I ordered a new toy on Tuesday: I'm the proud owner of a new Spot Tracker.
This might not sound very exciting, and that's probably because it really isn't (unless you enjoy online shopping and the fact that I can order something in Tassie on Tuesday and it's delivered to my desk at work the next morning), but the thought did occur to me a couple of weeks ago as I was ploughing along some dirt track where even I didn't know where I was after having just forded a waist deep river with my bike over my shoulder nearly getting swept downstream in the process, that sometime, somewhere, somethings probably going to go wrong, I'm not going to have any reception on my phone and nobody is going to know that I'm even out somewhere (never mind that particular where) and I'll be one of those sad outdoor people who get found days, weeks, months or years later and people will wonder what happened, or they'll just nick my bike and leave me there to rot.
So I bought Spot to come travelling with me so he can tell everyone if we get lost to come save me. This is what Spots do if you don't have one ... They're a a satellite / GPS unit, a bit like an EPIRB on steroids, they won't tell you where you are (unless you have a phone with you with 3G coverage and internet browsing in which case just turn on the GPS in the phone and figure it out the easy way or alternatively if you do have 3G coverage then most likely you're in the middle of the city so go ask someone). But they do let you program "Check In", "Help" and one custom message with a list of mobile phone numbers, email addresses and even a facebook link, so you can tell others exactly where you are (they basically either send a lat / long coordinate or if being sent via email they also include a hyperlink which will show people exactly where you are on a map). For an extra $US50 a year and a fortune in Lithium Batteries you can also use them to send out a location every 10 minutes so people can track where you're going.
Oh did I mention that you have to pay $US115 a year for the pleasure of this service. I figured my life is worth 30 cents per day to me, however if the Australian dollar weakens against the greenback next year, I may have to review this ... I doubt I'd be able to sell a day of my life for more than 40 cents on ebay so I have to be realistic about these things.
After very little consideration (ie. I got to the bit on the online registration where I had to name my spot) I decided to call him Little Grey Thing. This is in deference to my ipod, netbook and phone which are called Little Black Thing I, II & III respectively ... it appears I am only creative when it comes to naming Roomba Robotoic Vacumn Cleaners, which despite being white, and little, I have named Davros due to its remarkably similar behaviour to said character on Dr Who.
I love my robotic vacumn cleaner. Just the sheer pleasure of no longer having to think "God this place is a mess, I really need to spend 20 minutes cleaning up before I go out and do something" was worth every cent of the money to now just think "Yea, I should" as I then proced to get into my cycling gear, grab the bike, and head out the door, pressing the button on top of Davros to send him to work as I lock the door behind me knowing all will be clean and tidy when I return.
Admittedly, like the real Davros, my little Davros does sometimes go a little mental every now and then and when I return home I see the afternmath of his rampage of extermination as he's tried to consume one of the many recharging cables or other objects littered about my place. He even managed to somehow suck my Polar Infra Red Heart Rate Monitor thingy off my computer desk the other day and try and eat that. Though I haven't discounted that maybe he just wanted to check out his heart rate to see how hard he was working.
However, even if he does decide to try and extermiante something, he's generally calmed down by the time I've got home, and is just sitting in the middle of the floor, wrapped up in whatever object he's attempted to destroy with a little orange light glowing from his head (yep, he does actually glow orange). A bit like a dog, you just have to be firm with him, take the object away, give him a quick pat and a clean and he's all good for next time.
Let's hope Spot the Tracker fits equally well into my life as I've planned a challenging introductory weekend for him down near Lake Pedder as we try and see if the Adamsfield Track still exists and if so if it is cyclable. I'm also planning on giving myself bonus points if I can finally find my way to the restored Churchill's Hut where the last thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) was supposedly caught.
Weather forecast is looking atrocious. Snow is forecast for the next couple of nights, and then strong winds and rain for the weekend.