Monday, August 31, 2009

up in lights

more photo stealing. it's addictive.
this time from apartment 10. give her a read.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

i didn't want that stupid urn anyway

we rocked up to the oval hoping to witness a miracle and, as my friend optimistically suggested, we certainly got one. sunshine at the oval. thank you lord. only this time, we didn’t really want sunshine, did we?

i almost cried when i found out i had landed tickets to day four of the fifth test. and i looked forward to it every day in the lead up. that was until friday – the day australia produced the most jaw-dropping collapse i have ever seen (or followed, teary-eyed, via live web updates while i should have been working). but i only have myself to blame. so complacent was i about australia retaining the ashes that i almost expected to be there when ponting lifted the awe-inspiring urn above his head. and by awe-inspiring, i mean laughably pathetic. actually, to be fair, i didn’t think it was a given. but i did get carried away by the thought. i guess that’s a luxury we – australian cricket supporters – have enjoyed for some time but it looks like that golden era might be well and truly gone. sigh.

so, anyway, we lost. we should have won, but we lost. and i don’t mean ‘we should have won’ in an arrogant, anti-british, sore loser kind of way. honest. the stats say we should have won, and one can’t help but wonder what the outcome may have been if: the first test wasn’t a questionable draw, the third test wasn’t a wash out, ricky won the fifth-test toss. but australia wasn’t good enough when it mattered. end of story.

somehow, i actually quite enjoyed day four at the oval. i turned up prepared to watch the aussies relinquish that baby urn so i was free of expectation and able to enjoy the glorious sunshine, sunday afternoon beers (the best kind) and first-class company. in addition, we were sitting in front of and behind some quality england supporters who made the loss more bearable. and we finished up at the pub up the road where we shared a few hoegaardens with dan carter and matt orford. (i’m not joking. but i am deceiving. same names, different people. but good company nonetheless.)

work the next day was a breeze. it took a good 10 minutes for my manager to ask whether anyone was “allowed to mention the ‘a’ word”. i granted permission – they’d earned it after all – but heard hardly another word on the subject. phew.

then i received an email. ange must have known i’d need a pick-me-up. she’s good like that. and it worked a treat.

peanut butter cookie dough. i will demolish you (not unlike broad demolishes australian batsmen on a beaten oval pitch).

Monday, August 24, 2009

i could drink you up

i stole this photo off a blog i follow. because i love it. because
i love love. especially my love (which starts with a k).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the blog was better

i’ve had a thought. actually, i had it a while ago but have recently been prompted to share it after reading a particularly cringe-worthy ‘discussion’ which lobbed in my facebook newsfeed.

said discussion comprised the words ‘the book’s better’. whoever typed those words (i don’t know him, he’s a friend of a friend) obviously didn’t get the memo. proclaiming the book is better than its film adaptation, true or not, makes you sound like a pretentious twat.

wow. you read? you must be, like, super smart.

the thing is, the book usually is better than the movie, isn’t it? i used to think (but chose not to express to avoid aforementioned twatiness – it’s a word) the same thing. that was until i read the boy in the stripped pyjamas last year.

in this case, i had already seen the movie and had been inordinately moved by it. the book, although touching in its own right, did not live up to my expectations.

was that because the movie was better than the book? perhaps. but maybe it was simply because i had seen the movie first. my ideas of how that scene should look or how that character should behave were all based on the movie because it got in first.

thinking back, i cannot find an example of when i have liked the second instalment – be it the book or the movie – better than the first. you?

and, of course, we almost always read the book before we see the movie so it is only natural the former would win the bulk of the accolades.


for the record, the most disappointing adaptation – for mine – would have to be the beach. i don’t even remember why but i hated the movie yet adored the book (which, of course, came first).

Monday, August 17, 2009

santorini sunsets

credit to tess for the snap, a fave from our (sis and i) recent
greek island-hopping adventure

Sunday, August 16, 2009

the final countdown (de ner ner ner etc)

tomorrow marks one month until i farewell ye ollondon town. sigh and smile combined.

i’ll be back – i’m sure of that – but almost certainly not in the same capacity. ever since i booked my one-way ticket home, i have appreciated even more the things i have loved about living here. true to myself, i have also been able to source plenty of things which i most certainly will not miss. i’ve taken the liberty of jotting down a few of the high achievers in each category. you’re welcome.

good riddance to…

the customer service. oxymoron. the weather. winter’s
just doing it’s job. those other three have a lot to answer for. the
coffee. it’s flat and it’s white. make it happen. the rat race. oh dear
god. get out of my way. the sports pages. soccer. soccer. soccer.
snore. the cling wrap. it does not cling. it does not wrap. the heel
destroying pavements. my poor, beautiful shoes.

but I’ll miss…

the public transport. expensive, hot but so damn efficient. the
history. everywhere you turn. the neighbours. europe on your doorstep.
price and proximity rolled into one globetrotting package. the options. food.
drink. sights. shops. art. culture. sport. amazing. brilliant. enviable.
world class. love. love. love. the squirrels. they just roam around,
looking all cute and squirrely. the price. i stand by my oft criticised
observation: london is cheap. the angel. upper street, my
favourite haunt. the sandwiches. dear pret, come to australia. the
crew. heartfelt tribute to follow. i'll miss you guys.

oh, the times we've shared. i am so glad i've called london home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

in search of perspective

for years now, i have been searching for something that would help me appropriately appreciate how lucky i am. you see, i know i am lucky. when i think about it, i can rattle off a million reasons why i live a blessed life. blessed equals good not religious. but, subconsciously, i often take my life for granted. sometimes (often) i focus too much of what’s going wrong instead of what’s working. i think a lot of us do, but i give myself a particularly hard time.

as i’ve mentioned in this blog before, one of the core reasons i went to peru last year, to volunteer in the poverty stricken community of pumamarca, was to gain some perspective. and i gained perspective, no doubt. but it didn’t miraculously subdue my personal expectations or help me live a more carefree life. damn it.

camp quality was a similar story. i started volunteering with camp quality in north queensland in 2004 and continued until i left townsville in 2007. while the good deed factor was one motivation, a more selfish reason – and a significant one - for signing up was, again, to gain perspective. once again, perspective gained.

i was teamed up with henry* – a sweet seven-year-old who had, a year-or-so earlier, been diagnosed with a brain tumour. his body had been battered by months of chemotherapy and radiation by the time we met. he was almost never without his cap which hid a permanent bald patch on the back of his head. my role as a camp quality volunteer was basically to be his mate. and mates we became.

my favourite memory, although it’s very much bittersweet, was when i took henry along to watch the north queensland cowboys take on the newcastle knights from the media box (i’m a sports journo for those playing at home) early in the 2006 season. the cowboys are heroes in townsville, although they were henry’s second favourite team after the brisbane broncos. he had, after all, spent so much of his young life in brisbane where he had to travel for treatment. post-game, we happened to leave our perch just as the cowboys’ then-coach graham murray was leaving the coaches’ box. i introduced the two and murray invited henry to the dressing room to meet the players.

despite the possibility of catching a scantily clad luke o’donnell, i chose to wait outside but, as the door swung open and closed, i caught sight of henry chatting with matty bowen, shaking hands with paul rauhihi and smiling in awe as the team song was belted out.

they were such gentlemen and henry left dairy farmers stadium that night with some sweaty cowboys memorabilia and a new favourite team.

weeks later, henry lost his battle with cancer. he was nine.

it was not the introduction to camp quality i had expected. perspective hit me hard.

yet, before too long, i had slipped back into complacency. i would often think of henry. i continued to remind myself how lucky i was. but i had to remind myself. i don’t want to need reminding. i just want to know it. live it.

i stayed in touch with henry’s family. the contact lessened but continued when i moved south the next year. before long though, it increased again. henry’s brother sam was diagnosed with a brain tumour, just like henry, in 2007. trips to brisbane, not too far from my new home, became commonplace all over again.

i could never comprehend what the hardings went through with henry. i know it tore at them but still, they seemed so strong. stronger than i think i could have been. to go through it all over again, and with the wounds of the first experience so fresh – i have no words. none.

sam lost his battle with cancer last week. barely a teenager.

fucking wham! welcome back perspective. stick around this time, won’t you?

rest in peace sam. i hope you and henry are reuniting over a game of boofhead or two.

*i’m not sure if it was necessary, but i’ve changed names to protect privacy etc etc.

Friday, August 7, 2009

zusak: the book genius

i meant to blog about this years ago. okay, weeks ago. but travelling got the better of me and i never got around to it. soz. but it would be remiss of me to let it slide completely because, to me, it's quite significant that last month i finished the most amazing book i've ever read.

the usual cliche strewn through reviews is that the critiqued book was 'unputdownable'. i get it. i've read a few books like that. a thousand splendid suns the most recent. in this case though, the book thief was a story i constantly wanted to put down for fear of finishing it. such was the reading experience, i wanted it to last forever.

i wont go into the storyline. you can find that through googs if you want. plus, if you're thinking about reading it (which you should) i would recommend diving in without the benefit of a synopsis.

what i will say is that, as well as brilliant, the book thief is an inspiration.
zusak took such a risk. he thought way outside the box and not only did he make it work, he killed it. in doing so, he opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of story telling. he showed me i don't have to follow a formula. and i think the thought of being restricted by these perceived boundaries sometimes stalls me.

oh, and one last thing. this book was a birthday present from a friend whose opinion on books (and pretty much everything else actually) i value highly. she was spot on with this gift. spot on. not that i'm surprised.

thanks clare daly. you've been on the mark since bitter with baggage seeks same: the life and times of some chickens.
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