New Zealand

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Photo: Australian Geographic

The first time I went overseas I was 11 years old and it was on a school exchange trip to New Zealand.

My dad had just got a REAL job after years at university, years struggling as a wedding photographer, a stint in the army reserves and another stint in hospital which resulted in me spending some of my schooling in Wagga Wagga. Anyway, traditionally every year our class has an exchange program with a group of kids from a very, very remote town in Far North Queensland called Forsayth whose whole school didn’t even come close to the numbers in just our classroom.

So year after year those kids that could afford it trotted off for a week in that wilderness and I had to stay home wondering. But then in a change in policy our teacher, Mr Jacobsen, blandly explained there was a proposition that a group of us might get to go to New Zealand.

And it was to a school called Heaton School in Christchurch. And it seems this exchange has lasted all these years later.

So I took the newsletter home to my dad expecting another disappointing, “We can’t afford it” tale. But bizarrely my dad said, “Maybe”. And as a kid I knew “maybe” was 99% of the battle. This was surreal. I tried my best not to get too excited, but I knew our circumstances were changing. We suddenly weren’t quite so desperate. Indeed we miraculously had a colour TV for the first time ever, and then a VCR — admittedly, the TV was an ancient hand-me-down from the grandparents and the VCR was hired.

Eventually things turned from “maybe” to “OK” and it was like Disneyland to a kid that had never even had glad-wrap, let alone cling-wrap to protect his sandwiches for little lunch and big lunch. And maybe that is why I am “DJ GLAD RAPPA” — just a little nod to how I grew up seeing that shitty strip of plastic as being grand and aspirational.

MY FIRST AND ONLY SLR

So then I was on a plane to NZ. My dad, a one-time quasi-professional cameraman (see above), gave me his best camera to use. It was heavy and important-looking and I had to spend hours and hours with him getting tutored in how to use the damn thing. It was so fucking complicated, but I dragged it along. And in our group, I was the only one with a camera. I even had to change rolls and that was almost more complicated than keyhole surgery to an 11 year old.

When I got home Dad said I hadn’t put enough people in my images and my “composure” was all wrong. He picked out one photo of a snowy scene at Mt Hutt that was OK which I thought (at the time) looked shithouse. He was right of course, but all I cared about was the fact I had actually managed to capture images on such complicated machine with so much expectation involved.

MY FIRST LOVE, VOMIT, SHOULDER PADS, AND MORE

So the trip was crazy. I am now used to the fact that when I get out in public things go wrong, but this trip set the bar — this was where it all began.

Just a few months before I had gone on a trip to visit mum in Sydney and she had given me one of her old shirts. It was blue and had buttons — something I had no idea about — but they were “female” buttons, the wrong way around. And they also had shoulder pads. I wore this shirt to the airport thinking I was quite important, not really realising I could take them out, then at the line up for customs thinking, “Oh shit, they are gonna think I have drugs stored inside!” I fretted for ages while they processed us, then ripped them off and threw them away.

We arrived in the middle of the night in Christchurch. The father of the kid I was billeted to (someone called “Hamish”) picked me up. “Hamish” was presumably asleep and couldn’t be bothered. So having some random guy with a beard picking me up from the airport and taking me home would possibly be something that would not happen these days, but to me — I was ecstatic that I had a bed to go to. See “Hamish” was still a mystery to me. All the other kids in my group had had letters from their billet, but I had none. “Hamish” was already a lazy deadshit and I hadn’t even met him yet.

At the “Hamish” home I got to sleep in his bedroom, a small consolation, but one that made “Hamish” resent me.

The next day we went to Heaton School and we rubbed noses (our ethic education) and had this big rock star reception at the school assembly. Then we went on a bus trip to some hills outside Christchurch with the whole of our reciprocal grade 7 Heaton class. But on the way home I got horribly motion-sick. And the bus stopped for me at one point and I walked out onto the road verge in front of everyone and felt like a complete douchecanoe — but even though I felt awful — I couldn’t vom. Meanwhile I could feel the vibe on the bus from the nationals — Aussies are such weaklings.

Then the bus driver said as we drove on, “Stay up the front with me, that always helps.” I proved him wrong. About 30 minutes later, while being stuck up there standing at the front of the bus like a statue of ridiculousness — I projectile-vommed all over the entrance to the bus, all the way down the stairs, and then vommed some more a bit later. I really made an impression on our new compatriots as they vainly tried to step over my epic-vomit.

RAEWIN

But later that all seemed to be forgotten when this girl started talking to me. She was beautiful too — way out of my league. And I resorted to running away from her, just cause I was so embarrassed a woman would show any interest in me. But then she chased me! And she was a good runner!

Then a few days later was a school dance and it was amazing. Hamish begged to leave early and I stuck round and begged Hamish’s dad to pick me up later — thankfully he agreed.

Raewin even sent me a multi-page letter when I got back home, but even though I cherished that correspondence, possibly my first ever “love letter” — I never replied. I suck. And that effort she made is gone — I have no idea how or when I lost them. Sigh.

TOMORROW

So I am going back to NZ tomorrow — this time to Auckland. I will keep you informed.

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Bee Gees Ride

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Today we went in search of the new Bee Gees statue at Redcliffe. My friend Kay got to interview Barry and cover the story for a local newspaper. Here’s her blog.

It’s more like a shrine than anything. It is massive and there were dozens of people there looking at it. 

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But before all that we had to get there and we started at 8 at Lifecycles. It was a hot day, but luckily didn’t feel too bad out near the water where we spent much of the day.

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This is Ryan just near the old Cribb Island Road — where the Bee Gees grew up. The bikeway here actually runs for a tiny bit on what was the old road.

Cribb Island was compulsorily acquired through the 70s and the land was transformed into land for a runway for the Brisbane Airport. There’s no actual “island” anymore. You can see what it looked like from this picture of an old refidex I found on the net:

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Then it was through Boondall Wetlands — and the path was underwater in quite a few sections. And Tom reminded me this was where I had a crash last year.

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Just after I took this photo this roadie with a horrible grimace of determination on his face charged through like he was racing for some Strava-record, kicking up all this wash over us in the process. “Thanks,” I said.  

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After a coffee and some snacks at Bee Gee-crazy Redcliffe we turned around.

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RIDE STATS:

102kms, 33 degrees max temp and 27km average.

BONUS PIC:

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Zero Dark Thirty review

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On Saturday we headed up to the Barracks cinema and it just happened that everyone else in the universe was there too — seeing as they had put on 4 movies at the very same time.

Being hyper-punctual, of course it wasn’t a big deal and we made it inside with ages to spare — cool story huh?

Anyway. The movie: it was fantastic. Even before those incredible action scenes at the conclusion I was convinced this film was exceptional.

Just like ARGO it had an amazing ability to create tension when you knew exactly what was going to happen next. And the scenes where they tried to surprise you — like the many, many bombs going off — it was like they knew you knew already so just made those vignettes interesting in other ways. In any respect — I think the point of historical films where you know exactly what happened (at least in a wikipedia-sense) is that it is about the characters involved.

And this film had enough great characters to really keep you interested. And Maya, a ginger it should be noted, was pretty fucking amazing and maybe that obscured my judgement. She wasn’t angelic, and probably someone I wouldn’t really want to know. But she was compelling.

There’s been “controversies” about this film. Did it condone torture? My answer — yeah it did, perhaps even BIG TIME. But in doing so it got me thinking for myself whether or not I accepted that. And I’d have to say if it was me in a room with someone who had information of the fate of someone I cared about or even just a random — I’d probably not be consulting the Rules of Engagement. I would let my own moral compass guide me.

But I am not a professional combatant. I am just a soul that will step-up when confronted. In case you hadn’t worked this out about me already — I don’t suffer fools and I certainly wouldn’t be much good as a diplomat. I think I have just experienced enough right and enough wrong in my short life already to have a decent grasp on that subject matter.

And seeing as I have to perpetually mete out justice when I am riding because I am so, so often confronted with someone thoughtlessly endangering my life. Just last week a fat bastard in a 4WD was so affronted by the fact I called him a shit driver for almost causing an accident (or worse) when he dangerously overtook me on a very narrow road which resulted in him gaining absolutely no advantage — seeing as I had the opportunity to catch up with him less than 30 seconds later. After I said my piece I turned towards the river bikepath and then, when the lights changed, he changed from turning right, to turn left to chase me. He spun his wheels making the best screeching sound possible just to see me disappear down the underpass.

He was then stuck at an intersection that led him down Coronation Drive towards the city — the complete opposite direction he was intending to travel, and not a road that it is easy to turn around upon. If you are reading this — all I can say is Suck shit you fat fuck.

Some bike riders think you should treat aggressive drivers with a smile and a wave, because essentially a combatant, wants a combatant to engage with and that will confuse them at worst and perhaps level them in a best case scenario. I think I can find it in my morality to be a bike rider that steps up and makes them think twice about leaning on a horn or doing something dangerous cause they could be held accountable for that at the next intersection when I get a chance to catch up. And believe me — I have been hit by enough cars not to be afraid of some deadshit thinking they can get their petty problems off their chest within the safety of their big fat metal cage and be entirely unaccountable for that nonsense.

But me, I think people should be accountable. And I will put my own hand up first. This blog is somewhat testament to that.

Go see this movie, if just for 2 and a half hours that will sweep by without any personal awareness.

And then read the wikipedia page about the death of Bin Laden. It is almost as surreal as the movie.

Lincoln, chook drama, and the weekend in photos

The weekend started with a trip to Scott and Ali’s place for dinner. Their place is amazing and I love the wood-panelling. I have seen this panelling in a couple of other Queenslanders, but no where near as amazing as their place in Highgate Hill. It must have been quite a fashion in the 30s. And the amount of glass indoors — and not just the frosted variety – but feature glass with all it’s colours and shapes.

I also really dig the little shelf that circles the room – about a head above head-height. I imagine it was initially designed to be decorative — not functional, and thus historically empty. But in modern times, in my experience, it has always become something to embrace. What can we display up there?

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Scott has his “DFL” trophy up there — and because Scott can be quite unlucky in alleycats — if he was awarded one each time he raced, there just might not be room for them up there.

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Scott salvaged these from hard-rubbish. They are amazing and there really is more text than nudeness. Below is a very creepy advert.

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CHOOK DRAMA

So before all that I came home from work with the intention of feeding the animals and then heading back to town. The cat was lazing around the front yard, so when she was fed I then tried to find the chooks. But for the first time ever they weren’t immediately obvious. I tried not to think of the worst, but then I noticed a washing basket was peculiarly upturned.

Getting closer I saw that the two birds were trapped underneath. What? I set them free and underneath was a big circle of their poo. They must have been under there for hours. I then decided what must have happened. One of them had tried to roost on the edge of the plastic basket’s rim and then the other had jumped up too — but then the basket had toppled over, and down the concrete step — but so perfectly as to trap them both underneath. It was hilarious, yet tragic (for them) at the same time. Poor chooks, but LOLOLOLZ.

Below is me trying to recreate the scene without actually imprisoning them again — that would be cruel.

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THIS MORNING

So Dayne, Ryan, Scott and me did a Coot-Tha and a riverloop that involved a diversion to Tarragindi that I will explain later.

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“Which way?”

LINCOLN

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Last night Dee and I went up to the Barracks to see the new Lincoln movie. We forgot there was a big footy match on at Suncorp until we had just left. After some debate while halfway there, we decided to brave the crowds and we arrived at the cinema and we gradually noticed the other clientele seemed to be predominately geriatrics.

DRAMA ONSCREEN AND OFFSCREEN

About 90 minutes into the movie I noticed someone stumbling down the aisle towards the exit about 4 metres from us. And it wasn’t just me that noticed her because when she suddenly collapsed into the back of someone there was the biggest vocalisation this theatre had experienced so far in the movie. It was a massive gasp and various people got up to help and the plot of the movie was lost to me for about 5 minutes while she languished there. There were too many people hovering over her already so I stayed seated and assumed there was nothing else I could do.

Eventually she was well enough to walk out and it seems she just fainted. And all through the remaining portion of the movie I couldn’t help juxtapose that experience.

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Dee’s wine glass halfway between “Epic” and “Feature Length”.

I thought the movie was OK. It had a lot of dialogue and a lot of “process”. It definitely wasn’t an action movie, even though that is something you thought might get covered. It had the feel of “Seven“. The action was omnipresent, and the results so acute, but happened elsewhere, off-screen, and consequently you just had to imagine it boiling away in the background.

And it seemed everything you could think of that is “iconic” about Abraham — the Gettysburg Address, his assassination etc was treated in a purposefully different or unexpected way — sometimes surprising, and sometimes cheesy. Daniel Day Lewis was thoroughly believable and it wasn’t just cause they had occasionally CGI’d his frame to make him so tall and spidery. Dee and I saw a cast of Lincoln’s hand in Washington a few years back. It was massive. It’s thought Lincoln had something like Marfan Syndrome.

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Dee’s hand next to the cast of Abe’s.

James Spader was another highlight. Inspired.

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Tommy Lee Jones felt gratuitous. He’s noble and weathered, but just too much of an action-charactiture and so obviously modern and anachronistic.

SECRET SIDE TRIP

So my secret side trip was to retrieve my DVD’s of Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary from a friend — I knew I needed to see it all again. And Dee and I watched the first episode and I was in tears by the end. And the story is history but it is so much stranger than fiction, and more grand and important.

The frist episode ends with the letter Sullivan Ballou wrote to his wife Sarah on the eve of him going off to war. And this was when the war was in it’s very, very infancy. Read his words if you dare.

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My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more…

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us…

Never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! 

…But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath… it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

He died a week later at the battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861.

My left foot

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GUEST BLOG by my mum.

David resisted being pigeon-holed from the get-go.

My local doctor told me I was pregnant and then another doctor at the pre-natal clinic said I wasn’t. I had to wait two weeks before test results settled the question.

On my due-date, I had dangerously high blood pressure and an x-ray was ordered. Based on this, I was told the baby wouldn’t arrive for two weeks. He came that evening.

“It’s a blond,” yelled the nurse in the delivery room. She was wrong, of course. He was as bald as an egg, but at a certain angle in a certain light, you could see traces of ginger fluff. I was shocked. His father was so dark that I never imagined my colouring would prevail.

There were two other shocks on arrival day. One was a strawberry-coloured birthmark, which doctors assured us would disappear. On his upper left arm, it was quite pretty on that milky white skin, so I wasn’t concerned. But his poor little left foot was another matter. Apparently it had been stuck in an awkward position in the womb and hadn’t developed properly. Pressed hard against the shin, it looked more like a chicken claw than a foot.

A paediatrician prescribed physiotherapy. Four times a day I had to stretch and mould the foot for ten minutes. “Do it immediately before a feed and he’ll have positive associations,” was the advice.

Yeah, right. David bellowed the house down when I followed this routine. But who wants their foot pulled when they’re hungry?

So I switched to doing it after the feed. I no longer felt like a torturer but settling him for sleep was much harder.

I persisted all the same and the little claw magically transformed into a normal foot—albeit one shoe size smaller than the other.

I can’t recall ever having been warned about this but years later I learned that David would have been condemned to a club foot without all that play-doh work I did.

A third birth flaw was not understood for 18 months.

Although David was a shockingly poor feeder—taking an hour or more to finish a bottle—doctors and clinic nurses dismissed my concerns. I was too anxious and the baby was picking up on that, they said.

The most useless thing you can do for an anxious person is to tell them to relax.

Not impressed, David’s father decided to make bigger teat holes, so we were practically pouring milk down the poor bub’s throat. But at least he got a decent feed each time.

Then guess what? My mother-in-law discovered the problem. David was born badly tongue-tied. After a little operation and an overnight stay in hospital, everything was sorted and his speech suddenly took off like a rocket (where it’s stayed ever since!).

No wonder I don’t trust doctors.   

Plaster Fun House and the SouthSide Tea Room

So the SouthSide Tea Room had an event on Sunday. It was called “Plaster Fun House” and we had a great time. It was me, Dee, Jeremy, Kerrie and Ella.

I am not exactly sure what occurred — because I wasn’t quite sure what I had signed up for and just had to go with the flow as events happened. But there were tangible results at the end.

THE GRATES

The SouthSide Tea Room, an amazing venue, has just been established by John and Patience who previously had been part of the band — The Grates.

And so I am going to talk a little about our history. In 2003 my band Specialbranch formed and we soon recruited a 17 year old Eastside lass called Jess. I had known her (online) for years from us being diehard fans of Custard and when I learnt she could sing and play keys and she was already a veteran of a band called Parkertron I asked her over to audition.

I have always thought having a woman in a band is crucial. Not that the band was “blokey”  or one bit masculine — it was just we needed (even superficially) some gender-balance and I love female voices.

Anyway — Jess got the part and we all got to be friends and she became part of the band.  And so our very first gig at Ric’s was accidentally with “Clifton” — one of John’s (John from The Grates) bands.

I designed the poster below and I got John’s band’s name wrong:

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That night I remember trying my best to compliment John on his set — but truth be told — I was too nervous about us playing next to pay enough attention.

Later, John and Patience and Alana formed The Grates who turned out to massively successful. But just while the inkling of that was happening we played another show with them: (this is their (The Grates’ poster)

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Anyway. There suddenly was this very “Brisbane” backlash against them — mostly from snobby bands and snobby musicologists here locked up in Brisbane’s malaise. And Jess got caught up in that stuff. But she was young, horribly opinionated (which was your duty in that period) and dating a guy that was half bitter about music and half in love with it.

[I guess it gets easier and easier as time goes by to get stupidly disillusioned with music when it gets so prolific.]

Jess: “It was basically tall poppy syndrome. No one knew them. They came from nowhere. And every band in Brisbane was jealous because they had been struggling away for ages and thought they were more deserving than a band who had not been around as long.”

I was having no part of the argy-bargy. I thought The Grates were compatriots — even if they were a bit flawed or derivative. “Aren’t we all?” I thought.

They were decent, lively and had fun tunes. No harm.

So Specialbranch imploded very soon after and we lost touch with them — except that our friend Conan played with them for a while and then Dan Condon did the same and I got John to write some stuff for my zine in 2005/6.

But then this Sunday — even though it wasn’t the first time I had been to the SSTR, I got to say hello to them again. And they are living a dream I fantasise about. Running a bar and having fun events and getting to host your favourite bands. Amazing.

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ImageTaken by Kerrie! “Beer-Dee”

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KERRIE

Lastly, I just want to say Kerrie did amazingly well. She is an Artiste. She did amazingly well and her attention to detail was truly whoa! If I had a say, I would award her FIRST PRIZE!

This is her result after it had been glazed next to Ella’s. Image

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RECENT PHOTOMOGRAFZ

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So Friday I spent the morning with our gardener-dude clearing up the absolute mess that was these fallen palms.

It was fucking hardwork. I was laden with sweat by 8am. I thought I was fit but all this bending over and chopping stuff and lifting and throwing was way more exhausting than I assumed.

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My dad’s ute was filling up pretty quickly with the log parts of this beast that was maybe 10 metres tall. The picture above is only about 30% of what we got on there. Dave — the gardener — had to slash around the tray to rip shit up like a blender to crush and pack stuff down.

Once finished the ute looked like this:

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And then it was a miraculous effort just to get the ute out of the driveway. Our drive is fucking steep and slippery in dry conditions. But with all this wet and the grit on the concrete the car’s wheels started spinning out. We had to ask the tradies working on the house across the road to move their car so we had a huge audience in this endeavour.

There was smoke and the smell of burnt rubber everywhere. The guys across the road were having a ball watching this drama. Three attempts later and Dave just had to mash it up in that, “drive it like you just stole it” vibe. And he drove a perfectly straight line and up and over the lip into the road. Phew.

The fallen palm-clump is perhaps a blessing. I am now determined to turn that space it once occupied into a vegetable patch and perhaps the level blow and above it. See there was not much light there before — but as you can see from the photo below it gets a lot of sun now and to be honest — the garden looks no less awesome to me (obviously after a decent clean-up). So Dave and I made a pack to meet up in a month and get the vegies growing. Stay tuned.

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PEDOMETER

When I was younger I was obsessed with the TV show Burke’s Backyard. It was on just before the footy (on a Friday night) and it was about a life that I was at least fascinated by, but something I also perhaps aspired to. A simple life with animals and trees and nature and growing your own food and generally being closer to our collective-agricultural heritage.

So one day Don advised us all to get a “pedometer” and the very next day I did. And in those days they were only sold in Tandy stores and this device brought about my very first love of personal stats. It was the original Garmin.

And at Christmas, struggling for stuff to ask for from Secret-Santa — I requested a pedometer. And it was awesome. But then it was lost during the floods. One of those epic walks I did in the rain and wind and not really paying attention because there was so much else to worry about. So I bought a new one this week and it is crazy-awesome just tallying your movement. And it doesn’t register cycling so it is genuinely about my steps. Indeed this new device won’t start counting until you have done 5 steps in a row — just to avoid accidental “steps” or knocks to the device being included. Obviously I am aiming for at least 10,000 steps on days I am not on the bike for 5 hours.

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This is from our dirty river on Wednesday (I think). Barrels are kinda cute — don’t you think? And this one is particularly pretty and almost compliments the colour of the water.Image

On Saturday night Liss and Michael came over for drinks and chats and Thai food at “Thai on Earth”. Here they are bonding with the cat. They also got to know our chooks and loved them and started thinking they might need some too!Image

Speaking of the chooks — they are much more adventurous now and will come into the house if you leave the door open for them. It is quite a surprise when you suddenly see them clucking around on top of some furniture. But they poo everywhere and they make a bit of a racket when you are trying to concentrate on TV.Image

A crop of an instagram pic I took on a muddy ride to work this week:Image

And finally today I did a lazy 30ks around the river and it was tough. My legs feel like they have been scrambled by those cramps I had yesterday. Ugh.Image

To the east

CRAMPS

No one really knows much about cramping. One of the reasons for this is that research into the topic is rare because cramps are notoriously random and apparently there are many different types of cramps and also it will take a brave cyclist to allow a researcher to stick some medical probe into a muscle that’s experiencing one.

All I can say is that I generally know what causes them in me. It’s usually a very hot day, I’ve been riding over around 100ks and I also suspect one can be triggered by moving a muscle in a slightly different manner to the default motions of cycling. It’s like your body gets so used to that zone it gets upset if you alter it.

That last point becomes more acute post-ride when I try to bend over to take my shoes off or I am lying in bed trying to sleep and a foot — so used to having to push against something (and slightly bent towards my shin when riding) — starts cramping cause it’s free and can now “relax”.

Anyway — more on all that later.

THE RIDE

We had 6 of us today which is pretty much a proper crew. At the meet-up point at Planet Cycles there was me, then Dayne, then Jesse arrived. Then Scott, Tom and finally Shirts.

The day started on a downer — I quickly discovered trying to take a snap of the sunrise that it seems not only my Garmin, but also my camera was a casualty of that wet ride last Saturday. The back display screen wasn’t functioning — which bizarrely echoed what had happened to my Garmin. So my photos will be a bit more shit than usual cause I couldn’t see the shot I was composing and I couldn’t even be sure the shot was taken. Ugh.

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Dee will be grateful Scott has shaved the mo and is working on a new beard.

Scott was rocking his fixed wheel with TT bars — the rest of us were on gears, though of course Shirts was also avec TT bars.

Originally the plan was to head towards West Mt Cotton Road and then hit Serpentine Road in Redland Bay and then swing home via Cleveland. But while we were mashing the plans got altered. First we hit Mt Petrie Road which gave Scotty a bit of a workout. So I said, “We’ll cut out West Mt Cotton Road” — which is pretty brutally steep and not very much fun if you just have one gear.

“Don’t alter the plans for me!” he said.

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But before all that Tom randomly said, “Take this right”. And we all obeyed and it was firstly down Rochedale Road and then into Ford Road through Sheldon. I’ve never been on these roads but it was amazing. Really pretty, quiet and packed with stuff to gawk at like transmission dishes, weird houses, horses and a place that had it’s very own half-sized rugby league field.

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I caught Scott instagraming on-the-bike. So I had to get into his photo:

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Another shot by Scott.

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It was fun to watch Scott climbing with his two water-bottles in the back of his jersey bobbing around. Tom thought it was “mesmerising”.

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Then the troop headed towards the West Mt Cotton summit. It was doubly complicated for Scott. Because he was brakeless, he had to somehow slow down during the initial 20% drop which has a potentially nasty corner at the bottom, and then he had to dig himself out of that gully. Ow. We all went first but Dayne stuck with Scott just for the LOLz and to document his suffering. Dayne is such a good mate!

This is Dayne’s pic — which I think is fucking amazing!

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And I think I captured the very moment Dayne took this shot:
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Dayne’s selfie to celebrate!
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“That wasn’t much fun,” Scott said at the top.
So we made our way down and then on Beenleigh-Redland Bay Road Shirts led us and time-trialled all the way along. It was absolute mashing and things went by so fast I had to take Dayne’s word for the fact we narrowly avoided two squashed turtles in our line. We consistently held the speed above 45 and Scott had to pull out cause he just couldn’t consistently spin that fast. I needed an excuse to rest so I dropped off the back too — ostensibly to keep Scott company.
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We were now about 65 kms into the ride and I still hadn’t refilled my water bottles. And there were no places to fill up so I had to steal some of Shirts’ water. Eventually we got to stop at civilisation — a servo somewhere near Victoria Point. Dayne demonstrated how spraying yourself — when you are all sweaty — with compressed air was amazing. He was right. Even in your shoes apparently!
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So thankfully we made it to Cleveland and had a chance to eat and rest. I was so desperate for food I dived into the cafe and ordered the first thing on the menu. Our table was so crowded Jesse managed to tip his whole meal all into his lap. We laughed so hard I got the first of my many cramps for the day — in my chest.
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Scott took this sneaky pic!
On our way again and naturally Shirts became — THE SHIRTS. Everyone was getting quiet. There was just suffering and I was in too much pain to take many photos.
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For some reason we took this scenic route and around Wynnum I was just over it and feeling tweaks and twinges of an epic cramp about to wave over me. I was also starving again and so sick of drinking water that felt like it had just been boiled. It was around 115km from home for me at this point and I don’t think there is much point riding when it sucks and you’re gonna pay for it for days later.
So I bailed and Dayne decided that was a good idea too. And below is what remained of the crew saying goodbye and heading home.
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On the train there was an empty VB can and I couldn’t resist posing for a photo which Dayne took.
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HOME
So I got off at Park Road and slowly hit those last 10ks. My legs were a mess and cramping and I was so, so hungry. I made it to the fish n chip shop at the Baroona Road shops and ordered my lunch — I was craving salt and more salt. Then as I was riding down Baroona with that meal swinging from a plastic bag from my bars — I heard this, “DAVE!” And turning around it was Jesse. RANDOM!
After devouring my lunch I had a massive dual-leg cramp in the living room which locked my legs straight — like they were suddenly in full length casts. I could feel myself getting dizzy and sick with pain. Luckily it faded. See I need to keep my legs moving post-ride when I am susceptible to cramps. I have learnt that if you jiggle them around — kinda simulating the motions of the bike — that seems to help. If you get sedentary — that’s when they arc up.
BONUS PICS
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Darren Hanlon

I think I am a tiny bit obsessed with Darren.

He’s the one artist I’d really like to have a chat with one day, and not just to say how much of a fan I was (I’ve done that already). But just to talk about shit. He seems to be so wise, so interesting but also so ordinary/pedestrian at the same time. I think I see a lot of myself in him — not his amazing talent if course — but it’s more I think he shares some of my little thoughts and philosophies and intrigues about the world.

But in saying all this I have only seen him live once. And it’s mostly because I am lazy, but also because I had events conspire against me when he was in town and also because I don’t really know anyone here in Brisbane that loves him as much and would be willing to come with me. (If you are out there — let me know!)

In days gone by that was different. Some of my Briz friends (now living overseas) had him play at their wedding a few years back, but I didn’t know them very well at that time. I am so, so jealous and because I am getting married later this year, I am even more jealous and consumed with envy — a nice “envy” I think. Maybe.

So the one time I saw him was in New York in 2011. It was at a tiny bar in Brooklyn and we’d only just been in town for a few hours and we were jet-lagged, only awake cause we had just got toasty, but also excited to be in NYC again.

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So we jumped in a cab, too fuzzy with fatigue (and booze) to comprehend the subway system or work out maps. And then we saw him play in a room with maybe 30 or 40 people.

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After the show I just had to say “hello” even if I fucked it up and looked like a douchecanoe. I didn’t say much, just “hello” and “this is awkward being an Australian coming to see you in New York”. And then I think I said he was awesome and then I made a retreat before things got out of control. So not too embarrassing I think. Quite an achievement for such a deadshit like me.

It is so hard being a fan and talking to a rock star – especially one you adore. How can you seem sincere? How can you seem like a normal person when you are obviously comprimised by gushing wonder and “unbridled enthusiasm”?

When I was in a band and someone would come up to me after a show and say they enjoyed it I would get so embarrassed. And because I am naturally suspicious of compliments — I would think they were either crazy or just pretending. Of course I would be polite and grateful, but I would not be able to hide my nervousness and awkwardness at this attention.

Anyway — back to Daz.

He has a new song that I cannot help but feel those spine-tinglely sensations about. And when I discovered you could only get it if you bought a t-shirt I decided I wanted that song WAY more than the shirt — which was white and I don’t do white shirts very well. (I am a ginger and white fabric on bleached-white-skin is tragic. Trust me.)

(The other option was snot-green which as it happens suits me even less than white).

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And I ordered the white one and I’ve worn it with pride (around the house and maybe doing the gardening when it was getting too dark for anyone from the street to notice) and it was all so worth it. The song — “The Guitar” is simply amazing. It is draw-droppingly good and such an incredible feat of songwriting. It’s over 8 minutes long and it seems to have been recorded live.

It is a story-song of a trip to a market in Berlin where he discovers an old guitar and the gypsy-seller tells him the epic story of it’s provenance.

It must be at least 2000 words long and written with such dedication and thought and belief. Some of the rhymes are a tiny bit gratuitous but that feels like charm and I know it’s probaby all fantasy – but you still kinda believe the story is real – it is that plausible – maybe only cause Darren is singing it.

Anyway — I will see Dazza live again. I promise.

The other thing I would encourage you to do, apart from listen to his music, is to read his tour diaries/blog. It makes sense that he would be a great writer as well as being so great at everything else.

And also — Cass from the Melniks had some wonderful things to say about Darren in my old zine. Check it out HERE!

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