A year in the life 2016 #160: a day at The Great Southern Slam

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There we were with three Leagues to support – LCD, VDL and CRDL. So that meant a lot games and a lot of cheering.

It was great to see how enthusiastic the LCD guys were in supporting the women’s team – a whole cheer squad in fact!

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And it was even better to watch the Sabres win their first two games at TGSS. They were so happy!

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It was a little weird watching the DHRs and being nowhere near the bench, but it was great to cheer for them as well.

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They won one game and lost one – as expected and not a bad record for the first time in Division One.

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We also got to see and cheer for CRDL as they one their first pool match. So a pretty successful day all round!

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Especially successful for Zac who got an exciting new pair of skates!

A year in the life 2016 #105: go DHRs!

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First game of 5×5 for the Dishonour Rollers. Sad that I couldn’t be there, but at least I could watch it at home on the couch with a beer. And hooray, they won!

2015 weeks! #43: getting to the end of things and more

2015-11-02 08.31.18Everyone else had left the house in Adelaide when I got up on Monday morning, but I did have some furry companionship, purring extremely loudly.

2015-11-02 09.31.54Goodbye beach.

2015-11-02 12.35.58Because I only had one real thing to do while in Adelaide (this wasn’t a work trip as such), I got to wander the mall and catch up with Sam, Lucy and my friend Karen. It was a pleasant day.

2015-11-02 19.22.55But then it was time to fly home.

2015-11-02 21.25.09James picked me up and we went for a Bentspoke debrief.

Back in the office – the new office. We moved again but fortunately this time it was only twenty metres down the floor.

2015-11-05 13.34.46The colours of moving.

It was Beer Week, so we headed to 86 for a Beer vs Wine matched degustation. With 9 courses of food, that was 18 courses of alcohol and the staff didn’t stint on the top ups. The beer, all from La Sirene, was excellent and I highly recommend it.

2015-11-06 10.58.21I was a touch hungover the next day, yes, why do you ask?

Another chance to watch the sun set while watching Jude play cricket.

2015-11-07 11.38.43Lazy start to a Saturday.

2015-11-07 12.57.06Sebastian got inspired to make chocolate icecream.

Saturday night we had an end of year DHR celebration, with awards to best players, presents for all and a wonderful cake by Demo. There was also a fair bit of drinking and time in the pool.¬† It was a great end to a terrific season – the team worked really hard this year and their play reflected that. Next year though, they’ll take out number one, I’m sure.

2015-11-08 13.38.28My other team, Capital Carnage, were still busy putting in the hard work for upcoming Nationals and a firm intention to beat our number 7 position last year.

2015-11-08 15.02.27For some inspiration we watched the end of the magnificent tussle between Gotham and VRDL. So close Victoria! Bonnie Thunders is amazing though – and the way she holds it together…

Time for a picnic by the lake to celebrate Sean’s birthday. Lots of friends and food and drink.

2015 weeks! #33: we’re number two!

2015-08-24 10.06.21One of the things I quite like about our work building is the living wall. Particularly nice when it is in bloom.

2015-08-24 19.22.46Sebastian’s high school was offering a “Youth Mental Health First Aid Course” over four Monday nights. With three boys about to hit adolescence and all of their friends and cohort, plus the young people I know through derby, I thought it might be useful knowledge to have. The presenter was very engaging but I was shocked to learn that most of my fellow course participants had never planed for the zombie apocalypse and, worse, some of them didn’t really even know what zombies are….

Walked to school with these two troublemakers Tuesday.

2015-08-26 18.28.09Some nights you need a g&t and some codeine to go with your at-home work.

2015-08-26 21.30.30George does love the new couch.

2015-08-27 06.40.54Early morning flight to Melbourne.

I love the sight of the Melbourne ferris wheel (whatever t is called) as you go over the Bolte Bridge.

2015-08-27 08.43.35Early morning in a busy week and a day full of conferencing, including giving a presentation = lots of fizzy caffeinated beverage.

I really enjoyed the presentation by Rachel Botsman on disruptive technologies and the new world of trust.She is a very engaging speaker, and her ideas about trust and the way the new economy is starting to work were really thought-provoking.

2015-08-27 17.03.57Then there was time for doing all the work in one’s hotel room before the conference dinner.

2015-08-28 16.19.21After another day of conference, broken up by having to go and do work, it was off to the airport and back to Canberra.

2015-08-28 18.38.55Time though for a quick #yourtightsatwork at the Business Lounge.

2015-08-28 19.07.41And flying home.

2015-08-29 10.56.57Saturday was a lovely spring morning for watching Jude play hockey. His team continued on form.

2015-08-29 11.12.07While we were at the hockey, Sebastian whipped up some chocolate cupcaes for the….

ROADTRIP!

2015-08-29 13.00.54We were off to Sydney for the 5×5 grandfinal – Dishonour Rollers versus S2D2’s The Force.

It was a great game by a great team but sadly we didn’t quite get there – WE’RE NUMBER TWO! WE’RE NUMBER TWO!

It was a quick drink, medals and some commiseration before we headed home again. On the road trip back, Copter and I greatly disturbed Jess and Sebastian with at least two renditions, in a row, of Charlene’s “I’ve never been to me”.

2015-08-30 13.25.18Sunday and reality and supermarkets.

2015-08-30 14.00.03…and complex lego wars!

2015 weeks! #27: China, Korea then collapse in exhaustion

2015-07-13 20.52.02After all day in flight and transit, here we were in Beijing. Everyone wanted to go out and explore, so we found ourselves wandering the hot hot streets of Beijing at night.

We decided against trying the scorpions – I wasn’t letting anyone eat street food on the first day of a busy four day trip. Also some of those scorpions were still wiggling.

We did find a little place where we tried locals foods from the menu that included such delights as “fuel consumption of lettuce” and “glutinous frog” and “roumo acid cowpea” – whatever that is.

2015-07-13 21.18.12 The next morning it was up early and into the official program, starting with meeting the Chinese Vice Minister for International Education Cooperation and then the Minister opened the forum we had organised with the Chinese Ministry of Education (note my translation headphones for Chinese speakers).

During the night, in the dark, at 5am, I had completely misjudged where the edge of my bed was and fell while getting up hitting my head on the wall. In the morning it was clear I was developing an excellent bruise.

2015-07-14 10.31.49After opening the conference we were off to meet the Vice Minister for Vocational Training at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Somehow after I mentioned jewellery making we got to the point where Minister Birmingham invited Vice Minister Tang to visit Coober Pedy (hope i can go on this hypothetical visit too – I’ve been interested in visiting Coober Pedy since reading The Fire in the Stone).

2015-07-14 11.35.23From there, it was lunch in the car en route to Huawei.

2015-07-14 11.52.47I loved the visit to Huawei. Such exciting technology and ideas. The whole Internet of Things – billions of internet connections for things, not people. The idea your pot plant might be able to tell you how much water it needs (finally a way that I might be able to keep a pot plant alive) and a fridge that orders food itself. The telepresence we did with students in Shenzen was also super cool. I completely geeked out over the whole thing,

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I really liked their smart watches too.

2015-07-14 13.32.02Afternoon tea there stepped away from the technology into old fashioned elegance.

2015-07-14 13.36.01Because some meetings were rearranged, we had about one free hour, so we went and climbed to the top of the only hill in Beijing in 39 degree heat and looked at the Forbidden City. The Minister offered to take my photo for me but I had to explain I had a whole selfie aesthetic going on.

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2015-07-14 15.21.19Back to the hotel for a quick change and off to the evening function with people from the Forum and alumni and other relevant folk at Capital M.

The location was just off Tienanmen Square so there were some good views from the balcony.

2015-07-14 18.14.24After the official function was over and despite the fact that the Minister had to be at a media interview at 5am and the rest of us had a luggage call at 7am, we decided to do a bit of shopping and ended up eating dumplings and duck pancakes.

Our Chinese colleague told us it would only take 20 minutes or so to walk back to the hotel – it ended up taking nearly an hour, but we did get to walk past a dark Tienanmen Square and join the tourists in front of the Forbidden City.

Here is the compulsory hotel window view.

2015-07-15 07.32.49It was then off to the train station and Shanghai on the very fast train the next morning. It was quite a comfortable ride. Because I wasn’t allowed my work phone with email for security reasons, there really wasn’t much work I could do, so I got to enjoy some time with my book. We took the train (which went up to 300kms an hour) rather than fly because, with airport transit and waiting times it really wasn’t going to take much longer, and you can guarantee the train will be exactly on time, whereas the planes are almost always late in China.

I finished reading The Buried Giant on the train – it is rather a sad, thoughtful story beautifully written.

2015-07-15 13.01.04Finally we arrived in Shanghai.

2015-07-15 14.00.35The traffic was a bit heavy, so we had to race to our industry roundtable as soon as we arrived at the hotel.

2015-07-15 16.03.33There were a few minutes breathing space after this, and then it was off to a dinner event with Australian providers and their Chinese partners. We went to a restaurant run by an Australian called Mr Willis – food was excellent.

Official program over, we got to experience the “wow” of Shanghai by visiting the bar on the 38th floor of the Hyatt.¬† Amazing views.

2015-07-15 22.08.25 2015-07-15 22.26.58Tara who also travelled with me to India last year and I had to take a trip selfie. This was a good location for it.

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We were up early the next morning. I loved the jellyfish tank in the breakfast room at the Westin.

Also had the day time view of the Pearl.

2015-07-16 07.36.59My hotel room window view wasn’t shabby either.

2015-07-15 17.47.00Shanghai, in our extremely brief visit, is rather an impressive city if big exciting buildings impress you (I love them).

2015-07-15 18.12.41We headed off to the Shanghai Pharmaceutical School – they have a collaboration with Box Hill TAFE.

We each had our own guide – mine was Dragon – his name is “Lung” which is the Chinese word for dragon.

2015-07-16 09.12.28From there it was straight off to the airport and take off to Korea. Our plan got delayed on the runway, so we ended up an hour late in Seoul and the traffic didn’t cooperate, so were just under half an hour late for our industry roundtable there. The Minister went for an interview after but I went straight to the dinner function which was in a room at the Grand Hyatt with a spectacular view.

2015-07-16 18.28.48Dinner had all the usual formalities – but being in Seoul meant I got to sit at a table with the Korean folk I have worked with over the last three years and whose company I really enjoy. Even got to catch up with a couple of people we haven’t seen for a while.

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The view got no less spectacular when it got dark.

2015-07-16 20.52.56After the formalities were done, we went for a walk in Itaewon – the local area around the hotel. Ravi, the Deputy Ambassador, decided to take us on something of a death march and when we finally begged to stop for a beer, this was where we ended up.

2015-07-16 21.48.03Drinking this…

2015-07-16 21.55.44We went on to find a bit more Itaewon Street life after that break.

Here is the view from my Seoul hotel window.

2015-07-17 06.19.24

We were out of the hotel by 7.20am to catch the fast train I caught a couple of weeks ago to visit the Korea Polytechnics- Sydney TAFE collaboration.

It was a good visit with hearing about what they do and seeing the classrooms in action.

2015-07-17 09.16.17Back to Seoul for lunch before heading off to the Seoul Robotics High School. Before that, a random street scene in Seoul (that’s the Olympic cauldron).

2015-07-17 13.20.59And now, Seoul Robotics High School. The work done by the students was very impressive. I was completely devastated though – I got caught giving out kangaroo and koala pins to students and lost track of the rest of the party, and missed out on seeing ROBOTS DANCING TO K-POP. Another time, I guess.

 

We then had two meetings with Vice Ministers  РEmployment and Labour and then Education Рand then it was time to head out of town and to the airport.

2015-07-17 17.56.42It was an action-packed week. On the plane home I decided to decline breakfast to sleep for the extra hour.

2015-07-18 10.17.41Amazing view of the Lake George windfarm as I flew back into Canberra.

2015-07-18 16.36.11I got afternoon tea after an afternoon nap.

2015-07-18 16.50.10My head bruise had coloured up nicely.

2015-07-18 17.33.38Given the timing of my return, it really wasn’t feasible to make it up to Sydney for the final round of 5×5. So instead I watched it on TV (via the internet). We played outstandingly.

2015-07-18 21.27.17George wasn’t keen to let me read.

2015-07-19 12.26.34Carnage training got cancelled due to a high level of non attendance so I got to blow out the travelling cobwebs with a bit of skating with Jude and Sebastian and James and Thuggs.

2015-07-19 14.04.50Zac was meanwhile being transformed into a cheetah at his best friend’s birthday party.

To finish the weekend, some D&D. I was ready for bed though, quite early.

2015 weeks! #24: Seoul, derby and boys

2015-06-22 06.05.20And so, it was off to Korea.

2015-06-22 08.51.23Compulsory bellini at the First Class Lounge in Sydney.

2015-06-22 21.03.39And here is the view on arrival from my hotel room in my second favourite hotel in Seoul – the Plaza. I like the Plaza – it has cute rooms and is incredibly conveniently located.

One of the things I was doing in Seoul was checking out arrangements and visit sites for the Minister’s visit the following month. So we got to visit the Seoul Robotics High School. It is an interesting place

2015-06-23 14.53.32One of the things that always feels a little dystopian future about Korea is that the towers in blocks of apartments always have giant sized numbers on them. I guess it serves to allows people to find apartment buildings or something, but it does have a weird feel to it.

2015-06-23 15.16.54Here’s one of the views from the Australian Embassy – from the Education section meeting room.

2015-06-23 17.34.07I loved the fact that the Koreans decorate the side of their electrical meter boxes with pictures of windfarms – windfarms are aesthetically pleasing.

Got taken out to dinner by the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labour – lovely restaurant on the top of a hill. You can read about the full culinary experience here.

2015-06-24 08.02.58Here is the day time view from my hotel room.

2015-06-24 08.44.38And the breakfast view. The hotel and, indeed, the whole of Seoul, was a lot quieter than usual because of fears about Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. At the airport all the Immigration officials were wearing facemasks and the traffic was much quieter than usual. The outbreak is only a couple of hundred people in a city of 20 million + and limited really to hospitals but clearly it had inhabited the imagination.

2015-06-24 13.34.10On my second day in Seoul I got the fun of experiencing the KTX – Korea’s very fast train. On our 35 minute journey, the train got up to 284km/hr and was still as smooth a ride as any I have experienced on a train. Wonderful technology.

2015-06-24 14.04.11We went to Chenoan which had its own forest of apartment blocks.

We visited KoreaTech – again a location for a planned Minsiterial visit. They had signs boasting of their employment outcomes and it was a very modern facility. Sydney TAFE are working there to deliver training in teaching and assessment to Korean trainers.

2015-06-24 16.05.12Then it was back to the train.

2015-06-24 17.45.27Once back in Seoul I headed straight out the the airport. Here are views from the taxi of the docks on the way.

2015-06-25 08.23.33Back in Australia again.

2015-06-25 08.44.30I’d had a head cold building up for the two days in Korea, so was super happy to be able to purchase some pseudoephedrine along with the fancy new gin from the Bombay range on the return to the country. I mostly wanted to stop my nose running.

2015-06-25 13.53.19Back in Canberra, George joined me for a nap.

As the boys were banned from screens til sunset, Sebastian decided to engage in some science experimentation. His lemon juice-bicarb soda rocket experiment proved to be a bit of a fizzer, until, like the Mythbusters, he kept pushing the envelope until an explosion resulted.

2015-06-25 17.22.23Jude took the opportunity to practice his viola while waiting for a result.

Saturday was a road trip to Sydney for 5×5. We were playing S2D2 and very frustratingly, despite being slightly ahead for most of the game, they managed to beat us by 8 points at the end. It was a bit disappointing, and not helped by an early dodgy expulsion call and then a few extra penalties toward the end, particularly because we were playing with a short bench. Beating them is definitely in scope – we just have to hold it together for the full hour of the game.

2015-06-27 22.30.50McDonalds selfie on our road trip home.

2015-06-28 12.51.32Jude and I had a walk on Sunday after taking Zac to a choir workshop.

2015-06-28 13.19.25George being taunted by birds. I am pretty sure that while the rosella was clueless, the magpie was being deliberately provocative.

Jude went and did some busking at the Ainslie shops while I sat nearby and read my book. He’d been dying to do it for ages so it was a good opportunity. And lucrative – he took in $43 over 45 minutes. His rendition of the Game of Thrones theme music was a particularly effective earner.

2015-06-28 18.37.39A nice way to finish off the week.

2015 weeks! #21: all the fun of the first week of June

2015-06-02 08.33.24Jude looking resplendent in his Tasmanian Devil hat as we walked to school together on a frosty Monday morning. There was plenty of ice everywhere as I made my way from Turner Primary into work.2015-06-02 08.53.29George enjoying the heater and the new couch. 2015-06-02 21.33.42Winter had definitely arrived in Canberra, but at least winter was starting with the lovely blue skies and sunshine of our favourite types of Canberra winter days (unless it is possible to stay in bed with a book, then the foggy winter days can be quite attractive too.) 2015-06-03 07.48.38That regular exciting part of work life which seems to regularly occur on Sebastian’s birthday happened again on Sebastian’s birthday – Senate Estimates. 2015-06-03 15.15.44On the way out of the building we took a wrong turn in the basement and found the secret cache of Australian flags, ready to be wheeled out whenever an announcement about terrorism is made. 2015-06-03 16.37.00Fortunately I escaped from Parliament House in time for a birthday dinner with Sebastian et al at Akiba. 2015-06-03 18.15.54It was world negroni day, so I had to have a special one. 2015-06-03 18.09.47And for dessert, Frugii. 2015-06-03 19.19.38It was an orange night. 2015-06-03 17.58.44For Sebastian’s birthday celebration with his friends, we had a night of shooting and pizza at Zone 3. His first birthday party of high school was the first chance to meet his new friends, and it was strange after so many years of knowing all the kids at the party to have a band of completely new friends to contend with (as well as a couple of regulars). I also learned that gifts for high school friends tend to run to gift vouchers and indeed cash, which will make birthday present purchasing a great deal easier!

The weekend was all about sport, with the Quad Save the Queen tournament on and the DHRs competing as well as Sebastian playing in a regional hockey tournament. We started the weekend with a DHR team brunch. 2015-06-06 10.49.22Jude stole my phone and took selfies… 2015-06-06 11.14.52…so I figured I needed to take one of my own. 2015-06-06 11.15.05 HDRWe had a tough draw for QSTQ but that never stops us playing hard.

On the first day we just lost to S2D2 and got beaten by Perth, but in the Perth game particularly we played really well for two thirds of the game and pretty much went point for point with them in the second half which was a pretty good effort against the seventh best team in the country. 2015-06-06 15.45.45Zac bought himself some new sunglasses and was pretty damn happy with his purchase.

Back at the other end of the Tuggeranong Parkway (which I would travel 12 times in the course of the long weekend), Sebastian was playing hockey. His u13 team was playing the u15s – this seemed like a grossly unfair match up. The difference between 12 and 13 year olds and 14 and 15 years in terms of height and strength and subsequently speed etc is gigantic. The boys put up the best fight they could, but struggled constantly.

Sunday at QSTQ the DHRs ended up playing the SRDL Assassins twice – technically the third best team in the country, but ultimately the winner of the tournament. We played brilliantly in the first game and, while being thoroughly beaten, achieved what we wanted to – we scored twice as many points against them as S2D2 did, and kept them to a lower score. In the second game we played against them, the number of points we scored was the only thing that mattered for progression into the next round, so we tried some different tactics. We actually ended up scoring quite a lot of points, but people didn’t feel good about preferencing offence over blocking and it was a challenging game from that point of view. Everyone was pretty exhausted in the end, and not unhappy that we didn’t manage to progress to the next round. It was a good weekend of derby though, the team acquitted itself well against some tough opposition and the opportunity to learn was not wasted. 2015-06-07 18.58.55After all that though, a g&t never goes astray.