The BOM is warning of dangerous surf conditions which I hoped might have both cleared out Gordons Bay and not really be a problem there. The swell at the scuba ramp put me off, however, so I headed over to Clovelly for the first time in an age. Somehow the the waves were quite muted, though it was very murky too.
Michael Kirby reminded me that no matter how much mathematics and science I study, wisdom lies elsewhere.
Mid-afternoon snorkel-of-sorts sans fins at Little Bay. The ride down and back was fine; I'm now easily keeping up with the traffic, except on tight corners like roundabouts. I only saw the usual suspects. The water was quite clear and is finally getting up to comfortable temperatures.
I braved the (tame) shore breaks of Coogee Beach for the first time in ages, around midday on a decently warm day. Quite a few people there but nowhere as packed as I've seen it.
Afterwork paddle at Gordons Bay. Pretty flat after the recent wild weather, and not too filthy after the morning's rain.
Early Brando effort, black and white. An outlaw motorcycle gang occupies a town to no particular end, and justice is swift and erroneous. Brando gets off one cinematic classic — in response to "What are you rebelling against?", we get "Whatcha got?"
First attempt at a night snorkel with Andrew T at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. We got there sometime after 8pm, just on dusk, and while the southerly had garnered a strong warning we decided to get in anyway. The sea itself was calm enough, though the runoff was more troubling. With Andrew's waterproof torches we saw loads of stringrays, several large old wives, and some other decently-sized fish that I don't know the names of. I'm still hanging out for some squid or an octopus.
After work paddle at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. Quite a few people there at 6:30pm. Very pleasant.
This new Hartley feature has been finished for a while; it looks like he went full indie and financed it using Kickstarter. The DVD came out last year, and that seems to be the only kind of release it's likely to get.
This is not in the first rank of Hal Hartley efforts. DJ Mendel tries to channel Thomas Jay Ryan, and while he can carry the requisite artifice he somehow doesn't fire things up as much as he needed to. The whole thing is very lightweight.
I somehow heard about this production over the past few days (was it from the puff piece in the SMH?) and figured it'd be worth a shot, though at $28 (for us students) it was past the threshold of having to be decent. I hadn't been to the Griffin (Stables?) Theatre on Nimrod Street before.
I rode the CB250 from NICTA to King's Cross and managed to find a free park in a loading zone at 6:30pm; try doing that with a car on a school night. I found it easy to drift through the traffic, perhaps because it was mostly low-speed and stop-start, and got wondering where motorcycle accidents typically happen. I'm starting to feel about as safe as in Saigon on these city streets.
The production featured three very good actors, each starring in their own monologue and playing bit roles in those of the others. I found Sam Smith's boxer to be the most convincing by far, perhaps because it echoed Wayne McLennan's memoir. Renato Musolino has perhaps the most challenging and stomach-turning role as a bloke who prepares dogs for fighting. (His wife cleans them up afterwards.) Wade Briggs loses his legs to an orca at Sea World, and unfortunately the entire schtick of his character tends towards the unconvincingly farcical; more unfunny comedy than tragedy, I guess. Overall I enjoyed it, for the most part.
Lars von Trier composes some beautiful shots here, but to little effect; almost everything is pointless and stodgy. His earlier stuff left me feeling queasy and discomforted, whereas I watched this in smaller and smaller increments over several days, trying to stave off the tedium. The science is so risible that he should have omitted any kind of justification.
Snorkel at 1pm at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. Being half asleep I forgot my boots so I got in with just my mask. The singlet, intended to keep the sun off, was probably redundant on this grey day. I saw some huge wrasse and loads of the usual small fry. Relatively rough for the bay. The cycle there and back was uneventful.
With Marc and Ben, I went to the Friday night edition of the Now Now Festival at the Red Rattler, which I'd been meaning to go to since I missed Robbo's gig there so many years ago. $15 for us students. I hoped to see Chris Abrahams do something interesting at the end of the night and was mildly disappointed. Simon Barker and Min Young Woo made some magnificent noise with their drumming. The audience abuse of the two guitarists got a bit much.
I went back on Sunday afternoon with Ben for the Splinter Orchestra, who make noise to space out to. It was at some other warehouse in Marrickville.
Charles Yu's first collection of short stories is patchier than anything he did since. The titular Class Three Superhero, first of the collection, is by far the best.
Early evening paddle at Little Bay. The ride down was a bit rough with a stiff southerly, and the beach was pretty much deserted for probably the same reason. Had dinner down at La Perouse — Danny's — afterwards. Too expensive for what you get.
It's been a while. This is still parked at #83 in the IMDB top-250, so not all is yet lost.
First-thing snorkel at Bare Island with Andrew T. The water was not too cold, and despite the dire predictions of 43 degrees it was comfortable out, too, with a strong dry westerly. Loads of fish, a stringray, and a cuttlefish. It got hot later on.
After-work paddle at Gordons Bay. I got there a bit early, around 6:40pm, and hence had to battle the crowds to get down the scuba ramp. The water is quite comfortable now.
I read a reference to this Truffaut quasi-classic somewhere. It's not bad, with some great close observations of domestic life, but it's not great, being essentially conservative. The character of the wife is completely implausible.
I saw this back in 2007, but had forgotten the plot. It now seems like an almost-literal foreshadow of Inglourious Basterds.
Low-effort paddle at Gordons Bay after a long day on the motorcycle. Quite a few people still down there at 7pm, and as always, the Sydney traffic makes no sense.
On Friday night I rode over to Pyrmont to pick up a backgammon board, and spent some time reading a book in the park on the foreshore, looking west. Afterwards I headed back to Bondi Junction for a hot chocolate with Marc at Max Brenner's. Ang told me on Saturday night I should be going somewhere else, but I forget where.
I spent Saturday at the cricket with Jacob and his father-in-law Robin, who I'd met but not really spoken with many times. Jacob got us some very expensive ($140) seats in the Churchill Stand. The game itself was predictably disappointing, with the Sri Lankans not really having the discipline to grind out the pile of runs they needed to be competitive. After that Jacob and I had four beers each and dinner at the Dolphin on Crown Street, and then I met up with mrak, Ang and their mate Craig at the Bright 'N' Up Bar on Oxford street to listen to the Mountains (and two warmups) with a bunch of hipsters.
On Sunday I finally found the time to go for a decent burn on the motorcycle, hungover, dehydrated and a bit overheated. As the NSW State Government is trialling the reopening of the Warragamba dam wall to the public, just on weekends now, and yes, during the hottest part of the year, I figured it was something to aim for. It's about 156km round from Randwick, and a good learner track: Canterbury Road, Elizabeth Road, Park Road, etc. are a mix of 60, 70, 80 kph urban arteries and highways, and as there wasn't too much traffic it was quite learner-friendly. I stopped off at Wallacia Hotel for a coffee, and soon after loads of Harleys turned up. Their machine was broken so I got Nescafe without milk, but for the price of a cappuccino. I waited for the bloke-with-guitar-and-canned-backing-band to play Khe San but only got Flame Trees. The dam itself is not much of a tourist destination despite the claims that people once got married there. (Perhaps those people were the captive workforce housed in Warragamba township.) I stopped off at Western Sydney Parklands, where many Muslims were making picnics, on the way back for some respite.
I rode the CB250 down to Gordons Bay about twenty minutes before sunset for a paddle off the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay. The water is certainly warm enough now, and the wind only mildly cool. After that I went for a burn up to Bondi Junction and back via Avoca Street. I think I'm at the point where my confidence is outstripping my skills, which are rusty after circa ten days away.
Not exactly the beach, but I hadn't been for a swim at Blackheath Pool in ages; today was it as the mist moved in from the north. When I was a kid they used to have some slides, and the pool was a lot murkier, perhaps even salt water. They also had a huge climbable rocket in the other corner of Memorial Park.