Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Once a month, normally on a Friday night, I'd pack my case for the night away. 

Now there is a dependent roaming around the house, I start to pack earlier so to not set him off - not that he's going anywhere. I'll only be gone for 24 hours, and my neighbour will feed and check in on him.

I've checked to see my Opal card which has been resting in my wallet to see if it's still valid and is in credit. 

The offsite car park is booked. 

I've looked at the weather to see what's what. 

Packing feels a bit foreign now. The staples are sitting in the spare room. The travel laptop. The charging cables. A change of underwear, some gym gear. My runners will go in the bag on Friday morning as I'll be using them tomorrow. I'm thinking about what else needs to go in. I've got an outside Rock concert on Saturday evening. Comfortable shoes are a must. And maybe dinner beforehand - depending on what the others are doing. We have disparate plans - it's just the way it is. 

I've been looking up little things to do. I've got an afternoon. Maybe a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art. A stroll up Angel Place, still one of my favourite places in Sydney. On Sunday morning, if they let me have a late check out, I might take a walk over the big bridge.

It's going to give a different perspective on the world. 

I haven't been to Sydney in nearly three years. 

The last time I went it was to see the same band I'm seeing on Saturday. The gig was cancelled due to COVID. It was March 2020. I remember feeling strange getting on the plane back then. 

What feels foreign now is travelling to a city, which for years, felt like a second home. 

There's a couple of other emotions floating around, but I'll keep them to myself. 

At least I'll be with friends to give me a soft landing. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wuthering Heights is trauma porn

 I finished it. Tonight, on my walk, the dulcet tones of Hyacinth Bucket read to me the last pages of Emily Bronte's tome Wuthering Heights

And yeah, I'm still more of a fan of Jane Eyre, her sister's novel - it's much preferable to this drivel. And there is no incest. 

Alright, drivel is a bit much, but after listening to this book for an accumulated 14 hours over the last week or so, I've come to appreciate this book, but then scratch my head as to why it is so beloved. 


I'll give some kudos for the writing, which is good, considering it was written in Edwardian England and this was the style. 


  • Heathcliff is an abusive douchebag who needs a lot of therapy. He also killed Isabella's dog and for this he will never be forgiven. 
  • The themes of revenge go too far. 
  • If this were written now, editors would have a field day about the everlasting trauma everybody inflicts on each other. And I know some of this stems from the behaviour of Emily's brother Branwell, who was as high as a kite and pissed for his later years. 
  • And there's a bit of grave robbing - oh what fun. (Did anybody see A Current Affair last night - like, ew! And in Melbourne...)
  • The latter bit of the book shows first cousins marrying - again, ew. 
  • And both older Cathy and younger Cathy are a bit flighty. 
  • And, yes, poor Hareton - I 'spose things came a bit good at the end, but still - HE'S MARRYING HIS FIRST COUSIN!
  • And it's a book about infatuation. Nobody is particularly nice to anybody.
Psychologists would have a bloody field day in Gimmerton. 

So, it's done. I'm glad I've re-read it. It may be one overextended Evanescence song of a book, but it's done. 

And Patricia Routledge's reading of the book was excellent. She's a lot more than 

Will I read it again? Probably not - where I'm more certain I'll read Jane Eyre again. I'm definitely still

Will this stop me visiting Penistone Crags or Haworth on a trip to Britain - no, definitely not. I think I'd like to visit the Yorkshire Moors again. 

The next thing is to find and audiobook which isn't so bleak. Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children? The Philip Pullman Trilogy The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass? Henry James' Washington Square, in preparation for reading the next Hanya Yanigahara? Maybe. 

I've got plenty of books to read, it's just finding the right one. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Projects

 My dislike of Christmas is not so bad that don't participate at all, but rather, I prefer to take the line of least resistance and try to ignore that the whole thing is going on. 

Today in the team meeting a couple of the colleagues were talking about how they were starting to put up Christmas decorations. 

See, I don't really get it. I never have. In my adult life I've never put up Christmas decorations. Over the years I've had various Christmas freakouts, which have occurred as early as July and lasted for a month, to now where the freakout lasts for an hour or so every now and them.  It is what it is. Probably and easy three months of therapy might unpack it, but as it's not something which is impacting my life, I'll leave it for the moment. It also helps that I've got some decent strategies in place to get through them. And different things to do at Christmas - not only go back to Adelaide. 

Anyway, in the lead up to this Christmas, I'm working on projects. There's three on the go. 

A jumper for my step-dad. I had enough wool left over when I made my jumper earlier this year to make him one too. I've got a sleeve and a half to go to finish it - I should be able to get it done for Christmas. 

There's a hat for Reindert, of which I'm just shaping the crown - that will be in a packet to America by the end of the week. 

And there's a multi-coloured scarf for my step-sister's partner. It's made of thick wool and being made on big needles. It's only acrylic wool, but I think she might like it - she has an office area in a shed - it can keep her warm on cold days. It's also suitable to wear to the odd Pride march. 

Once Reindert's beanie is finished, I'll start on another beanie for my step-sister. It gets cold in the Adelaide Hills and even if it sits in the glove box, beanies never go astray. 

It's just nice to have people to knit and crochet for. 

It's these little projects which are keeping me sane.

Today's song: 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Swap Bot Questions

 It's that time of the week again. Questions time. I'm in a little bit of a quandary this weekend. Too much on, but no desire to do anything. Hmm, must be Christmas coming. I often feel out of sorts around this time of year. 

What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?

Unicorns. Everybody loves unicorns. 

What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence?

Conservative politicians. They are next to inanimate most of the time. 

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

Middle-aged women with stuff toy collections is pretty bamboozling. 

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child?

There are too many to choose from. Silly fruit names (e.g. Apple, Apricot, Plum...) or surnames for first names. It's something they tend to do in America. Oh and bogan names where the parents misspell the names - for example Zayvyer (Xavier), Brytnee (Brittany) and Mackquelliegha (one of the many spellings of Michaela). 

What would be the worst thing for the government to make illegal?

Abortion. I live in a country where abortion is available, safe and legal. It is illegal to picket outside of abortion clinics. I see this as a good thing. If you don't like abortion, don't have one. It's noboby's business but the woman's. 

What are some of the nicknames you have for customers or coworkers?

We all go by our initials. It's pretty boring. 

If peanut butter wasn’t called peanut butter, what would it be called?

Soopergoop. Mind you, I come from a place which refers to it as peanut paste. 

What movie would be greatly improved if it was made into a musical?

Any of the Marvel films - I'd love to see that. They are great films already, a bit of music would be fun - particularly the dark ones like Morbius or Venom

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?

Pet snakes or spiders. No thanks. 

What is the funniest name you have actually heard used in the real world?

I used to work in a bank and we had clients, the Chookeetsongbooms. That always made me smirk. That and a colleague called Hardik and another colleague called Noel Cole. Parents, eh. 

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to?

Darts, though that might be a bit dangerous. 

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse?

A cat. They would have great fun doing lots of damage to the world. I can see it now. 

What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable?

It's always fun taking sanitary products up to the male teenage cashiers.

What is something that you just recently realized that you are embarrassed you didn’t realize earlier?

The song Turning Japanese is about masturbation. I love that song, but only found that out a few years ago. 

What are some fun and interesting alternatives to war that countries could settle their differences with?

Drinking games and pillow fights - much better than war. 

Today's song:

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Thank Goodness that's over

 Our state election is over, that goodness. 

It appears the old crew will be staying in with a reduced majority. Am I happy about this - mostly. For me, it's better than handing the Libs the keys to the kingdom. But hopefully there will be a few more voices having a say. 

My electorate appears to have gone Green. I'm not surprised and I'm okay with this. It's an inner-city seat in the inner East. It's a Greens haven. Again, not upset or surprised by this, the local electorate has voted Greens federally for well over ten years. The old Labor candidate is retiring - he was a good local member. 

I'm just hoping they get on with being transparent, do something about the ambulance and health service and be a bit more conscious of the environment. And put more into education - which they have stated is a goal.

My other hope is that our current leader maybe retires after a year or so - bring somebody new. I'm okay with Dan Andrews, but I think after ten years a change in leadership maybe a good thing. Leaders can stay around for too long. Look at John Howard for example.

Regardless, we get rid of the awful political adds that have been on the telly and hopefully things can start improving. 

I live in hope. 

Today's song: 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Movie Review: Wakanda Forever

 Movie Number 40 of 2022

The Film: Wakanda Forever

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75

I like getting my Marvel fix every now and then. Marvel is good. Often funny, not too gory or violent. Great characters. A part of a universe which is ever expanding. What's not to love? 

In this film, a little bit. 

There is a lot to like about this film as well, and I'll get to that, but my main criticism of this is that it's about half an hour too long. Most of the action scenes are over-egged and the film wouldn't have suffered if some of these were curtailed. This is why I couldn't give this four stars. It was just that little bit too long. 

This aside, Wakanda Forever is a really solid film, which does a lot of things well. 

This all takes place after the death of T'Challa (a posthumus Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from cancer in 2020). This was handled brilliantly, giving fitting homage to a great character, and a great actor. 

Once the rites are over, the time jumps a year. The rest of the world is holding Wakanda to account for their use of Vibranium, a mysterious element which holds a great deal of power. What the rest of the world doesn't know about is that there is another source of Vibranium, found under the sea, which is powering another tribe of underwater people. This group are angry with Wakanda for letting the rest of the world know about this. Wakanda is pretty miffed that an American student, RiRi (Dominique Thorne) has got the smarts to find the stuff out. 

And that's where all the action starts as we see the Wakandans and the Tulukan  tribe from under the see battle it out. 

What is really good about this film is that it looks at a family's grief without making it schmaltzy. This takes small episodes of grief, both of Shuri (Leticia Wright), her mother (Angela Bassett) and Wakanda, and uses this as a launching pad for the next bit of the story. This is where the film really succeeds. 

It also weaves in Marvel legend as well as giving the world something to think about.

Wakanda Forever, like its predecessor Black Panther, has an almost exclusively black cast, and many of the baddies are white. Richard Schiff and Julia Louis Dreyfus provide some wonderful cameos. And Martin Freeman's Elliot Ross returns - he's great. 

But this doesn't make up for the fact that the direction is a little patchy at times, failing to make the mark in some of the action scenes, but scoring well on an emotional level. If only they'd been a little more ruthless, this could have gone from a good film to a great film.

As Marvel has shown in past, sometimes it needs these 'gateway' films, like The Avengers: Infinity War (the one where half the population dies) to bring on the next stage of events. We're coming to the end of the fourth phase of the Marvel Universe. I see this film as being a gateway into the next phase. It's set everything up nicely. 

This too, is Leticia Wright's film. She does a great job as the new Black Panther. She's smart, funny and she kicks arse. 

It's just a pity this is half an hour too long. I may have been a fraction more forgiving if I'd boned up on the original Black Panther film beforehand too. I remember that one being great. This one doesn't quite meet that standard. 

Today's Song: 

Thursday, November 24, 2022


 I get some funny tasks at work. 

Today was voiceover day. One of my colleagues does a lot of video editing and he sometimes needs voices to add to these clips and he enlists the team to provide these sound bites. 

Like most people, I really dislike hearing myself on recordings. Even worse, these little clips need the occasional bit of acting skill - and the joys of getting over your own tongue-tied speech patterns to get out something half-decent for the recording. 

It's awful. All I can hear is my nasal voice and my slight lisp, which doesn't give me much trouble unless there are too many 's' sounds in quick succession (Don't ask me to say photosynthesis - it's a nightmare - Thistle is another word I avoid - I just can't.)

My colleague also likes to direct we 'voice talent'. I find going big and bringing it back is a good way of doing things - over exaggerate your emphasis, then go softer to get the desired effect. 

It made for a fun hour before lunch and relieved a bit of the tedium I've got going on my current task. \

Other highlights of the day: 

  • Obtaining a mushroom toastie from my current coffee shop. It was good - not as good as the ones from Hector's Deli, but I did have the toastie in my hand in about ten minutes. At Hector's I think they go to the Dandenongs to forage for the mushrooms to make your sandwich. 
  • The gym was good  - second day in a row and my body is beginning to feel like my own again. 
  • I've discovered the Netflix series, Wednesday - about the glorious Wednesday Addams. It's laugh out loud funny in places - and I think Wednesday Addams is my spirit animal. Love it. It's Tim Burton at his best. Gothic, camp and strange - just up my alley. 
  • And today's earworm was the Ramones... you don't get better than that. 
I want to be sedated.....

Today's song: 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Long List

 It's that time of the year again - book group book choosing time. We're having a meeting on the second weekend of December to select our books for next years. I'm all organised and the Excel spreadsheet is all set up and rearing to go. 

We have solid criteria for the two books you can put up for book group. They should fit into the following boundaries:

  • Must be fiction
  • Preferably under 500 pages - so we can read the book in the month. 
  • Of a literary or good popular fiction bent
  • Easily obtainable in bookstores, libraries or online (thankfully e-readers have made this a bit easier).
We have a voting system where we all get a bag of 25 lollies and a rubber glove. You put lollies on the books you want to read (while not putting lollies on your own books). The top 12 are selected for book group for the year. Then we sort out the order of the books for next year and Bob's a blood relative. 

So far there are three books in the spreadsheet. One person selected a book that somebody else had already nominated, so she has to go back to the drawing board. Strangely, there is always a book or two which is nominated by a couple of people. As it's first in, best dressed, the second person in has to find another book to nominate. Most of the group are well prepared and come with a back up. 

Being the Book Bitch who organises all of this, I'm the only one with knowledge of the full list until our meeting. It means I also have to watch as books on my longlist slowly dwindle as others pick them off. 

I normally start gathering my longlist about this time - we have three weeks until the next book group so I can deliberate, cogitate and digest until the list is two books which will be taken along to the meeting. 

Here are some of my front runners - with a few of their pros and cons. 

1) Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down

One of the best things I've read in the last year. Extraordinary. Australian author set in modern times. It covers some pretty dark material, but it does redeem itself. At 448 pages it's a little on the long side. It's won a lot of local awards. Stunner of a book. 

2) Other Houses by Paddy O' Reilly

Disclaimer - Paddy taught me at Faber and 20 years ago when I did a writing course at TAFE. She's amazing. And this little book is incredible. Great story set locally in modern times. It's also short. The only thing not going for it is that it's in hard cover and may need to be sourced online. But it's a cracker. 

3 and 4) The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart or The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland

I really admire this author. She young, Australian and she tells local stories. I've read The Flowers of Alice Hart and loved it for its hard-hitting, yet dreamy view. The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding is in my to be read pile. She's a newish author with a bright future. 

5) Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney penned the marvelous Normal People a while ago and this is her latest. The author is Irish, and the book is set in Ireland. Her prose is known to be wonderful - but are we seeing her on the downslide? This book doesn't rank as well as her others on - although it's still not bad. It may be a little young for our group. 

6)  The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell

I adore Maggie O'Farrell. She wrote Hamnet, which we did last year and was universally loved in our group, and I read her This Must Be the Place earlier this year and worshipped it for its brilliant characters and her story telling. This book is her latest, which is set in Renaissance Italy. O'Farrell is a master of Historical Fiction. What is not to love?

7) 7 1/2 by Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is a polarising writer. I love him, Many really dislike his confrontational writing. Thankfully this is not as brutal as the last book we did by him, Damascus, but I think this may struggle to get selected due to the history. In its defense, this one is set in modern times, looking at a fictionalised account of the author's childhood. 

8) Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

I have been tempted to put this up for a few years now as it is a wonderful look at womanhood with all if it's peaks and troughs. This was the joint winner of the Booker Prize (with Margaret Atwood's The Testaments) It's a multi-character story set in Britain across the ages. It's amazing. I wish everybody could read this. 

9) The Promise by Damon Galgut

Another Booker winner by a South African writer, set in the last thirty years. This is a family saga
which spans around 30 years, looking at an Afrikaan's family who have a bit of a problem with a will. The writing is stunning. As I listened to this on an audiobook, it reminded me of my ex (who's South African) and listening to the reader's South African accent was strangely comforting. It's a stunner of a book. 

10)  Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This has been on my "To Be Read pile" for years. Many of my friends rave about it. It's set in South America and has a lot of Magic Realism about it - this could be a plus or a minus. It's a classic and I like to ponder putting up a classic book for book group. Other classic considerations include:
  • Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (but they will run me out of book group - I love him, many don't)
  • One of the lesser Austens (Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park)
  • Washington Square by Henry James
  • Either Mrs Dalloway or Orlando by Virginia Woolf
It will be interesting to see what the group select.

I'm getting excited already. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Wave of Mutilation

 I have to keep reminding myself that I'm going to Sydney next weekend to see The Pixies at the Opera House - and then I'll be seeing them again in Melbourne at the Forum a few days later. 

So, I've got Surfer Rosa and Doolittle on repeat at the moment. Both of these are some of the best albums ever produced. 

There is something amazing about locating a whole heap of older Gen-Xers in their band t-shirts, with their sensible shoes and glasses and bald spots and HRT patches going mental to Debaser, Bone Machine and Nimrod's Son. 

However, I love The Pixies when they strip themselves back. Sure, they're know to rock on with the force of a bulldozer. In the words of David Bowie, nobody screams like Black Francis. Paz, the new bassist who took over from Kim Deal (and I say new, but she's been around for a few years now) is just super cool, but still look like the smirky niece hanging out with her uncles. Dave goes nuts on the drums and Joey is just too cool for school. 

David Bowie says it all when it comes to The Pixies. 

I think about what Wave of Mutilation normally sounds like. You get the entry tones of the base line... boom boom boom boom, boom boom boom boom, then the shriek of the guitar, then into Black Francis and his vocaals - and you know you're in for something special. 

Recently, I discovered a cover of Wave of Mutilation by an artist called Rhett Miller - which is one of the best covers of this ever done. It's so much gentler. 

And you have to remember that The Pixies are often covered. But then you see them do their own versions. Today's song shows what happens when they go acoustic. 


Yes, I'm a bit excited. 

Today's song:

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Way Out

 I believe tomorrow will be the last day that I am on this bloody committee which I have really not enjoyed being on for many years?

Why have I remained on this committee? 

Probably a sense of duty. I'm an ex-Methodist. I'm good at duty and service. Yes, I'm a character out of Gilbert and Sullivan. (Mind you, this version of "A Little List is FANTASTIC")

Anyway, as of tomorrow night I'm off this committee. I'm under no illusions that I will still being doing things for this committee for at least a few months, but it won't be my direct responsibility after tomorrow night. 

I've started to hand things over - well, I've tried to hand things over, they will be handed over in due course. 

But we're nearly there. I'm on my way out of this committee. 

And it feels very, very good. 

Today's song:

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Hodgepodge

 It's been a busy weekend, so it's a late start to the Sunday questions. I've been out most of the day, which has been a nice thing. Now to clean up the cat puke and get on with these. Oh, low light of the day is finding out my data has been stolen as a part of the Medibank data breach. Not happy about that. Just have to be hyper-vigilant from now on. 

What’s your favourite childhood memory?

My childhood wasn't the happiest, but I do remember playing with a lot of animals as a child. I love animals, but cuddling calves and lambs was always great fun. 

Do you sing in the shower?

Sometimes. It's a great place to sing. 

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

I've received some great gifts over the years - and I don't really place much value on things, but some highlights have been:

  • A voucher for a balloon ride for my 40th birthday. 
  • Some welding gloves to catch the cat from Blarney and Barney (joke present)
  • A small bound book of Blake's poetry from an old colleague
  • And lots of small ornamental elephants over the years. 

Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors?

I'm more of an indoors person, though I love being outdoors, depending on the weather. 

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

 That would be my mother - spoke to her yesterday afternoon. 

What do you keep in your bag or handbag?

I stopped carrying a handbag two years ago when it got stolen off my shoulder - and don't ask me about what sort of handbag I carry. I have a backpack to take into work - that comfortably fits my laptop and charger, a spare mouse, some cables, my wallet, phone, keys, hand cream and lipstick. You might also find a notepad and a pen or two if you're lucky. 

Can you knit?

Yes/ I knit very well - currently knitting Christmas presents (a jumper/sweater for my stepdad and a hat for a friend.)

How many hours do you sleep each night?

Between six and seven. 

Who is your role model?

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one - she was incredible. A couple of my writing role models are Elizabeth Gilbert, Carrie Tiffany and Richard Flanagan. 

Who was your first ever pen pal?

I had a penpal when I was at University. We ended up meeting in London and living together for a while. Go figure. 

What has been your favourite job so far?

I'm still in awe that I get to work as a writer. As for favourite jobs, I had three years at a telecommunications company with a lot of engineers - I really enjoyed the job more for the people. I liked my time at one of the banks a few years ago - again, good people. 

What is your favourite go-to recipe for mid-week meals?

I like to marinate chicken thighs in a mix of ginger, garlic and kepak manis (Sweetened thick soy sauce). I grill them up and have them over salad. Easy and yummy. 

How often do you eat in a restaurant?

Around once a fortnight. I go out a little bit. Over the next six weeks it will be more. 

Are you close to your family?

Not overly close. I live interstate from my direct family. I'm closer to my Melbourne family, which is big and extended. 

Which phone app could you not live without?

The Bureau of Meteorology app. I like knowing how hot it's going to be and when the rain is coming in by checking the radar. Very useful. 

If you could afford to volunteer full time for a charity, which would it be?

Probably the Fred Hollows Foundation. They help to give people back their eyesight all over the world. If I was in America, I reckon I'd be volunteering for a women's rights charity. They need all the help they can get. 

If I was in England, I could see myself volunteering for the National Trust, just for the cheap entry into historic sites. 

Do you have any siblings?

To. I have a stepsister and a sister. Both are three years younger than me. 

Who is your favourite YouTuber?

That would be Jimmy Rees. He's an Australian icon who kept us sane over COVID. He's also hilarious. I also like Juice Media's Alternative Government advertisements. Also VERY funny - and very close to the bone. 

This is Jimmy Rees.

 And this is Juice Media and some of their 'adds'.

Have you ever been a bridesmaid or a groomsman?

Once. In Canberra for an old uni friend. Needless to say, I've cut ties with that friend - but it was an okay experience. I got to wear my own dress, which was fine. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Movie Review: She Said

Movie Number 40 of 2022

The Movie:  She Said

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

After donating blood at lunch time, I was after a something to see which would engage without exciting, to sit and ponder the world while drinking a lot of fluid. 

And She Said fit the bill (I wasn't up for something called The Menu - not up for black comedy today)

This was a good choice. 

This has been on my wish list for a while, mostly due to the cast. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher are all actors I admire, and the material is of interest to me. This did not disappoint. 

This has been described as the Spotlight and Bombshell of the #MeToo movement. It relates the story of Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), two New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story in 2015.  

This, as we all know now, was no easy feat. The reporters met with every brink wall until finally, they got some traction. Both women had to juggle their lives outside of journalism, both being mothers with young children and families, which the movie uncovers as well. 

Thinking back on this, She Said, this does a very good job of looking at the story and the problems these women came up against unravelling the story. 

Cynics might say that this is a film about journalists doing their job, but considering Harvey Weinstein is in jail and will more than likely die in prison for his deeds, and the articles have helped uncover hundreds of thousands of stories being brought to the surface, it's still a good thing. 

Mulligan and Kazan give great performances as Twohey and Kantor. A cameo from Ashley Judd, one of the first accusers to go public is a great touch. Jennifer Ehle and Samantha Morton, among others, give great support. 

German director, Maria Schrader, provides and even keel to what is a hard hitting story.

Is this as good as Spotlight - a movie I very much admire. Hmm, maybe not, but it's not far off. 

As somebody who followed this story when it broke, this movie shows the truth as it came out. It humanises what it is to break such story of systemic abuse and what needs to be done to break these cycles.

Today's song: 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Theatre Review: Girls and Boys

The Play: Girls and Boys by Dennis Kelly

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: The Fairfax Studio at the Arts Centre

Until 26 November. 

Stars: 4.5

I love being surprised when it comes to theatre, and after the phenomenal year the Melbourne Theatre Company has delivered, I was thinking that we were due for a stinker. You see, after having a full access subscription to the MTC for the last ten years or so, in most years there will be one play that you walk out of at interval, a couple which were just okay, a lot of really good theatre and then an outstanding one which you'll talk about for ages. 

This year, the MTC delivered so many great performances. Fun Home, The Heartbreak Choir, Cyrano, Come Rain or Come Shine, The Sound Inside, Touching the Void... All very, very good. 

And now this one. Girls and Boys was marvelous. 

As usual, I went into this blind, not bothering to read up about what I was seeing - I like the surprise. After seeing Nikki Shiels in The Picture of Dorian Gray (alternating with Eryn Jean Norvill) earlier this year, I was aware this actor could hold an audience for a solid two hours without blinking. 

And she's done it again. 

The MTC blurb reads as follows:

"A smart, witty woman. A funny, passionate man. They meet, fall in love, get married, start a family. 
So far, so unremarkable. Their life together accumulates its regular successes and 
disappointments, its many universal touchpoints, until it takes an unexpected turn all too shocking, 
and all too common."

I won't say anything more about the plot. 

What I will say is that Nikki Shiels is an actress of our time who made the hour and fifty-minute performance feel like a half hour as she takes us through the life of her character, a wise, witty woman whose name is never divulged, who meets a guy, falls in love, has a family and then things fall apart.

The stage is spare. Minimalist to a point. This only lends to the performance, for she needs no more than a couch, a couple of chairs, a coffee table. a desk, a pen, and a projector. 

Dennis Kelly's play is timely, funny and brutal. The first half hour reminded me a bit of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads - and indeed, some of the segments have that Bennett-like humour and pathos - but this is more - oh, so much more. Kate Champion's direction is as sensitive as it is assured. 

And yes, some of the subject matter in the play is hard-hitting, bordering on horrific, and yes, the fact the programme up front links to organisations such as LifeLine, Beyond Blue, The White Ribbon Foundation and 1800 Respect should have tipped me off. But that will not put me off recommending this play. 

Nikki Shiels is an actress to watch, and she is utterly superlative in this. 

I'm still unpacking what when on in front of me, a couple of hours after leaving the theatre.

I'll be thinking about this for a few days, I think.

Tonight's performance had a full house. Take a mask and get a ticket if you can. It has about a week to run and it's too good to miss. 

Today's song:

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Thanksgiving Dilemmas

 I've been invited to a friend's Thanksgiving dinner next weekend. 

Yes, the friend is American. 

But this is a foreign concept to me this Thanksgiving thing - it's not something we do in Australia - and yes, the only reason I'm going to Thanksgiving - otherwise I wouldn't give it two thoughts. 

And as this is being held in Australia, we all have to bring a plate. 

There will be Turkey and roast vegetables. There will be sweet potatoes and marshmallows, which you would think tastes gross, but is actually really good - for some reason, it works.

And the rest of us have to bring something to share.

But I have no idea what to bring. 

A salad - make something mega-healthy like the Jennifer Aniston salad (Quinoa, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion and mint - very yummy and very healthy)?

Do a round of hot chicken wings?

Maybe a big round of fairy bread - one of the least American things I could ever think of - and something I like to introduce my overseas friends to from time to time. 

Of maybe bring a sweet. 


Lemon Polenta Cake?

Just a chocolate cake?

Or go top Coles and get some pavlova and fruit, as I am not my mother and I have never made a pavlova in my life (and I don't have the proper mixer to beat up one)

Ah, the decisions. I'm going for easy options, even if they aren't really Thanksgiving-like. 

I've got a week to think about all of this. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Plink Plunk

Writing all day takes its toll. It also means you have to choose your tools well. 

I go through keyboards like most people go through water filters - buying at least one or two a year because I seem to destroy them - or spill crap on them and the keys are no longer useable or they just die from overuse. 

Instead of going to JB Hifi and finding the cheapest wireless mouse and keyboard I could find, I splashed out a little online - not too much, but I invested in a wireless mechanical keyboard. 

It turned up today. 

And it's grouse.

It's very green. And a little bit funky. 

And instead of having a soft silent tap on the keys, this is quite loud - you can hear yourself typing. It's a very pleasant sound, tapping the keys, the sound acknowledging the work you're doing. It's a retro concept.  

And it's comfortable.

And it can be cleaned pretty easily as there is ready space beneath the keys.

And it looks pretty. (You can get them in all sorts of colours, not just green.)

But mostly, it feels like an old-fashioned typewriter and this, for some reason, feels great. 

I'm hoping it helps to stir the creative juices which are sadly lacking at the moment. 

Until then, I'll channel Jerry Lewis and enjoy this nerdy purchase. 

Today's song:                   


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Base Model

 I have a base model cat. 

Despite his luxurious black coat, wet nose, soft paws and haughty nature, Lucifer is a bogan. 

So, as a treat, I bought him proper minced steak as a treat for his wet food this week. 

Day One - he wolfed it down. 

Day Two - he ate most of it. 

Day Three - he would not touch the stuff. 

He gets fed at 6 pm. Every hour on the hour he came up to me asking for food. I told him he'd been fed. Went out to the kitchen. 

He looked at his full food bowl filled with yummy, minced steak. 

Then he looked at me. 

And he meowed at me. 

This kept happening.

At nine 'o' clock I gave in, throwing the steak in the bin and giving him a sachet of Whiskas.(And put the steak sachets in the freezer and I'll take them around to Blarney's place - her cats love minced steak.)


The cheap shite. 

He loves his Whiskas. It's the cat equivalent of spam. 

He ate it all up. 

Last time I try treat him like Champagne Charlie. 


Today's song: 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Sunday Stealing: from the swap bot

Finally got the Sunday Stealing questions. Better later than never. 

As always, these have been provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing. 

1. If you could witness any event from history, what would it be?

I have to say, if I could be transported back in time, I'd love to be an observer in the court of Henry VIII - it's an incredible time in history 

2. What do you think about conspiracy theories?

Ah, I like to see what is out there, but I tend to take them with a grain of salt. Elvis is alive - probably not. Trump should be the US President - sorry, no. Lord Lucan is alive and well and living in Brisbane - yeah, nah. They are fun to entertain for a bit, that's all. 

3. Do you like cartoons? Do you have /had a favourite one?

As a kid I used to love cartoons. Wacky Races and Hong Kong Phooey were favourites. As I got older, I still loved cartoons. I used to love X-Men (The original X-Men cartoons )and Rugrats when I was living in England.

4. What did you most dislike in school times?

Most of it. Smart, different kids who march to the beat of their own drums aren't welcome at outer metropolitan schools. It got a bit better as all of the bogans left to do trades / get pregnant / leave because school was awful. 

5. How do you think the end of the world will look like?

I couldn't say - and I don't like to think about it - though the climate might have something to do with it. 

6. What sounds are in your opinion relaxing? The sound of the sea? Traffic? Vacuum cleaner? Combine harvester on the field? Some kind of music? Birds singing?

I love the sound of the sea - and running water. I listen to white noise when I'm in the office - I listen to train sounds. Works well for cutting out everybody else's conversations. 

7. Which would you take: The well-worn path or the road less travelled?

The road less travelled. Always have done. And that, in the words of Robert Frost, has made all the difference. 

8. What was the last thing you read?

I finished Sonya Hartnett's Butterfly this morning - Australian literature, about 10 years old. It was good - not great, but good. On audiobook, I finished Melissa Lukashenko's Mullumbimby - also Australian Literature. 

I'm currently reading Susanna Clarke's Piranesi and on audiobook, I'm listening to Wuthering Heights - complete with Patricia Routledge as the narrator - she's great - and you only get a hint of Hyacinth Bucket every now and then. 

9. What is one thing that has stumped you so hard you won't ever forget it?

Why we had nine years of the last conservative government, considering they were as corrupt and incompetent, but nobody called them out on it until the last election.

How Donald Trump is not in prison stumps me to. 

10. What are you interested in that most people aren’t?

Shakespeare and knitting. I have all sorts of obscure interests - and I'm used to people thinking I'm a bit strange. 

11. What’s something you really resent paying for?

It's not that I resent paying for things - but I resent the expense. Energy, petrol (gas), food has gone through the roof. Even travel cost a lot more now COVID is not as much of an issue.

12. What did you think was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now?

Fluorescent socks. Adidas Rome trainers. Squeaky sandals. Yoyos. 

13. If you could choose a different time period and place to be born, when and where would it be?

Firstly, I am English on the inside - and really should have been born there. I have always felt far more at home in Britain. As for a time, though it was grim, I reckon being born in the 20s and been an adult of the 40s and 50s, in England, would have suited me well. I'm about 40 years too late for this. 

14. Do you think cats have any regrets?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Of course they don't. 

15. What question do you hate answering?

Anything about partners. I've never had one and always feel like a muppet being asked about them. 

Today's song:


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Experiment: Fake Tan

 Every couple of years I get it into my head that I should have a tan. Even a slight tan. Just a little one to make it look my legs aren't made of fluorescent tubing. And it's going into summer, and I think why not give self-tanner a go. 

And it's not like I can go sit in the sun. I normally tan quite well in the sun, but as we're all older and know better, I don't want to do this. 

And nobody uses tanning beds anymore - and certainly not after having a skin cancer scare earlier this year

However, in the past, I've been reticent to use self-tanning lotion. Why? In the past my skin broke out in welts when I used it. Itchy skin for a few days. Bright red streaks. Doesn't matter what type of self-tanner I use, it seems to set my skin off. Needless to say, I've never had a spray tan and just say I'm allergic to self-tanner and be done with it. 

We'll, after spotting my lily-white legs the other day I stupidly bought some self-tanner. Maybe it was the recent eclipse, but I bought some self-tanner on Saturday, thinking that maybe the ingredients have changed a bit.

We will see. 

My extremities got a coating this afternoon - being sure to have exfoliated before using this stuff. 

It smelt like cocoa butter. 

And it went on easily. 

But my skin feels hot. No welts, but it feels warm - which is strange. 

And although I'm not going to use layer upon layer to build up a tan, a few hours on, this has certainly taken the deathly pallor away. I'm not tanned - just a little sun kissed. My self-esteem is still intact and strangely, gently browned legs do make you feel good. 

I'm interested to see if the welts and itching come back. Chemical concoctions have changed over the last ten years, so here's hoping they done. I'm not going to end up looking like an amateur body builder. 

It's strange the things we do for vanity. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Nothing to say today

 I've nothing to say today. 

It's been a very nice day. 

The herbs are working.

The cat is sleeping.

And he wants a treat.

That he likes to eat. 

It's raining again. 

It does that now and then. 

But I've nothing to say today.

So, I'll go away. 

Today's song: 

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Fug

 I've finally identified what it feels like, this post-COVID fug. (Fug = a warm, stuffy or smoky atmosphere in a room - just like my mind and body feels at the moment)

Some thirty odd years ago, I contracted Glandular Fever. It took about six weeks to get over the worst of that noxious disease - the overwhelming need to sleep, the constant tonsilitis, the glands that swelled up like golf balls - and I was left with the post-viral fug - which went on for about two years. It was two years of taking two steps forward, one step back. You think you're fine, then you fall down in a heap - and it goes on ad nauseum. After a couple of months, I was having more good days than bad days, but every so often, the fug would get me and I'd be laid flat for a day or so. 

It went on for two years. 

This post-COVID fug feels just like the time after I had glandular fever. 

Although I'm much better at looking after myself. 

I've settled into a pattern at work - be productive for about minutes then go for a 10-minute nap. It keeps me from tanking (and to be honest, I'm still pretty productive). 

Exercise knocks me around - but I've dropped my weights and I'm not doing any intense cardio - it wears me out too much - but at least I'm moving a bit, and that is the main thing. 

Tonight, I saw my massage therapist, who's also my naturopath. He's given me ten days' worth of herbs - a tonic and a liver cleanser, which will hopefully help with the fug. 

The massage was welcomed, my body full of knots from not being able to do what I normally do. Lying on the couch appears to stuff your body up. 

But I'm told this COVID haze tends to hang on for a few weeks, if not a few months. 

Not sure I have the patience for that - which is why I'll be turning to complimentary medicine to see if it can be of assistance. 

I just want my energy back. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Oh, My

 I've got a thing for older men dancing well. 

There's Christopher Walken - who dances is everything he's ever in, but he's great. 

Think of Fat Boy Slim's Weapon of Choice video. Amazing. 

Then there's the wonderful Ralph Fiennes and his stint in a movie called A Bigger Splash. This film contains one of the best examples of joyful dad-dancing ever witnessed. 

Mind you, Ralph Fiennes is at his best when he is having fun. It's something about the twinkle in his eye that makes watching him all the more enjoyable. 

And I've been reminded about that glorious scene in Pride, where Dominic West dances up a storm. But then again, Dominic West doesn't have quite the gravitas of Fiennes or Walken. But he's still a joy to watch. 

Well, I have a new dad-dancing star to add to the list. 

Daniel Craig. 

Sure, one of my favourite Daniel Craig performances is in Logan Lucky, where he plays a character called Joe Bang. He's grouse in this. 

Well, he's upped himself.

This is glorious. 

I think I might take up drinking vodka.  :)

Today's song:

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Doing Your Bit for the Environment

 It's pay day, which means it's also stock up day. 

Stock up?

Yes, I've decided to try and do my little bit for the environment by purchasing more ethical products. 

Of course, doing this is only a little thing to help out the environment, but it's these small changes that start making the difference. 

My first purchase was loo paper. After the great loo paper shortages over lockdown (and nobody quite knows why) I started buying in Who Gives a Crap loo paper. Yes, it is bought in slabs of 24 or 48, which, when you're a single woman, seems a bit silly, but with working from home, it made a bit more sense to do this. The box sits behind the door in the spare room. When you get down to your last rolls, you buy a new slab in. And it's not wrapped in plastic but comes wrapped in paper and delivered in a recyclable box by a carbon neutral courier. (My big box has been providing Lucifer with place mats - it has it's uses). And the loo paper is all recycled or made from environmentally friendly bamboo. A friend of mine works for this great company, so even more reason to use them. 

Who Gives a Crap also supplies tissues and kitchen roll. They're well worth investigating. 

The other ethical company I've been using is Zero Co, who supply cleaning products, with the emphasis on limiting the plastics. All containers are refillable and the packets on which the liquids are sent are posted back to the company for reuse. Their loo cleaner is some of the best smelling stuff I've encountered and all of the products that I've tried work brilliantly. They are going into the personal care products, stuff like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant and the like. I can't talk to that, but I like that I don't have to throw out so much plastic each month. 

Other ethical sites I've started to use include Boody, which make the most excellent, soft, comfortable bamboo clothing. (Barney is getting bamboo socks for Christmas). 

There are other companies out there which are doing their best, and as a shopper, it feels good to be aware of the impact you have on the planet. 

Nobody's perfect, but it's little steps. To think that ten years ago we were using single use plastic bags, plastic straws, one use plastic utensils... It's baby steps.

And it feels good (and the products are excellent).

Today's Song:

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

TV Recap - My Mum, Your Dad

 Yes, I like bad reality television. This is no secret. And Channel 9 has the best bad reality television. 

So, I've dibbed into My Mum, Your Dad - a dating show for 'oldies'. I'm not watching it for the fact that the kids are calling the shots from a villa not far away. I'm interested to see what people in their 50's do while in the dating pool. All of this is watched on by their adult children, who has some sway over who stays and goes from this event. 

And it all gets SOOO emotional. 

For the first time ever on reality television, it's like I'm actually seeing people of my own age telling it like it is. Of course, being reality television, this is all manicured and confected view of things. And they are going for the stereotypes. 

There are the following singles on the show:

  • The Mum who's never dated after her 28-year marriage dissolved
  • The woman who's had a bit of work done (not judging) and probably comes across as a bit of a cougar at first glance
  • The outback Mum who's a little left of centre
  • And the one comes across a bit catty
Of the men there's the:
  • Salt of the earth guy in construction and appears to be an old-school gentleman
  • The good bloke who stayed in his marriage far too long
  • And the Malcolm Turnbull look alike who in his mid-fifties is still a bit of a man-child.
  • Oh, and the guy who runs a distillery from Victor Harbor. 
And I'm sitting here, nearly yelling at the telly because they chucked off the gin distiller. I mean talk about the perfect man (other than he lives in South Australia, a bit close to my parents). He was the kind who hung back a bit, let things come to him. He wasn't as out there as the other blokes, who, truth be told seem to be nice blokes. 

But I also ask, what are they thinking putting Gen-Xers on the box to show just how bad we children of the seventies are at this dating thing. You can hear it now - "Hey, chicky-babe! You and me, yeah?  How about it?"

Of course, they've taken on the better looking and preserved of we quinquagenarians. Hair dye, the bo-bo, a lot of pilates and fake tan for the women. The men don't have the same restrictions placed on them, but from what I've seen, other than the lost lamb looks on their faces, they aren't too shabby (especially the one who looks a bit like Malcolm Turnbull's younger brother.)

The apps have come up on the show - nobody is enamored with them. 

And like all people who've been through it all, they're all coming at this with their blinkers on and guards up. 

I'm curious to see how this is going to go. I think having the kids controlling the comings and goings as a bit derivative - this could have been a perfectly awesome show without the drama. 

We 50-somethings have a hard enough time as it is. 

Today's song:

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Re-Read: Wuthering Heights

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader will fall into one of two camps. You either love Jane Eyre, or Wuthering Heights. You cannot love both. 

Ah, the Brontes. If you're a reader, you're going to have an opinion about the Brontes. 

You're either going to be on the softer, more rational side of things and love Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, with its more rigorous, half-gothic, pseudo-trauma porn angst, which turns out alright. 

Or you're in the brooding, dark, otherworldly camp with Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, with that desperate love found between Cathy and Heathcliff and the tragedy that follows. 

(And nobody is in Anne Bronte's camp because The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a bloody awful book that I had a visceral reaction to - religious clap trap if you ask me.)

It's just like the novels of Jane Austen - you're going to have a favourite, whether that be Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion. (As again, though not as odious as the offerings of Anne Bronte, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park don't quite make the cut when it comes to favourites.)

Me, I've always been firmly in the Jane Eyre camp. I like that it has the happier ending - you get the "Reader, I married him..." line, which sort of makes things a bit better. 

And if I'm honest, I've not read Wuthering Heights since high school - although I know I've started it a few times, then put it back on the shelf after having it sit around, unread, for a few months. 

But I'm taking another tack with this now. Instead of reading this book I'm going to listen to it instead. 

Audiobooks are a great way to consume those books that you never thought you would read - or want to re-read but can't be bothered - or just want to read something different for a change. I've just finished Melissa Lukashenko's Mullumbimby on audiobook. Something I'd probably not read on paper, but I loved being told the story. 

So, I've just started listening to Wuthering Heights. On Audible. 

I'm curious to see how it goes as it's being read by Patricia Routledge - or Hyacinth Bucket for those in the know. 

I'll let you know what happens - because as all purveyors of audiobooks will tell you, the reader is almost as important as the text - and I don't know if I can listen to Hyacinth Bucket yelling 'Heathcliff!' over the moors. 

Watch this space. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Making somebody's day

 How hard is it to be considerate?

Not hard at all. 

Taking a break from the couch, where I'm getting over a post-COVID slump (thank you very much body - just what I needed) I went into town to run a few time-sensitive errands - pick up the mail, get some prescriptions - that sort of thing. That it took a heap of energy to make it into town, and run these small jobs is another matter. 

The mail was simple. The chemist promised to be easy too. 

And popping into a chemist shop I made my way to the dispensary. I handed over my prescriptions. As is the case, it's a one at a time thing as the pharmacist scanned my phone once, then twice, then for a third time. 

Once one script was scanned, she would go hunt out the pills, then scan the next one. As she was hunting around for my second script, I called out to her, saying that the third one was the same stuff, just a bit stronger (estrogen patches, what fun!), she may as well get that while she was there. 

Coming back, the pharmacist scanned my third script, the thanked me profusely for being so considerate to tip her off about the next script. 

I mean, if they made the strength of patch I need, I wouldn't need two of them. But it makes sense to tip off the person behind the counter that the same stuff is on the next script. 

Doesn't that make sense?

I was a bit befuddled, as trying to make the people serving you have as easy time as possible both good for you and good for the server. It isn't that hard to try and be a little bit considerate - even if it is helping somebody save 10 seconds or an extra trip to the shelves. 

And okay, I was not in my normal pharmacy - rather a busy one in the city (which seems to be a bit more expensive than the one I normally use). Maybe you get to see a different side of humanity in these places. 

Regardless, making somebody's day by just being courteous helped to make my day. 

Who says that manners don't matter. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Yes, I'm back!

 Well, more to the point, Bev from Sunday Stealing is back on deck now - which is a great thing. 

And it's Saturday night and I've been feeling really dodgy all day - have spent most of it on the couch watching The Great British Bake Off. No energy. Maybe this is a post-Covid slump.

Anyway, I'll get these questions out of the way now - and hope tomorrow I'll have a bit more energy. 

1.    Have you ever written to a celebrity?  Did they respond?

Ah, no and no. That's not my thing. 

 2.  Do you read letters immediately, or wait until ready to reply?

Not that I get many letters, but with emails, I normally read them immediately and get back pretty quickly. It's common courtesy. 

 3.   My preferences when it comes to reading

Um, I'm a reader of decent modern literature - mostly. With the occasional bit of popular fiction and romance and crime thrown in for good measure. 

 4.   What I'm least likely to change my mind about.

Lots of things. I'm a lefty - what Americans would call a Liberal. So, you're not going to get me to change my mind on things like: 

  • A woman's right to choose when it comes to abortion. 
  • That controlled assisted dying is not a bad thing.
  • That right wing politics are a bad thing.
  • That we're not doing enough about climate change.
  • That Essendon supporters are the worst around the AFL.
There are lots more. I'm quite opinionated when tested. 

 5.   The topics I would get wrong about during trivia

I'm great at trivia for the most part - but I'm crap at the sports question - and music produced after 2000. 

 6.   What I'm hopeful about right now? 

I'm hopeful I'm going to feel better tomorrow. Not sure if this is a COVID setback or a new virus, but I've felt pretty dodgy today and I just want my energy back. 

 7.   Philosophies I've learned/embraced from others.

Hinduism. I've got a lot of Hindu friends. I love how inclusive the religion can be - it's a bit like a choose your own adventure. You have to admire that. And I've been learning about the Kabbalah for years. It gives me some structure. 

 8.   What makes home feel like home?

Lucifer. My cat. 

 9.    Talents and skills I like to cultivate

 I'm currently re-learning French with the Duolingo app - and loving it. And there is a part of me which would love to learn the piano. I don't have the time, but I wish I had lessons when I was a kid. 

10.   What makes my heart race

The turn of a most excellent sentence. Kindness. Anybody making me breakfast.

11,  What power means to me

It's something I don't aspire to. Power corrupts. You see it all over the world. 

12.  Some of my comfort hobbies.

Knitting. Reading. Going to the gym. Walking. Baking.

13.  Last time I was pleasantly surprised

Oh, I don't know. Mrs Harris Goes to Paris was a movie I found even more delightful that I thought it would be. 

14.   How was my October 2022?

Up and down. Work was fine. Life was pretty good, knitting camp was great, but I ended up getting COVID - not fun. 

15.   Those who inspire my growth

My Kabbalah teacher, my friends, my gym buddies and my writing teachers. I'm in search of a new writing group to foster the last thing on the list. 

Today's song: 

Friday, November 4, 2022

Film Review: The Woman King

 Film number 39 of 2022

The Film: The Woman King

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3

At a loose end, Jay and I took ourselves off to see The Woman King

I sort of wish I listened to my gut and went to see something a bit artier at the Kino. 

Or maybe this film just wasn't my cup of tea, even though the intention was there. I mean, it stars Viola Davis. How bad can it be?

How bad can it be? Despite reasonable reviews, I don't rate this film, despite my politically correct and inclusive self saying that I should give it good marks. But I'm rating this down for feminist reasons - and the laboured script... and yeah, okay, this wasn't too my taste. Oh well. 

Sorry. I can't say too much in praise of this. I was bored. 

This is not to say that there aren't good things about the film. 

The cast is great. Viola Davis is Nanisca, the general of an all-woman army in the province of Dahomey (current day Benin). These women are hard arses, keeping the country safe from slave-traders, who have robbed the country of half its population over the years. She's seen and done it all and comes across as world weary and quite frankly, a bit over all the fighting. 

These women of the army are tough. Lashana Lynch is great as Izogie, the tough but fair trainer of the women. Sheila Atim is Amenza, the wise woman of the group who give wise council to Nanisca.

And then there is the sub-plot concerning Nawi (Thuso Mbedo) a girl who is given over to the army, takes on the training and rises to the top of her class of warriors. 

And politically, the tribe are under constant attack from other tribes who pick off the group and sell them to the slave traders. Hero Fiennes Tiffin is good as being a bad slave trader. Jimmy Odukoya is the other major baddie, being the fellow who's stealing people to the other tribes people and selling them off for slaves. 

And yeah, the rest of it is a bit of a hot mess. 

There are some great action scenes, and it is great to see women going at it as hard as the men. Some scenes are pretty full on. 

And of course, there's the laboured forbidden love element between Nawi and Malik (Jordan Bolger) who's mother was a slave from Dahomey, his father Portugeuse slave trader. 

And the thing that got up my nose the most, was that of Nansica possibly being Nawi's mother - as if she didn't have enough agency being a kick arse general, but no, she had to be somebody's mother instead. And this plot point was as plain as the nose on my face from early in the film. 

To be honest, I'd love to see a documentary about this group of warrior women, instead of this mish-mash of a film. Sure, the battle scenes are great of you like that sort of thing, but this film tries to do far too much. And the script is meh. And Gina Prince-Bythewood's direction is nothing to write home about. Sure, the costumes and sets are fine, but yeah... nah. This was watchable, but not overly enjoyable.

Maybe it would have been better if it didn't tried so hard. 

It's a fascinating and miraculous bit of history, but I don't think this film has done it any favours. It mainly gets points for being a film full of kickass women of colour. 

Today's song:

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Notes from Today

 I'm not in the mood to write today. I'd rather be knitting to be honest. 

Anyway, I won't make a song and dance of this. Here's a few things I noticed today. 

  • The most annoying thing in the world is when you have notification that you have a parcel - and you're home, then you get a message saying that they tried to deliver your parcel - but you haven't been out the front door, and nobody's called or rung the doorbell. Working from home, this shits me to tears. I now have to traipse out to the other side of Richmond to collect this parcel. 
  • Why is it, when they're doing anything for the body corporate, things take five times longer. We don't have a back fence here. It's not fun. I'm sure they will fix the fence in the next month or so. 
  • I like the cool weather far too much. 
  • I'm enjoying listening to Melissa Lukaschenko's Mullumbimby. Good book. Fun book. Eye opening in many ways. 
  • I'm also sort of enjoying Sofie Laguna's Infinite Splendour - but not as much as I love The Eye of the Sheep. She's verging on trauma porn with this one, but her writing is incredible.
  • I keep looking at the weather forecast, and I am sad that it's warming up - mainly because my cat is super cuddly at the moment - and I rather like it. 
  • And I have a runny nose. I hope it dries up soon. 
That will do. I don't have much to say today. Besides, Lucifer wants to play. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Sunday Stealing on Wednesday

So, it seems the Sunday questions were posted sometime during the American Sunday - and as I am a good Sunday Stealing participant, it would be remiss of me to not do them during this week, especially as they aren't bad questions.

Bev at Sunday Stealing is back in action. 

As I'm trying to write fiction at the moment, it's going to be 100 words of fiction, one question to get my word quota in for the day. 

1. What did you do today?

Today, I worked from the office, had lunch with my engineer friend (Nasi Goreng - yummy) and then came home. Just a normal workday Wednesday. 

2. 5 things about where you live.

Five things about where I live?

  • My kitchen window overlooks a physiotherapy centre / rehabilitation gym and a frozen fish factory. 
  • I have a reading chair in my spare room which I use for reading only and the cat likes to take flying leaps of the back of it.
  • Like most women I have a framed poster of Le Chat Noir - you know the poster. 
  • There is an empty skull shaped vodka bottle filled with fairy lights next to my television. 
  • My ironing pile resides on the back of my couch. 

3. What are the must-sees sights around you?

Five sights around Richmond, the suburb in which I live. I could go on for ages about Melbourne, but in Richmond, here are a few things to see. 

  • The Skipping Girl Vinegar sign. One of Melbourne's first and most famous neon signs. The fact that Skipping Girl Vinegar hasn't been available since the 50's is beside the point. 

  • The Yarra River is great to walk along. If you're lucky you get to see Salvatore the seal. He's not in residence very often, but he's cute - and very smelly. He's also huge and you don't want to be a carp. He's vicious with carp - he calls them dinner. 

  • The Melbourne Cricket Ground is about 20 minutes' walk away. It holds around 100,000 people on a good day. 
  • There is a plethora of great Vietnamese restaurants a stone's throw from the front door. 
  • Oh, and there's a gin distillery, Brogan's Way, in the back streets which makes great gin. 

5. What’s your favorite restaurant meal?

At more up-market places, I'll go for the Steak Tartare - I'll only ever order that at French restaurants.

For more casual dining or pub meals, I tend to go for the eponymous chicken parmagiana. They are a bit of an Australian pub grub staple. 

6.  What was the last thing you cooked or ate?

For dinner I had some of the Jennifer Aniston salad I made last night. It consists of quinoa, cucumber, red onion, roasted pistachios, a bit of crumbled feta, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice. It's gorgeous - and filling. 

7. What is something you learned from your grandparents.

My maternal grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet nearly 50 years ago. She did a great job of getting me started. 

8. What’s the weather like as you are writing your postcard?

October in Paris - autumnal colours, maybe with a few clouds. Bliss. 

9. Share an interesting fact that you’ve learned, and which most people are not aware of.

Baby elephants don't get control of their trunks until they are about a year old - and the consequences of this are hilarious. 

10. Are there any local events or festivals in your area?

 Plenty - it's Melbourne. There are festival's all over the place. There's always something going on somewhere in Melbourne. November is the British Film Festival month. 

11. What was the last concert you attended?

Oh my. I went to a play on Friday - a modern take on Cyrano de Bergerac - and it was excellent. For music, I believe I went and saw an Australian Indigenous group called Spinifex Gum back in between lockdowns three and four. That's about right. A friend had a spare ticket. They were great. 

12. What is your favorite charitable organization?

The Fred Hollows Foundation. It gives people back their sight. It's awesome. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Film Review: Mrs Harris Goes to Paris

 Film Number 38 of 2022

The Film: Mrs Harris goes to Paris

The Cinema: Village Cinemas - The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 4

My love affair with Paris continues. As soon as I saw the shorts of Mrs Harris goes to Paris, I was sold. 

An English film, set in the early fifties which is a bit of a Cinderella story. Of course, I'm there with bells on. 

And I wasn't disappointed. I want to see it again because it was lovely - the sort of film you take your Mum to - she'll love it too.

The plot is pretty basic. Mrs Ada Harris (the wonderful Lesley Manville) is a cleaning lady who looks after the houses of London's elite. Her husband has been missing in action from World War II and she has her heart set on his return. Unfortunately, this doesn't occur and Mrs Harris finds herself widowed. But after spotting a Dior frock at one of her wealthy client's places, she sets her heart on acquiring one of her own, by hook or by crook. 

With her trusty friend Violet (Ellen Thomas) she sets out to make enough money to buy her dress. There's a potential love interest in the local bookie, Archie (Jason Isaacs - still thinking woman's crumpet). Astonishingly, she raises the funds and sets off to Paris to buy her dress. 

In Paris, she meets Paris in the middle of a garbage strike. (Something I remember about Paris; they are always having a greve - they're always on strike). She's also met with a lot of disdain from the establishment as she wheedles her way into the couturier to finally get her dress. Her nemesis, Mme Colbert (Isabelle Huppert) crustily tries to keep Mrs Harris out of the place, but she is befriended by Andre (The currently ever-present Lucas Bravo), Dior's accountant, and Natasha (Alba Baptista) one of the house models. 

Does Mrs Harris get her dress? Yes. Is that the end of it? No. 

The heart of this movie is wonderful. It presents a tale of a woman who gets a second shot at life - taking control of it all the while and making some wonderful friends as she goes. It reminded me of those wonderful Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn films of similar ilk - think Roman Holiday, The Philadephia Story and Funny Face

This is two hours of gorgeous escapism, beautifully told. Sure, it's a familiar tale, told well. It's light and frothy and fun. And you walk away feeling good about life. 

I'll be finding somebody and going to see it again, just for the warm fuzzies and pretty things to look at. 

Definitely take your Mum. 

Today's song: