What started out as a curious visit to one of Sydney's popular gourmet burger pop-ups turned into a regular pilgrimage to new places to try new variations of a burger. Some of these were towering goliaths of multiple patties and fillings that had people scratching their heads on how to actually handle and eat such a construction. Others were the perfect combination of size and flavour and of course, some of them were just not worth mentioning. My Instagram feed ended up filled with every second picture being a burger of the day but it was fun - for most involved. Mainly me- perhaps not so much for my stomach, or for Eleonor who accompanied me to most of these places.
In my other hobbies I continued to expand and build some of my Lego kits which was an interest reignited the previous year. I still have a few to build and have tried some different ways of showcasing the kits and their construction - inspired by many YouTube videos I've been watching.
Sadly, I still haven't got into the plastic model kits and might actually look at reducing my collection that are awaiting construction, just to save space, get some money back and go from there.With my diecast planes it feels like I didn't even buy any this recent year - although I'm sure I did. A sign that my collecting days have died down, and also that companies aren't releasing anything I want to purchase - which is a good thing of course! Most of this is outweighed by my new interest in Lego kits, and my continuously expanding collection of Star Trek Starships by Eaglemoss.
I destroyed a camera during a large rain storm (and over-estimating it's wet weather capabilities) during the year (and while plane spotting) so I had to purchase another, which saw me also invest in a couple of new lenses to try to enhance my photo taking abilities. I also managed to win a 360Fly camera in a competition which has been interesting to have, and find uses for. I did bring it on our recent trip and will look to upload that footage (if it's any good) soon...
Plane spotting remained the number one hobby for the year, as it always does nowadays and the AbraxasVideo channel has continued to grow with over 1900 videos online and more than 1200 subscribers. A slow increase on the latter statistic there, I'm trying to increase my reach but it's slow going. Based on last year's review I have added more than 600 videos to the channel in 2016. I'm getting closer and closer to the present day, which is an important milestone for me... only approximately 18 months behind now!
I was also fortunate enough to be invited to a couple of special events including the filming of the last arrival of a retiring Qantas Captain after 50 years of service and spectating airside for the inaugural arrival of Qatar Airways' A380 services to Sydney.
There were many challenges presented throughout the year and we (Eleonor and I) did our best to face and overcome them together. Many things didn't go quite to plan but we are still here to talk, blog and vlog about it. As with previous yearly reviews, here's the 'awards' section...
Favourite Live Concert - The Pink Floyd Experience, Pulse
Runner up - Disturbed, Immortalized
It was another light year for visiting concerts. Aside from the two mentioned above, we also saw a live orchestra play the music to the movie 'Back to the Future' at the Sydney Opera House. While the Disturbed concert was packed full of the usual energy and great head banging songs we've come to expect from them, there was a slight regularity to their set list which wasn't too different from their previous outings. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Pink Floyd cover band came through Sydney in June, and quite conveniently for my Dad's birthday we went to see them recreate the famous 1994 Pulse concert immortalised on CD and DVD. With seats featuring plenty of leg room (for our row at least) and churning out songs that both Dad and I know and love, as well as getting to meet some of the band at the end of the show, there's no doubt that this was the performance of the year.
Favourite Movie of 2016 - Star Trek Beyond 4/5
Runners up - Sully, The Jungle Book (both also 4/5)
Judging by the scores given, there were no real stand out movies for 2016. I can't claim to have seen more popular movies like Deadpool or Doctor Strange, but out of those that are left, and those that I 'really' care about, it's about time that a Star Trek movie took top spot. The previous two failing to hit the mark in their respective years, Star Trek Beyond was the reboot/reimagined film that fans had been waiting a long time for. It hit all the right notes for a Star Trek movie without any of the problems the previous two faced - especially Into Darkness. The only shame being that Beyond didn't perform 'beyond' expectations in the box office, so who knows if there will be another?
Sully, the movie-documentary of the US Airways A320 that water-landed in the Hudson River, New York was a great piece of work for any avgeek while Disney's live-action/CGI rendition of the classic, The Jungle Book was good fun.
Some other movies were funny, or just good fun without scoring high including Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Kung Fu Panda 3, Central Intelligence and Rogue One (A Star Wars Story) while some movies just flat out disappointed like Alice Through the Looking Glass and Independence Day: Resurgence.
Best Trip - Tahiti/New Zealand
Runner up - One day at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
2016 started with a lot of promise and then quickly turned in to a year that wouldn't have any major travel plans at all. The year prior we were talking about visiting Europe and London for a big trip. By early 2016 we had scaled it back to a domestic three city trip around Australia and by mid year, with challenges rising we very nearly gave up to look forward to 2017 instead.
I did manage another solo trip to Kuala Lumpur which was quickly put together and just as quickly executed as I visited their airport for all of 24 hours to do some plane spotting - catching some exotic aircraft before they would be seen no more. I also had the pleasure of meeting some local plane spotters and making some good friends in the process (shout out to Jacky and Alice!).
Realising that 2016 would be our fifth wedding anniversary, I decided we should celebrate and put a trip together that would see us spend some time in Tahiti (one of the original honeymoon destinations we discussed) and then New Zealand to finally visit our neighbouring island nation and catch up with an old friend. To surprise Eleonor I kept the Tahiti part of the trip a complete secret until our anniversary - our Tahitian experience was perfect with overwater bungalows, postcard views everywhere and some exciting activities to fill our time, while NZ was a friendly place with a much cooler climate but still offering so much. I'm still going through our photos and footage from the trip and while it seems like a long time ago now (we travelled in December), I'm glad we went.
With another new year ahead, there's all the usual resolutions and hopes. I'm hoping the year improves on the previous, particularly with fewer challenges to overcome. There are already a few things including a big trip we have to look forward to, so we're off to a good start perhaps... Time will tell!