Sunday, 27 April 2014

A review of Freo's 2014 Street Art Festival

Here's a brief introduction to the Freo Doctor Blog's latest guest writer:

Name: Elodie

Crawling Status: None of your business.

Number of Teeth: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. (Those are personal questions. Honestly, where are the manners you're always going on about?)

Days since last nappy explosion: 9. Hang on, wait a second... Nope. 9.

Record number of stink eyes given before midday: 36 (yesterday)

Favourite Geelong footballer: Cameron Guthrie. He wears No.29 which is the same number day that I was born on. He also has blonde locks like me. The stink eyes he gives to Hawthorn players are almost as good as my stink eyes.

Likes: People watching; Giving old people stink eyes when they watch me; Giving stink eyes indiscriminately before midday; Engaging with crazy people on the street that Mum wants to avoid; Seagulls; Dogs.

Dislikes: Pearl (my avian minion whom I'm ignoring at the moment for hissing at me); Old people; People watching me; Old people watching me.


So to my review:

Liked: Lots of seagulls. 

Wherever we went there were seagulls. My dad made sure that we spent a good fifteen minutes following them. 

(Editor's note: It wasn't fifteen minutes and it wasn't 'following'.) 

The seagull that performed on Kulcha's balcony to close the festival was fantastic, despite the stage being a bit high for my liking. (Organisers take note: babies show approval by grabbing, yanking, and gouging. Clapping takes concentration and motor skills and is a serious business to be conducted only for the gratification of favoured grandparents.) Kudos to the seagull for its remarkable voice and kudos to the organisers.

The other performances - fire-eating, playing with knives, etc - were ho-hum, to be perfectly honest, and nothing I haven't attempted myself when the parental gaze has relaxed for more than two seconds. And yet these amateurs were raking it in! The next time I'm told there's not enough money for toys I'll know what to say. 

Pro tip: It doesn't take a fool to figure out that seagulls are the stars of these festivals. Parents, let your babies see as many performances by them as possible. Also they're accessible! Don't think twice about chasing them around in a pram, even if your legs start to feel tired. You should have bought the more expensive pram and only have yourself to blame.

Liked: Lots of dogs. 

Wherever we went there were dogs. Big ones, small ones, hairy ones, smelly ones, ones with ginger eyebrows. We even got to meet Oscar, a poodle, who was nice enough to let me test his elasticity (ears / face were stretchiest). 

Pro-tip: Dogs are malleable love cushions. Do not ever, ever, ever feel that your baby has been touched and been licked by enough dogs. 

Liked: The three large, oddly shaped seagulls I saw walking around the Esplanade (Editor's note: Saurus). 

I'm looking to replace my current avian minion (Pearl has been annoying me) so I was ready with both hands to grab the one that came up to me. It was a close call for that large seagull. 

Pro-tip: Parents, do not run from a large seagull. 

Liked: Lots of people. 

There were lots of people to watch wherever we went. Most were savvy enough to refrain from making unsolicited eye contact with me, although I had to bring out the stink eye for a couple of offenders. 

Pro tip: Smelly people with loud voices make for the most interesting watching. 

Liked: Ramming into the back of people at the National Hotel stage.

Initially I thought that the organisers had devilish babies in mind when they located a stage at the front the National Hotel. So many people to ram in my pram! My dad didn't disappoint either, but it got a bit annoying after ramming the first twenty legs. 

Pro-tip: You can get too much of a good thing. 

Disappointed: I only met one dog. 

Even though we saw lots of dogs, my dad was a bit slow on the uptake. I was desperate to meet one of the star performers who was at the Town Hall stage. A huge brown St Bernard. He looked amazing! Kudos to the organisers, thumbs down to my dad. I didn't get to meet him though. (Editor's note: I was worried that Elodie would test its malleability a bit too much and get eaten.)

Pro-tip: My dad failed. When my dad fails I decide that his belly button needs to be wider and wider and deeper and deeper. (Editor's note: I just felt a sharp pain in my belly button.)

Disappointed: Where were the cats?

The other day, I saw a cat at a farmers market. In our travels, my dad and I didn't see one cat. I wonder why the organisers didn't book any cats for the festival? They make for the best grabbing. This is a definite lesson learnt for the organisers. Book some cats!

Untried: World record number of bouncy castles

My dad didn't let me go on these balloons of delight. They look promising though.

Pro-tip: See my earlier comment about making belly buttons wider and deeper.

In general the festival produced more likes than disappointments for me. To the organisers: keep booking the seagulls and the dogs. Book some cats next time. Maybe shift the location of the people ramming stage as well.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Esplanade Youth Plaza looks the goods plus things Elodie likes and doesn't like

I'm really glad that this post is such an easy one to write: the Esplanade Youth Plaza looks the goods. Phew. 

On Sunday Elodie and I were on one of our morning adventures when I saw that the fences were down around the Plaza. I couldn't resist stopping to check it out. While Elodie happily busied herself with throwing toys out of the pram, I stood and admired the new addition to the Esplanade. The plaza really looks great! I am impressed. A couple of years ago now, I wrote about Geelong's skatepark/youth plaza. I think Freo's is better (and it is in the right location).

Things Elodie likes and doesn't like

Because this post was so easy to write, I couldn't resist providing Freo Doctor Blog readers (if there are any left) with a quick update on some things Elodie likes and doesn't like.

Obsessed: Seagulls

Number one on the list of things Elodie likes are seagulls. Elodie is obsessed with them. One reason why I must have lost eight kilograms since she was born has been the many, many, many kilometres pushing a pram around the Esplanade following seagulls. Visitors to the Esplanade must be used to a very sweaty blogger pushing his daughter in her pram while she directs him Napoleon style on campaign after campaign. I get the feeling that she could chase seagulls all day. Heaven help them when she can walk.

Obsessed: Straws

A close number two on the list are straws. Yep, if Elodie manages to get her little hands onto a straw (her mum and I do our best to keep them out of sight), it will not be relinquished. Ever. 

Likes: Pinching bruises

This week, Elodie's favourite bath toy has been the bruise on my left arm. She happily pinches it every couple of minutes. After satisfying her bloodlust Elodie normally turns her attention to playing with a funnel or a bath tap. It isn't long before her attention returns to my bruise and with a smile, she extends her pinching fingers again and again and again. 

Doesn't like: Change rooms

A couple of weeks ago poor Elodie was subjected to a nappy change from an amateur: Her dad. It gets worse. It was in a change room at Clancy's at City Beach. That will be the last time I change Elodie in a 'dedicated' change room. 

If a cafe/restaurant ever wises up to having a super awesome (which basically amounts to clean) change room they will be inundated with dads and their babies, let alone mums. 

Causes a retaliatory stink eye before some crying: Pearl's hissing

Elodie got seriously offended by Pearl hissing at her the other day. It could have something to do with six months worth of 'grabbing and not letting going' by Elodie. After being hissed at, Elodie gave her patented stink eye to Pearl before having a bit of a cry. I stepped in and let Elodie take her frustrations out on my beard. 

I've noticed that Elodie is super observant. If her memory is the same, Pearl better watch out.

Undecided: socks

Some of us might have forgotten but, about a week ago it got a tad nippy in Perth. I even recall considering whether or not it was time to stop walking around in my jocks in the apartment. My wife put some socks on Elodie, who was unsure as to these new furry feat. When I got home from work and was greeted to the sight of Elodie wearing shoes (because she kept taking her socks off), I started panicking that Elodie was growing up too quickly. It didn't help that I watched the second season of Puberty Blues for the first time that night.