Monday, April 30, 2007

Star Trek: The Mego Picture

This is an excellent Star Trek parody from Youtube, which must have taken a bunch of looney Star Trek fans a long, long time to create:




Enjoy!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Judging a comic by its cover(s)?

I can feel myself getting testy about the multiple covers marketing strategy of IDW Publishing's Star Trek comics!

Handsome comics, but... This week, the fourth issue of their "Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between" mini-series came out. This one has three alternative covers: a rather lovely art cover of Data, Picard, Riker and Worf posed on a planet, with the Enterprie-D in close orbit (which I bought); a LaForge photo cover, with a Data photo inset (ie. more like a magazine, aimed at casual buyers); and, on the limited edition one, a closeup profile sketch of Worf.

Now, way back when Malibu Graphics did the DS9 comics, there was a tendency for certain issues to come out with alternate photo covers, or foil stamping, or holographic paper, to generate consumer excitement - and most times I was tempted into buying one of each, even though the internal art and text were identical in each version.

But my collecting space is at a premium, and becoming more and more unwieldy, and with the so-called "shop incentive exclusives" from IDW so expensive ($AU19.00 and even $AU29.00, sometimes - as only a few are sent for every batch ordered of the regular $AU8.00 covers), they are certainly more annoying than "collectible".

What sent me off the deep end on Thursday was the premiere issue of the new TOS mini-series, "Klingons: Blood Will Tell". Despite me putting in an order for this mini-series, and then a few weeks later advising that I wanted the simultaneous Klingon Language Version as well, the shop had neither comic listed under my name! The inside back cover of this new comic reveals a staggering seven alternate covers! The regular art cover of Kirk and Kor is one (the one I settled upon); a photo cover of Kor the Klingon; a truly stunning painted cover (see below) of Spock, Kirk and Kor (the rare one); the same cover (even rarer!) without titles impeding the artwork; a Comics Pro exclusive edition, with another photo cover; and then two Klingon Language Versions (another photo cover, and a red/black foiled logo cover). Seven covers? Just how are the comic shops supposed to keep track, especially when the prices are so variant? I'm cranky that my comic shop let me down, despite my numerous reminders - but anyone would get lost tracking seven covers for just one comic.

Klingons poster


Rant over. So how're the two stories?

Quite good; I had a chance to devour both of them today. "TNG: The Space Between" features a story called "Light of the Day", with a rather interesting, diminutive alien being taken home to a court hearing. A separate mission - eventually linked to thr first - features LaForge, Worf and Ensign Lo Laren lost on a planet of strange monks. Everyone seems to stay in character and the action moves quickly, even if the dialogue seems rather sparse at times. I'm even more intrigud to see how all the issues will meld, as promised, in the final issue.

The Klingon story tells Commander Kor's side of the events of "Errand of Mercy" (TOS), as he battled wits with Baroner (ie. Kirk) and a meek Vulcan trader, (ie. Spock). The comic also features: a cameo appearance by Doctor Phlox, the Denobulan CMO of "Star Trek: Enterprise"; hints about characters and the future as depicted in the TOS-era motion pictures; plus lots of references back to the "Affliction" and "Divergence" Klingon episodes of "Enterprise", which attempted to explain an infamous and major makeup change.

A fun story, interesting artwork, brilliant colours... sorry about the duplicate issues. Hmmmm. I can't comment on the use of Klingon language in the alternate version, 'cos I haven't seen 'em yet, have I!

Captain's Log: Supplemental. In an article here and (with gorgeous pics) here and here, the creators at IDW tell of their affection for both "Star Trek: The Animated Series" (TAS) and the Gorn!

Oh, and I hadn't seen this link before! Scheduled for the first round of "Alien Spotlight" issues are:

* Vulcans - written by Rick Remender (of "Fear Agent")
* Gorn - by Scott & David Tipton ("Klingons: Blood Will Tell")
* Borg - by Steve Niles ("30 Days of Night")
* Andorians - by Paul D Storrie ("Justice League Unlimited")
* Orion Slave Women - by Dan Taylor ("Hero Happy Hour")
* Romulans - John Byrne ("The Man of Steel", "Next Men").

Friday, April 27, 2007

Locked in. D'oh!

Last night was my regular trip into the city, to collect my weekly comics stash, but it was also a gathering of the Sydney Webloggers' Meetup Group. I was only able to stay briefly as, making a progressive dinner, it was off to Pancakes at the Rocks by 8pm to farewell our new Danish friend, Jonas, who joined our Star Trek Meetup Group while he was on a study scholarship to Sydney. He's heading off to the USA on the next leg of his study tour. Lucky guy.

I came home on a late-night country train, desperately trying not to fall asleep, lest I end up in Katoomba or Lithgow. I was pretty tired by the time I reached my front door (my housemate went off on vacation that morning) and I had a sudden realisation that losing my keys would be a Really Bad Idea. I was holding the school library keys in one hand while I unlocked the front screen door and then the main door. As I entered my house, I could feel the keys in my hand as I turned the locking clip of the wire door from the inside... and shut the main door. But the deadlock was still locked, meaning that my only copy of the house keys were now locked on the other side, and between the two doors.

Turning to face Jack, my dog, who was wearing his I-need-to-do-wee-wee, real bad face, I had to console him that we were now both trapped inside the house - and it was 11.30 pm. I realised it was too late to ring a neighbour, and even if I could escape through a window, how could I retrieve my door keys from behind the security grill of the screen door? I mean, security grills are made to be secure, unless you are holding the key.

It's probably not sensible to describe in exacting detail just how I managed to retrieve the keys - all by myself, and with no injuries - at 11.45pm, but at least I can now hire myself out as a successful cat burglar. It was a good feeling, I can assure you. I even fooled Jack, who went ballistic when he heard someone rattling the front door in desperation.

With only 15 minutes left to blog by midnight, I decided letting the dog out into the back yard, and having a strong drink, were higher priorities than blogging my latest goof-up. I should confess, it's not the first time I've locked my keys out of reach in this exact way. (This was time #2.) But at least that other time, my housemate was only about an hour away from arriving home from work with his keys.

I have lots of new books, comics and magazines to review, and I haven't really even gotten around to doing a report on my recent vacation. (I'm also having fun browsing all the bookshops I find, cherrypicking titles from the 2007 Shortlist, of the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards, which will be announced next Book Week. Thanks to the previous teacher-librarian, we already had most of the picture book titles.) So much to blog about and so little time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Holy smoke, Batman!

CHICAGO (April 24) - "Batman" Filming Site in Chicago Catches Fire
Fire broke out on the roof of the city's vacant former post office Tuesday where a movie crew had been filming scenes for an upcoming "Batman" sequel.

Fire department spokesman Kevin MacGregor said a building engineer suggested the fire might have started in the ventilation system. He didn't know of any injuries. At least a dozen ambulances and fire trucks were at the scene, just south of Chicago's downtown business loop.

MacGregor said it was unclear if the fire was related to the filming.

"The crews had been filming there all week," said Pete Kearney, who works next door. Letters affixed to the side of the old post office read: Gotham National Bank.

"We assumed it was part of the movie," Kearney said of the smoke Tuesday morning.


Me as Robin

I like to watch

Yeah! Call me a voyeur, but I'm once again hooked on the Australian "Big Brother" (so-called) reality TV series. I like to think I watch it every year because of the social experiment thing, but it's probably because there's nothing more compelling that hearing gossip you're not supposed to hear - kinda like when I try to read my book on the train and everyone else is on their mobile phones. Try as I might, I can't get much reading done those days.

Whatever happened to the promise, for this year's TV series, that the participants would be from "all walks of life..."? I expected there to me a few older people this year, after the last two years' overdose of pretty young things whose idea of stimulating conversation is to quote endless chunks of dialogue from big budget movies of the 90s.

But again, almost everyone in this year's batch seems to be blond (or streaked), aged under 30, and (supposedly) "only in it for the experience, not the money". Network Ten was touting the "all walks of life..." aspect way back since last November. My mum (visiting from Perth) and my aunt, both in their 70s, almost got to audition for this year's series. See my blog entry from last November.

I was really hoping the premiere episode would show footage of the audition-hopeful crowds at Fox Studios, 'cos my Mum and aunt were bound to have been caught on video as they chatted to the big security guys charged with corraling all the potential pretty young things into their auditions.

As for the "social experiment thing", I'm waiting for the media to start doing a beat-up on how manipulative and cruel BB is, what with the Andrew/Hayley/Billy threesome, Friday Night Games, and the poor white-clad, gruel-eating foursome, slowing going wacko with the lights on, 24/7, in The White Room. And the media will make the most of it, 'cos there's no "Adults Only" version of the show scheduled this year.

Diaryroom06

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jack's back

My five-year old Jack Russell terrier spent an overnighter at the vet's. He needed tartar removed from his teeth, and they wanted to try some medication to get a grass allergy back under control.

Jack had been making a habit, of late, of rubbing his nose and sneezing after eating, plus his gums and tummy would flush red/pink. He loses quite a bit of fur from his nether regions at such times, and his body temperature often seems to be too high at these moments of greatest itchiness. Or is it all simply because he's so low to the ground, there's just no avoiding grass at this time of year?

Boy, was he glad to see me tonight when I arrived to collect him! He's still quite groggy - they usually put dogs right under to scale their teeth - and has a great excuse to recharge his batteries after last week's vacation. It's very rare to see a Jack Russell do anything in slow motion.

Making me feel even more like a traitor: the local pet shop has a wire-haired, juvenile, male Jack Russell - on sale. He's a dead-ringer for Eddie, from TV's "Cheers", and he was wearing the same "buy me" look on his face as Jack had five years ago, in the very same display window/cage!

"How much is the doggie in the window?" Only $245; about half price. Sooooo tempting, and soooo cute - but, most of the time, one Jack Russell is more than enough.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

One more time: into the crucible!

I selected four Star Trek books to take on vacation with me. I had only a few pages to go on the latest "Enterprise" novel, "The Good That Men Do". I also had Book 2 of "Errand of Fury" ("Demands of Honor"), plus... the third and final "Vulcan's Soul" book ("Epiphany") which came in the day before I left.

Kirk
Cover art by John Picacio

But, as soon as the "Enterprise" book was finished (more on that one later) it was straight into the surprisingly slim David R George III novel, "Crucible: Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering". It's Part Three of a trilogy, the first two instalments of which were mighty meaty reads (ie. "Crucible: McCoy").

This time, George goes for the unexpected, and much of the story revolves around Kirk's Nexus encounter in "Generations", opposite Antonia, Guinan and Picard, rather Edith and "The City of the Edge of Forever".

Once again, the author pays homage to many episodes of TOS. Across the three volumes, he ensures that every episode gets at least one reference each. Filmation's animated ST series of the 70s (TAS) is also well represented: the S.S. Huron, helmeted Orions, the magical planet of Megas-Tu, Lieutenant Anne Nored (only an ensign yet, passed in the corridor), life support belts, a tribble-eating glommer, and a street named for Robert T April! Across the three volumes, David George ensures that every TAS episode also gets at least one reference each. I spent today updating my Toon Trek pages and my Lower Decks novel pages yet again. It now includes many more "Crucible" TAS references.

Now I can't wait to see if David George is going to tackle the exciting seven-year mission he postulates for Kirk and the Enterprise in "Crucible", which fits between ST:TMP and ST II.

I'm happy to recommend the "Crucible" trilogy to any Star Trek fan hungry for new insights into Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

Crucible: triptych cover
Art by John Picacio

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Missed me?

I'm back from a brief holiday down New South Wales' south coast: visiting Kangaroo Valley, Mogo and Nowra and staying at Sussex Inlet and Pambula/Merimubula, then back via Kiama.

Thank heavens for those "holiday with your dog" books and websites, which always direct me towards some unique holiday accommodations - and thank goodness for my Star Trek novels, which keep me entertained in those tinier towns where Internet cafes have not yet begun to spring up. I exaggerate. While I did see a few signs that the electronic age had arrived in these places, I also had second thoughts about announcing, on a daily basis, that I was on vacation for a week-and-a-bit... and, therefore, the house was unoccupied, even by its guard dog.

Merimbula

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Brush with fame

I was in the city yesterday, so I popped into Galaxy Bookshop, on spec, and was thrilled to discover that two new Star Trek books had come in.

But, so had science fiction author and tribble-creator, David Gerrold!

David and I know each other from many a Star Trek convention, and it was great to catch up with him, even if only for a few minutes. Afterwards, I realised I should have thanked him for his excellent commentary tracks on his TAS (Star Trek: The Animated Series) episodes on DVD. But, by then, I was racing off to the IMAX.

Gerrold TASwhiteGerrold TMPwhiteGerrold DS9
Three cameo faces of David Gerrold: TAS, TMP, DS9.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

300 at IMAX

Last Thursday, a group of Star Trek fans were discussing the new movie, "300", outside the Meat & Wine Co. restaurant at Darling Harbour. Those who'd just seen the movie were giving it a glowing review. We glanced up - and there, looming over us, was a giant poster for the movie! It is showing on the giant screen at the nearby IMAX cinema.

So we are going there tonight. It's not my usual preference in movies, but I saw Aussie actor, David Wenham, being interviewed about it recently - and it's based on a graphic novel, so I'm intrigued.

I shall keep you all posted.

Captain's Log: Supplemental. Yep, it was a graphic novel, all right, turned into a movie. I did enjoy this experience, although the people I went with, who'd seen it before, felt that the IMAX screen caused the overall image to be too dull - the blood was more vibrant on a regular screen - and there was certainly lots of that. And the screen was so busy, it was often hard to decide where to look.

The performances were intriguing and the selection of camera angles and effects were often quite innovative. Several sequences reminded me very much of battle scenes from "The Lord of the Rings", particularly the oliphaunts - and one sequence where I could almost hear a member of the Middle-Earth Fellowship utter, "They have a cave troll!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Infinitas!

I spent the day in Parramatta today, browsing around in the Westfield centre, plus The Phantom Zone, JB HiFi - and I finally remembered how to find Infinitas Bookshop, a science fiction specialist, again.

Although they didn't have anything I needed today, I had an enjoyable chat with the shop assistants in Infinitas; we were swapping geeky book-collecting anecdotes. It was so reassuring to know I wasn't the only Star Trek fan who stresses about the best way to store my Star Trek novels correctly. One of the staff even had a photo on the computer of her custom modified IKEA shelving units, filled with a very orderly collection of Star Trek novels. Very impressive.

When I moved here in 2000, I had to shelve the Star Trek hardcovers separately, to maximise space. A few years later, I had to resign myself to making a double layer of the Star Trek paperback novels in order to constrain the collection to one room. Recently, I had to start filling horizonal gaps above the double rows. Sigh...

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Royal Easter Show: 10 years at Olympic Park

So where did that decade go?

Sydney's Royal Easter Show celebrates 100 years of its Grand Parade this year, but also ten years of shows since the move from Moore Park! I had plans to write up a report last night, of yesterday's visit to the 2007 Show, but I ended up fully absorbed in a conversation with a friend on MSN Messenger and midnight slipped right by.

I like attending the Show on Easter Sunday. When I was a kid, Easter Sunday was the one day the Show wasn't open; I guess to give the Show people a chance to celebrate Easter. It seems that many people still avoid that day - many families seem to have a particular, traditional day to attend - although the afternoons start to get rather busy. As a child, we almost always went to the Show on what used to be the last day: the Tuesday after Easter, known as Children's Day, when kids' entry was half price, and prices on showbags and some rides were slashed. The change to the Four Term School Year changed all that and, this year, the Show didn't actually start until the day before Good Friday.

The weather was kind. Not too warm, not too cold, and dark clouds lingering but never dropping their load. I've ben to the Show on many a wet day. Moore Park used to turn to sludge very quickly! I must say, the Homebush Bay venues (built for the Sydney Olympics of 2000) have made the Show more comfortable, if a little clinical and perhaps less nostalgic.

I spent wisely; only a few indulgences, such as King Island cheeses, fruit flavoured licorice and el cheapo Bertie Beetle showbags.

Antennae all round!:

Bertie BeetlewhiteStar Trek III: The Search for Spock premiere
Left: Bertie Beetle, 2007; Right: Thizzard with Andorians, 1984.

But: I must share a bizarre anecdote from the 80s! Every year there seems to be some wacky must-have novelty at the Easter Show. One year, it would be yo-yos, or silly headbands with stars on springs, or inflatable hats. One year, people all over the show "walking" wire leashes with a dog collar attached, as if walking an invisible pet canine. The next year, everyone was "walking" lizards on leashes! Their foam rubber bodies made these simple puppets look incredibly realistic.

I was with a group of new "Star Trek" friends that year, and I bought myself a blue lizard, with the intention of attaching little blue pipe-cleaner antennae to make him into an Andorian "thizzard". We were standing around in the car park after the Show, with me demonstrating my thizzard-walking skills, when actor/entrepreneur Joe Hasham (Don Finlayson of "Number 96" fame) came walking past with his two sons.

About six months later. My thizzard accompanied a group of us to a "Star Trek" costume party which, coincidentally, turned out to be several doors down from the "Number 96" building in Moncur Street, Woollahra! When we arrived home, my thizzard was missing, apparently having scuttled off into the dark, where we assume he made a home for himself in the cellar of "96".

The next year, you can bet that I was back at the Show, hoping to be able to replace my lost thizzard. I was successful! As I was standing in the car park, practising my thizzard-walking skills once again, I enthralled my small audience with how Joe Hasham and his sons had walked by last time. We looked up, and who was walking towards us? Joe Hasham and family! I kid you not. (I wonder if he thought, "There's that crazy stalker guy with the blue lizard again? Keep clear, kids!")

Have a great time at the Show if you decide to go this year. The popular item this year seemed to be magic haemitite juggling stones. And, as far as I know, Joe Hasham's still in offshore, and it was Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at the Show today!

Note: The above photo of Therin, Tharrah, child and thizzard is from the premiere night of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" at the Pitt Centre, Sydney.

How I got into science fiction media

As a kid, I followed "Batman" on TV (so cool!), and vividly recall reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in the 60s. At high school, we were expected to read "The Black Cloud" (by Fred Hoyle) and "The Hobbit" (Tolkien) as set novels. Then came two attempts to read "The Lord of the Rings". The introduction of colour TV in 1975 saw the return of "Star Trek: The Animated Series", as repeats during the innovative and new breakfast TV, plus a few selected "Star Trek" episodes on weekends.

At teachers college we were expected to read "Dune" (Frank Herbert) in our literature course, and produce an essay on ewater symbolism, but I didn't like the book much, and preferred that lousy motion picture they made, featuring Sting in bizarre silver underwear, and where it rained at the end (two books too early, I believe)!

Movie releases that swept me away in the 80s included "Superman: The Movie", "Barbarella" (which I saw at someone's Christmas party on 16 mm), "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and "Superman II", quickly followed by the first "V" mini-series on TV. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" was a popular hit, and ensured that TOS repeats returned in prime time! Somehow I missed the "Star Wars" phenomenon until "The Empire Strikes Back"; the magazine "Starlog" became an essential monthly purchase.

From 1980, I had become deeply involved in "Star Trek" fandom, and began attending conventions, writing fan fiction and skits, publishing fanzines, making costumes, collecting rumours about new trek projects, and producing a regular column for the NSW club's newsletter. Since the 90s, as fan club activities and conventions became more splintered, I began using the Internet to satisfy my Trek yearnings. As a direct result of "Star Trek", I now read general science fiction novels by the likes of David Gerrold, Larry Niven, Vonda McIntyre, Peter David and others. I still buy and read all the licenced "Star Trek" novels and comics, and "Starlog".

Saturday, April 07, 2007

New from IDW: TNG: Strategy

This week brought me the third instalment of IDW Publishing's comic mini-series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between". Set towards the end of TNG's TV run, this story features the intriguing Worf/Troi/Riker love triangle only touched upon by the episodes, and a Romulan vessel mystery that takes its inspiration from more recent Aenar/Andorian/Romulan arc of "Star Trek: Enterprise". For the first time, we get just an inkling that the various issues of this mini-series are thematically linked.

The artwork is perhaps more even throughout this time, although I had very much enjoyed the previous issue - and I continue to appreciate the high quality gloss paper and the sturdy covers of these comics. i'm still not sure how i feel about the multiple covers. At this point in my collecting, space has become a premium, but the "rare" covers, should I ever be tempted by them, work out to be $19 and $29 each. Give me the $8 cover ($US 3.99) any day.

This issue also features sample pages from the upcoming TOS Klingon mini-series, "Blood Will Tell"; I will be buying at least one duplicate, as the first issue will also come in a Klingon dialogue translation. Today I also saw information online about the next mini-series: "TOS: Year Four". It's going to be a fun year!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy First Contact Day

I didn't realise until tonight, but yesterday - the date of the Sydney Star Trek Meetup's overnight Star Trek Easter Marathon marks only 56 more years to go until First Contact Day. According to the movie, "Star Trek: First Contact", it will be 56 years filled with war, greed, and (per The Next Generation's premiere episode, "Encounter at Farpoint") the Post-Atomic Horror (famine, disease, pestilence, death, etc), but we hear it's worth the wait!

First stop was Galaxy Bookshop, followed by coffee in the Queen Victoria Building, and then dinner at the Meat & Wine Co. - I finally got to sample their famous "Chef's Skewer", which is truly a meat dish fit for any Klingon: large chunks of recently-stabbed meat, onion and capsicum, threaded onto a thick, hot, metal skewer and suspended from a skyhook, dripping rich barbeque sauce onto a tray of fries. Qapla!

Continuing from where we left off from the last viewing marathon, we watched the rest of Season One of TOS episodes, between drifting off for micro sleeps. Junk food, Easter eggs, alcohol, Coke Zero, "Star Trek Monopoly", hot cross buns, sourdough bread and brie, and the "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" episode of "Futurama", kept the ball rolling...

24 hours later and five members were still watching episodes and playing TNG Monopoly! Such stamina. (I came home to feed the dog.) A big thank you to Nate for letting us use his flat for the marathon. Great fun!

Captain's Log: Supplemental. Update via SMS: the intrepid five apparently went to bed at 4am on the morning of their second night of viewing, so they could catch some sleep b4 breakfast.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Murphy's Laws of school book fairs

1. First sale of the day - an 80 cent pencil - will inevitably be countered by a crisp $50 note.

2. If you put a signature on the item's price sticker at a school book fair, in an attempt to prevent shoplifting, the child will inevitably have a single ten cent coin to pay for a $10 item. Or even a $25 item. (These kids have expensive tastes. And a totally unrealistic idea of the value of money. They also believe that if you keep buying items that give you change, you'll never run out of money.)

3. If a student hands you a bunch of 16 shiny $1 coins, and it looks like he raided Mum's money box, he probably did. (And why was he so desperate to purchase a personal burglar alarm, anyway?)

4. If someone sees you sneaking a look at the EFTPOS machine manual, they'll suddenly demand you test it out on their card. Dammit. ("Go use the Ready Teller across the road please, these instructions are too obscure, okay?")

5. Of course, you're supposed to charge up the EFTPOS machine the night before. (Thanks for not telling me, Book Fair company.)

6. Stationery is still way more exciting than books, even on Day 3 of a Book Fair.

7. Tired teachers only make addition errors in front of the parents, not little students, who wouldn't notice anyway.

8. Today's grandparents are younger than most of the teachers. (Welcome to the middle ages.) But they are quite generous (Ka-ching! Ka-ching! - sound of cash register).

9. A major computer system changeover shall occur on the same day as the takings of the annual Book Fair must be finalised. It will also be the last day of term, and only one day before a public holiday.

10. The final tearful request for a $1 scented eraser will be announced precisely ten minutes after the van, full of all the cabinets of product, leaves the school grounds. (A prediction: just you see if I'm right.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Advance stationery fair?

We are having a book fair at my school this week, so every spare hour of each day sees me patrolling the school library with a three-litre ice cream container in the crook of my arm, selling stationery to students who wander into the library and attempt to "buy" a book for under $1.

It's great that Scholastic have seen to it that there is an amazing range of novelty pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, bookmarks and sharpeners to satisfy those holes burning in some kids' pockets, but I eagerly await Grandparents' Day (tomorrow) and the hope that (a) today's grandpas and grandmas are ovely-generous when spoiling their grandchildren, and (b) that no child uses all of their grandparents' money to buy even more novelty pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, bookmarks and sharpeners.

Someone, please buy a book!

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fool?

I'm rather surprised at the lacklustre (and small) number of April Fools' Day gags yesterday.

TrekBBS managed to set up the auto-censorship program to exchange "Star Trek" words for wacky phrases, eg. "star" became "HowdyHi", "book" became "foghornleghorn" and "Deep Space Nine" became "spoon".

But there seemed to be quite a shortage of 2007 pranks, despite being a Sunday.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Foundation Day, Springwood, NSW

What a glorious day to be in the Blue Mountains yesterday! Jack experienced a whole new vista of scents as he joined many Mountains-dwelling canines at Springwood's annual Foundation Day festivities.

I'd happened to notice a poster for this event on the Orient Hotel's front door on Friday night. I'd recalled finding it accidentally one year, but this time I made sure to get back up to Springwood early. I didn't really buy anything, except for homemade fudge - yum - and a few unique items from the garden store we like to frequent, plus pide for lunch. It was a fun day, nonetheless.

Foundation Day

Springwood's main street was sealed off to traffic and transformed into colourful market stalls - vacated only for the parade of floats and marching groups - and there was a very friendly, family-oriented, country atmosphere.

Jack was alternately exploring on all fours, and being carried in my arms (which he seemed to enjoy too much), and he made lots of acquaintances, both furred and human. We struck up a conversation with a young couple who were seriously considering their first Jack Russell. They'd watched us pass by a few times, and eventually asked for some background on the breed. Jack really made an impression of them; currently they have a very bored - and boring - King Charles Cavalier spaniel, who spends her days sitting on a blanket being an aloof princess. Methinks a Jack Russell will colour their world a little more than that. ;-)

Thanks, Springwood, you did well!