Sunday, July 31, 2005

Another sunny Sunday

Mutterings continued.

Just back from a picnic lunch with Dad at Pinjarra. Nothing much to see there, but there is a nice car park next to the river and we watched some birdies and a boat while eating sandwiches and drinking tea.

I'll have to tackle the spare room soon. I have another bloody rent inspection on Thursday and most of the props from Nightingale have been shoved into the room. I bought three more storage containers to house stuff.

Watched the MST3Ked version of The Deadly Bees last night. Frank Finlay must have really needed the money!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Saturday

Mutterings continued.

Not much happened today. I've offered to assist with the GRADS newsletter, so the VP and I had a meeting this arvo to discuss content. It's a damn sight easier to put together than the Zoo newsletter - four pages, black and white, and the President wrote most of it.

I've offered to help out with What the Butler Saw (Sept 29 - Oct 8, at the Dolphin). No, not props, just front of house. It's got a great cast, including the gorgeous Jenny McCann, Grant Malcolm and Tony Petani, both of whom were in R and G a couple of years ago.

The solar system is getting crowded - "A US astronomer said today he had discovered a 10th planet in the outer reaches of the solar system that could force a redrawing the astronomical map.

If confirmed, the discovery by Mike Brown of the respected California Institute of Technology would be the first of a planet since Pluto was identified in 1930 and shatter the notion that nine planets circle the sun.

"Get out your pens. Start rewriting textbooks today," said Mr Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy, announcing what he called "the 10th planet of the solar system", one that is larger than Pluto.

"It's the farthest object ever discovered to orbit around the sun," Mr Brown said in a conference call of the planet that is covered in methane ice and lies nearly 15 billion kilometres from Earth.

"I'd say it's probably one and a half times the size of Pluto," he said from CalTech, based in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, referring to what until now has been the most distant planet in earth's solar system.

Currently about 97 times further from the sun than the Earth, the celestial body tentatively called "2003-UB313" is the farthest known object in the solar system, and the third brightest of the Kuiper belt objects."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A rather pleasant Thursday

Mutterings continued.

Had lunch with the gels at work - one of them has been redeployed to another job and so we said 'farewell' over a nice lunch.

And I've just come back from an hour and a quarter at the hairdresser's. A wash, cut and blow wave later and I feel human again. I wish I could get my hair done every day like the rich people do.

And now, something for those strange people who indulge in something called 'camping'. I'm sorry, but if it doesn't come with 24 hour room service, I don't wanna know.

Lint from your navel makes a handy fire starter. Warning: Remove lint from navel before applying the match.

Get even with a bear who raided your food bag by kicking his favourite stump apart and eating all the ants.

A hot rock placed in your sleeping bag will keep your feet warm. A hot enchilada works almost as well, but the cheese sticks between your toes.

The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.

While the Swiss Army Knife has been popular for years, the Swiss Navy Knife has remained largely unheralded. Its single blade functions as a tiny canoe paddle.

Modern rain suits made of fabrics that "breathe" enable campers to stay dry in a downpour. Rain suits that sneeze, cough, and belch, however, have been proven to add absolutely nothing to the wilderness experience.

You'll never be lost if you remember that moss always grows on the north side of your compass.

You can duplicate the warmth of a down filled bedroll by climbing into a plastic garbage bag with several geese.

The canoe paddle, a simple device used to propel a boat, should never be confused with a gnu paddle, a similar device used by Tibetan veterinarians.

When camping, always wear a long sleeved shirt. It gives you something to wipe your nose on.

Take this simple test to see if you qualify for solo camping. Shine a flashlight into one ear. If the beam shines out the other ear, do not go into the woods alone.

A two man pup tent does not include two men or a pup.

A potato baked in the coals for one hour makes an excellent side dish. A potato baked in the coals for three hours makes an excellent hockey puck.

In emergency situations, you can survive in the wilderness by shooting small game with a slingshot made from the elastic
waistband of your underwear.

The guitar of the noisy teenager at the next campsite makes excellent kindling.

The sight of a bald eagle has thrilled campers for generations. The sight of a bald man, however, does absolutely nothing for the eagle.

It's entirely possible to spend your whole vacation on a winding mountain road behind a large motor home.

Bear bells provide an element of safety for hikers in grizzly country. The tricky part is getting them on the bears.

When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table will keep the campsites on either side vacant.

In an emergency, a drawstring from a parka hood can be used to strangle a snoring tent mate.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A better Wednesday

Mutterings continued.

Just back from dins with TUS. I had a Betty Burger with relish, which I ate with gusto (gusto supplied free).

I realised the other day that I am starting to sound more like my mother every day (not a bad thing). Yesterday I had a rant at workmates about Colin Farrell and Christine Aquai'mnotevengoingtobothertotrytospellhername and how they both need a damn good wash.

Microsoft Haiku (bless you!):

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Windows NT crash'd.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No-one hears your screams.

Yesterday it work'd.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand-dollar screen dies
So beautifully.

With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao-until
You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A slightly better Tuesday

Mutterings continued.

The right shoulder isn't 100% but I think it's getting better. Still very sore first thing in the morning but not as bad as yesterday. Hurray for drugs.

Had a nice stroll to the cafe at lunch time and then a mosey back through the Savannah to catch up on the Painted Dog pups, rhino calf and bub baboon.

An explanation:
Scientists have shown that the moon is moving away at a tiny yet
measurable distance from the earth every year. If you do the math, you
can calculate that 85 million years ago the moon was orbiting the earth at
a distance of about 35 feet from the earth's surface. This would explain the
death of the dinosaurs.

The tallest ones, anyway.

Theatre Dictionary:

The time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line


A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor 30 seconds before it is needed on stage


The individual who suffers from the delusion that he or she is responsible for every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review


The art of moving actors on the stage in such a manner as not to collide with the walls, the furniture, the orchestra pit or each other. Similar to playing chess, except that the pawns want to argue with you.

Blocking Rehearsal

A rehearsal taking place early in the production schedule where actors frantically write down movements which will be nowhere in evidence by opening night

Quality Theater

Any show with which you were directly involved


Every show with which you were not directly involved

Dress rehearsal

Rehearsal that becomes a whole new ball game as actors attempt to maneuver among the 49 objects that the set designer added at 7:30 that evening

Tech week

The last week of rehearsal when everything that was supposed to be done weeks before finally comes together at the last minute; reaches its grand climax on dress rehearsal night when costumes rip, a dimmer pack catches fire and the director has a nervous breakdown. Also known as hell week.


An obstacle course which, throughout the rehearsal period, defies the laws of physics by growing smaller week by week while continuing to occupy the same amount of space


That shining moment when all eyes are focused on a single actor who is desparately aware that if he forgets a line, no one can save him

Dark Night

The night before opening when no rehearsal is scheduled so the actors and crew can go home and get some well-deserved rest, and instead spend the night staring sleeplessly at the ceiling because they’re sure they needed one more rehearsal

Bit Part

An opportunity for the actor with the smallest role to count everybody else’s lines and mention repeatedly that he or she has the smallest part in the show.

Green Room

Room shared by nervous actors waiting to go on stage and the precocious children whose actor parents couldn’t get a babysitter that night, a situation which can result in justifiable homicide

Dark Spot

An area of the stage which the lighting designer has inexplicably forgotten to light, and which has a magnetic attraction for the first-time actor. A dark spot is never evident before opening night.


Appendages at the end of the arms used for manipulating one’s environment, except on a stage, where they grow six times their normal size and either dangle uselessly, fidget nervously, or try to hide in your pockets

Stage Manager

Individual reponsible for overseeing the crew, supervising the set changes, babysitting the actors and putting the director in a hammerlock to keep him from killing the actor who just decided to turn his walk-on part into a major role by doing magic tricks while he serves the tea

Lighting Director

Individual who, from the only vantage point offering a full view of the stage, gives the stage manager a heart attack by announcing a play-by-play of everything that’s going wrong

Makeup Kit

(1) among experienced community theater actors, a battered tackle box loaded with at least 10 shades of greasepaint in various stages of dessication, tubes of lipstick and blush, assorted pencils, bobby pins, braids of crepe hair, liquid latex, old programs, jewelry, break-a-leg greeting cards from past shows, brushes and a handful of half-melted cough drops; (2) for first-time male actors, a helpless look and anything they can borrow

The Forebrain

The part of an actor’s brain which contains lines, blocking and characterization; activated by hot lights

The Hindbrain

The part of an actor’s brain that keeps up a running subtext in the background while the forebrain is trying to act; the hindbrain supplies a constant stream of unwanted information, such as who is sitting in the second row tonight, a notation to seriously maim the crew member who thought it would be funny to put real tabasco sauce in the fake Bloody Marys, or the fact that you need to do laundry on Sunday.

Stage Crew

Group of individuals who spend their evenings coping with 50-minute stretches of total boredom interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless panic

Message Play

Any play which its director describes as “worthwhile,” “a challenge to actors and audience alike,” or “designed to make the audience think.” Critics will be impressed both by the daring material and the roomy accommodations, since they’re likely to have the house all to themselves.

Bedroom Farce

Any play which requires various states of undress on stage and whose set sports a lot of doors. The lukewarm reviews, all of which feature the phrase “typical community theater fare” in the opening paragraph, are followed paradoxically by a frantic attempt to schedule more performances to accommodate the overflow crowds.

Assistant Director

Individual willing to undertake special projects that nobody else would take on a bet, such as working one-on-one with the brain-dead actor whom the rest of the cast has threatened to take out a contract on.

Set Piece

Any large piece of furniture which actors will resolutely use as a safety shield between themselves and the audience, in an apparent attempt to both anchor themselves to the floor, thereby avoiding floating off into space, and to keep the audience from seeing that they actually have legs


Acting method utilized by the character "Delightful" in the southern comedy Dearly Departed.
From Dennis Knapp, Barnwell County Circle Theatre


1) After a rave review, a font of wisdom and authority; 2) After a damning review, a fool who wouldn't know if his hair was on fire.
From Samela Harris


An article of clothing which doesn't fit, smells of mothballs, and is in constant need of repair. (See also Goodwill)
From The V-Man


1) An electronic device which the stage manager uses to give cues to the light board operator, and other crew members.
2) An electronic device which when worn gives the user the right to say absolutely anything about any cast member, crew member, audience member, or anybody else, except others with headsets, at any time.
Nora S. Beck, Stage Coach Players, Dekalb, Illinois


1) The 10 foot by 5 foot area which the stage manager insists is more than enough room for 2 pianos, a drum set, 4 horns, 2 woodwinds, 2 strings, a make-shift dressing room, three set pieces, and several thousand beer cans.
2) A group of trained or untrained musicians who willingly give up their time to gather together to eat vast amounts of gummy ____ (insert your favorite here), as well as other forms of nourishment, and use their honorarium, which hardly covers their gas money, to buy as much beer as possible, and lastly to provide at least one form of entertainment for the paying audience.
Brian Vaupel, Stage Coach Players, Dekalb, Illinois


The time immediately following the last performance while all cast and crew members are required to stay and dismantle, or watch the two people who own Makita screw drivers dismantle, the set.
Gloria Dennison, Stage Coach Players, Dekalb, Illinois

Actors (As defined by a set designer)

People who stand between the audience and the set designer's art, blocking the view. That's also the origin of the word "blocking", by the way.
Greg Quillinan, Florham Park Players, Morris Plains, NJ

Stage Right, Stage Left

Two simple directions actors pretend not to understand in order to drive directors crazy. ("No, no, your OTHER stage right!")
Teri Robert, Actor's Guild of Parkersburg, WV

I'm not entirely sure whether this is a definition or an aphorism, but it's one of our favorites.

"Just remember: It's only community theatre until it offends someone... then it's ART!"

Scott R. Bloom

Monday, July 25, 2005

Middling Monday

Mutterings continued.

I've injured my shoulder capsule, which means I can't lift my right arm above my head (made washing my hair and getting dressed this morning a bit of a drama) or turn my head left or right. Doc thinks it will be ok with Nurafen.

More silliness found in the inbox. The replies after each comment are mine.

Show: Far and Furthest
"the audience clapped for a while in the middle thinking it was the end."
The phrase is, "hoping it was the end."

Show: Oedipus
"Mr Edwards (MD) was almost late for one of his cues and made a bit of noise dashing to the piano."
Show: A View from the Bridge - rehearsal note "Ms. Deans would like two imaginary windows"
In the imaginary wall.

Show: Annie
"Tony the dog sniffed something interesting in the wing just before his entrance at the end of Act 1 scene 6. He was very late and walked across the stage as the lights faded to black."
It was probably the LX op mentioned below.

Show: Bartered Bride
"Sprat the dog was able to perform although contracting an infestation of fleas, he did not, however take a curtain call."
His fleas, however, did.

Show: Rent UK Tour 2001
"The sound was a bit Monday nightish"
It echoed in the empty auditoreum.

Show: The Importance of being Earnest
"Act 3 smoke - There was quite a lot, it looked good, but obscured some of the cast."
This is sometimes a good thing.

Show: Secret Suppressed Desire Society "Banana Dildo did not work today due to the fact that the actresses were playing with it before the show and the batteries died. ASM replaced batteries."
I'd call that going above and beyond...

"The DSM was given a verbal warning by the Company Manager after she arrived at the venue sporting sandals with socks!"
The CM was wearing thongs.

"There was very heavy rain throughout the day and a few drips on stage"
Only a few?

Show: The Admirable Crichton
"Act 1 Pg 173, Mr Chisholm mixed up last line of speech: 'lit their nips' instead of 'knit their lips' Mr Chisholm realised mistake and corrected himself, then adding 'I know what I meant- I wrote it!' Received round of applause from audience."

Show: Careless Husband
"The show minidisks were mixed up with the recording session disks during the course of the first half. During the second half sound Q40 (gust of wind) was instead relpaced by the voice of the sound designer saying 'Ohhh Stu you're so butch'. The operator subsequently swapped the disks back."

Show: The Art of Success
"Sound cues 8 to 14 did not happen as the Sound Op and DSM were under the impression that they had been cut. The director disagreed quite strongly."
Bits of the SO and DSM were then cut.

Show : Soldiers Fortune & Playhouse Creatures "Miss Ryan forgot her brooch despite having it handed to her by a member of Stage Management"
Mr Meadows forgot his Hamlet pendant despite having handed it to Mr Blades.

Show : Sleuth
"Mr_____ and Mr_____ were both put off by the sound and smell of the sewerage extraction going on out side the scene dock door. Whilst they both appreciated that the noise from the machine was neccessary they found the shouting and the singing coming from the men operating the machine distracting and had to raise their voices for the last few pages of Act 1 so that the audience could hear them. However the rest of the act ran smoothly and the front of house manager freshened the stage with a whole can of Haze during the interval."
It wasn't just their performance that stank.

Show : Wuthering Heights
"Smoke Machine set off silent fire alarm. Fire brigade arrived at the theatre during show and insisted that the had to check the building for fire. The firemen had to creep around backstage, whilst carrying all their equipment, and try not to make too much noise (quite
difficult considering all the equipment and clothes they were wearing)"
Couldn't be any more noisy than your average cast moving around backstage.

Show: The Riot, Kneehigh Theatre
"Miss D [the DSM] flashed her breasts at the cast during the opening of Act II; Only Ms A and Ms H noticed."

Show: Taming of the Shrew (outdoors)
"Mr Pocock received a round after his speech 'Petruchio, since we are stepped thus...' in Act1 Sc.2. This was due to his valiant, if not entirely successful attempt to out-project a low-flying Concorde."
Concorde? Feh! Try low flying peacocks!

Show: Lend Me A Tenor
"Miss Beveridge prior to going on stage felt she needed to fart so forced it out before her entrance. Unfortunately this caused her to wet herself. Due to the nature of her dress she was not wearing any underwear and left a trail behind her onstage.This was not noticeable
as the stage is carpeted."
Miss Beveridge is aptly named.

Show : Aladdin
"LX cues 86/7/8 skipped from plot due to distraction at open LX position caused by audience member requesting more light be put on stage during 'Cave Scene' to facilitate his video quality of his daughter's dance routine."
"Now why didn't I think of that?!" An Actor.

Show: Fiddler on the Roof
"In this evenings performance, electrics cues 17,32,48 and 75 were not executed as the board operator forgot to press the go button when told to do so."

Show: Filth National Tour
"During the pre-show check at The Bush Theatre, Mr Savva was alarmed to find a rather large human turd behind the flattage. It looked fresh. A Polaroid was taken to aid identification."
Bloody critics.

"Musicians playing in the locker rooms had to be threatened with physical violence before they shut up"
Ditto for musicians playing in the orchestra pit.

"Mr _____ was very tired at this performance as he had spent the night with a Chippendale and got no sleep"
Rehearsing dance routines, no doubt.

Show: Cavalcade by Noel Coward
"Mr J_____'s death scene exceeded the legal time allowed for a theatrical death by a large margin"
And some actors have been dying for years.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday - somewhat soggy

Mutterings continued

Drizzle on and off, clear skies, more rain, dunno what it wants to do.

Watched a very dire film last night that could only be improved by Crow, Tom Servo, Mike et al. Prince of Space is an appalling Japanese production. An altogether different, and wonderful, Japanese offering is The Cat Returns, from Studio Ghibli. Lovely stuff.
More amusements from the Inbox. I doubt if this is true but it makes amusing reading:

The story behind the letter below is that there is this fellow in Newport,
Rhode Island, named Scott Williams who digs things out of his backyard and
sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, labeling them
with scientific names, insisting that they are actual archaeological finds. This guy
really exists and does this in his spare time! Anyway here's the actual response from the Smithsonian Institution. Bear this in mind next time you think you are challenged in your duty to respond to a difficult situation in writing.

>Smithsonian Institute
>207 Pennsylvania Avenue
>Washington, DC 20078
>Dear Mr. Williams:
>Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "93211-D,
>layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull."
>We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret
>to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents
>conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago.
>Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll,
>of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to
>be "Malibu Barbie."
>It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis
>of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are
>familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with
>your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:

>1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically
>fossilized bone.
>2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic
>centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified
>3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the
>common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene
>clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.
>This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you
>have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence
>seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:
>A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has
>chewed on.
>B. Clams don't have teeth.
>It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request
>to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load
>our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon-dating's
>notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon-dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.

>Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National
>Science Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your
>specimen the scientific name Australopithecus spiff-arino. Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was

>ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.

>However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating
>specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it
>is, nonetheless,yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to
>accumulate here so effortlessly.
>You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own
>office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to
>the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your Newport back yard.

>We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed
>in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for
>it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding
>the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix that
>makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on
>the deceptive appearance of rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

Of course clams don't have teeth; clams got legs!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I like Saturdays

Mutterings continued.

Today's expenditure was a somewhat pricy one but I don't care. No shiny thing purchase, though I think my conscience is shining a little brighter as I've finally become a World Vision sponsor. The ads make me cry and it's one of those things I've been meaning to do for ages but just never got around to. I accosted the lady setting up the table at Garden City and made her pick a child for me. I asked her who were the least likely to be sponsored and she said that older boys in Africa were usually passed over in favour of cuter babies and toddlers.
So, I have sponsored a ten-year-old lad from Ghana who likes drawing and football.
L and R for dins tonight. I'm making beef steak pie with mash and sauteed carrots.
I started going through the prop boxes in the spare room but soon gave it up as a bad joke and shoved it all back in.
Friend at work loaned me the DVD of Little Britain's Red Nose Day special; lots of very funny stuff with the likes of Elton John (who is the only gay in his village), George Michael and Robbie Williams (who is a laaaady).

Serenity - a comment from someone who has seen the pre-release preview:
"It was only 90% done, though. I can't wait to see the final version -though I'm glad I've seen the story completely spoiler-free! Trust me people, avoid stuff at all costs.
Some of the FX still needed polishing and all the music was sourced from other films - which was occasionally distracting because I knew the source material.
But *damn* it's good."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hurray for Fridays

Mutterings continued.

Busy day, nice and easy evening.

More bad news from London. I did like this from The Northerner:

You knew it was a big story when the US TV crews turned up with the
lacquer-haired anchorman. There were Japanese crews too, plus a
worried-looking Belgian journalist scuttling past the wheelie bins in
the back alley behind Colwyn Road, in Beeston, Leeds, the home of
London bomber Shezhan Tanweer.

The media mob grew bigger every day last week and everyone living in
the terraced grid of streets was probably interviewed at least twice.
At times like this, locals tire of notebooks and lenses pretty
quickly and urge us to shove off.

But not in Beeston. After the two-minute silence, staff of the Hamara
community centre distributed bottles of mineral water to reporters.
As bomb squad teams prised open the shutters of the youth centre on
Lodge Lane, a man carrying a bottle of orangeade and pile of plastic
cups handed out free drinks to those gasping in the sun.

A reporter from the Yorkshire Post said a local greengrocer had given
her a free watermelon. In other hotspots they might well have thrown
it at her. And as police searched another house in a quiet road in
nearby Dewsbury, a resident saw the sweat on my brow and gave me an
ice lolly.

The paradox of Beeston is that this centre of inner-city deprivation,
which harboured fanatical suicidal killers, appears also to be a
place of multiracial and multi-religious harmony. "This is a
beautiful area with lots of different people, ideas, clothes, music.
Everyone learns something from each other," said one very
young-looking father of six.

Perhaps his glasses would have been rose-tinted, had he been wearing
any. But in the shop behind him the Asian British owner (from
Swindon) discussed the news with her white British friend (from
Cornwall). He promised to help her find a way through the police
cordons to the cash and carry.

Beeston, on the basis of a three-day visit, does not feel like
Bradford, Burnley or Oldham, scene of riots in 2001 and now the
target of government cohesive community strategies. Perhaps, amid the
horrors, there are lessons to be learned in Leeds.


Can't recall how I discovered this site; suspect it was a link from the Dull Mens Club. A site dedicated to some of Britain's more pathetic motorways. The A57 is especially amusing.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Mutterings continued.

Spent most of this afternoon redoing the intranet site. Created a few new pages, lots of cutting, pasting, losing stuff.
Had a very nice lunch at Secret Garden (yes, again).


It is EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE and will overwrite your ENTIRE CITY!
The "gift" is disguised as a large wooden horse about two stories
tall. It tends to show up outside the city gates and appears to be

DO NOT let it through the gates! It contains hardware that is
incompatible with Trojan programming, including a crowd of heavily
armed Greek warriors that will destroy your army, sack your town, and
kill your women and children. If you have already received such a
gift, DO NOT OPEN IT! Take it back out of the city unopened and set
fire to it by the beach.




RE: Greeks bearing gifts


I hate to break to you, but this is one of the oldest hoaxes there is.
I've seen variants on this warning come through on other listservs,
one involving some kind of fruit that was supposed to kill the people
who ate it and one having to do with something called the "Midas

Here are a few tipoffs that this is a hoax:

1) This "Forward this message to everyone you know" business. If it
were really meant as a warning about the Greek army, why tell anyone
to post it to the Phonecians, Sumerians, and Cretans?

2) Use of exclamation points. Always a giveaway.

3) It's signed "from Poseidon." Granted he's had his problems with
Odysseus but he's one of their guys, isn't he? Besides, the lack of a
real header with a detailed address makes me suspicious.

4) Technically speaking, there is no way for a horse to overwrite your
entire city. A horse is just an animal, after all.

Next time you get a message like this, just delete it. I appreciate
your concern, but once you've been around the block a couple times
you'll realize how annoying this kind of stuff is.

Bye now,


And this:
This was actually posted very briefly on the McDonnell Douglas web site by
an employee there who obviously has a sense of humor. The company, of
course, does not - and made the web department take it down immediately.
(In case you don't know: McDonnell Douglas is (was) one of the world's
chief suppliers of military aircraft).

Thank you for purchasing a McDonnell Douglas military aircraft. In order
to protect your new investment, please take a few moments to fill out the
warranty registration card below. Answering the survey questions is not
required, but the information will help us to develop new products that
best meet your needs and desires.

1. [_] Mr. [_] Mrs. [_] Ms. [_] Miss [_] Lt.
[_] Gen. [_] Comrade [_] Classified [_] Other

First Name: ......................................................
Initial: ........
Last Name: ......................................................
Password:.............................. (max 8 char)
Code Name: ......................................................
Latitude-Longitude-Altitude: ........... ........... ..........
2. Which model aircraft did you purchase?
[_] F-14 Tomcat
[_] F-15 Eagle
[_] F-16 Falcon
[_] F-117A Stealth
[_] Classified

3. Date of purchase (Year/Month/Day): 19....... / ....... /.......

4. Serial Number:

5. Please check where this product was purchased:
[_] Received as gift / aid package
[_] Catalog showroom
[_] Independent arms broker
[_] Mail order
[_] Discount store
[_] Government surplus
[_] Classified

6. Please check how you became aware of the McDonnell Douglas product you
have just purchased:

[_] Heard loud noise, looked up
[_] Store display
[_] Espionage
[_] Recommended by friend / relative / ally
[_] Political lobbying by manufacturer
[_] Was attacked by one

7. Please check the three (3) factors that most influenced your decision to
purchase this McDonnell Douglas product:

[_] Style / appearance
[_] Speed / manoeuvrability
[_] Price / value
[_] Comfort / convenience
[_] Kickback / bribe
[_] Recommended by salesperson
[_] McDonnell Douglas reputation
[_] Advanced Weapons Systems
[_] Back-room politics
[_] Negative experience opposing one in combat

8. Please check the location(s) where this product will be used:

[_] North America [_] Central/South America [_] Aircraft carrier [_] Europe
[_] Middle East [_] Africa [_] Asia/Far East [_] Misc.
Third World countries [_] Classified

9. Please check the products that you currently own or intend to purchase
in the near future:

[_] Color TV [_] VCR [_] ICBM [_] Killer Satellite [_] CD Player
[_] Air-to-Air Missiles [_] Space Shuttle [_] Home Computer
[_] Nuclear Weapon

10. How would you describe yourself or your organization?
(Check all that apply:)
[_] Communist / Socialist
[_] Terrorist
[_] Crazed
[_] Neutral
[_] Democratic
[_] Dictatorship
[_] Corrupt
[_] Primitive/Tribal

11. How did you pay for your McDonnell Douglas product?
[_] Deficit spending
[_] Cash
[_] Suitcases of cocaine
[_] Oil revenues
[_] Personal check
[_] Credit card
[_] Ransom money
[_] Traveler's check

12. Your occupation:
[_] Homemaker
[_] Sales / marketing
[_] Revolutionary
[_] Clerical
[_] Mercenary
[_] Tyrant
[_] Middle management
[_] Eccentric billionaire
[_] Defense Minister/General
[_] Retired
[_] Student

13. To help us understand our customers' lifestyles, please indicate the
interests and activities in which you and your spouse enjoy participating
on a regular basis:
[_] Golf
[_] Boating / sailing
[_] Sabotage
[_] Running / jogging
[_] Propaganda / disinformation
[_] Destabilization / overthrow
[_] Default on loans
[_] Gardening
[_] Crafts
[_] Black market / smuggling
[_] Collectibles / collections
[_] Watching sports on TV
[_] Wines
[_] Interrogation / torture
[_] Household pets
[_] Crushing rebellions
[_] Espionage / reconnaissance
[_] Fashion clothing
[_] Border disputes
[_] Mutually Assured Destruction

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. Your answers
will be used in market studies that will help McDonnell-Douglas serve you
better in the future as well as allowing you to receive mailings and
special offers from other companies, governments, extremist groups, and
mysterious consortia.

Comments or suggestions about our fighter planes? Please write to:

Marketing Department
Military Aerospace Division
P.O. Box 800, St. Louis, MO

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The weather's taken a turn for the worse!

Mutterings continued.

Lots of wind!

Thanks to Leece, it appears that I am the game of Diplomacy.

DIPLOMACY - You are a very social person and an
excellent judge of character. You're a good
communicator who both talks and listens well
and people respect your opinion. You can also
use your skills to manipulate people into
getting what you want--ideally by making them
think it was all their idea in the first place.
Your motto is "Live and let live",
but if you run into a stonewall and exhaust all
reasonable channels of negotiation, it might
switch to "Live and let die".

What type of game are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

More silliness from my iinbox. I don't know how real the questions are but they sound on a par with the things people visiting the Zoo say. The comments following each question are my responses.

> Actual comments left on Forest Service registration sheets and comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips:

> "A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call."

"We'll take the money out of the deer's allowance. Be grateful you haven't encountered the picanic stealing bears."

> "Escalators would help on steep uphill sections."

"We only have escalators for downhill sections."

> "Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness."

"Our officers are out culling people as we speak."

> "Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands."

"We have special trails for people wishing to hold hands and even wider trails for people carrying other body parts. They lead to our grove of shallow graves."

> "Ban walking sticks in wilderness. Hikers that use walking sticks are more likely to chase animals."

"They tend to chase them very slowly, however."

> "All the mile markers are missing this year."

"It's been a bad year for mile markers - our entire crop failed."

> "Found a smoldering cigarette left by a horse."

"After all the money we spent on hypnosis and nicotine patches for it, too!"

> "Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill."

"See comment about escalators above."

> "Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests."

"Just step this way..."

> "Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter."

"We prefer to use work experience students to clear the snow - they're cheap and expendable."

> "Chairlifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them."

"We have plans to bring the views to you so you won't have to leave your trailer home."

> "The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals."

"They have been told and promise to keep the noise down."

> "Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights."

"We intend nailing owls to the trees - their eyes are more reflective and we feel this is more ecologically sound."

> "Need more signs to keep area pristine."

"Will need signs to explain what 'pristine' means."

> "A McDonald's would be nice at the trailhead."

"We have plans for a McDonalds. Also a 13 cinema multiplex, car park and casino. Of course, this means flattening the entire park."

> "The places where trails do not exist are not well marked."

"If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one to hear it, does it make a sound? Ditto the trails that do not exist." Dalai Lama.

> "Too many rocks in the mountains."

"We intend buying mountains made of softer material - custard."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Rather Lovely Tuesday...

Mutterings continued. Had lunch with a friend and we sat outside, under the verandah of the restaurant. Very enjoyable.

More silliness from the depths of my Inbox:

Lines from Star Wars that can be improved if you substitute the word "Pants" for key words:

We've got to be able to get some reading on those pants, up or down.

The pants may not look like much, kid, but they've got it where it counts.

I find your lack of pants disturbing.

Many bobans died to bring us these pants.

These pants contain the ultimate power in the Universe. I suggest we use it.

Han will have those pants down. We've got to give him more time!

General Veers, prepare your pants for a ground assault.

I used to bulls-eye womp-rats in my pants back home.

TK-421... Why aren't you in your pants?

Lock the door. And hope they don't have pants.

You are unwise to lower your pants.

She must have hidden the plans in her pants. Send a detachment down to retrieve them. See to it personally Commander.

Governor Tarkin. I recognized your foul pants when I was brought on board.

You look strong enough to pull the pants of a Gundark.

Luke... Help me remove these pants.

Great, Chewie, great. Always thinking with your pants.

That blast came from those pants. That thing's operational!

Luke.....I am your pants.

A tremor in the pants. The last time I felt this was in the presence of my old master.

Don't worry. Chewie and I have gotten into a lot of pants more heavily guarded than this.

Maybe you'd like it back in your pants, your highness.

Luke, search your pants. You know it is true.

Your pants betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially one... Your sister!

Jabba doesn't have time for smugglers who drop their pants at the first sign of an Imperial Cruiser.

Short pants is better than no pants at all.

The following are are probably apocryphal (or at least, wildly inaccurate), and probably not real. They're funny, but.

Subject: RAF records.

Never let it be said that Ground Crews and Maintenance Staff lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual RAF maintenance complaints/problems, generally known as squawks, recently submitted by Pilots to maintenance engineers.

After attending to the squawks, maintenance crews are required to log the details of the action taken to solve the pilots' squawks.

> >P- The problem logged by the pilot.
> >S - The solution and action taken by the Maintenance Crew.

> >P - Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
> >S - Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

> >P - Test flight OK, except auto land very rough.
> >S - Autoland not installed on this aircraft.

> > P - No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
> > S - No. 2 propeller seepage normal - No. 1, 3 and 4 propellers lack normal seepage.

> > P - Something loose in cockpit.
> > S - Something tightened in cockpit.

> >P - Dead bugs on windscreen.
> > S - Live bugs on backorder.

> >P - Auto pilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
> >S - Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

> >P - Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
> >S - Evidence removed.

> >P - DME volume unbelievably loud.
> >S - Volume set to more believable level.

> >P - Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
> > S - That's what they are there for!

> > P - IFF inoperative.
> >S - IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

> >P - Suspected crack in windscreen.
> >S - Suspect you're right.

> > P - Number 3 engine missing.
> >S - Engine found on right wing after brief search.

> >P - Aircraft handles funny.
> >S - Aircraft warned to "Straighten up, Fly Right, and Be Serious."

> >P - Target radar hums.
> >S - Reprogrammed target radar with words.

> > P - Mouse in cockpit.
> > S - Cat installed.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Back to Work

Mutterings continued.

Not an exciting day, followed up some emails, did a lot of research.
Tidied out my email boxes and came up with some stuff that amused me at the time. Oldies but goodies.


1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."

2. " I got a good woman", is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like " I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes .... sort of: "Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher -and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Tucson is just depression, baby. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg cuz an alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

Bad places:
a. Nordstrom's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses

11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old ethnic person, and you slept in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
a. you're older than dirt
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied

No, if:
a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

14. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Merlot
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast
e. any thing from starbucks

15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

17. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

20. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own a computer- you cannot sing the blues.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunny Sunday

Mutterings continued.

Lovely day today - 18ish, though it feels warmer, lots of sunshine and few clouds.

Just got back from Dad's - we drove to Scarborough and had a picnic watching the surf and the surfers.

Good night last night with L and R and Tom and Crow and Michael J Nelson. We all (when I say "all", I mean L and R and I) had the same pasta dish from Pizza with Attitude, who were bravely continuing to supply victuals to the general public despite having no electricity. Hurray for gas, says I.

I'm not a huge fan of the musical (which is odd, given it was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum that turned me onto theatre in the mid-70s); never seen Les Mis or Miss Saigon, etc etc. However...I do love Godspell. The moving was screened on Foxtel a couple of days ago, so I dragged out the cd and have had it on continuous play in the car ever since.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter Day

Mutterings continued.

Even Newsradio was counting down to the opening of the shops. I was dreading trying to negotiate my trolley past the bookshop at Garden City however it appears that they opened early - when I went past at 8am the doors were open and a couple of people were inside buying HP. No queues at all. I got my copy from K Mart for a couple of dollars cheaper.

That was my shiny purchase of the day. Not terribly shiny, I admit.

The Wonderful Leece 'n Rob have bought tickets to the Glod (TM) Class screening of Serenity. Woo hoo. Back to normal Saturdays now that Nightingale has finished. Well, sort of normal - no BSG or SG:A, but there is MST3K.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Dull Life

Mutterings continued.

Left work early after feeling decidedly odd - very lightheaded and tingly in the fingers. Still not 100%. Not sure if it's residual effects from the chest infection (I'm still very rumbly and crackly in the lungs) or side effects from the new drugs. The last time I felt this odd, I had viral labyrinthitis. Fortunately, this doesn't seem to have eventuated.

At the bottom on the right hand menu of this page is a list of referring sites - it appears that someone visited this blog after doing a search on Dogpile for spanking. I don't actually recall writing about spanking...

The residents of the units here got a letter yesterday explaining that contactors will be in to remove the asbestos sheets from the roof. These are the contractors who appeared 3 days ago.

Somebody called Max Graham has turned my favourite Yes song into a disco remix thingie. It's not half bad.

News from the RSC:

"The Royal Shakespeare Company is to stage the biggest festival in its history, inviting theatre companies from across the world and around the UK to join the Company in a unique celebration of Shakespeare’s complete works.

From April 2006 the RSC will host The Complete Works, a year-long Festival of the entire Shakespeare canon at its Stratford-upon-Avon home. The Festival embraces film, new writing, and contemporary music, as well as a comprehensive survey of theatre artists currently interpreting Shakespeare worldwide. The Complete Works will celebrate the truly global reach of the greatest writer in the English language, and will be the first time all 37 plays, the sonnets and the long poems have been presented at the same event." The Works end with King Lear, played by Ian McKellen, in April 2007.

I see that the RSC shop is finally selling the BBC Richard II with Derek Jacobi. I've got the vid but am tempted to buy the DVD.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Mutterings continued.

Spent most of the last couple of days in bed or rugged up on the lounge. Headachey, jointachey, can't get warm, tired all the time. Feel better now.

Why sports people shouldn't be interviewed in public: Michael French, cyclist, on his return to competitive cycling, "I don't think they're going to welcome me with open hands."

From Ananova: "Naked man arrested for shouting at trees

A German man has been arrested after a marriage guidance counsellor advised him to run around naked shouting at trees." I think the marriage guidance cousellor was taking the piss.

Some good telly coming up - Green Wing and Black Books tonight, a bio on Peter Sellars on the Biography Channel and induction of some great Oz rockers (Split Enz, Easybeats, Hunters and Collectors) into the Aria Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Not a Well Possbert

Mutterings continued.

Did me left knee in this morning - the top half of me went one way, the bottom half the other. I've twisted the ligament, nothing serious, just rather painful.

And I have a chest infection, which, for the past couple of weeks, I thought was just my asthma playing me up. Dr Lenn had a listen to my lungs said it sounded like a bowl of Rice Bubbles in there - lots of burbling and crackling.

And I've been given anti-depressants for the insomnia and heart arrhythmia.

Came home to find the front of the units covered in scaffolding. I'm not sure what's going on.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Another one bites the dust.

Mutterings continued.

Well, those 8 performances were over quickly! Had a great night last night - party at Director Pat's, lots of hugs and booty. Pat bought Wardrobe Mistress Shirley and I a lovely teapot (one each), which is very appropriate as everyone in the play drinks lots of tea.

"Would you like a cup of tea, love?"
"Your Mam's given us one."
"Get us a cup of tea, love." George after being hit by a 'smallish' bomb.

The cast and crew were a lovely bunch of people and it was a pleasure to work with them.

Poor Manfred is full of props, including Headless George the Guy. Lord knows where I'll put them all; at least George has a home to go to.