66 shades of grey

66 shades of grey
66 shades of grey ... this pic of me was shot by Kim, of Kim Thomsen's Photography at Daly Waters in the Northern Territory. Kim just wandered over and asked whether it was OK to get some character shots.


The cross is in front of the church in Karumba and it seems TV antennas have a greater reach for the sky.


I went fishing out of Nhulunbuy on the Gulf of Carpentaria. We anchored in a bay about 10 hours from Nhulunbuy and went ashore. This poor fella had been snared in the locals' overnight net and then had a run-in with the resident 14-foot saltwater croc - named Nike by the local indigenous fellas - and came off second best.

the rock

the rock

oodnadatta track

oodnadatta track
What a tough place to live ... this is out on the Oodnadatta Track


My photo
G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Surprise right on thong

The bearings in my clothes dryer have seen better days (a bit like me really … yeah I’ve occasionally lost my bearings, too) and I’m kind of between the devil and the deep-blue sea. I can’t be bothered getting it repaired because I’m outta here sooner rather than later and it would probably mean one less case of wine I could have on the road, given what the repair would likely cost.
But I nonetheless use it now and then when the weather isn’t conducive to drying stuff in the sunshine. OK, it grinds sometimes, sometimes not (a bit like me really).
So it was last weekend. Liam and I had done all of our washing (and there was plenty of it) and he offered to take it to the laundrette up the street to use the dryers.
No big deal.
He buggered off with the load of clothes and I did the only sensible thing; I opened a bottle of wine.
Pretty soon he was back with everything dry. Unusually, I had a fit of “put the washing away immediately” despite the lure of the wine and the chance to do it later.
As I was sorting through it (I took my glass of wine with me anyway), I thought “This isn’t mine”. It was a very feminine-looking, multi-coloured thong (Playboy label).
“Is there something you want to tell me?” I asked Liam. “Or did one of your friends leave this behind [not that it would cover a behind]?”
“Nah,” he said, “nothing to do with me.”
Just imagine a bloke in a relationship doing the washing and getting home with a mystery thong. I’m not sure that he wouldn’t be deep in the shit.
“Nothing to do with me” reminded me of a time that I loaned my company car (yeah, those were the days) to a bloke in our office. He had it for a while (OK, I got a replacement car) and when he returned it, my wife (about a week later) found a very flash pair of women’s shoes under the front passenger seat.
I got the third degree, not to mention the fourth and fifth degrees, and pleaded my innocence … well, I was innocent, but she wasn’t happy.
I challenged the bloke who borrowed the car and he said: “Nothin’ to do with me. I’ve never seen them.” Yeah, I thought, thanks for that, you bastard. He went on to become coach of a national league soccer team and win a title (I’d given him a few titles, none of them complimentary). I went on to divorce. I’m pretty sure the shoes didn’t play a part in that but you never know.
The moral of the story is: be tidy. Don’t leave shit around. You just never know who you may get into trouble.

We had a quiet dinner last week: an intimate gathering of 35 friends at Old Kingdom restaurant in Fitzroy.
OK, I reckon it is the noisiest restaurant I’ve been in … it rivalled but then went way beyond Nobu on the noise level register (there’s a yarn about Nobu somewhere on the blog).
And it looked like a pisspot’s convention. I’m reliably assured that there were 72 bottles of wine at our three tables.
There were spring rolls and prawn crackers aplenty before the main event. The deal with the main meal was that it started with Peking duck, then stir-fried duck, then duck soup with tofu and veg bits. Oh, and there were plates of greens, bowls of ribs and something else I can’t remember.
Our table of 10 got through five ducks, carved at the table, a pile of pancakes and spring onions and cucumber and seemingly a litre of sauce. Liam has the appetite of three men and it did him in. It was one of the few occasions I’ve ever seen him knock back food.
It was the first time in a while that I’ve caught up with my friend Andrew McUtchen (do a Google search for his website and have a listen to some of his music), who has featured a few times on this blog … he’s a great singer, songwriter, athlete, feature writer and soon-to-be first-time dad … and, among other things, he’s also a great bloke.
He let it slip that he’s soon off to New York.
“I’m there for 48 hours,” he said, “to interview Roger Federer.”
“You’re what?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said, “I get to spend a day with him.”
Tough gig, that. I hope he gets to have a hit with him. Knowing Andrew’s sporting prowess, it wouldn’t surprise me if he takes the odd game off the champ. I’m looking forward to the story.

I was recently at the market buying goodies to make a huge feed of my favourite winter warmer, laksa.
Now, I’m a regular at this particular market stall and the service (and certainly the produce) is good.
After a couple of laps of the shelves, I was done and, with a basket full of goodies, headed off to pay.
There was the girl who usually serves me (she’s always up for a chat) … she was on her haunches, busily smearing lip balm all over her mouth. She stood up and said: “Sorry about that. I’m ready.”
You may be ready, I thought to myself, but I’m not ready to have you handling my food until you’ve at least washed your hands or at least put on some latex gloves.
She smiled. I said: “Nah, I’ll do another lap of the shop … there’s always something else to buy.” And then I headed to the other till, operated by her mother, who, as far as I could tell, hadn’t been applying lip balm or scratching her arse or whatever.

Liam and I did a shopping trip on Friday night to stock up the pantry with a bulk buy of cans of diced tomatoes, bottles of passata, a few hundred teabags, six kilograms of dried pasta, a case of bourbon and Coke cans and, among other things, a four-kilogram slab of pork belly, which we planned to have for dinner last night.
Saturday dawned too early (yeah, I was up before seven) and I got through the domestics before heading off for an appointment with the hairdresser (he gets the shits when I call him a barber).
“So, what’s the deal?” he asked, “Are we actually cutting any off this time?”
Given that my last trip there was to get the colour ramped up (no cutting), I said to him: “Right, it’s time for a haircut.” His eyes lit up.
He happily hacked away for a while and then said: “That’s it. That’s just enough off. I’m done.”
Not so fast, Muchamba (Seinfeld fans will get that), “get those scissors back and cut some more”.
“I don’t want you pissed off with me. How much more should I cut.”
“Thin the sides out, cut it so you can see my ears, take some more off the back, but leave the rat’s tail,” I said.
It’s the first time in about 18 months that I’ve had short hair, but I kinda like it. Don’t know how I’ll cope with the frostbite on my ears, but it’ll grow. Liam has been enlisted to put some beads into the rat’s tail over the weekend. Once a hippie, always a hippie … that’s me.  
The young fella took on kitchen duties last night for the pork extravaganza. He prepared lots of vegies to roast, including two full heads of garlic and just half of the pork … still, that’s two kilograms of beast.
We’d eased our way through a bottle of Mr Mick Tempranillo (reckon it’s not named after me but what the hell) as a warm-up before I opened a bottle of 2000 Penfolds Bin 389 to let it breathe for an hour or so.

Soon, it was pork o’clock. Sweet mother of Jesus. How good was this beast?
We each tucked into a huge plate of goodies and surprise, surprise, I cleaned my plate, unlike Liam.
We were both sitting there, belts undone, and moaning.
“It’s the nearest you can get to OD-ing on food,” said Liam. “It’s kind of like the dog that’s broken into the feed bag and emptied it.”

The Bin 389 (it sells for about 80 or so bucks … it had been in my wine cupboard for a while) was a cracker.
Wine Spectator said: “ Starts out dark and dense, but quickly finds a sense of elegance that lets the pepper-and-liquorice-scented blackberry and cherry flavours come sailing through, echoing beautifully on the firm, fine-grained finish.”
I certainly got the pepper and liquorice, but also a nice hint of leather (not an unpleasant thing) … OK, I’m not a wine wanker. This was a bloody good drop and a great way to end the night.

A mate recently sent this to me. It needs to be shared.
New Zealand officials have released a list of baby names put forward by parents that were rejected because they were too bizarre or offensive, including "Lucifer" and "Mafia No Fear".
The list of 77 names reveals one child was set to be called "Anal" before the Department of Internal Affairs vetoed the proposal, while another narrowly avoided being dubbed "." or full stop.
Other names on the list included "4Real", "V8", and "Queen Victoria".
In some cases, parents appeared to have lost any inspiration for coming up with a moniker for their offspring, wanting to call the latest addition to the family simply "2nd", "3rd" or "5th".
The department's rules forbid any name that might imply a child holds an official title or rank, so "King", "Duke" and "Princess" were among those that had been turned down most since 2001.
"Justice" was the most popular, having been rejected 62 times, although "Justus" and "Juztice" also failed to gain official approval.
In 2008, New Zealand's family court ordered that a nine-year-old girl whose parents had called her "Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii" should have her name changed because it was embarrassing and "makes a fool of the child".
At the time, judge Rob Murfitt criticised parents who gave their children bizarre names, citing examples such as "Number 16 Bus Shelter", "Midnight Chardonnay" and twins called "Benson" and "Hedges".

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