Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day with the family

I thought I'd make a quick post while Christmas dinner is roasting. (apologies to my Vegan friends)
So far we've had a great day. Only a few weeks ago we thought we'd be having a very quiet Christmas at home with the kids but after a few phone calls and some last minute bookings my parents and brother came up to visit for the week and we are spending Christmas Day with them. We've had a great time so far and the kids have really enjoyed the company of family.
Our day started with presents at 7:30am. Headed off to Church for a great service and plenty of singing at 9:30. Came home to more presents and an awesome Christmas Lunch of Cold roast turkey, cold salads and alcohol free trifle for desert. 

This year we had an idea, rather than throw out the wrapping paper we decided to use it for a table cloth, which had the added benefit of keeping me busy while the kids opened their presents... (Unfortunately it is necessary to distract me so that I don't complain about the, lack of quality and amount of packaging in kids toys these days, consumerism, waste etc... etc...)

My brother is a bit of a dark horse. He doesn't say much and rarely gives any details when we ask him what he's into or what he's been doing lately. Fortunately Mum brought some photos to show us what he's been up to and I was very impressed.

He never told any of us but a friend managed to take a photo of my brother The Christmas Window Artist! Good on you Bro!

It is easy to see the rampant consumerism connected with Christmas and be repulsed or cynically say that  what we do is a far cry from celebrating the birth of Jesus. This year I'm just enjoying the spirit of sharing with family and aren't too bothered by thoughts of hypocrisy and stuff like that.

Three days ago I watched 'The Road', again. The bleakness, desperation... The want for something more.
On Friday night a friend was speaking about what Christmas was like when he was in gaol. "...two slices of canned pudding with custard..." He expressed the sense of joy he felt simply standing in a Supermarket surrounded by fresh food and people happily preparing for their Christmas dinner which they would most likely be sharing with their families. He filled with awe and gratitude at the abundance that surrounded him. He did not take this for granted.
For some people Christmas is a sad and a lonely time, for others it's possibly a drama; full of obligatory chores and spending money. To others it's nothing more than a few days off work and a well stocked beer fridge...
Wherever you are I hope it is something better than just that. I wish you well for Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

School holidays - a craft program

Today was officially the first day of School Holidays at our house.
With two very active kids home life during school holidays can be somewhat stressful! If things get out of hand the whole atmosphere can become totally unbearable. If you happen to visit at the wrong time you might find yourself making excuses for why you have to suddenly leave or desperately scratching at the wire security door pleading for the neighbors to let you out!
Yes it may be true that on some unfortunate occasions one or both of the responsible adults of the household have been known to stand in a corner banging their head against the wall and pleading to be taken to the Tower of Mordor for respite! But today was not one of those days...
Today the mother of the house decided to get crafty and turned her hand to model making. The results were quite impressive.

City village
(City village - of cereal boxes)
I think the kids really enjoyed this, I certainly did. I also brought home a rather large box which kept them busy for the rest of the night! Who know's what amazing architecture I will return home to tomorrow.

Riding the cox peninsular road (couple of years ago)

I just re-discovered this video I made after a ride a couple of years ago.
Cycling adventures are fairly thin on the ground for me lately and with Christmas approaching I am inclined to reminisce.

Cycling the Cox Pen Rd from David F on Vimeo.

We'll be doing another group ride along the Cox Peninsular Road some time in January... See you there!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

How's the weather?

Some people make a profession of reading, interpreting, understanding and then predicting weather patterns, others study the weather for practical reasons like when to plant their crops or whether or not it is wise to go to sea... and others listen intently to weather forcasts so they will have something boring to talk about at picnics and dinner parties... Personally I am none of these and tend to just enjoy what the weather dishes up to me when I step out the door each day.
Even as a postie I was only ever mildly interested in weather forecasts... Don't get me wrong I am not disinterested in weather; I just don't see the point in studying up on it as though I can have some influence on the outcome! OK if someone tells me it's going to rain I'll dress accordingly... But don't try to start a conversation with me about how the weather is going to be over the next 12 months because I've had one too many of them... (After a few years of living in Darwin you will understand why conversations about extreme weather events can become a bit droll!)

Apparently we are currently experiencing a La nina weather phenomenon. That is pretty interesting actually. Most of Australia has received so much rain that it has caused major flooding in areas that have been dry for more than a decade! Dams are full to overflowing and people are now beginning to wish they hadn't wished so hard for rain.

Here in Darwin we've had exceptionally high rainfall for this time of year and have also been blessed with regular thunderstorms. It's quite wonderful to experience the Tropical thunderstorms we get here, but there is always an element of danger. There are some things a person should avoid doing. Things that might increase the chances of being struck by lightning... Things like playing golf, riding your bike or talking on a conventional telephone (you know the ones that still use a wire).

So after a storm had just passed I was reading my boy a children's story about the rain thinking it would be kind of fun and keeping in theme with the current weather.. I was kind of shocked to find that apparently for the sake of staying true to a rhyme the book gave some very dangerous advice!

(...Umbrellas up and all get under?) - Click on image for clearer text
What is wrong with this picture?
Are they CRAZY?

Friday, December 03, 2010

A film to watch

A pre-release nearly completed version of The film 'Our Generation' was screened in Nightcliff back in March. With only a few days notice well over 100 people turned up to see the film and take part in a public discussion relating to the Federal Intervention in Aboriginal Communities.

The film has since been officially released and the producers have taken it on tour along with guest speakers such as Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra who expresses his views throughout the film. This film questions the motives behind Federal Intervention and challenges Australia's treatment of Aboriginal people.

I haven't seen the film on the shelves at the video library, it may never appear in the mainstream but you can purchase a copy via the Our Generation Website  It's well worth watching.

Bicycle apparel for the Top End

Darwin Bicycle Chic
Several months ago while visiting one of the very trendy bicycle shops in town I allowed myself to drift across the shop into the area where they sell all that fancy licra stuff. I'd been reading the Fat Cyclist blog and was half sucked in to buying one of his stylized Fat Cyclist skivvy, skin tight top things. I like the name and thought it would be a laugh... I couldn't believe how much of that stuff they have for sale or how expensive it is!

Having read one or Too Many bicycle blogs I have noticed that some cyclists are really into their gear.
Whether people are into road riding, racing or just hanging out being cool on the street there's a lot of people out there who really want to look cool. Apparently what you wear is important. Whether the intention is to help you go faster or just look good cycling clobber is basically deigned with the idea that it is functional while riding a bicycle. There appears to be a whole world of fashion surrounding bicycle culture so I thought I'd contribute some of my personal preferences to the discussion of appropriate cycling apparel.

Bicycle Clobber Review
Here is my preferred outfit for Cycling in Darwin during the months January - May ..... August - December (June and July get a bit cool so I occasionally wear a T-shirt or even something with long sleeves.)

  • Helmet -  $20 Bought brand new about 5 years ago. The padding has fallen out which caused me to improvise. I now wear a back to front baseball cap under the helmet which provides both padding to my scon and shade to the back of my neck...
  • Vest - $2  These are pretty easy to find in Darwin oppshops and at the tip. This one is actually an ex Anset Airlines vest! (A classic!)It is highly visible in both day and night, loose fitting and has a small pocket just the right size for my music playing thingie.
  • Cammo Shorts - $2 Opp Shop special. I love these shorts but unfortunately the synthetic doesn't stretch to match my rapidly expanding middle. Lots of pockets, cool cammo colour scheme and groovy tie up fly with valcro backup... (OK They don't look great when they're tight or with jelly like flesh hanging over the edges!)
  • Imitation Crocs - $? My mum bought them for me 3 years ago... She thought I liked them... I never really liked them I don't know why she thought I did. I have to admit that I've finally gotten used to wearing them since I accidentally left my thongs somewhere! It is handy to have something on your feet especially if you've got sharp peddles. When I first started wearing these the rubber was really grippy and I kept catching my toe nails on them! It's taken a while to wear them in but I've finally gotten used to them so they will do until I find another pair of thongs.

(See the reflective tape really does shine when there's is a light on it!)

This is by far my favorite cycle gear. It's all synthetic so it's not the 'nicest' stuff to wear but once the sweat starts to flow I don't particularly like wearing wet clingy T-Shirts or having sweaty wet patches in the front or rear of my cotton shorts!

Besides the usual divisions between the 'licra clad' and 'Street-wear crowds, helmeted or non helmeted and so on and so forth etc... etc... I've never quite understood the debate over clipless or non clipless footwear.

What's the deal with that? When my cycle shoes were new they had some clip-on straps across the heal. I used to strap them on but the plastic rivets got bashed off as they brushed against the crank of my bike, so ended up riding without them... I was clipless I suppose.... For goodness sake! It hardly made any difference! but try riding shoeless on Bear Trap peddles!
I don't particularly like riding barefoot, at least not on the peddles that I am currently using. It's a bit like wearing masseur sandals, made of rusty nails!   

Although I prefer to wear thongs I have become used to wearing the rubber clogs. When I ride my road bike I can get them to stick in the toe-clips and I can slide my feet in and out of them when I dismount.

Quite a good cycle shoe.