Tuesday 26 February 2013

First of the Month Fiction - March

No guesses where my slightly cliched offering comes from this month...

The Gift

As they embraced, he handed her a small box, neatly wrapped with a ribbon. “I love you” he said. “I’m going to miss you so much.”
She smiled and her heart swelled. She put the gift in her handbag as tears came to her eyes.
“I won’t be gone that long. I’ll be back Monday.”
Later, as she sorted through her possessions on the plane, preparing for the long flight ahead, she remembered his little present.

“Shortly after take off the bomb ripped through the fuselage, tragically killing all 300 passengers and crew on board. Scott Lynn reporting for CBN."

For those that want to join in, write a short story in either EXACTLY 100 words (title not counted in word count) or LESS than 30 words - examples here. Post your story in the comments, then link your blog to the linky thing, so we can see more of your excellent creative work at it's best.

Monday 25 February 2013

The Year of Yes - What I learnt in the kitchen

You will remember, or not, that I toddled off to a cooking masterclass with Adam D'Sylva of Coda fame (original panicked post here). Here's what I learnt in the fancy Kidspot/Finish Quantum kitchen:

1. I am not interested in cooking.
2. I do, however, like eating. A LOT.
3. I like Asian food way more than Italian food. He opened with an Italian dish and I was bitterly disappointed, but my heart soared when he went on to cook pepper prawns, which were truly sensational!

4. Real carbonara has no cream in it. What we make here is wrong.

5. Best to put 2 parts black peppercorns and 1 part white peppercorns in grinder (didn't pay enough attention to find out why - just is).
6. Chewing a chilli makes it hotter.
7. Rice has to be aged before you use it. (again, I've no idea why.)
8. This one I have actually put into practice, and it works! If you wash an onion before cutting it, it won't make you cry. Go figure! Something useful.
9. All the top chefs use Healthy Boy Brand of Soy Sauce (allegedly), a Thai soy sauce. I'm a Kikkoman girl myself. I have no idea why. Just always have been.

10. I don't really care for dessert (ate 2 serves of the prawns instead!)- but I am a fan of the Finish Quantum sample they gave us in the take home goodie bag...and sadly, that's symbolic of how I feel about the mess I make in the kitchen. I have little desire to improve my skills (with fancy silver leaf for show), but if I can limit the work involved in the clean up, then I'm happy.

This post should now be captcha free, but if I've not successfully ditched it, let me know and I'll attempt again. (Many thanks to the Musings of the Misguided)

I'm pleased to see I'm halfway through the list as it is, though a few other ideas bubbling on the horizon - for some reason I feel as if I've stalled a bit. Need to get my mojo back...

And a reminder to all, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen - AMEN!

Torshlusspanik List:
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)

Linking up this archive post with the Lounge, as it pretty much sums up all I have to say about cooking & food, other than, I'll have some more, please.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Argo F%*k yourself!

I love the Oscars - every year I enter a tipping competition and rarely does the quality of the film enter into the reasoning behind which films or actors I pick. I like to believe the Academy does play favourites, and sometimes that pans out with the right person or movie winning but usually it doesn't. Of course, I actually have nothing to substantiate this, and it's probably just the deluded ramblings of a bored non-Industry cinema lover who has no idea what she's talking about (and sour grapes), so no defamation suits please.

This year I am so disappointed that Argo won't win Best Picture, purely because of the other films it's up against. It's a really tough year.

If you haven't seen it, go. It's been running in the cinemas since August (this is another made up fact because I can't be bothered fact checking, but I think I saw it then). If you don't like Ben Affleck, still go. You won't mind, I promise. The support casting is great, and the film is a well made exercise in tension and menace with a historical 'doco' vibe. It's not, of course. Facts have been played with to make a better story (but would we really like the ending if Butch shot the Sundance Kid and then killed himself? Not quite the same appeal, Hollywood is Hollywood, and entertainment, not education is the primary purpose - actually making money might be the primary purpose but again, what do I know?)

It will win the consolation prize of screenplay or original score, but will miss the big one due to two more patriotic contenders.

Of course, I usually come last in the tipping. I am hoping in this case I am wrong. If you watch, think of me as the winner of Best Picture is announced. Will I be sitting at home cheering, or yelling 'Argo f%*k yourself!'

Do you care? Do you have favourites? Who will win?

Linking up with the lovely Grace, for #FYBF at With Some Grace

Monday 18 February 2013

The Gift

As I was leaving, my friend gave me a birthday present. I popped it in my bag to save for the day in a few weeks. I even made a joke, asking "It's not anything I'm going to get in trouble for, is it?". We laughed. She drove me to the airport and bade me farewell.

I walked through security and the bag got reversed back into the x-ray machine for closer inspection. I was just about to ask what the problem was when the woman pulled out my bag and gave it to me, while looking closer at the other bag, the possession of the person behind me.

I boarded the plane.

While sorting out my belongings for the flight, I suddenly thought how simply it could all happen - those naive decisions with terrible, life altering consequences.

Yes, I was only travelling interstate and yes, I'd known this friend for some forty years...but sometimes disastrous events must happen after a small inconsequential moment.

I've still to open the present but I've already been given my gift - I spent a good part of the flight entertained by stories in my mind, all starting with this small innocuous gift. For a person with a massive fear of flying, distraction is the biggest gift of all.

Linking up with #RubyTuesdayToo

Thursday 14 February 2013


Last August, I got an email saying Driving Miss Daisy was coming to Brisbane with Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones. Both actors who I'm very fond of - Angela Lansbury was a young beauty in the old black and white movies I watched as a kid, and then came back as a force in my teen years with Murder She Wrote. James Earl Jones - well, who doesn't love that voice? The resonance alone is moving! Star Wars, Lion King - "if you build it, he will come". So I quickly emailed a friend in Brisbane and got us tickets - all within an hour of receiving the promotional email.

I got myself a cheap flight ($85) and a room on points, so the extravagance is the actual theatre ticket, which was over $100. And yet it feels like such a decadent thing to do - especially now that the show is touring nationally. That announcement was made about 6 weeks after I'd committed.

This Saturday I'll be footloose and fancy-free (kid-free) and reading on a plane, pottering around the art gallery then off to the theatre. I am so excited by this little jaunt, you could say disproportionately so. I think it's more to do with the feeling of it being a little over the top, than the actual expense or voyage.

I have done this once before, and I loved it. I went to Melbourne for the day to see the Tim Burton exhibition, have lunch then head to the Titanic Exhibition. A friend came too, and we got $50 return Tiger fares, so the airport parking cost more than the flight. In the lead up we took delight in saying "oh, we're going Melbourne for lunch that day" in answer to any request.

The idea of getting on a plane with no luggage and no children to disturb me is now so alien. I hate flying but I'm even looking forward to the idea of looking in the shops at the airport!! Sitting in a taxi without fiddling with seat belts. Sleeping in! It's like someone will be taking over my life for 24 hours - or rather I'll be taking over some carefree person's life.

I'll be the extravagant body-snatcher, if you will. Sometimes it really isn't the destination, it's the idea of the journey.

Do you have moments of extravagance? Can be of time or of money? Or something else entirely...

Linking up with Some Grace for  #FYBF - see who else dropped by!

Tuesday 12 February 2013

St Valentine's Day - A musical gift with something for everyone

On this day of hearts and flowers, I've put together a little musical offering for those interested. Feel free to skip to what applies to your mood or situation...

My first is for the true romantics, of the undying love style. For those that can't be bothered watching and listening, it's Sondre Lerche, My hands are shaking....

For the more realistic and pragmatic, I've got the humourous Zevon's ode Looking For the Next Best Thing and perhaps the more damaged but still romantic (to me, which may be saying more about me than I realise) Eicher's Two People (forgive the terrible clip, it was recorded in 1984 or something)

Zevon has no clip, alas :( Get past the daggy intro and the lyrics make me smile everytime.

And while not a traditional Valentine's Day song, I challenge anyone not to feel better after this one...(warning on the swears tho)

Happy Valentines Day everyone, no matter what you do! (and now you can't say no one gave you anything!)

Please feel free to post your musical ontributions below...

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Exceedingly Handsome Guy - pondering on superficial beauty

In the Listmania of Home Life Simplified, we listed our tween/teen crushes and our current day ones...and someone put forward Satoshi Tsumabuki, who I had to google. One of his movie parts was titled "Exceedingly Handsome Guy". Can you even fathom this?

Agent "Oh, there's a part for you in Tokyo Drift. It's Exceedingly Handsome Guy"
Actor: "oh, perfect."
a little later...
Actor "Hi, I'm auditioning for Exceedingly Handsome Guy. What do you think?"

I can not comprehend the self-assuredness this would involve. I can't imagine looking in the mirror and being so happy with what I saw (and knowing that everyone else would love it too).

So are these people born this way? Or does having an Exceedingly Handsome exterior create it? Like the 'bubble' that Liz talks of in 30 Rock (or that Seinfeld touched on in an episode). Or does the abundance of confidence have an infectious quality, and like Jedi Knights, if they tell us we think they're good looking, we agree?

I'm not talking vanity, just actually being so good looking and knowing it, like it's a fact as if you were tall. If you were 6'6, you'd know where to stand in the class photo, as a matter of common sense. Do the truly beautiful of this world know it as a fact and the world is in general consensus?

Of course, everybody can make themselves look their best, and everyone has moments of beauty. Usually that comes with youth, but not always. Some people rock their looks as they age. I love the juxtaposition of the young awkward teen George Clooney and the current heartthrob Clooney (on the meme with the words: Never give up. Someday it will all fall into place!") and for those with teens at that hideously self-conscious age, I'd blow it up and plaster it to the wall (but the teen probably thinks the after shot is equally unattractive so maybe there's no point)

I once went on holidays and became friends with a Japanese woman. There was a Japanese staff member who was incredibly good looking and every Aussie female would go giggly, falling all over themselves to flirt with him, however he didn't get the same reaction from the Japanese. And he knew it. He played up to the attention of the Aussies and French, but was merely civil to the Japanese. I asked my new friend if he was good looking. She said "No, only so-so". Apparently the perplexing behaviour of the women had been a great topic of conversation at the Japanese tables most nights.

Imagine what it must be like to be an Exceedingly Handsome Man all your life and then go somewhere where your looks are not recognised? (I guess for the majority that place may be middle age). Or the wake up when you go to somewhere where people are overwhelmed by your good looks to the point of stupidity, when you've grown up and accepted you're not very attractive to look at to the majority of your peers?

Humans are very strange beasts, and a lot of our concerns are in our own heads, and in those awkward teen years, they're often based on very superficial concepts. Is there a way to detour that? Can we create Exceedingly Handsome Guys & Gals? Do the Exceedingly Handsome people still flay themselves with self doubt and low self esteem?

I have just been informed that my friend's very beautiful, tall, slendor, leggy blonde daughter has developed an eating and self harming disorder. She's been traditionally good looking all along - I understand this disorder is not really related to appearance, but even so, she must not see herself as she actually is. It terrifies me.

I have no answers.  It is only skin deep, but we put so much thought and emotion into it from a very early age. Then we spend the rest of our lives telling those we love not to worry about it. And we do love them more than life itself, and we wish they could see their beauty through our eyes.

Unfortunately, I think you have to be a certain age and level of world weary before you understand.

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.


Sunday 3 February 2013

Someday maybe you can! (Jetpack adventures)

In my other gig I got to review Sydney Jetpack Adventures - something I didn't know existed, and something I'd wanted to do since I was child. (Discussed here).

I headed down bright and early a few weeks back to the pretty and serene Olympic Regatta centre. I was keen but as the equipment was explained to me, I started to get scared. I tend to forget I'm not that adventurous.

I took off with little trouble, and really enjoyed winding around the lake.

I would like to say that was me, but alas I would get scared as soon as my feet left the water or the jets hit my feet (it didn't hurt, it just made me aware I was getting higher, and I'd panic). I was a lot more like this:

The punter that came after me, not a little old lady like myself, took off two stories high in the first 20 minute session - he was a natural. He made me feel the need to push myself a little more on my second turn (you can already see it coming, can't you?).

Alas, I should know by now my limited capabilities in the co-ordination department. I took to the air, soared briefly then backflipped and shot head first into the water shrieking all the way. I am proud that my first thought underwater was "I hope that they got that on camera!". Alas, the 'would have been hilarious footage' was never taken, as they were changing cameras at the time.

Ironically, the spectacular crash was the closest I got to the real speed and height of the jetpack's capabilities. It was also the highlight for me, for while it was accidental, it was also fun, and I wouldn't have pushed myself to go that high or fast by my own volition, and the guys running it were not the kind to push you too much (though the speed operator did sneakily increase the throttle when he thought I wouldn't notice, and I didn't).

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Would I do it again? In a flash! Would I do it differently? I'd like to think I'd be more daring and more confident, but realistically, that's not me. I'd still be cautious, tentative and fearful. You know what? I'm okay with that. The point of the Torshlusspanik list is not really to change myself, it's to discover new things, some I'll like and some I won't, because at this age, the only failure can be not being happy with who I am.

Torshlusspanik List:
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (in training)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)

Linking up for IBOT with the lovely Jess at Essentially Jess