Monday, April 19, 2010

Roofer on run in wet season

The following column appeared in The Redland Times late February: Image of the tunnel run courtesy

THE wet season drags on. Those with ageing roofs pray we can get through another few weeks without the sight and sound of drips coming through the ceiling and hitting the floor, presenting one of the most horrific experiences of 'householding'.

Despite the many days of grey clouds and showers, Redland City roofs seem so far this year to be coping pretty well.

Luckily, by yesterday morning at least, we have missed the severe storms that quickly show up the faults 'up top' and keep roof repairers busy.

Victoria Point roof and guttering maintenance contractor Jason Dahler, who trades as Weatherite Enterprises, says business has been steady and he has been grateful for a pretty laidback wet season.

JASON has enjoyed his weekends this year, with sons Lachlan, 13, and Joshua, 11, playing cricket with Faith Lutheran College. The college plays in The Associated Schools (TAS) competitions, so Jason, his wife, Sara, and their daughter, Isobel, 7, have been on the sidelines of many fields around South East Queensland. A drive to Warwick is on the Dahler agenda this Saturday. On Sunday Jason, Sara and Lachlan will compete in the Clem7 Tunnel Run, part of an open day at Bowen Hills celebrating the latest addition to SEQ's transport infrastructure. The Dahlers certainly have an athletic focus; the family has had membership of Bayside Runners for some years. Jason admits that after a hard week's work he usually leaves it to Sara to contest the longer events.

THE trio obviously looks forward to joining thousands on Sunday in the 10km run, which will start and finish at the Bowen Hills tunnel entrance. Some athletes apparently have worried about the tunnel's suitability for such an event. The run website lists among FAQs: "Will it be humid or uncomfortable in the tunnel? Conditions inside the tunnel are dependent on conditions outside the tunnel. There are a number of jet fans inside the tunnel which will be operating to keep air flowing ... Participants will enjoy shade for most of the event. The only areas where participants will be running outside is at the start, at the turn-around point (at Woolloongabba) and at the end of the race."

A LATE-summer downpour should not have much effect on these runners, as Brisbane's new pride and joy doubles as a gigantic covered stadium.If the heavens open and Jason gets an emergency call for a roof repair he'll simply have to say, "Sorry, I'm too busy -- I'm being run off my feet."

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Guitarist keeps presto pace

Image courtesy of
A BUSY year is shaping up for Victoria Point musician Sam Shepherd. The award-winning guitarist has found himself in demand for some important gigs, marking the 10th anniversary of his first major public performance.

Sam was only four years old when he started learning the guitar from his dad, Gary, and at age 11 he was on a camp with his Victoria Point Primary School Year 5 class when a talent contest gave him the opportunity to show his skills.

"It was a turning point for me," Sam says. "That was when I decided I would like to make a career of playing the guitar. I liked the applause.

"The pupils of that class are now turning 21. Sam already has that key, and looking at his calendar he notes that a run on 21st birthdays is on his 2010 schedule.

THE past 10 years have cemented Sam's place as a mainstay of guitar in the Redlands. He obtained a Certificate in Music from Alexandra Hills TAFE and in 2005 was the National Young Jazz/Blues Guitarist of the Year at the Frankston International Guitar Festival in Victoria, competing against dozens of older guitarists, including some with conservatorium credits.

In 2009, he graduated with a Bachelor of Popular Music Degree from Griffith University. He has performed at the Grafton Arts Festival, the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, the Redlands Bluegrass Convention, and at Tamworth, and he opened the second Celebration of Guitar Concert in Brisbane in 2006, playing alongside internationally renowned Australian fingerstyle guitarist Michael Fix, US session guitarist Louie Shelton and Australian singer-songwriter Peter Cupples.

SAM has also performed many times on stage as lead guitarist for Cupples. Sam's 'bio' sheet quotes Cupples as saying, "He's as dedicated as anyone I've ever known", studio guitarist Kirk Lorange (“Sam is well on his way to being one of the greats”) and Fix ("He undoubtedly possesses amazing skills"). The sheet promotes Sam's first album of mostly original music, while previewing another album for release this year, and his internet presence,

SAM has conducted many guitar workshops. He has about 15 students at his home studio and also teaches at Victoria Point and Redland Bay Primary Schools. His notice in the Classifieds Training & Tuition column says, "Play guitar today!" and promises immediate results without "boring scales and exercises". After all, that's the way his dad taught him -- and it worked.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia.

US loses grip on line-dance lasso

THE romance between Australia and the US seems to keep growing stronger but surprisingly one 'very American' pastime has been losing its cultural stranglehold.

Line dancing, the partner-less style that lonesome cowboys are credited with devising around their campfires on the prairies, has broken some of its country-and-western domination.

Ormiston line-dancer Liz Keenan makes this point when talking about the classes she holds at the Donald Simpson Centre and Redlands RSL Club, Cleveland.

"NOWADAYS, while American country music is still very popular we dance to any type of music whatsover, whether it be from Michael Buble or any of the other popular performers," Liz says. "There is still the country but not as much. Line dancing has changed; the music is extremely varied now."

Liz was born in Ireland and lived in the US for four years but she did not see any line dancing until she lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 1990s.

She took up line-dancing after moving to Queensland about 12 years ago and saw a notice for classes at the Thornlands Dance Palais. She has been the head teacher with Emerald Line Dancers for the past three years.

"A LOT of the modern influences come from the choreographers in England but we have a lot of good Australian choreographers too -- like Gordon Elliott from Sydney and Jan Wyllie from Hervey Bay," Liz says.

"The internet has played a role, with sites like YouTube allowing us all to see what others are doing around the world, and there are also some good line-dancing sites."

Liz says the Donald Simpson Centre classes each Monday draw about 35 regular dancers. "It's extremely beneficial for anyone aged from nine to 90 as it exercises the mind as well as the body," she says.

"You start by learning the sequence but every dance is different - it's exercise, fun and social."

OLDER dancers sometimes take their grandchildren to the classes but many like the independence of "just being able to come along without worrying about a partner or anyone else", she says.

"Our oldest dancer was Grace Mitchell, who passed away last year at 92 years old," Liz says. "She stopped dancing less than nine months before she died.

"Age has no bearing on line dancing."Although the American form of line dancing started its march around the world in the 1980s, earlier forms of folk dancing are acknowledged as playing a part in the evolution of the style.Liz welcomes new dancers and advertises beginners' groups in the Classifieds Training & Tuition column.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories at This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia. Image from

Looking for life-rafts in cyberspace

THE oldies who refused to use automatic teller machines and personal computers could be having the last laugh nowadays.

The eager brains behind the computing culture once labelled as a "Luddite" anyone who dared to question their passion for technology, with the term inferring a primitive attitude and rejection of change.

The original Luddites in England in the 1800s went on rampages destroying machinery during the Industrial Revolution. But through the entire march of technology at least some fear and suspicion is justified.

As time has passed, technology has bred maybe millions of evil geniuses who devise schemes such as the latest fake ATM card reader to milk accounts, viruses that destroy the intellectual property of countless computer users and other scams, or 'techno-tricks'.

Add the crashes that turn the dreams of computing into nightmares and many must feel the world without computers wasn't so bad.

But there's no going back, and we can be grateful that at least on the PC front help is available from the Classifieds' Computer column, where Jenny and Peter Sharp, of A Class PC Service, Cleveland, are long-time regulars.

Peter started working on computers 20 years ago as a hobby. Friends turned to him to fix their breakdowns and about five years later he had a part-time business, which led to fulltime trading as A Class PC Service since January 1997.

Jenny, with a business degree specialising in information technology, worked in the IT sector and spent four years in management with an international software development company before she joined Peter full time in 2003.

"Within six months of this, we moved our business, originally from our home, to our current business premises at South Street – and we have not looked back since," Jenny says.

"In addition we now have two other technicians. Our business is built on a high level of service and honesty."

She says the couple has advertised each week in the Classifieds for almost 13 years."We always have a fantastic response rate with our local paper advertising, and find that around 30pc of all our new customers come from the local paper, around 30pc from customer referrals and the remainder from various other advertising sources," she says.

The firm has been busy helping victims of one of the latest techno-tricks, scareware, which Jenny says has been disrupting and even paralysing internet browsing. She will email a fact sheet on request (

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia. Image from