Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November Check in - December Goals

 Oh, it's goals day. God help me. 

Other than being exhausted and being sick of working a 50-60 hour week then having a Property Association meeting - I'm friend. 

Anyway, let's get on with it:

So how did I do with November's goals:

Read four books.

I kicked goals with the one. I finished six books this month. They were:

  • The Performance by Claire Thomas
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • How We Love - Notes on a Life by Clementine Ford
  • Billie Whitelaw  - Who He? by Billie Whitelaw
  • The Henna Artist, by Alka Joshi
  • The Luminous Solution by Charlotte Wood. 

Use the gym three times a week

This one is getting there. I see Cleo twice a week and I've managed to get back into the gym proper, twice a week. We're getting there. 

Hoover and mop once a week.

Yeah, didn't happen. Hoovered once a week. Mopped once in the month. I hate doing floors. 

Participate in NaNoWriMo

Unfortunately, this didn't happen. some writing did get done - but not this. Work took over this month, unfortunately. 

See two movies

This happened, however. I saw The Eternals, which I wasn't a fan of - and I saw No Time to Die, the new Bond film. Twice. I really liked that. 

And for my December Goals:

Read four books.

I love this goal. It keeps my reading up.

See four movies

I have some time off at the end of the month, so I think this will be doable - and there are some great movies coming out. 

Close the rings on my Apple watch at least 25 days of the month

Another good actvity goal. I managed it 18 times over the month of November. I want to get this up. Walking has fallen by the wayside due to work being so cactus. This has to change. 

And this will do. I like striving for reachable goals. With work being mental, this is a good thing.

And the song of the day is AWESOME. This makes me happy. Bedtime now. 

Today's song: 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Unseen Spaces

 The Exhibition: A Miracle Constantly Repeating - Patricia Piccanini

Where: Flinders Street Station Ballroom

As a part of: The Rising Festival

Tickets: $40 including booking fee. 

Until June 2022

In mentioning that I went to this exhibition on the weekend, there have been two main responses. "Who?" and "Oh?" appear to be the main ones. 

I've had a fascination with Patricia Piccinini's work for years, not that many know of her. Liking the fact she works to highlight human and animal forms, often blending the two in surreal representation, I had to see this. Initially, I was bpoked in last year in Winter.18 months later, I got my wish. 

And it was SO worth it. 

Piccinini's bizarre and thought provoking art works aside, a large part of this charm of this exhibition is its location, three floors up in the Flinders Street station ballroom. 

A ballroom at Flinders Street Station? Yep. The location hasn't been in use since 1983, and it looks like it. In the unrenovate space, you get an idea of the original grandeur of the buildind. It's structurally sound, and the gallery area has been shored up, but the rest of it has been left as it was found forty years ago. The found objects are fascinating. Old desks, phones and other technical paraphernalia deserted where it was left. And this too makes the exhibition even better. 

There is so much to take in at this exhibition. From the chimeras, her model, a strange blend of humans, animals and other items. It's hard to describe, but I love how I find Piccinini confronting and thought-provoking in equal measure. What is also great about this exhibition is the audio guide, obtained for free through a QR Code, which goes into detail about the inception of the pieces. 

My favourite rooms were the bedroom scene, circa 1985, complete with the milkcrate bed and the blanket curtains, and everythig I remember a 1980's bedroom post university to be. The found objects in this room were nostalgia at their best. 

There were many highlights to this exhibition - and the strange mix of art in an abandoned space made it even better. 

To be honest, it's worth the ticket price just to be inside this iconic building, wandering around in a piece of unseen Melbourne history. 

Today's Song: 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Conversations

 Another weekend, another few days of doing all sorts of things. I'm logged into my work laptop finishing off some things ready for tomorrow. It just goes on and on. At least the weather is good so the washing is all done and dried. It's the small things which are keeping me sane at the moment. 

Questions for this week, as always, have been supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What is the craziest, most outrageous thing you want to achieve?

I really, really want to write and publish successful novels. Looking at the process, this is a crazy and outrageous thing to be wanting to do. 

2. Have your parents influenced what goals you have?

No, not at all. 

3. What is a fashion trend you’re glad went away.

Oh, just look to the eighties. Double denim has always been a crime against humanity. That and those jeans which are so low cut you can see the top of your pubic hair. They are pretty awful too. 

And leg of mutton sleeves. 

And leggings which are worn as pants, and not just as exercise wear, or worn under long tops. 

There are lots of others, but these are my main bugbears. 

4. What word or saying from the past do you think should come back?

Bonza. Great Australian word. 

I also like cockwomble, which I'm told means "A completely useless person that spouts constant bullshit". We have a few of them in our Federal Parliament. 

5. What do you bring with you everywhere you go?

My phone, my purse and my sunglasses. 

6. Is there such a thing as a soul?

Yes. Well I like to think there is. 

7. Is there life after death?

I do believe in reincarnation. I don't know how it works, but I'm pretty sure it is out there. 

8. Do you think there will ever be a third world war?

Unfortuately, yes, but I hope I'm not around for it. It won't look like the last two world wars. That is all I know. 

9. What smell brings back great memories?

Juicy Fruit chewing gum always reminds me of my dad. Polo and Cool Water aftershave remind me of special people. Cookie Man cookies remind me of my Grandfather. 

10. How would you like to be remembered?

As a good, kind and intelligent person. That will be enough. 

11. What kind of music are you into?

A bit of everything, from rock, classical, alternative, even a bit of jazz. It's easier to say what I don't like, which is Country and Western, and Death Metal. Also I don't like overplayed pop - artists like Adele, Ed Sheeran and the like. I find when music gets overplayed, it's grating and I get turned off for life. 

12. What is the biggest surprise of your life?

I really can't think of one. 

13. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ice cream. 

14. Where is the most awe inspiring place you have been?

Westminster Abbey in London. I've been many times, but I love the history of the building. Coming from a country with only 250 years of documented European history to see all of the dates on the tombs, and the magnificence of the place, it is just amazing. 

15. Describe your life in six words

Busy, strange, quiet, interesting, active and fun. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Dinner in Briiiiiiighton

 In an effort to do something a bit different and to shake off the hard week, I met Jonella and Thom for a Japanese dinner in Briiiighton before catching a film at the Briiiiighton cinema. We saw the Bond film. Yes I've seen it, but it was good enough to see twce. Meeting in Briiiiighton is great as it's about halfway between us. 

Briiiiighton is a good place. If you like multi-million dollar homes, mansions, women with blonde tips and men in boat shoes without socks. 

Ask Jimmy Rees about the people in Briiiiiighton: He's got the accent down. 

I haven't been to Briiiiighton in about ten years. I've been past it, but not to it. The last time I was there I was looking after my bosses dogs and and old colleagues cat in her mansion (husband was a surgeon - the cat was a passive agressive arsehole). 

The Japanese place was awesome. Great food. 

But the Briiiighton stereotypes were out in full force. 

There were more septagenarian men wearing floral shirts than I have ever seen in my life. They all had one of two haircuts too - expensive short back and sides, or the overly long Beethoven look. And they left a trail of expensive aftershave. 

The men around Richmond don't wear aftershave. Clean bloke is as good as it gets around here. 

I saw more Teslas on the road there that there are around here  - LOTS more Telsas. And small yappy dogs. And designer denim. 

I know Melbourne is a diverse place, but after ten years of being away from the place, I wasn't prepared for the accuracy of the stereotype. 

To shake off this sense of wonder, after visiting this Melbourne enclave, I have to go back to my roots. The Dead Kennedys will bring me back to reality pretty quickly. 

Today's song: 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Takeaway night

 Friday night is takeaway night. 

It appears it's takeaway night for most of the inner East. 

After a marathon chat session with the team after work after a killer week, and after probably on too many Blasphemy whiskys on top of some Baileys with some Mr Black coffee liqueur, I was getting hungry. 

It was well after knock off time, but we kept chatting. My colleage smokes. I watched her over the camera, occasionally dropping a "I want a cigarette!" at her while being very thankful that she was many kilometres away. 

The week pretty much demanded that we have more than one drink.

Anyway, it got to about seven. Hunger was beginning to bite. Unable to drive anywhere due to the amount of alcohol I'd imbibed, I ordered in. 

A healthy burger from Grill'd and some sweet potato chips. They do great burgers and I have a standard order. I ordered dinner at 7.07 p.m. The app told me dinner should arrive at 7.40 pm. 

Our drinkies meeting finished about 7.30. Jonella called. We had a chat. I went to sit out at the front gate to wait for my dinner. It was a good night for it. 

7.40 pm came and went. I watched as the crows put themselves to bed. 

7.50 pm came and went. Jonella and I kept chatting. The app said that my driver was on his way. 

8.00 pm came and went. I said goodnight to Jonella and rang the dinner joint to ask where my dinner was - it appears there was no drivers to bring my dinner. 

The girl on the phone told me of this. She said there were about 30 orders waiting for delivery. I was welcome to come and pick it up she said. 

I thanked her for the offer, then told her I was too drunk to drive. This was a slight exaggeration. I wasn't drunk, but I wouldn't go behind the wheel of a car after the early evening session. If I was asking for a cigarette, I certainly had too much to drink. 

So I waited for my dinner, contrilling the hangry feelings which were starting to bubble up. 

Dinner arrived at 8.40 pm. An hour and a half later. 

At least dinner turned up, but it was a learning experience. Avoid getting your takeaway delivered in the inner city on a Friday night. Maybe next time I'll walk down the local Vietnamese which is crawling distance from the front door. 

But it was a bloody good burger after all that. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Looking forward to the weekend

 I've had the week from hell. 

But tomorrow is Friday and we down tools at 4 pm have a drink and look forward to the weekend.

Mind you, I'll have to put in a few hours of work as I'm getting nothing done at the moment - days are made up of meetings and trying to sort stuff out. 

But I'm looking forward to some things this weekend. 

  • Tomorrow night I might go to the gym. I'd see a film but there is nothing on at the local cinemas I want to soo (or they're on at the wrong time)
  • And I might settle into a movie on Netflix
  • There's meditation on Saturday morning
  • And the Patricia Picinini exhibtion on Saturday afternoon
  • And I've got a 3000 piece to get the the editor for Monday
  • And a writing block on Sunday afternoon
  • And I'll go round and see Blarney and Barney
  • And the normal house work, washing, ironing, food shopping
Just one more day to get through. 

This is all I have in the tank tonight and I don't want to think about work and moan about it. 

There is a lot to look forward to. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

I am a technical writer

Another day of interviews. Me doing the interviewing, not being interviewed. 

And another day of trying to explain to people what I actually do. 

And another day of explaining just what makes up a technical writer. 

The HR Rep was a smirking when I tried to explain to her that tech writers come in all sorts of forms, but we're cut from the same cloth. 

  • Most of us can be considered quirky
  • Many of us will have have at least a toenail on the spectrum
  • Most of us are grammar and spelling Nazis
  • And we're all pretty nerdy in our own ways
  • And we're used to working on our own
  • A good number of us are older
  • And have had many jobs other than technical writing
  • Many of us also have the titles of business analyst, instructional designer, trainer or tester on our CVs
  • And most of us will have fallen into this job
  • And we're forced to be good at lots of things
  • And we can pick up things quickly
  • And nothing phases us
  • And nothing surprises us
  • And most of us have seen everything and expect it all to happen again
Tech writers are also used to being on the bottom of the food chain as we have to wait for everything to be done and tested, tried and settled before we can finish our documentation. 

And our first reaction to anything is to say under your breath, "FOR FUCK'S SAKE!" before smiling nicely, nodding and assuring whoever is asking the impossible that will be done on time and under budget. 

So speaking to a lot of technical writers over the last few weeks, you know the pukka ones from the ones who are just pretending. 

Oh, and did I mention that we're not the most sociable of people. Misanthropes, introverts and grumpy bums. That's us. 

But we can be personable, sociable and appear normal if we try. In interviews we really try. 

Today was interesting as we interviewed somebody who displayed every last one of these character traits in an hour interview. Not the sociable, personable, can-do attitude bits.

We got out of the interview, closing off the call. The HR girl called me straight back. 

"Well?" she asked. 
"Umm. Yeah."
"Oh, my goodness."
"Umm. Yeah"
"You're not saying much."
"Umm, yeah. They're just saying everything I say in my head out loud. No filter. On the spectrum. Used to working on their own. They're probably very good at their job."
"I hear a but."
"But she's never fit in around here.We'd be too touchy-feely for them."
"You'd consider employing them?"
"Not for this job. No filter. Recipe for disaster around here."
"They've been badly burned at their last job. I get it. I would have been the same if I was interviewing straight after a bad job."
"We can't move them forward. They'd eat my manager alive. No point."
"But you're considering them?"
"Nope, but it is interesting for you to see what a real technical writer looks like."
"But you're so .... so bubbly... and good with people..."

One day, the HR girl will find out it is all an act. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The joy of music

Tonight at the gym, Cleo stuck on a Classic play list. Eighties rock. Early nineties rock. Bogan specialties. 


It was awesome. 

And as she pummelled me senseless, putting me through my paces, we saw each other's deepest, darkets knowledge of dodgy music, and just what you remember about these songs. 

"Pand, who's this?" she asks as the first chords of songs came over the sound system. 


"Baby Animals."

"Screaming Jets. Better. 1991."

"Pearl Jam."

Cleo perks up at the first bars of Alive, by Pearl Jam. I never got into Pearl Jam. I'd left for England when they got big over here, while I immersed myself in Brit Pop and the likes of Blur, Oasis, Pulp and Right Said Fred. 

But Cleo gave me the dates of the Pearl Jam concerts she attended as a teenager. She still has the ticket stubs for the first concert. The second concert she never made - her father had died that afternoon. She remembers tossing up whether to go to the concert or not . (She didn't)

Then on came Beck. Loser. Cleo knew the words. It was cool 

Then there was Paul Simon - that's more like it. You Can Call Me Al... well that got me through the leg presses and deadlifts, dancing all the way through. One of those songs I know all the words to. 

"A man walks down the street

He says, "Why am I soft in the middle, now?

Why am I soft in the middle?

The rest of my life is so hard

I need a photo-opportunity

I want a shot at redemption

Don't want to end up a cartoon

In a cartoon graveyard"

I got told to stop dancing then. Anything to delay the 12 x 12 kilogram deadball slams. 

Oh, and then the kicker. 

Cold Chisel. 

This is where my bogan roots come out. 

I still maintain that singing the following lines at the top of your lungs while a tram going down Glenferrie Road drowns out your croaks is one of the greatest things ever 

"Anytime you want to find me

I ain't got a telephone

I'm another world away

But I always feel at home, with my

Cheap wine and a three-day growth..."

(Most people would rather listen to two cats shagging that listen to me singing. )

Anyway, this is what made me happy today. 

I started work at 8.00 am. I turned off my laptop at 6.00 pm. I barely left my desk. 

But running around a personal training studio singing along to some tunes, shouting out the artists while pushing some weights. Oh, and I'm doing short runs again. This too is a great thing. 

The equilibrium has been restored. 

Today's song: 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Why aren't we talking about this?

We all know mainstream media sucks. They pander to the right wing, they're painful, they only tell one side of the story if you don't read around (says she who dibs into The Age, The Guardian, The Shot and the New York Times on most days.)

Well, I think there are two things we should be talking about, even though nobody seems to be talking about them. 


Petrol prices are up near $2.00 a litre. 

Why isn't the media all over this? Sure, a house fire claiming the lives of four kids in Werribee - valid news. The captain of the Australian Cricket Team sending dick pics to somebody three years ago. Sure, very uncool and rather gross - valid news for a day. But the rest of it is around the lies of our Prime Moron (daily news, we should be used to it by now) and how the ABC is being investigated again and all sorts of other right wing clap trap.

But NOBODY is talking about the fact that petrol is now sitting at just under $2.00 a litre. 

And I don't get it. 

The other thing I think we ned to address is the following: 

Jacqui Lambie laying into One Nation

If you haven't seen this, watch it. In full.

Love her or hate her, I think this speech may go down amongst the likes of Julia Gillard's misogyny speech. 

I'm one who gives Lambie the benefit of the doubt. I don't agree with everything she says. And yes, she does occassionally sway to places I wish she wouldn't go. 

But this speech is GOLD. 

And she says pretty much everything I think about One Nation, and those dickheads people who are rightly or wrongly protesting vaccine mandates. 

She pretty much says it all. She certainly mirrors my thoughts on a stupid bill, written by an idiotic party, for which five of the coalition crossed the floor to vote for... yeah, go figure. 

Sure, she's a bit rough around the edges. 

Sure, she sometimes makes the not so good call. 

But in this case, the woman does good. 

Like Ricky Muir before her, who ended up being a bloody good senator, Lambie has come into her own. 

We need more like her to shutdown the right-wing, fear-mongering jackasses who are taking over country. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Thanksgiving

This time comes around every year, and every year I say the same thing - as an Australian, I really don't have much of a concept of Thanksgiving - it's an American thing We don't have it, unless you're lucky enough to have American friends who invite you round - hence I've been to one Thanksgiving dinner, held on the weekend after that blessed Thursday. Also, being on the last Thursday of November, I tend to be working, and the thought of eating strange foods, such as sweet potatoes with marshmallow (Which I discovered, strangely work together), pumpkin pie (which to an Australian is a bit of a travesty, as pumpkin is a savoury vegetable best left for soup and roasts)  and roast turkey - which forever comes out dry if you're not careful, all the while battling your family. Yeah... I'll keep to working on the last Thursday of the month. 

But I'll give these questions a go, supplied, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing

1) What teacher are you most thankful for and why?  What did you learn from him or her?

My high school French teacher was a wonder. She helped instill the wonder of other languages, and taught be how to learn languages. I'll forever be grateful for that. 

2) What’s the season you’re most thankful for, and what’s your favorite part of each season?

I am thankful for Autumn (Fall) as the worst of the heat of Summer is over by then. I love everything about Autumn. Winter is my next favourite season as you get to cuddle up and eat heavy food and keep warm. Summer is good because you can wander around in the evening in the warm - I love eating outside on pleasant summer evenings. Spring is good because it's still cool overnight, but the days get brighter - and your washing can finally get dry on the line. 

3) What electronic device are you most grateful for, and what does it add to your life?

That would have to be my phone. I think I'd be so cut off from the world without my phone. It gives me a lot of joy, my phone - I listen to music through it, stream television, keep up with the world. It would be strange not to have it. 

4) What musician or type of music are you most thankful for?

I am forever indebted to David Byrne for introducing me to World Music. I love David Byrne - he's given me so much joy over the years. But then again, most music gives me joy. 

5) What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?

My cat. He's gorgeous. He's also a prick, but he's a wonderful, wonderful fellow. Literature and my friends also bring me a lot of joy and a sense of beauty. 

6) What philanthropic cause or organization do you feel thankful for?

Both the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation. Both are very worthy charities, founded by Australians, that do amazing work around the world. I'm also grateful to the Leukaemia foundation, which was of assistance to my family a few years ago. 

7) What foods are you most thankful for?

Ice cream. It fixes everything. 

8) What local store or restaurant are you most grateful for?  How does it contribute to your quality of life?

Oh, there are many, from my local coffee shops where I go every second morning - love Holla Cafe and Soul Origin at the local Shopping Centre. Of course the Vinh Ki , Roll'd and the Loi Loi my local Chinese / Vietnamese restaurants are great and feed me when I need feeding. The local Toscanos, the wonderful continental green grocer and deli are fantastic. We are very lucky when it comes to food over here. 

9) What book are you most grateful for, and why?

This is a strange one, but that has to be Dr Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese. Reading this changed my whole live and set me living a different life from that day onwards. I continually remind myself: 

It can change your life. 

10) What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life?

My stepfather gave me the money for a ticket to England when I was 23. Another moment which completely changed my life for the better. 

11) What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better?

There have been too many of them to mention. I find adversity is a great way to grow, whatever that may be. You have to breakdown to break through. Isn't that what they say?

12) What vacation are you most grateful for?

At the moment, any holiday would be appreciated. I'm very appreciative of the weekends I spend down the Great Ocean Road on retreat with other writers. These weekends away really do restore the batteries. Next year I intend to have four to six weeks off and go overseas. England is looking likely. We will see. 

13) Name three days in your life that you feel especially grateful for.

  • Any day when I don't have to go to work
  • The day I moved to England
  • The day I worked out I could use my writing as a way to earn money. 

14) What product do you use on a daily basis that you most appreciate?

Oh, that would be anything which is used in my morning ablutions. So this includes:

  • Good moisturiser
  • Clinique soap in extra mild
  • Some sort of serum - what ever is on special at the chemist
  • Native deodorant - brilliant stuff
  • And leave in hair conditioner

15) What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for?

I'm very grateful that I was able to get vaccinated and I'm very grateful that the lockdowns are over. Sure we have a few restrictions, but we can live freely now. Thank goodness. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Film Review: No Time to Die

 Film: No Time to Die

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

First off, I will say that my viewing pleasure during this film was disturbed by the person producing the most dreadful of eggy farts in the seat next to me. Seriously, he should have seen a doctor or taken them outside. 

But that over, this, Daniel Craig's latest and probably last outing as Bond is a great addition to the franchised. It has everything you want in a Bond film. Unrelenting action, mind-blowing gadgets, a touch of romance and a touch of humour. He does a great old grumpy bugger - and when you think of it, at 53, Daniel Craig is one of the older Bonds. As somebody the same age as Craig, I have NO IDEA HOW HE GOT THROUGH THE STUNTS! He's allowed to be a grumpy old bugger. )

I will keep this review spoiler free as I know there are a lot of people looking forward to seeing this, but here's the crux of the film. Five years after Spectre, Bond is pulled out of retirement by his old mate Felix (Geoffrey Wright) to have a look into a big problem of MI-6's making. There's been an explosion in a lab making chemical weapons and a Russian scientist has gone missing. Reluctantly, Bond comes to his aid.

There is so many good things about this film. 

First up, how they tie everything together from the last couple of films. There's a return to the start with a nod to Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale. Lea Seydoux, his love interest from Spectre returns, and she has a big secret. 

Of course, the usual MI-6 contacts are there. Ralph Feinnes is as supercilious as ever as M. Ben Wishaw is great as Q, and Naomi Harris is a good, upright, unfawning Moneypenny. But the addition of Lashana Lynch as a new 00 agent that brings a new energy into the mix. And quite a few laughs. 

For the baddies, Rami Malik comes in as Safin, a man on a mission with a link to Madelaine (Lea Seydoux). And all of this appears have something to do with Blofeld (Christoph Waltz, again plaing a deranged nutcase) who's safely locked away in Bellmarsh Prison - or is he?

As with all good Bond films, the action is unrelenting. The scenes in Italy are fantastic, as are the final scenes on the island in the South China Sea. 

And for me, the best thing about this film is the script. Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag fame had a hand in it, and the sneaky one liners come thick and fast. The film also, unexpectedly, has a great heart to it, as Bond is taken to unexpected places. The film also cashes in on the current pandemic situation. Knowing that work began on this before this COVID crap started makes this almost prophetic in spots. Another diversion is how the film occasionally takes us into Bond's head - like hearing what he can do after being in an explosion. These little touches are great. 

Regardless, I've got through this review without relating a couple of very large plot points which would ruin the film. 

Go see it. It's great fun. And this film will help cement Daniel Craig as one of the best Bonds out there - and I don't think there will be much argument about it. 

Today's song: 

Friday, November 19, 2021

My Favourite Bond Films

 Before I review No Day to Die in tomorrow's post, I'm having a think about my favourite Bond films. 

Don't tell anybody, but I enjoy Bond films. Yes, the early ones are pretty sexist, and yes they are a bit violent, but they're mostly the violence I can tolerate - the bang-bang-you're-dead voilence which generally doesn't mess with your head. I also reckon that whoever the baddies get in for protection, they really could improve their gunmanship. They're TERRIBLE shots. 

My father introduced me to Bond films when I was about eight or nine. Live and Let Die was on the telly. Something gelled. Jane Seymour's Solitaire was a lingering image that took me down the path of reading tarot (Seriously - I was introduced to tarot through a Bond film). There's the epic boat chase and the streets of New Orleans - somwhere I've always wanted to go. And of course there's Paul McCartney's cracking theme song and Roger Moore at his best. Roger Moore always reminded me of my Uncle John. 

 As I grew up, I watched the back catalogue of Bond films. 

I'll admit to being in the Roger Moore camp - I don't mind Connery, but Roger Moore is a bit more polished. Maybe your first Bond is always going to be your favourite. 

And my second favourite Bond is Peirce Brosnan. I know, controversial - but I find he hits the right note between serious and campy - like Roger Moore. 

Though I've never been one for blondes, Daniel Craig is a great Bond too. Casino Royale and Skyfall are my favourites. 

Sure, Bond films have got more violent with age, but some things remain the same. There's always a M and a Q - and of course, Moneypenny - there has to be a Moneypenny - but at least now, Moneypenny isn't fawning over Bond anymore. 

There's the joy of all the technology. And the Aston Martin car, which has lots of gadgets. Oh, and there's the baddies. Kananga (Live and Let Die), Goldfinger, Javier Bardem's Silva was particularly sick, as was Christoph Waltz's Blofeld. Wonderfully sick. People you love to hate. 

I like that the new Bond girls are their own women. Gone are the simpering wrecks and in have come women who can very much hold their own. Bond, it appears, has found a conscience - or maybe he's just getting older. Daniel Craig was 52 when he made No Day to Die - I'd hate to do some of the stunts he was doing. Must have gone through a tonne of radox. But it was worth the view. 

I'll write about what I saw tomorrow. It's a film worth reviewing. 

Ah, Mr Bond. What would we do without you. 

Today's Song:

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Fustercluck

 I had to describe my current job, the word 'fustercluck' comes to mind. It's not like the people I work with are 'cnuts', but things are a bit of a mess. 

Also, as I've got this new, expanded role which means I'm forever putting out fires and dealing with people, when really, I'd rather just be writing. Or doing something else. 

On the upside of this fustercluck of a cnut of a day, there was my regular Thursday personal training session. On the even better side, Cleo put on an 80s playlist. It was awesome. Lots of Talking Heads (Have I ever said how much I love This Must Be The Place). There was some argument over who sang Sisters are Doin' It (Of course it was the Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin) and Jenny Morris came on singing about She's Got To be Loved. 

Cleo brought up the Chantoozies. Remember the Chantoozies? The Chantoozies were great (Isn't that David Reyne on the drums? And I think a friend said she was Tottie Goldsmith's next-door neighbour. And we all that skinny back then?)

Anyway, it's been a hard day and I need to lie on the couch and watch Grey's Anatomy for a bit. 

It's just the way it is as the moment. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Another day of it

 I'm sitting down to write. It's the first meaningful thing I've written today and it's 9.15 pm. 

I started work at 8 am. 

I shut the computer down at 6.15 pm. 

There was a mason's rehearsal at 6.30 pm.

I've just got home. 

Today I interviewed two people for a role in the team. One was great, and I hope they will take the job. When I mentioned that Roy Kent was my spirit animal and she knew exactly who I was talking about. With masses of experience, I hope they gets through the second interview. 

The second interview, the candidate wasn't as strong, without the experience of the first one,  but they had a quiet determination about them and came across as a great person - just not the right person for this juob

The notes were written up, singing the praises of the first, and saying nice things about the second person, saying they could be good for a normal business job. 

I really don't like the fact that I have to judge these people. Ah well, joys of a new role. 

Other things that happened was I spent the day wrangling the Compliance department. Wrangling lawyers is like herding cats. That is all I will say. 

And then there was the mason's rehearsal. I managed to get in some dinner after I left work at 6.00 pm and before I left for rehearsals at 6.25 pm. I also read a few pages of my book, luxuriating in my reading chair like a queen. 

And now I am here. Just buggered. 

On the good side of things, the cat launched himself at me for a cuddle when I was sitting on the loo. How can you say no to a cuddle when that happens? 

I think an hour on the couch watching Dopesick will do me good. (it's on Apple TV and it is awesome - Michael Keaton and Michael Stuhlbarg, among some other fantastic up and comers. Worth a watch.) That and lying on my bed of nails for a bit will do me the world of good.

It's just been another day of it. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Guilty Pleasure: Travel Guides

After a very long day, I need a bit of guilty pleasure television. 

On my list of things to do there is the following: 

  • Do the ironing
  • Write some of the novel
  • Hoover
  • Clean up
  • Learn my ritual
And a few other things that could be done. 

Instead, I'm watching a re-run of Travel Guides on Channel Nine. 

I love Travel Guides. They make me laugh. 

I love Kevin and Janetta, the travel snobs. Kevin's wit is dryer than the Sahara. Kevin and Janetta are better off on the luxury trips, but give them their dues, they give everything a go. 

The 'Target Boys' , Kevin, Dorian and Teng are sweet, funny versions of the ugly Australians you often find in Bali. They're always up for anything, relentessly taking the piss out of each other. 

The Fren Family from Newcastle, Mum, Dad, the red-headed son who never smiles and the overly exuberant daughter - they love to find a bargain, or get an upgrade. 

And the rodeo twins from the back blocks of Queensland who are wonderful in the way they're rough  around the edges. 

Over the years, they've had other blow ins, but these guys are the staples. 

And I love them. I love that they make me laugh. 

And they travel around taking in everything with good grace and humour. 

And that is what I am watching tonight instead of doing my chores because it makes me happy. 

Today's Song

Monday, November 15, 2021

Back to the Office

There's a sense of mourning, an intangible feeling of sadness, not that anybody has died. 

The bag is packed. The laptop is stowed away in its section of the back pack. In the front pocket, my wallet, the phone charger, a couple of bright red lipsticks, some sunglasses,  a spare mask,  my mason's ritual, a tube of Blistex, some pens... it's the work bag. There are earbuds as well. The good ones that don't need special jack, but the ones Apple supplied with the phone. You expect the work bag to contain these things. 

But I've got out of the habit. 

In another pocket sits my kindle and my running shoes, as I intend to walk home if the weather allows. At the moment, I live in hope. 

In the last pocket there's a couple of shopping bags. 

My work pass and myki are hanging from the bag by a lanyard, it's protective pocket stuck together with gaffer tape. 

My clothes are set out on the chair outside the spare room. Melbourne black. Wide legged black trousers, a black sleeveless t-shirt and oversized black cardigan. I think I'll need the oversized grey cardigan which is sitting next to the back pack. It's going to be another cold one. Black, leather lace up shoes and sockets sit below the clothes. 

My glasses have been cleaned and polished, ready for use. 

Lunch is ready in the fridge - just chicken and salad.  I'll take it in, no willing to see what is on offer in Salmonella Central, the food court in the shopping centre at the base of the building. With any luck, the coffee places are up and running again. I haven't thrown out my coffee cards. On the stove, my coffee is ready in the Italian stove top pot ready to percolate. Having this ready saves me five minutes in the morning. 

I've practiced putting on my eyeliner and mascara over the last few days - I've been out and about and it's been good to 'put my face on' before leaving the house. Working from home, I don't bother. 

The alarm is set for 6.30 a.m. The aim is to beat the crowds on the tram and train, then walk home at night to lessen the chance of running into the virus. Mind you, if you catch it, you catch it. Being fully vaccinated gives me some peace, but I've had a couple of friends and colleagues who have had it - the more you can stay away, the better. It's horrid. 

And sure, we have to check in and wear masks all day in the office. I've got a mask bracket in my back. It keeps the cloth away from your face, making mask wearing a bit more comfortable. 

If my colleague didn't have to go in, I wouldn't be going in. But as she's new, I need to show her around the office. She's keen to get back in, but there are issues, like the fact they're about to do another restack on the floor, and her lack of a working headset. It's all fun.  Also, my colleague who left two months ago needs his personal items collected. That's what the shopping bags are for. Hopefully there won't be much to collect.   Our manager is in Sydney, so she can't do it. There will be only a handful of people in the floor. The mask wearing puts a lot of people off going in. Well, that and COVID, and public transport and traffic and the dodgy food at Salmonella Central. 

I was last in the office on 14 July - four months ago. I wonder if my nice Clinique lipstick is still in my desk drawer. And my collection of chopsticks and pen and Post-It notes. 

I also wonder, after all these preparations, how, for nearly thirty years of my life, I had been making these preparations. There is something to be said for rolling out of bed at 8 a.m., feeding the cat, showering, making a coffee, dressing in a t-shirt and jeans, running a comb over my hair and shoving my feet in a pair of ugg boots or Birkenstocks, depending on the weather. 

It's after all this preparation I see the benefits of working from home. 

Today's song:

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Favourites

It could be winter here. It is not, bit it feels like it. A rather nasty East Coast low has settled over the South of Australia and it feels like Winter once again. I'm not complaining, other than my washing can't be dried on the lines downstairs, but the cool is nice. The rain is wonderful, thinks the country girl. But a sunny day would serve us well. 

Good writing weather. 

Questions, as always, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing:

Name Your Favorite…


 I can't name one. Here are a few of my favourite places:

  • Silver Sands beach, South Australia
  • The Tomb of Edward the Confessor, Westminster Abbey, London
  • Toledo, Spain
  • The Great Hall, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Cafe D'Lish, Caulfield, Melbourne (Was just there for brunch)


One of the following:
  • Pillarbox red
  • Cobalt blue
  • Teal Green


  • Dog's paws first thing in the morning
  • Mum's roast lamb
  • Juliettes got a Gun Not a Perfume perfume


I don't really read magazines any more, but I'm fond of Marie Claire. I also like The Monthly, an Australian current affairs magazine. It's got some good, well reported stuff in there. 


Satin ribbon. I have little bits of it around the place. I like to rub my nose with it. Old childhood habit I've never seen the need to get rid of.

    Thing to do when bored:   

  • Read
  • Watch movies
  • Write
  • Clean the flat

    Precious stone:

I've never really thought about this. I do like sapphires, but I don't own any. I also like moonstones. I know they've semi-precious, but I find them mysterious. Maybe it's the witch in me. 


I love all animals, but my cat Lucifer is my favourite animal. I really do like cats of all sorts (but I also love dogs too). For more exotic animals, pandas and tigers and lions and red pandas and wombats and elephants are all really good. Love wombats. They are fantastic. Quokkas are cute too. 

    Time in history:

I'm fascinated by the Tudors - the court of Henry VIII and the life - amazing, scary time. 


Oh, I am firmly a Times New Roman 12 pitch girl - I can't write in any other font. 

For when I can't use Times New Roman, Garamond and Gothic are fine, but I do like these slightly serifed fonts. They're easy to read. 


Rain on a tin roof is a wonderful sound, particularly after a long hot day when the heat is breaking. Gently breaking wave is another sound I could sit and listen to all day.


That would be a toss up between mangoes, lychees and strawberries. Mangoes are a most wonderful thing. 


My English roots show through here - I love potatoes. For proper vegetables, broccoli, fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce  and sweet potatoes are all wonderful, but I do love potatoes, not that I let myself have them very often as they are best enjoyed with lots of butter. 


I don't really have a favourite shop, but I do love visiting really lovely bespoke shops, like the Florentine paper shop down Degraves Street. It is just so beautiful. I'm also fond of craft shops like Lincraft and Spotlight, but I aways walk out with far too much stuff, that I don't need. And Bunnings (Americans, think Home Depot) is a bit of an Australian institution. They even did a Bluey episode on the joys of Bunnings - renamed Hammerbarn. 


"This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man."  Polonius, Hamlet, Act I Scene iii. 

"The lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact." A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V, scene i. 

    Historical figure:

Nelson Mandela - I don't need to say more than that. 


Very fond of the Hebrew Aleph. It's such a strong, generous letter. It means a lot too. I've just come from meeting up with my Kabbalah meditation group, so I'm feeling this one today. 


I have plenty of favourite memories, but one that comes to mind is the two times I've seen David Byrne live on stage. He's incredible. Talking Heads will always make me smile. And sing. I've been to some great plays too. Seeing Ned Beatty, Brendon Fraser and Frances O'Connor in London in a production of A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Aiden Fennessy's The Architect come to mind as some of the best performances I've ever seen seen. 

I had an amazing sound healing session with Shervin Boolorian in Bali. He is incredible. 

I have lived a very fortunate life. 


Oh, that is Creme Brulee all the way. I like to style myself on Amelie. 


As a proud South Australians, I have to say FruChocs. But I am very fond of white chocolate  and Caramilk and Topic bars when I'm in England. 


Do I have to pick one? Thing is that after the pandemic, a lot of these restaurants have shut down. I also go to certail restaurant to get one dish - like having brunch at Cafe D'Lish, which we found out today turns 20 tomorrow. I wished Izzey and Morrie mazel tov, strange words to come out of the mouth of a shiksa.

But I love the following places: 

  • Quaglinos in London.
  • Mejico in Sydney and Melbourne.
  • The Vinh Ky down the road for their Dry Chilli Beef - I live in a very Vietnamese area and the food is fresh and plentiful.
  • Pretty much any bakery in Adelaide for pasties.
  • The Salopian Inn in McLaren Vale.
We are so spoiled for food over here. 


I love the French language and wish I read, spoke and wrote it better. I'm also keen to learn more Spanish. It's a fun language - and quite easy to pick up. 

    Thing to learn about:

Anything. I love learning. Don't constrain me. 

    Thing about yourself:

Here are some things I do like about myself:

  • I'm unfailingly kind
  • I'm reasonably smart
  • I love that I have deep green eyes
  • And skinny ankles. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Bert's Funeral

Bert Newton's funeral was on in the background on Friday, 

State Funeral's fascinate me. Not so much the morbid nature of the day, but I rather enjoy the pomp and ceremony which comes from these events. 

It was also the first pukka event we've had in ages. St Patrick's Cathedral, a mere two kilometres down the road, has been empty for eighteen months. I think the last time I saw inside a Melbourne Cathedral was in the 7.30 Report's recording of I Will Meet You In The Middle of the Air

(Watching the clip, this was filmed in the St Paul's, the Anglican Cathedral on Flinders Street.)

But it was good to witness a proper funeral. A complete requiem mass, witness the smells and bells and listen to real eulogies. Daniel Andrews, the Premier, spoke of Bert's career. I'm not sure what Eddie Maguire was there, other than having known Bert when he was head of Channel 9 for a while. He too, spoke well. Pete Smith, of Sale of the Century fame, read letters from Bert's children, Matthew and Lauren, the former unable to attend as he now lives in New York, the latter had her brood of kids to keep her eye on.  

There were the musical interludes. They dredged up Silvie Paladino, who is normally only seen at Carols by Candlelight, and Anthony Callea. The former sang the National Anthem (at a funeral - why? Oh yeah, it was a state funeral) and Ave Maria. Pleasant musical interludes. 

The Prime Minister sat with some of the Victorian dignitaries. Nobody looked overly comfortable in that section of the pews. 

Then there was the full requiem mass. Bert, it appears, was a devout Catholic. As a workmate reminded me, he lived with his mother until he married at 35 years of age. A pretty Catholic thing to do back then. Bert was born in 1938. He was 83 when he passed. He'd been poorly for quite a while. 

And although the funeral attendees were masked up, vaccinated and socially distanced, the cathedral felt like it had a bit of life in it. The crowd didn't look too sparce.

Things felt back to normal, for a bit. Although not everybody has their funeral service conducted by the Archbishop of Melbourne. 

And after, we watched as Patti, Lauren, Matt and the grandkids rolled Bert's coffin down the aisle to the cathedral doors. Where pallbearers would have done this job once, lifing the box onto their shoulders, a trolley allowed the family to lead Bert to his final resting place. The family looked suitably distraught, as it should be. 

A little while later, the family sprinkled the coffin with holy water and they got to say their final goodbyes. 

It was a big kerfuffle for a man who lived a very full life, who everybody knew, and everybody could tell a story about. Bert Newton has been on television longer than I've been alive. I saw him and Patti at a gala I attended a few years ago. Back then, Bert looked frail.  But ever the showman, he turned up and did his job. 

Professional to the end. 

I'm sure Bert will rest in peace. He deserved some quiet. It appears he's been tending to his six grandchildren of late after having a foot taken off. He needs the break.

My biggest takeaway from the broadcast? Things re getting back to normal. I know it was a sad day, but just to see people in a cathedral, attending a funeral, singing, hugging, living a human life like we did before this blood pandemic. 

It's finally sunk in that things are maybe returning to normal. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Movie Review: The Eternals

 Film: The Eternals

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 2.5

Well, I've found a Marvel film I didn't really like. A film so far up its own arse that things went dark and I fell asleep (only once, and Jay nudged me awake with an elbow). A film that I growled through for various reasons. 

But it was nice to be back in the cinemas, and it was nice to have some dinner before and to munch on a choc top during the trailers. 

Back in the cinema

Unfortunately, the film wasn't that interesting. And it got right up my nose. As an old Classics student, there was a lot here which felt like misappropriation, but that is just with my reasonable knowledge of ancient mythology, I let my indignant seething get blown out of proportion. 

According to RottenTomatoes.com, 'Marvel Studios' Eternals' features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants.'

Yeah, that explains a lot. 

There's a bit too much going on here - and unlike films like The Infinity War and Endgame, you're not emotionally invested in the characters, and some of them are too wishy-washy for you to care. 

Yes, there are some good bits to this. 
  • The cinematography is wonderful
  • Chloe Zhao makes the most of the dodgy script, and she keeps her love of big skies that she made her trademark in Nomadland
  • Gemma Chan is incandescent - but that is her trademark. 
  • Richard Madden looks good with a Mallen streak
  • Kunail Nanjiani and his sidekick, Harish Patel, provide a bit of comic relief. 
  • Harry Styles turns up in the end
  • Angelina Jolie is very beautiful, but still a bit too skinny
  • Lauren Ridloff, a deaf actress, is put to good use, even if her presence does feel like tokenism
  • And the Irish guy (Barry Keoghan) is strangely hot
  • And Kit Harington looks like he's going to be playing into the Excalibur myth in the next Eternals film
  • And the locations are lovely
But that is about it. The film meanders through times and ages and there is a lot of credible CGI. 

But did it grab me? Nope. As lovely as it was to see Primrose Hill in London again, and all sort of other locations, this isn't one of Marvel's best offerings. 

Sure, the use of mythology is interesting, but I think Athena, Gilgamesh, Circe and Icarus are wondering what they did to deserve this. 

I'd wait a few weeks and wait until you can stream this. It should be on Disney + before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The paper cut

I'm sure the deities created paper cuts to remind us that we are fallible, human and that working through adversity requires patience and fortitude. They remind us that stuff of little consequence can have a big impact. 

The Dali Lama put it well. 

Paper cuts are the mosquitoes of injuries. The appear innocuous until you want to do something productive - they're an utter pain in the arse. And they can be deadly.  You can get necrotising fascaiitis from a paper cut if you're not careful. 

But that is why I'm not writing tonight. I have a nasty paper cut. I revised my dinner plans - I was going to have to squeeze a lemon - but that is about as silly as drinking lemon juice when you have mouth ulcers. 

It just stings a bit to type. I don't need that. 

Or maybe this is nature's way of telling me to have an early night and go watch Grey's Anatomy for a change. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Long List

 It's coming into that time again. What do I put up for the book group book choosing in a few weeks time. 

I have six weeks to find two books to bring to book group for the lolly vote. 

We have pretty strict criteria:

  • Should be under 500 pages
  • Of a literary or good popular fiction standard
  • Easily accessible in libraries, bookstores, on audiobook or kindle
  • Must be fiction - no memoir or autobiography.
And so I get my long wishlist out there as I percolate on what I want to put up (and what might be back ups if somebody else knicks my books. 

Anyway, here are a few on my long list - with blurbs and pros and cons.

1) Devotion by Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent wrote Burial Rites and The Good People, which went down well with the group. She's a lyrical writer - expansive and emotional, and a great one for detail. Her latest book has just come out. 

Pros: Established author - the group like her
Cons: Somebody will probably snap this up before me. 

2) Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Another new novel, set in London, about a woman and her struggles with depression. Sounds a bit glum? Actually the characters are wonderful and you get to love the plucky main character as she wobbles through life. I loved it as it reminded me of my time in London. It's a quick read too.

Pro: Modern, short, topical.
Con: I've raved about this in the past - it might get snapped up early. 

3) Animal by Lisa Taddeo

I loved Lisa Taddeo's Three Women, a non-fiction book which looked at three women's sexual assault stories. Fascinating stuff. This book's jacket reads, "In a haunting, visceral novel about women surviving men, Lisa Taddeo has produced one of the most haunting anti-heroes in fiction." It sounds gritty. Runs to just over 300 pages. 

Pro: Recent, modern, easily available, gritty. 
Con: Might be too gritty for some. 

4) Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser

Another author we have read in our book group. An author I have met through Faber. I like the premise of this book - it comes in two halves. You can either start  with the white cover side up, or the red cover side up - so people are going to read this differently. According to the front cover, "...three scary monsters - racism, misogyny and ageism roam through this novel." I'm intrigued.

Pro: Good length, known author, a bit of a challenge, especially as it has the two halves thing going on. 
Con: The two halves thing might put people off.

5) The Performance by Claire Thomas

I only reviewed this the other day. I loved this quiet book about three women watching a performance of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days. I loved it. Glorious writing and a wonderful premise. It's also short. And Australian content. 

Pro: Well reviewed. Short. Easily available. 
Con: Not everybody's cup of tea. 

6) Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr wrote All the Light we Cannot See - and that went down a treat. This is his latest offering, which according to the back cover, is a "...beautiful,and redemptive novel about stewardship - of the book, of the Earth and of the humand heart." Unfortunately, it runs to 600 pages. 

Pro: He's a great writer. 
Con: It's too long to really be considered for book group, though we've had the odd longer novel. 

7)  The Truth About Her by Jacqueline Maley

Jacqueline Maley is an Australian journalist and this is her first book. This is a book about guilt and shame and female anger, and inparticular, about mothering. It's short, recently released and Australian content. Never bad things. 

Pro: Short, available, topical and Australian
Con: Not another book about mothering...

8) Wild Abandon by Emily Bitto

Another Australian author we have read before. Her book, The Strays, won the Stella Prize a few years ago. Wild Abandon appears to be a grittier novel than The Strays. But I do like putting up books which challenge. At 400 pages, it's a bit longer than some other books. 

Pro: It's an Australian author. Readily available. 
Con: The content and length might put people off. 

9) 7 1/2 by Christos Tsiolkas

I adore Christos Tsiolkas. He's just won the Melbourne Prize for Literature. This book has been published for a week and it looks pretty gritty - but would you expect anything less from the bloke who wrote The Slap and Damascus. At 360 pages it a bit less than a few other of his tomes. 

Pro: It's Christos Tsiolkas - it's bound to have a lot to talk about in its covers. 
Con: I think Damascus put a few people off him.

10) The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Lighter fare, but wonderfully thought provoking. A book about choices and where we could go. I loved this book too. Very book group friendly. And nothing triggering in it. 

That will do for the moment. It is always interesting to see what comes up in book group book choosing. 

Today's song:

The PMS Problem


I'm having a bit of an issue with PMS at the moment.

PMS you ask? Knowing too well that I talk about menopause with the freedoms. I talk about most things. 

Yes. PMS. 


A South African friend told me of the term. They used to have a bit of a problem with entitled white men over there. By the end of aparthied, it was getting very hard for them to get work. And that will open up a whole other kettle of worms so I'll get to where I'm going. 

Anyway's I've reappropriated the term to mean any entitled white man - normally past 40. 

We talked about it over the weekend. PMS, that wonderful situation you find when encountering an entitled male, who is either sticking around, because, you know, they will tell you, they're entitled to be there, or entitled to be heard, or that they're just entitled to exist within your realm, when you'd be just as happy without them. (Thankfully none of the men on the retreat had PMS - they'd be too scared to show any sort of entitlement - there would be blood if they did).

It may be something which some men don't feel. Either they're emotionally able, better trained, or just not arseholes. 

But I've been seeing a lot of PMS. 

At work, there are quite a few examples of PMS. Basically you take a barely competent, nornally middle-aged, more than likely caucasian, man and watch him get shuffled from one department to another, being barely productive and not being that useful at all. They don't seem to get perfomanced managed out. Nobody really complains about their uselessness - well not at a higher management level. Those around them, particularly competent women, wonder why the hell they don't do something about them. 

Then yesterday, in editing class, we were paired up with another classmate to edit each other's work. 

I know what I produce isn't great, but I was given the task of editing this fellow's pride and joy, which he was obviously in love with, as we are all just a little bit in love with our projects. 

But oh my. I spent two hours on the job, going through line by line, correcting grammar, stripping out cliches, pointing out plot holes, mentioning the the overuse of exclamation marks  and elipses isn't overly attractive, discussed how he wavered from the third person omniscient to the third person close... and the list went on. 

How confident he was of his work (which left me rather cold, but I could see some good in the story). 

But he was confident in his work - he was sure his unpolished turd of a manuscript had a wonderful saleability. 


Because, of course, he's a man. A white, boomer man. Who nobody has probably ever said no to. 

(By the way, his comments on my work ranged from I should state one of my characters height in centimetres, not feet and inches, that he too had a friend by the name of one of my characters, who had a similar characteristic, and I shouldn't make jokes about paedophilia, even though I wasn't, more just referencing Bill Henson photos in jest. Fun. I don't think he got it - mind you, anybody who hasn't laid down on the Art Gallery floor and watched the ceiling here in Melbourne, has no soul, and I need to take this into consideration)

I'm over PMS. Look at the media - how many broadcasters are men in their middle age and beyond keeping their bully pulpit? Why can't new, fresh blood come in (i.e. Why do Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, John Singleton, Jeremy Cordeaux, .... and on and on ad infinitum, still get airplay?)

Aren't we beyond this?

Isn't it time we held some of these entitled arseholes to account ? 

That's better.

They call this writing around the problem. 

Thank you for listening.


Today's song:

Monday, November 8, 2021


 The second load of washing is in the machine, the first load already strung out on the line. The cat is asleep on the bed after providing a morning of affection, repeatedly. When he gives these cuddles, the look of bliss on his face is evident. Normally, I get one cuddle a day. This morning, he's provided me with six or seven. He's happy to be home. 

I'm glad I have today off. It's giving me time to process the weekend and allow some of the exhaustion to abate. There's a long list of things to do:

  • Cut my toenails (done)
  • See my trainer (2 p.m.)
  • Arrange a Mason's property association workshop
  • Go to editing class (6.30 p.m.)
  • Mop the floors
  • Provide my Nana's yo-yo recipe to Ash, our caterer on the retreat (Done)
  • Do the week's food shopping (After training - done)
  • Get some reading done (done)
  • Go to Bunnings and buy some cat grass (done)
I've also got the need to mentally unpack the weekend, which always needs to be done after these retreats. Catherine Deveny runs a transformative weekend, without trying in many ways. She facilitates the weekend, the rest of us help to make the magic. Maybe middle-aged, left-leaning, thoughtful women should meet en masse more often. 

Anyway, this is what I've come up with from this weekend. 

1) I need to be hugged more often. 

Yes, I know we're been through COVID, but there were lots of hugs and snuggles this weekend. I only see these people once or twice a year, but they give GREAT hugs. Like most people, I've got out of the habit of touching people, It was so nice to be around people how appeared genuinely pleased to see me and who happily hug and hug back. 

2) Time near and in water is a tonic

Walking barefoot along a pristine beach, allowing the sand to slough off the dead skin on my feet - I wish I could do this every day. And don't get me started about the joys of running naked into the Southern Ocean with a number of equally naked, like-minded lunatics which is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. I could have spent more time in the water. I wanted to stay there and howl at the sea for a bit longer. The water was bracing, but not overly cold. I felt beautiful. I felt strong. I felt completely at one with nature. 

There should be more of it. 

3) Sharing experiences about menopause is liberating

I was a couple of gin and tonics down by this stage. I might have pilfered half a cigarette. I had a wonderful chat with a 'young'n' about the joys of menopause. We don't talk enough about menopause. 
I extolled the virtues of HRT, and finding a decent doctor who will listen and offer alternative. I bemoaned the 'joys' of this time. The horrendous hot flushes, the screaming psychos, the lack of sleep, the fact you vagina turns into a vice, the itches, the not feeling like yourself... Young'n has a bit of a way to go. She's approaching 40. 

The young'n said nobody told her about this. 

The young'n was told to talk to her mother, and if things got strange, talk to her naturopath, or doctor.

This was my public service activity for the weekend. 

And somehow I was given the new porn name of Rusty Flaps. Not sure what to do with this. 

4) Setting targets and having an accountability monitor is a good thing

I gave myself the goal of writing 5000 words this weekend. It let Dev know this was going to be my goal She said she'd be my accountability monitor. 

By the end of Saturday, I had the words down. Then the questions came - should I write more? Should I extend the goal. My answer to that was no. I did get a few more words down, and I got my Furious Fiction entry out, but my goal for the weekend was reached and that was good. 

It felt good to achieve - but not overacheive. 

I have to remember this more often. 

5) The cat should be left with Blarney and Barney more often

Lucifer went to stay with his uncle and aunt while I was away. Although they were kind and loving with him, he was an absolute ingrate. He hid in the base of a recliner rocker for most of the weekend, occasionally coming out to eat and use the litter tray. 

When I turned up on Sunday night, Blarney said she might have to cut him out of the chair. Whenever she went near him, he hissed. She went to get the shears. I lay down in front of the chair, stuck my hand in, gave him a pat and told him to stop being a goose. He crept out after two minutes. 

On getting him home and giving him some dinner (They fed him well, but he went on a bit of a hunger strike - oh and Barney slept in his room with him one night, to keep him company - daft animal cuddled up behind his knees) he seemed to settle down. 

Today, I've been receiving regular cuddles. As in very regular smooches, cuddles, purrs... you name it, he's dished it out. I was sitting in my editing class. He jumped up for a cuddle on my shoulder. I was sitting on the toilet, he jumped up for a smooch (choice). As I had the day off, I had a lie in. He was all over me like a rash. 

Appears he missed me. 

6) I should give the link to the song of the day, not just the clip

This came from three people on the retreat. Why can I sing the song of the day? Seems not everybody can see them, depending on the mode in which they are viewing the blog. I'm still amazed people read my blog. 

Anyway, the song of the day will be liked in the hyperlink from now. Gotta keep the readers happy. 

Today's song

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Family

I am with my tribe.

I am with my tribe down the Great Ocean Road this morning. In some ways, these people, who I have either never met, or only see a handful of times a year are my family. They are definitely my tribe. Good women (and men, but they are few and far between here) Bolshie, loud, big-hearted, fun, outspoken women. It's wonderful. 

Being the early riser, I was up to watch the sunrise. The ritual Bathing of the Lunatics, where a number of us run into the Southern Ocean buck naked will be occuring soon. 

It has once again been a phenomenal weekend. 

Sunrise, Seacroft, Apollo Bay

The Bathing of the Lunatics

I don't talk much about my family, but I will give it a go. Questions, as always, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. How big is your immediate family? Who are the members?

Immediate family consists of my mum, step-dad, and two sisters. One biological sister and one step-sister. My sister has a husband and I have two nieces, one here, one passed. My step-sister has a partner. This is the family unit. 

2. Who are you closest to in your family? What kind of relationship do you have with that person? Is it like friendship?

I am not terribly close to my family. We all get on. We all love each other, but wear aren't close. They live interstate, which doesn't help matters. I like that we're not in each other's pockets.

Of my Melbourne family, Blarney and Jonella are the ones I'm closest too. Blarney is a sister. Jonella a very good friend. 

3. Which day of the year are you most likely to spend with your family?

In the past it would be the second Sunday in February. Until COVID, mum used to have a big party on the front lawn. I used to go home for that, normally with a few friends in tow. 

4. As a child, did you go on family trips? What do you remember about those vacations?

As a family unit (Mum, dad, sister and me) went on the odd long car trip to faraway places. I remember being bored in the car and fighting with my sister. Isn't that what you do on long car trips?

5. Is there a black sheep in your family? What is different about them?

That would probably be me. I'm not a real black sheep - I just moved away, got an education, I'm big time into the Arts, never married, don't like property, don't have kids and generally go against my family's middle class bent and minor conservative traits. Ah well. 

6. Do you know your extended family? How many of them have you met?

I have 15 cousins. I've met all of them. Some of them I'm in semi-regular contact with - they visit me in Melbourne, I'll visit them in the far off places in which they live. They're nice people. Even the gun-toting, Trump supporting Christians are nice people - we just don't agree on some stuff, but that's people in general. 

7. Have you ever been to a family reunion? How was it?

We had a get together for my Aunt's 90th birthday with quite a few of the clan. My cousins and I sat around talking about the strength of our oestrogen patches and the fact that the women in our family have a hideous time during menopause. It was wonderful to see them all, in a group, with their adult kids. Their kids, now young adults, are nice people too. 

8. Who are you most proud of among your relatives? Who do you look up to?

I'm proud of all my cousins and family in their own way. I look up to the ones who have overcome great adversity. They are pretty amazing. My sister lost a child. I have absolutely no idea how she is still standing. But she is. 

9 What characteristics have you inherited from your parents? Do you look like them? Do you behave like they do?

I am a strange mix of mum and dad. I have dad's hair, and mum's eyes, hands and ankles. I'm what happens when you mix a wombat with a racehorse - round body, long legs. I got Mum's ability to rhyme and dad's ability to talk to anybody. But that's about it. I'm my own woman. 

10. Does your family have any heirlooms? Will you inherit anything that has been in the family a long time?

Not really and no. I have mum's original engagement ring, and dad's box brownie camera and 21st tankard. We're not a heirloom sort of family. 

11. What happens to old people in your family? Do they live with younger family members or move to a retirement home? How would you prefer to spend your old age?

The old people in my family tend to live happily in retirement homes until they shed this mortal coil. In the past, when it comes time to go, they don't tend to suffer. Unfortunately, my favourite aunt, aged 94, is in the process of departing. It is hard to hear about. It must be even worse for her. There is some good in passing without suffering. I will miss her terribly, but I wish her a peaceful passing. She's in Canberra. We reckon she's holding on to see everybody, but the state borders are still shut between South Australia and the ACT. It's hard. 

12. If you are married, how well do you get along with your in-laws?

I'm not married. I've never been married. I like to think I'm not that silly. 

13. What do people mean when they say, “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”?

Family are the people who will be there regardless - even if they don't like you that much. I don't think I would ever, volunarily choose my family for my family. They would probably say the same of me.  Your friends are your chosen family. They're good. And they, and you, can choose to stick around. 

14. If you live far away from some members of your family, how do you keep in touch? How often do you communicate?

My family are about 500 miles (800 kilometres) back in Adelaide. My Mum and I talk once a week on the phone. I'll probably give her a ring when I'm driving home today. I can go months without speaking my sisters, but we keep up with each other on Facebook. 

15. Are you so close to any of your friends that you consider them to be like family?

Yes. Blarney and Barney are definitely family. I put down Blarney as my next of kin when required. I've sprung her from hospital on a number of occasions - she can return the favour. Jonella is family too. Just is. 

Today's song: