Thursday, April 14, 2011

Worksheet #80, or A Lawn to Mow

Three and a bit days back in NZ and I miss being outside. It looks so beautiful out the window both at home and at work and yet I feel chained to computers. I walked up ten flights of stairs today and nearly died. I'm supposed to climb some hills over Easter, hopefully the rugged Eastern Wairarapa landscape can distract me from my fritzing heart and lungs.


Real names I encountered while travelling last fortnight which I reserve the right to call characters (or children)

Fritzie (according to her name badge, Changi Airport)
Kiko (not sure how it's spelt, but it belonged to a female from Brazil)
Dung (Vietnamese tour guide, probably not suitable for Kiwi children, even if it is pronounced more like 'Jung')


Whiner alert: This is where I complain about my good fortune not being good enough.

I have received some more details about the outreach elements of the Commonwealth Writers Prize programme in Sydney in May (coincides with Sydney Writers Fest). We are going to the Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre, Blacktown Girls High School, Penrith High School and Gawura (place in central Sydney that focuses on raising education achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people). We'll also appear on Radio Koori's Blackchat programme and there's a reception at the Admiralty House hosted by the Governor General…

My gripe? The Juvenile Justice Centre is female only, so is Blacktown Girls High School (funnily enough). Literacy is a big issue across the board, but it's widely agreed that girls read more than boys and are doing better in the current educational environment. Is this a case of picking the low hanging fruit? Well, not that low hanging: it's not like we're going to rich private schools and universities. And maybe taking a bunch of green writers to a male juvie centre may be asking for trouble, but it seems a shame not to try. My mild frustration is akin to the uproar yesterday when the Australian scientist suggested letting the Kakapo die off and using the money to save 'easier' species from extinction.

Boys don't read. Short story collections don't sell. Australians don't read New Zealand books and vice versa. The book world is full of these mythical absolutes that encourage the continued narrowing of the field.



Mini-milestone: today my friends take possession of their first house, the first of my Wellington friends to do so. Okay, so one of them is a doctor and the dream of home ownerships is a lot further off from a policy analyst/writer and a scientist, but hey, maybe one day I'll have a lawn to mow.


Potentially (but hopefully not) mega life-defining milestone: The Sacramento Kings played their last home game today*, which is also their last game of this season as they’ve missed the playoffs like a Reggie Evans free throw misses the rim. This is also potentially the last ever game for the Sacramento Kings as the owners seem bent on moving them to Anaheim, where they will become known as the Anaheim Royals (or something similar).

I have supported the Kings since 1994. I have been to Sacramento (once, when I was 11) but they only time I’ve seen them play was actually in Toronto in 2009 (they lost). It’s probably more likely I’ll go to Anaheim than Sacramento in the next 20 years (kiddies wanting to go to Disneyland, perhaps), but still, I’ll be gutted if they move.

It will not only turn my Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic jerseys into oddball paraphernalia rather than retro strips, like those Shawn Kemp Sonics or Alonzo Morning Charlotte Hornets jerseys, but Richmond, Webber and Vlade Divac will no longer have an arena in which to hang their retired jersey numbers.

I will become the supporter of the third NBA team in the LA area. Excuse me while I take a shower…

What will happen to Sactown Royalty, one of my favourite websites? What will happen to Jerry Reynolds, my favourite colour commentator and all around nice guy (I don’t really care what happens to play-by-play man and all around douche Grant ‘Peaches’ Napear)?

I’ve supported this team through thin (Richmond era) and thick (Webber era) and thin again (post-Webber’s knee blowing out). While the current roster will be transplanted down to Anaheim, and while I’ll continue to root for DeMarcus and Marcus and Tyreke (amazing to think that he’s the third most important player after this season) and Beno and Sammy and Jason and Pooh and tonight’s small forward of choice… it won’t be the same.

My life will be divided into Sacramento Kings Era (SKE) and Post Sacramento Kings Era (PSKE).

That is unless the move falls through. If Jerry Buss convinces the other NBA franchise owners to vote against the move. Or some dues ex machine swoops in and secures a new arena in Sacramento in the next, oh, 18 hours. Or the Maloofs lose their nerve and decide to wait and see for another year…


* I haven't watched the game yet... about to load it up on NBA Broadband. C'mon Good, triumph over Evil one more time!

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