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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Cool School Race Camp Has Begun

Not much time to blog right now cause the camp has started. All going well so far.
You can follow our progress on the csrc blog, it's on my link list.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Busselton Ironman Triathlon

This is Ross who took about 15 hours to complete the event, only to be abandoned by his daughter! We gave him a lift back to his apartment at Abbey Beach Resort. It's about an 8km walk which might have just about finished him off!
It was very stirring watching people run down the finishing chute. This bloke's kids joined him for the last 100m.
One of these men is a hard working dedicated professional putting in the hard yards at yesterday's triathlon, the other one is stopping for a drink half way through running the marathon leg! Don't I look cool in that funky green shirt!
We went back down to the finish line at 10.00pm to watch the last few competitors finish, some 17 hours after they started. This bloke was the third last on the course and got a huge reception when he finished with a minute to spare until the cut-off time. It was amazing seeing their perseverence and determination to push themselves so hard for so long.

One of the riders on the bike leg, 180km along the foreshore of Geographe Bay, much of it into a headwind.
I spent 6 hours at one of the aid stations handing out water and ice to the triathletes, along with a team of about 70 other volunteers dispensing food, cola and high 5. It was lots of fun and great to be involved in a small way in such a big event.
I'll be back next year, as a volunteer. The Co-Pilot on the other hand is working on a five year plan to run in the Iron Man!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Turning the Tables

It's been a day devoted to the "4 times tables"

This is our new dining setting, bought from Hardly Normal this afternoon.
I'm a convert to square tables. Rypen Girl and Spark Boy have one and sing it's
praises for space and ease of conversation. This came in a box. I had to bolt the legs
to the table and screw the seats onto the chairs, relax, both operations
went smoothly, I even got to use my cordless drill! I know, you're shocked that I
own a cordless drill!
We even got it for $200 off the marked price. The Co-Pilot has been wanting a
new setting for ages so with my tax return having arrived this week, the timing
was right.

The old chairs have been recycled into the outdoor setting, along with the Jarrah table we bought at a garage sale for $50. Now I've got somewhere to sit
and eat breakfast on those beautiful Busselton mornings. As you can see it
needs a coat of oil to protect the timber from weathering. The Co-Pilot has
been using it for her sewing machine and craft stuff but it's better suited to
BBQs etc on the patio.
The old dining room table has in turn become the new sewing table and desk.

Meanwhile I've had my eye on a little wrought iron and mosaic outdoor
setting at Bunnings for a couple of weeks.
Mitre 10 had something similar but we didn't buy it because
A. It didn't have a price tag and 4 different shop assistants were unable to give
us an exact price.
B. The one who finally did, revealed it had been $300 but was now only $190! and C. It was wobbly and flimsy to sit on
Unimpressed we went for the one I'd first seen at Bunnings which was twice as sturdy and $50 cheaper!
It probably would be more practical if it had a table! Of course, it does have a
matching table and we could have had it if I'd realised it came in two boxes
instead of the one I paid for! Imagine a table in the same style just bigger
and higher!
I'll go back to Bunnings tomorrow to pick it up!


We test drove a Pulasr this morning butwere not that impressed. The Mazda 2 and Suzuki Liana were inaccessible and the salesman was a bit obnoxious so they remain undriven. We took the Yaris for another drive, the Co-Pilot became the Pilot this time, and Sport Boy and Techsta came for a drive too so we could check it for comfort and leg room. It passed those tests easily.
It has an unusual over-revving phenomenon because it has an electronic accelarator. I suspect we'd get used to that and work out how to drive it. Sport Boy was very keen on it. The Co-Pilot is still keen to look at a Honda Jazz but the Honda dealer is in Bunbury, 45km away. It will need to be an exceptionally good car to warrant buying it from there and thus necessitating trips to Bunbury for servicing. We're going to Perth on Tuesday, Rebel Daughter has a Dr's appointment and my camp starts the next day so perhaps we can squeeze in a test drive on the way through.

Sports Update: Tottenham finally got back on the winning list tonight, beating 2nd placed Wigan 2-1 away from home. I listened to it through the crackles and interference as I drove to Dunsborough in a lightning storm to pick up Rebel daughter tonight. The kids at Leavers won't be happy but following the trouble down there last night I'm sure the police will welcome the rain dampening down some of the booze driven antics and misbehaviour.

Meanwhile all the competitors and volunteers in the IronMan Triathlon tomorrow probably would prefer the weather to clear up! The swim starts in about 3 1/2 hours and the sky is still being regularly lit up by spectacular lighting bolts. My shift doesn't start till lunchtime so at least I won't have to brave the weather early in the morning.


Un Glad Wrapping Posted by Picasa


A less gentle method from the boys (of course) Posted by Picasa


Rolling the finished product across the basketball court Posted by Picasa


Glad Wrapping Posted by Picasa


Improvising to keep the crowd amused, balance wrapping paper cores for chocolate, how long until the IOC sees the light and includes this in the Olympics? Posted by Picasa


Gift wrapping a balloon while wearing rubber gloves, not as easy as you remember it Posted by Picasa


Commitment to the task Posted by Picasa


Extreme Gift Wrapping Posted by Picasa


The Dunny Paper Mummy Race at Phat Phriday  Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cool School Race Camp D-Day minus 5

I got a lot done today which is good. I've still got a lot more to do, which is not so good. I have to get the books ready for printing by first thing Monday morning so there'll be a couple of late night efforts before then.
Phat Phriday went well today and is unlikely to get me into any more trouble, even though the last event was the balance the octopus sushi on your head race.
The year 7 kids on orientation loved it! Pics of the dunny roll and glad wrap challenges to follow.

Hopefully tomorrow morning we'll still be able to squeeze in a couple of test drives so we can get a bit closer to deciding on a car. The Toyota Yaris is still the favourite. The Co-Pilot wants to try a Honda Jazz. We will consider the Mazda 2 and maybe the Suzuki Liana. Decisions decisions!

Rebel Daughter and the Lodger gave their resumes to 6 different businesses in town today which is a positive development. The work at the resort has dried up for some reason so RD needs something to keep her occupied and bring in some money.

Despite his optimism Techsta's computer repair was short lived, it crashed again last night when I was using the net. Must be something to do with the ISP. I'm ringing them tonight for live help, I'm impressed, their phone help service is available from 4.00am to 1.00am! The modem and filter appear to be OK so it must be something else!

Sport Boy played squash this afternoon, he's at his happiest when he's running around, playing sport or some sort of game.

The Heir won't be too happy! Despite being told I had an extension to take my tax assessment in they have suspended his Austudy youth allowance. When I rang they said bring it in (which I can do now because it arrived yesterday) and we'll re-commence it on the spot, good! Except when I finally got there after the madness of the day they were closed. That's right Heir, you heard it here first! Don't go spending all your money cause there won't be any more until I get to Centrelink on Monday!! Sorry about that!

Time to go home and help fold the junk mail while I watch Survivor.
Apparently they were filming an episode of the Amazing Race at Rottnest during the week! Shame I wasn't there to get some tips.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Techsta's Triumph

The Lawyer has put in a submission to the Holt Press Heirach (singular of Heirachy) requesting a change of title. He would like to be known as Lawyer/Techie. While this has a certain quaint charm, the schizophrenic tone of it bothers me. His claims are based on his having solved the problem I referred to in the previous post about the internot situation. (ie. when you want to be on the internet and your computer says Not!) Apparently he unplugged a few leads and plugged them back in again. Of course, why didn't I think of that! It had been working fine with the cords just the way they were but it took a 14 year old to try something so fiendishly simple and illogical! Well done son. In honour of this achievement I dub thee, Techsta and shall refer to you as such except in those instances where you insist on displaying Lawyer-like tendencies, eg. arguing, challenging authority, pleading insanity, and objecting.

It's camp camp and more camp around here with the big event just 5 days away. Making progress but I know the pressure is only going to build.

Can't really afford the time but I've agreed to be a volunteer at the Busselton Ironman Triathlon on Sunday. This is a BIG event, international athletes and TV coverage, one of the highlights on the Busselton calendar.
I'll be giving out food and drink to mad men and women running a full length marathon after already completing a 5km swim and 200km bike ride. (Alright, those distances may not be accurate but trust me, they're swimming/riding/running further in one day than the rest of us do in a year!)

Time to go home for dinner.

I got those ol' my computer don't work an' it won't let me use the internet blues

Now I'm sad coz my computer won't led me onto any internet sites!!! I was setting up another blog for the camp last night and something went horribly wrong!!!!!! Thankfully I can still work from work but I don't know how to fix the problem, (what's new?!) and that's a problem. Idropped my car off to get the windcreen replaced this morning and the girl on the desk belted the keyboard she was working on. I was stunned but didn't say anything. She commented to the boss, "This b#@&*% keyboard is not working again" and he replied, "Hit it!" "I already have" "Hit it again"!!! I know we've all wanted to at times but you don't normally get to see it firsthand!

Computers 1 Users 1

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Modem blues or joy

I'm a happy man! I seem to have fixed the modem problem which means I can be on the net and we can use the phone at the same time! I know that sounds like a given (with broadband) but it has been giving us grief. Don't laugh but I think I had the lines plugged into the wrong sockets. Hey! I said don't laugh!! That's unkind! Anyway, your ridicule is rolling off this little duck's back cause it looks like it's working. Here goes the acid test!

The Heir becomes apparent

Good news boys, I rounded up a posse and found me an heir. Seems the young 'un went and changed the durn spellin' on his blog, threw us all into confusion! But we found him, safe and sound, hidin' out at thepossehouse.blogspot.com
He's only young but shows plenty of promise.

The Heir goes missing

This is a note to The Heir, Your blog is not responding. Whenever I try and go to your site I get a message saying it's not found on the server. Have you done something to it? Messed around with the settings or something? Where has the possiehouse gone?
Hope you get back on line soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Gardener to the Rescue

As Rebel Daughter gets older, so do her friends, and that means they're starting to get their own cars. They visit often which is cool, they park on the front lawn, which is not, because they have crushed one of the reticulation pipes. I didn't realise this until I went to start the retic after the winter hiatus and it spewed several litres of precious H2O out onto the footpath and down the drain. I hate water wastage so I wasn't too impressed. Digging into the mud around the pop-up sprinkler I discovered the broken pipe. When it comes to gardening I'm good at recognizing there's a problem, and next to useless at fixing it. Don't get me wrong, I love nice gardens, I just don't know how to produce one, and I don't have much inclination to find out! Low maintenance, that's my idea of a good garden.
This being a gardening emergency, who else would I call but The Gardener, a mate who is so into gardening he's got a blog dedicated to the topic! Always ready and willing to help out a lesser mortal like me, the Gardener came round with his (green) bag of tricks to fix the problem. Dispatching me off to Mitre 10 for the pieces he'd need, The Gardener set about cutting, glueing and re-setting the broken pipe and within a few minutes it was all fixed.
Then he gave the retic box the once over to check whether I'd set it correctly, a couple of test runs and Bob's your uncle, it was all done. As you can see from the pic, The Gardener enjoys his work. You can keep up with all his handy tips and gardening advice by following the link on my sidebar. Thanks Gardener, you saved the day!

NB. I've requested that Rebel Daughter let all the local hoods know not to park on the lawn any more.

Family photos






Whenever we get the HoltPress family together I like to take photos to capture the moment in time. Our walls are adorned with many portraits tracing our family history, the growth of our kids and the special times when we've been together. Yesterday presented a rare opportunity with two sets of grandparents from different sides of the continent so of course I got the camera out. This is the result.

THE BRICK

Holt Press tends to centre on the stuff that happens in my life, family anecdotes, work experiences, my observations of the world around me. As such I don't usually post stories about other people not known to me. However my Dad, The Poet, sends me a few occasionally which he likes but I suspect come under the "Too Religious for Me" category.
This is one he sent recently.

THE BRICK

"If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

A young and successful executive was travelling down a neighbourhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed a kid who was there and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, ”What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"The young boy was crying apologetically. "Please, mister, please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my Brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay..."Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable,but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message "Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice to listen or not.

Thought for the Day:If God had a refrigerator; your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring. He sends you a sunrise every morning. Face it, friend - He is crazy about you!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Apology

I got into trouble today over something on my blog. Seems that someone who knows me and the work I do took exception to the cheezel incident I wrote about and passed their concern on to someone else with whom we have a working relationship. They had some valid concerns and we have discussed them. It was a spontaneous incident and it's fair to say that in hindsight (good old hindsight!) we shouldn't have done it because there were risks.
So, having been taken to task, I offer an apology to any and all readers who may have been offended or concerned and an assurance that we won't do it again! (Or if we do we certainly won't blog about it!)

Sport Boy turned 8 today and had a lovely birthday. Both sets of grandparents, MIL and FIL and the Bear Lady and Number 3, were able to join him for dinner and celebrate the event, a rarity in the Holt Press family. We took some lovely pictures while everyone was together. The Heir rang from England to wish him Happy Birthday which was a special treat.

MIL and FIL leave tomorrow to go home to Geelong, it's been a good visit, the Co-Pilot especially has enjoyed having them here. Sport Boy kept FIL busy playing table soccer and balloon tennis this afternoon and encouraging him with comments like, "You're pretty good at this Gramps!"

With the camp just over a week away I'm starting to get nervous about getting everything done in time. Need to get busy! On the plus side I had a big win this morning, setting up something for the camp that I've been thinking about for 2 years. Took many phone calls but I finally pulled it off and I'm happy, should give the kids a buzz when it happens. Can't explain now cause it's all a secret, but will happily blog about it after camp.

Sport Update
Disappointed with last night's soccer score, Spurs 1 West Ham 1, Tottenham's 3rd 1-1 draw in 4 games, the other being a 1-0 loss to Bolton.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Making a Good Impression, NOT!

As you may have heard, the Co-Pilot's parents have been in town for the last week. They live in Geelong so you know they're good people. They don't come west often, and as they're in their mid 80's, aren't likely to again. I try and get the CP to go over east about once a year for a visit. It's been good to have them around, though to be fair, I haven't seen that much of them, they're staying in a lovely guest house in town and the CP visits and drops meals off each day. Today however we planned to go out for afternoon tea at a very pleasant cafe called Harwoods about 10km out of town. That was the plan and a nice plan it was too.

Was it Shakespeare who said "the best laid plans of mice and men are apt to go astray"?

Quick contextual background update for you to more fully appreciate what happened next.

FIL is thorough. Someone, who shall remain nameless to protect my innocence, might even say he is fastidious. What is certain is that on a continuum of careful thorough planning and attention to detail, FIL and SIL are at opposite poles. (Do continuums have poles? Only in Warsaw perhaps but I digress)

Many years ago FIL drove the Co-Pilot and I to Melbourne in order for us to meet up with some Fusion people and go to Canberra for The National Gathering. FIL likes to be organised. The night before the trip he studied the street directory for about an hour in order to map out precisely the best and most efficient route and calculate the exact time required to make the journey. We arrived at the destination on time, as you would expect, but there was a spanner thrown into the works, the meeting place had been changed. It was now at the Fusion centre around the corner, about 1km further on.

No problem said I.


Problem said FIL! Where are we going?

Around the corner.

Then where?

Up the street a few hundred metres.

Hmmm said FIL dubiously

We got to the corner OK.
We rounded the corner without too much trouble.
But we made very little progress up the street.
It seemed that the further FIL got from the "precisely calculated but now superceded rendevouz point" the more difficult he found it to continue. We slowed, we crawled, we stopped.


Where is it?

That will be it up ahead on the left. I said, pointing at the Fusion sign.

You better go and find out.

Just drive up there it's only 100 metres.

The car remained motionless.

Nonplussed I realised I'd have to make the last part of the journey on foot.

I got out and walked up the street to find as I anticipated, the Fusion centre we were looking for.
I walked back and reassured FIL we'd found it.
He seemed unconvinced but reluctantly crawled the last 100 metres. We'd arrived.


I know some of you Blogladytes out there think I'm exaggerating. Trust me, I ain't!

Fast Forward back to today.

The Tarago is sick, the radiator is overheating, the head gasket may very well be cactus, but by rights, with some H2O on hand it should be good for a 10km drive to Harwoods.
(Is that the Bard I hear sniggering?)

FIL and MIL have as you may recall, very generously offered to buy us a new car. We've been looking, test driving, considering our options, looking forward to a brand new set of wheels, just in the nick of time!

We could have taken my Corolla to Harwoods. A more cautious man would have done so without question. I offer only in my defense the fact that Sport Boy had a friend, Jack over for the afternoon. Either Sport Boy and Jack came with us or I stayed home as there was no-one else available to mind them, Rebel Daughter was out and The Lawyer was in bed with a headache.

The Corolla only has 5 seats. We needed 6.

So we took the Tarago. To be honest I didn't expect any problems, we've been nursing it round town for a couple of weeks without a drama.

Remember Shakespeare?

As we drove I watched with a deepening sense of horror as the temperature guage marched relentlessly toward the red zone. It didn't creep there slowly, it charged with a passion worthy of a light brigade.

I faced the awful truth, I was going to have to pull over before the car went into melt down.

Did I mention that I am mechanically only two steps advanced from an ape on the evolutionary tree?

Did I mention, on another of those continuums, that FIL worked for FORD for 40 years, that he knows cars like Colonel Sanders knows fried chicken (and if you're thinking there's a dead-meat analogy in there somewhere you're right) and that his thoroughness extends to ultra devotion to detail in car maintenance, regular servicing, tyre pressure etc etc.
Now, those are indeed virtues, just not ones I am endowed with. Sure I know what engine oil is, I recognise it from the slick on my driveway and of course I know about water, I drink it and bathe in it regularly.

As I sat there marvelling at the radiator dilemma beneath me (it's a Tarago remember) I knew that FIL was not impressed. (Deliberate understatement)
We had some water with us which I cautiously added to the radiator, carefully avoiding the spluttering steam and eruptions from within the molten bowels of the engine.

I happily acquiesced to FIL's suggestion that we abort the trip to Harwoods and head for the safety of home.
As we drove the only thing distracting me from the again north-bound temp guage was the thought that my new car dream was fast becoming a nightmare. I knew as surely as I know that night follows day that FIL was sitting in the back seat thinking "I'm not going spend $20,000 to entrust a brand new motor car into the care of my imbecilic SIL!"

We had to pull over again on the way back to add a further 4 litres of water. As I attended to this, FIL asked the CP if there was a bus or taxi they could take to get home in?!!

This is Sunday afternoon in Busselton you realise.

We were less than 3km from home. Surely we could make it that far without either the engine or FIL erupting.

We managed to get there without further disaster, proving God is merciful. We even managed to convince FIL and MIL to come in for a cup of tea and a biscuit rather than go straight back to the guest house.
Of course I had to be punished but to his credit FIL was restrained as he explained the virtues of checking the oil and coolant, tyre pressure, and regular servicing.
He even engaged in the conversation about the range of options for the New Car. Apparently I'm not off the Christmas list, not yet!

Car shopping

I have some work to do and could have done some of it tonight if I hadn't got so engrossed in visiting people's blogs via Michele's Meet and Greet (see blog links). There are so many interesting people and stories out there.

I spent the afternoon in bed sleeping off a headache.

The Co-Pilot and I spent a few hours this morning visiting car yards looking at new cars, comparing prices and features and taking test drives. We're no closer to a decision. Weighing up safety features, economy and price then considering comfort and space make it a complex process. We'll need to fit the kids in comfortably, especially for longer trips, so it's no good just having a car that looks cool or is great to drive, it's got to do the job.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Cheezel Day

The Gardener and I have a catch phrase thing happening, whenever something funny, dumb or memorable occurs, someone says, "I'm blogging this!"

There was a supreme "I'm blogging this" moment at Phat Phriday today.

Sadly I didn't have the camera to capture it in full gory glory so words will have to do, though I'm thinking of recreating it just so I can convey the image and impact.

Today was Cheezel Day. Check your calendar if you don't believe me. Cheezels are to Australia what nuclear waste is to the rest of the world, a round yellow crunchy ring of a substance not found in nature and not normally eaten by humans. They are liberally laced with MSG which makes them seem like you want to eat more of them. I think the American equivalent are called Cheetos. They are not a patch on the original Aussie cheese junk food snack, Twisties, and their cousin, chicken Twisties, both of which are crunchier, resemble random animal droppings, and taste somewhat similar.

The Synoptic team were in fine form at this morning's planning meeting. No sooner had the Gardener suggested Cheezel Day than we had come up with 4 games to play, a list of ingredients and the prerequisite level of mess making capability.

It was, to all intents and purposes, a typical Phat Phriday, that is, fun but not off the radar.
Not that is until the final game, the cheezel and sauce challenge.

6 competitors each received a bowl of cheezels liberally smothered with tomato sauce (ketchup, try and keep up will you!). On my signal they started eating, some tentatively, some with gusto! Before long one boy had emptied his bowl and claimed the block of chocolate as his prize.
So far so ordinary but things were about to go up several levels.

Having lost the challenge and deciding he didn't want to finish the huge wad of masticated sauce impregnated cheezel mush in his mouth, another boy spat his mouthful back into his bowl.


Upon seeing this, inspiration fuelled by a temporarymadness flashed through my mind.


Picking up the bowl I said into the microphone, "OK kids, for $20, is anyone still hungry?"

In less time than it took for the crowd to finish groaning, a blonde boy stepped forward and said "I'll eat it!"
The crowd renewed their groaning, mixed now with a combination of disgust and disbelief.
"You understand the challenge? I checked. you have to eat the whole lot and if you do you get $20?"

"Yeah!"


Cries of No way, shock, horror, and aagghh! echoed round the arena. (OK it was only the year 8 quad but it was an act worthy of the Coliseum!)

Up he stepped. We'll call him Mitchell cause that's his name.

As he scooped up the first forkful the crowd's groans rose to a new level and as he put it in his mouth several year 8 girls feinted and two boys vomited! Or they felt like doing so anyway!

Mitchell got the first mouthful down in impressive fashion and scooped up the second. This one didn't go down quite as easily and he scooped up the next with a little less enthusiasm. His face contorted, he gagged a little then pushed himself to new levels of culinary fortitude to swallow it. One more to go, the crowd were howling, the teacher watching the whole event had a look of utter disbelief, the Synoptic boys were writhing in discomfort and I was waving the $20 note in front of Mitch to provide him with that little bit of extra encouragement he needed to get the job done. With a steely look and his eye fixed firmly on the prize, he completed the Hurculean task, displayed his empty mouth for verification, and waved the now empty bowl with a triumphant flourish.
The crowd roared, Mitchell accepted the 20 bucks and headed off in the general direction of the nurse's office and the Synoptic crew laughed long into the afternoon.
The Gardener summed it up most aptly, "That's the best 20 bucks you'll spend all year!"

Return Trip with Rebel Daughter

Just got back from Perth about half an hour ago after a long day. I don't normally go up and back in the one day but it worked out well. The very best thing about the day was that Rebel Daughter came with me. On the spur of the moment I woke her up this morning to ask if she'd like to come and to my surprise she said yes. We had a good day together, talking about some of the hassles we've been having, laughing and joking, discussing music, old bands like the Monkees, the Rollingstones and the Beatles,talking about taking opportunities like the camp etc . We had dinner together at that most utilitarian of restaurants, Sizzler, and then went to a movie together at Garden City. We saw Jodie Foster in Flight Plan, a thriller set on board an aeroplane. Not Oscar material but still enjoyable.
Rebel Daughter drove from Bunbury until the start of the freeway and did a pretty good job. The bunny hop take-offs are not as frequent though she still has trouble locating 3rd gear at times. She said her legs were like jelly when she got out of the car, a result of the tension and concentration I guess. It was a successful driving lesson, based on that most basic but accurate of indicators; we were both still alive at the end of it.
Two unremarkable but none-the-less memorable moments with RD that made us laugh. Driving down the freeway and calling out to a bloke in another car, with the number plates "The Spurs" a fellow Tottenham fan, solidarity brother!
And on the way home, burping after a drink of Vanilla Diet Coke and commenting to her that there had been a feint taste of onion mixed with chocolate mousse! She was suitably disgusted! It was nice to spend the day together, to talk, and laugh and get along.
T I M E I think they call it!

We briefly called in on the Co-Pilot's old friend Betty (the Cat Lady) to deliver a gift, the by-product of the garage sale and clean-out, our complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica! I've been keen to get rid of them for years and she has been equally keen on having them, the Co-Pilot has been the one unwilling to part with them, but she gave her blessing to the deal when we had the garage sale. We've got Britannica on CD ROM, and on top of that the internet makes any research project accessible instantly and easily. The Cat Lady was totally delighted with the gift and it was nice to be able to bless her as she has been very generous to us in the past.

The camp briefing at Carine seemed to go well, there were about 100 kids there, + a few teachers, and to my surprise a few parents who were keen to hear details of the camp and be reassured that their kids were going to be safe and well looked after.
There is a lot of information and detail to explain about the camp but the kids seemed satisfied and happy at the end of it and didn't have too many questions. I'm interpreting that as meaning I did a great job explaining it, and that it had nothing to do with the fact their bums were numb from sitting on the wooden floor for an hour!!

I caught up with Rypen Girl and they are happy for me to go ahead with the wedding and I in turn am happy to do it in a style according to their wishes.She's also keen to help out with the camp in any way she can.

When we got home I heard all the details about how well Sport Boy's oral presentation about soccer went at school today, the teacher and his class mates were very positive apparently, and even though she's clearly biased, the Co-Pilot said he did a great job. All the coaching and practice paid off. Yesterday morning when there were no family members available as a test audience he lined his neo-pets up on the bench and delivered the talk to them so that he could practice his eye contact! It added extra punch that he was able to finish with the news of Australia's victory last night to get to the World Cup Finals. His unrehearsed surprise finish went like this:
"I've got just 6 words to say to you, AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE, OI OI OI!!"

The international news bulletin today centres on the launch of another fine blog into the blogosphere, thepossiehouse.blogspot.com the creation of The Heir. I look forward to regular updates of goings on in Oxfordshire and beyond.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bad News Good News

My apolgies in advance for how this post looks. Blogger is chucking a wobbly and won't let me reduce the size of the font in the second paragraph. I only wanted to emphasise a couple of words but it has decided they all need to be yelled into cyberspace! Sorry!


I mentioned the car repairs we needed recently. My Corolla is running well now that the CV joints have been replaced. The Tarago went in for a tune up and a radiator problem. Initially the prognosis was good, just a thermostat housing, about $100, not too bad.

Alas, the bad news came today. The radiator is shot and probably the head gasket too!
Ouch! Lots of money!

But, as I said, there's good news.

MIL and FIL have told us they would like to buy us a new car!
...
a new car!!!
That last line should be read in a Larry Emdur voice and rise to a big climax!Wow! How exciting is that?!
So when I get back from Perth we'll go and do some checking out and test driving of cars.

Meanwhile, the Tarago sits and awaits it's fate! Of course, we don't want to spend money on it but we'll have to spend some in order to be able to sell it! Rats! Oh well!

Clearly we're going to come out way ahead on the deal. Thanks MIL and FIL!


Let's go shopping!!!!

After the euphoria

After the euphoria of Australia's historic victory to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, it's back to business. There was some RD related disharmony at Holt Press tonight, ah the joys and tribulations of families and parenthood!

I met with most of the Busso kids going on the camp to brief them about rules and conditions at lunchtime. There was a lot of information to communicate and they had lots of questions, just hope they took it all in and will be ready. Many of them have exams starting next week so their minds will be elsewhere. The camp is a great way to wind down after the stress of exams and a good kick start into the holidays.

I'm off to Perth again in the morning so that I can hold a similar briefing meeting with the kids from Carine, Churchlands and Duncraig, there should be about 120 of them. I'm excited about the number of kids coming on the camp, it will add to the competition aspect of it and also gives me a bigger budget to play with which is good cause I'm trying out some cool new ideas this year and of course they cost money. Then there's the usual expenses like getting 100 pizzas home delivered.

I know this camp would be a huge hit with adults. I'd love to run it as a Professional Development and Team Building exercise for a company or organisation. I'm sure there's money to be made in that area. Just need to learn how to market it and get a client on board!
Let me know if you're interested.

Hopefully I'll also catch up with Rypen Girl at the briefing so we can talk some more about the wedding. I need to make a decision about whether I can do it or not. I really want to but there are a few concerns we need to resolve first. Forgot to mention the fantastic Dhu Fish I had for dinner at their place last week, mmmmm Dhu Fish!

Sport Boy was very excited about the soccer tonight and even The Lawyer got caught up in the excitement and emotion. After Aloisi scored the winning goal we hugged and jumped and danced around the living room, and I cried a few tears!

The Heir is living and studying in England for the next 18 months or so and I think Fusion are planning some festivals and outreach activities at the World Cup so he may even be able to go, that would be cool. There are some interesting and unplanned parallels happening between him and I at the moment; I too lived and worked in England for a couple of years in my early twenties, and did the Youth Work course with Fusion, though in the reverse order to how The Heir has done them. I went to the World Cup Finals in Spain in 1982.
Who knows, maybe we'll pull something together for my long service leave and get over to Britain and Germany in 2006.
Mind you, I'm already taking The Lawyer and Sport Boy to Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games next year along with 10 students from Busselton.
Could be a very big year in sport!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

YES!!!

YES!!!!

Australia is going to the World Cup Finals!

Mark Schwarzer was the hero, saving 2 penalties to win the game for the Socceroos.

AWESOME !!!!!

Extra Time Full Time Report

It's a penalty shoot-out, the most dramatic and heart stopping of all soccer's wares!
What awaits the Socceroos and the nation, elation or heart-break?
It will be awfully hard to watch!

C'mon Australia!!!!

Full time report

It's extra time at Telstra Stadium with the aggregate score 1-1.
30 minutes to settle it or they go to penalties. Australia were the better team in the second half but couldn't capitalise.

If it's still level in half an hour the pressure will become unbearable!

Half Time Report

Half time Sports Update
Australia 1 Uruguay 0
C'mon Australia!

It's been a game dominated by fouls, with Uruguay playing the better soccer. Harry Kewell came on and was immediately involved in the move that led to Bresciano scoring to give the Socceroos the lead and level the tie at 1-1.

The Melbourne Cup on Triple JJJ

Makybe Diva won the Melbourne Cup a couple of weeks ago, or did she? Listen to the Triple JJJ race call and see for yourself.

Hot DVD

I got a copy of a DVD in the mail today, sent to me by Josh,(C2) from Carine. It is a short documentary/music video about the Cool School Race Camp made by some kids who were on the camp last year. It is brilliant! I'm amazed at how good a job they've done and how cool the effects are. The digital revolution in full bloom. I've got a briefing meeting with the Busso kids tomorrow lunchtime, I can't wait to show them the DVD.
The other thing about it that amazed me was how fat I was last year!!!! I looked like a blimp!
I can say that from the relative comfort of having shed 12 kilos since then. I'm not down to my ideal fighting weight yet but I look a heck of a lot better than I did on the DVD!

With football, volleyball and now squash all finished for the year I'm not getting much exercise, thus the need to clamp down on the treats. It's 5 past midnight so I can officially claim 3 chocolate-free days in a row! Not as easy as it sounds, trust me!

I hope we can get back into the indoor beach volleyball, especially as the weather is showing the first real sign of warming up. I was riding my bike to work too but since we moved the ride to work now takes about 3 minutes, not enough to hint at getting a sweat up. I may have to start riding the long way just to get some sort of exercise. Of course, I could give in to The Psych and go and try out-rigger canoeing as he's been suggesting. Who knows, I may even give it a go this Saturday morning!


Had a great phone call with my sister Mrs Farmer today, catching up on one another's news, some happy, some sad. We don't talk all that often but it's always good when we do. They're reaping the wheat harvest at the moment so it's all hands on deck and all systems go. I hope I might squeeze in a visit to SA after Christmas if I drive the Fusion bus across the Nullabor when the Co-Pilot goes to Tassie for the Foundations course.

Tonight I helped Sport Boy prepare for his oral presentation at school on Thursday. He's talking about soccer and using a couple of my things as props, one of my Tottenham shirts, and the soccer ball I received after coaching the Carine soccer team in a Grand Final one year. We lost 1-0 after dominating the whole game, that's soccer for you! The ball is signed by the members of Perth Glory soccer team. Sport Boy doesn't know it yet but I'm planning to give him the ball for his birthday next week.

Talking of giving things to sons, I finally remembered to send The Heir his soccer boots today. That's the good news, the bad news is that it was going to cost me $70 postage to send the book and tapes he requested with them. :( (Sorry son, you'll just have to join the library!) He'll be back for a few weeks in January so we can give him the tapes then in person! :)

I had a marathon session on the computer last night downloading SpyBot to get rid of lots of unwanted nasties on the computer. I haven't finished the clean-up yet but am happy to report significant improvement already. If you're having trouble and need good advice, do what I did, try Ray Shaw. Thanks to The Poet for the Dadvice.

By this time tomorrow night we'll either be celebrating Australia's long-awaited return to the World Cup Finals, or lamenting yet another lost opportunity, depending on the result of the game V Uruguay.
Go Aussies!

Sports Update
The New York Giants lost to the Minnesota Vikings 24-21 in a game that made history for all the wrong reasons!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Filter woes

Despite switching to broadband recently I'm still having trouble with the connection. Every time we have a phone call we get disconnected. We don't have to dial-up to reconnect so it's not costing extra like it used to but it's pretty annoying. I called the ISP to query it and the bloke said we needed a stronger in-line filter, although he suggested I do an over-night drop-out test first. That seemed to be all clear so I went to buy a stronger filter this arvo. Dick Smiths didn't have any so I tried the computer place across the street. The bloke there said he'd never heard of different strength filters! He only had one type so I bought it on the condition it did the job. Guess what? It didn't! aaaggghhh!!!

Chocolate-Free Day #2

I watched an interesting selection of programs on TV tonight. The Cult of the Suicide Bomber on ABC was chilling, tracing the advent and subsequent rise in popularity of the ultimate personal act of war and terror. The first suicide bomber was a 13 year old Iranian boy during the war with Iraq. 13!! He has become a national hero, an Iranian icon, his giant sized portrait adorns the side of buildings, they sell kids backpacks with his image (how ironic!) his family consider him a martyr and a hero! There is a huge cemetery full of "martyrs", people who have died for their God, not all suicide bombers of course, but people who have considered it their honour to sacrifice their lives in the process of killing others. Clearly this is a cultural mindset with which I am not familiar and could never understand.

Obviously there are centuries-old enmities and hatred and a long histroy of war and killing from which it is hard to see people on either side becoming free, or allowing themselves to give up on their "divine" right to vengeance.

Is life of less worth to them?

Or is it their conviction that "martyrdom" will guarantee them rewards in the life to come that persuades them to do it?

Tonight on the news a woman demonstrated how she wore a bomb into the hotel in Jordan in the most recent suicide bombing but it failed to detonate. Her husband though blew himself up and took 57 lives in the process.
Their hatred and resentment must be way stronger than anything I can feel or contemplate.

I switched over to watch Speaking in Tongues on SBS, an odd little chat and issues show starring clown prince and religious stirrer John Safran and his partner in crime Father Bob Reilly. They banter and snipe at one another and conduct cameo interviews with guests of various religious persuasions. One segment had them trying to set up a match-making opportunity for a member of the Druze religion, an off-shoot of Islam which has about 2400 adherents in the whole country. Safran and Reilly are a good match and should not be taken too seriously, most of what they say is intended to shock and stir controversy. I should say though that one of the funniest things I've ever seen was John Safran streaking through Jerusalem as a stunt on Race Around the World many years ago. He may be a stirrer or a heretic but there's no denying he's got balls!

The third show to catch my eye was a new series called Dragon's Den where budding business people, inventers and entrepeneurs pitch their product to a panel of multi-millionaires with money to invest, the Dragons. Not sure how good a show it will end up but it was interesting to see the range of characters having a go and some of the very impressive ideas and products they've developed. The one that I liked most was a tent cum stretcher on adjustable stilts that can be set up on any terrain.
The dragons showed why they've become mega-rich, rejecting several people's proposals because they couldn't get enough stake in the companies for their money, and "conning" a couple of naive young people into giving up controlling shares in their own companies and products. 30 pieces of silver comes to mind.

The contrast of values and lifestyle between the dragons and the suicide bombers was stark. Some people pursue money to the point of worship. Some people pursue worship to the point of death. And some people just want to take the piss out of everyone!

Today was chocolate-free day #2.

How about that CD Cat?

Sean's CD Cat I was talking about

Sculpture explained

Unfortunately I can't do much to increase the size or improve the quality of thes pics, they're scanned from the Carine High School newsletter but I wanted to post them anyway and add some comments by the artist. His name is Sean and he's in Yr 12 . I called in to my old school last week and happened upon their latest newsletter. I love kid's art and in my time at Carine bought or collected many pieces done by talented students, a practice I'm continuing at Busselton.
Along with the pics of some of his work Sean had this to say and I thought it was worth blogging.

"People always say I'm talented and they'd never be able to complete something like that because they just don't have the talent. Let me share a secret with you, they were all dead easy to make. I'm being serious, even though they look very intricate; all they are is 3D collages.
... Artistically I'm not very special, I went all the way from yr 8 to yr 10 producing very average work. I can't paint or draw very well and I hate clay because it never does what I want it todo. I found my talent in creating junk sculptures because it is in this area that the need for painstaking concentration and precision is not required, if you make a mistake then you can just tear it off and redo it without destroying the whole sculpture.
I didn't realise this fact till half way through yr 11... Some of you may feel the same out there, you may have a head bursting with ideas that you'd like to express somehow but no matter what you try, it doesn't seem to work for you. Ideas are all you need and from there it's a matter of receiving the right guidance from very capable teachers like Ms Beardman and other students whose works inspire you.
Lastly, never be scared of trying something, don't worry your life away wondering whether or not an idea will work because it absolutely will if you just set your mind to it. If you can't get it to work, get ideas from people around you and I guarantee you'll be able to work it out and don't listen to people who think something won't work because when it comes down to it they have absolutely no idea what you're thinking. If you have an idea lodged in the back of your mind nagging you, just do it and ignore worrying teachers that "have a feeling" that it won't work. No guts no glory. It's easy to do what I do, you just have to be prepared to take chances and follow ideas and I promise you'll come out on top."

Sean Avery

Pretty good advice and a motivating message I reckon. I'll find and post a picture of a Cat he made out of CD's which is stunningly good.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Disturbing dreams, possible explanations!

I opted for the 6.30 replay of the soccer this morning, although I only set the alarm for 10 past 7, figuring I could afford to miss the first half and watch any highlights at half time. As it turned out there was a lot of pre-match blah blah and when I turned the TV on it was only 4 minutes into the game. But, the alarm went off just in time, otherwise the dream I was in would have ended very badly; as I recall it I was just about to be thrown into a pit and executed by the mafia! I don't normally have any dealings with the Cosa Nostra so I'm not sure why they featured so dramatically in my dream, but if as has been suggested our dreams are a replay of the day's events, perhaps these two unrelated incidents may have been the cause: The first was an off the wall cartoon I saw in Saturday's paper showing a worried looking eskimo in front of an igloo holding a note that read, "Manook of the north sleeps with the whales", and the second was a graphic scene from a TV show I watched last night, "P.O.W." the WW2 prisoner of war drama currently showing on ABC in which an innocent man was summarily executed by the Gestapo in order to flush out a spy. Whether they were the influences that lead to my dream I don't know but I do know that I was pretty scared and subsequently awfully relieved when the alarm went off and released me from my unconscious drama.

We went back to the camp for the church service this morning, and to retrieve Sport Boy who stayed overnight with some friends Ossie and Jo. It's not unusual for me to get the nods at church and this morning was no exception but what was unusual was everyone else in our row struggling to stay awake as well, including The Co-Pilot who normally has more staying power than that.

When we got home I had some business to attend to, firstly getting a cover note on the car. Our insurance policy had expired and my attempts to get a cheaper deal elsewhere had failed, something to do with the speeding fines I've had in the last 5 years and the crash the Co-Pilot had a couple of years ago when she forgot to put her lights on one night and was hit by a woman coming out of a side street who hadn't seen her. We are thinking seriously about selling the Tarago because we don't need such a big car any more now that The Heir has left home, so I just took out 3rd party insurance.
The other business was a little more annoying and will prove to be quite inconvenient. The missing credit card has still not turned up, but evidence that someone is using it showed up on the computer last night when I was doing an internet banking enquiry. Someone stayed a night at a motel in Midland (Perth) at our expense, though I'm relieved they don't have expensive taste as it was only a $25 room. (Or maybe they only used the room for an hour!!!!) Later that day they took a taxi ride costing $33, in North Melbourne!!!
On the bright side at least they didn't pay for the airfare with our card, or it hasn't come up on the system yet!!!!

I had to cancel both cards, leaving us without a credit card for at least a week until replacement cards arrive. More annoying still is having to notify other parties such as our regular direct debitors etc and making sure we don't get any bounced payments since the account's been closed.
Hopefully we won't have any trouble disputing the transactions when I ring the bank tomorrow.

Business taken care of The Co-Pilot went to pick up MIL and FIL and I went to buy chicken, ham and bread to use for lunch. After lunch we all walked down to McKillop and I hit catches for The Lawyer and Sport Boy while the oldies looked on. Not sure if it was the pressure of an audience or the alignment of the planets but neither of them held many catches until I offered them a little monetary incentive if they could catch 5 or 10 in a row respectively.
In the end they negotiated a choc milk and an ice cream as their rewards and after many attempts finally secured their prizes. By this time the oldies had gone. With the pressure completely off Sport Boy managed to take 23 catches in a row before we finished. He paid a price for his feat though, getting a thorn in his foot that took "major surgery" to attempt to remove this evening, without success!

The Co-Pilot went to bed with a headache about 5.00 and hasn't re-surfaces so I fed the boys and did the dishes. Now they're in bed, Rebel Daughter and The Lodger are watching Grease on TV and I'm blogging. For what it's worth, despite it's iconic status and the familiarity of the music, I have never watched Grease. Even the fact that when I was young I thought Olivia Newton-John was the most beautiful woman in the world hasn't prompted me to watch it. More Holt Press trivia; some other things I've never done include having a drink of tea or coffee, smoking a cigarette or drinking whiskey.

Priorities

No time to blog now, House M.D. is about to start.
But before I go, a few more grammar gaffs that get up my nose.
Chooseday - Tuesday
Twenny - Twenty
Satday - Saturday

World Cup score

Uruguay 1 Australia 0
Could have been better, could have been worse. Australia dominated early, Uruguay scored a good goal and had several chances. Australia were lucky not to have conceded 1 if not 2 penalties. We didn't get an away goal which would have been invaluable.
It now rests on the return leg in Sydney on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Kissing for money at what price?

It's Telethon weekend in WA when local TV station Channel 7 raise money for Princess Margaret Children'e Hospital. They work very hard and do a fantstic job each year and will raise about $3 million by tomorrow night. It's a 24 hour live telecast with frequent coverage of a panel of celebrities and TV personalities reading out the donations people have pledged. So far so good. Sometimes people put a fun condition on their donation, eg. "we'll donate $500 if Chris Mainwaring will take his shirt off" or "We'll give $1000 if Basil Zempilas will keep his shirt on." I happened to catch a couple of minutes of the telecast when I went to get a drink just now. The pledge being read out was from a partcular family who had already made a generous donation but promised to quadruple it if 2 of the panelists would pash one another. (Pashing is Aussie slang for french kissing) Here's where it got more than a little dodgy. Both of the panelists in question are women. Straight women. One of them recently married. The male members of the panel were egging them on and the audience were adding to the pressure to "perform", after all it is for a good cause!
Both women looked uncomfortable and managed to talk their way out of the situation. Good on them for not giving in to the pressure.
What a shame that someone's generosity should come with a string attached that required other people to compromise their feelings and possibly their morality and to do so on live television.

Look what I found in the bargain bin of a book
disposal store in Perth. I thought of The Gardener
who is a Carlton Tragic. A better man may even
have bought it for him but I couldn't bring myself
to part with hard earned cash for something
so distasteful. Sorry!














MIL and The Co-Pilot enjoying the joke



















FIL thought it was funny too













Mrs Quiver showing off her new kitchen













The Full Quiver hamming it up in his fabulous shed.
There's a common saying that
"All Australian Blokes need a Shed" even those of us
who are not handy or mechanically minded.
I agree.

World Cup Hopes in Montivedeo

After last night's late return it was predictable that I slept in till lunchtime, my sleep interrupted at various times by the Co-pilot updating me on goings-on with MIL and FIL, the Lawyer smashing a plate on the kitchen tiles and later attempting to grind up ice blocks in the blender (why you ask? good question I reply) and Rebel Daughter bursting in obviously unaware of my presence and beating a hasty retreat upon discovering me still in bed. Oh and of course there was the hug from Sport Boy with the exciting news that he was going to spend the day at the church camp. When I got up I spent a quiet afternoon, unpacking, tidying up, reading the paper and talking to the Co-Pilot who had returned from having lunch at Dome with MIL and FIL. There's interesting news in the offing but as is usual, there'll be strings and hoops to negotiate before it happens.

We headed down to the camp about 5.30 and saw the last few acts of the family concert. I'm not sure what the earlier acts were like but the few we saw were predictable song and dance routines, all except for the 4 year old who did not one but two renditions of We Will Rock You, the chorus not the verses.
After dinner I came home to pick up Rebel Daughter, the Lodger and the Lawyer to take them back for the evening session at camp. We didn't stay too late, a combination of tiredness and tastes.

Tomorrow morning is a big day for Australian sport and soccer in particular as Australia play Uruguay in the first leg of the World Cup Qualifying tie, the winner of which will go on to play in the finals in Germany next year. Australia has promised much and delivered little over the last 30 years since our only appearance at the World Cup Finals in 1974, in Germany- an omen perhaps? Uruguay knocked us out in the same stage last time but the worst effort was the loss to Iran 8 years ago when the Socceroos lead 2-0 and were virtually there until two late goals equalised the tie for Iran and they went through on the away goals rule.
I'll probably get up to watch it in the morning, just not sure whether to go for the live broadcast at 3.30 or the replay at 6.30. I always prefer to watch sport live, and hate knowing the result before I watch if I can't.
The two teams meet in the return leg in Melbourne 4 days later, that will be a game that grips the nation.
I have strong memories of the 1974 World Cup, Australia lost to East Germany and West Germany who went on to win the cup, and drew 0-0 with Chile.
8 years later I was in Spain to watch the World Cup live and saw all 5 England games, a couple of Irish games and was lucky enough to get a ticket to the final between Italy and West Germany which the Italians won 3-1.
Let's hope the Aussies make it this time!

Just got home, late late late!

It's 3am and I just got home so shouldn't spend too long on the computer right now, BUT, it's hard to give up a blogging opportunity however brief or how tired I may be. Is this the first sign of addiction? The need to blog!
A cold bottle of VDC and a packet of chips sustained me on the road and I enjoyed doing something on this trip I haven't done in a long time, listening to some teaching cassette tapes from Calvary Chapel. I used to devour them years ago but have gotten out of the habit. Listening to some tonight reminded me how good they are and how necessary it is for me to listen to, think about and be taught the Bible. The Heir requested me to send some over to him in England which is what got me thinking about them again. My mate Skip (The Teacher) brought boxes of them with him when they moved to Australia and they were really helpful in my formative years as a Christian.

I spent half the day with The Full Quiver as we did more reconnaisance for the camp. I made him swear on the holy street directory that he would not divulge any secret information I revealed to him! It's the first time I've ever let anyone know any details of the camp, the destinations, the clues and my ideas and strategies before, it felt a little strange to tell someone but it was good to be able to discuss stuff and bounce ideas around as we made decisions. He's going to do some of the leg work for me up in Perth which will make life a lot easier. We dropped in for lunch with Mrs Quiver and the 4 kids whom she home schools. It was the first time I'd seen their new house since it was completed and they moved in. The house is great but what really turned me green was the shed! Makes my piddly little shoe box look even more inadequate!

I got nearly everything done for the camp that I'd hoped to do, just got to hear back from a couple of places about whether they've been given approval to participate by their superiors. Most people were happy to help.

I had some delicious Dhu Fish for dinner courtesy of Spark Boy who is an avid fisherman, in fact as I speak he is getting up to go fishing with a friend back in Perth! After my weekly dose of Survivor (I was stoked when Gary produced the extra immunity idol to save himself from being voted out) we sat down to talk about the wedding, or more specifically, marriage. It turned into a long and interesting discussion and left us with some unanswered questions about the wedding, what they want and what I can provide. This evolved into an intense conversation about faith, belief and God between Rypen Girl and I which in turn left us with more unanswered questions, or unresolved differences. Not in a heated way or with any ill will at all, just a wide ranging discourse about our respective beliefs and how they apply to marriage and life.
At the end, after some pretty heavy stuff was dealt with I reflected on how this particular relationship has changed and grown over the years. We met through working on Rypen camps together but it has grown into a genuine friendship, particularly since she and SB got together 2 years ago and engaged this year. They are a great couple and I feel privileged to be asked to do their wedding service.

In the midst of all the work and wedding prep I completely forgot that I'd agreed to run some games on the first night of the church family camp back in Busso tonight! Oops! I could have made it back in time but I'm glad I didn't try because the time spent in Perth was really valuable, and the camp will still be there tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Cold Calling

Feeling slightly annoyed coz the first part of this post just zapped off into cyberspace for no good reason other than a dodgy mouse. Rypen Girl has an oldish laptop with dial-up which compared to my new diet of broadband is painfully slow. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just happy to be able to blog even at the second attempt.

I've had a busy and productive day, and night. I spent the day making cold calls on businesses and organisations seeking their assistance with the Cool School Race camp. (It's a bit like the Amazing Race TV show, lots of problems, puzzles, challenges, secrets and mysteries to solve) I was recruiting people to be either detours or checkpoints and while some people looked at me in confusion as I explained what I needed, most people were happy to help and several said, "I wish we'd had things like this when I was at school".

I called into a school seeking their assistance with something for the camp and upon hearing I was from Busselton the lady asked if I'd known the boy who was killed in Bali (Brendan). I replied that I had conducted his funeral service. "That's why you look familiar, I saw you on TV." she said. This was a little spinny, but the next thing that happened was really amazing. As I started the car and drove off, Eye of the Tiger by Survivor from Rocky 2 came on the radio. the same song we played at the end of Brendan's funeral. He'd seen it recently and loved the song and had done a "Rocky running up steps impersonation" for Jess's amusement not long before he died.

Bali has been in the news again with the death of one of the main terrorist suspects following a police siege in Indonesia in which he blew himself and two accomplices up. It's hard to feel anything other than satisfaction and a certain grim pleasure at the news of his violent death. It's not necessarily a Christian attitude I know but I take some comfort in the thought that these evil doers are now facing justice at the hands of God. I don't think their misguided belief in martyrdom for Islamic Jihad will hold any water before God and I'll give up my whole faith if there's even the slightest suggestion they'll end up with a truck load of virgins or any other reward in eternity. (Why would any self-respecting virgin want to have anything to do with a terrorist/murderer anyway?!!) I'm going to visit Brendan's Dad in Shenton Park Rehab hospital tomorrow, I can imagine what his response will be to this latest news.

Tonight I was at the final executive team meeting for Augusta Family Festival which runs from Jan 1-9. We've been going to Augusta as a family for 10 years and the kids love it having grown up with it and meeting up with the same friends and families each year. The meeting went late but we covered heaps of ground and made a lot of decisions about things we're planning to do and how we're gonna do them. The Exec is a great bunch of people so we have a good time at the same time as doing the work.

Dropped in on BB The Accountant today to sign the 27 pages of my tax return. The receptionist where he works is a girl named Roseanne who I first met as a kid at a church youth group when I worked at the Chip Inn drop in centre. What spun me out was when she said she'd been working there for 17 years! Talk about make aperson feel old!! I called in to the zoo next and chatted with Leah, the mum of a kid who I knew at the same time, Ryan (the Stirrer) who went on to become a good mate. He is living in England and has just been granted residence so he can stay there if he wants to. The killer blow came when Leah said he had turned 30 this year! Both these kids were just kids when I met them, I mean young kids! and now they're in their 30's!!!!
I love my job but every now and then I wonder if I will reach a point where I'm too old to work with kids! Will they look at me one day and say, "get out of here old man!"

I've got another full day of camp prep tomorrow, hopefully with The Full Quiver giving me a hand. Tomorrow night I'm talking to Rypen Girl and Spark Boy about their wedding service. Relaxed and simple seem to be the themes they're after which suits me nicely. Not sure if I'll go home to Busso late Friday or wait until Saturday morning, depends how tired I feel after business is taken care of.