Saturday, 31 July 2010

Reflected sunrise

(Click photo to enlarge)
The rising sun lighting scattered buildings in Sydney's Central Business District as well as the ugly Darling Point apartment block in the foreground. If you look closely at the arch of the Harbour Bridge to the right you can see traces of morning fog.

Friday, 30 July 2010

I Am Love (Io Sono L'amore)

A wealthy, establishment Milanese family faces the future after its patriarch and family business founder passes away and in those uncertain times a Russian outsider (Tilda Swinton) who has married into the family falls in love with her son's friend and business partner.

The Italian film, I Am Love, is a film for the senses rather than for action or plot. Images lovingly linger on this family's lifestyle, lavish residences, formalities and their small army of domestic servants. This is not a film for socialists and 'struggle street' but then again ***SPOILER ALERT*** the empire is collapsing.

The opening credits have a very 1950s feel about them perhaps signalling that this is a story of people foolishly revelling in their past glories. Although there are plenty of outdoor scenes we never see a blue sky, in fact the air looks polluted. I've seen the same murky views in other Italian films. Is pollution that severe in Italy?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Frequent Coarse Language

I found this increasingly funny. Just shows how much coarse language loses it's impact with overuse.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

Here are 12 of the finest double-entendres aired on British TV & Radio which I have lifted from rogantyley.

1. Pat Glenn, weightlifting commentator - "And this is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing!"

2. New Zealand Rugby Commentator - "Andrew Mehrtens loves it when Daryl Gibson comes inside of him."

3. Ted Walsh - Horse Racing Commentator - "This is really a lovely horse. I once rode her mother."

4. Harry Carpenter at the Oxford-Cambridge boat race 1977 - "Ah, isn't that nice. The wife of the Cambridge President is kissing the Cox of the Oxford crew."

5. US PGA Commentator - "One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing so well is that, before each tee shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them ..... Oh my god!! What have I just said??"

6. Carenza Lewis about finding food in the Middle Ages on 'Time Team Live' said: "You'd eat beaver if you could get it."

7. A female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked, "So Bob, where's that eight inches you promised me last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too, because they were laughing so hard!

8. Steve Ryder covering the US Masters: "Ballesteros felt much better today after a 69 yesterday."

9. Clair Frisby talking about a jumbo hot dog on Look North said: "There's nothing like a big hot sausage inside you on a cold night like this."

10. Mike Hallett discussing missed snooker shots on Sky Sports: "Stephen Hendry jumps on Steve Davis's misses every chance he gets."

11. Michael Buerk on watching Phillipa Forrester cuddle up to a male astronomer for warmth during BBC1's UKeclipse coverage remarked: They seem cold out there, they're rubbing each other and he's only come in his shorts."

12. Ken Brown commentating on golfer Nick Faldo and his caddie Fanny Sunneson lining-up shots at the Scottish Open: "Some weeks Nick likes to use Fanny, other weeks he prefers to do it by himself.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with accomplices Ken WatanabeEllen Page and Tom Hardy, insert ideas and invade peoples' dreams and those of each other in 'Inception'

Time and place are flexible so that the characters can be travelling on the bullet train in Japan one minute and be walking the boulevardes of Paris the next, or at a cafe in Mombasa or standing in the middle of eerily vacant streets in Los Angeles.

DiCaprio is in search of something and someone and is haunted by the presence of Marion Cottilard.

'Inception' is a very modern film and fully in colour but it commences with the Warner Bros logo in black and white. I wondered about this and whether the 1940s references it evoked were deliberate or just in my imagination. Hardy's clothing was also reminscent of the era as was the sometimes snappily but meaningless portentious dialogue. At those moments I half expected Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall to step in.

The film employs the in-joke of an Edith Piaf song being the dream starter, Cottilard having won the Academy Award for her performance as Piaf in 'La Vie En Rose'.

'Inception' is this year's 'Avatar'. Some visually stunning images peppering many incomprehensible moments.

I quite enjoyed the film once it got into it's stride but I felt it was about twenty minutes too long. I imagine that virtual life participants will love it.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Guard Cat

This cat seemed to be guarding the car at Coogee last Saturday. The cat was in position kerbside when I arrived and still there when I returned some time later.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Coogee, Clovelly & Coffee Culture

(Click photos to enlarge)
Coogee Beach looking north.
Coogee Beach around 1929 when it had an English style pier.
Beach Street Coogee, to the south of the beach and behind where I took the top photograph.
Barzura, a cafe on the turn of Beach Street just to the right of the photo above it.
The headland, in the far distance, to Clovelly Beach located north of Coogee Beach.
I'm stopped at traffic lights on Coogee Bay Road with the Pacific Ocean at Coogee Beach straight ahead. To the right are cafe customers seen again in the next photo.
Lunch time, Saturday - the coffee culture - and the cafes are packed even on this wintery day.
Whilst I was taking my photos, these three young men, having completed a run, stripped out of their running clothes and jumped into the ocean pool at the southern end of Coogee Beach, presumably to cool down from their exercise.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


(Click photos to enlarge)
Families enjoying the Duck Pond in Centennial Park on a cool Saturday morning.
Imaginary and real bird life in the Duck Pond.
Preparing for a birthday(?) party on a strip of land between the Duck Pond (not visible) and another pond (visible).

Friday, 23 July 2010


(Click to enlarge)
Just after sunset last night. Actually to the naked eye the sky was completely dark but I'm still learning with this new camera.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

My neighbourhood

I have purchased a new camera this morning - a Canon EOS 550D SLR - and have spent an hour or so taking photos of anything to test it out. Until now I have used a Canon IXUS Digital, so this new camera is quite a step up for me. Most of the photos have been taken through dirty car and home windows as it has pretty cold and wet so I have been mostly indoors.

I did get out briefly and took this photo in Queen Street Woollahra - just up from where I live - of the Delicatessen as viewed through the windscreen of my car. Some of the shopkeepers must have been wondering about the unshaven man in the car taking snaps of shoppers. I thought I'd better make a getaway before the Police were summoned.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Never there when you want them...

My local member (of Parliament...not appendage) has taken to emailing me in the leadup to next month's general election.

This is an unwelcome intrusion as I find his barrage of posted material more than sufficient to satisfy any interest I have in his party's policies and achievements.

I was wondering how it was that he obtained my email address and then recalled that several years back I sought his assistance in a dispute I was engaged in with that disgracefully unhelpful organisation, Telstra. Needless to say, said local member did not have the courtesy to acknowledge my request let alone offer help or reply.

Now that he wants my vote, local member...perhaps that should be appendage after falling over himself to communicate with me.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

When the bow breaks...

Only yesterday, the ever prescient Andrew published an item on the Japanese practice of bowing.

How did Andrew know that I would be escorting a Japanese patient and entourage at the hospital today? A young female patient was accompanied by an elderly female relative, an elderly male relative and a middle aged female interpreter. The females accorded me a bow of about 45°. Evidently my status vis a vis the male was lesser - or more equal? - as he made a bow of about 15°.

Armed with Andrew's sage guidance I responded with a slight nod. No more really than I would have offered to the Queen...or for that any queen.

Sayonara. サヨナラ

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sunday in the Park with Victor

(...with apologies to Georges Seurat, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.)

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Scenes from Hyde Park, Sydney this morning.
Skyline to the West as viewed from Hyde Park South.
Skyscrapers to the West as viewed from Hyde Park South.
Looking North across to Hyde Park North as viewed from Hyde Park South with the Archibald Fountain visible between the trees in the far distance.
The Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park North in the far distance as viewed from Hyde Park South.
Sydney Tower viewed from Hyde Park South.
The old Police Centre to the East of Hyde Park South gutted and being rebuilt as an apartment block named 'The Residence'.
The Connaught Apartments to the South as viewed from Hyde Park South with a fancy water fountain shelter in the right foreground.
The Black and Gold badge displayed at my old school on the East edge of Hyde Park South. The Latin motto reads Laus Deo which translates as Praise God. Despite the motto, the school is non denominational.
The Obelisk, with Egyptian decorations, at the Western edge of Hyde Park South constructed in 1857. The structure is actually a sewer vent.
Several blocks to the East of Hyde Park South, The Chapel which bears the date 1860. Smaller than a cottage nowadays, a church adjoins it to the right of this photograph.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Kiss of the Spiderwoman

Cs and I attended tonight's performance of the Darlinghurst Theatre Company's production of Kiss of the Spiderwoman; the first ever staging of this musical in Australia. Based on the novel by Manuel Puig the story is of two men (one gay) sharing a cell in a Latin American country who develop an unlikely relationship in a brutal environment through the gay man's love of escapist cinema.

The creators of this musical also were responsible for Cabaret and Chicago; two of the great American musicals but this is a lesser work. It is an ambitious musical for a small company to attempt and the offering is a pared down version with a cast of seven plus four musicians.

The first Act didn't quite work. The music was tuneful but the lyrics lacked wit and the voices of the performers didn't seem appropriate to their characters. The second Act was a complete contrast. The music continued to be tuneful but now the lyrics seemed wittier, the performers' voices stronger, the staging more interesting.

The musicians were splendid throughout except for the moment when the good looking young cellist took to biting his nails during one dramatic non-musical moment. (I know I should have been focusing on the actors rather than watching him at that moment but he was in my line of sight.)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

One week every year the Nursing Home lays out (get it?) some eggs which are about to hatch their chicks. The residents love the sight of the newly born chicks. Here are this year's batch with a group of chicks huddling under the warmth of the lamp in the centre.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

There is great...and then there is great?...

I've been enjoying Griff Rhys Jones' television series 'Greatest Cities of the World'. For those who have not seen it, Rhys Jones spends a notional 24 hours in a number of great world cities where he goes through various slightly off centre local experiences which are off the tourist trail.

The first four cities visited - New York, London, Paris and Rome - were self evidently 'great' and when I heard that the next city was to be my home city of Sydney I was both surprised and delighted. The program was screened in Sydney tonight and was, frankly, embarrassing. Certainly, Sydney and its harbour glistening in brilliant sunshine looked magnificent, as they always do, and a peek at some of the older convict era residential areas, workers on the arch of the bridge and the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club were all interestingly quirky.

Where Sydney looked awful in comparison with its television predecessors was in the night-time selection. These were in turn;

- a suburban rugby league match,
- a meat raffle at a RSL Club before crocheting and bored spectators, and
- the rescue of an owl from the womens dormitory at Sydney University.

Well, I suppose the last of these was quirky but, boy, these would scarcely have you placing Sydney at the head of your must see list.

Most embarrassing of all was Rhys Jones' commentary which repeatedly made reference to Sydney's aspirations to greatness. There were no such references in the episodes for the preceding cities; the question of 'greatness' not being an issue for them. In fact I wasn't certain whether it was Sydney that had the aspiration or Rhys Jones' attempt to justify his selection of the city for the series.

I'm Sydney born and bred and very proud of our city which in many ways is wonderful but - weather and water aspects aside - I don't think Rhys Jones had us looking 'great' tonight.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Long Day's Journey Into Night

It certainly is a long journey - three and half hours with interval - in the Sydney Theatre Company's current production of Eugene O'Neill's classic play. Not that it was hard going; the mostly excellent acting eliciting both the humour and drama of the piece. American actors, William Hurt and Todd Van Voris play James Tyrone and James Tyrone jnr respectively whilst local actors Robyn Nevin and Luke Mullins portray Mary Tyrone and Edmund Tyrone. Nevin is simply outstanding and Van Voris has a wonderful stage presence and voice. Perhaps surprisingly it is Hurt, the biggest name in the cast who is the least impressive in my opinion mostly because of the speed of his delivery and his tendency to mumble. This production transfers to Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland Oregon, following the Sydney season.
(Robyn Nevin and William Hurt.)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

At the Quay

(Click photos to enlarge.)
Circular Quay Railway Station which sits above the level of the adjacent Ferry Wharves. The station is at the northern end of the City Circle Line which otherwise runs underground. The photo is taken from the southern side platform. The other platform is the northern side platform; adjacent to the harbour and wharves.
Looking across the northern side platform to the Harbour Bridge which sits west of the Quay and the Opera House which sits east of the Quay. In the enlarged photo you can see cruise vessels, ferries and a catamaran approaching/departing the wharves (out of sight) below as well as crowds enjoying the western promenade between the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the Quay.
An old stairway that has been retained which lies between two modern high rises that line the east side of the Quay and the approach to the Opera House. The stairs link the Quay to Macquarie Street.
Looking back from the side southern side platform at the Railway Station, a view of old Customs House (now housing the City of Sydney Library, restaurants, bars and other facilities) dwarfed by the newer high rises. The AMP Building (the high rise on the left) dates back to 1958. The high rise furthest to the right (Governor Philip Tower) is the newest of the three and was completed in 1993.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Farewell (L'Affaire Farewell)

A French Engineer working in Moscow in 1981 becomes the novice go-between when a senior Soviet Intelligence Officer starts to provide intelligence information to the French Intelligence Service. The codename assigned to the Soviet Officer is 'Farewell'. So start events leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The events are presented in a low key fashion. I'm sure had Hollywood filmed the story it would have been noisy and action packed with car chases and the like. However this French film, which has the 'novel' device of the French speaking French, the Russians speaking Russian and the Americans speaking English, only occasionally utilises noise, violence or suspense.

The 'reveal' at the end provides the film's punch as the missing jigsaw pieces are identified.

Definitely worth a look.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A walk (and ferry trip) in the rain

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Although rain was threatening, four of us went ahead with our planned 'Seniors Day Trip' outing to Watsons Bay and South Head today. We boarded the Sydney Ferries catamaran at Circular Quay in the city. The catamaran stopped at Garden Island for those wanting to visit the Heritage Museum there then continued on to Watsons Bay, the entire journey taking a little over 15 minutes.
The view to the city from the promenade at Watsons Bay. The city is in sunshine and although it is not evident from my photograph - I held an umbrella with one hand whilst using the other to take the photogrpah - it had begun raining in Watsons Bay. We walked on in rain to nearby Camp Cove and from there to the walk around adjacent South Head.
The rain was pelting down by the time we were on the walkway and for a time we found shelter in an alcove of the old Lightkeeper's House from where I took this photograph of the city (again) this time in rain.
An hour later and we were back at Watsons Bay deciding which of the eateries we would go to for lunch. The catamaran, Mary McKillop, was at the wharf picking passengers up for the trip to the city. The rain had eased for a bit but as the storm clouds indicate further falls were not far away. We didn't know it then but we were to use the same catamaran two hours later when we made our return journey.
Only 12.30pm but those storm clouds were rolling in fast and it was as dark as though nightfall was on us. The rain poured down as we lunched at the Watsons Bay Hotel (in the darkness to the right) and again on the return trip to Circular Quay.

Despite the adverse weather, we had a great day and have already pencilled in August 12 for our next 'Seniors' Day Trip'. Oh what fun we have now that we are retired!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Scales of justice

Our former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, is challenging a traffic charge.
I wonder if he will ask Marcus Einfeld to represent him in court?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Line up! Line up!

Boy was it busy at the hospital today. Ja was on a day's leave completing a weekend on the Gold Coast with her mates and I was on my own to compile the admission papers for the staff to process as the patients arrived.

For the first hour after my arrival it was unusually quiet and I was beginning to think the day would be easy peasy. Wrong! Suddenly patients started to appear from everywhere and for most of the rest of the day the waiting room was fairly packed with admissions and preadmission appointments.

I was pretty tired by day's end. I wish I didn't have to play bridge tonight.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

World Cup

I've only watched snatches of play from the quarter finals matches in the 2010 World Cup as these matches are played between midnight and 6am Sydney time. From what I have seen I have enjoyed Lukas Podolski of Germany even if he helped destroy Australia in the group round of matches. Podolski is an exciting player and very easy on the eye.