Archive for April, 2015

Wednesday Worries

Posted: April 28, 2015 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Not a week to be flippant really with 3 significant, and thought-provoking, events occurring. What was of interest to me though were the divided opinions and impact of said events

First up was the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day. There are many and varied accounts of the actual event both from a logistics and culpability point of view. It does strike a chord though like few other historical events with the great unwashed masses who turned out in their droves. Including me. Am I a war groupie ? Nope, simply paying respect to the memory of those who fought for this country whether the war was justified or not. If the soldiers want to march (and mostly show respect for fallen mates) then I think I can drag my ass out of bed at first light and watch them walk proudly past. Which I do every day anyway 🙂 You have to be fairly cold not to be moved by the Last Post in that eerie light. I remember writing about how impressive the 911 memorial was in NYC earlier this year only for some clowns turning that into propaganda for the US Military complex! Its a free country so everyone is entitled to their opinion – except SBS reporters on social media. What was he thinking ? I do wonder though if these same people ever sit down and reflect on why we always will be a country where you can speak your mind? Finished off the morning with a rewatch of Weir’s Gallipoli – still the definitive Anzac story for moi. And that soundtrack!

Second up was the Nepal disaster , and the word disaster hardly seems to adequately cover it. The loss of life along with historical buildings and infrastructure is simply devastating. The media handled it quite well really, at least initially. With disasters like this in other parts of the world am always reminded of the Alas Smith and Jones sketch where they reported on a train disaster in Europe with the rider ” No English were hurt”. Its not funny of course but does demonstrate the natural bias of the reporting news. It does remind one of the number of Aussies who selfishly give of their time to help in these parts of the world in orphanages etc. It does seem at times though that a death toll of 2000 with 5 Aussies killed is more of a reportable disaster than a death toll of 4000 with 1 Aussie killed? And then social media kicks in of course with the news that the brother of some two bit Aussie soapie actor is missing. Very sad for that family and group of friends of course, hardly more important than the orphanage volunteer also reported missing.

And finally we get to the inevitable execution of two of the Bali 9. I have no real issue with the death penalty but in this particular case am somewhat swayed by the argument of what is the point of rehabilitation programmes? If you dont know by now that smuggling drugs in that part of the world is dangerous business then perhaps you are indeed wasting oxygen. Different countries have different laws of course but it does become particularly galling for moi when you see some of the light sentences handed down in Australia for some scum like Paedophiles. There was not quite the sensationalism of that clown Corby but it did seem there was too much faint hope given in some of the reporting when it was pretty clear from day 1 they would not change their mind. It is of course a barbaric form of execution. In a totally irrelevant and irreverent, but slightly related, comment I use to think Jewellery Bishop was a little hot in a school marmish way. Man, politics ages you quickly.

Other stuff happened in the world but most paled into the background. There is a massive fight coming up – Mayweather V Pacman– and the build up does take me back 44 years to that real Fight of the Century. Given the lack of technology back then it really did beam out across the world with the build up simply unique for a sporting event back then. Still amazes me I was allowed to watch the fight on a school night – especially when Number 96 was on the other channel! Since Ali, there have been many pretenders to the crown of The Greatest and of course Mayweather considers himself front and centre in that debate and said so. What is sad though is that whoever runs Ali’s Twitter account – and we all know it aint him – felt the need to respond and the media dragged out a minor story for 2-3 days along the lines of “Ali puts Floyd in his place!” What nonsense. Ali’s legacy is safe, just dont get dragged into this crap or else the media will jump all over it

Finally finished The Americans following my EOAD advice and only watching complete seasons. It was a superb season but what has become the norm did indeed ensue – an only average season finale. Because you know, there is next season to come! Mad Men continues to hit it out of the park and the only thing that will soften the series finale in a few weeks is if they nail the landing. If not, I may have to jump with Don. Just hope he lands first, or at least his large member does:) In a mixed week also watched the excellent UK yarn Code of a Killer with Frank Gallagher detailing the first use of DNA typing to catch a killer . Great stuff

Two minor events this morning on way home from gym – well, how else would I maintain this impressive body ?? Going away for weekend but just needed some milk to tide me over until Friday so planned a detour to “Local Convenience Store” given the early hour. This would of course take me past the good old Hospital and associated mixed feelings. Sitting there at the red light outside the main gate and glanced to my right only to be completely shocked. No, the hospital was still there amazingly but some old fart simply drove straight through the facing red light without a care in the world! Shaken but not stirred I continued onto the store and saw that the 2L Trim ( see previous “impressive body” comment) was paying overs at $4:32 but at least did have long expiry date, unlike me. Given this would not require a drawdown from Q Super I happily took it to counter. It registered – single purchase -as $4:33? Not a big deal of course, but then gets rounded up to $4:35 instead of down to $4:30! I follow the Scrooge McDuck principle of “look after the dimes and the dollars look after themselves” In a week of major events it was a minor thing to say the least but as is human nature it is the everyday things that often resonate more with us because the other stuff is simply too big or too horrendous to contemplate. Like ads for the The Block finale.

Island in the Streams ?

Posted: April 17, 2015 in TV

Australia is a large island. This we know, because there is water all around it and it says so on Wikipedia. We have often been isolated in many ways both in a geographical and social sense and lets face it, that is how some of us like it. Every now and then though it does come back to bite ya and even though the world is connected by that world wide webby thing it may not be as wide as we all hoped for

Many people say I remind them of a more handsome Kenny Rogers. Or a slightly flatter Dolly. I will take either one

Recently finished the rather excellent Daredevil on Netflix. And I streamed it all. Amusingly, or not, it was still one of the most pirated downloaded shows with Australia well near the top of culprits. Why is this so when Netflix is now here and you get a free month anyway even if you wont support original series for a lousy $10 a month ? Piracy is a complex issue and in the past where there may have been some “valid though still illegal” reasons for Aussies to do it those reasons are getting less and less. I remember when the big channels like Nine bent you over the bonnet regularly with the screening schedules of their big premiere US shows like Friends or Sopranos. Then PAY TV came in – originally with no ads:) Hell , I had a 5th Austar box in the toilet just in case. Piracy is piracy at end of day and we all know it is illegal although most would consider the download of “in theatre” movies as more illegal than simply downloading a TV show that was shown last night in America. Dallas Buyers Club LLC of course recently had their successful court case although interestingly it appears they went more after the DVD rippers rather than the Screeners/Cammers.

With the pending release of Netflix Australia a few other streaming services like Stan got in early and all for very reasonable and affordable prices. When recently in US the cable was great mainly because of the on demand feature so you could watch last nights Justified the next day at your leisure. Places I stayed at did not have Netflix but their cable was more than adequate. Of course when Netflix launched here it was quickly apparent that the Aussie Library was about 25% of the US library! One quickly became familiar with terms like geoblocking and smart DNS. What the smart folk do is set up their router so as to appear to be in US and then whooshka you have access to the US Netflix while paying for the Aussie one. Illegal ? Maybe looking at terms of use but most would think they were at least paying a subscription. Now , the Aussie Netflix was aligned with some ISPs like Internode so that the at times significant data download was not “metered content” so did not count towards monthly quota. If you alter your DNS to get US netflix, then it does count. Swings and roundabouts. Companies like Telstra with their Presto set up simply gave people massive increase in their monthly quota to offset this streaming impact.

Now any Pirate worth his rum would know GOT Season 5 was coming and if not then the early release on the net of the first 4 episodes would have cleaned the barnacles of their withered brain. At the same time HBO (purveyors of GOT) released their on line streaming service for $15 per month. Good value when you throw in Veep, Silicon Valley, Girls etc But the catch? You have to reside in the USA. Not an issue for the smarties who simply set up US iTunes accounts to false addresses etc and off they stream. Of course the companies are not exactly thickos and would appear looking at the “cease and desist” emails received to said smarties that by and large they can determine when you are streaming outside of the US. One may ask why would HBO turn their back on money from anywhere? Dont know really but assume it would be something to do with the shitload that Foxtel no doubt pays to show GOT exclusively on Showcase in our island nation. Recently Netflix have suggested that they should not have limited uncapped downloads to selected ISPs on their Aussie launch but rather prefer a world in which everyone can stream from everywhere. Good luck with that one

This is where our isolation at the bottom of the world will impact us. That of course and the butchering of the NBN by Tony et al. BC1 lives in Toowoomba and has had shocking internet service over the years but NBN cable is in the street and only a matter of weeks now. Rejoice?? Stayed at Beccles B&B on the other side of Toowoomba last weekend and they have the new NBN already installed . How do I know this ? When trying to pay by credit card on little card reader it took 3 tries to connect to the web. “Yeah ever since the NBN was installed our internet keeps dropping out or simply falls over”

Lord, take me now. Or at least drop me off at NYC on the ascent ok?

Oh crap I just assumed it was an ascent not a desc………

The night time temps start to slowly dip below 20 degrees C for first time in 30 years and the neighbourhood rejoices. Not because of the temp mind you, but because it means I now start wearing pyjammas at night. Just hope I remember that on the Midnight pit stop. This means that the brief glorious Qld Winter of 3 week duration can only be months away

If I were Phanto or Rabs I would be a bit concerned. 2 of the big 4 piss takes of the 12th man are now gone. By all accounts Richie was a true gentleman and intimately entwined forever with the word cricket much like how liar and politician are inseparable. Initially Billy B said that was it, no more records. His latest comment was “I cant see another record being made” This could reflect on the fact that vinyl died 20 years ago of course – that would be his politician like excuse for previous comments. Quite clear what he should do. Release the very first 12th man album along with a new and much touted “Richie Benaud: This is your life ” and here comes the zinger. The price? 2 for $22 with all proceeds going to skin cancer research #ideasman #ivegotamillionofthem.

Not much else in the sporting world to report. You know the Masters was a bit dull when some clown in the Aussie media ties Spieths win to his Aussie Open win the previous year because you know Rory won it the year before and then won two majors! Justin Rose walked off the 18 th , turned to his caddie and said “book me a flight to Australia later this year. Oh and get me some fish and chips too “. The other interesting post script was Dr Woods copping flak on social media for his assertion that a bone popped out in his wrist but he pushed it back in. Bit harsh really, if anyone knows how to quickly pop back in a bone that accidentally slips out of place it would be Tiger. Especially if there was a knock on the door. Still, 10 years ago no one would have questioned him

Raylan has ridden off into the sunset for the last time. Not a great finale but then it falls more into the Sopranos Spectrum rather than the Dexter Dump file. By that , I mean you will rate it more highly upon reflection but in the immediate aftermath you are sad that these characters are gone forever and that colors your thoughts. There would never be a perfect ending. The flash forward a few years finale seems very popular these days

SPOILERS. The Raylan/Ava/Boyd triangle was well handled if slightly unbelievable. The last line ” we dug coal together” was memorable. The takedown of Markham too easy, the shootout with Boone a tease and simply not enough Wynn Duffy

It was clearly better than SOA or Mentalist. The big one coming up off course is Mad Men. I have always assumed that it is Don jumping/falling out of the window in the opening montage and there is enough shit in his life to indicate that is a possibility. Of course it is more likely a metaphor for his own personal descent. Time will tell. Netflix continues to impress , especially with their original offerings. While Bloodline was really Revenge on Gilligans Island, Daredevil is my current favourite superhero adaptation, ackowledging of course I know very little about all the back stories. If it aint Superman or Scrooge McDuck I am a bit lost. In other TV news Louie, VEEP, GOT and Silicon Valley all returned with strong premieres while the never dead Community continues to impress. For me Louie is like Seinfeld with a harder edge. They both use observational humour of course but Louie is grittier and his show at times is certainly cringeful to watch. Even if you dont like the episode plot his snippets of stand up at start and end are worth it alone. Madame Secretary – or How Hilary Really Had An Important Job – tackled the old distressed Russian nuclear sub yarn this week. Like everything, The West Wing did it so much better previously

US politics continues to enthrall of course, admittedly through the eyes of Stewart, Oliver, Maher et al. Dumbasses in the Democrats seem to get a tougher time than Ratbags in the the Republicans in general media. Of course when you see that Bill O’Reilly has two books in the NYT April Best Sellers list – Killing Jesus and Killing Patton – it becomes easier to understand if not accept. His autobiography Killing the Truth to be released next year is a guaranteed best seller. Hillary does seem to have a lot of baggage and not just talking under her eyes. Mind you the Republican lineup is no Melbourne Cup field. More like the 7th at Dapto Dogs. No doubt when in Washington in February next year will feel the buzz around. Of course that may just be a tazer because I climbed the White House fence.

Monday Musings

Posted: April 12, 2015 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Digital and Streaming are two words usually associated with Prostate function, or lack there off. Now though they are the buzz words for the happening entertainment world. Aussie Netflix has launched shortly after Stan and Laurel and surprisingly Treasure Island (land of pirates ya with me?) seems to have got a tad excited. Of course there is even HBO Now available if you know how to set up a US iTunes account and doctor your DNS -lets face it forget the 3 Rs this is what they should be teaching in schools now. Keeping our Prostate analogy foremost in our minds it is good timing as certainly sick and tired of the Fisting by Foxtel I get at present. Did the math last week and reckon I pay $102 a month for a weekly US PGA event and two sports shows! Makes that electronic nose hair remover seem cost efficient. On top of the price gouging of course they simply refuse to answer your email queries in a suitable timeframe. So netflix runs to about $11, Stan (if stays which is unlikely) $10 and HBO $20 Aussie per month so can dump Foxtel, sort out some kinda pass for digital play of golf and still have money left for a weekly massage with Ling Ling at Golden Fingers, Station Square. And not an eyepatch in sight, yay! Speaking of which , the Dallas Buyers Club LLC was certainly interesting. Will scare the casual pirate fairly straight I imagine with no real cost return for them so not sure why they went with it. Your average pirate is a complex person mind you. GOT Season 5 first 4 episodes leaked on line (still with the prostate analogy, clever eh) and were the bottles of rum popped ? Maybe, but still you had the whiners saying “what only 480p? Piss off, I’m waiting for 1080p”. Some people need a swat with a big dragon tail.

Its rare that you would say a Masters golf tournament is boring but this year was as close as you may get for a while. 3 things were confirmed. Nicklaus is the greatest ever, Spieth is the real deal, and Tiger is back. What is it with Tiger and stray roots? Has he not learned his lesson yet?? To make the cut and finish with the score he did is rather amazing and his mental toughness was never in question but to bring back that short game he had a few months ago to Augusta was daring. Drama does always seem to follow him though – especially when not winning:) Still for me , only one question remains – what the fuck was Tiger’s current 19th hole wearing at the Par 3 contest on Wednesday? In other sports news, are the Broncos the real deal this year? Still think they will struggle by year’s end as will St George. Both teams are doing well on guts and great defense but lack the real firepower to blow teams off the park. They still have Boyd to return of course which should help and should not be too decimated come SOO time. Good of the QT man of rugby league to acknowledge the groundwork laid by Hook previously when reviewing the solid start this year.

Lovely weekend catching up with My Generations including NDD – now distant daughter. Toowoomba is a lovely town at this time of year with plenty of great eating options and parks to visit along with excellent B&Bs. As always it is a joy to not only see how booteeful all 5 grandkids are but also how well behaved they are and a credit to their respective parents. Back out in a few weeks for Grandparents Day at Will and Pat’s school followed by a rugby match the next day for Will. Its ok will steer him towards rugby LEAGUE slowly and sneekily:) Driving back from Flashman Inc, Sunshine Coast HQ bright and early this morning and as the sun slowly rose on the horizon life was looking pretty good

Now I just have to go out and check my bunkers …………








Wednesday Whines

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Maryhole is unique, no further proof required. Woke up this morning to a sea of blue and wasnt even at the beach. I am of course referring to the radar image on BOM and the threatening mass heading our way. There was no way we could miss this downpour surely? Galoshes ready, golf sticks packed away for another Wednesday. As each hour passed the blue became sparser and swung around below us. No doubt some areas like No Sunshine Coast were copping it big time but not Maryhole. So headed out to golf under grey skies but put my faith in technology. Yeah right, what was I thinking. Started raining after 4 holes but not unbearable and saw it out to finish 9 holes relatively comfortable if not necessarily leading the field. After another 6 holes though it started up again and playing Standard Scratch and noticing that I had more rails than pluses seemed like an opportune time to head in and call it a day. I always say if you cant finish something then you should leave early.

It was good to get out in some almost fresh air after an extended visit to the couch in recent days. I had debated about signing up for Netflix Aussie for almost 10 minutes but when I saw first month for free just had to give it a go eh. Picked up an Apple TV – always excellent products really – and was set up and ready to go in under 10 minutes. Now the library at present is not as good as US obviously but really for $10 a month you cant lose. Currently watching Bloodline and while it can get sudsy at times it has a brilliant cast. Why hasnt Ben M done a Dustbin Hoffmam bio already – or at least recreated Ratso from Midnight Cowboy? Ms Candellini gets hotter over time – much like Maryhole. KC will always be Coach sadly and think his acting range is limited. Netflix was described in other media commitments to me as like being on a plane with IQ or similar – its not that it is a complete range but really just so easy to find something to watch with the click of a button. And that is spot on. I watched Waldorf Salad on Fawlty last night. Not something I would normally do but it was there so why not. The chef has opened the can.

The best team won the World Cup cricket, just a pity they act like assholes so much of the time. Kiwis were all class throughout the tournament. Speaking of assholes, sick and tired of hearing about Jeremy Clarkson. Prize boorish oaf and good on BBC for kicking his ass to the curb. Best thing England has done since ……. ok best thing they have ever done. There are assholes and then there are clowns . Billy Gordon. Lauded initially for bringing honor to your people only to be revealed as a deplorable stereotype all along

USA 2016 – brilliant catchphrase not framed yet- is largely settled. Fly into Dallas, onto Washington and then Boston. A one nighter in NYC on way home so can hook up with Qantas and maybe snag that great lounge at JFK one more time – hopefully the Southern Comfort is not empty – before flying out of LA. February 2016 again – so more snow on the way no doubt, especially in Boston. Cheers