The cinema of my dreams – Was it just another surveillance job – Episode 17

As we all know, writing by the seat of your pants is almost the same as flying by the seat of your pants, a hazardous occupation.

As it happens, I like writing this way because like the reader, I don’t know what to expect next.

And equally, at times, you can write your self into a corner, much like painting, and then have to go back, make a few changes and//or repairs and then move forward.

It’s part of the writing process, only in this case, the changes occur before you’ve finished the novel, if you finish.  Quite often a lot of writers get only so far, then the manuscript hits the bottom drawer, to be brought out on a distant rainy day.

Or your cat has mocked your writing ability one too many times.

Therefore, we’re winding back to Episode 16, and moving forward once again, from there.

Why didn’t it surprise me that Nobbin was playing all ends against the middle if that was the expression?  What really bothered was that he wasn’t prepared to tell me the truth or trust me to help find the missing information.  But he had known I might become interested and do some investigating of my own.

Perhaps Nobbin feared Severin might track me down, as he had, and if I had found the USB, run the list of losing it to his foe.

Nor was it a surprise that someone else, namely Severin, was after the information, and he would have access to everything Nobbin did, and he was equally disadvantaged.  It was either Severin or one of his agents, that was caught in O’Connell’s flat and found ‘Josephine’ there.

I didn’t believe her name was Josephine, or that she lived in the flat next door.  And I didn’t think Severin had found anything going by the way the flat had been turned over, and the fact it looked like no one had lived there.

Having now dealt with both men, I was still on the fence about who was on the right side and who was on the wrong side, or whether they were both of questionable character.  What made it difficult to understand was how Severin could run an operation inside the organisation.  Surely someone knew about it, or from a high level, sanctioned it?

Knowing I would not be interrupted this time, I went back up to the third floor, and into O’Connell’s flat, a simple job since the front door was still unlocked.  The girl had assumed it was no value to them which told me she had already searched the place before being attacked.

Just in case anyone was likely to return, or there was another party interested in O’Connell, I locked the door from the inside.  At least no one had yet crashed through the door, smashing the lock and timber.

I stood in the middle of the main room, and did a slow 360-degree turn, looking at everything intently.  The thing with searches like this, it was more likely the object of any search was hidden in plain sight.  The usual places, such as the freezer, sections of fridges, stashed in bottles or packets in the pantry, under beds, inside mattresses, pillows, or under blankets, or with a form of glue on the inside of televisions or computers would prove fruitless.

We were taught to hide things such as USB sticks where they would be least expected to be found, such as a toy on a keyring, tossed in a bowl of pens, pins, clips, or other small insignificant items that all looked uninteresting.

My first thought was in the pocket of a coat in the closet, but all his clothes were strewn over the floor in the bedroom showing signs of being turned out.  Perhaps the searcher or searchers had thought like me.

There was no keyring in the kitchen or the bedroom, no was there any sort of stand inside the door, a place to put mail, and other items such as keys.  If there were any, they would have been on him when Severin had him killed.  I had not found, not felt, any in his pockets, not unusual for an agent in the field.  If you were captured or killed, you wanted nothing on you that could identify you or what you were doing.

Next I thought, a hidden compartment.  I was not going to predict he had a safe in the flat, but just in case, I did search thoroughly where one might be located.  The cheap watercolour on the wall hid nothing but some discoloured wallpaper.

I checked all the skirting boards, and inside walls of the robes, but there was nothing.  I also checked the robes thoroughly for false backs, or sides, or compartments hidden in the roof.  The floor was made from wood, so I checked to see if there were any loose boards, but in the end, considered that was a ruse used only in the movies and on television.

An hour later, I was no wiser as to where it could be, if at all, in the flat, but, looking around, it was certainly now a little more organised because in checking everything in case the previous searchers had missed anything, I’d put everything neatly in stacks.

And, no, there was nothing under the bed.  The previous searchers had thought of that too.

But, in one corner of the main room, there was a desk that had been completely turned out, papers were strewn everywhere.  There had been a computer, now missing, because there was a cable running from the printer, and a power cable in the wall, both running into thin air.

The papers yielded nothing of interest, other than he was researching a holiday to Russia and Poland. 

For two.

A break.  There was a significant other.  I made a more serious search of the papers that I’d gathered up off the floor and found a shred of a quickly torn up piece of paper, of which only this piece remained.  A name:  Jan, scribbled on it, with half another word ‘ord’.

Did this Jan also live in this block?  Did she work at the same place?  There were a hundred variations of that theme, but it was a start.  He might have trusted the USB to her safekeeping without telling her what it was, and it was possible she didn’t know he was dead.

I’d noticed that O’Connell’s death had been reported as a John Doe on the wrong end of an alleged mugging, the small dismissive paragraph on page seven reported the body was missing when police went to investigate a pool of blood in an alley, along with several other crimes of which police were seeking further information.  That alley hadn’t any CCTV cameras, so Severin knew he could easily shoot O’Connell without anyone knowing it was him.

There was nothing else of interest in the documents, other than the holiday, if it was a holiday, was to be in a month’s time.

My work was done.  I had a lead.  It was time to leave.

Except for one small problem.  Someone was knocking on the door.

© Charles Heath 2019-2022

The cinema of my dreams – Was it just another surveillance job – Episode 17

As we all know, writing by the seat of your pants is almost the same as flying by the seat of your pants, a hazardous occupation.

As it happens, I like writing this way because like the reader, I don’t know what to expect next.

And equally, at times, you can write your self into a corner, much like painting, and then have to go back, make a few changes and//or repairs and then move forward.

It’s part of the writing process, only in this case, the changes occur before you’ve finished the novel, if you finish.  Quite often a lot of writers get only so far, then the manuscript hits the bottom drawer, to be brought out on a distant rainy day.

Or your cat has mocked your writing ability one too many times.

Therefore, we’re winding back to Episode 16, and moving forward once again, from there.

Why didn’t it surprise me that Nobbin was playing all ends against the middle if that was the expression?  What really bothered was that he wasn’t prepared to tell me the truth or trust me to help find the missing information.  But he had known I might become interested and do some investigating of my own.

Perhaps Nobbin feared Severin might track me down, as he had, and if I had found the USB, run the list of losing it to his foe.

Nor was it a surprise that someone else, namely Severin, was after the information, and he would have access to everything Nobbin did, and he was equally disadvantaged.  It was either Severin or one of his agents, that was caught in O’Connell’s flat and found ‘Josephine’ there.

I didn’t believe her name was Josephine, or that she lived in the flat next door.  And I didn’t think Severin had found anything going by the way the flat had been turned over, and the fact it looked like no one had lived there.

Having now dealt with both men, I was still on the fence about who was on the right side and who was on the wrong side, or whether they were both of questionable character.  What made it difficult to understand was how Severin could run an operation inside the organisation.  Surely someone knew about it, or from a high level, sanctioned it?

Knowing I would not be interrupted this time, I went back up to the third floor, and into O’Connell’s flat, a simple job since the front door was still unlocked.  The girl had assumed it was no value to them which told me she had already searched the place before being attacked.

Just in case anyone was likely to return, or there was another party interested in O’Connell, I locked the door from the inside.  At least no one had yet crashed through the door, smashing the lock and timber.

I stood in the middle of the main room, and did a slow 360-degree turn, looking at everything intently.  The thing with searches like this, it was more likely the object of any search was hidden in plain sight.  The usual places, such as the freezer, sections of fridges, stashed in bottles or packets in the pantry, under beds, inside mattresses, pillows, or under blankets, or with a form of glue on the inside of televisions or computers would prove fruitless.

We were taught to hide things such as USB sticks where they would be least expected to be found, such as a toy on a keyring, tossed in a bowl of pens, pins, clips, or other small insignificant items that all looked uninteresting.

My first thought was in the pocket of a coat in the closet, but all his clothes were strewn over the floor in the bedroom showing signs of being turned out.  Perhaps the searcher or searchers had thought like me.

There was no keyring in the kitchen or the bedroom, no was there any sort of stand inside the door, a place to put mail, and other items such as keys.  If there were any, they would have been on him when Severin had him killed.  I had not found, not felt, any in his pockets, not unusual for an agent in the field.  If you were captured or killed, you wanted nothing on you that could identify you or what you were doing.

Next I thought, a hidden compartment.  I was not going to predict he had a safe in the flat, but just in case, I did search thoroughly where one might be located.  The cheap watercolour on the wall hid nothing but some discoloured wallpaper.

I checked all the skirting boards, and inside walls of the robes, but there was nothing.  I also checked the robes thoroughly for false backs, or sides, or compartments hidden in the roof.  The floor was made from wood, so I checked to see if there were any loose boards, but in the end, considered that was a ruse used only in the movies and on television.

An hour later, I was no wiser as to where it could be, if at all, in the flat, but, looking around, it was certainly now a little more organised because in checking everything in case the previous searchers had missed anything, I’d put everything neatly in stacks.

And, no, there was nothing under the bed.  The previous searchers had thought of that too.

But, in one corner of the main room, there was a desk that had been completely turned out, papers were strewn everywhere.  There had been a computer, now missing, because there was a cable running from the printer, and a power cable in the wall, both running into thin air.

The papers yielded nothing of interest, other than he was researching a holiday to Russia and Poland. 

For two.

A break.  There was a significant other.  I made a more serious search of the papers that I’d gathered up off the floor and found a shred of a quickly torn up piece of paper, of which only this piece remained.  A name:  Jan, scribbled on it, with half another word ‘ord’.

Did this Jan also live in this block?  Did she work at the same place?  There were a hundred variations of that theme, but it was a start.  He might have trusted the USB to her safekeeping without telling her what it was, and it was possible she didn’t know he was dead.

I’d noticed that O’Connell’s death had been reported as a John Doe on the wrong end of an alleged mugging, the small dismissive paragraph on page seven reported the body was missing when police went to investigate a pool of blood in an alley, along with several other crimes of which police were seeking further information.  That alley hadn’t any CCTV cameras, so Severin knew he could easily shoot O’Connell without anyone knowing it was him.

There was nothing else of interest in the documents, other than the holiday, if it was a holiday, was to be in a month’s time.

My work was done.  I had a lead.  It was time to leave.

Except for one small problem.  Someone was knocking on the door.

© Charles Heath 2019-2022

My disdain for some reporters, and reporting these days

It is sometimes quite trashy and that’s saying something!

Having been a journalist in a previous lifetime, and one that always believed that the truth mattered, it didn’t take long to realize that journalists should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Newspapers, and all other forms of media, will only write what they believe will sell, or what they think the public wants to read. The truth, sadly, is not the first thing on the reader’s mind, only that someone is to blame for something they have no control over, and it doesn’t matter who.

And the more outlandish the situation, the more the public will buy into it.

This, I guess, is why we like reading about celebrities and royalty, not for the good they might do, but the fact they stumble and make mistakes, and that somehow makes us feel better about ourselves.

Similarly, if the media can beat up a subject, like the corona-virus, and make it worse than it is, then people will lap up the continuing saga, as it relates to them, and will take one of two stances, that they believe the horror of it, and do as they’re asked, or disbelieve it because nothing can be that bad, and ignore it and the consequences of disobedience. knowing the government will not press too hard against the non-compliers simply because of democracy issues it will stir up.

That is, then the media will get a hold of this angle and push it, and people will start to think disobedience is a good thing, not a bad one.

So, our problems of trying to get a fair and balanced look at what the coronavirus is all about is nigh on impossible. We are continuously bombarded with both right and wrong information, and the trouble is, both sides are very plausibly supported by facts.

And that’s the next problem we have in reporting. We can get facts to prove anything we want. It’s called the use and abuse of statistics and was an interesting part of the journalism degree I studied for. We were told all about statistics, good and bad, and using them to prove the veracity of our piece.

I remember writing a piece for the tutor extolling the virtues of a particular person who was probably the worst human since Vlad the Impaler, using only the facts that suited my narrative. I also remember the bollocking he gave me for doing so but had to acknowledge that sometimes that would happen.

The integrity of reporting only went as far as the editor, and if the editor hated something, you had to hate it too. This is infamously covered in various texts where newspaper publishers pick sides and can influence elections, and governments. It still happens.

So, the bottom line is, when I’m reading an article in the media, I always take it with a grain of salt, and do my own fact-checking, remembering, of course, not just to fact check to prove the bias one way of the other, but then get a sense of balance.

We have state elections coming up where I live, but it does not sink to the personal sniping level as it does in the US, we haven’t sunk that low yet, but we haven’t got past the sniping about all the wrongs and failed promises of the government of the day, or the endless tirade against the opposition and how bad a job they did when they were previously in government.

You can see, no one is talking about what they’re going to do for us, no one is telling us what their policies are. It’s simply schoolyard tit for tat garbage speak. What happened to the town hall meeting, a long and winding speech encompassing the policies, what the government plans to do for its people in the next three years, and then genuinely answering questions?

Perhaps we should ban campaigning, and just get each party to write a book about what they intend to do, and keep them away from the papers, the TV, and any other form of media, in other words, don’t let them speak!

And don’t get me started about the drivel they speak in the parliament. Five-year-olds could do a better job.

OK, rant over.

My disdain for some reporters, and reporting these days

It is sometimes quite trashy and that’s saying something!

Having been a journalist in a previous lifetime, and one that always believed that the truth mattered, it didn’t take long to realize that journalists should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Newspapers, and all other forms of media, will only write what they believe will sell, or what they think the public wants to read. The truth, sadly, is not the first thing on the reader’s mind, only that someone is to blame for something they have no control over, and it doesn’t matter who.

And the more outlandish the situation, the more the public will buy into it.

This, I guess, is why we like reading about celebrities and royalty, not for the good they might do, but the fact they stumble and make mistakes, and that somehow makes us feel better about ourselves.

Similarly, if the media can beat up a subject, like the corona-virus, and make it worse than it is, then people will lap up the continuing saga, as it relates to them, and will take one of two stances, that they believe the horror of it, and do as they’re asked, or disbelieve it because nothing can be that bad, and ignore it and the consequences of disobedience. knowing the government will not press too hard against the non-compliers simply because of democracy issues it will stir up.

That is, then the media will get a hold of this angle and push it, and people will start to think disobedience is a good thing, not a bad one.

So, our problems of trying to get a fair and balanced look at what the coronavirus is all about is nigh on impossible. We are continuously bombarded with both right and wrong information, and the trouble is, both sides are very plausibly supported by facts.

And that’s the next problem we have in reporting. We can get facts to prove anything we want. It’s called the use and abuse of statistics and was an interesting part of the journalism degree I studied for. We were told all about statistics, good and bad, and using them to prove the veracity of our piece.

I remember writing a piece for the tutor extolling the virtues of a particular person who was probably the worst human since Vlad the Impaler, using only the facts that suited my narrative. I also remember the bollocking he gave me for doing so but had to acknowledge that sometimes that would happen.

The integrity of reporting only went as far as the editor, and if the editor hated something, you had to hate it too. This is infamously covered in various texts where newspaper publishers pick sides and can influence elections, and governments. It still happens.

So, the bottom line is, when I’m reading an article in the media, I always take it with a grain of salt, and do my own fact-checking, remembering, of course, not just to fact check to prove the bias one way of the other, but then get a sense of balance.

We have state elections coming up where I live, but it does not sink to the personal sniping level as it does in the US, we haven’t sunk that low yet, but we haven’t got past the sniping about all the wrongs and failed promises of the government of the day, or the endless tirade against the opposition and how bad a job they did when they were previously in government.

You can see, no one is talking about what they’re going to do for us, no one is telling us what their policies are. It’s simply schoolyard tit for tat garbage speak. What happened to the town hall meeting, a long and winding speech encompassing the policies, what the government plans to do for its people in the next three years, and then genuinely answering questions?

Perhaps we should ban campaigning, and just get each party to write a book about what they intend to do, and keep them away from the papers, the TV, and any other form of media, in other words, don’t let them speak!

And don’t get me started about the drivel they speak in the parliament. Five-year-olds could do a better job.

OK, rant over.

A moment to slip back into the past

Television is a great recorder of the past, and most channels, and especially cable tv have great libraries of films that go back more than a hundred years.

And, whilst it’s possible that modern-day films and television series can try to recapture the past, the English as an exception being very good at it, often it is impossible to capture it correctly.

But, if you have a film shot in the moment, then you have a visual record of what life, and what was once part of our world before you in all its dated glory. The pity of it is that, then, we never appreciated it.

After all, in those particular times, who had the time to figuratively stop and smell the roses. Back then as life was going on, we were all tied up with just trying to get through each day.

Years later, often on reflection, we try to remember the old days, and, maybe, remember some of what it was like, but the chances are that change came far too rapidly, and often too radical, that it erases what we thought we knew existed before.

My grandmother’s house is a case in point. In its place is a multi-lane superhighway, and there’s nothing left to remind us, or anyone of it, just some old sepia photographs.

I was reminded of how volatile history really is when watching an old documentary, in black and white, and how the city I grew up in used to look.

Then, even though it seemed large to me then, it was a smaller city, with suburbs that stretched about ten or so miles in every direction, and the outer suburbs were where people moved to get a larger block, and countrified atmosphere.

Now, those outer suburbs are no longer spacious properties, the acreage subdivided and the old owners now much richer for a decision made with profit not being the motivator, and the current suburban sprawl is now out to forty or fifty miles.

The reason for the distance is no longer the thought of open spaces and cleaner air, the reason for moving now is that land further out is cheaper, and can make buying that first house more affordable.

This is where I tip my hat to the writers of historical fiction. I myself am writing a story based in the 1970s, and it’s difficult to find what is and isn’t time-specific.

If only I had a dollar for every time I went to write the character pulling out his or her mobile phone.

What I’ve found is the necessity to research, and this has amounted to finding old films, documentaries of the day, and a more fascinating source of information, the newspapers of the day.

The latter especially has provoked a lot of memories and a lot of stuff I thought I’d forgotten, some of it by choice, but others that were poignant.

Yes, and don’t get me started on the distractions.

If only I’d started this project earlier…

We have this sport called Australian Rules Football

In Melbourne, it’s an institution even a religion.  Traditionally it is played on a Saturday afternoon and luckily for us, we were attending such a game.

Of course, this was before 2020, before the COVID 19 virus everything, including football, has been called off.

Now, we’re subject to the off outbreak that sees games transferred to other states, and sometimes without crowds. We just stick to watching it on TV these days.

Except now we have ‘flattened the curve’ football can start again, sometimes with sometimes without the spectators.  Social distancing means we can’t pack the stadium, or rarely even go to a game.  For a while, it was just to be from our lounge rooms, watching it on the TV.

But, as some of the states began to get on top of the virus, football teams moved from Victoria and played in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, and the Northern Territory.

And as the Victorian situation got worse, the decision was made to move the grand final, which had never left the MCG in Victoria, to Brisbane. It was like America never lost the Americas Cup, until they did.

But, below, is the atmosphere that we have been missing, and has returned in a limited sense as coronavirus restrictions eased (but not completely), a game we attended last year:

The stadium is the MSG, one of the biggest and best in Australia.  Shortly after the start, I’d estimate there are about 40,000, but eventually, we were told there were 53,000, spectators here for a clash between the two Melbourne-based teams.  It is not unheard of to have closer to 90,000 spectators, and the atmosphere is at times electric.

For the die-hards like me who can remember the days when there were only Victorian-based teams,  in the modern-day form of the game, to have two such teams is something of a rarity.

However, it’s not so much about the antics on the field as it is about the spectators.  They are divided into three groups, the members, the private boxes, and the general public.

But in the end, there is no distinction between any of them because they all know the rules, well, their version of them, and it doesn’t matter who you are, if there is something that goes against your team, it is brings a huge roar of disapproval.

Then there are ebbs and flows in the crowd noise and reactions to events like holding the ball attracting a unified shout ‘ball, or a large collective groan when a free kick should have been paid or by the opposite team’s followers if it should have been.

It is this crowd reaction that makes going to a live game so much better than watching it televised live.  The times when players take marks, get the ball out of congestion, and when goals are scored when your team is behind and when one is needed to get in front.

This is particularly so when one of the stars goes near the ball and pulls off a miracle 1 percent movement of the ball.  These are what we come to see, the high-flying marks, the handball threaded through a needle, a kick that reaches one of our players that looked like it would never get there, an intercept mark or steal that throws momentum the opposite way.

This game is not supposed to be a game of inches but fast yards, a kick, a mark, a handball, a run, and a bounce or two.  You need to get the ball to your goal as quickly as possible.

That’s the objective.

But in this modern game, much to the dismay of spectators and commentators alike, there is this thing called flooding where all 36 players are basically in a clump around the ball and it moves basically in inches, not yards.

It is slow and it is ugly.

It is not the game envisioned by those who created it and there is a debate right now about fixing it.

Here, it is an example of the worst sort.  This game is played in four quarters and for the first two, it is ugly scrappy play with little skill on display.  The third shows improvement and it seems the respective coaches had told their players to open it up

They have and it becomes better to look at.

But this is the point where one team usually gets away with a handy lead, a third-quarter effort that almost puts the game out of reach.  The fourth quarter is where the losing team stages a comeback, and sometimes it works sometimes it does not.

The opposition gives it a red hot try but is unsuccessful.  Three goals in a row, it gave their fans a sniff of hope but as the commentators call it, a kick against the flow, and my team prevails.

It is the moment to stay for when they play the winning team’s song over the stadium’s loudspeaker system, and at least half the spectators sing along.  It is one of that hair raising on the back of your neck moments which for some can be far too few in a season

We have great hopes for our team this year, and it was worth the trek from Brisbane to Melbourne to see it live rather than on the TV

Leaving the ground with thousands of others heading towards the train station for the journey home there is a mixture of feelings, some lamenting their teams, and others jubilant their team won.  There is no rancor, everyone shuffles in an orderly manner, bearing the slow entry to the station, and the long lines to get on the train.

Others who perhaps came by car, or who have decided to wait for a later train or other transport, let their children kick the football around on the leaf-covered parkland surrounding the stadium.

It is an integral part of this game that children experience the football effect.  Kicking a ball with your father, brothers, and sisters, or friends on that late autumn afternoon is a memory that will be cherished for a long long time.

It’s where you pretend you are your favorite player and are every bit as good.  I know that’s what I used to do with my father, and that is what I did with my sons.

But no matter what the state of the game, it is the weekend the football fans look forward to and who turn out in their hundreds of thousands.  It is a game that ignites passions, it brings highs and it brings incredible lows.

And, through thick and thin, we never stop supporting them.

We have this sport called Australian Rules Football

In Melbourne, it’s an institution even a religion.  Traditionally it is played on a Saturday afternoon and luckily for us, we were attending such a game.

Of course, this was before 2020, before the COVID 19 virus everything, including football, has been called off.

Now, we’re subject to the off outbreak that sees games transferred to other states, and sometimes without crowds. We just stick to watching it on TV these days.

Except now we have ‘flattened the curve’ football can start again, sometimes with sometimes without the spectators.  Social distancing means we can’t pack the stadium, or rarely even go to a game.  For a while, it was just to be from our lounge rooms, watching it on the TV.

But, as some of the states began to get on top of the virus, football teams moved from Victoria and played in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, and the Northern Territory.

And as the Victorian situation got worse, the decision was made to move the grand final, which had never left the MCG in Victoria, to Brisbane. It was like America never lost the Americas Cup, until they did.

But, below, is the atmosphere that we have been missing, and has returned in a limited sense as coronavirus restrictions eased (but not completely), a game we attended last year:

The stadium is the MSG, one of the biggest and best in Australia.  Shortly after the start, I’d estimate there are about 40,000, but eventually, we were told there were 53,000, spectators here for a clash between the two Melbourne-based teams.  It is not unheard of to have closer to 90,000 spectators, and the atmosphere is at times electric.

For the die-hards like me who can remember the days when there were only Victorian-based teams,  in the modern-day form of the game, to have two such teams is something of a rarity.

However, it’s not so much about the antics on the field as it is about the spectators.  They are divided into three groups, the members, the private boxes, and the general public.

But in the end, there is no distinction between any of them because they all know the rules, well, their version of them, and it doesn’t matter who you are, if there is something that goes against your team, it is brings a huge roar of disapproval.

Then there are ebbs and flows in the crowd noise and reactions to events like holding the ball attracting a unified shout ‘ball, or a large collective groan when a free kick should have been paid or by the opposite team’s followers if it should have been.

It is this crowd reaction that makes going to a live game so much better than watching it televised live.  The times when players take marks, get the ball out of congestion, and when goals are scored when your team is behind and when one is needed to get in front.

This is particularly so when one of the stars goes near the ball and pulls off a miracle 1 percent movement of the ball.  These are what we come to see, the high-flying marks, the handball threaded through a needle, a kick that reaches one of our players that looked like it would never get there, an intercept mark or steal that throws momentum the opposite way.

This game is not supposed to be a game of inches but fast yards, a kick, a mark, a handball, a run, and a bounce or two.  You need to get the ball to your goal as quickly as possible.

That’s the objective.

But in this modern game, much to the dismay of spectators and commentators alike, there is this thing called flooding where all 36 players are basically in a clump around the ball and it moves basically in inches, not yards.

It is slow and it is ugly.

It is not the game envisioned by those who created it and there is a debate right now about fixing it.

Here, it is an example of the worst sort.  This game is played in four quarters and for the first two, it is ugly scrappy play with little skill on display.  The third shows improvement and it seems the respective coaches had told their players to open it up

They have and it becomes better to look at.

But this is the point where one team usually gets away with a handy lead, a third-quarter effort that almost puts the game out of reach.  The fourth quarter is where the losing team stages a comeback, and sometimes it works sometimes it does not.

The opposition gives it a red hot try but is unsuccessful.  Three goals in a row, it gave their fans a sniff of hope but as the commentators call it, a kick against the flow, and my team prevails.

It is the moment to stay for when they play the winning team’s song over the stadium’s loudspeaker system, and at least half the spectators sing along.  It is one of that hair raising on the back of your neck moments which for some can be far too few in a season

We have great hopes for our team this year, and it was worth the trek from Brisbane to Melbourne to see it live rather than on the TV

Leaving the ground with thousands of others heading towards the train station for the journey home there is a mixture of feelings, some lamenting their teams, and others jubilant their team won.  There is no rancor, everyone shuffles in an orderly manner, bearing the slow entry to the station, and the long lines to get on the train.

Others who perhaps came by car, or who have decided to wait for a later train or other transport, let their children kick the football around on the leaf-covered parkland surrounding the stadium.

It is an integral part of this game that children experience the football effect.  Kicking a ball with your father, brothers, and sisters, or friends on that late autumn afternoon is a memory that will be cherished for a long long time.

It’s where you pretend you are your favorite player and are every bit as good.  I know that’s what I used to do with my father, and that is what I did with my sons.

But no matter what the state of the game, it is the weekend the football fans look forward to and who turn out in their hundreds of thousands.  It is a game that ignites passions, it brings highs and it brings incredible lows.

And, through thick and thin, we never stop supporting them.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 94

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160921_071506

This is Chester.

We are in the middle of a philosophical debate.

No, it’s not about whether the world is flat, though sometimes I think he has that notion, as well as all humans are basically stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the pandemic and how it might meld into a plotline for a story.

Chester is not happy that I should use China as the country with global ambitions, after using the term ‘global domination’ and got a very silky retort.

He doesn’t seem to think that by causing a pandemic, making each of the G20 nations basically launch themselves into insolvency in order to maintain some semblance of economic stability, that China, who miraculously recovers, becomes the nation who saves the world?

It sounded quite good in my head.

Particularly when you see nations like the USA, the only other country that could tackle China as a ‘savior’ state, is going slowly down the gurgler.   Or so it seems, and it’s only a matter of time before something gives.

Chester and I now have mandatory viewing every morning, the Donald Trump show, where we lay bets as to whom he’s going to fire or lambast.

Chester thought the Doctor was gone for all money on Monday.

My money was on the reporter, who wouldn’t stop asking questions.

But today, it might be about Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the ramping up of the Republican’s political campaign.  Who said the COVID briefings had to be about that mundane virus?

Still, it’s back to the drawing board.  The overall plot is good, creating a virus that brings almost every nation to its knees, and one that rises out of the ashes to ‘save the world’.  It’s like you don’t need bullets and arms to fight a war, just a hell of a sneaky virus; you know, infecting people when you don’t know you’ve got it and infecting others.

Hang on, Chester’s calling.  It’s time for the Donald Trump show.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 94

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160921_071506

This is Chester.

We are in the middle of a philosophical debate.

No, it’s not about whether the world is flat, though sometimes I think he has that notion, as well as all humans are basically stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the pandemic and how it might meld into a plotline for a story.

Chester is not happy that I should use China as the country with global ambitions, after using the term ‘global domination’ and got a very silky retort.

He doesn’t seem to think that by causing a pandemic, making each of the G20 nations basically launch themselves into insolvency in order to maintain some semblance of economic stability, that China, who miraculously recovers, becomes the nation who saves the world?

It sounded quite good in my head.

Particularly when you see nations like the USA, the only other country that could tackle China as a ‘savior’ state, is going slowly down the gurgler.   Or so it seems, and it’s only a matter of time before something gives.

Chester and I now have mandatory viewing every morning, the Donald Trump show, where we lay bets as to whom he’s going to fire or lambast.

Chester thought the Doctor was gone for all money on Monday.

My money was on the reporter, who wouldn’t stop asking questions.

But today, it might be about Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the ramping up of the Republican’s political campaign.  Who said the COVID briefings had to be about that mundane virus?

Still, it’s back to the drawing board.  The overall plot is good, creating a virus that brings almost every nation to its knees, and one that rises out of the ashes to ‘save the world’.  It’s like you don’t need bullets and arms to fight a war, just a hell of a sneaky virus; you know, infecting people when you don’t know you’ve got it and infecting others.

Hang on, Chester’s calling.  It’s time for the Donald Trump show.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 80

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160907_135509

This is Chester. We’re back watching the Maple Leafs.

This isn’t going to be pretty. While they have won a few in the last week or so they have also lost, and by large numbers.

I know this is a mistake watching it with Chester, the eternal pessimist, because his initial statement, ‘You know Anderson’s going to let you down again’ even before the match started, is a sign of things to come.

Yep. There it is 21 seconds into the game the other side scores.

Damn.

He turns his head and gives me the look, “I told you so.”

Double damn.

Nothing worse than a smart-ass cat is there, and especially when he’s right.

The game progresses, and then the internet dies on me, leaving a frozen screen. Bigger fish to fry now, with the internet provider, where we are, the NBN, which is little more than a joke. Try streaming anything…

It’s the same result.

Pixellation, blank screens, endless loading signs and then a seized screen.

Good.

For once I don’t mind because I don’t have to listen to the negativity.

Yes, they score again. And again. And yes, once again we’re looking down the barrel of another huge loss.

“Just what is wrong with your goalie,” Chester asks.

“Too many games and not enough faith in the backup, I guess.”

It’s hard to explain wat’s going wrong. I don’t know the ins and outs of the Toronto team because we’re not there. It’s the lot of a supporter whose 12,000 miles away.

Perhaps our year will be next year.

Chester doesn’t think so. Halfway through the third period, he walks off, the internet giving up the ghost. We all know how this end, don’t we, he says.

Yes. We do. The food you hate the most is in your tray.

Revenge doesn’t sound as good as it did in my head a few minutes ago.

Triple Damn.