Thursday, December 21, 2006

Final thoughts, top moments, etc...

Well, it is over.

I'm home.

I'm unloading the dishwasher again.

I'm watching ESPN again.

I'm taking Copp for walks again.

Etc., etc., etc.

The last three and a half months have been memorable, to say the least. Probably the best three and a half months of my life.

Here are the general highlights of my time spent abroad

Meeting some great people in my Boston University program who I'll definitely see in the future and stay in touch with. We had great times together, no doubt.

Working at Sydney Uni Sport with a bunch of Aussies. It was a great, laid-back environment and everyone was friendly and accommodating to me. We also had a couple of great times out of work.

Working the Sydney Uni Flames games. I love basketball, whether it's in the U.S., Australia, or South Africa. I love covering the game of basketball.

Taking a trip to Melbourne and seeing all the historic sports sights, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and The Tan - the city's ancient dirt track, which thousands of runners traverse each day.

Going rainforest biking in the Byron Bay area. Once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Doing the BridgeClimb (thanks, Aunt Sally). Sunset, full moon, great thrills. Yeah, it was that good.

Staying at hostels during spring break and while I was in New Zealand. A similar system needs to be embraced in the U.S. Only having to pay $20 a night for a comfortable bed in a lodge with a kitchen and other amenities is amazing. And you meet a plethora of people with similar interests.

Bar-hopping with the crew. Yes, the bouncers were at times very disdainful of me (for no reason, really), but we had great times nonetheless.

Great ping-pong games in the UniLodge basement with Scubes, Ankur and Pranab. I can't get enough of that game.

Days at the beach. Hitting the waves, playing football, playing the "500-like" game, although we got roughed up and Scubes dominated, and just chilling. I know as the Michigan winter wears on I'll start missing the beach more and more.

Blue Mountains hikes. Three days of hiking in the BM's were phenomenal. They might not have been traditional mountains, since we hiked down into the valley before hiking back up, but who cares? The views were priceless, the waterfalls picturesque, and the experience unforgettable.

Surf camp, all the way back in September. What a weekend! I learned to surf and caught some waves. Need I say more?

Attending a rugby game and Australian rules football game. Although these sports will never be as exciting to me as American football or basketball, they were fun to watch and experience. I must say this: Aussie athletes seem tougher than American athletes. With hardly any pads, they kill each other – and don’t get hurt. And they don’t make as much money either. Props to them.

And now, for the top five memorable experiences - things I won't forget... ever

5 - That afternoon at Bronte. Scubes, Ankur and I hit up Bronte Beach for a late-afternoon swim, and the waves were ferocious. They were killing us as we tried to body-surf them. I almost got carried away to sea, but managed to catch a wave back toward shore. Never been more scared for my life than that afternoon. Crazy.

4 - The night before Ashley's birthday. We went to a Lebanese restaurant - and it was safe to say, many of us had a little too much wine to sip on. Some of us grinded with the belly dancer (not me, thankfully) and just about everyone passed out in Cheryl and Ashley's room. Great night.

3 - The seagulls. Wow, that was scary. On one of our last beach days, Scubes and I were harassed by a herd of seagulls after Scubes threw one of his French fries ("chips" in Australia) at me. First they were one me, but I walked a good 50 meters to the beach, and finally they retreated to harass Scubes. He almost dropped his burger and fries, he was so shaken. But eventually he walked all the way up to the plaza, and they laid off. I will never take seagulls lightly again.

2 - The final Friday night in Sydney. We had a great "Friday on the Roof," throwing the frisbee and Aussie Rules Football around (and off the roof) and playing some quality games of Beirut. This was followed by some great bar-hopping, pancakes in the Rocks (although I had nachos) and a sunrise (well, OK, "cloud rise") by the Opera House. There were also many great side stories from that night, which I will not disclose in this blog.

1 - The whole experience. Not one night or day deserves this spot. I am glad I decided to study abroad. In reality, I didn't even feel like I was at school. It felt more like a vacation. Yes, there were papers to write and tests to take, and, yes, we had our internships four days a week - but it was all fun.

My Australia experience came at the perfect time in my life. With graduation just months away, I needed to see another part of the world and experience another culture. I needed to get a better understanding of what makes me happy (besides sports). What I found is that great friends are very important, but also my independence.

I love the freedom of being on my own in a big country. A couple of the foreigners I met at hostels in Australia and New Zealand were traveling for months, just exploring different regions of the world. I'd love to do that one day. Work can wait. So can other things.

Right now is the best time for me to get out and explore - see what the world has to offer.

These past three and a half months were a start.

Cheers! And thanks to all the mates who made my time abroad so memorable.

New Zealand, and finally... home

Today I woke up, grabbed some granola and an orange, and watched SportsCenter on television.

I took my dog for a walk, and looked left then right while crossing the street.

Yes, I'm back in Ann Arbor, Mich., in the United States of America. I can watch my favorite sports all the time and take Copper for as many walks as he can handle.

So all is bliss, right?

Well... no. It'll take some time to readjust. I really do miss Australia and all the friends and good times I had there. It was an amazing experience.

New Zealand wasn't bad either. So let me tell you about my Kiwi experience.

I was in New Zealand for four days. The first three days I spent in Taupo, a small town in the middle of the country's north island. It is an adventurer's utopia. There are opportunities to bungy jump, sky dive, mountain bike, hike, white-water raft, you name it. If you want a thrilling adventure in the great outdoors, Taupo's the place to go.

Which is why I went there.

I arrived in the afternoon the first day, preventing me from doing any big things that day, so I took a longer-than-expected walk to Huka Falls - a huge rapids in the local river. While the walk along the river was extremely long and mundane, the rapids were pretty cool. It's safe to say, if anyone fell in, they'd be gone forever. They were that ferocious.

On the way back from the rapids, I stopped at a hot springs connected to the river. It was amazing. I slipped into the water, and immediately I felt as though I was immersed in a hot tub. Then I walked toward the river, and the water temperature gradually decreased until I was in the rather frigid river.

Two new experiences in one afternoon. Not a bad day.

On my first full day I was planning on catching the bus to the Tongariro Crossing, arguably New Zealand's best one-day hike. But due to weather conditions, there was no bus on that day, so I was stuck in Taupo. So I slept in, finally waking at 12 p.m. in the Tiki Lodge when the maids entered the room to prepare the other beds for newly arriving visitors.

I decided to make something of the afternoon and rented a bike. I wanted to bike to the base of the nearest mountain (which looked to be about 3,000 feet) but I was told it would take way too long to reach the base trail, climb the mountain and return the bike in time. So I settled for some mountain biking in the Huka Falls area.

The trail was great. There were several twists and turns on a narrow path and I had to concentrate at all times on the path in front of me. However, the bike kept shifting gears automatically on me - and generally was not a great bike - so I didn't find the riding that pleasant. Let's just say the experience could have been better. After returning the bike and a quick dinner, I prepared for bed. I had a long day ahead of me.

My final day in Auckland was, hands down, the highlight of my New Zealand experience. I did the Tongariro Crossing, easily my biggest hike while I was abroad. The crossing is basically a ridge hike. There are a few steep ascents in the first stages of the hike, and then the final couple hours are descents. In between, you're on top of the world. It's about an eight- or nine-kilometer hike (I think).

I was ill-prepared for the conditions, that's for sure. With my suitcases completely stuffed full of belongings, I couldn't afford to buy any rain gear (or stuff for the cold, for that matter) so I did the hike in shorts, my UNC sweatshirt and a makeshift raincoat that I made out of a trash bag.

Two hours into the hike I was freezing. But that didn't take away from my enjoyment. Although it rained the entire time and the visibility was White Mountains-esque, I met up with a young guy from Denmark, and we traversed the terrain together. Our group wasn't supposed to get picked up from the end of the track until 3:30 p.m., and the weather had us moving fast, so when we arrived at a hut that marked the two-hours-to-go spot at 11:00 a.m., we decided to chill for a couple hours and try to warm up.

Ironically, I read Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" while I was shivering in the hut.

Finally, after two-plus hours of descending (the part of a hike that ALWAYS seems to take the longest) we completed the famed Tongariro Crossing. I might have been cold and wet, but the experience was definitely worth it.

I returned to Tiki Lodge to shower and dry all of my soaked cloths. Drying my sneakers was not so easy. I held them under the hand dryer in the bathroom for about 15 minutes. Finally, they were at least bearable to wear.

I spent my last night in Taupo wandering the town, taking pictures, catching the new Bond movie at the local theater, and hitting up a couple bars before my 1:50 a.m. bus to Auckland.

In one of those "this world is small after all" stories, I met a guy at a bar who knew my cousin, Pete Wolf, from their days in Oak Park, Chicago. Absolutely amazing. That had me buzzing (more than the beer) all night.

After a not-so-pleasant bus ride, which seemed to take forever, I arrived in Auckland for my final day abroad. I was tired and, frankly, ready to be home. Or at least in bed. I tried to make Borders my bed, falling asleep at the book store three times, but eventually I was kicked out (they actually escorted me to the door - how crazy is that?).

It's probably safe to say that my days of shopping at Borders are over. If a man needs to sleep, let him sleep.

So without a legitimate place to crash, I conjured up the energy to do things. First I visited the Sky Tower, taking several pictures from its two indoor observation decks. I was disappointed there wasn't an outdoor deck. I guess suicide is just too big of a risk these days (what better way to go out than from the top of a tower?).

Then I was greeted to some great hospitality at the coolest, neatest, sweetest driving range I've ever visited. It had one of those golf simulators where you can play a round without moving more than a couple steps. The guy there allowed me to play a few holes at Pebble Beach for free. I think I was 10 over after four holes. Tough course.

Finally, I walked down to the harbour, got a great ice cream cone (Strawberry Ripple) and headed to catch the bus to the airport. It was only 1:40, and my flight wasn't until 7:30, but I was ready to go. Plus, with all the crap I had to go through for a flight to America, I didn't have all the time in the world at the airport.

After 16 hours of flying and many other hours waiting in lines in airports, I was home. In a genuine act of kindness, all my family members made the cumbersome 40-minute drive to Detroit Metro Airport to greet me (even Copp - who was tired from a long walk earlier in the day). Thanks, guys. And soon I was home at last, watching Stuart Scott on my TV and eating Tostitos.

Oh, how things can change so quickly.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stay tuned for final writings

Hey everyone,
I'm sorry for not posting much recently. I have been wrapping up my stay here in Sydney (trying to do everything I didn't get a chance to do earlier in the semester, and saying peace to everyone), and now I am heading to New Zealand for four days and will not have computer access. But I can assure you that once I return to Ann Arbor on Dec. 20, I will write a couple wrap-up columns. Thanks again for reading.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Crazy weekend"

Well, I'm down to my final week here in Sydney. While time is certainly flying, that's only because - as the old saying goes - I'm having some fun.

I feel as free as the dogs in Sydney, who are never leashed up. They're allowed to run freely, chasing each other around trees and giving their owners something to laugh about.

Anyway, here's a rundown of what I've been up to.

On Friday night we bar-hopped in the Rocks before getting a very early breakfast (4:00 a.m.) and waiting by the harbour for the sun to rise (I was sleeping on a bench). Unfortunately, it didn't rise, and we took the bus home disappointed (and very tired).

I slept until 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon before working my final basketball game for Sydney Uni Sport. It officially concluded my internship, which I really enjoyed. I got the opportunity to write several feature articles on Australian athletes in addition to a few game stories, which gave me vital experience in writing in a timely matter. On the downside, I don't feel that my writing vastly improved this semester. Many of the stories were similar to things I've written back home. I didn't really acquire any new journalism skills.

Still, overall it was fun being a part of an Australian workplace. Everyone here is so laid back, even at work. We must have had four going-away lunches for people moving on to other jobs, and whenever there was a birthday, it was accompanied by cake. Other employees also often stopped by my desk to chat. I never felt nervous at Sydney Uni Sport.

Sunday was all about the beach. We hit up Bondi Beach around 1 p.m. and didn't return until approximately 7:30 p.m. It was sunny and hot - not exactly my type of weather - but everyone else was happy, so that was good enough for me. I went in the water at least four times (it was pretty warm) and also played football with the boys.

Although a bit of my energy was zapped by the sun, I still had enough to spend the entire night in King's Cross - Sydney's night district - hanging out with the fellas and watching some late-night soccer. I also met a couple of Aussie fellas and talked sports with them. It was a fun night.

This morning I had aspirations of going to the Blue Mountains for a full day of hiking, but it didn't work out. 'Nuff said. Instead, I got a good shootaround in at this old, rickety hoop in an empty parking lot - I love it; reminds me of the park in "Finding Forrester" - and since then I've been blogging and sitting around.

Tomorrow we finish up school - one final exam.

I guess I should do a little studying.

Anyway, keep checking back with the blog throughout the week. I'll be posting several things whenever I get a chance.

peace and love,

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Crazy final 10 days in Sydney"

Yesterday began what should be a crazy, sleep-deprived, activity-driven final 10 days in Sydney. Now that my "posse" and I have realized just how close we are to the end, we are ready to get up on our feet and DO SOMETHING.

Yesterday was a pretty good start. I climbed a bridge. A big bridge. In fact, it's the largest suspension bridge in the world. The Sydney Harbour Bridge. Thanks to a gift from Aunt Sallie, I did the BridgeClimb last night, taking three hours to walk all the way to the top of the 150-metre structure before heading back down. It wasn't as nerveracking as I anticipated. I was never really scared - despite the fact that I'm not a big "heights guy." We were connected to a cable by a little gadget the entire climb, assuring our safety. Perhaps the most "scary" part of the climb was when we ascended four ladders on the way up and descended four on the way down. The ladders were each about 25-feet tall and were almost 90 degrees, so you had to make sure your footing was secure.

I didn't check the weather forecast or anything before signing up for the climb, but somewhow I picked the perfect day. The sky was clear, the temperature moderate, and there was a full moon that came up just as we were halfway to the top of the bridge. It was spectacular. In addition, although it was a "night climb," we started early, allowing us to catch about 30 minutes of an exquisite sunset before it disappeared to the west.

Overall the climb was one of the best experiences I've had while in Sydney. Just goes to show that not all "tourist attractions" are overrated.

So, now about those "crazy final 10 days." Here's the loose schedule me n' the folks came up with.

Tonight: Final mass media class, free dinner afterward; chill after that.
Thursday: Second-to-last day of work; dinner on roof; Sydney Observatory at night
Friday: Final day of work; final "Friday on the Roof;" bar-hopping in the Rocks (Sydney's historic district); watch the sun rise by the Opera House (probably not much sleep)
Saturday: Take ferry to Manly Beach (I haven't been there yet - should be splendid); chill there all day; work my final women's basketball game; bar-hop at Bondi Beach; watch the sun rise at Bondi (not much sleep).
Sunday: Take the train to Crunella (sp?) Beach, which is about 45 minutes south of Sydney; supposed to be splendid; spend whole day there; return to the night life of King's Cross.
Monday: Spend the day bushwalking in the Blue Mountains/studying for final exam.
Tuesday: Mass media final exam; Going-away party with fellow students, program directors and people from my internship (should be a hoot!).
Wednesay/Thursday/Friday????... we'll see

Yeah, gotta go. Still haven't planned my New Zealand trip.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006


hey everyone,
I'm sorry I haven't posted here in a while. Obviously this sports blog thing has taken over my life, but that's not to say that I've been sitting at a computer every day punching the keys.

So here's what I've done, what I want to do, my feelings and musing on things... and everything else.

Since I returned from the Blue Mountains more than two weeks ago, I've been yearning to get back there. They are that exquisite. I plan on going back with my good friend, Ashley, this Saturday for a full day of hiking. Should be fun.

Since Aunt Sally has so kindly agreed to pay, I plan on doing the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb in the next couple weeks (maybe this Sunday). Should be a lotta fun as well as riveting. Unfortunatly, we're not allowed to take cameras (or anything else) when we're up there, but I'll be sure to get some photos from the experience. I think I'm gonna do the sunset climb. Standing on the apex of a bridge while the sun sets below me on the harbour doesn't sound like a bad evening.

Speaking of heights, I accompanied Melvin, Cheryl, Toad and his friend, Will, up to (almost) the top of the tower in Sydney - its tallest building. We relaxed in the bar, sipped expensive drinks and looked out at the city. Unfortunately, our view didn't include the sunset - the bar rotates clockwise, but very, very slowly - however the views were nonetheless priceless.

Last Friday I went out for the first time with just Australians as I accompanied a few of my co-workers for a celebration of another one of my coworkers leaving Sydney Uni Sport. Everyone got loose and we had a good time. I ended up crashing at my co-worker's crib, woke up to watch Ice Age then ate sausages for breakfast. It was a fun experience.

Speaking of work, I'm just about ready to be done with it. I only have six work days remaining. While I've enjoyed interviewing some of the Aussie athletes, I don't feel that I've improved at all as a journalist. I guess I'll just use the experience as resume fodder (because how many American sports journalists have done work in Australia?). On a side note, it's been fun to follow the Ashes, Australia and England's Test cricket match that spans almost two months. It's like the NBA playoffs, except just one series between two teams. Cricket is absolutely bizarre, let me tell you.

I haven't heard back from the woman with the Sydney Kings, Sydney's men's professional basketball team. She said a week or so ago that I could work the games on Dec. 3 and Dec. 8, but until I hear from her, nothing's certain. I guess I'm indifferent. If I work the games, great - more resume fodder and you know how much I love basketball. If I don't, I'll get to spend more time with the great people I've met here before we say our farewells.

Speaking of leaving, it's kind of shocking how quickly this experience has gone. I have five more days at the internship, one more paper due (next week), and the final exam for my mass media class. That's it. I'll be leaving Sydney on the night of Dec. 15 (one day later than most) and flying to Auckland, New Zealand for 3-4 days. I haven't done a speck of planning for New Zealand, so if you know of any great things to do (especially outdoors) please throw reccomendations out there.

I'm very ambivalent about leaving. I'll definitely be happy to get home, see the family, and watch American sports whenever I want to. Relaxing at the crib on Spring Street and hopefully getting my sports writing job back in Jackson will also be great. But at the same time I'll really miss a lot of the people from the program. I've forged some tight bonds here in Sydney, and it'll be difficult to say adios. I'll also miss Sydney to a degree. Living in a big city has many benefits. There's always a store open if I need anything and always bars and 24-hour food joints that can cater to me late at night. But, then again, Sydney has coerced me into spending more money than I planned on, so it'll be nice to be back in cities where it's not quite as easy to burn the wallet. I don't plan on doing much spending for the next few months.

With that said, it's time for me to go grab some dinner and relax the night away. With just over two weeks left in Sydney, I've still got plenty to do.

peace and love,

Monday, November 13, 2006

"My best weekend yet"

This past weekend was easily the most enjoyable I've had here abroad. Eight friends and I took a train to the Blue Mountains, about a 2-hour ride from Sydney. We arrived in Katoomba, a small, peaceful town in the heart of the mountains, around 10:30 on Saturday morning, and I was ready to hit the bush.

The Blue Mountains are nothing like those I hike in every year in New Hampshire. You don't start at the bottom of the mountain and hike up. Instead, the towns are at the peaks of the mountains, so you usually hike down and then make your way back up. That is what we did.

After getting settled in the YHA hostel - easily the nicest hostel I've stayed at here, and still cheap, at $27.50 a night - we trekked through a residential neighbourhood to get to the trail. The first couple hours of the hike we followed a ridge trail, which wove around the top of the valley, offering splendid views of the cliffs opposite us and the trees and waterfalls in the valley. The only negative about this part of the walk was the amount of tourists who clogged the trail. Since it stayed on top of the cliffs, we were fairly close to the road, so people could simply park their cars and walk a hundred yards to one of the several lookouts. It's safe to say we saw hundreds of people with sandals on, mothers with strollers, and men dressed in their workday business suits.

Also, the trail intersected with a huge visitor information centre, replete with a gift shop and food stand. I never really felt, during this part of the journey, like I was in the bush. It felt more like - and I'm only imagining here - visiting the top of the Grand Canyon.

But things got better... much better. As the day grew old, some of the crew decided to head back, but Steve, Andrew, Kristina and I pushed on, determined to reach the Golden Steps - a very steep ascent back up to the road. After surviving Tourist Central, we had descended a great deal, thus putting us down in the valley. With the sun reaching its peak in the sky, we bushwalked over rocks and under trees - which made it very dark - until we reached the base of the stairs. One thing about hiking in the Blue Mountains is that you have to keep an eye on the path ahead - and this is not just because of the possibility of wildlife. Trails often aren't marked that well. There are no cairns like in the White Mountains. There are a few intermittent chalked arrows on rocks, but that is about it. At one point we lost the trail, but after retracing our steps, we easily found it again.

And then we climbed the steps. Steep, steep, steep. That's the best way to describe them. Man-made - some out of rock, and some out of metal - the steps twisted upward, at times affording us brilliant views of the farther and farther away valley, which gave us an excuse to rest.

We were tired, heaving, out of gorp (or at least I though at the time - I ended up having another whole bag), and it was close to dark.

But then, all of a sudden, after just 23 minutes, we reached the top. The sign had said an hour, but we killed those stairs. We ended up having at least a half hour until darkness, so we decided to chill out on a perfect rock facing the fading sun towatch the sun set. Only, it didn't. It got lost among the clouds. That was the only real disappointment of the day.

But it was only half of my Blue Mountains adventure.

Yesterday, not everyone was as energetic as the day before. Four guys went off to play golf. Steve hit up a caves tour. The girls went in search of kangaroos. But I? Well, I was ready for some more bushwalking. So I hopped on a train down to Wentworth Falls, two stops toward Sydney from Katoomba. And in the span of six hours, I had the time of my life.

After about a 25-minute walk to the national park, I hit the trails - all of them. Similar to Saturday, I started on a ridge trail with great views of the valley and waterfalls below. Then I made my way down to the Valley of the Waters, where I hiked right alongside a long chain of waterfalls. At the first waterfall, I watched as three people climbed down the fall by using rope into a small pool that was oh so tempting. I would have jumped in, but the sun wasn't out and it was early in my journey. Oh, and the water was freezing (colder than at the potholes).

After a brief snack (cheese and crackers, baby!) I headed down to the Wentworth Pass, which took me to the other side of the canyon and beautiful Wentworth Falls. We had visited a couple waterfalls on the first day - including one that was directly above a cliff that dropped off several hundred feet - but Wentworth Falls was the paragon of waterfalls. It must have been 300 feet tall, with the water falling in the air for about 200 feet before hitting rock and moving gracefully down the final 100 feet into a pool at the base. Also, there was a sandy beach. A sandy beach in the mountains! I couldn't believe it. The water here was also freezing, but I told myself I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn’t swim in one waterfall, so I waded in and stood around the stream of water for 10 seconds. Refreshing is the best word to describe that.

I also received a visit from a friend while I was at the falls. I was lying on a rock, reading my book, when a rather large lizard slid up ever so slyly behind me. It had no cruel intentions, but it still took me by surprise. I took a couple pictures of it and decided to sit up while I finished the chapter I was reading.

Finally I decided I ought to leave the falls. An interesting fact: I was without a watch on this trip, so I often had to gauge what time it was or ask somebody. On Day 2 I didn't run into many people - definitely a good thing, except that I often had no real idea what time it was. After departing the falls, I travelled up an extremely steep set of stairs to the National Pass. The stairs must have been 80 degrees, no joke. I had to lean forward, with my hands gripping the railings to make it up them. At the top, a sign noted what I had already realized: "Experienced Hikers Only." Good thing I've done some hiking.

The National Pass was an interesting path. Most of the way, it was directly below an overhanging cliff, occasionally making me duck. Also, most of it was transparently man-made. Rocks laid out acted as stepping stones, making for a nice and easy hike. At the end of the National Pass, I reconnected with the Valley of Waters. I then hiked the one trail in the area that was left on my list: the Nature Trail. The NT took me up, way above the valley, eventually to the road, but not before I passed some beautiful rock lookouts (not man-made whatsoever) and a pool where, from behind some rocks, I could tell some skinny-dipping was in full-swing. It was a nice, sometimes arduous end to my climbing adventure.

So there you have it, my hiking experience in the Blue Mountains. Once I return home, I'll be sure to share pictures of it. Again, it is completely different from hiking in New Hampshire - and not as difficult - but it was enjoyable and worthwhile all the same.

And the views... well you'll just have to see for yourself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sports blog: check it out

hey everyone,
I believe I e-mailed most of you, but for those I missed, I have set up an exclusive sports blog: Please check it out. It will feature a daily column in addition to a daily wrap-up column about the day's actions, transactions, off-the-field histrionics, you get the idea. Because of this new site, you all not so interested in my sports writing won't have to sift through it on this blog. This is now exclusively my Sydney blog. Expect an entry by the end of this weekend about my trip to the Blue Mountains that I'm embarking on tomorrow morning.

As always, please post comments on either blog about my writing or anything else. I appreciate the feedbck. You can also e-mail me at