Day of the Rhino


I’ve had a rhinoplasty.

That’s nose job for those of you unfamiliar with the technical term.

It’s actually my second.

The first happened 28 years ago back in 1990.

Yep, me and nose obsession go way back.

So where does one venture to if one is thinking of changing the all important centrepiece of one’s face?

Where else but to the undisputed World Headquarters of plastic surgery – Seoul, Korea. Take it from me – this place even trumps Beverly Hills, California when it comes to image conscienceness. For the sheer number of folk in pursuit of ‘the look’ who are prepared to part with their hard-earned to achieve it this corner of the world comes out on top.

Over there plastic surgery – whether it be eyelid nip ‘n tucks, rhinos, chin implants, cheekbone sculpting or what have you – is just something you do. Sort of like Aussies and tattoos, but price-wise on a much grander scale.


Before I take you on the tour of my op, I need to share this. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the course of my many decades long journey regarding nose reshaping surgery it’s the importance of having realistic expectations. Every surgeon you meet in this field emphasizes this.

The dramatic transformation before and after pics which are so easily found on the internet, like the one of the woman below, are much harder to come by in ‘real life’. I should know. I’ve trolled through literally hundreds of before and afters contained in handsomely bound volumes in the waiting rooms of plastic surgeons as well as via on-line surgeon sites and I’ve never, repeat NEVER come across anything as miraculously transformed as the sheer magic that pops up on the internet. I might add too that 99% of the before pictures of these clients you’re absolutely straining to see what the problem was as they look perfectly normal, in many cases even beautiful before any modification.


The surgeon (or Photoshopper) who pulled off this miracle deserves at the very least inclusion in the Rinoplasty Hall of Fame.

When it comes to nose surgery, at least on my face, the word I’ve discovered has been important  vital for me to adopt is ‘subtle’ – as in ‘subtle improvement’ as in ‘modest improvement’. The aim is improvement not transformation, as exampled more by these patients –




Opinions on plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons range along a continua all the way from seeing it as an act of self-empowerment right through to the other end of the scale of it being a form of body dysmorphia (HERE) I regard it as a way to be more comfortable in your own skin. It’s also an aid to cease the self-loathing whenever a mirror is around and free oneself up to be the best possible version of themselves, more fortified and better equipped to handle everything life can dish up.

Now that the preachy part of this post is over, it’s time to get on with the main show. In none of these pictures am I smiling. That’s because (A) I’m not a smiler in photos at the best of times and (B) in some of the clinic photos they request deadpan (Not sure what the Korean word for ‘deadpan’ is but that was the gist of the message to me). And just remember what we spoke about… subtle!


Here I am at Brisbane Airport about to fly 8000km away to meet a guy who’s gonna take to my nose with a hammer and bone saw. And you think you’ve got problems! What am I in such deep contemplation about? Possibly whether airline food has improved since the last time I travelled or whether they’ll have any Barbra Streisand movies on offer in the in-flight entertainment. They’re flared jeans I’m wearing btw.


A little over 24 hours after that Brisbane Airport pic was taken this is me waking up shortly after the operation. This shot was taken in my private suite inside GNG Hospital located in the Gangnam-Gu district of Seoul, Sth Korea. The thumbs up was mildly ridiculous not to mention spectacuarly cheesy I know but how else is a person to pose. ’cause you’re sure not allowed to spread your face into a smile. Now that CREED 2 is out in theatres it’s a pity that they’re not going to make anymore of the ROCKY movies ’cause I could have nailed the part of one of his worse-for-wear sparring partners.

In fact, another movie reference comes to mind when I look at that post-op picture of myself. One of my all-time favourite movies if not my FAVOURITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME has always been and continues to this day to be the Clint Eastwood action pic DIRTY HARRY (1971). There’s a scene in that movie involving the villain Scorpio (played to perfection by Andy Robinson) who pays a person to beat him up. He in turn then tries to pin the blame on his arch nemesis Detective Harry Callahan played by Clint Eastwood.


Anyone without the stomach for film depictions of strong violence would be better forwarding straight past the first 60 seconds of this clip.

The recovery phase post-op consisted of me being holed up in a Korean hotel room for 10 days living on a diet of ramen noodles and nori wrapped rice triangles plus enough round-the-clock, infection fighting antibiotics to inoculate a herd of wild elephants. Oh, and can’t forget to mention the 42 Korean TV channels that played a mixture of news, crazy game shows and soaps (there was even a Korean fishing channel – lucky me!).

I’m still trying to work out whether watching that stuff night and day for the duration helped save my sanity or almost sent me over the edge. I think depending on the day it was a bit of both. It wasn’t all sacrifice and discomfort though. I never did tire of looking out our 12th floor hotel window and watching the snowflakes fall like a million buzzing white moths every morning.  That’s a memory that won’t turn cold anytime soon.

So there you have it. My face transforming Korean Odyssey. What’s that? Oh, you want to see the final result? Yeah, had a feeling you might. But before I do, remember our little chat earlier about realistic expectations? Recall me not so subtly emphasizing the word ‘subtle’.

You do?

Ok, now you get to see…


The ‘Before’ picture was taken on the morning of the operation. The ‘After’ shot, with bruising and swelling still clearly visible, was captured on Day 9 of recovery.

Bear in mind apart from aesthetic reasons I also undertook this procedure on medical grounds in order to open up blocked airways that have restricted my breathing for as far back as I can remember. If you’re straining to see the difference between the nose on the left and the one shown on the right, I understand. But trust me it’s there. An elevated bridge and more contoured volume courtesy of donated cartilage is no trick of the light.

Have I got the nose I always dreamed of having? Not by a long shot. Is it an improvement on what I had? Yes it is. After two go’s at it I now know with complete certainty a Hollywood ‘Brad Pitt’ style of nose and I are destined never to be united. Not in this lifetime anyway. The goal now, as it always has been, is to make best use of what I do have and try to find happiness in that. I’ve taken longer to learn to do this up to this point in my life than anyone I’ve ever met. The second goal is to repay the faith shown in me by my family who’ve supported me throughout the whole literal and metaphorical ‘journey’. For now it’s time to get back to the real world.

Last year brought a new car, a new house and a new blog in LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE. I’m starting off 2019 with a new nose at a brand new work place. Funny, huh? Life is never dull (except when it is). And all these changes are SO going in the scrapbook!

P.S. Check out these before and after’s of President Obama‘s rhinoplasty. Like I say, difference-wise, subtle.

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PSS. Don’t think any of you woke up this morning thinking “Today I absolutely must see a rhinoplasty video” but in case there is anyone who did wake up feeling that way, you my friends, have just struck pay dirt. I promise it’s not real footage, just an animation. Here you go then…

PSSS. Two other funny little moments connected with this odyssey are worth mentioning here. What do you think the chances are of hopping on a flight to travel half way around the world, arriving at your snow-bound destination and then, as your standing in line to present your passport, turning around and spotting a person from your workplace who’s also standing in line?

‘Cause that’s precisely what happened the moment we arrived in Sth Korea – a country which in no way could be mistaken for the number one holiday destination of Aussies going abroad. The remote likelihood was rendered even more against- the-odds of happening when you take into account the fact that my holidays had commenced exactly one week earlier than anyone else at my place of work (or so I thought) since I had applied for and been granted one week’s special leave earlier in the year. Freaky? Just a liitle yeah.


The second noteworthy moment occured while having a consultation at my local GP’s office for an unrelated matter. This took place about a week after arriving home. There I was being examined by the female doctor, which consisted of her asking me if there was tenderness when she gently squeezed particular areas beginning with my scalp and forehead. When I could see she was about to get all hands on squeezy with my nose I had to lower the boom gate pretty fast and ask her to please back off.

I explained I’d just returned from having a rhinoplasty in Sth Korea. I then asked her if she’d ever known anyone who’d had the operation. She replied, “Where I come from… plenty!” I then said  I’d discovered Seoul, Sth Korea to be the World’s capital when it comes to plastic surgery, eclipsing even Beverly Hills, California. She replied, “Iran would outdo both of them put together!”

Looking at this video made me think she might be right.



Eye-popping Aquaman!

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I may be forty years outside the intended target audience age for this movie but that didn’t stop me staring amazeballs with my jaw dropped firmly to the floor in dumfounded amazement for just about every minute of this film. Marveling at what $225 million gets you these days as far as circus-like, cinematic mega-extravaganza wild rides go turned out to be so much fun.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go within a 100 miles of any cinema showing a superhero movie, having grown up a number of decades past. But we’d promised to take our eight year old daughter to her first ‘adult’ film (she still needed one of those black leather child booster cushions to see the screen) so I was in some ways living vicariously through her.

When I was my daughters age, Aquaman looked like this –

And I used to love it.

Now he looks like this and I still love it –

Yep, there’s stunning eye-candy and then there’s AQUAMAN. ‘Next level’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Filmed principally at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast in Australia, critics have rightly labelled this the best thing to come out of the DC Universe canon since the THE DARK KNIGHT (2008).  Considering that Christopher Nolan directed masterpiece with it’s Heath Ledger imbibed turns of genius rewrote the standard for what superhero movies could aspire to be, that is high praise indeed.

kidmanApart from where it was made, the other Aussie connection to this film is Nicole Kidman (who coincidentally, along with AQUAMAN star Jason Momoa, was also born in Honolulu, Hawaii). 51 year old Kidman, who looks barely a day older than when she appeared in my all-time favourite movie of hers, the mid-nineties Gus Van Sant directed TO DIE FOR, plays Aquaman’s mother Atlanna.

In another coincidence, Kidman is the exact same age as Jason Momoa’s real life wife Lisa Bonnet (she of the THE COSBY SHOW back in the 1980’s, the series she was famously fired from in 1991). That’s the same real life 12-year-age-gap between Aquaman and his reel-life mother and Aquaman and his real-life wife. Whatever, right?jasonAnd speaking of Jason Momoa, how about him! He’s undergone quite the transformation to assume the hulking form he is today, as the pictures above testify to. He portrayed the title protagonist in Conan the Barbarian (2011), a reimagining of the 1982 film of the same name and a role made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his rise to fame includes parts in BATMAN Vs SUPERMAN (2016) and JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017).

He plays Aquaman with the sort of charm reminiscent of an early Marlon Brando. Instead of a blonde All-American boy type (see 1960’s cartoon opener) Momoa plays him more as a leather-clad, tattooed biker. He also genuinely looks like he could physically pulverise with one hand tied behind his back a posse of other superhero’s who, for dignity’s sake, shall remain nameless here. (Ok then – Ironman, Spiderman and Captain America – are you listening?) And to complete the picture he fights all comers like a thrashing machine in this adrenaline-charged thrill-ride of a movie.

Throughout the length of this movie I watched with interest the character of King Nereus, the father of Aquaman‘s love interest Mera (played by Johnny Depp’s ex, Amber Heard) with the nagging suspicion that I knew the actor playing this part from some place. Yet try as I might I just couldn’t place him. That was until the credit’s came rolling on (this is one movie you won’t want to leave the theatre in the middle of the scroll-through of production names due to unfinished end scenes that play in the middle of them) and I realised for near two and a half hours I’d been gazing at my old mate Ivan Drago! (Dolph Lundgren). I know the producers inserted him in AQUAMAN just for the likes of me so I’m pretty grateful.

dolphEvery frame of AQUAMAN has marvelous details that you might not catch on first viewing. The Atlanteans use their mouths to speak, but there are no visible bubbles, only vocal distortion that suggests “bubbly-ness.” When the characters aren’t swimming at dolphin speeds, they square off against each other as if they’re standing on a sidewalk on land, bobbing ever-so-slightly. It’s all so well done.

Naturally there’s been the odd dissenter (HERE) who’s given a less glowing account of the film then the one I’ve provided but haters gonna hate and haters most definitely gonna nitpick. As I’m departing a movie theatre I usually like to eavesdrop on a sample of conversation to gauge what people thought of a film. On this occasion I overheard this from a popcorn maxi-box holding teenager – “The visuals were great but everything else was crap”.

And as to that critic who wrote – “I did not think Warner Brothers and DC Films could make a worse movie than Green Lantern, but Aquaman is that movie.  The point at which Aquaman stepped on my last shred of hope was when the octopus played the drums” – I say two things (1) It’s pretty clear you don’t know your AQUAMAN backstory and (2) it’s called a sense of humour. Perhaps you could try developing one.

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No matter.

I went into this movie expecting the usual ‘valleys and mountains’ type rhythm commonly found in these type of films ie moments of explosive action interspersed with slower periods of exposition, dialogue and back story. Yet for me this film passed in a heartbeat with not a dull moment.

AQUAMAN flows. God does it flow! Just like water.

Ps. How’s this for AQUAMAN backstory: according to lore within the DC Universe, it was actually The Flash that came up with the name AQUAMAN

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That’s a Wrap – 2019

 Love may be blind but marriage is a true eye-opener. If it’s end-of-year truth you came looking for, you’re definitely in the right place this week.  On the eve of launching into the fourth year of life for this blog, that morsel of tongue-in-cheek wisdom may be as good as any to hang my metaphorical hat on and reflect.

After three solid years and 147 published posts on SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK, it’s fair to say my ‘relationship’ with blogging has by now entered the marriage stage. Gone are the heady days when I believed with every cell of my double helix I was about to shape humankind’s destiny and set the blogosphere alight every time my finger hovered over the ‘publish’ button.

If I think back I’m pretty sure I may even have originally set out to create the funniest, wittiest blog site the world had ever seen. Pretty quickly that proved to be way too hard. Like, WAY too hard. In place of that what else was there to do but start serving up common banter such as what you’re reading now. Humbling to be sure but over the passage of time adjusting the scope and breadth of ones formerly lofty ambitions makes sense if you want to keep going. And I DID want to keep going. Still do.

With over 600 million free-to-access blogs in the world competing for interest, that, I can now appreciate, was always an amusingly naive, overreaching thought. But gee-whiz, the illusion and false-belief phase sure was fun while it lasted!

These days, again like a marriage, I’m fully awake to the idea I’m no longer running a 100 meter race in the blogging stakes. Now I’m chugging along more like a marathon runner with the occasional surge and one or two sprint finishes thrown in for variety. Under these road rules the challenge is trying to keep things fresh and fun along the route.

On that note, I’ve said it before and I’m not shy in saying it again – the day I start taking things too seriously around here is the day I break open the metaphorical cyanide capsule that dangles on a gold-plated chain around the slender neck of SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK and bite down. Hard. 

Over the course of the last three years I’ve seen a number of my contemporaries take their last breath. Blogs have a lifespan like all other things. When the interest that once burned magnificently like a furnace flame has dwindled to a barely breathing wet candle, and, worse still, perhaps even assumed the status of burden, there is little else for one to do but slip away quietly and make way for another, freshly setting out on their own blogging promenade.

This year saw SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK set a new comments record (60) for an individual post. My interview with junior author Georgia Bowditch in August received a very positive response. 2019 also saw me reconnect with two old ‘mates’ – John Rambo and the T-800 Terminator with the release of long-awaited new installments in those two film franchises. With friends like that who needs enemies right?

Then there was the right royal pranking of the Nigerian scam artist back in March. You had it coming Mr Badenhorst or Catherine Bessant or whatever your name was! Those shenanigans ran for a total of three posts and and kept me and a few readers along for the ride entertained in a pay-back flavoured manner for the duration.

What will 2020 bring? Mystery, shenanigans and rum’n raisin iceceam are all guaranteed since they’re my favorites. For assurances of anything else you’ll just have to tune in to find out. Before then however it’s time to look back on the year that was SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK style.










Top 50 Songs List (June)

Art of the Niggle (July)

Super Computers (August)

Bruce Lee (August)

Top 50 TV Series (September)

2nd Hand Stores (October)

Brisbane – Australia’s 3rd best City (November)

Murder of Author Helen Bailey (November)

Best Book Covers of 2019 (December)



AQUAMAN  (January)




Rambo:Last Blood (October)

Terminator: Dark Fate (November)



MEMBER OF THE FAMILY by Dianne Lake (February)

THE COMEDY WRITER by Peter Farrelly (March)

A CAPTAIN’S DUTY by Richard Phillips (June)





Champion Racehorse Winx Retires (April)


‘Knowledge advances funeral by funeral’

Australian entertainer & tv host Jimmy Hannan (January)

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent (March)

Australian musical director and tv personality Geoff Harvey  (March)

Singer & Actress Doris Day (May)

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke (May)

U.S billionaire and former Presidential candidate Ross Perot (July)

Australian cookbook author Margaret Fulton (July)

Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fisher (August)

Author Toni Morrison (August)

Actress Valerie ‘Rhoda’ Harper (August)

Australian actor Paul Cronin (September)

Lead singer of Roxette – Gun-Marie Fredriksson (December)















11 Year Old Georgia Bowditch (August)



Rambo: Last Blood (First Rambo movie in 11 years)

In Stereo (First new Bananarama studio album in 10 years) 

Best Read of 2019





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Ok, I’m out of here. See you when the adventures return in the new year. And one last thing… don’t forget to come back!

Ps. Couldn’t farewell the decade without leaving you with one very last bonus read HERE.

Pss. And finally …Wanna see an uncannily accurate picture of how I’ll be spending the New Year’s holiday period? No? Here it is anyway…

World National Trivia Day


Welcome to the very first officially sanctioned event of 2019 – World National Trivia Day.

You can be forgiven for not having circled this one on the calendar. Trivia is after all by definition something you don’t NEED to know.

But now that you do, let’s play it for all it’s worth… 

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For two years, from 1835-1837, the city now known as Melbourne was named Batmania after Australian grazier, entrepreneur and explorer John Batman.


Some suspect this might be a case of a well-known quote being misattributed to a famous identity – but according to the theory: no more beesno more pollinationno more plantsno more animalsno more us.  (I thought there were other creatures that pollinate flowers – butterflies, hummingbirds, hoover flies, even bats?)


American teenager Adrianne Lewis (her picture is NOT photoshopped) makes Gene Simmons from KISS look tongue-tied by comparison.


1823 – German chemist Wolfgang Debereiner invents the first cigarette lighter.                               1826 – English chemist John Walker invents the first self-igniting match.


The Blue Whale and the sperm whale are the two loudest animals in the world and can both make a sound up to about 188 decibals (dB). For comparison, a jet engine at take off is about 140 dB, and the human pain threshold is about 120dB. Humpback Whales are not as loud, but they’re more like the Mariah Carey of the whale world as they have really complex whale songs with a really wide frequency range.


The world record for the fastest growing plant belongs to certain species of the 45 genera of bamboo, which have been found to grow at up to 90 cm (35 inches) per day or at a rate of 0.00003 km/h (0.00002 mph).

Slapstick outlandish but interesting all round I reckon.

And absolutely perfect fodder on WORLD TRIVIA DAY.


Ps. Your bonus this week is my end-of-year tribute to another blog I read ACCIDENTALLY INSPIRED. Take it in HERE