Two films

Sep. 23rd, 2016 06:33 pm
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I saw two magical films set in mythical Japan in two days.

The first I saw yesterday (on a library DVD) was The Princess Kaguya directed by Isao Takahata (Studio Ghibli) Just under two hours long, it's the tale of a beautiful girl hatched from a bamboo shoot, and what she finds as she grows up in Japan. There's a number of hijinks that take place in the film, like impossible quests, but mostly this is a film about simple truths and beauty.


I saw Kubo and the Two Strings today. There was only one session at 10am, and I thought that if i didn't catch this today I'd miss it at the cinema entirely. I'm glad I went. I think this is the BEST ANIMATED FEATURE I've seen this year. And I was the ONLY person in the cinema!


It resembles (slightly) the film above, but I can't tell you exactly how, without spoiling things for you. However, do look out for a cameo by George Takai in this, in a very identifiable way! Also, I loved this version of this song as it played over the credits.

passing on

Sep. 22nd, 2016 12:00 am
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It was aunty Margaret's funeral today. There was no way (as it was in Perth) that I could go. Mark sent me an email with some details. Looks like it was a good service.
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Well, I just got a shock. Got an email from my brother Mark,. Auntie Margaret passed away Monday night after a year's battle with cancer. Dee, my sister in -law heard in the morning that her mother had died, and in the evening that her natural father had passed away as well!

I think I might give her a call and offer condolences.
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Saw SUICIDE SQUAD today with Cathy. A film about explosions, mostly. Slipknot mercifully had less time in it. I had to laugh AT Digger Harkness. The film suffered when compared to SERENITY, which we watched later. In Serenity, plot details and details are added gradually, in Suicide Squad they're dumped all over you like a load of rotting fish.

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BAD NEWS. I went next door this morning to let the birds out of their pens and feed them bread, at about 7:45am. I found them already out, and the two large black hens were dead in a corner of the yard , half eaten with their heads missing!

Not sure what's happened here. I'm supposed to attend to them in the morning, and the brother's supposed to put them away at night. So, I don't know if maybe the hens were killed yesterday, or if perhaps they were left out last night and killed then, or they were let out this morning and the hens were killed before I got over there. Joanne suggested it was the work of either Foxes or a Quoll. Shit - you always put fowl back in their pens for night. I did that even for my Muscovies!

I took a photo of the dead hens for a record, but you really don't want to see those. I've also SMSed Brook and Joanne. No reply from Brook yet.
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First proper day of letting next door's ducks out of their pens in the morning and feeding them. However, garage door locked and no bread left to feed them, so I used my Bornhofen for today, and left a note for the brother (who comes back late afternoon) to read.

Me and Mum

Aug. 15th, 2016 06:04 pm
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My brother Vaughan, mother Ronnice, me, and brother Mark, from a family get together, while on a trip to Perth


Not the best photo of me ever. This was my last visit to see mum at the aged care unit. If mum looks a bit out of it, it may be because of her dementia.
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Some photos from my Perth Trip Just click on the image to go to the album.
2016 Perth Trip
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Neeta the mechanic is guiding Octobriana, Jenny Everywhere, and Miss Victory out to their new assignment.

Their mission is a recon of enemy territory, only that territory is on another planet! The planet codenamed Doppleganger appeared from deep space last month. Astronomers were astounded to find that the continents and oceans of Doppleganger matched those of Earth closely. Was there also life there, and what would it be like? The race is on to beat Nazi Germany to find out!

This is my 2016 contribution for Jenny Everywhere Day, where people are involved to draw and share Jenny Everywhere as they like. I prefer to show Jenny with other open source and public domain characters. In this instance Octobriana is the Soviet representative and Miss Victory (fresh from smashing nazi spy rings) is the United States representative. Neeta is mysteriously working for the U.S. Space Force, though no one seems to question the fact that she's not exactly human.

The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition: This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, that others might use this property as they wish. All rights reversed.
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A draft of my the Jenny Everywhere Day  illo for this year. It's LATE, partly because Clip Studio Paint needed to be "authorised" this morning. Also, after I got home yesterday I was just beat. Will finish his with background and tones later today.

From left: Neeta the mechanic; Octobriana; Jenny Everywhere; and Miss Victory.

Jenny Everywhere Day 2016 (DRAFT)


Aug. 7th, 2016 11:03 am
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Cleaning up fallen branches in the back yard. Need to mow it once it's dried.

And also cleaning up the house. Things are not where they were.
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The technician came, and the issue was ANTS IN THE TELEPHONE PLUG!!

At some time they'd infested the plug and died there. When it was dry there was no problem, but when it was wet they'd short of the connection.

He replaced the plug and it's all good again.


Jul. 1st, 2016 09:09 am
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I had a MELTDOWN yesterday.

Anxiety seems for the most part to dominate things. Decisions that usually should be straight forward or easy seem to just bring up waves of anxiety and panic attacks. And I think I've been spending a lot more time just at home all day, often not speaking to anyone else at all except my pets. And the cleaning and upkeep of the house has gone into decline as well. Last Sunday the most I could manage was doing the dishes and sweeping out the lounge and hallway. I know none of this can be good. Just now I feel totally embarrassed about the house and the prospect of anyone visiting feels threatening.

It can't go on this way. But stuff tried so far (anti-depressants) doesn't work. I am expecting to come back from Perth to find that Bobby's died. One of the reasons I put up with the worst boarders ever (gone since Jan 2011) was that they'd be there to look after the pets. In all the time since, I've been away from the house over night only 3 times, and not for the last 2 years.

The trip to Perth, to see my family and help with my mother's transition into a nursing home due to her dementia, caused a panic attack when I was organising the trip. I only did so with help from a Perth friend. Then there was the issue of my pets.

As it is, I've reached a compromise on the dogs after talking to my next door neighbors. They were going to feed my two cats while I'm away. What I'm doing is leaving Theo home as well, and put Bobby in a Kennel. In a Kennel 16 yo Bobby will get more attention each day, and issues of his not being able to get through the doggie door any more, won't matter. And, if Bobby dies while I'm away, next doors have said they'll bury him for me in my backyard. I know that sounds gruesome, but it helps a lot.
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I have arranged a return trip to Perth. I leave Sydney 14th July, and return 1st August.

Spoke to Brooke next door this morning. She'll be happy to watch the house while I'm away and will even get one of the kids to feed the cats (she's allergic herself).

Both cats are a bit shy but they respond to feeding well! That's a relief. I'll be giving her a spare set of keys and contact numbers before I go, just in case. Assuming I can get the dogs looked after elsewhere, I'll probably shut up the front of the house (carpeted) and the cats can get in to the back area (lino only). They will be cat poo when I get back, but at least it'll be easier to clean.

Two dreams

Jun. 24th, 2016 11:52 am
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Dream #1

Luke is a young Jedi who seems also to be a homeless person living the Hay St Mall in "Dream Perth". News has filtered down that is dad and his nephew are on the way, to try and snatch and "deprogram" him. He's worried because the crystal in his light sabre is playing up, producing really thin blades and spluttering out at bad moments. The other homeless Jedi there, uncle Ben and Sifo-Dyas, are more interesting in sniffing glue and drinking meths than to help. Luckily a working girl , Leia, comes to his aid with a spare crystal though she won't say where she got it from.

Anakin and Ben arrive even though Luke draws his light sabre Anakin uses the force to throw him against a wall and knock him out. Then he wakes up tied to a chair, with deprogrammer Palpatine facing him. Palpatine opens his mouth and says-

Dream #2

I'm living near the university of "Dream Perth", in a small one room flat on Stirling Hwy in "Nodlands". The neighbors next door are always being rude to me and complaining to the landlord and I don't know why. One night I hear a loud BANG! and go out dressed only in a long nightshirt to see what it is. There's a party down the road and I wander down to check it out and find it in full swing. Someone has rigged a makeshift catapult and is tossing old refrigerators across the road. One of the party goings recognises me and pulls me aside. She looks partly like someone I know in real-life and partly like Myf Warhurst, and tells that she's glad I got out of the flat but that I should have dressed better and "had a shave" first. I look in the mirror there and see that I'm a woman of the hairy people from Cleverman.

She tells me she knows a better place to party and leads me off to find it. We go north along Hampton Rd for a bit. they we take a shortcut around an old building that seems to be the only survivor of a massive excavation - our pathway is barely one person wide and is obscured by rubbish and bushes and a very large tree that grows out of the excavation. Finally we get to the other side and there's a small shopping complex with a newsagents, beauticians, and coffee shop which is still open. My friend goes inside the coffee shop, telling me to wait for her. And I wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. Then I go in myself and there's no sign of my friend and everyone stares at me like I've come to steal something and I run off.

Somehow I find my way back to the building next to the excavation and I'm working my way around the narrow path, but it's blocked by a gang of youths armed with knives who threaten to skin me. I run off and find my way into another shopping area. It looks both familiar and strange, with wide streets but at this time of night few people out. I'm passing some sort of "where house" and people inside call me in, asking if I have a place to stay. I tell them I'm trying to get home and they say they know someone who could give me a lift. I'm given some tea to drink and then I feel drowsy and run off, just as a truck with a cage on the back pulls up.

After dodging the truck and other pursuers, I come to what seems like a long park next to a freeway, where it shouldn't be. I stumble into a meeting of people with guns. They tell me I'm late, place a red tunic over me and tell me to run. I do, followed by shots and hunters screaming "FILTHY HAIRY" at me. I manage to evade them as well but am wound in a shoulder. Then finally I get back home to the flat. I find the friend from the party there, who says that she was only inside for a minute or two at the coffee shop and when she came out she couldn't find me. There's a heavy KNOCK KNOCK on the door and it's my neighbors, come to complain about the noise. My friend shows them some identification. She says she's one of the secret police and they go away after she threatens to report them. I state at her, a bit frightened, and then, smiling she goes to put the kettle on and-

Now I've long had dreams about the real Perth, but like these they are always subtly different. I call that place "Dream Perth" and these are the first dreams I've had set there in a while.


Jun. 19th, 2016 10:58 am
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I had another phone call from Ronnice, (my mum). Mark had taken her home for the day so she was in her unit. At first she almost sounded like her old self, but the more we talked the more she tended to "stray", misremembering things as yesterday when they happened years ago, and getting details wrong (like flying to New South Wales in order to visit my niece Sophie). But this time around it was a lot better. She knew that her family and friends is supporting her, even if she can't remember some of their names at times. She seemed far more willing to go into the nursing home than she was before and Mark was there helping her pack.

She also said that she missed her mum. Grandma's been dead since 80s. She told me how she remembered walking down a hill after visiting her parents (probably walking down Second Ave in Claremont) and her mother saying "Take care of yourself". She also remembers her mother dying the next day. Ronnice told me that she doesn't think she'll be around much longer, and I believe her.

So anyway I talked to Mark later and Ronnice is moving into the nursing home soon. I've committed to traveling to Perth to see her and the rest of my family in six weeks time. Any later than that and It might be that she wont be there for me to see. It'll be an intense 2 weeks while I'm there, I know.
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An email from my brother about mum said (in part):

The results of Mum's MRI scan were in but not her brain scan even though they had promised it would be. [The specialist] believes that Mum is suffering from Alzheimer's disease with underlying complications from the stroke she had some years ago. He thinks that the slow deterioration which occurs from ALZHEIMER'S has recently destroyed some of the repairs her brain made to deal with the stroke which has resulted in some of her recent symptoms resembling stroke symptoms. He may alter this view depending on the results from her brain scan when they become available but he doubts it at this stage. He said that her previous stroke had produced a significant impact on the left side of her brain and that she had done very well to recover at the time.

So there it is. This just confirms my fears, and is still a shock even though I expected as much. I need time to think about this. Still haven't organised the trip yet.
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Well, I've been nursing my 16 year old cat Xena for the last six days while she's been dying.


She stopped eating and drinking about last Thursday. I was able to give her a little water but nothing else. The last two days have been the most intense because she's had long periods of inactivity and then wakes up and crawls away a bit. But apart from this morning, no crawling today. Earlier she'd be asleep, and then put her head up a bit, and collapse back. I'd give her gentle pats and press gently on her paws, and she'd gently push back. I've been doing that for the last week, because it was once a game we played when she was a kitten. But she's not pushing back now. I thought that maybe she was still alive because there looked like there was a slight movement in her lower body, but I think that was an optical illusion, wishful thinking. She's gone.

I could have taken her to the vet's last week, but I didn't. Last year Gabby, who was a year younger than Xena had more or less the same symptoms, but she declined a lot quicker than Xena. I waited a couple of days and when I saw she wasn't eating or drinking I look her to the vet. He said she was anemic and wouldn't recover, so I decided to have her put down. As the vet went off to prepare the needle Gabby started talking to me, meowing and looking very frightened. I held her while he injected her and she died quickly in my arms. But I couldn't do that to Xena, take her to a place where she was frightened and put her down. So I made her as comfortable as I could, and allowed her to die quietly in her own time.

And it's been really hard to do that. Tomorrow I know, I will bury her next to Gabby and Pegasus, and later plat a rose bush atop her (like I did Gabby), but I think tonight I'm going to cry a lot and get drunk.
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Seems mum's got much worse. She was more or less "OK" up to Wednesday and then she couldn't remember how to work the washing machine, and was other wise confused, and talking about dead relatives like they were in the same room. Also - according to my brother - she's in physical decline as well, hunched over. Still has good days, like being able to go to the chemist, but she's no longer able to stay on her own. For the moment she in a hospital bed while my two brothers figure out what to do. I live on the other side of the continent so there's nothing I can do about this. My brother suggested that if I want to visit mum in person I'd better do it before Xmas.

I knew this was coming, but hadn't expected it so soon after her collapse after ANZAC day.
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I just finished watching the first season of JESSICA JONES. Now by coincidence I read the first three trade paperbacks of the comics just before I started watching, and borrowed the 4th volume from the library today. So, I was already into the character before i watched a single episode.


And I found the TV series a good adaptation of those comics. Sure, there are extra characters, and some characters, like Luke Cage act very differently than they do in the comics, but what makes this series sing for me, as much as the comics did, is the characterizations. Goddess Jessica is tough, but much tougher on herself than anyone else. I liked seeing "The Night Nurse" who turns up in the Daredevil series (which I've also been watching). I'd guessed how the season arc was going to end but it was still nail biting until the resolution. It's also obvious what the story arc of the next season's going to be, and I look forward to that as well.

In many ways Jessica reminds me so much of FAITH from BUFFY. Some attitude and strength and vulnerability. She even mentioned "fighting the big bad" in the final ep, a classic reference to Buffy.

I think what added a lot to this series (and to Daredevil as well) was the "flat" manner in which the scenes were shot, and a really good pacing between highs and lulls in each episode.

Loved it!


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