Howdy from blowy Brisbane.
With Jack being cared for by my generous and kind housemate, Steve, here I am coming to you live from Brisvegas, which has been transformed into the Windy City today by some rather gusty breezes that are blowing all the surfers off their boards over on the coast.
I flew up here last Sunday - hurray for Virgin Blue's print-it-yourself boarding passes - and wisely choosing to travel lightly (no phasers; only carry-on luggage, Christmas gifts, a few Star Trek novels to read, and a box of those deadly Krispy Kreme donut bribes for my hosts). Thus, it was a very pleasant trip, with no queues whatsoever, and only a slight flight delay.
Christmas Day was spent with friends, Maria and Peter and little Ben, with lunch at Maria's Aunty Patti's, and dinner with Peter's parents and Aunt Ngaire. An extended family to stand in for when one's own family members are scattered to the winds (and ironic typing that line today, that's for sure). I was very grateful for the hospitality - and nothing beats watching a thirteen-month old kid in a red Christmas elf suit ripping wrapping paper off his presents, and helping everyone else with their own as well!
Yesterday was a reaquaintance with the wonderful Eumundi Markets, travelling there with my now Brisbane-dwelling friend, Stephen, who was seeing them or the first time. I managed to spend only $12, which I thought was quite amazing: a $2 battery-operated led light "tunnel" pendant for the next K-2 school disco, and a very cool stainless steel pinkie ring with two lizards carved out of it ($10). I did see a few other bargains, but I'd rather not buy a new piece of luggage and have to queue to get home again. A previous trip to a shopping mall saw me return with only a snowman ornament for $1.50, and a trip to the CBD netted me only a batch of spare Star Trek Minimates, so I'm doing rather well. So far.
Last night, a group of us (Star Trek buddies from many ConQuest conventions of the past) went to see the new Coen Brothers' movie, "No Country for Old Men". Certainly not my usual movie fare - I was expecting something more black comedy-wise, such as "Fargo" or "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" - but this was more of a dark crime thriller. Lots of brooding, soul-searching, drama. Beautifully shot, but that may be a poor choice of words, considering the "drugs 'n' cash 'n' retribution" storyline.
However, we all agreed we'd had a more fulfilling experience with "No Country..." than our choice of film for Boxing Day: the tediously overblown, snowbound, epic trilogy wannabe, "The Golden Compass". Considering its theme, we still can't believe that Nicole kidman chose to celebrate her latest film with a bevy of sick and disadvantaged Aussie children with a red carpet gala a few weeks ago. Despite many fascinating ideas in Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" novels, a kids' film this isn't. Ick!
Sunday's magic number: 91.2 - Not too shabby, eh?