Saturday, September 22, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm ...

This happened quite some time ago, but it has given me pause every now and then.

The highway at the end of our street is usually heavy with traffic and at certain times can be almost impossible to enter, let alone cross over to go in the other direction. To facilitate the people who live in the streets running off the highway, there is a side road which allows access; what they call a service road. With the help of the mud map on the left, I'll try and explain what happened on this day.

My normal practice, when approaching the highway from our street, is to pull up at the stop sign, make sure no one is coming down the service road, then proceed across the service road, stop where the blue "X" is and wait until there is a sufficient break in the traffic to allow me onto the highway. All done in a reasonably fluid motion.

On this particular day, for some reason I stopped at the stop sign and stayed there, even though nothing was coming down the service road. I must have sat there for at least half a minute before realising where I was. I thought to myself "What am I sitting here for?" and prepared to move off when a car driving along the highway suddenly locked its brakes and skidded into the spot where I would normally have been sitting waiting. It quickly became obvious that the woman driving the other car had realised she was going to miss the turn off and had slammed on her brakes in an attempt to still make it. All I could think of was that where she had stopped her slide was where I would have been if, for some reason, I hadn't been sitting at the stop sign daydreaming.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 09, 2007


S, E and I went to the movies last night and saw Ratatouille, the latest offering from the Disney/Pixar studios. A terrific movie!

It's a tale about Remy, a rat with big ideas of becoming a cook. Strange, I know. I mean, when you think about it, you couldn't have two more diametrically opposed ingredients; rat and food. Not a good combination you would think. But Disney has pulled it off with aplomb.

The characterisations are fabulous, with wonderful vocal performances by Ian Holm, Peter O'Toole, Patton Oswalt, Janeane Garofolo, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehey and Pixar stalwart, John Ratzenberger. Add to the mix Pixar's usual excellent animation, a well structured storyline, a lively score, and you are served up a feast that is sure to satisfy even the most critical appetite.

This is by far the best animated feature I have seen in a long time. There are some periods of the film where the background movement and scenery almost takes away from the main action, it is that realistic. The storyline might be a little old for young children, but there is a generous helping of slapstick with will serve to hold their attention. For we older children, there's a good message in there, as well. Certainly worth going to see.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Oh! By the way ...

... I'd like to draw your attention to my new blog, "Writing The Image". It's a new attempt to get me back into the habit of writing, and although it's early days, I think it might be the kick start I need.

Please do visit.

Pipe dreams.

QUIT, the anti-smoking, anti-cancer council, announced yesterday that they had a proposed time line for the total banning of cigarettes here in Australia. They stated that by 2017, they hope to see legislation brought in that bans the use of tobacco in this country. It's already illegal in most States and Territories to smoke inside public venues. They just want to increase the boundary.

A commendable vision, but not one that I see as actually being achievable. After all, didn't they try this with alcohol in the U.S.? And that really worked. I can see it now. Couples, slipping down side alleys, knocking at unmarked doors with slits in them so someone inside can look out and see who it is. The door opens and a huge man grants them entry into the clandestine smoke pit.


I don't think so.

And it would be a real pain for those people who are smokers at the time the ban takes effect. It could be bloody expensive, too.

A man walks out his front door, calling to his wife.

"Be back soon, honey."

"Where are you off to?"

"Just nipping over to New Zealand for a quick puff. Want me to get anything for you?"

It's not the length, it's what you do with it.

As you are no doubt aware, George Dub-ya Bush, President of the US of A, is here in Australia for the APEC summit. He arrived Tuesday night our time, and was put up in the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney. Sydney is virtually in a stage of lock down, amidst some of the most intense security ever witnessed in this country.

On Wednesday morning, Gee Dub-ya was scheduled to meet with Little Johnny Howard, our Prime Minister, at another hotel. The Prez got into his limousine which was part of a motorcade of no less than sixteen vehicles. When everything was set, they headed off for the all important meeting ... one hundred metres up the road.

The motorcade was longer than the distance they had to travel. By the time Gee Dub-ya was stepping out at the other end, others in his entourage were still waiting to enter their alotted vehicle. Obviously, he must have realised how silly this looked because, after he and Little Johnny had concluded their meeting, Mr. President decided it was a nice day to walk back to his hotel.

Really, to make the motorcade more relevant, Mr. Bush should have caught a taxi. At least then he would have been guaranteed to go the long way.