Friday, 31 May 2013

So...that was Autumn

Traditionally winter commences 1 June in Australia, so today was our last day of Autumn. Overall, it was a very mild Autumn in Sydney, especially during May which was historically one of the warmest ever. Fittingly, today our maximum temperature was 24.9ºc (76.8ºf) which the Weather Bureau informs made it Sydney's warmest May 31 on record.

Roll on winter.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist


In 2001 a young Pakistani, bright and ambitious, is living his dream in America as an up and coming financial executive. He is admired, envied and accepted by his peers and elders. Then the events of September 2001 and their consequences bring a change in attitude towards him and by him.

Told in flashback in the context of a highly charged political environment 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' is an interesting and well performed take on current world events and sources of tension.

Riz Ahmed and Liev Schreiber are standouts respectively as the 'fundamentalist' and the journalist interviewing him.

★★★1/2

Thursday, 30 May 2013

I'm a twit....

...at the moment.


I'm falling behind in my blog reading at present because I have become addicted to following twits making their comments on a certain social media site. The more I follow, the more I follow...if you get my drift.

Many of the comments I read are inane although few are as puerile as my own contributions. Still I read and I follow. I'm so attentive to the site that I pull out my phone to catch up with the scrolling conversation in between arriving patients at the hospital. Very unprofessional, I know.

It is an addiction and I know I will tire of it - eventually. Until then my blog activities remain tardy.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A foggy morning....

...in Sydney town. A second consecutive morning of fog disrupting ferry services and closing the airport for hours.

The lights of cars in the fog in the street below my apartment

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Monday, 27 May 2013

Rainy daze


Not a psychedelic painting. The view through my car windscreen during heavy rain as I wait for the downpour to ease so that I can make a dash to my friend's front gate.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Guys and Dolls

The Waverley Lugar Brae Players are an amateur group who stage musicals. Their longevity, celebrating 54 years this year, is impressive. It's been years since I attended one of their productions and this year Cs and I went to see their 2013 presentation, 'Guys and Dolls'.



I'm not sure what aspirations the participants have for a theatre career or their level of experience but judging purely from what we saw last Sunday my guess is that most are enthusiastic amateurs.

The lass who played the role of Adelaide was the standout amongst performers who otherwise generated a level of entertainment without achieving sustained professional standards.

The audience seemed to be stacked with friends and relatives of the participants some of whom may not be accustomed to attending mainstream theatre. This could account for the level of restlessness and inattention from the auditorium including the gentleman sitting next to Cs who decided to play games on his tablet during the performance. Needless to say, this greatly distracted and inflamed Cs who had words with said audience member at the interval.



Amateur the production might be, but the quality of the book and music of this classic musical still shone through.

★★

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines


Three short stories presented sequentially and linked by key characters is the structure for 'The Place Beyond The Pines'.

In the first story a fair ground motor cyclist turns to crime to support a child he didn't know he had fathered. The second story features a policeman hailed as a hero in dubious circumstances. The final story features two troubled young men connected by historic events.

Ten minutes into the first story I doubted I would enjoy this film but by the start of the second story I was right into it. These tales of dubious morals and corruption prove to be unexpectedly interesting.

★★★★

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Autumn morning sun

I know I keep posting photos of this particular view from my home but I find it endlessly fascinating in its various moods.

This time I am entranced by the Autumnal morning sun but sun so strong the reflection off the harbour is almost unbearably glaring. The sliver of water visible beyond the strip of land in the far distance is not the harbour but the Pacific Ocean on the far side of Sydney's seaside suburb of Manly.

For the largest image, click on the photograph.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Bridge


tonight, 52.40%, 5/13, good result but partner faced barrage from opponents when she forgot one of our conventions. The director rebuked opponent for his outburst. Who said, bridge is a genteel card game?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Call


A Police emergency call centre operator takes a call from a young woman who has been abducted. 'The Call' triggers memories of an earlier call which ended in tragedy.

'The Call' contains much interesting footage and details about the Los Angeles Police Emergency Call Centre and its high tech operations which I assume reflect the real thing. These scenes made me wonder how Australia's 000 service stacks up in comparison.

The rest of the film is a fairly routine thriller handled competently but without much surprise. I should warn, however, that the film contains several horrific moments of violence from which I had to avert my eyes. They are brief thankfully but not very palatable.

★★★

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fury

(Sydney Theatre Company)

The Sydney Theatre Company is staging 'Fury', a new play by Joanna Murray-Smith.

A couple, she a scientist about to be awarded a major international prize, he a renowned artist, find their beliefs and past tested when their schoolboy son is accused of responsibility for racist graffiti.

This modern piece is packed with ideas such that Cs and I debated for hours afterwards the intended main message of the playwright. The fact that we were moved to discuss the work to that extent suggests a play with plenty of ideas even if they are fragmented to the point we couldn't reach a conclusion on our assessments of it.

This production is enhanced by some fine acting.

★★★1/2

School daze


The exclusive girls' school Ascham is, at a guess, about 500 metres down the hill from my home and I noticed an unusual level activity there this cool, sunny autumnal Sunday morning. Additional umbrellas and some girls playing tennis suggest perhaps an Open Day, a Sports Day or more likely a fund raising day.

I snapped this photo from my apartment using a zoom lens.

Like several inner suburban schools in Sydney, space is at a premium. The tennis courts sit atop several levels of school rooms.

The squeals of young girls at play can occasionally be heard here on the hill when the wind blows in the right direction.

Radio daze

This is my latest toy, purchased yesterday afternoon with minimal forethought after leaving the movies and detouring to the super shopping mall on a whim.

Three 'levels'(?) of radio - AM, FM and Digital - a cute little remote control and an add on dock for my iPhone and iPod. It cost a bomb.


It has excellent sound. Well, as excellent as sound 'sounds' to me with my one totally deaf ear. Now I have to buy a table or stand for it to sit on. Isn't it odd that you have stands for things to sit on?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Big Wedding


The adopted son of a divorced couple is to be married and his birth mother has been invited to the wedding. A problem is that the birth mother, a devoted Catholic, is not aware the adoptive parents have divorced. Not only that but the adoptive father is living 'in sin' with another woman. In a plot line reminiscent of 'La Cage Aux Folles' the divorced parents are asked to pretend that they remain married.

'The Big Wedding' plays like a French farce at times and not surprisingly it is a remake of a French film, 'Mon Frere Se Marie'; albeit with many of the details of the original changed.

There are humorous moments but I suspect the French might have done it more subtly with their version.

★★★

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bridge


last night, 51.30%, 4/13, strong play despite some difficult hands.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Hunt


A Kindergarten teacher is accused of inappropriate sexual dealings with a young child in this harrowing, often bleak, Danish film.

Mads Mikkelsen, the human metaphorical target in 'The Hunt', delivers a fine performance as his life spirals out of control. Mud sticks and there are no happy endings.

★★★★

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Enjoying the view

Two Kookaburras enjoying the view from my balcony in the cool morning sunshine.........



Monday, 13 May 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness 3D


More than two hundred years into the future and the goodies are fighting the baddies in the Universe and on Earth. If you don't know who will win that battle again, then you have never seen a movie before.

Star Trek Into Darkness, however, is a cut above most of the rest. It has a smart screenplay scattered with some dry humour. Its characters have some depth and are not just cardboard cutouts. Visually it is outstanding and its 3D version is a minor triumph in its simplicity.

★★★1/2

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Where are they?

Morning fog has obscured the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and other CBD buildings;

Buildings and city skyline disappeared
Fog also descending to my East upon Double Bay;

A foreboding of doom descends upon us....

A few hours later and the city's skyline and features have returned;

The bridge, the Opera House and the CBD landscape restored

Friday, 10 May 2013

Ring it again Sam.....

.....it's still the same old story...


This is a telephone. My home telephone. Correction, one of my three home telephones.

None of them is working today. I phoned my service provider - whose name I refuse to publicise here - to report the fault. Not for the first time have I experienced faults. Probably the umpteenth, plus one, time actually.

After going through the usual automatic gateways and then having to repeat orally to a consultant what I input automatically moments earlier I was advised the fault lies with the provider (unless later checks reveal otherwise).

The fault will be fixed by 7pm on 22 May 2013. That is only 12 days away. Is that service? I don't believe so.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Haute Cuisine


Based on the actual recruitment of a woman engaged to provide private meals for the President of France, Haute Cuisine is a light, gentle froth of a film without much of a plot or tension.

The President's request is for simple fare reminiscent of his family upbringing so it is ironic that most of what we see cooked for him looks quite fancy to me but it all makes for pleasant viewing.

There is a rather dubious Australian connection threading through the film although our Kiwi cousins get the last say.

★★★

Monday, 6 May 2013

Portraits, ferries, fish and chips, memories

This morning we visited the Art Gallery to view the Archibald Prize exhibition. As usual we preferred another portrait to the one that was declared the winner. All four of us preferred both Love Face by Vincent Fantauzzo  and Dr Catherine Hamlin AC by Sally Ryan to Del Kathryn Barton's portrait, Hugo.

Then we took the ferry to Manly where we walked the Corso from the Cove to the beach. Lunch was take away fish and chips eaten on the beachside promenade.


Tonight we saw The Seekers in concert for their 50th anniversary at the State Theatre. They performed for nearly two hours plus interval and that familiar Judith Durham inspired sound is still very evident. The packed audience of mostly seniors lapped it up. The concert was enhanced with vision of the group's live and taped performances over the years.

Before the concert

Unsurprisingly the concert drew a standing ovation at it's conclusion.

The Carnival is Over

Departing the State Theatre, post concert

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Food

Breakfast this morning in the cafe strip at Bronte;


Across the street Bronte Beach glistened in the autumn sunshine;


Later, we spent several hours people gazing and chatting in Rushcutters Bay Park, down the road from my apartment.

This evening dinner was at Fat Noodle, Luke Nguyen's eatery in Sydney's Casino. Views were mixed about the dishes we ordered but I enjoyed my spicy Mee Goreng.

Mee Goreng

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Sun, chowder, paprika

I took my houseguests for a drive across to Clifton Gardens. We strolled around the beach and the surrounds. A wedding party had gathered at Chowder Bay for a brief ceremony.

Wedding party members dispersing after the ceremony

Afterwards we moved around to nearby Georges Heights where one of my friends, Mt, had been a trainee signaller in the Womens Army forty years ago. Some of the former army buildings are still there but the area has been transformed into an artists' colony and facility for boutique offices.

We stopped for a light lunch at nearby Frenchys Cafe.


I don't mind queueing to order when the queue looks like this;


That night we had dinner at Una's Restaurant with its hearty middle European cuisine. I settled for Paprika Chicken;

Paprika Chicken
Mt ordered Veal Stroganoff, Fd settled for Veal Schnitzel and birthday girl Ll struggled through a massive Pork Knuckle.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A gathering

Two trips to the airport today to collect friends visiting over the weekend from interstate. They are staying with me.

The initial excuse for the get together is to attend the Golden Jubilee tour by The Seekers on Monday night. We quickly extended the purpose to a birthday gathering for one of the friends who reaches her milestone 60th birthday on Monday week.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Pennies from Heaven

I'm coming into some money this evening. There is a $60,000,000 lottery draw tonight and I'm the winner. I expect it to be so because I have purchased an entry with enough combinations to sweep the pool.

I don't usually enter the lottery. Actually I never enter the lottery. I was in the news agency this afternoon to purchase wrapping paper for a friend's birthday present. I queued to pay for my purchase and in my dreamy state noticed that the queue appeared absurdly long. When I reached its head I found I was in the queue for lottery tickets - the wrong queue for me - and when told the prize....well, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Here is the winning ticket.


All the winning numbers are there but I'm not telling you which ones. I'm not that dreamy.