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Bowen’ out

Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman/Urban are about to bow out of Bowen. They’ve been there filming Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia.” Bowen shares an interesting relationship with Townsville. They decided to throw their lot in with the Mackay area rather than the Townsville area and they’re a rival city competing for the Chalco refinery. I don’t like Bowen. Their Mayor Mean Mike is a walking quote machine that the media loves. The truth is – Bowen was a natural selection for the filming of this period drama – it was the only town in Australia that had to be modernised to take part in filming. The locals are all really excited that they now have somewhere to tie their horses when they go to the pub. They’ve begged the film crew not to take down the set when they leave because they’re scared when they go electricity and running water will leave with them. Really this post was a three joke affair – I liked the title, and I’ve been wanting to write something like this as a letter to the editor in the Townsville Bulletin. I’m pretty sure my blog led to a local journo being tipped off on the “new logo” compass thing that I posted a while back (I took it down so as not to incriminate myself further). That was an interesting situation and one where I’ve had to rethink what I post here.

A filling meal

I am a hypodontiac – that is to say I have less than the usual number of teeth. This is a congenital defect. That’s right – along with a lack of ankles (or the presence of cankles) and my colour blindness – I am missing some adult teeth. I’m a freak. I’m also a genius and very good looking – not to mention incredibly humble…that counts in my favour. Why am I mentioning this? Well, until recently I had a very loose filling in one of my remaining “baby” teeth – so loose that I could remove it and play with it with my tongue. So loose in fact that when I was enjoying “Parma Tuesday” ($10 chicken parmas at the Riverside Tavern) last night I noticed that my filling had disappeared. I ate it. It’s gone. There’s no way I’m fishing it out and putting it back in my mouth when it reappears – so now I have a gaping gap in my mouth. And the prospect of a pretty serious dental bill in the near future.

Percy the purple excel is adding to this financial misery with regular outpourings of smoke possibly related to the excess oil I poured into it recently – methinks my potential tax return this year will be poured into the repair of the aforementioned vehicle.

In other news – my favourite wrestler just killed himself, his wife, and their seven year old son – I’m not entirely sure how to take this news. By all accounts he was a really decent human right up to that point. I’ve had his entrance music rattling around in my head since I heard the news yesterday. I’m told that the Transformers theme song is the best way to get other tunes out of your head – and with the much hyped release of the Transformers movie happening this week it shouldn’t be too long before I’m humming it in my cubicle at work. I just sneezed so hard my back hurts. The other day I sneezed a record 24 times consecutively. I can’t remember if I blogged about that or not – but I now know without undergoing any rigorous online psychological assessment that the character from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves I most closely resemble is Sneezy.

Robyn is embarking on a trip south today to sort out important wedding stuff like flowers, dresses and other inherently important aesthetic decisions. In the mean time we’re moving her out of her current house and into a state of estate flux – the rental market in Townsville is really tight at the moment. Hopefully something will be sorted out by the time she gets back on Monday

Cutting a long story short*

At the start of my Townsville adventure last year I went garage sailing with Craig and Tim (it was a very windy day…). One of the bargains I picked up (and it was a bargain – I talked them down to half price) was a very economically sound set of hair clippers. The $2.50 outlay has saved me about $140 – assuming I would otherwise have been subjected to a $10 hair cut on a monthly basis.

This weekend Robyn’s sister and her husband made the trek (well they flew) to Townsville for some fun and adventure – it turned out to be a weekend full of food and cold weather induced activities (the coldity is demonstrated by the assorted hoodies).

We consumed, in chronological order, coffee at Squires (served in cups the size of soup bowls), dinner at whiteblue (Greek), breakfast/brunch/lunch at the Heritage Tea Rooms, dinner from Masala (curries) and JJ’s seafood (fresh prawns), breakfast at Betty Blue and the Lemon Tart (our favourite breakfast cafe), lunch at Willows Presy – pumpkin soup courtesy of Tori Walker, dinner from JJ’s seafood (fish and chips) and the pizza place at Riverside (pizza and ribs) – that’s quality food from many continents all available right here in Townsville.

Anyway, on Saturday morning before our jaunt to the tea rooms I decided I didn’t like my hair. Specifically I didn’t like the bits that stuck out the side of my head. As seen here…

So I decided to cut them off – with disastrous results… As seen here…

Needless to say – this decision was less than popular with Robyn. She confiscated my clippers – after fixing it (almost) with the obligatory complete shave treatment (there’s no redeeming the #0 on the sideburns I’m afraid). I have since stolen them back. Cutting your own hair is cathartic. I recommend it for the feeling of complete liberation and daring – it’s like feeling the wind in your hair. Only a really strong wind that removes the hair from your head with sometimes personally catastrophic consequences.

We spent last night playing Wii – and there’s this video of Robyn and Justina playing the boxing game that I really want to post – I’ll let you know if I get permission…

* Other titles considered and rejected include: Hair: the musical (uncut) – I may have tried writing that one in verse form…, A hairrowing(sic) story, Bad hair day, a cut above the rest… they’re all bad.


Journalism 201 (ie not the basic stuff but the things you should know) says you should always employ puns and hackneyed writing tools to tell your story to the dumb masses – see TT and ACA’s ability to segue by pun/cliche between any two stories (as highlighted by the Chaser).

I am appalled at newswire AAP’s treatment of the news that the Australian Navy will buy its new ships from Spain. They failed to use the words Armada or Galleon anywhere in a fairly long feature on the new ships.

As the master of hackneyed reportage Derryn Hinch would say: Shame, Shame, Shame…

Oh crappy day

Townsville’s streets are being overtaken by nefarious ne’er do wells who make life unpleasant for the common citizen. That’s a bit dramatic – but you’d be equally disgusted if you’d spent the morning cleaning human excrement of your fiance’s car. That’s right. Some scum of the earth, low life, intellectually impaired, inebriated (one can only assume) excuse for a human decided it would be entirely appropriate to rub their faeces all over a car parked innocently by the side of the road in one of Townsville’s more desirable housing estates. Why? Well, that’s anybody’s guess. People are stupid. People this stupid should be shot.

On an unrelated note, with 96 days to go I’ve decided to start diarising/documenting the wedding planning process for your enjoyment – or to highlight ours…

Invitation lists are a nightmare – how can you fit a lifetime’s worth of friends into one small group, in one small setting? Where do you draw the line? These questions are made all the more difficult when you throw family dynamics and differing philosophies into the mix. How important is it to be invited to a wedding? I’m always slightly offended if I don’t get that coveted invite to the best party in town – it’s stupid. I’d just like to invite everyone I know – but reality is starting to set in. Finding a venue for the ceremony and reception was a process in itself.

So far these are the decisions we’ve made regarding our wedding:
1. We’re marrying each other
2. My dad will conduct the ceremony
3. We’re getting married “on the farm” in Dalby (well technically just outside of Dalby).
4. Our bridal party will consist of 4 people – Robyn’s 2 sisters and two of my friends. I had been keen to produce my side of the bridal party by lotto – I figure any of the guys on the list are good enough to be my lackeys for the day… but that was voted down. Instead I went with “representatives” – my longest friendship and longest serving housemate will represent all my former housemates and all of my friends.

5. Robyn has made arrangements to have her dress made. She’s seeing the dressmaker today.
6. We had a look at some wedding ring options.
7. Our reception will be for somewhere between 50 and 130 people. This is where we’re currently up to. Fun, fun, fun…

Today’s topic though is the fun part – gifts. Obviously the more people you invite to a wedding the more bounty you come away with at the end. An abundance of toasters, cheese platters and photo frames awaits the disorganised couple. Gift registries were born out of the desire not to have to sort through the piles of toasters to find gems. They’re practical. But they suck. I hate them. I’ve never bought anyone anything of a registry. I now give my Christian friends subscriptions to the Briefing and haven’t really figured out a substitute for non Christians.

Wishing Wells are even worse – they’re essentially an even more practical step than the registry – don’t give us gifts, just give us the cash. It’s impersonal to the extreme but also extremely practical which has some benefits. The pressure to come up with a witty or insightful poem or verse on why someone should give you money is also too much of a cross to bear in the lead up to impending nuptials.

In response to my aversion to both registries and wishing wells I’ve come up with what I believe is the ultimate response – the anti-registry. We’re going to list all the things we already own and people can fill in the gaps. I’ve made the initial web page using google’s page creator – it’s that easy. Now it’s a matter of getting the idea by mums and dads.

100 days…

Yesterday was the 100 day mark in the countdown to my wedding. That’s 2400 hours, 144,000 minutes, or 8,640,000 seconds – not that anyone’s counting… well Robyn’s school children are, they have a counter on their blackboard. That’s a milestone by anyone’s reckoning. It’s not every day that there’s a century of days until something – in fact by time’s very nature every day marks a period closer, or further away from something. I’ve never been big on celebrating milestones like this. But my beautiful fiance and I celebrated in style. We went to a financial planning seminar full of useful information on how to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle in retirement. The seminar was in an opulent office space filled with free coffees (cappuccinos – but I did spy International Roast in the kitchen which I assume must be for staff on regular days), light snacks and dinner. In fact everything is free right up until you actually invest your money with them. Free advice, free consultation, free budgeting and then almost free wealth. I have a number of problems with the overt greed peddled at this seminar. I don’t necessarily philosophically agree with the concept of retirement let alone the concept of a luxurious retirement as opposed to “comfortable.”

The finance people did raise some issues associated with our aging population – which is all the baby boomer’s fault. I have this new theory that involves putting the baby boomers out to pasture when they hit 65 – not retirement but “retirement” – that way they wouldn’t be freezing up assets like property, jobs etc – or being a burden on infrastructure and services. Seriously though – there were a few cool government websites they brought up during the presentation including this one (a population tracker), and this one (a cool pyramid thing where you can watch Australia’s population break down since 1971 (and see why we’re getting top heavy with old people). So I use this to refute Ben’s stance on childcare – if we can’t provide affordable childcare to entice people into the workforce and generate tax dollars – these pensions will bankrupt us. That sounds like irrefutable economic evidence to me… I’m sure I’ll get an email shortly.

Barrel (rolls) of fun

I managed to score myself a free spin on Fly Scenic Townsville’s DH82 Tiger Moth. It was the most exhilirating thing I’ve ever done, and the coolest work perk I’ve scored in my time at Townsville Enterprise. We took off at about 9am this morning from Townsville Airport – amidst chaos and confusion caused by the military excercise Operation Talisman Sabre (a joint exercise with the US military). My pilot – Rowan told me that he was going to take me to 5,000 and give me a good bash. He didn’t disappoint. After circling Magnetic Island we rose to the “acrobatic” altitude and he put the 70 year old plane through its paces – a complete “loop the loop”, a banking turn and a barrel roll – and then a combo of the three in quick succession. I’ve included a link to the photo album from the trip at the bottom of this post.

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Tiger Moth Flight

In the slammer

Paris Hilton is back where she belongs. In prison. After a brief reprieve the judge re-threw the book at her, and she’s back behind bars.

Not before undergoing a spiritual awakening and promising to use her powers for good. My favourite Paris Hilton quote from the various news reports on her incarceration is this one – when asked why she had been switched to “house arrest” prior to her eventual re-internment.

“I was not eating or sleeping. I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage. I was not myself. It was a horrible experience.”

Yes Paris, it’s called prison. It’s a big cage. It’s where you get sent for doing bad things. Who’d have thunk it… I’m starting to think that her advisers really do have a case to answer for. “Yes Paris you can drive while disqualified, you’re beautiful.”… “Don’t worry Paris, it’s just prison, it’ll be like totally a breeze…”

Nathan and the Europeans’ Excellent Adventure

Robyn gave me a stupid challenge to use the words ebullient and stupid in this post and adventure in the title… I win. That was pretty easy.

I’ve never been one to shy away from referring to myself in the third person. I think, despite how the SMH’s resident idiot left wing sports commentator Peter FitzSimons (living proof that Rugby players can be as apelike as their league counterparts) derides it on a weekly basis.

I’m sure you all want to hear about my exciting adventures with my party of five intrepid travellers. The group included my flamboyant Tourism Australia co-host Kristian, and journalists from Australia, Denmark, France and the United States.

For some random pictures from the trip go here…

Island Tour

Magnetic Island was good fun, I love driving the mini mokes they feel as indestructible as a tank and the handling is probably just as good. We ate like kings and queens at some spectacular restaurants on the island (Le Paradis, Barefoot: Art, Food, Wine). Had a modern Australian breakfast at Bungalow Bay – including fresh honeycomb. I love it. I’m wondering if dipping a candle in honey would artificially create the flavour.

Our sunset sailing tour turned into a debacle when a couple of our journos turned a literally sickly shade of green. I had to skipper the ship while the owners tied down the sails so that we could chug back into port on our own steam while our journos were steaming as they chucked all the way back into port.

On the way up the Great Green Way (the section of the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns) we stopped at Frosty Mango for thickshakes and ice cream, the Hotel Noorla for High Tea and Port Hinchinbrook for lunch. They now have the biggest restaurant north of Brisbane. Kristian drove our sea sickness sufferers up the coast to catch the ferry to Dunk Island while I took the more adventurous half of the group on a game fishing boat ride to the Dunk via Hinchinbrook Island.

Dunk was incredible – although it rained the whole time we were there. I had a massage, rode a jetski, ate steak and drank cocktails – all in the name of work. I can’t stress how much pleasure I take from being able to take a long bath while technically “at work.”

Here are the vital statistics from the trip:
Animal species consumed: 9 (cow, sheep, pig, chicken, crab, prawn, fish, squid (calamari), green ant (in tea))
Steaks eaten: 5
Beers consumed: 11
Dollar value of 4 night’s accommodation: $1600
Experience: priceless…