Sunday, January 26, 2014

Project 52: Monday Lunchtime

A run down to the Trailer Park in Melbourne for an extended lunch break from work, to grab a sample of one of the food trucks on roster for Good Food Month was too good to pass up! Reading great reviews of the Fusion Fish n Chips truck, I made the effort when it was on the roster for the week, and was not disappointed.

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fi Fo, Fi Fo, It's Off To Work I Go

I have written this post in advance, but I assume that by the time it is published I will be back on Nauru, and back to work. I will have traveled from home to the Melbourne airport and flown to Brisbane, then stayed overnight, and managed the early, early morning wake up required to get the 7am flight to Nauru, on Our Airline. Impressively comfortable leather seats make the 4.5 hour flight bearable, just.

The Fly In/Fly Out situation has me working 3 weeks on island, and then having a 3 week respite off-island.

The first rotation was confronting and rewarding, with a couple of very tough days, and some incredible human interaction moments within my work. I have learnt a lot in those weeks, and met some truly amazing people. The respite break went pretty quick too, although between catching up on sleep and rest, I did manage to squeeze a lot in, and managed to catch up with many friends and most of the family.

This could well be my final rotation, being my second, after the news on my very first work day of my first rotation that the contract of my employer was not to be renewed for continued services at the offshore Asylum Seeker Processing Centre. I have never actually started a job and been fired on the same day, so that was a new experience. Very tough for so many of the staff, who have worked for many months, contributing to the lives of those held on the island, awaiting processing.

I am looking forward to getting back into it, back into the work routine and giving it my all. Such an amazing opportunity, and a small chance to work on little daily wins with such a vulnerable population.

(This photo of the island nation of Nauru was actually taken by Vic, from the plane window - loads better than any photos I had taken!)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Project 52: Monday Morning

This particular Monday morning I was "working from home", writing reports. I had taken on a short term contract with my old real job, in between other locum gigs and whilst I was going through the process for my new job. The hourly rate was just too good to refuse. To explain the photo, I had two indoor, hairless cats staring me down during this early stage of the three week gig. Creepy!

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Play Me, I'm Yours, Melbourne!

The news that the art exhibit Play Me, I'm Yours was coming to Melbourne this January was something I was pretty excited about - I had after all, spend about a week in Toronto one Summer running around and seeing them there. I set about to do the same, although the majority of the Melbourne ones, here till the 27th of the month, are much closer together than the Canadian hunt!

Centring around the Arts Centre, many of the pianos are in that precinct of the city. Each of the painted upright pianos - painted by a community group or local artists - has a slot filled with pamphlets with the map of the location of them rest of them.

Each of the pianos is positioned with a great view of a piece of Melbourne. The top one here is between the NGV and the Arts Centre, the next is nestled under the Princes Bridge, overlooking the Yarra River. The one above is in the middle of the outer amphitheatre of the Malthouse Theatre.

My favourite, however, would be this brick-covered one, at St Paul's Cathedral. When I found it, and it's string of leaves of country flags, this guy was playing up a storm. So many amazing players were out and about on the day I went on this piano crawl, tickling the ivory. Impressive talents!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Sunset On Nauru

After my last day of work for my first rotation on Nauru, a group of us gathered for the sunset on the day, on the rooftop of one of the two hotels on the island. A stunning view to finish off all the hard work we had completed across the couple of weeks.

The viewpoint on top of the Od-n has you gazing off into the ocean, with the skeletal, broken and disused cantilevers of the phosphate rich days of the island creating a sense of wonder and mystery within the view.

The rooftop of the building which featured the most impressive Christmas lights during the week before, seems like it was not finished when it was built. In fact, the Od-n building, like all of the buildings in Nauru, would have been impressive when it was built, and during the Nauruan heyday, but has fallen into a serious state of rundown disrepair since, as the country has meet with serious financial ruin. The rooftop was more like a construction site than a beer garden offering, but definitely has the best view in the country.

The view away from the ocean is a birdseye of a section of the main road all the way around the island, and in an area that could be considered part of the busiest and more built up. Not much traffic going around though, despite the time of day! The palm trees are a reminder that we were on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

With a few beers, brought up from the bar down on the ground floor, and loads of chats for debriefing from the day, the group's attention soon turned to the setting sun, and the spectacular light show it put on with the cloud spattering above.

We remained in place, watching as the light faded, and traces of the sun vanished completely. In the dim dusk light, we made our way back downstairs and had dinner on the front balcony, before heading home to the other hotel and to continue our last night.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An Espy NYE!

Sorting out NYE is always a big deal, but after getting back from Nauru I found that Carlos had sorted tickets for us for the gig at The Espy for the evening. Perfect!

I was housesitting in Brunswick, so once we were ready we popped by North Melbourne to toast my sister and Heath, the coming new year, and the prospect of a family wedding in the coming year, after their engagement before I went away. Eeeeeee! So exciting!

Then we kept on our way on the tram down to St Kilda, and found seats in the Espy front beer garden with some of Carlos' mates, and watched the final sunset of the year. As the light was fading, we decided it was time to explore the music inside, and made our way to the Gershwin Room. Here, we were stopped in our tracks by Lurch & Chief - the indie garage rock band with alternating male and female lead, had me hooked!

Mary then found us at the front of the room, just as the bearded boys from The Basics were getting ready to begin their set.

The No 1 Cause Of Death Among Youth Today was their opener, and a favourite of mine. Just Hold On was in there, as was Three Cool Cats. Hey There and the jazzy Second Best, too.

My memory is a little hazy of the 40 minute set, as I am sure are the boys after they passed around a celebratory bottle of whiskey.

The new Lucky Country was played, and impressed again, before Have Love, Will Travel, and a cover of Jailbreak to round off a NYE send off from our much loved 3 piece Melbourne band.

Before we knew it the headliner for this bandroom was about to come on stage, and start the set to work towards the countdown to the new year. The evening seemed to go at a cracking pace!

Something For Kate took the stage, and launched into the tracks that I have been listening to a lot over the past year, as well as seeing them live a few time too. Some old favourites too.

Survival Expert and Star-Crossed Citizens were huge stand outs in the set. Then the epic Like A Version cover of Sweet Nothing, which was incredible, before the midnight countdown and followed by a cover of REMs The One I Love.

An awesome night to see off what has been a seriously amazing year for me. The Espy, a Melbourne Summer's night, 2 of my favourite bands, and a couple of my really great mates - and a slice of the rest of Melbourne's music fans! Perfect!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Project 52: Sunday Evening

Ohhh, we have been a bit slack with the Project 52 pics and posts at the end of 2013, as life has clearly got in the way! I am going to set up the final batch as weekly posts, so here goes!

This was the Sunday night where I was discovering the range of movies available to me on the full set of channels of pay TV at my housesitting gig! I was in a house in the outer north west of Melbourne, and actually enjoyed being in one place for a decent amount of time. A rare occasion when this transient nomad stayed in most nights, and absorbed movie after movie, and loved it!

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Top 5: Favourite Albums For 2013

Wow, this annual post is more than a month late, but things have been a little hectic since the end of November, so hear it is now! I am also very aware that I have not been as across new music in the last 12 months as I have been in the past, due to travelling away, and then maybe because I have been so transient.

But here are the albums that were released in 2013 that I have listened to, and loved, the most.

As soon as the release date for The National's Trouble Will Find Me, I knew that it was going to be a musical moment of 2013 for me. And right from first listen, I loved it!

Harlequin Dreams by Sydney's Boy & Bear comes a very close second, and an album I have listened to very regularly since it's release. Seeing it live at the beginning of November brought it a new life, with the stories and emotional tales behind some of the tracks coming to life. Back Down The Black is a song that I can't get enough of, and yet tears at my heart every time. Certainly one of the stellar Aussie bands at the moment, they can do no wrong!

Another Aussie band who's album release stood out for me last year was the second LP from Cloud Control, being Dream Cave. Seeing this played out live well before it's actual release had the anticipation built, and the full first listen did not disappoint.

A rare and random recommendation had me listening to The Lonely Wild's The Sun As It Comes quite a bit across the year, with some great tracks.

Self-titled release from Jinja Safari rounds out my list, albeit from a small selection. These jungle beats are pretty addictive!

A special extra mention goes to the Shotgun Karaoke release from Something For Kate's Paul Dempsey, and his version of Concrete Blonde's Caroline. Oh my word! It's incredible!

A pretty small sample size, I admit. Any more recommendations for me, from 2013? Must listens? Albums you have been able to be without last year??
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