Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Small Things, Small Minds Etc

I just learnt how to write "♥". I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it is. In fact, I ♥ it. w♥♥t!

Unbreak my ♥! I lost my ♥ in San Francisco! My ♥ belongs to Daddy!

As you were.

Flame Wars

I have never really hung out much on bulletin boards or chatrooms, I guess the closest I have come to it in my net experience is blog commenting and hanging out a bit on Flickr. I don't do the whole facebook thing, or really even post comments on Flickr very much anymore. But of late I have spending quite a bit of time on the knitting social networking/database website Ravelry (still in beta testing and with over 100,000 users, but not yet open to the public).

One of the really active parts of Ravelry are the Discussion Threads in the groups.

Oh my gah.

I've discovered the art of the Flame War. You'd think knitting, that's like really genteel right? Wrong. 99% of the threads are great, and there is a group I love called "Completely Pointless and Arbitrary" where any seriousness is actively discouraged, but the other 1% is amazing. Stuff that makes you want to bang your head on the desk in frustration (or theirs). Threads that started about poor customer service from on-line sellers for example, that degenerate into name calling, legal threats, accusations of bad parenting/poor personal hygiene and even cheap shots about religion.

It's kind of horrible, and I can't stand to read much of it, but it's hard not to. Some of it is so amazingly stupid it makes me sit here with my mouth open. I know this is nothing new to people who frequently read bulletin boards, and it really is only a tiny % of Ravelry, but it's kind of like a train wreck I can't drag my eyes away from.

Of course I've been smart enough not to add to these particular discussions. I don't want anyone attacking my personal hygiene.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Australian Fashion Week

Failed to meet expectations this year.


The building I work in is around 98% women, and we few guys that are here share a common toilet that is located just outside my office. It has a sort of vestibule area, and even a long disused shower stall in there, and on account of our low numbers and poor bargaining power, the vestibule and shower stall have become the Junk Depository. (I nearly wrote Crap Depository, but then thought better of it.) Going to the mensroom usually involves dodging your way around broken wheelchairs, a couple of commode chairs, a carton of incontinence underwear, a walker, and other sundry bits of equipment suitable for aged care.

If you ever needed a reminder that one day you too will be old, frail and incontinent, then come visit me and go for a pee while you're here.

So today they had a big cleanout. Initially that meant that everything from the mensroom just migrated into the hallway, but now another service has come along and taken all the equipment that is useable, and the rest has gone down to the skip. For a short while there our corridor looked like a substandard nursing home. Our walls are Public Institution Green, so it was pretty convincing. All we needed is a smell of boiled cabbage and something even less savoury underneath, and it would have been a dead ringer.

Anyhoo, now I can pee and not worry about a future of prostate enlargement and moist underpants. Huzzah!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cat Yodelling!

Web-Goddess posted a link to this clip called An Engineer's Guide To Cats. It's really funny, but stick with it until a couple of minutes before the end because the 'corporal cuddling' and 'cat yodelling' segment is hysterical!

Vintage Handsomeness

A couple of dishy vintage chaps, courtesy of Shorpy.

Hobart 'Hobey' Baker, 1913. Nice pecs are always in style.

Tickle my ivories Mr Piano Man, 1938.

5 Thoughts For Monday, April 28th.

  • I passed a discarded bunch of 3 long stemmed pink roses this morning. Wilted, and still in their acetate wrapper and ribbon. Jilted lover? Apology gone bad? Apology never made? Break-up? What do you think?
  • Mmmmmm, coffee this morning was (again) followed by mmmmmm, cute redhead. I'm glad he's still around, because I hadn't seen him buying his morning coffee for a while.
  • Like, OMG, the grand finale of "So You Think You Can Dance" was so excellent last night. My two favourite boys were in the final duo, so I was happy that either of them won. Yay Jack!
  • And while I'm still like all OMG and everything, the opening sequence was brilliant! Not only did it include all of the top 20 (so they think they can) dancers, but all of the judges and the key choreographers from the season too. Cute idea, and fun to see the judges busting some moves.
  • We had a huge turnout for knitting at the pub yesterday, including a bunch of newbies. At one point I had a somewhat bizarre conversation with an American guy that came up to chat to us. First off, "Are you guys knitting because you've given up smoking or something?" Um, no. Because a) we like doing it, b) it's kind of meditative and relaxing and c) because you can make cool stuff. Then he turned his gaze on me and started talking about guys knitting, and shared the gem that in the past when he has "read guys' profiles" and they stated that they liked knitting he had been all "um, okay" (the 'you weirdo' was implied). Then he went on to say he thought it was cool. Um, okay. Thanks. (My 'you weirdo' was implied.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

I had the most weird ass collection of vivid dreams last night. I've mentioned this a bunch of time before, but normally I wake up without ever having a sense of having dreampt during the night. Zip. Nada. So it's all the more startling to me when I wake up during a big technicolour widescreen experience of a dream. I don't know what was going on but last night I had a bunch of them. This morning I was like what the fuh was THAT all about? And it's not like I was doing mescalin right before bedtime or anything...

At risk of sounding (more) like a freak, here's just a couple of examples:

  • Cate Blanchett and her husband apparently own a whole block of property in a small town somewhere here in Oz, but what makes this collection of property special is that it's all been preserved in mint 1930s/1940s condition. Facades, interiors, the works. Somehow that segued into sitting in a (likewise vintage) hall, watching a show which was a collection of amateur skits and songs. Sort of like the 'gang shows' that the boys scouts used to do when I was a kid, crossed with the skill level of "Red Faces" (non-Australians think "The Gong Show"). Which was all well and good, and quite entertaining, until a rat bit me on the hand and I woke up with a start. (Note: I don't have a problem with rats, I used to have a pet one at school, but the biting part I did have a problem with apparently.)

And can I just say, Cate really should get that vermin issue dealt with, don't you think? I mean we're talking public health and safety here. Could I sue?

  • If you happen to find yourself on a spaceship, one which is pulling up to an alien space station, it's advisable not to try and dock right near where all their hydroponic food is grown, because feeling like their food source is under threat will really piss them off. (I know, WTF? I have no idea either.) So pissed off in fact that they will lock you all into a room which looks like suspiciously like a regular 21st century public bathroom. But it's ok because you will escape into the ceiling by lifting the ceiling tiles, and climbing into the dropped ceiling crawlspace. Where to from there is a good question, because at that point you will wake up.

Sometimes I am just plain weird.


Thank you Jebus! After 13 long days the rain has finally ended, and today the sun has come out. My poor courtyard garden is looking sodden and waterlogged. Weeds gone crazy after the first really good rain in a long time. This morning I hung out my first load of washing on the line in nearly two weeks, and I noticed everything out there looked a bit droopy and beaten down, the stone pavers still not dried out from the onslaught.

Aside from some knitting at cafe Barmuda this afternoon, the agenda is definately to get out there and enjoy the sunny day!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Does The "End Time" Start With Another Flood?

OMG chickens, it's after 4.30 in the afternoon and this is pretty much the first time I have stopped and taken a breath all day. Oh sure, it's meant the day has gone fast, but given my usual slacker ways it's sure been a shock to the system. (Thankfully a less hateful day than yesterday though, or as I now like to think of it The Day I Nearly Told My Boss To Go Screw Himself, And The Horse He Rode In On). I'm pleased with how much I managed to get done today, even if it meant sacrificing Das Internetz to achieve it.

Tomorrow is a holiday to commemorate ANZAC Day. (Go and have a look at the ANZAC story, it's a powerful and moving story and this blog post is way too frivolous to do it justice.) Three day weekend! Yay! Today is the 12th day straight of solid rain here in Sydney, but so far the weekend forecast has a couple of mild sunny days on the schedule. I sure hope so, drought breaking is good etc but give me the Autumn sunshine!

Tonight I'm having a quiet night in with some knitting (yes, another pair of mittens - it's an addiction, I swear) and a guy called Dexter. I've had a gift certificate burning a whole in my pocket, so when I passed a CD/DVD store on Tuesday afternoon I used it to buy the season 1 box set. I've only watched the first 3 episodes so far, but Michael C Hall you are a genius. Sexy and disturbing.

It's not even 5 o'clock in the afternoon yet and it looks like night outside already. Again the rain is thundering down. Sounds like a good night for a quiet night in with a serial killer.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I had a day in a training course yesterday, and so it was kind of nice to be away from the office for a day. Except, since walking into the office this morning it has been one damn annoyance after another. Both phone lines ringing off the hook, accusations that I haven't done something (something that, as it turns out, I wasn't asked to do in the first place), people hovering around waiting to ask me questions while I'm talking on the phone.

Gah. One of those days.

I got so shitty a little while ago that I came ::puts fingers together:: this close to just impulsively quitting this job. Telling them to shove it. It's official, I do not want to be here. I need to reign it in though because realistically I'm in a bind. Double rent, medical bills and other bills mean that I cannot afford to give up this regular income.

Just breathe. Think of the happy place. Puppies. Kittens. Hugh Jackman in a pair of speedos.

And while I'm ranting, this is the 11th straight day of rain here in Sydney and I'm kind of over it.

That is all. So anyway, how are are you?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Colour Me Guilty

Our handsome and talented friend Mr John C kindly pointed us in the direction of Guilty Kilts. While not helping cure us of our Kilt Addiction at all, it sure has provided some more Aye Candy. To whit:

Mmmmmm. Nom nom nom.

Wintery Weekend

Weekend recap time! Gone are the posts of I didn't do much but knit, this weekend was choc-a-block.

Saturday I futzed around the house a bit, and then in the afternoon (as it poured with rain) I plugged in my vcr and dug out the tapes of Stonewall and Parting Glances. (I was curious to watch Parting Glances again, after having just written about it the other day.) Oh, and of course I did do some knitting while I was watching the movies. The Devil makes work for idle hands you know!

Then on Saturday night I went a housewarming/birthday combined party at my friend Andrew's house, and dragged James along for the ride. It was a fun party. I stopped drinking alcohol some weeks back when I found out that I was having liver problems, so with the exception of one light beer at the pub beforehand, it was a dry night. I had a good time, and I met a really interesting and eclectic bunch of people. I don't miss drinking alcohol because I've never really been much of a drinker, but I do sort of miss the inhibition lowering aspect of it. I can feel a bit shy with people in a setting like a party, although everyone was really friendly and interesting, and I had an amazing chat with one young guy who has just started the process of recovery from alcoholism.

Sunday late morning I went to a birthday party for my friend Speedy's (aka "World Peace & A Speedboat) son. Cupcakes, kids underfoot, friends, and (importantly) party hats:

Beware the Natashasaurus!

Then on Sunday afternoon I spent a lovely 4 hours or so with my good friend Stephen who was visiting from Queensland. A bite to eat, some wandering around Newtown, a couple of drinks at the pub (non-alcoholic for me) and most importantly, catching up with each other. It was lovely!

So that's my weekend. It poured with rain for most of it, but even though it was cold and wet outside, it was a warm weekend of friendship and hanging out with new friends and old.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Aye Candy

Men in kilts, I think the images speak for themselves.

Hamish Clark, cute as a button Scottish actor from "Monarch Of The Glenn"

Nathan Fillion + leather kilt = HOT. (But the socks need some work.)

More celeb shots from

[Updated: Ooops, just have to add one more, because hello sexy:]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Please Tell Me I Did Not Just Do That

So, I've had a really busy day at work and I've been training a staff member on how to use one of our software packages. I've been sitting with her while she learns each stage of the process, then leaving her to go and do the data entry until she's ready for the next step.

About 5 minutes ago I was sitting with her while she was doing the data entry, and I was sort of absentmindedly rubbing the skin of my neck under my shirt collar. I don't know what I was thinking about.

la-la-la men-in-kilts la-la-la what'll-I-have-for-dinner? la-la-la what's-that-little-bump? la-la-la.

Yup, while I was training her, and not particularly paying attention... I casually squeezed a zit on the back of my neck.

Ewwww. For everyone concerned.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

This sort of works, just replace the word "Jar" with "Penis".

[Via Vintage Ads.]

You Know What?

If you shut your eyes and listen to Madonna & Justin Timberlake's new song "Four Minutes"... it sounds like a Michael Jackson song.

That is all, as you were.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Glance

Ah this makes me happy!

I was Googling the names of some actors I admire but haven't heard of in years, and whilst Googling "John Bolger" I came across this July 2007 article in The Advocate. About the The Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, which in partnership with the UCLA Film and Television Archive is restoring 'classic' glbt films and tv.

Years and years ago (gah, nearly 20 years ago!) I saw a film which had quite a big impact on me, "Parting Glances". The film was made in 1986 and I saw it at a film festival shortly after I moved to Sydney, which would place it sometime in late 1989. I still remember it, I went with some friends that included a guy called Peter that I had a huge crush on and it was showing at the lovely Hayden Orpheum.

But I digress. The thing I loved about "Parting Glances" then, and now, is that it isn't a coming out story. One of the problems I think a lot of glbt fiction and movies have had historically is that they get mired down in trying to prove that we are just as good as everyone else. Don't get me wrong, coming out stories are important and have their place, but so do stories that move past that point to represent our lives after. (I think that's why Armistead Maupin's "Tales Of The City" stories were so appealing to many people, the characters have moved beyond that point to the lives they have constructed, with all the friends, family, joy, and problems that entails.) Understandably a lot of glbt fiction and movies in the 80s were reactions to the times, to AIDS, to increased homophobia, to fear and ignorance.

But "Parting Glances" took a smaller focus and represented a group of people that were more like the experience of myself and my friends. The film is set in a 24 hour time frame, the last 24 hours that two lovers Michael and Robert are spending together before Robert leaves for an overseas work posting. Their relationship has become a little predictable, and it isn't clear if they are staying together or seperating. Michael also has some unresolved feelings for an ex, a musician living with AIDS (Steve Buscemi's in his first film role). Much of the action of the film takes place at a party, where a bunch of interconnecting and overlapping stories centered around Robert and Michael collide.

I have a poor quality video of the movie that I have watched a bunch of times, which I recorded when the film was shown on tv here in the 90s. Even then the image was pretty poor, having been made on 16mm and blown up to 35mm. So I was pleased to read that last year $88,000 was spent on tracking down footage (no good quality print of the original cinema release existed anymore) and restoring the film. Late last year it was rereleased in a limited run, and then best of all a DVD was released! YAY!

I was also pleased to see pics of the cast reunited for the rerelease. Handsome John Bolger has gone on to have a long career in films and tv, especially daytime soapies. Richard Ganoung has done lots of theatre, and appeared in another glbt themed film "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss". Kathy Kinney is best known as Mimi from "The Drew Carey Show", and Steve Buscemi has gone on to make lots of other movies.

I'm glad the film hasn't been lost and allowed to deteriorate to dust. I haven't watched it in quite some years, and I do remember that some of the performances were a little shakey, but I think it's a pretty good film and a very interesting snapshot of the mid 80s. Plus, the nostaglia aspect. It takes me back to my twenties just thinking about it. Which is a good thing.

Oh, and I had a major crush on the hunky John Bolger (as 'Robert') back then. He's aged pretty well, and here is a totally gratuitous shot of him in a kilt:

You know, just because.

[Here's an article about the film's rerelease from The Daily Page]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Purl, Gurl.

I had a pretty quiet weekend this past weekend, hung out at home for some of it and spent the rest of it knitting up a storm. (Actually, that's a pretty usefull metaphor because for a fair sized part of the weekend thunder crashed and lighting, well, lit I guess.)

Saturday was fairly mild and sunny, and I pottered around Newtown before heading off in the afternoon to the "Sydney Sity Klickers" knitting group at cafe Barmuda. There was quite a large bunch of us this time around, about 14 or so. James had rung me in the morning to see if I wanted to go along to the Surry Hills Festival, but I had already committed myself to going to the cafe by then. The past week has been pretty stressfull with all the medical stuff, and the consequent drain on fiscal resources, so I stayed home on Saturday night, watched the teev, knitted and tried to pretend my neighbour's weren't having a party. Le sigh. I dunno, tsk, young people.

Sunday was rainy and stormy pretty much all day, and I wasn't sure whether anyone would bother to come long to knitting at the pub in the afternoon. Outdoors at the pub that is. So I sent Bex a text message and confirmed that she was still going. Nor rain, hail or sleet apparently. Atta girl! It stopped being rainy for the couple of hours that we were there, and Cecilia and Frances showed up to join us too. We are officially hardcore knitters. I think there might even be a badge or something.

So that's my weekend. Sunday night I did the usual Sunday night chillax-for-tomorrow-is-hateful-Monday stuff. It may not sound noteworthy but it was relaxing, inexpensive, productive (on the knitting front) and full of time spent with friends. Not bad for a rainy Autumn weekend.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sleeping, Shopping and Straight Talking

I hadn't intended to be away from the computer all day yesterday, but with a doctor's appointment in the morning, another in the afternoon, and some racing around in between, well you know how it is.

I saw the sleep disorders specialist in the morning. He operates out of a place with the cool title of The Brain Research Institute. Sadly it's no Hammer Horror-esque 'art deco' observatory building, set high on a barren moonlit hill, but you can't have everything. He was nice, even though he did give me a major punch to the solar plexus when he delivered the salient point that I'm "a middle aged man who's a bit overweight". Ouch (bitch!). His initial diagnosis is likely long-term primary insomnia, made worse more recently by possible sleep apnea. On May 12th I get an overnight stay in hospital for a sleep study, where they hook up with electrodes and observe you sleeping.

I'm just going to pretend I'm on Big Brother, but with electrodes.

The hospital literature stresses that you have to follow your normal routine, so bring in books etc if you normally read before bed, and if you normally have alcohol before going to bed to arrange with the hospital to bring in alcohol. Alcohol and hidden cameras, see really the only difference is the electrodes.

I wonder if I'll have to do some lame-ass challenge as well?

I had some time to kill before going to see my regular doctor in the afternoon to talk about the sleep stuff and get the results of my liver ultrasound, so I headed into the city to go and get my refund from the $250 I paid for the sleep specialist in the morning. I'll skip over the half hour waiting in line, and cut to the good bit where I get $130 back from Medicare. Yay!

So of course I went to Kinokuniya and bought a couple of Japanese knitting books with some of the procceds. I mean, it's not everyday someone hands you $130! Even if it is your own money!

Then I went into Tapestry Craft (where Web-Goddess worked until very recently) to check out the yarns. I'd only been in there a couple of minutes when the nice young lady behind the counter (Hi Becca!) asked me "Excuse me, do you have a blog? Are you The Other?..." Ha, fun! I am so rock star.

So then I went and saw my regular doc in the afternoon, who agreed with me that 43 is not "middle aged" (exactly, thank you!). Everything is all good except I need to make some diet and lifestyle changes, and be more diligent about taking my cholesterol meds and maybe change meds in the future, because my liver is enlarged and has "fatty deposits". Ewww. Anyway, let's not dwell on "fatty deposits", I'm still dealing with "middle aged".

So there you have it, the minutae of my day. I felt good about all the medical stuff, the sleep study thing should be an interesting experience and hopefully will lead to a resolution, my doc looked at all my blood results over the past 3 years and showed me that all the badness has been steadily trending downwards. Yay me! Oh, and my doctor's receptionist (Who we like very much, and not just because she wears an "Ab Fab" t-shirt with Patsy & Edina on it.) didn't charge me for the appointment. Score.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

La De Da

So, it's mid afternoon of a not very productive day. I'm taking tomorrow off work to do a couple of blah blahboring medical appointmentsblah blah and then it's the weekend! Yay. I'm not planning on doing much, I have lots of housework to do, there's the knitting of course, and a couple of social outings. Nice. Relaxing. I could really use a bit of teh secks, but who knows what the fates may deliver?

I'll put my thinking cap on about this blog over the weekend, because it seems a bit lacklustre of late. The lustre, it is lacking. Even a few of my old frequent commentors have gone awol, in search of actual entertainment perhaps. I don't normally plan this blog, it's more organic. (Which is maybe why it whiffs a bit every now and then.)

Oh, and if you feel like asking me a question or making a suggestion, go right ahead. I draw the line at nekkidity, but aside from that any suggestions will be given thoughtful consideration.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I saw a perfectly ordinary looking grown adult man throw the most incredible tantrum this morning on Newtown train station, because he just missed his train. I felt really bad for him, but it was also a little scary because he clearly has some pretty intense anger management issues. He was screaming stuff about having had to rush for the train, having forgone having his cup of tea (!) and then some rant about how early schools start for the day.

Meanwhile I was thinking he probably needed something other than a cup of tea, something maybe with a pharmecuetical element.

Then I discovered this morning that we have run out of the special coffee pod things for the espresso machine at work... and my only option was to take the very last decaf one...

...and his rant didn't seem so bizarre after all.

[Update: Coffee delivery just arrived. Crisis (and potential meltdown) averted! Huzzah!]


I screwed up a bit yesterday and completely forgot I was supposed to be at a training course. Oops. I was in the office earlier than normal, wrote a blog entry, did some work, had a supervision meeting with my senior manager, and then got back to my desk where the woman I share an office with asked me if I was supposed to be at the training course. Um, yeah. Crap! So I flew out the door and got there an hour late. Thankfully it wasn't a problem.

Of course now I have to try and meet the deadlines I missed yesterday.

Urgh. Wanna trade lives? No, really?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Oh No...

There's no mistaking the fact that Autumn has finally arrived in Sydney. We don't really have dramatic seasonal changes but the weather has turned noticeably cooler and this week the forecast is for rain every day. We don't really get the whole 'turning of the leaves' thing in Oz so much, our trees just don't roll like that, and this year even the European trees we have here seem to have been somewhat fooled by the delayed start to Autumn. So Autumn is kind of more of a slow transition to Winter, without the visual reminder that says "Huh, will you look at that. Autumn's here."

I've slowly been adding to my arsenal of anti-Winter weaponry. Scarf, woolen socks, fingerless gloves, beanie. Apparently it's all about the extremities. In my descent into Nannerish dotage I find that my hands and feet are the first to feel the cold, and add to a general feeling of Winter miserableness. So this year the flurry of needles and yarn has meant I'm prepared.

I felt like a little project I could knock off in a few nights of knitting, using bits and bobs of yarn from my stash, so I decided to make myself a pair mittens. I'm really happy with them, and in the process I learned how to knit a thumb and how (with Kerry's help) to do Kitchener Stitch (aka grafting).

So, I decided to photograph them this morning and I was thinking to myself "You know, I should give this whole purple thing a rest. I've been making too many things in purple."

And then the sickening realisation dawned...

I've made a pair of Barney Hands.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Flicks

This story about a guy who decided to open his own cinema really appeals to me. Not that strange you might think, people open cinemas all the time! Ah, but this one is a converted mortuary building, and only seats 49 people on a variety of seats and couches found via Craigslist. Kooky!

I love people who pursue eccentric endeavours like this! Who do something that appears completely insane at first glance, but make it work. What amazes me is that he's turning a profit and is able to show current release first-run movies. I think that's pretty cool, and in this day and age of corporate megaplexes I'm glad that there is still space for independent cinemas.

Even if they only seat 49 people. Or, especially.

Hold It!

If I told you I spent the morning liberally covered in lubricant and practicing breath control, what would you think?

No, actually it was just an ultrasound examination. The technician was a large and moderately scary woman, with a somewhat brusque manner. Breathe in! Breathe out! Again! Thank God she didn't accidentally leave out a "breathe out!" instruction because I would still be holding my breath. In fear.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lost Horizon

I've spent a very lazy and pleasant morning this morning curled up on the sofa knitting, listening to the rain, and watching DVDs. Noon and I'm still in my robe. Decadent! Daylight Savings Time also ended early this morning, so since setting the clocks back it feel like the morning has gone on forever. I guess I have been up for 5 hours already, such is the curse of the early riser.

I decided to rewatch Frank Capra's 1937 film Lost Horizon, which I bought on DVD in the 1998 restored original version, with 24 minutes of excised footage put back in. I just checked, and I first mentioned buying this DVD way back in 2005! Wow, time flies. Over the past few years I've gone back and watched it a couple of times, and it's one of those films for me that holds up to multiple viewings.

It was a huge production in its day. Columbia Pictures spent as much on Lost Horizon as they did on the next 20 pictures they made that year. It almost sent the studio broke, running to nearly double its original budget. At 132 minutes it was also cut and re-cut over the years and the storyline suffered accordingly.

One thing I love about the film is the design, with the hidden Tibetan valley of Shangri-La given a curious blend of traditional and Western 'Art Deco' styles. It sort of works in the context of the film, because one of the reasons for the existence of Shangri-La is a desire to preserve the beauty of human art and knowledge against the coming darkness in human civilisation. So outside influences are not unknown, even though Shangri-La is a secret to the outside world.

It must have been full of timely themes in 1937, to a world on the cusp of another world war. The central theme of the inherant goodness in people allowed to blossom given the right circumtances, freedom from the need for struggle and toil for instance, and a society built on contemplation, kindness and manners is both optomistic and very Buddhist. A secure place of peace and plenty, and concerns about greed, avarice and agression must have been very timely and seductive for a world coming out of The Great Depression and heading towards a World War.

There are some great performances in the film, Ronald Coleman and Jane Wyatt for instance. With a lot of their love story restored to the film you get to appreciate just how good their performances are. Coleman's tellibly, tellibly stiff-upper-lip accent still doesn't detract from what is a very likeable and quite naturalistic performance, and Jany Wyatt just lights up the screen. Edward Everett Horton provides some camp humour to liven up the proceedings.

For me though a special shout-out has to go to the very beautiful John Howard. No, not this one:

(I found this pic via The Google, and the name of the pic is "Twat.jpg". Genius!)

This one:

(Do you know how many screens of pics of our now very ex Prime Minister I had to wade through before I found pics of this lovely? Way too many!)

John Howard's character (along with love interest Maria in the pic below) is the closest thing to a villain in the film, a man who cannot adapt and refuses to accept the lifestyle of Shangri-La. Capra was criticised for Howard's last minute casting at the time, with his very American accent jarring against Coleman's thick toffy English accent, given the the two men are supposed to be brothers. But I think Howard does a good job of playing a very unsympathetic character, given that he does little other than throw tantrums and fail to appreciate paradise.

He looks so damn pretty while he does it, for starters.

If you haven't seen this film and have an interest in classic cinema and 1930s design I really recommend it, especially if you can get hold of the Columbia Classics restored and digitally remastered version. (Whatever you do don't make the mistake of buying the 1973 remake. It's a musical version, one that includes the delights of Liv Ullman singing just for starters.)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hold The Mayo

Exposed! Shocking tales of good condiments gone bad!


[Via BookScans.]

Aides Memoire

I discovered a treasure trove of my old photographs in a box yesterday. A couple of family photos, pictures from parties, dinners and bbqs with friends, trips to Sydney, Coolangatta, Perth, photos of me taken by others, and of course a parade of ex boyfriends and short term flings ('Perth' Michael, 'Adelaide' Michael, Gary #1, Garry #2, Simon...).

Oh, and ho-ho-ho the fashions! Hey, they all seemed like a good idea at the time. A polka dot shirt buttoned all the way up here, a big gold earring and brooch there, a vintage jacket and bowtie worn just so. Heh-heh. I must have been a lot more fearless than I ever gave myself credit for.

I should print out more of the photos I take these days, because there is so much fun and nostalgia to be had from flicking through a bunch of old photos. Seeing old friends, being reminded of the parties and dinners, and some of the handsome boys I've dated. (I have to say, looking back I have pretty good taste. As did they, of course.) Even the sadness of seeing a couple of friends that have passed away is softened with happy memories of them.

So I'm glad that I've gotten back into photography these past few years, and again I 'm recording all these good times. The nostalgia of old photos is fun, but it's also nice to look at more recent photos and be reminded that the good times keep on rolling!

(When I get access to a scanner at some point I'll scan some of these old pics and show you.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It Pays To Shop Around

Wow, after a tip off by one of my workmates I just saved myself nearly $200 in medical expenses by changing my abdominal ultrasound appointment to a different office of the same organisation. WTF? If I have the ultrasound done near my home I have to pay around $200 up front (from $180 to $220 was the estimate), but if I have it done at a different office of the same medical imagining company (one near my work, where I happened to even get a more convenient appointment time) the entire thing is covered by Medicare with no upfront charge.

I'm pleased and annoyed at the same time. Sure I would have eventually gotten a percentage of the fees reimbursed, but it still makes me wonder how many people are shelling out big bucks for a service they could be getting without any upfront charges. Outrageous.


When I was walking to the train station this morning I caught one of my neighbours having a little OCD moment. He had closed his front door, in one of those old style terrace houses where the door opens right onto the street, and then he was pushing and pulling the door. Repeatedly, and hard. At least about 8 or 10 times.

I say an 'OCD moment' because it went beyond just checking to be sure, and actually I have seen him do this exact thing before. It looked like one of the 'rituals' that people with OCD develop. Things that must be done in order to stave off bad things happening. Most of us would give the door a tug and a push once, maybe twice, and be satisfied that it was properly shut, rather than having to do it over and over again to reach a feeling of satisfaction that it is indeed properly shut.

The thing is though, this was the first time that he saw me see him do it. I wanted to look away, to appear not to have noticed, to be somewhere else, because when he saw me see him his face registered what looked like embarrassment, maybe even shame. For a moment he saw himself standing there pushing and pulling the door over and over again through my eyes, and he obviously didn't like what he saw.

I wanted to say something to him, but I didn't dare and I didn't want to add to his embarrassment. So I did like we do every day in a big city when faced with people in embarrassing situations, I looked away and kept on walking.

There Is Nothing Like A Dame!

Nothing like.

[Awesome vintage draggishness courtesy once again of Vintage Photo.]

I'm A Muscle Fa-an!

A bunch of us headed out to see the latest production of the Rocky Horror Show last night at the Star Theatre, at the Star City Casino here in Sydney. I was feeling a bit flat and unwell, but I soon perked up once we got into the theatre. I'm a huge fan of Rocky Horror and I've seen several versions of the stage show and the movie countless times. (Really, I lost count somewhere after 60 times.) I hadn't been in the Star Theatre before and it's an unusually wide but shallow auditorium, making it ideal for cabaret style shows.

The first pleasant surprise was a roaming bunch of very sexy male and female 'phantoms', climbing over seats, sipping from people's drinks, ruffling hair, sitting in the laps of anyone remotely conservative looking, and even taking a bite from someone's icecream. The 'Transylvanians' from the film (which aren't in the original stage production) have been recast as 'phantoms' in this production, dressed as a sort of goth/vintage burlesque collection of archetypes (sailor boy, goth Lolita, cub scout etc). They serve as chorus, dancers and scene arrangers. One particularly sexy boy with abs of steel, a sailor in white pvc hot pants, saw that Nat & Linda were dressed up for the show in fishnets and boas and came and crawled over the three of us. A nice start to the show!

I'd love to say I 100% loved the show, but I didn't. Let's say 90%. I enjoyed it very much, but I didn't agree with some of the choices the director made. She was probably aiming for a high energy show, which we definately got, but it was also kind of shrill. Everyone's dialogue was pitched at full volume, with some of the female performers climbing the scales to sounds only dogs can hear. What it did was rob the show of light and shade. Even some of the quieter moments, some of the narrator's exposition for example, were declaimed and shouted at full volume. All the cast were miked so it wasn't a question of projection. I had a few of the teeth gritting/sphincter clenching moments that usually only come from shrieking toddlers in supermarkets.

Anyhoo. That was really my only beef with it. iOta, who I saw as Hedwig in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" a bunch of times, was fabulous as Frank-N-Furter. I LOVED this Columbia, who's 'Betty Boop' style New Yoyk accent was a fun addition. Magenta did not work for me at all, even though she was played by a very well respected musical theatre actress. In general the cast were fantastic though, the musical numbers were excellent, and the design was fabulous. I like that they played around with the look of the show without going so far away from it that it lost its feel.

The theatre has come under some criticism for discouraging people to get up and dance and participate, so it does seem like a very well behaved crowd for Rocky Horror. But the encore was a reprise of "The Time Warp" where everyone was encouraged out of their seats, so I got my chance to take that Jump To The Left, closely followed by the Step To The Right after all!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008



Makes me want to have a soldier boy to cuddle up to on the porch!

[Click to see full sized. Via Vintage Photo.]

5 Oddments for Tuesday, April Fool's Day Edition

  • No pranks so far, although I've started ending every interaction at work with "You're joking, right!?". Sadly, nobody has been.
  • I'm off to see the latest stage show version of "The Rocky Horror Show" tonight. Can't wait!
  • Generally speaking, Tuesday are the most meh day of the week don't you think? Mondays have Mondayitis, Wednesdays are Hump Day, Thursday is Downhill Slide To The Weekend and Fridays are when the band strikes up the Weekend Overture. What's Tuesday?
  • A picture fell and smashed over my head last night, like something from a slapstick comedy routine. Once I checked and double checked that I wasn't cut, and gingerly stepped out of the circle of broken glass, it was actually kind of funny.
  • It would have been even funnier with a Zooooink! sound effect, like on Funniest Home Videos or something. I think my life needs a laugh track. Wouldn't that be awesome?