Friday, January 31, 2014

Melbourne Now

Today's Culture Club excursion was to see the much-publicised "Melbourne Now" exhibition at the NGV.

Our companions were Neil and Tracey who are into art both personally and professionally.

I loved the exhibition. It is huge and hugely varied, across a range of media (and venues).

The pieces that stood out for me were:

A large 4 screen projection of socio-economic-political-environmental data about Melbourne portrayed in diagramatic form. I know that doesn't sound all that impressive but trust me, it was.
It mapped things like the 70,000 trees in the urban forest of Melbourne, identifying them by type and health (healthy through to dying). The incidence of car accidents (should have been labelled "crashes" but that's just my opinion) throughout the city, grading them in severity and cause. The drains and pipes that run beneath the city. The areas of disadvantage, colour-coded. The age of buildings, from 1850 through to the present day. etc
All done with simple, effective and surprisingly beautiful computer graphics. (I couldn't find a picture of it so have added this pic of another very interesting piece. My favourite part "Spokesman Denies He is a Spokesman")

A collection of Australiana tea-towels, some of which had been amended by the screen print artist.

A resin cast three dimensional image called "Don't Worry" portraying people and episodes from the artist's life which was incredible, though quite "dark" in feel and theme.

I'm not much of a video art fan but there was one very cool exhibit of a camera travelling down a seemingly endless laneway which was in fact a compilation of lanes and alleys from all around Melbourne seemlessly woven together.

And a lights and music installation that inspired  two wonderful kids to dance. To my annoyance I can't get the video to upload to Blogger but you can take my word for it, they were great. Here's some other kids letting their hair down instead.

Of course there were parts of the exhibition that I didn't like or that didn't work for me but there was more than enough that did to make it well worth seeing.

We also had a very nice lunch at Optics in Fed Square.

Friday, January 17, 2014


It has been stinking hot in Geelong the last couple of days which makes it difficult and uncomfortable to sleep. Therefore having to get up at 4.30 and start at 5.30 this week  has not been easy. 
After a long hot week I was approx. 60 seconds away from finishing my shift today when there was a huge bang from the back of the bus. I looked in the side mirror and saw a big cloud of smoke or dust. It looked and sounded bad whatever it was. A father and son sitting in the back seat hurriedly got up and forward, exclaiming "the engine blew up!" 
I pulled over and got out to investigate. Thankfully it wasn't the motor but one of the rear tyres that had blown out. I radioed through to let Dispatch know what had happened and what my position was. Reassuring the passengers that a replacement bus was on the way we waited for help to arrive. What followed was either confusing or farcical depending on your vantage point. A bus appeared in my mirror and I instructed the driver to park in front of us to make it easier for the passengers to switch buses. I duly escorted them onto the new bus and was about to brief the driver when I realised there was no driver! 
It turned out to be one of the mechanics who had come to pick up my disabled bus but instead of coming in a car (as expected) was in a bus. 
"Sorry passengers, this isn't your new bus, it's still on its way!" 
Sure enough it arrived a couple of minutes later but pulled up behind my bus, a considerable distance for the passengers to have to walk along a busy road with no footpath in 43 degree heat!! I ushered the second driver to bring his bus forward. When I next looked up a bus was disappearing into the distance and I was on the radio asking him where he was going! Then I realised that it was the mechanic driving away in my original bus and the changeover driver was still moving his bus into position!! Finally, all the passengers were safely onboard and back on their way, the bus with the flat tyre was on its way back to the depot and I too was driving back to base ready to clock off for the day, about half an hour later than planned!

 Talking of buses, how cool is this new advertisement on one of our buses? I've put in a request to be permanently assigned to drive this one! And no, for those looking for bad omens, this was not the bus I got the flat tyre in!
I've recounted a few of my ebay exploits and successes on the blog in the past and am happy to report the latest. A few years ago I bought four small football pennants at a garage sale for a couple of dollars. They are souvenirs of the 1971 and 1972 WAFL Grand Finals played between West Perth and East Perth (71) and East Perth and Claremont (72). On my most recent trip to WA I found them when I was cleaning out the shed and brought three of them home. The fourth, the West Perth one, I gave to one of my mates, Warren, who is not only a West Perth fan but also a repository of all sorts of weird and interesting facts and stats about sport in general and football in particular. Sure enough, he told me he'd been at the 1971 Grand Final, won by his Cardinals, and recalled the crowd figure and the score I think!

I duly put two of the pennants on ebay a couple of weeks ago and they attracted a lot of attention and many "watchers". That's ebay speak for people who have saved a listed item to watch its progress and potentially bid on it. I was at the cricket at the MCG the day the auction ended and I watched the bidding in the final minute intently on my phone. Needless to say I was very pleased when the bids jumped from 20 to 30 to 50 dollars as the seconds ticked down before the final winning bid was lodged: $82.57! More amazing than the price was that the second one which finished a couple of minutes later went for exactly the same price but to a different bidder! I was stoked and gave a whoop of delight which confused the cricket fans around me who were wondering why I was so excited considering no wicket had been taken or boundary hit!

The last pennant, the East Perth Royals one pictured is on ebay at present and finishes on Sunday afternoon. Considering that East Perth stuff sells well, and they were the premiers in 1972 which also adds to the value of footy memorabilia, I'm optimistic that it will match and perhaps surpass the prices of the previous two. 
If you're interested you can see how it goes here.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Christmas & New Year Celebrations. Interstate Visitors, plus some Surfing

Sunday night at the Holt Press household and we have some guests: 3 Sydney Christian surfers, Daniel, Ryan and Jordy. They're here because a few days ago Sport Boy met them at Dino's while he was there on dog-minding duties, heard they were heading down south on a surfing road trip and managed to convince them to give him a lift (take him with them) to Joanna, well-known surf beach and supposed rendezvous point with a bunch of surfers and grommets he hangs out with. Turns out most of the crew had already left by the time they were gonna be there, not that it mattered because following Sport Boy's directions, the unsuspecting NSW boys didn't know they should have turned off at Colac and ended up at Warnambool!!!! Only about 150km beyond their target!!! Needless to say Sport Boy, the hapless navigator was paid out on and subjected to that great surfer tradition, "Grommie Abuse", for the next few days as they made their way back along the coast. Despite navigational challenges, inclement weather and below average surf, it sounds as if they had a great time and were full of stories and laughter over dinner when I got home from work tonight. It will probably serve as a fair orientation for Sport Boy (aka Surf Boy?) leading into 2014 when he starts at his new "school", SEDA Surf School based in Torquay. That's right, you heard me correctly! Surf School! What started out as a wild-sounding suggestion several months ago has become a reality. The benefits of being the youngest child? It's not quite as loose (picture Hawaiian shirt-clad dudes sitting around on the beach) as it sounds/you imagine. There is an academic component but all of the subjects have a surfing/surf industry focus with the ultimate aim/possibility of developing a career in some sort of surf-related field. Well that's the theory! We'll see how close that is to reality as the year unfolds.

Meanwhile we have had a bevy of visitors over Christmas and New Year, starting with Pop coming down from Queensland. Then Big Brother Alan surprised us all with a quick trip over from Perth last weekend.

Christmas Day was spent at Vicki's for a fantastic meal of traditional Christmas fare. We had deliberately gone for a low-key approach regarding presents and spending which worked well for all concerned, especially the bank balance!

On Saturday 28 I went to the Boxing Day test at the MCG and met up with my mate David, a fellow Spurs fanatic with whom I converse in texts regarding all things Tottenham. It was the first time we'd seen each other since the first and only time we met, on a bus from Dunsborough to Perth in 2010.

That night Mrs Holt Press, Favourite Daughter and I met up with Chris V for dinner in Fitzroy.

We all spent another day in Melbourne when The Heir and Briony returned from their trip to Robe SA. It started with lunch at a cafe called John Gorilla, followed with a jeans buying expedition to High St Northcote before we all reconvened at the Wesley Anne pub in High St for dinner. All agreed it was an excellent day.

On New year's Eve we had an all-too-brief visit from Cam and Louise Tero and their three daughters who are on a road trip from WA to Tasmania. I nearly refused Cam and Alice entry due to the Dockers jumpers they were wearing...

Later that night more West Aussies arrived for a BBQ, Rose and Andrew Braun and 2 of their 3 girls. It was fantastic to catch up with all of them and swap news and stories. 
We saw the New Year in watching the fireworks over Barwon Heads from our front yard.

Having had 5 days out of 6 off over the Christmas period I am back at work but have a day out at the Australian Open with Chris to look forward to in a couple of weeks.

It has been a lovely, relaxed and enjoyable holiday period shared with many family and friends, without over-indulgence or excess. I trust you have had a similarly good time.
May 2014 be a year of blessings for you and your family.

With love