet – I still need to get some new lamps for the display
  • Went to see Kevin Bloody Wilson with some buddies – an evening of severe wrongness and political incorrectness – but damn funny.  
  • Helped a few friends get a new job – with Mark from Freedom looking for a new Mortgage Broker, and I suggested Sean.   As well as George, to hire Matt Y (PAN).
  • Tried a session of Cross-Fit, but suffered for about 10 days afterwards, and realised that gym-training is beyond me (at the moment) – I’ll stick to Cycling, and Yoga for now.
  • Got some new glasses – thanks to SpecSavers, to get prescription glasses, and new prescription sunnies – and then my OLD sunnies got yellow lenses for riding.
  • Test drove some cars – Skoda Octavia VRS, and then later, VW Passat 206
  • Did a River Rafting trip with Matt Y – was a gift voucher from coaching basketball – and went on the Yarra River – great fun !

Video Games

Last Christmas, Santa got us an XBox One, and so I’ve been able to play a heap of great video games – as well as the kids playing lots of new ones.

Here’s a list of the highlights for me – and the TOP games I’ve enjoyed :

  • Rise Of The Tomb Raider – one of the main reasons I wanted to get an XBox One – amazing storyline, and graphics
  • Unravel – small indie game, platformer
  • Inside – sequel to Limbo, dark & brooding, challenging puzzles, and a big WTF ending
  • Quantum Break
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Doom
  • Halo Master Chief Collection – great old-school FPS fun
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 3 – the kids have gotten into this one – as multi-player – and they’re all better than me !
  • Forza Horizon 3 – amazing car racing game – set in Australia

For 2017: I’d like to finish off a few games – including Quantum Break, and then get back to play The Last Of Us, on the PlayStation 3.   Beyond that, perhaps get the re-mastered BioShock collection – and try out Deus Ex (loaner from my buddy Mark)


WOW – this has been the big stand out for 2016.   I’ve worked on my own with different projects/clients in the past, but now it’s entirely “all me”.   Including invoicing, payroll, and motiviation and feedback and so forth.

I’ve had a few moments of “holy crap” – and needed to prop myself up again – but it’s all gone fairly well.

I’ll write up a KACHIHRO blog post for 2016 – suffice to say – it’s been big, and “all good”.

For 2017 : Keep the magic alive, and don’t stress the small stuff.   Continue to delight customers, and enjoy some days to train, or attend a conference.   PauseFest and the SIY – two that I’ve earmarked for the new year.


With some train travel to/from town, I had a few books that I chugged through – some were work related, as well as biographies – which is my favourite these days.

Also – on holidays in Queensland – I took a few books – but didn’t read as much as I thought, I was tried most nights, and crashed out asleep !

If you don’t use GOOD READS, you should – here’s some links to a few of my faves through the year…

Also – I’ve finally got the ‘hang’ of using PodCasts – I’d tried a few times in the past – but never made it part of my routine.   And now, I listen in the car a LOT – and on the train to work.  


For 2017 : Get through a few more books – I’ve got a biography of Springsteen, as well as some other business related books.    And – the Masters Of Doom, about the creators of ID, Doom, Quake, etc.

Close out on 2016

So – there you have it.  

Was a damn GOOD year for me !     Aside from the loss of my dear Uncle John.  

And – I’m (sadly) preparing myself for some heartbreak again in 2017 – with our aging Chloe likely to find doggie heaven before long – she’s almost 14.5.    I don’t want to think anymore on that, not yet.

As for “good stuff” – I have a trip to NZ for mountain biking, and then Germany for a heavy metal festival – that’s a damn GOOD year ahead already !

It will be good to determine some funds/budgets and work out plans for a house extension – and perhaps consider a new car for ME – as a company car.

For YOU :

Hope you had a great year in 2016 – some ups and downs – that’s the way of it – but hopefully more UPS than DOWNS.

All the best for a wonderful start to 2017.  

Happy New Year – friends, family and everyone.



Liam turned 9 !

Firstly to Liam – Happy BELATED Birthday !

We actually *DID* celebrate his birthday on the day – October 25th – and I normally try to do a blogpost with photos, shortly after.

Suffice to say, we’re a busy household – and time has gotten away – and this is the ‘latest’ blogpost ever – only taken me six weeks to get to it – LOL (sorry) !    

Hopefully, it was worth the wait.


Here’s the posts from his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th birthdays…


Liam is really getting BIG now – we measured him for his birthday, and he’s actually the same height as Cameron was at age 10 (Liam is a full year ahead) !

He’s into grade 3 this year (2016) and his teacher is Mrs.S (she had a big long surname – and so she’s just known as Mrs.S !)

I asked Liam about his ‘crew’ at school – and he reeled off a big list of names – Alex, Jason, Alex (there’s Alex L and Alex P) – and then Daniel, Dylan, Jarrod, Jayden, Tim, Steven, Chris and Josh !   

They all play “6-square” at school – he’s in a really good ‘place’ with his group of friends – he’s such a nice boy – even the girls want to be friends with him.   His ‘girlmate’ at the moment is Mia – he told me with a blush.

On weekends – he & Alex always connect via Skype, and play MineCraft.

One of the highlights of the school year was the 3-day school camp – at “Camp WeekAway” – which I joked should be “Camp ThreeDaysAway”…

They did some awesome activities, including canoeing, bushwalking, flying fox, hut building – and slept in cabins – and came home exhausted – but happy.

Grade3, Knox Gardens Primary School


Off to school with his brothers – in Grade 5, 3 and 1.


School excursion to Melbourne Museum


School sports day – go Lawson !


Sleepover at school – with a minion – and next to Alex


Fun Activities

Liam has really gotten involved with all manner of video games – the main one is still MineCraft – but this is now on the PC-version, and he plays online – in EggWars, and Hypixel, and Roblox – and he connects to Skype on his old iPhone – to chat to friends.

He also follows along with Cameron, in the YouTube world – to see what other people are doing with MineCraft.

They also play the XBox – we’ve recently started playing Halo with four-player (Dad, Liam, Cameron & Charlie) – but they’re all too good for me !   

It’s great fun to hear them laugh as they shoot me with a rocket launcher, or drive OVER me !   (thanks Liam).

Aside from video games, he plays outside with his basketball (more in a sec) – and his love of soft toys remains strong.   He got a few new toys when we visited Queensland (MovieWorld) – with a Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants, and a Sylvester cat – and recently got a Torchick Pokemon soft toy.

We love that he’s still such a soft-natured boy (no pun intended) – he must have over 50 soft toys now – we find him in bed with an army of felt monsters – LOL !

And – he’s hugely into POKEMON…    



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LEGO is still big in our house – Liam helped me build the Boba Fett Slave 1


Zooming on his bike at the skate ramps, Avoca on Christmas Day


Great to see kids having fun on bikes – Liam loves it


Movies + TV

We go to see a bunch of movies as a family – and has been a few over the last year or so.   The Good Dinosaur, Pete’s Dragon, Pets, TMNT2 (which he nagged about for ages !), Kobo and The Two Strings – and there must be a few more I can’t recall.

He watches TV shows on Netflix, or recorded from TV – including AdventureTime, and Teen Titans – as his favourites.

He also still loves Minions (how can you NOT) – and into the Marvel arena – with Thor, Guardians Of The Galaxy, IronMan, Captain America, Avengers – and we recently watched the first 1989 Batman movie – which he loved.

He’s seen the first four of the Harry Potter movies, and really loving it – following in the footsteps of his HP-addict brother Cameron.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 – with Cam, Matt and Luke (Thompson)



Liam swapped from KARATE to play basketball, and is now in his third season.   I was the team coach for his first two seasons, which was great for both of us.

We have a concrete patch in the backyard, and Liam practices a lot – and takes his ball to school.   He recently scored 14 points in a game – and was leading the point scoring for his grade/division.

When he first started, the whole team was learning some techniques – such as my standard 3-choice : dribble, pass, shoot.   The ability and skill grows FAST in young kids – and Liam was soon doing full-court lay-ups.

And – it helps that he’s TALL – the tallest in the team – and still has another season in U/10 !

He really enjoys basketball – it’s so great to watch him play – and to have some fun at training together – and in the backyard.

First ever game of basketball – with Dad as coach


After their first win – took a few months, and then they were firing !


End of season with the team – great set of kids


On the way to basketball – Charlie is excited too !


New season – some different team mates – still with Dad as coach


We didn’t make the finals, but they learnt a lot, and had fun



We had a wonderful family holiday in the September school holidays.  Liam was keen to try out the roller coasters, and loved the first “Scooby Doo” coaster – more than his big brother – and so I took him on the “Superman” ride.  

He’s tall enough, but was the youngest in the long line – and I kept checking to see “are you sure !?!”    This coaster goes to 120kmh in 2 seconds – it’s Formula 1 fast – and he loved it !   I was screaming in delight, and forgot he was next to me – but he was hooked !

We went on the Green Lantern – and then the Arkham Asylum (the old Lethal Weapon) – that was the limit – he’d had enough by then !   

He loved the shops there (MovieWorld) – and bought a Sylvester stuffed toy.  When it was time for the parade at the end of the day, he was amazed+excited when the Sylvester character pointed to him, and then at himself (“that’s me !!”).   He also got a “Patrick” from SpongeBob SquarePants – to add to his soft toy collection.

One morning, I was wanting to go for a beach walk (6am) and Liam and strolled along and chatted – and splashed in the water – he’s a nice walking companion.

We had a few other great days together – at SeaWorld, and Wet-N-Wild – and then went to Noosa.

When we got to Noosa, Liam and I took off one morning while everyone else was still lazing in bed – and we walked through the National Park headland – just the two of us.   We saw some WHALES off the coast – amazing…!    It was nice to share that with him.

Morning walk in Surfers Paradise


Waiting for the parade at MovieWorld


Tired but elated after a big day at MovieWorld – dinner at Hog’s Breath (Surfers)


Checking out the view from the balcony in Surfers Paradise


Screaming in delight on the “Flume Ride” at SeaWorld – Charlie looks scared too !


Hanging out with Dora The Explorer (SeaWorld)


3D movie at SeaWorld – SpongeBob SquarePants


Caught by the giant squid – great faces !


Bushwalk in the hills, on the way to Noosa (Take a photo, Dad !)


Ready to go to the pool – and patiently (!) waiting for everyone else


He built a stone tower, on the walk at the Noosa National Park


Whales – in the distance – amazing to see them !


Loving the swimming pool – the kids swam for at least 3-4 hours a day


Our last day of the Queensland holiday – dinner in the RACV resort



Being the ‘middle child’ can be hard sometimes – Liam has a few run-ins with Cameron from time-to-time – often when a game has started out well, but it always “ends in tears”.

He’s still much closer to Charlie – they share a bedroom, and they often play similar games.   Cameron is getting close to high school age – and the ‘gap’ seems larger sometimes.

Liam is lucky to have a great friend with Charlie – they’re good pals.

In this next photo, I’d ordered McD’s for Cameron & Liam (and me) – and gone with Charlie to get KFC.   I came back with Charlie, and Liam had “set up” my Macca’s into the burger lid – ready to go – thanks buddy !


Hanging out in the hammock at Auntie Kath’s – very comfortable !


Easter Egg hunt with Charlie


Crazy fun in the mirrors at Pancake Parlour


On the way to pick up our new car, Liam was teary to say goodbye to the Commodore


Walking with Nanna in Castlemaine, he went walking with Rachel, and Jem also


Goofy selfie faces, while waiting for the movie to start – LOL !



Date With Dad

Liam had a voucher for Pancake Parlour, for a free double-stack – and so we headed there after dinner one evening for a special dessert – we were both sooo full afterwards…!

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Liam is the same age as Jasmine (Jazzie) – they’re best of friends – and always playing together when we get the families together.

I think he secretly would have liked a sister – and she’s ‘close enough’ to that.

Playing table tennis – we’re getting a new TT table for Christmas !


Acting out a Star Wars play – Luke, ObiWan, Chewie and Han Solo


Goofy Fun

Liam is the FIRST to put his head in a cut-out, for a photo – whether it’s Angry Birds, or some other movie character, or these ones at the adventure park in Red Hill.

He always (usually) having a good laugh at himself, or a funny situation.

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Springing into action at The Good Guys Superhero Games Day


And of course – cake – yum !


Some other photos of our “lovely Liam”

Cool dude – all dressed up for an outing + cool glasses, buddy !

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Ice cream !

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Christmas presents – happy indeed !

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Aaaand – Christmas eating – yum…

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Holding little Aiden + happy with new onesie – made by Donna !

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Happy Birthday

Thanks for being such an amazingly fun & caring little guy – we love your goofy outlook on life, you certainly know how to have fun, and wear your heart on your sleeve.

And you love your friends, and basketball – and soft toys !

Happy Birthday once again, love from Mum & Dad.   X