Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer


I first saw Matthew McConaughey as the novice lawyer in the film version of John Grisham's 'A Time To Kill' when he was the healthy looking honest good guy battling the system and the bad guys. Now, fifteen years later, a comparatively emaciated looking McConaughey is back in the justice game as 'The Lincoln Lawyer'.

Not knowing anything about this story I assumed that the title could be a reference to McConaughey being as honest as the President of the same name or else that he was a lawyer from some regional backwater like Lincoln Nebraska (with apologies to any Nebraskans who might trip into this blog).

Both theories evaporated in the opening scenes which clearly establish that this is a big city lawyer who sails very close to the wind. He pursues his work from the back seat of his chauffeur driven Lincoln car. McConaughey is engaged to defend rich, young and arrogant Ryan Phillippe who is accused of assaulting a prostitute. Phillippe vigorously asserts his innocence and the ever sceptical McConaughey has his doubts. When he stumbles across links with an earlier case the story takes off with more twists and turns than the old stretch of the Pacific Highway at Buladelah.

I really enjoyed this tale of investigation and courtroom drama although those of tender hearts should be warned that the story dips into some steamy and violent aspects of life. The twists are numerous and the film passes through at least one false ending. Some in the audience raced for the exits at that point and I too thought the film was at its end. I wonder if those who departed at that point will ever learn that the film had about fifteen minutes and at least two more twists to go?

The last twist was probably one too many; a somewhat melodramatic and faintly ridiculous event but otherwise this is a better than average tale of justice 21st century style.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Pass me the fruit, please...


I've been slow to adapt to the fruit that has been bitten. Friends told me years ago that I should change over to Apple products but I was always loathe to make the jump and when eventually I did show some courage I might as well have thrown my money out the window for the use I made of my purchases.

My first tentative purchase was an iPod Classic bought about...oh, I suppose five years ago. My rationale for the purchase was that even with one deaf ear it would still be nice to have access to my favourite music and as a bonus to listen to favoured radio programs at my convenience. Indeed an iPod would even be good for my health I reasoned because I would walk more often encouraged by the company of what I could listen to as I exercised. The clincher was my observation that absolutely everyone aged under 25 was wandering the streets attached to one of these little gadgets and if everyone of them was able to utilise this technology...well...how difficult could it be?

I purchased a very smart looking black item which came boxed in its even smarter figure hugging packaging. I could scarcely contain my excitement as I opened up the box with its new toy when I got it home. It was downhill from that point. Yes, it looked fabulous but the little concertina leaflet accompanying it was not so much a guide to using my wonderful new lifestyle bauble but rather a glossy advertisement for its features.

It was no use complaining to my friends about the absence of anything remotely resembling an instructions handbook. 'Oh', they shrieked, rolling dilated eyes furiously, 'its all so intuitive, that's why they are so great'. Well ladies, all I can say is that one fruit's intuition is another queen's bewilderment.

Yes, I did manage to download iTunes and I did purchase something or other online that appeared essential to the setup process only to realise that I'd paid for something I didn't really need, didn't really want and could no longer retrieve anyway.

Eventually through trial and error...er...my intuition...I was able to download some of my CDs but the effort involved seemed so draining that I was dispirited. I carefully placed my shiny new and barely used iPod Classic in a drawer and blanked it from my mind.

Time softens attitudes and so when a few years later I started to think about purchasing a notebook for upcoming travel so that I could keep in touch with my favourite blogs as well as update my own whilst on the run my mind turned, naturally, to the partly bitten fruit product. After all how attractive are all those young men leading their cafe lives with a wirelessly activated slimline MacBook at their manicured fingertips. That was going to be me any day now, I reasoned.

I spent a few weeks researching what was on offer and eventually purchased my own MacBook (black, of course) with its various stunningly boxed attachments. From purchase on it was all downhill again. Once again the concertina leaflet that was nothing more than an advertisement for the MacBook's features was of no help to me and my intuition...no my bewilderment...won out. The drawer that contained my long neglected iPod Classic was not big enough for the MacBook so another drawer had to be found. Out of sight, out of mind.

Fast forward to late last year and as I blogged at the time I just had to get an iPhone. It was as though I had contracted an irresistible infection that had taken full control over me. Never mind that I was 0 from 2 in my success rate with partly bitten fruit products. I should not have been surprised when I unboxed my new iPhone to find it accompanied by a concertina leaflet advertising the phone's features but with not a line of instructions therein.

But a mobile phone is a mobile phone - an essential lifeline nowadays - and I was not going to throw my new iPhone largely unused into a drawer like I did with the earlier purchases. This time I persevered and now am a happy, if still not fully realised, iPhone owner and user.

Which brings me back to my iPod Classic. Today, I pulled it out of my drawer and with iPod: The Missing Manual in tow I reassembled my still slick looking little black number, reloaded iTunes, and successfully and reasonably efficiently downloaded both music and radio podcasts.

My intuition is back, baby!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Off centre


Will I never learn?

There I was at the hospital around 10.30 this morning, two and half hours into my work day and everything humming along smoothly with no pressure evident when I uttered the fateful, asking for trouble, comment to my staff member collegue Ja. "It's a quiet morning isn't it?' said I to Ja and then wondered had I jinxed us? The answer was immediate and annoyingly long lasting.

All manner of slightly off centre people and situations hit us like a tsunami and kept rolling in through the day still bowling us over when I conceded defeat and signed off for the day at 3pm.

How many times has the tide turned alarmingly after similar comments by myself? Too many to remember actually.

If I ever make that comment again wheel me away in a straightjacket please.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A Pergola With A View

Autumn hit Sydney yesterday with cold and showery weather, at least in my part of the city.

Duty called first as I visited my neighbourly polling centre to register my vote in the four yearly State election. As Andrew astutely observed, revealing an astonishing memory for the minutiae of my life, I didn't have far to travel. Just next door actually as my polling place is the Church Hall adjacent to my apartment building. Even so I had to scramble to locate my umbrella fearing that I would be caught outdoors queueing in the rain to register my vote. There is almost always a queue to enter the polling centre because I always vote early to get it over with (or more precisely so I don't forget to do so should I let the day go by first) but for the first time in my memory there was no queue whatsoever.

Nor were there many party volunteers offering how to vote slips for their preferred candidates. My seat is so blue ribbon conservative that the parties waste no resources on it at the best of times and certainly as it turned out not yesterday when a landslide change to the conservative opposition was expected and indeed later realised.

The vote itself should only have taken a matter of seconds given that in NSW we have optional preferential voting for state elections so that lazy people like me only need to mark '1' for our preferred candidate and not continue down to 636 or however many candidates are standing. That it took me nearly a minute to register my '1' can be put down entirely to the very attractive man voting in the adjoining booth. I simply had to stop and admire how beautifully his body profile filled out his khaki army style pants and the black torso hugging t-shirt he was wearing on such a cool nipple enhancing day. Now where was I? Ah yes, the third candidate from the top.

Having completed my civic duty my next task was to stop in at my local centre to purchase a gift. I was invited to a 'catch up and pergola viewing' at Mk and Rs' place. Mk is a theatre going acquaintance of mine. We met online some years back in a certain type of Internet chat room and eventually found the courage to meet in person for 'a date'. It didn't really work out 'datewise' although we gave it a go for a few more months as we pursued a shared interest in movie and theatre going. After a while Mk started to meet other men of a certain persuasion from Internet chat rooms and after numerous disastrous encounters he finally met Rs, fell in love, moved in and yes they now share a new pergola together that just has to viewed by their friends.

So back to the gift buying. I tend to bring bottles of wine to gatherings of this nature but buying one is a very stressful business for me as I am not a drinker and really have no inkling what constitutes a good red or white. I'm still scarred with embarrassment by the reaction to the wine I brought to Mk's 50th birthday dinner. The wine was served to other guests pre-dinner one of whom, assuming Mk had selected it, shrieked with laughter and ridiculed how 'bloody awful and unsuitable' it was. Turns out my gift was a dessert wine, sickly sweet, but I had not understood that from the label and Mk had not bothered to check before serving it. Anyway this time I purchased what I hoped was a safe white and a box of fancy chocolates just for insurance and off I went to the 'catch up and pergola viewing'.

Even though I arrived fifteen minutes after the invited time I was the first guest to arrive and stood around like the discarded boyfriend I actually was whilst the lovebirds flitted around putting the finishing touches on their hospitality. Stilted conversation filled the gaps until mercifully other guests started to arrive. The next dozen or so were all teachers at the same school where Mk teaches. I was more the outsider than ever as 'teacher talk' dominated for the next 45 minutes whilst incomprehensible references to lunch 1 and lunch 2, teaching periods and the like ping-ponged around the room. What's more one of those teachers was the very same guest who had ridiculed my wine gift years earlier and whether or not she recalled the event she ignored me completely not even acknowledging me during the guest introductions. I took refuge in repeated viewings of the pergola as each arriving guest in turn was taken on their inspection tour. Eventually some guests who I had met previously arrived but even that proved an embarrassment when a nice lady who had sat next to me through Mk's birthday dinner years earlier told me that I looked vaguely familiar but she could not recall who I was.

After a decent period had passed and I could no longer view the pergola without inviting ridicule that I must be experiencing pergola envy I thanked my hosts for their hospitality and made my departure.

Next stop was the cemetery; not as you might think to end it all but to visit my mother's grave as yesterday was the first anniversary of her death. It was a very quiet day for a Saturday at the cemetery and the gloomy atmosphere the weather provided was just like those funeral scenes in Hollywood movies.

And so to home for a quiet Saturday night in front of the telly. Not much on view except for the gloomy (or joyful, depending on your political viewpoint) election night count and reporting. Right on 8.30pm I remembered it was Earth Hour and so I turned off my lights and with that turned off my view, pergola and all.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Landslide

Defeated Premier Kristina Keneally and Premier Elect Barry O'Farrell
The New South Wales electorate which wanted to throw out the long running Labor Government in 2007, but couldn't bring itself to do so because the Liberal National Coalition looked an even worse option, bit the bullet today and did exactly that in the 2011 election.

The swing (about 17%) and final margin (about 40+ seats) have yet to be confirmed but both appear to be at historically high levels.

Premier Elect O'Farrell in his victory speech moments ago promised amongst other things 'to govern for all in NSW not just special interests'. Ah, the more things change........(you know the rest).

Victor's Choice*

(* with apologies to William Styron)

I'm off to perform my civic duty and vote in the New South Wales state election. Now, who do I distrust the least?

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Connaught

The former Hoyts Paris Cinema  referred to in the previous post was located on the corner of Liverpool Street and Wentworth Avenue in the CBD. It was replaced by a high rise apartment block, The Connaught, completed in 1984.

The Connaught photographed yesterday from virtually the same position as the photo of the former cinema
The Connaught seen from another angle in yesterday's warm autumn sun

Thursday, 24 March 2011

One night at Paris

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd

In October 1957 when I was 8 years old my parents and I waited one night in Liverpool Street across the road from Sydney's Hoyts Paris Cinema (long since disappeared) to catch a glimpse of the glamorous Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor and her third husband, producer Mike Todd, as they arrived to attend the Australian premiere of Todd's blockbuster movie Around the World in Eighty Days. Todd died in a plane crash eighteen months later.

Hoyts Paris Cinema

Interestingly, the Hoyts Paris Cinema was designed by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin whose major claim to fame in Australia is that he created the basic design for Australia's capital city Canberra.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Monday, 21 March 2011

Limitless


Bradley Cooper plays a down and out writer whose ex brother-in-law gives him a pill that enables him to use all of his brain capacity and changing his life as he develops virtually Limitless knowledge, skills and powers of analysis. Naturally the rich and powerful and the odd aspirational criminal or two want a share of the action and just as naturally a drug as powerful as this becomes increasingly addictive whilst exposing the user to all manner of undesirable side effects.

It is all quite slick and action packed. I could have done with less of the stark violence but otherwise it was an interesting ride.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Stop the printers!


The economics of modern technology has me baffled at times.

My printer started giving me error messages this week. It told me that it couldn't find the cartridges. I checked and rechecked and the cartridges were securely and correctly in place. The little cartridge gauge that looks like a thermometer assured me that both cartridges contained sufficient ink for printing. So why couldn't the printer locate the cartridges?

I played around with the cartridges yet still they remained undetected by my now recalcitrant printer. What to do? Each cartridge cost about $35 the last time I had to purchase new ones; that is, about $70 for the black and white and the coloured cartridge set that drive my printer when it happens to locate them.

I wasn't too happy at the thought of purchasing two new cartridges without knowing whether my printer would be receptive to them. Yet here is the peculiar, but in this case fortuitous, anomaly. I could purchase a new printer of the same brand and with all the same features and with the necessary cartridges all for the grand sum of $48.

OK it did mean that I had to take ten minutes out of my life to set up the new printer but otherwise I now have a new printer doing all the things that the old printer did and with fresh cartridges all for $22 less than the cost of the two cartridges alone.

Go figure!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

You Tube Symphony Orchestra

We attended the dress rehearsal this afternoon for tomorrow evening's You Tube Symphony Orchestra 2011 performance at the Sydney Opera House. I had no idea what to expect and was thrilled by the quality of the exciting and diverse performances staged by an extremely talented group of musicians and artists. The final performance will be broadcast live on the You Tube Symphony Channel and based on what we saw today I heartily recommend it to you.

I'm kicking myself that I decided at the last moment not take my camera. Photographs are not usually permitted to be taken at performances in the SOH but I suspected an exception might be made for the You Tube Symphony performances given the nature of the project and so it proved but I had stupidly left my camera at home when I saw the constant rain and dreary weather outside. Others in the audience were not as stupid as me and happily snapped away throughout the performance. I had to rely on taking photos and videos with my iPhone and unfortunately most of the photos are of poor quality and worse still I cannot seem to retrieve the videos I took.

Here are several of the better photos which do not do justice to the performance we so enjoyed.

The audience is in readiness as the orchestra warms up
A didgeridoo player to the right on a raised platform is supported by drummers near the conductor's podium whilst the screen, Concert Hall ceiling and walls display  flashes of colourful images reflecting the music
An improvisation piece involving the orchestra, a number of soloists and computer musician whose playing is flashed on the screen
The musicians take a bow following the improvisation piece
The musical pieces were interspersed with fascinating personal background stories presented on the big screen by various musicians from, amongst other countries, Brazil, Germany, Ukraine and China
The strings section stands to play a piece accompanying a clever sand piece performed by an artist from Ukraine whose performance is displayed on the big screen
Michael Tilson Thomas was the principal conductor and commentator with guest appearances from two other youthful conductors; one a seventeen year old from Venezuela. The great singer Renee Fleming also made an appearance singing on screen with the Sydney Childrens Choir accompanying her live on stage.

The screen images seen at our performance will be flashed upon the sails of the Opera House during tomorrow's final performance for the entertainment of those outside the venue.

Friday, 18 March 2011

DILF

Coincidence is a strange thing. Have you ever noticed coming across an event, or situation, or term for the first time ever only to encounter the same thing again almost immediately? Two identical instances in short succession having never encountered them previously? It is a phenomenom I've noticed in the past and it happened to me again today.

I was watching Ellen DeGeneres interview Ryan Phillippe today and he spoke about being referred to as a DILF. I had never heard of the term and was wondering what on earth he was talking about until I worked out from his conversation that the word was most likely an acronym for 'Dads I'd Like to Fuck'.

Fast forward a few hours and I'm reading Yani's blog and what should he write in his post but "Hello Mr DILF!"

Two references to DILF in the one day having never heard the term previously. A check for DILF in Google confirmed that my acronym assumption was spot on.
 
Then I thought I would check DILF in Google images and the very first response was the photo above of actor Christopher Meloni. Having seen Mr Meloni full frontal in the HBO television prison drama Oz I can only refer to my newly acquired term and quote Yani, "Hello Mr DILF"!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Zebra!

Two men walk into an Irish bar in New York City sounds like the start of a joke.
Australian playwright Ross Mueller found himself in this situation on Superbowl day in 2009. The Global Financial Crisis is underway and yet spirits are high with the recent election of Barack Obama as President. The experience inspired his play Zebra! named for the mating and social practices of zebras where the young bucks fight the older stallions to establish harems of their own.

In the play two men, Colin Friels and Bryan Brown walk into a NYC Irish bar one snowy morning unaware at that stage how their lives are linked. Nadine Garner is the bar owner who 'referees' what ensues.

A 105 minutes long three hander with no interval and just the one long scene can be a bit of a gamble but the premise of the play is promising and it's cast is potentially exciting. Unfortunately the author, director and cast haven't quite pulled it off. The dialogue seemed witty and was funny at times but some of it went over my head. Were some of the references too American for me? To some extent I think they were. Did the cast fail to deliver? Not Friels and Garner in my view as they performed strongly but Brown, who playing the Australian should be in his element, was so laid back speaking his lines at one speed and at one pitch that he seemed to be on a different planet from the other two. Mk commented to me as we departed that the performance confirmed that Brown is a film actor not a theatre actor.

A reasonable night's entertainment but disappointingly less than what I was expecting.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest


Apostrophe Man has hit the poster for this the third and final episode of the television turned cinema trilogy
based on Stieg Larsson's best selling Millenium book trilogy. The poster has it as "hornet's" but I'll stick with "hornets'" which is how it appears on my copy of the book and for the film's entry on IMBd.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest follows on immediately from it's predecessor The Girl Who Played With Fire and anyone attempting to view it without either having read the first two books or seen the first two films will be baffled. There is little attempt to recap what preceded the film and almost no reintroduction of the many characters overlapping from the earlier events.

At the time of my viewing this final film (last Sunday) I had not yet started to read the equivalent final book but thankfully I had read the first and second books and seen the first and second films and therefore had in my mind the wealth of detail and background leading to the final events.

I assume that this last film, like the two predecessors, omits much of the sub-plots and related detail from the books. This film has the least action and tension in it of the three with the story focussing on the resolution of the injustices heaped upon Lisbeth Salander ('the Girl'). Seen in that light the film maintained my attention and interest throughout but viewed as a standalone film, the movie wouldn't have much going for it. The trial scenes lacked suspense.

Unfortunately the final scene is very down key and makes for a limp ending.

The three American versions of the films are due out later this year and next year directed by David Fincher (who made The Social Network) and starring Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. It will be very interesting to see how these compare with the Swedish originals and with the books.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Company Men


It is 2008 and the Global Financial Crisis is hitting home. To their own disbelief, one by one, The Company Men are being shown the door as companies seek to minimise their losses and maximise their profits for the shareholders. Status and experience are no guarantee against retrenchment but no matter who goes the CEO remains firmly in place winning business awards and counting the increasing value of his stockholdings.

It is a brutal world with brutal effects upon the victims and their families.

An interesting essay in the world of modern business practices with nice performances from it's ensemble cast. Just a pity that the ending is a little too romanticised.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Spot Festival

Sunny and warm conditions today for The Spot Festival; a one day festival featuring retail and eating establishments and my favourite family cinema complex Randwick Ritz located in that corner of the suburb of Randwick referred to as 'The Spot'.

Ceremonial red carpet entrance in Perouse Road
Every man and his dog in attendance
Crowds enjoying meals and drinks on St Paul's Street in the shadow of the Ritz Cinema awning
Newington College boys playing some top quality jazz
The Ritz marquee announcing the unveiling this evening of new footpath plaques in honour of actors Gary Sweet and Jack Thompson
The line up for Paella (with or without seafood) at the El Bulli Restaurant stall
The regular footpath cafe dining proved as popular as ever
Even the Gozleme came in organic form!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

My adolescence


A lot (too much?) of my adolsecence was spent in this lifestyle such that I could have written this handbook.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Best laid plans

Tsunami and Quake damage

This afternoon and evening certainly didn't proceed according to plan.

Flashback twenty seven hours and my plan for Friday afternoon and evening is to do my week's laundry and then settle down for a slothful evening catching up on television programs I have recorded but not yet seen. A quiet afternoon and evening at home alone.

Flashback twenty six hours and the phone rings. It is Ae ringing from the Emergency Department at Prince of Wales Hospital. She has a heart problem and her Golden Retriever is home, unfed and no one can get in to tend to her because Ae has only just had her home locks changed that afternoon and there are no spares of the new keys yet. 'I'm on my way'.

At the hospital I find that Ae has tripped at home and dislocated her collar bone. The locksmith who changed her locks has driven her to the hospital where her collar bone has been put back into place but the doctor has discovered that Ae's heart is racing. Ae wants to be discharged but two medicos are arguing strongly that she should remain overnight for observation and treatment. The medicos prevail over a reluctant and somewhat uncooperative Ae.

I take Ae's new keys and drive over to Je's place to hand them over. Je will mind the retriever (and Ae's house) until Ae is home again.

Flash forward twenty hours. I telephone Ae at home expecting her to have been discharged but there is no answer. I call Je to find that Ae is remaining at hospital for another night. Bummer. I was about to settle into my laundry etc but I better visit Ae. I drive across to POW Hospital but it is around 3.30pm and there are four schools en route all of which are traffic blocked with Eastern Suburbs mothers in their four wheel drives queued to collect their little ones. Never, never, never, ever drive between Centennial Park and Randwick at around 3.30pm on a school day. Never, never, never, again.

Finally I arrive at POW and drive around...and around...their massive...packed...car park. Ten minutes of my first 30 minutes at $3.40 per 30 minutes is spent finding a car space. The next 10 minutes of my first 30 minutes at $3.40 per 30 minutes is spent trying to navigate the corridors and inadequate signage of the Public Hospital to find the ward to which Ae has been moved following last night's admission to Emergency.

At last I find Bed 18 in Ward 3N. The bed is empty! I'm told Ae has just been taken for a TOE test and will not be back for two hours or so. Two hours! And I'm clocking up $3.40 per 30 minutes with no patient to comfort and a return trip past four schools to come. No, no, I will not wait. I take a note of the number to ring and will call from home later.

I return to my car and wonder of wonders depart just before the clock is about to tick over to the next block of $3.40 per 30 minutes. My first break. My second break is that Eastern Suburbs mothers have miraculously disappeared with their little ones and the return trip after 4pm is far smoother and faster although I do hit afternoon peak traffic again as I get to Woollahra and Edgecliff.

Once home it is laundry time. I grill a few sausages for my politically incorrect evening meal and settle down to watch my recorded programs. Just as I switch the television on I catch breaking news of an earthquake in Japan. I better catch that news first and start to watch. Next thing I am channel hopping between ABC 24 News, BBC World Service, SKY News, CNN and (heaven forbid, even) FOX News and I am mesmerised and horrified by the images and my realisation of the unfolding tragedy.

I break for ten minutes to call Ae to check on her progress and report on my day before returning to my channel hopping. I never do get to watch any of my recorded programs.

My sympathies and condolences to those affected by the quake and tsunami.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Young crushes

Andrew's posting on 'man crushes' brought back memories of my gay childhood crushes on the characters in a number television sitcoms or rather on the cute young actors who portrayed those characters.

Perhaps top of the list was Don Grady who played Robbie Douglas, the middle son of 'My Three Sons'. As a single child - and already knowingly gay - the thought of a life with two brothers was simply exhilarating especially if one of them was a Don Grady.

Don Grady

Maybe wishing for two brothers was too much so I would have been satisfied with one, an older one, particularly an older one like Tony Dow who played Wally Cleaver, the older brother in 'Leave It To Beaver'.

Tony Dow

In those days I also had this strange secret desire to be Donna Reed but only as she was as the 'typical' wife and mother in 'The Donna Reed Show' not as the naughty lady who did adult things I didn't quite understand in 'From Here To Eternity'. I especially wanted to lightly traipse up and down the stairs of her family home in a pretty frock the way she did in every episode.

Donna Reed in typical wife and mother mode lovingly attending to her cute family
I no longer have any desire to be a Donna Reed or any of her successors but if there are any cute 60s aged successors to Grady or Dow.....

Monday, 7 March 2011

Unknown


Liam Neeson is a scientist visiting Berlin for an international conference. When he is injured in a traffic accident Neeson is hospitalised for four days and upon his release he finds that someone else has assumed his identity and his wife does not acknowledge him.

One person he turns to for assistance is Bruno Ganz, former East German Stasi (Secret Police) Agent; a curiously ambivalent character who appears to be a 'good guy' yet who somewhat worryingly maintains a home shrine to his former employment. I was rather enjoying Ganz's performance until it suddenly dawned on me that he is the actor who played Adolf Hitler in the German film Downfall. I never saw that film but clips from it dubbed with spoof modern situations litter You Tube and have left such an indelible impression on me that I was distracted whenever he appeared from thereon. That is a pity because Ganz is excellent and plays an important role in the eventual 'reveal'.

The truly perplexing situation portrayed in Unknown sets off a high powered mystery thriller as Neeson attempts to prove his identity. The 'reveal' when it comes is a real surprise; I certainly never saw it coming. Unfortunately it only reinforced the implausibility and fanciful nature of the entire plot.

But, hey, forget plausibility. As escapist mystery thrillers go, this a high speed exhilarating journey.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Morning After

Brunch at an Oxford Street eatery the morning after the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Witness for the Defence


I have unexpectedly found myself to be a potential witness for the Defence.

Two individuals are suing the state of New South Wales for wrongful arrest and other grounds dating back to 1999. My name has come to the notice of the Defence Barrister upon discovery of notes I wrote in 1999 and 2000 for my then employer following meetings with these individuals to hear their plans for an enterprise which subsequently was thought to involve fraudulent activity.

The first I was aware of this legal action was around 9.30am on Tuesday and less than four hours later I was in the Barrister's Chambers being questioned for an hour about my recollection of events twelve years previous. Unlike what I see in the movies in such situations where witnesses seem to have the most astonishing memory of events long gone, the most common answer I had for the Barrister was 'I don't recall'. During this questioning I started to wish I had Marcellous by my side for guidance.

I doubt, should I be required to appear in court, that I will provide as stunning a witness as Marlene Dietrich but then again she was a witness for the Prosecution and her evidence was concoted by Agatha Christie.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

BBQ in God's country

Those who live 'on the peninsula' in Sydney refer to it as 'God's country'. I not sure exactly what the boundaries of this heavenly area are but I assume it extends from Manly through to Palm Beach. A friend has had a weekender house at Palm Beach since 1984 and I have enjoyed the delights of the area on occasions since then. Sadly the house is up for sale so there won't be many more relaxing visits there for me. Even just a day spent there - as I did last Sunday - provides a rejuvenation of the spirit.


We often ate our BBQs - here we are last Sunday - on the back deck which is set into the side of the hill behind the house and sits above the roof line. Two Golden Retrievers wait expectantly for left overs.

Last Sunday was a hot, cloudy and steamy day. It rained lightly at times whilst we ate but not sufficently to drive us inside.

Looking over the roof line we had this gorgeous view of Pittwater.


I'll miss our get togethers there.