2022 – It was the best of years, it was the worst of years and it came with a bridge full of spiders..
Actually in my mind it was supposed to be the year where everything calmed the hell down. We survived the previous two years of Covid-19 wrecking shop and 2022 seemed like the turnaround year where we could finally get back on track – which I guess we did mostly but things still went a little crazy while we were at it.
Fuel prices skyrocketed, house prices skyrocketed, cost of living skyrocketed, we couldn’t get many new cars in so the price of all cars rose. Wages unfortunately didn’t sky rocket to match everything else. At one stage here in Australia a head of iceberg lettuce would set you back 12 bucks (KFC started using cabbage because of it). Russia waged war on Ukraine which caused no end of problems across the rest of the world (and made me wonder how at the time of writing it’s still going.) Former Aussie PM Scott Morrison was discovered collecting various portfolios and much of the country got flooded.
Covid’s still a concern obviously but we were also on the lookout for the flu that had taken a couple of years off and depending on where you lived, Japanese encephalitis. Big companies were hacked, details leaked, crypto exchanges crashed and the AFL Grand Final this year was truly awful (unless you’re a Geelong supporter).
Closer to home
Locally, I had just as interesting years full of ups and down and a chilli margarita towards the end of it. In no particular order:
-We started the year in beautiful Mitta Mitta, part of a camping trip with great mates Heath and Jess and their kids Austin and Ava. No phone reception, no internet, just an awesome caravan park next to some glorious waterways to muck around in. An incredible start!
-After a 6 year break from the early starts, in 2022 I returned to breakfast radio. It wasn’t my original plan at all but the boss talked me into it and after a bit of negotiation, we hit a deal. Interestingly this was the first successful negotiation I’ve ever had in media, having bombed out many times previously. Nervous at the start, I soon found my feet and I’ve found that I’d forgotten how much I love it. Not just the entertainment and fun I get to be a part of, but the lifestyle of having so much free time when the shift is done. I can pick up the kids from school, write, exercise, binge, whatever I like. Glorious.
(I did start chronicling the daily adventures for the year which you can read over at Almigo’s Adventures.)
-In a first for me in 2022 I sold one of the best cars I’d ever owned for more than I paid for it originally which in my car ownership life, was simply unheard of. My Nissan Stagea wagon had plenty of aches and pains when I parted ways and yet I still miss the practicality. Ironically selling a car in 2022 for a high price meant that anything I bought at the same time also came with a high price. And so I paid a little more than I wanted to on my current 2005 Subaru Impreza which sadly has had a few problems of its own since I started looking at the heat gauge. The search for its replacement is well and truly underway.
-In April 2022 our son Jackson (pictured above with the Nissan) had a moment of concern and a trip to emergency. Scans and tests later revealed a tumour on his frontal lobe that would cause mini seizures (think someone pressing a reset button on you ability to speak randomly). After many more scans, tests and follow ups he went for surgery a little over a week ago and is currently at home recovering. So far, so good which is very promising – the toughest thing he has to face for the next few weeks after brain surgery is limited screen time, a huge challenge for this mini Youtuber.
-Speaking of surgery, I finally made it back to the Ear Nose and Throat specialist for the results of scans to find out the reason behind the last few years of my loss of smell. It turns out the polyps in my nose need to be cut out surgically and hopefully there’s space on the local hospital schedule to have them out for good in 2023.
-November 2022 was radio station survey time and we nailed it. A lot of work across the year, a huge amount of noise while it was on and incredibly satisfying results at the end. The bosses were so happy a hamper appeared at my desk full of chocolate! While I’ve been in many a radio survey in my time, I think this one had to be my fave because everything was stress free and felt in control. When you’ve got that going for you it frees up things to enjoy yourself and that’s what we got to do. Here’s to the next one!
-After being on the want list for a while, in 2022 we finally got a BBQ. Seems minor I know but I love it, the kids love using it and it’s more time spent outside which is never a bad thing at all.
-I caught up with my brother and his little family in the first time in two years! Yep being interstate, covid and everything else meant a catch up was long overdue and so a couple of months ago we all met up in Melbourne for a day we wished never ended. Chat, pizza, craft beer and gelato – incredible. Here’s hoping it’s not that long the next time we catch up!
The great Olivia Newton John passed away and I reflected on the incredible chat I got to have with both her and John Farnham above a few years back.
So it’s November/December 2016 and after one hell of an adventure from Bendigo to the Gold Coast, I was getting stuck into hosting The Greatest Years in Music. And I remember the first muso interview I did for it was with John O’Donnell, the co manager of Cold Chisel. ‘That went pretty well.’ I thought and if I could get more chats like that for it, well the show would be in pretty good stead.
Well the next week, the great Andrew Very asked if I could do an interview about a Christmas album – put together by the nicest pair of people you could ever have the fortune of getting to chat with, John Farnham and Olivia Newton John. Still green as grass, my nerves were off the scale in the lead up for this – one of the biggest interviews I’d ever done to that point – what huge names in our musical history! Don’t stuff this one up Al!
And yet a couple of minutes in, their bubbly nature and super strong friendship did exactly what John sang about, it took the pressure down and right out of it. We laughed and joked, Olivia talked about drinking bubbly with her family on Christmas day, John revealed his wife cooks a turkey the size of a beach ball and the entire time they spoke about how much fun they had and how much they enjoy working together.
I was nervous going in, I was bouncing off the walls with energy after talking to them both when it was done. John and Olivia wished me a merry Christmas, such beautiful spirited people – Amazing.
So very sad news to hear today about her passing and I know John will be absolutely shattered – Five and a bit years on I can still hear her voice in my mind, parts of that great chat I’ll never forget.
What an amazing woman you were and will always be ONJ.-My post on Facebook., August 2022
-I survived a bridge infested with spiders. Well they stayed to the side, I stayed in the middle. But it was still infested with spiders, that’s the story..
-In 2022 I hosted a quiz lunch for my wife’s 40th birthday and a trivia night for the Eaglehawk Falcon’s baseball club. Because of this it looks like I’m hosting another trivia night for a Bendigo car club early next year!
-And finally midway through 2022 I realised my only book finished this year ‘Last Thief Standing‘ to mixed results. Experimenting by hosting it outside of Amazon publishing this year, it certainly hasn’t been nearly as successful as other cyberpunk adventures that I’ve written. But hey, you’ve got to write/try these things. I’m currently working on this books follow up, tentatively titled Last Thief Running.
Phew, a pretty busy year. Here’s to the next one and if you’re reading this a day after I wrote it (or more) happy new year!