Friday, October 31, 2008

Dan Kelly and the Ukeladies

Last night I met Nicole out the front of the Spiegletent, set up on the forecourt of the Arts Centre. Having not been inside before, we both didn't know what to expect about the much talked about summer venue.

We were there for the 7pm show, being Dan Kelly and the Ukeladies, based on recommendations by Nicole. Dan, being Paul Kelly's nephew, and singer/songwriter in his own right, with shoop shoop girls as backing vocals!

Quite a mix within the crowd, and we wondered whether the tent brought in a devout older crowd keen to experience the events there, as well as people more within our ago bracket! Such a tiny, and character filled little venue...with very uncomfortable seating!

He opened solo, and very promptly, confessing that he was very nervous. I think he's second number, Drunk On Election Night made some of the oldies in the audience very nervous, due to the colourful language - with graphic audience participation parts! Very funny. His songs are storytelling, very Aussie, and fun.

Fire And Theft, and then a new song about DJing at Dandenong station, he's introductions while he played with and tuned in his instruments, had the younger crowd laughing out loud.

An amazing cover of Nothing Compares To U, along with I Will Release Myself (Unto You) and Babysitters Of The World Unite!, and then The SUV Song - hilarious! Taking the piss, with a message!

Was a great, cute little gig, which left a line in my head for the rest of the night:
Red wine and summer time
Two favourite friends of mine

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another (Birth)Day

Yesterday I was taken out to dinner to mark today's birthday by Mum and Katrina, who come down from Ballarat. We went across to Mosskito - and they still serve the biggest meals in Melbourne! We then had coffee and dessert at Brunetti.

This morning, taking an annual leave day, I trammed down to St Kilda, and met Nikki for brunch before heading to Aurora Spa Retreat for my birthday present to myself.

A tranquil little world above The Prince, I was lead to the lounge for tea and some time to chill before my Yoongoo Signature Wrap. This was a mud treatment, with jets of water, and then about pressure points....was amazing! Having to talk through the stability of my DVT, it was relaxing and so great for my skin. And no dramas for the leg. In fact, was meant to be very good for circulation. Felt so relaxed, and have soft baby like skin now!

Another visit to the lounge for more tea, and hydration after all that hot water and steam, I was then led to a reclining chair for an Express Facial, which again was so relaxing and great for my skin. Hopefully took a few years off, while it was at it! I was taken care of by Cathy, and it was all such a lovely experience.

After popping home for a bit, I then went down to the Little Creatures Dining Hall where I was joined by Michelle and Nicole, and then Stacey and Andrew for a 'pony' sized pale ale.

Luke was also in town, and managed to come in for a drink and join us for dinner, which was exciting cos I hadn't seen him for years let alone in Australia!

Andrea made the trip down from Ballarat, and Melissa and Jenny and Mary also joined me for dinner and a second (and perhaps over my alcohol limit) bright ale.

What a great day!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Jenny called me during the week to check what I was up to today, and whether I would like to join her and Mary for a play, for Mary's birthday. Jen said that she would get me a ticket for my birthday, and then convinced me with the promise of full frontal nudity in the play - terrible!

So today she came and picked me up, and the three of us had nibbles while they toasted Mary and my birthday with champagne, before we found our seats in Fairfax Studio. The play, Appetite, was playing as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Starring Catherine McClements, who I am also watching on Rush at the moment, and featuring the music of New Buffalo, the play is about a successful woman reaching her 39th birthday, and reflecting on her life, it's meaning and quality. Quite timely, given my thoughts on my own pending anniversary!

Sadly, New Buffalo is unwell and thus, unable to perform live for the season, which she was supposed to do. Her presence would have added something to the play. Instead, the recordings of rehearsals were used, including I'm The Drunk And You're The Star. Her music throughout was great.

The plot was quite depressing, with reflections on relationships, and puns on gender roles, whilst the main character attempted to serve 39 dishes for her 39 years to her dinner guests. The highlights in the play for me were the surrealism pauses when all the other players froze whilst the main character moved through the scene reflecting on the people in her life, and the state of her world.

We finished the day with cake and coffee at Tin Pot Cafe. Thanks Jenny, and Happy Birthday mary for the week just gone.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crowded House Karaoke with The Basics

Last night after work, I took the usual tram towards home, and met Nicole and Mary at my local, The Empress. We had dinner, a yummy parma, and listened as The Basics went through some rehearsal for their gig.

The night's concept was for karaoke sign ups for Crowded House songs, with The Basics as your backing band. A pretty cool merge of the two bands. The band opened with Weather With You, with Wally on drums as usual and Kris hidden in the 'pit', before a couple of people were up giving their rendition of a Crowdies song. Well known numbers were on the list to pick from, favourites like Better Be Home Soon, and Fall At Your Feet and Don't Dream It's Over were all given a go. A seemingly obvious plant from the crowd, Ebony joined the band for Into Temptation, and she was awesome...a much needed break ensued to ensure people would still be brave enough to get up!

During the break Dave from the band convinced Nicole, our Crowded House expert and top fan, to sign up for a song, and she got up for Mean To Me. A disclaimer at intro about the song not being about her, the opening line 'She came all the way from America' in her American accent got a laugh, as she warmed up into the song - she was great!

Finally, after our posse's contribution, songs were doubled up in the evening which lead to a full pub singalong to the much loved tracks, which was awesome. The Basics did Not The Girl You Think You Are, with Kris' voice giving the lyrics it's edge.

Great night, and such a fun idea. Nicole even chatted to Wally, who complimented her on her performance...there you go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Fanatics: Everything To Dislike About The Aussie Male, Rolled Into One

Having traveled to several countries to follow an Aussie team in cricket, or tennis, and also watching it at home in Australia, my distaste for The Fanatics grows and grows. This article today, about them in India is such an embarrassment.

I guess I am certainly biased, since being part of Waving The Flag, where you travel with a group of people keen on cricket, having fun and a laugh, and experiencing the culture and highlights of a new country. The research and planning put into Luke's tour, and also the interest in things like the Chicks On Tour and the McGrath Foundation, and probably the fact that it is a female and independent traveler friendly tour group, makes for a great trip.

But standing in line to check into a flight with hungover/still drunk, loud, rude Aussie lads, big-talking themselves about their conquests the night before it just gross. And that's The Fanatics tour. Noticing their marked absence at days of The Ashes in 2006, on days of actual cricket, gives the message that they are not there for the sport. Their agenda is not about that, or sportsmanship, or exploring the new places they are in - backs turned to the cricket and getting drunk is their usual stance...and they could do that at home!

Don't get me wrong - there is drunkiness with The Flag...but no arrests! No major disgraces (all behaviour fit for a laugh, but nothing out of line). And usually the alcohol consumption is steady until the silly session after Tea.

Jessie was approached in Barbados by a Fanatic, asking about The Leader of Waving The Flag, and whether we were all instructed to act like him! How funny! Our tour got more out of the Soca song Follow The Leader after that!

Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

I am almost 4 months into this DVT experience, and so if it wasn't for the little bugger above my knee...oh, and the fleck on my lung, I would be off the Warfarin, no more blood tests, back on the grog, and supposedly back to normal. All going well.

But alas, I am still on it, taking 4mg on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 3.5mg on all the other days....till I get my INR (International Normalising Ratio - about how coagulating your blood is) level checked again tomorrow, and there could be a new dosage combination. The aim is to keep my INR between 2 and 3, which seems to be up and down. Better since I have been having a beer three times a week, but still, last fortnight's test said 2.2, after a 3.0 and 2.6.

My mid week beer has become a topic of bullying and jest at work, with an email halfway through the day 'encouraging' at least someone to stay and have a beer with me, on the weeks I haven't had plans mid week, cos of my personal rule about not drinking on my own. The medicinal mid week beer is now an expectation, and a great reason to catch up with workmates during the week, over a forced beer!

Over the last three weeks, I have been having leg pain, pretty consistantly. Have also been pretty stressed at work, with the end of the quarter, and the usual pressures. Reflecting on the months since getting the DVT diagnosis, I have thrown myself back into work, and with a sniff of achieving my bonus, I busted it with late nights, to make sure I got it. Which hasn't helped the leg. With compromised blood flow, stress levels lead to leg pain.....not good. My return to work has been bull at a gate, which is not at all what I dish out to my caseload! Tsk tsk!

Have talked to the GP today, and he has given me two days off, to try and get my stress levels back to baseline, and then my leg back to some kind of usual feeling. Then I need to 'get back to normal' he says, in terms of activity level. He was talking about bike riding and jogging....sadly the only sport I want to get back to would be drinking....still another 2 months for that!

Now just waiting on my new beige full leg, but open toe, compression stockings to arrive for exciting!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Grand Final Day: Hawthorn Premiers 2008

Amazingly, we actually managed to be drawn out of the member's ballot and got our tickets to the Grand Final! Having gotten ourselves into all sorts about tickets, and whether Jessie would fly home for the match (I would have!!), we ended up with more tickets than needed, and had a stressful time sorting all that out all week.

But Saturday morning finally arrived, after such a long and exciting week, and Mum and I made it into town to meet Melissa for our own Grand Final Breakfast at Mess Hall. A maximum dose of spinach for me, given it's high Vitamin K content and the idea that I may want a beer or two later in the day, we took in the nervousness amongst us, and some fellow Hawks.

Having standing room tickets, we made our way to the MCG to claim our step in Bay M8, with the other nervous Hawk fans, at about 11am. Thinking that the day would take ages to get to the main event, we were soon joined by Hemant and Rick, while the second match of the day played out on the ground.

A group of lads joined our bay soon after us, and their story of how they managed to be there was soon shared. They had all arrived at the ground keen to be part of the day, but without a ticket - and all 6 or so of them, managed to buy a ticket off someone outside the ground. It happens! They were very, very excited to have gotten in!

Before we knew it, and after first beers for the others (I had a sip here and there for a taste, and the idea of calming the nerves!), Powderfinger were in the middle of the 'G, belting out (Baby I've Got You) On My Mind. The retirees of the year circled the ground in their cars, and there were some acrobatics in high air baubles...not sure what that was about!

Then the teams emerged, Hawthorn first, to a massive roar. The banner was huge, with words like Courage and Mateship, which has been what this team has been about all year. The Hawk boys linked up in their line up for the anthem, as they always do for finals. I didn't hear the anthem sung by the cast of Winked at all - but the very Aussie lad version, belted out by our Bay, in full gusto!

The nerves and tension were incredible. A couple of the boys, Roughead in particular, broke the line first, and sent a ripple of nerves and anticipation into the throngs of brown and yellow in the stands...

The toss, and the final warm up, and suddenly, it was game on. All so fast! I held my breath for the start, with memories of the opening of the 1989 Grand Final against Geelong also...and also knowing that several of the Hawk lads could be targets, given bumps taken into the game. But there was none of that, thankfully, just fast, hard and shaky footy to begin the match. The scoreboard managed to read that Geelong were just a point up at Quarter Time, with 5 goals a piece - a massive quarter!

The Second Quarter saw Croad hobble off the crowd, a sickening sight for Hawks fans. In a gallant, kamakazi mission, he laid a heavy bump on his way off. A massive goal from the Super Goal King, Young, sees the Hawks in front at half time, by just three points.

The Third Quarter was a Hawthorn dream! Brilliance from Rioli, and then two awesome goals from Dew, saw us leap ahead, and the siren saw us 17 points up! M8 standing room was erupting, mosh pit style as each goal sailed through. At one point, Melissa turned to the lads behind to warn them - DVT and all that, that I shouldn't be knocked about. I mean, we were all doing it. Poor Melissa, says I am a liability! The solo, and very down-trodden Cats fan in their group shielded me from then on. Surely unnecessary!

The Final Quarter, we all dared to dream...but really held our breath till it was certain - that the Hawks were the Premiers! The song started among the Hawthorn bays. The MCG went crazy, as the boys embraced. All focus was on Crawford - we had done it for him, capping off his career with the one accolade he was missing.

The presentation of medals, including Campbell giving the kid handing him his medal a cuddle (bless!), and Crawford yelling into the mike 'That's what I'm talking about', we finally watched Mitchell and Clarkson hold up the cup. We did it!!!! So proud, so happy! Was the greatest!

After soaking in the lap of honour, and coming to terms with our disbelief that we really won, we tricked out of the 'G and headed to the Phoenix bar for some much needed celebratory beers.

We also went across to Federation Square, where the Hawthorn boys came across, many wearing their premiership jumpers under their suits, to be presented to an adoring crowd. Each player individually presented, and then Crawford led the team and crowd to sing 'We're A Happy Team At Hawthorn....'
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