Friday, April 26, 2013

30 before 30: #20 - attend a live performance

My 30 before 30 goal of attending a live performance was smashed out of the ball park earlier in the month. And it's probably not hard to work out why. The Melbourne International Comedy festival (the third largest laughfest in the world) lights up the faces of Melburnians each April and there truly is an array of talent to choose from.

In a previous life (when I worked in the thick of the CBD), I would try to attend at least two shows per week. Now that a commute is required, I'm more strategic about my show choices. This year, I managed to get to three performances:
  • Hannah Gadsby
  • Tom Gleeson
  • Mark Butler
Hannah's was an outstanding show. Indeed, a better stand-up gig I have never seen. She connected with her audience on an emotional level. Her show was poignant, funny and offered great flow and narrative, which is often not achieved at stand-up gigs. I believe my comment to our friends as we left her show was something along the lines of: "I think we've just witnessed comedy nirvana". Her 5-star reviews were certainly deserved.

Tom's show was predictably good. The guy is in his element on stage with a microphone in hand. He handles hecklers with aplomb and a very sharp tongue. His suggestion of inserting a "porn nugget" in lieu of the copyright warning at the start of DVDs still makes me giggle. A solid show indeed.

Our final show of the festival was also excellent. Lesser known performer, Mark, is a thinking man's comedian. His show was witty, well-scripted and engaging. It was full of puns, wordplays and general etymological gold.

So, in the words of Borat, this year's MICF was, in my opinion: 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

30 before 30: #4 - participate in a fun run

After my "un-fun fun run" earlier in the year I resolved that fun run redemption was required. I wanted my next group run to be in a totally pressure-free, enjoyable, when I saw a newsletter advertising the inaugural Melbourne Glow Run, I knew it was meant to be.

This race was exactly what I needed. There were no timing devices, lots of ridiculous glow-in-the-dark paraphernalia and fantastic DJs pumping out music at around half a dozen spots on the 5k course. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing and, despite the crisp temperature, people kept warm by boogieing by the main stage. The average age of the crowd was slightly younger than a typical group run, where most people seem to be about my age (read: late 20s, early 30s) - I guess the prospect of being in the city late while listening to loud clubbing music appealed to the underage crowd.

It was just as well the run wasn't timed, because there were some issues in the first kilometre, where the trail narrowed (under the Swan St bridge) and created a real bottleneck, slowing everyone to a walk for about 50 metres. It didn't matter though - people weren't at this run to PB - they were there to chase down the party!

I personally felt great throughout the run and, with the exception of the aforementioned spot of walking, managed to jog the entire way at a comfortable pace. In fact, with hindsight, I realise I was so conservative in my efforts that I didn't really get puffed at any stage of the run and could have definitely pushed a bit harder.

The Garmin said we finished in about 35 minutes. I'm pretty stoked with this given a) how comfortable I felt; and b) the fact that we stopped and boogied momentarily at each of the DJ tents on the course. It was also the first time that my beloved has run a 5km event and I'm so very proud of him!

This event has definitely spurred me on to participate in more runs throughout this year. There's something about the buzz of a group run that is definitely motivating and inspiring and each time I find myself in a pack of runners, I can't help but feel blessed - thankful that my body can carry me over distances and thankful that I live somewhere where running is a pleasure and not a means of survival.

Of course, no run is complete without pizza and I'm pleased to report that after completing the event, we left the dancers dancing and headed to our favourite local pizza joint for a good carb-fat fix.
A great night on all fronts!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

30 before 30: #28 and #14

This post ticks off two of my 30 before 30 goals:
#14 - go on a substantial day hike
#28 - learn how to take really good photos with our DSLR

We spent our Easter break in Australia's beautiful red centre. During our time in the desert, we enjoyed two long-ish hikes, as well as a number of shorter walks.

The first of our two longer walks was through Kata Tjuta (or the Olgas). Known as the Valley of the Winds walk, the track took us to what felt like very secluded and peaceful parts of this beautiful rock foundation. We were lucky to be in Central Australia for a rare rainy period and, although the rain prevented us from doing a third walk (the Uluru base walk), we were able to experience some exquisitely lush the middle of the desert.

Our second long walk was the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. This was done as part of a group tour. While it was a fun day, group tours aren't really our kettle of fish (we were given virtually no choice if we wanted to see Kings Canyon, as the car hire company placed such tight kilometer restrictions on their vehicles). We did manage to catch about 10 minutes of alone time to reflect on the beauty surrounding us...and eat chocolate (naturally!).

With respect to the 28th goal on my list - learn how to take really good photos with our DSLR - I'll let you be the judge.

Yes, they're no where near outstanding, but are definitely good enough for me!

Monday, April 15, 2013

30 before 30: #7 - attend a live sporting event

In terms of religion, I tend to say I'm agnostic for roughly 50% of each year.
For the other half of the time I'm firmly in the "Cult of Collingwood". 

In Melbourne, football (that's Aussie Rules, not soccer) does hold a religion-like status. Indeed, Sunday's game probably saw more attendees than the city's churches! I was personally indoctrinated from an early age - said indoctrination included the repeated singing of "Good Old Collingwood Forever", regular trips to Victoria Park atop dad's shoulders and the force feeding of gristle-filled meat pies. The result? A one-eyed, slightly feral Magpie, with *wait for it* all her teeth!

Now that I've needlessly polarized all of my readers, I can tell you that I've ticked off another 30 before 30 goal - attending a live sporting event. We will not talk about the outcome of yesterday's game, but we will admire the pretty rainbow that formed over the spiritual hub of football - the MCG. Ain't it pretty?! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

30 before 30: #3 - travel out of the state

A rather delayed post to demonstrate my achievement of another of my 30 before 30 goals - traveling interstate. So delayed, in fact, that I have traveled interstate twice since my last post. However, today I'm only going to talk about one of those adventures - our brief trip to Sydney to visit family.

As a Melbournian, some degree of Sydney-loathing is requisite. Obviously, we are more cultured, sporty, edgy and cool than our northern cousins. Oh, and did I mention that our CBD vaguely makes sense? 

WARNING: naughty words ahead. Proceed with caution!

Joking aside, Sydney turned it on for us and I was able to somewhat reluctantly forget its least temporarily... (no seriously, I jest - you guys up north are just as awesome as us). The weather was perfect in every way and a nice break from the heatwave going on in the south of the country. We enjoyed some time being tourists in the CBD, which naturally involved taking snaps of iconic landmarks. 

Another fantastic experience was our day trip to the Blue Mountains with family. If the weather had been slightly cooler and we were sans toddlers, I would have loved to have ticked off another of my 30 before 30 goals - hiking - but it was not to be. Instead, we did some shorter walks to popular lookout spots and enjoyed this vast and colourful landscape.

A final highlight of our brief stay (of only 2 nights) was our meal at Sailors Thai in the CBD. A fabulous view of the water, a cool casual vibe, great food and icy cold beers. I was one happy camper! 

Crispy skinned salmon with green mango and chili lime dressing   28

Dry red curry stir friend with pork fillet, wild ginger, green peppercorns and apple eggplants   27

Sailors Thai on Urbanspoon