Tuesday, May 31, 2022

What I think about when I think about Internet Dating

Dating in your 50's in daunting. So daunting, you wonder why you actually bother, until, after a bit, you remember there are things you might like in your life - or once had and would like to have again. Things like having somebody make you a cup of tea in the morning, or somebody to go to the pictures with, or somebody to fight over the remote with or heaven forbid, somebody who might want to give you a cuddle (that isn't the cat when they're in the right mood, but a human being giving you a cuddle.)

The other thing about internet dating in your 50's is what drives you is a little different. Gone is the desire for either somebody to provide you with babies, a house or a quick shag. In place of this is the desire to find somebody with whom you can have a decent conversations, maybe prepare dinner with, watch some next Netflix and not embarrass you too much when you're out with your mates. 

To be completely honest, if you expect nothing more than to go out and have a pleasant afternoon/evening/coffee/drink and that's it, well that is all I'm hoping for - and so far, I've not done too badly. Of the two people I've met online with whom I've met, I've had a pleasant time without needing to continue any contact. 

Which is where the stinger comes in. To actually have to get to know somebody, you need to spend a bit more time with them. I was in a workshop over the weekend discussing writing and friendship. One of the speakers was saying that you need to spend 200 hours with a person before you can consider them a true friend. If you take this as a quantifier for friendship, you have no chance of making friends over the internet. 

Still, it happens. I've got many friends who've met their partners online. 

But am I looking for a partner? Or a friend? Or a fuck buddy? I'm not sure. Play it by ear. See what goes. And again, this is another trap - it's going into these meetings with no set agenda or expectation which keeps you safe and sane. I've learned this one. Your walls stay up. You don't want to get hurt. 

Looking back at this, it appears I'm getting better at this first step of actually meeting people online. Okay, middle aged men are not overly inspiring, but there is the argument that middle aged women aren't overly enticing either. But we try to not go for looks. Grey hair is a given now. Balding is what it is - genetics. I'm not overly fond of facial hair - neatly trimmed yes - not into bush ranger beards.Tattoos -  yeah, nah. Depends. But looks are not what it's about. 

I just want to know how I stop myself overthinking things. Here's a few things that go through my head, just thinking about if I actually clicked with somebody. 

  • God, do I have to clean the house properly?
  • All my underwear is industrial strength, utilitarian Handmaid's Tale stuff - will that be a turn off?
  • Will he mind my cooking?
  • Will the cat like him?
  • Do you you mean I'd have to clean off the junk end of the couch?
  • What will the cat think about somebody else sleeping in his bed?
  • What if he's nice but I don't like the way he smells / tastes?
  • Will he make me a cup of tea in the morning?
  • Will he judge me for my messy flat? 
  • Will he try and rub off my tattoo? (That has happened in the past)
  • Should I get in some condoms?
Stupid thoughts are these - made even stupider by getting twenty steps ahead of myself. But this is what overthinkers do - as we ponder how this appeared to be so easy in our twenties. 

Never to mind, putting yourself out there is the first step. Has to be done in a safe and cautious manner.

We live in hope. 

Today's song:

Monday, May 30, 2022

Winter has come

 Winter came with a bang this morning, not the whimper I was hoping for. 

Winter has the unfortunate ability to turn up with the subtelty of an unexpected period, or like the Jehovah's Witnesses on your doorstep. Unwanted and a bit unnecessary and very annoying. 

So I sit here in my pyjamas and my oodie and my ugg boots, with the lacklustre heater on (and drying my towel) thinking about the week that is, in this bone chilling, sub-Antarctic weather at the arse end of May. 

Tomorrow I'll be home, working in said pyjamas, ugg boots and oodie just trying to keep warm. I rather envy Lucifer, who's taken up sleeping under his blanket wrapped up in a snuggie. 

Wednesday my team are going into work and we're going out to lunch - which means a trudge out in the weather to the restaurant my colleague has chosen. Must remember to take my umbrella - although I'll probably forget it. A visit to the myotherapist to have my shoulder seen to will also be fun. In the cold. After work. Joy. 

Thursday, I'm home again. The cat will be happy. 

Friday will be a mixed bag. In the morning I'll head off to a funeral being held for a friend's mother. I'd met her mum on many occasions, and I really want to be there for my friend. The morning has been taken off work. 

Then in the evening, we have a dress up work do. Joy. The theme of the evening is "A Little Bit Glam".


So this means trying to make my hair presentable. And I get to wear my new dress. It was bought on a whim. My tits might get cold. At least the party is indoors. 

An evening out means I will have to find a pair of stockings, and wear heels, and put on full make up - not just the eyeliner and mascara I normally wear. And maybe team this with  a black (p)leather jacket for warmth, some jewellery and a bit of attitude. At least my legs were waxed the other day. 

Blah, who am I kidding? I'd rather stay home with the cat. I'm not sure I'm up to being nice to a whole heap of people I normally flip the bird to whilst in zoom meetings at with the cameras off at work. (Kidding). 

But it's been implied that going is a good things. Half the team is coming over from Perth. The rest of them are coming down from Sydney. 

Then there's the Uber home. 

Yes, I'm impressed as I sound. I just hope I don't get COVID from this. 

But it's cold, and though I like the cold, and my oodie and ugg boots, it's been a shock the system. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Love Me Some Surveys

 It's that time of the week again. Sunday morning means Sunday questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Who was the last attractive person you saw?

I went and saw Top Gun: Maverick on Friday night. Jon Hamm is in it. I think he's gorgeous. 

2. Do you have a tattoo? If not, are you going to get one?

I have one small tattoo on my hip. It's the Chinese symbol for love - it's very small, you can barely see it and it's been there for 25 years. I had a tattoo before tattoos were cool. 

3. Have you smoked a cigarette in the last 24 hours?

No. I don't smoke any more - haven't for well over a decade.  (With the occassional puff when I've had too much to drink.) Mind you, in Australia, a pack costs around $60 - how anybody can afford to smoke is beyond me. 

4. Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?

Second chances, yes. Third chances, no. 

5. What is your favorite number?

7 and 64.

6. What time did you go to sleep last night?

About 12.45. I was watching something on telly and I like to get the Wordle out before I go to sleep. thats a bit later than normal, but not much. I normally go to bed around midnight. 

7. Are you one of those people that always answer their phones?

No - I will often ignore calls. Depends on who is calling. 

8. If you died today would your life be complete?

Well, yes, it would, because I would be dead and there would be no more life. I suppose that's a bit defeatist as I think I have a hell of a lot more to do. 

9. If you are being extremely quiet, what does that mean?

I'm thinking. Be very scared. 

10. Do you know what high school your dad went to?

Yes I do. But strangely, I can't tell you which high school my mother went to. I will have to ask her, Mum moved around a lot as a kid. 

11. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach?

I really can't remember. It's been a while. 

12. Where is your cell phone?

In front of me on my lap top. 

13.  What is the nearest purple thing to you?

My cat's brush is to my left. it's made of purple rubber. He only just tolerates it. 

14. When did you last step outside?  What were you doing?

Friday night - though I am about to go outside to hang out the washing on the line. I have a small load that will be under 5 kilograms, which means I can cart it down. I'm not allowed to lift anything over 5 kilograms for the next three weeks, thanks to surgery three weeks ago. Thankfully everything is healing well. 

15. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Yesterday I watched a few episodes of Miranda and Upstart Crow on one of the streaming services. I find it laugh out loud funny. Love British comeduy. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick

Movie Number 23 of 2022

Movie: Top Gun: Maverick

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens (on their ExtremeScreen)

Stars: 4

A week ago I was writing about the original Top Gun being a really bad film. Well, as an excuse to get out of the house for the evening, Jay and I want along to see this - and within limitations, this is not that bad. Actually, despite it being twee and corny, it was good fun and the flight scenes were amazing. 

Yes, this is a Tom Cruise vanity project. Get your head around this and all is well. 

So what do you get over 30 years after the original came out? 

Well, Cruise plays Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a bit of a renegade test pilot who is working away from the main navy as he keeps pissing people off. Who knew? He is recalled to the Top Gun school under the orders of Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kozansky - yes, his nemisis in the original Top Gun played by a now silent Val Kilmer, to train up theses elite pilots for what appears to be a suicide mission. 

Of these 12 keen and willing pilots one is Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, his old partner Goose's son. There is a bit of water under the bridge. Maverick appears to have been young Bradley's mentor, but in deference to his mother's wishes (played by Meg Ryan in the original movie) Maverick held up Rooster's career path as a pilot, so there's some bad blood between them.

Anyway, Maverick has three weeks to get these top pilots ready to fly what's all but a suicide mission against an unnamed enemy. Who this enemy isn't said explicitly, which had me scratching my head. The film ends with the mission, somewhat early and not really going to plan. I'll not say any more. 

But what I will say is that I found this great entertainment. Sure, it's a Tom Cruise passion project  first and foremost.( Cruise, who you have to remember turns 60 this year, so the botox, formadahyde or whatever it is sustaining his youthful appearance is still working well.) This has to be seen on the biggest screen you can find. We went to Victoria Gardens and saw it on one of their ExtremeScreens - they're huge - and it was fantastic. 

Okay, the script isn't great, and it's pretty corny and predictable, but what it lacks in finesse, in makes up for in incredible flying scenes - which are even better than the ones in the first film. And there are the blatant nods to the original film, including the gratuitous topless, tanned men playing sport shot (which was quite nice to look at). 

But it is what it is. A Tom Cruise movie with goodies and baddies and lots of aerial stunts. You don't need to engage your brain much, and if you excuse the plotholes and schmatlz you'll have a good time. 

I hate to admit, but I really enjoyed this, and will happily see it again with Jonella's partner - even if it is to watch the football scene again. This is a great sequel - a better film than the original.

Today's song: 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Things to write about

 It's 11.20 pm and I haven't done my blog, and it's something I am very vigilant about doing. It's been nearly two and a half years of blogging daily - I have not missed a day, not even in the middle of a gallbladder attack or being in hospital. 

I've been trying to write this for most of the day, but have yet found a topic to write on. 

I could write about how much I hate internet dating. But that is a subject for a longer post on another day` when my head is straight. 

There's always the topic of why there are ants marching over my keyboard. Does this mean it;s going to rain? There is no food about the place. 

Or the fact I'm thinking about replacing my car - it's coming up on seven years, but cars are scarce and I don't quite know what to get. A hybrid? But what sort of hybrid? Or replace my current Mazda CX-3 with something similar. Nothing too big. 

Of course I could write about the film I saw tonight, but that is for tomorrow's post after I've had a think about it. There's a bit to unpack there. 

Next Friday, we have a work function which I am dreading. I have to frock up, do my hair and put on makeup. This is going to be after a morning off to go to a friend of mines' mother's funeral. I think I'm happier going to the funeral... I mean having to dress up (like what to wear) and go hang out with people who've been shouting at me for the last six months... and my boss is down from Sydney... and I have to frock up and wear uncomfortable shoes... and try to have a good hair day... yeah... nah...

Going on from this, I could write about the process of buying stocking for said outfit for next Friday - but who buys stockings any more. I haven't bought stockings in years. 

I could review the book I'm reading, but I've another thirty pages to read and I'm sure there will be a twist (Jennifer Down's Bodies of Light - it's excellent. I'm also listening to Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air - which is also astounding.)

There's Lucifer's latest trick - digging around in his water bowl, splashing water all around the place. I watched him this morning. He just appears to like jumping into his water bowl. I have no idea why. He's eating and sleeping and pooing alright - I think he's just being a turd. 

I could write about how today's song has been going around in my head all day, despite not hearing it for probably 30 years - obscure Icehouse  - who knew. 

My weekend is looking like it will be all writing, cleaning and getting a good hour's walk done, weather permitting. Don't need to write about that. 

So now I've written about what I'm not going write about, I have a short blog. 


Now I'm off to bed. 

And here is Icehouse with one of their less played and underloved songs. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Back to Work


It had to happen. I had to go back to work. The medical cerficate ran out yesterday. 

I got back to 250 emails. 

230 of those emails were binned immediately. 

The team were happy to see me. 

My stomach wall was not so happy. It appears I can sit upright for about half an hour before needed to go walking around for a bit. This is a bit of a blessing. 

So I sorted out the 30 or so emails, chatted to people, wtalked about what I might wear to the big party  we are having next Friday (which it has been inlplied we have to go to)

I talked to the girls in Perth, who are coming to Melbourne for the said party. 

I had a meeting with my manager

I had a meeting with one of our stakeholders about some stuff which needed to be done on the work we've just completed. 

We had a team meeting. 

And I did some appraisals

And at 5.30 I had a chat with one of the other girls in Perth about this and that. 

And at 5.45 I am away rather knackered, wondering just what I had achieved today. Which was next to no practical work and a heap of administration. 

I had some pumpkin curry for lunch and I got about 30 pages of my book read over the day. 

And I had a drinks date down the pub at 7 pm. 

But I'm still wondering just what I got out of today, other than meeting a nice person down the pub. 

Oh and I ate some cheese on rice cakes. Not too much of it as I'm being good, but a little bit. I rue the day I was introduced to this supermarket cheapy holy terror of glory. This will last me least a week. It has to. Good for the 3 pm pick me up on a rice cake. 

And for a beer soaker after the pub. 

So that was my day. 

Better go to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow. At least it's a short week. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Movie Review: To Olivia

Movie number 22 of  2022

Movie: To Olivia

Theatre: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75

My last medical leave movie turned out to be an English gem. Definitely not everybody's cup of tea, but I appreciated this film for what it is, that being a study of grief and its impact on a marriage. 

The film relates the story of Roald Dahl (Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey fame) and his actress wife Patricia Neal (Keeley Hawes) as they navigate marriage and parenting after the death of their eldest daughter Olivia from measles encephalitis. While Roald holes himself up in his shed, slowly drinking himself into oblivion, Neal tries to navigate new horizons in Hollywood, while trying to keep the family together. 

As time goes on, Dahl retreats more and more into himself, while Neale looks to restart her career, turning to Marty Ritt (Conleth Hill of Game of Thrones fame) who has her pegged for a role in Hud, for which she won an Oscar. The film also goes on Neal takes the children to Hollywood with her, putting some space between her and Dahl as he continues to drink, and work on his masterpiece Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Sam Heughan of  Outlander fame plays a pretty wonderful Paul Newman. 

By the end of the film, the family are once again whole, through some pretty stark realisations and hard work. 

John Hay's direction and screenplay is subtle, taking the story on its natural path from happiness, to sorrow and back again. It was the small details which won me over - knowing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda as I do, small details of these books are  through the story. The set and costumes of England in the early 1960s were on point, as were all the things which parents got away with are out there on display. And children of the age really did get dressed like that. I have photos of myself in the same sorts of clothes. 

This won't be for everybody, but I enjoyed this film, especially for Bonneville and Hawes performance, and the portrayal of a family after the loss of a child. Having witnessed this in my own family, they were on point. 

Another small point, which I really appreciated. Olivia is the reason Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal actively promoted the measles vaccination - this is a well known fact. The other small fact that made me smile was that Olivia's middle name was Twenty - because $20 was all Dahl had in his pocket at the time her birth. How refreshingly and barkingly British of him. 

This one is probably only for the British Film aficinadoes like me. Still it was a very satisfying film. 

Today's song: (because the Sammy Davis version is less creepy than the original)

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Gentle Art of Saying No Thank You

 I've started the gentle hunt for another job, seeing that my current contract is up in six weeks. It's what you do as a contractor. 

Last week, I applied for a role for which I had been contacted. My CV was updated, I asked a few questions, contacted my referees and made it abundantly clear that I was not available until early July. They said that should work.

Early this afternoon I received another call from an agency I've used in the past. Would I be interested in a job. 

The woman on the other end of the phone asked a few questions, and then mentioned they were looking for somebody to work at a gaming company. 

I stopped her there. And then I explained that my ethics won't allow me to work for a gaming company. Gaming and Mining are the two industries I don't want to work for. Gaming ruins people's lives. Mining ruins the environment. I don't want to be part of that. 

The woman continued that the company was looking for somebody to work with their HR department. 

I'm still not interested, but I thanked her for thinking of me and said that if she had any opportunities outside of gambling or mining, please look me up. 

There will be other opportunities. 

I know I'm what's been described as a 'corporate maggot'. I've always worked for large corporates - banks, insurance companies, telcos and utilities. I know how to navigate corporates. I'm not dealing with customers (oh, that could get ugly), and it could be argued that these companies all gamble in their own way, and are all holding up some of these bad for the community and environment corporations - but they're not at the coal face (pardon the pun). They provide an honest day's work on a good wage and you're not forced to do anything illegal.

Gaming and mining just don't cut it for me. 

I think that's fair. Besides, I'm not in a hurry to find a new job - this is all a part of the process. They may extend me where I am - but then again they may not. 

It just felt good to say no thank you and not feel bad about it. 

Today's song: 

Monday, May 23, 2022

An Evening with Hanya Yanagihara

Being a fledgeling writer, it's always good to get out there and listen to the more experienced of the flock. 

And Hanya Yanagihara is a bit of a hero of mine. 

So when I read about her being in conversation with Benjamin Law at the Capitol Theatre as a part of the Melbourne Writer's Festival - I had to get a ticket and go and have a listen. 

Hanya Yanigahara you ask. She wrote a housebrick of a book called A Little Life a few years ago. I think I have my mother's copy and I received it at the end of 2015 - the Christmas we lost my niece. At the time, I was told to maybe give myself some time before I read it as it's a pretty intense book. Some call it depressing. Some call it trauma porn. Me, I got a lot out of the story of four men, friends from college - Jude, Willem, Malcolm and JB and their trials and tribulations - in particular Jude, who  is one of the most broken characters ever written. I read the book over the Summer of 2016. I gave it a year. And like most thick books, there was a lot to digest. Like Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True or Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, this spans decades and experiences. The prose is incredible. The story intense. 

I wanted to meet the author. 

So I took myself into town and piled into the Capitol Theatre in all its glory. I love this space, especially as it was nearly demolished a few years ago, only to be saved with some last minute intervention. It was worth the ticket price to stare at the ceiling in all its Art Deco glory for a little while. 

I'm so glad I went along to this. Yanagihara was generous with her time, her thoughts and her insights into what it is to write a tome like this, and her new book - also a big thick book, To Paradise

She was in conversation with Benjamin Law, who I always find entertaining, and they skirted the boundaries of topics including the pandemic, what it is to write the future, how it is being a Booker winning author,  and some of her writing habits. The talk has made me curious to get into To Paradise sooner rather than later, but at 702 pages, I have some other reading to do first.  (But I have to finish my book group book and the one I've nearly finished first).

She also gave some insights into her background and early life, as a Japanese-American, her family have lived on Hawaii for decades. She has an interesting take on being "the other", something which A Little Life has as one of its themes. 

It was a great listen. She and Law had a great rapport, having met each other at the Sydney Writer's Festival six years ago. She was generous with her insights and gave us a look into what it is to hold down a full time job and write a tome in a pandemic (Yes, she has a 'proper job', working as an editor for a magazine.)

She gave me some hope. 

And it was wonderful to be surrounded by booky people once again. 

I didn't take my copy of either of her books to get signed - partly as I'm not supposed to be lifting over five kilograms for the next month. Instead, I scurred to the tram stop and made my way home. It did feel good to have a bit of normality back. And good, interesting, inspiring normality at that. 

Today's song:

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday Stealing: From 5000 Questions

 Well, I've woken up to a new Australia. For those who are not in Australia, we had an election yesterday, where the nearly ten years old conservative (think Republicans or Tories) were summarially voted out, and in it's place, a currently minority government of the Labor Party and a lot of Greens and Independents. And it feels VERY good. Also winning, a lot of women are coming into the parliament - and this too is a great thing. The new Prime Minister has been in Parliament for around 25 years. Brought up by a single Mum on a disability pension in housing commission flats, he was the first member of his family to go to university. He's a good bloke - I've always liked him. I'm looking forward to a kinder, more consutlative, less combative parliament. Well, I live in hope. 

Australia feels like a better place this morning. 

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

1. Who do you take for granted?

I really try not to take anybody for granted. More often than not, I take it for granted that my friends will be there no matter what. But I really try hard not to use people. 

2. Short, knee, or ankle skirts?

Strangely, I wear all three. I have the legs to carry off short skirts, I like mid length skirts and I like long skirts as they cover a multitude of sins. It depends on the day. 

3. Do you wear a hat?

Sometimes. I often wear a baseball cap when I'm walking and I've just bought myself a fedora. I look good in hats as a rule. 

4. Who's your favorite cartoon character?

Jessica Rabbit. I also like Hong Kong Phoeey and I was partial to the original X-Men cartoons that used to be on the telly on Saturday mornings. 

5. Does break dancing impress you?

Not particularly. It looks a great way to get yourself to a chiropractor. 

6. Are you a miracle?

I think I'm an everyday miracle just like the other 7 billion people on the planet. 

7. Have you ever eaten tofu?

Hell yes. I really like tofu - particularly silken tofu done well, like the silken tofu they do at Red Spice Road - it is amazing. The trick with tofu is making sure it's flavoured well. 

8. Does the moon have an effect on your mood?

Yes. I'm very aware of what the moon is doing. Less so now that I no longer menstruate, but yes, I know all about the moon and it's phases. Joys of being a witch. 

9. Many people will say that the Harry Potter books are pure fluff with no literary value. Do you agree?

Nope. Any books which get people reading is a good thing. Although not high literature, JK Rowling is incredibly detailed and is fantastic at world building and characters. Good on her I say. 

10. What are you doing next Wednesday?

This coming Wednesday will be my last day of sick leave. I'll be at home. I might be seeing a building consultant about the temple and I have an appointment with my surgeon late in the afternoon. 

11. Why do so many people think Elvis is still alive?

I have no idea why. Elvis would be in his early eighties now if he didn't kick th bucket - with his penchant for drugs and bad food, how could he still be alive - then again, Keith Richards is still going...

I think people just like to hang onto hope considering there are no photos of the body. 

12. Are your hands cold?

Generally, my hands are warm. 

13. Have you ever given blood?

Yes, and I will be giving blood in the future again, not the Australian Blood Bank has lifted the ban on people donating blood who lived in the UK for more than six months between 1980 and 1996. I haven't been allowed to give blood in 22 years. 

14. What SCI-fi books do you read?

I don't really read Sci-Fi - some literary speculative fiction, but not real Sci-Fi - though I'm told I should try Ursula Le Guin and Ray Bradbury. It's not really my cup of tea. 

15. Have you ever belonged to a sorority or a fraternity?

No. It's a thing in Australia. 

Today's song:  (in homage to yesterday's election)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Movie Review: How to Please a Woman

 Movie number 21 of 2022

Movie: How to Please a Woman

Theatre: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

This film goes in the "A lot better than expected" bucket, I am very pleased to say. It's so good to walk out of the cinema with a smile on your face and the knowledge that some truth has been told. This is because a lot of women won't tell you that what they want is to have their house cleaned. By a man. Among other things. 

How to Please a Woman tells the story of Gina (Sally Phillips) a under-appreciated office worked and Mum, whose life is pretty dull. Her husband Adrian (Cameron Daddo - still dishy all these years later) doesn't see her. Her wanker boss doesn't appreciate her. She's basically invisible to all but her band of mates down at the swimming club. 

Her last task at her awful job, before she is made redundant, is to inspect a removals company fun by Steve (Erik Thompson) and his rangy crew of misfilts, with which she sees some promise.

She also receives a visit from a sex worker her friends from the swimming club had got for her birthday. When Tom the stripper asks what she wants in her two hours, she asks that he cleans her house. 

And the pivot for the company comes. No longer are they removalists, but housecleaning sex workers. 

And after a few teething problems, all things are set to rights. Gina finds herself. The guys of the company learn how to both clean house and clean up in bed. And the women of Freemantle are happy. 

The strength in this film is found in its script - which is great. Renee Webster's script and direction are sure footed and have a wonderful older woman's gaze to both. Gina's swimming club are shown in all of their glory in the change rooms, and it is BRILLIANT to see normal women's bodies on the screen. I cherish this film for this amongst all other things. 

Filmed in and around Freemantle is shows the best of the West as well. Some of the houses the boys clean are amazing. 

But the best thing this film does is show just what it is to be a middle-aged woman, and that fact that we do have brains and bodies and thoughts and desires ande we're fucking tired of being overlooked. 

In some ways, this is a bit of a cautionary tale as to what a woman can do when she sets her mind to it - and the power of friends and friendship groups, which all middle aged women I know are very dependent on. 

This is a very good Australian film, and not for the normal reasons of what makes an Aussie film great. More Lantana than Kenny. More The Full Monty than Gallipoli. I highly recommend this - and if you're a middle-aged woman like me, you'll be chuckling, nodding and fist pumping your way through the film in delight and agreement. 

This is definitely worth a look.

Today's song:

Friday, May 20, 2022

The No-Dishes Day

 There should be more days like this. 

I met up with one of my Master's mates for breakfast this morning. It was a later breakfast. He's doing a PhD so he can be a bit flexible. I'm on medical leave on until Thursday. If I wasn't signed off I could be at work, but phah, I'm using ever hour of this medical leave to my advantage. 

I walked down to the cafe. 

We caught up properly. He's looking great. We had some of the most delicious mushrooms on toast that can be imagined (Three Bags Full cafe is the best). My almond decaf latte came with a flower pattern - almost impossible to do with almond milk.

I walked back home. 

A couple of hours later I walked to a pub on Bridge Road and caught up with an old work mate. 

We both had a small serve of fish and chips for lunch while we talked about all sorts of things. I've missed this fellow. We talk music and film a lot. We caught up. 

I had a glass of the most lovely violet gin and tonic - 23rd Street Gin from Renmark in South Australia. Garnished with a slice of orange. It was most lovely. I might have to hunt down a bottle of this remarkable gin. 

And I walked home after that. 

So I got an hour of walking in - very pleased about this. 

Then I met Jay for dinner at Vic Gardens where we tried out the new Japaneses and Singaporean place (well worth it).

All washed down with a choc top at the movies - which I will write about tomorrow. 

In all it was a very successful no-dishes day. 

There should be more of them. 

Also, as you can see, I'm recovering well from the surgery. I've a bit of a keloid scar at one of my would sites - it's not hurting or herniated, so all is well. And ten days on I can walk for an hour without stress. Yet I'm longing to get back in the gym - and I'm wanting more than anything to do some sit ups - which are strictly forbidden. But all is very well.

Anyway, after all that food, I think I should be off to bed.

Today's song: 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Film Review: Father Stu

Movie Number 20 of 2022

Movie: Father Stu

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75

I love a good biopic, and this one is no different. Mark Wahlberg's, it tells the story of Father Stuart Long, on his road from self-destruction to redemption. 

Coming into this, I had no expectations and no real knowledge of the story, other than I've seen Wahlberg play battlers before and succeed. (Think of him in The Fighter - he was excellent). Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised with this. 

Wahlberg plays Stu, a down on his luck fighter from a blue collar family with little to offer the world. He has a loving but difficult relationship with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and an acrimonious relationship with his father (Mel Gibson). Add to this the guilt of a dead brother who passed in childhood and you have a far from functional fellow.  From his amateur boxing career, Stu then heads to Hollywood, trying to find fame and glory on any screen available.  

But Stu has a lot of chutzpah and a good heart, even if some of his decisions are a little on the nose. He also chases the tail of Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) which is where he ends up in a Catholic Church, getting baptised to be with the girl. A large, horrible accident leads him to find God, and his true path at the semenary. Malcolm McDowell plays his rather forthright Monsignor. 

As a film you see on a Wednesday afternoon while recovering from surgery, this is a great diversion. The performances are solid, particulary those of Wahlberg, Weaver and Gibson. The script is robust enough to keep you wondering where things are going. Most importantly, you don't see the twists in the tale at the end of the story. Tissues were needed. 

This won't be everybody's must see film, but I enjoyed it all the same. I love a good underdog story with a good heart. This fills the brief. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Unpopular Opinion: Top Gun is a Crap Film

In preparation for going to see Top Gun: Maverick, I rewatched the original film. 

I don't think I've watched it for twenty years. This is the film that is the reason any time you go over the speed limit down Chapel Street when you're stuck behind a tram, you find yourself saying, "I feel the need, the need for speed..."

And surprise, surprise. 

Top Gun is crap.

It's not aged well.  Okay, to be fair, some bits have aged better than others. 

Harold Faltermeyer's music is one thing that got right up my nose from the opening bars. In 1986, the music was on pointe. In 2022. Not so much. I still have nightmares about some child at a barbeque playing the them on a Hammond organ at a barbeque. It's annoying. There's a reason why the Hammond organ has gone out of fashion.

Then there's the script. Which is dire. It's SOOOOOOO corny - and twee - and predictable. Allegedly Val Kilmer didn't want to be in the movie until the script improved. It still wasn't good, but he came on board. Personally, my favourite of Val Kilmer's roles is that of Gay Perry in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - but nobody has seen that. 

There's the gratuitous chatting up of women. The "You've Lost That Love'n Feeling" sceen is now cringeworthy. Truly dire. If any woman was to be chatted up like that these day's she'd be either calling security or telling the oaf to get stuffed.  

The  love scenes between Cruise and Kelly McGillis are equally cringe worthy. 

Okay, yes, the flight scenes still hold their own. Watching it on my 55" telly it had some impact. You feel like you're there -  and considering this was filmed in 1986, it was cutting edge then and it still packs an impact.

And sure, the volleyball scene is still fun to watch. 

And I'd forgotten Tim Robbins was in this. And a young Meg Ryan, before  plastic surgery became her worst enemy. (Looking on IMDB.com, both Robbins and Ryan are now in their sixties - very scary)

But it still doesn't diminish the fact that Top Gun is really, a crap film. 

Am I going to see Top Gun: Maverick? Probably. Jonella's partner needs a movie mate - and I am curious about a number of things - such as how Kelly McGillis is written out - and if they script has improved over 30 years, and whether Tom Cruise is just being Tom Cruise again . 

As somebody who doesn't really like Tom Cruise (except for his performances in Jerry Maguire - where he really got it in the bum, Tropic Thunder and the amazing Magnolia) I'll go along to this new Top Gun. With Stav. And I'll probably feel exactly the same as I feel about Top Gun 30 odd years on. 

At least I'm prepared. 

Next telly watch. The Godfather

Today's song: 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Miranda is my Spirit Person

 Having another week off, I'm discovering ways to use up my time. 

I'm getting some reading done, which is wonderful 

I'm catching up on some telly. Also good. 

I might actually watch The Godfather in the next few days - It's only taken me 35 years to do this. Currently, I'm re-watching Top Gun for the first time in about two decades. I think there might be a blog post in there. It's truly awful. 

But I think I've discovered my spirit person. 

In my searching through the streaming services, I've discovered Miranda

I'm finding this how laugh-out-loud funny. Miranda is large, tall, gormless and very funny. She's a bit odd. Okay, she's a lot odd, but people love her anyway. 

It's a mix of visual humour, fish out of water tactics and that British self-deprecating humour that I love so much. 

I see a lot of myself in Miranda. 

She's great. 

Miranda Hart is my spirit person.

And now I just have to find my Gary Preston. 

Today's song:

Monday, May 16, 2022

Movie Review: Operation Mincemeat

 Movie number 19 of 2022:

Movie: Operation Mincemeat

Theatre: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4.5

I love a good caper movie as much as I love English films. Operation Mincemeat brings out the best of both of these genres. Making this even better, it's based on a true story. 

There is a part of me that is certain that I was some sort of British operative in the Second World War. Things are far too familiar to me. What always draws me back is the British sense of pluck and sheer gall at what they get up to. 

Operation Mincemeat is no different. 

The plot is centred around a covert operation to divert the Germans away from Sicily, allowing British Forces to makes gains in Italy. 

There is a lot riding on this operation. The Brits are not doing well and to somehow they think they can outfox the Germans with a extremely risky, barking mad plot involving a dead body washing up on a Spanish beach, a lot of double agents and a hell of a lot of dumb luck. And this film goes into the ins and out of how this was done. 

Leading Operation Mincemeat is Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) - a QC who has been working for MI5 during the war. Along with Charles Chomondeley (Matthew MacFadyen) they set up this covert operation in the basement of Admiratly House and along with Montagu's ever faithful secretary, Hester (Penelope Wilton) and the apple of Charles' eye, secretary Jean (Kelly Macdonald). Over the course of three months, Operation Mincemeat works against the odds to find a credible solution to an incredible problem - that of how to send a dead body, with official papers into the hands of the Germans, therefore making them change their strategy. There are also some wonderful cameos from Simon Russell Beale and Jason Isaacs, among others. 

What appears to be a shaggy dog story is not. This film is based on fact. In some ways, a war time Weekend at Bernies. But there is so much more to this. There's Montagu's marraige woes. The spies spying on spies. There's a wonderfully gentle and chaste love triange which is as sweet as it is surprising (and nobody does unrequited love like an emotionally stagnant posh Brit). And there's a group of people who work together to make the incredible credible, right down to giving this dead body a full life. 

I loved this film. And yes, I adore British cinema, but really, the hero of this film is Glyndwr Michael, who honorably served his country once dead. 

The set, the costumes and the script are all on point. There are some hysterically funny moments here, along with some awfully scary scenes. 

Oh, and there's Ian Fleming of the James Bond fame sitting there on his typewriter tapping away in the background. 

Yes, this story has been told before. There's the 1956 version entitled The Man Who Never Was, but I don't think it would tell this story with the same flair. 

This is an awesome tale told with great finesse. Definitely worth your time, even if it's just for the history lesson. I'll also file this in the "Take your mother" file. I know my mum will adore this. 

Today's Song: 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Hodgepodge

 It's another Sunday. All is well. I'm recovering well from that surgery - a lot better than I thought. I'm up and about. Still a bit sore in places, but nothing that a bit of Panadol can't fix. I've got another week off work, which I'm looking forward to. Yay. 

As I'm doing really well, on my list of things to complete in the next week include: 

  • Reading 200 pages a day
  • Writing 1000 words a day
  • Seeing a couple of movies
  • Maybe knocking off a couple of those must see movies off the list (The Godfather being one of those films)
  • And relaxing for the first time in six months.
Well, that is the plan. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

 1. Where do you get your news these days?

Normally, news comes from online from either The Age, The Guardian and the New York Times. I do have the television news on regularly - normally the ABC or Channel 9. Never Murdoch and never Sky (Americans, think Fox News) as that isn't news. Reading Murdoch rags makes me feel dirty and I don't like propaganda./ 

2. Do you like crab meat? What makes you crabby?

I do like crab meat, but I very rarely have it. All sorts of things make me crabby. I'm a middle aged woman. 

3. Does freedom mean more choices? Have you ever felt there were too many choices? Elaborate.

With freedom comes great responsibility. I think with freedom you have fewer choices as you have to work hard to maintain that freedom. 

4. Barbara Millicent Roberts was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959...that's Barbie to most of us. Did you have Barbies as a kid, or did you let your own children play with Barbies? What well known Barbara (living or not) would you most like to meet?

I used to have a Barbie as a child. I used to play with Barbies. Little girls around the world appear to still want to play with Barbie dolls. I don't have kids so I don't have an opinion about whether childred should play with them. 

5. What are three things you value most in another person?

  • Kindness
  • Loyalty
  • A sense of humour

6. How would you define “old.”  At what age is a person old?

Old is a state of mind. You can be old when you're young. I don't think it's a definable thing. 

7. A place you’ve been that’s “old.”  Tell us something about your visit there.

Westminster Abbey in London. It's been there since 1066 - longer even. There is so much history in the place. It's, in may ways, living history. I love that Royal Peculiar. 

8. Something you miss about the “good old days.”  When were they?

Cleaner air and well defined seasons. The seasons run into each other now - particularly winter. 

9. In what way are you a 'chip off the old block'? Or if you'd rather, in what way is your child a 'chip off the old block'?

I don't think I'm a chip of the old block, unless you count I inhereted my father's bakery gene - I can hunt out a decent bakery anywhere. 

10. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale...choose an 'old' phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain.

I'm a bit old fashioned in my politics. I'm a left winger who believes in voting for your representative, not just the party. 

11. July 5th is National Hawaii Day...have you ever been to Hawaii? Any desire to visit or make a return trip? Pineapple, mango, or guava...what's your pleasure?

Never been to Hawaii. I don't really have any desire to go there as there are a lot of other places which interest me more. 

12. Last time you were 'thrown in at the deep end'? Explain.

I was made the team leader of my team when the last one was sacked. This was really being thrown in the deep end. I still don't think I'm a good leader. 

13. Sun, sea, sand, salt...your favorite when it comes to summer?

Air conditioning. I'm not a fan of summer. Prefer winter - but I do like balmy nights spent at an outdoor bar. 

14. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands...pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.

Draw a line in the sand. Now I no longer possess a gall bladder, I have no excuse to keep to my lifestyle change. I'm feeling good - now I want to feel better. 

15. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you're a parent where on the scale do you land? 

About a 6. I'm not a parent so I can't comment about my parenting style. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Movie number 18 of 2022 

Movie: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens. 

Stars: 4

So, in my desire to feel a little bit normal, I took myself off to the cinema this afternoon. I drove myself down there, saw the film, bought the cat a new dinner bowl (because his other one was broken last night) and came back absolutely buggered. 

It was a very successful outing. 

I'm also aware that I'm not going to be driving more thanfive minutes away for another few days, but a trip down the road is fine for now. 

And this was a great film to get myself out of the house for. 

RottenTomatoes.com describes this film as follows:

 "In Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary."

We got a view into the Multiverse in Spiderman: No Way Home. This crashlands into this concept pretty quickly as we realise that Stephen Strange's dreams are actually a reality. 

As a bit of a Marvel aficinado, I got most of the references as to what was going on. If you're not into Marvel, I'm not sure how you'd cope with the rather intricate plot, sweeping characters and in jokes. 

If you're up with Marvel films, you know about Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and what went on firstly, in the first Doctor Strange film, but also in the Avengers Movies. So when Dr Strange walks into Christine Palmer's wedding, and meets up with Nic West (Michael Stuhlbarg) you know things are going to go awry. Of course he as to save New York, and the teenage girl, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) who has been in his dreams. But is it a dream?

Then comes the kicker. Who's wanting all of this destruction to happen? We find that Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) - the Scarlett Witch is behind all of this, and that's where the fun begins. 

I have to say, when it comes to multiverses, Everywhere, Everything, All At Once is a better film. But this has history and gravitas and a great cast. You know what you're getting yourself into with Marvel - and this delivers. 

The plot is too convoluted to go into, and if you're not a Marvel geek, you'd probably get very lost very quickly. 

However, despite a few misgivings,  I really enjoyed this. The effects are mind blowing, made better by seeing this on the really big screen. The in jokes were also good. Unlike the dire Morbius, this kept its sense of fun. There were just enough references to past Marvel films, and the other universes were fun to watch. Sam Raimi's direction is assured - mind you, he's made a few of these films - he knows what he's doing. 

This is a solid outing for Marvel fans. If you're new to the MCU, I'd be boning up on the characters before viewing. 

But for me, this was the perfect post-operative early afternoon movie. A very enjoyable outing.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Home now

 The last few days have been a learning experience. 

The big one for me is that I can let myself be looked after and not grumble about it. I can be out of my comfort zone and still act with some grace. And I can ask for help. And I'm a reasonably good house guest. So good, I ended up chopping up most of the vegetables for what felt like a swimming pool full of chilli con carne for Blarney's rugby club open day. 

I've also drunk copious amounts of tea. I do that at Blarney's place.

I'm home now. 

Barney dropped me about an hour or so ago.

Somewhat amazingly, I got up the stairs without blinking - mind you I can't carry anything up the stairs, but I went up them, twice, with no dramas, no pain, or no shortness of breath (Maybe being fit has its benefits).

I'm glad I'm home. I'm good now. 

Even better, the cat is ecstatic. After being shoved in the cage, driven back home and taken up the stairs, he's now wandering around, purring, popping for a headbut or two and generally making it known that he's happy. He's settled on the bed on his blanket. It's lovely to see, seeing he's been sitting in a cupboard for the last few days - of his own accord, of course. 

And I'm sitting here at my laptop, thinking that ten minutes is about all I can do at a stretch. 

At least I know my limits. 

I'm home. I'm not in pain (Panadol is taking out the last of the grumbles). I'm moving about. 

Four days on from surgery, I see this as a result. I'm healing well. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Battered and bruised

What worries me most about having surgery is the state your body finds itself after the fact. This time round is no different.

I don't what to think what they got up to while I was in there, out cold. I really don't want to know - and at the end of the day, they brought me back safe and well and not suffering too badly after the removal of my gall bladder - but it's all the little things that have me thinking of all the things they must have been doing. 

Going into surgery, all was fine. I was on my nice comfortable hospital bed. The anaesthesia nurse, a groovy, well-lined dude in his late fifties, kept me entertained. I was kept warm and oxygenated. 

Then I was moved into the operating room. It was cold. I was placed on the operating table. The anaesthetist placed the cannula in my left hand and told me the anaesthetic was going to hurt. It really did. I tried to fight it for a few seconds - then I was out. 

And then, about two hours later, I woke up in the recovery room. 

A bit later, they wheeled me back to my room. 

But it's only now that I'm finding the ravages done to my body while I was out. 

The bruise on my right wrist was covered with a dressing. No idea what went in there. There are also all sorts of strange tape markings. 

My right arm has streaks down it where there was obviously a blood pressure cuff.

Of course, there are three dressings on my stomach where they stuck in the instruments to remove my old stone ridden gallbladder. They are, of course, very tender - and it's too be expected. 

But it's still all these little marks and bruises I'm finding all over myself which have me perplexed. Just what did they get up to in there?

It's not worth thinking about. 

On the good side of things, two days on and I'm doing well. I've given the opiates the flick, just using six-hourly Panadol to keep the grumblies at bay. I've spent a lot of the day in bed, getting up regularly to potter about Blarney's house, make a cup of tea or make some toast, the wander back to bed to read or watch some Netflix. 

I'll go home tomorrow night. Barney will have the job of both taking me home and catching the cat, who hates going into his travel cage, and will probably need to be crash tackled to get him in there. He's doing okay. I wish we could let him out of my room here, but I can't catch him. I'm not allowed to pick him up - he's too heavy. I'm not allowed to lift anything over five kilograms for the next six weeks. 

The most telling thing about today was I went for a walk with Blarney - we walked about 200 metres to the shops to get a coffee. I had a sit down, a read, and then walked back.

And I was done in. 

I wouldn't say I over did it, but I needed a nap when I got home. 

Goes to show just how much all of this takes out of you. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Daft Critter

 I’m writing this on my phone, whilst lying in bed. The cat is curled up behind my legs. He’s happy.

Blarney picked me up from the hospital at about 10 am. I’m really amazed at how good I have come out of this. Very limited pain, and other than being tired and knowing that my guts have been poked and prodded on the inside, I’m doing very well.

We stopped in a McDonald’s on the way home to get a coffee. I’ve already warmed it up twice in the microwave. It’s not bad coffee really.

But the cat is happy, and that’s all that matters. As soon as I arrived came out from the cupboard. He’s been sitting in the cupboard for the last three days, not because he has to because he wants to. Now I’m here, he’s showing his face. I love that he’s looking after me. 

On the not so good side of things, I’m not allowed to lift anything over 5 kg for the next six weeks. 

The cat weighs 6 kg. 

The cat will be happy about this. My gym membership has been suspended for the six weeks. I really don’t want to risk getting any hernias, and the surgeon was very very adamant about this. But I can drive once I get off the opioids, we should be in a day or so and I can walk and I don’t have to go back to work for a fortnight.

Blarney’s spare bed is very comfortable. I’m just hoping I get some sleep tonight. The hospital was really noisy, and there was too much light and too much going on.

I’m very lucky I have such great friends.

And the love of a very special, rather daft critter who thinks of me as Mum.

Today’s song. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Bricking it. Better now.

7.15 am: I am about to catch an Uber to take me to the hospital. 

I am bricking it. But I will be fine. 

6.15 pm:

In dot points.
  • Things went very well. Textbook.
  • They are lovely here.
  • I wish they’d take out this fucking cannula.
  • I’m up and about, albeit slowly.
  • I’ve got a lovely roomy named Gail.
  • I’m very sore, but that’s to be expected and Panadol is taking the edge off things.
  • Lucifer is sitting in Blarney’s cupboard. 
  • I’ll join Lucifer at Blarney’s place tomorrow.
  • Things always feel better once you have your pyjamas on.
  • All is as it should be.
Relax and watch telly now.

Today’s song:

Monday, May 9, 2022

Well that's over for another three years

 I voted at lunchtime. I got in the car, drove to Collingwood (Should have walked, it's a lovely day out there), thankfully found a park easily and went to the early voting station. 

As I'm going in for surgery tomorrow, I thought it best to vote now, in case I get to the 21st of May and find I'm not up for standing in a queue. This is very unlikely, but at least it's out of the way. Also, I've had my mind made up as to whom I've voting for for months, so why wait?

Thankfully, the pollsters weren't too grabby at the Collingwood Early Voting centre. I founds the Greens lady, picked up their serving suggestions and went in. 

My name was marked off the list. I was asked if I am eligible to vote early. That was it. 

They handed me my ballot papers. A small green slip for the House of Representatives. A meter long paper for the Senate. 

After looking at the Greens serving suggestions (aka How to vote bumph) I filled out the lower house ballot paper. I was interested as to where the Greens were placing the LNP, the United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson's mob of bigots. In a field of ten candidates they were placed eighth, ninth and tenth.  Good enough for me. 

The Senate ballot was a little trickier. Thankfully, if you vote under the line now, you only have to mark a minimum of 12 candidates. But it's a pain in the arse - a meter long ballot paper and the candidates you want to vote for are spread all over the place. It's bloody awkward.  As I am a contrary woman who likes going against the grain, my Senate votes were divided between the Greens, Labor and the Reason Party. I've never voted above the line in the Senate. I like knowing where my votes go. I prefer the transparency. 

It was all over in under five minutes. 

Ballot papers were popped into the appropriate boxes, I returned the serving suggestion paper back to the Greens lady and went back to the car, having a chat with the fellow from the Victorian Socialists on the way back. I'll have a chat with most people, and he was nice. We both were bemused by Monique Ryan and Josh Frydenberg's  representatives at the booth. They're slugging it out in the next electorate - a far more contentious and ugly race that our quiet, peaceful Greens seat which has barely had a cent spend on election advertising. You can barely find an Adam Bandt poster around the streets. Kew, Hawthorn and Camberwell are littered with defaced election material on both sides. 

Then I drove home. 

It's all done. I don't think about this any more, and it's all over bar shouting at the telly on the evening of the 21st. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Theatre review: The Heartbreak Choir

 Production: The Heartbreak Choir

Melbourne Theatre Company

Southbank Theatre

Until 28 May.

I mourn the loss of Aiden Fennessy more than any other playwright. I mourn the loss of the plays he will never write. It is gutwrenching to know that Fennessy never got to see this marvel of a play on stage - he passed away as this was going into production in 2020. As a playwright, Fennessy wrote about the quirks of Australia with a loving eye, a lot of intelligence and a larrakin sense of humour. His play, The Architect, is one of my most favourite ever Melbourne Theatre Company productions. Three years on, I still think about it regularly. 

The Heartbreak Choir is of a similar calibre. Okay, it doesn't quite have the same punch of The Architect, but it is an incredibly heart felt, heart warming, funny, well observed  two hours and ten minutes of theatre. 

The play takes place in a Country Fire Association hall in a small town in Victoria. This group of ratbags have broken off from the town's choir which become apparent over the course of the play. The characters come to sing, and to heal. There's Barbara, the leader of the splinter group, a psychologist, holding on to a number of screts. There's Totty (Louise Silversen), the town mover and shaker who can make anything happen. Adding to the group is Sam (Carita Ferrer Spencer) a loudmouth, bogan mother mother and her nearly catatonic daughter Savannah (Emily Milledge). Rounding off the group is Aseni (Ratidzo Mambo), who's new to the district and very pregnant, and is welcomed with open arms into the community. And Peter (William McInnes) a cop who's very much tied into the secret as to why the group have left main choir. 

What got me about this is the way life in a small country town in drawn. Everything is completely on point, from the situations to the small town sensibilties to the way small towns get under your skin. 

This is also a play of how a community breaks down to heal. The tragedy of what went on in the background is superceded by how the choir members band together to help each other out.

Peter Houghton's direction is assured and keeps the action moving at a pace. You're never quite sure what's going to happen next, which is a part of this play's charms. You're always asking yourself what will happen next - and what actually happened to take the group away. 

For me, the vest part of this outstanding play was the set, which if you've ever lived in a country town, you will recognise, for the insufficient heating, the clogging drains, the dead possum in the roof and the underused stage. Coming from a small country town, they could have shipped the Myponga Town Hall onto the set. It was a lovely piece of nostalgia. 

Oh, and the limited singing in the play is magic. It made me want to go join a choir - even though I can't carry a tune in a bucket. 

This is on at the Sumner Theatre until 25 May. It comes highly recommended. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Do you like...

 Once again I'm doing the Sunday Stealing questions on Saturday, as I know tomorrow I'll have something more interesting to write about. I'm off to a play tonight, which I'm very much looking forward to. 

Anyway, as always, the questions have been provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Do you like your handwriting?

No. I have handwriting like a demented, serial-killing doctor. When I try it's okay, but that is not very often. For this reason, I type where I can. 

2. Do you like roller coasters?

Can't really say - I've never been on one. They're not a big thing here unless you come from Queensland where all the theme parks reside. 

3. Do you like scary movies?

Again, that's a no. Thrillers are fine, but I'm not into horror. 

4. Do you like shopping?

It's something that has to be done. I like window shopping more than shopping. I love seeing the possibilities. 

5. Do you like to talk on the phone?

Depends on to whom I am speaking. Sometimes I'm down for a chat, but not that often. 

6. Do you sleep with the lights on or off?

Off. It has to be dark for me to nod off easily. 

7. Do you use headphones or earphones?

Earphones. Preferably the bluetooth ones. 

8. Do you have tattoos?  Do you want any?

Just one very small one on my hip. It's been there for 25 years. I have no desire to get any more, although do think about it now and then. 

9. Do you wear glasses?

Yes. I can get away most of the day without them, but they are needed for the cinema, driving and at night. 

10. What is your strangest talent?

Other than starting arguments from ten kilometres away? I can recite the Jabberwocky when rather drunk - all of it. 

11. Have you ever been in the hospital?

Yes, a couple if times for short visits. Strangely, I'm going in on Tuesday to have my gall bladder removed. Hopefully I'll only be in overnight. 

12. What color mostly dominates your wardrobe?

Black and red, with a bit of navy thrown in for good measure. 

13. What’s your most expensive piece of clothing?

I'm not one for very expensive clothing, and most of my clothes I've bought second-hand or on sale. There are a couple of dresses I paid over $200 for. I don't have a life that requires expensive clothes. 

14. Have you ever had braces?

No. Thankfully my teeth are fairly straight. 

15. Have you ever been on TV?

Yes. I was on an episode of Win Roy and HG's Money back in the early noughties. Won the round and won $800.

Today's song: 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Oysters six ways

 Richmond Oysters has been on my list of places to go for over a decade. It sits on Church Street about a kilometre down the road. It's always been there. It's more been a matter of finding people to go with - people who like oysters as much as I do. 

Oysters are a polarising crustecean. 

One of my favourite oyster meals was in Jahor Bahru, Malaysia with and old uni friend and her family. We had fried egg and oysters. I just remember it being amazing - all washed down with sugar cane juice. 

Tonight Jonella and Stav picked me up and we finally made it to this Mecca, and oysters we had.

We had oysters six ways.

We started with Oyster shooters - the first shot was a Bloody Mary Oyster shooter, complete with a little bit of celery and a tabasco kick. 

The other oyster shot was offered to us when the kitchen got a bit backed up. The Japanese Oyster shot had an oyster in a shot glass topped with sake, mirin, wasabi and pickled ginger. I could have had a dozen of these. Fantastic. 

Of course we ordered a dozen oysters each. We had the choice of Pacific Oysters or Sydney Oysters. Allegedly the Sydney ones are creamier. They were great (although I was a bit miffed that there were no Coffin Bay Oysters to be had - they are also wonderful. )

For me, I split my dozen. I had nine of them au naturel with a bit of granita or vinaigrette. 

Of the other three, I tried them hot. 

  • One oyster topped with mornay
  • One baked with Kewpie mayonnaise
  • And one Kilpatrick. 
At the end of this, we kept going. Stav had some seafood linguine, while Jonella and I shared a pot of mussels and some of the best salt and pepper calamari I've ever had. 

And dessert was necessary. There choice was that of a Golden Gaytime arrangment - or a Creme Brulee. I went the Creme Brulee - just becuase I love the feeling of the toffee craking under the spoon. 

I'd go back tomorrow. I'd go back tomorrow to have a dozen of thise Japanese Oyster shots (and that amazing calamari). 

It was a lovely night out. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Searching for a friend for the end of the world

 Actually, I'm looking for a friend to watch the election results with me on the 21st of May. 

See, I'm a political animal. 

I've also got the added joy of being ten days out of hospital and I don't know what sort of state I'm going to be in then. Hopefully by then I'll be up and about - but the energy might be down a bit. 

And I want to watch the election results on the telly - and watch Antony Green call whoever is forming government, and maybe watch a few Libs lose their seats. 

I want somebody to be there with me to drink a gin and tonic and yell at the telly with. 

Part of me would like my own version of Don's Party - but I don't know where I will be at that time, health wise. I might be fine. I might be tired. I might still be out of action. 

I just want somebody to watch the election with, who's not going to get bored and who will yell along with me. 

Last federal election I spent the evening with a mate and her dog in Surrey Hills. It wasn't a fun election as it didn't go where I wanted it to go. But it was fun watching Tony Abbott lose his seat.

The election before I was out in Warburton with a friend. He was amazed at how much shouting at the telly I did over the night. Scared his cat. 

The one before that was spent with Georgie and Thom in Reservoir. The night was over before it began when Abbott got in. That wasn't fun. 

The one before that there was no conclusive result. I can't remember where I was for that. That was the Gillard hung parliament election. I was in the tea room at work on Spring Street three weeks later when Rob Oakeshott called  his support for her. He went on for about half an hour, the moron. 

Oh, the one before that was memorable. The guy I was seeing came over. I remember John Howard losing his seat. That was a fun night. 

The one before that was good too. Not because the coalition got in, but it was a memorable night with friends. I got home about ten the next morning. 

The one before that, I was down at Myponga, getting shirty with the telly. My step-dad kept on telling me to calm down. 

So, I'm auditioning. I'm in need of a friend to watch the election results with me on the 20th. Probably best if you like gin, cats and can hold your own with somebody who may or may not throw nerf balls at the telly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +r

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Heaven help them

 Every time I think about cancelling my New York Times subscription, another doozy event turns up and I find myself wanting, needing to go behind the paywall to find out just what is going on the other side of the Pacific. It's a good newspaper. One of the few I trust which comes out of America (Along with the Washington Post and one or two other banners from the larger cities). 

There is something about the possible, strike that, probable repealing of Roe vs. Wade which has me quaking. It's wrong. It's inherently unfair to women and society in general. And it's a very, very polarising topic. 

Here in Australia, where abortion is legal and accessible (unless you count the fact that in Tasmania there is next to no provisions for abortions and women often have to travel to the mainland to find this care...which is in itself a travesty.). We are lucky. Here in Victoria, they've thankfully stopped the morons who picket the abortion clinics - they're not allowed within a decent distance from these places, who provide compassionate, non-judgmental heath care to all women - not just those seeking a termination. Have you any idea how horrible it is passing by these ranting people when you're off to to the doctor for some other minor ailment? It's happened to me. It's crap.

Okay, I'm not a rabid religious nut. I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm not a fundamentalist Christian. I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose, yet I certainly don't think that abortion should be used as a form of regular contraception. 

But abortion is a form on healthcare. Pure and simple.

For what ever reason a woman chooses to have an abortion, it is exactly that. Her choice. Whether it be that the contraception she and her partner were using failed, or she was raped, or that the foetus, for whatever reason, is unviable, or the child barely out of their own childhood, or the family cannot afford the extra mouth to feed, or....

There is no right or wrongs in the decisions to terminate a pregnancy. It's a decision and a choice which should be available to all women. Ask any woman who has had one and there will be no regrets. There might be a bit of sadness, but the overwhelming feeling of not carrying an unwanted pregnancy is relief. 

Here in Australia we can only watch on in horror as America lurches towards this strange, fundamentalist state, akin to Margaret Atwood's Gilead in The Handmaid's Tale.  We've read about where in Ohio, women who have ectopic pregnancies have been subjugated to having the embryo implanted in their wombs. This isn't something which is medically viable. Ectopic pregnancies kill women on a daily basis. Who are these morons bringing such things into law?  This is also a country that also limits women's access to information about sex and contraception. 

We've seen what happen when the state meddles with these rights in Ireland. In a well known case, a woman who was miscarrying was refused an abortion because there was still a foetal heartbeat. The woman later died of septicemia. This can't have been an isolated case. 

If you want to get a view of what happens when abortions aren't legal, have a read of the first chapter of Louise Swinn's Choice Words. This chapter details what it was like for women early last century, where they regularly died from backyard abortions. Or the joys of people finding dead babies in the streets. Horrible, harrowing stuff. 

You have to remember, that in most Western Countries, around one in three women will terminate a pregnancy. One in three. Got it. Look around you. Look at the women around you. One in three will have used these services. **

Why is there so much shame attached to something so common? There's nothing to be ashamed about. 

Have access to safe, legal abortion taken away, then think what that will do to your friends and family. Think of how it will change their lives having another child around  - whether wanted or not. Think of how it impacts their lives - if they live on at all, depending on the circumstances. 

I'll stop my rant now. This is one issue that I am passionate about. It's not about what "god" wants. It's not about human life and its sanctity - because until a child is born alive, it's really only potential - I don't care what anybody says. 

That women are being treated like this in American (and many other countries - look at how the women rose up in Poland when they tried to ban it) chills me to my absolute core. 

Abortion should be seen like voluntary assisted dying. You may not like it as an option. But don't stop other people from accessing these forms of healthcare. It is just that. Healthcare. 

Rant over. For now. 

This is all too frightening for words. 

** I am one of the one in three. I have no regrets about terminating a pregnancy in my late twenties. Never have, never will.To think about what life would be like if the service was not affordable and accessible at the time doesn't bear warrant. It was the right choice at the time.  

Today's song: