photo saturday: street colour

newtown brawnnewtown gator

purple sfxred spots

while sydney sleepsyoke asone 4076 ad
When I get something stuck in my head, I do have a tendency to dive in face first and swim all the way to the bottom...

More on that in a second.

I made a pretty good bacon and tomato soup this week... previously I've spent entirely too long chopping the ingredients up into little tiny bits, but this time I just looked at the stuff laid out on the bench and thought "why the fuck do I need to do that?"... so I didn't. And it worked out perfectly just roughly chopping everything.

I did use what is commonly called a "metric fuckton" of bacon thought. So it was all very good.

As I mentioned last week, I took myself off to play D&D... and that continued again this week. In fact I not only went back to the Wednesday morning game, but also went to a game on Thursday night. And next week it'll probably be a Monday night game too.

I will say that the Thursday game, which involved five players, including myself, was a little more chaotic than previous ones. Partly because three of the players were essentially brand new (and knew each other), but I also think that that number feels a little too big, weirdly.

The game on Wednesday was very different from either of the other games, firstly there were only three of us playing, and it was very roleplay heavy... and was kind of mechanically perfect for my character. I also think we surprised the DM more than a few times on how we chose to play things.

And yes, I know I'm a giant nerd, this should not be a surprise to anybody.

The other thing I realised (and tweeted about the other day) is that I've now met at least a dozen new people and spent anywhere between three and four hours with them, working cooperatively and making decisions.

And I know essentially nothing about them as people. It's very odd. Also, this isn't a "regular group" kind of D&D game where you get together with the exact same people and play an ongoing campaign, but rather coming together with whoever happens to be there on a given day and playing whatever 2 to 4 hour module the DM has prepared. Although given the finite number of players around, I'm pretty sure I'll end up playing with the same people multiple times.

The Thursday group especially could be good if they all (well, all but one) return.

Anyway... what it means is that I've actually left the house multiple times this week and interacted with real life people, in the flesh, who I didn't already know, in the world, and enjoyed myself.

I'm fairly certain this is a clear indicator that the end of days is upon us.

See, I told you I dive in and don't come up for air.

Otherwise I had my chiro appointment on Friday afternoon, so that was yet another trip into the city. Fortunately she was very pleased with how my back was compared with the mess it was in the last time she saw me. And that was after spending about 11 hours sitting on strange, fairly uncomfortable chairs over the last week.

Today was both slightly momentous and fairly dull.

Fairly dull in that it was much the same as every other Saturday of late... supermarket, drive to Ma's place, wander around the shopping centre, come home.

And that's essentially what happened. We thought about going to the movies, but neither of us were especially enthusiastic and the one thing we may have bothered with was only on in the morning. We do definitely need to get back to doing the movie thing though.

However, momentous for the simple fact that Ma drove us to the shopping centre. Her doctor finally gave her the green light to drive again, albeit only within 10km of home, which essentially just includes to and from work (which she's also going back to next week) and the shops.

But it's a step in the right direction.

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photo saturday: ups and downs

waterside woodferry feet

1878 lionfitzroy lane
It's been a bit of an odd week.

Firstly I made what can only be described as a metric fuckton of tuna mornay last weekend, however I ran into the same problem that I did a couple of weeks ago when I completely over spiced a perfectly good pumpkin soup. And that problem is that up until quite recently I've been using spices that are five years old at best and ten plus years old at worst.. so some of the kick has gone out of them. But now I'm using brand new spices, and even using tiny amounts is basically enough to rip the back of my head off.

Which isn't to say that the mornay was bad, just that it was very spicy. Also, by the end of the week I was decidedly over it.

The first couple of days of the week were pretty average, by which I mean dull, but on Wednesday I finally did something I've been intending/promising/threatening to do for months now.

I went to play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons).

It's been a very long time coming, but it did help that it was in my favourite comic book shop. So I went along with my character, spent time with a number of total strangers (and I won't lie, some of them were exactly what you think of when you think of people playing D&D... hell, they're what I expected to see, and I know better) and played pretend for four hours.

There were kind of more people than I was expecting, to be honest, but that did mean that I got to be part of the smaller group who were all playing lower level characters. What was interesting was seeing the character personalities versus the player personalities. But there were definitely a couple of people in my group that I hope I play with again.

I also needed to drop by The Nut House afterwards, to pick up something I'd ordered ages ago from Rockchick, so that was... a thing that happened.

Everybody was really happy to see me, I got lots of hugs, but, you know what, I didn't have the slightest twinge of missing the place. It felt almost exactly the same as when I left it, even though a few of the other people (outside of The Nut House) have left or been replaced or both.

I ended hanging out there for about an hour, and then made my way home.

Other than a somewhat atypical burst of creative writing on Thursday the rest of the week was pretty average.

Today was a little slow.

I was slow getting started and off to the supermarket, then when I got there I ran into someone I know and lost another ten minutes or so getting all caught up with him.

Originally I'd been thinking about making lasagna this week, but I'll be honest, I just couldn't be bothered with all the steps. So instead I'm going to go with tomato soup, although not the roasted variety since that was a little too much last time.

All of the delays meant that I was a little late heading down to Ma's place. But it's not like there's a whole hell of a lot of anything we had planned.

We did need to go to the other shopping centre roughly equidistant from her place... which is even more feral and low rent than the other one... which I actually didn't think was humanly possible, but there you go.

Suffice to say that we didn't hang around all that long.

When we got back, I asked Ma if she had something, knowing that she would have several different versions at the very least... which turned into us pulling everything out of the top of her wardrobe, amalgamating a lot of it, resituating some of it and throwing everything totally pointless away. Not exactly what we intended to do with the afternoon, but it was time well spent.

Granted it was also the easiest bit of Ma's place to actually go through like that.

It is fortunate that although we're both (as Adam Savage puts it) "high functioning hoarders", neither of us is particularly adverse to getting rid of something when we know it's no longer of any use.

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photo saturday: pointed

madonnarichurch by the bridge

glass pyramidrooftop aster
You know how they say that "no news is good news"?... Yes, whoever said that is full of shit.

The beef and barley soup I made last weekend was pretty decent... I don't think I put enough barley in to be honest... and the beef wasn't quite as tender as I was intending. But it was fairly tasty, none the less.

The main problem I had with it was the fact that I don't have all that much of an appetite at the moment. So whereas previously I'd have a big bowl of soup at lunch, then come home and make a whole meal for dinner, I've mostly ended up moving the soup to dinner, and lunch either relatively non-existent or minimal at best.

Not a bad thing for my waistline, but it does still occasionally play havoc with me picking stuff out at the supermarket.

Monday was my rescheduled haircut... copy and paste here from every other haircut in the last year or so... but it was nice to get out of the house.

And I did watch the first six episodes of The Handmaid's Tale... which is really amazing but also incredibly frustrating and makes me all kinds of mad. I'll probably get around to finishing it at some point, but I don't know how enthusiastic I am about it.

Otherwise I got nothing.

Today was fairly by the numbers as well. I did manage to remember that I really didn't need very much, so it was a fairly light shop. I'm going with a tuna mornay this week... I think I need to go live in the comfort food genre for a bit. I may also give lasagna a go next week... I've made it before, but with varying degrees of success.

Anyway, after the shopping portion, I headed down to Ma's.

She's definitely on the mend... although she does keep favouring the injured shoulder when she's lifting that arm. I know it's still early days and it may resolve itself later on, but I feel like she needs to keep an eye on it.

We headed off to her shopping centre, she wanted to pick a few things up (which to be honest, I could have picked most of them up, but she said she wanted to actually do some shopping, which I kind of get), so we just did the usual wander and ended at the supermarket.

Afterwards we stopped for some lunch at Schnithouse... but they were so full we initially had to get take-out... fortunately some space cleared out and they managed to seat us, so that was nice. And it's not a bad lunch for $10.

Then it was back to Ma's place, so I could steal/borrow her big Corningware oven dish (because mine is too flat and wide) for my tuna mornay.

And that was about it really.

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photo saturday: bobbing along

paddling outbobbling along

scuba schoolpaddling out, sailboat edition
This week has been brought to you by the letter blah and the number m'eh...

I managed to make really good soup this week... chicken noodle soup... I usually do pretty damn well with chicken soup to be honest, and this was a good one.

Back in 2010 (good lord, that was seven years ago)... I wrote a post about why that particular season of Doctor Who sucked really, really hard... and I mentioned what my response to various season finales of Doctor Who had been up until that point... essentially how much I did or didn't cry during the finale.

This is by way of saying that now, with the end of Peter Capaldi's final season, we have a new record... I still don't completely know why, but I cried like a mofo. And it genuinely baffles me that if Stephen Moffat could do that in that episode, why the hell couldn't he do more of it in previous seasons.

He even made me really like and appreciate Missy, which I didn't think was humanly possible, since I absolutely loathed her in her first series. But I will say that it was due to the combination of Capaldi, Pearl Mackie as the companion and Michelle Gomez as Missy... oh and Matt Lucas as Narole. It's been a powerful combination of characters and actors and it'll be interesting to see what happens with a new Doctor, new companion and new show runner after the Christmas special.

And they haven't even announced a new Doctor as yet... the last episode seemed to be foreshadowing pretty damn heavily (ah yes, that patented Moffat subtlety... I won't miss that one bit) that the next Doctor would be a woman... but only time will tell. As always, it's about the actor they actually choose and what direction they choose to take the Doctor's personality, so I guess only time will tell.

Otherwise the week has been very cold and very wet and very dull.

I also managed to completely and totally forget that I had a haircut appointment with Tink on Thursday... I hadn't set an alarm in my phone, and then I got an SMS from her around 8pm checking if I was okay. We then rescheduled for Monday... whoops.

I mean there's been more than a few times where she's rescheduled at the last minute, so I don't feel quite so bad about it... but, yeah... forgetting the whole thing is a new one.

I had something of an early start this morning... well early compared to the usual time I've been heading out... and it was actually a fairly big shopping trip. Part of that was because Ma needed a bunch more stuff than she has done in previous weeks, but somehow I ended up getting more than usual too... who knows.

I'm planning on making beef and barley soup... but given past experience with beef soup, I'm guessing it will probably end up as stew... I'm going to give it a red hot go though.

Once the shopping part of the day was over I headed down to Ma's place.

Due to a seemingly ever increasingly specific series of circumstances (none of which are particularly interesting) Ma had to have her gas fireplace removed because it had a number of issues, up to and including leaking a small amount of gas. Which meant that her place was pretty damn cold this morning. So our main task for the day was to find her a temporary heater until the gas fire situation is sorted out.

That mostly meant wandering around her shopping centre trying to find somewhere that had heaters that a) weren't under $15 no brand pieces of crap, b) weren't $150 giant oil heaters, c) had more than the previous two choices... harder than you'd think to be honest. But we eventually found something that fit the bill.

When we got back we ended up looking through a bunch of really, really old photos and talking about the fish and chip shop Ma grew up in. Which I knew about obviously, but there were things I'd never thought to ask, so that was interesting.

I also amused the pair of us by reading some of the adverts in very, very, very old newspaper clippings... because some of them are just plain weird. But I also need to scan a bunch of those clippings, as that paper is pretty damn fragile in a lot of cases.

So that was about it really.

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movies: wonder woman

wonder woman - power, grace, wisdom, wonder
Growing up I was always a DC comics boy... although my general exposure to Diana Prince/Wonder Woman was limited to whatever brief interactions she had with Donna Troy/Wonder Girl in the Teen Titan comics.

However, I haven't been the least bit interested to see any of the new DCUniverse movies (and given the overwhelmingly m'eh feedback, I was happy to stay out of it)... and while I know enough about the other movies to be going along with, I'd heard sufficiently good things about Wonder Woman to want to see it.

And it was pretty good... but it suffered mostly on two fronts, the first of which being that it had to subscribe to the Synderverse version of DC... which mean that everything is about half a shade above muddy brown (if not for the poster, I would have had no idea that her skirt was meant to be blue or her armour meant to be red... the costume essentially looks brown and grey), and beyond a couple of the scenes on Paradise Island (and yes, I know it's actually Themyscira, but that's hard to type) at the beginning, I think all of the skies are grey.

Also, slow motion abuse. In the first major action scene in the human world I think I lost count at six or seven slow motion moments. It's every single action beat, because if you don't slow it down, how are you going to see this cool thing she's doing, but then every thing she's doing is a cool thing, so we need to slow them ALL down. No... thank you, but no.

There's also some very fake looking CG/bluescreen work, particularly on Paradise Island when the Amazons are fighting. Don't get me wrong, there are some kick ass stunts/effects, but there are more than a few that just feel so incredibly fake to me.

The other place where I felt like it suffered was the fact that I kept making mental comparisons to the first Captain America movie. I love the first Captain America movie (and I really wish I'd gone and seen it when it was in theatres)... and parts of this movie just feel very similar. Yes, its a different war, but when you have a super powered character with a shield fighting in a World War against Germans... it's a little... samey.

Especially when you factor in her fish out of water element (which, yes, doesn't come into play until the subsequent Captain America movies, but still).

There's also the fact that they play the DC movies as much more serious and dramatic than the Marvel movies... I'll be honest, there is some humour there, mostly provided by Lucy Davis as Etta (who I had no idea was actually a comics character, which just makes me like her even more), but it really felt like they'd just stitched her into the script at the last minute because they needed comedy relief. Don't get me wrong, she's really, really good... and I loved pretty much all of her scenes, but she's clearly just comedy relief and doesn't really do anything.

Speaking of the cast... I do like Gal Gadot... and she makes a really good Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.

So this is going to sound weird, but she felt too naive as a character. I'm guessing that's how she was written, and it may very well play in contrast to how she was played in the Batman/Superman movie... and I know that the character is essentially young and inexperienced throughout this time period, something about it just bothered me. I'm going to take that on as my issue, not the movie's... the character is supposed to know nothing of the world, Gadot played Diana that way, the script portrayed her that way, big check for achievement unlocked... there were just moments when she seemed kinda stupid.

Gadot does some fantastic work in the action sequences (aforementioned overuse of slow-mo notwithstanding), she looks amazing, she's a very easily likeable character... and I actually quite like the accent that they gave to all of the Amazons (which I'm guessing is Gadot's natural accent, or near enough).

I will give Robin Wright the award for most fully formed and impactful character with the least screentime though... Antiope is amazing (and possibly my favourite stunt is when she fires three arrows at once while leaping over a rock on the beach), you know who she is and what she's about in a matter of moments and she makes you give a damn.

Chris Pine... well, he's just generally Chris Pine... my least favourite of the Chrises (being Evans, Pratt, Hemsworth and then Pine in very last place). His job in this movie is mostly Exposition Fairy, and trying not to get in Gadot's way unless the script tells him to.

Their love story is weak at best, and while I know that it is part of the comics canon for these two characters, I really would have been just as happy if they'd left it out almost completely... I mean Pine and Gadot do have a number of really sweet moments, but it just felt really, really shoehorned in at times, especially the *purposefully vague spoilers* Fifth Element moment Diana has at the end of the movie as a result.

It was also nice to see a movie where the character who uses their good looks to try and sweet talk one of the (female) bad guys is actually the dude.

I did notice that the movie tripped over itself a little too hard to not give Diana any kind of lesbian/bisexual back story... because she's read about the sex with the men in the books. It's a blink and you'll miss it moment, but it stuck out a little for me.

The movie also suffers from the usual comic book movie problem of ill defined or inconsequential villain/s... as well as making the villains part of a historically accurate aggressor and then have them essentially go off on their own (see also Red Skull/Hydra and the Nazis). It was nice to have one of the villains be female though... although even for an ill defined villain, she was pretty thin, character wise.

But I also felt like there was much more of a moral ambiguity to using the Germans from World War 1. World War 2, go crazy, we know how that all turned out... but given that this movie just seemed to contain a lot of people in very, very similar looking uniforms on both sides, it just felt less clear cut that they should be slaughtering this particular group of people wholesale. The movie does try to address that by having one of the characters tell the heroes what the "bad guys" have done, but it just felt a little uncomfortable at times. Again, that may be more of a me thing than a movie thing.

It also feels a little weird that there is very little "American" about this movie, other than Chris Pine as Steve Trevor... Diana is shown living in Paris in the modern day (slight spoiler... the movie is bookended with modern day elements), and the first place she steps onto land in Man's World is England. I mean it makes sense, it just felt a little weird given the fact that I really identify Wonder Woman with America.

And yes, the fact that Diana is a kick ass woman from an island of kick ass women and doesn't give a damn if you think she should be doing something or not is a fine message. The movie does undercut it at points both with various male characters talking about how gorgeous she is, but also once she leaves the island it's basically her and a sausage fest for the rest of the movie. And it does feel like a lot of the conversations Diana has with anybody after she leaves Paradise Island end up revolving around a man... well, a god technically, but a male identifying god.

But it feels like the really issues that it has as a movie are more about it being a DCUniverse and Synderverse movie than it being a movie about a female character directed by a female director (and written by a man who's mostly written TV episodes).

yani's rating: 3 golden lassos out of 5

photo saturday: recycle

recycle happyrecycle tigress

recycle green yellowrecycle red blue green
So this was a week with stuff in it...

I made the single worst batch of soup I have made in all of the time that I've been making soup. It was so bad that I couldn't eat any past the first day, although I did try to salvage it by turning into a curry, it still didn't work. Short story long, I put way too much curry powder in it... it was awful.

Tuesday I had another chiro appointment, but while my back was generally okay, I felt like crap because I was slightly coming down with a cold or a cough or something... thankfully it was either a fairly temporary thing or I only caught the very end of it, because it hasn't stuck around and other than a couple of days of feeling a little shitty, I didn't drop like the proverbial sack.

Wednesday I had a bunch of last minute cleaning to do before my rental inspection on Thursday. That was less fun. To be honest I'd done a bunch of it at various points prior to Wednesday, but all that was left was cleaning the bathroom, a final clean of the kitchen, vacuuming and mopping the floors.

Between needing to sit down at various points so my back didn't totally freak out again, waiting for the floor to try in one spot so I could move things back to mop the next spot and getting slightly distracted by whatever crap was on the Food Network, as well has having had a bit of a late start, by the time I was done it was about 4pm, I'd had no lunch, my elbow had decided to freak out all on it's own and I just needed to lay down for a while.

Suffice to say I ordered pizza.

To avoid having to be there when the land agent was there, I Went Out on Thursday morning... running a bunch of errands I hadn't previously gotten around to for sundry interconnected and uninteresting reasons. I started with the Central Market for some steel cut oats (yay, porridge for breakfast tomorrow), picked up a couple of other bits and pieces and then headed off to IKEA.

Predominantly that was for picture frames... not that I don't have about a million pieces of artwork already in frames, but they're all packed up safely and there were a couple of other things I wanted frames for.

Given that I had all the time in the world, I did the whole wander through the showroom, even though I didn't really need to. As with any IKEA trip, I ended up picking up a few other things that I didn't necessarily need, but that were useful.

Next up I took a trip to the Laygo store to see what had happened with the most recent series of minifigures... turns out he'd lost my phone number (and the email I originally sent him), so he never got in touch. Turned out he still had a full set... well, a set minus one to be honest (although because he also de-packets them a couple of the figs were missing an accessory, so I have to swing by tomorrow to pick those up). Oh, and I managed to get the last minifig on Friday thanks to the lovely ladies at Toyworld who were already helping a nice old lady find one for her granddaughter... it was very much all about right place, right time which led to one of the women going into the back to get a fresh box so that we could find the one missing fig.

Back to Thursday... from Laygo there was a quick stop off to pick up some groceries, then back home to rest... well, after I discovered that the agent had left me a sheet saying that the place looked good, but had only ticked "good" and not "excellent" on the sheet... bitch, I ruptured myself for you... shit was clean... what the hell do I have to do for "excellent"!


Friday my body decided that it could adequately complain about what I'd been doing to it for the past couple of days, so it did.

But I had another chiro appointment on Friday afternoon, so my lovely chiro sorted it all out and told me that my back was pretty much back to the "usual" issue rather than the specific issue I'd gone in with over the last couple of weeks, which is good. I'm still trying not to sit quite as much as I had been, but at least I can sit for a while now.

The elbow is still complaining a little, but it's improving, and ice helps there too (since my chiro told me that it was swollen... too much moping, obviously).

But enough of me listing my woes and maladies...

Today was... well, it was above m'eh... just not terribly exciting overall.

The shopping was... shopping. I will say that when Ma and I are back to the usual routine I am going to miss just sticking my headphones on and listening to podcasts while I'm shopping.

Oh, and because I fucked this week's soup up so damn badly, I'm going back to basics this week with very simple chicken noodle soup. Also, it should chase the last of whatever lurgy I was suffering from away. Because I said so.

When I got down to Ma's place, we headed off to the movies (more on that later), then took a turn around the shopping centre, picked up some random stuff, had a very, very late lunch (or very early dinner) and called it a day.

So, you know, like I said, not thrilling...

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