Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Bruce and Me

It's no secret that I harbour a passion nay a near-obsession with Bruce Springsteen.  I know his struggles, his histories, and his poetry.  He is a troubador who sings straight to my heart.  Always has.  I love how he tells a story with every record, commercial success be-damned.  Every word, every note, every melody speaks to me; I get him.

I never, however, had the pleasure of seeing him and the incomparable E-Street Band live; not ever.  Somehow the planets just never aligned.  But is has happened now; twice in 8 months in Melbourne.  Last May's event began for me with a shortness of breath in anticipation and I think I only remembered to breathe 3 and a half hours later.  That concert resonated with me for days.

Bruce returned to Melbourne this month and I was first in line with fingers over the SUBMIT button the moment tickets went on sale.  Oh man, the concert this past weekend...

I can only describe it as the closest thing to an ecstatic religious experience that I suspect I will ever have.  I sang every word, swayed to every beat, hollered till I was hoarse, wished for more.  Another 3 and a half hours of pure musical joy, stories sung, emotions wrung; every moment was pure magic.

Here are a couple clips of the two songs that bring me to my knees (or dancing on my seat):

"Ghost of Tom Joad" with newest E-Street Band member, the completely brilliant Tom Morello - together absolute musical genius

Rosalita - best Springsteen EVER and with the Big Man, Clarence Clemens, circa 1988 really does Rock and Roll get any purer?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Not So Awesome Australia - Cockroaches

When we first considered relocating to Australia, a lot of people's first reactions were either along the lines of "Nine of the ten deadliest snakes live there", "Home of the Great White", "Don't go camping, too many poisonous things" or of course "Awww Kangaroos, Koalas, Kookaburras".  I don't recall anyone ever saying anything about "Look out for those monster cockroaches!"

I have learned to coexist alongside hairy Huntsman Spiders (as big as my hand), I tolerate fiies the size of helicopters roaring around, I have even grown to accept that armies of ants will invade my house at regular intervals, but I will NEVER get over the shock of seeing a cockroach eyeing me from inches away.

My usual reaction is to shriek wildly and my instinct to run madly in the opposite directions from its waving antenna.  Tragically, they are all too commonplace in urban Melbourne and are no commentary on the cleanliness of your kitchen (where they usually hang).  We all have them.  My friend Emilie takes great pleasure in trapping and pouring boiling water over them to kill their eggs which, she tells me, scatter everywhere when you stomp on them.   It sounds a tad medieval...even for cockroaches.

Complicating my cockroach problem is the fact that both C2 and I are animal lovers.  We never kill anything.  We live by the mantra "if you want to live and thrive, let a spider run alive", preferring the trap and release method to insect control.  Karma and all that.  And yep, that even goes for cockroaches.

The usual scenario is I spot a cockroach, it waves its antanae at me, I shriek, C2 flings a tupperware over it, slides a cardboard under it, and escorts it to our tall brick wall where it is unceremoniously but humanely tossed into the wilderness of our neighbour's backgarden.  This happens a handful of times a year to be honest, and we largely cope.

So let's discuss the giant cockroach we dealt with yesterday and his giant-er brother we dealt with today.  Yesterday's fun began when I brought in the mail from outside and one skittered across my hand.  I shrieked particularly loudly causing C2 who was on a conference call to say something about 'stop being such a baby'.  During this commotion, Giant was flung to the ground where he skittered under our very large and very heavy Quebec pine armoire.  C2 put his conference call on hold, grunted whilst moving said very large and very heavy Quebec pine armoire to successfully locate Giant while I clapped a tupperware over him.  I slid a bank statement under him, and C2 returned to his phone call intending to return to Giant shortly.  Two minutes later, Giant escaped but kindly left cockroach pee on my bank statement as a parting gift.  Tables were shoved aside and carpets frantically inspected until he was located again. Same process ensued but this time C2 generously showed me how it was done properly.  I agreed with his superiour technique all the while watching Giant make good his escape again only this time onto C2's hand.  There might have been more shrieking involved but not from me this time.  Giant was eventually returned to the wilds of the front nature strip.

This evening's fun began after a lovely and relaxing evening trip to the beach for a picnic.  C2 was getting J to bed when Giant-er sidled up along the wall beside me as I put away dishes.  He was about as long as my index finger.  I shrieked, C2 came running, we missed our first attempt with the tupperware but trapped him on the second.  Wary of our experience yesterday, we hunted high and low but unsuccessfully for cardboard to slide under.  All the while, Giant-er threw himself against the walls of the tupperware with sufficient speed and effort that I feared an escape was imminent.  In a panic, C2 grabbed the vaccum intending to suck up Giant-er and put him out with the compost and leaves.  In his blind rush to get Giant-er before the prison break, he hurriedly plugged in the vaccum, pulled it toward Giant-er, and knocked over my lit Cranberry Chutney Yankee candle, splattering hot wax across chairs, hardwood floors and carpets leading to much more shrieking.  Fortunately Giant-er escaped unscathed.

I am seriously over cockroaches.  I have found an advantage to -35c, long live Canada!