Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giggle, giggle...

Hello again dear readers, without whom I'd just be a voice shouting alone in the woods --ummm, I'm kinda close to that anyways... But since I like the woods and shouting and getting away from people I guess that's no bad thing, eh?

Hey! We got some more rain yesterday afternoon and last night. Amazing! The official amount in town was a whole whopping 1.4 mm (about 1/16th of an inch) but I think in our area of the hills we had FOUR times that --I get excited over a quarter inch of rain now, wee-hoo.

It was also a great show of thunder and lightning. Unfortunately we are in for a very bad fire season cus the lightning strikes were (at one point) 1000 per hour and they touched off 60 bushfires. CFS was ready though (country fire service) and the strikes were taken care of quickly. CFS wasn't able to do much burning off this winter (not much rain so it was too liable to set things alight) so the fuel load is pretty high this fire season.

That's my quota for current affairs today --whoops, wait a sec: The Ashes start tomorrow morning... GO POMMIE BASTARDS!!! GO BARMY ARMY!!!

Now that's it... oh, wait, one more: GO ALL-BLACKS!!!!!!!!!

Now that I've thoroughly confused you US folks... onto Story Time with Unkie dave.

This occurred shortly after the previous post of "day in the life of dave". It involves fencing.

Oh, before I start I need to tell you something. I have a quirky sense of humour, I'm very very good at puns, and one-liners seem to spring into my head at the precise right moment. Actually, most thoughts seem to spring unbidden into my head and then they are gone again.

Ok, back to the story which hasn't started yet:

This happened the first time I went to the US Nationals. Uh, the sport was fencing (in case you hadn't guessed). I'd actually qualified several times in the preceding years, but this was the first time I had both the money and the time to go. I usually had lots of time but was generally short on the money.

Anywho, I'd qualified for six events fairly easily at the Alaskan qualifiers --I won't bore you with the details cus I'm sure you aren't interested. The year previous I had won the AK State Champs in epee (yes, I can proudly say that I'm a State Champion in a sport), and was 2nd in both foil and sabre; so qualifying next year was easy (any time I couldn't come in the top six in a major tourney in AK meant I was having a really really really bad day).

The trip down to the lower 48 took 14 hours (including transit time and plane transfers). I got to the hotel late at night when everyone else in the room was crashed.

Oh, yes; the Hotel... There were 4 of us staying in a room with two double beds and the hotel had a special for us fencers so it was only like $20 a night each (actually, they wanted $80 a night and didn't care how many were there). I knew one person in the room (woman, former fencing student of mine), but the other two I was clueless about (two blokes from the east coast, friends of hers).

The 3 of them arrived the day before I did and had been fencing earlier in the day, they also had to be up early for an 8 am event, whereas mine didn't start till 2 pm so I didn't care how late at night it was when I got to the hotel.

I was expected, no worries. The night staff checked me in (again, I was expected) and I collected my key. Now, the plan was that MaryAnne and another bloke would split one bed (double bed, no worries), and me and the other bloke would split the other (double bed, no worries).

Something you need to know about fencers: they travel with lots and lots of equipment and at night it's usually strewn all over the place so it's dry for the next day (I'll talk about the smell some other time).

I get to the room, open door and notice the three of them are sound asleep; 2 in one bed, 1 in another. There's fencing bags and duffel bags all over the floor of the tiny hotel room. Fortunately, I can see in the dark so I found an unused corner to silently put my stuff, undressed to my skivvies, and crawled into the open spot in the bed with only one person in it. I didn't wake anyone!

Remember: I was expected!

I fell asleep instantly (massive jet lag and all) and when I awoke in the morning the room was empty and a few fencing bags were gone. Ok, cool, they made their start time.

I amble down to the hotel restaurant and eat everything in sight (I'm good at that) and head to the venue at 1000 am to check it out. The convention centre was only a 15 min walk from the hotel, but since I didn't know the city yet I took one of the free shuttles the USFA had organised.

When I walked into to main fencing area I was astounded by how many people were there. GREAT! 48 copper fencing strips, all had overhead scoring lights, elevated strips for the finals, very, very cool.

I found MaryAnne and her friends, she was also with all the other Alaskan fencers there (even though she had been gone for two years we still considered her one of us). People were warming up (or cooling down), checking weapons, stretching out, taking strategy, and BSing.

MaryAnne started to introduce me to the two guys who we had the hotel room with (they three of them were friends) but I recognised the guy I split the bed with and went up to him before MaryAnne could introduce us.

I put out my hand to him, smiled all friendly-like, and said loudly, "Hi, I'm dave. I'm the guy you slept with last night."

His jaw dropped a mile... silence descended all around our little group... then, after a moment or two, everyone started laughing and laughing and laughing.

I swear to you, I had not even thought of saying anything like that, it just blurted out.

One of my best moments!

Food time (I think this is my favorite part).

What we are having for dinner tonight:

Yeah, yeah, yeah sure... roast chook and rice don't sound special... Well, read on:

The chook is roasting in a basting sauce of pineapple juice, brown sugar, coconut and tarragon. There's also pineapple chunks on and in the bird.

The jasmine rice is cooking with the following additions: wild rice, peas, pineapple chunks, pineapple juice, bacon, turmeric, and oregano.

I'll be making a sauce/gravy out of the pan juices from the chook to serve over the chicken and the rice.

See??!!??! Isn't that easy? And tasty!

by for now, off to check on the rice...

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