The Hills (of Brisbane)

Somehow I got this idea of visiting all the suburbs in Brisbane with “Hill” or “Mountain” in their title. And then I worked out a route with the least amount of backtracking (see below) and texted all my mates begging them to come and suddenly it was today and it we were actually doing it.

“How good is this?” I kept saying. Each and every time it was met with a deathly silence which I took to mean everyone was intently pondering this historic occasion.

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But I was hopelessly excited and it just gushed out. Anyway — the tally for the day was:

Highgate Hill, Weller’s Hill, Mt Gravatt, White’s Hill, Camp Hill, Seven Hills, Cannon Hill, Bowen Hills, Spring Hill, Red Hill, Everton Hills, Arana Hills, Ferny Hills, A point on Mt Nebo Road that is the highest point in the city of Brisbane, Kenmore Hills, Chapel Hill, and finally Mt Coot-tha.

For me 116kms and over 2000ms of climbing. Here’s the pics:

ImageHAPPY BIRTHDAY TOM!

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ImageMt Gravatt

ImageWhite’s Hill

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ImageScotty was feeling a bit poorly today. And so I made sure to remind him at every opportunity, “HOW GOOD IS THIS?” He just gumbled.

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ImageSpring Hill/Bowen Hills

ImageRed Hill

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ImageGooby self-portrait. I stood on my sunglasses the other day and they got a bit bent. Ugh.

ImageScott, Tom and Shirts were all so excited they had to have a break while Ben and me went further up the road to this point – the highest bit of road in Brisbane. HOW GOOD IS THAT? 

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Then we went over Gap Creek Road and I could feel my legs getting a bit leaden and I got this vibe that the spirits of the group were not quite overflowing with excitement as they had been previously. In fact I think someone looked at me like they were going to throttle me the next time I said, “HOW GOOD IS THIS?” So it was decided that we would omit Mt Crosby and Mt Ommaney. But I think the guys saw me looking a bit teary so agreed, begrudgingly to indulge me and finish on Mt Coot-tha. YAY!

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ImageThere was some charity ride on the mountain today. Apparently this group was doing laps in some 24 hour thing.

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PLANETARIUM (and STORM) DAYS!

I bet you didn’t know that Brisbane is the only (major) city in the world named after an astronomer. Maybe you did already, so good on you. But personally I was pretty excited by this revelation.

I first discovered Brisbane was named after an actual person — Sir Thomas Brisbane — when my year 10 history teacher (Mr Hannon) made us memorise the first ten Governors of NSW, and New South Wales almost equated to the whole of white-occupied Australia in those days. To this day I can roll them off without even thinking:

Phillip, Hunter, King, Bligh, Macquarie, Brisbane, Darling, Bourke, Gipps, Fitzroy.

So Mr Hannon, who is still teaching at Sydney Boy’s High, made us get into groups of three and assigned each group one of those ten Governors and told us to spruke his exploits to a class presentation, and then do our best to denegrate all the other 9 governors — no holds barred. He even encouraged gutter tactics, epic sensationalism and Today Tonight style journalism, (though of course TT didn’t exist back then).

It was an exceedingly inspired display of educating. And to this day if anyone asks me who my favourite teacher is — it would be Tony Hannon.

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Anyway, today we had a date with Sir Thomas and the Planetarium named after him. This little Brisbane treasure is located in the botanic gardens near Mt Coot-tha and the last time I had been here was back when I was maybe 5ish. And I LOVED it then but never really thought to go back until today. And our other date was Tegan who had just finished her exams and is moving house and needed some celebrations! Yes. We arrived just as it was about to storm — again! It has been an epic weekend of precipitation and atmospheric drama.

The garden got a bit more chewed up than usual yesterday and last night, after another epic slow-storm rolled over, we lost power for a few hours — the first time we’ve experienced here.

The cat has been a bit mental but not as bad as I have seen her when she has been trapped by Queensland’s summer wet-weather.

And just now another big storm is bearing down upon us.

But, back to today.

The Planetarium is a big round building and we all know round buildings are cool – right?

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All along the curved outer shell is a gallery of cosmic wonders.

Some — like the view of “Brisbane From Space” are not quite worthy of being displayed so prominently — now that Google is around. LOL.

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Meanwhile outside it all got nasty and rainy.

This is the view through the porthole windows. I remember these windows from my visit as a kid. I also remember they obviously didn’t have modern projectors back in that day. Instead they had this weird contraption in the centre of the room that looked so freakishly sci-fi.

In fact you can see it in the background of the picture below. I expect the display back then was no where near as impressive as today — but I still miss that bad guy spinning away in the centre of the room.

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ImageThe amazing trippy roof design!

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So the actual show — we saw “Cosmic Collisions” narrated by Robert Redford — was fucking amazing. Like I got a few tears in my eyes thinking about how epic it was. It was really, really cool and seeing it on the massive ceiling and having to look around all the time just like you would in real life. Dee and I even banged heads at one stage looking at random views on the edge. LOL.

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Then after a cool demonstration of our Brisbane celestiality (I made that word up) where a very nice presenter talked us through what we would see at night time if we looked up, we emerged to clear skies and epic, intense sunshine. BIZARRE!

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So then we settled down for Mexican and booze.

But then another storm came.

Dee made me put the car under the house as hail was due. And literally 2 minutes later the maelstrom hit. We’ve never had hail here.

HAIL PICTURES:

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BONUS PICS (SATURDAY)

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The cat suddenly decided the floor tom was a good place to sleep. She’s never, ever slept here before.

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Then it got sunny again and she was here.

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This is late last night (Saturday) and so we sat on the deck and brought out a mat for the cat. It was nice.

Redlands/storm ride

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Today’s ride accidentally got a bit dramatic when we were smashed by this massive storm just as we got back to Brisbane. But more on that later.

So I met the crew at Planet Cycles this morning at 6am and we had accidentally chosen the exact time the shop ride was leaving. There were consequently dozens of riders looking very pro. Bike riders are funny.Image

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On the way to the top of West Mt Cotton road as you briefly dip down the 20% section we passed this poor dude in a polka dot jersey walking his bike up the hill. Lol.

At the top we had a rest. The humidity was evil and I had to wring out the sweat from my gloves — never had to do that before.

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Next Tom took us on a cyclocross adventure on German Church Road.

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After breakfast in Cleveland we headed back via Wynnum Road and Belmont Road eventually ending up at Crankstar in Camp Hill.

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After gushing over the Rapha merch we had some coffee and the owner was like, “Um are you guys riding anymore today?”

And we were like, “Just home.”

And he said, “Cause there’s this huge storm coming. It looks all red on BOM

So I checked my phone and was like, “Right — let’s get going!”

This is what the storm looked like at that point

Tom peeled off towards his home and Benny, Scott and me plowed on. The lightning in distance got more and more prevalent and the sky turned black. I really thought we’d make it but by the time we got to Milton the rain had started and the thunder and lightning seemed almost directly overhead.

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Across Milton Road it just got instantly insane. I headed west and straight into the gale while Benny and Scott headed towards Paddington. I smashed as hard as I could to get home in these cyclonic conditions and eventually made it quite saturated and leaving puddles all through the house.

Benny, I found out later, had to seek shelter in a church doorway until the storm passed.

But – of course – it was a great ride!

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The other news from today it that I got my 10,000ks for the year.

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The Tunnel

Last night that tunnel shit, just got real.

You can now hear one of those massive monster engines, ripping through the rock and dirt a few metres below. It sounds like everyone in the neighbourhood has turned on their washing machines and stuck a load of gravel inside (and set it on an epic spin-cycle). It is a roar, but thankfully monotonous.

It is pretty full on.

We learnt about this project over two years ago. And thus there was all this nonsense we had to go through — all those whole-day inspections (with the photos and these deadshits studying and photographing every inch of our property), all the clinically-bleached email updates — dripping with PR speak (but lacking any real detail), and then the occasional letter in the mailbox saying some PR person had visited in office-hours in some pretend showing of supposed-concern from the builders.

But now it is here. Like HERE.

And there was no talk of audibility. But there was one reference to audibility — it was buried in one notice. And it said something like, “You might experience reverberated noise”. That seemed to me like a bit of a rattle in a window-frame or a door rattling.

But last night it was like a very slow jumbo-jet was underfoot. And I could hear it. I really didn’t expect that.

And so today some PR person from TransCity called me from some “blocked number” and told me the machine was not underfoot but actually in fact 50ms away going under the street behind. And it is the “other” boring machine. the one that won’t go underneath our house. So I said, “Well, this is just gonna get worse?”

And she tried her best to say it would be all over soon saying it is just the front of the engine that makes all the disruption. Wow. Thanks.

A PERSONAL QUESTION

But then she asked me this question: “How did you sleep last night?”

I bristled. I really took offence.

I don’t know about you – but I didn’t sleep very well at all with all this nonsense and work stuff playing in my head. And anyway — that question, that insight into someone is a really fucking personal question.

So I told her it was none of her business — (and it wasn’t regardless) — and then I said “thanks for your call” and hung off.

My adventures with Custard, pt 4

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PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

After weathering the embarrassment of “the tape” incident, and generally many other embarrassing things I must have done in their presence, I could still bask in the glory of the humble fame I got from the website and all the people who sent me cold, hard cash for a copy of the 4.66 zines I had produced. (4 official issues and two smaller sub-zines). At least that way I seemed cool to all those “lesser” Custard fans and could hold some pretence that I was important and had exclusive access and some skills in transforming that into print or the web.

I was incredibly assisted by a new best friend — a mysterious character called “Sage Trip”.

We got on famously and he had an incredible wit, an intelligence I could only pretend to keep up with and that devilish demeanour only the truly beautiful provocateurs possess. Alas, I was a bit too sober to appreciate it in perpetuity and maybe a year later, after I had been Best Man at his wedding, we had a bit of a falling out — very quietly and orderly — but then we just lost contact — until recently it should be said. Sorry Sage.

FAME

But I embraced this new world of pretend-fame. You could even call it “run-off-fame”. I wasn’t famous, but I was some conduit and believe it or not the stuff I put down was entertaining and I stand by it to this day.

Over at Mongoloid Dave’s excellent trovish website you can download all those zines — which I have lost, even the digital files.

http://www.musiciscrap.com/davemccormack/cuszine.html

So as part of our “run-off-fame” — this meant Liesl (my GF) and I were getting free entry to shows and some bonus merch and occasionally backstage access. But I suspect the only reason they let us back there was cause in those days we didn’t drink and we were the only hanger-ons that were guaranteed not to steal their rider.

We also got a preview of any upcoming albums — which arrived in the form of a dubbed nondescript cassette tape. At the time I was like, FUCKIN A, but now I realise it meant my bonding with those last two albums was a bit dulled by that process. My understanding of them as a unit — these brand new songs of my most favourite band ever — were as a jumble of recordings, just dumped in a messy pile on my ears. There weren’t even song titles. So when I possessed the album proper, with its (supposedly) thought-out track order, and all the excess fat trimmed-off, plus artwork and liner notes and lyrics — and not to mention the personal process of anticipation of the release date and physically going to a record store and buying it and rushing home to listen to it eagerly — all that was lost.

I guess you could say “no big deal” and “stop your stupid whining dickhead!” Ok, yes. I agree.

Moving on.

THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING I’VE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE (TRULY)

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A publicity shot of Richard Kingsmill

This is the story of something so embarrassing it makes me physically shudder. And this is from someone who — on a plane flight — has projectile-vomited all over himself, and all over the aisle and the person next to him. That experience pales in comparison.

So I felt amazing with all that run-off fame and maybe I even got cocky enough to contact Triple J when I heard Richard Kingsmill was doing a “Custard J-File”. I am not exactly sure how it came about, but I do remember sending him my zines and soon enough I got an email asking my phone number so he could call me during the show. Stupidly I decided to hyper-prepare for the event. I rehearsed a very long and stupid story of how I got into Custard and when Kingsmill asked me a question that was vaguely related, I told that epic story like a robot. It was almost like I was doing my best impression of the Paranoid Android. It came from the heart, but was just idiotically detailed and you know what the worst thing was? I sounded like a twelve year old, and the dullest twelve year old imaginable. I don’t think I had listened to my own voice — the way it sounds IRL — for such a long time, and saying such deadshittedness. It was literally horrifying to listen to and I have not been able to listen to it again. Ever. I might still have the tape, but I have no desire to revisit it.

Anyway. Luckily I got a bit looser later in the interview and managed to tell some jokes but I doubt anyone noticed.

QUIZ

The other really, really shitty thing about that night was that Kingsmill did a quiz later and asked a question based on some “facts” published on my website their researcher had looked up a few weeks earlier, and which I had consequently discovered weren’t true — cause the band deliberately lied (they loved doin that) — and so when the contestant argued with Kingsmill that his answer was right — which it was — I was still hovering on the line and had to correct things. UGH. What a fucking disastrous farce.

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LIESL OVERSEAS

One of the biggest deals that happened in this period was that Liesl went on a 6-month overseas trip.

It kinda broke me. But it broke me in a good way I think looking back on it. I was too scared to come with her. I had just randomly bought a house and needed to pay bills I really couldn’t afford. I was so pissed off and desperate to be faithful and wait-it-out I just retreated into this pathetic, empty world of solitude. Apart from work, I spent that 6 months just with myself. And because I pretended I had virtually no social skills I ended up knowing I was really, really alone. And that meant all my effort into the Custard stuff was virtually full-time work. It was a great distraction, but at the same time that period gave me the skills I needed to break outta that horrible shell.

PAUL’S JOB IN ROCK N ROLL (NO MORE)

By this stage I had been working a while in a graphic-design/website/production company. And because I was so obsessed with Custard I tended to try and convert anyone and everyone to the cause. And pretty much the only person I managed to convince happened to be my boss. And one day the company was looking for a web programmer and I knew that Paul Medew — Custard’s bassplayer — had some skills in this department. So I suggested him for the role and to my utter amazement, Paul was suddenly being interviewed, and then working part-time off-site, and then one day, he was working in the very same building at a desk just like mine, just a few metres away. It was like I had a piece of Custard at my work. It was bizarre and dizzying at the same time. How far this had all come in just three years.

But of course I grew to be quite nonchalant about it all and he gradually morphed from a rockstar into another (almost-everyday) co-worker — albeit a rather cooler one. Although, it must be said, Paul was always the most reliable, business-like and “9 to 5” of all the members of Custard. So it wasn’t such a huge leap for my brain.

This is the vertically-challenged Paul on a set of phonebooks — just for the photo. But the assholes printed the entire picture. Ugh.

WINTAH

Around this time I met Glenn’s son Wintah (pictured below) at a house party at Kangaroo Point in (I think) 2001. He was a 15 year old kid being bored at a grown-ups-party where the only excitement was the tiny set his dad did — playing drums in a living room — with David and Paul. I don’t know how we even got invited to this party, but it was a big deal. But because we were so shy we spent a big bunch of the evening just watching the band and talking to Wintah.

Then Wintah disappeared for ages — back to Dalby where he lived, and then uni — and the next thing I knew he had formed his own band. But the whole Little Lovers adventures is another story.

THE BOOK

The story of my “Book” is a pretty epic one — one that almost got me beat up. So I will just introduce the beginnings here and save a few of the more crazy details for the next instalment.

So when Custard looked like breaking-up, I thought I should graduate from “zines” and start doing something grander and more “Adult”. So I started writing a book. Over the next few months I made it to over 40,000 words. I interviewed everyone I could.

By far the most interesting interview was with Shane Bruun (original Custard drummer) and James Straker (original Custard lead guitarist). We all met at Ric’s one evening and I brought my little cassette recorder, James brought his too — presumably so he could cross-reference in case I put words into his mouth. To a snotty-nosed-kid writing a bunch of bullshit that would never be published — this seemed highly FULL-ON and highly SERIOUS.

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That’s James with the red hair. This picture is at a Melniks show. I ended up buying that guitar he is playing, and I still own it. It is the best guitar ever (well a japanese-made Jazzmaster) and even Tim from Tym’s Guitars agrees with me.

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My Weekend

After an awesome Friday night boozy chat with Sarah, Saturday began with that fuzziness but it was exacerbated by the drizzle and gloom of constant rain and the sense of entrapment. Bike riding seemed too messy and could be saved for later when it was more civil outside.

So Dee and I eventually headed off to visit Claire — who is studying photography — and she needed a model (me) for some kinda assignment. Essentially she needed to replicate this photo by Alfred Eisenstardt.

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I got all dressed up and looked a bit of a goob trying to be so important and worthy of photography.

EAR INJURY

I know this is silly, and it is another thing that could only happen to me, but when I was getting all scrubbed up for the shoot I attempted to clean out my ears and I must have got a bit too excited cause I pulled a muscle or some other bit of painful matter in that region and the pain just behind my right ear steadily grew and grew. It eventually became a deathstar of agony and so fucking concentrated. As we drove there I even tried putting a coin behind my ear (cause the metal was cold) in a vain attempt to dull the pain. It was intense. The first thing I did when I got to Claire’s place was ask for panadol.

Anyway – so this is what Claire took:

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Good job Claire making me look less like a deadshit. Thanks!

After that we went to Dee’s folk’s place in Ormiston and I was still struggling with the pain so I had a nap (which I knew would be the only thing that could kill the pain) in a side room just on the rug on the floor. I literally can sleep anywhere. I slept for almost 1.5 hours and was a bit stiff and sore in other areas, but that stupid ear-pain was gone.

That night I got a lift from Ali (and Scott) over to Highgate Hill for a home-screening of the Premium Rush movie. I tried my best to interest Ali and Scott with my epic ear-pian story but kinda failed. Oh well.

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To my surprise the movie was kinda decent. Cheesy, but entertaining.

After telling my “Cowboy Joke” I thought it best to retreat before I embarrassed myself further. So I put my headphones on and started shuffling the initial stages of my eventual 8km walk home. Gradually my gait got more controlled. But of course I had to do something silly.

So my bladder was screaming at me and I saw this vacant lot in West End and it looked private and like no one would care if I did a tiny little bush-pee.

But in climbing the fence in the dark I didn’t spy this extra wire and so I dug a big fat line of cuts in my leg. It looks cool so NBD.

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Today I went for a big 90k ride out to Nudgee Beach and around the crit track and kinda felt OK. Then we went for dinner at Kate and Anna’ place and I played with my nephews which was fun but very, very tiring and then I managed to bang Hugo’s head into the floor trying to teach him some breakdance moves. And he cried and cried and I felt terrible but he was apparently very tired from spending all day up at the coast with no nap. Oh dear.

MY SLEEP SECRET

ImageThis book, “Bears in the night” was perhaps an early inspiration to my strategy

I am pretty sure I am not the only one in the world who has trouble getting to sleep and I recently heard that one of my bestest, most favourite blogs — “Heaps Good Advice” — was getting a lot of questions about this issue. And just today I was reading this article in the paper and maybe the problem is bigger than I imagined.

So reading that advice in the paper, I felt no personal revelation. I have no troubles with light, I give myself plenty of time to sleep, I can sleep anywhere, I have strict routines etc. See I know exactly what my problem is. And it’s touched upon in point 4: “Put the day to bed long before putting yourself to bed.”

Ridding my brain of thinking and worrying and wondering and acting out what might happen in the future is a huge challenge for me. Ultimately I am over-stimulated and I can easily send my brain into overdrive — especially in the dark, being all still and with no other distractions. Me and my mind get along a bit too well under these conditions and thus we get chatting about all the bullshit we have to constantly deal with.

But I have developed a strategy to combat this. Indeed — I have used the very thing that was keeping me awake at night — that mental hyper-activity.

HYPNOTISM

So this may seem a bit like BULLSHIT — and I understand that assessment — but you’ll just have to indulge me. After all, this is MY blog, and I get to make up the rules sometimes.

See I think that maybe I have worked out a way to self-hypnotise myself. And I have no real qualifications or indeed ANY real understanding of hypnotism — and it’s been a hell of long time since I did PY101 and PY102.

But tricking your brain is not rocket-science. Indeed our brains seem so ridiculously feeble and malleable — and I suspect mine is just that bit more feeble than the average punter on the street — so I feel pretty qualified in saying I can “self-hypnotise” myself to sleep.

A SMALL DIVERGENCE

At this point I need to tell you all about something. You all probably know I am a bit mad — “beautifully mad” I hope — but this little eccentricity I have never really told anyone about.

See as a kid — and indeed well into adult-hood (but not so much anymore) — I would play all by myself. I would find a private space, and wander around in circles stuck inside my head. I’d invent a story based on a bunch of key scenarios – like Star Wars, or Star Blazers or maybe Batman. And then I’d invent the story and kinda act it out right there. If there were lasers or explosions (and there invariably was) I might make those noises. And when space ships were flying around I’d use my arms and hands to animate the situation.

If you ever stumbled upon me doing this you would think I was a fucking nut-case — but I loved doing it. I loved it so much I enjoyed it more than playing with other kids sometimes. For my entire youth I kept it so secret I didn’t even have a name for the activity. I would just think, I am going to do “that” now.

MY SLEEP STORIES

And so what I do when I am determined to sleep is I have these few set “stories” I act out in my head as I lie there in the dark waiting. And these stories are often quite action-packed and about doing things, rather than emotions or complex human interactions. In other words — they settle my mind into a more vegetive state. And consequently they take my mind as far away from my very Earthly problems and conditions.

These tales never get anywhere — there’s no conclusion — if they did then that would defeat the purpose — right? But if I conjured up my bullshit psychoanalysis skills I might say they all have themes associated with sleep or nurturing or womb-like. In other words things like rain, escape, finding refuge in a hole or cave or secret passage, being in a very cold place but finding something to protect me and keep me warm, or exploring a very alien territory.

AN EXAMPLE

One of these stories is quite a bleak one.

It begins in a snowy, dark world with me being on the run — like I had just escaped from some form of captivation. But all around me is the sounds and flashes of a war-zone. Yet the battle seems to have moved on and although there are bombs and gunfire — it’s all in the distance. Meanwhile it starts snowing and I don’t have suitable clothing and I am just frantically running until I stumble and fall into a deep trench. And when I stop tumbling down, and my eyes become accustomed to the even deeper gloom, I find the floor inside this stretched-out-hole is littered with dead combatants. I am so cold and too desperate to be horrified. I steal a coat from a dead body, maybe even hunting around for the uniform least saturated with blood. I fumble my way down, hands and knees, the trench twisting and turning and the gunfire and lights becoming more distant. Eventually I find a section of snow that collapses under my arm’s weight. And it reveals a secret door. Inside is a small control or battle room with a very low ceiling. I find a light and then I proceed to explore every inch of this room looking for stuff that will assist my survival…

…and usually by the time I’ve done that for a bit I am asleep.

So that’s what I do. No doubt it will be useless to 99.9999% of you, but I just thought I’d put it down.

BUT IN SAYING ALL THIS

So after all my hard work in getting to sleep, I waste it all when inevitably I awake at about 4am and start wondering about all the shit I said at that party or that club or just a few hours before in the lunchroom when I got a bit too excited. And then I stupidly check my iPhone which is conveniently right next to me. Before I know it 20 minutes of bullshit has passed. Ugh.

Another evil thing I have to acknowledge is that sometimes I actually enjoy processing all those thoughts (all of which can wait for a more appropriate opportunity) in my brain — and completely ignore my hypnotistic strategy in favour of just uninterupted, unadulterated, unfettered — thinking.

So I have no one but myself to blame for staying awake when I should be dead to the world.

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A cover-up

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Today I am going to encourage you all to visit a site called “There once was a creek…” And it deals with a subject that fascinated me (as well) when I moved to Auchenflower and started researching the history of the area.

Over the course of the excruciatingly-long 6 week settlement period (to buy our new house) I was so itching to move here I visited our State Library on a couple of lunch breaks — one of the perks of working in a building only 4 doors down the road — and read as much of John Pearn’s book on our suburb as I could. As well as that I looked at all the old photos of the area via the John Oxley Library’s online collection. It was amazing to move to such an old place — and the oldest place in my living memory. See I had lived here, in two separate dwellings, as a toddler and my very, very first memories of the world were carved into my brain right here.

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Two pictures from the John Oxley Library collection

And over at the Auchenflower Resident’s Alliance webiste — which seems to be a bit dormant — they had this little story about our “hidden creeks”.  So when the 2011 floods came that knowledge meant I almost instinctively knew where all the flooding would occur and crucially how to get around our neighbourhood in this saturated condition. In that period I spent ages riding my bike up and down the blissfully deserted Coronation Drive (once at 3am) seeing all these natural water-courses so gloriously alive again. And I know all that water brought a lot of pain and destruction — and I want to acknowledge that — but we live in a very natural world which we do our best to ignore with the artificial world we blu-tack on top of it.

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Some shots I took in January last year

Anyway — the research on the “There once was a creek” site is outstanding and the way Angus (the creator) has merged the old maps with google earth images is absolutely inspired — and pretty much ART (see a few examples below).

Even if you don’t come from Brisbane — his thorough and insightful examination of the story of John Oxley and his search for water, plus his contact with the local indigenous community, is fantastically absorbing. And again, I say that knowing this was the beginning of a white invasion of this area and the beginning of many, many years of suffering for the original owners of this land.

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Another pretty sobering point Angus is possibly making is the fact that Brisbane has a history of trouncing all over it’s own history. By turning these once beautiful waterways into invisible concrete drains is like an analogy of the fact we have no respect for our history or for natural beauty.

The other thing that was cool about this blog was that I learnt who our street was named for and he seems like a decent chap. (And Angus’ street was named after him too).

SEE ALSO

This site, which Angus hooked me up with, is also amazingly cool. It’s basically a mixture of local history, renovations to an old Auchenflower home and the observations you can only make if you lived here.

Mount Mee Ride

We had a brand new recruit to the ride today — Benny. Last time Benny and I did any physical activity together I ended up with a broken finger. (AFL accident)

But this time round the only incident was me being a rubbish rider.

RUNNING

See, the reason I sucked so much today — I assume — was probably cause I had dabbled in running for the very first time on Wednesday night. I had been thinking about doing it for ages and had plenty of peers who seem to enjoy it — like Shirts, Ryan, and Timmy (who’s training for a marathon atm).

But Shirts is a bit of an expert. Shirts runs almost as much as he rides. He would say if you are time-poor, running is the best exercise — the second you’re out the door you are at about 80% effort. No coasting and even downhills don’t provide much relief.

My reasoning for running:

a) get a more intense workout
b) get my legs stronger for riding — hopefully without injuring them in the process
c) have a basis for exercise in case I don’t have a bike (like when I’m OS)
d) something different

So I walked down the street in horribly unsuitable shoes and tried my best to get out of the way of the melee of kids dashing around in Halloween costumes high on sugar. Then — when I was positive no one was looking — I started running. And I kept running to my surprise for about 2.5kms. Around the Go-Between Bridge I had a bit of a rest, then pushed on a bit, eventually turning around about 300m later. And then I ran all the way back and past where I started. I looked an absolute mess when I got home, but felt a tiny bit of those endorphins they tell you about.

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But this all meant I was in fucking agony only an hour later. Thursday was worse but Friday was a little bit better. I felt the pain a lot more on my left side. It seems you can favour your preferred leg on the bike, but not when you are running.

Anyway — getting back to today.

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I tried to make the ride a little bit more interesting for Benny so we hit those roads at Bunya again. Shirts led us along a more direct route via Samford Road and Dawson Parade through Arana Hills.

I stopped at that cute pioneer cemetery to take some photos — where all the graves seemed to be of 140 year old babies — and then mashed a little too hard to catch up with everyone as the road sprung up out of the South Pine River valley.

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Turning right onto Mount Samson towards Dayboro a paceline got established. We fucking smashed it here and the average speed was almost 31 by the time we stopped at the bakery in Dayboro.

I had two spinach and feta pasties, a coke and a powerade.

And then it was time to climb.

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The last two times (March 2012 and June 2012) we did the Mt Mee climb it had these roadworks in the middle with a single lane controlled by robot traffic lights that didn’t give bikes anywhere near enough time to get up the one lane section before the lights sent all these cars down and you just had to find a slither of road at the side to escape doom.

Luckily all that nonsense is gone and the road is open. Yay.

But I wasn’t feeling in the mood to celebrate as the climb punished me. It took ages longer than it usually does and I felt like I was going around in circles as every corner I turned delivered more road going up instead of the end.

According to Strava I arrived almost 3 minutes after Ben and Tom. Oh well. I just felt so sore and my legs so heavy. Shirts told me it was probably the lactate build up in my muscles that was the real problem.

Luckily I was greeted at the top by this awesome tree.

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From here there is still a considerable amount of more UP and I got dropped from the group and just did my own thing. I wasn’t feeling particularly pathetic, just sore and defensive. Eventually I caught up with the group (cause they had stopped for me!) and the road got a tiny bit more civil.

Meanwhile the wind was fucked. It was coming from the east so was completely useless or in our faces for the whole ride. On the Mee plateau it became pretty gusty.

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Taken by Tom

Next was a brand new road — Campbell’s Pocket — to bring us down and more-or-less towards Caboolture. Immediately I regretted the decision as the road under-wheels was chewed-up and turned to gravel for roadworks. For about 1.5ks it was fucking sketchy and steep and I expected the bike to be washed out at any second. But then it turned back to bitumen and the scenery was amazing and all was cool.

There was still plenty of UP and that really hurt. It hurt so much I was so fatigued I couldn’t be bothered taking photos of all the nice stuff around me. After a shitty pinch we stopped at a crossroads.

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After another shitty hill into Wamuran (where we stopped for water) we were on the D’Aguliar Highway towards Caboolture. And then a minute later this bus overtook us and then quickly cut back into the shoulder and then OVER the shoulder into the grass and gravel beside kicking up all this dust and stones. It had to be deliberate. What a fucking, fucking cunt.

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At Caboolture we said goodbye to Shirts who was riding all the way home (of course), while Tom and Benny and me took the train which for once was leaving only 20 seconds after we climbed on board. At home I was greeted by the cat looking amazingly pleased with herself.

I had a shower, a slightly frustrated nap, and then my SECOND SATURDAY dawned. YESSS.