Friendly neighbourhood cat

I don’t recognise many of my human neighbours in Kingsville, Victoria, but I do recognise most of the dogs and cats that live around here :)

This is cat I’ve met a few times, but scritched only once (when it was sitting on the fence). This appears to be its new favourite spot, though, because I’ve now seen it chilling out exactly there two weekends in a row (which is usually when I walk Maggie down this street).

It’s a really friendly cat that Maggie doesn’t react to (yay!). I hope I get to scritch it again in the future.

I bought a bike!

I bought a bike!

My last push bike got stolen a couple of years ago and I've felt quite lost without one. Walking is all well and good, but as someone who has owned a bike for most of his live, it is so very nice to be back in the saddle. (Even if that saddle is going to make me sore for the next week or so!) 

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Love Letters To Feminisms

Nadia and I had an excellent time this afternoon at ‘Love Letters to Feminisms: a live performance of feminist texts’. Organised by the Loving Feminist Literature collective, the event featured several writers, poets, academics, and performers who shared their works and the works of other feminists.

The performances were powerful and emotional, and each one resonated strongly with everyone in the room.

Nadia was one of the performers and she read a piece that honoured the Pakistan women’s movement and all they’ve achieved over the last few decades.

Nadia performing at ‘Love Letters of Feminisms’, alongside an Auslan interpreter

Bonus: the event was held at the Bluestone Church Arts Space in Footscray, which a lovely venue that looks great in selfies :)

Selfie in front of the Bluestone Church Arts Space on Hyde Street in Footscray.

Seriously, though, it was a joy to be among so many diverse and enthusiastic feminists in Melbourne. I look forward to attending more of Loving Feminist Literature’s events in the future.

Top tip: Take the train to airshow

If you’re not carrying too much with you, I highly recommend taking the V/Line train + bus combo service to the Avalon Airshow. That’s what I did this year and it worked brilliantly.

Last time I went there, we drove. That resulted in over three hours of total driving time — most of that in slow, heavy traffic on narrow lanes behind the airport that went to/from the airshow parking area. And then we had to park a good fifteen minute walk away from the airshow entrance. Not fun. Wouldn’t recommend.

This time someone else did all the driving and I got to nap in a cool, quiet carriage all the way back to the city :)

All this didn’t cost very much either: $13.60 for a return ticket from Footscray railway station to Lara railway station and then a special shuttle from Lara to a convenient drop-off/pick-up point near the airshow entrance. (I bought the ticket in advance, though not online, which is why it cost me more than the online full-fare price but less than the $15 day-of price.)

Screenshot of V/Line ticket prices for the 2019 Airshow. ( Source )

Screenshot of V/Line ticket prices for the 2019 Airshow. (Source)

I could also have used my Myki to get to/from Lara station and then buy a separate paper ticket for just the shuttle bit of the journey. The V/Line folks even had a special ticketing booth set up specifically at Lara for the people who were doing this. But was easier just to get a paper ticket for the whole journey.

Bonus tip: go as early as you possibly can

The other thing I’d highly recommend is that you get to the airshow as early as possible. Gates open at 8am so I caught first train out of Footscray station at 7:08am.

Catching the first train out of Footscray railway station.

After a quick 45 minute trip we hopped off at Lara railway station where shuttle buses were ready and waiting for. There were enough of on this first train in to fill up two buses, and we set off almost immediately.

I got into the airshow proper (ie past security and ticketing) by 8:26am — so a total front-door to airshow-entrance travel time of about ninety minutes.

The return trip took just a little longer because there was a short wait till the shuttle bus filled up at Avalon. Fortunately, the buses were nicely air conditioned — a huge relief when it was 36 degrees outside!

Waiting in the well air conditioned V/Line shuttle bus at the airshow — hot and tired, but happy.

There was also a fifteen minute wait at Lara station till the next train was due, but that was fine too. The station is quite nice, with a indoor waiting room, lots of out outdoor sheltered waiting/seating space, and even a small cafe.

Walking into Lara railway station.

The train back to the city was my favourite part of the journey because I got a seat in a Quiet Carriage and pretty much napped all the way back to Footscray :)

Oh, and since Nadia both dropped me off to Footscray station in the morning and also picked me up from there in the afternoon, I didn’t have to do any driving that day at all. Yay!

Awesome day at the Avalon Airshow 2019

I love aviation, so it’s awesome that we live in Melbourne, which is close to Avalon Airport where the Australian International Airshow (usually just called Avalon Airshow) is held every couple of years.

Last time I got to take an inside tour of one my favourite military transport aircraft, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, so this year I just enjoyed it from the outside. Of course you have to walk quite a way away before you can take a selfie that shows more than just one section of the Globemaster!

Other cool military transport aircraft I got to check out included the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules (from Republic of Singapore Air Force), Kawasaki C-2 (from Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and Boeing CH-47 Chinook (from Royal Australian Air Force).

Speaking of air forces, there was also an air force dog there!

Coming back to aircraft, some of the other highlights for me were this Beechcraft Super King Air (from Ambulance Victoria), Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin (from Victoria Police), and Douglas DC-3 (from Melbourne’s Gooney Bird).

My favourites from the commercial aviation side were this Boeing 747-400 (from Qantas) and the Cirrus Vision SF50 (Vision Jet). The Cirrus display was also where I got to meet Stefan Drury, who I’ve been following on YouTube for a couple of years and am a big fan of. Turns out real-life Stef is just like YouTube-star Stef :)

It was a super hot day so I didn’t have the time or energy to check out much else, like the indoor exhibition booths, seminars, military dog performances, and drone racing – all of which I wanted to go to. But I did get to check out this model aircraft display from Victorian Model Aeronautical Association.

I also didn’t get to watch many of the flying displays properly – though I did get to follow the aircraft around with my binoculars, so that was cool.

I had specifically wanted to watch the Globemaster in action, and even timed my day to be in the public viewing area when it was due to fly. Unfortunately, due to air traffic issues, its slot was rescheduled. So I had to make do with seeing it zip back down the runway to await a future slot. Oh well.

Here are some snippets from what I did get to see.

Finally, just before I left, I checked out the one bit of equipment you don’t ever want to use, but you’re very happy to see in the hugely capable hands of Airservices Australia.

All in all, I had a really fun time. And, given it was going to be a 40-degree day at Avalon, my plan of getting to the airshow just after gates opened and 8am and leaving around lunchtime worked out exceptionally well. So much so that I’m already looking forward to the 2021 show!

Support Lisa-Skye's MICF Safety House Guide!

I love live comedy, particularly stand-up comedy. So one of the coolest things about living in Melbourne is the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF).

However, for various reasons, Nadia and I don’t attend too many MICF shows. The ones we do attend, then, we’re very picky about.

Basically: we don’t want to watch performances by bigots, racists, misogynists, assholes, and so on. You’d think that in 2019 you’d be hard pressed to find people who make those kinds of jokes on stage. But, of course, you’d be wrong.

One of the best ways to avoid attending a show at MICF that’ll make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe is by checking Lisa-Sky’s Safety House Guide.

Here’s what she has to say about this on her Safety House Guide 2019 Pozible page:

In 2017, I noticed a theme among people who came to my shows - they'd tell me they loved seeing my shows every year at festivals, but didn't want to 'risk' going to other shows, for fear of being the punchline of jokes. They weren't just scared of hearing tired old material bashing who they are (fat jokes, sexworker jokes, racist jokes...) but a few of them were hesitant about audience participation, even when the artist had the best intentions.

And I thought, stuff that - everyone should feel safe to enjoy seeing live performance. 

My favourite thing is showing cool stuff to cool people, and promoting good work from performers with an ethos based in kindness and diversity. So at last year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I created the first Safety House Guide. 

Lisa-Skye’s Safety House Guide for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Lisa-Skye’s Safety House Guide for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Nadia and I have already bought tickets for a few MICF shows this year (including Judith Lucy and Hannah Gadsby - yay!) but we’re not going to get any more without consulting that guide first.

If you’re someone who’ll want to use this guide – or even if you’re not, but your recognise how valuable a resource it might be to others – please consider providing financial support to it via Pozible. Nadia and I have already pledged to do so. Lisa-Skye is going to produce this guide regardless, so let’s help her our as much as we can.