Thursday, 30 April 2009

Stephen Spielberg...I am not

It is time that I broadened my range of blogging skills so yesterday I embarked on a test run of creating a video for downloading to this blog of mine.

I don't have a video camera but my Canon Digital IXUS70 camera has a basic video facility which I used to create a simple video which I saved to my PC. Then, using the steps spelt out in dialogue box below, I attempted to download (or is it upload, as the box informed me) the video into a post that I intended to publish.

Five times I attempted the video download and five times it failed. Several times a message informed me that contact couldn't be made with Blogger and the other three times the 'upload wheel' spun around seemingly forever until eventually a failed message appeared.

My video opens in the Windows Video format on my PC and I assumed it's format would be acceptable to Blogger. But maybe it isn't?

Can any readers help me out?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

My body has been corporatised...again

I've owned my apartment since 1990. I was 41 when I moved in to a building with a high proportion of owner occupiers and even higher proportion of geriatric residents. It was then, as now, a well maintained building with a stable Executive Committee whose composition only seemed to change upon the death of a committee member.

The two neighbours on my floor when I arrived were widows aged 92 and 77 both of whom departed the building through death. Over the years another two neighbours on my floor also ended their residence there through death, both aged in their late 80s. You can imagine the shock to the system when a married couple in their 30s spent a year on my floor and had a baby in that time. It was, I think, the first time in my nineteen years that a baby had lived in the building.

Well, going back to 1990 I was dragooned onto the Executive Committee within months, no doubt seen as young meat to bring innovation, energy and new thinking to the place. It was never likely to be. I am not an innovative thinker, I am not domestically inclined or aware and I have no aptitude for handy man activities and therefore not someone to come up with interesting ideas for building maintenance and improvements.

I muddled along on the committee for about fifteen years being re-elected, along with the rest of the committee, without opposition each year. The only way of leaving the committee seemed to be death; one committee member finally departing aged 101 and another at a relatively youthful 88. Despite its average age and the lack of any meaningful input from me the committee has always been active and effective thanks in great part to the President, a retired University Professor, the Secretary, a spinster retired school teacher and a third member, a retired Commonwealth Public Servant who, no doubt by virtue of his former career, is right into systems, detail and regulations.

Then, three years ago I did the unthinkable and refused to stand for re-election. It was an awkward moment mostly because no-one had done so in living memory and no-one seemed quite sure how to react. The remainder of the committee was duly re-elected and they continued on for three years until last month at the AGM when the now youngest committee member evidently emboldened by my precedent declined to stand again for this year.

I sat there at the AGM silently mulling over this show of bravery and minding my own business when I was I brought back from the reverie to discover that in that moment of day dreaming I had been nominated and elected onto the committee again.

Drat. Here I go again.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Assured Technical Madness

Don't you just love the convenience and efficiency of those ATMs?

There I was at my local bank this morning withdrawing money from the ATM to pay the plumber who was expected at my place just twenty minutes later. The ATM thoughtfully swallowed my ATM card without warning at the same time failing to produce any of my requested withdrawal.

The ATM beeped at me, closed it's shutter and cheerfully informed me I was 'timed out' and that it had retained my card. I raced into the adjoining bank branch and joined a suspiciously unhappy looking queue for service. I quickly learnt that most of those ahead of me had also had their cards retained by the recalcitrant ATM and what's more those joining the queue behind me were newcomers to the list of annoyed card retained customers.

A teller appeared after a while with a handful of retained cards which were returned to us once we proved identity and then we had to wait whilst they checked our unsuccessful ATM transactions one by one.

You'd think the Manager would have shut down the ATM in the mean time but when eventually my transaction was checked out and I left the branch I noticed it was continuing its card chewing ways with newly arrived customers.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Beatrice Arthur (1922 - 2009)

Golden Girl and gay icon Bea Arthur dies from cancer aged 86.

Safety First

Observing the instruction in this road sign in the Northern Territory of Australia could be interesting.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Mycoplasma Pneumoniae the jazzy sounding bacterial infection that has laid me low for the past few weeks. This was the findings of the blood tests I undertook the other day.

Here is a pretty colour photograph of the bacteria.

It seems there is nothing much I can do about this but ride it out. Symptoms can persist for than a month and the doctor reckons I have a couple of more weeks to go.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Is life on Earth a concoction of random, coincidental circumstances or is everything predetermined and calculated? This is the interesting premise of Knowing.

A fifty years old time capsule is recovered from a US primary school and one of the documents from it contains a mass of numbers. Do the numbers mean anything? As luck would have it (and indeed as part of the movie's premise) the document falls into the hands of Nicholas Cage who with remarkable clarity and skill during his drunken moments twigs to the fact that the numbers seem to relate to cataclysmic events in world history. Are there more to come and what can Cage do about it?

For about two thirds of its length Knowing remained entertaining and just about close enough to remote believability for me to care about what was happening. As always with this type of film, the longer it goes the closer you get to wondering how on earth they will bring it to a resolution. In the case of Knowing, the answer turns out to be - not very satisfactorily. That is a pity because until those last twenty minutes or so, I was having great fun going along for the ride.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Degrees of Separation

You probably know about the 'theory' of six degees of separation whereby everyone in the entire world can be linked to the American actor Kevin Bacon with no more than six people in the link.

You know the sort of thing. A lives next door to B who once sat next to C on a plane who once saw saw D across a street etc, etc.

Well, I have a bona fide four degrees of separation with both Glenn Close

and, better still, Brad Pitt.

My co-worker (one degree)
has a son (two degrees)
whose girlfriend (three degrees)
has acted with both Glenn Close (four degrees) and Brad Pitt (also four degrees).

There. That's my spurious brush with fame claim.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Jerry Springer The Opera

Anyone who has seen Jerry Springer's television program will have an idea of what to expect from Jerry Springer The Opera; at least in Act One which recreates the frenzied, bizarre atmosphere and characters for which the small screen version is notorious.

Act Two moves into different territory as the Devil draws Springer into a battle with Jesus; an African-American Jesus who 'feels a little bit gay'.

This Opera, which at times sounds like an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, is not exactly Puccini, let alone a Verdi or Mozart work. There are some catchy, at the moment, tunes. The lyrics (libretto?) are packed with uncountable instances of 'fuck', 'cocksucker' and the like.

In case you are still not sure what to expect if you see this show there are early references to 'twin lesbian dwarfs who give excellent head' and the situations progress (or deteriorate, if you prefer) from there.

A fair proportion of the capacity first night audience whooped it up in the style of American television audiences. I found quite a lot of the show funny but I also was a little uneasy about aspects of it.

If you like your religion or are serious about it then you might want to give this show a miss.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Open a new window

Our Body Corporate is looking at a proposal to replace all the window fittings to our apartment block. The building is forty years old and most of the windows are the originals and no longer suitable for our environmental conditions. A significant proportion of the windows are subject of regular and ongoing maintenance and repair.

The proposal involves hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenditure and the Committee has put several options to owners as an initial survey for consideration and discussion.

I would have thought a proposal that involves major expenditure would generate keen discussion and that most owners would want a say. Just one third of all owners have responded to the survey. Two thirds of owners have not provided any response or input at all.

It is amazing to me how many people apparently have no interest in what happens to their home.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

No trumps

For a variety of reasons I've missed about seven successive sessions of bridge.

First there was the CBD blackout which induced a traffic jam preventing us getting to the club on time. Then Ce went off to Hahndorf for a Doll Club Fair or some such frivolity. Later I had a family commitment and then Ce and I took it in turns to be sick.

I am scheduled to play again tomorrow evening and that will be my first game in weeks. I'm not certain that I want to play. I used to look forward to the games but am finding it harder to feel motivated nowadays although once I'm at the club I usually enjoy the game. I suppose having played 2/3 times a week for nearly twenty years now, the novelty has worn off a bit. Especially as I play mostly with the same partner. A bit like having sex exclusively with the same person for twenty years.

Of course, if there were the occasional streaker at bridge, my motivation would be far higher.

Friday, 17 April 2009

A toe back in the water...

...metaphorically speaking.

After a week mainly couch and bed bound nursing my chest complaint I joined friends for lunch yesterday at the Coogee Legion Club. I have written previously about lunching there. The club's restaurant has a great position on the balcony looking across at the beach and surf.

Once again we were blessed with terrific weather for our lunch. It might be Autumn and heading towards to Winter but yesterday was a flawlessly sunny day with temperatures in the mid 20s centigrade. There were plenty of sunbathers and surfers at the beach as you might just make out from the photograph above taken from our table towards the end of lunch.

Ce and Je had Blue Eyed Cod, Ae and I ordered Veal and Prawns in a Light Mustard Cream Sauce and Be stuck to his favoured Chicken Schnitzel. I was starving by the time lunch was served having fasted overnight in preparation for blood tests earlier in the day and gobbled my meal down as though I had never eaten one before.

All in all a very pleasant afternoon.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Doctor Matchmaker

I went back to the doctor yesterday having completed the course of antibiotics he prescribed but still suffering cough and sweating symptoms.

He checked my temperature which was OK and then poked and prodded around again as I breathed in and out for him as artistically as I could manage. In his view my infection was under control and what I was experiencing now was some left over inflammation and throat irritation. 'I am very happy with you', he pronounced which was all well and good for him but still left me with a discomforting cough.

You'd think that one of the perks of having a gay doctor with a practice in a gay area of Sydney would be a waiting room packed with attractive gay patients. I've been attending this Doctor for years and am constantly disappointed by the attractiveness quotient of his patient list. No doubt his other patients think the same when they find me in the waiting room.

That's not to say that there isn't an occasional stunner but I can only assume that the really good looking ones save themselves for appointments much later in the day. It seems mostly old Queens like myself in the morning and early afternoon appointments that I frequent.

So there was some relief from my coughing bouts yesterday when one quite attractive man was in the rooms for a while. I stole glances at him but he seemed less interested in me. Nonetheless he rather thoughtfully stretched several times to display some abdomen for me; not exactly a six pack but more than enough for me to be in his bed before he could say 'hello' if he had been so inclined.

From bits of conversation he exchanged with Doctor and receptionist I gleaned that he is from North America and probably only visiting so there is no chance of me building on the one-sided relationship I was developing in my daydreams.

Oh well, there will be other illnesses ahead to draw me back to the Doctor's rooms and the always hoped for dreamboat patient waiting there to sweep me away.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Bang bang

Two very cute tradesmen are banging away on my landing at this very moment.

Errr no, they are not having sex. Our apartment block is installing new lighting and exit signage in the common areas and these two are doing the installation.

I wouldn't mind plonking myself down in a chair on the landing and admiring them from close-up but that might be a tad obvious.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Sunday, 12 April 2009

"Shooting through... a Bondi Tram".

No, not some gay metaphor but what used to be a common saying in the days when Sydney had an extensive tram network which included a service on which these old rattlers raced down the hill to Bondi Beach. The saying went the way of the network which was closed down in 1961.

The Museum of Sydney has a small exhibition on Sydney's old tram network which I looked through this morning. It was fun to stand in the cabin of a tram and play with the driver's handle and to press the conductor's foot pedal bell. Apart from me only children played with the bell whilst I was around but I wasn't about to let embarrassment prevent me having fun.

(The foyer of MoS with the old tram destination rolls hanging from the ceiling.)

Information panels provided some indicators of the size and capacity of Sydney's old tram system which in it's day was amongst the largest in the then British Empire and, by extension, in the world.

I was amazed to read that at King and George Streets in the city 564 trams crossed the intersection every day between 5pm and 6.30pm. As the panel states that is a tram every 10 seconds!

Elsewhere the MoS was screening newsreels from the 1930s and 1940s about Sydney Harbour and the Bridge. One quaint reel showing activity on the Harbour on opening day of the Bridge in 1932 stated that the pageantry included gay sailing boats. Mmmmm, I'd like to see that.

Thinking of that noted tram aficionado High Riser I picked up a souvenir, so Andrew if you would email a postal address I'll pop that in the mail to you shortly.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Explosive diplomacy

One of the explosive untold stories from the recent G20 Summit in London, now revealed.

President Obama arrives in London for the G20 Summit, and is met by the Queen.

She escorts him to the Royal Carriage, where they travel to the Palace.

As they are travelling along through the streets, one of the horses lets fly with a tremendous fart - so powerful the entire carriage shakes violently. Both the Queen and the President do their best to remain composed.

After arriving at the Palace, the Queen says “Mr President, please forgive me. But there are just some things that even a Queen cannot control’.

Obama replies “It’s fine, Your Majesty. In fact, if you hadn’t said anything I probably would’ve thought it was one of the horses.”

(Stolen from Spatula City)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Piece! man...

Advertisements for a forthcoming concert tour trumpet that the artists are backed by a thirty piece orchestra and....a twenty piece choir.

That must be some new fangled type of choir if it comes in pieces.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

How may I help you?

So there I was today at the bank waiting for my number to appear on the screen and for the electronic voice to direct me and my number to a teller. Which bank was I at? I'm not saying but Sydney readers may recognise the heading of this posting as the form of words this bank once used to greet customers in the days before screens and electronic voices provided a less personal greeting.

Whilst waiting I perused the range of available tellers noting that only one male was amongst them. But he was enough for my antenna to beep SAMAQ in my head; ie Somewhat Attractive Mature Aged Queen. My intuition seemed immediately confirmed when I noticed his eyes carefully appraising his next customer as that young man approached his counter. My gaydar clearly was working.

And I continued to wait my turn. I was waiting to deposit two cheques. One cheque, made out to my name, into my account and one cheque, made out to my mother's name, into her account. Should all be easy peasey I thought as I wondered whether the screen and electronic voice would allocate my number to SAMAQ.

And so it came to pass as screen and electronic voice summoned me to SAMAQ's presence. No appraising eyes scanned me as I approached SAMAQ but I wasn't disappointed as I didn't really expect him to be waiting for an EOMAQ; ie Even Older Mature Age Queen. SAMAQ proceeded to tap away at his computer processing my cheque with quiet and effortless indifference.

Then SAMAQ turned to my mother's cheque. At that point I apologised for not providing her account number but I added, somewhat dangerously, I assumed he could confirm this from the bank's computer system.

At this point SAMAQ transformed into MAQWA; Mature Age Queen With Attitude. MAQWA informed me archly that my mother's cheque couldn't be deposited into my account; only into her account or a joint account. Now the deposit slip I was submitting clearly stated that the deposit was for her account by name and I could have been equally arch in response by drawing this to MAQWA's attention but I held my discipline and simply said 'yes, I do want it paid into her account'.

MAQWA now pounded his keyboard with pouty irritation as he took on the onerous task of obtaining my mother's account number from the bank's computer system. This took all of several seconds to accomplish at which point he hissed back at me that 'she has two accounts'. I hesitated momentarily to absorb this news, which was all that MAQWA needed for a sneer to appear across his face until I realised and commented 'well, one of of those is her account and the other is the joint account with me.

MAQWA's sneer disappeared as he said 'yes, that is correct'. My head was now saying to him 'look dummy, I've told you twice now, once in writing and once orally, that I want the cheque deposited to her account so why mention the joint account' but my discipline held again and I said 'into her account please'.

MAQWA completed the transaction with every inch of his body language shouting 'why do I get all the loony customers?'.

My discipline held to the end when I told MAQWA that 'I will make sure I have my mother's account number with me in future' whereas what I was actually thinking was 'next time dickhead I will bring the number to save you the trouble of putting yourself out to assist a customer'.

How may I help you indeed!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Doctor's Bargain

Sorry to focus on illness but having been largely house and bed bound for four days there is not much else I can blog about at present.

On further thought I suppose I could report about bleary eyed television viewing of daytime shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View and The Bold and the Beautiful but what can I say? Well now that I'm on this tangent I could say that I rather like Whoopi Goldberg on View who clearly doesn't take the show as seriously as some of her panel mates and even more interestingly doesn't think very highly of some of those panellists. That brings a nice edge to proceedings. Ellen is fun although her interviews aren't especially revealing of her guests but her quick dry wit is a pleasure. And as for B&B seeing Brooke arguing with Stephanie and about to marry Ridge (or are they already married yet again) is not much of an advance on story lines when I first came across this series twenty-two years ago.

But back to the Doctor. The earliest appointment I could get for him yesterday was 3.45pm which was far later than I hoped for. My doctor always seems to be running late and by that time of day I fully expected him to see me 45-60 minutes late. To my amazement and, I think, the first time ever he called me in right on time. After the usual prodding and poking, breathing in and out and coughing for his entertainment he pronounced that I had a slight temperature, something or other that I didn't decipher on the throat and other sundry chest related complaints.

He has prescribed a week's worth of antibiotics and possible side effects of nausea and diarrhoea.

Great. I went in with one complaint and he sent me home with the possibility of two others. What a bargain.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The ups and downs of illness

Day three of feeling unwell and I am waiting for the doctor's rooms to open so I can make an appointment to see him.

I slept the last two nights rugged up with the two tops, two bottoms and socks in an attempt to sweat myself back to health. Normally I sleep naked whether it is summer or winter. If a night is particularly cold I might concede to wearing a T-shirt top but I never wear bottoms. I don't like the feeling of my dangly bits getting caught up in the fabric of clothing as I toss and turn during the night. I tend to sleep like a rotisserie.

Despite all that clothing it took a long time to get a sweat up. On the other hand with all the tea I have been drinking I found myself visiting the bathroom regularly through the night. Whilst I wasn't comfortable wearing all that clothing one side benefit from the body heat it generated was that I was dangling more impressively than ever.

So during the nocturnal bathroom visits I took time to admire my unusually low hanging assets in the bathroom mirror. I may not have felt better but I sure looked better.

Monday, 6 April 2009


Fs was up from Canberra for the weekend and we had lunch yesterday with Bn at the Watsons Bay Hotel. It is a stunning location for visitors to Sydney, the small bay dotted with colourful maritime craft in the foreground and the city skyline and Harbour Bridge in the distant background.

We were particularly lucky with the weather which after a week of grey rainy days was sunny and quite warm, ironically as yesterday was the first day after the end of daylight saving time and winter is around the corner. Indeed today is much cooler, windy and wet again.

Lunch itself wasn't anything special. I've always thought the reputation of the food outlets at the Bay rested more on the location and view than the actual quality of the food. Nothing seems to have changed there.

After lunch we wandered down the Bay and across to Camp Cove located just inside the Southern Heads of the harbour entrance.

As a child my parents brought us to Camp Cove on weekends during the summer months where we would spend close to ten hours each day burning away in the sun. Camp Cove is also the place where I lost my cherry at a very young age but that is another story.

There was a group of divers at the western end of the Cove one of whom had a stunning body but sadly I wasn't game to photograph him directly.

Although we had an enjoyable day I had woken feeling off colour and gradually felt worse during the afternoon. By the time I returned home I had a bad dry cough and pains in the lower back. I took my usual medication for those symptoms, lemon tea with honey and was in bed by 8.30pm.

I am feeling better this morning but will stay at home and try to get over the symptoms altogether.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Curries from Kolkutta...or was that Cambridge?

Last night was Rockdale dinner night. A group of us who worked at the now defunct Rockdale office of the Government agency that employed us gather for dinner about every six months. One of our number, Jn, fancies himself as a gourmand and usually selects the venue. For the most part his selections are successful although I didn't fancy a Japanese restaurant somewhere out in the southern suburbs that we went to once. That would have been me rather than the restaurant though because I am not good with seafood and most of the menu naturally was seafood; and exotic seafood at that.

Last night's venue was an Indian restaurant in Bondi Junction. We had tried it once previously and it was OK. Nothing exceptional but it seemed acceptable for food and service.

Afterwards I thought I would check the restaurant on the Internet and looked up one of those sites where anonymous contributors record their comments. You never know whether favourable comments are planted there by the owners and critical comments by their competitors but often what is recorded can prove revealing.

This restaurant had attracted polarised comments, either highly critical or fairly favourable. What intrigued me though was that about half the comments were by people claiming that they had come to Australia from the United Kingdom and were rating this venue against their favourite UK Indian restaurants. Why would that be relevant? I would think the best comparison would be against Indian restaurants in India.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Last Chance Harvey

The basic story in Last Chance Harvey is essentially similar to the classic An Affair To Remember but whereas the two lead characters in Affair were self assured, social individuals the corresponding characters in Harvey are outsiders in a crowd.

The first section in Harvey where we see Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in separate, unlinked scenes battling the heartache of rejection and loneliness is nicely handled and realistic. I have been in similar situations and could really relate to the portrayal.

Once the two meet and a relationship evolves Harvey moves inevitably to its predictable outcome. A pity that life doesn't always unfold in this way but we live in hope.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Still raining

No, it's not an Aprils Fool is still raining in Sydney.

The view this morning from my kitchen.