Yesterday we drove to Mulgowie for the farmers market where we saw live chickens for sale and one get lose when the seller was trying to pack up; I watched some of the Commonwealth Games from the Gold Coast, and then (for the first time) Black Hawk Down on Netflix with my son, who at one point said "why do some of the helmets they wear look like bicycle helmets?".
So, naturally (I presume), this morning I woke from a dream which initially featured terrorists being chased by an army on the Sunshine Coast, one of them being Saddam Hussein who had been in hiding, and it segued into a story where a retired, traumatised Army sergeant started working in a studio with other ex army types who were paid to wear bicycle helmets with a single antenna type thing on top (like the Reddit logo) and smile as a group into a camera which would beam their happy faces into chicken farms, it having been worked out that to chickens in captivity, they looked like happy chickens and this had a calming effect on them.
That last bit is nearly as good as the dream I had as a young man in which Michael Parkinson was interviewing a grasshopper in the interviewee chair, and I realised in the dream that this was very odd.
Anyhoo, back to the day's events in more detail:
* there's someone selling meat again at Mulgowie, which makes the trip all the more worthwhile. Free range pork from a farm in the area, and we had some particularly nice Italian sausages made from (previously) happy pigs at lunch.
* the Commonwealth Games - looks to me on TV like they are a success. True, the opening ceremony was too long, but it's funny how it's pretty much the "daggy games", with sports such as lawn bowling meaning you have quite old competitors in the mix, as well as some very young ones. (An 11 year old table tennis player, I believe!) It does make it feel like a more inclusive event, though: way less intimidating than the Olympics. The television images of the Gold Coast have looked good (at least when the sun is out), the stadiums have looked pretty full even for the more esoteric events (men's hockey - who normally goes to watch that?), and the fact that world records are being broken at quite a pace makes it seem a relevant sporting event. So, yeah, I think it will be counted as a success despite the cynicism about why they exist at all.
* Black Hawk Down: terrific realism (with only a couple of exceptions), and I was curious as to where it was filmed (a couple of Moroccan cities, as it turns out - which certainly serves as a disincentive to ever visit them - maybe it's the "magic" of Hollywood, but the urban areas on screen did look awful.) Clearly, the script pleased the US military enough to have their full co-operation, but watching it now with the benefit of post Iraq invasion hindsight, it's hard to avoid some cynicism towards the "of course we always comply with the laws of war" hard sell that is pretty continuous throughout the film. (It came out in 2001, a couple of years ahead of the Iraq misadventure.) I would also say that the film doesn't reach the emotional impact that it seems to be striving for in some parts, but it was well worth watching.