Saturday, February 29, 2020

February Check In - March Goals

It's the end of the month. Time to take stock of what has been done and time to set some new goals for March.

On the good side of things - rest and antibiotics seems to be calming the cough. Very happy about this.

But now for last months goals - how did I do?

From the January goals that were left over, I got the will done, signed and executed. Tick.

The spare room is looking a little better - but as Jay and I are having a second hand stall at the Camberwell Market at the start of April, things are starting to pile up in readiness.

I'm also getting an hour of writing done a day. I make 10-12000 steps most days if I'm not in the gym and I'd read for at least half an hour on any given day. So, I'm maintaining things on this count - which is a good thing.

Now for February's Goals:

1) Make note of everything I spend

I was doing really well on this until I got mugged - when everything went out the window. This is not to say I've been overspending. I just having been diligently recording everything. I'm reinstating this goal for much.

2) Paint out the toilet and hallway

Done. I had to finish this before I went back to work. Both look a hell of a lot better.

3) Start mapping out that bloody novel, at last, ready for school in March

Underway. Though not planned out, I've been making a lot of notes about this, taking a lot of things on board and looking at all sorts of things which could go in my dystopian novel. School starts on Tuesday.

4) Go swimming once a week. 

I went swimming once - at the best beach in the world (Silver Sands in South Australia). I still love swimming. 

Maybe I can go once or twice in the next few weeks. 

5) Go gluten, dairy and sugar free (again)

Though I haven't completely eliminated all of these things, I've managed to reduce gluten, dairy and sugar. Being back at work makes this a lot easier as I'm taking my lunch in most days. It's a work in progress.

6) See the following movies (along with the list of classics I never got to)

  • Parasite
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
I saw all three. Parasite was my favourite of the three. Very Hitchcock-ian. Really worth a view.

So, what are my goals for March.

1) To take lunch to work every day (except when I'm meeting somebody for lunch)

I'm still in povo mode - so taking my lunch to work is critical - and it will be the case for the next six months. I'm allowing myself a coffee (okay my fake coffee - and almond decaf latte - and I've found a place that does them for $3.50 - cheaper than anywhere else in the nearby centre) It also makes the next goal a bit easier.

2) Continue on the elimination of dairy, gluten and sugar.

Again, made easier since I'm taking my lunch to work. I run better this way. 

3) Write down everything I spend

I started off well last month. Time to get back onto it. It's a good exercise in budgeting as well.

4) Complete a Park Run.

Last year I found Park Run. This year either the weather / atmosphere has conspired against me or I just couldn't be asked. I've got a pretty busy March. There's a trip to Sydney to see the Pixies, school, meditation - all of which means I can't get to Park Run. But I will try. 

5) Read four books.

This might be a task - but I want to keep my reading up - even with school starting. Writers need to read. 

6) Lose two kilograms (at least)

It's time to get back on the weight loss bandwagon. I'm setting small, realistic goals. I should be able to do this.

7) Get 10000 words of the new novel done.

Hopefully school will allow this to happen. 

Well, that is my for the month. Wish me luck.

Today's song: 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Sick, Again

Thankfully not big sick. But sick. Hacking up a lung sick. No bleeding eardrums this time. Actually I feel okay other than the hacking cough, which has gone from a tickle to a bark in the space of four days.

I'm over coughing. After last year with the two massive chest infections in the space of a month, I don't need this.

At least I've caught this one fairly early. I went and saw a doctor tonight - mostly out of necessity. I've got a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with friends on Sunday. I'm due to be in a theatre from 2 pm til about 10.30 pm (with a three hour break between plays). It is awesome. I've seen it once and I'm desperate to see it again, this time sharing the experience with people.

This can't get in the way of Harry Potter.

I also go back to school on Tuesday - the novel writing course. I need to be healthy for that.

So it was off to the doctor tonight. I'm back on antibiotics (necessary evil) and the doctor has ordered me to use ventolin with a spacer regularly. (Though allegedly asthmatic, I still blow a peak flow of 550... go figure.)

I just need to get better now.

And at least its not coronavirus.

Also, just for the record, as I went to the emergency doctor at the shopping centre, I was seen by this fellow with the most amazing green eyes. It sort of made going to see the doctor just a little better.

Ah well. Off to bed. Early night. Let the body rest and the chest relax.

Today's song:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

MAFS Update

Yes, I'm still watching MAFS (Married at First Sight). Yes, it is still atrocious telly. Yes, I know there are better things I could be doing with my time.

But it's not on for long.

And on Wednesday Doctor Doctor and New Amsterdam are on after and they are okay shows.

We're four weeks in.

It's still rubbish. But I still watch it.

Some thoughts:

1) What's all the tatts? Half the crew are walking, talking comic books. Women with sleeves. Collar bone tatts. Script writing.


Image result for hayley mafs

2) Where do you get the money do get all that work done when you're under 40?

MAFS is keeping a lot of plastic surgeons and cosmetic therapists in business. At 27, why do you need injectables? Why, why, why? And I won't go on about the fake tans.

Sassy Channel 9 GIF by Married At First Sight Australia

3) Why is it the dorkiest bloke, who came across as a right tosser, ends up to be one of the redeeming features of the show? Ivan is okay. The bar is low, but he's okay.

Ew Kiss GIF by Married At First Sight Australia

4) Where do they find these people?

Channel 9 Mafs GIF by Married At First Sight Australia

5) As a race, are Australians really that whiny?

6) Will the real Connie please stand up. Smart girl. Needy girl. Shoot your mother while you're there.

7) How come a large percentage of the blokes are just awful?

Sassy Channel 9 GIF by Married At First Sight Australia

8) Why do I watch this shite?

No idea why. It's my one guilty pleasure.

Today's song:

The Third Degree

I can't talk about the Third Degree. I attended a ceremony last  night - which is why I didn't write yesterday. I got home late. I was tired.

And I'd attended a ceremony which is so notorious that it's come from a masonic ritual into commonplace phrase.

As it's a masonic ritual, I can't say much at all. As a mason you're sworn to secrecy in some matters - what goes on in the ritual is the main thing.

I can tell you the following:

  • No goats are harmed during the span of the ceremony.
  • No blood is imbibed
  • There is a bit of singing and wandering around done
  • You can only watch a third degree ceremony if you're a Master Mason
  • If you're not a Master Mason and you turn up to a Third Degree ceremony, you'll be thrown out of the room for mot of the evening.
  • It's a ceremony which makes you think about things.
  • There is a small semblance of truth found in movies about secret societies.
But for the most part, it's innocuous. But thought-provoking. 

The energy in the room was great. I'd like to see what would happen if the room was full. 

There is something to all this. 

And there's a good reason why saying you're giving somebody the third degree remains in our language.

I feel quite honoured to know exactly what it all entails.

Yesterday's Song:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Best Self Card: Making Money

Before I start on the Best Self Card, I'll fill you in on what I'm reading. Suzanne Daniels' Allegra in Three Parts. Found it under the bed when I was cleaning. Australian. Not too long. Good standing. Light, but not too light.

I'm still cleaning and tidying, but the real estate agent can come in on Thursday and the place does not look like a brothel. I don't now why they bother doing inspections. I'm not a hoarder. I'm not running a meth lab. I don't have 20 students living in the spare room. I don't have 15 cats (but I would like one or two). Ah well. The joys of renting.

Right, today's Best Self Card.: If you could make an income in any way, what would you do?

I would write. I would write poetry. I would write novels. I would write articles for newspapers and magazines. I would write for the sheer joy of it.

Thing is, I write for a living, but I write boring corporate crap - normally computer instructions - but I can do this with my hands tied behind my back. That and training materials. It pays the rent and keeps me in the way to which I have become accustomed. But I would love to write creatively for a living. I'm hoping this course I start next week will maybe launch me in that direction.

I'm getting in the habit of writing daily now - that's part of the reason I've been blogging every day - it's getting me into good practices.

What people don't tell you is that writing is a very solitary activity - you get caught up in your own head. You get researching. You sit on your arse and go down virtual rabbit holes. You can lose yourself if you're not careful.

You can also get arrested. Look at a writer's browser history at your own peril. I know I currently have some of the following topics in my browser log:

  • Swedish death cleaning
  • How to set your affairs in order
  • Planning your own funeral
  • Jobs for the future
  • New age teaching practices
  • Tom Ellis
  • Vegan treats
  • Unusual ways to die
  • Victoria's assisted dying laws
  • Ned Kelly
  • The best sex toys for women
  • Best cat memes
  • Small towns of the Pennines
  • Sound Healing
  • How to get a new Medicare card
  • How to make better Kombucha
  • Will vaping give you cancer
I am a writer. I am a weirdo.... singalong....

Other jobs that I wish I could do, or could have done if I had a modicum of talent:
  • Doctor
  • Astronaut
  • Shakespearean Actor
  • Singer
  • Piano player / musician
  • Lighthouse keeper
  • Biscuit baker
  • Owner / manager of a writer's retreat on the country.
And who says I can't dream.  

Right, I need to get on with the ironing. 

Today's song:

Monday, February 24, 2020

What do I read next?

Short one tonight - I need some sleep.

I finished my book tonight - and I feel rather sad. I've been slogging it out over this book for a fortnight. It was supposed to be read by Tuesday night for book group, but life conspired against me. Regardless, by the end of the book, Amor Towles A Gentleman in Moscow, had become a good friend. As somebody who doesn't read much popular fiction, and after a slow start, this became a good friend. I loved Count Alexander Rostov and his tribe.

They're gone now.

The next book group book is 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak. However Blarney has my copy and I won't be seeing her for a while - well at least until the weekend after next, and because of this, I need to find something else to read for the next ten days or so.

Here's my current short list - with some pros and cons.

1)  Bruce Pascoe - Dark Emu

Pro: Non-fiction, not too long, Australian, met the author (many years ago), I have it on my kindle.
Con: Not sure I'm in the place to read about pre-colonisation agriculture practices.

2) Jeanine Cummins - American Dirt

Pro: Dymocks book of the month, allegedly the new Grapes of Wrath, supposed to be fast paced and action filled.

Con: It's a bit thick. It's polarising (never a bad thing)

3) Eimer McBride - A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

Pro: It's on my kindle. Stream of consciousness. Not too long. Experimental writing.
Con: Stream of consciousness. Experimental writing.

4) Gail Jones - A Guide to Berlin

Pro: Recommended by one of my book group. Not too long. Nearly made book group last year.
Con: Not on my kindle.

5)  Joan London - Gilgamesh

Pro: Not too long. Liked another of her books. I'm rather fond of the Sumerian legends thanks to many years in dream group.
Con: May trigger some things like the Sumerian legends.

6) Ann Patchett - The Dutch House

Pro: Not too thick. I liked Commonwealth
Con: Not on my kindle.

As you an see, being on the kindle is a big pro - it's light and portable and fits in my bag easily.

I'm also aware that I start school next week - I don't want to get into anything to heavy just for the moment.

We'll see where I land.

Today's Song:

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Getting to Know you Meme

I'm supposed to be cleaning my flat ready for an inspection on Thursday. Instead I'm doing my blogging.

So, I reckon I will do one question and then do a job to get this cleaning out the way.

Questions, as aways, sourced by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

Jobs done by me.

1. What is your favorite color?

It's one of the following. Pillarbox red, cobalt blue or jade green.

(Bed made)

2. If you could get on a plane tomorrow and travel anywhere, where would you go?

Either England or Spain. Both places I love, but for very different reasons. I have far more of Spain that I want to do including the Camino de Compostella de Santiago.

England is my spiritual home and after seeing The Professor and the Madman on Friday, I'm feeling a bit homesick.

(Shower scrubbed out)

3. Were you closer to your mother or to your father

Though I wasn't particularly close to either parent growing up, I've always been closer to my Mum. Although we're not especially close, we talk once  a week and share a love of books and movies.

(Windowsills wiped down)

4. What is your favorite meal (savory and dessert)

Savoury - Mum's roast lamb. Of if I'm buying, the Vietnamese down the road does a great Dry Chilli Beef which is amazing.

Dessert: Creme Brulee, anything ice cream, Lemon Meringue Pie.

(Scrubbed out the sink in the kitchen)

5. Can you wink with each eye?  (How about curl your tongue)

Yes, but I can sit with my left eye closed for as long as you like, where my right eye I have to think about it.  I can also curl my tongue.

(Had lunch)

6. Beach or forest?

Beach - just - and it has to be a good beach, like the beaches in Adelaide, which a great.

(Cleaned teeth)

7. City or farm?

City - again, just, but in my current iteration, there is a bit more for me to do in the city,

(Found the couch under a pile of magazine, throwing out a heap of them)

8. Would you rather be blind from birth or turn blind as a teenager?

I think I'd rather be blind from birth - that way you'd not have an idea what you'd missed out on and would have got the help you need to learn things like braille. Going blind is a huge fear for me - I'd go mad if I couldn't read.

9. Would you rather always be overdressed or underdressed?

Overdressed. You can always take off your jewellery, open a button or throw on a plain cardigan to dress yourself down if you need to. Nothing worse than turning up in casual and everybody around you is dressed to the nines.

(Bathroom glass done)

10. If you could pass alone one of your attributes to your children, which would it be?

I don't have kids, but if I did I'd like to think they might get some of my sense of adventure, my sense of humour and my resilience.)

(Threw out a few things).

11. What are you most insecure about?

Having my photo taken. Hate it.

(Washed dishes)

12. What are you afraid people see when they look at you?

Somebody who is fat, ugly and stupid. That never goes away.

(Organised a meeting I've been putting off organising)

13. What is the saddest you’ve ever felt?

When people die my world is shaken. I remember being very sad when my father, my Aunt, my niece and my friend Anney died. They were all different sadnesses, but all cut me to the quick.

I have been sad this week at the plight of women in Australia and the current disease of domestic violence. Something horrible happened in Brisbane earlier this week. It's inexcusable and awful. I don't want to rehash it, but it has made the country sad.

(Hoovered the hallway)

14. Would you rather have your own private island, or your own private jet?

Private jet - I think of the places I could go on a whim.

(I can see the bedroom floor now)

15. How do you think you will die?

With any luck, in my old age, in my sleep, with people around me.

Today's Song:

Saturday, February 22, 2020


I've been wracking my brains trying to work out what to do for the "soap guy" (as I will call him), to say thank you for helping me out after I had my handbag stolen last week. Seriously, he was brilliant - lending me his phone so I could call the banks to cancel my cards and contact a friend and generally  he protected me as the adrenaline and shock drained from my body, sheltering me at the back of his stall. He also loaned me some cash, meaning I could at least buy some groceries for a few days. As I said, above and beyond stuff. I like to think I'd do this for somebody I don't know very well too.

I paid him back the loan today. My replacement card came through on Wednesday but this was the first time this week I'd been back to the shopping centre. I got a new phone the following day. Being cared for in that first hour or so after the event has made it a lot easier on my psyche. Saying thank you in some small way is the least I can do.

The gesture doesn't need to be big, or flamboyant or over the top. Who gets a guy you don't know well flowers? Nah. He runs a soap stall. He's around smellies all day. Chocolate? Nah. Like me, he's trying to stay away from the sugar - and then do you get white, dark or milk chocolate? (or if you're me, caramello...)

I'm a little cash flow down at the moment, knowing I'm not getting paid until the middle of March - so buying him something like gin isn't quite right either.

So I've gone with something simple. It's come down from the annals of family lore.

I've made him a batch of biscuits.

Told you I've gone old school.

These biscuits are too easy. I emailed Mum for the recipe. Like all of my grandmother's recipes, it's simple and in the old measures.

6 oz Plain flour
6 oz Softened butter
2 oz Icing sugar
2 oz Custard powder
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence.


Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

Beat the butter and icing sugar together, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Roll into little balls, bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes.

My oven is crap so it takes a bit longer.

When cool, make up some icing made of icing sugar, a bit of butter and a few drops of almond essence. Don't ask me for the measurements, I've been making icing since I was a child - I go by feel.

These are magic biscuits.

My grandmother used to make them for my Dad for his birthday, along with a batch of Afghans, and I wish somebody had written that recipe down. Love me a good Afghan.

I've made these bikkies for people for their birthdays. One of my workmates used to demand I make him these biscuits each year. I finally taught his daughter how to make them - they moved back to the Netherlands. I like to think he's still asking his daughter to make them each February when his birthday comes around.

I've taken them up to my friend in Sydney. He thinks they're pretty good too.

And as my sister says, this is the preferred gift we give to people we care about in my family.

I just hope he likes this very small gesture of thanks. Seriously, having somebody look after you like that when you're in shock and adrenaline is coursing through your veins like heroin, it's made coming to terms with the trauma so much easier. I'm truly grateful to have him as a mate.

Today's Song:

Friday, February 21, 2020


It takes time. New job, new digs, new people, new environment. It takes time, but you pace your way through it. It’s the way it goes when you start a new job – the first week you rarely do that much.

It’s a well worn path. On your first day, you will go into the new office in the clothes you most likely wore to your interview. You don’t know what the place will be like. You have no real idea about the dress codes. You won’t know anybody. There is half a chance you wont have a computer, a system login, an email address or a door pass when you get to the new job.

It’s a bit of a rite of passage.

It’s expected in your first few days you’ll be a fish out of water. You may have a desk. You may not. If you’re in a place where they partake in the joyous practice of hot-desking, you may or may not have access to a locker. You may or may not have a work laptop. The stationery cupboard may or may not have the requisite items stocked in the shelves – and you need new ones each time – writing pad, pens, pencils, post it notes. It’s all a bit of a gamble when you walk into a new role.

So you walk into the new jobs reception area. You’ll meet the person who will become your best mate and ally within weeks – the person at the front desk. Normally, they will take your photo for your new work pass. You are prepared for this. More than likely, you’ll be wearing what you wore for the interview. You don’t know what the dress code is like. You can’t tell if you’re going to be over or under dressed, but it’s best to be well dressed that first day. First impressions and all that. By the end of the week you’ll have worked out what the dress code really is – whether it’s business, business casual or casual. In other words you’ll either be wearing a full face of make up and bemoaning the fact you don’t wear anything over an inch heel, or you’ll be in jeans, or a jeans substitute like everybody else. You will work it out, you’ve been at this game for a long time and you know how to do it.

You’ll also be meeting far too many people and will forget most of their names until you have a longer conversation with these people. You’ll politely ask what these people do, where they sit, get tidbits about their place in the organisation. Some of this will stick. Other bits wont. It will be a few weeks before you’re all au fait with who does what and the like.

The circles of familiarity will come. You’ll learn the names of the people who sit near you first. You’ll get chatting people while you’re getting a cup of tea. It’s okay. It takes time.

Of course, there are the office behaviours you’ll need to navigate. Where are the bins? Do they recycle? Do you need to take your pass to get to the loo? What’s the kitchen etiquette?  It’s different in every office.

You'll also have to find what will be your coffee shop, the locations of the nearest ATMs, where the smokers go (so you can avoid the area) and where you can get lunch. I've found my coffee shop. $3 for decent Italian decaf just out the door. I'm happy.

So far, I've worked out the following:

Dress code: Business casual - though a little more formal if there are meetings on the other side. Free-for-all Friday.
Kitchen: Strictly clean up after yourself - one of the best office kitchens I've seen in a while. Well stocked with anything you may need including nutella.
Bathrooms: No need to take your pass - you don't have to go out the security doors. As there is more men than women, the women's loos tend to stay a bit cleaner.
Front Desk: Great, friendly woman with quite a few ear piercings. She's efficient and smiley. I like her already.
Lifts: You need to swipe your access card to get to the floor.
Atmosphere: Friendly and relaxed. Nobody bothers with time keeping as long as you're getting your work done.

At the end of week one I have:

  • A laptop
  • A login
  • An email address
  • An access pass
  • Access to all but one of the systems I need
  • My own desk with a window view of South Melbourne
  • Nice workmates
  • My sense of contentment 
My colleague is great. We talk books, poetry, words and giggle at all things wrong.We both have a head for trivia and the strange. We'll get on well. 

At 4.15 today he asked me,"Do you know what Poets Day is?'
"Of course. Piss off early, tomorrow's Saturday."
"Exactly. Pack up, let's go."

I think I'm going to like it here. 

Today's Song: 

Film Review: The Professor and the Madman

Film: The Professor and the Madman
Film Number:10
Stars: 4

Any student of university English can tell you about their forays into the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), particularly if they were students before the nineties when this wield tome, which takes up about two shelves in the library and is printed on bank paper, was put in front of them. Voila, you have the whole of the English language at your fingertips, complete with references, etymologies and various other information about pretty much any word in the English language. Now, the whole reference is online. You can subscribe to the OED. You can follow the OED on Twitter and get a word of the day. It is just one of those things that word nerds hold very dear - I had this conversation with a word nerd colleague today. There is nothing like it, and if you love the English language you will have this close to your heart.

But I digress.

What isn't widely known is the background of the OED. Of course, most English undergraduates can tell you that Dr Samuel Johnson created the first dictionary in the 1750s. By the mid-1800s the language was getting away from the scholars and it was time to create a new dictionary - one that gave a word's history as well as meaning.

Enter James Murray (Mel Gibson). A canny polyglot, polymath of a man who enlists to take on the task where many others have failed. He moves his family from London to Oxford and gets on with the task. He sees the task for what it is, asking the publish to put in contributions to the dictionary, sending out fliers in books. Words come tumbling into his Oxford shed where he and his team compile the dictionary.

In parallel, we are introduced to William Chester Minor, a troubled American Army doctor, suffering delusions who guns down a man in cold blood while in the state of mania. At his trial, he's found not guilty of murder, but is sent to Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum to serve out the Queen's pleasure (basically he was not to be let out). Making good use of the time between being rather nutty, Minor ends up contributing to the dictionary. He remains to this day the dictionary's greatest single contributor.

There's a bit more back story such as what happens to the wife of the man Minor killed, indeed, what happened to Minor. Then there's the struggles between Murray and the stuffy board who want to see him gone. Then there's the wonderful English countryside and views of Oxford and the wonderful range and depth English films bring to the world.

I really enjoyed this, even though Mel Gibson in one of the main roles. I'm not Mel's greatest fan, but he's a good actor when he's not overdoing it, and he brings back the accent he used for Braveheart (must see that one day...) but he's good and restrained. Sean Penn is excellent as the troubled Minor.

There are some great minor parts in the movie - Steve Coogan as Freddie Furnivall, one of Murray's backers. Natalie Dorman is ethereal as always as the murdered man's wife. Eddie Marsan is good value whatever he is in - and he's great as Minor's jailor. Stephen Dillane, Jennifer Ehle, Anthony Andrews and Ioan Gruffudd round out the oh so terribly English cast.

This is a solid film, based on Simon Winchester's book The Surgeon of Crowthorne - which is definitely worth a read for the vocabulary alone.

As a standalone film, this won't be for everybody, but for word nerds and anglophiles, this is a must see.

Today's song:

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Best Self Card: Delegation

Best Self Card: What 10 things would you hand off to an assistant if I had one.

As I'm too tired to write tonight, it's a quick list out of the box.

But here we go - what would I delegate? What jobs do I wish somebody else could do?

1. The cleaning of the floors.

Please, please could somebody do my floors. I hate mopping and hoovering, but it feels so much better when it's done.

2. Meal prep

I like cooking, but I hate cutting things up. No things

3. Budgeting

I'm a lot better at this that I make up, but it would be great to have a person who could really keep my finances on track - crack the whip - though I'm getting a lot better at it - I've had to get good at it.

4. House Clearing

I'm pretty good at Marie Kondo-ing places, but I wish there was somebody who could make a few decisions for me.

5. Dusting

Another job I loathe. Looking at this list, I just need an efficient house cleaner.

6. Editing

I'd love an editor on tap. Editing is something I can do but I don't love it.

7. Tidying up

The only thing about delegating the tidying up is you'd never find anything again.

8. Toenails

Could I please have a live in podiatrist to do my toenails properly. Toenails aren't fun thing - it's good if they are done properly.

9. My mason's crap admin

I wish I could hand this off - it keeps coming back like a bad penny. Would love to have somebody else do this and to the level which I do the tasks.

10. Sleep.

I could use another two to three hours a night. If somebody could have some naps for me, life would be great,

Today's Song:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I don't feel like writing

So here is a list of things that have to get done in the next week. This is why I don't feel like writing. I don't feel like writing cos I've just got back from book group and I'm a bit tired. I've been doing compliance training for the two days, I'm a bit brain dead.

But here's some of the things I want to get done by next Monday. This is more for me than you:

  • Clean the flat from head to toe as I have an inspection next week. 
  • Contact the landlord about changing the locks
  • Finish the book group book - it's the first time in 15 years I haven't finished the book
  • Make some biscuits for soap guy to say thanks for all his help.
  • Go to the gym x 3
  • Mediation on Saturday
  • Massage on Saturday (I've been told I can go on credit - joys of being a local with cred)
  • Visit my post box x 2 - Hopefully some of the cards that have been reordered will come through soon. 
  • Maybe see Richard Jewell or Emma.
  • Brew another batch of kombucha
  • Maybe talk to Reindert
  • Make my lunch for the next two days (at least)
  • Go see Blarney and Maow Maow
  • Get some Mason's stuff done
  • Update the book group facebook page with the next meeting date. 
Yeah. All this on top of recalibrating my work time clock (ie get up at 6.30 not 9 am - go to be by 111.30 - not 2)

I'm tired, but its fun. 

Today's song:

Monday, February 17, 2020

Film Review: Parasite

Film: Parasite
Film Number: 9
Stars: 4.5

I finally got to see Parasite - after getting mugged on the way to the cinema on Friday, I was unsure I'd get to see this gem.

I'm so glad I got there in the end.

So what can I tell you about this little known film that hails from South Korea and won the Best Film Oscar this year - the first foreign language film to take out the award.

Well, it's a mix of social satire, black comedy, thriller and light horror (I had no trouble with that bit, so it has to be very mild as I normally can't do horror). Always a good mix. It's bends the genre norms. It starts out as one film, ends up as another.

It's subtitled - other than a few words in English - in context - it's completely in Korean.

It's well set - the setting and the cinematography are astounding, set in the suburbs of a Korean city, part in an affluent suburb, the other part in the boondocks.

The plot? I'm not going to say too much. The more you know going in would just spoil the experience if you see it. It does explore the divide between rich and poor in ways you'd never think of.

What you can know. The Kims are a family of grifters, - Mum, Dad, Son, Daughter - all struggling to make ends meet. They're a fun, loving family down on their luck and trying to scratch a living any way they can.

The eldest son is offered an opportunity to tutor the daughter of a rich family.

The Parks are a well to do family living in an architectural wonder of a house in the better part of town. Also a nuclear family with two kids.

And I'm going to say no more. What comes next is two hours of sheer delight. It's surprising, it's fun. It's farcical bits are laugh out loud funny. There are elements of Hitchcock here too. The houses provides the ultimate setting. There is great foreboding and some wonderful foreshadowing.

This is a great film.

The nearest foreign film I've seen which had a similar affect was The Secret in their Eyes - the Argentinian masterpiece, which the Yanks butchered a few years ago - I sincerely hope they don't try to remake this film. It's near perfect.

Bong Joon-Ho's script is fantastic - as is his direction.

The cast, all Korean, are all wonderful. Shout out to Yeo - Jeong Jo, who plays the rich Mum with a stunning naivety. The housekeeper character is wonderful too. By the end of the film you end up loving most of the characters for many different reasons.

There is so much to get from this film - it leaves you thinking and makes you wonder about the world.

I know this is a really vague review, but seriously, the less you know going into this film, the better. It's really awesome. Go in and be happily surprised.

Thinking about it, would I give the Oscar to this or 1917? I think the Academy did well. Though I found 1917 to be technically stronger, there is so much good to admire, enjoy and respect about this film. It's also far more accessible than 1917 as there's not the unrelenting violence of war.

Go see this. It's worth it. It's also been released in a black and white version - which I may go see. I think it would turn a lot of things on their ear.

Today's Song:

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Birthday Meme

First up, it's not my birthday. My birthday is in August. But happy birthday to Bev at Sunday Stealing who sources these questions.

After the events of Friday, I'm feeling better about things, bit it still nice to have some easy questions to deal with. (For those who only read my Sunday Stealing responses, I was mugged on Friday, handbag (purse) stolen complete with mobile phone (cell phone), wallet and car / house keys. Lots of time spent with the police, Thankfully my keys were handed in to the police station early in the evening, but it's been a right inconvenience). I'm also grateful I wasn't hurt in the incident.  But still.

Enough of this, on with the questions.

Have you ever

1. Broken a bone?

Only a little toe.

2. Broken a window?


3. Been on TV?

Yes. I was on an episode of Win Roy and HG's Money about twenty years ago. I won $700 dollars.

4. Had a friend who shared the same birthday as you?

Not a good friend, but there are a number of people I know who have the same August birthday as me. It's quite a dull day in the middle of winter. Joy.

5. Locked your keys in the car?

Yes, but that was years ago and thankfully I was around blokes who were good with coat hangers / strapping who could get me out of the fix easily.

6. Accidentally sent a text or email to the wrong person?

That happens once or twice a year - thankfully its normally nothing more than a I'm running late notice.

7. Sat in the back of a police car?

No. But I've had more time down the police station this week than I would ever have dreamed of having at the start of Friday. The police I was dealing with were wonderful.

8. Fallen asleep at work?

Only for micro naps.

9. Made a snow angel?

No, but I've made Sand Angels - we don't have much snow here - it fact it basically never snows in Melbourne. Sand angels are made in the soft sand at the beach. Done that.

10. Ridden in an ambulance

Yes, but only because I was an ambulance cadet as a kid.

11. Worst household chore

Anything to do with floors - mopping and hoovering - hate them both with a passion.

12 .Worst colour

I'm not partial to pink. Actually I really don't like pink. Lime green isn't great either, - especially when found on cars.

13. Worst pizza topping

Four cheese pizza does nothing for my stomach. I'm also not partial to anything with bacon on it. Not really a fan bacon on pizza - ham, yes, sausage, yes, but bacon is overkill.

I do, however, like anchovies, mushrooms and occasionally pineapple, but don't tell anybody about the last one (Pineapple is okay for BBQ Chicken and Hawaiian pizza and only when the latter is bought in an ironic fashion. There are big fights about this topic in Australia.)

14. Worst weather

Hot, humid weather. Only bearable when I'm on holiday somewhere tropical where I don't have to move much further than to the pool and back.

15. Worst self-care job (e.g. dressing, washing, shaving, teeth, toe nails)

I'm forever spilling toothpaste down my front. I don't clean my teeth before I put the top layer on. I hate doing my toenails too, but they are a necessity.

16. Worst game

Not a fan of tennis or golf. Both are just boring.

17. Worst school subject

Physics. But then again it was taught by a yeti. I may have done better with another teacher.

18. Worst animal

Not fond of crocodiles. Ugly, dangerous creatures. Snakes are pretty rank too.

19. Worst season

Summer. But Australian summers are horrid in their intensity. Give me an English summer any day.

20. Worst TV show

Game of Thrones. I never go into it as it was far too violent and gory for my liking. Only watched the first season and then had to turn off (though I did read the recaps.)

Today's Song:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Making Pancakes

Making pancakes is allegedly easy.

You need:

  • A cup of flour
  • A teaspoon of baking powder
  • A cup of milk - (Cows or your non-dairy favourite - for me it was Vanilla Almond Mylk)
  • An egg
  • Butter for the pan
To make:
  • Sift the dry ingredients in the  food processor
  • Add the milk/mylk and the egg and blitz till smooth
  • Grease a frying pan with a little butter
  • Put a puddle of batter in the pan, cook until brown on both sides
  • Repeat. The first pancake never works out.
  • Serve with whatever you wish. Best eaten hot.
I don't make pancakes very often, but as I've got limited cash and access to funds, ice cream is not on the cards - so pancakes it is. Because everybody knows, the best way to treat a bit of emotional fragility is with carbohydrates and sugar. I don't want to medicate with gin. I want the option to pop a sleeping pill if I need to and the ones I have do not mix with alcohol at all. I just want the option if I can't sleep. A drop of lavender oil on the pillow normally does the job, but bets are off at the moment.I'm being kind to myself.

After yesterday's events I've been keeping strict tabs on myself. 

How am I? 

To be honest, I'm a little fragile. But I am okay.

It's been a busy day.

Cards are pretty much all replaced - just the medicare card to go, but I'm not in a place to face the My Gov website. (Actually, I just did this now - it took five minutes, surprising for anything to do with these bloody government agencies).

The morning had me returning Craig the soap guy's tablet. The fact he loaned me this and $100 and the tablet to use for phone calls makes him a legend. I'm working out ways to give him something back (maybe a batch of biscuits - I make good biscuits.)

The phone's sim card was replaced within five minutes at Telstra.

The gym card was replaced in even less time. 

Jay's given me a spare Myki card of hers. I can get to work on Monday. That can get sorted then.

The phone was a bit more tricky. After visiting Harvey Norman at Richmond where I was informed they can only sell me an iPhone on an Optus plan, I went out to Chadstone and visited the Harvey Normans there. Half an hour later I was in possession of an iPhone 11. I got a red one. It might go faster. It's also on six months interest free finance. 

I called my insurance company. I've upped my insurance to cover the phone and contents of a normal handbag.Unfortunate this incident is not covered by insurance. At least I now have peace of mind. 

So the afternoon was spent setting up the phone, re-establishing apps. I got to 5 pm when I realised I'd only had a cup of coffee for sustenance. There was steak, onion, mushrooms and spinach in the fridge. Easily sorted. 

But going to Victoria Gardens, the local shopping centre, was a bit daunting at first. It felt strange. I was a bit on edge - not badly so - it wasn't debilitating - but it was unsettling. The feeling passed. This might take a bit of time. I didn't park where the incident occurred. But that's okay. The jitters will pass.

There have been tears. Not many. Nothing serious. I look at them as getting out the emotion that doesn't need to be there. I tend to cry why I think about the fact that I live alone - and it's time like this I wish I didn't. I'm allowed to feel sorry for myself for five minutes. Then I get on with it. 

It's all a matter of letting the shock and trauma out - which is thankfully is minimal. But it's there. And I'm acknowledging it. 

And that's the first step in healing. 

Tomorrow is a new day.

I'm not sure I'll get through this month's book group book in time. I have to front up at the new job on Monday morning.

I'm upright, I'm healthy, the knee is feeling better. It's okay.

It will just take a little time.

Today's Song: 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Anatomy of a Crap Evening

I need to get this down and out of me as I've had a crap afternoon and evening. Dot points will do.

On the good side of things, I'm fine. My knee is a bit sore and I'm shaken, but I'm otherwise fine.

I got mugged this afternoon. 4.30 this afternoon. I know this because I was going off to see Parasite and I needed to post a letter before the session.

I was nearing the post box in the car park. Some arsehole then drives up to me in a silver Honda drove up beside and grabbed my bag from over my shoulde from the car window. I grabbed on, but he accelerated and I had to let go.

I screamed down the place and gave chase. Another bloke, hearing the ruckus, also gave chase.

About 20 people came to my aid. It appears that I have a VERY loud scream.

Things could be so much worse. I could have got run over. I could have fallen and hit my head. He could have had some sort of weapon. I think I twisted my knee during all this - it's not bad - I'm sitting here with a bag of peas on it now.

Security arrived in minutes. It appears my screams were heard by the guys in the sporting goods shop and they came out to help. The bloke who gave chase came back. The car could not get out of the car park, so it was deserted on the top level. The silver Honda sedan was up there, filled with crap that looks like it was stolen - angle grinders, handbags, clothes etc etc. The car was deserted.

On the good side of things, having this happen in a car park in a busy shopping centre hopefully means there are CCTV recordings.

Police were called. The security guy at the centre was helpful-ish.

With no money, no phone, no keys, I went and saw a friend - there is a fellow who runs one of the stalls - we chat regularly and are becoming friends. He sat me down, gave me his mobile phone, got me a glass of water and some chocolate and let me get on with things like cancelling cards while waiting for the cops. He also loaned me $100 cash. He's an angel and I thank the universe that he was willing to help and so generous in his aid. Having his phone meant I could contact Jay, who came to my aid. She lives nearby, was home and was able to come help. (Facebook Messenger is brilliant for some things - this is one of those things)

Thankfully I have a replacement card sitting on the couch I can use and syphon money over to. Pleased about this.

The police called. We spoke as I took stock at what I'd lost:

  • My favourite blue leather handbag
  • My wallet  in which there was
  • 3x credit cards
  • Store cards 
  • Drivers licence
  • Medicare card
  • Mobile phone (and iPhone X - about 2 years old and paid off)
  • About $40 in cash and coins
  • My blue ganesha key ring
  • 1 ml of frankincense
  • A stainless steel water bottle
  • My keys (Keys to the car, flat, Freemason's temple, post office box, front gate and the front gate remote)
  • A Nars lipstick in the colour of Fire Down Below
  • Some used tissues
  • My Myki Card
  • My Opal Card (Sydney PT card)
  • A charging cable
  • A pot of Black Chicken deodorant
  • Some other crap which I will think of at some stage - but this is by the by

Jay came pretty quickly. We swung by home. Roused the downstairs neighbours, Lea and Gene. The downstairs neighbours who have my keys are away but they have a house sitter. Texts were sent to ascertain the location of my spare keys (we feed each other's cats - spare keys are a necessity). Jay took me down to the cop shop where I gave a full statement. The constable I dealt with was excellent - I'd talked to her on the phone earlier. She'd had a bad day. Lots of dead bodies. A simple robbery with a person who wasn't screaming at her seems to have made her day.

Coming home, the neighbours had found my keys so I could get into the flat. I got my spare car key and Jay drove me back to the shopping centre to collect it. The car key battery was flat.

It's now 8 pm.

Thankfully the key / shoe repair guy was there. He replaced the battery and sold me a new gate opener (Jay providing the funds, which will be paid back shortly)

I went and bought some dinner and went home.

The land line in the flat was ringing. It was the police. My keys had been handed in  - minus my wonderful Sex+Death keyring. I'm utterly grateful for this but I'm still agitated that some arsehole has all my details. Thankfully most things are now locked down - just the medicare card and the driver's licence to deal with tomorrow morning.

But I'm grateful for a lot of things.

  • For Jay being able to come and help
  • For Craig at the shopping centre for being incredibly helpful and supportive
  • For the nice people who came to my aid
  • That I'm not hurt more than a jiggered knee and a bit of pride
  • That my keys were turned in to the cops early and came back to me before the locksmith came (Still thinking I'll talk to the locksmith tomorrow about this)
  • That for some reason I managed to keep my head through all this. 
Part of me wants to pop a sleeping pill now and go to bed, but I've had a G&T and that would not be a good idea (Stilnox and alcohol don't mix). What I would really like is to have a big, burly, clean, sweet smelling bloke to cuddle, but that is not available at the moment. I'll go see Maow Maow on Sunday.

Tomorrow I'll sort out the rest of stuff including getting a new mobile. I feel a bit lost without it. 

But it was a shit afternoon - with a lot of blessings. 

And to the arsehole who mugged me - may the fleas of a thousand camels nestle in his armpits and may a raging case of tertiary syphilis come his way.  Never fuck with a witch. Karma will get him. But messing with a witch means the bump back will be brutal. 

I'm going to try get some sleep now. Maybe tomorrow I will get to see Parasite....

Thanks for being supportive. 

Today's Song: (Cos it makes me happy)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Rain Room

The Rain Room

Jackalope Pavilion, Corner of Fitzroy and Ackland Street, St Kilda

Ticket Available until April - for all ages.

I love the rain. Maybe it's because I'm a country girl, maybe I'm just strange, but rain makes me happy. Okay, it's not so good when it's torrential and you're stuck without an umbrella and you need to be somewhere, but any other time, rain is awesome.

So when you tell me that there is a place you can go where you can walk in the rain and not get wet, I was going to happen.

According to the website, The Rain Room is:

"A 100 square metre field of continuous rainfall, Rain Room is a responsive environment engaging all the senses, allowing you to be fully immersed in the rain while simultaneously protected from it. A globally significant work, Rain Room seeks to explore how human relationships to each other and nature are increasingly mediated through technology."

In less wanky language, it's a room, where it rains and you can walk through the rain and not get wet. Sensors pick up where you are on the floor and it doesn't rain around you.It's very cool.

It is very, very cool.

Your ticket gets you 20 minutes in the Rain Room. When you turn up, your belongings stowed in lockers, you are taken into a vestibule. The guide gives you a bit of a talk - mainly they tell you to move slowly when you're in the space and to beware of people getting too close to you as you might get wet. They then take you into this darkened space, illuminated only by a single light at the end of the pavilion. And it's raining. Proper rain, not some passing shower. The rain you get in Bali. The rain we used to get when I was a kid. Rain that would keep you inside with a book and a cup of tea for an afternoon.

Walking into the installation, the rain parts around you. It's still raining around the place, but you are dry. It's all driven by motion detection sensors,which locate you on the grid which then stops it raining over you.

This left me with a huge smile on my face. It was sunny and in the late 20s when I entered the room. The temperature dropped ten degrees and it was happily damp. If you stand in the middle of the mat and close your eyes, you feel like you're in the middle of the weather. It's a joy to watch people find the boundaries of the  area keeping them dry. It's fun when you do get by the odd droplet. Moving too fast and you're guaranteed to get drenched - so it goes a bit against the grain - as most of us move faster when it starts to rain.

It was a strange experience. Worth every cent of the entry fee. There is something very raw about standing around in a dark room in the rain.

Then all too quickly it was over. A quick trip around the gift shop and then back out into the light and the heat. I was sad to leave.

I'd like to go back again and share the experience. Now that they are releasing more tickets, this may happen.

(Images are mine, from the phone)

Today's Song:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Film Review: 1917

Film: 1917
Film Number: 8
Stars: 4.5

"What passing bells for these who die as cattle?"
(Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen)

I've just come from seeing 1917. I've got a large gin and tonic in front of me and I'm struggling to find the words to describe this film, other than it is incredible. Incredible, visceral, unreal, haunting and a cinematic masterpiece.

The movie was widely tipped to win the Oscar for best film. I can see why that's is was the case - it won nearly every BAFTA and Golden Globe award out there. Sam Mendes' direction is flawless. He was nominated in the best director category. He didn't get it, but you can see why he was nominated.

1917 was nominated for ten Oscars. It won three - for Cinematography, Visual Effects and Sound Editing. It could have easily won in every section it was up for. Easily. This movie is stunning.

But this is not an easy movie to watch by any standards. It is a long poem of a film. This is the lovechild of a cinematographer with the poetry of Wilfred Owen. It exemplifies the horror, the pity and the utter pointlessness of war.

The premise of the movie is quite simple. April 6, 1917. Two corporals are asked to travel over No Man's Land to deliver a message to an isolated battalion to call off a pending battle. The movie follows them as they are subjected to horror after horror as they make their way to deliver the message.

Simple. Not so much.

I'll be honest. I was considering walking out of this film, not because it was bad, but because is was so intense. The long shot format is incredibly effective, taking you with the boys through their travels across No-Man's Land and into the French countryside and into the trenches. It's overpowering in places - a lot of places. I'm very glad I stayed, but I found it difficult - not the realistic depictions of war, but the constant feeling of suspense and dread. The score, which was also nominated for an Oscar is helps to build the drama.

My other thought, though this film is not about a real event, was based on numerous events which could have happened on in France in 1917. Having read my great-uncle's war records and being a bit of a War History nerd, you know that this film shows a lot of truth. And seeing this, you wonder why there was ever another war. It's just horrible what went on in World War One. The film pulls no punches.

This film also shows the politics of the army - something you would never wish to encounter in modern life. There are some fine cameos from some of England's best actors - Andrew Scott, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Mays and Richard Madden to name a few. But the film is stolen by George Mackay and Dean-Charles Chapman, who play the two corporals sent on this seemingly impossible task.

I'm glad I've seen this, but couldn't see it again. It was far too intense a film for my gentle nature.  As a piece of film making, however, it is extraordinary

Today's Song:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Fighting with Shirley

Today had me in the car for a lot of the day. First down to Frankston for lunch, then back to the city to see to lawyer to sign the will.

The latter part of the day was easy. The lawyer had everything drafted, it was just a matter of getting it signed and witnessed and that was that. Easy. A quick drive out to Hawthorn, albeit at the tail end of school traffic, but it was done and dusted in twenty minutes. I drove home. The car was filled with petrol at the bargain price of $1.22 a litre (It was $1.75 at some places today, so I feel this was a big win) and I came home.

But the drive out to Frankston was eventful in that I waged a pitch battle with Shirley.

Shirley is my car's GPS system. She's the second iteration of Shirley - I had another one that I could move from car to car, but this one has a Shirley built in.

The GPS was named after a friend's mother, a chain smoking, moderate drinking Lancastrian with flat vowels and a thousand kilometre stare which could cut through double glazing. Shirley was a teacher for most of her working life. She has permanent teacher voice.

Shirley is a good name for the car's GPS.

I checked the maps before I left the house. It's easy enough to get to Frankston from my place, but I don't know central Franger. Why would I? It's out of a 20 minute radius. I rarely go there. All I knew that it would be about an hour on the freeway.

Shirley had other ideas.

Shirley wanted me to take the Nepean Highway via Hoddle Street/ Punt Road.

Shirley was having a laugh. According to her, it would take me an hour and twenty that way.

My laptop said take the freeway, I'll be there in 55 minutes.

Her first directions had me heading towards Hoddle Street / Punt Road.

"At the end of the road, turn left onto Johnson Street."
"Piss off, Shirley."

I turn right onto Johnson Street and head towards the Monash.

"Recalculating route." You could hear the disappointment in her voice.

"Turn left onto Bridge Road."
"No, Shirley."

Shirley was having a laugh. As much as I dislike Burnley Street, it's a necessary evil, and out of peak hour, and besides roadworks, you can get through the Swan Street lights in one or two minutes.

"Recalculating route."

I'm sure the real Shirley would not be somebody you would cross if you were in her class. But I was happy to wing it.

"At the roundabout, take the third exit."
"Shirley, you're effing dreaming." I laughed as I made my way thorough the second exit and got onto the Monash. "I need to go to Franger, not Toorak you dozy cow."
"Recalculating route." If Shirley was human, you would swear that steam was coming out of her ears.

This went on all the way to Frankston. She tried to take me down every freeway turn off, to which I told her where to go, to which she responded with a cursory, "Recalculating route." She seemed to be getting more and more upset as the time to destination counter went down.

If I'd followed Shirley's advice, I would have been 20 minutes late for lunch.

Taking the freeway, against Shirley's best efforts to have me go another, longer route, I got there on time.

But Shirley's continual castigation let me ragged. Sometimes, just sometimes, I know better than Shirley. I feel like I have to answer her back - tell her off for being a stupid cow, ponder at her lack of judgement as she tries to get me to take Punt Road - but as most Melbournians can tell you, Punt Road should be avoided at all costs (A bit like the Dequetteville Terrace roundabout in Adelaide, or the Swindon roundabout and anything called Ring Road in England).

Bless her, she does get me places in the end, but I do doubt her judgement sometimes.

I'm just glad the real Shirley never ended up as my mother-in-law. If things had played out differently, it could have happened. The relationship could have been very difficult, especially if I had to tell her to fuck off with the monotonous regularity with which I must do with her namesake.

I never told the real Shirley's son that I named my GPS after his mother. I'd like to think he might see the funny side of it.

Today's Song:

Monday, February 10, 2020

Best Self Box: What do you get into arguments about?

I'm dipping into the box tonight as I'm still a bit knackered from the weekend and I really, really don't feel like writing. I need to acclimatise myself into more office-appropriate hours as I've been going to bed late, getting up late. As of next Monday, I'll be back at work so I think doing this gently is a good thing.

Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm looking forward to going back to work. Okay, I need the money, but I'm looking forward to getting out of the house. I'm feeling a bit cabin sick.

Anyway, today's box question, What do I get into arguments about?

Well, living alone means I don't have anybody to argue with on a regular basis.

At work, I'm often the line of least resistance person or the one giving the orders so arguing isn't something that comes into it.

I argue politics with my family, toeing the left-wing, greener aspects of the argument. These can get pretty heated at times, but never do they get nasty. It is fun having polar opposite views compared to your family, who, for the most part, are what you could call just right of centre. But still, I argue politics with my family. I look on it as sport.

I also sit in the corner agreeing with the following topics:

  • Vaccinations are necessary
  • Climate Change is real
  • Our democracy is being eroded away
  • Spaying your pets is a good thing
  • The Liberal/National Party are a mob of muppets
  • Brexit is a terrible thing
  • Gun control is a good thing
  • Rabbits are either vermin or food
  • Bananas are awful
  • Keto diets are not good long term
  • The Pixies are the best band in the world
  • The Kardashians are a waste of space
  • The ABC is a national treasure which needs to be funded better
  • Cyclists are not all evil
  • People who don't use indicators should be shot on sight
  • There is little point to the works of Peter Carey and Kate Grenville
  • Booker Prize winners are normally an awesome read
  • The Oxford Comma should be used sparingly
  • Karl Stefanovic is more watchable than Kochie (just)
  • They should be doing more about the recycling in Australia
  • Boycotting Murdoch entertainment / newspapers is a good thing
  • South Australia is the best state in Australia
  • Menopause does not have to be suffered through
  • Water is a human right, not something to be bought and sold by the government...

There are lots of things I will argue about. It just doesn't happen that often.

I find myself in a bit of an echo chamber a lot of the time, but hey, it's the way things roll. 

Today's Song: (Heard in the gym tonight - it's awesome)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Thought Provoking Questions

I'm just back from Adelaide so I'm a bit tired. After a weekend of driving, showing some friends around, swimming at the best beach in the world and going to a big party this afternoon I'm actually more than tired - I'm exhausted. But I have an hour and a half to get my questions in. It's going to be a quick one.

So here we go.

Questions, as always, stolen by and provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Is it more important to love or be loved?

To love. If you love, somehow, some way that love will be returned.

2. If you had the chance to go back in time and change one thing would you do it?

Ah yes, there is one thing. It was a night in about 1998. I don't want to go into details. I still wonder what might have happened is the events one one evening were different.

3. If a doctor gave you five years to live, what would you try to accomplish?

Write a couple of books. Lose some weight. Travel to all the places I really want to go to.

4. What is the difference between innocence and ignorance?

Ignorance is when you willfully disregard something which you should know, or have learned and you still disregard it. Innocence is when you've had no opportunity to know or learn something. It can be a very fine line.

5. What is the simplest truth you can express in words?

Trump is a dickhead. Can't get much simpler than that.

6. What gives your life meaning?

Friends, cats, food, books, writing, fun, swimming.

7. Can there be happiness without sadness?  Pleasure without pain?  Peace without war?

Yes and no. You need to see to not so good to really appreciate the good. It's a sliding scale. But you do need a little of each extremity to really appreciate the other. Pleasure and pain is a really interesting dichotomy as well. 

8. What’s the one thing you’d like others to remember about you at the end of your life?

That I was a good, kind, albeit quirky person - and a really good writer who wrote lots of books and all is good.

9. Is there such a thing as perfect?

No, but there is very good, great, grand, just right for the moment and enough. Perfect is a bad construct out of mathematics.

10. What do you love most about yourself?

My brain. My eyes. My ankles. That I will anything a go once.

11. Is it more important to do what you love or to love what you are doing?

Unfortunately there has to be a bit of give and take here too. Doing what you love is great - if you can get it. But if you love what you're doing it can make up for a lot of things.

12. What do you imagine yourself doing ten years from now?

Dream state?  As a successful novelist, I'd have a house with a back yard, writing books and living with my husband and our two cats and a dog. That would be grand.

13. What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?

Sounds a bit strange, but when my Dad died, I was alone in London. I had friends around, but no family. It was a hard time. A friend brought round some joints for me to smoke if I wanted to. She would come back in a week and take back anything I didn't take. I had one or two joints. It was a small thing in a very hard time. It meant a lot.

14. To what degree have you controlled the course your life has taken?

In the last few years, I've directed a lot of my live. Before that, not as much. I'm glad I've continuously kept educating myself and learning new skills.

15. If you looked into the heart of your enemy, what do you think you would find that is different from what is in your own heart?

Probably not, then again, I don't have enemies, real or perceived. Waste of energy.

Today's Song:


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Travelled Out

Things to know about today:
  • I have travelled to South Australia.
  • I am travelling with six others
  • As an introvert, this has its challenges, but I am amongst friends. 
  • I'm forever rounding up these friends to get them moving. This is okay. 
  • We had dinner at a Thai Restaurant in Victor Harbor, with my parents, some friends of theirs and my step sister. 
  • There is a big party at my parents place tomorrow.
  •  The Air BnB we are staying in is really lovely. Pity we're only here for one night.
  • We went down to my favourite beach in the whole wide world before we came down here. 
  • I'm going swimming at 7.30 tomorrow morning with a friend at my most favourite beach (this will entail a forty minute drive each way, oh well, it is the best beach in the world.
  • My friends think I'm mad to be going swimming at 7.30 tomorrow morning.
  • I am very privileged to come from such a place.
  • But I could never live here again. 
Not much of a blog post. A bit too much travelling and a bit too much gin has addled my brain.

Today's song:

Friday, February 7, 2020

Theatre Review: Home, I'm Darling

Production: Home, I'm Darling
Melbourne Theatre Company at the Southbank Theatre until 29 February

Imagine your life today, then set in the 50's. Imagine how things would play out. Think about what would be different. Picture what would would change.

This is the premise of Home, I'm Darling, Laura Wade's comedy currently playing at the Southbank Theatre which is done with great aplomb.

Judy (Nikky Shiels) has this life. Gone is her life as a career woman in Middle England. In the years before the action, she took a package from work, her husband, Johnny (Toby Truslove) is the breadwinner and everything appears to be a 1950's perfection, down to dinner on the table when hubby gets home, laminate benchtops and a cocktail set on the sideboard. This arrangement appears to suit the both of them. Judy enjoys her housewife life, away from the stresses and horrors of modern corporate life. Johnny is fine with the situation, supporting his wife and their shared love of all things from the 50's.

But of course, the wheels come off, and that slightly dull and muted veneer hides some very uncomfortable truths.

Home, I'm Darling is a wryly observed situational comedy, where a longing for the past is show for what it really is. It looks at a marriage and how differing standards and events shape a wonderful construct and turn everything on its ear.  Life is not as perfect as it looks for Judy and Johnny as modern day pressures infiltrate their 1950's haven.

This play is a solid start for the MTC's 2020 season. It is a gorgeous production, the set straight out of your nana's house when you were a child, only better kept and detailed. I had my eye on the step stool near the old fridge. We had one when I was a kid. It was brilliant.

The costumes were sumptuous as well, Judy, in particular has an amazing wardrobe which is a joy to behold.

Strong performances from Nikki Sheils and Toby Truslove are backed up by Jane Turner, playing Nikki's activist, feminist mother, Susie Youssef as her best friend Fran, and Peter Paltos as Fran's slightly sleazy husband Marcus are all great. Izabella Yena is also strong as Johnny's boss.

As the play progresses and Judy loses control of her 1950's reality, things eventually come to a head. Does Judy want to remain in her bubble? The play questions women's choices and how they are so varied, different and can be judged and perceived differently through many eyes.There is one speech, delivered by Judy's mum which resonates through the play. Things in the 50's were not as good as Doris Day and Rock Hudson made it out to be.

I loved this. Even if Judy's seemingly tenuous grip on reality grates at times, the play has a lot to say.
Even if contradictory views on feminism aren't your things, there is enough in the set, the costumes and the play's soundtrack to keep you entertained. The attention to detail in Renee Mulder's set and costume design is extraordinary.

Home, I'm Darling is definitely worth a look.

Today's Song:

Thursday, February 6, 2020


The sky is purple. It's gone from orange to pink through a number of muted violets in the last hour. The sun, a wild orange disc sat low on the horizon for an eternity. It reflected on the city buildings, giving them a glowing red edge, as if they were on fire on the outside.

The smoke haze was palpable today. It's come back yet again, like a bedraggled puppy looking for solace, trailing around in the background but far too wanting for attention that you can't help but give it your attention. You don't want to let it in, but its there.

This is the new norm. It's not what I signed up for.

At first, it wasn't so evident. It started out as a beautiful day, the type of summer days that you wish for. Blue skies, not too hot, slightly balmy, a gentle breeze. I made my way to Hawthorn to meet one of my old work husbands for a coffee. He's not working either. We sat at a cafe next to the train station and put the world to rights for near on two hours. I miss working with him. He's good value.

But the air quality became an issue. My lungs started filling with crap, my nose running, eyes stinging. Catarrh was forming in the back of my throat. There were some smokers sitting near us. As an ex-smoker for over a decade, my intolerance for passive smoking is limited. But it wasn't the smoke from the smokers which was upsetting me. It was the air quality.

 I'm healthy. I've been in the gym a lot over the last two months, but I'm feeling sluggish - like I can't get enough air in my lungs. Later, with my trainer at our session I was reticent to do too much cardio - my lungs aren't filling. There isn't enough oxygen.

I'm sucking on a ventolin as if it was an e-cigarette, but rather than looking for that instant gratification from nicotine or some cannabis derivation, I'm seeking the solace of air.

And this is the new norm. It's not what I signed up for.

I remember living in London, where you adapt to your environment. You get used to the silt in the kettle from the over-processed water. You know when you blow your nose, your snot will be streaked with soot. It was an inconvenient fact if life. You got used to the detritus.

But this is Australia. Overpopulation is not the issue yet. The fires, and climate change are the issues at hand. 

The red rain may return. I've washed my car, taking care of the last bout of dust and water and soot. I presume I will have to wash it again in the near future as another dust storm overtakes the city.

For now, for the next few days, there is the promise of smoke haze. I won't go outside the house without ventolin. I'll stay inside. I'll avoid exercising outside for extended periods.

And I will wish for the time when the air was clean and free from the particles of trees, and grasses, and animals and buildings and other unthinkable events which are circulating in the smoke.I think it's this fact which upsets me most - not the ongoing feeling of having your lungs in constant recovery. It's the fact that the air contains the last remnants of tangible things. It's upsetting. It's frighting. It's a constant reminder of the horrors of the last weeks.

And this is the new normal.

It's not what I signed up for.

My only consolation - I'm about to embark on writing a dystopian novel.

I don't have to look hard to find inspiration for my setting.

Today's Song: