Friday, December 31, 2010

Song of the Week #123

Happy New Year folks. Thanks for taking the time to read some of my random ramblings throughout 2010.

I had a big episode planned but being on holiday got the better of me.

Here's a few tunes I wanted to play. There's no real rhyme or reason and I'm happy to admit that it is a fairly eclectic selection. But that's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it!

First up we've got Fini Scad. An Australian band that didn't last a long time. I saw them support Midnight Oil at an excruciatingly hot and humid indoor show in Brisbane. This was their hit. Pretty cool indy rock.

Doug Fieger just died. Who? Well he's singing this next classic. RIP Doug.

Every now and then obscure songs trigger memories from my childhood. Mostly tunes I would've heard on AM radio in NZ or Australia. This next one reminds me of when I was about 11. An excellent voice and a cool tune.

And here's one of the coolest guitarists around with a classic. His version on the La Bamba soundtrack is magic. This is a live cut.

And I have no idea why I sought out this song. Maybe it's the great vocals, the fact that it is an awesome pop song, or perhaps I'm not sure that Barry Gibb isn't closely related to the Hoff.

Just quickly, here's something new. Surprisingly, this is out of East London, not the Deep South. Pretty neat really. Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards channel Tom Waits, Muddy Waters and maybe Alabama3.

Just before I sign off for 2010, here's a great fun tune. We played this a LOT in one band I was in. An Aussie classic now I guess (not because of us!)

STOP PRESS: Bobby Farrell from Boney M has died. Only 62 years old and he was still performing. This is essential listening:

I was going to make some grandiose statement about 2010 but I'm out of time. For me personally it was very much the year of Ironman. A selfish pursuit that I was fortunate enough to be able to indulge in with the support of family, friends and colleagues.

I said a final goodbye to a number of friends in 2010 and I'm hoping that 2011 won't be at all like that.

But I'll leave it to Johnny Cash to close out the year for me. Whether you believe in God or not this song has something to say.

See you all next year.

DJ Rob

Friday, December 24, 2010

Song of the Week #122 - Xmas!

Ho, ho, ho! It must be Xmas Eve. I can deduce this because there is a tree up in the lounge room with presents under it and also because my family is subjecting me to Carols by Candlelight on the TV! There must be some good Xmas songs out there but so far Anthony Calea and The McClymonts have murdered a couple. It will be SO much better when Humphrey B. Bear arrives...because he doesn't speak! Ha ha!

Frankly, it would be so much better if the whole thing was like this...

And, Bruce knows all about the man with the reindeer and the sleigh...

Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - make sure you hang on for the sax solo, well worth it!

So, don't be a Scrooge or a Grinch on December 25th. Sing some songs, give someone a present and think about all the people in the world who don't live in the fairly groovy circumstances that most readers of this blog find themselves in. Maybe this song will help. It's a cover of a song written by one of my favourite singers, Steve Earle. This version is by folk music legend, Joan Baez.

Joan Baez - Christmas in Washington - I chose this version because it is pretty neat but also because you've all had way too much of me playing Steve for a while!!

Here's a very special Xmas cover version. Bragg and Florence do justice to The Pogues.

Billy and Florence - Fairytale of New York - how cool is the harp? Dunno about Billy's hat however.

So there you have it, a quick Song of the Week Xmas special. Tune in next week for the year in review done in a way the commercial networks wouldn't dare do!

But here's a tune to finish off with. One of the best rock singers ever turns his hand to Xmas.

Rock on.

Ho, ho, ho,

DJ Rob

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Browser wars

Argh! Sometimes it is all too hard. Internet Explorer is a pain, it is slow and clunky. But it comes with Windoze so I guess most people use it as a default. "Enlightened" folks may choose Mozilla Firefox and it isn't half bad, but lately it has been throwing up a lot of errors for me especially when accessing YouTube and even my Outlook Web Access.

We won't talk about Safari, it is better than it was but still lacking. It seems OK on my iPod though.

So, I thought I'd try Google Chrome which, in general, works a treat. Fast, easy, unobtrusive - all the things a browser should be.

But then my bro suggested SWR Iron. Iron is Google Chrome with none of the tracking built in! It is super fast and stable and I can't fault it. I'd recommend anyone give it a go. The download is small and free. I'll stick with it for a while.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Song of the week #121

If you haven't done your Xmas shopping or given Santa your list then you need to get a move on! After a series of "interesting" events, we'll be having Xmas Day at home here in Canberra by ourselves. Not to worry, we have plenty of exciting things planned for a little later on! And of course it means that Santa can find us easily.

Angus finished primary school today. I reckon he's pretty pleased with himself. He'd really had enough with about 5 weeks to go but we did a deal for him to keep trying his best and I'm pretty proud that he made a good fist of it. His graduation ceremony reminded me that I really don't need to hear Green Day's "Time of your life" ever again.

Alison and I have been watching the TV series "Heroes" on DVD. I was pretty sceptical at first but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Well written and acted and full of cool cameos and references for sci-fi and superhero fans. We're into Season 3 so I guess you could say we're hooked!

Today I had my first run since Ironman. A gentle 8km (5 miles). And I really enjoyed it. The weather now is glorious and I enjoyed jogging along listening to some tunes and watching out for snakes!!

This is a song that came around with the iPod on shuffle...great one from American rockers Monster Magnet. I'm sure they stole the keyboard line from a scary movie soundtrack!

Monster Magnet - See You In Hell

I've been doing some cycling and I've been back in the pool as well. It has been great return to training and feel strong. I'm racing at the coast in February and I'll need to get some speed to go along with the endurance.

Clever Zoë picked up three awards at her school presentation evening. I'm very proud of her as well. She works so hard (too hard sometimes) and is very, very determined to do well.

Again I feel the need to bemoan the state of local music retailers. Way too many greatest hits compilations and "new releases" that are months old and overpriced. I'm really not a fan of greatest hits albums. I understand their place in the world but I like to listen to an album the way it was put together by the artist. After finding that Cheap Trick had done the theme song for "That 70's Show" for a couple of seasons I wanted to check them out. Looks like I'll have to look further afield or hit the iTunes store which I despise. I like the CD in my hand. I'll be in Sydney sometime in January though and I know a couple of awesome record stores there.

Here's Cheap Trick doing justice to a Beatles song. That's something not many bands can do. Do you think that Rik from "The Young Ones" modelled his look on guitarist Rick Nielsen? You be the judge.

Cheap Trick - Day Tripper(live)

From the world of 80s rock I found this little treasure. The original version of a Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again". The lyrics are slightly different to the version that is on the radio all the time but what makes this version much better in my opinion is the fact that there are real dynamics throughout the song whereas the re-recorded version is just a bit too "balls to the wall" for my liking.

Whitesnake - Here I Go Again

Speaking of balls to the wall, DJ Fatboy sent me this one recently. A real blast from the 80s metal past and probably only for the true believers out there. From Germany.....

Accept - Balls To The Wall

Here's a change of pace. I've always really liked the intro to this song. Funnily enough it is really good to play on guitar - sounds good chugging away on a heavily distorted open E string! That little rhythm was something I threw into a lot of songs when I was playing in bands. No-one ever picked it in any band but every now and then someone in the crowd would have a good laugh!

ABBA - Does Your Mother Know

A lot of bands are said to have that quintessentially Australian "sound". I guess if you're overseas then maybe it is Midnight Oil who would have that moniker and I'd understand that. For me, it is these guys.

VSPYVSPY - Clarity of Mind

I've thought more about last week's ramblings about the cost of higher education in the UK. While I can see that society cannot continue to fund every man and his dog to study advanced basket weaving, I am worried. How many awesome bands would we be without if artistic types didn't go to things like art school? I'm pretty sure Pink Floyd and The Who just to name a couple started in and around such institutions. It is important that different points of view and ways of thinking are developed in my opinion. Think for yourself.

And hey, congtratulations to my "little" brother on scoring a choice new job. I guess I won't see him on the TV anymore or pictured with the PM but I know he'll be pretty pleased to be able to spend more time at home. This song always reminds me of my brother. Perhaps only he will understand why!

Spice Girls - Wannabe

That's a funny story but it isn't mine to tell!!

And don't laugh, that song leads to this one...cracks me up but it is a cool tune. I tried to record it myself a few years back. And while I can sing better than the girl from the audience and better than Mel C did that night, it was best left alone. My Steve Earle effort was better. I think I'll stick to typing though until someone else volunteers to sing!

Bryan Adams - When You're Gone (live)

But wer're going to finish with something almost brand new this week. I heard this on the radio yesterday. Sometimes a song just clicks on the first listen and this is one of those cases. They are and out of Melbourne (but I detect some Kiwi influence!) and are channeling The Clash in the best possible way. Their first EP is on vinyl and I have ordered it already! Support local music and give this one a go, you won't be disappointed. They're on iTunes as well but I only found that out after ordering the vinyl. Who cares? Vinyl is king.

King Cannons - Take The Rock

Have a great weekend! Rock on!

DJ Rob

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Song of the Week #120

Welcome to the late edition. It's Saturday afternoon so I'm only a day late in getting this out. My humblest apologies if you've already gone into withdrawal!

I'm back home now in sunny Canberra! Of course if you've seen the news you'll know that the place has been pretty much underwater the whole time I was in Busselton. I like to think that I brought some good weather back!

Going back to work was a challenge. I was more tired out than I realised but I managed to keep my eyes open in public at least! School holidays have started for us and apart from a couple of jobs I don't plan to see my office until January sometime. Hooray!

I'm not going to go on about Ironman except to say that I did it. There is a full report on the blog so just scroll down!

But, out on the course there were a heap of people with boomboxes blaring or the locals playing music off their balconies. This was fantastic and a huge source of motivation as well as distraction from the pain. I think I'll play a few of those songs this week.

This one was playing just past the jetty maybe 4km into the run course. Great song from a few years ago with a great earthy vocal style and a solid beat.

Further on up the road there was a couple blasting a range of tunes out from their balcony. They were both really getting into some dancing too. Bear in mind that they were out there the whole time I was on the run....and it took me 5hrs 43mins! This track is a fave of mine and I was pretty stoked to hear it! Horns up.

The same house was responsible for playing this little gem...

Songs with a good beat were like gold out there for me!

I found out recently that The Chieftains had recorded an LP with slide guitar legend Ry Cooder. It took me a while to track it down to pass on to my Dad for his birthday. I'll have to check the album out myself. The tracks I've heard on YouTube are excellent. The Chieftains seem to have a knack of playing well with a large range of guests. Here's Ry Cooder by himself doing a classic:

If you want to hear more of Ry Cooder then check out the movie "Crossroads" with a soundtrack featuring him as well as Steve Vai. Cool film with some good sounds.

Angus has just come in from cricket with the stellar bowling figure of 2 wickets for 1 run from just 2 overs! Here's one for him...

On Monday night we're off to see Zoë pick up some awards at her school speech night. Clever clogs indeed! She puts the rest of us to shame in that department. And to make it better she really seems to enjoy school even though it can be a pretty serious business at times.

We're almost at the end of this week's installment now. I'm sure that as I return to the real world there will be more political and social outrage in the following weeks. Don't worry, I haven't gone soft. I was interested to hear on the radio last night an academic who was saying that university students in England will now have to pay pretty much the same in fees as we've been paying here in Australia since the late 80's. But what is interesting in England is that some degrees will attract more public funding that others - those deemed 'useful' will be interesting to see what happens. I bet the government in London wasn't expecting riots! I'll have to see if the same deal applies in Scotland.

Education is a right, but only to a point now I guess. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Fees, even those that can be deferred, are a deterrent for a lot of people considering tertiary study. And I'm sure that a society with people qualified and learned in a wide range of disciplines is better than a nation full of doctors, lawyers and accountants!

This isn't the best quality video but it fits nicely.

To finish off, this is the song that made me laugh the most last Sunday when I was out for a quick 42.2km run following a brisk swim and a roll around the countryside! There was a group of young guys and girls in deck chairs on their front lawn cheering us on. They had a microphone to call out our names and numbers and played an interesting range of tunes. This one even made me sing out loud, I should have saved my energy I guess but I just came out.

Have a great week. I know I will!

DJ Rob

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ironman Race Report (long)

For those of you not keen on reading the minute details I present the Craig Simonetto Tinman Memorial 3 Dot Point Summary:

• The Ironman race was hard
• The Ironman training was really, really hard.
• I finished in 13hrs 37mins.

For the rest of you, read on!

Sunday December 5th

3am – why was I awake? My alarm was set for 3.45am. Regardless I got up and went down for breakfast. It was dark but it wasn’t raining. A good start given that the day before had been wet and windy.

A bit later, Craig and AB surfaced and we all went through our own pre-race routines.

At 4.30am Roger took us down to the race site and we checked our bikes were still there then pumped up the tyres before getting into wetsuits ready for the swim. With 1201 people racing it was a bit busy down there!

The pros started at 5.30am and then we moved into the water for a 5.45am start.

The majority of the field was on the right hand side of the beach so I headed to the left in an attempt to guarantee myself some clear water at the start. It worked.
Thankfully the rifle that the police had arrived with earlier was for starting the race rather than picking off sharks in the water.

After the national anthem we were off!

3.8km swim: up one side of the Busselton Jetty, across the end and back down the other. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good. I got smacked up going around the buoys at half way and was again glad of my water polo experience. I’d felt a bit average on the way out to sea but it all came together heading back in. There was a bit of chop and swell which of course I am not used to. 1hr and 8mins later I was out of the water and running through the showers on the beach and through to transition. That was the easy bit of the day done.

Transition 1 Swim – Bike: An Ironman is a bit different to a regular triathlon. A lot of people (myself included) do a full clothing change for each leg. Rookie mistake number one was putting the towel in my run transition bag instead of the swim-bike one. Luckily there are volunteers to help you out and they helped me get my cycling shirt on! 10 minutes all up including putting sunscreen on and getting my bike. Not to mention listening to the guy beside me who had been terrified the whole way!

180km cycle: That’s a long way. 3x 60km laps of pretty much dead flat riding. There were aid stations every 15km which were magnificent. You could pick up water, Gatorade, flat cola, food, bananas, sunscreen etc. Not to mention the very popular portaloos! My first lap was excellent. There was very little wind and everything felt good. I was aiming to average around 30km/hr and when I got to the turnaround in under 2hrs I was ecstatic. Unfortunately the majority of my second lap was a debacle. The wind came up, my back got sore and if I tried to get onto my tri bars I felt queasy. The only thing to do was keep riding. I broke the lap down into the 15km sections between aid stations having to stop at each one for a stretch. Eventually I came good but the damage was done to my overall cycle time. The third lap was OK but I was pretty happy to ride back into Busselton to start running. That ride took me 6hrs 29mins; half an hour slower than I had aimed for. The good point was that I had been eating and drinking almost non-stop and felt pretty energetic as a result. I’d seen my Tridents team mates out there and they were all looking good. I was also really grateful to see our support crew a few times on the ride. I made sure I was smiling when I saw them!

Transition 2 – Bike to Run: This was another full clothing change but I decided to keep the white arm sun protectors on that I had worn on the bike. They kept my arms cool and given my fair complexion, it meant I wouldn’t need sunscreen at every aid station! 7mins 30s was how long I spent in the tent. Most of it was stretching my back out in preparation for the last little bit of the race.

42.2km Run: That’s right, just a quick marathon to finish up the day. The course was 4 laps along the beachfront. It was pretty picturesque and sheltered from the wind. But there was no shade at all. I started out walking the first few hundred metres, then shuffling, then jogging until I felt good enough to run. Having had a torn Achilles tendon during training I was paranoid about it. I really did NOT want to walk the whole way. It turned out pretty well. There was a huge crowd around the course and with all competitors having their name on their race number it was non-stop cheers and encouragement. There was such a party atmosphere on the run that it was hard not to smile and enjoy yourself. It also took my mind off the pain for a while at least! There were loads of people playing music which was cool as well. I saw most of the Tridents team on the run looking strong and all still ahead of me! And our support crew was there as well yelling, encouraging and taking photos. My first lap was great, I felt strong and was running pretty well. Even the second lap, whilst slower obviously, was pretty good. But lap 3 got tough. At about the 30km mark my body didn’t want to run anymore. I set myself small targets ahead to shuffle to and kept that up for a while. It wasn’t pretty but I was moving forward.

The end of each lap was parallel to the race finish. As I came into town for my last turnaround I was in a world of pain. But everyone says you have to look good in public so I made myself run the kilometre in and out of town before disappearing around a corner and having to walk for quite a while. In the end I walked most of the final lap but I knew it was almost over. The soles of my feet hurt like hell but apart from that I was just tired. Having been eating and drinking all through the run as well I wasn’t shocked that towards the end all I could stomach was water. I tried to shovel down some jelly beans and pretzels but it wasn’t a great idea in the end! At the 38km mark I made the decision that I would run the whole final kilometre. I upped my walking pace up until that point – I had to beat 14 hours.

Well the last kilometre was a dream. I ran the whole way. The finishers chute was a wall of sound that I imagine only professional sports people usually get to experience. I crossed the finish line feeling great in a time of 13hrs and 37min. Slower than I had wanted but still under the 14hr mark.

After you finish and get the medal and towel they take your official photo. AB was there to meet me at the end having finished 2hrs earlier. I was glad as he took me to the massage tent where I went through more pain than in the entire race. But it was worth it. Then a quick feed before collecting our gear and heading home.

I really don’t think I want to do another Ironman. The race day was good fun really and an awesome experience but you have to put in so much time to get to that point. Someone had written in chalk on the run course something like, “the miracle isn’t that you will finish Ironman, it is that you made it to the start”. And I agree.

There is no way that I could have done this without the support of Alison, Zoë and Angus. I’m sure I’ve put them through way too much since I started targeted Ironman training when the rest of the club were on a rest break back in April! My parents were pretty awesome as well, interested in different ways but very supportive of my goal.

My Coach, Ben Gathercole, is a master. He knows what to do and how to motivate his athletes. All I had to do to end up an Ironman was to do exactly what I was told. It was hard, tiring and at times infuriating but he is the man.

And the guys I trained with; Craig, AB, Seppo and Pete were magnificent. Although it is a solo race the bulk of training, especially those 6hr rides, are team efforts especially in terms of support and motivation. It was like being part of a brotherhood. Not to mention all the other Tridents who came out riding with us or were kind to us in the pool when we were struggling with major fatigue.

Being in the Tridents Triathlon Club has been fantastic. The number of messages we all received during training and while in Western Australia was astounding.

I’m going to single out a couple of people here who provided support and motivation above and beyond. First of all Steve. Steve has done 10 Ironman distance races. He and his family are having a tough time at the moment but he’s been with me in spirit through my sessions. His advice about looking good in the finishing chute was invaluable!

My Ironman family in WA; Roger, Margaret and Shelley. What a great support crew. You guys were amazing, kind and so supportive.

Then there’s Jo. Jo did her first Ironman early in the year. She came out on long rides with us, baked us muffins for the end of long Saturday swims and provided a constant torrent of supportive emails and text messages. That was awesome.

Al, who loaned me his tri bars and bike bag - thanks mate!

And Retlaw. From washing our hair in the showers at the pool (seriously) to dragging me around on the bike and in the pool, Ironman Retlaw was nothing but positive. He told me it was OK to fall asleep at work on a Wednesday between the 3hr ride in the morning and the afternoon run session!

My colleagues have also been very supportive. They no doubt mostly think I am insane but they have smiled politely as I had trouble walking up stairs or finding enough food to shovel in!

So, that’s it. Mission accomplished. What next??

Ironman Rob

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On the road again!!

Here we go. I'll be home in about 17 hours!!

I'm going to head up the highway in the Wicked Camper with Seppo and then catch a later plane to sunny Canberra. What fun.

Luckily I have an awesome family who gave me this iPod Touch to keep me amused!!

DJ Rob

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am an Ironman!!

Yes, it is all over. I made it in about 13 hours 40 mins. I had a great day but even with all that training I had to walk the last 8km of the marathon.

I hurt everywhere and I'm not ever doing this again but I can't believe I've pulled it off.

All the crew finished well. More later. I need to convince my legs that they can get me downstairs!!

Ironman Rob :-)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Super Satuday?

Saturday has come and gone. After a short ride and run this morning we
headed into town to Fat Duck Cycles and Espresso. It rained a bit but
the coffee and the company was great.

Later on we took our bikes and gear bags into transistion. I never like
leaving my bike overnight but I am sure the security is top notch. It
would want to be...if there are 1400 competitors and an average bike
might be $5k then that's $6.5m woth of bikes sitting in the compound.

Margeret cooked us a wonderful pre race meal with Craig keeping a close
watch on the ingredients and time. At about 5pm I suddenly felt very
nervous and rattled. I headed out for a 30 min walk with the iPod. I
laughed at some of the messages already chalked on the run course. Head
to my facebook page if you want to see some pictures.

We've all received a heap of emails and text messages supporting us -
thanks to you all. I can tell you that it is very much appreciated even
if a bit overwhelming.

Well, that's it I guess. We leave the house at 4.25am to head to the
start and we race at 5.45am. It will all be over sometime in the late
afternoon or early evening for me at least - AB and Craig will be faster
and I look forward to seeing them out on the course and the when I get
to the finish! Training with such good friends has been absolutely awesome.

I'll report back with results as soon as I'm up to it.

Rob #577

Friday, December 3, 2010

Song of the Week #119

Here we are coming to you direct from Busselton in Western Australia. The weather is pretty good and the town if full of skinny, shaved down men and women eating like horses! Racing is on Sunday from 7am. You can follow all the action at

Life is slow in the Ironman Big Brother House today. Our instructions are to do pretty much nothing apart from resting up. Facebook, the Cricket and some race preparations are keeping us occupied.

My iPod has been getting a good workout as well. Here's a few tunes I've been enjoying.

That one came tome via free CD with MOJO magazine a while back. I think it is a great version of a classic.

Here's one that came out quite a while ago now. It was from an album I really didn't expect to like but was pleasantly surprised. Great upbeat sound and a strong vocal in my opinion. It came on the other day when I was running and gave me a cheesy grin for some reason.

This next track has been a regular on mix tapes, CDs and playlists with me for over 20 yeas abd I never tire of it. But please, the German lyrics are so much better.

So, Australia missed out on the football (soccer) World Cup. Oh boo hoo. Did we really think that as a nation that has soccer as the #4 football code we had a chance? But Qatar? Really? What were FIFA smoking last night? With an average temperature of 41 degrees during the World Cup months I'm sure the players just can't wait. Well, the government could now probably spend the money on something useful. Like cricket - our team needs help and now.

Well I'm going back to lying on the lounge now. But not before the Song of the Week. This is a cover of a tune used for one of my favourite TV shows. It rocks and the show is hilarious so I hope you enjoy it.

Stay tuned here on the blog as Ironman approaches. Just 2 sleeps to go!

Too much exposure is never enough,
DJ Rob

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday in Busselton

Western Australia is 3 hours behind the eastern seaboard. And this didn't really hit me until about 4.30am this morning! A little bit of jetlag!!

Seppo, Craig and I cut a quick lap of town this morning on our bikes. A little bit windy and COLD!! But not raining at least! There were loads of people out doing the same and therefore a heap of interesting bikes to look at.

Straight after that we headed to the beach for an easy swim with AB as well. The water was warm and clear. It was, however, at this point, that I remembered that all my triathlon swimming ever had been in fresh water - the salt water taste was terrible!!

We've also been to the official and the renegade triathlon expos. The official gear was rather underwhelming. Maybe I'll need a bigger tattoo!

We've also had a drive around the bike course and been to register for the race. I now have a heap of gear with 577 written all over it.

Tomorow we probably won't do much except lie around and watch the cricket. It is a hard life I can tell you!

DJ Rob #577

Way out west

Well we made it! After two plane flights and then a bus ride we're here in Busselton.

It was good to get the bikes built and then fall into bed after Roger had BBQd dinner to perfection.

The three hour time difference means I'm awake early. We'll get a short ride in soon.

It looks like there are a couple of triathlon expos in town so we'll be checking them out too.

More from the Big Brother Ironman house later.

DJ Rob #577