Archive for January, 2009

a famous tour guide.

alan joyce explains something about cricket

alan joyce explains something about cricket

howdy melbourne.

so i have finally gotten to post here. i have some thoughts about geelong, my home away from home to post in the near future, but for now i wanted to tell you all about a neat little occurrence that happened on my day outing to melbourne today.

of the things i really wanted to do in melbourne today – a tour of the world-famous melbourne cricket grounds was top on my list. now as an american i am completely baffled by cricket, but also absolutely fascinated by it. whenever i am in a commonwealth country i always turn on cricket and watch and try to decipher the code that seems so remote to me.

so when i heard that for 15 aussie dollars i could tour the melbourne cricket ground, you better believe that this shot to the top of the list.

and it didn’t disappoint. a match was going on between south australia and victoria in some tournament called the sheffield cup (cricket apparently has more tournaments than soccer) and so there was action on the grounds.

we got a great view of it and a great view of the stadium from all angles and deck. and it is breathtaking. an amazing facility with amazing views of melbourne and the field. i was having a grand time.

and then a guy on the tour tapped me and told me we had a famous guide. seriously. apparently our guide was a coach that had won the australian rules football premiership a couple of times. i looked him up, alan joyce, and sure enough he has.

according to the guys on my tour he volunteers at the cricket ground giving tours to give himself something to do. they made sure that i understood that this was a pretty big deal. they realized i was american and might not grasp it ;-)

that’s him up there in the picture explaining something to me about the second english side in australia. see, i am getting this terminology.

also, the afl was hosting a coaches seminar there and according to my tour mates they saw at least three other big name afl coaches running around the place

not bad at all and a neat side anecdote to a great tour.

just for the hell of it, here’s a pic of yours truly enjoying a little of the cricket.

enjoying a little cricket

enjoying a little cricket

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Melbourne. Credit:

Kung Hei Fat Choy y’all. The Chinese know how to celebrate a new year. While we have our measley few hours of drinking champagne, where we pay outrageous prices to even get into a pub, the Chinese have two weeks of celebrations with lots of great food, very loud firecrackers, and of course the dragon. This Sunday, February 1st, head down to Chinatown to see martial arts demonstrations, cultural shows, and some good food. Hopefully, it will cool down a bit by then.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinatown, Melbourne

Sunday, February 1


Free on conditions …

That one is able to catch some form of public transport today. The only form of transport which I didn’t have any problems catching today, was the bus, travelling from station to station.

At the time of penning this post, the city loop was closed or shut down due to a massive power failure. Most if not all the lines are affected. From where I was left stranded, I had the impression most or all the lines are completely down, and no trains were running.

The whole situation worsened as power outages affected many suburbs, including mine, in the outer western area. Just what else can go wrong today? And its not even Friday the 13th. If only I had taken that ferry heading towards Tasmania …

News Links
The Age “Rail network meltdown
Herald Sun “Huge power outage hits Victoria

Free Public Transportation on Friday

Well, I guess you could call this a freebie if you don’t ride the trains every day. After Wednesday and Thursday’s predictable chaos with Connex’s train system (196 311 trains canceled), they have decided to make all public transport free on Friday. According to the Metlink website,

all metropolitan trains, trams and buses, including V/Line trains to and from Sunbury and Melton, will be free from first to last service on Friday 30 January 2009. NightRider buses will be free on Saturday morning, 31 January, until 4.30am. Travel on all V/Line-ticketed regional train and coach services will be free from the first service to the last service on Friday 30 January 2009.

A little bit better than getting a free ice cream.


Free travel on Friday 30 January

44.1°, Tennis anyone?

Hisense Arena Panorama

Hot would be the understatement of the century. But according to the Elder’s weather site, in 1938, it went to 45.6°.  I guess the only thing that makes me feel cooler, is knowing that people are playing tennis in this heat. Yes, the big players on Rod Laver and Hisense get the closed roofs but how about all the juniors and legends who were playing this week? Defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic had to retire due to the heat as well as a few other players.

Either way, it’s shaping to be a very predictable and boring ending to the Australian Open. Men’s tennis is at such a higher standard then women’s tennis and Monday night’s game with our newly loved golden child, Dokic just proved that. Safina, supposedly the 3rd best women’s tennis player in the world made 11 double faults to Dokic’s almost as bad 8. So maybe we need to put this in perspective, the 3rd ranked men’s tennis player, Djokovic, in his match the other night with unseed Marcos Baghdatis made 3 double faults compared to Marco’s 2 and that was in 4 sets.

So, best game of the tournament probably goes to Gonzalez vs. Gasquet, for their over 4 hour, 5 set tie breaker game. Worst game could have gone to Federer vs. Del Portro in a one sided, 1 hour and 20 minute match. In not so many words in his interview with Jim Courier afterwards, Federer basically concluded that Del Potro sucked.

Speaking of Jim Courier, there’s one way to definitely not beat the heat today and that is jumping into the Yarra river. In one of the freebies, I picked up at the Open this year, there was a great article on 20 priceless open moments (yes, this was a Mastercard sponsered freebie).

“Three days before the 1992 Australian open final, American Jim Courier and his coach Brad Stine were jogging along the Yarra when Stine made Courier a proposition. Win the Open, Stine said, and I’ll ump into the Yarra. OK, Courier replied, but if you jump, so wil I. He won and they did-the very day newspapers reported the unhealthy quality of the Yarra. Courier repeated his dip when he won again the following year. He decided not to repeat the swim when he won again two years later. “I got some sort of stomach virus after swallowing some of the water,” he explained to the BBC.”

Good to see nothing has changed 17 years later. Keep cool.

What time did you get home tonight?

The temperature soared to 43 degrees at around 5 pm. I certainly didn’t look forward to taking the crowded train home tonight. And with more than 150 train cancellations today, I was sure my train was not going to turn up on time. So, instead, I decided to hang out, stayed late at the office, went to the supermarket and kept to the freezer section, window shopping, did everything to stay cool.

The thermometer showed a high 38 degrees at 9 pm, I’m sure many Victorians are staying cool by staying out of the home, either by choice or because of canceled trains. Many went to the beach, stayed by the river and pretty much hanged out and ate out.

So, what time did you go home tonight?

Australian Open 2009

Margaret Court Arena Panorama

Last year’s Australian Open painted the story of two unseeded, not as well known players competing in the final. Tsonga was a chilling reminder of a young Mohammed Ali fighting his way through his matches as the underdog. His opponent the very funny Djokovic, was incredibly good at doing imitations of Sharapova and Nadal serving.

There doesn’t seem to be much of that this year. The seeded players are playing their expected parts as protaginists. Again we have ethnic fights with the capsicum spray replaced with plastic chairs. We had Hewitt holding our chances last year, and this year an even more controversial Dokic proving that Aussies do give everyone a fair chance.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the crappy management of Channel 7.  The Open is filmed in HD, which is broadcast to international markets but not Australia. Channel 7 decided to cut costs and is broadcasting it’s games locally in SD. Every other channel strives to broadcast sports in HD but 7 has shown it doesn’t care about its audience. 7 has the normal SD channel as well as the HD channel which it could broadcast games on but won’t air different games on the channels. Today was probably the worst moment when they cut to the news in the middle of the Federer match. In some states, they interrupted with the news and an episode of Hot Property.

Fortunately, we are living in the internet age, and there is a wonderful site called which shows the games on Rod Laver, Hisense, Margaret Court, and some of the show courts. All live, no commentary and almost the same quality as 7.

Still nothing beats going to the Open if you are in Melbourne. A $29 ground pass gives you almost 10 hours of games. There is no better value for money in sports.


Australian Open 2009

Only in Australia

Only in Australia, would there be an online game to ‘grill’ the bastard for a so-call traditional Australian barbecue.

Started by the Australian Democrats, they are using the game to highlight all the broken promises by the politicians. But does it cut it?

I prefer to put the politicians on a contract. They will only get paid when they deliver on what they promise. How’s that?

The Age “Grill a bastard: online game …”

howdy, melbourne!

howdy melbourne. i’d say “g’day, mate” but i am sure you get tired of americans trying to imitate paul hogan or acting like they just stepped out of a foster’s commerical.

my name is james, and aside from an annoying habit of not using capital letters, i am one of the esteemed authors on the atlanta metblog from good ole’ atlanta, georgia, usa.

the question of course presents itself, why is this guy posting here, on the MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA metblog?

well it’s a good one and i will answer it. i’ll be boarding a plane tomorrow and heading your way (well geelong, actually, but i have to fly to melbourne) and will be hanging arond victoria for a couple of weeks doing some work.

in the spirit of cooperation and to give me something to do, i’ll be dropping a few posts here and there on your blog and giving you my perspective on what i see.

any suggestions while i am with you?

Blast destroys Connex ticket machine

The attack is the latest in a string of problems for rail operator Connex, which has been under commuter fire for heat and maintenance-related train delays and cancellations.

Here’s another reason why the State Government needs to get their farking act together, remove the ‘exclusiveness’ of premium stations at every major and have ALL stations throughout the network fitted with real human beings.

What’s the point of having fake cameras that do not record, ‘safe’ zones within a yellow box and an emergency red button when ALL other stations are unlit, heavily-graffittied, dirty, smelly and a magnet for trouble, bogans and gangs?

Lynne Kosky the Farkwit, out.

A minister who actually utilizes public transport facilities and understands the deep-seated resentment of Connex and all things public transport, in.

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