lego minifigure series - disney

Okay, let's just get this out of the way right away... I'm so freaking excited for this set of Lego/Disney minifigures. Not all of them mind you, but just the fact that they're doing them at all, and they haven't even done all the characters they could have done... I'm excited.

Let's back up a bit... there's been the rumour that Lego was going to produce a Disney themed set of minifigures for a while now, but it was only when a really bad quality version of an ad showed up a few weeks back that it seemed like it was going to be a reality.

I'm a Disneyphile, always have been... not to a scary or excessive amount, but I have a small collection of Stitches, Tinkerbells and Maleficents, Ursulas and Wicked Queens (well, Queen singular to be honest), and I've seen pretty much every Disney animated movie at one time or another, so this set is going to be right up my alley.

And the set is made up of...
  • Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Syndrome (The Incredibles)
  • Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)
  • Donald Duck
  • Daisy Duck
  • Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
  • Aladdin (Aladdin, dur)
  • Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
  • Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
  • The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Mr Incredible/Bob Parr (The Incredibles)
  • Green Alien (Toy Story)
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Peter Pan (Peter Pan, also dur)
  • Genie (Aladdin)
  • Ursula (The Little Mermaid)

I'm also going to need to get three Stitches, Maleficents and Ursulas (one for the set, one for work and one to sit with my Stitch and Villainess collections). It's a definite toss up between Stitch and Maleficent as to which is my favourite of the whole set, But I also really like Peter, Buzz and the skirt design on Alice/Minnie... maybe they can finally do away with those dumb cloth/paper skirts we usually end up with.

Weirdly, the four minifigs I'm not really bothered about are Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy. I get why they're there, but m'eh. Especially Mickey and Daisy, they're just boring designs from the neck down.

What I find most interesting though is that the set practically screams sequel. There's a Maleficent but no Sleeping Beauty, a Buzz but no Woody, Stitch by no Lilo, no Mrs Incredible, no Jasmin, no Tinkerbell. I'm guessing sales of this set will determine whether we get a second one.

Now I just need to wait until May...

Current Mood:

lego: the mystery machine

With everything that has been going on since before Christmas, the Lego Scooby Doo set, The Mystery Machine, has been waiting for me to find the right time to put it together.

This afternoon, after I finally unpacked some other tchotchkes, I figured it was a good time... so I broke out the card table and got to work...

I was a big Scooby Doo fan when I was a kid (specifically of Scooby Doo Where Are You?)... even though every episode is essentially the exact same thing repeated over and over again... so I couldn't resist getting one of the Scooby sets when they came out.

And the Mystery Machine seemed the best set, as it was self contained and really, the Mystery Machine is just iconic.

The set comes with Freddy, Shaggy, Scooby Doo, the Mystery Machine and a haunted tree with a zombie. Given the plot of the old Scooby Doo episodes usually included something that glowed, I'm kind of surprised that they didn't make the zombie's head and hands and the trees eyes glow in the dark.

It comes in three numbered bags, two instructions books and a set of stickers which are responsible for most of the design on both the outside and inside of the Mystery Machine.

Weirdly, all four minifigures aren't in the first bag, the first bag just holds Shaggy, Scooby and the bottom half of the Mystery Machine.

The back of the van is actually more cramped than I expected it to be, and the floor has a line of 2x1 white jumper plates which didn't make any sense until I realised that they let Scooby stand in the back.

One of my favourite features of this half of the set is the way the front and rear bumpers are made... they just look really spot on, especially with the light placement.

Bag two hold Freddy and the top half of the Mystery Machine... I forgot to take a shot of the first bag knolled out... but here's my rough and ready version of knolling for the parts in the second bag.

One of the annoying things is that while there's space for other accessories (a flashlight and a camera) built into the design of the van, the newpaper and magnifying glass that come with Freddy don't have any specific place to go.

In the end I stuck the newspaper in the gap between the front and back of the van and gave Shaggy the magnifier to hold.

To increase the playability of the set, it's been designed so that the back folds out and shows off the stickers on the inside as well as allowing access to all the details.

As far as the outside is concerned, I was a little disappointed that the hubcaps don't actually spin along with the wheels... the axles are fixed and the hubcaps are attached to them, so the wheels spin independently. It's a small detail, but it would have been nice.

The back of the van contains the two pinboard stickers, a tape deck with speakers, two computer monitors, a sink and tap and a stove complete with glowing orange elements. Oh and a hamburger (without any meat, weirdly).

The final bag includes the roof on the van, the haunted tree and the zombie...

There's a small detail on the back of the zombie's head that I love (although I didn't get it in a photo), which is what looks like a flap of skin held in place with two buttons or rivets. I don't know if it's supposed to indicate that it's a mask, but it's just a really nice detail.

And here's the haunted tree... and the back, which shows that not everything is as it seems... also The MacGuffin Diamond, which I assume is what the real estate developer or fairground owner or hotel manager who's under the zombie mask was after all along.

The haunted tree also involves big claw arms and branches with some articulation... and a screen with a diagram of the Mystery Machine on it and a bunch of levers and switches.

I also took some beauty shots on a green background...

I like the shot on the left, it's a simple shot, but it just looks really cool... and the shot on the right shows the alternate faces on the backs of Shaggy and Freddy's heads. I do kind of feel that the expressions should be the other way around, with Shaggy more freaked out and Freddy just unhappy.

The roof of the Mystery Machine is only held in place with two studs, again to aid playability and access to the inside of the van.

And the overall shape of the van is pretty much spot on, so the whole thing would be instantly recognisable even without the stickers I think. 

Here's Shaggy and Freddy with the flashlight (made from a lightsaber handle), and the camera... plus the square lettuce, cheese and tomato hamburger.

The last shot is the Mystery Machine standing on it's end, showing off the details as seen from above. The beige square is the hamburger, and you can just see where I put the newspaper, and Shaggy holding the magnifying glass.

It's a cute set, and this is the only one that includes Freddy... whereas Shaggy and Scooby appear in all four sets in the range.

Current Mood:

movies: zootopia

zootopia - welcome to the urban jungle
Disney's latest offering is Zootopia, the tale of a rookie bunny cop and a con artist fox teaming up in the tradition of all good odd couple stories.

Judy, the bunny, is voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, while Jason Bateman feels perfectly cast as Nick, the fox.

There isn't a whole lot of new ground covered as far as the plot is concerned... there's a mystery, the odd couple must come together to solve it... and find out they're better as a team. There's also a lot of "cop movie" clichés thrown in for good measure. And they even found space to make fun of Disney... there's a great jab at Frozen in there, and a funny reference to the "Zootopian" version of various Disney movies. Not to mention other movies (particularly The Godfather) and general pop culture references.

There's also some really subtle (or not, depending on how much you're looking for it), references to stereotyping, and basically racial profiling of people who are considered dangerous (or have been in the past). You can pretty much slot any ethnic or minority group into the story and still see the allegory.

As you would expect from a Disney movie, it looks amazing... from all the intricate detail of the fur on the animals, to just the fact that the world of Zootopia feels alive and full of movement and animals. I did appreciate the fact that they didn't go for the idea of "oh it's an animal city, all the buildings should be animal shaped or referenced" low hanging fruit. Sure, there's a number of natural world references throughout some of the buildings, but they're just beautiful buildings.

And the animals themselves are beautiful to look at... from the big luminous eyes, to the soft, petable looking fur all the way through to the personalities and animation... there's a lot to like about Zootopia's citizens.

One thing I don't really understand though it why they feel the need to shoehorn in "local content"... one of the characters is a newsreader... in the original version he's a moose and is voiced by a famous journalist, which is fine. But for the Australian version he's been replaced with a koala and is voiced by David Campbell (ie not a journalist). And in the Japanese version he's a racoon dog, the Chinese get a panda, the British version is a corgi and Brazil gets a jaguar. Seriously? Why? Anyway...

All in all it's a sweet movie, perhaps not their best from a story perspective, but a definite visual feast.

yani's rating: 3 carrot pens out of 5

photo saturday: catching the wind

pirate kiterainbow diamond

rainbow spinnerflying horse
Last weekend seems like such a long time ago, even though it was a short work week... or it possibly would if I didn't still have shoe boxes from last week sitting by the bookshelves...

I don't have a lot to report for the week however... I somehow managed to either oversleep or just fail to get my ass into gear in time, so had to skip breakfast and pick something up in town twice. And in one of those cases still missed my regular bus.

Need to do better.

My standing desk is proving to be 50% blessing and 50% curse. Standing up all day is definitely better for my back, particularly since I tend to just sit on my ass in the evenings... however standing up essentially all day and then walking home for an hour, it does lead to some very sore feet. I try and move around as much as I can and I've tried different shoes with varying success... and the couple of times I've given up and just sat down it doesn't last long.

We'll see how we go.

I finally got around to watching the Mythbusters finale episode... and I'm not going to lie, I pretty much cried all the way through it. It's not just the end of an era, or the fact that it's been on for thirteen years, or the fact that I've seen just about every episode (and some a number of times) but it's also the fact that it used to be a quasi date night (without the actual, you know, dating) for J and I... he'd come over, I'd make something for dinner, we'd watch Mythbusters and then talk a bunch of shit. So I was sad to see it go, but I'm interested to see what Adam is going to do now... Jamie, I think, will mostly retreat back to special effects, but Adam... Adam could do anything.

Yesterday, being a public holiday, was something of a day well spent... I mostly pottered around the apartment, made a great smoothie in the morning using what I'd normally have for breakfast (Weetbix), but turned into a smoothie... then finally dealt with some of the stuff that's just been sitting in wrong places around the apartment... books, all the crap down the side of the bed that needed to go somewhere... so that I had room for all my Lego minifigs in their cases under the window. It's a perfect location as far as amount of space, but they just feel very far away. I know I didn't spend a lot of time looking at them since they were behind my chair at the old place, and if I wanted to look at them, they were right there. Plus I tended to look at them all the time without really seeing them if you know what I mean... they were background but I could notice them if I wanted to.

Now they just seem a little too far away. And the third row sits under the level of the curtain... so that's a pain.

On the up side, at least they're out of the box, and a bunch of stuff that should have found a home is no longer just sitting out on display.

Later in the afternoon I put together what I think is probably one of the best tuna mornays I've made in a good long while. I mostly stuck to my regular recipe, but this time I actually put all the spices in while it was still at the flour and butter stage. Not sure if that made any kind of difference, but it possibly meant that I cooked the flour out a little longer. It was also pretty thick at a couple of stages, which is always good.

I ended up filling up the one big casserole dish I now own... but I filled it right up to the very, very, very top, which is always dangerous. I also topped it off with grated cheese and crushed up corn chips, which actually worked really, really well, even though the chips themselves didn't have a lot of flavour to them.

And I ended up with enough to have for lunch all this week, on top of being have to have two helpings at dinner.

However it did mean that for the first time since I moved in I had to tackle the massive unwieldy beast that is my new oven. And you know what... it's still a complete mystery. I'm not completely sure if it's gas or electric, I do know that it's too fucking big for it's own good, and even after I switched it all off, there was still some sort of fan running inside for a good ten minutes or so.

I'm baffled, and frankly, still a little afraid of it. But at least I know it works.

Today got off to a later start than I'd intended, mostly because I switched off all my alarms on Friday and forgot to put the Saturday one back on.

But I was still ready to go by the time Ma arrived...

Shopping was both a little easier and somewhat less focused because I didn't have to buy any supplies for lunches. I'm thinking it could be time to return to a soup-based lunch... or at least try some other easy to make bulk lunch ideas until it's properly time to start up soup season again.

But otherwise shopping was fine. We came back here, did the usual unpacking, and I also cleared out my freezer, which didn't need much of a clear to be honest, more of a reorganising and to finally get around to taking the frozen cookie dough out that's been lurking in the back for several months. I may just make a whole bunch of cookies and take them in to work... saves me from eating all of them myself. Depends on how good a cookie they are I suppose.

We debated going to see the Kite Festival as we've done on previous Easters, but, you know what, see one lot of kites, seen them all (but the kite photos at the top of the post from the year before last are an homage)... so instead we decided to head to the movies.

It's been quite a while since we've done the movie thing... true we had the Fringe, and I did sneak in a trip to see Daredevil, but the last time we saw something together was the end of December. So, yeah, quite a while.

We had a wander around Arndale first since Ma wanted to pick up a few things, and we haven't really been to Arndale in a while either.

After the movie (more on that shortly) we ended up coming up to North Adelaide to grab some late lunch from the 24 hour bakery. Again, something I haven't done in a while... the last time being the Sunday of the move.

A little weird, nostalgic and homesick, but yeah, I can't avoid a whole suburb. A street, yes, a suburb not so much.

Oh, and just to keep a general record of things... when I got my regular update from this week, what should show up as a new rental property... yeah, you guessed it, my old place. I don't know if it sold and whoever bought it flipped it straight over to a rental property, or if it just didn't sell and the owners were forced back into a rental situation. I kind of hope that it's the former rather than the latter to be honest. My wish was always that it sold quickly, but for less than they wanted, rather than it not selling (although I suspect that's probably the case).

I will say that they're asking an extra $25 a week rent from what I was previously paying, which comes out to $1300 a year... which is a little steep for nothing more than a new paint job.

It'll be interesting to see how long it stays in the list though... I mean the paint job and the fake furniture look nice, but it was previously on the books for quite some time (from what I remember) when I eventually found it, and that was $25 cheaper.

One last thing, I think I mentioned around the time of my birthday that when I was 21 I wrote a letter to myself to only be opened when I turned 42. And given that that was this birthday, I had Ma dig the letter out of storage and she brought it down this week. I still remember some of what it says, but depending on how cringe worthy or how interesting or how on the money I may have been half my life ago, I may turn it into a post of it's own. I do think I'm just going to roll my eyes at my 21 year old self and realise that I totally remembered all the salient details already.

We'll see.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: legonimals

lego bluejaybig lego pig

lego pandaslego roobot
Well, this has been a very different week... it started out with not just my birthday, but my birthday lining up (as it is want to do on various occasions) with the Adelaide Cup Day public holiday.

And I did a grand total of nothing on the holiday. Glorious nothing. Well, not exactly, but I didn't have to go anywhere, and I didn't talk to anyone all day, so as far as that goes, it was pretty much a perfect birthday.

I did finally get around to plugging in the PS4 on Sunday though and booted up Assassin's Creed Unity (the French one)... oh the joys of running and jumping and climbing up tall buildings once again. The last one (Rogue) was such a rehash of the previous couple of games that was a major disappointment, and one that I couldn't be bothered finishing. So it was nice to be back in what felt like a "real" AC game again.

It has consumed most of my evenings though... so much for getting to bed early once Fringe was over and done with.

Otherwise it's been a pretty quiet week.

I bought entirely too many donuts (and picked up my free birthday Boost juice) on the way into work on Tuesday and then we had an unofficial morning tea later that morning.

I also spent the first two days of the week working through the remainder of the document I started last Friday. Then I sent it off to the person responsible, La Ninj and our collective boss on Wednesday afternoon. And I've heard nothing since. Not really surprising since there were 900 tracked comments in the file once I was finished, it's kind of daunting, but even a cursory email back would have been nice.

Provided all the issues don't get ignored, I can live with a little lack of communication.

I also finally got my Varidesk standing desk for my work desk on Thursday afternoon... which meant that after I set it up I spent the whole of Friday standing at my desk. And explaining to people exactly how it worked and was adjustable.

It's going to be good I think, except there's that issue of standing up the whole day which may lose it's appeal sooner rather than later.

Today was fairly quiet... Ma was having her hair did this morning, so I was on my own for the first time at the new supermarket. I did my usual solo trick of slapping on my headphones as I wandered around, so it wasn't too arduous. Then I came back, unpacked and tidied up, washed some dishes, that kind of thing.

Ma still hadn't arrived so I settled in to play Assassin's Creed for a while (yeah, I know, addicted) until she rocked up.

All I really needed to do today was going and look at sneakers... I kind of killed my black sneakers by wearing a hole through the side of them, they technically wearable, but there's a hole... but the ugly multicoloured ones I wear to work/walk home in are now literally falling apart, when I took them off at work on Thursday, the sole has basically unglued itself.

So there was another trip to Paul's, the land of buy one, get one free sneakers.

new sneakers
Of course as I've previously said, the downside to Paul's is it's organised by crazy people, they often have shoes on display that they don't actually have, and given that I need to buy the 2E wider sneakers, I'm confined to a much narrower (no pun intended) selection.

There were some great gold, white and purple sneakers which I would have bought in a heartbeat, but yeah, not in my size.

And some idiot at the warehouse had decided that sticking bar code stickers over the place where the large size and width text was a good idea. It wasn't. It made the whole exercise so much harder because I had to get right up close to read the itty bitty replacement text on the stickers.

In the end I came away with four pairs (I got two pairs of the plain black ones in the middle) which came to $350, but I also saved $310, and the shoes ended up costing me about $87 each, which is pretty damn good. I do now need to get rid of the old ones though, and take a look at anything that I don't need anymore.

On the way back we stopped off at Haighs for Easter supplies, since that's at the end of this week...

Then we called off at the Village so Ma could pick up some stuff, and that was pretty much it for the day really.

It wasn't the most exciting day, but it was good, if only because it was relatively short after all the Fringe stuff.

Current Mood:

post fringe round-up 2016

post fringe blues 2016
The pink glittery haze that has lain over Adelaide for the past month is being swept away as workers slowly deconstruct The Garden, Croquet Club and Gluttony, the other venues return to their regularly scheduled purposes and the city quietens down again for another eleven months.

I'm not going to lie, going past The Garden on the bus every morning this week as they slowly pull it all down has made me a little misty.

Clearly I'm both very sad about the 2016 Adelaide Fringe coming to an end but at the same time I'm very glad to be able to just do nothing with my evenings again.

Seeing 25 shows (originally it was 24 but there was a late addition) in four weeks wasn't actually as traumatic as I feared it might be... I'd spaced things out enough to give me some breathing room, even if I did double and sometimes triple book myself on certain evenings. I could probably have seen another couple of shows a week to be honest, it was more dealing with the general public that wore me down (as always).

The end of this year brings me to a total of 120 shows since 2009, which is pretty impressive given that it started as a whim, turned into a leap of faith and is now something that I couldn't imagine NOT doing... and, to be honest, kind of judge the "oh, I should see something before it's all over" people.

Like the last couple of years, this year has been a mixture of brand new acts and returns of old favourites. There are some folks it would seem unthinkable NOT to go and see (Gravity and Other Myths, Le Gateau Chocolat, Sound and Fury, anything that Jethro Compton is involved with), whether they're returning with variations on the same show or bringing brand new pieces to town.

But there have also been a number of acts this time around that may find their way onto that list if they come back again, especially if they had other shows we never saw this time around like Trick of the Light who brought The Bookbinder and The Road That Wasn't There, Casus Circus with Tolu and Knee Deep.

I think this has been one of the best years for overall show quality... There's shows that I highly recommended to people sitting around the half way point on the list. And some of the shows aren't so much arranged the way they are because they were better, but because it's too hard to put things all at the same level.

During this year I did consider adding a five star rating system much like I use for movies... I'm not sure how much it will help me come this time of the year, but it may be a useful addition. So this is more of a note to future self.

So after all the rearranging and juggling all my reviews... this was my 2016 Fringe experience...
  1. Fag/Stag
    "Let's get this out in the open right away... Fag/Stag from The Last Great Hunt is a brilliant piece of theatre."

    And to think, this is a show I very nearly didn't see... it was without doubt the highlight of the festival.

  2. The Bookbinder
    "There isn't really a lot else to say without ruining the story... except to say that if you love stories... or books... or stories about books, then it's a show that you should go and see."

    This was such a perfect little show, if they bring their other show back next year, I'll be first in line for tickets.

  3. A Simple Space
    "One of the things that sets Gravity and Other Myths apart from almost every other physical theatre group we've seen is their showmanship... they always make the audience feel like they're part of each trick."

    How many possibly ways are there to say sublime?

  4. Tolu
    "What really set this show in its own unique category was the sweetness and gentleness of the performers and the way that made them approach those tricks."

    Acrobatics and circus tricks meet school yard play... granted I would have liked to see the all guy version, but this was so beautiful.

  5. Briefs
    "Everybody is at the top of their respective games and they make you WANT to hoot and holler and cheer and clap until your hands are still tingly over two hours after the show has finished."

    One of these days I'll win that raffle... I wonder how much it would cost to buy a whole book of tickets? But I'll keep going back for the sheer joy of it.

  6. Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised
    "They were all very happy to let the story go where it wanted to, were more than happy to ambush each other, throw in random one-liners and go out of their collective way to make the show fantastically funny."

    I've seen a number of improv shows over my time going to the Fringe, but I don't think I've laughed as hard or as much as I did at this show.

  7. Bicycle
    "Bicycle is high Victorian gothic, female empowerment (and disempowerment) and pedal power all rolled into one intriguing bundle."

    A fantastic story, a brilliant location and a talented actress plus one bike made for a very memorable show.

  8. Duckie
    "Because for any of us who were ever just an ugly duckling and never got to be a swan, finding other ducklings to share that with and knowing that sometimes it's okay just to be a duckling, is very important."

    I love Le Gateau Chocolat at the best of times, but this show has such an important message and it's told in just the right way for just the right age group, it's something that could very well change the world.

  9. Bruce
    "And it has a little of everything... comedy, action, romance, drama, science fiction and even a musical number, all while being thoroughly entertaining and engaging."

    Who knew that a sponge could be so watchable? But then with brilliant puppeteers, anything is possible.

  10. The Bunker Trilogy (Morgana, Agememnon and Macbeth)
    Morgana - "This really is the story of the relationship between Wood, Donnelly and Mathews, in a lot of ways the characters that Sanders plays are merely accessories to that relationship. "

    Agememnon - "To me though, it's Mathews who really dominates this whole piece, flicking between the clear agony of a fatally wounded Agamemnon on the battlefield to the man that wooed Clytemnestra in the flashbacks which make up the other half of the play."

    Macbeth - "I still believe that the way that Compton and Wilkes have streamlined Shakespeare's original story down to the pure elements of the relationship of Lord and Lady Macbeth and Banquo is one that the Bard himself would have heartily approved."

    I'm grouping these three together under one, since seeing them one after the other makes for one amazing night of theatre. I can't wait until Jethro brings one of the other three part shows to a future Fringe.

  11. Scotch and Soda
    "Then one of the down and dirtiest, quirkiest, most Lord of the Flies and yet well put together circus acts I've seen started in earnest."

    I'd heard good things about this show going in, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest.

  12. A Night at the Musicals
    "And together they bring songs from the musical genre to the sacrificial alter and perform what can only be called a "drag-ectomy", injecting wonderful camp and drag sensibility into songs that you probably didn't even know you knew all the words to."

    Le Gateau can bring any of his friends to visit any time he likes! One drag queen singing show tunes is good, two are amazing!

  13. Adam Richard's Splitsecondism
    "As with all the previous shows, and any of the podcasts I've heard him on, it's when he gets to the storytelling that it really takes off. And also where I laughed the hardest."

    Adam is one of my favourite Australian comedians, and while the show made me laugh my ass off, the very thoughtful and classy comment he left on my review post convinces me that, inappropriate jokes aside, he's a class act.

  14. UnPlotted Potter
    "Actually there weren't any dud performances... everyone was definitely on top of their game."

    Every time I see various actors in this troupe in different things they're always better than they were the last time.

  15. Half Hour Hamlet
    "At only thirty minutes it's a tight show but never feels overly rushed, but rather is carried along by Hercamp's boundless enthusiasm and energy. "

    Always my favourite Sound and Furian (don't tell the others), Patrick really did a brilliant job in his first solo show.

  16. Sound and Fury's Lord of the Thrones
    "The show itself lived up to the level of insanity that we've come to expect from Sound and Fury, and I genuinely walked out of the venue with a face that hurt from laughing too much."

    I always love seeing a new show from the Sound and Fury boys, they never disappoint.

  17. Undertone
    "There are some lovely moments of personality, and not just in the table tennis sequences... the juggling sequence springs to mind."

    Looking back on it, this was a little bit of a slow start, but once it got going I really enjoyed myself.

  18. William the Great
    "Rickus and Solesse are pretty much worth the price of admission."

    Seriously, if those two guys just did a double act show as the same two characters, I would definitely go and see them again.

  19. Three Birds One Cock
    "The scenes where the three woman are interacting can best be described as "scenery chewing"... not in a bad way, but they do ramp up both the comedy and the crazy to about 11 in those scenes, Nunn and Miles especially."

    There was a lot to like here... the ending was slightly uneven, but it wasn't bad.

  20. Total Nonstop Tricks
    "They're not quite at the cookie dough stage yet, let alone cookies, but all of the required elements are there, the recipe is solid, they just haven't gotten to where they need to be."

    The fact that these guys won the Emerging Artist award from the Fringe pretty much reinforces everything I said and thought about this show. They'll be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

  21. Down Down Lucifer
    "There were some interesting moments, it just wasn't as much in my wheelhouse as I would have liked."

    It wasn't a bad note to end the Fringe on, but it wasn't what I was expecting it to be.

  22. Exposing Edith
    "In any event Burger walked the line quite well... her Piaf impression felt very authentic... or it channelled an older French woman perfectly, I don't really know enough about Piaf but I'm guessing it was a fairly accurate impression."

    Part of the problem was that we missed the first half of the show... the other is that it didn't really grab me in the half that we did see. It was fine, but not great.

  23. My Life As A Gay Bum
    "It's not the worst Fringe show I've ever seen, but it's definitely close."

    I wish I'd taken the advice of all the other reviews of this that I read and just skipped it completely... it was a complete train wreck.

So there we have it, my 2016 Fringe... if you don't mind I think I'll go catch up on some sleep...

Current Mood:

it's my (42nd) birthday

happy 42nd birthday to me
It's my 42nd birthday today!

And, as always, I like to wish a happy birthday to the famous folk who share my birthday (as well as referencing previous birthday posts)... Ansel Elgort, Johan Paulik, Jamie Bell, Taylor Hanson, Michael Caine, Chris Klein, Albert Einstein, Corey Stoll and Daniel Gillies.

As for what I'm doing with today... the answer is nothing, a big fat glorious nothing. I've spent a month doing all of the everything with moving house and the Fringe, so now that that's over with (although I still have to finish up the Fringe round-up post and I haven't unpacked everything yet), and the fact that my birthday actually falls on the holiday Monday this year, I just don't want to do anything... I don't want to go anywhere or talk to anyone.

I might fire up the Playstation later, but I also might just watch some movies. And I have icecream in the freezer and Haighs chocolate in the fridge, what more could I want.

The point is, it's my birthday and I can do whatever I damn well like.

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fringe: down down lucifer

adelaide fringe - down down lucifer
Down Down Lucifer is written and performed by Philippe Klaus and directed by John Brennan and is essentially a monologue by the devil, railing against his shared history with God.

Klaus is a skilled actor and commands the mostly bare stage well.

But I just think that I was expecting something different. I shouldn't have been, looking back at the description of the show it seems pretty accurate, I just expected something a little more fantastical and a little less religious.

I know, I know, it sounds stupid... and it's not that Klaus didn't give a good performance, it's just that I didn't connect to the material.

And there were a number of small choices that seemed odd to me... I'm guessing Lucifer's shirt started off the season as white, but thanks to some fake blood used at a certain point had ended up as pink by the final show. Also the choice for him to take off his shoes and put on high heels to drive home a particular point was a good one... but then leaving the heels on for the rest of the play was just distracting.

Just to back-seat direct for a minute, having him barefoot at the start and then slipping the heels off when that section was done would have worked better I think.

And the "New York Jewish" voice used for Jesus just felt a little too stereotypical... Klaus switched between the two voices well, it just felt... I don't know, lazy I guess.

There were some interesting moments, it just wasn't as much in my wheelhouse as I would have liked.

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fringe: a simple space

adelaide fringe: a simple space
When you want physical theatre and circus done right, you go and see Gravity and Other Myths.

And given that this was the third time we've seen A Simple Space (first in 2013 then again last year) I can honestly say that they get better and better year after year.

This year's venue in The Garden, Vagabond, worked both for and against them. Against because they had to move all their gear in and completely rearrange the space before the performance. But for in that, just like the first time we saw the show, the front row of the audience (where we were) was right up against the performance space, albeit at chest level this time.

Returning were original members Lachlan Binns, Jascha Boyce, Martin Schreiber, Jacob Randell and musician Elliot Zoerner, as well as Simon McClure from the previous show... and they're joined this time around by Joanne Curry and Lachlan Harper. 

One of the things that sets Gravity and Other Myths apart from almost every other physical theatre group we've seen is their showmanship... they always make the audience feel like they're part of each trick. Whether that's through catching someone's eyes or a smile or a cheeky eyebrow raise before, during or after a trick, it's incredibly effective, and it's something that you just don't see in other troupes to the same level.

It's also clear that they all love each other to bits... which you would hope was the case in a show where they rely on each other to prevent serious injury or death, but the way they look at each other, behave with each other, they're clearly a family.

Add to that the fact that you hear the grunts and the effort that it takes to do what they do, but even when showing that effort it part of the trick, it never feels either false or like the trick is out of their control. And those moments of silence are the flip side of Zoerner's perfect use of music and rhythm... nowhere more brilliantly used than during the backflip contest.

I've gone on record before to say that Binns is my favourite of the cast but I have to say that the other Lachlan, Harper, may very well have stolen my attention this time around. Especially during the sequence where he leaps between the backs of Binns and Randell, and then leaps up onto chests and backs of all the boys. I was also sure he was going to win the backflip competition, that boy was made to flip through the air.

As I said before, they all improve on each subsequent visit and the show itself gets polished and refined and improved, sections replaced with new pieces but at the same time the core elements of the show remain.

And I would still give anything to be selected from the audience to lay under the hand canes while Curry does her routine over the heads of troupe and their selected guests.

My favourite sequence (other than anything where the boys get their shirts off) is still the one where Boyce and Binns perform on top of Schreiber, never touching the floor the whole way through... but really, picking any part of a Gravity and Other Myths show is a near impossibility... it quite literally doesn't get any better than this.

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photo saturday: pre-birthday birthday celebrations

butterfly drummeroff fish out
It's currently my birthday weekend... It's not my actual birthday until Monday, but when your birthday falls on a long weekend as mine are want to do, you celebrate the whole weekend long. Because why not.

Plus given the fact that the Fringe is coming to an end and the last show I'm seeing is on Sunday, I really just want to stay home on Monday and hibernate.

I'll comment more fully when I do the full round-up, but I'll be as happy for the Fringe to be over and life to go back to whatever the fuck the new version of normal is as I will be sad that it's all over for another year.

This week wasn't super-full with Fringe, but we had shows on Tuesday and Thursday... And then I had my pre-birthday haircut with Tink on Wednesday. It was a pretty standard session... We're finally back to my regular colour after the blue then dark then bright blonde of the last three cuts. And the cut was the same thing I've been doing for a while.

Otherwise we just talked about my moving house experiences given that last time I saw her two nights before the move. And there was also much talk of Fringe.

Work had been appropriately worky... although Friday was different if only because I spent the whole day going through a fairly high-level document and tearing it to shreds, which weirdly is one of my favourite things to do... I think I was a frustrated editor in a past life. But there are very few things I enjoy more than really taking a piece of work and putting it back together again in an improved way. And I got about 17 pages into a 48 page document and had something like 315 questions, deletions, alterations or other suggested changes.

I'm having a meeting with the person ostensibly responsible for the document on either Tuesday or Thursday next week, hopefully Thursday because I still have 30 pages to go and I'd prefer to have most of it finished by the time I have the meeting. And if I don't get traction with the document's owner I have no qualms about going over her head to the boss above my boss.

Especially given that it's a document that's going to have a major effect on my work and that of everyone in The Nut House, it needs to be right.

Friday was also my chiro appointment, so I wandered down towards the Mall, which just felt fucking strange since I never go that way when I leave work any more.

When I was done I went and had a look around bits of the Mall, bought myself some Disney cuteness, went looking for a belt unsuccessfully (I know there may not be a huge call for plus-size belts, but they're like fucking hen's teeth... I may have to see if I can do some sort of special order or raincheck thing).

I then took the "random meander" approach to heading home and by the time I walked in the door after stopping off of the supermarket it was 6:45... Fairly impressive given that I left the office at 4pm.

This morning I rolled out of bed somewhat later than I probably should have, went through my morning routine and was still ready before Ma arrived.

We did the new supermarket thing, although we did get distracted by the bookshop on The Parade and their book sale... ended up grabbing a couple of things.

At the supermarket we both mostly bought fresh stuff, and I think both of us are going to have problems this coming week remembering how to actually cook for ourselves after a month"s worth of either eating out or throwing something quick together.

And we went to the same checkout girl as last week, and she can still pack a bag pretty damn well, so she's definitely going to be the Chosen One for a while at least.

Then once the ritual unpacking and suchlike had been done we did a variation on last week's excursion, with follow up visits to Target and Big W. Although they were originally a bit of a joke, the black thongs with the bottle opener on the strap were actually pretty comfy, so I bought two more pairs (they were cheap and it always pays to get multiple versions of a good thong).

The Big W visit was pretty brief, mostly I needed a matching curtain for the one I bought last week.

From there we went into the city to finally get Ma a new cordless phone after she's been pondering on the question of phone choice for at least two years. And she ended up getting the one I said she should get at least a year ago... but at least it's done now.

We also stopped in at both JB HiFi and Zing, because that place (Zing) is like pure crack to me and I can't stay away. I picked up the last season of Doctor Who from JB to put away for Ma's birthday, because of irony. I also grabbed a couple of cheap yet interesting DVDs for me. Then in Zing I saw they had those metal lunch boxes with Adventure Time designs on them, so I decided to grab a Jake/Finn face one to put all my cross-stitch supplies in (I was initially going to get one with all the female characters on, but the face one was cheaper)... it's a vast improvement from the weird "military DVD case" one I was using (don't ask). And a Bulbasaur mug because it was the last one, and Bulbasaur.

On the way back we stopped off to get a set of keys to my new place cut for Ma (and i got her a red one instead of the purple one I got from the land agent... although given how hacked up the purple one is I may get a red replacement at some point) and a bit of something for lunch.

Then we just hung out at my place, watched Big Hero 6 while I thumbed through the Assassin's Creed Complete Visual History book Ma bought me for my birthday... well, I told Ma she could buy me, but it all comes out the same.

When it was time, we got as dressed up as we were going to get given the weather and the fact we were going to The Garden later, and headed off to Jamie's Italian for my pre-birthday birthday dinner.

birthday dinner cocktail - florence fizzjamie's italian starter - italian nachos

jamie's italian main - chicken al mattonejamie's italian dessert - raspberry ripple pavlova
And the bonus of booking in October is that we were seating right away... the downside is that I made a guess about what else we might be doing and booked the table for 5pm... we didn't have a show until 9:30pm... and I actually forgot that we had the booking when I made the Fringe arrangements, so luckily it all worked out.

Just for something different, I started out with an actual cocktail, a Florence Fizz (limoncello, cranberry juice, elderflower cordial and frizzante), which was very nice while Ma had a non-alcoholic Ginger Mojito (mint, lime, sugar and ginger beer).

For starters we shared the Italian Nachos (crispy fried ravioli stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta and pecorino, served with spicy Sicilian tomato sauce) and the Italian bread selection (homemade rosemary focaccia, Italian grissini, crispy music bread and ciabatta served with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic). The ravioli was amazing, but as always seems to be the case wherever you go there was never enough sauce, or oil and balsamic to get us all the way through.

I seem to have a very hit and miss relationship with main courses at Jamie's Italian... and today was no exception... I ordered the Chicken Al Mattone (free-range marinated chicken with a creamy wild mushroom sauce, lemony rocket, crostini and parmesan) while Ma had the Salmon Salad (flaked hot-smoked salmon with heritage beets, radish, fennel and creamy ricotta, topped with seeded crackerbread, fresh horseradish and green goddess dressing)... and my chicken was good, don't get me wrong, but I feel like I might have been better with one of the pasta dishes.

When it came time to dessert I was devastated to see that the Tutti Fruitti Lemon Meringue Pie was no longer on the menu. I know restaurants have to change and grow and try new things, but when you have absolute perfection (in fact, sex on a plate) on the goddamn menu why would you ever remove it!

I had to settle for the Raspberry Ripple Pavlova (light and gooey meringue, zesty cream, macerated raspberries and smashed honeycomb), and although the smashed honeycomb was a little sparse, it was a tasty dessert. Ma had the Panna Cotta, which I tried a bite of and didn't actually taste like anything (other than the berries it came with). But she liked it.

I finished off with Jamie's Grown Up Iced Tea (lightly spiced rum, breakfast tea syrup, lemon juice and peach purée over ice) while Ma had a peppermint tea. The iced tea was much stronger in booze flavour than the earlier cocktail, but it was still delicious.

Not a cheap outing once we were all said and done, but it was three courses plus drinks, and we don't usually go all out like that.

After dinner we strolled down to The Garden and wandered around for a while, then found a spot to sit and hang out until it was time to start lining up for the show (the line started way before it needed to, so I ended up standing up for over an hour).

But it was a great show for my penultimate Fringe outline and Ma's final show.

So while it wasn't the most flashy or exciting of birthdays, but it was a nice day and it had a really great end.

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fringe: aaaand now for something completely improvised

adelaide fringe - aaaand now for something completely improvised
Usually, if I'm very lucky, there's a point in the Fringe where I laugh myself stupid... Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised from Racing Minds was definitely that point.

UK boys Tom Skelton, Doug Walter, Chris Turner and Dylan Townley (their fifth member Daniel Roberts was absent) put on a hell of a show, shaped entirely by audience suggestions and containing many a backwards spoken word, over the top accents (both British and otherwise), random facts and a hell of a lot of laughs.

As with all improv shows, talking about the plot is essentially useless, however on our particular night the title character was called Beverley The Great (played beautifully by Skelton), her dark secret was that she had a toupee, the story opened in a yarn factory in Chad (Africa) (and yes, that was literally what the audience suggestion said, Chad, brackets, Africa) and the show was brought to us by Australian Lamb. Also young Lauren from the audience was selected as the author of the play and she titled it "Balloons Popping In Trees".

All that led to Richard Branson (Walter), a yarn factory owner in Chad called Chad (Walter again), a very downtrodden Beverley from Scunthorpe with two children, impromptu ads for lamb by very Australian ad folk and the 51st annual around the world balloon race.

What was brilliant about Skelton, Walter, Turner and Townley is they were all very happy to let the story go where it wanted to, were more than happy to ambush each other, throw in random one-liners and go out of their collective way to make the show fantastically funny. And their accents, both real and invented, were definitely a bonus and made them all the more interesting to listen to (although I did have to resist the urge to parrot Walter's accent back to him when he went around handing out pens and cards before the show).

I was especially impressed by the speed at which they all were able to fire off brilliant stuff, and particularly when Townley does a little interval song based on a couple in the audience... I'm sure it's a variation on a theme each time, but it came together amazingly fast.

As far as improv shows go, Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised is definitely an A+++.

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