photo saturday: swell


First things first... Ma is doing better. She has an appointment on Monday when she'll know more, including when she's allowed to drive again, but overall she's good. I've been checking in with her roughly once a day, just to ensure she's okay.

Sunday I spent the morning cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and then vacuuming and mopping the floors. You know, all the fun stuff. I do enjoy coming home to a very clean house though.

And it's always challenging to have cleaned your kitchen, especially the stove, and then use it to cook chicken and boil eggs and fry bacon. Also, it's only been a couple of weeks of salad and I already miss soup weather... or rather I miss the process of making soup, which is so much more interesting and enjoyable than making salad. Not to mention it's way more work at the other end when I'm making my lunch.


The inspection, unsurprisingly, went fine. So much so that she left me a little "thank you" card... which was lovely, but a little bit overkill.

Work was fine this week... it's definitely calmed down, thus beings the slow descent into the Christmas season. At least I hope it's mostly a descent... I'm hoping there's not a big unexpected spike at any point.

Friday morning I was standing in the shower, literally not moving, when the muscles in my back locked up one after another. Not all of them, just a small section on the left side, but I wasn't even moving. What even is my life, seriously. Thankfully I already had an appointment with my chiro... but still.

So, yeah, my chiro appointment was at midday, so I did something I don't normally do and had an actual lunch break where I went places and did things.

Today was pretty much a rinse and repeat of last Saturday... well it would have been completely so had it not been for the Norwood Christmas Pageant. Now it's my own fault... I knew the pageant was on, I should have gone to the other Foodland... but I didn't want to (it's still not the "best" anything). Plus I should have been more organised and left the house earlier, but the pageant wasn't until 10:30, so I had a bunch of time. I figured, how complicated can it be, surely they just close off the Parade, put barricades up to stop you getting from the cross streets to the Parade... easy.

Like fuck.

First off, they close all the side streets off bar a couple, which is just plain madness. Even if they want to stop people from parking, just put up no parking signs for fuck's sake.

Getting in, once I found a road I could actually go down, was relatively fine... I got to the car park no problem, I made it across the road to get bread, no problem... and there were less people actually at the supermarket than usual, so massive bonus there.

No, the problem came when I tried to leave.

The problem with closing off all roads into or out of that part of Norwood is that the cars that do want to come in can only do it via those one or two roads that are open. And they do. Also, a lot of them were driving 4WD's, in the suburbs... so, yeah, do the math on that one.

It would have been okay if I didn't have to turn across a lane of traffic and if a seemingly never-ending stream of people weren't trying to turn into the street I was in, thereby blocking me in essentially.

Something that normally takes 2 minutes tops, to get from the supermarket to the end of the Parade, took over 15 minutes. And then because there were traffic cones and signs, every halfwit on the road was either doing stupid things or driving slower than necessary.

Suffice to say, not a fun time. And the halfwittery continued... all the way down to Ma's place people where driving 10km slower than the speed limit, for no discernibile reason.

Anyway... deep, cleansing breaths. Many, many deep cleansing breaths.

I wasn't sure what we would be doing when I got to Ma's... and I did float the idea of going to the movies, but I think she's been sitting around watching movies quite a lot, so it didn't really appeal. But we went to the shopping centre near her, just to get her out of the house and to pick up a few non-supermarket things she wanted.

It was better than last week, if only because I wasn't constantly worried someone would bang into her and injure her shoulder... but I did need to keep checking where she was whenever she went out of my line of vision.

But it was good to get her out of the house... I didn't really hang around for very long after we got back though.

We'll see what this next week brings.

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lego minifigure series - the lego batman movie

lego minifigure series - the lego batman movie
When I bought the last set of Lego minifigures, the guy who owns the store told me that the next set was going to be themed for the Lego Batman Movie which comes out in the USA in February, but from what I can tell doesn't come out here until the end of March (the figures, however, should start appearing in January).

Part of me was kind of hoping that it would just be a full range of different Batman outfits... and they're definitely there... but so are a number of second and probably ninth string villains (I've put links to most of them below... one was so esoteric she didn't even have a listing).

We're also getting 20 figures instead of the usual 16...
My favourites out of this set are without a doubt Joker and Harley... I love the Joker's look in this movie incarnation (and I'm very tempted by the Joker Notorious Lowrider set), from the hairstyle to the snaggletooth... and Harley's twisty pigtails are gorgeous... plus they match really nicely in their Arkham costumes.

As far as the Batman costumes go it's a definite toss up between Fairy Batman and Vacation Batman... with Glam Metal Batman running a very close third. And hopefully there's some portion of the movie where Fairy Batman teams up with Pink Power Batgirl.

I'll also be interested to see if there's a face under the Red Hood costume. Especially given who the original Hood is.

I would also have preferred some more Batman outfit variations... not to mention some other villains... but I'm guessing they're saving the recognisable ones for the full sets (like The Scuttler, which I really love), which is understandable.

But it's still an interesting looking set (and better than the set from the first Lego movie)... although I'm not sure how I feel about these sets that have more than 16 in them.

Oh, and as (mostly) always, here's the full review of the minifigs from WhiteFang on the Eurobricks website.

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photo saturday: shoulders


Okay, so I'm going to preface this by saying that everybody is fine, everyone is okay, we're good.

This is also going to be an atypical weekly round-up in that I'm going to jump straight to the major thing that happened and then come back and see if I can be bothered with any of the rest of it.

Ma fell this week. Now for anyone who has followed the blog for a while, me falling is not uncommon... and there's a genetic legacy there... when I was a kid Ma used to fall about as often as I do now. And when we were in Sydney in 2013 she fell and bruised up her eye (how I'm still not entirely certain). But this time was worse... and she somehow managed to dislocate her shoulder.

Again, genetic legacy, since I've dislocated my shoulder three times and ended up with a reconstruction (and then there was that time I popped my knee out of, and then back into, the socket).

But rolling back slightly... just after lunch on Tuesday I get a phonecall from a number I don't know... answer it and it's the big boss from Ma's work, calling to tell me that she's had a fall, dislocated her shoulder and they've taken her off to the emergency room.

As soon as I realised she was from Ma's work, before she'd even gotten to the why, I knew it wasn't good... I mean people never use your emergency contact number to tell you there are puppies and kittens and rainbows. No, it's for emergencies.

So as soon as I get off the phone with her, I try and call Ma, and there's some phone juggling when someone I don't know answers and then they hand me over to her. She sounded a little out of it... I'm guessing that was probably a combination of shock and really good pain meds. I asked her if she wanted me to come to the hospital, but she said no, a woman from work was with her and she was okay all things considered.

I stayed put, but I will say that I had trouble actually making coherent thoughts for the rest of the afternoon, and even for me I was probably a little more brusk in some of my emails than normal.

Hometime came around and I hadn't heard anything, so I messaged her to see where she's at... she calls me and tells me they think it's only a sprain/strain, but they want to do one last scan before they release her. This is good news. I much prefer this news.

So I walk home, stop to get some hayfever eyedrops and many things made of chocolate from the supermarket.

I texted her on the way home and the reply didn't make a ton of sense, but I figured she's distracted or can't type with her good hand... one of those things.

When I'm walking up to my building, she calls me. Turns out the shoulder was actually only half dislocated, when the doctor when to rotate it in the CT scan it popped out of the joint properly. So in the time it took me to walk home and do shopping, they'd scanned her, popped the joint out, put her under and fixed it... and she'd regained the land of the living. Which is probably why her reply didn't make a ton of sense.

She was going to get her sister to come and get her... which would have been fine, but anyone who's read the blog for more than about five minutes knows that if it had been me, she would have left work after the first phone call and come down... just like she has done for every single other disaster (like when I did my back in originally)... so I couldn't just dump this is someone else's lap.

So I got changed, pulled up the directions in my phone and set off for the hospital.

By the time I got there it was around 7pm, and she'd been at the hospital since around 1:30pm. And it was around 8:30pm before I got her home. Not that there was much to do once I got there, the woman from work who had kept her company, I think until I said I was on my way, had gone... she was just waiting for one last visit from the doctor and then she was good to go.

You know those times when your brain goes to the disaster place... even when logically you know that everything is survivable and not anywhere near that bad, but your brain just goes to that "she's hasn't called me, she'd dead in a ditch somewhere" place. Yeah, that was pretty much me between that second phone call and when I walked into the emergency room. I don't even want to write all the words down for what I'm talking about because then that will mean that they're not safely locked away in my head, but out there in the world, and if they're out there, they might happen.

You know?

Anyway, turns out Ma did what both she and I have done about a bazillion times between us, she tripped over a raised paver that she's walked over or past a hundred times before and caught her foot in just the wrong way... and down she went.

But she didn't put her arm out enough or something and landed on the arm or shoulder in the wrong way... kerblammo.

The doctor eventually showed up (terribly British woman), we got all the lovely drugs, Ma got dressed and I took her back to her place.

I tidied some stuff up for her so she wouldn't trip over things, made sure she was okay and settled and then headed off home.

And because I actually haven't driven to her place since I moved into this apartment, and it was dark and I was a little stressed... I got lost. Yes, I could have stopped and turned my GPS on... but I figured I knew where I was going... turns out not so much and I got turned around at a certain point and started going away from where I was supposed to be headed. Eventually I stopped and got myself sorted though... but it added another ten or fifteen minutes to my trip.

Between then and now I've been checking in with her about twice a day, morning and night, just to see how she is.

I also ordered some flowers for the woman she works with who sat with her all afternoon... and some chocolates to share with the other people in the office, since they all arranged to move Ma's car from work to home, and generally just looked after her before she went to the hospital. I also wrote an appropriately appreciative card to go along with them.

Today I did some shopping for Ma, and then headed up to her place after I'd unpacked my shopping and dropped some books off at the Oxfam shop.

And knowing that it's not any fun to be confined to the house for a week after you've injured yourself, I took her out to the shopping centre near her, if for no other reason than so she could get out of the house. It turned out to be pretty much the right thing to do though, since we ran into her co-worker who sat with her.

Now I've never met this woman before, but as soon as Ma introduced us we both moved to hug each other, her I think to thank me for the flowers, me to thank her for what the flowers were for, looking after Ma.

Ma has an appointment with her doctor tomorrow (yes, he works Sundays, but he's around 300 years old and only works a couple of days a week now) and then an appointment at the hospital a week on Monday. So we'll know at that stage when she can drive again... and when she's gets to go back to work.

Given that they're talking about no driving and being off work and seeing a physio, the only thing I can think is that she dislocated her shoulder in a much more serious way than I did any of the three times I did mine before the reconstruction. In fact in at least two of those cases I drove my car home after going to the emergency room... and in one of those I then drove to both get my hair did and then go to La Cousina's (first) wedding the following day. Granted that's partly because she'll be 70 next year and I was, I dunno... mid 20's. But this is much more like when I had my reconstruction to be honest.

But, like I said, other than being sore (and actually surprisingly unsorry for herself, compared to how I would probably be feeling in her place) and unable to do some stuff, she's doing okay.

Compared with that the rest of the week was fairly dull.

Getting in the car, driving for 40 minutes, sitting in a hospital chair then getting in the car and driving for about 50 minutes all while somewhat stressed and tense did something of a number on my back and after I put my socks on on Wednesday morning, I stood up and where was some serious twinge activity.

I had a chiro appointment scheduled for Friday anyway, but called up to see if they could slot me in for an unscheduled one... and they got me straight in which was great. And I'm going back next Friday for a follow-up.

Thankfully I did all of the tidying up for this coming week's rental inspection on Sunday. I still need to clean some stuff, but everything is tidy, which makes the biggest difference. It will also hopefully cut what I need to do tomorrow down to only a couple of hours.

I also discovered that I'm fresh out of the really good quality photo paper for printing Ma's calendar... and they don't make it anymore... so on the way home today I stopped in at Officeworks and bought a new kind... so we'll see how that goes. I also bought some adhesive paper so I may need to make more pasteup stickers. Maybe I'll finally get around to making the fish version of my eyeBird.

The major downside to driving to Ma's place is that the sun ends up against me... as in, it's coming in through the driver's window in both directions, which doesn't happen when Ma comes here... and given that it was a hotter day than I thought it was going to be... I ended up with the first sunburn of the season on the inside of my elbow.

That's about all of it I think... hopefully there won't be a week this "hectic" for quite a while.

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photo saturday: street faces


red skullangry eyes
First up... anyone who's read the blog for a while knows I'm not someone who discusses politics... but I just have to say WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK AMERICA!?!

There are two sides of history... one is the correct side, the side that advances society, that makes things more inclusive and safe for people to live their lives and protect those that are unable to protect themselves. If you're on the other side of that, history will judge you harshly and accordingly.

And history will judge America for the next four years.

But getting back to less serious matters...

This week saw the start of the salad season. It wasn't too bad for the first attempt... I ended up using the sandwich press at work to grill a peach each day to add to the salad which was nice. As I think I said last week though, the main thing is really getting the dressing right and while this was just a simple dijon vinaigrette, I used raspberry vinegar so it was really tasty.

I'll be honest, the first part of this week passed without much of an impact, but Wednesday afternoon was pretty much a write-off with watching the progress of the train wreck that was the American election. At one point I had four different websites up (The Guardian, The New York Times, ABC and FiveThirtyEight)... and none of the numbers agreed with each other, however as soon as it was clear that Florida was lost and the election was going down the toilet it was really hard to concentrate on anything else.

Of course that was in addition to explaining how the US elections work to a number of my co-workers (thanks to seven seasons of The West Wing).

And then I came home, stopped off at the supermarket, bought faux Magnum icecreams, went to the bottle shop for Kahlua... added them both to the blender and made myself a little alcoholic milkshake. It was really tasty too... I may try it again with some frozen berries to just add a little thickness... but it's definitely worth repeating.

Friday was fine right up until I left work to go home.

I thought that the forecast was that the day was going to be pretty damn warm, then overnight a change was coming through. So I didn't take an umbrella or anything, not even the emergency one I often keep in my bag. Which would have been fine if not for the thunderstorm that rolled across the state.

When the big fat rain started I took shelter under a tree, which was fine for a few minutes until the rain started leaking through the leaves.

And then the hail started.

Yeah, the temperature went from 30°C to hail within a few minutes. And I just tried not to get hit too many times under the tree. I'll be honest, I was essentially soaked through to the skin by this point anyway... but when the rain slacked off a little bit I made a dash for the verandah over the back of the hospital across the street.

Would have been fine if the verandah wasn't made of that corrugated plastic and essentially full of holes. I did find one spot that was relatively dry though and hung out for a while longer while listening to the hail bang on the roof.

Finally there was a break in the clouds, so I just gave in and headed off. Fortunately the rain did start breaking up at that point, but when the sun came out it was a little bit of a "fuck you" from the universe. I was totally drenched at this point... so much so that I was able to wring the hem of my shirt out.

Anyway, I got home and everything was fine, no leaks, no broken windows (I was a little worried about the hail and my open kitchen window). So I peeled off my soaked clothes, had a shower and ordered a pizza because I couldn't be bothered doing a damn thing.

Ma was having her hair did this morning, so I was left to my own devices. I slept in a little, then went off to the supermarket and did my shopping.

I still managed to come home, unpack and do some reading before Ma got here. She'd finally taken my advice and got her hairdresser to put some pink streaks in her hair and the colour looked amazing.

We didn't really have anything we needed to do today and we definitely wanted to avoid the city given that today was the Christmas Pageant, so we just ended up heading down to Kmart for a bit of a poke around. And then we called into Big W on the way back to my place. Technically an unfruitful day, but it was fine.

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movies: doctor strange

doctor strange: question reality, change your destiny
Doctor Strange is the latest outing from Marvel Studios, and while it was a character that I had heard of, he's also one I know next to nothing about beyond a few references on one of the podcasts I listen to.

What it turned out to be is a very visually spectacular movie and a somewhat interesting character.

Let's get my only major nitpick out of the way first though. While I love what Marvel does with their movies, they have yet to create a half decent villain that isn't Loki. The problem as always is that you either need to have the villain escape at the end, or die in such a way that he could return, or use a villain who is good enough to move the plot along but who doesn't need to be there by the end of the movie (or he's some giant galactic heavy who's pulling everyone's strings, but that's another story).

And in this case, Kaecilius played by Mads Mikkelsen, it's the third one. He's also basically a cult leader/religion zealot whose motivations are maybe a little muddy.

There is also the major drama that happened before the movie had even finished filming, where characters who where ethnic minorities in the original stories had been turned into white characters, or, more accurately, whitewashing. And I can see the problem, I understand why it's a problem, it would be much better if it didn't happen to the degree that it does... but I'll be honest, it didn't really bother my enjoyment of it all that much. The movie also doesn't even pass the Bechdel–Wallace test for goodness sake, not really surprising given that there are only two major female characters, and they never meet.

Getting back to the good stuff though. As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, especially from the amount and quality of special effects on show. It's funny, something like Iron Man or Captain America probably has as many effects shots, but they're not trying to break reality, so they don't call attention to themselves, whereas here they've just thrown the who CGI toybox on the floor and gone to town with it. Think Inception, but ramped up to about 100.

And watching all those effects happen was gorgeous... and I will definitely want to watch that again at some point just to pick up everything I inevitably missed.

Doctor Strange is played by Benedict Cumberbund, who I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of and who definitely suffers from a bad case of "they-want-to-put-him-in-everything-itis" which means he's a little overexposed. But having said that he does a fairly good job with Strange, which is interesting because the character makes it really, really, really easy to dislike him for the first part of the movie, and it's a flaw that could be hard to recover from... and I'm still not completely sure how he managed it to be honest.

I was also impressed by Rachel McAdams who performs some of the weightier emotional moments at the beginning of the movie as Dr Palmer, Strange's ex-girlfriend.

And when you need an ancient, unnamed sorcerer supreme, who else would you go to other than Tilda Swinton (her role of The Ancient One is the one that had accusations of whitewashing, which is a shame, because she's great in the role, and a kick-ass female character to boot.

Like all origin stories, the plot has to find those familiar beats of character's life being changed, character finds their new path, character passes through their on personal trials, character meets adversary, character learns something, character conquers the aforementioned adversary, roll credits. There's no major diversions from that here, and they do make it perhaps a little more on the serious side than some of the other Marvel movies, but it does use levity very well (as Marvel movies always do).

But at it's core, this is more of a visual experience than anything else, and on that front it succeeds beautifully. All in all though, it surprised me a little bit... while there is a certain standard I've come to expect from Marvel movies, this one was better than I was expecting.

yani's rating: 3 sling rings out of 5

photo saturday: squares and circles

coveside mannercrago train

hotel bondicriss cross tower

This week has been one of those weeks where everybody wants something and it often look longer than it should, involved more people than it needed to and made me more than a little nuts.

On the up side, as always with that kind of week, the days flew by.

Rolling back to Sunday... I made what was definitely the best tomato soup I've made yet... Jamie Oliver's roast tomato and bread soup. Yes, those are the two main ingredients, roasted tomatoes and bread. I will admit I was more than a little sceptical, but the bread adds a nice texture, the salt and pepper I put on the tomatoes before I roasted them added a lot of great flavour and the splash of red wine vinegar at the end makes it the tastiest tomato soup. That's definitely a recipe that's going on the list.

Otherwise Sunday really got away from me. It was 3pm before I knew it and I hadn't even had any lunch, then the day was over before I knew it.

The rest of the week was, as mentioned, somewhat nutty. Although, given that, everything else was quite dull.

This week marks the point where I'm going to finally switch back to salads... I had some success with one during the week, so we'll give it a go for work and see what happens.

And because of that I kept it simple at the supermarket this week... potato, green beans, lettuce, tomato, tuna and one of three possible cheese choices. I'll also have to experiment with salad dressings again, which to be honest, was often the most interesting part of the salad experience, mixing random things together and concocting something tasty.

Anyway, when we were finished at the supermarket, it was back here for the usual unpackery, then finally we wanted to go to the movies, but first wanted to look at a couple of things in the city, so we headed in.

While I always know that the reason that I want us to be finished with Christmas shopping well before December rolls around is because the weekends fill up with other things like Christmas trees and making goodies, but also because people be crazy and useless and don't pay attention... more so at Christmas than at any other time. And it's already going on.

I found a really nice snowman brooch for Ma, from Erstwilder (the same company as the lighthouse brooch I bought her last Christmas) and the nice woman in the store helped me cover it up from Ma (if "you can't look at these things here because of reasons" and "yeah, what he said" essentially amounts to "covering it up") and wrapped it up nicely in a gift box for me.

From there we had a poke around both David Jones and Myer's Christmas decoration sections... we bought some really pretty plain coloured glass baubles from DJ's, including some clear ones (but coloured clear, if that makes sense). We still don't exactly know what we're doing with the tree this year... we may have to play it by ear.

Myer has essentially turned their entire top floor into some for of Christmas bazaar/circus/explosion which is a little overwhelming but also full of all kinds of interesting stuff. So we spent a little longer than we probably should have done wandering around.

And then we high-tailed it back to the car and moved it around to a car park closer to the cinema.

I will say that I hope they're getting more people in on other days, because the place just seemed pretty dead again this time. Yes, last time was the Saturday after they opened, but it wasn't much better this time around... which makes me wonder if people actually know it's there and if it's going to last all that long.

When we were done, we came back to my neighbourhood and went to Enzio's for some lunch, which was quite nice... I may have to treat myself to breakfast there at some stage.

So that was that really...

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