Holidays

Abracadabra

David Copperfield (Picture courtesy of The Extraordinary Project)If you are like me, you dread being called up in public during a live performance but lament it if you are not one of the chosen.

Last night we went to watch David Copperfield live at the Hollywood theatre in the MGM Grand Hotel. I have seen Copperfield live before, he came to South Africa many years ago, so this was not my first time seeing the legendary magician flex his card tricks. However, because we enjoyed his performance so much the last time, we decided to do it again, and boy did I get my money’s worth.

It’s Britney, Bitch!

Britney Spears - Circus Tour Memorabilia Even before we arrived in Australia, I knew that Britney Spears would be bringing her ‘The Circus’ tour to the land down under. However, I never thought I would actually get a chance to attend the concert.

For starters, Britney’s last show in Melbourne was on the 13th November and we were only set to arrive in Melbourne on the 16th. Furthermore, tickets to the event were not exactly cheap, ranging from stadium seating at $250 (R1700) per person to the insanely priced ‘Love Seats’ for $1500 (for two tickets –> R10 000 ). Consequently, chances of me attending Miss Spears’ performance were pretty thin.

Or so I thought.

Through a fortunate turn of events, Britney had actually extended her tour due to popular demand, adding three extra shows to her repertoire. One of those shows, as luck would have it, was in Melbourne.

I would be lying if I said that I was not excited at the possibility of watching the princess of pop perform in the flesh. After all, like the Queen (Madonna), it is not as if Britney would be making her way to South Africa. So it was pretty much a ‘This Is It’ kind of scenario.

Amazingly, my parents ascertained that this would be a fantastic experience and wholeheartedly agreed to buy tickets to the show. Not only that, but they even allowed me to opt for the ‘stool’ seating, which is directly behind the ‘Love Seats’ and, as it turned out, was literally a meter and a half away from the stage.

Britney Spears - Circus Tour Tickets

Without a doubt, ‘The Circus presenting Britney Spears’ was the best concert I have ever been to. I am unable to truly relay how awesome the experience was. The circus elements to the show, alone, were worth the price of admission; from acrobats, to martial artists, clowns, mimes, weapon artists, magicians… you name it and it was there (animals excluded). In addition to the circus element, I have never before been privy to a live performance with as much pyrotechnics and stage theatrics as this. The ‘wow’ factor was simply phenomenal. I do think that the experience was made just that much better courtesy of our seats which, as I have mentioned before, allowed us to be almost within two arm lengths of the pop princess.

Britney Spears - Circus Tour Performance

Contrary to the controversy surrounding Britney’s performance in the land down under, I can honestly admit that I would watch it again. So what if she lip-synchs? Anyone who has heard of Britney Spears knows that she is infamous for lip-synching (along with many other famous artists). So this was really of no surprise. In my opinion, if you want to hear an artist sing, buy the album. If you want to watch them perform, go to a concert. Whether they sing ‘live’ or not is irrelevant. With that said, it is worth noting that Britney did sing at least one song live, the ballad ‘everytime’. To all the naysayers who think Britney Spears cannot sing, let me tell you, this chick has a good voice. As a matter of fact, she actually sounds better live than through her recordings. So it is a shame that she does not perform ‘live’ more often.

Britney Spears - Circus Tour (Performing Everytime, Live)

Considering how close I was able to get, I was quite surprised to realise how small Britney Spears actually is. She is tiny. Then again, I am 6’4”, so a lot of people are smaller than I am. After two kids, she does look very good. While I’m on the topic of her body, it is worth noting that she is rather fit. She has good muscle tone; most definitely what could be described as a dancers body. So she is not petit and does appear to have some extra junk in her trunk. I think the biggest surprise to me was how small her boobs were. For those who know we, I’m a boob man. Britney has a good handful, but not what one would expect after all of the boob job debates. Have a look for yourself, in the album below.

I am truly so thankful that I could have this opportunity and would like to send a huge ‘I love you’ and ‘thank you’ to my loving parents who made it all possible.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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Becoming a Melbournian, one step at a time.

Cow Up a Tree - Docklands, Melbourne It certainly has been ages since I last wrote a personal post. To be frank, I always find writing about myself to be the most difficult. Not because I do not have anything to write, as I often do, but because my most recent life events have been somewhat too personal in nature to share with the world. Now I know that those are the kind of stories that make blog’s thrive. However, I had to take a step back in order to protect those closest to me by abstaining from aggravating any and all gossipmongers. More out of respect than courtesy, mind you. One day I may reveal all that has happened, but only time will tell. For now though, I wish to focus on the future and what has been happening over the last week.

As I have mentioned before, I have been neglecting the personal posts with which my blog was originally built on. Believe me, I actually feel bad about it. I love sharing my experiences, whether good or bad, and listening to people’s opinions. Or lack thereof. Consequently I will attempt to revive the personal aspect of Hans’ Milieu.

Okay, a quick recap of the last week:

Hans Haupt - Melbourne Nov 2009 I am actually in Melbourne, Australia, at the moment. I arrived last week Monday. The flight was pleasant with a total travel time of around 16 hours (including transit and flight times from Sydney to Melbourne). Actually, I wonder why there are no direct flight to Melbourne? Considering that the flight has to fly over Melbourne anyway. Very odd. However I have heard that Virgin will be flying direct to Melbourne from next year. Thank heavens for that as it will make travelling just that much better.

For those who are unfamiliar with my families ‘Australian’ history, all you you really need to know is that we have been planning on immigrating for the last 8 years. Well not really ‘planning’ per se, more like procrastinating. This year, however, I finally had enough of all of the indecision and took matters into my own hands. Thus I kindly told my parents, in the nicest way possible, that, if we could afford it, I would like to continue my Masters and Doctoral studies at Monash University in Australia. A logical move, considering that I am a Monash University Alumnus and already paying exorbitant international student rates, since that was the only way for me to be able to do my Masters at Monash University in South Africa. As a result I am currently enrolled as a Master’s student at Monash University’s Clayton campus in Melbourne, via external candidature (which allows me to stay in South Africa). Unfortunately, it is as complicated as it sounds.

Hans and Terrence - Melbourne Nov 2009 Considering my current academic situation and our continued, but never fruitful, desire to begin a new life in Australia, it makes perfect sense for me to spearhead our Australian move. However, it is proving to be quite a lot harder than we originally anticipated. More so in terms of finding a place to live than actually obtaining entrance to the country (for me anyway). Subsequently, the last week has been focussed on finding me a place to stay while I am in Australia pursuing my studies. Needless to say, ‘house hunting’ is incredibly tedious and rather tiring especially since options are rather limited, courtesy of the strengthening Australian dollar and constantly weak South African Rand. Regardless, I do have hope that we will find a moderate place in a respectable location.

In other news I spent some time with my cousin Terrence, who is currently in Australia via Monash University’s undergraduate study abroad program, I managed to watch New Moon (review coming soon), got tickets to Britney Spears’ Circus Tour for this coming Friday *school girl scream* and have generally been having a wonderful time in Melbourne; further experiences that I will continue to write about when I have the time.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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An Unforgettable Spirally Fractured Easter

Happy Easter Milieu-nairs!

Have you ever wondered where Easter Eggs come from? As you can see, a picture is worth a 1000 words – “Easter Bunny at work”! Love it!

I trust you have all had a fantastic Easter filled with tons of delicious chocolate surprises and much needed family time! As most of you already know my entire family makes a huge deal out of Easter. Every year we all go away together, to some remote location, where we bond, fight and have a jolly good time! This years familial Easter retreat was no different! Check out the photographs!

This year I ended up having one hell of a ‘cracking’ time, often ‘spiralling’ out of control and then ending with an unexpected ‘break’. Literally!

What you are reading now, I have had to type with one hand and on my mobile phone – no easy feat and one that is definitely tiring. I am using my none dominant left hand to be exact. Say what?!

Yes… I managed to break my right arm, on Saturday 11th April 2009 at approximately 14:45. My first broken bone too… So much for self-preservation! You know what I have just realised… This falls into my The Year of The New resolution of New Experiences that I blogged about *OMG moment*. Damn… I need to be more careful and definitive in future when I make resolutions because this year has been crazy thus far!

Well, as fate would have it, I am now sporting a Spiral Fracture of the right Humerus. How? Simple really… Through ‘Arm Wrestling’!

No, I’m not joking. I broke my arm via arm wrestling, of all things. Okay, you can stop with the incredulous look and vehement sniggering now. As it turns out, this kind of injury is actually quite common with regards to arm wrestling – just Google it and/or check out these links: Body Building Forums and Scientific Journal. I mean… Who knew?! Furthermore, I was, as a matter of fact, winning before my arm snapped! Subsequently, and before you have to ask, no there is nothing wrong with my bones nor are they weak or brittle. I did read somewhere, the source evades me at this moment in time, that the bicep muscle is often, like in my case because I was winning, a major cause of the fracture, strange but true. Just goes to show how strong our bodies can actually be.

A lot of people have asked me what it was like the moment my arm broke and how painful it was. Look, to be completely honest, I cannot recall any pain at the moment my arm snapped. I just remember hearing an awful crack, my arm wobbling like jelly, an intense numbness (courtesy of a pinched nerve) and an inability to move my fingers and hand (which, thankfully, only lasted for a few seconds). I immediately knew that my arm was broken. I just knew. I grasped my arm close to my chest, instinctively holding it in an ‘L’ shape and moved away from the arm wrestling table all the while attempting to move my fingers. I would describe the pain as a deep, untouchable and continuous throb when held still. Obviously any movement of my arm resulted in piercing sweat inducing stabs of pain. The entire family witnessed my arm break. It is now a historical moment that will be remembered by all and for years to come *sigh*. I can hear it already, for instance: "No arm wrestling kids, remember when Hansie broke his arm" or “Be careful Hans, we don’t want you to ‘break’ anything else”. I have already been labelled as the ‘One Armed Bandit’ *rolls eyes*.

 

Thankfully I do not require surgery even though the break is quite bad. According to the Surgeon the only benefit between surgery and healing ‘conventionally’, in my case anyway, is the recovery time. Turns out I may also end up with a slight kink in my arm, but I reckon that will just make me truly unique. Living with only one working arm has been tough. Tougher than I thought it would be particularly because I have to keep my arm as still as possible. My folks even have to bathe me and I cannot drive, not yet anyway. The loss of my autonomy has been rather hard to deal with. As a result I truly have even more sympathy for the less capable, since I now have a ‘first hand’ (mind the pun) experience of what having a handicap could be like.

 

Arm Wrestling – A compilation of "breaks"

Curious to see what happens when your arm breaks, specifically during ‘arm wrestling’? Then check out the video above. I cannot help but cringe every time I watch an arm break since I now know the pain, trials and tribulations associated with a broken arm.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

“I’m… gonna soak up the sun”

As I write this post I am sitting outdoors in our front yard. Half of my person is covered by the shadow thrown by the lapa and the other half of myself is silently ‘soaking up the sun’. I have Lullubelle resting gently against my left leg, her undulating breathes a quiet reminder of her unconditional loyalty, while Gizmo, the resident Pugoodle, continues to attempt a rather macabre courting ritual with Chocolate, an ADHD riddled Bouvier pup. I let the dogs be and immerse myself in the sounds of modern day suburbia – cute tweets and natural chirps mixed with the growl of an angry 4×4 and the howl of an emergency vehicle. Ah, the sweet suburban lifestyle!

As my gentle fingers stroked my laptops worn keyboard I realise that placing the laptop in direct sunlight may have not been the best of ideas, hence the partial cover of the lapa. Not only was I unable to make out what was being displayed on the screen, but with every touch of a key my fingers would smart with heat from the frying keyboard. So much for durability! A laptop in the truest sense should be water proof, shock proof and sun proof. Only then will mobile computing reach a sense of true portability.

I am blogging outside today because while we were away, for the holiday season, the sun and my skin had quite a few make-out sessions. As a result I have a lovely sun kissed look which I would like to keep. That and I thought it would be nice since my family and myself do not seem to make use of our garden enough – ‘Year of the New’, remember? Speaking of the sun and the outdoors, for those interested, the photograph above is one I found by a photographer who goes by ‘Alex Skywalker’ on Flickr. There are quite a few other beautifully photographed scenes, of a similar vain, and are worth a look. At the mention of photography, I realise that I would still like to pursue my own photographic endeavours. I have been told that I have an artistic eye and a way with the camera. Perhaps ‘ could act as a gateway for my photographic exploits? What do you think?

I also started gym again today – I am committed to going from ‘Flab 2 Fab’! To be honest, I actually could not wait to get back from our holiday and start. It felt so good to get the blood flowing into my muscles, expanding every capillary and vein until bursting point, and just to feel the pump, the glorious pump that comes with hard work and determination. Yeah! Feel it! This is definitely the year in which I obtain a ‘Men’s Healthcover look and as Naruto Uzumaki would say “Believe it”! When ‘Ab Day’ arrives, I will be sure to let you all know… and see!Visual is the way to go people… but hopefully Microsoft will not try and ban me again! *Heh heh*

One more thing, I have created a photographic album with photographs from the 2008 Christmas holiday season. New Years to follow…