S R Silcox - Author

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Category: Sunday Sesh (page 2 of 4)

Sunday Sesh #22 – 28 Pale Ale

This Sunday’s Sesh is brought to you by 28 Pale Ale, brewed by the Burleigh Brewing Company. The one thing I love about boutique breweries is the way they name their beers. Other brews in the stable include Big Head (claimed to be Australia’s first no-carb beer), the Black Giraffe (a black coffe brew) and an English style bitter called My Wife’s Bitter.

28 Pale Ale

The blurb for this one says it’s a 70’s style pale ale. Well, I wasn’t around for most of the 70’s but if I was, I would have enjoyed this beer. It pours alot like softdrink – you can see the bubbles flying up the inside of the glass, as well as the size of the head – but it’s all beer. It’s quite bitter, but smooth, and tastes very home-brewy. This is the kind of beer if you’d brewed it yourself, you’d brag about it.

I really enjoyed this one and will be adding this to my favourites to buy again in the future.
We’re on the cusp of the end of the cricket season, and the beginning of the footy season here in Aus. How do I know? The NRL Allstar football match was on last night, and we’re into the Tri-series One-dayers in the cricket.

Just before the Aus v India one-dayer started today, I caught the end of a charity cricket match in Wollongong, started by Adam Gilchrist three years ago. He had a few big names playing – Wendell Sailor, Merv Hughes, Darren Lehman to name a few – as well as some women’s cricketers and locals.

It made me wonder, what happened to the old testimonial cricket match when a big-name player retired?

The teams for these matches were typically composed of retired players, football players from all codes, a few women’s reps and media identities. The line-ups were enough to bring in bumper crowds, just to see all those big names together on one field.

I know we can’t do that every time one of our players retires, but I think we need to take a leaf out of the NRL play book, and reinstate a charity match at the very least. It’s something that could be the official opener of the cricket season, getting us prepped for the upcoming tour matches, and getting us excited about summer to come.

Twenty/20 has made cricket more popular since it’s inception, and it’s because it’s extremely exciting to watch. I love my test matches, but I also love sitting down and watching a match that has a result in under three hours.

Why not combine the excitement of T/20 cricket with the fun of watching league, soccer and AFL players pit their wits against the likes of Shane Warne and Brett Lee? It showcases the game at it’s most basic level – and that is how anyone can pick up a bat and a ball and have a go.

It does beg the question though – who would you have in your team?

Sunday Sesh #21 – Coopers Clear

This Sunday’s Sesh is Wifey’s choice, and is brought to you by Coopers Clear. I shouldn’t be surprised that she chose this, since it’s a low-carb drop. Wifey’s exact words were “I’ve got to look after your figure”. Ain’t that that truth, since I probably don’t look after it as much as I should. As long as someone is though, it’s all good.

Coopers Clear Low-Carb

This one’s a little surprise packet. It pours quite well, and has a light creamy head that disappears pretty quickly. It has a very pale straw colour, which is an indication of how light and refreshing it is.

My first impression was that it was a bit watery, but after a few sips, it went down quite well. It’s another one that seems a little shandy-ish, but it’s still bitter enough to give a bit of bite. There’s very little after taste, and I’m glad Wifey bought a 6-pack of this one.

Hopefully the weather warms up enough to enjoy the other five on the deck in the sun.

Recommended for hot, balmy days. Better than the Bitburger if you’re after something light.
This week saw those of us who are lucky enough to live Down Under celebrating Australia Day. It’s a day of mixed feelings for some, and I think everyone has their own take on it.

We celebrated with friends on our new deck with a BBQ and a few cold ones, with general banter and catching up. It’s always great to have a public holiday (most would say there’s not enough of them), and since it fell on a Thursday, there were more than a few that would have continued with another great Aussie tradition, and had a sickie on the Friday after.

As well as general celebrations, we also award Aussie of the Year to someone who embodies all things great about Australia. Previous winners have come from all walks of life – singers, sportsmen/women, doctors, artists, medical researchers, Aboriginal Community Leaders and actors.

The 2012 award went to actor Geoffrey Rush, and it wasn’t without controversy. There has been a small backlash about who should have won the top accolade, and there were many fitting finalists, any of whom I would have been proud to have won.

The thing that amazed me about the backlash though was that people thought we “could do better” than award the top gong to an actor. In other words, being an actor – someone so highly paid for portraying others on the small and big screens – should preclude a person from receiving a national award.

Some people even went as far as questioning why, when he’d won enough film industry awards, we should then also award him Australian of the Year.

Take a look at his short profile on the Australian of the Year website, and you’ll see he’s much more than an actor.

His winners speech was also held up to scorn, because he dared to mention an issue most of us have an opinion on – asylum seekers and refugees – and said that maybe we should get some of their stories out “there” on screen so those of us with no real idea of their experiences and plight may get some sort of insight.

Geoffrey Rush is an artist – a highly paid one, and a very bloody good one. That shouldn’t preclude him from receiving any type of award.

It also shouldn’t mean that he doesn’t have a right to an opinion on things that affect his homeland, no matter where in the world he lives.

I saw this type of thing a while back, when Cate Blanchett came out in support of the effort to slow global warming. Various commentators were up in arms that an actress would dare to have an opinion, and would assume to throw her support behind one side or the other.

Would anyone suggest that someone who works in the mining industry shouldn’t have an opinion on global warming or environmental issues? What about those in the financial sector? Should they only be allowed an opinion on the economy and nothing else?

Regardless of what people do for a living, or how much they earn from it, we should never question their right to have an opinion, no matter what the issue.

Of all the great things about our country, the one thing I cringe at is our ability to build someone up, only to tear them down again. It seems you can reach for the stars, but you should never get too bug for your boots.

Although, if we all worried about what others would think of us if we succeeded “too much”, we wouldn’t have anyone to award Aussie of the Year to, would we?

Sunday Sesh #19 – One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale

This Sunday’s Sesh is brought to you by James Squire’s One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale. I can’t provide a link because on the Malt Shovel website, the pale ale hasn’t been added for some reason, and on the only other site (called The Squires Bounty), there’s nothing about the actual beer – just an advertisement for its launch last year.

Anyhoo, the review.

James Squire’s One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale

This is another winner from the James Squire stable. It’s light and a little cloudy and not much head and smell crisp and fruity. Very refreshing and easy to drink, and went down a little to quickly to be honest.
It’s just a little sweet – almost shandy-ish, but not quite. Highly recommend this one.

I think the lesson here is, if its a James Squire, you won’t be disappointed.

Continuing on from last week’s post about goal-setting for the new year, I’ve downloaded and read (on my sparkly new kindle) a couple of books that I hope will assist me in building my “author platform”. In other words, how to get people to like me and buy my books, and how to get THOSE people to tell OTHER people to buy my books.

It’s going to be a hard slog. I’m under no illusions, however, that it will be any different from writing my books – a marathon rather than a sprint – and damn hard work.

If you’re interested, the books are How I Sold a Million Books in 5 Months by John Locke, and two books by Kristen LambWe Are Note Alone and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer.

If you’re at all interested in writing and particularly in self-publishing, I highly recommend all three books. John’s is very similar to Kristen Lambs, but John gets you fired up and Kristen Lamb sits you back on your rear and tells you like it is.

Anyway, there will be a few changes around the blog over the next few months. As I said last week, the Sunday Sesh’s will continue, and that’s because I enjoy writing them. And yeh, ok, I also enjoy the beer.

They will be the only blog posts on here for the next month or so though (unless something really takes my interest), as I re-design the blog and the direction I want it to go in. I need to re-focus on my writing as well, and it all needs to start overlapping. I’ve started the hard slog towards defining who my readers are, and I now need to work out where they hang out after work. That’s harder than I first thought, but it has also helped me to decide where to focus my efforts with regards to which of my (currently) 18 ideas I will concentrate on over the next year or two to build my audience.

Enough of my writing plans though, because I want to tell you, if you’re after a fast-paced, fun and dangerously addictive read, you need to check out John Locke’s Donovan Creed novels. I downloaded and read two in two days, and I am just waiting for my book budget to tick back over into the black to buy the rest of them. They are purely entertainment, so if you’re after literary genius, they’re not for you. And at 99c a pop for the kindle editions, what’s not to like? They’re also in paperback, so you don’t need an e-reader to enjoy them.
Donovan Creed, Locke’s main character, is a gun-for-hire and is strangely endearing, even if he does have better relationships with prostitutes than real women, and even if he is happy for people to get their come-uppance.

My pick of the two I’ve read so far is Wish List. Without going into too much detail, it’s about a group of friends who enter their wishes onto a website, never thinking for a moment that they would start to come true. As always where Donovan Creed is concerned, there are consequences. This book had me cringing and laughing out loud. Very highly recommended.

That’s enough from me this week. I have to decide what beer I’m reviewing next week, since the cupboard is bare. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to give them a go. I’m always after recommendations on what to stock my beer shelf (ok, shelves) with, so don’t be shy.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,

Sunday Sesh #18 – New Year’s Double-down

Since last Sunday was a dry sesh because of Christmas, this weekend is a double-down. That’s right – two beers in one Sesh. Incidentally, Christmas wasn’t exactly “dry”, as much as I just never got the chance to write about the beers I drank while I was home. So anyway, here are the first two beers of the New Year.

First off the rank is a Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale.

Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale

This one is a big brew, and there’s not much pale about it. It’s a dark golden colour, smelling fruity and citrusy – fresh enough for summer.

It’s got some big flavours but it’s not overwhelming as you might expect. There’s a bitterness that lasts a little while, but it’s not too over-powering. They say to have this with roast meats, but I accompanied my beer with a rump steak and veg. It went down quite nicely and suited the steak well.

I will have this one again, but it won’te become one of my regulars.

The second of today’s beers is from James Squire – Stow Away IPA (India Pale Ale) – quite appropriate since we’re hosting a four test series against them this summer, but I digress.

James Squire Stow Away IPA

This also pours quite well, with a frothy but light head. You can see the big difference in these two is the carbonation, but they’re almost identical in colour.

The IPA is drier and has a lot stronger bitterness in the aftertaste. It’s not too bad though, and I could have a couple of these on a hot day. It also smells a bit like potpourri out of the bottle, as well as wet paper – doesn’t make sense to me either, but that’s what I could smell.

I prefer the Alpha over the IPA, but I wouldn’t say no to either of them if they were offered.

Today’s sesh marks the first day of 2012. New Year is normally when most of us take stock of what we’ve done with the last year and in particular, how we’re going to lose the weight we’ve gained over the Festive Season.

I plan on having a big year in 2012, but I’m not one to make resolutions. I think they’re a fast way to failure. I do, however, believe in goal-setting – something I’ve been lacking over the past year or so. I’ve been coasting a little, going with the flow and seeing where it takes me. It hasn’t been too bad this last year, but 2012 is the year I take the wheel back and start to steer for myself.

The one thing I do want to get done is a revision of my writing plan. I wrote one at the start of last year that more or less just said that I wanted to prioritise my writing. I managed to do that more than I have in previous years, but this year it will go further. One of the major changes will be to set a writing schedule, and stick to it.

I will also start introducing myself to people as a “writer” instead of an “accountant”. At some point, I’m hoping that my brain starts to believe it and allows me to start acting like a writer instead of an accountant – not that being an accountant is a bad thing, but it’s just not what I want to be when I grow up.

I’m excited about being a writer this year instead of an accountant, and I’m excited about what I hope to achieve. One of the last things I did in 2011 (oh so far away now) was to go through my ideas – books, notes, napkins, post-its etc – and write them down on note-cards. Some of them have working titles, others just start with “The one about…”. I’ve added short synopses on each of them so I know what they’re about, and because of that, I feel a bit more organised already.

The other thing I realised is that I can no longer tell anyone I don’t have any ideas. I actually have 18 of them. That’s 18 novels that are waiting to be written. It blew me away when I realised, and the thing is, I only wrote down the ones that had “formed” to a point where I had a couple of characters, plot points and a general idea. I have a tonne of other ideas that are still percolating in the furthest reaches of my brain. The other thing is, a couple of those ideas are looking more and more like they could be great as series, so who knows how many books 18 ideas can turn into.

With that in mind, and safe in the thought that at any time I feel I can’t write anything I can just pull out a new note-card and start working on something different, I’m heading into 2012 with renewed vigour and energy,and particularly, enthusiasm, for my writing.

Blog-wise, I’m still pottering along trying to balance what I want to write about and writing about a lot less on “me”. There’ll be a few changes – not least of which when Summer is over, there will be no more Sunday Sesh’s, but I’m kicking around a few ideas to take its place over the colder months – perhaps reviewing coffee in the local cafes, or even better, the hot chocolates.

I’m also looking at blogging more on writing and my journey, almost as a journal, and I definitely want to include more extracts so you can see what I’ve been working on.

I’m also considering a weekly post on something topical – politics, scandals, something to get passionate about. I’ve enjoyed writing about gay marriage this year, not least of which because it affects me directly, but also because I’m passionate about it. I’m passionate about a lot of other things though, and I want to step side-ways a little and post more on the things that make me cringe, face-palm, laugh-out-loud, and yell at the television.

Apart from that, there are a host of other things that I’d like to achieve this year, but rather than bore you with the details, I’ll let you go and nurse your hangovers, and if you didn’t overdo it last night, pay out on those who did.

Plus, I need to get back to renovating. We’re now on a fast-track to getting the house finished as we’re on a dead-line. As we speak, power tools are whining away in the back yard cutting timber and drilling holes for the deck. The ceiling has been fixed and patched, so my painting skills are being called on.

It will be great to get the house finally finished, but we may not get to stick around to enjoy our hard work for very long. As I said earlier, I think this year will yield big things, so stay tuned.

Happy new year, and until next Sunday’s Sesh,

Sunday Sesh #17 – Five of the Best

So unfortunately, this is my second Sunday Sesh with no beer, since I am bogged down getting ready for Santa’s arrival and a road-trip home. I will, however, do a double-beer Sunday Sesh next weekend, so keep an eye out for that one.

Last week I promised you something special, and I hope you agree that this one is exactly that.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day and marks the first day of the Boxing Day test in Melbourne against the Indians. It’s no secret that Boxing Day is my favourite day of the year – closely followed by Christmas and then my birthday. Then there’s End of Financial Year Day (for the accountants out there), but I digress.

Since as I write this, no cricket has yet been played, I thought I’d bring you some crickety goodness by rehashing some of my favourite classic catches. My top five in fact. These videos are all thanks to youtube (what did we ever do without it?).

So, counting down from…

Number 5

Paul Collingwood shows off his amazing reach against the Aussies in 2005 to dismiss Matt “The Bat” Hayden.

Collingwood was a great fieldsman, and this rates as one of his best.

Number 4

You can’t have a classic catches reel without including one of our best ever gully fieldsman, Mike Hussey. He’s pulled off some unbelievable catches and saves back there, but this one rates as one of his best. Reflex catches look pretty awesome, but judging a catch going over your head is deceptively hard. As usual, Hussey makes it look easy – but he does do it one-handed, just for kicks.

Number 3

This next one from Dinesh Kartick of India, to dismiss Graham Smith of South Africa. Smith can’t believe his bad luck. As you’ll hear the commentator say, Kartick is one of those frustrating players who can produce moments of brilliance out of his back-side, but drops the simplest of catches under no pressure. Again, catching a ball behind you isn’t easy, but he makes it look like a piece of cake.

Number 2

We’re travelling back in time to 1999 at the MCG for this one.

Mark Waugh – need I say more? Mark Waugh goes down as one of our best fieldsman of all time. He produced some brilliant catches in slip, but this one at short cover defies belief. The hand-eye co-ordination required to make a catch like this stick could only be pulled off by a soccer goalkeeper, which Junior was before he chose cricket.

Also, watch the way Shane Warne moves his field around. Not one player remains unchanged – this catch is equally down to Warne getting into the head of the batsman – in this case, Nick Knight of England.

Number 1

Paul “Fatty” Vautin, football legend, and hero to backyard cricketers everywhere, thanks to this screamer taken in the Allan Border Testimonial match in 1993. This is a bit of pure Queensland genius. Tim Horan, caught Vautin, bowled Langer.

Why does this rate as my number one, above the “real” cricket catches and against some that are arguably much better? Simply because this is the thing us backyard cricketers do every summer, without cameras and without the crowds. We’re legends in our own minds and families, and catches like these in backyards, parks and cul de sacs all over Australia go down into family folk lore and legend, getting better and better with each retelling.

Incidentally, stick around after they replay the catch to hear Fatty’s comments.

One thing before I wrap up – what ever happened to these testimonial matches? I think a charity match for the McGrath foundation or something similar each year, maybe to kick off the summer or to wrap it up would be brilliant. I love seeing all sorts of sports men and women have a go at cricket. It’s a great equaliser, and nothing draws people from around the neighbourhood like the screams of “Howzat!” and the thump of a piece of wood on a tennis ball covered in electrical tape on one side.

What do you think? Any catches I’ve missed? And what do you think about bringing back testimonials or charity matches?

Finally, Merry Christmas everyone, and until next Sunday’s Sesh,

Sunday Sesh #16 – Bee Sting

This Sunday’s Sesh is brought to you by Bee Sting Honey Wheat beer, brewed by Barossa Valley Beer.

I’ve tried a honey-infused beer in the past – Beez Neez brewed by one of my favourite breweries, Matilda Bay – and I have to say, Beez Neez wins the battle of these two beers hands down.

Bee Sting by Barossa Valley Beer

If you like good head, this is the beer for you!

As you can see from the picture above, it poured like a soft-drink out of the bottle. Now I’m pretty gentle with my pour, but this foamed up like I was pouring it over ice-cream. The head was higher than the beer in the glass, so I had to wait until it settled a bit before I poured again. And when I poured the last of it, it foamed up again, the bubbles racing up the sides of the glass.

There’s no real hint of the honey until you’ve almost finished, and the aftertaste lingers right off the bat. It starts to get better the more you drink, but the bitterness is quite a shock at first.

To be a little fair though, it suggests to drink this with spicey asian food or BBQ’d meats, and I can see how the bitterness would cut through something like a marinated steak, so I might give this another go next time we have a BBQ.

This Sesh marks the last Sunday before Christmas, which means Wifey and I have been busy doing odd jobs around the house (which is why this Sesh is late, again!).

Today, I played apprentice to Wifey’s superior skills as a concreter/paver. That meant I did things like dropping globs of concrete onto bricks instead of in the cracks where it was meant to be, starting jobs and not finishing them, and not cleaning up properly when we were finished.

In return, Wifey sent me to Mitre 10 for a left-handed screw-driver and a long wait, gave me the shit jobs and cursed at me under her breath.

The girls supervised by finding the only shady spot under the wheelbarrow, and then dropping the ball at our feet wherever we walked.

Daisy supervises from the comfort of the wheelbarrow

We still have a million jobs to finish, but today we tackled some paving near our front gate. When we did the front fence, we ripped up the old concrete paving so we could grow grass, but that meant that we started to get a muddy patch where we came in at the gate.

We had a pile of bricks Wifey was hoarding from when she pulled down the back steps, so we thought we’d put our collective creativity in action (my brains and Wifey’s brawn) and put in a pretty little entrance to our abode.

Wifey mixes the concrete

The division of jobs went like this –

  • Wifey dug the hole
  • I sorted the bricks
  • Wifey checked the bricks and sent me back for more
  • I got more bricks
  • Wifey checked the bricks and sent me back for “prettier” ones
  • I thought “stick it”, but told Wifey we’d work with the bricks we had
  • Wifey set out the bricks
  • I re-set the bricks so they looked “rustic” rather then “linear”
  • Wifey rolled her eyes
  • Wifey mixed the concrete
  • I watched and played ball with Daisy and Rubes
  • Wifey showed me how to lay the concrete base and lay the bricks
  • I shovelled the concrete, dropping bits onto the bricks 
  • Wifey explained (patiently) why I shouldn’t drop big globs of concrete on the bricks
  • I rolled my eyes
  • Wifey asked if I wanted to lay some bricks
  • I said no, I’m just the apprentice
  • Wifey asked could I mix some more concrete
  • I said, no, I’m just the apprentice, I don’t know how to mix
  • I opened a bag of concrete and held the hose
  • Wifey mixed the concrete
  • I watched and played ball with Daisy and Rubes

Long story short, we managed to get the job done without too much drama, though Wifey tells me I started fading half-way through. It was hard though, coming up with the design, and after all my hard work I really did need a beer.

As you can see from the results below, we’re pretty stoked with how we did. No more muddy entrance and one less job to do.

Our new front entrance
The finished product

So that’s it from me for this Sunday. Next Sunday I’ll be busy catching up with fifty or so of my closest rellies on Boxing Day at a BIG family reunion. I’ll be prepared though and will have a special treat for you next Sunday, so keep an eye out for the next post.

Until next Sundays Sesh,

Sunday Sesh #15 – Old Speckled Hen

This Sunday’s Sesh brought to you by Old Speckled Hen, a UK brewed ale. This one was also a tip, by my mate in all things beer, Ang.
I bought a 6-pack of these, so I was hoping they were better than the last Pommy drop I had, Old Fart.

Old Speckled Hen Ale

This one is a dark golden colour, almost the colour of syrup. If you look closely at the bottle, you can see the gassy residue after the first pour.

It’s thinness disguises it’s heaviness. It’s frothy in your mouth, kind of like when you drink softdrink after you’ve had ice-cream. The first mouthful has a distinct and immediate taste of toffee, and it has a lingering bitterness that changes to burnt toffee by the last mouthful.

It’s not a bad ale this one for a Pommy beer, but it’s not something I’d drink in a session. One or two of these would be enough – after that the bitterness would get too much. It’s also one you could keep drinking even after it gets a little bit warm in the bottle or glass.

After finishing my first one, I switched to the Great Northern‘s I had in the fridge from last Sunday to enjoy the cricket with.

This third day of the second test marks fourteen more sleeps until Christmas, so I thought I would write about Christmas spirit this week. No, I’m not talking about the whiskey in the egg nog. I’m talking about the intangible stuff – the stuff we do for people just to make them feel good.

I was thinking back over Christmas’s past in an effort to come up with something funny and witty to write this weekend, when a story basically fell into my lap.

Quiet literally, I was the subject of a little bit of Christmas spirit this last week.

To put the following story in context for you, I’m not a big fan of shopping or shopping centres at the best of times. Christmas just annoys the bejeesus out of me. Too many people walking too slowly, and kids on school holiays gravitate to shopping centres, milling around everywhere, being collective pains in the rear.

I sound a bit like the Grinch, but I really do love Christmas. I just don’t like having to go out and shop amongst it.

Anyway, I was asked to run an errand for Wifey’s Aunt, which meant heading into one of those painful shopping centres to pick up a book, and then pop it in the post. Simple really, unless you’re me.

The girl who served me at the book store couldn’t find the book, until the lady I had spoken to on the phone came and served another customer and remembered me asking for it and where she put it.

Then for some inexplicable reason, I went onto autopilot and walked out the door and was half-way down the street when I realised that the post office was in the same building as the book shop. So, looking like a real goose I u-turned and went back inside and up to the post office.

I wanted to express post the package, but the post office only had HUGE express post bags and tiny document ones (very limited stock, annoys the heck out of me but it’s three blocks closer than the big PO). So I get a normal bag, fill out the addresses and go to stand in line (with the lunch rush of about thirty other people).
I’ve been suffering from sinus lately (thanks to the unseasonal crap cooler weather), so it wasn’t surprising that I sniffled a little bit. The mix of perfume and deodorants in that small PO didn’t help at all either. Anyway, my nose kept running a little so I fished around in my pockets but couldn’t grab the one and only tissue I had because it was underneath my phone – I have deep pockets.
I then did a very bad thing and sneakily just wiped with my finger, only to discover I had a nosebleed. I rush out to go to the toilets but realised that I hadn’t paid for the parcel. I’m standing there in the doorway, hand over my nose, probably looking like an idiot, and thankfully my common sense kicks in – sort of. I race over to the desk, ask if I can leave the parcel there and go to the toilet. She says that’s no problem.

As I rush back out the door I realise I’ve never actually been to the toilets in this centre, and I have no idea where they are, so as I run out the door, I’m scanning around for the signs. Thankfully, they’re on the same floor and just up a bit from the post office. I race off towards them, and there’s a woman, walking slowly, in front of me. The passage-way to the toilets isn’t exactly very wide, and there are people coming out as we’re going in, so I can’t get past without pushing her over.

Her self-preservation instinct must kick in because she turns, very slowly, and sees me rushing towards her. She puts her hand on the toilet door, and she holds it open for me, eyes popping and mouth open. I say a muffled thanks and rush into an empty loo. I plant myself on the seat, pull off wads of toilet paper and push them to my face.

Now, my nosebleeds can last a couple of seconds, or they can last nearly half an hour. They can go away, or they can come back multiple times, with a few hours. I’m hoping that it’s a short one, and I can get it under control at least in time to post the parcel and get back to work. It can bleed all it wants there.

So about this time when I’m listening to flushing and hand-washing going on around me, I remember the parcel, sitting all alone on the counter. I start admonishing myself. While I hadn’t paid for the envelope, I HAD paid for the book. I should have taken the book out of the envelope before I left, just in case, but I was so worried about not bleeding all over the carpet, I just wasn’t thinking straight.

Thankfully, my nosebleed doesn’t last long. I wait until I think all the stalls are empty (only a minute or two more) and go out to clean myself up. There’s one older lady at a sink pedantically washing her hands, and going through her handbag. I casually walk over to a sink, pull out some hand towels, wet them down and start dabbing at my nose. I can see the old lady in the mirror looking at me – she does that little furtive side-ways glance like she’s really curious but doesn’t want me to see that she’s trying not to look.

There’s something so B-grade-movie about cleaning blood off your face in a toilet. The child part of me wants to turn to the old lady and ask “What are you lookin’ at”, just to add to the atmosphere. 

I also have to be extremely careful not to set my nose off again – once it bleeds, it can be set off again without a moments’ notice – I have a very sensitive nose.

So I clean myself up (and the lady doesn’t quite back out of the toilets, but close enough) and I head back to the post office. When I get back the parcel is gone! My worst nightmare has just materialised.

So I’m thinking “That’s just great! It’s Christmas for goodness sakes!”. Actually, the language was a little worse than that but you get the picture. So anyway, I go up to the girl and I ask her what’s happened to it. Apparently, a lady who was standing in line saw me rush past her with my hands to my nose, and she asked the girl what happened when she got to the counter.

And she paid for it! She left the receipt though, so I could be sure it was paid for. How wonderful!!

It was then I thought “Wow! It really is Christmas”.

So thank you to the lady who made my crap day a little brighter and brought a bit of Christmas cheer last week.

Wifey says I now need to do something good for someone else, and I will certainly be looking for that opportunity should it present itself.

This little episode made me realise two things:

1. I’m too much of a pessimist this time of the year, and I need to start acknowledging the good instead of bleating on about the bad.

2. It’s always the smallest things that seem to matter the most.

That’s all for this Sunday’s Sesh, but I am curious – does anyone else have a story like this? I’d love to hear them.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,


Sunday Sesh #14 – Great Northern Lager

This Sunday’s Sesh brought to you by Great Northern Lager, brewed by CUB.

It’s also brought to you by a hot tip from my cousin Tiff.

Great Northern Lager

The thing about a clear bottle is that you have an immediate expectation that the beer inside it’s going to be quite light, and that’s about right with this one. It’s crisp and refreshing and went down well while watching the cricket. I normally prefer something heavier, but this one surprised me.

It’s quite thin, though not watery, so I could easily have a couple of these (and I just might since I bought a six-pack). At 1.1 standard drinks, I think this may be my new pick for “away” BBQ’s. And it would definitely be one I’d be happy to share with a few mates. Cheap enough too considering my taste for more expensive boutique beers.
After a huge response to my last post (I had two months’ worth of visitors to this site in the space of 24hrs), thanks to a big rant, I’ve decided to take it down a notch this weekend. By the way, thanks to everyone who shared the post and commented. I’m happy for you to share anything on here you think is good, or crap for that matter. That is, afterall, why I blog.

Summer has well and truly started. The First Test between the Aussies and Kiwis was a cracker – I found the ABC online broadcast and listened to it while I was at work for the first two days – and today I was finally able to sit down and watch it on the telly with a few beverages.

I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over in under five days, since I planned today and tomorrow around watching the cricket (ie doing nothing except watching and having a few beers).

However, I’m very happy to see the young bowlers doing well. Our future is certainly looking bright if we can get these boys to maintain some consistency. We’ll never find another combination like McGrath/Warne, but we now have a couple of young quicks who we’ll be able to start building a strong attack around. Nathan Lyon is also a find in the spin department. I think he’s the first young spinner we’ve had in the side that hasn’t been hailed as the new Warney. He has his own style and he’s shown he’s a great thinker.

Pattinson scoring the man-of-the-match was well-deserved I thought, since he built his attack well after a jittery start. I thought he had some good change-ups and proved that bowling to a plan no matter what’s happening with the batsmen produces results.

The Kiwis on the other hand were a bit disappointing. They did well to make it to 295 in the first innings, but they should have cleaned us up for just over 300 which should have left them in for a good finish. I’m glad we got stuck into them early on Day Four, but gees, they could’ve put up a bit of a fight at least. They have to stop leaving the heroics to Dan Vettori.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they can come up with in Hobart. I think the conditions will suit them more than the conditions at the Gabba did. I’ll also be looking forward to who the Aussie selectors pick for that Test, considering neither Hughes nor Warner fired. I think Hughes is sailing very close to the wind at the moment and he may be in a bit of trouble if Warner gets going.

The other thing I was impressed by was Clarke’s captaincy during the match. He made some great fielding decisions, produced a great captain’s knock with the bat, and made some great bowling changes. I still think he’s living a bit in Ricky Ponting’s shadow, and I think once Punter retires we’ll see the best of Clarke.

I’ve never been a fan of Clarke, since we really do like our captains to be stoic and a little bit cranky even, and Clarke really doesn’t fit that mould. But I think with the youngsters coming through now, we need a different type of captain. I think having the top job has added a different dimension to his game, and I think we’re yet to see his best.

That’s it for another Sunday Sesh. I’m off to hook into this Great Northern six-pack in preparation for going to Carols by Candlelight tonight with Wifey (and watch Wifey mows the lawn).

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,

Sunday Sesh #20 – My Lesbian Story brought to you by Cascade Blonde

This Sunday Sesh is brought to you by Cascade Blonde. I’ve had it in the cupboard for awhile from when I bought a Cascade sample pack before Christmas, and since I didn’t want to review all of the Cascades at once, I left this one til now. Plus, a friend of mine said I should give it a go, so this review’s for you, Alicia.

Cascade Blonde

Firstly, apologies for no Sunday Sesh last weekend. My real job, house stuff, business stuff and a prior engagement all conspired to whittle away most of my time over the last couple of weeks so that I ran out of it, and didn’t get a chance to post a blog.
However, I’m back to the beer-reviewing this week.

So, Cascade Blonde.
This one’s very fruity and crisp, slightly cloudy in the glass with a frothy head that slides down the glass as you sip. It’s another one that could almost be mistaken for a shandy because of it’s slight bitterness and very little after taste. It’s something you could drink easily in a session and not realise how many you’ve had. Good one for a hot day.

This post was inspired by a young’un I know who came out to all and sundry a little while ago, via facebook, no less. I’ve known her since she was a shy thirteen year-old, and to see her (and the rest of my former soccer team-mates from long times past) grow into the confident and crazy woman she is now is wonderful.

I was in my early twenties when I discovered I was a lesbian (still am, but that’s another story…)

It was at that moment I decided I would be a cat-lady – living by myself with a house full of feral cats in a derelict but eccentric house, terrorising children with my wild hair and icy stare.

Why? Because I would rather be single than run the gauntlet of lesbian dating. When you’re a lesbian, the field of potential partners is vastly smaller than if you’re straight. Plus, there’s always the danger of falling for a straight girl or getting mixed signals from the object of your desire who isn’t entirely sure if she plays for your team, or if she even wants to. (Again, another story for another time).

Granted, being a lesbian on the dating scene is probably easier than being a gay man on the dating scene. You’re far more likely, as a lesbian, to get a positive response from the object of your desire should they be straight, than if you’re a gay guy. Though the response of the object of your affection is in direct proportion with the size of the boyfriend, if she has one.

The other thing I realised early on was that it’s pretty hard to come out when you’re single. Quite simply, people tend not to believe you. They think it’s a phase (though this can happen even if you are with partner), or that you just haven’t met the right bloke yet. I realised pretty early on then, that it’s far easier to just not say anything, unless asked.

Funny thing about these types of decisions when you’re that age – something always happens to turn them upside down.

For me, that was meeting my wife. As she tells it, it was definitely not love at first sight. Me though? Well, she hid my beer (flirty little thing) and then after I cracked open a fresh one, the old one mysteriously reappeared. Kind of like when you’re in primary school and the boy who likes you pulls your hair, not because he hates you, but because he wants you to be his girlfriend.

I figured she wanted me to be her girlfriend, so I pursued her relentlessly. Meaning: I rang her for a ride home at various times in the wee hours when I was blind drunk, and skirted around the issue of my feelings for her. Apparently, as often happens, all our friends knew we liked each other, but we were both too, well, immature I suppose, to admit it. One night, at the pub, we just kind of started holding hands, and it spiralled from there.

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of big moves and overseas trips, a couple of false-start marriage proposals, a wedding, acquiring two gorgeous puppies and making a home together.

Turns out, my lesbian life is a lot different from the one I imagined when I was just coming to terms with my sexuality. Turns out, my relationship isn’t really anything different from my sisters’ relationships with their other halves, or my brother’s with his girlfriend. All that angst early on about not being “normal” was wasted energy.

Now I have bills to pay, a bank to keep happy with regular house payments, and a wife to keep happy with my baking. Not to mention two dogs who act out like spoiled children when we don’t spend time with them. How much more normal can you get?

I guess the lesson here is that if life throws you lemons, you can still have the white picket fence (if that’s what you want).

Sunday Sesh #13 – Cascade Pale Ale

Today’s Sunday Sesh is brought to you by Cascade Pale Ale.

This one was a light golden colour, and a little cloudy in the glass. Smells crisp and fresh, and went down well. Perfect for a stinking hot day on the Ridge. There was a slightly bitter aftertaste, but not too strong, and it didn’t stick around.

I wouldn’t say no to this one if someone offered me one.

So much to write about this week what with interesting happenings in Aussie cricket, as well as politics. But I want to start off with a rant – just a short one, I promise.

Does this tool make my butt look big? (Photo courtesy the Toowoomba Chronicle)

Every Saturday, there’s a little section in our local paper called “Tradie”. And every bloody weekend there’s a chick holding a tool. This isn’t just a gratuitous shot – it’s an ad for a tool they do a little speil on. They tell you what it is, what it’s used for, and who should use it.

For example, this one’s called a “nibbler” (Hmm, on second thoughts, maybe the model is a good choice…) Tradies that could use it include “shed builders, roofers and sheet fabricators.” Does she look like a shed builder? Or a metal fabricator?

So why does this annoy me so much? Well, I thought we’d grown out of this crap. It’s not Zoo magazine afterall.

Besides, does it really make you take any more interest in the tool she’s holding? Does it make you go “Oooh, I wonder what that tool does”? Do you even notice there’s a tool there somewhere? (Yes, I’m talking about you Lisa.)

I’d be more impressed if they got a real tradie chick to show off the tools. At least she’d actually know how to use it.

I mean, there’s no way she’d be able to use that tool with her nails. Plus, she’s holding it wrong. And she doesn’t even have any other tools in her tool belt.

Look, I know blokes dig chicks holding tools provocatively, but seriously? In a little regional newspaper? The only thing missing here is a little bit more cleavage to get the boys salivating over their morning coffee.

At least she’s got protection though I suppose. Those big tools can cause serious injuries if you’re not careful.

Ok, rant over.

Big news from Aussie cricket – we finally have a coach in South African Mickey Arthur.

Lots of people are up in arms at the thought of a non-Aussie taking the reins, but you know what? That just tells me that our stocks of home-grown coaches are very, very low. Besides, Mickey Arthur plotted our downfall as the South African coach last time the Proteas were out here. He’s done some good things with WA, so I’m interested to see how he goes with rebuilding our team.

I’m hoping he starts leaning on the older players to maybe drop back to state cricket to mentor the younger generation and elevate some of the younger players that have been toiling hard and waiting in the wings for someone to die.

Thanks to a bag full of injuries from the tour of South Africa, we might get to see some of those young guns taking central stage against the Kiwis. Dave Warner looks to finally have his chance to prove he’s not just a 20-over wonder-boy (and put some pressure on Phil Hughes), and we have some new quicks looking to make their mark with Ben Cutting, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.

It’s good to finally have some talent in our pace bowling stocks, but the big problem that still haunts us is injuries. And if the new coach can’t work out some way to keep our best on the park when they’re needed most, it’s going to be a long time before we can climb back up to No. 1.

There is one burning question I have though – does having a South African coach mean that whenever the Proteas are playing we should respectfully cheer for them over their opposition, as long as it’s not the Aussies? And does that mean that the South Africans should be doing the same, except in reverse?

What do you think? Happy for a South African to take the top job in Australian sport or not? And the other burning question – should Ricky Ponting call it a day and bow out gracefully in the second test in Hobart?

That’s it from me for this Sunday’s Sesh.

Until next Sunday,

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