Saturday, September 17, 2022

Lip Sync Battle + Music Quiz Ordeal

I will try to wrap up last night’s Lip Sync Battle + Music Quiz ordeal briefly so I can go to bed. Every moment since the ordeal ended has been precious and I really consider how I am spending my time, now. 

An old friend rang early in the afternoon yesterday and invited me and the family to a quiz night. Yeah, we love quiz nights, count us in. But also; this evening also included a lip sync battle - a kind of mime talent show. Of which one of the 3 judges was Miranda. So off we went. The friend that rang was Miranda's dad Simon; so our team was Simon, Mary, Marcus, Michael, Elf and I.

Elf was not aware it was a music quiz or that there would be performing when she signed up for it, so she was quietly furious. I am not going to mention the details of the battle or the venue because I don't want to upset the organisers if they were googling themselves and came across this. But here are some points of difficulty and exasperation.

  • There were not enough chairs, so Marcus had to sit on a high stool and felt extremely exposed.
  • The questions were very long and convoluted. They were often preceded by some editorial background that did not form part of the question but was just stuff the host wanted to get off her chest
  • A friend of the host was trying to check people’s tickets which had QR codes etc; it was all very complicated and didn't work. She had had a few drinks. As the night wore on she continued to help but also to yell comments and occasional quiz answers. We appreciated very much the work of the host's other friends who managed to distract her and limit the damage.
  • Simon had snaffled a "good table" which meant we were about 6 feet from the stage; and Michael and I were the ones who ended up on the stage side of it. This meant ladies and men dressed as ladies were miming at us from about a pool cue's length from our faces. We are both socially anxious and spent a lot of time looking at the ceiling and the very interesting curtains etc.
  • The host was at times making effort to move things along, but at other times would go into a bit of a reverie. We started late so it soon became clear this was a marathon not a sprint. One of the host's team of friends and supporters did excellent work telling her to snap out of it, when she would drift into self doubt and start thinking aloud about what would have been a better way to do things.
  • At the end, the merciful end, they collected all the answer sheets but could not add up the points. Drunk lady asked Marcus for help, while also clarifying unasked that she was "not retarded". He could not help because of the amount of numbers just written everywhere that no-one could explain to him.
  • Quiz results were announced anyway. The team that was awarded first were gobsmacked and quite certain that they had not come anywhere near first. Host said "OK, I think this is right", as she handed out inexpensive prizes sourced from the Tip Shop, "but check our Facebook tomorrow for the final results and if you need to you can all meet for coffee and swap prizes or something".
  • The lip sync 3rd prize winner was called to the stage and given the first prize, which was then removed again but she was very brave about it.
  • This 3rd rate shemozzle ended with the host announcing that this was her first go organising an event but keep your eyes peeled for her new event management business called ___ (bad pun on her name). She was serious.
The lip syncing was mostly fun, people had put effort into costumes and practising. Thank you sincerely to the lady who played the parts of fox and hound for one song; you gave me and many others a reason to go on living. I seriously felt my soul leaving my body a few times during the night.

I will continue to support local events like this but I will insist on having a seat near an exit in future.

Friday, September 02, 2022

Overheard at work

"I actually have a Masters in Calabrian Literature but I just did a beginners course in Italian. It was because ... well Dad's friend was the mayor, but not really the mayor, sort of the mafia mayor."

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Overheard at work

“Well, back to the stinking bunker of gowns”

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

ODFA Grand Final, Bothwell 13.11.89 d Campbell Town 7.9.51

Nick and I went up to Oatlands for the day to see unbeaten Bothwell Rabbits play Campbell Town Robins in the 2022 Oatlands District Football Association grand final. I have paid a lot of attention to the ODFA this year because after a few years on the wane it grew from five to seven teams in 2022. Oatlands itself was back, and my faves Woodsdale also came out recess.

It's true Oatlands did not win a game all year, and Woodsdale only beat Oatlands. But you have to start somewhere, and both clubs seem really well set up for future success. In a five-team league last year Campbell Town also went winless, and yet here they are in a grand final 12 months later. That's country footy.

We had to queue to get into the ground because the process of paying for admission, a Footy Record and some lucky tickets was so inefficient. Possibly the first queue that's been seen in Oatlands for a while. It was a warmish late winter day so everyone was in good spirits.

I had guessed that as hosts of the grand final (every year since 1979), Oatlands would have a state of the art electronic scoreboard by now. But, we were delighted to see the old faithful is still there!

Woodsdale FC had responsibility for running the canteen and the scoreboard on the day, and I chatted to the scorer who I think was John Treasure. In 2007 Roar Film made a 4-part TV series about country football called Alive and Kicking which featured John and his club’s run to the grand final.

Before play we settled behind the northern goals, peppered with local lads kicking miracle goals from the boundary line. A little toddler was nearly smacked in the head by a ball descending from a great height; her mum or auntie who'd been crouching by her turned and yelled at the boys "you nearly hit me on the arse!!"

Bothwell started better and kicked straight. We expected to see Tyler 'Snork' Ford run riot at some stage – he kicked 24 in one game earlier this year. An extraordinary looking young man; about 6 foot but skinny as a rake. He kicked two but never got off the chain. 

Late in the first quarter Campbell Town bottled the ball up in attack but didn’t kick straight. And that was it for the day really; the Rabbits looked sharper, had more bodies at the fall of the ball, took their chances and just edged away each quarter. We watched from various points.

At half time we joined a big queue and got pies and coffee. More than any other ground I’ve been to, this was a drink-and-smoke-anywhere venue. I’d guess the crowd at 1200. With both sides in red and black it was hard to tell who was supporting who but there was enough club merch to tell that Campbell Town had brought a fair contingent down the road for the day.

Grim attitudes in the Robins three quarter time huddle

The 2nd half played out like the first and the Robins never seriously threatened, and Bothwell's 7th ODFA flag was richly deserved. 

Swansea were a late withdrawal for this season, but hopefully the Bulldog Swans will take the field and bring it up to an 8-team comp in 2023.

The final score

Bus situations

We usually walk to and from work, but on our occasional bus rides we have recently had some small memorable moments.

Bus situation 1

Elf and I boarded an evening bus home, and some familiar guttural blues music was emanating from the driver's nook. It was the start of Roadhouse Blues by The Doors – one of the great driving songs. We cruised up Davey St then we got to the Zigzag where the bus route crosses the Southern Outlet. As we hit the Zigzag, Jim Morrison was exhorting the driver to roll baby roll, and she did, quite quickly, throwing us from side to side. Then as went past St John's Hospital the driver was hugging the kerb where there would usually be cars parked, and she hit a great big tree root at about 50kph. We were sitting practically on top of the front wheel at the time. So that was memorable. And ironic considering the song's initial suggestion that one should Keep your eyes on the road, your hand upon the wheel.

Bus situation 2

At our stop in the morning, the bus pulled up at a weird angle and too close to the kerb. Elf noticed the wing mirror had come to rest about an inch back from the pole holding the bus stop sign. When we boarded I told the driver, who hadn’t realised, that he’d need to reverse before he took off to avoid smashing his mirror. He murmured thanks, but a voice behind me said "Thank You!" energetically. 

The driver was a trainee and his supervisor had also not noticed the mirror. The supervisor continued "You have a lovely eye!" as he got out of the bus to guide the driver in reversing safely. Back in the bus he kept turning to us and making friendly chat the whole way into town, and came over at one point and gave me an anti-fog lens wipe. "I usually carry chocolates".

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Fullagar Family Summit for Imp's 50th

We recently had a wonderful week with the whole Fullagar family in town to celebrate Imp's 50th birthday. Felicity stayed with us, Fred stayed with Imp and Ed, and Chonk, Irma, Bea and Eric [the Swiss] stayed just down the hill at an Airbnb backing onto the rivulet.

Elf took the whole week off, while I took 2 days midweek which turned out to be perfect. We gathered most days at some stage either at our place or at Imp and Ed's at Kingston, and just ate and drank and talked. The Swiss went off and did some tourism at times, and Fred tinkered with things at Kingston and at our place too. He got the Wimshurst Machine back in working order [I have just realised the WM has not been mentioned here before so I will need to put that right soon and I'll add a link here).

Fred is Felicity's carer at home in Canberra so part of this week was separating those two to give him a break. Elf stepped in as frontline carer and cheerleader; trying to get her mum to be more active in finding solutions to her own health problems. Chiefly her feet; they are very sore and swollen and so she is unable to exercise much. Felicity won't take pills, which is a shame as some pills are very good. She thought she wouldn't come down for Imp's birthday, but all her kids her talked into it and she was extremely glad she did, by the end of the trip. As Marcus is off back to Hong Kong in March (I'll write more about this soon), this may have been the last opportunity to see her six grandkids together for a while.

Felicity asked for someone to organise a set of photos for her so she could pull them out to show friends. So I got these for her (I'm sending her prints) and reproduce them here as a time capsule; this is what we all look like in August 2022.

Before coming to Hobart, the Swiss had a week in far north Queensland, including a look around Townsville. Bea is very keen on studying marine biology and has her heart set on Townsville as the place to do it. Eric loves fishing and was lobbying hard for the whole family to move from Switzerland to Queensland.

Marcus and Michael always get on very easily and well with their cousins here, Karri and Miah, and it was just a love-in when all six of them were together. All lovely kids. 

The party went off really well. Imp booked the Kingston Community Hall which turned out to have a no-alcohol policy. This was quite funny as she had requested a gift of a large quantity of gin from Michael and Marcus which was to be shared out with guests at the party. We surreptitiously sipped some from paper cups and all in all, it added to the Jazz Age theme.

The boys present Imp with the gin

It was well-recieved

I put together the label, based on a previous birthday dress-up effort

Siblings assemble

I was able to go along to see all the visitors off at the airport in one go which was handy. We had one last big Fullagar scrum at Gate 3 then a smaller one at Gate 4. The Swiss flew off first and Felicity, who was in high spirits, got more exercise than in the rest of the trip combined with a lot of very hearty two-arms waving. Then Fred pushed Felicity in an airport wheelchair out to their plane and she waved the whole way, even while facing out into the open fields. It was a lovely note to end the visit, she was really delighted to have come and been at the centre of the family for a while.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Michael's 'descriptive writing' 2013

We are trying to cut down on some clutter by throwing out some of our many stacks of old school exercise books. This is very difficult, because every one is full of gems.

Michael, aged 9, was asked to write descriptive sentences. Here are three, which all got a simple red tick.

The speedy orange racecar races quickly and noisily. 
The hungry Tassie devil stalks steathily and silently.   
The cowardly peanut-butter-clad knight dies slowly and painfully.   

Friday, January 28, 2022

Mt Direction

I have always been fond of Mount Direction – this very recognisable double-humped hill that rises sharply from the eastern shore of the Derwent. It’s a way upriver from the city, but you can see it from a lot of vantage points. These first two pics are from paddling excursions in Cornelian Bay and off Taroona High School, respectively.

I've also drawn it many times; its one of those shapes I have in my head and I can knock out an inaccurate but recognisable Selfs Point Fuel Terminal and Mt Direction scribble in five minutes.

Anyway – now I have climbed it finally. Michael and I set off mid-morning on Australia Day holiday, 26 January (by the time you read this maybe the day will have been changed). It was a great day for strenuous climbing. 

You park at Risdon Brook Dam, stroll around the left side of the dam and then its gets confusing for a bit but before long you turn a corner and there is a slope like this: / that just goes right to the top. It is hellishly steep. The official page for the walk with map etc is here, and it rates it as four Difficulty Units out of a possible five.

But fortunately it was a cool overcast morning and we both enjoyed it a lot. We took a LOT of water and I would recommend that (you can fill bottles at the car park). But it's only 4km to the top, it doesn't take that long. 

We saw heaps of wallabies on the lower slopes, quite used to people. We didn’t know they were there in a lot of cases until we got almost within touching distance and suddenly one would launch itself out of the grass then watch us from five metres away. We saw one very brown echidna. And we were often mobbed by butterflies, common orange ones that might have been Australian Painted Ladies.

That peak over there is Gunners Quoin, which is a 17km return walk from the same start point. One to think about for the future.

At the top is a cairn and a ‘Communications Station’ ie a shed with aerials. The track just vaguely peters out just below it. 

This is the view from the top, looking north/upriver. I recognised Claremont Golf Club and the Bridgewater Bridge but I was really struggling for other landmarks. These are Hobart’s far northern suburbs and it’s not my patch, man.

The only time I feel like taking a selfie is when I have just climbed something. That's why we look smug.

I assumed that there'd be a clear track from the cairn at the top to a good view of the city; but not so. We picked our way over broken wood and tussocks to get this view to the south. A lot of the city is obscured by the Queens Domain, and of course the misty conditions don't help. But I wanted to at least see the white tanks on Self's Point which always go hand in hand with Mt Direction in my mind.

We climbed back down carefully, with no slips or trips. We did get slightly lost but Michael sorted us out. I got the feeling that the tracks were mostly used for going elsewhere and not many people bothered climbing to the top; possibly because the city view is not all that clear. Anyway – we both loved it and I am keen to go again on a clearer day.