two thousand and fifteen in review

2015 in review
It's the last day of 2015, and just like every year since 2006, I'm doing my usual "first line of the first post of each month" meme/Year In Review.

And as usual, I found the Chinese zodiac stamp for the year in question... although I don't know what I'm going to do in 2021 when the line runs out...

Given that this year has been seen the lowest number of blog posts since I started, partly because I merged the Photo Friday and Shopping Saturday posts into one larger post... but that did mean that I tweaked the rules to be the first significant line of the first significant post of each month... but it's essentially the same thing.

January: I know I've said it before, but one of the (many) things I do like about living in this apartment over the old apartment is the fact that I can just go and lay on my bed and watch the many and varied fireworks displays that happen throughout the year.

February: I'll be honest, I had figured that due to the brouhaha that blew up last year around the creator of the Lifescouts project, as well as a number of other young male YouTube "personalities" (which I won't reiterate here, that's what Google is for), that we'd possibly seen the last of Lifescouts.

March: Sometimes you see a Fringe show where there are only ten people in the audience.

April: I was very thankful that this was a short week...

May: I never got around to doing a Friday post yesterday, partly due to a slight obsession with watching a playthrough of the Fallout 3 video game on YouTube...

June: Rolling the calendar back to Sunday, I spent about six hours cleaning my apartment for the inspection on Tuesday.

July: I've definitely had issues with electronic equipment this week, mostly computers and thankfully entirely at work.

August: The soup I made last Sunday was successful as far as it being soup on Sunday was concerned, however by the time it came it Monday it was decidedly no longer soup and was in fact just pasta and sauce.

September: This year has definitely been The Year of the Soup.

October: I believe that, by any technical definition of the term, I am every so slightly hungover as fuck.

November: I really would like to start one of these by saying that my week wasn't somewhat trying... but alas, this is not the week or it.

December: I'm really not sure what the hell I have to say... partly because it's fairly hot right now (and all weekend actually, after a very mild week), even with the aircon and fan going.

If I had to sum up this year I'd say it had been exceptionally busy, but I find myself here at the end of the year with not a hell of a lot to show for the last 364 days.

I did celebrate my tenth blogiversary this year though, even if, as I said before, my blogging has significantly diminished over the last twelve months.

We didn't travel anywhere this year, which is something I definitely want to remedy next year, depending on how the work situation unfolds.

Work in general has gone from one level of crazy to another. We launched the first part of our major project at the end of January, then moved on to the other half, which is supposed to be done by next June. What happens after that is anybody's guess at this point. Every time we think we know what's going on, they pull the rug out from under us all unfortunately.

This year's Fringe was, as I said at the time, "a very emotional Fringe in a lot of ways", but also had an incredibly good time. Other than that we saw Danny Elfman's music (not to mention the man himself) in concert, revisited the Unseen Theatre Company, sat very close the the stage for Adam Hills, and were delighted by the verbal stylings of Stephen Fry in Adelaide for the first time.

We headed off to Brick-a-laide over the Easter break... and I put together seven Lego sets (well, eight if you count the Lego Dimenions set, but I haven't done a post about that yet) this year...
I also finished off Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Red Dead Redemption, played through Heavy Rain (and had everybody die on me) and totally failed to finish both BioShock Infinite and Assassin's Creed: Rogue. I tried with ACR, I really did, but it was a bad mash up of Black Flag and ACIII, and I just couldn't get into it.

Also, as my post from September above states, this was decidedly the year for soup. I went through the whole of Winter and made nothing but soup for my work lunches, as well as dinner on Sunday nights. While there were some disasters, I'm excited about starting it up again next year... especially as I've been saving the rinds and leftovers from all my Parmesan cheeses to use as flavourings.

I've also discovered the wonderful art of making my own salad dressings... which I have to say, I'm doing pretty damn well at.

And, as always, today is my Twitter anniversary... in this case, my sixth.

Current Mood:

movies: the good dinosaur

the good dinosaur - tiny but tough
While I'm generally quite enthusiastic about the visual look of most CG animated movies we go and see, Pixar's latest effort, The Good Dinosaur completely rewrites the visual book.

There were legitimately certain shots, particularly at the beginning of the movie and again during the end credits, where I would have sworn I was watching live action backgrounds.

Fifteen years ago, Disney did exactly that with Dinosaur, which used real locations with CG dinosaurs... however a lot has changed in that time and this movie shows off just what can be done with CG. From water effects to trees and grass and clouds to the stunning eyes of the human character, this movie is so stunningly beautiful I really don't have the words to describe it.

But my hat goes off to all the people at Pixar responsible for making every leaf, every flower, ever tree look as good as it could possibly look, and then some.

The story owes more than a little bit to The Lion King at times, but is essentially your standard Hero's Journey tale of an Apatosaurus called Arlo trying to find his way home with his human "pet", Spot.

While it's an emotional and affecting story, if the movie has a flaw, that's where it is... if only because it's a story we've seen a million variations of.

Having said that, if anyone can take something like that and make it still interesting to an audience, then it's Pixar... they also know how to push the emotional buttons and I did tear up a few times, and cried towards the end.

yani's rating: 4 critters out of 5

post christmas round-up 2015

red, green and gold tree with presents, 2015
On Christmas Day in 1986 (when I was 12) Adelaide reached a top of 37.3°C. Today, the temperature maxed out at 37.2°C at 3:30pm. The average temperature in Adelaide on December 25 is 26.8°C.

I much prefer when it's around 26°C on Christmas Day... especially because Ma has no air-conditioning, just the evaporative cooler.

But we did struggle through. And the cool change finally hit as I was on my way home, so that was good.

I really should have dragged the mattress out into the lounge room last night and slept under my air-con, but I foolishly though I would be okay... which meant that I had the worst night of sleep I've had in a while.

I woke up more than a few times, and finally gave up at some point and put the air-con on in the living room. Not sure how much it helped, but it kind of felt like it did. And then when my alarm went off at it's usual time of 5am I gave up on trying to pretend to sleep... granted I didn't get up for another hour, but still.

When I finally got up, I jumped in the shower and then got ready. While I was putting moisturiser on my tattoo, my brain did a series of mental jumps from one related thought to another until they landed on Lownee... I'd already thought about her earlier in the week because it was her birthday... and I'll admit, I got a little weepy-eyed staring at myself in the mirror.

But then I realised that my hair is the same colour as the Listerine that I use and I stopped being all nostalgic and mopey.

When I went to get dressed in my new Christmas tee from Tee Fury... it has Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas on it, wearing his Santa suit. But when I put it on I discovered that although it was supposedly the same size that I always buy from them, and it also had the size printed inside the neck of the tee, it was actually at least one if not two sizes bigger.

Very, very annoying.

So instead I had to dip into my wardrobe for something much less Christmasy, but that matched my blue hair. Luckily I have a lot of cute tees. But I'll be complaining to Tee Fury in the next day or so.

I also wore my new Andrew Christian thong underwear and a pair of shorts that I bought last year some time but never got around to wearing. And the new thongs I bought the other week when I had to make a run to the supermarket when we were making Christmas goodies at Ma's place.

Then it was time to load up the car and head off... and it hadn't even hit 7am yet.

I had a pretty good run up the road to be honest, the traffic was (unsurprisingly) very light and the traffic lights were definitely in my favour... and I got to Ma's place just before 7:30.

And when I arrived Ma had just come out to open the gate for me, so that was good timing.

We fudged about a bit as we generally do on Christmas morning but eventually settled down for our usual Christmas breakfast of croissants.

After breakfast we headed off to see La Cousina and Co...

All in all it wasn't a bad visit... it felt a little less hectic than usual, possibly because Princess T wasn't there, I really don't know.

But once again, La Cousina has absolutely no idea how to buy gifts for me. She did alright for a little while there with movie vouchers... but yeah, we're back to random crap, at least this year. I mean a candle and some off-brand cologne... I can't remember the last time I used either.

Like I said though, it was fairly painless and we were only there for about an hour or so.

When we got back we get up the Weber, after double-checking that there wasn't a total fire ban thing... which it wasn't unless I massively misread the warning on the BOM website.

While we haven't had a lot of luck the last couple of years with the Weber lighting properly, the barbecue gods were smiling on us today and it all worked out.

Then as usual, once the Weber was well underway, we settled down to unwrap our presents.

It turned out that most of the stuff I got this year was stuff that I bought myself and then Ma gave me money towards, so there really weren't any major surprises, and what was a surprise was food related.

Essentially everything boiled down to video games, Lego, naked men and food.

  • PS4 (500GB in black)
  • Lego Dimensions starter pack
  • Lego Dimensions Doctor Who level pack
  • Lego Dimensions Portal 2 level pack
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate - Charing Cross edition
  • Assassin's Creed Unity
  • Little Big Planet 3 (came with the PS4)
  • inFamous Second Son (came with the PS4)
  • Driveclub (came with the PS4)
  • Warwick Rowers 2016 Calendar
  • The Art of Alfredo Roagui 2016 Calendar and art print
  • Lego Scooby Doo Mystery Machine set
  • Haighs toy soldier tin with milk chocolate freckles
  • Sour cream and onion Pringles
  • Bassetts Jelly Babies
  • Aeroplane Create-a-jelly
  • Adventure Time cookies
The food was mostly for fun... I'd been complaining about the Create-a-jellies disappearing, and Ma knows I had a bit of a thing about Adventure Time, hence the cheap cookies.

my presents 2015christmas table with three meat christmas salad 2015
Ma likes all of her presents, which is good. And after we'd finished and tidied up (and I'd taken the usual photos of my presents) we got things ready to go in the Weber.

I ended up setting a bunch of alarms on my photo to remind us to do all the things we needed to do... although I will say that I think we cooked the potatoes a little too long. And while cooking haloumi over the coals worked pretty well, it was a little too well done by the time we took it out.

Like last year we were putting together the big fat Christmas salad... basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, shelled edamame (to replace the beans Ma forgot to buy), some parmesan, the haloumi and potatoes... and bacon, turkey and our usual sausage meat.

And I dressed it with some of the very tasty Beerenberg mango and chili salad dressing.

We paired it with a nice Rekorderlig Mango and Raspberry cider and it was very nice. I did make entirely too much of it for the amount we ended up eating, but it was pretty good. Even if some of the potato and haloumi were overdone.

After we tidied up a bit we sat down to watch The Holiday... which I haven't seen in a while and do enjoy. And part way through once lunch had been sufficiently digested we put together our Christmas/ice cream version of Eton Mess with the mince pie ice cream, meringue, fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, some chocolate shards and some crushed candy canes (both left over from the Christmas goodies).

Once the movie was done I figured that I should probably take myself home, open up the house and get it cooled down... besides neither of us really wanted any dinner. So we packed up the leftovers I was bringing home, I packed up my presents and took my tired and well fed butt home.

And it took my tired butt three tips from the car to the apartment to unload everything (granted without the PS4 it would have been one less trip) and it took until the wind really got gusty and cool before my place really cooled off.

So that's it, another Christmas done and dusted... to paraphrase Shakespeare, as always, it's a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing much when all is said and done.

Hopefully all my readers had themselves a pleasant day... and now we just have to wait for 2016.

Current Mood:

have a naughty and nice christmas

Current Mood:

ma's presents 2015

ma's presents - before, during and after
It's that time of the year again!

Well, it's been that time of the year for a little while now, but it's only when I come to wrap up Ma's presents that the fact that Christmas is pretty bloody immanent really hits me.

Yes, that's mostly because I only do it a couple of days before Christmas... but still.

And as always, the modus operandi is to wrap everything in tissue paper, tie it with a ribbon and fill up a box.

Thankfully I had just enough red, green and white tissue... although I did sub in a couple of pieces of silver, which I think saved my butt. And I've been recycling the same ribbons for the last five years... I didn't have to cut any new pieces this year.

This also has to be the last year I buy anything Olaf related... he's an easy buy because of Ma's love of all things snowman, but I ended up with three different things this year without realising it...
  • Summer Olaf Pop Vinyl
  • Disney Infinity Olaf
  • Itty Bittys plush Olaf
  • Harajuku Lovers Music perfume
  • Harajuku Lovers Love perfume (x2)
  • dec-ade 2016 calendar (and USB with iPhone wallpapers)
  • Moon Over Soho novel
  • From Up On Poppy Hill DVD
  • When Marnie Was There DVD
  • Square origami earrings
  • White paper crane earrings
  • Erstwilder lighthouse brooch
  • Follow Your Fate tee
  • Seagulls have the Phonebox tee
  • Lonely Spirit tee
  • The Shadow On The Moon tee
  • Haighs dark chocolate speckles
  • Haighs coffee pastilles
  • Cherry cranberry pistachio nougat 
There's also some of the old favourites in there... the calendar, the nougat, the perfume. I actually ended up with more stuff than I realised... partly because I'd forgotten about the t-shirts and the Olaf stuff. But Ma does a lot of me during the year, so it's nice to spoil her when I can.

Current Mood:

movies: star wars: the force awakens

star wars: the force awakens
I have a few confessions to make about Star Wars: The Force Awakens...

Firstly I went into the movie with incredibly low expectations... I remembered what JJ Abrams did with Star Trek, so I was reserving judgement but wasn't expecting a lot.

Secondly, I have actively been avoiding additional information about this movie, which includes literally sitting in movie theatres with my fingers in my ears so that I didn't see any trailers other than the first one. And that one I only watched once.

I wanted to go into the movie completely cold, without having seen three quarters of the movie cut into a million trailers, and I didn't want to know any spoilers or clues, however mild.

But even taking all of that into account... I was incredibly impressed by this movie.

Unlike something like Jurassic World where they just seemed to go through the movie with find and replace, this felt more like they'd taken everything that made the original three movies great, broken it down into individual components and put it all back together in a new order. I don't know if that's technically the definition of "fan service", but whatever it's called, it was very successful.

At the same time it has a thoroughly modern vibe to it... there's a lot more action and the whole thing feels highly polished.

The new cast is pretty great over all. Although for me it comes down to Daisy Ridley as Rey and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren... they're both sensational in their roles... particularly Ridley, who really kicks ass... but Driver is a villain you can both hate and feel empathy for.

I do feel that John Boyega was less successful as Finn...he feels much less like a Star Wars character and much more like an Abrams character if that makes sense. Not that Boyega was bad, it just felt like he was in a different style of movie to everyone else.

I was also unsure how I'd feel about the new droid on the block, BB-8... but within the first thirty seconds of his appearance on screen I was already kind of in love with him.

There were some massively underused characters however... but I'm guessing that they will reappear in the next two movies.

And the cast returning from the original trilogy was a little bit of a mixed bag... Harrison Ford was right on the money, but Carrie Fisher was the most changed by the passage of time and was a little difficult to watch.

Also I felt like there was a slight fuzzing of the camera every time she was onscreen, but that could have been my imaginiation.

The story was strong as I said, and in parts genuinely laugh out loud funny. Much funnier than I remember the original trilogy being.

It also looks the part, both as a Star Wars movie, but also as a modern sci-fantasy movie. Everything has that sufficient amount of upgrade to the design (like the Stormtrooper armour) but it didn't go totally over the top with everything like the prequels.

Also, there's a lot more practical effects evident here... sure there's a ton of CGI, but there's a lot of puppets (which sometimes work more effectively than others... but the same can be said for the CGI), excellent makeup work and just stuff that's actually on screen.

The CGI I objected to the most was Andy Serkis's character... it was questionable as to why it couldn't have just been an outstanding makeup design... it just sticks out too much and doesn't feel necessary.

I was also genuinely surprised by parts of this movie... partly because I hadn't been reviewing every time little additional information about it, but there was stuff I didn't know going in that surprised me. However it did also suffer a little bit from the "first movie in a trilogy" syndrome... the original Star Wars was a pretty self contained movie.

Sure it left a few loose threads, but mostly everything got settled before the credits... here, there's clearly so many additional balls in the air at the end that it's kind of scary.

Is it a perfect movie, not in the slightest, but it did make me pretty damn happy for the majority of the 135 minute running time and it's a pretty damn good Star Wars movie.

And I was more than pleasantly surprised.

yani's rating: 4 hologram maps out of 5

photo saturday: may the brick be with you

battle of endorfighting on hoth

these are the droids you're looking forsneaking around the death star
Today Adelaide broke the record of days above 40°C in December... previously it was three days, today's top of 44°C makes it four days. And we had temperatures over 35°C since Monday... making it officially a big fat heatwave. Thankfully the cool change rolls in tonight, and not a moment too soon.

I've also spent much more time than usual in doctor's offices this week.

And also, my hair is blue. But we'll get to that...

Monday started with a trip to my lovely old doctor to get a bunch of skin tags removed from my neck... not that they were a problem, but they were unsightly and I wanted them gone. I did have a moment just before the doctor started working on them that getting an old doctor to wield a scalpel near my neck was possibly a bad idea.

But it all worked out okay... it took about an hour and he had to put a bunch of stitches in the cuts, but I didn't feel much of anything thanks to the anaesthetic.

However it did mean that I had a set of very ugly stitches in my neck all week long.

Tuesday we set aside for our Christmas celebrations at The Nut House. So the day was mostly about eating and otherwise a total right off.

We started with Owl Girl and I putting together a morning tea for everyone. It was mostly the Christmas goodies from Sunday, along with batches of Ham Hearts and mince tarts. OG added cookies and a chocolate tart. Essentially we're two little old ladies who like to make things for people.

But everybody was very appreciative, and it was fun.

Then we had lunch ordered in... paid for by the money we put in the kitty for Casual Fridays each week.

And then at around 4pm we went down the street to the pub. Not the pub we usually go to, but this one is closer, and they don't have music playing while you're there trying to talk. The downside is that they don't have the specials of the other place. But we ate, we drank, we laughed, we were mildly inappropriate (conversation-wise)... and I think I had about half a dozen beers... I always lose count when other people start buying me alcohol.

At the end it was Rockchick, Sugarmonkey and me... and the major reason we left was that they were closing the bar at 9pm. So I just stumbled my butt home.

I think that was also the night that I dragged the mattress off by bed and slept under the air-conditioner. And I left the mattress in the living room for the rest of the week... there didn't seem a hell of a lot of point struggling to put it back on the bed every morning and dragging it back to the lounge each night.

Then Wednesday I had an appointment at the Ear Nose and Throat doctor, and he was much easier to understand than the last ENT I saw... plus he was within walking distance of work, which was good. At least now I can hear properly.

The remainder of the week was taken up with working more than I'd really like for this late in December. Clearly everybody remembered that one last thing they wanted to do before Christmas, and as a consequence we've been inundated with jobs.

Like I always say though, too much to do is better than not enough... I'd just a little less "to do" to do.

Thursday was haircut day... and we got a little... intense I guess is the right word.

There's a trend currently in men's hair for merman hair... essentially dying your hair all manner of bright unnatural colours... mostly in the blue, green or turquoise families. And I've been loving the photos that I've seen... so I brought it up with Tink a couple of haircuts ago and asked if she thought I could pull it off... and she's good about telling me when things are a bad idea.

So we got to plotting... and found Dare temporary hair colour, which happened to have two colours that sounded pretty much perfect... Dolphin Dreams (turquoise) and Mermaid Magic (bright blue)... so I bought both colours and this Thursday was D-Day... or possibly M-Day (for merman).

We started with a regular haircut, then bleached the ever loving bejeezus out of it until it was incredibly white. And somewhat resembled a tangled bird's nest.

Then it was time for colour... we alternated between the two colours, so it's not all one solid tone, there's some variation. Originally I was thinking about doing the bottom half blue and the top half turquoise, but changed my mind at the last minute.

But there is no mistaking that I have blue hair.

And I kind of love it... there are three main problems with it. Firstly I don't necessarily have exactly the right kind of hair, or even the volume of hair to make this work... so my hair currently has the texture of a bag of old straw (and my scalp got a little fried as well). Secondly I keep forgetting it's blue until I either catch someone looking at it or I have a sudden realisation that it's blue. And lastly... well, I think I discovered that I'm not necessarily the right kind of person to have hair that sticks out quite this much.

I'm not saying I regret doing it... okay, truth time... I kind of do, but I'm also going to see it though to it's conclusion... even if that takes the whole month until I see Tink again. But I don't think I'll repeat it, even though I have the majority of both bottles left. It might be that when it fades almost all the way out, I like it more... and if so, I might be tempted to do that again... but yeah, I don't think it's really as me as I was hoping for.

But we do these things... to ourselves... in the name of vanity and beauty.

The reaction from work was pretty much positive... H-San did a twenty minute stand up routine about it, but other than that, people seemed to like it, or else they were polite enough to say nothing at all.

On Friday I had a both a chiro appointment and a doctor's appointment, back to back. The chiro appointment was easy... but they'd moved my doctor's appointment slightly earlier and I just managed to make it in the few minutes I had between the two appointments. And then proceeded to sit in the waiting room until after the original time of my appointment. Seriously, what the hell.

It took a good long while to get all the stitches out of my neck... longer in fact than it took to put them in... or at least it felt longer.

After he was done poking me in the neck, I had a bit of a wander around the city... not really with any major destination in mind, but I found a couple of other things for Ma and then wandered off home.

Today was more about keeping out of the aforementioned 44°C heat than anything else. And because Ma was getting her hair did this morning, I went shopping on my own, which was fine... and I also bought some new shorts mostly because my current pair is on the way out, but also I'll save the new ones for Christmas (provided it doesn't end up not being shorts weather on the day).

And while I was looking in Target I had a call from the plumber... they came and did something to my shower the other week and totally ruined the pressure of the water. So I was getting an special Saturday visit from the plumber. I was expecting him at 10am, so I still had plenty of time, but then he called me to say he was essentially at my place while I wasn't. He said he'd come back in about fifteen minutes, so I got home literally just before he got there.

For once, the universe set me a very cute, young, slightly dopey (in that straight boy tradie kind of way) plumber who was wearing shorts with a tendency to sliding down... so I was quite happy about that. Unfortunately he was also pretty efficient in fixing the problem, so he wasn't around for very long.

But at least the shower is now fixed properly.

Then it was just a matter of waiting for Ma to turn up. When she did, we'd planned to go to the movies, mostly to keep Ma somewhere cool on this hottest of hot days.

The week before Christmas is a little bit of a wasteland when it comes to movies... and the movie I thought was out doesn't actually come out until Boxing Day.

So we went to see Star Wars instead.

Afterwards we got some lunch and wandered around the shops a bit, then headed back here.

Hopefully next week is a much quieter week.

Current Mood:

melting the christmas goodie chocolate

Today was a long day of Christmas goodie making... so long in fact that it will be nice to go to work tomorrow in order to sit down and relax.

I left my place a little later than I intended, but I still got to her place by around 8:30. And that was just in time for a fresh batch of Ham Hearts to come out of the oven. Nothing quite like them, even if I do mostly end up eating the miss-shaped ones to keep the nice ones for giving away.

As always, the first thing to attack was my Rocky Road... which always turns out pretty damn well for something I made up out of my head (and using the things that should be in Rocky Road). Putting it together can be a little tedious... cutting all the marshmallows in half and whatnot, but it's an easy start to the day.

Then we started up the production line... I manned the food processor and started crushing up biscuits, Ma worked on the Chocolate Balls, which is based around the stove, at least initially. I ended up putting the whole Peppermint Cookie Truffles together, because I'd forgotten that you essentially blend everything in the food processor.

That was about the point at which we realised that we didn't have any macadamia nuts... we looked at them at the supermarket, and I could of sworn that we bought a pack, but I think Ma was going to check her list of things she still needed... in any event it never happened.

So I jumped in the car and headed off to Parabanks. Now I haven't been to Parabanks in what must be at the very least twenty years. Which was a problem when I parked in the first spot I saw, got into the building and then realised that I had no fucking idea where the supermarket actually was. Thankfully it's not that big of a mall, so I just picked what I thought was a logical direction and went with it.

On the way back to the car I stopped off in Big W and had a look at their thongs... I've been needing a new pair for a while, but normal thongs rub my feet to death, so I've been looking for a pair with decent fabric straps. We'll have to see if they work out.

By the time I'd gotten back Ma had rolled out all the balls from the two mixtures that were ready when I left, and then I went to work on the nuts and fruit and whatnot.

Due to the unscheduled road trip, we ended up finishing the ball making portion of the morning around 1pm, cleared up the kitchen, had some lunch and watched some very questionable television.

The second half of the day, the melted chocolate part, went relatively smoothly... although this time I used a fork instead of one of the "truffle spirals" that we normally use. For some of them it worked really well, for others it was a bit of a mess (mostly for the mixtures that have a very low melting point, like the Peanut Butter Balls and Apricot Brandy Truffles).

But even with that minor issue, it all worked out pretty damn well...

Clockwise, top left: Hazelnut Delight, Apricot Brandy Truffles,
Rum Balls, Candy Cane Truffles, Chocolate Ball, Peanut Butter Balls,
and my Rocky Road in the centre

Of course after we finished the last of the chocolate coating we needed to clean up the kitchen again and I helped Ma put all of the leftover ingredients away so she wouldn't have to do it herself after I left.

Neither of us were particularly hungry, so we just turned a couple of muffins into some very simple mini pizzas and pretty much called it a day.

Well, after putting all the truffles I was taking away with me, along with a collection of Ham Hearts and mince tarts, in appropriate tins and containers.

It always feels pretty damn good when we're done, and people do appreciate them, but holy fuckballs is it a long and tiring day getting it all done.

Current Mood:

butt kicking week with saturday shopping

somebody has been very naughty
This week has definitely given me a serious butt kicking... or I guess spanking if you prefer. And it really shouldn't be... there are many good things happening, however the bad things seem to have all ganged up and formed a League of Bullshit.

It started with last Sunday and the very hot weekend... after I got home from the tree-trimming I didn't feel 100% but figured that it was just general heat related grossness... but I ended up dragging the mattress into the living room and sleeping under the air-conditioner all night. I say all night, but I woke up at one point with a very upset stomach... and then had a lot of trouble getting back to sleep.

So Monday I felt like shit and was seriously sleep deprived. Never a good combination.

When I came home on Monday I went to bed around 6pm, woke up around 9:30 and realised the front door was still wide open, closed it and went back to bed, then woke up around midnight then the thunderstorm rolled across the city. But like with just about every time I feel like crap and sleep for around 11 hours straight, I did feel significantly better on Tuesday.

However my appetite has been almost non-existent for much of the week... which isn't great when you have a giant bag full of salad sitting in the fridge at work but you really don't want to eat it. Worse still is not wanting to be bothered making anything... so dinners this last week were a little uninspired.

Then the wheels fell of the rest of the universe on Tuesday... not just with me having a very chaotic day (well, afternoon pretty much... but I managed to exist just above panic for the last couple of hours) but it was also when they announced a bunch of changes at work that will directly affect The Nut House, and not in any kind of positive way.

So I was giving out a lot of hugs to people on Tuesday and the mood wasn't exactly a good one. And that continued for the rest of the week, meaning that the overall feeling in the office could best be described as angry apathy.

However I'm not completely freaking out because there looks like there could be a good opportunity for me if the changes can't be modified or mitigated. Sucks for other people and will suck going forward, but I'm quietly crossing my fingers for good things for me. However who the fuck knows what could happen in the next six months.

As I mentioned last week, I was supposed to spend this week working on the cross-stitch presents for Tink's girls... but that never happened. It looks like maybe that will have to wait until after Christmas or else I just leave it, work on it during the winter and give it to them next Christmas. We'll see if I get all inspired.

Then on Wednesday whatever was wrong with me seemed to spread to my ear and I ended up with a blocked ear and a definite lack of hearing on my right side. And if you remember, this same situation came up last year, but got very bad very quickly.

I decided that I really should nip it all in the bud and made an appointment with my lovely but 106yo doctor (he's not actually that old, and he is really lovely, hence why I keep going back to him).

I headed off to the appointment on Friday morning and he didn't really do all that much. Actually that seems to be what has happened every time I've seen him. He just ends up giving me a referral to see somebody who does do things. But sometimes I'd just like a nice dose of antibiotics, you know? He basically said that the overall thing seemed to be a short-lived viral thing that had mostly worked itself out.

So now I have a specialist appointment on Wednesday morning and another appointment to see my doctor on Monday afternoon for something else that will require him to actually do things.

Add to that going to Ma's tomorrow to make Christmas goodies, the Christmas drinks we're having at the pub on Tuesday after work and the fact that Thursday is a very special edition of Haircut Day, next week is looking a little full.

Today was equal parts m'eh and excellent... most m'eh but it ended well.

There's nothing quite like when you're not really feeling great and have had a week's worth of not really being that interested in food, and then going shopping and having to take into consideration a week's worth of lunches (and dinners). Yeah... I think I went with a really dull option, but hopefully it works okay.

After we'd done all the supermarketry, we came back here for the unpacking portion... then I really didn't have anything I needed to do so I left it in Ma's hands. We ended up going into work so she could pick up a few last things. I mostly just wandered around with her and tried to stay out of the way whenever possible since people in shops at Christmas is crazy.

We finished off with a visit to Burger Theory and I tried the overly spicy (for me anyway) Burger of the Month, the Spicy Chicken Burger. The chicken part was good, but the spicy part, between a spice level and a texture level, not really working for me unfortunately. But that's okay, I think that's only about the second or third of their BOTMs that I haven't really connected with.

Then it was back here, Ma went on her merry way and I killed a little bit of time before I went off to Progression Tattoo for my consultation with Tom.

It's a great looking studio... it feels a little like a 19th Century bordello (in a good way) as far as the decor is concerned, and there were a bunch of people around since today was there open day. Fortunately I was the last consult of the day I think, so while I was having my appointment everybody else kind of cleared out.

Tom is lovely... and given that I didn't have 100% of a concept about what I wanted, I just knew some of the major brush strokes. But Tom was very helpful about refining what I was looking for, and what would look good, so I'm excited to see what he comes up with.

But I'll have to wait until April for my first appointment... not really surprising since I was last up for the day.

So, yeah, it was a much better end to the week than the way it began... although I'm not looking forward to how hot it's going to get next week. I'm hoping that it calms down a little before Christmas.

Current Mood:

my adelaide fringe picks 2016

my adelaide fringe picks 2016
I think this year could be the longest period of time between the Fringe guide being available and me actually booking my tickets in what feels like quite a while.

But it also resulted in me booking into the largest number of shows since I started doing major excursions to the Fringe. Previously I managed twenty one shows and was decidedly in need of a dark quiet room and a long lie down... this year I've ended up with twenty five shows. Most of them I'm going to with Ma as usual, but I've managed to keep nine just for myself.

It's an interesting mixture of completely new stuff, new shows by old favourites and repeats... although the repeats are only The Bunker Trilogy (Morgana, Agamemnon and Macbeth), Briefs and A Simple Space.

But I know that due to the nature of the shows, the latter two will be altered from the last time I saw them.

In all other things I took my own advice from last year... specifically Rule 2, take a chance on something new (and to a lesser degree Rule 5... there's a lot of circus in my selections).

Even the venues have changed up quite a bit. We're in the Garden of Unearthly Delights way more than we've been for the last several years, and hardly in Gluttony at all.

Given that there was a larger number of shows, and a number of them were on at similar times, the planning stage was something of an ordeal. And then once I'd decided on seeing The Bunker Trilogy on my birthday, I realised that Womad was on that weekend... and given that the trilogy is taking place in the Botanical Gardens this year, it seemed like a very bad idea, so there was some reshuffling that needed to take place.

But in the end it all seemed to come together quite well, even if I won't end up with an awful lot of free time during the month of Fringe...
  • Exposing Edith: Exposing Edith is a stunning mix of authentic, vintage French pop and contemporary sounds.
  • A Night At the Musicals: UK Drag icon and artiste extraordinaire Jonny Woo teams with Adelaide Festival darling and Olivier winning star of La Clique and La Soiree, Le Gateau Chocolat for an evening of unadulterated musical theatre nonsense.
  • The Bookbinder: The Bookbinder weaves shadowplay, paper art, puppetry, and music into an original dark fairytale in the vein of Coraline and Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell. An inventive one-man performance for curious children and adventurous adults.
  • Bruce: Keeping you at the edge of your seat, Bruce will sweep you away on an epic adventure of love and revenge. He may be just a yellow block of foam, but Bruce's out to prove he's got a heart of pure gold.
  • Three Birds One Cock: Why is it that Alfred Hitchcock's beautiful women are often the victims of gruesome and violent storylines? Using their feminine charms (what else would they have?), they must steer the course of fate and take revenge on their master puppeteer.
  • The Bunker Trilogy: Morgana: On the reserve lines of World War One, three young soldiers in search of distraction and delight find more than they’d bargained for in the beautiful, mysterious and mystical Morgana Le Fay.
  • The Bunker Trilogy: Agamemnon: An intense reimagining of the Ancient Greek legend. Enter the trenches of the First World War, 1918 and journey into the delusions of a shell-shocked solider, devastated by war, cut off from help, convinced of a plot to bring him down.
  • The Bunker Trilogy: Macbeth: An immersive and intense reimagining of the Shakespearean legend thrusts you deep into the trenches of the First World War as the warrior, tormented by witches, hallucinations and apparitions, prepares for his final battle.
  • Total Nonstop Tricks: Total Nonstop Tricks brings together athletes from their respective fields into a collective and explodes them onto stage with beats, DJ and lights to display their love for movement, creativity and passion.
  • Scotch and Soda: This is circus and jazz, served straight up. A show that is an actual cocktail of exciting artistic personalities, world class circus, heart pounding barroom and junkyard jazz, and one final ingredient - the audience.
  • Adam Richard - Splitsecondism: A show about bludgers, beavers and badly translated tattoos.
  • Bicycle: Upon meeting an enigmatic Transylvanian Count, a Victorian Englishwoman is given a bicycle. But this gift comes with a price: midnight supper at his place. This invitation proves too tempting to resist and her mortal life is changed forever.
  • Tolu: A vivaciously fun story told through circus, dance and play by the sensational Casus Circus. Audiences of all ages will have their imaginations sparked by the three awe-inspiring performers, as they twist, flip, spiral, balance, jump and climb.
  • Half Hour Hamlet: Come and see Shakespeare the way it should be done, fast, furious and ridiculous! Patrick Hercamp presents William Shakespeare’s very own 'Hamlet' done in 30 minutes!
  • Sound and Fury's Lord of the Thrones: Sound and Fury brings their brand-new mash-up parody of two reasonably well-known literary works. And a lucky audience member shall play the hero, Frogurt Snark, on the adventure of a lifetime!
  • My Life as a Gay Bum: It's time to share the many strange, funny and weird moments I experienced in darkrooms, parks, toilets, cars and 100 more places in this autobiographic one-man show.
  • Undertone: Using live triggering to create soundscapes from the performance itself, Undertone blends the visual and auditory elements into an integrated whole. As the circus and the music directly influence one another, no two performances are ever the same.
  • Briefs: Briefs return with a jaw-dropping, eye-popping evening of extravagant birdbath boylesque, too-close-for-comfort yo-yo tricks, valiant aerial acrobatics and show-stopping drag.
  • Duckie: Critically acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat is breaking out of his shell and reimagining a childhood favourite, The Ugly Duckling, in his new work Duckie. A classic tale of identity and belonging, Duckie explores what it's like to feel different... only with far more sing-alongs, Disney references, outlandish dress-ups and Chocolat than the original!
  • UnPlotted Potter: We're going off the Marauder’s Map and into the forbidden forest of supporting characters. Does Professor Flitwick have a girlfriend? How does Mr Borgin unwind at the end of the day? How did Madam Rosmerta come to own the Three Broomsticks? We want you to help us find out! You choose the character: we tell you their story.
  • William the Great: William the Great is a ceremony away from the crown, but his patience is tested as obstacles continue to pile up between him and his greatest dream. Through an elegant amalgam of highly skilled acrobatic numbers you will discover an eccentric kingdom filled with characters of an absurdly touching zaniness.
  • Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised: A doddery grandfather can't quite remember his ripping yarn, but with your help a mystery stuffed with hilarious characters, whip-smart wit and breathtaking twists will take hasty shape before your very eyes.
  • A Simple Space: The stage is bare, costumes basic, and lighting and sound DIY by the performers live on stage. In this stripped-back state, we, as performers, have nothing to hide behind, and our true stories and connection seep through. It’s a terrifying and liberating way to perform!
  • Down Down Lucifer: Lucifer wants to be God. The only problem is the angels hate him, men demonize him and his adversary is an all-powerful creator being at the head of an unbeatable celestial dictatorship. How will he ever collect enough souls to stage his coup?
Current Mood:

decking the overheated christmas tree

hot little white christmas tree
Sunday was the annual trimming of the tree at Ma's place, but due to general exhaustion, overheating and spending eleven hours asleep on Monday night, this is the first chance I've had to blog about it.

Due to the fact that it was going to be a hot day, I made sure that I had my crap together early... and given that it was already 27°C at 7am, I was already heading out the door.

And after enjoying my very icy Iced Coffee (I wrapped it in two of those blue gel icepacks for the drive down and they were so cold they actually froze little bits of the coffee... so fucking nice), I got to work putting up the tree.

No really major earth shattering revelations there.

Although I always enjoy finding the messages from myself, and adding to them when appropriate. It's also a pretty damn accurate indication of my mood the previous year.

We did have something of a revelation when it came time to put the lights on though... partly because the tree spins. Not all of it, but the all-in-one top piece rotates, as does the section with the next three levels on it... so instead of walking around and around and around the tree, I actually spun the damn tree and let the lights find their own level.

Okay, it was slightly more complex than that, but it kinda worked. And I went with a very rough "thread the lights around the end of each branch" approach which seemed to work pretty well, although there was some additional threading of the string around the tree at the end that may be complicated to undo.

We'd been debating what colour scheme to go with this year after last year's little rainbow tree, and we were going to start with either just red or red and silver this year, but wouldn't you know it, it turns out we have like one box of silver baubles, so it looked pretty damn lame... and red on it's own was more sparse than I would have liked.

So we added the green, of which we have a large number... but it was still missing something, so we added in the golds.

decked out in red, green and goldmaking some artistic lego gifts
You know what, for somebody who thought that white trees were just plain tacky for years and years and years and years, I'm kind of annoyed with myself that we didn't go over to "the light side" forever ago. It's a much better tree for Ma's house, and the fact that the lights make the whole tree glow (which I'm sure I will find some way to say every single Christmas) makes the whole tree so beautiful when it's finished.

My only small complaint is that it wasn't a particularly expensive tree since Ma was just testing the idea of a white tree... so it could be better quality.

Once we were happy with the tree, we did some reorganising of other Christmas stuff that we don't need and started to put together a bunch of stuff to donate or otherwise get rid of.

And all this while working with no air-conditioning with general overheated ennui continuing from Saturday.

We then had some lunch and started on the wrapping presents.

And can I just say, not really our best work to date.

Although I was very pleased with the two Lego minifig frames I put together for junior members of the extended family. It's the same idea as the Spaceman frames I put together last year but made with figures from the Castle range and (admittedly very good, but still) knockoff superhero figures.

The fun part was realising that I had four characters who are about to face off against each other in their respective movies (Iron Man vs Captain America and Superman vs Batman), so that made the organisation of the characters easy. And I'm pretty sure there have been more than a few Hulk vs Spidey stories in the comics.

We also put together the baskets we always arrange for Princess T and Miss Oh... again, not necessarily the best versions of those, but they will only see them for about 10 seconds before they start opening them, so it's all good.

Then there was some additional organisation of other stuff in the wrapping department that we don't use and is just taking up space... then we called it a day.

But that meant that I was still driving home in 39°C plus weather.

So while it wasn't the worst day for putting up the tree (incredibly sleep deprived and last year's ear infection rank pretty highly), it's done and it looks pretty.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: very hot weekend

bondi touristsbondi sign

bondi hilltopgrass board

stank facelifeguard gulls
I'm really not sure what the hell I have to say... partly because it's fairly hot right now (and all weekend actually, after a very mild week), even with the aircon and fan going. Well, the temperature is okay, but the general sense of ennui tinged with frustration that generally comes along with hot weather.

I've had the two big boxes of Christmas related tchotchkes sitting in the corner of my living room all week, but I just can't summon up the interest, energy or wherewithall to actually put any decorations up beyond the DIY tree (which I'll admit, looks a little sad this time around).

I did take my little gay pink tinsel tree to work and put that up, so I'm about 50% more festive than I was last year... but beyond that, nothing.

I might have to dig around in the boxes for one or two things I can put out, but overall I can't be bothered taking a bunch of stuff down, putting a bunch of different stuff out and then having to take it all down and out the old stuff out again all inside of a month.

Yes, I know, bah humbug... I'm not against anybody else doing it, and I'll be heading down to Ma's place early tomorrow morning for the annual trimming de la tree... so yeah... just not massively bothered about getting all yuletide up in my apartment.

I attempted to start the cross-stitch I want to give to Tink's girls and that I should really have started working on in about August this week, only to discover that this whole "fabric painting Aida cloth" thing is harder than it looks, and I'd completely screwed up my first attempt by using far too much paint.

That meant I had to abandon the first try and paint some more fabric, which seems to have worked out a whole lot better. However now I only have a week and a half to do the two pieces (well, a week really so that I can get them framed up as well). It shouldn't be too hard, it'll just be fiddly.

As far as work is concerned, well, there's a level of frustration there too... there was some minor tantrum activity from the person originally responsible for the stuff we had to rework fairly quickly last Friday... but you know what, a) you weren't here, b) you screwed it up... deal with it.

Then I had a lot of additional work to deal with instead of my actual work. Well, some of it was actual work, but demanded a lot of my time and concentration because I had to reorganise a sizable badly constructed document into sensible content... which in turn meant I discovered something that ended up being pretty damn important to The Nut House that we were unaware of. And not fun kittens and rainbows stuff either... no idea how that's going to pan out.

But the other vague sense of aggravation is Newbie... she's nice enough (although not even in the same ballpark as Pixie) but she's just not always present. And mostly I mean that in a physical sense. If I turn around at any point, then it's a 50/50 bet as to whether she'll be there when I turn back again. Yes, okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by a hell of a lot.

Part of it is that she just doesn't think... or doesn't think outside of her own little bubble. And I get that... she's half my age more or less. But it does make things more difficult at times.

All of which means that there's a very low background level of frustration... more so when I know she's goofing off (not that we don't all goof off, but there's a time and a place) or just isn't where she should be.

At some point there will be a conversation with La Ninj about it... probably over the Christmas break.

Otherwise work is just really damn busy.

I did manage to carve out a little time mid week to go through the Fringe guide though... and I was pleasantly surprised. Initially it didn't look promising, but I ended up with more things in my short list than I have the last couple of years, and while I still need to make a couple of final decisions about stuff, it's looking promising.

Today was more about getting things done as quickly as possible and keeping cool wherever possible.

We started with the usual supermarketry... I'm having the same kind of obsession with salad dressings currently that I had with soups over winter. Although to be honest this is much more of a "throw stuff in together and hope for the best" kind of thing... but pretty much all of them have been successful. Which is the long way around to say that not only did I buy a couple of different pre-prepared dressings, I also added to my collection of vinegars.

Otherwise it was a fairly average excursion.

After getting back and unpacking we headed out to the Flinders Street Market... they were having a Christmas Bazaar in conjunction with Etsy. But if I'm going to be really, really honest, it was 80% the similar stuff we've seen at individual markets or at other places.

I did find a couple of things for Ma and also couldn't resist a little red furry monster from the Little Green Cat stall.

But otherwise, same old same old.

From there we headed to Good Guys to find Ma a replacement evaporative cooler since the one she has is on it's last legs. And you would think that on a weekend forecast to be over 40°C they would actually put additional staff in the fan/cooler section. Yeah, not so much. Eventually they got the concept and Ma asked appropriate questions until she didn't have any more, so we let the salesman go serve someone else while she made up her mind.

Which she eventually did, and a different very personable and chipper (yeah, chipper is the word, he wasn't perky but decidedly chipper) young man did all the ringing it up.

Last stop was Ikea... I needed frames for the cross-stitch (or will if they get finished in time), Ma had things she wanted frames for and we hadn't had the opportunity to rummage through their Christmas section (the red and gold was good, but overall nothing thrilling).

So we mostly wandered around the ground floor, managed to fill up a bag with a collection of stuff and that was pretty much that.

We grabbed some lunch on the way back, then went through the Fringe shows I'd shortlisted and ditched a number of them from the Ma and Me list to the Just Me list. So depending on how many of those I keep, I may be seeing almost half of next years shows solo.

Current Mood:

movies: the hunger games: mockingjay part two

the hunger games - mockingjay part two - the revolution is about all of us
I think that a lot of what I'm going to say about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is going to be very similar to what I had to say about Part 1.

While I still don't know that they really had to split the book into two parts, it did leave the majority of this movie involved with action.

At this point I don't remember all the details of the book, but this certainly feels close to the original material.

After not really featuring all that much in the first half, Josh Hutcherson comes back strong in the final instalment. Jennifer Lawrence is always strong, although this movie is more about the action than the introspection.

And once again the costumes are definitely a stand-out... from Katniss's range of black on black on black battlewear through to the small number of perfect outfits worn by Elizabeth Banks as Effie (particularly the origami inspired angular kimono towards the end of the movie)... Kurt and Bart (yes, still no surnames) have done excellent work once again.

There's also a lot of fantastic CGI... so much so that I couldn't actually pick out the moments that were CGI, I mean sure, there's some effects that couldn't happen any other way... but it's all exceptionally high quality and you can't see where the real visuals end and the effects begin.

And if some of the locations were actual places I'd love to know where exactly, there were some amazing looking places.

Other than that I don't have a lot to say... it's a good way to finish out the franchise.

yani's rating: 3 pods out of 5

stephen fry in adelaide

stephen fry in adelaide for one evening only
This was the third time I've seen Stephen Fry live... or fourth if you count when I took Ma to see him "live" on the big screen (which wasn't in the least bit live, but it was him on stage doing that thing that he does so well)... and the first time he's been to Adelaide (as far as I know), the previous two instances being in Melbourne.

And seriously, I could listen to that man talk until he completely ran out of words or things to say (I'm guessing in both instances that would take a considerable amount of time). Doubly so if he started doing accents or impressions, which I think he is unable to stop himself from doing.

I would also be very happy to listen to him repeat his favourite line from The Importance of Being Earnest...
"I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection."
It was something of an interesting crowd... there were clearly a large proportion of the homosexual persuasion... some of whom I'm pretty sure had come straight from Picnic in the Park just across the river from the Festival Theatre, then there were what I'm guessing were just general Fry fans... and possibly people involved in the Dunstan Foundation. And then there were people who may have fit in all or none of those... I mean I'm pretty sure that former PM, Julia Gillard was also in the audience.

The event was hosted (or possibly MC'ed) by political journalist Annabel Crabb. And I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed most of her hosting... while I don't have a major dislike for her, she's just not somebody I'm especially fond of, but mostly she was good.

They divided the event into two halves... after a brief intro by Crabb, Stephen spoke for around half an hour (and walked just short of 2km with his continual pacing back and forth... we know because he counted it on his Apple watch), then Crabb came back out and they sat down for some questions for the following forty five minutes (which turned into just this side of an hour).

Stephen spoke about Oscar Wilde, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality and his own homosexualist journey from impressionable youngster learning about Wilde through to now. And as I said at the start, I could listen to him just talk about anything he likes for as long as he likes.

Crabb's questioning in the second half started off pretty well, but I think it got a little fluffy towards the end... of course she may have been attempting to bring it back from the kind of serious/dark place it went to. But the aforementioned listening to Stephen thing was still in effect.

So all in all it was an excellent evening.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: urban layers

melbourne goddesswell worn eyebird

words and shoespainted face
Clearly I didn't sleep terribly well last night, or else the week I've had has just worn me the fuck out, because I really feel like I could go and have a nap. But if I do that I'm liable to wake up at like 2am ready to start the day.

Going back to last weekend, I managed to do a few things I've been needing to get a move on with... first and foremost, Ma's yearly calendar made from my photos...

This year is technically a little bit of a cheat...

Partly because we didn't go anywhere this year, so I went back through all our previous trips and worked out that 2015 was actually the ten year anniversary of our first trip to Melbourne. And we'd actually made twelve trips in total... so it seemed like it was all coming together perfectly.

Hence the "Dec-ade" calendar was born.

However, it's the calendar for 2016, so it's a decade plus one technically... and it was only after I'd designed the whole thing that I realised that one of the shots in question was actually from my solo trip to Sydney in 2012. Whoops. But I liked the image in question, and to be honest I didn't have anything to replace it with.

It's also the first year that I haven't reshuffled the months excessively... which was great... but mostly because I did it all chronologically.

And it definitely reinforces the fact that we really need to go somewhere next year.

Sunday addendum: Every year when I go to get the calendar bound at Officeworks, I'm convinced that they're going to screw it up and ruin it somehow... every year I'm very happy to find that they don't.

So I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but this year, Steph, who served me, bound it along the left edge not the top.

Now a) I'm always very specific about telling them to bind it "along the top" and b) it's a fucking calendar, why would you ever, ever think that it should be NOT bound across the top. After I pointed out that she'd completely fucked it up she offered to trim it off and do it again, but I decided to live with it as it is. She also didn't charge me for the binding, which was good.

And after ringing Ma to complain to her, she said I should speak to the manager... which I was in two minds about... but then the universe took the decision out of my hands by having a member of staff ask me if there was anything they could help me with... I said, yes, who's the manager, she said that'd be me, and we were off to the races as they say.

I basically told her what the situation was and that I would deal with the item as it was, but that Steph had basically screwed up a Christmas present and that she should be more careful and use her common sense a little more in future.

The thing that will be the real kick in the rubber parts is if it turns out that Ma actually likes it bound along the wrong edge once she uses the calendar.

And now back to the previously scheduled post...

I also got around to looking through my cross-stitch supplies to see if I had any of the colours for the mini Disney princess pattern from Wee Little Stitches I'm intending to make for Tink's girls... I'm planning on splitting the pattern in two... giving half to each girl.

As it turns out the pattern requires 44 different colours... of which I had ten. Thankfully Ma came to the party with another ten, and then I picked the rest up today. Not that they'll go to waste or anything.

Speaking of Tink, this week was also Haircut Night... and we made further plans for my pre-Christmas hair-do... I still don't know if it's going to be the best hair decision I've ever made, but I've made worse ones. And it's possibly only for that one month if it turns out to be horrendous or ridiculous.

Otherwise, we just did the usual cut and colour on my hair this time around.

In other news from this week, work has been incredibly draining. Partially physically, but mostly mentally... and because every time I feel like I'm getting on top of things I end up feeling like I'm back behind the eight ball.

Hopefully once things start to drop off slightly I'll be able to catch up... or at least process things enough that I can pass them on to other people to complete.

I also got an emergency call from La Ninj at 6:30 on Thursday morning saying that I needed to publish some content to the website right that second... cut to me eating cereal with one hand and making changes to the website with the other about ten minutes later. Fun times.

But I was also a little annoyed that there were so many people on leave on Friday... and that a couple of us are having to rework stuff that someone else was supposed to be managing because it wasn't done properly the first time around... and they're on leave for a week.

On a completely (well mostly anyway) unrelated note... I got my two big boxes of Christmas things out from under my bed this week. It was partially so that I could find my little gay Christmas tree to put on my desk at work. I don't know how much stuff I'm actually going to put up around the apartment, but I might have a crack at it during the week in the lead up to next weekend when I'll go down to Ma's to put the tree up at her place.

Oh, and the Fringe guide drops next week... so that means a couple of days of insanity picking and planning and buying tickets... and then two months of waiting for the Fringe to start.

That's pretty much it though, for this week anyway.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: brick colours

blue and yellowblue and yellow

green, orange and whitegreen and tan
So SBS's new channel, The Food Network (Australia) has only been running for like three days, but already I can tell that I'm going to spend a fair bit of time watching it. At least until they screw it up, or they keep repeating shows (which seems to be a little bit of a thing at the moment) so I've seen everything.

Otherwise this week has been much the same as usual...

It is always interesting when somebody points out that someone else does stuff in much the same way you do it, however you get away with it because you're you and they don't because they're not. And you realise that maybe been unconsciously teaching them that's the way to behave, so you attempt to modify their reactions by modifying yours (and, to some degree theirs).

On the flip side, it's also interesting that both of my 2IC's are more like me than seemingly anybody else we work with. I swear, they came that way, I didn't break them.

The only massive downside to the week was that every time I tidied up my email inbox, it got filled up with stuff again almost immediately. Not really the way I prefer to work... I like to keep shit tidy so that I know what I have and haven't done.

But yeah, it was more or less business as usual... or the usual that is usual currently.

Today was also a return to form, with Ma coming down to my place and us doing the usual supermarket shopping.

And it was pretty much all the same as usual.

After we were finished we headed back here, I unpacked all my stuff and then we headed out to do both the Flinders Street Market and the Bowerbird Bazaar.

We started with Flinders Street and one of the expanded markets they're having in the lead up to Christmas. To be honest, while I bought a few things the first few times we went, the more we go the less interesting things there are. Granted a lot of the stuff is food or jewellery or artwork... and really I have enough art.

But it was interesting enough.

From there we went down to the showgrounds for Bowerbird. What we didn't know is that in addition to Bowerbird, Supernova was also on... as well as some sort of Uni exam thing. All of which made parking a bitch, however it did mean that we walked into the showgrounds with Maleficent and Yokai (the masked villain from Big Hero 6)... we also saw Ursula and Davy Jones, Cruella de Vil and a couple of Harley Quinns.

However, Bowerbird I am officially and for always over.

I know stuff like this is always going to get bigger and busier than it was when it first started, however I miss the intimate little market we went to all the way back in 2009 and 2010.

But now it just seems to be a certain kind of clientele... which is great for Bowerbird, I'm sure it makes all the stalls a lot of money, but the client profile really isn't me (or Ma particularly for that matter), and that also means that the stalls themselves have changed from a range of quirky fun things to stuff that mostly works for the clientele profile. And since I'm not a woman in her late twenties to early thirties either with or without a kid in a pram, then it's really not my scene anymore.

Ma did pick up a few things for Christmas presents... and our nice friends with the brownie stall were there in the corner, so I got brownies... and Archie the Pastizzi Bus was there, and I haven't had pastizzi from Archie is forever, so that was great too.

Current Mood:

movies: spectre

I think I said this last time, but Spectre definitely feels like a proper Bond movie.

Although, having said that, I didn't have the same enthusiastic response to this movie that I had to Skyfall.

But a Bond movie has a number of elements where it lives or dies (no pun intended)...

The pre-credit sequence... while it starts slow, it's the kind of big set piece you expect in a Bond movie.

The credits and theme song... these credit are definitely ones that you will get more out of the second time around... there's a lot going on... and they feature Bond in a way I haven't seen before. The song however... sorry Sam Smith, but no, just no. It's basically just screechy noise most of the time.

The villain... for the first time in the Daniel Craig movies, it feels like we have a proper bad guy. But that is because they've gone back to the original... Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played appropriately evilly by Christoph Waltz. And he has a proper lair and a proper henchman... things that I felt were missing from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.

The women... Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, although Bellucci is definitely of the "blink and you'll miss her" variety. Seydoux is very believable as a strong, capable woman who isn't so much a match for Bond as an appropriate counterpoint.

The action... of which there's actually not a giant amount... there's a couple of interesting car chases, although I did feel more like one of them was more about Bond and the car than it was about the chaser. And there's a fight scene that's part From Russia With Love, part Live and Let Die and more than a little Kill Bill 2. But other than that it's more cat and mouse or small beats of action rather than full sequences.

There were also a number of small nods to previous Bond movies... not too often that it got self referential, but there were things here and there.

Having said all of that, which was mostly positive... I will say that at 148 minutes, it was maybe about half an hour too long. Yes, I know that Skyfall was only 5 minutes shorter, but it never felt like it was that long, whereas this one did tend to drag at times.

There was also more involvement with M, Q, Moneypenny and the old M's right hand man, Tanner this time around... which did at one point feel like it was an audition for an English spy TV show.  But I do really like the interactions between Bond and both Q and Moneypenny.

So overall, good but not great... but it did feel more like the older Bond movies than they have up until now... which I suppose is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about the older movies.

yani's rating: 4 helicopters out of 5


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