Saturday, April 30, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Firsts

 Once again, I'm doing the Sunday questions on a Saturday. It's a busy weekend. Lots of fun stuff on - haircut, a movie, and bet of all, some Shakespeare tomorrow with a woman playing Hamlet. Makes for an interesting weekend. Especially, as there is no work in sight. 

Anyway on with the questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

First Job:

I had a job at the General Store in my home town when I was at school. I worked there over the school holidays. My first 'real' job was in the jewellery department at John Martins department store in Adelaide. I've gained a deep respect for people working in retail from these experiences. 

First Favorite Politician:

Gough Whitlam. Because of him, I got most of my university education for free. 

First Record/CD:

ABBA Arrival. I think most kids of the 70s received an ABBA record in some point in time. 

First Concert:

Elton John with the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra at Football Park in Adelaide in around 1985 or so. Am I proud of this? Yes and no. My street cred had just taken a hit. 

First Foreign Country Visited:

New Zealand. However, as New Zealand is so much like Australia, the first country I travelled to on my own was Malaysia, on the way to England. 

First Favorite TV Show:

As a kid I used to love I Love Lucy and Hogan's Heroes. It was on just before I went to bed. 

First Favorite Actor:

Cary Grant. I still think he's wonderful. 

First Favorite Actress:

Katherine Hepburn. 

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend:

Oh, I prefer to forget about that. He was lanky and spotty and nerdy like all first boyfriends should be. 

First Encounter with a Famous Person:

One of these - I stood behind Emma Thompson in the supermarket in West Hampstead

First House/Condo Owned:

I've never owned a house. The first flat I rented on my own was in East Melbourne. I really liked it there. 

First Film Seen:

I'm pretty sure my dad took me to see Robin Hood  - the Disney version, when I was about five-years-old at the time. As it came out in 1973, that fits the bill. 

First Favorite Radio Station:

Of course it has to be SAFM - always has been even though I can't listen to the crap music on it now. I listen to GOLD FM now - I am that old. 

First Book I Remember Reading:

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I used to love those books. 

Today's song: 

Friday, April 29, 2022

About time

 Yesterday, it was announced that the 21 year long ban of people who have lived in the U.K. between  1980 and 1996 will no longer be precluded from giving blood to the Australian Blood Bank

And I'm breathing a sigh of relief. 

For nearly 22 years I've been ineligible from donating blood because I've been deemed to be a mad cow, basically. 

I lived in England from 1991-1999. 

But until they banned people who had lived in the UK during this time due to the risk of transferring CJD / Mad Cow disease, I gave blood regularly. It was my one and only public service activity.

From a young child, Mum used to take myself and my sister down to the blood bank with her when she donated. It doesn't hurt. It's a good thing to do. The way it was explained to me was that this was a way of ensuring that the community stays well. If you give blood, then if anything happens, there will hopefully be blood for you there if you need it. As my father had numerous open heart surgeries when I was a child, this struck a chord. 

When my niece had leukaemia, she underwent numerous blood transfusions. It was a blessing that blood was available for her. I'm going in for surgery week after next. Hopefully I won't need blood, but it would be good to know that a pint or two of O Positive is on hand just in case. 

I remember a friend and I went and donated blood on the last possible day we could donate blood back in December 2000. 

We have wanted to do this. I fit the bill for giving blood - in good health, over 55 kg, not anaemic, no fresh tattoos, no precluding medical conditions.

It appears that from later this year, I'll be able to give blood again. It will take a few months for them to get the systems in place to take our blood - get the mad cow marker off the systems. 

I'm looking forward to doing this minor act of public service once again, rather than just being on the sidelines encouraging people to donate blood and stop being a wuss. Besides, it doesn't hurt and they give you sausage rolls / biscuits / milkshakes after. The Adelaide blood bank used to do the best milkshakes in tin cups - they were grouse.

We mad cows who haven't been able to give blood for years are looking forward to no longer being ostracised. 

For more information about donating blood, go to

This is a very good thing to do. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Wanker Beer

 I took a lunchtime stroll to Dan Murphy's this afternoon to collect a workmate's leaving present. 

Said workmate was asked to provide a list of his favourite alcohol. We walk about alcohol a bit in my team and I had a few ideas about what they might like, but still it's nice to receive a leaving gift you might like. 

Their response was as follows:

  • Japanese whisky
  • Deep reds
  • Craft beer.
Yes, my colleague is a bit of a hipster. 

The collection was taken up. The click and collect order was made. Then I found I had a bit of extra money in the kitty. 

So, arriving at Dan Murphy's, I collected the said Japanese Whisky, but then asked the the shop assistant if she could point me towards the wanker beer. 

"Wanker beer?"
"Yes, wanker beer." I said. 
"I don't think we stock that."

I then explained I was after craft beer that hipsters drink - i.e. Wanker Beer. She still looked at me blankly. I think she may have had a bit of an irony deficiency. 

"Okay, try again. Where can I find craft beer from smaller breweries."

This she understood. But she was bemused when I selected four random cans from the shelves which came to just under $20. 

I still find it hard to believe that a staff member at Dan Murphy's doesn't know what wanker beer is.

Oh well. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Hole in the Head

I've joined the statistics of the one in two Australians having a cancer occurence. 

And I am very, very glad that in the scheme of things, this is a minor, treatable and hopefully isolated incident. 

I'd had the "thing" on my temple for years. It was there. It was a bit annoying. But it had started to grow and change and be more annoying so I brought it to the attention of my GP, who had a look and said it had to come off and be sent to pathology for a better look. 

The histology came back: a squamous cell carcinoma - early stages. And unfortunately the margins of the sample weren't clean. My doctor was most apologetic. This would need a bit more intervention with a plastic surgeon doing the work. Also, being on my face, it wasn't something she was confident or comfortable cutting around. It was time to bring out the big guns. 

Today was plastic surgery day. 

Which, in the scheme of things, wasn't a bad experience. 

According to the surgeon, he removes 20-30 of these a week. I'm not special. 

I took a RAT test last night, diligently sending a photo of the test and my medicare card to the surgeon's administrator. 

This morning, I walked to the clinic in Carlton, mostly to clear my head, but I was also told to avoid public transport because of COVID. It was a nice morning for a walk. 

And it was all over in an hour and a half. The surgeon marked me up. It looked like there was a misplaced bindi on my temple. 

Some medical checks by a lovely, reassuring nurse and I was taken into the clinic, where another lovely, reassuring nurse took care of me and held my hand while the local anaesthetic was administered. That was the worst bit of it all. "Keep talking and yelping," said the surgeon,"When you stop, I know we've put enough in." 

I like practical people like this. 

Five minutes later, he was cutting into my temple, taking out the recalcitrant skin. Five minutes after that, six stitches later, it was all over. I really liked that my face had a drape over it - I couldn't see anything and felt very little, bar the odd bit of pushing and pulling. 

My friend Trish came and picked me up, we went for a coffee, and I've spent the day relaxing at home. The cat has done a marvellous job of looking after me. I was feeling a bit wooshy earlier, but that's settled down. I'll work from home tomorrow, more out of self-consciousness about the dressing and not being able to wash my face properly until Friday, when the dressing can be replaced with a less conspicuous bit of tape. 

As I said, in the scheme of things, it's minor. It's been caught early. It's not near any lymph nodes. According to the doctor, he's gone in deep and cut wide margins. The stitches come out next week. And fingers crossed, this will be the end of it all.

My only reservation is that I currently have a small egg of a dressing on my temple which is not allowed to get wet. It also looks like I've had a lobotomy. 

Some would say this is overdue. 

I'm also very grateful for the following things: 

  • Medicare
  • Private health insurance
  • Decent doctors who can deal with this
  • Sunscreen (of which I will need to use more)
  • Lovely, caring and practical nurses who hold your hand as you're getting stuck with novacaine
  • Friends who can pick you up from day surgery
  • Sick leave
  • A day off.
I'm counting my blessings. My mum and sister have had some of these cut out. They've peppered my family. We're light-skinned Europeans living in a harsh environment. I was in the sun a lot as a kid. I don't generally burn, but I'm still fairly fair. It's a matter of being vigilant. 

And grateful. 

And as for the scar? Well, if anybody asks, I've had a lobotomy. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

How to catch a cat

 What you need:

  • A set of oven gloves (welding gloves if you have them)
  • A couple of towels
  • A blanket
  • Tenacity
  • A sense of humour
  • Time
  • And a recalcitrant cat to catch. 
  • An open cat cage
What you do:
  • Try to ignore the cat for at least half an hour
  • Chase the cat under the bed. 
  • Try to cajole him out with at treats
  • Get out a broomstick to try to cajole the cat from under said bed. 
  • Try to ignore the cat a bit longer.
  • Watch as the cat hides himself away in the most inconvenient location
  • Move everything from around the inconvenient location
  • Attempt to pick up the cat. 
  • Remember to don the oven gloves
  • Throw a towel over the cat, then try to pick up said cat.
  • Remember to put on your glasses in case he goes for your eyes. 
  • Watch as the cat escapes into another room
  • Repeat the above actions. 
  • And when it all comes down to it, crash tackle the cat. 
  • And somehow shove the recalcitrant beast into his cage. 

It took three of us half an hour to get Lucifer into his travel cage. He nearly took out Barney's eye. And the more we tried to get him into his cage, the more wound up he became. 

As soon as we got him into his cage he settled. 

And after the half hour drive home, and after releasing him back into the flat, he jumped into my lap, purred, nuzzled and snuggled up on my chest. 

So he wasn't completely traumatised. Not at all. 

He was just being a prick.

Cats. Who knew?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Holiday Planning Part 1

There's something about having a few days off in a new location which sets your brain wandering - and you wondering. 

My question, "Where are you going on holiday?"

My response is normally, "Holiday? What's a holiday?"

I spent yesterday afternoon with some of my extended family. My stepsister and her partner. My cousin and her husband, who are in their seventies, and another cousin and her 94-year-old Mum - who's very lovely, but VERY deaf. But she had a good time. 

We started talking about travel - and my feet started to itch. Travel has been a long, lost dream for the last few years. Yet, as I've been working hard, and particularly hard for the last six months, and I have five weeks of paid holiday up my sleeve. I've also had no extended break since I left the job before this one. So this time is ripe. 

Having this few days off has meant I can focus on what I actually want to do with some of this time. IF anything, this has proved that I'm well overdue for a long break and time to go and something I really enjoy. 

So here are a few of my ideas. 

1) A month in Bali on retreat. 

I've been to Bali on numerous occasions. Maybe I could take myself off and do sound healer training - something I would love. Go up into the hills and do yoga every day. Reconnect with some like minded souls. 

Pros: Fairly cost effective. I'd come back floating six inches above the ground. 

Cons: I've been to Bali many times before. 

2) Japan

I've always wanted to go to Japan. My mum went about 30 years ago and loved it. I think if I was to go I'd look at maybe spending a few weeks there. My friend Norty is also interested in going, so I might have a travel companion to help keep costs down. It's also now a lot more accessible as many people speak a bit of English. It looks like a fascinating country.

Pros: Might have a travel buddy. Never been there, always wanted to go. 

Cons: None that I can think of. Might be a 2-3 week trip and not the extended break I'm angling for. 

3) Go visit Reindert in Colorado.

We were talking about this before COVID hit. Fly to Los Angeles, pick up a car, maybe drive to Boulder, Colorado via places like Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and a couple of national parks. I like the thought of seeing a different side of America

Pros: Something I've never done before. Some of the accommodation costs would be covered. 

Cons: Driving on the wrong side of the road. The cost of hire cars across the globe is stupid at the moment. 

4) Walk the Camino de Santiago di Compostella

Strangely, stupidly, I really like the idea of taking out six weeks or so and walking the 800 kilometres across the top of Spain, taking in towns like Pamplona, Borgos, Leon and many others. You walk 20-30 kilometres a day. I'd have to find a company to take my bags and walk with a day pack. Bit this something I've always wanted to do. And I need an extended break. And it's a goal of mine. 

Pro: I might be able to get most of the time off paid. 

Con: A bit of training, a lot of things will need to fall into place. 

5) A cathedral tour of Southern England.

It's no big news that I've been chomping at the bit to get back to the United Kingdom. it's my spiritual home and I do love it there. I'd love to have the run of a car, and go Cathedral spotting along the South. I'm talking Canterbury, Winchester, Salisbury, Gloucester, Bath, down to Welles and Exeter. I love cathedrals. I love England. Why not?

Pros: I'd be in bliss. Maybe catch up with some old friends while I'm there. 

Cons: The cost - although AirBNB might be able to help. 

6) Rent a jail cell and write

You can do this in Melbourne. You can rent a jail cell at Melbourne Jail for a few weeks. They supply a desk and a chair and some limited internet and you can sit down and write. You don't go anywhere, but you do have a place to go everyday to write. 

Pros: I'll be writing. It's cost effective. 

Cons: I'm not actually going anywhere. 

Well, there are a few thoughts. Anything else I should add to the list? 

Oh yes, I also have to renew my passport - it expires in January - best get that done soon as I doubt they will let me out of the country with less than 6 months on it. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sunday Stealing: 15 Things

 I'm here at my mother's place in Myponga, sitting at the kitchen table, using her broadband (okay, I'm hot-spotting off my phone, which is attached to her broadband because I'm buggered if my mother knows her WIFI password.) Anyway, I'm getting the Sunday Questsions done now. 

Questions, provided, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing

15 things that make you smile

  1. Cats
  2. Dogs
  3. A well turned sentence
  4. Great films
  5. Good times with friends
  6. Stars (Mum lives in a rural area - I forgot how much I love seeing stars at night - LOTS of stars)
  7. Rain (I'm a country girl at heart)
  8. Sunny days that aren't too hot
  9. When the Crows win a game
  10. Seeing Scott Morrison or any one of the LNP stuff up royally, 
  11. Finding that perfect avocado in the supermarket
  12. Music
  13. Sunsets
  14. Sunrises
  15. The beach

14 things that make you frown

  1. The current Australian Federal Government
  2. Racists
  3. Sexists
  4. People who are rude to service staff
  5. Nasty smells
  6. Unseen bananas in food items
  7. Crowded public transport
  8. People who don't take responsibility or care for their pets
  9. Huntsman spiders (Okay, they make me go find a flame thrower and a can of petrol)
  10. When the parking fairy fails you and you can't find a park and you're in a rush. 
  11. When the printer jams
  12. The never-decreasing car registration bill. 
  13. Greedy people
  14. The Australian Federal Government's view on anything smart.
13 things you see every day 
  1. My cat, Lucifer. 
  2. My face in the mirror
  3. The screen on my phone
  4. My feet
  5. My hands
  6. The daily Wordle puzzle
  7. My coffee pot
  8. Casual racism 
  9. Bad business decisions
  10. No vision for the world's collective future
  11. The wrapper of my blood pressure tablet sitting there waiting to be put in the bin
  12. Hope
  13. A sense of irony.
12 things you have always wanted to try
  1. Skydiving
  2. Stand up comedy
  3. Getting married
  4. Owning a dog (of my own)
  5. Taking three months off and not worrying about money
  6. Finishing a novel
  7. Learning to play the piano properly
  8. Dancing - such as learning to Tango. 
  9. Going on a long silent retreat
  10. Singing in a choir
  11. Being skinny
  12. Absinthe

11 objects that mean a lot to you

This is a bit of a strange one as objects don't really mean much to me. But here you go. 

  1. My grandmother's collander. 
  2. My Pandora bracelets
  3. My Master's testamur (diploma)
  4. My mother's engagement ring
  5. My passport (which I must get renewed soon)
  6. My Snoopy mug which lives at Mum's place and I've had since I was a teenager. I'm having a cup of tea out of it now. 
  7. Stobey Poles. (It's a South Australian thing)
  8. My new poppy earrings. It is ANZAC Day tomorrow after all
  9. The little box I bought my Mum in Seville which sits on the kitchen bench. 
  10. The camel saddle in Mum's lounge room
  11. My red woolen wrap. 
A Stobey Pole

10 places you have been

  1. Salem, Massachussetts
  2. Toledo, Spain
  3. Blarney, Ireland
  4. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
  5. Bagdad, Tasmania
  6. Myponga, South Australia
  7. Intercourse, Pennsylvania
  8. Bangkok, Thailand
  9. London, England
  10. Mykonos, Greece

 9 of your favorite foods

  1. Roast lamb (which I had last night with all the trimmings and it was WONDERFUL)
  2. Creme brulee
  3. Ginger Stilton cheese
  4. Fresh mango, eaten whilst naked and standing near running water
  5. Pasties - as in Cornish pasties, from South Australian bakeries
  6. Portuguese tarts
  7. Battered fish and chips
  8. A Bahn Mi from down the road at one of our wonderful Vietnamese Bakeries
  9. Fry's Turkish Delight

8 things you would rather be doing

Again, this is a bit moot as I'm sitting at Mum's kitchen table with a cup of tea robbing her broadband and writing, but in my life, I would rather be: 

  1. Walking the Camino di Compostella de Santiago in Spain
  2. Having six month off, fully paid, to write this novel
  3. Swimming in the ocean (doing that tomorrow)
  4. Knitting
  5. Travelling around the South West of England
  6. Walking through rainforrest
  7. Voting out our current Federal Government
  8. Dancing like nobody is watching. 

7 things you would take to a deserted island. 

  1. A well stocked kindle with all the books I want to read loaded up on it. 
  2. A large solar powered battery unit for recharging said kindle
  3. Lots and lots of insect repellant. 
  4. A couple of tarpaulins
  5. A large supply of zippy weatherproof lighters
  6. A terabyte of music and something to play it on (also powered by the solar powered battery unit. 
  7. Sunscreen

6 things you wish you never had to do

  1. Mop floors
  2. Read Russian literature
  3. Physics in Year 11
  4. Get migraines
  5. Work at a certain supermarket chain (worst job ever)
  6. Deal with an ingrown toenail - they are just annoying. 

5 people that mean the world to you

  1. Jonella
  2. Blarney
  3. Geetangeli
  4. Mum
  5. Dev and the Gunnas (new friends who are all fantastic people)   
4 of your biggest fears
  1. Intimacy
  2. Commitment
  3. Huntsman Spiders
  4. Snakes

 3 words to describe how you feel right now

  1. Recovering from exhaustion
  2. Hopeful
  3. Relaxed

2 things you're excited for

  1. Going on a very long overseas holiday seeing new places
  2. Having dinner at Richmond Oysters next week.

 1 thing you want to say to someone

  1. I love you (I tell my cat this all the time - would be nice to say it to a human for a change)

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Blank canvasses

 I'm at the airport waiting for my flight. They said to be here early. My bag was checked in and I was through security in five minutes. My plane is leaving in an hour an a half. 

So I'm sitting in one of the limited cafes drinking a very ordinary coffee, penning this. I've visited the L'Occitane shop already. I'm off to Adelaide. Fun!.

But I'm going to write about the wonderful experience I had last night. 

Wren, one of the women I know from the Gunnas writer's retreat suggested coming to this art class a few weeks ago. I'd forgotten about this, but was thankfully reminded mid-week. Wren had us coordinating nibbles and drinks for the night. 

CATA (Creative Art Therapy Australia) is a shop front based in Fairfield. The studio runs a franchised program called Frida's Sip and Paint, where they take rank novices through painting a canvas over two hours, supplying the canvas, the paint and a place where you can have a glass of wine (or in our case, a gin and tonic) and some nibblies and just relax. BYO booze and snacks. 

They do a different painting depending on the night and an art teacher / therapist takes you through the process. An assistant is there to help with things like changing your water, some technique and making you feel like you're not an art numpty. 

Wren, Kitty and I were going to work on a piece called Savannah Palms.

I used to love art at a kid. I still love being creative, even if it's being creative out of my comfort zone - and painting is not something I've done much of. But on arrival, we were greeted, seated and on we got with this process of painting a picture. 

I loved every minute of this evening. Yes, Wren and Kitty are fabulous company, but what else would you expect from the Gunnas crew. 

One of the things I discovered was my willingness to let go of my addiction to perfection. After a few months of working with absolute precision, it was great to think, "I'm not skilled at this, I don't know what I'm doing and I'm just going to enjoy the process."

We talked. We painted. We had a laugh. We investigated ourselves over the two and a half hours. 

It was fabulous.

It's amazing what you can come up with when you break things down to build things up. Kitty, who does a bit of painting was very pleased with the process. I thought my woman was looking a bit like a Disney princess. 

We were also told that we didn't need to follow all of the rules if we didn't want to - another challenge for somebody who tends to be an over-obliging, people-pleasing, obedient type. 

So I surprised myself when I asked if I could have a little bit of black paint.

"I've got this blank spot here. She needs a cat."

So I painted in a black cat at my woman's feet. 

I'm very proud of that cat. It even looks like a cat. 

This is what I ended up with at the end of the night. Not too bad for a novice.

I like her. She looks strong and ready to take on anything. And she has her little mate with her. 

(My little mate is currently in Aunty Blarney's back bedroom, sulking). 

She's now sitting in the hallway in my flat, being supported by the fire extinguisher. She's the first thing I see when come out of my room. 

I'd happily do another one of these sessions. Last night, it was just what I needed. 

20 minutes until my plane boards. My blog is done for the day. 


Friday, April 22, 2022

The Wind Down

The project goes live on Tuesday. They're doing what is called the cut over this weekend. 

In my work calendar I am marked as Out of Office from 5 p.m. tonight. I've spread the word that I will be off the grid for the weekend. This is not technically true, but the broadband at my mother's place is not plentiful, there's no real WIFI in the granny flat where I sleep and the mobile reception is patchy because Mum lives behind a big hill. And my work computer is being left in Melbourne, where I can't get to it, at all. 

Pity, eh?

But at ten to five I was told that some work needed to be done. Of course it did. That it was sorted into a virtual queue that would have meant I could have done it fresh on Tuesday - but no, it needed to be done NOW. 

Well, I held my line. After six months of working long hours, weekends. After accumulating 33 working hours over three days over Easter (I'm contracted to work a 37.5 hour week and not work public holidays) something snapped. My calendar has been marked as unavailable for months. I've mentioned this to my boss on numerous occassions, and they've told me I won't be required for this weekend repeatedly. 

Oh, and for the first time in about 15 years I didn't finish the book group book for our regular meeting which was held on Tuesday. 

And I know that I work on projects and you take the good with the bad, the lulls with the mania - but this has been freaking ridiculous, expecially over the last month, where you'd dealing with people who are stressed out places beyond the reasonable. 

So when the request came to work back tonight came it was met with an initial stony silence. And then a minor compromise. 

"I can stay until six. I'll get these bits done (and found a path through some complex work which I could finish within that time). Then I have to go to the airport."

That shuts down the request pretty quickly. 

Okay, I didn't go to the airport. I went to an art class that I'd booked a few weeks ago. There, I painted on a canvas for two and a half hours while sipping on a gin and tonic with some friends. I'm a writer not a painter, but I loved every minute of this. 

I'm going to the airport tomorrow morning, after I drop off the cat with Blarney. So I do have to go to the airport. Just tomorrow. But I felt the need for the white lie

And I'm a bit split in half. 

There's the half which feels a bit guilty for not being able to support the team. 

And the other side which is overjoyed that I'm going to be interstate, behind a big hill and not able to be contacted by fucking Teams or Outlook. 

This is the insidious nature of working in a modern corporate environment. 

Oh, and did I tell you I'm looking forward to having my gall bladder out in a few weeks time - so I don't have to be there for week to ten days. 

Got that off my chest. It's winding me up writing this. I think I'd better go to Adelaide now. 

It's time to wind down completely. 

Today's song:

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Emergency Brownies: Part II

 I've just made a batch of Nigella Lawson's Emergency Brownies. A necessary evil and a bit of a necessity as I'd forgotten I'm going to this art class tomorrow night and we have to bring snacks and drinks. Of the crew that are going, cheese, dips and biscuits are covered, along with wine. So it's down to me to bring the sweets. 

And with nothing sweet in the house, Nigella's Emergency Brownies seemed like the go. 

I like Nigella's recipes - they're normally pretty easy - and usually sensual verging on pornographic at times with their descriptions. In this recipe, squidgy and nubbly got used. I liked it because I only needed a small saucepan, a bowl to beat some eggs and that was it. Of course, I bastardised the recipe a bit - I doubled the recipe, along with using half white chocolate chips, half dark chocolate chips. I also poked some glace cherries in the top of the batter, just because. It's fruit - fruit is good for you. Well that's my excuse

And I got to lick out the saucepan  - which is, and always will be, the best bit of baking. 

Looks good, don't they. 

I can vouch that they taste good. 

And the leftovers will be taken over to Adelaide withe me on the weekend. 

I don't think my mother knows that I can cook. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Pass the Dutchie

We watched the balloons as the drifted over the South East of the city. 

Cleo: I'd never go up on one of those things. 

Pand: They're awesome. I loved my balloon ride. 

Cleo: There's something about a wicker basket, some silk and fire that I can't compute.

Pand: Ah, they're as safe as that boat you go out to sea on regularly.

A balloon crashed in Elwood, the one we has been watching from the safety of the gym in Hawthorn. 

I've been going to the gym before work over the last few days, partly because I've been needing the escape and also because Cleo has been off and we're making up a few sessions. 

I love the gym because I get my fill of music. Today Cleo and I talked about all sorts of things - and Missy Elliot came up, and she has a song about 'Dutchies' (Marijuana cigarettes)

Pand: Like Pass the Dutchie?

Cleo: What are you talking about?

Pand: You know the song, Pass the Dutchie.

Cleo: Nope. 

Pand: You don't know the song Pass the Dutchie? What planet have you been on?

Cleo: Nope, never heard it. 

I asked the other trainer in the room, Mike, if he knew it. Mike is about my age. 

Mike knew it. "Yeah, Musical Youth - 1982-1983."

Pand: Yeah, that's it. 

Cleo: I was eight and I was listening to Madonna. 

Pand: No excuse.

Mike puts the song on over the stereo. 

Cleo still looks puzzled. 

Pand: You've seriously never heard this. 

Cleo: Nope. 

Pand: (In a very bad Jamaican accent) It's reggae, man. 

And Mike and I continued to bop around the gym, knowing all the words, smiling to ourselves as Cleo look on in amusement. 

Once the song had finished, Cleo asked, "Is there any eighties song you don't know the words to?"

80's music is my superpower. 

And this killer rif has been going through my head all day.

Makes me happy. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Movie Number 16 of 2022.

Movie: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4 (Rounded up from a solid 3.75)

You have to remember two things when watching the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise:

  • Unlike the Harry Potter films, there is no cohesive story line to follow
  • This is a figment of somebody else's imagination.

Also, thirdly, the second of the Fantastic Beasts film, The Crimes of Grindlewald, sucked big time. 

Thankfully this doesn't suck as badly. gives the synopsis as follows: 

"Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald's growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?"

Okay, I enjoyed this, but I like being taken away to other worlds, and the special effects are wonderful. I have a bit of a soft spot of Eddie Redmayne as he is quite lovely as the scatterbrained, sympathetic Newt Scamander. There were a heap of new characters in this movie, which was good. 

And the thing that worked best for me was Mads Mikkelson as Grindelwald - who is a hundred times better than Johnny Depp ever was in the role. So that worked. 

On the not so great side, it's a bit confusing and the plot is a bit hard to follow in places. You've go to be a real Potterhead to get some of the in jokes - a lot of those would go straight over people's heads. 

But on the whole, I actually like this. I liked how it mirrors modern times with the rise of the populist. I loved the effects. I enjoyed seeing how Credence (Ezra Miller) from the last films, fitted into things. I loved the scenery of the Scottish Highlands and Bhutan. The costumes are great.     The CGI and animatronics are brilliant.

It's not a perfect film by any stretch, but I enjoyed what was put in front of me. My brother and I had a talk about it. I was a bit more forgiving of this, but we both agreed it was much better than the second film in the franchise. We also agreed it was a hell of a lot better than Morbius, which we saw a few weeks ago. 

So if you do see this, go in with fairly low expectations and you'll probably come out smiling. 

Today's song: 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Movie Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Movie number 15 of 2022

Movie: Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Cinema: The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 4 1/2

Not often am I blown away by a movie that I know little about. I walking into Everything Everywhere All at Once  I knew of the following: 

  • It has a mostly Asian cast
  • It involves some sort of multiverse
  • And it's go rave reviews.
And that was all I needed to go along to this. 

This film is a total mind fuck - and it is SO worth it. 

Okay, so what it's about. Evelyn Wang (the incomparable Michelle Yeoh) has a not great life running a laundrette somewhere in suburban American. She is being audited by the tax department, she's on outer with her drab husband Waymond Wang (Ke Hee Quan) and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is bringing her grief. Oh, and there is grandpa (James Hong) in there for some comic relief. 

And then the fun begins.

What I can tell you: 
  • You get used to the multiverse situation really quickly. 
  • What a great use of bluetooth headsets. 
  • This is VERY funny in places. 
  • And quite violent, but in short sharp bursts. 
  • And Jamie Lee Curtis, as the psychotic tax agent is inspiring. 
  • Oh, and there are butt plugs. 
This is a complete mind fuck of a film. It feels like it's all over the place, but it is not, as you watch the hapless Evelyn try on her alternative universes selves to find a way forward. 

This film is absolutely bonkers, but in a great way. I loved every minute of it. The premise is stone mad, the performances, which take in of Hong Kong Kung Fu films and serious acting, are fantastic. 

If I was to put it in a bucket, it's a bit like The Matrix meets Being John Malkovich with a little bit of Little Miss Sunshine thrown in for good measure.

I loved it, just because it was so different. 

This is worth a look. 

Today's song:

Sunday, April 17, 2022

And Lent is Over

 I did it. 

I survived a whole three and a half months without eating a hot cross bun. 

See, hot cross buns are one of my most favourite things, but as I've been watching what I eat, I've sworn off the buggers, so much so that I swore off them for Lent. So, today, being Easter Sunday, I allowed myself a couple of the buggers on a very rare day off from the diet. 

And they were wonderful. 

I'm still very mad at Baker's Delight for not doing their exceptional mocha hot crossed buns - they were as addictive as crack. Talking to the girl in our local franchise, she said that the shop on Glenferrie Road in Armadale did them, but there's not enough black linen and hair extensions to get me down there. 

So, for the first time ever, I made it through Lent without over-indulging in hot cross buns in the first three months of the years. 

Am I proud of myself?


Is my waist line better for it? Yes - especially as I can't go past slathering these warm morsels with lots of butter. 

Did I enjoy my Easter buns today? Yes. 

Do I want any more? No. 

It appears this lifestyle change diet thing is working. I've had my Easter buns. I've had a day off the diet. That is enough. Back to the fold tomorrow.

Oh, and I have some hot cross bun gin - gin infused with sultanas, raisins, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg and some other spices - best drunk with dry ginger ale and garnished with cinnamon and orange. It's delightful - and it will see me through. 

Right, off to a movie now. 

I'll see if I can do this again next year. The delayed gratification was worth it. 

Today's song:

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Silly Questions

Another Saturday at work, another day of doing the Sunday questions on Saturday. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.    What’s the weirdest smell you have ever smelled?

I once went to the Jorvik Viking Museum in York. They had a walkthrough diorama of what York would have once looked and smelled like. It was strange. And it didn't smell very good at all. 

 2.   What would be the hat to end all hats? What could you wear on your head that would make people stop what they are doing and stare in awe and amazement?

Dumb question, but anything by Philip Treacy, who designed that thing Princess Beatrice wore once, that will do it. Actually, anything Princess Eugenie wears on her head should be sanctioned. 


 3.    What is something that everyone looks stupid doing?

Twerking. I just don't get it. Men, women, kids. Twerking is strange. Like why? 

 4.   In 40 years, what will people be nostalgic for?

Clean air and water. Koalas (they are nearly extinct, not that our illustrious federal government recognises this). 

 5.   How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?

I'm not opposed to pineapple in pizza, expecially as I was raised on Hawaiian Pizza as a kid. But it is only to be found on Ham and Pineapple - or Hawaiian pizza, and nothing else. I do prefer the Italianesque pizzas we get around here. Not a pineapple in sight. 

 6.   If animals could talk, which would be the rudest? 

Cats. They are arseholes. 

 7.   What’s the best type of cheese?

Oh, you have me thinking about this wonderful stuff I used to get at Waitrose in England - Stilton laced with ginger. It was incredible. If that's not available, then a triple cream brie will go down a treat. 

 8.   Where is the strangest place you’ve urinated or defecated?

What sort of question is that? Next.

 9.    In one sentence, how would you sum up the internet?

 Crazy place that can be used for both good and evil. 

10.   Which insect could you happily do without seeing for a good long time?

Huntsman Spiders. I hate the fuckers. 

11,   What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever worn?

Most of my wardrobe from 1983-1985. I had no dress sense ever as a teenager. 

12.  What’s the weirdest thing a guest has done at your house?

Oh, I had this one friend who once plucked her chin hairs while watching telly sitting on my couch. That wasn't overly appreciated. She's not my friend any more. 

13.  Is cereal soup? Why or why not?

It's not soup. It's not cooked. No stock or salt in involved. So no. 

14.   What is the sexiest and least sexy name?

Sexy names: Anything exotic - think Monique, Arielle, Aurora.

Not very sexy names: Hortense, Gertrude, Eunice... those awful Victorian names which appear to be making a comeback. 

15.   What fictional character is amazing in their book / show / movie, but would be insufferable if you had to deal with them in mundane everyday situations?

I've just finished Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes - and as much as I love the Walsh family, they would do my head in. 

The crew from Wuthering Heights I don't think I could put up with them either. 

Today's song: 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Notes on working on Good Friday

I am working on Good Friday. 

I am sitting here wearing a t-shirt which as the words 'Hell was boring" emblazoned across my tits. 

I'm saving the "See you next Tuesday" t-shirt for tomorrow. 

I have emergency ice cream in the fridge. 

I'll probably need to go on a run to find some eye drops in the not too distant future. 

I'm taking regular breaks, whether that be to put the washing out on the line, or take out the rubbish, or kissing the cat's head while he sleeps (because he loves being woken up, he does)

And I know that I'll keep on getting requests every ten or so minutes - most if which I will ignore til the top of the hour. 

And I know that regularly yelling, "WILL YOU FUCK OFF!!" at my computer at regular intervals does help. 

And I'm enjoying the subversive housework I'm doing every time I finish a chore. Next job is to mop the kitchen floor. 

And I'm looking forward to the following: 

  • a movie with Blarney early Sunday afternoon
  • a swim with Jay on Sunday evening
  • a  movie with my Punjabi kid brother on Monday afternoon
  • a couple of sessions at the gym (looking to go before I start work tomorrow)
And strangely, I'm looking forward to having my gall bladder out so that I can have ten days off from this madness in a few weeks time. 

And I'm relishing the knowledge that this all goes live next weekend and I will be in Adelaide. 

And I know that working on Good Friday, the day that Jesus died makes me a heathen. 

Oh well. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Guilty Pleasures: Bridgerton

 Being a stressed out bunny at present, I need something simple, fluffy and pretty to look at to keep me from going ga-ga. 

My drug of choice is Bridgerton

If you've not caught the Bridgerton bug yet, be warned. It's addictive. Like Turkish Delight Easter Eggs or curried egg sandwiches. 

Basically, it's a series based on a set of fluffy romance novels. The Viscount Bridgerton and his large family are sort of all looking for love in Georgian England. 

Of the family there is: 

  • Anthony - the current Viscount - oldest brother. A bit of a rake. 
  • Benedict - the arty second son, who marches to the beat of his own drum (I'm definitely Team Benedict)
  • Colin - the people pleaser who likes to eat and falls in love easily.
  • Daphne  - the eldest daughter, protagonist of the first novel - a bit too gullible for her own good. 
  • Eloise - the iconoclast, feminist and somebody who would be my friend. 
  • Francesca - the sister nobody knows much about because she's always away in Bath with relatives
  • Gregory - he's a kid and he's short. 
  • Hyacinth - the baby, who's a bit lippy. 
Oh, and there's Mum, Violet, who keeps her brood in check. Oh, and the Featheringtons, three rather drab sisters and their parents who provide quite a lot of comic relief. 

Look, it's great. There's lots of wonderful costumes, eye fucking, longing looks, silly situations and a poison pen gossip writer mystery going on the in the background. 

If you're looking for a bit of fluff to keep you from going completely insane, knowing that this isn't anything close to reality, that doesn't have a heap of bloodshed or violence, this is a good alternative. 

It's that, or Sanditon...

Jane Austen, eat your heart out. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Emergency Brownies

 I have no sweets in the house, unless you count the candied ginger and smooshed lychee ice blocks I have in the freezer. 

Tonight I'm trying everything in my power not to make Nigella's Emergency Brownies

I mean, I'm here on my work computer, actually working. Oh, what fun, at 9 p.m. 

And I don't need these at all, but I like the though of making a small amount of brownies. 

I think of what  I have in the cupboard at the moment. 

50 grams soft unsalted butter   - CHECK

50 grams soft light brown sugar - CHECK

1 x 15ml tablespoon maple or golden syrup - CHECK

3 x 15ml tablespoons plain flour - CHECK

3 x 15ml tablespoons cocoa - CHECK

¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes - CHECK (Himalayan rock salt will suffice)

1 large egg (at room temperature) (CHECK)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract - CHECK

50 grams walnut pieces - CHECK

50 grams dark or milk chocolate chips (as wished) - BUMMER, No.

Oh well, no chocolate chips. 

I'll just have to get my sweet jollies from the smooshed up lychee and passionfruit ice blocks in the freezer. 

Much better for me. 

Maybe during tomorrow's team meeting I'll go for a walk down to the supermarket to get some chocolate chips. 

I'm just trying to keep myself happy for a bit. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Poke Bowl

The best thing about working from home is the ability to cook lunch,

Today, I'm having one of my eponymous Poke Bowls. 

In this, there is: 

  • Half a cup of brown rice (microwave pots are the best)
  • Half a marinated Teriyaki chicken breast 
  • A couple of spears of asparagus - blanched
  • A couple of spears of broccolini - blanched
  • 40 g or edamame beans - also blanched
  • 1/4 a Haas avocado
  • 20 g of pickled ginger
  • A drizzle of Kewpie mayonnaise
This lunch makes me happy. It's substantial. It's tasty. It's easy to throw together. The only thing missing is the dried seaweed, which I ran out of as I've taken to eating leftover Nori sheets as chips. 

When I don't have chicken, I've been known to throw in smoked salmon and a boiled egg. 

It's yummy, very easy and I like it. 

I'm also edging to get some of these bad boys in me - peanut chilli noodles. 

How does this sound? 

You need:

  • A pack of instant noodles (but I think I might go the soba kind - love soba noodles)
  • Some oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy
  • 1 tbsp of honey / maple syrup.
You basically cook the noodles, fry off the garlic and sesame seeds, then add the rest to the hot pan off the gas and stir.

Might have to give these a try. 

Anything quick and easy is a good thing.

Must get back to work and stop thinking about food. 

Today's song:

Monday, April 11, 2022

I must learn how to say No

 Today, I started work at 8 am. 

I moved away from my work laptop at 7 p.m.

I went to the gym. 

While I was at the gym. I received three messages from work. I responded that I might have a look at this when I got home, or maybe early tomorrow morning. 

In my defence, we are at the very pointy end of the project at the moment, the software is going live over ANZAC Day weekend. 

I had my boss having a rant during our catch up. My day was hard. Her day was worse. 

And now, it's 11.15 p.m. I didn't look at the queries - I'll do that in the morning. 

But I am now sitting here doing paperwork for the Masons for a big meeting we have tomorrow night. 

And I'm just over sitting in front of a computer. 

I have to learn to say no. 

I really do. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Movie Review: The Lost City

 Movie N0 14 of 2022

The Film: The Lost City

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

Sometimes you just need a silly film to lift your spirits. A film which is that ridiculous you just have to sit back, enjoy and ponder how much sillier it can get. There are some great caper / treasure hunt films. I think of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople - which has to be one of the greatest caper films out there. There's Romancing the Stone - and the Indiana Jones movies. 

The Lost City isn't of the calibre of these films, but it's still a decent, funny enjoyable diversion. The fact that it takes the piss out of itself is its saving grace. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum take all this in their stride - and they look like they're having fun. 

The plot, according to is as such: "Reclusive author Loretta Sage writes about exotic places in her popular adventure novels that feature a handsome cover model named Alan. While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta gets kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire who hopes she can lead him to an ancient city's lost treasure from her latest story. Determined to prove he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her."

That about sums it up. Loretta and Alan have to trudge through the jungle to try and escape the dastardly Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe, with the feminine junior name - and he's great as the unhinged Fairfax. Hmm, Fairfax, media tycoon - funny that). Oh and there's Beth (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), Loretta's hardworking agent who tries to find her from when she realises that Loretta has been taken. 

For an action movie based around the opposites attract trope, I loved the fact that a lot of the humour came from site gags and pure silliness. Bullock and Tatum milk the silly from a folding chair, some cable ties, a wheelbarrow and a very stupid magenta, sequined jump suit. 

Another awesome feature of the film is a ten minute cameo by Brad Pitt, a self-help guru who comes to Alan's aid. He's hysterical - even funnier than his cameo in Deadpool II. He rather steals the movie. 

Okay, this is a lightweight film, but when you have Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum together, were you really expecting to get Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Cherry Orchard

This was the perfect foil for a Sunday movie when you've been working a lot of the weekend and you just want to turn off. There's just enough laughs to keep you going, and not so strangely, Channing Tatum, with his shirt off, is still good to watch. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Thought Provoking Questions

 Another weekend of work, and another Saturday night when I'm doing the Sunday questions. I was supposed to be going out to dinner tonight. I'm a bit headachy and throaty - the RAT test came back negative, but I don't want to risk it. Such is life in this new Post-COVID world. 

Questions, as always, have been provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Do you own your things or do your things own you?

I own my things. I do like things (particularly my books) but they don't own me. I could do without a lot of them. 

2. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?

I don't think I'd sign up for either. Your old memories make you who you are. And making new memories is all part of the fun of having fun. So I'm going to say neither. 

3. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?

That I have my health, that I am secure and that I have friends. You need all of these things to live past your 70s. 

4. What do you have that you cannot live without?

My friends. 

5. When you close your eyes what do you see?

Light. It depends on the amibent light around the place as to how bright the light is. 

6. What sustains you on a daily basis?

Writing, film, friends and music. I need all of these things to keep me sane. 

7. What are your top five personal values?

  • Be kind, always
  • Be loyal
  • Be generous with your friends
  • Be curious, but not judgemental (thanks, Ted Lasso for that one)
  • Keep on searching. 

8. What personal prisons have you built out of fears?

Probably my fear of intimacy and commitment. They're fun. I'm working on them. 

9. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?

Walk the full length of the Camino de Compostella di Santiago in Spain. An 800 kilometre walk. Fun, eh? 

10. If you haven’t achieved it yet what do you have to lose?

I've been waiting for the time where it's a bit safe  - I was looking at doing it this year, but there are some health issues that need seeing to. That and I need 6 weeks to two months off work to do this. And I need to get a new passport - my old one is about to expire. 

11. What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?

  • Work
  • Work
  • Work
It's not been fun. It will hopefully be changing bigtime after ANZAC Day when the project goes live. 

12. Is it ever right to do the wrong thing?  Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?

Yes. Not often, but yes. 

13. How would you describe ‘freedom’ in your own words?

Walking barefoot down a beach, listening to the ocean, not having to be anywhere and just enjoying what is in front of you, without feeling disadvantaged in any way. 

14. What is the most important thing you could do right now in your personal life?

Let myself be open to more opportunities in all sorts of ways. 

15. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

I'd probably still be a writer. 

Today's song: 

Today's song: 

Friday, April 8, 2022

The worst ear-worm

 One bad movie. One bad song. It's been in my head for a week. 

I walked in on the movie which was playing on the telly when I came in after a night out. I avoid this movie. It's not a great movie. But it's avoided because there are two awful songs in it which get stuck in your head and don't leave. 

The movie is Music and Lyrics. It's a blink and you miss it rom-com starring Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. 

This mock video clip starts the movie. 

Hugh Grant has a cute bum - well he did 15 years ago when this was made. I'm not sure what it's like now he's a bit older. (though I LOVE his Cockney accent). 

But this song has been in my head for about a week know and it is driving me troppo.

Please send another earworm to get rid of it. 

Here is some Florence and the Machine to get rid of the residual sounds. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

30 Words

April brings the Writer's Victoria Annual #FlashFiction competition. 

Each day in April, at around 9 a.m. a tweet is sent out with the word of the day. It looks like this

You have until midnight to tweet back a 30 word story.

Once a week on a Tuesday Writers Victoria announce the best tweets/stories of the day. At the end of the month, the best story is judged and there's a small prize to be had. 

This is an absolute godsend for me. 30 words, sculpting a publishable story, getting it out there, and seeing what the Twitterverse things of it.

On the good side of things, the people who participate in this are lovely people. It's nice when you see the likes ramping up - anything over 15 and I think I've done a good job. Met some good people over Twitter this way. (For the record, I tweet under another name and I only use the app for writing stuff and occasionally checking news - as a friend once said, Twitter is the place where you go to yell at your enemies - I keep my twitter feed very clean, positive and unpolluted).

I also love the short, sharp creative outlet - like my Instagram page. Funny, in that I had a talk with a colleague about this today. I often share my Insta stories with her. She loves that there isn't a duckface in sight. 

Anyway, I'm loving this annual challenge. I love what you can get out in 30 words. I love that I can do this and be a part of a writing tribe. 

It makes me happy. 

Sure, some of these stories are better than others. Then you can go about and amaze yourself.

I wasn't certain about this morning's effort, but it appears to have gone down well. 

It's all a matter of honing the skills. 

Like this blog, it's all a part of the practice. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

I have no desire to write tonight

I'm knackered. 

Here are some good things from the day:

  1. My boss bought me lunch (on expenses - she was down from Sydney)
  2. I met a colleague who I've been speaking to for 16 months. He lives in Tasmania. He's delightful. 
  3. The tram was a minute down the road on the right side (i.e. coming towards the stop) instead of having it fly by as I'm 50 metres from the tram stop. 
  4. I walked home from the train tonight. 
  5. Gym was good - I got to work out with Angus, who was visiting as his trainer is away. Jay is still recovering from COVID. 
  6. My 30 word story garnered 17 likes on Twitter. This is good for me
  7. The 30 word story took 3 minutes to write. 
  8. This is the 30 word story. Today's word was 'intermittent'.
"Her sanity was intermittent at best. She searched for it under doona and while tightrope-walking bar balconies. Moods swinging, nothing stayed calm. Searching for an impossible horizon, she screamed, ‘Enough!' "

9. I love April because I love the 30 word story challenge run by the Victorian Writer's Centre.
10. I'm happy I have done this blog post - even if it isn't a real blog post. 

That will do. Bed for me I think. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Movie Review: Morbius

Movie Number 13 of 2022

The Movie: Morbius

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 2.5

It's the 13th film I've seen this year and I'm not feeling overly generous about this Marvel monstrosity. 

It's been panned by the critics and audiences alike. I went with my kid brother. He didn't like it either. It's sitting on 16% approval on And I get why. 

Basically, it stinks. 

Though I found a few redeeming features. 

The plot, according to RottenTomatoes is as such:

"One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen as Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. While at first it seems to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed. Will good override evil -- or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges?"

Like what the?

It's basically a thriller vampire movie in the Marvel world. 

The problem with Morbius is lacks the charm and humour of most Marvel films. Heck, even The Avengers: Infinity Wars had it's lighter moments. Not this. It's a mix of plot holes, CGI and rather gory action. What there is of the story is bloody hard to follow - Like why does the movie start in Costa Rica in a bat cave? And really, what is going on with Michael Morbius, and did they really have to have the whole romance with his colleague who may end up not as dead as she appears to be? 

Sorry - this one is a bit of a stinker. 

As I always look for the good in movies, I will say I enjoyed the following: 

  • Jared Leto is pretty to look at
  • The effects are good
  • I quite liked the addition of Matt Smith as Milo, Morbius's friend and nemesis. 
  • And the end bit, where Michael Keaton turns up as somebody in a jail cell, who ends up being the Vulture - from one of the Spiderman movies (and it looks like this is setting up one of the next Spiderman films, going from the clip during the end credits.)
But this isn't one of Marvel's best. I'm half-interested in seeing Venom now, as those films are allegedly funny. 

This isn't. My kid brother didn't like it either, for the same reasons. 

Best give this one a miss. It's for the die hard Marvel fans only.

Monday, April 4, 2022

The Sistine Chapel

We get to do all sorts of things these days. 

Yesterday it was a visit to the Sistine Chapel. Well it was a visit to a few of the panels of the ceiling, rendered onto canvas, illuminated and brought to Melbourne in an exhibition. 

Alice told me to come along. And being a Renaissance junkie, I couldn't say no. 

Of course, I've been to the actual Sistine Chapel some 23 years ago. Of my memories of Rome, I remember having raging bronchitis, I was staying in a one star rooming house near the Colusseum, I got hassled by gypsies and I spent my afternoons avoiding the heat listening to a troupe practice Don Giovanni for an opera festival at St Clement's Basilica - which was the highlight of the trip. 

Anyway, I remember going to the Vatican for the day, seeing La Pieta, being floored by the wealth of the place. And then I was in the Sistine Chapel with a couple of hundred other people, and I remember having a look and thinking that this would be an amazing place if you were on your own and there weren't people yelling at you not to take photos. It wasn't the best of experiences. 

So I relished the chance to have a look at this amazing little church and to view the paintings close up.

This was a lot more palatable than my Roman experience.

Alice and I first took in the three short documentaries about the painting and scaffolding processes. Fascinating stuff.

And then we got to see a lot of the frescoes up close. 

Incredible stuff. The detail, the humour, the outright sticking it to the Pope, the stories. It was surreal to be up close and personal with images you've only seen from 6 storeys away.

Like this: 

And this - I love the Sibyl of Cumae, but Michelangelo really doesn't know how to do tits. 

And this, the majestic altar piece.

And the bits that get overlooked - this one was my favourite. 

Alice, all the mean time, was going through the meaning of each panel. She was quizzing me on my knowledge of the bible and Hebrew (both stood up quite well). It was a lovely, meandering, fascinating afternoon. 

As with all exhibitions like there, there were a few too many people there, but still - the chance to see some beauty in a controlled environment. 

I'm glad I went along. 

After, I bought a fridge magnet to commemorate the afternoon and Alice and I went for a cup of tea, which is another ritual of ours. 

Unfortunately, Alice and I went on the last day of the exhibition. If this was not the case, I'd be telling you to buy a ticket and go have a look. It was worth the $30 ticket price.

Today's song: 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Movie Review: King Richard

 Movie 12 of 2022

The Movie: King Richard

The Cinema: The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 4

With all the kerfuffle over Will Smith's (and Chris Rock's) behaviour at the Academy Awards this year, there was part of me who was thinking that maybe I could give this a miss. But despite the actor's entitled and dickhead move (not condoning either man - dick heads both of them) Jonella and I decided to see this. Not surprisingly after all the fuss, the cinema was 3/4 full - and the film has been running for a number of weeks now. 

I'm glad we did go along. I can see why Will Smith got the Oscar for this. He's excellent.

Rotten Tomatoes says of the movie:

"Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California's neglected tennis courts--rain or shine--the girls are shaped by their father's unyielding commitment and their mother's balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, "King Richard" follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world's greatest sports legends.".

It's an inspirational tale of a man wanting more for his family and being willing to do anything for them. You want to love Richard as much as you want to hate him. He's loud, brash and unconventional as he pushes his girls to be their best. He's the perfect advocate for his girls, but he's also a huge pain in the arse. For anybody who's had a difficult relationship with their father, you'll recognise a lot of his behaviours. 

Will Smith is excellent in this as the eponymous King Richard. Very quickly you forget you're watching Will Smith and completely believe you're watching this loving, driven, left-of-centre father get the best out of his daughters. 

But there is much more to this film. There's the life in Compton, an impoverished part of Los Angeles. There's the relationships with his wife Brandy (Aunjenue Ellis, deserving of the Oscar nod) and his five daughters. Most of the film focuses on Venus Williams rise from promising Junior to her first match with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, when Williams nearly beat her as a 14-year-old. 

As somebody who doesn't really like tennis, I really liked this film. It was definitely worth the Oscar nods. 

It's just a pity it's going to be overshadowed for eternity by the disappointing actions witnessed at this year's Oscars. 

Today's song: