Ashley Zoch

Friday, April 29, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I wanted Hitchhikers to be a comfort movie.

Something I could pop into the DVD player when I had nothing else to do and just stare at. Notice the odd clever little nod to the book. Smile at Douglas Adams' carefully considered absurdity. Absorb the shiny new - but still quaint - design. Sadly I don't think it's going to be that movie.

I'm aware that the film and the book with differ, but this movie feels pretty shallow. It's like a generic Hollywood script with a few choice Douglas Adams jokes sewn in over the top. It lacks the substance required for repeated viewings. I feel like I've experienced all it had to offer in one sitting. If you disregard the dated effects and wonky acting, the old BBC series is superior. At least to me.

On the good side - there were a few well crafted subtle jokes and the Magrathea sequence looked good. On the bad side - I couldn't get around Alan Rickman as Marvin (his voice is too distinct), the set design was mostly very bland (rusty walls all around - looked like a level from Half Life), Zaphod looked like the guy from Nickleback and was too wanky, Ford was dull (I had high hopes for Mos Def), Trillian and Arthur were both plain. The plot followed key elements of the book, but the heavy use of Vogons as the enemy was also bland. They're just not that interesting.

I've made my peace with this knowing that any movie is better than no movie. There's always someone else waiting to do the next re-make. I wonder what Douglas would have thought?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Weddings, Parties...

It's been a weekend of wedding festivities. Dave & Heidi recently announced they were to be wed this month and Tayls & Tam tied the knot this weekend.

Dave's Bucks Night was Saturday and started at the Charles Dickens on Collins St. A few beers and soccer chants later we moved onto the Sherlock Holmes and finally to one last UK pub before I parted company (having to drive to the peninsula the next morning).

Dave lined up behind a round on pints.

On Sunday Shew, Janet and I headed down to Crittenden Winery at Dromana for Tayls & Tams' wedding. The evening started with a nice intimate ceremony under a Willow tree and a setting sun. We then caught up with various fellas from Tayls' Bucks Night over some smoked Salmon appetizers and a glass of wine.

Shew and Ash prior to the ceremony.

We moved inside and continued to feast on a variety of food and drink. We caught up with the new Bride & Groom to check out their rings and honeymoon plans (and camping plans - of course). The Best Man, Holly and Tayls made a nice speech each and then the Wedding cake was cut. To finish off the evening, Tayls & Tam stepped out onto the dance floor for a bridal waltz (much to Shew's pleasure as he was keen for a dance all night).

Tayls, Tam & Ash at the Reception.

We decided around 10:30 that we weren't as young as we used to be, and with a 90 minute drive home, we headed off. Tayls' mum had suggested something wine related as a gift, so we gave them a Yarra Valley Winery Day Tour so they can sample a few local drops.

Tayls and Tam put together some nice touches to make their wedding something to remember. The ceremony was very personal, their rings were nice silver bands that were cast with lines from cuttlefish, the food was served in clever ways to allow folks to eat standing up, and each guest received a native Australian Wedding Bush (Ricinocarpus Pinifolius). It's nice to see folks doing something personal to them and not just following a template.

More Weddings to come...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Patent Pending #1

The recent spate of barbecues and the mixed warm / wet weather has caused a bit of a mosquito plague here in Kew. I suspect I've been hit all the worse due to the lack of fly screens on the small windows here (bathroom and toilet) and my penchant for leaving the doors open to let a little air in.

I don't have any trouble with bites. For some reason the little devils don't like my blood much (insert alcohol content joke here, if you like). The one problem I do have is them landing on the screen while I'm watching TV - which brings me to my latest invention...

Screen Cleaner with built in Bug Spray. I call it BugFreeTV.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

All the Fun of the Fair

Darren and Kim came over this evening for a polite drink and a viewing of the final two episodes of Carnivale. I finally gave Darren his (month or so late) Birthday gift - a bottle of Port produced by Belmore Cellars in Balwyn and a pair of Port Sippers. These were brought about by his previously mentioned love of a good fortified wine, and a suggestion by a co-worker that Belmore produced an interesting one (onsite in Balwyn in the same barrel for a good number of years).

We caught up over a few bottles of Holsten Bier, trading camping horror stories and discussing Darren's imminent trip to Indonesia, and then settled in for a couple of hours of Good vs Evil at the Carnivale. It only left us wanted for more (hurry up Season 2!)...

Watson and Holmes enjoy a pipe of Port.

During the television watching, Darren knocked the top of the Port and we enjoyed a Sippers-worth each. It's not a bad drop and certainly an interesting way to imbibe it.

With the dutifully employed on their way home, it's time to bring in the aforementioned unmentionables from the line and batten down the hatches for this evening's impending storms.


Only their mother could tell them apart...

Larry & Mark

Business Lunch

I enjoyed a leisurely lunch with my accountants (as they cleverly disguise themselves for deduction purposes) today at Do Lunch in Eltham. Rich and I indulged in the Super Beef Burger while Mark took a carefully calculated risk on the Mushroom & Bacon Crepes. Both were delicious by all reports.

Mark showing off his new borrowed sunglasses.

Very little business was discussed. In fact most of the talk was of a travel nature with Mark recently returning from a hiking trip to Nepal and me heading off to Europe in the coming weeks.

Rich looking very business-like.

We basked in the early afternoon sun for a while and kept a casual eye on the young lunching mothers. There was also some comparison of beard growth, although Mark had cleaned himself up at the request of his better half, Janet.

Ash enjoying the fruits of the non-working lifestyle.

I returned to their office for a quick look through Mark's hiking photos while he looked over some BAS statements and conducted some other counting of beans. With a full belly I made a quick stop off to see Cheryl and then headed home for a quick tidy up before Darren & Kim arrive for an evening catch up and some Carnivale.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Now Playing

I've added a "Listening To" section in the right column that displays the current song I'm listening to in real-time. It uses Brandon Fuller's Now Playing plug-in for iTunes with a little PHP script that I hacked together from the example on his site. It's pointless, but I think its pretty neat.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

My Boys are Out There, Jerry!

It appears that through my inadvertent and rather flippant use of the term 'freeballing' in the title of a test post I have listed myself under the topic of 'going commando' on a number of search engines. A look through my web statistics shows that I'm getting referrals based on the search terms '' and 'photos of people freeballing' (for fetish or medical purposes, I'm not sure).

Despite the probability of me moving up in the search engine ranks by mentioning the gentle art of freeballing in yet another post, I thought it appropriate to warn those coming here for a glimpse of some crown jewels or for discussion of the finer details of groin temperature that this is indeed not the right place.

For those who may be curious, I whole-heartedly support the wearing of Bonds GuyFront Trunk boxers (and they, in return, support me). I had considered including a link here, but I suspect that may get me even further unwanted hits.

With that all in mind, I'd like to give a shout out to Allan Rudd (the original sans-pants dilettante) and raise some roofing-tiles to the sounds of the Bomfunk MC's "Freestyler".

Rock the microphone...

Parlor Games

Last night a handful of gentlemen came over for a session of barbecuing and parlor games. The evening started with a hot plate frenzy to cook up hamburgers for 9 hungry gamers. There were many assistant Iron Chefs, but a special mention must be made of Matt and his efforts on the egg rings (in the face of sticky, uneven hotplate adversity).

Once the eating of meat was completed and sufficient dirty jokes were shared, we proceeded to the parlor for a lengthy round of Baulderdash. With definitions for krunt, gurmies, horehound and others cleared up, we moved onto Scattergories. A little liquid-intelligence helped the creative juices flow (with 'Naked Women' as "something starting with 'N' at the beach" causing most of the group to negate each others answers for zero points).

With Scattergories over and a few of the 'softer' gents gone home, we delved into some late night Hearts. I received the caning I so rightly deserved for trying to 'shoot the moon' too often and sporadically forgetting which of the queens was 'Black Betty'.