photo friday: paint and places

port adelaide millwonderwalls cityscape

wonderwalls bonesport adelaide roofline

port adelaide rusty ironwonderwalls far etam

wonderwalls hair artport adelaide skybox
I've decided that the Australia Day holiday is generally cursed for me.

In 2013 I spent that weekend with a busted toilet...

Last year I spent that weekend and a large number thereafter with a busted thumb... sure the actual "busting" took place three days before, but it was still in the general vicinity.

This year it was my iPhone that busted itself. Well, when I say busted, I decided that the public holiday Monday was the right time to finally get around to installing iTunes on the laptop I've had since about May, and finally upgrading my iOS on my iPhone.

However it was probably a rookie mistake on my part to be upgrading the iOS at the same time that I was moving a bunch of files from one external hard drive to another (and cleaning the house at the same time, but I don't think that last bit was actually related). So when my phone had been through all of the things it needed to do and was at the last stage of disconnecting from iTunes, rebooting and reconnecting, it got stuck on the rebooting stage and I was stuck looking at the white Apple logo.

I eventually gave up looking at it and went to play some Assassin's Creed, but several hours later, it was still on the Apple logo.

So yeah, fucked phone. You never quite realise a) how much you rely on your phone to do, and b) how naked and vulnerable you feel without a functional phone. No alarm clock, no podcasts to listen to to and from work, no ability to just randomly check something on Google... and no entertaining ways to waste time. In short, I didn't like it and I don't recommend it as a lifestyle choice.

And I had to endure that for three whole days from Monday to Thursday which was the earliest appointment I could get at the Apple Genius Bar. I don't know if it would have been any better if I'd just gone in without an appointment (I doubt it).

On the plus side, when Thursday finally did roll around, it took me longer to walk from work to the Apple Store than it did for the pleasant ethnic bearded hipster to take my phone out the back and bring it back again in a functional state. I assume they have a machine out the back that just brute forces new software onto the phone no matter what it's doing.

I will also say that if you ever want to be simultaneously amused by and despair at humanity, go hang out in an Apple Store some time before noon and watch the Geniuses help little old gents and ladies with their technology issues. It's adorable but also at the same time there's an element of face-palming.

Even though it was back to "fresh out of the box" status, I was completely convinced that I was going to lose something in the transition, since this was a new copy of iTunes and I hadn't pulled all of my photos off the phone properly, and maybe I would lose my notes or my contacts or my photos... but no, it was all fine and fully functional. So now I have a functional iPhone, complete with the new (but now technically kinda old) iOS8.

Speaking of iOS8, while I don't really give a crap about the new Health app all that much, I was intrigued to find that it just started tracking my steps without me even asking it to. And in the last couple of days I've taken 15,555 steps, or walked 13.08km, and that was only really with one morning walk and two walks home. How accurate it turns out to be (since I think the numbers might already be a little bit rubbery when it comes to counting steps), I have no idea, but it'll be fun to keep an eye on. Plus it has a graph, and as I think I've mentioned before, I do love a graph.

On the down side, as I was walking back from the Apple Store, I managed to essentially trip over a crack in the footpath and fall-down-go-boom, down I went. It wasn't as bad as some of my previous falls, but I did scrape my knee a little and I'm glad I already have an appointment with my chiro on Monday, because I think I shook things up a bit.

Also in the "what the fuck" column, I sincerely need to buy a set of earplugs. Well, hopefully I don't need to, but Wednesday night my problematic back door neighbours (I need to come up with a consistent name for them, because that just sounds wrong) decided that it was a good time to sit outside and talk and drink from 9pm to 4am.

If it had just been the talking, then maybe I would have been fine, but even the occasional outburst of laughter and/or shouting, I slept, as they say, fitfully... right up until the point at 3:30am where they always seem to be over-taken by demonic entities (or just get too drunk to function like reasonable members of the human race), and there was increased volume of music, some drunken yelling, dropping of bottles into (I'm guessing) a wheelie bin, tuneless singing and some sort of banging (possibly against the lid of the aforementioned wheelie bin).

Had I had a functional iPhone, I would probably have called the police much earlier in the evening, but I would have had to get up, fire up the laptop, find the non emergency number for the police, then call them and it all seemed like too much effort.

As also seems to be the case when this has happened before, everything went quiet some time after 4am when they all dragged their drink soaked asses off to bed, so I got at least two hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I finally gave in and wrote the note I've been threatening to write since all this shit started, and dropped it in their letter box on the way home on Thursday night. I tried for a slightly humorous, "I don't want to be that guy, but" kind of vibe... so we can only hope it has some effect.

I don't think they would have seen the note until Friday, but I almost felt like I was being pranked on Thursday night... because while they were outside talking up until around 10:30, everything went quiet for about half an hour and then suddenly there was the sound of running water. They appeared to be using the hosepipe to "fill" the swimming pool at 11pm. Seriously? If the hose had been IN the pool, fine... but putting it on the edge of the pool so there's the continual sound of running water. That has all the earmarks of being punked in the most passive aggressive manner.

Fortunately it didn't stop me from getting to sleep eventually... but I'm hoping for a disturbance free night tonight.

Work continues to be all kinds of mental... good for the most part, but on occasion all kinds of frustrating. Although the fact that I reached a particular level of sleep deprivation on Thursday led for a couple of instances of hysterical laughter.

Oh, and for the official record, this is my 3,500th blog post!

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movie scores update

scoring the movies
This post is essentially a tiny little bit of blog-housekeeping, mostly for my benefit... so feel free to ignore this entirely.

I've been threatening for some time now to go through and update all my movie review scores. In the 9 years, 6 months, 2 days from my first movie review to the most recent one I've been ranking movies out of 10, and it's become unmistakably apparent that my scores are very heavily weighted to the upper end of the scale (I think there are literally about two movies that were rated 4, and less than ten that were 5's).

So I've just gone through all 248 movie reviews and re-ranked them all on a 1 to 5 scale. Okay, technically it ended up being a -1 to 5 scale to accommodate the lower end of reviews, but like I said, there were only a handful of those outliers.

Part of the reason it took me so long to finally get around to it was that I didn't want to suddenly introduce half points, but eventually I settled on just taking five away from all the numbers, 10 becomes 5, 9 becomes 4... 5 becomes 0 and 4 becomes -1.

But that was it, other than adjusting the numbers (and the occasional spelling mistake or typo... I can't spell "definitely" right to save myself), I didn't change any of the ratings.

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wonderwalls street art saturday

wonderwalls port adelaide - signagewonderwalls port adelaide - etam cru
Let's start with the most important stuff first... I'm down one annoying set of neighbours! The people who followed me here from the old place are gone. I suspected as much on Friday when I got home and what appeared to be a moving van was parked outside the apartment, but they seemed to be unloading rather than loading. But this afternoon as Ma was leaving, the door opened and this shirtless, gorgeous young blonde guy stepped out. I was so gob-smacked I didn't even have the presence of mind to do the "new neighbour head nod" thing. So thanks very much Rental Agreement, God of Housing... you did pretty damn well!

Hopefully they (I'm guessing the girl who he was opening to door for is his girlfriend... but you never know) turn out to be the respectful, quiet kind of neighbours.

Also, and the reasons why will become apparent shortly, if they're not already apparent from the images at the top of the post, but I'm decidedly sunburned. Only down my forearms really, I had the presence of mind to actually wear a hat, but I am very pink of skin in spots.

wonderwalls port adelaide - beastman orbwonderwalls port adelaide - beastman print
The shopping portion of the day was reasonably painless... I was running a little behind this morning, which isn't really all that surprising, given that I was up until about 1:45 this morning (sadly not because I was doing anything exciting like having great sex or playing video games).

But when Ma arrived we headed off to the supermarket for all of the usualness, which this week seemed to consist predominately of fruit and veg... and nothing specifically exotic for Australia Day, because m'eh.

Then we headed back here and I showed Ma some of the research I'd been doing on the family tree... she's going to dig up some bits and pieces she has that I should be able to add to the tree or clear up details here and there.

wonderwalls port adelaide - gemma o'brienwonderwalls port adelaide - guido van helten
I needed to grab a new screen protector for my phone, although I really wish I could remember (or find the left over ones that I'm sure I have somewhere) what the brand was of the one I used to have, it was essentially perfect in just about every way, no bubbles, it never peeled away until very recently and while I scratched the living daylights out of it with my thumbnail it held up very well.

We stopped off at Arndale and headed into Big W to take a look. I was hoping they may also still have the Lego cases in stock. Mine is still okay, but a year of pulling it in and out of my pocket has rubbed the Lego branding off the back of all of the studs, and it could just do with a general freshen up. But unfortunately they didn't have any.

Also, it always baffles me that they have to advertise that screen protectors are transparent... like that's some kind of fucking surprise. And that they often find several different ways to say the same thing on what looks like different versions of the exact same item.

wonderwalls port adelaide - kab101wonderwalls port adelaide - love nurse
Then we headed down to Port Adelaide for the Wonderwalls Street Art Festival!

We started out at the old Flour Mill to pick up a map of all the locations and check out the little art show they had there, along with the giant Guido Van Helten piece of the two faces in the previous pair of images.

The artworks were possibly just that little bit too spread out to really park in one spot and wander around to them all, but we did end up doing most of the central ones in one long wander.

wonderwalls port adelaide - order 55wonderwalls port adelaide - smug one
And of all the pieces, including my favourite one (the guy with his face covered in the military jacket at the top of the post), I think the greatest revelations was the piece on the right, by Smug One, all the way from Scotland (although I think he was originally from here).

But seriously, the fact that that amazing piece of art came out of a spray can blows my mind. Doubly so, because as one of the comments on the Instagram version of that image said, Smug claims that it's "just copying a picture, anyone can do it".

Yeah, I'm going to go with "no". He's clearly a wizard of some sort.

wonderwalls port adelaide - joshua smith part onewonderwalls port adelaide - joshua smith part two
Then we circled around to the collection of artists working on the fence surrounding that seemingly wasted bit of space down by the Port Adelaide lighthouse, and specifically to see my buddy Josh and his daring young girl on the flying... well, hoop I guess, or could you still call it a trapeze?

We chatted for a bit, helped him get one of his giant stencils in place and then headed off to check out some more artwork and then have some lunch.

Lunch was fairly by the numbers... we've been to the same cafe a couple of times before I think but I remember it being somewhat better than that. Or at least not seeming so pedestrian.

wonderwalls port adelaide - askew one and elliot francis stewartwonderwalls port adelaide - sainer and bezt (detail)
We definitely saved the most gigantic pieces for last.

I'd seen a number of pictures of the Sainer and Bezt (Etam Cru) piece online last night, but it wasn't until I saw the seven story military man that I fell completely and absolutely in love with it. I'd seen bits of it peeking between other buildings as we wandered around, but seeing it in the flesh and seeing just how incredibly ENORMOUS it is on the side of the abandoned former Department of Marine and Harbors Building.

The flip side of the building by Askew One and Elliot Francis Stewart was amazing too... and I actually loved that we caught it unfinished. Actually I always love that... seeing street art mostly finished, with some work still to do and then wandering back later and seeing how it's changed now that it's complete.

wonderwalls port adelaide - treaswonderwalls port adelaide - blocks
It was also great to see so many people out and about looking at the artworks...

Some were people you would, I guess, expect to see at something like that, but others were just regular folks out to see the art. Which is good, I always enjoy seeing people either experiencing street art for the first time, or finally understanding that there's a gigantic difference between the ugly little scribbled tags that mess up public spaces, and these absolutely amazing pieces of art.

That was pretty much it for the day really... which was good because by that point we were pretty much buggered from all the wandering around.

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photo friday: rabbit reprise

follow the white rabbit - hatterfollow the white rabbit - rowboat

follow the white rabbit - flamingofollow the white rabbit - tea
I was right... this week was The Bananas.

We finished a major project... kind of. Let's say we finished it in principal, but there were a half a billion little things that either didn't get taken care of or were new and exciting things that broke once we launched.

And finally moving over to the new system means that the majority of my work is now in a completely new system that I haven't had a lot of experience in... whereas I've been using the old system my entire time here. So that's a whole adjustment thing... and I hate floundering around not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

I did have a little bit of a minor meltdown on Thursday when we launched and everybody else had gone to the stupid launch event and I was just a wee bit overwhelmed. Fortunately it didn't last long, and although the last few days haven't been easy, we've all managed to both keep a sense of humour as well as the majority of whatever sanity we had at the beginning of the week.

Of course, H-San has also taken to playing "Everything is Awesome" from The Lego Movie at high volume from his office at both opportune and also completely random moments. It also helps that I pretty much know all the words. However, when he decided to play "Let it go" from Frozen, I closed his office door on him. There are lines.

Some time back, Sugarmonkey at work recommended the Saga comic book series to me, and I finally got around to picking up the graphic novels on New Years Eve. I started ready them a couple of days ago, and I fucking LOVE them! It's not really surprising, since I loved the last thing that Sugarmonkey recommended by Brian K Vaughan, Y: The Last Man... which is completely different to Saga, but equally weird and brilliant.

I've continued digging through my family tree thanks to I thought I mentioned it last week, I know I tweeted about it recently, but maybe I only mentioned it a while back. But I've so far managed to go back as far as a number of my 7th great grandparents (all on Ma's side of the family), and have found myself back in about 1640. I have no idea how accurate some of the records I'm seeing that far back are, but I did give up on one particular family branch when I noticed that the particular ancestor's mother died three years before he was born. I think maybe there's a boo boo in there somewhere. But I've found Ashursts and Athertons, Boyds and Cundleys, Foggs, Gerrards, Gorses, Hills, Hunters and Longbottoms, Marshalls and Peningtons, Pierpoints and Rimmers, Stephensons, Twists, Whitehouses, Worsleys and Yates. Sadly that's all on my grandmother's side, my grandfather's side falls away pretty damn quickly thanks to child born out of wedlock.

I think I've potentially run out of family tree branches, at least when it comes to people in my direct bloodline... without digging into siblings and their partners and suchlike.

One thing that doesn't surprise me in the least, although at the same time is slightly interesting is that from what I saw, my bloodline a) bred a fucking hell of a lot and b) didn't move out of the same half dozen villages until the early 1700's in one branch where the line suddenly relocates from Scotland.


I've had a few too many late nights this week, so I should take myself off to bed.

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movies: into the woods

into the woods
How do you get Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Prince Charming, The Big Bad Wolf, Jack (of the Beanstalk variety) and the quintessential fairy tale witch all into one story?

With a magical curse that must be broken before midnight by the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn and the slipper as pure as gold. And then you send them all Into The Woods.

I will say right off the bat that there's just something weird about the Sondheim style... there's a discordance to a lot of the music that isn't always necessarily bad, but it does stand out and can be a little off-putting and distracting at times. I also feel like this movie and Sweeney Todd essentially have the same musical beats a lot of the time, especially in regards to a lot of the incidental/minor stuff.

However, while this did have a degree of that "singing when you should be speaking" thing that tends to irk me about "modern (non-Disney) musicals", it was much less annoying here, in part I think because of the repetition of lyric beats (and can we just pause here to underline how much I absolutely DO NOT know about music, so I'm going to be making up words left, right and centre) it really worked.

One of the things that does tend to be a problem in this kind of musical, for me anyway, is the lack of actual "songs". More so that because there's so much singing and sing-speaking and falling in and out of songs, I come away from the movie without being about to really distil or remember a beginning to end song properly. There are a couple, but I more remember that there's just a beanstalk load full of singing mostly. And they're not things that you walk away singing to yourself (the only thing I can, once again, think to compare it to are Disney animated musicals... Frozen most recently... there's no equivalent to "Let it go" or "Do you wanna build a snowman")... sure I've got the "Into the Woods" snippet rolling around in my head, but that's literally just the one line.

And it's not necessarily a criticism, more of an observation.

I also knew it was a "dark" story going in... again, the comparison comes back to Sweeney Todd... even though it's fairy tales and you expect it to be all light and fluffy and Disney (and I know, it's released by Disney... so that's just confusing right there)... but it's definitely not that.

As they say at the end of the opening song... "Into the woods, then out of the woods, and home before it's dark!"... and you know then that it's going to get pretty damn dark before they find their way out of the wood.

That was actually one of the things I really liked about the story... they use a lot of the really nasty, horrible things (even though this Disney version did... tidy up the story a little by having some of the characters die off-screen) that happen in the original versions of the fairy tales. Characters get blinded, toes are cut off, the wolf is really damn creepy... and that's while they're mostly still sticking to the pure fairy tales in the first two thirds of the movie. The last third is where the stories "fall apart" from the tales you're used to and things get much weirder.

It's also something of a strange cast. Good, and to a one they handle their singing duties brilliantly, but it's a strange collection of actors.

Just from the movie poster along there's Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Tracey Ullman, Johnny Depp and Chris Pine.

And I'd just like to publicly apologise to Pine because I just assumed, given the deep, booming and over the top nature of his voice that he'd been dubbed... but if the internet is to believed, it's all him. And it's impressive.

Actually the Agony number Pine has with the very beautiful and blonde Billy Magnussen, as the unfortunately named The Other Prince, was one of my favourite sequences... it's so incredibly over the top and broad and comic. Plus, Magnussen in tight black leather and Pine in somewhat revealing velvet trying to out-Prince each other.

Corden and Blunt are really the emotional thread that runs through the whole story as the childless (and nameless) Baker and his Wife, and they're incredibly sweet together. And Streep is glorious as the witch.

I will say that Lilla Crawford who plays Riding Hood skates just on the line of being overly precocious and annoying... combing that with the fact that Depp is playing the Big Bad Wolf, and I was kind of rooting for the wolf. But there is a degree of humour she brings to her first scene that keeps it on that line and doesn't crossing it to much.

Having read some of the trivia online about the movie it said that Mackenzie Mauzy's Rapunzel subplot was re-written... and they seem to have re-written it mostly out of existence, or at least it felt that way... it's one of the few storylines that really just fizzles out and doesn't properly connect back to the rest of the story.

It is a good looking movie though... from the costumes to the sets to the overall cinematography from Dion Beebe who also shot, amongst other things, the two previous musicals directed by Rob Marshall.

While it does have it's flaws and foibles, its a good musical overall with a decent sense of humour and an emotional undercurrent.

yani's rating: 3 wishes out of 5

following the rabbit saturday shopping

follow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - signfollow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - pondering rabbit
Today mostly revolved around the Follow the White Rabbit art show put on by Espionage Gallery on the island in the Rymill Park.

And it really couldn't have been in a better spot... I didn't even realise that there's a statue of Alice that sits on the hill at the top of the park, and she kept a watchful eye over the exhibition.

Plus the weather was much more conducive to looking at art, especially given that the island is well shaded with big trees.

follow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - alicefollow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - eat me drink me
We started off the day with the usual supermarket wanderings... although I somehow managed to forget to pick up my wallet before we left the house both times. I still had some cash on me, but once that was gone, I was skint.

We also finally got around to taking some of our Christmas goodies to our regular check-out girlie. And essentially the look on her face when Ma gave them to her was more than enough.

Somehow we also got talking about the Fringe while we were at her register, and I really should have little cards printed up that say "you can ask me about the Fringe, but you do so at your own risk, because once I get started you may not be able to shut me the hell up". But she wrote down a couple of my suggestions (Gravity and Other Myths and Sound and Fury), so if nothing else, maybe I've sold another couple of tickets to acts I really love.

follow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - the bridge to wonderlandfollow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - her majesty
Once we'd come back and done the usual unpacking (and I still forgot to pick up my wallet), we headed out to Rymill Park for the exhibition.

Because Espionage worked in conjunction with Splash Adelaide to set up the exhibition, a little like the Ghibli exhibition, there were all manner of other stalls around the lake, and most of them fitting in with the Alice theme, including what I can only describe as a Mad Hatter stall (I wish I'd gotten a good photo of the "hatter", he was definitely a sight to see).

The island looked great... it's not a huge space, but the tree trunks were full of artwork and there was a table all set for the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

Now, I will admit that Alice isn't really in, as they say, my wheelhouse. When I finally got around to reading the book a few years back (around the time I got my first iPhone actually), and she is the MOST annoying character I've read in a good long while.

And a little like the last Alice inspired show, the fact that Alice is a story about a girl, and most of the additional characters are either women or else animals doesn't always lead to artwork that appeals to me.

But then I saw the artwork by Tsunami Hee Ja...

a very happy unvalentine's day to you (detail) by tsumani hee ja
Sure, they're anthropomorphic boys, but they're boys...

Plus it's an artist that was on my list since I saw her Catwoman work at the Batman show last year... and I will admit that I was especially taken with the March Hare in the middle for some reason.

So now it's mine and I'll be picking it up tomorrow.

follow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - pink and purple chessfollow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - one wonky flamingo
There were also all manner of chess pieces with little numbers spread around the island... I couldn't work out what in the world they were for, but it turned out to be something to do with Chesslife, who also had a range of chess sets laid out with all the other stalls.

I'm not sure they'd thought out their plan all that well. You found a queen (they were all queen pieces), took it to them, they recorded the number and then you could either take the queen or rehide it for someone else to find.

So, it was hide and seek, but your prize was essentially the plastic chess piece. Weird, but I found one anyway, and now it's sitting on my "black and white" shelf with all my other black and white things.

follow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - a very alice dressfollow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - rymill rowboats
Once we'd finished in Wonderland, we had a mostly fruitless wander up Rundle Street, and then up the Mall.

It's very odd, it seems that no where has their post-Christmas stock of Lego sets on the shelves. I don't know if the sets just aren't out yet or what, but it's very, very meagre pickings everywhere I've looked.

Anyway, once we'd had a wander, we headed back to Rundle Street to have some lunch at Burger Theory and check out the Burger of the Month... the Jambalaya Burger chock full of Cajun spices.

follow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - a little bit alice, a little bit heathersfollow the white rabbit by espionage gallery - no flamingo mallets in this game
As always, the BotM was delicious, but it made me think about (and miss) the pulled pork bun that they used to do at Pearl's Diner before it closed. I fucking LOVED that bun.

Once we were done we wandered back past the exhibition again... I don't know if they're going to get the extraordinary numbers they got to the Ghibli exhibition (partly because I feel like there wasn't as much social media chatter about the exhibition beforehand, but also because it's the middle of January and there are a ton of other things to go and do, whereas last time it was July, which is something of a quiet time of year). But I look forward to being surprised when I go and pick up my artwork tomorrow.

But I can't wait until the next one!

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