lego: the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator

the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: the boxthe lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: the finished piece
My farewell present from work was The Lego Batman Movie Killer Croc Tail-Gator set... not really surprising when I had Lego minifigures on my desk the whole time I was there... it was a very welcome surprise though. It's also not a set I necessarily would have (or had) bought for myself... but I do love it, and the fact that people knew me well enough to choose it for me makes it even more special.

I was always planning on putting together one of the Lego Batman Movie sets today, although I'd originally planned on the Joker's Lowrider... but it seemed more appropriate to put this one together to be honest.

It was a fun build, and I put on the 1989 Batman movie for some colour and sound while I was building, which was nice.

the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: one, two, three, four bags of legothe lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: mr croc, ready to cause some trouble
The set itself came in four bags... five if you include the extra bag that Killer Croc's body came in, along with a set of stickers and two instruction books.

As always, I would have preferred printed tiles to stickers, especially on several of the decorative tiles, but I get why they didn't go that way on some of the other pieces.

The first bag contained the rest of Killer Croc, Batman and his little jetski... so I started with Croc. I haven't had one of these maxifigs before, but I do really like the design of Croc... especially the head and neck... and those ridiculously long fingers.

the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: batski and crocskithe lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: zebra man and tarantula
Batman's jetski is a little... m'eh. I know that they have to include the hero in all of these sets and it's either a big hero vehicle and a little villain vehicle or the other way around (The Scuttler has a slightly ridiculous Poison Ivy... plant thing, for example).

I do like the colouring though, and the placement of the new little flick fire guns on the side is nice... but it doesn't actually stand flat on it's own. It has a tendency to fall to the side which is annoying, and I had to add a couple of the leftover round bricks to the bottom to keep it level in the photos.

The two other villain minifigures are Zebra Man and Tarantula (because of course they are)... and I will admit that I fell hopelessly in love with Zebra Man pretty much as I unwrapped the present. I couldn't even tell you why, he just seems very cool, and a minifigure I just want to tuck in my pocket and carry around.

Reading up on the two of them, it seems that Tarantula has a history with Nightwing (ie Dick Grayson, the original Robin), and he's become a favourite character of mine in recent years.

the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: bag two, the truck beginsthe lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: bag three, cab time
The second bag contains the base of the Tail-Gator truck as well as the two minifigures, and it's an interesting build... the two bricks at the back allow for parts of the truck to come off as part of an offensive/defensive mechanism, and there's a fair amount of Technic bricks used throughout.

The third bag is smaller than the other two, and just concentrates on the cab of the truck. Given that this is a beat up old truck, the colours purposefully don't match, with red being dominant, with a number of brown elements (possibly rust) and with a blue wheel arch and a white hood.

The larger pieces all have some kind of sticker denoting either decay or else damage from Croc's massive claws.

the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: bag four, finishing touchesthe lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: kc taking his baby for a spin
The final bag is fairly large and finishes off the model. I really like the massive tyres... having not really dealt with wheels all that much in my building, these are impressive, and are placed on the model "the wrong way around", which adds to the monster truck vibe.

The greeblies and decorations around the truck are really fun, from the skull hood ornament to the crates and the lights and signs. I also love that the idea is that this truck has been hastily modified so that Croc can drive it himself from the back... both the gear level (with the fantastic 8 ball knob) and the steering wheel are accessible from the back, even if it doesn't look like Croc's arms could really reach the steering wheel.

The truck also has some limited suspension care of both the Technic bricks and a set of yellow rubber bands. I always worry that those rubber bands will decay at some point, messing up the model (Emmet's Construct-o-Mech from The Lego Movie has them on one of the hands, but they're okay so far).

the lego batman movie - killer croc tail-gator: the beauty shot
All in all, it was a fun build, and while I don't really know where the hell Killer Croc and his Tail-Gator are going to find a permanent home (there may have to be some reorganising and culling of other tchotchkes), it's a nice reminder of my former workplace.

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photo friday: end of an era

wonderwalls 2015 - askewwonderwalls 2015 - smug

wonderwalls 2015 - tristanwonderwalls 2015 - finished city
After an almost three year contact that made up the end of 16 years in and out of that building, I'm done. I'm officially unemployed... again.

And it's been a fucking weird week.

It started with the Monday public holiday, where I basically played Uncharted 4 from about 10:30 in the morning until around 5pm... I really have fallen in love with the game for the most part. There are a few things that drive me nuts, but overall it's been amazing.

Tuesday I called the ENT specialist to try and book an appointment to get my ears looked at... they didn't have anything until the end of May, but after a little begging she found something earlier in May. Not ideal, but I resigned myself to being mostly deaf for another couple of weeks. Later in the week the receptionist called me to say they'd had a cancellation that Friday... SCORE!

Wednesday I had an appointment at the optometrist after work to have my eyes looked at and also buy new glasses, since my current ones are slightly falling apart. Not exactly great timing... but better now than later I guess.

My prescription is essentially the same, which I expected it would be... I mean it's been nearly six years since I last got new glasses, and the time before that was even longer and they'd hardly changed then either.

The optometrist was lovely, perhaps not quite as informative as the last one.

And the glasses I chose were for all intents and purposes exactly the same as the old ones.Okay, not exactly... they no longer make that model, but it's a model that is essentially indistinguishable from the old ones.

I did look at some other ones, but let's be honest, I hate looking at myself in the mirror, and none of the other glasses really seemed to do either diddly or squat for me... so ones that look like the ones I already like will be fine.

Wednesday I stopped off at the comic shop to pick up an order.

Thursday I had an appointment with a new recruitment agency after work. The woman was really nice, but I'm not completely sure if anything will come of it, as my skill set may not be a match for the type of positions they get. But that makes three agencies I'm signed up with, so it can't hurt.

I'd also spent the week slowly taking all of the personal crap off my desk and out of my drawers and ferrying it home, one bagful at a time. This also had the side effect of filling my whole apartment with random crap that doesn't have a home. And me having no fucks to give, the apartment pretty much looks like something explosive went off.

Really the most dramatic change was last week when I took all the stuff down off the wall, but there were definitely moments during the week that felt somewhat final.

Friday was an odd day, unsurprisingly.

I felt like I needed some Disney villain magic to get through the day, so I wore my Ursula "Sea Witch" tee.

The morning was weird... catching up on stuff I needed to get done first thing, which turned into doing some additional things that weren't really my responsibility, but fuck it, at least they got done. Then I had to head off the ENT doctor.

The short version is that I can hear again, the longer version is that according to him both of my ears were essentially blocked and I shouldn't have been able to hear out of either ear (yet I could)... and TMI, he pulled a lump of ear wax out of the "good ear" that was roughly about the size of my little finger nail.

I did feel a little like I had bionic hearing when I left the office though.. so many sounds. Okay, yes, that's a little overly dramatic, but still.

I came back to work and even though I'd said I didn't really want any fuss, La Ninj had taken it on her herself to make a cake and gathered just The Nuthouse staff together around my desk. It was nice to be honest... when I said I didn't want a fuss, that was mostly about not wanting to hear platitudes from certain people, and not really being that fussed about sharing my going away with certain other folk. But just having The Nuthouse together as much as possible like old times was pleasant.

At various points during the day people came over to say goodbye or just to say nice things about me. And it was also interesting to notice who didn't say anything at all. Part of me wonders if saying that I didn't really want a fuss was part of that... but certain people still fussed, which was nice.

As always happens I'd noticed, quite accidentally, that there was a card doing the rounds... so I knew I wasn't going to get away scot free... so between finishing up a few things, filling Plaid's head with the last of the things he needed to know to do my job now that it's his and not mine.

I knew there was going to be some sort of formal goodbye at some point (as usually happens, I'd realised there was a card doing the rounds... which is weird because when it's a card for other people, I don't tend to notice it at any point other than when I'm writing in it, but I almost always spot a card intended for me somewhere in the office)... and around 2:30 or so everyone who was around the place clustered around (seriously, could I say "around" any more in the same sentence) my desk and said some very nice things and then gave me my card and present, which turned out to be a set from the Lego Batman Movie (Killer Croc's Tail-Gator)... and then a couple of other presents just appeared on my desk, one from Owlgirl, one from Plaid and one from someone I've known almost as long as I've been around The Nuthouse who at times gets on my nerves but it really very sweet.

some lovely parting gifts
So this was the haul I ended up lugging home along with the last of my stuff from work.

I did make the mistake of reading the cards while I was still at work. And while I didn't actually cry, there were a couple of close moments. And it's so weird to only really know what many of your coworkers really thought about you as you're leaving a place. Yes, some of it I knew, but some of the words they used aren't words I would ever think of to describe myself...

I'll be honest though, other than the brief moment reading the cards, I was very calm and mellow throughout the whole day... and I think I said "it is what it is" about 100 times throughout the week. Because, well, it is what it is... to quote Morpheus "what happened, happened and couldn't have happened any other way". There's no point in dealing in "what if's", it's better just to recognise that this is the universe given you the most direct message that it can and that it's time to move on.

I also wondered at various points in the last week or so if the fact that I've been through this scenario a number of times before and I'm just generally a little bit numb when it comes to rejection (as in I've experienced a lot of it under a range of situations and circumstances), so while this is going to be weird on Monday when I don't have to go to work, I don't know if I'm going to have that big emotional moment with this that I've had previously.

Tomorrow though I need to tidy this bombsite of an apartment.

Today wasn't much of anything to be honest.

I got up, went shopping, came back, unpacked and headed off to Ma's place. Not quite as quickly as that sounds, but it was fine.

Ma wanted to run a couple of errands at the shopping centre, so we did that... there wasn't anything on at the movies, so we did the usual loop and called it a day. Then I got about halfway home before realising that I'd left my glasses at Ma's place and had to go all the way back to get them. That was fun.

What probably should have been happening this weekend if my life hadn't fallen in a heap and Ma's shoulder wasn't screwed would have been the Wonderwalls street art exhibition. That's where the photos at the top of the post come from. But we can always go at some later point when everything is finished and take photos then.

I will say that right now I have no idea of any kind about where the road leads me from here. It's all "Here there be dragons" and vintage sea monsters. But we'll see what happens.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: bunnyman

lego easter bunny
I didn't get the job.

I finish work on Friday.

There's not really all that much else to say about it.

I will say that this is very clearly the Universe telling me something I haven't been listening to. Firstly with the fact that I've been there for over 15 years at that point, and this is one of only two instances of being able to apply for a job there. And both times I've lost out to someone else. It's obviously not meant to be and I just need to walk away.

And given the fact that everything else around the job has also changed massively and not in any way for the better, it's all the more reason that I should walk away.

I know who did get it and I don't harbour any ill-will towards him... as Owlgirl said to me at an earlier point that he was just doing what was right for him, and all I can do is what's right for me. Which is all anybody can ever do. You earn respect but nobody owes it to you. I'm not even sure that I would have gotten it if it hadn't been for him. I do know that I wanted it more, but sadly that doesn't count for shit at the end of the day.

Anyway...

Before I found out I had decided that my busted glasses are irritating the shit out of me, so I booked in for an appointment to get my eyes tested and buy a new pair. Granted I now will have the time to get the old ones fixed that I didn't have before, but I may as well see if my eyes have deteriorated at all since the last glasses.

The stress of everything else just made my body freak out a little, and I'm fairly sure I'm fighting off an ear infection or just a general infection that is manifesting in a blocked ear and some other random symptoms. I got a referral letter from my doctor on Thursday to go back to the ENT doctor I was referred to once before to get him to clear out my blocked ear. Hopefully if there's actually an infection he'll also give me something for that.

Yesterday I spent most of the day playing video games (and tidying things up), which was kind of cathartic and pleasant.

Today was fairly brief. I had intended to get to the supermarket super early, but I ended up waking up around 7am and jumped in the shower but didn't really get out the door and to the supermarket until around 8:20am.

I came back, unpacked, relaxed a little and then headed down to Ma's place... weirdly, getting there much earlier than I have for the last several weeks. But there were no movies to see, and to be honest I wasn't much in the mood for much. What ended up happening was I told her the whole story of both not getting the job and also all the other drama that had happened at work over the last few months. Initially I hadn't mentioned anything because I didn't really know what was happening so there didn't seem to be much point... then she injured herself and it seemed like it wasn't especially important given the circumstances... and now that there is an actual decision, I just laid it all out.

And then took her to the train station so she could go see her friend.

But it did mean I was back on the road to home by about 12:30.

Let's just say that I've had worse weeks, but not many.

Current Mood:

movies: beauty and the beast

beauty and the beast - experience the tale as old as time
Whenever Disney announce another one of these live action remakes, I tend to roll my eyes and think "does anybody actually need this movie?"... to which the answer is generally "no they do not". And my reaction to the announcement of a Beauty and the Beast remake was much the same.

I will admit that I haven't seen the last three remakes, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Pete's Dragon, having been incredibly disappointed in both Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent.

But then it was announced that Emma Watson had signed to play Belle and I started to warm up to the whole idea.

Now having seen the movie, what they've done is augment the original story and fix the plot holes that fans have been pointing out since the movie came out.

They manage to explain the curse a little more clearly (and show in a much more direct way that the prince was all kinds of awful), and the fact that not just the people but the castle itself is enchanted and has... agency, I guess would be the right word. They also clear up the "but that means the prince would have been 11 when he was cursed" and "why don't the villagers remember the castle" problems. There's also more backstory all around... from Maurice and Belle to Gaston to the Beast himself.

All of the new music included in this version is by the original composer, Alan Menken, although the new songs lyrics are by Aladdin and Lion King lyricist Tim Rice rather than the late Howard Ashman.

I did kind of miss the "Human Again" number from the special edition of the animated movie though... granted I've only recently discovered it.

The cast is all excellent... Watson and Dan Stevens who plays the Beast especially... although Stevens does suffer from the same problem as the animated Beast... by the time he transforms you kind of think "oh, is that it... can he be the Beast again now?". In fact Belle has a cute line in the last scene that deals with that exact issue. Watson already has a persona very like Belle, so her casting makes complete sense and gives the character something of a leg-up in that regard. Also, the character is much less passive in many of her scenes.

Luke Evans and Josh Gad have a somewhat more complex relationship as Gaston and LeFou respectively and are understandably less slapstick and cartoonish than their animated counterparts.

There's been a lot of unnecessary noise made about Gad's LeFou being "the first out gay character in a Disney movie". Frankly I found Gad's performance a little insulting and a throwback to a particular kind of movie homosexual character, who is played exclusively for laughs instead of just being presented as a character in his own right. It feels very dated and old. I don't mind that he's the villain's sidekick, but that's really the least problematic part of his portrayal.

I'm going to get a tiny bit spoilery for a second...

A lot of the "gay references" happen during the Gaston song, where Gad plays him as what feels like an overly camp stereotype at times but mostly as LeFou just being a little too invested when it comes to Gaston. Then there's the end sequence has that has LeFou's dancing partner replaced for all of five seconds by a man. A man who was shown earlier being "dressed" in women's clothing by the wardrobe in the castle and clearly liking the experience (because, yes, an appropriate way to show that a man is a homosexual is to show that he likes dressing up in women's clothing... which is sarcasm by the way).

But instead of having the two of them just dancing with each other during the sequence (which is what I had assumed happened), LeFou is shown dancing with a woman and then the man cuts in... and then they're not shown again together that I could see.

So, not only is the whole thing a storm in a teacup (pun at your discretion) but if this is how Disney portrays the first "gay man" in their universe, I'll stick with Mitch in ParaNorman (which was released in 2012) as a much less offensive offering or Gobber in How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) for it's subtlety thank you very much.

And the quotes are very much in evidence in that sentence, because other than what the actor and director may have said after the fact, there's nothing concrete in the movie to confirm or deny LeFou's sexuality. All the talk just seemed like drumming up press to be honest. This is definitely one of those instances where everyone involved should have just shut up about the whole situation and let people discover it or not on their own terms.

Anyway, rant over.

The production design is amazing... and they've really embedded the movie in France in a way that the animated version didn't. I will say that the fact that they portrayed Lumière as essentially a little metal man who happens to also be a candelabra was probably my least favourite design. It was beautifully done, it just seemed too easy.

But otherwise it was beautiful.

It very much feels like an expansion of the original movie's universe rather than some slick and too smart for it's own good retelling of the original story, which I appreciate.

yani's rating: 4 enchanted roses out of 5

photo saturday: go fly a kite

yellow monkeyowl face

pink whale buttpurple monkey yellow banana
Let's play another little game of "things that I know right now"...
  • Ma is going to have to have another operation on her shoulder... which manages to both suck and blow all at the same time. And she probably still won't have the range of motion she had before the accident.
  • I know nothing new about my job as yet.
  • The fact that I can tell fairly early on when people are absolutely not worth my time is both good but also problematic when I'm then forced to work with them.
  • I think the phrase "we're not in Kansas anymore" is more than usually apt right now.
  • The Cabaret Festival put out one of the best programs it's had in the last five or so years... including Le Gateau Chocolat, Kim David Smith and Briefs... all of which I booked tickets for this week.
Otherwise this week contained both Haircut Night and a visit to the chiro.

The haircut was unusual because it was on Monday night... Tink had family commitments last Thursday, so we rescheduled. It was much the same process as always... my hair is definitely progressing in the general direction of ash blonde... or kind of a more natural silver blonde. As I said to Tink, we spent several years trying to ensure that we didn't make my hair too ashy, and now here we are doing it on purpose.

The cut was the same old same old... and we talked about this, that and the other... mostly Fringe stuff this time.

The chiro visit was good... unsurprisingly not sitting in a different strange seat for an hour at a time four nights a week meant my back was actually in pretty good condition. I did my usual city wander afterwards... which took longer than usual I think because I just spent more time wandering around in various stores.

Today wasn't much of anything... I went and did the shopping, then went and picked up a package at the post office before heading down to Ma's place.

I had half a plan in mind, and it turned out that the Beauty and the Beast remake was playing about half an hour after I got there... so that's what we did.

Afterwards we had a wander around the shops and a late lunch and then I took Ma back to her place and headed home.

So not very exciting, but at least we're getting some movie time in.

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lego minifigures series 17

lego minifigures series 17
It's that time again... and the official images for series 17 of the Lego minifigure series have appeared online.

And for some reason, there's a mystery character... which in the image above is really hard to work out what the hell it is, but when you see the image with the characters all arranged on their little stands, it's very clearly a highwayman. Or it could be a highwaywoman I guess. It could be the Scarlet Pimpernel for all I know... but it's weird that it's a fairly average character for the series. Maybe there are variations? I don't know... it's a little strange though.

Otherwise it's a fairly solid set...
  • Professional Surfer
  • Gourmet Chef
  • Sausage Man
  • Elf Girl
  • Circus Strong Man
  • Yuppie
  • Veterinarian
  • Highwayman (Mystery character)
  • Connoisseur
  • Butterflies Girl
  • Roman Gladiator
  • Corn Cob Man
  • Retro Spaceman
  • Dance Instructor
  • Battle Dwarf
  • Rocket Boy
Some of the names this time around bug me more than they have in the past... "Sausage Man"... he's either a hot dog vendor or a fast food worker (probably more the latter)... but Sausage Man is just weird. And "Elf Girl"... I would have accepted Elf Swordmaiden, even just Elf Maiden. I mean the female warrior with the bow and shield was Forest Maiden. And "Connoisseur"... I suppose "Stereotypical French Dude" wasn't going to fly, but it's a weird.

Having said all of that... I think my favourites are the Elf Girl, Connoisseur, Roman Gladiator, Corn Cob Man, Battle Dwarf and Rocket Boy. If I had to pick just one, I think it would be the Battle Dwarf to be honest, although the Elf Girl would be a close second.

One thing they've really gone to town on with this set are the accessories, from the surfer's Jaws inspired board (I do wish his wetsuit was blue not red to match though), the chef's whisk, the yuppie's mobile phone (which is actually a regular radio accessory, but with some great printed tiles), the adorable bulldog and rabbit, the spaceman's gun and the Rocket Boy's flag... there's both some great new moldings as well as some amazing paintjobs and printing.

They've really outdone themselves this time.

Current Mood:

movies: the lego batman movie

the lego batman movie - always be yourself. unless you can be batman.
Who has the coolest gadgets? BATMAN!
Who has the tricked out ride? BATMAN!
Who does the sickest backflips? BATMAN!
NANANANANANA BATMAN!
Yes... but not just any old Batman... no, this is The Lego Batman Movie.

While I wouldn't call this exactly a sequel to The Lego Movie, this certainly takes place within The Lego Movie Universe (because everything has to have a Movie Universe these days).

And even though Lego Batman wasn't one of my favourite characters from the earlier movie (Benny and UniKitty in case you were interested), and I really wasn't expecting all that much from this movie, it was genuinely quite enjoyable.

Sure, it wasn't up to the level of The Lego Movie, but there was enough to keep me entertained.

One of the things I enjoyed most was the fact that they really did dig into the history of Batman... not the character's history, but rather the history of the character, if that makes sense. There were references to not only all the previous Batman movies (including all three Christopher Nolan movies), but reaching all the way back to the 1966 television series and the origin from the comics. It's stuff that will go sailing over kid's heads, but for older Batman fans there are some funny references.

The other thing that is spot on are the music references... from Man in the Mirror to (I Just) Died in Your Arms to more of Will Arnett's Batman rapping. And even uses of both the Superman and Batman 66 theme songs in unexpected ways.

Story-wise, there is a nice nugget of story at the core, but at the same time, the story isn't as strong as the previous movie. Which isn't to say it's bad, just that there's not a lot of story there, but what is there is good.

Joining Arnett this time around are Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Robin, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker.

Also, in an incredibly blatant product placement, the voice of the Bat-Computer (or 'Puter) is Siri... yes, Siri, as in the Apple iPhone assistant. I didn't actually realise until the end to be honest, although I had noticed that Batman was exclusively using a little tiny Lego iPhone... and it just added to my amusement to realise it was Siri saying things like "Alfred left your lobster thermidor in the fridge" and "the bomb is located at the base of the energy core".

But getting back to the cast, Cera does make a great Robin, although he's definitely played as the comedy flipside to Batman's character... and he's just so relentlessly cute and perky. It was also interesting to see that they didn't just use Dawson as the voice for Barbara Gordon, they actually made both her and Jim Gordon into Latin American characters, which is a first for both characters, and a nice bit of diversity in Lego Batman's world.

They also didn't skimp on the Batman Rogue's Gallery. In fact there are characters here that I think may have only shown up once in all of Batman's history... and a number of them are definitely "blink and you'll miss it". But I really, really loved Galifianakis's Joker. A lot of that is the visual look, I really love his design, especially with the sharp teeth and that big quiff of green hair. But Galifianakis does an excellent job on the voice too.

Like The Lego Movie, the folks at Animal Logic once again spent a lot of time making sure that the Lego in the movie looked as good and as real as humanly possible, down to all the little dints and scratches that Lego gets over time. The movie looks amazing in general though, and even more so than The Lego Movie, it'll be one to rewatch over and over if only to pick up all the little Batman history details they've crammed in.

yani's rating: 4 bat-abs out of 5

photo saturday: words and faces

sparklelyeing

fenceface3e92e
This is going to be a fairly brief one... it's been a stressful week and I really don't want to relive it in detail.

I discovered last Sunday that I did not, in fact, have any dress shirts that still fit. I knew I'd gained some weight, but didn't realise it was that much... so Monday after work I went into Target and found a shirt.

I honestly don't remember what the hell happened on Tuesday, but Wednesday was the interview for my job. Turned out that my offsider wasn't the only one who applied for it... and I'll be honest, I think it's the other person who has thrown me off to a much greater degree.

The interview went fine, I think I covered everything, although whether I covered everything to enough of a degree to suit the panel I have no idea. I do know that the written exercise afterwards was a giant clusterfuck. And it seems like nobody other than maybe my main competition actually got through it.

So now we wait. I have no idea what the outcome will be... but I'll be honest and say that I'm less confident than I previously was, and that's part of what's stressing me the hell out.

I did hear some very nice things from someone I work with who told me that she'd told someone who matters that I was really good at my job... and that one of her coworkers had said the same thing to that person. It's one thing to know that you know what you're doing (even if sometimes you don't think you do), but it's something else entirely for two completely independent people both think it and say it to the right person at hopefully the right time was nice to hear.

It was also amazing how much of a difference wearing a dress shirt makes over wearing polo shirts... both to everyone else and to me. Not that I'm going to switch back, but it was nice to know that going from a zero effort to a 2 had such a big result.

There really wasn't much of anything else that happened during this week... or at least nothing else that really managed to find it's way into my brain. And I'll admit I've been pretty much in my head all week anyway.

Anyway... today also wasn't exactly filled with new and exciting things.

I got up late, I went to the supermarket later than usual, I ran into someone I work with, which was weird. I'm not sure if it's his usual supermarket and it's just because I was running extra late.

From there I came home, unpacked, tidied up, changed the bed and then headed down to Ma's.

It was later than I really wanted to be, but there was enough time to head to the movies, which is what we did (more on that later). And then afterwards we wandered around for a bit, bought some bits and pieces and called it a day.

So yeah, it was good to distract myself from myself for a couple of hours.

Current Mood:

post fringe round-up 2017

The green unicorns have shed their horns and wandered back to their pastures... the glittery pink and green rainbow that's been spread over the city for the last month has shone it's last... the 2017 Fringe is well and truly over.

It's been over a week since I went to my last show and I've watched, somewhat sadly, from the bus each morning as both the Garden and Gluttony are dismantled and returned to regular and slightly dull parks (albeit with a little bit more albino grass than before).

Weirdly, while I don't feel like it's been the busiest Fringe, I did equal my previous record of 24 shows (although this was 22 Fringe and 2 Festival)... but I think that was more about sensible planning. And with having to shuttle back and forth picking Ma up and dropping her home a number of times plus staying up late writing show reviews, I did end up a little sleep deprived by the end of the month.

The German Club, Live on 5 at Adelaide Oval and Brick+Mortar where all new venues for me this year. I'd never actually set foot in either the German Club (I saw 3 different shows there) or Adelaide Oval (sadly just the a single show).

The Peacock at Gluttony also had 3 visits, but we only managed 1 trip to the Royal Croquet Club, but given the new location for RCC, I was okay with that... it's a little less convenient now than it would have been if I was still living in North Adelaide.

I very much invoked Rule 3 during this Fringe... on about 5 separate occasions (7 if you count the Festival shows), I was able to give feedback directly to the performers and tell them how much I appreciated or loved the show or just their performance. I'll be honest, Rule 3 is my favourite of the Fringe rules... especially because you get to see them light up knowing that you appreciated what they did.

Once again I forgot to put star ratings on my reviews... I've left myself a reminder where I'll see it this time, so that should help. I also need to look at the way I tweet out my reviews if the Fringe Twitter account continues to retweet a massive amount of content like they did this year.

As far as shows go, while there were some low spots, it was a remarkably good year overall, and even the ones that fell to the bottom of the list had moments that I enjoyed.

The first 5 shows on the list are exceptional this year... each of them was brilliant. In a lesser year, any of them could have been number 1. And I would stack these top 2 against my top pick for any of the other years. They're essentially as close as close can be.

It's only at about the three quarter mark that they they really start to dip into shows that I didn't necessarily connect with.
  1. Night Creature
    "I feel like to say any more would spoil the experience, but I cannot recommend seeing this show highly enough, it is a perfect little gem that was washed up at my feet."

    I certainly hope that I saw this on a slow night and that they had bigger crowds at other points in their run... but if not, I was lucky enough to witness something rare, and so unique and special that only a select group of people saw. This show touched me emotionally (although I still don't know completely why, and I'm okay with that) and was the first thing that I mentioned to everyone who asked me what I'd seen that was amazing (even though it was only on during the first part of the Fringe).

  2. The Chemsex Monologues
    "I laughed, I welled up, I got mad both at and for the characters and most of all I felt for these four people."

    Like Night Creature, this was something that I just wasn't prepared for... it was brilliantly acted, wonderfully written and I had no idea it was going to be something I loved as much as I did.

  3. Signifying Nothing
    "And, you know what, it works... it works to perfection. It really shouldn't... but it does."

    It's not pure Shakespeare, and I think that's what makes it work as brilliantly as it does... and Nicola Bartlett steals every scene that she's in with her amazing, nuanced performance.

  4. Stories in the Dark
    "But mostly it's amazing and sweet and just filled with such rich and wondrous words by authors throughout time."

    I love Fringe experiences like this... even understanding what was about to happen, the reality of being told stories in pitch blackness was one of those experiences I'll hang onto.

  5. Barbu
    "There really aren't enough words to do Barbu justice... it has to be seen."

    It's beards, it's Canada, it's sexy men (and women), it's crazy circus done just right.

  6. Altar Girl
    "The language is modern, with the occasional Shakespearean phrase thrown in. And setting the play in what feels like the latter half of a party means that everybody is primed for drama when it begins."

    I think I can safely say that without Jeni Bezuidenhout as Lara, this show may have ended up further down the list. She drew me in, captured my attention and was the shining star of this production.

  7. Elixir
    "Elixir is what happens when you put three incredibly talented showmen together under one roof."

    Harris, Gorham and Thomas have created a show with a simple premise but one that is hilarious and engaging from beginning to end. Plus, they show you their underwear.

  8. Blanc de Blanc
    "It is, in equal parts, a chic 1920's Parisian hotel staffed by the insane and a debauched cabaret of flesh and champagne."

    This was another instance where I didn't completely know what I was walking into, but discovered that it was the kind of place where I felt right at home.

  9. Panti Bliss: High heels in low places
    "Panti is without doubt a queen well worth your time."

    She is, in fact, an Irish National Fucking Treasure™... and a hell of a storyteller.

  10. Fauna
    "That's kind of the point of Fauna I think... it's not big, over the top, dramatic tricks for the most part, but everything that they do, they do with an immense amount of power, strength and control which is even better as far as I'm concerned."

    It comes as no surprise to me that Fauna won both the Best Circus/Physical Theatre award in Week 1 and the overall Emerging Artist award for this year's Fringe. The company has an amazing pedigree (pun optional given the theme of the show) and the show feels incredibly polished.

  11. Half Hour Hamlet
    "To keep the level of performance at around 11 for the whole half hour show really shows how skilled he is as a performer and an improviser."

    This year I was Hamlet, so it was something of an atypical experience having the play directed mostly at me... and I can never fault Patrick on his energy.

  12. Shakespeare's Menage a Trois
    "Where they all really shone were as the players... White was pompous and hammy... Drury radically transformed... Anderson manages a very meek lion but the standout was Shaw... she was hilarious, rolling her eyes at Bottom and making Wall more than a little naughty."

    A sweet little sampler of Shakespeare with some genuinely hilarious moments.

  13. Sound and Fury's Sherlock Holmes
    "If you've never been to a Sound and Fury show, what have you been doing with your life?"

    I'm still hoping that one day they bring back either the Dirty Fairy Tales (my first ever experience) or Testaclese and Ye Sack of Rome (which I've seen the video for but never in the flesh) or both... but for now, all Sound and Fury is good Sound and Fury.

  14. Puppetry of the Penis
    "There is just something odd about watching guys contort their penises into all manner of shapes and configuration."

    I'm glad that I waited until now to see this show, Barry Bisco and Rich Binning were worth waiting for, and it's not often you get to just watch two guys play with their junk for an hour... well, not with that many women in the room anyway.

  15. Unplotted Potter
    "It was still a very funny show, and one I would recommend to any Harry Potter fan."

    These shows are always very hard to review as you never know exactly the version you're going to get on any given day... but this cast gave what they were presented with their all, and you can't ask for much more than that.

  16. Shakespeare's Waiting Room
    "The gold star has to go to the waiting room receptionist though... not just for her amazing facial expressions throughout each and every audition, but also when she gets a chance to really cut loose, she's amazing."

    Thinking back on this show, I feel like the location hurt rather than helped and this would have been better suited to a small room somewhere. Also the fact that this was advertised as 90 minutes but barely ran for an hour didn't make for the best impression. It's a shame because the performances were strong.

  17. Hamlet
    "It was an interesting take on the Danish play though."

    I was most impressed with Aarod Vawser's various performances here, but also the choice to cast Hamlet as a woman and portray a "lesbian" relationship with Ophelia is worthy of both mention and kudos.

  18. Coral Browne: This F***ing Lady!
    "Browne sounds like she was a witty old broad who had one hell of a life and Mooy portrays all of that with a twinkle in her eye and many a wry smile to the audience."

    I hope the issues with Mooy forgetting/calling for lines was resolved later in the run, because it marred an otherwise good show.

  19. The Package
    "While I enjoyed the story, I wouldn't say that it'll be one that stays with me (comedy genitals notwithstanding)."

    There wasn't really anything wrong with this show, it was just that it was never exceptional.

  20. Razi
    "If the word adorkable was ever going to apply to a Fringe performer, then Razi would be it."

    Having seen some of the more impressive Fringe magicians in past years, unfortunately Razi fell a little bit short... but he was very sweet and his contact juggling was amazing.

  21. Concrete
    "I fully acknowledge that I have very high expectations for this kind of show, but sadly this one just didn't get there."

    The performers are highly skilled (and I discovered later that one of them was involved with or filling in on Elixir, which says a lot), but I just feel that the show would have benefited from a more experienced director/choreographer to tie everything together.

  22. The Baby Farmer
    "I just couldn't connect with the material as much as I would have liked, it just felt like there were just too many layers of artifice in the way between me and it."

    This wasn't a bad show, by any means... like I said in the initial review, I just was never able to find my way into it like it needed. I did wonder after the fact about the folk from the Baby Farmer and the folk from The Package getting together and reworking this show using the somewhat creepy puppets... now THAT I could get behind.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go back into hibernation until next Fringe...

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photo saturday: brick people

grievous vs kenobijetty fishing

knighty nightcostume time
It's been a very, very different week this week...

Firstly, no Fringe shows, so I was at home every night this week (and there is a round up post coming, I've just been taking a few days off). So I've played a bit of Lego Dimensions, I've tried to catch up on some of the Acquisitions Incorporated YouTube videos, I actually cooked food three times this week with varying results.

And I realised this morning when I got in the car that I haven't used it since last Saturday.

Work is mostly slow at present, but next week I have an interview for my job... which is slightly terrifying. Not the interview itself, just the idea that I might not get the job that I've been doing for the last two and a half years. My current offsider is also applying for the job, so in essence he's probably my only majorly serious competition. Like I said previously, I don't mind that he applied, I would have 100% have done the same thing in his position, but I am more than a little irked that he never told me he was. I saw him completing the application and I finally asked him this week, because I hate not knowing stuff I already know (along with people thinking they can actually keep things from me).

The thing that worries me is this wouldn't be the first time that the person actively doing the job didn't get the job. Yes, usually the correct person has gotten the job, but we'll see I guess.

Cross your fingers for me on Wednesday.

You want to know what I am sick of this week? Guys online who get halfway through a conversation with you and then just stop... or worse yet, say they want to meet and then disappear or arrange a time and a place and then just disappear.

Mostly that last one... if you've gotten to that point of saying you'll meet when you have no intention of doing so, then you sir, are an fucking asshole. If you do it at another other point before that you're just varying degrees of rude, which I can completely cope with. I also never understand what they get out of that situation... I'm clearly interested, you say you're interested... you agree to meet, when you don't meet, you disappear, sometimes deleting your whole profile and then go back to, I don't know, eating Pringles and jerking off to Tumblr porn or whatever you were doing before you decided to fuck with my life.

I think I may have been even more annoyed and sensitive to it today because a) I was hungover as fuck (more on that in a minute), and b) one of the assholes who did it to me started messaging me while I was being stood up the first time. Thank you very fucking much.

Anyway, like I said, I'm a little grumpy today.

We went out for drinks after work last night... H-San is going on extended leave overseas, so we went out to celebrate and wish him a bon voyage. At some point I did lose track of the number of drinks I had... but I only bought myself one, then other people kept offering to buy me one and I kept saying yes. I think it was somewhere in the more than 6, less than 10 bracket.

Granted that was between about 4:30 and 8:30, so while I definitely knew I was approaching the land of drunk, I wasn't a hot mess.

And I got to catch up with a couple of people we don't always see that often, which was nice. Also, the guy who was spending most of the time behind the bar and was also in my line of sight for most of the evening was cute as fuck.

I couldn't be bothered walking home afterwards, so I went and caught the bus, got home, drank a bunch of water, faffed about for a bit and then went to bed. And slept pretty badly I have to say. Which wasn't related to the booze I don't think as I've slept badly on and off all week.

I was up relatively early, did my shopping relatively early, which was fine, but it was all in aid of making time for someone who didn't then bother showing up. But moving on.

When it became clear that the morning wasn't going to work out the way I expected, I packed up and went to Ma's.

To be honest, I wasn't really expecting to still be doing this at this stage... but you play the cards you're dealt.

Much like before the Fringe, I went down there and we ended up going to the shopping centre. To be honest, the original plan was to go to the movies, but it seemed like everybody had gone crazypants in Ma's neighbourhood... it was really hard to get a park at the shops, there seemed to be people everywhere, and when we got around to the movie theatre people were queued up out the door. I do not for the life of me understand why... there were a couple of movies all starting at the same time, but I've never seen it so damn busy.

So we gave it up as a bad idea and wandered around the shops instead. We were going to head back for the next session, but I really wasn't in the mood by that point, so we had some lunch and then we called it a day.

We did drop all of the refundable recycling off on the way back to Ma's place though, and made $18.20 from the plethora of iced coffee containers and other bottles I'd been taking to Ma's since before she injured her shoulder.

And then it was back here for more douchbaggery.

So we're back to our regularly scheduled programming I guess.

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fringe: signifying nothing

adelaide fringe: signifying nothing
Signifying Nothing is Shakespeare done the way it's meant to be done... but with a twist.

Writer, co-director and star Greg Fleet takes the idea of the cut and thrust of the modern Australian political landscape and overlays it on the tale of deceit and ambition that is Shakespeare's Macbeth. Lord and Lady Macbeth become Paul and Lainey Macbeth... and the kingdom of Scotland becomes the premiership of Perth.

All of the action takes place in and around the bedroom of the Macbeths which makes perfect sense the more I think about it.

Half of the language is the bard's original, the other is Fleet's very modern Australian vernacular and parlance... not to mention a hell of a lot of profanity. Sometimes a word or two of modern language will creep into the Shakespeare to have it make sense in the world of the story.

And, you know what, it works... it works to perfection. It really shouldn't... but it does.

Fleet manages to capture the intent of Shakespeare's dialogue and then reinterpret it to fit his modern day context, weaving the two styles together so well that it never seems odd to go from Macbeth talking about taking Fleance to the football to Lainey reciting Lady Macbeth's first monologue direct from the play.

My ongoing love and familiarity with the Scottish play is, at this point, well know... and I will say that this is one of the best versions I've seen. It's a big call, but it's one I think is is well deserved.

A big part of that is Nicola Bartlett as the Lady to Fleet's Lord. She performs her lines the way that I want to see it done in every Shakespeare play that I see, with emotion and thought and feeling. They're not just a procession of words to be gotten out in the right order... no, Lainey Macbeth exists as a three dimensional character who is clearly thinking, feeling, plotting, scheming and manipulating with all the light and shade that that implies while speaking both Shakespeare's words and Fleet's.

Fleet's Macbeth is likewise fully formed, but he doesn't seem to have quite so much of the heavy lifting as far as the bard's prose is concerned. He also manages to make his Macbeth very charismatic.

Macbeth's friend and fellow politician Banquo (Luke Hewitt) and the five witches, as well as some initial set up and a recurring interview between Macbeth and a reporter (Roz Hammond) all take place projected onto the screen behind the bed (within the fiction of the play's universe, I think it's all happening on phone, tablet or television screens). It's an interesting technique and allows for additional parts of the narrative without additional actors on the ground.

To me this works the best in the initial conversation with Banquo and in the interactions with the witches. This is also ties into the use of technology in the rest of the play, specifically the "killing" of Duncan politically with a scandal rather than actually stabbing him.

As this version is only an hour long, and switches between modern language and the original text, all while focusing exclusively on the titular couple... so naturally there was a lot of the original play that had to go to make way for the new content. While it makes sense, I was sad to see sections like the entire banquet sequence be lost. It also felt like there were lines from parts of the play that I don't generally see performed.

Fleet's music choices also felt particularly spot on throughout the play, especially in the sequence where he mimes to a song (The Nosebleed Section by Hilltop Hoods, I think). It could have felt weird and out of place, but worked incredibly well.

If I had any complaints at all it would be that occasionally the prerecorded audio was a little hard to discern all the words to... particularly with the witches.

All in all I could not have asked for a better show to close out my Fringe 2017 experience.

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photo saturday: metal

torsogeneral

farkdonkey
I really did need the day off this week... thank goodness for Adelaide Cup Day.

And it was nice just to do essentially nothing for a day.

I had one of the shows I was supposed to see on Sunday night cancel due to the rainstorm that rolled across the city last weekend. It meant that I had to rebook it for last night, but it worked out fine.

And it was also nice not to have to do the usual prep work for my lunches either.

Then Tuesday was my birthday, which has to be the most low key birthday I've had for a while... although we saw a great show, so that was nice.

The rest of the week was fairly quiet, we had a work lunch on Thursday (another reason I didn't bother making lunch for the week) which was nice.

It was Friday when the arse really dropped out of the world... nothing major, but Ma messaged me to say that she'd seen the doctor again about her shoulder and he'd told her that the operation hadn't been successful. Why it took them this long to work that out, fucked if I know, but suffice to say that it really, really flavoured my mood for the rest of the day in the colour of cranky.

I think it was frustration and being tired of the whole situation... and the fact that I'd kind of had a suspicion that something wasn't right back at the beginning of the Fringe when I discovered that Ma couldn't actively move her arm forward. That seemed like something of a red flag to me, but figured everybody involved knew more about it than me, so it should improve. Turns out, no... as always, I should just believe my gut reaction to things, since it's usually essentially correct (okay, maybe not, but I feel like it's true more often than not).

So, yeah, Friday was... more difficult than it needed to be. But I had two Fringe shows after work, so at least I wasn't sitting around stewing about things. Weirdly, the show I had cancel on me (Elixir) then got moved to an hour earlier, thankfully the nice folks at Fringe sent me a text message to let me know, so I didn't miss it.

But with one thing and another it was about 2am before I got to bed, so it was a bit of a late start this morning.

And that meant a much busier supermarket. Plus I needed to work out what the hell I was going to make for lunches in the coming week (it's going to be some kind of salad, but even though I've bought all the individual elements, I still have no idea what type of salad it's going to be).

Then it was back here, unpack, relax for about half an hour and then I was off to pick up Ma for our final Fringe show of the season.

But first we took a trip to Target to wander somewhat aimlessly and buy a few bits and pieces... then a stop at Haighs to pick out our Easter eggs for each other (even though Easter isn't until the middle of April), then back here for a while.

Given that the last show was at Holden Street, it made the most sense to stop off in North Adelaide for dinner, and we went to one of the places we used to go on semi-special occasions... but just being in North Adelaide and no longer living there, and the fact that the restaurant has obviously changed hands, or at the very least changed their menu, meant that the whole trip was both bittersweet and a little disappointing.

Also, this will be the last time for at least a month that I will be having Chicken Schnitzel... it's been my "go to" meal for pretty much every meal we've eaten out this Fringe. I didn't mean for it to be, but it just kind of worked out that way.

The meal itself wasn't bad, and it was presented quite nicely (I should have taken a photo... I mean my phone was out on the table at the time and everything).

After that it was time to head to Holden Street.

And then after the play, I drove Ma home again. I will say that I won't miss the "up and back, up and back" of the last four Saturday nights, or even the "up and back" of a couple of the Tuesdays for the past month.

In fact, there is a lot of things I'm not really going to miss about the last few weeks, although the shows themselves are not amongst them.

Current Mood:

fringe: elixir

adelaide fringe: elixir
Elixir is what happens when you put three incredibly talented showmen together under one roof.

Cal Harris, Thomas Gorham and Rowan Thomas are talented acrobats and comedians, not to mention being collectively sexy as all hell.

I saw Elixir back in 2014 when it was just Harris and Gorham and loved it then, but I have to say that the refinements of the intervening years as well as the addition of Harris' former castmate Thomas from Alice In The Madhouse the previous year have both taken a show that was great and made it outstanding.

And I think I may have spotted their other castmate from Alice, Will Meager, in the audience at tonight's show (the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit together again... is there any chance at all of a full on reunion?).

This is also the only show I've been too all Fringe long where you're encouraged to take photos during the performance (provided your flash is off and your phone is on silent... otherwise everybody DIES)... and I did get some excellent photos.

The story is much the same as the original show, "Professors" Harris, Gorham and Thomas are testing elixir compounds in the lab and they need to run some strength and agility tests... after which it's time for testing, and things get all little bit... funky. It was great see the level of polish and sophistication that they've given the show in the last three years... and it's been refined to a perfect little show.

Thomas is an outstanding addition, he's a natural clown, from his squeaky voice to his playing with the audience regularly, he had us all eating out of the palm of his hand. And I've seen a lot of acts use the big cyr wheel and spin and rotate, but Thomas is the only person I've ever seen use that giant metal hoop as a damn hula hoop! I'm not completely sure who was spinning who at certain points, but it definitely made an impression.

I swear that Harris gets sexier every time I see him... that body is amazing and he still has that face that switches between leading man and comedy relief at the drop of a hat. His ladder routine is still astounding and he's introduced whip cracking into his arsenal, which combined with his costume from the latter part of the show definitely makes an impression.

Gorham has introduced some breakdance elements that I don't remember from the previous show that are both amazing (even if Thomas does occasional steal all the attention) and work really well for his character at that moment.

The three of them manage to make the show both humorous and at times quite homoerotic (or at the very least homosensual) without relying exclusively on "dudes sometimes like other dudes, isn't that weird" style gags. And for which I give them another round of applause. Thomas, especially, flirted with, I think, three separate men in the audience during the show (sadly I wasn't one of them).

Elixir really does have a little bit of everything, and it's a show that it well worth seeing.

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