Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Conversation Starters Questions

It's a long weekend. I'm not celebrating as I don't think it's fair to celebrate a day which doesn't include all of the population. Some call it Australia Day - I call it Invasion Day or Survival Day.

Ah, well. Took myself off to see Green Book - awesome film.

Politics aside, we have a day off, which is good.

Good questions this week, courtesy of Bev at Sunday Stealing.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Going for a walk or doing some exercise. When my almond decaf latte tastes like real coffee- it happens now and then. When friends call. Good theatre.

What shows are you into?

I am always interested in what HBO do - and now Netflix. Some of my favourite shows include Six Feet Under, The Good Wife, Buffy, The West Wing. I currently have Suits on loop -  it's nice and innocuous and good for background noise. On Netflix and Stan (Australian Netflix) I love The Good Place, Friends from College and Younger.

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

I'd love for there to be a channel which just does lawyer and doctor shows - everyday, all the time.

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

I think the young royals have done masses for highlighting mental health in the community. It's great they're speaking up and out about mental health and depression. It's not something to be ashamed about.

What age do you wish you could permanently be?

35. I would love to do my thirties again with the knowledge I have now. Pity that can never happen.

What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

Okay - I don't do horror. I just don't. Buffy is as far down the horror scale as I go. Therefore, I refuse to watch Birdbox. I also don't like most reality television. There is a show, My Kitchen Rules over here - I just can't do it. Saying that, Gogglebox is awesome, but I don't see that as reality telly.

What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

Almond decaf lattes. I love my theatre subscription. You will normally find a packet of smoked salmon in my fridge. It's a luxury, but it is awesome

What’s your claim to fame?

I once bummed a cigarette off Jeremy Clarkson in a restaurant. I can also sing Khe Sahn and recite the Jabberwocky when drunk. I don't get drunk very often.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Cook. I cook everything from scratch. Cakes don't come out of a packet - they are made from flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk and what ever is in them. I'm not a packet or tin cook. I fry my own spices for curries. I'm that person.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

Books - I love literary fiction. Movies - give me a good drama any day. I'm not really into genre stuff. Give me quality instead.

How often do you people watch?

Daily - it's a small joy. I love making up stories about people who pass me by.

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

Podcasts are awesome. I'd never listened to podcasts until a few months ago - now, I listen to them all the time. Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History and My Dad Wrote a Porno are two of my favourites.

What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

As the queen of the obscure, here are a list of things I'm interested in that most people raise their eyebrows at that I'm really into:

  • Freemasonry
  • The Pixies
  • Watching snooker on the telly
  • Gin varietals
  • Upstart Crow (a comedy about Shakespeare)
  • Activating my own nuts
  • Tarot
  • Knitting

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

I lived in London for many years - that  is the other side of the world to Australia. Boston is probably the furthest I've been from home. It's a bit of a moot point as I've been around the world a few times.

What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?

I look for the good in most situations. so I see heartwarming things everywhere. But we have had bush fires here recently and watching people be kind to animals is always wonderful. Seeing wildlife being fed and watered when they normally wouldn't come near you is great.

Image result for koala drinking

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

Have you lost weight? Normally, I haven't.

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

I think I could talk well on the subject of either tarot, Shakespeare, The Pixies or Suits for about that time without too much hassle.

If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

I think I'd bring in a law like Bhutan. The judge the nations success on how happy the people are in the land. I think this is a good thing. Not everything is about money.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Travel out of their country and do it for a long time and not on a coach tour. Live in another country. Get among the locals. Get uncomfortable. Make friends you never thought you would. Experience new things. Get lost in foreign cities. It's good for you.

Today's song:

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Ask Game

Let us see how we as do with this one. I'm off to a birthday lunch soon and I want to get a bit of this done before the tram arrives.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Do you have a passion project? What is it?

Yes, that would be writing - an hopefully publishing, my two novels. They are a labour of love.

2. How many languages can you speak? 

One and a few. Other than English, I've got reasonable schoolgirl French, a little bit of Greek and can understand Spanish and Italian to get by in. Love being a polyglot. I pick up languages like most people pick up a cold.

3. What was the last book you read?

I just finished Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar., Currently reading Liam Pieper's The Toymaker  - the latter is for book group.

4. Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Oh too many places. High on the list - Japan, Cambodia, Spain (again) Italy, (again) Canada, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, England, Ireland, Iceland... oh you name it - love travelling, I'm going to Hong Kong in a few weeks.

5. Top 5 fictional characters?

Oh, literary or filmic?

Literary wise - Billy Pilgrim, (Slaughterhouse 5), Sugar (The Crimson Petal and the White) Antonio Corelli (Captain Corelli's Mandolin), Cal (Middlesex) Most of the Harry Potter universe.

Film wise:  Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride), Joe Bang (Logan Lucky) Mildred (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri) Mike and Sully (Monsters Inc), Harvey Specter (Suits)

6. Something you miss from your childhood?

I miss having animals around all the time. I grew up with two dogs and two cats. I miss having dogs to play with. I will also say I miss playing down the beach and milkshakes in tin cups with paper straws. They are the best.

7. What skill do you wish you had?

I wish I was tidy and organised. It's a struggle.

8. Tell us an interesting fact

The first thing I can't repeat here as the factoid came from the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast... but the podcast is the funniest thing I have ever heard.

Okay, so repeatable content. Australia is home to 9 out if ten of the most poisonous snakes. Platypusses are venomous too. There are a lot of animals in Australia that can kill you. It's fun. Thankfully most of them are in Queensland.

9. What was your favourite subject in school?

English. Then French. Then it was a toss up between Maths and Chemistry.

10. Favourite planet?

Saturn. I like the rings.

11. Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

Thomas A Becket. I like to commune with him when in Canterbury. Awesome man.

The runner up is Henry VIII. Love Henry the Eighth.

12. Favourite mythical creature?


13. Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

Yes and no. Depends on which one. Is MIchael Jackoson and Elvis living on Tristan de Cuhna ? No. Do aliens exist? Maybe. Who killed JFK? Probaby the CIA.

14. What is your favourite word?

Serendipity. Love happy accidents.

15. Do you have any obsessions right now?

Other than Darvey fan fiction and the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast. Not really. Australian and American politics will always fascinate me too.

16. Do you play any instruments?

I think I can still play the flute.

17. What’s your worst habit?

I still suck my thumb when stressed. (at home, away from prying eyes.)

18. Do you have a collection of anything?

I collect miniature elephants. I have a shelf full of the buggers. People bring me back elephants all the time. It's lovely.

19. What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

Oh, I don't like to talk about it. Mine will forever be what if he who shall not be named got his act into gear 20 years ago, He didn't. I try not to dwell on that.

20. What is your favourite fairy tale?


21. Have you ever dyed your hair? Is there a colour you’d like to dye it?

I have dyed my hair since my teenage years. I would still love to go back to fire engine red one day.

22. If you could learn one language overnight, which would you choose?

I'd love to learn Spanish property. Would make walking the Camino easier.

23. What’s the most useless thing you know how to do?

I can recite Jabberwocky when very, very drunk. That's a bit useless.

24. What’s the most important change that should be made to your country’s education system?

It needs a complete overhaul. I say bring back music, art and languages to the curriculum - and put more of an emphasis on literacy and numeracy standards. A least education is accessible here.

Today's Song:

Sunday, January 13, 2019


I have a nice quiet day planned. I've been to the gym, done two loads of washing., I'm going to have a pedicure because it's well overdue and my feet are manky. I'm also enjoying the last day I have with my friend's cat. They are back tomorrow morning, so it's bye bye pussy.

I really have to think about these questions. Thanks to Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. The strangest place you've ever been.

Oh, the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia is amazing and bizarre It's a museum containing specimens of human remains, including the skeletal remains of the most famous Siamese Twins, lots of syphilitic skulls and babies in bottles - and it is incredible - but very strange. It's not for the faint of heart.

Runner up places, well, I come from a place called Myponga, the submarine at Holbrook which is 100 kilometres from any ocean on the inland road between Sydney and Melbourne - like who knows why it's there (actually the town used to be called Germantown before WWII, then it was renamed after some Admiral). The oldest chestnut tree in England, mentioned in the Doomsday book - that was a bit of a head spin too. Oh, and that museum in The Hague which had on display the toes of a traitorous politicion - one who had been torn to shreds and cannibalized in the 1600s. They knew what to do with their politicians back then.

Image result for mutter museum

2. Unusual food combinations you enjoy.

Um, eggs have to be enjoyed with tomato sauce much to most of my friend's chagrin. Horseradish goes very well on hot buttered toast. Is potato chips crushed on ice cream with chocolate sauce a bad thing? White chocolate and wasabi ice cream is also awesome - it's just hard to find. I see a bit of a horse radish theme here.

3. Your best cure for hiccups.

Breathe out. Take nine quick sips of water. Kills them every times. You might go blue in the process.

4. Something you have never done but would like to try.

Stand up comedy. Skydiving. Maybe getting married one day. There are lots of things - always up for new things.

5. A routine you do every day without fail

I make my bed. Strange, but it is something I do without fail. I think I got this from Sarah Wilson's book, 'First We Make the Beast Beautiful'. It's an aid to overcoming anxiety. I also shower and clean my teeth daily. I'm big on personal hygiene.

6. Something new you've recently learned.

I'm getting a lot better at saying no and delegating. This has taken a long time to learn.

7. Your keenest sense.

Oh, that's hard, as I'm a very sensory person. I've a keen sense of hearing and touch. Everybody else's television is always on too loud.

8. Whether you prefer cooking or cleaning up.

Depends on my mood. I enjoy both - but I do love cooking when I get the chance.

9. Where were you the last time you saw the sun rise.

A couple of weeks ago, driving to the airport on the way to Sydney. I think I was just about to go onto the Ring Road. It was a nondescript sunrise.

10. A recent time you were embarrassed.

I forever have my cardigan on back to front. It amuses and embarrasses me in equal measure.

11. An everyday sound that delights you.

Laughter, Children's laughter even better. Cats purring. Drums. Rain pelting down on a tin roof.

12. The last conversation you had with a stranger.

I end up in conversations with randoms all the time. I ended up giving directions in French to some tourists on Friday night while walking through the Botanical Gardens on the way to Shakespeare in the park. That was fairly random.

Today's Song:

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Joy Meme

Interesting title for a blog where you know that in 10 hours you will be going back to work after two weeks off - and gee it has been a most wonderful two weeks. Lunch is made, bag is ready, clothes are laid out, dishes are done. All is ready. I just want to get a bit of writing done an this blog done and I can go back to my book. Yay.

Questions, as always from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

 1.   Are you filled with joy today?

Not really - I have to go back to work tomorrow after two weeks off. I've had a very relaxing time  - so it will be a bit of a shock to the system to have to get up early, get dressed and get on the train in the morning.

 2.   Has it been a rough week?

No, it;s been lovely. I've spent most of the time hanging out with the cats, going to the gym, seeing movie (Aquaman, Ralph Breaks the Internet and The Favourite - all good in their own way), Reading and watching telly and listening to the most awesome podcast, "My Dad Wrote a Porno". It's been great.

 3.   If given the opportunity, would you like to star in a musical?

No thanks - I'm not really into musicals - although I would be great as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray or Magenta in Rocky Horror.

  4.  Name one person you’d take a bullet for.

I can't name one, but I'd take a bullet for most of my close friends.
  5.  Did you trip over anything today?

Not yet - there are a few hours left in the day. I might still trip over the cat.
  6.  Last time you painted a picture?

About 12 years ago. It was on a corporate bonding day. It was great fun. I paint pictures with words all the time.
  7.  Is your favorite color yellow?

   8. Were you born in a hospital? Do you know the name of the person that delivered you?

Yes, I was born in a hospital, in the same hospital and probably the same ward as my mother. I have my baby book somewhere in the cupboard. The doctor's name is in there. I also know I was a forceps delivery. I can't be asked to go through the cupboard to find out the doctor's name.
   9. Have you ever had a friend or relative that’s incarcerated?

I have an acquaintance - a friend of a friend, who has done 17 years for murder. He's out now. He was convicted after a witch hunt, after three trials on circumstantial evidence. If he's killed somebody, I'm the Pope. He's a lovely man. An old school friend did time for culpable driving in the 90's. Once again - he's got on with his life, thankfully.

   10. Do you enjoy romantic movies, even when they’re cliche?

Yes, but don't tell anybody.

    11.Would you rather watch a movie or listen to music?

I do a bit of both - depends on my mood. Movies probably just trump music. But only just.
    12.Ever been to Rhode Island?

Nope. Nearest to Rhode Island I've been to is Massachusetts.

    13.Can you tell the difference between a Scottish & an Irish accent?

Most of the time, yes. Unfortunately, the softer they come, the easier they are to confuse.
    14. Can you read music?

I used to be able to.
    15.Have you been to McDonald’s in the past month?

No. And long may that remain.

Today's Song: