I'm not even going to pretend that this blog will go back to being regular. For the time being I'm going to revel in being wildly unpredictable!
First up, I've got a new job. I'm finishing in my current position on Thursday and after a few short days I start something new on the 24th of May. I'm heading to the Australian National University in a Human Resources position. It sounds like a good challenge and I'm very excited to be going there. Choosing to leave "Soldier On" has been difficult. I aim to be what they call an 'active volunteer' when I'm needed. I won't lie to you, working for a charity is very challenging. I am well and truly sick of people demanding that we do everything for nothing. Working to assist veterans, first responders and their families has been massively rewarding in many ways and I'm glad I did it. For Canberra based people, there's a rather fine coffee shop about 100 metres from my new office so after I've settled in please come and visit!
Cycling. Where do I begin? Last time I blogged I was recovering from a crash. I was seriously worried that I wouldn't be able to ride in the Pollie Pedal. Luckily, my body and the physio worked in tandem to get me right just in time. We rode just over 1000km in 8 days and it was an amazing experience. I made what I imagine will be lifelong friendships with the other seven Veterans who we took with us. We pushed other riders up miles and miles of huge hills. We saw wild brumbies between Talbingo and Cooma. And we all had days when we wanted to get off the bike and get in the van....but we didn't. What we didn't really expect was how busy we'd be. With the number of riders up to 50 each day we were all talking non-stop about Soldier On as well as riding, attending public events, speaking at dinners and with the media. The only time we really had to ourselves was when we were asleep or when we managed to sneak some time alone climbing a hill on the bike! The biggest day was 160km but the hills from Talbingo to Cooma made for the most challenging time. The Southern Highlands, when we got there, were amazing. I can, however, guarantee you that I have no desire to ever ride through central Sydney again. My fitness was just fine but I certainly lacked some top end speed and that's down to recovery time needed from the crash. It's almost returned now.
In music news, the band has been working hard on the two shows we have coming up (May 20th and June 3rd) at Vivaldis. These are the final two shows for this iconic venue as it is being demolished. Come along and see our show, "Burning Down The House". We're playing a selection of tunes from the many and varied shows that the band has done here in the past. So if you like Oils, Elton, Oz Rock, Beatles, Springsteen and simply having a good time then you shouldn't be disappointed. My fingers are so sore from all of the practice and I'm sure that the neighbours have heard one or two certain tracks far too often!
Tropical Cyclone Donna reached Category 5 but seems to have avoided major dramas on most of Vanuatu. Some of the very northern islands seem to have sustained significant damage but there isn't a lot of new from there yet. We haven't heard from our families on Pentecost yet; it looks like they got some strong winds and rain but nothing like TC Pam. Watching all of this play out with real time weather feeds was very difficult. I'd almost rather have been there to help out. My ni-Van sister, Nancy, did end up coming to Sydney a little while ago and Alison and I were able to take her to dinner and spend some time chatting. I was so pleased that Alison could meet her, it really made my day.
So, Angus bought a car. It was a bit of a shock for all of us, especially as he's off to Canada in November for 6 months (at least). It's a Subaru so I guess it's like father, like son for first cars. Now he just has to learn to operate the manual transmission! If anyone out there wants to buy a second car give me a yell as we've got one for sale.
I'm so proud of Zoe and not for the reasons you might think. Yeah, yeah, her studies are going well and she's all about injections, drugs, dead bodies and vital signs but it's not that. What made me so happy was a message from her complaining that it was raining so hard that she couldn't ride her bike....followed up by one a couple of days later that the big hill on the way to work (11% gradient) was hard work. Is it possible? Another cyclist in the family? Do I dare dream it! Ha ha!
Finally, a big shout out to DJ Beck who is cycling professionally in the USA at the moment. I'm so excited to see her doing well and winning races. The podium places go well with the world championships and recent medals. Beck told me that she had a whole lot of previous blog entries of mine saved up to read and she was finally getting through them. After being in a bit of a writing funk, she inspired me to get to the keyboard. Thanks Beck!
I guess you want some tunes. I know I do.
Jason Isbell has a new album coming soon and according to him it's quite energetic. Here's the first single....
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Hope The High Road - https://youtu.be/ci-6Au1Gnrs
Alice Cooper is coming to Australia but the $180 ticket price has put me off. Sorry Mr Furnier, I've seen you before and at this price I won't see you again it seems. America; you should've listened to him in this clip. Could a golf fanatic, born again shock rocker be any worse that his royal orangeness?
Alice Cooper - Elected (live) - https://youtu.be/YrJxyv41m1M
I recently discovered the most recent Def Leppard album and only because their old stuff isn't on Spotify (due to a long standing record company dispute). It's a really good listen if you like their style of heavy rock. I do.
Def Leppard - Let's Go - https://youtu.be/EB7BeKwoYAs
I'll admit that I do hang around record shops looking for a bargain. My Scottish Granny would be proud! A few weeks ago I picked up one of my favourite albums on vinyl for a song. It's one I've had on CD and probably cassette too but never on LP record. One of the best from Irish folk punks, The Pogues, "Rum, Sodomy and the lash". Produced by Elvis Costello!
The Pogues - Sally MacLennane (live) - https://youtu.be/sh5gtGk9XZ8
And for those of you who are criminally unfamiliar with Elvis Costello it really would be remiss of me not to play this for you...
Elvis Costello - Jimmie Standing In The Rain (detour) - https://youtu.be/UJbwM-F0Nk0
Oh dear, I wonder if anyone else remembers this one? It came up on my suggested songs on Spotify the other day. Tons of fun!
Nick Lowe - I Knew The Bride - https://youtu.be/Kn1CXbf2xF8
DJ Guzbox put me onto this next band. I've got a couple of their albums doing the loop on my playlist at the moment. Interesting. See what you think.
Snarky Puppy - What About Me? - https://youtu.be/fuhHU_BZXSk
And lastly in q whirlwind of tunes here's one from DJ ThinRollins. He suggested the latest tracks from prolific US guitarist, Buckethead. I didn't realise that he had released over 300 LPs. All whilst wearing a KFC bucket on his head and a white mask; I kid you not.
Buckethead - Glacier - https://youtu.be/oyatFpkDH6g
Righto, it's bedtime and that's enough. I'll try and be back in your inbox or blog feed sooner next time. Write back!