About Peter Renshaw

Another Scrappy Startup

Keenwalk: Why I went

Keenwalk: Why I went


“The upper bound of one mans imagination of the impossible is a simple walk for another”


It’s been almost a year since I’ve returned from the KeenWalk to Kosciuszko. When asked the inevitable “why”, I try to stick to short uncomplicated replies: “It’s for a lost bet” or “I felt like it” or my personal favourite, “I did it for the T-Shirt”. [0] How I discovered the walk is not so interesting by comparison. I found out purely “by accident.” My morning reading habits include Hacker News and I came across an article, “Australian Economist who lost bet will walk from Parliament to Mount Kosciousko.” [1] I’m interested in any Australian references on Hacker News, so I read the article, absorbed the challenge and contacted Steve that day and signed up. It was that simple.

“… This week in The Economist we will publish our quarterly index of house prices around the world. Australia’s homes are the most overvalued in the index. The ratio of prices to rents in the country is fully 56% above its long-run average (see chart). … “ [2]

Fast forward 9 days, 240 kilometers and many towns later and you get to this picture. It was taken late on the last day of Steve descending Kosciuszko, job done. For Steve it was more than just about completing the distance, personal or professional pride. It was about a bigger question. Are “rising house prices a bubble?”. [2] A lot of press was watching this “walk of shame” as one Journalist put it, with the expectation of a symbolic failure. As if a failure to reach the summit would somehow invalidate the idea of the current housing bubble. That’s why this image is a favourite of the trip. The distance covered, mountain summit reached and negative press silenced. The master stroke of imagination Steve conjoured, was to take up an off-the-cuff challenge [1] then flawlessly achieve it. So thanks Steve for letting me go on the KeenWalk. I learned a lot from trip but the one that comes most to mind, and I smile as I think about it, “the upper bound of one mans imagination of the impossible is a simple walk for another”.


[0] 2011MAR121259, flickr, “I did it for the t-shirt”
[Accessed Saturday, 12th March 2011]

[1] samh, Hackernews, “Australian Economist who lost bet will walk from Parliament to Mount Kosciousko”
[Accessed Saturday, 12th March 2011]
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1126054 and http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1126078

[2] S.C., Economist, “Iron, coal, bricks and mortar”
[Accessed Saturday, 12th March 2011]


Proportional force

Proportional force

“… Mr Spratt has been making headlines around the world in the past few days after video footage emerged this week of West Australian Police tasering him 13 times, despite the fact he was already in police custody and posing no real threat. His ‘offence’ was to refuse to submit to a strip search. …” [0]

In reply to lionhearted, Memoirs of a Bullied Kid

“… But son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you, they’ve crossed a line. Fuck them up. It’s the only thing these vicious freaks understand. They’re wild animals. They make violence on you, you need to show them that you’re the stronger, bigger animal. When someone attacks you maliciously for no reason, you need to impose your will on them. …”

And the first girl who uses an “indirect asymmetric attack”? This approach will not work.  

“… Teach your kid to fight back and fight smart. Protect the weak. Be hell and misery to bad people. …”

There is a concept of proportional force [1] when you respond. If you fail to apply the correct amount of force, you could actually cause more damage to others and yourself. You do not want to “unleash the beast” inside. People are killed every day by someone loosing control and going too far.

There are long term “consequences” for this type of approach. Consequences for yourself and others. You have to decide before hand with a cool head what are your “rules of engagement”? Where do you “draw the line?” What is your justifiable, “proportional response”? Is it offensive or purely defensive? Are your “motives pure”? Are you going to “do harm” to save face?

If you want to “fight smart” I’d advise Akido (合気道) because the core ideas are faithful to the ideals of “be good”, minimal harm and self preservation. Akido allows you to achieve this through redirection of force and removing “ego” from the equation. You can use Akido techniques for both physical force and psychological protection. Maybe these ideas are too subtle. But one thing I notice is the pattern of those being abused repeating the pattern of abusers. There are alternatives to break this cycle.

Remember, “your actions have real consequences”, short and long term. [2]


[0] Chris Graham, “All for one and one for all: police fail the attitude test” [Accessed Friday 8th, October, 2010] http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/39804.html

[1] law.jrank.org. “Justification: Self-Defense – Necessary Force” [Accessed Thursday 7th, October, 2010] law.jrank.org/pages/1470/Justification-Self-Defense-Neces…

[2] Lynne Soraya, “Friends and Allies: What being bullied taught me about friendship” [Accessed Thursday 7th, October, 2010] www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary/200910/frien…

Through my eyes: back in the ditch


“… Neil Young is back in the ditch [0] … some thought Young’s best work was behind him …”

Which is always funny to hear because this was the same story repeated through the 70’s prior to Rust Never Sleeps, the 80’s before Freedom and 00’s with Prairie Wind

“… the black electric Gibson Les Paul he purchased …” [1]

Young picked up “Old Black” in a (non-cash) swap with Jim Messina for a Gretsch 6120 in 1969 [2] most likely January 1969 recording his first solo album. [3] 

How many people bought the “Album” instead of the disc? [4]

[0] Dennis Atkins, Bring Le Noise: Neil Young is back in the ditch”

[1] human-highway, “Neil Young’, January 1969, Reprise 6317”

[1] Chuck W. Singer, thrasherswheat, “Vintage Guitar Magazine, March 1998”

[3] thrasherswheat, “The Ditch Trilogy: “‘Heart of Gold’ put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch.””

[4] Bob Gendron, toneaudio, “Music review: Neil Young Le Noise WB , 180g. LP, CD”