Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Governors of Michigan

 As you will probably know I am one of the world's leading experts on the names of American state governors. However I have not until now turned my attention to the great mitten-shaped state of Michigan. I have checked two separate sources to confirm that these gentlemen are real. Click the links to read and memorise their life stories!

Alpheus Felch
Epaphroditus Ransom
Henry H. Crapo
Hazen S. Pingree
Luren Dickinson
Albert Sleeper
and a special mention for Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Richmond 21.11 (137) d Hawthorn 10.15 (75)

Yesterday Richmond merely outplayed Hawthorn in the first two quarters. In the 3rd quarter they wore them down to an exhausted and hollow shell of a football team, which they then ground into the dirt in the last quarter. Hawthorn, who had been premiership favourites at the opening siren, were made to look very average.

What's wonderful for Richmond fans is that this is not quite the miraculous bolt from the blue that it may appear. Their form leading into this match suggested to me that they would win, and I tipped them. Last week they came back from 40 points down against ladder leaders Essendon, just failing to hold on. Before that they were competitive in narrow losses to a series of top teams, and convincingly beat Sydney.

I believe this was the real Richmond, and everyone in the AFL really has to get their head around that. There have been so many false dawns with Richmond, that it's not surprising that skeptics have been in the majority. I really think they can beat St Kilda, Fremantle and GWS in the next three weeks, and go into the break on 7 wins / 4 losses.

I listened to the whole game on the radio while cleaning and cooking yesterday. I am not often on my feet for that long - by the end of the game my back was aching and I really felt like I had played the 4 quarters myself. I am completely delighted, and as far as I am concerned that is our best win since the 1995 finals.

RICHMOND 4.4 8.8 13.9 21.11 (137) HAWTHORN 1.3 4.9 8.10 10.15 (75)
GOALS Richmond: Riewoldt 6, King 3, Jackson 2, Martin 2, Edwards 2, Deledio, I Maric, Nahas, Morris, Tuck, Cotchin. Hawthorn: Breust 3, Rioli 2, Roughead 2, Young, Smith, Franklin.
BEST Richmond: Cotchin, I Maric, Foley, Deledio, Tuck, Riewoldt, Morris. Hawthorn: Burgoyne, Roughead, Lewis, Birchall, Whitecross.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Beep Test

Marcus broke the school Beep Test record again today. If you haven't heard of it, it's a fitness test where the subjects have to run up and down a measured course (a basketball court last time I did it), and keep up with a tape recording of beeps at regular intervals. Except they aren't regular - they gradually get closer and closer together. If a person doesn't complete a lap before the beep they must drop out. After each set of beeps a voice announces what level the test is up to. A month or so ago Marcus set a new record which only stood for one day, before it was beaten again by a wiry little Grade 4 boy.

Marcus is a competitive kid, but even he is a bit bemused by the amount of competing he has to do this week. He has the inter-school cross country run tomorrow (followed by soccer practice), a chess tournament on Thursday and the Maths Olympiad on Friday. Saturday is regular soccer and Sunday is the regional rep team training. We have just heard he has been selected in the team to play over a weekend in June up in Devonport, an area where we no longer have family to flop with.

Meanwhile Michael was today sent to the principal for refusing to be Beep Tested. It would be heart-warming here to say I am so proud of both of them, one for doing his best and the other for sticking up for what he believes in. That would be premature though, as Michael will not tell us why he wouldn't run, and claims he "doesn't remember" anything the principal said to him. Chances are it was simple pig-headeness with a bit of backchat thrown in. We will make some enquiries before we sanctify him as the Gandhi of the Gymnasium.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

John and Carmen

One of my longest-time buddies John was in town with his wife Carmen over the weekend. Sadly they were here to see John's dad who is in a specialised dementia care place. He still lived on a property where John grew up, on the far North West coast, but keeping it all together got beyond him. He was such an independent and capable man - it's a bugger of a thing.

I left work a little early so we could come home and walk the dog around the neighbourhood before it got dark. Melbourne has it's charms, but it is quite flat, so to hike up and down some hills and see water views and bushy slopes seemed like a good outing for them.

It would be something like 10 or 15 years since I had dinner with John, so it was a special occasion. While Elf and Carmen caught up generally, John and I had an intense discussion on music. [We have both been listening to a lot of early 80s live recordings on YouTube - there is some amazing music up there. I find things and then just enjoy the audio while I work, lately Talking Heads' concert in Rome, 1980.]

It was terrific just to be together for a while, but I was keen to be grown up and cook a decent dinner and keep myself nice. Next time I'll get a slab of Boags and four or five bottles of wine and we'll do it good and properly.

Under 11s transcend the possible

Just a quick plug for my Under 11s - they won again yesterday, away at Lenah Valley. Isn't Lenah Valley a nice name? I always think so. Anyway, the formline for my boys now is;
  • 0-12 loss
  • 0-3 loss
  • 1-5 loss
  • 3-0 win
  • 2-0 win
We were under a lot of pressure for nearly all the 2nd half after one of our kids had a brain explosion and punched an opponent. I was reffing at the time and sent him off, and we played out the game one down.

Despite this unsightly incident, I was delighted with the kids teamwork and individual skills. It was almost like seeing your dog barbecuing chops while your cat throws together a green salad."What? You can do THAT? And YOU can do THAT? And you can do it together???"

Possibly due to brain stress from pondering what to do about the punchy kid, I got the time for my own game wrong this weekend, TWICE. I was a day early yesterday then 2 hours late today. I felt like running into the forest (which was nearby) screaming, but just got back in the car, came home and mowed the lawn savagely instead. I have some real personal organisation issues.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stereotype Man does his best

It was a very chilly morning at kids' soccer yesterday. As Marcus and 4 or 5 other boys knocked the ball around to warm up, Ali stood still scowling with his hands over his frozen ears. I had taken along a wide range of warm things, so I got out my scarf and offered to wrap it around his head. He was keen, so I wound it around over his ears and tucked it into itself, and off he went to join in the warm up.

Then I thought to myself "Great. I have effectively put a turban on the only Muslim kid. Way to go, Stereotype Man". He loved it so much he asked if he could keep it on when the game started.

I was so relaxed compared to previous weeks, because I only had 9 players, and didn't have to worry about substitutions (it's 9-a-side). Watching the clock and doing the sums to make sure everyone gets a fair go is quite stressful, and detracts from actually watching the game.

I felt even better when we scored our 2nd goal of the season about 2 minutes in, a really impressive determined effort by young Blake, who went to ground and had to get up again twice to finally get it past the keeper. Within ten minutes Ali had scored twice, and we were on course for our first win. That turned out to be the final score, but it was a really good effort from everyone for the whole game.

Later that day my Over 35s triumphed 4-0 over Barnstoneworth, and the night before my agéd indoor soccer team won a tight one 9-8. So it was a sensational soccer trifecta - something I hoped would come along some time this season.

Today (after Central Region squad training in freezing rain) Marcus attended Ali's birthday party. We gave him some Lego and a woolly beanie.