Saturday, November 28, 2015

Doughman and the karate tournament

I had a very strange dream this morning. I was in a Will Ferrell movie. He was a villain called Doughman and I was fighting him. At one I almost defeated him but a small nodule of dough remained and began expanding into two plates of flat dough. I kept pounding them but Ferrell's face would appear in the dough to taunt me. So I turned them into two plates of pasta with a tomato sauce. The solution was to eat the pasta in the hope that the stomach acid would kill him.

I woke up then, but you know exactly what would have happened. Yes, Doughman would have become Spewman.

You should note that this dream occurred prior to me taking a big strike to the head at the karate tournament.

I was definitely the Doughman there. Somehow I summoned up the courage to join Alex in competing in our dojo's annual tournament. He's been doing it for almost a year now and has a red belt but I had to give it away for six months due to a foot injury and haven't even graded yet. No other senior white belts were in attendance today. Senior, that makes me feel really old now, especially when Alex is still a Pee Wee!

Me on the left getting belted

Alex in gladiator

Alex did well, adding another silver in kumite to the one he won at the warm up tournament last term. And he won both his matches in the gladiator, though his team did not progress.

Me, I got a bronze in the kata, but that's because there were only three of us competing. And a bumped head in kumite where there were four. But I did score a couple of points and I'm satisfied with that.

The things we do to set a good example for our kids...

So I may not be great at karate, but I reckon I could write a pretty decent movie script. In my sleep.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Leigh Creek

This month sees the closure of South Australia's last coal fired powerstation and the subsequant cessation of mining at Leigh Creek. Whilst it gladdens me to see another step towards cleaner energy the Leigh Creek operation does hold some special memories for me.

I was nine years old when my family began their big move away from Melbourne on a trip that was supposed to take us all around Australia. By Easter of 1984 we had got as far as the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

We drove across from Rawnsley Bluff outside of Hawker to the town of Leigh Creek on the other side of the ranges. At that time the town was brand new, the population shifted from old Leigh Creek, now a giant hole in the ground, dug up for coal.

The town was sterile, souless from all appearances, many of the buildings prefabricated. But interestingly different from the bluestone and sandstone historic towns that we had been passing through on the trip.

We went on a guided tour of the mine and were overwhelmed by the size of the machinery in use. Dump trucks with tyres taller than the height of a person.

As we walked along we were allowed to pick up some pieces of coal. I cracked them open to see the imprint of ancient leaves. It truly brought home to me that this was fossil fuel, made from the stuff of life that had died hundreds of millions of years ago.

What a contrast between the town and the reason for its existence!

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