Tuesday, 28 December 2010

How do YOU celebrate?

I'm sure by now everyone's had a toast thrown their way, "Merry Christmas; Cheers!", "To The Year ahead", "To the Year that was!", "To the Holidays!" and countless others. New Year Celebrations are classically the time when even non drinkers will clash their glass filled with something sparkling against those of others, with fireworks or loud music filling the surrounding air. And while the gold standard is usually a French Champagne, it's certainly not everyone's celebratory choice.

So I'm curious to know how YOU will be celebrating this New Year. Will it be a shared bottled of Veuve (in a a bath perhaps), a beer or three, a glass of adam's ale (water that is) or perhaps something not consumed from a glass. Maybe a celebratory activity - a nude run down a public space or a skinny dip at midnight, a night in with friends or a night in the sack. Perhaps a dance party or quiet night in the wilderness under the stars. The options are as wide as the sky is limiting. So tell me what you're doing and how you're doing it. And if it's with a beverage, what will you be sipping and who will be sharing?

Regardless of how you do it I hope you have a great celebration. I'm looking forward to a week of down time and exactly how I'm celebrating is not entirely fixed, but will certainly include some of the above.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Smashed Sprint

I'm smashed.

Those who've been following superchilled will know I've been embarking fiercely into triathlon competition. This weekend was my second race 'TriTheGong', in my home town and a sprint distance triathlon - ie 750m swim, 16km cycle and 5km run.

I'm not sure I like the hellishly early starts (I was up a bit after 4.30am) as I'd prefer to be going to bed then than getting up, but I was up and racing by 7.30am as was my brother and primary competition. The race was hard - I pushed myself harder than my first race in Noosa and tried to increase pace to fit the 'sprint' title. It turned out that I did very well, managed a podium finish in my age category, beat my brother by 2 min (he beat me in the prior race) and had a great time.

I really didn't expect to be so high in the rankings, but it shows that when you tackle the areas that need work and persevere you can make progress. So right now I'm feeling shattered and contented all at once. I'm going to have a break from competition for a little bit now, but I'm loving it. There will be more.

Has anyone else tried triathlon competition?
Keen to try?
I'm curious.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

This Side of the Wall

I don't like barriers. I don't like being unable to get past things. I don't like not getting my way, but I like less not being able to express myself, or not be listened to when I'm trying to communicate something. Even if I am wrong. On those rare occasions.

I usually try to break through barriers, jump over them, knock them down, or mobilise other people who can make it happen better than I can. With my triathlon competition I have been breaking through my own barriers - yes I can run, yes I can be competitive yes I can put it all together and work through all the physical pain that threatens to be a barrier but can too be overcome.

But sometimes barriers can't be broken or cleared or overcome.
People erect impenetrable barriers. They lock me out.
Sometimes the reasons seem clear, sometimes I have no idea, but what I find entirely frustrating is when I try to shed light on the issue and the barrier is based on misinformation that noone has attempted to clarify, or the person is blocking any discussion, period. A brick wall defending their brick wall.

I have an eternally optimistic view that people will want to reconnect, clear the barriers to open up their world.
But then sometimes when these barriers have been erected for such a long time they become dark places that I don't want to go. The people behind them become obscure, distant and fading memories. Sometimes I wish them the best, sometimes I wish them the worst, but mostly I wish for clarification, resolution. But if the effort required to achieve this is so much, I wonder if it's all worth it and should I just push the barriers farther away and put in their place people who are transparent with their honest thoughts, who want to be on this side of the wall, not creating new ones, the people who replace darkness with light.

I have trouble letting go of the barrier-breaking me.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Kylie + Hot Guys Miming = too much fun.

I just stumbled across this while web surfing and I thought I have to post it.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

2:20:08


Two hours twenty minutes and eight seconds.
That's how long it took me to finish my first ever triathlon, in Noosa.
Swim: 1.5km Cycle: 40km Run: 10km

I stuck to my game plan, did a great swim an okay cycle and a better than planned run to a sprint finish and had an awesome time! I'm hooked. The transitions were fun the whole thing was fun actually. And Noosa was just chock full of hot men. HOT FIT MEN.
I'm definitely going back, so long as I can get into the event again which has reached epidemic popularity. With good reason.

All the training to get there was worth it. I'm fitter than ever, feel great all round and am confident I can do another one of these triathlon things and soon. In fact I'm lined up to do one much closer to home (in fact in my home town) in early December, a sprint distance triathlon which should be quite interesting. So I have to get back in training again... I've avoided running for a week. I'll call it recovery.

My brother beat me in the race - by just under 3 minutes, but I think I can improve for the next one. I just need to get into training mode again. Though this time will be easier. I think.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Triathletic Toddler

Run at race pace, repeat, then cycle, vary the intensity, some hill climbs, some flat grinds and then into the pool and pump the water, hard. Check the bike, get the transitions right, race tactics sorted, gear, nutrition, hydration, stay well, don't overtrain, don't under-train...

While training for an actual triathlon is intense in its own right, coordinating work, family life & the actual training is the behind the scenes triathlon; only considerably more intense. Just like a triathlon you have to work at each element to make it fit in with the others or they all fall into chaos. And so goes my life of living at the edge of my capacity. It's been a lot of fun, though in the past few days I've found what it's like just over that edge, my body has spoken and it said 'too much' so I've been forced into relative rest for a few days (you see you can never really truly rest if you're serious about triathlon). While you can rest from training it's a lot more tricky to rest from work and family especially as the growing toddler (above) doesn't know what stop means (a bit like her daddy). Now confidently walking (and swimming of course) she is taking her own directions, sometimes on her tricycle making her technically the triathletic toddler.

And now my race is just 5 days away. It's been a long road and I've done the best I can for the time and limitations I have, I think. But it's not over yet, there is still more work to be done and a race to be won, or at least to be pushed to the edge. And then I will really rest, and the rest will be sweet, fleeting, but sweet.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Faster Higher Stronger Smarter


It's been a long time between posts. It's not like nothing's been happening because it has, so much so that I've seriously had no time to even think about posting. There was a brief shot on location in Hollywood, some political lobbying in Washington DC and a little bit of altitude training in between. Amélie has started running around, and saying words and doing things that make as stand in awe, or just laugh, a lot. Our house is undergoing renovations, so we are living in a construction zone, but the progress is awesome and I'm looking forward to the finished product.

I'm training as hard as ever, actually possibly harder, to the point of trying to manage the pain as much as the training. Training smarter. But the pain gets less and less, and the fun more and more. I found myself at the pool after training the other day surrounded by all manner of beauty in the form of elite athletes and surf life savers (the iconic ones). In the showers.
Fun indeed.

And the fun promises to continue. Racing, training and a great summer ahead.
Drinks on the deck set to be a new and improved regular event as the summer heads on in.
I can feel it now. I can feel it in my legs now too - a huge inter-city cycle and later run today mean it's time for a nice, long rest.
Keep well until next time.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Utah Rocks

sunrise: monument valley

We've just crossed from Utah through Arizona and into Nevada heading back to Las Vegas. The sun is lowering on the horizon and I can't wait to get back.

We've been exploring Utah's national parks where the USA's 'everything is bigger here' continues. We had a ball. Non stop exploration and activity, but that's not about to stop. I've been told Utah has America's cutest men, but the cutest we saw were European men in the parks. I've subsequently been updated that you have to go farther north. Sigh.
We sure did see an abundance of grey nomads in their RV's the size of trucks. Actually I'm sure many of them WERE trucks. Anyhow, I'm glad we can tune into Vegas radio and tone down the country song quotient which is fun for a while, just.

There's a surprising amount of nothing out there. I thought that was a typically Australian thing, but there were an abundance of huge mountains, deep wide valleys, monster canyons and great roads with not much else along them. Great for getting away from it all. Not so great when you need fuel!

I ran at altitude in Bryce Canyon national park today. I was the only person running and got loads of attention for it. Stunning scenery is a good distraction when you're hurting. The training for Noosa must continue.

And so as the sun sets in the west, Las Vegas awaits. We have a stack of activities planned and I can't wait.

(note: this was written in transit a few days ago)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Road to Noosa



Run, Cycle, Swim. And repeat.

I have days when I love running, days like Monday when I feel my legs twitch with abundant energy, ready to get out there and pound the pavement, grass and sand. I arrive home to a sunny warm day and get into my running gear, pop in my earphones and off I go, the last stretch along the beach with waves rolling in making me feel like I'm in an ad for something. Something good.
And then there are the days when my brain says "must do the required number of sessions for the week" and my legs say "get stuffed". Invariably the brain wins, and the legs suffer to be tortured with the addition of cycling to the mix. At the end though the somewhat prolonged shower is heavenly relaxation.



Cycling is reliably fun. I'm used to the lycra cycling gear now that I never used to wear and which makes me look like a pro. I'm also used to the Frenchman's chant "be careful on the road" usually following more reports of people who have crashed their bikes. Tightened helmet and flashing lights I'm off; and when not I'm cycling on rollers in my living room with considerably less gear, but all these points of pressure have given me new understanding of neuroanatomy and I'm very thankful that the rather regular genital numbness is only transient.



The pool however is a stress free event, no concerns, no worries, I can't get enough. Love it, it's my superchilled element. Needless to say, it's the area I least need to be in preparation for this triathlon that rapidly approaches.

I have a laundry basket filled with sweat-scented shorts, shirts, singlets, towels, bike gear and hyperchlorinated swim gear. There are a collection of grease stains on too many of my clothes, showing up along side young Amélie's food bits at times when I least expect them.

Despite the super-training I've been increasing in weight. I expected to lose a few kg but have gained 3.5 . But I feel leaner than ever.

Oh, and my brother's training is also going well, which means I have to train harder! I'm the underdog right now but I need to make sure I'm not after the race! I'm not sure I have the numbers I need just yet, but I have until October 31st. The road to Noosa continues.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Stone Age Gay


I've become one of those old people!
In the past few weeks I've discovered I'm doing things I only thought old people did. I start the car and find ABC Radio playing, the once-popular 2Day FM with it's nauseating gossip and overplayed K & J-O has been usurped by diverse ranges of subject matter a wide range of music (not always my choices but at least diversifying) and intelligent DJ's. Oh and politics is actually interesting, at least more so than the details of which celebrity did.... oh who cares.
I'm enjoying father's day - as a father. And I'm supporting my parents probably more than they support me, which is at once confounding and liberating.
I'm also celebrating anniversaries that have numbers like 15 in them. Bloody hell, 15 years with The Frenchman! Bring on 15 more I say.

I'm also finding the years going a whole lot faster, am buying safer cars, am managing home renovations, again, and training for mid-life crisis triathlons with one eye on the prize, and one eye on managing the joint aches and pains that seem to be hindering my launch at the said prize.
And I'm loving it.
I see the younger editions coming out, and envy the bodies that have a surprising absence of wrinkles and folds, but not the self confidence issues, financial crises or relationship dramas to follow.
Youth is wasted on the young it's true, but life as an old fogey ain't so bad.

Monday, 30 August 2010

telephone frustrations


We've all had bad experiences with call centres, and I'm certainly no fan, but there is a book of telephone etiquette for the everyday phone owner / telephone receptionist just waiting to be written...

Voicemail: "I can't come to the phone right now, please leave a message after the..."
It's your mobile phone - it's in your pocket / backpack or somewhere very close to you.
Try: "I'm not answering this call right now..."

Voicemail: "My phone is switched off at the moment, so please leave a message"
It rang 10 times before it diverted... it IS switched on.
Try: "I often ignore my phone, please leave a message, I MAY get back to you."

Answerer: "Can I put you on hold for a moment? "
Me: "Actually it's urgen... [chiming 'hold' music cuts in].
Preferred option: "I'm putting you on hold, I'm not sure when I'll be back if ever" or "Please hold, I'll be exactly 13 seconds" and be exactly 13 seconds.

Voicemail: "Please leave a message, then press hash, spin around in a circle, press 2 followed by 4 followed by 3, press hash again, repeat your message and..."
Try: "Don't even bother, just hang up now."

Oh, and while singing voice messages can be a lot of fun, especially when you have multiple household members taking part, it doesn't always sound so fun when your doctor is phoning to leave a message about those test results. [yes yes, first hand experience for these]

Of course, if the person on the other end is the guy in the photo above, one tends to not notice all of the above. Lucky buggers.

With one exception: taking a call while you're in with your doctor (ie me) and continuing a personal & banal conversation (in fact anything that's not life & death) is very uncool regardless of how ruggedly handsome you are.


Anyone else with telephone peeves?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Extreme training

With just over 10 weeks to go until Noosa Triathlon I'm stepping up my training. I have a lot of improvement needed in my run times and a little extra speed in the cycling too, with my swimming yet to return to its normal standard (so I'm working on that too). So far I've been getting faster - esp in the running, and my calves are paying for it. But it's nice to see some stepwise improvement. I would like to make those steps a little bigger though... so I'm increasing everything. Surprisingly I've also gained some weight despite getting leaner - I guess those legs need more muscle for all that extra activity.

The weather is strangely warm here at the moment too - daytimes are like mid-spring which makes training easier and it feels like everything is locking into place. Now if I can just manage to run sub 4minute km's...

Friday, 20 August 2010

Election Boredom

Today is (Federal) election day and I can't wait for it to be over. There has been more coverage on the mechanisms of the campaign than on the policies themselves. I feel like we're being educated on spin. The chosen topics for debate have been BORING, nauseating even and often irrelevant. Gay marriage / relationship recognition has been publicly approved, but both major political parties are ignoring that and won't support it. We are electing the whole government but it seems like there are just 2 presidential candidates. I'm just really scared we will get Tony Abbott as our new PM, who has declared himself the lovechild of prior PM John Howard & MP Bronwyn Bishop... ouch. He claims to be gay friendly - but is as likely to support anything that promotes equality for the gay & lesbian community as he is to skip a photo opportunity.

Anyway - all Aussie readers of superchilled - please vote responsibly.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

My First Aussiebums


I'm converted! Its been years in the making but finally this week I ordered online and purchased my first ever item from Aussiebum. There has been a hint of summer in the air and a scent of decaying speedoes in the bathroom so onto the site I went, selected a pair I'd seen in the flesh (or on the flesh...) earlier in the year and a few clicks later, a day or two for mailing and today it arrived. Awesome packaging, very well made and a perfect fit!! So I'm very happy. I just need to test them out in the water now, and then wear them in races to win in style!

So to celebrate the scent of summer and to move away from the politics that has been featuring here lately here are a few more Aussiebum samples. Oh, and the ones I bought are somewhere in this post; but I'm not telling which...





Monday, 16 August 2010

Greens: the ad they should have


41 seconds

From the TV show Gruen Nation (nee Gruen Transfer) where they had an ad agency come up with an ad for and anti the greens... this is the pro one - and I love it. Unfortunately the ABC won't release it to the Greens to be used in their campaign. So here it is on the web.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Australian Democrats : I wish they got more airplay.

Democrats release GLBTI action plan: click for details.

At least someone is looking at our community as an equal part of Australia, not a minority to be kept at bay. And in this Federal election despite majority community support for gay & lesbian rights, none of the 2 major parties is interested in true equality.

I'm not quite sure why the Australian Democrats fell out of view, but they're still there, and should be a greater part of the Australian political climate than they are right now (in my opinion). The have always been strong supporters of the gay & lesbian community and remain so as detailed in today's press release. They have a stack of great policies (which are a little more sensible than the Greens', who are also similarly gay friendly, obviously) and are SO much better than the main and so conservative political parties who are putting me at once to sleep and in a state of heightened anxiety. As a gay man having Tony Abbott as a leader is really scary. I like that he exercises regularly including doing ocean swims - but that's about it.

I think we all need to vote for people like the Democrats & the Greens who treat the gay & lesbian community equally with the rest of the community, and at the same time write to our local members and aspirants to tell them that we need better representation. And not just token representation.

Links
Labor GLBTI policy: nil
Liberal GLBTI policy: nil

1. on the grass 2. In the gym...


1.
Where the bloody hell has all the time gone?
I had visions of loads of posts - a renaissance of kinds, which has obviously stuttered somewhat. I've been cycling, swimming and running, as per the plan, and then things like work, parenthood and logistical variances eat into all the other time in the day. And when the weather is as stunning as it was today - there's no way I'm staying inside. So I too was lying on the grass contemplating the beauty of it all today. At least for a while.

2.
Some readers have asked about the yoga video posted below, and there certainly is a little more intense man-to-man physical contact in there than one might normally expect in a traditional yoga class... which leads me to the question... Has anyone had more of a workout in an exercise class / training session than you initially expected?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Nude Yoga

It seems Nude Yoga is popular based on the emails I had following a post on the subject some time back. Recently I had an email from the maker of a naked power yoga dvd coming out soon. I can't say I know too much about the video but here you get a chance to check out the preview yourself.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Japanese Cuisine?

Wandering the Shinjuku district of Tokyo last week I stumbled across this sign for a restaurant (?). I thought maybe someone had scratched off part of the sign, but it was exactly the same on both sides. I couldn't read the menu but wonder what their specialty is...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Go Go Go

It was HOT, damned hot. The Northern summer has roasted & toasted me, and spat me out. And it feels good. Back in the Southern Hemisphere it's cool and I'm loving it. I feel like I've been warmed up to withstand the local cool, superhot here at superchilled. But it's extra so because I'm on a mission, one that I thought I'd no chance at. But more of that later.

During our travel...

Our luggage travelled better than we did

We discovered translations that made us question our safety

and some that made us laugh.

And then there were the ads that encouraged us not to smoke.

And that was just in Japan. There's more. And a restaurant that sells, well, I'm not quite sure what but it deserves its own post.

On arriving home an email arrived...
It seems I've won the lottery. Not a fake Nigerian one, and not a million dollars.
A lottery for a competition entry (bizarre but true) and the result: I'm competing in the Noosa Triathlon in October!! So I'm back in training - full on - until it hurts.

More to come.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Launch into USA

I want to know the places to go - the roads to crash on, the national parks to get lost in, the cafes to tantalise one's tastebuds in, the stores one can't help but melt plastic in, the Cities one must not die before passing through, the museums to sleep in, the Architectural wonders to sick my Canon onto, the humanity to lust after and the experiences to die for in The grand ol' U S of A.

That's right I'm asking you your most memorable experiences, places and all of the above that you'd care to share (GPS positioning most welcome) as I plan a trip to the place I swore I'd avoid during the Bush Administration and now have an obligation to fulfil and return to. It will be in the early fall (autumn for non USA-ites) and I'm very excited about the potential. Don't forget I love to swim, so swimming locations will be greeted with all manner of appreciative gestures.

It's your chance to tell me where to go.

I'm counting on you!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

All dressed up with no place to race

As you may know I have been in training... (see One Step Closer ) Finally doing all training for all three disciplines of the triathlon I had decided upon racing in Noosa in October for my first (and rather large) event as an individual triathlete. My brother also entering the event in the same age category made it a must-do event and has given me extra motivation to train hard.

Entries opened last week, and as it's a very popular event we had both arranged to log on exactly at the time it went live, but the site crashed and entries rescheduled for this week. Same story this week, we log on - but it won't let us in.. try and try again (for hours) until FINALLY I'm in and I'm entering the race until I get to the screen half way in that says "entries now closed".

NO!!! It's not possible! I've been trying all morning, even had my brother trying for me until he had to leave his office. I've been training and getting equipment arranged and training tips and running a LOT - and running is not something I'm in love with. But no they've closed it - have all the entries they wanted. This really sucks. I'm so pissed off I don't know what to do. So pissed off I really want to tell them where to stick it, and so happy that I didn't organise flights and accommodation already as I'd been very close to actually doing.

It turned out my brother had another friend logging on for him while he was out of office. SHE got him in! So he's already won. And I'm trained up with no pace to go. Time to look for other races to start my triathlon career, but it's not going to be quite the same. Bastards!! So now I'm thinking of all the money I'll save and where I can go instead...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Sex and the City 2 - review


It began with sparkle. A LOT of sparkle, the New York Skyline, the glittered the high heels, jewelled couture and it kept on coming, literally into the dialogue. But unfortunately Sex and the City 2 didn't sparkle for me.

Having wandered into SATC1 a few years back not really expecting much I was quite blown away with a movie that exceeded the TV series in terms of cinematography, storyline and fashion. The characters had developed and in the end I'd been on a journey, albeit it a very glamorous one.

The Gay Wedding, the opening event in the movie was so over the top it was a caricature and not an especially positive one. It seemed to be trying so hard to be both correct and comfortable with the whole wedding concept that the natural flow with the well known gay characters was lost, and the feeling was more discomfort. Surely by now BIG would have met Carrie's best gay friend on enough occasions to be unsurprised with men flirting with him?

We head to the Middle East and it feels like we're in an advertorial. So many products placed, a walk through advertisement for a hotel that goes on and on and on and on... There are wardrobe changes that are so obvious, it feels like a fashion show. But I don't like a lot of this particular show. The sex scenes, while few and fleeting, did feature some particularly attractive men, but they were mere interludes.

Still there are the main characters who are at times warm and fun, but at times holding onto lines that really should have been let go in the 90's. We're taken on a cultural tour of muslim customs that is so cringeworthy it's embarrassing. There's nothing subtle here at all.

It may be a reflection of the truth, of how as we age we don't always do it gracefully or intelligently and how we don't always have everything under control. But while I had fun watching much of it, as the credits rolled I was remembering more the previews at the beginning and wishing I had elected to see one of those instead.

Friday, 4 June 2010

iconic drenching

In Aussiebum city today it wasn't quite the picture postcard day for wearing nothing much out in the open. Bucketing rain, kinda like you were pressing fast forward on the rain, but it still didn't ever stop. Except for short periods enough to get you thinking that was it, and then you'd be out in the middle of the open and get drenched in seconds with the next onslaught.


And doesn't the rain bring out the WORST EVER drivers?!!? I was hitting the horn well above average frequency at the bloody stupid people out there. Stay in bed people. I have things to get done.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Monday, 24 May 2010

Older

I'm known for my birthday parties. I've sent people on mad car rallies across cities, thrown them into starring roles in short films, had them shooting photo essays, learning to jive with same sex partners... and combinations of the above. Which brings me to this year where instead of the 6 weeks ahead planning of old, I've given 6 days of warning and little if all planned. I guess having a 1st birthday party to plan a week ahead of mine takes the focus off me. And I've been quite happy to be in the shadows this time around.

The youngster turned 1 a week ago, the date seemed to be a springboard for exponential development for her. She's learning so much so quickly it's hard to keep up. But fun trying. From a babe of complete dependence a year ago into a girl with character and charm today. She's obviously the apple of her daddy's eye, and more the focus of my attention than my birthday planning has been.

I've been writing this blog for a few years now, and my life has changed progressively over that time. People routinely assume that becoming a parent has 'turned your life upside down', but they just frustrate me. I guess I'm a big planner, and there have been expected changes which have been planned for and a lifestyle modified somewhat, but it hasn't really changed in most respects. It certainly has become richer. There are other factors that have equally changed my life involving most significantly changes in personal relationships with friends and family, and these to me have had a greater impact on me than parenthood I feel. Having said this though, other people have commented on positive changes they see in me in this past year that I guess I'm not quite so aware of at this point. Introspection isn't something I have a lot of time for these days. Perhaps that's a good thing.

So happy birthday me. Today's the day. And I really don't mind what happens or how I celebrate it. I hope you all have a great 24th of May. Do something to celebrate it for me, tell me what that was, and I'll be more than happy.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Byron Bay Ocean Swim Weekend

pre-race preparations

The crowd assembles at the beach at the start of the race.

This weekend was spent in Byron Bay, as is our tradition for the first weekend in May. The annual ocean race there attracts keen swimmers, and those just keen to jump in and do the 2.2km from Wategoes Beach to Byron's Main Beach with around 2000 other competitors. The beach was crowded with speedo clad guys & girls before the race as the various waves headed out in age groups. It's hard to know where to look, with Byron in true form throwing a combination of spectacular scenery, crystal clear warm water with perfect waves, and stunning men (and women I'm told). These photos taken by one of our group while I limbered up for my swim. Its always hard leaving Byron Bay, and though it's the second time we've been there this year, I'd happily go back again and again. Thanks to our entourage for making it a fun weekend and looking after Amélie while we swam! She had a ball too. Before we know it she'll be competing too .

Monday, 26 April 2010

Stockholm and Swedish things


While I'm quite a fan of Sweden, perhaps a little biased by the men, it's been by accident more than planning a bit of a Swedish weekend starting off Saturday night with a trip to the Theatre to see, you guessed it Stockholm. I'd long forgotten the storyline from the subscription guide last year and hadn't read any reviews, in fact I'd forgotten the name of the play until Saturday. So when it began with a striking couple speaking of themselves in the third person followed by a host of unexpected twists and turns, I was hooked, totally captivated by the whole mix of colour, music, intensely physical choreography and developing story of a beautifully dysfunctional relationship. The sex scenes were really hot, even if they were straight. I was truly taken away into the story, which is for me what theatre is all about and I'd highly recommend it apart from the fact that Saturday night was the final performance. Oh and while there were Swedish themes - it was not actually Swedish.

Update: Stockholm will reappear at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta from May 26 - 29th. Details here.




Which brings us to Sunday, and with rain descending we headed to the cinema to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I had heard it was good, but wasn't sure of detail. It continued the Swedish theme - a Swedish movie, subtitled in English, though I understand some Swedish which is useful yet distracting. The movie was totally gripping. Loved it, as disturbing as it was at times, I didn't want to miss a second. It was a little saddening to hear there are plans afoot to make a Hollywood version of it already... what's wrong with appreciating the original? Even if you have to read subtitles it's still extraordinary.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Unplanned Heaven

Weekend Forecast: Cool, Rainy.

Work: Rostered on - Saturday
Social plans: nil.

The weekend looked uninviting.

The reality - a whole different story.
Unexpected guests from near and afar, time spent at the beach in the sunny weather that replaced the rain and hot guys who appeared randomly making the weekend even more stunning. Add in there some games of tennis, scrabble, cycling and more bodysurfing and swimming with the youngster, throw in a mix of meals of different varieties and locations and I'm at the end of an awesome unplanned weekend.

I'm not planning the same again.
Next weekend perhaps.


Saturday, 17 April 2010

Taking hold, and letting go

Amélie holding onto my dad's hand - in Hospital.

My dad came out of hospital today. It's a place he's not really frequented in his life but managed to be in for 12 days this admission. He was wheeled to the exit and into the passenger seat of my mum's car - another place he's not generally found - and home with a few walking-frame-navigated distances into a modern apartment now adorned with various mobility aids and hospital style elevated chairs. They all look so out of place. My dad has always been a powerhouse, the guy who lifts cars, fixes everything, climbs into ceiling spaces to install lights and the like, and to see him walking slowly and deliberately with his new titanium reinforcements now inserted into his fractured femur is a little disconcerting. It makes you think about life's responsibilities...

I was driving home afterwards thinking, if something serious happened - would I be able to sort out my parent's affairs, organise appropriate farewells. Would I cope emotionally? I've not ever contemplated life without them, but fragility is just a short mis-taken step away. I see photos of my daughter with my parents and I wonder what memories she will have of them, will they be anything like those I have of my grandparents? My niece the other day asked of my grandmother "...the lady with the purple hair?" but oh, she was so much more than that, the emotions and experiences that are imprinted in my being from her are a powerful influence to this day. And then I see how different my life has been from that of my parents, how I'm partly in their world, but with a foot in another world and Amélie in turn will have her own path...

It does make one look at things with a different perspective. Issues that may have once been all consuming in various relationships become minor details that are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. One's transience becomes a whole lot more obvious. But it's not necessarily a negative thing. I think it's more a reminder that each day is something to be grasped by the balls and run with. There'll be plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

One Step Closer



These are my newest fashion accessory... Well, sporting accessory at least, and calculated from a test cycle just now these babies have improved my speed by approximately 4%. I literally ground my last set of pedals to pieces, so to replace those rather last century leather strap contraptions I've joined the real cyclists with clip on ones. Now that I'm cycling in addition to swimming and running I'm going to be asked a lot more now when I'm starting competing in triathlons... that hasn't been decided upon, but I'm tempted. But where to begin?

It's a sensational day today. I'm so glad not to be working, and prior to the cycle I hit the water for an epic swim with some friends a little farther south of home. Right now I'm enjoying babysitting the sleeping child and watching the waves roll on in while the Frenchman has gone in for a dip himself. Ah bliss...

Friday, 2 April 2010

Oh Yes We CAN!

On April 1st I posted the article below which detailed a study identifying how gays & lesbians were shown to perform below par with their straight counterparts. It was of course an April Fools Day joke. Did anyone notice?
The whole idea of the actual poster series (openartistmovement.com) is to demonstrate people who are gay, successful and empowered. I personally love this image both for the hotness factor and the retro reference. And yeah, we can too.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

No We Can't

A recent study at The Royal London Institute of Gender Studies, released today, establishes that gay men and lesbian women perform on average, well behind their heterosexual counterparts in a range of physical and intelligence testing over a wide range of testing protocols. Associated with the study was an assessment of workplace performance where those who identified as gay or lesbian were shown to have significantly lower income and workplace ranking compared with their age matched and culturally similar heterosexual counterparts. Interestingly the study showed that those who identified as bisexual performed, on average, well above both their homosexual and heterosexual counterparts in all testing. The formal results, to be released later today, are expected to cause quite a stir in the scientific as well as gay and lesbian communities, but a spokesperson for the International Bisexual Alliance has already stated "It shows we really do have the best of both worlds."

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I wore my sunglasses at night

In fact we all wore our sunglasses at night. It was a hoot, the whole evening. One of those spontaneous ones that just develops like a snowball on a powder snow mountain - you roll, you fall you laugh as the powder fills your lungs - you get up, keep going and don't stop laughing.

A text in the mid afternoon was the first snowball, a final dinner for a good friend and one time flat mate returning to her Melbourne nest after some months in Sydney, the location - who knows, we'll work it out as time approaches, perhaps a movie after. The second snowball, a call from other friends - are we keen to see a movie (the same movie) - perhaps do dinner before? Hmm.... yes sure, we're in - in fact we have it planned but for dinner - you choose the restaurant & we'll be there.

The restaurant is Japanese and hip, there are people waiting for hours for tables but we're in and the food is waiting for us. The conversation is a thousand miles an hour, the food constant and mouthwatering, we're laughing, there are photos, there are shared and unidentified morsels. I think there was wine. We don't stop. We talk all the way to the cinema, we wear the polarised glasses well before we get into the 3D cinema - it's completely nerdy and we're on such a high we don't care. In fact they're so bad they're fabulous.

We laugh through the movie, though not everyone in the cinema does, and run in the pouring rain that greets us as we leave, still wearing the sunnies, still on a high and it feels like we're in our own little movie, the rest of the world the extras.

Saying goodbye to our Melbourne-bound friend is the sad end to the screenplay, it was a great film and I'm looking forward to the sequel.
It can't come soon enough.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Mannervescence

Those in Australia will have seen the stunning 'schweppervescence' ads (see below). I'm waiting for the next campaign more along the lines of the above photo.
I'd drink to that.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A Single Man



I was lucky enough to be invited to see a preview of A Single Man at the Open Air Cinema in Sydney on the weekend. Sitting outdoors with Sydney Harbour, The Opera House and Harbour Bridge before you is always a great way to spend the evening, but with a screen that pops up and plays a movie as divine as A Single Man, it's perfect. But then there was the rain... Thankfully ponchos were provided to keep us less wet, I've worn quite a few of these over the years, but the rain didn't dampen the impact of the movie. Beautifully filmed, exquisitely acted and moving, right from the start, with an element of tension right through. I highly recommend it. Tom Ford's directorial debut is an impressive display of his diverse talent.
A Superchilled 4 stars.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

absent gay men

Eight and a half months into parenthood, life continues at pace, an accelerated pace. The tiny helpless baby is now manipulating objects, connecting with people and three times the size of day zero, pulling heartstrings even more than at birth. I've been thrilled at the excitement people have had to be a part of the experience and similarly surprised at the lack of interest from many gay friends. Though some other gay dads have been awesome (though not uniformly) it's our straight and lesbian friends who have taken a much keener interest. The greatest support and excitement has come from the straight community including colleagues, patients and local community. The overwhelming response from gay male friends has been their absence. I sometimes wonder why that is. Sure there is the maternal factor, but the straight guys are also more involved and supportive. Some friends haven't even seen our daughter since she was born. I understand it's our choice to do the whole parenting thing, but with an increasing trend to gay parenting I have wondered what the issue is? Some guys still think parenting needs to be with a man and a woman - though we have 2 men and one woman - or a married family unit. Some may have issues with their own paternal ambitions having been given up long ago, others may just have no interest in kids at all. Issues from prior relationships with women and children may be a factor for others. Maybe this is just my own experience, does anyone else have an opinion or experience of this?

I'm enjoying being a dad, its a hell of a lot of fun. My sense of community though, is changing.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Beached As

Brilliantly composed this image has all the elements I crave for a chilled out time by the beach. I think I might book this in for next weekend. The week though - hellishly busy!



Saturday, 30 January 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Sydney Mardi Gras organisers have sent a promo for this year's Mardi Gras, below. If you're tired of the northern chill maybe you should think about heading down for bit of southern hemisphere warmth and hospitality. You know you want to.


4min 3 sec

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Rough Looks

There's something about the unshaven look coupled with sparkling visual clarity that just takes your breath away, as these photos demonstrate. Of course if you're still breathing you may decline to vote - otherwise you may like to pick the man who takes your breath most away.


Michael Fitt


Michael Brent


Luke Guldan

Rodrigo Guiaro Diaz

Rough Look 5





This one's for you Geoff.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Small strokes, big steps and Bondi.

As a kid I grew up in a seaside suburb, but I never really spent a lot of time at the beach. Sure there'd be days we'd head down for a swim, but not as a regular thing. I was more inactive, a little overweight, and more introverted really. I could swim, but I never competed save for the yearly school swimming carnival and now and again the next level if I freaked a good lap time there. Training? Did people really do that? I certainly didn't feel at home at the beach or wherever there were swim squads or other sporting pursuits.

So today is a life far removed from my childhood. Above and below are photos of Bondi beach today (somewhat modified as you can see) after the ocean swim that was today's competition. I started swimming in senior high school when I realised I was a bit overweight and needed to do something about it. Training on my own I started cycling to school (it wasn't all that close to home) and then after school to the 25m pool which had me gasping at the end of each lap. It gradually grew from there, still without any formal training, occasionally with friends but no real physical challenge. Then in preparation for the gay games in 2002 in Sydney I agreed with a friend to train for it - actually go the whole hog, squads, gym, the works. He didn't continue but I kept on and ultimately competed successfully (it was a lot of fun but some seriously hard work too). I had broken my own self created mould. I'd become a competitive athlete. With time my love for things aquatic continues to grow, I live by the water, swim daily whether it be in the waves with crowds, on my own with the sharks, in the pool with fellow trainers or with with 7 month old Amélie who just this weekend got to try on her new goggles (and loved them). And on days like today compete with people who used to be completely foreign to me. I'm still that other guy too, but I do more things now and I love it.

Life is a series of small steps. Sometimes though we need to take bigger steps and see where we land. The start of the year is a great chance to take some new steps, then see where we are come December.