Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Who is Luis Medina Cantalejo of Spain?

In time we may forget his name, but the world will remember how he robbed the Aussies at the 2006 World Cup. As I sat, wrapped in blankets cursing the curvature of the earth and NZ's distance from our 'life-giving' sun, my jaw dropped in disbelief as another referee was fooled by yet another Italian dive. What a bunch of flamin' pansies.. can't beat us fair 'n square.. so lets cheat just a little.

Ignoring the fact that that single decision cost Soccer Australia millions in prize money for making the final 8.. If we were Colombia or any other dodgy underworld country Little Luis would be top of a hit list. .. My hit list.

The departing coach, Guus Hiddink, who is off to revive Russian football now, had a word of advice for Australian football authorities: "The momentum has to be used to develop the game in the country. It has become the No. 1 sport in Australia right now in terms of attention."

Tri-Nations Rugby starts in just over a week. RWC 2007 is around the corner.. The Ashes Test series has sold all available tickets already.. The injustice may remain, but soccer will slide right on back to its rightful place in Aussie Culture. A game for kids whose mums think it's a safer game. Well, this will go on as long as the English Premier League continues to be the magnet for Aussie soccer hopefuls.

Below: Coach Guus is left to console Lucas Neill while Little Luis looks on.

Monday, June 26, 2006

There's joy in the world.

Its been a funny day. Nothing special about the day itself.. I got up at 5am.. Went to work. Left at 3:30. Came home.

During the afternoon though I was smiling from ear to ear. It all came from some fairly sombre thoughts. I was thinking about Sam (Qusay) and all the stuff different people must be going through, also what must have been cirlcing round his head. While I was thinking about him, I started thinking about myself... my life.. what I've done, where I've been.. who I love.. the laughs, the pain, the mistakes. I realised my life has been way beyond awesome.
So many good memories. Funny memories of things I thought would ruin my life at the time, but now that I'm on the other side.. It seems silly that I let anything worry me really. You know, I couldn't think of one thing that I would change now, if a change meant I wouldn't be at this exact point in my life.
I have been lucky, blessed, with a stable family and growing up in Aussie. I don't have the painful history that some of you have shared with me, the kind of things I would do anything I could to take away from someone I care for. (Along the road of a macho male friend/boyfriend, the temptaion is always to try and solve or remove the problem, when I can not. I've learned now to console and shoulder rather than solve. Its a feminine skill, hard to master.)
Some of you may not agree out there, but I am convinced that giving these things over to God is the only way to really heal deep scars and find freedom from a haunting past.
Anyway, back at work, I had the tunes flowing through the earphones making time fly and the smile getting bigger, the voice getting louder.. Music is a universal love is it not. If you took the top 10 songs or artists from every person you know; each choice would have a person they could identify that selection to. As each song went by I would think of either who introduced me to that song, or who it reminded me of and why. I am really keen to publish that list tomorrow, but for now I need to focus on getting to bed. Aus v Italy starts in 3 hrs.. Is it worth going to bed??

From now on I've decided no more soccer stories.. You all know I'm watching the games, so if you have a world cup hunger please visit either
Kingos or the Boys on the Hill. Both lots of guys are having a ball in Germany.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Another Winter Weekend

I must say it has been a constant battle. I'm talking about the decision on whether to stay up and watch the soccer, get up early and watch or just stay in the safety and warmth of my bed. Right now my battle is whether to catch a cold in the next 5 hours before Brazil v Australia starts..

Oh, there is a fourth option.. go to work ??

It feels like one of those "no right or wrong" questions..

Anyway, the weekend:

Hampstead vs Celtic

We had to drive an hour up the road to Lincoln University to find a ground that wasn't covered in snow. In the end the weather was perfect, a chilly breeze for sure, but nothing compared to our home ground. The Kirwee game was the last time we did anything together as a team, that was two weeks ago... and it showed.

We were up at half time 10-7. and that was about it. Final score 24-10
Shane tried making wholesale changes in the team, not sure why, we were doing fine before.

Tries: Steve Paese
Cons: Brian Parsons
Pens: Brian Parsons 1/2

Moving on from there, I was all fired up to watch the Wallabies take on the Poms in Melbourne. Certainly was nice to see the Wallaby backline tearing a few holes. English and Leicester Tigers winger Varndell won't want to play opposite Lote Tuqiri ever again.

Of course Tom and I teamed up to cause a stir through the town..

And we succeeded.

Other than that I have nothing to say but that it has been cold.. real cold.
I watched ice form on the gutters this afternoon while I lay in bed pretending I was in some far away place that was hot.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup Wisdom #1

As a soccer (aka football) player, of some 15 odd years, I thought I should highlight a few joyful parts of the world-game for you all. The first thing any aspiring young kid should learn is how to dive. A professional with a solid dive in his bag of tricks will go a long way. Ok, so, here we go:

i) Practise with your mates, practise practise practise

ii) Get close to the defender and pull your best 10.0 Swan

iii) Roll and grab the nearest muscle

iv) Then immediately switch to the shin.
Note: This is the most crucial part of the procedure. The referee will make his final decision based on the form of this transition. Here Luis Figo goes to the knee, Francesco Totti slides to the front and Gabrielle Cisse completes the complicated manuever with a firm grip. Watch and learn.

v) Express the pain, reach out for medical attention and don't budge till you get it.

And that is it. Success is determined buy how much your opponent cries "faker!" (Moffatt reference) and yet still receives a yellow card.

Here endeth the lesson,
Go get 'em Tigers!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sam Cummins

It is with a heavy heart that I make this post. Crookwell and Ag College has lost one of its enduring characters.

I remember Qusay mostly as one of the Aggies who would sit down and talk to this Reddie like we were on the same side. Sporting the shaved head that adorns most 1st year Aggies in Wagga he would often pop around to the house to spin a few yarns or sink a few tinnies with Coit.

This year the hair grew back and life moved on like it does. For the Aggies the game and the land were calling for more but for Sam life's dark side seems to have gotten beyond his load.

My thoughts and prayers are for Sam's family and his mates.

It only seems fitting..
Ego yah

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Massive Weekend

My weekend was great. There were so many things that happened, some good.. some very sad. I'll try to get to it all.

So. Friday I went down to Christchurch with Tom the Pom. We had some business at Crusaders Headquarters at Jade Stadium, then we had a good feed, did some shopping and I was off to the airport. I must say I was expecting slightly more security from the Kiwi's. The check-in didn't ask me for my name, they just assumed it was me since i was the last to check in. NB: I wasn't late - there were only eight people on my plane. So the nice gent handed across a boarding pass and took my bag. They directed me towards a makeshift passage to a makeshift (i'm talking port-a-loo standard) departure lounge. Then, as Russ puts it, the Kerosene Budgie rolled up.. chirp chirp.. chirb... chirb.... chirb....
We all walk out, climb up the stairs, bow our heads and shoulders and squeeze down the eisle. At this moment I appreciate being tall and being rewarded with the exit seats once more. Those extra few centimeters are priceless.. and, as things do.. we were off on our way in no time. It's important to mention at this point that Christchurch was hot,.. not stinking hot, but T-shirts and shorts hot.

Landed at Wellington with a few bumps and grinds but nothing compared to the show the windy city normally puts on. I smiled to myself at the name of the airport..
Many of you will know of the book by John Eldredge, Wild at Heart, if you don't follow the link, buy it, read it. Anyway, I enjoyed thinking about how wild this city can be and I was looking forward to getting over to Russ' work to kick off the weekend. Sadly the sun had gone down by the time I had legged it to his harbour-side office but the weekend cheer was already being celebrated when I arrived. A few meet and greets and then we were off to Little India for a spot of curry. Never Again

I did get to meet some of Russ' Wellington mates. Of note
Henry and Tanja were a good laugh. We had some interesting chats and theories about how lazy people are getting with communication. See, we all used to write letters, then we started to write emails.. and face to face gave way to phone calls then text messages took over and now we barely write personal emails. We post blogs, and expect everyone to read them.. (I am doing this right now) so that I won't have to bother with personal emails.. or even a group one. I realised this a week ago when "Best Mate" Macca rang me and said I hadn't been telling him what is going on in my life..
I responded with.. "read the blog ?!?"

I apologise.
The night progressed along Wellington's trendy scene from Cuba to Courtenay. Had a good chill out, some nice cocktails and then a little boogie too. 4am Wellington, I reassembled the couch cushions on Russ' hardwood floor. For some reason five full-time workers are too tight to turn on the central heating in the house. Welcome to New Zealand.
Saturday was absolutely beautiful. Russ and I strode up Mt Victoria to see the view back over the city. The sun was out and the view spectacular. The walk up was quite fresh too. Coming down, a much easier task, took us through the woods where the dark riders of the Lord of the Rings were filmed. You know, where the little fellas hide from the big dude, yup.
So, I was hungry. Nothin' new there. Russ made me aware of a new addition to NZ's fast food ranks. Burgerfuel. Ladies take note. These are good, very good burgers. First I ate a Studnut Stilton - 1/3lb ground beef, stilton sauce, avocado, salad and relish. I tell you, my stomach yearned for more. hmmm, I indulged a little. Next a Brie Injection - 1/3lb ground beef, brie, salad, relish and aioli. Whatever Aioli is ?? it was tasty.

To mention that I had another Studnut burger the next day after getting a double breast burger at Nandos.. Just goes to show how great I think this new store is. Franchises are available on the website. Ok, so I just checked it out, Aioli is: Fresh egg yolk, crushed garlic and canola blended into a thick creamy mayonnaise and free from artificial flavours, additives or preservatives.

Saturday night we watched the Irish give the second choice All-Blacks a scare. We went to Murphy's to watch it, so there was plenty of cheer for Brian O'Driscoll and his charge of merry men. I was hoping to see an emerald green win, but it wasn't to be. We decided to burn through to 1:30am for the soccer: England v Paraguay. A waste of time, it proved to be about as exciting as walking home from the dentist. You're numb, you're not sure what happened and you don't want to do it again.

Sunday turned a little chilly with patchy cloud and rain. I sat round and didn't do all that much. All part of the relaxing weekend without rugby that I was searching for. No complaints except to say that it was clear the true nature of Wellington weather was about to rear its ugly head. The wind and rain seeking to break in at every uneven corner of the house.

I woke up Monday morning and basically refused to budge. I didn't need to open the curtains to find out what was going on out there. After putting on anything warm I swam down to where the bus goes to the Airport. Saturated I ventured out there knowing full well that the chances of a flight taking off was slim only to find out Christchurch had cancelled all flights due to snow. What.. ?

A phonecall back to Ashburton revealed the shocking truth. Over a metre of snow had dumped over night without me.. and it was still falling. A winter wonderland appeared over night and destroyed public services. Transport, power, phone lines.. gone. I trudged back into town and circled round the National Museum "Te Papa". They have the Lord of the Rings exhibit there at the moment, something definately worth a visit. Though the Kiwi's once again showed they have a chip on their shoulder over our cuddly possums. This is the very first display as you walk in. Warky would be proud. you'll have to click on the picture to read, but its worth it, and Yes that IS roadkill possum in the cabinet.

Thankfully essentials were mostly restored today and I have made it home. No rugby for quite some time judging by the state of the ground.
And that pretty much sums up my weekend.

Christchurch - snow right to the edge! Yes, that is the ocean there.

I cant see the grass.. can you?

Bags not digging the car out

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Footy Fever

Life is not all about sport. Well, it's not. But try tell these people.

It seems the kind folk in China and Japan are taking this a lot more seriously than some of us. These scenes might help to stir some Aussie sentiment, firstly the cluster of Aussies hidden up the back by the Dutch, then the lone hero with his green and gold scarf after Tim Cahill's goal.

So, In case world cup fever isn't your thing,.. we thankfully have State of Origin tonight and Aus vs Eng and NZ vs Ireland Rugby Union this weekend. Now that we all know how we will spend this coming weekend (Glued to a flat screen at the local establishment or bachelor pad) lets spare a moment to think about how some remote Pakistanis will bring in the World Cup..


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hampstead vs Collegiate

Not much positive feedback on tonights game. It was ugly headless chook rugby. The only players I can stand up for are Spenny - who had a great game at the top of the line-out and Fonze.. who absolutely creamed their No. 10. Great tackle.

Yup - other than that, I passed 100 points for the season. Nice to get it done before the grand-final this year. And Canadian Dave got his first points of the season. I'm sore sore sore - shower and bed.

Final Score: 21-13
Tries: Eddo, Davey Nielsen
Cons: -
Pens: Eddo

No photos.
But in the interest of warming me up after playing in NZ cold here's one of my favourite holiday destinations in the world. Brownie points for the person that guesses and Megs - you're out of this one. Cheerio


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Youth Group All-Nighter

As far as planning and running overnight events with teenagers go, this one went off without a hitch. 8pm to 8 am - 12 hours of fun and games . and red bull. Ha.. lots of red bull.

After earlier finding out the was no dry or decent wood down at Wakanui beach Brett gave Mitre 10 a call and they kindly donated all their spare wooden pallets. I certainly enjoyed thinking back to the younger years and watching "that boy" .. you know the one who just can't help but play with the fire. Just doesn't seem to matter how many times you tell them to stay back or stop throwing rocks, does it? I have renewed sympathy for Graham Poole and Nick Sieveking aka Crusher and the patience they showed, not only for me but for Dave Asprey and Gordon Chiu, both displayed some disturbing pyro tendencies.

After the bonfire we headed down to the skate park armed with the trusty wheel barrow. Sadly my housemates barrow didn't quite survive one of the jumps unscathed. Brett's trying to straighten out the axl for me.

A few movies, a short talk from Brett and a couple of games from weary old me got us through to 8am. I got home around 9 after the clean up and went straight off to an u/11 coaching clinic where I was helping Pommy Tommy out. It's all OK, its a long weekend and tomorrow I plan to stay in bed.. no Dad to come in and wake me up, not even a housemate to disturb the peace. Mark and Spenny have headed down to do a wee bit of Duck Shooting in Invercargill.