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Friday, September 30, 2005

Misadventures

Holt Press
It's the last day in September already!! Tomorrow morning I depart the Apple Isle via the Spirit of Tasmania, a ship/ferry across Bass Strait departing from Devonport. I could have flown but with time on my hands and a curious nature thought I'd go by water. Zac's UK colleague Tim is picking me up at 6am and will hopefully deliver me to the dock on time for the 9am departure. I say hopefully because my recent record of getting places on time has not been impressive. Remember I said in a recent post that I missed a plane once? Guess what, I missed another one the next day! I was booked on the Qantas flight from Melbourne to Launceston but missed the cut off by about 5 minutes and no amount of pleading or negotiation could convince the good people at Qantas to allow me to board the plane! aaaggghh!!! So I had to buy another ticket and fly with Jetstar (Qantas' el cheapo subsidiary) Not happy Jan!
I'm holding Carolyn partially responsible! Not fair I know but I'm clutching! I was buying clothes for her in Melb and got held up, then had to take 2 trains to go one stop due to the city loop only going in one direction. Having retrieved my bags from a locker I tried to take a tram up Spencer St to the bus depot but the tram I got on surprised me by turning the corner instead of going straight as I needed it too. The next tram was going to do the same thing and with a third tram not in sight I had to walk/jog with suitcase bags etc in tow. I took the platform path from Spencer St due to the closure of the footpath because of the construction work happening to the station. This of course turned out to be a no thru road/path, of sorts. I had to ignore the staff only signs and wend my way back thru the gates and car park of Connex to arrive at my destination. I got the 6.15 bus and thought I'd be ok but now realise I needed to have caught the 6.00 bus to have any chance of making my flight! I hope Carolyn likes the clothes! (3 pairs of pants, 2 tops and a jacket)
Zac is at lectures today, we may head off to Launceston or Liffey Falls or somewhere this afternoon/evening.
He heads back to the UK in about a week and a half.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Captain Midnite

I'm sitting in a cupboard that doubles as a radio station studio with my dreadlocked son and his Canadian co-hijacker Heather.
The station under attack is Heart FM, broadcasting from Poatina, a small unassuming village in central Tasmania, owned and operated by Fusion Australia/International, the village that is not the radio station. Zac and Heather hijacked Captain Midnite and now they're holding us hostage, forcing us to listen to random dribble and music by bands with names like Franz Ferdinand, Kid Courageous and The Darkness. The us I'm referring to is me and Heather's mum Darlene, both of whom are from the large nation due north of The United States of America. Oh oh, Darlene's made a break for it, she's escaped with barely any resistance from our hijacking duo. There's now a song about Superman, one of about 50 written in the last few years. Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down, see what I mean, what happened to simple names like The Beatles and Elton John!
The Fusion conference ended today although I missed it, thanks to not getting to bed till 5AM, coz the business session didn't finish till 3 and Marty, who I was waiting to catch up with had another meeting, I kid you not! which lasted till nearly 4am!!!!!
Fusion believe in and practice the discipline of consensus decision making. Imagine 200 people in a room, a big room, deciding on key policy like the Fusion International Vision Statement, to be used in their promotion and networking for major events like the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. They don't vote, they don't trust to majority rule, they listen to one another and discuss until they reach consensus. Can you imagine the discipline required for such a process? If you can't then the time involved may help you get a grasp. They commenced at 9.30 last night and finished at 3 this morning, and they didn't resolve the issue! They did reach consensus though. Amazing. The good part of consensus decision making is that everyone gets heard, everyone can contribute and decisions are fully owned by the whole organisation. It's costly but very valuable and no-one I know does it better than Fusion.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Poatina post

Strange, my blog this box has a bunch of html code in it today, wonder what that will mean when I post this?

I'm at the Fusion International Conference at Poatina in Tasmania and enjoying it very much. I did some training and work with Fusion about 17 years ago and although we've stayed in touch and have friends in Fusion, it's a long time since I've participated in a conference or been close to them when they're telling their stories, making their decisions etc. It has been great to reconnect with them a bit and see the phenomenal growth and expansion of the Fusion movement. For so long an intrinsically Australian Christian organisation, the last few years have seen Fusion establish links and begin working in several countries such as England, Canada, Jamaica, Africa, Indonesia and Greece. This has had an impact on us personally in that Zac has been sent on placement to England to work with the team there in Oxford, Wheatley and Thame, initially for 6 weeks but now extended to 18 months. He's at the conference too so I'm catching up with a bit of his news although he, being a teenage Aussie male, doesn't necessarily have a lot to say when it comes to detail! What has been more revealing is other people's comments upon discovering that I am Zac's Dad. "Zac's a great guy" Zac's cool" "Zac's really good to have around" "I really like Zac" etc People clearly like him and value him within the community that is Fusion and that is very reassuring and gratifying to me.
I'm rapt for him to bhe having such an opportunity. I travelled when I was young and have always hoped my kids would travel too but I never envisaged it working out this way for Zac. To be able to travel at the same time as continuing his training and studies is doubly good. For it all to be happening within the "safety" of the Fusion community is a real bonus. I had the special privilege of being here for the induction service of new staff which included the recognition of Zac as a diploma student and trainee staff member.
It has been good to be here at another level in that it has helped to reconnect me to some of my roots and reaffirm some of the things that I believe and value and to remind of some of the things that I think are important and relevant to me in my own journey with God and other people.
There are also a number of old friends to catch up with, particularly Marty Woods who I'll be spending some time with this evening. He's one of the people in my life that I talk to when I've got an important decision to make or serious stuff going on in my life.







"

Monday, September 26, 2005

13 reflections on the trip so far

More reflections and highlights from my trip to the Grand Final.

1. Getting a ticket on Thursday morning was great, my early travel plans were made worthwhile. I'm in Melbourne for some Rock and Water training next week but was free to travel when I wanted to, so of course I grabbed the chance to be in Melbourne for the last Saturday in September.

2. Despite the 13 extra planes from Perth to Melbourne, with ticket prices reported to be $1800 one way, the coach loads and cars full of people driving across the Nullabor and the intrepid pilgrims who flew via Darwin, Singapore and New Zealand etc there were at least 2 empty seats on my flight at 3pm Friday, I know because one of them was next to me.

3. I started talking to the passenger on the other side of the empty seat and discovered that he was a Judge. Further discussion revealed that he was the son of Fred Chaney Snr and brother of Fred Chaney Jnr, both of whom were much respected members of parliament. We agreed to share a taxi into the city to cut costs but made the mistake of revealing this detail to the taxi driver who upon arrival at our destination insisted that we pay 75% of the fare each!! Being a judge, my companion was not willing to fight the issue or try to get around it. Lesson learned!

4. The Qantas pilot on our flight introduced himself as Terry Doyle and proceeded to give the most erudite, witty and entertaining in-flight address I've ever heard. Several people were smiling and laughing as they listened to him.

5. It was always going to be tight getting to the airport on time with a three hour drive up from Busso. I had to meet my brother Alan to sign some papers then he was dropping me at the airport. Roadworks on the freeway slowed me down a bit, then I made the mistake of not turning right at Abernethy Rd, only to discover it was impossible to turn into the street I needed and the nexr set of lights had a no right turn sign! With time rapidly running out I risked it by attempting a right turn, only to have a plain clothes police officer pull up next to me and tell me not to turn right! What could do, going straight ahead would take me further away from where I needed to be with no prospect of making a U turn and less than 45 minutes till my flight left! I told him I was going to the Grand Final and running late then I turned right! The cop was not impressed and pulled me over. I attempted to justify my actions but he shut me up and said "Don't ignore a police officer's instructions, now get going and enjoy the game"!! Relieved I raced off to meet Alan and managed to get to the airport on time! (I've missed a flight before and it's not a pleasant experience!)

6. I took the Glen Waverley train and am staying with my brother-in-law Charles and his son Simon. The rest of the family are away in Adelaide. They have a beautiful house in Glen Iris. This afternoon I went for a bike ride along a trail beside the Yarra river all the way into the city and was reminded of how green and beautiful a city Melbourne is. (pics to follow when I get home)

7. I met up with Ian and Dave from Perth outside the MCG. It was Ian's brother Trevor whose membership enabled me to buy the ticket and I needed his card to collect it. Another mate Kent Morgan was also at the game and I rang him once inside. His seat was in the second back row behind the Punt Road goal so he wasn't happy to hear that I was sitting about 3/4 of the way back on the half forward line. He'd have been even less happy after the game, being a diehard eagles supporter. I resisted the temptation to ring him after the game, although once the pain has subsided a little I'll be sure to let him know how much I enjoyed the game. Don't be fooled into thinking that would be harsh, he was responsible for me having to stand up in the staff room on Friday morning in an Eagles jumper and publicly state that "The Eagles are better than Geelong and always have been"! due to a bet we made at the start of the season about which team , Geelong or West Coast, would finish higher on the ladder! Needless to say the pro West Coast crowd in the staff room loved it! You can be sure i'll be wearing red and white upon my return to school next term!

8. I exchanged several SMS's with Chris in Broome during the game. She was always nervous and I know how disappointed she'd have felt at the loss. As I said in one text, "I know how she feels" having suffered thru Geelong losing 4 Grand Finals between 1989 and 1995, two of them at the hands of West Coast. I also texted Gaultie to say how much I was enjoying the game, his brief reply simply read "Go Eagles". I'd left sveral messages stuck up around his office before I left all of which read "Go Swans". The best thing about Sydney winning is not having to put up with all the bragging of the Eagles fans back in WA.

9. Talking of Eagles fans, there was one particularly obnoxious member of that species sitting behind me at the game. Now, it is fair to say that I am a passionate fan and have been known to get heated or excited at games, but I make every effort to be fair and objective about things like umpiring decisions. It is a huge bugbear to me when people criticise and condemn every decision the umpires make against their team. It is ludicrous and short-sighted/one-eyed in the extreme to believe that your team never gives away free kicks. All teams do and when mine does I accept it as part of the game. The bloke behind me was the sort of fan who refused to accept this basic truth of football but that was not the only example of his obnoxiousness. When O'loughlin and Hunter jostled with one another he kept yelling out "Hit him Hunter, hit him" Why? Football is a hard physical game and there is plenty of legitimate "violence" allowed without urging players to do the wrong thing. Sure they sometimes do it, eg. Barry Hall last week, but that doesn't mean it should be condoned or encouraged as this bloke was doing. What made it sadder was that he had his little boy sitting next to him who looked about 7 years old. Some less than helpful role-modelling there! His other annoying behaviour was when celebrating an Eagles goal to "deliberately" wave his West Coast flag in our faces. When he did it again I'd had enough so I turned and said to him if he was waving the flag to celebrate a goal that was fine but instead of waving it in our faces why didn't he wave it up above his own head. I'm pleased to say that he took this feedback well and refrained from this practice again. We did exchange a couple of comments about the relative merits of some umpire's decisions but at the end of the game we shook hands and agreed it had been a great game.

10. There was lots of actyivity going on outside the ground before the game including some live TV and radio broadcasts. I stopped at the Triple M tent and watched a bit of their "show". The panelo included Sam Kekovich, Brian Taylor and Sam Newman who I usually find detestable. While I didn't appreciate all of his humour and comments I have to confess I did find a few of his jokes amusing and he was wittier than I expected. I sat next to an older couple who turned out to be Geelong fans from Colac. I saw a bloke in the ground in a Geelong jumper too.

11. I don't admit this publicly but something I enjoy doing is looking for stuff left behind after football games! I call it trawling!There is always mountains of rubbish, but usually some interesting stuff too and the Grand Final was no exception. I refused to pay $12 for the Grand Final Record (program) but found 3-4 in reasonable condition left behind after the game. Amongst the other stuff I found were a a folding seat cushion, an abandoned Eagles banner, a mustard soaked Swans flag!, a canvas bag with two rolls and a bag of peanuts, an inflatable Messages on Hold hand and a football shaped stubby holder with the Geelong logo on it, not a bad haul!!

12. As I was walking thru the carpark after the game I spotted former Geelong stars Barry Stoneham and Liam Pickering having a beer with a few mates so I stopped to say G'day and get a picture taken and ended up talking to them for about 20 minutes. My nephew Daniel played in Liam's number, 23, for Geelong after he retired and they both spoke highly of Daniel. Liam is now a football manager and one of his clients is Darren Glass from West Coast who I happened to coach briefly when he was at Carine High School. Talking of Carine kids, Mark Nicoski who kicked the first goal of the game was a Carine kid who I coached for 5 years. I know Mark Seaby as well, he comes and helps at our Footy Camp every year. The only comfort I'd have taken if West Coast had won would have been to see these young blokes I know win the ultimate footy prize. Ironically Nicoski had a half chance to kick the winning goal in the last minute of the game when the ball spilled off a pack into his path in the goal square but the Sydney backline managed to stop him getting a kick at it.

13. There was a big celebration for the Swans back at Punt Rd after the game but it was full by the time I got there. I chatted to a deleivery driver waiting to get in and he ended up giving me a lift to his next stop, Crown Casino. I wanted to watch a replay of the game on Foxtel, or more specifically the desperate last quarter. I found a bar with a big screen and joined hundreds of other celebrating Swans supporters in reliving the excitement. Then I did something I've never done before, I bought $10 worth of chips and had a few bets on a roulette table. Betting $5 at a time I won a few and lost a few, just betting on red or black and above or below 19. I had set a $10 limit and ended up with $30 after about an hour. Here comes the gamblers sob story part of the story! I should have quit then but instead went to try my hand at Pontoon on a table with a $10 minimumn bet. Four hands later my money was gone! (One was a "draw") Oh well! It was fun while it lasted!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Swans song

Cheer Cheer the red and the White! How good was the Grand Final? It was fantastic! What a great game and the right result, for me, and Mike and Rachel, at least! It was sensational to be there and to see such a close and exciting game, with both teams having chances to win it in the final minutes and seconds, and heroic deeds saving the day for the Swans. Leaping Leo Barry's amazing mark in front of a huge pack 20 metres out from the Eagles goal was the final and fitting heroic act that secured the premiership for Sydney. I don't know who the bloke next to me was but we hugged and danced and jumped for joy when the final siren sounded. I can only presume it made a sound because it certainly couldn't be heard above the roar of the crowd at the end of the game as Sydney resisted West Coast's final desperate forward thrust. The almost complete MCG is a great place to watch any game of football, but the atmosphere at the AFL Grand Final is something special again, rivalled by very few events on the world sporting calendar. Every year football fans across the country hope that the Grand Final will be close and exciting but inevitably it doesn't turn out that way, with one team winning comfortably and the game not a spectacle worthy of the occasion. But not this year, this year it was a thriller! It was well worth the money and the effort required to get there. Go Swans!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Footy and ice cream

Just got back to Busso after a couple of days in Perth with the footy team. The boys played great footy and won all their games to reach the Grand Final of the Chaplains Cup before being beaten by Carine by a couple of goals. (For those who don't know, I used to work at Carine, so their boys were teasing me after the game with comments like "You shouldn't have left" and "Traitor") The Busso boys did a great job and were a little unlucky but Carine deserved to win.

We spent a pretty comfortable night in the PAC at Balcatta courtesy of Birchy. His son Jerome had an eye operation this morning so I hope all went well for him.

After breakfast at McD's we went 10 pin bowling then I introduced the boys to the delights on offer at the Peter's Factory outlet where they proceeded to gorge themselves on ice cream. A few of them looked pretty seedy by the time they'd ploughed thru a half a container of Crunchie or Lady Borden ice cream. "No round-a-bouts Marcus!" was their request!

The biggest news of the day is that with the help of my mate Trev and his Eagles Membership I was able to get a ticket to the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne on Saturday. 1500 tickets were released this morning and after a 45 minute wait on the phone I managed to be able to purchase one. Go Swans!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Photo update















I dropped in on Bruce and Glen to see if Bruce wanted to come to the footy with me. He had something else on and Glen was getting her toenails done by daughter Alison. She can't see the attraction in writing a blog, so I promised to put her on mine.
















South Fremantle celebrating their victory over Claremont. Hopefully this will be an omen for next Saturday when the Red and White Swans defeat the blue and yellow Eagles.
The bad news is my ticket has fallen thru! I'm not really surprised. I'm still going to Melbourne, who knows, maybe I'll score a ticket somehow!





















Scott and Craig, disappointed Claremont supporters.


















Some of the Mission team painting props at the Training Day, our theme this year is Heroes.
I suspect there'll be a fair bit of wearing of undies on the outside!

















Triumphant CFFL Premiership coach Letchy holding the 2kg trophy, flanked by legendary statistician and cyclist Wazza and retiring League Commissioner and poster boy for the potency club, Birchy after Sunday night's Winners Dinner at Villa DaVinci in Ballajura. Great food and company. I picked up the Mint Pattie on a string when Peter Everitt won the Brownnose Medal, and the eight 6-packs of assorted drinks for winning the Ladder prediction comp, only after beating Collo and Janzsy in the 20 question AFL trivia quiz.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Football and films

Holt Press
Got up just in time to be able to legitemately say "Good Morning" to Kevin and Kerry! I stayed here last night after coming up from Mandurah for the Training Day. We had a good turnout and it went really well, the new people on team were especially happy about it, one couple whose kids were reluctant to come said that when they went to leave the kids didn't want to go home! I played my big group spelling game with them and it worked very well, it's great to see a group of people click and start working together and have fun in the process. I may have made a similar comment about the year 8's on Friday I can't remember, but it is true none-the-less. Paulie had a great time playing with the other kids who were there and apart from a minor conflict with one of the team Carolyn also had a good day. She and Paul went back to Busselton with Natalie, one of the new team members, who had left at 4.00am to drive up from Albany! That typefies the beach mission team, committed and willing to make sacrifices for the cause. We spent a couple of hours working on drawing and painting scenery and backdrops for the dramas and RiverSide program we run at Mission (which is now officially called a Family Festival). The timing of this actaivity was fortuitous, allowing all those who were interested, that is everyone!, the chance to watch the footy while we painted. Most of the crowd were happy that West Coast won and advanced to the AFL Grand Final next week. I kept up a steady but successively less convincing series of "Go Crows" calls throughout the last quarter. As stated previously, I wanted Adelaide to win, and do not want the Eagles to win the premiership, but as I said to Michael after the game, the only thing better than seeing West Coast lose a preliminary final is seeing them lose a Grand Final! Let's hope!

I did make one mistake last night. After the training day I had a couple of hours to kill in Perth before Kevin and Kerry got home from a dinner so I went to a movie. In hindsight, Sin City was not a great choice, though I had read a good review of it and it boasts many big names, Bruce Willis, Rutger Hauer, Elijah Wood, Mickey Rourke etc. It is a stylised comic book style film in black and white with occasional colour, I think it's part of the film noir genre, though I confess I don't know what that actually means, but it was excessively violent and disturbing and creepy. Not in the Freddy or Jason way where you expect horror and sick violence, just in the perverted and horrific motives and actions of many of the characters, both the good guys and the bad guys. Not one to get out for the family on DVD and not the sort of film I'd want the kids to get out for a sleepover!

Got "home" in time to catch Tottenham play Aston Villa on Fox Sport 1, a rare treat. Spurs got off to a bad start, conceding a goal in the first 5 minutes, and it's fair to say only some brilliant saves from Paul Robinson kept them in it in the first half, but Tottenham dominated the second half and deservedly scored the equaliser through sub Robbie Keane with 15 minutes to go. It finished 1-1, a fair result in a good game.

I'm going to see Claremont play South Frematle in the WAFL Grand Final this arvo. Reading through the team lists in the paper I didn't know any of the names except for a handful of 2nd string and retired AFL players from West Coast and Freo, and without a radio I won't have a clue whose got the ball! Just hope it's a good game.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Busy busy busy

It's been a busy Friday and it's about to get a whole lot busier the next week or so.
I ran a Rock and Water session with a class of Yr 11 Pre-VET kids (Vocational Eduvcational Training, not kids thinking of working with animals) this morning. They seem to be enjoying it and I'm finding it a bit easier to teach second time round, picking up on the details and subtleties I missed the first time. It's also better working with an older age group, more mature, less disruptive and distracted.
Lunchtime saw me meeting with the girls who are coming to Melbourne with me for the Commonwealth Games in March, discussing details of the trip, sorting out forms, insurance, tickets and billets etc. They're a great group of kids and I'm sure we'll have heaps of fun.

After lunch I ran two team building sessions with a couple of year 8 maths classes, playing games that promote teamwork and co-operation. It went really well and by the end the kids were motivated and working together under pressure and having fun. The best bit was seeing a couple of the disenchanted kids who were initially disruptive and trying to undermine the process start to warm up and then ignite into enthusiastic participation, even celebrating their victory at the end of the game.

I'm doing a team building session with the crew from Augusta Beach Mission tomorrow and I think I'll just do the same games they worked so well today. We've got an all day training event at Mandurah, after which I'll continue on up to Perth for Sunday night's Winners Dinner, celebrating Letchie's triumph in the Fantasy Footy Grand Final.
I got a couple of free tickets to the WAFL Grand FInal sent to me today so I'll go along to that on Sunday afternoon.

I spent the rest of the day fielding several phone calls and re-working the Chaplains Cup fixtures for the third and fourth times!!!!
I may end up posting them on the blog they're becoming such a saga!

The footy is on tonight, I don't mind who wins cause I'll be barracking for either Sydney or St Kilda next Saturday. I'd prefer Adelaide to beat the Eagles tomorrow for my own sanity.

I'll be in Perth three times next week! Sunday as mentioned, Wed-Thurs for the Chaplains Cup and again on Fri when I fly out to Melbourne. Not the way I would have planned it, just the way it worked out.


This is me at the Oxford Air Museum in 1992. Zac is in Oxford at the moment and flies home to Australia on Saturday. He's flying Qantas by the way, not with the Luftewaffe. Posted by Picasa


# 87 Posted by Picasa


Doodle # 71 Posted by Picasa


Doodle #100 Posted by Picasa


I keep myself awake in meetings by doodling. I keep myself awake at night playing with them on the computer. Posted by Picasa


In the battle of the drinks, the booze won! Woobla beat us in tonight's Grand Final 3-0. That suggests a whitewash, it wasn't quite as one-sided as that but they certainly were better than us and deserved to win. Our cause, already in deep trouble at 2 sets down, was not helped at all by a serious injury to one of our players, Stoney, who tore his achilles tendon! That left us with 5 players and a big hole to fill. We were leading the 3rd set at the time but with Stoney gone and us being penalised each time his position rotated through the serve, front line etc it was pretty hard to hang on! I played OK but not as well as I wanted, or needed, to. Woobla as you can see from the pic celebrated in the way their name suggested and were pretty rowdy at the presentation. I take some consolation in the fact that we were the only team to beat them in the whole season. I'm determined to get a new team together and move up to A Grade next season.I'll miss volleyball on Thursday nights! Posted by Picasa


Seems I was destined to be second this season, not only were we runners-up in the Grand Final, I was also runner-up in the A Reserve Best and Fairest award. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Deja Vu Deja Vu

Here we go again! The Biggest Game of all is on tonight, in 100 minutes time to be exact. The Busselton A Reserve Volleyball Grand Final between Flat Whites (that's us) I don't drink coffee by the way, in fact I've never had a cup of tea or coffee in my life, and Woobla. For those unfamiliar with Australian colloquialisms, Woobla is a slang term given to cheap wine and alcohol, sometimes referring to street drinking by indigenous Australians. It is not PC. Interesting though that the Grand Final is being contested by two "addictive" drinks, coffee and booze. We are the underdogs, having lost 3-0 to them last week in the semi. But, with no expectation or pressure on us, we may just cause an upset. I'll be pretty intense and psyched up during the game, giving it a RHG and hoping I don't go OTT! Gaultie is still crook but Laurie has finally stopped celebrating his Mum's 70th and will be playing. Jancey has another game elsewhere so can only play the first set, better hope we win it to get the maximum advantage of him being there!!
You can follow the game live on the net by going to asifthey'dhavebussovolleyballonthenet.net.au

The second part of my deja vu experience was spending another couple of hours this afternoon re-working the Chaplains Cup footy fixtures due to the fact that an extra school joined the comp late. Not an easy task but I've finally finished!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

barrandgirl link worth listening to

While it pains me to do this, I recognise a good blogpost when I see one. Check out the post with the audiolink containing the last 2 minutes of commentary from last week's footy final between Sydney and Geelong on barrandgirl. It got my skin tingling!

Article for SU News

This is a story I wrote
for SU News Feb 2005 about this year's Augusta Family Mission

The Boxing Day Tsunami inevitably was going to be a topic of discussion and influence on this year’s mission, just trying to grasp the immensity of the disaster and the loss of life was a struggle. A series of events at Augusta gave many people an opportunity to see and feel the human side of the tragedy and to respond in an unusual way.
Driving into town on the first day of mission I noticed something new in the main street, a sign advertising helicopter rides out to the lighthouse. I loved the thought of taking a chopper out along the cape, hovering over the caravan park, flying over the holiday-makers at Colour Patch Café, getting a bird’s eye view of a place I’ve spent the last 10 summers coming to know and love.

The next day one of the team mentioned meeting a lady and her son who had been in Malaysia when the tsunami struck and who had come to Augusta to recover from their ordeal. The boy had been missing for about half an hour after the waves struck before being reunited with his family and the near miss coupled with the devastation all around them had triggered something like post traumatic shock.
Quiet little Augusta was a welcome and peaceful change.

The following day our program kicked off and that afternoon we ran our traditional sand castle competition, famous for it’s horrible black sand and wonderful creativity.
While watching the construction on the beach I overheard a lady say something about the helicopter business and upon inquiry discovered that not only was she the owner of the business but also the lady who’d survived the tsunami.
I talked with her for a while and mentioned that when I saw the helicopter sign on the first day I had thought how cool it would be to offer a couple of rides as prizes at our quiz night. One thing led to another and the lady said she’d be happy to offer a couple of rides to us to use. With the quiz happening that same night the timing was opportune and later in the evening she delivered a voucher authorizing the prize. Without mentioning her personal story I gave the business a plug and introduced her to the quiz crowd who were very appreciative of the news. (Previous quiz prizes have been pretty minimal, the most memorable having been a tray of home-made vanilla slices which nobody on the team liked!!)

At the end of the night we gave the prize to the winning team who were duly impressed however we weren’t counting on the next surprise when they donated it back to the mission saying why didn’t we raffle it and give the proceeds to the tsunami appeal.

Two nights later we staged our carnival which attracts a crowd of between 300-400 people and is one of the hilights of mission. Just before the transition from the carnival to the bush dance we got the crowd’s attention and one of our team members, Bill, announced an auction for the helicopter rides, with a twist. In this auction people bid and put money in a bucket as it went until the amount reached a pre-determined figure known only to Bill, at which point the person making the final bid was the winner. None of us anticipated what happened next, the bids flew thick and fast and I raced around the crowd receiving 5, 10 and 20 dollar notes as the total climbed rapidly. There was so much enthusiasm that I was glad Bill didn’t stop at the initial figure, allowing the bidding and collecting to go on to $205, some $80 more than the face value of the prize. It was a great result but the final blessing was still to come. Despite the auction having concluded, people kept thrusting money into the bucket until we reached a final tally of $365 all in the space of about three minutes.

It seemed to me that the way it turned out was as a result of a combination of factors, the generosity and compassion of people wanting to respond to people in need, the lovely way the prize had been offered then re-offered, the wonderful atmosphere of the carnival, the desire of the crowd to give not just to the tsunami but perhaps as an expression of thanks to the mission for it’s service and blessing to so many children and families, and God’s hand in it all as he no doubt manoeuvred things toward such a perfect ending.

Holt Press

Me, Broadie, Phil and Hugh, the esteemed members of the Breakfast Club

The Big Game result

We won. The score was 3-1. We're into the Grand Final on Thursday night.
I played resonably well as did the rest of the team and although we were tiring in the 4th set we held on to win. I was mostly relieved at the end. No matter what game I play or team I'm against I always think we can win so feel pretty disappointed if we don't. My relief came from not having let ourselves down.

The biggest test will be on Thurs night against Woobla in the Grand Final.

I played in the A Reserve Grand Final last year with the Bears, the school country week team and we lost to Rompers who had won the previous three Grand Finals. We should have beaten them but the boys were erratic and prone to making too many silly mistakes.
This season I'm playing with a bunch of oldies. We're mature, but erratic and prone to making silly mistakes!
I'm the most determined player on the team, the loudest and most frenetic, but I'm inconsistent, and prone to making silly mistakes!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

An hour until the Big Game

It's 10 past 5, which of course means it's only 80 minutes to the big game, the Volleyball preliminary final between Flat Whites (Have I mentioned what an ordinary and uninspiring name that is?) ("Go Flat Whites!!!") and our other halves, the Short Blacks. Both teams are largely composed of teachers from Busselton and there was a bit of pre-game niggle in the corridor this afternoon as Rob tried to psyche me out and I tried to break his leg with a cleverly disguised rugby tackle! They sneaked into the finals with a win in the last round, we were good most of the season and the only team to beat the top team, Woobla, all season. But last week we were poor. No, that's not true, we were dreadful. We got creamed.
So, psychologically we're in a low. Short Blacks had a strong win in the first game of the finals so they're on a high! To heighten the drama, our #2 ranked player (in the UOMHBVBPR) Gaultie, is sick. Not just ordinary sick either, not a cold or sore throat, just good old mother's prediction sick, yes that's right, he's got pneumonia! But wait, there's more bad news, Loz,(UOMHBVBPR #3) who since coming back from trying to cut his hand off and getting the coolest genuine Z for Zorro scar I've ever seen has been playing very well, is also not available tonight due to some pathetic excuse like having to go out for dinner for his Mum's 70th birthday or something!! Come on! If you've had 69 birthdays already, what's the big deal about another one I ask? Really! We're talking finals volleyball here! So, that leaves us with 5 regulars, ranked #1, #4, #5, #6 and #7, and our regular ring-in, Jancey. Jancey the enigma! Jancey the sometimes very good volleyball player/sometimes the I don't really give a toss volleyball player, hot and cold, brilliant and abysmal, all wrapped up in one sarcastic package! Jancey I said, we need you for tonight's PRELIMINARY FINAL, emphasis deliberate! "Oh, so you want me to bring my A Game?" Yes I do, that would be good. "I guess I better not have 5 bourbans before the game then hey?" No, good idea!!! So, what will happen tonight? Who knows, other than that I'm sure Andrew from the SB's will delight in mimicing my over-reactions and frustrations if we start to lose the plot! The good news is I'm better (read more self-controlled) than I used to be, the bad news is I used to be very bad!
Got to get my serve working tonight and win some cheap points, got to get the talk happening, got to get the blocks up, got to pray!!!!!!

England take the Ashes

Congratulations to the poms, they've finally won the Ashes back after 16 years of Aussie domination. I'm glad they won. The series was fantastic, nail biting finishes and brilliant performances and England were clearly the better team. Hopefully the next few series will be just as exciting and competitive, though with the imminent retirements of Warne and McGrath and the aging of several other established players, Australia will have to start bringing in some young players soon or the poms will keep the Ashes for quite a while.
Much was made of the brilliance of Shane Warne. His cricketing ability, with both ball and bat in this series, are undeniable, but I can't get excited about supporting someone so lacking in scruples or decency. He is obnoxious!

I won squash tonight, 3-0 in an uneventful game.

I've finished the fixturing project, it only took another couple of hours tonight!

Can anyone give me some user-friendly advice on how to change my dial-up internet password? I've tried and failed, and have trawled through HELP a few times without finding the info I need. I know it will be something simple but so far it's eluding me.

Which reminds me Pop, I downloaded a new Norton antivirus/internet security program and can't seem to get it to work, nothing happens when I click on the icon and it keeps wanting me to install it, which I reckon I've done about 5 times, with no change to the situation.Any suggestions?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Footy fixturing

Do you like a challenge? Try fixturing! I've just spent the last 2 hours working on fixtures for the Chaplains Cup Football competition,(a one day round robin and finals event) trying to come up with a fair and workable fixture for 9 teams playing at three different venues, two of which are only available part of the day. My head is swimming! Thank goodness for computers, coloured text, clicking and pasting! I've nearly finished, with just a couple of "minor" inequities! Hope everyone will be satisfied!

Off to squash in a few minutes. Tomorrow night is the volleyball prelininary final. Did I tell you that we bombed out badly in the semi last week, losing 3-0 to the top team!! At least we have a shot at redemption.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Gutted

Geelong lost last night's 2nd semi-final by 3 points when Nick Davis kicked his 4th last quarter goal in the last 5 seconds of the game. The Cats, against all expectation, were fantastic and led the entire game until Davis struck with the last kick of the game.

I felt gutted. All week I'd been very disciplined and self-controlled. I was objective and realistic in the lead-up and throughout the game. I'd gone in expecting the Cats to lose in what is a very difficult assignment. Even though they played so well and led all night I knew there was every possibility they'd still get beaten. I was prepared for it and accepted it.
Until the last minute of the game!
The 5 minute warning went just before the 22 minute mark, with the Cats still 9 points in front. But the game dragged on for another 8+ minutes. Only during that final desperate minute when Geelong repelled the Swans relentless assaults and gang tackled every Sydney player who got the ball and tried frantically to hang on did my heart start to race and my blood pressure shoot up. "Praying" for the siren to sound I honestly thought we were going to hang on for a glorious and gutsy victory against the odds. Then, disaster struck in the form of Nick Davis, the ball went through and I knew it was all over, we'd had victory stolen from us in the cruelest way.
I felt gutted.
The scenes of Swans players and fans going mad at the end were interspersed with images of stunned, disbelieving and shattered Geelong players, the most poignant being Cameron Mooney who was crying openly. While I didn't cry, I was completely deflated, empty, hurting!
As the image of Mooney, head covered with a towel walked dejectedly from the SCG the commentator Anthony Hudson, (a Geelong supporter) summed it up perfectly when he asked, "Who'd be a Geelong fan?"
Has any other team tantalised their supporters as much and as often as the Cats? Has any other team suffered as many heartbreaks in big games? Has any team failed as spectacularly as Geelong?
Possibly, but I can't think of any.
So our season is over, the premiership dream in mothballs for another year (that's 42 years now, with 5 losing Grand Finals in that time, plus at least three Preliminary final losses and many other finals).
Will 2006 be our year, I doubt it, but I sure hope so!

As for 2005, only 4 teams are left, StKilda V Sydney and West Coast V Adelaide. I'll be barracking for either the Saints or the Swans on Grand Final day, and with a little bit of luck I'll be there for the occasion.

Farewell Cats.


A few excerpts from the match reports on the AFL Website

Swans still pinching themselves
2:13:46 PM Sat 10 September, 2005
Scott Spits in Sydney
Sportal for afl.com.au

The day after the night before and all associated with the Sydney Swans were pinching themselves and asking the question: did that really happen?The Swans advanced to the preliminary finals after an amazing three-point victory over Geelong in the second semi-final at the SCG on Friday night. However, it was the way in which the victory was achieved that will ensure people never forget this remarkable and absorbing match
In one of the best solo efforts in modern football history, Sydney's Nick Davis booted the final four goals of the match - including the match-winner with just seconds on the clock - as the Swans snatched victory from the desperately unlucky and gallant Cats.

Swans' swoop is cruel for Cats
10:42:45 PM Fri 9 September, 2005
Scott Spits
Exclusive to afl.com.au
Nick Davis has performed an amazing individual feat to deliver the Sydney Swans a stunning come-from-behind three-point victory over Geelong in the second semi-final.The goalsneak booted the final four goals of the game - including the winner in the last minute with a left foot snap out of the air - to push the Swans through to the preliminary finals for the second time in three years.Words can barely describe what transpired at the SCG. Sydney kicked just seven goals for the match, yet four of those from the amazing boot of Davis in a stunning final-term burst.His winning goal at the 30-minute mark was the most remarkable football moment at the SCG since Tony Lockett booted a behind after the siren in 1996 to send the Swans into the grand final.

Sydney 7.14 (56) defeated Geelong 7.11 (53) in a simply stunning finals match.Geelong had led from midway through the opening term and appeared on track to record another gritty finals victory.Enter Davis. His first goal, a classy snap effort, came at the nine-minute mark but the Swans still faced a 16-point deficit.In unbelievable scenes before a packed SCG crowd, Davis snagged three more goals - including the winner just before the final siren - as the Cats desperately tried to protect their lead.The winning goal came deep in Sydney's forward after Davis tried desperately to gather the ball after a bounce down. The ball slipped from his waiting but he threw his left foot at it in a desperate effort to score. Amazingly, the ball went between the big sticks and the crowd went ballistic. Seconds later the siren sounded.Geelong was desperately unlucky. The Cats were seemingly on track to advance to the final four for the second consecutive year before Davis stepped in to ultimately to write a very different conclusion to what was an absorbing second semi-final clash at the SCG.

Friday, September 09, 2005

20 Random Things About My Dad- a belated Father's Day gift.

20 Random Things about my Dad

1. When we were kids he worked as a company rep for BP and often brought home stickers and other cool promotional stuff. We always went to the BP company picnic where Santa brought presents. We got into heaps of trouble one time for breaking open some cigarette pack holders in order to get the magnets out. (Dad smoked Rothmans cigarettes. After many attempts Dad quit smoking about 10-15 years ago.)

2. Dad played golf at places like Point Lonsdale and Yarra Bend and was a member of the Gold Cross Golf Club with mates like Allan Davies. We would sometimes go with him to Portarlington and play in a boat while he played golf.
Dad has the worst slice known to golf, so much so that rather than fight it he learnt to accommodate it and lined up his shots on about a 30 degree angle and proceed down the fairway in a series of wide arcs.

3. After my parents divorced he moved to Queensland and ran a BP station in Cavendish Rd and lived at 8 Fork St Mt Gravatt. We went to stay there during the Christmas holidays and loved going for Dairy Queen ice creams and swimming at The Oasis.

4. The earliest car I remember Dad driving was a grey Ford Falcon with the number plate JAJ 787. Can’t remember the model but it was the round one!
After that came a white Falcon 500. He took us to Canberra in it for a family holiday and we stayed at the Park Royal Motor Inn which had a tiled picture of King Neptune on the bottom of the swimming pool.

5. Having moved to Geelong when I was 5 Dad gave up his original allegiance to Carlton (good move) to take us to Geelong games at Kardinia Park. He would watch the game while we would slide down the hill behind the crowd on cardboard boxes. He continued to barrack for Footscray even though Alan my brother had converted to the Cats, but having adopted Queensland as his home is now a Brisbane Lions fan.

6. Dad took us to our football games every Saturday morning in the Geelong West YMCA little league where I played for a succession of teams called respectively, the Toughies, the Terrifics , the Capris, and the Monarchs.He was there when we won our first Grand Final V the Dazzlers in under 9’s.

7. When I was 13 and getting into a fair bit of trouble I went (was sent) to live with dad and Julie in Rosewood, a small town in Queensland where they had a Caltex service station.
We had a famous family Mousse fight there with some horrible mousse Julie had made. Most of the family insist it was lemon but I maintain it was pink. Dad started the fight by throwing the first spoonful! I didn't make life easy for them but have many fond memories of my time in Queensland. Dad taught me to play golf though he wasn't able to fully curb my bad temper on the course. Dad gave me the nickname "Chief Thundercloud" when I was pretty little.

8. Rosewood had masses of green frogs which were purported to attract snakes. Dad used a sawn-off hockey stick to eliminate them. (the frogs not the snakes)

9. One day a snake slithered in the back door of the garage causing great consternation to the staff and customers. After they killed it I got to play with it and dragged it out into the middle of the main street where it caused much discussion.

10. Dad began teaching me to drive when we drove from Queensland to Perth in the summer of 1977. He had a Datsun 240K which we would urge him on to hit 100mph on the straight road leading into Rosewood.

11. I lived with Dad and Julie for three years, the last year and a bit in Toowoomba where they bought a Rubber Stamp shop and Dad drove a school bus. The house in Toowoomba was in Gentle St and they painted the tin roof yellow and put a desert scene mural on one of the outside walls. It was a 70’s house, the lounge suite was covered with denim and the wallpaper had naked ladies on it. They built an extension so that I could have a decent sized bedroom.

12. After I moved back to WA to live with Mum and the rest of the family in 1978 Dad and Julie did a big trip around Australia. I met up with them at Millstream in the northwest of WA while I was on a school trip.

13. They returned to Victoria and bought a farm near Maryborough and taught themselves how to rear sheep and clear rocks. I visited them there many times while I was bumming around the country, and took Carolyn there to meet them and announce our engagement in 1985.

14. Sometime around then Dad started writing poetry, perhaps inspired by his Dad who recited many Australian poems by the likes of Patterson and Lawson. Dad wrote a poem about me called “The Bum” the title of which was inspired by a scene from a Frank Sinatra movie.

15. Dad loved Frank Sinatra. They even flew down to Sydney to see him in concert a couple of times. (They went to see Neil Diamond there too I think, with his mate Greeny)
His taste in music has degenerated since then and he now has a sizeable collection of country music CDs, we’re talking in the hundreds.

16. While living in Maryborough they also took school photos for Pacific which meant travelling around Victoria and parts of South Australia annually. I spent a couple of days with them on a school photo job in Gippsland when I was about 18 or 19.

17. While we were still living in Queensland Dad took us on a couple of memorable trips to Carnarvon Gorge, about 1000km north west of Brisbane from memory. Carnarvon has a fantastic natural amphitheatre accessed by climbing a steel ladder and going through a narrow chasm. On one trip we got trapped by floods and had to wait about 4 days to get out. Dad drove us home in a Toyota Coaster bus through hazardous conditions, including getting the bus towed across a flooded river by a tractor.

18. Dad loved Bill Cosby and we listened to his albums (vinyl) over and over, especially Fat Albert and To Russell my brother. He also had a hilarious comedy spoof of the Godfather on tape and I still quote lines from it. “It’s good that you’re afraid” “A little bit of this and a little bit of that” “Will that be for eating or for shooting? A little bit of both Wong”
“One Dracula Pizza” and so on

19. Dad is good with money , something I didn’t inherit (the ability that is, we'll have to wait and see about the money!), and has generously helped us a number of times, most notably when we were buying our first house. I think he was relieved that I was finally doing something wise and responsible!

20. Dad now lives in Gympie in Queensland. I try and get him to come and visit us and his Grandkids regularly. Sadly his visit this year was hampered when we were all struck down with the flu.

Dad has taken to blogging as well and you can link to his blog called Holtieshouse from here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Look out world

Holt Press
Look out world (or the part of it that drives in the Busselton vicinity) Sophie got her L plates today!!
I guess this means she's growing up. I got the "Can you take me driving?" question 30 seconds after the announcement, and anticipate hearing it frequently from now on. It's wet and windy again so no driving lesson today I'm afraid (because as you may have guessed, I'm afraid!) I already had a close encounter with a "poor driver" doing a big fishtail on the main road as he drove toward me about 15 minutes ago, the last thing Sophie needs is to encounter someone like that first time behind the wheel.
I'll take her out on a quiet country road once the weather improves, and perhaps when the price of petrol comes down....hmmmm.... maybe she won't want to wait that long! $1.33 a litre in Perth today, add 10+c a litre here! I'm thinking motorbike!

As you know it's finals time and I'm getting excited and nervous about the big game. The big game between Woobla and Flat Whites that is in tonight's A Reserve Volleyball 2nd semi final at Geographe Leisure Centre. We (the Flat Whites, surely ranking in the top 10 worst volleyball team names of all time) come into the finals in good form following two strong wins in the last fortnight and encouraged by the fact that we inflicted the only loss Woobla had all season when we played them a month ago. The bad news is that Gaultie can't play tonight coz he's up in Perth, but thankfully Laurie made his comeback last week following his hand injury and surgery and played well. We need to play sensible consistent volleyball, and avoid the on-court fighting that marred last week's game. Woobla will start favourites which is fair enough, but I'm quietly confident! The good news is if we lose we get a second chance in the prelim final on Tuesday night.

I'm also excited about that other big game in those other finals, at the SCG on Friday night.
Go Cats.

I've been helping run a Peer Skills training course with 14 year 9 students today. One of the exercises was a values clarification discussion called the Nuclear Fallout Shelter where the kids had to choose 6 people from a list of 10 to get the only places in the shelter, thus condemning the remaining 4 to death! This group of 6 may be sole survivors and thus would be called upon to restart the human race!! These values exercises were all the rage in the 70's and are still used despite the moral objections about asking kids to value some human lives above others and in effect play God. I'd have preferred to set a less dramatic scenario but that's what we were given to work with.... Maybe I should have conscientiously objected, or led the kids in a discussion of the relative merits and rightness of such an exercise, but I didn't so instead let me give you a couple of quotes I overheard. (The people to choose from were described like this, 36 year old, female, doctor, unable to have children; 54 year old, male, carpenter etc)
"We've only gotta kill 4, he's dead"
"We need the doctor, she can make the babies come out"
and my favourite
"What's a carpenter?"

PS. I got "The Interpreter" out from Video Ezy last night and gave it a 6 out of 10, OK but nothing to blog about.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Highlights of the day

Highlights of the day: Don't get your hopes up readers, it wasn't a very exciting day. Have spent the last couple of hours preparing my travel application form for the trip to Melbourne, hunting for motels and hire cars on the net. The big question revisited, should I take out insurance on the hire car? It's not cheap, but having a smash/paying excess would be much dearer, I've got a good driving safety record, but I'll be driving in Melbourne with three times as many cars, unfamiliar roads, changeable weather conditions. I'm not planning on damaging the car, but no-one ever is. Even though work is paying for the trip it will still cost me a bit and we're trying to stay out of debt after our recent foray into the red zone. What to do, what to do? Comments/advice/suggestions welcome!

I'm about to hit the video store for a $1.95 Wednesday special, at that price even a dud is painless, and Domino's for some discount pizza. We really know how to live it up here in Busselton!

Had a laugh this morning when Gaultie rang to say he'd found some really disturbing pictures on the thumb drive I picked up for him from Hardly Normals the other day. "Lots of unattractive men in Blue and White jumpers playing football" hahaha, I knew it would be worth copying my file of Geelong photos into a new folder aptly titled "Quality pics" for his benefit/amusement!
Further technological advances were made this arvo when I worked out how to create a photo collage on powerpoint. Not earth shattering stuff I admit, but quietly satisfying none-the-less.

Predictably barrandgirl have started talking up the Swans prior to the big game on Friday night. As I've said publicly, I don't hold any great hope for the Cats in Sydney, but you never know your luck in a big city!

Remember Scrooge McDuck in the Disney comics and the way he dived into and swam around in his money bin? Let me debunk that myth here and now. I carried $4500 in cash to the bank yesterday, the collections so far from the 40 Hour Famine, of which about $1000 was in coins, and I nearly broke the handle on my brief case under the weight of it. If it had been dropped on me I'd have been badly injured so it stands to reason a Duck dive into a pile of money would be crippling from the neck down. Mythbusted.
On the strength of that lame-duck anecdote it's time to go!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Look before you leap

More horrible weather in Busselton today, though in light of Katrina evrything's relative.
The old proverb says look before you leap, I'd like to concur with that wisdom.
I've been catching up on some paperwork and, frustrated with the shocking quality of the too-many-times- over photo-copied payment vouchers I'd been using, I decided to do the school a favour and re-type the form and photo-copy a nice new, clean, easy to read batch. This I did, only took about an hour, so far so good. Found some blue paper and copied 200 new forms. Good job Marcus. Went to put them in the appropriate tray in the office and what do I discover but some nice clean blue forms already there!! Where did they come from? I don't know. Are they superior to mine? Only if you think it's important that in the field where staff should write the particular "Account" code they want debited it shouldn't read "Amount" as my new forms do! I'm hoping that in the bureacratic stupour with which most teachers fill in forms they won't even notice, or, that in line with the "new Spelling" where close enough is good enough, they'll just accept it as a fair attempt!

skype

I've just downloaded skype, a free web based phone system. I haven't tried it yet, coz no-one's up or answering, but it apparently allows people who are both on skype to talk to one another over the net for free, which could be very handy seeing as Zac is currently in England and sounding like he might go back there for extended work/study. My sister-in-law Jane told me about skype a while ago but I had a couple of unsuccessful attempts at downloading it and gave up. Zac suggested I get it so he can talk to us so here's hoping it works. Check it out for yourself at www.skype.com

I played 2 games of squash tonight, my own and filling in for someone else, I won one 3-0 and lost the other by the same margin! Worked up a sweat in the second game so I'm happy. My weight loss has plateaued at 92kg, the bad news is I've stopped losing weight, the good news is I'm not gaining weight. Once the weather improves I'll get back on my bike and step up the exercise regime.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Monday catch up

It's Spring so naturally Busselton is besieged by a storm front, high winds, driving rain, cold weather etc.
Admittedly Friday was a beautiful day but the rest of Spring has been miserable.

Church was interesting on Sunday, there were no chairs put out, just a few up the back for the old and infirm! Noel gathered us all at the front and said "We're gonna shake things up for a while, dispense with routines, get passionate for God etc" He used an analogy that resonated with me (and every other bloke there) about the passion on display at an Aussie Rules footy game, the excitement and reactions of the crowd, their dedication and devotion, noise and colour etc. then compared it with the generally conservative behaviour on display at a typical church service. He contended, and I agree with him, that we've (Christians) got more to celebrate than winning a game of footy but we look/sound/act as if we've got nothing to be excited about. I'm not and doubt I ever will be a "Jumpin for Jesus" type of person, but I certainly get very passionate about my footy team. I felt challenged to think about my relative reactions to the two. (we got to sit down after the worship time!)

Yesterday was Father's Day (in Australia, apparently FD is celebrated on 16 different dates around the world, I told the kids I'm going to spend one year travelling to each one of them on their FD and rake in the pressies!)
I neglected my obligation and forgot to ring Dad, so, let me publically apologise and say a belated but none-the-less sincere "Happy Father's Day Dad".

I'm working on a blog post specially for the occasion which I'll publish soon!

After church and the footy- a very disappointing thrashing of the Kangaroos by a quietly scary Port Adelaide- we went for a drive to Cape Naturaliste and a walk around the lighthouse on a bush track near the start of the Cape-to-Cape track. We stopped at Dunsborough for some hot chips for tea on the way home. A low key but enjoyable family/fatherly day out.

Carolyn and I are enjoying "House M.D." the new series on TV about a cantankerous/cynical doctor starring Hugh Laurie on Sunday nights. There's not a lot worth watching, especially since they continually stop and start The West Wing, mid-series and without explanation.

Had some big news from Zac today to say he may stay on in the UK after the Fusion Conference (in Tassie in 2 weeks) and continue/complete his studies from there. I'm excited for him and he's really keen so hopefully it will work out for him.

Gotta go, squash tonight and an injustice to correct regarding last week's game. The newspaper report inferred that I had just failed to turn up, thus awarding a 27-0 victory to my opponent, despite the fact I had rung through my apologies 4 days before coz I was going to be away on the yr 10 camp! Not happy Jan

Which reminds me, I love the new Carlton Draught ad on TV, the BIG ad, it's fantastic. If you're surfing thru from overseas you won't know what I mean but try finding it on the web or somewhere coz it's great.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cats thump the Demons

You bewdy! The Cats steamrolled the Demons in the elimination final today, winning by 55 points and setting up a game against Sydney next weekend. Unusually for the Cats they never looked like losing! I'm a happy man!

Last night's game was sensational, but the Eagles were lucky to get up against a very gutsy Swans who were penalised by the second worst umpiring decision in finals history when Stenglein got a free and kicked a goal from 50 in the last quarter!
The worst decision as you all know was the non-awarding of a mark to Leigh Colbert in the 1997 final v the Crows in Adelaide.

More finals footy to come, does it get any better than this?

As evidence of my contention about the bad umpiring decision benefiting the Eagles I present exhibit A, as quoted on the AFL website today.

We were wrong: Gieschen
4:06:24 PM Sat 3 September, 2005
Sportal for afl.com.au
Umpires Manager Jeff Gieschen has admitted a crucial umpiring decision made in Friday night's nail-biting West Coast-Sydney encounter was incorrect, and that the incident may cost umpire Shane McInerney another finals berth this year.The decision that saw Eagle Tyson Stenglein kick a goal in the last quarter had Swan Leo Barry penalised for shepherding, when in actual fact it was Stenglein who initiated the contact. The Eagles went on to win by four points.Gieschen told Perth radio 6PR that umpire McInerney should have reset the mark rather than award a free kick, and that his chance of umpiring another finals game in 2005 is now dependant on the performance of his fellow men in white in the remaining games this weekend." (He's probably safe then! M.) The umpire processed it wrong - Stenglein was entitled to stand the mark, which he was, and Leo Barry's entitled to run past, to run down field to receive the ball or to make some space.

"Unfortunately the umpire just had his eyes focused on Leo Barry the whole time, thinking, what's he doing there, why is he going to that area, is he going to try and block ... and unfortunately he didn't see Stenglein move off his line and initiate the contact."The umpire should have just simply re-set the mark and said, hey, keep out of that area. You stay on your mark and let the play go from there," he said.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Footy Finals Fever

At last the finals are here.
Geelong have scraped in and have a sudden death game against Melbourne tomorrow, right about the time I'm supposed to be presenting trophies at the kid's soccer wind-up, I'm sure they won't miss me!
My predictions, for what they're worth!

West Coast V Sydney.
WC have been on top all year and been the best team, until a month ago when they hit the skids. I've been talking up their home ground advantage as the easy route to the Grand Final but Adelaide burst the Subiaco bubble last week and the Eagles look vulnerable. Sydney are in good form and won't be afraid of WC. Still, I expect the home game to just get the Eagles across the line, though it goes without saying I'm barracking for the Swans. (Hi Rach and Mike)

Geelong V Melbourne
I'm nervous but what's new? We blew a big lead to lose to them by a point three weeks ago, that's got to hurt and stoke a fire in a few Cat bellies surely! Will Neitz play? Will someone stop Robertson, he kicked 7 goals last time? Will the Ablett show keep rolling? It should be close and exciting and I'm going with my heart, the Cats to win by about a goal.

Adelaide V St Kilda
The Crows are hot, and the Saints are hotter! They annhilated the Lisbon Brians last week, debunking the theory that injuries had ended their season. Still, the Crows are at home and AAMI stadium is not a happy hunting ground for away teams. I think Adelaide will win this one fairly comfortably.

Kangaroos V Port Adelaide
Port limped through the season only just making the finals but I think they're kidding themselves if they have pretensions beyond week one. The Roos have had a good season and will be keen to knock the arrogance out of Port. The Kangaroos by 6 goals I reckon.

C'arn the Cats

Holt Press





Holt Press
Friday arvo. Phat Phriday went well, no major mess or vomiting but plenty of fun. The moment of drama came when a fight started nearby and half the kids swarmed over to look at it. What a horrible part of human nature that is? Fighting is sad but flocking to watch/encourage is worse. A teacher dealt with it and the crowd returned for the rest of the program which this week featured a Spam (TM) in a stocking on your head battle, Putting on a frozen T-shirt-way harder than you'd think, and a great game of Amoeba which ended with Lizzie dragging Jess onto/into a wheely bin! Let me assure you Phat Phriday is all good clean fun and no animals were harmed in the making of this lunchtime program.

Holt Press


Elijah getting an education in Aussie sports, Go Cats Pieta
Are not many Sparrows worth more than...?

Rockingham shopping centre

Here's the pool ball kinetic sculpture perpetual motion machine at Rockingham shopping centre. I'd need video and audio to do it justice. It's very cool.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm Back

I'm back. Back from the camp at Margaret River. Back from a trip to Perth for the Breakfast Club and some meetings. Back from a half day student services meeting. Back from the brink of despair now that Geelong have made the finals. Back from my 5 day non-blogging absence. The camp was tops, 20 kids, 4 staff and a great camp site (A big shed to be precise) everyone had a good time. A highlight for me was having my friend Demelza come down from Perth to help on the camp, she fitted in easily and did a great job, and we had a very interesting and stimulating discussion in the car on the three hour trip back to Perth on Tuesday night. She and Greg came for the weekend and he fitted a number of powerpoints in the house which will make life easier and enable us to get the new dishwasher installed, yeah baby!
Sunday arvo Phil and Julie, Pieta and Elijah came for a BBQ and it was really good to see them, even though they harangued me for watching the last 1/4 of the football while we ate lunch. (Geelong hung on to win by a point in a thriller, what was I supposed to do?) I gave Elijah, 2, a Cats car and taught him to say "Go Cats" so the afternoon was very productive. I look forward to hearing of the establishment of the Afghani chapter of the Geelong supporter's Club over the next couple of years. They (Phil and Julie) seemed less willing to accept the gift I offered Pieta, an alien voice changing megaphone! Phil is back in Afghanistan now which is pretty wierd! Julie and the kids go back in three weeks although Phil is pretty unhappy with his employment conditions with the U.N. so they may not stay as long as planned. Either way they'll be back in December for Christmas. Phil has written a book about the experience of Afghan refugees in Australia which is being published by Fremantle Press shortly. He told me the title which is based on an Afghani proverb with the same meaning as "Out of the frying pan, into the fire" but I can't remember what it is. Let me know if you'd like a copy, I can even get it signed. I saw Phil and the other members of the Breakfast Club again on Tuesday night at the Wembly Food Hall. The food was typically uninspiring but the company as ever, funny, interesting and challenging. We adjourned to the Vittoria Cafe for coffee and more talk in a quieter atmosphere, until the staff started to leave and we took the hint. I stayed the night at Hugh's place in Inglewood where he generously gave up his bed for me and went and slept in the lounge.
I spent Wednesday at some meetings, about Beach Mission and chaplaincy before doing some shopping in Rockingham on the way home. Rockingham shopping centre has one of the coolest things in the world, a perpetual motion pool ball kinetic sculpture. I first saw one in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York and was mesmerised and thought I'd never see anything like it again. To my delight there was another one, made by the same artist, at World Expo in Brisbane in 1988 and I was just as enthralled by it. Imagine my surprise then to discover a third example in humble Rockingham, more noted for it's higher than average population of Bogans than it's reputation for art, though to be fair there has been something of a renaissance in the "Swinging Pig" as the local Rotary Club refer to their home town, over the last couple of years with a lovely park and some attractive sculptures and an impreesive war memorial now prominent. Underscoring the bogan reputation though was the following snippet of conversation I overheard whilst in the shopping centre. A young mother (16 maybe) was surrounded by a group of teenagers ranging from 13-16, talking about her toddler in the pram she was pushing. Of the child, one of them proudly boasted, "She can say 'Up your arse'" which they all seemed to think was both impressive and hilarious. I did a double take, not believing what I'd heard, as they continued on with comments like, "yeah, if she doesn't like you she'll tell you" and "you don't like her do you?"
Sorely tempted as I was to talk to them about the inappropriateness of such language and behaviour in a child, I bit my tongue, despaired for the future of Rockingham, and moved on.