LEGO Movies and Music Quiz – Answers

The Lego Movies and Music quiz was almost three weeks ago. Here are the answers…

How did you do with the Lego made movie and pop band scenes? Below are the answers. Plus, in some cases, a little explanation to the more difficult ones.

Movies in Lego

Here are the answers to the movies questions…

  1. An easy one to begin. ANSWER: Robocop

2. This one really was scraping for parts. ANSWER: The Wizard of Oz

3.   OK, some idiot will probably try to say something about this one.

ANSWER: Zulu.

4.   This one may be a little more tricky… Not an easy film to show with the parts we have.

ANSWER: Reservoir Dogs.

Not an easy one to do with the Lego we had available but it was the colours thing… Mr. Blond, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink (purple!?) and Mr. White.

5.  A classic. Say no more…  ANSWER: Spartacus

6. Another very famous movie. ANSWER: Jaws. (Well sort of)

7.   Not great but I think you will get it. ANSWER: Interview with a Vampire

8.   Even if you have not seen the film you will probably get this next one… ANSWER: The Exorcist.  Easy right?

9.   Not so much a superhero as an anti-hero maybe?… ANSWER: Ghost Rider

10. I struggled with this one but definitely wanted to do the movie.

ANSWER: Pulp Fiction.

‘Deadpool’ was mentioned, probably because of that red suit and mask. However, that thing was the closest I had to make “the Gimp”. That’s the character, Marsellus Wallace bending over in the background by the way. I thought that may have been helpful…

Music – Bands or Singers

Now for the musical ones.  Answers below…

  1.  A well known group. ANSWER: ABBA – easy right?

2.   Struggled with this one but had to do it.  ANSWER: The Beatles (that’s supposed t be a Yellow Submarine by the way)

3.   Name the person or his band… ANSWER: Paul Stanley from the group KISS

4.  From a similar era. I thought we had a Lego snake somewhere but I was wrong.

ANSWER: Alice Cooper.

And the bonus one…

A famous painting… ANSWER: The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci

How did you do?

Let us know if you think you got all of the quiz questions right. Or if not, which ones did you struggle with?

Pubs to Open Monday in Australia

In the last post I commented on the possibility of the pubs being reopened.

“No, sadly not. Sorry folks. I am beginning to think that this one will never happen. Let’s face it. The last thing the politicians and councillors want is people socialising over a few scoops while dissecting their pathetic performance…”

Well, I just heard that the pubs are supposedly reopening this Monday. Wow! Finally there is some real common sense after all the crap. Of course I will be checking this out – in the interests of research. I happened to catch a bit of the “news” which I don’t really bother with too much these days. There is a catch however. The pubs can only allow a maximum of 50 people to enter. Once again I will be researching this on Monday and reporting my findings right here.

Second Wave?

While seemingly doing the right thing the government are warning us all that we need to be vigilant as there may be a “second wave”. No, we are not talking surfing here. They mean a “second wave” of coronavirus! Who the f*#k are they trying to kid? There hasn’t even been a first wave – in Australia.

If there is anything and they start calling it “the second wave” it will just be normal seasonal flu. Because we are now in that season down-under. But it will be interesting to see what happens…

 

How to Tell if this Coronavirus Thing is Over?

How do we Know that this ‘Pandemic’ is Over? What is the true sign? The green light if you like, which tells us we are back to “normal”.

Cafés or Libraries?

Could it be that Cafes are now serving their customers on the premises? Not really. They are only allowed 10 customers for some crazy reason. More officious crackpots at work no doubt. Anyway they never ever fully shut up shop. They just polluted the planet a little more by only having takeaway coffee with plastic lids.

Is it that the public libraries are open? Erm…actually they are still closed. I have no idea why either. I have been in a few over here and there is always way more than enough ‘social distancing’ space. Bookshops meanwhile were one of those shops that never closed. I spent about half an hour in one this morning flipping through pages of kids books (for Dani) and history books (for myself). What is the difference between doing that in a bookshop or a library? Simple. The library is run by the council. Say no more.

Pubs or Schools?

Is it that Pubs are reopening? No, sadly not. Sorry folks. I am beginning to think that this one will never happen. Let’s face it. The last thing the politicians and councillors want is people socialising over a few scoops while dissecting their pathetic performance during this panic-demic/planned-demic/crock-of-shit*

(* – delete as appropriate)

Is it that Schools officially reopened this week? Nope. Well they never really closed in Australia, despite ambiguous messages from the leaders of each state in Australia kids could always go to school. Dani ‘missed’ one day – which he did online. Only the kids whose parents were hiding behind the sofa remained doing home-schooling for any length of time.

Beaches?

Ah. Maybe it’s that the beaches are now open again? Which reminds me; I never did the update on that one. Filing system for surfers (and swimmers) to go in and out of the sea. Then piss off! “Surf and Go” the signs say. Well actually I can sum it up in one word – “Pathetic”. In any case most beaches always remained open and it varied state to state and (in the case of Sydney) depending on the area council. More ambiguity.

This is it…

No. The surest sign that things are getting back to normal is that the LEGO shop has reopened. Seven days a week. And about time too. Now kids (big and small) can wonder around and swap germs to the enjoyment of that great toy. Mixing at the brick play area handling the same bricks. Great! A true sense of ‘normality’, as much as we have it. But at least this is normality as far as the kids are concerned. Good for the Lego shop I say…

Reminder…

And that is a timely reminder. I will publish the answers to the Lego Movie and Music Quiz posted almost weeks ago. If you missed it and want to test your film and pop group knowledge then you can see that one here

Weekend on Outskirts of the City

Last weekend we took a couple of trips over to the north and west side of Sydney.

Lane Cove National Park

Sandwiched between northern and western suburbs of Lindfield and Macquarie is the valley carved out by the Lane Cove River. This forms the Lane Cove National Park and is an incredibly tranquil area within eyesight of the towering city centre buildings. A total oasis offering water-sports such as rowing and canoeing with walking and cycling paths. There is even a holiday park with cabins for rent or caravan spots for hire. And plenty of picnic and BBQ points. There are also wild turkeys wandering about the park.

Lane Cove River
Amazingly tranquil yet so close to the City Centre.
Wild Australian Brush Turkey wandering around the Visitor Centre

The weather wasn’t too kind but this was only a first visit. We now know that we can hire a boat and find a spot to fish. Next time will be even better…

Dani at the River
Natural Beauty in Lane Cove National Park

Penrith and the Napean River

The following day we headed due west. Stopping just short of the Blue Mountains this time. A place called Penrith. 

As things are still not fully opened up and it was a Sunday, there was little to do in the town centre. But just outside of Penrith are the Regatta lakes used for the rowing and canoeing events at the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. That was almost 20 years ago to the day! Twenty years! The place still seems pristine and, yet again, would be a great place to come back to when they have an event on.

Great River Walk
Just around the corner (sort of) from the Regatta Centre is the Nepean river and ‘The Great River Walk’. It basically does exactly what you would expect. Following the banks of the surprisingly large Nepean River.

Some of the early bridges that were built to cross this river were washed away during high rains. This is a much larger river than I expected. Another great possible fishing spot.

Then there was this place…

Emu Hall Bar and Restaurant

Emu Hall. I noticed a lot of people crossing the footbridge to the other side of the river so I checked my phone and there it was. On the way back to the car we crossed the river thinking we could grab a coffee. When we arrived it was clear that the bar area was open. Great I thought, we can have a civilised beer in a real pub environment. Sadly they had no ales on tap. Only bottled lagers. Typical. I settled for a coffee and a burger and chips.

Still, when real pubs are still not allowed to open it is god to know that there are places like this. Just when will they get a supply of good ales though?

Sydney Park Brickworks

There are many parks in the city of Sydney but only one shares the same name. Sydney Park is located south of Newtown in the area of Alexandria.

At the end of my visit to Newtown, I followed King Street south where it becomes Princes Highway and meets the corner of Sydney Park. There in the northwest corner of the park sits the old brickworks, kilns and chimney stacks. We had seen these several times while out driving south of Sydney but I had never taken a close look. Most of the city would have been built from the bricks made in places just like this one.

A Similar Photo taken today, some 70 years later.

Compare these two photos. Amazingly there are fewer cars on my photograph. I think I was just lucky.

Brickworks History

Sydney Park was basically a huge pit from which brick-making clay was extracted during the 19th and 20th centuries. The park was not made until years after the brick making stopped. Firstly the area was used as a huge landfill site then finished off with a layer of soil an landscaped into the park we see today. There is some 30 years of garbage under that park.

The fantastically named Josiah Gentle bought two acres of land in 1887 and set up the Bedford Brick Works in 1893, naming it after his home town in England. He had arrived in Sydney in the 1850s and started making bricks in nearby Waterloo. In 1933 the works was taken over by Austral Bricks who operated it until 1970 when it closed.

First Owner

Incredibly the first owner of the land was an Elizabeth Needham who was a ‘First Fleet’ convict who had served her seven years for stealing two silk stockings back in the ‘old country’. It seems like the punishments were extremely harsh in those days eh? Well read on…

When Needham’s sentence expired she received a 40 acre land grant in the district of Bulanaming on the site of today’s Sydney Park. Maybe it was worth stealing to get seven years in Australia and then receive all that land after all eh? It all seems a bit bizarre now. Anyway, she sold the land in 1808 and it was sold again in 1822. However, it is thought that part of the land was leased out to brickmakers from as early as 1800.

Stacks

There is no intention to remove the chimney stacks. In fact only a year ago the council announced plans to repair the stacks and maintain them to ensure they stand tall as a reminder of the city’s industrial heritage. Good for them I say. Part of one stack will be rebuilt while the brickwork on all four will be cleaned and re-pointed.  All stacks will be fitted with lighting protection.

Despite needing repairs the stacks are a great reminder of how well things were built back then.

Stacks and works buildings.

Brick-making Machinery

Kilns

The Brickworks as seen from inside the Park

As for the rest of the park itself? That’s another visit…

Newtown – In Search of Pubs, and that Book

Today I took a trip just the other side of the city centre. To the ‘hipster’ area of Newtown. I was looking for a copy of that book… but I also wanted to see the pubs in that area.

Newtown

The area is described as hip inner-city neighbourhood. An offbeat, trendy and quirky area. With a collection of alternative lifestyles, artists, gay scene and students. In other words, you could describe it is a slightly run-down area close to the city centre ripe for redevelopment by a greedy property developer would love to get his (or her) hands on it and replace the original low level brick buildings with towering glass structures. Pretty much like many inner-city neighbourhoods and barrios. Both descriptions work for me in these kind of places!

In its defence, Newtown does have a decent amount of great looking pubs. Shame they are still not open. The bars are accompanied by craft beer and wine outlets and plenty of places to eat.

Newtown Hotel complete with gay pride flag.

Another great thing about this area is the number of speciality shops, particularly along King Street. These include a few record shops selling vinyl, retro clothing shops and just plenty of general retro and antique stuff. Also there are genuine one-off shops such as one selling all kinds of buttons. There are also a few second hand book shops and that was the main purpose of my visit.

The Book I was Looking For…’Return From the River Kwai’

I had found a shop on King Street that had a copy of ‘Return From the River Kwai’ which I wrote about in a previous post – here.  I had reserved the copy so only needed to go and pick it up (and pay for it).

Hardback Edition of ‘Return From the River Kwai’ – 1979 copy

It is the story of British and Australian prisoners of war being taken from working on the infamous Burmese railway to be used as slave labour in Japan. My dad’s uncle Ernie Hughes is indeed mentioned a several times as one of the few survivors. I will do a book review later – when I get the time to read it.

It’s great to see real shops like those in Newtown. I will be back in that area as soon as the pubs reopen. Shopping can be thirsty work you know…

A few of the pubs…

Carlisle Castle Hotel

Court House Pub, Newtown

Marlborough Hotel, Newtown

Of course, the rough goes with the smooth. So there are also places like this…

Run-down Newtown

Artistically done, but still Graffiti ! There is a lot of it in Newtown

After picking up the book I continued on down King Street towards Sydney Park . More on that one in the next post…

Where the hell did “furlough” suddenly spring from?

OK. Rant time. It was a rhetorical question. I mean, why is everyone suddenly using that word? Do they know what it means or are they just copying what they have seen on TV? And how many of those using it have only just heard of the word since this bloody coronavirus crap started?

Furlough?

Furlong, yes. I know what that is. It is 220 yards (old money for 200 metres). That’s an eighth of a mile. I knew that one. Anyone who watches horse racing would also know that. But FURLOUGH? I am struggling to recall hearing of it before this coronavirus crap. I am not the most verbose but I have usually come across words like this one. In this case though, nope!  

Come on. Hands up! Who knew what it meant? Really?

One dictionary definition states its use as a noun thus: Leave of absence, especially that granted to a member of the services or a missionary.

It is defined as being used as a verb in the United States, meaning : Grant leave of absence to. E.g. “furloughed workers”.

Oh no…. Ex-footballers using it!?

What caught my attention was not that it was being used in news reports (for over a month now). But that ex-footballers were using it. Yes that’s right. I am not saying all footballers, or ex-footballers are thick, but the ones I read of using the word actually are thick. (Not mentioning any names though). So I thought, wait a moment; what the hell is going on and why don’t I know what it means? Of course, I do now. Right after I saw one of those ex-footie players using it in fact I made sure I knew. 

Then I thought, how is it pronounced? ‘Fur’ as in animal skin. ‘Lough’ as in low (not high). It could just as easily be Fur-luff (‘lough’ as in rough) right?

Furlough House

Then I saw this place last weekend. Where did they get that name from then?

Furlough House?

Towards the end of the First World War, this building (opposite Narrabeen beach) was called Furlough House. It had evolved into a home providing permanent accommodation for ex-servicemen and their dependants. This is consistent with use of the word as a noun (see above)

America

Well truth be told, I kind of did know what it meant. At least I got it from the context but still wondered why it had popped up in normal conversation all of a sudden.

I think the word ‘furlough’ as a verb is far more widely used in America than the UK (see above). I also believe President Trump has been using it a lot, so now when anyone talks about letting workers go or laying off employees, they are using the word too.

Another one…

It’s like “flattening the curve”. All those dopey presenters on TV who don’t really know anything about the statistical mathematics of that curve just throw it into a piece like they seriously know what it means. They don’t! Really they don’t. Otherwise they would question its use by dumb politicians.

OK. Rant over… Just needed to get that one off my chest.

 

Budgy Smuggler Pale Ale from Nomad Brewing Co.

I said in the previous beer post that I like the simple beer can designs, but these beers looked so good I just had to buy them and try them. OK, it was more for the name than anything but still… here goes…

Budgy Smuggler Pale Ale

These beers, made by the Nomad Brewing Company actually tastes great. Refreshing and could be all you need on the beach – apart from your budgy smugglers.  In fact, just as they have advertised it. That is if they allowed you to drink it on the beach (which they don’t – see previous post). Nomad Brewing went into collaboration with a company called ‘Budgy Smuggler’ for this ale. The can designs are all based on real Budgy Smuggler swimwear. Two great companies each making great, seemingly unrelated products, coming together for these fun cans of pale ale. Private enterprise at its best eh?

The Nomad Brewing Company is based near the North Shore Beaches – some of which we visited recently. I may just get in touch and arrange a visit… That attempt to organise a piss-up in a brewery may yet come to fruition.

Budgy or Budgie?

If you are wondering about the spelling? That has its own story too, just check out their website (details below). It is hardly a new name for men’s brief swimming trunks. Not even close. I am sure my old nana (my mum’s mum) used to call then budgie smugglers way back. Probably as far back as the 1960s. I will double check on that…

The Budgy Smuggler company is based in Manly – home to the world famous beach. They have been making those infamous smuggling garments for over fourteen years now. Here are those four budgy smuggler swimming trunks. A snip (pardon the pun) at $55 per smuggler.

Available in the UK – and Everywhere (more or less)

The company even has a sales outlet in the UK so you can buy your genuinely named smugglers in Europe just as easily as here in Australia. Great news for those who may be interested in illegally trafficking that little native Aussie bird (so to speak).

There are so many designs to choose from too. For women and kids as well as men.  Oh, and there are plenty of other products under the same brand name. But I don’t need to go into detail here, just go to their website to find out more…

Website details: https://budgysmuggler.com.au/  and https://budgysmuggleruk.com/ (for UK)

P.S. Do me a favour…

If you place an order please be sure to let them know that you heard about their smugglers from this blog. Who knows? The blokes down at Budgy Smuggler may just offer me a discount. Well you have to try eh?

Time for a Beer

I think it’s about time I wrote something about beer. More specifically, beer in Australia. Even more specifically the craft beer and smaller breweries.

Aussie Craft Beers

 That scene is booming in most countries. It has been growing for years and there seems to be no end in sight. Which is great news for people like me who really don’t like the usual lagers and other mass produced brews.

I think the craft beer selection in Australia is better than the UK and Spain. There is a fantastic selection here and I have only just begun to scratch the surface.

What’s on offer?

My preferred tipple (of the beer variety) would be an IPA – that’s India Pale Ale. Something big on the hops and that smell. Or should that be aroma? As you can tell I am no ‘Real Ale Geek’ but I do know what I like. Australia seems to have loads of the types of ales I like. When the beer smells a certain way you just know it’s going to taste exactly how you like it.

As well as a glut of IPA beers there are plenty that are just labelled ‘Pale Ale’. They are not the same as the dull and often flat pale ale they used to serve up back in the 1980s though. They still have that distinct smell and fruity fizzy taste.

Pale Ale

This one is labelled ‘Pale Ale’ but tastes much the same as the IPAs – to me at least. Generally every Pale Ale I have tried seems to be that way. Basically, I like them all.

Flight Path Pale Ale. One of my favourites. (So far…)

IPAs

The India Pale Ales (IPAs) are generally a safe bet. I could just ask for one and would probably like it. That said, some are far more bitter than others. There is also quite a difference in strength across the myriad of brands.

Here are a few I have tried:

Balter IPA. Fantastically simple can design. Works for me.

Triple Hop Bomb. Nice one…

Pirate Life IPA. Strong and bitter. But nice.

As much as the beer itself I like the simple no fuss designs of most of these cans – or should that be tinnies? Anyway, there are many with far more complicated designs but mainly they seem to keep to the rather elegant artwork.

XPA?

This was a new one on me. I have heard of Double IPA – where they double up on the hops (I think?) – but not XPA. Apparently, it means Extra Pale Ale. I must do a bit of research in to that name. If anyone knows please tell me.

These are possibly my favourites. That extra floral smell and fizzy refreshing taste that I think would always be better than a cold lager even in the height of summer.

Here are a couple of those I have tried (so far):

Balter XPA. One of my faves.

Summit XPA, Session Beer. Yes, you could easily do a session on this stuff…

The Name & The Design Seem Perfect. But…

This was an odd one.

Beach Beer. BONDI. Really?

Great simplicity in the label. Tells you everything you need to know eh? Bondi Beach Beer? Simple right? That label immediately attracts you doesn’t it? Keep yourself refreshed in that hot sun while sat on that famous beach eh? Erm… Actually, no!

The problem is you are not allowed to drink beer in public in most states in Australia. In New South Wales it is prohibited in ‘alcohol free zones’. And guess what? Bondi Beach is one of those zones. Bloody pointless really, having a great simple yet attractive beer can design and calling it something that you cannot actually do with it. What the hell is going on in this country? Sometimes I wonder… But hang on… Let’s read that label again…

How do they get away with it?

Maybe if they called it “Bondi Beach Beer” rather than “Beach Beer. Bondi” it may be sending out the wrong message. Hmm… subtle stuff eh?

Is there such a thing as the Trades Descriptions Act in Australia? I bet there is. They will have very similar laws to the UK here. If so, then this beer gets a bit close to being illegal just by its name alone.

How can a bottle shop (off-licence/liquor-store) sell a can of this beer just around the corner from the beach itself, when you can’t actually drink the stuff on the beach? Beats me. Right now it’s a moot point as still nobody is allowed on the beach – as such.

Not much info on that beer can eh? Well if you turn it around it actually claims to be an XPA. But to me it tasted more like a lager mixed with a pale ale. Almost like a VB (Victoria Bitter, a ubiquitous, lager-like brew in Australia). Nothing special. All in all, a little disappointing.

It claims to be an XPA

Back to the beer tasting…

Well with so many other craft ales to try I had better crack on… More beer updates later…Cheers for now.

Rufous Net Casting Spider

Hello, who is this four legged fella? Is that a spider with only four legs? I always thought spiders had eight legs.

Four Legged Spider?

Yes it’s a spider…

Well actually some spiders when resting keep their legs in pairs. Although you have to look damn close to see that there are four pairs of legs. Apologies, in this photo I did not get quite close enough to allow that kind of zoom.

Net Casting Spider

Dani spotted this one on a wall near his school as we were walking home. It turns out that there are quite a few spiders that lie like this.

This one is called the Rufous net casting spider. One of several net casting spiders. This type of spider has a unique way of catching their prey. They make a small web in the form of a net held by the front legs that can be stretched out wide to envelop an unwary insect passing by. I got this photo from the “web” – pun fully intended.

Spider with net (from the “web”)

This spider is very common in Australia and apparently in New Zealand. Although not harmful to humans it still looks a bit scary right? Australia is known for having some very frightening spiders – mainly the funnel-web and red back. But it turns out that there are anti-venom injections available for the bites of these two notorious arachnids. So even these can no longer kill a human. 

Dani seems to have a knack of spotting spiders even the tiniest ones. In this case I am glad he did. It’s always good to learn new things about nature.