Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Unusual Music Questions

Once again, for the fifth night, I'm in a hotel room in Sydney. I'm a bit over Sydney, but thems the breaks.

All else is well.

I love these questions. Thanks, Bev. Thanks for all you do for Sunday Stealing.

1. A song that gives you goosebumps

No matter what version, My Funny Valentine will drive me to tears.


2. A song you hated once but now love

There are not many of these, but I've had a pathological hatred of INXS since a Year 11 skiing trip, where The Swing was played ad nauseum for a week. I quite like the songs Mystify and By My Side but I still can't listen to The Swing without bringing back that trip where I ended up with a touch of concussion.

3. Do you remember your first CD?

Nope, but it was probably something like Billy Joel, Phil Collins or some dodgy compilation from the late 80s..

4. Has your music taste changed much since childhood?

Yes. It's a lot more alternative and varied.

5. Favorite genre?

Adult alternative or soul.

6. What’s a genre or style of music that you just don’t understand?

Death metal (not music) and Country and Western (tone deaf yowling). Neither float my boat.

7. Do you have a process for listening to music, such as listening to the instruments more than words?

Nope. Depends on the piece. I just like music. Often its the instruments.

8. What’s your favorite thing about your favorite song?

The bass line, the fact that it's been in my life for over 30 years. The odd lyrics. It's the best of Australian Gothic.

9. Do you have a favorite decade for music?

I love the 80s. Not better music to be found.

10. Can you play any instruments?

I play the flute, badly.

11. Do you remember your first favorite song?

Yes,  because it's still my favourite song.

12. What was the first concert you ever attended?

Elton John and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at Football Park, Adelaide in about 1984... oh why couldn't this be the far less daggy Hunters and Collectors at the Tivoli in Adelaide a few years later....

Today's song:

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ten Minutes a Day

Something to come out of this weekend's writer's retreat is my love of writing has been rekindled.
Dev, love her, provided the much needed shot of what is know as Vitamin Dev, and has got me back on track with this writing lark - which I know I love so much, but have been denying myself for a while. A lot of this I blame on work, but the message was loud and clear.

'Writer's write in the cracks.'

'You don't have to prioritise it, you just have to keep chipping away at it. There are novels which have been written in ten minute blocks.'

'Get the hell out of your own way.'

This weekend, I found the poet again. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but the poet came out again. If I'm honest, the poet came shivering and moaning, buck naked out of the shallows of the Southern Ocean on Sunday morning.

As I waited for the shower to become free, sitting in the chapel, the words came.

I've missed the feeling.

Another thing that happened this weekend was some pretty frank discussions about many subjects. One of the more frank and open discussions had was on the subject of abortion.

The book, Choice Words, was available to buy. The book is filled with articles about women's experience of abortion in Australia. I bought a copy.

I'll be open. Friday was the anniversary of me terminating a pregnancy. This happened over twenty years ago. It's not something I regret or I'm ashamed about. It's not something that eats me up, but the shortest day of the year comes and I will reflect on the experience. And I come away grateful that I was able to receive  non-judgmental, safe and legal services at the time.

I've read a few chapters of this book. Dev and I had a chat about this too. It reminded me that the first thing I had published was on this very topic. It won a short story competition in a literary journal. It was published.

So, after the gym tonight, I hunted around for this story. It took a bit of rifling round, going through old stick drives and external hard drives.

But I found it - on the first thumb drive I ever bought. It has a capacity of 256MB. It cost me over $50 at the time - online. My first Ebay purchase.

The file is dated 19 June 2000.

I've been on this professional writing journey for 20 years.

I shouldn't moan - the written word is my life. I write for a living, albeit corporate crap.

But that first time I got freaking published was nineteen year ago.


I've read the piece. It still stands up. It's a bit clunky in places, bit it has my hand on it.

Would I write it differently now? Probably. Would I write it now? Hell, yeah.

Time to pull my finger out.

Time to write in the cracks.

Time to get over myself and embrace this bit of me that won't be cut out.

Today's song:

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Happy Questions

So, where am I at the moment? I am down the Great Ocean Road with a heap of barking mad women (and a handful off blokes) on a writer's retreat with the inimitable Catherine Deveny. This has been one of the most incredible weekends of my life.

Let me see,

  • I've met a bunch of wonderful  people
  • I've remembered my love of writing
  • I've started back writing my novel
  • I went swimming naked in the Southern Ocean at day break on the second shortest day of the year
  • I've eaten a lot of lovely, nourishing, wholesome food
  • I've also drunk quite a bit of sloe gin - which in itself is a great thing
  • I've connected back into the world
  • I've watched cows
  • I've driven down one of the most picturesque roads on the planet
  • And now I am about to go home as I am starting a new job tomorrow
Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, beach, nature, outdoor and water

So the happy questions, which Bev at Sunday Stealing has provided, is quite apt. I'm sitting in a writer's group at the moment - may as well use this five minutes to get this blog done.

Oh, and my team won the 80's Music Quiz last night - that was a BLAST. Between two others, we rocked!

1. Are you a happy person?

Generally, yes, Like all people, I have my moments, but I'm fairly content.

2. What is happiness for you?

Peace of mind, when it all boils down to it.

3. What do you think is the color of happiness?

Bright sky blue.

4. Can money buy happiness?

No, but it can smooth the way. Having enough is the key to happiness.

5. Is happiness a state of mind?

No - I think happiness is a way of being. Your mind can only get you so far. The rest has to be a mix of health, wealth and a lot of societal things.

6. What are three things that make you happy?

  • Walks along the beach
  • Cuddles
  • Exercise (strange, but this true)

7. Does having a pet make you happy?

Yes. I am infinitely more happy when I have an animal in my life. I know when Maow Maow comes to stay, I am a lot happier. Animals give you unconditional love. It is wonderful.

8. When was the happiest time of your childhood?

I didn't really have a great childhood.

9. Can you be happy if you are rich?

I'm not sold on this idea. When you have money, it appears you're more worried about your money, rather than getting on with things.

10. Do you think happiness lies within you or does it depend on other people and external things?

Happiness always comes from within.

11. Are single people happy?

Yes. I'm single. I'm happy.

12, What is the effect that animals/pets have on people to make them feel happy?

I think it's the unconditional love they provide. I find animals strangely comforting. Love them. They make life much much better. They give you somebody to love - they love you back in return. Simples.

13.  Can you be happy if you are poor?

Yes. It might be a bit harder to find, but yes.

14.  What is there to be happy about in today’s world?

Friends, family, nature, food, water, swimming, moving, walking, reading, theatre, music, words, animals, sunsets, Suits, love, baths.

15.  How happy are you compared with your friends.

I think I'm somewhere in the middle. Okay, if I'm honest, I think I'm happier than many of my friends. But it is not a competition. Happiness is a one horse race.

Today's Song:

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The more from Facebook questions

I have to make it a quick one this week - travelling once again, back to Sydney for work. Joy. Three days in a hotel, back, leave current job, go away for the weekend, start a new job on Monday.

Life is fun.

Good quick questions from Bev at Sunday Stealing.


    Last beverage:

Currently drinking soda water infused with line juice cordial.

    Last phone call:

I took a call from my friend Alice yesterday afternoon - she came round for a cup of tea as I was housebound waiting for tradies. (Both turned up - yay - on time, double yay - tradies rarely turn up when they are supposed to - I hit the jackpot yesterday - and I now have a new gas meter and my internet is working better than it has worked in the time I've had ADSL. )

    Last text message:

This morning, Trish and I arranged to meet at the gym then on for breakfast.

    Last song you listened to:

This was on in the car this morning as I went to the gym.

    Last time you cried:

I went to see Tolkien last night - I cried at the end of the movie - just a little.


    Been cheated on:

Yes. No need for details, but yes.

    Kissed someone & regretted it:

Yes. I was a teenager once.

    Lost someone special:

Yes. There are a few people in this bucket. Some are still alive. Some are not.

    Been depressed:

Yes. I manage depression, most of the time, I do this successfully. Sometimes, I spiral. As soon as I admit I'm depressed and get on to hardline management (good food, no alcohol, lots of free time and exercise) I tend to be able to turn it around.

    Drunk hard liquor:

I'm a gin aficionado. So yes, I have drunk hard liquor. I just tend not to drink it to excess.
    Lost glasses/contacts

Yes and no. I left a pair of prescription sunglasses at Blarney's a few years ago. They turned up three months later, a week after I had them replaced. They were in the odds and sods drawer.


    Last time you saw your mother

The second weekend in February. Mum lives interstate - about 500 miles away. I did, however, speak to her yesterday.

    Have you ever talked to a person named Tom

Yes. I know a number of Toms. That is a very random question.

    Most visited Webpages (Newspaper) (weather bureau) (bank) (Flights / travel stuff)

    Will you be celebrating Fathers day?

No. Well first up, Father's Day isn't until September and secondly, my father died 22 years ago. I do love my stepdad, but he's not into that stuff - he might get a phone call.

    When did you first realize you were an adult?

When I moved to England when I was 23 - I worked out very quickly that I had to do all this for myself.

Today's Song:

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Would You Rather Questions

Ah, another weekend in Sydn ey. A long weekend (yes!) A swim in a pool. A long bath with a book to read. Gin and tonics on World Gin Day. Yeah, life doesn't get much better than that.

Questions, as always, are from  Bev at Sunday Stealing.

(Oops - we have a long weekend here - I thought today was Sunday...)

1. Would you rather be able to detect any lie you hear or get away with any lie you tell?

Probably detect a lie. I can lie when I have to. I don't like doing it - but it is good when you know you're being deceived.

2. Would you rather be a hopeless romantic or a hopeless unromantic?

I'm a hopeless romantic. I'm not going to change.

3. Would you rather have too many friends or too few?

You can never have too many friends.

4. Would you rather have no taste buds or be blind?

Oh, this is as hard one, but I would have to forgo the tastebuds. I'd be lost without my sight. I lost my sense of taste a few years ago for a few months. It was awful. Everything tasted like cardboard.

5. Would you rather never hear music again or lose the ability to read?

Again, a hard one, but I'd rather read than listen to music, so music would go - but I'd keep singing the songs I know.

6. Would you rather find true love or be rich?

True love is an interesting concept. I'm yet to meet a truly happy rich person.

7. Would you rather be the richest person or the smartest?

I'll go with the smartest. I'd rather be smart than rich.

8. Would you rather create history or delete it?

Oh, create it, definitely.

9. Would you rather create a great piece of art and not get credit or get credit for a piece of art you didn’t create?

Create the art. I don't like plagiarism as a rule. Who cares if you get no credit for it. It's all in the doing/

10. Would you rather age from the neck up, or from the neck down.

Oh, the neck down - oh hang on, I'm doing that as I write.

11. Would you rather see the world but live in poverty or stay in one place and live rich?

I love seeing the world. Travelling take up half my pay cheque anyway.

12. Would you rather become famous or powerful?

Ah neither, but if I have to, I'll go with powerful. Being famous doesn't appeal to me.

13. Would you rather be a creative person or a technical person?

Creative. I'm currently both creative and technical, but I prefer the creative side of things.

14. Would you rather get a paper cut whenever you touch paper or bit your tongue whenever you eat something?

Oh, the papercut. I hate biting my tongue. I can live with paper cuts.

15. Would you rather wake up in the morning looking like a giraffe or a kangaroo?

A kangaroo. I love kangaroos.

16. Would you rather speak “whale” or read babies’ minds.

I'd rather read babies minds - it might be a useful skill when you're on a plane so you can try shut them up.

17. Would you rather eat pizza every day or never eat pizza again?

I could live without pizza. I rarely have it anyway.

18 Would you rather stay forever at your current age or be 10 years younger?

Could I please be ten years younger? This getting older lark is not for sissies.

Today's song:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Movie Questions

Ah, some fantastic questions from Bev at Sunday Stealing today.

Makes for a good weekend. So far:

  • My car window has been re-tinted
  • Had a good gym sessions yesterday
  • Saw a great play last night
  • Had a lovely dinner with friends
  • Have enjoyed the company of the cat (who is going home today or tomorrow)
  • Had a lovely breakfast with a friend
  • And I'm about to go the the gym.
I won't talk about the fact that the cat is going home in the next 48 hours. I'm going to miss him. 

Now these great questions. Thanks, Bev. 

What was you first movie-going experience without your parents?

I really don't remember this - however, I remember the first date I ever went on was to see Police Academy - the first one. And I realise how this ages me. I was 16. He was 17.

Do you still buy DVDs or Blu Rays (or do you just stream them)?

Only occasionally now, when I know I can't find what I want on the streaming services I have to hand. I had friends over the watch The Lobster the other week - that needed a trip to JB HiFi to get it on disc. Great film, glad I have it in my collection. But normally, I'll stream my movies.

What is your guilty pleasure movie? What about it works for you?

Oh, that goes to Adam Sandler comedies, particularly The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. They're fun and sweet and don't take much brain power.

You have compiled a list of your top 10 movies. Which movies do you like, but would not make the list?

Okay, my top ten movies are these in no given order:

  • 3 Colours Blue
  • 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • The Princess Bride
  • Lost in Translation
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • The Intouchables
  • To Catch a Thief
  • V is for Vendetta
  • The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentinian original version)
  • Bull Durham
Some of the movies that nearly made the list:
  • Logan Lucky (guilty pleasure)
  • Calvary (a total sucker punch)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (Far too funny)
  • Deadpool (Far too wrong, and far too funny)
  • Atonement (Just heart breaking)
  • Pretty much every Pixar movie (Love Pixar)
  • Drowning by Numbers (love Greenaway)
  • The Avengers movies
  • Gattaca
  • Gross Point Blank and ConAir (Love John Cusack)
  • Being John Malkovich
  • The King's Speech
  • Amelie
  • Almost Famous

Which movie(s) do you compulsively watch over and over again? What makes it so great?

Most of the films on my top ten list I an watch over and over. I will watch Pixar movies over and over a they are such fun. Another feel good, go to movie is Bull Durham - just because of this:

If I really need cheering up, High Society is often shoved on, as are the Harry Potter movies and When Harry Met Sally.

Classic(s) you’re embarrassed to admit you haven’t seen yet?

  • None of the Godfather Trilogy
  • The Deer Hunter
  • Fritz Lang's Metropolis
  • Das Boot
  • All Tarantino after Django Unchained. So I haven's seen Inglourious Basterds - pretty much everything after Kill Bill. 
  • Schindler's List
  • Braveheart
  • Apocaplyse Now

Do you have any movie posters hanging on your wall? If yes, which ones and why?

Nope, no movie posters.

Tell us about a movie that you are passionate about.

Logan Lucky. Directed by Stephen Soderbergh, it's fun, its a heist film, it's got a great heart on it and it's very funny - and few people have seen it. And there is something wonderful about seeing a tanned, bleach-blond Daniel Craig in a onesie.

What is a movie you vow to never watch? Why?

Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I love the book - I refuse to see the movie. It sounds like they made a hash of it too.

Tell us about a movie that literally left you speechless.

Calvary. I think I was sobbing for half an hour after it finished. It's a passion project for the McDonagh brothers. Love it, but it packed a punch.

What’s a movie that you always recommend?

I will often recommend most of my top ten list. I still reckon Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is something everybody should see. If people need a laugh, then they are sent Pixar's way. Or Deadpool - because Deadpool is awesome. Gory and violent, but awesome.

Who is an actor you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie?

Kenneth Branagh and Clive Owen. Love my English Actors

Who is an actor you don’t get the appeal for? Why don’t you like them?

Brad Pitt. I don't get the appeal at all (Okay, I get it when he was in both Thelma and Louise and in Burn After Reading) but I generally don't get why people think he's god's gift. He is a talented actor, but he doesn't float my boat.

Who is an actor, living or dead, you’d love to meet? Why do they intrigue you? 

Cary Grant. He fascinates me. He always has. I have lots of questions.

Sexiest actor/actress you’ve seen. (Picture requested!)

Clive Owen.

Image result for clive owen

You are casting a movie, pick four or five actors you’d hire to be in it and why we’d love them together.

Okay, give me a great script and put the following actors in to go in and do their best:

  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Julianne Moore
  • Gabriel Macht (and let him be stretched - he deserves it)
  • Timothy Chalomet
  • Frances McDormand
  • Florence Pugh

Which are your favorite actor pairings of all time?
  • Doris Day and Rock Hudson
  • Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler
  • Rob Bryden and Steve Coogan (The Trip movies are classics)

Have you ever watched movies from a decade that was before you were born? If so, which decade is your favorite?

I love the movies of the 50s and 60s. They are so fun, so innocent, and have great style.

If you were to be in a movie would you rather play the hero, villain or anti-hero? Why?.

I'd love to play an anti-hero - you have more fun when you're breaking rules.

Today's song: