More music, anyone …?

grouphead: ‘bottomless’ is a bit like removing that double spout

I’m currently struggling with my new bottomless filter grouphead, without a huge lot of success.

Must preface that (a bit late, eh ?) by saying that I have been able to make a WONDERFUL flat white with it, but at the cost of an enormous amount of coffee ground by my Lelit. I’m sitting here with a whole mugful of a wondrous brew; but I would rather have a smaller amount that I can refill more often.

1-cup and 2-cup filters
1-cup and 2-cup filters

In other words, the bottomless filter grouphead arrived with 2-cup filter inside, and I can’t get the bloody thing OUT ! I want to replace the 2-cup with the single cup filter I always use, but for reasons I don’t comprehend, I just can’t ease the big one out. BUGGER.

(Addendum: ’tis fixed ! I called the supplier and he irritatedly told me how.)

Anyway … all this activity related to Italian things (espresso machine and grinder, as well as new parts) has brought to mind the thought of laying some more Italian pop on you. Whaddya reckon ?

They themselves call it la musica leggera – light music; and that’s a nice, general kind of term, so we’ll stick with it. (Questions will be asked later: pay attention !)

Today we are listening to a different kind of pop track: it’s from one of Stringer’s and my two favourite female vocalists, the very beautiful and equally talented Giorgia:

“Arriva il temporale”, Giorgia, rel. BMG Ricordi SpA 1997.

This is a song that could well be described as a feminist cry. Don’t let that put you off for a moment, though: unless you speak Italian, you won’t have a clue; but you will, I trust !, derive as much enjoyment from this song as from the last one.



My Federal MP writes

“Margaret-Rose –

Today, Christopher Pyne introduced the Abbott Government’s unfair changes to higher education into parliament.

These changes will:

  • Allow universities to charge whatever they like for a degree
  • Charge students up to 6% interest on their HECS loans
  • Cut public funding for university courses by up to 37%

If these changes pass, students will be forced to take on much more debt and pay a much higher interest rate on that debt.

I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I didn’t have the opportunity to go to university. 

If these changes had been in place when I was thinking about going to uni, I would have had to think very hard about taking on $100 000 in debt and taking many, many years to pay it off. My parents certainly wouldn’t have been able to pay for me.

There will be a lot of kids and parents who are anxiously going through these calculations around the country. This is not the kind of Australia Labor wants to see. 

We will vote against these changes, but we don’t have the numbers by ourselves to block them.

That’s why it is absolutely crucial that the cross-bench senators vote against these unfair changes.

Their votes will be influenced by how strong the public sentiment is against these changes. Can you share our petition on Facebook or twitter and encourage your friends to sign it? Or forward this email on?

If we can show the cross-bench senators that the Australian public does not support these changes we have a much better chance of defeating them. Please tweet or share this petition or forward on this email.

Thank you,

Tanya Plibersek”


I told her I couldn’t, but that I would post it in case any Aussie readers might tweet it or put it on Facebook.

Can only add that I could never have done my postgrad. Certificate under Pyne’s new rules, which would in all probability mean that I would never have finished ATLMD. A particularly subjective statement, that one !

What is my PROBLEM ?!

Again I’m virtually incapacitated without pain management. Shit a brick, but it makes me grumpy …

I awoke at midnight – having replaced the batteries in my bedside clock, I am sure of this fact ! – to hideous pain in my right upper jaw. Arose, found the Panadeine Forte (which I have NOT had to take for weeks) and threw one down. Went back to bed. Nozzink. Pain simply went on as if I had taken no assistance.

Heaved myself out of bed again and found the Endone (which I NEVER take) with the label saying “for strong dental pain” ( ! ) and also got out half a Xanax to relax me – mostly to stop me being furious – and tried sleeping again. Eventually, at around something like 4 am, I made it. Lui had me up at 7:30; for I will confess to giving him his breakfast of 30g chopped meat at a very ungodly hour, specifically so as to avoid the 5am thing at the bedroom door.

Now both Endone and Xanax have finally cut in, and I am merely grumpy rather than furious.

Have made an emergency appointment for 11 this morning, at which stage we will find out what hideous sum is going to be needed to fix whatever it is – hole in tooth, in fact, for I can feel it with my tongue. Why I could not feel it before, I know not; but these abstruse matters are … abstruse !

Off to get showered and dressed and to the bank for some cash: I’m simply not well enough to be walking into town to catch the bus, so will have to take a taxi DAMMIT ! I LOATHE having to do that: the drivers hardly ever know where you want to go, and speak little English; and the cabs are often dirty and smell of cigarettes (completely illegal to smoke in cabs, but it’s nearly always the drivers who do it while they’re waiting for a fare).

Sighh …

You can see (easily) that I am currently not a happy camper. I shall probably be a lot happier once the Xanax has exited my system; but I have to keep my fingers crossed that the Endone doesn’t before I get to John’s place.

Happily for me, my dentist – to whom I’ve been going since 1978 – is someone I hold in the highest regard: if I didn’t, I wouldn’t go.

Addendum: another damned root canal. Only the gods know how much that’s going to cost. Still, I am out of pain, and without the need for further pain-killers, and that makes me much happier !

I wonder if by now every molar in my head has a root canal …? I wish ! – then there would be no more nights last the last !!!

Remember heaven ?

We’re there again.     :-)

Paula sends me photos every so often, and I file ‘em for later use. This means that I currently have a fairly large selection, on a fairly wide range of image ‘topics’. I think I might arrange them by date, so as to keep these topics more or less together. In fact, I’ll be playing it by ear …

For those who came in late to this, Paula is my only younger sister, and lives with her husband on a small farm in the Huon Valley in Tasmania (our most beautiful State, but also our coldest !). She is a spring chicken, being 9 years young than I. She is also VERY smart, and I seek her advice often. But that’s another story …

ANYWAY; on their farm they breed cattle and sheep to export for breeding, rather than breeding them for slaughter. They have also acquired … well, you’ll see.

We commence with shots taken on the 3rd of June:

Next are some shots from the 27th June:

Moving on, we come to the 2nd July:

And next, 13th July:

It’s hard to take, isn’t it ? – how grumpy would you be, living there …? Sighh …

Onwards … to the next day, 14th July:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She was fine: you can see the concern showed by the others – it’s truly so DEAR ! But she got up in a while and acted as if nothing had happened. To this day, no-one knows what did.

Then it’s the 22nd July, and this shot is meant to show me the rooster up on the fence: look carefully, eh?     :-)

Paula says he’s giving the cattle a hard time …


To 1st of August, and a VERY different scene, as Paula was driving to UTas, where she Chairs an important Committee, inter plura alia:

It gets COOOLD down there, believe me. Still and all, I’d rather be cold and able to get warm than be streaming with heat and unable to do a goddam thing about it !

And then it’s the 9th August, and Rupert is the boss of two new additions – a pair of white Belgian d’Uccle hens !


I innocently said to Paula “I don’t suppose they can possibly breed …” – and how wrong I was ! Apparently Rupert is having a lovely time …     [grin]

And now we have reached the 26th August:

I seenk ze last vun ees yesterday … The first new lamb !! And as you see, it’s a whole tribe affair.

Paula says that some of the others are so preggers they can scarcely walk: I s’pose some of you have felt much the same …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well, that’s the lot for now. I hope you(se) continue to derive enjoyment from these wonderful bucolic scenes, and I feel sure you do.

There will be more, eventually …

Oh, and btw … there’s one shot in all that lot that’s there to amuse – or to raise eyebrows, whichever …


1 DAY 1 WORLD PROJECT: 4:00 AM – 5:00 AM

I managed it, Lisa ! – not very excitingly, though.

I decided to go with it as a kind of link to my previous entry, to Paula’s B&W Sunday and  “Ominous” …

Here is a shot of my kitchen ere the clock – seen in the extreme top centre – has reached 5:00am. Lui Stringer is below, having been rendered rather grumpy by my putting to my face a strange black thing and looking at him.     :-)

As for the hideously bright white thing in the bottom left corner, it’s simply the side/end of the kitchen bench: immediately inside it is the dishwasher, then the sinks, then benchtop; and then it turns the corner with some more benchtop and then the stove that you see. This is not a kitchen designed for the taking of photographs.

No matter ! – the fact is that I have FINALLY managed to re-join Lisa’s non-challenge; and I expect to be able to do it better, next time !

1 Day 1 World

Black & White Sunday: Ominous

My take on Paula’s non-challenge this week is fairly radically different, as you see; so I need to explain it.

Here is my now very large, 8-years-old-in-October moggy, Lui Stringer. That is to say, here he is at somewhere around 5 months.

The ominous part of this photo is what he would develop into: not just the largest cat ever had by the Stringers or by me before I was a Stringer, but the most loved and depended on.

Readers of ATLMD will recall, perhaps, that Stringer, when trapped in his hospital bed here at home, knowing he was dying and knowing I refused to accept it – and encouraging that ! – was trying to work out what to do to fix the problem we had inadvertently created by being totally happy in each other’s company … to the extent that we had made no effort at all regarding maintaining outside friendships.

The best he could do was to pronounce one evening; “This house needs a CAT !”. And how right he was !     :-)

So this is a photo of a little animal who has wormed his way into my heart like no other. I never thought I’d be able to say that about any of the myriad cats of my life; but it’s the truth.

In spite of the fact that he is the least friendly to others, the most difficult, and the least predictable, and in spite of his tendency when crossed to bite me ( ! ), Lui Stringer has me firmly by the heartstrings.

Never thought it would happen. Never saw the signs …

Enter title here

– that’s to stop you being scared off.     [grin]

It’s about Doctor Who …

Stringer and I had each watched some of the old series; and then we watched them again together when the ABC replayed from the Jon Pertwee episodes to the Tom Bakers. I think the ABC never had the William Hartnell episodes: certainly neither of us ever saw any. And come to think of it, maybe they continued replaying after that, but if they did, we must have lost interest – I have never seen an episode between (and including) Peter Davison and Paul McGann.

When in 2005 the marvellous production/writing pair of Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner resurrected The Doctor in the form of Christopher Eccleston, we were immediate converts. I wasn’t totally smitten by Eccleston, and felt they’d made him a bit of a daw-daw with his constant utterance of “fan-TAS-tic !”, which he seemed to be required to utter in every second sentence. But I LOVED the scripts – they were terrific ! – and I LOVED that the modern CGI graphics had rendered the show viable, rather than merely a cult program.

And then came the tenth Doctor. I needn’t say much about David Tennant, other than that he made the ‘new’ man. Three wonderful seasons we had, and I have every single episode on DVD. (Unhappily, the audio quality is appalling: I should dearly like to be able to tell whoever pressed them to stick ‘em up their (_|_)s, did that not mean that I wouldn’t then have them.) In my opinion, there can never possibly be another Doctor like Tennant: not only did he have the appeal, but he had the BRILLIANT scripts that made him a flawed superhero. There is only one episode that makes me squirm; in “The Last of the Timelords” the writers make him into some kind of Jesus figure, and even the accompanying fx shots are poor. I don’t know what went wrong, there … but it was embarrassingly bad in the context of the other Davies/Gardner-produced episodes.

Matt Smith was practically a child, and I was very disappointed that the exit of Tennant and the replacement of Davies and Gardner by scriptwriter Steven Moffat and cohorts had led to so young a bloke’s being cast.

But that proved not to be my only problem with the 11th Doctor series; for I became totally confused by  Moffat’s scripts. In fact, so confused was I that I had to give up even trying to work out what they were about, and simply read someone’s explanation of any episode that ended with me actually wanting to know what it had meant.

It boiled down to the fact that Moffat ran amok with all the laws of science fiction writing; for he decided that NOTHING was impossible. (The cartoon, for which I can’t find the ©, seems to indicate that Matt Smith might’ve been a bit confused himself …)

This is the lazy writer’s way, I believe: if you refuse to accept any parameters between which you must write, it’s too easy. Characters were killed and brought back by the dozen; characters were here, there and everywhere in time; characters were duplicated, saw themselves and eventually had conversations with themselves. In the long run, we had the ‘war’ Doctor (John Hurt, that wonderful actor !) and the ex-‘Rose Tyler’, now a kind of representation of a moral … something, in deep conversation with  the war Doctor’s dilemma about … something – itself having already happened. Or not.

As well – for the first and only time, I believe – The Doctor’s costume was altered during the series: that jacket of the cartoon was replaced after a long time by one that Matt obviously preferred – the long frock-coat style of Jon Pertwee !!

No, Moffat without an Executive Producer to sit on him was dreadful. And not only in turning out script after script that made me think he’d written them while they were being filmed, but in terms of the special fx he was so keen on. We’ve seen more of these under Moffat’s executorial reign than ever before – and often without need.

However ! Capaldi, it seems, had negotiated with Moffat before finally accepting the rôle of Number 12, to the effect that he didn’t want undisciplined scripts (though he wouldn’t have used the word!); and I can only say that not only did I absolutely love the first of the Number 12 episodes’ introducing him to us as unsure to the point of anxiety, but as not liking his new persona and at the same time having to persuade Clara to like and accept it.

I have very high hopes for the new series, for I don’t believe Capaldi will let silly words issue from his lips, nor do silly and totally unlikely things.

Funny things, yes ! – “Planet of the pudding brains !” …     [grin]


Bit under the weather

Feeling rather much as if this is pressing down on me, have staggered up to advise why I remain obdurately silent in response to what look like lots of Comments to respond to.

I arose at some unspeakable hour to watch the first episode of the new Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi) at the same time as the Brits saw it, which was 4:50am here in Sydney.

WONDERFUL ! – I absolutely loved it. I could follow the plotline with ease !!!

My tum took exception to having to sit through half an hour of extraordinary music video clips stuffing the program that preceded it on the ABC (apparently called ‘Rage’): the moment Doctor Who had finished, it let me know.

I stayed there in my recliner chair and wished that Lui didn’t like sitting on me … and then I went to sleep. Eventually.

Currently in an argument with my system as to eating something. Or not. Going back to bed now.

I should be fine tomorrow.

Experimenting …

I have the space upgrade that should enable me to play music. Occasionally. That is, if this works, I mean only occasionally to utilise this ability, and certainly not normally to provide a track of this length. But this is a very particular track …

ATLMD readers may possibly remember a chapter that starts with my recounting an anecdote in which Stringer and I had watched an episode of a marvellous Italian music show we used to get direct from Galaxy-TV (when it lived), and, loving particularly a song in this ep., decided to ‘phone up Rai-TV to ascertain its name ! Which we did, which total success. Such fun, with me trying on my fairly ghastly Italian, and the show’s host giving every sign of comprehending it all !     :-)

I know I shouldn’t be doing this: I’m probably breaking every rule of musical copyright in the entire world. I honestly don’t intend to make a habit of it !!

But … this is that song. It still speaks to me.

“Un mondo che non c’è”; Enzo Gragnaniello, rel. Hydra Music 1993.


Thursday’s Special: Enchanted

Paula’s Thursday non-challenge comes around again …

With a topic like this week’s, it really impossible to avoid things like historical ruins, don’t you agree ? – and I lean in that direction all the time, anyway. Stringer and I went to Europe to look for them, after all.     :-)

(You can see more pictures of the area on our travel site, should you so wish, at

So here’s my entry for this week; a ruin that’s the subject of argument amongst historians. Les Ruines de Taillefer have been explained in a couple of different ways; but we didn’t care – we just thought they were beautiful.

And enchanted …

Daily Prompt: Breaking the Ice

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.


(1) In Australia, just as throughout the entire world, lung cancer kills people who smoke. I will acknowledge that it also kills some who don’t; but the enormous majority of its victims were once smokers.

I can tell you for a fact that it’s a terrible and almost always fatal disease unless diagnosed sufficiently early, when no metastasis has occurred and a lung can still be removed: the man I have loved above everyone else in my life was taken by it.

(2) In Australia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) is known as Motor Neuron Disease, because American baseball is … well, American.

I can tell you for a fact that it’s a terrible and, currently, fatal disease: the woman I loved most was taken by it.

I believe passionately in medical research into both conditions. If there were any way in which I could make a difference to either of them, I would, WILLINGLY.

But the only way I could conceivably help would be to donate funds to bodies researching them. I cannot: I have no money to spare. For a while I did contribute monthly to Cancer NSW; but I had to stop because the cost of everything keeps rising and our current government has decided to increase the age pension only occasionally. And anyway, lung cancer is not a topical issue, these days; and the reports I received from Cancer NSW as a someone regularly donating showed every other cancer you can think of but not the  one I wanted to help the research into.

Having reached that point in my life – LONG since ! – where people do who the employing believe I am either stupid or incapable or a goddam nuisance for even asking (and I have no idea why, to any of them !), and the sole other way in which I could ‘participate’ being closed to me, I have to accept that I cannot be involved at all in the search for a solution to either of these unsolved killers.