movies: iron man 3

iron man 3 - unleash the power behind the armor
Without a doubt, Iron Man 3 is the best of the Iron Man trilogy.

The first movie was the introduction to the character, the second was a bit of a disaster but essentially sets up a lot of the groundwork for The Avengers, so in a lot of ways, this is really the first true Iron Man movie unencumbered by needing to do anything other that tell a really interesting story.

Actually, I'm not even sure this is an Iron Man movie per say... if anything this is a Tony Stark movie.

The majority of the movie concentrates on Stark's own demons (in a way that the second movie tried to do but failed miserably), his flawed humanity without being an obnoxious brat and to a degree explores his relationship with the Iron Man suit... or the idea of Iron Man through the multiple suits that feature in the movie.

Without going into too much detail, it's Tony stripped bare, in fact while there are some great sequences involving the suits, especially the end battle sequence, he spends more time out of the suits than he does in them by far.

And I think partly because of that it very often feels like Stark is in genuine danger... it doesn't feel like "oh look, Bruce Wayne's back is broken, give him an inspirational montage and it'll be all better for the third reel".... this actually feels like the character is in danger from everything that's happening around him. Which I have to say is not something that you really get from superhero movies very much. It's all easily surmountable obstacles, but this doesn't feel like that at all.

Robert Downey Jr does a fantastic job once again as Stark... and as cliché as it sounds, it really does feel like this is the role his life lead him to... he's been at the top of his game, been brought all the way down to the bottom of the barrel and pulled himself up again by his proverbial bootstraps, and it feels very much like that's what Stark goes through to some degree in this movie.

It's also nice to finally see get in on the action in her role as Pepper Potts, although overall it feels like she has less to her role this time around.

But essentially steals a chunk of the latter part of the movie in a way that I did not see coming. Some of his early scenes as The Mandarin feel maybe a little bit Villain Of The Week... but he really gets a chance to shine towards the end of the movie.

I still feel like isn't the right choice for Rhodes/War Machine/Iron Patriot compared with Terrence Howard, although there's no denying that there's chemistry between Cheadle and Downey.

And speaking of chemistry, although the superhero befriending by young boy thing has been done any number of times, the dynamic between Downey and young is actually pretty great. And doubly so because I think they've written his character of Harley as a little bit of a Tony Stark Jr, so there's some great moments where they spark off each other.

As far as the look of the movie is concerned, it's pretty much flawless... sure, I would have loved to be able to see all the various Iron Man suits much more clearly at the end of the movie but because they're whizzing around all over the screen it's hard to tell sometimes what's an Iron Man suit and what's a henchman.

I assume that most of the time the Iron Man suits are CGI, even when the actors are just walking around in them, although there might be some practical suits... but it's impossible to tell the difference beyond the whole flying suit thing.

Like all of the Marvel movies so far, there's a post credit sequence, which pretty much all of the audience stuck around for. But, I have to be honest, I don't know that it's worth it. It is amusing, but it's not like the pre-Avengers sequences where they all revealed a little teaser about the next movie in the sequence... this is just amusing for the sake of being amusing.

yani's rating: 4 suit pieces out of 5

art locations saturday

food chutediscount happiness
This has been one of those Saturdays where it feels like you have a million and one things to do, but it turns out that nothing takes a quarter as much time as you expect it to.

Ma was off getting her hair did this morning, so I was doing the supermarket run on my own... which always means that it doesn't take all that long... I just put my headphones on, crank up whatever I happened to be listening to at the time and motor up and down the aisles.

Then I headed home, unpacked everything and made my way through the majority of the paper by the time that Ma turned up.

new stuckeyart searcher
The first destination on the list was the Festival Theatre, to check out the Oi You Urban Art Festival.

I have to say that I was spectacularly underwhelmed by the art... very little of it was to my taste, and to be honest, I think Banksy, which was the major "drawcard", is spectacularly overrated.

This weekend is also the "The Great $5000 Art Giveaway" (which works out to around $132 per artwork)... and while I didn't really care about getting my hands on one, once we got there my competitive nature kicked in and I wandered all around the Festival Plaza looking for one of the little rectangular tokens. Me, and just about every other man, woman and child around the Festival Theatre.

I didn't find one.

art tunnelslister ballerina
Next up we walked down to Victoria Square to check out The Tunnels art exhibition in, unsurprisingly, the tunnels under the Adina Grand Hotel.

Other than some quirky Dan Withey pieces, it was a little bit average... and for some reason I kind of expected it to be much more... tunnelly... it was a cool location and all (I can see a really intimate Fringe show being put on down there), and I liked the way they'd used the framework to hang the art on, but again, it was a little bit underwhelming.

On our way out of the city we stopped briefly at Her Majesty's so that I could photograph the Anthony Lister piece on the back of the building. I think I'll need to go back during the week when it's overcast...

Our last stop was The Annex Cafe in Glenelg to pick up my Tristan Kerr piece from his show at the end of March.

It also meant that I could scope out the Vans The Omega piece on the side of the cafe.

After I picked up the artwork, we grabbed a drink and then wandered down Jetty Road to the beach and along the jetty for a while.

And that was about it... I think we actually spent more time travelling between locations than we actually did doing the things we went to those locations for.

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photo friday: light and dark

golden coathangerdark sails
It's been a weird old week...

I come back from Sydney, have an extra day off, go back to work for a day, have the ANZAC Day public holiday off and then go back to work again for a day... and now it's the weekend.

I also managed to fit two sexual encounters into the 24 hours after we got back from Sydney that couldn't have been more different... one with a regular buddy that was quite animalistic and the other with a new guy that was very gentle, if a little strange. Having said that, they did share a certain aspect of role play that I seem to be much more comfortable with these days.

Other than that I've perhaps been suffering from a little bit of post-travel blues...

Alternatively it's the Coming Back To My Regular Life Blues... which probably amounts to about the same thing. Either way I'm hoping it doesn't last all that long. I also need to give myself a kick in the pants to get things organised around the house, and especially to get started on organising my bookshelves.

Today I think I spent most of the day talking to people... both work related and not, but every time I needed to speak with anybody it turned into a giant conversation... not that there was much else going on... but still... it was a weird old day.

It feels like there's a whole list of things that I have on my mental to-do list... or possibly there's just a whole raft of things that I need to do tomorrow that are all miles apart.

I watched The NeverEnding Story on teevee tonight... and I was getting all choked up within the first few minutes... I mean the effects are seriously dated, I wasn't half as affected by the death of Atreyu's horse than I remember being previously, but pretty much everything with Bastian killed me.

I also wouldn't be surprised if that movie screwed up a lot of kids in my generation... it's a very dark story, even if it has some positive things to say about imagination and giving power to the powerless... but it's darker than I remember.

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random honorable hotness

This week's Random Hotness is tattooed model, Alex Minsky.

Alex is a 24-year-old former marine who lost his lower right leg in Afghanistan after his truck drove over an explosive. He spent 58 days in a coma, then was in a San Diego hospital for 17 months before being honorably discharged.

He was discovered at a Los Angeles gym while he was working out and has since become a muse for photographers, Tom Cullis and Michael Stokes.

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april in sydney 2013

day one - arrivalday two - newtown

day three - sydney brick showday four - manly
I'm so glad that I took today off... I've been processing photos and putting together blog posts on and off since we got back... but then I did take 1265 photos... not a record, but it's a hell of a lot of photos.

As I mentioned at the end of the last post, this was definitely more of an experiences based holiday... and one that had a lot of happy coincidences in getting us to the right places at the right times... even the fact that we bought a far too expensive transport ticket turned into a good thing since we got to take a lot of ferry rides.

The blog roundup...
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april in sydney - day four

manly bluemanly beach blonde hotness
Today has been A Very Long Day... full of sun and sand and hotnesses and has almost felt as though we crammed a couple of days' worth of stuff into a single day. And I'm tired and a little bit sunburned and also a wee bit cranky mostly for the two previously mentioned reasons.

After a fairly late night due to trying to catch up being a day behind with writing up our adventures, I still managed to wake up fairly early this morning... kind of too early to get up so I lay in bed for a while footling around on my phone.

Eventually I needed to get up anyway, so I figured I may as well get up, have a shower, get ready and then finish off yesterday's post... which turned out to be a much better plan as I didn't then need to rush around like crazy.

Today's plan was Manly... so once Ma messaged me I wandered next door and we set off for Circular Quay.

freshwater ferrysea water wave
Riding the giant Freshwater ferry was quite different from the two ferries we rode last night. For one thing, it's massive, but it's also kind of ponderous... or maybe it just feels slow after the ferries last night. It kind of needs to be slow though once it gets to the entrance to the open ocean, as the waves definitely pick up and I put my many years of bus surfing to good use riding the swells without being flung all over the place.

Actually, that's the best part of the trip.

When we got to Manly Wharf, Ma called up my cousin, Wills, who lives a couple of suburbs over from Sydney and he directed us to somewhere just off The Corso to grab some coffee/breakfast while he came and met us.

Sadly, while we had a choice of two breakfast places, neither of them were the places I'd originally been aiming to have breakfast at, and of the two, we ended up at the one without the really hot waiting staff.

Speaking of hotness, since there will be a lot of photos of hotness throughout this post... I don't know if it's me seeing something that isn't there, but there seems to be an almost 1940's vibe happening amongst the twenty-something men of Sydney. I've seen a lot of guys with very 40's style hair... parted on one side, and neatly styled... and a number of them have also had very vintage looking facial hair. Maybe it's an 80's retro thing that was originally based on a 40's thing... maybe it's a Sydney cool hipster thing... I don't know. But I do know that I like it.

Anyway, Manly and Wills.

Ma and he did most of the chatting about family and this and that and the other. It's one of those things where I may be related to him, but essentially I hardly really know him and don't really have a whole lot of stuff in common with him.

looking south towards the cityresting between waves
After we finished breakfast/coffee he offered to drive us around and show us a few places, which was actually pretty cool, even if he did drive like a crazy person. Or maybe he just drives like a Sydneysider, I haven't actually been in the car of anyone who lives here before.

I'm not completely sure where he took us either... I know we went west and ended up at a lookout where you could see the city... somewhere in Sydney Harbour National Park possibly... if anyone can tell me from the photo, let me know.

And then he took us back along Manly Beach and around to, I think, McKillop Park by Queenscliff Bay... and there were some surfers out in the bay... which I always love.

backyard surfersrising swell
We couldn't stay long as he had to drive Little Wills to a birthday party, so he dropped us off back in Manly and headed off on his merry way.

From there Ma and I wandered from the North Steyne Surf Life Saving Club down along the beachfront.

The weather was fine, the surf looked pretty good and there was a lot of fine manflesh out and about along Manly Beach.

manly market posterstattoo crest
We walked all the way down to the Manly Surf Club then wandered back to The Corso to check out the Manly Markets... which, to be honest, didn't take all that long, so we wandered back down the beach in search of something to eat and ended up at Moo Gourmet Burgers.

I don’t know if it was just Manly in general but there were a lot of things being removed from menu items or substituted or whathaveyou. I wasn't any better, getting them to remove the avocado from the Bacon and Avocado Burger and removing the cucumber from Ma's salad.

Moo also does the best onion rings... and I do love a good onion ring.

After we'd finished eating we wandered back down the beach and decided to follow the walking trail around to Shelly Beach... seemingly along with just about every man and his actual dog.

While there were quite a number of really hot, but difficult to photograph, guys heading either to or from Shelly Beach, the winner has to be the buff, bronzed guy in the fluro citrus coloured shorts and the silver swimming cap jogging along the path between Shelly Beach and Manly, with no shoes. It was... certainly something to see... but in a good way.

There really wasn't a whole lot of anything to see or do that didn't involve eating (which we'd just done), sand (so didn't want that in my shoes) or the water (ditto on the shoes), so we didn't stick around at Shelly Beach, but headed back around to Manly.

I will say this, the Manly-Shelly walk is a hell of a lot easier to do than the Bondi-Tamarama walk.

We took one final wander back up along Manly Beach until we'd both had enough and then wandered back down and along The Corso to the Wharf.

Just us and seemingly about 500 of our closest friends.

I don't know if that's an "all the time" thing, but the ferry was essentially packed. Ma and I, along with a number of other tourist types, ended up outside at the front. We were up on the second level for the trip to Manly, but being down on deck level makes for a much more interesting ride, especially while crossing the open section. There were definitely a few moments where it felt like this big, heavy ferry was close to achieving lift off and then came the lurch and back down we went, much to the general squeals of my fellow passengers.

strong currents, flowery shorts
Getting off the ferry was a bit of an adventure too... but after some general ducking and dodging and weaving we eventually got out into the clear... but there really did seem to just be people everywhere.

We headed up to The Rocks to take a look at what was going on Market-wise... the answer, not really a hell of a lot. There was a lot of stuff there, but like I think I said last time, most of it is just random crap. We did stop by to see the guys who made my watch pendant but the older son who we spoke to the last time Ma and I were in Sydney didn't seem to be about, so we had a quick look at their stuff and then wandered off.

I think Ma may have been working her way through a mental checklist of ferry lines since we ended up with the very expensive weekly tickets, because she suggested that we take the Neutral Bay trip as it was short. Personally, I was a bit ambivalent about Neutral Bay...

Get it... hey, hey... don't make me repeat it like I had to with Ma, please.

marker postwaiting for the next wave
It was on another one of the First Fleet ferries, Sirius (and yes, I think I'm working through my own mental checklist of riding all of the ferries in the fleet eventually), although I think they may all have slightly different bow designs, since this seemed to be different from Alexander yesterday, but that could be my memory playing tricks... clearly I'm getting old and forgetful.

The trip was pleasant enough... nowhere near as photogenic as either of the trips last night, but it filled in some time nicely, and we got to see a few more destinations. Thinking about it now, I think maybe that could have been the ferry ride that we took the first time we came to Sydney... I know it kind of went that way, and it wasn't all that long.

Once Sirius dropped us back off at Circular Quay we headed back to the hotel, finally, for a rest before trying to decide where to go to dinner.

manly guardianleonine dreadlocks
We perhaps left it a little later than we should have to head out to eat, and while Ma had suggested revisiting Wagamama again, neither of us was supremely confident that we could get there, order, eat and get where we needed to go within the allotted time.

Ma then came up with the idea of going downstairs and having dinner in the hotel café. To be honest, at that point my sunburn had definitely started to kick in, and I was just feeling really tired, so I was open to just about any suggestion.

So that's what we did... and given that I wasn't overly hungry (I think it's the fact that we've been eating all of our meals later than we normally would, even with the time difference, so my body isn't always hungry at "appropriate" times) I opted for the pumpkin soup, which was really tasty, and some English Breakfast Tea... which is proof that I wasn't feeling my best because that's the only time I ever drink sweet, white tea.

After dinner and a quick pitstop to drop Ma's bag back in her room since she decided that she didn't need it, we headed up to the Sydney Observatory for their Night Tour.

And that also means that, for the first time, I can claim a Lifescouts badge due to something that just happened rather than something from my past.

lifescouts: observatory

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from an observatory tour... I mean, yes, space and telescopes and planets and the like, but not exactly what was going to happen.

They let us roam around the museum to start with, pretty much left to our own devices, which was kind of cool, although I couldn't take any photos (well, I could have, but you're not allowed to publish them, including to the net, I'm guessing for copyright reasons, since they've got a lot of photos and books and things on display. Kind of a shame though, since there were a few things I would have loved to snap photos of.

Eventually they called us all back to reception and then split everyone into two groups, and thankfully I think we were with a reasonably quiet group. Our group went to check out the planetarium first of all, which was pretty cool... although planetarium sounds quite grand, this was a special projector underneath a special umbrella in the middle of a circular couch. But it was still pretty cool, as the guy made it show the current night's sky as it would appear if there were no clouds and no light pollution.

And he could overlay constellation lines and then the constellation images and names and then rotate the whole thing and zoom in and out. I think it's fairly new, so they may not have worked out how to show if off to its best, but it's an impressive piece of kit.

After that he took us up into the old observatory dome (the Sydney Observatory has two domes) and showed us the really old telescope, which is all made from brass inside a dome that looks like it's mostly lined with copper. Very cool.

Even cooler though was the second dome with the much shorter and much newer modern telescope.

We saw a very, very, very close-up section of the moon, we saw Saturn complete with rings, we saw Alpha Centuri's binary system and we saw a jewel box star cluster.

Of all of them though, I think Saturn was definitely the most impressive... it looks exactly like you imagine Saturn to look, although it was basically white, the rings included, which I don't think I knew... for some reason I think I thought of Saturns as a yellowy colour.

But it's definitely white, I've seen in.

After the observatory part we all came back together to watch a 3D video about the relative sizes of things in space, which was fairly interesting... and then the guy who had taken the other group of people came back into the room and we got sidetracked by things that would destroy the Earth, life on other planets, alien visitors and whatnot... mostly because there was one dude who just wouldn't shut up and he really hijacked the discussion a little.

Other than that though, it was a very interesting evening. And another Lifescouts Badge that I can add to my collection.

sand hillarchangel tattoo
That also pretty much brings out holiday to an end... there will be just enough time to grab some breakfast in the morning before we have to head out to the airport, then it's home again, home again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and throw all my clothes into a suitcase.

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Normally I would have written a separate post for our final day, but literally all that happened was that I woke up, had a shower, finished packing my suitcase, checked the room a bunch of times to ensure I hadn't forgotten anything and then dragged all of my stuff to Ma's room.

We then had a very uninspired breakfast at McDonalds down the road (it was quick and easy), then grabbed all of our stuff and headed down to the station to catch the train to the airport.

The flight home was uneventful, I half dozed and listened to more podcasts.

While I was pleased to get off the plane and actually walk around, I can't say that I was overly enthusiastic about coming home to my regular life.

The taxi ride home was fairly painless, and as much as I still wanted to be somewhere else, it was good to see my little apartment.

sydney trip goodies 2013
I think we did more in the way of experiences than actual shopping this time, so there isn't much in the way of travel-related goodies this time... and most of it is vinyl toys.

huck gee post apocalyptic dunnysred trikky, chris ryniak's apocalypse dunny, riddler domo

lego chima - equila and razardecember diamonds tattoo merman

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