25 February 2009

3,000 and counting!

About a month ago I received my 3,000th hit for my blog. Now some of you may think that I am personally responsible for 2,999 of them. Well, sorry to disappoint you but I am not. However, maybe 2,998 of them I am responsible for! hehehehe.

Statistically speaking it has taken me approximately 18 months to achieve this milestone. Which equates to more than 160 hits a month. I have to admit that I have achieved this goal much quicker than I had initially thought. On top of this I have received hits from countries that I have never received hits from before. These countries include Pakistan, Dominican Republic, Iceland and Bulgaria to name just a few.

So my blogs are spreading their tentacles quicker around the world than the Global Credit Crisis.

A big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blogs. It truly is appreciated.

So please come back regularly and feel free to subscribe to my blog if you wish.


20 February 2009

A Madagascar Groupie!

"Either that or the bulk of under sevens were going to slam dance off the stage. Maybe the area at the front of the stage was a mosh pit....He looked deflated. It was as if I had given him the worst possible type of news imaginable"

Recently during the school summer holidays I took the gals to the local shopping centre to see a stage show. The show was one related to Madagascar 2 which I believe is quite good movie. The gals loved the first film so I thought they would like the show.

We arrived just before the show started and the gals were able to get close to the front of the stage. This was definitely a huge show. There were security personnel there to ensure the young fans did not try to climb onto the stage to hug Alex, Marty or the penguins. Either that or the bulk of under sevens were going to slam dance off the stage. Maybe the area at the front of the stage was a mosh pit rather than excited kids going to watch a show!

I noticed one young boy who was very excited to see the show. Even before it started I could see that he couldn't wait for the show to start. He kept going to the front of the stage and was told to get back for safety reasons. Still it was obvious to all that Madagascar was his favourite film.

When the show started the boy got really excited. He was screaming and showing pure adulation to the 'animals' on stage. It was akin to the reception the Beatles got in the old days. In truth I had never seen a young child so excited in a stage show.

The show itself was very good and certainly wasn't just a promotion for the movie. My gals thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

A few days later I thought it would be good if the gals went to see the show again. I don't know why I thought that but I put it down to a lack of caffeine early in the day. After all, we needed to get some groceries so we could combine our supermarket visit with the show.

We got to the stage area fifteen minutes early. I noticed a boy sitting at the front of the stage. He was all on his own. When we got closer I noticed that it was the boy from the other day! Straight away I had visions of this boy having been to all the 14 shows. Without a doubt he was a Madagascar groupie! I wondered how his parents were coping having seen the show over and over again.

The boy turned to me and asked me if it was time for the show to start. I looked at my watch and told him it would be at least ten minutes. He looked deflated. It was as if I had given him the worst possible type of news imaginable. I felt bad for telling him the truth. He looked as if he was going to cry.

The show started and the boy jumped to his feet and made his way to the front of the stage again. The wise security personnel had to tell him to move away from the stage on a number of occasions. He was certainly in Madagascar heaven! After 30 minutes the show was over. Our groupie friend kept staring at the stage waiting and hoping that Alex, Marty et al would reappear. Alas, they didn't.

After the show we made our way to the supermarket. I left with the thought that groupies are getting younger and younger. I never imagined that there would be groupies as young as, say, seven years old!

11 February 2009

Driving back to NSW Via Mount Lindesay

"Even the cane toads weren't distracting me. I may as well have been at Le Mans with all its twists and turns...I drove on and came to a very small town (if you can call it that) called The Risk. It seemed an apt name given our journey over Mount Lindesay!"

During the Christmas period we drove to Ballina to spend time with my wife's side of the family. Christmas Day was certainly a big day especially for our two daughters. Santa somehow tracked down where they were staying and left lots of presents. Obviously he has a high tech GPS in his supersonic sleigh!

Anyway, on Christmas day one of No Worries cousins invited us to stay for a couple of days with her and her husband as it was their oldest daughter's 4Th birthday. So a couple of days later we set off to the town of Beaudesert in SE Queensland - situated sort of between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and sort of in the hinterland.

The drive was quite scenic once we turned off the Pacific Highway and head along the Beaudesert road. We arrived just as the birthday party was in full swing. During the afternoon we ate and drank lots. I spent a lot of the time in the lounge room with the other men watching South Africa give Australia a rare cricketing lesson.

Our stay there was very relaxing (and hot too!). We did experience a huge thunder storm that caused some damage to the area but not to where we were. The lightning was spectacular to watch, providing you were not out in it as we were for some of the time. It certainly made driving the last couple of kilometres interesting!

It was early evening two days later when we decided to head back to NSW and onto Lismore where we were going to spend some time with my mother in law. My Wife's cousin suggested taking the Mount Lindesay Highway which goes through to Kyogle in NSW and then onto Lismore. I checked our GPS and it indicated that it was the quickest way. In 2.5 hours we would be in Lismore!

We said our farewells and set off on the Mount Lindesay Highway. The sun had just set and the moon was up. The mountains looked fantastic in the twilight. It reminded me of some of the American road trips. If you used a small modicum of imagination you could have thought you were driving through parts of the Rockies or even on Route 66. It really was awesome.

I was in my element, it was becoming a great drive. Then all of the sudden my headlights caught some animals sitting on the road. They were cane toads. Initially I diverted around them but after a few kilometres there was no other option than to hit them. Occasionally you could hear a small 'thud' as a cane toad was hit by the car.

In the distance Mount Lindesay was getting closer. It is shaped a bit like a wedding cake and is certainly worth a view. By now it was dark and you had to drive on full beam to see the road. I had not seen any traffic going in the opposite direction except for one truck. Obviously the route was not used much. Then a sign appeared on the side of the road. It informed that for the next 16 kilometres the road would be very windy. No problems, I thought, I have driven on many long and winding roads (good title for a song I think!).

The road narrowed and started to wind sharply. What made this slightly different was that the turns were extremely acute. In places you could only go very slow to ensure that you stayed on the road. As the road climbed it was obvious that there was a steep drop on one side of the road. Also, the turns were continuous. I was turning the steering wheel from left to right continuously. Luckily we had power steering.

No Worries was worried. She was concerned that I might be taking the turns too fast and that if there was traffic coming the other way then we could have a problem. I, by now, was enjoying myself. I was alert and relishing the challenge. Even the cane toads weren't distracting me. I may as well have been at Le Mans with all its twists and turns. My wife, however, was starting to hyperventilate and holding the dashboard.

I could not understand her concerns. The car was handling the sharp bends very well. One stage I took a hand off the steering wheel to grab a bottle of water. No Worries started really freaking out! I knew that we had to get off this mountain road as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there were no turn offs. We continued driving up the mountain and then down the other side. Fortunately no cars or trucks were approaching from the other side. It was just us and darkness (and a few hundred cane toads).

Finally after what seemed like an hour we hit a straight road. There was a sign that said we had entered into NSW. It also had the words 'drive carefully'. I couldn't help but think the sign should also be facing the way we had come! Another thing we noticed was that there were much fewer cane toads. Maybe they need a passport to enter across the border!

After a brief stop I drove on and came to a very small town (if you can call it that) called The Risk. It seemed an apt name given our journey over Mount Lindesay! Maybe the town forefathers had a sense of humour when they named the town. That's the thing about country Australia some of the towns named seem to be quite funny. Possibly their names were devised after a drunken Friday night.

I drove on to Casino and let my wife drive the last 45 minutes. My back was hurting and I was starting to get tired. For the record I am certain there are no casinos in Casino.

My wife was still getting over her Mount Lindesay experience and was driving quite slow. I tactfully pointed out that she could go a little faster. A few minutes late we saw the lights of Lismore in the distance. No Worries told me she was glad to see them. We entered the outskirts of Lismore when No Worries suddenly stopped the car. She was having a delayed reaction to our journey. I got in the car and drove onto my mother in laws house.

When we got there No Worries said "can we never ever drive on that road again!". I told her that was fine - even though I wanted to do it all over again just for the adrenalin rush!