Thursday, 31 July 2008

Whale of a time...

(Photo: Sydney Morning Herald)

Whales (mother and calf) off the coast of Sydney today.


Hospital days

Just arrived home from my third day keeping my mother company in hospital.

The doctors are carrying out tests to determine what caused my mother's drop in blood pressure and twenty minutes period of unresponsiveness last Tuesday. A Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or 'mini stroke' remains a likely cause.

I've been doing a bit of reading by mother's bedside, both my current book and a range of celebrity magazines to which I have a minor addiction. The magazines have proven useful as a distraction for my mother. She has shown an interest in flicking through the pages that she hasn't shown for some time since her dementia worsened.

The hospital environment is rather boring. There was a good looking male nurse in Emergency last Tuesday night but he wasn't attending to my mother.

The cuteness 'quotient' of the nursing staff attending to my mother since she was moved to the wards is disappointing. There is one interesting looking wardsman with a nice smile; especially for those who are attracted to the swarthy middle eastern look. I'm hoping the next rotation of nurses includes a more attractive group to enliven my time at the hospital.

Actually, when I think about it, the Doctor attending to my mother isn't too bad on the eye at times. He looks to be in his late 30s or early 40s and I think he is from Sri Lanka. He is reasonably attractive when he smiles.

These comments are not to belittle the work of the staff who are providing diligent care for my mother.

Day 3 Noosa

Day 3 (Sunday) at Noosa.

The previous day's exertions were too much for the wedding guests and Sunday was never going to be too hectic.

The six of us assembled at the cafe across the road for breakfast at about 9.30am. Conversation was muted and mainly focused on gossip from the reception. Who hit on whom, who didn't talk to whom all night, who appeared to have paired off with whom and so on.

After breakfast we moved on to Hastings Street for more window shopping, people watching and gentle walking exercise. Then the question was whether to 'coffee' or 'ice cream'? The vote was for ice cream. We purchased a yummy array of ice cream flavours from Massimo's and walked along to the beach (my photo of the beach that morning, above) doing a full circuit along to 'the grove', the location of yesterday's wedding.

Then it was back to the apartment for a short rest before driving to Mm's place for afternoon tea. Mm had an interesting range of teas and coffees as well as some tasty chocolate ginger biscuits and melting moments.

Back at the apartment afterwards we checked out the television news before buying fish and chips for take away dinner from across the road.

The night ended with us watching the gentle whodunit of Foyle's War on television before bed.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Day 2 Noosa

Day 2 (Saturday) of last weekend's Noosa trip was centred around the wedding.

It was a late start following the previous evening's dancing and indulgence. I rose at 8am, the first to do so, joined gradually by the other five by 10am. In the meantime I had crossed the road to purchase some items for breakfast and a range of newspapers to cater for various interests. Breakfast was leisurely.

Ll, Fd, Mt and I then chose retail therapy for our Saturday midday entertainment. We drove across to the Noosa Civic shopping centre where we spent a couple of hours, a few dollars and partook of a coffee break. Ml and Sy chose to venture down to Hastings Street for their retail and people watching therapy instead.

We reconvened at the apartment around 2pm where the wedding guests (everyone other than Mt and myself) dressed for the wedding which was timed for 3.45pm.

The wedding location was the fancily named Maison La Plage Grove. This is a small grassed oval area adjacent to the beach which evidently is used for such gatherings. The area can be booked by the hour, that being the maximum allowable rental period. Another wedding was booked for the same location at 1pm.

Everyone adjourned to the 'grove' for the wedding, myself included. I watched proceedings from the adjoining boardwalk along with the other uninvited guests and casual passers by. The ceremony was very simple and blessed by a gorgeous sunny afternoon, a lucky break in what otherwise was a cool and grey period of weather.

I dreamily took in the view of the groom and his groomsmen and as many of the good looking male guests that I could ogle without being arrested for stalking.

(I took the photo above at the end of the ceremony. It is the view to the beach from the boardwalk taken adjacent to the grove.)

Following the ceremony our group and a few other friends returned to our apartment for drinks preparatory to the reception which was to be held at the restaurant across from where we were staying.

This was the end of Mt's and my 'participation' in the wedding. We left for dinner at a local Italian seafood restaurant before taking in a movie (The Savages).

We returned around 10pm and awaited the return of our friends from the reception, which they did around 11.30pm. We then intended to watch the time trial of the Tour de France on television to see whether the Aussie cyclist, Cadell Evans, could take the lead (he didn't) but were all too tired to stay up long enough for the end of the event which was to be around 2.30am Australian Eastern time.

We were all in bed by 1am.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Hospital vigil (again)

The nursing home called me this afternoon whilst I was working at the hospital to inform me that my mother's blood pressure had fallen to 80/50 and that she had been 'unresponsive' for a while but was 'OK now'. I was then told an ambulance was called to take her to Ryde Hospital. This is where my mother was hospitalised last February when she suffered heart and kidney failure.

I raced to the hospital arriving at the Emergency Department before the ambulance even though the nursing home is much closer to Ryde Hospital than is my workplace hospital. I spent five hours at the hospital before returning home.

The upshot of all this is that my mother is suspected to have suffered a small stroke. There is no visible evidence of this apart from one pupil being enlarged compared with the other. Further tests will be taken tomorrow.

Although the doctor told me tonight my mother 'could go either way', I am encouraged that sitting with her tonight she was relaxed, cheerful, alert to her surroundings and talking her dementia gibberish as usual.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Day 1 - Sydney to Noosa via Brisbane

As posted earlier, my departure Friday morning was from a cold and wet Sydney. We landed at a slightly milder and occasionally sunny Brisbane recovering from recent rain.

Mt was driving to Brisbane Airport to pick me up and rang on the way to check whether I 'was on the ground' just as I arrived at the baggage carousel to collect my luggage. Luckily my luggage was amongst the first to appear and I found Mt waiting for me at the pick up zone as soon as I walked from the terminal.

We had a couple of hours before we were due to meet at Ll's for the journey to Noosa and this time was spent with Mt showing me the sights of the peninsula region of Brisbane - Redcliffe, Scarborough and the like. We stopped for lunch at the Palace Hotel at Woody Point. The food mightn't satisfy the demands of haute cuisine aficionados but it was plentiful and edible. The hotel sits on a point with a fine view over the bay. I noticed rain in the distance and we encountered some of that on the way to Eatons Hill to meet up with Ll, Fd and Ml.

The five of us packed Fd's Camry and made the hour or so long journey to Noosa arriving around 5.30pm.

We had rented a three bedroom apartment there, not the house that I had thought previously, and our first impressions of the accommodation were favourable. I learned on arrival that most of the apartment complex was rented for the weekend by guests to the wedding that all bar Mt and I were invited to attend. (Mt and I are known to the parents of the bride but in no way were expecting to be wedding guests. We were piggy backing on this weekend to enjoy a weekend away with our friends.)

It didn't take long for the drinks and savouries to emerge and we five were joined in our apartment in time by Sy, driving from home at Hervey Bay, the sixth occupant of our apartment followed a while later by Rs, Gg, Jn, Jy and Hn.

Drinks turned into a party as we played hits from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s handily brought along by Rs. Jn had thoughtfully brought home cooked chicken wings and a savoury rice intended for the four in their party but in a magnificent loaves and fishes act this repast somehow managed to extend to all eleven of us partying in our apartment.

Before long we were up and dancing to those classic hits and Abba tunes back in focus because of the Mamma Mia movie. My personal favourite dance hit was Lesley Gore's 'It's My Party' which was replayed five or six times. We hit the wall shortly after midnight just as I was wondering whether the noise police would be summoned to silence us.

(Lesley Gore)

The party wound up around 12.30am and we were in our respective (or someone's) bed by 1am. That might sound early for many readers but given that all eleven of us are aged over 50; a few over 60 too, we thought we had done well.

Back home

I'm back home after our long weekend spent at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

I'll post about our stay there separately.

These are two photos taken from my flight home this afternoon. Click on both for enlargement.

Over southern suburbs of Brisbane minutes after take off.

Descent towards Sydney Airport passing over the Gladesville Bridge and the Parramatta River.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

I'm in the Qantas Club lounge having breakfast and waiting for my departure.

The weather in Sydney this morning is cold and wet so I am hoping it will be warmer up north. Others don't seem to mind the cold. On either side of me at the moment are two young men doing their Internet work in shorts and sandals whilst I'm rugged up like an Olympic skier.

Heigh ho, heigh ho...... to the Coast I go.

I'm flying to Brisbane this morning and then driving to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend with Ll, Fd, Rs, Gg, Mt and Ml. It would be nice if the weather is as warm and as sunny as suggested by the photo below but the forecast is not encouraging. We have rented a house in Noosa Heads.

Apart from Mt and myself, the others have a wedding to attend at Noosa. Mt and I will do our best Oliver Twist type impressions and look in on the beachside reception from the sand.

The rest of the weekend will be the usual mix of talk, gossip, laughter and most importantly eating, eating, eating.

I'll post from the airport if the opportunity arises otherwise I probably won't get online again until my return to Sydney on Monday afternoon.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

A rose by any other name.......

I sometimes wonder about the names celebrities give their children but a recent court judgement in New Zealand shows that eccentric namings are not confined to the famous.

What must some parents be thinking?

Essential health....

I'm told this was a real memo sent out by IBM to its employees in all
seriousness. It went to all field engineers about a computer
peripheral problem. The author of this memo was quite genuine.
The engineers rolled on the floor! Especially note the last couple of

'If a mouse fails to operate or should it perform erratically, it may
need a ball replacement. Mouse balls are now available as FRU
(Field Replacement Units). Because of the delicate nature of this
procedure, a replacement of mouse balls should only be attempted
by properly trained personnel. Before proceeding, determine the
type of mouse balls by examining the underside of the mouse.
Domestic balls will be larger and harder than foreign balls.

Ball removal procedures differ depending upon the manufacturer
of the mouse. Foreign balls can be replaced using the pop off
method. Domestic balls are replaced by using the twist off method.

Mouse balls are not usually static sensitive. However, excessive
handling can result in sudden discharge.

Upon completion of ball replacement, the mouse may be used
immediately. It is recommended that each person have a pair of
spare balls for maintaining optimum customer satisfaction.

Any customer missing his balls should contact the local personnel
in charge of removing and replacing these necessary items.

Please keep in mind that a customer without properly working balls
is an unhappy customer.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Estelle Getty (1923 - 2008)

Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, mother of Dorothy, in The Golden Girls has died.

The Golden Girls gained a devoted gay audience in the 1980s and 1990s and still is popular in repeats on pay for view channels in Australia.

You gave us a lot of pleasure Estelle and now can rest in peace free of the threat of return to the Shady Pines home.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Smarter shopping

(From The New Yorker)

What the......?

A government spokesperson speaking on the radio a moment ago and in raptures about the wondrous benefits arising from the just concluded World Youth Day said 'Sydney has regained its mojo'.

Had we misplaced it?

What does this mean?

Monday, 21 July 2008

Tough luck

Australia has had amazing success in the Olympic Games seemingly out of proportion to our comparatively small population when lined up against other sporting powerhouse nations.

For the most part though we have underachieved in track and field events. It is tough luck therefore for our only two current track and field world champions...

Jana Rawlinson and

Nathan Deakes that both have pulled out of the Beijing Olympics through injury.

Devilled rabbit

Yesterday morning I found myself caught in World Youth Day road closures near my home, the only time I fell into the trap of the celebrations during the week.

Once I extracted myself from that annoyance I took myself off to watch the NRL match between the Rabbitohs and the Tigers. The Rabbitohs were looking for their sixth consecutive win and their traditional enemies the Tigers were looking to break a four match losing sequence.

The Tigers prevailed returning to form with some sparkling play. The picture shows Robbie Farrah about to score a try. He has a fine body for those who like their men stocky.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The Dark Knight

Two of the most hyped films in recent times have started in consecutive weeks. Last week it was Mamma Mia and this week it is The Dark Knight.

As most of the world will know The Dark Knight is the last film Heath Ledger completed and there has been much talk in Australia about posthumous Academy Award recognition for him.

In my view the film is an example of style winning over substance. It is a very stylish looking film but I am hard pressed to explain the storyline. In essence I don't think that there is much of a storyline but I can't be certain. The cast is studded with softly spoken actors delivering their lines in almost a whisper at times against a background of ominous music building to repeated crescendos. As a consequence I rarely understood the dialogue nor who was doing what to whom.

As you'd expect the film was packed with impressive effects although one scene of a helicopter crashing looked a bit clunky. The most interesting scene for me was of two booby trapped ferries on the harbour with their passengers battling the moral dilemma of which of them should be blown up. Other than that, the storyline seemed too slight to me to justify a film of such great length.

As for Heath Ledger he does a good job in a showy role but I would reserve judgement about crowning him with awards until I see what the likely competition is.

Word of mouth is obviously working very well for this film. Our 2.10pm session at Bondi Junction was sold out and on leaving the cinema at 5pm I noticed the display board indicated all six remaining sessions today were sold out too.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Pope rides on water

(Click photo to enlarge.)

A photo from my balcony of the flotilla carrying Pope Benedict XVI on Sydney Harbour just thirty minutes ago.

The media is getting carried away with hyperbole regardless of the contrary evidence before our very eyes.

Fifteen minutes before I took this photo a commentator on television reported the three thousand craft on the harbour to welcome the Pope. Clearly there was nothing like that number on the Harbour on this working day Thursday. She also reported the half million spectators lining harbour vantage points to watch the spectacle when television coverage clearly shows numbers far fewer than that figure.

None the less, it was a fine sight on a fairly sunny winter's day.

WYD activities are for everyone....

I want to join the order that the guy at the back belongs to.

Bank runs

These bank runs in the USA are a bit of a worry.

What's that about when the USA sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold?

What's in a name?

It has only just dawned on me that in its heavy coverage of World Youth Day the Sydney Morning Herald is not referring to the 'new' precinct of Barangaroo by that name but as The Hungry Mile.

Given that the authorities and organisers mostly seem to be using the Aboriginal name that emerged from a public competition I wonder why the SMH is going the other way with the older 'nickname'?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Flashing lights

Looking out my window tonight I see a ribbon of flashing lights at water level across Sydney Harbour. I have never seen these lights previously and can't effectively take a picture of them for readers.

I assume they are part of the security arrangements for tomorrow's official arrival in Sydney of the Pope by what is being called a 'boatacade'. He is boarding a cruise vessel at Rose Bay and cruising the harbour before landing at Barangaroo.

Tomorrow is being referred to as Super Thursday because of scheduled World Youth Day activities.

Unfortunately I have a reason to be in the CBD but I intend to do so early in the morning and hopefully make my departure for home well before the expected hundreds of thousands of pilgrims descend upon the city.

Who knew?

The Dark Knight (Batman)...

...and Pope Benedict XVI...

both officially arrive in Sydney tomorrow.


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

World Youth Day

Sydney has turned on its best sunny winter weather for the commencement of World Youth Day with the Opening Mass being celebrated this evening as I type.

With so many road closures and other restrictions introduced for the festival, traffic has been lighter today than usual and the hospital also was quieter than normal.

I'm staying away from the CBD and Randwick district as far as possible for the remainder of the week.

From all reports, the young pilgrims visiting the city are creating a festive atmosphere similar to when the Olympic Games were held here in 2000.

I was not surprised to hear that the Federal Court today struck out some elements of the Government's regulations prohibiting 'annoying' activity against pilgrims. These aspects of the regulations always seemed over the top and unnecessarily prohibitive. In a sense the Government has been provocative introducing these regulations thereby inviting the very activity it was trying to prevent.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Un Secret

In this French film, Francois is a sad child mystified by his father's disapproval. We see him in the summer of 1955 and also in glimpses as an adult in the summer of 1985. The adult Francois narrates as we watch how the child deals with rejection and the ambiguities in his life.

As a high school student in 1962, Francois learns the family secret from which he has been shielded. At this point the film effectively starts anew as a sad tale of love and betrayal.

Francois' mother is played by the gorgeous Cecile De France and his father by Patrick Bruel who looks very sexy at times.

It is worth persevering with this film. The beginning is somewhat languid and meandering but once the secret is revealed the film really picks up. As is usually the case with French films, there are some very stylish scenes and moments but in this case interspersed with graphic documentary wartime footage.

Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day to all French bloggers and readers.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Mamma Mia!

You would have to have been living under a rock this week not to know that Mamma Mia! is the movie version of the stage presentation that is set around the Abba song list.

What plot there is, exists simply to link the songs and for those songs where it works well to give added meaning to their pop lyrics.

The movie, a little slow at the beginning when the focus is on the younger cast members, really lifts once the veterans Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski get involved.

Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard are solid foils for the women. I thought Firth does best and it is probably no coincidence that he seems to be having the most fun. I watched Firth closely during the end credits song montage and he really gets into the swing of the campness of it all.

When I first knew that Streep was in the movie I thought her an odd choice but she does really well only faltering in the dramatic moment of The Winner Takes It All when her singing voice is not powerful enough for the strongest notes. A pity, because that moment in the Sydney stage show was stunning.

The stage show, as I saw it in Sydney, was a lot of fun and had the audience toe tapping to the familiar melodies. The movie is much the same and has that glorious summery feel and look of the Greek islands as background throughout.

Mamma Mia! does not contain the wit of Stephen Sondheim or Cole Porter but it is a lot of fun for Abba lovers.

Health advice for the older man

I think I will follow this advice.

It reminds me that a while ago my doctor prescribed masturbation once day, "twice a day if possible" he added, as a guard against prostate cancer.

Swifter, higher, stronger

I'm looking forward to two weeks of watching elite athletes at play in Beijing.

A throwback to the ancient Games would be interesting!


Saturday, 12 July 2008

Reflections of the sun

(Click pic for best effect.)

The rising sun reflecting on CBD buildings this morning.

Two rushed photos taken through my lounge room window, so unfortunately reflections of curtains, dust etc also visible.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Cold trail

It was cold again yesterday. I took this photograph of an aeroplane headed south over Sydney and leaving a long vapour trail in the cold air.

Can I treat you sir?

As a volunteer in Admissions I see documentation including the procedure for which a patient is being admitted. Mostly, this is provided in medical jargon which is meaningless to me.

One of today's admissions, a male, was being admitted for 'advance sling'. I wondered what this might be and looked the term up in an online medical dictionary but the term was not recognised.

Whatever the patient was admitted for I doubt he received the treatment that first came to mind, as represented below.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Coldplay? Hot player!

At my advanced age I'm not knowledgeable about popular bands but I have heard of Coldplay. I'm not familiar with their music but can recognise band member Chris Martin, mainly through his marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow. I think he is quite attractive.

This morning I read an article about the band and saw this photograph of another band member, Guy Berryman.

He looks hot.


I know that 13.3c is not a cold temperature in many parts of the world but for mild Sydney that amounts to a cold day when it is the maximum.

That's what we had yesterday, the coldest Sydney day in more than a year.

And right on cue too. The records show that Sydney's coldest day each year occurs on average between 8 and 10 July.

Roll on spring and summer.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

They got away...

I've been living at my current apartment building for eighteen years. In the first few years my lock up garage was broken into three times (from memory) but nothing was taken nor was my car damaged.

For some years afterwards there was no attempt to break into my property (to my knowledge) although I am aware there were burglaries elsewhere in the complex.

Then last week the bolt to my garage was damaged, apparently in a break in attempt. Again nothing was stolen nor was anything else damaged.

On the weekend, the second of two other apartments on my floor was burgled. A television, a computer and some clothing were taken. The burglary occurred sometime between 10.30pm Saturday (when I was sitting down to watch the Wimbledon Women's Final) and 4pm Sunday. Although I was home for a lot of that period, I heard and saw nothing of this.

The apartment wasn't broken into. The burglar evidently had keys to access the apartment or it had been inadvertently left unlocked. Anyway, a spare set of keys to the building were also stolen from the apartment so the security locks into the building had to be changed and all thirty-six apartments given new keys.

Modern life!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Honey, honey...yum, yum...

No sooner did I complete the post below and I found the above picture of Colin Firth and Dominic Cooper in Sydney at blog Beauty and the Bum.

I couldn't resist poaching the pic.

Honey, honey...

Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Dominic Cooper in Sydney today promoting Mamma Mia which opens in Australia on Thursday.

Listening to excerpts from the press conference I was surprised to hear Firth mention that he watched Abba perform live on television in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 when he 13 years old. This means he is now 47 years of age. In fact a check of the Internet Movie Database indicates he turns 48 in September. I didn't realise Firth is in his late 40s. He looks better at that age than I did in my 20s. Lucky fellow.

I saw Dominic Cooper live on stage in Sydney about a year ago when he performed in The History Boys. I thought he was sexy then and I am looking forward to seeing him in this movie.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Change ends please...

Is this the changing of the guard?

I sat down to watch the spectacle of the Wimbledon Men's Final at about 12.30am Sunday (Sydney time) with mixed emotions. Federer is such a magnificent champion and so superb to watch when in full flight so I was hoping he would make it six in a row. On the other hand, Nadal is also a wonderful player and gorgeous eye candy to boot and I knew his time had come.

When Federer was two sets down and 3-4 in the third set having just failed to convert any of a series of break points, I decided it was not to be his day and that I should switch off and get to sleep. I was sad at the thought of him losing.

I awoke as usual at 6.30am to the news that the match had ended only minutes earlier with Federer and Nadal fighting it out over five sets. I am glad I didn't watch it through. The highs and lows of the fluctuating fortunes would have been anxiety-inducing.

I'm sorry for Federer but Nadal is a deserving champion.

By the way, I don't understand how Nadal can play in those long shorts when he gets hot and sweaty. I would find the shorts irritating to wear in those conditions but then I am neither the champion, nor as cute as, Nadal is.

The Band's Visit

The Band's Visit is an Israeli film about an Egyptian band that turns up in the wrong town in Israel for the opening of a cultural centre. The film gently depicts the reactions of the bemused locals and band members to this unexpected collision of cultures and peoples.

The Band's Visit is low key and humorous. The scenes are played out in laconic style; there is nothing slapstick in the presentation.

Although the film contains Hebrew and Arabic dialogue, there is a considerable amount of English spoken with the oddity that all the dialogue (including English) is subtitled.

An unexpected delight.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Anyone for a Popemobile?

These traffic signs have appeared all around Sydney's eastern suburbs where I live as World Youth Day and the Pope's arrival draw near.

We had similar dire warnings of traffic chaos before Sydney's Olympic Games in 2000 but for once public transport arrangements worked superbly and car traffic turned out to be the easiest in memory.

Do we dare to hope for a repeat this time?

Twenty questions

I've discovered this fun game.

I beat the online game more times than it beat me but it is interesting when the online game correctly guesses what you are thinking.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Kakadu bound

I spent the afternoon with Hn and Ae finalising our booking for the trip to the Kimberley and Kakadu in late August. We've decided to take the optional extra flight to the Bungle Bungles.

Dancing man

I found this clip surprisingly endearing.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Ten Empty

Yesterday's movie was the new Australian release, Ten Empty.

A man returns to Adelaide from his new life in Sydney to attend a family christening. The man is unhappy and we soon see that he and his family members all are angry and battling demons. The film is relentlessly grim and there seems little hope for happy endings.

This was like a partly cooked dinner. We are given some clues as to the background of the characters and their relationships but much more is unexplained.

I'm always hopeful of commercial success for Australian features but there were only four of us at this session on the opening day of the season. Not an encouraging sign.

Independence Day

For any United States readers; happy 4th of July!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

On my day off today I...

...went shopping for swimwear for my holidays on the Sunshine Coast (this month) and the Kimberleys and Kakadu (August/September)...

...renewed my club membership...

...went to Broadway Centre to meet Kn in his lunch break...

...had a Thai meal with Kn...

...went to the Dendy Newtown to see a movie...

...picked up a takeaway chicken meal for dinner...