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Podcast title Sandgate Road: Now in Colour!
Website URL http://sandgateroad.blogspot.c...
Description Is that your phone ringing? Who knows! Phones can sound like just about anything these days... Speaking of these days, welcome to sandgateroad.blogspot.com
Updated Tue, 28 Aug 2018 05:27:30 PDT
Category Comedy

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Link to this podcast Sandgate Road: Now in Colour!


1. SGR has moved...
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To say that I haven't written anything here for five months and three days would be exaggerating. A little. But truth be told, I've been a little slack with the upkeep of this little corner of the WWW. SO I thought to myself, Tom, I said, Tom, why don't we get back into blogging. Make a fresh start. Do it a couple of times a week like a good blogger should. Keep it up to date. Run a spell-check once in a while. And that is what I did. I have recommitted to the blog. A blog for the people. By me.

I also decided on a bit of a change of format. I thought I could make it a bit more journally, a bit more personal - where people could read about the real Tom. And to that end, I decided to have a name change. The spirit of SGR lives on, but under a different moniker. Today Tom Wrote is that rose by another name, so to speak, still smelling just as sweet. Sandgate Road will stay. (Perhaps I could bundle the entries into a paperback?) But the future of my bloggery can be found at TodayTomWrote.blogspot.com.

So hurry over, I've got the kettle on and a warm spot saved for you next to the fireplace. Bring with you all your fond memories of Dr Aunty Joan, geekery and hot beverages. Say your goodbyes to the old girl and I'll see you there!

2. Dummy's Guide to Podcasting
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Description: So I assume you have some understanding of what blogging is. It's all around us. You're reading it now. Right now. This is a blog. Every once is a while, when the planets are aligned and the sun is exactly the right hue of beigey white, I sit down and share some little corner of my brain with you. I do this by logging into my Blogger account, clicking on "New Post", typing out my entry and hitting "Publish". Well, what with computers getting smaller and faster and generally more able to do magical mysterious things and all, it was only a matter of time until some bright spark said to himself, "Instead of typing out my blog" he (for it was almost certainly a male) said, "why don't I hook up my microphone to my fancy-schmancy computer and record my blog". And thusly podcasting was born. Hoards of people began to sit down at there computers and record their own little radio programs and publish them on the internet. Eventually, hoard of people began to download these little radio programmes to their ipods and MP3 players and listen to them. Finally, the world of radio was no longer restricted to the properly trained and talented.

Well, I saw this lumbering bandwagon stagger past and I said to myself, Tom, I said Tom, we have to get aboard this thing. Well, like an idiot, I jammed my microphone into my ibook, recorded five minutes of absolute dribble and shared it with the world. Some of the more devoted readers may remember my short-lived "Close Encounters" shows. They were shameful and embarrassing and now no longer exist. I decided to take a more intellegent approach. I sat back and spent a couple of months listening to other podcasts. I took notes and I searched for some niche I could deposit my genius into. Out of this period of soul-searching, Ten with Tom (TenWithTom.com) was born. TWT is a ten minute podcast. Many shows are thirty to sixty minutes long and subscribing to them can be a real commitment, but Ten with Tom is only ten minutes. Who doesn't have ten minutes? Nobody, that's who.

If you would like to listen to podcasts, there are a few different ways, but I'll describe the way I do it.

What you need first of all is iTunes. It needs to be iTunes 4.9 or later. You can download this program from Apple.com. Here's how to subscribe to Ten with Tom:

Open iTunes
Click on the Advanced menu
Scroll down to Subscribe to Podcast.
In the box that appears type (or cut-and-paste): http://feeds.feedburner.com/tenwithtom
Click OK

Now, you are subscribed to Ten with Tom. You can listen to Ten with Tom by clicking on Podcasts, over in the left-hand menu and double clicking on the Ten with Tom episode that takes your fancy.

Stay tuned to Sandgate Road, late this week, when you've had time to listen to my entire back catalogue, I'll run through a few of the Podcasts I listen to.

Thanks for reading, don't worry, TWT and SGR will co-exist. There will always be a SGR.

Oh yes, only 11 days until I'm married! I'm so excited!


3. The Other Side....
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Description: Done! Finished! Unemployed!

Well, assuming I get that "P" in all the right places, then I am only a matter of weeks away from being an official, qualified speech pathologist. So what am I doing in the meantime? Well, it's 9.30am and I'm on the couch in my jamies. I'll keep you posted.

So, I now have no excue not to post. Don't worry, I'll be postin'. I'm thinking - a series on my job hunting? What do you think? I have an interview on Tuesday.

Wedding in 17 days! Very exciting, more mile-wide grins and made up songs. Anna, her folks, my folks and I went out to dinner for a 'tasting' at the venue of our reception. I was i little curious about what a 'tasting' would actually involve - we had Mcdonalds on standby just incase we were still a little peckish afterwards. But Gad! If that was a tasting, I can't wiat for the meal! We had the choice of three white wines and three red wines, three entrees, three mains and two desserts. Two hours later, the six of us waddled out to our cars and headed home. We didn't call in to Mcdonalds.

4. On the verge...
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Description: They say the hours right before daylight are the darkest. I feel for sure that 'they' must have talking about Honours theses. I tell you, I have it in my power to have this thing done by Friday, but for the life of me, I couldn't care less. The motivation has plummeted off the chart and all I want to do is sit in the sun and ponder my coming nuptuals. (37 days to go, by the way.)

I guess I just have to put my head down and get it finished. Easy. Right? Right? Ahhh! I DON'T WANT TO!

Anyway, I have to go to my happy place now. Enjoy your day. I'll see you on the other side.


5. On the air - I'm aware!
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Description: I'm a poet and I wasn't even aware of that fact. Or something like that. One liners have never been my forte.
Big news this week, Tom of the Close joins the ranks of Podcasting big-wigs. Yes, that was me on The Redboy Podcast, being interviewed. Let me tell you, since that time I've been mobbed on the street, I've had relatives ring me up, I've received a couple of book deals, absolute havoc. But seriously folks, click your way on over to The Redboy Podcast (between you and me they need all the help they can get). I'm just kidding, those guys crack me up.
Speaking of which, only time for a short entry this week. I'll just leave a few dot points. Use you imagination and fill in my usual ravens.

Rice cookers are good - I thought a saucepan would do the job but rice cookers are much better
Can't get Dr Pepper in Australia - I found a petition and signed it - Google it
Talk like a pirate day was last week
Almost finished uni - tearing my hair out with last assignments
Please leave a comment, I feel like I'm talking to myself here!

Take care of yourselves, I don't know what I'd do without you.

Love Tom.

6. Engagement Update - 1
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Description: Just a quick update on the engagement.

I suppose given that this is the first Engagement Update, the big news is that I am engaged! Sorry to hold out on that piece of news for so long, I didn't know if it would be entertaining enough for you. But, gosh-darn it, I'm excited so you can be too. We've now passed the half way mark of the engagement, and what with uni reaching its close, I'd say we're well and truly on the home stretch. Grinning from ear to ear is now commonplace for the two of us.

Today I'd like to talk about flowers. You can't make a cake without eggs, you can't have a wedding without flowers (unless it's a vegan cake and a hypo-allogetic wedding). In my limited experience with florists, I have found many of them to be polite and courteous. And who wouldn't be, surrounded with pretty flowers all day long? Which is why it seems so out of place to meet an unpleasant florist. Nevertheless, they seem to exist.

The word 'snooty' comes to mind when I try to describe the nature of these thorns among roses. In Newcastle, at least, we don't have snooty waiters, or snooty antique dealers, we have snooty florists. Lurking about their buds, waiting for a chance to launch an attack of snoot on an unsuspecting customer who had the audacity to expect anything more. I suppose I was tolerant of this before. After all, my purchases were little more than single bouquets. My custom represented the bottom rung of the flora market. "Only half a dozen roses?" he would say with his indifferent gaze. But, I have since discovered that the indifference is universal. My fiancé was treated the same way when she ordered our wedding flowers. I can understand that, for everybody except Anna and I, our wedding isn't the wedding of the century. Nevertheless, it is surely enough to warrant the baser pleasantries. By all reports, the same level of snoot applies for everyone. It isn't because the customers aren't making large enough purchases, it is because they cannot possibly satisfy him. For him, beautiful flowers are just part of the daily grind. What is left for him to stop and smell once in a while?

I'm Tom of the Close, that's what I think. What do you think?

7. Strictly speaking
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Description: In Australia, there are two different signs: "No Parking" and "Strictly No Parking".

This is clearly stupidity at work in our community.

What does it mean? That they're not being strict when they just say "No Parking"? Are they saying, "You can't park here, but we're willing to be flexible"? This is very confusing. Which signs are being strict and which ones aren't? Has anybody ever seen a "Strictly Stop" sign, or a "Strictly Newcastle 74km" sign? Of coarse not, if something's been printed on a sign, I'm inclined to believe it, I don't need the sign itself to convince me of its own validity.

I assume Ambulances and Fire Trucks can park where ever they want, so even "Strictly No Parking" isn't strictly 'strictly'. Are there pseudo-emergencies that get to ignore "No Parking", unless it's "strictly" prefaced?

It seems to me that they're tring to appeal to all the miscrients and deviants who would otherwise park illegally, saying "Now we really mean it this time..." What's the point of having a rule that says, "You have to obey this rule"? If somebody is going to break the "no parking" sign, are they going to take notice of a "strictly no parking" sign? What's the next step "Seriously Strictly No Parking"? The only thing they will accomplish here is to desensitise us to signs that don't tell us we have to obey them. And it will be a sad world when the road signs need to tell us whether or not we can disregard them.

Actually the only thing more disturbing than the existence of "Stictly No Parking Signs" is the plethora of "Sticktly No parking Signs" you can see at service stations and on people's driveways. They might as well have a sign up saying "I'm an idiot". Who goes to all the trouble of making a sign without checking the spelling. And it's not an essay, how long does it take to proofread three words? Get the spelling right, it's a sign, not a blog!

This has been a rant by,

Tom of the Close.
(strictly not an idiot)

8. Up to my eyeballs in it...
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Description: You have reached the blog of Tom. I am unable to come to the blog right now as I am trying to finish my thesis and as a consequence am turning into a sort of square eyed zombie.

The humourous tit-bits will be back anon, but until then, why not leave a message! If you like this little corner of the internet, please, tell me so! If there is anything that you would liketo see here, let me know! If you would like to donate copious amounts of moolah to me, please, drop me a line.

Anyway, I've got to go, I think I can hear my conscience coming ... if he ever found out I was here there'd be heck to pay.

See you soon,

Zombie Tom - GRAUGH!

9. New look SGR...
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Description: The very astute among you, especially those not reading from the feed will have noticed a change to the place.
Yes, well, I woke up one morning and just hated everything! The poo-green and orange colour scheme just wasn't working for me anymore.
I mentioned my little pickle to the lads from Backyard Blitz.
"Jamie", I said to the host, Jamie Durie, "Jamie, mate, I'm in something of a pickle. I run an obscure little blog, I'm colour blind, and have the fashion intuition of a quail." Jamie looked back at me with an air of superiority and pointed out that quails keep very stylish nests. I suspected he was pulling my leg. Still, he was a famed circus performer turned backyard renovator turned circus performing show host, and I could scarce afford to lose his respect.
"Nests, maybe, but I hardly think a quail could manage to maintain a blog!" I quipped with witty smugness that would have made Oscar Wilde green with jealousy (asuming he had not already turned green with the natural process of decomposition).
At this point Jamie directed me to the blog of Gareth the quail ( gareththequail.blogspot.com ), his air of superiority not thinning a Pascal. Of coarse I had no choice then but to beat him senseless. When the paramedics finally intervened, Jamie apologised and accepted his share of the blame. He shook my hand and waved goodbye as the ambulance took me to intensive care.

Well, I figured out how to change the colour scheme myself, and tidy the place up a little. You never know when the Queen might pop by (see my next podcast for more).

Stay classy, Blogaroonies

Love Tom.

10. SGR Radio is here!
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Description: Well SGR is on the air, as live as Allan Jones and as accurate and hard-hitting as John Laws.

Download the latest "Podcast" here:

Episode One

You'll have to excuse my nasal whine - I have a cold. My nasal wine on the other hand - ew!


11. From the small screen to the big
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Description: Are you stumped for something to do today? Are you watching Bert Newton or Hewy with the awfully sickening feeling that this will be the sum total of your excitement for the day? I suppose that depends on what Hewy is cooking - something with a great deal of extra virgin olive oil would be my guess. Anyhoo, I just thought I might provide a bit of a guide to what's currently showing on the big screen, just in case Seven's midday movie turns out to be some boring flop form the early nineties (but what are the odds of that?)
So in no particular order, here are a few of the movies now showing:

Burping Billy (PG) - An unpleasant child develops a fondness for burping. Until one day he burps up something that nobody expected.
Don't Stop the Coconuts Falling (PG) - A mouse loses his scuba equipment in a game of poker. He then has to raise the Titanic using only a Woolies bag full of helium.
Farting in Public (PG) - Fantastic screen rendition of the Jane Austin classic. After Lord Harris-Gunford acquires Spendelphine Manor, he returns to London where he invites the English aristocracy to pull his finger.
Hairy Legs and Enormous Necks (G) - Three giraffes and a plumber named Ethan enter the Eurovision Song Contest. For reasons not satisfactorily explained in the film, one of the giraffes is covered in paper mache.
The Hobbit Goes to Court (M) - A shameless cross-promotion. When Bilbo Baggins is accused of throwing a waitress off the roof of Hobbiton's new hotel/casino he enlists the help of the cast of Channel Ten's CSI: Middle Earth.
How to Marry a Sock (G) - In an attempt to avoid paying tax, a wealthy ice-cream man tries to marry his undergarments. He falls in love with the tax lady and all is well until his sock finds out...
Lewis Doesn't Live Here Anymore, He Moved to Adelaide (PG) - A young man with enormous ambition (and buttocks) moves to Adelaide to start his own whipper-snipper.
The Long Walk to the Two Dollar Shop (PG) - In search of a bargain, Laura Applehead finds true love and a set of picture frames for $2.
Swallowing Sea Water (G) - On a beach holiday, Herman Buttenship accidentally drinks too much sea water and vomits at dinnertime.
Tetanus: The Musical (G) - A wandering songwriter treads on a rusty nail and develops tetanus. He turns the entire community health team into a magical musical world until they reduce the dosage of his painkillers.
Titanic 2: Revenge of the Deep (MA)- Jack Dawson is found alive in the raised wreckage of the Titanic. To celebrate, he and the old woman take a cruise on P & O's new Titanus.
Urinating in Public (PG) - John "The Hose" Hardwick brings a Sydney cafe/bar to bankruptcy.

12. What's funny?
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Description: Being funny isn't as easy as it's cracked up to be. Really it isn't. Even people who are particularly funny find it difficult from time to time. Try it, walk up to a comedian and say, "Hey, you're a comedian, say something funny!" If he is particularly quick witted some amusing quip will no doubt issue forth (or perhaps fifth, if he's a bit slow). But for your average garden-variety funny bloke it will be a bit of a challenge. Some people get around this by buying joke books and memorising standard jokes. This may seem like a good idea but there are two major problems. Firstly in any given joke book, there will only be a handful of good ones - [e.g. Two aerials got married. The ceremony was ok, but the reception was perfect.] - and the rest will just be pathetic. The second reason: jokes need to be dynamic. A joke made up years ago and put into a book will not always be relevant to the here-and-now. A good funny person will always contemporise his jokes, modify them, ensure that they're applicable to the here and now (or there and then, depending on your perspective).
I don't wish to be so presumptuous as to claim that I have any gifting either way in the matter, I'll leave that up to the tabloids, but I would like to offer my services to anybody, as a casual observer, on matters relating to what's funny. A real person had the following question:

Dear Tom of the Close (nee of SGR),
I'm a long-time peruser of your fine little corner of the ether and I always have a bit of a chuckle at your site. The other week I thought I'd have a crack at being funny and now I've gotten myself into something of a pickle. I was doing a spot of sock shopping and I came across something that I felt had comedic potential. It was a five-pack of day-of-the-week socks. Without giving it much thought, I bought them. When I got home the trouble started, and here is my problem: Would it be funnier to wear a pair of socks on the right days, a matching pair on the wrong days (e.g. both Tuesday socks on Friday) or a mismatching pair (e.g. a Wednesday sock and a Monday sock on Tuesday)?
Please help,
Comedically Challenged.

And I responded thusly:

Dear Comedically Challenged,
Don't worry; you're on the right track. The kind of joke you're trying to make is what I would call a social parody, and provided it's done subtlely it's very hard to go wrong. Any of your three situations would be a suitable use of what you have very perceptively identified as a clever comic tool. A word of warning: clothing/fashion based social parody jokes can often be mistaken for fashion faux-pas. How different is each day's sock? Will you clever jape be mistaken for odd-sock laziness?
Good luck with your trickery, remember: if you ever get into strife, just leave the room shouting "So-long suckers!" It will always raise a smile,
Tom of the Close.

Well I've got to go, theses don't write themselves.

So-long suckers,


13. Great things are a feet!
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Description: Let me begin by saying Merry Christmas to you and your family!

I see our counter is now seriously ticking over! And it's been over a month since my last entry. Gad, I'm as slack as a tug-o-war rope in a geriatric ward! But seriously folks, I have been busy - quite literally up to my eyeballs in it (figuratively speaking).
First of all, my prac runs right into December, then we hear we've been evicted! On Christmas Eve! Yeah, Merry Christmas to you too, Grinch Realty! (But seriously folks, we highly recommend Grinch Realty for all your real estate/Christmas theft needs).Then, of course there's the great pack up, the move, the clean, the subsequent and newly found love-affair with Jif [or it might be Jiff, I don't have a bottle on hand and my spell checker is being a real cleffittt - I'll get beack to you] (no doubt the subject of my next entry). Anyhue, the long and/or short of it is that Dan, Jono and myself (aka SGR) have move from SGR to our new lodgings on the beautiful Andrew Close. Since Andrew Close doesn't have the prestige nor the international recognition the SGR have, not to mention the fact that its abbreviation is rather ambiguous (AC can stand for many things such as Air Conditioning or Alternating Current to name a few), we have decided to stick with our old name. SGR lives on.

Well, it's Christmas night and I can't spend the evening gas bagging, I've got new toys to play with.

Merry Christmas everyone, God bless you all!

I'll write again soon,

Love Tom.

14. How to TRULY relax...
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Description: How do you like to relax? Read a good book? Have a warm bath? Spy on the neighbours? Well, these are all great, but shew I unto you a more excellent way:


That might sound a little strange coming from a muscly blokey young man such as I wish I was, but there's nothing so therapeutic or serene in this world. - I should clarify as I am quite specific about my relaxatory shopping: It must be late at night, I must be alone, and it must be groceries.

If there was one aspect of 2004 which was most modern and progressive, surely it would have to be late night supermarkets. You can get up at 2am and say to yourself, "Gad, there's no milk for breakky! I'd better duck down to Woolies and grab some!". Brilliant! But I'm not really talking about those late-night whims. I'm talking about getting your list off the fridge and filling up a whole trolley. Late night groceries. Yes sir.

Would you like to talk about relaxing? Try strolling down the aisles at your own pace, just thinking about life, the universe and whether you have enough tea... There's no one there, so who's to know if you slip a tin of Milo or a bottle of Dr Pepper into your trolley? Ah Bliss! And I haven't even got to the best part: The specials!

Late at night, the Supermarket fairies come out and put magic stickers on the perishables to say that you can have them cheaper. Most days, you can get packets of doughnuts for 99c and tubs of yogurt for 50c. Why, just today I bought a packet of bagels, $2.49, down from $3.59. And that was late afternoon! I always head straight for the meat, bread, dairy or fruit and veg and snap up a bargain. It's the thrill of the hunt y'see. Then there's the leisurely stroll up and down the shelves tossing into your trolley whatever takes your fancy. Some days. I don't even take a list, I do all my planning on the spot. I might pick up a magazine for recipe ideas, then buy all the ingredients. I might suddenly decide that I don't have enough airtight containers and linger in the kitchenware section for as long as I please. The staff must think I'm lunatic, but I'm not fussed, it's truly wonderful.

Honestly, I could go on like this all night, but it's getting late and Jesmond Woolworths shuts at midnight.

Mention this entry at your local Coles. I don't know if you will get a discount, (I suspect you won't) but you will be imparting healthy advice to fellow shoppers.


15. Too much tea!
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Description: Regulars here at SGR might be aware of our interest in tea. See entries on 17th and 25th of June, 2004. Last week, as I reorganised the kitchen cupboards, I decided to put all the teas in one place. In doing this, I made a startling discovery. We have a lot of tea. I mean A LOT of tea. Just a second... [TOM REACHES FOR HIS THESAURUS] ... We have a SURFEIT of tea in this place.

I discussed this with the lads and we came to the surmise [TOM KEEPS HIS THESAURUS HANDY] that none of us can pass up a bargain and the supermarkets keep putting the darn stuff on special. Nevertheless, we now have a gamut of hot beverage alternatives and excellent tea-erudition to match. So I thought I might enumerate all the teas we dominate and engender a few benevolent heeds. For those of you who abhor tea, I've mentioned a couple of biscuits in there too.

The SGR Tea List:

Dilmah Loose leaf Tea: This is our only loose leaf tea. Since pot tea is usually my preference I tend to choose this one. It is a lovely Ceylon tea, your classic cuppa.
Dilmah English Afternoon Tea: A refreshing, less intense flavour. Very Soothing.
Lipton Black tea: Your classic tea. Nothing special yet always a winner.
Tetley All-rounder: A rich, strong, delicious cuppa. Perfect for first thing in the morning.
Twinings Ceylon Orange Pekoe Tea: Again, a delicious refreshing cuppa. Never fails to satisfy.
Tetley TeaPlus Balancing: Moving away from the classic teas now, TeaPlus is Tetley's refreshing taste with a hint of fennel and lime flower. It is also low in caffeine. Perfect for an evening tea.
Vital Organic Rooibos Tea: a new favourite here at SGR. This South African "Red Tea" is excellent for the digestive system and is also beneficial for allergy sufferers. With delicious earthy flavours and being naturally caffeine free, Rooibos is one of the few herbal teas that can be enjoyed with (or without) milk. Perfect at the end of a long day. Try it!
Lipton Caramel flavoured Black Tea: See the "New Tasty Teas" entry from Thursday June 17 2004.
Twinings Lapsang Souchong Tea: See the "Watch out for some disturbing teas!" entry from Friday June 25 2004.
Twinings Lemon Scented: Bracing flavour; black tea with a twist of lemon.
Twinings Lemon Twist: Bracing flavour; black tea with the scent of lemon.
Lipton Green Tea - Jasmine: Aromatic green teas. Personally not a fan of green tea, but I'd make a cup of this just to smell it.
Nerada Organic Green Tea - Earl Grey: Green Tea with Earl Grey's distinctive bergamot flavour. Personally I prefer your classic Earl, but, whatever floats ya boat.
Arnott's Chocolate Scotch Finger Biscuits: Fun and ambrosial. Following a blind taste test carried out by Jono and myself, we concluded that Arnott's Choc Scotch Fingers are significantly nicer than Home Brand's.
Arnott's Monte Carlo: Artificially fruity and sickeningly sweet - one of the best biscuits ever.

We yearn that this has been affable, heuristic and mirthy. We hanker any animadversion or plaudits.

Fergusson, R. (2001). The Penguin A-Z Thesaurus. Penguin Book Ld: St Ives.

16. A Quiet Night In...
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Description: Television has really gone down the toilet lately, don't you think? It's Saturday night and I'm talking to you good people instead of sitting down in front of the TV. I'm not saying that I'm completely stuck for something to do on a Saturday night, just that on this particular evening, when no other engagement has arisen, I can't even rely on the ol' Palsonic Flatron to entertain. And similarly, I'm not saying talking to you guys is some last resort activity for when there's nothing on TV and the neighbours' curtains are drawn, I'm just saying that of all nights, surely the television big-wigs would ensure that there was something worth watching on Saturday!

Now, I don't mean to sound all patriarchic, I'm not even sure 'patriarchic' means what I want it to mean but my Pocket Oxford seems to have gone AWOL so hopefully nobody will notice. The latter part of that sentence might be a bit of a giveaway but what can I do about it? Delete it? Well, I suppose I could but I like the reference to 'Pocket Oxford' - gives the entry a sort of trendy-casual Sydney Morning Herald feel. Actually, looking back I'm not sure I do like it that much, stupid name for a dictionary - it doesn't fit into any pocket of mine, not without putting undue strain on the seams anyway. And what sort of person carries a dictionary around in his pocket? What can be so important that you can't wait until you get home to look up? I suppose the word 'patriarchic' is a good case in point, but I AM at home and I can't even find the wretched thing. But I digress.

Not that I want to sound all grandfatherly [Does that sound too plain?] but I remember the good old days when we would be glued, positively adhered to the television set every Saturday night. Quality programming back in them days: The Bill, Heartbeat, Parky, Hey Hey it's Saturday - even going to the toilet was a sacrifice. Now what have we got? I'm not sure, I didn't look at the guide but it will be something along the Who's-restaurant-has-the-X-factor-Extreame-Makeover-Celebrity-Challenge-Vanuatu (followed by the Simpsons) lines. Honestly, I'm about this close to sending "I Don't Give a Rats" to 193-444 (55 cent incl. GST).

Oops, I've got to go, Star Wars is about to start.
What would you like to see back on the small screen? Leave a message.
Bye, Tom.

PS: I found my dictionary, I left it in my other pants.

17. Up the Coast
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Description: "Ah ha," I hear you muttering to yourselves in a sarcastic manner, "So you ARE still on the face of this earth."

Well yes I am, and finally able to access the internet in relative privacy - the Coff Harbour Hospital Library. For the last three weeks and for the next two, I was and am on prac in delightful Coff Harbour. It's a lovely place, beaches, trees, houses, people etc. I'm sure you get the picture. I haven't been able to see the Big Banana and I've only been to the beach once. In fact, all three weekends so far I've spent out of town. So I don't feel like I can sit here with any real authority and give advice on the subject. Still, it never stopped me before...

Anyway, I'd better go, I don't know how much further I can push the definition of 'lunch-hour'. I just wanted to let you all know that I was safe and that the humourous little tit-bits will be back anon.

Love Tom.

PS - Mum, Rove said to say hi.

18. Adrian Brickpit
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Description: Yes... I remember it as if it were only last week. In actual fact it was this morning. My memory must be going a bit hazy in the autumn years - no doubt it will come good by spring.

I was sitting on my writing stool, staring at a blank screen, wondering how to fill it up with something sufficiently interesting, or at least non-offensive to place on SGR. My eyes drifted from the screen, past my collection of blu-tack, past my ornately carved box of Cubans (some still demanding to be let out), and eventually fell onto an open newspaper. I quickly picked them up an inserted them back into my orbital cavities.

The afore mentioned newspaper, the Newcastle Herald (which has recently and rather presumptuously taken to calling itself 'The Herald') lay open, as do most of our newspapers on the comics and crossword page.

[Packer, Murdoch et al., if you're reading this, I suggest you put the comics and crosswords on different pages. That way I might be inclined to glance at more than one page - just a suggestion. And get rid of The Phantom, it's good but at one strip a day how can you expect us to keep up? Punks!]

On this particular page (and I suspect all other pages - though must admit, I didn't check each one - not a great deal of research goes into these things) was the day and date. Saturday, 29th January 2005 it said. This may not seem an important date to those of you for whom it isn't but for those for whom it is, it just might be.

It was on January 29 in Bolton, Lancashire that Sean Adrian Brickpit was brought into the world. At only 13, Brickpit had all the knowledge and genius of a NASA space engineer; unfortunately in 1533 this was knowledge was useless and dismissed as early-onset dementia. So Sean turned his hand to the world of music. Brickpit picked up the piccolo extremely quickly - at only 150 grams (215 lb.), this is nothing to be particularly excited about until the said piccolo reached Brickpit's lips and began to emit music under the guidance of his slender fingers.

So impressive was Sean's skill that King Henry V called him "...the best gosh-darn fluter I've ever seen..." and was seen on more than one occasion to invite Brickpit back to his place for some mead and table tennis. Sean was able to play "The Fight of the Bumble-bee" flawlessly in less than three minutes. This in itself is no mean feat, but was made particularly trickier by the fact that Rimsky-Korsakov would not compose the tune for another 342 years.

On his 35th birthday Brickpit became the first man in history to eat and regurgitate his own hand. This eventually led to the founding of the Adrianic Brothers, an order of monks devoted to silent worship and developing party tricks.

In his 63rd year, just four days short of his 70th birthday Brickpit was struck on the head by a falling meteorite this size of New Zealand. He died peacefully in his sleep two days later.

Many called Brickpit special, some called him a genius, his own brother was known to call him a butthead.

I'm Tom of the Close, this has been a moment in history.

19. Ads on SGR
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Description: "What's this?", I hear you say (I have acute hearing), "Ads on SGR? I thought SGR was like the ABC!"

Well we WERE like the ABC: quality content, something for everybody, satisfactory coverage of Parliment Question Time... But things change, Richard Morecroft leaves, Playschool goes all pinko, Bananas in Pyjamas get beaten by the Wiggles, the Bill gets all NYPD Blue... Havoc!

That's why I've decided to bite the bullet, sell my soul and smear the good name of SGR with the putrid smelly dung that is advertising. I'm sure it won't be all bad though, joining the ranks of commercialism has done wonders for plenty, why, look at Shaun Micallef, Good News Week, Heartbeat...

Here's how it all happened ...
[impressive wiggly cross-fade with xylophones to Tom thinking to himself]
... I was sitting thinking about how to spruce up SGR a little - I mean I couldn't give is a fresh coat of paint or bring in a pot plant, unfortunatly such are the ways of the WWW. Then I struck apon an idea. Advertising!
I said to myself, I said Tom, I said Tom, what we need is some trendy ads across the screen like they have on them fancy sites like Yahoo and such. And that's how it all began.

I marched into the Blogspot HQ and demanded answers. The lady gave me a whole lot of gargage about doing it 'online', and I said I didn't care for her hi-tech babbling and she through me out onto the street. Unluckily for me, the street was four stories down.

To cut a long story short, I read the first chapter of 'The Hobbit' and asked my mum how it ended. Just a quick tip there.

Anyhue, a bit of fancy HTMLing here, some crying there and SGR has ads. So impressed with the ambiance it beheld was I, that I slapped on a Google Search Bar! Then I spent the rest of the afternoon searching for myself on the internet. It turn's out I was a trooper in colonial NSW!

What do you think? Do the ads make SGR look like the MCG (in that there's advertising on it, not in that it will host the 2006 Commonwealth Games - for those who haven't heard, we lost our bid).

Let me know, leave a message after you hear the tone.

20. Only 355 shopping days until Christmas!
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Description: Well the so-called "silly season" has come and gone. I'm not entirely sure why they call it the silly season; I don't feel any less silly now than I did two weeks ago. In fact as I type this, I'm dressed entirely in peaches whereas I wouldn't have even considered such a thing whilst in advent. (For one, peaches were too expensive back then, and for another, most of them were under-ripe and I would have had to spend much of my holidays on the toilet, but I digress.)

I quite like Christmas. Of coarse it holds spiritual significance to me, being a Christian. Why wouldn't celebrating God coming to Earth in human form to save mankind from the sin that separates us from Him be the best time of year? But setting apart the divine and eternal auspiciousness for a moment, if I may be so heathen, I'm sure even the most devout of atheists can be convinced to raise a smile when he ventures downstairs to find his stocking filled with colourful goodies.

Many have criticised Christmas as being over-commercialised, but I disagree. People are filled with as much Christmas spirit as they ever were, decorating their houses with enormous nativity scenes, covering their lawns with artificial snow in thirty-degree heat, (twelve degrees Fahrenheit), queuing for hours to have their salamander photographed with Santa Claus. Why, so enthused with sharing the festive season, the Waratah Village shopping centre are now putting up their Christmas decorations in late April.

Some would argue that these are all examples of people using the holiday for their own selfish purposes. In my humblest opinion, there is only one creature that abuses the good name of Christmas - the Christmas beetle. This little flying imp has the gall, nay, the audacity to don a shiny shell, adopt the name Christmas and expect us to give it all reverence due to the Holy season. If a cockroach or earwig flew into my house, I would lunge for my thong, or at least scream wildly and run away, I certainly wouldn't call my entire family together to look at it. People squish cockroaches or earwigs without a moment's hesitation, and feel the better for it. Kill a Christmas beetle on the other hand and people think it's Christmas itself they're squashing into the carpet.
I say POPPYCOCK to these absurd double standards (if you'll pardon my archaic vernacular). This is a blatant case of "A rose by any other name", (except that in this case the rose is an insect, and rather than the name being irrelevant and the object's individual traits determining its true value, the name does indeed govern how we perceive the object.) (Cop that Shakespeare.)

I say equality for all bugs. If you're going to celebrate the first Christmas beetle of the year, then why not also celebrate the first March fly of the year? On the other hand, if you're going to go after a spider with a rolled up newspaper, then be sure to swipe at the Xmas beetle with the same enthusiasm.

Controversial, I know but that's the way it is.

Remember, SGR (now at AC) is here in 2005 providing entertainment, self-help, recipes, bad spelling and a user-friendly guide to anything and everything.
Be sure to leave a comment!

21. The Ascending Spice
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Description: Three words: Wa Sa Bi!
How weird is that stuff?
I've been getting into Sushi lately, and it's mostly down to one thing: WaSaBi! If you've never tried it before, stop reading this now, pop out to your local asian grocery store (Coles and Woolies will probably have it, but this way you'll feel way oriental), buy a tube and just suck in its juicy goodness.

Are you back? Whoa!!!! Did that blow your mind or what? It's not its spiciness that has me hooked, it's what that spiciness does. It burns just like chilli, but it burns up. If you bight into a chilli (say, if because your punk of a brother told you that it was just like a baby carrot), then the burning goes down your throat, and that's kind of nice (if you happen to like that sort of thing) but gets kind of mundane. I mean, of coarse it burns DOWN your throat, everything goes DOWN your throat, bolus stimulates your faucial arches, hello swallow reflex, down we go. The food goes down, the burning goes down. Are you with me? But Wasabi! It burns up. Somehow, like some out-of-body experience the burning separates from the Wasabi, so when the Wasabi heads south, the sensation heads north and ends up in your nose. It sits there and gets stronger and stronger until you think your head is going to melt like that guy at the end of the Indiana Jones movie who drinks from the wrong Holy Grail, just when you think that's going to happen, it goes away and you have to explain to your friends why you just burst into tears.

From my extensive research on the topic (ie reading the packet) I have discovered some fun facts about the green ascending spice. And I shall leave them with you.

Stay cool my peeps.

Fun facts about Wasabi (some I got from the packet, some I made up myself):

Some people call it Japanese Horseradish
"S&B (R) Prepared WASABI in a tube" As my product is called, rather humourously reads just like a sentence
Wasabi contains Colour (100), (102), and my personal favourite, (133)
'Oriental Merchant', the importer of S&B Wasabi has a "Hotline" - it's 1800 806 842, but that's not the point: A hotline! get it?
S&B Foods can be found at 18-6, Nihonbashi Kabuto-cho, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo
A cryptic crossword clue for Wasabi could be: "Sushi ingredient was a bit spicy within (6)." or "I swab a confused hot sauce (6).". Try it on your nan.


22. The Nectar of the Bean
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Description: Regulars here at sandgateroad.blogspot.com (both of you) should be well aware of our fondness for tea. It has had no less than two entries on its lonesome and various other mentions throughout. So, one could be forgiven for thinking that this trend did not apply to other hot beverages. In actual fact, there is another hot drink which surpasses tea in so much as how much we like it. Can you guess what it might be? Two uni students and a teacher?

Yes, its coffee. Gad AND/OR zooks! How we love our coffee! We always have four varieties, which can be made up on one of our five machines. We drink it any time of the day or night. We just can't get enough of the nectar of the bean.

Here's our inventory:

Dan's expensive stuff
The decaf for late night jaunts
Tom's cheap stuff
The instant stuff (a necessary evil)

And the machines:

A kettle
A plunger
A drip style percolator
A large stove-top espresso pot
A small stove-top espresso pot
A cheap Breville Espresso/Cappuccino machine

At present the drip-style percolator is broken, (thanks to my putting the hot jug under a cold tap). A tragedy, yes, but one that opened the doors of opportunity in this place. The plunger, which had hitherto only been used once or twice got its chance to shine. And struth, how it shone. I had never really gotten into plunger coffee before - my own loss. Perhaps I wasn't making it properly. And so, by way of a warning to others, I will finish off with instructions on how to make a perfect cup of plunger coffee.

1. Firstly, boil you jug. Then let it sit. We want the temp to cool down to around ninety degrees celcius (-173º F).

2. Meanwhilst, warm up your pot. Rinse it out with the quasi-boiling water.

3. Put your coffee in. A heaped tablespoon per cup is a good guide.

4. Pour the water over the coffee and stand for 3-4 minutes (The plunger, that is. You can sit down if you want.)

5. Gently lower the plunger. If all was done properly, you should get a nice layer of crema on the surface.

6. Serve as per how you like it.

Now Dan likes to put the milk in first. In coffee speak, this is what we call post-lactum coffee. You can also have pre-lactum coffee and, I suppose, simultaneous-lactum coffee as well, if you were that fussy. Personally, I think the whole thing is just silly and pedantic. Like when people insist that you stir the sugar in a clockwise direction, or squeeze the toothpaste tube from the end, or spell yogurt with an "h", or fail you on your driving test because you didn't give the person in the next lane an opportunity to merge into your lane even though it was perfectly obvious that she was turning into a side street anyway. But I digress.

Plunger coffee has more caffeine than espresso-made coffee (except decaf) because the caffeine needs longer contact with the water to come out. I think there's something in that for all of us.

Good night.

23. Washing Up
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Description: As we established on Monday, we all must eat. (See previous entry if you're having problems so far). It follows logically then that we all must do the washing up.
When plates get used, they get dirty and they need a wash. The same is true for cutlery, pans, bowls, cups, mugs, the cheese grater, the chopping board, the beaters (even [especially] after you've licked them) in fact just about anything used in the food making process. Don't be fooled by the term "Doing the dishes", there's a lot more to it then that.
While doing the washing up is a universal fact of life, how one does the washing up seems to vary greatly from person to person. I have discovered that a great deal of feeling can be behind a person's washing up habits, it reflects how they were raised and what makes them feel secure. Here a SGR, we are all brush users, but we have a sponge and a cloth on hand so that if a non-brush user volunteers to do the washing-up he (or, most often, she) will not feel uncomfortable. We're very kind like that.
Some may say that I am looking too deeply into what is, at surface level anyway, an ordinary, mundane aspect of life. Others may say I am loopy, and others still may say that I am just killing time, hiding out in my room until someone else comes home and does the dishes for me. And while these hypotheses (one in particular) are quite valid, I think the world would be a more friendly place if we were all understood eacher other's little ideo"sink"racies.

I'm Tom of SGR

24. Food
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Description: If you've survived more then a few weeks on this Earth, I'm sure you would have, at some point, consumed some food. Along with oxygen, water, love, and a comfortable pair of shoes, food is critical for our survival.
Presumably if you, like me, are relatively well off (I mean in the grand scheme of things - you have the internet after all), then food may not seem as important for survival as other things. When you sit down to lunch, you don't say: "Gad, I must eat this, lest I perish", you're far more likely to just eat up, and then maybe say "I wonder if I should have had the chicken instead..."

Food is a social cornerstone of our society. Unlike other bodily functions which must be executed in privacy, eating food is almost always a public affair. Whenever possible we dine with company, only alone when we need to.

Where is my point leading?

Nowhere in particular, but I will leave you with this recipe for a delicious and novel snack which is cheap, healthy and fun to make.

Two Minute Noodle Omelet

1 packet of two minute noodles (You can get 99% Fat free varieties)
1 or 2 eggs
1.5 dashes of milk or cream (if you like)
Herbs, spices, other things you might put in an omelet. (Today I'm going to try sweet chili sauce and fresh chopped coriander.)

What to do...
1. Cook the 2-minute noodles as per instructions. For a bit of texture, cook them a little al dente, a tiny bit underdone.

2. Drain the noodles and add the egg, herbs, spices, etc. Mix well taking care not to break up the noodles too much.

3. Add the omelet mixture to a hot, greased, non-stick pan and cook on either side.

4. Serve

25. State of Serenity
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Description: What a week it's been! For the last six days I've been living it up in Queensland at the 26th World Congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, and what a congress it was! Rubbing shoulders with the Who's Who of Speech Pathology (or is that "Who's whom"?) and enjoying the wonderous Brisbane.

May I say what a beautiful town Brisbane is? It was simply spectacular, if you've never been, go! If you have been but not in the last little while, go again! If you're lucky enough to live there, open your window and shout out something wonderous and subtropical!

Anyhue (preferably indigo), I must end now. The world is an amazing place.

PS As my esteemed friend and house mate Dan pointed out in a recent reply, no body seems to be replying to entries! Does this mean nobody's reading them? It's really not that hard, folks! You'll find comprehensive instruction on the right of screen. Talk to me!!
I'm Tom of SGR, Goodnight.