Sunday, February 25, 2007

"It's raining outside, feels like it's gonna rain all night" - Shakin' Stevens

Shakin' Stevens... what a legend. Did anyone else love the song "This ole house"?

At home alone crying on a Saturday night. How sad is that. My baby has gone away to Albury for work for 11 days and I'm feeling sorry for myself. I'm not sure quite what has come over me. Must be just one of those emotional days you have sometimes. He just left in a cab, not quite confident enough yet to drive in the manual on the roads or by myself, plus the rain, so I didn't drop him off. And you know how it gets, once those first few tears fall, it's hard to stop, so it's better just to let it all out. Anyway, I'll be ok. The world's best time-waster can certainly keep herself entertained for the next couple of weeks! :)

It's pouring rain here at the moment - been going for ove 3 hours now. No signs of stopping either. Quite refreshing. We got caught out in it earlier on. Between the restaurant (some reasonable tapas - yes Darwin has tapas!) and Cold Rock, we got drenched. I think I'm going to have to make it my duty while here to try and fit in as many combinations of icecream and fillings as possible. Tonight I had coconut icecream with strawberries - it was quite delightful. Gideon went for a rum 'n' raisin with skittles! - not to my taste, but it was pretty good. Last time I had butterscotch and strawberry icecream with cookiedough all mixed together! - I had wanted real strawberries, but the girl misheard me, so I ended up with a weird mix, which ended up being quite delectable! Any suggestions as to what to try next?

Today was a stunner of a day. I have to say, a highlight, believe it or not, was washing the car! I can't tell you how glorious it is to be able to hose down your car (and each other ;P), with big suds and the whole deal. For those down south, I'm sorry to boast, but it was just so lovely not to have to worry about water. Plus with the hot weather, we were in our bathers, and it was a relief to be sprayed with the hose every now and then. Then afterwards, a jump in the pool. Crystal clear water and blue skies. Just heavenly!

So what else is good about Darwin? Here are just a few things, not necessarily in any particular order (mostly heat related):

*You can turn off the shower to shave your legs and not freeze to death.
*It doesn't take long to learn where everything is, the city is basically all on 3, maybe 4 parallel streets. And everything is a 5 minute bike ride away.
*There is Darwin time... which is vaguely equivalent to Gayle time!... well, maybe not quite so bad. ; )
*The pool is ALWAYS at swimming temperature
*Mostly workwear is bordering on casual wear
*Smaller appetite
*It's true that in general people seem friendlier
*Cold water tastes better here :p
*Things dry really quickly
*You don't have to take just-in-case extra layers to wear everywhere you go, not even in the open-top mini at night-time!

Anyway, so I have some big plans for the next few days :D

1. Try and finish Icewind Dale II. I have been playing this damned game since at least October and am still not finished. Even worse, up until yesterday, I was just redoing what I'd done before on another computer. I guess I shouldn't complain, if it really that bad, I would have stopped ages ago!

2. It's finally here! Oscars Night!!! Yes I do! No prizes for guessing where I will be from 7.30pm on Monday night. I can't wait!

Go Little Miss Sunshine!!!!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ups and downs

Today started off well, but soon turned into a frustrating day.

Have picked up two weeks of temp work doing secretarial stuff at a law firm which is nice.

Then got a call from a uni asking if I had any other references because she couldn't get hold of my 3. Big thanks Rob for coming in at the last minute. (It's nice to have friends who have also been your manager!). Seems to have done the job because they called to offer me the job an hour or two later - without interview! I was so wrapt, because it's for a 6 month position which would last me till we leave. But I needed to confirm that she was ok with me leaving at the end of July (which would make it more like 5 months) and that she was happy with me taking leave for a week in March/April and 8 days in June. I thought the 5 months would be the problem, but she was ok with that. The problem was with me taking leave. I even offered to fly back in March between the hens night and the weddings! Turns out she was more keen on having someone for the 6 months who would just get their leave paid out. So close... but not quite. Looking on the bright side, I don't have to travel out to Palmerston every day, and it means I'm free if something else more to my skill (what skills??) turns up. :)

Back to the drawing board. At least I have work to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks. :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy Birthday in Litchfield Park

HAPY BIRTHDAY HONEY!....For half a month ago!
It was Gideon's 30th birthday on the 11th of Feb. It was a bit of a quiet affair given we don't know a heap of people here. The night before we went back to Discovery nightclub for some dancing. It was a mixed bag. The previous time we had gone it was Australia Day, so they had guest DJ's who played dance music all night. This time they played a mix of R&B and dance, and it wasn't necessarily all good dance. We did stay out till about 3.30 or 4 though.
We started off Saturday with me making sausage rolls while Gideon spent about an hour following a very painful path of clues to find his presents (if any of you visit, you may get to see them :P). Not sure if he enjoyed it, but there were word finds, computer spreadsheets and all!
Then we headed off for a day trip to Litchfield National Park. Very beautiful. It was a touch hot, but luckily there were some waterfalls at the end of the drive.

Gideon & I cool down at Buley Rockhole.

Florence Falls

Wangi Falls
Unfortunately because of Wet season, Wangi falls were closed off for swiming due to strong currents and potential for crocs.

For you gamers out there, here's a fun link:

On the workfront: Still unemployed :( I seriously thought it would be easier than this. Did finally get some temp work for a few days which is at least something. Ironically I was sitting in on job interviews and taking notes for a government department. I don't know how much they really needed me, and they let me take the work home to type up a report - very trusting and very Government I think! Am also coming to the conclusion that employment consultants are a little on the incompetent side. One forgot to tell me what time an interview I had was and then what time to turn up at the Govt job to start work (she said she would e-mail the details), she also didn't tell me that I would need to get my supervisor to sign my timesheet, so I had to go back today. Another consultant lined up an interview for me which I as a little dubious about (the company would provide training even though I would only be there for 6 months), and as I was walking out the door to go the interview, I got a phone call telling me the interview was cancelled because they wanted someone long term. She also never calls me, so I have to keep following up with her. Oh well. On the upside, I've met with TIO (Territory Insurance Office) who said they would contact me if any project work comes up, and yesterday I went to a "job interview" with a financial planner who was really nice and said, we are not going to hire you (you are over qualified and we want someone long term), but he is going to pass on my details to other firms. So cross fingers something comes of it all. In the meantime, I guess I'm just going to have to join as many temp agencies as possible.

Happy belated Valentine's to you all as well! We celebrated on the weekend after. Gideon got me some lovely roses, and took me out for a sushi train lunch. Then for dinner he made me close my eyes so that he could take me to a secret spot. After 15mins of driving around we ended up at my favourite Vietnamese place down the road (3min drive!).

Other than that, not much going on besides the job hunting. Gideon is cramming in some (manual) driving lessons, so that I can drive the mini while he is away. He is going to be away for almost a four weeks (with a 1 day return in the middle). :~( So you guys are going to have to write and keep me occupied!

And the after that I'll be back in Melbourne! I touch down on the morning of Sat 24th March and leave on the evening of Mon 2nd April. I hope to catch up with all of you! There will definitely be a pubnight and some salsa (I'm hoping to try and combine the two), plus some other dinners and brunches hopefully.

In farewell - a couple of sunset shots from our balcony (excuse the power lines) and the usual movie reviews. :)


Movie Reviews

Stranger than Fiction: 3.75/5

Cast: Will Ferrell (Old School), Dustin Hoffman (Tootsie), Emma Thompson (Sense & Sensibility), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary)

In a nutshell: Very good, in the vein of Eternal Sunshine, but not quite there.

Brief Synopsis: A tax accountant starts to hear a voice in his head narrating his life, when she lets slip that he is going to die, he endeavours to stop his death.

This sort of movie is right slap bang near the top of my taste meter - I love quirky movies. Think Kaufman. Ferrell is not "feral" to quote Margaret Pomeranz, he is very restrained and you don't feel the need to slap him like you normally do in his movies. Hoffman and Thompson are class acts, as always. There is so much originality, freshness, suspense and human emotion in this, it is a pleasure to watch.

Music & Lyrics: 2.5/5

Cast: Hugh Grant (About a Boy), Drew Barrymore (E.T.)

In a nutshell: A bit more chemistry than he had with Sandra Bullock, and maybe a bit more fun, but really not much more.

Synopsis: An ageing popstar must write a song in order to resurrect his career, but he hasn't written in over 10 years.

This is paint by numbers for Hugh Grant... the dude has great comic timing. The plot starts off well, good basis for some good laughs and a little sprinkling of romance, but it just doesn't go anywhere particularly exciting. There's little or no sexual tension between the characters, and I blame that more on the script rather than the actors, and what is a good rom com without some sexual tension? Drew is a little underused, or her character is just rather lame - both probably apply. It's still watchable, and fun, but most of the laughs come from Hugh Grant's dodgey dancing, and we've already seen that in Love Actually.

The Inconvenient Truth: 4/5

Cast: Al Gore

In a nutshell: Everyone should watch this

Brief Synopsis: Documentary about Al Gore and his passion for the global warming issue

How Al Gore lost the US Presidential Election to George Bush Jnr will remain a mysterious phenomenon for all time. Watching someone who is a charasmatic speaker, talk about something that he is tremendously passionate about and back it up with cold hard facts (and beautiful graphs!! hehe) is inspirational. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me feel ashamed, astonished and outraged. Most fictional movies won't do that for you.

The Devil Wears Prada: 3/5

Cast: Anne Hathaway (The princess diaries), Meryl Streep (Death becomes her), Stanley Tucci (Road to Perdition)

In a nutshell: I'm sure I have seen this one before, naive young person tries to make good in the big city but not before overcoming an adversary and sorting out their own issues.

Brief Synopsis: Budding journalist with no dress sense goes to work at a fashion magazine for the editor from hell.

I am not sure why there was so much hype surrounding this movie. It just seemed like many other movies I've seen before, I could not see anything special about it. It is not bad, by all means, both Streep and Hathaway give decent performances, but I probably enjoyed Stanley Tucci's performance the most. The pretense is vaguely amusing, but in the end, it follows a very old formula. There are no suprises here. Possibly the best bits were the fashion and the fact that Ugly Betty has hit our screens (surely it is based on the movie/book?).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gong Xi Fa Cai 2007

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!!!

Wishing you all much good luck, health and prosperity in 2007. :)

Love gayle

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cheap Flights!!

Hey Purple People (avoid those eaters!)...

I've been meaning to blog... a few things to blog about... but have to find some time to sit down and be focussed... but in the meantime, wanted to mention the following...

If you are interested in coming up to Darwin, there is a really cheap deal on with Jetstar at the moment. 2 for 1. Flights from Melbourne to Darwin are as cheap as $89.50 one way per person. The sale ends midnight on 14th of Feb (tomorrow night!) and it is for flights from mid April till September. Don't forget we will be leaving Darwin by the end of July, so you only have a small window of opportunity to take care of Hotel G&g. We also won't be around from June 17-27th. Sorry for not having mentioned earlier!

Love g

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What's your favourite movie?

It's raining again this morning. Yesterday it rained for most of the night before and we got a whopping 49mm in Darwin, and even more in surrounding suburbs. It's definitely wet season!

Still bumming around at home and looking for a job. Surely someone could use my skills! I'm not that incompetent!

Anyway, I managed to waste over 3 hours over the last 24 hours. Lynn you are a saviour! My sis sent me up a couple of DVD's with 2 episodes of So You Think You Can Dance taped (we don't get it here, no Channel 10... although incidently, I notice they are showing The Biggest Loser here on Channel 7, daily at 10.30pm). It was AWESOME! We are going back to the episodes where Martha, Dimitry (he of the open shirt), Ryan and Allison (she was robbed) have been kicked off. And at the end of the last episode there are only 6 people left. Benji and Heidi (very uncousinly cousins) were HOT! Unbelievable moves in their mambo - I will have to see if I can convince Gideon to learn them! ;P

One thing I have been doing is exercising more (Going to have to tone up to fit in the dress for April!). Gideon has to keep fit for work, so he's been dragging me a long for some runs. I'm so unfit that he stops to do sets of pushups and situps while I keep running, and he still catches up. Oh well, can only get better!

Have been meaning to mention.. has anyone see the advertising for Phantom of the Opera!!!! I can't believe it is coming back with Anthony Warlow....*sigh*... what a honey. I'm so there. I believe it hits the Princess Theatre in July this year! Can't wait!

Anyway, as you can see I've updated the sidebar of my blog to display some of my favourite movies. If you haven't seen any of them, you definitely should. What are your favourite movies? Feel free to comment...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

XS, S, M, L and XXL News


Well, not too much happening for me at the moment, and you can tell by what follows that even the smallest things entertain!

However, there is one rather... somewhat... LARGE piece of news (don't get too excited), which only you, my dedicated blog reader(s?), will know for the moment (until the grapevine kicks in of course), and as a bit of a test, I'm interested to see just who reads the blog! But more on that later in the entry... meanwhile, here are some simple amusements and happenings.
In aid of my vertically challenged status, we were on the look out of a cost effective, storage friendly, but functional set of steps. I cannot reach the clothes dryer and some kitchen shelves without something to stand on, but the search was proving fruitless. Then after dance class last week, we found this beauty abandoned in the car park and decided to steal....ahem... I mean, borrow it.

I am pleased to say that I can now reach the dryer, but it is a little tough on the feet



We have had a pole installed in our bedroom.... cool. Unfortunately, it's not that exciting. Gideon put a support pole in the closet because the shelf looked like it might break under the weight of our clothes!



The dance scene is not huge in Darwin. There is no swing or Le Bop. There are a few places that teach ballroom and there are two places that teach Salsa - both at a beginner to intermediate standard - it's still fun, but not very challenging.

There is one guy who teaches Argentinian Tango - Gideon and I have been going to learn something new. Acho seems like authentic teacher, and sometimes we are the only people in the class. I LURVE Tango. Incidently, for those in Melbourne, take advantage of Fabio and Ana (who are lovely) at Back to Back, Nicholson St, the 2005-06 Australian Champions. Chris & Christina at Viva Dance are also awesome. Last week we met 3 good looking doctors at Tango (lol), one Brit, one from Perth, and the other I recognised! I had danced salsa with him before in Melboune! People in Darwin are never from Darwin!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, once a month there is a bit salsa social. Although, they play all sorts of music - rock n roll, samba, chacha, bachata... depends on the crowd. And they do some really basic progressive dances so everyone can have a go (lol - takes me back to Primary School barn dances and Yr 9 Prac Dancing!). I had some good dances, which kept me buzzing for a few hours!


All dressed up - at least by Darwin Standards!

1. Gideon's appropriately funny t-shirt - you may have to zoom in
2. I even flicked my hair out with product - Gideon said I looked like a cartoon character!
3. Very cool and glamourous earrings - thanks Matt & Mel - I love them!
4. Sexy new jeans! Well, I like them.
5. My bargain Esprit Dress - good for spinning in!
6. Newest addition to shoes I can dance in - Nine West - they are awesome!



For his 30th birthday (it's on Feb 11 for those who wish to send him messages! ("or presents!", he says)), Gideon got this brand spanking new BBQ from his parents. It's a Weber Baby Q, and it's so very cute!! It's actually a gas Weber - yes, they make gas BBQ's!


Am still looking for work. :( Unfortunately I was knocked back on a job I really wanted. I've been applying for a lot of Government jobs, but I'm coming to the conclusion that they are very slow to respond and that their jobs seem to go to internal applicants.

However, as a result of a couple of other jobs I applied for, I heard back from two employment agencies last week, who are both kindly on the look out for me, and already there are a few interesting possibilities! I did some computer testing at Chandler Macleod (typing, Word and Excel) and apparently I got the highest scores they've ever seen - obviously the standard is not that high in Darwin!

Then, there's been an added complication...
I'm going to the UK after all!! A massive congratulations to Gideon who has been accepted into a course in the UK... which means that we are moving to England in July/August!!!!!! What it also means, is that with planned trips to Melbourne in March, Broome in June and then the UK in July/August... I can't really apply for a permanent position without feeling terribly guilty! So it looks like I may be temping for the next 6 months... which is not ideal, but then given the type of work available, might be a bit more interesting than a permanent position. We will see what happens!

So that's my big news. And this entry is starting to get very long and boring, so I will sign off... with of course a movie review.

Much love to everyone at home in Melbourne.... and other places too!

gayle xoxo


Movie Review

Miss Potter: 3.25/5

Cast: Renee Zellwegger (Cold Mountain, Bridget Jones), Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge), Emily Watson (Punch-Drink Love, Gosford Park).

In a nutshell: A lovely little movie, but nothing of particular consequence.

Brief Synopsis: The story of how Beatrix Potter became famous and the ups and downs surrounding that time.

Having misread the cinema timetable, I was quite disappointd to find that I would not be seeing Hugh Grant make a fool of himself in Music & Lyrics at least until Valentines Day, and instead settled for Miss Potter. Thus, my expectations were low, and I ended up having quite a pleasant Saturday Morning in the company of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and the like. There's nothing outstanding about this biography, but it is quite a lovely story that leaves you feeling vaguely satisfied and optimistic by the end. I had a bit of a cry, which for me is usually a good indication of a well put together (sometimes deliberately manipulative) movie. Zellwegger is getting better at the British accent, and is more likeable than her Bridget Jones alterego, and McGregor and Watson are both scrumptious as Potter's publisher/love interest and his sister, respectively. Bit like an English tea really - polite, warm and comforting.