Monday, August 31, 2009


We found some great shops in Geelong and Melbourne like this collectables shop with all sorts of cool stuff. Most things were out of our price range but I did find a couple of old Geelong badges to add to my collection. The little pedal scooter in the picture was priced at $1100.
I liked the life size Mr Freeze in the window but The Heir reckoned he was the worst ever Batman villain!
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Spot the Difference

While in Geelong recently with The Heir I took him to a "sacred place", the very spot where Mrs Holt Press and I got married. I don't know if you can spot any differences between then and now but if you look closely you'll see that I'm wearing different clothes and there are a few less people in picture.
Talking of Geelong, the home and away season is over, the finals are about to start and the Cats first game is against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. Go Cats.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Soccer Footy Soccer

I had a stressful morning coaching Sport Boy's soccer team this morning. It was the final game of the home and away season before the knock-out finals start next week. We were playing Vasse. They had 15 players to choose from. We had the bare 11 because DJ was sick. At half time we were down to 10 because Georgie was too sick to continue and for a ten minute period in the second half we were down to 9 after Sport Boy copped a heavy knock and came off injured. It wasn't the first time he'd been knocked over and he was feeling pretty sore but managed to drag himself back on the pitch and even contributed to the first goal of the game, scored by Jacob.

Five minutes later Vasse equalised with a header from a corner although our kids protested that the ball had gone out before curving back in and apparently the kid who kicked it confirmed it but the goal stood, 1-1.

I should say that by this time I was not having a very good morning, frustrated by the refereeing and particularly a blatant foul from behind on Sport Boy as he was running toward goal that wasn't paid followed by the incident where he got hurt. My parental instincts were spiking into the red zone and I was having trouble concentrating on the rest of the game.

Some relief came in the last few minutes when Ben C scored a fantastic goal from a free kick outside the area to restore our lead. The final score was 2-1 and there was a mixture of celebration and relief at the final whistle.

I told the kids I was especially proud of the way they played through adversity, particularly when we were down to 9 players.

I came home to watch the footy: Geelong beat Fremantle at Kardinia Park by about 5 goals, the best news being that Brad Ottens played for the first time since round 2 and got through the game unscathed. The finals start next weekend so it was good to get some players back and a win on the board. In fact, with that win the Cats have set a new record, becoming the first team in history to win 18 games or more in a season in three consecutive years, as well as equalling their best ever sequence of 22 successive home wins.

I then watched Essendon beat Hawthorn to once and for all knock the Hawks out of the finals, the first reigning premier to fail to make the finals in over 10 years.

I took Sport Boy back to soccer for his Country Week team training while I hunted down a couple of garage sales. One of them turned up two treasures, the first being a box of model aeroplanes for $15 complete with a full set of enamel paints. The second was the garage sale Proprietor, an 81 year old gentleman named John who is selling up and moving back to England to be with his sweetheart, a lady two years his junior called Jean who he first met in 1946! Emigration, marriages and the subsequent deaths of their respective partners followed before a brief reconnection in 1980 saw them renew acquaintence. But a further 28 year separation kept them apart on opposite sides of the world until last year when John went to visit her in the UK. They hit it off so well that he's making the big move and going back to England to be with her!

I took his picture on my phone but unfortunately can't get it to upload to the computer or I would post it here but I did ask him if it was alright to get in touch with the local paper and get them to come and do a story about him. It's too good a yarn to leave untold I reckon.

Spike worked this afternoon and tonight is out at his girlfriend's place: "I'll be very late home tonight" he informed me as he was leaving!

SB and I went to church tonight. Noel is away so Ozzie was preaching which is always an "interesting" experience!

We came home and I cooked a BBQ dinner while SB watched "Bend it Like Beckham".

I've been following the Premier League scores while I've been blogging: Spurs playing Birmingham at White Hart Lane. It looked certain to finish 1-1 but in the last seconds of injury time Aaron Lennon just scored the winner to give Spurs 4 wins out of 4 to start the season which is easily the best start they've had in all the years I've been following them. Come on you Spurs!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Three Men Home Alone

Mrs Holt Press has gone to Northam for the weekend, the last in an 18 month training course she has been doing. She wasn't feeling well, a bad headache threatening to keep her home but by lunchtime she had improved enough to go. Hopefully she will feel better again by tomorrow and be able to take full advantage of the weekend. I will have to look into buying some food and cooking a couple of meals for the boys while she is away.

Sport Boy competed in the school athletics carnival today, getting two seconds and a third in different events, helped psychologically at least, if not physically, by the new "skins" he bought yesterday afternoon. Skins are the leg warming apparel modern sportsmen wear beneath their shorts to avoid muscle injuries. As you can tell, Sport Boy takes his sport seriously!

He came with me to volleyball tonight, spending more time playing with Spike and a bunch of other kids than watching me or my team win our game it must be said, but he did say to me this evening "I'm really glad you're the sort of Dad who still plays sport and does stuff and doesn't just sit at home getting fat and watching TV". Thanks son!

For the last few weeks I've been taking groups of students out on a Wednesday afternoon to attend the Behind the White Crosses program, the road safety initiative I created. It has been going quite well with positive responses from the kids, and also gaining some media attention. My picture is on the front cover of the local paper this week, the Busselton Dunsborough Mail and I have been on radio and tv in the last week.
The whole aim of BTWC is to keep kids safe on the roads and save lives.

Spurs have continued on their winning ways, beating Doncaster Rovers 5-1 in the 2nd round of the Carling Cup last night.

And after some deliberation and discussion, I'm happy to inform you that my fantasy footy team, The Bussell Muscle, have made it through to a unique Grand Final after last week's draw in the prelim: for the first time in CFFL history three teams will play off in the Grand Final!
Such are the restrictions and vagaries of fantasy football that there was little choice but to have a three way play off. Sadly Buddy Franklin has so far not been freed to play by the AFL tribunal which will leave a large hole in the Muscle forward line!
And in other fantasy footy news, Big Brother the Accountant has reached the Grand Final of our DreamTeam league on the AFL website and faces off against Barry's Knuckles, coached by Rachel's husband Michael. Meanwhile I have made the minor grand final (for the bottom 8 teams!!) and play Collo, who just happens to coach the Tryhards, one of the teams in the CFFL GF! Ah the many and splendid joys of football!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick Snippets

Spurs beat West Ham 2-1 and have won their first three games of the season, a feat they haven't achieved for 50 years!!

Final amount raised at the quiz night, $2355.40.

After a lengthy break I have started working on some new paintings. I've been thinking about it for a while but haven't been motivated enough to pick up a brush.

One little gripe:
I had a meeting with a lady today regarding a school volunteer program, she told me she used to be a teacher. Then used both "everythink" and "somethink" as she was explaining the program to me! Come on!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Busy Weekend

I had Scott Darlow at school on Friday presenting sessions to all year groups. Scott is a singer and story teller with a great presence and his music goes down really well with the kids, especially when interspersed with anecdotes that explain his song's significance. You can listen to or download some of his songs from his myspace page. It was a long day though and he was pretty tired by the end of it, so tired that rather than coming round to watch the footy on Friday night he fell asleep in his motel room and missed the game completely. Considering it was the Geelong v W Bulldogs game and he, like me, is a massive Cats fan, he must have been tired. Sport Boy was disappointed he didn't make it but correctly guessed that he must have fallen asleep!
Then again, the result was disappointing with the Dogs winning by 14 points. Geelong fought back well in the 3rd and took the lead in the last to ignite hopes of another come from behind win but a clanger from Mark Blake turned the ball over and gave the Bulldogs what ended up being a match-winning lead. The Cats have been shaky the last 6 weeks and injuries are not helping; hopefully they will be able to lift for the finals.

On Saturday morning the Cornerstone U12s played the Tigers down at Margaret River in very windy conditions. The game didn't go our way unfortunately and despite coming back from 3-0 down to be 3-2 behind at half time the Tigers were brilliant in the second half and ran away to win 8-3! Sport Boy got our third goal late in the game but we were comprehensively beaten.

We'll need to win next week to have a chance of a top two finish in the finals.

Mum and Walter had come over from Bridgetown to watch the game and then came back to Busselton for the Big Busso Quiz Night that I was running at the school last night.

We spent several hours on Saturday arvo getting everything set up and ready including the obligatory wrestling with technology! It all worked out really smoothly in the end and I was pretty happy with the way the night went. Mrs Holt Press even said it was the best one I've run and Noel, who hasn't been to a quiz night in 8 years said he really enjoyed the night!
Mum had made one of her lovely Santas and donated it to be auctioned. Bernie Masters did a good job with the auctioneering and the Santa sold for $100.

Scott played some songs at intermission which was a special treat but he too had gremlins in the system to deal with.

I've spent this afternoon cleaning up and packing away all the chairs and gear we used last night: PA, projectors, staging, computers, easels, desks etc. The 30+ tables will need to go back to various classrooms tomorrow morning. Sport Boy came down and gave me a hand after he finished his tennis tournament at Australind.

I've just finished counting the money and it looks like we've raised just over $2200 which is good but not great, we didn't get as many people there as I'd hoped or indeed as many as we've had the last couple of years. I don't know what else we need to do to attract a crowd, I put up signs all over town, gave flyers to every student, had it advertised in the papers and people from YouthCare sold tickets in all the churches! Sport Boy and Spike even did some letter box drops delivering flyers!
Stu suggested maybe it was the impact of the GFC!

The disappointing part is that it takes the same amount of work to run a quiz night for 100 people as it does for 400 and of course, the more people you get the more money you raise.
There was a lot of positive feedback and people had a good time, we just need to get people to come!

There've been two thrillers in the footy this arvo. In the first North Melbourne pulled off one of the shocks of the season in beating StKilda by 5 points. Unbeaten up until last week the Saints have lost two in a row and the fans must be feeling a little nervous! I sent St Nick a couple of texts this arvo to mark the occasion and told him it was a bit late to start tanking!

The other thriller was in the Chaplains FFL Preliminary Final which ended in a draw between my team, the Bussell Muscle, and Collo's team, the Tryhards! Matthew Pavlich got a couple of possessions late in the game which enabled the Tryhards to snatch a draw! The way Fantasy Footy works the season has to finish next week so there's no way to play a replay, I'm not sure what the outcome will be. St Steve the Commissioner will have some thinking to do!

I'm going round to Dave's place tonight to watch Spurs play West Ham and see if we can maintain our great start to the season.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Come on You Spurs

It's really too late to be blogging but I can't let this news pass without acknowledgement:

Spurs are top of the Premier League!

Two games for two wins to open the season!

2-1 over Liverpool on Sunday followed by a 5-1 thumping of Hull City last night!
Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick.

Got to make the most of this, it's not likely to last!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cool News Bru

I did something today I've never done before.
I bought a ticket to New Zealand!
Because my good friends Paul and Vicki are going to be there for two weeks in November.
They're coming from San Diego.
I haven't seen Paul for nearly ten years so it was too good a chance to pass up and there just happen to be some super cheap fares to NZ on sale at the moment.
I'll have to fly via Sydney but the total return fare from Perth to Christchurch was just $507!
I'll spend a week with them, travelling, camping, hiking and fishing around the south island, Paul is a mad keen trout fisherman so I daresay I'll be getting my first taste of fly fishing.

That's the good news. The bad news is that in light of this unexpected trip I will have to forego my planned trip to Melbourne for the Grand Final!
I 'll have to negotiate some time off work and I won't be able to get two weeks off.
Hopefully the Cats will win without me!

I've never been to NZ but since seeing The Lord of the Rings movies have been keen to see it firsthand, and Paul loves it, having been there several times. I spoke to him today and he is really excited about me being able to join them for a week of their holiday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


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Recent Line Drawings

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Three Thrillers

Saturday morning, 9am. LNJSA U12 soccer.
Cornerstone v Busselton Redbacks

We're into the Champions League play-off part of the season (the top 6 teams on the ladder) and the level of competition has increased significantly.
This was a BIG game. The Redbacks have been on top all season having lost only one game.
Last time we met thay beat us 6-3.
But we have improved a LOT since then.
Sport Boy was keyed up but confident.
The weather was cold wet and windy.
After a quick warm up and a few inspirational words from yours truly, "Keep your eyes on the ball", the game began.

We started well and had the better of the first half but took a while to get a goal on the board. When it came there was a touch of the bizarre. Ben C took a long range shot that beat the keeper and was headed for the back of the net when one of the defenders reached up and stopped it with his hands! Deliberate handball in the penalty area should be an instant red card but the ref didn't even blow his whistle! But before I could really amp up the protests the opposition coach said "It's OK Marcus, he's paid a goal". Apparently the kid was over the line by the time he grabbed the ball, but he was not sent off.

1-0 to Cornerstone but it was a portent of the standard of refereeing we would have for the rest of the game.
Jacob scored our second goal on a breakaway after a long clearance from Ben A in goal.
2-0 Cornerstone.

A succession of fouls followed, all committed against Cornerstone, none of them paid. After the 5th bad decision (or lack of decision) frustration got the better of me and I yelled out "What have you gotta do to get a free kick?" Pretty heavy duty ref abuse that!
A few opposition parents had a go at me and I was not as polite as I should have been in response.

Half time.
More inspirational words, "Keep up the good work".
And an apology to the afore-mentioned parents. Gotta do the right thing and set a good example for the kids!!

The second half kicked off.
A goal, this time to the Redbacks although Graeme was certain it was offside. In fact he said the linesman admitted it was offside too but refused to tell the referee! "It's too late now, he's paid the goal"!! Just what we needed, a spineless linesman.

The balance in the universe was restored not long after with another goal to Cornerstone, this time scored by Sport Boy, 3-1.
A goalmouth scramble followed and Daniel was there to poke it in, 4-1 and I was feeling good.

Sport Boy copped a knock on the knee and came off for a rest. Having told Ben A I'd give him a chance to come out of goal if the game allowed it I subbed Sport Boy into goal and Ben A went into midfield.
Whether the goalie switch had anything to do it with I don't know but the defense started to become quite shaky and Redbacks confidence grew accordingly.
Sport Boy made a couple of saves but there was a certain inevitability about Redbacks scoring another goal, 4-2.

There wasn't long to go and I wasn't overly concerned....until Redbacks scored again! The defense was all over the shop and Sport Boy had no chance, 4-3, suddenly Cornerstone was in trouble and Redbacks were full of belief. I was now genuinely worried.
We had been the best team all day but were now in danger of surrendering that supremacy.

The game seemed to go on and on; surely the ref had to blow the whistle to finish the game!

Thankfully he finally obliged a couple of minutes later and we'd won, 4-3.

It was a good win but I felt a little deflated at having conceded the late goals and spent some time in the post-game wrap-up emphasising the importance of concentrating till the end and a few other tactical issues.

It was not the last time I would nervously await the end of a game over the weekend!

The Cats survived a late scare to hold on and beat Sydney by 5 points at the Olympic Stadium and restore a bit of confidence in their form before the finals.

The Abletts, Swan Luke and cousin Cat Gary catching up after the game.
They prompted me to call ABC talkback and chide the commentators for not distinguishing which Ablett they were referrring to during the commentary. They admitted they'd been in the wrong not to do so but added the rider that Gary had had 44 possessions and Luke 6 and thus I could have safely assumed they were referring to Gary most of the time!!

Third play in the three card trick was Essendon's shock win over StKilda to bring their 19 game winning run to an end this afternoon. I was busy at a Beach Mission exec meeting when The Heir rang to ask if I was watching the game? "The Bombers are 17 points up half way through the 3rd quarter" he informed me.
"Keep me posted, text me the scores"
He did and as Essendon's lead got bigger we both celebrated.
Finally the meeting ended and I went out to the car to listen to the last 10 minutes of the game on the radio. (It was on Foxtel not FTA so I couldn't watch it)
But, the Saints were storming home! Essendon had been 43 points up at one stage but St Kilda kicked seven goals to none in the last quarter and had a full head of momentum.
The Bombers clung to a 3 point lead then with 9 seconds left Nick Riewoldt marked inside 50!
Collective groans in Perth and Bunbury (by this time The Heir and I had an open line on the phone and were riding the game all the way home!)
The siren went.
What drama!
Riewoldt to kick for goal and win the game after the siren!
Could StKilda maintain their winning streak and keep "The Perfect Season" going?
Would they go on and beat the all time record of 23 straight wins, set by Geelong in 1952-53?
Obviously I was hoping not!
Riewoldt shoots....and misses!!!!
Great rejoicing in Perth and Bunbury!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I was not feeling 100% today so came home from work a little early and slept for a couple of hours this evening before getting up to watch the football.
The game, hawthorn v Adelaide, was fairly ordinary, but Dennis Cometti was on fire in the commentary box. Sadly my mildly concussed brain can't remember all his best lines but a couple of examples were:

After Simon Taylor had twice failed to beat a tackler and been caught holding the ball:
"Delusions of adequacy there"

While describing the very young looking first game player Rory Sloane:
"He's come straight from the creche"

When Adelaide player Ben Rutten missed another shot on goal:
"Reminds me of the curious case of Benjamin Rutten"

Thanks for the calls and texts from readers after last night's mishap.
I'm feeling a little better now and will get some rest over the weekend, although tomorrow morning will be fairly intense as Cornerstone's U12s play top of the ladder Busselton Redbacks.
Sport Boy was busy calculating how many games we need to win to finish in the top two tonight.
He made it through school today and is well enough to play although not too impressed with my suggestion that I might play him in goal for some of the game because he hasn't been well!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Smack! Ouch, That Hurt!!

I was supposed to be at volleyball for 3 hours tonight, playing two games and reffing a third.

I lasted 3 minutes!

In the third point of the opening set, as I was moving backwards to go for a ball I tripped over a teammate's legs and fell backwards onto the court, smashing the back of my head onto the ground in the process!
Rolling around in pain, dazed and confused I was carried off the court and that was me done for the night!

I have a lump but not as much pain as I'd have expected considering how hard I fell.

I don't think I'm concussed but I do have a few pains in my neck shoulder and arm, I don't know if they were caused by the fall or are a sympton of something else. I'd say that in general terms I don't feel that well.

On the plus side it meant I came home early and spent the nevening with Alex and The Heir who have driven down to Busso for the night.

More good news, Sport Boy's condition has improved and there is a small chance he may even go to school tomorrow although I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Seen in Adelaide

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sport Boy Faces Facts

Pity poor Sport Boy. Not only has he been sick for the past two days and showing little sign of recovering, but tonight he also had to endure the embarrassment of attending a parent night on "Puberty". He was trying to worm his way out of going and then sat squirming in his seat as the lights went down and the DVD came on. Being confronted with pubic hair, penises, vaginas, ovaries, periods and making babies was all a bit overwhelming for a kid who still makes gagging noises at the mere sight of people kissing on TV. Despite his misgivings he came through it relatively unscathed and it has opened up some opportunities for discussion over the next few months/years. The DVD was good but skipped over a fair bit and as the teacher said at the end, the school sees it as the parent's job to teach their kids the facts of life which is fair enough.
I daresay there will be a few giggly playground discussions with the other boys once he gets back to school, whenever that may be.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is the Pontiff Practising?

Was it a struggle to get up and get to work this morning?
Is the Pope catholic?

At least I made it which is more than can be said for either Spike or Sport Boy. They were both unwell, though hungry, as I learnt when a distress call came through at lunch time that there was nothing to eat in the house.
A quick mercy dash to Priceys for hash browns, four n twenty pies and a loaf of bread staved off death.
It's true there isn't much food in the house, the fridge is playing up, the thermostat seems to be buggered, and apart from emitting an annoying beeping several times a day it is also not keeping things cold, which is after all the primary, indeed only function required of a fridge.
It's not an old fridge either, maybe 6 years old, 7 tops, and a reputable brand, Fisher and Paykel.

I rang a number Mrs Holt Press gave me today for a fridge mechanic to come and look at/fix it, but it was a wrong number and the bloke on the end didn't seem to have too many clues about fixing fridges. Back to square one. Finding a fridge mechanic in Busselton may not be that easy.

I received a surprise gift in the mail today, delivered at work; a book on the history of Australian Rules Football, in the shape of a football! Very cool. Sent as a belated, and unexpected birthday present from Birchy aka The Full Quiver. Thanks mate, much appreciated and of course, eminently suitable.
Nice to know he was thinking of me; I remember a few years ago he rang to ask me if I wanted him to buy a Geelong jumper he'd found on sale at KMart for $15?
Is the Pope catholic?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Heading Home

The siren has sounded on the last footy game of the weekend. My bags are packed. I'm heading for the airport with the unpleasant thought of a 4 hour flight followed by a 3 hour drive ahead of me before I make it home.
I guess that's the price to be paid for being a footy tragic.

I'm leaving two paintings and The Heir behind. He flies home tomorrow night.
The paintings are thank you gifts for Scott and his Mum for their hospitality and generosity in letting us stay.

In their place I'm bringing home numerous badges bought at various antiques & collectables shops, and a trumpet.

It cost me $30 at a "HUGH (sic) GARAGE SALE" on Sydney Rd Brunswick.

The fact I can't play the trumpet is outweighed by that old garage saler's maxim, "It was a bargain".

See you on the other side.

Late Breaking News:

I'm home safe and sound and only have to be up for work in 4 1/2 hours!

The Ballad of Tyler Cassidy

The footy ends in a draw, very exciting. Essendon blow it in the last 10 seconds, Bradshaw kicks his only goal of the game after Fletcher gives him a bath all night.
One team celebrates getting out of jail, the other despairs at leaving the door open.

I'm on the train coming home after the game.
The 11:01 Upfield train.
The Heir has gone off to Yarraville to see his cousin's band play.
I'm reading an article in The Weekend Australian Magazine about Tyler Cassidy, a 15 year old boy shot dead by Victoria Police eight months ago.
It happened in Northcote. My Nan and Pa lived in Northcote. It makes the story more personal.

There are two teenage girls sitting near me, giggling and laughing and making a lot of noise.
They're slightly annoying but happy and not hurting anyone. Their mucking around escalates into slapping and hitting one another with a bag and a strap of some sort. Their hilarity increases. Now they're chasing one another, sitting on top of one another, getting louder and louder. And more annoying. People are starting to look at them with the sort of looks that say "why can't those kids be quiet and behave?"
The girls are oblivious, caught up in their own little world of laughter and silliness.

The train stops at a station and two women get on. One has a bike and is wearing a helmet. The other is holding a stubbie of VB. She starts talking loudly to no-one and everyone.
She's drunk but happy. Loud. A little intimidating. What will she do?
Will she get aggro?
Will she throw up?
Bike woman engages her in some chatter.

Suddenly the teenagers are quiet. They exchange looks, smile, and laugh but not loudly. They too are wary. They're no longer the centre of attention.

VB lady starts up again. Repeating snatches of something that sounds political, anti-establishment, angry, a warning. Then to my surprise, she says "Tyler Cassidy was shot. The police killed him. Shot him four times in the chest"
The words come out in a drunken rambling messy sort of way but it dawns on me she's reciting a poem. It could be called The Ballad of Tyler Cassidy. The words and pictures in the article I'm reading are coming to life in the drunken poetic ramblings of VB lady.
I feel slightly surreal.
A part of me wants to keep my head down and keep reading.
Another part wants to ask her about the poem; who wrote it? where did she hear it? did she write it?

People are getting off the train. Bike woman is gone. Disapproving looks have gone. The teenage girls have moved seats and started playing their own games again.
VB lady sits down but keeps reciting and repeating snatches of the the poem.
I don't talk to her but I secretly wish I had the words to her ballad.

We stop at Fawkner station and VB lady says to no-one in particular "I could get off here and go and visit all my dead friends" and I suspect there are a few of them to be found in Fawkner cemetery.

I suddenly realise I've missed my stop.
I should have gotten off at Merlynston and now we're headed for Gowrie, two stops farther on.

I get off at Gowrie and ask the station attendant when the next train back toward the city is.
They're all finished for the night he tells me.

I walk home, thinking about the teenagers and VB Lady and The Ballad of Tyler Cassidy.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Blues

Rats! I've got the Blues! Or rather, the Blues got me, and my footy team. Geelong have won so many games over the last three years that I've grown unaccustomed to losing, forgetting that it is the lot in life of the football fan to deal with the disappointment of losing on a regular basis. Usually. Unless you're a StKilda fan this year. And don't be surprised if the Saints taste defeat for the first time this round.
But, I digress. It is no fun seeing your team lose. It is even less fun when you've flown all the way across the country for the privilege! I don't think Jetstar will be giving us our money back just because our team lost!
The Heir and I endured a cold and disappointing night at the MCG as Carlton were far too good and beat the Cats by 35 points. The night started brightly but that was the only time of any real comfort or joy. The heavy injury toll, added to by two tonight, is making the Cats vulnerable and the young replacement players are not up to the task of maintaining the winning form from the first half of the season.
Although Carlton lead at every change, the comeback wins of the last two weeks gave us hope that we could still win. We were wrong. There was no fairytale finish tonight, just the big bad wolf blowing the Cat's house down.
I've never liked Carlton!
In fact, the last time I watched a Carlton v Geelong game was at the MCG about 10 years ago and we lost that day too!
Predictably there was a message on my voice mail from Stu the Gardener singing the Carlton theme song not long after the game. Just what I needed to finish my day.

We caught a very full tram home to Coburg along Sydney Rd and consoled ourselves with the news that Australia had bowled out the poms for 103 in the 4th test.

Friday, August 07, 2009


I met a bloke today who was chaplain at Busselton about 15 years ago, round about the same time I started at Carine. He's now head of Chaplaincy for Access Ministries, the Victorian organisation that runs school chaplaincy, the equivalent of YouthCare in WA. He was interested in hearing the latest news from Busso and whether anything had changed since his time there. From the comparisons we made it seems like some things haven't changed much at all but he thought the way I described how I do my job at the school sounded like what he would have liked to do back then but wasn't able to. It was revealing for me to hear his impressions and feedback about the sort of work I do and its influence in the school, almost like seeing it through a different pair of eyes and appreciating it more as a result. I was left feeling a lot more encouraged than I expected to.

The Heir and I had dinner with Scott Darlow tonight at a pizza and pasta place. It is always cool to see Scott and catch up on his news, and to talk footy, especially Geelong footy. He is friends with Gary Ablett Snr and it was good to hear about how Gary is going and other bits and pieces about the Cats.
The Heir and I are going to the game tonight, Geelong v Carlton at the MCG, courtesy of some unbelievably cheap airfares on Jetstar: Perth-Melbourne, $138 return!!!
We'll go to 3-4 other games over the weekend as well. I'd love to be going to the big 150th Anniversary Dinner for Geelong FC on Saturday night but at $495 ticket .....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Tooth

I used to share the common fear and dislike of going to the dentist but must admit that with the advances in treatments and anaesthetics it is a largely pain free experience these days.
I had a dental appointment this afternoon.
In Perth.
I normally go to the dentist in Bunbury.
He's the husband of a friend and started treating my badly neglected teeth a few years ago before we moved down south.
As I was coming up to Perth I made the appointment for there.
But when I walked in he had a quizzical look on his face that suggested he wasn't expecting me.
Mr Perceptive was right. He wasn't.
There had been another name in the appointment book and upon ringing one Michael D____ to confirm the appointment he had said he didn't need it so they had reallocated the timeslot to someone else!
Putting two and two together they worked out that the receptionist in Bunbury had written the wrong name in the book and that it should have been mine.
Thankfully he had time to see me and proceeded to repair a tooth with a number of stress fractures in it, informing me at the same time that it is rotated 90 degrees to the right of how it should be positioned. I declined his offer for corrective orthodontory and settled for a filling.
I dribbled the rinse water down the front of my shirt at the end thanks to the total numbness on that side of my mouth, always a classy move.
Several hours later it has finally returned to normal but I can't keep my wandering tongue from exploring the crisp concave new filling on the upper left side.

Something unusual happened on the way up to Perth.
I saw a couple of hitch-hikers.
In my youth I did a lot of hitch-hiking, around Australia, in Europe, and around America twice,
Hitching used to be pretty common.
But not now; it is very rare to see anyone hitching.
No doubt the result of fear and mistrust based on the bad stories of violence rape and murder that have happened over recent years.
But, having been the recipient of so much benevolence and having hitched thousands of kilometres, I will always give people a lift.
So I pulled over and the two blokes got in. They were going to Cockburn and as I would be driving right past there they were happy.

One of them, Dave, had been up in the north west recently, from Darwin through to the Kimberleys and it seemed to have made a strong impression on him. He said he had gotten to know a lot of Aboriginal people on his travels and developed a real respect for them and their culture and traditions. He described it as a spiritual experience and I asked him a bit more about that. He said their connection to the earth and the land, their knowledge of the seasons, their dreaming stories and their connection to family had all had a deep impact on him. It was encouraging to hear a young man talk about some of the deeper things in life and appreciating the spiritual dimension of existence. I despair sometimes at the shallow and meaningless lives many young people seem to live and their ignorance of and disinterest in exploring any of the big questions and deeper meanings of life.
I fear that they are so over-stimulated and electronically entangled they have either missed the things that give life meaning and purpose, they can't see them, or they don't want to see them.
Tuned out on their ipods, cut off from the world around them, and ensnared by the multi-faced fast paced networks online via msn/my space/facebook/twitter etc they don't seem to engage in the real world around them. They seem unaware of nature, the environment, poverty, injustice, reconciliation, hunger, global economics, politics or current events. They don't read newspapers, they don't even watch the news. They lack even rudimentary levels of general knowledge.
The more access they have to technology and toys, the less they seem to know about anything beyond their own little world.

I didn't expect to get on such a rant when I started this post but these are my convictions after many years of working with young people and seeing the rapid and radical changes in the world over the last 20 years.

BTW did you know that Aboriginal people recognise 6 different seasons as opposed to the 4 we in the west are familiar with? I don't know their names.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Monday, August 03, 2009

The Study gets a Makeover

I collect "Avant Card" postcards, free advertsing art cards found in a few trendy cinemas and cafes in places like Leederville and Freo. I've got hundreds of them, many of which decorate my office and the men's dunny at school. Lately I've been playing around with collages on the computer, mostly of my own artwork and that prompted me to create a few out of postcards. I really like collages of pictures, almost regardless of the subject matter, I just love the multi-image effect. This is one of several I did today.

Mrs Holt Press worked again this morning, while Sport Boy and I went to "Church at the Pub". Once a month Down South Gospel meets at The Esplanade Hotel on a Sunday morning, not at 10.00 however, as I thought, but 9.30! I'm not doing too well on punctuality at the moment!

We missed the worship time but were there for Noel's message which I thought was really good.

Sport Boy had a friend, Joel, come over for the afternoon. They spent an hour kicking the footy at the park then another two hours at the rec c entre playing badminton and swimming.

I stopped at a garage sale on the way home and found a couple of bargains, a dvd player for $5, a space rocket toy complete with astronauts to hang in my office, and 3 dvds.

This prompted me to do some remodelling in the study and set up the dvd player with a little tv I had previously bought for $5. I'm watching the cricket on it now, albeit with a very fuzzy picture, but I watched a movie this arvo while I cleaned up, tidied, rearranged and disposed of all sorts of stuff. I repositioned the printer and the scanner and even managed to reconnect the old computer to the internet. I'm pleased to say the study is looking a lot better for my efforts, just as well as I've spent all afternoon and all night in here working on it!

There was a bonus too: I discovered a package that hadn't been opened which contained a NY Giants badge I bought on ebay a couple of months ago. I had even emailed the seller asking why it hadn't arrived! Turns out it had, without my knowledge, and had gotten lost in the pile of stuff beside my desk! I'm happy with that.

I'm also happy because I beat Cam in fantasy footy this weekend despite Lance Franklin kicking 2:7! That cements my place in the final four.

Favourite Daughter rang tonight, she went to a "Bad taste" engagement party and a kid's dinosaur birthday party over the weekend. I had no idea Halls Creek was such a happening party town!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Four Thrillers

The Cornerstone U12 soccer team beat their rivals, the Margaret River Gladiators 1-0 this morning in a thriller. Cornerstone dominated possession and opportunities but MR defended stoutly for the whole game, even threatening to steal a winner on a breakaway but eventually weight of numbers told and Daniel scored the only goal of the game late in the second half.I'd like to claim some of the credit for a coaching move that helped create the goal. MR's defense had been so hard to break down that I called Ben C. over and told him next time he was on the attack to keep running toward goal take them on in the area and perhaps win a penalty. A couple of minutes later he did just that but rather than getting a penalty the ball broke free to Daniel a metre out and he stuck it in the net. The crowd of parents on the sideline "went wild" in celebration and I jumped up and down a number times myself.
It was a great game and we deserved victory although the result was in the balance right till the end. Sport Boy had a great game although Josev was best on ground with a brilliant game in defense.
Next week we play GMAS who today beat the previously unbeaten Redbacks. It should be a great game but unfortunately I won't be there as I'm going to Melbourne with The Heir for the weekend.

Thriller number two was at Kardinia Park where Geelong came from behind again to beat Adelaide, this time by two points! Again it wasn't on free-to-air tv or Foxtel, nor the radio but I was able to listen to 3AW's commentary on the internet. The Cats got out to a 27 point lead before the Crows came storming back and took an 8 point lead with less than 10 minutes to go. Paul Chapman was the hero, kicking the last two goals and six for the game to take back the lead and win the game. Last season we blitzed everybody but lost the Grand Final, hopefully playing and winning close games this season will better prepare us for this year's finals.

The third thriller for the day was StKilda's 1 point win against the Swans in Sydney to maintain their 18 game unbeaten streak.

And the fourth and final thriller was just on TV, a replay of Michael Jackson's famous Thriller video, part of a Jackson tribute on Rage on ABC. You may have heard that Jackson died recently and they've been playing a lot of his music lately!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Some incredible sports highlights in this video

Be Alarmed

Note to self:
When setting the alarm for an early meeting, make sure you check the AM/PM setting!

I didn't and consequently, I didn't make it to this morning's meeting! The one I should have been chairing! Apart from some embarrassment there was no harm done, the troops carried on without me and did a thorough debrief of Country Week as I slept.

A second meeting later this morning was to discuss the shortfall in the CW budget. I won't publish the figure here but suffice to say it was a significant amount. Thankfully, after going through the figures I was able to convince the powers that be that the discrepancy was legitimate and caused solely by the low numbers that attended this year. We came up with some strategies to avoid a recurrence in the future and I was free to go! A relieved man!

I made some significant progress today toward a proper launch of the Behind the White Crosses Project and managed to work out a timetable for the year 11 students to participate over the next 6 weeks. This has been weighing on my mind for several weeks so I'm really glad to have finally settled on some dates and got things moving. I'll need to do some tinkering and revising next week to get it fully up to speed before the first session in week 4 of the term. All of the staff I spoke to today were very supportive and didn't hesitate to make their classes available, not surprising considering the content, but gratifying none-the-less.

I had a Nana nap in my recliner chair before staring in the cab tonight and it took me some time to shake off the cobwebs and get myself moving when Mrs Holt Press woke me up. Between the yawns and stretches and staggers and fuzzy head I was pretty unconvincing as I headed out the door, but I came good and had a reasonable night. Certainly a better night than the Australian cricket team, whose demise I listened to in the cab. If this keeps up I think the Poms will take back the Ashes.