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Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2009

Fellow blogger (and Bostonian) Crystal tagged me last week as part of the “7 Links Blog Project,which was started as a way to revisit old posts and perhaps highlight some stuff that new readers might not be aware of. It’s like the blog version of those chain letters we used to send around in elementary school (and I’m totally on the tail end of the trend here in Singapore). As a few other bloggers have mentioned, it’s kind of fun combing through the old stuff to see how your blog has evolved over time. I certainly used a lot of generic-sounding, inside joke titles and did a lot of random linking when I started in March 2009.

Honestly I don’t have super strong opinions about a few of these categories (or rather, one or two posts would really be my top choice for all seven of them), but it’s fun to take a ride in the wayback machine all the same. Here we go….

My Most Beautiful Post

A 2-way tie between WTF Mate…lah* and On Leaving New York, part 1 (another post absolutely dominates two of the categories so I think it’s ok to split the vote here)

I wrote WTF Mate…lah* a few months ago as a sort of official announcement about our move to Singapore. If you’ve read more than, like, two posts here you’ll know the general tone is pretty snarky/whiny/bitchy, but this was definitely one of those more earnest and heartfelt-type posts that I started composing in my head weeks in advance. The beauty mostly comes from the photo of my grandmother, which really has been a source of inspiration for pretty much my entire life.

My grandmother in Osaka, Japan in 1909

I don’t usually link to my blog on Facebook, but this was a post I was really excited about, and it got a great response from friends all over the world. Apparently my parents liked it so much they printed it out and mailed it to my [other] Grandmother (that’s a form of getting published, right?).

As for “On Leaving New York, part 1” in my typical ADD fashion I never got around to posting a part 2 (although I did recount our last week in the post “Goodbye & G’day“). But, I like re-reading this one because it instantly brings me back to the beauty of New York in early spring, plus it’s interesting to recall what I was thinking and feeling on the eve of our big move. In all honesty, I was kind of in denial.

Daffodils in Central Park on our last day in New York, April 12, 2009

My Most Popular Post

The Neverending Weirdness of Watching Sports in Australia, Part 1

This title was totally off-the-cuff, but I guess it caught someone’s attention because when I woke up on October 14, 2009 I found out it had been posted on the front page of WordPress.com. My inbox was therefore flooded (by my meager standards, anyway) with rants from angry Aussie Rules enthusiasts.

A totally silly AFL Umpire (Courtesy smh.com.au)

Basically this post was a joking look at the popular Aussie sports of NRL and AFL, which are insanely popular in Sydney and Melbourne, respectively. Re-reading it now, almost two years later, I can’t say I really disagree with much of it. In fact, I subsequently attended a Sydney Swans AFL game and I daresay it was the most boring live action sporting event I’ve ever seen. And I used to coach middle school lacrosse. Seriously, it’s an arduous 80 (80!) minutes of dudes running around in circles, and very little else.

My Most Controversial Post

See above. Here’s the grouchiest comment I received:

It might help you to actually sit down and do a bit of research so that you’d sound a little more convincing. You know, simple things like reading a set of rules and getting the terminology right.

Um, yeah, I didn’t set out to write a treatise on Aussie Rules Football. I’m not sure whom I was trying to “convince,” really.

Anyway, I certainly don’t strive to be controversial, though I suppose my tone does get me into trouble every now and again. Runner-up for this category would be the post there I bitched about the poor-quality fruit at Coles, and received a comment in the “about this blog” section telling me I was a bitch with mental problems. See the post Australian Highs & Lows for more on that fun episode!

Most Helpful Post

Finding an Apartment in Singapore

This one’s kind of a no-brainer. Although I occasionally wrote about the frustrations of setting up Internet and going to the grocery store in Australia, I feel like I was able to better articulate the process this time around. Also, one of the most frustrating aspects of Singapore apartment-hunting is the fact that all the apartment photos are generic, so I was glad I could put all the pictures I’d taken to good use. And, not to sound like a shilling broken record or anything, but recommending our realtor Grace is the most helpful thing I could possibly do.

Most Surprisingly Successful Post

The *Other* ANTM

Still love ya, Nige

Hehehehehe, it still cracks me up that one of my all-time top posts (in terms of random search traffic and the longtail effect) is this point-by-point comparison of America’s Next Top Model to Australia’s Next Top Model. Granted, over time my opinion of ANTM 2.0 improved; the contestants are generally a lot more talented than in the U.S. (meaning more interesting shoots, but less ridiculous drama), and it was fun recognizing all the places they went in Sydney. But still, Australia will never touch ANTM classic for two simple reasons: 1) Sarah Murdoch is too nice and far less insane (and therefore entertaining) than Tyra Banks 2) No one could ever hold a candle to the NOTED FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER NIGEL BARKER (btw he’s the search term who consistently brings people to my blog).

My one true regret is that I was out of town when the infamous Australian finale debacle occurred, so by the time I’d had a chance to watch I would have been the last person in the world to weigh in on the hilarity. For the record, I was totally team Kelsey though!

This never would have happened under Tyra’s watch. SMIZE everybody!

Post That Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved

Banana Benders, Cane Toads and Cockroaches, Oh My!

Looking back over my early posts, very few got many hits and they hardly ever got any comments, so it was difficult to pick out one that I felt was particularly underrated. That said, I feel like this one provided a really fun snapshot of Australian State of Origin, and would have appealed to a wider sports audience. Between the vicious punches thrown (in an all star game!), the mobile betting vendors, and the fact that we learned Queenslanders are called Banana Benders, it was one of the most enlightening evenings that I spent in Oz!

Go the Blues!

Post I’m Most Proud Of

It’s Never Too Late to Go on Vacation

It’s not that I’m super proud of this post’s content, but it did represent my return to blogging after a prolonged 3.5-month absence. As I’m sure some of you have experienced, when you fall out of a blogging rhythm it gets more and more daunting to add a new post, because it seems like there’s just too much to recount, and too many photos to bother uploading. Blogging should never be a chore, yet during this period I kind of felt like it was hanging over my head. I knew that I needed to recount our amazing trip to Southeast Asia, but at the time was so depressed to be back in Australia and not traveling (and not working) that I didn’t want to think about it. By April I was in a much better place, and was ready to get back on the horse. Great feedback and comments from readers really helped in this regard, too. I can’t say that I’ve stayed completely consistent since then, but I’ve been a lot better. This post also included lots of good photos and a fairly comprehensive rundown of our trips to Southeast Asia and Melbourne.

Monks in Luang Prabang, Laos

Come to think of it, I think I’m actually most proud of my blog’s title rather than any one post. WTF Mate has always been one of my favorite phrases, and it was just one of those sudden bolts of lightning that happened to strike on the day when I somewhat randomly decided to start a blog. It usually comes up third in Google (on the front page) after the original “End of the World” video (from which the name is derived) and the Urban Dictionary definition. That’s not bad company to keep, right?

So apparently I’m meant to tag three other bloggers to keep the chain going. Since everyone that I read in Singapore seems to have done this (or been tagged) already, I’m taking this ish global!