NEW GARMIN DAY! (+ a murder)

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This is my new Garmin. I am yet to really bond with it, but it looks shiny and new and it matches my bike so much better than the “Electric Pantone Reflex Blue” of my old unit.

It is incredibly meaningful to me – but to everyone else who doesn’t have a Garmin – well this blog will be cryptic at best. And perhaps written in a dead language at worst. But I will try to explain. So this is how it works. The Garmin unit is essentially a GPS device much like the GPS navigation contraptions they sell for cars at JB Hi Fi. But it’s not about navigation – it’s about recording events. It’s HISTORY. So it logs as much data about your rides as it’s tiny brain can manage via those beautiful invisible satellites up there in the heavens. Plus it has some altitude and temperature sensors as well. (The temperature sensor is a bit bullshit if you ask me – but it gives you the general idea – if not the exact conditions).

And then you plug your Garmin unit into your computer and you get this training homepage. It’s like Facebook but for crazy data-riding-freaks like me. And you can look at each individual ride like the screen-grab below. (A ride last Saturday where I might add Ryan, Tom and I creepily went within 10 or 15 metres of a dead woman, most likely murdered, which was found today).

And just in case you were worried – the Garmin didn’t add the “dead body” tag.*

Or you pour over the data in the “Reports” tab which collates all your stats. So below is the last 30 days of riding. (You can also draw up random reports or “this year”, “this month”, “the last 365 days” etc)

Then you can see your Calendar (my last month’s activities below) and you can even do this live animation of your ride which I can’t really visually explain. You will just have to trust me how amazing it is!

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But I should just devote some of this gushing-rant to my old Garmin, just out of respect. As you can see from it’s battered and disheveled condition, we went through some epic times. Good times. The big dent and cracks at the base there is from the time it broke off my bike and bounced down the road somewhere near the Rathdowney and the NSW border. I was oblivious that it had gone missing until I looked down and freaked out. Luckily Shirts was riding behind and picked it up.

I should have been impossibly dirty about how the little plastic flanges — underneath the unit where it connects to the mount strapped to the bike — had somehow failed. But I knew I had been so regularly ripping it off to download stats. Then twisting it back on its mount with no real consideration to how it felt about that rough-treatment and then raking it off again to whack it on the roadie. You can see the damage to those flanges and more evidence about what the poor little fella had been through in the photo below.

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Reflex-Blue-Garmin had also lasted almost 450km on one charge on that big 2010 three day ride to Byron and Lismore etc and back. It fucking pissed down that ride too.

And January 1, 2011 I made a “New Years Resolution” to document every ride possible on my Garmin for that entire year with the determination that I would be able to achieve 10,000 kms and be able to prove that. It turns out I got a bit excited and decided on a new goal – climb 100,000 metres too. And I logged and documented everything. I spent almost every single day last year – and this too – with my Garmin. I took it with me on that 7 week overseas trip and it was a joy to log the rides over there. (Just seeing new maps and routes in foreign towns – Amazing).

Once the Garmin and I went swimming too. I had ridden a big, ugly, sweaty ride and had ended up a Dee’s folk’s place and it was so hot and I looked so about to melt they suggested I dive in their pool – which I did – forgetting I had the Garmin in the back of my jersey. I was splashing about for a good 5 minutes before I realised. But it survived.

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Totally matches the bike now!

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Another casualty of the big, wet ride on Saturday was the ZIPP “Z” decal on my handlebars (which was previously on the left of the bar). Completely destroyed.

And I should say – this is the story of how reflex-blue-garmin chose to exit the world. Poor little guy. I will miss you.

* Can I just say I am quite a bit freaked out that I came within metres of a murdered person and had no idea. I am literally stunned. Is it wrong to feel that way?

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The week in photos

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The Victoria bridge, Brisbane’s first river crossing and me being arty. This bridge walk (I believe) has the greatest propensity for vomit stains. I imagine this is because people at the Treasury Casino get a bit too toasty late in the evening and end up here. Someone should write a vomit-opera about it.

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I am normally quite hostile to the forced art-project facades that Council dictates on new buildings in the city. They are usually horribly tragic and so very obviously “Public Art”. But I like this one on the new Wintergarden project. Give credit where credit is due is what I say.

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The confluence of Queen and Albert Streets. “THE” meeting point for generations of Brisbane people. Just outside Hungry Jacks. How many hours I have spent here waiting for friends – I do not know. Countless.

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My 2009 collage is in the frame above – partially the face of this blog, and something I needed to do. It’s basically a picture (or motif) of everything and anything I love and have loved over my entire life. It is a history. My history. Just like a book can be a history or a timeline or a whole volume of words. It is a snapshot of history but ART at the same time. I have decided I will do one every 5 years and see how things change. Just like a FIVE YEAR PLAN.

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My tar-stained legs. I was so freakishly stained and dirty I just needed to document it with photos. EPIC. I still have that tar on my legs. Not sure how I will get it off.

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Today I noticed the tar had seared itself on my bike’s tyres too. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?

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On Anzac Day, Zoe (6 years old) and her friends had a street stall next door. I bought this bad boy. The cat hated it – but in a good way – she just instantly attacked it. It kept her amused for a bit.

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Cleaning and greasing the bike after the 9 hour bullshit it suffered yesterday. The chain was already rusty. As you could see from the photo before – I had to scratch off TAR as well as dirt and other detritus.

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Today I walked up the road and took a photo from almost the top of the street – there was another 20 metres of climbing behind me but I couldn’t be bothered! The view is even more dramatic at night. The kids do street parties here when there is firework displays in the city.

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AND THE OTHER BIG NEWS TODAY- the cat got freed. Dee and I had negotiated and decided today was appropriate. The cat woke me up at 6 am and I knew that was too early and I fed her and went back to bed. Then at 7:30 she started walking over my head. Literally. I am used to this. And she was purring all the while like she was on drugs and somehow doing me a favour. I then groggily got out of bed and opened her cat window for the first time in 6 weeks. She almost reluctantly walked outside and spent some time on the deck just wondering if this freedom was real. I watched her from the windows inside for about 5 minutes. When she decided to disappear from view in leaving the front yard to go next door) I almost immediately heard a kid’s voice exclaiming “SASHA!!” I was so proud she was amongst friends and free once more.

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Although the cat spent all day in freedom – she came home at various points. The above picture was at about 6pm. And I know many of you won’t believe this…and I still don’t believe it. But at about 12pm I heard her jingle outside and I opened the front door to say hello and I found her INSIDE her special cat gulag:

The picture above is just descriptive. The gulag was on the deck, but there she was. It was like she had Stockholm Syndrome. For all these weeks we had shoved her in there to give her some safe outside time and she seemed to tolerate it – and very rarely she seemed to be OK with the experience. Cat’s rarely show their true feelings. So it turns out she might have actually liked it. BIZARRE.

“LET ME OUT!”

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We have a moth in the laundry that seems to live there now. She has a crazy-awesome disguise. I am totally fooled.

A very wet, and long ride to Caloundra and back

Today I did the biggest ride of my life, and I’d say right now, I am the proudest I’ve ever been about a riding effort. 203kms, at over 30km/hr average speed, well over 1000 metres of climbing and crucially – through extremely shitty, soul-destroying conditions.

And I tell this story not wanting to gloat. This was just another adventure me, Shirts and Ryan had planned. It was ambitious on paper, but with all the elemental forces that occurred today – it just accidentally got so much more important.

And this ride was so full-on it brought doom upon my beloved Garmin. It got so wet it first went a bit nuts, then faded and then went blank. Dead. I could have cried. At the time it felt like a part of my being had be excised, not to mention seriously ominous. Image

Art on the early morning Bicentennial

Since Wednesday Ryan had this plan to ride to Caloundra and back as prep for the big overnight ride to Toowoomba in two weeks. “Fair enough,” I thought. This was maybe achievable. In my brain I assumed I could bail sometime on the way back at a train station. So in that context I signed up.

I spent quite a good deal of Friday worrying about what would happen on the morrow, but I believed I was prepared. Mentally at least.

I set the alarm for 4:40am but woke at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I got up. It was raining intensely outside and the tin roof made the feeling I should just get back into bed so much worse. So, so much worse. It was like a tractor beam gripping every atom of my body. But I resisted and continued with my prep. At 5am Ryan texted me saying – “This wet will make the ride pretty miserable”. But I was determined. I had spent all that time worrying. I couldn’t let that big, fat block of time spent fretting go to waste. I wrote back saying we have to do something. I’m up, let’s just do a route to Scarborough. Ryan agreed.
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Ryan texting Shirts to see if he was still coming

So the hardest thing about riding in the wet, is just starting out. Once you are thoroughly soaked you grow accustomed to this fate. It was BLACK outside and I was freezing cold, but I just rolled the long way to the meeting point.

For once I was not the first to arrive. Ryan was like, “I kinda feel like doing it now.” And I said, “Totally. I wanna do something different. We can always bail at a train station if it gets too miserable.”

And Shirts was suddenly there and just a bit surprised we had showed up in such atrocious conditions.

Then we set out into the darkness. I should say at this point that it rained ALL DAY. At very brief points it just trickled. But it was quite relentless. Even now it is still pissing down. And if the roads weren’t like lakes, they were like rivers. Huge puddles and slippery nonsense and just perpetual spray from the bike in front.

So for the first 65km it was pretty dark and there was no drafting cause getting into the slipstream of the bike in front meant you got a face-full of intense road-grime. Gradually, when the road narrowed that became a given and having that grit in your mouth – like you had swallowed a fist-full of sand – was omnipresent.

Over this period we got a break when Ryan got a flat at the Bonney-View in Bald Hills and then a quick stop at Caboolture. At Beerburrum I halted the crew and reluctantly ate my first Chiko-Roll in many, many years. Although they advertised sausage rolls – it was too early for them to be ready.

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The next 20kms was on quite treacherous roads. There was little or no shoulder and 100km/hr traffic blasting past. The shoulder was dilapidated and in some points the bitumen had been crushed into a hump that we had to smash over with no warning (like we were kids again on our BMXs jumping bumps). I put my sunglasses on, not to diffuse the glare, but to limit the splash. And they were foggy and wet and killed about 30% of my vision. But I just had to attempt to protect my eyes from all that shitty spill from the bike in front. Despite the glasses it was still like getting a horizontal shower full of grime and – what I realised later – road tar.

The whole ride my eyes, and everyone else’s, stung from the grit – my nose was perpetually running and I was spitting constantly trying to expel that shit the road had spewed into my face.

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Yet we just lifted the intensity. I blame mad-dog Ryan. He just pushed and pushed and I felt good enough to reciprocate. We took turns in this mash and I looked down at my Garmin Temple and the average speed went up to 31.7km/hr. I felt good that the Garmin Gods would be pleased with this sacrifice.

By the time we hit the hill just outside Caloundra the average started to be dented. It was a shitty little climb – truth be told. We had just ignored a “bikes must exit” sign (I love doing that – and we got to do it again on the Bruce Highway at Bald Hills on the way back.) So pushing ahead on this brand new highway we had this massive shoulder which made that sign we just ignored seem even more stupid. The rain and headwind and traffic got mental, so we had to go easy into Caloundra. We stopped at Bulcock Beach and each had a big breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausages, mushies, tomato, hash browns and toast at some place we just randomly found.

Shirts was like, “How far do you want to go back?” Ryan said, “I’m happy to go the whole way.” I said, “I will go as far as Caboolture, then make a call then.” Secretly I knew I would almost certainly bail then.

On the way back we spent a good 5 minutes warming up again. It was so brutally cold. My teeth were chattering and I was shaking uncontrollably. We had a tail wind for a while, but it soon disappeared. We were smashing again through these horrible roads. At one point Ryan lost concentration and ran off the road into the grassy ditch beside but managed to stay rolling at speed until he found a suitable place top regain the road. I didn’t see this as I was leading but Shirts told Ry later, “You kept going through that mush at 30k/hr!”

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There were so many points on this entire ride where I hit something and I felt the bike about to lose it. After the third heart-stopping event I remember thinking it was only a matter of “when”, not “if”, one of us would go sideways in this slippery, watery, grimey hell.

And it did happen. But more on that later.

Meanwhile this was when my Garmin suddenly stopped working properly and eventually died with apparent water damage. It was utterly tragic. I was lost without it. I had only a vague idea what distance we had covered and what mattered most: what was left. I also fretted cause this would mean my stats would all be comprimised. But then I thought – well it had worked for half the ride, so if I just double that it will all be ok. SWEET. And plus now I have the best excuse ever to buy a new Garmin.

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At Beerburrum we stopped again this time for coke and lollies. I was starting to feel sore and miserable and was more convinced than ever that I would call it a day at Caboolture. We plowed on but then the tunes through my iPhone went nuts and I knew it was getting fucked by water. A quick stop and I tried my best to wrap the phone with plastic. But this meant no more tunes. DAMN.

For the next 15ks I was feeling tragic, and just sucked Ryan’s wheel. I could feel these twinges like I would get a cramp any moment – but I survived. And then at Caboolture I just got lost in the task of riding through the traffic and forgot I was going to bail. So when I realised the train station was far behind I just kept going and luckily the traffic lights and nonsense around here slowed everything down and gave me some respite.

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After a bush-pee at Morayfields I was feeling a bit better and the ride to Petrie went quite well. I mean – I was still feeling shit, but I was gaining some confidence. At the approach to Petrie I was thinking of bailing again but then we were smashing down and I felt good and then this deadshit in a car was being nasty so I just smashed and drafted him and got a free 50/km/hr ride for about 800 metres.

It was then only about 25ks to go so I just had to keep going and I suddenly got quite excited that I was about to do this.

With the last 5kms or so to go we all went our separate ways and with just my own company I decided I felt pretty fucking good. I wanted to scream at everyone, “I have just ridden over 200kms today!” “TRUE FUCKING STORY!”

When I got home I was covered in grime and something else I have never encountered before: ROAD TAR. Sticky, black tar that has all the properties of old chewing gum. No matter how much I scrubbed with soap it refused to come off. I feel like one of those water-birds caught up in an oil spill. My right eye is also horribly sore. It feels like a piece of that tar is stuck in there. OW!

Meanwhile Ryan texted me saying he had a crash 100 metres from his home. I knew one of us would go down. Luckily for Ry Ry it’s just a few scrapes.

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It was a great ride and apart from the hour of so around Caboolture – I felt pretty strong.

At this conclusion I would also like to say that my Grandma lived in Caloundra for many years and I would visit her by bus initially (when I was a kid – and on these very same roads) or by driving (when I was old enough). And if you had told my former selves back then that one day I would ride a bike to and from Caloundra in around 8 hours (including breaks) my old incarnations would have thought that notion was utterly ridiculous. Just fucking silly.

And so I say to my former selves, “fuck yeah, take that – deadshits.”

Music I’ma diggin (April Edition)

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THE WALKMEN “Heaven”

This song has a version of that drum-riff I call “Bruce” – after the drums in “Dancing in the Dark“. And I rarely find a song that employs this that I don’t like. Understated chorus – nice groove. Eminently danceable. (I like the awkward family portrait promo shots they did for this new album too).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8yDtfGl30s

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HERE WE GO MAGIC “How Do I Know”

I am not sure I like anything else by this band – but this song has those clean, pleasantville guitars: this simple accessibility. And it builds. And when the drums/percussion get more interesting towards the end, it should have you hooked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJBOR9el3d4

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ALEX WINSTON “Velvet Elvis”

Alex has a new single. YAY! About 90% of you will complain about her voice – but I love it. This song has a bunch of awesome hooks and I heard it precisely once and then bought it off iTunes. TRUE STORY.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-zZkbcF4fA&ob=av2e

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BAD VEINS “Dancing on TV”

I only heard this song today, maybe I will end up hating it ion a few hours – but the clip was interesting and as I’ve said before – dancing in videos holds a very special place in my heart. Indeed dancing is the GREATEST. (I am a pretty good dancer by the way.) Anyway – what do you think of this song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4nZfjQYgEs

OTHER STUFF

Don’t forget that Frida Hyvønen‘s album is finally available. That Spiritualized album is fucking fantastic – ignoring a few songs a bit too rich in the “Jesus save me” or “Jesus saved me” stuff. Cate Le Bon‘s album comes out in 2 days. Beach House are ripping shit up as usual, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

First Date

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Today, just quietly, there’s this event. Two friends — good, highly-valuable friends — may-or-may-not-be having a date. And I may-or-may-not-have purposely introduced them. That is all I will say about that subject apart from the fact that it makes me giggle like I am a kid being tickled. And as a kid I was (and still am) highly ticklable. I just might confess to also say – all this is one of my ultimate dreams. What this says about me – I don’t know. Feel free to judge.

Anyway. Just cause I am so giddy I thought I would give you all some “first date” advice. Obviously from my perspective. Just putting stuff down. Like the title of this blog says.

1) DESIGNATED MEETING POINT

The meeting point is not just a spacial consideration – time is also important. A daylight first date screams traditional and ‘taking-things-slow’. But the harsh light of day will highlight any potential cosmetic failings. Plus you just might have to remain sober. If you think you can perform under these circumstances – and crucially if you get the vibe that your date is receptive too – then ok. But for fuck’s sake – choose an early evening setting if in any doubt.

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2) COMPLIMENTS

Within the first three sentences you should say something nice about what she is wearing – but don’t force it. Saying something nice about her hair-clip (as lovely as it may seem) kinda gives the game away. Saying a nice thing about her hair is another minefield. “I like what you have done with your hair,” is seemingly innocuous, but in fact you are saying “I like your hair better than the first time I saw you. Ew.” And what do you know about hair anyway?

3) LISTEN

At all times – listen to what she is saying and maintain eye contact. Let her finish her sentences and ask her for more detail where it interests you. If she’s right for you – this will come naturally. But it’s helpful to remember these things. Especially if you get as excited and nonsensical as I do under these sorts of pressure.

You don’t want to be using personal pronouns too often. But it is important to accentuate any common interests. “OMG – I love that band too!” <- Perfect. “Well, that reminds me of the time I climbed Mount Everest. Day One went like this…” <- UGH! WHO CARES!??!

Keep sentences short and no big intense conversations. This time is about innocent discovery – not an interrogation. Use all the skills they taught you in Charm School.

4) DRINKS

Make sure you finish your first drink AFTER she does. This is very important. You should look relaxed, in control and as less like a drunkard party-boy as possible. She will find that stuff out later. For the second round of drinks you can take the lead and finish first, but don’t go too quick. For the third – if you get that far – you can go nuts.

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5) CLOTHES

The meeting place does have some bearing on this. But I would say – don’t dress up too much, but obviously don’t dress down. She won’t believe you are treating this seriously if you rock up in shorts and thongs. Dress like you could safely get into a restaurant.

6) JOKES

Do not make any jokes that reference TV shows unless you are sure she is hyper-aware of this particular TV show. You do not want to be spending precious time explaining what was initially – a rather dull joke. It goes without saying – no “Your mum” jokes. Also, limit the cussing lest you think Tourette’s is endearing to a person you have barely met.

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7) QUIT WHILE YOU ARE AHEAD

If things are going extremely well – don’t push it too far. After a suitable period – draw a conclusion to the affair and as humbly as possible – ask for a second date.

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Why I Like Brisbane

I just asked Dee why she liked Brisbane and she said “Triple M”.

“Fair enough,” I said**. But perhaps, just for your sake, I’ll delve a tad deeper into why this town has a hold over me.

Although I wasn’t born here, this is where I grew up. (Forgiving the fact I spent 6ish years in Sydney for a tiny bit of primary and all of high school.) And so I was born 45kms away in Ipswich, and Ipswich has, and continues to be, a big part of my life – but my earliest memories are here. Brisbane.

My Nanna’s house on Whitehill Road – where my mum grew up and I spent many Christmases and weekends and days during my infancy. 

It was, and still is, cool to diss Brisbane. And I am not going to try to defend this town. But below I will just try to focus on the positives.

WHY GOOD PEOPLE LEAVE

A good bunch of people choose to leave Brisbane. I am told it used to be far worse. Before the Internet and the Giant Kangaroo at the Commonwealth Games and the GO-CARD it was incredibly hard to be different in Brisbane. We had a horribly corrupt government, we had no venues and no real interest in progressiveness.

But then there was the 4Corners story, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, the Goss Government, an incredible interstate migration (from NSW and VIC) and even EXPO 88! (Whose influence is totally understated).

And so in this context we all grew up. But still there was, and continues, a culture of exodus. I know in America (a much more de-centralised society than here) there is a cultural impetus that kids go away to another town for college. That rite of passage – means just that – passage. Movement.

So perhaps this is Brisbane being ahead of the rest of Australia. After all – Queensland is the most de-centralised State in Australia.

Thus – most of the people I have known that have left here – they leave for Melbourne (About 2000 kms south in the state of Victoria). And I know this may be controversial – but a lot of those people left knowing (and having the saftey-net of knowing) that there was a whole big bunch of other Brisbane people in Melbourne. It seems like Melbourne, just like other major capitals was growing a micro-nation – a “Little Brisbane”.

So it seems the rest have left for London and a few have gone to Sydney and the last smattering have disappeared for other far reaches of the world. And it should be said, one or two friends have left for regional places in Queensland.

And so I’ve thought about leaving, and sometimes really, really wanted to. But I’ve stuck by this city.

In my heart of hearts – I am quite sure I am here cause I have historically been a pussy. An utter deadshit, completely petrified of change. But now I am older, not so weak and worried, I will try to tell you why I am glad I have stayed (-so far*).

THE RIVER SPREADS THINGS OUT

Apart from the fact we actually have a “River” – not a glorified creek (or in some cities – a drain) I think the way our River snakes it’s way through the city – although it cuts it in two – the River’s meander splays the appeal. It’s almost democratic. It doesn’t immediately look that photogenic or compressed. But then you get a new vista around every corner and it’s a tale that keeps on giving. To me a city like Sydney has no choice but to put all its eggs into one basket. This makes for amazing scenery, but it’s just too much, and too much ALL the time. And this also creates such rich property. The best views of Sydney are owned by stupidly rich people and us plebs only get to glimpse them as you battle traffic, or squint through dirty train windows as you cross the Harbour Bridge. That is – unless you travel by bike.

BRIDGES ARE COOL

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Various views of Brisbane’s first bridge: Victoria. Destroyed three times, twice by floods.

I like bridges. They are big, grand and take some skills to build. They are like artificially perfect hills and give you altitude and generally awesome (and exposed) views and although I think our bridges here in Brisbane are horribly ordinary – their essence is still cool. Even in this modern, increasingly-sterilised and homogenised city we live in – they still connect two very different worlds. The journey across the Victoria Bridge (the very first bridge in Brisbane) from south to north is still a revelating “journey” even though I do it almost every single day. The view of the city upon this approach is quite inspiring.

Indeed one side of every single bridge in Brisbane is very different to the other. So one side is one world, and the other side is a totally different universe. Trust me.

Brisbane was a product of the River. It is quite bizarre the north-side became the centre of town, because south of the river was where the timber, the civilisation (Sydney etc) and expansion (into central Queensland) was.

I really hope we get another bridge soon. (A mayoral candidate has recently mooted a new pedestrian bridge – maybe from Norman Park to New Farm).

WE IS YOUNG

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Patrick Mayne. The subject of an incredible book. It alleges he murdered and horrifically dismembered a timber-cutter up from northern NSW to spend his new fortune. An early version of the Story Bridge hotel was the setting. Parts of the body ended up in the river, a well and on a gate. Another man was tried and executed for the crime. Mayne then used the proceeds to initially start a butcher shop in Queen Street (where the Brisbane Arcade now stands) – the build a real estate empire in protozoic Brisbane. He was involved in local government then developed a sickness – maybe syphilis – that led him to his death-bed where he apparently confessed to this crime to clergy. The story escaped and that is not the end of the story. Read the book – you will not be disappointed. 

We have very little history, but it’s quite rich. I got utterly mesmerised by the book “The Mayne Inheritance” recently and I am a regular visitor of the blog “Your Brisbane Past and Present”. Amazing.

It is quite bizarre to know we had bomb shelters all down Elizabeth Street, or the money for the land the University of Queensland sits on was almost certainly ultimately sourced by a very heinous murder. And the floods and fires this town has experienced are quite apocalyptic.

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THE BIKE RIDING

I have biked all over the world, (and in Australia), and I am perhaps reluctantly convinced that Brisbane is actually quite blessed. But I qualify that by saying we still have some of the worse drivers anywhere that are so hostile and unconditioned to bicycle traffic. We have that River which gives us that “Riverloop” and the bikeways along it’s reaches. We have bikepaths on all but one bridge crossing. We have Mt Coot-Tha just 7ks from the city for honing our mountain skills. Then we have Nebo for just some more variety. We also have amazing weather for biking. And I say that as a ginger that is quite hopelessly compromised by hot weather. (I am learning to do big rides in winter and shorter, less challenging stuff during summer).

The only thing I lament is we don’t have the multitude of low traffic country roads with crazy scenery about 50kms out of town like Melbourne – something that Andy rubs in all the time!

I HAVE FRIENDS HERE and I have BRISBANE FRIENDS OVERSEAS

Even though I would kill to move away for a while – ultimately – this is where all my friends are. And the friends that have moved away just mean I have someone to party with in some random place on the other side of the world.

And I keep saying this to all that will listen – but the secret of happiness in life is quite simply – human interaction – and lots of it. It can be good or tragic, but usually the good stuff is best. Feeling is important. And Brisbane makes me feel. It incites a reaction in my soul. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I care about it.

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The Little Lovers “Red Devil” film clip. That’s me on the wall and all our friends dancing around. Good times. 

* I will always covert a dream of living overseas

** FM104:

Weekend in Photos

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No – they’re not dead. Just resting after I mowed the lawn. (With our hand-mower it should be noted! Tough, noisy work, but you deserve an extra beer afterwards)

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Dee bought some plants for some terra-cotta pots we were given ages ago (when we moved in I think). The plants will hopefully frame the front door. Potting plants is harder than I imagined.

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The one on the right ended up a little lop-sided, but hopefully when it grows bigger it will look more impressive.

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The cat got some precious outside time to celebrate me finishing this job.

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Saturday afternoon I went to my very first baby-shower. Exciting. I guess in this modern world we live in, such an event would soon pop up. Dee and I bought gifts at mini-boutique in St Lucia. I also bought my nephews some more presents. SPOILT! Above is a timer shot of me with my pants half down surveying another shit bowl I had delivered. Oh well.

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Me trying to be arty with the bowls and the afternoon sun at Wellers Hill.

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The cat stalking the Don’s flamingoes.

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Supervised outside time ended up with the cat hiding under a car. I then had to chase her through the bushes. She eventually stopped and admitted defeat. She has this idea about right and wrong. She just likes to petulantly push that notion.

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They will look better in a few months. Stay tuned.

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Thomas! The most beautiful man I know. TRUE STORY!

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The weekend’s epic ride. Tom, Ryan and me. 105kms. Almost 1200 metres of climbing. 29.9km/hr. Only 1 very short stop (Tom had to get back in time for work). And no cramps during or after on my part. I was pretty proud of myself. And so with a few more weeks of training I just might be sound for the overnight ride to Toowoomba. (More on that later).

And then this afternoon – after riding and grocery/antique shopping I sat down to watch a western on iTunes but just as I did so, the Gregory Peck version of Horatio Hornblower started on GEM. And I was soon hooked. Fantastic movie. Peck has quite a demeanour. And Horatio is a bit flawed, a bit unsure of himself and dismissive of all his skills. But Peck plays this character quite convincingly. The humphs and grumbles are endearing and the moment his lieutenant catches him smiling he quickly turns the emotion into the sternish frown possible. Awesome and hilarious. And, I should say, the battle scenes (and tactics) were quite cinematically realistic, and horribly dramatic. It’s basically the trusty tale of a smaller, more-agile ship with half the crew and half the firepower getting the better of a massive Juggernaut that believes it’s invincible. A lot more authentic and real than the crew of the Enterprise “running and falling” from one side of the bridge to the other after every proton torpedo hit. It’s a little more full-on when the captain and pretty much all the crew are in the one place at the one time (the deck). It’s a democratic battle and that makes for drama – right? Perhaps if I write a science fiction drama this dramatic device could be appropriated.

HISTORY – November 23, 2006. “What Laura did next”

Following up on Laura’s adventures with my washing machine – here is her first show – and by far my most favourite show ever. Here is the words I wrote way back in 2006. It was meant to be my very first solo show but I couldn’t help but ask some friends to help. Mostly cause I was too shit-scared to do it on my own. I had the biggest smile I could manage on my face for days after. And then my face just hurt for days after with the effort. Ow.

Rics, Brisbane, Australia — Thursday, 23 November 2006

Greg Brady (ex seminal bris-band Cunningham) asked me to play a solo show supporting his new band The Anchors, but I am too pussy to play alone so I asked a bunch of my rock’n’roll buddies to play with me. So there were 9 of us: Laura K (Laura K), Michael (Violent Soho), Ben + Wintah (Little Lovers), Clay (Modern Lies), Choomby (Mean Streakz), Mel (Mt Augustus) and Dee (Lovesquints) plus me.

This is Laura K:

This show was also an opportunity to get Laura K up on stage cause she writes such amazing songs and so deserves to have a band. Laura ended up playing and singing on every song and she had no trouble learning the songs. The only hurdle was the fact Laura didn’t have a keyboard stand. “Goob!” I said. “Not having a keyboard stand is like a guitarist not havng a guitar strap!”
“Soz ginger,” she replied.

This is me, Mikey and Laura K. Mikey hit the drums so hard. it was orsm. —>

Putting on a show with lots of guests is logistically really tough. There were three different drummers so I had to have three times as many band pracs as I would normally do for that type of show.

This is Choomby and Laura K’s mad mic skillz:

At the beginning I had decided to cover a Cunningham song just for Greg cause he is such a legend. When the Little Lovers had played Ramoneathon we had to learn a bunch of Ramones songs and they were tough! So decepively simply. And learning Cunningham’s “Giant Steps” was like revisiting all those struggles again. The verses are really short and leap into the chorus and you just can’t stop concentrating or you will be left behind.

This is me lookin a tiny bit ‘rock’:

I also wanted to cover a Little Lovers song and then when I bumped into Clay in the city one day I asked him to play as well. Bang! Clay used to play bass in the Little Lovers before I did and I thought it would be nice for Wintah and Ben. Plus we made it a secret so they would get a surprise. Laura managed to convince Wintah Dee was actually our special guest – so Dee was kinda our Dee-coy. LOL.

This is Clay, me, Loz and the Dee-Coy performing the LL’s tune “Sharp Shooter”:

Loz looks like she has just played the wrong chord or something. It’s hard not to pull faces when yr up on stage. Dee is playing triangle.

This is Laura K, me and Melissa’s sweet glock skillz doin Laura’s song “In my flat”:

Next we played a Grandaddy song called “Hewlett’s Daughter”. Wintah looks pretty tough with his super low-strapped bass:

Jebs took the photos. She has orsm skillz:

All our friends came. It was amazing!

WinTRON rocking out:

Wintah and Choomby rocking out, Loz looking perplexed:

So then the show was over. We played an Extra Foxx song to close and I only just found out Conwae was there to hear it. Orsm. Hello conwae!

Before the show I banned Laura from drinking. After the show it was gay abandon:


Laura is an angry drunk…oh wait! that’s not her arm

Pullin’ shapez: (drinkin shapez)

Ben demontrates his anti-gravity straw:

Loz: “Hey Ben, is this guy a goob, or what?”

Wintah wrestling (again!)


Loz got to slap ben’s bum. So jealous.

This happened after I had gone home…something about a broken water bottle and drinking outta the bottom of it…

Thanks again to everyone who came!