Monday, October 11, 2010

What I've been up to

Books read:
1. Howards End by E.M. Forster (I'm still following along with my Boston book club, just like a long-distance stalker). Published in 1910, this English novel tells the story of three families from three different classes, whose paths frequently cross. The two Schlegel sisters, the thoughtful Margaret and the beautiful and immature Helen seem like they jumped straight out of a Jane Austen novel. In one of the major plot points, a valuable object bequeathed by a dying woman to a kind acquaintance was hoarded by greedy relatives only to end up, in entirely unexpected circumstances, in the hands of the rightful recipient. This reminded me of the book On Beauty, which I just learned (from wikipedia) was written as a homage to Howards End. I enjoyed Howards End and would recommend it, especially to fans of britlit.
2. Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, by Warren St. John. This non-fiction book tells the story of a New York City journalist and Alabama native who returns to his home state to investigate life and times of diehard college football fans, specifically, those who cry "Roll Tide," worship a man named Bear Bryant, and spend every weekend in red RVs. He spends one football season traveling in motor homes to every University of Alabama home and away game and makes a point to meet everyone in the fans' orbit- the legendary crazed fans who stick out among their fellow fanatics, the reviled sports journalist who makes his living criticizing Bama, and the scalper ("ticket broker") who has the tickets they want. Luckily for Warren (and his readers), his gateway companions, the Bices, are a pleasant couple who just plain like their Bama football and add a refreshing balance to the less savory fans in the mix. I'm not normally a big fan of non-fiction, but Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer is both funny, insightful, and well-written, and a highly enjoyable read, even for a Notre Dame fan.

Concert attended:
Cloud Control at the Corner Hotel, Melbourne. One thing I miss about Boston is the abundance of live music venues where you can see good bands for under $30. Melbourne does get a lot of good music, but the international bands (i.e. all the ones I've heard of) all charge $80 or more- and as much as I like Todd Rungren, that's just too much to ask. Imagine my delight when I saw that an Australian band I like, Cloud Control, was playing a show that cost a mere $18. Sold! The Corner Hotel is somewhat of a Melbourne institution, similar to the Paradise (it even has a giant pole obstructing the stage). And the show was great! A four piece band from the Blue Mountains who play mellow modern rock.
Download here:

Gold Canary (right click and save as) - Cloud Control

And what concert is complete without a blurry concert photo? None, I say.

Soccer tournament played in:

My friend Alison invited me to join her North Sydney team in a women's over 30 tournament on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Despite the fact that there were literally monsoon-like rainstorms the entire weekend, I had a fantastic time. The team was full of good soccer players who also like to have a good time, and the weekend was an fun and exhausting mix of soccer and partying. The trip reminded me of the time my old co-ed team went to a tournament in Miami, but at least this time we won a couple of games. Seriously, though, I have never played on a wetter or muddier field, and the tournament organizers ended up canceling the last day of games, which was annoying but understandable considering one of the players in the men's tournament broke his leg in two places the night before. They consoled the disappointed footballers by hosting an open bar at 10:30...AM. Since I didn't manage to get a photo of the team in our uniforms, here's one of us at the surf club and another of the waterlogged field (complete with a giant wooden squeegee that the club used in a feeble attempt to remove water from the field).

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