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Friday, June 30, 2006

Action from tonight's volleyball game

I refereed the B Grade game tonight with the Country Week girls team, their last hit out before we go to Perth. They are great kids, not highly skilled at volleyball but they show flashes of brilliance occasionally. They always have a good time and don't take it too seriously, unlike certain bloggers!

Our game tonight was against the top team 6 pack who are undefeated and well clear on top of the ladder but tonight we gave them a really good run for their money, taking a set off them for the first time and coming close to winning the match until nerves got the better of us in the closing stages and we missed a few gettable shots. It was a great game, probably our best so far and I felt like I played reasonably well. Stu and Ravo hit some great spikes which is the most enjoyable part of the game. Our setting was much better tonight which made a big difference.
We knew we had 6 pack worried because they called 2 time outs on us in the second set!

Tomorrow is going to be a VERY busy day, I'll be grateful if I survive it! and seeing as it starts in about 5 hours, I'd better get to bed. I've been painting for a couple of hours, time flies by when I get engrossed in painting! I think I'll take a couple of canvases to Perth with me next week so I've got something to do in my spare time!!

Scott Darlow will be at school tomorrow, performing for 3 year groups, an assembly, a lunch time and a concert tomorrow night if we can get some kids there, we've left the PR very late so I don't know what sort of response we'll get, hopefully the kids will love him when they see him at school and that will encourage them to come along.

There's a lull in proceedings at the World Cup at present, with just 8 games left and the quarter finals being played on the weekend. It's OK though cause Wimbledon has started so there's some late night sport to watch!
I want England to win the World Cup, unlikely I know but I've always barracked for them in the soccer. Ironically they play Portugal, the team I have in the sweep, in the 1/4 final, so I'm on a winner either way there. I'd be pretty happy if Portugal won the cup.

I hope Argentina beat Germany, not that I want them to win the cup but I want Germany to win it even less.

Brazil V France is a mouth-watering prospect, I'd rather France win that one, Brazil have been too dominant for my liking.

And Italy Ukraine is an each way bet. I've got Italy in the minor sweep but I'd rather Ukraine win. If England can't win the whole thing I'd prefer a team who've never won it, but with them out-numbered 6-2, that's unlikely as well!

Did you know that The Men's Wimbledon Final and the World Cup Final are on the same night? Now that's what I call a good night of television!!!
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2am at the retreat and Rod decides to do the vacuuming. Stu decides to go to bed. Rod decides to attack Stu with vacuum cleaner.

Stu decides it isn't funny.
Rod and I disagree and have the photos and blog post to prove it. Posted by Picasa

Live action shots from the Big Trivial Pursuit Game at the retreat.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006


After Rod and Stu rudely tipped me out of bed at 8.30 this morning we spent the morning talking about Synoptic and the things we're trying to do in working with teenagers at the school and in the churches. We had stayed up till about 2am, spending a couple of hours playing a very funny game of Trivial Pursuit. I won but the boys complained that their questions were too hard or too old or both and suggested I got the easy ones! It needs to be said that Trivial Pursuit should not be taken too seriously, that it is after all a game devoted to the recollection of trivia. I have a mind for just such information and a competitive nature, making me the ideal type of person to play Trivial Pursuit. I normally only get to play once or twice a year, the highlight of the Trivial Pursuit calendar of course being the Annual Men V Women showdown at the Chaplains retreat in October. This has been an epic battle waged over a number of years and I was sad to miss it last year when I was away in Melbourne at the time of the retreat. I will be back this year bigger, keener and more trivial than ever.

I took a canvas and my paints last night, intending to paint as we talked, but I couldn't get any inspiration and as I was using a large canvas I didn't want to waste it or mess it up. The boys stirred me up about my lack of productivity but we artists are used to ridicule and being misunderstood!!! It was good to spend some time reflecting and evaluating the effectiveness of what we've been doing and where we're headed. We agreed that The Big Brekky is going well and giving us a good point of contact with some kids and the beginnings of some relationship building and that the changes we've made to Phat Phriday this term have been successful. We wanted to build more of a sense of connection and belonging for the kids, in the hope that they would develop some loyalty to the program. We've achieved that by running a teams competition with a major prize as the incentive. There is a real sense of the kids being committed to Phat Phriday, in fact when I went to buy petrol the other night I was served at the till by one of the kids from school who is in one of the Phat Phriday teams and he told me how determined he is for his team, "The Silly Sauasages" to win! They will have to overcome "The Slightly Overcooked Chickens" to take out the prize in the final round this week.
I got back to school after lunch and prepared for the Country Week coaches meeting, our last before we leave for Perth on Sunday. It was a frustrating meeting in that I went into thinking we were nearly ready and most things had been done and I emerged out of it with half a dozen new tasks to complete, some of them be tomorrow lunch time! There are so may details and arrangements to be made or confirmed or decided on, and now only two days left to get them done. Just as well several of the staff have been to Country Week numerous times and so are able to handle all the questions and details that need sorting out. I boldly suggested a new program for Sunday afternoon when we arrive in Perth but now am a little daunted by what I need to do to make it happen. We're having a BBQ and going ice-blocking at the Freo war memorial hill. Ice blocking involves sliding down a grassy hill on a big slab of ice with a rope handle embedded in it. It's good fun and the kids have neverdone it or even heard of it before so I'm sure they'll enjoy it. In the meantime I need to buy and prepare enough food to feed 150 people! 450 sausages for a start! Just got to hope it doesn't rain!

And as if my life wasn't busy enough right now, on Friday I've got Scott Darlow coming to do a day of presentations at school. Scott is a great musician and gifted story-teller who uses his experiences as an Aboriginal Australian to talk to kids about life, relationships, equality and harmony. I had Scott at Busso last year and he was brilliant, the kids loved him so I'm really looking forward to having him back, although the timing could certainly be better! I've arranged for him to sing at the whole school assembly for the Country Week team on Friday morning which is a great opportunity to then promote his concert on Friday night. It's going to be a very busy day, starting with The Big Brekky and finishing with The Darlow Show that night. I'm so glad I'll have Saturday to recover before heading off to Country Week!!!!
Or so I thought until Carolyn informed me that Sport Boy's soccer game is at 9 o'clock on Saturday, at Margaret River!!!

Just as well Country Week is the last week of term and I'll have the holidays to catch up! Sort of!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Retreat tonight

Holt Press
It's been a busy day trying to get things finished and ready for Country Week which starts on Sunday. I'm the CW Manager this year so a lot of the organisation has been up to me. We've got 130 kids and 15 staff going to Perth for the week, playing all sorts of sport all day and going out to various places in the evenings. I'll be blogging on the run from there!

Meanwhile I've got a Synoptic retreat tonight and tomorrow. Regular readers will remember the Saga of the Kombi from the Dark Side , the epic story of our last retreat. We're playing it safe this time round and staying local at the 4 Square camp site on the Holy Mile. The weather has turned ugly today so it's going to be a cold wet night, hope they've got a fire!!
Not sure what we've got in store but it's always good to get away with Rod and Stu for a little time out.

The Italian Job


Ripped Off!!

Australia were the victims of daylight robbery at Kaiserslauten tonight after another poor refereeing decision in the last seconds of the game gave Italy a penalty. Totti scored and the game was over. Australia had dominated possession, largely due to Italy having been reduced to 10 men following a red card in the first half but could not find a way to goal. Italy’s renowned defence did the job, holding the Socceroos at bay, and the Aussies didn’t have the firepower to finish them off.

Lucas Neill who had been heroic all night was dreadfully unlucky to concede the penalty in the 94th minute.

Australia have been brave and unlucky, their World Cup is over but their reputation has grown immeasurably having shown themselves worthy to compete on the world stage in the most popular game on earth.

Sport Boy was almost in tears at the end, Jordy was pronouncing threats against the officials, we were all stunned. Australia had looked so likely to force extra time, how ironic that in the end it was won and lost on a penalty, but not the penalty shoot-out many had predicted.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Beckham Special wins it for England

England did just enough to win thanks to a brilliant David Beckham free-kick to score the only goal of the game. That puts them through to the quarter-finals to play the winner of Portugal and Holland, both of whom have been impressive to date and will provide England's toughest test yet.
Rooney showed flashes without truly threatening and he had to work extremely hard in a lone role up front for England.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

0-0 England V Ecuador

England are lucky still to be level at half time in their 2nd round match with Ecuador, with Ashley Cole to thank for his desperate chase back and timely deflection after a John Terry mistake opened the door for the South Americans. England have looked unlikely to score despite having more of the possession while Ecuador have looked dangerous on the breakaway.

# 42

Do you recognise this one Pop?
It's the painting I did at Noosa which I've rehabilitated. Considering how it looked then I'm really pleased with how it's turned out and Carolyn really likes it, so much so that it's hanging in our bedroom.
For those of you who weren't at Noosa, I messed this up by painting it crooked and off-centre. At that stage it just featured the two large off-set squares. The design was ok but the positioning made it look very odd. I left it for a few weeks before trying to fix it. Technically I suppose it's still yours Pop, if you want it, but judging by our conversations I suspect you'll be happy to leave it where it is!!
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# 41

I did this one tonight. I used a different canvas than normal and it was much rougher to paint on, almost like sandpaper which meant using a lot more paint than normal too. After the mistake I initially made with the previous picture, # 42, I used string to finad the centre of the canvas and radiated the design out from there. Carolyn really likes the thick and uneven lines, I'm not sure why.
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Quiz Night last night

I can't resist a quiz night, even though I often come away annoyed and frustrated. On the pro side they are a cheap night out, they raise money for local causes and groups, it's a chance to get together with a group of friends and there's a reasonable chance you'll come home with some prizes.
But, there are risks too!
Last night for instance 3 of the most common quiz night mistakes were committed.
1. They started late. Advertised for 7.30 the first round of questions didn't commence until 8.15, 45 minutes of waiting time is way too long. Subsequently they finished late too.
2. They never got on top of the noise, it was very noisy all night making it very hard to hear. A few people tried, in vain, to get people to quieten down. Considering the importance of being able to hear what's being said, excess noise at a quiz night is a no-no.
3. They took too long. The rounds weren't too bad, with only minimal interruptions but the time between rounds dragged and then they stopped for a 20 minute break half way through! Why!!
Come the end of the quiz night they then kept us another half an hour before finally announcing the place-getters and prize winners. By then, people just want to be able to go home, not hang around on a cold night in Busselton. There was a (noisy) auction and various raffle draws all of which pushed my frustration level up. Sorry if I sound like I'm whingeing but as a quiz night afficianado, and someone who has run many quiz nights myself, I'm not unqualified to make these criticisms.
Despite these failings we did have a good night and we finished 4th.

Try this question which had all of us stumped.

What is a nictating woman doing?

Answer in comments. Posted by Picasa

Great save Keeper! Not every shot went in today, just most of them!

Unfortunately the MR kids had no real idea what they were doing and no organisation or strategy which meant they could never get the ball out of their own half. In the end I started to coach them as well, telling them where to kick the ball.
While watching Geelong thrash the Dockers last weekend was very enjoyable, watching one team of 9 year olds thrash another team of 9 year olds is not fun at all, even when you're coaching the winning team. Coaching the kids at this age is as much about developing attitudes and values as it is about skills. Making sure they don't gloat or brag, that they play fairly and with respect, and that they don't over-emphasise winning are all vital. That's one of the reasons there is no ladder or Grand Final or Champion team in this age group, they're just encouraged to play for fun and fitness.
There'll be plenty of time for competition and trying to win the older they get. Posted by Picasa

Samuel fires in another shot, this time it hit the target

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Samuel celebrates after scoring one of his 4 goals of the game

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All eyes on the ball as Cornerstone attack again.

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Sport Boy's 2nd goal in today's game

The writing was already on the wall by then, check out the girl playing for Margaret River in the yellow, head in hands. Even Samuel is looking disinterested although Jacob is celebrating. I switched most of the kid's positions at half time to give everyone a fair go. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Post-Goal celebrations.

Sport Boy scored 2 goals and Cornerstone won 12-0, the game wasn't close!
For his reward I put Sport Boy in goal in the second half, he didn't touch the ball once! I had to encourage him to stand up! Posted by Picasa

Sport Boy shoots for goal in this morning's game V Margaret River Storm.

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I forgot to buy fuel before we got on the freeway to come home last weekend, and subsequently ran out of petrol!!

Thankfully the couple in the black 4WD stopped and gave us a lift to the service station then back to the car so we could get back on the road after our big weekend in Perth. Sport Boy needed refuelling as well! Posted by Picasa

Chris and Sport Boy

While in Perth we had lunch in Leederville with our friend Chris who was down from Halls Creek for some treatment on her foot which she injured while climbing Mt Kosciusko. Posted by Picasa

Ned Kelly inspired sculptures

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Conventionalist Art!!

That is: art on display at the Convention Centre! Posted by Picasa

Some of the paintings on display at the Convention Centre while we queued for the Amazing Human Body Exhibition

I liked some, I didn't like others but what made the biggest impression on me were the prices, nothing under $1000 and most in the $2,000-$4,000 range.
A lot of the abstracts were unimpressive to me, but who am I to judge? No doubt many people are unimpressed with the paintings I'm doing. Art in the end is subjective, and it's value determined by the market. If someone is willing to pay $4000 for a painting then it must be worth $4000, at least to one person, and as it only takes one person to buy a painting, or sculpture or whatever, then that person effectively sets the value and worth of the piece.

The classic art story in Australia revolves around the Labor government's decision to buy Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock for about a million dollars in the early 70's. Decried and despised by many, loved and admired by many others, Blue Poles has now risen in value to somewhere around the $100,000,000 mark!! and is a major attraction at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra.
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