Sunday, July 31, 2011

Roy of the Rovers

I used to get Shoot magazine when I was a teenage soccer fanatic. It came from the UK, featured things like player profiles (favourite pre-match meal was always "steak and chips") and a few comic strips. One of them was Hot-Shot Hamish, about a ridiculously strong Scotsman who was forever bursting nets with his mighty thunderbolts. The other was a meant-to-be serious one called Roy of the Rovers. Our hero Roy Race started out as a young lad with Melchester Rovers, and played for the next forty or so years. Quite often we would see Melchester playing against various racially stereotyped European teams (robotic Germans, sneaky Italians, craven French etc).

STOP PRESS: I am starting to think Roy and Hamish were actually in a different paper called Scorcher and Score. Earlier, I tried looking up Score magazine but I would not advise anyone under 18 to do that.

In any case, Wikipedia has this to say about Roy:
To keep the strip exciting, Melchester was almost every year either competing for major honours or struggling against relegation to a lower division. The strip followed the structure of the football season, thus there were several months each year when there was no football. By far the most common summer storyline saw Melchester touring a fictional country in an exotic part of the world, often South America, where they would invariably be kidnapped and held to ransom. The average reader probably stayed with the comic for only three or four years, therefore storylines were recycled; during the first ten years of his playing career, Roy was kidnapped at least five times.

Acting like a mug

Last Sunday our old pals Simon and Mary and daughter Miranda came over for lunch, and an afternoon of board games. They love a board game, whereas we do have some board games but only get them out in desperate situations. Anyway, we all had fun (although Michael refused to participate), and one of the games we played was a charades card game, suitable for all ages. You pick up a card, with four different words on it, and then throw a dice to tell you which one you have to try to silently convey.

Elf was so impressed that she bought us a copy of the game. We had Mum and Dad staying with us again this week, so one evening we got it out and played a game with them, plus Marcus - Michael again refused to participate.

The funniest part of it was my Dad, deciding that no matter what the word was, the best way to get it across was to try to personify the thing. To begin with, he crouched down, crossed his arms over his head, and stayed still for about 20 seconds, while we all shouted squat! lump! crouch! dwarf! rock! shrub! etc. Then he stood up and tried plan B - which looked a little like what the late James Brown called "mashing potatoes". Time ran out. It was bin.

Next word - Dad crouched down, crossed his arms over his head, and stayed still for about 15 seconds, while we all shouted Squat! Squeeze! Crouch! Bin! Hide! To help, Dad started indicating with some sort of curving motion that he had a tail, or possibly an electrical cord. Mouse! Squirrel! Toaster! This one was mug.

My best effort was when I conveyed, simply through two wafts of my hands and a very vacant expression, the concept of jellyfish.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I would like to keep writing a blog

OK, I went into my shell there for a while. Sorry if anyone was offended by my little rant, it was precious and self-pitying and not the way I prefer to be.

My clownsome workmate has been changing his Facebook profile’s date-of-birth every day, then loudly mocking the innocent souls who send him cheerful birthday wishes. After the third or fourth day I was getting sick of this, so in his absence one Friday afternoon I sat down at his laptop and simply wrote “Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone. Drinks on me tonight!”

Unknown to me over the weekend several people got irate calls from him accusing them of doing it. I had forgotten about it when I got to work on Monday morning, where people were laughing about it. He wasn't. I said “Oh, I did that.” We were all surprised that he was so upset - he is known as a person who knows no embarrassment and loves to provoke it in others. He will impersonate someone else if it gets a laugh. But he was deeply offended, and I felt bad that I had done it. It’s technically illegal, and not something I would ever do to anyone else.

He effectively would not accept my apology and went on about it daily for two weeks, in front of all our colleagues. I said, “Well, I have apologised and that’s the end of it as far as I am concerned”. I shut down my Facebook, starting feeling quite depressed and guilty, and in that frame of mind decided to cease writing online.

This last week I have realised that this stupid business actually affected me quite deeply. I was shutting down in all facets of my life, and more or less scrunching up in a ball. I have just had a week of indigestion and mounting social anxiety. On my way to work on Thursday I felt that I would be able to get through the day if I could just hunker down with my headphones on and mind my own business.

The only problem would be if it was someone's birthday, in which case we would all be expected to stand around while clownsome workmate made one of his speeches. His life is a continuous cabaret stand-up routine, and I have decided I do not want to be part of his audience any more. As it happened it was someones birthday, and so things came to a head when I continued to work, with my headphones on, while he made his speech.

I don't really like to announce to people “I have social anxiety” but neither do I like to be rude. So I emailed the clownsome one to explain - I have a form of agoraphobia, and sometimes I just cannot stand to be part of a group. I just want to be invisible. What I need to say to him, but haven’t yet, is that although it is my problem not his, it is manageable unless there is someone performing constantly, who at any moment is going to involve you and pull you into his spotlight.

So - I was wrong to start shutting things down, as it can spiral inwards to the point where I am a mean, shrivelled, gibbering mess. As far as writing the blog is concerned, I have missed it, I think I need to keep doing it, and if would you would continue to read it I would be very much obliged.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Manifestly excessive jowls

This is why he is sometimes called "the hovercraft".

Quiz champs

Marcus, Michael, Arianne and Lana took out the Tasmanian Grade 4 Trivia championship yesterday, in Launceston - organised by Epilepsy Australia. Michael was asked to fill in when someone couldn't make it, and performed admirably. Apologies for photo quality - it was held in a large dim basketball centre.

Friday, July 15, 2011


 I will continue to put stuff up at here that is more scrapbooky, arty and general internetty. Which is how this blog has started going anyway. See ya over there!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sorry Fiji, I was just on my way out...

You may have noticed the blog has not quite been itself of late. Lots of pictures, not so much news. I've been finding I just don't want to sit down and type all about myself any more. And by extension, my family. They are going along, doing the things they do. I enjoy these things mostly - but you can kill the enjoyment by writing about it endlessly. And we all know that just finding stuff on the internet and blogging that isn't what life is actually about.

In many ways blogging is a mystery. Who are all you people reading this, for heavens sake? Apparently there are 200-400 of you a week, from just about every country. Most recently Fiji and the Åland Islands (an autonomous region of Finland). Why do you come here? Why does my average blog post get 0 comments? What’s with the relentless search for netball team names?

So anyway, I am hanging up the blog for a while. I have really appreciated all the regular readers and commenters, I can’t begin to tell you how much.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Royal Hobart Hospital

The Royal Hobart Hospital - once was quite a beautiful art deco ocean-liner style building. Love the car out front too.

Update: Here is how it looks in 2011.

Marriage Ref

There is a show on NBC in the United States called The Marriage Ref. The executive producer is Jerry Seinfeld. Madonna tells Larry David "I hate you". Ricky Gervais giggles like a girl. I can only really watch about 2 minutes of it.

What I wanted to mention is that it is syndicated in the Arab world, and the Arabic version (قاضي الغـرام) is hosted by Moustafa Shaban. That's all.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

One question quiz

OK - fingers on buzzers. Who am I? I was Queen of Pakistan, from 1952 until 1956, Queen of Nigeria from 1960 until 1963, and Queen of Malta from 1964 until 1974. I am currently the Queen of Barbados and also Duke of Lancaster. I own 89% of Canada, and like dumpy hats.

Wish I'd known

Our windows at work look out over Salamanca Place to Sullivans Cove. I have been meaning to mention how lovely the view is on sunny winter mornings. A line of large plane trees (or something similar) block the water view for most of the year, but once the leaves fall you get that low-angle sunlight glittering off the swell, cut by the wakes of the boats.

When I am having a quiet moment in the far kitchen corner waiting for the kettle, I have noticed I can see the top windows of the Art School, on the far side of the cove. [As an aside, I am not happy calling it a cove as it the most fakey-fake tymes of olde word that is bandied about by real estate and marketing types to give any small patch of oil-scummed water a touch of picturesque - sadly that is actually it’s name]. Just in time for my first year, the Art School moved into a refurbished former jam factory on the docks.

It’s a very long time ago now. I worked much harder then (well, at least in my final year) than I do now. While I waited for the kettle to boil I thought about all the 1970s and 80s technology that was still hanging around then, and requiring to be mastered by graphic design students.

In those days "cut" meant cut and "paste"meant paste. We had scalpels and x-acto knives, and hot wax, heat-set gelatin stuff, rubber cement (and the piece of crepe shoe sole everyone had for getting rid of the excess) and worst of all, aerosol spray glue. Letraset, rapidograph pens, the process camera and copyproof bromides, the golfball typewriter with 4 fonts! Those bendy blue plastic strips and french curves. The Pantone colour markers. Man. And I was so bad at it all. If the Macintosh had not come along when it did I would now be a librarian or something.

Pic pinched from Graphic Leftovers blog
I was sometimes pretty miserable when I was a 20-something, and looking over at the art school it occurred to me that 1988 me would have really had something to look forward to if he could have seen 2011 me. A beautiful, lovely, patient wife who is also all the things I am not, which is handy. Two amazing kids. And no spray glue at all, ever.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Dawn breaks

Dawn breaks over Hobart

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Clapping and groaning

My friend Wendy wrote a great blog post the other day about watching her eldest son play sport, and seeing him grow up before her eyes. I am about to write something similar, as our boys are similar ages and we are probably getting similar insights at this point in our parenting careers, 9 or 10 years in. [But if you are after a really top piece of writing you'd be better served by reading Wendy's].

Marcus's team had a fantastic win against their toughest ever opposition last week. Yesterday they had another tough game, and again came out on top, but it was in the balance until near the end. A couple of times Marcus did things that just thrilled me, and neither of them involved the ball.

There is a lad in our team who Marcus has known since they were babies. They have never been great pals, but recently they have been really rubbing each other the wrong way. There have been stroppy outbursts at practice and even during games - pointing fingers and blame being dished around.

Yesterday this lad was goalkeeper in the first half, and Marcus was playing a loose "boss of the defence" role. We were up 1-0 when a shot came the keeper's way, went straight between his legs and into the net. I groaned and clapped (as I clap all the goals either team scores because I am a modern parent). Then I waited for the recriminations.

Marcus put his hand on the keeper's shoulder and said something to him gently. The keeper put his hand up to the whole team, in the international sign for "I made a mistake and I'm sorry". Marcus plays with such intense passion (and has since he was 6) that these are the moments when I hold my breath waiting to see which way it goes. I think both boys passed the test with flying colours.

One of the visiting team was a kid named Riley who Marcus knows from athletics, as well as playing soccer against him for years. They always get on pretty well, but I think Riley is the kind that gets on with everyone. Marcus and Riley went for the same ball at one stage. Marcus won it and in the process knocked Riley flat. Marcus kept going, passed the ball off and ran into attack. Riley was still flat on his face but I could see he was smiling, so I wasn't concerned. The ball went out, he hopped up and trotted off, and as they passed I heard Marcus say blithely "Sorry about that Riles, ya right?"

And that in a nutshell is exactly how I want Marcus to play sport.

Friday, July 01, 2011

More lions in sidecars

Yesterday I mucked up the link to the source of these amazing pics, a website called The Selvedge Yard.

This time I have triple-tested it, and to make up for my mistake I am throwing in two more pictures of people with lions in sidecars. I have assumed that these are daredevil acts but maybe these are actually just lion taxis.