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Trippy, seems the 27th is a good time to write, well there you go. Been a month so what's been happening? First thing's first, handicap check as of this morning: 8.4, nice. My goal of being off 7 by xmas is certainly heading in the right direction. Placed second last weekend, not sure how I placed yesterday but likely to be in the top 10 for A Grade. Yet another couldabeenanything round yesterday, 37 points with 2 wipes, at least I'm down to under five lapses per round now lol. My players' psychologist (Stace :-)) has some ideas on how I can beat that so yeah, its progressing.
Before I say what a disappointment it was to see Norman coming 3rd instead of 1st last weekend, let me tell you how amazing it was to actually see him on the top of the leaderboard for three rounds of a Major again. Just, WOW! You could've given me the Fisherman's Friend treatment and I wouldn't have flinched. You have to remember, for me, its been almost 15 years since I saw the end of my heroes rein as one of the world's top golfers and following his every move, and over 20 years since I've seen him stalk the leaders and scare the absolute crap out of them. This and more made him my hero and idol back in the day and last weekend reaffirmed for me that he's still that guy in my head. Was also cool to watch him set up to the ball each time, going through his pre-shot routine; I've actually got a few of those little nuances myself which makes me think I was paying more attention than originally thought back when I was watching him play all the time. Neat.
Work's work, its busy as usual and I'm working some ridiculous hours some weeks, but as I've become more prominent within our team and our department I'm being recognised for some of the things I do for the company. The main way I'm being rewarded at the moment? Golf! Thought I'd stopped talking about that hadn't you lol. Yep we've got a corporate membership up at Terry Hills, one of Sydney's most exclusive and highly regarded for quality clubs in Sydney, nice. The GM took myself and a few of our colleagues up there a couple of weeks ago for a team match, our team killed them of course so now the GM knows me. All because I can play golf. Who'd-a-thunk?!?
Music, there are a few new albums out that are floating my boat, but I've recently picked up one album that I think all of you might like. Remember "The Music"? They put out - what seemed like at the time - a one-hit-wonder track called "The People" (Google it, you'll know it) and then disappeared. I actually didn't rate the song but stumbled across their follow-up album Welcome To The North, bought it and was instantly enamoured with it. Well they fell silent once again but have recently released their third full length Strength In Numbers.
How would I describe The Music's music? Well, dance-rock, if there is such a genre. To be honest I think they've carved out their own genre but dance-rock is close enough. And where "The People" had quite an abrasive brit garage rock style to it, Welcome To The North was more rocked out, concentrating on the instrumentation behind the music. This time out they've managed to find the perfect balance between driving pop rock and dance, even employing more electronica in their sound. And its a keeper. If you're in the mood for something different that makes you move, check out the title track and first single currently streaming on their website.
Its rock festival season in the States at the moment and most of the bands are making all the right noise. Two blunders of note have been the Warrant reunion with a major hiccup at a Las Vegas show; Jani Lane hit the stage so toasted he could barely walk, the band managed to play the entire show and one of the guitarists even took over on vocals for a couple of songs because Jani was out of it! The truly embarrassing footage is up on Youtube at the moment, seriously, its embarrassing to watch. One week later they're playing Rocklahoma and brought the house down, so who knows. The other newsworthy moment came just this week with ex-Guns'n'Roses drummer Steven Adler, celebrating 32 days sober (he's been addicted to everything you can think of!) and playing the festivals with aplomb, being arrested for possession and being under the influence. Sad.
Movies, we've seen some really good ones lately, I'll post reviews of a couple shortly, but the big one was The Dark Knight. Tough to critique in a couple of sentences but if I start talking about it it'll turn into an essay. Try and catch it on the big screen while you can, its worth it.
Here's a bit of a gee up though; the AFI is currently running a poll to select the top 5 Aussie movies of all time. Here's the link if you want to have a go:
Here's my gripe though, they've actually made the list that you have to choose from, and there are some glaring omissions. How can you have a best-of Aussie movie poll and not include Bad Boy Bubby??? No Lighthorsemen??? No Heartbreat Kid??? Appalling!
Great to see the Wallabies playing positive rugby the last couple of weeks, culminating in a belting of the Kiwis last night. Holy cow didn't they stick it to them, I haven't seen tackling that heavy in a long time. Kudos to the new group of men putting Australian Rugby back on top of the pile, great stuff!
Anyway best be off, have some breaky to eat and papers to read. Hope this finds you all happy and healthy, cheers and love.
Well well, another week ends and...ok its been a few weeks as you can see. So what's been catching my eye? Get this bunch of random stuff:
First and foremost, congratulations Brian and Nives on tying the knot. You guys rock, well done! Was a wonderful intimate ceremony on a lookout overlooking Uluru, truly magical. Here's a wee memory of the occasion, you can check it all out on Nives' Facebook account, but this is my favourite :-)
Love your work guys, congrats!!!
To social science now and a couple of weekends ago saw something of a shift in trends in London. As of that Sunday, drinking alcohol on public transport is now banned. Just now, as in, June 1, 2008. Yep, up until then, drinking on the train and in the stations was not only ok, it was common practice. So what did London do? They came out in their thousands to "The Last Round on the Underground" - as it was advertised, geez! - resulting in several assaults on Underground staff, the closure of half a dozen stations and dozens of arrests. And they're banning it why...? The more I find out about English culture the less I want to visit. Not that I ever really have mind.
Onto all things beer and Sapporo has just exported another flavour to Australia - I'm sippin' on one right now as it goes. Simply called Sapporo Black, its a draft beer, and while it maintains that typical Sapporo flavour but there's something different in it. Kind've like going from New to Old, without the colour change. Not bad but I prefer the one I've been drinking out of the massive cans that double as intruder deterrents. I'm also tucking into a Crackenback Pale Ale, have always wanted to try one of these but at 20 bucks a six pack its hard to justify. Until now...mmmm not bad, has that almost-fruity Euro tang to it that gets you in the jowls. Nice.
Have you picked up the latest flu/cold strain that's going around? Its a doozy I have to say, I'm just coming out of the back of it and unfortunately Stacey's picked it up and is now getting the onset. For anyone not in Canberra to get the wise guidance of cold-and-flu-drug guru Stu, I highly recommend Ease-a-Cold Day & Night pills. Has a couple of different contents including Valerian and Echinacea, and there are three different blends that I know of that are all excellent. The simple Cold Relief strain isn't bad, good for drying you up the way anything with Ephedrine; then you can go up to the Flu and then there's the Cold, Flu and Everything strain which fixes all sorts of ailments including dirty dishes and holes in your socks. Nice. They're liquid caps too so are absorbed fast and act faster. Finally, a world without Pseudoephedrine we can live in, hurrah!
Music now and things have been busy, busy busy busy. Motley Crue's new one dropped on Monday and my week has been full of excitement leading up to yesterday when I finally had a chance to get to the shops and pick it up. JB have it for 19 bucks so take advantage of that if you're keen. Also picked up the new Shihad album and I have to say its a big surprise; gone are the post-grunge drones of "Comfort Me" and they've taken on some serious 80s synth-pop sensabilities. Really good to listen to considering it falls outside the usual barrage of guitars and drums that I so enjoy. So back to Motley, and wahoo, I reckon they've recorded the best album of their career, BAR NONE! Fantastic! Tommy's hitting the skins like his life depends on it and Mick's guitars are right up in the mix that sound like Mick's changing his sound a bit. Nikki's in all the lyrics, and coming off the back of his Sixx:AM project, which served as a musical accompaniment to his Heroine Diaries, he's obviously on a role in providing Saints Of Los Angeles as the soundtrack to The Dirt...for those who haven't read The Dirt, its a must read, and it doesn't matter what sort've music you're into, the human saga is so compelling. So to live the book through the music is the kind've ride you're looking at with this album, and knowing the story of course makes it so much easier to appreciate. And the true irony of the whole thing is that this is also Motley at their technical best, particularly with regard to production, wow, this thing sounds MASSIVE!
If Motley were to hang up the boots now - which they won't, not for another couple of years yet - they would leave the Motley legacy in such good tact that their effigy would live on in rock music for decades to come. I just hope that this Cruefest they've put together to promote the album and continue to promote themselves actually makes some money and draws some crowds. Caus' they're promoting who they give the thumbs up to, which is massive for these bands, there's no better promotion out there. And one in particular, Buckcherry, is on the verge of big. Big as in sheds-bordering-on-arenas big. Yeah so anyway the Crue have done themselves very proud with the album and they couldn't have given themselves a better wrap in terms of getting the people to believing they've still got the chops to come see them. Great, great album, haven't skipped a track yet.
Phew, don't I go on about music, yeesh. I'll leave the subject with; Madonna and Guy are headed for divorce court, and Maddie didn't sign a prenup. And that's the biggest buzz right now, whether the prenup thing is going to be an issue. Of course she's got loads of doh but Guy's no dole bludger, geez, let 'em get on with it. Oh and this little titbit, Amy Winehouse apparently has emphysema which, according to her own father in a press statement, is a result of her crack cocaine habit. Cheers for the heads up Dad.
On to sport now and Wimbledon 2008 is a scary prospect this year don't you think? How many traditional grass court players do we have left in prominence, in both mens and womens? We did some sums last night on the back of news that Safin absolutely annihilated Djokovic: Two, both men. Based on that, does anyone have any interest at all in the tournament? Don't get me wrong, I love tennis and I'm especially enamoured with Wimbledon and look forward to the spectacle every year...but, you know I'm not breaking down the door to get to the remote this year. And the short stints I've had watching it since it started were just, well, really boring. Robots like Nadal and Djokovic, Sharapova and the Williams' sisters et al have turned the purity of grass court tennis, aka serve-and-volley, into this baseline slugfest that we have to endure every time we watch them on clay and rebound ace. Great <sarcasm turned up>. So its just a different coloured court at the end of the day, accept there's a much higher chance of rain. I dunno, perhaps I'm getting cynical in my middle age, but its just not doing it for me. If it weren't for Safin's win I don't think I'd be that keen on watching at all unless Federer was playing.
Speaking of middle age, and I could rant ad infinitum about that: Went out to a club on Saturday night in the city, was an old cricket buddy of mine Ali was helping one of his mates celebrate his 21st, and I got a roundabout invite through another cricket buddy, Kurt, to go along. Long story short, we hit town at about 9.30pm to get picked up by these dudes and get driven out to Randwick to hang at someone's house and then back into town to go to a club. And club is managed by Ali, so Kurt and I are thinking, we're styling, last time we hung out with this guy we had a free ride all night at a different club in the Cross and had a pretty ok time. Nice.
But the night was so much more than anything I'd experienced in recent years, and I say years seriously. The shit these kids go through just to have a night out in town is unbelievable. Police are everywhere, they're in their hundreds, and its every weekend too not just now and then. Cops raiding clubs and commendeering the toilets and lining kids up and strip searching them one by one looking for gear. Unreal. We had to wait in a wine bar across the road waiting for the police to leave before we could go in, then when we get announced that we're on the list we have to have a guy metal-detect us, all the while being asked why we're there, then down a short dark hallway once inside, we're again grilled by the security on the door, the door girls taking - and I balked at this point - 15 bucks to get in. Whooshka! Oh wait there's more, so we get to the bar finally - the place was so dark we could barely make out walls and floor and; basically all the things you rely on to stay upright and move in a forward direction - and I order a Heineken and a rum'n'coke. The dude charges me 19 bucks, takes my twenty to the till across the other side of the bar, and drifts off and serves someone else. Change, interesting concept. That was the other reason we bailed out of there post haste. Fark, what sort've prices are kids paying for drinks these days, WOW! Yeah, I'm getting old.
But the police presence was unlike anything I'd ever seen, perhaps I'm just sheltered, but this was all taken in stride by these guys we were with; this is how it is I was told. And once we're finally in the club the police came in a raided again, dogs, the whole bit. Was pretty intense. We had a couple of obligatory drinks with them, and being the only smokers we just slipped out under the guise of a break, jumped a cab and headed home. It was...anyway what sparked this was my middle age comment earlier and how much I could talk about it given the chance. Yeah, I'm getting old, but to experience the shit that I never had to go through when I was growing up going to clubs and going large every weekend was a real eye opener. Was an adventure though, I don't mind an adventure now and then.
And undercover guys coming up to ask us for a light while we're standing on the street waiting for a heads up on whether we can get in. One dude actually said, in response to Kurt and I wondering if he was even a cop "yeah wonder if he's snitching to them". So yeah, there's dudes cruising around having random conversations to find out if they're holding and then dobbing them in. Pretty unscrupulous hey. Yeah, I'm getting old.
Oh so wait there's one more thing I want to tell you: Have had a couple of Letters To The Editor published lately, and for the first time ever too. First and foremost was a letter I sent to Australian Golf Digest complaining about the one-eyed point of view they had towards amateur golfers not upgrading their kit regularly enough; that appeared in the June issue, was neat to read. I also won a pack of three golf balls as a result too, and we love golf balls. And just this week I responded to a music news website who were calling for readers to send in their reviews of the biggest album never to be released: Guns'n'Roses' Chinese Democracy, and they picked mine to be one of the few that have been published. I don't know for how long but you can read it here. You need to scroll down a bit, moniker is "Benno". That's twice now that I have been surprised that there really is someone at the end of that email address who does read what people have written. Something I've always been suspicious of. Anyway, cool.
But apart from getting old, I'm good. And I hope y'all are too. Have some movie reviews to do so I'll get to it and try and post them up this weekend, have quite a few to do and a high percentage are top notch. I'd like to know if it were you. Cheers and beers.
Well it seems Rugby League is on the way out, and quicker than
you and I might think. Not only has the game progressed into the finesseless
thuggery we see, but its the real supporters that appear to be leaving in
droves. I read an article on the ABC News site today reporting on the plight of
the Bunnies, and that at 6500-strong they actually hold the largest membership
in the whole of the NRL.
Not only did the mind boggle at that comment, it then goes on to say the Sydney Swans have more members than all of the NRL teams combined. And they still won't put the AFL on live! When are Sydney programmers going to realise that the NRL needs to regress back to its NSWRL and QLDRL grass roots for the good of the game, and to let our truly national game, AFL, come to the fore.
Seems Tania Zaetta has been caught up in some sex scandal, and if you're to believe the reports she's been having a right old orgy in Afghanistan. Mud sticks, but shit smells worse, and its all been sparked by Angry Anderson of all people. Anyway, knowing the forces there'll be a video hit the net soon, regardless of my position on the privacy of our citizens and the flagrant disregard the Department of Defence has shown towards it, I'm looking forward to seeing the footage...
My lord the new Rolling Stones live album is dreadful. Its the musical accompaniment to their critically acclaimed "Shine A Light" concertumentary shot by Martin Scorsese. Not that keen to see the flick any more. A music flick I am keen to see, although its still in the talking stage, is the Motley Crue book The Dirt being brought to the big screen, gold. New album lands June 22 for anyone interested, and Amazon are hosting song samples right now if you want to listen. I'm holding off to buy the CD when it hits stores, its the first album in years and years that I've been sweating on its release and I'm pretty excited I have to say.
Good to see the Windies giving the Aussies a bit of a shake in the first test in case you missed the results. Is about time really, the Windies haven't looked like beating anyone since the early 90s so good on 'em. On a serious sporting note though, did you hear what's happened in Iraq? They've disbanded the governing body that looks after their national soccer team and FIFA have suspended them for one year from international competition. Stu pointed out that its good for Australia in terms of having one less nation to have to qualify against for the World Cup, but, shame about the Iraq team themselves. They're stranded in Malaysia where they'd been in camp before heading to Brisbane for Sunday's game. That'll be one to keep an eye on.
Haven't seen anything in the way of a good movie for a little bit but we're hoping that will change tonight, heading out to see the new Indy, TOPS!!! Review soon.
The following is a post I made to a music board I'm a member of, and despite its target audience (ie, not many of you), I think it holds true for all music at the moment. Here goes anyway, and I quote:
Subject: So I'm sitting here...
...pondering the plight of rock'n'roll, and the
absurdity of it all sometimes. I'm sitting here listening to the debut album
from "Gemini 5", and really digging it. A few of you mentioned these guys a day
or two ago and I'd never heard of them so I thought I'd go source the stuff and
have a listen - who doesn't love a new discovery?!? I love 'em and have gotten
so many off all of you over the years, its tops, anyway off topic...
...and then "You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)" comes on...
...really, what hope have we got...LOL!!!
...and then "Myself Esteem" comes on, and I am so liberated by the sound of a really great rock track...I don't get it man. Bands have this kind've calibre and put out these wishy washy covers, and not just covers, a lot of the time its a sound-a-like "original" track and its still complete dross! Yeah and they put it out alongside absolute gold. Why not take the time to put out that extra two, three or four quality tracks, instead of pissing about with filler. What happened to rock'n'roll man, no integrity...LOL!
Ok its State Of Origin and bombs away, so please forgive this misanthropic tirade, I fully realise its 30-40 seconds of your time that you can never ever have back, and I appreciate your time is precious. I apologise.
Cheers and beers
Ok, ignore the last couple of sentences, that's me toeing the line in case I've offended someone. It happens. Anyway so it got me thinking, how's the state of regular old pop music? To be perfectly honest, other than the occasional diamond in the rough-as-a-really-rough-thing rough, and I can barely pull examples off the top of my head even now, the state of today's pop music scene is, well, dire!
If they didn't come from an Idol competition then they've been on Neighbours (et al). Either that or they're an actor/actress moonlighting as a pop star, and so "good at it" that people buy the stuff. Horrific! As I said above, what ever happened to good old honest rock'n'roll. Is this where I realise that I'm so old I've become a music dinosaur and can't appreciate anything new...anyway the State Of Origin's on so I'll catch yous later...
How about that horrificness in China?!? Yeesh! Wonder if Tibet will come to their aid...ok I'm not opening a can here, but is there anything along the lines of Karma creeping in here? What sort of interest is the rest of the world meant to show towards them now that they need international aid? Should I get off my soap box and calm the f--k down? Whats say they postpone the Olympics and divert all those funds to the devastated regions, after all its an Olympic games that nobody other than the athletes seem all that keen to support, and the last thing we need to see is hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of people in refugee status, destitute and starving, while the rest of the country shows all its interest in a few sporting activities over the space of two weeks. Here's to living in the lucky country, moving on...
So I'm sitting here wondering "What year is it again???" No, I'm not having an attack of the olds, I'm simply reeling at the release schedule - so far! - of rock albums this year. Let me list the bands, and even if you're not into the scene, I'm sure you'll know quite a few of the names:
Just released - Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Dokken, White
Soon to be released - Motley Crue, Warrant, Guns'n'Roses (allegedly), Testament, Metallica, Journey, Extreme, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Van Halen...
And the list goes on. Hooooooodaddy, bring the music! Def Leppard are even co-headlining a tour of North America this year with Whitesnake; for fans of those bands that'll be massive! Def Leppard will finally be heading back to Oz at some stage as well so I'll give anyone a heads up when the dates are announced, I think I want to be there for that whole nostalgia trip but we'll see. Joe's voice hasn't been the same since their Adrenalize days.
Not much else to report really. Played my first competition round of golf last Sunday, handicap 10. After playing the two opening holes particularly well the wheels fell off really quickly, dropping five shots in the next four holes, horrific! Played the remaining holes even to end up those five shots over, so an even finish from the 7th onwards. I even threatened to come back at least two times...definitely a different head space playing comp.
I've just sent a text to Stu re this, but, figured I'd voice it and get your opinion: Here's how you make Rugby League more entertaining; you 1) make the attacking team have to achieve 10m in their set of six, and 2) only allow kicking on the 6th, and 3) turn scrums into "set plays" ... set plays being something like: restricted attacking team, for example, where the defence is up to the 5m mark and the attacking team, by way of a tap kick, must pass the ball at least four times before they succumb to the first tackle of the set. Something, anything, to make the game more entertaining to watch and more competitive to play. We'll never see the heyday of League ever again, so why not change things up a bit, shake it baby.
Anyone still into by-the-numbers pizza houses like Pizza Hut and Dominos? Ordered the coolest thing in the world on Friday night, called a "Four For All" or something, its a big square pizza cut into four quarters, each with its own flavour. For those that can't decide, its gold. I had a supreme, hawiian, vege and meatlovers, lasted me three days too lol.
Otherwise, nuthiiiin, I got nuthin. Hope your respective Fridays are all good no harm, of course. Love yous!
Evening one and all once again, been a while since I've posted here, just been flat to the boards with life, the universe and everything. The last three weeks or so have consisted of...
Terry's 60th, cor you beautiful ol' thing you. Was an horrifically busy and stressful few days in Melbourne but the party itself went off without a hitch. And not without its surprises as well, I mean not only did Terry get the biggest surprise of her life - and she's still not stopped talking about it - but we also got a wonderful surprise. Good on you Tracey and Emma for a) giving me a heart attack at the front door, and b) getting yourselves to the party. Wahoo, great to see you.
When we got back I received my golf membership and have been playing as much as I can. I've now put in my three cards for handicap and as of this weekend I'll be playing competition golf. I feel like I've reached some kind've milestone there, FINALLY, very exciting. What will my handicap be? Well, circumstances and a bit of rain left me not hitting the ball very well, on all three occasions. In fact my 17-over 87 (my second card) was the worst round of golf score-wise in...well, since I can ever remember, even when I was playing regularly. Horrific. Long story long I'm guessing I'll get a 14, plenty of room to improve there.
And the rest of the time has been spent at work, seems I'm working more and more hours lately with no sign of letting up, but it is rewarding so I'm not complaining. Cor can you believe what's been going on in the news lately though?!? How's the Austrian dude who locked up his daughter for 24 years, siring anther seven children from her. Ergh, what an animal. And how's the opposition leader's seat sniffing effort? YUCKO! How does this guy still have his job? If you were working for him, would you feel comfortable? Who gives a shit that he's the head of the party, jayzuz!!! And just tonight there's been a road rage incident involving a car full of dudes chasing someone and shooting at them, what the...?
Lets talk about something lighter shall we; indeed. Did you watch the Logies? Nah me neither, but I read today that after the AFL Footy Show got up to accept their Logie they were booed loudly for some incident that happened recently involving Sam (really???) and a mannequin. And speaking of dickheads, how's the news that Corey whathisname is now a celebrity on Big Brother? No, I'm not watching it, I just saw an ad about it.
Sport, have you been watching the IPL? Not bad, not long enough to get me interested in terms of watching cricket, which sound odd I know but there you go. Has been interesting to see a lot of the world's best competing, and especially some of the new names. That Steyn bloke from South Africa is a top bowler, and quick. I was kind've hoping to see Warne in action but I haven't been lucky enough to be watching when he's been playing. There's still a hundred and forty eight games left so hopefully I'll catch him in one of them. How's the idea that they're going to abolish the salary cap though, interesting. Cricket Associations world wide will be puckering up for that one because with no limit to what a good cricketer can make it might put aspirations playing for their country on the back seat...no? I'd be worried if I were them, "bottomless pit of money" was one term I read.
Quick future tip on movies, turns out Terminator 4 is in development and they've signed up none other than Christian Bale as the adult John Connor battling robots in the future-set sequel. Of big interest though is the inclusion of Aussie actor Sam Worthington, star of iconic Aussie flicks such as "Dirty Deeds", "Gettin' Square" and "Thunderstruck". Any room for Arnie in there? Looks as though not, for better or worse, rumour has it Josh Brolin's in the hot seat this time. But go Sam, big fan of his acting, the cast suggest this might actually be worth watching.
On to music and Chad Kroeger's gone DUI, Scott Weiland's gone to jail and Madonna's gone to the dogs. Mutton anyone? The new film clip is horrific, what is it with that outfit?!? On the positive front however, my new favourite film clip is by the Utah Saints and their cleverly titled redux of their early 90s hit "Something Good". "Something Good '08", check it out here.
Anyway back to it, I've got a couple of new reviews to put up so I'll try and get them together over the next couple of days. Here's to you all of it, cheers.
Politics and religion, leave them off the discussion list and you're assured of a conversations. But. How good is Kevin Rudd, not only is he ticking the boxes with aplomb, he's kicking arses as well. Finally, someone who tells it like it is instead of lying. I could go on and on but I won't, suffice it to say I think the country's in much better hands now and I'm looking forward to it.
So we've been pretty spoilt for international bands touring here in Sydney this past couple of years, and this week was no exception. Tuesday night saw WASP hit Aussie shores for the first time in their 20-something year career. And not only that they played their landmark album from start to finish. And not only that, they did an encore consisting of a mini best-of set list. AWESOME! And not only THAT, Aussie rockers The Poor resurrected themselves to support the tour. AWESOME!!!
The show was at the Metro on Tuesday night - don't you hate it when they put these things on mid-week? Yeah me too. Anyway sometimes you do these things. So I headed in to town to meet up with a chick I work with's boyfriend to see the show. We had a couple of heart starters in the Star Bar waiting for the doors to open, then headed on up. The place was pretty packed, all of the usual faces appeared to be there, and surprisingly some in full on glam regalia, which I guess I should've expected but it still surprises me in this day and age that people are still getting in to the look from all those years ago.
First band on the bill was, well, terrible. We got through about half a song and headed back to buy a shirt [The Poor of course] and then to the bar to chat and wait. Eventually the music stopped and we saw people migrating back inside so we headed in to get a good spot on the floor. And then The Poor hit the stage with a bang. They played "Only The Night" from their one-and-only album and they nailed it. I can't believe how good they all look and sound, absolutely spot on! I guess its only been ten years since they hung up the boots but still. And the singer's voice is amazing, still sounds exactly like he did back in '93. Top stuff. Once again they played a few tracks from the never-to-appear second album but still thew in stalwarts "Dirty Money", "Man Of War", "Tell Someone Who Cares" and finished off with "More Wine Waiter Please". Great form.
So at this point I'd almost completely lost my voice so we headed back outside to get some air and grab another [cheaper] beer up the road. Came back to the opening bars of WASP's landmark "The Crimson Idol" album with a big screen at the back of the band streaming video constantly and Blackie belting out "The Invisible Boy". Awesome. Big crowd too, much bigger than Ratt or so it seemed...yes Stacey and I went to Ratt supported by Winger, gold!
Once again Blackie's voice was spot on. I'd read a lot about WASP's recent tours being dogged by poor performances and the spectre of backing tapes being used because Blackie's voice can't do what it used to fifteen years ago when this record was cut. But there was no evidence of either. Blackie also being the only original member of WASP I thought might've been a let down but once again proved wrong. Great performances all round remaining really faithful to the material. "The Crimson Idol" is one of my favourite albums so the last thing I wanted to see was them carving it to pieces for the sake of "modernising" it. But no, all good.
So that's two of my all-time favourite albums I've had the privilege to see played live by their respective bands, its an excellent concept actually, if its a big album that fans of the band know and love above all others. Imagine the original Guns line-up touring around playing Appetite start to finish, or even Pink Floyd who recently toured "The Wall" around Europe and the States.
And then it was over, ooohhhh. I'd had far too much to drink at that point and pretty much headed home after Paul found a mate he hadn't seen in a while and had skipped off, and that was that. Wednesday didn't happen and Thursday was still a bit scratchy, thank deity these shows only come around once a lifetime!
So how much of a freakin' liar is Wayne Carey, anyone watch that debacle of an interview? I don't know who he thinks he was kidding, certainly himself for a start. He didn't answer one question honestly, completely deflected any judgement on himself, even had the hide to ask the crowd at one point "Does anyone really believe that?" Yes Wayne, we all believe that you did all those things you said you didn't. And hiding behind the drug thing, the man is completely transparent, talk about not even an excuse. "Oh I'm not an aggressive person", no Wayne, you used to run round the footy field tapping people on the bum and telling them you loved them; you glassed your girlfriend as a token of your affection. Idiot! I hope there's nobody out there that watched that interview and got suckered in by any of it. I thought Denton could've gone a bit harder too which was disappointing. Rant over.
Google Earth, yeah I know I'm the last person not in the
developed world to install this and take a look around, but, I finally have so I
may as well be the last person in the developed world to rave about it.
That's where we live, that's even Stacey's car in the driveway! Then cruise over to:
and that's where I'll be playing golf from now on. Nek.
On to more important matters now, and congratulations to Andrew and Marina on five years of marriage. They celebrated over the weekend, and I hope you guys don't mind but here's a little sample:
Congratulations guys, hope you had a great day!
I've put up a couple more reviews tonight, and here's one for the ages that I won't dedicate a whole review to. Have you watched Platoon recently? Man, wow, I watched it for only the second time this afternoon; the first time being in the late 80s when it was originally released on video. I remember not really understanding what was going on throughout most of it and craving more of the action stuff back when I was younger so I was keen to see what it was like now. Wow, the village scene almost brought me to tears, far out. Powerful film, another Oliver Stone masterpiece. I find Stone hit-and-miss but this is spot on.
Anyway I'm off again, hope this finds you all happy and healthy, cheers.
Yes welcome back, so I finally found a golf club to join. It feels comfy, I really like the layout, the couple of members I met on the day were also nice, and the price, well, its unbeatable value for money considering its Sydney - Warringah Golf Club it is. Happy days, I'm putting my application together now, I'll be playing club golf again in about a month or so. Nice, right, moving on to something other than golf...oh but before I do, I'm happy to report that I scored a personal best 2-over 72 at said course. Has that influenced my decision to join? Actually not at all, I just happened to be hitting the ball well and sinking most of my putts, the course spoke to me on all other levels before I tallied up the card.
How good are the HD channels!?! We've recently upgraded our tuner in the bedroom to a HD tuner and didn't realise at first that the programming is slightly different. I know I wasn't going to talk about golf again, but, there I was on Monday night, setting up the tele to fall asleep to, as we do, and I thought I'd just switch it to Ten HD. Lo and behold the CA World Golf Championship from Doral was on, playing the final round. Jeff Ogilvy in front by two shots had to fend off the likes of Woods, Furyk, Goosen...yeah anyway, how cool, golf on the tele! Of course that kept me up 'til about 4am and I spent Tuesday walking around the office in body only, but it was worth it. Apparently they're going to be playing Nascar, NFL and more golf throughout the year, awesome! I think, but can't confirm, that all the HD channels, eg 7HD and Ten HD, have different programming at certain times to their regular programming, which is almost like having a few extra channels on offer. Nothing like FOX of course so back in your set-top-boxes, you lucky FOX people you!
So did you hear that Michael Clarke, the present and future of Australian cricket, dropped a 100k ring on girlfriend and uber babe Lara Bingle. I'm sure all the girls are wowing at that, but the beautiful irony is that the news is reporting that he's organised a massive surprise engagement party...mmmkay. More sport, any thoughts on these new swim suits? Other than it makes the swimmers look like alien warriors. Seems as though there isn't a record left to be broken, not that I've been following the swimming this week, just the news reports I happen to catch while walking through the lounge room. There's some talk that they're not legal and the Olympic Committee are yet to make a decision. Makes no odds to us if they are illegalised though, these are the qualifiers so its a done deal for the swimmers.
Hey thought you might find this interesting. There might not be an ideal use for this software based on what we all do, and those that do travel for work have a laptop. But, here's an alternative that's worth investigating if you either don't have a laptop, or couldn't be bothered taking one with you when you travel. All you need is a 512MB USB key, and a windows machine at the other end. That might include internet cafes, a destination office, hell just at your mate's place. Check this out: http://portableapps.com/
These dudes have compiled a full suite of open source applications in a full suite that you simply install to your USB key, and its completely free. Ok they encourage you to donate, and if one found themselves using this a lot then that'd be the way to go. But yeah, it includes a web browser (Firefox I think), an anti-virus client, an email client, OpenOffice Portable (OpenOffice is the open source community's free office suite in case you didn't know, fully compatible with Microsoft's Office), and the list goes on. It even includes some small games and an instant messenger client. And its all kept on the key, meaning you can take your email, your browsing favourites and history, everything, all on a little key that fits in your pocket. I'd see it less handy in the work place depending on the job you're doing, but very handy for anyone travelling. As long as the PC you're using at the other end has windows and a USB port then you've got everything you need to keep in touch with people back home, with all your settings in tact, so no reconfiguring things to work for you each time you sit down at a new PC. I reckon its a top little piece of software, check it out. Nek.
On to a bit of music now and have you ever found yourself sitting up late watching the box, flicking channels trying to find something other than a scam trivia game, and come across the new Time Life offer? Its a thirty-odd minute paid presentation hosted by REO Speedwagon member Kevin Cronin, and some chick, spruiking Time Life's new gargantuan music collection called "Ultimate Rock Ballads". Its a 487 CD strong (ok 9) collection containing every classic rock track - they're not just ballads - you can think of. And I like it! I've never bought anything off the tele before but I can't find it for download, yet. Bit sad really, perhaps my some-time nick name of Grandpa might actually stick if I do this lol.
Speaking of REO Speedwagon, they're going out on tour this year with, yes you heard this correctly, Def Leppard. Mmmkay. I just can't imagine sitting through some dude singing "And I just can't fight this feeling any mooooooooooore, I've forgotten what I started fightin' foooooooooor", and then the Leps come out struggling through an Hysteria-heavy set list (and they do struggle these days on stage I'm told). Yeah, I don't see it. Having said that I just visited REO Speedwagon's website and they're streaming the new album, and I'm amazed to say that track one "Smilin' In The End" is actually pretty good. Hhmm.
As I said the other day, I don't know what to do about music reviews, I figure I'll do them so rarely that there's really no need to dedicate a seperate page for them. So, here goes...
Manic Street Preachers - Send Away The Tigers
1. Send Away The Tigers
3. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
4. Indian Summer
5. The Second Great Depression
8. I'm Just A Patsy
9. Imperial Bodybags
Can you imagine what the love child of Jimmy Eat World and
Powderfinger would sound like? Actually it'd probably be screaming all day and
night, going hungry, because its parents were never home...yeah anyway, thats
what we've got here.
Its part garage rock, part melancholy brit pop, and all quality rock'n'roll. Just to give you some idea of the breadth of sound here, track three "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" showcases a cameo from Cardigans singer Nina Persson (remember them?) backed by a brass section, and follows "Underdogs" which could've come out of the Vulture Street sessions. Indian Summer has a wonderful, noodling guitar riff flowing through it, accompanied by big rhythm chords throughout, and a magic, melancholy vocal, not unlike Muse though much more accessible. And so the album ebbs and flows.
And accessible is, if I were asked to only use one word, the word I would use to describe this. Its rock, no doubt, and its got that undeniable British vibe to it, dare I say it, is almost Beatlesque at times. Instantly likeable this one, to be taken with sunny Sunday afternoons around the bbq.
Live - Radiant Sea: A Collection of Bootleg Rarities and Two
1. The Beauty of Gray
2. Pillar of Davidson
3. Shit Towne
4. I Alone
5. Lakini's Juice
6. The Distance
7. The Dolphin's Cry
8. Nobody Knows
9. Sweet Release
11. Beautiful Invisible
12. Radiant Sea
Even though, in my eyes, they really dropped the ball with
Songs From Black Mountain I had high hopes for this release. I mean look at
the track list, how could you not be hopeful...and then I found out they were
only offering it for sale at their concerts. Tough one, considering they don't
actively tour any more, just festival appearances and such. Bummer!
Thank you internet! As the title kind've alludes to, as is Live's wont, the album contains a collection of live - as in, from in front of an audience - tracks from various sources, plus two newly recorded tracks.
To the new tracks first: While not outstanding, both are better than anything off ...Black Mountain. "Beautiful Invisible" is a happy bubbly piano backed blues-lite track, something from the Stones' realm, ish. "Radiant Sea" has a slow burning groove in the classic Live style, I quite like this actually, a real grower. Above all the guy's voice is still as unique as ever, sounding as fresh as it did all those years ago when Throwing Copper was unleashed on the world.
But its the live tracks - as in, from in front of an audience - that are really special on this disc. Depending on how you've followed Live's career you will recognise some and probably not others, but they're all great, trust me. I never did get a chance to see the band play while they were active, I know some of you did though and I'm now incredibly jealous after hearing this. The rendition of "I Alone" is worth the price of entry all by itself, with a whole interlude left entirely up to the audience. And the concert closing "Overcome" is just beautiful. It really is pins-and-needles stuff!
If you can find a copy, beg steal and borrow to get your hands on it. To be taken with a cold beer and the happy memories this music brings.
Well I'm off to write a couple more movie reviews and find out what else needs cleaning up around here, I'm sure my Top Five has changed since the last time I was doing this regularly. Anyway hope this finds you well, cheers.
Thought I'd give this another shot, not sure how often I'll be able to post but here we go anyway. I've completely forgotten how to use FrontPage so it'll be interesting needless to say. So, how are you all? What can I tell you...
I finally bought myself a game console recently, very cool. Stace and I had been toying with the idea for a while but didn't want to lose our lives in front of the screen driving cars or shooting monsters...umm...yeah we'd rather lose our lives in front of the same screen watching movies. Hhmm. LOL! So my birthday came around this year and Stu very generously gifted me a Guitar Hero III pack complete with wireless guitar. I'd only played the game once at Stu's birthday celebration and I LOVED IT! Was crap at it but loved it. So Stu obviously saw the glee and gave me the gift.
Of course, I couldn't play the game without the console could I, so I rushed out to Domayne and picked up a PS3 on a pretty good deal: came with a couple of wireless controllers and a game. I didn't just rush out I guess, I did the research, made sure it could play all the burned media I make - I make up DVDs and CDs from downloaded content - and also found out that it can play media from a USB stick. Gold! I'd been toying with the idea of buying one of those media players, but with this I have no need.
So how cool is Guitar Hero? THE COOLEST! Of course the console came with the proviso that we also get Singstar, heard of that? Very cool game, check it out online if you're curious. Put it this way, if you're into karioke then you're gonna love this. And does Stace love it??? Yep, she's brought all her singing talent out of the shower and into the lounge room. Its a cack to play, I can't sing for peas but I've given it a red hot go with some success. The cool parts are being able to play in duet mode and you both get to bash out a track together. So Guitar Hero has been up against Singstar, at times it can be hard to book some time, but we get there eventually lol.
Golf. I picked up the golf sticks part way through last year after visiting a driving range up in Terry Hills; awesome driving range by the way, multi story undercover, has a putt putt golf course and a baseball batting cage, you can spend a few hours working growing all kinds of hand blisters if you wanted. So yeah, visited the range as Stace wanted to have a go, and lo and behold she can hit a pretty good ball.
Fast forward to now and I'm shopping around for a golf membership, not the cheapest thing in Sydney to buy but I'll just have to suck it and see I guess. Speaking of which I have to book a time for tomorrow, hang five...
Yeah so golf membership, I want to get back into club golf and have aspirations for a single figure handicap and a Monthly Medal or two. Ultimately I'd like to hit a par or sub-par round and at the moment I'm not too far off that, I'm hitting the ball pretty well. Shot 4-over 73 at North Ryde a month or so ago, and just a couple of weeks ago shot a 3-over 68 at Chatswood. Yep getting right back into it, even went and got myself some Titleist blades, second hand, and Stace splurged on my birthday and got me a new Titleist S72 10.5" staff bag, coolest piece of golf equipment I've ever owned by 10 miles! Golf!
Played in the Corporate Games a couple of weeks ago as well, representing First Data. Was a team and individual event, blah, we didn't get anywhere although were coming second after day 1. I shot a 12-over 84 at Riverside Oaks, not bad considering I'd never played there before but I tell you there were times where it could've all come undone with 4 double-bogies in fairly close succession, horrific! Anyway thats golf.
Work's going well, was recently promoted to a senior within our team which came along with a bit of a pay rise; wasn't what I'd asked for but its close enough. Hey, I get to park free every day in North Sydney so I haven't got too much to complain about. Stace has also earned a promotion recently and work's going really well for her. Work, ergh, its work, that'll do on that.
Footy season is once again upon us, sorry to everyone that we didn't get the invites out with a bit more time to spare. We had been talking about it we just hadn't gotten around to getting the sheet together and sorting it formally, life the universe and everything is always getting in the way lol. For anyone that couldn't get themselves signed up online, as I said in my email to you, we'll keep your tips on the tipping sheet we keep here at home so you can still participate.
So for those of you not in Sydney you won't have noticed this, but, Channel Ten, in all their wisdom, are advertising the NRL season, what the...? I'm sitting here watching the Saints and the Swans and next thing an ad comes on for the NRL, its weird. Not only does the AFL get unfavourable free-to-air coverage here - global warming is an easier problem to tackle than getting AFL on the tele, I kid you not - then an AFL affiliated station, who aren't affiliated with the NRL, advertises the NRL...HUH?
I've just realised that I don't have a 'music' page here on the site, and if there's one thing I do more than watch movies, its listen to music; bucket loads and bucket loads of music, yet nowhere to review it. Hhmm, although I have been told I'm the only one who listens to "my kind've music", maybe I'll just leave it at that. Admittedly I don't think there'd be much in even my recent collection that anyone else is likely to like, other than Stace. Yeah I'll leave it for now lol.
Umm, thats about it really, have been watching LOADS of movies and listening to LOADS of new music, but I'll post about that elsewhere. Hope you're all happy and healthy, hopefully I can keep this going, I'll give it a red hot go anyway. Love to all.
Gee, it has been a while. Not sure how to catch everyone up here but I'll give it a shot. Long story short...
December 2005 - cricket continued along with me scoring no runs and taking very few wickets, but I kept having a good time. Man I took some great catches though, let it never be said that I can't catch. Went to the Foo Fighters concert, wasn't too bad, much better was the weekend spent with Brarn and Stu. Xmas was a sombre affair in Canberra for the most part, although we did get together with a few people at my Ma's house on Xmas night which made a festive mark. New years eve went OFF! Heegs flew in as a surprise, Von and Guy were also in town, and the Baden and Leslie clans were all there with respective others, wow! You have to picture it though: 11 of the best friends one could ever make all partying hard at Luna Park of all places, was a wicked evening needless to say. It led to...
January 2006 - ... the second hottest new years day on record in Sydney. Yowser! We hid inside until around 7pm when we went up the hill to get steak and a beer with last night's participants. Cool change came through at about 9pm and saved all our lives, fuck it was hot! Did we do anything else in January? To be honest its a bit hazy, we were spoiled with friends dropping in every weekend for catch-ups and the rest.
February 2006 - 33 years wise! Managed to stretch my birthday out across the whole month, even the balloons survived that Stace covered the lounge room in, was tops! Thanks to everyone that got in touch and visited and sent me stuff, it made for the best birthday ever. I'm sure they'll keep getting better, something about being in your thirties that sees every year get better and better. I know, enough.
Which brings me up to March, far out, where'd the year go?!? The cricket season is finally finished, we didn't make the finals, bummer. Leading up to the last game of the regular season we did have a chance, after winning our previous five matches but realised we were going to miss out on percentages, so the last game was to leave us on a good note. No good note. Although I did put on 27 runs in a last wicket stand that still failed to worry the opposition. That there was my highest score for the year though, wahoo! And how to reflect on my first season of cricket? Had a ball and I'll be back next season for sure. Loved the bowling, came equal second in the club for catches in the outfield, made the covers my position and showed some potential with the bat that I hope to realise come October. Count me in!
Here's something, Stace and I haven't hit double figures for movies watched this year yet; big screen or DVD, we just haven't had time. This year has been bedlam times infinity for both of us and sitting down to watch something for a couple of hours really does have to be thought through properly. We're also forever broke but I don't think that will ever change. I'm scouting the internet now for how-to's on stealing houses so the owners don't notice. Not sure anyone's written anything but I'll find it if they have.
Anyway, a couple of new movie reviews to stick up shortly - the films we have watched have been remarkable for one reason or another - and I'll stick up some music reviews though its been that long I can't remember where I normally put them. Anyway, take care and enjoy, speak to you soon.
Bowling Shane...so I took my first wicket on the weekend. Wahoo. Two-day game, we put them in to bat and they almost saw out the maximum overs allowed of 72 hitting 306. Holy crap! So yeah our work's cut out for us on Sunday when we chase. Far out, that seems almost insurmountable now that I've written it like that, sheesh! Anyway what was I telling...oh yeah, so I got to have a bowl. Only a short spell, but hey, with figures of 7 overs, 1 maiden, 1 for 18 I might just get another shot down the track. Man was it a good feeling to get a wicket, pretty stoked I was. AND in my comeback game from a hamstring injury. Here's hoping I can do as reasonably with the bat on Sunday.
What else, oh man have you seen Wolf Creek yet? Go see it if its still playing. One of the most harrowing experiences I've ever had in a cinema, top draw. Oh and we watched...you know what, I'll just write them up in a tic, I've got an hour before I have to cruise out south-west and hang with the cousins. If you're online, see you soon guys :-)
Umm, not much else to tell, work is bedlamic in every essence of the word - that's a word I coined a few weeks back when I finally got the lay of the land in there. Top people though, I'm starting to become one of the crew. Actually I'll dribble a bit about the job, its not like any place I've worked at before. I wouldn't call them perks perse, but get this: Every week fresh fruit is brought in on every floor's kitchen. Bananas, oranges, apples, mandarins, basically whatever is in season and its always fresh. We've got all the tea, coffee and hot chocolate varieties you could want, which while not unusual is always nice to have around given the price of store-bought coffee these days. Here's the cool stuff though, once a month its muffin day, they truck in fresh muffins from somewhere, Muffin Break probably, and every variety you can think of. Also once a month, a pair of professional masseurs come in and you just put your name down and get a half hour rub down during the day if you want one. Also once a month is Birthday, Years Of Service, and Achievement awards. Its compulsory to attend and you all gather in the breakout room - that's a room with a huge plasma screen, lounges and a fully contained kitchen for people to relax in - and one by one the awards are handed out as per the label. That also gets serviced with these HUGE deluxe cakes that get trucked in from some other catering service. This month's was some quadruple chocolate coated chocolate mud cake with chocolate on top of that! Last month was New Orleans Mud cake, carrot cakes of some sort, there's so much sugar in the room everyone starts doing somersaults, crazy! Also once a month, our department has their monthly drinks afternoon. They kick off at about 4pm on a Friday and we invite one of the other departments to it from another building to come and get to know us, drink some beer and play trivia. I won the first trivia comp I went in, free movie tickets, lovely.
Yeah so they really look after their staff, but in saying that, all the staff are working flat stick for 8-10 hours a day without exception. I'm a contractor so my hours are somewhat curtailed by restrictions on what I can touch and what I can't - and at what time - but that bothers me not. I don't envy some of these guys pulling 12 hours in a day, then getting called in at 2am because a server has gone down. No thanks. Yeah but its good stuff and its just down the rail line in North Sydney so its also nice and handy.
Anyway best choof off and throw down a couple of quick reviews. Take care y'all and here's to the upcoming silly season. I'm going to be seeing a few of you at some stage during it so here's to that. End em eeeehhhhh, love yous all.
So its been a long while, to be honest I don't really have a lot to prattle about but thought I'd check in. This is the first chance I've had to actually put an update up for a while, though I have written a couple over the past few weeks. So maybe hit the links of any dates that don't look familiar and you'll see how much I still didn't have to say then. There are some movie reviews going up albeit out of date so partake if you've got plans to see a few.
I'm trying to think if there's anything worthy of this post...umm...yeah nuh. Nuthin, I got nuthiiiiiin. Oh wait wait, the soccer, did yous see the soccer this morning? The ref was paid off, no doubt in my mind. Did you see that call that resulted in the goal? Oh my lord, every other person in the stadium were screaming "How the hell was that our free kick?", even though it was exceptionally excited sounding given it put them in a great attacking position.
We played all over them, everywhere, their goal keeper was an amateur, their defence was nervous as buggery. Not to say that the Aussies were faultless, far from it, we had zero shots on target. Can't score goals unless the shot's on target. I thought a draw would've been a fair result. Bottom line was the referee let everyone down, it was shamelessly appalling. And FIFA, what a joke of an institution that is, and they get away with it because us Aussies are too nice when we get bullied around, its pathetic. Its because Australian soccer officials still don't believe that we're in the World league that they get away with it as well. "Oh sure, yeah change the start time as many times as you like, we're just happy to be playing." Absolute bollocks, it really upsets me. But that was then, and this is now, and Wednesday night its judgement night. I just hope the players continue to play with the same confidence and with a home town crowd they might just push themselves over the line. C'mon boys!
And then, as the late Ronnie Corbet would say...and its goodnight from him.
Happy birthday to Lauren for the 18th. And happy birthday to Brian and Debbie for today, both on the same day! We love Librans! Have a great night/weekend/week/month guys, as I know you all will.
So where was I...who knows. What's going on here? The job, ok I got a job, great job. Good pay, great people, great conditions, yeah nah work's taken care of itself, nice one.
I'm half way through my second VB "Original Ale" so I'll keep this fairly brief. Its "the beer your Grandpa was drinking before the whole mass marketing thing took domestic mass-produced beer over. I've gotta say, its tops! This is on the back of three schooners of Stella at our new local and man, this stuff kicks ass! Seriously, if you're a beer drinker, don't mind VB and have an element of curiosity about you, give it a shot. Now. TOPS!
Australia versus New Zealand is on in the background; speaking of sport I've been playing cricket as of the beginning of October. Not sure if I mentioned it further down but yeah, I decided to play cricket this summer. Its come to somewhat of a halt as of last Sunday though with a pulled/strained/torn hamstring. I know how it happened and in hindsight there probably wasn't anything I could do about it but regardless, what a crap way to start a season of anything to do with sport. Bugger. I was gonna give you guys the link where all the Association's players' stats are held but since I haven't done anything of real note, I'll hold off on that. I took four catches in the first game but yeah, nothing since, so I'll just tell you when I do something good for now I think, lol.
What else, Stacey's doing well at school, which while a pretty normal thing to be happening, she's begun coaching a client of her own as part of one of her new classes: Life Coaching. She can't elaborate so I won't pretend to - client privilege - but yeah it went well and she's finally getting a taste of where its going to head in the future.
What else can I tell you? The new Nickelback CD kicks some major ass! Yeah its awesome, can't wait for them to hit Aussie shores, its gonna be a great re-visit for us...
Morning folks, well its grand final day '05, whose your tip? After that whole Hall thing I just hope the Swans don't get badly whipped, because then what was it all for anyway...? I think I speak for everyone - well, myself at least - that a West Coast win would be less bearable than a Swans win, so go the Swannies.
I got a job, did I tell you? Yeah, a nice job, big company, got a six month contract so I'm set til March at least. Wow, is this where fate kicked in or what!?! I lost my job, a job I didn't necessarily enjoy, but a job nonetheless. Thrown into a bit of a personal turmoil and giving it the whole "fuck what now" type of thinking, no nibbles back from the job agencies and then <boom>, the phone calls started coming in thick and fast. Had an interview on a Wednesday, told there would be a second interview the following Monday, employed and sitting at a desk by the Thursday after that. Meanwhile my phone was just smoking off the hook with other agencies. Sheesh, when it rains!
So yeah that's a relief. What a spun out three weeks that was...oh yeah so I've just finished my first full week in the job, really nice people, everyone's pretty much under the pump and they all do weird ass hours and aren't there all the time but its great. We had the monthly cake day yesterday afternoon, its a time for reflection and a time for bonding, I've never seen anything like it. Basically we all gathered in the lounge area and the birthdays for the month were read out and then some awards were given out for great service (one dude got a trophy with his name inscribed!), and then we got to eat some really deluxe cake. Tops. Every month. Next week its monthly drinks afternoon for our team, and every month we invite another team to join us and that'll be a different team each month, so everyone gets their turn to get to know us. It has an eerie sense of community about it, I mean this is a work place after all, but way to look after your staff guys. And even though people are under stress with work and deadlines and, man there's some shit going on there, everyone seems happy to turn up and have a laugh anyway. Tops!
So I'm working for First Data Resources, they're a company that own, oh, Western Union for one, Cashcard for another. Yeah, these guys are huge. How many in the company I hear you ask? 32,000. Yep! Its hard to describe exactly what these guys do, but in a nut shell, they provide and support the infrastructure for money transactions to occur; from EFTPOS to ATMs to eBusiness (online transactions), VISA card, yeah, if money's moving, chances are we're making sure it gets from A to B. Our clients include ANZ, HSBC, Westpac and NAB; loads. You know those dodgy little ATMs that sit in pubs or cafes, whatever? Well yeah they own those. Massive, massive business. How did I score the job? Who cares, I'm in. Their social club calls itself "The Best Place To Work 2005/06 Club", they have their own good food guide with discount booklet, they have private health insurance, you can get anything cheap when you work for these dudes, and yeah as I said before, they look after their staff.
So I'm based in North Sydney now, that's four stops from my station on the train. So the poor car, it has to sit in the drive way protecting the road from getting bird poo on it while I'm off on public transport. Its the kinda Sydney we all aim for - the job that's close to home, minimal travel time and costs, more time for doing stuff because you're not spending it on the road. It feels like the Sydney that works for you, and not against you, because have no doubt, she's a tough town. Enough dross, what else can I tell you....
Nothing I don't think. Yep, other than the fact that I'm awake before 8am on a Saturday morning - which is probably shocking news to most of you - the job thing is about the only news I have. Oh, that and Sydney's mid to high twenties during September. Wahoo, bring on summer! I did write up some more reviews the other night, so I'll put that up. Oh and frequency of updates on this page, yeah it'll be slim pickings until I can get my head around doing it from home, as you can imagine the security in the place I'm working is pretty tight so there'll be no sitting my laptop on the network and uploading and downloading whatever I want willy nilly. No. So its going to be less frequent than it was, but more frequent hopefully than this one is. Aye.
Hope you're all good as gold.
No, I'm not learning Spanish, but the Heegs got in touch a few days ago and was hamming it up in Barcelona. Hola Heegs, tiene una cerveza para mí.
Congratulations to Andrew and Marina, they have just welcomed Brendan James (what happened to Benjamin guys???) into the fold. Born Tuesday morning at a touch over 4kgs (I hear that's big for a baby? I'm such a guy aren't I), Brendan's birth took an easy 20 minutes and mother and baby are doing very well. Great stuff!
Life is on the hold, a job has not come through yet. Do you find yourselves in that vulnerable state where it doesn't matter what you do to make things look and feel better, it just doesn't, because the unknown of where that next pay is coming from is playing on your mind? Welcome to my world. I can't say this 24/7 twisted gut feeling is a wonderful revelation, no, and not something I revel in at the best of times. I did get a nibble an hour or so ago, may get a call back on it next week. Here's hoping.
But things could be worse, there could be 20 feet of water washing over my house right now. Have you seen the New Orleans footage? I've read a few news reports over the last couple of days that are saying that city won't be anywhere near basic function for two to three months. Pretty scary shit. I'm not going to go into the whys and hows simply because its best left unsaid at this point. Some reports are blaming it on global warming, others the fact that the natural wetlands the city sits in have been pillaged to the point where this was inevitable. New Orleans sits below sea level, and the natural wetlands that once provided natural flooding and hurricane protection have been literally sucked dry over the last seven decades as development in the area demanded more dry land. The displacement of water is on one hand quite a remarkable engineering feat - massive water pumping stations remove the water from the wetlands and pump it into a nearby lake - and on the other hand, probably the dumbest thing you've ever read.
Some officials are talking about letting the area go back to its natural state, others believe that with a total evacuation, rebuilding the hurricane protection levees and restoration of the city, basic function could be restored within three months. The National Geological Survey claims that in the best interests of Man and Earth, a longer term solution that returns Louisiana's wetlands is the way to go. So of course the final question is: What would mankind do? Well, as its in their nature, especially the US's nature, to look adversity in the eye and get back on the horse as it were, well I'd say the answer is pretty easy. We'll see the disaster stricken areas of the Gulf Coast rebuilt and repopulated no matter how many billons of dollars it costs, and they'll all throw a huge party afterwards claiming it a national public holiday, and off they go again.
Isn't it interesting to hear the US themselves talking about refugees and camps and aid...
Movie reviews, I've finally got round to putting up a couple. You may find this hard to believe but we haven't seen that many movies over the last month or two other than what we already own - they still get a pretty decent workout. And I'd say you've seen them already. But, just in case, its worth a shout. Hope this finds you all well and we'll speak again soon no doubt.
Well, its been a little while, life seems to have covered some ground. Couple of things worthy of mention, firstly and most importantly:
I finally got to say thank you. Despite what Australia has become - politically, culturally, racially - we can sit around the dinner table and contemplate what was, is and what will be because of a special few whose sacrifices can only be realised in the freedom we have today. I salute Flight Officer Hector Scott, the highest decorated Australian air force pilot from WWII. A couple of Fridays ago Stacey and I got to enjoy a dinner party with Heck (he said to call him Heck, I'm all over it!), we enjoyed three courses and far too many G&T's..."I've lived off the stuff for 40 years, don't see what the problem is." We're with you Heck.
From the War Memorial:
1943, Heck and his crew were posted to 44 squadron, a Lancaster equipped Rhodesian Unit. For the latter part of '43 the crew took part in operations against Berlin and surrounding areas during which heavy losses were sustained. From November 1943 until February the following year the crew was posted to 630 squadron which continued operations in the Battle of Berlin. In February 1944 Scott's crew transferred to 83 squadron where they volunteered to operate as Pathfinders; a target illuminating force whose dangerous role was to proceed the main bomber force during night operations and indicate drop zones over the target. His 21st birthday was celebrated in battle, dropping flares over enemy targets during Operation Overlord.
On the night of 21 June, Scott's crew were among the force sent to bomb the hydrogenation unit at Wesserling. The bombers came under heave attack from enemy night fighters and 37 planes were lost. An Me-110 seriously damaged Scott's Lancaster on the outward journey and although the target was reached, damage to the electrical gear meant their bombs could not be released. Further structural damage was sustained when flak struck the aircraft over the target. On the return journey the crippled plane was again attacked by a German fighter and during this encounter, Scott and another crew member were wounded. Miraculously, Hegarty [pilot at the time] was able to safely crash land the plane, still loaded with 13,000lbs of bombs. Whilst Scott was recuperating in hospital, Hegarty was killed in a night bombing exercise. [Heck spoke very fondly of Hegarty, an amazing man.]
In August 1944 Scott returned to his squadron and was attached as Bomber-Aimer to a new crew piloted by Squadron Leader AJ Williams, an experienced airman on his second tour. Throughout August the squadron was involved in raids against the Gilze Rijen airfield in Holland, two flying bomb dumps at L'Isle D'Adam and on 25 August, Scott flew his 31st operation with the bomber stream to attack Darmstadt. Williams was appointed Deputy Controller of the technically difficult operation and his aircraft was to act in the particularly difficult and dangerous role as Pathfinder and Marker for the 177 Lancasters of Main Force. The bombers came under heavy attack en route and shortly before reaching the target William's aircraft was hit simultaneously by a Ju88 and flak. Petrol tanks exploded and the aircraft was soon a mass of flames. At 5000 feet Scott and three other members of the crew managed to escape the inferno and parachute to safety seconds before the plane exploded. Williams and the remaining two crew members perished.
Scott landed in the village of Neckarburken but was captured by members of the Hitler Youth the following afternoon on the outskirts of Mosbach and transferred as POW 5301 to Luft Stalag One (Barth).
It goes on to tell of how the POW camp Heck was held in was liberated by invading allies and that he was repatriated to Australia safe and sound...here's what it won't tell you:
Heck and his fellow flight officers were attempting to make their way back to allied territory on foot after bailing out of the stricken aircraft. It was the day after the crash and they were continuing to lay low, making their way through a rural area away from the previous night's target. Unbeknownst to them, a lady was at her kitchen window doing dishes when she spotted them. Out of fear it was her who alerted the Hitler Youth that she had seen what looked like enemy soldiers in her field. This is what led to Heck's capture. They were then taken to the above mentioned POW camp, however before allied forces were to invade, Heck and his cohorts broke out of the prison camp and headed back into the rural landscape, eventually coming to another property. They stormed the property and held the occupants captive, hiding out for several days until the arriving allied forces came through the district. And then to freedom.
But here's the kicker, and this is what really hit home for me. Fast forward 35 years, Heck is now a successful businessman, happily married and planning a family, but something was nagging at him. He had to go back. So he and his wife headed back to Mosbach, and back to the property where the woman once lived who had turned he and his mates in that fateful day. Sure enough, she still lived there, and sure enough, there they spent the afternoon reminiscing about wartime, how they met and what was to ensue. Heck tells the story with great admiration for her (he didn't mention her name) and the circumstances that had brought them together. She was very appreciative of his visit and he is forever grateful that she allowed him to visit and spend time there.
Can you imagine??? ...
Speechless I tell you, speechless! That was pre-dinner drinks, I thought "my gosh, if that's pre-dinner drinks, I'm in for a real treat during main course." Nobody brought up anything in particularly during dinner, but while dessert was making its way down the belly I found it too hard to not say anything. I can't remember what the exact words were, but it went along the lines of I hope you don't mind Heck, but thank you. We can sit here enjoying a wonderful meal and complaining about bank fees because of men and women like you, and I don't believe thank you is enough, but I need to acknowledge it to you. So, thank you. We were all moved, me most of all because this was the first time I'd ever had the chance to say thank you to someone who was there.
What a magic night, we ploughed our way through the best part of a bottle of Beefeater and some white wine while enjoying the 3rd test at Old Trafford. Heck chimed in with some wonderful stories of watching the Don play for NSW down at Bankstown oval. "If you knew the Don was getting a bat on the Saturday you'd get there early, because you knew once he got in you'd be there for a while, and everyone wanted to watch." Heck's beaten two heart attacks and conquered Parkinson's, but more than that, I firmly believe this is a class of gentleman that we will never see again. Stace gets to see him every day on a work basis, but he has said that we should do it all again, and I personally can't wait. What a buzz. Next time I'll bring the Beefeater.
Not sure anything after that will sound nearly as interesting but I'll give it a shot. So this one time, back during the 3rd test, I was telling Stace how I'd really love to give cricket a shot. I've never played competitively short of a one-game stint for the high school, and a credible excuse for a piss-up playing Twilight Cricket when I was working for DSS back in the day - me'n'Brarn carved it up! Anyway so Stace looks at me with amused contempt and nodded "yeah, really?" Anyway so you fast forward that story to the following Thursday - late night shopping at the Chase - and we're doing the groceries. Can't be grocery shopping on an empty stomach of course...err...yeah anyway so we're heading off from the food court and I've got my gob stuffed full of Pizza Hut's worst, and a voice from over yonder calls out "You know cricket players love to eat pizza?" I figure its just another Sydney nutter paying out on the anonymous masses, but on second inspection there's three of them. They're moving towards us. Oh no, Stacey...I turned around to see her laughing. Slow like that I didn't really catch on.
Get another few steps and one of them is already talking to Stace. Ok, I'll chat, I'll do the thing, what are we on about, you a Witness? "They like drinking beer too I hear" I uttered, and to the enthusiasm of the guy with the clipboard, he huddled into my personal space. Interesting. I leaned towards a patch stitched to his shoulder, sure enough, North Shore Cricket Club. "We're on a recruitment drive for the club, we're looking for some new talent..." and it went on. Not to be outdone on the enthusiasm front he then thrust the trophy from last season's premiership in front of me "And this is how well we did last season."
It was a great sell lets face it, and with Stacey closing the deal with comments like "Yeah he was just telling me the other night that he wanted to play cricket this summer..." I couldn't not put my name down for pre-season training could I. So, here we are, four days after said training, and I probably should be in a sling. Fair dinkum I now have a new found respect for anyone who rolls the arm over for five days straight in a test match. Wow, could I be experiencing any more pain than this? Lets hope not. I don't think beach volleyball helped last night, but still, that was a snack compared to 40 minutes in the nets trying to keep the ball at a decent length, much less on the pitch itself. And batting? Forget about it, scariest 15 minutes of my life...that week anyway.
I didn't really want this to look like a post script of some kind, but I've found myself with a bit more time on my hands this week and figured I'd vent a little bit. Monday rolled around with the usual dull thud, an hour in traffic to travel the 14.25kms to the office, only to be told that my position was being downgraded to a junior, and I was going to be replaced. Hmm. I noticed they waited until I'd done all their high-end project work, and it happened to be a day before my three-month probation period was up. And it doesn't help that they'd done something similar to the person they'd hired before me. Just seems a bit dodgy. Anyway so I contacted the agency that placed me there to let them know - they were equally weirded out - and am going through that horrible process that is searching for work.
Actually its not that horrible a process really, there seems to be plenty of work around and last time I put my head down and searched in earnest it took me two weeks and several interviews before I scored. Anyway this leads to an apology to the people who tried to get in touch with me on Monday for one reason or another and I either didn't get back to you, or told you I wouldn't be getting back to you. I was in one of those little private shock moments and hiding out from the rest of the world, its something I do. Anyway I won't say everything's back to normal because that would just be lying; I mean who gets to sleep 'til three in the afternoon; shop for groceries mid-week during the day and drop their loved one off at school and pick them up again afterward. Needless to say I'll make the most of it without letting things get too disparate. Oh and shocking timing with the 4th test starting tonight as well. If you need any updates, I'll be watching the whole damn thing so look me up if you're bored at 2am and wondering what the score is <grin>.
Until the inspiration finds me again, I bid you adieu.
Quote of the day: "Circa: me, five minutes ago." wonderfully articulated by Richard, circa: five minutes ago, lol.
Ever barracked for the National Party? Your time starts...now!
Guess what, Brian's home, AWESOME! Everyone say hi "Hiiiiii Briiiiiian". Ah reet!
Not to preface today's rant with negativity but man, human beings can be really ugly things. That's another reason I can't feel sorry for them...and yes I include me. Turned up late to work this morning again - and yes, being I'm in the shit, how old am I again? So not being in the best frame of mind, I'm sitting on our front steps at work and our building is on a pretty busy Junction street. Anyway I was having a smoke and wondering about how I would make up this infraction for the rest of the day to the boss when a young man, not older than 22, 23, struggled past on his Zimmer frame. The guy quite obviously suffering from cerebral palsy was doing it pretty tough. So there I am, hung over, smoking and feeling sorry for myself for all the wrong reasons, in other words taking for granted the good health I have been gifted, and right in front of someone whose life is really hard work from the time they wake up to the time they go back to sleep. Fancy throwing something like that into their face. I felt terrible.
After I recovered from the self loathing that brought on, a perfectly able bodied person came bowling along in the other direction rumbling through what looked like his lunch package; paper bag in a plastic bag, you get the idea. Decides he's grabbed too many plastic forks from the cafe and throws the spare on the ground. No attempt to look for a bin, no obvious attempt to hide the fact he's throwing rubbish on the ground. Who throws rubbish on the ground nowadays? And then I don't go picking up after him...makes me wonder.
I started asking all the tough questions - and I ask myself these all the time don't worry - things like "Are we really as good to each other as we should be?" and "Well what makes me so special, so lucky?" and this is the one that gets me usually "What gave humans the right to play "rulers" of the earth?" Humans of course, that's an easy one to answer at least. But lets not get swept down that drain of contempt...
Parliament seems to have grown itself a new personality, anyone would think Mark Latham had been handing out acting cheat sheets. Did you hear about the coalition's Julian McGauran giving the bird to the opposition? Over what I'm not exactly sure because I couldn't get past the aftermath of the gesture itself. Get this, McGauran gives it one across the floor of the Senate, and Bob Brown pipes up with something about the gesture sending a message to Australians that that kind've behaviour is acceptable. Before I go on, newsflash Bob, we're all pretty ok with that kind've behaviour and have been for some time, and that in itself is why Jules is doing it during a parliamentary sitting. No need to fight it mate, you're Australian too. Anyway so have a read of this response:
RON BOSWELL: I was there when you insulted, you insulted, the President of the United States, who was, who was at our guest, as our guest, as our guest, in Australia.
You, you on behalf of every Australian, you let the team down so badly that day. But even to be more hypocritical, you've offended just about every law in Tasmania. You've been locked up dozens of times. And for you to come in here and you to come in here and proclaim that you are Mr Goody-Two-Shoes, and that you've never offended anyone, is the greatest act of hypocritism (hypocritism Ron?) I have ever seen in my life. And if it was, if the message was delivered from someone else in the Greens I might be prepared to accept it a little more, but for you to do it, you have offended every law in Australia.
Hands up who doesn't care why the bird was brought out in the first place...? Me too, me too. Who makes up words? What Australian other than Johnny Boy Scabs even likes George Dubya?
The awe of space exploration has worn off me I'm afraid, not sure I ever had it mind. I got to see Haley's Comet and have experienced two lunar eclipses, I'm good. It could be something to do with the fact that a nation whose real-time examples of poverty border that of a third world country can justify spending 5 Billion Dollars (US dollars!) putting a space craft outside of the atmosphere, so they can sweat for a week wondering if they can get it back down again. In all seriousness, yes its wonderful that we know so much about what's out there, but really, the only thing we'll do if we find another planet that is inhabitable is plunder and pillage until it too implodes. Haven't we done enough? Perhaps not, perhaps the human race as a species, as a complex organism, is more sturdy than any of us can really grasp.
I've never thought too deeply about it but when I do, I get visions of us finally working out why life died on Mars, determining fairly exactly where Earth is in its life cycle, and then heading over to a neighbouring galaxy in search of a planet with the same aspect in terms of its sun, its age, and how close its moon is. And whullah, a new home. Of course chances are we'll have to invade, conquer and capture, just to get our dicks stiff over it, we certainly do not come in peace. We come looking for water, oxygen and fossil fuels and we don't give a crap about delicate eco systems and native inhabitants. We'll even think up a derogatory nickname for you while we kill you...whoa!
You don't see it? Yeah maybe I'm slipping, has been a long day and its still only 2:30pm.
Got plans for the weekend? Not much happening over our way, although I must say I'm a bit nervous about a dinner we have on tonight. Out of respect I won't tell you his name, but he is a client of Stacey's and they have adopted each other. He is one of the last of our World War II fighter pilots, he is THE highest decorated pilot from the War and has his own section at the War Memorial. Tonight, I get to meet a real life hero. So yeah, if you know about my interest in WWI and WWII then you'll understand why I'm a bit giddy about this. As I said to Stu earlier, I'll probably just sit there awestruck and just agree with everything he says. "So, young Ben, what do you do with yourself? Stacey says you work with computers?" ... <long pause> ... "What I do with most of my days is take for granted the freedom that you and your mates laid down your lives for, and most of the time I even complain about it. I'm a disrespectful little shit with no idea what doing it tough is about and, sir, for that I am very sorry. Problem with it is this: I could apologise until my voice box falls out, but the fact is the sacrifices you made were so great, so many and so profound that you have ensured freedom and safety for many generations to come, that I'll continue to take it for granted because thanks to you, we'll never have to experience anything like it again. Now I'm going to get you another cup of tea in the vein hope it will make up for the disgraceful way I live my life, do you take sugar?"
Actually I'm hoping to watch the cricket, Stace says he loves the cricket so we're going to be fast friends. I sat there last night right through to stumps - the other reason I was late for work today. I couldn't take my eyes of it, every bowl of every over just had me entranced, I was even appealing and offering Punter some fielding advice. I love it, you probably didn't know I am a test cricket fan but now you do, I'm out of the closet and proud of it, lol. Great game. Shaping up to be the best ashes in 20 years actually, about time the English turned up ready to play instead of going in with their usual attitude of "well we didn't expect to win anyway so its alright that we just got pumped five blot."
Anyway, must get back to it. Smiddy, Rines, talk to you later, not sure what time we'll be out at dinner (if I have my way we're going to move in with the man for the weekend) but with time difference - and yes thanks Rines for the time sums you did for us, you're such a mother! Good luck tipsters, hope you proverbial horse comes in, and <points hand at forehead> C'MOOOOOOOOOON Blues! This is the biggest game of the season, this is your grand final, your Shangri La, THIS is the game you want so badly you can taste tooth enamel on the back side of your head!
Three years ago today...
Three years ago today I was sitting in my Uncle's opulent lounge room supping wine and enjoying life. I was living with my grandparents at the time, who some 30-odd years ago took me into their hearts and their home and have loved me unconditionally ever since. Even at the onset of their respective cancers, this day three years ago, they were still a pillar for me; their wayward grandson who'd been in some bad head space living up north, hiding out in a friend's house hoping the world wouldn't see me as I slunk around my Elanorian cocoon. Life sucked but I marched on, I marched straight back south in fact, after some helping hands and words, on a mission to save my brain from imploding. With 120 bucks to my name and 1200 km's of road ahead of me, I figured what the hey. Imagine my disappointment when the last of my Discman batteries died around Coffs with no spares and the tank needing juice, radio never sounded so bad.
But QLD wasn't completely wasted, there were happy times and one of them was spent on a tropical island celebrating the wedding of a good friend. In fact loads of us were there, it was one big family for one big week. And my partner in crime and I were exploring each other in more ways than one; to the casual observer it was probably unbridled lust, but in retrospect I believe a fledgling love had sprouted somewhere during that week, somewhere between A Block and Villa 45, somewhere on the warm sand under moon lit skies. After several mornings of hiding from the morning sunlight together in morbid fear of melting, I realised that not only could we have a great time together, but we were equally bad at waking up in the morning. How could we not be a match!?!
We kept in touch.
My Uncle's place is a fascinating bazaar of paintings, books, sculptures and other various artwork. The man has more Buddas than a Tibetan tourist trap. Peter's an amazing host, I challenge you to go around to his house when he's in the mood and not stumble out totally satisfied that you had an amazing meal, got absolutely smashed and had a fantastic time, then wonder where the day went. Stacey was in town, she was meeting the family, not that it was a big deal because we were just mates hanging out. As we had since QLD. "You must meet Peter, you must!" We did, he plied us with high quality white wine and as it started to settle behind his eyes, the stories of our matriarchal family flowed steadily and more enthusiastically. Pete loves to talk, and I love to listen, we work well together that way.
"She's lovely Ben, is she really just visiting?"
We had to go, Pete had work to do and we had to go and have some dinner. Pete shoved 50 bucks into our pocket clucking something about having a wonderful meal. We had good intentions of having a meal too. Half way to the restaurant Stacey turned to me after some silence:
"What do you want?"
I didn't know what to say, as I don't, I'm thick as two large planks at the best of times. I couldn't tell if it was a question or a statement it was made so directly and matter-of-factly. "Umm..." Not good enough, I pulled the car over, no idea where we were at the time but if it were any earlier and not a Sunday, the Berra's ugly road rage head would've reared up.
"Well I'm moving here so we can be together. I'm in love with you and if you mean what you just said then its stupid us not being together. I can't wait any longer!"
We passed the restaurant, dropped the car at home and headed to the pub. Not before my Nan, who just knew what was going on (Pete had been on the phone to her no doubt) met us at the door: "Stacey's decided to move here Nan!" I beamed, instantly feeling the motherly warmth of the woman as she stood, proud of her grandson. She was uncontained, she grabbed us both and held us as tight as her tiny frame could manage "That's so wonderful, you two are so good together." Affirmation. We didn't need it but it was wonderful to hear, and from the most important person in my life, well it moved me to a small tear. I love you Nan, be well. Oh Grandpa was there too, don't you worry about that, his smile only slightly disguised the well warranted "About bloody time you made a decent decision.", and while he meant it, he meant it with all the goodness that is both Nan and Grandpa, just happy for me to be happy. He absolutely adores Stacey!
Three years ago today, Stacey and I decided we'd be together as a couple. Cheers babe, happy anniversary, and since you probably won't read this, I'll remind you later ;-)
What a 24 hour period its been. Probably nothing normally worth mentioning, but I have to tell someone right? We played the first game of our new volleyball season last night, we've been elevated to Div 3 and were expecting a harder game. As it turned out the team we played were relegated from Div 2 so they were exceptional as far as what we were used to. That's beside the point though, at one stage I was defending up the back-left corner, digging something out, tried to turn that into attack by following up my dig by calling for a set for a spike at the net - one of my favourite tings to do and Stace is the king of putting it up there for me. Stace wasn't there this time and the set didn't come, and the ball went straight over the net, to which they (very cleverly) put the ball straight back to the spot I had left vacant and no one covered me. No biggie really, we all went oops, bugger, moving on...but one of our guys Simon, well he had to say something. He's a nice guy but he can come across a bit smarmy at times. Anyway so he looks over as I was retrieving the ball saying "man you had to get back, you have to recover". Well, I just looked straight over to him having not reached the ball yet and without thinking let fly "Fuck dude, there's five people on this court, you don't think someone could've covered for me as I normally cover for them..." and was about to really let this guy have a spray when I decided to take a stableford. As I turned around to get the ball he was already in the throws of a sincere apology, I saw the ball sitting up nice on the sand and kicked the fuck out of it.
Whoa! It missed the net pole and flew at mach 3 to the other end of the court where it smashed against the wall, rebounded at a competitive mach 2.8 and landed in the waiting arms of the guy serving. Well, it dawned on me all too quickly that I'd regressed into some five year old who didn't get pizza for dinner like he was promised and stamped his feet in a huff. Isn't it funny how you can regress when you lose concentration of what you're about as a human being. We're forever searching for the many little things we can do to improve ourselves yet the instinct to regress and go nuts is as easy as flicking a switch. I fight really hard to keep it back, and I can count on two fingers how many times something like this has happened in the last three years. Knocks me around a bit when I let it go, I get really disappointed but I'm coming out rosy about now ish so its ok.
That sort of thing is really deeply ingrained in me, I was always a hot headed kid when it came to sport, I was always uber competitive to the point of being arrogant, and I couldn't stand to lose. That's the main reason I stopped playing competitive sport. I may have gone somewhere with my golf but do you think I could keep my finger on the pulse and reel it in? No chance. Shame really because I enjoyed golf. The last competitive squash match I played, I'd played pretty badly and at the end of the third set at 2-1 down, I threw my racquet from the front of the court into the back wall with such anger that it snapped clean in two at the handle. That was a stark reminder of where'd I'd been so I sheepishly finished out the match without putting in too much effort, kept my mouth shut, then gave all my racquets away and haven't played again since.
Anyway so today is a new day and it was going along pretty smoothly until around lunch time. Stace calls me, she's sitting at home having some lunch after being out all morning. We had the Real Estate doing a house inspection today so we were both eager to see what they wrote. We've had a couple of run-ins with this agent and the owner, in a word they're really quite cowardly people. Get this, they threatened to pass on a council fine for drying a mop over our balcony. I felt like drying it up his ass at the time, but seriously, the owner says to me "Well the council have sent a health inspector around and are threatening a fine because you've got a mop and bucket on the veranda." First of all mate, the mop has only been out there for 24 hours, and secondly, the council won't be sending health inspectors around here, its private property." He replied all stern and serious "Well they've sent me a letter and its a $200 fine so if you don't sort it out then I'll pass the fine on to you." "That's plain fiction." I said, and he got even more serious. Anyway so then I turned around and quizzed him directly about the blinds that we'd been waiting six months to have repaired. The owner looked straight at the agent and Paul started to stammer something about having to wait for the windows to get replaced, and I cut in "mate, they took the existing blinds straight out of their wall footings, replaced with windows, and slipped them back in, you could've done it any time." Fucking wankers. I'm getting a bit worked up here but wait til you read the next bit...
So Stacey's sitting at home having some lunch, no inspection report so she assumed the agent hadn't been there yet. Next thing the front door opens and in walks two tradesmen. Stace was expecting the key in the door to be the agent letting himself in to do the report. Nope, was a couple of blokes standing there with polly filler in one hand and a set of keys in the other. Stace hit the roof as you can imagine. Had of been me I would've picked up the phone and call the cops, this is Sydney man, they could've been anyone. Anyway, after some conversation it is revealed that the agent AND the owner had been in and out of our home all morning with trade people and taking a look around for themselves. "Really." says Stace, gets on the phone and gives the story to me. Now I'm pretty casual about other people's fuckups normally but this one, I was all over it.
I'm an avid letter writer and if the motivation is there I have the ability to tear people a new one via snail mail. So I'm straight into it, but I thought, no, investigate, a bit of research never went astray, nothing like a bit of knowledge to solidify an argument. Well folks, according to Division 1, Sections' 22 and 24 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, they are in serious breach of our privacy and could be prosecuted for trespass for that little stunt this morning. How good is this!!! Belted the first draft out in about two minutes flat, a page and a half of carefully thought out and worded "you fucking idiots". I also demanded an official apology; preferably by them making an appointment with us, but said I would accept one in writing.
Man! So its been a bit of a ride I'm sure you'd agree. I realise its my little tea cup that's been copping the bad weather but as I said earlier, I have to tell someone. How rude though, yeah?
Time to switch tack, its been a while since I wrote something inane and barely practical, so I thought, why not after all.
Consumer watch. There's some tops new things out at the moment. The new Chux super wipe fucking rocks and you can now get it in a twin pack. These things are durable enough to scrub, yet mild enough to use on your good Teflon. And they don't fall apart in two weeks either. I'm washing up almost every day so take it from me. They're blue by they way, have a differing opposite surfaces and are shaped like a parallelogram. Not cheap but worth it.
The new season of 24 is under way, boooooring, I slept through the first episode and saw that as a sign. It all seems too contrived, with every single character acting suspicious and Chloe going over the top with that annoying thing she does. Jack's still pretty wound up, gee, lucky for America hey. Speaking of Americans (reaching for a segue here) Matthew Fox has recently become un-"Lost" and is has now "Haunted" by the supernatural in order to fight crime, on Friday nights of course. Its not too bad. Oh and he shaves in this one, who knew the man had facial skin???
Who thinks Sensing Murder should be on more regularly? Hell yeah, Rebecca Gibney is a babe...I mean, what a top show. Seriously though, how cool is it having the psychics doing their thing and opening up old cases, sometimes solving them. Too good. Mike Munroe's True Crime is a bit crap though. Mike Munroe's been reading the news over here lately, doing the weekend shift for the prime time bulletins. He sucks as a news reader, you keep thinking there's a punch line about conmen in society at the end of everything. Either that or he'll surprise someone with a book...
Ecstasy is a pretty dirty word in the minds of many. We had a somewhat philosophical discussion the other night with my cuz about what's more socially acceptable out of pot and ecstasy and we headed in two different directions to affirm our respective arguments. I think we're on top if though guys, yeah? Anyway, the very next day Fox news ran this story:
Bags being those mice. Now where was I? Ah yes, consumer watch, Coke with Lime has being hanging about in a diet version for some time now, but the full strength was recently released to absolutely no fan fair - nothing like Vanilla got that's for sure. Its an odd flavour, its not too far removed from the original recipe in the end, praps a little less cokey in after taste and a hint of lime when it first hits your tongue. Probably more curious than Vanilla Coke, that stuff really hit you and stayed with you. This one's barely perceptible. Won't change coke drinkers away from original coke that's for sure, but whose ever been able to make sense to a coke head...
The Mach 3 whatever its called, with the battery? Yeah stick with the standard Mach 3, that's all you'll ever need for a smooth shave. What does the battery operation do? It creates a vibration in the head of the blade, so as you're shaving, its massaging your face as it goes and softens things up. In the end I found it missing spots and not being all that smooth at all. If you do want to try it, keep in mind that if you use the other end of it on your missus while she's in the shower she'll love you forever, so its not money totally wasted. (Ed: No, he hasn't used it on Stacey, so get your hands off the phone!)
Web cam rocks, thanks to all those people who have been sending us friendly pictures from around Australia and the globe. I never thought it would catch on for me but really it is great to see the person at the other end of the phone and actually seeing them laugh as they type "lol". Speaking of people all around the world, the big fella should be in Heathrow or beyond about now. This time tomorrow he'll almost be landing in Sydney. Poor bugger has to put up with us for the next couple of days but after that we'll hand him to his parents and they can officially kick off the molly coddle. I love parents :-)
Go Blues!!! You little beauty!
Pinch and a punch people, pinch and a punch. Bit of a hoo-ha recently regarding the Islamic movement in Australia. Sixty Minutes even ran one their mildly one-sided reports on the movement on these friendly shores. The reporter asked one of the sheiks "do you think Australia could become a Muslim nation?" to which he replied "sure, why not!" Well I'm not here to say yes or no to any of those questions, and while not a fence-sitter, I'm certainly not against anything perse. But lets look at how Australia would handle becoming a Muslim nation shall we...
Allah prohibits drinking alcohol in order to preserve intellect. That's right folks, that means you can't drink. Ever. Under threat of death probably, I haven't read that far into it. Drinking, oh my, Australians consider it traditional to get as pissed as one possibly can on their 18th birthday as a rite into adulthood, and the parents are more often than not present and proud as punch. If you're planning on getting married, well tradition says you have to go out with your chosen few to get smashed and watch naked women dance around covered in whipped cream offering party favours to anyone willing to part with fifty bucks. We hit the pub after a hard day's work, maybe have a steak sandwich with it, there's nothing like a hard earned thirst right? And the best cold drink is beer more often than not. Imagine Australians living in a dry Australia, and I'm not just lack of rain for a change. Not sure that would be acceptable, strike one! (Ed: he's the master of the understatement wouldn't you agree?)
You have to remember that Australians on the whole are very accepting of drugs of all kinds, whether they use them or not. I'm talking prescriptions drugs, hard drugs, party drugs, medicinal drugs, cigarettes, yeah you name it, we're all for it one way or another. We are predisposed to it. We frown on the US's zero acceptance of pot. People go to jail over there for having any quantity of pot on them even if its for personal use. Over here, two states have decriminalised it and the law regarding possession everywhere else is pretty lenient. I don't know one person who believes you should be locked up if you smoke pot. Something close to 90% of Australians over the age of 15 have tried pot, and none of us are in jail for it, in fact we accept that its part of our culture. Sure, its bad for you, its worse for you than cigarettes (fact!), but we're all pretty ok with it. Do you care if the person next door is smoking pot? Nope, me neither, most of us probably have a little snigger when the waft comes cruising through the windows.
Prescription drugs people, all of us have been taking them since we were born. Who don't I know that takes some form or pain killer, whether over the counter or not...nope, can't think of anyone. Everyone does. Yep, its part of our culture, so does Islam frown upon taking drugs. You bet, they hold the intellect very high. Islamic rules and regs are based around stopping you doing what is bad for you, rather than allowing you to do certain things. So you can do, in essence, whatever you like, so long as you are not hurting yourself or your community. So drinking and doing drugs? Forget about it, that's considered to be damaging yourself (your intellect), therefore its a no no. Just look at the Corby farce as an example of a Muslim's stance on drugs, and then think about Australia taking that stance.
Marriage. As it currently stands, around 43% of marriages end in divorce in Australia. I can't find a stat on it but would you agree that a lot of those are a result of adultery? I'd say yes but that's just a logical guess so don't take it for any kind've affirmative. The catholic church frowns on divorce and says that if your marriage ends in divorce, then you are no longer allowed to get married in a catholic church. I don't know how hard and fast that rule is, but I'd say for those in the catholic church its pretty solid.
Under Islamic law, depending on the country's interpretation, if you have sex with someone who is not your husband or wife, or have sex with your fiancé before you are officially married, you can be sentenced to death - death by stoning with palm sized rocks! - or at the very least be imprisoned. If you're a woman well you have very little hope of having that appealed. Men on the other hand, well its all about burden of proof so if the woman doesn't get pregnant, well its all hearsay and the bloke tends to get off. Not always mind. In Australia, if you shag around on your wife or husband, worse case scenario is you go through a long, drawn out court process costing both parties their combined assets as well as their friendships and the relationships within the family, and if children are involved well sometimes the parents lose those too. That's the worst case scenario for us isn't it? I mean most of the time its a punch in the face from your other half (metaphorically speaking of course) and both walking away with whatever feelings they have and a sum of money if there was any. End of story, now go get on with your lives. But you add stoning to death and jail time? Does infidelity really deserve that in the minds of Australians?
Now ladies, the glass ceiling, and I believe its still there in many aspects of life. There's a whole bunch of maleness in the workforce that wreaks of sexual discrimination and that, I believe, is a culture that needs to change. Why can't we have a female prime minister? Why can't we have female CEO's? Why do women have to tolerate being treated like shit in the armed forces? We all bleed red, it shits me to tears, but me ranting isn't going to fix anything so I'll move on before I get completely sidetracked. So would Islamic law make this glass ceiling more or less prevalent?
Islam teaches that women are given the same social and political rights as men. "She is entitled to all the privileges bestowed upon man." Sounds good so far. The source goes on to say that education for men and women is of equal importance. Good. It also says that women are very delicate and thus "...should be cared for like glass. Glass is liable to break very easily if it is not cared of, so is the delicacy in woman, and men must be careful not to injure her delicacy, because in her delicacy lies her beauty." Well this sounds awesome, I'm all for caring for women, I think its a great priority to have, in fact I have it right now. Ok lets keep going...
The Quran is unequivocal about the woman's role being the house maker. "It regards home as the first concern of woman. It allots the work of managing the home and upbringing and training of children to woman - a work which forms the most important item in the task of nation building." Right, so ladies, forget your career paths and leave building the nation outside the home to the men. Wait, isn't that why the nation's in a shit fight right now? Men already run the nation don't they? Hmm, ok so imagine Australians accepting it as law that men do all the work. Boo yah, strike two. I take nothing away from women in our society, I think that doing the parent thing as well as the career thing is a seemingly insurmountable task that every woman takes on without blinking an eye. Kudos to our women, who better to have running the country!
Hey ladies, are you a big fan of being able to wear what you want? The Quran leaves it up to the consciousness of the individual as to how they should dress. And further:
"The first principle is that a Muslim woman has to have the right and freedom to choose how she interprets her dress code."
Interesting, so why all the punishment if she gets it wrong according to the men? If she has the right and freedom to choose how she interprets her dress code, there shouldn't be all the fuss that we hear about surely. Ok so you read a bit further down and the Quran specifically states that while a freedom of interpretation exists, both men and women should dress (in public) in a manner that will de-accentuate their sexuality." Got that ladies, no more wearing skirts unless you're locked in your bedroom, under the covers with the lights off.
Lets look at relationships again. Can Muslim women choose who they marry? Its pretty important to us Westerners that we get to choose who we meet, fall in love with and marry. Do women get these choices under Islam? Indeed they do, score one for Islam. A Muslim woman may marry any man in the community she chooses so long as his wives do not number more than four. She may also check out the current treatment of his existing wives if there are any, and then base her decision on that. That sounds fair to me. Of course the man having four wives - still legal to this day - doesn't bode well but therein lies one of the differences in culture that don't conflict with either way of life, its simply different.
Islam holds chastity as a solid virtue and teaches "the relationship between husband and wife should be characterized by grace." All good and well, but there goes the old try-before-you-buy ideology, which I personally hold very strongly to. I mean what if they're crap in bed even though they're a great person. Lets face it folks, while not the most important thing, good sex goes a long way to sealing the deal whether we want to ignore it or not. Imagine for a moment that you are married to a partner who is completely incompatible with you in bed, to the point you don't enjoy having sex with them <shudder>. You have to live with them for the rest of your life under Islamic law.
"Consort with them graciously. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good. (4:20)"
Well if snubbing your sexual urges, man or woman, is something you have to live with until death do you part, welcome the downhill slide of a typical marriage in modern western society. Remember, there's a stoning (and not the grassy type) at the end of it if you go outside the marriage. And what if your husband or wife is abusive? Well you just put up with it because Allah made them that way for a good reason, obviously. Moving on and Islam says that husband and wife shall have reciprocal obligations toward one another in the running of the household, "but as man is the breadwinner and has the responsibility of providing for the wife and family and in the case of a difference in the matter of running the household he has the final word, for that things should get out of hand and the family should be faced with ruin."
"Wives have rights corresponding to those which husband have, in equitable reciprocity, through, in certain situations, men would have the final word and they enjoy a preference, Allah is mighty, wise. (2:229)"
So at the end of the day, men get to run the household as they see fit, not the women as the Quran has previously stated. Sounds a bit hypocritical to me. Didn't the Quran also state that women shall enjoy equal social and political privileges? This makes Allah wise eh. Look, nothing against Allah but they're sounding a bit masculine in their hard but fair rulings, I mean fancy telling everyone they are equal, then putting in a sub-clause that basically says at the end of the day, its a man's decision anyway. Strike three, you're outa there!
So can Australia accept a Muslim way of life? The short answer after what I've read is no. Could Australia benefit from a Muslim way of life? Well look if everyone adhered to the Muslim way, then men would be running things, women would be at home running the house according to the men, and we'd have no friends because according to Islam, non Muslims cannot be friends, only acquaintances. Ok so Australia is now Muslim and hates the West, does this mean our oil wells are reason for the States to invade? Its a fine enough reason for them to invade other Muslim countries, why not us? Its oil after all. No, Australia would not benefit from a Muslim way of life.
Women would be allowed to have an education and a career, yet as soon as they are married, they have to stay at home and run the house. How long have western women fought for equal rights in their respective countries? Fuckin' decades mate, do they want to give up everything they've fought for to become Muslim? No fucking way, and I'm with them. Why should women have to accept what I believe to be a second rate existence. The world is there for all of us to enjoy, and for women to be treated the way they are currently - these are the people who propagate the species, we rely on them to survive - its fucking atrocious that they don't get more respect. Do I think Muslim women are treated right? Hell no, but that's just my opinion, go do some reading for yourself before you go agreeing with me.
So does this make me a capitalistic pig? Am I Western scum because my beliefs are contrary to Islam? In the eyes of Islam, yes. I'm trying not to dwell on the chick thing but Islam says so much about "providing considerate laws for the welfare of women". It makes special mention that it will take care of women. Look, women are people, they are equal, there shouldn't NEED to be special provisions for women. This tells me Islam isn't right for Australia, especially for Australian women. If that makes me what I am in the eyes of Islam, good then!
So, to answer the sheik's question "Of course Australia can become a Muslim nation, why not?" Why not? Because you treat women unfairly, you don't allow for non-marital sex, you don't allow alcohol, you don't allow women to have a career, you kill people if they transgress in the bedroom, you're zero tolerance on just about everything we take for granted in normal life - in other words your culture disagrees with ours on just about every level. So no, sheik dude (and I have the freedom to call you that regardless of its political incorrectness because I have the right), Australia can't become a Muslim nation.
Look from what I've read, the Muslim belief system doesn't sit well with me and it has been very hard to be partial on this topic. In theory, Islam does actually sound like a great way of life. But what you, I and sheik dude have to remember is that we're not looking at it from the perspective of a country that doesn't have a culture or a way of life, right? We all have beliefs that we hold true to, and whether that is different to the person next door doesn't matter in Australia. Christians and Jews have been punishing women since the mythical original sin - eating a fucking apple for fuck's sake. I understand the rhetoric behind it; being that if you can't resist the temptation of something you can't have, well you're basically a good for nothing and out of control and society doesn't want you. But fancy blaming it on a chick. Christianity actually used to believe that women had no soul, that's no shit folks, go look it up! Catholics and abstinence. Way contradiction! While they frown upon contraception on one hand, building families of eight, they're not allowed to have sex on the other and are molesting innocent children in the back rooms of churches.
The point being that all religions, on the surface, have positives and negatives and I hold nothing against anyone who adheres to any of them. Shit I'd be a very lonely man if I did. But that's what Australia is about, accepting everyone, allowing everything, and in the same breath, all those who migrate here respecting that as we do them. Islam doesn't appear to allow for that.
Now, try to force us into becoming Muslim...that be openin' up another can me-hearties...
How cool is this photo:
Courtesy of the AFL
Its a bugger of a weekend for tipping, frickin' Roos, frickin' Cats, frickin' Freo, who knows!?! Good luck if you're in it though :-)
I've gotta wave the rock music flag again. The near-impossible-to-download debut album of Silvertide is A-W-E-S-O-M-E! I just scored a copy on eBay so its on the way. Man, this is probably the most relevant and important rock album to come out in the last 15 years. Not since Appetite For Destruction has something hit me like this; their sound is a cross between recent Aerosmith, Black Crowes and Buckcherry, with a Gunners' Van Halen style vibe.
It harks from the blues rock of the 70s when Thin Lizzy and Aerosmith-circa-"Rocks" were doing the rounds, and then thunders fourth with a rejuvenated Aerosmith-circa-"Permanent Vacation/Pump". Its full of blues licks and swagger and a couple of the biggest hooks in recent rock history. Steven Tyler left an indelible impression on this mind when he said "You know its an Aerosmith song, because you can really fuck to it." Yes, Steven, you can, and here cometh the new breed, oh my!
Hailing from a working class area of Philadelphia, these fellas used to turn up to class with their orange juice spiked with vodka, and spend their days getting really pissed. Music class was about the only class they took seriously, and what a good thing. You hear these stories and you think "Man, what if music doesn't work out for these guys, they're fucked for the rest of their lives." But you have to remember one thing, if like-minded kids like this didn't throw caution to the wind - soon to burn out or not - we'd never be blessed with the music that's showcased on Show & Tell.
Show & Tell
Courtesy of Amazon.com
Silvertide are a five-piece; vocals, two guitars, bass and drums, and that's how a rock band should be, and while I shouldn't be singling out any of them, you can't help but be totally floored by the singing of Walt Lafty - I know, gay name, but he doesn't care trust me. And the guitar playing, well its chip off the old block for Joe Perry, man that guy can play. The solos in this are just...well just fucking cool!
The band began as a jam session during the day between (during?) classes, a couple of the guys studying at Uni, another finishing his senior year at high school. Eventually becoming a four-piece playing coffee houses and bars until finally they graduated to permanent gigs at bigger clubs, five nights a week! These guys were living the fairy tale, they created their own publicity, made their own commotion, eventually to be noticed by several high powered A&R guys from all walks of the business. After a bidding war, J Records scored their signature, hired them a house in the country and outfitted it as a live-in-studio slash outback retreat. And man did they party. So good were these guys that the execs just kept pumping money into the upkeep of their increasingly hedonistic lifestyles. After a year of work there was still no studio output from the band though they toured the east coast relentlessly. Eventually J Records issued a teaser EP "American Excess" showcasing three tracks. Wow! I've had it since the beginning of '03, I was just...wow! And hanging out for the album.
Finally, it dropped last year and since then, well they've scored support slots with Velvet Revolver, a leg of Van Halen's reunion, and most recently are on the road on Motley Crue's summer bill. Go the Tides. Show & Tell comprises eleven tracks - if you ask nicely I can turn that into 13, adding a track off the EP that didn't make the album and an acoustic version of "Devil's Daughter". It kicks off with the rollicking blues funk rock of "I Ain't Comin' Home" and you're just waiting for the radio DJ to say "...and now, a blast from the past with this 80s rocker...", the "Devil's Daughter" eases in and simmers with a maturity well beyond their years - these guys can't just play, they're true song writers. The next few outstanding tracks give the album an ever stronger presence when all of a sudden "Heartstrong"'s melancholic balladry puts you on the couch and imagining everything this guy is singing about, head in your hands, heart in your mouth. Amazing. Its the best rock ballad I've heard, probably ever, I kid you not. I've had it on repeat since I managed to get it downloaded earlier this week. So good! But the album doesn't finish there, no no, "To See Where I Hide" punches you in the face, and then "You Want It All" boots your ass out of the room. If you've got anything left then prepare to be impressed by "Foxhole J.C." - I haven't quite gotten it yet but I think its a bit of a kick in the pants against the war. Don't tell me these guys have a conscience as well as a hefty drug bill? Yup!
I honestly believe that even in this musical climate of back door boy band pop, R'n'B shit and manufactured Popstars crap, there's plenty of room for Silvertide to take all those people hanging out for an honest rock record and please them on the side. I'd like them to take over the world and spawn a hundred different wannabe's but I'd be happy if these guys got some radio play, toured, and released a second album. Hell I'm happy with the few measly mp3's I've managed to find, such is my take on the music scene we have forced on us today. Show & Tell boasts at least three radio friendly hits, enough to keep the masses from disregarding them completely in the commercial arena. More than that though, it is eleven individually outstanding tracks that beg to be played over and over. And in my case, over again. I hope Australia gets the chance to sit up and notice these guys.
Silvertide - "Show & Tell" and "American Excess", remember the name. Oh and go visit the website, they're streaming three full tracks from the album - you will need the Macromedia Flash plug-in (it'll direct you if you don't have it). And when the CD gets here, in between listening to the crap out of it, I'll let yous know in case you're interested in having a listen.
C'mon Blues, one more for the gipper (and if you do win, I'll ask again next week)
Weekend shenanigans. Well it was time to have a bit of an explore on Saturday. My cous and I headed out into the city on a glorious day on Saturday to soak up the sunshine and have a bit of a bo-peep around town. We started out in Bondi, couple of quiet beers and a game of pool. From there we ditched my car at home and headed in to Circular Quay, walked down our favourite arcade. Street theatre, what a blow out, one guy we came across was tattooed from head to toe in this blue/black hue, and his teeth shone bright silver. He was perched atop a 14 foot tall unicycle juggling two machetes and an apple. His finale was to eat the apple as he juggled, most impressive. We moved on, took some photos of the harbour bridge and the Opera House, there were people everywhere, it was pretty cool. Just around the corner from the OH stairs is the royal botanic gardens, complete with scenic railway. "Dude, we're going on that!"
After a short wait we got the call to board, a young English woman driving, with a French couple being the only others joining in. The driver asked us if we wanted the commentary as the French couple "probably won't understand it anyway." Hell yeah we wanted the commentary, we wanted the full shebang for our buck. So off we set and after a short time we came across the rarest pine tree in the world, this one shipped in from Lord Howe Island. Then some really trippy specimens, one had the hugest fat trunk, another looked like it hadn't shaved its armpit hair in who knows. Then the coolest thing, bats. A big sign sat below the sleeping colony with the inscription "Do not pat the bats." Oh dear. Even if you had the chance encounter with a bat, would you touch it? No frickin way, but it goes to show that there are some people out there who would. They were as cute as a bat can be when sleeping.
Next thing that happened we really couldn't fathom. Now this scenic railway had an engine, which was a miniature train engine thingy that drove like a golf cart. On the back were three carriages, and they were all daisy chained together and got pulled along behind it. So we're right up the back belting along at about 5 kays an hour, really enjoying the nature of it all, when the engine all of a sudden came to a stop. There was a fairly loud thud to go along with it. We looked at each other wondering what the when the train took off again. Then things came clear. On our left was an older lady standing there with a pram with her arms in the air as if to say "you idiot". On our right was a younger woman, frantic, and running towards the back of the carriages. We put two and two together and realised what had happened: the driver had run over the pram and split the family group onto both sides of the train. As the people got closer to us we could make out their cries, they were in another language but they were saying things like "holy fuck", that was pretty obvious. As we passed the pram, there was a baby inside it, and it appeared to be asleep. More lookers on were starting to yell a bit now and abusing the driver for not watching where she was going. The mother had run behind us now and was eagerly grabbing for the baby, we were dumbfounded. And just when we thought it was all over, she's actually slowed again and was berating another couple of people pushing prams for having them on the road. Oh my lord, this woman didn't think she did anything wrong back there, shit I hope she doesn't start driving angry.
We bailed as soon as she stopped, totally freaked out. We made our way back to the man made stuff and got a cold beer. Sat out in the Quay and watched the people walk by and trying to imagine that it didn't happen. Man, we were going through an Australian tourist attraction while an English woman drove her French passengers over a Swedish family. Too screwed.
After a while, the sun had set and it was time to go. We headed home and picked up Billy from the station and Stacey was home from work at that stage. We settled in to dribble incoherently for the rest of the night, floated the idea of going somewhere else but it never materialised. We fell asleep watching Any Given Sunday and then it was all over. And now I'm sitting here at work wishing it was Saturday morning again. Doh! Chat soon...
Irony. Use it or lose it people...from your vocabulary that is. Its one of those words that people love using because it sounds witty and it sounds intelligent. But the fact is an ironic situation doesn't come along that often, and most people are so desperate to use it they just throw it out there in the hope of it working. Here's a couple of clangers, examples of how NOT to use it:
A CD review, (source - Internet) - "When other high-school students were adoring Britney Spears, *NSYNC, and the Backstreet Boys, Lafty was being influenced by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose, and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant — and Lafty, ironically, is even younger than Tyler's daughter, Liv Tyler." Sorry, whoever you are, I'm afraid that's not ironic, that's so far from ironic I'm about to fall off the edge of the world looking for a way back! The fact Lafty is younger than another singer's daughter is but an amusing piece of trivia with regards to his age-to-talent ratio, nothing more. Irony here would be while Lafty is idolising Tyler, he's teaching Tyler something, mildly ironic I'll grant you, but still...
Reporter, (source - A Current Affair) - talking to a prisoner while his cell is being raided by police: "So, what were you doing before they raided your room?" ... "Watching Cops." ... "Well that's ironic isn't it." Sorry mate, that's just pure coincidence, bad luck even. Don't get me started on what you were thinking, hanging out to use a big word with the intent of emphasising the denigration. He acted like a real smarmy prick when he said to too, as if to say "I'm better than you, so is everyone watching this on their tele right now." I know what the prisoner was thinking ... "Only caus' they haven't been caught yet." What would've been ironic is if he'd been sitting there helping the police point out which prisoners have contraband hidden in their cells, and then his gets raided. Loser!
"So what is irony Benno?" Folks, irony is quite simply where the outcome is opposite to the intention. Irony would be me now turning around and using the word incorrectly. If someone uses the word to make themselves look intelligent and they use it incorrectly, well the irony is they end up looking pretty stupid in my opinion. Capice?
Now while we're on the topic of how people carry themselves in conversation, have you noticed people that say "Umm, I might have a glass of white wine." Or "I think I'll just go down the shop." Well, are they going to or not? Is this just them thinking out loud? At the risk of sounding like yet another of life's incongruencies is annoying the piss out of me, its just such a non-committal way of speaking and acting. If you want to do it, do it, if you want to have it, have it. If you want to ask for it, for Doogie's sake fucking ask for it. Do whatever it is you're after, otherwise everyone around you will just think you're bumbling through life without any purpose. I mean if you are genuinely thinking, well that's ok eg: "I think I might run for Labor Party leader", fair enough. But if you're ordering food from a waiter and you tell them "I think I'll have the lamb", well you've failed How To Speak 101, you may as well change your name to Hugh Grant and grow big hair, be done with it.
Another day, another scare in the London underground. We got home from volleyball last night in the hopes of catching some of the first innings - somewhere between the pub and home the Aussies lost 4 wickets and barely scored! And then we get to see Tony Blair addressing the nation, with our little sack of shit - the scab! - Johnny fucktard standing right along side him. Oh dear. Most of it was lost on me, but Stace noticed a ripper while I was in the shower. I came back out and Stace is telling me that Blair said this and man it was funny, and I just couldn't believe my ears. Five minutes later, after Johnny finished bumbling through his crap-on, Blair comes good with a repeat: "The people who are responsible for the terrorist attacks, are terrorists." I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm almost certain that if I was a Brit I'd be fuming that I was spoken to like that, I can only watch on in amusement. Anything overly literal in that? What's he going to justify next?
Any idea how many tax payer's dollars are going in to Johnny 'lying sack of shit' Howard's stay in London people? Any? $9,000 per night! You know why? He gets a personal butler. So while he's getting his ass wiped by a man servant in a London summer, we're all slaving away to pay for it. Cheque please. I must come across as a simpleton, and look, I'm the first to admit that I'm not well versed in international relations and the infinite-sized web of complexities that are involved when two countries are mates, but fair dinkum John, 200 bucks a night should do the trick yeah? Wipe your own ass!
Then I found this sent to our mailbox at home, and life seemed much better:
Poor bitch, lol.
Happy birthday Mum, happy birthday Pete, have a scotch for me will yous, cheers.
I have a theory on why ladies shirts have the buttons on the left and mens shirts are on the right. At first I thought it was because that makes it easier for the opposite sexes to undress each other in the heat of the moment. I mean lets face it, if the buttons are on the same side when you're ripping off your bonk buddy's shirt, well its that much easier isn't it! But no, its dawned on me recently (having done no research into it whatsoever) that its probably for the visually impaired.
Say for example you're blind, and you go shopping. You happen to be in a store that sells both mens and womens apparel, and of course you want the apparel that goes with your gender, then you can give the shirt a feel and if the buttons are on the left or the right, well, you know whether you're looking at the correct garment. I'm just generalising there by the way, you can wear whatever you like, doesn't bother me, but even still my theory holds true. If you're a man who wants to look like a woman dressed as a man dressed pretending to be a woman, you still need to know what gender the shirt is in order to get your look right. Right? Right!
Another application for the button-side theory is if you share a wardrobe with someone of the opposite gender. You don't want to be turning up to work in your other half's off-white weekend grease rag do you...nooooo. So there you go folks, yet another mind-boggingly unnecessary waste-of-time piece of information that is probably something only I could think about whilst eating tortellini this fine winters lunch break.
Gee its been a big day in the news. Lleyton and Bec are getting married, EVERYONE in Sydney just has to know where. Big f---in' deal guys, get a life, c'mooooooooooooon! Star Trek's original Scotty has passed away - shit that means half of Australia's IT workforce just called in sick!
And this just in: "British Government Declares War on Terrorism and Radicals" <yawn>. Hey I'm the first to agree that what happened in the London underground was nothing short of a tragedy, but if you watch enough docos on how the Brits, the Yanks and us Aussies have treated third world nations in the past, well, gee guys. We have scientists in the Western nations who are at the bleeding edge of nuclear energy technology saying "well, if a reactor blows and we lose a few million people in the fallout, well that's just collateral damage we have to be content with in order to save the environment." So those people are writing off millions of us in the name of the environment (which I agree is a more compelling topic right now) and we worry that a third world nation's radical left wing faction killed 50 of us. And this is after we've declared war on them and bombed hundreds of thousands of their civilians to death over some fiction that gave ONE man a hard-on.
Why can't we be friends? I'll tell you why all this shit started in the first place - strictly my opinion you understand. The Industrial Revolution. The past hundred years have been a boon for technology in Western society. And as a hemisphere unto itself, our urge to grow and progress is exponential. Unfortunately for everyone else, we haven't got enough resources of our own to keep doing it, otherwise we'd keep to ourselves right?
Marbles. When I was a kid in primary school, you went where the marbles were. There were the kids whose only ambition during marble season was to win as many marbles as they possibly could off anyone who would play. Didn't matter what game, or if their opposition was down to their last marble, they'd play them for it anyway - capitalists. As they progressed up the marble ranks, other groups of lower marble-earning kids broke away from the mainstream action, content that the amount they had was sufficient for their playing purposes - pacifists. This frustrated the capitalists as the mainstream market began to dry up. They could see the riches in the distance but couldn't reach them. Yet.
All the while the pacifists would welcome small time players into their game, no problems, they were happy to have the company. A win might give them some confidence and pleasure, a well deserved respite from the rat race. However, pique their interest, and their group would them move that kid slightly out of the way - greed would set in, they would turn toward the marble elite, hungry for a glassing - the dark side.
The lesser earning players remained content, watching swingers play the merry-go-round of hitting it big one day, then being trumped out the next by a big stayer - the whale. Eventually the capitalists gave themselves no choice but to band together, to strike out for the pacifist playing groups and plunder at will from their combined bounty. But you couldn't just run in there and take them on, you had to go in hiding an agenda, making good while keeping your eye on the prize.
Capitalist: "Hey you, you've got marbles, play me."
Capitalist: "C'mon, I'm not that good, and hey if you and I play then I can get you a game with those guys over there, they're great to have as friends and don't really care about marbles."
Pacifist: "Hmm, well, okay, but I'm not playing for many."
Capitalist: "Yep, as many as you want. Then I'll set you up with those guys."
Once they had you there, they'd suck you in with some bad throws and gamesmanship, and with the smell of companionship, even the anticipation of friendship in the air, you went with it, holding out for that meet and enjoying the spoils of having a few more marbles in your bag. Of course once you played long enough, you were mates, its was fun, you prospered together. Then they'd really tickle you:
Capitalist: "Dude, you really should come and play with my
friends some time, you'd really like them."
Pacifist: "Yeah? Really?"
Capitalist: "Yep, in fact we have a rule, that everything you lose, you get half of it back again..."
More promises, thick and fast, and all of a sudden you were in. You hadn't even signed a contract and you were up there, you were marble elite. And then one day the rules would change, things didn't go your way, someone forgets to give you back the half you lost, things not going as promised. What do do now? You can't go back to your pacifist group, somewhere along the line you forgot where you came from and plundered along side your faux friends. You forgot, you were too into it. So then you were lost to the marble wilderness, wandering alone with whatever you had left, unwelcome at any gathering, unloved. Did it make you angry? You bet. So then you band together with your Ronan brethren, you plot to devastate the popular marble playing fields where the capitalists hang out. You organise a game of soccer, and the field is right through the middle of the marble yards - terrorism!
And then we all grew up, but somewhere along the line we forgot that it was just a game, we're all still playing marbles, only now its for keepsies. Now instead of marbles, its oil. Now instead of middle-eastern countries growing up concentrating on their own faith and existence, they grow up learning the wicked ways of the west and the things that must be done in order to combat them. You and I may have grown up playing marbles, but don't think we're innocent of anything just because we hung up the bag. I'll bet there's a few of you out there that wanted to give your younger siblings a leg up after you retired from the game, give them the big bag and give them the power to go hunt. Nobody likes being hunted for marbles, nobody.
My mate Kendall, we love him, but mate he had the largest collection of marbles ever amassed in the world, and he won them all! If we had've known who he was, we'd have called him Kendall Trump, and he was good. He knew where to play, he knew what to spend and how. That guy had so many bags - enormous bags! - of marbles that he'd take a different one to school each day, blended with newer and richer content than the day before. Milkies and Catseyes were small time to that guy, Toms, hell he'd throw them away for a laugh. Cleary Jumbos, Birdcage Jumbos, Milky Way Jumbos, yeah he was in the Holes game, and he was good! His two kids are laughing I tell you, born with a bag of Toms in their mouths.
I recall one very fortunate windfall I had over a weekend. While cleaning out some stuff in the kitchen cupboard, Nan had this big sack of something that rattled. A familiar rattle it was. It was some kind've hanging ornamental piece to her and she hated it. But it was black gold to me my friends. Birdcage Toms, hundreds of them. When I hit the fields on Monday with my opening stash I thought the stock market had taken off. I had kids eyeing off the merchandise from across the playground, I was Chinese whispers, I was word of mouth, I was in baby, IN! But I wasn't a capitalist and let that first day's bunch go pretty easily. I picked out Ronin to play, I hung with the pacifists, I spread the booty. But I only did it once. After that I turned into a bit of a Montgomery Burns and kept them at home, breaking out half a dozen now and then when I needed to stock up my cannon fodder. Mmmmmmm, capitalistic urges, mmmmmmmm.
Stay out of trouble would you, all of you! Take care.
I had my first experience with the chiropractic profession last week; Stacey had decided to get her back problems checked out and got a good deal through one over in Chatswood. She asked me to come along to her second session when the doc was to outline what her x-rays have revealed and what would be entailed in sorting it all out. I had to be there, I've heard nothing but bad things about chiro's but had never spoken to one - on a professional level at least - before. So I wanted to see for myself. Well...
The clinic Stacey was going to was a "family practice" and they trumpet the CBP Technique - that stands for Chiropractic Biophysics Technique. Sounds good doesn't it? Her first adjustment - they call frigging around with your spine adjustments - had been ok, she felt her back pain had eased albeit temporarily. The CBP Technique works towards spine and pelvis corrective and rehabilitative procedures, which in theory is not nearly as horrifying as the practical. Good lord!
Anyway so we get into the consult, our Dr Adj (his name isn't Adj, and I'm not libellous) sat down, introduced himself to me and thanked me for coming along. Right from the word go, this guy started a sales pitch. I had no idea what to expect so was happily open minded, but after a while I just sat there wondering if I was here to support Stacey in her health care needs or buy a car. I really wanted the cup holders, I knew that much. I was taken aback that a health care professional would be sitting there trying to sell Stacey - us - health care, he certainly wasn't talking to us as a doctor.
So after ripping through his paid-presentation-style "we are the world of health care, I can fix you" speech he basically told us that Stacey's spine was so far out of alignment that it would need corrective treatment. According to the x-rays, there were issues with curvature all over the place. But he didn't leave the x-ray up for very long, and basically pointed to a few lines he'd drawn and assured us that it looked wrong. He also conveniently forgot to bring in an x-ray of a good looking spine - that was the one I wanted to see!
I'm finding holes all over this guy's story but I kept on with him, nodding and assuring him that I understood everything he said. I figured there'd be time for questions at the end so I hung in there. So we're no more than five minutes into the consult and he brings out a payment schedule and starts circling numbers and telling Stace "now don't worry about this and we can do discounts on that and payment plan blah" and I'm thinking, hang on mate, you've gone straight from an x-ray that we don't even know is hers to outlining the payment system. "Any questions?", "Sure do" I said. Stacey says I need to work on my delivery and its very true. I sat there saying to myself "now don't sound like a prick when you start asking him questions" but the guy had taken the piss for too long so I just couldn't stop.
Me: "So you're telling us that what you suspect has been
10-15 years of subtle and incorrect spinal positions has moved Stacey's
spine out of alignment, and you're going to fix it in 12 weeks. What sort
of exercises are involved?"
Adj: "Well, we use medieval torture."
He may as well have said that. Please, for your viewing pleasure, take a look at some of the techniques employed using CBP from your health care professionals at Ideal Spine, you'll have to scroll down the page a ways. They're using some java script to stop you copying the images displayed there, but have a quick look down and then think to yourself, sure, I'd do that. Keep in mind that that's your spine you're playing with.
He then set about performing an adjustment on Stacey. Cor, I nearly threw up! Without any warming up of the limbs or muscles he puts her into positions that really do require you to be gymnast-limber, then pushes sharply onto the spine and something cracked. Then he did her neck. Have you all seen In Bed With Madonna and part of her pre-concert warm-up is to have her neck cracked? Oh man, I just hoped she'd stand up off the bed again, wow that was horrible to watch. And he's laughing and joking and "its a tough job but someone has to do it", flagrantly waving his I-do-nothing-for-money flag.
Fuck! So then we make our way to the desk, everything perfectly choreographed so that the next patient is sitting and waiting and can see how professionally everything is being conducted. I've kept my mouth shut pretty much since we left the consult room and have just been watching Dr Adj doing his thing. I haven't reacted when he's cracked his little jokes (cracked, guffaw!) and I think it started to wear on him a bit. Stacey reckons I peaked him but I was just taking in as much as I could so we could chat about it later if we wanted to. And we wanted to, but times and places people, as always.
The lady at the front counter reminded me of the middle-aged woman with too much makeup, pretending to be the twenty-something thing she used to be twenty years ago in order to make the boss look good. She also started circling dollar values and insisting that when you sign up you need to do this and blah and we can give you receipts for your health care fund. Meanwhile Adj is handing me a form saying "and this is for you for coming along today. That's a free workup, you get x-rays and a professional appraisal and you won't have to pay a cent." Literally people, he handed me what looked like a gift certificate, it even had an expiry date! Oh that's the other thing, he says "Oh and don't worry about that expiry date, that won't apply for you, you come back any time." So now he's trying to to sell health care to me. We didn't say anything.
So what's to trust? Quite frankly I was appalled at what I'd just witnessed. First of all he tells us he's been in practice for 19 years - the guy didn't look a day over 35. The "gym" equipment spread out over the workshop...<ahem> sorry, practice, resembled a torture chamber, as did the methods involved. The thing with the ball on the neck and pullies and weights, I mean it looked like a denizen of S&M fair dinkum. Next is his sales pitch, a health care professional people, selling health. When I had my kidney out the doctor didn't say to me "well, there is a cheaper option", no. He didn't ask Stacey about her sitting, driving, sleeping habits and positions, didn't ask after her history. Everything he knew about Stacey's back, Stacey had told him. And the way he found most of it out? By using interjections like "let me guess, you get pain around here" or "I'll bet you're uncomfortable when you do this" and waiting for affirmation from the patient. Can you be any more ambiguous Adj?!?
The final straw in relinquishing me of any confidence in this guy's methods were the adjustments he performed. The first one was fairly standard, lifting straight up with the arms crossed. Before the second adjustment to the lower back, he got Stacey to stand up straight and had me look at her straight on so I could see what he was talking about. Her left shoulder dips lower than her right "and that's what we need to fix". But then he proceeded to perform the same adjustment on both sides of her back. So any correction that was helping the misalignment had been immediately undone by doing the other side. The guy's cred was shot to pieces in my mind.
Stacey and I spoke at length about the techniques and the money and weighed it up against some alternative methods. The thing with backs, in my mind and from my limited knowledge, is that in order for your spine to be in the correct position, it is the muscles that must be strengthened for that to happen. When you stand up, its not the spine that holds your body up against gravity, its your muscles holding your spine in position that do the work. Case in point: Anyone who slouches eg me, simply doesn't have strong enough muscles around the lower part of the spine to sit up straight. How do you fix it? Start sitting up straight all the time, that will strengthen the muscles and over time they will do it on their own, all of a sudden your spine is being pulled into the correct position.
I'm freaked that 10-15 years of damage can be corrected by FORCING the spine into not-even-precisely the opposite direction, to quote a popular ism, its pure quackery. Chiropractic is a profession that seems to be geared toward getting them in and keeping them there. There's no hard science to back up its theories, and chiropractors don't do an internship once they finish their uni degree; they walk straight into the public practicing arena and those who believe in their work are at the mercy of people who haven't learnt their trade out of anything other than a text book. Oh dear.
Be careful with your spine people; this coming from a person with zero respect for liver or lungs. Ah but at least I can walk in comfort. By the way Stacey's doing just fine, its gonna cost me some big dollars to get a decent mattress but I'm gonna throw in for a riding crop and keep her in line if she ever does anything with her back that she shouldn't. As we say in the riding crop industry, weeeeeewoobadaaaaaaa!!!
Surry Hills is a bit of alright. We went to a birthday dinner on Friday night for my cousin's mother's ex-husband's daughter to his new wife...in other words she's absolutely nothing in relation to me but she invited us along so we accepted. Nepalese food, tried it? You'll find it somewhere between Indian and Lebanese in terms of flavour and texture, an odd sawdust-like garnish aside. Goat, ever tried goat? If its the dish I'm thinking it was, its quite nice as a curry, feels a bit odd to actually say that you're eating it though. Think about it, "how would you like your goat sir, medium rare?" Would you like us to milk it and make some cheese first sir? Its probably just me on this one, Venison I have no problem with, nor Kangaroo, but goat sits a bit funny.
For those of you familiar with Stacey's eating habits and tastes I'll be you're all wondering how she got through it since it was a banquet. With flying colours, yes Tez, she even ate the curried stuff! Her tongue nearly packed its bags and left without leaving a note, and she says she won't be going there again for a while, but at the same time admits it was very tasty. I loved it, I'll eat Nepalese food anytime folks, awesome stuff!
Having babies is a pretty amazing thing I've gotta say. Every now and then I find out something new. The last thing I found out was what a pregnant tummy felt like as I creepily stalked Rines around her house grabbing handfuls of child-in-womb at every opportunity. Ah, she didn't fight it, as if I wasn't going to, lol. Anyway yeah so here's a pretty cool thing: when a woman gives birth, her body releases an endorphin-like drug into their system that keeps them really lucid, calm, alert and awake for around three days post-birth. This ensures that the first couple of days of a baby's life, regardless of how little sleep Mum has had, she's up for around the clock care for the child. Cool hey. Of course what goes up must come down, so day four see's Mum crash and burn like Evel Knievel on a bad day, but there you go Mums and Mums-to-be, you've either just taken or are about to take the most natural version of ecstasy. How exciting, when I grow up, I'm going to get pregnant!
Books, I love books. I rarely read them because I rarely get time...ok I rarely make the time. But I just finished The Da Vinci Code - I wanted to see what all the fuss is about - and what a ripper of a read it is. Has to be the most awfully written piece of text I've ever read - if I see the word incredulous one more time I reckon I'll take out a contract on Dan Brown - but yeah man, tops read. If you haven't read it and are planning to, I've designed the next paragraph in blue, as it contains a few spoilers; not the end of course but there are a few crucial plot twists that make the book what it is. So if you want to skip this, you can't accidentally read any info as you head down the page. If you do want to read what's in it, simply click-and-drag to highlight.
The Da Vinci Code rips through Christianity like a wet sewer rat through newspaper. It has to be the most clever and well researched book in recent times, taking historical fact and Christian lore and blending it in such a way as to make it believable. I couldn't put the thing down; Dan Brown edging closer to telling us exactly what the Holy Grail is, the real reasoning behind the Crusades, explaining why the Knights of the Templar were setup, the origins of Friday the 13th's unluckiness, and loads more. Its a real trip and you get to believe it all, and I'm sure a lot of it is substantiated somewhere anyway.
Further intrigue is created with the myths surrounding some of Da Vinci's greatest works of art. I knew a few of them from my mind's eye but as I read further I just had to look at them somewhere. I was fortunately to be leant the picture version of the Code from my Dad so I had the artwork in front of me as I read stuff. Phew! Its such a trip, The Last Supper and the dagger, the euphemisms and metaphors leaping from the canvas so fast I could hardly keep up. Amazing stuff. You do actually learn stuff though I'm sure a lot of it are exaggerations on the truth. But who cares!
Another thing I found clever was that this thing is written to be filmed. Whoever gets the job of Screen Writer will be a glorified typist. So who plays who? Well I haven't looked for a while but Tom Hanks is confirmed as Robert Langdon and Monica Bellucci is a shoe-in for Sophie. I'm torn on Teabing between three - one of them is perfect but I can't think of his name right now nor anything he's been in (B-Grade horror flicks mostly) - Michael Cain and Malcolm McDowell are the other two. Bezu Fache should go to Jean Reno though I picture Fache looking slimmer and shorter, and Silas should have Rutger Hauer but again, probably unsuitable given his age, and Ian McShane or Gary Oldman as Bishop Aringarosa. The rest are support and could be divided among several candidates, no one sprung to mind during the read which probably puts their relative importance into perspective...and I've just spied the latest news on it. I got one right!!! Jean Reno as Fache, go me!
Once again, very badly written, I'll go back to this only briefly to qualify the statement. Dan Brown while incredibly intelligent and extremely well versed in his subject matter, can't use adjectives properly. And if he uses one well once, he has to use them again and again, shocker! "...the car headlights sparkled up at her mockingly...", I mean c'mon <points hand at forehead>, last time a headlight sparkled mockingly at someone was Herbie having a bad dream.
But let I couldn't let it spoil a good story, and mate its bloody good story. For those not really into reading for the time it takes and all that - means you're like me a bit - then don't worry, you'll have this out of the way and week's worth of bed time sessions, trust me, you won't be able to put it down! Even Stace was dubious at first but since starting has made it a priority in life to finish, lol. Great read, go borrow a copy if you've got a few spare hours.
I had a few other things to get to but they can wait, I've really got to get home, today's been one of those! Cheers.
I know, me too!
Man I am buggered, B-U-G-G-E-R-E-D! We played beach volleyball last night, got up two sets to one in really tight game. Thing was during the break between the second and third set, some lady comes up to us from the operating desk and pleads with us to all play for a team who through one reason or another, none of them could make it. They play the division up from ours. This is how that conversation went:
Lady: C'mon guys, if you don't play then this team has to
forfeit and then they have to pay for the other team as well.
Me: Yeah but we're rooted and this hasn't even finished yet.
Lady: Oh c'mon, it'll be fun :-)
Me: Ok that's not a sales pitch, you want a sales pitch? Offer us free beer.
Lady: Ok, you can have free beer if you play.
Me: We're in!
Nothing like a couple of cold beers on the house at the Gladesville Hotel "...the most kid friendly pub in Sydney." Not a bad little joint I guess, lots of bistro food, pool tables, free pool between 10am and 6pm on Sundays - don't try to call us, looks like we're busy this weekend! Yeah but now, far out, just getting from the bedroom to the shower required grunts of Sharapova strength! By the way we kicked the division three team's asses, made them look like rented mules. Three sets to blot and they were shaking our hands and scratching their heads, I think it was 15-2 in the third. Poor bastards, anyway, we got beer out of it so granted we were playing like it was a grand final. Free beer, free beer, free beer.
Got a great story for you, my boss just flew back from Melbourne last night, long story short he used the Park'n'Fly service - you park your car with them away from the airport, they shuttle you to and from the airport, its like long stay parking only cheaper. Anyway, he gets off the plane with the birth of his second child imminent, waiting for the shuttle he put his brief case down on the chair next to him. Shuttle turns up and he jumps on and off they go. Gets off the shuttle at the other end and he realises he's left his brief case back on the bench. Crap!
Now if you're like me and you're hearing this story, you're conjuring up images of having to replace a three thousand dollar laptop, cancelling credit cards, doing all the stuff that's required when your brief case with all your important things in it goes missing.
Anyway, he explains the situation to the Park'n'Fly dudes and they say "aw crap, alright we'll zoom you back to the airport". They were back there within ten minutes and to his relief, the brief case was still sitting on the seat. But of course its not that simple, standing around the bench are security guards all frantically talking on their walkie talkies and keeping people back from the potential bomb they've found sitting on there in an unattended brief case. SHIT! Now that was an interesting conversation, and the relief on the security guard's faces was priceless apparently. So there you go, you might be arrested for terrorist activities, but you won't have your bag stolen if you leave it behind. Oh and yes ladies, he made it to the birth in time, can't be forgetting all the details.
Its funny I'm only just now realising how little us blokes really need to know about stuff. I was chatting to young Mark (we have to think you up a nickname son, Stu, any ideas?) the other night, he mentioned in passing that he and his missus had been together one month that night. Aw, congrats I said, "hey Stace, Mark's hitched, nice hey..." Well, I forgot to ask about her star sign, age, and where they met, among other things. See it was enough for me to hear that dinner was nice and how about that B'n'S ball. I'm sure its chromosomal so there's no point me fighting it, but therein lies one of the major differences between males and females - and the fact I'm only becoming self-aware is one of the other differences - women are pre-programmed with this shit, us blokes have to learn it. I'm not sure I'm above or below the male-growing-up curve, but I'm pretty sure my son gets this advice: don't expect to understand anything around you fully until you reach your late twenties. That includes women, so until then, buckle up, wear protection and go out and see the sights. I haven't discussed that with Stace but I'm sure she'll agree with it on some level <looks sheepish>...
Hey have you ever wondered how Google makes its money? In short, a company registers itself with the search engine so when people do a search, their site can be included in the search results. The company then chooses the types of words and categories that they think will assist them; for example my company wants to be included under "Orstead", "Support", "Integration" and "Network Administration" or something along those lines. Now here's where it gets tricky. You bid in a silent auction with other companies over certain popular words - lets use "Support" for this example, and Company A and Company B would like to be included in search results when people search using the word "Support" in the engine.
Right, so Company A puts in their silent bid of $1.00 to Google for the word - I'll explain the cost in a sec - and Company B bids $1.05. Lets say that's the end of it. Now someone comes along, searches the word "Support", the winning bidder was Company B, so their result gets listed higher in the results than Company A. The way the cost works is this: if a person searches on the word "Support" using Google, then from the list of results they click on the resulting link for Company B, Google then charges Company B $1.05. Google charges Company B every time their search engine is used and the link is clicked from the results. Cunning?
The upshot is this people, if you've been wronged, ripped off or generally mistreated by a company, put their name into Google and then click on their link; Google's going to charge them. There is one catch, Google tracks the IP address that the clicks are coming from, so you can't sit at your desk clicking on their link all day because Google will see it coming from the same address each time. However, that doesn't mean you can't do it from any and every computer you happen to be surfing on.
Politics and religion, steer clear over dinner. When you get to write shit down as an outlet on a semi-unread website, well hell, why not. I encourage all you guys and gals, by the way, to drop me a line with your thought-out rant any time, I'll print it. I'll print anything, shit, you've read some of it! Sometimes it needs to be said, so go for it.
Is John Howard a vindictive little shit? The latest round of what he calls Industrial Relations Reforms certainly makes me think that anyone that voted for him would be feeling pretty ripped off right about now. But why Industrial Relations Johnny? Why now? Two fairly succinct reasons as far as I can see.
Firstly, way back when Johnny was a mere treasurer under Malcolm Fraser, he attempted to clean up the waterfront by abolishing union labour. Now that is a very simplistic way of describing an infinitely more complicated set of events, but that's the crux. So what happened then? Well the Industrial Relations Commission stepped in and said "Hang on little Johnny, you can't do that, union workers deserve to work in the same places that non-union workers do." The side-plot (I think) is that among the corruption on the waterfront at the time, non-union labour was being forced out by some fairly unscrupulous partisan behaviour. But forgetting that, Johnny was determined he was going to sort it all out, and in doing so, bring down the unions with it. "I hate unions!", Johnny would say to himself at night. WELL...
After being warned by the IDC that "listen up Johnny, this will be a lengthy and expensive road that if travelled, you will lose and lose big." So with his anti-union nose in the air and his heart set on usurping Fraser - who let me tell you treated Johnny like dirt mate, he would denigrate his faithful little treasurer in public left right and centre, he had less respect for the man than we, the public did; he still does it to this day - little Johnny walked down that road and got himself pummelled. He had been grossly embarrassed in front of his party and the public.
Now that has sat in the back of little Johnny's mind for how long? Ever since then he's been out to do something about the unions and the IDC. Why else would someone who was treasurer in the 70s and have that happen to them, only to lose an election as party leader not long after, sit around and wait and wait until he got his shot. You bet, he holds a big grudge.
Secondly, Johnny owns the senate. Guess what kids, he can do what he likes, when he likes, to whom he likes. So July '05 comes around, and he announces the reforms, strips the IDC of their power, and heads off in the sunset in search of the unions. "But Benno, every State is a labor State, they won't go for this...?" Sorry to disappoint, with Johnny's plan for a unified national workplace relations system, if the states don't agree, and I quote "the Commonwealth is threatening to use the corporations power in the Constitution." The corporations power...the Constitution...? Think little Johnny will stop at nothing still? Think John Howard is a vindictive little shit yet? Feeling a little bit like potential collateral damage?
I know, me too!
Go Blues! I'm tired! SAPPORO!
In some small way I like to keep this page from becoming as two-dimensional as it appears; me talking about stuff, mostly movies. So today's effort focuses on Mark Latham's biography, titled Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy, released today. Before I go on, I consider myself to be an average Australian in terms of political knowledge; I know who the PM is, I know we have a GST, I know we have to vote every three years, I know the Party Party Party Party only ran for office once, and I know what Mark Latham used to do for a job. Based on that, who better to make a few comments...?
Excerpts from the book I've read so far are anything but complimentary about the Labor Party he left behind, but of course in true journalist fashion, why would you publish the "nice bits" if there are any, that won't sell books and newspapers. Useless newspapers that KILL FORESTS!!! Sorry, Turret's is strong with me today.
Everyone comes under fire from the front bench to the back, with special mention the State Premiers who helped him lose his job, and his immediate successor Mr Beasley. Predictable? It sounds bitter, it sounds cynical, in some ways it sounds borderline vengeful - he has made it clear that he was forced to delay his resignation so that support for those taking his place could gather more momentum. Who delays pancreatitis, I ask you? The pancreas is not an organ you want to put off getting fixed, period...but why let a few facts spoil a good story.
He describes Kim Beasley as a "conservative stand-for-nothing" and premier Beattie as an "A-Grade arsehole". In comment, Beasley hasn't even read the book because he, (how could he as its only been released today???) as his spokesperson put it, "is busy campaigning around the country for a better tax system and fairer working conditions" - any chance for a plug KB. Beattie came back admitting that its not the first time he's been called that and it won't be the last. There's a realist somewhere in our Peter.
One thing that does seem to ring true from what I've read is that regardless of your political persuasion, the Labor Party is in a bit of a shambles at the moment with in-fighting and no apparent common goals. Latham's "beyond repair, beyond reform" sounds tantamount to his post-political opinions, but I agree, Labor needs to shape up or shut up.
But at the end of the day, is Mark Latham's life story really something the Australian public wants to read about? Were we really that interested in him as a person to want to seek out more? Other than his infantile public outbursts and cab driver beatings, Mr Latham couldn't raise enough interest in his political thinking to change the minds of a voting public that for all intents and purposes, doesn't like who they're voting for now in little Johnny Eyebrows. What makes him think we'll find him interesting now? He's calling people names again, so nothing's changed really has it.
Feel free to read Latham's biography and then chide me for being too books-and-covers about it, but given I've got three quarters of The Da Vinci Code to go, I'm happy that a few excerpts from a newspaper THAT KILLS FORESTS is telling me everything I want to know.
It seems, like, everyone is, like, using the word "like" in, like, the wrong way. It is becoming, like, extremely frustrating to listen to, like, the most intelligent people because, like, they talk like this, like. I impress upon you to start using the word in the correct manner, then I will start to like you again. I enjoy ice cream with chocolate topping, because I like the taste of chocolate topping. If I ever turn out to be like my father, well it won't be too much of a surprise now will it.
Have you seen the new AAPT "tell it like it is" ads? Love the t-shirts. My current fav are the two guys "girlfriends around Australia" and "girlfriends around the world" walking in to find the chick "bunny boiler", then scampering off. But will it make me switch carriers...
Back onto the rant of how we celebrate our sporting heroes despite what they do behind closed doors. Before I go on, what they do is their business, and unless they are hurting other people then it probably should stay that way. I say this because of young Shane Warne's latest indiscretion. Big AB made it quite clear that he should be ashamed of himself in no uncertain terms, and I tend to agree for the most part but for this: Shane and his wife probably split up months ago and just didn't make it public. They were probably co-habiting for the sake of their children, and for a trashy tabloid like the Sun to come out and accuse him of this and that is probably wildly out of context if its even true. So is he guilty and how should we feel about it?
Well as I said before, I do agree with AB for the most part, I think its shameful that a person of Shane's stature (in fact anyone) can run around doing whatever he or she pleases, and then seek the support of his team mates, family and country in "this trying time". But we must take this with the grain of salt it deserves a) because its an English newspaper that does nothing but make money off of a scandal regardless of whether its true, and b) aren't we a little bit too close to the apple cart that is the Ashes Series - only the series the Poms take most seriously in cricket by the way - to be considering this a coincidence? Its highly likely they've just dressed up some uni student, given her a few lines and taken a few pictures and its completely made up.
Yes, Shane's history is tainted to say the least, and yes, his resulting easy target status has been brought on himself, and none of us should be forgiving him for what he's done. BUT, keep it in mind that this one is particularly well timed. And back to my rant from Friday on the shenanigans of the footballers and how we celebrate their existence, is there anyone in this country who doesn't think Andrew Simons is an absolute fucking legend for being suspended from the Aussie team one day for turning up pissed from the night before, watching them lose, and then lead them to victory with two man-of-the-match performances that same week? Not only did I applaud the man but it inspired me to go out drinking with a cricket bat!
As I've said a few times and will continue to say, I think what is more in question here are the arm chair morals of the wider Australian population. Look at me as a classic example, I think Shane's behaviour whilst a public figure and role model to kids around the globe is atrocious, yet Andrew's behaviour whilst a public figure and role model to kids around the globe was absolutely sensational. And then there was Mark O'Meley heading off to a brothel whilst in State Of Origin camp, got himself a "full service", but that didn't come out because he has a wife and children. Yet he's one of the most celebrated forwards in modern rugby league. Interesting, no?
There's always been something that's bothered me about the tax file declaration form you fill in for new jobs. The question "Are you an Australian resident for tax purposes?" There's only a Yes or No answer possible. See, the thing is, I'm an Australian resident for many, many reasons, a few of them out of my control. But NONE of them are for tax purposes.
Weekend shenanigans went off with a bang this weekend. Big apologies to Beels and Ben for a drunken phone call after the footy finished...here's the thing right, I know, Stace knows, we all know, that when its freezing cold and pissing down rain outside, the last thing you're going to want to do in the middle of the night is leave the comfort of your house to meet up with a couple of booze hounds fresh out of the football and their wobbly boots on. But, we will make these calls won't we. Sorry guys <looks sheepish>
Why so loud? Well, I guess I should start from the beginning. We rarely get to see footy live so when I saw Collingwood were coming to town I figured I'd best get the girl to the game or it'll be a quiet couch that night. I started sourcing tickets with a couple of weeks to go, with the game being at Telstra Stadium I didn't think they'd sell out but to get something decent might be a tough ask. The Collingwood supporters area had sold out pretty instantly so that was off the cards, and then I found the Matilda cruises that take you to the game and put on a sausage sizzle and beers on the way: footy by boat, that'd be pretty cool. But the cost of that might eat into decent seats so I decided to save that one and go for gold on viewing.
Seemed innocuous enough, somewhere around the half way line and not far from the boundary, that'll do us nicely I thought, according to the seating map. So when we got there and the guy took us to our seats and we were sitting on the fence, in front of the interchange gates and two seats away from the race that the coaches walk down during the breaks, well it was on for young and old. Beer-in-a-cup was the cry! The smell of the wet grass, you know that "footy season" smell you get from freshly mown parks when the footy season's on. We could even smell the denco rub coming off the players we were so close. AND, we had a sign to bang on. Now don't go getting any ideas there folks, we were excited but not that excited (too subtle?).
So a few beer-in-a-cups and a hotdog and pizza later, we were roaring Collingwood home but they just couldn't get there. Too late chances for goal and only kicking points was a real bummer, and then the siren just went. I was sitting there with no game clock to look at thinking that the quarter had ended too quickly. Wasn't until the next day I found out about Mick's little shot at the Sydney time-keepers. Other than the disappointment of the Pies losing, we couldn't have asked for a better experience really. We had under cover front row seats to a one point cliff hanger - yes the footy itself wasn't very pretty but we had beer goggles on. Great stuff.
So then we figured we can't go home just yet, so we headed to the nearby watering hole that has a big sign on the fascia "Trains...Beer...decisions, decisions." We grabbed a couple of cold ones and settled to watch the band play and contemplate our next move. We didn't have much time as it happened with the last train leaving at 11:30pm. We decided to head into town, but not before making that phone call and trying to find a toilet (not an easy thing to do but I'll explain another time).
So in to town we head, we ended up in Circular Quay at our new favourite 24-hour restaurant and having big chats about anything and everything and generally having a good time. Then it was time to get a taxi. Now somewhere we lost a couple of hours and it was now after 2am, who knew? So off we wobble to get a cab home, but of course there we were again looking for a toilet (bit of a curse this toilet thing as it turned out). This story is worth telling though, we headed into a pub and just went straight to the toilets, I come out and Stacey is talking to a bouncer with some verve. "What's doing?" I say, Stace replies "He wants to see your ID." Not even thinking about how cool it is to be 32, bald and still getting asked for ID, I pulled out my wallet and showed him. He took a fleeting look and said "thanks mate you're right", but you know when they look but they don't really see anything? So I then quizzed him on how old I am and he couldn't answer. I asked him if he wanted a second look to make sure...dumb Benno, was probably lucky not to cop and earful for that but he was nice about it and we left. 32 and getting asked for ID, I'm putting that in the bank!
Next challenge was to get a cab. We'd been veering along for only a few minutes when a cabby pulls up, its all spruced up and luxury looking. He yells out if we want to grab him as he's free. "How much to Artarmon?" I say - we know its about 20 bucks from there. "40 bucks mate." "Forty bucks? That's twice what we normally pay dude!" He tried to talk us into the fact that it was a luxury car and he'd take us for a bit of a ride around for the price. "Dude, its 2am, we're clueless, legless and shameless, we want home not cruising."
So twenty minutes later in the pissing rain we're still wandering around the city looking for a cab, freezing wet pride making us happy we didn't pay the 40 bucks and that we'd be sitting on the couch right now sipping hot chocolate and watching the tennis. The only traffic in the city was cabs but do you think we could flag one? Nope. Eventually we took the dodgy route and headed up George Street, infamous for its stabbings we figured we weren't in that bit and chanced it. Get this though, we turn the corner onto George and there are no less than 40 police milling around on the street, seemingly just standing there. One of them asked us if we were ok and I told him we were struggling to get a cab. He actually hailed one down for us which was nice. I asked him why the massive presence and he just said "we do this now and then, just to stay visible" but there had to be something more going on - I think looking for a person or people - and I was glad we got the cab when we did.
Home again home again, jig-a-jig-jig. Such headaches these shenanigans bring, haven't felt like I did on Sunday for a while. Took us hours to get up the courage to venture out of the house and get some food, yikes! But all in good fun of course. So another weekend out in Sydney done and dusted. Most impressive. Telstra Stadium is a very good venue, and yes we're slightly biased since we had the ultimate seats, but still its intimate despite its size, and a great vibe. And full strength beer, happy about that!
Now while I'm on the subject of jovial happenings, and at the risk of this page becoming a little smutty (which I vowed it never would!), there's a news report circulating of a chick in Wales who, while wearing her vibrating knickers to the supermarket, was so aroused by said pants that she passed out and smacked her head on some shelving. The paramedics were called and, after they found the device still buzzing and turned it off, she was whisked off to hospital where she made a full recovery. Embarrassed much?
I got to drive over the Anzac Bridge this morning for the first time ever. Small things you may think, but for me its one of those landmark moments that the Falc and I have shared. I still remember the first time we drove across the Harbour Bridge together. And what a great looking bridge the Anzac Bridge is, amazing, all those big cable thingies and the pylons and the statue. Lovely.
Who loves a good scandal??? Meeeeeeee! The Rugby League discussion this morning started out with me saying "they really have to do something other than State Of Origin to help the game along, its losing its popularity." This comment sparked by the question "I don't understand how AFL crowds are always so big." We came up with a couple of theories, one of which was the coverage from FOX and Nine is so good, why should League fans fork out a hundred bucks to go see the game when they can have the comfort of their own home, the live game, the replays, and a fridge full of pre-payed beer that comes in a real stubby that if they throw, doesn't result in arrest.
Then there's the footy show: Did you guys all hear about Paul "Fatty" Vautin? He was shooting an anti-ad last week (in Artarmon no less!) when he fell backwards and hit his head on concrete. After returning to the studio he began vomiting and collapsed, and was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital. He has since had head and neck scans to see if he's done himself some real damage and remains in hospital under close supervision. Don't try this at home kids. I haven't seen it but apparently the footage of the accident has been aired. Who does that???
So back to this scandal I mentioned earlier. We all know Joey Johns had a "bit" of a cocaine addiction and a subsequent "neck injury" and the similar "ankle injury" sustained by our favourite little drug taker Willy Mason while he was playing an "exhibition game" in "America". But do we all remember the Bulldogs pack rape thing? No names were released were they. No. Well, I got the scoop this morning from a guy who heard from his brother's mate's dog's previous owner's cousin's ex-roomy from high school's maths teacher that SBW was that guy. I don't know what SBW stands for so if you can help me out, please do. Better still, keep it to yourself until the next time you're with mates in a pub or at dinner, spill it as part of conversation, eventually the word will spread without anyone getting into trouble. There were a couple of other's involved, one of them moved (was forced?) to the North QLD side...and wasn't there a rape alligation up there during the off-season just after that move? I think yes, and coincidence? I think no.
Then there was the scandal involving the NSW Blues State Of Origin team, and the desperate phone call made by Gasnier from Minachello's phone in a taxi, pleading for sex from a stranger in apartment x. Well, seems Gasnier was a scape-goat for something more malicious involving a couple of more important not-very-replaceable players in a nightclub. Something about Phil Gould having a preference, something else about something.
Of course I can't corroborate any of this so you should consider it dubious, as I do. But is anyone at all curious why Rugby League is losing its popularity? The fact that we, the public, celebrate the very people who we scorn in regular society. Rapists, coke pigs, I mean if they're not availing their contraband to us, why should we give them any props at all? The last of the gentleman players retired many years ago and I don't think we'll ever see any again. But who gives a shit right, we've got AFL don't we. I'd much rather celebrate players who take ecstasy, drink-drive and sleep with other players' wives, much more wholesome wouldn't you agree...
Quote of the day: "You need several baskets with several egg-baring chickens allotted to each." ... I actually came up with that during a discussion about pinning one's hopes <pat>.
Been a bit quiet for a week or so there haven't I, well, there's a few reasons for it. One was TPG just cutting me off all of a sudden. Wasn't so much the cut-off that stuffed us around, was more the fact they didn't put it back on when they said they would; but lets not relive it here. Long story short we had no internet over the long weekend. Poor us, we didn't have access to footy results, porn, email, porn, or footy results - tragedy!
What else can I tell you. Hhmm, well the planet's in the shitter that's for sure. Anyone see that doco on SBS during the week? Now I'm one of those people who hates those people that see something on TV and takes the info in simply so their next dinner party conversation is spiced up a bit. This one was different though, I mean we see people telling us how bad the green house effect is every day, but this doco, wow! For those that didn't see it: this guy in England, just a regular Joe who, like us, sees all the green house this and global warming that and wonders what all the fuss is about. So he goes and gets a plane ticket and figures bugger it, I'd better go see this for myself. No agenda, no propaganda. Off he goes.
Checks out Alaska and a little town near an oil mining operation - is that what you do with oil, mine it? The vernacular escapes me. This town is home to native Americans who still hold true to their way of life as it has been for centuries; living off the land. But the mining company is closing in on the area and are buttering them up with money and gifts. Literally, they give them hats and gloves and cash and food and drink and snow-mobiles...yeah snow-mobiles. Meanwhile the land they live off is dying. So now they're in a bit of a bind, because on one hand their life-style and ways are dying out, but on the other hand if they knock back the gifts and cash, they starve and die. So ultimately yeah sure, plunder away, but keep paying me off.
Meanwhile the Arctic ice packs are 40% thinner than they were a hundred years ago.
Next he travelled to the sunny little town of Chernobyl. Over twenty years since the melt down and the thing is still giving off deadly counts of radiation. So what does he do? He hooks up with this scientist who is studying the effects of radiation on the human body - on himself no less - and goes into the reactor. Yup, inside the reactor. INSIDE! They're standing at what was the control room where it all went horribly wrong with a hand-held radiation sensor going off the Richter! Crazy stuff...
...now where was I? Ah yes, the planet. Bit of a weekend in the middle there. So...
Our intrepid reporter then returns home and visits the UK's (world's?) first environmentally friendly and fully self sufficient property. It generates its own power from wind and water and grows organic food, the whole bit. People lived there once...unfortunately now its a tourist attraction where drowsy visitors take the kids to show them what someone made once. Yeah, bit like a museum. He sits down with one of the eco scientists there and they work out his "carbon footprint". This is a measurement of how much carbon a person puts out in an average year. For global warming to slow down, your global footprint should be somewhere around two and a half tons per annum. Now that sounds pretty high yeah? I thought so. They work it out based on showers, whether you drive a car, use electrical appliances, gas versus electric, plane flight, buses, trains, the whole bit. So our guy answers as honestly as he can, asking questions along the way like but gas is better right? and then his footprint comes out. Now even I was sitting there going wow, he's pretty good at keeping the lights off and using public transport, and yes his score was enhanced by his recent travelling (based on his last 12 months), but his average carbon usage was something like 34 tons.
He asks so what can I do to get this down and she plainly pointed out that reducing this and stopping that and making sure you don't do the other will bring the footprint down. And his reaction was well, that's impossible, I can't live if I reduce those things.
And I could go on and tell you about when he went to the Greenie who was in favour of nuclear power plants (the only one in the world apparently) for future power and bugger the consequences if something blows up, but I think that sentence right there says it all don't you? I'm included so don't get me wrong, I'm not pointing fingers, hell I'm probably one of the worst offenders. That arm chair reality that says I'll go recycle the cans and bottle and think I'm doing the right thing again this weekend, and then drive my car somewhere guilt-free. Frickin' humans, honestly. Moving on, moving on.
But lets not move on too far. Anyone heard of cloud seeding? For those that aren't, its a process where clouds are flooded with a chemical (silver nitrate or something like that) to act as a catalyst in turning it into rain. They've been using it in the States since the 50s as a mechanism for diluting would-be hurricanes into heavy rain. The NSW government revealed that they've been investigating the idea of using cloud seeding as a way of refilling our water catchment areas. On the surface of it, it doesn't seem like a bad idea. I mean this doco I saw on the hurricane cloud seeding all pointed to good-not-evil, but Stace had a another angle: just what we need, more chemicals in the eco system. Too true. What do you guys think?
The weekend was pretty quiet in the end, one day saw a cooked breakfast, the other saw, er, well nothing really. Bit of housework...no I wouldn't call it housework, I'd say we picked a few things up that shouldn't have been on the floor and did the dishes, I mean its the weekend - the only time available to do some housework, yet the only time so inappropriate to do housework why would you. I know. Yeah me too. Ah well.
Have caught some pretty decent flicks lately which I'll dribble about this week when I get a chance. I really have to clean up this website actually, its all a bit bent and out of shape and, quite frankly, out of date. Congratulations Michael Campbell on being the first New Zealander to win the US Open. I was watching a bit of it this morning before I went to work and I looked at the leader board to see "M Campbell" in the lead by 2 and thought hey there's a Kiwi with that name, wonder if that's him. The commentators didn't seem too fussed and none of the footage was on him, it all seemed to be about Goosen's crash and Tiger's comeback, so I really doubted it actually was him. And when old sparkly eyes jumped onto the mic after an ad break and still didn't mention they guy's credentials I figured it wasn't him after all. He was two shots ahead on the turn home and I've gotten to work to check the website and whullah, he's won by two. Thank you Google, otherwise I never would've known who it was out there.
My latest conspiracy theory centres around our Chinese defectors. Interesting that they go public around the same time the trade agreements are on between our two countries. Don't get me wrong I'm sure he'd love to officially not be a Chinese national and spill all the beans but hey, why now exactly...? And then the other dude who goes public straight afterward with little more than a page 28 mention in the paper. Of course its no surprise that the Australian government aren't doing anything about it, money talks after all.
I should go do some work, and should apologise for this update being so big. But I might and I won't, in that particular order. Enjoy life while its good. Thoughtfully yours...
June already, wow, lets not think about it too much or we'll be doing our xmas shopping before we can say "geez its pretty warm for winter".
So Russell Crowe is an idiot, we know it, they know it, everyone knows it. If you don't know it: "Russell Crowe's and idiot", now you know it. Here's the thing, lets say our Rusty gets thrown in the can for eight years, how does Australia's population react this time? I'm not even going there in comparing it to the Corby case, but isn't it interesting that Australia will probably go "good, he's an idiot anyway" if Rusty goes away. Now, lets imagine it was Schapelle reacting violently to the bad mobile reception in the lobby and throwing down a bus boy and she goes to jail for eight years. What say us then? Would we cry unfair? Here's a better comparison, what if Rusty got done for four kilos of choof at a Bali airport, got 20 years in jail for it, would we be urging our government to do something about it? Interesting arm chair standards us Aussies have don't you agree?
Man there's been some cool stuff going around email lately, I just got sent two pearlers; Stunt Town, an ad for deodorant; and one of the latest Toyota promotions for their commercial trucks. Just when you thought the salmon ad - where the guy and the bear face off kung fu style - would never be topped, think again.
Well aren't the next few weeks of Hollywood releases a little bit exciting: War of the Worlds, Mr and Mrs Smith, Madagascar, The Machinist, Batman Begins, Pooh's Heffalump Movie...wait a sec...got carried away reading all of them out. Ah who knows, Pooh's movie might be the pick of the bunch.
I saw a VW Beetle police car this morning, I kid you not! It was that horrible 80s pastel yellow with little police signs over it, looked like a caricature of itself, too funny. Speaking of cars I was cleaning the dew off my car windows this morning while it warmed up and damned if the paper towel I was using didn't come off all black. On closer inspection, my car is absolutely covered in black stuff. The windows, the duco, its not obvious if you're away from the car, but up close its coated in this film. Must be road grime or something, pollution probably. There doesn't seem to be much point in cleaning it though because its parked on the street and is only going to get covered in it again the next day. Plus we're on level 15 water restrictions and we're signing stat decs just to flush the toilet so yeah, I'm enjoying owning a blackening car now.
Sydney is trying to promote the express tag system similar to what they have in Melbourne. No toll booths anywhere, just the e-tag to buzz you through. And if you don't have one, well you'll just have to find another way. Sydney is a little different to Melbourne in that if you want to go another way to avoid the tags - including the bridge - it can be done. But they're teasing us with a new cross town tunnel that will run from Rushcutters Bay through to the other side of the city (around Darling Harbour somewhere) and linking up with the Western Distributor. This is going to take traffic off the city streets between Kings Cross ish and Darling Harbour ish, which is the way I go home. Dreamy bit. But thanks to some almighty stuff up the June 12 opening has been pushed back indefinitely, and this after they sent out hundreds of thousands of bucks worth of paraphernalia for us to study so we can use it.
Anyway the point is the e-tag system they're pushing on us all is to arrive in conjunction with the opening of the tunnel as it will be the first to go cash-less. So I went to get an application form and suss out the options. As I said I can get around without it. So at the moment, because I'm lazy, I'm paying 15 bucks a week in tolls. Now the form specifies that the minimum "top up" amount is $100 or two weeks worth of tolls, whichever is greater. 15 bucks versus 100 bucks, interesting. Next, your "top up threshold" is 30% of your nominated top up amount. So if you're paying the minimum of a hundred bucks, when it gets down to 30 bucks worth (or two weeks on the bridge for me), it takes another hundred bucks from your account. Now it goes on further to say that if you let the top up threshold pass, you have a certain amount of time before you have to make that top up payment - regardless of whether you're using it or not - or I think they charge you an administrative fee. I can only assume that they store the top up amounts in bank accounts that a bank actually charges them? Who knows, either way it just seems like another way the government can screw money out of us.
Now the government, let me quote you something that the NSW transport minister Carl Scully was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald a few months back about the e-tag system:
"I wouldn't want to put a time limit on
it," he said. "But eventually, a few years down the track, it's probably
time to say to people, 'Look, now's the time we make our motorway system
You know what time it will be Minister, it will be time to say "I'm really sorry to all of you who've been charged money to use the basic infrastructure that we, as a government, are required to provide to you, the tax payer. Please, start using the motorways free of charge, and we will maintain them properly because that's our job."
"I'm reluctant to force it on people but I
think it's such an attractive product, people will vote with their feet. They'll
take it up anyway."
Oh bullshit! I'm calling bullshit! That thing you call people voting with their feet and they'll take it up anyway, is a case of not having a choice you fuckwit! You've put the population of Sydney that require a car for whatever reason over a barrel, and now you're inserting any and every object that takes your fancy. How about a fair go you moron!
I guess that ends the rant for now, but I believe its further proof that no matter who you vote in (with your feet of course), they all have an agenda that doesn't really comply with ours the peoples'. Its hard to say what the rest of Sydney is thinking because I don't know them, but one young lad I work with who is looking to get an e-tag is all of a sudden in a pickle over it since I've given him the latest. Maybe they're just not looking properly...? Ah who knows, I live under a mushroom anyway, the times I choose to stick my head out are my own and usually for some reason to do with me, so believe me, I ain't throwing stones here.
On a lighter note, here's a laugh, thanks to Rich:
A husband walks into Victoria's Secret to purchase a sheer negligee for his wife. He is shown several possibilities that range from $250 to $500 in price, the more sheer, the higher the price. He opts for the most sheer item, pays the $500, and takes it home.
He presents it to his wife and asks her to go upstairs, put it on, and model it for him. Upstairs, the wife thinks, "I have an idea. It's so sheer that it might as well be nothing. I won't put it on, but I'll do the modelling naked, return it tomorrow, and keep the $500 refund for myself."
So she appears naked on the balcony and strikes a pose. The husband says, "Good Lord! You'd think that for $500, they'd at least iron it!"
He never heard the shot.
Funeral on Thursday.
Here's something that's been on my mind - too much time on his hands I see you all saying to yourselves. But it bugs me a bit. I ranted a while ago about saying thank you to people who serve you in a shop. You know, they go to all the effort of taking your money, putting the merchandise in a bag and giving you back the correct change with a receipt and any after-sales tips and tricks. And then we say "thank you" before leaving. But hang on a second, you just took our money off us, why are we thanking you? You just did your job, which is expected of you, yet we're thanking you for it. Then of course you weigh up the number of merchants who actually thank you versus the number that don't and all of a sudden, where's the two way road here???
Anyway, in the process of handing over your hard-earned, sometimes you use the old EFTPOS card to get what you need. Now an EFTPOS card isn't like a Bankcard or a Visa, these guys talk directly to your bank account. So there's no cutting up if the screen comes back "not enough funds" or "bank lines are down", and there's no signature to check for. So why - WHY??? - do merchants take your card to swipe it, and then hold onto it, as if something were to go wrong and they ring some collection mob who send an agent around straight away in the big black car, jump the counter and confiscate the card with scowls and scissors.
Seriously, next time you go pay for something by EFTPOS, and they do the swipe thing, see what happens when you go to grab for it while the transaction goes through. Its a real issue for me and I'll go for it every time, and if the swipe is within reach I won't even hand the card to them (even if they reach, now that's funny to watch), I'll just put the thing through the machine and then let them hit all the buttons. Some cashiers get a bit ruffled by it. But in the immortal words of any concert goer getting told off for being too rowdy, "Fuck 'em!"
By the way be a bit wary of petrol station attendants, especially in Sydney, unless the swipe machine is obviously positioned for you to do it you may as well let them take charge. They do get a bit shifty for obvious reasons. But otherwise, that's your card man, you hold onto it. I'd be interested to see what sorts of reactions you get. Then again its probably just me, same same. Cheers all.
Well today I got to shake the hand of the great man, the last of the old guard, Brad "Freddy" Fitler. He was signing his book in town and as a birthday gift I got Freddy to wish Dad happy birthday in his copy. I can safely write this because I know he won't read it, but if any of you see him - my Dad that is - don't mention it; his birthday isn't until mid-June. Anyway it was a bit of a buzz, I mean the man is Rugby League royalty. There isn't another player in the game today that can say they competed against the great Wally Lewis.
I don't know what came over me though, when I decided to jump into the queue to wait for a signature - with about a thousand other lunch goers in Pitt St - I got all nervous and sweaty. "Don't fuck this up Benno, look cool and be quick, don't blow smoke up his bum, he just wants to get through this as quickly as he can..." Didn't really matter how much rehearsal and advice I gave myself by the time it was my turn to get a signature I'd turned into a giggly little schoolboy. "Aw Brad, nice to meet you, my whole family is a fan. If you could just wish my Dad a happy birthday and say 'G'day' to my Nan and Grandpa that'd be great. Aw, thanks Brad." I got to shake his hand, came out of it looking reasonably sane I guess. Had a quick chat about high school rugby which was when I first saw him; you could see he was going to be a great player even back then. And man he was big! Anyway I got to shake his hand and have a chat, then I scuttled off down the mall a way to have another look at what he'd written. Coooooool!!!
Had a pretty good weekend last weekend, very quiet which was very necessary as it turns out. Stace and I have both come down with the flu of the century so the Friday night massage, Saturday morning sleep in and Sunday lazy day at the shops was all very welcome. We're still feeling like crap today though, ah well, more Echinacea.
Watched another couple of movies worth mentioning, I'll try and write them up later in the week. Meanwhile, back to the grindy a bit. Take care y'all.
20 years eh, my only concern is for the relationship between Indonesia and Australia. Timid at best and I'm sure the last thing we need is to kick up a big stink and have a military might some 10 times the strength of ours baring down on us - not to mention the fact we trained them. Anyway its not my place to be making accusations, as I stand I really don't know of her guilt or innocence and haven't followed closely enough to know. Rumours this and conjecture that, I'll tell you one thing I believe the Australian media getting as involved as they have, has hindered more than helped.
I read something else today that has seen Aussies being charged and convicted abroad (Vietnam was a special) and where those people were canned or executed, the media didn't cover it once. So why this one? Because she's pretty? She's the epitome of the Aussie image? I didn't see too many Today Tonight specials when Joe Druggo was sent down for a million years for sticking ecstasy up his clacker.
Might be best to put this one to bed. But don't you see the potential for the Bangkok Hilton coming to a brilliant realisation!?! Imagine if she burrows out a drain pipe in the dead of night, the morning sirens blaring from a prison sans Schapelle while she is comfortably escorted on a private jet out of the country, only to land and be secreted away in hiding back on her Golden home. Who'd give her up to the Indonesian authorities do you think? Not even Johnny would dare. "...aaaarrrrgggghhhh, there's an election at stake, aaarrrrgggghhhhh..."
I don't mean to make light of a deadly serious situation, but my mind wanders like that. Just in case though, you read it here first ;-)
So I can't believe that show Lost is still going. Does anyone know what's going on? Can someone pullleeeeaaase explain it to me? Dross!
Stacey and I had our first proper night out on the town last Friday night. That's how busy I am, I'm only telling you now. Yeah we met up with my cousin and her partner at Circular Quay at some trendy lets-finish-work-early-bar (Ship Inn) and then trotted off for some late night nosh. Nice. Then we walked it off with a stroll around the water and up to the steps of the Opera House where we sat for a while and shared childhood stories of what freaked us out. Not sure we wanted to know that much but hey, it was the topic of conversation at the time. Big shout out to Beels and Ben - yes, his name is Ben, and he's a champion as well! I can see potential for this foursome getting together lots more in the future. Go Sydney. As Merrick and Rosso sing "Sydney, I really really really lurve Sydney".
So what does this weekend hold for us? Well so far we have a remedial massage booked at the clinic, and possibly some ear candling tomorrow. Other than that I think we're going to sneak down to watch some beach volleyball, see if we can't score ourselves a little game or two.
Anyway take care and chat soon. Oh and in case you went looking for the reviews I listed yesterday and didn't find half of them, the rest are up now. Love youz.
Mate Against Mate. What a cracker! What a shame Brett Kimmorely was selected. And not only because he put young Matt Bowen in to score the winner, but because he just shouldn't be there. He is highly over-rated and last night proved why he is never selected for representative football. Fancy kicking for touch in the dying seconds with an overlap, what a dunce. Anyway, was great to watch, its only League I watch these days so yeah, great to get spoilt with a game like that.
And what is it about women who insist on wearing shoes that make their feet look bigger? They - the women that is - hate it when their feet are big; big feet just aren't feminine. But then they go and put on these shocking pointy things and all of sudden: clown feet. Doesn't make sense to me <Ben looking bewildered>.
Found out yesterday that I'll be getting paid monthly, oh dear. This hasn't happened before and I'm lucky to get through a fortnight with the way I budget. Couple that with the fact that money disappears from your bank account just for getting out of bed here in Sydney and yeah, look out! A few reviews about to go up but a special mention to Crash (the movie, not the review), you really should see it, its a mover. Anyway, back to it, cheers and beers.
So it seems time flies. My apologies for the lack of updates. Hey is anyone even reading this? Mail me, I have a new work address as well so I'll shoot it through to y'all this week some time. Be nice to hear from you guys though, its been a while.
New work address means new work, umm, thing, you know, job that's what I'm trying to say, job. Yes, I finally scored a full time position with a little company called Orstead. We're out here in sunny Bondi Junction, where the coffee is a step down and the car parking is a nightmare. Except for us, we have our own security parking under the building, NICE! If you've ever been to the Eastern suburbs then you'll know what I mean about parking. Anyway so yeah, here I am.
Its been a nice change I have to say, the company I was working for before was in a bit of a state in terms of organisation, and you wouldn't know where you'd be from hour-to-hour let alone day-to-day, so you couldn't plan anything even when projects were on the go. From a nek point of view, its not a good way to be doing IT; unplanned and rushed. But the stress is slowly ebbing away now, finally.
I have my own desk now, that's pretty exciting. I haven't had my own desk in so long so its a great feeling to get to work and know that the desk you'll be sitting at is the one you set up or messed up the day before, none of your pens have walked and the photos of your family haven't grown felt-pen moustaches and glasses. I had a desk at AGIMO but it wasn't mine, and the desk I had at the Exceed office was shared with two or three other people, gives me that transient feeling when I don't belong to a desk; rather it doesn't belong to me. Dribble!
So this might sound a bit crazy to all you people who think driving a car in Sydney isn't one of those things you enjoy, but I'm really enjoying driving to work. I drive to the new job as I need the car for callouts and getting to Bondi Junction means taking a bridge. But yeah its awesome, the whole train thing was a novelty in the end and it wore off pretty quickly what with all the sharing of people's personal space. I mean you're so jammed in there some mornings that if you were to adjust the orchestras, you'd have to double check they were yours you were reaching for first. And this might surprise you, but its actually cheaper to get to Bondi by car (with tolls) than taking the train every day. Weird. I'm sure it'll all even out once petrol hits a buck thirty a litre, but until then, I've got CD player in the car and the rest is just ancillary noise.
Speaking of music I've been enjoying somewhat of a renaissance with 80s heavy metal this past week or two. Its surprising how little emotion and passion is put into any of the new music coming out. By the way Motley Crue is touring in December. Unfortunately you'll have to mortgage your house to buy tickets. They went on sale Monday and for 99 bucks you can grab yourself something at the back that despite the altitude sickness and need for binoculars to see anything happening down on Earth, at least you'll hear a real rock band playing real rock. Motorhead are supporting, oh Motorhead. If you haven't heard "Ace Of Spades" or "Eat The Rich" (popular movie soundtrack contributions) then jump onto Amazon and listen to some samples. Their best albums are "Overnight Sensation" and "We Are Motorhead" but that of course is coming from a recent edition to their fan base. I'm sure the arguments will come from old school with the album "Ace Of Spades" boasting roarers like Jailbait, Love Me Like A Reptile, We Are The Road Crew, The Chase Is Better Than The Catch, and of course the all conquering title track. Anyway, they're playing three shows only, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (or Perth, can't remember which).
When was the last time you bought an iron? Yeah, one of those things that you do the ironing with. Man, our iron shorted out the entire flat last Thursday so we thought, hhmm, best we don't use that one again, lets go buy one. We'd been hanging onto a David Jones voucher for some time and we'd cruise through the store now and again to find something, nothing every stuck out as ours. Anyway so an iron had never been on the cards. I've wanted a new one for ages but there just wasn't any justification because ours worked, whatever. So we get to DJs and find the irons. Holy snappin', you can spend some money on an iron these days? These days? Its the first time I've shopped for an iron in eight years maybe, and the twenty buck Tiffany was the only iron I ever bothered to look at, so here we go looking at irons that are topping the 500 dollar mark. Wow! They are amazing and boast so many features that we hadn't even thought about researching. We decided to forgo the GPS, electric windows and a spot to put tall wine glasses for a more modest (and affordable) derillium plated, tri-cut-off-mode, super steam model. By the way you won't find "derillium" in too many dictionaries, its some combo of Teflon and something else that give it that special glide over the clothes. Hey I was just stoked it wasn't white. Yup, ours is PURPLE! Wahoo! Its the Tefal Virtuose - FV9130 (I think), and according to Tefal: "probably the best iron in the world". Yeah whatever, its pretty good though. Would want to be for $120.
Dribble! Anyway I'd best wrap up here, have some stuff to get on with. Have a fairly big batch of reviews to get through; look if I don't get a chance to get a review up before it disappears from the big screen, go see Crash, you will not be disappointed. I'm arguing with myself over whether its the film of the year for me so far. Anyway, cheers and beers, chat again soon.
So if your date format is non-Y2K compliant, today might strike you as interesting, numerologically speaking of course: 05-05-05.
"I live in my own world. But it's ok...they know me well here."
Sydney's Corporate Shell: Its an interesting place to work, Sydney. Someone recently described it to me, "Sydney, everything's a shit-fight!" Pretty spot on, and if you do get the chance to kill time during your working day, its probably because you own the company. You have to queue for everything, EVERYTHING! Its like a fun park without the fun. Want to cross the road, best you queue up with everyone else, either that or you could make a break for it down the road a bit where there are no people queuing, but chances are the bouncers (cars) will be escorting you back behind the railing pretty quickly. Need to get cash out of a teller machine? Join the queue my friend. Coffee? Forget about it, straight to the back!. Its horrible. Worse still, you do pay at the end of the queue and to get what? Well nothing more than a ride to the end of another queue.
Fashionably, Sydney has to be one of the most pretentious places I've worked among. Admittedly there's no shortage of quality clothing vendors at good prices to keep you in the crowd's good graces, but still seems ridiculous that you have to be on that bandwagon lest you head down the corporate ladder. For the guys, pinstripes, striped business shirts and vests are in. Black is still popular but I've noticed that school yard grey has come back a bit too. On the plus side, colourful business shirts are the order of the day, more so than anywhere else I've worked anyway. Oh and navy suits with a yellow pinstripe, fork please. For the girls its a mixed bag because they have a much better grasp on whose fashion is whose and who should be wearing it. My favourite is the business suit (any dark shade) with pants, and a simple blouse or shirt left untucked beneath the jacket and the collar left outside the jacket lapel. Complimented with either a heeled boot or square-toed cork shoe, nice! Very popular look here. Think that blonde chick off "Cold Case" and that's pretty close.
Away from the work place there seems to be one seemingly trivial article of clothing that everyone has and they'll wear it with anything. Thongs! And I'm not talking about the little cotton delights that cradle a lady's nether regions here, I'm talking the good old iconic footwear made famous on the beaches of 70s Australia. And not the fancy Beach Comber thongs either - they rocked didn't they!?! - no I'm talking those bodgy old rubber jobs that you picked up from Woollies for two bucks a pair and made mince meat of the webbing between your big and second toes. Yeah them! They're like an "it" thing here, everyone's got them. They can keep them I reckon, can't see myself getting back on that bandwagon. The old Beach Combers though, I'd reconsider those, they were grouse!
So I had a quick chat with Big Brarn this morning, go BRARN! I can't believe the big guy is home in like...ok super tangent right here, right now. Have you noticed how badly the work "like" is used in our language these days? Call me a grammar Nazi if you will, but I'm seriously pissed off at it. Have you ever, like, wondered how you're supposed to, like, use the word properly? Like, I bet you haven't. See what I mean??? Aaanyway, I can't believe his trip is nearly over, he'll be home in six weeks or something, crazy how time just seems to disappear while you're concentrating on what other people are wearing... I miss Brian heaps, his advice on that annoying interview question "You're overqualified for this job, why do you want it?" was "Tell them just bloody give me the job ok!" We love Brian!
Here's a band wagon I did jump onto recently, the "Da Vinci Code" band wagon. Read the first couple of chapters last night. Its got great visuals and a reasonably fast pace - must have for a book for me - but the guy's style is surprisingly simplistic. He's got four books (or at least he did recently) on the NY Times' top ten, I'm not suggesting its working against him. I know a lot of you have read it, so no telling me, or I'll get mad and cast aspersions against you on my web site...as IF! But don't tell me anyway!
Must be something in the air? The following sequels are either complete, in post/pre production, or announced: Shrek 3 and 4, Legend Of Zorro, Spiderman 3-6, Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix, X-Men 3...something original if you please! Do keep your eyes out for Mr and Mrs Smith though, and Madagascar looks priceless. Silver linings for the shroud of Hollywood murk.
Until next time, may the bubbles of love flow free <bloop> <bloop>
Pinch and a punch, I can't believe its May already!
Ah, the Logies <groan>. There's nothing more Australian than the Logies...wait, did someone just use 'bling' as if it was part of our vernacular? Did they just hand out a Logie for best overseas show? And who are these performers that aren't Australian? Why is an Italian super group doing a rendition of "I Did It My Way?" Is that some bad joke to segue Michael Buble? I never thought I'd hear myself say this but, go Anthony Callea! <Ben turns on camp voice> "And some of the dresses; just hideous!" Actually the hideous dresses far outnumbered the nice ones, what happened there??? And would Bec Cartright have gotten a nod for anything - including best dressed, what the...? - if she hadn't have so publicly announced her undying love for our current flavour of the month? C'mooooooooooooooooooon!
So the Logies went tri-force this year, it was great seeing Rove, Eddie, and that guy from "Deal..." walking hand-in-hand across our screens; the Australian television industry heavyweights in harmony at last. Thankfully Eddie kept his mouth shut save a couple of quips, and the "Deal..." guy acquitted himself quite nicely. Did any of you watch Rove closely? I'm here to tell you that his obvious refrain was sitting at his table next to him. Belinda looks really sick again, no? I hope I'm wrong and that it was just Rove being in charge of her makeup on the night. Good on him for picking up all his awards though, well deserved, and yes "Fucking awesome!" LOL. Glad its over now though, its such a bore!
I've decided to make a couple of big choices lately, and one of those has been to move away from Cadbury Chocolate. I've always been a big fan of Snickers - they're MasterFoods in case you weren't sure - so I'll be keeping those around. But Cadbury just hasn't been doing it of late and I figure, if they want me back, they're gonna have to work for it. So today I've picked up a new bar, a Nestle bar, Nestle Crunchy Cookie in fact. And what a find. Do you like Crunch bars? Well imagine if the ricey stuff in the middle was chocolate cookie thingies? Yeah baby! You can't eat a lot of it because its pretty rich, but it can be my chocolate from now on I reckon. And the wrapper is red, cor!
Another choice is to stick to drinking good tasting beer, because the bad tasting beer, while adequately alcoholic, just doesn't taste as good as the good tasting beer. Amen! And I hope it was just the bad tasting beer that made my ears hear that Tom Cruise's current squeeze is Joey. Eeeewwwwwwww. I'm a fan Tom, but seriously, how about someone in your own generation mate? <Ben looks at himself and quickly assesses, drinks more good tasting beer> Yeah I can talk, so bugger ya, lol.
Poor Stace, she had to get three wisdoms out on Friday. She's pulled up surprisingly well but at my insistence she has been banned from doing anything that constitutes doing something. What a thing to go through, I mean you're tossing up the most agonising tooth pain versus the most agonising tooth removal, I'm not looking forward to having mine out that's for sure.
Well that was yet another odd group of results from the footy. Richmond being the surprise packet, I knew there was something in those drugs when Stace picked them, I just hope she hasn't taken them all when it comes time to picking this weeks teams, I'm in! Well done babe.
So Parramatta smells funny, perhaps it was just one of those days last Thursday but yeah, definitely something in the air. I had to visit the NSW Police Headquarters - there's a story in itself. When the airport style security openly joked "not to worry about your change in the x-ray machine mate, you'll get it back. We only take cheque or credit now, that's why they can't catch us." Aaaahhhh ha ha ha, hahaha, ha, haaaa... yeah I'd be shutting up about now funny security guy. His next joke was to put a metal detector over me whist standing too close to some metal tables and then joking that I'll have to take all my clothes off caus' of all the commotion the machine was making. Had a ball out there that's for sure, great entertainment, I'm taking popcorn and a lazy-boy next time.
Not much else to rumble about today other than Sydney's continuing magnificent weather, and I hear Melbourne is also getting unseasonably high temps too. Ah, smog, you gotta love it. Cheers all.
"They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them."
And this magnificent tome from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who lead the Turkish forces at Gallipoli...
Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives...
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries...
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.
Today is an important day for many reasons, but most of all, its a day of remembrance for those who fought and died at Gallipoli. I did World War One history in high school and while I'm buggered if I remember trigonometry, calculus or how to spell, the World War One stuff I DO remember and have held on to very dearly. And so, as the NZ Prime Minister fails to stir any emotion within herself or anyone around her, and I put our Prime Minister's and Prince Charlie's speech on mute, those that are lucky enough to make the journey to the Anzac Cove are in the midst of the dawn service.
Its not a day to say "well what a horrible thing war is", nor a day to applaud those who stand up against their oppressors, this just isn't a day for self absorbed agendas or to take an opportunity to introduce us to god - any god! Just take a few moments to remember those who didn't come home, and a moment to learn something of the conflict that raged on the Turkish shores from this day, and the ensuing months, 90 years ago. Sure there's Simpson's Donkey, Lone Pine and the Unknown Soldier, but there's so much more, and yes, its sad, happy, terrifying and on some levels, just down right illogical.
The charge at the Nek was one of the lowest moments in the conflict, where some 50 metres of No Man's Land separated a heavily fortified Turkish machine gun position and the Australian troops. In all their wisdom, the Anzac commanders decided they would take the position by rushing it with infantry in broad daylight after bombing the crap out of it. Not only was the shelling both incomplete and inaccurate, the infantry were then told to eject all ammunition from their rifles and affix bayonets before they "went over the top". Four waves of infantry were cut down as they leapt over the lip of the trench, none of them reaching more than nine metres forward. Of the 500+ infantry that charged that day, 372 were killed or wounded, and the dead were left on the battlefield and not buried until after WWI had ended in 1919.
But what we were told in class was it was a British commander who orchestrated the charge at the Nek, but I have just found out (yesterday!) that it was in fact an Australian commander who implored his field captains to make those men charge in futility. Why would you lie to school kids? We're school kids, we take it for granted that teachers - people put in charge of our future - put faith in the fact that we're not going to go set a bomb off under Parliament House just because you tell us an Australian Leader did the wrong thing by its countrymen and women...I'll say no more there.
Spare a thought for the British and Turkish armies as well, because everyone talks about how Australia and New Zealand suffered a high casualty rate (and we did, Australia lost 8709, NZ lost 2701), the British casualties numbered 21,255 while 86,692 Turkish lives were lost. Also remember that despite such great Turkish losses, they held their ground and came out victorious. Here's another excerpt from the diaries of Ataturk:
It is impossible for me without mentioning the fights on the Bomb Hill. Distance between trenches is about eight metres, That's to say, death is certain... The soldiers in the first trench are completely dying and the second group replaces them immediately with such great resignation and coldness that noone can imagine. A Soldier sees those dying soldiers and knows that he will die in a few minutes but doesn't show any hesitation and fear at all. By reading Kuran, some are ready to go Heaven and others are fighting and praying to God. This is one of the instances that shows the astonishing high spirit of Turkish soldiers. This is the high spirit that won Canakkale Wars."
Lest we forget.
Man its great to be home! Sydney is just so...err...normal...? So I get the luggage and head straight to the cab rank, there's a ton of people there so I just stand around figuring I'll get one eventually. There's a couple of guys directing all the traffic and one of them looks at me and asks "How many passengers?"..."1!" I yell, not wanting to stand too close to anyone else in case my answer was less believable. "You're in this one!", he points to a lone cabby at the front of the rank. Well tops! I walk past a throng of dejected would-be passengers wondering why they introduced themselves to their newly acquired cabby buddy, didn't make eye contact. Ah, the relief, I was on my way home.
I didn't pay much attention to the driver, and for no other reason than I was just taking in the comforting staleness that pervades Sydney air. Next thing I'm bombarded by this "Oi! Pappadum, basmati, New Delhi <mumble, mumble>. FUCK YOU!" <that was as much Indian dialect as I could gather at short notice> Whoa, I nearly leapt out of the passenger window as I jumped around to find out why my driver, and life preserver on Motorway 5, was having nervous dyspepsia over. Turns out there was a mother of three in her new Lexus - all three lovelies duly strapped in mind you - dodging in and out of lanes behind the cabby in an effort to get ahead of the traffic. Closer inspection revealed she was in her mid-to-late 20s and well kept, and was probably late dropping one of the juniors to ballet class, you know the type (Ed: usually they drive a 4WD). Anyway so Johnny Dot decides to make it his personal mission to block said mother into the left lane behind traffic while he sped up and slowed down without too much concern for cars actually behind and in front of him, so he could yell out my window and abuse her. I'm thinking "Mate, she's probably got some angst ridden opera blaring at the kids with the windows up for air-conditioned comfort, do you honestly think she gives a cubic zirconia about your beef with life?" I didn't though, I was petrified, I just leant back and sighed "Man I love Sydney, its such a mad house, don't you agree?" I looked over to Johnny Dot to discover he's doing all this without his seatbelt on, I laughed out loud at him. He must've been slightly taken aback at that point because he then attempted to initiate something of a profound dialogue about how Sydney is "very big", with "lots of people". Yep, whatever, just get me home.
That was one of the more interesting 20-odd-minutes of icing on a travel cake I've had. I got home in one peace though, and a short time later was squishing myself as tightly as I could against my lovely Stacey's boobs as I could get. Happy to be home, happy to be received, we then rushed off and did some errands before heading up the coast for some much needed down time. Still here in fact, Stacey's in the midst of her Mona Lisa and I've been sitting on my ass reading non-stop.
Speaking of which, I've picked up a couple of surprisingly good mags this past week, and one so juvenile that the desperation it took to buy it did not pay off. I've been nicely surprised by Empire; all about the Movies, whose in what and why that one sucked; and Total Rock; highlighting the past and present of rock'n'roll (its Rolling Stone without the pretence). Empire is more than just the expected reviews and hoo-ha of Hollywood, the current issue is highlighted by brilliant interviews with Bruce Willis and Sean Penn and there's a stack of interesting titbits to pick up on all kinds of movies including foreign flicks; (Ed: gets bonus points for that). There's also a big expose on the new Ridley Scott opus "Kingdom Of Heaven", and how its one of the biggest movie sets in history. I haven't read it all yet but is intriguing to say the least. By the way Emma (and anyone reading this that can pass it on to her), you might like a few of the pics ;-)
Total Rock was a wonderful surprise with articles covering Yes, a rejuvenated The Stranglers, Velvet Revolver, Tesla, Blind Lemon, Bonnie Rait, The Stones, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and many others. My favourite pages included "What Happened during this month..." in which they pluck a year and month from music history (September 1969 for example) and highlight music's news from back then. I also enjoyed the articles where the music journalists recall a moment of their own travels; this month's Schenker and Nugent tales are great.
These images borrowed from their respective websites http://www.empireonline.com.au and http://www.derwenthoward.com.au
So there you go, keep and eye out for them on the news stand if you're really busting for something to read after foolishly forgetting to bring your copy of The Da Vinci Code with you.
Enjoy everything life has to offer in reasonably solid doses.
Today's quote: "I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant."
So I decided to do a clean-out of the front page. Been threatening to do it to myself for a while now. Mail me if you need access to the old stuff, I don't expect to hear from any of you but far be it from me to be doing your thinking. Oh and I'm going to bookmark the updates by date from the top of the page until I get sick of it. Imagine...
I'm sitting on the fifth floor of a hotel overlooking Adelaide City. What a fucking bizarre place this is, so full of beauty, yet so full of shit. Fancy living here, no idea how Sooz did it, but she won't get back to me. By the way she took some vows just recently (unless I've got my time line screwed) so congrats to Sooz and Shaun, CHEERS! The fifth floor, by the way, is a very safe place to be. I'm in the land of well kept vintage cars, Red Tabs with the shirt tucked in, West Australian beer and kids who don't know where to look. Is there something in the water? Its one of those clichés isn't it? But seriously, its cliché city over here and I'm not just talking about lazy husbands. If I didn't know any better I'd of thought Chernobyl cracked its shits here, and the ensuing generations have popped a little bit left of centre.
Have spent my time this week in the Hotel International Adelaide, a wonderful establishment on the southern outskirts of [very organised] North Adelaide. Lovely area, and if you can grab something on the fifth floor or above overlooking the City, I highly recommend the room. Another bonus of the room is you can actually open the window; welcome to my greatest pet hate of hotels, that you can't open a window. I don't care how fucking polluted the air is, I'm breathing it, and I don't care how much of the pollution I'm creating either; generally the inside of the room regardless. Wait, I must use my two dollar pokie voucher...
As fruitful as Adelaide sperm! I kid you not, pretty much every child I encountered - in particular one trip to a Woolworths to grab a toothbrush - all had eyes either looking in different directions, or they were too far apart. I'm not exaggerating, a lot of the poor things had eyes where their temples were meant to be! I shudder to think. There really is something about this place; either people are drinking the water, or they're all drinking anything but! I can't quite put my hand on it but at the same time I'm not even close to considering thinking about taking the time. Sooner I'm out of here, the better. Hey I'm happy to take the criticism; "ah you didn't give it a chance" and "but its such a beautiful city"; yeah but take a look around, these people are not right. Whether physical, mental, or both, everyone's got something not right about t them. YOU work it out and get back to me if you're not convinced.
But don't get me wrong despite the fact you may have already...Adelaide has some very redeeming features. I'll note two very cool bits - and I'm sure there are many more - the first of which is The Archer Hotel. Situated on the corner of O'Connell St and Archer St, North Adelaide, this pub has it all including a couple of the best micro-brewed beers on tap you will ever taste. Ignore they're both from Perth <insert moot point here> and the eight dollar pint price, these things rock. Don't be fooled, they have a couple of home brand shockers that put cat's piss to on a pedestal...ever heard of putting honey in beer...? Me neither. Anyway, Alpha Pale Ale and Bohemian Pilzner rock - I tried everything but these two took the cake, the Pilzner is by far in my top 10 beers of all time! Get this: "The world's most widely known style of beer originates from the town of Pilsen in Bohemia. This is a true 'Pilsen' style beer brewed with premium Australian pale malt and authentic Czech saaz hops. Bohemian Pilzner has a spicy, floral aroma and a clean, rounded palate with a bitter finish." Here I was thinking Bohemia was something you called Big Brarn when he got on a role?!? I took the coaster with me. One more comment on the beers of The Archer: Alpha Pale Ale is measured in the following fashion; Alcohol 5.2%, Bitterness 35 IBU, Colour 23 EBC. You're all welcome to tell me what those numbers mean any time. I asked the bar girl but she barely knew where the brewery was, and when I pointed out it was in Fremantle she'd "heard of the footy team, but wasn't sure where it was"...see what I mean about something not right here...? Oh and the pints measure 650ml - explains the price - but try and get yourself through more than four of them on an empty stomach after you've finished a long day at work...ok that's a cross between Benno's lifestyle choice and inherent need to "knock off". Still, big ass beers no?!? The irony is that in SA pints are the NSW schooner size; so Archers serves the real thing <insert Port Augusta anecdote here> I walked into the front bar at the Pastoral Hotel in search of a nightcap, and when confronted by a sign that said "$3.50 Pints" I made like Caesar only to be confronted with a schooner. Its a good size, what can I say, I didn't fall asleep straight away though...
The Archer Hotel also lays claim to last year's South Australian Hotel Association's award for "Best Hotel Restrooms". Awesome! But what does that mean to you and me? As a guy I really don't look for anything in a rest room. We've done our 2's before we hit a pub - and if you're male and reading this and don't know what I'm talking about, sort it out son! So what makes these toilets so special? They have this big screen TV in the front bar that plays the film clips of all the tracks that jam out, see, and during this they've taken the opportunity to let us know that not only did they win this award, but they check in on the bathrooms every 30 minutes, hence the awards and the apparent freedom to...err...evacuate. So I though "Benno, you are not leaving this place without indulging in the best pub toilets in SA, its just something you have to do!" After 30 odd seconds of tortuous elevator music (I kid you not!) I scurried back to my perch against the bay window to continue wondering where all the traffic is coming from, then opining its destination. There are some old-time standards that also carry on within The Archer; two of those being Toss-The-Boss on Thursdays between 7pm and 10pm, and 2-4-1 specials during Friday Night Footy. Good on 'em, this town needs more beer...
Food here is better than ok, I have to give Adelaide that. Expensive yes - probably because they have no water - but the food is A-Grade bar none...actually the food in Sydney beats it but lets not clutch at nose hairs save our tear ducts for another day. Oh yeah and don't tell Stace caus' its a surprise, but I got her a special treat. I was told the greatly exaggerated story of a chocolate factory that put out 1KG chocolate frogs. I went there for one purpose and one purpose only, to get Stace the biggest chocolate frog I had ever heard of! Despite the fact I may as well've needed a wheel barrow to get the purchases out of there, the frog did not measure up to 1KG, but I was happy that the locals thought it best to warn me that it would, LOL! Haigh's Chocolate Factory is located not far from the CBD on Porter St (not far from the Ulley Rd and Greenhill Rd intersection, she's a biggy) and gets more than just my stamp of approval, these guys have been around forever and will be around for a long time to come. Basing it on the chocolate almond samplers that they jam down your throat at the counter, YUM!
What else can I tell you...ah yes, smoking IS bad for you. They say it does here, in fact they've just brought in new laws that say you can't smoke in certain places...wait, didn't every other state do that about six years ago?!? Welcome to Adelaide, the town that makes sure your hire car has an ash tray and killer new-car-smell-deodoriser, yet makes smokers stick to only eighty percent of the pubs...LOL. Its funny for a reason because when you read the sign in the cab that says "The new state smoking laws say you can't...", you still can. Crazy.
I'm currently playing PvD's Mayday '02 opus, WOW! If anyone wants a copy I'm more than glad to throw for the blanky and send it along. This is the stuff that makes you happy, and who hates being happy?!? Exactly! Its like anything written by our hero Hunter S Thompson, who despite being one of the most admired counter-culture writers over the past hundred years he decided, in true "Gonzo" style, to take his own life at the meagre age of 67. The thing with him is this: you and I think 67 is a very early age to die, but this guy was lucky to get into his 30's! It is despite - and thanks to - his outrageously extroverted lifestyle that us mere mortals have tomes like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"...fuck there's no point me even starting a list. This guy's work puts anyone to shame no matter how prolific. He was the voice of the old, the voice of the new, and he told it like it is. To be broad: if something was fucked, he'd say it was fucked and without equivocation. He edited and re-edited his own work to the point of heightened paranoia, and if an editor (nay person in charge) decided it wasn't good enough, he'd walk. He was true to us, but more than that, true to himself. Honest is a rare quality as we all know, its a shame to lose one as such.
Congratulations to the Duck and Becks; their little girl was born a couple of mornings ago and mother and daughter are doing very well. We love that kind've news, especially when a duckling is involved, can't wait to meet her. The Duck reports she has more hair than your average baby, and it happens to be strawberry blonde...duck-knows where she got that ;-)
This latest work project - in fact just working in Sydney in general - has been pretty stressful. Let it never be said that doing things in spades with one kidney is an easy thing to do. Yes, I've pushed certain envelopes a little too far considering the fact, but there's nothing more destructive than stress. I implore you all to maintain an even keel in life lest you end up with this kind've ache in your side. I need to take up some form of meditation I think, something to mentally even me out. Drugs just aren't the answer...ROTFIFOH!!! Much as you'd like to think that I'm thinking that, refer to the quote of the day. Stress on the right hand is the bitch you never wanted to end up with, and so in honour of my adrenal glands' wish to top me off the planet, I bid you good night and sweet dreams.
Love yous, miss yous, love yous
Emma has left us, ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, she had fun and we had fun so we're looking forward to doing it all again soon. Yay!
So I'm in South Australia this week for work. Man this place still sucks! Adelaide Airport - thankfully they are building a new one. You get off the plane on the runway and are corralled into a walkway that has a revolving door to enter the terminal. A revolving door people, hotel this ain't! So there's your first traffic jam and you haven't even hailed a cab yet. Get into the terminal, a building not much bigger than our lounge room, and its like some throw back to the 70s where men were men and women, well they were probably men too. Very strange. The guys all smile at their male friends who are picking them up, but its very shake-hands-don't-touch stuff, lots of deep growling and how's it going mate. Why can't you just let that masculine thing go and give him a hug, he's your friend!?! Anyway, the women all scurry around and collect their male partner's luggage as well as their own, the kids' luggage, while carrying the kids, and feeding the kids. Yeah there's some stereotypes still alive here for the worse that's for sure.
The cabby was a pisser, I jump in among the chaos that is
catching a cab at Adelaide Airport and we head off. How's this for a
Me: So, I'm headed to this hotel, you know it?
Me: How much roughly?
Him: <looking mortified> WHY???
Me: Need to know if I have enough in my wallet, otherwise we'll go to a teller on the way
Him: <big sighs of relief> 'bout fifteen bucks mate
What, did he think I was going to do a runner? Fair dinkum. I needed a beer. Checked into the hotel, pretty cool looking place: "Hotel International Adelaide". Not one bible in the whole room, that's a first for me, but the hotel guide thingy with the room service menu etc? Yeah that had a front page with directions to every church within shouting distance, the times of their services and even the names of the parishioners presiding. Too funny, I didn't order room service. Went for a bit of a walk along whatever road I'm on, its restaurant central so wasn't hard to find something to eat. I highly recommend the pizza place I went to, I'll get the name of it in a tic. Yeah awesome way to make pizzas guys, that's some gourmet shit! Had a beer in a great looking little pub called The Archer Hotel. Had a few boutique beers on the menu, Bohemian Pilzner was my choice, but after I asked for a pint and they came back with this glass that required a wheel barrow to get it anywhere, I settled for a seat close by and took it very slowly. Nice beer by the way, but yeah, the pint was probably closer to a stein. So then I'm ordering the pizza and I've got a couple of takeaway beers in my bag, I say "Mate, ok if I sit here and drink one of these while I wait?"..."Course you can mate, you can do anything you want here!". Well tops then! So I'm half cut at this point, walking back to the hotel. I've got a pizza in one hand balancing an open beer on top of it, the phone in the other, I would've been arrested in any other city I'm sure. This explains the smell of dope everywhere because if anyone gave a shit, it was a long time ago and even longer forgotten.
The best thing I saw was this morning as I was waiting to check-in for a flight to Port Augusta. The wife (assuming) is tending to the infant while she struggles to put a pram into a plastic bag provided by the airline. Big vac-bags they look like, and if you've got anything other than a solid piece of luggage, they insist you put your stuff inside one, weird. Anyway so yeah, this poor woman is making sure junior doesn't have nervous dyspepsia while trying to shove her SUV pram inside one of these bags. What's hubby doing? Oh he's stretching his arms out and chatting to the hostess who is checking them in. What a tosser, help out you moron!
And every toilet in the terminal smells like someone just dusted off a spliff before they had to board, fucking classic! You just hope its not a pilot, or worse. So get this, I had to fly to Port Augusta this morning and I'm checking in to Qantas, but its for Air North Regional. I'm curious about this flight, takes and hour and a bit and there's only four others waiting with me at the gate. Hhmm. So we meet the pilot, he actually comes to the terminal to collect us and we follow him out onto the tarmac. We're walking, walking, I'm wondering where this bloody plane is and specifically how small. I've been on the small 15-seaters before so I'm not phased by them, just curious. Turn the corner of some machinery and there we are. Now this thing would fit nicely inside our lounge room! Man it was small. A little 8-seater twin engine baby. I'm last to get on and everyone's grabbed seats farthest from the cockpit. The cockpit is basically the plane by the way. So I head straight up the front, I'm sitting right behind the pilot. He's making some checks behind the plane and I yell out his open window "Dude, what side do you sit on?" Probably not a good way to introduce yourself to a pilot whose making sure this thing isn't going to fall out of the sky. He comes back "On the left, but I don't want anyone sitting next to me!" "No that's cool, just want to sit behind you and watch you do the flying thing, that ok?"..."Oh yeah sure, yeah I sit on the left, sit wherever you want." Tim was our pilot, he gave us our emergency instructions on the tarmac outside the plane.
So I'm basically at the front of the plane here, I've got the windscreen right there! Got all the instruments in front of me, Tim's making his checks, doing the rounds, flicking a few switches. One of the interesting moves was he did this routine with the steering wheel, pulling it in and out to make sure the flaps were working. But I'm looking at it thinking "mate, if you're doing that so many times, don't you think we should get someone to look at it?" All good. Then he started up the engines, rew rew rew rew rew, I'm about to say "Mate, think you've flooded it, give it a few minutes yeah?" Shut the fuck up and let the man do his thing Benno, this is no time for funny buggers. Loser! Takeoff was pretty cool, but taxing was cooler, Tim held the steering wheel with his knees a la steering-while-lighting-up-in-the-Falc while he flicked a few more switches etc, classic. But the best part was landing, I got that whole "call the ball" vibe from Top Gun as we slowly descended with the runway lined up right in front of us. SO COOL!
So Port Augusta hasn't changed much, its still a real shit-hole. But I'm nearly done here so I'll be finishing up and head over to the hotel I'm staying at for a relaxing read/sleep/somethingerather afternoon and evening. Just in time to get back on the plane at 6.40am tomorrow morning, FARK! Its a killer trip this one and won't be getting any better.
Not good news for those barracking for that chick (whose name escapes me) who was busted with dope in her boogie board bag overnight, with claims that nine aussies have been busted carrying $1.6 million worth of heroine - depending on which news service you adhere to of course. Has been as high as $2.5 million. Might've sealed her fate you think? Oh and the black smoke coming from the Vatican to signal they haven't made a decision yet. You know what's going on there don't you...
#1: "Ok who set the toaster on fucking high again???"
#2: "Oh sorry Davo, yeah that's me mate, I keep forgetting to set it back after I use it."
#1: "Johno! Every fucking time we get together on one of these junkets you always sabotage the toaster. Get it through your thick skull, none of us like black toast!"
#2: "Alright alright, keep your knickers on, geez anyone'd think the Pope died or something..."
Anyhoo, catch y'all up again soon.
Howdy all, how 'bout those footy scores?!? Poor Carlton, after enduring a 31+ final quarter after scoring the winner in the 29th, they drew 109 all with Port. I was watching it on the net - it can be done don't worry about that - and when Sporn potted the winner to give the Blues a slender lead we were already into extra time. Time drags on when you're watching a game on the net, because some ten minutes later (was actually about two), full time was called and Port had snagged a couple of behinds to draw level. "Bollocks!" I yelled at the screen of my laptop. Stace was looking at me funny because from the balcony, with no ambient sounds other than the radio we had on, there was no indication that I was watching a footy match. You can imagine that playing out I'm sure. Anyway, thanks to that, Freo, the Hawks and the D's my tips are screwed for yet another week. Gee thanks. Rines did better though, we're very proud.
Humans, I can't get enough of this stuff. I just saw and ad for fat free cat food...
Young Emma has spent the last week and a bit with us, has been marvellous having her here and we look forward to the next time she comes. We've done some pretty cool stuff including a day at Taronga Zoo - man I struggle with zoos, very sad places. Even the zoos that do a great job of saving the animals, well the animals needed saving why? Humans. <sigh> But it was wonderful seeing some of the world's rarest and reading some of the doco on how Taronga is successfully breeding them. The Kodiak bears are amazing, SO BIG! We got to feed giraffes and Em got to pat the direct descendents of McArthur's Merinos, and the chimps were lively. The Silver Back was also very majestic, reminded me of the big guy who lived in Melbourne Zoo for some years, so strong.
Had a pretty cool movie experience too, Hoyts here have what they call La Premiere seating; its like VIP couch like seating, all your popcorn, coffee and soft drinks are free and they have a fully stocked bar if you want to piss on as well. Choice bro! So yeah, despite the movie itself (Miss Congeniality 2, review soon) it was nice to kick back with the shoes off on the couch and munch to our heart's content. Nice.
Anyway, travels travels, will catch you up again soon.
I can't wait for Madagascar!
So Von Dutch, word has it he was a racist sadistic prick whose pop culture artwork is celebrated for all the wrong reasons. He made his name doing artwork for motorbikes in the 60s and his insignia of the winged eyes were supposedly his depiction of African Americans not being able to re-incarnate themselves. On his death bed in '92 his last written note was "Heil Hitler". "An American Original" says the website, typical American wanker more like. Anyway, if you decide to wear Von Dutch clothing, now you know what it really symbolises, enjoy.
Work, work, work! Was great seeing those of you we could see. Those of you we couldn't, we'll try and get you next time. Something tells me it'll happen again at some stage soon. For those who aren't sure why I...we...were travelling around the country side looking stressed out of our gourd: The dude I work for scored a tender to patch a company's PCs Australia wide. That meant me travelling to Melbourne and then to Perth while the other guys did QLD and SA. But did I want to do it alone? It didn't bother me actually, but I though if Stace was interested in doing some work and earning a bit of money as well, she could some along for the ride and it'd be kind've fun to do it together. So I tell the boss "oh mate Stace is the king with computers, you'd be better paying someone we know can do the job rather than some uni student from the destinations who we've never met blah blah. He goes for it all the way and we're off.
I've gotta tell you, it was so surreal driving around Perth after not being there for 4 years or more now. It all just came straight back to me, all the back ways and short cuts, I even drove right past my old work on one of our trips to a client office. Very scary. I don't regret the time I spent there but I certainly didn't look after myself in any way imaginable. Had a beer in one of my old haunts figuring for old time's sake, but half way through I'd had quite enough. Was nice to find Kilkenny on top though, nothing wrong with that stuff. Oh and the prices, I don't miss the prices, shit on me they are even more expensive then I remember! Stace had a Guinness black Russian and I had a pint of Kilkenny, 17 bucks later I understood why they had an EFTPOS facility. One thing I did enjoy doing again was chilli muscles though, they rock like no other entree on the map.
I won't talk about the work itself because other than two or three purple patches, it was shithouse. But that's work and (unfortunately for her) now Stace has seen first hand what life in IT can be like. But yeah other than the work we got to see some interesting places; how many of you, or anyone you know, have driven across the Indian Ocean, literally! Yeah we got to see an Environment Replacement Depot, Water Treatment Plant, a couple of Defence Installations, apart from the work we were there to do it was pretty cool to see some of it. Smell some if it, not so cool, but that's another story.
It was a whirlwind trip that we barely survived, and here's the kicker. We caught the redeye back from Perth to Sydney, ever done that? Well put it this way, you board the plane just before midnight WA time, sit on a plane trying to sleep or read and neither of them is successful, you lose 2 hours somewhere in the air and get off the plane just after 6am. If you're like us, you then have to navigate peak hour traffic to get home and you haven't slept in the last 24 hours. Sounds nice huh. Well imagine if you get off the plane, go to the toilet and return to completely lose your travel companion (my fault, total coma). You then get to the long term car park shuttle only for it to close its doors as you get to it, so then you have stand there for another fifteen minutes waiting for the next one. You finally get to the car after not remembering where you parked it, jump in and it doesn't start caus' the battery's dead. You can deal with that until the NRMA tells you you owe them money because you didn't pay your account back in December when you only joined them in December. Wow, cut that air. By the time we got home we were too wired to sleep so we end up doing a few chores and some shopping and then we sat down to watch a movie while we chill out before Stace has to go to school. We made through about 10 minutes of film before passing out big time.
Suspect Zero, great flick!
So coming home wasn't so great but you get that. Hey how about those footy results, Round 1 made us all look pretty amateurish, man, but round two saw everyone come back pretty strong. I'm not sure how often you guys want results posted, I thought I'd throw out some clues and suggestive remarks until we're a few rounds in and I'm also figuring you guys are keeping an eye on what everyone else is tipping. But I'll leave it up to you, so let me know. The noticeboard is once again on hold til I find out about whether my host supports php, until then...email's a wonderful thing. Cheers all, more soon.
The few-and-far-between updates continue...I won't even bother apologising this time, you know, lol. So the boring stuff first: work's good, school's good, Sydney's good...money could be better, but couldn't it always? So what's news...
We went out on Saturday, my Gran turned 90! Congrats to Gran for making it, and being sensible enough to not come out with the youngens in the fam who decided a few catch up beers after the lunch cruise around Sydney harbour would be a great idea. Fast forward 18 hours and Stace and I are struggling to stay awake to get off the train at our stop. We missed it the first time - not by one but three stops! - managed to get it on the way back. But hey, given it was Sunday morning and we had to walk past all the shops anyway, we thought we'd get a paper. The Sunday Telegraph is more than just a TV guide...not by much though.
Sydney is a mixed bag. Its full of wankers, but they can be really nice, if you can understand any of that. Its the homeless people that tend to get me a little bit, because all I want to do is give them my lunch or my drink bottle, and they just won't take it. I won't go into detail, but there's a guy who cruises down Pitt St around the same time each morning. He trawls the ciggie bins looking for more than a butt, if that's as PC as I can make it then so be it. I try and time my morning durry to coincide with his trek so I can give him some, and have actually started catching him. Trouble is I'm not at the same client every day so I can't be there as regularly as I'd like. But I've had some success with giving him cigarettes. He's thankful and humble and will only take one despite me offering him as many as he wants. I just hope its a bit of a relief for him to have a full cigarette instead of struggling through the two-puff-butts he scrapes up. I wish I could do more but its hard to ask.
What really pissed me off was this: I was back up in the office telling Stace how I'd finally got this guy to accept a ciggie, and this guy comes over after I hung up saying "yeah I couldn't help over hear your conversation, there's loads of those guys around." I'm a bit wary but of course my innocence shows straight through and I say "Oh really, do you give them ciggies too? Oh that's great...", and he goes "I did once, and he told me to get fucked, so I don't even bother trying now." So that was a blow for me, but what was I expecting, this is fucking Sydney, so if I combine that with the current state of humanity itself...yeah I should've just known.
Then there's this other guy who frequents the local bottlo down the road, he shakes so hard, like he's playing the spare change in his hand like its a tambourine and mutters conversations to himself. Today's conversation (with himself) was whether the six pack he was clutching was economical..."This economical?" he'd ask himself, "Yep, this is economical" he'd reply. Other days its about when he should come back or what time is it. But do you think I can offer to buy his six pack for him? Or give him the one I'm buying? No chance, he won't have any of it. But I keep trying, not like the socialite fuckwit I encountered at work. I guess I'm trying to ask (myself) whether I should do it or not. I feel like I should, shit I'd rather smoke the ciggies and drink the beer myself, but there's someone out there who wants/needs it more than I fucking do, so I'm gonna keep trying dammit!
Lighter notes are always a breath of fresh air. Whose looking forward to the start of the AFL season? Fuck its hard to make anything important now hey, maybe I should've left that opening few paragraphs for the end of this post. Then again, maybe I should just pretend to be someone else for the sake of a happy tune...LOL, as if that will ever happen, you guys will only get the real me, be it happy, sad or just plain off the planet like normal. So yeah, ok before Stace gets in before me, I fell asleep during the second quarter final of Carlton's beautiful victory in the pre-season cup final. You can shame on me all you want, I'd had a few Sapporo's with Aunty and with a 1pm bounce-down I was pretty lucky to get through the credits. As if a game of footy would be more important than Aunty, but until you meet her you just won't know. Some of you have been lucky enough, until then, you will reserve judgement on my bad fan performance.
So I listen to a bit of internet radio when I'm bored of the mp3 collection, and if you're into that kind've thing while you're working away or sitting at home reading all the emails that have racked up over the past couple of days, check out www.icebergradio.com and tune in to one of the many channels they have on offer. I'm pumping out the "Metal - 80s Hair Bands" station at the moment, Stu you need to listen to this man, the throw back to days of yore is so cool! Anyway, check out the site if you're after some tunes.
Hey does anyone miss Ruffles? Remember those awesome chips that killed everything else in flavour, especially the salt and vinegar? I do, I remember them fondly and have despised those in charge ever since they pulled them from the shelves. I've been out there looking for anything that compares to them ever since and nothing has ever come close...until now! Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to introduce you to "Arnotts Tasty Jacks Chip Shop Salt & Vinegar", halleluiah people, the grail has been found. Well its not quite the grail, and my taste buds are spot in with this even through the ravages of time (and alcohol and cigarettes and...), but its fucking close man, reeeeaaaalllly close. Get a hold of some next time you're out for chips, trust me on this! Oh and Pods appear to have gone Australia wide, get some of those while you're at it!
So there'll be a new link up on the site come...err...next week some time...shit I don't know when it'll be up. Next time I get some spare time I guess, which over the next couple of weeks is at a major premium. But it will go up, and it will be full of footy tipping results, goss, info, rumours and of course, home team triumphs...wait on Benno, you're writing cheques your body can't cash! No it will be up, and I'm looking into putting up a new noticeboard so we can all post on it. Anyway, I'll get onto that and send you all the details.
Alrighty, well I'd better jet because there's more than just plain old web site shit to organise at this end. Take care and be good to yourselves wherever you are and whoever you're with, and I look forward to catching up soon. Go the Blues! End' 'em eh, I luv youz all.