peteg's blog

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening soak at the northern end of Coogee beach. After a stinking hot 40C-ish day a change blew through and rapidly cooled things off, so when I got to the beach a strong blustery southerly was blowing, making things a bit unpleasant. Noticably cooler in. Quite a few people still there but rapidly dwindling as conditions deteriorated.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early evening paddle at Gordons Bay off the beach. Not too many people about, perhaps due to it being overcast with much grey high cloud. The water seemed a little cooler than earlier in the month. Clean, highish tide.

In the Electric Mist

/noise/movies | Link

#49 on David Stratton's list of marvellous movies. Clearly he's a Tommy Lee Jones fan, who dominates almost all scenes as detective Dave Robicheaux. This means that none of the other characters gets sufficiently developed; for instance, Kelly Macdonald is criminally underused, as are Julio Cesar Cedillo, Peter Sarsgaard and a horny Mary Steenburgen. All make the most of nothing roles. John Goodman is not at all convincing as a smalltime underworld king. Several murders, some mystery. Some LSD-fuelled self-talk. The cinematography is occasionally gorgeous, largely by virtue of the natural beauty of the bayous of Louisiana. Somehow it doesn't get there despite the strength of the individual parts; perhaps that was due to the way it was assembled and abbreviated in the version I saw.

Bulworth

/noise/movies | Link

#19 on David Stratton's list of marvellous movies. Warren Beatty wrote, directed and starred, and that tells you exactly what to expect. The poster is an update on Ralph Steadman. Ennio Morricone did the score. Made in 1998, it's 1996: Clinton is campaigning for a second term against Dole, and Beatty's Californian senator is up too. Three nights without food or sleep lead to some seriously dodgy appropriation of hip hop culture. He falls in with an almost unrecognisably young Halle Berry, who mostly plays it straight. Beatty always gets the girl, right? Even when she's about a third of his age. The senator is a fan of KFC. Don Cheadle doesn't convince as a Compton gangsta. Nora Dunn plays a completely cliched journalist, much like she did in Three Kings. The CSPAN journo looks like Liz Jackson. The plot is sort-of powered by a naff self-assassination insurance scam. It's mostly about how U.S. politics gets funded. Colour no one surprised.

Janet Maslin. Roger Ebert.

Nadeem Aslam: Season of the Rainbirds.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. I've had this one sitting on the pile for ages. Aslam's debut recounts a week or so of soap opera in a small Muslim town somewhere in Pakistan, perhaps near Lahore; Arrubakook is mentioned but Google Maps knows it not. The monsoon is incipient. The many characters allow him to cinematically describe many locations: houses, courtyards, mosques, the legal and journalistic workplaces, the hairdresser's and his friend the butcher's. The now-crumbling school is built on a pool that was filled with rubbish. The judge gets murdered — politics, perhaps, or maybe his wife feared another pregnancy. The deputy commissioner has a Christian mistress. One of the local maulanas whose orthodox mosque is possibly in decline gets the most airplay. Some mail delayed by 19 years promises plot action that never comes. The date is implied by missiles being fired at Zia al Huq's plane, and flooding in Bangladesh. Loads of details and motifs: unrefigerated vaccines, utensils as weapons. Hunting birds: eagles, hawks, from the the mountains. The chapters end mysteriously with some italicised first-person child's view. Much is unresolved. There is little humour.

Reviews are legion. His later work is generally deemed superior.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

A mid-evening paddle off the beach at Gordons Bay. A seagull was hunting, like it didn't know about the easier feeds; another was snacking on the two-thirds of a watermelon someone had left at the waterline. Some people still around, but only one or two in. Flat, mid tide. It started raining as I got out, capping off a hot humid day that shaded into a mild windy overcast evening.

Buffalo Soldiers

/noise/movies | Link

#17 on David Stratton's list of marvellous movies. It's an army satire that fits entirely in the genre. I enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix's performance as a supply specialist more than I usually do. Ed Harris doesn't quite function as an incompetent; conversely Scott Glenn is a natural hard man. Anna Paquin is Anna Paquin, and she does. I recognised Elizabeth McGovern as Deborah from Once Upon A Time in America by her signature look. I guess I got what I expected: a lesson about not cooking up heroin in a basement at a U.S. base in Germany while the Berlin Wall falls. Idris Elba turns up just in time to reinforce that point. Haluk Bilginer gets his end of the deal I guess, and life goes on. Director Gregor Jordan did Two Hands and is apparently just now having a crack at Tim Winton's Dirt Music.

A. O. Scott drew the connections back to Catch 22 and so forth. Roger Ebert did too. I concur with them that this movie is not marvellous but might be worth a watch.

The Mule

/noise/movies | Link

At The Ritz, Cinema 2, 10am. I renewed membership for $17 and immediately burnt the accompanying freebie. Perhaps ten people total, all far older than me. I was somehow impatient to see this, perhaps because the Oscar bait has been so dire this year.

Clint Eastwood directs and stars. This is something of a counterpoint to Gran Torino: this time around he's incorrigible and his family irrelevant. We're in an Illinois of perpetual summer, and Clint is cultivating day lillies with help from some raffish and affable Latinos. Fifteen years later the internet has destroyed his business. You can infer the rest. Bradley Cooper is assured but banal; I don't understand why he got thanked by Larry Fishburne for busting the mule and not the hoods. I didn't recognise Andy Garcia. Taissa Farmiga is very weak in the role of the granddaughter; Alison Eastwood does better as the daughter. Clint is veiny and scrawny. He gets a tattoo in prison. He runs at the mouth in ways that would embarrass all of his previous characters. He's a good times sorta guy who goes for two women at once. The dykes on bikes take the heavy handedness in good humour. The story is not great: anyone younger than Eastwood might rush to judge the refurbishment of a veterans' drinking hole with drug money as completely authentic boomer behaviour.

Manohla Dargis. Christy Lemire.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

A vague snorkel attempt off the beach at Gordons Bay in the mid evening. The tide was way out, no swell. I saw approximately nothing due to very poor visibility. A kid was trying to fish off the southern rocks. Loads of people. No dogs until I got out, then just the one.

David Stratton: 101 Marvellous Movies You May Have Missed.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. A brief and pleasant read. The selection seems pretty random: some are not that rare, others are pretty much lost to history. There are no Asian movies. Almost every Australian movie seems to have Ben Mendelsohn in it. He's a fan of Tommy Lee Jones and Jake Gyllenhaal. Only covers the period since 1980. I wish he could appreciate movies that disagreed with his politics, or sense of how politics should be portrayed, like Team America. I'd seen perhaps ten of these, and picked out about twenty to chase up.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Late evening paddle at Gordons Bay. The tide was out so I got in off the southern rocks. Seemed clean, was flat. A couple of rowboats were doing laps of the bay, so I stuck to the southern side. Beautiful evening. A few dogs. Afterwards read some book and had a sandwich for dinner on the Coogee headland.

Harold and Maude

/noise/movies | Link

I somehow thought this was a British production. Basically Harold stages suicides for the benefit of his mum who is some kind of landed U.S. gentry. Maude is almost 80. They meet cute at a couple of funerals (which serve the role of the support groups in Fight Club), with Maude taking the initiative. Fast times ensue in an America far less homicidal than now. Maude has a numbers tattoo. Maude is easy with other people's property. Maude checks out on her 80th as she telegraphed she would. Harold launches his hearse-ized Jaguar off a cliff. There's a Cat Stevens soundtrack. The humour is of a tediously predictable shape: something dire happens then Harold's mum remarks on something minor. Hal Ashby has his own subgenre. I found it hard to care.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening soak at an epically flat Coogee. Seemed clean. Quite a few people still there. Afterwards I tried to read more book on the headland near the Bali memorial.

A Star Is Born

/noise/movies | Link

In two sittings. The fourth remake of a thick slice of Americana. Bradley Cooper stars and directs. Lady Gaga eclipses him; this is one for her fans. Sam Elliott, the cowboy from The Big Lebowski. Many others. No need for me to add to the cacophony.

Manohla Dargis. Dana Stevens. Both were wowed. Sam Adams wants to talk politics.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. High tide. Pleasant in. A few people about: a couple of guys fishing, a couple of families with the young boys on paddle boards. Very storm cloudy but no rain or forecast of. Read some more book on the Coogee headland after.

Tunes of Glory

/noise/movies | Link

An Alec Guinness / Dennis Price segue from Kind Hearts and Coronets. A flimsy King Lear sort of thing: the politics of a Scottish regiment when the battleground-promoted stop-gap Colonel (Guinness in a kilt and dodgy accent) gets replaced by the permanent one (John Mills also in a kilt but presumably his native accent; last seen in Hobson's Daughter; Oscar winner for Ryan's Daughter). Price has a bit of a nothing role as a Judas. Susannah York plays Guinness's cliched daughter, and Kay Walsh his bit on the side. The self pity is a bit much, and the rest is not enough. All in all it merely reinforces the feeling that the British ruling class was never up to the job.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

I headed down to Gordons Bay mid-evening after a trying and hot day. Quite a few people still around. Two stingarees in perhaps half a metre of water put me off getting in from the beach. I figured they deserved some peace (which I don't think they got) and walked around to the southern rocks. It's warm out in the middle of the bay. Flat and seemingly clean. Very pleasant out too, with a mild sea breeze and almost clear sky. Had dinner on the Coogee headland after.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

/noise/movies | Link

Second time around, and just as funny. In two sittings. Alec Guinness is hilarious as the entirety of the D'Ascoyne Family. Dennis Price is solid in the lead and has a lot of fun duking it out with wily life-long frenemy Joan Greenwood, making it with object of upright moral desire Valerie Hobson, and killing Guinness. Highly rated at IMDB but not in the top-250; what gives? I need to dig up more of these Ealing comedies.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early evening paddle at Gordons Bay off the beach. Seemed clean. A boat with four people paddling and a coxswain was doing laps of the bay. Quite a few people. Just the one dog. Dried off a bit in the dying light on Coogee headland.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

After drinking too much coffee too late yesterday, I had a mid-afternoon lunch on the grass out the back of Clovelly. Afterwards I read some more of Laura Tingle's most-recent Quarterly Essay, then went for a late afternoon snorkel off the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay. Loads of people there, some obliviously blocking the ramp. I saw the usual small fry, a larger groper, something with a mobile spine sticking out of its head (an old wife?) but not the big blue boy or any cephalopods. Lots of stingarees further towards the beach. Afterwards I finished that essay while drying off on the rocks.

Quarterly Essay #71, Laura Tingle: Follow the Leader: Democracy and the Rise of the Strongman.

/noise/books | Link

For some reason Randwick City Library changed eBook provider to Borrow Box, which meant installing yet another app and leaking still more personal data to unknown parties. I read this on the still-dying iPhone. This one dates from August 27, 2018, which was approximately when Turnbull got knifed for the second and presumably final time. I don't think it added up to more than a summary of what Tingle has read since her previous and far superior QE; for instance, what she got out of How Democracies Die (the subversion of institutions) is precisely the same as what Runciman helped make commonly known.

Tingle's points are often flat out wrong, and rarely justified. She seems overly credulous when she identifies the strongman with a political leader, especially when Trump is trying to do more-or-less what he promised albeit with unconventional means. Ultimately his main role might be to distract while the real business happens (or doesn't happen) elsewhere, and it is for these reasons that a government shutdown suits him just fine when it would be poison for earlier Presidents. Just like Bush War 2, I don't know how anyone could ever think that Trump made any progress with the situation in North Korea, let alone a breakthrough. We're told that political success implies popularity, but this is so clearly untrue of Tony Abbott. And Scott Morrison for that matter. And Bill Shorten. And ultimately John Howard. Oh yeah, what about Paul Keating?

I hadn't seen that much slab quoting since Alan Ramsey retired.

I could go on. Instead I propose that the right way to think about the leaders of modern Australian political parties is not along the lines of Ronald Heifetz's doubtlessly hugely valuable work but as pirate captains. The representative class is now essentially parasitic — they can't really make the pie any bigger by their own efforts, especially not without further environmental destruction or suicidally curtailing their cronies' activities — and the effective ones know all about the balance of terror. I'm going to see what Peter Leeson has to say about that.

The book concludes with responses to Dead Right. John Quiggin generously wrote the essay he wished Denniss had written. McTernan ripped Denniss apart at the level of technique. The Australian's economics editor Adam Creighton responded sensibly. I didn't read the rest.

There aren't many reviews out there.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

I thought I'd try Fish and Chix for lunch at Eastgardens: it's OK not great. The calamari are not as fresh as their advertising would have you believe. Afterwards I had half a thought to go for a swim at a Little Bay but settled for a coffee. Went for a walk around there and found a couple of parks at the southern end I didn't know existed. Read some more book on the phone at the Coogee headland, and then a brief paddle at Gordons Bay. Lots of cuttlebone on the sand.

Ben Frost: Widening Gyre at the Carriageworks.

/noise/music | Link

Part of the Sydney Festival. Booked 2018-11-26, $49.00 + $4.95 = $53.95. I rode over to the Carriageworks quite a bit before the 9pm scheduled start time with the idea of taking a look at Chicago artist Nick Cave's installation. The foyer is like someone blew up a peacock. Instead I finished my book. The ushers insisted I cloak my backpack.

I did buy Frost's The Centre Cannot Hold and the teaser EP back in 2017 but didn't wear it out like I did A U R O R A, so I guess you could say my expectations for this gig were managed. In any case his interview with Nancy Groves in 2015 already gave the vibe that this was the album too far. Well, perhaps what's missing can be made up for in format — eight speaker stacks surrounding his central console (cf the Chicago gig in 2014), statically spotlit — and extreme volume.

It got started promptly, with maybe 400 people generally admitted: some sitting around on the floor, or on one of the very few chairs, or standing around wondering what to do with themselves. Frost turned up in bare feet with his beard and long hair intact; his tattooed producer (?) looked heavily pregnant. Soon enough we were assailed by offcuts of the Chicago sessions and the odd identifiable riff from that new album. I used the earplugs I brought for the first minute or two; after that, well, it felt slightly less abusive than getting passed by a truck on the bike. The walls of roiling bass and unidentifiable noise weren't so much distressing as perplexing; they got my shirt to move, like a summer breeze. There wasn't a lot to hang on to: the identifiable note-like sounds seemed to point back to the early 1980s synthesizer work of Vangelis and co, and not Frost's very intriguing samples (bells, wolves, so forth).

Throughout the crowd hardly moved. There was a lot more talking that I would have expected, and it became very obvious every time Frost gave us some respite from the assault; his music didn't so much shut people up as get them to depart. I was surprised — what did they expect? Less pleasant was some aggressive heckling up close. Welcome to Sydney in 2019: nothing has changed.

It was all over in seventy minutes. Heaps of geeks crowded in after to photo his rig. I think everyone was left wondering if that was it, if there'd be more, or even a main course. I have to say I felt cured. Maybe Patric Fallon was right: maybe Frost is furious about the grim state of the world. But there's no need to take that out on us.

Apparently Frost was in Adelaide in December, and his music was accompanied by some visuals.

The Little Drummer Girl

/noise/movies | Link

A recent BBC adaptation of a le Carré classic. Over several sittings and I wish it had been more. The cast is stellar. Florence Pugh was the draw after her mesmerizing efforts in the lead of Lady Macbeth. She leads here too, and there is no justice but no shame in her second billing to frosty Alexander Skarsgård (making a habit of le Carré) and icy Michael Shannon in perhaps his best role yet. Oldboy Park Chan-wook directs. It's a step back towards the mainstream from The Handmaiden (the last thing he did?) with little blood — none lurid anyway, no eating of live animals, some great arty shots and lots of juxtaposition. But yes, still a visual feast.

It's 1979 (I think) and master spy/concentration camp survivor/dry humorist Shannon is assembling a team to takes us deep into classic BBC TV territory: the days of fine John Cleese comedies and circuses righted by Alec Guinness, moral clarity and things worth fighting for. It's a Mossad operation of a sort, something that will progress the cause of peace in Israel, which Flo joins in a bout of credulity that is not really supported by her having the hots for Skarsgård (who coolly ignores the advances of her colleague). How does she know that the explosives in the vintage Merc she drives across Europe will be used for good and not awesome? The scenes at the Parthenon are gorgeous. Late in the game the training camp gets seriously Fight Club: an American reads the rules, and a Dennis Hopper clone goes off the rails. At some points I thought she wouldn't survive; she keeps getting told she doesn’t have to take things further, but she does anyway.

The plot is not holeproof, and is perhaps exactly the one pilloried in Team America. The climax is a bit difficult to square with the motivations of the puppet masters. A very few filming locations are used to evoke so much of the Cold War world.

Stephanie Bunbury. I have no idea why it's so poorly rated at IMDB.

Dan Davies: Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal The Workings Of Our World.

/noise/books | Link

'Settlement'. The process of checking the trade’s paperwork, updating the shareholders' registers and sending the payments from the buyer's bank account to the seller's. The sort of thing which people, even very experienced traders and investors, don't tend to think about. People outside the market would presume that this happens instantaneously and auto-magically over big sophisticated computers and tend to be surprised and appalled when they find out the extent to which it doesn't. Actually, things have got a lot better since 2008, but that only means that if you wanted to carry out this sort of fraud [Bayou Capital] today, you'd have to do it in emerging markets or in credit derivatives or some other market with less efficient settlement systems than the New York Stock Exchange. Things tend to improve in settlement systems one megafraud at a time.
— Maybe! But that's not how the ASX sells it.

Kindle. Who doesn't want to know how to get away with financial fraud? This is a book-length expansion of that Guardian article. Amongst many others we're told about the massive Bre-X mining fraud, which reminded me of an otherwise forgettable McConaughey movie. Davies often points to the lack of existence of incentive-compatible mechanisms in many markets; for instance, pharmaceuticals start to look like movies and BitTorrent to me (and I'll have the generics thanks, even so). Particularly valuable are his explanations of why fraud cases are so difficult to prosecute and what to look out for. He gets funnier as he goes along as he builds up a foundation for referential humour.

The whole thing is worth a read, if only to see how pervasive trust is and how little that's going to change whatever the technology.

Kings Cross Theatre: A Westerner's Guide to the Opium Wars by Tabitha Woo.

/noise/theatre | Link

I walked over to Kings Cross in the soggy evening via Centennial Park, encountering a R1150GS at the corner of Oxford St and Moore Park Road. I brought some dinner and ate half of it in the little park opposite St Vincents Hospital, then had a beer, a White Rabbit Dark Ale, at the Darlo on the way past.

Tonight was the opening of the 2019 season for Kings Cross Theatre, and they kindly gave me a freebie to this very personal piece. The space was packed, with enough friends, family and similar indulgents to make the stories flow freely. Tabitha grew up in Tasmania in a family whose roots stretch back to Singapore and Ipoh in Malaysia, and hence to China. We got told about the relations between the Celestials and the English — she was great as royalty, particularly Elizabeth — and other things that might constitute a lesson at school. The second half riffs on China (and to a lesser extent, Asia) as constructed by America: musicals (Rodgers and Hammerstein; The King and I), themed dive bars, Chinatowns, yellow fever. (Missing was kung fu, Japan, a Chinese view of the West, and of course, Việt Nam.) Some singing, a sock puppet, humour, audience involvement that was not at all cringeworthy. I'd have liked to have understood the thread of it all better. She's a brave woman.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Despite yesterday's rains I decided to go for a paddle off the southern rocks of Gordons Bay, which seemed clean enough at the time. Flat, seemingly warmer. Again the rain seemed imminent but held off until well after dark (or never). Very few people there: a couple had their two large dogs in the water and the woman was getting quite excited about them fetching things. Afterwards another dog on the beach. I dried off a bit on the Coogee headland. It seems that every few days there's another shark story; this one about a shark inside the net at Brighton Le Sands got me more concerned than most.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early evening paddle at Coogee amongst a thin crowd. The forecast storms didn't show up until 10pm or so, though some clouds were blowing through around then after a warmish and humid afternoon. Small waves. The water was deemed to be unclean by BeachWatch. Loads of people at the pubs.

Wildlife

/noise/movies | Link

Paul Dano's first effort as director. Carey Mulligan is a young mum who gets moved to Montana with her son Ed Oxenbould by her never-do-well husband Jake Gyllenhaal. Jake promptly loses his job on the golf course and decides fighting more literal fires is what he needs to do as a man. Car dealing Bill Camp is somehow a temptation to the young ladies. The histrionic scenes are not good. Ultimately no more than a family drama featuring three odd socks. It seems such a shame to venture into David Lynch territory and come away with only this.

Glenn Kenny got right into it somehow.

The Old Man & the Gun

/noise/movies | Link

Spacek and Redford meet cute: her truck has broken down on a motorway, and he's in need of a change of getaway vehicle. Their diner scene is not a patch on the one in Thief. Casey Affleck and fellow mumbler Tom Waits (OK, growler and mutterer), Elisabeth Moss abet and escape without too much reputational damage. This is a pile of hokey ageing philosophizing about one-time boomer dreams: the inability to stop yourself from the pure indulgence of robbing yet another bank, even when you're shacked up with a Spacek who has a vintage Merc, three horses and a massive spread. I got thinking that Redford could probably play Trump in the inevitable Oliver Stone biopic: they have a similar all-American smug smile, whatever their differences in politics and demeanor.

A. O. Scott. Dana Stevens reminds me that director David Lowery made A Ghost Story.

Sydney Lyric: The Book of Mormon.

/noise/theatre | Link

With Pawel and Sylwia who got me a ticket on 2018-12-06 for $140 and a booking fee. I'd missed seeing this in Chicago a few years back. The Sydney Lyric theatre was packed; we were in row D near the centre, which was perfect. I don't think I'd been there before. Apparently it seats 2000 people but it didn't feel that big. We had a light dinner at Gojima beforehand.

All you need to know is at Wikipedia. Briefly, it's a product of the South Park minds (yes, it's scatological with something to offend everyone) and has been running since 2011. It explains while it entertains! — which sometimes made me wonder what their game really was. Many nods to 70s/80s geek culture (Star Wars, Star Trek, Douglas Adams, ...). We all enjoyed it. The cast seemed strong to me, but I don't go to many musicals.

Reviews are legion. John Shand.

Smiley's People

/noise/movies | Link

The BBC series, second time around. Over a couple of sittings. Also excellent.

Green Book

/noise/movies | Link

A weakly-scripted road buddy movie barely held together by Viggo Mortensen who got to see writer/director Peter Farrelly squander Mahershala Ali up close. Somehow highly rated on IMDB. Almost entirely about sticking the moral superiority of the American North to the South circa 1962. Viggo doesn't evolve so very much: his initial casual racism is not so deep or convincing that he can't just roll with what the world sends his way. An empty shell of a thing.

A. O. Scott. Inkoo Kang. Odienator. Richard Brody.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

/noise/movies | Link

I thought I'd seen the original but perhaps I haven't. Disney and loads of branding makes for a tedious and unimaginative experience. Nothing there for me. I don't know what I was expecting.

Bilge Ebiri and Sam Adams seem to think that we need movies like this to understand the current internet.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Late (3pm ish) lunch at Coogee followed up with a paddle in the surf with hundreds of others. The beach was hot (35C or more) and somewhat packed when I got there, but by the time I got in the change had rolled through with the storm clouds. Cold in with some waves. The storm only started for real around 6pm.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

/noise/movies | Link

The BBC series, second time around. Over (only) a couple of sittings. Excellent.

A Lego™ Sisyphus kinematic sculpture.

/noise | Link

The equivalent of software engineering in Ancient Greece.

I stumbled upon Jason Allemann's amazing kinetic Sisyphus sculpture a while ago, and finally got around to buying the bits for a motorized one just before Christmas. It's very easy now: the rebrickable page will autofill your Bricklink wishlist, and a button on that site will go and find a small set of suppliers. I did business with Alpine Bricks in Austria and 3 BRICKS in Slovenia; amazingly I received only ony incorrect piece out of over 1200. I'm glad I held off as the redesign of last year reduced the cost significantly.

I spent perhaps ten hours building it over three lengthy sessions. The instructions are very straightforward for building techniques this clever. It felt like most of the time went into the decorative murals. It's large, works as advertised, and the mechanism didn't require any tweaks. I can't imagine pulling it apart.

The Favourite

/noise/movies | Link

Had lunch in the Sydney CBD after trying to dig up the possibly-mythical Lego™ Chinese New Year sets. The goal was to burn my almost-expired Palace Cinemas membership freebie. I intended to go to the Verona for the 3:30pm session but found I could make it to the dear old Chauvel in time for their 2:50pm screening in Cinema 1 with perhaps 10 other people. It still hasn't been renovated.

Well, this is the sisterhood doing it to themselves a few centuries ago, in costume. It's a bit Lady Macbeth without Macbeth: to a man, the men are mostly inert and/or laddish, and their only memorable scenes involve a duck race and a naked porky squire being pelted with fruit by other parliamentarians or courtiers. (I was too sleepy to distinguish.) The main track has Olivia Colman laying it on as a sickly and indulged Queen Anne who is bossed by Rachel Weisz until fallen scrumpet Emma Stone turns up to reclaim her ladyhood, which seems to amount to the freedom to be a bitchy slut. Anne keeps seventeen rabbits: one per child who didn't make it. Weisz teaches Stone to murder some birds with long rifles. The cinematography sometimes employs an odd weird-out lens (such as a fisheye). Loads of four-letter words are thrown about, making it difficult to recommend to the BBC crowd. There is much riffing on the theme of ladywork. The story has some basis in history for those keeping score. Not much there for me on the whole.

A. O. Scott. Dana Stevens.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early evening pseudo-snorkel off the northern rocks of Gordons Bay. Flat. The tide was up. Visibility was very poor: I saw just one large wrasse, a pile of small fry in shallow water, and no rays. A few storm clouds rolled over and kept going.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Not many people still around then. Some big storm clouds were rolling through, but apparently the hail and so forth had spent itself in the Blue Mountains. Pleasant in. Lots of detritus near the shore, but seemingly clean further out. The tide was up. Flat. Dried out on the Coogee headland after and ate my dinner.