Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en!

Mr Potato Head strikes it lucky!

What a pity! No trick-or-treaters in my street, so I ate their candy. Well... someone had to do it!

Halloween hat

Happy Hallowe'en, everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Photo roundup!


On the way to the Capitol Theatre, in Sydney's CBD, to see "Wicked". This jacaranda tree, in full bloom, created the most bizarre optical illusion against the azure blue sky, but the flowers have photographed much darker than I'd hoped. Still pretty, though. 24 October 2009.

Kitchen light. 25 October 2009.

My Wollemi Pine is shooting new growth! 26 October 2009.


"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed!" Toy Batmobile painting by Nick Stathopoulos at the opening of his exhibition "Toy Porn", at NG Art Gallery, Chippendale. The exhibition was opened by David Stratton, of TV's "The Movie Show". 27 October 2009.

Realisation! It's almost midnight again. 28 October 2009.


I swear I had nothing to with this. A class of Year 1 kids were making a life-size chalk drawing of a dinosaur on the playground today - and were asked to show what he'd eaten. Amongst the pterodactyls and smaller dinosaurs was this... Andorian. 29 October 2009.


I have to restock this spinning rack of animal books every day. 30 October 2009.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three in one, 'cos I almost forgot!

Eerie battery-operated "mushroom" lamps from Officeworks. 21 October 2009.

View from the train, heading out of Penrith, bound for the CBD. 22 October 2009.

"When Nero met Ilia's Daddy"

Coincidentally, my exclusive Hallmark Ilia Probe Christmas ornament turned up on the same day as the comic in which Nero the Romulan met V'ger, of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". 23 October 2009.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Signing off... my shoestring library makeover?

Library sign - horizontal

And so, with a Kevin Rudd BER new school library to be built on the site of my school's existing, antiquated, portable library, further plans for renovating the current building went on permanent hiatus. I am very glad I only lightly nailed my internal signage to the walls, rather than gluing them, because almost everything I created in the last twelve months will be able to find a home in the new building. At the time of the announcement, I had already had a visit from Phyl Williamson, of Syba Signs, to give me quotations on perspex outdoor signage, an internal sign, a selection of poster hangers and mobiles, and vinyl lettering for the windows, etc. These ideas (and funding) have now had to await the new building, of course.

I've been asked to do a presentation on my shoestring makeovers for an upcoming ASLA professional development day, at my school (Saturday 31st October) and, during the last school holidays, I suddenly found myself really regretting not being able to finish off my plan to get a large outdoor sign made. Something that identifies the building as a "Library"!

My temporary external sign has turned out to be so successful, I wanted to share it.

Kevin Hennah's course on library renovations reminded us about how commercial stores have huge signs featuring their identity, and yet so many public buildings - and especially libraries - seem to keep their identity a secret to passersby. The day I started snapping photographs of the library, pre-renovation (this time last year), the very first shot was of our extremely dull, uninformative, external library wall - yes, that all-important wall, seen by every visitor through our main gate. The wall that gives people their first impression of our school:

"No smoking, no smoking"!, it says.

Original external wall

How would anyone even realise this was the school library?

So, after several fruitless, forlorn visits to both Bunnings' Hardware, and Spotlight, I went off to a local computerised signage supplier for a quote on a speedy-but-weatherproof sign that might impress people coming to my seminar session. The results were a little disappointing: only slightly less than a perspex sign and - no matter what - I'd be spending between $206 and $250 and still only ending up with one external sign.

I did take one source of inspiration from my Bunnings trip: they had some long, pre-primed, stretched canvases for artists @ $35.00. Maybe I could pull off a miracle with a similar stretched canvas, if I could locate one the right size at a local bargain store? Bingo! "Cheaper Than Chips" at Penrith only had one, but it was a 31 x 102 cm "Paintwell" brand stretched canvas @ $15.95, plus $2.00 for a tube of "Ultra Blue" acrylic paint.

Last night, I enlarged some lettering (upper and lower case, for legibility) from Word on the photocopier, transferred the design to the canvas, taped up the straight lines with packaging tape, and started painting - and suddenly there was a completed sign.

This morning, my clerical assistant helped me cover the canvas with book-covering polythene, which we affixed with a staple gun. I went outside and peeled off the better-quality version of our two "No Smoking" signs, and transferred it to the other end of the wall with fresh double-sided tape. I then used more of the tape to attach my $18 masterpiece to the wall! I've been admiring it every chance I could get today. Please allow me to share:

Today's "photo of the day".

The complete wall, with the "No Smoking" sign at the other end:

Signage plus "No smoking"

Outside sign in place

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend photo roundup

A kitten stretches and yawns. 17 October 2009.

A new virtual home for my old website. 18 October 2009.

Peace lily blooms in the library, having stayed alive during two weeks of school holidays
- note the nearby book cover: Adventure and survival.
19 October 2009.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Aftermath of Murder: More "Number 96"!

Julian Rockett

Andrew Mercado has announced the latest "Number 96" boxed set of DVDs, to be released in 2010 by Umbrella Entertainment.

"Aftermath of Murder" picks up the storyline right where the last DVD set left off: Pantyhose Strangler, Tracey Wilson, has just thrown herself out of the front window of Flat 6, and lies dead across the pavement outside the Boulevard Cafe and the Deli.

The new set will continue some truly madcap storylines across 32 sequential colour episodes, including the return of wacky ex-showgirl, Trixie O'Toole (Jan Adele), and Dorrie Evans (Pat McDonald) learning to drive! (Andrew has put some brief trailers on Youtube!) Also turning up at Australia's most memorable address will be Vera's latest boarder, young musician, Adam Shaw (Julian Rockett, pictured above!). Watch Maggie Cameron (Bettina Welch) try to tempt him away from Vera (Elaine Lee). Edie "Mummy" MacDonald (Wendy Blacklock) tries to plan a wedding for a daughter who's already eloped - to a man with a dark secret. And then, there's Lucy's latest health upset, and another source of horror for Alf: Lucy is expecting a change-of-life baby!

While "Number 96" was famous for its risky storylines and glimpses of nudity (Julian Rockett's claim to fame was flashing the first naked male bottom in colour on Aussie TV - in a failed Grundy's pilot called "Two-Way Mirror"!), this period of the show's evolution made frequent use of vaudeville-style comedy, but there was still lots of drama and melodrama.

Number 96 on DVD

Last March, I listed the episodes that would be featured in "Aftermath of Murder", based on Andrew's prediction that Umbrella would proceed with a new boxed set.

However, if you want to see more releases after "Aftermath of Murder", we need your support! Umbrella will only release more batches, to take us through the delicatessen bomb blast - and beyond - if this boxed set sells well enough! Buy one for you, and one for a friend!

About the pic:
(top of post) He played Adam Shaw in "Number 96" in 1975, but here is Julian Rockett posing as Don Finlayson, for the cover photo of the early "Number 96" paperback novel, "Marriage of Convenience". Original photo taken by Warren Penny for Arkon Books, 1974.

This Youtube clip has footage of Julian, as Scott, in "Two-Way Mirror":

If the theme music is familiar, it was rejigged a little for "The Sullivans".

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mere seconds to midnight! Again.

Mere seconds to midnight!


My Andorian teddy - from the now-defunct "Star Trek: The Experience" attraction (that was in Las Vegas). I've been transferring my old Geocities' "The Andor Files" website, and many, many images of Andorians, across to a blog format and my Flickr account. An exhausting job, quietly observed by this furry little blue guy sitting behind the laptop.

See my efforts at:

The Andor Files. Still so much to do before Geocities closes, forever, in a few more weeks. I think I have everything archived to my hard drive now, but uploading fresh versions that people can see, and finding all the places on the "Net that link to my old site URL, can be very time consuming... and tricky!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On the tiles

Passing through the Queen Victoria Building, in Sydney's CBD.

This is one of those lucky shots. I was sitting in QVB, contemplating interesting angles, decided on the old, restored elevator or even a quirky reflection in the underside of the new escalators, but I felt like a stalker whenever pedestrians wandered into my frame. I left the camera app of my iPhone activated as I wandered outside, dejected, and suddenly noticed the amazing connection between the floor tiles and the chequerboard pattern on my Dunlops! Aim and shoot!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pretty pigface II


These pigface flowers close every night. The newest ones are small and a brilliant red, fading to the vibrant dark pink but seemingly getting larger each day.


These trailing pigface strands grew from a small clump taken from my school's garden, but have grown much bigger than the parent plant! There weren't many flowers this year, until I had the larger, separate pigface plant above trimmed back, allowing more light to hit the bush rock wall over which which the smaller blooms were trailing. The tiny blooms popped open the very next day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time to stir?


Assorted cutlery from Joyce's house at Parramatta! The child's knife, fork and spoon set has a koala motif. The central souvenir spoon is marked "DJ's 125th year: 1838-1963" for the David Jones department store chain's anniversary.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Avenue Youtube

The Australian cast of the stage musical, "Avenue Q" - highlights from Youtube!

The Sydney run finishes up next week - tickets are reduced to $50 each. I had my second visit to "Avenue Q" last night!

The Australian cast of "Avenue Q" perform "It Sucks to be Me" at the 2009 Helpmann Awards.

Mitchell Butel (Rod), Luke Joslin (Nicky) and Natalie Alexopoulos, from the Australian cast
of "Avenue Q", perform "If You Were Gay" on "Mornings with Kerri-Anne [Kennerley]".

(Note: Kerri-Anne introducing Luke as Mitchell!)

Christina O'Neill (Christmas Eve) and Michala Banas (Kate Monster) perform
"The More You Ruv Someone" on "The Morning Show" with Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies.

Part 1: Mitchell Butel (Princeton) and Natalie Alexopoulos (Mrs Thistletwat and
understudy Kate Monster) are interviewed on "9am with David and Kim".

Part 2: "Mix Tape".

He's looking over a four-leafed clover


A feral bunny in Penrith? This rabbit is spotted in my street every now and then. He doesn't seem to stray too far, and he was certainly having fun frolicking in the neighbours' cloverfield of a front yard this week!

Friday, October 09, 2009

A sense of history

Headstones at Parramatta's Walter Lawry Methodist Memorial Park,
the former Wesleyan Burial Ground (1843-1961).

I spent a good chunk of today in Parramatta, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and cutlery drawer of a 90 year old friend, wondering if I have just as much junk in mine. (And realising that I do!) So there was an eerie, ironic feeling walking past this former cemetery on a morning tea break.

Amazing spoons, though!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dangerous liaisons


Jobs that require danger money: repairing the putty along the window frames in the shark tank at Sydney Aquarium. With a sharp knife and no gloves! Love the abandoned popcorn container on the sill!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Slow and steady...

Ceramic garden snail.

The regular snails think this is their leader and flock to greet him on a rainy night.

Delivering the mail

Sadness is a Jack Russell terrier with a bindi in his paw.

However, we *were* the first dog-and-human pair to do the circumference of the extended block tonight - and the rain has cleansed everything. Jack is officially the first weemail on every tree, fence and pole in Penrith. If my universal translator is accurate, the weemail reads, in large block letters:




You know, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (TMP) is still my favourite Star Trek movie of all time - my favourite movie of all time - but JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" (2009) is a very close second. I also thoroughly enjoyed ST II, III, IV, and much of VI.

When I joined ST fandom in early 1980, I had diehard TOS people telling me that TMP left them feeling "empty" and "unsatisfied". I spent many months trying to defend a film that all of my new friends thought was a boring piece of crap. I heard the exact same criticism from others re ST II (in fact, there's a whole thread on this over in the ST Movies section). Ditto ST III. Other fans have told me that they felt ST IV was a dumbing down of the franchise for the masses and that it left them feeling "patronised", "empty" and "unsatisfied".

Why is TMP better? Well, it has a certain majesty to the way it was filmed. It was treating TV material to the benefits of a huge motion picture budget, and a three-to-six month principal photography shoot - when the cast were used to filming a one-hour episode in less than ten days. It was reuniting a cast who hadn't worked together in a decade. And the production design and direction put me, a lowly member of the audience, who knew very little about the characters and their previous adventures, onto that ship!

It's hard to describe, and it was made worse in 1980 when I couldn't find many TOS fans who actually liked TMP. For me, who was also lucky enough to have already read the novelization! - it became a film that fully submersed me in the action.

JJ went quite close. While I never felt I was on that ship, I really did relate to the characters, and felt their losses - of lives they would never get to experience due to the changed timeline. Both films certainly rely upon a lot of nostalgia value, both plundering it to make us relate to the material, and rejoicing in it without a hint of self-consciousness, but TMP pips JJ at the post for the way it affected me as an audience member. Mind you, I was a naive 21 yo watching TMP, and a more seasoned, very Trek-knowledgeable 50yo watching ST XI.

Star Trek poster 1979whiteST IX posters

You'll never please 100% of fandom with a ST movie, but this one probably went closer to that 100% than any other. Its high rating (currently 95% approval from 273 reviewers!) over on Rotten Tomatoes still staggers me. The backing of Leonard Nimoy was also significant. I also find it ironic that so many people now look back on TMP with a quirky fondness. That film that was scoffed at, as "The Motionless Picture", now has a secret niche in the soft spot of many TOS fans' hearts.

I've actually spoken to quite a few Sydney celebs and society folk who were at the Sydney Opera House world premiere of JJ's ST and they said that the praise for the movie, from the 2000 invited guests (and lucky 200 ST fans who were able to buy tickets to the premiere online), was almost universal. Standing ovations in many sections of the Concert Hall. Those society folk then went forth on Twitter, and their Facebook, MySpace sites and spread positive vibes to the world! Brave JJ and Paramount! Imagine if those 2200 people had hated the movie with a passion. Nobody was paying them to be positive about the film.

JJ promised us a ST movie that would reach beyond existing fandom, and get people talking positively about ST again. He achieved that. I felt it was a successful emotional rollercoaster of a movie; some fans managed to not be affected by it. C'est la vie, I guess! Every time I see the opening scenes I choke up. So do my friends. Nero's attack on Vulcan was unexpected and with amazing consequences. I find it hard not to be emotionally compromised!

If you didn't get anything out of the movie, I can only say you seem to be in a minority. And better luck next time?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Meeting Mel

Lunch with Mel (aka "Emh"), Criniti's Italian restaurant, Darling Harbour.
Witness the remnants of a metre of pizza!

Yes, it was a gathering of TrekBBS members - on a drizzly Sunday - at Criniti's Italian restaurant, Darling Harbour. Aussie Star Trek fans, otherwise known by such online monikers as Dr Rose Mod, Botany Bay, ElimParra, Melbournite EvilRobert, yours truly (Therin of Andor), plus UK immigrant, now Aussie resident, TheRealAdamJ, had gathered to meet Emh, also known as Mel, who travelled on a US Navy ship, via Japan, just to get a taste of Sydney Star Trek fandom. ;)

With a whole day of eating and drinking in front of us, we also entertained Orac Zen on someone's mobile phone (stuck at home with rain-related work chores). Stuffed with pizza, we sauntered/staggered off to Hobbyco, the ABC Shop, coffee in the QVB, and Galaxy Bookshop (Mel's second visit - this time with dire fiscal consequences). Along the way we sent EvilRobert and ElimParra off to the footy grand final - wearing opposing team colours! - and rendezvoused with the TrekBBSer-formerly-known-as CapricaSix.

By afternoon's close, we'd made it to the famous al fresco Opera Bar, at the Sydney Opera House, thinking it would be less crowded in a bar with no big screen television sets! (Not too bad. Good thinking!) From there, it was off to Wolfie's, at The Rocks, for a spectacular view of the Opera House at night while we guzzled more Merlot and chewed on kangaroo steaks and crocodile medallions! Here we were joined by the often-elusive Jean Prouvaire, yet another TrekBBSer who moved to "lurker mode" long, long ago. A great time was had by all! One final drink at the international shipping terminal's bar was cut short by a bouncer, wanting a $5 cover charge from each of us, so that was my cue to depart for the long train journey home, hoping not to fall asleep and awake in chilly Lithgow.

Mel, it was wonderful meeting you in person! It was like Facebook and TrekBBS had turned into reality! Lots of fun anecdotes, great wine, delicious kangaroo and crocodile - and that amazing metre of Italian pizza! (And I'm sure Galaxy Bookshop enjoyed your generous spending!)

View from Wolfies
Night view from Wolfie's!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Forgotten Visitors

I'd quite forgotten to check this out!

After numerous false starts, including the canning of creator Kenneth Johnson's sequel/reunion script (which he then turned into a novel in 2007), ABC in the USA will soon be airing a new version of the science fiction series, "V", later this year!

These Youtubeclips feature Elizabeth Mitchell ("Lost") as Erica Evans, a sultry Morena Baccarin ("Firefly", "Stargate SG-1") as the alien Visitors' leader, Anna, with a human reporter played by Scott Wolf ("Party of Five", "Everwood").

Looks great, although it will have to work hard to maintain all the shock value scenes of the original 1983 telemovie, which kinda snuck up on everything, even the now defunct SF media magazine "Starlog"! I means, we already know about the eating of guinea pigs, the harvesting of humans, the stealing of our water, etc...

The US premiere date is set for November 3rd, 2009.

365 Photo project round-up

It's been a few days, but I'm still snapping away. A few bizarre ones in this lot:

Plastic vegetables never need refrigeration!
30 September 2009.

It's a sign of the Apocalypse! "Barrett's Sherbet Fountains" have switched
to a plastic container! Bought from "Sugar Fix" in Sydney's CBD.
1 October 2009.

Yes, it's a Private Pole - a numbered Penrith Private Pole.
Why? I do not know.
2 October 2009.

Life is a bowl of green glass marbles. You'll always know
which colour you're gonna get...
3 October 2009.