unseen theatre company: the wee free men

unseen theatre company: the wee free men
Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels can sometimes appear be fairly easy to turn into a stage production, but at other times, they seem like they'd be next to impossible.

The latest production from the Unseen Theatre Company, The Wee Free Men (the first of the Tiffany Aching novels) is definitely one of the latter... if only because a large number of the main characters are six inch tall, predominately blue/tattooed little redheaded men/pictsies. Plus another character is a talking toad.

And on top of that, there's a trip to Fairyland and various supernatural beasties.

For the most part, the Wee Free Men or Nac Mac Feegle are dealt with by making them full sized humans, with only a single, blink and you'll miss it, line referencing the fact that they're supposed to be six inches tall.

They're played by Harold Roberts as Rob Anybody, Dalestair Kidd as Daft Wullie, Natalie Hugh as (deep breath) "No' as Big as Medium Sized Jock But Bigger Than Wee Jock Jock" and David Dyte as William.

Of the four, Kidd is the by far the most charismatic... in the books Daft Wullie is just, well, daft, but Kidd manages to make him just this side of insane every time she's on stage and she completely and totally stole just about every scene she was in... to the point where you're supposed to be watching the characters talking on stage left, but your eyes just find themselves creeping over to watch her wordless antics on stage right. More than once.

The blue skin/woad/tattoos of the Feegles is perhaps best described as... inconsistent. Some of the actors seemed to have applied a perfect, Smurf blue coat to their arms and faces, others it seemed the makeup just didn't like them. And there were more than a few times were the blue just didn't go far enough and was a little distracting. Minor quibbles to be honest, but still.

Toad is handled much the same way that they dealt with the Great God Om in last year's Small Gods... with an appropriately sized prop substitute and an actor, in this case Hugh O'Connor (who usually goes unseen but very much heard as Death) in a yellow suit and suitable toad facepaint. I kind of wish they'd dealt with him a little more like they had with Om, where the other actors all address the prop not the person, but O'Connor is fantastic, very dry and sarcastic and with pretty much all the best lines.

Josephine Giorgio plays the lead character of Tiffany Aching, and does a fantastic job in her first Unseen Theatre production. She manages to embody all of Tiffany's determination, stubbornness and anger quite well... and I'd be intrigued to see her take on the role of Death's granddaughter Susan at some point, as I think she'd do it well.

As both director and adaptor, Pamela Munt has managed to make one of the more difficult to stage Discworld stories work pretty well for the stage, although much of Tiffany's inner monologue (which, to be honest is most of my favourite stuff about the Aching books) and some of the more fantastical parts had to go.

Whether or not they can manage to do all five of the Aching books or not, I don't know... the second one is mostly predicated on Tiffany's inner monologue, so that could be difficult, but it'd be nice to see them try.

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movies: captain america - civil war

captain america: civil war - whose side are you on?
Before I dive into my review of Captain America: Civil War I need to disclose something first... when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU), I am totally and completely #TeamCap.

Everything that they've done with the character since his first movie has brought us to a point where the character is pretty much everything I want from a superhero (and superhero movie to be honest). He's "good" (as opposed to conflicted or tortured or mysterious) without being bland. He has heart and a sense of duty, both of which are a core part of this movie, yet he can still have a sense of lightness to him when needed (not so much this time around maybe).

And yes, I fully remember saying that he was the least interesting part of the first Avengers movie, and to a lesser extent the second one because he was the character with the least going on... but I have to say that whenever the movie has his name in it, damn, the character gets much more interesting.

Part of that is squarely Chris Evans, he just managed to give the man out of time a gravitas and a heart, even when he's not saying anything at all. The other part is definitely the writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who just seem to get this character and write him in a way that appeals to me.

I'm also not really sure how you could get to the end of this movie and not be on the side of Captain America... I mean, yes, he was always going to be the hero of his own movie, but he's just right (at least 80-90% anyway).

Generally I don't mind Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of Iron Man in his own movies... but in any of the ensemble movies he just always seems to come off as a petulant, whiny child who can't deal with his own feelings. It's the same in this movie... without spoiling anything, he's made to feel bad about his actions in one of the earlier movies, and instead of saying "yes, your son died, and I'm very sorry, but we also stopped a crazed AI (which I also happened to build, soz) from attempting to wipe out all life on earth", he seems to decide that since he clearly needs to be held accountable for his long string of unwise, childish and petulant decisions, then so do the rest of the Avengers.

Captain America, naturally, feels differently, and hence Civil War ensues.

The movie also makes sense to be from the perspective of a movie within that cinematic universe. The one thing I end up thinking in any of the stand alone movies is "hey, why don't you just call up your super powered friends and ask them for help"... but they don't, because budget and stuff, but it doesn't make a lot of sense narratively. Granted this movie is a little bit like "Avengers 2.5" given that pretty much everybody except for Thor and Hulk make an appearance, but having them there just makes sense. Captain America exists in this world with all of these other characters (and they keep on introducing new ones, which I'll get to in a minute), and while it was great last time to have Falcon and Black Widow around, you do start to feel the spaces where it would make sense for other characters to be when they're not there.

Speaking of the new guys... both Black Panther and Spider-Man make an appearance here, mostly so that they can introduce them before spinning them off (no Spider-pun intended) into their own movies. And I'm not going to lie, I'm more than a little bit in love with Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa aka Black Panther. Not just because he's gorgeous, but also because he's really interesting in the role (there's an especially sweet exchange between him and his father early in the movie), and I can't wait to see what he does with his own movie in 2018.

As the youngest Spider-Man we've seen so far, I'm not completely sure about Tom Holland yet. He could be really good when he gets his own movie in 2017, but I feel like it will depend on the writers quite a lot. In this instance he comes off a little too much as quippy comic relief, and they either played up the really, really young thing or made him a little bit annoying at times. Holland does feel the right amount of adorkable for the role though, but given that the first Andrew Garfield reboot was my favourite movie from 2012, he has some bit spider-shoes to fill.

Given the sheer number of characters in these movies now, it's hard to mention everyone, but I have to call out Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow... firstly I love the chemistry that she has with Evans... it's not romantic or sexual, it's camaraderie, they are friends and genuinely care about each other. But also because there's just something about Johansson as Romanoff that works within this series... it may be cause she's the one who always seems to be pointing out to the other characters when they're getting in their own way, she's their Jiminy Cricket if you will... I don't know exactly, I just know that I love what she does in the role and what the writers give her to do and say.

In fact, all the women, although there are only three characters with any degree of screen time... Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter aka Agent 13 are all great in their respective roles (which is more than I can say for some of the guys).

The action sequences are fairly strong and because these are all mostly established characters you don't need to spend any time setting up what they can do, you can just jump straight in there (although there is one really, really clunky line that's given to Scarlet Witch where she literally says "you guys remember I can move stuff with my mind, right"... and it's a line they really should have cut in favour of just showing it.

But the sequence that works the best, and really the one that everyone paid their money to see is the one where the two groups take each other on. And it's slightly unique within the movie universe where a group of uniquely superpowered individuals take on another group of similarly but differently powered individuals and really let their powers out to play. That kind of thing is fairly common on the comics, where the good guys take on supervillain groups regularly, but we've only seen it in a smaller sense in the movies to this point.

And it works pretty damn well I have to say.

It's the final showdown that's the most impactful though... I won't spoil anything about it, but it's like nothing I've seen in a Marvel movie yet, and I can't help but feel that it's going to ripple through the MCU for a number of future movies.

And while it's got some strong competition, I feel like this is the best of the Marvel movies so far.

yani's rating: 5 Sokovian Accords out of 5

photo saturday: similes

standing mastsstanding grass

yellow petalsyellow stripes
This week was blessedly short... but not without impact.

My Moroccan Sweet Potato soup worked out decidedly well... partly because it was almost entirely sweet potato (and single ingredient soups tend to work well), with an addition bit of spring onion and an apple just because.

Monday was a public holiday and I pretty much watched YouTube videos and played Assassin's Creed all day. But I did just need a day off from my life in general, so it worked out just fine.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all just rinse and repeat days... With the added bonus of encouraging people not to do the stupid thing and instead do the not stupid thing. To be honest this had varying degrees of success depending on the level of stupid involved.

Friday I had a day off. Had I remembered that this week had Anzac Day in it (yeah I know, it's the same date every year, but it generally slips my mind) I probably would have arranged for my second tattoo appointment to be on a different day, but that's just the way it worked out.

The appointment was at 9am, so while I had a little bit of a sleep in, I pretty much just did the usual morning thing and then headed down the road.

I was perfectly on time, but my tattoo artist wasn't... Which is fine, it ended up being closer to half past by the time he'd arrived and then set up all his stuff and then we were off. You know, even though this is a giant tattoo, I didn't expect it to take as long as it did and then still not be finished after four hours. We still have most of the raven's head to finish, and the highlights on all the feathers and the coloured smoke/mist to deal with (and make a final decision about colour... it's a toss up between that acid green/chartreuse that I like and a purple/magenta colour), but overall I'm pretty happy with where we are.

And to be honest, after four hours I was pretty much wiped out. The pain I could handle for the most part but just laying on one side and the fact my body wanted to distort into a bad shape while he was working on my arm meant that I needed to take a few breaks and I was kind of glad we called it quits when we did.

Tom was fantastic once again though. I just let him get on with things and stuck my headphones in... popping in or out occasionally when the conversation in the room picked up, or as it did at one point, got a little "salty". I always feel like operative behind enemy lines when I'm in a room full of straight guys like that... it's just weird.

I have to say that Oreth (or Ori for short... yes, I named the raven... I was always going to, but this was a name I'd invented for something else and I suddenly realised it just worked for the raven) is looking good, and I'm happier with him now than I was after the linework. He's turning out more like what I had in my head I guess... and a couple of the issues I had were fixed up by Tom with no drama.

Given that I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since breakfast (my own fault... next time I will definitely take water and probably snacks, even though I would imagine it's going to be a shorter session), and I'd spent the whole time being repeatedly stabbed with needles, when we finished at 2pm I was unsurprisingly ravenous and feeling a little wobbly to be honest.

I drove home, detoured over to the shops to grab some food and essentially came home, ate all the food and then curled up to watch a movie. I think that my body possibly went into shock a little... I felt kind of fevery and a little out of sorts all night.

Sleep was slightly more of an issue than it was with the linework obviously. Turning over was something entered into with much forethought (fortunately I'm not a big one for tossing and turning in my sleep, I probably only to a couple of rotations during the night), but wasn't too bad to be honest. And I'd put a towel down across the bed to make sure I didn't get shmutz all over the bed, only to discover that I actually had marks on the underside of the quilt cover. Oops. But it's my least favourite bedding and the one I put on specifically to deal with the tattoo fallout, so I can't complain too much. Plus I'm pretty sure it will wash out fine.

Given that I couldn't be bothered doing much of anything on Friday night, I actually got my butt into gear early this morning and dealt with the sink full of dirty dishes I'd been avoiding and generally sorted out the apartment.

When Ma came down I showed her Ori and then we headed off for shopping. This week's soup is TBA... as in "to be advised"... I bought a range of things and I'm not completely sure what I'm going to combine into soup tomorrow. I feel like it's probably going to end up being either a generic vegetable soup or a chicken soup... depends on how I feel tomorrow night.

After we'd done the supermarket thing and come back here for the unpacking and suchlike, we decided that since we had not much in the way of plans but the whole day to kill (as we had tickets for the last show of the latest Unseen Theatre Company show at The Bakehouse), we should probably go to the movies.

First we stopped off at Bunnings to see if they had the tap extension hose that I wanted... they did... kind of. It's not exactly like the one I had in mind, but it will do. And then we stopped at the framing place to see if the artwork I dropped off to be framed was ready. Technically yes, although the lovely woman who owns the place with her husband wouldn't give it to me since she noticed that there was a mark on the inside of the glass from somebody's fingers... so we need to go back next weekend to pick it up after she's made them fix it.

Since we were already heading that way, we continued on to Arndale, had a bit of a wander and then went off to see Captain America: Civil War (#teamcap... but more on that later)... after the movie we came back to my place, just chilled out for a while until it was time to head off to get some dinner.

Actually we were probably about a hour too early really... so after a nice meal at Fasta Pasta we had a wander from The Bakehouse all the way down to Rundle Street and back again... and still had about half an hour to kill before the play (more on that later too).

But all in all, it was a good day.

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photo saturday: service

not merely about losssailor memorial

shrine4000 service medals
I really, really need to get more sleep. This week has been a total disaster area when it came to me getting to bed any time before about 12:30am (I'm blaming YouTube... but really, I just need to shut the videos off and go the fuck to bed)... which given that I need to be up early in the morning meant that I've been somewhat sleep deprived. Which generally means I've been a little punchy all week too.

And everybody at work is also a little punchy in the lead up to the end of this project, so, yeah... it's all a little weird right now.

Thankfully, Monday is a public holiday for Anzac Day, and then on Friday I have the day off for my second tattoo session. My bank balance may not be especially pleased about that the following week, but I kind of need the break.

My potato soup last week turned into potato, bacon, leek, parsnip, turnip and corn soup... and some of the excess filled in for pasta sauce when I couldn't be bothered cooking anything properly around the middle of the week.

This week I'm probably going for a Moroccan sweet potato soup... or Spanish... Ma brought down a new flavour of the Campbell's Soup Stock this week, and while I originally wanted to do Moroccan, I'm undecided at this point.

Otherwise this week hasn't been particularly interesting. Get up, go to work, work for 8 hours, walk home, vegetate in front of the computer, go to bed, repeat until insane.

This morning wasn't the usual Saturday though. Ma was getting her hair did, so I was on my own... which as always meant that I didn't get my ass into gear as early as I should have. But after I'd had my shower, I opened the blinds in the bedroom and realised that there was something blocking some of the light in one of the windows.

It turned out to be a package from Amazon (Golden Girls Forever, because why wouldn't I want to own that), who I told at some point that it was okay to leave the parcels if I wasn't home, so this particular postman decided the best way to do that was to put the package inside my bedroom window between the flyscreen and the frame. Which would be fine, except for the fact that I have no fucking idea how long it had been there.

I'm guessing it was only delivered on Friday, but to be honest it probably could have been delivered at any point in the last week, and it's just been sitting there since then. Actually, based on the sticker on the parcel, it could have been delivered at any point between 11 April and now... but I like to think I would have actually noticed it at some point if it had been there for more than a day.

Weird.

I managed to complete my shopping in record time, as I always do when I shop on my own. Ma messaged me while I was still right at the beginning of my shop to say she was on her way down, and I still had time to finish the whole supermarket, drive home and unpack about three quarters of my purchases.

When Ma did arrive, once again we didn't really have a plan for what to do with the day, so we ended up heading out to Marion, partially to check the route, partially because we've kind of decided that Movie Tuesday needs to be placed in the "not right now" column, and if we want to see something at the movies, we do it on a Saturday and either go to Marion or Arndale (because they both take pretty much the same length of time from my new place, although there are a hell of a lot of roadworks between here and Arndale right at the moment, so Marion seems like it could be a better plan.

There wasn't anything on at the movies that we wanted to see though (I mean there was Jungle Book but neither of us are particularly thrilled by the idea), so we just did our usual wander from one end to the other (which essentially goes something like, walk from A to B on the ground floor, then come upstairs and walk from C to D, then turn around and walk from D to C, go back downstairs and walk from B to A... there's a lot of visits to shops in between, but that's the basic idea).

The thing about Marion is it's always a very different class of people from the ones I run into anywhere else... or else they're just concentrated. There's always a lot of visible tattoos (not that there's anything wrong with that, I now have partially visible tattoos), I noticed a higher rate of unnaturally coloured hair than I would normally see and the percentage of hot boys is significantly higher.

We weren't really on the lookout for anything much beyond a couple of DVDs for Ma, but I did find a tea strainer (which I wouldn't have done if the girl in Harris Scarfes hadn't engaged me in conversation about the fact that they didn't have one... which led me to notice that they actually did over on the wall... which was a surprise for both of us). Yes, my life is just that exciting.

As usual we stopped for lunch about halfway through, and then once we'd made it from A to D and back again, we called it a day.

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photo saturday: crenulations

trianglesmerlons

finialsfactory
The word for this week is frustrating... mostly vaguely frustrating and predominately self inflicted but still...

As such, I'm going to skip most of the crazy I made myself throughout the week. Suffice to say, I went for a day trip to crazy town without knowing that's where I was going, but once I realised I booked my return ticket pretty much right away.

This week's soup, chicken and vegetable, was pretty damn successful... although I cooked what is most commonly referred to as a metric fuckton of it. So much so that it was within an inch of the top of the giant soup pot that I have. And that was without putting the chicken breasts in to poach (I had to poach them separately as it turns out). And I only blended three quarters of the soup, so it still had some vegetable chunks in it along with the chicken.

As mentioned above, the week was mostly frustrating, but otherwise kind of dull.

So, yeah, really not much else to say about the week itself.

Today was likewise slightly boring... we did the usual shopping thing this morning, and as it turn out I didn't really buy all that much stuff beyond what I need for making a potato, bacon and leek (plus probably corn and parsnip and in all likelihood, cheese) soup tomorrow. Then it was back here to unpack, and since we didn't really have any plans, I ended up washing all my dishes and getting things a little more organised in the kitchen (saves me having to do it tonight/tomorrow morning).

It was definitely one of those days where we sit and look at each other and go "so...", with neither of us having any real need to shop anywhere or desire to go anywhere.

In the end we kind of just went with a trip into the city, mostly for the wandering around, but also so that we could go and have lunch at Burger Theory.

I did end up buying some new jeans and picked up another one of the packs with the shampoo, conditioner, hair product and shave cream in it... and I just did the math real quick... the individual items add up to $104, but the pack only costs $40... which says quite a bit about how much they mark those items up when they're selling them on their own. It also means that those packs are always worth picking up whenever I see them.

From there it was mostly just random wandering until we grabbed some lunch at Burger Theory. The Burger of the Month isn't one of those flavour profiles (and yes, I know how wanky that sounds) that hits you over the head or is rapturous from the first bite, but if it was on the standard Burger Theory menu, I feel like it's something I would gravitate back to. It's the Burgza... a beef patty, marinara tomato sauce, fresh basil, mozzarella and salami chips. A good, solid BOTM.

And that was about it really... so, yeah, generally this week, a little bit blah.

Oh, and for the exactly none of you wondering... the tattoo is progressing nicely. The sunburned arm feeling faded pretty quickly, it still needs cream on it a couple of times a day and whenever it gets all dry and horrible, but otherwise it's doing well.

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movies: kung fu panda 3

kung fu panda 3 - grab destiny by the dumplings
At the end of Kung Fu Panda 2 (spoilers), we discover that Po's father and a whole valley full of pandas is out there in the world... setting the scene for Kung Fu Panda 3.

Add to that another powerful villain (who actually feels less fleshed out than the previous two) and Po learning yet another important lesson about himself.

I'm a little conflicted about this instalment to be honest. Of the three the second is still my favourite, and this definitely had it's moments (and was a visual feast, as these movies always are when viewed on the big screen), but it did feel slightly like something we've seen before.

I also felt a little like they squandered some of the potential of the pandas from the way they were shown at the end of the second movie. There seemed to be a something more refined about them in that very short scene, whereas in 3, they're played a little like clowns or kind of stupid... essentially a village full of personalities similar to Po's.

To me, Po works better when he's surrounded by characters who are nothing like him, rather than ones who are.

Having said all of that, the ending of the movie is actually really strong and quite lovely, they're solid voice work from all the usual cast (although Lucy Lui's Viper gets somewhat short-changed this time around... and Jackie Chan's Monkey only ever gets a handful of lines). We also have the addition of Bryan Cranston as Po's father and J.K. Simmons (who was also in Zootopia) as the villain, Kai.

As I mentioned before, Kai feels a little underdeveloped... in the first one you got Tai Lung's quest for revenge of a wrong he felt was dealt to him... in the second you understood Shen's lust for power and more power and more power... this time... yeah, I dunno. Granted his powers were pretty cool, but I couldn't really tell you his specific "why". It did feel a little like they'd just merged the Tai Lung and Shen motivations.

I was also a little surprised to see Kate Hudson's name in the role of Mei Mei (the femme fatale panda), partly because I would have sworn she was voiced by Margaret Cho.

All in all it was a nice enough movie and it rounds out the trilogy (although supposedly there are more coming) fairly nicely. But I still prefer number 2.

yani's rating: 3 dumplings out of 5

photo saturday: feathered

steel angel wingspelican monochrome

holy wingmetal angel michael
This week is the first full length week in three weeks. I'm totally not a fan of full length weeks any more... too hard. Although I did take a half day off on Thursday (more on that later)...

I spent a good portion of the week feeling more than a little shithouse... I think I came down with a minor bout of the flu or something... so I wasn't feeling on the top of my game for most of the week... fortunately the worst of it seems to be over, and hopefully I manage to avoid it again for the rest of Winter.

tomato (and bacon) soup
On Sunday I made a giant kickass batch of tomato (and bacon) soup... added in some spices and whatnot, and a whole bunch of parsley, was very tasty. I do need to workshop a new set of containers to take it to work in though... I ended up carrying them all in in a small cooler bag so I could do them all at once and not have to take one in every day, but the shape of the containers (cylinders) made it more difficult to pack than had they been flat rectangles. There may need to be a side trip to the Central Market sooner rather than later to see what they have in a flat, rectangular container in the 750 to 1000ml range.

I started the second Will Kostakis book, Sidekicks... and I'm loving it to bits. I think I like The First Third more from a story perspective, but this is still fantastic.

I'm also completely obsessed with the podcast 99% Invisible... I'm mainlining all the episodes currently one after the other during my bus rides to work and my walks home. It's all about weird little quirks of architecture and design... or more accurately, how people interact with those quirks. And the host, Roman Mars (I know, it's just the best name ever), has one of those voices you want to listen to endlessly.

Work was pretty much just work... there were a couple of days that were somewhat light on, but again I'm pretty sure that this is just the calm before the proverbial storm once the other project launches. Then all the work that other people have been doing will end up with my team. Joy.

My standing desk continues to be both good and make me glad to sit down at the end of the day.

To be honest, nothing much happened this week until the end of the week... when everything seemed to happen all at once.

Wednesday was slightly weird, but ended up as a good thing... Owlgirl came back from getting something to eat and she'd gotten one of the awesome homemade sausage rolls from a place down the street... which made me suddenly want a sausage roll. So I headed down the street to get one, only to find the shop deserted. The door was open, music was on, but not a single staff member to be seen anywhere.

So I waited... and I waited... and I called out "hello"... and I waited... and another customer came in to buy a small iced coffee... and still no staff. Had I had the right change, I may have grabbed one of the sausage rolls and left the money on the counter, but I didn't, plus witnesses are never good. So instead I just left. And I think I saw the owner (who only bought the place reasonably recently) standing and talking to one of the Big Issue guys in the street. Yeah, buddy, you're going to be out of business in about six months you keep this shit up. I've already stricken the place from my mental rolodex.

sausage roll realness
However, this lead to an unfulfilled craving for sausage rolls, which then resulted in me stopping off at Coles on my way home (have I mentioned I miss the North Adelaide Foodland?) and buying the ingredients to make sausage rolls. And Coles happen to have "gourmet sausage mince", so I gave that a go (not sure how different it really is to be honest). As I mentioned last time when I made the cookies, while I hate my giantic oven, I love the fact I can get a whole fuckton of stuff in there all at once. And I hate that I love that.

Anyway, the sausage rolls were a great success, I probably ate more than I should have, took a couple in for a few select people at work (ie the ones who begged beforehand when I said I was making them) and still had enough left over for dinner on Thursday, and part of dinner Friday.

Thursday I left work at lunchtime, walked home, ran a couple of errands and then headed off to Progression Tattoo to finally get my cover-up done. When I got there, my artist, Tom, came out to see me and show me the design he'd done. And it was pretty much everything I didn't want. Argghh! Drama! However he was really cool about the whole thing and went and got some paper and we talked through what I was thinking, he went away found a photo that was more in the ballpark and then drew something up for me on the spot. Talk about good service.

I was much happier with the second version, and after some back and forth about a couple of other bits, he drew up the final version and we got started.

raven tattoo
Now, I'd always intended for it to be a big tattoo, covering pretty much my whole upper arm... but holy shit it's massive. But it peaks out the bottom of my shirt, which is one of the things I wanted.

The worst parts were, as always, the very beginning and the very end. Mostly, I think, because in both instances he was mostly working around the edges, which meant that he was tattooing the soft, tender skin on the inner/outer extremes of my arm, and owie. Holy fuckballs owie to be exact.

When I go back for the colour (this was just the outline and some shading), I think I might just take some headphones and either listen to podcasts or rock the Journey game soundtrack... podcasts might be better for keeping me distracted, although the Wrestlemania they had on the teevee in the big room was doing a reasonable job of that for the most part.

Weirdly, beyond it hurting in the spot he's actively tattooing, it never really hurts until after he's finished. I'm going to chalk that up to the endorphins. And it's not like it really "hurts", I always equate it to a reasonable sunburn... it's more that your skin is really hot, and anything touching it is a little painful, especially hot water.

I was there from 2:30 to around 5:45pm, but because he had to redraw the design we really didn't get started until just after 3:15, so it was a couple of hours of solid work. It's still working it's way through the angry red phase at the moment, and it still feels hotter than the rest of my skin, but overall it's not too bad.

From there I came home, had a shower, ate some leftover sausage rolls for dinner and then headed back out to Tink's place to get my hair did.

Short version, we tweaked the cut a little... the colour remains the same (although I am considering going back to my natural colour at some stage just to see if I've actually gone all grey and shit).

Otherwise it was pretty much business as usual. She cut hair, we chatted.

Friday was a fairly quiet day at work, but I got a call first thing in the morning about moving my chiro appointment back an hour and seeing the other chiro... so after work I wandered down to the Mall, poked around the shops for a bit and then had my appointment. That led to more poking around afterwards and I picked up one of those American Crew value packs at Priceline, which is always good.

But given that it's no longer Daylight Savings, it meant that by the time I got home just before 7pm it was already dark, and had been for the majority of my walk.

Today was semi-productive but overly a little dull.

Ma came down as usual, I seriously need to get back into the groove of not only being ready when she arrives but also having tidied up a little... I'll get there... I just need to get my butt into gear in the mornings.

I will say that Ma's reaction to my tattoo wasn't exactly what I expected (I was expecting "it's very big") but it was in the ballpark (a lot of "oh my goodness").

Anyway, we headed off to the supermarket, and did the usual kind of shop, at least usual in relation to the new supermarket. Once of the annoying things, a little like when I was trying to find stuff in Coles on Wednesday, is that I don't automatically know where everything is. Both of my old regular supermarkets I knew where things were... I might not know exactly where every individual product was, but I knew what aisle things were in.

I'm planning on making a big old batch of vegetable soup, throw in some chicken breasts, then blend it down and throw the chicken back in... I still haven't perfected my chicken soup, but I'll have another crack at it.

After we'd come back and unpacked things, we realised that we really didn't have all that much we wanted or needed to do... so after a quick visit to the Village to pick up my dry cleaning and some things on special at Coles, we came back here and Ma went through the boxes of my artwork, cataloguing where everything was while I made some kind of headway on sorting some other stuff out, and moving yet more stuff around. Like I said, productive, but dull.

And that was it really... that actually lasted for a good chunk of the afternoon, until I was over it, and then I sent Ma on her merry way.

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photo saturday: lines and curves

lion stripesart skirt

flinders ceilingtemple scales
For another short week, this one has felt much longer than it should have.

I managed to do a whole lot of nothing particularly interesting on both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday... in fact the only time I left the apartment was to take things down to the rubbish bin, and I only bothered to have one shower in the 48 hour period. And I played about six straight hours of Assassin's Creed: Unity on Sunday afternoon.

I also discovered, quite by accident that my very pretty, very retro telephone that I bought from eBay after I moved into the old apartment, suddenly and for no discernible reason, no longer works. Well, you can call it and it rings, but when you pick it up there's no dial tone and if it does ring, the person on the other end can hear you but you can't hear them.

I'm guessing maybe something went wrong with the earpiece, but I have no idea what or if it's even fixable. So I'm now using a spare phone Ma had, which is a horrid beige lump of uninterestingness... but at least I can hear things on the very rare occasion I actually get a call.

Of course, now that Ma has finished searching for a new phone, looks like I'm going to be picking up that hunt myself. Or, like last time, I'm just going to end up on eBay again.

I also ended up making all of the cookies from the pre-made dough I had in the freezer once it defrosted on Monday. And because my oven is so fucking massive, and the tray thing that came in it was likewise massive, I did the whole thing in two batches (whereas the old oven I would have been lucky to do it in about ten... or else I would have overcrowded the trays and would have ended up with one giant cookie each time. They didn't turn out too bad... they're actually better once they've been in airtight containers for a little while... more chewy, less hard.

Other than that, some additional pottering around the house and finally putting together the Lego Scooby Doo Mystery Machine set I got at Christmas, there isn't much else to report.

Work was occasionally frustrating, but overall busy enough to keep my occupied. I still like my standing desk, although there may be a little too much standing for my poor old feet. I should probably should sit down more in the afternoons... but then I feel slightly guilty, and I've been standing up all day so far.

We also had drama with the work email system on Friday... I was the only one who could get into the communal email box for my team, and none of us could sent emails on behalf of that box. Hopefully it sorts itself out over the weekend and will be all up and running properly on Monday.

Today was possibly a little too much shopping...

I wasn't anywhere near organised by the time Ma got here... In fact I was still finishing making the bed, so we were a little later getting started than usual.

After having left over tuna mornay all week, I figure that it's as good a time as any to leap back into soup season... if for no other reason than I'm officially bored with salad. So I'm making a tomato soup this week. Possibly way too much tomato soup based on the number of tomatoes I bought. And also with considerable bacon, if I decide to use all the bacon.

Otherwise the supermarket was fairly standard.

After the usual unpacking and whatnot, we settled on a trip to IKEA so Ma could look at spice racks... on the way we first dropped into Haighs to ransack their collection of broken Easter eggs (although in the case of the milk chocolate, it ended up being broken and decapitated duckies) and then headed to our regular framing shop so that I could get the Martin Bedolla artwork I bought last year in Inktober framed.

And I've been there so many times now I didn't even wait for him to come and assist me, I just grabbed the matting I was thinking about to see if it worked (black with a very fine gold undermatt, it worked)... and as usual I went with simple, flat, matt black framing like most of the things I get framed. It's probably the easiest sale he has all day since I generally know what I want right away and all he has to do it write it up.

Then there was much wandering around IKEA, and possibly a little bit of buying things I'm not entirely sure I needed (but it was mostly storage stuff, so it probably won't go to waste). And you would think that the little strainer/plug things that go in sinks were something you could just buy... like they'd have a big tub full of them somewhere, all ready to go... but no, turns out you can only buy one if you buy the whole plumbing part part... the drain hole if you will. Thankfully the whole thing only cost $10, which is what I would have expected to pay for the plug anyway.

I was a little annoyed they no longer sell the very functional and cheap Nyttja frames, instead replacing them with the Fiskbo, which comes in the same colour range, but the frames are no longer completely flat. And if there's one thing that I like, it's a nice flat frame. Had I known they were phasing them out, I would have gone in and bought a couple of full sets of them, just so that I had them. I have a couple of spares still... but in some ways it's good that I don't really have that much wall space, it means I won't need to get any of those frames.


Ma didn't manage to find a spice rack, so we detoured around to Howard's Storage World at Mile End... where they had a spice rack that was pretty much what she was looking for. We also saw a couple of other things, but they were out of one of the containers Ma wanted, but they did at the Norwood store, so we headed on over there.

Every Saturday morning we go to the Baker's Delight on The Parade, which also happens to be right next to Nordburger... which I've wanted to try for a while now... but of course 8am really isn't the time... but since we were in the neighbourhood, we decided to drop in for lunch.

We went with the Nordburger, just to check out what the baseline was. With the tater tots... because it's fun to say tater tots. And a salted caramel shake... which was actually quite nice. Without sounding like a bitch, I have to say that it all ended up tasting a little bit "Burger Theory-lite"... the Nordburger was kind of like a mash-up between the Number 1 burger and the Pearl's cheeseburger... the "fry sauce" that I got with the tater tots was very close to Truck Sauce. The three main flaws were that the tater tots weren't overly hot, the burger patty was a little too squashed flat (tasty though, just really, really, really flat) and the bun could have done with about 30 seconds on the grill, just to warm it through slightly and take the slight damp feeling out of the bottom half.

I am really, really fussy when it comes to burgers though... but unlike most places where I'm all "yeah, nah", I could see myself going back to Nordburger at some point. Not regularly, but I wouldn't object to a return visit.

And that was about it really. A little bit more of a spendy day that I'd intended... but not a bad one.

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lego minifigure series - disney

Okay, let's just get this out of the way right away... I'm so freaking excited for this set of Lego/Disney minifigures. Not all of them mind you, but just the fact that they're doing them at all, and they haven't even done all the characters they could have done... I'm excited.

Let's back up a bit... there's been the rumour that Lego was going to produce a Disney themed set of minifigures for a while now, but it was only when a really bad quality version of an ad showed up a few weeks back that it seemed like it was going to be a reality.

I'm a Disneyphile, always have been... not to a scary or excessive amount, but I have a small collection of Stitches, Tinkerbells and Maleficents, Ursulas and Wicked Queens (well, Queen singular to be honest), and I've seen pretty much every Disney animated movie at one time or another, so this set is going to be right up my alley.

And the set is made up of...
  • Syndrome (The Incredibles)
  • Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
  • Aladdin (Aladdin, dur)
  • Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
  • Donald Duck
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Daisy Duck
  • Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Stitch (Lilo & Stitch)
  • Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
  • Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
  • The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Peter Pan (Peter Pan, also dur)
  • Mr Incredible/Bob Parr (The Incredibles)
  • Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)
  • Green Alien (Toy Story)
  • Genie (Aladdin)

I'm also going to need to get three Stitches, Maleficents and Ursulas (one for the set, one for work and one to sit with my Stitch and Villainess collections). It's a definite toss up between Stitch and Maleficent as to which is my favourite of the whole set, But I also really like Peter, Buzz and the skirt design on Alice/Minnie... maybe they can finally do away with those dumb cloth/paper skirts we usually end up with.

Weirdly, the four minifigs I'm not really bothered about are Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy. I get why they're there, but m'eh. Especially Mickey and Daisy, they're just boring designs from the neck down.

What I find most interesting though is that the set practically screams sequel. There's a Maleficent but no Sleeping Beauty, a Buzz but no Woody, Stitch by no Lilo, no Mrs Incredible, no Jasmin, no Tinkerbell. I'm guessing sales of this set will determine whether we get a second one.

Now I just need to wait until May...

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lego: the mystery machine

With everything that has been going on since before Christmas, the Lego Scooby Doo set, The Mystery Machine, has been waiting for me to find the right time to put it together.

This afternoon, after I finally unpacked some other tchotchkes, I figured it was a good time... so I broke out the card table and got to work...

I was a big Scooby Doo fan when I was a kid (specifically of Scooby Doo Where Are You?)... even though every episode is essentially the exact same thing repeated over and over again... so I couldn't resist getting one of the Scooby sets when they came out.

And the Mystery Machine seemed the best set, as it was self contained and really, the Mystery Machine is just iconic.

The set comes with Freddy, Shaggy, Scooby Doo, the Mystery Machine and a haunted tree with a zombie. Given the plot of the old Scooby Doo episodes usually included something that glowed, I'm kind of surprised that they didn't make the zombie's head and hands and the trees eyes glow in the dark.

It comes in three numbered bags, two instructions books and a set of stickers which are responsible for most of the design on both the outside and inside of the Mystery Machine.

Weirdly, all four minifigures aren't in the first bag, the first bag just holds Shaggy, Scooby and the bottom half of the Mystery Machine.

The back of the van is actually more cramped than I expected it to be, and the floor has a line of 2x1 white jumper plates which didn't make any sense until I realised that they let Scooby stand in the back.

One of my favourite features of this half of the set is the way the front and rear bumpers are made... they just look really spot on, especially with the light placement.

Bag two hold Freddy and the top half of the Mystery Machine... I forgot to take a shot of the first bag knolled out... but here's my rough and ready version of knolling for the parts in the second bag.

One of the annoying things is that while there's space for other accessories (a flashlight and a camera) built into the design of the van, the newpaper and magnifying glass that come with Freddy don't have any specific place to go.

In the end I stuck the newspaper in the gap between the front and back of the van and gave Shaggy the magnifier to hold.

To increase the playability of the set, it's been designed so that the back folds out and shows off the stickers on the inside as well as allowing access to all the details.

As far as the outside is concerned, I was a little disappointed that the hubcaps don't actually spin along with the wheels... the axles are fixed and the hubcaps are attached to them, so the wheels spin independently. It's a small detail, but it would have been nice.

The back of the van contains the two pinboard stickers, a tape deck with speakers, two computer monitors, a sink and tap and a stove complete with glowing orange elements. Oh and a hamburger (without any meat, weirdly).

The final bag includes the roof on the van, the haunted tree and the zombie...

There's a small detail on the back of the zombie's head that I love (although I didn't get it in a photo), which is what looks like a flap of skin held in place with two buttons or rivets. I don't know if it's supposed to indicate that it's a mask, but it's just a really nice detail.

And here's the haunted tree... and the back, which shows that not everything is as it seems... also The MacGuffin Diamond, which I assume is what the real estate developer or fairground owner or hotel manager who's under the zombie mask was after all along.

The haunted tree also involves big claw arms and branches with some articulation... and a screen with a diagram of the Mystery Machine on it and a bunch of levers and switches.

I also took some beauty shots on a green background...

I like the shot on the left, it's a simple shot, but it just looks really cool... and the shot on the right shows the alternate faces on the backs of Shaggy and Freddy's heads. I do kind of feel that the expressions should be the other way around, with Shaggy more freaked out and Freddy just unhappy.

The roof of the Mystery Machine is only held in place with two studs, again to aid playability and access to the inside of the van.

And the overall shape of the van is pretty much spot on, so the whole thing would be instantly recognisable even without the stickers I think. 

Here's Shaggy and Freddy with the flashlight (made from a lightsaber handle), and the camera... plus the square lettuce, cheese and tomato hamburger.

The last shot is the Mystery Machine standing on it's end, showing off the details as seen from above. The beige square is the hamburger, and you can just see where I put the newspaper, and Shaggy holding the magnifying glass.

It's a cute set, and this is the only one that includes Freddy... whereas Shaggy and Scooby appear in all four sets in the range.

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