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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Winter in February

Tired, but not all that sleepy. Once again, trying to pack a lot into an otherwise miserable (and wet) day (rained pretty much all morning) – even finding the time to have an afternoon nap. I needed it I must say.

I find it amusing (to a degree) that the weather is mostly unpredictable on the coast. Last Wyong run, before I ventured off for Can Con, I soldiered on through 46 degree heat, consuming over 3.5 litres of fluid. Yesterday, on the Wyong run, I got quite wet. It started out like I was going to need every drop of the sunscreen lotion, but around lunchtime a life-jacket would have been more appropriate.

And today, what am I dressing for? Long-sleeved pullover and camo pants and I still felt cold. The rain “inspiring” me to get (and stay) indoors as much as possible. So I did, with an hour or so over at Office Works getting my latest batch of masterpieces printed up.

I kid you not, I was combing through the images and found at least a dozen that would be worthy of being entered in competitions. Most of them were taken just down the road in and around the art gallery (my favourite haunt) barely a few days ago. I did one walk around there around 7am in the morning well before heading off to Goulburn, and another on the Tuesday after I returned. The morning shots were lovely, but some of the ones I took on Tuesday, after the rain had been, turned out rather well indeed. To make it even better, I got some great wildlife snaps as well, including some of a tiny male superb fairy wren, which is particularly hard to achieve seeing the little buggers jump around so much. I even added two more birds to my collection – a little (brush) wattle-bird, and what I believe is a satin bower-bird.

I guess next I'll have to get a guide to native flowers and plants as well. I'm taking some good shots of flowers, combining them nicely with some insect interaction, mainly bees. (I have actually discovered a beehive nestled in a tree in the reserve near the art gallery... ) The insects I find enhance the shot nicely, especially if they're going about their routine business. But it would be nice to be able to identify the plants as well.

Anyway, whilst waiting for the photographs to print, I printed up some more material on Roman Emperors, plus branching off a little, acquiring related items. For example, the Roman persecutions of Christians, Philip the Arab's leniency towards them (yes, there was a Roman emperor of that name – ruled from Feb 244 AD until his death in battle around Oct 249 AD, so called because he was born in Syria, which was part of the then Roman province of Arabia), the Diocletian persecutions, and Constantine's conversion. There is also the bloody period known as the Crisis of the Third Century, where there were (at least) 20 claimants to the title of Emperor between 235 - 284 AD, and two breakaway empires, one centering around Gaul and Britain (Gallic), and the other in the East (Palmyrene). A few years after they had been re-incorporated back into the greater Roman empire, there was a third – the Britannic. It lasted ten years before being assimilated back into the empire.

A lot of the rebellions were lead by local commanders, some “promoted” to the top spot by their own troops and then assassinated by their own troops as well. In the case of the Gallic and Britannic empires, the original rebel leaders were successfully usurped themselves. Palmyra, a mercantile city in the Middle East, had been an ally of Rome, defeating a Persian army in battle and eliminating an Eastern Roman usurper. However, it eventually grew tired of being a client kingdom, and splintered from the empire, taking Syria, Palestine, Egypt and large chunks of Asia Minor with it. Once the Gallic empire had been dealt with however, the Palmyrene was next...

And if that wasn't enough, in the first half of the fourth century there were the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy, with the empire divided internally between warring emperors. Your average Roman soldier would be left scratching his head as to which side he was meant to be on.

Rome. The two thousand years of the empire's existence, and it's biggest enemy was itself.

So, I get back from Can Con on Monday, having acquired a lift from the only other Central Coast BB player attending the tournament. We drove through the rain (apparently, over the Australia day long weekend, parts of the Central Coast got up to 200 mm of rain) and then had to put up with more on Tuesday. That didn't really bother me. I went grocery shopping, assembled miniatures, opened up all the board and card games that I purchased (just need people to play it now), took photographs, and caught up on some TV that I had recorded.

Then it was back to work on Wednesday, with the Gosford paper going out a day later thanks to the Australia Day public holiday. The total walk-around for yours truly was 10.75 kms.

I also caught up with my sister, who was there catching up on some paperwork. Her son (my nephew number three), had been accepted into the newly opened football school up at Kariong. It's a school that has small classes (10-15 students to a teacher) and has daily football drills. I was so chuffed that my nephew's skills coach is none other than former Mariner (and former personal favourite) Andre Gumprecht. My sister has offered to get a picture for me ASAP.

Sure, it means a lot of driving in the first three weeks for my sister, but she is prepared to put him through it, in an attempt to steer him in the right direction and hopefully get him off the medication and get his mind settled. The uncle is hoping that this happens too, that and it creates a future Tim Cahill or Brett Emerton...

Then I worked Thursday and Friday as well. Another thirteen or so kilometres walking around. Man, my calves are going to be like iron by the time football season starts.

Whilst in Canberra rolling dice and purchasing geeky stuff (I sure did a lot of it – the bank balance was hit hard, but it'll recover), I was given a copy of the Dredd movie. I have watched it every day this week, and have even downloaded the soundtrack as well. Viewing it so many times has allowed me to work a few things out, namely, that there is a significant alteration to the traditional Dredd time-line.

In the latest cinematic effort, Dredd is given the job to assess the rookie Judge Anderson, at the request of the Chief Judge. Now, those of us who know their Dredd history, would also have worked out that the Chief Judge depicted in the movie (but not named – I checked the credits), is MacGruder, the only black female Chief Judge of Mega City One. However, in the original 2000AD stories, MacGruder was elevated to the top spot during the Apocalypse War between MC One and Sov Block One, after the former Chief Judge, Griffen, had been captured and brainwashed by the Sovs, then assassinated by Dredd (live on TV). Anderson, at this time, was already a well-established judge, and volunteered herself to go on a very dangerous mission with Dredd to destroy SB One.

However, if that is the only difference (oh, that and the smaller, sleeker bikes), well, I can live with it. There was so much that movie got right – the chin, the attitude (of both Dredd and Anderson), the dystopian future, etc. that I have almost forgotten that the Stallone version ever existed. The movie has nicely provided the starting block for a series, which I hope includes the Dark Judges...

Before I go, I have paid my football registration for the upcoming season. There have been dramas within the side, with key players, mainly our star Irish import striker, and the gun goalkeeper, being initially unavailable for 2013. This left the manager with a few headaches, seeing yours truly is more valuable on the pitch in defence, rather than in goals (even though I did a good enough job in the few games that I had in goals last year). However, our keeper from last year is apparently back on board, but not for the full season. So I could well be half in goals, half on the pitch for 2013.

Watching the Mariners go round makes me want to get back onto the pitch myself...


P.S: Oh, by the way, I finished 25th out of 54 competitors in the Blood Bowl nationals. Three wins, a draw, and three losses.

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