Shabby Sheik

1. I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Hello, you are ON THE INTERNET, use the dang thing to find out what that word means before you post it to the general public!

2. Is the cushion surgically attached? No? Then why don’t you take it off before taking the photo, then you don’t have to tell people it is not included.

I guess Shabby Sheik is better than Shabby Chick. :)

funny

Get Moving Mix

Recently The Other Half did some work on a dance/trance playlist for the car and also for his playlist at work. He finds that kind of music keeps him awake while driving – I find it impossible to keep still when this kind of music is playing, and I recently did a day of work with him where we got so much shiznit done thanks to this music it was unbelievable.. Here is one of our favourite tracks at the moment.

music

Currently TV

Loving – Safe on Netflix. Michael C Hall with an English accent was weird to begin with but I got used to it. This show is twisty and turny and I have no idea what is going on much of the time plus I find the hair of his main co-star to be incredibly improbable, but the locations are gorgeous and everything else is great, so I’m enjoying this. Unusually Netflix were only releasing two episodes at a time – however all 8 episodes are now available on Netflix.

With the release of the last two episodes, everything was revealed and to be honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of how they wrapped the storylines up. However as they sometimes say – it is not the destination, it is the journey. I did enjoy the getting there. After 7 years of seeing Michael C Hall as Dexter, it was lovely to see him in such a different role – and really just great to see him again. Thanks to the accent I was not waiting for him to resume that serial killer role.

Liking – Picnic At Hanging Rock 2018 certainly made the most of the beautiful Werribee Mansion, at least the exterior of it. The show itself I was a bit meh on, a little too screamy and I don’t think we needed any nudity, that felt a little exploitative to me. The costumes were gorgeous and it certainly was a great ad for Australia. Don’t worry, you won’t vanish without a trace. ;)

Cringing – at the footage in Evil Genius. This is a documentary on Netflix that I stumbled on when I discovered only two episodes of Safe had been released. The Other Half was making lunch in the kitchen and he ended up watching the four episodes with me in two quick binge watch sessions across two days. Beware, there is graphic real footage in this documentary, and at least two *real* dead bodies shown, including real footage of one of them being killed.

Savouring – Like a delicious double cream brie, Billions season 3 is yet another feast of incredible acting. If you were to ask me to pick a favourite character I would not be able to, I love them all, even the odd one or two I love to hate to love. They have now cast in John Malkovich as a Russian oligarch. Things can only get more interesting from here.

Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are amazing to watch but my special delight is Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhodes. A special shout out to Jeffrey DeMunn for literally putting it ALL out there this season. This show involves quite a bit of macho mine is bigger than yours dick swinging but usually not quite that literally!

Enjoying – Howards End is a beautiful costume drama, the story of which I was unfamiliar with. More gorgeous locations and costumes, I consumed this 4 part drama very quickly.

Reading & Watching – A series of crime novels written by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. C.B. Strike is now airing on Showcase on Foxtel. One of the main characters is played by my favourite Holliday Grainger. The books are great.

The TV show is not quite as great – they have compressed way too much story into too little airtime. The books are long and detailed and crackle with electricity. The show is a little too explain-ey detective-y for my liking because it has cut so much of the story out. The golden rule of this kind of show should be show, don’t tell. I do enjoy Holliday in it.

Listening – to the Westworld soundtrack and watching season two. I am enjoying seeing the new worlds but particularly loved seeing Shogun World. These violent delights indeed.

Constable Gary Hales holding the “cock of justice”.

Marvelling – at how brilliantly things are fictionally portrayed sometimes. You could throw the cast of The Bill into any of the episodes of 24 Hours In Police Custody and not only would they fit right in with all the slang and the words they use, but the real police stations look exactly like The Bill set and would work on almost any British police drama show. The one big difference I can find – there is a lot more stuff in the rooms in reality. Mostly folders.

This show is so fascinating and most of the episodes are available on youtube. Here are quite a few of them on a playlist. Just as a bonus here is a link to the most recent one with the cock of justice. I love this detective, well I love them all I won’t lie.

Binging – The Sinner on Netflix. What a rollercoaster ride that was! I also loved Ozark and The Alienist not quite so much but the costumes were great.

Wondering – if they truly did kill off a main character on Animal Kingdom. I was watching the tag on twitter as the episode aired and was not very happy with what I was reading but I thought they might have left a loophole – when I watched the episode I am pretty confident this character is sadly no longer with us. I didn’t even finish the episode, I was so Not Thrilled. The levels of my Not Thrilled-ness are raised even higher when I see who they have added to the cast this season. I have never been a fan of Denis Leary. With so much television to watch, nobody has time to watch people they adore be killed off while people they do not like are added!

Waiting – For Better Call Saul which now has an airdate of August 6th, Mr Robot, Bosch.

Skipping – Homeland. No Quinn, no me!

television shows

The Studio Audience

While surfing The Facebook in early May, I happened upon a post from Gruen a mere 2 minutes after it was posted about getting tickets to be in the studio audience. I clicked on it and was surprised to find 2 tickets now on hold for me. I never wrote here about our last visit to view a Gruen taping. That was many years ago now, I believe 2010 or 2011.

Being a member of a studio audience sounds like it would be fun but it is actually hard work. You have to clap, a lot, till your hands are red. You will laugh and cheer a lot. You will get to see more content than will appear on air and behind the scenes stuff happening right in front of you, there is also the chance that you will appear on the teevee as a surprise to yourself.

You can’t take me anywhere, though. It turns out I became a member of a “terrible audience”. :) Of course the night we went was this night.. OF COURSE. As always there is far more to the story and there are some outright untruths in that article.

For us it started with a Tuesday drive down to Sydney during “school” drive time, which can be a bit of a nightmare in itself. Our GPS had us arriving at 5:39 and we are supposed to be there at 5:45. Luckily I had emailed someone from the show letting them know we were coming from far away. They put tickets aside for us. Whew.

It is not that far to drive but apparently the GPS thought it would take us 30 minutes to travel the last 5km, and the GPS was actually right. If you are like me and quite used to the GPS over-estimating your arrival time, I think they have fixed that small problem because the arrival time was spot on. The Other Half dropped me off so he could go and park the car, and once I got there I found a long queue to go through security, so I messaged him to take his time.

I am a big planner of things like this, down to where we will park the car and checking to make sure they will be open – we parked in the carpark attached to Market City which is 24/7. We also had planned food options, and this was a planned spend day for us. But on the way up we discovered they were closing the highway to get home that night.

So that was a surprise. At least we would not have to go miles out of our way, the old Princes Highway runs pretty much alongside the new one. We made our way through security and then received our tickets which were priority seating, and that meant we got to go sit on some lovely couches and wait to be called into the studio first.

We picked some seats right on the aisle, and settled in to watch the goings on. Note there is an entire section of seating where they cannot see the taping – they get to watch it on a tv screen. That is where we sat last time, and that is where you get placed if you arrive late, unless you got in touch and made arrangements which they do for people from out of town plus the disabled.

I’d taken a poncho because studios can be cold and I wore it like a knee rug, tucking it in. There was point where I wished I’d folded it up and sat on it. The seats are not very comfortable. BYO cushion, folks, if they will let it through security that is.

The “warm up guy” for Gruen and a few other ABC shows is Tommy Dean, who I find super hilarious. He road tested the audience, and despite all the noise we were making, we could still hear him. Take note of this point, it will become important later. Tommy had a proper microphone.

Then Wil Anderson comes out and warms up the crowd a bit. Though this does not always go quite as planned, and I am shocked that the “audience member” did not mention the little girl who was crying as he was talking to that side of the audience. I guess they could not blame that on Wil, or maybe they were keeping it secret for a spicy followup.

I’m not sure why she was crying, but the crew checked in on her and she was fine. I’m also not sure how she got in the audience as the minimum age is 15 and this was a girl of 6 or 7. It might have been all the swear words Wil was using. But note to folks, Wil does swear.

Wil explains a little bit about how things will be done, and then introduces the panel, and they all sit down and the show starts. This is where things began to go wrong, though none of us knew it at the time and it was not until after the taping when The Other Half and I sat down to dinner that we figured out the problem – none of us could hear the panel over ourselves. If we laughed or clapped or reacted, all we saw was mouths moving and we could not hear what was being said.

Once the audience caught on to this, things got very quiet. Everyone wanted to *hear* what the panel was saying. Nobody thought to say to the nearby crew – are we meant to be able to hear them talking? We had no trouble hearing the panel last time we were here.

So after the first part of the show, Wil spoke to us all and basically said we were a shit audience and he needed more energy – I assumed comedy and he was trying to get us to fire up, not have a go at us, but there were some delicate snowflakes behind us who were so offended, they started bitching about Wil right away.

While they were bitching, a member of the audience (clearly to my mind a fan of Wil) started heckling Wil about how they should replace him with the host of Spicks and Specks, Adam Hills. They went back and forth a bit and that is what Wil was saying f*** off to, not as claimed in the article.

Anyway his speech did work, it did fire up the audience, but for the rest of the show none of us could hear what was being said when we were laughing and clapping. It wasn’t until I watched the show that I got to hear some of the jokes. There was a point where Tommy was talking to the panel, and we could clearly hear Tommy but not the panel. The last time we went, we had no trouble hearing. So I suspect there was a sound problem.

I would have continued to assume comedy if Wil had not made those comments on radio the next day. I had already sent a thank you email to the Gruen staff member who helped us out with the tickets and I had mentioned the sound problem in that email. I did not expect this meltdown story to be the headline news story on news.com.au after the show aired that night.

I am pretty sure the “audience member” was sitting right behind us because they were very vocal about their displeasure – though I did not notice it at the time. I was focused so hard on listening to the panel. The Other Half told me what the people behind us were saying at dinner. And speaking of dinner.. we went to Fusion 16, where The Other Half had a gorgeous steak with INCREDIBLE chips, and I had a delicious chicken and mushroom risotto.

Then we got in the car and drove home, arriving just after 12:30am. It was a long day out, but we enjoyed it, for the most part. I just wish we had been able to hear the panel better. The show is taped on Tuesday and airs on Wednesday night. If you are in Australia you can still catch this episode on iView for a little bit longer, and if you are not from Australia, I believe you can see a short 3 minute clip from the show on Twitter here.

Total spend for this day was $77, that was dinner @66 and parking @11 which is incredibly reasonable for Sydney, especially as we were parked there for almost 5 hours. Market City is also the location of Paddys Market and we have parked there quite a few times, it is not very far to walk to Darling Harbour from here nor is it very long walk to the “main” shopping strip of Sydney, about 1.5km.

As Tommy Dean said in his warm up, it is much easier to watch tv at home. Even so, I would recommend going to a show taping at least once in your lifetime. :) Have you ever been to one? Would you go? If you could go to sit in the studio audience of any show, which one would it be?

television shows

Picnic At Hanging Rock

I’m just a bit excited to see this but not for the reasons one might suspect. Sure, I love a costume drama probably more than most people, but that is not why I want to see this.

I have not read the book or seen the original movie and I have no idea what the plot of this is though I think I have gathered some clues.

I want to see this purely because this new 6 part miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock involves a location I am a bit crazy about – Werribee Mansion. I have never been there myself in person but I have been there forever thanks to one of my all time favourite movies which used this as a filming location – The Pirate Movie.

The mansion looks amazing in the trailer, it makes me want to plan a trip to visit. And one can actually stay there.

I love the song they have used for the trailer, too – it is Confide In Me which was originally performed by Kylie Minogue. I prefer the Kylie version.

The first episode of Picnic At Hanging Rock airs this Sunday on Showcase.

While on the subject of trailers for shows using great music, did you see this one for WestWorld? What a gorgeous piece of music arranged so beautifully, it makes my hair stand on end.

Do you recognise the song?

As an Aspie, I have a bit of a problem recognising music, especially when it has been used for a specific thing previously. The ABC loves to throw pieces of music from other TV shows – like Dexter and Mr Robot – into shows like Four Corners and Australian Story. They use one particular piece from Breaking Bad quite often but I can only ever see one set of images when I hear it, and the images look like this –

For those who have seen Breaking Bad, you know the significance of that moment and what is about to happen. So you can understand how disconcerting it is to be watching a documentary and have that music thrown randomly into it.

If you haven’t seen it by now you probably won’t, but I am firmly of the opinion that you should. I believe it is a great show, so much so I wrote a whole blog about it.

Foxtel, television shows

Musical Monday – Hey Boy, Hey Girl

I had not heard this song for ages, but then my apple iPhone lost all my music and I had to borrow The Other Half’s spare iPhone which happened to have some older tracks and playlists. One part of this video clip for this song was pretty memorable – the skeletons on the dance floor, and whenever I hear it I see skeletons jumping in my mind.

This song is by the Chemical Brothers, and I do enjoy some of their other music.

music

Movie Catch Up – Oscars Edition

The Post –

thepost1

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. IMDB.

I found this movie difficult to engage with. Maybe you have to know the story better to understand all the moving parts going on here. I did love the acting overall. Seeing Bradley Whitford and Meryl Streep together on screen was even better than I expected it would be, and it seemed to me that he worked on that character to make him as Non Josh-Lyman as possible, the voice was different to the point I did not know it was him talking at times.

Meryl gave her usual fabulous performance but for me, watching Meryl play a lovely person is not at all a stretch of her abilities, nor is it half as much fun as watching her play someone unlikeable or someone who is demanding and even dare I say it bitchy. To date my favourite performance of hers is in The Devil Wears Prada. That character was something amazing to see.

Bob Odenkirk was great in this movie and if you are not watching him in Better Call Saul you are missing out on an amazing performance from him there, too. Jesse Plemons – another Breaking Bad alum – was equally brilliant, and of course Tom Hanks was fantastic as always.

Overall there were too many characters and too many balls in the air and at some point I gave up trying to follow along with the story and just sat back and admired the performances. Usually when I watch a movie like this I want to know more about the events when the credits roll I am already on the Googles and Tubes looking things up, but this was not such an occasion for me.

I’m not sure this particular story required a two hour film to document it and I certainly do not think it required a cast – and crew because when it is Spielberg you know that is a big deal as well – of this magnitude.

Definitely not the best movie of the year, nor the best newspaper movie of recent times. Spotlight was my personal favorite and I think one reason for that was keeping the cast smaller and also not letting the story go off on so many tangents unrelated to the story being told.

Meryl being interrupted mid-speech for some random persons retirement in order to take a very important phone call involving most of the incredibly large cast in various different locations was a little out there for me. Not sure whether that really happened, it may well have, but it seemed like a bridge too far.

There were also some moments where I was reminded that I was watching a movie. I don’t know about you but when I drive around in my car there is no special light that shines on my face in order to light it just so, and then just to hammer the point home they zoomed in. I know Spielberg is a great director but sometimes less is more. :)

Out of the three movies I mention here today, this is the one I did not love. I liked it and the cast was great, but given the choice I would suggest one of the other movies below.

I, Tonya –

itonya

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. IMDB.

This movie is marketed as a black comedy but if you have ever experienced any kind of abuse in your life there is not very much funny about it. I am glad I did not see this in a cinema with people laughing at the abuse scenes, I did read reports of that happening.

I found this movie to be terribly sad in a lot of different ways and I have always felt very sad about this particular story. There is a moment in the movie where Margot Robbie as Tonya summed things up very tidily as follows –

“I thought being famous was gonna be fun. I was loved, for a minute. Then I was hated. Then I was just a punchline.”

– but there was an aspect she forgot to mention. The years and years of training and competition that both Tonya and Nancy had put in to get to the Olympics in the first place. The many years of getting up at the crack of dawn, the hard work, all that effort..

These two ladies were both very talented skaters, Tonya perhaps even more so than Nancy. The loss of all of that for both of them due to “the incident”, it is incredibly sad.

There were times when I felt like this was a domestic violence operetta set to bad 80’s music. If not for the absolutely incredible performances of Margot Robbie, Alison Janney and Sebastian Stan, I could not recommend this movie. But given those performances, I have to recommend it.

Alison Janney plays the mother of Tonya Harding, LaVona Golden, who is a real person just as bizarre as the on screen version. Those of us who are Alison Janney fans already know she is incredibly talented and she has shown us her talent many times in too many roles to mention, the most notable and well known being CJ from The West Wing. But those past performances were eclipsed by this one. I have never seen anything like it and all I can say is WOW. Just, wow.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri

threebillboards

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit. IMDB.

This was by far the best movie I have seen in a long time, and yet I am fairly sure that it will not win the awards that it should because of The Post.

Sometimes movies perform a bit of a magical trick with a character and this particular movie performs that trick with almost all the characters – where you feel one way about them to begin with, then they take what you feel and turn it completely around.

Most of the characters in this movie have moments where you think they are doing the wrong thing, and then moments where you think they are doing the right thing, or vice versa. And in the middle of all of that, there is a terribly sad story happening for one particular character. This movie will have you hating a character then absolutely cheering for them. It will leave you wanting more and wondering what happens next.

Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson all put in incredible performances though I believe in this instance Sam might be the winner of best performance in this particular movie thanks to some amazing writing and the character he is playing. Some of the supporting cast also shine brightly, and the town itself is almost a character in the story.

I do not want to spoil any of this for you by telling you anything which makes it difficult to write a review. I will just tell you to go and see it, and BYO tissues. And I want to see the sequel to this movie, there has to be one surely! You can’t leave us hanging like that pretty please?

You can see the Oscars today live from midday on Nine and it will air again from 7:30pm on Gem.

Here are the 2018 Oscar Nominees.

Remember last year, when The Terrible Incident happened? “They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco.

While on the entertainment subject, here are two great articles about MASH. ‘M*A*S*H’ Finale, 35 Years Later: Untold Stories of One of TV’s Most Important Shows and Memories of ‘M*A*S*H’: Inside Stories of the Most Famous Episodes (and Castings).

winchester

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I grew up watching MASH reruns 5 days a week. I really loved that show. :) Peace out David Ogden Stiers who played Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.

Movie Reviews, television shows

Movie Catch Up 11

LOVED –

mcr1

My Cousin Rachel

“A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin’s mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.” IMDB

What a beautiful piece of film making this is. A real feast for the eyes. I do not want to give anything away about the story – you just have to see it. I loved almost everything about it, the costumes, the locations, the story, the cast was fantastic. There was only one thing I did not love, a change from the book towards the end, but to tell you would spoil it.

Recently we began watching Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. The very first episode – The Hood Maker – was by far my favourite. The two leads in that sold the story to me so convincingly, and both of them looked quite familiar but I could not work out where I knew them from. After the show finished I headed to the trusty IMDB and discovered they were both in quite a lot of things I enjoyed. And here Holliday Grainger pops up once again but I did not recognise her!

aqp

A Quiet Passion

“The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist.” IMDB

This was extremely well done and the acting was utterly sublime, from everyone involved but particularly from Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle – who has been one of my personal favourites ever since the 1996 BBC pride and Prejudice miniseries where she played Elizabeth Bennet to the Mr Darcy of Colin Firth.

It is slow at times, and for someone like myself who does not enjoy poetry it could even be considered somewhat boring, however the performances, costumes and hairstyles more than make up for that in my opinion. It drew me in and I lost about an hour and a half somewhere in there, too captivated to notice the time passing at all.

It was strange at first to see Cynthia Nixon in a role other than Miranda from Sex and the City but it did not take long for her to truly inhabit Emily Dickinson to the point I forgot all about Miranda.

tb

The Beguiled

“The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier at a girls school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal.” IMDB

I saw the trailer for this a long time ago and I was super excited to see it. Nicole Kidman is Having A Moment and wow, does she inhabit this role beautifully.

I loved pretty much everything about it especially the location, but the trailer gave me a wrong idea of what body part they cut off Colin Farrell.

All three of these are great movies and well worth watching if you stumble upon them in your travels.

movies

Musical Monday – Amsterdam

hi2

Somewhere nearby in a parallel universe, there is a version of me sitting in Starclass on a Jetstar flight to Hawaii, listening to “Amsterdam” by Coldplay, over and over again.

As we were taxi-ing out to take off, I was loading up songs onto my playlist. There were several different Coldplay albums on my iPhone and somehow I put Amsterdam on the playlist multiple times. There were a couple of live versions, a couple of album versions, and I think somehow I loaded them on more than once each.

I tried to sleep on that flight. Every time I woke up, Amsterdam was playing. It felt like maybe this night went on forever but time was passing without me knowing it. I was managing naps, but because every time I woke up I heard the same song, I felt like I was getting no sleep at all.

Now, anytime I hear that song, I am immediately back on that plane, flying to Hawaii. But I never, ever actually get there. I just keep flying hearing that same song.

I am secretly a bit of a Coldplay fan. Sometimes one of their songs is exactly what you need to sing along to. And while we are talking about them, I really loved one of their filmclips many years ago – for The Scientist. I loved the concept of it, going backwards instead of forwards.

It is interesting to me that particular song was the one that played over and over. My first ever trip overseas by myself was on KLM which is based in Amsterdam, and I did a quick stop over there on my way back from the Isle of Man.

music, travel