fringe: death comes at the end

adelaide fringe - death comes at the end
The last performance of Death Comes at the End by Scriptease just happened to be the welcome return of a few faces we've seen before and some fresh new faces I'll be on the lookout for again.

Firstly, the venue of the State Dining Room at the Ayers House Museum where we saw Dorothy Parker strut her stuff.

Then, because it was Fringe and it was an improv show, who else could possibly be the Master of Ceremonies but the wonderful, and more than a little naughty, Joshua Kapitza most recently seen (by me anyway) in the D&D and monopoly inspired improv shows of past Fringes.

And there was also a very welcome returning face from this year, Eden Trebilco, from last weekend's Great Detectives show. I'm probably going to infer this a bunch of times in this review, but let me say it right out loud, right here... I may have only seen Eden twice now, but holy crap I love that man! He knows how to turn the dial not only all the way up to eleven, but he takes it past eleven, around to one again and then back up to eleven.

But getting back to the show... while the previous improv shows have taken their titles as a place to start and then gone all the way over the horizon to places unknown, this show sticks much more closely to the murder mystery format of Cludeo... well, at least it takes all the character names, and the room and weapon choices from there... everything else is pure brilliant insanity and based on whatever answers they could hear to a seemingly random question that each cast member asked the audience.

Hence we had Joshua as a Matrix/Mr Smith inspired Mr Green... Eden as an interpretive dancing Mr Plum... Jarrad Paker as a highly Mrs Doubtfire-esk Mrs White... the lovely Chicagoan Noah Tavor as a very laid back Colonel Mustard, inventor of the atomo ray that turned everyone (ie the audience) into hideous, yet sporadically sexy, zombies... Jaklene Vukasinovic as the very haughty (and in this particular show, the very murderous) Mrs Peacock... and last but not least, the victim of the tale, Coby Yolland as the stuttering Miss Scarlet.

Oh, and the lovely Anne Mayer as "everyone else in the known universe" (although her best role was as the very thick and then very amorous rugby player who ends up shot).

With any improv show it's difficult to remember all the twists and turns, but we had a mostly unrequited love story between Mrs White and Colonel Mustard, a somewhat requited (with much spinning) love story between Sensei/Morpheus Green and his pupil Mr Plum... the invention of the atomo ray (with the handy reverse switch that turned everything from death back to life... all with the power of love)... and a metric ton of interpretive dance (mostly performed by the brilliant Eden, although Joshua did give it a damn good crack as well).

But as with any game of Cluedo, the real question is who and where and with what.

To involve the audience, each of the cast dropped clues (and occasionally just flat out said the name of the room or thing) as to their item and location, and the program came with a handy logic puzzle to allow you to check off where the victim, in this case Miss Scarlet, was found and what the murder weapon was.

Then in the last sequence the murderer had to casually slip the name of the weapon into their dialogue.

Hence, our murderer was Mrs Peacock, in the lounge with the rope.

The cast was all brilliant, and I'm just sad that this was the last night, because I cannot recommend this highly enough. Joshua is wonderfully dry as always, I've already confessed my deep and abiding love for Eden, but Jarrad's Euphegenia White was pitch perfect, not least of all due to his ability to just break into song at a moment's notice.

And the point where the whole cast and audience is singing I Will Survive while Eden interpretive dances his heart out will be one of the things I'll remember most about this show.

This is a returning show from last year, so I can only hope they bring it back (or something very similar) again next year, because that's the very best thing about improv shows and the truly random nature of audience suggestions, it's never the same twice... anything can happen, and often will.

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fringe: trash test dummies

adelaide fringe - trash test dummies
This is my second time seeing Trash Test Dummies, and after the sparseness of the crowd last time, it was good to see them playing to a packed house, and in the Garden this time.

And a house that was half full of kids having the time of their lives (especially the really little Batman dude who was sitting across the aisle from us and was having THE best time ever).

It's an incredibly family friendly show, and the fact this was a more intimate (ie smaller) venue made the connection between the audience and performers even better.

Melbourne trio Jamie Bretman, Jack Coleman and Simon Wright are all back again, and I still can't help thinking of them as the veteran, the joker and the apprentice.

If I had to chose one word for Trash Test, it's energy... high energy specifically (but that's two words). From the moment they start they spend the whole show dashing to and fro, doing pratfalls, hiding in bins and speaking in their own language consisting mostly of noises and the occasional word. This is The Three Stooges minus the cruelty, mime with a lot of noise... it's pure circus clown with some great juggling thrown in, and it's wonderful.

One of the great things about the show is how well they work the tricks into the body of the show. A lot of the tricks, while not looking overly complicated, would be difficult to make look THAT effortless.

They are also one of the best shows for just that perfect use of music... it may only be a snippet, but they use it perfectly and it's always designed to make you laugh (also I think it's one of the things they work in for the parents to enjoy, since I'm guessing a lot of them would go right over kids heads)... from Chariots of Fire to The Matrix, from the Batman theme to Everything is Awesome from The Lego Movie (which both I and every kid in the audience thoroughly appreciated)... it's just spot on for what they're doing at that moment.

The other place they set themselves apart and really shine is the use of those wheelie bins... they're big, unwieldy props, and yet they never seem to to out of their control (even when the audience is mere inches away).

And Jamie, Jack and Simon are as adorable as ever and have great timing, both acrobatically and comically.

Do yourself a favour, whether you have kids or not, go and see them, you'll have a damn good time... and buy a little neon wheelie bin at the end of the show, I bought a bright pink one to hold my pens on my desk at work.

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success and failure errand boy saturday shopping

the errand boy or failure and success
The image alongside this post pretty much sums up the majority of the day... lots of errands with varying degrees of success and failure.

Following up from last night though, my neighbours didn't have any noisy surprises for me at 4am... so that was nice.

I was running a little late this morning due to changing my bedding, so Ma was waiting for me downstairs when I finally made my way down.

We did the usual supermarket safari, wandered somewhat aimlessly around Target, then headed back here.

I had a few errands I wanted to run... to get some more Facial Fuel from Kiehl's, get a replacement desk fan for work and some new sneakers to make up for the fact that I bought the wrong size last time.

These should have been three straightforward errands... it didn't work out quite like that though.

We headed into the city which may very well have been our first mistake. Firstly because this is the Clipsal weekend, so going anywhere around Rundle Mall involved swimming against the current of bogans headed to the race. Because seriously, I don't care how much money you may or may not have, if you go to the Clipsal 500 wearing a team jersey and you're not actually a paid employee of the team, you're a bogan.

Anyway, first stop was Kmart to look at fans... and while they had a cheap $8 one it was bigger than I really wanted... so I figured we'd look elsewhere. Should have bought that one.

The Kiehl's trip was easy, in fact that was the one of the successes, although I always end up with sample products that I never end up using.

We wandered about a bit, looked for fans in other places with no actual luck, then gave up and headed off to Paul's Warehouse to look at sneakers.

Now, every time we've been there has been a wide variety of New Balance sneakers, even if it wasn't always easy to find ones in my size. But this time the range of sneakers was less than a dozen pairs on display, and only one table full of boxes. And of those none of them were even remotely in my size. So screw you Paul's... I hope that doesn't mean that they're no longer stocking them, but just that they were between shipments. Because that would suck.

From there we took a detour to Haighs, to stock up on some factory seconds. At least that part of the day went okay.

Next stop was Arndale to see what else I could find in the desk fan genre.

the lego movie double decker couch set
That didn't work out so well, but what I did find in Big W was the Lego set I've been looking for for a while now... The Lego Movie Double Decker Couch set...

I'd also decided that I was going to grab one of the general Lego sets, just so that I had a nicer range of new bricks to make things with if I needed something for photos, etc. Ma ended up snaffling both sets off me to use as birthday presents, since my birthday is only a couple of weeks away.

After we'd wandered around a little more and exhausted all the possible fan options, we headed down the road to the Mile End to take a look at both fans and DVD players since Ma's has given up the ghost.

Fortunately the story does have a happy ending, since we both walked out of there with our respective items... an appropriately sized fan for me, the cutest little Sony DVD player for Ma to go with her big-ass Sony TV.

So, as I often quoth from Morpheus, "what happened, happened and couldn't have happened any other way"... not completely true, I know, but it works for the purposes of the story.

Then we came back here and killed some time until it was time to go and grab some dinner and head out to our two Fringe shows tonight.

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photo friday: wall faces

walls - girlwalls - nurse

walls - smilewalls - blue
Discounting Fringe shows, this week has been fairly dull... and packed with minor annoyances of various sorts which I'll try to avoid boring everyone with.

Although while one of those annoyances was my infrequently noisy neighbours, I have to give them their due since they went from pretty damn noisy about half an hour ago to actually shutting it all down when I just checked. Maybe the note I left in their letter box made a difference. I certainly hope so. Although my paranoia about what will happen at 4am is fairly damn high.

So honestly there's not a lot else to really talk about or record for posterity.

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fringe: illuminate

adelaide fringe - madhouse circus's illuminate
There are circus shows that tell a story and there are circus shows that just pure circus tricks... Illuminate by Madhouse Circus is decidedly the latter.

And there's nothing wrong with that, but I did find myself comparing it to other circus shows I've seen at various points along the way.

This is also the second time I've seen Madhouse Circus... the first time being their Alice in the Madhouse show a couple of years ago. But this was so very different... firstly, Alice was more story driven and secondly I think possibly the entire cast is different to the first time (one or both of the girls may be the same, I'm not sure).

This time around the cast is Jon Bonaventura, Phoebe Carlson, Flick Lannan, juggler Byron Hutton, Reece Cooper and Jake Silvestro. And for the record, just like last time I did indeed have a brief crush on two of the performers, this time around it was Jon and Jake... but they're both gorgeous and buff and oh so flexible, can you really blame me?

Okay, let's get the stuff I didn't like so much out of the way first...

Firstly, while the "illuminate" idea is an interesting one, it gets in the way of the performance on more than one occasion (both Phoebe's bottle walking trick, which I'm sure was amazing, I just couldn't see enough of it to tell... or Reece's handstand routine with the torches when I much rather would have seen him properly), or else it's dropped entirely for major sections.

The bits where it worked, it worked well, such as the juggling, but other than that, not so much.

Secondly the rope work trick with Phoebe and Jon is AMAZING... but feels a little tonally weird with the rest of the show, especially with the very dark ending. In fact, the whole show feels a little oddly balanced, after the great opening (more on that in a second) the front half is a little bit reserved, whereas the second half is much more upbeat and high energy. Particularly Phoebe and Flick's hula hoop routine which was absolutely tonally perfect and really got me laughing and engaged.

Their number and the opening were probably the parts I liked the most... I do enjoy a show where they turn the usual "no flash photography" announcement on it's head by following it up with "these bodies are too nice to hide away" (or something similar) and then having everyone take out their phones and the performers pose.

It's also where sitting in the front row comes in handy...

madhouse circus - reece, phoebe, byron, jake, flick and jon in triplicatemadhouse circus - jake... seriously, can you blame me?
Beyond being the cutest (and I'm annoyed I never managed to snap a photo of Jon beyond the group shots), Jon and Jake were also my favourite kinds of circus performers... Jon with the handstand canes and the corde lisse (aerial rope), Jake with the cyr wheel. But they're all incredibly skilled performers, especially the juggler Byron who did things with those clubs I haven't seen jugglers do before.

And the whole blacklight clubs thing was fantastic too, especially with his matching costume.

Oh, and Flick's routine in the German wheel was the first time I think I've seen one of those used up close, and it's a hell of a thing, especially since she managed to throw it front one side of the tent to the other seemingly effortlessly. It's a little bit of a shame there wasn't really room in the tent for her to do anything beyond a straight line... but even so it was great to watch.

All in all, it was a solid and entertaining circus show with an appealing cast.

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fringe: great detectives of old time radio live

adelaide fringe - great detectives of old time radio live
Preachrs Podcast OnStage chose the perfect venue for Great Detectives of Old Time Radio LIVE... like the three radio plays (Dragnet, Candy Matson and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar) that made up the show, the Capri Theatre was built in the 1940's, so it just felt right.

And the cast were all dressed appropriately for the era... well more or less anyway. I'm always intrigued with theatre when the performers are already on stage when the audience comes in, and with this show they behaved like they were on the set of one of the original radio productions... drinking tea (or possibly something a little stronger from a flask), sitting around a table until it was their turn at the microphone and having little conversations or smiles between themselves.

First up was Dragnet...  "based on actual cases and transcribed from police reports". Tonally, this was the odd duck of the three plays, given that it was based on real events it wasn't anywhere near as over the top and campy as the others. But it was brilliantly done, if a tiny bit grim given the theme of child abandonment.

The only real complaint that I had is that Benjamin Maio Mackay playing the role of Joe Friday was a little difficult to understand at times, mostly due to Mackay making his voice fairly gruff and also possibly speaking too closely to the microphone... although weirdly there wasn't an issue with characters he played later in the show (maybe because he was using the other microphone though). But having said that, Mackay had the hardboiled detective thing pretty much locked in with all three characters he played.

Next up was Candy Matson, "one of the only female investigators of the time". This was where Julia Sciacca really shone as the titular investigator. The Matson stories feel like they'd all be somewhat campy and stylistically in a slightly similar vein to The Thin Man movies (it's what this one reminded me of anyway). It's all plucky girl detective, a clearly gay (in a 1940's way) offsider (played brilliantly by Eden Trebilco, who really did act up a storm through all of the pieces), Russian bad guys and people being hit on the head.

I'd say that this was my favourite of the three to be honest, mostly due to Sciacca's performance, but also due to the whole plucky girl detective thing.

Last, and by no means least was Yours Truly Johnny Dollar... "based around the action packed expense account of Johnny Dollar private insurance investigator". With Trebilco in the lead, but playing it much more butch than he did in the Candy Matson piece, this was the most over the top of the three plays. But Trebilco really made it work, plus he's a natural showman.

For me, the stand-out member of the supporting cast was clearly Jennifer Barry... she played a number of kids, a couple of male roles and an old lady, all the while doing different voices and often with what sounded like a perfect Brooklyn style accent.

It was a lovely way to spend 85 minutes (and it certainly didn't hurt that it was out of the heat) and now I definitely want to delve further into the world of Candy Matson, Yukon 2-8209!

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another basic saturday shopping

rocking the fifties trolley
Today was pretty much about staying out of the heat and killing time until the Fringe show this afternoon.

Somehow it led to unexpected but not overly dramatic technological spending.

As soon as I rolled out of bed this morning I switched on the air-conditioner. I've been able to avoid having to either sleep on the living room floor or else run the air-con all night for the last couple of nights (although I think tonight I might be out of luck) but using the fan to pump cool air into the bedroom after the sun goes down, so although it was a little warm this morning, it actually wasn't too bad considering that it was already close to 30°C when I woke up around 5:30am.

Anyway, after lazing around in bed for a bit, I got up, got ready and headed downstairs to wait for Ma. Then we headed off to the supermarket for the usual trawl through the aisles. Probably because it was going to be a hot day, the place was a little more packed than usual, which only really became an issue when we hit the checkouts since they generally only have couple of registers open.

But even so we still managed to get our regular check out girly, I gave her some quick Fringe recommendations and then we headed on our way.

Once we'd stashed the groceries, I let Ma have a wander around The Red Circle Boutique while I ducked into EB Games to take a look at what they had on sale.

And I came out with Assassin's Creed: Rogue as well as an iTunes card since they were on sale also. I perhaps could have done with a smaller denomination of iTunes, since I don't tend to buy a hell of a lot of stuff, but it'll last me a good long while with any luck.

Given that the Collector's Edition of Rogue was the same price as the regular edition, and only about $10 more than the preowned edition, I went with that... to be honest the best thing about the special editions is the extra content, but this one also came with the soundtrack CD which I'm listening to now... and it's not half bad. Makes a decent background noise kind of thing... and I'm probably paying more attention to the music now that I do when I'm playing the game. I know it's there but other than the odd piece here and there I never end up noticing it all that much.

I'm going to try and hold off from starting the game until the end of Fringe... I don't know how successful I'll be, but I'll give it a red hot go.

Anyway, we then retreated back to my place, unpacked and decided to head down to Arndale to kill some time.

I also wanted to take a look in Big W for the thongs I really like, since they're the only place that has them... clearly they don't make them any more, which is disappointing since I haven't really found any that are anywhere near as comfortable. I did pick up a new set of rabbit ears for my TV since I bent one of the arms on my old aerial a week or so ago. It's also got one of those metal hoop things in the back, so hopefully it'll pick up the signal better than the old one (which is mostly great but occasionally grumbles on certain stations).

Ma wanted some over ear headphones for watching videos on her laptop, so we headed into Dick Smith to take a look at what they had. She found some decent ones and while she was waiting at the counter I took a wander around to look at random stuff and ended up, purely by accident, in the aisle with all the computer mice.

I've been using a little mini mouse for a while now, it's more precise when you're doing photo editing and easier to click things. But since I got the new laptop it's less fun because of the incredibly weird placement of all the USB ports, so half the time I run out of cord or shut the cord in the lid or knock the USB plug causing the mouse to disconnect. And there just happened to be a number of really cute mini Logitech mice that were wireless... so I finally gave in and bought one.

And because I don't trust the batteries in those things all that much, I also bought a pack of spares. I'll try and remember to switch the mouse off when I switch the laptop off, but I know I'll forget at some point.

From there we headed down to Goodwood to grab some lunch before the Fringe show at the Capri Theatre. We ended up at a place called Brown Dog Cafe... I had an affagto again, although it was nice, it wasn't quite as nice as the first one I had at Cibo, but it wasn't bad. I also had the chicken burger, which was tasty but somewhat problematic to eat.

Then we headed next door to the Capri. I haven't actually been there before, at least not that I remember... and I would have thought that I would remember given that it's a gorgeous old art deco building. A little in need of a little sprucing up here and there but it's a great venue.

And that was about it really...

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photo friday: boys in the sun

come on inrunning kannibal

sun smartlook behind you

taking a dipgrommit
I need to be careful what I wish for...

Last week I mentioned that I much prefer weeks that start off slow and get busier as the week progresses. This week, I got exactly that (although to be fair it did taper off by Friday afternoon). It still wasn't really an issue, and I was right, I much prefer it that way, but it was still a little nuts... and very nuts on a couple of occasions.

As the plethora of blog posts this week indicate, Adelaide Fringe has started in earnest... and I somehow tend to forget that Fringe performers actually have a bunch of time on their hands and tend to look for reviews and mentions of their name or show online. I've thus far had a ton of retweets and favourites but then today one of the Naked Magicians from last night tweeted me to ask which of their tricks was the obvious one. Oops... and I will say (and I also went back and added it to the review) that maybe it was more about me and the fact that I'm a giant special effects/movie behind the scenes nerd.

So far this year has been the worst one yet for cancelled Fringe performances. We already had one of the shows flat out cancelled, but then this week I got a call about one particular show to say that while the rest of the run is happening, the show that we were going to has been cancelled due to the Clipsal race, so I'll need to rebook that after Ma and I work out which other session we want to go to.

Oh, and after Ma and I went to see the both Sound and Fury as well as Paul Dabek on Tuesday, I have legitimately had sore ribs for the remainder of the week due to laughing too hard and for too long... it took until about halfway through Wednesday for it to kick in, but every time I've laughed or gotten out of my chair at work I can feel it. I don't think there's actually a better or more direct compliment than to say that I saw two Fringe performances that made me laugh until my ribs ached.

I'm also still waiting for a call back from Adam Internet from a call I made on Monday. I called Adam, who are now owned by iiNet (and who assist them with help desk queries), the call was answered by the iiNet call centre... well, actually I called, they told me there was going to be between a 60 and 90 minute wait and the recorded message offered me a call back service, which I used. An hour later, give or take, they called me back. It then took the dude 20 minutes to work out a) what I was describing as my problem and b) that he couldn't actually help me and that I'd need to speak to the Adam Internet call centre. Since the guy told me that the Adam portion of the centre shuts at 6:30pm and it was 6:25 by that point, I told him they'd need to call me after 5pm the following day.

That was Monday. I'm still waiting.

Granted, I was out on Tuesday night, which I forgot until I hung up the phone, but we also waited around until nearly 6pm before we left my place. They sent me a feedback email and I told them I was expecting a call, still nothing. So I'm either going to have to give them a call on the weekend and hope that someone from Adam actually answers the phone, or just drop into their office one day after work next week and see what happens.

After Sugarmonkey suggested the graphic novel series Saga to me and I devoured it, I asked if he had any other suggestions for things I might like. One of those was Fables. Luck was clearly on my side, because another member of The Nuthouse, Frankie, has a large number of the graphic novels and has been bringing them in for me to borrow. And so I've been tearing through them (figuratively speaking) at a rate of knots... I absolutely love the art style and the writing and the characters, and just the whole premise of fairy tale characters who have been driven out of their original homes by war and are taking refuge in New York. I especially love the way that the writer, Bill Willingham, twists and spins the fairytale characters everyone grows up with and turns them into much more interesting and darker characters than they were originally.

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fringe: the naked magicians

adelaide fringe - the naked magicians
Let's get this out of the way right off that bat... for a show called The Naked Magicians, I was incredibly disappointed by the amount of actual full frontal nudity.

If you put the word "naked" in the title of your show, I'm pretty much going to expect to be seeing at the very least your butt and preferably your cock for the majority of the show. But the fact that it took them a good length of time before they even got their shirts off, and then one of them disappeared and got dressed again was not the type of "naked" I was hoping for.

What I got instead was nudity designed to appeal to the straight suburban female audience. Predominantly tame, non-threatening nudity. And that's fine... women made up of at least 90% of the audience, that's their target demographic, there's nothing wrong with pandering directly to that group.

And it's not like they're not very nice to look at, even before they take their clothes off. Christopher is the cheekier of the pair, very pretty and can wear the hell out of a waistcoat as well as those very well packed Aussiebum superhero trunks... Mike has the rocking hard-body and is much more willing to put his cock out on display (briefly, during the finale anyway). They also both know how to flirt up a storm.

I'll be honest, it took a fair while for me to warm up to both them and the show in general once I realised that we weren't in for a night of full frontal male nudity. But they're sweet and they're funny and, the nudity thing aside, they're good at what they do. And I did get into the swing of the show by about the half way mark.

Having now seen a range of magicians over the last few years of the Fringe I'm starting to get an eye and an appreciation not so much for how a range of tricks are done while they're happening, but more once they're over thinking "well, that must have been the point where they palmed X" or "while he was doing A, the other one must have somehow been doing B". And it was the same here... which isn't to say they aren't excellent magicians... they really are very, very good with the sleight of hand stuff. There was literally only one trick that was incredibly obvious how part of it was done and that's because it's an oooooooooooold style trick that everyone has to have seen some version of before, albeit done this time with a mostly naked man (and a fully clothed one)... also possibly because I'm a special effects and movie behind the scenes nerd, so I've seen what I assume the mechanism of the trick is on multiple occasions.

It also helps when you need a good distraction for the audience to have some flesh on display, which I would have thought that they would use to greater advantage. They did make pretty good use of music though.

At the end of the day it just wasn't exactly what I was expecting and perhaps not as much in my ballpark (so to speak), but that's okay... judging by the very vocal and enthusiastic female audience, they were clearly doing something right.

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fringe: paul dabek's mischief

adelaide fringe - paul dabek's mischief
There really isn't room for the slow thinker at Paul Dabek's Mischief show. The jokes come thick and fast, and if it takes you a while to get one, three more will have gone whizzing past in the mean time.

It's magic, it's comedy, it's a master-class on working an audience and getting them to do exactly what you want and see only the things you want them to see.

If magic is all about misdirection and distraction, then Paul does that through his rapid delivery and his ability to make you laugh so that it's not so much that you've forgotten to look for how he's done the trick, it's that you never realised he was doing anything and suddenly the trick is done.

It's definitely one of those shows that you come out of and go "I have no idea how he did that", or "I know he must have done that one thing to make that work, but I was too busy laughing".

But it's honestly not about the magic itself, while some of the tricks are brilliant (like the card trick... even if it is a union requirement), it's honestly Dabek himself and his cheeky personality and quick wit that really makes the show what it is.

Dabek has taken the good stuff from his previous show, Stand Up and Be Conjured and added some new stuff, but because there's a massive amount of audience interaction, it's the kind of show that will feel different every time due to the way he interacts with the crowd.

And he's still as cute as the proverbial box of puppies, and still a massive flirt... more so with the ladies, but he'll flirt with a gentleman if the opportunity presents itself.

It's a brilliant, high energy and genuinely hilarious show. Oh and if you think sitting in the back row will prevent you from being picked out, think again.

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fringe: sound and fury's hamlet and juliet

adelaide fringe - sound and fury's hamlet and juliet
This is my fourth time seeing Sound and Fury... and my second time at their self styled Fakespearean comedy, Hamlet and Juliet (see also Dirty Fairy Tales and Hitchcocked), and as always I walked out of the tent with my face absolutely aching from laughing for pretty much the entire show.

And seriously, is there any greater recommendation for a comedy show than that?

The brilliant and longsuffering Richard along with the delightfully unhinged and adorable Patrick have returned from the US, but sadly this time they're not joined by fellow American, Ryan (or to call him by his traditional name, Hung Like A Horse)... instead they have the lovely and ever so slightly camp (in the best possible way) Shane filling in.

Which somehow manages to make it a completely different show, even though we've seen it before. Actually I'm pretty sure you could see this show every night for a week straight and it would feel different every time. And even though the mix is different with the change in the cast, most of what I said last time holds true this time around too... it's not always the most polished humour (which makes if that much funnier), but it is genuinely, laugh out loud funny. It also often has that edge of both frenetic energy with a slight edge of panic.

One of the things I really love about Sound and Fury is that they go out of their way to make a connection with the audience... whether that's chatting with people before the show, making everything feel really informal once you go inside the venue, or just the fact that they always seem to be willing to go that extra mile to get a laugh (or just make the most of it when they screw up... and given the pace of the show, you can pretty much guarantee that somebody will screw up at some point... but it's always worth waiting for). And also that they enjoy making each other laugh as much as the audience.

The show itself is a mix of Shakespeare's two tragedies, Hamlet plus Romeo and Juliet, smashed together and then all mixed up with pop culture references (and nice work to Shane on The Princess Bride gags... keep those in the show!) and humour that is (to quote their website) 70% low brow and 30% high brow.

And even if you know nothing about Shakespeare, go for the cross-dressing and the Sean Connery impression, Patrick's dry heaving and the inappropriate jokes.

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fringe: bromance

adelaide fringe - bromance by barely methodical
Bromance (noun) - A close, non-romantic relationship between two (or more) men. It is a form of affectional or homosocial intimacy.

Bromance is also one of the most beautiful circus shows I've ever had the privilege to see, and the first one that has ever brought me to the brink of tears.

It's also genuinely funny show from Barely Methodical, with three very sweet, likeable and talented performers... Englishmen Charlie (the lithe little comedian), Louis (the beast of a base) and Beren (the "little bear" acrobat extraordinaire).

Everything starts with a handshake... one handshake becomes two, two becomes three, and that line between what form of affection is acceptable between straight men and what is going too far gets explored in every possible way.

It all starts out humorously... there's some comical pratfalling, throwing each other around, a little dancing...

Then Charlie leaves the stage and Beren and Louis proceeded to break my heart. I've said a million times when talking about dance performances that it's all about music and mood, and if you don't have the right piece of the former, it's hard to always create the latter. These boys have both in SPADES!

What could have just been an energetic acrobatics routine became, to me at least, a tender and touching love story... not sexual, but still incredibly masculine and romantic all at the same time.

Like I said, I absolutely teared up at that point. And I didn't want it to end...

But thankfully young Charlie returned and brought the funny back with him, as well as the Funky Cold Medina (and yes, Louis, you did indeed make me blush when you pointed directly at me during that number).

Fortunately it was then Charlie's time to shine with the Cyr wheel... the giant metal hoop where the performer spins inside while moving around the stage.

Again, it was just breathtaking. I've only seen a couple of live performances of the Cyr wheel before, but it didn't seem as frenetic and beautiful as this (maybe I haven't had a front row seat to it before... and there is something about a giant metal wheel whizzing inches past your knees that does make one pay attention). And once again, I found a catch in my throat more than once as Charlie made that wheel a living extension of his body.

What I loved even more than that when Louis and Beren returned was that (at least in my eyes) the wheel became that barrier we all use to stop people getting close, or that other people impose on us to keep us at arm's length. It was incredibly subtle, and maybe I was reading more into everything at that point than was actually there, but if it was there, it was masterfully done.

And the routine where Beren uses Louis and Charlie as part climbing frame and part slingshot is just amazing. I've seen pairs of acrobats and I've seen groups of acrobats, but I think that was one of the best routines I've seen using three bodies and intertwining them in all kinds of ridiculously powerful and beautiful ways.

Now up until the finale, all three performers had been in pretty normal (if mostly colour coordinated) street clothes, but what's the point in having a trio of beautiful boys with amazing athletic bodies if at some point in the show they don't strip down to their underwear and show off a little...

adelaide fringe - bromance (charlie, louis and beren)
Yeah, like that... but in red not purple.

But even without that, I would have still loved this show to bits.

This was an incredibly fine start to my 2015 Fringe experience and gives everything else a high bar to live up to! Seriously, even if it's the underwear finale that gets you through the door, go yourself a favour and go and see the boys from Bromance.

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hot brick saturday shopping

lego and ikea... sums up the day really
Today ended up being a fairly simple and low-key Saturday, which mostly consisted of us dashing from one air-conditioned environment to another.

For me it started as soon as I dragged my butt out of bed... I closed up the living room and put the air-con on before tidying up. I know I've mentioned it before, but as I look around my kitchen, it doesn't look THAT different than before I tidied... annoying really.

Anyway, I headed downstairs just as Ma was strolling down the driveway, so we jumped in my car and headed down to the supermarket. I was very decidedly low on everything (or at least all the major food elements), so it was something of a big haul.

Thankfully for most of the time we were running around the day was hot but overcast... which I always prefer to the blazing sun... but it was something of a shock every time we stepped out of air-conditioning into the general air.

Again, neither of us really had much need to go shopping or do a hell of a lot, but Ma was intending to make up a couple of versions of the Lego spaceman minifig artwork to give as gifts at Christmas, so we figured we might as well take a drive down to Toy Corner and pick up some supplies.

I'd already found a set of random superhero minifigs on eBay for a really good price and they arrived a couple of weeks back. Now, for all intents and purposes, they look EXACTLY like actual Lego, but I knew something was up when they arrived and both the legs and the torsos were in individual pieces instead of being in their assembled state. That and the fact that several of the figures came with guns that I knew weren't part of their original kits (Superman especially)... plus there was no Lego name on anything.

But if you don't know any of that, they look like authentic Lego products.

And there were eight of them in the set, technically enough to make two sets if we only used four in a set.

Anyway, when we got down to Toy Corner we had the usual wander around, just checking out what they had in stock, and then once the couple of family groups that were taking up space had left, I headed up to the counter to rattle off what we needed.

While we'd been waiting, Ma had seen some random minifig sets, including one with five little knights in it, so we decided that would make a good second frame set, we grabbed the two baseplates we needed, but they didn't have any in white, so we ended up with a green one for the knights and a pale grey one for the superheroes.

I grabbed a few extra plates to use in one of my minifig display cases, Ma wanted a (slightly expensive) gingerbread man fig for someone at her work, and I finally remembered to ask about getting a replacement cape for my vampire minifig.

He was one of the first two figs I ever picked up (along with the cheerleader) all the way back in 2010, and at the time I couldn't work out how the hell the cape was supposed to go on, plus I thought it looked a little stupid, so I either put it somewhere really, really, really, really safe, which I then never managed to find in all the time since, including a house move. So it's pretty much gone for good. The replacement cost me about twice the price of the original minifigure. And yes, I am kicking Past Me for making that really, really stupid decision.

So after a quick stop off at Bunnings to pick up a hook Ma needed and to have a sausage sizzle (it's fundamentally unAustralian NOT to have a charity sausage sizzle when you encounter one), we then were headed to IKEA, but essentially that meant coming most of the way back here, and since we'd forgotten to pick up the collection of dead batteries we'd both been saving up for just such a trip, detoured back here before heading off to the Land of the Meatball.

It was only a really brief visit... we went in through the registers, around to the frames area, grabbed the two frames for the Lego pieces and that was it really... short, sweet, in and out.

Then it was back here where I put together the displays for the frames, but didn't put them all together in case Ma chances her mind on the layout between now and Christmas. I should have taken photos, because they looked kind of cool, but I guess I can do that when we put them together properly at Christmas.

And we managed to do it all without getting too overheated, which was an added bonus.

Current Mood:

photo friday: lucky fish

beach art fishget wet

beach boardiesiron fish
It only seemed fitting that this week ended in Friday 13th... not that I had any major disasters, but the week definitely had it's moments.

And I'll say this... I would much rather have a week where I'm less busy at the start of the week and it gradually ramps up through the week rather than two days of total insanity, two days of slight thumb twiddling (not really, but relatively speaking) and then a day that went from sublime to ridiculous.

I'll also admit that I had a couple of grumpies during the week, not horrendously so, but there were a couple of minor annoyances that niggled away at me. Plus I don't think the weather helped, even with my air-con and the air-con at work.

We also had yet another of our infamous morning tea celebrations this week... partly for Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday (even if we were a few days early) and partly for the February birthdays. I honestly have no idea how many pancakes I ate... but they kept cooking them and bringing them out of the kitchen and I kept shoving them in my mouth. So much so that I was essentially in a food coma for much of the afternoon.

And we've finally reached the time of the year again... Fringe has officially started and I'm off to my first show on Sunday. From there there's a pretty regular stream of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until my birthday next month.

Current Mood:

assassin's creed - black flag

assassin's creed - black flag

It took me around a month to work my way through the islands of the Caribbean with Assassin's Creed: Black Flag.

I enjoyed my time as a swashbuckling pirate overall and it really was a great addition to the series. I don't think I've had quite as much fun running around wielding the hidden blades and diving off very high places since ACII.

Visually it's a gorgeous game... the locations are lush and beautiful to move around, particularly the jungles when the light falls just the right way. The weather effects that worked so well in ACIII work even better in Black Flag, especially when you're caught in a storm out at sea (although the water spouts/mini typhoons can bite me since they seem to achieve sentience and follow your ship around).

And speaking of sea, the water effects here are gorgeous. From the vast Caribbean Sea to waterfalls and even little puddles that you splash through, it all looks great. Instead of just slogging through murky featureless liquid, you can see yourself moving through the water. When you're in the ocean there are also occasionally little fishes and the like (although the fish AI, if there is one, isn't overly bright and they never scatter as you plough your way through them like I expected them to... but then the same can be said for the seagulls, flamingos and other bird life you encounter on various islands, you can't scare them away, and weirdly you also can't stab them which reduces them to mere set decorations, much like the beach dwelling crabs and turtles). There's also a whole underwater world you can explore, as well as a bunch of instances where you need to get to certain missions via the diving bell... which I didn't really care for... but more on that later.

The protagonist this time around is privateer turned pirate Edward Kenway (father of Haytham Kenway from ACII, and thus *spoilers* grandfather of Connor), and as a character he's everything that his descendants aren't... he's flirty, fun, passionate and every inch the pirate rogue. Unfortunately he's also NOT an assassin. Not officially anyway, and I don't think that you could really say at any point that he fully embraces the creed.

That was a downside for me, a minor one, but still a downside. While it worked for the way the story had been constructed, I did find that I really missed that sense of purpose and mission that being an assassin would have given, or if Edward had been inducted into the order during the course of the game (like both Connor and, to some degree, Ezio before him). And him having been aboard ship for two years previously doesn't really explain away him having mad assassin parkour skills.

I will also admit that he takes a little while to warm up to. Initially he's all about the doubloons (or more accurately, the reales, since a doubloon is actually 128 reales, thank you Internetz)... and that did make him slightly less likeable to start with. But once he screws up enough to kick off the major plot, he started to grow on me. That and his interactions with the first Master Assassin in Havana (the unfortunately named Rhona Dinsmore) were fun and flirty and really helped turn him into a likeable character.

And even though in ACIII I found everything about the combat and the guard AI problematic, I didn't mind it quite so much this time around. Partly because I discovered what (for me anyway) the secret is to good combat when there's more than one attacker jumping on you... namely throw a smokebomb, shiv everybody in the vicinity and repeat until everybody is dead. I made it through more than one enemy-filled island and almost every single one of the boat boarding battles that way.

I don't know if they actually balanced out the combat this time around, or if I was just more used to it, it just felt much better overall. And while I desynchronised during combat in ACIII on a regular basis, generally the only times that I did it in Black Flag were due to either a) ship battle related trauma or b) thinking I could jump further than I could (also known as the "whoops, I fell off that mast/cliff/temple ruin"). Also, the "run away and hide until you have some health bars again" technique worked out very well for me a second time around, but I felt like I had to use it much less often too.

The improved Eagle Vision which lets you track enemies through walls and out of your line of site was also incredibly useful, especially any time you're using stealth or trailing people since I only had to keep their eagle vision echo in sight, rather than the character themselves. That was always a giant bugbear for me in previous games, when it was impossible to do that without either falling off a roof or being seen or losing your quarry when they disappeared down a warren of streets.

I also found it much easier to do a lot of the additional synchronisation items within the missions... but then they were also much easier to actually remember or were pointed out clearly this time around compared with ACIII.

In fact, almost everything that I saw as a flaw in ACIII has been upgraded or fixed or otherwise improved this time around which made me happy. Most notably both the on screen prompts and clues, but also the hunting of animals, which was so much easier (specifically the fending off large predators specifically, I think I only died a handful of times as opposed to EVERY SINGLE TIME) and which led directly into the crafting of the health upgrades (which I was so glad to see again) and additional weapon/tool storage, which was also much, much easier.

One of the things I thought was very odd, and maybe I just overlooked it or didn't happen upon the right shop or something, but the throwing knives that I made great use of in previous games seemed to be strangely absent this time around. Sure I'd occasionally pickpocket one off of a dead guard's corpse, but I never found a shop that sold them outright. Not that I was short on weapons (I went through what must have been a couple of hundred insanity/poison and sleep darts taking down guards all over the place), but I did miss the knives on occasion, especially when I was going for uber stealth.

One thing that I definitely liked about Black Flag over pretty much any of the previous games in the series was the way that the game was set up across multiple islands... from well-known ones like Havana, Kingston and Nassau which were the big bustling towns, down to little islands that may only contain a chest or a glowing pyramid or a small "pirate outpost". But unlike previous games where you have a whole city to explore and then, if you're so inclined, go through and clear out all the collectibles and extra content, or just whatever segment of city that you're being allowed to access at the moment, this system allows you to go through and pick a smaller and often more manageable area completely clean, which I LOVE. And assigning the R2 button to a pop-up that tells you how much stuff you have still to clear was a great addition too, although I tended to use the map to target things individually more so than I used that. The return of the fast travel system that allows you to go to an island in general or to a specific viewpoint on that island is highly welcome, especially when you need to suddenly flick back to somewhere you've already been (plus the fact that your ship also appears in the harbour when you do that is damn useful) for some of the assassination missions.

Speaking of ships, I didn't mind the ship missions/combat in ACIII. I wasn't always great at them, and I never finished the very last one which had wave after wave of boats coming at you (from memory), but it was fun just tooling around in the ocean. And I felt the same way about Black Flag, especially in the early part of the game where everything is new and different and you're not needing to travel huge distances to get from one place to another (although they do feel that way initially).

But after a while (by about the 50% synchronisation point I think), it all became a bit repetitive. Not the story missions so much, but the fact that you need to capture other ships in order to upgrade your own ship and therefore be better at capturing ships (to then upgrade your own ship, etc, repeat until insane) and taking over the forts that control/unlock the "mystery fog" for each section of the map. That I got bored with, because it was either a giant pain in the ass, especially when confronting multiple ships, or as happened on more than one occasion, I'd attack, disable and board a ship, only to be taken down by the enemy crew (or in one spectacular case, misjudged a jump from the very top of the mast to some rigging and went kersplat on the deck of the ship with legs all akimbo). The fact that it treated both the sea battle and the ship board battle as the same event was also kind of annoying. I would have much preferred if when you desynchronised after failing the boarding part, it would take you back to the point when you're approaching the ship to board it.

The fact that you would sometimes get the "this area not available for the current memory" message while you were sailing around trying to fight was also a pain. If it's an open world/open ocean, then let me move around as much as I like during a fight (within the confines of the attack area I suppose), don't hem me in with random boundaries and punish me for straying outside of them while following enemy ships. I will say that that only happened a handful of times, and mostly when I was doing some of the earlier story missions rather than free roaming, so there may have been additional boundaries put up for those.

Also, don't get me started on the sea shanties... they were fine at certain points, but when you're supposed to be doing a silent or stealth or high tension mission... or are having to do a mission all over again because you failed at the last possible moment, you can take your cheery singing and shove it. I was very thankful that there was an option to (temporarily) silence them though.

The Black Flag version of the assassin recruitment missions from other games have been split into a couple of different tasks this time around... you can rescue pirates from attacking guards (or, like I did, just pick up every random floating sailor you see while travelling from one place to another) which then keeps your crew at full strength and makes boarding ships easier, but the "sending people on missions" portion of the game became controlling your own fleet. Not that you could ever get them to come and help you on missions (although there were some random "friendly" ships that show up out of the blue on occasion, but I never quite figured out exactly what the trigger was for their appearance), they just scuttled about in their own unique portion of the game, running trade missions to far off lands and taking down other ships to make those routes safe to sail.

I had a couple of issues with that "mini game" to be honest and it was easily my least favourite part of the entire game. The first thing was that while you do get very valuable cash from these missions, they're trading items that only exist within their own little minigame... I always desperately needed metal to upgrade Kenway's boat, the Jackdaw, but the trade missions were wine and spices and the like, which didn't do me any good and I couldn't use them in-game anyway. Secondly, you need to capture boats in the main portion of the game to add to your minigame fleet, but they in turn can't capture any of the ships they encounter, so while they fought countless ships, that didn't do me any good at all. And the mini game within the mini game where you battle other ships to clear the trade routes got really, really, really old, really fast. It just ended up feeling very much like a tacked on addition to the game rather than something I wanted to do, unlike the upgrading of assassins in Revelations, or even clearing the other American cities in ACIII. This was essentially doing the same thing over and over and over again with only the reales as reward, and unlike the cities in ACIII, the routes didn't stay clear once you cleared them... it was very annoying.

One of the other things that I gave up on at a certain point were the additional underwater missions. And that was partly because you couldn't even arm yourself. Seriously, there were sharks and moray eels just ready to take a bite out of you, and there never seemed to be a way to defend yourself, which was frankly ridiculous... I understand not being allowed to use the hidden blades or a sword or pistols, but give me a damn knife and let me be Stabby McStabbington. It was also generally annoying that while you do have additional air caches dropped around the map, it was really easy to get lost or not be sure where the hell you were going due to being able to move anywhere in three dimensional space and while I never actually ran out of air, I did get chewed up by sharks on more than one occasion. I'm also never a fan of the "timed mission" sections of the AC games, and this was a whole slew of them.

The rewards for doing those areas weren't enough to keep me going back versus the stresses of actually trying to do them, especially since they were all connected do modifying your ship, which in turn required more sea battles, etc, etc.


And the end of the game (while VASTLY superior to the end of ACIII) seemed to jump out at me from nowhere. I knew I was coming up on it, but unlike the other games which make it really damn obvious that you're on the final leg, Black Flag blindsided me. I jumped back into the Animus after doing the last of the "real world" sections, and there was one short-ish cut scene before the credits started rolling.

I know that other people have complained about this before, but seriously Ubisoft, let us have a way of skipping the bulk of the credits. Yes, there were a couple of cute sections during the credits, one where you're steering a boat while having a conversation with another character (which is actually a really sweet ending) and then another one which *slight spoilers* introduces the child version of Haytham (which also then rewards you with the brilliantly named "Saw That One Coming" trophy). But then you need to sit through at least twenty damn minutes of scrolling boredom.

Then, unlike ACIII, you aren't even rewarded with extra gameplay... I mean the game eventually reboots and the map displayed with a bunch of assassination/bureau icons on it... but they seemed to disappear as soon as I started running around and looked at the main map, which is weird and annoying. Whether they were reminders of "extra content" and I'd done most of it, I don't really know, but I was slightly confused and didn't play for very long after that point.

The portions of the game that take place in "the real world" are very different this time around. Gone is Desmond Miles and the third person perspective, this time around it's all mute first person view as YOU, the gamer, are the newest employee of the Canadian gaming company offshoot of Abstergo Industries (which I'm guessing must have been at least partially based on/inspired by Ubisoft itself and its various divisions spread around the globe).

While these sections feel very, very different (and there are only a handful of them) to the Desmond ones, they are all part of the same universe, and characters from the Desmond storyline do show up (which made me very, very happy). I may also have gotten a little glassy eyed when I hacked into one of the computers (in game, obviously) and discovered a video/report detailing exactly what happened to Desmond after the end of ACIII. Actually 90% of these real world sections are hacking minigames set in various parts of the Abstergo building. Thankfully it wasn't the same game over and over and over, there were three distinct types (although the "guide the ball through these killer lines" version was my least favourite), and the various files you uncover detail not only the development of the first Animus and the ability to dive into memories that aren't part of your genetic heritage but also various snippets "recovered" from Desmond's phone. It was interesting enough to keep me coming back, and viewing/listening to all of them and hacking every computer I could get my grubby little virtual hands on.

Again, this section of the game, although it appeared to be rolling to a close, didn't feel like it properly ended before I jumped back into the Animus for the final time. In fact it felt very much like all it was missing was "to be continued".

All in all, this game slots in as my second favourite after the ACII/Brotherhood two-parter, and I'm definitely sad to have said goodbye to Edward, his Jackdaw and the sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean.

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movies: kingsman - the secret service

kingsman: the secret service
I think that actor Mark Strong summed it up best when he said that Kingsman: The Secret Service is to spy films, what Kick-Ass was to superhero movies.

Not really surprising since it's from the same director, Matthew Vaughn who co-wrote both movies with Jane Goldman... and Strong was in both movies.

But as much as I enjoyed Kick-Ass, Kingsman is definitely superior, and just an all around brilliant movie!

It feels like an old-school Bond movie... in fact on more than on occasion they make references to Bond and Bond movies... and even some of the posters were based on the For Your Eyes Only posters.

And it had all the things that the the most recent set of Bond movies lacked, most notably an interesting villain and a henchman (or in this case henchwoman) who was genuinely threatening.

But what do you expect when you hire Samuel L "Muthafuckin" Jackson as your villain... even with the semi-comical lisp. And Sofia Boutella did an excellent job as henchwoman, Gazelle, so much so that if I hadn't read earlier in the week that she doesn't actually have prosthetic legs, I would have assumed that she was a paralympian.

Where this movie really shines though is in it's young lead actor, Taron Egerton, as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin... he's the perfect mix of hero and hooligan and there's just something about him that made me not be able to take my eyes off him (beyond the fact that he's a gorgeous young man... and he can wear a god-damn suit!).

That's one of the other things I loved about the movie, the art direction and the costumes (clothes absolutely maketh the man in this movie) and just the whole look of the film is perfect. Sure, there's the very occasional bit of very ordinary CGI work (mostly on teeny tiny digital extras, but once I noticed it once, I kept seeing it over and over), but I didn't even care. Plus the work they did on removing Boutella's feet more than makes up for it.

And of course a good portion of the style and charm that this movie has in spades, comes straight from Colin Firth who really is perfect for this kind of gentleman spy roll.

The movie also doesn't take itself too seriously... it's not making a satire of the spy genre, but it's definitely poking fun at some of the conventions, and generally having fun with even some of the more serious scenes. It's all perfectly handled though.

The only thing that I guess it lacked was a proper confrontation between Egerton's Eggsy and Jackson's Valentine, as all good spy movies should have. Although Eggsy did get an offer that James Bond has certainly never been offered on screen... and by a princess no less.

But even with those couple of very minor niggles, I totally loved this movie and it's definitely one of those titles that's destined to join my collection.

yani's rating: 5 high tech umbrellas out of 5

basic summer saturday shopping

It's been a very basic Saturday... but then it's also been a fairly hot day, and Ma's foot is still giving her issues, so it was good that we didn't have anything much to do.

Plus we're about to dive head-first into Fringe, so it's probably good that we had a quiet one.

As soon as I got up this morning, I put the air-con on... I'm hoping I can just give it a rest tomorrow when the temperature is supposed to drop a bit before it gets all ick later in the week.

Anyway, I tidied up a bit, got ready and went down to meet Ma, then we headed off to the supermarket.

It was a slightly low-key shop this week, possibly because I still have a whole bunch of stuff left over from last week.

Once we were done, we headed back here and I did the usual unpacking before we headed out to Arndale. I think the original plan probably would have been to wander around a bit and then head to the movies, but it turned out that the movie we wanted to see was on in about half an hour, so we headed straight there. And, of course, because the cinema only opens at 10:15, we were there with a seeming ton of people, including a whole birthday party of little girls off to see the Barbie Princess Superhero movie.

And my usual Fringe mojo for having possibly the single more annoying people in the queue either be directly in front or behind me kicked in a little early this year, and I had to put up with two ladies of a certain age who just wouldn't shut the hell up right behind me. Of course if the cinema actually employed more than a couple of people on the desk, or if they went back to having the ticket area be a separate area to the candy bar (which was absolutely the stupidest thing they ever did, closing down the ticket windows), the line might have moved at more than a snail's pace.

Anyway, once the movie was over, we had a quick poke around Big W and then headed back to North Adelaide to get some lunch.

We ended up in Cibo, and I had my usual, the Piadina Capocollo, along with an affogato... I think I've had some version of the affogato before, but this one was fantastic, especially since I stirred it around and just generally waited until the gelati/ice cream had mostly broken down and the whole thing was a wonderfully thick consistency. Mmmmm too delish!

Then we headed back here and Ma headed on her merry way.

I would probably have ended up writing this this afternoon, but after having an episode of the English version of Who Do You Think You Are on in the background, I started poking around my family tree again, and thanks to working a little of my Google-fu, I've actually managed to trace my paternal side of the family back to 1593 (at present any way), and discover that I've got a whole branch of ancestors who came first from Canada, then New York, and then Germany and Switzerland. Which is a hell of a contrast to the maternal side where I'm pretty sure they never moved out of the same fifty square miles of England.

Funny things, family trees.

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photo friday: rusty curves

rusty whalerusty curves

rusty bloomrusty coral

rusty spheresrusty circles
Another week, another peculiar set of circumstances that somehow add up to be my life.

Although the major item didn't even happen directly to me. The apartment next to my hairdresser friend, Tink, went up in flames last weekend, and while her place is structurally okay as far as I'm aware, from the little she's told me there was a bunch of water/smoke damage, and the place is unliveable, so she and the two junior editions are living in a hotel.

This also meant that she had to cancel my haircut appointment for next Monday... which isn't even a question, of course she can't be cutting hair while in the middle of all that drama. However it did leave me in something of a dilemma, since by the time she messaged me on Tuesday I was already more than a week overdue for actually needing a haircut and entering the useless hairdo zone.

I figured that, much like the last time that Tink went AWOL on me (as a result of moving to Perth briefly I believe), I would just grab a quick haircut at one of the places in the North Adelaide Village. Which is pretty much where I found myself last night after I dropped off my dry-cleaning and grabbed some groceries. It was definitely a case of right place, right time, because about five minutes after I walked in to an empty salon it seemed to be full of people.

But it wasn't the unisex place I went to last time... this was the not quite a barber, but definitely catering to, staffed by and all around blokey place that opened about a year or so ago. And I've been there before to buy product, they have the stuff I like and on more than one occasion they've had the stuff I like along with shampoo, conditioner and shave cream in a pack for only a fraction more than the product alone and before Christmas I bought two packs. So the guy who owns it (I think) is super friendly, very jolly, but decidedly A Boy. That about sums it up really... it's very much A Boy Place, with definite capitals and all the mental baggage that comes along with.

Not that I felt uncomfortable... more like I was, I dunno, orienteering without a map or a compass I guess. Nobody I know, nobody I work with (which, to be honest, does tend to constitute the majority of people I know) is A Boy, so it's decidedly out of my wheelhouse as they say. I do think it was the right time and place for the particular hair quandary I was in though.

Probably due to the boys at work more than anything, I'd been contemplating a slightly different haircut, one with less of a blend between the short sides and the longer top... little did I know that there's actually a name for that... a disconnected undercut. Who knew?

But because these are decidedly Boy hairdressers, with decidedly Boy clients, it's a haircut they're particularly familiar with. So I was in good hands. Granted I don't have enough hair on top to really do a full on Macklemore kind of deal (although I wish I did... I fucking LOVE his hair), so it ended up being only partially disconnected in spots. It'll be interesting to see what happens when I take this haircut to Tink who knows my hair and it's behaviour a lot better, and see what she's able to do with it. I am thinking it could be made a little more extreme, given that I've got some hair that dramatically misbehaves when it's too short on the sides, so maybe we need to raise up the disconnection line and possibly leave the top longer maybe.

We'll see...

I also didn't get any reblonding... because I'd much rather Tink did that (she knows my colour and she's cheaper)... I was also interested to see what would happen if I cut all/some of the colour out. Granted I generally get annoyed with my hair when it's only a couple of inches longer than what I consider to be good haircut length, so if I stopped blonding my hair altogether, it would still take me like six months' worth of haircuts to grow it all out.

The other thing I really liked like was other than a random bit of chatting, I was spared from making general conversation due to the fact there was a lot of banter and back and forth between the two hairdressers, the other (seemingly regular) customers and some other dude who was just in there trying on clothes (they also stock some menswear, go figure). What his relationship to everyone else was, I have no idea... but it was interesting to just watch all the banter.

And like with all new haircuts it's going to take me a while to work out exactly the best style and also the best process to get that style. I do kinda wish that my hair was as thick as it used to be, because I think even if I went for the full on Macklemore style, I wouldn't ever get it looking thick and lush enough.

Such is life.

Work remains "of the crazy" this week...

Between job requests and the fact that I took a morning from my regularly scheduled insanity to construct a new version of an old spreadsheet to track feedback and a whole day to fiddle around with Google Analytics, it's been partially annoying, partly fun (because I do love a graph and a data collection... essentially I just like making data my bitch, go figure), but mostly fiddly kind of week.

But other than all that, and a gentleman caller last night which pretty much dominated my evening for a couple of hours, there's not really that much more to report.

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