photo friday: snapshots

hang on chuck!i want that crate

by the rivers of babylon, there we sat downi scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream
Coming home after work was a little bit like Christmas... there were three "we tried to deliver your parcel" messages in my mailbox... granted one of them was a private company which I won't get until Monday, but I did get my parcel from Bonds and one of my inexpensive eBay purchases.

Of course the good also came along with a letter from Origin saying that they were providing my electricity. My first response was "what the actual fuck", since I moved my account with AGL over from the old apartment and have the paperwork to prove it.

But after some investigation it turns out that somebody at AGL fucked up and I've just randomly been getting electricity without having an account for five months now, and nobody bothered to tell me about it til now. Like seriously, what the fuck? Is that any way to run a business? We'll just give you free electricity without asking you to pay. I mean I got a message from them within a couple of weeks about the extra gas supply (which only just got fixed, so now there's this drama), why did the electricity thing take so long.

My first reaction was to say that I didn't want an Origin electricity account, I've always been with AGL and so I just automatically assumed that I'd stick with them, but given that when I tried to call their call centre at 5:05pm tonight I ended up at the emergency contact number, as their accounts department had all gone home. Again I say "what the fucking fuckitty fuck?". That and the fact that they completely fucked up the ONE JOB that they had (ie transfer my account to the new apartment) makes me think I should just switch over to Origin.

At least they answer the phone when you call.

I also went looking for a birthday card for Ma at lunchtime... it was a late lunch, so you'd think the shops would have been quiet... but no, I managed to want service in places where there was only one staff member and someone being served who just had to ask all the dumb questions and take a million years.

So while I got a card, I gave up on the other thing I was looking for. And I'm not completely sure about it anyway. Permit me to think aloud for a moment... I want to get Ma something to say thank you for everything she did while I wasn't working... and trust me, it was a lot. Every day after work I walk past this place that's basically full of random tchotchkes, including the Willow Tree figures, which Ma already has a few of. So I was thinking about one of those... but I can't find one that says what I want it to say and also is something Ma would like the look of.

Clearly if I'm not sure about it there must be something better out there somewhere... but I only have a week before her birthday.

Hopefully inspiration will strike sometime next week.

Otherwise, it's been a fairly average week... average in so much as I've pretty much settled back into the groove at work. This week hasn't been as busy as the first two weeks, but it's going to get busier in the not too distant future so I'm enjoying the quiet. I am having to battle with my own internal need to know everything that's going on and wanting to be included though, since there's a bunch of stuff going on that I'm not involved in and not supposed to be... it still makes my brain itch though.

And that's kind of it really for this week...

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random hedonist hotness

This week one of the people I follow on Twitter said... "I think the fact I daily think about the next tattoo is a sign that it's going to happen soon". And I know exactly what he means!

Not so much about the happening soon part, but I do think about my next tattoo on pretty much a daily basis. Unfortunately I haven't made a final decision on exactly what I want yet. At present my problem is I have too many ideas.

But unlike this week's Random Hotness, I don't think I have the commitment (not to mention the body) to get something as large as his chest piece (he also has a back piece that's around the same size).

This inked and pierced hotness is British model Stephen James, photographed here by Darren Black for Hedonist magazine.

stephen james by darren black for hedoniststephen james by darren black for hedonist

stephen james by darren black for hedoniststephen james by darren black for hedonist

stephen james by darren black for hedoniststephen james by darren black for hedonist

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movies: x-men: days of future past

x-men: days of future past - every hero, every power will unite
I had a realisation tonight during X-Men: Days of Future Past... I'm really sick of Wolverine.

Don't get me wrong, I've seen ALL the X-Men movies, even the profoundly disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine... and although I really enjoyed the latest solo outing for Jackman, The Wolverine... I'm tired of the character and his role in the movies.

All the movies end up revolving around him at some point, with the exception of X-Men: First Class, which I'll admit has grown on me significantly since I originally saw it.

Plus it didn't have Wolverine as the protagonist.

So if I'm being completely honest, XMDOFP (it's just quicker than the full title) was a little challenging for me from that perspective alone.

It also didn't feel like there was enough mutant superpowering going on... I mean I'm pretty sure there was, objectively speaking, but maybe it was just because it's the same old shapeshifting, magnetism and telepathy that seem to be the mainstay of these movies.

The only real time it felt like they took the effort to really celebrate a mutant's powers was the sequence with Evan Peters as Quicksilver, and then he drops out of the movie right after that.

I feel like XMDOFP combined the least interesting talkfest parts of First Class with a bunch of new mutants I didn't really care about (one of whom I forgot his mutant power half way through the movie and another I'm not completely sure what his specific power was supposed to be... both of whom I don't think are ever actually named in the movie itself).

Fortunately they're all in the future and the majority of the movie really happens back in the 70's. They did a good job with the 70's stuff I have to say... the costumes, the combination of actual footage from the time mixed with stuff that's made to look like 70's footage, so that you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.

And the costumes... just Jennifer Lawrence and Peter Dinklage's costumes alone (hers for the sheer range of stuff she wears, his for the fact that it's the quintessential 1970's suit).

But since I brought it up, can we just talk about Dinklage for a second. That man can seriously do ANYTHING. As far as I can tell there's nothing that says that his character, Bolivar Trask, is a dwarf, but it also feels exactly right... and whether that's just Dinklage or not I don't know, but it never feels like a gimmick or a freakshow.

I also think that he's the only actor that Lawrence doesn't act rings around... whether it's because they're not given a hell of a lot to do like Stewart and McKellen, or whether it's just because she seems to do a lot of the heavy lifting, script-wise.

Don't get me wrong, Ellen Page is also fantastic, but she doesn't have much to do beyond sit with her hands on either side of Wolverine's head.

I think this movie suffers from what a number of the previous X-Men movies suffered from, Too Many Characters With Nothing To Do. The writers and the director want to shove as many characters in as they can but that means that they either need to find something for them to do or else they are just there for the sake of being there. And given that everything needs to service the Wolverine plot (to be fair, he is, rightly or wrongly, the thing that drives this particular story along), there sometimes isn't enough time for some characters to get to do a lot.

Oh, and they screwed up the Beast makeup on Nicholas Hoult... in First Class he had a very bestial look, they altered his whole face, changed his nose and the fur had colour variation and depth. This time they essentially colour him blue. I couldn't work out why he didn't look right through the whole movie, but after seeing the side by side comparison on Google, it's blatantly obvious.

Weirdly, on the flip side of that, this is possibly some of the best Mystique makeup to date. In her blue form, Lawrence definitely looks more mature and you can see the transition from First Class to the Mystique of the original movies played by Rebecca Romijn.

Speaking of which, the next paragraph is a tad spoilery, so feel free to skip over it...

I actually could have done without the surprise cameos by Jean, Scott and Rogue at the end of the movie... those characters have been laid to rest, sometimes very literally, so I didn't really need to see them again. Plus it then opens up the whole "does this mean that the previous movies are no longer canon... did any of the stuff we've already seen actually happen". And I hate that in movies.

Spoilery stuff over with.

I really wish I had better things to say about this movie, but I just don't.

yani's rating: 2 sentinels out of 5

lego: chima legend beast gorilla

lego chima legend beast gorilla - da boxlego chima legend beast gorilla - outta da box
These Lego Chima Legend Beast sets are becoming something of an obsession... I can see myself ending up with the whole set, even though the lion seems too similar to the wolf and I don't really like the crocodile that much. It would be an interesting build though.

The Gorilla Beast set was a "Happy First Payday" present to myself after returning to work, and I decided to put it together yesterday afternoon.

lego chima legend beast gorilla - all sorted and ready to buildlego chima legend beast gorilla - gorzan suited up and ready to bash heads
There was actually supposed to be another photo of all the parts neatly knolled out, but it wouldn't upload for some unknown reason... fortunately I managed to get the laid out pieces in the background of the two shots of Gorzan.

I do quite like his little ape mask... and it's not just a repainted version of the Gorilla Suit Guy mask... or if it is, it looks completely different. And I also love his giant hammer.

The one thing I do wish was included in these sets was a storage spot for the weapons when the minifigs are in place on the beast, they all look a little silly carrying the weapons in situ.

lego chima legend beast gorilla - abs, hips and pelvislego chima legend beast gorilla - some sticker bling around the shoulders
The gorilla is a different build from either the eagle or the wolf if only because it's a vertical build rather than a horizontal one... first you build the abdomen, then the shoulders...

lego chima legend beast gorilla - now you see itlego chima legend beast gorilla - now it's a giant chest
Once the shoulders are in place, it's time to build the big barrel chest... oddly, given the stickers I thought that the minifig was going to perch on this side of the model, but he ended up on the back (which I also didn't get a shot of).

lego chima legend beast gorilla - headlesslego chima legend beast gorilla - growl
The head is one of my favourite pieces of this build... especially given that both the eyes and nose/mouth pieces are printed bricks and not stickers. Plus the head swivels really well.

lego chima legend beast gorilla - are those legs or vacuum cleaners?lego chima legend beast gorilla - standing tall
The legs are a little underdeveloped, especially after the wolf legs/claws and the eagle talons, these just feel like an afterthought.

Plus all of the gorilla's limbs have a weird range of motion... it's more a lateral range of motion than it is front to back, which doesn't allow for as much posing as it might otherwise of had if, say, the ball joints were part of the chest and the sockets were on the limbs.

lego chima legend beast gorilla - tickets to the gun showlego chima legend beast gorilla - gorilla smash
The arms did come out looking pretty nice... they're long enough so that he can actually lean forward and rest on them, which makes him much more stable than he might otherwise have been. Plus I'm a sucker for any set that includes the imaginatively named "Bad Robot Arm" pieces as fingers.

I also made a little stop motion video of this build on Instagram... it's not a piece by piece build, but it's not too bad for my first attempt.

Of the three Legend Beast sets I've made, this one probably comes in in last place, the eagle remains my favourite set, both from a build and finished look perspective but the wolf is pretty close behind. They are all nice little sets though, that are interesting to build and don't take up a ton of room once they're finished.

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brewing up some saturday shopping

retro meat housewife
Despite yesterday evening's somewhat drunken escapades, I bounced back pretty well this morning even though I woke up at 5:30am and couldn't really get back to sleep for the 45 mins before my alarm went off.

I'd say that I was maybe about 15% hungover... a little rough around the edges, but pretty functional over all.

That's the bonus to being a cheap drunk, it doesn't take much to get me plastered, so my body doesn't have that much to recover from.

I was still running somewhat behind by the time Ma got to my place though, but that was more because I was screwing around instead of getting ready.

But once I was ready we trundled off to the supermarket. Given that I went through almost all of the vegetables I bought last week on Sunday when I made the mother and father of all vegetable soups, so this week's shopping was definitely a bumper haul, especially because I'm planning on making an equally huge pot of stew tomorrow to give me lunches for at least the first half of next week. Generally I can do the same thing for lunch for about three days before I get sick of it, so it should all work out okay.

And fortunately this time I remembered all the things that I forgot to buy last week.

We also took a spin around Target as they were having a store-wide sale, so I picked up a few things... DVDs for Ma for her birthday, some socks and a couple of Lego sets, one just because and one for my desk at work. It was good to be able to do a little arbitrary spending without having to over-analyse it.

After stopping off on the way back here to pick up my dry-cleaning, there was the mammoth unpacking session and then we headed into the city as I wanted to hit T2 and we decided on the city so I could also check out the Great Balls of Fire lights at Bimbo.

When we got there the store was kind of packed with people, at least for the number of staff they have. And as much as I love T2... and I love it a lot... their graphic design choice to use white font no matter how pale the packaging colour is for that particular tea doesn't especially help when you're trying to find a particular tea in a large and somewhat dark store.

Also, would it kill them to put up some larger signs denoting what tea is in what area? Here is chai, here is green and white tea, here are the fruit tisanes, etc.

I wanted some of their Silver Needles white tea since I thoroughly enjoyed the sample packet I got when I bought my teacup. And Rockchick from work sent me on a mission to get her a big bag of green tea and a big bag of chai tea.

And of course, because I have severe champagne tastes (as in if something is expensive I'll like it, not because it's expensive, but in spite of that usually) a pack of the white tea cost the same as each of the other teas, but was a fifth the size.

I do like hanging out in T2 stores though, even with the lack of appropriate signage... they have a good vibe, and the one on Rundle Street is actually pretty spacious and has lots of cool displays full of funky teapots and teacups, plus they have all those samples of whatever blend is hot right now or cold, depending.

Once we were done in T2 and I'd spend an inordinately large amount of money (over half of which I'll get back on Monday at work), we wandered over to Bimbo... sadly they didn't have the lights I want, but that's okay, because internet.

We also had a quick look in Bauhaus... which is always a nice place to look, but I never feel particularly compelled or overly interested in buying anything from them.

As we headed back to the car we spotted the Bikes and Baristas event on Ebenezer Place for the Velo Fringe, and more specifically we spotted the Four Seeds stall... which is essentially like crack to us now. So we grabbed a couple of brownies and had a look around the event before calling it quits and heading back to the car.

Since it was only about lunchtime, we decided to drive out to Arndale... for no particular purpose, just as a thing to do. And that's pretty much what it was... something to do. I've been vaguely looking for a new jacket, something that's both work appropriate, casual enough for weekend wear and actually fits me properly. These three criteria are not easy to come by in a single jacket. Suffice to say I didn't find one at Arndale.

Mostly we just did the same circuit we always do and then called it a day.

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photo friday: azure skies

orthodox domeslight tower

copper edgemorning tower

playground weather vanesky trails
Hulloooooo! I'm a wee bit tispy, so this will probably be shortish and sweetish.

Starting with tonight and working backwards... we had a night at the pub after work partly to celebrate my return to The Nuthouse and other things that are reasons. We got there at around 4:20, I had beers that were an indeterminate number that was more than three and less than six, as well as a lemonade... and at the end it was me, H-San and Owlgirl, and I gave up at about 8:30... so a decent evening of drinking was had.

The second week of work was much like the first, only less scattered and for some reason seemed soooooo much longer. It also felt decidedly like all the work weeks that came before it... that whole "everything new is old again" or something.

I also suffered through about half of the week with a blocked ear... a little bit like it has before, although now quite as bad as the last time, but I spent the first three days of the week functionally deaf in my right ear, before I Googled some remedies and discovered the "vinegar and alcohol" one, which has worked remarkably well, at least until I go to bed and sleep on that ear. But at least I can hear for the majority of the time.

At some point earlier this week... Monday evening maybe, I kept hearing a random noise... and I couldn't work out where the hell it was coming from, partly because I didn't have full biaural hearing at the time. But eventually I discovered that it was water dripping from the crown moulding over the door... water dripping from the ceiling is never good, especially since it hadn't rained since that morning, at least as far as I was aware. The following morning I made a phone call to my land agent and he and the plumber came out while I was at work... turns out the guttering above my apartment door has rusted through (probably with all that torrential rain we had a few weeks back) so it will need to be replaced. Fortunately it hasn't been dripping since, but I've been keeping my eye one it just in case.

And I got paid this week... I've missed that feeling of taking money out of the bank and still having more in there than was in there the last time you took money out.

I'm sure there are other things, but nothing that springs to mind or is worth sharing... so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to drag my tired and tipsy ass to bed.

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random delos hotness

This week's Random Hotness was a last minute substitute...

I've had a completely different set of photos of model Joshua Delos in my Hotness folder for a while now, but when I want a-searching for more details on the 24 year old, New York born model, I happened across these shots by photographer Joseph Bleu.

Delos has one of those weird model faces... taken individually his features are kind of odd... his eyes are too far apart, his lips are overly plump.. but he's one of those guys where his overall look far exceeds the sum of it's parts. And frankly, I think he's spectacularly gorgeous.

I just wish whoever had been art directing this shoot had combined the shorts with the bowtie and vest combo.

joshua delosjoshua delos

joshua delosjoshua delos

 joshua delosjoshua delos

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movies: the amazing spider-man 2

the amazing spider-man 2 - rise of electro
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a much bigger movie than the original... the stakes are bigger, the cast is bigger, everything is bigger.

Unfortunately bigger is not necessarily better.

In fact just about everything I loved about the first movie, the real performances, the beautifully written script... was pretty much ruined by the ham fisted first ten minutes of the sequel.

The movie does improve, but the who premise of the beginning, which is once again a flashback to when Peter's parents were still alive is so ridiculous it borders on insanity. Because if you're on the run from a large corporation, using the corporation's private jet to escape is exactly the thing you should be doing.

Before I saw the movie everything I'd been hearing said it was fairly lackluster other than the relationship between Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy... and that's definitely true, although at times I'm not sure where the fictional Peter/Gwen relationship stops and real life Garfield/Stone relationship begins. There are a couple of photos that Peter has that I'm pretty sure may just have been lifted from the actors real lives.

It does make their chemistry both incredibly natural and a little bit weird, and that weirdness did yank me out of the movie reality once or twice.

I also think they just tried to cram too much stuff into this movie... there's the whole Electro plot, then there's a Harry Osborn/Green Goblin plot, and given that they use the Rhino plot in the trailer, you spend the whole movie waiting for that to happen, only to find that it literally happens in the last five minutes of the movie. Then on top of that you have the Gwen/Peter plot and a Peter's parents plot... and it's all just a bit much.

To be honest, I kind of wish they'd dumped the whole Electro plot and just done the Harry Osborn plot... not that the Electro effect isn't wonderful, but cause it is, all of it, and I know we've seen a version of the Goblin in the previous set of movies but it could have been interesting. But Electro and his motivations were kind of lame.

And in the end he doesn't even drive his own story, he's just a tool of the other characters.

Jamie Foxx seems to be doing the best with what's he's given, but to be honest it's not much, and he doesn't really seem to add anything beyond what's on the page. Similarly Dane DeHaan, who was great in Kill Your Darlings resorts to something of the creepy emo version of Osborn.

And then there's the character played by Marton Csokas who seems to think he's in a whole different kind of movie and camps the living hell out of his fortunately very brief performance.

To come back to the two leads, Garfield still gives a great performance and fills both Parker and Spider-Man with compassion and pathos, however the script gives him much less room to do that this time around.

There are a few scenes at the end of the movie where he does get to stretch those muscles though. And I will admit that that scene did make me tear up, even before Garfield appears.

And Stone is still as feisty as ever and although she's in most of the movie it doesn't feel like she has as much to do this time around.

Whereas in the first movie it was very hard to tell what was real actors and what was CGI, for some reason this time around Spidey occasionally feels a little rubbery. Whether that's because he's doing much more extreme things and stuff that couldn't safely be done with a real person.

As I said before the Electro effects are great.

So given the fact that the first movie was my number one pick of 2012, I was more than a little sad that this one didn't measure up.

yani's rating: 2 special projects out of 5

bricktopia saturday

bricktopia - crowdbricktopia - build it
I'm so very glad that I decided to book tickets for Bricktopia on Thursday, otherwise today would have worked out quite differently.

It was good to be able to sleep in a little this morning, but I had to drag myself out of bed eventually and get ready. And I managed to make it downstairs just as Ma as about to get out of the car, so that worked out nicely.

When we got to the supermarket we did the Bakers Delight thing as usual... so I can safely say if you like orange and you like chocolate, go and try their Choc Orange scones before they disappear... they're so nice... like a Jaffa, but in baked goods form.

bricktopia - doing burnoutsbricktopia - monkey windmill
This week was a decidedly lean week as far as shopping was concerned. Mostly because I still had a bunch of stuff left over from last week... but I do plan on using up a bunch of stuff to make a giant pot of vegetable soup tomorrow and I got a bunch more stuff to add to it too.

Other than that we took a bit of a wander around Target where I was equally annoyed and disappointed to see the range of dress shirts they have available... essentially they're all in tones of blue with the occasional bit of purple. Boring!

And then we came back here for the usual ritual unpacking before we headed into the city to kill some time before we were due at Bricktopia.

bricktopia - seventies afrobricktopia - bad wolf wall
On the way downstairs I realised that my neighbours on the ground floor have moved out... and later in the afternoon I noticed that they apartment next to them appears to be in the process of packing up their stuff. So that'll be two new neighbours shortly... hopefully they'll be good ones.

When we got into the city we didn't really have much of a destination in mind, so we ended up just wandering up and down the Mall.

We did head down to Target to see if they had any of the furry bear onesies (they're totally not monkeys, I don't know why I ever thought they were monkeys)... they had them, but not in the right size. And Ma tried on a few things, none of which were any good.

bricktopia - little engineerbricktopia - handle that baggage
Then we headed down to Torrents Parade Ground to join the ever increasing line for the 11:30 intake. They'd arranged it like the Sydney Brick Show where people have predetermined times to arrive... although unlike what I remember from the Sydney show, this was every hour, whereas I'm sure that was every half hour, which might have been a better idea.

Anyway, fortunately we weren't even close to being at the back of the line... if actually snaked from one side of the Parade Grounds to the other and I think it was about the start curling back on itself again when they opened the doors.

I think the fact that we went at 11:30 instead of at the first available session didn't especially help things... when we were in Sydney we were amongst the first ones through the doors (more or less), whereas by the time we got our butts into Bricktopia it was pretty much packed.

bricktopia - classic space... i have this setbricktopia - busted
Because it was a Lego show, I obviously had to wear my Classic Space logo tee shirt... and it clearly was the right place to wear it. I've never had so many people comment on it. Granted 95% of them were guys in their late 40's or early 50's, but it was fun nonetheless.

The crowd was a bit wearing though... partly I think because a number of the displays had little signs saying "find this thing and that thing and the other thing"... so people were just standing in front of the displays instead of moving around freely.

Overall it was much less impressive than the Sydney show... don't get me wrong, there were some nice pieces, but there was also a lot of stuff that was just straight Lego sets, albeit dressed up a little. There wasn't anywhere as much interesting and large scale stuff either.

bricktopia - maxifigs living room... i remember this setbricktopia - maxifigs kitchen... and this one too
I remember these sets... I don't know that I ever had them, but the living room set especially, with the snowman on teevee, sparks a memory somewhere in the back of my brain. Maybe somebody I knew had it, maybe I had a catalogue with it in, I'm not sure... but I definitely remember the set.

Anyway, we spent about 45 minutes all up looking at all of the displays, or at least all of the ones that were interesting (the big cut-in-half cruise ship from the Sydney show was also there, but I'd already photographed the living daylights out of that, so I never even got close to it), and Ma bought a couple of keyrings from one of the vendor stalls... a Batgirl minifig for her and a plain gold minifig for me (to put away for Christmas, since my current minifig keyring is still doing okay).

And then we called it a wrap... I'll definitely be interested to go again if it becomes a yearly thing (and given the fact that they sold out completely for both days at some point today, I'd say that that is fairly likely), and hopefully it improves over time (which is also likely).

bricktopia - jurassic park goes horribly wrongbricktopia - cabin in the woods
Once we were done Ma suggested that we take a detour off to Haighs... yes, I know, that makes like the third week in a row... but it was her suggestion.

It turned out to be a good one, because not only did they have what must be the last of the broken Easter eggs (well some of it was egg, but quite a lot of it was Easter fish) in the "seconds and irregulars" bins, but they also had some Peppermint Truffle Bars and Marshmallow Kokettes. Yummy.

Since we both had more than enough points on our Cinebuzz cards, we figured we could head off to the movies. But first we needed to stop off back here at my place since I've never been able to actually book tickets using Cinebuzz points using the iPhone app. Turns out that I couldn't book them properly online at all.

bricktopia - a new hopebricktopia - sgt peppers
If you'll allow me a brief rant... this is directed solidly at whoever is responsible for both the Event Cinemas website and iPhone app... WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!

All I wanted to do was book two tickets, using accrued points from two separate Cinebuzz accounts so that the tickets were free. I know this is physically possible because I've done it on more than one occasion. And it's been easy. But this time around it was impossible... it's always been impossible on the app, not to mention confusing, but this was ridiculous. So fix your shit!

Thankfully because Ma has a Seniors card those tickets can be bought in person at the cinema (so why the fuck you can't do that with the normal cards I have no idea... that's another thing that's ridiculous), so I bought my ticket online and then bought the other one when we got to the cinema.

bricktopia - oh you pretty chitty bang bang chitty chitty bang bang we love youbricktopia - build me a posy
It all worked out in the end, but it was still an unnecessary annoyance. And doubly so when I complained to the girl serving me at the cinema and she could not have been less interested.

That was about it for the day really... we saw the movie (more on that later) and called it a day.

And just for the record, it's the middle of May and I'm sitting here in shorts and a teeshirt... it's positively balmy, which is just ridiculous for this time of year.

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