Monday, August 23, 2010

My daughter, captain of the Sydney Swans

Saturday night was the last home game for the season* for my Swannies. It was also the last home game for two of our greats. Paul Roos only played 87 games for the Swans, between 1995 and 1998 (after playing 269 games with Fitzroy) but he felt like family very quickly. Fans will remember the reverential "Roooos" call out whenever he kicked the ball. When he returned to the coaching position in 2003 it simply felt like he was coming home; a strong, calm presence after the stressed out Rodney Eade years. He took us to two grand finals and that can never be forgotten. I'm sure he will always be part of the Swans family.

As will Brett Kirk, the retiring co-captain. Captain Kirk (as he is fondly called) was the least likely AFL hero. He's a Buddhist (sometimes introducing the Dalai Lama to the audience during his Sydney visits) for a start, and ".. a guy who can't run very quickly, can't jump, he's not that strong - jeez he's a good footy player though" (according to another Swans great, Michael O'Loughlin). Kirk was an amazing combination of gentleness, guts and never-say-die attitude. His love of the Bloods was obvious for all to see.

It was a wondrful win on Saturday night (and having our old mate Barry Hall, playing very ineffectively for the competition) made it even more of a strange and bitter sweet moment.

*This may have been our last home game of the year but there's a good chance we'll play a home final as we head towards the pointy end of the season. Just when I thought the Swans had no chance (with a very hot and cold season) it's looking like we'll finish the official season in 5th position, which is mindblowing considering how they were playing only three weeks ago.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Australian people have spoken...

... and they have ordered both the shit sandwich and the vomit pie, with a large side serve of spanner in the works.

Woo hoo! Let the circus roll on.

To be frank my children predicted this result. As we were walking to our local voting centre yesterday Will said he wanted to vote for Tony Abbott because "he is a man, like me" and Marianna said she wanted to vote for Julia Gillard because "she has straight hair". I couldn't argue with either of those persuasive arguements.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2011: The Year of the Frequent Flyer Points

I've just booked our flights to NEW YORK CITY for May/June 2011. My dear sister is getting married, which is wonderful and amazing news. But more importantly I am going to NEW YORK CITY, THE BIG APPLE, THE CITY THAN NEVER SLEEPS.

Just a little excited about it. I just hope it doesn't disappoint like LA.

I'm on a no-shopping diet between now and then because I plan to hit the shops hard in NY. It's going to be a tough nine months.

And because spending endless hours on painfully uncomfortable long haul flights is just too much fun we are starting to plan what we've been calling THE BIG TRIP.

December 2011/January 2012 we'll see us visiting Colombia, Guatemala and then back to Orlando, Florida. We want to take the kids back for a good visit to their countries of birth which will be very special. Then we want to finish the holiday with a week or so in Orlando visiting DisneyWorld and most importantly Harry Potter World.

I don't know what I'm most excited about really (apart from the actual wedding part, though secretly I think I'm just a little more excited about Harry Potter World, sorry JB). It's going to be a huge travel year and I'm starting to feel the familiar happy/scared anxiety building.

Away We Go

I watched Away We Go this morning (planned to watch it last night but fell asleep watching Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - is there anything more annoying than those chipmunk voices? oh the pain!).

Loved it! Just the sort of little movie I enjoy thoroughly. Not a huge amount to say. Just a gentle look at modern life. Great characters, great soundtrack, strong dialogue, beautiful scenery.

Special mention for Maya Rudolph who was superb and for the entire Montreal sequence which felt very right and brought a tear (or 20) to my eye.

Very surprised that this was a Sam Mendes effort. I still haven't forgiven him for American Beauty (I know I'm the only person on Plant Earth who hated this film).

Just call me Domestic Goddess

Spent half the day baking for the school's Election Day Cake Stall yesterday.

That's Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscuits (these are super delicious and you make a huge amount from the recipe) on the left and Nigella's Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (very good but just too chocolatey for me) on the right.

All I can say is I went through a lot of butter and my KitchenAid got a thorough workout. I just love a few hours at home, in the kitchen, in peace. Heaven.

So hopefully there will be a few voters leaving my children's school today feeling happy and satisfied (which are two feelings you won't get from actually voting).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shit or vomit?

Would madam like a shit sandwich or a vomit pie for lunch on Saturday 21 August?

That's basically our political choices when we face the federal election next week.

I have felt like we've literally been drowning in a sea of piss weak political bollocks these last few weeks and there is no respite in the foreseeable future.

Today we received a brochure from The Climate Sceptics Party in our letterbox at the office and I jumped around like a lunatic shouting "yippee". A tiny voice of reason amongst the white noise of political nonsense. I know they don't have a hope in hell but at least there are people out there trying and I salute them.

The alternative is Mr and Ms Bland with their equally bland and pathetic so-called policies. Shuffling our money from here to there, making policy statements which amount to a whole load of bullshit because there is a more than equal chance they will never see the light of day anyway. A hospital for you, a rail network for you, some token cash for you disability groups... now run along and vote for us but at the end of the day we'll move that money sideways after the election and forget all about you until the next one.

One of the many "policies" which drive me wild is this "stop the boats" crap. I see red whenever that pops onto the teev. Why is all the focus on these poor boat people? Why doesn't anyone talk about the real illegal immigration problems with people coming from the UK and NZ and Europe and Asia by plane and simply outstaying their holiday or student visas? Do you ever hear anyone mention that aspect of illegal immigration? No, it's all "boat people" this and "stop the boats" that. As if that's really the biggest problem this country has anyway! Sheesh! What a smokescreen and a pile of populist rubbish.

As always I start to rant and rave and froth at the mouth in a most unbecoming manner when I start thinking about politics. So I better just stop now and have a cup of tea and a lay down in a quiet room.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the presence of greatness

These past two weeks have seen me share the air space with two men I admire greatly. Two men whose command of the English language leaves me gobsmacked and inspired. You could say that they are the extreme ends of the language spectrum but each uses words in ways which amaze and amuse me. I am talking about Stephen Fry and Kevin Smith.

Two weeks ago Stephen Fry spoke at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall and last night Kevin Smith did the very same thing. So similar and yet so very different.

To me Stephen Fry is the last bastion of the old English English. As a child of the Enid Blyton generation I grew up reading not just Ms Blyton but Oscar Wilde, the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen and a myriad of other English writers. The beautifully rolled words and turns of phrase were music to my literal ears. The way Stephen Fry speaks takes me back to that time and those memories.

But his talent is much more than that. Words are his plaything, his tools of trade; he has an ability to fashion a sentence which makes me gasp with delight. To some he may sound like a toffee nosed old Pom but to me he is an intellectual God.

Kevin Smith (hate to say it Kev but you could loose a few kgs) at the Opera House on Monday night.

I wouldn't call Kevin Smith an intellectual God, not in the same way. His craft is modern language, colloquial language and he is a master. His dialogue makes me want to write and makes me hang onto my dream of writing a script (but when I read his scripts I know it's much harder than it looks to write such "real" shit).

On Monday night he was there for his fans and his was incredibly generous with his time. Unlike Stephen Fry who worked on a very strict and organised schedule (45 minutes of pre-prepared banter followed by 45 minutes of pre-Tweeted questions asked by Jennifer Byrne), Kevin Smith gave himself to us totally. First he talked and then he answered questions from the audience, and there was a fucking shitload of questions. The KS geeks out did themselves. We left at the 3 hours 35 minutes mark and they were still going strong.

To me Kevin Smith is legend and here is a small reminder of the sort of thing I love about him. The Silent Bob Speaks scene from Chasing Amy is perfection to me; the timing, the surprise factor, the understanding of relationships disguised as male bullshit banter, it's just beautiful.


Holden looks out the window. Jay continues to roll his joint. There's silence. Then...

You're chasing Amy.

Holden's head snaps forward. He stares, wide-eyed at Silent Bob.

What..what did you say?

You're chasing Amy.

Holden stares, shocked. He looks to Jay, who's still rolling his joint.

What do you look so shocked for? He does this all the time. Fat bastard thinks just because he never says anything, that it'll have some huge impact when he does open his fucking mouth.

Why don't you shut up? Jesus! Always yap, yap, yapping all the time. Give me a fucking headache.

(to Holden)
I went through something like what you're going through. Years ago. Same kind of thing with a girl named Amy.


A couple of years ago.

What'd she 'Live in Canada' or something? Why don't I remember this?

What you don't know about me I can just about squeeze into the Grand fucking Canyon. Did you know I always wanted to be a dancer in Vegas?

Jay and Holden look at him. Silent Bob busts a move with his hands.

Hunhh? Bet you didn't know that?

Just cell your fucking story so we can get out of here and smoke this.

(to Holden)
So there's me an Amy, and we're all inseparable, right? Just big time in love. And then about four months in, I ask about the ex-boyfriend. Dumb move, I know, but you know how it is -
you don't really want to know, but you just have to... stupid guy bullshit. Anyway she starts telling me all about him - how they dated for years, lived together, her mother likes me better,
blah, blah, blah - and I'm okay. But then she tells me that a couple times, he brought other people to bed with them - menage a tois, I believe it's called. Now this just blows my mind.
I mean, I'm not used to that sort of thing, right? I was raised Catholic.

Saint Shithead.

Silent Bob backhands him. Jay raises his fist as if to strike.

Do something.

(to Holden)
So I get weirded out, and just start blasting her, right? This is the only way I can deal with it - by calling her a slut, and telling her that she was used - I mean, I'm out for blood I want to hurt her - because I don't know how to deal with what I'm feeling. And I'm like "What the fuck is wrong with you?" and she's telling me that it was that time, in that place, and she didn't do anything
wrong, so she's not gonna apologize. So I tell her it's over, and I walk.

Fucking a.

No, idiot. It was a mistake. I wasn't disgusted with her, I was afraid. At that moment, I felt small - like I'd lacked experience, like I'd never be on her level or never be enough for her or something. And what I didn't get was that she didn't care. She wasn't looking for that guy anymore. She was looking for me. But by the time I realized this, it was too late, you know. She'd moved on, and all I had to show for it was some foolish pride, which then gave way to regret. She was the girl, I know that now. But I pushed her away...

Everyone's silent Silent Bob lights a cigarette.

So I've spent every day since then chasing Amy...
(takes a drag from his smoke)
So to speak.

They sit there for a beat. Jay pockets the rest of his dime-bag.

Enough of this fucking melodrama. My advice - forget her, dude. There's one woman in the world. One woman, with many faces.

(to Silent Bob)
Get up, bitch