The Office, Part 2

Last week I posted about the US version of "The Office" TV show screening here in Melbourne. As mentioned, I laughed and laughed at the two episodes (and the series pilot) Channel Ten screened over two nights (although I would have probably saved the pilot episode for later on in the series as it was not quite as polished as the proper episodes). So imagine my surprise and disappointment when I looked for it on TV tonight and found Everybody Loves Raymond repeats. A bit of googling brings up:

And the US clone of the British hit The Office premiered on Ten with 262,344 viewers but fell away to 196,491 on its second night. Ten announced on Monday that it had been axed and tonight's scheduled episode has been replaced with a repeat of Everybody Loves Raymond.
(The Age)

The British version might have rated well for the ABC, but the American remake of The Office has failed to live up to Network Ten's expectations, being axed after just two episodes.
(Herald Sun)

It must be my sense of humour! And the service from Channel Ten is a little unbelievable - no news on their site at all about the dumping of the show - a search on their site brings up nothing, as if the show had never existed. Unfortunately sending a quick e-mail to them is not possible as the "Contact Us" page on their website provides only a phone number and mailing address.

I'm not surprised that the show did not rate that well - what did Channel 10 expect? The original UK version was on the ABC - the government channel - years ago and I'm sure only a small percentage of the population ever heard of it.

OK, I'm calming down now, it's just TV, it's not like I've missed something that will never be on again...

Fellowship of the Ring

My beautiful wife got me "The Fellowship of the Ring" Extended Edition yesterday. I love you wifey!

We started watching all the behind-the-scenes stuff first (there's 5 hours of "making of"...great!) On Saturday night we watch the movie...

The Office

Recently I hired a DVD of the British comedy TV series "The Office". I don't know why I did; at the time I thought I remembered seeing an amusing bit out of the show a long time ago on TV, and I figured, I work in an office, maybe it would be funny.

Well, Olivia and I laughed and laughed the whole way through the DVD. The show is shot in a "mock-umentary" style in a fictitious paper office, and the dry kind of humour really appealed to us both. I'm looking forward to finding the DVD of series 1 (which we haven't seen yet, the one we hired was series 2).

The US version of "The Office" started last night (Wednesday 22nd June) in Melbourne, on Channel Ten - I was hoping it would be even half as funny, as that would still make it worth watching.

Turns out the US version is pretty funny. I'm glad it's done in the style of the UK series but there's definite differences. Last nights episode on "Diversity Day" had some truly funny moments. The manager's love for Chris Rock and impromptu performance during a racial discrimination session had to be seen to be believed.

Some quotes from the original UK series that I found while trolling around the internet:

David: “Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do.”

Jennifer (David's boss): “Have you made any redundancies?”
David: “I gave a speech, only this morning, to my staff, assuring them there would not be cutbacks at this branch, and that there certainly wouldn’t be redundancies.”
Jennifer: “Well why on earth would you do that?”
David: “Why? Ooh, a little word that I think’s important in management called morale.”
Jennifer: “Well surely it’s gonna be worse for morale in the long run when there are going to be redundancies and you’ve told people there won’t be.”
David: “...... they won’t remember.”

David: “Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I’ve been promoted, so....every cloud. You’re still thinking about the bad news aren’t you?”

Gareth: “Alright, if you're so clever, what am I thinking?”
Tim: “You're thinking 'How could I kill a tiger armed only with a biro'.”
Gareth: “Nope.”
Tim: “You're thinking 'If I crash landed in the jungle could I eat my own shoes'.”
Gareth: “No. And you can't.”
Tim: “Alright, what are you thinking?”
Gareth: “I was wondering whether there will ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark.”

Ha ha hee hee...

Remembering my Grandpa & Grandma

My Grandpa (my Dad's Dad) died in 1990. He always called me "his namesake" because I was a Thomas Samuel Williams, just like him. He was mostly bed-ridden in the years before he died, but he was still talkative and always ready for a chat. He and Grandma, who passed on in 1997, had plenty of good stories, and I still remember the times before Grandpa got really sick when they still lived at their house on the Rye back beach.

I guess I'm gradually learning how to cope with loss. I was 16 when Grandpa died and I felt robbed at the time, however as I'm becoming an adult (I'm still getting there, I'm only 31!) I have been slowly coming to the understanding that everyone has a time. This year, on the anniversary of Grandma's birthday, I finally made a trip to the cemetery to visit both of them.

One part of me can't believe it has taken 15 years to visit (although I have stopped by in the meantime when I'm at the cemetery on other business, I have never dedicated time just for my Grandma and Grandpa). I would like to make the trip annually from now on - I wouldn't like to think that 2 of my most favorite people in the world were "out of sight, out of mind".

One thing I did learn on this visit was that my Grandma and Grandpa are not at the cemetery - I mean their remains are, but they are not. I don't have to go there to talk to them or think about them, but I want to, to be able to give them a little bit of my time. I was encouraged by part of what's on Grandpa's entry (from Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"):

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.

I agree.


I love the fact that TJ says grace before our meals, but sometimes you have to be a speed listener to hear the spaces between the words!

Random "Next Blog" Clicking

The other night I clicked on the "Next Blog" link at the top of most Blogger/Blogspot blogs a couple of times to check out some random sites. I have one word for this: "strange". If I were to allow myself two words, the second one would be "dangerous" (I became infected with a virus on or around the time I did the random "next blog" clicking, so it could have been from that).
I surfed to 100 or so blogs and only 30 or 35 were real people. The other blogs were a mixture of soft porn pictures (under girl's names, and the sites were all the same) or grey "info" blogs that post ads. Urrgh. About 30% US, 30% UK, 30% Canadian, a few from Puerto Rico and the other 10% from everywhere else.

On reflection, even I'm wondering why I did it. But I had an hour to spare, and I was bored!

In amongst the various sites, there was even a spam blog that seemed as if was posted by a real person, that had generic sentences like, "The other night I was thinking about online car donation sites when it suddenly occurred to me that I had really better try online car donation sites". This went on for post after post (I had to laugh!)

Of the real blogs, it was interesting seeing sites that I would never normally come across. I did laugh at some of the posts (especially the sarcastic ones). And there were many angry sites. Many. Which is fine with me, hey, it's their site, right? Lots of sites with the default template and the default links saying "Edit Me".

It makes me briefly wonder at the people who, through clicking the "Next Blog", would come to my site.

I ended my blog world tour on a funny note with The international sign for marriage. Ha ha. And hello to all other Blogger users.

Jesus Loved...

Tim posts about an amazing story by Joshua Gibbs, and I agree with Tim's comment: "Wow". A great analogy of Jesus and love:

Jesus had a dream girl. Jesus had a girl that He wanted to marry for several thousand years. But she treated him like shit. She slept with everyone, she didn’t stop until there was a checkmark next to every name in the phonebook. And Jesus, above just hearing the rumors, had to watch every one of these sexual encounters in excruciating detail. He saw every thrust of the hips and heard every whispered word.

Read the rest at The Girl Of Your Dreams.

"The Making Of"

I love watching the extra bits that come with most DVD movies - particularly anything to do with "the making of". I am most interested in the actors and their experiences, and I can happily sit through a movie and then sit through the DVD extras - they enhance the movie.

Watching the behind-the-scenes stuff reminds me that movie stars are ordinary people - sometimes very rich, very blessed ordinary people - and the image that's presented on-screen, whether it's of a tough guy, or a sensitive guy, or an evil guy, is just an image. And it's amazing to find that some actors are insecure about their craft (just as anyone might be when in front of a camera).

We watched the excellent Japanese movie Zatoichi a couple of weeks back, and the "making of" was amazing. There was an interesting moment that revealed that the actor playing a tough samurai as quite a meek person, bowing to all the camera crew politely after finishing a scene. And the main actor was the writer and director (which I found amazing).

My all-time favorite behind-the-scenes documentary is the "Lord of the Rings" - 3+ hours of cool stuff for each movie (in the extended editions)!

I Am A Hoarder

I am a hoarder. Every time we have a big clean up, I can think of many reasons to keep my old stuff for just another couple of years. And I still remember nearly everything I have ever lost or broken - and sometimes i think it would be better if I still had some of that stuff!

For instance when I was young I had a great book on science, and lost it somehow. I can still remember that book. For many years after it went missing, I checked and double-checked our bookshelves at home. Same with $20 I was given as a birthday present when i was a teenager. I may have spent it, but I can't remember; in any case, on regular intervals I would check my drawers and cupboards, looking for the envelope it was in!

The only exception to my hoarding nature is when I don't want something (possibly I bought something else to replace it). Then that item is free to go to the Salvo's.

Strangest Thing I Have Kept: A disposable plastic raincoat (still in packet), in case I ever need it, and I can find it.

Something I Got Rid Of That I Wish I Hadn't: Old (e.g. late 80's/early 90's) computer programs. Man, I could go some "Summer Games" right now...

Something Whose Time Had Come: My collection of 1 and 2 cent pieces, old material patches that I'd never sewn onto anything, and twisted bits of wire. Even I could see that it was time to get rid of those.

Questioning My Religion

Not quite the REM classic "Losing My Religion", but close!

Hamo posted about the fact he's asking questions about the church, and for me I know his feeling - I have been asking questions of myself and of my church experience for a long time.

A friend of mine reminded me that questions in and of themselves are OK, they might lead to a "better Yes" in decision making. However, I feel like the questions I ask of my religious experience are accusations that make me feel more and more alone as a Christian because I don't necessarily "buy into" all the baggage that may go along with church.

I'm talking here mainly about Sunday morning church. I have felt out of place at my own church for a long time. I often feel like the stuff we talk about just adds to my "head knowledge" of God and the Bible but does not impact my real life. I can just remember last week's sermon, if pushed, I could probably remember what we covered the week before, but prior to that it's a big blur running together. It seems like my spirituality is best left at church, because the rest of my week and how I live my life don't really get talked about (or there's no avenue for me to talk about it). And mostly, I feel like our previously informal gathering has solidified into the old-fashioned church. I don't even know everyone there. And it gets me down when I hear people saying, "Wasn't that great, we had xx number of people here today, that's up from last week" because just having more people surely does not mean a better church, does it?

I have also felt very wary in the past of certain things that go on in Christiandom, without really knowing why: the recent Franklin Graham crusade in Melbourne, the little-too-cheesy "40 Days of Purpose" book (that I did actually read), the little niche of marketing that is "Christian" books and music and entertainment. They all get me rubbed the wrong way.

Yes, that was a big rant, and yes, this is the first time I've publicly admitted my feelings in this matter. I do still believe in God and know that He is my God. I'm frustrated, because there's so much other static to have to deal with!

"Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork"

I enjoyed this GetReligion link to an interview with Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee talking about healthy eating and his weight loss, as well as changing the culture of eating and marketing (at least that's what I take out of it). Check the title of his book - "Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork"...a scary thought!

A quote from the article:

"...[We want] to make more parents aware of how little exercise their kids are getting, and how many calories their kids are getting. Many of the things that parents do to show love for their kids are not necessarily in their best interest. For example, you take your kids to pizza not because you hate them but because you think that you’re giving them a treat. And if a medium pizza might actually meet the nutritional needs of three or four kids, the large one shows that you have no limits to your love."

The article gives me something to think about in the way I parent. I offer food as a reward quite often with TJ. I try and balance the reward of food with other things, but food's almost the easiest one. For instance, which one's easier: a trip to the playground (which TJ loves), or a chocolate frog (which everyone loves)? Hmmm...

World View: I Am A Cultural Creative

Via Brian, I found out that my world view is "Cultural Creative":

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Now time to find out what all this means...maybe my bro Simon will help (hint, hint, help me with my homework and tell me the answers now, little bro!)?

Garden State

I'd seen a lot of good (low-key good) reports on the movie "Garden State", so we rented it the other night, not knowing anything about the story or content. Olivia and I both enjoyed the movie, all the more so when we considered that the lead actor wrote, directed and starred in it (previously I'd only seen him in the mediocre TV show Scrubs).

Hey, Victoria, the state of Australia I live in, is also known as the "Garden State". Lucky coincidence?

I love a good movie and it seems like my greatest gift to my friends is to recommend they watch what I watched the other night. After watching "Garden State", I felt this leaves a burning question: should I have a problem talking up a movie that has some questionable content (mainly drug use, which I don't agree with) to my married/with kids friends? Is it something I'd want them recommending to me? Or, on the other hand, should I be put off a well-crafted film because it has stuff in it that I don't agree with?

I feel like the worst offender is nudity as it seems a little gratuitous e.g. do we need to see a man and woman in the buff, in the sack, on the big screen? Wouldn't just the insinuation be enough for the viewer to realise that two people had slept together? Does it advance the story? Is it a believable moment?

Wow, I'm getting really off the topic, because Garden State didn't have any nudity, but I just had to get that out. I'd give Garden State 9 out of 12, and it will be interesting to see if the film stands up to a repeat viewing (where you see a movie once, declare it great, but then hesitate to watch it a 2nd time...)

Stay tuned for the next Tommo Review where I might actually write about what the movie was about, rather than just spout off!

Phone Spam

Olivia mentioned she'd been getting phone spam!

On one occasion the phone rang and Olivia picked it up to hear a recorded voice say, "I'm sorry, this message was intended for an answering machine." Another time Olivia answered the phone to have a recorded message announce that her number had been selected and she'd already won a prize, if she called another phone number.

What a terrible, low-tech waste of time for spammer and spammee...

The Case of the Picked Pocket

Two weeks ago we got a shiny new mobile phone on a cheap plan. A week later, the new phone was stolen! Olivia thinks it may have been lifted from her jacket pocket in the food court at a large shopping centre. When she realised it was gone and tried ringing it 1/2 an hour later, it had been turned off. Backtracking her way to the shops she had visited and a report to both the police and centre management didn't unearth the phone, and since then we have had no word on it; so we consider it gone.

Not much we can do here. I doubt even Sherlock Holmes could solve this one!

Olivia's had a great attitude regarding the loss which is encouraging to me. Our provider can send us out another phone for an extra fee per month, but we've decided to cut our losses for the moment and stick with our old phone for now. It is unfortunate, but of course it's not the end of the world (as the saying goes)...I wonder who came up with that saying? Was it someone trying to counter another's argument that an issue was the end of he world? Hmmm...

The Personal Touch

Michelle blogged about receiving and sending hand-written letters (which I never do...well, once a year or so I write a letter), and this sentence stood out about half way down:

I wonder how many others out there miss the personal touch.

Reading that line got me thinking about the sense of touch itself (sorry Michelle, my mind wandered). I'm a person who communicates best with words only, but I've noticed how much I enjoy being cuddled and having my back rubbed by my wife, being hugged by my kids, and generally making contact or holding hands with both the wife and kids. I'd almost forgotten how good "touch" is!

Reading "The Five Love Languages" was a real eye-opener for Olivia and I as it helped us understand how we give and receive love and affection (I'm not just talking about...). I'd recommend it for any couple. It covers touch and how people might respond to touch differently. Olivia and I appreciate touch about as much as each other, I think: however, I now know after reading and discussing our "love languages" that Olivia feels loved, appreciated and special when I do something for her like wash the dishes or tidy up or some other act of service. On the other hand, I really appreciate it when she just talks to me!


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