Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No Stomach For Racing

A two week absence from updating the Blog may be put down to a combination of mild illness and political lassitude.
Now that the state election is over, one would hope things might return to relative normality (or perhaps even a Warren Harding type of Normalcy). The election itself proved fascinating only from an IT perspective. For the first time, I was able to follow the results via the government website, and also the excellent ABC online service. Naturally I could take only so much excitement, and adjourned at 7:30pm to watch "Borat" on DVD with Mrs BB. Overrated (the movie, not the activity).
I imagine we'll now be treated to another leadership challenge, this time - finally - from Barry O'Farrell who brings a much broader perspective to NSW. While Debnam has a narrow Vaucluse-focused view, Barry brings the wider picture, living with the real people on the North Shore. Rather than the upmarket Audi, he represents the common 5-series BMW man in the street.

The powers that be are back in charge.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Exercise has been consistent, yet difficult. Some rogue virus which provided sufficient nuisance to bring on nausea, headaches, tiredness, chills and other flu-like symptoms enabled me to struggle out the door for a run/jog often enough, but not to compete in this month's 3k time trial at Roxborough Park.

Making steady progress, I decided to test the knee and cycle. Managed 35k last Sunday, most of the way to Windsor on the new roadside bikepath.

Running, as stated, has been consistent, with a mixture of 8k 6am Clean Street jaunts during the week, and longer hit outs on weekends. These were 13k/14k runs along the T-Way towards Parramatta. Saturday was memorable. After a busy Friday evening (see later), I headed out at 11am for a 14k towards Parramatta. Made Winston Hills before gratefully accepting a lift home from Mrs BB and YD.
Family-wise, an action-packed week saw YD singing with the school choir at the opening of the local shopping centre.

Friday night brought forth the annual School Trivia Night and Fancy Dress. The theme was Hollywood. Our table was Austin Powers. I was Dr Evil, Mrs BB was Felicity Shagwell. She won the prize for best dressed female - along with best 60's dance step, and perhaps most significant contribution to alcohol consumption. Oh, we came 5/22 in the trivia.

It has also been a little strange in Blogland. Miners did his best Borat impression on 22/03. Marcia introduced tough new Playplace Agreements to her grandson's birthday party on 24/03.
Tesso keeps running longer and faster than someone our age should be able to, in preparation for the Canberra Marathon. 2P is touring by heffalump in Thailand. Go Girl hasn't blogged for two months but is alive, as she keeps bumping into Mrs BB while exercising. Hope she's recovered from her Six Foot injuries. GR is training hard for Canberra, knocking over 36k runs easily.
And recommended: for fearless political commentary and other musings: this blog. Droll, as can be the comments.
If you're still here, and for some reason clamouring for details on my books and music: Rumpole(still) and 10CC's Look Hear.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
"Exit, stage left"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yes Virginia there is a Santo Clause

Honest John's attacks on St Kevin have backfired, with Labor's standing in recent polls increasing. No more amusement likely from HJ there. However, it would seem that HJ has a new, refined Ministerial Accountability standard. It would seem that you can be sacked for speaking with Brian Burke for 20 minutes, but not for holding shares in a company trading within your portfolio's sphere, which used to be seen as A Conflict Of Interest.

Not so if you forgot you had them. Santo Santoro, Minister For Ageing, did and later remembered he forgot. He then fessed up and sold them, donating the profits to a right wing lobbyist family group he chose to classify as a Charity (although the Tax Office rejects that definition).

JH defended him as an honourable man, setting things aright. It would seem that he is getting his definitions confused. Perhaps he read this and thought those using an honorific are, by definition, honourable. Still, the Santo Clause is bound to generate much entertainment for the next few days.

I mean, it's pure gold: I wait to read Hansard -
"Has the Minister For Ageing identified too closely with his portfolio? Could his memory lapses be addressed by adoption of one or more of the many valuable programmes he has championed?
Should he now simply be referred to as the Ageing Minister?"

On! On! to running...

A good effort since last update, with 4 x 8k's, 3 x 9k's and a 16k last Saturday. The right knee is holding up quite well; it graciously permitted me a trouble-free journey to Blacktown via the M7 and associated Kings Langley bike paths. Most enjoyable.

Weights sessions were also completed to the tune of two, with more reps being added, and - bonus - no sore muscles the next day.

I am keen to get back on the bike, but am wary of the knee, which now and then feels sore. I will definitely get out during April, as Easter looms, along with the completion of Windsor Rd upgrade, permitting a 35k return ride to that very pleasant village.

Next week will see Hills Athletics 3k time trial #3, so I am keen to at least replicate my previous time, if not beat it by achieving around 13:15 min. As long as Mother T doesn't put added pressure on me to hit 12 minutes or so!

Not sure if I can get to the West Mets this year, which is very frustrating, but Netball and Soccer come first. And the season draws near...

Books, books, books. I'm currently reading Ben Elton's "Chart Throb", and it's typical Elton. A little formulaic for those who have followed him from "Stark" days, but still a penetrating satire on Australian Idol et al.

For anyone who enjoyed "The Wanderers" Celtic ancient times trilogy, and his two further series, you may be interested to visit Caiseal Mor's blogspot (his original website fell victim to online Domain hijacking) to learn of his current doings, and perhaps be surprised by his recent revelations which form the basis of his upcoming autobiography.

Music? Dire Straits "Love Over Gold" is getting a workout: Private Investigation, Telegraph Road, Love Over Gold, and Industrial Disease.

The latter has one of my favourite Knopfler lines, where he goes down to Speaker's Corner to hear the soapboxers

"Two men say they're Jesus
One of them must be wrong..."

Beati possidentes

"Exit, stage left"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Faster than a runaway bus

I must be, as I just missed being run over by one...

The humidity has been worse than ever this week. I guess it makes getting up early easier, knowing it's better to sweat in running gear than work clothes at day's dawning.
I've managed to get out for a few decent runs:
Wed 9k 6am Clean Streets
Fri 8k 6am Clean Streets; weights
Sat 15k home to Westmead
Sun 9k home to Quakers Hill; weights

No sprints or cycling last week; just permitting the knee to recover. I'll probably head down to Rouse Hill park for some sprints this week though, and try a bike ride next week.

The run to Westmead saw me head south on Windsor Rd bikepath, link up with the new TWay Busway at M7 intersection, and stop just short of Westmead hospital. It was a good run, as I ran illegally along the buslane for much of the way. No real danger, as it doesn't open until next weekend.
My only problem occurred when I stepped from the pedestrian path at Constitution Hill station onto the Buslane, only to be nearly wiped out by a bus with "Driver In Training" as its destination. Make that one nearly Runner In Pieces.
I immediately saw the irony of the situation: ran for 8k on the buslane, no vehicles in sight. Decide to use the pedestrian lane, whoosh!

Make that double irony: potential headlines

"bus in training exercise wrongfoots runner"
" bus fleet of foot"
" jogger hails speedy service"

At the time, I believe I turned to the standard labels of abuse generally employed by persons of my generation, reserved (though not exclusively) for such occasions.
At least Mrs BB and YD got to hear about it at journey's end. And were politely shocked.

We'll probably try out the service next Saturday, when the gala opening entices gullible punters to try before buying. We'll see if they can get from Rouse Hill to Parramatta in 35 min once the dust settles.

They advertise it as being friendly for pedestrians and cyclists. My analysis says not when you get to Constitution Hill, it ain't. There must be some weird deviation from there around the backroads to end up on Cumberland Highway and then turn right back onto the bike path. Either that, or they feel exiting onto Old Windsor Rd with three lanes of speeding traffic and no way to cross over to the right is downright "friendly". Perhaps their lingistic consultant spent much field time in Beirut, Baghdad or Bogota...

So Honest John feels protective of his unofficial epithet!

He wants Australians to understand how thoroughly untrustworthy his opponent really is. As a Man Of Ethics, he feels Ian Campbell Has Done The Right Thing.

I am rarely surprised by his actions. As a successful politician, he has managed to combine good luck (lack of perceived genuine opposition leaders) with pandering to the LCD. When you can control public debate and limit it to mortgage rates, immigration and the Australian flag, the election's in the bag.

Sadly for HJ, this time he's floundering. I cannot recall a time in his 10 years of office when any member of his Government has taken the slightest responsibility for anything that has gone wrong within their portfolio, let alone fall on their sword voluntarily. So now Ian's gone so HJ can pressure Kevin over his "relationship" with Brian Burke. Good luck, HJ.

As Kevin said today: if HJ wants a test of the Public's belief in the honesty of the PM and OL, then please call an election...

Things are heating up. We're in for a good year, and maybe even a modern society starting in 2008...

Dum vita est spes est

"Exit, stage left"