Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Tonight's dinner

 I've got a slight strain around my ribs, which is making exercising difficult. Added to this, a long day in front of the computer, I'm not up for much at the end of the day. And yes, I should haul my arse down the gym, but I'll be doing that tomorrow when I see Twelve, and yeah. 

I justified staying in with cooking myself a healthy dinner. 

It's days like this I wish I had a barbeque. Regardless, I pan-fried up some chicken thighs with a bit of garlic. Easy. Healthy. 

Jay is abroad at the moment, and she gave me the fresh vegetables in her fridge. There were three punnets of cherry tomatoes. As I'm not that keen on raw tomatoes, unless I'm in Greece, where the they come ugly, and succulent and very red and taste like apples. But any tomato can be improved by halving them, dousing them in olive oil, herbs, a bit of salt and putting them in a very slow oven for a couple of hours. 

She also gave me some cos lettuce. Not something I buy, but that was good for a change. 

And for a creamy factor, I had some goats cheese in the fridge. 

Pile it all into a bowl, the chicken thighs, the lettuce, dried tomatoes, goat's cheese and some balsamic glaze, and I had dinner. 

With some apricots, also donated by Jay, for dessert. 

I am feeling virtuous. 

The other chicken thighs are in the freezer, in a bag with some minced garlic, ginger and kepak manis (Sweetened thick soy sauce) ready to be thawed out next week. 

As I'm out tomorrow night and off to Sydney on Friday, I've cut down the food waste. Nothing was thrown in the microwave. I didn't get Uber Eats. 

And I've got some time to do some stretching while watching MAFS. Thankfully the second man-bun seems like a good sort, while the other groom appears to be emotionally stunted. Who knew?

Today's song:

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Journal Cards: Where would you most like to live?

 I'm not feeling the urge to write at the moment, and I refuse to write two blog posts in a row about MAFS (oh my God, ManBun...the teeth... the tuna...) so I've pulled a journalling card. 

Today's question: Where would you most like to live? (And why aren't you living there already?)

I've had a problem with my internal geography for over thirty years. 

I should be living in Europe. 

It's always been like this. I feel more at home over there. I smile more. I'm more me. It's where I feel at home. Always has been. Always will be. 

I remember setting foot in London for the first time in 1991. It was an instant recognition of home. And yes, I landed well, firstly into an apartment on Richmond Bridge, and then, for the next four years, it was a mess of share flats in the zone two area. Then I was in West Hampstead for four years, and I was home. 

Britain has always felt like home, despite the fact that my family came to Australia in the 1850s and has never left. And sure, when I'm away from here I miss the big skies and the magpie squawks and all the quirks we have as Australians. 

But I still feel more at home over there. Being over there a few months ago set this in stone. The tube map is still ingrained in my brain. I love mooching around old things - older things than those recorded over here. It's like it's a cellular memory. I got a really uneasy feeling looking at the Tower of London. I can't be the only person who feels like this. 

But I don't live there because I don't have the passport that will let me stay, and I never found somebody to marry so that I didn't have to come back here. 

Then, this year, I fell in love with Paris. It's a challenge of a place because of the language barrier, but it felt right. That I speak more than a smattering of French is helpful. That I love the culture is another good thing. That I feel safe walking the streets at night - that's a bit of a revelation. I'm being prompted to find a portable job, find a house or cat sitting job and move over for a few months. I know I would love it. 

But I don't know what I would do about my cat. I love him terribly and leaving him somewhere makes me nervous. 

And the inconvenient passport makes things far more difficult. It's fine staying for three to six months - but after that. 

Most of the places I wouldn't mind trying to live are hard to get to without a European passport. Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Mykonos...

Oh yes, I do rather like island life. Maybe I should think about moving to Tasmania. I like it down there. 

This is a big question.

Today's song:

Monday, January 29, 2024

Things I learned from tonight's MAFS

 Married at First Sight is back, and I feel like my cat after he's munched on his spider plant. 

I'm happy.

This is my guilty pleasure show, and being a hopeless romantic, you wish them the best, but you know that the mercilessly curated show will not offer you that. Okay, one boring couple might get there in the end. The rest are going to be a terminal shit show. 

Which is why you watch it. 

Tonight's episode brought us the new crew. There was the older bloke, older being 62. There was the Byron Bay Hipster. There was man bun. Never date a man with hair that's longer than yours. It's a good rule to live by. You'll never get to see the inside of a bathroom.

There's also the older woman, who at first glance seems pretty chill, the obligatory gay couple, oh, and another man bun.  

And tonight's couples. One, the one with the lass who lost her partner to an accident, matched with a once overweight mummies boy - they might have a chance if Mum doesn't get in the way. Her family seems lovely. 

The other couple, she's Colombian, he's a world traveler who broke up with his long-term partner six months ago, have absolutely no chance. Two hot-heads with egos to match. 

Oh, and the kicker, and the biggest lesson learned. Never let anybody with a mullet give your best-man speech. If they are sporting that awful haircut they have no taste, and because of this, your speeches are going to be awful.

Serves them right I say. 

Personally, I reckon they should rename Married at First Sight something like Bogans Behaving Badly

It is my one television guilty pleasure. And it's not Love Island or My Kitchen Rules (Masterchef doesn't count as the people are nice and supportive and treat each other with respect.)

It's sport. Let the games begin. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

You have to be shitting me

 The Experience: The Kawaii Unko Museum

The Location: 360 Bourke Street, Melbourne

The Outlay: $31 for Adults, $18 for kids under 15

Tickets available until the February 24. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

I went out of curiosity - that, and I have a friend who works for Who Gives a Crap, the ethical toilet paper people. But mainly, I was curious, so I bought a ticket and went along. 

Because, seriously, who but the Japanese would create a museum which celebrates literal crap? Really. Who would base a museum on an emoji? Why would you do this? I'm still not sure. And yes, the "museum" celebrates poo and tries to destigmatise it, but it still begs the question. Why?

So, I paid $31 to be surrounded by screaming children, asked to simulate taking a shit on a real toilet, be surrounded by screaming kids only to leave with a plastic poo on a stick and a roll of dunny paper. 


The tickets are timed, an arriving on the half hour, I was told I'd have to wait about ten minutes. I've no issue with that. What was making me a little more nervous was the screams which were coming from inside the museum. What were they doing in there? Torturing four-year-olds on spikes? No, it turns out. 

On entering, we found out that this museum is dedicated to かわいいうんち - kawaii unko - or cute poop. My first question, was why are you doing this? I'm still not sure of the answer. 

The group with me was a mix of young kids aged between four and eight, their minders, and some Asian girls. We dutifully watched the video, and then moved to the next room, which had a line of toilets. 

In this room, we were invited to sit on the loos, simulate doing number twos, from which a plastic turd, in various colours, came out of the loo. We were invited to put the multi-coloured poos on sticks and cart them around the place. Such fun, eh. 

The next room was introduced by loud screams. The kids had found the poop pit. Also known and a ball pit filled with plastic poops. Also known as a good way to pick up anything and everything including gastro and COVID. Give that bit a miss. The rest of these rooms gave photo opportunities, an instagrammer's big mucky wet dream. There was the room of flying poop. And the Wall of Poop (Like the wall of love in Paris). And the High Tea Poop room. And the Poop store. Okay. We get it. 

The next room had excrement inspired video games, which, as an adult, you couldn't get to for the kids. 

Then there was the scream room - not sure what they did in there. 

And by this time, I had had enough of the sensory overload, mostly due to screaming children and I asked one of the attendants how I could get out of there. 

Through the big toilet seat. 

Of course. 

At the end, you were presented with a roll of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, and you were told you could keep your shit on a stick. 

All of this took me half an hour. 

Is this worth the $31 entry? I don't know. I was curious, I'm not regretting going to the experience, but it certainly wasn't my cup of tea. Screaming kids aren't my thing at any times. I might have enjoyed this more if my watch wasn't alerting me of the noise level every few minutes. And if I brought a friend. And had a few hits of pot before I went in. 

As a concept, it's cool. And again, I'm not across the kawaii movement which appears to have broken through its Asian boundaries.

Is this worth going to? Maybe if you've got young kids, are up for something different or follow some of these Japanese trends. 

All this did for me was make me long for a bubble tea and a bit of silence. And yes, I know bubble tea originated from Taiwan. 

My curiosity has been quenched, but I'm still thinking I would have been better saving the money and going to the Trienniale for the afternoon. 

Today's song:

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Sunday Stealing: February

 It's been a good day. Brunch with a friend, followed by a trip around the LUME, and interactive space, this time devoted to Aboriginal Art, which was most excellent, then a quick bite to eat and home. A very nice Saturday of a long weekend. And now I will get these out of the way. 

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

1. What are your plans for February?

February is looking a bit busy. I've got a few things on, including: 

  • A trip to Sydney to see Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian composer and pianist, at the Sydney Opera House. 
  • While in Sydney, I'll try and get to the Kandinsky exhibition. 
  • I'm seeing the musical Rent later in the month. 
  • There's a week in Darwin for work.
  • That will do. 

2. Did you ever have or go to sleepovers as a kid?

Not really. I wasn't popular in school and didn't have that many friends. We also lived out in the back blocks, so it was hard to get in and out. 

3. Which books would you pick for a book binge?

If I was to have a full-on book binge, other than reading the Harry Potter series again, because it's been a few years, I think I'd like to revisit the Robertson Davies Cornish Trilogy or Louis de Berniere's books which start with Captain Corelli's Mandolin, then goes to Birds Without Wings, the Daniel Pitt Trilogy and the Partisan's Daughter. They are all excellent. 

4. What features do you love most about your home?

I love the location of my rented flat. It's very close to everything. I love that it's in a quiet part of town, that there are floorboards which are easy to keep clean and a big couch. 

5. How often do you try something new?

As often as possible. 

6. What type of sushi is your favorite?

Oh, give me anything with prawns in it. Spicy prawns, prawn and avocado, Katsu prawn. Love prawns in sushi rolls. 

7. Do you prefer to relax or go on adventures during vacation?

A bit of both, but then again, I see myself having adventures in city settings. Sometimes you need a toes up holiday. 

8. Which colors look best on you?

Red. I love red anyway, but red looks good on me. I can wear bright colours well. 

9. Do you like brunch?

Of course I like brunch. I live in Melbourne. Brunch is a staple for the weekends here. So many cafes, so little time. 

10. Do you get stage fright?

Not really. I'm strangely okay talking to people from a stage. Yes, I get nervous, but it doesn't stop me doing it. 

11. Which podcasts do you like at the moment?

I'm not really into podcasts, but I always have an audiobook on my phone. I'm currently listening to Henry James' Washington Square

Podcasts I've listened to in the past include My Dad Wrote a Porno, Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History and I drank up Teacher's Pet - a true crime podcast which resulted in a man going to prison - an awful story, very well told.  

12. One thing that immediately makes your day better

Coffee. And friendly dogs who let me give them a pat. Even better if they are puppies. 

13. Which family members are you closest to?

My family are not particularly close, although loving. We love all over Australia. I talk to my Mum once a week, my sister and step-sister less often. I'm also in contact with quite a few of my cousins. 

14. Something you practice often

Writing - if you count this blog as writing. 

And exercising. I do this a few times a day. 

15. Are you a light sleeper or a deep sleeper?

I'm a middling sleeper. Definitely not too light, as I will sleep through some thunderstorms, but I'm not that heavy a sleeper either. 

Today's song:

Friday, January 26, 2024

Theatre Review: Seventeen

The Play: Seventeen by Matthew Whittet

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: The Southbank Theatre

Until 17 February

Stars: 4

Youth is wasted on the young according to George Bernard Shaw, and he's right. Seventeen is a horrible age. Not a kid, not an adult, messing up all over the place, with the world at your feet, trying to understand what the hell is going on. 

Seventeen puts a new slant on this, by casting a mob of boomer actors as seventeen-year-olds. Naff? Uncomfortable? Weird? Surprisingly not. 

The action of the play takes place on the last day of school where a group of close-knit friends decide to spend their evening celebrating at a local playground - as you did back in the day. Best friends Mike (Richard Piper) and Tom (Robert Menzies) are up for a big night seeing the latter is about to move to Adelaide with his folks. Jess (Pamela Rabe) and Emilia (Genevieve Picot) are having their own worries. Jess's family situation is somewhat precarious and Emilia, ever the good girl is pondering her next steps. Add to the mix Mike's cheeky little sister, Lizzie (Fiona Choi) and a slightly mysterious interloper, Ronnie (George Shevtsov) and you have a group of kids, staying up late, drinking, pashing, making mischief and generally, being teenagers.

By the end of it secrets have been spilt, friendships fractured and regrouped, lives changed, loves won and lost. All in the space of a night. Just as it happened when you were seventeen. 

I loved the premise of this play. Matthew Whittet's script is phenomenal, catching all of the nuances of being a kid. It rang very true, as this group looked at their lives, their hopes and fears. I particularly loved Lizzie, Mike's precocious kid sister, who was equal parts sass and caring. 

The other thing I loved about having older actors playing younger roles was you got the quality of these actors, some of Australia's finest, being kids. Not just acting as kids but embodying the energies of these adolescents in their prime. Yes, there was a bit of trepidation, knowing that one false move might break a hip. Watching some of the actors coming down the slippery dip brought me a sense of fear. And yes, as our bodies age we move differently. Having a group of 60- and 70-year-olds putting their bodies through the trials of a jungle gym proved interesting. 

Matt Edgerton's debut run as a director at the MTC bears fruit. He keeps the action on point, the laughs, of which there are many, running steadily while allowing the pathos of the teenagers' predicaments to shine through. 

In all, I really enjoyed this first play of the MTC's 2024 season. If this is any indication of the quality to come, it's going to be a good year of theatre. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Comfort in Numbers

 There must be a collective noun for middle aged women. A gaggle? A giggle? A coterie? A network? A society? A union?

Regardless, we met up last night. The fun, funny, amazing, inspiring, nutty, sympathetic women I toured around France with met up at on member's lovely suburban home. 

It was fabulous. 

We all brought some food, meaning there was enough to feed a small army for a week. Fruit platters. Salads. Enough cheese to clog our arteries while sending us into an orgasmic coma. Of course there was wine, in particular rose, which we drank with abandon in Sommieres. One of our members had her pot vape.

"Want a puff," she held out her remarkably technical vape towards me.

"I would love to, but not tonight. I'm driving. And I have precious cargo," I replied, pointing at to one of our throng, deep in conversation at the end of the verandah. I'd given her a lift over, I was also dropping her home as she lives up the road. 

"Ah, fair enough."

"Another time. When you're not frazzled and I'm not driving."

"You're on."

I'm sure her stuff is good. But not when I'm driving. Big no no.

We hadn't seen each other since we parted company at Gare de Lyon station in Paris at the end of the tour where we spread across the world like dandelion seeds. I've seen a couple of the group over the last few months at catch ups and sound meditations, and most randomly, at my local train station on the way to work. That really made my day. 

Walking into our host's house, I felt my shoulders dropping as I sighed audibly. 

"Tired, Pand?"

"Big week. Let me transition into group mode. A glass of water and some time in the garden will fix it. "

This group travelled with me for ten days. They know I need some time to regroup from being in a car with one other to a place where eleven other women were standing, talking, eating and drinking. 

"Can I meet Freddy?" I asked my host. 

Freddy is her seventeen-year-old three-legged dog. Of course, I had to meet Freddy. I'd heard so much about him in France. Freddy had put himself to bed. It's possible he wasn't registering the noise. He's a sweetie.

And we talked, and laughed and ate and drank in the way that only middle-aged women can do. 

The reason we came together as Jess, our tour leader who lives in France, is over in Australia for a few weeks. It was wonderful to see her. 

"So, Pand, when are you moving to Paris?"

Oh, I wish.

"You know you belong over there. Your face lights up when you speak French." She was being earnest. 

"I know."

"And you become more animated, and you seem really happy."

"I know." 

"But not this year."

"I'm contracted out until the end of the year anyway."

"You should come next year. Paris will be nuts this year with the Olympics. But next year, you should find yourself a portable job. Get a house or pet sitting job and come over for three months and live a bit. Get fluent. You're not too far away from it. Go and be where you thrive."

It's a nice thought. A good thought. Something to strive for. Something I feel I would love on a cellular level. 

I love these people. I love that they are my tribe. 

And after more eating and talking and singing the classics with my friends, I went home, replete. 

Onwards to more adventures I say. This was one of the best nights I've had since leaving Europe. 

These women taught be that there is a comfort in numbers only found when you travel together. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Antidote

 Today wasn't the best of days. It wasn't the worst of days, but it wasn't great. 

I received some hard news around midnight last night. Nobody is dying, but some friends are having a really hard time - you never want to hear about that your friends are hurting. 

 Knowing I was going to be in the office today, I set the alarm for 7 am. I slept well, only to wake for a short time at the big thunderstorm outside. But it barely registered. 

The alarm was turned off at 7 a.m. 

The next thing I know, it was 7.45 a.m.

So, after a hurried shower, getting dressed, feeding the cat, I was out the door and off to work, arriving before 9 am, which was a good result. 

The day was hard. Not great. Not awful., But very full on. 

I left at 5.30 and collected the mail. 

On arriving at home, I fed the cat, got changed and went to the gym, giving Jay a debrief while doing some lat pull downs and leg presses.

That helped. 

But the thing that worked best, the antidote to the bad day. Baking. Tomorrow night we're having a reunion of the girls with whom I went to France. I've made a cheesecake. There is something very soothing about crushing and melting and mixing and tasting and greasing and smoothing and all the other processes it takes to make one of these. And yes, cheesecakes are very easy to make, but it feels like I've created something, done something worthwhile, been of use to the world, even if that use is to make dessert for a group of middle-aged women at a get together. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Cat Distribution System

There's a cashier at the local supermarket. I'll call him Jeremy. 

Most of the cashiers at this supermarket are at school. They're perky and bubbly, and when they get to know you, they'll have a quick chat. 

But not Jeremy. I reckon he's on the spectrum. He's a bit awkward. This doesn't mean he's bad at his job, but he will never look you in the eyes, and he's not one for a chat. And this is fine. He's otherwise good at his job. 

But tonight, things were a bit different. My shopping went on the conveyor belt. Almond milk, an avocado, some smoked salmon and some cat treats. There would be hell to pay if I didn't get the treats. 

I wasn't expecting a conversation. 

Jeremy: What's your cat called?

Pandora: Lucifer. 

Jeremy: What sort of cat is he?

I was tempted to say he's a bastard, but I relented. I could also call him a small house panther but thought the better of that too. 

Pandora: He's a short-haired domestic. Bog standard black cat. 

I showed him my phone screensaver - a close up of Lucifer. Jeremy looked off into the distance, scanning my stuff. 

Pandora: How did you know I had a cat?

Jeremy shakes the packet of cat treats. 

Pandora: Do you have a cat?

I had to ask. I give too many people unsolicited information about my boy, I should return the favour.

Jeremy: Yes. I have a cat. 

Pandora: And what is his name?

Jeremy: Frank. 

A good cat name. 

Pandora: And what sort of cat is he?

Jeremy: He's a grey one. With grey eyes. We found him in the laneway next to our place. He was too young, he couldn't eat solids. And he's such a pain. He slept on my chest. I got no sleep. I thought I'd squash him.

Pandora: You wouldn't squash him. They know when to move. 

Jeremy: But he was so little.

Pandora. How old is Frank now? 

Jeremy: Six months. I've gone through six months of hell.

Pandora: No, you haven't. You've just fall in the trap of the Cat Distribution System. You are gifted the cat you deserve when the universe deems it so. You found Frank. Frank is yours. The cats who you find are the best. 

Jeremy: Do you feel the same about your cat?

Pandora: Yes. My cat is a bit of a bastard, but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Jeremy: Do you think you're going to squash your cat in the night?

Pandora: No. He's not stupid. 

Jeremy: Good to know. 

I collected my groceries and went off into the evening. 

I'll have to ask about Frank next time I get him at the checkout. 

Today's song:

Monday, January 22, 2024

My Synoshi

 I'm trying not to buy crap off the internet - but I had a sorta minor fail.

So, I've been eyeing off one of these Synoshi things for about six months, 

A Synoshi?

It's a rotary scrubber. USB powered, handheld with interchangeable heads. 

A friend had put in and order and somehow she got two of them. She put it up there online and I bought it off her. It was a good deal. It was the right price. And I knew I was going to get it.

And I am obsessed. 

As somebody who is ambivalent to cleaning, it's something to do because I have to, not because I enjoy it, and with a shower stall with a plastic floor which stains badly, I wanted to give this a try. Anything to save me an hour of scrubbing away with a pot of gumption. 

It works. 

It really works. 

The stains from my shower stall have gone. In five minutes. With a bit of water. 

It makes cleaning fun.

I have something now that makes me like cleaning the boring bits. I'm getting a dopamine rush when I see something clean - like when the ironing pile is done for the week. 

Coming from a family of clean freaks, who have spotless houses, and always feeling judged by this, as I only got the ironing gene and generally thinking cleaning, or more to the point, tidying, is wasted time, this little implement may get me to do a bit more of the cleaning thing.

That it's removed the stains from my shower base is enough for the moment. And the skirting boards are glistening. And I've started on the oven, which is really not too bad. 

It's even got its own song. See below. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Movie Review: All of Us Strangers

 Movie Number 5 of 2024

The Movie: All of Us Strangers

The Cinema: The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 5

The Oscar Nominations are coming out on Tuesday. The BAFTA nominations were out a few days ago. This film has scored six nominations of the latter, and I reckon it will get a few Oscar nods. It's really that good. It's strange. But it's VERY, VERY good. 

This small four-hander of a British film punches well above its weight. 

Adam (the astounding Adam Scott), a screenwriter, lives in a near-empty apartment building in the outskirts of London. One night, he is approached by his mysterious neighbour Harry (Paul Mescal). Coinciding with this strange meeting, he is also drawn back to his childhood home, where his long dead parents appear to be living, just as they were, on the day they died.

Sound strange? It is. But in a very good way. 

What you need to know about this film, first and foremost, is that it is a meditation on grief. What would it be like to have discussions with your long-dead parents thirty years after they died. I reckon it would be something like this. Adam, an openly gay man in modern Britain gets to talk about his life with his Mum (Claire Foy) and Dad (Jamie Bell). And yes, it's strange.

The house and costumes when Adam is around his parents, is spot on. Yes, we dressed like that in the 80's - there is one very effective scene where Scott dons a pair of kid's pyjamas. It's priceless. 

Back in real time, Adam and Harry's relationship moves forward, as you learn more details about Adam and his parents. 

And that is all I will say about the plot. 

What I can tell you is this is some of England's finest actors at their very best. Every performance is pitch-perfect. Andrew Haigh's screenplay and direction are near perfect. The film has been adapted from Taichi Yamada's book, Strangers. It's an exercise in understatement. 

My favourite bits of the film were set in Adam's parents house, where he's trying to rationalise his life to his folks. (Dad: I always knew you were one of them. You couldn't throw a ball to save your life. )

The soundtrack, consisting of mostly eighties bangers keeps the film perfectly grounded. A number of songs by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Fine Young Cannibals, put you back in the clubs of the 80s. It's familiar territory. 

The more I am reading about this, the more I see what a labour of love this is for Andrew Haigh. 

It is a wonderful look at long-standing grief. It also doesn't have a linear plot, but it does have some of the best acting you're likely to see in a while, a killer script and amazing music. I'm just not sure about what awards it might win as it's such a strong year for movies. 

Today's song:

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Technology Focus

I gotta say, it is nice to have an evening with the cat. As much as I love to travel, I like having a day with the lad. I think he's happy I'm back from interstate too. It was only for a night, and people were popping into check on him and feed him, but I know he's glad I'm home. 

Today's interesting questions come, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. If you could have a remote control that could pause time, what would you do with it?

I would love to be able to pause the world, just before a bomb drops and to clear out all of the people so they weren't killed and maimed. It's a nice thought, but it would never happen. 

2. What's the silliest thing you believed as a child that you wish were true now?

I was one of those kids that was told that eating the crusts of your bread would make your hair go curly. Now, I rather wish this did happen. Think of all the savings you'd get on hair products. 

3. If your life had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what song would it be?

I'd like something upbeat but unobtrusive - and a bit edgy. Maybe Cecelia Ann by The Pixies would be a good choice. It also has no words, so they wouldn't get stuck in people's heads. 

4. If you were a vegetable, and someone accidentally ate you, what would you want them to say after the first bite?

Probably "What the f%^& do you think you're doing?" Daft question. 

5. If you were a flavor of ice cream, which one would you be, and why?

Probably something a bit out of the ordinary like wasabi and white chocolate. A little bit spicy, but a little bit plain and very unexpected. 

6. What's the strangest thing you've ever googled or searched for on the internet?

I am a writer, so I am always googling strange things. If they were to ever uncover my search history, they might be horrified at times. But here are a few things I've google lately: 

  • Margaret Pole
  • The Masonic Funeral service from the Lauderdale ritual
  • Some strange sexual practices
  • Joanna Lumley's age
  • Things to do in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

7. If your pet could suddenly talk, what do you think it would say to you first?

Lucifer would probably say something like, "Why are you sleeping in my bed?' or "Why do you kiss me so much, you mad cat lady?"

8. If you were a character in a video game, what would be your special move?

That would probably be something like boring the tits off people with strange eighties music references. 

9. What's the most bizarre item you've ever bought online?

It depends on your definition of bizarre. This isn't that bizarre, but I had a wrought iron hair pin confiscated at the airport before Xmas. I bought it in Sommieres so there was a bit of sentimental value to it. Anyway, I went on to Etsy to find something similar. What I got wasn't the same, but they were a good alternative (and if the same tour runs next year, I'll be asking somebody to get me another.) I showed a friend my haul. They asked me who was I going to stab. 

10. If you could replace the sound of one everyday activity with your own voice, which activity would you choose?

I wouldn't do this. I don't like the sound of my voice. It's too breathy. 

11. If you were a punctuation mark, which one would you be, and how would you punctuate people's sentences?

I would be a semi-colon - mainly because people don't know what to do with them. Just like me. 

12. If you could have any celebrity be your personal assistant for a day, who would it be, and what tasks would you assign them?

I'd love Henry Cavill to be my assistant for the day. Yes, he's pretty to look at, but with shoulders like that, he could move furniture about the place. Can I put in an order for a Henry Cavill now, please. 

13. What would be the worst "buy one, get one free" sale item ever?

Bananas. I would have no use for that. I don't like bananas. 

14. If you could trade places with any fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be, and what would you do differently in their story?

Oh, that would be Pelagia from Captain Corelli's Mandolin. There are all sorts of things I would change about what she did after the war - the first being opening her eyes and going further than Kefalonia. 

15. If you had to live inside a TV show for a month, which show would you pick, and why?

I'd love to be in Sex and the City just to live in Manhattan and to be able to afford it. 

Today's song:

Friday, January 19, 2024

I came, I saw, I ate potatoes

It's the eating of potatoes that makes everything even better. Potatoes make everything better, not that a bad time was had.

But there were potatoes. Roasted potatoes. Patatas Bravas when it all boils down to it. Roasted potatoes with a spicy dressing from a Spanish/South American restaurant on Grote Street, eaten after a morning of training and a wander through the Adelaide Central Market, where I stood in front of Charlesworth Nuts and conjured up kid through Marion Shopping Centre with my grandparents as a child. they don't make glace fruit anymore. That used to be the height of sophistication. The desire to steal a cherry or fondle the apricots and other assorted stone fruit was strong. 

But we needed potatoes. And a Virgin Mojito. It was a warm day. A warm day in Adelaide. A day where your sheets would dry on the line in an hour. 

Kaz and I were a little shaken. We'd had our little writerly minds blown by an AI demonstration. 

Kaz is and editor. I'm a writer. We watched as a computer program wrote 400 words, plus subsequent Facebook and Twitter/X posts in a matter of seconds. Kaz felt a bit defeated, seeing her clients being no longer in need of her. I saw some potential. Particularly around non-fiction works. Our trainer was gentle with us. He showed us the pros and cons. 

On further and closer reading, the AI product was good, but not great. And sure, it was grammatically correct, but it lacked charm and needed finessing. But the bones were there. 

We also came out of the session with jobs. I need to learn how to manipulate images using Photoshop - or some online bastardisation of this - more for curiosity than necessity, but I got a few questions answered around working images settled. 

I've also got articles to write. Maybe with the help of AI. 

So after all this, we needed potatoes.  

I don't eat potatoes very often. Potatoes are the devil's food. 

Gee, they're good.

We also had a little shop, breaking Kaz's Birkenstock cherry. She walked out of this rather lovely shop with a pair of Mayaris. Like me, she's been banned from wearing thongs - the flip-flop kind, not the ones that go up your bum crack. 

Then we went and collected her sons from their school holiday program, we had a cup of tea and I jumped into an uber to go to the airport. 

It was a successful day trip. 

But I will always remember the potatoes.

(p.s. I discovered the joys of Helen Fisk on Netflix while trying to go to sleep in Kaz's pool house. She's very funny.)

Today's song:

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Adelaide Bound

 I'll forget something. 

A strip of tablets containing the antibiotics the doctor prescribed are in my toiletries bag. 

There's only the need for carry on. I'm only going for the day. 

My bag of computer peripherals is in the case. A mouse, small keyboard, various cables, a USB hub. Take this to the office with meAnd it makes life a lot easier. 

My computer with a charging cable, because you can’t forget your charging cable.

My computer with a charging cable, because you can’t forget your charging cable.

A dress and a pair of underwear. Wear the same bra and shoes to keep the wake down. I’ll wear the same bra and shoes to keep the carry on weight down. It’s only for a day anyway. Oh, and a pair of PJs. I’m staying in my friend’s pool house. It’s only respectable to have a pair of pyjamas with you.

There’s my toiletries bag, complete with sample sizes of all sorts of things.

And a book. You always need to take a book when you go anywhere. I’m quite proud of myself as I have finished five books already this year.. I’ll take Trent Dalton’s  Lola on the Mirror. See what the fuss is about.

It’s not like packing for Darwin. In my bag, you’ll find breakfast, cereal, coffee, bags, teabags, and sometimes a small bottle of gin. 

And they, you have to work out where you’re gonna put things. The book goes into a canvas bag along with my wallet and phone.I need glasses. Normal spectacles and my prescription sunglasses. Adelaide gets very glare you know. 

All I know, is that I will have forgotten something.

I’ll work out what it is when I’m in Adelaide.

I’ll work out what it is when I’m in Adelaide.

Three hours later. Deodorant. I forgot my deodorant. Kaz has sorted me out….

Today's song: 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

SBS World Movies

I'm finding great comfort in SBS World Movies at the moment. Channel 32 on the proverbial dial (or punch 32 into your remote as we have been doing for the last 25 years). There is something about a channel which plays some of your most favourite obscure movies without any fanfare, or reason. You just know that the station has been carefully curated and the movies new movies come to play on a weekly basis. 

While I was home with my parents, I found great solace in the station. I had something to go back to. I discovered films I hadn't seen in years. 

Films like Made in Dagenham. Gotta love a bit of Sally Hawkins. 

They had the gorgeously hysterical What We Did On Our Holiday. Yes, I know, another British film, but it's got David Tennant, Billy Connolly and emu and a breeze block. It's delightful. It's got one of the best dysfunctional families I've seen in ages. 

The other night, I sat down to Their Finest, a film about the propoganda office in London during World War II. Gorgeous film. One of the best twists ever - that will leave you crying. It's also got Bill Nighy in it. He's, of course, playing Bill Night, but still. Lone Scherfig's direction is superb. And yes, Sam Claflin plays a skeeze with a good redemption arc. 

And tonight, to top things off, I found myself tuning into The Big Chill (1983). I haven't seen it in years. It has one of the best soundtracks ever - I know I had the tape in my car for years. Fun fact about this film. Kevin Costner plays the corpse. Allegedly there were some scenes shot, but all we see of him is his arm in a suit and his wrecked wrists. Hmmm. William Hurt is his sarcastic best in this. Such a good film about friendship and loss. 

Regardless, this little-known station on terrestrial is helping me to keep my head above water at the moment. It's good to know that you can find some quality getting out there to the masses. Then again, on Sunday Weekend at Bernie's and Time Bandits are on. 

And yes, I know, SBS Online has some of the best films available to stream. I dig into that on a regular basis too. It's great for French films. 

Best get ready for the trip to Adelaide tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I bring you a song from The Big Chill. How can you not be happy singing this? 

Today's song:

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


I feel vindicated.

I hate going to the doctor for stupid things, but I've had enough. 

See, at Christmas, I was feeling ropey, fluey, and I had a build up of fluid in one of my ears. I remember taking some pain killers and asking for a heat pack on Christmas Day. 

On Boxing Day, I found an appointment with the shopping centre doctor. She had a look at me, couldn't see an ear infection, thought it might be my TMJ (Temporomandibular joint). Bite down on a pencil. I'd be right. 

I went home to Adelaide. I had a shocker of a head cold while I was there. Passed it on to my stepdad, who has given it to my mum. Two weeks of feeling like poo and waking up in the middle of the night, coughing up muck and being unable to breathe. I've been through five boxes of tissues in the last three weeks. I've been blowing my nose constantly. 

Making matters worse, the other ear got completely blocked, and nothing would shift the fluid. I've pretty much been deaf in one ear. It has its uses, but I've had to concentrate hard on some things. 

Then, over the weekend, a new symptom. I had a face ache. It felt like somebody had stuffed a marble up my nose and they were wanting to pull out my teeth at the same time. What fun. Panadol and ibuprufen wasn't touching the pain. It hurt to smile, eat and everything in between. 

Today was the last straw. I went back to the doctor. This time, my nice practice where my regular doctor resides. One of the other doctors. One I've seen before and liked, had a late appointment going. I booked it then and there. I've spent a couple of days feeling like I've been smacked in the mouth by a cricket bat. 

I still felt stupid for going, but the face ache was getting a bit much. 

We explained pleasantries. It seems the last time I saw her was back in 2015. I had busted ear drums. I felt stupid seeing her then too, but she said I was right to come and put me on antibiotics, banned me from getting my ears wet and to come back in a week to make sure they'd healed. 

So, we discussed what was going on. She checked me over. No fever. I told her about the cold from hell, the post-nasal drip from hell, the two weeks of broken sleep (that is over thank goodness). A two-week-old, blocked ear that was now ringing and driving me potty too. I told her about the doctor who thought the ear stuff at Christmas was my jaw joint and that I should bite down on a pencil. Though I felt good in myself the face ache was getting too much. 

She looked me over. Ears clear. No temperature. Throat clear. Yes, there was some muck getting into my lungs from the drip in my nose. And sure, the jaw joint on the other side of my face was impacting things, it looked like I had a sinus infection. 

I have three things to do. Take my antibiotics, which she prescribed. Use pain relief for the face ache, as I have been doing. And flush out my sinuses with saline. Dead sexy squirting salty water up your nose until you choke. But allegedly it's effective in clearing your sinuses.

I told her, once I had the script in my hand, that I felt a bit vindicated for coming. I'm not shy about going to the doctor - I'm not a bloke, but I'm hoping that this round of amoxycillin clears this whole things up. 

I'm officially over it all. 

Today's song: 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Movie Review: Mean Girls

 Movie Number 4 of 2024

The Movie: Mean Girls

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

The latest iteration of Mean Girls, which was a book, that turned into a mega-successful film, which morphed into a musical, and is now a film of the musical. And yeah, as somebody who's not overly fond of musicals, I didn't mind this. 

But I am a Mean Girls tragic - always have been, you go Glenn Coco! and I will not say anything against it and stop trying to make 'fetch' happen. If they didn't bugger with it too badly, it was going to be okay. 

And they didn't stray from the original much at all. It really didn't go far from the original movie at all. Okay Karen, once played by Amanda Seyfried, is now a Southern Asian woman. Janice is an out and proud lesbian. Cady is raised by a single mum. Tiny things. That's okay. 

The original Mean Girls is one of my favourite feel good movies, along with Pitch Perfect. Daft American fodder which is easy to watch, with a decent redemption arc. 

So, what is this about?

In a nutshell, Cady Heron (Australian Angourie Rice) starts high school after years of home schoolikng in Africa, where her parents are research scientists. On entering school she finds a whole new world. She is a hit with the Plastics, an A-list girl clique at her new school. But everything changes when she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George (Renee Rapp). Oh, and there are now mobile phones. They weren't in the original. 

And it's a musical. 

If you love the original Mean Girls, you'll love this. 

As somebody who's not overly fond of musicals, the numbers in this were good. Easy to take in, the choreography was good, the songs fun. Renee Rapp's Regina George is great, and her songs really hit, even if she doesn't have Rachael McAdams' star quality. 

I loved that it kept a lot of the catch cry lines. You go Glen Coco...  You don't even go to this school...Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen.... the musical concert, for which they bugger up the dancing... Regina in a neck brace... the murderous school bus. It's all there. 

And the greatest thing about this film? The fact that most of the cast are of a normal size. No super skinnies here. It was really refreshing to see. Some would call it woke, others, just aware. 

This is good for kids 12 and up - and for Mean Girls tragics like me. 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Sunday Stealing: January Questions

 We've just had a most awesome book group session at Blarney's place, complete with books and a barbeque and cheesecake and some champagne. It was most wonderful, but I don't need to eat until tomorrow lunchtime. 

Anyway, now to get the Sunday questions done, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Your favorite part of the day

Strangely, I really like the early morning, just when I've woken up. I love that the day hasn't been buggered up then. I like the quiet and the cool and the morning rituals - how I get up, do the ablutions and feed the cat. After that, anything could happen. 

2. Something you know a lot about.

Okay, I seem to know a little about a lot, but my specialist topics, those I can go on about ad nauseum include:

  • Daft facts about Adelaide
  • Shakespeare
  • The Australian Energy Market
  • Modern literature
  • Where things are in England (and Geography in general)
  • 80's Music
  • The music of The Pixies and Talking Heads

3. An important person in your life.

I have a few important people in my life, outside of my family. I'm going to nominate the women in my book group as being some of the more important people in my life. They are all wonderful. 

4. Your favorite recipe

Currently, I've taken to taking a baked cheesecake to events where there will be more than 10 people. It's a fairly foolproof recipe found here

The recipe for my grandma's YoYo/Melting Moments biscuits is another one of my favourites, but I'm not sharing that with you. 

5. An event that turned out differently than planned

I went to England for two years in 1991, I stayed until 1999. I didn't plan that

6. How you procrastinate

I read, play games on my phone or watch telly. I'm good at all of these things. 

7. The best type of surprise

Ones that don't have a negative impact. I'm not fond of surprises. 

8. Music that helps you relax

I listen to some strange things to help me relax. I love Yann Tiersen and Alt-J. At work if I need some chill radio, I often turn on ABC Classic FM or Coles Radio for their 80's content. 

9. A thing your life has in excess

Body fat

10. A book you want to read.

Oh, my TBR (to be read) pile is hue. Here are some of the titles:

  • Lola in the Middle by Trent Dalton
  • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
  • Ulysses by James Joyce (I've had this on my nightstand for years)
  • To Paradise by Hanya Yanigahara
  • The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

11. A person you’re always happy to see.

Somebody I haven't run into for ages is the Soap Guy. He's a lovely fellow and I really miss seeing him about on a regular basis. He now has a corporate job instead of running a soap stall at the local shopping centre. 

I miss him. 

12. What time do you go to sleep?

Normally just after midnight. Asleep around 12.30-1.00 am. I've become a night owl. 

13. A word to describe the past year.

Transformative. If not that, challenging. If not that, then surprising. 

14. Your favorite household chore

Ironing. Yes. I know. It's a genetic thing. Love doing the laundry, but I love ironing it up the most. 

15. One thing you’d like to see

There are too many things I would like to see. These include, off the top of my head: 

  • Uluru (it used to be known as Ayers Rock, now returned to its traditional name)
  • Japan, in particular, Tokyo
  • More of France
  • More of Spain
  • Portugal
  • More of New York City
  • World Peace
  • An Adelaide Crows successful grand final

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Movie Review: The Holdovers

 Movie Number 3 of 2024

The Movie: The Holdovers

The Cinema: The Rivoli Camberwell

Stars: 4.5

Paul Giamatti is probably and awesome person, but he plays grumpy misanthropes so well. And his character Paul Hunham in The Holdovers has many similarities with other characters he's played over the years in Sideways, Downton Abbey and the remarkable Barney's Version. The sight of Paul Giamatti isn't going to make anybody drop their knickers, but he is one of the finest character actors out there. 

He also won the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Golden Glove earlier in the week, and this award is well deserved. He thrives in roles like this - bittersweet, intensely funny and wonderfully human. 

Yes, I liked this film a lot. 

The action takes place in an elite boy's boarding school in New England in 1970. A number of boys are going to be staying at the school over the holidays. Giamatti's grumpy teacher is selected to stay at the school and a glorified babysitter. Along with them, Mary (Da'Vine Joy Randolph - who also won a Golden Globe for her role in this) acts as cook and counsellor, while grieving the recent loss of her son in Vietnam. The third player in this is Isaac, played by newcomer Dominic Sessa, a troubled boy who is on his last chance before they ship him off to military school. 

These three characters have literally nowhere else to be, and it is within this construct the movie takes place. 

Alexander Payne, the director who brought us Sideways, About Schmidt and The Descendants revels in these human dramas. The Holdovers is no different, where he blends comedy with tragedy across the movie.

There are many spit-take funny moments, as well as those which have you reaching for the tissues. Some of the lines given to all of the characters are priceless, the dry sense of humour woven through this is a bit of a trademark of this director. That and the near tragedy of all of the character's lives. At one point, Hunham makes the observation, "Life is like a henhouse ladder. Shitty and short." It's this hard look on life which makes him a foil for Isaac's exuberance and Mary's grief. 

Other takeaways from the film was newcomer Dominic Sessa's performance as the deserted and desperate Angus. He was another standout in this film, portraying just the right balance of sensitivity and teenage exuberance. 

The other thing I loved about this film was its portrayal of 1970. Everything from the costumes, to the sets to the cars was on point. Another element of the film which had me guessing was Giamatti's glass eye. Does he normally have a glass eye? No. But it has you guessing through the film. It's a very effective feature. 

The movie is one to watch out for over the next few weeks as Awards Season comes full circle. I really enjoyed this. 

Today's song:

Friday, January 12, 2024

Fiction Prompts: Two

 Still nothing to write about. I could write about work, but I don't do that as a blanket rule, so I will write fiction for half an hour again. 

Let's see what the prompts bring today, maybe continue on from the teenage man-cave of yesterday. 

The cards I've picked are: 

Archetypes:  The Storyteller

Enchanted Map Cards:  Flying

Cards Against Humanity:  Instead of coal, Santa now gives bad children...? A windmill full of corpses. 

Oblique Strategies: The inconsistency principle

I wonder what happened to our once near perfect child, our little storyteller. He used to sit at the end of the kitchen island, telling his tales with the exuberance of a labrador. Our smart, sweet child, who wanted to be a pilot, once he worked out he couldn't fly, which he tried so hard to do. 

He worked

Today's song: 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Fiction Prompts: One

 I really have nothing to write about tonight, so I'm going to go the fiction route. For this, I've picked a couple of prompts to write to and we will see what happens. 

The cards I've picked are: 

Archetypes: Nature Child

Enchanted Map Cards: Goblins

Cards Against Humanity: Why do I hurt all over? German dungeon porn

Oblique Strategies: Turn it upside down. 

I have up to 30 minutes to write. Let's see what comes out. 


The room was dark, but that was to be expected from the cave, as it was known to the rest of the family. Dark and dank. Since he had painted the walls navy, sticking fluorescent stars to the walls and hanging fairy lights around the window, one could only wonder if this was a goblin's lair or the room of a teenage boy. From the musty smell that emanated from the room most mornings, there was a solid case for either. 

"Ty, can you bring your washing down?"

"I don't have any."

"Look harder. And can you bring those plates and cups to the kitchen while you're at it."

A perennial battle. The detritus of a teenager, accumulating organic waste like a compost heap, waiting to be turned over in time, hoping that one day, from the stench, a fully formed man would blossom. Well, she lived in hope. 

She didn't dare go in there and take the items for herself. The space itself scared her. What would be on the monitor? Whales? Anime? German dungeon porn? She was not sure she wanted to know. 

She didn't know this stranger who stayed in his room. She couldn't understand how her dinosaur loving nature boy had turned into an incel with size 15 feet and a monosyllabic vocabulary. 

And she had no idea what she had done to make this happen. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Adding insult to injury

 I went to my post box today to clear the mail. It's been two weeks since this has been done. I've been away. I work from home; the post box is in the city. It doesn't get cleared often. I do this when I'm in the office for work. 

On the expected items in the box, other than a couple of bills for the masons, was that speeding ticket from last week. The South Australian Government will be wanting their $541. Yes, it's a stiff fine, and yes, I'm a bit shitty about it, but it happens to the best of us. This is the first speeding fine I've had in 15 years. I've only had one other - a red light camera nabbed me then. I was on the way to a kid's birthday party. The child is turning 20 in a couple of weeks. 

So, I go clear the box. 

The box is fuller than normal. There were four bills for the masons. Thankfully they're all sorted through direct debits. The paperwork needs to be handed over to somebody in the next few weeks. Too easy. 

The expected speeding fine was also in the box. I have to think about a couple of things. As it is a sizeable fine ($541) do I just pay it outright or put it on a payment plan and pay it off over a couple of months to take the sting out of it. I have a few weeks to think about this. I won't contest it. No point. As this one was doing more than 10 kph over then limit, they don't look kindly on it, good driving record or now. Besides, if I was to contest it, the court sitting would be in Adelaide - I'd spend more getting over there to make a case. 

What wasn't expected was another speeding ticket. 

Yeah, a second one. 

I was pinged doing 45 in a 40 zone late last year, just up the road by a red-light camera. 

Another $240 fine. 

The daft things about this is that where this happened is a school zone. But on the day, it happened, a Monday afternoon, school wasn't in. I mean who in their right mind sends their kids to Methodist Ladies College and expects them to be in school the week before Christmas. I just doesn't happen. 

As it's a red-light camera fine, it's one demerit point. It was also me probably rushing to get through an amber light. I have a feeling I remember the camera flash. From memory, there was nobody on the road. 

Again, do I go down the road of contesting this? Probably not. 

Speaking to a friend about this, who's an astrologer, she made the point that speeding fines were the universes way of telling you to slow down. (Just as parking fines are telling you to mind your boundaries. 

What pisses me off most of all is that for the amount of the combined fines, I got myself over to Europe last year. 

We won't think about that, knuckle down, save some funds and be very diligent about how fast I go in future.

Today's song: 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Cat Food Run

 Other people pop out for a litre of milk at nine 'o' clock at night. 

I pop out for cat food. 

I'd run out for tomorrow, and as I'm working from the office, I needed to have it tonight. 

In particular, what is known as wet cat food. The dry cat food, or pussy flowers as they are known in my family, are bought every three months at the pet store. Two bags. One bag of the normal indoor mature cat kibble. The other for hairball maintenance. I buy this as it acts as cat Metamucil. going the half/half mix stops him getting dingleberries, also known as dags, also known as one of the funniest things you will see with this cat as he races about the flat panicking with a crappy bum, but you end up with a lump of shit around the flat and you don't really need that. It's still very funny. Nevertheless, he gets some of the hairball food to stop this happening. 

And yes, I should have gone for the wet cat food at lunchtime. I went for a walk at lunch, mainly to see what the river was doing. After all the rain, I was expecting a bit of minor flooding. I wasn't disappointed. The water is over the tow path in places. It will be right be the weekend. But I didn't get the cat food. I got a coffee instead, then walked back for a 1.30 meeting. 

I mean, all I needed to get was a 12 pack of Whiskas sachets. Either beef or chicken, as he's not fond of the fish ones. And yes, he eats Whiskas. I have a base model cat, he likes base model food. I'm not going to raise him on raw prawns, or barbeque chicken or something lush and expensive from the vet or the pet shop. He's a Whiskas boy. He loves it. He starts asking for it at around 3 pm, knowing full well that I won't feed him until 6p.m.

Approaching dark, I went down the supermarket. 

The wet cat food is kept at the back of the store. 

What gets me about doing a quick shop this late is the following: 

Firstly, how many people sing along to Coles Radio. Do they put on this music to make us look like fools as we bop around the aisles. 

Secondly, have they put all of their cashiers on to stack shelves after 8 pm, or have I just not noticed the number of people manning the tall trolleys before. 

And lastly, and most importantly, why is all of this Easter stuff out in the stores. Easter Eggs, hot cross buns, rabbit ears. Like Easter is 12 weeks away. Why, why, why, why, why? I don't get it. Why do you need Easter Eggs and Easter Buns three months out from the actual date? It seems stupid. Or is this like drugs and abortion - just because they are there doesn't mean that you have to partake in them?

I got my box of Whiskas, knowing that I've saved myself some angst tomorrow, but more perplexed that when I got there. 

Today's song: 

Monday, January 8, 2024

Not today


  • I went back to work.
  • Bemoaned the fact I haven't had an uninterrupted night's sleep in a week.
  • Complained about my blocked ears.
  • Got some work done.
  • Heated up a pasty for lunch.
  • Didn't leave the flat at all. 
  • Had a session with Cleo online
  • Changed the planks for leg raises in the last set.
  • Had salmon and salad for dinner. 
  • And lay down for a read with the cat at 9 pm and slept for an hour. 
So, I think this is my body's way of saying go have an early night. 

Things to be grateful for:
  • I'm breathing through my nose for the first time in a week. 
  • We've had 60 mm of rain in the last 48 hours. 
  • I managed the training session without collapsing. 
  • It's a bit cooler. 
  • I've done the dishes. 
  • Emma Stone won a Golden Globe for Poor Things
Seriously, I've got nothing to say tonight and I'm going to go to bed. 


Sunday, January 7, 2024

Movie Review: Anyone But You

 Movie Number 2 of 2024

The Movie: Anyone But You

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: An unexpected 3.5

I saw this on a whim, mainly to get out of my flat on a hot afternoon. I wasn't expecting anything much - just a rather poor re-telling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with a backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Something light and fluffy. Something that was probably going to be eye-rollingly bad. 

I was surprised. This was a lot better than I thought it would be. 

Another thing that surprised me. As this is the first week out, the theatre was nearly full, and yes, it was a 6.15 on a Saturday, but still. 

So, the story is what it is. Totally too perfect Ben (Glen Powell, all milk-fed Texan, chiseled ab perfection) bumps into Bea, a half-together baby lawyer with a pneumatic chest and sad eyes. They connect in a big way, spend a wonderful, platonic night together, after which, she skips out, which was her normal way of doing things. Getting the guilts, and realising she might have been the real deal, goes back, only to find him playing up to his friend Pete (GaTa) obvious to the audience that he was a bit of a smitten kitten. Bea hears this and decides to completely diss him.

Things heat up when the pair are invited to the destination wedding of Bea's sister, Halle (Hadley Robinson) to Pete's sister, and Ben's best mate, Claudia (Alexandra Shipp) And hilarity ensues. 

As with most romcoms, there's the meddling parents, played by Dermott Mulroney and Rachel Griffiths on one side and Bryan Brown and Michelle Hurd. There's the other love interest who comes back. There are the troubles here and there, and some strange situations. It's all in there. As the movie goes on, Ben and Bea decide to play at being a couple to keep the meddling parents at bay. 

And it's a pity that the script is so shite, as Sweeney and Powell have a lot of chemistry - and it is this, and the Sydney overlay which makes this palatable. A lot of the movie is really quite predictable, and silly. 

I'm also going to call this early. I think Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, the protagonists of this film, may end up being the new Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. There might just be something there, and they deserve better than this crappy script. Wait for streaming for this one, when you're in need of something pretty to look at and fun on a wet Friday night. It's not worth paying the money to see it, but don't be surprised if the two main actors are matched again in something better. 

Oh, on one good point, the inclusion of this song as a running joke in the film helped make it work for me. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Favourites

 It is Saturdauy. I go back to work on Monday after three weeks off - and it feels like I had a proper break. Never a bad things. But did I get everything done that I wanted to over this last three weeks? Of course not. As always, I am doing a question, then doing a job around the place. It seems to get things done. It's a good tactic. 

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

1. Favorite food

That has to be either Mum's roast lamb or ice cream of any denomination. 

We had a big dinner at Mum's when I was home and we had roast lamb, but it was a bit different - all infused with garlic and rosemary, which was lovely, but I really did have a hankering for mint sauce - make with mint from the garden, some vinegar, sugar and hot water. Ah well. As I said, it was still lovely. 

2. Favorite color

Red. Pillarbox or English phone box red in particular. 

I'm also fond of Petrichor blue and teal green. 

3. Favorite Animal

Does my cat, Lucifer, count? 

I do love cats, but I love most animals. I collect small elephants. Panda is my moniker. I adore the seal house at the zoo. I love communing with the kangaroos at Mum's place (in other words we have a chat. I say banal things like, "G'day, Skip," and they look back at me blankly - but they are gorgeous). 

But my black house cat, or small panther, is my favourite animal. I have to say that, even if he can be a prick. 

4. Favorite thing to do on a cold day

This is a strange question to ask in the middle of summer, but I love hunkering down on a cold day and reading a book. Or if it's not too horrid outside, then a trip to a gallery never goes astray. 

5. Favorite vacation spot

I have too many favourite vacation spots. 

In Asia, I'm fond of Ubud in Bali. 

This year I found out I love the South of France, but Paris is pretty awesome too, but so is Spain. And the UK. 

Around Australia, hanging around the Fleurieu Peninsula is always good. 

6. Favorite TV show

I'm not sure I have a favourite television show - there are too many good ones out there, especially those that come out of the HBO stable. The ones that spring to mind include: 

  • Six Feet Under
  • Mad Men
  • True Blood
  • Ted Lasso
  • Frasier
  • Drop the Dead Donkey
  • Downton Abbey

7. Favorite Mythical creature

I'm very fond of unicorns, not that I have ever seen one. I'm also a bit in awe of the Marvel universe for coming up with the flurken. Flurkens are awesome. 

And more Flurkens

8. Favorite fairy tale

Cinderella. Old school here. 

9. Favorite thing to draw

I'm not much for drawing, however, when I doodle, I tend to draw five sided stars. 

10. Favorite scent

I have a couple of these too. 

When it comes to perfume, I'm currently wearing one of the following: 

  • Juliette's has a gun's Not a Perfume or Lady Vengeance
  • Chanel Number 5
  • Jo Malone's Red Roses
  • And not that it's available any more, but Stella by Stella McCartney was awesome. 
If we are talking general scents, then my favourite smells are: 
  • Dog's paws in the morning
  • Biscuits baking
  • Roast meat and vegetables
  • Roses
  • Freshly cut grass

11. Favorite mode of transportation

Boats. Bigger boats preferably, but little boats, like row boats and punts are good too. I love being on the water. 

12. Favorite vegetable

Is the potato classed as a vegetable. I love potatoes a bit too much. 

Then again, parsnips are great in winter. 

And I'm a sucker for fresh asparagus and broccolini. 

13. Favorite candy

I'm a white chocolate fiend. Love white chocolate. Over here, there is a Lindt bar which has white chocolate and roasted hazelnuts and it is amazing. 

If it's straight lollies (what we call candy) then I'm a fan of the jube, the jelly snake and the butterscotch hard toffee - like Werthers. 

Australia has a very particular lolly (candy / sweetie, if you are in the UK) diaspora. It is parochial and it is ours for the loving. It can also vary from state to state, to which the humble fruchoc is proof. 

14. Favorite sport

I'm not that big not sport. I don't mind watching Australian Rules Football in the winter or Cricket in the summer, but I don't have to partake. I also like watching Rugby Union for the Haka. That's very cool. 

15. Favorite weather

Give me a overcast, cool day in Winter. Not too windy, not too rainy. I used to love living in London for the weather. It was just up my alley. 

Today's song: 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Movie Review: The Boys in the Boat

 Movie Review Number 1 of 2024

The Movie: The Boys in the Boat

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75

This is a solid Friday night, feel-good sort of film, which, along with a stable of other movies of the same ilk, won out due to timing. I mean, who doesn't like a good underdog story on a Friday night? And you get to learn something in the meantime - it can't be bad. 

According to RottenTomatoes.Com, The Boys in the Boat  "... is about the 1936 University of Washington rowing team that competed for gold at the Summer Olympics in Berlin. This inspirational true story follows a group of underdogs at the height of the Great Depression as they are thrust into the spotlight and take on elite rivals from around the world." The movie is based on the 2014 book of the same name by Daniel James Brown. 

And a true underdog story it is. It centres around Joe Rantz (Callum Turner) a kid who is down on his luck and struggling to stay at university. The rowing team is his way to a roof over his head and tuition money. This is post-Great Depression America, and there are many people in his predicament. 

Along with Joe, there's the coach, Al Ulbrickson (Joel Edgerton) who is trying to keep rowing a part of the University of Washington. With next to no funds and an administration giving them no slack, he and his group of coaches handpick this team of seeming misfits to row for their Junior Varsity crew. None of the team members had rowed before. None of them came from money, unlike many of the other crews who would be rowing the eights against them - think Harvard, Princeton and the other Ivy League schools. 

What I liked about this film is that is concentrated a lot on the rowing. As somebody who spends a bit of time on an erg (rowing machine) it was good to see the point of it all. But the film got into the technicalities of this very difficult sport to master. 

With a run time of two hours and two minutes, director George Clooney packs a lot in, keeping the action moving without tipping into full schmaltz. Clooney has had a number of hits with his historical fi;ms - Goodnight and Good Luck and The Monuments Men being two of these. He seems to America in the early 20th Century really well. He also sets a decent pace. Although most viewers will know the result of the 1936 Berlin Olympics Rowing Men's Eight, the movie keeps you barracking for this group of plucky outsiders. 

I also loved the costumes and sets, which show a very different side to the America we often see in the 30s. Ragged clothes and battered shoes are only a part of it. Washington is not a wealthy state, but you see a place, and people, with great heart. 

And something else that I really enjoyed, you get to watch eight incredibly ripped men row for two hours. This is not a bad thing at all. 

This film comes from the heart. Yes, it's a bit predictable as we know the outcome, and of course, as it has an American theme, it's a bit hokum, but in all, The Boys in the Boat, is an enjoyable diversion. I'm also keen to read the book. No need to see it in the cinema, but it will make great evening watching when it gets on the streaming services. 

Today's song:

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Mission Impossible: The Black Cat

Pandora: Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to get a six-kilogram, six-year-old cat called Lucifer out of a one room granny flat and in to a cage in the back of your car. You have the following items at your disposal. Bath towels. A broom. A kitchen knife. You may enlist the help of others. It is imperative that everybody comes out of this alive. 

This message will self-destruct in 15 seconds. 

How hard is it to get a cat into a car crate? When you're Lucifer, it can be bloody difficult. 

On the way over, he decided that escaping from the cat carrier as I was trying to get him into the cage as a huge drama. He escaped. I spent 20 minutes trying to catch him. He was panicking as he doesn't go outside. Finally, when I did catch him, which involved some strong-arm tactics, he sliced up my arm, leaving me looking like a teenage cutter in need of therapy. 

I did not want a repeat performance. 

And so you know, I was staying in my mother's granny flat. It is a converted shed. It is basically one room, with a kitchenette and bathroom, with the bedroom off to one end, separated from the rest of the room by a large wardrobe. We are in one room. 

I also prefer to use the softly, softly approach when it comes to the cat. Yes, he's a cat, but I prefer to treat as I'd like to be treated. 

The car was packed in increments, as not to set him off. I wanted to head off to Melbourne around 8.30 a.m. so that I'd get back to Melbourne early. By 8 a.m. the car was packed. The cat, however, was being testy. He went under the bed - a queen-sized bed, with a base and mattress. Shining my phone torch under he bed, I could not see him. 

So, I cleaned up the rubbish, stripped the bed. Those sorts of things, waiting for him to come out. 

He did come out. I tried to catch him. He went back under the bed. 

May I also point out that I have the last dregs of a nasty head cold. I'm coughing, sneezing, have blocked ears and sound shocking. Running after a cat is not on the agenda of things to do. (Nor was driving the 800 kilometres back from Adelaide, but it needed to be done). 

I tried to wait him out. I went and sat in the car for a bit. I watched some telly. Did a few French lessons. Quiet things, hoping to trick him to come out. 

At step-dad came up. I told him to come in. Lucifer doesn't like Gray. No idea why. Gray knew I wanted to get going. He offered to help. 

First job, retrieve the cat from under the bed.

Gray takes a harder line than me. We leaned the mattress up against the wall before upending the base. 

The little cretin had gone into the bed base through a hole in the dust cover. This is one of his party tricks. I had a hole in the dust cover on my couch. He spent the day IN the couch. 

Regardless, in gently tipping up the bed base, the cat went to the bottom, hissing and growling, but with no means of escape. 

This is where the kitchen knife came in handy. 

A reminder. No cats or humans were harmed in these maneuvers. Slitting open the dust cover, the cat came flying out. (And yes, this is nothing that a bit of duct tape wont fix. Duct tape is good for this.)

The cat then went into his full Tasmanian Devil imitation. I've witnessed this a few times. He normally does this with the vet. It's funny, but irritating. After doing a number of runs around the room, evading capture, he ended up under a very heavy wooden sideboard. From the back.

Gray and I moved the sideboard, after which, Gray tried to get him to move, gently, with a broom. More hissing and spitting, but he finally came out - and ran behind the mattress, which was leaning against the wall. 

Now we had him. We used the base as a barricade, essentially closing off the bedroom area. I dropped the mattress to the floor and went after him. After a few minutes of using a towel as a diversion (like a Spanish matador) I got him. Scruffed him. And carried him out to the car.

It was a quarter to ten by the time this happened. 

The stupid thing is that he is great in the car once he is in the cage. He sleeps most of the way. 

But it left me a little grumpy, because it shouldn't be that hard to catch a cat. 

And what with the cold and the grumpy cat and the long drive, it seems my concentration waivered a bit as I was pinged doing 75 in a 60 zone just out of Coonalpyn. 

I explained to the cop that I wasn't having a great morning, and that I thought I was in an 80 zone (and it was a straight stretch of road at the end of a town) and that I had probably lost a bit of concentration because the black prick in the back was yelling at me. I told him to open the door and have a look. 

"What a pretty boy. I had one just like him," he said, peering in the back of the car. 

"He's an unhappy arsehole at the moment."

"But he looks like such a sweety."


As pleasant as I was, there was no getting away from the $532 fine and the three demerit points. I haven't had a speeding fine in 15 years. This is my second in a nearly flawless 40-year driving history. 

I will call it cat karma. 

Thankfully, we are now home, and he is asleep on the bed, acting as if nothing has happened. 

Today's song: