Friday, 27 August 2010
Luckily for the two older little boys many of the crowd this evening were also well above 40, fat and grey - although not always in the same person. They were also there to celebrate, and relive, past excesses at the Trade Union Club and other inner city venues that are sadly no more.
The gig was billed as "Sydney Trade Union Club Revival 1981 - 1988". The STUC was one of the mainstays of the Sydney pub rock scene of the 80s. The STUC was just across the road from our current venue at the Excelsior Hotel on Foveaux Street in Surry Hills.
The video below was the last song of the night where the "cute good looking" audience was invited to come up on stage for an encore of "You're so cute".
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Charlie is a British author and lives in Scotland. He's written about 15 novels and a couple of collections. I only had seven books on me to get signed but I have a couple more in storage and I wasn't able to dig them out in time for the signing. Charlie very kindly offered to sign them if I take them to Melbourne with me next weekend. Yep, I'm going to Worldcon next week. A five day nerd fest. Half the guest authors there are some of my favourite authors. If I was going down in a truck I might be able to take their books to get signed. Unfortunately we're flying so we're limited in what I can carry. I'll probably only take a couple of books with me for signings. Also, I stuffed up my itinerary and we're coming home on the Sunday. Worldcon finishes on the Monday and most of the scheduled book signings are on the Monday. D'oh.
Alastair Reynolds and George RR Martin will however be coming to the Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney after Worldcon. There's a few door stoppers I won't have to carry down to Melbourne.
Charlie Stross' blog
Galaxy Bookshop website
Worldcon official website
Aussiecon Four official website
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Every time Captain Kirk went near the ball the crowd rose to their feet. It was a typical Kirky performance. Not so typically he ended up with two goals himself. The last one coming a few minutes before the end that brought a roar from the crowd that would have lifted the roof of the SCG if it had one.
Roosy was the coach that finally snagged a premiership for the Swans for the first time in 72 years and Kirky has been the spiritual leader of the Swans on the ground for the last 10 years. I, for one, will miss Roosy and Kirky but coaches and players come and go and they've both left a legacy for the club that will pay dividends over the coming years. We hope.
The season isn't over yet though and who knows whether Roos and Kirk will be holding up the Premiership cup come that last Saturday in September? At this stage the Swans are set up to at least give a couple of the other finalist a fright during the finals. Pity their record against Collingwood and Geelong is so abysmal. Then again we're due for a win.
I got a Brett Kirk souvenir face mask.
As we were about to leave after the game former Swan and living legend Micky O'Loughlin bounded down the stairs near us so I asked him for a picture.
Leigh Colbert the former North Melbourne and Geelong champ and current boundary rider for Fox Sport.
Before the match the latest bronze statue to honour former footy and cricketing greats was unveiled in front of the SCG. This one, being hugged by Wolverine, is form Swan's legend Paul Kelly.
Silly nuns. I'm glad they're still around (not the nuns). There's a kind of quaintness to the commies these days. Unless you're North Korean... or Chinese.
I'm serious about the nuns though. I was about 8 years old. Our teacher, a nun, was telling us about the nasty communists. The Vietnam war was still raging. I think we'd just pulled out but the Yanks were still there. The good sister told our class that when the communists came we, and the nuns and all our families, would be the first put up against the wall and shot. I think I decided even then that I'd rather be red than dead. Fucking bitch.
Friday, 20 August 2010
There is almost nothing to distinguish the main parties on a policy basis. They really do seem to be racing each other to the bottom. They're both running on "major" issues that only appeal to the lowest common denominator. Bullshit issues like "Stopping The Boats". For fracks sake. It is a non-issue. It is completely made up. It only appeals to the fears of racist rednecks* in marginal seats. Before they stop the boats maybe that should look at where the real illegal immigrants are coming in and stop the planes.
So when it comes to voting for a House of Reps candidate tomorrow to see who will form government it probably doesn't matter who you vote for. I have a slight preference for one party over the other but when push comes to shove a it doesn't matter whether it is a Liberal government or a Labor government that gets elected. They both have policies that scare the shit out me.
One place where we might make a difference is voting for the senate. Don't trust these arseholes and vote above the line. God knows where they direct their preferences sometimes. How the hell do you think a major fuckwit like Senator Steve Fielding from Family First got in last time? Dodgy preference deals allowed him to sneak in with just 1.7 percent of the primary vote. It is a pain to fill in the numbers below the line but at least you can direct your preferences to who you want to vote for and not where some faceless party apparatchik has directed the preferences. And maybe we can wave goodbye to Senator Steve.
Me? In the senate I will be voting for the Secular Party of Australia and the Australian Sex Party. Both parties have real policies for a modern Australia based on the values of ethical humanism... and sex. Sex is nice.
And they're not afraid of the fucking boats.
*Okay, maybe they're not all racist rednecks. But both the major parties are cynically playing on the unfounded fears of ignorant (I don't mean stupid) Australians on this totally bogus issue. So is the internet filter. Don't get me started on this bullshit plan to censor the net by cynically exploiting fears of child exploitation and the technical ignorance of the average Australian.
Six months or so after visiting Japan I've finally been able to track down Otoro in Australia. Otoro is the succulent fatty delicious belly part of the Blue Fin Tuna. Makoto, a sushi train in Chatswood, occasionally gets this rare delicacy in. They source their tuna from Port Lincoln in South Australia (via the Sydney Fish Market). Makoto call their Otoro "Big Belly Tuna" and a couple of pieces of sushi cost a very reasonable $7.50. The next grade down, they call "Middle Belly Tuna", or Chu-toro, isn't quite as melt in your mouth succulent as Otoro but it sells for an even more reasonable $5.50 a plate. A plate of ordinary ol' tuna will normally set you back $3.80.
I shouldn't have written this. Michelle is only going to get jealous. Unfortunately for her sushi is definitely off the menu. Raw fish is definitely a no-no when you're knocked up.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Finally though the Seven Network here in Oz has announced TAR Oz. You might think we'd be thrilled. Finally we get the chance to apply to run TAR and possibly win the million bucks - not that we'd do it for the money. I said we were fans. We could even be the Australian versions of Rob and Amber. Applications close on September 6. Easy. Phil is even rumoured to be the host. Cool. We only have to be available for 5 weeks between September and December 2010.
I'm pretty sure that 7 to 9 month pregnant applicants will be rejected. We've been waiting for a chance to do this for almost 10 years. Damn you Channel Seven. Why didn't you do this 2 years ago?
You know, Michelle doesn't really have to be my partner on the Race... Anyone interested?*
*Only kidding. Do you think I'd really abandon my pregnant princess while I gallivanted around the world in the hopes of winning a million bucks? Damn, it's like my own personal Detour - a Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons...
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Michelle is 20 weeks pregnant with our yet to be named daughter. There's that word again - daughter.
Why announce it today and why did we wait for 20 weeks for that matter? Well for starters we were waiting for Thursday's scan. So far this pregnancy has been a bit of a roller coaster ride and we weren't even sure we'd get to this point. Last year we had a miscarriage at 11 weeks which has made us a little gun shy this time around too. I'll write more about the miscarriage some other time because right now we're just doing a little happy dance and we just want to enjoy the moment.
Thursday's ultrasound was the mid-point foetal morphology scan. We've had a couple of earlier ultrasounds and we've seen our little girl before but this time was the first time we've seen her without stressing, too much, about something bad happening. This scan was essentially to confirm for us that everything is progressing normally. And all the measurements were normal. Our little miss average is just that and we couldn't be happier.
For a little over two hours we could see, and enjoy, the 3D view of her face, her beating heart, her hands and feet, her fingers and her toes. Every centimetre of her was thoroughly scanned and measured. She is very active too. She stretches and squats and she rolls over. She raises her arms over head. She pushes, with feet and hands, against the walls of her home. That's why the scan took two hours. Every time the doctor wanted to, say, get pictures of her heart she'd roll over into another position and the doctor would have to start again. Eventually though Dr Tai was able to take all the pictures she needed. For us the first hour was terrifying and nerve wracking but after the doctor reassured us a couple of times that everything was going well we were able to relax and enjoy the best grainy black and white pictures and video we've ever seen.
She is beautiful.
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Still, I managed to drag myself to the James Squire Malt Shovel Brewery in Camperdown with some family and friends for a brewery tour, beer tasting and canapes.
Tasting? Interesting word for what was practically all you could drink for the $30 admission fee. Middies galore of James Squire's finest. First up was a couple of beers to get us warmed up for the tour. The tour only lasts 20 minutes or so because it isn't a very big brewery. They probably turn out 40000 litres or more a week but compared to the big breweries this is small fry. It was the first tour I've been on with glass in hand. Or was it? We possibly did that on the brewery tour in Schwäbisch Hall in Germany. Now that was a good tour that finished with beer and sausage.
After the tour Chuck Hahn, he of Hahn beer fame, explains the flavours of beers they produce and what beers go with what food. Back in the 80s Chuck started the Hahn Brewery. He produced a number of decent boutique beers. Back then I worked in a pub in the city, Lucy's Tavern*, and we stocked Hahn beer. In the 90s Lion Nathan, the huge brewer of Tooheys, bought out Hahn and sadly the brewing of Hahn beer was moved to one of the big breweries where what was produced just wasn't the same as before.
The first beer we try is a Sundowner with sushi. Not bad. Next was, I think, the Amber Ale with lamb cutlets. The lamb cutlets were superb and went with the beer like something that goes with something else. We couldn't stop at just one lamb cutlet... or beer for that matter.
Obviously by this point we were getting a quite a buzz on. But we were only half way through. Trays of chicken pies were produced next and they were matched with, again I think, the Golden Ale. Memory is starting to get hazy at this point. Usually I wouldn't go for chicken pies but these were pretty good. The final beer for the tasting was a Porter. Chocolatey and sweet. What better to go with a chocolate porter than chocolate chip cookies? Big ones. Try and just have one.
Sadly (or is it with some relief?) the tasting ends at 1pm and we are farewelled by Chuck and handed a souvenir Malt Shovel Brewery middy glass and a key ring bottle opener. Because it is Saturday and the footy is on, Sydney v Hawthorn, we catch cabs to the SCG and more of what passes for beer at the footy. Awful stuff after the tasting today. The Swans won though.
*OMG. There is a Facebook page called Bring Back Lucy's Tavern. Surprisingly they don't mention me. ;-)
Lucy's was an iconic Sydney night spot, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, where I worked for more than 10 years (the end of the 80s and most of the 90s). It closed down sometime after the turn of the millennium.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Michelle picked him up today. Julia, Professor Beatty, said that the pictures of Perni's head were the best she'd ever seen. She had never seen such a perfect scan. She couldn't find anything wrong. She'd taken the biopsies for completeness sake. She doesn't expect the biopsies to show any abnormalities either. She is inclined to think now that the nose bleeds are caused by high blood pressure. Perni's BP at rest is about 180 and normal is around the 150 - 160 mark. She has given us some blood pressure pills (a quarter of one per day) for him to take until we get another BP test done in a week or so.
Perni has a shaved paw and a large region around his neck where they've either taken blood or he's had a drip - he was on a drip overnight. The first thing he did when he got home was to demolish a bowl of bikkies. Hungry boy. The next was to lie in the sun and get scratched and stroked by Michelle and purr really loudly. Our sooky boy is glad to be home.