Thursday, March 30, 2006

Great News 2

The Bowling Shanes 16 d The Bay City Bowlers 9

The Shanes led all the way to take out the Tuesday Night Twilight Bowls Grand Final last night. We had the BCBs 7-0 after three or four ends and we just continued to bowl well enough after that to keep them out of it. There was a good crowd including cheer squads for each team, and it made for a great atmosphere. Our little gold trophy has on top of it a man in a tux with a skivvy underneath, sending down a nice forehand draw. It's given me an idea for next season's Shanes uniform.

Next Tuesday we have a playoff with the Wednesday Night winners to see who will represent the South in the Tas Regional finals, which I think has $400 prize money. We're just taking it one end at a time.

Bowling with a Sausage

I had a little bowl yesterday afternoon with Marcus. He's getting better and better, and really loves it. This was his best bowl, about 4 inches from the kitty!

Great News 1

On Tuesday I took Michael over to Melbourne for the day to have a cardio checkup at the Royal Children's Hospital. He had an echocardiogram and an ECG, and eveything is looking great. They don't need to see him again in Melbourne until he's six.

He was extraordinarily well behaved all day, on both flights and at the hospital. He asked a couple of times where Mum and Marcus were, but he was quite content when I said they were at home. The hosties on Virgin all thought he was the bees knees, one said he was the best little boy she had ever had on a flight. He didn't cry at all and didn't even look worried. On the flight over I sat him on my lap, but on the way back he was keen to sit on his own seat, so he did.

I really enjoyed his company all day and was immensely proud of him, and obviously delighted with his good results too.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mrs Willard by a nose!

Last night I heard some archival commentary from (I think) the Melbourne Olympics of 1956. Its sounded like the women's 100 metres, some kind of sprint anyway. What was amazing was that all the runners were "Mrs". I have just looked it up, it was actually the 1958 Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales.

It was something like: "Mrs Willard holding off Mrs Young... Mrs Willard, Mrs Willard still, Mrs Young closing but its Mrs WILLARD FOR THE GOLD MEDAL."

Which leads me to imagine them as mumsy ladies in flowery housecoats, possibly carrying shopping.

While I'm working dangerously with stereoteypes, one of my other favourite radio moments was the call of a 100 metres heat at maybe the Sydney Olympics. The fastest sprinters in the world are generally from English-speaking countries, so the leaders in a race will often be Andrews, Johnson, Smith, Robinson etc. If your name is Yee or Al-Bhadawi you are probably not going to win a sprint. And its all over in ten seconds so there isnt time to even mention the stragglers often.

So this one I remember went like this.
"Green away well. Bolden. Green. Thomas. Green. BOLDEN CLOSING. GREEN GREEN GREEN! ITS GREEN FROM BOLDEN, Thomas third, Böhm,[excitement dying away fast] Akbar. Sato. Fung.

Up a tree

We had a very nice quiet weekend. Marcus has been exhausting us and himself lately. He is very over-excited at times and we are trying to teach him to calm himself down a bit. We decided to to keep to ouselves this weekend, and just enjoy being around the house together. Visitors often send Marcus into a froth of excitement.

We did have a surprise visit yesterday from Susan, Saffy and Immy. Saffy is one of Marcus's oldest buddy - they met at daycare years ago and get on very well. We had planned to have a picnic lunch in the Cascade Gardens, so we just made some extra sandwiches and took them along.

They have some quite big established evergreens, (don't ask me what they are) with well-spaced branches for climbing. Marcus climbed up into one and surprised the hell out of us when we saw his yellow-hatted head pop out three metres up.
Later he climbed up into another one. When I got over to see how he was going he was about four metres up and climbing. I realised that if he had a sudden loss of confidence I wouldn't be able to climb where he had, as the branches wouldn't support me. He climbed down with only a few wobbly moments. I was very proud of his adventuring, but glad he didnt get any higher before I spotted him.

That was the Commonwealth Games

Thanks for coming Malawi. Bye Bangladesh. Don't forget your hat, British Virgin Islands.

One last bit of commentary excellence, after Kelvin Kerkow won gold for Australia in the lawn bowls. ABC Radio commentator Charlie King was wrapping it up when his mind suddenly wandered. "Kerkow's route... Kerkow's route... [muttering] this is going to last me forever.." before he was suddnely cut off by the studio. I actually thought he might have had a mild stroke, but apparently he was back home 24 hours later calling the Darwin footy grand final, so its a mystery.

Starting the day the sausagey way

Marcus drew these lovely self-portraits at Kinder last week. (Captions by the teacher of course).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dog left at home shock

Yes - you heard it here first. Michael deliberately left Dog at home when we left for school this morning. He had Dog, and then picked up the Big Red Car. I said, "No, leave the Big Red Car at home please". He said "I leave Doggie at home". And walked happily down to the car. I hope he gets through the day alright. I mentioned to the carer Natasha that Michael was flying solo today and might need reassurance. "That's OK", she said, "we have other soft toys". OTHER soft toys?

She might be in for a rude shock. But I hope he will sail through the day without a care and have a happy reunion with Dog this evening. We'll see.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wiggles Live

We went to see The Wiggles today. Marcus had the day off kinder and I took a half day off to help Elf manage the likely hysteria. We got there nice and early, and found our seats in the next-to-back row in the Derwent Entertainment Centre. You wouldn't want to be prone to vertigo, its an awfully long way up.

There was an announcement shortly before they came out that the Yellow Wiggle, Greg, wouldnt be appearing as he underwent an emergency hernia operation yesterday, and today the Yellow Wiggle would be played by a man named Brett. Stunned silence all around.

Brett filled the skivvy nicely although Elf opined on the drive home that they had seemed to "lack leadership" today. I thought it was a great show, they did lots of familiar old songs and didnt do reggae versions or anything silly like that, that "consumate professionals" sometimes do to sound "fresh".

Highlights were; the giant inflatable Murray that kept deflating and donging Jeff on the head, the extended Three Stooges-like "blow me down" gag with Captain Feathersword and Murray, and the dancer who snaps his head about too much trying to bounce his banana like his mate with the apple could.

Actually the head-snapper (who we know is named Ben) did a great turn also as a dancing fish, where his head actually played the part of a dorsal fin, so for once extravagant movement was well in order.

Apart from the unfortunate absence of Greg it was all mighty good. Our boys were both tired before it began. Marcus alternated between frenzied moshing and lying stretched out with his head on my lap, asking "when will it be over?" - which is exactly how I felt the one time I saw The Ramones. MIchael was overwhelmed despite our very slight proximity to the action. He did give the troupe a hearty wave goodbye when it was "now let's wave goodbye to each other" time.

The merch was walking out the door as we left. They could have sold twice as many Flashing Big Red Car Light Sticks ($18) if they had ordered boldly. We missed out and consoled ourselves with an Activity Pack ($8).

On the way home I said I would look on the Wiggles website to see if we can order a light stick. Marcus had the excellent idea that maybe they send them flat to your computer, so you print them out of your printer then inflate them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Shanes Progress to Grand (?) Final

The Bowling Shanes 5 d Rawhide 4 (after a tiebreak end)
This was a very tight and tense match. Rawhide were 4-3 down going in to the last end, and were soon down by two shots, when Linda re-organised the head with a well judged firm draw. It left Rawhide up two shots and in a winning position with just the skips to bowl. Dean managed to sneak a bowl into the action to pare them down to one shot, drawing it 4-4. On the tiebreak end I got us up one shot early, and we held on to it throughout. Dean caused some minor bad blood when he bowled a blatant safety with his last shot, that barely went three metres. We won 5-4 but there was much muttering during the handshakes. Dave starred and I felt I bowled better than I have for weeks. I collected the kitty three times for the night.

This win put us through to the next round. The various teams eliminated in the first round gathered in the bar and around the greens and urged the survivors on.

The Bowling Shanes 5 d Stop, Drop and Roll 2
This match was played in semi-darkness. We pulled away to 3-1 after four ends, then put it almost out of reach with the fifth end when we sneaked out to 5-1. Dean stood over the kitty using his mobile as a torch, initially as a joke but it was actually helpful. SDR held one shot in the last end. If their skip had been concentrating they would have sniffed a chance, as we only had one bowl in the action, and if they'd attacked it they could have picked up as many as four shots. The skip was suffering some kind of knee or groin trouble and seemed keen to just get it over with and get in to the bar and out of the dark.

So, we live to play again next week, apparently against The Bay City Bowlers. BCBs eliminated the favourites, The Individuals, so obviously they'll be tough to beat. There are still 2 other teams in the finals, so how this is a Grand Final is beyond me. The Mervs work in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bowling Shanes win some, lose some

I never got around to a match report for last Tuesday, because the whole thing was too confusing. We are in the finals now and we played two games of 6 ends each (instead of one of 12).

We lost the first game to a fairly average team, Macquarie Maulers (more real estate agents). This was our season low point. We clawed back some respectability in our next match with a solid win over the Bad Girls. No-one knows how the finals work, it seems mostly designed to keep all teams in with a chance as long as possible.

Anyway, we are taking on the Bay City Bowlers in a knockout 6 end stoush this evening, and after a training run yesterday at lunchtime, I think we are probably back in reasonable form. I tip the Shanes to win it 6-5. After which we have another 6 end knockout game against persons unknown.

Standby for results.

Ace Chocolate - a shooting star on the boxing scene

My reading on the toilet at work lately has been Sporting Life magazine, September 1955 issue. Today I read an article about welterweight boxer George Barnes. The names of most other boxers were very evocative of white anglo Australia in the fifties: Jimmy Reeves, Mickey McDonald, Joe Clark, Freddie Herman, Frank Flannery. There was the occasional Mexican and Filipino. Then we come to Ace Chocolate, from South Africa.

"Barnes unleashed fury on Chocolate, knocking him out in the first round". Then it was back to Tommy Burns, Freddie Dawson, Barry Brown....

Monday, March 20, 2006

More CG commentary highlights

"Katie Mactier wins the women's individual pursuit gold medal. [BANG] And there is the gun in the back straight for silver medallist Kate Bates." Seems a bit harsh. doesnt it?

Happy Birthday To Me

I'm 38! It scares me that 26 seems not very long ago at all, yet it is the same distance backwards as 50 is forwards. I am going to try my hand at Forward Planning (something I've never really done) and try to think of ten things I must do before I turn 50. When, as we all know, my legs will fall off.

I had a lovely day on Saturday. Nick and Anna and Lily and Katherine dropped in with choc and biscuits. Lily made me a beautiful card. We had to shoo them out so we could have the next event on the program. We drove out to the Bream Creek Show, which was terrific as always. The chopping was the highlight I think. In the first race the backmarker was off about 22 seconds, by which time one of the frontmarkers was around to the 2nd half of his log. The backmarker just destroyed his first half with about six strokes, ran around and took another six to finish first. Incredible strength, timing and accuracy. These blokes use special racing axes, incredibly sharp and shiny. Marcus loved it.

On Sunday, as Marcus was setting up the chessboard: "Can you tell me again where do the shepherds go?"

Waiting in the car at the supermarket Michael said:
"Doggie doggie is hot.
Doggie doggie is tired.
Doggie doggie is a rockmelon."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Your Games Network

I've decided to follow the Games in PNG pidgin. I urge you to do the same.

Long program Bikpela temporary stage tru long Australia, oli wok long putim kamap long Melbourne Crikcet Graun, redi long Opening seremoni blong Comonwealth Games. Baton blong ibin stop autsait long Australia Wo Memorial tede long san long Canberra.

Strong in the Pommel

The Commie Games have finally got going. I was listening to a bit of ABC radio coverage last night. Its amazing how they get all hands to the pump for big events. Producers and so on are suddenly behind the mike and getting all sporty. My favourite is Caroline Davidson who sounds like the music mistress in an exclusive girls school, possibly in the nineteen fifties. She always gets the gymnastics. Apparently Australia is "traditionally strong in the pommel". As well as being girt by sea. I can see scope for another verse of the national anthem dealing purely with obscure sports. What rhymes with "smallbore rifle"?

Another highlight was the news from Traralgon that Australia had India on toast at 105-30 at threequarter time in the women's basketball, and sadly the Traralgonians were all reaching for the car keys and storming the exits. I was imagining the Indian women's squad sadly drifting around Traralgon late at night looking for a nice chicken tikka to cheer them up.

And finally, the Cook Islands had Sri Lanka on the ropes in Bendigo at 31-0. Which sport? Look, I just don't think that matters.


Is there anything more trivial than a Commonwealth Games Mascot?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Injections and lawn bowls

Marcus had his 4 year old injections today: simultaneous jabs in each thigh. Poor little munket. He went into it very bravely and only got a bit het up when Dr T. was closing in on him with the equipment.

We are a bit narky with the local medical centre for not paying attention to Elf's careful specifications of how we wanted it done. The reception ladies say yes, we'll tell the doctor, oh yes, we'll mention that, no problem. A number of times its been obvious the doctor has no idea we have expressed a wish for this or that.

As a treat when I picked him up from kinder we went up to the bowls club and I showed how to bowl. He really loved it I think, the place as much as the activity. There is certainly something very pleasant about the ambience of a bowls club on a sleepy Wednesday afternoon. They found Marcus some little indoor bowls to use, but it was quite hard for him to hold on to them for long enough to avoid a big kerthunk into the soft turf.

I enjoyed being there with him and it was great to have a little practice myself.

5.55am incident

Michael: MWAAAAaaaaaah!
Dad: What's wrong?
Michael: Mwah! I need two hats!
Dad: That's OK. You can have two hats.
Michael [on his way back to sleep]: Everybody needs two hats.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This site makes anagrams of anything. I gave it my name (Christopher Sean Rees) and got back about 1500 suggestions. Some favourites:
Shoe Crash Enterprise
Score Her Parenthesis
Risen Sheep Orchestra [death metal band]
Serene Ship Orchestra [their later folk re-incarnation a la Spinal Tap]

Marcus and Black Bear bridesmaids

Today was the 2006 South Hobart Primary School Sports. Marcus was very excited to be running, and did very well. He ran 4th in the straight 20m sprint then came 2nd in the teddy bear race. The bears waited at the 10m mark to be picked up and carried the rest of the way. I was a little worried because he had one of the larger bears, but he had a clean pick-up and finished strongly. Well done to both Marcus and Black Bear.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I have been leafing through a couple of old scrapbooks, while re-installing my entire system (twice). They contain stuff from about 1994 - 1998, when I was living in North Hobart next door to my sister Sal. At the time I was covering my kitchen walls with this stuff. Sal moved out, Fiona the Physio moved in and eventually out and then I moved next door into that flat. The decorations from my old kitchen went into the scrapbooks as I promised myself I would kick my blu-tak habit, and not ruin the paintwork of the new flat.

I will be skewering some of that scrapbook stuff on theTines of Wolfram soon. At the moment none of the pics I upload are getting up.

Michael vocab 3

I'm doing football tricks!

I can eat bananas, and apples, and pears, and apples, and bears, and cowboys, maybe.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Bowling Shanes 17 d Stop Drop and Roll 8

Our opponents last night have had an aura of invincibility all season. They look great in their matching yellow polo shirts with "Tall", "Stumpy", "Nobby" and "Sanchez" printed on their backs. They bowl with precision. They look fit (except Stumpy). Their aura copped a few dings when they were beaten by The Individuals but they have otherwise been very impressive. This was our first meeting with them in the last roster match of the season.

The Shanes came out firing in awesome unison. We picked up 5 on the first end and already SDR were catching each other's eyes worriedly. After four ends we had won two each but we led 9-2. Dean was bowling confidently and precisely with the new blue Dreamlines© and got us out of tricky spots a few times. Nobby, skip of SDR, is also a fine bowler and this was probably the best man-on-man contest we have seen this season.

At 12-4 Nobby was flailing his towel around wildly and at 16-4 he threw it in. In cold, dark and blustery conditions we shut the game down and bowled just well enough to limit the damage and ensure a win.

Well done Shanes. Next week we go into the finals. The Mervs tried to explain the format and how it works but it seems like its all just a ruse to get a lot of bowlers to attend playing meaningless games and putting maximum money over the bar. Whatever the case, we will be there and going hard on the green.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The land of Rollercoaster

Until recently when Michael saw a map of Australia or the shape, he would say "rollercoaster!" We do not know why.

After being corrected "no, that's Australia, Michael" several times, he now points to a map and says "Australia!" then mutters quietly to himself "rollercoaster".

Friday, March 03, 2006

Michael vocab update 2

Watch cowboys! I will sit here on my cushion. I will turn my cushion over.

Be careful Marcus!

[Dad]: I don't think so.
[Michael]: I don't think so either.

[Mum:] You are so sweet.
[Michael:] Not sweet!

[Dad:] You are so funny.
[Michael:] Not funny!

[Dad:] You are a triceratops.
[Michael:] Not a tops!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The gift

From the site of Tara Dhatu - an international organization dedicated to "empowering and uplifting humanity through the sacred arts." '
Yvonne was a professional dance teacher until an illness gave her the gift of not being able to dance. She became a very successful psychotherapist in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bowling Shanes 12 d Cory's Team 9

We had a gripping struggle last night. We gave it our all; concentration, teamwork, dedication and pure lawn bowls nous focused to a white hot point of excellence. Meanwhile our opponents were on the phone sorting out social arangements for after, who could get some stuff for whom, what to do about Montana's carburettor problem etc etc.

I bowled OK early and dropped off as the night went on. Going into the last end as dusk fell we were four points up. Things looked pretty safe when we held two shots with only Dean's final bowl to come. "Hit the kitty!" urged Cory's Team desperately. Incredibly, Dean did hit the kitty, and we dropped one point instead of picking up two, but held on for our third win on the trot.

On rinks either side of us dramatic scenes were being played out. The Macquarie Maulers, who had been riding high before successive losses to the Shanes squad, blew up again against the Foxy Morons. The FMs were 3 down when they scored 8 shots on an end. The Maulers had five attempts at driving and missed them all, clean as a whistle, despite the massive size of the target. On the other side of us The Bowling Shanes A came back from the grave to pip the Sisters by a shot, in the last-day-of-summer evening gloom.

Two weeks left in the roster and I think the Shanes are the dangerous floaters in the draw. We've got the one-out-one-back on the turn.

And it sounds like Montana's carbie just needed a bit of a clean after all.

A fighting fury

Sometimes I sing the Tigerland footy club song to Michael while I'm changing his nappy. He knows it pretty well, and usually finishes the line if I stop singing. Yesterday he decided to mess with my head a bit.

Oh we're from... Tigerland!
A fighting fury, we're from... Tigerland!
In any weather you can see us with a... Grin!
Risking head and... Chair! (its supposed to be shin).

As he was singing through a dummy I thought he's said something near enough to "shin" so I carried on.

If we're behind then never mind [Michael interrupts]I said chair before!