February 11thNothing like a good haircut to improve the day. So the mottled haystack has gone, something shorter that I can take in the water without whipping into my eyes. It is Summer here and a hot one so it's quite a relief to have short hair. I notice my barber doesn't offer Back, Sack, Crack like the Prahran folk do *GRIN*. I'd love top set them up and get a dozen people wandering in asking for the B,S,C special! They wouldn't know what to say at Ferntree Gully if asked for that one!
I'm feeling less stressy and Marks surprise of a few days away in Hawaii just made my month. I say yes providing we can take some insane amount of Ghost Cars books to mail, just want to keep getting these babies sent out. So for the next few weeks I'm focusing on American copies. Of course it means I'll miss the first few Finn-Kelly shows, but I'm doing zilch on the tour so not a big deal. They'll go off and be fun for many, so rare to see these 2 fine songwriters together.
I hope one show gets filmed and recorded at least, but no word on that....
Since the visit to the doctors and the test I'm feeling a bit better, like all that stuff one worries about having cancer, the Big C will probably get most of us at some stage, for the moment I'm hanging around to annoy the planet. Neil and Sharon have been great, they do look after me...and Mark always at my side. People do worry so much though.
February 12thIt's a run around day, making sure that our ESTA is active and travel insurance, my bag is really easy to pack, 99% books , some board shorts, good shirt, socks and boxers and that's about it. We really squash the books in and get our bag weight right to the limit. I plan to leave my old tour bag in Hawaii and grab a new one, either their or when I'm back here. It's finally time to put the old girl out to pasture-it's been such a great bag. I have to gaffer it this time to make sure it closes. I pity customs if they want to try and open it, they will never get it shut again.
I mail off our rates, the big cheque for the year, hate giving the council the money but it has to be done, at least it is out of the way. I hope they do something about our road soon, it's so corrugated it's like driving over the roof of a tin shed!
Banshee knows we leave soon, she's gone weird(er) and tries to hide in the house-we know most of her secret places. Every time she see's our bags she knows something is up. It's the one guilt, leaving her behind. I set the alarm, and I know I won't sleep-I never do before heading off. I'm looking at this little escape mostly as a mail drop and partially to recharge. I never knew I was so worn, till i started feeling a bit horrid. Doctors orders so i'll behave. The Finns give me their blessing for time off.
Our flight doesn't head to Sydney till midday but we have to zoom Miss Banshee to our local animal place, she so does not want to go. I have a plan this time, expensive meat treats for the first few days, just so she will eat! We drop her off and both racked full of guilt as we zoom away. Clear immigration and go to the freaky flyer. It gets announced that our flight is delayed by 2 hours... after that it is cancelled... so there is a panic at the gate..we are business class so I try to remain calm. The flight people put us on a priority list but we have to leave international and re enter Australia and depart domestically.. we are lucky I'm sure many don't get flights. A stampede almost happens as we are led back out, hundreds of people.. we have a laugh as the Qantas flight we are on is named the Wollongong. The good ol' Gong to our rescue! We are sure to crash now I tell Mark.
The positive side is that our bags are forwarded all the way and we can get the tarmac bus across instead of the stupid Sydney airport train/airport bus-where they sting you $10! It's such a rip off that transport bus-it should be free.
We go into the departure area and head to the frequent flyer, you know you have been here once too many times when the guy at the counter says "Hi Mr Green how are you these days". Kind of threw me a bit. He tells me our flight to Hawaii has been delayed by an hour plus so all the delayed Melbourne people can get on board and luggage. I keep thinking about our luggage the massive haul of Ghost Cars books. Mark is convinced our bags will get lost or miss the flight, I think this mornings flight delay has made him a bit paranoid- I have confidence...either that or I'm faking it. I just try not to think of missing luggage.
The flight lounge is good and Mark has some soup-this man never eats soup, it's like he's discovered the joys of soup...makes me smile. He still won't eat my wonderful vegetable soup... his loss. In the words of Aunt Trudi- "let him starve".!
I'm glad to be on the plane, seats 4A and 4B, I give Mark a small cuddle and the stewart grins at this way too much affection being showed...he leans over and says "well it's almost valentines day boys".
I watch the Paul Kelly doco "Stories of Me" on the iPad that is supplied and it really is brilliant, will have to buy this one. We've been big Paul Kelly fans for many years , from his days in the High Rise Bombers which would of been 1978. The doco has such warmth, really well done. I don't get people who do not understand the joy of Paul Kelly's songwriting.
The flight was ok, I pop a stillnox, just one, I'm not applying for the Australian swim team so one will do me! *GRIN*. I can't believe all the fuss over them taking a stillnox, I guess it was when they took it not that they took it!
I sleep for about 6 hours which was great, wake up feeling wonderful.
Arrive at Honolulu in the morning, I don't declare the Ghost Cars books just too hard to explain, and we are waved through like so many times before. Honolulu customs is brilliant. It's not that blistering sweltering Hawaiian heat outside, just nice, I take in the beauty that is Hawaii-I do love this place. I always feel safe here, it is paradise in many ways.
Mark has us booked in at the Ramada Plaza at Waikiki , our lovely hotel, the suite in the penthouse as a surprise. They are still making up the room so we leave our bags and go for a walk. We have something to eat. It's almost routine. Quite a few people waiting for their rooms but being the main suite they always rush it, so we wait 45 minutes at the most. By the time we are back it is ready. Cute box of wrapped chocolates waiting from management.
I unpack our bags, our 2 massive suitcases & our carry on, even some smaller plastic bags which equals 2 massive mountains of Ghost Cars books. I for see many many visits to the post office in the next few days.
I load up 2 mail sacks and head to the post office. My friend Kiersten gave me the postal rate so I've already put on a pile of stamps. Sadly I get this obsessive painful postal woman..and she says because the parcel cant be "folded" it will be $1 more- such a con. I am so not in the mood, so I tell her to just give me the stamps and I'll take the risk and mail it via the postal box. She then started some rant, so I told her to keep quiet, where I choose to mail parcels is MY business not hers, hers is to sell me stamps. She so hated me, no wonder the USA postal system is in such a crap state.
Mark is sitting outside putting on the extra 2c stamps and one of those little hawaiian birds craps on him... he waves his fist and we quickly move. Hey isn't it meant to be good luck?Lucky they are little birds with little bird poo!
Back to the room and get changed for a swim at Fort De Russy beach. The usual body boys are playing volley ball and the odd juice pig on steroids...I'm in the water with my diving mask, and I'm amazed at how many fish are near the shore line, I doubt anyone above the water would be aware , so I swim with the fishies for a little while till my arms ache. It just refreshes me..love a good swim at this beach.
In the evening we head up Karlia Rd, up Lewers street cross Kalakawa Ave and track down the "In Between" Bar. We end up heading down some suss alley way and call into the tattoo shop to ask for directions, where a couple of tattoo'd foxes help us out. We eventually find it, and it has to be the smallest gay bar in the world. It's 1/2 price Jack Daniels night. It's not exactly hopping, 2 locals both in Hawaiian shirts ...which we find funny, some student with a Mac and a hawaiian bar guy....you can pay $1 and do some Karaoke if you choose. We have a few drinks and chat, the bar guy is nice enough but it's time to move on. Misbehave a bit (don't ask)... suddenly the shop lights on Kala Kau Ave look rather BRIGHT! We see a large ABC store so I grab my sister an ABC Tee as she lived at the shops when here last... she'll appreciate the joke. I buy some water, see I am being sensible. Thankfully my sense of direction is still ok, drop my Tee into reception and we head to Walmart so Mark can stock up on cheap BluRays. It's close to midnight, the only time one should be a Walmart shopper! Plus being a little out of it is the only way to appreciate some of Walmarts "shit".
I buy shaving cream multi packs and 50 packs of batteries, and the latest 007 movie on Blu Ray with bonus dvd is $16...so score that. Mark keeps returning to the Bluray area like he will find something new, Hmmm must be the "drugs" or jet lag kicking in. I am loving watching the hoards raid the Valentines Day aisle, about 50 people grabbing giant chocolate hearts and stuffed animals and bad poetry talking cards all at midnight.... I want to join the masses, and think I'll fight a local for a heart shaped box of chocolate for our mate Rosemaree. I throw myself into the Valentines Day tag team event and arise successful with the chocolate prize. The things we all do for love or mate ship. See Rosemaree WE care, happy Valentines day!
I park the trolley and Mark runs off a third time on his quest for Blu rays..30 minutes later- has he forgotten me? Has time frozen in his skull? I put together a Walmart search party and locate him......well eventually. I'm at the check out and he wanders off and leaves me to pay for everything, he seems to be observing the new Walmart paint job... like it's the Tate gallery. I grab him- "Honey time to go or we may never leave Walmart...ever".
He's grinning like some cheshire cat and I have to say the traffic lights are rather magical tonight-oh dear..are we having fun yet. "Hungry" he mutters and all i can see is a KFC,which seems desperate but maybe a Zinger? The doors are locked, Mark delightfully waves at the staff inside, I dramatically bow! Oh we really should get home, but we do find a food place on the way. A chicken salad could be healthy. Marks in the corner enjoying his blu rays selection, and I'm deciding on salad dressing. A guy walks in, way too handsome, and he is a security guard, works across the street. His Hawaiian ancestry just adds to his good looks and some fine tattoo work. Chats for awhile, well it could of been ages -I do remember checking that he was real and not some Hawaiian legend of our dreams. He says hello to Mark and Marky gives mim that killer smile. Yes we do love Hawaii where even the security guards are pretty damn dishy! Nice guy, that would never happen on mainland America. Mark points to an article that says 10% of Hawaiians are gay. Did they actually ask everyone??
We arrive back to the hotel, grab my tee from reception, and it's one of the original staff members who would of been here from the first time we stayed all those years ago. I try to be as "normal" as I can and not party boy silly grin slur my words guy and stare at dots of light on the deco art statue...... but you know sometimes the more you try the less convincing you are- best solution wave goodnight and run to the elevator. A very cute stewardess hops in the elevator and says hello, I carry her insanely heavy bag to her door while Mark walks along grinning-same floor as ours (he has borrowed Nicoles botox grin me thinks..possibly I said that aloud?). It's nice to be back in the room, put on some music, watch the USA news where only America matters and there are no other countries, just planet America..... they are obsessed over a broken down cruise ship....like obsessed....so droll. Hmm it's 3.00 in the morning....the air con is rattling away, a few days off I am loving this-thank you Marky. I stay up watching the damn cruise ship... see I am suckered like the rest of the USA.
February 14thWe head to our fave bakery at Ala Moana as they make these very cool fresh rolls... healthy! The post office is 3 doors down so more books get mailed..well out the front that way I don't have to deal with frustrated postal worker. It's Valentines Day , which means little in many ways, every day feels like that to me....
Mark books at Monsoon India - our fave Indian food place around the corner from the hotel, it looks like it has changed hands again, must be the 4th time. It always has great food so that hasn't changed. The service can be a bit iffy sometimes.
I'm yawning a lot today, jet lag, a good swim in the ocean recharges me. No fish today. But do have crabs! OK 2 giant rock crabs that I watch while diving.
We head to Sears for their sale, a quest for some new Levi 505 and Mark wants to buy some winter shirts. They don't have the virtual keyboard for iPad at this store, so that sucks. I spot the smallest pair of converse runners, so buy them for my sister and the baby, well the baby ...in a year or so..they are so cute so tiny, and in this cute box. Plus they are half price, one pair left! Bargain!
When we are leaving we walk past some stressed out guy in the car park screaming "I can't take it anymore, I'll blow my fucking head off". What can one say.... it reminds me that this is still America I guess. You just don't want to ask if he is ok as he would probably take your head off too.
Dinner is great, we get our usual seat by the window and watch the passing human traffic, a lone Hawaiian girl lighting the tiki lamps along Ala Moana ..... I blow kisses at some japanese tourist who are stuck in their broken down tram bus outside..they giggle and blush and are all coy ish. I play it up, they just giggle more and more and more..who knows what's really going on in those silken sleeves!!!?
February 15thI head to reception as I want to remind them that my Warhol soup cans may well arrive today, just as I arrive at the desk, a delivery guy walks in and hands over a parcel for Mr Green! Such good timing..I run upstairs just like it's Christmas morning. We love the 4 cans, all 4 are the original Warhol colours, and yes un opened so full of tomato soup-these will look brilliant in our kitchen. Thanks Tamara in N.J.! Andy Warhol soup cans-life is good.
We head off to best Buy today in search of some Blu rays for Mark and a laser toy for Rosemaree. It's in some hidden part of Honolulu so taxi it. Find a few bargains, mostly because they forgot to remove some sale stickers so they had to give us the price advertised-I love that. We walk a bit, call into a Kmart- I can't even remember why...oh looking for Rosemarees cat laser toy-no luck! It's getting hot, no taxi's around. MY perfect sense of direction gets us back to the main road and the bus shelter but the buses are non existent..as we approach the next bus shelter we spot a bus so thankfully climb aboard. Cute , a bus... oh well it beats walking and they smell ok inside! Unlike LA buses...that seem to smell like mobile latrines.
The Hilton across from us has it's Friday night fireworks, sounds like the bombing of pearl harbour all over again, you can stand on the balcony and watch it- it echoes like bombs through the various glass towers.
Tomorrow is our Ko Ko Head crater climb... so need to be full of energy. I buy some foot cream as I know we'll need it.
February 16thThe Ko Ko Crater is on the east side of Oahu (Hawaii Kai area) . The trail itself isn't really that long but it's the elevation that does quite a few in, today it was getting warm in the morning and only a few people making the hike- and nearly all turned back 3/4 of the way. You hike up rail cross ties-yes train tracks. Probably the first 1/3 seems easy..it's as soon as you reach the part where it is just track and a drop below that people look a bit wary-just don't look down. Of course a few wooden tracks are very loose so sensible shoes are a must (I'm glad I didn't wear my prada high heels!). Next the incline increases and you can feel the back muscles of your legs getting tighter.. which I don't mind. It was warm, we were generous with our water supply. Helping a couple out who were not prepared and decided they had enough.. we started taking more breaks towards the end, just a few so we wouldn't become panting old men. As I said to Mark- who'd know we are the only two who have made it this far today. I think only a few of our friends could of made this hike-they are not very fit, and we only just made it. We have the 1000 steps just down from us at Kalorama but it's pissy, the Ko Ko crater 1000 steps is the real deal.I wouldn't want to do this hike during a Hawaiian summer. The view is worth it-just incredible.....and we have an early lunch...and rest.
Back down, be careful of your knees, if you don't hike much, you'll feel it, all those muscles you never knew you had and they will remind you for days and days.....I'm just glad we took double the water supply-the sun and little shade just added to the hike. If you head to Hawaii try the Ko Ko Crater, it's worth it for the views. If nothing else it cleared some crap out of my system as a good climb always does. Feel pretty good.
In the afternoon we head back to the beach for a swim, no fish today near the shore line. Mark opts for our hotel pool so a double swim, it's a good deep pool great for laps . Only ever a few people at pool side so you tend to have it all for yourself. I start reading the new Anne Rice book which appears to be a return to form-yey! While I'm reading Mark heads back out for some last minute shopping and catches up with his reporter friend Erin.
We watch the sun go down at the restaurant area of the Hilton on the beach. They make a very average passionfruit margarita (sadly) and the waitress tries to rip us off money wise...so her tip is "better luck next time"!
February 17thLast chance to relax so it's a chill out day. Take the final few pieces of mail to Ala Moana to post, so all done. Still haven't heard from Miss K so that was weird, I didn't even try to squash my address/number book in the bag, every square inch was used for the CH books. So I have no phone numbers with me.
I pack the few things I have in my new converse bag, as I'm leaving the old suitcase here, it's really tour worn and time for it to retire so house keeping can dispose of it. It was the Antler brand and a great bag, so I'll probably get that brand again. They do some funky blue metallic Antler liquis style... they look pretty good. Mark brings back the blu ray version of the Cabaret movie as a present-which is just released today. So sweet, I love Cabaret. We only worked out recently that the MC of Cabaret is the same actor (Joel Grey) who played Doc on Buffy the Vampire Slayer... he is very cool!
Very little sleep tonight, we both have to get up incredibly early for the flight.
Yes up at 4.30, I awake before the alarm ... we are ready to go, even packed some food for a snack as it is a long day. Why do all the Honolulu taxi drivers give you a hard luck story-especially when departing Hawaii, a last chance to grab a fat tip? Cynical little twit in the morning aren't I?
Check in was ok, I'd moved our seat allocation closer to the front of the plane, so a bit of room. We get the full body scan machine this time, which was fast. No stuff ups like last time. Mark doesn't get body searched much to his disappointment.
Arrive at the Qantas frequent flyer lounge, we are the first in, so toast fruit and vegemite. Some Aussie newspapers are available, but nothing exciting in the news. The highlight being Mark finding a small article on a new species of owl that has been discovered-we like owls.
Flight was ok, read more Anne Rice- "The Wolf Gift", the meals a bit average this time, we preferred our snack! I popped a stillnox and had a wonderful sleep. Mark suffered in silence and used his ipod.
February 19thArrive Sydney late afternoon. Had to get that stupid airport bus to domestic. Thankfully customs were great and just waved us through. Spent more time in line checking in, some junkie in front with some barking cough, I feel like I am crawling with his cough germs.
We head to the domestic frequent flyer lounge, grab some packs and have a shower. I have a shave as well, love how you get the shower pack for free -the membership for life the best thing we ever did. Call Rosemaree as she is helping us out again by grabbing Banshee which is so kind of her. I call Mum as I board but it's cut short as I'm in a no phone area.
We are in seats 3A and 3B so we get to exit fast. The coughing human petri dish is nearby still barking. We are out of the long term car park by 8.30, and arriving at Rosemaree's an hour later.
We have a valentines day heart of chocolates for her.. it's a very cool box! There is Miss Banshee we are so so so happy to see her. I miss that bundle of fur so much.
I do make a quick grocery run on the way home, so it's around 10.00 when we finally stumble inside. It's nice to be home.
February 20thThe Finn-Kelly shows are going great guns here, some fantastic reviews. I've had a lot of emails arrive , mostly the general public asking if there will be a DVD/Blu Ray of the show... I've asked Neil and some plans are a foot but I'm not confirming that it's either of those things. *GRIN* Too early to say....so I'm not. I'm amazed at the number of shows they are doing- good to see.
Nick Cave's new album comes out soon, I had a bet with a friend that it would come in at #1 here. I don't think Mr Cave has ever had an Australian #1 album-I'm convinced it will, 1/ because there are no super big albums released that week 2/ the amount you need to sell to hit #1 is way less. He's gone close a few times, #3 on the chart... but i think the time is right. (He does indeed debut at #1).
Package some copies of Wings Off Flies, I love that this photo book still continues to tick over copies and find a place on people's coffee tables. "What is that ol' chap". "Oh my copy of Wings off Flies from the wilds of Ozstralia dear boy".
February 21stNo jet lag for me , feel pretty good. We like that! Mark is ok, his 5.30 wake up mosquito visits him... I'm sure it lives in his ear hairs!!!!
I notice my rates cheques that I sent into the council haven't been cashed yet, pretty weird, maybe they do a bulk cash the cheques thing- you'd think being a council they'd greedily cash your cheques asap.
I hear from Hessies sister Carolyn today which was nice, mail her a copy of Ghost Cars, I get along well with Carolyn.... Paul used to live with her up here at Kalorama way way way back...
February 22ndIt's so weird my diary is empty today. It says "get petrol"... almost every day my real diary is full of stuff.... what a non event day?
Really like the 2nd new Bowie song released, so much better then that other piece of dire crap and the clip is great. The "young" Bowie actor so perfect it's scary. Andrej Pejic all the way from Broadmeadows is in it too. That gender bending model look of his just keeps on getting him work. Not bad for a Melbourne lad from Broady! "Next Day" , "Dirty Boys" & "Stars" are my fave 3 tracks from the upcoming Bowie release.
February 23rdBoth Finns in Melbourne, Tim playing "Between the Bays" and Neil and Paul Kelly at Rochford Wines-A Day On The Green. It's one of the few shows not sold out but a very healthy passionate crowd. Lots of families and a few sing a longs.
Also manage to get the Band Contest drawn, and the winner is one of our long term Frenz, from way way back- A. Brown. I think I've known Amanda since she was 14, so I'm really OLD now! Went through a few photos tonight and I am sure she is in one from the old Frenz picnic days, standing next to the Vaux's sisters.. I think. Would love to find it for her as well... I love it when you get to tell someone they have won, they get so happy-makes my day.
February 24thI hear from Bongo Skyhook which is always fun... looks like a few of the Skyhooks are having a play at Shirl old board-riders club around March 16th. Laura back on vocals- she can sing really well tough as nails and also as sweet as honey depending on the song. Just great to see some of the good ol' boys have a play.
Not sure if it's the Finn-Kelly shows but The Very, Very Best Of Crowded House re enters the ARIA catalogue chart at #39 this week. Who hasn't gotten these songs, we must have some sort of new audience or something, it just refuses to go away this album. I'm sure it makes EMI very happy.
All the best for now
PS: Some of those Skyhook boys are having a play again. If you live in Victoria or are visiting, on March 16th it may pay to head to the Phillip Island Board Riders Club- Veterans Rd, Newhaven . The board riders club turns 50 and Skyhooks lead singer Shirl was a member so every so often a gig seems to happen. I think Laura may well be on vocals for the Hook songs which is great as she is really good. Greg Macainsh, Bob Spencer and Bob Starkie are in the "band", we'd get our butts kicked if we said the word Skyhooks, so we won't- but it should be a good night with those "former" Skyhook members! Go to the NEWS area of www.skyhooks-music.com for more information & tickets.