Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany's Secret Police Listened to Your Secrets...
I managed to score a free double pass to see "The Lives of Others" at Cinema Nova for Tuesday night (20/3).
Not one to pass up a free movie if I can help it, I arranged to meet Logan in Carlton on Lygon Street after work. I drove straight in from work and Logan took a tram to meet me. We had a quick foccacia beforehand and then made our way up to the cinema. There was a good number of people already seated but we found ourselves two seats up the back so that we weren't craning our necks - the theatre was "cosy".
There weren't a lot of "young" people at this thing. I'd say that they were mainly in their 50s and 60s, but there were a few people who looked about our age. We hoped that this meant that there wouldn't be any wrapper-rustling or commentary for the hard-of-hearing (which would be slightly superfluous as the film was in German with English subtitles), no mobile phone text messaging or calls, and we could just sit back and watch the film.
We were about right. There was a bit of plastic wrapper crinkling but, on the whole, it was a pain-free experience. Having lots of loud laughers in the audience was sometimes a little disconcerting but maybe there were references in there that I just didn't understand. I was a wee stripling when the Berlin Wall came down and wouldn't have been aware of the existence of the sort of political oppression that was occurring under the Communists.
Even though there were many opportunities for laughter, it still would have been a scary time and place in which to live. The film demonstrates that to survive the regime, people had to bury their own morals and that the price paid by these characters before the destruction of the Berlin Wall was soul-destroying and unnecessary. It wasn't only the Secret Police about which you had to worry; your neighbours could turn you in at any time for a throw-away comment. A joke made by one of the Secret Police staff ensured a mind-numbing demotion to steaming open intercepted letters in a basement and punishment for the general public involved torture before incarceration or being made to disappear.
The coda to the film completed the story very nicely. After all the horrors, life goes on and can be beautiful.
I give this movie 5 stars; I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it heartily.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
With feigning voice verses of feigning love...
I spent some of yesterday cooking a dessert for dinner that evening. Mmm, chocolate pavlova topped with whipped cream and crushed Peppermint Crisp (chocolate bar).
I decided that I wanted to see the Australian Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream for my birthday and invite my friends along. I discussed this with Noshie a couple of weeks ago and thought that I would arrange to have a picnic dinner in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and then move into the "seating" for the show. That way people could join us for dinner and not necessarily be forced into paying to see a show that they didn't want to necessarily fork out the money for and I got to see everyone for a little while.
It seemed to work. There were six of us who went to the show and about five others who just came for dinner.
Usually I would arrange to cater for everyone at one of my parties but this time I asked everyone to bring a plate of food to share and said that I would supply dessert. It worked really well. Bevis and his family came along and Wifey gave me a necklace she made for me herself, which is beautiful! Noshie said that she would contribute some money towards my ticket to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform King Lear later this year (starring Sir Ian McKellan) which she is coming to see with me - so exciting!. Another of my friends bought me an Asian cookbook which is very comprehensive and I immediately picked out a few recipes to try out - excellent! All I need now is to get myself a new wok and some bamboo steamers and I'll be ready.
We had dinner and then I served the pavlova. Bevis tried to tell me that we needed thirteen slices - he started by counting himself, finished by counting himself and also included Sweetums, methinks so that he could have three pieces for himself? The ants had also discovered my sugary creation so we forcibly evicted them (hilarity ensued) before I plated the food.
We said goodbye to Bevis, Wifey, Sweetums, Alison and her partner, and Gerri. The rest of us moved our rugs and cushions into the seating area and got set up for the show (lolly bags open, drinks organised, fluff that cushion, ooh the wind's getting chilly - better put on that jacket).
The performance was electric. High-energy acro-fairies (acrobatic fairies) buzzed, flipped and jiggled around the stage. The "rude mechanicals" performed their play about Pyramus and Thisbe with enthusiasm. There were pop-culture references aplenty and the minor deviations from the script added to the comedy and increased my enjoyment of the performance. "Dream" is one of the most understandable and oft-performed Shakespearian play which means that for some it can become quite stale but this troupe breathed fresh life into the bard's work.
I had a lot of fun and I want to send a thank-you to my friends for helping to make it such a great evening.
...So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Houston, we have lift-off
I think she's got it...
I think I've cracked it. Fingers crossed that it still works tomorrow once I turn off the computer and router at the wall and it forgets everything that I taught it to do today.
Riveting stuff, I know.
I have made our wireless system work. Yay! Logan was so excited that he immediately moved on to the next stage in the process and wondered when we could get our other computer connected wirelessly to the same network.
That kinda took the wind out of my sails. I would have liked to enjoy the fact that I had managed to comprehend a manual written by someone of asian extraction with the same level of English as an 8-year-old.
Why are all these computer manuals written as we we already have some idea of what is going on, anyway? Why do they only tell half the story? I followed the instructions that came with the router and it referred to items in such an obscure way that even when I'd found the right thing to do, I didn't know whether it was working or if I was breaking it so that it would never work again.
The first trouble I encountered was the manual referring me to other manuals that were on the internet which is difficult when you are trying to set up your hardware so that you can access the internet! Hello? Anybody out there think that this might have been a bit silly?
Sorry, I got a bit upset there. So, you can see why I wanted Logan to just enjoy the fact that we were connected wirelessly to the internet for a while before moving on and giving me something else to work on.
Because it is my birthday he arranged to come home from work early to take me out for dinner and that was nice. And he stopped off at the shops to buy me a bouquet of flowers which was also nice.
All in all, a pretty successful day, really.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Hello, IT... Have you turned it on?"
...Two out of Three ain't bad...
Australia Day tomorrow - bring it on. It's been a bit of a tough week at work. No air conditioning, level of busy-ness goes from crazy to background noise.
I recently started chatting with an ex-neighbour on MySpace. Hi, Poss, if you're reading. All grown up to be a gorgeous-looking young woman. Of course with her extremely fit parents (ex-Commonwealth athlete for a Dad) she was always going to be athletic and slim and terrific-looking. I could never get my head around "going for a run" as an enjoyable past-time but she manages it, I'm sure. I probably should have tried harder instead of reaching for a good book!
The only running I do these days is for the bus.
So, the washing machine arrived without too many hitches. As a precaution I forwarded the home phone to my mobile (now why didn't I think of that before?) although the company doing the delivery did call the house at about 6:45am just to reconfirm everything. When was I leaving? Oh, in about five minutes. And I would be back again, when? After 8:30. I may be earlier but I don't want to say so and then get stuck somewhere. Fair enough.
A lovely bloke dropped it off. I had the doors open and ready, again, and he wheeled it in, connected it up, had a chat about theatre and Cindy from Neighbours and the vet on McLeod's Daughters that he did a course with, as well as a bit of Shakespeare before he trundled his way down the drive again and my pocket is $30 lighter for the experience. (Have to say - $30 is a bit of a bargain to have a washing machine fixed.)
So guess what I'll be doing on Australia Day... I feel that it will need a good workout after its 10-day holiday and I think it's probably time to save up to buy a new washer in case this happens again.
I've also given the new modem/router-y thingo a go with some support over the phone. Apparently it's my computer that's causing most of the trouble. The problem is intermittent though so I'm going to persevere.
The next challenge is to go wireless.
...I want the world, I want the whole world...
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Pear-shaped, it is
...Isn't it funny how you never really screamed at my face...
Well, the washing machine is fixed and it was due to be delivered back to me this morning. (This is my big news for the moment, sorry to be such a sad case.) Having to drive Logan to the train station I told the repair service people that I would be at the house by 8:30am to accept it back into the house, they confirmed that they would be there between 8:30am and 8:45am and I confirmed the amount I was to pay them and that, I thought, was that.
My plan for this morning was to take Logan to the train station, drive back home, finish getting ready for work (I usually have breakfast in my office as I'm usually there before 8:00am), the delivery would happen and I could put all our laundry back in the Laundry before dashing out to the car and being late to work by only about an hour. Possibly could fit in a bit more tidying of the house depending on whether the delivery was a bit later than expected but ultimately wouldn't be too long at home.
I arrived back home at maybe a little before 8:00am (I had left time for possible traffic snarls), parked my car on the street so that they would have access to our back gate, and noticed a strange looking watermark on the drive. The pattern didn't fit the one that my car air conditioning would leave but I didn't think much of it.
So, I go inside, leave the front door open but the screen door closed so that I can hear if anyone knocks on it instead of using the doorbell. I dried my hair, had breakfast, put on my makeup, and it was 8:30. Great. I started doing the washing up from last night's dinner and Logan's lunch preparation. Hmm, 8:45. They're probably running a little late, I thought. I'll just go and open up the back gate and make sure there's a clear path to the Laundry for the machine when they do arrive.
9:15am arrives and I called Logan to say that the machine hadn't arrived. Called work to say that I would be later than I thought I might. I gave the company a call and went through to a messagebank. Left a message with my details saying that I was expecting the delivery at 8:30 and could I please have an ETA on the arrival so that I could let my work know how late I might be.
Kept doing housework but kept running to the front of the house every time I heard a car door; still nothing.
I rang again at about 10:30am and was told that they had already been at 7:45am, hence the water stains I had noticed on the driveway earlier, perhaps? They had hung around for ten minutes and had tried calling me but, of course, I was on the road and wasn't planning on them being there that early!!
Could they deliver at all today? I was thinking, maybe I could take the whole day off work if I needed. No, they only hire the courier once in a day. Right, fair enough. What about tomorrow morning? Again, I can only take delivery after 8:30am. We'll definitely be there. Delivering to someone else in your area at 10:00am so will either be before or after 10:00am. Okay.
So I locked up the house and left for work. Only took me 25 minutes to get there and happily found a free parking spot upon my arrival - bonus! I got to my office at 11:30am and I have to go through it all again tomorrow!!
At least I got the washing up done.
I could get used to a late morning start time...
Friday, January 19, 2007
Would somebody turn on the wireless?
...That's just paperless office talk...
Logan and I bought a new computer a little before Christmas. It was like giving ourselves an early Christmas present with all the boxes and wrappings and connecting up wires to the wrong spots and finding out you needed batteries of a peculiar shape and size before you can really switch the thing on properly and give it a red hot go.
Had problems with the screen first but eventually worked out that as I had installed a new operating system over the top of the one that the shop had used to do the testing I should reinstall all of the drivers for the motherboard, monitor, and all the other bits. It all worked a lot better after that; including the monitor which wasn't so good beforehand with the drivers you could download from their website...
The next mammoth task was to install our new modem. We didn't choose a plain and simple modem. We had to go with something fancy, didn't we? We got a complicated one that is a router and a wireless modem.
This took up an entire weekend.
Logan had to leave the room as he has not my patience (stubbornness?).
I had it going by Sunday night in time for a Skype call to the in-laws in the UK, but it wasn't perfect. Wouldn't turn on properly the next time we turned on the computer. Took me 30 minutes to connect to the internet. There's still something wrong (we have to reboot the router to connect although this takes only 2 minutes) and we're using an Ethernet connection to get by. We're not completely wireless yet. That's this weekend's task.
(Oh, and this weekend we're also having the washing machine fixed. Had to siphon out the water, as it wasn't pumping it out on its own, just in case we have to move it. Used a technique I learned by watching Scooby-Doo - Thelma sure had brains even if she always wore that strange orange confection of an outfit.)
Wish me luck - I'm not really an IT expert and it could all go pear-shaped.
...Where's a good sonic screwdriver when you need one?...
Sunday, December 24, 2006
And to all a Good Night
...'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
Well, it's that time of year again. Merry Christmas to everyone and especially my sister Boo who is still travelling the world and won't be home until some time early next year. Love you! Miss you!!
We're wrapping the pressies ready for our family's Christmas lunch get-together tomorrow and will be ready to go with a slideshow of the photos we took at the family wedding a week ago (has it only been a week?!?!). I've promised my Nan I'll be looking nice tomorrow, ie will be wearing my new makeup (as suggested by my lovely friend and makeup artist). Apparently it looks like I'm not wearing any makeup but that I look a lot healthier which is fabulous for someone who hardly ever goes out into the sun.
What else, what else. Aah, yes. We had a little party. We had the pleasure of catching up with Noshie although won't be seeing Adie until next Friday. The lovely bloke's been all over the world and then gets straight into work when he comes back - such dedication!
The Bevii were there and I made Wifey cry - but in a good way, I promise! I gave them each a framed copy of a Photoshopped photo I took when Wifey and Sweetums were over at our place a couple of months ago which made them both look absolutely adorable. One for Bevis to keep at work, one for displaying at home. Lovely. Can't wait to see them all again when they get back from their well-deserved holiday.
Well, it's raining cats and dogs out there at the moment and we've gone from a respectable 37 degrees while I was working last week to expecting a miserable 16 degrees and more rain tomorrow. Personally, I think the rain is fabulous and there should be more of it and I really hope that it is also falling on the bushfires that have been raging out of control in Victoria for the past month or so. The forecast for this week is also for lots more rain which will be great for our parched-looking garden (our front lawn even looks brown on Google Earth!) and I hope it keeps in the people who are usually out in the parks near us lighting fireworks. At least things are less likely to catch fire when the ground is nice and soggy.
Anyway, I have more presents to wrap as Logan has just informed me he has finished with mine and I am allowed back in to the lounge room.
Stay safe, everyone, and enjoy the holidays.
...that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly...
Sunday, November 26, 2006
More wedding bells
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
I've been nicely busy at work for the last few weeks but can now draw breath again before preparing for next year.
Of course it also gives me a bit more headspace to start thinking about Christmas and all the other social things we're planning for the end of the year.
First cab off the rank is that my uncle is about to tie the knot. Wonderful news! He's about eleven years older than I and it's his first marriage. She is a lovely lady and pregnant with their second child. (Their first child I wrote about here.) It's about time that they had some good happen to them. The wedding invitation says that dress is "casual" but there's no way I'm turning up in a t-shirt, shorts and thongs (flip-flops/sandals/v. casual footwear) with my hair all frizzy (as demonstrated here - scroll to my "picture"). Thus, I decided that a new dress was called for and I have bought this one (but imagine it in bright raspberry and orange). Of course I also had to find a suitable cardi to go over the top just in case it is not a terribly warm day/evening (it will be Summer but this is Melbourne we're talking about), and the store had a "spend $100 and receive a $20 voucher to be used in January 2007" offer so I bought a pair of earrings and a necklace that I will also wear to the wedding, and another t-shirt to add to this year's collection which added up to over $200 and I now have two vouchers to spend. Yay! Did I mention that this is my current favourite store?
Now all I have to do is find suitable shoes...
Logan, my husband, has also been asked to be the semi-"official" photographer on the day which I think will be great fun. I will be helping to direct, of course. My first lot of "help" has been to organise to borrow some photographic equipment from the place I work. (Have I mentioned that a lot of the time I really love where I work?) Once we heard that we were going to be asked to be doing the photography we started worrying about our camera. It's only a little Sony CyberShot and it's taken a fair number of photos in its little life-span but it's not what you would call the best option for taking wedding photographs. We have a media and photography store at work and I had the bright idea of asking whether I could borrow something from them. They know I'm pretty good with that sort of stuff (I would hope) and would take care of it as best I could. They're lending me a 6 or 7 megapixel camera (photography department gentleman couldn't quite remember), tripod and bounce-board (fabric over a bendy frame that is used to reflect light onto your subject so that it can be back-lit). I am so excited! Now we'll look more professional and will hopefully have better photographs at the end of the day!! I'm also a bit happier that we'll have this fully-checked and serviced camera and only have to use our little one as an emergency. Logan's worried that we won't have enough time with it to be able to work out the best way to use it but I don't really think I would be able to request it for longer.
I'm also thinking some more now about the Christmas party I will be having soon with my friends - I love planning this sort of thing and I can't wait to catch up with Adie and Noshie when they're back in just over a week. Once this year is over I'm sure the time will fly until my baby sister, Boo, is back home again too.
If you see a bride in a hotrod in Bentleigh in a couple of weeks time, give a big friendly wave to my new Auntie!