photo saturday: all hallows

incomplete bride of frankenstein('s monster)vamp girl

newtown sallynewtown smiler
This week, once again, has been a big fat check in the "dude, seriously" column.

I will say that the upside was the fact that I was busy all week long. The downside, you guessed it, I was busy all week long.

There was some added stress because Ma went in for her elective surgery on Tuesday... I had one of those "what if the worst happens" brain farts that I couldn't quite shake. But she's all good, surgery went well and after a couple of days staying with her bestie, she's back home as of this morning. So that's a weight off my mind.

It does mean that Saturday's are going to be a little atypical for much of the month of November... and this Saturday was even atypical on top of that.

Oh, but before I get into that... I just want to state for the record, I do actually have a heart and it is in actual working order. I know because I've seen it.

Back around the time of my last bout of the flu I started noticing some ectopic heartbeats... essentially it's when it feels like your heart is "holding it's breath" for a beat and then the following beat is a big thump. It got to the point where I went to my GP about it and he referred me on to the cardiologist.

That led to me going in for an ultrasound on my heart on Friday morning. And I gotta say, laying there while the young woman shoved the transducer into my flesh and I got to watch my heart on the monitor is all kinds of weird. Especially as the thing that I could see most clearly was one of the valves right in the middle as it opened and closed.

Just weird.

But the doctor told me that my heart is in good shape, and the ectopic beats have pretty much stopped. So that's good.

On a completely unrelated note I booked in for a consultation on my tattoo cover-up on my left arm. The tattoo there is a cover-up itself and it's at least 15 years old at this point, and frankly it's pretty damn bad, especially compared with the new one.

And I had an artist all picked out, and he finally reopened his books this week... and that is the point where I discover that he doesn't do cover-ups. Goddammit! Anyway, that led me to look around for another studio and more specifically an artist whose work I liked and that I felt fitted into what I wanted to have on my arm. Which led me to Progression Tattoo, and their Open Day/Consult Day in December... and more specifically to one of their artists who has a couple of pieces very much in the style that I was thinking. So on Friday I called and booked in for a consult. Yay!

Insert mental image of me doing the happy dance here.

Today was... yeah actually today wasn't very exciting. As previously stated, I was on my own, but since Ma was only getting home today, she didn't need me for anything, so I was left completely to my own devices.

Shopping was fairly standard, beyond the general buying of a few extra treats... including grabbing some Turkish Delight for the production of Christmas Rocky Road. Yes, it is a whole month away from being required, but it's not going to come to any harm.

I did have a bit of an impulse buy in Target though... they have this "Summer" watermelon designed quilt cover, and it was fairly cheap, but the material didn't feel crappy... so I bought one, and a fitted sheets and extra pillowcases from their "home brand" range in bright red. It's going to look nice I think, and if the quilt cover is big enough then I can retire the ugly brown one I tend to use during winter. And then potentially match up the brown fitted sheet with the green IKEA quilt cover. Sorry, thinking aloud...

After that I came back here, unpacked everything and put it away and then headed into the city to the Flinders Street Market for their Mini Comic-con. I wasn't expecting a lot... and, yeah... it was okay, but not fantastic. And there was only one dude who's portfolio I really wanted to go through, however it was being hovered over by a guy who, granted, was buying a ton of stuff... but at the same time he was totally stopping anybody else from looking at the stuff.

In the end after a couple of loops around the place, I gave up, bought some gingerbread cookies and a giant messy meringue thing and came home.

And I kinda think it might be time to start working on Ma's calendar for 2016... and given that we haven't been on any interstate jaunts since my birthday last year I've been a little stuck as to what the hell I was going to do... but then I realised that our first trip together was in 2005, which makes it a decade of trips (this tripless year notwithstanding), and we've done twelve trips... so I'm going to go back to each trip and find a signature image I haven't already used and make up a calendar of that... call it Decade, appropriately enough.

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photo saturday: vanilla with sky

mason whitemanly white

piped whiteribbed white
This week has been a little vanilla... although with the occasional coloured sprinkle... and the odd chopped nut or two... and I have now officially run this metaphor all the way into the ground.

I had my first "salad disaster" this week... I mean it wasn't a total write-off, but I definitely had to persevere through it. Part of the problem was the dressing was a little too thick and too creamy, mostly because I put the remainder of the container of sour cream I had in it. In theory good... in practice, it needed less.

And making too much risoni and too much chicken was also problematic, if only because it meant that the dressing I did have didn't go far enough.

The week itself was a little bit m'eh... we had our Halloween/birthday morning tea on Wednesday, I wore the mask I bought last weekend, which was appropriately creepy, especially when paired with a slight head tilt and a "broken doll" type walk.

Granted I couldn't eat with the mask on, and it did get very warm very quickly, so I ended up wearing it on top of my head for most of the time.

Then Thursday after work I had an interesting encounter... not exactly what I was expecting, in some ways better, in some worse... although the gentleman in question was the type who couldn't just stay still afterwards... which kind of broke the mood.

Yesterday I picked up my giant Assassin's Creed Syndicate box set... the Charing Cross edition, with the statue... and because of that the box is legitimately gigantic. And I won't be able to play it until after Christmas since that's when I'll get my PS4, and I also have to work my way through the previous game... and I'll also have Lego Dimensions for when stabbing virtual people gets too much. So, yeah, lots of video games to play...

Today wasn't overly exciting... well, there was some minor excitement due to some water coming out of the building's gas plant room, but I reported it and it eventually got fixed.

The supermarket portion of the day was somewhat more extensive than usual... Ma is having some elective surgery done next week which means she won't be driving for a while, so she needed to stock up on a bunch of stuff.

It also means that Saturdays are going to be a little different for a few weeks.

Anyway, once we were done at the supermarket, we took a wander around Target, and ended up finding a few bits and pieces for Princess T and Miss Oh for Christmas, so once we got back and I'd unpacked my part of the shopping we decided to head down to Marion, since they have all the stores.

It wasn't necessarily the most productive trip... It would be slightly easier if we spent more time with them... but then family you don't spend time with is always much harder to buy for at Christmas.

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photo saturday: street work

street rookshy eyes

snow darkstreet pawn
First off, I need to declare 17 October as National Asshole Day.

Yeah, it's been one of those days.

But before I wind things back, I have a message for the Adelaide 2015 ITU Duathlon World Championship event organisers.

Fuck you. Fuck you in all possible interpretations and meanings of the phrase. You close off two of the three thoroughfares between North Adelaide in the city, you close off the whole of Wellington Square. You do all of this for two whole fucking days. And I was a grand total of twelve goddamn bikes. Yes, okay, there may have been more around 3pm, but seriously, if you need to close the square off for two complete days, then I expect to see a cavalcade, a plethora, in short, a shit-ton of cyclists going around the square for the entire period.

Otherwise, as I previously stated, fuck you. And you can take your sporting event and shove it where the proverbial doesn't shine.

Okay, I feel better now.

This week has been... long. The weather didn't particularly help, going from cool to hot to cool again.

Work was at times completely insane... I had a meeting on Tuesday that I thought was going to be a simple discussion about one thing, but turned out to be a lot more work, which then ate up the majority of my Friday. And the fact that H-San hasn't been in had meant that I've been fielding a bunch of things I would normally have bumped up the chain to him. Or at the very least I would have discussed them with him and gotten his take on them before doing anything.

Thursday was Haircut Day, and it was about time because there was an extra week between cuts so I was feeling a little shaggy and unkempt.

It didn't perhaps run as smoothly as a normal haircut because Tink Jr had a bit of a meltdown after she went to bed, so Tink was a little rattled. Eventually Jr wore herself out and fell asleep though.

As previously mentioned, Friday was a little intense, so much so that I ended up working straight through lunch. Well, I had lunch, but I ate it while working.

Let's just say that when I left work on Friday, I went to the bottleshop for a six-pack of Strongbow. And came home and drank four of them.

Today was more annoying than anything else... the blocking off of Wellington Square changed our Saturday morning routine, then it just seemed to be one thing after another. We took a quick trip to Arndale, then made the mistake of going into the city. Because the two major routes into the city were closed off, everyone was taking other routes, so it took forever to get where we were going.

We didn't do very much, just had a wander and grabbed a couple of things here and there, before giving up and coming home again.

So a little bit of a stressful week/day...

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movies: macbeth

macbeth - all hail
My connection (ie obsession) with versions of the Scottish play is well established at this point, so it's no surprise I was excited to see the version of Macbeth directed by South Australian director, Justin Kurzel.

And it's a stunning adaptation. Possibly the most beautiful I've seen.

Visually the combination of the Scottish locations (which I believe is the first time that there has been a movie version filmed on the Scottish moors), the cinematography from Adam Arkapaw, the production design, costumes and make-up all come together brilliantly.

Kurzel went with a very "realistic" approach, from the setting to the costumes to the set designs, it all feels historically appropriate. But settings like the final battle sequence are so spectacularly staged that they're just breathtaking.

Michael Fassbender plays the titular Thane of Glamis while Marion Cotillard is his lady... and they both do incredible work, even though I'm generally not a massive fan of Cotillard.

All the cast is great in fact, although I will say that the decision to use "authentic" Scottish brogue on top of the Shakespearean language did mean that even I who knows the play pretty much backwards and sideways couldn't always tell what they were saying.

There are generally three places where you make your mark as a director/writer with Macbeth... how you deal with the witches, the parts of the play you leave out, and the things you add visually because you can't add them verbally.

And this version got them all pretty spot on for the universe of the movie... the witches, beyond a little ritual scarification here and there, are very grounded in reality, as was everything else... although the decision to have essentially five characters instead of the regular three was a little odd, although one was a child and the other a baby. They also added in the ghost of a teenaged soldier who dies at the beginning, and assigned some of the lines from the witches to him, but that's easy enough to suggest that they conjure him.

I could complain a little about the parts they left out... but at this point I've seen versions with every possible combination of extractions... it's just that in this case, it's one of my favourite lines (and one that I have on the wall in my bedroom):
That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.
What hath quenched them hath given me fire.
In fact a large amount of the things they removed from Macbeth/Lady M come from around the murder scene. Also gone is the "hubble bubble" sequence,I'm guessing because it felt too theatrical and over the top.

Other things to find themselves on the chopping block, as usual, were Duncan's younger son, the sequence between Malcolm and MacDuff about how terrible a king Malcolm would be, and the Lady MacDuff/Ross scene.

Those I can all live with them removing as they do have a tenancy to slow things down.

It's the things they added that were the most interesting... they add the battle that we only hear about at the beginning of the play, but then "show not tell" works much better in the movies. They also add in the "previous death of a child" that I've seen in a few versions which comes from one of Lady Macbeth's lines about knowing what it is to have a child suckle at her breast.

And the other thing is a sequence at the end that involves Banquo's son Fleance... given the fact that the witches tell Macbeth he will be king, but that Banquo will be father to a line of kings... but at the end of the play it's Malcolm who takes back the throne, not young Fleance, there's a cryptic little coda that may mean that Malcolm is going to now hunt down Fleance to secure his title.

It's definitely an interesting take, and not something that I've ever seen put together like that, and it was really, really good.

They also do a brilliant version of Birnam Wood "coming to" Dunsinane, and likewise not once I've seen depicted before.

This is a stunning version of the story, beautifully realised, brilliantly acted and a credit to everybody who was involved.

yani's rating: 5 ghostly daggers out of 5

photo saturday: winging it

angel wingswater walker

black curvecopper galah
There's been a decided element of winging it this week... firstly I kind of lost more of the Sunday and holiday Monday to a combination of unseasonally hot weather and general screwing around on my part... although I did end up putting together the Metalbeard Lego set late in the afternoon on Sunday.

I'm not sure if it was that or not, but I just ended up feeling very much like I hadn't even had a day off... or else that I needed several more, all strung together in a row.

The week, although short, seemed to drag and drag and drag. Not because I wasn't busy, but in spite of it, which was fairly annoying. Plus there was the added issue hanging over the whole week that H-San started his month long leave on Friday, which is going to end up meaning a bunch more stuff I'm going to have to do and/or not be able to bump up the chain of command to him. So, to coin a phrase... fuck!

This morning I got up early and did all the housework I couldn't be bothered doing all week long... which never takes as long as I think it's going to, but even so I tend to leave it until the last possible minute.

But I got everything done with time to spare, so it all worked out okay.

Shopping was, well, shopping...

I have to say that the summer regime of making salads for lunch is much less interesting and experimental than making soups was. It's essentially the same types of things repeated over and over again... so I may have to play around with the idea of dressings in order to make things interesting.

Anyway, once we were done with shopping, it was back here to unpack and then we headed into the city to go and see Macbeth.

During the movie I got a call from the comic book shop to say that my order had come in, so afterwards we headed in that general direction... firstly though we stopped off at Target since I hadn't heard anything back from them about the Lego Dimensions Portal 2 set that the docile boy allegedly put a raincheck on last week, so I figured I'd just check. Turns out that useless boy was exceptionally useless since they had the set on the shelf, and yet nobody had bothered to call me. If I get a phone call on Monday, then yeah, maybe all is forgiven, but I doubt it. I'm going with the fact that he was useless. And if they do call me, I'll tell them I already came in and got one.

But at least I have it now (not that there was any damn rush, since I won't get the game and the console until Christmas).

Next was the comic book store, and then we wandered back along the Mall, picked up a couple of bits and pieces and some books for Tink's kids for Christmas, then headed down to Burger Theory for the second anniversary of the Burger of the Month, the "Why Not Both?", what is essentially pretty close to their cheeseburger, but with the addition of a hot dog. And I don't know what it is about that, but I do love the hot dog in all it's slightly squeaky glory.

We also grabbed their banana/pancake/maple syrup concrete of the month, which I have to say is my favourite of all the ones I've tried so far. I do kind of wish they made half serves of concrete, as I always end up feeling very, very full after a burger and a concrete. But it was outstanding.

And that was pretty much it really.

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movies: the martian

the martian - bring him home
From start to finish, The Martian is an exceptionally good movie.

The story by Andy Weir and the adaptation by Drew Goddard has the right amount of action, humour, suspense and emotion to draw you in from the very first minute and not let you go until the end credits roll.

And Matt Damon is absolutely perfect as the astronaut assumed dead and left behind on Mars. There's just something about him that is both charismatic but also vulnerable, and you completely buy him as the character. You root for him through the entire movie, feel his successes and losses and just want everything to work out for him.

But there isn't a single bad performance in the entire movie... everybody brought their A game, from Jessica Chastain as the mission commander to Jeff Daniels as the head of NASA and everybody in between. Even the very small roles, Donald Glover as an astrodynamicist to Mackenzie Davis as a NASA engineer feel like real characters.

Visually the movie is gorgeous... everything from the landscape shots of Mars to the essentially seamless visual effects (as in I have no idea what was and wasn't an effects shot, beyond knowing what probably must have been mostly effects), not to mention the amazing production design and costumes. The Mars space suits are just beautiful.

There's also a great use of music... in this case, predominantly disco, which is used fairly sparingly but also really, really effectively. And bonus points for the song choice used during the credits.

If there were any quibbles at all they would be two tiny shots using a body double to show how malnourished Damon's character had become... I get why they're there, I get why they used a double, but it just looks weird and definitely threw me out of the movie for a moment both times. But given their collective run time it's a very, very, very small nitpick in an otherwise exceptional movie.

yani's rating: 5 Martian potatoes out of 5

lego: metalbeard's duel

lego: metalbeard's duel - boxing it outlego: metalbeard's duel - sharktastic
There's something to be said for a good old fashioned 30% off sale to get you to make a purchase. The Metalbeard's Duel set from The Lego Movie had been on my wish list for a while now... if only because it's yet another Lego mech in a very long line of Lego mechs.

It's also the first Lego set where I'm genuinely only really interested in half of the set. Yeah, the Micro Manager that makes up the other half of the set is a decent enough build, but they are all just cubes.

lego: metalbeard's duel - polybags one two threelego: metalbeard's duel - robo, robo and frank
The set comes as three polybags... the first one contains all the pieces for the Micro Mananger and minifigs, the other two are all for the Metalbeard build.

The minifigs don't include any of the major characters, instead you get a Robo Skeleton, a Robo SWAT guy and Frank the Foreman. So two bad guys and somebody to save from the Micro Manager.

lego: metalbeard's duel - micro managerlego: metalbeard's duel - metalbeard
I probably could have taken progress shots while I was working on both the Micro Manager and Metalbeard, but I kind of got into the zone, plus neither of them were specially complex builds.

I do feel like the Micro Manager has the potential to be a little bit front heavy... which I guess is why the feet have those little stabilisers.

However the Metalbeard build was fantastic. I never even realised that he has the amount of detail that he actually has...

lego: metalbeard's duel - the sword and the wheellego: metalbeard's duel - secret treasure
First off there's the sword... and the shark arm and the flags with the parrot, the ship's wheel with (I'm guessing based off the image on the front of the box) the ammunition for the cannon arm. Then there's the anchor on the back of one of the legs, and the foot canon and above all else the sword. Plus the fact there's a piece added to the build specifically to hold the sword, which is always a bonus.

And the set does answer the burning question of what Metalbeard keeps in the treasure chest that makes up his actual chest... and that is two bone and a sausage.

lego: metalbeard's duel - metalbeard on bluelego: metalbeard's duel - micro manager on blue
I also took a few "beauty" shots with the help of a sheet of blue cardboard, and they came out pretty well I think, particularly Metalbeard. And the whole group came out looking pretty good in fact.

lego: metalbeard's duel - the full set
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photo saturday: swell

into the swellcrashing in

down the waveinside wave
I believe that, by any technical definition of the term, I am every so slightly hungover as fuck.

We went for drinks after work last night, partially to mourn the fact that H-San is headed off on leave at the end of next week and because we haven't had one since last May. And that is indeed a long time between drinks.

But backing up a little bit first...

Last Sunday was fairly successful, I ended up making the majority of the components for my pseudo Caeser Salad while I was tidying up in the morning, so there was really not a whole lot to do in the evening, which was good. And the salad itself was pretty successful, except for the fact that I kept forgetting to add the croutons.

The rest of the week was fairly m'eh... I spent a large amount of Monday in meetings, not all of which where in my calendar. So that made the day disappear pretty quickly, but also didn't let me do any actual work.

Thursday was interesting... and a little cryptic from a blog perspective... when you've been chasing something for quite a while, even if it's only in your own head, and then you get it in reality and it's 90-95% of what you expected, it's pretty worthwhile.

But coming back around to Friday... I left work at 4 because I had a chiro appointment, and even though I did that, then looped around to the pub, I was still the first one there, although H-San and Sugarmonkey weren't far behind me.

It did take a while for everyone to turn up, mostly because there are now too many of us to count... okay, not literally, but there are a lot of us. And that also meant that we had two tables reserved at the pub, but everyone still broke up into at least four groups at the beginning of the night, then as the lightweights faded out one by one we kind of came together until there were only two tables of us left.

And for a good long while it was just the old crew on one table and Hershel and her harem were on the other. But it was really lovely just having me, Sugarmonkey, H-San and Rockchick all together... and weirdly, even though Pixie is pretty new, she fits right in with the old crew like she's been around forever.

We had a great time, we talked a lot of trash, were more than a little bit appropriate, I drank essentially all the beer. In fact I don't even remember how much beer I ended up having.

Pixie and I were checking out all the available talent all night, the only problem was there really was a severe dearth of talent. So we ended up sounding just the littlest bit thirsty. And there were entirely too many drunk dudebros clogging up the place with their bro-ness. There was also a slightly weird incident as Pixie and Rockchick were leaving.

I was standing up and may have been having a big of a general dance around because the pub was pretty empty by this stage and there was music and I'd been drinking... but just after I stopped I saw a group of dudebros headed for the door, which was just next to me, and I saw the lead dudebro looking at me, and as he went past he reached out and smacked my ass. I have no idea what his intention was, beyond the fact that I'd been shaking it a minute before, and it was a backhand slap, so he wasn't trying to feel me up, it was just genuinely weird. I realised the perfect comeback like this morning when I was in the shower would have been "hey, buy a guy a drink first", but I think all I managed at the time was a rather confused "okay then".

Eventually the only two left were Sugarmonkey and myself. And when he went to get the next round (after at least two more rounds that I really didn't need), I looked at my phone and discovered that it was 11pm. I really have no idea how the hell that happened. But Sugarmonkey had to scull his beer and make a rather speedy exit in order to catch his bus, which left me to finish my beer, pee and then wander my drunk ass home.

By the time I did get home it was almost midnight so I pretty much just rolled straight into bed.

I realised the mistake of that at both 3am when I woke up with a mouth that felt like I'd chewed through my pillow in my sleep... so I got up, had a little water and went back to sleep, but when I finally woke up later I had a thumping headache and a definite whiff of hangover about my general person.

Thankfully Ma was getting her hair did this morning, so I only had my own schedule to keep... which weirdly meant that I organised earlier than I expected to be.

So I stuck my headphones on and wandered around the supermarket. I feel like I probably didn't get enough of the important stuff, but too much other general junk. I think I did okay though.

Once I was done, I headed into Target to pick up the new Lego Dimensions game... I've kind of been stalking EB Games on and off all week, and originally was intending to pick it up as soon as it dropped, but I didn't realise the Doctor Who set doesn't come out until November, and also that Target had it for a significantly lower price... but those two things fortunately conspired in my favour.

However in two separate instances in Target stores today the electronic departments haven't been staffed, and then I had to deal with other people.

But while I bought the base game without a problem, I could find the Portal 2 level set... of course when the base game has a portal in it, and you ask people who don't know anything about the Portal set, they have no idea what you're talking about.

I also picked up another Lego set since they had 30% off the Lego Movie sets. Yeah, I have no idea where the hell I'm going to put it either... but you know, it was another mech set (Metalbeard).

Then I rolled on home and dragged everything up the stairs. Ma turned up not that long after I'd finished unpacking and we chatted for a bit before heading into the city.

We stopped off at Flinders Street Market because I got the dates wrong on one of their events, so we just did a quick circuit and then headed over to Rundle Street.

Then we made the mistake of going into T2... well, I needed something to drink, and free tea, particularly free iced tea. I ended up buying a jug to make iced tea in... I probably could have found something cheaper elsewhere, but I liked the one they had. Plus because of all the tea I've bought, I actually had a $25 gift voucher on my card, so I used that, which brought the price right down.

Next stop was Target where I once again found nobody providing service in the electronics department, but then went to the front desk and made the electronics department come to me. But explaining the difference between a portal and Portal was significantly harder than it should have been. Dude, you work in that department, you're wearing a fucking Lego Dimensions t-shirt, do some fucking product research.

Anyway, he has allegedly put me down for a raincheck on the Portal 2 level set. I may need to check that during the week.

From there we really just did a general wander again. I wasn't in much of a mood for doing anything too enthusiastic so we wandered, had a proper drink and then headed back to the car.

Then there was just some general back and forth and Ma headed off home.

So, yeah... all I can really say is that I'm glad that this is a long weekend and I have an extra day to goof off. Of course it would be preferable if it wasn't going to be really damn hot all weekend, but we're on that long horrible slide to the heat of Summer, so there's not a whole lot to do about it.

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