Sunday, January 31, 2010

A bowl, a door and a van

Early evening "barefoot bowling" on the green at "The Bowlo", Penrith Bowling Club, Penrith. 29 January, 2010.

Despite the signage, this door leads to the restrooms at Newtown Theatre,
venue of the "Short + Sweet Wildcard" ten-minute play entries.
30 January, 2010.

My Dad, the grey nomad, back in Sydney after two decades and watching television. 31 January 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Signage in Sydney


Today's pic: a wacky road sign. Those same people really get around town!

Aftermath of Murder: the next "Number 96" DVD set!

Number 96: Aftermath of Murder

The news has broken! The aftermath of the "Number 96" Pantyhose Strangler storyline is about to hit stores in time for the TV soap opera's 38th anniversary!

Andrew Mercado presents more details - and a sneak preview - on his website, MercadoTV, or click here for a brief episode guide to the contents of this wonderful new collection of classic 70s episodes.

Miss Playtrek 2009 goes Down Under

Miss Playtrek goes Down Under

Introducing Barbie Uhura, winner of "Miss Playtrek 2009", making her world tour of Earth. Here she is in Sydney, Australia, at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Minutes later she was sealed into a box, Destination: Georgia, USA.

Playtrek logo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A new stage begins

First day back at school.

Not too long to wait now. A new school library will be built on the site of the old one!

Meanwhile, in Sydney's CBD, some of my old Star Trek pals' favourite haunts have been slated for demolition:

The Pitt Centre, Sydney

the Greater Union Pitt Centre cinemas, on Pitt Street, where we attended the premiere of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" - we came to call it "the pits centre" because we were disappointed that the oft-promised Greater Union Centre on George Street was still a deep hole in the ground, on the site of the beautiful old Paramount and Rapallo Theatres.

Greater Union Pitt Centre, Sydney

Next to the Pitt Centre was the former Mars Steakhouse, the upstairs left of this arrangement of shops, most recently an expansion of the Chinese restaurant on the other side of that level.

Mars Steak House site, Sydney

Further in, on the ground level, was the now long-lamented Fritzel's Schnitzels. Both restaurants hosted many a birthday function for Sydney Star Trek fans after a marathon of episodes at ANZAC House in the 80s.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock premiere
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock premiere

Where I write

Today was the first day of Term 1, and already it feels like the year is chugging along under it's own steam!


Novelist Tara Moss has been running a series of blog posts called, "I've Shown You Mine, Now Show Me Yours", in which she invited her writer friends, colleagues and blog followers to send in photos of their personal/professional writing spaces. Judith Ridge (formerly of NSW DET's "School Magazine" editorial team) was featured last week, actor/writer Rhys Muldoon (who recently co-wrote a children's book Prime Minister Kevin Rudd) the week before that - and today.... my writing desk is featured.

It's a bit of a buzz to be in the company of Tara's esteemed and talented colleagues. Now I really have to get that first book written/published. I do feel the magic tingling, but I sometimes need a bomb under me! (That's a gag for the "Number 96" fans out there.) Thanks so much for your support, Tara! This has been a great and inspiring thread!

My teacher-librarian colleagues, and English teachers looking for interesting snippets about Australian writers to inspire their budding young writers, may well find some useful material on Tara's blog. There are eleven segments in this series so far, with three or four writers' desks featured each time.

See today's entries at:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day celebrations


I love this juxtaposition of a metal tree and a real palm tree at Darling Harbour. Waiting for Australia Day celebrations to begin. I celebrated Australia Day by eating half of the Australian coat of arms. Yummy kangaroo on potato mash and asparagus. And it was delish.

Colourful sails on Australia DaywhiteFireworks at Darling Harbour
At Baia San Marco restaurant, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour: the traditional Australia Day fireworks begin.

Australia Day at Central Station
Central Station was also decked out for Australia Day celebrations.

Flashback to 1982!

Medtrek convention article
Medtrek convention article, part 2
(Click on images to see larger versions.)

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald's "Good Weekend" section, 20th February, 1982, reviewing the events of Medtrek, a science fiction media convention, held at Medlow Bath the previous weekend. Article by Susan Hely, accompanied by a large line drawing, a collage of artwork based on several b/w photos taken on the day. Features Ian McLean as Captain Therin, right foreground.

Medtrek group 1Medtrek group 2Medtrek group 3
Colour pics by con attendee, Paul Kennedy.

PS. I've just remembered how funny the Herald's official photographer was during the shoot. He was trying to pose the Starfleet crew for a group shot and asked us what we could "do". Someone suggested "beaming up". We got into the traditional formation and he said, "Okay, start beaming up - now."

Wouldn't he have been surprised if we'd actually vanished in a hail of golden glitter?

Monday, January 25, 2010

To boldly glow...


A rarity from the collectibles vault:

The Penetrator. A glow-in-the-dark novelty condom featuring the USS Enterprise of "Star Trek".

"... to boldly glow where no one's gone before."

Scrapbook customs

Ralph article

Ian's customized "Star Trek" action figures were highlighted in an unlikely medium: the August 1999 issue of Australian men's pictorial "girlie" magazine, Ralph.

Featured customs include Captain Therin of Andor, plus Dr Selar (TNG), Arex (TAS), M'Ress (TAS) and Trader Worf from "Trials and Tribble-ations" (DS9). Predictably, the article - although quite thorough and favourable - was entitled, "Captain Kook"!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What ARE you doing?


Jack has just emerged from the bedroom to find out when I was going to leave the computer and come and join him. The sheepskin platypus is the new "Tiger", and has been brought back out from the room in protest of my continued absence.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bob, bob, bobbin' along

Funko "Star Trek" Bobble-heads: Kirk, Gorn, Spock, Khan, McCoy,
customized Therin of Andor, Kruge, Scott, Andorian.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Better late than never


Almost midnight and I've just finished rearranging the coffee table in the lounge room. Glad to see the end of the too-Christmassy gold and red table runner, which actually made it through a whole year. Eeek.

180 degree angel

180 degree angel

Ah, I forgot about this photo, taken while window shopping in a Brisbane suburb over Christmas!

It seems to be a Christmas stocking hanger, but the shopkeepers have hung it on a string with other ornaments and decorations - yes, at a 180 degree angel.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Returning to "Superman Returns"


Superman Returns fountain
Superman rescues Kitty Kawolski in front of the fountain in Metropolis, "Superman Returns".

Action Comics #1
A homage to Superman's debut in "Action Comics" #1,
April 1938 (cover-dated June).

I get a little nostalgic when I wander through Metropolis - I mean, Martin Place, Sydney - and often think back to the night I stumbled onto a live filming set for "Superman Returns" in 2005. (It's secret working title was "Red Sun", but as Sydney's telephone booths were temporarily rebranded as being from Metropolis, and there were yellow New York-style taxis and police cars dotting the city, it was all a bit of a giveaway.) Most of the movie was filmed in soundstages at Fox Studios Australia, Sydney, but Tamworth doubled for Smallville and several key CBD locations doubled for Metroplis locales, including Wynyard Railway Station (for the hospital).

First, I happened to notice that Martin Place seemed rather crowded for a Wednesday evening. There were lots of people dressed up rather elegantly, waiting behind a roped off area to enter the new restaurant that had been set up on the podium in Martin Place.

"Hey, hang on a minute? Since when was there a restaurant in the middle of Martin Place?"

A few metres in front of the restaurant, a car was poised, rather precariously, as if it was about to launch itself into the restaurant. Around the corner, on the back of a flatop truck, was a smashed-in version of the same make of car.

Superman Returns site
Martin Place steps, today.

Superman Returns steps
Kitty's car runs amok, heading for diners in an outdoor restaurant in Metropolis
(actually Martin Place, in the Sydney CBD, Australia), "Superman Returns".

Superman Returns site 2
Martin Place podium, today - and essentially as it was
before being changed into a temporary restaurant in 2005.

Superman Returns restaurant
View from Kitty's amok car, heading for startled diners, "Superman Returns".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lazy days photo catch-up

This has been a bumper year for gardenias, even if they don't last too long
in the intense heat.
17 January 2010.

It's re-alphabetising day for my DVD collection. 18 January 2010.

Ceramic "Looney Tunes" Marvin the Martian collectibles - the little one is a pepper and salt shaker set,
the large one a mug.
19 January 2010.

I'm still not sure if this is an actual sheep fleece, fallen from a truck near my house,
or simply the remnants of an insulation batt.
20 January 2010.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What dinosaur is that?


Okay, is it just me, or can others see that this old jacaranda tree suddenly turned into an apatosaurus as I snapped its photo today?

Tree 3TreeTree 2

This would have been a great tree in which to build a cubbyhouse.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010



Ratatouille the Rat, mascot of the revamped, rejigged Sydney Bloggers' Meet-up Group, who gathered for drinks at the ArtHouse Hotel, Sydney CBD, tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

At my dethk


Author Tara Moss recently put out a challenge for her writing colleagues and acquaintances to send her jpeg images of their writing spaces, for a series of "I've shown you mine, now you show me yours" blog posts at The Book Post.

My writing desk is waaaaay more famous than I am (yet).

I was fortunate enough to be presented with a unique piece of Australian television history to use as my writing space: the specially-commissioned partnership desk made for Don Cash and Bill Harmon, co-producers of the cult Australian TV soap opera of the 1970s, "Number 96".

The desk is a custom-made Ron Barassi (of North Sydney) design, in rosewood with pine trim, and comes complete with two black leather swivel typing chairs (more suited to big, old typewriters than modern laptop computers - I have to use a more ergonomic chair when writing). The desk divider is a set of built-in drawers with filing cabinet - and is complemented by two rectangular, wooden waste bins. Both the Bill Harmon side of the desk and one of the bins show evidence of many a stubbed-out cigarette, another relic of Australian 70s showbiz. I'm told that the infamous Abigail often perched herself on the corner of the desk to chat to Bill Harmon, which was a tricky manoeuvre because the desktop has no legs and is thus intricately balanced across the divider cabinet.

Writer Nancy Cash, widow of Don Cash, used this desk to write her first novel, "Patterns of the Heart", in the 90s. Nancy gave the desk to me in 2006, when she returned to live in the USA, after living in Australia for about 40 years.

I have yet to prove financially that the desk still has some magic in it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it just might. I certainly have plenty of book outlines in various stages of completion - and two keyboards on the go. So far, though, I also have the dubious honour of being my literary agent's longest-serving client who's never earned her any money.

Hopefully, 2010 is my year.

Bill Harmon at his desk

Bill Harmon, seated at the partnership desk made for Cash Harmon Television for
the production of the cult Australian TV soap opera, "Number 96" (1972-1977).

This photo appeared in Peter Luck's book, "50 Years of Australian TV: An Insider's View, 1956-2006" (New Holland, 2006).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Design features

Pattern close-up of my doona cover. 11 January, 2010.

Large wall sculpture of Silver Spur restaurant logo. 12 January, 2010.