Sunday, August 21, 2011

A big weekend at home in Darwin

This weekend has been chock-o-block with activities! It's been an awesome cathartic experience of Music, dance, sailing and film. There are many ways to "Suck the Marrow..." and this week it's been with the aid of the Darwin Festival.

Friday - Attended Fun Run with Humphrey: My wife intended to take the kids while she waited for me to finish work... I called her to find out where she wanted to be picked up from and she demanded insisted I come in to Fun Run. There was laughing singing and loud music in the background... It sounded like fun so I headed in. 

Grey Panthers at Fun Run
(Grey Panthers performing at Fun Run)

FUN RUN was awesome! There was so much positive energy at Raintree Park on Friday night you might have thought everyone was High! I stayed from 5:30 until 8:00 my wife and kids got there at 4! 
The show was laced with all kinds of local acts from the Grey Panthers to the D City Rockers - Break Dancing crew. Humphrey gave us an aural history of the Greek Legend of Pheidippides while running the distance of a marathon on a treadmill! The dance crew who were accompanying Humphrey were incredible! They spread the love and smiles around and it was infectious! Darwin City was pumping! People were literally dancing in the street. Everyone was happy and smiling! It's hard to describe the sense of elation our whole family felt during and after this great show! (OK we don't get out much but Wow what an experience!)
I also took the opportunity to take child 2 for a Pedicab Ride! It was so cool! The Pedicab riders (It seems they are all female after dark.) were really friendly and happy to talk about their work, so I had a good chat with my rider about what it's like to be a Pedicab rider, I had been worried about the safety of riders at night and she did mention there is occasionally aggro from drivers but overall they are received well by people around town, and it's a great way to meet people. The riders I met were also enjoying the atmosphere generated by Fun Run!

Saturday Morning - Sailing lessons: It was a bit gusty and my head wasn't properly screwed on... I capsized twice! My poor crew must have been wondering what the hell I thought I was doing. We live and learn. 
Important things for me to remember about sailing: 
1. If you're going to let go of something in the middle of a tack, let it be the main sheet rather than the tiller! (If you let go of the main sheet you're not likely to capsize. If however you choose to let go of the tiller and pull tight on the main sheet..... well, Sailors just don't do that.)
2. DON'T let go of the Tiller!

Sailing Tally 
3 capsize (once turtled), 2 grazed ankles, Several bumps on the head (hit by the boom! More than once!)
Capsized once during attempted Man overboard drill!
I went home with tail between legs but it was fun anyway. ;)

(Pretty sure this is a Cotton plant - Lee Point Reserve)

Saturday Afternoon - Walk with the family from Lee Point to Casuarina Nudist beach. It was a lovely walk and the kids found cotton. Feeling pretty good.

Projector Bike
(Projector Bike)

Saturday Evening - Projector Bike! A bunch of happy cyclists met at the old Palmerston Town Hall in Darwin to join a small film festival on wheels! Projector bike consists of a 3 wheeled Danish Style Cargo Bike which holds a databeam projector and, I presume, a computer full of films and music. The audience all ride their bikes and follow the 'Projector Bike' around town to various locations suitable for projecting images onto a blank wall. This was such great fun and the crew of 3 organizers facilitated the ride beautifully. The films were all Australian Short films and all quite tame and heartwarming themes. As we rode from venue to venue the MC played some pretty cool music through his sound system and the two assistants controlled traffic so the rest of us could ride in a group and not be intimidated by other traffic.
Thanks guys I think everyone had a really great time! There was even a couple who'd chartered a Pedicab especially for the ride.
Saturday Night - Neil Murray at the Railway Club. I only found out about Neil Murray being in Darwin by mistake! I have not sought out events to go to during the Darwin Festival. Mostly I've found out about them via my wife and figured if she's encouraging me to go to something, I won't be looking any gift horses in the mouth. On Friday night before I went to pick them up I thought I'd check out the Railway Club in Parap. I hadn't been in there since, pre-marriage dancing lessons, er... about 12 years ago... long before the old place burned down. Anyway the doors were open so I thought I'd check it out on Friday afternoon and there in the foyer is a poster announcing Neil Murray will be playing Saturday Night! I really like listening to Neil Murray! He was due to start while I was at Projector Bike but I was determined to find a way to do both things.
On Saturday Night after Projector Bike I peddled my heart out as the show was over and headed for Parap pronto! I got there while he was performing the first set and met up with a couple of friends too! This is officially the biggest night out I've had since my first child was born! I have tried to see Neil Murray on several occasions but circumstances had not been generous... until now. I sat blissfully contented, my friends must have thought I was being anti social because I didn't want to talk at all! I just wanted to absorb the atmosphere... listen to Neil sing and enjoy the moment.  Another awesome night! I loved the story Neil told about his Dad and the song was great too but what topped it off was the little jig he danced at the end. "Go Out Dancing!" 

Neil and Dan

Neils songs are a great social commentary in Ballad and I really like his style but the Crowd really went off when he played the old Warumpi favorite "Black Fella -White Fella". The raw rock of that song really gets people motivated.
When it was time to go my 2 friends had missed the last bus home so we picked up a spare bike I had stashed at a place near by and cruised home by bicycle. Putting the Xtracycle to good use one got a free ride home and kacked herself laughing all the way. Apparently sitting as a passenger on the back of a bicycle is a peculiar and hilarious mode of transport! It may be unusual and a little odd but she didn't offer to ride and I think when we got home she was well impressed with the ride.

Sunday - Teddybear picnic... Nuff Said!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lost in Funk and loving it!

I've just spent 3 hours searching the web for information about Sailing Canoes and submerging myself in Chili Pepper Funk!

I don't know if I want to cry or scream!
My eyes are stinging and the lids are sagging but I'm trapped in a frustrating fact!
All Talk and No Action!
I've gotta sweat out this caffeine so I can sleep and dream.

When we could fly
(Ready to take flight, what's holding me back?)

I'm full of inspiration and powerful compulsions but No talent! There is nothing forthcoming! My heart races with the tunes the beat and I've got nothing to make, no words no art. I am Slumping!

Lonely black bird
(Maybe some space to think?)

Chill..... Listen to the FUNK... (I was never really into Funk... but it's having a strange effect on me... I am beginning to realize it's therapeutic powers...!) RELAX...
If there's nothing there, so be it! I am.

Brighten up
(Today I enjoyed what is and left the rest!)

Maybe I'll listen to more Funk and see what happens?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Art vs Border Worship

Remember when the last census was held and a bunch of people listed Jedi as their religion?
It was kind of funny but also kind of a mockery of our political system not to mention legitimate religions (on account of I assume many of those who registered as Jedi Knits don't actually adhere to any of the principals that such an order might require... if it actually existed).

Anyway with the very real Humanitarian crises our country appears committed to contributing to I happened to be reading an article the other day that referred to current attitudes toward immigration and providing asylum to those in need. The article written by Elenie Poulos referred to a social condition that the author has labeled 'Border Worship'. It is a scary situation which has already caused our leaders to condemn many people to a fate we should all be ashamed of. Maybe in this years Census, in the interests of producing a more accurate national profile, I wonder how many of us would qualify to register our religion as Xenophobe, Border Worshipers of the, media hyped justification, paranoid variety?

I was just wondering... that's all.

If you're into participating in the propaganda machine there's no end to the Government Spin, media manipulation, Scape Goat Politics and Downright Bastardry.... in the media.The truth, as I see it, is that as a Nation we are supporting policies that contribute to the unnecessary perpetuation of misery anguish and suffering of our fellow human beings and what is worse we are committing children to a future that is dominated by fear and uncertainty. God help them.

If you'd prefer to get to know just who it is that we're Locking up or having 'detained' in prison camps across Northern Australia, and now Malaysia, soon PNG, then head down to the Supreme Court in Darwin over the next week and check out the Exhibition 'Footprints of my heart' which features works of art created by Asylum Seekers who have been detained in the Darwin Detention Center. However if you attend please be on guard. You may be exposed to Works of Art that express Humanity, Love and true feeling. These are not qualities that those who would like to repel asylum seekers from our borders want you to know about!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Facts and rules for riders of the Cox Pen Rd

I have just dragged myself off the couch to make a quick post about the ride around Darwin Harbour while I am semi conscious and before I flake out on the couch again!

This will be short but I thought I'd post in-case I lapse into a fatigue induced coma!
Based a ride I've just come back from and previous experiences riding around Darwin Harbour.

Date: 07.08.11
Ride: Leanyer - Mandorah
Departure: 5:30am
Arrival: 11:15am
Duration: 5hr 45min

Rules for riding the Cox Peninsular Rd
(These could apply to any long rides in the Top-End)

  1. Leave home early.... very early! Better to ride in the dark than in the full heat of the day.
  2. If someone offers to help you by carrying water and food DO NOT refuse!
  3. Carry spare tube, puncture kit etc.... (If someone else carry's these things for you that's cool too)
  4. Avoid carrying anything yourself. (I've never done an assisted ride but dam I wish I had!)
  5. Water, Sunscreen, water, long sleeves, water, snacks and water are essential.
  6. If you're riding in a Club Ride or expect that you will be in the same vicinity and don't want to be scoffed or laughed at purchase all the latest gear, bike, licra, computer etc... etc... (Kit under $4,000 may not cut it)
  7. Try not to be on the road between midday and 4:00pm  (The sun is a killer!)
  8. Get some exercise before you go....
There's probably a few more rules but I'm getting queasy so will leave it at that!

Facts about riding the Cox Peninsular Rd
(The following information is based on my first hand experience... anyone wishing to dispute anything written below is free to accompany me on the next ride... You can carry all the shit!)

  1. A 10 km commute each way to and from work 4 times per week is not enough training for a ride like this
  2. If your not a super fit super fast rider and leave Darwin after 6:00am your going to be riding in the heat of the day.... (It's not pleasant riding the Cox Peninsular Rd in the heat of the day)
  3. If you find yourself on the road after 12:00pm midday it is likely you are already feeling fatigued, you are going to suffer a sense of extreme demoralization, dehydration, aching knees and back, you may find yourself cursing every f--king thing you see on the road. The only consolation will be that all the really good riders have already passed you and it's likely that everyone else on the road is feeling the same way that you are... You might find yourself cursing them anyway just because they're there... 
  4. If attend a group ride on a bike that is anything over 10 years old and you wear stubbies shorts and a secondhand flouro safety vest people will laugh at you!
  5. If you wear said clothing and stand too near the gate of the Mandorah ferry club riders will mistake you for ship's crew and ask you to help them with their bikes... You won't get a tip!
  6. If you carry all your own stuff and find yourself amongst a pack of riders on flash new carbon fibre bikes you will not be able to slip stream them... You will chew their dust and you will be scoffed at.
  7. If you carry your own stuff you can pull up whenever you like and have a picnic, (This is a good time to find a comfy position and watch the licra brigade pushing hard through the heat to the next watering point. (There are some bonuses to being as uncool as me)
  8. If you find you got home a little bit late due to being under prepared, unfit and suffering all kinds of pain don't expect a hero's welcome... ;) 

    the dorkie rider
    Dorky rider

    Ride Summary
    Left home (near Leanyer) 5:10am... forgot water, went back and filled up... Left home at 5:15am, got to the gate and realized one of my tail lights wasn't working, tried to fix it but fudged it instead and chucked it on top of the fridge.... Left home at 5:20am, forgot something else.... I can't remember what it was but I had to go back into the house to get it at great risk of waking family!
    Left home at about 5:30am and cycled into the darkness feeling like I'd forgotten something but in no mood to return for it!
    Had a great ride along the cycle path enjoying the starlight. (There was no moon). When I reached the usual turn off for the Stuart Highway I noticed the path continued ahead of me through what had been uncleared bushland last time I was there. I followed the path all the way to Howard Springs, it was awesome and I reckon it covers some really lovely country too. I'll have to get back and check it out during the day sometime, when my legs have recovered. Once at Howard Springs I had to double back to the main Rd to get back on the highway but it was well worth the detour.
    Peddled into Noonamah at 7:00am, just in time to watch the sun rise. There had been a rodeo on Saturday night and there were people sleeping all over the place in swags and in the back of utes. A sign read 'Highway to Hell'. Ha!
    Continued up the Stuart Highway munching on a cool fresh apple and grinning at my good fortune... Arghh the open road.
    Arrived at Berry Springs pretty soon after feeling a little knee sore.. There was a food stop for the Club Riders who had registered for the Around the Bay ride with Darwin Cycling Club. Had a brief rest there and discovered one of my water bottles had split, chatted with the ride officials, who advised me that the first group had left Palmerston about half an hour previously, they'd be coming through pretty soon. I kind of wanted to stay and watch them pass through but thought I'd get the jump on them and pushed off.

    Group Ride
    Bunch of riders

    Next stop was the Blackmore River for my obligatory photo next to the sign... I don't know why but I've done it every time... Just as I was getting an orange out of my bag I heard the whoosh of about 10 cyclists flying by.. Here they come. The first of 250 riders.
    I jumped back on and peddled off after them... I had no chance. I was only half way around and was already flagging. The rest of the ride was grueling, as it always is. I struggled along, stopping for a drink or to eat some fruit.By the time I'd come to Mandorah the other riders around me weren't going so fast either.
    I limped into Mandorah at about 11:15 and could see the ferry coming. When it arrived and the passengers had disembarked I lifted my bike onto the roof where it was surrounded by more carbon fibre than I've ever seen in my life, riders gingerly passed their precious cargo up to the top deck, flinching at every knock or scrape. Gratefully I stepped aboard and crashed into one of the inside chairs.
    I looked around at the other riders, none of them seemed as stuffed as I was! They were all shining and smiling with fit capable bodies, I put on my bravest face and did my absolute best not to hobble.. but it was no use, it was obvious I'd hit the wall!

    Mandorah Pier (With cyclists)

    It took me an hour and a half to ride the 10 km home.

    Reflection: At least this time I made it to Mandorah before midday. Good luck to those who were still on the road.

    Saturday, August 06, 2011

    Pedicab crawl

    Awesome! There are now Pedicabs in Darwin!

    Posted on Rickshaw Way