Friday, December 22, 2006

the internet is...

addictive, very addictive. So, guess what I've been doing with my time? Spending alot of it on the internet is the right answer here. It's been a while since I had the time an internet access to get addicted, rather than hurrying through my mail and blogs and occasionally checking my web comics, and I am enjoying it. So here are some tidbits to share with you all.
A christmassy game! This is very cute, it has jumping bunnies and bells. The main site also has a game where you have to be santa delivering presents.
A holiday calender! Which is mean and nasty, in a fun way.
Overheard in New York, which is an old site that I posted up on spampage but just rediscovered, and the usual webcomics, some of which I have links to on this blog.
Oh, and Alex and Alan have a new blog! Which I will put up a link to as well.

Other than that, I will give a short description for Pun of some of the cooking that's been happening... Sylvia made lavender ice-cream from her mediterranean cook book which was delicious and creamy and came out looking like ice-cream, which is hard to achieve. It was strange eating simething lavender flavoured. Strangely tasty... We ate them with meringues, made by Meredith, which were sweet and soft and crunchy, the way that meringues are, and with fruit salad. They also made tons of biscuits, which were mostly to give away so I only ate them in the mixture stage, and four Christmas puddings (2 big, 2 small) and a Chistmas cake. I think that the best time to eat Christmas cake/pudding is when you have mixed the fruit into the cake mix but before you add the flour. Mmmmm.... But of course pudding is also great when covered in lashings of Brandy sauce and cream. Hmmm, making myself hungry now...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

the latest episode

I haven't been spending much time around computers with internet access, being either at home or at work. Which is probably not true. But near enough.
Well I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats as to whether I did actually get around to enjoying my day last Monday, and the answer is yes, yes I did. Andrew and I went and saw Children of Men, with one free movie ticket. What an awesome movie! Really, I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. If it's still out. If not, get it on DVD. Anyway, that kept me on the edge of my seat with the suspense and all. It was very real, but a good fictional story. Well made too, with the camerawork and the characters you cared about and all. It was absorbing, and I couldn't look away, and I was freaked out alot and they created this really believable world (which was kinda scary). This is not the best review, but the point I wanted to make was it that it's a good movie. And I think I've done that.
The rest of the week I mostly read alot. I bought two new books with my two book vouchers- Ghostwritten by David Mitchell and One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. And read them (they were good). Which reminds me, I should probably borrow a new book since I'm in the library now. Alot of bludging last week. Oh, and I made it to Glebe Markets, always fun. This week I have been doing alot of working. Was at the museum today. Sadly I am losing my voice, I have this sore throat which has been going around (when I say 'going around', the only people I know who've had it are my flatmates, so I blame them). Fun when you're trying to teach people. Luckily year 5 kids are much better behaved than year sevens.
So I guess this installment of my life has been less than enthralling for y'all, I will try to have wacky adventures for your entertainment, but in the meantime I'm trying to make money. A foolish aim really, but there it is. in any case I am totally up for fun and excitement, so if anyone has any suggestions (or even book recommendations) they would be very welcome.
Tata for now :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

one minute more

So afraid
In the spin of the world
To fall into another's arms
So hold me up
Just hold me up
And I'll be fine
In just a little while
I'll stand alone
In a little while.

The night is dark
But I don't want to live
By someone else's light
So shine softly
Guide me gently
And I'll walk straight
Until I shine
In a minute
I will shine.

If I lose myself
Where are we?
So I don't need you
Just stay here
One minute more.
I'm better off alone
But stay
A little longer
In a minute I'll be fine.

Friday, September 15, 2006

sandman

What a creepy series of comics these do be. (Or graphic novels, whatever you prefer) I think that Neil Gaiman has a very twisted mind. But intriguing at the same time. I mean, he writes some good stories, particularly in comic book form. I think most of his novels seem a little unfinished somehow when you read them. Or the ones I've read anyway. There are some really great ideas though. 'Neverwhere' had a great premise, for example, based in a subterranean world below London, half real but mostly fantastical, populated by the disspossed and the forgotten of the past, present and myth. But I felt dissatisfied with it in the end. Ultimately it didn't feel whole, as though he'd left bits out, and I don't know how well he communicated the setting. As for the story, it was confusing, and I don't remember it all that well now, which must tell you something, right? I only read it at the end of last year. Not that my memory for details is very good...
but my point is that Gaiman's form of grotesque works wonderfully in comic book form, though maybe not for the faint of heart or stomach Sandman is some good fantasy. Works the real, the mythological and the completely made up and fanciful nicely together. I am only up to book 5 though, so I haven't actually finished them yet.
I do always wonder though, what goes in in Neil Gaiman's head all the time. Why does he write this stuff? Fascinating, but bizarre...

Monday, September 11, 2006

on verse

I had alot of time to kill on the bus trip back from Canberra, and so I was reading through my English textbook (The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edition, so not too bad at all)for about three hours. This is just so that you understand the cotext in which I came up with the idea for this post.

Why do people always associate poetry with rhyme? It doesn't have to be the case. And I think that most people would know that alot of poetry doens't rhyme, or is at least not in rhyming couplets. This is not even a new idea. It's not just these new-fangled poets who dispense with tradition and so rhyme. Old English poetry doesn't rhyme, it alliterates instead. Shakespeare often wrote in blank verse which means NO RHYMING. Robert Browning doesn't always write in rhyme. In short, poetry doesn't necessarily equal rhyme even before the 21st century.
Now, I have to confess that I am a bit biased in this as I always thought that rhyming couplets tend to sound silly. And abab structure, or something a bit more sophisticated like that, that I was fine with, but no couplets for me and blank verse for preference. I have recently realised the error of my ways, however. For if you look at the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, written by no less than the great Chaucer, you will find that it is in rhyming couplets. The thing is, I didn't even notice this for a long time, because he writes so well it sounds natural. Which is of course the key to couplets. You can use them to finish off a poem, taht works, you can write a whole poem in them for comic effect, but if you want to do anything else you'd better be really, really good, or you're just going to sound silly. I warn all you poets out there, beware the rhyming couplet. Turns out rhythm is more essential than rhyme. Although you should read 'Columbus' by Ogden Nash. It only illustrates my point of course, but it's very funny.
In English now we are studying some sonnets by Edmund Spencer, called 'Amoretti'. I think they're a little dull personally. But I tried to write a sonent myself, and it's very, very hard. You don't know where to start. I have a quatrain and a half of (roughly) iambic pentameter, but it's also a little dull. Doesn't matter, mostly I'm just excited to feel like I finally understand what iambic pentameter is. Only three or four years into my English degree... (I had it explained to me before, maybe last year, but feel able to understand only now)

I see I got a little distracted from actually arguing anything, but my final thoughts will perhaps digress even further. They are: those old poets were truly impressive! They wrote so much, so skillfully; because those verse form are hard to master. Poetry in general is a hard thing to do, so I am filled with new found respect for those who do it well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

one crowded hour

by Augie March, I love that song! Sadly I listened to the album yesterday and decided it wasn't worth it, but that one song, man, I really like it. Not sure why but there you go, when was love meant to be logical? Actually I think the song talks about that...
So there you go. Now my CD wishlist includes:
Fallout Boy- From Under the Cork Tree
Blanche- If You Can't Trust the Doctors
Triple J Hottest 100 Volume 5
and possibly Live- Throwing Copper.
Because all of these are good. Well, at least partially.
You see I really feel like buying a new cd at the moment, but then you have to justify the expense and there's no reason really and I haven't even been listening much to the CDs I already have. So I'm just making lists in my mind... And waiting for the new Bright Eyes album to come out. Well, first I have to wait for them to record a new album, so it might be some time, but still I'm excited.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

chaucer

Now I want to say something that may stir up controversy but probably won't, knowing the readership of this blog, the general irrelevance to anything whatsoever and the fact that it is clearly and blatantly just my opinion against a world which is against me. But I want it to be known that I think that Chaucer is greater than Shakespeare. Yes indeedy. He wrote with wit and great characterization, he wrote huge amounts of stuff, and unlike Shakespeare his works are actually interesting to read all these years on, EVEN THOUGH Middle English is even harder to understand than Shakespeare. Not that Shakespeare is not good, but I think he's overhyped. Shakespeare is not the greatest thing since sliced bread, given the choice between Hamlet and being easily able to make a slice of toast I will go with the toast any day. Not a problem with Chaucer, whio although admired is alot less overhyped, although I may be going some way to tipping the balance here I think that in the scheme of things there's a big gap there.

So at the upcoming elections, do the right thing and VOTE 1 CHAUCER!

Monday, June 12, 2006

world cup!

As those of you who have not been living under rocks will realise, the Football World Cup is on again. Started on Friday. And I have been hanging around whining because of my lack of SBS reception. Well today I caved and bought a digital set top box, the only problem being that the decent cheap ones were all sold out (apparently) because of the World Cup, and I felt I could only justify buying a dodgy cheap one. Which, alas, turned out to be incapable of picking up SBS. I'll have to return it tomorrow. Anyway, my hopes were all dashed, and were dashed even further when someone at church said that if I had no SBS reception at all (which I don't) a digital box won't fix the problem. I'm not sure if it's true, but if so then it is very, very sad.
On the plus side, I managed to see most of the Serbia and Montenegro vs. Netherlands match tonight, by dint of being out with a group of people from church. It was in an RSL club, there were many tv screens, and some people were telling others about the racing, and someone was raving about Federa in the tennis, and basically it was very distracting. But enjoyable nonetheless. Not sure what to say about it, because while watching it became clear to me that my football knowledge (such as it is) is rather rusty. Netherlands deserved their win, they had more possession I believe and more coherence, but Serbia and Montenegro certainly fought it pretty hard. Ended up 1-0.
Tomorrow (or today technically, I guess) is Australia vs. Japan, which is bound to be exciting, no matter what the game is like, because we're in it. Sadly I'm finishing work at 10:30, so will have to rush madly to get to my friends' house in Randwick by 11 for the game. I looked up the timetables, and I can make it to the bus stop near their house at exactly 11 (assuming the bus is on time), so am pysched up. Stupid work has rostered me for 10 the next morning, which will make life interesting.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

review: espresso tales

The sequel to '44 Scotland Street' by Alexander McCall Smith (author of the well-known 'No. 1 Ladie's Detective Agency' series). It is really a collection of stories based around a collection of characters, set in Edinburgh and centering on 44 Scotland St.
They were both enjoyable books, nothing particularly momentous happens, relationships change, small but life-changing things occur, it is lightly humourous and mildly philosophical. Some of the characters, such as the central character, Pat, the gallery owner Matt, the coffee shop owner Big Lou and Bertie, a six year old boy, are quite likeable. Others, such as the narcisistic Bruce and pushy mother Irene are much less so. It's an effective mix. But there are problems. The sage Domenica, neighbour and friend to Pat, began to really irritate me about halfway through the book, through always being 'right', or apparently so, but since I didn't always agree with her it grated. Also she didn't let anyone else get a word in edgewise. And she dismissed one character as being 'weak', and I dislike that. It's not the single characteristic of a personality.
Maybe the most irritating thing about it was the philosophy. The author is a philosopher, so I suppose he felt compelled to add it. Nothing wrong with that, except in the way he did it. Philosophy is not presented in a discussion, just handed down from the mouths of 'good' characters as a "this is the right way to think" sort of thing. At least this is the impression I got. It seemed somewhat incongruous, when occasionally people would sit down and just start explaining philosophy. Also the writing style is somewhat, hmm, terse? Maybe that's the wrong word, but it has a simplicity that works well with witty remarks, but just makes more reflective moments sound didactic. It worked better with 'No. 1 Detective Agency' because that was more plot driven, and it worked as a reflection of the main character, who was I think not so highly educated but intelligent nonetheless. At least, that's how I remember it, and if it's not so then you can see that that is the impression the writing style gave to me. Put in the context of a bunch of educated Edinburgh types, who are often pretty pretentious, it doesn't seem to work as well. Also, as I said before, nothing much happens, so the plot does not carry the style as much. A simple and clipped style can be very effective in a crowded plot, but a crowded plot is not in evidence here. The structure has a similar effect: it is made up of lots of short chapters centering on different characters and storylines. This would be because the book was previously published in serial form in a newspaper, but it adds to the overall impression of clipped shortness and simplicity.
Overall it is a fairly inconsequential book. It makes for a light and enjoyable read, with some interesting characters and developments, amusement and some interesting thoughts. But overall it left me feeling slightly unsatisfied, as though it was missing something. I guess it falls into the category of books-that-could-really-work-but-somehow-don't-quite. By all means read it, the Times review is quoted as saying that it is "as warm as cocoa, as cosy as thermal underwear, and just what the doctor ordered for cold winter evenings", so now would be the time. But just don't expect too much.

Monday, June 05, 2006

feeling the same way all over again

So I'm sitting here in the library, and it's rainy and cold outside but soon I'll have to leave and go to work, and I have Norah Jones stuck in my head (hence the title of this post).
But I am happy, because I have a new yellow umbrella! I love yellow umbrellas, they cheer me up when it is grey and wet outside. Also I saw friends today, which is always nice. On the downside, I have to work tonight. Yeah, it's pretty darn tragic I know.
Nice weekend, with new pyjamas and Bollywood movies and library visiting.
I'm reading 'Espresso Tales' now, the sequel to '44 Scotland Street' by Alexander McCall Smith, which is kind of nice and kind of annoying, but I'll try to write a review of that when I finish.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

highlights

Today someone came into my work wearing a Scary Go Round t-shirt! I was so excited. It's nice to recognise a shared interest in someone, like feeling affinity with people reading Terry Pratchett on the train. Even more so with SGR, because a webcomic is a little more obscure. And I always wanted to buy something from there. Anyway, that just made my day.
Apart from that, winter is making me a little morbid, bitter and cynical. Which is not a nice thing. Remind me of nice things in the world? Other than webcomics. And the killer sunset that I saw at the bus stop this afternoon.
I am also looking forward to going back to uni next semester. :)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

clouds of words


My 'word cloud'. They seem to be all the rage lately. For your own, go to: http://www.snapshirts.com/index.php. I think mine is pretty cool. I also like the way that my name turned up in everybody's. I'm so cool!

Also I won an argument at work the other day. Pretty cool no? First I have to say that there are quite alot of Indian guys who work with me. Secondly that we were listening to one of their ipods, and I was flicking through the songs and I recognised 'Chunari Chunari', so I put it on. And to show off my knowledge remarked that it came from the movie Monsoon Wedding. Instantly I had three Indian guys all arguing that this was a lie. Which was confusing, but I knew it was from that movie (I have seen it many times). One of them kept saying that all Indian movie songs might sound kind of the same, but this song was definitely not in Monsoon Wedding. BUT I WON! Cos in the end one of the guys conceeded that it was in the movie, in the scene where they are rehearsing the dance for the wedding. And I was happy. And they all offered to lend me Bollywood films. So I was happy.

In other news, I slept in today. Not news, you might say. You sleep in a lot, you might add. True, very true. But today was somewhat epic. Imagine my surprise at waking up, rolling over and seeing that it was 3:30 in the afternoon! I don't know that I've ever slept that late. I started work at 5pm, so it didn't give me that much time to get ready. It would be very embarrasing to turn up late for a 5pm start saying "sorry, I slept in".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

fragments

Summer creeps up in flat midnights.

All around buildings lie heaped in tatters
Across the street a silent singer,
Moonshine and tree rattle.

The lonely groaning of ibises in rain

Bus driver on phone
Cackles privately

Sweat drips down the backs of knees
To tickle our ankles

I know it now, that some men kill to save and to destroy

Fine filigree twigs against the liquid sky,
Brittle being in the immutable immortal.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty.
Imagination is sublime.

So I don’t need you.
Just stay here
A minute more
I’m better off alone
But stay
A little longer-
In a minute I’ll be fine.

The forgetful splendour of lazy afternoons

Lovers lie rumpled on the grass
Courting pigeons
Red flowers in bloom
A tree’s bare branches against the bright blue sky

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

email and t.v.

I've been feeling kinda sick lately, all flu-y and the like, so have been unable to think of anything to post...
Anyone with hotmail and the 'Windows LiveMail' beta? It's currently getting on my nerves a bit, because they promised that there would be mesage viewing windows on the side of the screen, and either there aren't or mine's not working, and, worst of all, there is no button for to jump from message to message, I have to go back to my inbox every time to open the next email. Drives me crazy! Also I think they could have made it easier to give feedback, I mean, it's a beta, that means feedback is good, right? But I did manage to do that today, so that's o.k. Oh well, it has good features, if they iron out the problems I'm sure it will be good.

I've been watching a alot of 'Buffy' lately. Mostly season 2. That was a good season, unmarred by Faith (not so bad, but I didn't like her much), Riley (more irritating, I kept thinking she should still be with Angel) or Dawn (so annoying! I couldn't stand her! until some time around season 7 when she was ok.). It struck me how much the characters from 'Buffy' and 'The O.C.' have in common. I mean, obviously 'Buffy' is best, but Seth has a certain similarity to Xander, and Summer to Cordelia. Not to mention that as Xander and Cordelia went out, so do Seth and Summer. Although admittedly Xander and Cordelia's relationship was alot more twisted than Seth and Summer's. You could go on and see a parrallel between Angel and Ryan (brooding, going out with main character, dark pasts) and Buffy and Marissa (kinda screwed up, but looking after people much of the time). Again, the Buffy-Marissa link is not strong. But Dawn and Caitlyn are both younger sisters who turn up in later seasons with serious family issues. Anyone else seeing some similarities? But O.C. has rather less supernatural themes...
What else have I to say but post other people, post! I need new posts to validate my blog-checking. Nyeh.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

here property is transitory

Well is it to him who seeks grace, consolation from the Father in the heavens.

A couple of lines from 'The Wanderer', roughly translated. It came to mind this morning at the church service in memory of the old church building. I say old, it was current so recently... One of the good things has been that we were doing a series on Genesis, and the life of Joseph (of technicolor dreamcoat fame), and how God has a plan even through things that seemto be working for the worst. Which seems appropriate. Also the Great Hall (which is where we were today) has a painting of Joseph's reconciliation with his brothers in it. Anyway it all fits together quite nicely. It was a good service, there were tears and rejoicing. There was organ music, and we had 'How Deep the Father's Love', which is a hymn I love. People remembered the church. My mother was there, she went to Barneys when she was uni. Apparently I was (probably) baptised there. I didn't know that, but there you go... It wasn't just a building that was lost, also the church records, personal effects of the assistant minister, the new chairs (but not the pews we laboured so long to get rid of, ironically enough. They are safe in storage.), old sermon tapes, and most of all the records.
There was good news though; the church was insured, we have somewhere to meet for the next few months, most of the plaques from around the walls were saved. This makes me happy, it was one of the things that bothered me. I find those plaques fascinating, there was one in the church at Scone commemorating a 'pioneer', sounded intriguing. Anyway, I copied one down once, cos I was sitting near it in church, so after the service I wrote it into my notebook. It goes like this:
"In memory of Samuel Worthington Mansfield, died 19th March 1881 aged 74 years
Also Julia wife of the above, died 14th February 1882 aged 49 years
'I waited patiently for the Lord and he heard my cry'"
Pretty standard right, except they died just a year apart, and that's quite an age difference. But then, it was a long time ago. But I'm happy that they have been salvaged, and can be incorporated into the new church building. 'Cos we are going to rebuild! In the meantime we are a transient church... But apparently there's been alot of support, thanks for your prayers guys, so that's positive. And as we were reminded today, there are other churches with a similar problem to ours which have less support and resources, so we're pretty lucky there. Above all, a time to remember God's great unchanging love (what time isn't?). I feel that it was a really encouraging service, reminding us of what is important, and to remain outward looking. God is good.

Other than that, it's not been a bad week. I've been a bit tired. Hmmm... maybe going clubbing the night before you have to get up to go to a church service isn't a good idea? I've been working, watching Buffy episodes and making cake alot. Also eating thai. I got to see my mum on mothers day, so that was really nice. Also my dad, and Merry, but that doesn't relate much to the whole 'mothers day' issue. Saw Hellena last night, also good. And isn't it cold? Also reminiscent of Old English poetry... full of ice and sea and snow... I think I need to go have a warming drink of coffee.
:)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

in memoriam

Last night my church, St Barnabas, was burnt down. I couldn't believe it when I first heard it, that just doesn't happen, right? Buildings don't disappear overnight.
Anyway, the first things I thought were: where will we go?
How is the minister dealing with this right now?
We just had the pews replaced with comfy chairs, it was minorly epic because of the possibility that the pews were heritage listed.
The building is heritage listed.
I was there just last night.
Those old plaques on the wall, the ones that commemorate the lives of past members of the church, the stained glass windows, all these testaments to lives lived for God, are gone.
It kind of feels as if someone has died.

I watched the early morning news shows, to see if they could shed any light on this. It's always frustrating watching the news for information about a particular thing. You have to sit through 'how to save money in the new budget' and reports on how the miners are alive, well, and above ground. Not that these are bad things, it is good to know about the miners and the budget. It's all the extra stuff that bugs me. The morning shows are worse than most. On channel 7 one of the major news stories was 'Dancing with the Stars', both shows were always advertising a musical act that was coming on later, there were reams of banter and alot of discussion of Tom Cruise. But there was a short segment on the fire, they showed footage of the church completely engulfed by flame.
It's kind of a shock, and it's very sad. But although the building was destroyed, the church itself is not dead. And God is still in control. I'm sure there'll be alot of work, organisation and rebuilding needed though. So could you be praying for this? If you are someone who prays, I think Barneys needs your prayers right now...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

my review

Of 'About the Looking for and Finding of Love', which is also reviewed on Pun's blog.

It was funny because it was so over the top, it used cliches and the characters were kind of real, but not altogether sympathetic. But I dunno, German humour is really weird, or else I can't really get into things with unsympathetic characters. So it was bizarre, good, but not likely to become one of my favourites. I think for most of the first half it seemed lacking in, I dunno, sincerity? The mix of tragic and comic seemed somehow off to me, they weren't blended in the way that can be sublime. It was sad at the end though... I liked the bits that were sad best. The others I was unsure of. It made me doubt love. You know, there are all these grand tragic love stories, or ones with happy endings, and there is this romantic ideal of love, but in reality all you see are these relationships, full of bickering and stupidity and overall mundanity. Love seems to be like angst, if you are in it it is big and serious and elating or depressing, but other people don't take it seriously. Or something. The movie was like that... In that it didn't take anything seriously. So I was left with a feeling of artificiality, in the emotions and the breasts that wereoccasionally flashed around on screen. Nothing appeared real, or with any depth. You'd think there would be depth in going to the underworld to bring back your dead lover. But overall it made me think of the falseness and mundanity of love, at least of their love. So there you go.

Still, a fun night was had by all, what with Japanese dinners and meeting German movie goers and running into someone from EU (briefly but unexpectedly) and lots and lots of chocolate. And chatting. Which is always good.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

reviews in the key of sleepiness

Well, what a sucky day it's been. At work, with horrible managers and making mistakes throughout. But now I look forward to it improving, as I'm about to head over to visit Sophie and Nagisa for dinner. Yay! As for reviews...

The Deans Watch by Elizabeth Goudge. I really liked this book, it is very nice. Which sounds like damning it with faint praise, when that's not what I mean at all. The characters are not always nice, but they are generally believable, and they all have some good in them. It restores your faith in humanity. It also really emphasised to me the love of God, that is huge and everywhere, and what being Christian is really about. It restores your faith in God. Now, if you are not a Christian, I don't know whether you'll like this book, because the writer obviously is, and the book is suffused by it. Maybe this would annoy you. But it really shouldn't, because it is a beautiful little book. Written in 1960, set in the late 19th century, it is very much a period novel. Cosy in places, moving throughout, I recommend it and I know that this review fails to do it any sort of justice. I just know that I was walking around while reading it seeing love everywhere, which made me happy and I think this is definitely a good thing.

number9dream by David Mitchell. This is completely different to the last book. It is full of flights of fancy, interrupted by violence, interrupted by introspection and flashbacks. It had a really likeable main character and some awesome style. Very modern. Or post-modern. Full of stories and characters and plots. And very, very well-written. You should read it. It filled me with more of a sense of paranoia than of love, but all the same it was worth it for the journey. A book that makes you want to read more books.

I don't know what else to say, I've left it a bit long to write these reviews and it has, as I previously mentioned, been a bad/long day. So I know the reviews are crap, but the books are written much better, so read them anyway. :) And I had to write them, because I was sick of having the last blog post floating around at the top. It's had its turn.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

tripping

Yesterday I had a day off. I also had a relatively new book to read. It had a good first page, and I was gripped by the line: "a galaxy of cream unribbons in my coffee cup". Mostly I liked the word 'unribbons', it is what milk or cream does in a coffee cup. I was slightly irritable after my fruitless attempt to track down a missed caller, and I had to buy a train ticket to Canberra.
It was such a warm and sunny day, and after buying my ticket I had nothing really to do, and no-one was around, so I spent the day tripping through the city. I wondered. I was caught up in my book and randomly wondering the city, so basically it was an afternoon spent dipping in and out of reality.
From Central station, wondered along through the park. The way to the city from the boarding house, when Nagisa, Lanny, Sophie and I would escape the boarding house for the afternoon for a quick visit to Chinatown. It always seemed different approaching from that direction, if you come straight from the station and walk across the park, and the tram lines, and past the theatre, then George St seems kind of insignificant. It stops being the defining feature of the city. Instead you are caught up in the little backstreets, and the larger streets, that sprawl out into an extended Chinatown. From there you walk through Chinatown proper, stopping at Y2K for pearl sago tea (which I did, after buying skittles from a convenience store). I stopped to drink my tea and read my book on a seat on the street. The pearl sago balls get a bit much after a while, they always do, but the tea tastes like Hong Kong. It is a shock to look up from a book that has dragged you through a night in Tokyo to find yourself in Chinatown. Disorienting.
I kept up the walking through backstreets, sometimes I feel like I've seen most parts of the city too many times already. It's nice to explore new areas. I found an alternative bookshop, full of books ranging from mainstream religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism), through New Age, astrology and self-help to the truly, truly weird. Titles like 'Hair of the Alien: DNA and other forensic evidence for alien contact', and a real-life version of Loony Lovegood's father's paper (you know, from Harry Potter). It was truly bizarre. People are strange.
I was looking for a Sanity store, partially because I felt I was surfing the edge of mine, but mostly because I have a voucher. Then I found myself in Skygarden, going up escalators because someone (Ang?) had been talking about a shop somewhere there that was cool although I couldn't remember why. Despite this vague plan, and my being sidetracked by looking at hats and fake frangipanis, I did eventually discover that this was a British sweet shop, selling on of my all-time favourite cereals-frosted shreddies. Basically wheat pieces coated in sugar. Like Punch and Judy toothpaste they are a sweet, sweet childhood memory- unobtainable in Australia. A box of them cost $8, although they were on sale for $5. Exorbitant for cereal. I walked away, pausing to buy myself a Frys Bar. I ate it, while reading and politely farewelling people who tried to sell me facials. Why does that always happen?
I found a Sanity, but it didn't have anything I wanted, so I went to HMV, because I love it there. I like to listen to music and watch the day go by to different soundtracks. I was listening to some 'new music', a Fallout Boy cd, when a song sounded familiar. I thought I was mistaken, but the chorus I knew.
"We're going down, down, in an earlier round,
But sugar we're going down swinging,
I'll be your number one with a bullet"
and so on. It was actually stuck in my head for a while some time ago. I don't remember when, or why, or where I heard it first, but there you go. I liked it anyway. Pop punk makes angst fun! So I thought maybe I should buy it. I was thinking of buying Prince's greatest hits, but now am in a dilemma. They are both very different styles of music of course... I don't know if I want the whole Fallout Boy cd though, it did seem to drag toward the end. If I can find a halfway decent Sanity I'll hang around trying to make up my mind a bit longer. I would like to own some pop punk, but not too much.
My book had unexpected violence and gang warfare. I walked crazy up from Pitt Street to Hyde Park. You know when you're flying along and smiling, and still half out of reality if you can at all help it? Maybe not. Anyway, I was nice to the Greenpeace guy that I avoided, I took a photo for random tourists, and there was unexpectedly a photography exhibition under the trees. It's always strange to see pictures of Circular Quay with horses, carts and sailing ships. There was this photo there, and somehow it was the same, although completely different. I looked at the photos and listened to the busker and smiled.
There's a garden at the end of the avenue of trees, for some king or other. I was going to wonder in, but there were a couple of schoolkids kissing passionately, so I wondered hastily away. To the bus stop opposite Town Hall, where there was a graduation, and a bus to take me through Pyrmont and over the harbour bridge, while I read my book and twisted round in the back seat to look at the city skyline. And head home.

Monday, March 27, 2006

anime and musicals

I decided to watch the dubbed version of Howl's Moving Castle tonight, just to compare it to the subtitles. But a I only got a few scenes in, then I couldn't handle it anymore and switched back to Japanese with subtitles. So to all of you anime watchers out there: you were right. Subtitles beat dubbed versions anyday. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the meaning changes. It's hard to tell how far this holds true when you have to rely on translated subtitles anyway, but I watched some in English with the subtitles on and compared. The gist was usually the same, but the sense was different. The dubbed version in places seemed to be trying to sound more hip and modern, which for me spoilt some of the innocent feel to the movie. Maybe 'cos I was brought up reading old fashioned kids books. But the language was borderline inappropriate some of the time. Well, for really young kids that is. Maybe for 4 year olds. The best example of the difference I can give is where at the end (I watched bits afterwards to compare again, also I wanted to hear Billy Crystal as Calcifer) *spoilers* she says "I love you Howl!", in the dubbed version she agrees with Howl that her hair looks like starlight. Most characters in the dubbed version sound ruder.
Secondly, the voice acting. It just didn't seem to fit as well in the dubbed version. I didn't really like young Sophie's voice, nor Howl's. Calcifer was cuter in Japanese. Everything seemed to have a different meaning when said by the different casts. I really wish I could speak Japanese, and not have to rely on translations and stuff. Oh well, I guess that'll never happen.

Also, I got a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers DVD box set for my birthday! All the way from the USA! So we all watched Top Hat this afternoon. Finally, after me wanting to for years. Yay! Very enjoyable, I like my 1930s romantic comedy musicals. Or just romantic comedies in general. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers seem to have access to a limited range of plots, all involving amusing misunderstandings and mistaken identity, but they do it well so I don't care at all. In fact, I love it! And I got to watch them sing and dance to Cheek to Cheek, which was a definite plus.

I never thought I'd see the day when I would get so excited over anime and musicals.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

features! [edit]

Look, I made a feature spot! I don't think it will always be a feature artist, I was just really liking the photos. Do check them out. Here's a sample for you. Or would be if the photo thingy wasn't so slow. Oh well, look them up anyhow. Here it is! I got it! This photo is by hotburrito2, who was my feature artist.

Other than that... I saw Brokeback Mountain today. It was real sad. Warning, there may be minor spoilers in the next paragraph, I don't know what I want to say yet.
There was so much sadness in the movie, it left me with a feeling of melancholy. Which was not that bad, but I find it never pays to let these feelings linger. Anyway, I just came out of it thinking that I (and everybody else) am doomed. Because of love. As Vivian pointed out, love is pain, and so the songwriters and movie makers tell us as well. In the moments of happiness it caused me a pang of loneliness, in the moments of sadness I reflected that love always seems to bring pain with it. There was deception and neglect and all those other things that people do to each other, even without malice. It just seemed to me that whichever way you look at it, we are all doomed to be miserable. There just seemed to be no hope in relationships at all. This was an effect of the film, I'm sure that it will fade, it was just so sad...
Beautifully made though. Reminded me of the little I've read of Annie Proulx before, with a wonderful sense of place, down to earth and very human characters and very damaged lives. Similar in a way to Tim Winton, but done in a different way. A different style but a similar approach, and different countries. I think I want to read the short story now. Anyway very interesting film, beautifully shot and pervasively melancholy. It did make me a little moody though... Hey, what better way to spend the last of your teenage days than moody though? Maybe I should go off and write bad poetry...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

new web-comic

That's right! My addiction is not getting any better... But go check out scary go round! It's been around since 2003, and I'm only up to September 2004. In some ways similar to Go Girly, but mostly not. They adventure! Yeah! Plus Shelley is kinda me. She's a "oveable, slightly annoying ingenue. Likes things that are fun... accident prone". And she's red-haired! Yeah! Check my sidebar for the link.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

darkness

Last night Ang and I were watching a Studio Ghibli movie set in WWII Japan, in which the ghosts of two children looked back at their lives. Very sad, and a little spooky. About half-way through, all the lights went out, the t.v.turned off and generally there was a blackout. Looking out the window, you could see that almost the whole suburb was dark. There were a few lights away off on the other side of the city-west link on the left, but apart from that there were none to be seen anywhere, apart from a glow in the sky from the city lights.
We lit candles, and I thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk to see the suburb without lights and how far the blackout had gone. I walked out the front door holding a candle, into the windy night, and held it up in the wind to blow it out. But it kept burning, because of the structure of the candle, and it looked eerie- a glowing candle in the monochromatic street.
So Ang and I walked around the block, but hurried back because of the whining noise of the telephone lines and the wild thrashing of the trees. The electricity still wasn't on when we got back, I think it got reconnected at around 4am.
But that was a spooky evening...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

To Start With, Quotes

From my little black book.

Sign outside Branxton:
"Drive carefully, we have two cemetaries, no hospital"

Tombstone, Tilba cemetary:
"Whiffo gone fishing
A free spirited man who is forever in our hearts"

"Heinz tomato ketchup makes food taste KETCHUPPY" - tomato sauce bottle

"I was just wondering how I ever could have laughed at you"
"I hope you'll always laugh at me"
The Day Will Dawn, cheesy movie from 1942

"Each man kills the thing he loves"
The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde

Ad outside Japanese restaurant in Sydney city
"Sexy chicken on rice"

"I don't own a house or a car, all I have is a borrowed tv, but that's what you get when you take off and travel."
Random bus stop conversation

“She had a voice with hormones”

‘A Woman’s Secret’, 1949 movie

“Oolong Imperial: A work of tea art”

Tea rooms in the city

“The burdens and the joys of being chosen to be more than a fluttering heartbeat on an ultrasound screen”
Vivian’s blog. I really liked this line Viv!

“I have the strength to face all conditions by the power Christ gives me”
Phillipians 4:13

“Wear your make-up like a weapon”
“Bit by bit, the city devours us”
Newtown graffiti

“Ideas about the treatment of the insane and the education of the young have many similarities”
‘Madness and Morals’, Skultans

“Far off th’Empyreal Heav’n, extended wide,
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With Opal Tow’rs and Battlements adorn’d
Of living sapphire, once his native seat,
And fast by hanging in a golden chain
This pendant world, in bigness as a star”
Paradise Lost’, John Milton

“…and then be out of it, and fall in love with someone else. I didn’t believe in that, but now I do”
Overhead

“Nature never set forth the earth in such diverse tapestries as poetry has done”
Sir Philip Sidney

“It is only lazy carnivores that will persist”- from an Archaeology seminar

“Tyranny Oppression
Anger is a gift, use it to fight these”
Desk graffiti

The Artistic Annex of Finland, a group of arty types from uni, published a little magazine and gave it away for free. Pretty pretentious stuff, but I liked this:
“-Play the cello in the dark
-watch the rooftops weep for the sun
-dance to the accompaniment of the night
-stay up forever
-then sleep”

“How different would our perception of reality be if, instead, we discarded the mundane events that cannot co-exist with our dreams?”
‘Shaman’s Crossing’, Robin Hobbs

“This is the first time you’ve ever felt anything”
Psychologist to patient, as related in a Psych lecture. It sounds sad…

“If I was a girl who like cute guys then I’d… but they really don’t…”- overheard

A Current Affair Billboard:
“Terrorism: are we prepared enough?” which becomes, with graffiti “Terrorism: are we paranoid enough?”

“The price of wisdom is beyond rubies, the topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold” Job 28: 18-19

“Why do I feel so much pain
For you it was all a stupid game
Now I am lost and need a light
I won’t give up, not without a fight”
More desk graffiti, could you tell from the quality? ;p It’s wrong to laugh at someone else’s angst though…

“Another of my relatives used to take off his trousers in the street to give them to the poor, and a photograph of him in his undershorts, though properly attired in hat, jacket, and tie, appeared more than once in newspapers”
‘My Invented Country’, Isabel Allende. Maybe this is the explanation behind that guy I saw?

“Inverell Pioneer Village-… A beautiful recreated village with all local buildings holding district treasurers” hehehe, gives me a strange mental image J
Inverell Tourist board

“I is for Iceland.
There’s an island
Where
The ocean’s so
Cold
Time is frozen”
Deviant art, sporadictouchofennui