Sunday, December 23, 2007

St. Kilda Esplanade

Today Missy and I took the tram to St. Kilda to wander around. Our first stop was to look in the windows of the cake shops on Acland Street. From there we walked to Luna Park so Missy could get photos of the entrance and then we headed to the stalls of the Sunday Esplanade Market. There were quite a few vendors there who were also at the Night Market on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Missy, the one vendor she wanted to buy from who had paper-mache ornaments was not there. For lunch we walked down the pier to the kiosk, where we had toasted sandwiches and hot chocolate. A brief rain shower passed over while we were eating, but the weather was calm again when we headed back towards the beach.

Once we were back in the city we stopped at a few shops so Missy could buy some souvenirs and gifts to take home. She headed back out to Brunswick Street for more shopping while I headed home so I could get some groceries and food for dinner. It has been great to have Missy here for a visit and I think she has enjoyed her stay in Australia. Tomorrow she flies back to LA, just in time for Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yarra Valley Wine Tour

Missy and I were up bright and early this morning to meet up with our van for a wine tour of the Yarra Valley. Our tour guide was Cameron from the Australian Wine Tour Company and he gave us amusing commentary as we made the hour drive to the Yarra Valley from Melbourne. Our first stop was Yering Station, where we had our first taste of wine at 10:45 am! Missy and I sampled probably half of the wines available for tasting. After checking out their gift shop we went for a wander around the lush grounds and took pictures.

Our next stop was Rochford Wines. We went to their tasting room first, where we got to sample more wine as well as hear about the Day on the Green concerts they hold at the winery. After our tasting we went into their large dining area and sat at a table by the fireplace for our gourmet lunch. Both Missy and I had the grilled tuna with Asian greens, which was yummy. We also got a full glass of wine with lunch, and it was funny to see how most of the group were barely touching it. After lunch we checked out the grounds before heading back onto the van.

Yering Farm was the smallest vineyard we visited. Their tasting room is a former hay shed and they joked about the fact that the rust was authentic. Their wines are more boutique and aged longer than most other places. We were able to taste wines from their different ranges, which were all good. While we were there the skies opened up and it just poured rain. Thankfully it stopped as we went to leave.

The last place we visited was Domaine Chandon, the complete antithesis of Yering Farm. Our guide Cameron gave us a tour of the winery and cellars, explaining the different steps taken to make the sparkling wine along the way. We then went to their huge tasting room and had a glass of the sparkling wine of our choice, along with some cheese and crackers. Missy went for the red sparkling wine while I stuck with the classic dry. As the rain began to fall again we all headed back to the van for the drive back to Melbourne. The tour was really good and I highly recommend it if you are ever in town.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Evening Adventures

My cousin Missy has come to stay with me for a week, so we have been out having fun around town. On Tuesday night we headed down to the Corner Hotel in Richmond to see Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set in concert. The first opening act was Whitley who was drunk or on something because he didn't make much sense when talking. We thought shoegazer music was over, but he is bringing it back. He even did an emo version of Bjork's "Hyper-Ballad." The real stars of the night were Little Red, who played a very energetic set on the smaller second stage, including my favorite song of theirs, "Misty I." Missy was impressed and deemed them a band to watch. We stayed for most of Clare Bowditch's set but left around 11 pm as it was hot in the venue and we were both tired.

On Wednesday we were joined by Belinda and went to the Night Market at the Queen Victoria Market. It was another hot evening, but we checked out all the various booths and sampled the food. We had gozleme first and then the honey dumplings with chocolate and ice cream. While wandering around we even ran into Michelle and Ruth.

Tonight Missy met me at work and we headed across the road to The Commune for dinner and jazz, which is a regular Thursday night event. Mel had reserved a table, and it was good to see both Carlene, who is teaching at the Victorian International School of Sharjah, and Marg, who is doing teacher coaching at schools in New York. They were both back in Melbourne for the holidays. The jazz music was good (they played some Jobim) and my dish of pad thai was yummy. Missy and I had a delay of 20 minutes at the train station because of all the thunderstorms, but we managed to make it home safe and dry.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Party Season

It's that time of year when you can't escape attending a bunch of parties. On Friday we had our Department Christmas party at work. By 2:30 pm most people were outside in the Printer's Court vying for shade and a cool drink. It was a very hot day so I only lasted an hour and a half before heading home.

On Saturday Michelle held her 30th birthday party at the Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club. After eating a barbeque dinner we headed out to the greens to commence lawn bowling. By the end of the night my bowling had improved significantly. Michelle had four flavors of cupcakes for us to eat for dessert. It was a fun night and good to catch up with everyone.

Today I headed up to Kalorama for Peter and Mark's Christmas party. Rosemaree was kind enough to give me a ride. The boys have purchased more art since I was last up there, so we had a bit of an art walk around the house. Lunch was good but we had so much food to eat I was bursting by the end of it. I got a nice picture frame from Rosemaree and this beautiful bronze statuette with mirror from Peter and Mark. Overall it was a very busy weekend but nice to spend time with people I haven't seen in a while.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bit By Bats- R.I.P.

I just found out that Melbourne band Bit By Bats have called it a day. It's sad when a talented Aussie band decides to break up. I first saw them on the Live and Local stage at Big Day Out in 2006. Unfortunately I never made it to any of their live shows around town (let this be a lesson to us all- go out and support your favorite bands). I really liked their debut CD "Go Go Go!" and I'm just bummed that there won't be any more music. Here are a couple of their video clips:

All Night

One Six One

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Age EG Awards

Last night Belinda and I headed down to the Prince Bandroom in St. Kilda for the The Age EG Awards. The evening was MC'ed by actor Angus Sampson and featured a wide variety of Melbourne artists. We missed a majority of the awards because we were eating dinner and didn't get there until an hour after it started. We did see Kim Salmon get inducted into the EG Hall of Fame and a two song acoustic performance by Nic Cester of Jet.

However, the main reason I wanted to attend was to see The Living End play their only concert of this year. The boys are currently recording a new album, but even though they've been in the studio they played an excellent set. The set list:
- Roll On
- We Want More
- I Can't Give You What I Haven't Got
- What's On Your Radio
- One Step Behind
- Uncle Harry
- How Do We Know
- Second Solution
- E-Boogie
- Raise The Alarm
- Who's Gonna Save Us
- Carry Me Home
- Long Tall Sally (with Nic Cester)
- West End Riot

It was a fast paced hour-plus performance. We had the perfect spot to watch the show off to the side and up on a platform. The horn section from Hunters and Collectors came out to play on "One Step Behind" and a raucous version of "Uncle Harry." We were also treated to two new songs: "How Do We Know" and "Raise The Alarm." The new material sounded like dirty rock and was a throw back to their earlier material, but with less rockabilly. It will be interesting to see what the album ends up sounding like. I personally hope that they keep on the same path of growth that they showed on the last album "State of Emergency." In the encore Nic Cester came out and sang "Long Tall Sally" with the band and the night finished with an energetic sing along of "West End Riot."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Federal Election

Say hello to the new Prime Minister of Australia- Kevin Rudd. Thank God John Howard is finally gone and the Labor Party is in power.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Liam Finn- Melbourne Style

Yes, I went to see Liam Finn in concert again, this time at the Northcote Social Club. Danny and Ruth came along as well for the evening. Things started off with a solo acoustic set from EJ Barnes, who played old material and stuff from her upcoming album. During the intermission between acts Ruth encouraged me to go up to Liam and EJ at the merch table and get them to autograph a poster, which I did. I told them how I had seen them a few weeks ago in San Francisco, and they had very fond memories of the show and the City. The second support act theredsunband sort of reminded me of The Breeders and Mazzy Star. Their drummer quit on them a few days ago, but they are soldiering on with the tour (and driving to shows on P plates).

Liam came on around 11:00 pm and played for an hour. I was excited to hear a few songs off the new album live for the first time: Energy Spent, I'll Be Lightning, and Wide Awake On The Voyage Home. It was good to see that EJ now has some instruments to play with (including a cow bell). They both put on a great show together- highly entertaining and original as always. Liam is the loop master and has added a vocal looping microphone to his repertoire. The songs played (in no particular order):
- Better To Be
- Fire In Your Belly
- Energy Spent
- I'll Be Lightning
- My Army Of Birds And Gulls (yay, a betchadupa song)
- Wise Man
- Remember When
- Second Chance
- Lead Balloon
- Gather To The Chapel
- Wide Awake On The Voyage Home

Monday, November 19, 2007

Advancement- Finally!

Before I went on leave to the States I had applied for a secondment to the School Leadership Unit in our department. While I was away they tried to contact me, so I figured by the time I returned they probably had filled the position. However, I was wrong and on Friday I was offered the position. Since time has passed it has gone from 3 months to about 7 weeks, but I am still excited to have the opportunity to do something different. I will also be getting paid on the next level of the pay scale, so that's even better.

In other Melbourne news, it is bloody hot at the moment- 36/97 degrees today and it's only spring! We have one more hot day before a change comes through tomorrow afternoon, but I am really dreading summer. Oh, and the blow flies are back. I hate them so much- annoying and they won't leave you alone.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Crowded House

On Thursday and Friday night I was at Rod Laver Arena enjoying Crowded House in concert. The opening acts were Irish band The Walls and Augie March. The first night we had seats at the back of the arena, but last night we were on the floor close to the stage. Both nights were fantastic and the set lists were very diverse. These arena shows could have easily been a greatest hits affair, so I was really glad that the band played so many songs off the new album.

Set List Night 1
Private Universe
Mean To Me
Don't Stop Now
Fall At Your Feet
Whispers and Moans
Heaven That I'm Making
She Called Up
Hole In The River
When You Come
A Sigh
Silent House
Don't Dream It's Over
Pour Le Monde
Distant Sun
Weather With You
Locked Out
Something So Strong
World Where You Live
Fingers Of Love
Four Seasons In One Day
Better Be Home Soon

Set List Night 2
Private Universe
Everything Is Good For You
Say That Again
Fall At Your Feet
Don't Stop Now
You're The One To Make Me Cry
Walked Her Way Down
Love You 'Til The Day I Die
When You Come
Silent House
Italian Plastic
Don't Dream It's Over
People Are Like Suns
Distant Sun
Weather With You
Locked Out
Something So Strong
Four Seasons In One Day
Pineapple Head
Better Be Home Soon

I preferred night one's set list, but thought the crowd was better the second night (it probably helped that we were standing the majority of the time on the floor). Highlights for me were the end of Hole In The River (Matt had a great beat going), A Sigh (first time I've heard it live), and the fact they attempted Everything Is Good For You. We also got a brief bit of This Is Massive on the second night. There was the usual banter between the band and especially Neil and Nick. The stage backdrops and lighting were well done and incorporated elements from the Time On Earth album cover. All in all it was fantastic to see the boys live again and get so much love from the Aussie audiences.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jet Lag

"Wherever you are, it's 3am and I'm awake."
- Neil Finn
Ah, the joys of jet lag. It's going to take a few days for my body clock to adjust to Melbourne time. I did survive my flights back yesterday, although we had bad turbulence on the flight to Auckland which left me feeling less than stellar for the rest of the day. Entertainment wise I watched Hairspray, a couple episodes of Flight of the Conchords and This is England.

It was a public holiday yesterday due to the Melbourne Cup (won by Efficient) and the streets were relatively quiet. I am back at work today, so we'll see how things have gone over the past three weeks while I've been away.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

End of Another Trip

Well, it is almost time to head off across the Pacific again. It has been great to be at home and catch up with all my friends and family. Over the past few days I have been to both of my former schools- Wilson Elementary for Halloween and their Harvest Festival and Rancho Elementary for lunch on Friday. It was nice to see all the staff that are still there from my days as well as some of my ex-students (my last class are now 5th graders, and my first class is in high school).

I had an adventure out in nature on Thursday as Lynne and I hiked around Phoenix Lake in Ross. Of course I had to go and ruin the health benefits by having the creme brulee French toast at Bubba's Diner, but it was worth it. I also spent some time with Angie and Katie, who is now 2 1/2 and a bundle of energy. Overall I have had a fabulous time, did way too much clothes shopping (I do have a new suitcase to bring stuff back in), eaten lots of Mexican food and sourdough bread, and enjoyed driving again. Guess I better start packing...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


It just wouldn't have been the complete California experience if I didn't have an earthquake while I was home. The Bay Area had a magnitude 5.6 quake centered in Alum Rock on the Calaveras Fault a little after 8:00 pm. It was a gentle rolling motion that lasted about 15 seconds. We could see the lamp shade shaking at our house but there was no damage.

Michael Clayton

My mom and I went to see the movie Michael Clayton this afternoon. It stars George Clooney as a fixer in a law firm- basically his job is to clean up all the messes. The plot centers around how Clayton's law firm is helping an agrichemical company settle a multibillion-dollar suit. The story is very well written and although it is a bit confusing at first, the plot starts to make sense as time goes on. If you are after an intelligent movie, this is definitely one you will want to see.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

James and Simi's Wedding

Yesterday was the big wedding extravaganza for James and Simi. The day started very early at 7:00 am when the hair and make-up people arrived at our door. The bridesmaids and Simi got ready upstairs at our house while the groomsmen showed up dressed at the more respectable hour of 1:00 pm. As you would expect with a wedding, things got rushed the closer we got to the ceremony. It was slightly chaotic as the photographer andvideographer tried to get their shots of people getting ready. Originally there were going to be pictures of the wedding party before the ceremony but they ran out of time. We did get a nice family shot in the backyard though.

I left with the groomsmen in the limo to head off to church around 2:30 pm. My job was to make sure everything was set up correctly in the Mission. We put out the unity candle and programs and had some time to catch up with relatives outside. About 10 minutes before the scheduled start of mass everyone came in to find their seats in the pews. My brother was fairly calm as we waited for the bridal party to arrive. In the end it turned out that the hold up was my parents because they were trying to get the hair and make-up people out of the house.

The mass and ceremony went well. I was responsible for the first reading, from the Song of Songs, in which I got to utter the words "gazelle," "stag," and "lover" (4 times!). Both James andSimi became emotional when they were saying their vows and exchanging the rings. All in all it was a lovely ceremony and thankfully everyone fit into the Mission Chapel. After mass we did wedding party and family photos on the alter and then headed off to the reception while the wedding party had a little detour to B Street Tavern, where James andSimi first met three years ago.

The reception took place at Deer Park Villa in Fairfax. The cocktail hour was outside in the redwood grove, which was decorated with lights and pink lanterns. Everyone hit the bar and enjoyed the hothors d'oeuvres that were being circulated. We did lots of groups photos, including all the family shots- siblings, cousins, etc. During one of our pictures we smelled smoke. It turned out that my cousin's pashmina wrap had caught on fire from a candle on the table. We were disappointed that my brother didn't do his job and act to put it out first.

As it started to get dark we headed inside for the sit-down dinner. My mom, the unofficial wedding planner, did a great job making sure the tables were set up in an elegant way- right down to the napkin fold with name cards and menus inside. We started off with a spring mix salad and then people had a choice of chicken breast or prime rib for dinner. The best man, matron of honor and bride's father all gave toasts. We also got to watch a video of James andSimi's photos as they grew up and then pictures as a couple.

After the bride and groom's first dance and father/daughter dance everyone hit the floor. The DJ paced the music well and played all the greatest hits first. After the older attendees had worn themselves out on the dance floor he started playing more current hit music. The garter bouquet tosses and cake cutting went smoothly. The cake was really good and made locally. My brother was desperate for a piece of the banana/nut layer that was his choice and we finally found him one. It was a really fun reception and people had time to catch up with family members and/or dance and drink the night away (some more than others). Things started to wind down around 9:30 pm as the lights came up and people started to head for home. We stayed to clean up the tables and grab a few decorations and floral arrangements before leaving.

Today we had lunch for some of the out-of-town family members. James and Simi opened up wedding gifts and my brother's old room is currently full of boxes. They are going to have to move into a bigger place to fit in all these presents. It's hard to believe that my little brother is now married. Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wedding Rehearsal

Tonight was the wedding rehearsal for James and Simi's wedding. We all met at St. Raphael's Church at 6:00 pm and did a run through of the ceremony with the wedding party. Afterwards we headed to Ristorante La Toscana for the rehearsal dinner. It was a good night and I wasn't too brutal with my toast. Tomorrow is the big day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Liam Finn

I was a bit bummed that I was going to miss Liam Finn opening for Sarah Blasko in Melbourne since I am out of town. However, as luck would have it Liam booked a show in San Francisco on his way back from New York at the Make-Out Room in the Mission District. Lynne joined me for the evening, and we also got to see my friend Squid (who actually let me know this show was happening). It was a very entertaining 45 minutes of DIY music from Mr. Finn, who was accompanied by EJ Barnes on backing vocals. The set list (in no particular order):
- Fire In Your Belly
- Better To Be
- Second Chance
- Gather To The Chapel
- Remember When
- Wise Man
- Lead Balloon

There were various noise jams and some funny banter as well. Liam told us that he was travelling on an Irish passport and when going through customs in Abu Dhabi they asked him why he didn't speak Gaelic. His response? "Gaelic my balls." Such a funny boy. For your musical enjoyment here is Liam's video for the single "Second Chance"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fake Thanksgiving

One of my requests while I am home was to have Thanksgiving dinner since I will once again miss it at the end of November. Tonight we celebrated "Fake Thanksgiving" with my parents, James and Simi, and Lynne and Jeremy. We started off with appetizers and mulled cider and then headed to the dining room table for the main meal:
- Jello Salad
- Bread Rolls
- Turkey with gravy
- Cornbread Stuffing with Roasted Vegetables
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Pumpkin Pie

It was very delicious and just like a normal Thanksgiving dinner since we had the good china and silverware. I baked the pumpkin pie, which came out well. All in all it was a great night and I got to eat all my favorite dishes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Driving the Bay Area

I have been all over the Bay Area the past few days. On Thursday my mom and I went down to Burlingame to have lunch with my mom's cousin. It was a fun trip as we got to look at some old photo albums from the 1940s that had pictures of my mom's side of the family. Debbie also cooked us a yummy lunch. On our way back up to Marin we stopped at The Village for a bit of shopping. I finally got a new laptop battery at the Apple Store (along with Danny's iPod) but I didn't see anything exciting in the clothing stores. That evening my mom and I headed out with Simi to Concord for her second wedding dress fitting. This was the first time that I had seen the dress and it is very pretty and perfect for her.

Since I was still not completely happy with my own dress for the wedding, Lynne and I headed into downtown San Francisco on Friday to find something for me to wear. I tried on about five dresses at Macy's in Union Square and thankfully found one that is perfect for the event. We also went down to Westfield Shopping Centre and encountered some strange activities in front of Bloomingdales. If you can figure out what they are selling in this picture, please let me know.

On Saturday I travelled north to Petaluma to meet Angie and the rest of her bridesmaids to get fitted for our dresses. Angie's wedding is in April 2008 and I am the maid of honor. Since I am out here we all got measured and worked out what sizes to order. The outfits are actually separates from Alfred Angelo, so we all have a tea-length skirt and then got to choose our own top. The outfits should take about four months to come in, and Angie plans to send it to me immediately so I can make any alterations if needed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Into The Wild

Tonight Lynne and I went to see Sean Penn's latest film "Into The Wild". It is based on Jon Krakauer's book about Christopher McCandless, a recent college graduate who travelled through the US in the early 1990's and ultimately ended up in the Alaska. The film starts when he goes into the wilderness but flashes back to his travels and the people he encountered along the way. The cinematography is gorgeous and Eddie Vedder's soundtrack really fits in with the story. It's a fantastic film that I highly recommend as it will make you think about your life and evaluate if you are happy with who you are and the path you are on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Favors, Friends and Food

I have spent the past few days catching up with people. On Sunday my brother and his fiance Simi came over to the house. We worked on assembling the wedding favors, which went fairly quickly. There are many little wedding details to complete, but everything seems to be coming together.

On Monday I finally got to see Lynne and Jeremy's new house in Kentfield. It is a nice and airy house with a fantastic view of Mt. Tam. Lynne and I headed to Fourth Street for some Starbucks and shopping. I found a cute jacket at Bella and Lynne bought some earrings. We grabbed burritos for dinner at High Tech Burrito and then settled in for some evening tv watching, including "The Bachelor." It was just like old times as we yelled insults at the desperate female contestants and bet on who wouldn't get a rose.

Today I ventured up to Angie's coffee shop for a visit and to catch up. We headed to Novato in the afternoon to hit the craft store and have lunch at Chevys- home of the best chips and salsa. I also went to Old Navy to return a couple of tops, and then I purchased two more shirts and a pair of pants for $24. Yay for sale prices!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

God Bless Air New Zealand

I have made it home in one piece and not too tired. I started my journey with a Starbucks chai tea latte at Melbourne Airport after exchanging most of my currency. May I just say that Air New Zealand has awesome planes? I have suffered this Pacific journey on United's old stock for too long. I was able to enjoy more seat and leg room in economy and the self-entertainment options that your own screen the seat headrest allows.

Our plane was delayed for an hour in Auckland as they had to deal with "engineering difficulties," aka they couldn't get the engines to start. However, they did the equivalent of using jumper cables to get things going and away we went! The plane was surprisingly empty and I managed to get a row to myself. It wasn't the most comfortable way to lay down, but at least I got some sleep. I also enjoyed two movies on the flight "Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten" and New Zealand film Rain.

It was a comedy of errors once we landed in San Francisco. First, since we were late they had given away our gate so we had to wait for them to find us another one. Then they couldn't get the jetway to connect to the plane, so that was another 5+ minutes delay in getting off the plane. I did breeze through customs, grabbed my luggage and headed out to the Airporter, which came quickly. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic along 19th Avenue, but it cleared once we hit the Golden Gate Bridge.

It's amazing how quickly I have adjusted to being back home- doesn't feel like it's been 10 months since my last visit. There will be lots to do for the wedding, but I also plan to find time to catch up with people.

California, Here I Come

It is nearly time for me to leave for the airport and head home. I am flying Air New Zealand from Melbourne to San Francisco (via Auckland). The main purpose of this trip is to attend my brother's wedding at the end of the month. See you on the other side of the international date line.

Friday, September 28, 2007

AFL Grand Final Parade

Today was the Grand Final Parade through the streets of Melbourne. Since the parade ends at the Old Treasury Building, a bunch of us from work went to watch. About 50,000 people came out to cheer on the players for Geelong and Port Adelaide, who are playing for the Premiership Cup tomorrow at the MCG. It was cold and windy outside with the occasional rain shower (what happened to spring?). Most people in the crowd were there for Geelong, who last won a Premiership 44 years ago and are the first Victorian team to make the Grand Final in the last few years. One added bonus to the day was seeing Essendon's Alwyn Davey and James Hird. After the presentations on stage the players got back onto their buses we headed back to the office to warm up.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Icecream Hands

Last night Ruth, Danny and I headed over to The East Brunswick Club to see Icecream Hands play. We are all big fans of the band, and it was so great to finally see them live. To me Icecream Hands are the epitome of the Melbourne sound- melodic guitars, harmonizing vocals and fantastic pop songs. They played selections from all of their albums, including the new one "The Good China." Each member of the band writes songs and sings lead so it was nice to be able to put a face to the vocals of these songs I have loved over the years. I often had their CDs in my car's CD changer so I associate a lot of the songs with my drives to and from work when I lived in the States. The band played for an hour and a half and I was able to pick up their new limited edition EP for "Come Home" at the merchandise table after the show.

The opening acts were indie rock band The Wellingtons and Abby Dobson, who used to be in the Australian band Leonardo's Bride. Both were good, and I especially liked Abby's semi-acoustic set. She reminded me a bit of Lisa Germano with her atmospheric and slightly depressing songs.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Essendon v. Richmond

It was an emotional evening at the MCG as over 88,000 people showed up to farewell two of the greats in Essendon football: James Hird and coach Kevin Sheedy. It was their last game in Melbourne and unfortunately the fairy tale ending just wasn't to be as Richmond played a far better match than we did and deserved the win. After the game Sheedy and Hird did a lap of honor around the grounds to thank everyone for their support. The entire crowd stood and clapped for them as they passed by and then the fireworks went off in the middle of the field (freaking out all the seagulls that had congregated there). Despite the result, I was really glad that Michelle and I were able to witness this historic event in person.

Final Score
Essendon: 13.14 (92)
Richmond: 17.17 (119)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Rosemaree!

This evening Rosemaree, Fran and I gathered together to celebrate Rosemaree's birthday. I met them at Crooners on Lygon Street in East Brunswick. They had a wide selection of food on their menu, and we all had good sized meals. For dessert we headed back to my place as Rosemaree had brought along her own birthday cake- courtesy of someone at work. It was quite yummy especially with the added bonus of Lindt chocolate balls on the top. All in all it was a great night and nice to be able to catch up with them both.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Essendon v. Hawthorn

Michelle and I joined Tash and her family and friends at the MCG this afternoon for the rematch between Essendon and Hawthorn. Just like last time we lost the game- this time by 63 points. It was a horrible and disappointing game full of errors and lackluster play by the Bombers. Our hopes of making the finals are pretty much shot and now all that's left in the season is to send off coach Kevin Sheedy and James Hird with some sense of dignity.

Final Score
Essendon: 7.14 (56)
Hawthorn: 17.17 (119)

Friday, August 03, 2007


Well, not only do we have two new ministers, but our department has a new name. We are now the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). Thank God we never updated the stationary when we changed our name eight months ago! The new Premier John Brumby announced today that the Office of Children in the Department of Human Services will now sit in the Department of Education. While the decision makes perfect sense it will be interesting to see how this affects our restructure, which just went into effect in May. Now all we need to do is decide how to pronounce our new acronym.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Historic Day

It was just a normal Friday morning when the rumors started swirling in the office that Steve Bracks was about to resign as Premier of Victoria. We gathered around the tv during our end of month morning tea to watch the shock announcement. There were no real signs that this would happen, although his son's DUI a few weeks ago helped him to solidify his decision to leave office. It will be sad to see him go as he has been a good Premier over the past 8 years. Just as we were getting over Bracks' announcement word started to spread that Deputy Premier John Thwaites would be next. Sure enough at 2:00 pm he announced that he too would be resigning from office. It was weird to have this go down in the building next to us and you could sense that history was being made. On Monday the Labor Caucus will choose a new Premier, which means there will be new members of cabinet as well. We'll just have to wait and see if we get a new Minister for Education.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Winter in Victoria

Kangaroos in Springhill, Victoria. Yes, it's a bit cold today (no snow in Melbourne though).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Knocked Up

Tonight Tash and I met up at Melbourne Central to see the movie Knocked Up. This is the latest film from Judd Apatow, who directed The 40-Year-Old Virgin. There were quite a few members of the cast who previously appeared in his brilliant tv show Freaks and Geeks. The basic plot of the film is that Alison (Katherine Heigel) meets Ben (Seth Rogan) in a club, has a one night stand, and then discovers that she is pregnant. The movie shows how these two people from very different circumstances come to terms with this life changing event. The movie is absolutely hilarious but also sweet and sincere at the same time. I was crying with laughter at the birthing scene- one of the funniest things I have seen in ages. I highly recommend checking this film out if you haven't seen it already.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crowded House

Crowded House finally arrived in Australia and have been all over the media these past few days. On Friday morning they appeared on Sunrise, playing four songs total. Saturday they headlined the Sydney Live Earth concert, which was absolutely fantastic to watch. Sunday night it was off to Melbourne to appear on Rove. But the highlight for me was Monday night because they played a secret show at the Corner Hotel.

Natasha joined me in line and we secured a great spot about 3 rows back from the center of the stage. The opening act was one Liam Finn. Once again he did a great set like the last time I saw him play in May. When Crowded House hit the stage it was hard to believe I was seeing them again live after all these years. The guys looked great in their suits- thank God Nick is styling them all. They played a lot of songs off the new album, along with some old favorites. The setlist (not necessarily completely in order):
Recurring Dream
Mean To Me
Heaven That I'm Making
Nobody Wants To
When You Come
Pineapple Head
Silent House
Nails In My Feet
World Where You Live
You're The One To Make Me Cry
Walked Her Way Down
People Are Like Suns
Locked Out
Something So Strong
Don't Dream It's Over

Encore 1
Don't Stop Now
Fall At Your Feet
Distant Sun

Encore 2
Pour Le Monde
Walking On The Spot
Love You Till The Day I Die
She Called Up
Four Seasons In One Day
Sister Madly

They played for nearly 2 1/2 hours. It was great to hear the new songs live and I thought "You're The One To Make Me Cry" was particularly moving. They did a brilliant and thankfully different version of "Don't Dream It's Over" after Neil decided to "murder it." The first verse was all shimmery guitar, the second verse reggae, and the rest of the song in depressing Cowboy Junkies style. There was the usual banter between songs and little musical interludes that took the show in new directions. Matt Sherrod, the new drummer, was fantastic and he really hits hard and drives the songs forward. Even though the guys were tired they still put on a wonderful show. I'm just so happy to have my favorite band back together.

Afterwards I stuck around to have a brief chat with Matt since he is a fellow California native. He was very nice and we talked about where we were from and how Sydney is like LA and Melbourne like San Francisco. He also asked what I was doing in Melbourne and how long I've been a fan. I saw Mark and Nick wandering around but didn't bother them (Neil disappeared pretty soon after the show finished). I will now have to wait until November to see them again- this time at the very large Rod Laver Arena. If you have the chance go see them in concert- you won't be disappointed.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Essendon v. Geelong

It was back to the Telstra Dome tonight to see Essendon play Geelong. We knew it would be a tough game because Geelong are currently at the top of the ladder and have won their last 8 games and we were without captain Matthew Lloyd, who was suspended this week for striking. However, there were a couple big events to motivate the Bombers: James Hird's 250th game and the return of Adam Ramanauskas to senior level footy after battling cancer.

The game remained close through the first three quarters, but in the end Geelong triumped by 50 points. Things started going downhill for Essendon in the second quarter as Alwyn Davey broke his arm and James Hird hurt his calf. In the last quarter we had no interchange bench left as Paddy Ryder (strained Achilles tendon) and Tom Hislop (corked thigh) got injured. It was just too much for the Bombers to overcome.

Final Score
Esssendon:12.11 (83)
Geelong: 19.19 (133)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Essendon v. Melbourne

Tonight I joined Michelle and her parents to watch Essendon play Melbourne at Telstra Dome. After a brilliant first quarter we were ahead by 37 points. Matty Lloyd kicked the 800th goal of his career. However, Melbourne started to gain ground in the second quarter and took the lead shortly after halftime. At three quarter time a bit of a scuffle broke out on the ground between the two teams, but no damage was done. It wasn't looking good for us in the fourth quarter, and with five minutes left Essendon was down by 17 points. A quick goal from Alwyn Davey started to ignite the team and in the final 5 seconds Scott Lucas kicked the winning goal! The Essendon supporters lept to their feet and screamed with joy. It was so fantastic, but sad for Melbourne as this was their coach's last game. We were lucky to pull it out in the end, but we needed the win because the next few games are going to be really tough.
Final Score
Essendon: 19.11 (125)
Melbourne: 18.15 (123)
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