Monday, July 21, 2008

Unsung Heroes of the Event-Free Zone

Thank gods the Tour de France only has a week to go. I don't think I could stand much more of this ... it's unmittigated sadism. They used to call this torture -- forcing a person so stay awake, force-feeding them chemicals, such as caffeine, in a desperate attempt to keep the eyes open, because they keep the best part till last ... and it's invariably about two o'clock in the morning when the leaders zip across the line. By that time, these guys have been in the bike saddle for maybe six hours, and have slogged up mountainsides in the heat, the cold or the rain; they've fallen off and picked themselves up, ridden through hundred-degree afternoons, left their skin on the bitumen --

And they look a hell of a lot better than the poor buggers at home, we unsung heroes who make up the Viewing Public without whom the whole bloody event would be cancelled, because there'd be no one to watch the damned commercials!!!

(I debated about putting half of the above paragraph in captitals and then decided against it. Caps would make it look like I'm yelling. I'm not. I'm whimpering pitifully while trying to find the scotch tape. I'm going to need it if I intend to get any work done this afternoon, because my eyes are not going to stay open by themselves. Whimper.)

Today is a rest day for the likes of Cadel and Robbie and Simon and George and Fabian and about another 160 just like them.

Tomorrow is a rest day for Keegan: first day off I've scored in two weeks. I'm going to a movie. Last time I blogged about going to a movie, I didn't actually get the chance -- stuff happened, as it usually does, and my moviegoing activities were postponed. (I'd seen IRON MAN and the new Indiana Jones in the previous month, so I can't complain too much. I defiitely want to see the third MUMMY picture. And tomorrow, THE DARK KNIGHT.)

Incidentally, the new Indiana Jones is very good. If you read critiques to the contrary, don't believe a word of it. Some idiot said he wished the movie had not been made ... presumably because he can't stand to watch Harrison Ford getting older. That's fair enough. Ford is about 66 now, I think, and sure, he looks like Han Solo's father. Thirty years have gone by! What, a person should look the same after three decades of rough living? Ford hasn't exactly coddled himself through those years, and the truth is, he was showing the mileage a loooooong time ago.

(Interestingly, though, Brad Pitt doesn't seem to be showing the mileage at all. How the hell does he do it? He has to be mid-40s now, and there are photos where he looks younger than the missus, who's only 33. Damn.)

Anyway, it's THE DARK KNIGHT for me tomorrow, and I'll let you know what I think. I expect to like it a lot. (Then again, I also liked IRON MAN a lot, and subsequently read some genuinely stinking reviews of the movie, which sorta-kinda surprised me. Some critics can't seem to get one salient point through through skulls: it's a FANTASY! It was never going to be structured like MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD, scripted like OUTBREAK, with acting performances like Russell Crowe in GLADIATOR. Movies like IRON MAN are strictly for fun. It'd be like tuning in to THE SIMPSONS and breaking your heart over the deeply-moving human drama that unfolded in the next 25 minutes, between the Coke, Pizza Hutt and Bigpond commercials. I would often love to tell some of these critics to 'get real,' but ... what do I know? I'm just a viewer, the poor nong who puts the money down to actually BUY the ticket.)

As you can probably surmise from the diatribe on movie critics, Indiana Jones and ... so on, this neck of the woods continues to be an Event-Free Zone. So I'll fall back on Plan A and put up some pictures. Australian pictures this time, since I did the Alaskan shots yesterday.

Same story: they're parked on Jade's Flickr account for sheer convenience (meaning, Keegan hasn't bothered to get an account yet, and might not be bothering, since it's so much easier to shoot the pictures to the existing account, and Jade doesn't seem to mind, so ... what the hey?) If you'd like to use a photo, just drop me (or Jade) a line either here, or at Flickr, or on the website.

Pictures, now...

Laden vines stretch away to the Barossa hills. Some of the best wines in the world are made in this part of the world ... not all of them. I'm admittedly biased because I'm from the southern wine-growing zone, but I actually prefer the McLaren Vale wines over the Barossa vintages...

Morialta is a deep river gorge a few minutes' drive from the city of Adelaide. It's a sort hike through to the waterfall (which actually flows in winter), and you think you've stepped back in time a million years. You wouldn't be surprised to be stalked by raptors. This shot was taken from the Giant's Cave, high in the cliff...

There you are, you see: we DO have fall colors in Australia ... just not many! Seriously, the native trees don't shed their leaves, so the foliage never 'turns,' but early settlers planted European trees wherever they went, and obviously these do change. (The only northern trees that don't do well down here are birches. They call them 'weeping birches' downunder, because they droop like weeping willows -- and you can't get anyone to listen when you say they're not supposed to.

Speaking of early settlers, this is the kind of structure they built. Of course, they originally built them with roofs and windows and everything. (!) This colonial ruin is probably Heritage listed. I think it's somewhere in the Scott Creek area, but the truth is, that's only a guess.

Yeah, yeah, okay, you were waiting for pictures of the beach. This is Australia, after all, and we're one BIG beach, we admit it. This one is south of Adelaide, at Silver Sands.

Also the sea shore, but not quite what you were expecting: the horse tram at Victor Harbor, which carries passengers over the causeway to Granite Island. This shot was taken (plus about 1000 others) on a winter's day. It's very cold ... which would suit the Little Penguins which are native to the area. Doesn't seem to bother the clydesdales, either.

Now, I gotta find that scotch tape ... or maybe duct tape...

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