Well, I'm heading off to the Gold Coast tomorrow afternoon. It's the first time I've been back to Queensland since I left in January. It will be good to catch up with the family, though I'm not at all looking forward to the weather. While Melbourne should have a comfortably cool 23 degree Christmas, the Gold Coast is looking at 26; now, that might not sound like a big difference, but I am convinced that simply due to its humidity, 25 degrees on the Gold Coast actually feels hotter than a 30 degree Melbourne day. Ah well, it'll be worth it to have some company at Christmas. I will have Internet access on the Gold Coast, so that's good. Before I go, though, I will make my annual Tangiwai disaster entry tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I can't say I'm looking forward to fighting the crowds in the city on the way to the airport. My tram runs two blocks from Spencer Street Station, which is where I catch the bus to the airport, so I'll either have to walk there and hope the footpath isn't too crowded or force my way onto a packed Bourke Street tram during the lunch hour with my suitcase. Woohoo.
I really do hate flying. The airport is so incredibly out of my way and the over-the-top security measures to combat the non-existent terrorist threat are just plain irritating. I'm more willing to fly in New Zealand simply because you do not have to pass through any security checkpoints whatsoever for domestic flights; it's delightful. I really wish the train were a viable option, but unless I were willing to kill two entire days and pay for a night in Sydney, it's out of the question as there are no direct Melbourne to Brisbane trains. I hope that the Inland Railway is built soon and a passenger service is offered, as that would be absolutely fantastic.
This evening, I purchased a ticket to see Explosions In The Sky live, with Eluvium as the support act. I like a fair bit of their studio material and I hear they do an excellent live show, so I said "what the hell, who cares that I don't know anyone who wants to go?" and bought myself a ticket. So now I've got two concerts coming up next year, Dream Theater on 29 January and EITS on 16 February. This year, one of my big regrets is that I missed concerts I wanted to see because I had nobody to go with. I accordingly failed to see Isis, Pelican, and Arcturus. The Arcturus one particularly hurts. At the start of the gig, ICS Vortex walked on stage and announced "Welcome to the last Arcturus gig. Ever." I think I shall now make a point of going to shows even if I'm by myself, as I do not want that to happen again, or for a band to simply not return to Australia. We've been lucky the last few years, with the improvement in the dollar's value, but who knows how long that will last and if it returns to its 2000-02 level, the amount of tours will be sure to decline. I love live music and I don't want to have a year as lean as this year, with a meagre two gigs: Crowded House and Muse - funnily enough, within a week of each other.
On a completely different topic, I'd just like to say: who gives a shit that Tony Blair's converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism? Certainly not me, as his religion is his own private matter, and I simply cannot fathom why it was headline news here in Australia tonight. I can possibly imagine it being a sort of time waster in England, a kind of brief "former Prime Minister becomes Catholic" snippet to fill a gap in a news bulletin. But it has no impact upon, well, anyone else really and has no significance for Australia at all. Even SBS fell victim to covering this non-story. Bah. Enough of that, though.
Well, I hope all of you have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, I wish you sunshine and cricket, just the way it should be. Those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, I also wish you sunshine and cricket, the former because we need your snow in liquid form down here as the drought's getting pretty unpleasant and the latter because most of you are in the US, which suffers significantly from a lack of the gentleman's game. Have a good one, folks!