Most people that have gone to the Gold Coast over the last 30 years would have had a memory of going to Dreamworld and getting on board the Thunder River Rapids ride.  Seeing those tragic photos of the accident brought me right back to when I was a child in 1988 and the round seated raft has not appeared to have changed much in decades.

As I child I found the ride a little scary as they had these loosely fitted seat belts from memory and you really had to hang on to stop the feeling of falling out.  Then when I went back again to Dreamworld in the 1990s they had replaced the belts with Velcro straps which some argue are of little benefit when they get wet;  the ride was less scary the older I got but one thing that never changes is you get a bit wet!

We await the investigative report but I really do not know if people will want to go on this ride again in its current incarnation.  It is most likely safety harnessing will have to be drastically improved along with the raft/course construction to prevent any tipping or ejection of occupants; will that take away the enjoyment of the ride?  I don’t think it will take away enjoyment of the ride as there are many great modern rides that operate safely.  More likely the nostalgic feeling of experiencing an old activity will be gone forever now.

Those that tragically lost their lives were in their 30s and 40s so maybe they were sharing that nostalgic experience with their partners and children if they had visited the park in the past at earlier times in their life.  When we consider more scary rides like Tower of Terror and Wipe Out;  Thunder River Rapids is one ride nobody would dream of losing their life on.



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Talking about new economy jobs… my old economy job has been a bit slow this month with not many extra shifts so what does one do when you are slightly short each month? You experiment offering your services as a paid friend.   Essentially this is paid platonic friendships and  so there is no misunderstandings the sites discourage any physical contact which rules out things such as hand holding, hugs, etc.

Paid friendship is a somewhat divisive  concept that some people are intrigued about and want to understand while others have strong negative moral reactions against the notion of how can you possibly pay someone to be your friend?

It may sound crazy who would actually pay money to hang out with someone such as going for a seaside walk, a friendly chat over coffee or special event?   Yet in an increasingly digitally connected world without physical contact, in person connection to others is a growing niche sector.  Only recently someone on the London Tube attempted to get fellow travellers to chat with each other and was greeted with a horror from fellow passengers who even ran a negative campaign with badges against this with the slogan “Don’t even think about talking to me” This has what the world has come to in some places in the world and entrepreneur are capitalising on marketing “connection” just like people used to say nobody would pay for bottled water.

Which brings me back to my own story in this new line of work… It took a few weeks but I finally got an offer from this person that wanted me to drive him home from surgery at a hospital because he had nobody to help him.  Which got me thinking what exactly is this? Is this someone wanting someone to drive them home or connect with them through a tough period in their life?  I think it was the latter because a Taxi/Uber would be cheaper than my minimum half day rate for this activity.  I politely declined the offer as it felt a bit too strange as the friend seeker did not include any pictures or bio information and I don’t particularly like driving in Sydney. Furthermore safety is a big thing for me with one of my main stipulations being paid friendships must be in public locations initially.  So that was that.  Personally this paid friendship thing is not for me as deep thinker, feeling sort of type I would find it hard not to think think about the experience afterwards. Not thinking is needed as at the end of the day you still have your real friendships to maintain.


If you have been watching Australia’s favourite period drama season 4 of A Place to Call Home you may have noticed the show is turning full circle.  The writers are exploring unexplained events that happened way back in Season 1 with implications for the characters in season 4.



Evil Bert Ford’s death comes back to bite in Season 4



The main one being who was really responsible for villain Bert Ford’s death and cover up.  I had to really think about this for awhile as it was like a distant memory now.  This was vaguely explained in images and chats with Sarah Adams set as an older woman in the future confessing her role and Bert’s young boy in season 2 opening episode.

If you have access to Foxtel on demand or the DVD’s a must watch is:  Season 1,  episodes 12 & 13 “New Beginning” and “Secret Love” are worth watching to refresh your memory.


Paying Bert’s 1000 Pounds Blackmail

Essentially the episodes are about Bert Ford discovering James Bligh’s homosexuality and blackmailing the Bligh family to keep quiet.  George Bligh discovers James is a homosexual and rejects him consequently causing his son to have a nervous breakdown;  the result is admission to a psychiatric institution to treat the 1950s view of so called deviant sexuality.


George/James/Olivia just before he has his breakdown

Other major concepts coming to a head in 1950s Australia were cross cultural ethnic differences and mixed religion in relationships with the possibility of being disowned/ loss of inheritance for not conforming.   George Bligh learns this if he continues to pursue the relationship with Jewish Sarah Adams he will lose Ash Park which would have been a big social and financial loss back in the 1950s!


Passionate Italian Family

Furthermore will we see a return of Gino Poletti’s passionate Italian dad, mum and sister?  This may have been a humiliating shameful event back then for an Italian parents only son to rebel by not finding  a nice Catholic Italian girl to marry.  Maybe that’s why they took Gino’s younger sister back to Italy so she wouldn’t get any future wild ideas of eloping.


Anna/Gino – No privacy in open, feeling Italian home

So far I am really enjoying this season along with previous episodes and the set design and especially the edited shots of the Sydney Harbour Bridge  without the massive modern skyscrapers in the background is impressive.   The attention to detail in production is remarkable and the actors really put everything into their scenes.


Sydney depiction in the 1950s



20160920_183513This is a great simple pasta invention when you are short of time and want a quality meal with minimal fuss in under 30 minutes.  The only downside it does come with considerable cost since most of the main ingredients are imported from Italy.  The Sugo Di Pomodoro comes in a bottle that resembles a beer bottle but it is so light and tasty compared to the local offerings in Australia it is worth the mystery of not being able to see what’s inside.  If you are not making your own pasta today we used Giuseppe Pennoni imported from Italy along with a selection of Mozzarella and Romano Chesses.  Italian ingredients are a must or it just won’t taste right.

Serves 2 (Approximate Quantities)

1/4 to 1/2 Bottle of Sugo Di Pomodoro Piccante – Organic

25O Grams of Giuseppe Pennoni

Olive Oil as needed

3 – 4 Cloves of Garlic -roughly crushed

1/4 Onion Diced

4 Asparagus Sprigs Sliced

3-4 Mushrooms Sliced

Handful of Spinach

Handful of Basil – roughly chopped

Splash of Red wine to Pomodoro

Romano and Mozzerella to personal liking


Start by cooking the Pasta till al dente which will take approximately 15 minutes for this type of pasta.

While the pasta is cooking start by warming up a fry pan and adding some olive oil.  When ready add the asparagus followed by the mushrooms, garlic, onion and half the herbs a few minutes later.

It will only take a few minutes more of cooking and then reduce heat and add the pomodoro and cover for a few more minutes followed by adding some red wine then the spinach and cover again.

Pasta should be ready by this time so after straining add this to the newly created sauce. Turn off the heat and stir thoroughly, add in the left over herbs and cheeses to personal liking.




Inside Car CanadaMy first exposure to the extreme minimalist lifestyle was while living in Canada when I rented a windowless closet about the size of single mattress from this eccentric guy called Andrew and his few possessions which I wrote about in an early post: What are Vancouver People Like.

Taking extreme minimalism to a new level while living in Vancouver I decided to do away with the closet and live in this old car that I had for a few months to save some money. While some would argue having a car is not really being a minimalist I would argue it gave me the flexibility to move wherever I wanted and needed shelter; Canada can get cold and when I was experimenting with this lifestyle it was heading into autumn with some very chilly mornings.

Some tips on pulling this off is holding down a full-time job with access to shower/amenities in the workplace.  Join a community centre for a place to hang out after work and needed amenities. Park your car in a somewhat affluent suburb to avoid being a victim of crime but not in the same street every night or local residents will get suspicious.

When you are living on the edge day to day you will need more than your car, job and a community centre as life can be really lonely.  Human interactions and socializing is extremely important so you can take your mind of being homeless.  If you are somewhat introverted like myself you will need to force yourself into an extroverted state which is extremely draining to continually be out and about and just ask people to do stuff as you will get more positives than negative responses; human nature most people like the thought of someone wanting to spend time with them.

However to maintain an extreme minimalist lifestyle there is one thing you should never do is tell people you are homeless which is somewhat easy to do when your new circle of friends don’t know you very well.  I made it almost three months when I accidentally let it slip which horrified some people, gossip started. people felt sorry for me and I had some offers to stay at some people homes which I reluctantly took as winter was fast approaching.

Outside Car





judy-davis-and-kate-winslet-THE-DRESSMAKERI just realised something the other day I have never been to a cinema in the current city I live in. Going to the cinema is something I always do when in other cities on short trips or vacation throughout the year. I am not sure what all that means however I intend to keep that record intact unless there is a compelling reason to go to a Townsville cinema. So the latest cinema trip involved travelling from Townsville to Cairns a distance of 350km (217 miles) in order to watch a movie and back again in one day; a roundtrip of 700km (435 miles). The day starts by getting up at 5am and hitting the road by 6am for the 4 hour road trip. Timing is essential as most cinemas movies start around 10:30am and to watch the movie and come home again in one day you have to keep your eyes on the clock.

First of the Dressmaker is a long movie running for almost 2 hours + cinema ads means you will need a spare 2 hours and 30 minutes. The Dressmaker falls into this growing resurgence for Australian life movies and television series set between 50 – 100 years ago. I really like watching these Australian movies and the cast in this movie put in a great performance with Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving and not forgetting legendary Judy Davis who stared many years ago in that classic Australian movie My Brilliant Career which is really worth seeing. Overall I thought the plot in the Dressmaker was really well developed and confronting at times with dark themes on mental health, disabilities and attitudes to sexuality/family life in 1950s Australia. Essentially the movie explores the main character (Tilly) returning to her home town and not being welcomed back by everyone as the small minded town folk had a preconceived idea of who she really was because of what happened in her childhood. I think many Australians will relate to this movie especially if you have lived in a small Australian town where attitudes to different ways of thinking and doing things are not always appreciated.

So is the Dressmaker worth the 700km round trip to watch. Yes it was but I sure was tired after the 8 hours of driving time in order to make it home for dinner at 6pm. Where to next month…. maybe it is time go to a cinema in Mackay.