Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Been a very long time..

Well it's a long time between drinks ... and sadly everything has taken a turn for the worst over the last few months. After my move back to Adelaide the job market here has pretty much dried up and I have found myself now unemployed for 6 months straight . The most frustrating thing is that this unfortunate event looks to continue into the first few months of next year too.

I've thought long and hard about alternatives to finding another chemistry related job and with all things considered I know it just isn't possible at the moment due to circumstances as they stand. Should I go back to uni and study something else? Theoretically I could, the main barrier to that is that to do this I have to forgo any type of life supporting income for the next 3 years. I just don't have the savings to do that now and would put myself under incredible financial (and therefore emotional) strain. So I am going to have to wait out this unemployment rut and hopefully emerge better for it next year. I am currently seeking any type of "part time" or such employment at anywhere I can find. My age, experience and qualifications are proving to be a major hindrance however. After 14 job interviews I keep hearing the same thing over and over "Why did you even apply for this job ?? you're WAY too qualified in Chemistry to be doing this". No one is even willing to take a chance on someone who is obviously desperate to do *anything* so as to be employed. Very Frustrating.

The other sad occurrence is the loss of Rachel as my friend. If you've been following this blog over the time i've been writing it you would know I am very fond of Rachel. Over the last 2 years I had rediscovered the friendship from 17 years ago that we had in high school and we went on to become really good "adult" friends as well. She is/was my best friend for the last few years. Unfortunately, after all the good times and fun we've had together it's gotten to the point where I just couldn't pretend I was happy with what our "relationship" had become. I am currently hopelessly in love with Rachel and unfortunately for me those feelings aren't able to be reciprocated. I am absolutely gutted that my own stupidity has left me with no option but to walk away from the most amazing person I have ever met.

I am currently trying to deal with a bevy of mixed emotions. Sadness, heartbreak, relief and regret are all doing the rounds in my head. The hardest part is always the endless "mulling over" of the details after the fact. The one thing I have learnt however through my adult life is that it's better to "Know why" than to "Assume why" things happen. So thankfully I asked Rachel for her reasons why she doesn't see our relationship ever being more than "Friends" and to her credit she told me. It was really an interesting experience to actually see the other persons side of the story but at the same time devastating to know her reasons. I won't go into details here though, suffice to say that even when you think you know someone very well you can always be surprised. I was most surprised not by the "content" of her reasons but how 2 people can see the same thing totally differently or attribute a deep "cause and effect" analysis to problems whose causes are plain as day.

So now I am trying to cope with life "After Rachel" and I won't lie and say i'm making headway and feeling better. I'm not. I miss her like i'd miss an arm or leg. The biggest shock to me has been just how integrated she'd become into my daily routine (some might say this was entirely the problem) and how hard it is to fill those activities with *Anything* else now. I'm constantly battling the feeling that I have made a horrible, horrible mistake by excluding her from my life, when for so long my life was immeasurably more enjoyable and "full" due solely to her being in it. I'm clinging to the hope that one day, maybe months from now, maybe years from now, we will be able to be friends again. It's just not possible at the moment while I love her the way I do.
Still, I am impressed with my own resolve in that I had the strength to walk away from something that was slowly (but surely) making me miserable. It was harder than losing my Father to cancer, because with death the person is gone and you have no chance to ever have them in your life ever again. That kind of ending I can deal with. Rachel is not dead, she's not going to die any time soon, she's alive and well and living her life and i'm not lucky enough to be involved anymore. THAT type of ending is far worse and much harder to accept.

So Rachel if you're reading this all I want to say is "Thank You", you made my life a joy (most of the time) and I will miss you and your wonderful kids terribly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick catch up...

Well, here we are nearly at the end of August. I'm about to move from Melbourne back to Adelaide. I've lived in Melbourne for the last 5 years and well...lets just say i'm glad to be going. I've had some good times in Melbourne and enjoyed myself on and off. However, ever since 2004 when I moved over here I sort of had the feeling it was a mistake but sadly at that point work dictated where I had to go and the only jobs I could accept were here. I've headed back to Adelaide pretty much every chance I got over the last 5 years as all my family and most of my long term friends are there. I'll miss all the friends I made in Melbourne for sure...but I know i'll be a lot happier in Adelaide.

In the last month I haven't really done a lot except conserve money and ride my bikes and look for a new job in Adelaide. The one exciting highlight of the last month was when I had Rachel and all 4 of her kids stay with me for a week and we *DID* Melbourne. Too much stuff to report on but we packed quite a bit into that week. We went all over Melbourne central, went to the Melbourne Meuseum, Southbank, St. Kilda, Olinda (for Pancakes), Sassafrass (and WORLDS BEST puppet store!!!) and to top it off we also went to Mt. Baw Baw and THE SNOW!!


This was the funniest thing ever too, Sophie F. and the snowball of superlative proportions.

Click picture to play


LOL :)

Let's just say that the whole week was brilliant, I really had a great time myself and I reckon (hope) Rachel and the kids did too.

Tonight I just played my last game of basketball for the team I've been playing with for the last 2 years. We won (some would say "of course" here :P) 28-16 and thus finish the season in 1st place. The guys are all a bit disappointed that I now won't play in the finals due to the move. We'll see how it goes...there may be a hasty return to Melbourne in a few weeks to play in the Grand Final..we'll cross that bridge when we get to it though.

Lot of bridges in view at the moment.

Right now I am in the middle of packing up my house up for the move this weekend and onto lifes next chapter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mega-super-action-packed weekend.

So i'm currently into week..um...4 (???) of my "holidays". Not that you can call them holidays, it's more of a "period where I am not doing anything or going anywhere". Sure, I've been in this position numerous times before but these types of "work hiatus" differ due to the fact that on holidays you return to working at some point and get more money coming in.

Having said that I just had a great weekend jetting around the country, out-dinners, exploring, decadent spending and general caution to the wind throwingness :)

On Friday I flew to Adelaide again and packed quite a bit into the 2 days that I was there. I'm not going to mention the flight over....let's just say "It was with Tiger" and you can fill in the blanks. That airline quite simply is disgraceful. I stayed with my brother Craig on Friday night and experienced the wonder of his girlfriends spastic new puppy. Ritalin for dogs in order here...seriously. If you could somehow hook that dog up to a battery and store the energy output it generates .... energy crisis over. We snacked on Indian food for dinner. Awesome. It did however remind me that the Indian place I go to here in Melbourne is quite possibly the BEST Indian in Australia though, I will miss it when i move back to Adelaide. Was good to see my brother again after quite a few months, he seems to be going well with his new career (self employed) and I still find it weird that my "baby brother" is such a grown up :)

On Saturday I met up with my friend Ben (of Ben and Leah's Wedding fame) and we zoomed around Adelaide chatting about "Stuff" and trying to book an audience with my sister. Vicky is moving to Darwin soon and I thought it would be prudent to visit her before she goes as otherwise I probably won't see her again for months. We went to her house (soon to be "My" house :) ) but she wasn't home so a quick call and a plan was devised. Ben and I went out to Glenelg and had lunch (mmmm Glenelg pizza) and met up with my sister at the pub where her going away party was being held. While waiting for her Ben and I watched this group of people who were taking it in turns to stand in front of a camera and talk about "something". there must have been 50 people doing this. It turned out that it was a "Self-help" group that was for helping people with speech disorders (i.e. impediments, stutters, tourettes etc) and allowing them to face the fear of speaking in public to an audience. The most striking thing about this group is that you would not have known that fact just by watching them and listening to them. The coup de grace was the last guy who went before the camera and extolled the virtues of the group and was so glad he had joined and done the hard yards as he said "I otherwise wouldn't have been able to do this..". He then turned to his girlfriend and dropped to a knee, pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him. She was gob-smacked. There must have been 2 or 3 hundred people in the square watching him and the place just erupted into cheers and applause. I think she said "yes" so turned out to be a good day for that guy.

After that my sister arrived and we had a beer and chatted for about an hour before I had to go. Ben dropped me at the train station in Adelaide and I caught the train out to Gawler to go see Rachel and her kids. Much fun was had bike riding upon my arrival and then we decided upon "out dinner" as no-one could be bothered cooking after our collective days. Mine of rushing here and there and Rachels of picking a bazillion olives (+ one cabbage ... apparently). The out dinner routine usually consists of listing off every food possibility and gauging the success of the idea by the amount of scorn and derision thrown at it. The idea with the least scorn and minimal derision which is agreeable to at least 50% of children present is usually the winner. This was not the case on this day. Every child wanted something different from "somewhere" different. We settled on "The Kingsford Hotel" as the mere mention of anywhere else brought howls of disappointment and crying from the youngest child. We ordered a vast selection of food and everyone seemed to be happy. I had a steak (which I rarely have because of the monstrous prices at most restaurants) but it was quite cheap and was very tasty.

Sunday was spent being nerdy :) Working out the exact volumes of oils and height clearances for home projects that Rach had in the works. We even used a tape measure. One highlight was when wondering how to measure without a tape measure I jokingly offered to use my phone "I have a program that does it with lasers" I said. For a split second.... Rachel believed it. Then sanity prevailed :)

Out-lunch again on Sunday and then it was time to trek to the Airport for my fight home. This was sadly marred by a massive expletive laden temper tantrum by a child that will remain anonymous. Arrived at the airport and said goodbye to all and went to board the plane. Weekend in Adelaide over far too quickly again sadly.

Monday saw me driving into Melbourne central to meet up with my Mum who had come over on a tour to see the crows play. We met up at the casino where, surprise, surprise, mum was neck deep in pokies. Winning of course. We went and had lunch at a food court on southbank after "trying" to get served at P.J. Obriens pub....they seemed totally dis-interested in the only 2 customers in the whole place. So we left.

After lunch we decided to go to Greco, home of "Worlds biggest cake Fridge" for a piece of cake and a coffee. However that plan got side tracked when we strayed within visual range of the pokies again. Mum was drawn to them like a moth to flame. She played for nearly 2 hours and won about $25. This was after losing $40, then winning $20, then losing $10, then wining $60, then losing $50, then wining $70 etc etc. I personally don't see the attraction of gambling..

We ended up at Greco's and ordered from the disappointingly small array of cakes on display. I went with the ever popular Mars bar Cheesecake and mum had the Banana Cream Cake.



We then decided that seeing as the day was quite sunny and mildly warm that we would go down to St. Kilda to see the foreshore. So we went and got my car and headed down there. I was expecting the foreshore to be sunny but very windy and we weren't disappointed. There wasn't many people about (except the perennial St. Kilda drug culturalists.) so we sat out of the wind and just watched the waves and chatted some more.


It was already 4pm by this stage and I had to drive home. I dropped mum back at the Casino and headed back out to Ringwood in the peak-hour traffic. Fun.

Overall, a very full 3 days over the weekend and I am again a bit sad that it's over. However, fun is on the horizon...stay tuned.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Global Financial Crisis......sucker punches me.

So on Thursday this week I was made "Redundant" from where I work. Hooray. I'm actually happy about it. I no longer have to do my "job" that I had there which is fine with me. I also managed to stay employed in the one place for 2 years which is now my personal best. The problem with being single, no kids and no mortgage is that it's very easy to discard you when companies need to save a few dollars. I think all I have to say about the matter is that I can't really believe that my skill set couldn't be put to use ANYWHERE else in the company and that the only course of action was to get rid of me entirely. Great work upper management. I'll wait the few weeks until one of my friends there tells me the *real* reason.

As always when you leave somewhere you've worked for a long time you inevitably miss the people you became friends with the most. This is the case here too. I'll miss everyone that I got to know really well over the past 2 years. I will not however miss my job. I think I can safely now say that I have never disliked a job as much as I disliked what i've been "forced" to do in order to stay employed these past 18 months. I had no interest in what I was doing for a long time and especially when any input I gave on my project or work was dissmissed anyway.

So, now I have a 2 month break from working life planned and then i'm moving back to ADELAIDE!! I'm so happy about this and while it is throwing myself to the mercy of the universe some what, I've done it before and come up trumps. I'm the eternal optimist after all.

The most important thing in life for me is to be happy and I am simply not here in Melbourne. So much of my life and the future that I want revolves around Adelaide and it continually seems ludicrous to not be there. So now i have the opportunity to go back and i'm grabbing it with both hands.

So for the next 2 months it's all about enjoying myself and hang the consequences.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The inaugural "Nina Is Sick...but still able to bark out orders!" bike ride 2009.

So this morning I get up and sit at my PC to check the events of the day. When BAM. Not 2 seconds after opening facebook my friend Nina is talking with me on FB chat. She wanted to know exactly WHY I wasn't out riding my bike?

I told her I had just got up and was probably going to go later in the day, after chores and grocery shopping. She was having none of that. Apparently she is bed ridden this weekend with "Swine Flu" or some other even more deadly influenza that is doing the rounds at work (oh..we work together...did I mention that?). Anyway, as I am from South Australia and therefor possess a super-immune system, I rarely even get affected by (or notice) the trivial viruses that Melbourne encounters and which consistently lay the locals out for days. I was instructed that since Nina had been unable to go out on saturday night that she therefor had a "Energy Surplus". I would have to go out and ride the "excess" energy she had not used dancing the night away in order to stop the world exploding or dividing by zero ....or something....I wasn't quite sure why....

But...as if you ever need an excuse to ride a bike, I fortuitously also had some new biking duds which I had to try out too. I needed some "longies" (full length Lycra pants) for riding my bike in winter because it's SO FREAKISHLY COLD IN MELBOURNE. I bought some online during the week and got them yesterday.

So here we go stats for the Inaugural "Nina Is Sick...but still able to bark out orders!" bike ride 2009.

I decided to take my Scotty bike today and "Go Left" when greeted with the first major directional decision which headed up towards the Dandenong hills east of Melbourne. The plan was to beat my time and distance from the last time I went along this trail (on the Stumpy).


The weapon.



As you can see, pretty impressive biking when I reached the halfway, turn around point I had done a respectable 13.44Km with an average speed of 22.1Km/h.

I decided to stop here...

... as any further was heading into mountainous terrain and I had a bike with no shockers. That and my butt already hurt ;)

The new pants were fantastic too. It was only about 12ºC but not windy and not looking like it was going to rain but they kept my legs really warm. These Jaggad Longies are meant for riding in cold weather and have some "special stuff" inside them to act like a wet-suit and keep your legs awesomely warm. They work. 2 thumbs up. Here's a pic (right click --> save as, if you must ladies.....I know I look HOT in these duds. You're only human after all).


Phwoaaaar. Cyclist legs are so raunchy!!

So, after this I hopped back on my Scott weapon and headed back towards home. I was hoping to at least match the time I did getting to the half way point because the majority of the out-bound direction was slightly uphill. Going back was going to allow me to get some ridiculous speeds up on the bike. This was of course assuming there was not an abundence of Sunday walkers, other riders, dogs, cats, monkeys etc blocking the path at regular intervals.

I managed to get some rather impressive 40+km/h speeds up at certain places but these were cruelly "averaged" down by the inevitable appearance of all the stuff I assumed wouldn't hamper me above in the previous paragraph. Assuming is always dangerous....ask anyone...they'll confirm.

So here's the final stats:



As you can see. Stamina and consistency are my trademarks :)

The total ride distance of 26.9 Km (let's just call it 27!) with an average speed again of 22.3 Km/h and a total riding time of 1h:12m:11secs.

Not bad :)

Oh, have I mentioned previously how much this Scott bike ROCKS!!!

As a special treat for the ladies, here's another leg shot. Mmmmmm calf muscles ....



Hope I helped Nina and you feel better soon .

Sunday, June 07, 2009

deforestation and stuff...

My life is so exciting. Really...in Melbourne it's all the go, there is always an abundance of stuff to see or do. That is why today I am going to show you how I mowed my lawn.

So I haven't mowed my lawn since...I don't even know. It has got to be 4 or 5 months easily. I am actually praising it calling it "lawn" because it's really only about 10% grass. The rest is weeds. BIG WEEDS. I thought the whole thing may die over summer due to the water restrictions and hot weather but sadly it didn't...and now in winter it is rivaling the amazon for lush vegetation.



How ridiculous is that?? Once again I had to remove the wild animals from my lawn before attempting to mow it.


After the animals have been shooo'd away.


dwarfed by the forest. The trusty mower.

So the actual "mowing" took about 5 mins. Since it was weeds it just got destroyed by the spinning mower blades of death. A quick follow up wih the whipper snipper and it looks almost like ..... well ....almost like someone gives 2/5ths of a crap about how it looks.


mmmm freshly shaven...um...lawn.


woot.

The best part (??) about this is seeing how many "Mower Ripple Effect" points you can get. The "RME" as it will now be known is how many people within earshot of your place ALSO mow their lawns AFTER you start your mower. You know how it happens....some poor guy manages to convince his wife/partner/boyfriend that he can't possibly mow the lawn today because the weather is so shitty. Wife/partner/Boyfriend lets it slide because it IS a fairly shitty day. Then they both hear it....SOMEONE IS MOWING THEIR LAWN!!! This causes everyone within range who had put off mowing to actually HAVE to then mow their lawns also because they are getting the evil eye from their respective others.
Today I scored 3 points. Woot!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

...and the world was poorer for it.

8 years ago today the world lost a great man, a wonderful father and a guiding light.

I still find it hard to believe that it's been that long since my Dad died. They say that only the good die young and that's what happened in this case. Taken from us far too soon so that he never got to see his children fully mature or get married or meet his fabulous grand kids. While he experienced so much with us while we had him here with us he misses out on some of the best stuff. I still think about him every day and even after 8 years still miss him just as much.

R.I.P Dad.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Best Weekend Ever.

I know I say that a lot....but it really was possibly the best one yet.
To begin with it was 4 days long. Secondly I spent all 4 days in Radelaide and thirdly it incorporated the wedding of 2 of my best friends. Throw in some Rachel, some 5 Star hotel, pancakes, waffles, and crazy dancing and you see what I mean.

The wedding was pretty good as far as weddings go. I was actually Ben's "Best Man" which was quite the honor :) It was my first ever gig as a best man and while some of the "Pre Wedding" task I had to do were a tad difficult to accomplish from Melbourne I think I did a pretty good job and in the end the wedding was better for it ;)

The ceremony was on the Saturday and the weather held off just long enough for the 3pm service to enjoy some glorious sun. The bride and groom both appeared at the church on time and that's always a good start.

The highlight of course was the wedding reception and this was held at Ayres House in the city. The atmosphere there really was one of celebration. The food was excellent also with a choice of 2 dishes for both entrée and main course. Between us, Rachel and I got to taste the whole menu and every meal was very tasty.

I gave my "Best Man" speech after dinner and it went over very well. A lot of laughs were had during the speech and I lost count of how many people came up to me afterwards to say that they thought my speech was brilliant. I don't know...in written form it was 7 pages long and when I got up to actually give it I got horribly lost in the events chain and missed some stuff out or read it out of order. No one seemed to care though :)

After dinner the "socialising" started along with the drinking. I had booked a hotel in the city to stay the night in so Rachel and I took full advantage of the wine, beer, champagne on offer. Consequently we both had a great time I reckon. Thanks must be given to the perenial "party catalyst" Ben Lewis who manages to just take every event he's at and turn it up to 11. He's just so much fun and I think his antics help everyone around him relax and enjoy themselves too. It really was nice to see Rachel being "Rachel" and just having fun and not worrying about anythng like she usually has to. She was an active participant in all the "Crazy Dancing" that took place (as was I...I even did the "Time Warp" and knew the words??!!??!!!) and seeing her having such a blast made me more inclined to do the same. Though special mention must go to Ben Lewis again for inventing the dance move of the century...THE PASSION GRAB!!

Awesomest.Move.Ever

After the reception wound down we went for a quick visit to the Botanic Pub and got in one (or was it two) last drinks before fatigue was setting in (it was 1 am by this point). So Rachel and I headed off to the Rendezvous Allegra Hotel which was a 5 star place in the heart of Adelaide's CBD. I must say..for the price it was very luxurious. When we arrived we were greeted by the malfunctioning lift from hell (I'm sure the thing just didn't like us!) it just would not allow us to go to our floor. You had to stick in your electronic key then press your floor number. We did this several hundred times..for me it wouldn't even leave the lobby and for Rachel it would leave the lobby but only take us to the Penthouse floor and then wouldn't open the door once there??? When we went and told the concierge (<-- I spelt that right FIRST TIME!!! woo woo) he was obviously beginning to think we were incompetent fools as it was the 3rd time we'd been back with electro-key trouble. We got in the "other" lift and the key worked 1st time...BAH!

Once we got to the room it was quite late and while I started taking off the suit I had been wearing all day (no easy feat as it was drenched in sweat from all the dancing) Rachel decided to get in a pre-sleep sleep :) she laid fully clothed on the HUGE bed (Do beds come in a size bigger than "king"?) and nodded off almost instantly. I went and had a shower and when I came back she was already asleep. Poor dear :)

The morning was SURREAL. I woke at about 7am and in my semi-awake state noticed that Rachel wasn't in the bed...I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. Upon re-waking at 8:30am I noticed that she STILL wasn't in the bed? I woke with a start and cautiously looked around the still darkish room. I checked the bathroom "area" (as it was almost as big as the rest of the suite) ..nope not there either. Then I noticed her bag was gone (it was a medium carry bag type thing) ... ??I went back over to the bed and saw that her clothes were still on the floor next to the bed ?? I honestly thought she'd been abducted in the night and sold in to white slavery!!! A bit concerned, I rang her mobile hoping to GOD that it didn't ring inside the room itself... it didn't. I was greeted by a cheerful "Good Morning :)" and informed that she couldn't sleep at about 6am so she got up and went for a walk around the city for a few hours........ I relaxed, but man was I thinking the worst for a while there :)

We then thought we'd have some Yum Cha for breakfast....but contrary to both our memories of Gouger St. We couldn't find a Yum Cha restaurant that was open. (This was met with howls of laughter back here in Melbourne when I told this to my work mates....the widely held belief here is that "Adelaide is closed on Sunday"). We there for had to settle for Pancakes :) Win. Win. We then went back to Gawler and embarked on the second once in a lifetime event (after the wedding) for the weekend. The formatting and re-installation of Rachel's computer. HOORAY! There were some slight technical hiccups but in the end we got everything working (with a bit of help from the ever dependable Raff). The speed increase was astounding but her computer is getting on in the years, so much so that some (yes, PLURAL) of her children are younger than it. Biggest disappointment (for certain children at least) is that the PC is so old that the new "Sims 3" game actually won't work and gives the error "Upgrade your PC!!" ... hehehe.

Finished off the weekend with an out-dinner of Indian :) and then on Monday morning went and saw where Sofie (Rachel's youngest) goes to kindy now. I helped her make a wig out of wool and cardboard. She let me try it on and it was good to have long flowing curly hair again after 20 years :P. Had a fantastic time once again in Radelaide.

In other Melbourne based news, yesterday the builders FINALLY came to fix the mould damage in my house. Not bad. Quite speedy service seeing it only happened in AUGUST 2008!!!!^ They didn't even finish after 5 hours either :/ and have to come back next week. Also, after 10 years..the Basketball team I play in here finally got NEW uniforms. I'll put a pic up later as they are totally swish and awesome looking. If our amazing skills on the court don't blind the other teams our funky, dripping with court cred new threads certainly will.

Old New




Still waiting to hear from SA Water too. Surgery also pending :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rounding them up....

Last week went so quick..which was great as I almost didn't notice I was at work :) Thursday however was just brilliant. I had the most fun I think I have ever had while at any of my thousands of jobs ever. I was laughing pretty much constantly all day thanks to my (seemingly) weekly email tsunami with Rachel. We must have sent about 15 massive emails each. So much fun. You so ROCK Rach :)

I spent the previous weekend (Easter) doing the family and friends things again (Hooray) so spent 4 ish days in Radelaide. Thanks to Rachel and Ben for the free accommodation once more on this visit. The weekend as always went far too quickly but I managed to do so many things that I had a great time once again and i managed to spread myself equally over Angaston, Gawler and Adelaide city.

Sunday night was definitely the highlight. Rach and I went out for dinner at "Tonic" at Lyndoch in the Barossa. Tonic is a new restaurant that has recently won just about every award in the hospitality sphere. The food was VERY spectacular sounding and when we got the menu on arrival it was clear that this place was the ducks nuts for food. I ordered a Beef and black olive pie with some sort of mashed potato which was infused with liquid awesome and then coated with a cheesy sundried tomato sauce. Rach had Weiss noodle bolognaise which had rabbit and pork and other equally impressive stuff in it. No photo's of the actual meals sorry. Rachel also kept up her stats for choosing "Wine that Michael doesn't think tastes like dishwater" (For the uninitiated...I usually think ALL wine tastes like dishwater). She chose a 2008 Burge Family Wine Makers Shiraz Rose.



Again, I liked it!!! After the fantastic pick in January of Bethany 2002 Vintage Shiraz Cabernet this one was also quite tasty. Well done Rachel once again...2 for 2.

While we were eating, chatting and drinking some desserts were brought out for some other patrons and caught Ms. Rachels eye. Apparently...we WERE having dessert now :) Fine by me.

Rachel ordered the Lemon Posset with Vanilla Paschmak & Almond Sugar Shortbreads. Even now after reading that again...I don't really know what it was. I think it was a lemon cheesecakey type thing with fairy floss on top (see Below). The verdict..well was there ever any doubt that the two thumbs would appear?


I went for the Sticky Date, Bread and Butter Pudding with Toffee Sauce & Cream. Equally awesome.



It was mighty fine :)

This weekend, in contrast, I have had a quiet time at home watching TV and relaxing on saturday. OH!! I also watched "somebody else" clean my whole garden for me. That was so difficult to watch and not actively participate in as I LOVE Gardening^. Check out my front yard now:


Today I went for a ride in the morning. It was hard to deciede which bike to take ... the new flat-bar roadie (see last blog entry) or the dual suspension mountain bike. Both are soooo cool that I assume that what I had to do was a kin to trying to pick your favorite child (assuming you have more than 1 of course). I went with the road bike as I hadn't really given it a good ride yet despite having it 2 whole weeks. It's only done the "work run" which doesn't really count as it's only 2.8km. So I took it today for a 40km jaunt along the now familiar Eastlink bike track. All I can say is WOW. Roadbikes can be gotten up to INSANELY fast speeds if your legs are used to normally pushing around a mountain bike. I had no trouble getting this bike up to 50km/h on the flats and even faster down hills. The only bad point is thhat my butt has obviously been pampered with my mountain bikes dual suspension which swallows any bump in the track or road that you might roll over so you don't even notice them. Not so on the road bike. You feel EVERYTHING you roll over. Sticks, undulations, pot holes, gutters and each sensation is delivered with maximum force to the base of your coccyx!! I really feel like i've spent a weekend in an all male prison now. I also made a vid when I stopped at the half way point with a review of said bikes performance...enjoy.


Click picture to play (18MB and you'll need Quicktime)


Saturday, April 04, 2009

tripping and falling....

Many of my close friends have been having accidents this week where they are just going about their daily task and unfortunate accident befell them...

Rachel told me how she was just sorting Easter eggs and a whole white chocolate rabbit accidentally fell in her mouth and she had to eat it to stop it from choking her. Nasty stuff indeed.

This prompted another friend Michael to comment about how he was innocently looking for a healthy lettuce snack in his fridge when some beer that was also in the fridge tipped over and several of them poured directly into his mouth before he could get out of the way. He could have drowned !! Terrifying stuff.

Today, I had a similar experience.... I was calmly walking down High St. in Prahan , Melbourne. When I tripped and fell into The Melbourne Bicycle Center, when I got home I realised that I had got something wedged in my shoe... A Scott Sub 20 bike.... since it was too late to take it back I guess i'll just have to keep it and remember to be more careful in future.



So be careful everyone ... I'd hate for something as unfortunate to happen to any of you.

P.S. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All aboard....

..the CRAZY TRAIN.

That's what it's been like for the last 3 weeks. Absolutely crazy in all aspects. There has been ups, downs, lefts, rights more ups, more downs and it really can shake your faith in people and companies. Thankfully i've got a great network of friends and family that were paramount in helping me deal with the mountains of unbelievable crap that I found myself traversing. I think as of today the worst is over for a while...at least....I hope.

If you're sick and tired of me whining about Melbourne...maybe skip down the page until you see the picture of a puppy.

As usual the thing that has taken up most of my "thinking time" is my seemingly perpetual struggle with finding my personal happiness. The last 3 weeks have firmly cemented in my mind that Melbourne is not the place for me as a place to spend and "live" my life (big surprise huh?). After living here for the last 5 years it's now completely and undeniably obvious to me (and most probably to anyone close to me) that I constantly feel I am in the wrong place. I feel even more alienated and detached from my own life with each passing week and a few friends have commented on my complete change of character before and after trips to Adelaide. It's true though, I *love* going Adelaide for many reasons and I *hate* having to come back here after every single jaunt. I'm trying my hardest, all the time to rectify this problem.

It seems like such an easy fix as the "fun" ratio of Adelaide:Melbourne is skewed WAY in favour of Adelaide.. I should just pack-up my stuff and go "home" ... However FEAR is always the mind killer. I have a job here that supplies me with money and while i've certainly done it before..throwing caution to the wind and quitting my job and going back to Adelaide to uncertain career prospects is probably foolish in the current economic climate. It's WHOLLY appealing on many other levels however but at the moment the most prudent course of action seems to be to find another job first before moving. The ultimate question is "how much is your happiness worth?"

I also had some of my longest serving friends visit Melbourne for their work these past 2 weeks and I made the effort to go catch them while they were here. I've know these guys (Matt and Ben) since..well forever it seems like. It was great to catch up with them (even though I saw them only a few weeks ago in Adelaide). We had a good night out on the town. Ben was also back here again this week for work again so on Sunday we went out again for dinner. This time to Brunswick St. and the "Little Creatures Ale House" which I didn't even know existed there. The food was pretty good and the beer was also ok too. Thanks to the Federal Government for both ;)



On my last trip to Adelaide you may recall I had some mobile phone problems, well 2 weeks ago they came to a head when my phone wouldn't connect to the phone network at all. So I had to go get another phone. I did my research and went with the Samsung Omnia (on a plan) because it was way cheaper. This phone is amazing, it is astounding what this thing can do. I have yet to find a task that I would "need" on a phone (or indeed a full computer) that this thing can't do. Let me illustrate:

(a) Makes calls (voice AND video) - "check"
(b) SMS and MMS - "check"
(c) Mobile intarwebs - "check"
(d) Plays MP3's - "check"
(e) Plays XviD movies - "check"
(f) GPS navigation - "check"
(g) Full MS Office suite - "Check"
(h) Games - "check"
(i) Ridiculously large mega-pixel camera/video - "check"
(j) Massive amount of storage space (16GB) - "check"

get the idea?

I know the term "Awesome" gets thrown around a lot these days and many say that this has devalued it as a superlative. But if there was a word which embodied all the traits of "awesome" and then took it 2 notches higher, that word* would be used -here - to describe this phone. Very happy with my purchase :)

On the work front, well....what can I say without being too negative. Not a lot :)
I *think* the project I have been working on is nearly finished, at least, we can see the end of it now...the problem is that we still don't know if the ending will be good or bad. Which I find utterly ludicrous at such a late stage. I also must say that [client] are the biggest bunch of illogical [expletive]'s that I have ever had the misfortune of working with. For that reason alone I can't wait to be off this project and hopefully rid of them.

I've been biking a fair bit lately (surprise surprise) when the weather allows it and have rapidly come to the conclusion that the Stumpjumper I bought late last year is quite possibly the best bike in the universe. It is so good that my other bike is now constantly looked on with derision and scorn. Undeserved of course because it's an excellent bike in it's own right ... it's just the Stumpy is like the biking equivalent of multi-orgasmic sex...and who doesn't like that??? The Avanti is sort of like that drunken shag on a park bench at 3am . You remember it fondly and it serves it's purpose .... but you see the Stumpy whenever you look at the Avanti and go for the guaranteed multi-orgasm nearly every time. It doesn't help the Avanti's cause that in comparison to the stumpy it is the slightly overweight girl that looked beautiful after 15 beers and a bottle of whiskey. Where as the Stumpy looks like Heather Graham when you're sober.

Just for the record..I thought that analogy was awesome :)

So the Avanti may soon be "surplus to requirements" and be looking for a new home. Like always if you would like it..let me know..any reasonable offer considered. Size XL frame by the way (which is BIG) suitable only for anyone 6'2" or over. Then I might have to see about getting a road bike (mmmm Avanti Blade 5).

Now I'm just hanging out for Easter and some time off away from Melbourne. The next 2 months are shaping up to be ok and I have some other plans in the works that I hope to be able to bring to fruition during that time too (think "decadent trips to exotic locations") so that is also a bit exciting.

Also, may I just say "logitech battery low warning pop-ups every 2 mins are ANNOYING!!" in the 2 tiered hope that some one, somewhere, some day googles that phrase and finds my blog and is exposed to the awesomeness of it. And also because that statement is true!! My keyboard here at work is wireless and has a little LCD screen built into the top that shows a picture of a battery when the batteries are low. I know from this that the batteries are low...I don't need a pop-up every 2 mins also saying "Your Batteries in your keyboard are low!!" especially when the keyboard still functions normally. I'll change the damn batteries when the keyboards ability to send it's data stops working. My experience with this "change the battery alert" is that it is a kin to the petrol warning light coming on when you still have 1/4 tank of petrol and can still drive for 250km.

In closing i'd also like to share something I heard on the weekend that really helped me with my problems (as I see them). The source is unimportant but the message is clear and insightful and may help you as it helped me.

"Everyone needs a goal, a prize, a desire to work towards in life. What that goal is only you can truly know but when you discover what it is there will be no doubt in your mind that it is right . Once you know what your goal is any effort you exert towards achieving it can only take you closer to it. Without that goal, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others, you are motionless in an infinite universe of possibilities. That is the epitome of unhappiness"

*some might say that that word does exist already and was in fact the word "Rachel" .... but I have far too much integrity to stoop to such predictability and cheap browny point scoring.






Monday, March 02, 2009

Whirlwind Birthday Visit.

Well here I am now entering my 37th year of being on Earth. Scary stuff indeed, nearly 40 and not a hell of a lot to show for it :P

I flew back to Adelaide to spend my Birthday with friends and family on Friday and came back on Sunday. It was really good (as always) to go back there and see all the familiar faces again. Though 1.5 days is really far too short and i'm already back in Melbourne wondering if it actually happened? I'm already looking forward to being back there at Easter.

My trip was actually pretty hectic and it all hinged on Tiger airways being "on time" on Friday night. As you may know from previous blogs of mine they (Tiger) have a REALLY hard time achieving this. This time however I was absolutely flabbergasted by their "on timedness". I got to the Airport at 6:15pm and then waited in the carpark for the shuttle bus for 20mins!!! Panicking a bit as I got into the terminal for Tiger at 6:45pm I rushed a peak at the departure board ..."No Delays"...WHAT THE?

So I join the end of the really long queue and think "No way am I going to get checked in in time!". Just then the Tiger Airways chick asks "Anyone else for the Adelaide flight?", I raise my hand and she says "Come down to the front here please" .. WHAT THE x2!!

So I get processed get my boarding pass and head for the metal detector entrances to the departure lounge. I had a 5 min wait in line while the huge volume of people filtered through the 1 gate they had operating. When I was nearly at the metal detector my plane started boarding so that when I eventually got through the gate I was ushered straight onto the plane and within minutes we were in the air and away to Radelaide.

My brother picked me up from the airport and graciously drove me out to Rachels place. I walked in to the final prep for her big wedding-catering-job-a-polooza where she and her parents were deciding on the merits of champagne and pineapple sorbet mixed together. It tasted weird .. not weird weird, but funky weird. I couldn't stop drinking it though for some reason even though I was contorting my face with each sip...see..weird :)

Went to sleep and prepared for the imminent "woken up by excited children" event that happens each time I am there. This time I was actually asleep though and not faking it like usual ;), I subconsciously detected the presence of 2 small, blond children in close proximity and wearily opened my eyes. That's all the excuse they needed and with a flurry of nighties, hair and blankets I was being flanked on each side by a small child both giggling and laughing hysterically as they joined me in the bed. I then had to listen to the "News of the world 5 y.o. edition" followed quickly by "News of the world: 3 y.o. edition". Awesome :)

I had been pre-warned that the kids wanted to take me to "Out breakfast" at the local pancake place in Gawler and I was instructed by Rach to act surprised and pretend that I had no idea where we were going. I accomplished that mission and Hannah was quite impressed that she got me to the Java Hut (the cafe in question) without me having any clue as to what she had planned. Adults 1 children 1...every one was a winner :)

After breakfast the day was pretty much a whirlwind of activity at Rachels house as she finished preparing for her massive wedding catering job that night and Ryan (her eldest) and I battled with the Wii to try and bend it to our will .... we were unsuccessful after about 3 hours of trying. We shall be victorious in the end though MARK MY WORDS Wii!!! I then had to abruptly leave as time had really got away from me and I was due at the venue of my birthday party in just 1.5hrs and that included a 1hr train trip. I quickly said goodbyes, much to the horror of Rach's children, and dashed for the train.

One disconcerting aspect of my visit to Gawler was that my mobile phone could not get any reception while there. Seems it was a problem with the phone as my sim card worked fine in Rachels phone and got a full signal. While riding on the train to Adelaide I still could not get a signal at all and in frustration smacked the crap out of my phone and shook it like an electrified shaking machine. It suddenly got perfect reception and I quickly called my sister in law to arrange a pick up from the Adelaide train station. Serendipitously, they were actually in Elizabeth at the time and my train was just about to pull into Elizabeth...so I hoped off and met with them and enjoyed a car ride to the city and a delightful chat with my 3y.o. niece Charlotte. It's really amazing to witness the passing of time in children, I remember when Charlotte was born and now she's 3 and talking about everything and every thing. She's quite clever and has a huge vocabulary and is such a sweet little girl. She provided the biggest laugh of the weekend when we were at dinner and I introduced her to one of my friends (Cash) who is a BIG guy easily 6ft tall and probably close to 200Kg. Upon being introduced Charlotte looked at him and with the sweetest little smile said "My my, you certainly are fat!". Of course it wasn't meant in malice and i'm pretty sure Cash would have been the biggest person she'd ever seen. But there certainly isn't any truth like that "out of the mouths of babes". Cash could see the funny side of it...and we both had a pretty big laugh about it. Kids are pretty cool :)

Anyway, Dinner was at the "Tap In" pub in Kent Town and I was really pleased by the amount of my friends and family that made the effort to attend. Many travelling quite some distance to get there and thus making the evening very enjoyable. I had the beef schnitzel with pepper sauce and it was divine almost (I said almost) as good as those served at the Earl of Leicester. Many laughs were had throughout the evening, many conversations had and many drinks consumed. I'm not exactly sure when it all ended but it was late and I was extremely drunk. So it was a two thumbs up event from me :) Cheers to Ben and Leah too who let me stay at their house for the evening. That bed was sooooOoooOo comfy :)

Sunday was my actual birthday and in all honesty when I woke up I had actually forgotten that it was. Leah greeted me in the morning with a big happy birthday hug and only then did I remember that it actually WAS my birthday. Pretty soon the SMS's and phone calls started wishing me the same. Due to me not really having too much time with Rachel at her place I asked her to meet me for lunch on Sunday if she had time. Thankfully she did and we met and went to lunch at the Exciter for some tasty eats. Had a good chat with her for an hour or so before she had to leave to go pick up her kids. I really appreciate you finding the time for me though Rach, you still Rock the hardest out of everyone I know :)

After lunch Ben, Leah and I went looking for some new headphones for me as I usually listen to my iPod when travelling. I pretty much only use my iPod in Melbourne when riding my bike and use a non-standard pair of headphones that I bought. This trip however I had only the original white headphones that came with the iPod when I bought it and which I had never used. When I tried them on the flight over the left one didn't even work .... gg Apple!

So we went looking and as we passed Target at the end of Rundle street I suggested we tried looking in there. Leah was adamant that Target didn't have headphones and it would be a waste of time and when it WAS proved to be a waste of time then *I* would owe her a Wendy's thickshake. Fine, I agreed, and thankfully Target DID have headphones ... much to Leah's disgust :)

After getting some awesome sony earphones we went and got my victory thickshake and then headed back to the car. Once mobile we embarked on what can only be described as "Leah's fruitless search for a luxury ocean liner that didn't exist" to fill in the last hour that we had before I had to be at the airport. We drove all the way out to outer harbour only to find it empty of all things shippy. Not a good day for Leah ;)

So we went back to Ben and Leah's place, collected my stuff and headed to the airport. I was pretty tired by this time and was hoping the flight would be as prompt and efficient as Fridays. True to form though Tiger wasn't on time and I had 2 hrs of "extra" time in the airport waiting for them to get their shit together (Is that even possible??). I went and got a coffee and took advantage of the free intarwebs and the all powerful iPod to update my Facebook profile about how much I really didn't want to go back to Melbourne....again :). Finally boarded the plane 2.5hrs after it was scheduled and headed back to Melbourne. I slept pretty much the whole way.

I got home with no drama's. Car was still in the car park which is always good and the drive home was pleasant. Got to my house at about 8:30pm and felt the familiar THUD of another awesome SA visit "officially" being over again. I unpacked and spent the next 2 hours discussing the problems of the world with Rachel via the internet. I actually enjoyed that quite a bit. Then it was time for bed and getting ready for another action packed excitement fest at work*

*may not accurately describe my job.
**This year I also almost made it through the whole day without thinking of the girl that unceremoniously broke my heart on my birthday in 2003 and had consequently tarnished and degraded every birthday since. It's actually rather pleasing to realise that time does actually heal most wounds and undo many wrongs. So thanks go out to everyone who made me enjoy myself so much this birthday that those memories got close to zero brain time this year. Much appreciated.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hooray For Second Hand.

On Friday I did a friend of mine a big favor by buying some stuff he needed to get rid of due to moving into a new house. What I got was an absolute bargain and I can't really believe Chapper (the friend) let me fleece him so badly on such awesome stuff. So here is a little test for all you people out there who are awesome enough to read my blog :)

Can you spot the differences in these 2 photos?





Pretty sweet huh? So yeah, I bought Chappers old home theater amp and speakers for a price that would make most people question Chappers sanity or at the very least make the same people wonder exactly how many hours a day Chapper spends in the vicinity of the backs of trucks. The system as a whole is quite amazing and the sound quality is just brilliant. Chapper and I played both the Terminator 2 (DTS) and Lord of the Rings (DTS-EX) DVD's on it to test it out and it was..well...It was exactly like a movie cinema in fact.

The A/V Receiver amp is an Onkyo and is a few years old now so not "current" technology but it still pumps out the sound and can make the windows rattle.



The speakers are absolutely brilliant too and I really can't believe I got them so damn cheap either. Wharfedale Diamond 8 speakers and subwoofer. There's 2 big floor standing front speakers, a big front center, 2 rear bookshelf speakers and a HUGE floor subwoofer.



Consequently I now have a "spare" mini home theater system (DVD player/Amp, 5 speakers and subwoofer) which is superfluous to requirements...if anyone want's it, give me a yell.

It was also Valentines day today throughout the world. Not that you'd have noticed here in Michael town. I spent the day doing housework, spraying weeds (which somehow grew back through where I nuked them last time?? Round-Up, Shmound-Up!!), hanging washing out and contemplating mowing the lawn...that's right...contemplating..I didn't actually get to that...simply because it looks so awful and weed infested..plus I have to somehow get the pride of lions, 3 rhinoceroses and wilder beasts off it before I can mow it. Maybe it'll get lucky tomorrow. Tomorrow I shall get up and go for a bike jaunt I reckon before MORE domestic duties will fill my day again. Grocery shopping and vacuuming and THEN washing the floors!! Hopefully I will be able to contain myself while having all that awesome fun :(

I need another holiday already.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

MY FACE!!! My beautiful FACE!!!


Tonight I had basketball again and we returned to our winning ways :) The team as a whole were fantastic and awesome and brilliant (I was actually all three...again). We were so good that the other team got a bit pissed off and forgot that Basketball is a non-contact sport. At one point I got the ball and turned to shoot and....

BAM!!

..one of the other teams players full-on pounded me in the face. I threw the ball away and put my hand up to my eye because he had really got me good. I pulled my hand down to do that "Check for blood ..." thing that you instinctively do...AND THERE WAS BLOOD!!! The guy had opened up a gash just under my eye and up across the bridge of my nose.

I had to go off the court for some stupid reason...blood rule or something. Here's a photo of me and my injury.



Anyway, the moral of the story is WE F@&KING WON !!!! Suck on that other team!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Everythings burning.

What an interesting time in Victoria. The hottest daytime temperature ever recorded in a capital city (47.6ºC on saturday) coupled with the most intense and destructive fires ever seen in the history of Australia. Every TV Channel and Every Radio station is pretty much constantly bombarding the airwaves with news on this horrible event. So far 173 people are confirmed dead and they are expecting to find well over 200 bodies in total once they get back into the worst affected areas. I know it sounds horrible when I say this, but I am getting a bit sick of hearing about this on TV. Before you jump down my throat let me qualify that statement. The news and current affairs coverage here in Melbourne is just so contrived and forced that you wish they'd just shut up. The worst offenders are Sevens "Sunrise" who are set up in the CFA "Staging Area" in Whittlesea VIC and constantly cross back and forward to each of their presenters who profess they are "Shocked" and "Distraught" and feeling for the victims. Whenever they can they drop in that they are working with "Pastors and Priests to help the distressed survivors". BAH, I can't really get across in words how much I want to punch them in the face. It is so obvious that they are there for ratings and their contrived compassion and "support" is offensive.

I've helped out as best I could from metro Melbourne though, I've donated money and blood and really hope that the rest of Australia gets behind the charity drives and donate to the red cross (www.redcross.org.au) so that the money goes straight to the people who need it most. The destruction is almost biblical...whole towns destroyed, whole families killed or even worse partially killed, ashen black landscapes that wouldn't be out of place in a nuclear explosion ground zero site. Do all you can these people have lost everything except hope and we can all give them that.

Last week was quite eventful for me, I had an interview for a job back in Adelaide on Tuesday that was quite long and went fairly well. Now I have a nerve wracking 2 week wait to find out the result and i'm finding it hard to stay calm and not get too excited. The job would be very interesting and diverse and would solve so many personal problems that I have at the moment.

On Wednesday my basketball teams impressive 4 wins in a row streak came to an end with an embarrassing defeat. It was really frustrating because we didn't play bad at all. In fact we played very well it's just that we missed VERY easy shots (well, the other guys did...I didn't :P) and our opposition were just the luckiest lucksters in luck town. Our defense was so good they couldn't get near the basket to get 2 points so they just continually lobbed in 3 pointers and kept getting them IN!!!!

It's also 2 weeks (and a bit) until my Birthday and I am going back to Adelaide because it falls on a weekend this year again. I've organised a night out in a pretty nice pub and am going to see all my favorite friends and family over the weekend. It's going to be fantastic....but like always .. short. Hopefully it will be the last time I have to "plan" to visit Adelaide fr this year :)

Fingers crossed. :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mould 'n' Mud? Really?

Went for a quick ride on Sunday because it wasn't too hot in the morning and I felt like a real sloth after doing nothing on Saturday except watch TV...and wait...and watch TV...and wait. This was due to some guy saying he was going to come and repair some of my infamous "Mould Room". Needless to say, after arranging to come at 10am on Saturday morning...he didn't. He didn't come at 11am either. Or 12 or 1 or 2 or 3!! At 3:30pm he called me to say he was in Bendigo?? He said he'd be here in about 3 hrs...he wasn't. At 5:30pm he called again to say his truck had over heated and he'd not be coming at all now until Monday.....GRAND!

So he arrived today and carefully cut up the carpet in the mold room...not all the carpet mind you...he cut up just the bits that had mold on them and said "The carpet insurance only covers what is damaged..you'll get new carpet where I've cut...but it may not be "exactly the same carpet.". I asked him if he was sure? and if he was serious? Because look at this:




Can you imagine that with a completely different carpet in the bit were now there is wood?? MADNESS. I've often said that "Insurance is for idiots!!" because ...honestly...who would agree to coverage (hehe get it? I'm so witty) that said "we replace only whats destroyed with 'maybe' the same carpet"??? I'm glad it's not my house :)

Anyway, I digress, So while out riding on the dusty trail (as Melbourne had just had 3 days in a row over 40ºC...and YES, I know Adelaide had more, Adelaide always wins over Melbourne..it's a given.. so shush.) I came across something that I thought was initially a mirage...I mean it had to be... There was no way a huge puddle of water and mud would be out in plain sight on the trail with such harsh weather recently? Would there??

Wrong.

I went screaming through a huge muddy quagmire and got completely covered in mud and water..AWESOME :)

Check out this bike, admittedly the mud had dried when I got home, but does that look like it's been across a swamp or what? :)


Filthy


oooOOoOo Mud Spray!!


White Wall Tyres Are So Retro :)

Tomorrow also sees me standing at a very important crossroad of life. So much that I have wanted to change in my life is going to be a possibility should tomorrow go well. It's making me a bit panicky because I'm very nervous about the whole thing. If all goes to plan I will have some very good reasons to be happy. I can't really go into it on here as there are people who need not know about it. Yet. The select chosen few know what's going on and I trust they can keep it to themselves for a bit longer.

See you on the other side :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's got 14 arms, 14 legs and 7 heads and is UNBEATABLE?

The SGE Injectors Basketball team that's what!

4 wins in a row now and looking like not stopping. Again we beat a team above us in the ladder into submission. We rocked as a collective. I got a bit peeved at no fouls getting called against the people pushing, hitting and jumping into me every time I went for a shot! But hey, I got 14 points so suck it other team :P

SGE 24 - 17 Lah-Who-Sa-Hers

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day 2009

Hope everyone had a good Australia day today. Mine was eventful and ended up on an awesome high.

I started out the day by going to the "Community Breakfast" here in good old Ringwood. The "Breakfast" started at 11am due to the Maroondah Council not wanting their event to clash with the "Official Melbourne Australia Day Breakfast" that was in Federation square in the CBD ..... 40KM away. The Maroondah version was ok, not a lot of people but enough to make it worthwhile I think.




There was a bush band playing for the whole 3 hrs and free cordial and sausages for everyone. The sausages where a bit hard to come by as the waiting line for service was a kin to what post-war east Germany was probably like. HUNDREDS of people in a line waiting for hours just to get something to eat. See.

Bush Band


Waiting in line for some breakfast

The highlight of the event was, of course, the singing of the national anthem. Now I had been lucky enough to have Sophie Feuerherdt (3) sing me the whole National anthem last year and while that was extremely impressive, today they sang a verse I hadn't even heard before...I tried to get a video of it but I missed. I think all in all they sung 4 verses!!


video

After the event was over I walked back home and did house chores for a few hours because it was quite hot and I wanted it to cool down a bit before embarking on my other planned event for the day. That event was the Lysterfield Mountain Bike Trail. Lysterfield is about a 1/2 hr drive south east of Ringwood near the start of the Dandenong ranges. Now I had heard from people at work that are pretty keen mountain bikers that Lysterfield was "good", "Ok", "Better Than Nothing" and various other non-exciting adjectives. Well let me preempt this blog entry and just say that these people are not correct.
Lysterfield was the most AWESOME place I have ever ridden a bike!!!


If people rate this as merely "OK", they obviously have ridden on some absolutely orgasmic trails somewhere else!

Let me explain. This trail is a purpose built mountain bike course, it actually consists of several interconnecting trails, one of which was actually the Commonwealth games mountain biking track. The trails are HARDCORE. I wasn't expecting them to be as challenging as they were and it was obvious that there had been a LOT of thought put into the design of every trail. To be honest, the trails go up some pretty steep hills and you just don't notice because such attention has been paid to making the trails fast or at worst a steady easy/moderate climb. Here's a graphic to show you what the whole park looks like. If you go around the circumference of the park in that picture...that's pretty much what I rode.


As visible there are 9 different "trails" but they all intersect and you can do one or all of them (provided you know WHERE you are....which I didn't...I had no idea where I was most of the time).

The scenery was...well I am sure it was nice but I really didn't look at it much because I was concentrating on the trail. Partly because the trail had "obstacles" that were built into it and as this was the first time I had ridden this trail I didn't know where they were and thus how fast I could go. Mostly I was concentrating on the trail because some complete F*&$%wads had booby trapped some parts of the track. I really don't understand the logic behind this as some of the stuff they had done was really dangerous and could easily kill someone. They had placed big logs across the trail on berns and in places where it was almost impossible to see them and then stop in time. They had dug "pungee spikes" into the trail like what you would errect to stop charging cavalry. I had to clear 4 or 5 different "traps" on my travels. Idiots. Look at this:


Booby Trap: Logs placed across the trail
by dickheads trying to kill someone.
These logs are directly after a very large jump
on a very steep downhill section.


The trail had enough "planned" obstacles to kill your self on as it was, they really didn't need unplanned ones too :). Here are some of the "planned" obstacles I encountered, thankfully there was always a "wuss" option on most of these where you could simply go around it.


Big log jump 1


Big Log jump 2

The trails were also well defined while you were riding them but also very tight and thankfully I only saw one rider heading down the same trail I was on in the opposite direction when i was stopped. Here's some trail pics.



video
Warning: may contain language not suitable for children :P

After reaching the top of "Worlds most ridiculously steep hill" I had a pit stop and needed to effect some field repairs (hahaha .. geddit?) on my bike. I couldn't change the front gears as the derailleur just wouldn't move, I hadn't noticed because I had just ridden up the hill in 1-1. I flipped the bike over to inspect the gearing, somehow a tiny pebble had lodged itself in between the spring and the derailleur guider. One in a million that the pebble was precisely the right size to fit there too...luckily I pried it out and was good to go. Also while I was repairing the bike some other riders arrived at the pit stop point to watch me being totally MacGuyver with just a twig and a splash of water. I could tell by the way they rode off quickly that they were well impressed.

As with all good rides there was a few dramas. I managed to crash not once but 1.5 times. The first 0.5 of a crash would have looked awesome had anyone seen it but alas no one was around. I managed to ride along pretty much only on my front wheel with the back wheel up at about an 80º angle for a few meters before somehow getting the back wheel back onto the ground. There was some minor non-erotic humping of a head-stock assembly during this event. I expect that to leave a mark. The second "Full one point zero" crash was a doozy. I saw the log coming up, I was all ready to bunny hop over it (yay for clipped pedals) and when I executed the "hop" the bike struck the log with the frame and stopped DEAD. I didn't. Thankfully my shoes de-clipped and I soared like a chicken in flight to land face first a few meters down the trail. Pics or it didn't happen you say?

Glasses covered in dirt after my
unceremonious dismount at
speed followed by my 9/10 face plant.



Bike in a heap after crash. I hit that log at about 25km/h
and the bike just stopped dead. I kept going :)


Luckily there was no serious damage past a cut on my leg about 20cm long (cool..because chicks dig scars) and a slightly sore left wrist. Luckily I am right handed ;) ;).

All in all the ride was simply awesome. I'll definitely be going back there more often and Rachel you HAVE to come back here so I can take you there for a ride I guarantee you will love it.

After I finally got back to the car I was pretty exhausted but manage to give this post ordeal interview.

video
Warning: may contain worse language than the last video which is still not suitable for children :P

Ride Stats:
Distance: 17.8km
Time: 2h 48m
Avg. Speed: 11 km/h
Top Speed: 44 km/h
Crashes: 1.5
Rating: *****