Saturday, October 27, 2007

Results Tallied!

Well the Reader participation drive was a huge success. Thanks to all participants.

To summarize the results:
My readers include Robbie, Paige, Sarah, Matthew, Rueben, Dennis, my Mom, J. Mordecai, my Dad and Jennifer. That’s a total of 10, which is lucky because it makes the math on the following percentages so much easier to calculate.

Based on the drive, 30% of my readers are family, 90% are living in the USA, 40% are female, 20% are living in NYC and 20% are living in DC. A shockingly low 40% count as current or former ultimate players.

Maybe I should estimate some lurker, non-responder % as well. I’ll say another 50%, bringing me up to 15 readers. Go ‘Spondence! With this kind of circulation I’ll be in syndication in no time.

Now, on to some specifics:

Robbie. Wow. I had no idea. I had NEVER EVEN HEARD of Mother’s Finest, and had no idea that would be your type of music. Seriously. That is a great song. Would you and Lynn call that ‘your song’. ;) Also, World B. Free is good, but as J. Mordecai points out below, changing your own name is cheating.

Paige, sorry to blow your mind. You don’t have to get the song tattooed on your forehead or anything. It’s just a point in time. I’m also grading on a curve and having a diabetic toddler gets you extra credit, see? Thanks anyway for trying.

Sarah, Yes, where is that Jello mold? I have my Jello right here, mixed and ready to pour. On a side note, Jello here is called “Jelly” so you would never have Jelly on toast, only Jam. So if you are looking internationally it might be best to look for a Jelly mold. Maybe that will help. I will just have to keep stirring until the mold arrives. My arm is a bit tired so hurry.

Matteo, Hooray! I love the Macon Whoopies. That is very good. A hockey sweater would be a nice add to my collection too, so I’ll get on to Santa about that. I have been very good this year.

Rueben reminds us he’s already conducted a much more thorough study on the song topic here . Thanks Rue.

Dennis, obviously still a debater at heart, wins for being the most thorough and I flowed everything across with no drops. Thanks for your detailed answer. You know how much I love responses. Yes, Randle el is a good one. Please check out his dedicated personal site this guy gets points for being thorough too!

The cool thing about the Radiohead album download is that you can choose how much to pay. So say, based on experience you like about 4 songs an album and you think a song is worth 99 cents, then upon checkout for the album you could opt to pay $3.96. Cool, eh?

Mom, glad you still like Garth Brooks’ The Dance. The Saint Gabriel Archangels certainly is a mouthful. How do you cheer for that? Go Archies? (Yes, the cold is pretty much gone now thanks.)

J. Mordecai, Waiting for Superman is a great song. Great, Musically. But the vocals cannot compare to Gladys. At all. Maybe someone who can sing should remake that song. Who do we need? Lauryn Hill? Trying to save this missed pick by switching to the Smiths is a bold move. A bold move indeed, when How soon is now is not even the best Smiths song (This Charming Man). I would agree that this is at least warmer.

Dad, I certainly can count on your consistency. Yes, I love the Eagles comment. Especially ironic as the Eagles were formed in LA.

Anonymous, is that Matthew again? Yes, everyone loves Dick Trickle. But until you fess up to who you are, it’s Mr. Trickle to you.

Jen – wow. That’s a compliment. I’ll take it, but I think J. Mordecai would DQ me as well for adding the F as my “confirmation name”.

Whew! That’s about it.

In other news I have to work all weekend this weekend. Boo. Grr.

Here’s an update on the window box: As you can see, I rotated the window box to put the Begonia at the North end as there is a little bit less sun up there and the Erinus was reaching left/South for more sun and the Begonia was burning up. We’ll see if this helps. The Lavender has about doubled in size since I transplanted it, so I assume it is pretty happy.

Also here is a poor quality cell phone photo of the giant Christmas tree I walk by on my way to work:
ew! Have a good week.

Happy Birthday to my Dad and J-Christ and good luck at Nationals to Ambush despite and organized campaign to thwart you by the UPA.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Know when to fold 'em, Know when to Run

A few more brief comments prior to responding to the reader participation drive and a shout out to all 8 of my readers:

This past Sunday was the day I had promised myself I would do a hill work out. There is a pretty steep hill on the Tan, where I usually run, that keeps a continuous incline for about 600 meters. First I decided I would do 5 hills at 90%. Then (from my couch) I raised to 7. On Sunday it was 33 degrees here (91 F) and I bumped it back down to 5. Even then, my last one at 90% was still at a pace that saw me passed by senior citizens with walkers. I will need to try that one again. Maybe this Sunday after Karen & Lee’s engagement party (where I am expected to costume myself as half of a famous couple. I am trying to think of someone who was famously married to their work. Suggestions welcome, but please remember my level of artistic talent before you go telling me to sew an Evangeline costume.)

Also on Sunday, I noticed that the City of Melbourne has put up a huge metal Christmas tree in the square near my apartment. Ug. It glistens in the hot sun. They don’t really celebrate Halloween down here, and not Thanksgiving at all so there is nothing to stop the slide into full scale Christmas capitalism. I’ll try to get you a picture.

This” is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. I laughed out loud until it “hurt”. I am such a nerd. This is my favorite because of the “slogan”. The whole blog reminded me of KT a bit (the acerbic tone I guess) and I think she should be doing a blog at least this funny if not funnier.

I got a chance to play in a friendly Poker game this weekend, which I promptly ruined for everyone with my ‘Never Fold’ strategy. I got a pair (of 5s) on the first hand and raised too much pre flop. Then I was re-raised enough that I might as well go all in, which I thought would shut them up. Instead, several other people went all in with me. Of course, I lost, but so did 3 other people, which meant that the 4 of us had nothing to do for the next hour or so but watch and a player with two pair won four times the chip count on the first hand, making him the big stack at the table and changing the dynamic of the entire game. (I did win a side game I started with the drop outs.)

Do you guys have that commercial for Extra whitening gum on TV at home with the adorable claymation stains that follow the girl around until she pops in a pellet and then they all fall off the ferry? There’s a coffee cup, a cigarette butt, chocolate and a banana. That’s right. A banana. Fight the scourge of banana stained teeth. I always thought bananas were white. I think the banana only made the cut because it is the cutest of the stains.

The rugby world cub finals were last weekend. Starved for football, I planned my weekend around watching this game on at 5 AM Melbourne time. I went to bed at 7, planning to get up for the day for the game. Instead I woke up at 3 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I read. I listened to talk radio. Nothing helped. That is until the game started. I dozed off at 5:20 or so and missed the most of the game. It was all penalty kicks and no trys anyway, so I guess I didn’t miss too much, but I am glad that the South African Springboks prevailed over England.

Here's my window box on 24-Oct-07:

Begonia - Lavender - Erinus
The Window box seems to be doing well despite the trauma of transplant. The Lavender and Erinus are already much taller than they were when planted. The Begonia is still blooming but it might be getting a little too much sun as the edges of the blooms are getting a burnt brown color. The narrow alley location means the direct sun is really only from 12-1 PM or so, but that still might be more than a Begonia likes. I’ll keep you posted.

And finally,

I saw this walking to work today. That's right. Get your Christmas hampers today. With food in them. Jeez.

Have a nice week.

Monday, October 22, 2007


It might seem like old news to you now, but I'll be blogging about my parents' trip top Australia until I run out of material. Today, I got a few more photos in my e-mail from John, and he's a much better photographer than me, so I wanted to post these as well.

They are all from a part of the Great Ocean Road between Apollo Bay and Port Campbell on the way to the Otway Light House. More Koalas! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! We pulled over the Tarago because there were so many other cars here watching this trio of Koalas expressing unusually active behavior. They were grunting and bellowing and shaking the branches and One even got down and had a run around.

In the foreground is a Koala, but at a respectful distance are my aunt and I watching, and Barb apparently going somewhere else. See us back there?

This tourist is trying to teach the Koala to dance like SouljaBoy after he saw the step-by-step on you tube:
The Koala thought that was for the birds and much prefers a dignified Lindy Hop so he headed back for the tree.

Coming soon is my response to the reader participation drive. Until then you can still chime in. Be well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Reader Participation Drive

Get ready. This post is a reader participation drive. You will have many opportunities to answer my questions. Eeeeeeeee!

Sure, you've run with the Bulls in Pamplona. Here in Melbourne we run with the bats. They swoop down very near you and screech while you run. They are pretty much guaranteed to improve your times.

For your first activity, please check out the photographic art of
Chris Jordan.

Thanks to Jesse for this fantastic submission to to the all names team. I know who's jersey I want for Christmas. If only he were #55 instead of 15... (wistful)

My #1 locked starter on the all-name team will always be God Shammgod from Providence College. Wikipedia says he currently plays for the Portland Chinooks, but they don't list him in their 2006 roster. Come to think of it, scratch the Thorpe jersey, I want a Chinooks Shammgod jersey. Sarah, are you on that? (Wikipedia also tells me that a Chinook is a Native American tribe and a kind of sled dog. How did we ever survive before?) Can anyone tell me the best sportscenter line ever about God Shammgod?

Also reader, who's your favorite sports name. Dig deep. I want figure skaters. Bowlers. (Who am I kidding, they will all be from the NBA/NFL.)

Vinny Testaverde won a football game this weekend. This delights me. My free Halloween costume pick for you is a Testaverde Jets jersey, a Santa Claus beard, and a cane. Does he do Viagra commercials yet? He could just about do AARP commercials. I love it when my heroes never leave me. I guess this is like when people still pay money to see the former Rolling Stones tour. If Warren Moon were playing flag football in his backyard next weekend I would pay to watch.

Does your apple keyboard stick like mine and make you have weeekends and appples and other such nonseeense?

Have you downloaded the new Radiohead album? I like.

My iTunes has 6101 songs in it. The very best one, and the best song of the last 100 years is Gladys Knight and the Pips singing Midnight Train to Georgia. This seems to me to be a matter of fact. That said, I'm opening up the comments page to hear your counter points. (Dad, I have you down for Unchained Melody).

Ok I'm waiting for your input on all this and more. Go nuts!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


This weekend I was reminded how much fun it is to go running with a head cold. Negative 147 fun. That's how much. Ew. Still sick.

I also bought plants at a Royal Botanical Garden sale for my window box. I got a Begonia and some lavender and something called Erinus. I didn't really know how to get them out of the pots they came in. Maybe you are just supposed to put those pots in the ground. I got them out, but by pulling, which the plants can't enjoy. We'll see if they live I guess.

Today I did the Melbourne Romp, a sort off electronic texting trivia contest with no clear beginning, end or purpose. I had fun hanging out with Cath and Nicki, but the whole thing could have been drastically improved by binge drinking if I felt a little better. Sober, it was like one off those quizzes a high school librarian gives to see if you can use the card catalog correctly, but on a city-wide scale. It was a gorgeous sunny day.

In the NFL this week, my two favorite teams will meet in a loser bowl. The only good think about this is that one of them will probably get a win, unless it's a 0-0 tie, which i think the Jets and Eagles are both capable of. I'm also waiting to see TO tear into Romo after the Pats beat the Boys. TO will attack him like AIDS attacking a T cell.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Trip Pics

My parents are home safe and all the animals are glad they are back. My Dad shared these photos he took on the trip:

Double Rainbow at Wye River
Me and Mom in the wind by the Apostles
Watching the Surfers from the Hotel (pub) in Wye River
A Reedy Creek in Victoria, Australia. Kate you will have to show your teacher!
Me and Mom in front of the channel near the Wreckage of the Loch Aud

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wineries and Wildlife Sanctuaries

Whew! I am totally exhausted. I am pretty sure my parents are as well. They should just about be back home now. I hope the trip home went smoothly. I have a killer cold. Now I am wondering if all those illnesses after Christmas are really Kate and Lindy's fault or maybe Barb and Mike are suspects as well.

Last weekend my parents, my aunt & uncle and I went to the Yarra Wine Valley. On Saturday, we toured 4 of over 60 vineyards and tasted lots of wine. They grow a lot of Chardonnay and Shiraz here due to the cooler climate, as was explained to me by our tour guide. We all had a good time. (It all pretty much tastes the same to me.) On Sunday, we went to the Healesville Animal Sanctuary for their birds of prey show and a view of Kangaroos, Koalas and Tassie Devils. Monday I went to work and my parents had a quiet day of souveniring and hitting the pubs. Here's some photos from the weekend. If you just can't get enough of Barb and Mike overseas be sure to check out my Flickr account where all of the photos from the week are uploaded.

Inside the Vault at Domian Chandon. This is essentially Champagne (Made from the same grapes, using the same process) but not from the Champagne Region, so they have to call it sparking wine.
The tasting area at Domain Chandon was magnificent
Can you find Mom and Uncle John sampling the wine?
Flying Fruit Bats!
A Wedge Tailed Eagle!
Barb near a Wallaby
A little braver with this sleeping one
a big roo
barb and mike in front of a group of roos

Okay, more soon. For now I need to get back to soup, juice, and sleep.
I can't move on without a huge shout out to my Girls on Ambush for making Nationals in Sarasota this year. Tear it up!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Driving Miss Daisy, Her Husband, Her Sister and Her Brother-in-law

3 Days on the Great Ocean Road did not disappoint. The trip was everything the guide books suggested. Barb, Mike, Vicki and John are still in one piece and seem to be having a good time.
The tramcar dinner restaurant on Tuesday was a rated success. Despite the open bar and Dad's attempt to get his money's worth (including Drambuie) and Mom's new found appreciation for Victoria's sparking wine, the dinner was mishap-free. We all had 5 courses and Dad tasted Kangaroo and everyone was home in bed by Midnight.
On Wednesday we picked up the Toyota Tarago that I am driving everyone around in from Budget car hire. We drove from downtown Melbourne, which was very crowded to Geelong (where the city was celebrating the AFL Premiership with a Parade) and then west to the Great Ocean Road. There was some minor shouting trying to exit the city, but everyone seemed to settle down once we got on the highway. We had lunch in Torquay and looked at some famous surf spots.
By the Sea in Torquay
Then we drove to Angelsea to see the golf course full of Kangaroos. From there we drove along the coast, looking at Light Houses in Aireys Inlet, Scenic over-hangs, Cliffs and inlets. We stopped in Wye River to have a drink (cola for me) and watch the surfers. From there we drove in to Apollo Bay to our B&B. The B&B was nice and had a beautiful ocean view. There were seals on the rocks out front. There was a massive gorgeous garden that once housed an echidna. The Stuckey's (Ted and Rae) were very nice. After settling in, we went into town and had a nice dinner in Apollo Bay at Buff's Bistro.
On Thursday we had a massive breakfast at the B&B and then drove to a rain forest walk called Mait's rest that was beautiful. The 20 Minute walk was straight out of Jurassic Park and we could not see the sky for the massive ferns and Myrtle Beeches.
After Mait's rest we headed to Cape Otway to see the light house. On the way there we saw loads of Koala up in trees. We pulled over to watch three together in a tree and saw one get down and run around a bit which is very rare. My uncle John got some great photos of this so I'll have to post those later. I was too mesmerized to take out my camera.
From there we drove to Otway Fly where the tree-top walk allows you to see the rain forest at tree top level. We had lunch there and then John and I checked out the walk. Due to the rain (it is a rainforest afterall) and the availability of beer and wine in the snack area, Barb, Mike and Vicki waited this one out. Here is a picture I took while on the steel walk at eye level with a massive tree in a rain forest:

Moss on the trees in the Otway Fly Tree-Top walk, in a Rain forest

From Otway Fly we drove on towards Port Campbell to see the so called 12 Apostles. These rock formations, now maybe 8 or 9 but who's counting, are beautiful examples of cliff erosion. The apostles were cool, but it was really cold and windy, and we were all getting tired and hungry, so we snapped a few photos and got back to the people mover. Here's a few:

Some Apostles

Mom and Dad were blown away by the beauty of the 12 Apostles

After that we headed to our beautiful B&B in Port Campbell. The place was gorgeous and very comfortable. There were all new furnishings and whirlpool bathtubs. We went out to dinner in Port Campbell at 20-Ate and then home to bed.

On Friday, we awoke in Port Campbell and went back out to the GOR to see the Loch Ard shipwreck and surrounding cliffs. It was great, and the most impressive views on the GOR so far. There were a number of beautiful inlets and cliffs. There were caves that the water churned in and out of and even a channel through the rock to the ocean. The force of the water would swirl up in the caves and smack loudly into the wall throwing spray 30 meters into the air.

The incredible force of the waves. Boom!

We drove home from there inland, seeing mostly cows and sheep. We had a nice lunch in Colac and got back into Melbourne just in time for Friday rush hour. I dropped Barb, Vicki & John off at the hotel and then Mike and I drove the car to the precarious parking spot I have under the building.

Next up is a trip to Yarra Glen and Healseville. We'll be touring 4 vineyards in the Yarra Wine Valley and also taking a visit to the Healesville animal sanctuary. I hope there is enough wine.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Melbourne on 5 Drinks a Day

Dad, John, Barb and Vicki in front of the Queen Victoria Market

John, Vicki, Dad and Mom in front of the Shrine of Remembrance

All is still well here in Melbourne. My Aunt Vicki and Uncle John arrived by train this morning. Mom, Dad and I had some brunch while they settled in to the hotel. Then we all headed up to the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere, the Queen Victoria Market. Many T-shirts were purchased.

From there, we took the tram down to the Shrine of Remembrance and the Royal Botanical Garden. We saw the Black Swans, Bell Birds and lots of different plants and trees. After that we had a beer on the way back to the hotel.

Now I am doing some laundry for Vicki and John and we'll sync back up for dinner on a tram car ride around the city. Eating, drinking, motion and Barb: This could be a recipe for disaster!

Dinner last night at the Jazz club went well. We ate, drank and listened to the 18 piece band play lots of Sinatra. Mom and Dad seem to be having a good time.

Tomorrow morning we'll get on the road, the Great Ocean Road. And be back late on Friday. Wish us well.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Muppets Take Manhattan

Mike and Barb in front of the Royal Exhibition Building, which is a world heritage site.
Barb and Mike in front of the Melbourne Gaol. (Unfortunately there were no vacancies.)
Day 1 in Melbourne with Barb and Mike went pretty well. After the bad (but free) breakfast at their hotel I showed them my apartment and they dropped off their laundry. Then we took the free city circle tram around and saw the vast array of Melbourne public art. We hopped off the tram on the northern end of the city grid to walk through Carlton Gardens to the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. The Museum was fairly crowded due to it being School Holidays. We saw a native forest exhibit and an indigenous art exhibit.
After the Museum we walked up Lygon Street a few blocks into the Little Italy of Melbourne and had a pasta lunch and some wine. After lunch we walked back South toward the city and stopped off at the Melbourne Gaol, where the (in)famous Ned Kelly was executed. After that we took the tram home and had a coffee near my apartment on Centre place. I dropped them back off at the hotel for 'unstructured time' from 5:00-7:00 PM. I'll pick them back up at 7:00 and we'll go to a Jazz restaurant near my apartment for dinner and the show.
Tomorrow will be the Royal Botanical Garden and probably Queen Victoria Market. Also my Aunt Vicky and Uncle John arrive on the train in the morning.

In NFL news, the Eagles are the worst team in the NFC east (and the league?), losing to the hapless Giants and scoring only 3 points. On the upside, I can quit paying any attention to the NFL for the rest of the season because the Chiefs knocked me out of my NFL survivor pool. And yes, the Mets did miss the playoffs. I'll be focusing exclusively on cricket from here on out. Bowl a wicket!