Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Melbourne's ugliest building

This concrete and blue swirl nightmare is near the corner of Flinders and Exhibition Streets in downtown Melbourne. It looks worse to the naked eye.

Monday, 22 December 2014

How a dog took over a household

Day 1
Adopted RSPCA rescue dog (Jack Russell Cross 9 weeks old). Bought dog basket, intending pup to sleep in the laundry.
Day 2
Dog basket put under kitchen table. Kitchen door closed at night. Scratching at door from 6 a.m. to be let into rest of house.
Day 150
Dog allowed on bed at night.
Day 200
Dog sleeps in bed.
Good night
Good morning

Saturday, 20 December 2014

2014's top 10 TV drama series ... with some disappointments & guilty pleasures

This is one old fart's top 10:
  1. Fargo
  2. Happy Valley
  3. The Missing (Season 1)
  4. Penny Dreadful (Series 1)
  5. Lilyhammer (Series 3)
  6. Peaky Blinders (Season 2)
  7. Babylon (Channel 4)
  8. The Fall (Season 2)
  9. House of Cards (Season 2)
  10. Boardwalk Empire (final season/Season 5)
Honourable Mentions:
  • Ray Donovan (Season 2)
  • Broadchurch (Season 1, ITV)
  • Orphan Black (Season 2)
  • Orange is the New Black (Season 2)
  • The Newsroom (Season 3, I'm getting sick of Sorkin-based Twitter hatred)
  • Ripper Street (Season 3)
  • Masters of Sex (Season 2)
  • True Detective (Series 1)
Disappointments (all second seasons):
  • In the Flesh (BBC3)
  • Banshee
  • Bates Motel
  • The Following
  • From Dusk to Dawn
Guilty Pleasures
  • American Horror Story (Season 3 and 4)
  • Gotham
  • Marvel's Agents of Shield
  • Da Vinci's Demons (Season 2)
  • The Strain (Season 1)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A cheap bastard's household tips

  1. After a shower, immediately squeegee excess water/soap scum from glass and tiles (it will save time cleaning the shower later, plus you dry off in the shower as you squeegee!).
  2. Old toothbrushes are great at cleaning hard-to-get-at places (e.g. between taps, cooktop knobs, faucets, grouting).
  3. Clean your fridge seals yearly with warm soapy water and a sponge (preventative maintenance, seals are expensive).
  4. Bicarb soda is the cheapest and most effective cleaner for toilet stains (urine), bathtubs and shower recesses.
  5. Use old waxy plastic bags (e.g.cereal bags like Weetbix) to store vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower (keeps for 1-2 fresh in fridge).
  6. Bicarb soda is also great for removing fridge odours.

Lilyhammer Season 3: As quirky as ever

Warm, quirky characters (Roar and the lovable Torgeir are back), black humour, crazy crims, cartoonish violence (e.g. the flare gun scene) and great locales from wintry Norway to steamy Rio - it's all there in the third season of "Lilyhammer".
It's great when shows don't go 'off the boil' after return seasons (unlike "Banshee", "Bates Motel").
The final episode, "Loose Ends", features Maureen Van Zandt, Steven (E Street Band) Van Zandt's real wife, as Frank's ex-wife and Bruce Stringsteen, as Joey the Undertaker. Don't turn off during the closing credits, either.
Season 4 must resolve poor Sigrid's bathroom predicament with her dead ex-boyfriend (Milk pervert).

Monday, 8 December 2014

My list of great train movies

I have omitted some obvious ones (like "North by North West" and "Murder on the Orient Express"). This list is purely personal.

  • 1932 Von Sternberg's "Shanghai Express" 
  • 1945  Deanna Durbin is terrific in "Lady on a Train"
  • 1951 "Strangers on a Train" (you have to have at least one from Hitch)
  • 1952 "The Narrow Margin" (the little B movie that could)
  • 1963 "From Russia with Love" (just for Robert Shaw)
  • 1964  Frankenheimer's superb "The Train"
  • 1976 "Silver Streak" (great cast, great ending)
  • 1978 "The First Great Train Robbery" (ingenious Michael Crichton period piece, helped by knockout cast and Jerry Goldsmith score)
  • 2013 "Snowpiercer" (imaginative sci-fi, incredible sets)

Guilty pleasures:
  • 1968 "The Wrecking Crew" (cheesy Matt Helm, saved by Sharon Tate's performance)
  • 1971 "Live and Let Die" (not a great Bond, but has its moments)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Our Christmas Tree is a Memory Tree

For the last 21 years we have bought ornaments for our Christmas tree. When our daughter was younger, we purchased a new ornament each year, labelled with the year or (e.g.)  "___'s 5th Christmas".
Each year we also buy tree decorations from somewhere overseas or interstate. January sales are great!
Each Christmas, as we trim the tree, memories flood back. Our daughter, now 21, gets as much of a buzz as we do.
Surfing Santa from Oahu, Hawaii

Sheep from New Zealand and reindeer with Mai Tai (Kauai, Hawaii)

Our daughter's 3rd Christmas