2011 Formula 1, 2 days and counting

see the ridges in the red & white stripe?
Albert Park is now closed to the public as they put in place the final barriers, signs, hospitality tents and advertising.

Pedaling my bike around the track, 
an overactive imagination can make it quite thrilling, I even overtook a guy on a scooter (who may or not have been turning off the road).

Much disliked by the locals for the disruption to usually sleepy Middle & Albert Park neighborhoods the association does its best to make up for it with free ear plugs, and free tickets to the Thursday's warm-up day, and loads of community notices & fliers.

'Local Access' passes are worn with pride on everyone's windshield... not just this week, but year round - which seems rather sentimental for something they claim to so dislike!

2011 Formula 1 Grand Prix

As the usually sleepy Albert Park prepares to be the 2nd stop on the 2011 F1 tour
things are a changing around here.
I'm miss the park's serenity of joggers, dog walkers and school athletics classes
now there are new fences, bleachers, barricades and works (who are very polite & friendly) everywhere
but I am really impressed by their effort to inform the public of the process
(and the info design)

and this sign just made me laugh,
especially as it went up a good 2 weeks before the rest of the signs

Luna Park over the holidays

Its free entry, and $10 a ride
usually deserted, and with no waiting for rides
they actually closed the line for the Scenic Railway this day
(some time between Chrisy & New Year)
because the people at the back of the line weren't going to get on by sundown!

So, amazingly there's a conductor of sort that stands up on the Scenic Railway ride the whole way
I guess he's there for when it get's stuck, but it adds to the old world charm of the place
I would love that job! Okay, maybe only for the bragging rights, but how cool would you be?
"what do you do?"
"Oh I ride the roller coaster all day, standing."

Grampians National Park

We haven't even scratched the surface of the 168,000 hectare Grampians National Park
(NW of Melbourne, towards Adelaide, ish) but I can tell you (so far) it is absolutely stunning..

This map is the Vic Gov standard issue
showing road closure, camping sites, facilities etc.

most people start in Halls Gap - and its a good starting point
but it also means the closer walks are heavily popualated
next time we are going to try further North and West.
Having said that, I understand why they are heavily populated
within close proximity & easy walking there breath taking views.
(some of which you'll see were obscured by fog on our day)
Only 226 steps there and back, are the McKinzie Falls(first 2 pixs)
(counted by a family I met on the way back up)

- there are 200 bird species in the National park
- 800 indigenous plant species 
- 40 of these are found NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD
that really exciting to me...

so few things are that rare these days.

Breakfast was a double shot flat white and a sticky bun
(I'll tell you about Auz Coffee one day)
looking out over The Balconys (pic 3)
and imagining what was the other side of the fog. 
On a day like this it was easy to understand why they were named after a mountain range in Scotland

Lunch was mushy smoked salmon sandwiches sitting on a ledge most of the way up the Hollow Mountian picture (#4) below... and one of the best lunches I've had in ages.  
The sun broke through as we scrambled up, and rewarded us.

Well, I say scramble,
its was somewhat of a scramble
but not compared to
the guys climbing this sheer face!

I have also taken some photos of beautiful plants 
but can't let myself blog about them without identifying them first...
so promise to get back to you on that one.
though here's one only found in the Grampians,
the Red Parrot Pea.


So we became quite obsessed with this hotel
you drive past
on the east link driving
on the way to the Mornington Peninsula.
It looks like a hotel,
in the middle of a deserted highway.

turns out its art! Yay for art!
article here

or if you ask the artist its a portal to a parallel universe,
which is really quite handy too.

you can see some other works along the highway too - click this link.


There was a great article in the Guardian a while ago on writing
I was sent its way by  Martin Weigel

Like many a blogger, I guess this blog is a scaredy-cats test run for real writing...
a Happy Melbourne entry is shorter than a chapter in a book
and a lot less intimidating to do.

Anyway, confession over... here are my favourites:

Margaret Atwood
5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
9 Don't sit down in the middle of the woods. If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

Roddy Doyle
2 Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space, or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph ­–
3 Until you get to Page 50. Then calm down, and start worrying about the quality. Do feel anxiety – it's the job. 
7 Do, occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out the washing. It's research.
10 Do spend a few minutes a day working on the cover biog – "He divides his time between Kabul and Tierra del Fuego." But then get back to work.

Geoff Dyer
4 If you use a computer, constantly refine and expand your autocorrect settings. The only reason I stay loyal to my piece-of-shit computer is that I have invested so much ingenuity into building one of the great auto­correct files in literary history. Perfectly formed and spelt words emerge from a few brief keystrokes: "Niet" becomes "Nietzsche", "phoy" becomes  ­"photography" and so on. ­Genius!

7 Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it's a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It's only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I ­always have to feel that I'm bunking off from something.  
9 Do it every day. Make a habit of putting your observations into words and gradually this will become instinct. This is the most important rule of all and, naturally, I don't follow it. 

Anne Enright
7 Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.

Richard Ford
9 Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself.

Jonathan Franzen
1 The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.

Esther Freud
1 Cut out the metaphors and similes. In my first book I promised myself I wouldn't use any and I slipped up ­during a sunset in chapter 11. I still blush when I come across it.
6 Trust your reader. Not everything needs to be explained. If you really know something, and breathe life into it, they'll know it too.

David Hare
3 Style is the art of getting yourself out of the way, not putting yourself in it.


Grand Final - a Draw?!

We watched the AFL Grand Final game, loved it
cheered our little hearts out
while drinking Little Creatures, and eating BBQ flavored Shapes

we thought with the drought easing since we arrived
(my family are notorious rain gods)
and if St Kilda won the GF we would totally be made honorary citizens
(I was all geared up to write a letter to The Age or something)
Then it was a draw?

can't see that going down at the Super Bowl
but while lots of Melbourne is grumbling about
I think its wonderfully quirky
and it makes me smile.


Melbourne loves its cars & (its roads.)
I think its madmax in the blood or something.
i have never seen so many ram bars, snorkels, custom builds and classic cars...
so I'm going to start sharing them.

I even made friends with a builder taking one of these photos.
Hello Nick!  If you were serious, I'd love to take your truck off your hands
get in touch!  :)