Monday, September 28, 2009

big weekend

It was a huge weekend, revolving around a party which revolved around the airshow. No wonder I was dizzy the next day. Or is could have been from taking photos like this. What a strange and unexpected result!
We had an awesome seat for the show in this lovely location:

This is Townsville's old hospital, and since our son lives here:

ie: the sold sign directly across, at the same level, we got to go to a mega party and BBQ (there are always sausages) with the developer and all the other residents and hangers on. Actually, we started in the Penthouse of our son's building,

which was excellent, but the old hospital was even better. There was much merriment and we pooled our champagne into an ocean it seemed!

Things grew a bit blurry at the end of the evening, then we cycled home! T'was a great night out. We did penance the next day, Boab painted (still!) and I put in a new garden, which has left me pretty much a cripple from all the bending and digging, but at least I didn't have to paint!

backing up

Shhhh... I am just sneeking a link to my presentation in Adelaide into my blog in case it all goes terribly wrong.

The Vegetation of the Wet Tropics Bioregion

you will see that I have misused my power as JCU BUG President to squirrel the file away in the BUG site. Honestly, why we can't just have a simple .ftp area at this Uni is beyond me.

WARNING - if you actually want to look at it, it's like 30 mbs or something, so only click if you can afford the download!!

OK, now I have to shoot you all because it is classified etc...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

dusty out there

Today's forecast is dusty, clearing as the day progresses. It is not nearly as impressive as images on the news yesterday from Brisbane and Sydney, but it sure tastes like dust out there, and the winds are strong out of the west. I just came to work this morning, no extra. Hopefully the way home will be a bit clearer.

End of day update - it is worse. I have a sore throat from cycling home. If you want to know what it looks like scroll down, look at the smoldering Pinnacles and imagine a wall of beige. This is because the storm rolled over us, went out to sea, then returned on the sea breeze during the day. And there is another dust storm on the way for Sunday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

OK, after actually BUYING the Townsville Bulletin, hours of imbibing red wine and lots of pencil work, here are the cycling results of people I know from the Corporate Tri:

Ladies Corporate

winning team!: Jenny Zumaran (swim), Karina Cullen (cycle) 26:28

Ranetta Eastmant (cycle) 30:06

Kim Malpas (cycle) 31:34

Male Corporate

winning team!: Alan Jefferson (cycle): 23:05

Peter Murphy (cycle): 25:41

Steve Dent (cycle): 24.40

Bradley Roots (cycle):25:25

Mark Renault (cycle): 23:55

Jim Flaherty (cycle): 26:17

Mixed Corporate

Mark O’Callaghan (cycle): 24:34

Stuart Kininmonth (cycle): 26:43

Tim Kesteven (swim): 10.01

Pam Jenen (cycle): 29:37

John McEvoy-Bowe(cycle):26:33

Byron Tucker (cycle): 24:05

Non_corporate female

Haley Grant (cycle): 24:44

Viv Evans (cycle): 27:34

Coral Grant (swim): 10:17

Sharen Adams (cycle): 28:00

Lyn Withey (run) 24:16

Non-Corporate Male

Tony Lewis (cycle) : 23:47

Jimmy Furnell (cycle):25:30

Darren Spina (cycle): 25:52

see you all at coffee on Saturday!!

spring and bushfires

Not quite as arresting as last evening, when the Pinnacles looked like Mordor under a brooding sky . I do wish they would make an effort to put fires out, but they don't, it will be left to burn and the poor critters will have little to eat, and the wet season is a long way off. At least it is very slow moving.
Some bright light also set fire to the riparian vegetation along the riverway too, so I ate ash on the way home. Come on rains...

Monday, September 21, 2009

this sporting nation

I am not much of an athlete, more of an athletic supporter (thanks to Stave Martin for the turn of phrase), but we have stories to tell as well.

Saturday saw BoaB and me on the Strand at 1pm to help with a high level race called the Nick Gates Classic. Google it and I am sure all will be explained. Anyway, there was a desperate call for volunteers and there we were, ready to stand on a corner or direct crowds or whatever, this is what races rely on. When we arrived the organizer told me, keep an eye on the parked cars. They were still clearing the street and needed to put a witches hat in each space as it was vacated so that cars were moved on. “No worries” says I .

So we are all standing around chatting and I see a car backing out. I grab a witches hat and put it in the space as they leave and return to the shady verge to continue the conversation. Imagine my surprise when a blond female of the glossy persuasion swoops into the space and flattens my witches hat! I am not a shy or retiring person, and I have a daily cycle commuters inherent dislike of delicate females in big 4X4s, so I approached the woman to instruct her regarding the error of her ways.

Well, Nick Gates his good self swoops upon me to chastise me that this person is his Wife. He than continues to berate me that the organization of his race is not up to scratch and that I am NOT DOING ANYTHING USEFUL. I explained that I didn’t care if this woman was Queen Mary, she has just crushed my witches hat, and anyway, I WAS a kind volunteer come to help out, but that the mood had left me and I was going home to do something useful with my weekend. Git.

So I missed the race but it was a fiction anyway with the local talent yielding to the big name. Blah.

On the bright side the 2009 Qld State Time Trial Champs (masters) were held “down South” in the generic south east corner of the State. I am thrilled to report that thanks to the jamin files we have seen some great results and pictures of the race. Sue Able, Tony Zanchetta and Les Preston from Townville all medaled in the event. Sue called today and let us know that Groover came over to introduce herself and wish them well, and that is just lovely. They all trained so hard and to see two golds and a silver come home is awesome. Well done!

Sunday was the TP Human Capital Corporate Triathlon on the Strand, and I swear Boab and me were about the only people we know not on a team (there were over 1000 in the event). So we went to cheer everyone on and it was just excellent. All our mates finished well and it was a fun day for all. I’ll be staying around next year to organize a big team from the Uni!

Oh, and I spent many happy hours vacuuming and sweeping my house and gardens. Like a strange archeological dig with no results. My knees and calves are killing me from duckwalking for ages as I cleaned up paint bits. About the only time it doesn’t hurt is when I am cycling!!

Friday, September 18, 2009


The painting is progressing really well, after endless days of scraping, grinding, sanding, Boab is finally getting the reward of actually getting some paint on and seeing it look good. We don't plan on selling the house for some time (Rusty is travelling well for an old dog), but it looks like we'll be painting til the first open house, even if that is a year from now. Trims and doors and sills and.....

And the dust. I thought I put in a good weekend of cleaning last week, I ain't seen nothin' yet. Everything, and I mean every last thing in and around the house is covered in dust. My plants, this computer, the floors, the baseboards...

Ah well, the worst has passed and all will be quiet next week as the painter returns (with a sigh of relief I suspect) to his ordinary day job.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Modern miracles

My mother skyped me today while I was at work. I was flailing away writing a paper I have to deliver in Adelaide in a couple of weeks, and up popped the little message to say she was online. Next thing I know the ‘phone’ is ringing and my headphones and microphone are on the shelf, so I scramble to plug in and hit the button. And there she is. 80 years old and with the video on, nice smooth connection, clear sound. I was just chuffed (that is Australian for really pleased indeed) to see and talk to her.

Groover can probably appreciate more than most what it means to connect so easily with loved ones so far away. It just means the world to me. Thanks Mom for being such a switched on geek.

I would also like to thank my Mother for being such an extraordinary role model. In the days when women were home makers she was working beside my Dad to fashion a fast food empire. And thanks for taking me to conferences when I was small. To this day I feel at home in a conference venue, and I present with great confidence because of this grounding. Thanks for not having an opinion about Cartography (and who could have blamed you if you did). Thanks for being so beautiful, all my friends were jealous.

My Mom reads my blog, so here’s to you. I am just so pleased to be your daughter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

the gift

The Bluenoser was nice enough to write about a wee token of my esteem I gave him when we rode the Loop. It was just a delight to give a gift to a mate you see very rarely, but who you share a common bond with. BoaB figures it is great to know another oil rig worker who is still in good nick. A link to our past life. And that is what makes the gift he gave me so special:
A new addition to my wee family of pet rocks from Nova Scotia. You can see that I have a weakness for granite and round. Bluenoser's is the little black and white beauty on the right. I would have loved to have taken a nice big one from his front porch, but I had to be sensible, what with baggage weight and all, and take a little cutie. I was moved that someone else sees a worn granite cobble on the beach and covets it. I always have.

So thanks mate! I have it in the shade so it can settle in to a tropical life. I bet they are trading stories in that dish. "what's your fathers name?..."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

thoughts while cycling

I have cycled a lot this week. I did indeed break the 400km barrier. And I have had some welcome time for reflection. I don't know what motivates some people to get up at 4:30 to cycle 4 hours before they go to the office. I can tell you what motivates me. I need to move. With the effort and repetition of cycling I can enter a zone of awareness that clarifies all the big issues in my work. I write text, sort out difficult analysis of data, sort my day ahead. And I veg – I listen to music and just make a big physical effort. Me time.

So this is the plan. I will do a training run a few days a week with BoaB, because this pushes my boundaries. I will concentrate on holding a wheel, because this is very hard for me, but there is no point in getting my license to race if I can’t master this. I will do hill work and deal with my pathological fear of climbing. I will climb on my bike every day and go with the flow. My body, my muscles, they know what to do, and I will listen.

I promise to take off one day every week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

go big

I know I shouldn't have done it, but I have ridden long and hard all week. The legs are holding up reasonably well, I have managed to get my work done even though I was in a complete stupor, and I nearly made it. Today I was just so exhausted I had to come home early and collapse in a heap for a profound nap.

So I will end with my best weekly total on Sunday of all time (nudging past 400kms). This of course will serve to make me feel guilty and inadequate every week from now on. But it was fun, and I really enjoyed it, but I don't think I can keep it up unless we get nap facilities at work.

I think I have lost a tiny bit of the German cuisine from around my middle, but there seems to be more to go.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

fun run

The team time trial was great fun. The morning was lovely and still, we had a cheeky red winged parrot to amuse us as he enjoyed some seeds from the top of the fence in front of the car. I have never gotten such a good look at one of these birds in the wild before, it made my day.
As usual I didn't have my camera so here is a reasonable fascimilie

Then we did a warm up training session. I had never done a proper rotational ride, so a few kms of practice and we were ready to start. 20km 'there and back', finishing in a group. We did 36 minutes, which is pretty slow since I am out of condition from travelling and a friend hasn't been training at all. But we had a blast and will celebrate at the BBQ to mark the end of the race season this evening.

Now I have to get in shape for next year! Can't wait to start training tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2009

on yer bike

Too much too soon. I couldn't resist a big ride before work this morning, and my legs have been killing me all day. For the first time compression tights don't ease the ache and I am nervous. Team time trial on Sunday, I'll have to go softly tomorrow to allow recovery. What a drag!

In the good news department, jetlag has seen me wide awake every day at 4am. I have to get up and get something to eat because I am starving. Then I may as well ride. So for the first time I am riding on a proper breakfast, and I can get 50 ks in before work, with the home journey a bonus. Hopefully this will not be a passing phase, but will turn into a good habit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

safe and sound

And back on my bike, not this bike. I want one like this someday, but not enough to pay someone like Electra way too much. It is surprisingly good on cobbles. I'd wear my helmet though. I hadn't planned on riding in Dresden and left the iconic yellow lid in Frankfurt. I had to wear a hat so I didn't feel totally naked. I crashed at the transition between cobbles and granite curbing as a bus bore down on me on a narrow road, so I am totally over any enjoyment of the 'freedom' of cycling without a helmet. I managed to jump up unscathed and get out of the bus drivers way.

Did a little coffee run this morning to test out the legs. My ankles were really swollen yesterday (what? after only 21 hours in an airplane?) but things are better today. the ol' pins felt like sandbags for the first few kms, but pretty good by the time we got home. I wanted to do a dam run but Scott wanted to get stuck into the painting.

Tomorrow I'll try to join the training group, if I can't hang on I know the coffee will be ordered by the time I get to the cafe. And then I suppose I'd better get stuck into some painting too...