Friday, October 29, 2010

Fairs are for Tourists

What a day. The Canberra Montessori School put on a spectacular school fair on Saturday. I was sheltered / kept out - of most of the planning for the event - a wise move by the organizing committee and although I had a sense of the enormity of the affair, I could not have imagined how big it would be until I saw 500 people from the community wandering around the grounds...we had a hot air balloon, rides, games and lots of food.

Spring is school fair season in Canberra, there are several on every weekend, some during the day, some in the evening - it really is a great tradition.

I'll say this for Australian's they show up - they get out of their houses and support local events. Good on ya' I say.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Under what conditions would it be acceptable to file for divorce from your lifelong "favourite" sports team. I became a Minnesota Vikings fan at the age 8. It was 1975 and I wandered down stairs to find a playoff game on the television between the Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys all but over. Looking at the score and the time remaining in the contest I quickly pointed out that the Vikings had won the game and would inevitably be advancing to the Championship. My father in a glib matter of fact manner countered by saying that "his" Cowboys still had a chance. Five seconds later the Cowboys aided by an egregious missed call from a seemingly crooked official pulled off a miraculous comeback. The smug look on my father's face was too much to bear and from that day forward I swore allegiance to the purple people eaters with the funny horns on their head.

It has now been 35 years since that fateful day and the Vikings have not won the Super Bowl. With apologies to my brother and sister it has been the longest relationship of my life. I have lived and died every Sunday on the hopes that they will come through. They often get close but they always fail. I suppose there is something comforting in consistency.

I write this blog because I have the Vikings / Packers game taped at home and I don't want to surf the web on the off chance that I might hit a site that spoils the score for me. It is a sickness.

Every friend of mine and I'm sure every acquaintance too knows that I am a hard core Vikings supporter. I'm sure that all across the Globe when the Vikings scores are posted people that are nothing more than casual fans look at the telly and picture my mood based on the outcome of the contest. That is what makes it so hard; I think I could summon the courage to embark on the 12 step program required to rid myself of this strange addiction, but how could I tell my friends! "We are what we repeatedly do" as Aristotle once said. Geesh I am sick.

I guess the real value in obsessing over these trivialities in life is that it helps mark the time. It provides me with so many stories of times gone by, of watching games at home with my brother and now with my son. Thankfully the sickness is not hereditary - Malcolm runs with Patriots and the only.

My dream is that the franchise folds, that the team moves to another city and the name is changed. It's really my only way out, even given the abuse I have been subjected to over the years, it can't come from me I just can't quit. I can't be "that" guy.

So it's off to home to scan the Foxtel, which I pay hundreds of dollars for here in Australia, in order to wade through a mountain of rugby and cricket games just to catch a glimpse of my team. So no calls tonight - the game is on - I will not answer and when we loose I'll be miserable tomorrow. Unless......ah the cruel temptress.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm Learning

I drink whiskey. Rye to be specific. Crown Royal if I'm on your Christmas list. Of course depending on where I'm at; a beer is just fine too.

Australian men drink beer. Not a lot of wine drinkers here amongst the male set. Not that there isn't a lot of wine here, there is and I'm sure that men do buy wine and perhaps even taste it over dinner at home but once out on the town it's a Pure Blond over Pinot Noir for sure.

I've noticed Australian guys don't whine (or whinge as they say here). They don't sit around complaining about taxes or the government and they don't fret over the weather. Canadian men whine about everything; it is in fact a Canadian tradition. Also an alarming trend over my last decade in Canada was the number of men that would primp and preen in the public restrooms. There was more of a lineup at the sink than at the toilets waiting for some Canadian guy to make sure the gel was holding. Egad. Australian guys don't primp. Another thing that Australian guys don't do is shower. I've been working out at the gym the past few weeks and I'm the only one that I know of to actually use the shower. I could put it down to a severe water saving plan brought on by years of drought conditions but actually I don't think that's it. They just don't bother. If you see a couple out on a date in downtown Australia it isn't unusual to a see a woman who has definitely made an effort for the evening holding hands with some bloke wearing a decade old Collingwood Magpie jersey, that looks like it's just been pulled out of a gym bag. I'm not sure how these guys get away with it but more power to them I suppose. I think that there is an unwritten rule in Canada that men over the age of 13 cannot wear sports team wear in public - this law apparently was not instituted down under.

This isn't the first time that I've made such observations and in fact I have been canvassing a certain number of female acquaintances around Canberra and Sydney to ask them about their seemingly low standards or perhaps high tolerance for slovenly behaviour. I ask them what they would think of a guy that showered, used aftershave, made sure that their shirt had a collar and perhaps ran an iron over the ensemble before heading out for the evening. The consensus seems to be amongst the fairer sex in Australia that such behaviour could only mean one thing - gay!

By the way can anyone send me my old Toronto Argonaut Jersey from when I was 12 - I think I'll need it.