A new approach to an old approach

A couple of days ago on RUOK Day the theme for this year was reconnecting. With that in mind I sent a text message to my old gym buddy who I haven’t seen in ages. We last worked out together about 9 years ago and apart from a quick hello in the street when we bumped into each other a few months ago it would be 5 years since we’ve had a good catch up. We are catching up next weekend for a picnic with his wife and two little girls who I am yet to meet. His wife was pregnant for the first time when we last caught up. Too long.

It got me thinking about how well we worked out when we were training together. He pushed me to train harder and also with better form. Any of my mates that saw me working out with him were jealous because he is a good looking guy but because he is straight there was never any distraction with flirting or anything. He was good motivation to get to the gym but also focused when we were there.

In the time since I have trained with another gym buddy but that wasn’t working for either of us after a while so we ended that training relationship. In the couple of years since that situation ended I’ve trained alone with varying amounts of success. Maybe it’s time to look for a new gym buddy. Sadly at my gym at the time when I train I haven’t really seen any likely candidates. There’s no deadline to make it happen if it happens at all so I guess I’ll just keep my eyes open.

The wrong decision

This morning I was supposed to do a photo shoot in the National Park about 45 minutes south of where I live. A guy I’ve met through Instagram is a fellow nudie and I think he’s very good looking so we were going to go and have a bit of a nude hike that he’s done before and do a photo shoot with him in the waterhole/waterfall there. At 6.20 this morning I got out of bed and it was raining fairly solidly so we postponed the shoot and I went back to bed. An hour later I wake up to blazing sunshine and blue sky. Dammit.

It would have been a great day for a bit of a cheeky nude hike and a photo shoot finished off with a skinny dip in a waterhole. Oh well. It’s only just become Spring here in Australia so we have a hopefully long hot summer ahead with plenty of opportunities to get out there and have a nude hike.

R U OK?

Tomorrow is R U OK Day in Australia. Started by Gavin Larkin several years ago after his father committed suicide, the day is all about reaching out to people you are worried about and asking the simple question “Are you ok?” Importantly, you have to be ready for the answer even if it’s not a good answer. The other challenge is to keep an eye out on your friends even if they say they are fine.

As members of the LGBT community we are more at risk of suicide. Thankfully, no matter how sad or alone I’ve felt at times I’ve never been clinically depressed or had suicidal thoughts. I have known people who have taken their own life and it is such a tragic waste. The focus of this year’s campaign is about reconnecting to people who you might have lost touch with who may need you. So, even if you aren’t worried about anyone, why not just reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. It can’t hurt can it?

A fitness update

It’s that time of the month again and it’s time for the Fitness Challenge update. Sadly Damien has had to pull out because of some personal issues which is a shame but I do know that life is treating him well now that he’s living in the U.S. All the best wishes Damien.

Derek and I are still participating even though I’ve just had an unhealthy dinner for the second night in a row tonight but I will train hard tomorrow at work in our group training session. I think I have actually lost a little bit of weight and I’m feeling good at the moment. I don’t know that I see any real difference but a work colleague commented that she thinks I’ve lost weight in my face so that’s a plus.

Derek has also lost a little bit of weight through his good eating and the exercise that he can actually do given a hernia situation. He’s coming to the end of his nude beach season and I’m working towards mine. Fingers crossed!

It’s ON!

Today I put in my leave request for the big European adventure next June/July and my boss approved it straight away! I thought there might be some hesitance given I’ve asked for a full month off but nope. APPROVED! I do have over five weeks of leave accrued already and by the time that trip comes around I’ll have earned nearly another four.

Now I just need to organise some flights that hopefully won’t cost me a fortune. Getting to Iceland will most likely be the tricky part but I’m assuming I’ll fly to somewhere like London or Frankfurt and then get a cheap flight from there with a smaller airline. Then I’ll be annoying the hell out of my mates to take photos of me like the ones above. These are all taken in Iceland. The shots on either end are of Simon Lohmeyer, a German photographer who is always getting his gear off in his photos. The shot in the middle is of a tattooed Hipster Viking by the name of Brunjólfur Love Mogensson, aka Binnilove on Instagram.

Iceland has been on my list for a long time, ever since I lived in London and nearly went for a visit but didn’t have the money. It’s such a wildly beautiful place and although even in Summer it will still be cold, I’m dying to see it.

 

It’s Elevan O’Clock!

A mate of mine, and probably travel buddy for Iceland next year has started a series of regular podcasts called Elevan O’Clock. No he’s not bad at spelling. His name is Evan. The premise of Evan’s podcasts is “Everyone has a story. What’s yours?” which I really like because it’s an idea that I really believe and it also goes along nicely with the #barenakedtruth photography project that I did a couple of months ago.

I have the privilege of being the second post on Elevan O’Clock. Evan seems to think that I’m an interesting enough person to be the subject of a 46 minute interview which was a little intimidating to start with but it was an easy chat. I haven’t listened to all of it as yet but I hope I came across as a relatively intelligent individual and not a rambling fool.

Please go and check out the podcasts. Evan is a great guy and very intelligent and I know that he will be talking to some fascinating people as he goes along. It’s interesting being interviewed for something like this as I believe the questions that are asked give as much of an insight into the interviewer and their mind as the answers do about the subject.

Andrew’s Paper Kites

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing Andrew again. Not all the aspects of the photo shoot went to plan and while I’m happy with some of the photos it’s not my favourite photo shoot of late. The paper kites that I made for the shoot didn’t fly the way I expected so poor Andrew was trying to model while wrestling with the erratic flying of my craftsmanship gone wrong.

For the first time in a long time thought, I had a friend come along to film the shoot so that I could put together a behind the scenes video. It’s just a short little video but each time I put together a video I am getting clearer with what I want to do and getting better in how I edit it together. It really is a different mindset working with video. The key seems to be thinking about what you want to do in the end result and making sure you get all the footage you’ll need rather than just shooting whatever and then cobbling it together.

Andrew is so much fun to work with. The poor guy, as you’ll see in the video, had to deal with wind and it was  still winter when we did the shoot, there were golfers and fishermen nearby as well just to complicate things.

Too much effort

It’s no secret that Cirque Du Soleil is something I enjoy seeing a lot. The company started near Quebec City in the early 80’s as a troupe of street performers. Shortly after, one of those performers Guy Laliberté took the group on tour and essentially created what is now a world wide phenomenon.

Last night a few of us from my circus school went to see Kooza, the show currently performing in Sydney. While it wasn’t my favourite of the Cirque shows that I’ve seen it was really entertaining and it goes without saying that some of the acts were incredible to see. The couple next to me seemed to have other opinions. The boyfriend or husband was next to me and he must be blessed with enormous testicles because his knees were never less than one and a half feet from each other. He also seemed determined to take photos or footage even though it is expressly banned. During the first half the two of them did not clap a single time. Hubby was too intent on covertly photographing things that clearly didn’t impress him at all, and shovelling popcorn in his mouth.

After the interval the two of them never came back. I’m not sure if their stay was limited to a period of time determined by him having popcorn or if they were somehow unimpressed by a very impressive show. It actually takes a lot of effort to be that miserable. The seats we had were $160 each and they didn’t even bother with the second half of the show which was even more impressive than the first. What a waste of money.

Something different?

For the last few weeks I’ve watched a lot of videos from Youtube Vloggers. There are a couple that are fairly well known. I started with JacksGap who was doing lots of videos along with his twin brother but seems to have gone off the radar about 12 months ago. He has lots of content to go through and was developing a real social conscience with his content. Through his adventures I discovered Mr Ben Brown who it would appear makes a living from Youtube videos, Instagram and Photography.

The world of the professional Youtuber is quite a big business. Ben Brown is constantly travelling and for a long time was posting a video blog, or vlog every day. Any good vlogger seems to have a few different playlists set up on their Youtube channel for different themes or series that they create. It’s something I’m interested in trying but after watching a lot of videos I have noticed that while the successful ones have a really strong brand, the videos can get a bit samey-samey.

If I do give it a go I may just ignore that building a brand idea and just make videos that I feel like. It feels like Aussielicious already has a fairly good brand even though my content is a bit eclectic. There would be photography videos, travel videos, me rambling on to camera videos and whatever else I come up with. It goes without saying there would be a hint of nudity from time to time.

Here is one of Mr Ben Brown’s videos. He is certainly a good looking man and a former world champion kayaker.

Unshakeable faith

As someone that can’t really handle compliments all that well, I’m always impressed and baffled by people who have a lot of confidence in themselves. Now I’m not talking about arrogant douchebags, rather people who are just very content in who they are no matter what. After watching the documentary on the Crossfit Games I was talking to a friend about it and he had watched it himself. We then spoke about the guys and how hot they were and their bodies etc etc etc.

The guy that came second is very much the type of guy my friend goes for. Hairy and a bit rough around the edges. My friend said “Oh the things I would do to him” or something like that and I replied “Yeah right. As if you’d have a chance.” to which my friend took legitimate offence. Now let’s take out of the equation that the guy in the documentary is most likely straight and on the other side of the world, which to me are pretty big points against them hooking up. The other factors (in my mind) going against my friend are the 20 year age gap and the fact that one is super fit and my friend is definitely not, complete with beer belly.

What I do admire about my friend is his unshakeable talent at backing himself. That is something I’ve never been good at but he, and other people I know, have the confidence to approach anyone they think is hot because they believe that they stand just as good a chance as anyone. It’s a quality that I get jealous of but I also wonder what goes through their head when they get knocked back? Do people with so much confidence see themselves differently to the way others do or are they lucky enough to just believe that you can never know what someone will be attracted to and it may well be them?

Fittest on earth?

Last night I watched the documentary on Netflix “Fittest on Earth” about the 2015 Reebok World Crossfit Games. Now I’ve toyed with the idea of Crossfit but a couple of things have put me off. Horror stories about form going out the window just to lift more, the cost and the bandwagon factor.

There is a joke that says “If someone does Crossfit and they are Vegan, which one do they talk about first?” and that rings very true. It seems to be the opposite of Fight Club and the rules 1, 2 and 3 are ALWAYS talk about Crossfit.

Having said that, watching these men and women compete was pretty inspiring and a little scary. They are willing to go so hard in this competition that some of them collapsed and they were almost always in pain because they were pushing their bodies so far.

One of the competitors that only briefly makes an appearance is Sydney’s Khan Porter. He’s become Australia’s first professional Crossfit Athlete and gone from a young pretty boy model to a sexy as hell athletic man. Obviously I don’t know him at all but I bet he talks about Crossfit a lot. There was certainly a lot of very hot bodies to look at in this documentary, but did it inspire me to do Crossfit? Nope. Not really.

Feeling Nostalgic

Once again that time of year has come where the use of the word “playa” spikes into numbers rarely seen outside August and September. Burning Man kicks off today and tens of thousands of people are headed out onto the “playa” to experience one of the most intense, intimidating, liberating, fun and bonkers things I’ve ever done. One of my good mates who was with our camp the second time I went was chatting to me yesterday about it and we were both feeling very nostalgic about Burning Man. He’s absolutely certain that he will be going back while I’m semi-keen to go back.

I’m not sure that the magic of the first time will ever be matched nor am I sure that I want to go and try, or even spend all that time and money going to something that I’ve done twice even though it is a constantly evolving beast of wonder. No doubt each time you go you learn different things about yourself and have a different experience. For me however, I think my focus is experiencing the rest of the world and seeing new things in different places.

To everyone descending on the playa, have an amazing time. Say yes to things. Say yes to people. Say yes to the beautiful smiles and hugs and say yes to the dust because that is inevitable.

Getting better…

Last week I posted a very rough video I’d cobbled together from my time in Croatia. Last night I put together this video of the last day of my slacklining class. Clearly I still have a lot to learn both about slacklining and video making but I’m gradually working my way through the software and trying to figure out how to do things I want to do. It’s a really fun thing to learn and very easy to waste HOURS of time.

Beginner's Slacklining from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

It’s over to you

Nearly a month ago I posted that as part of learning to accept the aging process and grow more content with my body, I was going to do a creative self portrait photo once a month for a while. Well, four weeks later and I haven’t made a start. I haven’t changed my mind at all but there has been a snag. I’m completely devoid of ideas. Life has been so busy in the past few weeks that attempting anything elaborate just hasn’t been an option and apart from a cheeky nude selfie when I was location scouting on Saturday, there hasn’t really been a good opportunity to do anything, let alone come up with a concept.

This is where you all come into it. Lots of you have been reading this blog for years and I really love your ongoing support, encouragement, comments and sometimes the challenging feedback about things you believe I might have gotten wrong. As a friend said to me on the weekend, I share a lot on this blog. Possibly too much. Those of you that have been reading the blog for a long time now have a pretty good idea of who I am and I’m sure you have some ideas on how you think I should photograph myself.

The challenge is now being thrown to you. Keep it legal but I want to hear how you see me portraying myself in a creative sense. Photoshop and a bit of trickery is more than allowed, as are raw and simple, honest ideas with no smoke or mirrors. The ideas don’t have to be nude either, the photos above are just some beautiful self portrait examples from (left to right) Alex Stoddard, Mikel Marton, Nick Turner, Lars Stephan and Stephan Tobias.

And… GO!

Somewhere new.

Two weeks ago I visited somewhere new. It’s always been somewhere that I’ve thought about visiting but didn’t think I could ever get there, that it was even a possibility.

It all came about from having a long conversation with a very dear friend. It was one of those deep and meaningful conversations that flows naturally and ends up somewhere quite unexpected, like where I am now. The friend I was chatting to is one of those people who has a real knack for cutting to the heart of a conversation and pulling out the important bits while making you see them in a new light.

So what did he say and where am I that I’ve never been before? Well, the first part of that question will remain unanswered. It was a long and insightful conversation during which he challenged me in the nice, non-confronting way that he does and the discussion itself isn’t important to the story.

The place that this conversation has delivered me to is one full of freedom and relaxation. It is a magical land where I have realised that I am perfectly comfortable being single. Sure, a bit of romance and physical intimacy would be wonderful but a shift in perspective has let me see that my life is great as is and if that person never comes along, oh well. There are bound to be times where I feel lonely again but hopefully I won’t dwell on it so much. On the weekend I saw a guy that I haven’t seen in about 18 months. In the past he had said to me that he could smell the desperation for a husband coming off me. This weekend he said that I look really relaxed and different.

Good times to come.