Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This blog entry will self-destruct in ten seconds...


I headed off to the cinema last night, originally hoping for a convenient screening of "Puss in Boots" in 3D, but ended up choosing to see "Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol", the fourth in Tom Cruise's revitalisation/reimagining of the 60s TV show (and 80s remake).

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had quite liked the first one (1996), but I hated that they recast the Peter Graves role, even though there was an interesting, bizarre twist with the Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) character. The second film (2000) seemed more like a series of tedious car chases, but my main reason for seeing it was to recognise Sydney, Australia, doubling for various world locales. It was filming here for months and months; every Thursday night I'd stumble across the support vehicles or notice temporary new hoardings over our iconic buildings. I didn't bother with #3 (2006), although I did buy the DVD, still on my "To View, One Day" pile.

This new "M:I" movie, subtitled "Ghost Protocol", was excellent! Simon Pegg is hilarious, as always; the main team is very likable; the story had some great red herrings; and the action sequences didn't bore me to tears. Well worth it. "Mission accomplished". Very accomplished!

A highlight of this outing, though, was the exciting array of pre-film trailers:

* "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", of course, which I had already seen previewed on Facebook, but was even more enticing on the big screen

* A young Jim Kirk (ie. Chris Pine of JJ's "Star Trek" film) vs the young Jean-Luc Picard clone, Shinzon (Tom Hardy of "Nemesis") as rival spies, vying for the affections of Reese Witherspoon, in "This Means War"

* and a seemingly funny Aussie-set comedy film, "A Few Best Men", which has some very funny sequences with Olivia Newton-John.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Number 96 DVD cover art!

Number 96: The Beginning and the Bomb

Next March, you can celebrate the 40th anniversary of Australia's classic TV soap opera, "Number 96", with a new boxed set of DVDs, presented by Andrew Mercado and released through Umbrella Entertainment. It's already up for pre-order at JB Hi-Fi. (Not a bad way to secure your copy, as not too many sets made their way to shop shelves last time.)

As you can see from the above proposed cover art, the infamous Mad Bomber episodes are a feature, but there'll also be discs of early b/w episodes. Full details of the episodes to be included are HERE. Thanks for the heads-up, JB Hi-Fi.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

'Tis the season to be meerkat!

Christmas meerkats
Christmas meerkats

More meerkats

Who can resist adding to a meerkat family, especially when they are at bargain prices?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Memories of Christmases past

Mum's ornaments

I realised a few nights ago, distracting my numb state of mind by resolving to put up the Christmas tree this year, just how many of the decorations were given to me by my mother.

Now, she knew of my annual purchase of two Christmas ornaments for my tree - which I may spend months looking for, then date them - but some years she'd slip an extra ornament or two into my Christmas gift, so the tree now has numerous undated "extra" ornaments.

Each one teased out nice memories as I set up the tree.

The other bittersweet find, when we were cleaning out my Mum's pantry, were the three boxed ceramic mugs that she bought, some time before going into the nursing home.
Mum mug

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beware aliens bearing gifts!

Beware aliens bearing gifts
Ambassador Shras of Andor meets Kang and Kodos. The other Kang and Kodos.

Or indeed, Smurfs!
Christmas Smurf

Monday, December 19, 2011

John H Lee Memorial Award 2012

John H Lee Award, 2012

Dear Ian

RE: John H Lee Memorial Award 2012

On behalf of SLA NSW [formerly ASLA (NSW)], we are delighted to announce that you have been selected as the recipient of the John H Lee Memorial Award for 2012.

This is a joint Charles Sturt University (School of Information Science)/School Library Association of New South Wales Award presented to an individual or team of educators who is/are able to demonstrate excellence in leadership in innovative and collaborative teaching practice through the integration of learning technologies.

We extend our congratulations to you on this outstanding achievement.

We would like to share in the excitement of this achievement by inviting you and your guest to a Celebration Ceremony to be held on March 10, 2012 at the State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney. The Award Presentation will begin at 9.30am.

You are also welcome to stay on as our guest at the SLA NSW’s first Professional Learning Day of the year.

Once again, congratulations on becoming the John H Lee Memorial Award Recipient for 2012. We look forward to seeing you at the Awards Ceremony.

Yours faithfully,
Ms Nicole Deans
Chair, Awards Committee
SLANSW [School Library Association of New South Wales]

ALF's Christmas wish

ALF's Christmas wish

Dear Santa,

I have been good.

For Christmas I would like a kitty.

Love ALF

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome to the family, Teena!

Kookys and house

My Teena Terror "Kooky Spooky" eBay purchase (lower left of the above image) turned up recently, replacing the custom Teena I'd made earlier this year, but wasn't happy with. Teena came without her original, reversible sign accessory (a heart shape with "Love"/"Fun" written on it), but I'd already made a customized one. I had to coerce a US penpal to do the transaction for me; fewer and fewer eBay sellers will ship overseas these days, and when one pays by PayPal the item has to go to the address recorded by PayPal. Thanks Melissa!

Teena now joins her family. I'm quite pleased with my customized Mama Kaskit, so I don't feel a yearning need to hunt up a real one.

Kooky Spooky - the elusive Teena Terror
The elusive Teena Terror; not my one, but notice the
brittleness of her broken-stick accessory.

These cool Hasbro toys are from the late 60s: I've added to the family of six (five originals, one custom-made replica) with some customs made of glow-in-the-dark Fimo, derived from early Patti Peticolas designs. Also Gilroy the ghost from Avon. Note that my Baby Spook'em has a "death rattle", an optional accessory suggested in Patti Peticolas' design sketches, from a time when her ghosts were planned as Colorforms-style paper/vinyl dolls that little girls could dress up and change hairstyles.

My Photo Peach slideshow, The Kooky Spooky story, tells the history of this 1969 phenomenon.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas 2011 approaches!

I put the Christmas tree up. Decorating it was quite carthartic after the eventful weekend. Even though I collect and date two new ornaments for the tree each year, I realised how many extra ornaments I have, tucked into my Christmas gift by my Mum.

Of course, last year, it was impossible to put up a tree when the lounge room was full of dog cage!

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011

Spock angel
Closeup on my customised Spock angel tree topper

This year's new ornaments are:

Wild Thing and Max
Wild Thing and Max

Mary Poppins' umbrella
Mary Poppins' umbrella

Mini View-Master
Hallmark View-Master ornament from 2008, not a normal size View-Master!

I couldn't resist buying one more this year! This is a teeny, tiny Hallmark limited edition Keepsake ornament from 2008, not a normal size View-Master, but the 3D specialist mail order firm I deal with found a few in their warehouse. They are sure to vanish quickly, though. The three reels feature "A night before Christmas" in 21 stereo pairs.

Andorian koala

And this powder blue Andorian koala turned up in the mail from an old "Star Trek" friend on Friday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Vale Margaret McLean

Lunar eclipse

Eastern Australia hosted a rare lunar eclipse in the wee hours of this morning. As much as you might think this only a spectacular natural phenomenon, it also marked my Mum's departure from Earth.

Watch out Sto'Vo'Kor - and Dad - here comes another proud and confident warrior.

Mum passed away peacefully not long after midnight. How amazing that the heavens gave her a beautiful lunar eclipse as her finale. (My apologies for anyone finding out first via this blog or Facebook. It's still early on a Sunday morning here and I have only just begun to ring people.) And thanks everyone for your responses to my Facebook updates on the Friday night, as I sat with her. The gentle buzzing of my iPhone kept Mum, Jack and me company on Friday night, as your messages of support were coming through.

Jack and ALF
Jack and ALF keep a vigil.

Ian & Mum
R.I.P. Margaret McLean

Friday, December 09, 2011


It's the annual school talent quest. I am judging.

As they tweet on Twitter, #amjudging.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Andorian interlopers, 1983

"Return of the Jedi" Australian premiere

Haha, I recall the Andorians got a few nasty glances from the "Star Wars" fans for intruding on their gala premiere! Yay Therin and Tharrah of Andor!

20th Century Fox video of "Return of The Jedi" fans when the film premiered in 1983 in Sydney. Previously, some of this footage accompanied an amusing review by Di Morrisey and Kerri-Anne Kennerley on TV's "Good Morning Australia".

Therin of Andor at Jedi premiere
Therin of Andor

Therin and Tharrah at Jedi premiere
Therin & Tharrah