Wednesday, 30 April 2008

What a lifesaver...

I thought it was time I posted a taste of 'eye candy' courtesy of DNA magazine.

I wouldn't mind receiving a bit of mouth to mouth resuscitation from him.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Easy touch?

Earlier this year I approached a financial advisory service. I received their presentation and I followed up by signing with them.

The service was recommended to me by Hn who phoned this afternoon to say that she has received a surprise and that she has me to thank for it. The financial service has sent her a generous picnic hamper filled with goodies in acknowledgement of her referral. I'm not the first person she has referred but this is the first time she has received a lavish gift for doing so.

We had a good laugh over this but I am led to wonder whether the service sees me as a future source of their enrichment.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Are you being served?

I stopped by the bakery on a sudden urge to have a lamington. For any overseas readers, a lamington is a peculiarly popular Australian cake of such vulgarity that no self respecting European patisserie would care to even check the recipe. Needless to say I am sufficiently vulgar to be addicted to lamingtons.

There was a male/female couple and one other man already in the bakery on my arrival with only the one person attending to us. I waited patiently as the couple were made and served their coffees and a cake each, at which point they departed the store. Then I continued to wait patiently as the other man purchased four different types of pies and four different types of tarts. Whilst the man paid for his purchase another male/female couple entered the store and to my surprise the shop attendant moved to serve them next.

Apparently I was invisible to the attendant and to the recently arrived couple who did not bother to check whether I was standing there waiting to be served.

In years gone by I was so meek that I would have said nothing but times have changed. In the most arch tone I could muster I called out "Excuse me". The couple realising what had happened were appropriately contrite but the store attendant seemed quite taken aback. She apparently had no awareness of what was happening on the customer side of the counter.

I had only intended to purchase a single lamington when I entered the shop but I settled my fit of pique by purchasing three lamingtons, two apple slices and a loaf of bread. I doubt, though, whether I will feel I got even once I step back on the scales.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Untraceably sunny

Thirteen consecutive wet days through to Anzac Day on Friday gave way at last yesterday to sunny clear skies. Our three day weekend ended today on a high note weather wise with a warm day to go with the brilliant sunshine.

I took myself off to Centennial Park for a walk. If I was in for some serious exercise I would have walked two circuits of the park but I made do with a leisurely stroll around the south-western sector adjacent to the misnamed Entertainment Quarter.

It was like a peak hour stroll. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other walkers, joggers, cyclists, picnickers and horse riders enjoying the facilities. Plenty of eye candy amongst the handsome fathers, brothers and sons - quite a few of whom obligingly wore Lycra shorts for me to ogle at.

The shortened stroll was still reasonable exercise for me and of course sticking close to the EQ opened up the temptation for me to cut across to the Hoyts complex to take in yet another movie. This time the movie was Untraceable.

Diane Lane and Colin Hanks are FBI operatives working in a surveillance unit identifying unlawful activity through the Internet. They race against time to identify who is behind a series of murders shown live on the Internet where the method of murder is hastened in direct relationship to the number of viewers the screening attracts. Billy Burke, playing a policeman yet once more, assists them.

This movie is a modern take on the 1950s B grade movies that featured crazed geniuses wreaking havoc on a community. The sort of movie that in those times used to be the first and lesser film of a double feature program.

There is plenty of impressively incomprehensible dialogue as the Internet experts explain for the hapless audience what is going on and why it is so devious. Mixed in with the jargon occasionally is some really clunky dialogue, the unfortunate Hanks even having to say "It's a jungle out there" at one point.

A modern B grade movie albeit with impressive technology.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

A presenter of renown....John Cargher

I have just listened to the final Singers of Renown on Radio National.

Its presenter, John Cargher, has hosted the program for 42 years and brought his knowledge and love of opera and singers to millions of Australians. I recall sitting at the dinner table with my parents as a teenager listening to his program on a transistor radio and through earphones ignoring whatever conversation my parents might have been having over the meal.

For many years now I have listened to the replay at 6am on Sunday as a pleasant way to start the 'day of rest'.

Sadly, the 89 years old Mr Cargher was too ill to introduce the final program as he had hoped. Instead, today's final program was a repeat of the 2,000th edition from 2005 when he discussed his background and history.

Well done and farewell John Cargher.


I saw Deception on a cold and wet afternoon last Thursday.

Ewan McGregor is a shy auditor who is befriended by Hugh Jackman, a legal executive. Jackman exposes McGregor to the high life but is this all that it seems? "D'oh" do I hear you say; after all the movie is called Deception.

I suspect this movie was produced by a training consultancy intent on forcing its clients outside of their comfort zones. The three main actors all portray characters quite different from their stereotypes. The composer who has an Indian sounding name has composed an Indian sounding musical score for a storyline set entirely in New York and Madrid. Go figure.

This movie is adequate for a cold wet afternoon when nothing better entices but it is instantly forgettable afterwards. Indeed I did forget to write it up on the night, hence this posting two days later.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Chilli, Dragons and Roosters

Yesterday I enjoyed lunch with My during her lunch hour. My suggested we eat at Chilli Cha Cha and it was an excellent choice. It is a Thai restaurant, very cheap and popular during the lunch period that we spent there. The three dishes we shared were delicious. As a bonus there were many handsome men lunching at the restaurant. Not just young pretty boys but some really manly looking late 20s and 30s types. Some of these were clearly legals from the nearby chambers and courts and there were also quite a few casually dressed types perhaps theatrical or musical people from the nearby Capitol Theatre where Billy Elliot is playing.

This afternoon I went to the annual Anzac Day rugby league match between the Dragons and the Roosters. The match was preceded by a beautiful rendition of the Last Post by a Navy bugler. His playing brought tears to my eyes. The Dragons won the match in a huge upset.

The funniest moment of the match was just after kick off when the little boy sitting behind me asked his father whether this was 'the real match or the replay'! Talk about the influence of television on the young.

Lest We Forget

Thursday, 24 April 2008

How not to travel to the movies

This is a long and boring cautionary tale of what happens when a silly man (me) thinks too much and unnecessarily turns an ant hill into a mountain.

When I decided yesterday to go to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall I could have chosen any multiplex in Sydney. It is screening at them all. The logical thing would have been to see the movie at Bondi Junction just ten minutes away from my home.

But I didn't. My first big mistake for the day.

I decided to make a day's outing of it. I decided I would drive 40 kilometres to see the movie in the north-western suburb of Rouse Hill located in the Hills District. Why did I chose to do that?

Well, a new multiplex has opened in Rouse Hill. I have a fascination with cinemas and like to try out new ones at least once. In addition I had read that this multiplex adjoins the new Rouse Hill Town Centre which has the latest environmental features. I thought I would like to see that too. And finally I thought I would use a rare Wednesday off to take a drive, even though it was raining heavily and Sydney's roads are notoriously clogged as soon as rain falls.

Rather stupidly I was not deterred by the fact that I do not know the area at all.

I had read that the Town Centre was located at the corner of Windsor Road and Rouse Hill Drive. Before setting off I consulted my reasonably current street directory and easily located Windsor Road but according to the directory there was no Rouse Hill Drive in all of Sydney. I didn't let that worry me as I knew the Centre had only opened recently and I thought that Rouse Hill Drive might be a new road.

I didn't have the benefit of having checked the Internet where I have since found the following map which does show that road.

So off I went to join the M2 motorway westbound which I knew was the quickest link to that part of Sydney from where I live. In Sydney, motorways are tollways. You have to pay a fee each time you use one. That would not be a problem as I have an E-Tag on my car that beeps as I pass through the tollway and debits my tollway account. Shortly after joining the M2 I passed through the tollway. My E-Tag beeped; that will be $4.40 thank you very much.

And so I drove westwards....on and on, through a tunnel and past various exits.

Eventually the Windsor Road exit sign loomed into view. That was the road I knew I had to turn north into. All logic told me to exit at that point.

But for some reason I started to think. That was my second big mistake.

The sign indicated it was the exit to Parramatta and Baulkham Hills. I knew that Parramatta was a turn to the south but I wasn't sure about Baulkham Hills despite the hint in the name. Hello, (I should have thought to myself) is anyone noticing Hills in the name? Then and there I decided this must be the exit for Windsor Road southbound and that there was probably a further exit for Windsor Road northbound. I am dangerous when I think.

It was the split second as I passed the exit and no longer able to join it that I realised I was wrong.

Now I was stuck on the M2 continuing west. Never mind I thought, I would just take the next exit then turn right and right again and rejoin the M2 eastbound to go back to the previous exit.

That made perfect sense to me. So why was it that when I finally reached the next exit, for Seven Hills, I turned left (not right)? My third big mistake.

Now I was somewhere deep in Seven Hills but I might as well have been in the seven hills of Rome for all I knew. Twenty useless minutes later and I managed to make my way back to the M2 eastbound.

My logic said it was now the easy matter of going back to the preceding exit and taking it. However all logic went out the window when the preceding exit appeared. This time it wasn't called Windsor Road. The exit was named Pennant Hills Road. And it was signalling the exit for Newcastle and Hornsby which at least were north. I was confused and once again ignoring the hint of the Hills name I decided that the M2 eastbound must have had an extra exit not found on the westbound side. Very stupidly I didn't take that exit.

Now I was driving on and on eastward back through the earlier tunnel by which time it dawned on me I was returning to the beginning of the M2; a thought confirmed by the depressing reappearance of the tollway. My E-Tag beeped as I passed through it; that will be a second $4.40 thank you very much.

OK, I thought how much more difficult can this be? I took the next exit and turned right and right again expecting to be returned to the M2 westbound. Now I was on a road parallel to the M2 westbound driving on and on. Surely it must soon rejoin the M2? After a long distance the parallel road dipped and went under the M2 and on to a dead end!

Go home, I thought to myself and see the movie at Bondi Junction. But just as quickly I banished that thought determined to make it to Rouse Hill no matter what. I retraced my steps along the parallel road and eventually found myself travelling on the M2 westbound for the second time that morning.

For the third time, the tollway loomed and my E-Tag beeped as I passed through it; yet another $4.40 thank you very much sir and please call again.

No matter what, I was going to take the Windsor Road exit this time. As I approached the tunnel for the third time in an hour I noticed a camera flash go off that signals someone being photographed for speeding. My fourth big mistake. Unnoticed by me the speed limit had suddenly fallen from 100kph to 70kph at the tunnel's entrance. I was one car amongst quite a few so the fine could have applied to any of the others but given my luck of the morning to that point I was sure that the fine will come to me in the mail in due course.

Eventually the Windsor Road exit reappeared. I took it and after a further 20 minutes or so in driving rain I found myself at Rouse Hill. I'd made it.

The return journey was uneventful but of course cost a fourth lot of $4.40 thanks yet again.

So I could have seen the movie at Bondi Junction for a ten minutes drive and no travel cost.

Instead, I travelled for two hours and fifteen minutes altogether and I spent $17.60 for four trips through the M2 tollway plus $3.96 for the Cross City Tunnel westbound plus $2.62 for the Lane Cove Tunnel eastbound plus $3.00 for the Harbour Tunnel southbound plus (possibly) $79 speeding fine and the loss of 3 demerit points from my driver's license.

What a dope!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

It was a rare Wednesday off for me today with the Day Centre closed and since the rain was falling for the eleventh successive day I made another trip to the movies to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

The trip itself will have an unexpected and unwelcome impact on my wallet but that is a matter for another posting.

I don't 'get' Judd Apatow. He is the producer of Forgetting Sarah Marshall which is written by and stars Jason Segel. Segel appears in the movie in full frontal nudity for good measure.

The movies Apatow has been connected with have been well reviewed in Australia. Others find them to be very funny. I find the humour in them juvenile and quite unsubtle. That's not to say I don't get any laughs from them. I just don't rate them as highly as the critics who seem oblivious to their silliness.

For me, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is more of the same. Don't forget the nudity!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Too popular for us

Cs and I tried to get tickets to Belvoir Street's Ruben Guthrie written by Brendan Cowell (pictured) but were disappointed to find its short season sold out.

That is good news for Brendan but not for us. We work with Brendan's mum and she has been spreading the word about this work. Obviously she's done a good job!

In all seriousness the play has received excellent reviews so it is no wonder it has sold out. This success probably guarantees the work a mainstream or repeat season in the future so we may get the chance to see the play yet.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Is he?

I saw yesterday's movie at Newtown. It is a good location with its gay vibes and myriad restaurants and before the movie I had breakfast at the cafe adjoining the cinemas.

Between breakfast and the movie I ran into Rd whose mother is at the same Nursing Home as mine. He was with another man and they were about to have a coffee together.

Rd is a sports journalist and it had never occurred to me that he might be gay. I still don't imagine that he might be gay simply because I have seen him in the street with a man.

But when that sighting is in King Street Newtown...well that does raise the chances slightly. I'll be taking a bit more notice of him in future to see whether he starts to register on my gaydar.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The Painted Veil

Still raining so another excuse to spend the morning at the movies.

The Painted Veil tells the story of a British couple in China. They are tied to each other in a loveless marriage and stuck in a remote and hostile environment in 1920s China.

Based on a novel by W Somerset Maugham the film is a scenic drama of manners and relationships. On the face of it the casting seems somewhat bizarre. Edward Norton and Liev Schreiber play pukka Englishmen and Diana Rigg is a French nun. But they carry it off well.

The film requires little thought and one can lie back and enjoy the scenery (or think of England, if you prefer).

Apart from the Chinese peasants (and there are lots of those in the background) everyone else is dressed immaculately. Edward Norton cuts a dashing figure and if you happen to like them lean like I do then I must say that he has a fine arse.

What's in a pronoun?

The answer? Too much for me.

Mk text me that "we are in Adelaide for the weekend". By "we" he means that he is with Rs whom he met through the internet.

I know that it is mean and petty of me but I am jealous. I wish that I wasn't but I am.

If only there was a "we" in my weekend.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Gone Baby Gone

A cool and rainy day today just perfect for seeing Ben Affleck's film of a novel by Dennis Lehane in which a child goes missing. Two private investigators are engaged to support police efforts to locate her. What they learn deepens an increasingly complex mystery.

This is a terrific story and film. Although the film contains considerable coarse language and violence, it is worth persevering. The story becomes more engrossing as the complexities are revealed and the later twists are quite breathtaking.

Gone Baby Gone is in a similar vein to Mystic River, from another novel by Lehane and those who enjoyed that film will find this one as riveting.

M' Lord

This apartment building in Yurong Street on the eastern edge of the CBD has a mix of memories for me.

The building adjoins my old school. As a lonely schoolboy over 40 years ago, I used to walk past this building on my way to the bus stop to catch my bus home. I always walked alone and often had a transistor radio to my ear. At one stage, Edith Piaf's M' Lord was the current hit and I remember humming along to it as I walked by the building.

It's a memory that remains with me to this day whenever I see the building.

Friday, 18 April 2008


Mk recommended I watch this series when it first aired fitfully and inconsistently on the Nine network. He was addicted to it because of the sexy men, nudity and sex. All features of instant attraction to me too, of course. For reasons I cannot recall I only watched one episode and not even all of that.

Well, the complete series of Rome has just commenced on Foxtel's Showcase channel and I watched a recording of the first episode last night.

I don't know what to make of it. Is it deliberately humorous or whimsical? Or is it simply poorly written and acted? I found the episode quite odd. Anyway, I'll keep at it for a while. After all I wouldn't want to miss out again on some ripper nudity and sex scenes, would I?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Contract down, doubled and redoubled.

In the early days of this blog I had the thought to post my bridge results as a regular feature. This may have been of interest to any bridge playing readers and simply unfathomable for those without bridge knowledge.

For some reason I never followed through with that plan. At the moment I am glad that I didn't. Our recent results have been embarrassingly poor. Two consecutive last placings in the past week followed by a third last.

I played again today and believe we have done better but I didn't wait for the results so cannot be sure. I am sure though that we didn't finish last this time.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Catching a tram

When I was a child I travelled to and from school by tram. I loved them and it was my dream that I would grow up to be a tram driver.

Sydney's first tram service was in 1861. By the early 1930s Sydney's tram system covered 290km and I believe was the second largest in the then British Empire. The system moved large numbers of Sydney's population and the photograph below shows trams lined up at Central Station ready for peak movements.

Unfortunately for my early career dreams, Governments of the day did not see trams as the best solution for Sydney's transport needs and the system was gradually dismantled and finally closed in 1961, one hundred years after the first service.

There have been numerous proposals since to reintroduce trams almost all of which have been resisted by the authorities.

In 1995 one line was opened which linked Central Station to the Casino with the leisure district of Darling Harbour in between. That line was extended slightly to suburban Lilyfield utilising disused goods train lines.

This is a semi tourist semi commuter line; neither quite one thing nor the other. The State Government remains hostile to any suggestions that it be extended further and upgraded to a proper commuter service despite this being favoured by the Sydney City Council.

The photograph below is of the current tram carriage at its Central Station terminus located on the concourse on the upper deck that can be seen in the photograph above.

The limited nature of the current service is indicated from the map photographed below.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Barry's the man

Barry Hall's appearance at the Tribunal this evening to have a coffee and chat about that punch has featured prominently in Sydney news bulletins today.

I can only imagine the level of coverage this matter is getting in Melbourne and Perth where there is....ahem....slightly greater interest in AFL.

I have to admit that his boofish behaviour aside, I have often thought it would be rather pleasant to engage in some horizontal folk dancing with Mr Hall.

Postscript: The Tribunal so enjoyed Mr Hall's company tonight that they have given him a rest from football for seven weeks.

Convict hulks

'Life on the prison ships'. An exhibition at Hyde Park Barracks Museum in Sydney about the convict ships that Britain sent to Australia from the 1780s onwards.

Mmmmmm, I can see a gay movie in that.

Monday, 14 April 2008

A walk in the city....

On my way to the movies yesterday I walked down the full length of Macquarie Street, from Hyde Park to the Opera House, for the first time in years. The following is a selection of photos I took as I made my way. (Click photos for enlargement.)

Some athletic individual has clambered up the statue of Prince Albert and attached a cooler box to the rod he is holding. I suppose when you have a rod that long and hard....

One of the older restored buildings, the Australian College of Physicians.
The plaque outside The Astor, for a long while one of the few residential buildings in the city centre. Now the city contains residential buildings galore, Hong Kong style. The plaque is polished so thoroughly you can see the reflections in it of palm trees across the road at the Botanic Gardens.

A seldom seen perspective of the Opera House as one approaches the northern end of Macquarie Street.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


I joined a packed midday session today to see Paris.

This is largely a video album of Parisian sights.

The story, such as one exists, revolves around a variety of relationships which occasionally intersect but rarely interconnect. The link is that most of the participants live in suburban Paris although there is an offshoot with scenes in French speaking Cameroon.

The essence of the stories seemed to me to be that we live our lives through highs and lows always imagining that everyone else's lives are in a high when we really have no idea of the problems they may have. The film could easily have been named The Lives of Others except for that title already being taken by a far better movie than this one.

Nevertheless, this film is interesting for its images of Paris. The seemingly endless panoramic views of the city from on high look murky until the end when sunshine finally intrudes. But it is when the camera is lower and we see the suburban market life, streetscapes, apartment buildings and cafe life that the film sparkled for me. The film also has an enjoyable and varied soundtrack.

A useful, if not overtaxing, two hours for lovers of Paris.

Sydney Writers' Festival

Mt will be visiting me from Ballina for a week in May so that we can attend sessions of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

We exchanged our lists of preferred bookable sessions. Mt's list predictably contains sensible political and feminist sessions whilst mine even more predictably is entirely composed of those involving attractive looking men and/or presenters I hear on Radio National and who I am curious to see live.

I had thought we would agree on an amalgamation of the two lists but Mt has gone ahead and booked her list leaving me to see my preferred sessions separately. Maybe she is hoping I will pick-up at one of them!

Anyway, there are still are plenty of free sessions for us to roll up to together at the venues.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Lars and the Real Girl

Mk and I saw Lars and the Real Girl this afternoon.

Lars is painfully shy and resists all efforts by his sister-in-law, work colleagues and friends to socialise. After a colleague shows him a website advertising life size sex dolls, Lars surprises his family and the community by taking one as his girlfriend.

This could have been a pretty tacky film but instead it is beautifully written and acted, the story told with great sympathy and affection. Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson are impressive in a cast with no weaknesses.

Mk and I both loved this film.

Friday, 11 April 2008

The ladies who lunch...

(Click photos for enlargement)

Today's lunch was at the Bondi Icebergs Club. Situated at the southern end of 'world famous' Bondi Beach. I often wonder how famous the beach actually is. I suspect it is more famous in the minds of Australians than our overseas guests.

Nevertheless, it is an attractive sight from a distance and especially for those who do not live by an ocean. Close up the beach area is a bit seedy, particularly the Campbell Parade area.Lunch was a bit of a mixture. Sy ordered an anti-pasta dish, Hn a Barramundi and Ba a Caesar Salad. All three dishes looked more appetising than the Steak sandwich ordered by Ae and myself.

The venue is named for the club which specialises in swimming events in the pool (pictured below) through winter when members must swim on a minimum number of winter occasions to retain their membership.

The opening day of the winter season is marked by swimmers braving the pool with ice thrown in for good measure. All three photos were taken today, a balmy autumn day with an air temperature at the time of about 22c. The pool temperature was shown as 20.3c which would certainly have felt warm for the Icebergers.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Dalliance Diners

Those who are new to Sydney or are of a younger age than I probably have little idea of the history of some of the surroundings they enjoy in this city.

The picture above is of the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar located on the harbour's edge at Circular Quay, adjacent to the Opera House. It is a thriving tourist area.

The picture below is of the Cafe in Hyde Park adjacent to the major shopping precinct in the CBD and to St Mary's Cathedral, the principal Catholic church in the city.

Both locations retain original buildings that pre-date their cafe status. Click both photos for enlargement view.

Both buildings were men's toilets in my youthful days where I made many a visit and where I enjoyed numerous dalliances. I'm sure today's customers enjoy their oysters and lattes but perhaps not quite the satisfaction (and relief) I gained from my patronage.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Sleepless in Sydney

I couldn't sleep last night. I don't know why. I don't think it was overstimulation from last night's play. It certainly wasn't overstimulation from sex or from anyone sharing my bed as no one was with me last night.

Despite my sleeplessness I felt wide awake when I arrived at the hospital this morning but as soon as I started work I felt the tiredness hit me and I struggled through the day. Thankfully there were a few good looking male patients to provide a more welcome stimulation that helped me along.

Now I'm home again and hoping that tonight I can get a good night's rest.

Monday, 7 April 2008

The Year of Magical Thinking

Mk and I saw The Year of Magical Thinking this evening. Robyn Nevin is directed in this one woman piece directed by Cate Blanchett. This neatly reverses the roles as it was Nevin who directed Blanchett in Hedda Gabler in a production that went to New York.

The play, by Joan Didion, relates Didion's response to the deaths in short succession of her husband and daughter. Although a play ostensibly about death it seemed to me more a reflection on life's relationships and communication.

It's a dense play, just the one woman on stage and speaking uninterrupted for ninety minutes.

This is not the type of play I would usually enjoy. I did have concentration problems at first but the writing is superb and so is Nevin. The longer the play continued the more involved and drawn to it I became. I found a lot to relate to from my father's death following a short illness five years ago and also from my mother's recent hospitalisation.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Well...I'll be f****d...

I just tried out the so called cuss o meter that I have seen on other blogs and it tells me my blog registers 0%. It says there is no cussing on my pages.

No shit!

There are at least four fucks in one of yesterday's postings alone.

I guess cussing isn't what it used to be.

It's time....

Daylight saving time (DST) ended last night.

DST lasted longer this summer following our State Government's decision to extend it to fall into line with Tasmania. Whilst I like the later sunsets in summer, the mornings have been difficult in the past few weeks. I don't enjoy waking in the dark.

It was a relief to wake in sunshine again this morning. This feeling won't last long though. It soon will be dark again at waking up time as we move into winter.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Where do I get one of these?.....

I have posted this pic from Daily Slab for no other reason than I think he is gorgeous. Click the photo for enlargement.

Oh printer...

At the outset let me state that I am not a computer head. I bumble along with very much a layman's understanding of technology, so bear that in mind those who bother to read the following personal installment of computing for dummies.

There I was last night minding my own business. I needed to print a simple document attached to an email. My printer was on and the document was open and I had clicked the various print buttons and there I was waiting expectantly. The printer whirred and whirred. Then...nothing happened.

I tried again. The printer whirred and whirred again. Then again...nothing happened.

I noticed that my screen now was displaying a few more printer messages (incomprehensible to me) than usual. Not only that but somehow I now seemed to be attached to a second printer with the same details plus the words 'Copy 1'. What was going on?

I tried my usual technical fix when something goes inexplicably wrong. I switched everything off at the power point, yelled 'fuck, fuck, fuck' to the walls, waited thirty seconds and then switched it all back on again.

Then I opened the email and the attachment, ordered the print job and waited. The printer whirred and whirred and then....nothing happened.

Now it was time for my technical fix method 2. I went into the control panel, found the related printer programs and uninstalled the lot. I restarted the computer and loaded the printer CD and installed the whole caboodle afresh. It seemed to go relatively smoothly although I was slightly nervous about a seemingly lengthy delay in the installment at one point. Maybe I was imagining that delay, after all it was getting late.

Then I opened the email and attachment for at least the third time and once again ordered the print job. The printer responded quickly but to my mind a little too noisily as it whirred and whirred. FUCK!! nothing happened, AGAIN.

Now it was time for special technical fix (printer) edition. I checked the toner cartridges. Well, the levels were getting lower but nowhere near bottom as yet. But my considered view was that all would be fine with fresh cartridges. Something for the morning, I decided.

So this morning it was off to the local shops for fresh cartridges. I had checked the manual and surprisingly it did not mention which specific cartridges were suitable but not to worry, I thought, I would just check for the packages listing my model printer. The shop had dozens of cartridges to chose from but do you think I could find even one that listed my model printer? My printer was purchased only six months ago and should not have been some outdated, superseded model T of the printer fraternity.

What to do? I wasn't game to ask the staff at that shop for their advice because the store was an agency only and computers/printers not even their core business.

I returned home dejected. Looking again at my computer I thought, let's go back to the beginning. Yes, sixteen hours after first starting down this track I was back at my usual technical fix. I switched everything off and restarted the computer. Then I uninstalled everything that remotely seemed connected with the printer and finally I reinstalled the printer's program. This time there was a glimmer of hope. The delay that I noticed last night didn't reoccur this morning. The installation was noticeably quicker than last night.

With trepidation, I reopened the email and the attachment and yet again ordered the print job. The printer whirred and whirred and printed!! Somehow everything seems back on track again.

Why did the printer give up the ghost for those sixteen or so hours? Who knows. Maybe it was just feeling tired and emotional on a Friday night. I am grateful, at least, that I didn't end up wasting money on new cartridges.

Don't you just love modern technology?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Tales out of school

Today's movie outing was to 'St Trinian's', a contemporary revisiting of the school and shenanigans first inflicted on the world in 'The Belles of St Trinian's' which was released in 1954.

I did not go to this with high expectations but as an antidote to the heart wrenching subject matter of my previous outing to 'The Black Balloon'. What I expected was an Ealing Studios type comedy of little subtlety and that is pretty well what 'St Trinian's' delivers.

There was the occasional funny line and the film satisfies any desire for a mindless couple of hours in front of the television or at the cinema on bargain ticket day on a wet afternoon.

But it was a bit of a disappointment. Some scenes, especially the school quiz and heist scenes seemed to drag. Furthermore, top British support cast members such as Stephen Fry and Celia Imrie are not seen to advantage and are poorly used.

The film contains a few in-joke references to Colin Firth's other roles but these are the only subtle moments. I had hoped there might be some male eye candy on view in the form of male teachers and/or boyfriends but only Firth and someone named Russell Brand satisfied this gay man's eye in that respect.

Lovers of drag might get a kick out of Rupert Everett's headmistress character.

Is that a hose?....or are you just in a hurry to see me...

From the Government that gave us imprisonment of parents we learn this morning that its Debt Recovery Office is fining the drivers of Fire Trucks for speeding to fires! Nothing more to say really.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Collective nouns

It can be amusing to check out collective nouns. Some are bizarre.

A fleet of aircraft is pretty well known but I wasn't aware of a poverty of pipers. Not that I'd ever thought about pipers previously. Nor was I aware of a sedge or siege of bitterns. Come to think of it, I didn't know what bitterns were anyway. For those who might now be wondering, they are "any of several wading birds of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus, having mottled brownish plumage and a deep booming cry in the male". I think I have seen some gay men of this description late on Mardi Gras Parade night.

I got to thinking about what a collective noun for gay men could be. The first thought in my mind was an orgy of gays. Certainly that's a description appealing to me. I Googled collective nouns and to my surprise found there already is an apparently confirmed collective noun for us. We are a "village"! Not as exciting as being an orgy but somehow quite fitting.

I then decided to Google images for a "Village of Gays" and for some reason that I didn't fathom the following was one of the 121 options provided.

He doesn't seem too happy about the idea but I feel he is a fitting inclusion in the village. What do you think?

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Teeth of gold?

Attended the Periodontist this morning, a regular nine monthly chore for me.

I think my Periodontist has made a living out of my check ups, the cost of which have gradually crept up and up. This morning's visit, all of five minutes in the chair at the most, set me back a cool $190. It can't be long before the $200 'barrier' is hit and no doubt passed. Even though I get about two thirds of the charge back from my private insurance it still amounts to quite a slug. I used to get a 'free' toothbrush with every visit but he no longer provides that treat.

The good doctor told me about his latest European trip at the end of today's visit. I suppose that was the least he could do seeing as I probably paid for it.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Slam dunk

I'm not really into political postings but an announcement today by our State Government left me nonplussed.

Our Premier stated today that his Government is considering penalties against parents whose children engage in truancy. The penalties could include fines and/or imprisonment.

Imprisonment! How would imprisoning a parent work? What good would imprisoning a parent do for families? Would that get children into school?

This is from a Government trumpeting family friendly policies and family values. You have to wonder about politicians sometimes.