Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Thank God for Masterchef

My workday started around 8 a.m.

My workday ended around 7.15 p.m.

In the ensuing eleven hours I made it as far as my local coffee shop to pick up a full-strength coffee and a snot block. I don't keep caffeinated coffee at home. 

A lot of work was done. 

A run through for tomorrow's training was done with my colleague. We're ready. 

At "lunch time" some masons stuff was sorted out. It was nice to talk to my Adelaide compatriot for ten minutes. 

The kitchen floor was scrubbed in another ten-minute break - just to get me away from the screen. A clean kitchen floor provides a sense of pride, especially since I hate doing floors. 

There was a break mid-afternoon, where the cat gave me a cuddle for around ten minutes. 

These are some of the joys of working from home. 

Near the end, when my fingers were getting heavier, I made myself pad thai, using up a packet of udon noodles that were sitting in the cupboard, a stray chicken breast and some vegetables that would have died in the crisper. 

And when I finally logged off, around 7.15 p.m. I was thrilled that I had Masterchef to look forward to. 

Masterchef is the perfect foil for a long day. 

Everybody on Masterchef is encouraging. 

Those doing the cooking are under-pressure, but you can see they are enjoying it. 

You learn stuff. Like how to make Jamie Oliver's Old Mans Chicken - which is really just a chicken substituted in Beef Wellington. It looked yummy, but going from this recipe, Jamie's jzujzed it up a bit. 

You watch as these plucky contestants, all of whom appear to be nice people, struggle with their inner demons to put the best plate of food on the table. 

And in the end, after the judges judge their efforts, and make nobody feel like an idiot, and even the one who loses the challenge is made to feel good about the effort they put in and is sent off with many hugs and the encouragement to keep going. 

It's brilliant to watch a reality show where nobody is sniped at, or made to look a fool, or set up to fail - although some of the things they make them do in the kitchen are insane - but it's all for the contestants' good. People are genuinely good people on this show. 

So after a very long, at times frustrating day at work, Masterchef is the great reviver. 

And I did my dishes during the ads. 

What more can you want?

Today's song:

Monday, April 29, 2024

Amazon Finds

I try not to buy from Amazon. But sometimes, it is a necessary evil. 

Sometimes you need something quickly. 

Sometimes you need something obscure. 

Sometimes you have no idea where you're going to find the thing you want in the shops. 

And also, if you have Prime Video membership, postage is often free - it's rude not to have the streaming service, just as it's silly not to take advantage of this (Plus Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel are on Prime). 

Some strange things you can find on Amazon include: (Pictures come from 40 Weirdest Things on Amazon - Crazy Products Online (goodhousekeeping.com))





Happily, I can say that I have bought none of these - and maybe somebody will answer me why you would ever need bacon bandaids or a Thanos swimsuit. 

My purchase of some clear, stick-on plastic to cover my reading chair to stop the cat from destroying it will hopefully be a decent purchase. 

I have no idea where you would get that in the shops, so the Amazon buy may just be worth it. 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Stretching Time

I want another day to the weekend as much as I would like a few more hours in the day. 

Yesterday, I had meditation. I wanted to make potato salad for the barbeque I was going to. Instead I bought it at Coles. 

I wanted to go to sound meditation after meditation on Saturday, but decided against it. It is too much to go from Caulfield, to Brunswick, to home, and then out to Yarraville. I would have liked to have gone to all three events. It would have been good if they were all on different weekends.

Today, during my masons' meeting, I'm told the date of my next meeting. It's a weekend I'm up in Darwin for a music festival. I wanted to go to the march in the city this morning, but there was no way I could do both that, attend a doctor's appointment and go to masons.  I attended the rally in spirit. Friends went. My lovely downstairs neighbour went for me. 

There's also a conference in Adelaide at the start of September. Once again, I have a feeling I will be in Darwin. Maybe I can wing a flight back for the weekend.

And for my birthday later in the year. Ah, yeah, probably going to be in Darwin. At least the weather is warm and the Darwin Festival will be in full swing.

I'm not complaining. I do like my job and I've very grateful for the opportunities it's providing. I really like the travel, even if it is very tiring. 

But it would be good to be able to stretch time and do everything I want to do, not just skim the edges. 

That's what I feel like I'm doing at the moment. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Sunday Stealing: How Far Will You Go?

 Another Saturday night getting the questions out of the way. In my defense, I have been out tonight. Went to a birthday barbeque, but now I know that I'll feel better about doing the questions. It's this or whining about not being able to get oestrogen patches.

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.    What's the best thing to inherit other than money

A predisposition to good health? A decent work ethic? Skinny ankles? I've inherited all of these from my mother. 

2.    What one thing would you most like to happen tomorrow?

This is going to sound awful, but half of me wishes that my masons meeting tomorrow gets cancelled. I could really use a free day, but I am obligated to go to Masons. It's a bit like swimming in cold water - it will be fine when I get there. 

3.    Who is the person with whom you've been most infatuated?

I go through my petting infatuations from time to time. It was Cary Grant for a time. Clive Owen has a special spot in my heart. Kenneth Branagh another. Other than William Shakespeare and Henry VIII, both of whom I read all around the place about, I'll stick to the petty wonderment and crushes. 

4.    In what part of the day does time go slowest and fastest?

Time always goes way to fast in the morning and it slows down at night. But after doing a Theta Healing course we've been taught to stretch time. It's a cool thing. 

5.    Whose thoughts would you most like to read?

I can't answer this. It's one of the great mysteries of life not knowing what people were thinking. At times I'd love to know what my cat is thinking, but then again, the way he looks at me sometimes, I think there might be murder on his mind. 

6.    Who is the person you'd least like to touch?

Touch in what way? I can't answer this. 

7.    What is the best quality you inherited from your parents?

Possibly my protestant work ethic and skinny ankles from my Mum. From Dad I got skin that quickly goes brown in the sun and my curls. 

8.    Who is the friend you most often disagree with?

Funnily enough, Blarney and I have a tendency to agree to disagree on things, and that is okay. We think totally differently about a lot of things. 

9.    What's the best ritual of your daily life?

Probably that first cup of coffee of the morning. And yes, I know, I drink decaffeinated coffee, but it is still that ritual of making the coffee in my Italian stove pot coffee machine, heating up the almond milk and taking a sip. Bliss. 

10.    What is the most useful job you've ever had?

I'm not sure any of my jobs find me being useful - but I'm currently working for an energy company writing materials which help people answer the phones at said energy company, which helps keep the lights on. That's a bit useful. 

11.    In which year of your life did you change the most?

Oh, that would be 1991. I moved to England and grew up really quickly. 

12.    What's the best thing you've ever gotten for free?

I love my big reading chair. A friend, who was renovating gave it to me after I admired it years ago. I love reading in the chair. Lucifer loves sleeping in it. 

13.  What is the thing you are best at?

I'm not bad at: 

  • Writing
  • Being a friend
  • Keeping fit
  • Making cookies
  • Procrastinating
  • Travelling

14.    What was the luckiest moment in your life?

I won two tickets to anywhere in the world about 15 years ago. That was very lucky. 

15.    What is the single most important thing you have ever learned?

Forgiving and loving with an open heart is a good way to get places in life. 

Today's song:

Friday, April 26, 2024

Theatre Review: The Almighty Sometimes

 The Play: The Almighty Sometimes by Kendall Feaver

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: Southbank Theatre, Southbank

Stars: 4

I have two takeaways from tonight's performance of The Almighty Sometimes by Kendall Feaver. The first is that mental illness is tedious. The second is that the humble choctop has become the new cigarette. I'll get to that later. 

The play tells the story of Anna (Max McKenna) and eighteen-year-old girl in a state of flux. Her psychiatrist Vivienne (Louisa Mignone) is about to pass her to an adult's shrink, she's on the brink of a new relationship with Oliver (Karl Richmond) and her Mum, Renee (Nadine Garner) is trying to hold everything together. She's been on this journey with Anna for a number of years, she's seen it all. Anna's mental illness has been her focus for too many years. 

And then Anna decides to go off her meds. 

I have to compartmentalise this play to review it. I'm not sure I liked it, but I did appreciate it. 

On the good side of things, the performances are all very good, particularly Max McKenna, our hapless, unmedicated bi-polar post adolescent, who just wants to feel like herself. Their performance is excellent as Anna cycles through the complex emotions brought on by the disease. Her mother and Oliver can only watch by the sidelines and provide support where they can. 

I loved the set, which was made on a rotating frame, on which the cupboards and walls of the family home. It was like the fifth character in the play. 

Hannah Goodwin's direction is on point and the action flows well. According to the programme, there are a number of movement and intimacy co-ordinators who have helped shape the play as well. 

But Kendall Feaver's play is wordy. Wordy, and at time, just a little same same and Anna and her mother try to get her back on track, with little success. When it comes down to it, mental illness is as tiring as it can be tedious, which anybody who's had a friend or loved one suffer, will know. I will admit to falling asleep for a few minutes in the first act. I fared better in the second, where the action was more enlivening. It was that or the choc top's sugar rush that kept me awake.

Which brings me back to my earlier comment of choctops being the new cigarette. The Southbank theatre's ruling is no food or hot drinks in the auditorium. I was late at interval getting my choctop - a marvelous caramel one, which I had but only a few minutes to eat before returning to my seat. 

Me along with about seven others stood at the door like old smokers, bolting our ice creams. There was a sense of solidarity among us. As somebody finished and went inside, we cheered. The usher smiled at us. We were playing by the rules (makes a change from her telling people to finish off their ice cream or throw it in the bin. I have to say, it was a bloody good choc top. 

As for the play, yes, it's good. There are all sorts of good things about the play, but when it comes down to it, mental illness is not the most uplifting of subjects, hence my wavering enthusiasm in this review. Mental illness is hard at the best of times. Depending on your experiences, you may love or hate this play. The depictions of mental illness and its consequences rang true. I'm just not sure it makes for an overly entertaining night out. 

Today's song:

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Movie Review: The Fall Guy

 Movie Number 14 of 2024

The Movie: The Fall Guy

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

I remember watching the television show, The Fall Guy, when I was at high school. Lee Majors was Colt Seavers, the stunt man who had a sideline as a bounty hunter. Standard American fare. 

Ryan Gosling brings back Colt Seavers as the hapless stuntman, who get embroiled in a bit of tricky situation. 

However, gone are the bounty hunter storylines. Instead, Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is a stunt man who comes back to work after a nasty on-set accident. Gone is his budding relationship with Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) a camera operator who's not getting a shot at directing. In the time it's taken for Colt to recover, she's moved on. As the stunt man for the pretty boy Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and his marvellous abs), he is now working on Jody's film. Tom's agent, Gail (the inimitable Hannah Waddingham) brings the ailing Colt in to be his stunt man for the film Jody is directing. 

And all hell ensues. 

I'm not going to say too much about the plot - it's pretty thin on the ground - needless to say, Colt wants to get back with Jody, but before anything happens, he gets framed for murder. 

It's not really a film you go to see for the script.

It is, however, very entertaining, and rather funny in places. David Leitch, the director responsible for Deadpool 2 and Bullet Train is no stranger to action, and this brings it in droves. These scenes are great. It's not unrelenting action, but it's very good fun. There is also a dog. I'm still unsure where he fits in, but he's a wonderful addition to the movie. 

Another thing which I enjoyed about the film was it was filmed, almost in its entirely, in Sydney. It was great to see the city streets and the harbour being used not only for the scenery, but as a set for a lot of very fun action sequences. In particular, the scenes with the rubbish skip going down George Street were great fun. 

The sound track is also fabulous with some excellent 1980's standards from KISS, AC/DC, The Darkness and even Taylor Swift, just to name a few of the artists.

Is this the best film I've seen this year? No. But is it really good fun. maybe a film for date night, something easily consumed and enjoyed? Definitely. 

And if anything, it's worth going just for a peak at our new James Bond, Aaron Tayor Johnson's abs. Like hubba hubba...

Today's song:

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Wot! No Nandos

 We have been meeting for lunch once a month for nearly 15 years. A date gets put in the diary, it might get shuffled around thanks to travel, meetings, illness, but we will then move the lunch out a week or so. 

And we are boring with lunch. None of this fancy-schmancy stuff. Nope, we go to Nandos. Or Grill'd, if Nandos isn't in the location we choose to meet - which is normally somewhere in the city. During COVID, we met on zoom, like everybody else did, trying to keep each other sane. 

We have very little in common. He's an electronics engineer, married, father of two teenage daughters. And I'm me. 

We've seen ourselves through bad bosses, good bosses, cancer (his wife - all good now) recalcitrant kids, mad family members, redundancy, aging parents. You name it. 

My workmates know about my monthly lunch with the engineer. They laugh about the fact that we go to Nandos - or Grill'd, or wherever there is cheap brown boy food. But Nandos is our favourite. It's Nandos. I look forward to my occasional lunch there. It's easy. I have a standard order (Classic wrap, hot, with some sweet potato chips, washed down with a Coke Zero. 

But meeting up today, we were let down. 

The Elizabeth Street Nandos was closed to diners and only offering take awayy. 

The day was cold. 

"I was looking forward to Nandos," he wailed. 

"Me too."

"So where are we going?"

"I dunno, somewhere down Flinders Lane for something cheap and cheerful. "

Which is what we did. 

Flinders Lane has hundreds of eateries, which appear to be themed. Up the Paris End, where my office sits, there are higher class places. The Chin Chins, Supernormals, the Cecconis and Cumulus Inc (Must get back there for their tuna tataki on labne with minted peas - genius).

In the streets between Queen and Elizabeth, every second doorway appears to be an Asian eatery. 

We found a food court. And a Thai place. And although it wasn't Nandos, it was very yummy. 

And we got to talk about all the things we talk about. Work trips, aging parents (his dad is doddery, my folks have just bought a house), recalcitrant daughters and everything else under the sun. 

The next lunch date is in the diary already. 

Hopefully the Nandos that's in the middle of our offices will be open to diners next time. 

We were looking forward to that. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Money Date

 I'm getting into the financial literacy course and starting to enjoy it. I know that years of working in banks has put me off anything to do with money.

The course is doable. Relateable. It's got me thinking. 

Then this morning, when I was doing my daily homework, our leader came up with something to do. Set a money date with you friends. 

Yep, get your friends together and talk about money, investment strategies, what you're doing with your money... and I slammed my laptop lid down and wanted to scream. 

I won't be doing this. 

I'd happily sit with a group of women on the course and discuss concepts, tactics, opportunities and the like - but not with my friends.

Sorry - this thought is so ingrained. 

You don't talk about money. 

There are a lot of reasons for this. 

It's too much of a contentious discussion. We never talk in actuals about money. We might talk in circles about money, but it's not done to talk about hope much you make. 

And you never discuss your salary. I was around at a friend's place the other day. She'd recently got a new job - and admin role at a company near her suburban home. She was up for another role, but she was very happy to be given the one she got because it was paying $5000 more than the other. She let the salary slip. About half of what I make. And sure, I work corporate jobs with a bit of stress - but I'm fairly compensated for my skill set. I said nothing. I couldn't. I wouldn't. 

The other thing, after seeing it so often working in investment banks - sharing tips with your friends can lead to a lot of bad blood. Saw it too many times in the early noughties. Not going there. 

And the last thing - I don't want my friends judging me. They judge me enough. I judge me enough. I don't need more judgement. At least I can say that I am not in debt. Even paid off that awful speeding ticket. 

I was surprised by the vehemence of my reaction to this request. 

I might do it. 

But I reckon I'd have one of these money dates with a people from the course. Like-minded people. People with similar goals. People who are in a similar place to me - which with this course, is pitched at single and divorced women. Which is why I'm doing this. 

Still, I won't be talking investment options with friends. 

Just no. 

Today's song: 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Upstart Crow

 I love a good tip off.

So, after a meh sort of day, where nowhere near enough got done, a couple of messages from a friend helped things out. 

And what was this revelation? 

A documentary series on Shakespeare. It's called Shakespeare: The Rise of a Genius and it provides a look at Shakespeare's life from the time he went to London, the lowly son of a disgraced glover, to the playwright we all know and many love. 

This documentary is brilliantly produced, lovingly rendered and fascinating. There are elements of Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, another brilliantly researched and lovingly worked piece of art. 

And this evening, instead of writing this, I've been sipping on some magnificent cherry gin watching my Shakespeare documentary and I've calmed the hell down. 

And all is well with the world again. Who knew a little bit of Shakespeare would sort things out. 

By the way, does anybody want to come and see A Midsummer Night's Dream, being done by Bell Shakespeare, in the next few weeks. They're playing at the Fairfax from 24 April to 11 May. Let me know. 

I'm going to savour the last episode of the series tomorrow. It is so good. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sunday Stealing:

 A Sunday afternoon and I am not travelling anywhere. Yay. The perfect day to get the weekly questions done - and do the ironing, of which there is a massive pile. 

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

1.    What was the best toy you ever owned?

I was a Lego kid. Loved lego. Used to play with it for days. And there was none of this you get a pack which makes one thing. We had a box of lego and your imagination. I still like helping my friend's kids with their inventions. 

2.    When in your life have you felt the loneliest?

I think that would be called my childhood. Things got better when I went to university, thank goodness. 

3.    What is your strongest emotion?

I'm fairly mild mannered, but when I get angry, watch out. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often. 

4.    When were you the most disappointed in yourself?

I disappoint myself most days when I don't work on my novel. I should put and end to this and get motivated. 

5.    Which law would you most like to change?

There are many laws that need changing, and most of them are the annoying ones which are just inconvenient. I'd love stronger protections for the environment around here. Oh, and while we're at it, national reproduction laws which give women the rights to abortion in America - that should change. Men should not be able to make laws that limit women's bodies. 

6.    Who is the person you have hated the most in your lifetime?

Tony Abbott - ex Prime Minister of Australia - but Scott Morrison, and most of the Liberal National Party cabinet over the last twenty years come a close second. 

7.    What has disappointed you the most?

Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister of Australia. He could have been so good, alas, although he was better than Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, he did nothing for the country. 

8.    What's the best possible attitude toward death?

It's going to happen to us all. If it's going to happen, may it happen as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

9.    What's been the longest day in your life?

Last Friday was pretty long. Any day which involves a red-eye flight back from Darwin is a long, long day. 

10.  What is the biggest coincidence in your life?

I find coincidences all over the place, but I have more coincidences on holiday. I've been sitting on Greek Islands when old workmates have bumped into me. Or turning up at the supermarket and seeing people I've not run into for years. They're the coincidences I like to have. 

11.  What's the oldest you'd like to live?

I'm happy to live as long as I'm healthy, productive and solvent.

12.    Who is the most amazing woman you know personally?

I can't name one. I know many, many amazing women. I'm lucky like that. 

13.    What was your best experience in school?

Does getting out alive count? I think learning to speak French was a good thing. I didn't love school, but I loved learning. 

14.    What's the most meaningful compliment you've ever received?

I remember once that somebody said I was like a steam train. I took this badly at first, but he then said that it was because I was powerful, rare and strangely beautiful.

15.    What is the most you've spent on something really stupid?

I try to be fairly sane with my money. I did spend $50 on a framed poem, which I strangely still love. The frame is plastic. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Exhibition: Paris - Impressions of Life 1880-1925

 The Exhibition: Paris - Impressions of Life 1880-1995

The Gallery: Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo

Until: 14 July - of course. 

"Let's go see the French Exhibition," said Lindy, one of my retreat mates. 

"Yes, why not."

This almost throwaway line was made in January. We set a date, put them in our calendars, booked tickets and waited. We decided to go together, have a "we" day, deciding to say nothing to our extended friendship group. We could have asked the women we went to France with along - and we may organise something in the coming months - but today was for us. 

Today, our day trip came to fruition. 

It was bloody marvellous. 

Following a very lovely lunch at Masons of Bendigo, and a glass of rose, in memory of L'Hotel de l'Orange in Sommieres, we ambled over to the gallery for a little bit of culture.

As exhibitions go, this was lovely. So much has been written, drawn and photographed about Paris, this small part only looked at the city at a critical part of history. 

According to the gallery blurb:

"The busy banks of the Seine, bustling marketplaces, grand boulevards, idyllic public gardens, and the heady atmosphere of bohemian Montmartre are brought to life in more than 170 works of art and artisan objects. From the renowned collection of the Musée Carnavalet - History of Paris, the iconic museum of the history of Paris, this exhibition reflects on an effervescent period of great social change, urban development and artistic innovation which shaped modern Paris and continues to capture the global imagination. 

Tour seven themed pathways and discover artisan street signs, historic couture, decorative arts, and everyday ephemera alongside paintings by artists including Jean Béraud, the pre-eminent painter of Parisian life in the Belle Époque, Maurice Utrillo and Paul Signac, pioneer of the artistic technique of pointillism, as well as vibrant graphic prints by Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries. 

The oldest municipal museum in Paris, the Musée Carnavalet was founded in 1866 to document the history, built environments, and unique character of Paris during a period of rapid modernisation. Located in the historic Marais district, the museum is home to over 620,000 works of art and artefacts from the Mesolithic period to the present day."

What struck me most was that the exhibition took me straight back to Paris. We spent time going over maps, taking in the amazing clothing on display, viewing the posters and loving very item in this compact, but expansive show. This isn't a show of the famous artists of the time. There are no Manets, Monets, Chagalls or Lautrecs. You're not going to see a Degas, Claudel or Rodin. 

But what you are going to see is a view of Paris and its famous arrondissements at a time of huge change. The exhibition packs a punch. And unlike the other show's I've seen at the Bendigo Art Gallery, this was not packed out. You could roam around in relative quiet. 

This is definitely worth a look. 

Today's song:

Friday, April 19, 2024

Movie Review: Freud's Last Session

Movie Number 13 of 2024

The Movie: Freud's Last Session

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3

It probably wasn't the best idea to go see a movie after getting off a long red-eye flight that morning, but I wanted to be in a horizontal space for a bit and to bliss out for a while. Maybe, this was the wrong film to relax with. Ah, well. 

But I've found an English film I didn't love. By all rights, this should be just up my alley - interesting topic, great cast, depicts England in the 1930s. But no. I left the cinema thinking this should have remained the stage play of which the movie has been derived. 

What made me want to see this was the cast. Anthony Hopkins as a dying Sigmund Freud had a lot of potential. Then there was Matthew Goode, another favourite English actor, playing CS Lewis, a celebrated academic and author. In this fictitious meeting, Freud and Lewis meet to hash out who is right - Freud the atheist, or Lewis, the confirmed Christian who puts his place in God. The advertising says that this is an exploration of two men of differing opinions coming together to discuss God and Faith. Again, something that should be up my alley.

However, the film ambles. It doesn't have any impetus as we go from scene to scene, where some of Freud and Lewis's back story is covered, to the two men discussing all sorts of things without any form. We learn a bit about Anna (Liv Lisa Fries) who is torn between her own work, a new relationship and looking after her ailing father. 

Although pretty to watch, the lack of any sort of cohesive action makes this a bit of a snooze fest. Which is a pity. 

Freud's Last Session suffers from that rare affliction - the film that should have remained a play. 

I'll leave it there. I was disappointed. If you want to see a brilliant film about C.S. Lewis, hunt out the 1993 film Shadowlands, in which Anthony Hopkins plays a wonderfully repressed Jack Lewis. It was nominated for many awards.

This film aint winning anybody nothing. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Les Liberllules

The dragonflies have returned. To some it means that the dry season is nearly here to me. They are just dragonflies or in French, Les libellules. Such a gorgeous word for such a beautiful insect. The word takes me back to France. Sommieres. Another place where the dragonflies dance.

Tonight, I had dinner with a colleague in the park looking over the sea. We got Subway for dinner. Cheap and reasonably healthy. Nothing fried, nothing drowned in mayonnaise or tomato sauce. Nothing with chips.

We missed the actual sunset, but we did get to see the wonderful colours, listening to some very loud people in the bushes, saying hello to the dogs which get their evening walk, the late flight that we are about to catch.

And the dragonflies danced as the light receded with a bang. After the light show last night, with two hours of 

We went into Johnn Johnns on the way home - the ice cream parlour, which has to be visited at least once on any trip up here. The snickers ice cream was delightful (I had a biscoff crunch one on Monday night). 

And we walked home, slowly, as it was too warm to go any faster. 

This place really does grow on you.

Today's song:

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Too drunk to blog

 Out on the patio we sit, 

And the humidity we breathe.

We watch the lightning, crash over Darwin, 

Laugh and think, 

This is Australia.


Today’s song:


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What happens in Darwin

 Things to know about Darwin:

1. This is the only job where I have seen all of my workmates in their bathers.

2. This is the only job I’ve ever had where I end up singing Hoodoo Gurus songs in the swimming pool with one of the senior managers.

3. This is the only job I have ever had where I have spoken to First Nations people on a heart level.

4. For two dollars, Coles does a little pack of two tiny cupcakes with hundreds and thousands on top. They are brilliant when you want a piece of cake that don’t want to buy the whole thing.

5. Going to book group on your phone is not the same as having decent Internet and being able to sit on Zoom on a laptop. 

6. I miss my cat.

7. There is something very right about having a gin and tonic in the swimming pool, whole singing Hoodoo Gurus songs.

8. I like the books of Elif Shafak. But some are better than others.

9. I am still tired, but not exhausted like yesterday.

10. Dictating your blog into the phone is sometimes the easiest way to do things. The dodgy Internet at the hotel means that typing it on my laptop is very slow.

That will do.

Today’s song:


 Omnishambles: noun, plural om·ni·sham·bles.(used with a singular verb)

Chiefly British Informal. a situation, especially in politics, in which poor judgment results in disorder or chaos with potentially disastrous consequences. An own goal. A clusterfuck. 

I like this word. Justice Michael Lee used it to describe the Lehrmann case. 

A complete and utter clusterfuck. 

I have no sympathy for the entitled, gormless, rapey prick. He's got what he deserved. He wont be able  to work in Australia again, unless his mate, George Brandis gets him a job in Ullan Batar or Timbuktu. Somewhere out of the way, where the NewsCorpse and Seven media empires haven't spread their tentacles. Somewhere, maybe, where entitled, gormless, rapey pricks run the place in their patriarchal communities, where women are fodder for their desires. 

Yeah, he got exactly what he deserved. Good luck paying the court fees, Bruce...

I've been following this case with interest for the last few years, for a variety of reason. 

The big one being that like one in three women in Australia, I've been sexually assaulted in the past. I've been sexually assaulted and it messed me up. And yes, like with many things, there are scales of sexual assault, from the transgressions of wandering hands or being dry humped on a bus in Florence, to what happened to Brittany Higgins in a Cabinet Minister's office, to the unfortunate women who are taken against their will in violent situations. No matter what it is, it's shit. It's messed up. It's an omnishambles.

So, seeing this piece of a human shit stain get trollied by a high court just was gratifying. 

But are there lessons in this?

Of course. 

Maybe the big one is teaching men about consent, and what that entails. If it's not an enthusiastic yes, then it's a no. If they can't provide an answer because the person you're with can't enunciate an answer whether they be drunk, drugged, overwrought - what ever that may be - it's a no. Keep your hands to yourself and you dick in your pants. 

And men, if you see bad behaviour, for fuck's sake, call it out. If your mate is being inappropriate / violent / overly antagonistic to a woman - or anybody really, call it out. He's not your mate. He's an arsehole. 

We have to start somewhere. This has gone on long enough. Violence against women that is. 

In the meantime, I'll be popping into Coles to read the front page of The Australian. Janet Albrechtson must be crying into her Cab Sav. What's the bet there's no mention of the case? Sky News was talking about how the case showed that the Liberal Party were not covering things up. Like really, that's what you're taking away from all this? (There is a reason I don't read Murdoch 'media' publications. They're delulu.)

Today's song: 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Gone to Darwin


I am currently on the plane about an hour into the flight. According to the map, we’re somewhere roughly over Broken Hill.

Dinner, a chicken pasta salad, was very tasty. I had my ritual Bloody Mary in the Qantas Club with a colleague before the flight. I’ve also had a can of ginger beer to wash down said chicken pasta salad.

It’s a full flight.

I’m seated next to a boomer man-spreader with no concept of personal space. I’m next to the window. He has taken possession of both arm rests. I’m not in the mood for an argument because of course, he’s definitely entitled to both armrests. My back brain is seeking revenge.

On the good side of things, I should have the book group book finished by the end of the flight. 

Such is life.

Today's song:

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sunday Stealing: How Far Would You Go?

 It's a joy to be writing something and not watching the television. Some man went berserk at a shopping centre with a knife, killing six people and injuring many others, including a baby, before the police shot and killed him. All this happened in Sydney. But it's the last thing you want to hear about. Anyway, I'm trying to distract myself, because I don't need to hear all about this. These unfortunate occurrences normally happen overseas. You can only listen and watch for so long. 

Regardless, I'm back up to Darwin tomorrow night. Get away from the madness. 

Anyway, on with this week's questions, brought to us by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.    What have you been the most ignorant about in your life?

This may sound awful, but I'm pretty ignorant of what is really going in between the Palestinians and Israelis. I know enough, I know that it's horrific, and I get the geopolitical scene, but other than it's a terrible situation, I won't be drawn into conversations on the topic. I don't know enough. I have Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian friends. I don't weigh in other than not condoning the violence. 

2.    What in the world would you most like to see protected?

The natural environment. We don't do anywhere near enough to protect the planet. 

3.    How do you waste the biggest chunk of time each day or week?

Does work count? It's that and doom scrolling. 

4.    Who is the scariest person you've ever known?

I know a lot of scary people. They are all wonderful people, but they can be scary. The women I went on the writer's retreat with in October - all wonderful people. All really scary. A group like that could run the world. 

5.    What was the job you enjoyed the least?

I've had a couple of dodgy contracts in the last ten years, at two of which, I was bullied. It doesn't happen very often thank goodness, and the bullies were dealt with, but I didn't like that at all. Once you realise what is going on you can do something about it. Horrible people. 

6.    What thing about your family are you the proudest of?

We're South Australian. Not just Australian, but we came to the free settled colony of South Australia in the 1850s and have been there ever since. It's a state thing. Like coming from Texas or Essex. 

7.    What kind of power do you want most?

I think I would like to power to manipulate time so that I could have a couple of extra hours in the day to write. That would be great. 

8.    What's the best piece of advice you ever received?   

Do no give a toss about what other people think of you. It's none of your business anyway and a waste of thoughts. Get on living your own life and don't worry about what others are thinking of you. There's just no point. 

9.    What's the thing you know the most about?

I know a lot about the following:

  • Writing
  • Shakespeare
  • English History, particulary the Tudors
  • Bad television

10.    When were you most moved by a ceremony?

I remember being very moved at my friend Alice's Australian Citizenship ceremony. Yes, it was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which seats 100,000 people, but it was very cool. There was this section where they went into what it means to be Australian. Myself and another friend who was sitting with me were in tears. They did a really good job of it. 

The other ceremony I witnessed was last year in Darwin, where a Larrakia elder gave a wonderful Welcome to Country. The Welcome that Richard Fejo gave us was less effusive than this one, but it got me in the heart. Working regularly on Larrakia land, I'm understanding a lot more of the importance of Country. (I was born on Kaurna land and live on Wurundjeri land - and acknowledging this is really important.)


11.    What is the best gift you ever gave to someone?

I've given various people garden gnomes for their birthdays and Christmas. They are little protectors, even if others don't hold these views. 

12.    What is the cruelest thing you've ever suffered?

Oh, that would be being born with knocked knees and Achilles tendons that were too short. Made my childhood hell going in and out of hospital until I was eleven. 

13.    What's the single nastiest thing you've ever done to someone?

I try to be kind at all times and other than the odd prank, I try to leave a very gentle footprint. I never mean to be nasty or cruel. 

14.    What problem do you think is most common among friends your age?

At the moment, friends of my age are all having issues with aging parents. This can be as small as things like helping them set up their computers, to big things like seeing them into care and dealing with them dying. I'm thankful my folks are in very good nick. 

15.    What is the strongest craving you get?

Sugar. Lethal, insidious stuff. 

Today's song:

Friday, April 12, 2024

Movie Review: Monkey Man

 Film Number 12 of 2024

The Movie: Monkey Man

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 5

It's Friday night. Jay chose the film. She does not want to see the Amy Winehouse biopic for her own reasons, and that would have been my choice. She said that for what was on offer, both being action films, this looked like a better offering than something called Civil War, which I have no desire to see. I could always walk out if I didn't like it. 

So, we toddled along to see this film of which I knew next to nothing, other than it was written and directed by Dev Patel of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lion and Slumdog Millionaire fame. The film was also based loosely on the story of the Hindu god Hanuman, the monkey god, who like Icarus flew a bit too close to the sun. 

And WOW!

I will also preface this by saying I'm not really into violent films, but this is different. It's up there with Kill Bill Volume One. There's highly choreographed fight scenes. There's buckets of blood. There's a dog - but only for a little bit of the film. And a tuk tuk, which is also there for comic relief.  And a character only known as the Kid, who is a raging man who learns how to really fight. Oh my. 

We start off meeting the Kid (Patel) who's trying to get ahead. He puts himself in one of the back street fighting rings of what we believe to be Mumbai. A fall guy, he is the one who always loses. 

But the Kid is crafty, and persistent, as we learn in fragments about his past. He manages to get a job with the local cartel - that's the best way to put it. Run by one Queenie (Ashwini Kalsekar), she has the police and the politicians eating out of her hands. The Kid starts to work his way up the food chain, doing odd jobs and waiting tables, while doing some more salubrious odd jobs with Alphonso (Pitobash), Queenie's drug dealer and handyman. 

It is only after the Kid's problematic attempt to kill the chief of police does the redemption arc of the film begin. Saved from certain death by the Hijra, a group of transexuals who live in a temple does the Kid begin to heal and grown stronger. This leads to the mother of all fight scenes. 

Yes, this really is not a film I would normally like. 

But it is AMAZING. Very bloody, very violent, but incredible. 

This is obviously Dev Patel's passion project. He wrote the screenplay, directed and starred in this piece of amazing cinema using a totally Indian cast. If you dig a bit further into the reviews, you find out that this was made on a shoestring budget, with Indian actors. It began filming in India when COVID was starting to bite, after which the filming continued in Indonesia. 

I loved the cinematography as well. Having seen a tiny piece of India, the film encapsulates the difference between rich and poor, the haves and have nots, and those with power, and those who have none. 

Other things to know. Jordan Peele, of Get Out fame is on the production team, and he seems to have had some sway in the making of this. 

I also loved the cinematography. There were a lot of dream-like sequences, and quite a bit of the raw, real India, which tourist rarely see. 

But this is truly Dev Patel's film. It's brutal. It's very bloody and violent. It's got an interesting and engaging story. And it's strangely emotional, something you never expect from an action film.

It's also best seen on a big screen when you can take in the film in all its unrelenting action glory. 

This is so unexpected. I loved this film. It's very unlike me. I'll be thinking about it for a long time to come. 

Watch out for the BAFTA nomination for this one. 

Today's song:

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Wil Anderson - Wil-legitimate

 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Wil Anderson - Willegitimate

Comedy Theatre, Exhibition Street

Until 22 April

Racing out of work at 5 pm is never a bad thing. I'd put on some makeup, put street clothes on and meet my mate Alix for the 6 pm Wil Anderson show. It's a school night. We've got two shows to see. I let Alix choose the shows - she's more in the know than me (although I was the one insisting on the Shit-Faced Shakespeare show we saw later in the evening.)

Two very different shows. 

Wil Anderson was the more introspective of the two. He was also very relatable. As a man in his early fifties, he looked at many of the things we of the Generation X brigade have front of mine - that being aging parents, aging ourselves, and the regrets which we have, and don't have. 

Anderson and I have a bit in common, not that we're Generation Xers with low-grade mental health issues. Anderson was very open with his struggles with depression and him seeking help - never a bad thing for a man to talk about. 

He talked about his coming from a small country town in Gippsland where his folks were dairy farmers (tick). He spoke of the isolation of coming from the country (tick). He centered his monologue around his relationship with his father. A taciturn baby boomer who never spoke of his emotions (tick). All very recognisable. 

He also looked at what it is to age in Australia - and went into great detail about the dreaded 'poo test'. 

You know about the poo test... Anderson made what is already surreal even funnier. 

While it's not a show where you're going to lose bladder control from laughing, Wil Anderson is very entertaining. Return members of the audience would recognise some of his standard jokes, often at the expense of Adam Hills, of whom he's a dead ringer, or vice versa. Have a look. 

Anderson may not be the most innovative or out there comic, but he's reliably funny, and if you're a Gen-Xer, you'll totally understand his take on life. 

His show, followed by the Blathered Bard made for a great night out. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Shit-Faced Shakespeare

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Shit-Faced Shakespeare

The Athnaeum Theatre

Until 22 April

A troupe of classically trained Shakespearean Actors. One of Shakespeare's better-known plays. An hour to give an abridged version of Macbeth. 

And one of the characters has had a couple of beers and half a bottle of vodka in the four hours before the performance.

Yes, this is the premise of Shit-faced Shakespeare, and it was most wonderful. 


Well, have you ever witnessed people having to actively manage a happy drunk? It's not something you want to do, but it's quite fun to laugh at other's misfortunes, from the person in the front row who was given the "just in case" bucket, to anybody who walked in late, which is always a bad thing to do at any comedy, for fear of getting picked on. 

In this case, in this troupe of six very good, obviously well-trained actors, they bring on Macbeth, with some improvisation - that being that one of them has downed around half a bottle of vodka in the last few hours.

This isn't Slighty-Squiffy Shakespeare - one of the crew is pretty blotto. Obvikously drunk. The sort of drunk where you know you're going to be looking after your friend for the night, which the cast did admirably. It was obvious they were taking care of each other. 

I've heard through the grapevine that of the troupe, for OHS reasons, they've restricted the players to being the drunk one only once a week. The liver damage would be palpable if it were to be any more. 

So, if you were to go to consecutive shows, you'd find a different player being the one who got maggoted. 

I'm sure they're also well proven to be happy or cuddly drunks, as you wouldn't want an angry or morose player up there. Macbeth is grim enough. 

So, on our night, we had Banquo the Blathered. And she was gorgeous. Wonderfully disruptive, wobbly enough to gather a laugh while not so far gone that she was going to do any damage. Her interruptions to the play, where the actors were trying to get through their abridged version of the Scottish play was what made it funny. There was also some light audience participation - something which was to be expected - so if you're going, maybe stay away from the first two rows in the stalls. 

This was a great way to spend an hour at the Comedy Festival - it's light, fun and tickled my fancy as it involved Shakespeare. 

It's definitely worth a look if you're up for something silly to occupy an hour of your evening. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Never have I ever

 Never have I ever cooked a roast dinner.


Yes, I roast vegetables all the time. I shove some chicken in a dish and put it in the oven, but that is not a roast dinner.

I’m talking about a proper roast dinner, with the gravy and the peas, and the horseradish /apple sauce / mint sauce / stuffing (but I don’t like stuffing, so that doesn’t matter. It’s the best if you serve to four or five people and they make a big deal of it. You sit down around a bit table, and you get to enjoy what Blarney calls a "Mammie Dinner". For me, the best is roast lamb. Roast lamb that's cooked just right - just a little pink in the middle, with crispy roast potatoes and roast pumpkin, and roast onion and roast parsnip, with some pea, that have probably come from the freezer, and mint sauce. 

I've never been a Yorkshire pudding person, no growing up with them, but with my grandfather a butcher, the weekly roast was a must. 

I remember my uncle telling me that all of his four daughters, they all learned to cook a roast, and they all tasted different. 

But I have never cooked a full roast dinner. I don't have the infrastructure at home to this. My table only seats four and it is very small. I barely have four chairs. Besides, my table is set up as my desk. Sure, I've got the crockery and cutlery, but it's very hard to eat a roast off of your lap. 

Then you have to think about dessert. As roasts are cold weather food, you want a good pudding to go with it. My favourite is lemon delicious pud, with some vanilla ice cream. 

I'm just glad I have friends who have me over for a roast dinner on a semi-regular basis. 

I'm a lucky girl. 

Today's song: 

Monday, April 8, 2024

The End of MAFS

 Married at First sight ended tonight, and here's what we discovered. 

  • There are some very shitty people around this country. 

  • There are some very emotionally stunted people in this country. 
  • There appear to be people who will do anything to be on the telly no matter how much they are humiliated. 
  • And there are some very questionable grooming habits out there. Just think Jack with the fake tan, man bun and overly white veneers (sooooo attractive). 

I think I prefer him like this:

Or this:

  • And MAFS continues to be a lesson in how to spot red flags.
  • And dodgy dress choices.

  • And very occasionally you meet an utter delight who you would love to befriend. 

But for now, the shit show is over. What am I going to do on a Sunday night? I will miss my dreadful guilty pleasure. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Movie Review: Dune - Part Two

 Movie Number 11 of 2024

The Movie: Dune - Part Two

The Cinema: The Sun Theatre, Yarraville

Stars: 3.75

This is not a film I would normally go to. The only reason I went to this was I owed Blarney and Barney's 13-year-old boys a Christmas present and it was this or Godzilla and Kong. They preferred this one, and being the good aunt, I took them along. 

Other things you should know before I do this review. I did not see the first Dune, nor the Dune of the 1980s with Kyle McLaclan. But I have garnered enough knowledge about the Dune universe from friends and the interwebs to sit down and watch without bringing my book to the theatre. 

So, what did I learn about Dune?


1) It's a nerd film. If you're into cinematography and soundscapes this is your film. 

2) It has a fantastic cast, from Timothee Chalomet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Rebecca Ferguson, Austin Butler, Stellan Skarsgaard, Josh Brolin, Javier Barden. Great cast. Very easy to watch. 

3) Even if you didn't see the first film, you do get the hang of what's going on pretty quickly. 

4) It wasn't as violent as I thought it was going to be. It is violent, but as it's a fantasy film, it's easier to take. 

5) Austin Butler, without hair, looks like my mate Reindert. Reindert, thankfully, still has his eyebrows. 

6) The worms are cool. 

7) The script is pretty good. I wasn't cringing. That is something. 

8) Denis Villeneuve is obviously good at directing this sort of stuff. He directed Arrival, a film I love. This is up there. 

9) For a film that's been out a few weeks, it was cool to see that the big cinema at the Yarraville Sun was half full. 

10) I have no regrets about seeing this. I'm also now debt free to my proxy godsons - but it is their birthdays in a few weeks and we might need to find another film to go see. It's what aunties too. 

To wrap this up, I'm not the person to do an earnest review of this. The two hours and forty five minutes went quick enough, I enjoyed the sound engineering and cinematography, and the story was fast paced enough to not have me checking my watch every five minutes. In all, it was a bit better than I was expecting. I might have even enjoyed it more if I'd seen the first one. 

Today's song:

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Late Night Snacks

 Another Saturday night of ironing. Another good excuse to get the weekend questions out of the way. 

Once I get these done, I can then go finish my wonderful book. 

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

1.  Name a TV series show or shows in which you have seen every episode at least twice:

There are a number of these, including:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Fawlty Towers
  • House M.D. 
  • Lucifer
  • Suits
  • Bridgerton
  • Gilmore Girls
  • The White Lotus
  • The West Wing
I would put Six Feet Under on this list, but there is one episode I can't rewatch. It's just too violent. 

2.  Name a show or shows you can't or would not miss:

This is my one guilty pleasure show. I watch Married at First Sight. It's so bad, it's good. 

3.  Name an actor or actors that would make you more inclined to watch a show:

I will happily watch anything with Andrew Scott or Matthew Goode in it. Both are English actors, both are incredible - particularly the former. I'm going to watch Ripley on Netflix in the next few days. 

4.  Name an actor or actors who would make you less likely to watch a show:  

I'm not a fan of Will Ferrell. Never liked him, though his forays in the land of Ron Burgundy are a bit fun. 

5. You're having a lovely dinner party for friends and family.  What will you serve for appetizers, main course and dessert?

As it's going into Winter, I'd be looking to serve some good warming foods. And something French.  So I'd start with French Onion Soup, and follow it with either a roast lamb or roast salmon (might have to do both as there might be people who don't eat lamb). Then a creme brulee for dessert. I think that sounds pretty good - and not too difficult. 

6. Snow storm! You've got house guests and you're all stuck inside for the night. What do you prepare for dinner.  Will you watch a movie? Which?

Umm, I don't know what I would do in a snow storm as we don't get snow here in Melbourne (well we get a sprinkling in the hills every so often. But occasionally we get rained in, like they were in Sydney this weekend. I'd do things like soup and roasted veggies and toasted sandwiches, and make sure there's lots of nibblies. Also, we would be watching a movie. There's plenty to be found on the streaming services. Maybe have a Marvel festival. Marvel is good for things like being rained in. 

7. We are going into New York City for the weekend. Where do you want to go?

Oh, New York, you can't do that in a weekend. But for a start I would love to go to the Gugenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One meal would need to be had at Katz's Deli. I'd also like to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and have a look around Brooklyn. Maybe a walk along Fifth Avenue and eat a bagel in front of Tiffany's. A weekend is too short a time. 

8. You are going to night school.  They offer courses in writing short stories, painting, piano or guitar lessons, simple home repairs, baking, and gardening. Which do you pick (or make up one of your own)  and why?

Part of me says do the writing course, but I've done a lot of them, so for something different, I would go for the piano lessons. I never got them as a kid and I've always wanted to play the piano. 

9.   Ever been to a Drive In Theater? Would you like to see Drive In Theaters make a comeback? 

We used to go to the drive in when we were kids. It was a popular thing to do in the seventies. We also have a couple of drive ins around - well there were before COVID. Outdoor cinemas are making a comeback. I'm hoping to go to one in Darwin when I am up there next week. The Deckchair Cinema is excellent, even if you have to slather yourself in bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away. There is nothing better than sitting in a deckchair with a beer watching the sun go down behind the screen, then watching as the geckoes run across the screen and the bats fly into the Moreton Bay fig trees that surround the cinema grounds. 

10.  Should towns provide community entertainment like bands in the park, fireworks on the 4th, community picnics or is the cost just too much?

Being Australian we don't have the July Fourth Celebrations, but I'm good with the occasional celebration run by the council. We do have a big celebration here called Moomba in early March and there are always New Year's Eve fireworks. We're also lucky to have great grounds where people can have picnics, which are maintained by the council, but are free to use. People seem to like it. Our taxes pay for it, so why not. 

11.  What would you change about your town if you had the power?

Not much. Melbourne is pretty good just the way it is. Maybe they could do something about the swooping magpies in the season. Oh, and a lot more social housing. Housing costs are exorbitant in Australia, but Melbourne is particularly bad.  

12.   How often do you find yourself shopping for groceries?

Normally twice a week. A big shop on the weekend, and fresh meat, fruit and veg doing the week. 

13. Do you have a favorite night time snack?

I'm a bit of a potato chip fan late at night. I generally don't keep them in the house, but the current favourites are the kettle chips in the Dijon mustard and honey flavour. They are just a bit too morish. 

14. Do you buy in bulk and what kinds of tips do you have to save money on grocery shopping?

Living alone I don't generally buy in bulk, although I'll often get a tray of chicken breasts then freeze them individually. The one thing I used to buy in bulk was natural deodorant, which came in from the US. This brand called Native. They were excellent. Unfortunately, they are no longer shipping to Australia. 

15. Let's have a picnic in the park.  What foods are we packing and will we cook anything there or is it all prepared ahead of time?

Picnics need to be prepared for so you don't have to cook. I'd go and get a roast chicken from the supermarket, cut it up, get some salads, cheese biscuits (crackers) and dip and take the easy route. It;s good when everybody brings something along. Makes it fun. 

Today's song:

Friday, April 5, 2024

Movie Review: Ghostbusters - Frozen Empire

 Movie Number 10 of 2024

The Movie: Ghostbusters - Frozen Empire

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3

File this one under should have stopped while the going was good.

Not even Paul Rudd can save this one.

And sure, the nostalgia factor is there, and the effects are good, but it's stuck between the eighties and now, and this doesn't make for great viewing. 

As a Friday night film, there to wash off the week, it's fine. But there is nothing to get excited about. 

The family drama, which started in the reboot of Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) carries on. Spengler's daughter (Carrie Coon) and her kids (Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace) are now shacked up in the original Ghostbusters fire station. There are some big supernatural events. Dickless, is now the mayor (IYKYK). He tries to shut them down. Things go strange. New York is under attack. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a far better film. 

Sound familiar? It's starting to labour the point. 

Gil Kenan's screen writing and direction are hackneyed. Thankfully the cast try to make the best of the bad lines and get on with it. The family saga is predictable, but sort of cute. New York looks great, as always. It was sweet seeing Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson together again. 

But don't pay for this film. Wait for it to come onto a streaming service. 

It's okay, but that's about it. Fine for Friday night movie fodder and nostalgia buffs, but that is about it. There are better things in the cinema. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Hypothetical

I'm going to pose a hypothetical. Think of me as Geoffrey Robinson back in the day, roaming around the stage, postulating on one question or another. I seem to remember one night he looked at the subject of whether Dracula had AIDS. Looking around the interwebs, I see there is a book that looks at his series of the eighties.

Anyway, let's pretend that it's five years from now. 

Your daughter, now in her mid-twenties, fresh out of law school and interning at a major city law firm. Her once curly hair is now straightened into a gentle wave thanks to the $600 Dyson hairdryer you and your ex-husband bought her for Christmas. She wears neutral clothes, loose fitting, but tailored. Her pittance of a stipend from the law firm will turn into good money soon. For the moment, both of you charge her nominal rent, just to make sure she begins to know the value of money. Then again, she's had a job from the time she was sixteen. She bought her first car, secondhand, and outright. She's a good person. She donates blood. She's been known to go on the odd march for various causes. She has plenty of female friends. She hates being told what to do. 

Tonight, she is bringing over her new beau for dinner to you to meet you. A meet the folks night. 

Your ex-husband is coming along too. You're on amicable terms. The divorce was finalised ten years ago. You kept the house. He bought another. You went half-half in the private school fees. As divorces go, both of you got through fairly unscathed. You've both re-partnered. Your darling daughter is content knowing both of these people are in your lives. She has rooms in both your houses. 

That she's bringing home a boyfriend, a possible partner, is a big thing. A few years ago, you met her formal date, a spotty youth from the brother boy's school who she knew from the debating team. He appeared to be harmless. The other men she's introduced you to have been friends, many of them gay, most of them a bit awkward. It appears to be her type. The swotty fellow, with the thick glasses who hasn't grown into his skin quite yet. Her female friends all tend to be firebrands. Her best friend from primary school has just qualified as a doctor. They don't get to see each other as often as they would like, but they text daily. 

So, you've gone all out for this occasion. You've done the cooking. Your ex will bring the wine. Going retro, you've raided the Maggie Beer cookbook and made something with verjuice and prunes. Verjuice, like vegemite, surely never goes off. For dessert, you've gone the pavlova route. It's easy. A classy dinner for your daughter's big reveal. 

Your ex and his wife turn up on time and you crack a bottle of bubbles between the four of you. Your husband and your new partner have always got on well. One's a lawyer, the other a plumber. They've never had an issue and talk freely. Your husband's new wife is a lovely person. Secretly, you think she's a bit too good for him. You congregate in the kitchen and postulate what this new fellow will be like. 

"She hasn't said much," you say.

"Bit of a dark horse, our daughter," offers your husband. 

"I'm sure he's delightful," counters your partner, hunting around the fridge for some nibbles. 

"I'm looking forward to meeting him. Allegedly, they met at a law school mixer," chips in your ex's wife. "She's almost been cagey about him."

You hear the rumble of a car in the driveway, the opening and closing of car doors and footsteps heading to the front door. Your daughter has a key. 

The footsteps reverberate down the hallway. 

His slight paunch greets you milliseconds before you are made aware of his totality. He's heavy-set, doughy, with a close trim beard. He wears the uniform of the entitled. Cream RM Williams canvas trousers, pale blue cotton shirt, unbuttoned at the neck. RM Williams boots. He takes his handshake to your ex-husband and he calls him by name, meeting his eye, but disregarding everybody else in the room. 

You're trying to place him. 

Then it twigs. 

The court cases. The trial by media. The sordid details that played out in the paper. The popular opinions and the pub tests. You remember, after reading Anna Funder's Wifedom how rapey bastards with connections seem to get away with everything. Is this one just another one of those entitled pricks who have no recourse for their behaviour. Of does everybody deserve a second chance? Or do you blurt out your instant feelings of disgust and ban him from the house?

So, what do you do? 

Your daughter has brought home a pariah. How do you respond?

It's over to you, the audience. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Tonight's session with Chuck

The day was busy - nothing new there. In the office with the Borg swilling around the atrium. Did you know that I've been working in buildings that have their own signature scents? You go in and it smells different. Good different, but these property managers pay to have a signature scent for the building. I find it a bit strange, but I suppose it's better than smelling sweat, industrial floor cleaner and spilled coffee. 

Anyway, after finishing work, I raced home, fed the cat and braced myself for my solo session with Chuck. Jay is on her way to Adelaide for the AFL Gather Round. This means I had Chuck all to myself. 


Working with another in your PT sessions is both good and has its challenges. Sometimes you can egg each other on. Other times, the weaker member of the team will dictate what's being done. Chuck, a bit older and more experienced than Twelve, seems capable of swapping things around for Jay and I to meet our different needs. 

Unfortunately, with Jay away, all bets were off tonight. 

I arrived on time. 

Three minutes of rowing, which turned into five minutes. Yeah, yeah. 

Squat practice. Chuck is big on technique. He gave me a 16-kilo dumbbell and got me to squat, correcting my technique. 

Yeah, that was good. The better the technique the less likely you going to get injured. 

Next, lat pull downs and shoulder overheads. Again, my normal weight would be what Jay can do. He's upped all my weights. 

Oh, then hamstring curls. I don't mind the machine. He set the weights at 60 kilos. I put it to 90 for the first round. We ended up with the machine set at 115 kilos.

"You're strong. We're going to get you stronger," he told me. 

That works for me. 

We talked about all sorts of things. About old trainers and some of the torture devices used on us.  Of my current anxiety irks, and how exercise is helping. About footy - he's an Essendon supporter, so we're just going to have to ignore that. About how 155 grams of protein is hard to eat every day - but after talking to one of the Darwin crew who's into body building, she gave me a few tips (the iced coffee with almond milk and protein powder was a good call). 

The last big exercise for tonight was the sled. Pushing a weighted sled over carpet. 40 kgs on the sled. I was told to walk not too fast, nor too slow. 

"Pretend you're a gay man when you're pushing the sled. Gay men walk quicker than straight me, and they have "Womaniser" in their heads."

"You want me to push the sled to a daft 90's song?"

"You don't know the song?"

"I'm old, not deaf," and with that, I started humming Britney Spears inane little ditty while moving a pile of iron up the gym. 

"That gay blokes walking to "Womaniser" has to be a pile of crock."

"One of my clients told me about it."

Turns out, there is some credence to this. I found an article in GQ about the subject

And after working me to the bone, making me sweat buckets, fixing all sorts of gym techniques I didn't know needed fixing, I left, 45 minutes later, on the verge of vomiting, very sweaty, and very happy. 

Jay has another footy thing next week - which means we're going to do this all again. 


I'm going to stretch now. I'm going to hurt tomorrow. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024


 Welcome to my current headspace. 

I'm being tossed around with a bit of anxiety at the moment, which is not fun. However, before I go on, let me say I'm taking care of myself. I've called it out, I'm exercising, not drinking alcohol, taking time for me and looking at my thought processes carefully. And when push comes to shove, I have some Whittaker's Jelly Tip chocolate to boost me up (Thanks, Geetangeli). 

What I am enjoying is interrogating my thoughts, which may seem strange, but it's keeping things on an even keel. 

Here are a few of my random thoughts for the day. 

Pistachio Toothpaste

Have you any idea how weird it is not to have minty toothpaste? I bought this stuff, HiSmile Pistachio,  on a whim, it being half price at Chemist Warehouse. Being the type that likes to try EVERYTHING, this had to be done. The verdict - it is very strange. It's not minty nor does it have a strong cinnamon flavour (there used to be one called Close-Up, which used to taste great) This stuff is strange. It cleans your teeth really well, but I'm not sure about the breath factor. I think I might keep this for when I'm working from home. 

HiSmile have all sorts of strange flavours

My books

I'm reading Madeleine Gray's Green Dot at the moment, and it is fabulous. I'm loving my tea breaks at the moment. Go in, lie down, read ten pages. Hopelessly relatable, flawed characters, understandable situations. I love it. 

My audiobook of the moment is Melissa Lukashenko's Edenglassie. It's fascinating. 

I'm lucky to be taken away by both books. 

The best feeling in the world. 

Was felt walking around the shopping centre at lunchtime. I had to pop into the post office and Telstra (for my sins) Things were sorted quickly. I found some sushi for lunch. I went home. But the simple act of walking about felt good. 

My battle with protein

Chuck, my new trainer, wants me eating 2200 calories a day, 155 grams of this should be protein. Have you any idea how much food that is? It feels like too much. The anxiety makes all of this play on my brain. Instead of agonising over this, I'm doing what I can, eating well and breathing through the bad thoughts that follow. Adding a scoop of vanilla protein powder to my iced coffee also worked well. 

And last but not least, the Armpit Detox Mask.

This came today in the mail with some of that trial deodorant. Just why the company thinks I need an armpit detox mask is beyond me,. It was part of a deal. The thing is, I've been using natural deodorants for many years. I'll give it a go, but it still seems a bit strange to me. 

Today's song: