Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Pretty good year really with solid returns and a couple of newbies that show potential. It was also a year I watched more foreign TV and there really is a treasure trove there folks. So the best for the year, in no particular order except start with the reliables

1. Breaking Bad – Always going to be hard to nail the ending to such a brilliant show but they did rather well

2. Mad Men – simply a solid reliable performer that never disappoints

3. The Good Wife – could just about be my favourite show that doesnt tax the brain but always keeps one interested

4. Misfits – unique and entertaining

Some Newbies that shone

5. Orange is the New Black

6. Masters of Sex

7. Vikings

8. The Americans

And the big losers

9. Homeland Season 3 – some potential early on but then died. If only Carrie had too

10. The Mentalist – specifically the Red John reveal. After 23 seasons a complete joke. The new direction of the show is good though

11. Agents of Shield – major disappointment

12. Dexter Season 8 – simply at a loss to explain that ending

As for some foreign shows?

The Returned – creepy and gripping as only the French can do it

Borgen – great political drama/soap from Denmark

The Bridge – the original and best

And as always some simply brilliant docos. No one does better sport than ESPN 30 for 30

Other notables – Keating, Fruitvale Station, Blackfish

Monday Moan 2.12.13

Posted: December 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

This blog has been banned by Campbell Newman until further notice

Welcome to Queensland

The Flawed need Love too.

Posted: November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just dont try and tell them. The most interesting characters always have some flaws even if minor. Its the easy going “bloke” who says he isnt perfect but deep down really believes he is that you should avoid. But he has left politics now hasnt he? What started this train of thought? A synapse most likely. Or maybe Part 1 of Keating on Monday night. Now I have always been a Keating fan and that has nothing to do with political bent which oddly enough bends quite regularly. He is simply an interesting character with an amazing intellect given his modest schooling and upbringing. Mention his name in a gathering though and you will get very strong opinions , and some surprisngly vile given their pet hate about the man was his own vile nature:) . They remember the none too subtle slurs in parliament or maybe were affected by the “recession we had to have” . He certainly wasnt perfect and indeed was arrogant but at least had something to be arrogant about. Labour produced three legendary figures during the 70s and 80s and each has a different legacy. Gough is the esteemed elder statesman, Hawkie was the good cobber mate saviour and Keating was the tough as nails Treasurer who went on to win the Sweetest Victory of all. Gough was larger than life while Hawkie thought he was God even if he himself was agnostic. Keating remained largely misunderstood and this never seemed to faze him. He certainly wants his role in the development of Australia in those years duly noted and will never pass up an opportunity to outline them but he still remains a largely one dimensional character in a lot of people’s eyes. Do yourself a favour and watch the show over the 4 weeks it is on. And while waiting for next installment chase down the always excellent Labour in Power series.

My sporting idol was always Muhammad Ali – another flawed character. Ali was a boxer first and foremost – and a rather exceptional one. But he wasnt one dimensional either. He had blinding speed in his hands and an equally quick wit. Given his world wide popularity he had the opportunity to speak on many issues outside of boxing and naturally did so with at times amazing eloquence and thought. But he could be cruel too – just ask Joe Frazier. Like Keating he was a fan of mental disintegration. Now there are many clever people out there who can throw out some very clever barbs and insults but the trick is you have to back them up with deed and thought for full effect. Ali is likely elevated beyond his true position in many people’s eyes because he literally was larger than life. He is no Nelson Mandela after all. But then he is no Mike Tyson either

The talent pool in Australian politics is very shallow at present. Lets not even discuss the shape of Heavyweight Boxing. Instead be thankful that at times Giants do indeed walk amongst us and even trample a few along the way perhaps. That is the price you pay to rise out of the mediocrity of everyday life.

Or you cant sit around and wait for the next series of Australias Got Talent hosted by todays verison of talented celebrity

Well as the Loaf would say 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. My beloved preferred to stay home and work rather than see the world so let’s eat, drink and feel Mary. The day of debauchery actually started last night with a visit to Gibsons Steak house where they set aside half a cow for me to digest. Medium well done seemed to way to go to bring us into line with an Aussie medium – no mooing detected but still plenty of pink and red. It was great to get out and sit down for a relaxed meal if sadly alone 😰. So that intake kinda dimmed the fervour for today but I did do some research last night while waiting for stomach to rebound on the Chicago Food planet walking tours which seemed an ideal way to savour some more Chicago food. It was 3 hrs around Gold Coast and Old Town so perfect location. The day dawned booteeful again so headed across to the North Oak beach just across the road which was very noice before heading into town for one last photo shoot. Then it was back home before the short walk to our starting place – Pizza! However this was deep dish rather than stuffed so had now tasted the 2 favourite Chicago style pizzas. Then just up the road for a cup of German tea – don’t mention the war. Then time to walk off the pizza and on our way to Old Town walked past the original Playboy mansion as well as many Halloween decorated houses. Once in Old Town I felt at home! We had some Sushi, some fudge, some virgin olive oils and some spices – but not all at the same store! Last but not least was the Delicious Pastries stop off. Along the way there were many interesting anecdotes relayed by our charming host. A good group of about 20 made for a very enjoyable 3 hrs – and I was the only Aussie. They all now want to visit even though I assured them I was one of a kind. And then I wandered home alone I discovered Second City where my Tina cut her teeth.

So an amazing week draws to an end. Probably time for one more beer or two this afternoon, have given up on finding decent coffee! Then my usual disturbed nights sleep and then pack and head of to San Francisco tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow will be like Dexter Season 8 – you just have to get through it.

In a perfect world I will return to Chicago with CLP in tow

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Technology, Wherefore Art Thou?

Posted: September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Expanding on a recent status comment why isnt the voting process easier and more tech savvy in 2013? I will be away on Saturday so went down to vote early yesterday – and the line up was out to the street. And that was just the clowns handing out how to vote cards! So went back at sparrows fart this morning – which for reduntirees is 08:30 – and there were only about 6 people there so was through in about 20 minutes! Because we still have a fucking ruler and big book that we have to place a line next to our name and then be explained why the toilet roll they give you is actually the senate voting paper but you only need to put a 1 against your first choice above the line. If voting for politicians a number two would would have seemed more appropriate. Then we had to fill in one to seven on the Rep voting sheet. Bloody hell – had to take my thongs and socks off to count up! And this detailed info is explained to every single person in line so when you get to front counter you have already heard so many many times. Couldnt resist asking the self important goose behind the desk though – “Sorry Could you explain that again please? “. He thought I was serious. I know when Tiny Abcess wins on Saturday we will be time warped back to the 50’s but this is ridiculous.

So whats the solution? Glad you asked. An app in the iTunes store obviously. Android users should not be allowed to vote anyway. Charge 99c if you must and allow for in app purchases like a detailed analysis of the Palmer vote for an extra $9.99 to appease the capitalists. Now voting is a serious issue but lets face it we are not Zimbabwe – although I wish we had their cricket team. Download app, vote and if you manage to luck out with a formal vote (remember we have cleverly weeded out the Android dweebs) you get 5 extra lives in Candy Crush. We can send a man to the moon – shouldnt he be able to vote while there? Its all done electronically and then Abcess is declared the winner. We know he will win whether we want it or not. In a perfect world Kruddy would fess up now before Saturday and say ok we are screwed lets work this out over a double chai latte and save millions of tax payers money. All we want is 5 seats in each state and for you to pass the Same Sex Marriage Bill – here after to be known as the Krudd Doctrine in memory of his one Bartletesque moment during the campaign. To sweeten the deal, we will get a statue of Tony erected with all the other dinosaurs at Palmer Coolum Resort. As an added bonus it frees up Channel Nine on this Saturday night to show reruns of Hey Hey its Saturday with the former labour caucus on Red Faces

Ok wont happen of course so I will form my own ALP – Antisocial Lazy Pricks – with this as my platform. So , come Saturday 7th to avoid the risk of a well hung parliament Vote 1 Flash and send mediocrity to hell. You know it makes sense.

And its another clever Martin Sheen tie in. Maybe should have gone with avoid the Apocalypse Now ?

Old Benny F was a wise old man – except for that nonsense about flying kites in electrical storms. Although not original he is also associated with the well know phrase

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes

As that was a couple of hundred years ago I was pondering are there a few extras we can add. Of course there are

1. An Aussie batting collapse on first day of a Test Match. Now Blind Freddy – as opposed to old crippled Freddy Flintoff – knows that if the English side circa@2013 can be bowled out for 215 Boof’s Boys are going to struggle to make 150.

2. There will be outrage at any fisticuffs in State of Origin – but the footage will be shown 24/7 in promotional buildup to the next game. Note – this is totally different to Fisting which the Blues team only do behind closed doors

3. The Wallabies Scrum will collapse into a shambles when the pressure is on. Lineouts and Mauls to a lesser degree.

4. Little Leyton will beat a well ranked player early in a Major tournament only to lose to a nobody the next round. Sam Stosur has a Travelling Psychologist (with couch) on call 24/7.

5. The Socceroos will continue to make World Cups but never beyond last 16

6. La Tour de Frog will enthrall first couple of days until casual followers realise it goes on for 3 months. If an Aussie cant win our interest plummets daily

7. There will be at least 3 blockbusters released every year based on a comic Superhero – and only one will be any good. Still waiting circa@2013

8. The Yanks will remake a hugely successful OS show only to see it flop because a) it is terrible and b) Yanks are simple folk (though lovely of course)

9. Every time Kruddy is elected to PM he will be very popular – for about 2 months. After that – see “Aussie Batting Collapse

10. Tomorrow’s Weather forecast will be wrong

Ahh that Freddy knew how to lay waste – to a pair of scissors that is.

I played Cowboys and Indians as a youngster. Dressed up at times too but the Construction worker always butted in. Probably preferred war games though in the sandpit with the plastic toy soldiers and tanks etc. In those days we still had ……. crackers! Now that was fun with little soldiers. And all the time we were accumulating Vitamin D to boot. Of course as I got older and discovered girls I realised there was more fun to be had in sandpits so game play moved indoors …. and the slow decline began. Over the years there have been many good games come along in the “war” genre but they were never perfect and usually involved having to relate to other people! If a game doesnt have bots I am not interested. Always a PC boy never that keen on PS 3s etc. (Ok I have no manual dexterity – happy now?). Then we had the infusion of games into Facebook which while appeared “free” were anything but. Yes Zynga am talking to you. Slowly the mobile phone/iPad took over but once again struggled – yes manual dexterity again ok. Then like a phoenix rising from the ashes an innocuous little turn based game grabbed my eye in the store because it involved Knights. And Lords. Fittingly the Holy Grail of Time Wasting had arrived. Knights and Lords? Nah doesnt sound right, why not call it Lords and Knights.

Started playing a few months ago and like most of these games the online community is very helpful to us noobs. Pure chance to choose to join Immortal Byron on the Australia 2 server and the slow learning process began. Now these guys could be axe murderers for all I know – or worse still Victorians – but they quickly became online mates. There was Boom, Muddie, Dilligaf, Sneeky, Norris, Dopey and Sleepy – just to name a few. Ok there are no siwsh graphics. There is also no constant requirement to “buy to continue past a wood hut and 1 rusty knife” . Yes Zynga I am talking to you. You gather wood, stone and gold like we have in every game since …. well Medieval times I guess. You build walls, keeps, barracks yada yada yada. But its all a numbers game. And it requires thought and planning. And no life. Tick Tick Tick

So we are at war at present. Now the CLP will tell you I already spend too much time on this. On a recent weeks holiday I was under threat of having to purchase her a new pair of shoes if I played the game that week. (Thank me for Vacation Mode eh fellas?). As if she could have fitted another pair of shoes on the plane – it wasnt an Airbus 380! So after going cold turkey it was time to throw myself fully into this battle and support my new found mates and actually claim a castle of one of those other mongrels – whom I suspect are Blues supporters! (Sorry boys but this is war!)

Now I couldnt play golf on Saturday because we had to plan our Sunday AM launch. Its all about SVT – or as we call it Server Time. You dont want to attack at night and lose half of your troops. Duh! So it was all go for 0800 on Sunday – but by late Saturday not everyone had checked in – this could get ugly. Now you can fake attacks – probably a ploy to attract women players who find this a natural action in life . Apparently. So the clever approach is to fake 9 castles and only hit one for real so he has spread his defense thinly. When it works it is a thing of beauty to see. Of course it can take hours from launch of attack to actual attack – and the enemy is notified immediately. So the counter attacks to your castles begin. So up at 0530 on Sunday morning to initiate the multiple castle attack to try and catch him unawares. from 2.5 down to 1 hr travel time. My clever fakes from Saturday had drawn counter attacks to my other castles. 14 attacks over the whose day – had to be fakes right, who would throw about 10,000 troops at one castle? So part A worked perfectly and by 0900 my 13th castle had been christened. Now I can relax rest of day and just check whether he sent 1 ox car or 1 spearman in each attack for fits and giggles. First attack @ 10:00. 500 Lancers, 500 Archers, 500 Swords. Hmm, ok thats interesting but I can handle it sweet. Next attack same. After 5 attacks the same I am starting to think my nana nap is in peril here. Now I wont bore you any further with the intricacies of this clever game but timing is critical – attack forces landing in same 10 minute window join forces. The defending castle must have > 51 units left to continue to next battle phase. By 4pm I was trickling like a 70 yr old with an enlarged prostate! Now this a great defense ploy. You remove many of your troops to a nearby empty castle and slowly trickle feed in 51 troops at a time in 10 minute intervals. Had fought off > 8000 attack troops and left with one ox and one whore only to see final battle report. Remaining attackers – 51! Fuck you are kidding me, I am going to lose this castle because that bloody whore didnt screw one more attacker to death! Wait 10 minutes for next and final report and Bye Bye Flashtown. Nothing happened. Another 10 minutes. Nothing. No more attacks. Ok, he must not have sent Silver! Knob kiss. And there on the horizon is Muddy with 1000 Armoured Horsemen – but sadly no more whores. Oh well may as well go to bed then.

I am not an alcoholic – well certainly not a functioning one. But I just had a lost weekend. I really achieved nothing except one more castle. This cant go on. Or can it? I dont know – but I have to get back now because some bastard just lit up Flashville and I have to get back there to contact da boys.

Before the Next Teardrop falls?

Octoberfestivus Day 6

Posted: October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Vienna

Woke to a clear cool day and headed down for the hotel breakfast – superb. Could not do it justice. We were checking out today and catching night train to Rome at 1930 but were leaving bags at hotel while we checked out some more of Vienna. The KK Maria Therese in Vienna is a fantastic hotel.

First stop was back to St Stephens Dom for the climb to the top – 400 steps. Sorry Sir the stairway does not open until 0900 but there is a lift over there? Lordy Lordy there is a God!.Its an impressive view but nothing really stands out on the vista. Then onto Stadt Park where there were some impressive statues of famous composers. A quick detour to Cafe Central for another crap coffee but in beautiful surroundings. From there we checked on The Rathaus and Hofberg in daylight – still tres impressive. We then headed back to hotel to check out before spending afternoon at Schloss Schonbrunn which was the emperors palace. Very impressive gardens in particular and the metro was easy to use. Before we left there though we had to try the famous Strudel! After a long day it was time for a beer! It was a quick but memorable visit to Vienna.

Now we are about to board the 14 hour night train to Rome – could be interesting

Octoberfestivus Day 4

Posted: October 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Prague

Started the day with my typical Czech breakfast of frankfurters and meatballs and then headed out into a rather warm clear day. It would appear the ability to predict weather is uniformly inept but we were not complaining. It can be tricky though to dress appropriately for several hours out when you don’t know what the weather will do. Damn that breakfast has turned me into a Sheila! Anyhoo time to head to Wencelas square first and see if the good king was around. To be honest it was pretty dull and even almost walked past the Hotel Europa without noticing. Couple of pics and on our way to the Dancing Buildings. Now these were impressive and a clear indication of what happens when builders drink on the job. Now apart from the CLPs fascination with nude men there was a yearning to see some bare bottoms and we had 2 choices – ladder to bum or baby bums. These were in totally opposite direction so opted for the ladder one and headed off on about a 30 minute walk. We assumed they were outside statues – they were not. We assumed everywhere opened by 10 am. They do not . It was gallery that opened at 11 am which was at least an hour away and sadly the neighbourhood looked tres ordinary so we reconciled with the fact we would have to look at our own bums at some stage later on. Then it was time for some morning tea at the Karvana Slavia where apparently the stars like to be seen. Luckily no one recognised me and we had the cheeses meats and vegetables option along with a coffee that came in a cup with no handles. After dealing with the third degree burns it was time to head to the beer museum where there are 30 taps available. We opted for the testing tray of 8 and actually enjoyed the cherry flavoured beer. Last stop then was the obligatory souvenir shop where I went hunting for my obligatory T Shirt. Sizes overseas are always a test so added one on for safety and went for the XXL. Memo to self – look for 4xl in future. Luckily I have a midget son in law who now is proud owner of a ” Prague – the City of Love” T shirt. So a couple of knick knacks later and back to hotel for some R&R.

We leave tomorrow for Vienna so some observations on Prague. It is a beautiful city where it was easy to walk around and we felt safe at all times. The people are generally friendly although some service staff have an aversion to smiling. It is amazingly affordable city and the food and drinks are superb value. There are at least 10 hot women for every hot guy and hat hot guy is hard to find! They may come with attitude though:) The Czech people don’t appear to be an obese nation at all which is surprising given every meal comes with 3 loaves of bread(free) and 24 dumplings! Segways are very popular and a great way to see the city. The river with several bridges is a simply beautiful scene. The architecture is stunning at times. This is a wonderful city and a must visit on any European odyssey.

Long before Doc Martin drew us to Port Isaac All Creatures Great and Small left us with a Yearning for Yokshire and the Dales. Of course there is more to Yorkshire than just The Dales – lots Moors in fact:). So after some Welsh rarebit in Conwy we headed off to Manchester and into Yorkshire. First stop was Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal gardens to rip one off at Ripon. I always assumed that if I had married Princess Anne, as many royal insiders had predicted. then Studley Royal would have been my MI5 nickname. I mentioned this to CLP and she said neigh in what was a very good impression of Princess A actually. In England you see plenty of ruined abbeys and a garden or two but these were rather impressive.

Next it was on to Thirsk which we were using as our central point and had booked 3 nights at Fern Cottage which was ideally located in the lane behind “The World of James Herriot” . James Herriot was of course really Alf Wight who set up his Veterinary Practice in this town so it was an appropriate choice for our base of operations. Unlike Port Isaac the filming locations for ACGAS moved around a few towns and locales in Yorkshire. Fern Cottage itself was a lovely cottage and of course as we always found in England private parking is at a premium and think we were very lucky in 2 trips and 2 hire cars not to pick up one scratch!

Next day dawned bright and clear which was perfect for our day trip to Whitby in North Yorkshire situated at the mouth of the River Esk and looking out on the North Sea. Two major attractions had drawn us here – Whitby Abbey and its association with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and also the Captain Cook connection. The ruins of Whitby Abbey are impressive indeed especially given their location on the headland dominating the landscape. It is very atmospheric and we saw it on a clear bright morning – it would be rather stunning late in the afternoon with the sun setting. Cue stunning photos ( of the morning variety)

Whitby was also where Captain Cook learned his seamanship apparently. Guess we Aussies have Whitby to thank for being discovered? It was a very pleasant walk around with an old fashioned row of amusement parlours on one side of the street and the harbour full of boats on the other with clear evidence they catch a lot of oysters around here. Whitby is also well renowoned as a place for Goths to aggregate but on this booteeful day it was all flip flops and ice creams

Next day it was time to discover some Moors. They even had a Moors centre devoted to this. Maybe just another excuse to charge us for some parking?? It was a pleasant walk around on another pleasant day but there was nothing special here and certainly no werewolves lurking. Perhaps we needed to come back at night. perhaps we needed to find a Pub stat.

At least I was able to catch a rare glimpse of 3 Beavers together

Next day it was time to travel to York by train. I was starting to wonder when we were going to see some Herriot sites given we were in Herriot country. Apparently York Minster is rather impressive. It is indeed. There are many cathedrals in England and they are all impressive. I can state this with confidence because after 2 weeks in UK I had seen 3026 Cathedrals. There are lots of cathedrals in UK. Cathedrals also tend to dare you to climb the stairs to the top. I got sucked in the first few including this one but I had a rather life changing meeting on this trip that convinced me some things are best left unknown. There was no Hunchback – or Hunchfront sadly- but I simply assumed one of the gargoyles had sprung to life and decided to wander down the stairs.CLP has a sense of humour – guess she must have really. Our trip to Yorkshire was turning into shambles. Funny you should mention that.

Next day we planned a train trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which gave us a chance to check out a well known TV/Movie site – Goathland. The Station has been used as Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films and Goathland itself was Aidensfield in the Heartbeat TV series. As we sat there I kept thinking of Johnny Cash and couldn’t help myself singing along – I hear the train a acoming, a coming down the track… So we sat around for a bit and then remembered we never watched Heartbeat or indeed more than one HP film so time to move on and catch out a couple more castles and a couple more abbeys (basically one or the other on every second corner) and then on way home checked out The White Horse of Kilburn.

White Dork of Goathland ^^

White Horse of Kilburn – >>

Next day it was finally time to catch up on some ACGAS sites – off to Askrigg on our way to Richmond. First stop was a typical country pub – The Bolton Arms. One thing we knew from the TV show is that in this area there are plenty of stone walls and narrow roads. It is beautiful countryside as portrayed in the show and we stopped along the way a few times and did the whole thermos and “Nice” biscuit deal. I don’t mind the narrow roads in the country side but they are a bit hairier in town when there are invariably cars parked as well!

In Askrigg we discovered Skeldale House which bears little resemblance to the house on TV but then they were mainly inside shots. The Kings Arms pub was actually The Drovers Arms on the show – from the show you had the feeling you were in a more remote pub somewhere atop a hill in the Dales but as usual reality is usually disappointing.

The Darrowby Surgey is recreated in the Richmondshire Museum in Richmond. There were a few more cathedrals to see and an abbey or several and then headed back to our digs in Richmond – and it started snowing. Magic. Yorkshire was a great place to spend a week and one short blog doesnt really do it justice – do yaself a favour