Monthly Archives: January 2009


The AYAD position in Cambodia has come up again in this intake… am seriously considering applying…

Difference of opinion

I got to thinking this morning how extremely differently two sets of eyes can see the same thing. My brother started reading A Fraction of the Whole, a novel by Steve Toltz that was shortlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize, because I recommended it. I asked him if he’d read White Tiger, the actual winner of the award, and he said no because I’d told him not to bother! And it’s true. I found White Tiger to be reasonably well written but the story-line didn’t do anything for me and the result was a book that left me uninspired. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the way A Fraction of a Whole was written and LOVED the plot… it left me wondering how on earth someone had imagined such a crazy series of events but managed to portray them in such a way that one could forget they were reading a work of fiction from time to time.

The more concerning thought to come from this realisation is that perhaps I’m just a story-line junkie, that I’m not a true appreciator of literary ability. I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera as recommended by Mon as one of her favourite books and to be honest I’m just not getting the vibe. Must explore this disturbing idea and hopefully prove to myself that it’s not all just about the plot!


Oz Open

Scored some free centre court tix for the Oz Open tennis last night. Gold. Jelena Dokic put on a great show to beat her more favoured opponent Anna Chakvetadze in 3 sets. It was clearly an emotional experience for Dokic, and I found myself fighting to hold back a tear as she thanked the crowd for their support.

The second match was not of such a high calibre with Bernard Tomic taking on Gilles Muller. Soap box moment required. Every member of our sports media should be shot. In a similar way to the extraordinarily unfair treatment of David Warner lately, the media have shown blatent disregard for Tomic’s lack of years, thrusting him into the spotlight of a centre court match. In reality, the match deserved back-court status.

Tomic fought hard to take the first but Muller took the next three easily to come through with the expected result. When will the media learn that it’s in young players’ best interests to allow them time to prove themselves on the big stage before bringing all the pressure and expectation of a nation to bear on them?

Still going strong…

I can’t believe that it’s 20 days into the year and I’m still in the swing of updating this thing regularly! Amazing! I’m giving myself an encouragement award in the hope that I’ll keep up the good work. Something else that’s remarkable is the amount of exercise I have been doing in Melbourne. Running, riding, swimming, tennis, pumping iron. You name it, I’m up for it. That’s two New Year’s resolutions still going strong. Impressive.

Anyone would think I’d made a crazy resolution to attend as many cricket matches as possible… the weekend kicked off with an adventure to the G to see the Aussies take on the Saffas yet again, this time in the 50 over version of the game. Unfortunately work interrupted the afternoon and I was forced to watch the Aussie scores ticking over on the internet. Frustration. Finally made it to the ground to see the last half hour of the first innings… and then the successful Saffa run chase. I’m not too disturbed when Australia lose these days so walked away only mildly disappointed.

Whilst on the subject of the South African team, an honourable mention must go to the parents of Morne & Albie Morkel. Not only are they givers of entertaining names inviting all manner of further invention (such as Lobster Mornay Snorkel), but they somehow managed to temper this comedy by producing offspring who demand to be taken seriously on the cricket field AND who are very easy on the eye. Nice work Morkel seniors.

What better way to round out a good evening than a boogie to some classic tunes at the Precinct Hotel with the usual suspects B & L and their mates P & A. After a long absence, I reintroduced myself to the world of randoms… and I wasn’t disappointed. A girl I got chatting to in the bathrooms decided to reveal her intimacy issues (she was a massive fan of the one night stand while just couldn’t bring herself to become emotionally involved in a relationship) while another guy took my phone out of my hand and saved his number into it, even after I told him I wasn’t going to use it! I love people.

A resolution that’s not going so strong is the on time thing. Matt & Brooksta were both unfortunate victims of my tendency towards lateness on Saturday. Sorry guys. Matt’s idea for a hit of tennis was pure genius. It felt so good to be back on the court, especially being fit at the moment. I can’t believe what I difference it made to my game… I only wish I’d discovered the benefits of being fit 15 years ago!

On to the old homestead in Carlton St for a wine and cheese picnic in the park. Was great to see the old crew again. It was one of my favourite homes and I really miss living there. The awesomeness of having the beautiful Carlton Gardens as a front yard simply cannot be over overstated… best location in all of Melbourne! Although I’ll concede that I may be biased…

More random adventures at The Deck on Sat night when Brooke & I adopted an American traveller for the evening. Fun and games. On the less fun side of things, I am disturbed by my growing awareness of how elderly I am compared to the flock of youth out and about on the town these days. You’ve got to admire their pluck… one youngster thought he’d try his luck with this senior citizen and didn’t seem the least deterred by the fact that I told him I was probably old enough to be his mother!

Had been seriously considering flying down to Tassie for the one dayer @ Bellerive. A bit disappointed that I didn’t because it was a great day’s cricket and the weather looked beautiful. In the end, I spent the day at Werribee Open Range Zoo with Liz, Lil & Pete. As zoos go, it’s definitely a nice one and worth a visit. I like the open range concept as my visit to Taronga a few months ago left me wondering if it’s really fair to keep animals in such cramped conditions.

Rounded out the weekend with wine, cheese & dinner cooked for me by my adopted Melbourne family. Gold, thanks guys.

Happy Birthday!

A very Happy Birthday to the lovely Pauline, the only known reader of my blog. Hope you have a wonderful day! I’m looking forward to seeing you when I get back from Melbourne. X

An interesting option

Attended an AYAD (Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development) info session last night. Was quite an interesting evening, including talks from some returned AYADs. I’m hopeful that a job offered in Cambodia last intake wasn’t filled and will come up again this intake… bring on 30 Jan when the next round of positions are posted!

Flight #1 2009

Is it possible that today truly marked the start of my new year? Whilst my first flight for 2009 was relatively unremarkable, I can’t let it pass without comment… with work finishing up at the end of February and the rest of the year completely unplanned, hovering 35,000ft over our vast brown land gave me some time to ponder the year ahead. Conclusion: I’m not expecting to challenge the unprecedented number of flights taken last year (somewhere in the realm of 50) but 2009 holds a fair amount of potential for close encounters with the sky gods, if I get my act into gear and start planning.

Whilst reflecting on flights past & future, I was struck by the nonchalance with which I now approach flying. Once a terrifying but exciting adventure, boarding an aeroplane is now more often a means to an end rather than an end itself. With the possible exception of business class on the A380!

Whilst my newfound hermit tendencies left me feeling somewhat unenthused about the prospect of another Melbourne adventure in the lead up, the weather’s shaping up to be fantastic and I’m hoping it will be just what the doctor ordered to force me out of my lethargy…

A mixed bag

Friday night Maz & I took on the F3 to farewell the visiting Gav at Bungalow 8. Where by random coincidence, PB happened to be… Sydney can be a small little town!

Headed down to Woy Woy to check out Bro K’s cricket on Sat but unfortunately a wet wicket saw him back in the pavilion before I even arrived. Dinner with the ever wonderful Holmes family in yet another new location. They move house just about more often than I change underwear! K’s little girl is soooo cute! J & I met up with S, his brother & Scandinavian girl and headed to Bluetongue Stadium for the Mariners v Roar game. Mariners lost. Not happy. Back to Terrigal Pub for some consolatory beers.

It’s been really fun having friends visit lately. Showing them around has made me appreciate the Coast in a way I never really have before. It’s a beautiful place, my homeland. Filled with bogans, but beautiful. Rach joined the recent list of visitors on Sunday and we had a lovely arvo/evening. There’s something therapeutic for the soul in sitting down with a girlfriend over a glass of wine and attempting (with or without success!) to solve each other’s woes.

Tonight Maz, Bro K & I headed to Homebush to see NSW beat Tassie in the KFC Big Bash. A good night’s entertainment, made somewhat more amusing when I gave the guys sitting next to me an inside tip for a sledge on Bailey that went down a treat… had him shaking his head, clearly wondering how on earth anyone knew about the incident in question!

An adventure re-lived

I made pumpkin and green bean tagine for dinner last night. All in all, it was a pretty authentic attempt. So authentic, it seems, that it transported my bro, K, back to the chaos of Marrakech. While I was happily muching away at home, he was reliving the sights, sounds (and tastes) of Morocco, his first foray into the developing world. The power of the human mind is an amazing thing.

A bit of straight talking never hurt anyone

Had dinner with my mate Rob last night and he set me straight on a few matters relating to boy behaviour. As much as some of it sucked to hear, it was exactly what I needed. I had truly underestimated the extreme lengths men will go to in order to achieve certain ends. Dishonesty and manipulation I would have credited them with but forward-planning was certainly not on my list of boy strengths! The lesson was extremely useful and very well-timed for meeting 2009 with a fresh approach to interaction with the unfairer sex.

On another positive note, the restaurant/cocktail bar Rambutan in Darlinghurst is quite a gem. Delicious cocktails followed by quality Thai cuisine in cosy surrounds, accompanied by some of the best service I have ever received. Not to mention the incredibly easy-on-the-eye clientele. A definitively successful foray all round.

On the short drive back to the Coast, I called past Ben’s farewell at The Ranch in Eastwood. I have never felt so senior citizen-like in my life! Aside from Ben, Gav & co, I was easily 10 years older than everyone else in the drunken, pubescent, fluoro-coloured crowd. And to make matters worse, they were playing “retro” music, dating waaaaay back… to my teenage days! An emotionally scarring experience that possibly won’t be forgotten soon. But the boys were in heaven surrounded by all the youngsters. It’s been nice (if somewhat surreal) having them in Oz for the last couple of weeks and they will be missed when they head back to the other side.