Saturday, April 29

Kelly - Gladstone, Australia
visited Apr 28, 2006
I managed to find Kelly's husband, Jack, at the marina, and got kelly's mobile number from him. It turns out she was working in Biloela for the day, which is why she hadn't been at home or at her usual work in Tank St. He said they had a doctor's appointment that night (because Kelly is pregnant!) but they could come to the Yacht club afterwards, where my family and assorted friends and I would be having dinner. It was rather weird meeting after 15 years, but very good to be in contact again. After dinner, Kelly and Jack came back to Cutting Edge (my parents' boat) and I showed them some photos that were on my computer of our childhood. It's strange but the collection I have, which consists of whatever Dad has scanned in, only includes about 2 of Kelly, although I recall spending nearly every day with her. She doesn't appear in any of the ones of my birthday parties or anything. Odd. The best one I have posted here. It's sweet! We've now exchanged email addresses, which means there is some chance we will stay in touch a little better now. And I know where she is now. She and Jack have bought a block of land in Benaraby, just near our old primary school, so I can imagine them being there for while to come.

Memory Lane - Benaraby, Australia
visited Apr 28, 2006
After an early start from Biloela, we arrived in Benaraby (via the occasional wrong turn) early enough for me to have a look around my old home town before having to get the car to my parents in Gladstone. We first drove past the old hall where I used to go on the ancient Sunday School bus every week from the age of 3 (my parents no doubt appreciated the quiet sunday mornings!). Apart from shrinking, and the service station next door changing brands, nothing seemed to have changed much. We then drove past my old school, and I was compelled to get out and have a closer look. At first the plan was just to look in the garden bed under the flag pole for the plaque over the time capsule that we planted there during the school's centenery celebrations in 1986. I had to check if it was to be opened this year, but it's not until July 12, 2011. Once I was that far into the school grounds, it seemed to make sense to go up to the office, and we were signed in to have a look around and see what had changed. Not much, though it's all now painted white instead of EdQLD yellow, and there's a new classroom and a new playground. They have 6 classes there now. There were three or four when I was there - about 60 to 80 kids, depending on the year. After the school, I went up to the house I grew up in. It was also still very recognisable, although there have been a few changes. I knocked on the door and was shown around but the current owner, which was nice. When we lived there the walls were all cream (I was 9 before I realised that walls were allowed to be colours other than cream). My room is now painted dark purple with a silver ceiling - colours chosen by the teenage boy who lives there! The woman who showed me around also told me that Kelly had moved back in next door. Her mother had always lived there, of course, but Kelly had left years ago. Kelly was my best friend throughout my childhood. We met when I was 2 (and she was 6!) and, living next door to each other, we more or less grew up together. After I left in 1989, we more or less lost contact, although I remember staying with her for a night in 1991 when we were back in Gladstone on the boat. I hadn't seen her since then, though, or had any contact. From the woman who lives in my old house, I discovered that she was married, and had moved back here with her husband, and that he worked at the marina! I resolved to track her down before we left the next morning.

Jess in Bilo - Biloela, Australia
visited Apr 28, 2006
Kate and I finally set off yesterday, about 14 hours later than planned, to drive to Gladstone, via Biloela, to deliver a car to my uncle, and meet my parents on their boat. The purpose of the Biloela detour was to see my childhood friend Jess, who lives there now. I hadn't see her since 1995. and that was only for a one short evening. We only had time for another rather short evening this time, too, as Kate and I didn't arrive until 8.30 last night. We had had a few adventures. We ran out of petrol. It was very embarrassing, but thankfully not that inconvenient, as we were about 100m from a petrol station at the time. The petrol station was closed, but there was one on the other side of the road, more or less, which was open, and lent us a fuel can. So all in all it was a good place to stop. And considering we had been stressing about it for 70km (ever since discovering the petrol station in Eidsvold was closed), we were very happy to stop there, and not in the middle of nowhere. Meeting up with Jess was seriously trippy, but wonderful to know she's still alive and surviving. Even if she is living in Biloela! Here's a pic of us, just to prove it. And one of us 20 years ago, for good measure.

Saturday, April 22

Ex-traordinary. - Brisbane, Australia
visited Apr 21, 2006
Tonight I had arranged to meet Tony in town for the regular dinner-and-a-movie. Bizarrely, on my way there I ran into Sean and Michael in Pulp Fiction (the bookshop). They were staying in the hotel above the bookshop for the night. Michael gets married tomorrow. Weird. Kate arrives here on Monday! I'm not sleeping well. Grrr.

Tuesday, April 11

Hope Harbour - Upper Coomera, Australia
visited Apr 10, 2006
My parents, Kieran and I spent the night on the boat, and spent the morning doing lots of last minute things, and, eventually, having a cooked breakfast together. Sandy and Celine and the kids arrived, and, with surprisingly little last-minute ado, they left around lunchtime. While Sandy and Celine and the kids will be back in two weeks or so, my parents have no intention of returning Brisbane until, probably, late this year - after they've sailed up the Queensland coast and spent the two months their visas allow them in the Trobians, off the east coast of Papua New Guinea. I managed to get back to Brisbane in plenty of time for my evening class. Life should be a little less insane now. For the next week or two, at least.

Monday, April 10

5 minutes in Brisbane - Brisbane, Australia
visited Apr 9, 2006
I stepped off the plane at 4.25pm on monday afternoon (apr 10th, but this needs to be blogged as 9th to keep the order right). As I had no luggage to collect, I was able to be in the car (Kieran picked me up) by 4.29. Kieran teleported me to uni, and I was in class by 4.55. Pretty amazing really. After class, Kieran picked me up again (nice brother) and drove me home where I arrived just in time for a barbecue dinner with my family - my parents' last supper before leaving on their boat. At 10.30pm, all four of us piled into the car (fitting around all the last minute stuff they were taking) and drove down to the boatat sanctury cove, to spend the night and see everyone off on their sailing adventure the next day. So it was more than 5 minutes in Brisbane, but not by much!

Mad Rush - Sydney, Australia
visited Apr 9, 2006
Sydeny was, as always, a mad rush. That city runs so much faster than Brisbane. Whenever I'm down there it just all seems non stop. Now, I know you could say that is because when you only have 5 days in a place, everything is a rush, but when I lived down there last year I was there for months and it never stopped. Still, at least this time Kate and I managed to do everything essential that was on our list, which is a lot better than last time. There was some unexpected excitement. On thursday night, Kate's flatmate's cat got run over, and we all ended up dashing to an all night emergency vet hospital. The cat is still alive, and, once it has recovered from its $3000 leg reconstruction surgery, will no doubt continue to live a long and pampered life. But it did mean our dvd and gelati plan had to be postponed. Friday was spent running a dozen little errands, and pottering about, but saturday was non-stop socializing. We had brunch at the Chocolate Dog in Newtown with Nick and a bunch of people from Brisbane. Obviously. They were down for Nick's 30th birthday, which was also my flimsy excuse. The evening was spent celebrating Nick's birthday over dinner with the same brisbanites, and about 25 sydney people in a very fancy restaurant in Erskinville. Kate and I opted to share a meal (yes, we're cheapskates) and so had a very pleasant morsel of kangaroo each, followed by a small poached pear and molecule of very nice icecream. It was a very fancy restaurant. After dinner the party moved to a funciton room downstairs where we talked and some people danced to the CD compilation Nick had created for the occasion. I bet the pub had never played anything from the Oklahoma soundtrack before! The toughened party people went on to the imperial around midnight, but Kate and I took the going-home-and-crashing option instead, with a slight detour to drive our friends Eric and Peter home, as well as Oddur who was staying with them. Sunday was then a day of rest, except for going out to Victoria Park to meet a whole lot of queeruption type people who play anarchist soccer there on sunday afternoons. We arrived and sat down to talk to Eric and Peter while we watched to work out if there were any rules, and somehow never got around to the playing soccer part. It was fun to watch the others playing though. There were goals, and vague teams, but no boundaries, and it was played on a bit of a hill, so it was all interesting. Sunday night we finally managed the dvd and gelati plan that had been postponed, and Monday was spent in sleeping in, packing and getting to the airport. Sydney was fun. No idea when I'll be back there - no further flights are booked, and I leave Australia in less than 3 months. Might be next year before I get back there. Ah well. Kate is coming up here in a mere 2 weeks, so that's something.

Friday, April 7

Idyllic Weather, and a New Computer! - Sydney, Australia
visited Apr 6, 2006
I finally have my first ever brand new computer: a very small, white laptop with all the bells and whistles. It's very exciting. It also has a webcam permanently attached, so I can take pictures like this one! Now I just have to work out how to insure it internationally. It's the single most expensive thing I've ever owned, and just owning it has the potential to get stressful. Insurance will help though. It wasn't a mistake, I am indeed in Sydney. Being the jetsetter that I am, I have flown down for the "weekend" (wednesday to monday). The excuse was Nick's 30th birthday, and a relatively free weekend in terms of uni work, but I don't exactly need an excuse to visit Kate. And to get out of that awful Brisbane weather. It was so horribly humid the last 2 days, I was very, very grateful to be leaving. It was only a couple of degrees cooler in Sydney when I arrived, but the difference in humidity made my hair stand on end. Literally. I've had static problems since I got here. Last night Kate and I had cheap indian (indian food, something else I missed while in Turkey. I must do it again soon!) in Newtown on the way home from the airport, and today I have the house to myself while she and her flatmate are at work. I'm sitting in the doorway of her lovely ground floor unit, with an incredibly blue sky, a very cool wind blowing, looking out at a grassy, tree-ey area that I might go and sit in shortly. In the sun, because it is my favourite sort of weather - the sort where you appreciate sitting in the sun! I'd take a photo, but this camera seems to only be designed for indoors, and the outdoor ones just come out all overexposed. More on Sydney adventures later.

Wednesday, April 5

Queer Film Festival - Brisbane, Australia
This place was Average visited Apr 4, 2006
I very cleverly organised to go to Sydney during the Brisbane Queer Film Festival. It's a lesson in effective calendar use for me. However, all was not lost, as this year the BQFF is bigger and better than ever, and started on the Tuesday. My flight wasn't until Wednesday, so I was able to go to the opening night! Just as well. I have only missed one year since it started 6 years ago, and that was last year when I was living in Berlin. In fact, the year before that I came home (from Berlin, by coincidence) on the second last day of the festival, and still managed to see 3 films. The opening night film was called "50 ways of saying fabulous", which is a New Zealand film based on the book of the same name by NZ author Graeme Aitken. I had loved the book - we studied it in Quook, the queer book club at UQ, years ago, so was keen to see the film. It was lovely, and will hopefully get a wider release, and when it does I suggest you all go see it. Or catch the second screening at the Powerhouse sometime this weekend ( for details). After the film there was the required drag show, accompanied by free drinks, nibblies and the most disturbing iceblocks I had ever seen. If anyone ever offers you a paddle pop "bender", say no. Just do. It was nice to be at a queer event in Brisbane again, but it was yet another reminder of how long I have been away (or possibly an indicator how the community has grown in the last few years). I only saw one person I knew! Apart from the people I was with, of course. Oh, and the guy handing out the free beer knew me, though I didn't remember him at all. Apparently he was my dancing partner in HMS Pinafore years ago. That was a rather Brisbane moment.

Monday, April 3

Pirates! - Gympie, Australia
This place was Poor visited Apr 2, 2006
I didn't go to Gympie by choice. Actually, I didn't go to Gympie at all, but to a camp site about 20km south of it. And why? For Pirates, of course. OK, so it had nothing to do with real pirates, and a lot to do with the Gilbert and Sullivan musical "Pirates of Penzance". I'm in the current Queensland Musical Theatre Company's producation of it, and it was a rehearsal camp. You'll be very glad to hear that we got lots of very good work done, and the whole first act is now blocked and looking good. And there are some very funny bits. Pirates is on at the Brisbane Powerhouse from the 16th to the 21st of May, and at some hall in Scarborough the weekend. Email me to get discounted tickets for only $20! Yes, this was a shameless plug.