Thursday, January 31, 2013

quicko: exercise? pants

It seems to be a bit of an (entirely too-long-lasting) fad here that girls are wearing those tight, black (or leopard print, or whatever) exercise leggings as pants -- with nothing over them.  Men shouldn't wear speedos, but, really, girls also shouldn't wear leggings by themselves either.  Just an awkward look all around!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

attack of the killer buses

I could have sworn I had another idea from my bus this morning to write about, but it's not coming to me now.  What is coming to me is the tale of how I just spent the last, oh, three hours on a variety of buses covering a distance that could have been covered by a car in roughly thirty minutes.

It all started, as most tales of such woe do, with running slightly late.  Not catastrophically late, just a smidge on the oh-we-really-ought-to-hurry-it-up-and-hope-all-goes-amazingly-according-to-plan side of late.  For once, I actually had company as I was traveling with Garry back to his conference in Chatswood.  I know, I know, everyone thought I just made up all my bus adventures, but not this one.  I have a solid one witness who can confirm everything went rather horrifically (and not-at-all-my-fault-edly) wrong.

Upon arriving at the bus stop, we learned that the first bus (of two) we needed was due out in 20 minutes.  Recall, if you will, that we were supposedly hurrying merrily, yet hurriedly, along.  20 minutes does not exactly improve this process.  Finally the bus came and for awhile all was well and good.

"What's it doing here?" Garry asked, as the bus turned into Royal North Shore Hospital.

"Oh, don't worry about that," I said drowsily, "It just does a loop here.  All the 144s do."

And the next thing I knew I was being shaken out of my contented back massage reverie to calls of "Kim, Kim, the bus is stopping here -- it doesn't go any further!"

I was shocked, but it turned out it was true.  All the other 144s do a lovely little loop-de-loop, but ours did merely a lovely little loop.  There were, though, I hasten to add, roughly half a dozen of us total who all expected the 144 -- as per its route -- to carry on to Chatwood, so the driver kindly offered to take us back to the station, which was a fine gesture and all, except that the station was back in the direction we'd come from and in doing so we missed the next 144 and had to wait what the automated text device assured us was 14 minutes, but what in reality was 20 minutes.  At which time not one, but two triumphant 144s showed up and took us on yet another exhilarating loop-de-loop before progressing onwards.  At that stage (the -de- of the looping, that is), we encountered yet another 144, which I assumed was the twin bus heading to Manly, seeing as it hadn't passed us previously, but which then too joined the two triumphant 144s en route to Chatswood in a merry little trio of devil-may-care-what-time-we-arrive-there buses.

Eventually we did and were only just off our 144 when we glimpsed a stealthily waiting 545, which was to be the next segment of our journey.  Now roughly an hour late, we sprinted for all we were worth and were just to the steps when the driver held up a hand and said,

"Sorry, guys.  Too late.  Grab the next one."

He thought he was hilarious.

And so eventually we arrived, Garry left and I waited 20 minutes for the next 545 to take me back to wait 20 minutes for the next 144 to take me back to loop-de-loop to my stop to walk home to blog copious amounts about how very much time I spent on a bus for a boy today.

Gosh I think I like him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

quicko: what not to wear

"Less is more doesn't apply to men's togs*." -- Advertisement (for what, I have no idea) in Sydney

So, so agreed.

*Vocabulary lesson of the day:  togs = bathing suit.  As do bathers, cozzie (cozzy?), swimming costume and a probably an assortment of others.

Monday, January 28, 2013

quicko: a dressing gown

AKA a bathrobe.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

quicko: the tennis

The Australian Open is on right now and, wow, I had no idea so many Australians were so interested in tennis.  Everybody seems to be watching it, talking about it and facebooking about it.  Evidently it's because it's the Australian Open instead of something like, say, Wimbledon.  But yeah.  Tennis is definitely the word on the street.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

happy australia day!!

Hope you had a happy Australia Day and plenty of pavlova!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

quicko: open air cinema time again!

One of my favorite annual dates is with my friend Bec to the open air cinema at Mrs. Macquarie's chair.  We went and took our traditional picnic and had an absolutely beautiful night to gaze over Sydney Harbour and (excitement!) watch Pitch Perfect, which was just plain fun.  A fantastic Friday night!!  (And yet another reason why everyone should move to Sydney ...!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

update: further bus bloopers

The other day I had quite an adventure getting to Balmoral.  I knew I needed a 245, but the sign seemed to think there wasn't one due for about 40 minutes, which was ridiculous to wait in peak  hours traffic, as well as being a time somewhat after the event was supposed to start.  So I decided to jump anything that would take me to the top of the hill and walk down.  I cleverly passed up a 144 that said (of all the crazy things for a 144 -- which everyone knows is the Manly bus -- to do!) it was stopping at Spit Junction, knowing that wasn't far enough, in favor of a 247.  Completely forgetting that 247s also turn at Spit Junction.  Thankfully I remembered this just before and hopped off bus number one in time to grab another passing bus ... which also turned at Spit Junction!  I was reasonably furious as I hopped off bus number two, though my anger dissipated rather quickly when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a 257, also turning at Spit Junction, but actually on its way to, not the top of Balmoral hill, but Balmoral Beach!  It was frustratingly hard to stay angry at the last bus after this, and before you knew it I'd hopped off bus number three (of what should have been a one bus trip -- thank goodness I have a My Multi!) to be the first person to arrive at the picnic.

I got a friend to drive me home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

play ball!

So I've recently been to a cricket game and spent approximately three hours learning all the rules.  After that my theoretical knowledge was complete and I was about to watch the game and see how well I did in the practical application section ... unfortunately, that was when it started raining.  I am now also an expert in the field of in-park karaoke and beer snakes, but I shall endeavor to focus on explaining cricket to you instead.  In three minutes.

In short, the main thing to remember is is that cricket is not baseball.  An easy mistake, I know, but they are well and truly different sports.  In cricket, the main idea is still to get as many runs as possible, but instead of one guy running around the bases, you have two guys from the batting team running back and forth between two stumps (see the vocabulary section, which, incidentally, should not be counted in your three minutes of reading time).  Each time they trade places, they get one run.

To start things off, one team is on the field and one team is batting.  The team that is batting has two guys out there, though (thankfully) only one attempts to hit the ball at any given time, though, when he does, they both run back and forth as many times as possible without getting out.  There are several ways to get out --

--bowled (if the ball hits the stumps)
--caught (like a fly out)
--LBW (leg before wicket, though no one seems quite able to effectively explain this one)
--run out (like a ground out, more or less)
--stumped (the wicket keeper steals the ball before the batter can hit it)

-- and outs are not nearly as common as they are in baseball, because it's really more the sudden death method than the "three strikes and you're out" (er, "three outs and you're out") method.  As in, once you get out, you're OUT.  Period.  For the rest of the game.  You see, there are 11 guys on a team, and each gets one (ONE) turn to bat.  You can keep going as long as you don't get out, but once you're out, that's it.  There are ten outs (or, in the version I saw, 50 overs (I'll explain that later), whichever comes first) per team per game.  (Not 11, because there always have to be two guys running back and forth -- after his buddy goes, the last one can't do it alone.)  So, it's actually really quite a long time that one side plays for and then it really quite a long time (rain notwithstanding) that the other team plays for.  None of this silly taking turns business.  (A coin toss decides who gets to pick who goes first.)

I should back up.  There are actually three different versions of cricket -- a 5-day test match (deemed to be the "purest" cricket), a 1-day match, or a 20/20 match.  There's various differences in rules and strategy, but to the casual observer the most noticeable difference is that the first lasts five days, the second one and the third several hours.  Before I explain the differences, though, we need a quick vocabulary lesson:

Over = six balls (balls being the noun, but bowls the verb, as if this weren't complicated enough already).  Basically six times the ball is bowled (aka pitched).

So.  In a 5-day match, there are unlimited overs and (I lied before) each team gets two turns for its players to all bat.  (i.e., In this version, you've got to make outs because if you don't, well, it's going to go on for five days.)  In a 1-day match (what I saw), the overs are capped at 50 per side (50x6=roughly 300 bowls for the day, depending).  So, if you don't make your ten outs, at least there is an end to the misery in sight.  In this version, the first team's turn is over when they either have ten outs or 50 overs and the second team's turn (and the game) is over when they have either ten outs or 50 overs or have beaten the first team's score.  In a 20/20 match, each team is allowed a maximum of 20 overs (20x6=roughly 120 bowls for the day, depending).

And then, whichever team has most runs (in the vicinity of 200-300), wins.  Easy, right?

There are a lot of other rules, some of which I have even written down in my handy pink notebook, but I think your three minutes have ticked away.  I shall content myself with leaving you with a more complete vocabulary lesson:

Bowler*:  pitcher
Wicket keeper:  catcher
Stumps:  long vertical set pieces that delineate where the runners run from and to.  Kind of sort of roughly akin to bases
Bails:  little horizontal piece that goes at the top of the stumps (I believe this is an extra credit sort of vocabulary word, stumps being the more common noun in the game)
Wicket:  trick question!  There are two definitions!  1, noun, set of stumps and bails; 2, noun, an out
Wide:  a ball (as in, not a strike but a ball; one penalty run applies)
No ball:  term for if the bowler steps over the line; one penalty run also applies
Deep:  outfield
Short:  infield
On the full/a 6:  fly ball out of boundary; roughly equivalent to a home run; awarded 6 runs
a 4:  a ground ball that goes past the boundary; also very good; awarded 4 runs
Boundary:  the line that marks the edge of the field
On strike:  the batsman facing the bowler
Off strike:  the batsman not facing the bowler (incidentally, these two might not get equal turns, depending if odd or even numbers of runs are scored)
12th man:  the sub, though really only brought in for emergencies.  It's 11 guys and that's that, none of this subbing around willy-nilly business.
Fieldsmen/fielders:  the players on the team not batting
Batsmen:  the players on the team batting
Mid-on/mid-off/mid-wicket/square leg/fine** leg/slips/third man/point/cover:  the positions on the field (in addition to the bowler and wicket keeper)

*Special rules/notes about the bowler:  no one can bowl more than 10 overs.  So, the bowler changes, but isn't benched -- he just goes to a different location in the field.  Everyone kind of takes turns in different places; there's probably some "oh-he-usually-plays-deep" to it, but it's not so delineated as baseball players' positions.

**Not "fire" leg, as illegible handwriting (not mine!) first led me to believe.

A note on reading the exceptionally confusing supposedly helpful signs at the stadium.  Ahem.  If you see: 3/65, this means there are 3 outs and 65 total runs.  (In this scenario, 3 is out of a maximum of 10 and 65 is, from this point onward, a minimum figure.)  If you see 16.2, this means there are 16 overs completed and we're on the second ball of the current over.  (In this scenario, 16 is out of a maximum of 50 and 2 is out of a maximum of 6, though I don't think it ever goes up to 50 or 6 on the scoreboard (49 or 5 it would be) since it would turn over to the next number at that point -- like you don't see "3 outs" in baseball, because it just starts the next inning if that happens.)

Pop quiz:  what does 4/93 mean?  21.3?

Answer:  4 outs and 93 total runs ... and 21 overs and the 3rd ball of the current over.  (And there are 6 balls in one over.  Just in case you forgot.)

Oh, and the maximum number of runs per ball is six (that home run type scenario) unless there's something really complicated and tricky, but basically the max is six.

Oh, and there's no double plays.  No fair making two outs at once, these guys are nice guys!

Okay, now that is really pretty much everything I know about cricket, aside from a few little notes that no longer make any sense to me.

Ah, wait, really well and truly my final note now:  it's not cricket where you eat strawberries and cream, it seems.  (Why else would I have gone?)  Turns out that's Wimbledon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

quicko: costumed cricket capers

It seems the thing to do these days is actually to go to the cricket in costume (AKA "fancy dress" in Australia).  Here's a surreptitious photos I shot of Waldo (AKA Wally) and his gang, though there were plenty of various costumes running about.  Next time!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

quicko: the longest beer snake

A beer snake is what you get when you put all the plastic cups spectators have emptied together and form a line out of them.  Because of the rain delay at our cricket game, it is believed that I actually got to witness the formation of the longest beer snake not just in the Southern Hemisphere, but in all of history.  Wikipedia even says so!

As does The Sydney Morning Herald. There's another video of it here, too.  And here Perth admits it has been defeated by Sydney.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

quicko: short+sweet

Sydney's Short+Sweet Festival is currently on, and I went to see a round Thursday night.  It was a bit of an adventure getting there, but a fun evening.  I have to say, the plays were by and large rather bleak.  I much prefer to be entertained and made to laugh at the theatre, but they were, as the title suggests, short and ... somewhat sweet.  Two I'd seen before from my own stint doing Crash Test Drama.  They change every week though, so I might try to get back and see some more over the next couple weeks that it's on for.