Monday, 31 March 2008

Lunch by the ocean

We picked a beautiful day for another lunch at Coogee. Ae had arranged for Hn, Je and Jm to join us and we had planned to lunch again at the Legion Club but we found the dining room closed for lunch today only.

That was a disappointment. We stayed at the Legion for a drink and then strolled up the road to the Coogee Bay Hotel where we had lunch instead. It was a leisurely afternoon finished off with coffee at Ae's.

As always we parted promising to meet for lunch more often.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Street art....

in East Sydney. Noticed after having a cheery and cheap breakfast this morning at Bill and Tony's. We should eat there more often. It's casual and inexpensive and the customers are such an interesting mix to observe.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Black Balloon

Today's movie outing was to see this Australian feature about a family living and dealing with Autism. A family of four is new to the neighbourhood. One son is nearing sixteen and struggling with his love for his severely Autistic brother and resentment that his brother's condition imposes so much difficulty and embarrassment for himself and his parents.

The writer/director of this feature grew up in a family where Autism was present and the storyline rings true with situations she obviously experienced in her own family. Toni Collette is the 'name' star in this film. She is making a career from playing mothers as she does here. It's a fine performance of a mother with endless love under stress. Luke Ford is strikingly convincing as the Autistic son. The other main performers all contribute strongly.

This film provides overseas viewers with an interesting picture of tropical Queensland lifestyle in the 1980s.

It is not easy to view this sometimes distressing depiction of a family under stress and the lack of sympathy and understanding of many bystanders but this is a fine film.

D H Lawrence plaque

This is the plaque and quotation that competitors in the previous posting had to locate and record. (Click photo for enlargement.)

City chase

I went into town this beautiful Autumnal Saturday morning. Approaching the bus stop near home I noticed a group ahead of me wearing white caps and some sort of uniform running across the pedestrian crossing. At first I thought they may have been from a nearby school but I noticed more people in the streets dressed similarly as the bus travelled into town.

When I reached Circular Quay I came across still more 'runners' some being filmed by camera crews. I then came across this meeting point. It turns out these people were competing in something called City Chase.

Competitors reaching this point were being informed of their next challenges.
One challenge was to use the car below to punch a large soccer ball into the net. The first few I saw attempt that task achieved it easily and I began to think this was not much of a challenge. But then I saw three competitors in a row fail to net the ball.
Another challenge was for competitors to locate the D H Lawrence plaque in the nearby Writers Walk and make a note of the quotation embossed on it. The next photograph shows an official displaying a picture of the plaque. The picture contains instructions for the competitors and an official is pointing out these instructions to the competitor.
The last photo shows two competitors, who having located the D H Lawrence plaque, are recording the quotation as per the instructions.

By the way, did I mention that many of the competitors were male and looked very sexy and sweaty? Could that be why I spent so long watching the action?

Friday, 28 March 2008

Note book plumbing

My increasing addiction to blogging has got me thinking ahead the next few months when I will be away twice for long weekends and also hosting a friend from the country for a week. All three of these trips/visit threaten my daily blogging postings as I will not have access to my home PC.

This got me thinking to investing in a note book for travel and private blogging purposes. I'm attracted to those sexy looking Macbooks and on the past two days have been researching them at my local shopping centre.

Yesterday's research provider, Sn, was a slightly stocky but still attractive looking man in his late 20s/early 30s. Sporting a goatee, a snug fitting black tee shirt with the Apple symbol and those dreaded low slung jeans he managed to talk to me about wireless routers and the like without sending me into a catatonic state.

I decided to think over what Sn had told me. Returning to the store today and hoping to find Sn again I was a bit disappointed that he was busy with a long telephone conversation but then was enlivened when a younger and cuter looking salesman, Mt, offered to assist me.

I asked Mt what exactly I could expect to purchase with a particular model Macbook. This was a mistake. Mt proceeded to give me a detailed and for me totally unnecessary demonstration of something called iPhoto which can do everything to photos that I never imagined I would ever want. When he finally drew breath I interrupted him to say that I didn't really want to know about that software but he assured me, in all seriousness, that I could find iPhoto ever so useful should I have wedding photos where the bride sported zits!

This could have been enough to turn me off the idea of a note book purchase but I will proceed when the store receives some new supplies.

During yesterday's visit to the centre I came across Phil the Plumber. I had the impression that he was in the company of a woman causing me to further believe that he may be straight after all. They seemed to be standing together but that thinking was thrown into turmoil when he and the woman went their separate ways without speaking to each other. Maybe they weren't together at all.

To my surprise Phil the Plumber was in the centre again today. This time he definitely was in the company of a man. More interestingly that man registered very strongly on my gaydar. I'm back to reappraising Phil and am now scrutinising all my taps closely for the merest sign of a leak that would justify me calling upon Phil's plumbing services again.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

The wizards of Oz

I have started to watch Dexter, a series recommended by blogger Evol, and have noticed that the lady doctor from the prison series Oz features as a policewoman in Dexter.

It is astonishing how many cast members from Oz feature in other series. The Law and Order franchise contains many of them. Amusingly most of them appear as representatives of the law whereas in Oz they were mainly dangerous criminals. It is a credit to the fine ensemble acting in Oz that its cast is so much in demand elsewhere.

I'm getting into Dexter slowly. Missing out entirely on series 1 and the first two episodes of series 2 means that I am behind in understanding the histories and personalities of its characters. But it certainly looks interesting.

Sydney Stadium

I was googling something quite unrelated and unaccountably came across this photograph of the old Sydney Stadium.

The Stadium has sentimental memories for me. It was located down the hill from where I lived from the age of about 8 until my early 20s and from where I have lived since 1990. It was also adjacent to the sporting fields of my old school.

This structure was built in 1908 on the site of an old Chinese market garden as a venue for boxing and by the 1960s it was also the venue for international artists. This photograph shows crowds arriving for a concert by Frank Sinatra. I wonder what he thought of the undoubtedly primitive conditions in which he would have performed there? This may have been the tour when Mr Sinatra called Australian women journalists 'hookers' provoking a ban by the Australian union movement which prevented his departure from the country for days until he finally apologised for his comment.

Around the same period I recall seeing concerts there by The Beatles and Gene Pitney. I think it was also the 1960s when the venue hosted some sort of faux semi-brutal roller game featuring two teams (one 'good' and one 'bad') which tagged and battled their way around an oval track to the boos and cheers of the crowd. I recall a Ralphie Valaderez as the hero of the 'good' team. It was the World Wrestling of its day on roller skates.

The Stadium was demolished in 1973 to make way for an overhead section of the Eastern Suburbs railway with my old school extending its sporting fields across the site at ground level.

I wonder what 'self supporting trousers' advertised so boldly at the venue were?

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

False advertising

Je showed off the new glasses she bought at lunch time today at the $2 shop.

They have colourful rims and she says she can see/read with them perfectly well. The glasses cost her $2.50.

I suggested she demand they reimburse her the 50 cents she was overcharged.

From 'The New Yorker'

Monday, 24 March 2008

Rugby men

These images are from a series of large scale advertisements on the walls of Town Hall Railway Station advertising an International bank which is the major sponsor of the New South Wales Waratahs, the rugby team for this state.

I wonder if they are surreptitiously trying to attract gay fans?

Sunday, 23 March 2008

My alma mater

Walking back from Before The Devil Knows You're Dead I passed my old school and took the opportunity to take this photograph of it. I matriculated from there a mere 43 years ago! Well before most of my few readers were born.

The school dates back to 1854 so it was already more than 100 years old when I left it. This historic main entrance was not used in my time but has been cleaned up and I think is used for access now only in ceremonial situations.

What the devil!

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is about two brothers who decide to rob their parent's business. The story is told in reverse in the first half and then in the more usual linear fashion to its resolution.

It's a curious film. It contains sex, nudity, drug taking and violence; all features to suggest mainstream popularity and yet it has the studied look and slow passages of an art house film. I enjoyed the story but only as long as I didn't think too much about the holes in its logic. There are more holes there than in a colander. There were some humorous moments too although I did wonder whether these were intentional or an indication of a film misfiring.

Overall though this was a strangely unsatisfying film for me. The idea was interesting but the execution somehow didn't work as well as I thought it might.

Spoiler alert follows!

Perhaps the problem lies that the final twist, such as there is one, only works so far as you fail to pick the clue that is provided in the meaning of the film's name.

Wherefore art thou?

Went to the Art Gallery this morning to see the Archibald Prize. This prize for portraiture dates back to 1921 and seems always mired in controversy. This year experts have argued that the entries in recent years have been bland. Past winners have been the subject of court action with claims that the works have not really been portraits at all.

I am no expert in art, in fact I have no technical knowledge at all. But I enjoy seeing the works. My own tastes are pretty conservative and I tend to prefer portraits that are realistic rather than symbolic or abstract. I would fall into the bland artistic category myself!

One of the side joys of visiting the Gallery for me are the gorgeous looking men who invariably are in attendance viewing the exhibitions. They are usually so absorbed in the works that I can observe them closely without them noticing me stalking them.

This year's winning work can be seen through the link above. It didn't appeal greatly to me. There has been much correspondence in the newspapers arguing that a portrait of Heath Ledger is superior. I liked it better too but it wasn't my favourite either. I preferred at least three other works especially one featuring Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant, two cooks who appear on a local television program The Cook and the Chef.

Anyway, that's just my preference. If I can set my ignorance of art aside and offer a word of personal wisdom it is that art probably wouldn't be art if didn't inspire debate and argument.

Following the Archibald it was a walk through the Domain and Hyde Park to the cinema to see Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. Fittingly passing the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park (same benefactor) which I photographed gleaming in Easter Sunday sunshine.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Am I being served?

I visited the local outlet of my telephone service provider whose name I will not mention because they don't deserve the advertising; even negative advertising.

I wanted to purchase a USB connection to download data from my mobile phone to my computer. They sold me a brand name one which seemed to cost an extraordinary amount. My own fault really as with a bit of research I no doubt could have picked up a generic version for a fraction of the cost.

When I got home I found that my computer would not recognise the connection. So I returned to the outlet to report this to the woman who sold it to me. She was disbelieving at first until she tried it on computers in the store. She replaced the cable with one which tested satisfactorily in the store and this cable, thankfully, did work on my computer when I returned home.

This is not the first time a purchase from the provider has been unsatisfactory. I can't understand how they continue to be the dominant player in the Australian market.

Maybe it's because lazy people like me can't be bothered to go through the trauma of changing all our various services over to a competitor.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Lust, Caution

Mk and I saw Lust, Caution this afternoon. The story is set in Shanghai and Hong Kong under Japanese occupation in the 1940s. A young woman is used to lure a senior collaborator into a position where he can be assassinated. She has a stormy sexual relationship with the collaborator whose mistress she becomes.

This is a long and slow moving film heavy on atmosphere. The sex scenes in the second half of the film are particularly graphic. We were both impressed by the athletic and flexible nature of the sex portrayed but neither of us feels supple enough to attempt these positions ourselves.

A fellow volunteer at StV hospital walked out of this movie some weeks ago telling me it was slow and boring but Mk and I both enjoyed it. I loved the glimpses of Chinese 'society' life of the times and found the storyline, such as it is, interesting. I also enjoyed the film's varied soundtrack.

Having lived in both Hong Kong and Beijing between 1977 and 1982 I found the images of a pre-Communist China engrossing.

Chatting with Mk before the film I learnt that he has moved in with Rs. This was not a surprise as he told me early in their relationship that he was likely to do this. He moved out of his apartment last Wednesday but in any event I know he has been spending many nights at Rs place leading up to the move.

Rs was on duty this weekend on a flight to/from Hong Kong (ironic given the film we watched). My impression is that Mk was using Rs couple of days away to resume his film going. It might be that Mk sees me as a movie going buddy again for those times when Rs is away at work.

As regular as clockwork....

It's Easter and as regular as clockwork when Good Friday arrives so does the rain and cold weather in Sydney. Summer disappeared overnight.

Three years ago I met Mk, who is about my age, through an internet chat room. We exchanged instant messages and emails in the modern courting ritual before our first meeting. We shared an interest in movies, theatre and internet browsing but not in each other sexually or as partners. This didn't matter as we developed a movie/theatre buddy relationship. We met up most weeks.

Towards the end of last year Mk met Rs through an internet dating site. It was love and lust at first sight just like a Fred Astaire or Judy Garland movie but without the initial impediments. Just straight to happily ever after. In truth I was a bit jealous but I was happy for them both - it gave me hope that I might yet find my great love.

As Mk and Rs moved in with each other Mk disappeared from my life except for our monthly theatre subscription plays. But he stopped sending me text messages and he no longer came to the movies with me.

Last night out of the blue Mk text me and asked me to join him at the movies today. We are going to see Lust Caution. Rs must be working over Easter; he's a flight attendant.

I wonder if he has any news? Maybe they are getting married?

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Who wants to be a millionaire?

(Cartoon: Richard Collins, The Age)

Somewhat weary from my limited sleep last night I still made it on time for my appointment this morning.

Sitting in the reception area waiting for my personal adviser to appear my mind turned to the delicate art of decorating a Financial Advice Service effectively.

To my mind such an office needs to appear sufficiently professional and prosperous as to suggest to a potential client that this is a successful business that knows how to make money and therefore I should sign on and join the gravy train. On the other hand the office should not appear so grand and luxurious as to suggest that it is living the high life off the fees of its clients and therefore is a business to be avoided at all costs.

Looking around the reception office my bleary eyes take in a tasteful, mainly black (of course) neat and cosy area. No grand fountains, staircases or pianos. Check one.

Moving to the conference room I am seated around a (yes again) cosy table for four. No waiters, groaning buffets, overflowing drinks bar or massive trophy cabinets in view. Check two.

The consultation which follows is itself soothingly professional. Several personalised and flash booklets are tabled. Each sets out the lurid details of my financial affairs replete with dazzlingly colourful pie charts, graphs and percentiles. My night in Emergency is threatening to overtake my attempts to appear to receive this burst of information as though I am totally cognisant of business matters to PhD standard. In reality I begin to wonder whether I will be permitted to phone a friend for assistance.

I am conscious that my every utterance at this stage betrays my financial naivete and I expect that at any moment the adviser will wheel in an audience to provide four unhelpful multiple choice prompts for me to choose from.

The adviser's triumphal final flourish comes when discussion moves to their fees. I never realised before how amazingly small a percentage can sound. I start to feel smug that I have selected the cheapest service in town. My moment of glee is destroyed when I notice what the fine print shows in dollar terms. It is almost beyond belief how many digits in dollar terms that oh so tiny sounding annual fee percentage is equivalent to.

I depart shell shocked and armed with my personalised booklets promising to do my homework. I've always been a sucker for the least line of resistance and I know I don't have the stamina to 'test drive' another service for comparison. So, no doubt after a suitable period has passed to suggest that I have carefully and fully digested the adviser's reports, I will call the adviser back and sign on for the deluxe, term of my natural life, program.

A George Clooney moment

Last night I spent about three hours in the Emergency Department of the hospital where I am a volunteer. The very Emergency Department and hospital glimpsed in this picture except that I was there in the dead of night.

It was my infected hand. Last night at bridge the hand started to tingle and throb, the sensation becoming more insistent as the night continued although not especially painful. I returned home from bridge but found after going to bed that I couldn't sleep. The tingling continued persistently and seemed to spread to my other hand and both feet.

I felt silly about going to Emergency but kept remembering my doctor had told me to go there in the event that the infection spread. Three times I dressed with the intention of driving to the hospital and three times I returned to bed instead thinking I was overreacting. The fourth time I went through with it.

When I arrived at the hospital it appeared that the Emergency Department was not too busy but the lack of activity in the Triage and Reception area masked a hectic night in the Department itself. I briefly told the Triage Nurse why I was there and she told me it did not sound as though my infection was the reason for the tingling. She explained that there were numerous critically injured patients under care at the time and that it would be at least fifteen minutes before she could attend to me.

She placed me in an area where I could be observed and I quietly merged with the background as activity raged all around me. There were ambulance and police officers in abundance. Evidently the night had been a violent one in the city and the victims of criminal activity and some of the alleged criminals were scattered around the cubicles as well as in wheel chairs and on hospital gurneys. Handcuffed suspects lay alongside dazed victims.

For the next hour I was a front row witness to police questioning of victims and watched on as evidence was taken, labelled and bagged and photographs were snapped of victims and their injuries.

Meantime various drug and/or alcohol affected patients and accompanying individuals meandered around the Department shouting, slurring and singing their thoughts as the mood took them.

I could see a particularly handsome young medical officer across the ward. My eye took in a very tanned and obviously fit body evident through his tight jeans and a close fitting top. At first I thought that he was a nurse but then realised the nurses were all in uniform and that he was a doctor. He looked very young and exuded a sexiness as he maintained a busy routine. I think that men who seem quite unaware of their sex appeal to be amongst the most attractive of men. This doctor was an excellent example of one.

Time ticked on and more than hour after my arrival the nurse returned to diagnose my situation but we didn't get far and she again set me aside to wait for the duty doctor to check me. I attempted to leave several times and felt foolish that I was taking up their time when so many far more seriously injured individuals needed attention. Each time the nurse assured me it was important for me to remain and be assessed.

Although it was tempting to remain and possibly be seen and touched by this gorgeous young doctor I did finally leave at 3.30am, hands still tingling but no longer guilty about clogging up the Emergency system. I was reassured that my discomfort was not due to an emergency situation. Furthermore, it was now approaching dawn and by then I could just as easily make arrangements to see my doctor during the approaching day.

I returned home and to my bed at about 4am, by then sufficiently tired to overcome any tingling or throbbing of limbs. I was soon asleep.

Today, my discomfort was largely gone.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

(Google images)

Tomorrow morning I venture into new territory, my first appointment with a Financial Adviser.

Actually it's my second appointment as I saw him first a while back to discuss my situation and interest in obtaining advice. That initial contact was fascinating to me as it also included a type of psychological assessment to help him determine what type of risk taker I am. This assessment apparently helps him to frame recommendations for me and I assume also informs him of my toleration or otherwise for risky financial advice.

The adviser was recommended to me by my trusty friend Hn who has used him for years. I trust Hn's opinion on financial issues given her former career in the Tax Office.

It might be rather late in the day for me to be seeking financial advice given that I am already retired and in senior citizen territory but I suppose better late than never. It will be interesting to see what is recommended with Stock Markets on their slide and banks jittery everywhere.

I'm not seeking to make loads of money but I am hoping to get advice to make best use of the income amd assets I possess.

For overseas readers the photograph is of Australia's colourful bank notes which are very different from the United States' bank notes.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

"The web is congregations..."

Every Tuesday the Sydney Morning Herald contains an IT supplement which I browse for items of interest. It is not that I am proficient in IT issues but every now and then I pick up some useful tip in relation to my home PC and internet browsing.

Often I am attracted to an article because of an accompanying photograph of a young IT entrepreneur. Today I was drawn to an article about Charles Forman (pictured) who created a dating website, I'm In Like With You.

The dating site was not of any interest to me but I was taken by a quote of Forman's that "the future of the web is congregations - people having fun with one another." This quote made me think back to reading a blog in January. The blog intrigued me. The author, a much younger man than I, writing in an unexceptional style but with heartfelt honesty expressed frustrations and desires that closely mirrored my own.

His writing inspired me to start my own blog, to record my own unexceptional thoughts and experiences. I doubted that anyone would find my blog interesting let alone become a regular reader. To my surprise and despite the ordinariness of my daily jottings there are a few people now who check out my blog periodically.

Now I have my own list of blogs that I read avidly. I feel a part of a congregation of bloggers battling their frustrations and dreaming their dreams.

Monday, 17 March 2008


There we were playing the last board at bridge tonight and for a change partner and I were doing OK.

Partner opened a strong 2NT and I'm sitting with points and four spades. I bid stayman and partner shows spades. I ask for key cards and partner shows four. I hold the fifth. I ask for Kings and partner shows three. I have the fourth.

So what do I do? I bid 7NT! Dumb....dumb....dumb.

7 Spades is a lay down contract and 7NT goes one off. We drop four places and out of the match points.


Returning to normality

After nineteen days my mother finally has been discharged from hospital and returned to her nursing home. The environment will be much better there where she will receive specialist care for dementia which was not the prime role for the hospital. The hospital, though, did a superb job clearing her infection and restoring her heart and kidneys to reasonable working order.

Mum can enjoy Sydney's late burst of summer in the gardens at the home, a section of which appears in the photograph above.
Life can return to normal for me as well and I am looking forward to my modest social life, cinema and theatre going. I might even have another go at Phil the Plumber

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Plumber's tools

Although hospital visits have derailed my social and working life for more than two weeks now I have still had domestic duties to pursue. Occasionally these have sent me into daydreaming territory; the sort of dreaming that never seems to come true for me.

This week I had to call on a plumber to repair a leak. Visits by plumbers, electricians, repair men and the like always raise the exciting possibility for me of an exotic sexual experience on the floor of my apartment such as that which seems to occur with every Tradie's visit in cheap porn movies. Of course, no such thrill has ever materialised in my life.

I selected a plumber from a list of two on a Tradies list posted in the foyer purely on the basis of which name seemed likely to be the younger man. Pretty pathetic really.

I rang his number and a Northern English accent answered. It was Phil the Plumber. He spoke slowly and cautiously. I couldn't tell whether he was young but he said he was interested in the repair job and could call on Thursday at the time I nominated.

He said he would see me then and rang off. Shortly afterwards I realised I had not given him my name, or a my contact number in case he needed to call me. I hadn't even checked his prices. I thought then that he most likely would not turn up let alone call me back about my repairs. Therefore I no longer cared that he should look like something like this man.

The plumbers who call on me never look like him anyway.

But I waited at the appointed time and right on cue my mobile phone rang. It was Phil the Plumber checking that I was waiting for him. Obviously he had retained my number from call display. 'Yes, I'm waiting for you' I replied, becoming breathless, and Phil the Plumber told me he would be there in five minutes.

Oh well, I thought, at least my repairs would get done. Five minutes later and there he was at my door. Sort of cute really. Not blonde like photo plumber, nor as apparently muscular but....not bad. Not bad at all. Late twenties, maybe early thirties, dark haired, lean and tall. I started to wonder how clean my bathroom floor was.

He started with preliminary chat then asked my needs, of course. Whilst chatting he discreetly adjusted his shorts. My mind blanked out all thoughts of leaks at that point and focussed on what that adjustment meant. Was he sending me a signal? Should I just abandon all dignity and ravish him there and then?

My mind turned back to leaks and moments later there he was fondling my cistern, grabbing at my washers and pressing my valves. No more adjustments of shorts, no displays of plumber's crack, he was completely focussed on plumbing. My breathing had followed my mind and returned to normal.

Turns out I need a new valve and he doesn't have the appropriate one with him. Can he return on Friday? 'Of course', I said, immediately imagining what clothing or lack of I should greet him with at the door upon his return.

Friday morning and once again he has arrived on time. He is armed with a new valve and I am fully dressed. More chit and chat but no adjustment of his shorts. I adjust mine instead but there is no reaction. Either he is not interested or my adjustment skills have dried up through lack of practice and my performance has been too discreet.

Far too quickly he has completed the repairs. Further chit chat ensues. I am wondering is he waiting for me to make a move or is he just a really nice guy making friendly chat? Finally he departs but not before I promise to call him for future plumbing needs.

This morning, Saturday, I am in front of the building and who should be about to drive his van away but Phil the Plumber. He has just completed another job in the building. We chat again whilst he locks the parking guard to the space his van is vacating, he then gets into his van and drives off.

I sigh and wonder about what might have been. Oh, one more thing. I have learnt something new about Phil the Plumber. Whilst he was squatting to lock the guard I see an unmistakeable view and now know Phil the Plumber dresses to the left.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Cornucopia of nations

Day 16 of my Mum's stay in hospital.

Looks like she will be discharged on Monday all going well. I can't wait and I'm sure she will be happy to be back at her nursing home. She has received attentive and diligent care but the staff seem constantly to be stretched.

Spending this amount of time at the hospital I have seen first hand an effect of the shortage of home grown medical staff. So many are from other countries. The medical team looking after my Mum comprises a Specialist from Sri Lanka, a Registrar from Fiji and a Junior Medical Officer from Singapore.

Most of the Nursing staff seem to be from various countries around Asia, Middle East and Africa with the occasional British or Irish nurse thrown in for good measure.

The hospital is a mini United Nations.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Maybe not such a sook!

OK maybe I'm not always the sook I stated yesterday.

After I posted that entry and photograph my thumb turned a ferocious purple and a big blood blister appeared. Its throbbing, tightness and itchiness kept me awake most of the night.

This morning the blister had this bulbous dome full of blood on the top. About 9am I reached into my pocket to answer my mobile phone and the blister burst leaving blood on my shorts' pocket. My first reaction was 'good, the blister has burst and my thumb should clear up now'. Instead my hand started to swell and turn red.

So it was off to the Doctor this afternoon who told me I had been bitten probably by a white tail spider and that my hand was now infected. He prescribed a course of antibiotics and prescription strength cortisone cream. He also warned that if the infection spreads I should take myself to Casualty where I would need to be placed on a drip and be infused with antibiotics that way.

This is my second spider bite in less than two years but I didn't make the connection because the last bite didn't produce the blood blister.

With Mum still in hospital, this is not the best time for me to be hospitalised too. I hope that doesn't become necessary. I called Hn and let her know of this as I will need her assistance with Mum should I be out of action.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Throbbing thumb

A quiet day so far. Spent three hours with Mum at the hospital (Day 14). Thankfully she got off her bed after a lot of encouragement and walked a few steps. On the negative side though she ate nothing at all for lunch.

My right thumb started to itch and throb as I drove home from the hospital. After arriving home I noticed what appeared to be a tiny cut or bite near a crease line on the thumb. I don't recall anything happening to account for this. Within the hour the mark had spread a bit and was itching irritatingly. I have put some cortisone cream on it hoping it is something that will pass quickly.

I am a real sook with minor ailments like this.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


I'm about to start the ironing and in the absence of an ironing board cover such as this I am using The Bold and the Beautiful as background distraction whilst I do the deed. It is insanely ridiculous but the adventures of Brooke, Ridge, Stephanie et al help the drudgery fly by.

As back up, I am on a sugar binge and have just opened a packet of Jelly Babies. My intention is to eat just one which really means can I stop before I eat the entire packet in one go. The usual answer is no.

Spent four hours today on Day 13 of hospital bedside vigil for my Mother. In fact she is well enough to return to her Nursing Home but now they are waiting until she is as mobile as when she entered the hospital before she is discharged. Unfortunately she simply would not cooperate today refusing to sit up in bed, let alone take a short walk around the room. Looks like Mum will remain in hospital a few days more whilst we get her back on her feet. This is very disappointing.

On my way home from the hospital I stopped off for a dalliance and luckily was successful. Once again a short exchange but a pleasant one.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Are you wanking dear?

Writing the previous posting stirred a memory from my early days of sexual activity.

My mother, gathering my bed sheets for the weekly laundry, wearily noticed certain stains with which my readers would be familiar. She turned to me and asked (not exactly in these words) have you been masturbating a lot dear?

I still remember the shock and embarrassment I felt that my mother knew about masturbation.

Our parents

Most, if not all, of the gay bloggers in my favourites list are far younger than I.

I enjoy reading about their journeys of discovery and sympathise with their battles of conscience coming out to family and friends. So many of us in the universal gay family jump the same hurdles, suffer the same fears and hopefully experience the same relief that what was feared need not have been.

It seems that we pass through puberty, bodily changes and urges as though we, or our generation, are the first to have ever done so. Somehow it never seems to enter our head that our parents ever experienced puberty, wet dreams or sexual confusion.

So I am amused when I read a blogger's surprise that a parent has responded positively and supportively to their coming out. Of course there are some who are not supportive and who respond disgracefully but thankfully they seem to be in the minority.

Father (and Mother) may not always know best as in the old televison family show but mostly they know much more than we give them credit for. One thing they do often know best is us, their child.

Long may they love us and we in turn love them.


Not always!

Cs called this afternoon to check on my mother and I was able to let him know the encouraging improvement she is showing and the good news that she could be returning to the nursing home tomorrow.

He went on to tell me that he had another exchange (my interpretation being 'run in') at St V Hospital today this time about the volunteers' role in Admissions. He says he was told that the volunteer role is back to escorting patients to the ward on admission and that we are no longer doing all the other work we had taken on such as meeting and greeting patients and supporting the admissions clerks.
Cs was very unhappy about this and told them he didn't want to continue in that area with the limited role that remains and that he'd rather take on something meatier. He has offered to work a second day at reception instead.
It is disappointing if it is true our role in Admissions is back to straight escorting especially as under new admission procedures the vast majority of patients at St V go to a preparation area rather than the wards.
I'll have a talk with them after Mum has returned to her home and I am no longer spending my days with her at Ryde Hospital. I might seek a different role too.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


This new addiction of mine, blogging, threatens to take over my life.

Yesterday morning, Ae called to ask for a ride to the nursing home. I told her Mum was still in hospital and that I would be visiting her but that it would be OK for me to drop Ae at the home on my way to the hospital. We arranged that I would pick her up outside Edgecliff Station as usual.

When I left home I was thinking of some Blog posts I had read in the morning and was mentally drafting some possible responses. I was so into my mental blogging that I drove straight past the station without stopping for Ae and didn't realise what I had done until I had reached Rushcutters Bay. I then had to continue almost to Kings Cross before I could make a right hand turn to return to Edgecliff.

My mind was so distracted by blogging thoughts that I could have driven straight through red lights for all I know.

Blogging can be dangerous.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Concealed treasure

Day 10

Mum is progressing slowly and looked better again today. She is in Ryde Hospital which you can see from my photograph is neither new nor glamorous. It's pretty run down but the attention Mum is receiving there is very good which is the main thing.

To see this facade you would not guess that the grounds contain a little treasure in the form of Denistone House. In fact, the presence of this grand older building is not even obvious from inside the hospital which completely surrounds it. I only noticed the building myself on Day three of Mum's stay.

It is a rebuilt version of an older homestead but itself evidently dates from the 1870s. The local city council has a site with a reference to the House's history and that of the general area of Ryde.

Denistone House seems to have been built from Sydney Sandstone. Sadly so many buildings of that type and from that time no longer exist. The next photo has a closer view of the lovely ironwork featured on the building. Maybe funds will be available some time to upgrade the hospital and return Denistone House and the ironwork to their former glory.

Friday, 7 March 2008

You know you are starting to get old when....

...the police starting looking underage. There used to be saying something along these lines.

Campbell has taken up the same theme with regard to his son's school teachers.

This made me think of the doctors tending to my mother in hospital at the moment, one of whom looks about 15 years of age.

Some relief....on two fronts

Whether it is connected with her right lung being drained yesterday of a litre of fluid or coincidental I was relieved to find Mum in her best state this morning for weeks. She even ate some food and took some fluids, albeit still minimal amounts. The Doctor tells me her heart and kidneys are still underperforming but she is making progress.

Her condition did fall away in the afternoon but there are likely explanations. The Doctor drained some fluid from her left lung after lunch. Mum then was sent off for still another x-ray and her blood pressure/temperature were checked multiple times. All this activity would have been tiring for her. In addition the 'sundown' syndrome experienced by dementia sufferers would have come into play too.

After the hospital visit some further relief for me when I had a brief dalliance with a tradie. It was a quick and clinical mutual hand job but we both needed the release. I returned home relaxed whilst he had to return to work.

Still streaking.....

Whilst I'm on the topic of ball games and streaking this man is taking streaking to a new level using his mobile phone as he does the deed.

One additional thought. Why do so many streakers run away from the camera?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Hospital vigil continued....

Day eight.

Mum is asleep when I arrive at 11.30 and nothing will rouse her at lunchtime. Not even the vigorous shaking of a hefty female nurse who, for her troubles, receives a brief torrent of bleary eyed invective from Mum. Having delivered it Mum immediately returns to a comatose like state. Mum still isn't eating. I notice she is not connected to the drip today.

The Registrar arrives at 2.30 to drain fluid from Mum's right lung. Magically Mum opens her eyes as the Registrar reaches the bed. There follows a debate about Mum's capacity to cooperate with the draining procedure. I am doubtful. I feel it will be difficult to get Mum to sit still and am also fearful she will lash out at the medical staff. The Registrar ponders not proceeding. Ominously she tells me Mum might have to return to the drip and we 'let nature take its course'. I don't ask for clarification. I'm pretty sure I know what she means.

The Registrar and I agree we should make an attempt at the procedure and if Mum can't cooperate then so be it. The Registrar calls for two wardsmen, a nurse and a junior medical officer. She asks me to be present as a reassurance for Mum.

Once we are all present, the wardsmen attempt to get Mum sitting on the side of the bed. She resists for a while and then complies. They get her to lie forward over the bedside tray whilst I position myself in her line of sight and hold her hands. The Registrar, the junior medical officer and the nurse then commence the procedure.

I can't see it all but I can see the enormous plunger, the dimensions of a Gay size-Queen's dildo, drawing copious amounts of fluid from Mum's back. I lose count of the number of drainings but that plunger takes more than ten full loads. Mum starts to get restless towards the end but the procedure is accomplished.

Mum is shaking at the end of it. The nurse tells me this is because she has stiffened up whilst being held down and her muscles are reacting now that she has been released. At least I think that is the explanation. I feel more drained than I imagine Mum is and cannot at that moment take it all in.

Mum is repositioned in her bed and, as though a button has been pressed, she falls back to sleep without delay. The nurse awakens Mum ten minutes later to feed her some puree. Mum spits it out, swears and lashes out at the nurse. How lucky were we for Mum's cooperation during the draining.

A short while later Mum is wheeled out to have yet more x-rays taken and is returned after thirty minutes still asleep. I sit with Mum for a few more hours talking to her occasionally and she remains asleep the whole time. She seems to be breathing easier and deeper than before. I assume that is the effect of the draining.

I leave at 5 o'clock; another 5+ hours of bedside vigil completed.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Bridge butt

A new guy, Gh, has started playing bridge at our club lately and I am in lust with his butt. It is such a beautiful bubble butt, always well defined by the nicely cut trousers he wears. He was there again tonight.

It seems he comes straight to bridge from work and that he is a 'suit' to judge by those trousers. I imagine peeking into his trousers some time but I doubt it will happen. He's a pretty good looker too; dark haired, average height and stocky build.

As I'm not game enough to photograph him at bridge I have tried to give an indication of his best asset by posting this photograph.

The bearer of the tempting butt in the photograph is Manchester United's Portuguese star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Still streaking

(Photos: Sydney Morning Herald)

Ball games

(Photos: Sydney Morning Herald)

Streaking at sporting events may be a little passe but it still enlivens a game of cricket. Especially when Australia loses, as it did last night.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Hospital vigil....cockney ironing

The sixth day by my mother's bedside at the hospital. I was encouraged on my arrival this morning to find her sitting on the bedside chair for the first time since her admission last Thursday evening and that she was looking more clear-eyed than for a few weeks.

The Doctor told me her heart rate had returned to normal. She was to undergo an ultrasound later in the day to determine the exact location of the fluid on her chest which would then be drained. It turned out to be hours before that procedure. In the meantime various nurses monitored her vital signs and it was interesting to compare their bedside manners. Some were excellent and easily achieved my mother's cooperation. One nurse was businesslike and my mother responded coolly to her style completely sabotaging her every attempt to monitor blood pressure.

I left after five hours at the hospital. I find it quite draining spending that amount of time in the hospital environment. Driving home I stopped by the gourmet chicken place in Queen Street to pick up something for dinner as I was not in any mood to cook. Waiting in the queue I changed my mind about what to purchase three times eventually settling on a couple of chicken schnitzels and some fried rice. Not the healthiest dinner choice. Had I spent any more time in that queue I probably would have ended up with a fifth or sixth choice.

My relief at arriving home was immediately spoiled by the sight of the ironing I had left out for my return. I'd completely forgotten about it during the day and wasn't in any mood to attack it then and there. After dinner I girded my loins and got into the ironing. I used the English soap 'Eastenders' as background buzz. Its been months since I watched an episode and I wasn't really sure what this episode was about but I have to recommend 'Eastenders' as a perfect background foil to ironing. I sailed through the ironing in no time at all and was really pleased it was done.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Brilliant lights

Tonight, as always, it was a delight to leave the Opera House after a night at the theatre. The CBD was ablaze exactly as it appears in the banner at the head of this blog. The evening was a cool autumn one and the air was particularly clear. Across the Quay from the OH a white tourist ship, ironically named Black Watch, was berthed at the Overseas Terminal.

The Vertical Hour

This play by David Hare is the first of our subscription series for 2008. Mk and I saw it tonight at the Drama Theatre in the Opera House.

Victoria Longley (pictured) plays an American academic and former war correspondent visiting England with her boyfriend and sparring with his father over Iraq, US foreign policy, love and relationships. A witty text and a powerful performance from Longley were the standouts in this production.

The play's title is said to be a phrase in combat medicine referring to that moment when you can be of most help in aiding an injured individual. The audience can determine whether the characters have been of help to each other.