Tuesday - my flex day - and used to give me extra time away. I discovered a few trips ago that I did not have to leave first thing in the morning and waste the entire day getting home. Because of my membership in the priveliges program at the hotel I like to pamper myself with (may have to review the costs when I am not earning an income in a couple of weeks), I don't have to book out of the hotel until 1pm instead of the usual 10am. This gives me time to catch an early movie, a relaxed lunch or maybe some shopping before waiting on the bus and the trip home. Now that it is late Autumn here, the late arrival home is now in the dark - cold darkness at that - but still do'able and effective.

I had booked my movie ticket the night before because the closest theatre has allocated seating and I cannot risk the computer allocation of what it considers the next available "best seats". Don't understand its algorithm in determining that, but it does not coincide with my determination.

When I approached the cinema, there were a lot of labourers around and some temporary construction was underway. They were setting up for some red carpet event. It was still quite early and the even was no doubt many hours away so there was nothing at that time set up to indicate which movie was being premiered. launched, etc. When I collected my ticket, I asked, and the young lass said "Iron Man 2" - but that seemed a little far fetched for the elaborate setup that was going on. As I left after my movie, there were a couple of banners around for "Love You Too", a new Australian comedy in the coming very soon list. This seemed far more possible.

This was the same place where Viggo Mortensen had opened the Australian premier of "History of Violence" a few years ago. Arrangements had changed a lot since then. As well as barriers alongside the redcarpet, there was another rank of barriers and between the two was a large number of tall spotlights. If there were onlookers, they would not be able to reach the guests through this forrest of uprights.

The movie I saw was "Hot Tub Time Machine" - only because I hadn't seen it yet, and the price was low (being Tuesday) and the time was right (10am). It was alot better than I had first feared - another jump in time to change things for the better type of story as three ex-pals accidentally fritz the electronics of the hot tub and zoom back to the point in time where things had gone horribly wrong for all of them leading to the life of a loser for them each. I had been so uninterested in the title beforehand that I had not realised that John Cusak was among the cast. His movies are usually quite reasonable and in keeping, this movie was not just a string of prat falls and self indulgent jokes.

An observation about audiences....
Why do people leave it to the last minute to go into a cinema? Most of them miss the timing too, and turn up after the first 3 quick setup scenes, all the while disrupting everyone else.

Mobile phones, cell phones, etc, whatever you want to call them. People have totally made their lives subserviant to these demonic little boxes. There has not been a movie in the last 2 years that I have attended that has not been interrupted by some self-important idiot turning on his or her phone. Some receive calls, some make calls, and a lot send text messages and keep checking to see if there is a reply, and then there are the ones who have to keep checking the time (and if that is so critical, they chouls not have been in the cinema). You can tell when people have lost the movie by when they turn the damnable things on, and the bright light burns into the eyes of everyone nearby. There were people on either side of me today turn on their phones when the movie was about half way thorugh. And then the phones were checked every 10 minutes thereafter. The person nearest me on Friday night never got into the movie - he and his mates arrived as the pre-session was in progress. I am sure they were not in their designated seats. Then he was playing with his phone fromthe moment he sat down - changing menus, selecting different items, checking different message queues, making texts, checking for replies, typing some more...... he never had it off for a minute and made only the slightest attempt to cover the glowing screen, and only from his friends, not from the rest of the theatre. I was severely tempted to put on my glasses and slip across the intervening seat and read over his shoulder as it seemed so much more fascinating than the movie.

Then today we had another form of stupid. The credits were running over the last images of the final gag, and some (very tall) simpleton meandered in and hovered over all the seats in a row that was in front of most people who were in the theatre and thus getting in the way of the maximum number of people. By his hovering, meandering way, he obviously was not heading towards a designated seat on a ticket. He sat for all of 2 minutes and then wandered back out again - quite probably having turned up early for the next session and incapable of waiting outside for 5 minutes.

After the movie, I had a little under an hour before I had to book out of the hotel - just enough time to dash down to the craft store and get some of the other yarn I had been initially looking for with the notion of filling in time waiting for and on the bus. Now, there was a sign saying that individual balls were $4.95, but that packs of 5 balls were $25.95. I asked the cashier why I would want to pay an extra dollar to get 5 balls. She did not believe me and maintained that the signs said $24.95 (not a saving, just a straight calculation). Eventually she came out from behind the counter and checked for herself. In disbelief she mentioned it to the young fellow who just then joined her behind the counter. He just laughed and made some comment about one of the staff, presumably responsible for signage. Neither of them made any attempt to correct the sign at that time. I only needed 4 balls anyway - and that is possibly 1 too many, and just for safety.

Another observation about people - why is it that whenever I am visiting somewhere, people stop me to ask directions, sell me some plan, or begging? For years now I've been thinking that I need a t-short that says something like - "Only visiting" or "Don't ask - I don't live here". Sure enough, I am moving fast around the dawdlers and some twerp tries to stop me to sign me up for Herbal Life.... urgh! Surprisingly though, this was the first visit to Sydney in 2 years where someone did not approach me asking for money. There are a lot of homeless, and professionally homeless in the city centre. You can see them at all times of the day lying on the steps of buildings in the main street, unfurling from the benches in the park, or sitting spaced out with a sign propped against their crossed legs bemoaning their troubles (a survey of the regular street beggers showed that many of them collect (unreported) more than basic wage earners).

Made it back to the hotel room with still a half hour to spare. Changed clothes as the temperature outside had dropped a little and I knew that it would be chilly on the bus, and downright cold by the time I got home. I finished my packing and started on the new yarn. It isn't exactly what I had been after, but the colour change was only between three complimentary colours and the length of each colour was enough to creat a striping effect that is quite pleasant.

Booked out of the hotel, and told them about the way the toilet cistern whines when it refills and that one painting is crooked (can't stand wonky pictures on walls - it is very distracting and aggravating). I tried to fix it - but their pictures seem to be bolted to the wall and this felt as if the bolt had been stripped, or someone had tried to wrench it off the wall and only managed to gouge the wall with the bolt leaving a groove in the wall and the painting uneven.

Picked up a light lunch and wandered up to where the bus would depart. The fast food place still has not got their toilets working - the "Under maintenance" sign has been there for over a month now - so I had to go a little further than the bus bay to the public toilets at the train terminal. Some time ago they had upgraded the facilities so that there are no sinks, as such, but a continuous trough that angles down to a drain and taps that are activated by pressing them and stop after a designated time. It saves on water, and blockages, and there is no splash all over the floor.

The hand driers were also changed and now you have to insert your wet hands between two blowers that deliver a "blade" of heated air while there is something between them. It is so strong that I feel that I ahve to check my hands to see if the blast had ripped off my rings.

By the time I settled at the bus bay, I had about three quarters of an hour before they would open the doors and check names. There are no seats on the pavement. Normally I would have been tempted to sit on the asphalt but something had been spilled and there were streams branching across the pavement and into the gutter. I did get out my needlework and got quite a bit done. but it was not particularly comfortable balancing my backpack, the weight of my handbag (with the notebook) and a soft bag of the collective yarns.

Eventually we were alowed on and I took a seat up the back. Fortunately again the bus was not over-packed. There were a few more people than on the trip up, but enough empty seats to be comfortable.

I had heard the last time on this route that this scheduled bus often ran late due to the peak traffic conditions trying to leave the city. I find it strange that the traffic is building up so badly that it causes delays at this time. The bus leaves at 3pm - too early even for kiddies to be finising school and needing parents to collect them (because heaven forbid that the child walk, or catch a bus), and definitely before businesses close for the day - even warehouses. But sure enough, less than half an hour into the trip and we were stalled on the feeder route to the motorway in traffic more closely resembling a parking lot. Once we actually joined the motorway, though, everything picked up and we were moving at a good speed. There was no accident this time, and the recommended speed showing on the motorway signs was the maximum. We were only a half hour late by the time we pulled up at the home terminal after a mostly uneventful trip. The temperature at home was only half the temperature we left so I put on my jacket before going to catch my first  local bus (no matter what configuration - it takes 2 buses outside our peak half hour to get home from the city centre) and then added a long sleeve t-shirt while waiting for the second local bus.

One more people observation before I close for today....
Why do people raise their voices to a shout when on mobile phones, particularly in confined spaces like buses even when the bus noise is less than if they were standing on the pavement? The bus driver had asked people to try to keep calls to a minimum, and the content short and to the point, and softly. The very things that everyone who made a call on the bus did not do.