Well as of this morning I have now completed something from my bucket list. I have officially learnt to ride my bike. The last 15 weeks have been totally crazy. What with plenty of spills, cuts, bruises, and everything, wow what an adventure. I bought my first ever bike (and love it to pieces), went Mountain Biking for the first time and promptly wanted to just find somewhere quiet to have an anuerism (as a pilot in a documentary once said) and yet here I am.

Today was the final lesson and I was still trying to do things that I have been doing over and over again, riding up small steep inclines, up and down gutters and also standing up on the bike. Even though I am by no means perfect at all these things, I can keep practicing over and over again for a while, getting used to these things, the more I practice the better I will become.

But it is totally crazy. Something my trainer said this morning I totally agree with. Looking back to that first lesson way back in the carpark at the gym, so many months ago, my trainer had one thought. What the hell has he gotten himself into. He did not even think I could do it, and neither did I really. But you know what, it wouldn’t be the first time I have proven myself wrong.

Well I am off travelling again. Pretty much off to Cairns this morning with work for 5 days then next week off to Perth for 4 days.

This SHOULD be my last lot of travelling before the big trip. Lots of things to consider at the moment so will start blogging more about the trip once I get back from Perth. I will try to make it at least every 2 or 3 days from now on in the lead up. Get back into the Groove of blogging every few days (which i usually do while i’m away). Since these are work trips, there won’t be full trip reports but I will be able to give some highlights (its gonna be an epic couple of weeks I am sure).

Anyway catch ya on the flip, internet will prolly be pretty shoddy for the next few days, so bigmal365 will be a bit slow to update (if it all till sunday) and tweets won’t be that common either.

Well I wasn’t going to blog today after the book review, was going to blog in a day or so about some other stuff but a spanner has been thrown in the works today.

So I got an email (well it was really a text message from a friend prompting me to read my emails) from the US State Department. It says the following:

Dear Diversity Visa Lottery Entrant:

We regret to inform you that, because of a computer programming error, the results of the 2012 Diversity Lottery that were previously posted on the Department of State Entrant Status Check website have been voided. The results were not valid because they did not represent a fair, random selection of entrants, as required by U.S. law. They were posted in error.

If you checked the Entrant Status Check website (http://www.dvlottery.state.gov) during the first week in May and found a notice that you had been selected for further processing or a notice that you had not been selected, that notice has been rescinded and is no longer valid.

A new selection process will be conducted based on the original entries for the 2012 program.

You submitted a qualified entry between October 5, 2010 and November 3, 2010. Your entry remains with us and will be included in the new selection lottery. Your confirmation number to check results on the Entrant Status Check website is still valid. We expect the results of the new selection process to be available on or about July 15, 2011 at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov

We regret any inconvenience or disappointment this might have caused.

Way to throw a spanner in the works US State Department. I mean seriously. Just when I thought I had my life in order and back on track this happens! I had totally been content with this, but then I’ve been thinking about it all day today, and I am back at the same point I was at in the lead up to the results. Indecision.

Do I stay, do I go. What do i do! I really don’t know again now. I had made some decisions about my life but now, well thats back on hold. Everything is back on hold. These results will be up by the time I am in Canada, so It will be a crazy result if i get through, but either way, it’s screwing with my head again, not that my mind doesn’t need much more help at being screwed!

The last of my Vietnam books for a while (swapping over to some WW2 stuff before hitting the travel books on the trip) is an awesome book that I was totally engrossed in.

Low Level Hell

The Book is Low Level Hell by Hugh L Mills Jnr. This book is about a Aeroscout Pilot’s life during the Vietnam War. To give you a bit of a background, back in the Vietnam War they pioneered Helicopter Warfare. The use of Helicopters became full time during this war. There were 3 different kinds of Helicopters used. Utility Helicopters (Chinooks, Hueys etc), Attack Helicopters (Huey Gunships, Cobras) and the Scouts. This book covers the last category. Scout Helicopters back there were an OH-6. This helicopter is still around today (Kind of) as the MD-500. Back then it was known as the Loach (although the official name was Cayuse), now the military version is known as the Littlebird. This highly agile helicopter was used to get out and gather intelligence on the Vietcong and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) movements and to spot for the Cobra’s making Attack runs.

This book just had me engrossed, how someone could spot things moving 80-100 Knots, a few feet off the ground is beyond me. I just could not comprehend it. It’s crazy to think they could see such details while moving so fast and be able to react so swiftly. Nerves of Steel. Giant Brass Balls probably to.

Great insightful book about the very little known part of the war as a lot of the Helicopter stuff focuses on the two big famous helicopters from the War the Huey and the Cobra.

God Damn its getting cold lately. Its only mid may, so still in Autumn, but the nights are fast approaching single digits. I mean seriously, what the hell. I have never felt this cold in my life here in Brisbane. I have been feeling the cold more and more.

This is definately not a “look at me i lost heaps of weight” post but seriously, how do thin people do it! This time last year i probably had about an extra 50kg on me, and it obviously kept me nice and toasty warm. Never thought I’d say it, but i want some of the body fat back. It was at least warm 🙁

The nights keep getting colder, which means my legs and arms just freeze to death. For the first time in my life im wearing Tracksuit pants at home. I never had this problem before, I could walk around at home in winter in single digits in shorts and feel fine! Anyone have any tips of keeping warm!

This Book I think I found online while going through some Vietnam phase of buying. I thought it would of been a great read… and it was!

Tiger Force

The Book is Tiger Force written by Michael Sallah & Mitch Weiss. It is a very in depth look at what happened in the Vietnam War by a unit called Tiger Force who were a Platoon of 1st Batallion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. During the War this Platoon (About 50 men) were a Special Force, originally used to get in behind the enemy lines in Vietnam and find out where the VC were hiding. However things changed and commanders changed. They became one of the worst ever offenders of War Crimes by Americans during the Vietnam War. The war was an especially harsh time for a lot of people, however this book is chilling.

To read about the murders and the killings performed by men who were over there to fight was just shocking. I was blown away by this book. It really hits home in the thought of just how different some people can be. To see just how quickly their mindsets changed and how viscious, ruthless and just down right wrong humans can be just shocked me to the bone.

I can’t say that I would not have been any different, but I sure do hope to god that I do not have to go through what they did. A MUST read.

Wow… life is full on as usual these days. It just never seems to end. I feel like I am moving a million miles a minute some times with no time to stop. I thought I would just give a quick update to how life is tracking at the moment. All I have seemingly blogged lately is either books or travelling (although another Book Review is coming later today).

Firstly, the 1st of May rolled around. This signalled something that I had been waiting for quite some time, we will call it “Green Card Day.” Last October I had applied for a shot at the Green Card Lottery for a diversity visa to the USA. This is the famed residency card that lets you live in the USA for as long as you like essentially. There is a billion in one shot (probably not that bad of odds, usually about 1%) that you will get one of these visa’s, but hey worth a shot. Well the 1st rolled around and I didn’t get it, but hey, was worth a try.

But since I didn’t end up getting the visa i can now really start setting some more goals forward in my life, so I have come up with a few for next year. Nothing overtly crazy compared to last year’s goals, but I think its what i need.

1. Move out of Home
2. Start looking at buying my own apartment
3. Run a Triathlon
4. Get into Mountain Biking
4. Take advantage of all these points im about to earn

With that goal of the triathlon I think it should help me keep in shape, and learn to use my bike a bit differently. Don’t know which Triathlon to do or when, but hey, why the hell not. It has been a bit crazy with the bike, I have had my share of stacks but I am enjoying it more and more. As the mornings get colder though, I am finding it really hard to get out of bed as I seem to feel the cold much much more than I did in the past, gonna have to start running in a jumper maybe!

Work has been good, a few big bookings in April have kept me in the running for the #1 spot and I won’t be going down without a fight, I’ve been putting in the mega hours, feeling like I don’t leave my desk but the more hours I put in, the closer and closer I get to closing the gap. I don’t know if I can do it, but I won’t go down without a fight. Never Give Up!!!

But the awesome bit is, I was told I was nominated this year to attend something that we normally cant attend. Each year our company puts on a big event called S.T.A.R.S (it stands for Sunlover Travel Agent Reward Scheme) and its attended by our Top agents from all over Australia. This year they are inviting some top staff to come with them. I was nominated. Now just being nominated to me was a big big priveledge. It made me feel like I was achieving something, that all the hard work I had been doing was being recognised. Well word came in Tuesday. I am off to STARS on the 25th of May! AYYAYAYA 4 days in a mystery location (haven’t been told anything yet at all). Hopefully should be good!

The big trip is also fast approaching, 2 months away today. Can’t wait! Should be awesome. Now to just stay focused between now and then!