Thu, 30 Dec 2004

New Years' Eve // at 23:59

New Years' Eve. The end of a good year. Last bike ride of the year. A seven a.m. start from somewhere in Fairfield, six of us headed out on a two hour ride out around Heidelburg, Doreen, various hilly parts to the north east of the city, then back again. The last few months have seen me only riding to and from work, laziness, house-moving, holidays, it all hit hard as I could barely keep up and had to be almost carried back the last stretch to Mill Park! The coffee at Tom's house aftewards was a life-saver.

Off to the Rosstown this evening for the New Years' gig. Dave Graney & the Lurid Yellow Mist — a fantastic band name, but a fairly dull and lacklustre show. I'm not sure who the intended audience was, maybe we were too young, it just didn't quite seem to gell with the crowd, the band, the brightly lit room and the music. Trains there and back were packed, nearly requiring a shoe-horn to get on at Oakleigh, I feel sorry for anyone trying to head for the city and get on at Caulfield or further in! Back out it was slightly better, we could stand without being stood on, and its only a couple of stops from Carnegie to Oakleigh and home.

New Years Eve^2 // at 23:59

Two days at home by myself, two days of sheer laziness! A little browsing on the net, a little wandering around Oakleigh and surrounds. A whole lot of nothing very much.

This morning I walked off down the rail line to Huntingdale — a real run-down collection of tiny little shops. Very cheap fruit and vegetables, a couple of dusty travel agents, then lost myself in one of the second-hand goods stores. Floor to ceiling junk, I could barely turn around in the aisles. Old 486 PCs, 45s, 78s, old pianola rolls, floppy disks by the fist full, every kind of storage media you've ever seen, all covered in dust and all slung in a box or on a shelf.

Back to Oakleigh for lunch, bruschetta and beer and the same crowd of old Greek men smoking and young Greek lads hanging about. Neither lot ever seems to buy anything, they just sit and talk. Old men talking quietly and earnestly, young men talking loudly and assertively. Somewhere around them three or four other customers arrive, drink, eat, pay and leave!

Tue, 28 Dec 2004

Driving home // at 23:59

Seymour, 12°C, cold, grey, drizzling rain! By the time we'd got to Melbourne you could forget all about the warm weather of the past four days!

Sun, 26 Dec 2004

Boxing day // at 23:59

?huh?

Sat, 25 Dec 2004

Christmas day // at 23:59

?huh?

Fri, 24 Dec 2004

The mighty Hume // at 23:59

The long drive up the Hume highway. I keep my eye on the temperature gauge but it doesn't move. We stop in at North Gundagai for some dinner, but everything is shut — even the shop with the sign that proudly proclaims “YES, we ARE Open.” No, you are not! Can't I sue them or something? The one redeeming feature is the sunset and the colours of the sky over the statue of the famous Dog on the Tuckerbox, and by half-kneeling at its feet I manage to take a photograph without the presence of the buildings.

Back in the car and sure enough, as soon as it starts with a hot engine the dashboard idiot light comes on — then stays on the entire hair-raising hour to Yass. The temperature goes up when we go up hill, drops as we go down, never quite getting above three quarters, never entering the red, but never getting down to the mark where it ought to sit... I guess this means that Garry and Warren Smiths “repairs” were sheer guess-work.

Thu, 23 Dec 2004

Christmas Eve Eve // at 23:59

A forecast high of 34°C and a long list of jobs to be done, the Christmas present wrapping seems to take forever! Across to Oakleigh shops for supplies and the heat hits me, cool again once I'm inside the little mall. Absolute mayhem inside, everyone going crazy with their last-minute shopping. An old lady walks off with another old lady's trolley, a tug-of-war starts, shouting and arm waving... Suddenly they realise what happens and everyone bursts into laughter and apologises.

Groceries, treats, presents and beer, then an unusual sight as I cross the road heading home. Vaguely familiar wedge-shaped sports car, very low, very shiny, glinting in the sun. DMC across the bonnet, “88MPG” as the number plate — I laugh as I realise, a Queensland registered DeLorean. My camera is buried under an entire bag of groceries, I'm too hot to dig it out, no photos, just a memory.

Ten o'clock at night and it was still thirty degrees as we drove in to Richmond, people everywhere in various states of pre-Christmas revelry. A quick espresso at Grandma Funks to try and liven things up — too much dinner sitting too heavily on the inside — then down to the Corner for the annual Mick Thomas show.

We arrived just as the support act was finishing giving us half an hour to get accustomed to the heat and the noise before Mick and the Sure Thing took the stage, spot on 11 o'clock. Found myself standing further back than ever before — oh my god, am I getting old? More likely too much too eat for dinner, neither Jo nor I felt liking pushing further through the crowd. At least this year we weren't next to any obnoxious mobile phone users.

Surprise of the night was when the band left at the end, then after the applause and shouting Mick returned with... hang on, isn't that? Jo, being a shorty, can't see the guest as easily, then she does, and being more of a fan than me is better at recognition. Yep, I guess it is Billy Bragg! Mick and Billy, two guitars, two distinctive voices, an interesting couple of songs.

Then the band encore, a rousing rendition of a number of favourites, then they're leaving the stage again. Time to go? Not quite, the house lights don't come on. Back again for one final song, what seems to be the closing number now, Stone Roses' Made of Stone.

Quarter past one, time to go home. Still thirty degrees in Richmond. How many more years will Mick keep the shows going? Some years they seem to be an imposition, other times, like tonight, he and the band appear to be having a whale of a time. I guess we'll find out next year, and the one after that....

Tue, 21 Dec 2004

Longest day // at 23:59

  Sunrise 5:58am (EST), sunset 8:38pm (EST) at Melbourne, VIC, AU

(14:39 hours daylight)

The second last work day of the year, time passes at a crawl. Walking down to the Nott. for lunch the cicadas were singing in the trees, the sun beating down on my head, the new native flower beds all in bloom around the gate. Definitely a good time to be anywhere except at work.

Mon, 20 Dec 2004

Now where was I? // at 23:59

There are too many half-finished pages on this site. Too many place holders, too many cases of “I'll fill that in later.” One of the half-baked pages just got three-quarters baked though. The “where” of where I've been is a little more automatic, a little less of a hack now.

Fri, 17 Dec 2004

Much smoke. // at 23:59

Down alongside the house wasn't really a good place for the motorbike, too hard to get at, too much work to extract it out onto the street. As a result it had sat half-under the eaves for two and half months collecting rain and dust and losing battery magic. Last night I shuffled it back down the narrow path and out onto the front porch, jump-started it, blew an almighty great cloud of black smoke, and charged the battery....

This morning I rode to work, not an easy task! Seems the choke cable has jammed and the choke is stuck on. Idle speed crept up to around 4,000rpm, lots of noise, lots of smoke and a great deal of difficulty in changing gears! Definitely needs a little TLC.

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