Saturday, 28 February 2009

They're back

Those National Rugby League footballers are back for another season of charge and biff.

I went out tonight to see one of the traditional pre-season matches, the Charity Shield, played annually between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Sydney Rabbitohs. St George Illawarra is an amalgamation of two clubs one of which, St George, has a proud history of success although not in recent seasons. South Sydney has an even prouder history having won 20 Premierships (Championships), the most of any club, but none for the past thirty-eight years.

Since Russell Crowe became part owner of South Sydney (the Rabbitohs) several years ago there have been many false dawns of success none of them fully realised and once again hope is high for the new season. Similarly there are high expectations for the Dragons who have acquired 'super' coach Wayne Bennett this season.

An even tussle in the first half saw the two teams 6-6 at half time but the Rabbitohs asserted a superiority in the second half to end up 18-6 winners.

As usual I kept one eye on the action on the field and the other closely on the 'talent' in the stands. Overall the talent beat the action in my eyes.

A night at the pub

Last night Hn, Ae and I took Ye out for drinks and a meal to thank her for hosting us during our stay in Broome last August. It was Ye who suggested the venue, Carlisle Castle Hotel, located in the narrow back streets of Newtown.

I found the hotel reasonably easily but was worried about my chances of finding a car parking spot within distance of it on a Friday night. To my amazement a space was available right in front of the hotel.

I feel for residents in the area whose extremely narrow streets are clogged with parked cars and the width of the space left over in between them amounts to little more than a back lane leaving only sufficient room for one car to be driven on the street proper. It is not possible to pass a car travelling in the other direction down these two way streets unless you can find a break in the parked cars into which to manoeuvre your car. Selfishly I didn't feel any guilt at adding to the congestion by driving to the venue.

The hotel is a rabbit warren of rooms and drinking, eating and gambling areas all of them modernised. The atmosphere last night was lively and noisy and the restaurant patrons ranged from families with young children in tow to adults in small and large groups.

We weren't aware that the restaurant had been written up in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Living supplement only two weeks ago. Ye ordered Whiting Fillets, Ae selected Potato Gnocchi, Hn chose Lamb Fillets and I stuck with a Rump Steak, pepper sauce and mashed potato. All four meals were excellent. The prices for meals and drinks were quite reasonable.

Whilst the hotel was very noisy in the way these establishments always are when heaving with customers our evening was enjoyable and we are keen to try it again for a week day lunch when the ambiance, minus the families, should be more relaxed.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Dragging my feet and other blogging analogies

I've been tardy in my blogging and my blog reading lately.

I blame the humidity. February is traditionally a very humid month in Sydney and I don't handle humidity well. It has been too easy for me in recent days to ease onto a comfy sofa, watch television or read a book rather than be active thus generating interesting experiences worthy of blogging.

I woke early this morning, just after 5am, without the need for an alarm, to watch the Queen Mary 2 ease up Sydney Harbour. QM2 was lit up like a fiftieth birthday cake as it sailed into Sydney in the morning darkness. It was an impressive sight even without me wearing my spectacles and my eyes still misty from overnight sleep.

Later in the morning I had my usual Thursday morning breakfast treat at The Zoo in Bondi Junction Mall before a lunchtime game of bridge.

Then off to the Podiatrist for my six weekly clean up. I've always imagined that being a Podiatry patient was the preserve of the older generation but I have noticed quite young patients in recent visits. The patient before me today was a schoolboy in his teen years.

I don't always fancy the scraping and tugging at my feet but I always enjoy viewing the Podiatrist's crotch from on high. My Podiatrist, Tm, is a young married man with a lean build who is inclined to wearing tight pants. My view of him from on high can be very stimulating at times.

Thinking about the younger patients - not school children but still younger than geriatrics like myself - I wondered today, for the first time, whether Tm occasionally has as entertaining a view looking up at us, as we the patients enjoy.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Winning Friends and Influencing People

Patients enter the hospital in all sorts of moods. Most try to be polite even if distracted with fear or concern for their fate. Occasionally a patient is angry but one who was admitted to the hospital today takes the cake for unpleasantness.

It was not the patient's first stay at the Hospital and she was not about to make the best of this latest visit. To start off with she took exception at Admissions when told the room she was allocated and hurled abuse at the Admissions Clerk. Then it was my turn. She wasn't interested in being escorted to her room by a volunteer telling me that she 'doesn't approve of volunteers performing useless work'. That certainly won me over but I escorted her to the ward nonetheless.

Once on the ward she got stuck into the Nurse Unit Manager, criticising her management, the nursing staff and Hospital policy. On and on it went and she was still mouthing off when I left her and her baggage in her room.

I hope whatever her reason for admission that the treatment is totally successful. None of us would want to deal with her again.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Weight in fright

An open message to my new digital scales.

You were purchased for the principal purpose of reducing my weight, yet instead of reducing those kilos you have started to increase them.

Enough already. The joke is not that funny.

My dear (and by that I mean expensive) scales, if you don't show a decrease in kilos soon I may have no option but to take matters into my own hands.

(You don't suppose the entire packet of jelly babies I ate last night has anything to do with this, do you?)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

What the dump?!

WARNING: this will be distasteful for many but it is true.

There I was yesterday afternoon reading my newspaper, broad daylight, 1.30pm, parked in a nearby leisure area, other cars and their occupants parked in front and behind me.

Young man, early 20s, cycles up and stops where we are parked. He jumps off his bike, runs behind adjacent low level bushes, drops his shorts and takes a dump. He then spends the next five minutes pulling handfuls of the bush out and....ahem....wipes his arse. Appears to leave sheaves of the bush down his crack.

He remounts his bike and cycles away.

All of this done not 30 metres away from an available and free toilet block.


Saturday, 21 February 2009


Angelina Jolie is a single mother whose 9 years old son goes missing one Saturday whilst she is at work in this Clint Eastwood directed film which then exposes the Police and Administrative corruption in Los Angeles in the 1920s/30s.

I was never greatly interested in Eastwood as an actor in Westerns and the Dirty Harry franchise but have liked the films he has directed in recent years. He has picked some fascinating story lines to film and Changeling is no exception.

Jolie gives a fine performance as do many of the cast although the film does contain some melodramatic scenes and cliche moments. There are also elements that puzzled me. Why does the packed congregation to which Pastor John Malkovich preaches include no children at all? And why was the Press so compliant in accepting everything the Police fed them? Were there no questioning members of the Press at all, did they all fear the Police without exception or were they all corrupt too?

Eastwood, or someone else involved in the design of the film, must be a light rail aficionado. There are numerous shots of Los Angeles trams including a long period setting shot for the closing credits. As a tram lover I enjoyed the film for those scenes alone. I think Andrew would be interested to see them too.

Friday, 20 February 2009


A photographic snap shot of my day...(click on photos to enlarge)...

Purchasing my rail ticket.

Advertising board at the rail platform. Persuasive? Not!

Walking through the Queen Victoria Building on my way to an appointment.

Waiting at an intersection in the Central Business District across the road from my appointment.

On my way into Chinatown for an early lunch.

The 'hole in the wall' food outlet waiting for my lunch order.

Lunch - Chicken Noodle Soup - a heap of food for just $6.

The Food Court before the lunch rush whilst I snaffle down my soup.

Thursday Markets in Bondi Junction Mall.

Ascending the escalators at Westfield Bondi Junction.

Do you think they would discount these photos even further if I purchased only the man's half of them?

A Kate Winslet-athon at the Bondi Junction Cinemas.

Reserved seating at Bondi Junction Cinemas even on a Thursday afternoon when scarcely more than a man and his dog occupy the auditorium.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Pedantic woman

Haughty woman (HW) speaking to radio host (RH):

HW - "I object to men saying G'day to ladies."
RH - silence
HW - "Ladies do not like being greeted with G'day."
RH - "I didn't greet you with G'day."
HW - "No, you didn't but ladies don't like being spoken to that way."
RH - silence
HW - "And your earlier speaker referred to the Queen Mary."
RH - "Yes."
HW - "The correct name is Queen Mary 2."
RH - "Yes."
HW - "And he called it a boat."
RH - "Yes."
HW - "It is a ship."
RH - "Yes, it is."

HW - "The Queen Mary 2 is arriving next Thursday at 7am."
RH - "Yes."
HW - "And I am getting up at 4am."
RH - silence
HW - "I have written to the Lord Mayor and the Premier asking them to open the Botanical Gardens gates at 5am."
RH - "Thank you for your call."

Next caller (female) - "That lady referred to the Botanical Gardens. Seeing as she is so concerned about correct language she would be aware that the correct name is Royal Botanic Gardens."

Game, set and match.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Pink Panther

Aaron Neich, the only male ever to qualify for the Penrith Panthers, National Rugby League Club, cheer squad has declared he is ready for the inevitable taunts.

“I’m going to get the mean calls: ‘you’re gay’, ‘you’re a poof’ ... and I am, so I don’t care,” he said.

Monday, 16 February 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

Derived from the book which was inspired by a single line from the television series Sex In The City this is a tale of modern relationships amongst the beautiful people of Baltimore. Amongst the gag lines lie some serious home truths which mean that only courageous straight men assured of their relationship with wife/girlfriend should contemplate accompanying them to see this film. Unsurprisingly the majority of the large audience at the session I attended was female and I suspect a high proportion of the men that were present were gay.

About a third of the way through the film I was silently congratulating it for resisting the cliche of portraying a gay best friend/coworker who is expert in providing romantic advice. Even as I thought the thought along they came, three cliched gay men at first and then even more later.

Nevertheless, this film has its moments and is 'serious fun' in a SITC style.

Without divulging anything about the character he plays, Bradley Cooper viewed through gay eyes is a stunner and I would urge casting directors to let us see more of this sexy man.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

I Could Have Hummed All Night

Like so many who have dementia, my mother who has little memory of anything still responds to music with a startling capacity for recall.

Mum must recently have heard music from My Fair Lady at her nursing home because several weeks ago, without prompting, she hummed I Could Have Danced All Night at me, in perfect tune and complete with chorus and verse. In fact she hummed the tune at me four times in succession. It gave me pleasure to hear her enjoyment at that moment.

Scroll forward two weeks and I am sitting with Mum struggling as usual to draw conversation from her and resigned to another morning of reading silently whilst she sits snoozing alongside me. For some reason I thought to hum that tune to her. Mum sat looking impassively back at me. No reaction to the music.

I was about to return to my book when I decided to hum the tune again. This time Mum joined in with a big smile and the two of us hummed away loudly surrounded by elderly dementia sufferers. It would have seemed a curious sight to visiting onlookers and staff but it was a moment of enjoyment for us.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Sea Eagles suit Speedos for sponsors

(Photo: SMH/James Brickwood)

Current National Rugby League Premiership winning players, Brett Stewart (left) and David Williams (middle), don Speedos to promote their club's new Hot Water System sponsors. They've won me over.

Valentines Day

This is a Valentine for my readers. Enjoy.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Weighty issues

I decided on a new strategy for attacking the extra kilos I am carrying and went on a search for digital scales last weekend. I purchased a nice looking set which I could accurately read with or without my spectacles and set them up in my bathroom.

My first reading was a great success, almost two kilos lighter than the last reading at the Doctor's rooms. Of course, my new home scales gave me a competitive advantage in that I was standing on them naked, something not previously permitted at the Doctor's rooms. Nevertheless, an encouraging start.

The wisdom of my new strategy was evident when I was yet another kilo lighter the next day. Still naked, of course, but I was pleased.

Day three and a stark message that my new scales were rubbish. My weight was up a kilo! And, I'd done nothing to encourage it.

Actually I'd done nothing other than purchase the scales. Obviously I need to tweak my strategy a little and introduce some other components. Things like changing my eating habits and maybe even...horror...a little exercise.

Losing weight is not going to be as straight forward as I had hoped.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


There were exactly 43 people tonight, I counted us all, in the small space that is the Stables Theatre for the performance of 'Holiday'.

Two men have a casual conversation. There is no back history, no narrative, no conflict, no story development. The conversation leaps from one unconnected thought to another. The conversation is punctuated by lengthy silences that would have made Harold Pinter proud. The two actors also sing a few medieval sounding songs along the way.

Not a typical night at the theatre for me but early misgivings about having picked this work to see were gradually overtaken by a grudging enjoyment. The two actors, Paul Lum and Patrick Moffatt, handle an awkward work well.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Rachel Getting Married

Anne Hathaway has come home from rehabilitation to participate in her sister's wedding celebrations. As so often happens at this time in a family's history, the past intrudes, dirty laundry is aired and a few home truths are exchanged.

From the opening credits on, the film has the feel of a family home movie. It is as though the audience is eavesdropping on reality. A long scene of the wedding rehearsal dinner where guests take turns to toast the bridal couple at times borders on the embarrassing and feels very real.

Hathaway, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for this performance, has a far edgier role than we are used to seeing her in and is totally believable.

This is not a movie with a storyline. It is a snapshot of a family over a couple of days which reveals characters with their flaws and foibles.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Breakfast delight

ABC Television has been running a special Sunday breakfast news program this morning covering the bush fires. One of the presenters is Paul Kennedy. I don't recall seeing him previously. Kennedy has a rather droning, monotone voice but his looks easily outweigh the negatives of his voice. I think he is very sexy.

actually, occasionally, you know?

I've been switching between four channels providing ongoing coverage of the bush fire tragedy in Victoria this morning.

It seems the nature of these type of 'breaking news' programs that television journalists desperate to keep the viewers' attention for the next big development which never quite seems to come engage in repetitive reporting. The better journalists camouflage this repetition through a wide vocabulary but the less skilled flounder on pet phrases or descriptors that jar after a while.

I've lost count this morning of the number of times I have heard 'actually', 'occasionally' and 'you know'.

You know?

Victorian tragedy

Melbourne had it's hottest ever day yesterday when the temperature reached 46.4c (115.5f).

Shockingly, powerful winds fanned huge bush fires across the state and at the time of this post 14 people have been confirmed to have died in them and fears are held for another 25 who are missing.

My condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in the fires.

There are also bush fires in my home state of New South Wales but thankfully so far no fatalities here.

UPDATE: The latest confirmed death toll in Victoria is 181.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Some loving

It has been a long time since I have had some sex. Correction; it has been a long time since I have had some loving sex of the tender touchy feely type rather than the slam bam thank you man type where scarcely a word is exchanged let alone any tenderness.

I need some of the former. Well, I want some of the former but at the moment there is no one on my horizon likely to be providing it. It is a state I have been in before and in the past I have usually ended up visiting a sauna for something different.

It is not that I expect to find the love of my life at a sauna. I have long given away the notion that I would find the man of my dreams at one of these establishments. They can be soulless meat markets where you tread the endless carousel being followed around by men you are not interested in all whilst you are following men you are interested in but who are not interested in you.

I suppose that I have visited a sauna about once every nine months or so over the past few years after having been a more periodic patron in earlier years. The best that I have experienced is the occasional passionate 'rumpy pumpy' that vaguely simulates emotional closeness but as often as not sauna sex turns into a lustful race to sexual relief between two or more men who will just as quickly go their own ways once the deed is done.

But I remain ever optimistic that I will find someone for me, just not at the sauna.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Mission accomplished

Now to tie up some loose ends as they say in Bureaucracy land.

My battle with Telstra is over and, I believe, won.

The Department of Fair Trading telephoned me last Thursday to acknowledge my complaint and give me instructions on steps to take before they could formally speak to Telstra on my behalf. I followed those instructions immediately and within two hours of that call from DFT I had received calls from Telstra and Foxtel arranging my requested Pay TV upgrade with the appointment even arranged for the day and time of my preference. I didn't post about this progress at the time for fear that I would jinx it happening.

But happen it did yesterday and all within half an hour too. Based on that one experience it seems that Telstra will jump when DFT comes a calling so I would recommend anyone taking that route if they have a complaint against Telstra not involving telephone or internet services.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Easing the financial burden

Here is a company easing our pain in the current financial difficulties.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A dog of a day

Warning to dog owning readers: this posting may be inflammatory.

I live in a well-to-do area whose post code regularly features as number one or two in Australia's wealthiest post codes. My contribution to this ranking is modest, if not invisible and I hasten to add that this ranking comes from the Tax Office and therefore relates only to admitted taxed earnings.

Apparently with this wealth comes a predilection to owning animals, particularly animals of the four legged variety. Again I am not really a member of this club. I do not own an animal.

My neighbours, in the suburban rather than apartment building sense, are seen in great profusion around the neighbourhood walking their dogs. It is a fine scene which adds to the atmosphere and I love seeing it.

These 'dog people' congregate at a local 'shopping village'; an upmarket name for shopping centre where they and their dogs establish an obstacle course for those without dogs who are actually there for shopping as distinct from animal accompanied socialising. I don't love this aspect.

I don't shop in the 'village' other than at two food stores (one chicken oriented, the other pasta oriented) for take away meals. I do it far too often for my health but the meals are to my liking and of good standard for 'fast food' outlets. I don't shop at the other stores in the 'village' because their prices are well above what the equivalent stores elsewhere in the neighbourhood charge.

So what have my food buying habits got to do with dogs?

Well, for as long as I have been alive - which is a very long time - health regulations in Australia have barred dogs, other than guide dogs for vision impaired shoppers, from being brought inside food stores. But in my neighbourhood, many of the dog owners don't see regulations or laws as being applicable to them.

This flouting of health regulations irritates me. The considerate owners leash their dogs to nearby posts on the footpath whilst they shop but the inconsiderate ones, coincidentally often the most garish in dress and appearance, stride around the stores with their four legged 'children' in tow, even in hand.

I try to discipline myself and remain civil but occasionally I lose it and make some tart comment to the offender risking pet rage in response. Today, Society Madam had her dog in tow inside the chicken store and when I politely commented to her that I didn't think she was permitted to bring her dog inside Society Madam blithely informed me that it was OK as it was her dog.

If I had been quick enough, I should have responded tartly "Oh what a surprise, you look like a down and out who picks strays up in the street". Instead I simply pointed out that ownership was irrelevant, it was against regulations for the dog to be in the store.

Society Madam glowered at me, then stepped outside the store with dog in hand and continued her purchasing from the footpath shouting her instructions across the store from outside all the time muttering darkly to passers by. I imagine she was pointing out the Dog Hating Old Queen to everyone whose attention she could muster.

Monday, 2 February 2009

I don't feel bothered

It must be a combination of the warm weather and humidity and the late nights watching Rafael Nadal into the early morning hours playing his semi final and final match at the Australian Open. I feel most lethargic today. I could quite happily have curled up on a bed at the hospital today and now that I am back home I am fighting the urge to hop into my bed.

I have a game of bridge to play tonight so I will have to stay alert somehow. I'm not sure how but keying this post is probably not going to do it.


Sunday, 1 February 2009


Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, the first openly gay official elected in California. It covers the period from his fortieth birthday to his assassination eight years later.

The film blends archival footage with movie footage so skillfully that the entire film has the feel of a documentary. After a while I scarcely noticed the switches between archive and movie. Milk captures the feel of its period (1970-78) very effectively and brought back many memories for me of those times in little details such as body type, clothing and hair styles.

The cast is strong and both Penn and Josh Brolin have been nominated for Academy Awards but for me the best performance is by James Franco.

It surprised me to realise that I was in San Francisco the same year that Harvey Milk was engaged in those political rallies in the lead up to his assassination and yet I know so little about the man.

I presume that Harvey Milk had negative aspects to his character but there is little evidence of them in the film.

I think the film is very moving and it brought tears to my eyes on three or four occasions. Very few films have had that effect on me.