Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time to blog

Okay, I'm gonna be dividing my loyalties for a little while, I fear. If a post is only vaguely work related, then it might end up here rather than here.


I promoted my professional learning web log on the teacher-librarian listservs today, and immediately started to receive comments to moderate. A good sign that there is, indeed, a niche for my work.

Time will tell.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good news weekend

Happy Australia Day for yesterday. Hope you spent it suitably.


Sunday's magic number: 90.6 I'm feeling fairly good about this! A loss of almost 2kg! I've been fairly consistent in my resistance of naughty stuff during the last week, and even my Junk Food Day choices were relatively healthy. Mind you, there was also a delicious lamb kebab, and a loaf of pumpkin sourdough bread, I brought home from Katoomba on Wednesday. Last night was a bit of a feast of fine food and drink - including lots of garlic bread/pizza and numerous glasses of Merlot - at Baia San Marco in Cockle Bay to see the Australia Day fireworks in style.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Booked Inn: heroic adventures in teacher-librarianship

Ian as Clark Kent

In a challenging fortnight, I gave up three days of my vacation to help develop and test some new ways of presenting Internet-based book raps in schools.

I also spent considerable time doing what felt a bit like a brain data dump of information about blogging, and it really got me thinking about the online facilities that are available to teacher-librarians to share ideas with each other, and excuses to become more comfortable with how Web 2.0 components can be used in education.

Therefore, I commenced another blog, glutton for punishment that I am, called Booked Inn: heroic adventures in teacher-librarianship over on Edublogs (via WordPress). Supposedly, it will be fully accessible in NSW government schools, and I can use it for professional learning and information exchange. (For all its great features, I'm unable to upload anything to my Blogger pages from a work computer due to blocking software.)

I've challenged myself to stay as positive as possible; I've seen lots of professional blog sites and opinion-based web sites where the author (and readers) sink into a quagmire of negativity and constant rage against the system. And I'm definitely a "glass half full" kind of guy.

Wish me luck - and check it out some time (or, indeed, often).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Star Trek Year Four comics finale - and Borg Spotlight

I felt so greedy! Two IDW Star Trek comics yesterday! I picked up my copies of the final issue of the first "TOS Year Four" mini-series, and "Alien Spotlight: The Borg", in the CBD and devoured them in the 50-min. train ride home. I thoroughly enjoyed both issues!

Visually, "Year Four" #6 reminded me very much of the type of TV SF stories being told in the 60s but, with US child labour laws, it would have been an impossible script to film as live action. Star Trek comics can really excel when achieving things the original show couldn't have ever managed, SPFX makeup budget- or time-wise. A great TAS cameo appearance - and two Andorians!

"The Borg" was also very enjoyable and thought-provoking. For Admiral Janeway and "Voyager" fans, another good guest appearance! And, as promised, another Andorian cameo.

I haven't had such an absorbing Trek comics ride home in a looooong time. Thanks IDW!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Computer says, "Blog!"

Computer says, 'Blog!'

There's nothing more embarrassing than booking a table for fifteen people at a popular restaurant, and finding that everyone who RSVPs to your Meetup will only commit to a "Maybe", and then only four or five turn up. Been there, done that, bribed the waiter.

However, I'm thrilled to report that, for last night's inaugural meeting of Bloggers of Sydney, we were expecting twelve people (one had stated he was doubtful, but I had removed the pesky "Maybe" option) and ended up with thirteen! Not bad for a group that's only been around for a few weeks. It was a friendly, chatty, supportive group. I thouroughly enjoyed myself and I can't wait to explore all the new members' blogs.

Due to my zeal in volunteering my services to the other blogging Meetup group, there are two February meetings:

Bloggers of Sydney Meetup Group. For more details, please see the full listing: http://blog.meetup.com/408/calendar/7184749/
When: Thursday, February 14, at 7:00 PM (Valentine's Day)
Where: Old Vienna Coffee House, QVB, Sydney CBD.

Sydney Weblogger Meetup Group. For more details, please see the full listing: http://blog.meetup.com/371/calendar/7185298/
When: Thursday, February 21, 7:00 PM
Where: ArtHouse Hotel, Sydney CBD. Please keep in mind that the ArtHouse bouncers impose a dress code - smart casual.

So, at the moment, I'm balancing two groups. To keep them a bit distinctive, I've suggested that the newly-formed Bloggers group might prove more attractive to hobby bloggers, while the more-established (but inactive since July 2007) Webloggers group maintains its emphasis on people who blog as part of their job, or for some kind of remuneration. The Data Miners spun off into their own Meetup group in 2007.

I'll aim for a balance between coffee vs alcohol venues. If you join up one of the groups, please do suggest friendly venues that promote opportunities for people to mill around and establish new conversations. And feel free to promote both groups on your own blogs.

Aussie Bloggers Forum

Meanwhile, you can keep pace with the Australian blogging scene online at the wonderful, new Aussie Bloggers web site and its very active Forum. It's one of the most user-friendly BBS sites I've used! Very impressive network, which only launched last Monday and is off to a great start.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger - what?

We just had a radio news flash that Aussie heartthrob actor Heath Ledger - soon to be seen in the new "Batman: The Dark Knight" motion picture as The Joker - has been found dead in Manhattan, New York, USA.

Oh dear.

Heath Ledger as the Joker
Vale Heath Ledger. R.I.P.

Captain's Log: Supplemental. Well, this became one of those ultra sad "Where were you when __________________ (insert name here) died" days.

I decided to take a train ride up to Katoomba today; in every shop along the main strip, everyone was talking about Heath Ledger. It was Australia in disbelief, and mourning. I found a discounted copy of his "Ned Kelly" movie (which I thoroughly enjoyed at the cinema) on DVD, and had to buy it. I'd always intended to get one, but now it was essential. The young actor will probably always be intrinsically linked with train rides to Katoomba, second hand book stores, and the novel I finished reading ("The Dominion" story in "Worlds of DS9, Book 3") on the way up. Kinda like how John Lennon is always intrinsically linked with a certain bus ride from Ramsgate to the city, on a date near my birthday.

No doubt details of Heath Ledger's death will be big news for some time to come.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back shortly

I was reminiscing yesterday with some online folk about the days when cinemas included a full program of cartoon, advertisements, a film short and the main feature. i understand they were phased out in the USA in the early 60s?

We definitely had a short with "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" Down Under. I can't recall which one, though, though film shorts were still going strong. (Actually, it may have been a documentary about kayaking, if I recall correctly.) We had a 33 min. film short, "The Rocking Horse Winner" (1983), with "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock". If I saw that bloody rocking-horse again, I was gonna scream!

I also remember we stunned director Tim Burton, in a Sydney press conference for "Batman" (1989) when lowly members of a newly-formed Batman fan club had probing questions about his supposedly unreleased b/w "Frankenweenie" short (1984) - which had received a cinema release in Australia. It ran before screenings of Disney's "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" (1985). (It was news to Tim, and we assume he went stomping back to Disney to investigate his royalties!)

So, yeah. We had shorts Down Under until at least 1985, then a break of only a few years... until that first new "Roger Rabbit" short, "Tummy Trouble", released theatrically worldwide with "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (1989).

Pixar has also made the concept of film shorts remain in the public consciousness. Not to mention Tropfest and other short film festivals.


Monday, January 21, 2008

The art of blissing out

I'm sure it started in 1981, when I started helping out on a Saturday morning "fruit bun day" in his hot bread shop.

My younger brother did his apprenticeship in bread manufacture with my Dad in his shop, but Saturday mornings was my brother's day off. Although I'd always served customers in the shop on Tuesday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings for extra "pocket money" - and worked full time in our depot shop throughout 1980 - I agreed to start going in extra early on Saturdays to help with the making of fruit loaves and fruit buns. In the 70s and 80s, it was actually illegal for New South Wales bakeries to make fresh bread on weekends, so hot, sweet loaves were our draw card to exhaust the supplies of bread (made late Friday afternoon) for the Saturday morning shoppers. Different times!

Anyway, it was also in the 1980s that I found I could so easily drop off to sleep in movies.

Admittedly, if the group I was going to the movies with on a Saturday night insisted on going to a late session, then I was guaranteed to drift off early into the film due to my early starts on the Saturday morning. Except for something like "Raiders of the Lost Ark", when a friend, Ruth, hammered on my arm in all the scary bits. (She did it quite Ruthlessly. Tee hee.)

"Superman 3" (although I was jetlagged for this); and the tank chase scene of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" are also memorable films in which I struggled to stay awake, not matter how much wanted to enjoy the film.

Other times, and right through until recently, I find myself simply "blissing out" - with no bakery hours to blame! A sure sign I'm reaching the age where needing grandpa naps is compulsory.

With the repetitive movements are lulling me into a trance, I have strong memories of sleeping through almost all of "Me, Myself and Irene" and "The Cat in the Hat", despite the usually-hilarious Jim Carrey and Mike Myers, respectively. I also "blissed out" watching the humpback whales of "Fantasia 2000" (on a huge IMAX screen); the jellyfish scene "Finding Nemo"; the first time I tried to watch "Shrek" (although my appreciation increased after seeing the wonderfully clever "Shrek 2"); and - ho hum - much of "The Golden Compass".

Today, I was off with a friend, Leonie, to see "The Water Horse". A magical new film that explores the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, it's a fun story, beautifully and affectionately told. I'm happy to report that I didn't "bliss out", fall asleep, or even snore (which I've been known to do while wide awake). The special effects are so sophisticated; they've finally perfected SPFX movie eyeballs that look just like eyeballs. Magnificent!

If you're looking for a feel-good movie, this is it! Especially with a banana flavoured choc top ice-cream!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The drawing power of Star Trek

My weekly Site Meter results just popped in. There's something to be said about the drawing power of a new "Star Trek" teaser trailer!

This blog usually attracts about 50 visitors per day, dropping down to about 30 when I've been slack about posting (or go on vacation), and rising to about 80 if I talk about something controversial/current.

Today, my "average per day" visitor count is 114, and half of those are looking at more than one entry while they are here! Onya "Star Trek", "Cloverfield" and JJ Abrams!

Since the teaser trailer was released, the Trek online bulletin boards have been buzzing with fans dissecting the trailer into its component parts, and reading all manner of rumour, innuendo and wacky speculation into every bit. Makes me glad that JJ Abrams is making this movie for the general public, and not attempting to appease "the fans", since they are going to be polarized by anything and everything!

Sunday's magic number: 92.4 - Another slip. (I think. The scales were totally weird last week, so if I believe the first reading of last Sunday, I did lose this week.) I do know I've been a bit carefree this week, so I guess I need to get serious again. The next ten kilograms are gonna be the hard ones. A whole Jack Russell to go!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Botanical beauty, with bats

Yesterday, a friend from Wollongong was visiting Sydney and we had lots of time to kill, so I suggested a stroll in Sydney's beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens in the CBD.

With the threat of rain constantly looming overhead, we nevertheless had a great day: wandering aimlessly, for the most part, but also choosing to seek out the site of the old Garden Palace, the prehistoric Wollemi pine display, the cafe and souvenir shop, and the great Succulent Garden.

The entire day was chorused by the often-deafening background chittering and squabbling of hundreds of flying foxes, who've taken over many of the Gardens' trees by day, and are destroying their foliage by night. I really had no idea the creatures had become such a problem, of plague proportions.

To top off the day, there's been a similarly noisy chorus of screaming frogs, right here in my backyard, every night. Australian frogs don't say, "Ribit!" or "Croak!", you see. Some say, "Bok, bok!" - and the rest just scream like they've just met Roddy McDowall's withered old mother, armed with cutlery, in the shower!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Star Trek... "Under construction"














As the Paramount/Bad Robot Productions' "Cloverfield" opened here today, Thursday 17th - and Australia's a day ahead of USA (which doesn't get the film until Friday 18th) - I've now already seen...

... the JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" teaser trailer!

A group of four friends and I went off to see the 7.20pm screening of "Cloverfield", partly because the movie sounded rather cool, but also because we hoped that Australia would be getting the Star Trek XI teaser trailer attached to the front.

There were several other trailers first, interspersed with local cinema advertisements but then... on came the latest, flashy Paramount logo, plus Bad Robot's logo screen. (This is it, this is it, this is it...)

Then a familiar, old NASA countdown: "30 seconds and counting."

We see a man in safety goggles, welding something, sparks flying in the dark. The googles are removed and the camera glides back to slowly start revealing his location.

Then we hear a line from an archival President Kennedy speech: "... the eyes of the world now look to space...", and another NASA voice ("God speed, John Glenn!"), as more tiny people are shown walking carefully around a huge, partially-revealed, section of metal saucer.

Another familiar voiceover: "The Eagle has landed."

Now we see more of the scaffolding, and more of the saucer. A title reads, "The future begins".

Astronaut Neil Armstrong's voice adds, "... one small step for (a) man..." and we see revealed... even more saucer.

Leonard Nimoy (as the voice of... Spock!) says: “Space... the final frontier..." and now we hear the very familiar opening strains of the "Star Trek" 60s television theme music.

The shot now reveals the presence of large black lettering on the top of the saucer: "U.S.S. Enterprise", the now-famous delta shield, and then another title card, "Under construction".

Wow! Roll on Christmas 2008!

Under construction

Oh, and "Cloverfield" was fun, too. If you survived shaky cam on "The Blair Witch Project", and are happy to spend the first ten minutes or so of the movie getting used to the annoying movement long enough to get intrigued by the film's appealing young characters and their interrelationships... it's a great (and scary) film!

I think what made it particularly spooky was that many of the landmarks of Manhattan used in the movie were places I'd actually been to, such as the Statue of Liberty, and the quaint stone bridge in Central Park - not to mention that several scenes of destruction were (purposely) way too reminiscent of 9/11, and the fate that befell the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Highly recommended, although it definitely helps if you've already seen my brother Brian's first attempts at using a video camera during his vacation in Perth, circa 1992.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Second Stage - IDW Comics and Star Trek

Upcoming Star Trek comics from IDW Publishing:

TNG: "Intelligence Gathering" five-issue mini-series commences. Set toward the end of the show’s fifth season. Scott & David Tipton (writers) and David Messina (artist). Issue #1 is due this week!

Finale of the 2007 "Alien Spotlight" mini-series: "The Romulans" by John Byrne (writer/artist). Prequel to "Balance of Terror" (TOS).

All new titles after this will be branded "Second Stage". New strategy sees all variant covers included in each issue, and the aim is to have one new Star Trek issue, of any mini-series, arrive weekly:

"New Frontier" five-issue mini-series commences (below left). Continuing from the last NF hardcover novel from Pocket Books. Peter David (writer) and Stephen Thompson (artist).

New Frontier #1 (IDW)Enterprise Experiment #1 (IDW)

TOS "Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment" five-issue mini-series commences. A sequel to "The Enterprise Incident" episode and continuing IDW's untold fourth season in comics. DC Fontana & Derek Chester (writers) and Gordon Purcell (artist). Issue #1 features Arex (TAS) on the cover (above right), and he supposedly has lots to do inside!

TOS: "Assignment Earth" five-issue mini-series commences. A set of sequels to the TV episode which guest featured Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, each issue is set approximately one year apart. By John Byrne (writer/artist).

TOS: "Mirror Images" four-issue mini-series commences. A prequel to "Mirror, Mirror" episode, ie. the rise to power of Mirror Kirk, commencing with the overthrow of Mirror Pike. Chris Ryall and Scott & David Tipton (writers) and David Messina (artist).

Later in 2008:

TNG: "Mirror Images" mini-series, by Andrew Steven Harris & George Strayton (writers).

Possible "Alien Spotlight: Klingons" project by Keith RA DeCandido?

Possible comic adaptation (and spin-offs?) of JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" movie, due in December?

I'm very excited about the announcements for the so-called "Second Stage" of Star Trek comics that were recently announced. As a result of comments by the editor, Andrew Steven Harris, over at TrekWeb, I created an online reader poll on TrekBBS.

Andrew Steven Harris had said, "... one of the first things I did when introducing myself to the readers was ask our fans on the IDW message boards what they wanted to see in their Trek titles. A couple of things kept surfacing, over and over again: stories about Captain Pike, recruiting certain creators like Keith RA DeCandido or Peter David, and in particular a comic book series for 'New Frontier'...

"We are really listening to fan requests. Another common request is that we coordinate some stories or projects with Pocket Books, and though I was initially skeptical at the logistical prospects of it all, I've been in touch with Marco Palmieri over there and am greatly encouraged that it could be a positive thing for both the companies and for the fans. We've already got some ideas kicking around - very tentative, nothing to announce yet, but very encouraging. So we're keeping an open mind with what the fans want, even for things that seem unlikely at first."

And so... keeping in mind that IDW doesn't have all of the Trek comic rights at the moment, I devised some multiple choice selections. The original series, animated series and "The Next Generation" (TOS/TAS/TNG) spin-offs should be fair game as potential comic fodder, but perhaps not things like Section 31, "Voyager" (VOY), "Deep Space Nine" (DS9) or "Enterprise" (ENT). Yet.

As of a few minutes ago, the poll said:

What should be the Third Stage IDW Trek comic?
Users may choose many (96 total votes)

Alien Empire (ie. mention your choice of alien race below): 13%

Set between ST:TMP and ST II: 17%

Excelsior: 17%

Corps of Engineers: 15%

Titan: 29%

Write-in choice (below): 10%.

Also, I wanted to know which past Star Trek comic writers did the fans at TrekBBS want to see a comic mini-series from, keeping in mind that comics is a very different medium to work in (ie. some novelists might not necessarily make great comic writers).

Which past Trek comic Writer would you want to see Trek comics from?
Users may choose 2 (77 total votes)

More KRAD (Keith RA DeCandido): 25%

More PAD (Peter A David): 9%

Howard Weinstein: 4%

Michael Jan Friedman: 5%

Mangels & Martin: 23%

David Mack: 18%

Abnett & Edgington: 9%

Write-in choice (below): 6%.

My personal write-in comments for the poll:

Being biased, of course, I'd love to see more Andorian Empire stuff, especially after the great "The Old Ways" issue of "Alien Spotlight: Andorians".

I'd also like to see:

* more post-TMP stuff, moving the story on from the excellent "Ex Machina"

* Arex and M'Ress getting timeslipped into "New Frontier"

* a resolution to Abnett & Edgington's Pike story (commenced at Marvel/Paramount)

* new ST comics from David Mack (continuing "Titan" or "Destiny" in comic form)

* new ST comics from the team of Mangels & Martin.

Last night, the editor himself added a comment to the poll thread.

He said, "... I read these boards every single day. I don't chime in much because I'm more interested in reading what other people have to say than forcing everyone to read what I have to say...

"I can tell you that Titan and DS9 are the two far-and-away front-runners, and I've tried to put up a pretty good track record of being responsive to fan requests.

"... with the [JJ Abrams] movie coming up, the schedule is already pretty tight, even a year away. So, it may take a little while, but it won't be for lack of trying."

Sounds promising, yes?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Upcoming Star Trek fiction from Pocket Books

My pal, Jon posted this Star Trek publishing news for 2008/2009 on Psi Phi bbs:

"Excelsior: Forged in Fire" by Andy Mangels & Michael A Martin (mm) - the prequel to DS9's "Blood Oath" and the Kang/Sulu scene in VOY's "Flashback"

"Klingon Empire: A Burning House" by Keith R A DeCandido, expanding the "IKS Gorkon" series (mm)

"Vulcan's Forge, Book 3: Epiphany" by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz (mr)

"Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers" by James Swallow (mm)

"Terok Nor: Night of the Wolves" by SD Perry and Britta Dennison (mm)

"Deep Space Nine: These Haunted Seas" by David R George III and Heather Jarman (to) - reprinting the first two "Mission: Gamma" novels

"Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles" by SD Perry and Britta Dennison (mm)

"Myriad Universes, Volume 1: Infinity's Prism" with "What if...?" novel-length stories by Christopher L. Bennett, William Leisner, and James Swallow (tp)

"Deep Space Nine: Fearful Symmetry" by Olivia Woods, a "flip book" continuing the DS9 Relaunch (mm)

"Myriad Universes, Volume 2: Echoes and Refractions" with "What if...?" novel-length stories by Keith RA DeCandido, Chris Roberson and Geoff Trowbridge (tp)

"The Next Generation: Greater Than the Sum" by Christopher L Bennett, following up Peter David's "Before Dishonor" (mm)

"Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru" by Andy Mangels & Michael A Martin (mm)

"Corps of Engineers: Wounds" by Ilsa J Bick, Keith RA DeCandido, John J Ordover, Terri Osborne, and Cory Rushton, collecting eBooks into hardcopy (to)

"Destiny, Book 1: Gods of Night" by David Mack (mm) - a crossover for TNG, Titan and other series

"Destiny, Book 2: Mere Mortals" by David Mack (mm)

"Destiny, Book 3: Lost Souls" by David Mack (mm)

Updates, as of 21 Feb 08:

January 2009
TOS: "Errand of Fury, Book Three" (TBA) by Kevin Ryan (mm)

"Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows" by various (tp)

May 2009
"Star Trek" movie novelization (Details TBA).

For the acronymically challenged:
hc = hardcover
tp = trade paperback
to = trade paperback omnibus (collecting titles previously released)
mm = mass media paperback
mr = mass media paperback reprint (of a previous hc or tp release)

There will also be eBooks, but I haven't listed them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rockin' readin'

Western Sydney had a powerful thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, with lots of wind and hail - and about 10,000 homes were without power for well over twelve hours.

I spent the first hour trying to keep plastic drop sheets stretched over the two spare lounge suites still sitting on the front patio after the delivery of my new suite a few weeks ago.

The warm water hitting the pool in the back yard, on an already humid day, started green algae blooms almost immediately, and the deep, bilious colour spread swiftly across the depths as the wild wind filled the pool with bark, leaves and luckless spiders and frogs.

As the evening grew darker, I lit some candles, and began cursing the fact that I couldn't cook, boil water for coffee, or even read. I tried to read by candle-light, but it just wasn't strong enough to light the page. Sigh. In the failing daylight, I did briefly take my book out onto the front patio and, of course, sat right underneath a drip. Ick. (So much for keeping the book in mint condition.)

As night rolled on, a brainwave struck! I braved the rain to retrieve four solar-powered, imitation rock, garden lights from poolside, and set them up on the lounge room floor so I could keep reading. All to the tune of the electric burglar alarm, setting off its annoying whining signal every five minutes, to warn that its power supply had been unexpectedly cut off. And the screaming - oh the screaming! - of the local frogs, celebrating the day's unexpected precipitation.

Bedrock readin'

Fred Flintstone would be so proud of me!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

To procrastinate, or not to procrastinate? That is the question!

If we blog so we can procrastinate about housework, career and taxes, what is it called when we procrastinate about blogging?

Actually, I haven't really been procrastinating about my blog, although I've only managed weekly posts so far in 2008. I've been very busy behind the scenes.

You see, the Sydney Webloggers Meetups seem to have gone defunct, since last July - assistant organiser Sara has been unwell and she even invited me to help organise a Meetup for her last August/October - but that was when I was galavanting off to Brisbane Trek conventions and a visit to Perth. Since then, the old site has been unresponsive and, with no one moderating its message board, there was no way to tell everyone that we should have another meeting.

So, I withdrew my leadership of the dismally-underpopulated "Lost" Meetup Group, struggling to find any members for the past year, and now I find myself running three Meetups groups: the successful Star Trek one; a fledgling, but growing, Art Modelling one (for artists and models of western Sydney to get together and collaborate on interesting art projects - we hope); and the all-new Bloggers of Sydney.

It's a big month! The Star Trek crew are next meeting up, like we did a year ago, in Darling Harbour for Australia Day; there's hopefully a life drawing session for the Art Modellers the next day; and - by then - the Bloggers will have already met on the preceding Thursday night for their inaugural gathering. As a result of forming the new Bloggers group, I was contacted yesterday by Aussie Bloggers, a new website officially launching on January 21st. It looks very interesting and should be a cohesive way of linking up with other Aussies with blogging in common.

And next week, the new JJ Abrams' movie, "Cloverfield" premieres. Hopefully Australia is getting the teaser trailer for JJ Abrams' currently-lensing "Star Trek" movie, similar to the plan for the USA cinemas! I can't wait, and "Cloverfield" sounds like fun, too. A monster movie - something terrifying ransacking Manhattan - and filmed in documentary, shaky cam-style, rather like the effects for "The Blair Witch Project". And by the man behind "Lost", "Mission: Impossible 3" and the new "Star Trek" movie!

Meanwhile, I am also working on a new book idea. And procrastinating about it.

Sunday's magic number: 91.5 - Well, I'm not really sure. The scales are being wacky today - maybe it's the hot, humid weather. It was my housemate's landmark birthday yesterday, so there was: a scrummy, but sensible, breakfast at the wonderful Mash cafe in Glenbrook in the lower Blue Mountains; a scrummy, but sensible, lunch in the Penrith Domayne centre; and a huge family barbeque last night. I did weigh myself yesterday afternoon, to see what damage the BBQ, alcoholic punch and birthday cake might cause, and the scales said 89.9, so I was thrilled! This morning, the numbers claimed I was 92.5 - several times - but eventually settled on 91.5. I knew I hadn't eaten that much! But maybe these scales are... unreliable. Yeah, blame the scales!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Back - and down it all comes

Well, it's Epiphany - the 12th day of Christmas - the day when we are supposed to strip the house of Christmas cheer, beating the chain stores as they prepare to put out chocolate Easter eggs, and commiserate over all the broken New Year's Resolutions. More on those later?

Before I disassemble the tree, here are my two ornaments - dated, as per usual - for Christmas 2007:


Christmas ornaments for 2007: a snowman in a light bulb - literally, a "snow globe" - came from Penrith's Target store in the January sales of 2007, and kept hidden away till Christmas, and a Hallmark "Shrek 3" figurine. He swings from a string of Christmas lights, with his pal Donkey under his arm. This ornament came from a Perth Target store during my vacation last October.

A bonus this year were 25 little glow-in-the-dark cherubs. I originally saw this in a Penny Miller catalogue, but they were about $19.95 for 50 cherubs, and no indication of just how tiny they were. When I was in Perth last year, I saw packets of them in a $2 shop ... for just $2 for 25. A bargain! Except that: when do you ever have all the lights out in a room with a Christmas tree? The cherubs can't glow in the daytime, of course, so I got to see them glow for about 30 seconds each night when I turned off the lights and headed to bed. Way to glow, cherubs!


I have lots of news from my recent holiday to Brisbane but, as each day creeps/flies by, the anecdotes seem to become a little less compelling, or less essential to tell when there are so many new things to talk about. Suffice to say that I must mention that I owe Virgin Blue a big thank you for letting my new (extra) bag onto my flight when I was running late. After seeing all those poor, angry, frustrated easyJet customers and workers on the UK TV show, "Airline", I was expecting a similar embarrassing scene, but all was calm and cool!

Sunday's magic number: 91.9 - Drat. Creeping up, even though I thought I was being fairly ruthless. Ah well, this week last year was like the beginning of the end, so tougher rules will have to apply from now on. There's still so much Christmas food around the house, though, and people gave chocolate, too. Sigh.