Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bridge


last night, 46.90%, 9/12, strong finish not sufficient to lift overall outcome.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Oblivion


Here we go again, another action hero based on a cartoon, played this time by the action hero actor of recent years, Tom Cruise.

In 'Oblivion', invaders have destroyed Earth's moon, creating knock on chaos on Earth itself with all manner of destruction through earthquakes, tsunamis and so on. Most humans have escaped to Saturn's moon, Titan, leaving behind an impressive series of floating machines drawing up Earth's sea water which is converted into fusion energy needed on Titan.

A brigade of small high tech drones zip around Earth repairing machines and destroying 'Scavs' (scavengers), humans who have remained behind and are in hiding. Mr Cruise, meantime is situated in some form of 21st Century minimalist floating residence working in a team of two with his computer literate female partner to do things, most of which involve as much noise, bright light and mayhem as the Dolby system will tolerate.

The set up is quite imaginative, although the thought that what is presented would all have been established in less than 70 years from now seems fanciful in the extreme....or maybe it doesn't, for those who believe.

The real strength of this film is its visuals. Most of it looks terrific; fantastic if you prefer. It also has a great action hero style musical soundtrack albeit one that is rather noisy at times.

★★★1/2

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Iron Man 3 (3D)


These super hero movies based on cartoon characters are more a visual attraction than a literary interest.

Iron Man 3 (in 3D) is no exception. The plot as best as I could understand it is that millionaire inventor Tony Stark dressed in a suit of fantasy armour is out to rescue his assistant from the clutches of anyone of three villains at least one of whom has a grudge for being slighted by our hero in the past. Well, that is roughly what all the crash, bang and boom is all about.

There is a degree of humour, even a sense of occasional wit, in what I could decipher of the dialogue.

Visually the film is impressive and the special effects are often enhanced further by the 3D process.

For devotees of action heroes and toys for boys.

★★★

Saturday, 27 April 2013

A quickie for a friend

Calm down, its not what you might think.

I made a flying visit to Brisbane today to mark a milestone birthday for a dear friend. I flew out of Sydney at 8.05am and was back home at 8.25pm. About sixty people congregated in a pretty Brisbane suburban park for the casual BBQ. The food was delicious and the company friendly. Our BBQ area was festooned with colourful balloons, streamers and paper baubles. Photos of the birthday 'girl' at her earlier milestone stages hung from the beams and produced screams of laughter, even shock, at how we used to look in decades long past.

The various Gazebo like structures scattered around the park were similarly occupied by partying groups most of whom appeared to be celebrating birthdays of their own. One was a very young children's group dressed mostly as pirates whose adult supervisors had devised a range of imaginative games, chases and park hunts.

A lovely day in gorgeous surroundings.

As the sun lay low in the sky late in the day and most of the park celebrants had dispersed I made my departure for the airport to catch my flight home. The park now was an oasis of calm with our Gazebo at piece in its centre.


Friday, 26 April 2013

An hour of intuition



A volunteer friend of mine at the hospital is the proud owner of a lemon. That is to say that her car is a lemon coloured Holden Barina. It's not a colour I would go for but she likes it and as it's her car that's all that matters. She purchased it virtually at first sight last summer and naturally the clock was set to summer time. Summer time ended three weeks ago but at lunch today she casually mentioned that she has been unable to adjust the clock to standard time.

'Would you like me to have a go at changing the clock?', I asked. 'Yes, if you have the time', she responded ironically and following a short but noticeable hesitation. Immediately I realised she was not entirely comfortable with the suggestion. That probably was because I had spent the preceding fifteen minutes regaling her with stories about my total inability to get the dishwasher I inherited with my new apartment to work despite extensive word by word scrutiny of the manual. What sounded funny to her in the context of my difficulties no doubt sounded of dubious worth in the context of hers. But we were both now locked into my offer of assistance.

Tentatively, on both our parts, we made our way into the bowels of the hospital's car park and found her lemon. Do you know how bright an almost toy sized lemon coloured car looks when parked amongst the large, austere, silver grey or dazzlingly black luxury cars owned by the doctors? No I didn't either but I do now.

I took to the passenger's seat and gave a moment's thought as to how I would attack the problem. Let me state, at this point, if you own a Holden Barina and want to adjust the clock you better hope your intuition is in working order.

First, I did the unthinkable for a man and consulted the car's manual. Do you know that the word 'clock' is not mentioned in the long list of contents? Eventually I found an item entitled something like 'information panel' and turned to that entry on Page 48 of the manual. Bingo. It was the entry for the radio/CD/clock panel on the dashboard. The entry was a line drawing of the panel. In the drawing the unit was shown as turned off so nothing was displayed. Mmm, not so helpful really for understanding its workings. Also unhelpful was the fact that none of the control buttons in the drawing was named. Most unhelpful of all the item in the manual contained no narrative whatsoever describing or commenting on the panel. Not one word.

Looking at the panel itself I found the Tune button also said Menu. Right, I thought, this should be easy from here but no matter what I pressed or turned on that button all I could bring up was a variety of options for playing CDs. Minutes passed and I could sense my friend squirming in her driver's seat beside me. Clearly she couldn't wait for me to concede defeat and bugger the incorrectly timed clock.

I can be very stubborn at times. Correction, I am very stubborn, full stop. I kept gazing at the panel, seeing nothing. And then I saw it. A tiny, really tiny, circle on one of the buttons with one right angle inside it signalling the nine o'clock handles. 'A clock', I cried out in triumph. 'Where does it say that?', my friend enquired. 'It doesn't', I said 'but surely that is what the symbol denotes'. It did.

From that point it was easy-peasey to adjust the clock, needing only a few more guesses and as many minutes to work out when to press the buttons and when to turn them so that my changes to the time could be saved. I'd done it! My male pride was intact.

I'm sure my friend was grateful for my assistance. Her words said she would consult me when it came time to turn the clock forward again at the re-start of daylight saving but her action in driving off like a Formula 1 drive suggested she felt that she'd had a narrow escape.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Company You Keep


The FBI arrests a woman in connection with a murder thirty years earlier that was related to the activities of a student protest movement. A young reporter seeking background information to the arrest uncovers links leading to former movement members whose past lives appear to be concealed from their communities.

'The Company You Keep' lacks suspense and signals its plot twists too obviously but it is saved by an excellent cast in good form; even if a few key members are too long in the tooth to portray their characters.

★★★1/2

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Stormy weather

Two love birds sheltering from the rain and cold on my balcony this morning
Canoodling and back play

Friday, 19 April 2013

Line of discrimination

Somewhere in all this lot is a line of succession

Prime Minister Gillard is conducting a 'presser' at the moment. Don't you love modern jargon? For as long as I can remember there have been 'press conferences'. Now, in just a few months, 'press conferences' have become 'pressers'. Is it Twitter that has done this to us? With its 140 characters limit per message I suspect so. Journalists now compress all manner of messages.

Anyway, getting back to Ms Gillard's 'presser'. She is pleased to announce the Council of Australian Governments has acted to remove the discrimination that a first born male has precedence over an older born female in the line of succession to the British throne (and as a consequence also to the 'Australian throne'). Well, bully for that.

Not that I disagree with ending this gender discrimination. What a shame though that our Prime minister isn't equally as eager to remove discrimination based on sexual orientation. Marriage equality anybody?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Email down....email down......



I came home this afternoon to find myself unable to connect to my main email account.

This is the account that was sort of hacked into, or at least hijacked by, a fashionable French shoe company to spruik its wares overseas.

My initial reaction was this is all the fault of my dreaded internet provider. I always think the worst of them because I have such a long history with them of botched and unsatisfactory service. It was only a few days ago my password was changed to rid myself of the shoe company, a simple task which my provider managed to turn into a disaster with all my email accounts crashing.

After trying to get into my main account four times without success I rang the provider to be greeted with a recorded message. The service was down at their end and not just a problem for me. This was something the recorded female voice assured me that she had 'just been informed about' and she continued to tell me that she had 'just been informed' about it for the following four hours as I rang for updates.

I am relieved that the service has now been restored, a fact I notice with my in-tray suddenly flooded with a batch of new messages.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Mad about the man? I don't think so.


I have watched 'Mad Men' from the outset and the latest series is currently on Pay television. The leading character, Don Draper, is played by Jon Hamm who has quite a reputation for sex appeal. I don't see that appeal myself. Yes he looks rather good in this photograph I have posted from Google Images but I think the image is rather flattering compared with his general appearance. Dressed in a suit in the television series he looks OK but to my mind not distinctively attractive. Then there are the scenes when he is shirtless and the series misses no opportunity to have him in that state. That is when he loses any pretensions to sex appeal as far as I'm concerned.

Mr Draper, a married man in the series, is a ladies man. He has a wandering eye. Actually it is a lower piece of his anatomy that does the wandering if you get my drift. In the most recent episode Draper is bedding the wife of a downstairs neighbour to the point that dressed in business suit and hat and with bag in tow he pops in on his way to work for a morning session of rumpy pumpy. If I were in the position of bedding a downstairs neighbour whilst in transit to work I'm sure I would remove all my clothing before hopping into bed. Afterwards I doubt I'd go to the trouble of putting my underpants back on then returning to the bed for post-coital spooning before the time arrived for me to get dressed and resume my trip to work. Yet that is effectively what was portrayed this week.

Each to their own.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Dance Better at Parties

(Sydney Theatre Company)

A lonely, overweight and uncoordinated man tries dance classes so that he can 'Dance Better at Parties'. He just wants to be able to impress women and relieve his loneliness. His dance teacher is the opposite of him, a confident, lithe, sexy woman who is going through the motions encouraging him whilst her mind is on securing his custom as a client.

Dance, however, is an intimate activity and as mismatched as they may be superficially the two are drawn to each other exposing their dreams, heartaches and insecurities.

Elizabeth Nabben and Steve Rodgers are terrific as teacher and pupil and this short play of just 75 minutes duration delivers plenty of humour and finally poignancy.

★★★★

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013

These shoes are made for hacking......


If you possess a pair of these brand name shoes (they are French) you may be wearing the proceeds of email hacking.

A certain French shoe company appears to have been sending its marketing material to email addressees in France using my personal email address. (By the way, it is not an email address associated with this blog.) I only became aware of this in the past week with error messages appearing in my in-tray for the shoe company's messages that could not be delivered.

I won't name the shoe company here as it has probably already received exposure at my unwitting expense.

I have had my password changed but only with some difficulty given that my least favourite communications service provider managed to crash my email accounts this afternoon in the attempt. I have another password that I have to remember now. Hopefully no shoe company, no matter how fashionable, is getting a free ride on my internet shoulders any more.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

One Man, Two Guvnors

(Sydney Theatre Company)

The Sydney Theatre Company is staging the National Theatre Company of Great Britain production of   'One Man, Two Guvnors'. The production is based on 'The Servant of Two Masters' by Carlo Goldoni which dates back to 1746.

Goldoni's play has been updated to 1963, re-set in Britain and had songs added to provide a production in the style of British music hall comedy and seasonal pantomime. The play incorporates some carefully controlled improvisation with members of the audience (both real and disguised) brought on stage to add flavour to the comedy sketches. I imagine each performance varies slightly within a tight format.

The production has received rave reviews. Overall I enjoyed the play although I felt some of the humour to be dated and occasionally too obvious. I felt that the best section is the middle portion leading into the interval when the 'improvisations' are performed quite brilliantly.

Owain Arthur is the very energetic 'man'. The cast members and the four man band provide sterling support.

★★★★

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Save that daylight


I rather like daylight saving. When it was first introduced (re-introduced?) the balance between waking in sunlight and waking in the dark seemed quite acceptable. Of course, much of that depends on the time of day that you wake and that varies wildly from person to person.

A couple of years back our daylight saving period was extended. About three or four weeks was added at either end. As a consequence darkness has encroached considerably into the waking hours at the tail end of the period. That seemed more noticeable than ever this year which might have been a consequence of weather conditions or simply an incorrect perception. It is easy to forget precisely what the situation was in previous years.

Anyway daylight saving for this period ended during the night and for the first time in weeks I woke this morning in sunshine. How nice that felt.

The morning darkness will again encroach in the next few weeks until we reach our shortest day around June 21 so this morning's pleasure will be short felt but then it all begins again.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Big gay brunch

Blogger Adaptive Radiation has been in town for several days with his delightful partner Nathan and it was my pleasure to spend time with them for brunch this morning. I don't think anyone was advertising our gathering in the manner of the following promotion; but if so, any takers might have been disappointed.


I wasn't surprised how nice Nathan is because I had met AdRad previously in Melbourne and he is a lovely person. As if it wasn't sufficiently embarrassing that they, the visitors, paid for my brunch, Sydney was on its worst display with rain falling for most of their visit.

We'll do better on your next trip. I promise!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Young Blue Eyes

It was Frank Sinatra, I think, who was often referred to as 'Ole Blue Eyes'. I can't say that I ever noticed his eyes but I assume they must have looked OK in his day; or maybe it was that they were tired looking eyes, hence the 'ole' tag.

I am certain, however, of the startlingly beautiful blue colour of a young Sydney footballer's eyes. When this footballer appears in closeup on television I am hypnotised by the exceptional colour of his eyes.

The footballer is Daniel Mortimer. Daniel plays in the National Rugby League for the Sydney Roosters having previously played for the Parramatta Eels. Sadly none of these photos does full justice to his eyes but they do indicate his other qualities of natural beauty.








Thursday, 4 April 2013

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

I taught ology.......

I know I shouldn't throw stones.....

but......



last night on 'The Book Club' not one but two of the panelists managed similar tautologies.

One, a writer, referred to '6am in the morning'. The other, a teacher of creative writing no less, referred to '1am in the morning'.

On our ABC.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hyde Park on Hudson


'Hyde Park on Hudson' relates the infidelity of United States President Franklin D Roosevelt (Bill Murray) with his distant cousin Daisy (Laura Linney) and others. It is mainly set around a pre-war visit to Roosevelt's country retreat by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, an occasion which provides the film with many opportunities for humour at the expense of royalty and British manners.

In some ways this is a rather slight film but Murray and Linney are always very watchable and the country setting provides for much gorgeous scenery (indoors and outdoors). FDR was a great Depression and war time President but this film indicates that as a man he was rather a sleazebag. The scene in which the intimacy of Roosevelt's and Daisy's relationship is sealed is crass, unnecessary and frankly at odds with Daisy's characterisation to that point. Otherwise the film is pleasant enough with its eccentric characters and historical references.

★★★

Monday, 1 April 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard


Cs saw 'A Good Day to Die Hard' because he wanted to see Bruce Willis wise crack his way to saving the world yet again whilst I went to perve on newcomer, Aussie actor Jai Courtney.

Both of us laughed until we cried at several scenes, so funny is this film in parts. It's not meant to be funny, or at least the scenes that had us laughing were not intended to be humorous but that was its impact on us.

In essence Willis travels to Moscow to extricate his son (Courtney) from a difficulty only for both to find themselves in greater difficulty. The film is a succession of set pieces of noisy mayhem. No surprise there. Some (all?) of these scenes and most of the situations are so ludicrous they drew tears of laughter from us both. An extended, over the top, car chase early on will remain memorable for all the wrong reasons.

A group of teenage boys in our audience gave the film an ovation at its conclusion so it probably ticks all the boxes for its target audience.

But for us....

★1/2