Sunday, October 30, 2011

Carrington Bowling Club

   Do you have a spare $150,000 lying around... you could participate in your very own 'Crackerjack' story by providing the funds for a kitchen refurbishment to allow this excellent if rustic community facility to upgrade and survive!!
   Failing that if you can get to Newcastle here in Oz by 6th November [for OS friends that'll have to be via Emirates, Etihad or Virgin at the moment!!] then the Club is holding a fun day to try to give people a chance to enjoy the Bowls Club but also donate even $10 towards their survival... this is a common story but it's a place that has potential as a community space if the work can be done!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rugby mad NZ

From my very first training session for University 4ths in Newcastle I knew I had found my game. A contact sport for all body shapes where stopping was as effective as tackling. In the early 80s it was ok to respect the All Blacks as the best in the apartheid effected game and we all owned steinlager sponsored Canterbury brand jerseys. Later as the wallabies improved it was less ok. Former kiwi team mate Glen Turner told me I hadn't experienced rugby unless I'd been to a Bledisloe Cup game at Eden Park and I'm so looking fwd to this next best thing... I'm so grateful to Simone and my family for this 50th birthday year opportunity for a break and to experience a rugby mad nervous Auckland as this tournament has driven them mad for 24 years. Switching to Wanderers after a season off I then enjoyed more than twenty years playing and later coaching in this wonderful world game.... As someone who enjoyed the physical contest on the field I still miss it every Saturday in winter... But two ruptured patella tendons will have that effect on you!! It won't kick off until 9pm And I have all day to decide whether to update that Canterbury jersey with a clima cool Adidas momento. Bring it on!!! Queens Wharf will likely host 20,000 plus people for the after party.... Will the tricolours spoil the fun. !

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rugby World Cup Final

   OK, so tomorrow [very early] I head to Auckland to catch the so-called Bronze playoff and the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final!! It's a repeat of 1987. This shouldn't surprise as the All Blacks only win the ones they host... and they again front the French team who are capable of anything!!
   Normal 'Pumphouse' transmission to resume next Thursday!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

RWC 2011 #09 Semi Final Day

   What a shame for last nights semi-final Wales v France! I commented how difficult it was to sustain defence and keep rolling on when you play a man down for most of the match... bit it is possible if you pull down the shutters the way the French did!!
   Wales were gutsy in their efforts but today the inaccuracy of their goal kicking, three dropped balls and the one kick which went within a few centimetres of winning them the game!!
   France seemed to assume they'd wear Wales down and so tried to play risk free rugby and in some ways save their energies for next week. That said their defence was superb and in the way the game went they did enough... just!!
   It was a shame the rain made Wales expansive style difficult and let's hope that by some miracle the forecast of sunny and a top of 17 is spot on in Auckland today.... of course 23-25 would be even better but this is Auckland we're talking about!!
   In 2003 I read an article on the morning of the match with a comment about the Wallabies needing to keep the ball away from the All Blacks in that Sydney RWC Semi Final and I knew they were going to win... nobody believed me until the All Blacks kicked off and instead of kicking the ball straight back down field and into touch for a lineout the Wallabies ran it from their own 22m, depriving the All Blacks of the ball for up to 22 minutes, then Sterling Mortlock read their play and scored an intercept try...
   Justin Marshall was injured in a fair tackle and from there the All Blacks became increasingly pressured and mistake riddled...
   I've read articles today which describe exactly how this game should be played and won BUT I don't have quite the same confidence this side can do what it says needs to be done!! I agree the first 20mins will be crucial today but so will the ten minutes either side of half time... because that's about sustained effort and knowing when to run and when to consolidate!!
   Come on Wallabies... move up in defence, kick well, run wide straight lines and back yourselves... Pocock and our scrum/lineout are the keys to getting the kind of ball we need for our star backline to have the room to move...
   For the All Blacks, they will be working for a fair share of ball, kicking for errors and then swinging into their disciplined ruck and maul game with the best short back up passing rugby you'l ever see as it seems when you cut down a runner there's always a support player in space at speed to take the ball...

OK... come on Wallabies... I'd love to see you in Auckland on Sunday not Friday!!

Watch out for 'the rude finger'

   My daughters Lucy [10] and Ellie [7] have a lot of fun playing in our fenceless front yard on a street with moderate through traffic as a crossover in our suburb. They climb bottlebrush trees, play hide and seek, tips etc
   From time to time they've run a lemonade and/or craft stall and whatever they're doing they pause and run together to the driveway and wave at passing traffic. One day some friendly local girls gave the gathered throng 'the bird' with a one middle fingered salute. This became known as a 'rude finger.'
   Now it's entered our common language as something is described as being:
as long as...
about as wide as...
as naughty as...
as obvious as...

'a rude finger'!! Thanks those girls in the Nissan X-Trail!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Famine F Word" from ONE

Craig posted a link to this new ONE Campaign clip!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Laman St Fig Trees

The fate of a street full of Morton Bay Fig trees is a big story here in Newcastle. Our City Council is in favour of following the arborists advice and insurers concerns and want to cut down the trees. We're talking major 100 year old canopy across from our city Library and Art Gallery and above a traditional Civic Park and fountain. The Mayor is aligning himself with the community group 'Save our Figs' and there's a call for 'independent assessment.' The Council do have the problem of an insurer now unwilling to cover in the event of public liability vs the PR problem of redevelopment plans and lack of willingness for further assessment. I have to state that I don't find Morton Bays attractive, though this streets cape is impressive. I have read about these trees before when some were removed from Lambton and Islington Parks. It does seem they have a safe and healthy life span of just over the hundred years and do begin to drop branches and start to die. Someone planted them back then... would it be so bad to see them out and new trees planted that we know will in the future give similar pleasure to future generations... It's a really tough call about change, decisionmaking, power and community reaction. At the moment the Security and project costs approach $1 million and the Art Gallery and Library are now apparently closed indefinitely because of security concerns and the need for the workers to have a safe environment... Is it a metaphor for other change scenarios? Does it have anything to say? Is it a reminder of stakeholders around an adaptive challenge and the need to do better at taking people along, explaining what's happening, why such change is needed and what the new future might look like... Even if we can't really see it... I wonder whether the Council should simply have sought the assessment and why there's no other insurer offering to jump in? The trees do look spectacular, but they ruin the footpath and road, are unsafe to walk around if you're not careful it's easy to trip. Other independent articles ive read talk about them as trees with a life span that does end. I think they're ugly at the trunk/roots level... that's just my view. I think I also understand why people want to protest and feel they are not getting a fair go... The whole episode stinks!!! So one lesson is that if you don't trust the decision maker it'll be hard to get people onboard. More soon...

Monday, October 10, 2011

RWC 2011 #08 Semi Finals

   As Rugby Union matches go next Sunday's World Cup Semi Final will be amongst the Wallabies toughest Tests and a massive opportunity!! They take on the All Blacks [tournament host] in their own playground... where we have failed to win a match since the mid 1980s.
   But like 2003 in Sydney we have done just enough to worry them, should have a credible plan and are capable of this huge upset!!
   The All Blacks are an amazing team!! Even struggling against Argentina's dogged defence, they still managed that short passing hand off game they so enjoy in counter attack... little shuffle passes to support players in numbers other sides simply fail to match. They play up tempo. They err on the wrong side of the rules when the ball is contested in a ruck better than any other team and they simply have the best coloured team uniforms!!
   This is the week we find out if Robbie Deans is as a good a coach as his Canterbury record suggests. It starts with how the team 'recover' from Sunday and freshen up for next week... a relaxed day or two and then intense planning, a few sharp training runs and on to the bigger stage in Auckland!! Go the Wallabies!!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

RWC 2011 #07 D Day for Australia

it's nice to have some headspace today to watch the Rugby in an otherwise pretty crappy time!! The Wallabies are capable of winning today! What counts against is the weather, experience and skill of the opposition and the fact I reckon we have to play our best to win while the Springboks could grind out a win at less than their best!! Our advantages include David Pocock, the x factor in attack and Kurtley Beale at fullback... Hopefully they value possession of the ball and realize there's no tomorrow for the team that comes second. The biggest tension will be time... If we are threatened on the scoreboard, the tension will stretch some of blokes! those "we'll win it" calls always bemuse me. What will tell is how the Wallabies start and the 10mins either side of half way... Dare I say, watch for the drop goals!! Come on boys, back yourselves but have pride in getting it right!!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Eavesdrop at Speers Point Park

   We had the extended family of in-laws at Speers Point Park today for Charlotte's 3rd birthday. It's a brilliant use of recreational space with climbing, swings, music, big slide, flying foxes, wet area, scoot track, and growing tree maze with quiet toddler area and action swings for wheelchairs etc. Minding our table I couldn't help but overhear two mums talking about the way kids are learning and the need for them to have to figure things out as against their standard reply of "just Google it mum! Just Google it!!!" in the next breath they were talking about choosing movies and suggesting to her daughter that she "look a few up on the Internet, read about them, watch the trailers and make a choice" Hmmmn... So she should just Google it? There is a serious discussion behind all that which I'm always aware of preparing things and utilizing shared wisdom and creativity. The issue is, what am I putting out there for others to use, how am I developing thought and practice... Am I a member of the YouTube community or just a leech? Will we develop generations of young people who access content without contributing any... How will human wisdom be added to... Don't get me wrong, I think all that will happen in ways we can't yet envisage... It's different to whether you can learn to tell the time with a digital watch... It'll be interesting to watch in coming decades... I'll be able to just Google it of course!!

Friday, October 07, 2011


Asks good questions
Always thinking which way
Helping people work stuff out
'Rocket Scientist'
Helping make space for people to lead
Contextual questions
Seeing things other people don't
Retainer or stories and learning

Problem solving

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

RWC 2011 #06 Quarter Finals

What's the likely team for the Wallbies Quarter Final v the Springboks in windy Wellington?
1.Sekopi Kepu
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Dan Vickerman though it seems Sharpey is still in the running
5. James Horwill
6. Rocky Elsom
7. David Pocock
8. Radike Samo
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Digby Ioane
12. Pat McCabe
13. Adam Ashley Cooper
14. James OConnor
15. Kurtley Beale

 Res: James Slipper, Tatafe Polota Nau, Luke Burgess, Ben Mcalman, Berrick Barnes
    It sounds like McCabe's games against South Africa will keep him in this physical side as to drop him might see him right out of the squad.
Barnes did everything he could to dislodge McCabe and would be itching on the bench to take kicks and come on if Cooper can't bring in a plan b.
    I know Peter De Villiers isn't reading my blog so it's safe to speculate that with Bryce Lawrence as referee (probably the biggest negative of this fixture) the contested ball will be a bar room winner takes all stoush.
   Look for the Wallabies to play straight but a little wider of the ruck with Pocock running the one and two channels and hopefully Elsom will get some space out wide...
   That's if we commit enough blokes to the ball to keep it. I'd be tempted to play Barnes and bring Hodgson straight onto the bench having flown him in as a replacement for Palu (what did I write about him again?) Non comprende?
That's ok, once every four years I get to watch a competition on TV that I know a little bit about...
Less sporting analysis in three weeks!!!
We are in trouble in this match if the weather makes it an arm wrestle...
We will also need to counter a drop goal festival!!! If the Wallabies win this Sunday at least I get to watch them play in a couple of weeks...
After this match it's on to a semi final against Argentina I guess!! ;D