Saturday, April 28, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
We followed up that night by sitting up to watch Paris-Roubaix cycling. It was a pretty amazing performance by Tom Boonen to go out by himself with 55km to go. Personally I think he’s not been good for cycling with his party and drug taking antics, but, if he can keep his social life under control and ride like this it could be an exciting season.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I remember vividly as a kid being shown pictures of what happened when tattoos had to be removed - back in those days it was belt sanders and skin grafts pretty much. Not nice.
I was tattooed in 2011 - it's the Ironman logo and it's on my ankle for all to see. I'm damned proud of being an Ironman and getting the ink done for me was part of the whole experience. It hurt a lot more than I really care to remember - certainly more than the 13.5 hrs that the race took me.
I was looking through my Ironman photos and there are a couple that really got me thinking. Before I raced I got out the permanent marker and wrote in big black letters on both forearms. On one side I wrote "AZA" for Alison, Zoë and Angus. They weren't with me in Western Australia for the race but their love and support had got me that far and I had a feeling I'd need it that day as well. On the other side I wrote "GJI". Those are the initials of one of my best friends who had died in January 2010. In December it was still a raw wound and in 2012 it still is. I felt that I wanted Glenn with me as well - we'd talked about this race a fair bit. The Ironman and the achievement of finishing is history now but the pictures resonated today.
I have a couple of friends who are very ill at the moment. For both of them the prognosis isn't fantastic. One is stuck in a hospital where he has to be in a sterile environment, the other is fortunate enough to be able to be at home with his family.
The problem is that as a friend there's nothing much I can do to help these guys and I feel useless. Sure, I can talk to them, email them and channel every positive vibe I can muster their way but it just doesn't seem enough.
I could wallow in self-pity but that isn't helping anyone - and it's them that are sick rather than me. I'm healthy, my family loves me and I have a good job. So, what to do?
Well, there are a couple of things that define who I am. I'm a husband, not always a great one but I think a lot better than I was a few years ago. I'm a father as well. Again, I'm not perfect but there isn't a moment that I don't love my kids and want the best for them. I'm a son as well and I've done some pretty bad stuff to both my parents. Luckily these are things that we've worked through. And I'm a brother and an uncle. Probably not as close as I'd like to be but the tyranny of distance is a killer. There are two other things that I think also define me as a person - music and sport. The balance isn't always right between these and the previous things I mentioned but they feature greatly in my life.
When Glenn died I tried to put how I felt to music. But I'd get ideas down and then find them to be too close to other songs or just really naff. In the past I've written what I consider to be some good songs but almost two years after his death it's something I can't get to click.
My chosen sports are triathlon and mountain biking. I like the feeling of being fit and healthy and the social aspect as well. I'm not blessed with any particularly amazing natural ability and I have to work hard to be at all competitive. But the journey is what's important to me. It's mental as well as physical.
I've got my last race of the season this Sunday. It's the Canberra Half-Marathon (21km run). I'll be racing with more permanent marker initials drawn on my arms. It isn't much but for me it's a tribute to those that I am thinking of. I'm not running for them, I'm running for me - but I do want them along for the journey in one way or another.
Tattoos tell stories for most people that have them - mine certainly does. I'm not at all interested in going back for more ink at the moment but if a few words in black marker on my arm help me deal with pain, anguish and a feeling of helplessness then that'll work for me.
Thanks for reading this,
Friday, April 6, 2012
Lita who I hear you say. Check this out all you closet metal fans.
One of my favourite bands is in Canberra this weekend. Of course I'll be in Melbourne! Such is life. I was introduced to Battlefield Band in 1988 and I've been listening to them ever since. They have an ever changing lineup but the tunes are always fantastic. This is a personal favourite of mine. If you only listened to one song this week then choose this – and wait for the bagpipes to kick in as it's a real treat.
Angus' passion is rugby – that's not news! In the last few weeks he's played in a couple of tournaments as well as two practice matches. And on Wednesday he spent the whole day refereeing at a primary schools carnival. That's not a bad effort when the season hasn't started yet. The primary school carnival is named after one of Australia's best ever players, Matt Giteau. Angus has a signed life size poster of Matt on his wall. When I mentioned on Twitter that Angus had reffed all day Matt Giteau sent him a note of thanks – that gave Angus a massive smile I can tell you.
DJ H has been trying to see if he can guess any of the tunes I might play each week. I don't try to be deliberately obtuse but there's usually no rhyme or reason to the selection other than they pop into my head during the week. I reckon he might have suspected that this next one might get an airing though!!
This week I was introduced to the band Sabaton by MC McG. They are a Swedish band who sing mostly about war from a historical perspective. Makes a change from dragons, wenches, beer and fast cars I guess. They are very much in the melodic power metal genre which is OK in limited doses. They sing in English and I've been playing their latest album all week at work – not bad at all. You can see for yourself. It's an expensive looking music video too so I reckon their record company has faith in them to continue to do well.
I'm going to finish up with a song for my young niece Meg this week. She fell through a glass door recently (apparently the result of being in a bad mood). She's OK luckily but I reckon it would've been pretty scary for all involved. Get well soon Meg.
Peace, love, understanding and a Collingwood win,