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Sunday, November 19, 2006

I've Moved

The new address for Marcus' Blog is www.holtpress2.blogspot.com

Just click on the link and it will take you to my new home.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Blogs They are a Changin'

I've just tried to switch to Blogger Beta for the second time, and was unsuccessful again. It appears my blog is too big. I guess size does matter.
I have created a new version of Holt Press with the new version but won't be able to transfer my history to the new blog which is a real shame. I will leave a permanent link on here so that my readers (all four of you) can find it.
It is still called Holt Press but the URL is different.
www.holtpress2.blogspot.com should get you there.
Well, here goes!
See you on the other side.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It's the Weekend! Yeah!

Holt Press
7.30 Big Brekky, reasonable crowd, cooked eggs on barbie for first time.

11.00 Funeral at Dunsborough, quite different to Wednesday's, very sad

1.00-4.00 Recruited camp staff, 5 knock backs, three acceptances (2 definite, one conditional), phone calls and emails

4.00 Outward Bound meeting, sharing ideas about Amazing Race style camps.

6.00 Start cab shift (earnt over $250 for the night) put up with usual array of drunks, yobbos and people you wouldn't want to take home to meet your mother, with a reasonable scattering of nice/normal/sober people thrown in, including three older ladies from Geelong here for a Heritage Rose conference (can you believe it?) Recommended the Gardener's Blog! Always nice to have Cats fans in the cab.

4.00am Finish shift, resolving to come home and go straight to bed.

4.15 Count up the night's takings and prepare paperwork.

4.30 Blog!! as the first light of dawn breaks through.

4.45 In bed, sound asleep, hopefully!

Not driving tomorrow night so have rest of weekend to rest and catch up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Laundry Makeover Complete

Modest as our laundry may be, it is vastly improved since I completed the makeover tonight. The cupboard I assembled yesterday has replaced the original which was twice as big. The dryer has been relocated above it, it used to be on the right above the trough and was a head hazard. I put up the duel shelves and even hung the cottage craft calendar. Carolyn's happy, not only because it's safer but she also has a flat surface to put clothes and baskets on and moving the dryer has let a lot more light in. All in all a very successful and satisfying project and achieved for just over $200.

I spent most of today working on the finances for the camp prior to a teleconference to get some approvals on things we wanted to do, and it was all thumbs up and green lights which is a relief.
The other very good news is that I have secured a venue for campsite 2. I'd struck out a couple of times so was very keen to get it settled, I was very relieved when I got the confirmation.
Campsite 1 is still not finalised yet which is a little frustrating but I'm not too worried, I'm waiting to hear back from one venue and there are still several other possibilities if that falls through.

I didn't enjoy watching Sport Boy's basketball game this afternoon, even though they won. I do not like basketball generally, but I especially dislike it for kids because of one key reason; because of the way kids play it (selfishly) they do not pass the ball and it is quite possible to go through a whole game and not get the ball and thus be a spectator. Unlike most other sports where either the ball is hit to you, eg tennis, volleyball or you can go and get it yourself, eg. football, soccer, in basketball you are completely at the mercy of your team mates, you can't just go and get the ball (unless you're tall, another reason I don't like it; because it's a huge disadvantage to be small whereas in most other sports your size is not critical). So, if your team mates don't pass you the ball you just run up and down the court the whole game becoming more and more frustrated. Which is pretty much what happened to Sport Boy this afternoon. He wasn't happy and neither was I!
Later on, when kids are old enough to know they have to pass the ball around and play as a team it improves marginally, but it's still not a good game. I agree with the Coodabeenchampions who refer to it as The Nonsense.
I've probably alienated a basketball fan out there somewhere, but I don't care, I know I'm right!!!!!!!!

The new series of The Amazing Race started tonight which always makes me happy. With the CSRC coming up, watching The Amazing Race is like professional development for me! Only 20 days till the start of the camp, got to pick up the pace!! Posted by Picasa

Purchased today, Assembled Tonight, That's Impressive!

Well, it is for a no tool-guy like me! For Birchy it would be a 5 minute kob with his eyes closed but for me, correctly interpreting and following instructions and wielding tools is a challenge! See post below for background info about the cupboard!
And No, this is not a slow news day at Holt Press, quite the contrary, I just wanted to celebrate a little masculine achievement! Posted by Picasa

Me in Action at Meelup this Morning

I'm pleased and relieved to report that the funeral service went very well this morning. The setting was stunning, the weather was perfect and the mood and tone of the service was great, despite the obvious sadness of the occasion.
Nathan's family requested people to wear bright colours, or at least not dress in black, so I wore my brightest shirt, a lovely yellow number. Further to the casual mood was the relaxed footwear standards that normally apply at funerals, thus I am to be seen sporting my blue rubber thongs which from memory cost me $5.99 at Big W.
Not surprisingly there were many people there and after the service I received several compliments on the the job I did which was a relief, I'm always a little anxious about how it will be received, particulary my part of it via the message. A few people said it had really helped them, had put some things in perspective for them, or had been touched or challenged by it.
I'll hopefully post a copy of my message tomorrow once I've let Nathan's family know about it.
The committal in Bunbury this afternoon wasn't quite as tight or smooth, I basically winged it because A. none of us had really thought about or discussed what we wanted to happen and B. never having done one this way before I had no idea what I was doing! It was short and simple but also very emotional, being the last chance for Nathan's family to say goodbye. They stayed for quite a while at the end. I can imagine it would be very hard to leave knowing this is truly the final farewell.

After everything was over I needed some time out so I got a little retail therapy, buying some paint for me and a laundry cupboard for Carolyn, don't tell me I'm not romantic! She's been wanting a new one for ages, a smaller one so that when we replace the bigger one I can relocate the clothes dryer from above the sink and she can stop banging her head against it when she does any hand-washing!
I even managed to assemble it when I got home and apart from a slightly misaligned door it looks pretty good!

I bought some garlic King Prawn noodles for dinner, and got some more to bring home for Carolyn and the kids, then went and saw Clint Eastwood's new movie, Flags of our Fathers, based on the iconic photo of American soldiers hoisting the flag at the battle of Iwo Jima. It was good but not great, but one part was particularly interesting, concerning one of the men involved, Ira Hayes, a native American (Referred to as an Indian in the film which was set in pre PC times) who was a reluctant hero and an alcoholic. The reason it's interesting is because there's a song about Ira Hayes on one of the Johnny Cash albums I bought recently and now it makes a lot more sense. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Another Big Day Ahead

Tomorrow I'm conducting Nathan's funeral service. I spent much of today preparing for it and have just finished the final draft of my message. Carolyn read the first one and made some helpful suggestions and helped me soften and lighten the tone of the first draft.
The funeral is at 11.00 followed by a wake, also at Meelup Beach, then later in the afternoon the committal and cremation in Bunbury at 4.00 so it's going to be a long and intense day. I may have said that in my previous post but it's no less true for having been said twice if I have.
The picture above is the country week soccer team I coached last year. It features Nathan's younger brother Vaughan. It's going to be a tough day for him and the other two boys tomorrow and for their parents.
I hope and pray I never have to go through this experience with any of my own children.

On a much lighter note, Tottenham ended a 33 game streak without a win against Chelsea when they beat them 2-1 at White Hart Lane on Sunday night. The signs suggest Spurs are improving and their season might just be turning around.
And the NY Giants beat Houston to stretch their winning streak to 5.
A good week for the Holt Press teams! Posted by Picasa

For the visually cahllenged

Holt Press
Before anyone complains, yes I know the font in the post below is hard to read! It looked better on Word when I previewed it but on Blogger everything is reduced in size and thus it's become hard to read.
For those not prepared to persevere with it, here it is in plain text!

I visited both the families of Nathan and Bianca today, the young couple killed in the Dunsborough fire. They were not as desperately sad as they were last week thankfully and have received a huge amount of support and care from the community. The outpouring of love toward them and their children has given them a great deal of comfort to help them cope with their grief.

I spent about an hour with Nathan’s family preparing for the funeral service on Wednesday morning. It’s being held at Meelup, a beautiful local beach, and will be a relaxed and informal event. I’ve been told to wear my best thongs!

Most of tomorrow will be spent preparing and writing. It’s an important job and I always want to do it as well as I possibly can, a funeral is a once only chance to farewell the person whose died so I want to get it right.

Family Visits

I visited both the families of Nathan and Bianca today, the young couple killed in the Dunsborough fire. They were not as desperately sad as they were last week thankfully and have received a huge amount of support and care from the community. The outpouring of love toward them and their children has given them a great deal of comfort to help them cope with their grief.

I spent about an hour with Nathan’s family preparing for the funeral service on Wednesday morning. It’s being held at Meelup, a beautiful local beach, and will be a relaxed and informal event. I’ve been told to wear my best thongs!

Most of tomorrow will be spent preparing and writing. It’s an important job and I always want  to do it as well as I possibly can, a funeral is  a once only chance to farewell the person whose died so I want to get it right.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Night in Sleepy Town

Holt Press
For regular visitors (G'day Pop) who may not scroll down, I've added some explanatory text to the Jack and Harry picture from the other night. A plug for me and a plug for them.
It's Sunday night and the weekend is winding down. I slept in this morning while Carolyn and the kids went to church.
Watched the episode of House I recorded on Wed night.
Had a phone call from Walter who has arrived back home in Bridgetown following his part of their big adventure to Germany and America. Mum has stayed on till Thanksgiving and the snow arrives. He had a great time but his back was giving him a lot of trouble so he's glad to be home. He's since had an injection for it and feels fine again.
I spent the afternoon on roster at the gallery. None of my paintings sold but I did sell several other items, a pottery dish and some stuff from the wood turners, while I worked on a painting.
My production rate has slowed down of late, coinciding with the start of driving the taxi I guess.
I had a little nana nap this afternoon when I got home and was listening to Australia play the West Indies in the Champions Cup Final so I may do some more paiting now.

The Maxi Taxi

Holt Press
I drove the Maxi Taxi tonight, a 14 seat min-bus used to take bigger groups of customers.
It tends to get the big jobs. An average fare around Busselton in a normal cab is about $10.
Tonight I had fares of $64, $69, $70 and $125, the last one being to take a group of young women to Bunbury so they could go night clubbing.
$125 is a lot for a taxi fare but split between a bunch of people it's not so bad.

The customers were a lot quieter and more civil tonight compared to normal.
Last night was flat out because of the show, tonight was much quieter though I still made a reasonable amount of money, courtesy of the big fares.

We went back to the show for another couple of hours this afternoon so Sport Boy and Sophie could get some show bags and go on a few rides. Letting them drive the dodgems was a near suicide decision, neither of them had any idea what they were doing, and Carolyn and I as the hapless passengers may well need visits to the physio this week to deal with the whiplash caused by a couple of head on collisions!!
We survived but only just.
Carolyn got to have a go at the ping pong ball in the clown's mouth on sideshow alley and came away with a soft toy key ring for her consolation prize.
I had entered some paintings and photos in the show competitions but was disappointed not to win anything, not even a highly commended. Worse, because my photos were framed "wrongly" they were not even hung in the competition!!!! And my sculpture made with parts of our old microwave was beaten by a pair of metal high heels in the metal and wood section. Local bias and favourtism must have played a part in the results I'm sure!

Jordy had his final performance of The Pinafore Pirates this afternoon, not sure how it went but I know he was looking forward to the pizza party with the cast after the show.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sport Boy with his heroes Jack and Harry at the Busselton Show

  Posted by Picasa
When we went to the Show last year we met Mervyn Davis, author of a book called "Jack & Harry" which he and his brother Barry were selling. They travel around the country to shows and fairs selling the book which tells the story of two boys who run away from home after being falsely accused of stealing a bike and end up having an amazing adventure which takes them through the heart of Australia, all the while with their frantic parents worried sick about their whereabouts and well-being and their attempts to find them. Merv did a good job convincing me of the book's merits so I bought it and over the next couple of months read it aloud to Sport Boy at bed time. (Ironically, the credit card payment I made to buy it caused me a great deal of consternation. When my statement came it had a mystery entry of $25 to a motel in Midland on it. I had never stayed at the motel and could not understand how it came to be on my account. I contacted Visa to query it and ended up reporting it as fraudulent. A couple of months after that a receipt turned up which I had indeed signed and was in fact the payment for "Jack & Harry". Turns out Mervyn's credit card payments were made into his business, a motel in Midland!!)
Sport Boy and I both loved the book, as did Jordy when he read it, and just the other day SB asked me when I thought the sequel would come out? The first book ends in such a way that a sequel is required.

Fast forward to Friday night and our visit to this year's show and who de we find but "Jack & Harry", literally as I'll explain in a moment. Merv and his brother Barry remembered us, asking me about computing as I had told them about my blog last year. Sport Boy immediately asked them when the second book was coming and Barry said that he was locking Merv away in a room early next year to force him to write the next book, as well as the script for a "Jack & Harry" movie which is planned.
They both have deep gravelly voices and look similar as you can see. Barry divulged to us something he hadn't said last year, that "Jack & Harry" is their story, it's about real life events that happened to them as kids! That made it all the more special.
Barry then said to Sport Boy, hang on mate, I've got something for you, and proceeded to give him a "Jack & Harry" hat and T-shirt, which he immediately put on and hasn't taken off since!
Carolyn took him back later to say goodbye before they left the show (I'd left by then to start my cab shift) and we dropped by to say farewell on Saturday afternoon as well. Apparently they invited Sport Boy to come and visit the set when the movie is being made!
Two lovely Aussie blokes, selling their life story in a typically Aussie way, travelling round the country in a van, sharing their story with people they meet.
I find them and their story, both the written and the living versions, inspirational.

As far as I know the book is not available in shops but keep your eye out for "Jack & Harry", appearing at a country show near you!

Big Night in Busselton

Just Finished the late late shift in the cab, I saw the sun go down at the start of the shift and saw it starting to come up again by the end of it!!
Tonight was Busselton Show Night, one of the busiest nights of the year in our small town so the cabs were all working flat out.
My last fare of the night was to Capel, about 24km away, so it was a profitable trip.
I start again at 5.00 tonight so it's time for some much needed sleep.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sam O'Nella

Wow!! My son's a star!!
We've just come home from his school production of The Pinafore Pirates in which Jordy played the role of Sam O'Nella the irish cook on a pirate ship full of women and he was wonderful! I had no idea he would be so good. He maintained a great Irish brogue all the way through, even when singing his solos. He was the comic relief and the crowd laughed appreciatively as he delivered his lines.
Acting is challenging, doing it with a convincing accent is more so, but to also sing solos in front of a crowd of a couple of hundred people was truly impressive.
I'm on record as not being a big fan of musicals, but seeing Jordan do such a good job sold me, and he wasn't the only one, all the kids were great, in a huge cast, and several of the girls especially sang superbly, considering they are just year 9 and 10 students.
I felt very proud of him and pleased for him.
He was pretty high after the show, laughing and talking and celebrating as many people came to compliment his performance and say how much they enjoyed the show.
The pictures I took are not great because of the lighting but the show was recorded by someone so I hope to get a copy of it, I'm sure his grandparents will be keen to see it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Joys of Blogger

Blogger is really giving me some grief lately, posts are just disappearing into the ether!
Did some drug ed seminars this afternoon, trying to convince 15 year old kids that getting drunk is a bad thing! They didn't seem convinced!
Saw The Departed tonight, a violent film with the biggest line-up of stars since the last planetary alignment!

A Difficult Day

Holt Press
I spent this morning visiting the two families of the young couple killed in a house fire in Dunsborough yesterday. Both visits were difficult. The families were as you'd expect, numbed, shocked, and devatstated. Their pain and grief was overwhelming as they talked about the respective son and daughter they had lost.
I found myself in tears as I listened to their story and we all held hands and cried together. There was another surprise twist that I hadn't expected, the young man who was killed was the nephew of the lady whose house we rented for the first year we were in Busselton. Both families felt at a loss about how to handle things and were overwhelmed at the thought of arranging funerals etc. There can surely be no greater pain and sadness than that of a parent whose child has died.

Between the two visits I had a bizarre experience.
As I was driving from Busselton to Dunsborough I spotted a snake curled up on the road. I have always been fascinated by snakes so I pulled over to have a look at it. It started to move a little and had just stuck it's head up when a car ran over it throwing it up in the air as the wheels hit it. It was not killed but sustained serious injury. It lay still for a while then it's tail started to twitch and eventually it began to writhe and turn itself right way up. Just then another vehicle hit it, causing further serious injury. Some more feeble movements followed before a third vehicle delivered the fatal blow and it was dead. It was a Dugite, about a metre and a half long and although I share a healthy fear and respect for snakes it was shocking to see it die such a brutal death.
Perhaps I was extra sensitive due to the nature of the visit I had just had and the one I was on my way to I don't know. I couldn't help also the passing thought that the snake has always been a symbol of evil in the world.
I'm not suggesting anything about the timing or the incident.
It just seemed to me that the deaths of the two young people in the fire were not just tragic but unfair. Both lots of parents told me that their kids had been emerging out of difficult times and were starting to get their lives in order. It seemed cruelly ironic that they should survive through bad experiences and then have their lives taken away so suddenly and in such an awful way.

After a draining morning I needed a Vanilla Diet Coke and a break before going back to school.
I dropped a few paintings and photographs that I'm entering in the Busselton Show off at the showgrounds.

This afternoon I spent over an hour talking to Kori's Mum, the boy whose funeral I did a couple of months ago.
It was good to be able to spend some time with her but not easy, she is still having a pretty hard time coming to terms with her grief and sadness. I am encouraged by her strength and thoughtfulness, she has a very supportive and caring attitude, as does Kori's Dad and this strength has really helped them manage the last couple of months.

I "shot some hoops" with Sport Boy after work.

Jordan had his first performance in the school production of Pirates of Penzance today for the year 1-3's. It went pretty well by the sound of it. He has to sing several songs which is pretty tough on him. We're going to see the show on Thursday night.

Tonight I had a Synoptic meeting with Stu, Rick and about 20 young people we are wanting to encourage to take on leadership roles in the youth ministry of Synoptic, it was an encouraging meeting with some plans being made for 2007.