Saturday, March 27, 2010

a moving experience...

Last Monday, I went to see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall. The evening's event was called Latin Fire, and there were a few noteworthy pieces being played:

Bernstein - West Side Story – Symphonic Dances

Ravel - Bolero

Rodrigo - Concierto de Aranjuez

The last Spanish
concierto featured the guitar soloist, Slava Grigoryan.

concierto has always been a favourite of mine, so when I spotted the advert for this performance, I didn't hesitate. It had long been an ambition of mine to see a live performance of the concert that always mentally transports me to Spain, surrounded by its historical Moorish influences.

Whenever I hear it playing, the
second movement in particular, I imagine myself in the Alhambra in Granada, or walking through the cobble-stoned streets of Cordoba, stopping to admire the infamous red and white arches of the mezquita, built by Islamic architects in the 8th century.

For some reason, I always associate different pieces of music with a variety of places and locales, real or imagined. I can't help it.

In the case of Rodrigo's
concierto, I picture two places in Spain that had the most impact on me when I visited them. I think they had such a profound effect on me because they represent a combination of the two cultures that I derive from - the Arabs and the Spaniards. I felt completely at peace when I visited them - almost like I returned home... to a home I had never known. I found myself in awe of the amount of history that resided in those places.

Upon leaving them, I swore that I would do my utmost to return to them one day. Perhaps I would even be fortunate enough to reside in these magnificent Spanish cities for a period of time?

Slava Grigoryan has always amazed me as a guitarist. He possesses a true gift and a talent that must surely be the envy of many others. The prospect of seeing him playing Rodrigo was truly exciting, and he did not disappoint. In fact, his interpretation of the music moved me beyond words. I found tears silently rolling down my cheeks as I was enraptured by the experience.

Concierto de Aranjuez
was the musical highlight of my evening. The other two pieces of music played by the MSO were just a bonus.

West Side Story Symphonic Dances were thoroughly enjoyable. I have never been a huge fan of the musical genre. I can take them or leave them most of the time. However, West Side Story is an exception. I don't watch the film, starring Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, often, but when I do, I cry at the end every time. I'm not even a hopeless romantic - I've become too cynical as time goes on for that. But the last scene, where Tony dies in Maria's arms? It gets me every time! I am always reduced to a blubbering mess.

I think this reaction is reinforced by the passion expressed in Bernstein's music throughout
West Side Story. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it seems to be a soft spot of mine. Can't explain it.

Finally, Ravel's
Bolero. A highly repetitive piece, but it works. Everyone has heard it before. It was made famous by Torvill and Dean in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Or perhaps people have a chuckle whilst remembering it from the "sex scene" in the movie, 10, starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek? I can't keep a straight face if I picture that scene whilst listening to the Bolero. I thought it best to cast that imagery to the back of my mind whilst I enjoyed the MSO's performance of Ravel's infamous piece. I did not want to be ejected from the concert hall for being an immature. giggling member of the audience that was unable to enjoy a slice of musical culture that feeds the soul.

Well, there you have it... a moving experience... For me, listening to our beloved Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on a Monday night in the Victorian Arts Centre district is quite a memorable event. And it's not even motorcycle-related... amazing! ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

happy, happy, joy, joy...

Ok, not quite... but almost...

This is a multi-step process... Happiness, therefore, comes in increments.

The bubble is swelling... I hope it doesn't burst, but, instead, floats on the breeze...

I went to Wodonga a couple of weekends ago. Without boring people with the details, I have managed to secure a property for my mother to live in. Bring on June - I'm free to be homeless then! *doing a happy dance*

But, what a doozie of a week ensued!

Firstly, my car was the victim of a hit and run...

I went to a meeting at Victoria University (Flinders St, Melbourne), parked my car on Flinders St in the disabled bay (which I'm allowed to do), and when I returned a couple of hours later, was elated to find that my right fact, the whole assembly, was hanging by a couple of wires.


I was starting to wonder how much these assemblies cost, when I spotted a little piece of folded paper tucked under one of my windscreen wiper blades. I removed it and found a little written note from a witness to the accident. It said something along the lines of:
"I saw the car that hit yours. The number plate is ****** (dark blue ute). They didn't stop."
Ahhh... gotta love those ute drivers! :)
This wonderful person wrote her name and phone number at the bottom of the note.

I got in my car, hoping that the licence plate given to me was correct. On the way out of the city, I was also starting to feel overwhelmed as I realised how much work lay ahead of me.

I should explain...

Earlier that day, I also called Vision Motorsport in Ferntree Gully. They're a KTM and Suzuki dealership on Burwood Highway. The reason I'm giving so much detail is because they screwed me over royally, and they deserve the slander I'm about to embark upon via this blog post.

To refresh people's memory, I had an accident on the 30th of January, 2010.
VisionMotorsport didn't fax off a quote to my insurer until the 3rd of March, 2010. This fax wasn't received by my insurer, funnily enough, until the 9th of March. An assessor was sent by my insurer immediately after receiving this fax - he/she went to VisionMotorsport on the 12th March. I waited for word. Nobody called me, so a week later (on the 19th), I call VisionMotorsport to hear of the progress on my bike.

The response I received?

"Ummm... there are no parts. Your bike hasn't been touched."

I was in shock, almost unable to speak...

"Sorry? Is there an industrial dispute of some kind?"
"You're unable to get parts from Suzuki?" I ask, trying my best to wrench some useful information from this unresponsive lump called a human being.

"Dunno... there is just no parts."

What a cooperative, grammatically incorrect fellow I was dealing with... I wanted to throttle him.

"You mean to say that you can't find any Suzuki parts in Australia for my bike?"
"I guess..."
"When do you think this will be resolved?"

Again... the helpful retort: "Dunno..."

I was livid.

"Ok, thanks", I managed to mumble and hung up. I could see there was no point in sorting things out with this neanderthal.

I left work for my meeting at VU in the CBD, and tried to compose myself on the lengthy trek from Wantirna to Flinders Street.

Having decided on a plan of attack by the time I reached my meeting, I was calmer and ready to do some more work to resolve the issue of not being able to ride my friggin' bike. My meeting was good - enjoyable and quick. I was in a better mood by the time it finished... then, I return to my car to find that I was a victim of a community-minded member of our society. Thank goodness for the good samaritan that left a note describing what had transpired.

For the second time that day, I was livid.

To make matters worse, my disabled parking spot was in a Clearway zone after 4.00 pm. My meeting finished at that time, and I got to my car at 4.05 pm. As i was trying to rip off my dangling mirror, a tow truck pulls up alongside me. The driver calls out to me - he wants to tow my car away.

I loudly exclaim that my car was the victim of a hit-and-run, I'm trying to remove the mirror that's dangerously hanging by a thread and that I will leave momentarily. Not good enough... the tow truck driver insisted that he wanted to tow my car away. That was the final straw for the day.

"Look... (insert menacing look from me here) I'm in a DISABLED parking spot, I've returned to my car to find this and I'm trying my best to rectify the situation quickly - I am thoroughly aware that the Clearway started 7 minutes ago! I'm going as fast as I can!"

"Nah, love... Gonna have to tow ya..." was the response from my "
Strine" friend.

I was about to burst a blood vessel.

"Ok... if you're gonna tow the car, you'll have to take a disabled female with you... strapped to the bonnet. Your choice. And a possible law suit for your boss in the future. Sound acceptable?"

He had to think carefully about that one. I interrupt his philosophical ruminations and say:

"The traffic is piling up behind us. This could have been over with decades ago, mate! Your choice... hell from me to you and your boss after my car is towed, or just let me detach my dangling mirror and let me go about my business?"

"Ahhhh, bugger it... hurry up... get out of the spot..."

And with that, he drove off into the sunset...

I rip the mirror off, not caring if the wiring was damaged. I jump into the car and race off to Box Hill. Mick Hone Motorcycles... another Suzuki dealer.

I get there in good time, considering peak hour had well and truly started.

I relay my increasingly frustrating and sad story to Ben at Mick Hone. He was appalled. "There are no problems with the supply of Suzuki parts at the moment! What's that guy talking about?"

"No idea." I respond. "I guess he's just a lazy arsehole that can't be frigged fixing a girl's bike. So, can YOU help me perhaps?"

"Of course we can. Bring us the bike and we'll do a quote as quickly as possible for your insurer. We'll fix it and blacken it for you."

Now, the final pain.... $170 to have my bike towed from Ferntree Gully to Box Hill! Not covered by my insurance. I'm seriously thinking about making a formal complaint to VisionMotorsport for all the bullshit and extra expense. What's stopping me is lack of time...

My time is sacrosanct these days.

When I'm not working 5 days a week, I'm seeing doctors, physio, etc. And when I'm not attending to my health and disabilities, I'm packing my stuff AND my mother's stuff... two moves have to be completed in the first week of June. And when I'm not doing that, I'm contacting everyone I can think of to inform them of a change of address... which is not so straightforward. When Olinda settles, I'll be homeless. I have signed up for a post office box, as I plan to house-sit for a while until I figure out where I'm going. Companies don't like post office box addresses! I have to discuss these changes in person most of the time - it's not sufficient to merely fill out a form online or on paper. PO Box addresses are simply not recognised by
important institutions like banks and such. So... more fun for me, more crap to sort through.

Despite the depressed overtones to this post thus far, I am feeling happier each day. Every possession I shed, I feel more liberated. Every detail I resolve, I feel so much closer to my goal... I'm definitely on my way to being free.

In my mind,
free means no mortgage... no accoutrements tying me down... no idea where I'm going and where I'll end up. It's scary and exciting at the same time. I can't wait to find out what happens to me by the close of 2010.

For those of you reading this... (wow, you made it this far?)

I ask you to send me positive thoughts.
Let my bike be fixed soon, my health improve, my self-esteem increase (there have been too many bashings to that of late), my horizons broaden...

I don't ask for much, do I?

Till my next post...
à bientôt, mes amis...


A post script...

You're probably wondering what I did about my car...

I went to the Knox police station during my lunch break on Monday and told my favourite copper the entire story. He did a licence plate check, and spoke with the driver. An Italian guy by the name of Giuseppe... LOL

When I was told that, I had visions of Mario (of Nintendo fame), playing with his moustache, jumping forward and exclaiming "It's-ah me... Mario! I-ah hit-ah your car! I-ah pay for-ah the damages, no problem..." - then turning away from me to toss some pizza dough or something silly like that. Hey, I'm not comfortable with stereotypes! I can't help my unruly imagination... sorry if I offended anyone...

Apparently, this Giuseppe guy was just about to call me... LOL
Yeah, right! And how would he do that, exactly, I wondered...

To cut a another long story short, since the assembly is going to cost $240, less than my $550 excess, I have to repair it, pay for it myself, then send Mr Italy the bill. Dya reckon he'll pay up? I have no idea... I wait with bated breath to find out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

helping a kindred spirit...

I was driving my car through the Ranges on Sunday.

Yes, I'm still driving! My bike is not ready yet, and I'm raring to go! *sob*

On my way down the mountain, I came across a Learner rider, pushing his sportie by the side of the road. A Kawasaki Ninja? I didn't pay it that much attention.

I remember doing that... pushing my bike because I ran out of petrol once when I was a learner. I hated it... too much work - I'm a lazy git.

So, feeling sorry for this Learner rider, I pulled over.

I called out to him: "Hey, are you ok? Need some help?"
He looked around, to make sure I was actually talking to him.

I know what he was thinking... A car driver? Asking him if he needed help?

What the...?

He looked sheepish... and I could see that he wasn't sure about wanting to accept my offer or not, so I asked him another question before he had time to refuse:

"Just wondering... does that thing have a reserve of fuel? Have you tried that?
I'm a cruiser chic, I'm afraid I'm not good with sporties..."

His face lit up when I said that. He told me that he wasn't sure what the problem was, he thought he had run out of petrol and was wheeling it down to the nearest station. Did I know where one was?

I told him that nearest station was in Tremont - this poor guy was pushing his bike in Ferny Creek. I informed this guy that the petrol station was close by car, but wheeling it might take much longer... Funnily enough, the road wasn't always a down-hill trek - popping the bike into neutral and rolling it wouldn't help him the whole way.

I said: "How about parking that there? I can drive you down to the station. Got a jerry can handy?" (I already knew the answer to that inane question. D'uh...)

"Nope..." he said sadly.

"No worries, I think I have one in the boot you can use. Want a ride in my cage? It's not a bike, but what a stereo it has!" (insert cheesey grin here)

"Oh yes! Thanks so much! Sure it's not too much trouble?"

"No problemo... Happy to help..."

So, he parks his bike (whatever it was) and hops in my car.

It should be noted, at this point, that I was quite impressed when he took his helmet off to get into my car. Mmmm...yummy eye candy! But that's another story... :)

I told him to chuck his gear in the back seat and hop in.

He turned out to be a really nice fellow.

Of course, it goes without saying...

The first question he asked me was what I rode. I told him...

Then, he asked me why I wasn't riding that day.

I explained to him that I had a little tumble in January and was waiting for the bike to be returned to its rightful owner, who happened to be chomping at the bit to have her back.

He laughed and completely understood my frustration.

He explained to me that he was almost due to go for his full licence. He started asking me about my experiences of the test, etc.

Typical biker conversation ensued...

It was nice - I haven't had one of those conversations in a while.

Plus, it's also nice to talk with someone about this particular passion of mine. It seems as though all I've been talking about lately are my problems with property, work and health issues. The conversation holiday was welcomed with open arms.

So, this kindred spirit reminded me of my imminent freedom - in getting my bike back AND changing my living arrangements. It was a lovely opportunity to have a few bikie jokes, share stories and common experiences on two wheels... I may have even made a new friend.

Time will tell... :)


To other news...

My bike... the quote for repairs was JUST sent to my insurer on the 3rd of March, 2010!

I had my accident on the 30th of January!


An assessor will be visiting Suzuki this Friday to sign off on the repairs needed and THEN I will have to wait a further 3 weeks to get the fucking thing fixed and blackened!

It's probably a good thing I'm broke these days... If not, I'd be RUNNING to buy a second bike right now!

Motherf*ckers... *sweet smile*