23 April 2014

The Bundah


An impromptu walk around my neighbourhood in Narrabundah last night. Was restless so took the dogs for a walk... I love these older street-lights with their golden creepiness.

21 April 2014

My People - RG

Got to this guy finally... THIS guy.

RG is Robert George Jesson. We met when we were nine years old, Shoalhaven Basketball under 10s representative team. We played on the same rep and high-school teams for years but it wasn't until we were eighteen years old finishing high school that we started to hang out more as friends. Which I've always liked that we became real friends as we became adults; post-school, when real life begins. It was like some romantic movie where the one who was perfect for you was in front of you the whole time and you never saw it. Hahaha, sorry brother... but it was. We went from guys who played high school basketball together to best mates almost instantly. 

RG was quite a wound-up teenager always with a lot on his mind. Whilst he usually had a calm exterior, there was plenty happening in RG's head. In our late teens and early twenties he was regularly just that little bit stressed, managing to put pressure on himself at every opportunity. Over the years RG has relaxed in his own skin more to be quite a genuinely chilled out and comfortable guy. He has killer music taste listening to all sorts of different genres. It's not uncommon to get into his car one day to find he's listening to 70s funk like The Meters, then the next day it's Tool. He is also super-fit, can rock-climb like a beast, has a major chair-fetish (he recently bought an Eames chair) and is quite a handy point guard on the basketball court. RG is also allergic to eggs which still weirds me out. Freak.

RG is the most inoffensive person I know. No, really... he is. RG has to be one of the easiest people to be around. I've never met anyone who knows him that doesn't say, 'what a good bloke that guy is'. He's an intelligent thinking person, has a great sense of humour, is a very caring guy and he loves his family and friends. He has an impressive and unique ability to analyse and respond to emotional situations in a sensitive, intelligent and measured way. Did I mention he's an easy guy to be around? But don't mistake his quiet demeanor and gentle way for thinking he's some kind of pushover either. He's a proud guy with strong values... and when push comes to shove he won't stand down. And if it's his friends then he's right there next to you.

We've known each other for 25 years, been close friends for over 15 of those years... and we've never had a crossed word; never had an argument. I've not met too many people who have friendships like this. I love this guy.

All of the above... that's why RG is my guy, my brother and one of my people.

15 April 2014

Take me back to Sth Island, NZ


My People - Michaela

I love this gal.

Michaela (Mick) and I grew up down/up the road from each other in Worrigee, NSW. We both went to Nowra Technology High School (Mick in the year below me) and we caught the same bus to school. As I got older I started to notice this cute girl on the bus. I'll be honest, I had no idea she lived four houses down the road from me. See, Mick didn't catch the bus in the mornings... only in the afternoons and my house was before hers. So I'd get off at my house and she would still be on the bus. I could only assume she lived further out of town.

By the time I was sixteen, I'd grown quite fond of this cute little blonde girl on the school bus and throughout a series of awkward teenagerisms her and I ended up 'boyfriend and girlfriend' for a short time. Mick and I ended up together a few times over the next couple of years. Somehow we would be together, it would end and we'd manage to reconnect as friends afterwards. We've spoken about it since and each in our own way we struggled 'fitting in' as teenagers. She was this odd, quirky, yet intelligent kid who was very artistic. She spent her weekends riding horses and playing with chickens and other animals her family had on their property. I was older than my years, a little dorky, a basketball, film and music nerd and spent most of my weekends building cars with my brothers and my Dad... so each in our own way we were outsiders to the teenage norm of the time. And in hindsight it made sense that we spent so much time together.

By the time I was eighteen in 1998, I'd ended up in a serious relationship post-school as Mick and I drifted apart. My girlfriend at the time and I moved to Canberra in 2000 to start the next phase of life. Then in 2002 I was moving house and I found an old box of memories I'd kept. In that box was a letter written to me by Michaela from a few years earlier and she'd given me her email address. I thought finding that was a sign so I emailed her from my work computer on the chance that she was using the same email address. It turns out she was. And not only was Mick really happy to hear from me, but she also lived in Canberra in the same suburb as me. She'd moved to Canberra in 2000 as well to start University and we were living walking distance from each other again... what are the odds? We caught up sparingly after that, seeing each other every few months and it was great for our relationship to kick off again and grow into an adult friendship.

As we get older, we're further removed from those two teenagers who 'didn't fit in' but what we have now is closer than ever. We've talked about that a fair bit as we both love the nostalgia attached to growing up where we did and the time we spent together as teenagers. But whilst we love that part of it, our friendship is very much about how we are now. We've been at each others weddings and have seen each other through the good, bad, high and low that comes with adult life. All from a friendship that started on the school bus.

Mick still has that quirky, odd little girl inside her but she's also grown into a mature, smart, loving, understanding, accomplished, adventurous person who I am proud of and love so much.

Michaela.

Mick.

One of my people.






26 March 2014

I'm happy

Oh G'Day All...



I know... I've been a little absent. I've had a lot going on. I've been stressed. Me? Yeah, me. I'm usually such a cool customer but I've been stressed. I've been planning out life in excel spreadsheets to figure out just how long this tunnel is and if the light at the end is for me & mine... or is it for someone else? Metaphors, motherf*cker!

It's not been easy times and what does that mean for me? It made me want to be private. Not a Facebook status update for 6 months, no blog entries, no sharing my life with the world. I had a full plate and there wasn't enough to go round to share with y'all. I had to look after my Brown Life as a number 1 priority.

Don't read too much into this, just the world didn't give me anything easy for a little while there. Felt like a trying time set out to take my measure as a man and I got the better of it in the end. It's been all very adult. Working hard for positive stuff and the phrase that comes to mind is that 'nothing worthwhile is easy'.

It wasn't.

It's still not.

But I'm happy and I'm back. 

Yes.

I'm happy.



Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.


5 January 2014

33 at 33 - Review of my 2013 goals

Well, it's 33 things in 2013... and I did ok. It's amazing some of the things I didn't do; they seem quite easy in the whole scheme of things but I guess life gets in the way sometimes. I've achieved a hell of a lot more in the past 12 months than what's on this list but it's great to look back and see that I've realised most of the goals I set for myself. Here's a rundown: 

1. Lose 10kg - NO GO. I got from 125kg down to 118kg so not a bad result.
2. Type a letter to a friend on my vintage typewriter.
DONE!
3. Go to an N.B.L basketball game (so I have a formal basis for hating that league). DONE! Went to Australia v New Zealand (mens and womens back to back), so I'm crossing it off! For the record, it was fantastic.
4. Complete the Canberra Year of the Steak blog with my mate Craig
- DONE! We are going to continue it.
5. Have a romantic picnic with my wife. DONE!
6. Help Lauren achieve a photography exhibition. DONE!
7. Finish reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.
DONE!
8. Do a weekend in Melbourne to catch up with Kat, Leela and others. DONE!
9. Bake a cake. NO GO. How f*cking hard is it to bake a cake? Not really, I just never got around to it.  
10. Dunk in a basketball game. NO GO. I was diagnosed with a torn left patella earlier in the year... struggled to still play let alone dunk it. 
 11. Build a chicken-coop and get some chickens. DONE!
12. Pay out a credit card.
DONE!
13. Install a rain-water tank at home.
NO GO.
14. Cook a meal at Shawfoot Manor from my new Italian cookbook. DONE! 
15. Make a will. DONE! Well, I gave all the information to my solicitor so I'm checking it off.
16. Build an outdoor cinema in my backyard and invite friends over to watch old movies. DONE! Check it!
17. Go for a massage.
DONE!
18. Hire a luxury car for a day, suit up and hit the road with my lady. NO GO. 
19. Shoot a roll of film with Lauren's Hasselblad. NO GO.
20. Travel to another country. DONE!
21. Go to another city/town for the sole reason of watching live music. DONE! I went to Sydney January 4th to the Opera House to watch Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Possibly the best live gig I've ever seen.
22. Go to a gig at the Phoenix in Canberra.
NO GO.
23. Eat dinner at a 'hatted' restaurant. DONE! Courgette in Civic for my friend Brendan's bucks dinner. 
24. Go to an arcade and play video games.
NO GO.
25. Go to a zoo. DONE!
26. Go the the dentist.
DONE!
27. Take a photograph that I’m proud enough to frame and hang on the wall at home. DONE!
28. Host a dress-up party. DONE!
29. French Night at home with my wife... French food, wine, cheese and movie. DONE!
30. Buy something awesome from a country/flea market -
DONE! It was a garage-sale, but I'm ticking it off!
31. Teach my friends how to play Mahjong. DONE!
32. Buy a really NICE belt. I don't have a really nice belt! DONE!
33. Play Blackjack at a casino NO GO.

So in the end I got through 24 of the 33 goals I set myself in 2013. I'm pretty happy with myself for what I've done and it gives me a good idea of how to set up my goals for 2014. 

That's all for 2013. 24 of 33... cheers, 2013!

Family Christmas 2013 - Nautical Xmas!

So for Family Christmas in 2013, my friend the lovely Sarah and I decided we would combine our efforts for a nautical themed Christmas.

Our group of friends kicked off at D'Browes in Narrabundah where we had cracking good meals and the staff seemed to enjoy our efforts at dressing up. Good people there, good food, good value and cheap corkage... can't go wrong!


I didn't actually have my camera with me, so these pic are by my friend Chi Chu.

We then moved along to Brown HQ where things got fun/messy/hilarious.










Backyard Cinema

Well, basically a big-ass television in the backyard... but I like to embellish.

Around 10 years ago, I was at a friends home and saw an amazing old front-projection TV. I'd never seen anything like it before, nor since. I told my friends Rita and Pete that I really wanted that TV if ever they got rid of it. Some 10 years later, they have been storing the TV in their garage all this time waiting for me to come get it.

On the afternoon of New Year's Eve I finally got to picking it up and the below was the result for NYE at Brown HQ. Started out with Wall-E, then Madagascar 2, then Smokey & the Bandit followed by some Family Guy.




30 October 2013

33 at 33 - working my way through it!

17 ticked off the list... at least now I'm more than halfway there!

1. Lose 10kg - 8 down, 2 to go.
2. Type a letter to a friend on my vintage typewriter
3. Go to an N.B.L basketball game (so I have a formal basis for hating that league). Went to Australia v New Zealand (mens and womens back to back), so I'm crossing it off! For the record, it was fantastic.
4. Complete the Canberra Year of the Steak blog with my mate Craig
- It's underway!
5. Have a romantic picnic with my wife. DONE!
6. Help Lauren achieve a photography exhibition. DONE!
7. Finish reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.
DONE!
8. Do a weekend in Melbourne to catch up with Kat, Leela and others. DONE!
9. Bake a cake.
10. Dunk in a basketball game.
11. Build a chicken-coop and get some chickens. DONE!
12. Pay out a credit card.
DONE!
13. Install a rain-water tank at home.
14. Cook a meal at Shawfoot Manor from my new Italian cookbook.
DONE! 
15. Make a will.
16. Build an outdoor cinema in my backyard and invite friends over to watch old movies.
17. Go for a massage.
DONE!
18. Hire a luxury car for a day, suit up and hit the road with my lady.
19. Shoot a roll of film with Lauren's Hasselblad.
20. Travel to another country.
DONE!
21. Go to another city/town for the sole reason of watching live music. DONE! I went to Sydney January 4th to the Opera House to watch Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Possibly the best live gig I've ever seen.
22. Go to a gig at the Phoenix in Canberra.
23. Eat dinner at a 'hatted' restaurant. DONE! Courgette in Civic for my friend Brendan's bucks dinner. 
24. Go to an arcade and play video games.
25. Go to a zoo.
DONE!
26. Go the the dentist.
DONE!
27. Take a photograph that I’m proud enough to frame and hang on the wall at home.
28. Host a dress-up party.
29. French Night at home with my wife... French food, wine, cheese and movie.
DONE!
30. Buy something awesome from a country/flea market -
DONE! It was a garage-sale, but I'm ticking it off!
31. Teach my friends how to play Mahjong.
32. Buy a really NICE belt. I don't have a really nice belt! DONE!
33. Play Blackjack at a casino

30 September 2013

My People - Sacha

Sacha. That's my guy. When I start typing I start smiling straight away.

 
In April 2012, Sach and I travelled to the USA together. As a young bloke, I'd never travelled. The first overseas trip I did was in 2010 with the lovely Larry. So last year when Sach came to me with the question, 'would you be keen on a boys trip to the US to watch a heap of basketball?'. Didn't have to think about it too long; nor did I have to question whether I could spend two whole weeks with Sacha. He's one of those people who values his own time and space; and also extends that understanding to his relationships with other people. It makes him quite a considerate person.

Two mates travelling around the US together watching basketball, drinking at random bars, eating and just being guys. Great fun and the whole trip reinforced for both of us why we are mates. If you're lucky in life you have a friend like Sach. He's an intelligent thinker and has a great ability to understand people's idiosyncrasies. Sacha really gets how people tick but also it's a respect of other people's feelings and emotions. You never have a conversation with Sacha without him genuinely asking, 'How are you?' And he wants to know. He cares.

Sacha loves chicken wings, good beers and good laughs. He has a love of Michael Bolton, Phil Collins, the Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oates. No, he's not a 50 year old white guy... he's a 29 year old brown guy. He's well into the NBA and a mad Boston Celtics supporter. He's also quite the baller himself. One hell of a three-point shooter when he's on and plays the game with a competitiveness not often matched. He's also a faithful Collingwood Magpies supporter and is very big on clothes and fashion. That's one thing about Sach, he always looks good. Always makes sure he's well-groomed and looking sharp. I remember when we were on our trip we got a few days out of LA and Sacha hadn't shaved for a few days. He looked at himself in the rear-view mirror of the car and said, 'my mother would be horrified if she could see me now'. He places great pride in how he presents himself to the world. Pride. That's my guy. Pride in himself, pride in his work, his relationships with people, in how he gives himself to the world. Sometimes he can be too proud but in a time in the world where many people don't care enough... I'll take it. 

Sacha Jeeawody. That's my guy. One of my people.