Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Lynn recently mentioned that she is planning on getting opinions on what is in and what is out for the new year. So I've started of thinking of some options. I'll try and edit this over the coming days.
IN -
* Nuts About Chocolate (yummo);
* That new Helga's bread with Sunflower seeds in it (yummo);
* Independent American films that take risks and make $$$ (Michael Moore and Mel Gibson both did it);
* Chook eggs;
* David Gullpilil, who's been nominated by the NT for Australian of the Year - imagine if Fingerbone Bill won!;
* Walking instead of taking the bus;
* Reading books of essays by great writers;
* Currawongs - especially the clever ones who know how to steal dog food right out of their bowls.
* The Australian film industry, at least until it gets it's act together;
* Tropfest. It was lovely when it was small, but now it simply celebrates mediocrity - and there's no point Australian film-makers perfecting getting one idea across in 5 minutes if they're incapable of telling a complete story in a feature film;
* The idea spread by conservative columnists that we should stop whinging about politicians who keep winning elections despite sucking so badly (when they stop winning elections, THEN we can all happily stop whinging);
* Hollywood remakes of old flicks;
* Starbucks.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Travel Fun

I've been thinking of some of the more unusual highlights of our recent trip through Europe.
Here are some of them...
* I saw my friends' cat Cleo wandering into the loo one afternoon. I asked whether she liked it in there and was told that she goes to the toilet on the toilet. I had to pop my head in to check it out, and there she was! Cleo, sitting on the toilet, taking a peaceful tinkle!
* I joined my friend on his Vespa for two short trips through the back streets of Turin. It was a fairly small Vespa, so it went very very slowly. Nevertheless I was scared like a girl at first.
* In Turin's museum of Egyptology, they have Nefertiti's knees on show. They may or may not actually be her knees. The tomb they were found in was in a bit of disaray due to previous grave-robberies. But their best guess is that the knees belong to her.
* Also in that museum they have some explicitly rude papyrus pictures, of Egyptians behaving in base and beastly ways. I'd never seen rude ancient Egyptian drawings before. Rude greek vases, yes. Rude Egyptian papyrus, no.
* One night I joined some friends who went to take polka dancing lessons at the local school hall. Polka dancing is a very active activity. Lots of jumping about. Not that most elegant way to dance around a room, but good to work up a sweat.
* In Venice we visited an exhibition of some of Dali's work. A number of his works made reference to a painting by Millet of a man & a woman in a field. In the original they have stopped to pray. But Dali has reimagined them involved in lustful poses.
It was quite exciting two weeks later to be wandering through the Musee D'Orsay in Paris and suddenly see Millet's original on the wall.
* Another happy occurance... While in Paris I wanted to get a photo of a statue of a rhinoceros that I had once seen in a photo, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I was told this might be in the Trocadero Gardens. So we went there, and we found some statues, but none of a rhino, or any other animals. I gave up on my quest.
But two days later, at that same Musee D'Orsay, there was the rhino at the entrance! It had been moved for some unknown reason from the Trocadero to the museum. How happy I was to see it!
* Nutella gelato. This is great stuff. I only managed to get it in Turin (the home of nutella). Beautiful soft gelato, with big gobs of nutella spread through it :-)
* Possibly the best salad I ever had was in Paris, at a cafe with a view of Notre Dame. I remember it involved diced potato and a dressing like I've never had before. If you're interested in the recipe, please buy me a ticket to Paris and I can walk you to the restaurant.
* Why do so many people have to stand in front of famous paintings to have their photos taken in the museums of Rome & Paris? And it really annoyed me when they used flashes, which are bad for the paintings and distracting for anyone trying to actually look at the things. I was mighty p*ssed off when I saw one woman brush with her hand one of the frail DaVinci's at the Louvre. But I got to have some joy when I saw a fellow thrown out of the Sistine Chapel for taking a photo with his mobile phone. Those Sistine Chapel bouncers mean business!!!
* The cowbells in Switzerland. They sound great. Every town should have cows walking around with the deep clanking sound of their cowbells following them around.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

TURIN - Hotel Fun!

Had a experience today that was an embarrassment and could have turned traumatic, but happily got sorted out.

After a morning in downtown Turin, I was going to meet up with Tino for lunch, and dropped into my hotel to make use of the bathroom, drop off some stuff and freshen up a little.
But then I found myself faced with a problem.

Firstly I'll explain that I've only bothered to learn a few words in Italian. I'm generally confident that I can get by in most countries as long as I know just a few important words...
Knowing the words for WATER and some of the local food is important too. This is about my limit of Italian vocab.

So back to my hotel room, where I suddenly find that I need to say a whole lot to the staff at the hotel, and have no idea how to start saying it.
What I needed to know how to say in Italian was this.
'Hello? Yes, hello. Do you work here? Because if you do I need help as I've locked myself in. Yes, I've tried turning the brass knob many times but I've seriously locked myself in really really well and the brass knob is not doing me any good. When I came into the room I closed the outer wooden doors and put the metal bar across locking them from the inside as I normally do, and then I closed the inner glass doors without remembering to remove the keys (uh oh) from the outside of the doors, thereby locking those doors from the outside. I am therefore locked in and you are locked out. To get to the bar on the outer doors I would first have to unlock the inner doors which I can't do, and to get to the keys on the inner doors you would have to be able to remove the bar from the outer doors which you can't do, so I'm locked in in a very secure way and I don't know how we're going to get out of this pickle but maybe you can think of something and I really hope you can.'
I also would have liked to say a few more things about the situation.
'This is very embarrassing. I'm so sorry I've done this. Has this happened before? Do people do this all the time? Is there some quick and easy fix solution you know through experience? Tell me there is. Because I really wouldn't want you to have to take an axe to the door, as that would make me kind of nervous and I'd prefer not to have to face a hotel-owner who has just been forced to hack up part of their hotel due to the stupidity of one of their guests and is standing in front of me holding an axe while they're thinking about whose fault this whole thing is. Though I think the builders should have put more thought into these doors as they could have been made more idiot-proof, don't you think? And if you're thinking it's time to bring out the axe maybe I could suggest that I just leave through the window for the time being, though I guess that's only a short-term solution as all my stuff is in here and you probably can't rent out a room with no door. Hmmm.'
If I read out all of the above and only said the words that I know how to translate into Italian, all I would have been able to say to the people outside my room would have been this.
"Hello? Yes, hello. Yes. Hmmm."
I am guessing that 'Hmmm' is the same in English and Italian.
This didn't leave me much to go with.

So I stood looking at my door for quite a few minutes. Not much happened. I touched the doorknob a few times. Another attempted turn here, a sad and ineffective stroke there.
Rather than being brave and trying to talk to the people outside my door, I confronted the issue by calling for outside help instead. Out came the mobile phone. Tino, waiting for me at the restaurant, had himself a good chuckle and then volunteered to come over to the hotel.
I won't bore you with too many more details. Tino managed to get a rather grumpy guy from the hotel to get some tools together and bang away at the outer door. No, no guest in the hotel had ever got themselves in this situation before. After a number of attempts the bar got moved out of the way, and I quickly said my thanks and ran from the hotel. I hope the people who were there today aren't still there when I return tonight. Let me see - if I slept on a park bench I wouldn't have to go back till Sunday to quietly remove my bags while nobody is watching...

Friday, October 15, 2004

Rant time - Marriage Rights

I don't know if anyone will bother to read this, but I have to get it out and belatedly blast John Howard about his attititude to the idea of gay marriage.
Two months ago, when he made his proposal to ban it, the Labor party got all indecisive and put a little committee together to think it over.
During a speech at a Christian fund-raising dinner, John Howard had a go at the Labor party for this. He ridiculed them for taking time to think about it. According to him, banning gay marriage was simply 'common-sense', and no thought or debate was required.
I couldn't believe it. Here he was publicly admitting that he believes he already knows what rights gays ought to be entitled to. He didn't need to think about it or consult his conscience. He didn't need to discuss it with anyone or educate himself about the subject or look at all sides to the debate. And most definitely he didn't need to actually talk to any gay people about it. No, he can happily make decisions about our rights without consulting us or considering our point of view at all.
I know this is how he's behaved in the past with aborigines and refugees, so it's nothing new, but it was incredibly hurtful to have this attitude directed to a group I belong to. How dare he.
And it's frightening that the Australian public have just voted again for a man who thinks like this.

Rant time - Crappy Election Result

According to a story on the abc new website today, Australians (the ones who own proprety) have never been wealthier.
The average person has assets of $250,000. Which means that for every dollar under $250,000 that you have, that's an extra dollar someone else must own instead. I wonder who has my $240,000?
And to think that we just had an election where the politicians were trying to throw money at everyone. Apart from those at the bottom, Australians have NEVER been wealthier. Middle Australia can't pretend it has anything to worry about money-wise. I can't help thinking that other issues didn't count in the election simply because people don't give a stuff.
The environment, Iraq, honesty in government, the treatment of refugees, aboriginal issues, gay rights, the locking out of young people from the housing market, our blind sucking up to G Bush, the seperation of church and state, who cares. I can't think of many things worse that a Prime Minister can do than send a country to war for the wrong reasons. Even a PM who did this with all the best intentions at heart deserves to be thrown out simply for incompetence. I can't decide whether half of Australia sucks (that's a definite possibility), or just the politicians and media who told them that the election was about interest rates (despite the combined opinions of every economist in the country that any change in interest rates would be because of other factors and not as a result of one party or other being in government).

TURIN - Cinema Museum

Twice this week I've been to the coolest museum in Turin, the National Museum of Cinema. A truly excellent place for a movie fan.
They've got one of Charlie Chaplin's hats, an alien from Alien, Joan Crawford's dress from Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, some of Federico Fellini's doodles, an original Psycho script, and heaps of other stuff.
They had so many beautiful old movie posters I was nearing collapse. The posters for La Dolce Vita (my favourite film poster I think) , Blue Velvet (an astounding image involving a pair of legs tied together and a bleeding pool ball!), Marriage Italian Style (Sophia Loren), Gilda (Rita Hayworth) and one of Rudolph Valentino were perfection.
The coolness of the place is magnified by it's design. There are little themed rooms that show related movie clips.
In the love room, you lie back on a huge red round bed and watch love & romance-themed movie clips projected on the ceiling.
My favourite was the surreal room, where you walk through a large refrigerator and sit on some toilets to watch clips from Barbarella, Raising Arizona and Monty Python. Now that's different.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Wiping The Smile Off His Face

Wipe The Smile Off His Face
Originally uploaded by MLHS.

Taking our 'Vote for decency' to the smallest room in the house.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Vote for decency

Yesterday morning I was on the bus to work.
On the way I noticed a man standing at the Central Station bus stop, carrying a placard.
He looked to be 30 or so, with a backpack on.
His sign said this -
He didn't seem to be affiliated with any particular party. He just wanted people to know which politician he most disapproves of. A lady on my bus gave him the thumbs up.
I liked him very much.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Sydney Film Festival - Axis of Evil/The Saddest Music In The World

Saw a wonderfully kooky French-Canadian short film today, called Axis of Evil.

It would have been even nicer to see it last year, as it's lost a little topicality by now.

Two lovers at Niagra Falls sing a cheesy duet. The whole thing looks like those really bad little video clips they play along with the songs at karaoke bars.
The tune is one that was once sung by Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson. I think the title might be 'When The Rain Begins To Fall'. You might remember the tune vaguely if you heard it.
All the words are directly taken from George Bush's famous Axis of Evil speech.
They sing it by the falls.
They sing it on a rug in front of a romantic fireplace.
They sing it by their spa.
They sing it to each other.
They are in love.
And North Korea is a threat to us all.
Iran too.
They are so in love!
So beautiful....

And there's a great little quote, that I hope I have remembered correctly, from The Saddest Music In The World.

"We can't tell if he's in a coma, or just very very sad."

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Sydney Film Festival - Zabriskie Point

The most exciting movie I've seen so far, in the first half of the Sydney Film Festival, has been Zabriskie Point.
I've always wanted to see it, even though I'd read that it was supposed to be pretentious garbage. It lost a lot of money for MGM, and partially deflated the critical reputation of the director Michelangelo Antonioni.
But I loved it, and I'm hugely glad that I saw it properly on the big screen, where I could get the full impact of the sound (great use of early 70's songs) and the visuals.
It was easy to see in the first few minutes why the film was not a success in 1970. It's completely pretentious. The main two stars are rather bad actors, though I loved watching them (they look very pretty together, and nothing like the usual Hollywood stars - especially with the 70's hair). The dialogue is stilted and unnatural, trying too hard to be hip. And the political messages are far too heavily handled, it's almost insulting. It also has one of the most un-Hollywood endings I've ever seen from a Hollywood film. Downbeat is not the word. The ending is angry and negative and exhilarating and completely grabbed me.
I found myself loving the film. And it kept coming in and out of my mind for the rest of the day.
The 70's cinematography was beautiful to see. The first half of the film is set in the city, with advertisements everywhere - consumerism has taken over. And businessman Rod Taylor is getting ready to bring this 'civilisation' to the desert, by turning it into real estate.
Our drop-out leads get away from it all by going into the desert, and it's beautiful. The scenes in the desert are a bit slow, but they feel magical.
The sex scene in the desert, which turns into a kind of mass orgy fantasy of sexual freedom in the dust, looked great. Again, not the kind of thing to expect from MGM.
And then there's the killer ending.
It's an angry dream sequence, starting with Rod Taylor's desert dream house (and it was a great house - wouldn't mind it myself) repeatedly being blown up in slow motion. I was looking forward to seeing this, but wasn't prepared for how gobsmackingly gobsmacking it was. I liked that Rod both represented greedy consumerist america as well as old Hollywood (being the only old Hollywood star in the film) in this sequence. Go Rod! I think it was brave of him to take on this role.
And not only the house - a fridge, a clothing rack, shelves full of books - they're all beautifully blown to smithereens in slow-mo, with Pink Floyd getting louder on the soundtrack, till you're totally immersed in the apocalyptic vision. It was like nothing I've seen before in a film, which is something considering how often things get blown up in movies!
I'm sure this film would lose some of it's power on tv. The big screen was definitely the place for it.
Wow, man, I'm freakin' out (as they used to say)!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Big Brother - Merlin

Gosh, I love Big Brother

Until now, this year's Big Brother (number 4) has been relatively uninteresting.
The contestants seem nice people, but are mostly a bit dull.
I've complained to Cade about it being like going to a very boring suburban babeque. The boys hang around together drinking beer and kicking a ball around, leaving the girls to talk about girl stuff. Depressing.

But this week things got rockin'.

The sensation was meant to be Miriam.
Straight from her show 'There's Something About Miriam', the sexy mexican went into the house for a few days, to teach them how to salsa.
What the housemates weren't told was that she was born a man, and in fact still has a penis!
That went well. One housemate suspected the truth, and it was the talk of the house for a day before someone came out and asked Miriam about it. When she came out about it, the housemates seemed to really warm to her. I think most of them will be a bit sad when she goes.

But Miriam ended up being outstaged by Merlin, the housemate from Newtown.
He didn't fit in with the other people in the house, as he was too alternative for them, but he got along okay.
At one stage he told everyone how he came to Australia as a kid and lived here illegally for 7 years, before getting permission to stay.
Then, on eviction night he shocks everyone. When he gets to the stage he puts black tape over his mouth and holds up a little sign he made protesting about the government's treatment of refugees, and the way refugees have been stopped from taking their stories to the media or the public.
I felt sorry for Gretel, because the audience wanted Merlin to speak but he refused, so she had a bit of a difficult time for the first minute or so. But she's tough and told the audience off a bit.
Apart from feeling sorry for Gretel, I'm very pleased with Merlin.
He was extremely brave to do what he did (you could see him shaking), and the subject was personally important to him. It was quite a shocking image seeing this guy who has been cheerfully bumming around on tv for the last 5 weeks suddenly sitting there with tape over his mouth.
I think most people watching the show would find it all a bit confronting.
Big Brother is meant to be mindless entertainment after all.
But I think the cool thing about Big Brother is the mix of people that go in there, and it's great for a politically motivated young person to be included (though I admit I wouldn't be so happy if the person was a right-wing asshole).
And if it gets a few more people talking about the treatment of refugees by the government, then I think Merlin should be very proud of himself.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

David Sedaris

For the first time in my life I went to a Sydney Writer's Festival event, just over a week ago. Cade and Lynn came along, and we heard David Sedaris read 3 of his short stories. 2 new ones, and 1 oldie. I was very happy for him that he had a full house. I certainly hadn't expected so many people to turn up. And I was proud of little David. He was very funny and kept everyone laughing for 90 minutes. Good work. His stories were the kind where some people would laugh out loud, while others would giggle a little while frowning and muttering to themselves 'oh dear, the poor little mouse' (I should explain that they weren't likening David to a little mouse, but instead referring to a mouse in the story). Yes, poor mouse.
Twice in the same night women stepped into my conversation. It seemed strange for it to happen twice is such quick succession.
The first time was at the theatre. For some reason I felt the need to complain (not for the first time) about a particular french actress who too often starred in ponderous films where the directors took too many shots of her looking off dramatically into the distance, leading to total viewer boredom. A woman in the row before us turned around to tell me I was talking about Juliette Binoche, and indeed I was.
The second time was on the bus home. Gloria Jean has been kind enough to open a store on King St. I like her coffee, but King St is NOT for chain stores. No way buddy. During this discussion, another woman in a seat in front of us turned around to remind us that McDonald's got shoved out of King St, so the same thing may happen with Gloria.

It was amusing for both events to happen so close to each other.
As long as I don't take it that my conversation is so poor that strangers are feeling sorry for me and stepping in. Will people in the street soon be offering to help me cross the road? Or letting me have their seat at the front of the bus? Could be good!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Do I Work For Disney?

Today's True Story.
This afternoon I got some photos developed at a little photo shop near my office, run by a couple of Chinese folks.
When I came to pick up the photos, the two people behind the counter asked if I was 'Disney'?
I looked at them blankly, and they asked again, with grins on their faces.
I had no idea what they meant. Were they off their nuts? Did the walkman headphones on my head make me look like I was wearing Mickey Mouse ears?
So I asked what they meant and they said I looked like I worked for Disney. They pointed outside the shop and said that lots of people who work at the Disney office nearby come to their shop.
This pleased me in two ways.
A) It's kind of exciting to have a Disney office next to us. I knew there were a lot of Disney animators working in Sydney (more than in LA apparently), but I didn't think they'd be working near my part of town. They certainly sound more impressive than the floors of public servants in our building.
B) Now I know that I can look young and groovy and talented enough to be a Disney employee, at least to a couple of folks who work in a photo shop and probably don't get out much.
So much better than having someone guess your public service employment status just by looking at you.
My guess is that this is the one and only day in my life where I'll be mistaken for a Disney employee.

PS. Cade is right. Scare Tactics should be booed off tv. Shame on Channel Nine. Shame, Shame, Shame!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Top Ten Albums


The top six or seven have always been in my top ten. The last handful will
change from time to time.

* The Smiths "SINGLES"
How can one band have so many great songs?
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out is a contender for my favourite song of
all time.
So many of these songs can bring instant joy. Panic, and Ask, and
Girlfriend in a Coma.
They can be sweet and sad. They can make you want to slam your bedroom door
on the outside world. And you'll either have a dance or cry in your pillow.
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, How Soon Is Now?, The Boy With A Thorn In
His Side...
Just the names of these songs remind me why I have faith in music.
This is the one album Bjork has made that is best listened to from beginning
to end in one sitting. It's not a collection of disjointed marvels. It's
an hour of bliss.
The songs all fit beautifully. They're domestic and quiet and just as
strange as anything else Bjork has done.
This is the cd to put on while you are making stir-fry in your kitchen on a
sunny lazy Sunday. It's Not Up To You is a perfect song.
Just 7 songs on this cd. All on the various emotional results of love.
Powerful, emotional songs with clever lyrics. This is a cd that can really
move me. It's a cd that can make people cry.
I am now on my third copy of this cd. The first two copies I gave away to
friends. It's that kind of cd.
You know I love Ella, and this is a great boppy collection.
And it's got the best Ella ever - Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.
* Michelle Shocked ARKANSAS TRAVELER
The cheeriest cd Michelle has made. It was the first Michelle cd I'd ever
Just a great listen with plenty of twang.
Fred recorded these songs in 1952. The familiar songs are mostly from his
old films with Ginger Rogers. But on this cd he is just singing with a
small jazz group. Classy and casual. I can never get bored of this.
* Marvin Gaye WHAT'S GOING ON
Only 9 songs. Far too short a cd.
Marvin's songs here have consistent themes. Marvin wants to spread the
message. And the top songs include What's Going On, Mercy Mercy Me, and
Inner City Blues.
I thought I should pick one disco/dance cd, and this would be my pick. Very
groovy. The 70's and the Nougties mixed in together.
My fave Luka cd. As usual Luka sings about issues that are important to
This has Ciara (such a pretty pretty song) and The Shape Of Love To Come.
And the sound is a little more worked through than in some of his other cds.
This has got Wish I Didn't Miss You, wich kills me. But I just love
everything on this groovy late-nite album. She's a smooth lady that Angie.

Very Important Also Rans:
* R.E.M. NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI. This is their most understated little
album. A beauty. And importantly it has Electrolite.
* Diana Krall ALL FOR YOU. Diana sings Nat King Cole songs and doesn't
bland them to death.
* Cake COMFORT EAGLE. - Though all of Cake's albums are good
listens from start to finish. This one just happens to have Short
Skirt/Long Jacket, and Opera Singer, and Meanwhile, Rick James... hell, it's
all good.
* Soundtrack from the film CURDLED. Quirky flop of a film, but it gave us
this cd, and yay for that. Only some of the songs are in English, and they
tend to be about being obsessed with someone to the point of murderous
psychosis - "I cannot live without you, or should I say, without me you're
not going to live". Yes sir, let's party in the town square and get drunk
on margaritas!
Super cool and sophisticated versions of these songs. Not for elevators.
Great cds. Always worth a re-listen.
Why not?

Will stop now.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Richard Wilkins Should Be Sent Back To Bed

Another something I must mention about Channel 9's showing of the Oscars last night.

Richard Wilkins - Nnnnnnnoooooooooo!!!!!!!!
I loudly complained at my tv when he popped his head into my favourite night of nights.
The man is an entertainment vacuum.
What is with Channel 9 giving that guy an income? Every time he opens his mouth a little part of my brain gives up and dies.
If he asked just 1 interesting question, say every 3 years or so, then I might be able to forgive his existence on my tv.
It's only Hollywood. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to understand it. But Richard continues to sound like the slow kid in the class that everyone has to politely smile at and humour.
Why don't they send him to interview people on the red carpet of the Daytime TV Awards instead? They'll be on his level there.

"How does it feel to be nominated?"
"You look spectacular!"
"Stand a little closer Julia. I haven't basked in someone else's fame for over 3 weeks and I'm feeling needy."
"How does it feel to be favourite to win?"
"How are you feeling?"
"Are you feeling?"
"Talk to me! Don't keep moving away! I can see you Tom!"
"You know everyone in Australia loves you!"
"Touch my hair!"

OSCAR 2004

It was OSCAR night last night, and LOTR picked up everything.
There should be a public holiday in New Zealand today.
No New Zealander should have to go to work, or get their fleece shorn today.
And Peter Jackson can be made king.

I was very pleased with both the supporting acting awards.

Tim Robbins was a good choice.
Anything that can make Susan Sarandon look so beamingly happy is a good thing.
They are such a great Hollywood couple. Smart, rich, sexy and talented. They got the 10 year age difference couple thing going before it became mandatory. And now they have little matching supporting performance oscarmen for their mantle-piece.

Renee Zellweger was very pleasing.
She was the best thing in Chicago and made a perfect Bridget Jones, so she deserved a statue of her own. She was nicely shapely last night and squinted a little less than usual. New eye-drops perhaps?

I'm not sure about Charlize Theron.
I've been told she's very good in Monster, but she looks like one of those pretty young actresses who win supporting actress oscars then disappear forever.
She gave a good happy speech, and only started to cry when thanking her mother for all the sacrifices that had been made. I think that's acceptable.

Sean Penn probably deserved to finally get a prize, but that left Bill Murray sitting without one.
Poor Bill.

Apart from the acting awards, there were only a few other awards that didn't go to New Zealanders.

There were at least two Australians.
Russell Boyd was another Australian to win for cinematography, and there was the guy who made the short Harvie Krumpet. I was pleased for him. Shorts are mostly ignored, but this guy got to stand up on stage holding an oscar alongside Sofia Coppola and Peter Jackson. He must've felt like a star. The paper says he has recently been receiving Centrelink payments. And it was nice of him to thank his 'beautiful boyfriend'. Awwww..

Annie Lennox had the most beamingest face all night.
She was like a girl who had just gotten a pony for her birthday when all she was expecting was a tricycle.
Her song was very beautiful, and the songs from Cold Mountain were good too, but they were all very tasteful and unhummable. Made me miss the old songs a bit - Under The Sea and The Theme From Shaft. Up Where We Belong and Blame Canada! Now they were good sing-a-longs.

* The top of Jamie Lee Curtis' dress seemed overly enthusiastic. Was trying a bit hard to show everyone that Jamie is indeed not a man.
* The ladies all looked very nice in their dresses. Uma Thurman looked a bit off maybe. But nobody wore anything too daring. They needed to invite Bjork or Cher I think, for a bit of colour.
* Robin Williams was hyperactive in a good way. He must've stuck his finger in a toaster just before the show.
* Jack Black and Will Farrell provided the only funny instance of presenter-banter. They provided the words for the music that ushers off people who win the smaller oscars and have speeches that go on too long. They sung brilliantly, though their song was longer than some of the speeches they were making fun of.
* Ian McKellan had an older looking date this time. Last time he was at the oscars (two years ago I think), the fellow he was with looked 24 or so. This time he had a little old man next to him. Don't know whether they are 'just friends' or not.
* I was very happy Blake Edwards got an award and got to do a bit of physical comedy with his runaway wheelchair. It didn't get that much of a laugh actually, but it was nicely done, and he'll have a nice memory to chuckle himself to sleep with at night. How did they ensure the chair didn't go off into the orchestra pit? Now that would have been hilarious!
* Billy Crystal was a cack. His opening medley was a blast. I was just a little disappointed in him for not wearing a funny costume or making comical use of an oversized prop even once during the whole night :-(

* The night was good but could have been improved I think.
I reckon they should have just given some spare oscars to Bill Murray, Peter Weir, Diane Keaton, and Naomi Watts, just for being cool.
And they should have gotten Johnny Depp to do something on stage.
Anything at all would have been appreciated.
You shouldn't invite Johnny Depp to an event and then just leave him sitting in a chair.
That's a terrible waste.

Friday, February 27, 2004

12 Hottest Women

A few weeks ago, at Cade's suggestion, I tried making a list of 'hot' famous women. It was meant to be a Top 10, but blew out to a Top 12. The list was limited by the fact that I was only including actresses for whom I could find decent photos on the internet somewhere. This whole thing doesn't work so well without the photos, but I thought I'd list the 'winners' here for the record...

12. Gong Li
11. Ingrid Bergman
10. Jane Fonda
9. Winona Ryder
8. Beyonce Knowles
7. Marilyn Monroe
6. Catherine Denueve
5. Bridget Fonda
4. Emmanuelle Beart
3. Michelle Pfeiffer
2. Felicty Shagwell. Sorry, Rollergirl. Oh, sorry again, Heather Graham
NUMBER 1. Sophie Marceau!

Wanker's Corner

Here's a wonderful restaurant in Portland that I'm sure we'd all love to
visit. Click on it to go to the webpage...

Wanker's Corner

If you ever go, make sure you say hi to the head Wanker for me!

Maybe even bring me back some Wankerwear, if you really want to put
yourself in my goodbooks.

Top 10 Most Invested-In Artists

I couldn't really do a top ten, as too many of my favourite artists got the same number of points. A number of artists have had to be grouped.
This does mean some of my favourites aren't listed. My Fred Astaire album is as brilliant as any album I've ever heard, but it's the only Fred album I've got. And I love Cake, but for some reason I've never gotten around to buying more than 2 albums, even though I've heard the others and approve mightily.
So here are the artists who have actually got my cash over the years. I think it's a nice list, though like Cade I'm afraid Kylie also made it on there, how embarrassment:

Equal 8th:
ABBA - 1 original cd, 2 'best of' cds, 1 dvd
Harry Connick Jr - 3 original cds, 1 'best of' cd
Shakira - 3 original cds, 1 remix cd
Janet Jackson - 3 original cds, 2 singles
Baaba Maal - 3 original cds, 1 concert
Louis Armstrong - 2 original cds, 2 cds with Ella Fitzgerald
8 Points

6th: Kylie Minogue - 4 original cds, 1 single
9 Points

Equal 5th:
Dimitri From Paris (dj) - 4 original cds, 1 concert
Luka Bloom - 4 original cds, 1 concert
10 Points

4th: Jamiroquai - 4 original cds, 1 single, 1 concert
11 Points

3rd: Bjork - 5 original cds, 1 dvd
12 Points

Equal 2nd:
Morrissey/The Smiths 2 Morrissey cds, 2 Smiths cds, 1 Smiths dvd, 1 concert (Morrissey)
Madonna - 3 original cds, 3 'best of' cds, 2 singles, 1 dvd
Ella Fitzgerald - 6 cds, and 2 cds with Louis Armstrong
Michelle Shocked - 5 original cds, + an alternative version of 1 cd, 2 concerts
16 Points

FIRST!: R.E.M. - 7 original cds, 1 'best of' cd, 1 single
17 Points

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Lord of the Rings III

Cade and I saw Return of the King tonight.
Was very good.
Was very long.
I didn't find the spider scary. I found her utterly horrifying.
I had to concentrate hard not to grip Cade too tightly and cut off his circulation.
I told Cade that nobody is allowed to mention spiders in my presence for at least the next week.

Blogger Adverts Are Far Too Clever

My goodness gracious!
Only a few days ago I wrote something about Cornettos, and now I look at my blog page again, and there are advertisements at the top for stuff for making ice cream! is SO quick at jumping on the hot topic and finding an ad to fit it.
How do they do it?
Why do they feel the need to make life scarier than it already is?

Here are the ads...
* Ice-cream Machine
Thousands of items - low prices Buy & Sell on eBay here!
* Softserve Ice Cream Mix
4¢ oz, Delicious, creamy, we export Shelf stable. Make 100 flavors.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Matthew - are you aware that your blog is advertising tickets to Elton John's UK summer tour?

Maybe it's because you started blogging about ice-cream. Maybe not.

I love your ice-cream story.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Ice Cream Advertising

At my Newtown bus stop this morning, at the stop near the Martin Luther King/Aboriginal flag mural, I saw a bunch of posters stuck on the walls advertising Streets Cornetto Ice Creams.

Someone, perhaps a student who's a fan of Adbusters, had stuck a smaller printed poster over one of them, which said "I've seen too much poverty in Sydney to care about what you are advertising". Which is fair enough.

But underneath that, some thoughtful soul had used a big black marker to point out that "Poor folks love ice cream".
How thoroughly true!
I know that someone on a budget would probably head for a humble Paddle Pop rather than one of those toffy-nosed Cornettos, but ice cream is ice cream.
I was truly touched that someone cared enough to step in and defend poor dear sweet lovely ice cream.
Yes, lovely, lovely ice cream.

Friday, January 09, 2004


I watched an old Hitchcock film this week called Sabotage.
It was one of his very early British ones.
It had some good scenes, and one absolutely excellent one.

There's a scene that goes for about 10 mintues, and it was done so well.
Was wonderfully suspensful.

Here it is, for your reading pleasure...

The bad guy has to get a bomb into the middle of London on behalf of foreign terrorists. He's being watched, so he can't take it himself. He tries to get other people to take it, but it doesn't work out. Finally, the only person he can get to take it is his wife's young brother. So he tells the young boy that it's a roll of film (they all work in a cinema) and that he has to take it into town and drop it off at 1:30pm then come home.
The bomb is set to go off at 1:45pm.

So the boy runs off, with the package under his arm.
The scenes of the boy running the package through town go for about 10 minutes, so it gets quite tense, waiting to see what happens with the bomb.
He is trying to get there fast, but he gets held up by a toothpaste salesman who forces him to help demonstrate the effectiveness of his toothpaste for a crowd of people.
The boy gets away after a few minutes and starts running through more people trying to hold him up, till he runs into another crowd. Turns out a parade is coming by. He can't get through so he watches the marching bands pass by, until it ends with a royal carriage, hurrah!
He runs off again, with some difficultly getting past the bustling crowds.
He realises he's going to be late, so he jumps on a bus.
He sits down, and starts watching a puppy the woman next to him is holding.
There are more close ups on the package.
And close-ups on clocks showing it's almost 1:45!
Oh no!
The bus keeps getting stopped at red lights.
The boy gets a bit worried, because he knows he's late.
More close-ups on the package.
Close-ups on the boy. He looks around a bit, wondering how long the bus is going to be stopped at this red light, then smiles at the cute puppy again.
Then a clock shows 1:45 o'clock!
Another close-up on the boy.
Nothing has happened.
While I'm watching this I'm waiting for the police or somebody to rush on the bus or something.
Another close-up on the boy, looking around, seeing the red lights.

Then there is a HUGE close-up on the hand of a clock.
It ticks from 1:45 to 1:46.

The bus blows up!

I was quite taken aback.
Hitchcock very rarely killed off sympathetic characters in his thrillers, though he did sometimes do it in his later horror-type films, like Psycho and The Birds and Frenzy.
But in most of his films the good characters usually survive.

At the end of the movie the bad guy's wife finds out what he did to her little brother, and they end up having a bit of a knife fight in the kitchen.
Bad guy gets it in the stomach.
The end.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

2003 Australian Music Charts

Cade found me the Australian music charts for 2003.

The singles chart is a bit sad methinks. Some okay songs surrounded by a fair bit of crap. Topped off by Guy Sebastian singing what must be the sappiest number one single in history. Barf!

The album chart is interesting. It's definitely a big mix.
* Lots of compilations of course, from Cher to Barbara Streisand, The Bee Gees, Elton John and ABBA (Australians are so daggy).
* REM's new compilation is at number 38, yay!
* New albums by Tony Bennett (with kd lang) and Rod Stewart (all the way up at number 18!) are there, shock!, gasp!.
* There are 21 Aussie albums, which seems decent I guess. Though almost half of them are from John Farnham, Delta Goodram, Australian Idol and Kylie.
* I was very pleased that Jamiroquai is there again, even though his last album was initially released in 2001. Good for him.
* And Dido got to number 11. I didn't want her to be a one album hit wonder.

If you take out the compilations and the crappy pop (I don't mind the likes of Avril Lavingne at number 3, but Hilary Duff is just sad and bad, even though she's down at 74 it's not low enough), you're probably left with two dozen good new albums.

Here are the links....

Top 100 Singles 2003 - Australia

Top 100 Albums 2003 - Australia