Monday, March 30, 2009

Hockey memories: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

We lost a tough game tonight. One of those ones you know you should have won. The final score was 12-10. We blew a 7-2 lead after two (of four) periods. The goalies do switch half way through and the second half; we had the goalie who gave up 19 of the 22 total goals. So you could take that into account, but we still could have won it. I played the best 24 minutes of the season so far in the first two periods but ran out of steam in the third and fourth.

In the final period I did check one of their best players, a good clean open court hit. He would have had a breakaway if he beat me, and as he is much faster and bigger than me, I stepped up to him and put him on his butt. Of course a penalty was called. In this league, the result of a penalty is a penalty shot. So he put it in the net anyway on the penalty shot. It did get quite a rise out of the other team and I understand it is a non-check league, but I wasn’t impressed with how they complained about my “constant checks” as one player put it, when they do plenty of hooking on their own. They’re probably concerned about safety which I understand, but I know whining when I see it.

After the game, we all have a beer and its all water under the bridge but I did feel a bit bad about hitting the guy. He was all good with it; it was more that one of his teammates was angry. I guess I will just try to not use the body so much in the next game. Or just watch my back.

It kind of got me thinking about my most memorable penalties growing up. Let’s take a trip down memory lane….

1. When I was a Squirt (name of the level of play I was in at the time, around 11 or 12 years old) I stepped up one level and played on the Pee Wee team instead so my brother and I could commute to games together. We were playing against a team called Neshoba…no idea where this was. I think it was a game in the Tom Hill League. The game was getting pretty out of control and with about two minutes left, their smallest player, poor guy, was about to go on a breakaway. I took about a dozen steps and creamed that kid. That had to be one of the first misconducts I remember receiving. I think Mr. Massuco and Mr. Leclair liked the hit though.

2. This is a two part one. KHS vs. Central at JFK arena in Manchester, and KHS vs. Berlin High in Berlin. During another chippy game which I think we won 3-1 in Manchester, late in the game, the KHS penalty box had myself, my brother, Ken Linn, Steve Symonds and Tim Miles. It was crowded. What was so memorable is that all four of our defenseman was in there! And the one in Berlin is the first time I remember sharing a penalty timeout with my brother Jon. I hated that Berlin crowd. Still do. Those damn cow bells and the smell of Berlin make me cringe. But those teams were good.
3. My mom remembers this next one. In Concord, maybe as a Bantam, after a whistle, I exchanged some words with a Concord player and head butted him. The purpose of a head butt while wearing facemasks is still a mystery to this day. Mom told me that all the other hockey moms looked at her as if to say “That’s your kid….” And I think my dad’s words were “Well we can put that one in the books. I was ejected for the head butt, but already had spent 10 minutes in the box for a hitting from behind. The games were only 36 minutes.

4. Montreal Canada was the next venue for my most memorable penalties. I went up to Canada for a weekend tournament with an All-Star team coached by Berlin’s coach Ryan. Ironically, our uniforms were Berlin King’s jerseys. I felt a bit like a traitor. Well we were a bit over our heads, facing three Canadian teams and one from Minnesota. I believe in three of the games we gave up at least eight goals, and managed to tie one. Well in one of the NH vs. Canada games, I was hit into next week by their biggest player on one shift two, if not three times. I mean he me down. So when he came by me again, I “Marty McSorley’d” him near the head with my stick. Kind of a meltdown I’d say. Not proud of it. Not at all. The guy was so tough he merely laughed at me as they sent me to the box for a generous four minutes.

5. Number five took place at the Ice Palace which is also known as Cheshire Ice Arena. Again, the details are fading, but this is what I remember. It was the final game of our Cinderella 1996-1997 season. We were playing Bishop Guertin, one of the state’s best teams. They had a very good player. I think his name was Nick Nugent. He just like the guy in #4 put me on my butt in a great open ice hit. There was probably a minute left. Just enough time to get a retaliation penalty. Well I couldn’t find Nugent, so the next available Guertin player sufficed. I hit that kid from behind pretty darn good. Open ice, don’t worry; I wouldn’t do that on the boards intentionally. Off to the box for another misconduct. Luckily the ref was a g. housen employee so he told me a couple years later that that was the difference in not getting thrown out of the game completely.

So the moral of the story is here, don’t hit me.

I guess the rest of this blog will only be entertaining if you actually witnessed some of my childhood hockey games or were a teammate of mine. It will probably be just those of you related to me. But enjoy.

My grandparents were my brother and my biggest fans. Gramp Watterson traveled to as many games as my parents did. Gram was often there too. On the Gemmell side, Grandpa G and Gram, they’d watch, I’m pretty sure not always understanding the game, but supporting their grandkids. Gram G did not attend for a couple seasons due to the violence of the sport, but I remember something about her giving it another shot and enjoying it as we grew older.

The Bud Light All-Stars playing against the retired Boston Bruins.
Was there any better team in the state than Manchester 1? Manchester back then was probably not quite 100,000 strong, but it had to be up there. The best players from that city were put on Manchester 1. And there were so many players, they had a Manchester 2. Those games, I honestly can’t use the word “fun” to describe. But they were what made us better players. I can’t count how many times we lost by six or seven or eight to them, but there were a few times where almost beat them or on one occasion that I remember – actually beat them.

I’m trying to think of the worst arenas in the state to play in. Unbeknownst to us from Keene, I think the Ice Palace probably ranked #1 to the rest of the state. But I mean for me, what was the worst arena to play in? I would say there were a few. The first has to be Berlin. Berlin was like the Thunder dome from the movie Mad Max. It was dilapidated, dark, and smelly (as I mentioned before), cold, and the fans were so involved. It was the most intimidating settings to play a game. I wish I knew how many times we beat them and they beat us, but I know they got the better of us. Remember Chad Lauze, Ryan Nolan, the Poulins, And THE GOULETS! I played against Wade, Jon played against Grant….Wade was a sniper. We had some very heated battles with him. They also had a guy named Justin Rancourt, Craig Bartoli….the list goes on and on…oh and their goalie Dustin Ryan. We played them for so many years, that’s’ how well I know their team. Their goals were made in some factory that didn’t have enough piping apparently. I hated that when they scored, the puck would dash right out of the net. Other things about Berlin, their colors were Black and white, scary. They played the song Enter Sandman by Metallica when they came on the ice. Everything about them was tough. They had to be some of my favorite games.
Playing Berlin in Keene.
Playing against Salem or the Gate City Wings meant we had to travel to Tingsboro, Massachusetts. I hated this stadium. The locker rooms had to be full of asbestos. It had to be. It was the dirtiest, smelliest locker room I can remember (besides Berlin!). They had two rinks. One had a balcony where all our parents stood and watched. How terrifying is that? Having your parents loom over you while you try to succeed. I didn’t like that. The other rink, had enough stands to hold a rock concert, but there were always only about 40 people there. It was quiet, dark, and we usually played Guertin there and LOST! So yeah, that place is not too cool to me. And Salem usually had a bunch of punks on their team. I remember one guy’s name was Chizm….sounds like dirty player to me. They did add another rink later on, but I only played that under the direction of Coach Paul…and we didn’t win many games. Moving on.

Even though they weren’t in our league, Brattleboro, VT had to be the most miserable experience to play or watch a game….ever. Berlin stunk because of the atmosphere. Bratt was horrible because everyone was frozen. It was one of those rinks that didn’t have walls, just tarps for walls. The fact that we had exhibition games there and that they didn’t mean anything made it much worse. Who knows if we won or lost there, who cares? One funny memory is of Nick Cote as probably a Mite: He wore a winter cap under his helmet to keep his head warm. At one point, the hat went over his eyes and he was skating around blind calling for his dad. Good stuff.

Other notables: Rochester just was the worst place to drive to. Dover had amazing teams like Sea Coast that would beat up on us. Although some of my greatest open ice checks came from Dover. Oh and Fitchburg, Mass….I can’t believe I forgot about it. Fitchburg had two rinks. I didn’t care for either. We played there so many times, I can hardly remember the games. We played teams like Chelmsford and Leominster and other strange teams from the Tom Hill hockey league.
How about the best places to play in? Hanover was always my favorite. I think I played some of my best hockey there. Good thing Hanover has money, they kept that place at a nice temp. Nice locker rooms. Everything about it was nice, even their fans. I don’t remember them being too rowdy. I scored my first ever empty net goal in Hanover. It was from the opposite red line! Wait a minute. Hanover had Hartford Whalers colors growing up. I knew there was a connection there.

Concord: Concord you might think is a place I wouldn’t like because we lost a lot of games there. But that was mostly later in the hockey career. Keene won a lot of Concord Christmas Invitational Tournaments there. Also I played in four or five or more summer leagues there. I remember high school my freshman year when we lost in our opening game to Concord by a score of 10-1. And later on to Bishop Brady 13-1. Ingrid, how can you say you went to that school? Were you rooting against me? (Ingrid is my cousin who attended Brady and I’m sure that game) In that game against Concord I cut my leg open with my own skate. (Either I’m having de ja vu or I’ve already told readers about this) My adrenaline was pumping so it wasn’t bleeding or hurting. After I showed Coach Jimaki my cut which required five stitches, I tried to jump back on the ice, but he pulled a nice little jersey yank move where he pulled me back. That was December 11, 1995. I will never forget. Other than all that, games in Concord against Concord were so amazing because they too had great fans. We had all the pressure of facing a great team and a great group of fans. Despite losing every game to them in high school, playing at Concord was a treat. It made us step up our game, and knowing we were playing the best in the state of NH didn’t feel too bad either. Funny memory from Concord: I believe I was a Bantam and Mick Mounsey (who went on to play for the University of New Hampshire) rifled a shot from the opposite blue line with about two seconds left in the period. Our goalie was Freddy Weis. Great kid, bad goalie. He had no idea the shot was taken, and is just standing there, when the puck rattles off his head and out of bounds. Again…..great stuff.

Again because of the high level of competition, Manchester was a great venue. I feel I played better at West Side Arena, than I did at JFK. West Side didn’t have much personality. I just remember playing some close and not so close games against Manchester 1. We lost a tough double overtime game there against Concord in the state playoffs when I was a Pee Wee. Also Trinity High school had the greatest goal song I ever heard. It was James Brown’s “I feel Good.” It was simple and honest and just a great song to play after a goal.

JFK was great because that’s where we played Central, West and Memorial. The best victory there was our quarterfinal game in the 1997 State Playoffs. We beat Trinity 3-2. Ken Macie had an unbelievable game in goal. Big goals were scored by Steve Symonds and Ken Powers. I had battled a stomach virus all season and played through it.

My last game ever at JFK. A loss to West
Did you know?
Concord High School won the state championship all four years I was in High School.

I never beat Manchester West once in my four years at KHS. There may have been a tie. But damn, they had our number. Matt Joseph and Eddie Sullivan played for them. Again…battles.

Playing for Bergeron Const. Mens League. Amazingly, no penalties.
I was beat on a one-on-one by a girl, Olympian Tara Mounsey of Concord during my freshman year. She didn’t score though. Yep, makes me feel a lot better.

I am wearing the same helmet in my inline hockey league that I received for Christmas in 1988 or 89. I have played nearly every game of my entire life in that helmet.

During youth hockey, I wore the numbers 3, 4, 5, 9, and 18. There may have been more. When I was in High School, I wore #6 for the first two years because my brother wore #9. When he graduated, I took over #9. We still have that jersey at home which was only worn by Jon and me because after six years, KHS bought new home uniforms. Liam Burke went on to wear #6 after me. I had no emotional ties to number six. It is an upside down nine, that’s all I was thinking.

Best memory of a car trip was with the Sayre Brothers, Mike and Tom….and Mrs. Sayre. Mike was playing with a little rubber thing that goes on a finger, like a finger puppet and as he tried to pull it off, he slapped Tom in the face. An argument ensued and that’s when Mrs. Sayre stepped in and said “Give me the finger, give me the finger!” and proceeded to throw it out the window on the highway. That was funny.

Worst memory: Getting car sick on the way to Manchester when I was a Pee Wee. I was so close to the arena too, but couldn't hold it in. All over myself and I was wearing my gear already. Jon, Dad and Gramp witnessed that one.

Well that’s enough for one night. Maybe this is an excerpt from my future book. I’m not sure. But hopefully you enjoyed remembering some of those places mentioned above. I could write one about my baseball memories, although, I might need another 3,000 words to get through that. I miss you guys back in Keene, NH. Goodnight.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Work, Jack Bauer and a couple Top 5's

Finally a day off...I just worked the last five days at Hog's Breath Cafe. Although, I wasn't working 8 hour days, my body felt pretty tired at the end of each shift. Non-stop walking and moving around for four or five hours straight will take some getting used to. I'm getting better at it. There are just so many things to think about, so it is all about juggling those things in your mind and being on top of who needs what. Little things like punching in the orders on the computer or making a credit card transaction are things I never did before. I will send some pictures soon of this place. (The picture above is where I work, the restaurant is directly to the right of the parked car out of view) It really is an amazing view. It is pretty much right on the beach, so all day as I'm working, I can see waves crashing, people surfing, etc. I did spill a coke on a table with guests present on my second day. So far that's the only mishap really. Luckily I didn't spill it on them.

My NCAA bracket luck ran out this weekend. It was exciting to be in the running for this long. I usually am in the middle of the pack from the get-go. Its the gambling that makes it fun. I really could care less who wins.....or is it I couldn't care less. Right.

Steve, my roommate invited me the other day to go on a Skiing/snowboarding trip to New Zealand in August. He said it would cost about $1,500 Australian dollars....which I see is about $1,040 US dollars. BUT the Aussie dollar is much better than the NZ dollar. ,So that would help, maybe making it less than $1000 USD. He said it is an 8 day trip, and we wouldn't ski everyday, but a few of them. Being so close to NZ, I think I should start saving for the ski trip. And yes, I went snowboarding once in my life in Breckenridge CO in January, 2000. I realize I am nine years older and more prone to injury now, but trust me I would be careful.

About to talk a little bit about the show 24. I do give a key detail about something that happened in season 3. So if you still intend on watching 24, seasons 1-7, you might want to skip this paragraph. Watched another episode of 24 last night. That Jack Bauer, what a guy! Here in Australia, we are only up to 5pm. I think you in the states are a good four or five episodes ahead of me. Anyway, in the 4pm-5pm episode, the head of the FBI dropped the name Ryan Chappelle, who was a character back in seasons 1-3 (see wikipedia Ryan Chappelle) and made the most memorable exit of any character in possibly any show I've ever seen. I like when shows reference something that happened years ago.

Believe it or not, Jack never recharges his cell phone - ever.

On facebook these days, there is an application that allows you to list your top 5 cars, books, movies, shows, celebrities, etc. It is addictive as I love lists. I'll share a few with you.

For top 5 Sit-coms, I put (in no particular order): Taxi, Cheers, Seinfeld, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond...Raymond is kind of the weak link there, but it is about my favorite.

Jim Ignatowski: Cab Driver (What does a yellow light mean? SLOW DOWN!)

Top 5 Movies was a tough one: The Breakfast Club, High Fidelity, Scent of a Woman, Back to the Future...and the fifth one is debatable, but I put Planes, Trains and Automoblies. It is too difficult to pick 5. I'm not a Godfather expert either, so it can't make my list.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Those aren't pillows!
Top 5 Beers: Easy....just pick 5 Anheuser-Busch products. That one has been pounded into my brain since the first grade....see pic below.

Alright, off to inline hockey in a few hours. See ya.

UPDATE: Just realized that all four of my final four teams are out. I don't think I've ever not had at least one. That makes me laugh a little because I previously stated I was doing pretty well.

Also, just reading about Tiger Woods victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I miss watching golf on Sundays...

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness, a new job and some politics

Another Rain Man photo. I know I've posted one before. This photo takes place late in the movie after Charlie finally is beginning to enjoy his brother's company. The movie had so many dark moments, it's nice to find a photo of one of the few upbeat ones. I did enjoy the ending. Without telling you what it is, (although if you've never seen Rain Man, your loss...) I always felt happy and sad. The music makes you feel sad I think. I don't know. Send me some thoughts. "Don't rock and moan Ray."

Last Friday I was given three hours at the Hog's Breath Cafe as a kind of try out for a possible job. It was an intense shift - for me. As far as a Friday night goes, the restaurant wasn't that packed. But this was my first night ever in the restaurant industry. My job as a "runner" was to serve meals, drinks, clear tables....basically just run for three hours.

A couple of humorous moments:

There is a mascot there, a hot pink pig...He was walking around for awhile. A bit later, I was sweating pretty good from all the running around, a customer asks me "Hey how do you like wearing that pig outfit?" He obviously thought I was wearing it due to my perspiration on my forehead.

Twice I was told I was setting the tables backwards or incorrectly. Must be the lefty in me.

Learning the table numbers, what was on the menu, etc., on the go was quite a challenge but it was a good learning experience, and at the end of the night, the manager asked me to come back as a full time employee. That was a good feeling. I am excited about this job because of the skills I am going to take home with me.

I start my first shift on Wednesday. And they will be teaching me things about the menu and how to be a better waiter.

Last night I had another inline hockey game. We hadn't won in four or five weeks, so I was hoping to come home with a victory. We won 15-10. I felt pretty good physically. We beat up on the other team pretty good, but let them hang around. I had a couple of highlight reel goals, but gave up a few weak ones too.

At one point I had a break away, but kicked the puck...sending it all the way to the goalie. So when the goalie slapped it away as I was getting close to him, I dove..... Remember back when I was playing ice hockey and I was involved in a big hit or something risky? I'm pretty positive you were thinking what I was thinking..."Ryan...that's pretty dangerous...." So I dove like I was on ice, but I was on concrete...landed on my side. I got up smiling, a bit embarrassed and played on. Afterwards, I finally felt a bit of a pain from my side. Just a nice big raspberry on my upper leg. I'm very sore today, but I think I am starting to skate harder and better.

I've been cooking more often. I know I know....stop the presses. But its true, with all the meat trays I've been winning, I've been grilling up a storm. Also have been cooking up proper breakfast's (brekkie) with eggs and everything. For those of you who know me, this should be impressive, for those of you who don't, I understand your laughter.

I am doing extremely well in the NCAA pool. I've never really been in the top 10 for those pools so this is great. It is funny that I have not watched a single game this season. I don't really even care for college sports all that much.

Daryl asked me to forward him my bank details due to the bet I placed in the previous blog. It turns out he's as into social networking as anyone else. I apologize. I should have bet something smaller...

Not really keeping track of the World Baseball Classic. National Rugby League just started here two weeks ago, so the country is buzzing about that. I read somewhere - and I agree - the WBC probably won't work in the long run. You have professionals who are just starting to get back into shape after the offseason trying to play like they are in the playoffs, resulting in injuries. Also I think for anyone living where there's snow, it is just hard to get into a baseball tournament when it is below 32 degrees outside.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is visiting with President Obama today. Apparently going to talk about the worldwide recession. Lots to talk about... Rudd last week in an interview said the phrase "There's going to be the usual political s**t storm...". That had the country laughing a bit.
I was chatting with someone the other day about gun laws here in Australia. Here is the gist of the Australian gun laws, from wikipedia:

"State laws govern the possession and use of firearms in Australia. Anyone wishing to possess or use a firearm must have a Firearms Licence and, with some exceptions, be over the age of 18. Before someone can buy a firearm, he or she must obtain a Permit To Acquire. The first permit has a mandatory 28 day delay before it is first issued. For each firearm a "Genuine Reason" must be given, relating to pest control, hunting, target shooting, or collecting. Self-defence is not accepted as a reason for issuing a licence, though it may be legal under certain circumstances to use a legally-held firearm for self-defence."

I bold faced the sentence that stood out for me...the one about self defense. It seems that only two groups of people have guns here. The police and the gangs. While gun violence is much lower here than in the states, there are still gang related murders here pretty often. Did you read about the murder at Sydney Airport two days ago? Right in the terminal, a man was beaten (here they say bashed) to death. It was reported to be gang related.

That's all for my dark Australian history lesson for now.

I'm off to Bingo and trivia night in about 6 hours. Going for my 4th meat tray in six weeks. I just want to show you what a bingo card looks like in Australia. There are no B-I-N-G-O's....just numbers. So below are two bingo cards. This is what I will play for one game. The host just calls out numbers. She has fun rhymes with them, but again, no letters. To win a meat tray, I just have to get a full house. Like you see on the right part of the picture. So out of those six boxes, I just have to fill one. Also everytime I have won at bingo, I use a blue and a green bingo sheet....that would be the good luck Hartford Whalers colors.

That's all for now. See ya!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Random post today. No structure, just thoughts.

Had a job interview yesterday with Hog's Breath Cafe in Cronulla, three train stops away from my suburb of Gymea. It looks just like the Hog's Breath Saloon in Key West, FL but has no real ties to that chain. There are dozens of them around Australia, whereas only three or four in the USA. I am hoping to be a server there. There is a chance I am starting tomorrow on a trial run. The manager basically said he hires on personality and that serving can be taught. Fair enough.

Alright, that last sentence was pretty structured, but from here on out. No structure.

We lost in hockey on Monday 9-8. Close game. No one really cares who wins or loses. But it does get pretty physical. I had a couple goals, we were down 6-2 and came back to make it 7-7. Almost tied it up with under a minute to go.

There is no open-container law here in Australia. The Australians can't figure out why we have that law. They bring up some good points. The scenario I imagine is if the passengers are too drunk and distract the driver from being safe. But it is a good question. Meanwhile seatbelt laws here are very strict. Same goes for cell phone use while driving.

I filled out my NCAA bracket today. Congrats to whoever gets my 10 bucks. I never played basketball, I don't watch college basketball, yet I choose to gamble on it anyway. It is like picking KENO or powerball numbers. But I filled out six this year, and I think five of them are different so maybe I'll win one of the pools. All were free except for the one.

My Uncle Daryl has a facebook page. I bet my bank account he didn't sign himself up. What's that seeing a dog wearing a coat, you know the dog didn't put it on himself.

I hear newspapers are closing or talking about closing around the country. I was telling my dad I only get my news from the internet. I never read a paper. My thought is papers should make some money off the internet, not try to compete with it. You'll probably hear that argument a lot so don't assume that I'm copying someone's idea. I am. I just agree with it.

Listening to a Jerry Seinfeld CD right now. There's a part that reminds me of my scuba diving experience. He talks about scuba diving in Australia"

"Another great activity where your main goal is to not die. There's a fish, there's a rock, who cares, don't die......."

That might be my first non George Carlin quote since starting this blog back in October. See I can appreciate other humor.

Oh I won my third meat tray in five weeks on Tuesday night. I've recently been grilling almost every night. I am overstocked on protein. It is great because I've given up meat pies and now enjoy lamb chops, skewers. They have these burger type things called Rissols. I can hardly pronounce it. I have no idea what's in it, but it is meaty and pretty good.

The Masters is coming up in less than a month. My favorite PGA tournament of all. What's terrible here is when there isn't a PGA tournament going on, I watch whatever professional tour Australia and New Zealand have. There's nothing like watching a sport as boring as golf on tv and having to watch basically amateurs.

Shark attacks have been in the news a lot while I've been here. I'd say 5 or 6 attacks have taken place here around Sydney. I don't believe anyone has died, but limbs have been lost. Also up north I read about crocodile attacks. Recently a girl died after being snatched up by a croc. Again, I just can't imagine being in these scenarios. Did I mention I haven't been in the water in a few weeks?

Subway Sandwiches here is huge. I would say that KFC and Subway have way more popularity than they do in the states. Also they have Burger King, but it is called Hungry Jack's with the same logo. Google it if you want to know more. Interesting thing about Subway is they don't serve potato chips. Your options instead are two cookies, yogurt or a bag of apples. It is very strange for me to not eat chips with my sandwhich, but much healthier.

The above picture is from a few weeks back. I visited Sea Cliff Bridge. You can't see it because it is way in the background. It is a stretch of highway that goes out over the water. Only a few of them exist in the world. A lot of car commercials are filmed there. See the pic below.

That's all for now. -Ryan

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sound Relief

Hello out there. Beautiful day here in south Sydney. Just about 80 degrees with some sun.

I had a pretty fun weekend. I went to Sound Relief, which is a rock concert to benefit the Bush Fire victims in Victoria and the flood victims in Queensland. Roughly 50,000 people packed the Sydney Cricket Ground and 75,000 attended the concert at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Both concerts had live feed to the other concert so while we were waiting for bands to come on, we could watch the bands live in Melbourne.

The bands that you may have heard of in Sydney were: Coldplay, Jet, Taylor Swift, The Presets, and Barry Gibb.

The bands you may hae heard of in Melbourne were: Kings of Leon, Midnight Oil and Jack Johnson.

I went to the concert with my roommate Steve, and three of his friends. The day started off pretty slow actually. After a 45 minute train to the city, a 30 minute wait to get a bus to the cricket ground and an hour wait in line outside the stadium, I just wanted to hear some music. The first band was Coldplay. They were pretty entertaining. We weren't too close, but they had video screens so we could see the stage. Coldplay isn't my favorite, but they're one of the top acts in the world right now so its great to say I've seen them.

After Coldplay, we wanted a beer. So we picked a real bad time to get a beer. Another near hour wait and we got our three beers. We brought them down to the the cricket field where we were standing/sitting and were pretty immediately told by police that no beer was allowed down there. Long lines, restricted beer drinking areas... I was getting a little frustrated. Our group then found seats that ended up being a great location to spend the next nine hours.

I didn't know much of the music I heard all day, but there were some great parts of the day. Australians are very patriotic and everytime there was a song everyone knew, it was just fun to listen to the whole statium sing. One thing I'm proud of is that my group started the wave. I've never been the starting point of a wave before, but when it happens and it goes around the stadium 4 or 5 times like ours did, you get a sense of pride. Thousands of people standing up and then sitting down again for about a half second, all because of our group.
Other entertaining sights were the fans who lined beer cups together so they stretched along three or four sections. When you have all day in the sun, you find creative ways to entertain yourself.

The entire infield or "oval" as it is called in cricket, was separated into three sections. Of course, depending on how much you paid, determined how close to the stage you could get. So our tickets were general admission which was the furthest from the stage. This ended up being great entertainment after we found our seats because of the runners that tried to upgrade themselves by jumping the fences. Early in the day, the police would escort the runners out of the stadium. They may have arrested them too, I am not sure. But as the day went on, more and more people tried running, so people were slipping through. Some of the venue staff made some amazing tackles on the runners. And the audience loved it, cheering on any runner that made it through without getting caught.
A lot of Australian celebrites made cameo appearances including the mom from Little Miss Sunshine and The Sixth Sense....not sure of her name, but you know her face. My favorite moment was when Kylie Minogue came on stage. Well she came on stage in Melbourne, but we got the live feed. Kylie is one of Australia's biggest celebrities. She sang a song called "I still call Australia Home" as everyone in Sydney and Melbourne sang in unison.

Here's a lyric from the song:

I've been to cities that never close down,
from New York to Rio and old London town,
but no matter how far or how wide I roam,
I still call Australia home.

Then Kylie introduced two special guests: Prince William and Harry. I still scratch my head at Australia's obsession with England but it was a nice message that they gave via video message. (Australia is still technically under the Queen's leadership, but I'll get more into the England/Australia thing another day)

Following Kylie and a beautiful sunny day, the rains came. I mean it poured down. We made it until about 8:30pm and decided to leave. Too bad too! I would have seen one of the only remaining Bee Gees. But I will get over that in time. What is sad or ironic even is that this fire relief concert was cut short by rain. Thousands of people were leaving when we left as well.

Overall, I read the concerts have raised over $5 million so that is good news. It was a great day and I'm glad I was a part of it.

Not much else going on, still unemployed but I did sign up with a new agency last week as Australia's unemployment went up to 5%. We lost in Hockey last week 13-4. We were missing our best player. I did get the hat trick which makes losing feel a little bit better. Tomorrow night is our next game, but we should win that one.
That's it for now. See ya

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm back

After a good two week break from the blogging biz, I am returning. As I said before, there wasn't a whole lot to report. There was me not having a job for two weeks, and I just couldn't make that exciting enough for you.
Just got home from another hockey game. We lost 13-4 to the undefeated team and were without our best player Mike, so our five players versus their six were pretty outnumbered. I managed to sneak in three goals, but we did lose by nine. I did manage to use six different numbers in those previous two sentences....make that seven in the previous three...or eight....thats nine.

Tomorrow I have a job interview. Bout time right? It is with another agency. I will be doing a computer skills assesment as well. So hopefully by this time next week I will have a job. It is a breath of fresh air to have some progress on the job hunt. Three weeks at home is about all I can take.

Happy birthday to Donna. Wish I could be there! Miss ya

Good luck Shelby in CA. Can't wait to hear about it. I need you to introduce me to a few people out there in LA.

If you're reading this and you're from Wisconsin. Good luck with the rest of your winter. Same goes for New England.

Jon, saw the manager from Flight of the Conchords in a late night interview last night. Funny guy. Look him up. His name is Rhys Darby.

Mom, there's a commercial here for a phone company that says "Have you called your mum lately?" Sorry I haven't talked to you in so long. Lets have a chat soon.

Anyone at g housen reading, I'm really missing those 12 hour Saturdays and Sundays in Vermont. Especially going over HogBack Mt. Can't wait to tackle it again.

Gram, miss ya. I'll write you soon.

Bear, I need you to cook up these meat trays. Just sitting here still.
Up with People people, keep doing your thing. The world is better because of it.

Goodnight, I'll leave you with a quote from the movie The Wedding Singer that was played on TV here on Friday night:
Adam Sandler's character Robbie at a job interview for a bank:
"No, sir, I have no experience but I'm a big fan of money. I like it, I use it, I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I'd like to put more in that jar. That's where you come in."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I know I haven't posted anything in about 6 days, my longest streak without a post since leaving New Hampshire. The truth is, there hasn't been a whole lot to report. So check back in a few days and I'll have something new for you. In the meantime, I'd like you to know I won my second meat tray at bingo tonight in three weeks. Luckily it is Mike York's birthday this weekend and I plan on donating some meat. I have enough now to feed a party of 10...