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A quick Daggy update

Oct. 30th, 2013 | 08:58 am

It's been a while so I thought I'd jot down my latest musings and activities

*** SWI ***
After spending all of 2011 planning and enacting my big retirement from Star Walking after 23 years of service, sure enough I rejoined the committee last week after only having been in "retirement" for two years. The reason is pretty simple, there are new Star Wars movies on the way and after a few years of slowly being ground into the dirt, the club now has a new leadership base and has a chance to really shine and prosper again.

So knowing I still had something to contribute I just had to come back ... and as it turns out I've been helping them in an unofficial capacity at their meetings anyway.

*** Banquet ***
Last weekend we ran our Jedi 30th/SWI 25th banquet and it was a success. Funnily enough it had the lowest attendance of all our celebratory banquets, but being a smaller room (ground floor of Townhouse/Rydges) you couldn't tell as it seemed quite full.

What's interesting is that the banquet was 30 years to the day ... in fact to the night ... when Jedi was first premiered in Australia (October 26 1983). During the event we showed a 4 minute video made by Fox Columbia filmed on the premiere night in Sydney and Melbourne back in 1983 and we worked out that some of that footage would've been shown 30 years to the exact minute!

Considering I'd vowed no to do certain jobs at future gigs, somehow I ended up doing two videos for it, all the dance music, all the background music AND I organised the sound system and the disco lights. Hmmm, so much for taking on selective roles!

So it was a good event, but history will just put it down to being yet another SWI banquet and I still think in terms of Return of the Jedi milestone celebrations, the 2003 banquet (20th anniversary) was clearly the best. Still, considering how few and far between special banquets are these days maybe it'll be remembered more fondly.

*** Cruise ***
After months and months of waiting, believe it or not we're off in about three weeks time. Everything is booked and paid and we have our tickets as well as having confirmed our daily activities in NZ. Honestly, it'll be great just to have some time off for ourselves.

*** Film Making ***
Well I've officially retired from the film making biz which means there won't be a PsyofK feature film, but I'm happy with that because I achieved what I wanted to do during my time making short films.

I've given it up mainly for the concern I have about film distribution.

You see I could go to a lot of effort/stress/money in making a feature film but getting it sold and distributed is probably next to impossible. Currently I have mates of mine who are professionals in the film industry and even they can't sell their productions so what hope would I have being a complete outsider?

Now one might say "just making the film should be reward in itself", but that's not the case at all. When it comes to feature films the objective is to ensure as many people as possible can see them and without distribution that just doesn't happen.

So I've decided to quit while I'm ahead, though I'm still happy to work on other peoples productions. As it stands there are thousands of people out there making films, but no one at all is doing sci-fi media conventions ... speaking of which ...

*** Con 70 ***
Since its announcment last month Con 70 has been met favourably by many people which is great to see - in fact my entire Con 9 team re signed to Con 70 within two days. In a couple of weeks we'll have our first team meeting where we'll discuss the venue and cost options so expect to see a bit more activity on this.

The good news is that no one has said Con 70 is a bad idea so I'm happy about that LOL

*** Austrek ***
The big countdown is now on, yep their October meeting held four weeks ago was 29 years from when I attended my first ever meeting at St Luke's Church Hall, so I'm now heading for the big 3-0 with the club.

Even though there are people who have been club members far longer than myself, I'm definitely the longest serving active member having consistantly attended Austrek meetings since joining in 1984 - and boy that's a LOT of faces who have come and gone in that time!

The funny thing is that despite all the ups and downs the club has had in its lifetime, these days the meetings are actually really good.

*** Fandom Memoirs ***
This is going great. So far I've covered off Starforce, Austrek and the various conventions and banquets in detail and am now going through my time with Star Walking. So far I'm at 120+ pages and counting with lots more to come.

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Back in the saddle

Sep. 12th, 2013 | 08:21 am

I haven't gone back over my LJ entries for the past year to see if I ever said "never again" but if I did ... well it looks like that statement is going to have to take a back seat for a while.

Why? Because I'm now running another sci-fi convention.

Since Con 9 From Outer Space last year I've had a lot of people ask me if I ever intended to run another one and I've always declined saying that Con 9 was a one off - which is still the case. But this didn't mean some of our other ideas couldn't be explored and one of those funnily enough was conceived as we were packing up Con 9. So as of last week IT has now been officially announced...

Yep, welcome to http://www.con70.com

What's Con 70? Quite simply Con 70 is going to be a sci-fi convention in the same vein as Con 9 but focusing on 1970s sci-fi movies and TV shows. From the moment the idea was suggested I thought it was a great concept though I didn't want to run it myself. But now that a year has passed since Con 9 I'm ready to give it a go and even though it was announced only a few days ago, already the response has been really positive.

I truly believe Con 70 could be quite successful because with Con 9 we emphatically proved that fans are keen to attend a traditional style media con even if we have no actors and autograph sessions. I also think fans are now getting a bit jaded by the pro cons as they are just a never ending money spinning machine, so maybe Con 70 will be a breath of fresh air for them and may, just may, encourage the appearance of other traditional media only conventions as well.

Anyway be sure to have a look at the website and get ready for CON 70! :)

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It's not what you know...

Aug. 5th, 2013 | 01:22 pm

...it's who you know, and in this case the statement is 100% correct.

I'm a big fan of sports cars and even though I don't own one and have never driven one (The Darth really didn't constitute a "sports" car as such), I admire them greatly despite whatever material pompousness society places on them - even though they do cost as much as my mortgage.

And then I met someone, a big Star Wars fan no less, who has been able to achieve what I cannot and yesterday I got to visit his place and behold the treasure for itself. It's not important to who he is or what he does, just the mere fact he has done it is enough for me.

So for the first time ever I actually got to walk up, touch and sit inside one of these cars of absolute beauty after spending a lifetime of looking at them from a distance. All going well this first visit will progress to actually riding in one, which in turn will complete a dream I thought would NEVER come to fruition.

I pasted this pic on Facebook as a bit of a gag to my friends, some of whom thought the car was mine while others figured out the truth pretty quickly.

You have to admit the plates really do suit it. :)

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The first anniversary and other updates

Jul. 14th, 2013 | 02:04 pm

Last night I got a call from Geoffro to celebrate something that even I had forgotten about. Yep today is the first anniversary of Con 9 From Outer Space. One year ago today we were well into the programming and the vibe of the event was really great. Funnily enough one of our attendees is in the US at San Diego Comic Con right now and he told me quitely proudly that his Con 9 From OUter Space T Shirt would be worn for all the world to see. Now wouldn't it be funny if people started asking him what it was and whether they could go.

Speaking of Con 9, one of my top mates Len (Lynne's brother) was at Oz Comiccon last week and while he was waiting in a queue someone recognised him from Con 9 and started talking about how great the event was and how he really enjoyed it. So it seems our little convention left some sort of lasting legacy after all, who would've thought.


In recent days I finished something I'd been writing for a while now, a complete history of Austrek and I think it has come out well. Considering my top mate MPS is now president of the club, he and his committee were keen to have something put together as many of them haven't been in the club longer than 10 years - remembering that Austrek is now 37 years old! Anyway I finished the article and submitted it to Austrek for inclusion on their website so it'll be good to see if it brings back memories for any old fans out there.

With that in mind, does anyone out there have a video copy of when Today Tonight or some other current affairs programme did a segment on the 1986 Christmas party? It was the segment where Craig Hooper and Alison Wallace were interviewed and it showed everyone dancing and having a good time - this was the same year that The Voyage Home was released. If anyone has this can you let me know as I'm keen to grab a copy.


Some of you will be aware that my movie poster collection is now up for sale and I have created a catalogue of those items up for grabs. If anyone is keen to see what's on offer, just send me an email at darren@maxwell.net and I'll email it to you (it's 3Mb in size). In case you're wondering a few items have gone to new homes which is great to see.


The revamped Star Walking is back in town. As you know I retired from SWI in October 2011 and a year and half later I'm now back in an unofficial capacity as I'm now on the committee for the upcoming Return of the Jedi 30th anniversary banquet (considering I worked on the 10th and 20th anniversary banquets). I've also returned as the auctioneer for the club meetings which I'm enjoying. With the club experiencing some dark times of late - especially last year which was particularly woeful - it's now back on track and the vibe is once again really positive and happy which can only increase with the new films on the horizon.

So does this mean I'll return to the club committee again? Now that's a watch this space question if ever there was one :)

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An interesting revelation

May. 23rd, 2013 | 01:11 pm

Those who know me will know that I'm a perpetual nail biter. I bite my nails not through stress or worry but because I actually enjoy it and so every once in a while I'll just get the urge to just chew everything off and it'll feel really satisfying.

The other day I was at work and found a nail edge on one my fingers, so I gave it and a few others the once-over when it occurred to me that I'd only done these fingers a week ago. It was then I realised just how fast my finger nails were growing which in turn highlighted something I hadn't considered before.

I'm actually healthy.

Now I've gone through various stages of health in my time, from exercising to excess to the complete opposite in being overweight and lazy. As is stands right now, I truly believe I'm the healthiest I've ever been and that's simply down to a really good diet. Now before you wonder about my gym junkie days when I was really lean, the truth is that I exercised really well but I didn't eat properly - in fact in the post Michelle era I would only have a small bowl of vegetable soup for dinner.

So what's changed? Well for starters I get to eat an excellent dinner every night made by my darling Lynne. Our meals typically include fresh vegetables, lots of greens and meat (I've even had fresh fish which is unheard of for me). But it's not just her great dinners that have helped. For lunch at work I only have a small tub of yoghurt and a green apple along with one cup of tea in the morning (though lately I've been having small "Up and Go" drinks instead) along with a K Time snack bar as well as a cup of coffee in the afternoon - before having another coffee at home after dinner.

Takeaway isn't common for us. On a RARE occasion we'll order a pizza and maybe hang out at our local Chinese Restaurant for a good meal, but we don't have any of the typical fast foods though I have been known to have a small thick shake from McDonalds once every few months. I've also found that if I am out and have to have fast food, I'll usually opt for Subway as it seems to be the best of all the bad choices.

But probably the biggest change of all is that I don't drink Coka Cola anymore.

Yep the once staple weekend party drink for The Dags is something I no longer have and when I'm out I'll either have juice or water. Now this isn't to say that I hate Coke or go out of my way to avoid it, but if an alternative is available then I'll usually choose that. Even when I do have a Coke it'll be in the smallest glass I can find.

I've also cut down (but not out) the chocolate too. In our house where chocolate is usually measured by the kilo I have learned to reduce my intake to a more moderate level. Sure every once in a while I'll have a pig out, but for the most part I think I do OK even though I'll usually have a small chocky every night.

From an exercise stand point I've lost the excess mass I was carrying all of last year and have now reached a plateau. Even in my extreme exercise days my genetics wouldn't allow me to loose all the weight around my waist so I still have a podge that I simply can't rid of. Now I do have the option of taking supplements or pills to get rid of this pesky flab, but I flately refuse to do this prefering to limit everything to just diet and excercise only.

So there ya go, I seem to be in pretty good nick, who would've thought. With that in mind I've just given my fingernails a check out and have come across a couple that might need a bit of work so it's time to go. : )

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Yep, I'm growing another ring around the trunk (ooh err)

May. 12th, 2013 | 09:40 pm

Well in a few hours The Dags will clock up another year on this Earth. As is customary I like to look back on my last year to see how things have turned out and review what I've been up to.

For the past seven or so years I would often say "I made this film or that film" but this time there are no films to talk about and to be honest I doubt there will be any in the future. Although I had a desire to attempt to make a feature film before I turned 50, that is seeming less and less likely now as my heart simply isn't in it.

In terms of achievements, I guess there are two biggies to remember: Con 9 From Outer Space and the pergola. Con 9 From Outer Space though being almost a year ago is still remembered fondly by those who attended. Also for a little independent, one-off media con we did well for ourselves in this world of big commercialised expos and pro-seminar style "conventions". It's an event I'll remember with great joy which is why I've kept the website running.

I've spoken a fair bit about the pergola of late so I won't embellish it further, suffice to say like the driveway and front yard landscaping a couple of years ago it's just a nice feeling to see these items that I thought would never happen ... happen.

The only other thing to note in the past year are my fandom memoirs. Although they need some revision to make them more coherent, at least the details have been written down. It's also a nice feeling to realise that even if I never read them the memories have at least been recorded and I know there's still more to come.

I guess I should also mention the sale of The Darth to its new owner in WA. The Darth was my pride and joy but she simply had to go and the money I made from her went into the pergola. BTW anyone who remembers the excellent condition of the car will be saddened to hear that upon arriving in WA the paint work was damaged by the train's brake dust (or something similiar) so it had to be resprayed.

So as I prepare to clock up another year, there is no doubt my life is no where near as active as it once was and I truly have settled down - perhaps a little too much. I also know that I'm really missing the challenge of a project to take on yet I'm not sure where I want to direct my energy so in that regard I'm kinda at a loose end. Other than that I have nothing to complain about and I guess that's the most important thing as life is treating me well. : )

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Savouring the achievement

Apr. 29th, 2013 | 12:53 pm

The past few days have been really good. Last week Lynne and I assembled our outdoor furniture (two couches, coffee table and a six seater dining table) that had been delivered the Saturday prior and then came the fun in working out where it was to be setup to suit our tastes.

Finally after heaps of changes, adjusting and tweaking, we sat down to our first dinner together on our new table under our new pergola ... and it was great! :)

With the two couches facing each other (we've already assigned our "his" and "hers" LOL) we've been able to experience the sheer pleasure of just lounging outside savouring the atmosphere. Also as to be expected, Lulu's senses have been going nuts after what was previously an empty, boring backyard is now bristling with new shapes, colours and textures - she's a classic to watch.

Over the weekend I found myself sitting out there on a number of occasions just enjoying all the new sensations. I also found myself reflecting on the past 9 years where I watched my neighbours with sullen envy install everything in their yard whilst on my side all I had was barren dirt that I rarely ever stepped out on. Even though I am a firm believer of "everything comes to he who waits" this something I never thought would ever happen, well, in this instance it's oh-so-nice to be proven wrong. :)

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The cover up (aka Pergola me up Uncle Alfred)

Apr. 18th, 2013 | 08:24 am

Well it should be finished today! Sure it's been a rather slow process from when we first selected this company to getting to this point, but the dude is installing the roof today so the delay is no longer an issue.

Also the timing will work out great as we took advantage of a Super Amart price special and bought some outdoor furniture a couple of weeks ago that is due to be delivered on Saturday - how's that for good timing. I'm pretty happy about this as I liked the Super Amart stuff the first time I saw it a year ago and Lynne's happy 'cause they've tossed in a free BBQ (a small orange one) with the deal.

Also after visiting the big flower show recently we now have a good idea of how to landscape the fence area directly alongside the pergola so that'll be the next thing on the list of tasks. In fact we realised that if you're sitting inside the house looking out into the pergola, absolutely none of the neighbour's house (including the houses behind us) will be visible due to the slope of the land and the height of the fence so that's a nice little bonus. It means that when the plants go in we'll be creating our own little world which should look great.

The final task will be tackling the backyard proper though that will take a bit of time to complete.

I also took the opportunity to FINALLY organise the name plaque for the house. From day one 10 years ago the house was always going to be called Sylvia which was my mother's name, so it'll be a joyous moment when that arrives and gets installed.

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Cutting through the red tape

Mar. 14th, 2013 | 08:23 am

After waiting patiently for a couple of weeks, the permit for our new pergola was issued on Tuesday - yay for us! The guy organising it had said that a lot depended on the speed and efficiency of the Council and there was always a risk that there could be hold up of some description, but nup it's all done and dusted and we have a signed copy of it all right in our hot little hands.

The next step is the ordering of the material which will occur today after we paid for it yesterday so you'd have to think the whole thing will be installed before Easter.

What's really interesting here is that for years I said to people that the backyard would forever remain a wasteland as I simply wouldn't be able to EVER get it landscaped or have any work done on it. Yet here we are a few years later getting ready to pergola the thing up, who would've guessed ... not me that's for sure.

What can I say about A/C, a couple of years ago we fought tooth and nail against getting it installed then eventually capitulated and had a Daikin unit put into the loungeroom. Well in hindsight that was a fantastic decision especially as we had to use the unit everyday for the past week and a half. Honestly if we didn't have it during this latest heatwave our place would've been uninhabitable ... and think of how Lulu would've coped!

Now it'll be interesting to see whether we get an electricity bill or not 'cause with luck the solar system powered the A/C through all those hot days. Imagine the irony of that, using a luxury item to excess then not having to pay for the power it used.

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It's all part of the plan

Mar. 1st, 2013 | 08:46 am

Now before anyone complains that I haven't posted any pics it's because we haven't finished yet.

We had the interior designer come over yesterday to set up all the new stuff, which also involved moving the furniture around in the loungeroom and turning my famous all black bed setting into white (I bet no one saw THAT coming).

So how did it all go?

For the most part pretty good, the colours of the loungeroom have now moved into the blue, beige and green area with the black furniture breaking it all up ... in fact if anything the black lounge suite kinda looks out of place now.

So down came the Batman posters and my much loved Jetwash F18 framed picture. The replacement was a colour canvas that neither Lynne nor I liked but we could appreciate where the designer was coming from, so we'll look for an alternative design in a similar colour.

New cushions were setup, new lamps were installed, a new mirror suddenly appeared and a couple of other doodads were added. To be totally honest anyone who looks at this wouldn't think that I lived there as it doesn't fit with my character at all, but it'll be a big improvement over the clashed colours and designs that were there previously.

The only touchy subject is the moving of the loungeroom furniture. Admittedly the new setup is the most logical one (couch in the middle, arm chairs on the side facing the TV) but this means my trusty armchair which was directly in front of the TV is now way off centre. The tradeoff is that the room looks bigger and more balanced so we'll leave it for now and see how we go.

The next phase will be to get the loungeroom repainted to remove the dark-to-light blue columns and add in a new blue feature wall behind the TV which everyone seems to think is a great idea.

The really funny bit is when a couple of cushions with a flower design were added to the Study and Library which are heavily sci-fi focused. As soon as I saw them I said to Lynne that they HAD to go and she agreed. LOL

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