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Daily Life

Discovering Jazz

I listen to Annie Lennox’s “Nostalgia” album all the time, but today was the first time I noticed that Apple Music puts it in the genre or Jazz. Though I guess that makes sense. I’ve never known how to feel about a white English recording artist singing songs usually written and sung by African American folk. But she makes it sound so smooth.

Anyway, at the bottom of the albums now in the Music app on my iPad they show “You might also like” and usually I’m like: “thanks but nope” and trawl through my list of many, many albums rather than try something new, but today was different. I thought: “Why not”, and I clicked on the album “Bring It Back” by Catherine Russell.

Bring It Back by Catherine Russell

A brief look into Ms Russell shows she’s quite at home in the music scene. Her dad was a collaborator of the great “Satchmo” AKA Louis Armstrong. Her mum was also a trained musician, so it makes sense she’d be a great recording artist in her own right.

So that’s what I’m listening to right now. Going through the back-catalogue of Catherine Russell.

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Guns for Hire be Stupid

I’m watching season 2 of “The Punisher” on Netflix and I’m thinking about the idiots who are the guns for hire on the show. Then I’m left thinking about all of the shows and how they all depend on these guys (and they are usually guys) who are really just filler.

By episode 10 I think around 100 anonymous guys are gurgling on their own blood. There have been bar fights, alley fights, fights in stairwells and elevators. Shoot-ups in warehouses, city streets, hotel rooms, and apartments. It’s quite the messy affair.

All shows are like this, they rely on the anonymous, often uncredited, filler to drag the story out and make a series before the main players finally come together for the final showdown and the season is over… all to be repeated again when the next season rolls around.

There’s no character development for these guys, seemingly there’s no families at home waiting for them, there’s little reason given for why we should care about their passing.

Guns for hire and henchmen, the unsung heroes of the serial TV show, the least we can do is make sure their names end up in the credits… I guess the problem is how do we differentiate them when they were given no lines and no way to identify them. Maybe “guy shot in the head at timecode 11:17:03.4”, who is different to “guy shot in the head at timecode 11:17:03.9”.

Ah maybe too hard, let’s just acknowledge their existence and that we wouldn’t have shows without them. Here’s to you nameless gunmen, knife-wielders, samurai sword swingers, et. al. Your acting career may never make it beyond these nameless blood bags, but at least imdb.com lets you add yourself to the cast list, goodness knows the show runners probably won’t.

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Unfollowed

I did it, I unfollowed some of my Facebook friends, because I think it’s the best thing for my own mental health. “Sorry, not sorry.” – as the kids are want to say.

As part of my resolution to not respond to ignorant posts on social media I had to unfollow some people, including my own dad! I’ve grown tired of people who don’t live here in Victoria posting articles and stories detailing how bad the “African gangs” are here in Melbourne. It’s just not a problem we’re really seeing, but it is a story that the media is running with and some of my Facebook friends are tirelessly posting, even to the point that some of them are sending me links to stories or other Facebook posts via messenger.

Most of the links are to posts by groups that are routinely racist but existing under the guise of “patriotism” or “being dink-di Australian”. But really, when the things they target are Australia’s First People, Asylum Seekers, and anyone else who isn’t white (and mostly male, cause they seem to be very anti-feminist too).

A recent post about our apparent epidemic of the African crime sprees that Melbourne is suffering showed examples of crimes committed by people of African decent. It showed about three of them, from across the last two years. Surely if we’re living in fear of our lives because of the overflowing crimewave there would be heaps of these examples to pull from.

Also in recent weeks we’ve seen instances where these “patriots” are antagonising groups in the “known hotspots”. There was an incident at a beach in St Kilda where a group of people of “African appearance” were kicking a soccer ball around on the beach and these “patriots” put themselves amongst those playing soccer putting their cameras in their faces and interrupting play. They were deliberately being confrontational in an attempt to get the African youth to respond in an aggressive nature so they could get it on camera.

Police attempted to intervene but the “patriots” refused to stop filming the soccer players, and of course those who had cameras shoved in their faces were annoyed. They were clearly frustrated that the police weren’t doing anything and one of them did indeed strike out and will likely face charges for interfering with a police officer.

It’s a situation that never should have happened and it’s a situation that was caused by the actions of these self determined holders of “Australian values”, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen it.

Racism is at the core of these people, and racism is endemic in the Australian psyche. And sometimes that racism is put on hold when it serves their purpose: Such as with the vile St Kilda Beach far right gathering we saw recently. These racists, stood shoulder to shoulder with the Vietnamese community who were facing attacks by people of African appearance in recent times. These same “patriots” would likely have been the same groups that have previously been infuriated by Vietnamese migration.

The simple fact is over reporting by the media, does not equal over representation in the statistics. The media outlets of the right panders to those who live in fear to get the views for their stories. In the past we haven’t typically had a large contingent of African immigrants, so the enemy we needed to fear were the Italians, those from the Baltic nations, then the Chinese, Vietnamese… but people from the African nation, those who have dark skin, they are easier to point to and go “there’s us and then them” and the “them” are coming to get you. But really they aren’t for the most part.

There are bad people of all races, it’s humans that conduct crime and in no case is a whole racial group responsible for the actions of the few. Let’s live our lives the best we can without the judgement of others based on things they really can’t change about themselves. Let’s not make the lives of others worse by propagating incorrect or inflammatory information which tars a group of people with a single brush.

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I’m a Friend of Dorothy

I’m excited about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. The first movie was awesome. It had comedy, it had great use of animation where everything was done in “Lego”, water, fire, etc all done with Lego brick animations, it looked very cool. The Lego Batman Movie had some good jokes, but the storyline was a bit flat, and I enjoyed the The Lego Ninjago Movie movie, but it was definitely geared more towards kids.

With the reveal of the new Lego Collectable Minifigures for the Lego Movie 2 we see the inclusion of Dorothy Gale, Toto, Scarecrow, Tinman, and The Cowardly Lion from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books and The Wizard of Oz movie. I couldn’t be more excited for set of Lego… even more so than when an official Doctor Who Lego set came a couple of years ago.

You need to understand, I started collecting 2×1 yellow pieces a while ago to make a yellow brick road scene, along with a bunch of red flower pieces to create the poppy scene… it was all together for the longest time until I realised I couldn’t get the scene working without the characters. I still have a part of it so it’s still on my Lego photo bucket list.

Part of my Yellow Brick Road

I haven’t had a lot of time to make Lego photos for the longest time. Work has been busy, which, given we now run our own business (Programmable Soda) is a good thing. But I will definitely be taking some time out to make images with Dorothy and her friends when they arrive next month. I can’t wait!

Of course the set has some other cool figures. The Lego Movie is always a good opportunity for Lego to bring a bunch of seemingly disparate characters together. Being the second movie, it has also allowed Lego to make some revisions to the characters that appeared in the first movie.

We have Dorothy Gale (with Toto), The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, Gone Golfin’ President Business, Vest Friend Rex, Apocalypseburg Abe, Sherry Scratchen-Post (with Scarfield), Awesome Remix Emmet, Unikitty, Battle-Ready Lucy, Apocalypse Benny, Giraffe Guy, Crayon Girl, Watermelon Dude, The Swamp Creature, Hula Lula, Kitty Pop, Candy Rapper, and Flashback Lucy.

I got the names for these characters from BrickFinder’s The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part Minifigure Feel Guide! Always a valuable resource for those who are looking to go into a toy store and feel-up some packets to find the minifigs they want.

Not sure what’s going on with the mis-match of The Swamp Creature’s body colour to head and legs. He’d be another good one to recreate some movie scenes from the Creature from the Black Lagoon with, a nice black and white shot.

Giraffe Guy is cool… some have pointed out how painful the timing of him is, given the downfall of Toys-R-Us and Lego’s integration with them over the years, they finally gave us a Geoffrey the Giraffe character, just as he disappears.

Love the look of Sherry Scratchen-Post and especially Scarfield; that mohawk is very cool.

It’s worth note that I had zero interest in the last CMF series, they Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series. I bought 3 in total. Two Voldemorts (for Nagini, the snake), and one Dumbledoor (for his beard).

I’m still a bit sad there’s no set containing the sewer babies. They could have been put in a single bag of the latest series. Of course, there is a mysterious “?” character in the boxes of this series, so maybe!

The Lego Movie 2’s Sewer Babies being greeted by Emmet while on his coffee run.

I may buy a full box just for myself… 🤪

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Daily Life

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

According to iTunes I added the Original Broadway Cast Recording of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” to my Apple Music subscription back in July of 2015. I think maybe I tried to listen to it once, since then it has just sat there, silently.

It’s likely I came across Neil Patrick Harris’ performance of “Sugar Daddy” on YouTube and it prompted me to look for the album.

Seems though, for me, 2019 is all about Hedwig and her Angry Inch. I can’t get enough of the album. It has been the soundtrack for my first few days of 2019, and it doesn’t seem like it will discontinue to be for some time.

While I’m sure the love will wane a little as the time goes by, at the moment I’m in love with the sass of Hedwig and her cast of supporting characters. I especially love the bit in “Wig in a Box” where Hedwig invites the crowd to sing along and she interjects little ad-libs. There’s a line “I turn up the 8-track” and just after the crowd sings the line, Hedwig replies “what’s an 8-track?” Even though these are lines she wrote. It’s clearly a little tease to the fact the 8-track is a long-dead technology and indeed, some in the audience may not know what an 8-track is. I wonder if these were ad-libs by Neil Patrick Harris. They didn’t appear in the original story and they seem very much his personality.

Of course the track also has references to Farrah Fawcett, Lavern Baker, Dorothy Hamill, and Beehive hairstyles that may be completely foreign to the younger audiences.

The whole album is a wild romp, and I really want to see the show live. On broadway they’ve had quite a few guys go through the role of Hedwig now. First Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon, The New Normal), Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under), John Cameron Mitchell (the guy who wrote the Book for the original musical, the screen play and directed the movie version), Darren Criss (of GLEE), and Taye Diggs rounded them out until the end of the run in 2015.

I’ve also spent far too much time of late trying to find the original movie so I can check it out. I’m sure I’ve seen it once, a long time ago. Most likely on SBS. But I can’t seem to find it anywhere at the moment.

So far Hedwig and the Angry Inch musical hasn’t come to Australia, though it seems it has been everywhere else in the world! I need to get rich so I can produce musicals and bring all my favourites here. 🤣

Hedwig & the Angry Inch Belasco Theatre Darren Criss

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Daily Life

Clues to thought process

Random Image from a notebook.

The image above is from a notebook that is sitting on my desk, just on a random page. I don’t use a notebook in a linear fashion. When I need to jot something down I just find a blank space in the nearest notebook or any piece of paper at hand, those these days I tend to use my iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil to write down quick notes.

The drawing above, with the annotations were clearly the solution to a problem, but I have no idea now when I scribbled it down, nor what it was for. I often have little things like this in notebooks. They very rarely have any context.

I’m sure my brain will figure out what this was about, but for now we’ll just leave it here as evidence my brain is always thinking about crap and sometimes I need to quickly scribble things down, likely it was the answer to a problem I was trying to solve some other time.

UPDATE: 20190107122300: I KNOW WHAT IT’S FOR!

This was the design for the leg of a marionette. The hooks would be wire that are baked into the clay that would be used to join parts of the puppet together. Well now that’s sorted my brain can think about something else for a time. No doubt it will come back around to the marionette I am still to build (I already have the modelling clay).

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Daily Life

Shelving Saturday

I’ve gone a little crazy with shelves of late. Trying to get some more organisation done around here particularly in the workroom. One can never have enough shelving in their workroom. Here I added another IKEA LACK floating shelf above the others we already put up and one above the door, a space that is rarely used for anything so it made sense to make use of it.

The two new shelves in the workroom, please ignore the mess please.

I also MADE a shelf for the cupboard above the range hood in the kitchen. Well when I say made, I mean cut a piece of wood, painted it, and screwed it into the already existing vent cover that goes around the exhaust pipe for the range hood.

I just looked into the cupboard the other day and thought: “Hey, there’s a lot of space going to waste up there. So I decided to use it.

New spice shelf I “made”.

They’re the shelves I put up today. There was one issue with the one over the door in the workroom. I measured it up to make it nice and flush with the wall, but I think I was jinxed by the fact I was listening to “Hedwig and The Angry Inch” Broadway Cast Recording. When it came time to putting the shelf onto the floating thing, I was about an inch out! So I had to redo the holes and left the anchors in the holes from the others, trying to remove them would have left massive holes I had no desire to deal with today. Besides my error was hidden by the shelf when it was put in place. 😉

And going back in time a bit, I also put up some shelves in the kitchen area. We had some dead space above the bins, not sure what else would ever have been there, but we decided to put a couple of small shelves. The idea was to put the herbs up there, and that did happen for a few weeks, until they mysteriously died on me… all of them. My green thumb has turned black. So instead, we have a couple of shelves waiting for their purpose.

Kitchen shelves above the bins, and a cute photo of BillTheDoggin.

More shelves to go up. We have a 190cm shelf that is still looking for its home, and four more small square shelves. I’ve ordered about 25 tubs from IKEA today to help with the tidy up around the house. Will update when they arrive and we put them into action.

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Daily Life

Argh! Change is difficult

Breaking habits are hard! In the last day, since posting my resolutions yesterday I slipped on the procrastinating by watching TV, and also the Facebook posting… though I did manage to not push the publish button on my Facebook replies. I wrote a couple, but abandoned them… so that’s a win right?

A new day, better efforts to be made today. Well right after I scrub my mind of the Flat Earther Conference video I watched this morning on YouTube.

I have a lot of work on today… three sites that need finishing touches, and two sites that need to get a lot further along before Monday. So heads down.

In an effort to keep on top of tasks, I installed a new whiteboard in the workroom/sewing room so I know what projects I have going on in there.

And we’re ordering a new one for the main office too, just a soon as the Officeworks site is working properly again. The one we have at the moment is too small to contain all the work we have on at the moment. A nice problem to have I guess.