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July 21, 2010

sinister blues

Posted by dogpossum on July 21, 2010 9:38 PM | Comments (0)

I just want to keep a copy of this comment from faceplant, because I think it's interesting.

I've been thinking about and playing some music that I think of as 'sinister blues'. I call it that mostly because I remember seeing the Belle and Sebastian CD If you're feeling sinister on the coffee table when I was talking about it with someone. I like the way B&S, with their kind of sulky, hip aesthetic use the term 'sinister', and I like the way their use contrasts with the sort of show these 'sinister blues' people do (which is excessive, flamboyant, over the top and everything being hip is not).

Basically, when I think 'sinister blues', I'm thinking about bands who use acoustic instrumentation, often borrowed from jazz, blues or folk traditions (gypsy, yiddish, tango, etc), sing songs that are often quite bloody or hypersexualised, dress up in quite flamboyant, carnivale type gear, and do live shows that are really dramatic and fun. Some of them take themselves really seriously, some (most) have a bit of a sense of humour about it. They really do feel a bit Carnival, in that they are about excess, and often sing or perform stories which are deliberately 'shocking' or 'forbidden' or otherwise nasty. It's the excess - of emotion, costume, performing style, etc - which makes them super fun. They tend to dovetail with the goth/rockabilly scene in Sydney, where there's already a high-costume aesthetic. And some pretty heinous gender fail (do not let me get on my burlesque rant again). But as I point out, there's room for queering this shit up. Just like in True Blood, which takes all that excessive drama and sinister performance and twists it just a little (I wrote about that a little bit here).

So, Keith asked:

Keith Shapiro:
Meant to take notes on what we were talking about a month ago re: "despicable" blues or something like that, but didn't write it down and twitter lost it all. Can you remind me about the bands you were talking so I can investigate for this month's podcast? :)

Keith produces Confessin' the Blues, which is an interesting podcast discussing music for blues dancing.

I wrote this response:

Hmmm... I think it was 'Sinister blues' akshully (just a name to sum up these bands' kind of dark, broody style).

Tim Jones had some good names as well.

Ones I can think of:

Tiger Lillies


The Tiger Lillies, 'world's foremost death oompah band' (; video: Probably more in the cabaret/gothic glam camp, but still...

[edit: I have written about them here before]

CW Stoneking


CW Stoneking, who you know ( ; video: reminds me of the Tiger Lillies). Definitely danceable songs on his cds, and has links with Melbourne's hot jazz scene and bands/musicians who play regularly for lindy hoppers.

Tom Waits. Nuff said.

I'm kinda thinking some Nick Cave should be in this list...

Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants


Mojo Juju and the Snake oil merchants' 'dusty gin-house cavalcade' ( finally, a woman! And fairly queer...
[edit: associated with Hoodoo Emporium]

Brothers Grim

[edit: Gunther's great pic from BBS this year]

Brothers Grim: 'sex voodoo delta blues-a-billy' (; Gunther's great pics: Did a really GREAT set at Blues Before Sunrise this year - great performers.

Snow Droppers

Brothers Grim remind me of some bands which are popular in Sydney (where there's a greater cross-over with rock n roll and rockabilly), including the Snow Droppers ( who aren't necessarily 'blues dancing' bands, but are in that sort of newer or retro-type rockabilly/jump blues/rhythm n blues (whatevs) vein.

I like the term 'sinister blues' because it implies the nasty, morbid, goth edge. It's also super-serious, which makes me giggle. Reminds me of True Blood, in the BEST possible way. In fact, there's probably good stuff on the TB soundtrack, and I've found good stuff on the Deadwood and Carnivàle soundtracks as well.

I'm not entirely comfortable with all these bands because some of them (esp at the rockabilly end of the spectrum) tend to be GENDER FAIL. But then, all that work they do is intended to 'shock' (including via dodgy gender politics, violent or bloody themes, etc), which is kinda immature, but also part of their shtick. And it can be kinda fun, what with the dressing up and all, especially when it gets _so_ serious it becomes ridiculous.

I can't think of any female groups who do this stuff (beyond Mojo Juju) And I'd _really_ like to see some queer artists getting in there and screwing with the heteronormativity and rampant blokeism (something for the I think...)

...but then, I don't really know this music very well.

If I'm DJing these guys, I often add in some super old school stuff with dark or darkly funny lyrics (eg Rosetta Howard singing about how she'll 'cut him if he stands still, shoot him if he runs'; Irma Thomas doing 'Soul of a Man'; Bessie Jones singing 'O Death' on the Alan Lomax recordings) - stuff that says bayou, voodoo, etc.

"sinister blues" was posted in the category clicky and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music and television and true blood

January 3, 2010

things i like about true blood

Posted by dogpossum on January 3, 2010 8:56 PM | Comments (1)


I didn't like True Blood immediately. It took me a few episodes. Sometimes it's dumb. But it's also really great. I like supernatural telly. I watch every supernatural telly show I can get my hands on, no matter how terrible. I also read supernatural romance fiction, both adult and young adult. I like films with supernatural themes. I'm not really interested in 'classic' horror fiction at all, but I do read masses of SF lit. Masses of it, and nothing else these days... well, except for the odd crime novel.

I am predisposed to liking programs like True Blood. But I am also a fairly critical reader, in the sense that I am interested in critiquing themes, industrial context, audiences and so on. My doctoral research was centred on audiences and am particularly interested in fan studies.

But I also like to just watch. I like chick flicks because no one dies, and because things end happily. Though I can't abide a spineless bimbo female protagonist, I can excuse terrible acting, directing and writing if the story is nice.

What do I like about True Blood?

1. It looks really good. In that the colours are nice, the 'cinematography' in season 1 is sweet. It's really quite lush and fancy - not like ordinary TV at all.

2. Despite its fancy 'look', True Blood reads like melodrama. Like daytime TV. All hyper-emotion and ridiculous plot lines. It looks like 'quality' but reads like 'trash'.

3. Except for the sex. The sex is pretty hardcore. That's not Bold and The Beautiful, it's supernatural 'romance'.

4. It's supernatural romance lit made into telly. The TB books are truly, terribly awful. The TV series isn't. It's clever. But at the same time it's utterly celebrating the awfulness of the books. Not all supernatural romance lit is awful, but a fair swag of it is. Some of it is quite brilliant. This is where the big figures in popular fiction are at. This is where the readership is at. Women. Supernatural. Romance. Part of the pleasure of romance (you know who I'm referencing, here) is the 'dirty secret' aspect: it is 'wrong' to like it (because it is trash and terrible and all about love and kissing (and fucking) and all those things 'women' like), but it's so addictive, so pleasurable. Such a lovely, quick read where nobody (important) dies, where the morals are quite black and white and the heroine always gets (to fuck) her man.
Romances are increasingly sexy; not just chaste kisses.
Supernatural romances blur the genre lines: there are far more interesting things going on here than a woman pursuing love. Now she has a gun or a stake or a spell book or a muscle car, and her hot sexbot love interest is increasingly secondary to her job as demon hunter/werewolf friend/wiccan powerhouse.

TB doesn't quite handle these things as well as the best supernatural romance books, but then it's not looking for a women-only audience. But it takes that idea of guilty pleasure and runs with it. It's celebrating the awfullest of the awful supernatural romance books.

5. But it twists the generic conventions a little. The heroine is the least likeable character in the story. But in the books she's a really painful, stupid, shallow, racist bimbo. So the telly series is a slight improvement. But the very best character in TB is Lafayette. He is beautiful, he's glamorous, he's an arse-kicker (literally), he calls Sookie on her bullshit (I do like the way he calls her a skank somewhere in season 1), he's African American and he's gay. He is the one, persistently 'real' character. Even though he is the stereotypical young buck, he twists this role repeatedly, commenting on the way his body is read by white queer men, by white straight women, and by white straight men. His queerness is really one of the most important elements tipping me off to the campness of TB: read this as hyper-sex, hyper-gender, hyper-hype (and here, the masses of online 'tease' and 'tie-in' marketing sites (bloodcopy, TruBlood, American Vampire League, Fellowship of the Sun), Myspace account and youtube channels (BloodCopy and the Fellowship of the Sun channels) are just wonderful: there's just too much TB online viral marketing for this to be anything other than awesome parody of viral marketing campaigns.)

Supernatural romances tend to have kind of lame heroines for the most part, but the very best ones are awesome. I'm especially fond of Mercy in Patricia Briggs' skinwalker series and Rachel Caine's weather wardens. Teen supernatural romances are a whole other genre, but some feature truly great heroines: Rachel Cain's Claire in her Morganville Vampire series is great, and my current passion, Lili St Crow's Strange Angels series' protagonist Dru is fully sick.
But TB is not trying to be the very best. It's aiming for trash.

6. It sounds more like a Tex Perkins album than the Twilight sound track. Sort of dark and kind of disgusting, but in a really sexy way. You probably wouldn't date this series (well, not after you've turned 20), but by geez you'd think about having hot sex with it. And then washing very thoroughly afterwards.
It's really about the grotesque, about the flesh and the body, both in terms of sex and of violence. But then, that's what vampires are all about. Underneath. Twilight might be all about abstinence, but TB is about recognising the subtext of those type of 'safe' vampires. Really, when you're watching a vampire text, the violence and sex get mixed up. The idea of drinking blood is both revolting and riveting. While your more mainstream vampire media work because they only suggest and imply this stuff, TB is wonderful because it doesn't bother implying or suggesting. It wears it all at once, all the time. Loudly. Nothing is left unsaid or simply suggested in terms of sex and violence in TB

7. It passes the Bechdel Test.

8. It's utterly ridiculous. Truly, utterly ridiculous. It's so ridiculous you squirm and shriek.

9. The romances are really kind of horrible. While Sookie and Vampire Bill's romance begins in season one all hearts and flowers, the second season really begins to turn their 'true love' story line on its head. Eric's question about Bill's motivations in giving Sookie his blood are really telling: why exactly did Bill rush into forming this intense relationship with Sookie, taking her at a disadvantage and really keeping her as the vulnerable 'heroine' to his 'hero'? This is one of the things I really like about TB: the romance part is continually fucked about. Characters like Eric question the hero's motivations. Eric asks the sorts of questions I ask myself about romance fiction: what is so ok about the heroine being so blindly, desperately in love with the hero that she overlooks self-respect and self-preservation in pursuit of his affection (and desire)?

Jason, Sookie's dumb, body-beautiful brother finally finds 'love', but it's with an utterly screwed up vampire murdering hippy drug addict. Sookie's friend Arlene's fiance [SPOILER] turns out to be a murdering bigot [ENDSPOILER]. And it continues... I'm really looking forward to seeing how Hoyt and Jessica's sacharine-sweet romance turns out.

10. It's shocking. Not in a sex or violence way (though it really is quite full-frontal for telly). But in an excess and overflow way. There's a lot of sex, and it's quite graphic. But it's also ridiculous, particularly in season 2. There's a lot of violence and blood, and it's also ridiculous (I'm thinking of scenes like the bombing of the Dallas nest in particular). It's all colour and close-up and gorgeous lighting and cinematography. But its content is 'trashy' and really quite dodgy.

"things i like about true blood" was posted in the category books and television and true blood

October 20, 2009

stargate university universe = failing gender

Posted by dogpossum on October 20, 2009 6:23 PM | Comments (0)

Meredith Woerner's story about the women characters in Stargate Universe covers many of the problems I've been having with the program.

Basically: the sisters in SGU are boring stereotypes. Sex on legs, angry lesbians, useless babies. Etcetera, etcetera. I want to love this program, but it's not making it easy.

Also, the Hamish MacBeth character (whose name I cannot remember) could have been interesting with his withdrawal symptoms and all. I called amphetamine junky but it turns out he was just into caffeine. How fucking boring. Though I guess it means he's just an arse because he's an arse.

I quite like the failed-priest-soldier character, even though he's very white bread boy-hero. I see potential there - he could become medic TJ's boy. Or off-sider. And when I say boy, I mean she becomes the boss and tells everyone what to do. Because the boss they've got is doing a big old fail job. Where, I must ask, is the military chain of command? Not in SGU, apparently.

I've only watched three episodes, but I like the premise. It's not at all original, but I like it. But if they don't give me a decent female character some time soon... hells, if they don't give me a decent male character some time soon, I am out of there.

"stargate university universe = failing gender" was posted in the category stargate universe and television

October 19, 2009

adventures with badass sistahs in outer space: olivia dunham

Posted by dogpossum on October 19, 2009 9:43 PM | Comments (1)

I love SF telly. I love it. I watch every SF program, just in case. I also like supernatural, fantasy and general make believe stuff.
But I tend to have less patience with programs that do not have good female characters. I make exceptions for programs like Supernatural which explore male characters and masculinity in new ways.
I love all trashy vampire telly. I can't help it. It's a sickness.

I did my honours thesis on female violence in action film, and I'm still interested in the way women and violence and, more importantly, women's violence are depicted in mainstream film and television. While I was doing this honours project I came across an article which basically argued that straight-to-video releases (ie B films) were often more transgressive in terms of representations of gender than mainstream or A films. I am really interested in this idea. This is partly how I justify my passion for B telly. Partly. But I also think it's true. Telly that doesn't gain broadcast telly release, doesn't make it to prime time, or even make it to Australian television tends to be where I find the most interesting gender stuff. It's as though being B gives you a little freedom to explore different types of characters.

I gain access to these programs through the internet, and through video shops. Video shops are actually very important. DVD releases of even the most B programs has given me access to some of the most wonderfully un-top-shelf television. Accessing these programs this way (rather than via broadcast telly) means that I tend to watch them in a block, rather than one episode-per-week. I binge view. This changes the way that I read these programs. It makes me more likely to read the meta-arc, the larger story. I tend to regard individual episode stories as pieces of a whole, rather than as discrete texts. Even when the program is very 'monster of the week' (as most SF is, particularly in its first season).

I find out about these programs via websites like io9. I use wikipedia extensively to clear up plot points I haven't understood or to follow up characters and add-on texts like comics. I also use imdb for details about directors, actors and so on. I like to talk about these programs with other people, but I don't particularly want to sit down and dissect them for hours. This was something I used to do with Buffy when I was at school. These days I quite like to share programs and to mention them, or to share add-on texts, but I'm really only interested in watching them. I do talk about them with my partner when we're watching. But only the programs he's also interested in.

My PhD dissertation involved a lot of research into fan studies and methodologies and theories involved in researching fan cultures. I am self-reflexive about most of my talk about these SF telly shows. I am interested in issues of gender and class and sexuality and race and ethnicity.... and all that good identity stuff. But I am also interested in questions about technology and machinery, wider questions about humanity. But, really, gender is where it's at; all that other shit is inflected by this. And, as somebody clever said once, I'll be a post-feminist when we live in a post-patriarchy. Gender issues are so central to SF culture and texts, it's ridiculously self-deceiving to try to ignore them.

This is just one post about one character (mostly) that I like. I'll try to write other posts about other characters. And perhaps about this program in more detail. But don't count on it; I'm slack.
Because I tend to watch a number of programs at one time, and am also reading SF all the time, I tend to read intertextually. Well, of course I do. We all do. But this is one of my particular pleasures; I like to imagine characters from different programs meeting. I like exploring the industrial connections between programs - how could the director of Veronica Mars move to Moonlight and what happens when Mark Mothersbaugh does the music for Big Love. Oh - I also read and watch across genres. I'm reading lots of dodgy supernatural romances most of the time, and always reading Tanya Huff; I'm watching programs like Vampire Diaries and, of course, Blood Ties.
So when I'm watching these programs I'm not only reading the text in front of me, I'm also thinking intertextually, I'm thinking about modes and industries of production, and I'm paying attention to audiences and modes of reception. And the communities which tie them all together.

And I re-watch and re-read on a massive scale.

I also do some sessional teaching at various universities. I exploit this role by pushing the television I love on young, vulnerable middle class kiddies. I do, unapologetically and with great verve, present these programs in a feminist light. I have no - as in zero - tolerance for anti-feminist arguments from my classes. I will listen to them and then dismiss them as they deserve. I aim to indoctrinate a generation of students. They will be feminist and they will value SF.

They can just suck it up or fail.

So here's some stuff about Olivia Dunham. Main character of Fringe. All-round badass sistah. Mos def.

First, watch this:

That's a Fringe promo. The blonde is Olivia Dunham.

I'm really liking the character Olivia Dunham in Fringe. I especially liked her in the first season of the program. Why?

She's a crack shot. She is really, really good with a gun.
She's a good fighter. She wins most fights, and when she doesn't win, it's only because her opponent is, I dunno - a car or something.
She's super clever and figures things out. There are lots of things to figure out in Fringe.
She's a good explainer. Because she's a good figure-er-outer, she often has to explain things to other characters. Usually her male partner Charlie, but also quite often her boss.
She listens and thinks and listens again. She's not always flapping her lips, yapping. She's listening.
She's a good runner and jumper.
She's very gentle and patient with Walter, who's not only a habitual drug user (and abuser) but a mentally unwell older man who's been quite seriously damaged by his time in an institution. She listens to him and pays attention to him; she doesn't patronise him. She protects him when he needs it (and when he asks), but she is also willing to let him take care of himself.
She used to be a prosecutor in the military. She investigated and then prosecuted a middle aged white man who later became her boss. He was charged with sexually assaulting a number of women. When he became her boss, he sought revenge on her through systematic harassment. She didn't take that crap; she kept on being a badass agent. She didn't martyr herself; she called him on his bullshit. Her usual boss was this bad boss's friend. At first he didn't want to like Olivia because of this. Eventually he figured out Olivia was a gun, and that his friend was crap. Then he became a better boss. Olivia kept on being a gun, regardless.
She's willing to tell bosses off if they need it. She's also prepared to listen and to admit she was wrong.
She really likes her sister and her little niece.
She had good, solid, platonic relationships with her male coworkers. There is never even the intimation of sexual tension between her and (the awesome) Charlie. They are partners in the truest sense. He has a wife he loves and Olivia is busy being... Olivia.
She operates in an all-male world - the FBI (or is it CIA? Whatevs - some institution) - but she is aware of gender issues and articulates them. Most especially in her dealings with the bad boss. But she also makes comments about men in positions of power who can't handle assertive women. She has one great line in the first season about how the men around her (especially her male boss) aren't listening to her because she's 'getting emotional, just like a woman'. And then she says something, very sternly, about how she is getting emotional, because this is emotional stuff, and that this emotion is making her a better agent. Olivia is not only calling the men around her on their mysogynist bullshit, she's also reworking the role of 'great agent' to incorporate a range of characteristics not traditionally located in the male arse.
And she is a fully sick agent.

Throughout season one she is the main character. She is the centre of stories, and as the agent in charge, she is also boss of the cases they work. She's the one to call the lab and tell them to get their gear and come investigate something gross. This changes a little in season two, and she is set up as something of a victim (recovering from a 'car accident'), but this is changing. We are at about episode four, and she's already back on her feet and kicking arse. Peter has taken on a more managerial role in the group, and the 'Fringe division' has officially been disbanded. Charlie has [SPOILER] died [/SPOILER], which sucks arse, but I'm dealing. So Olivia's status has shifted. But this is ok, as Peter's character has only slowly been working away from 'carer' for Walter and 'general slacker' towards some sort of three dimensional personhood. He's also finally realising his abilities as an investigator type person. In other words, his character is gradually being fleshed out. I worry that he'll become Olivia's partner (in the sense of FBI ness and in the romantic sense), but I don't see this happening any time soon.

I really like Olivia because I don't worry about her. She's kind of superhuman, but only in the way we expect our SF protagonists to be. She gets scraped and banged and shot occasionally, but it doesn't stop her winning. Sure, she's kind of a paragon of all things awesome, but this is as it should be in SF. She is, however, flawed. And [SPOILER] probably partly psychic and awesome because she was experimented on as a kid. But she has begun dealing with this history and is assimilating and coming to terms with its effects in a phenomenally healthy way. Which in itself is a bit worrying.

Olivia is an impossible woman. An impossible character. But this is as it should be in SF. This is how SF protagonists are: they are strong and brave and clever. Cleverness is important. She is conventionally attractive, but she doesn't wear booby shirts or stupid shoes. She can run like a badass mofo and she likes suits. Just like the male agents around her. She wears her hair tied back in a piggy tail, or she wears a sensible black beanie. She doesn't wear much make up. She is conventionally attractive. But so are most protagonists.

I <3 Olivia.


Olivia isn't the only woman character in Fringe worth loving. I also love Astrid, who's the agent assigned to working with Walter in his lab.

Astrid is also awesome.
She has a degree in cryptography, another in computer stuff (or is that a double major) and she's got some sort of medical training (well, she does now). She loves cryptography. As in, she's a nerd for it. And she loves computers.
She's also an agent.
She calls Walter on his bullshit, including his inability to remember her name (which we suspect is a ploy on Walter's part). She won't let him (or anyone else) forget that she is actually a badass agent as well.
She deals with Walter's gross dissections and experiments very matter of factly.
She runs errands and also has some badass ninja agent skills.
She veers into 'servant territory' every now and then, which is particularly worrying as she's African American. But these little deviations are usually addressed: Astrid will call bullshit on Walter's behaviour and regularly refuses tasks she feels cross the boundary from professional assistance to nurse maiding.
She is super smart.
She and Olivia talk regularly about things other than men. They often figure out puzzles together.
She is fond of Walter and also deals with his mental illness and fragile personality gently, yet without patronising him. She does not take on a carer role; she is, if nothing else, Walter's lab assistant.

Nina Sharp is another important female character in Fringe. She's the CEO of Massive Dynamic, a sort of super-corporation specialising in technology. A bit like Skynet Cyberdyne Systems, but awesomer. She admires Olivia greatly and has tried to recruit her to Massive Dynamic a number of times. She and Olivia have a refreshingly realistic relationship; they deal with each other as professionals. They do not have the sort of antagonistic rivalry alpha women are usually given in SF... in telly.They talk to each other about plenty of things besides men. They often talk about technology together. And science.
Nina Sharp is middle aged.
Nina Sharp has a bionic arm and a clear glass ipod thingy. She is way cool with technology generally. This is one middle aged woman who is not relegated to earth mother status; she is technology, economic and industrial power and smarts.

I love Olivia the most, though. I love the way she stops and thinks about things. I love the way she can fighty fight. I love it that though she might, one day be interested in Peter romantically, that day is waaaaaay off in the future, and for now she's busy being a badass. He thinks she's neat. He might think she's neat in a romantic way, but for now he just thinks she's a badass and he wants to be her partner, I think.

So I love Olivia Dunham. And this is why I can watch Fringe.

PS: I'll try to add some more pics to this later, when I can figure out how to do it in this new version of MT without opening a new stupid window every time.

EDIT: I had to add this link to a drawing Jasika Nicole (the actor who plays Astrid) drew of herself.

"adventures with badass sistahs in outer space: olivia dunham" was posted in the category academia and buffy and angel and digging and fringe and teaching and television and veronica mars

October 11, 2009

long overdue roundup

Posted by dogpossum on October 11, 2009 11:40 AM | Comments (2)

I'd really like:
Gordon Webster's CD 'Happy When I'm With You';

Duke Heitger's CDs 'Prince of Wails', 'Krazy Kapers', 'Duke Heitger's New Orleans Wanderers;

Probably some other ones as well.

I'd also like to get over this cold I've had since Wednesday. I've been lying in bed napping and watching telly for days and it's getting really old.

The Squeeze has installed the new version of Movable Type. It's pretty fancy. I should probably have switched to a better blogging application, but that's a lot of work. Meanwhile, MT and I are struggling on together.

Twitter has stolen my life. Mostly because I can use it on The Squeeze's old ipod touch when I'm lying in bed being pathetic.

We have bought a flat and are moving in in three weeks. I haven't booked a mover, bought paint for the painting we'll do in two weeks, finished packing, given notice to our land lord or... done a bunch of other jobs. I'm not freaking. I have booked the lawn mower guy to come do the lawns the week we move out.

SLX was fun, but boy did I get a heavy dose of the exchange flu for my efforts. We have another exchange coming up in the near future (SSF) and I hope I'm together for that. We'll see. Then it's MLX in November in Melbourne, and I really hope I'm well by then - it's the biggest social dancing event of the year for me. And DJing. I'd like to get a bit on top of my DJing for that.

PS I've just come across this great set of live toobs of Heigter playing in a restaurant, over on Jazz lives.

"long overdue roundup" was posted in the category domesticity and music and objects of desire and television

July 5, 2009

things i have done regularly lately

Posted by dogpossum on July 5, 2009 9:53 PM | Comments (5)

Cooked a large piece of meat in milk for a long period of time. Pork, chicken, whatever. I'll cook it, you can eat it.

While searching blindly in my backpack, felt something soft and hanky-like, pulled it out and discovered it was a single maxi-sized pad*. This has happened: at the bi-lo checkout with a middle aged woman cashier, trying to pay for bread with a cocky indie boy salesman, rummaging for cables at the DJ booth while sitting next to a very-christian tech-dood (this happened twice in one weekend with two different christians), looking for a hanky, desperately, while trying to obscure a post-sneeze-excitement nose. The one time I actually _needed_ a maxi (as in badASS absorbency) pad I couldn't find the fucker.

Played more than one song from The Spoon Concert album while DJing for a bunch of spazzed out lindy hoppers. It's like a sickness. Not the lindy hop - my playing stuff from this album. I just can't help it. I need to get some sort of clue.

Wandered why mormons bother with plural marriage** where the arrangement is one man + many women. While I know that many women is a fully sick option when you're looking at running a conference or a university degree or planning a lindy exchange, I'd have thought the ideal solution is one woman + many men within a marriage. Because I sure as fuck know The Squeeze is run a little ragged riding back and forth between the couch and DVD shop and could do with a sub some time soon.

Thought I might like to re-watch Aliens, mostly for Bill Paxton.***

I like imagining him ranting "Game over, man, game over!" when the Law discovers he's a polygamist.

Wandered why I didn't believe people when they told me Veronica Mars was good. I used to enjoy that bit in Deadwood when Kristen Bell was eaten by Woo's pigs. Now I can't believe I wasn't into this shit.

Wished we had broadcast TV. But only when people are tweeting like motherfuckers about freakin' Masterchef. Whatever _that_ is.

*as in PERIODS.

**this is what happens when you re-watch Big Love.

*** Big Love, again.

"things i have done regularly lately" was posted in the category djing and domesticity and fewd and fillums and gastropod and lindy hop and other dances and television and veronica mars

June 3, 2009

telly and books

Posted by dogpossum on June 3, 2009 8:34 PM | Comments (0)

I thought I'd been on this researching kick for longer than I have. But it's only been about a month and a half. I've read quite a bit, written quite a bit, but I have a pile of books I've had out for at least one renewal and won't get through before they're due. There are five I need to read. Thing is, I'm reading very, very slowly because I'm stopping to take notes all the time. And make blog posts. At some point I need to stop and take stock, write up some sort of conclusions or overall ideas from what I've read. Synthesise my reading and thinking so far. But it's all a bit of a jumble right now - a big mash of ideas. Which is really where I'd expect to be at this point. But I like order. And the girl who pulled her phd out in three years didn't get to that point with a disorganised research process. I call on: POWERS OF OB-CON TIDINESS!

Having spent the last couple of weeks wading through a massive pile of paperwork for a job application (don't ask), I'm feeling a bit behind. Or, rather, as though I've dropped a few stitches and need to go back and check. Which brings me to my first segue.
I've been crocheting like a crazed fool. The weather is cool enough to bear a lapful of yarn, and I've made one afghan and one oversized afghan in the past few months. The oversized afghan isn't all that pleasing, but the afghan is wonderful. I'm very happy with the tension, with the combination of stitches, and almost with the colours. I'm working on one right now that's just perfect - a development of the pattern and colours of the afghan. It's going to be bed-sized, though, as while afghans are nice, they're not all that useful, size-wise. I have also done a few little 'sampler' type crocheting projects using nicely textured yarn to get my hand back in with the fancier stitches. I do like crocheting. It's perfect for ob-conners like myself, and also practical. Plus, it gives me something to do while I watch TV.

And watch TV I do:
Veronica Mars, season 1 (season 2 begun)

Primeval (British dinosaur adventure show) - abandoned

Crambridge (or something - a BBC bonnets drama) - mid-process

Roswell - teen alien kissing fest. YES!

Moonlight - terrible vampire detective rubbish. Yet, also, wonderful.

Blood Price- adaptation of Tanya Huff novels. Terrible and C-grade, but also an accurate adaptation of the books. Finally, a decent female protagonist!

True Blood - rewatched in preparation for season 2!

Sanctuary - Bgrade again, but at least a decent female protagonist and gender politics. Also, good for watching before bed, as lots of long, slow shots with swirly dark backgrounds and very few short sharp cuts.

Dollhouse - infuriating, maddening, horrible. Not sure I can cope with season 2. Whedon - you suck arse, on all fronts.

BSG- returned to it, trying to get past the end of season 1. Not sure it'll happen, as it makes me angry.

Dark Angel - surprisingly good gender/race politics. Not sure there's a second season, but haven't rushed to get it from the video shop.

Rescue Me. Has Denis Leary in it. I'm not interested in it, much, but The Squeeze likes it. I get a bit tired of all that blokes-in-groups 'emoting' with bum humour stuff. Same old, same old. Bit too much gratuitous sex and fails gender/race/sexuality. As you'd expect. This is kind of the point with this show, but I really can't be arsed.

Homicide, Life on the Streets. Years after Galaxy told me to watch it (literally years - as in more than ten), I finally watch it. It's so great. If you like The Wire, you'll like this earlier work by the same dood(s).

Lost In Austen. Fully freakin' sick.

Party Animals - BBC drama about young people in political parties. Like 'This Life' (by same doods), but ultimately dull. But has new Dr Who guy in it.

Dr Who rebooted - yeah!

Farscape - lost me midway through season 2. Will get back to it. I guess.

There's more, but I can't remember it.

Why so much television? Well, we don't have a telly aerial, so this is _all_ the television I watch. On DVD. Our local video shop is really quite good.
I also go through quite a bit of music, when I can fit it in. I can't listen to music when I'm working, so I don't listen to as much music as I'd like. My DJing is suffering.

"telly and books" was posted in the category research and television

May 28, 2009

ok ok

Posted by dogpossum on May 28, 2009 9:26 PM | Comments (1)

So I watched the end of the first season of Veronica Mars. Now I know. Not entirely happy.

Here's my problem with it, and with Dollhouse:

Just tell me a freakin' story where the sisters win. No one gets murdered or raped or enslaved. I just want the basic premise of the story to be 'badass sister smites the patriarchy' and then she just does it. With or without her team of trusty right-on male/female/trans buddies.

I just want a story where I can come out of each episode going YEAH! FREAKIN' YEAH!!!

Also, HBO, I want to have a little talk to you about your 'quality' programs, each of which features an male ensemble cast and the odd chick who's a sex worker/wife/slave. Sure, you gave us Sex and the City, but that was YEARS AGO and, also WHAT WAS ALL THAT SHIT ABOUT THE SHOES? I loved Big Love, but it still failed gender.

So come on, I dare you, Television: give me the sweet and lowdown. Give me a decent show with an arsekicking sister who doesn't get raped/assaulted/fired/whatever. I want her to be the boss, to do the smiting, and, most importantly




"ok ok" was posted in the category television and veronica mars

May 11, 2009

video in the desert; youtube in the cities

Posted by dogpossum on May 11, 2009 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

As you probably know if you've read some of my earlier posts, I'm fascinated by indigenous media use as a model for community media practice. Whatever that means. So I was struck by this bit of a book I'm reading at the moment:

It was costly and difficult to bring hired videotapes almost 300 kilometres from Alice Springs to Yuendumu and to stop them from being scratched or damaged in the sandy desert camps and few commercial videos in the video shops in Alice Springs were attractive for the Warlpiri to hire. So the community came up with the idea of connecting all the video recorders in the camp a low-frequency, low-powered community television 'station' and using it to distribute a single videotape to all the sets in the community (Bell 80)

Firstly, I thought, 'This is Youtube - this is what Youtube does for dancers.' Before Youtube, dancers would distribute edited bits of archival film (featuring dance, of course) via video, and later as digital clips on CDs. Then Youtube happened, and suddenly all those locally distributed clips were online, available to everyone. Previous networks of exchange and the associated hierachies of knowledge and supply were dismantled. Everyone could watch archival clips, could see the original lindy hoppers (and balboa dancers and blues dancers and charlestoners and black bottomers and...) and experiment with the movements they saw. In my thesis I wrote about the way this upset hiearchies of knowledge in the local Melbourne scene, and how it had the potential to disrupt the commodification of dance (and knowledge) by dance schools and teachers.
Of course, the results weren't quite so radical. Learning moves from grainy, downloaded Youtube clips is difficult, and many people would much rather just be taught the moves by some dood in a class. Many people don't know where to begin when searching for archival clips online - you need to know terms (black bottom, lindy hop, charleston, Al Minns, Frankie Manning...) before you can search effectively. And of course, dance classes serve a range of functions beyond the transfer of dance knowledge - they socialise new dancers, they provide peer groups for the lonely, fellow addicts for the junkies and so on.

But Youtube is fascinating for the way it changed how dancers acquire and watch archival footage. Within a year, things I'd written about in my thesis were changed, utterly. And in the last year, Faceplant has changed things again. The most important part of faceplant for this particular community is the way it's integrated and conglomerated a host of different media. Audio files, youtube clips, online discussion, blogs, newsletters, event notices, email: all of them centralised in one site. Facebook, though it is effectively a gated community* has also suddenly connected thousands and thousands of dancers all over the world. And in a very public, collaborative way. I've been fascinated by the way 'being friends' with a few key, well-traveled dancers can connect you up to a host of international scenes.

This was proved most clearly in the recent passing of Frankie Manning, just a few weeks before his 95th birthday. I'd like to write more about that, but I don't feel up to it, really. And I think Frankie deserves more than one poorly written post on my blog; I'd like to write something properly. But this one event illustrated most clearly the connectedness and sheer speed of communications within the online swing dance community. It has also pointed out, thoroughly, that my ideas about localised communities are still very important: we might all be online, but we are still thoroughly grounded, embodied and localised by dance.

Of course, we can still make the point that this sort of media use - as with the Yuendumu example - is not like traditional broadcast media. The difference is not so much that we aren't really working with the 'few-to-many' model of distribution, but that these are smaller groups taking up 'new' media and adapting them to their own particular circumstances. Wether those circumstances require dealing with dust or a way of seeing elders.**

*Thanks for that term, D4E.
**And of course, here is where parallels between Yuendumu and swing dancers arise again: the Warlpiri media collective has been very concerned with filming and then distributing the filmed image of elders. Just as swing dancers have been focussed on distributing filmed images of elders - swing era dancers. Both, of course, are managed by extensive social and pedagogic networks. And both rework 'pedagogy' for their particular contexts.

Bell, Wendy. A Remote Possibility: the Battle for Imparja Television IAD Press: Alice Springs, 2008.

"video in the desert; youtube in the cities" was posted in the category lindy hop and other dances and research and television

April 12, 2009

television round up

Posted by dogpossum on April 12, 2009 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

1. Dollhouse is crap.
- I'm pretty sure it fails the Bechdel test.

- the gender stuff sucks arse. A bunch of beautiful young women kept, powerless, by a business which rents out their bodies for vast sums of cash. It'd be horrifying if there was no chance of it ever coming ... true... Wait. Ok. So this one sucks for even more reasons.

- the gender stuff sucks arse. One of these 'actives'/slaves begins to remember who she is and destabilises the internal workings of the business. Or does she? Even Alias had better gender politics. The female protagonist at least knew who she was and made a series of choices. Echo is, really, just a vehicle for male fantasies. In this case, it's Joss Whedon's fantasies. And they scare me. Whedon: fail.

- the gender stuff sucks arse. I thought it was going to get clever and tip all this stuff sideways. I'm still waiting. Oh, gods, just watch an episode or two and you'll see for yourself.

- the race stuff sucks arse. Whedon repeatedly fails ethnicity.

I'm beginning to think Buffy was a fluke. Joss Whedon sucks.

scc.jpg2. Sarah Connor Chronicles is awesome.
- it passes the Bechdel test. It even encourages us to think about different types of femininity and whether or not cyborgs can be female. And then it makes us think about masculinity in the same ways.

- it not only has a bunch of violence and shooting-up (as per most SF these days), it also deals with the effects of violence and living with violence and terror on the lives of people.

- the second season ends with the 'nuclear' family set up in season one (with Sarah as 'mum', John and Cameron as kids living in the middle class suburban family home) crumbling. The patriarch is done away with, the mother discovers she's actually much happier when in control of the family, directing its motion when literally on the move, Cameron is rescued from adolescent oblivion and John learns that heterosexual romance isn't all it's cracked up to be. So the gang are back on the road, with Sarah as head of seriously badass single parent family.


- the program deals with the difficulties of adolescence in a complex way. John is continually reminded of his responsibilities as the future of humanity, but is still constrained by the middle class nuclear family. There's tension between his eventual role as male hero and his relationship with his active, powerful, controlling mother. Not to mention his desire (and isn't that a complicated mess) for the cyborg Cameron. His mother's power is also complicated: it's at once essential to the group's survival (she is ruthless) and also highly problematic. I was most fascinated by the way she began to crumble in the suburbs: without purpose she began to suffer, quite horribly, from post traumatic stress disorder (as they all did, really).

- time travel is tricky. Unlike Dr Who, which does not in any way deal with paradox and time travel in a clever way, SCC makes it clear that time travel is complicated and that paradox is difficult to avoid. We're left wondering if these time traveling heroes and villains are so effectively separated from their reality that their skills and missions and motivations have become meaningless. As each action changes the future, their original, independent missions seem less and less important or even logical. Which humans are good, which evil? What does it mean for humans to work with the machines, when Judgement Day is, essentially, marking the machines' commitment to killing every single human? Even the terminators' motivations seem skewed by changing context: is Weaver a baddy or a goody? Can John Henry be redeemed by his human/christian teacher and the friendship of a human child?
All the moving about through time (disassociating characters from their temporal and social contexts) and changing of futures means that missions in the 'now' are unanchored from their intended purposes. This flux is perhaps best illustrated by the terminators' moving so far from Arnie's original (and unimpedable) mission: to terminate Sarah Connor.

- Cameron is problematic.
As that series of posters above makes clear.

Cameron's obviously sexualised: she is presented as the object of John's unrequited (and eminently problematic) sexual desire. She presents herself at various moments as a sexualised entity: in the final moments of season one she pleads with John not to kill her because she loves him. This is a transparent effort to delay termination by a cyborg temporarily 'corrupted' from her mission to protect John. It is, clearly a lie, a moment of deceit. But we have spent almost the entire season being carefully led to read her as a potential love interest for John - his desire for her suggests that she should, 'naturally' return his interest. But this isn't your average heteronormative love story. It is made quite clear that Cameron has been 'programmed' to protect John so as to avert Judgement Day. She is clearly fixed on this male character, but her motivation is not heterosexual desire. Or is it? We are reminded by the character Jesse (another 'love interest' from the future) that John Connor has formed an intense and apparently unnatural attachment to Cameron in a future world. And that she reciprocates this.
The buffybot problem is quite clear here: is a machine-woman operating to protect a particular male character anti-feminist?

- I'm prepared to let SCC go a little further with this storyline - I like the way they've presented these female cyborgs (Cameron and Weaver the 'mother') as incomplete or otherwise troubling.
It's difficult to just accept them as your stereotypical 'buffybot' fantasy model cyborgs. Both cyborgs have become characters in their own right, and both are clearly negotiating their way through some serious gender stereotypes: Weaver must 'learn' how to be a 'mother', and continually fails to perform 'correct' femininity (and not only as a mother - she is also a corporate chief). Jesse - Reece's 'lover' from the future (though, it turns out, not from his particular future; she is a Jesse from another time line, a time line created by Reece during this 'now') also fails to adhere to familiar gender stereotypes. As does Riley, John's girlfriend-from-the-future. Sarah Connor herself is challenging. Though she approaches the 'mother lion protecting her cub' caricature, her continual deviation from this role is enabled by her more complex relationship with John, Reece and Cameron. Sarah herself has problems with motherhood, or with her role as a mother. There are a series of incidents where it's made clear that Sarah enjoys or at least finds great satisfaction in her 'professional' dealings with freedom fighters, underground characters and general sneaky/terrorist/badass types. She's also mad-keen on making plans. Sarah seems to also find it difficult to occupy the conventional mothering role and these badass roles. But it's actually quite nice to see a character exploring the fact that mothering isn't simple or 'natural', and that it isn't always a wonderful blessing.

lh.jpg - it keeps me thinking. Unlike Dollhouse, I'm not prepared to give up on SCC yet; it doesn't make me so angry I want to scream. It keeps me wondering how it will resolve these tricky relationships.
It references Linda Hamilton (even if this Sarah Connor doesn't have Hamilton's fully ripped hardbody), and we're continually reminded of her transition from Arnie's innocent, almost-helpless victim to the hardbody badass of T2: gender is flexible, femininity and gender is flexible. I'm still not sure about Cameron: is she a buffybot? Or is she something more? If she's something more, we have to allow for cyborgs having emotions, identities, personalities beyond her programming. And if this is the case, what does it mean for a woman to have been 'made' by other machines?

2. Fringe.
I like it. But I don't have much to say about it right now.

"television round up" was posted in the category dollhouse and fringe and sarah connor chronicles and television

March 26, 2009

i like pie

Posted by dogpossum on March 26, 2009 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

Here's a little round up:

Western Swing is ME.
I am currently in love with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. This is in preparation for the Hot Club of Cowtown tour next month. I saw them in the UK (at the Marlborough Jazz Fest) in 2004, and they were freakin' GREAT. The next week I saw Casey McGill's band at a dance camp and they told me that their bass player had absconded for the HCCT. I'm not sure whether that's a tragedy or an awesomey.

Bad foot is still ME.
My foot is still bung. I have been to see a podiatrist to strapped me up. That helped the first time, but not the second time. I am also doing exercises to strengthen the muscles in my calves/shin to help out my plantar fascia (ie so it's not overloaded). I am down to get orthotics next week, but they mightn't work. Basically, these fibroids in my foot are never going to go away and they can't be cut out. So I'm looking at pain management and impact reduction. I danced two half dances on the last weekend and it HURT. The problem is not so much the impact (which hurts and hurts normally), but the fact that there's pivoting and my foot actually twists when we do lots of turns and things. That's where the pain is at. It sucked to find out how much it still hurt, but at least I know where I'm at. Though I think I'd have preferred to continue in blissful (and hopeful) ignorance. If I can't dance again, I'm really not sure what I'm going to do. If it's not lindy hop, it could have been something else - I come from a long line of dancing, lumbering folk, and I can't fight my DNA. Perhaps I'll learn an instrument. Any suggestions? Maybe the drums? Bass? I did a lot of singing at school, but that was a long time ago.

Allergies are GO.
I am having trouble breathing and my ear is all glued up. Again. Still, I've had much less trouble with my health since I moved to Sydney, so I'm certainly not complaining. It is melaluca flowering season, and there goddamn paper barks all over every street in every inner city suburb in Australia, so I need to deal. Won't be long now, though, and I can come off the antihistamines.

Library is MINE.
I have been back to the Con's library this week. It is a joyful place. Though it is full of students, now, and that sucks. They're almost uniformly middle or upper class, supernerds and 70% male. Guess that's what a career in hardcore arty music requires. The jazz section was all dusty when I first got in there. Now it has at least some use. The refec near the library is SHITHOUSE. The actual room is quite nice - it has a lovely little stage (with nice piano), and would be perfect for a dance gig. The acoustics are magical. But the food is inedible. I was reduced to pre-made sandwiches. Most of the students in this (actually quite nice) mini-refec were eating packed lunches. There you go.

emusic is not all mine. Yet.
I am blowing through my emusic downloads ridiculously quickly. Even when I ration them. There're simply not enough.

Quickflix is suspended.
Since we moved to Sydney the DVDs have been slower to arrive, have almost always been terribly scratched, and we never get anything in the top 50 of our list. I have suspended our account until we've decided what to do. We're still on one of their unlimited DVD accounts, but I'm not sure it's worth it, as we only get about 3 a week, which isn't much better than getting 12 a month max, is it? The video shop here is pretty good, so we might just go old school. Though using a video shop means I have no natural limit on my DVD viewing.

Dr Who and Farscape rule my world.

Screw BSG with its upsetting gender politics and ridiculously FAILED science. I am all about rebooted Dr Who and Farscape. I didn't dig either the first time I saw them, and never really got past the first couple of episodes. Now I love them. Farscape passes the Bechdel Test. Dr Who does not. Rose + her mum. Talking about the Doctor. Though every now and then Rose gets to discuss a drama with another female character, there's not much woman-to-woman action. I think it's partly to do with the newer format - story arcs only last an episode, rather than a week's worth of episodes. There's not as much character development. And a bit too much kissing. I like Eccleston, but I'm not struck on Tennant. His bottom jaw sticks out too far. I liked Eccleston's big nose and ears a whole lot. And was the Doctor always this manic? I'll have to rewatch some old ones (I liked brown, curly haired, long-scarf, jelly baby Doctor best).

I am a crocheting demon.
I should post some pictures to prove it. But I love complicated afghan patterns, and have been compulsively crocheting as I watch my way through the Commonwealth's greatest contributions to popular culture. We went to Spotlight in Bondi Junction the other weekend so I could stock up on yarn. That joint was totally trashed on Saturday afternoon. I need another supplier; perhaps I could order online in bulk? The poor Squeeze is buried in gorgeously three dimensional flowers, in various combinations, so perhaps it's time to stop.

I am bike YAY!
Yesterday we rode down the Cook's River after work for a quick ride. It was overcast, humid and coming up a storm. It was great. The sun set over the river, we saw wildlife, we dodged nonnas out walking and talking and planned a longer down-stream walk for a future date. This river goes to Botany Bay, you know.

I am still dealing with the fact that we live in Sydney.
I'm surprised by the historical weight I'm carrying in Sydney. It's like all these suburbs and places are full of all the post-Invasion history of this country. Every bit of history I remember has something to do with Sydney. And most of it is narrated by songs from the Peter Coomb's song book which delighted so many good little Australians in the 1980s.

Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-attidy,
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay,
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-attidy,
And we're bound for Botany Bay.

I'm sure that that song has celtic roots as well. One of the strangest moments of my post-MA European travel was being shut in at a Cornish pub where a heap of drunken ... Corns? Cornishpeople? sang one of those sorts of 'traditional Australian songs'. But with celtic names. My Irish grandfather used to sing The Wild Colonial Boy. So even though I'm caught up in all this Australian music, it's just as Irish as the American folk music I dig.

I did arrive in Australia in 1982, straight into rural Wagga Wagga, so moving to New South Wales is far more familiar than moving to Melbourne did in 2001. The humidity is lovely. It's not as heinous as Brisbane's, but it's nicer and wetter than Melbourne. And my skin loves it. The Squeeze declared last night, as we rode up the hill towards the lightning and iron-grey sky: "Moving here was the best thing we've done!" He's delighted by the tropical storms. So am I - I've missed them. There's something wonderful about a good, heavy-like-a-hot-shower rainstorm, complete with lighting and crashing thunder. Far, far better than drizzly, wingey bastard Melbourne weather. Even if it didn't rain, it'd be cloudy and overcast forever. I don't miss that shit. Though I'm thinking the Victorians are.

Dollhouse sucks arse, Pushing Daisies is delightful.
That's it in a nutshell, really. I'm not impressed by DH.
1. The FBI/BSG guy is a crap actor. He's so crap I can hardly watch him on screen. That scene in the last episode where he and the 'dead wife' DH client chatted in the kitchen? It was so, so, so bad. I groaned. I gnashed my teeth.

2. The opening credits are incredibly, crappily bullshit.

3. I'm still not entirely sure about the gender stuff. There's an awful lot of talk about the women 'dolls' as sexualised bodies. And though there're references to their missions which don't involve sex, we spend a lot of time looking at them having sex or wearing very high heels or tight, booby shirts, or generally packing a whole lot of very conventional, bullshit femininity. It's a bit too Alias for me, but with less self-determination on their part. I had hoped there'd be a clever twist to undo some of this, but I'm beginning to lose hope. Joss Whedon is hyped, but, really, Buffy was his pinacle. I didn't mind Serenity (look, I'm losing the italics, ok?), but it wasn't great. The film wasn't great cinema. The series wasn't that good - a little too heavy on the patriarchal family structure for my liking. Yes, I get the whole male captain/father parallel, and that Mal might perhaps have been overcompensating for his wartime mistakes with other people's lives, but still... Actually, it takes Buffy an awful long time to lose her patriarch. I've rewatched a bit of season 5 lately, and she's STILL got Giles there, Watchering. So perhaps Buffy isn't so great either... God, if this is the best we can do, this string of compromises.
Anyways, I'm not impressed by DH

4. Did I mention the terrible acting by FBI guy?

Pushing Daisies, though, is wonderful.
It's charming. It's clever. It's lovely to look at. Its visual style has a lot in common with Tim Burton's brighter, more colourful stuff. It's a bit surreal and hyper-colour, but not dark like Burton. Well, except for the premise of the series: the pie maker protagonist can bring dead things back to life. For a minute. If he touches them within that minute, they go back to being dead. If he doesn't, they stay alive and something has to replace them in the deadness. The point of the series: Emerson Cod (finally, a show with a not-white central character!), a private detective, works with the Pie Maker to solve murders. For profit. Pie Maker brings his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, back to life in one of the earliest eps, so they can't touch. They love each other. The other main character is Olive, who, by the end of season two, is the very best character.

Why do I like this program?
1. The hyper-colour, phantastical mise en scene.

2. Passes Bechdel Test.
3. Olive. With her pet pig Pigby.

4. The male protagonist is a pie maker. There's a lot of talk about food and baking pies and comfort food. It's very lush. Here, have a look.
5. The singing scenes. Olive sings a couple of songs. One of which is 'Eternal Flame'. Yes, a Bangles singing scene. The other is 'Hopelessly Devoted to You'. It's wonderful.
Also, there's singing.
6. Chuck's spinster aunts (who raised her) are cheese fans and also used to be synchronised swimming super stars: Darling Mermaid Darlings. One has an eye patch.
7. Most of all, I love the dialogue. It's very, very wordy. Lots of fast talking. But it's all puns and onomatapeia (sp?) and all those other lovely wordnerd things. It looks good, it sounds good, and it's funny. It makes me giggle.
8. It's not horrid. There are some pretty gross deaths, but it's not upsetting. Most of the programs I like these days are horribly dark. But Pushing Daisies is not. It's lovely. The Pie Maker and Chuck love each other. Olive is tiny and super tough and awesome. She can bake pies or solve crimes. She's great.
9. I watch it before bed, when I'm tired, and it helps me get to sleep. It's nice.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it was cancelled before the end of its second season. Apparently they're screening the finale in the US in their summer, so at least we'll get that degree of closure. But still. It's really great telly. Here's the first bit to prove it:

"i like pie" was posted in the category bikes and crafty bastard and digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music and sydney and television

January 21, 2009

Bones and books

Posted by dogpossum on January 21, 2009 8:01 PM | Comments (0)

I really like Bones, but it's a little lacking in scientific... hell, logical reality.

1. Would you use an elevator to reach the floor of a building where a bomb had blown up and caused a fire?

2. The computer machine thing that the girl lab person (what was happening in that sentence?) uses to recreate an image of the victim works a little too quickly. It's also a little dodgily convenient. I doubt its existence. I also doubt (in the nicest possible way) an artist's ability to write a program so sophisticated it could 'build' a picture (a 3D picture!) of a person from a bone fragment. Maybe she does have mad programing skills, but that sort of seriously specialised mad programing skills? Nope.

3. Whatsit Boreanz isn't the best actor. He's fully built, but has dodgy posture (though that's improved a bit). I think he's a cheery person in real life. This isn't a critique of the program, merely an observation.

4. I do like it that Bones' boss is also an alpha chick. And that Boreanz doesn't really mind being bossed about women. Ace.

I'll post more observations about Bones as I come to them.

Also, we are watching Mad Men. It tends to rely on the 'woah, things were weird in the 50s' effect a little too much. The story moves so slowly and there are so few parallel story lines, it makes for quite boring viewing. I like the 50s stuff but not enough to be distracted from the fairly boring story line. Quite frankly, I don't really care about the protagonist's 'secret past'. Not even for curiousity's sake.

And, on an even sider side point, today I spent about four hours in three different book shops. Firstly, I went to Kukinyani (doods, I just cannot spell that). I spent about two hours there, wandering around the young adult fiction section. Then I spent some time in the illustrated books section (can't remember the fancy word for comics I'm afraid). Mostly I was with the YA stuff. I put together a very expensive pile then left all but one book with a very nice campy boy who recommended Alison Bechdel's other book when he saw I had the most recent Dykes to Watch Out For book.
I ended up going home with an Ursula K. LeGuin short story collection (in the Earthsea universe) - one of the pretty re-releases. I left the Bechdel book and three Jane Yolan books (The Heart's Blood series) in the pile.

Then I went to Galaxy Books. I remember it being better than it is. It's also a bit expensive. And they don't have a separate YA section. Which is annoying.
Then I went to Abbey's and spent a loooong time in the YA section, and then an even longer time just kind of cruising the ground floor. Many more YA books added to my list. And then some other awesome things, including a book (in the serious style guides/editing/how to write a book section) telling you how to write a book using proper pirate talk. It's apparently an historically accurate guide to pirate vernacular. It also looks just like a 'real' pirate book. And rocks. I've just been reading Tanith Lee's Piratica books (all three, and all three are utterly awesome - totally rockingly awesome), and suddenly, I'm totally into pirates. Not sure I want to write a pirate book, though. At any rate, I then had to kill a bit of time, so I started looking through every shelf quite carefully. And instead of just looking, I had a proper girl look, and actually took things off the shelf, moved them around, looked properly and closely. It was ace. My interest was especially caught by books about:
- music and dance in Australia (not actually all that awesome, disappointingly)
- a French widow champagne maker who smuggled the stuff internationally during the French revolution
- R. Crumb's 1980s life and art (saucy but also interesting, especially his drawings of blues musicians)
- explorers who died on the job - for Australia Day: Captain Cook was speared and then eaten by Hawaiins. Awesome.
... there were a bunch of others, but I can't remember them. Basically, my eyeballs were kind of blowing up after all that really small font. Suddenly, I just want to read and read and read. Wish I was rich.

I don't mean this to sound as if I don't read and read and read usually. I'm always reading. It's just that, all of a sudden, I'm discovering new books that I haven't been leant or bought second hand. Suddenly, I'm looking at non-fiction (what is with that?). It's weird.
I'm still having trouble with the price difference between adult and YA books. Why are YA books between $10 and $17 (unless they're something bullshitty like the Twilight crap) and adult books over $20? They're often the same size. The font is frequently the same size (especially if we're talking about those terrible 'books for women' - not the romances, those terribly books with bright covers and stories about shoes and chocolate). So why the price difference? Not that i'm complaining, mind you, but I am confused. Also, I wish books were cheaper.

"Bones and books" was posted in the category bones and books and television

December 15, 2008

the telly conference gives good show

Posted by dogpossum on December 15, 2008 9:31 PM | Comments (0)

I want to watch East West 101.
This is not enough.

I adored Wild Side. This is set in the western suburbs of Sydney (or Melbourne, I forget which).

"the telly conference gives good show" was posted in the category television

September 22, 2008

i have some problems with the west wing

Posted by dogpossum on September 22, 2008 11:32 PM

Spoiler alert: I give the entire game away in this post. If you're keen to watch The Wire, don't watch the clips - they will ruin it for you. I'd even be careful with some of the text.

I have some problems with the West Wing. I no longer think it's the bee's knees. Partly because I've since watched The Wire, which is the bee's knees, but also because we're rewatching season one now, while we also watch The Wire.
What issues do I have with the West Wing?

1. the music is really intrusive and pushy. The Wire has ruined me for telly with a score. There's no music in The Wire, beyond what the characters hear in their ordinary settings. But the West Wing is rank with it, and it's pushy. It's busy telling you, 'hey, this is a really serious bit' or 'look out - he's angry, he's angry!' You're not left to figure out how you should feel on your own. The Wire doesn't baby you or preach - it figures you know how you're supposed to feel. And the West Wing has that horrid, overly florid music that really gets up my crack.

2. america is wonderful. The West Wing is, essentially, a story about the wonderfulness of the American democratic process. It almost tries to problematise some legislative issues, but it doesn't quite make it. Ultimately, any problem with the American electoral system, laws, powers of the president or general legal system are solved by the wonderfulness of the president. Jed Bartlett/Martin Sheen (and the two are inextricable) is presented as this too-wonderful man, whose sheer charisma absolves the broader structural problems in American civics. He's so smart, so charming, so wickedly brave and sneaky, our problems with his policy or with the way the government he leads works are nudged aside. This feels, ultimately, untrue and deceitful. The West Wing promises a clever, insightful gaze into the white house. But really, it offers you a bunch of fast dialogue with very ordinary, very familiar and very unradical story lines and characters.

3. the dialogue is clever. It's not. It's quick. But every character speaks, ultimately, the same way. The first time I watched this show I thought 'my, I'd love to work in a place like that, where everyone is really clever and everyone is stretched and really used for their best abilities'. But now, I'm not buying that. With rewatching, the stories and dialogue aren't so clever. I'm really not seeing any new types of character relationships or story arcs. There're some overly moralising stories about drugs or health care, but, really, it's the same old preachy shit. And while these guys are presented as the 'good guys' - the left - they're really only soft left. And I don't even want to talk about race. Well, perhaps a little. Black, in the white house? You'll be holding doors for the president, getting told off for speaking out about racism (in ep 15, season 1) or getting killed, eventually.

The Wire, in contrast, is really quite radical. We spend as much time with the drug dealers and shooters and strippers as we do with the police. In fact, the institutional structures and discourses of the illegal networks are far more complex and sophisticated than the police and 'legal' institutions. The police team working 'the wire' are really following a couple of steps behind the B&B crew, trying to figure out how they manage to hide their dealings using a telephone network. You're really left thinking that the B&B organisation - particularly under Stringer Bell's direction - is organised crime.

Issues of crime and class are dealt with in long-reaching, long-term story arcs. They're not resolved in an episode with some ideological bravado from Toby, some practical problem solving from Leo and some balderdash paternalism from Bartlet. Problem solving - solving cases - isn't quick or simple. It doesn't use high tech forensics. It uses, at best, wire taps on pay phones and blokes on roofs with film cameras. Some of the police are utterly crap and incompetent. Some of them have potential, but fail to realise it. And sometimes, the cases don't get solved. There are also frustrating moments when the characters fail to communicate and royally fuck up a 'simple' resolution. So the story lines aren't as clear and simple and easily resolved. West Wing is dealing with the disadvantages of an episodic format - it can't really work with longer, sustained (and ultimately more complex) story lines. But really, there's no excuse for dialogue that looks clever, but isn't, really.

4. the gender stuff. Basically, the chicks on the West Wing are dumb arses. They look good - they sound clever. And CJ is tall. But they're really not the smartest kids in the class. Evidence? Let's say we're faced with a tricky moment in American legislative process. We're pretty sure the audience won't understand or have any useful knowledge about this process. We need to clue them in, but we have about 45 minutes to get the story done, and really, this little narrative knot is more important for making a point about Bartlet's persona or Josh's impending romance. So how do we clue in the audience? The West Wing gets old school and uses some exposition. Basically, one of the clever characters (usually one of the lawyers - Toby, Josh or Sam) explains the process to someone else. 95% of the time that person who needs things explaining is a woman. This could be excused by the fact that the characters are in their first term in the white house -they're new to the job. But why is it always CJ or Mandy or Donna who needs to have something explained to them? It's fairly rare to see Sam having something explained. Unless it's emotional stuff. If it's something to do with dating, Sam's having it explained to him by... some chick. If it's something about being kind, Josh is having it explained to him by Donna. If there's a story about the futility of young men lost in wars, it's Mrs Lanningham explaining to young Charlie.

This is one part of West Wing that I'm finding increasingly intolerable. That and the music. I've just about had enough of hearing Toby rant to CJ or Sam explain sampling process to CJ. The latter I am almost furiously frustrated by. CJ, as a PR wiz, should have at the very least, a working knowledge of basic sampling processes, at least as they're applied to polling and public opinion surveys. I mean, fuck, my undergrads could figure it out after an hour of lecture and a couple of readings. CJ doesn't understand it? Jeez. I just wasn't buying it. And if it's simple enough to explain in three minutes of expository dialogue, I'm a little surprised so competent and articulate and clever a woman as CJ can't get it after hours reading briefing papers... or perhaps the people who write these briefs need a little help? And I don't think I need to talk about Mrs Bartlet and the cafuffle over her office in the first season. This woman should have been, by this point in her husband's career, an astute political animal. But she makes first year blunders that are really quite embarassing.

I really need to point out a few more points where The Wire kicks West Wing arse. But let's pause for a little Stringer Bell action.

The dialogue and the story lines. You think there's a lot of walking about and fast talking in the West Wing? Try figuring out the local dialects of Baltimore. Both black and white. Cop and stevedore. All-male and all-female groups. We regularly stop the DVD to try and figure out what's going on. What did he say? Who's that? What's going on now? There are zillions of characters, the story line is incredibly complicated, and there's a lot of talking. But it's all very satisfying, once you've figured out what's going on.

[spoiler alert: there's lots of spoiler action approaching]
Issues of class are dealt with in the most interesting ways. I was particularly struck by the parallels between McNulty's and Stringer Bell's struggles with class in the third season (which we've just finished watching). McNulty starts seeing (dating is too generous a term for this relationship) a well-connected white woman PR hound. She, essentially, uses him for his body. He tries, a couple of times, to hang out in her world - high powered political negotiations and shmoozing parties. He's left feeling stupid and clumsy. As he says at one point (and I must paraphrase), 'I'm the smartest guy in the western. But I couldn't keep up with what she was doing'. His street knowledge and truly formidable problem solving smarts were simply useless in that forum. He simply didn't have the social nous - or social skills to negotiate that space.

Similarly, Stringer Bell begins to move into real estate development, investing the massive amounts of money he's earnt dealing drugs. He begins to deal with the city housing officials and the complicated network of laws, bylaws and committees regulating building and industry in Baltimore (a journey paralleled by Cutty's attempts to found a boxing gym for young people, but that's another story). He fails, miserably, mostly because he simply doesn't speak the 'language' or know how to read the high-level machinations of this setting (spoiler alert: here's a nice clip where we see Stringer's frustrations played out).

Both are very intelligent men. Stringer Bell has been studying business at community college at night. McNulty is ferociously intelligent, and solves problems with a combination of terrier-tenacity and cutting smarts. Bell is perhaps the more impressive personality, managing a massive drug dealing business, organising the different local bosses into a cohesive network of businessmen. But he is hampered more clearly by his race when he tries to move between classes. Both are dealing with the greater challenges of class - of education, of not speaking the right language (or knowing how to negotiate language), of not walking or moving the right way. Even their physical experience with and relative comfort with physical violence becomes an impediment, confusing their responses to conflict. While neither does anything as ridiculous as start a fight, both use their physical threat - their posturing and willingness to physically mix it up - marring their efforts to deal with individuals and settings where violence is not at all appropriate.

This next clip is 100% spoiler. If you haven't seen season 3 or are considering watching the program, don't watch it. But it's an interesting comment on class in The Wire.

All of this is not discussed in snappy dialogue. It is expressed in a series of incidents, over a series of episodes. Both characters do spend time on exposition, but their articulation of their frustrations is in character - these are men who are also very much verbally competent. Their language skills are impressive. It's just that they're also contextually dependent and don't transfer to new settings terribly well.

The Wire is also impressive for the fact that it actually has queer characters who stick around.

There are dykes and fags, here, and they're not subscribing to gender or sexual stereotypes. Omar is a ruthless, fearless killer whose violence is triggered in large part as a response to the murder and torture of his lover. Kima is involved in a long term relationship with a lawyer and dealing with new parenthood (her relationship with McNulty is interesting - she's not interested in him sexually, but she's obviously drawn to his charismatic, chaotically destructive person and becomes increasingly like him in her behaviour). There are other queer characters who bend gender norms, but I can't give away too many spoilers.

Really, The Wire is fabulous television. And The West Wing fails.

"i have some problems with the west wing" was posted in the category television and the wire and west wing

February 20, 2008

two words

Posted by dogpossum on February 20, 2008 10:48 AM

The Wire.


Get into it.
Best telly ever. Ever. I mean, it challenges West Wing for good. I'd say it's better than Deadwood. Really. It's more interesting than The Sopranos. It's so, so good.

Here's a little taste:

"two words" was posted in the category television and the wire

February 13, 2008


Posted by dogpossum on February 13, 2008 7:41 PM


I'm glad I'm not the only one who cried like a freakin' baby watching the ABC this morning. I cried and cried. It was just nice to see such a mark of respect. I kept thinking 'those aboriginal doods are the first aboriginal people - the first indigenous Australians to be given such formal respect, EVER!' It was just so exciting and wonderful. Sure, there were some problems with that second speech there, but still - it was like, all of a sudden, Australia had suddenly realised that there were people who'd been here before the skips rocked into town. Like they went, "Holy shit! We've had our heads up our bums for 200 years! Let's get on it, STAT!"
I know it's only a symbol, but holy moly, if that doesn't give good evidence to the power of symbols, I don't know what would. That was some seriously hot shit. Now I have an idea how people feel when they go to the dawn service for Diggers or put up flags in their front yard. It was like, all of a sudden, I had a reason to be really proud of being Australian. It was like, amazingly, even though people had been doing fuckful things for 200 years, and then refusing to admit they'd been fuckful, they suddenly, really, did think "Oh, man. That was some bad shit. We have to apologise." And then they did! I was just proud. It was like a couple of kids had suddenly realised they were being mean to another little kid and apologised to him all on their own. Now I'm hoping they'll be taking that kid home for detty-and-a-bandy before out to the back yard for a rousing game of tiggy.

And I was also really struck by the power of turning your back on someone. No fisticuffs, no nasty retorts. Just turning away. I think that's a nice alternative to bombing the shit out of people. I know it's the solution I've used on discussion boards when I've had a gutful of sexist dickheads, or I'm dealing with trolls, but who'd have thought it would be so useful when dealing with the Liberal party? And that it just keeps getting more effective?

For those who are about to reconcile, we salute you.

edit: and I'm just thinking: it's the overwhelming symbolism of having those elders in parliament while they were speaking. I just kept thinking, 'it's like they didn't exist before. And now, all of a sudden, parliament has discovered they exist. They're recognising them, and they're honouring them'. I know that's problematic in itself, but goddamn, I just can't get over it.

"sorry" was posted in the category television

February 3, 2008


Posted by dogpossum on February 3, 2008 11:32 PM

That horrible program is over and we've just watched our way through the lovely Billy Elliot (not Billy Holliday) and are now beginning with the divine Staying Alive. Directed by Sylvester Stallone, no less. And starring John Travolta. "Do you dance?"


"phew" was posted in the category fillums and lindy hop and other dances and television

oh man

Posted by dogpossum on February 3, 2008 8:48 PM

I am trying to watch So You Think You Can Dance, and it's really hard. It's really crap.
But there are fleeting glimpses of dancers I know (Trev! Trev! Trev!), and I'm half thinking of writing a paper on it. Maybe doing some interviews with dancers. Maybe something about the way ethnicity and dance and bodily aesthetics are represented in SYTYCD.

But it's really freaking painful. The worst bit is the way the judges have a small group step forward to be humiliated. It's all a bit lame. I know it's all orchestrated for a specific reality TV formula, but it feels far more forced than the American versions. So I'm really not sure I can manage much more of this.
But there are a few lindy hoppers who made it through to the final 100. But man, I've been watching for almost an hour and a half. And it's horrible.
The other really annoying part is the way it's cut up and stuck back together - lots of short, snappy bits. No where near enough long, long sequences where we just watch the dancers and assess their abilities. Which of course suggests (like we really need it suggested) that the dancing is really only important for brief moments of spectacle and that the real drama is in the judging and backstage stuff.

It's all a bit painful. I'm also a bit sceptical of comments about including the young aboriginal bloke because he brings 'diversity' to the program. Hm. And the woman from El Salvadore telling her (quite terrible) story to a pretty wet soundtrack.... kind of clumsy and chunky and nasty.

[good news: there's a new series of Good News Week coming. Bad news: it's on channel 10]

Ok, it's supposed to be over now, and we're supposed to be watching Billy Holiday. But it's not. Oh man.

"oh man" was posted in the category lindy hop and other dances and television

January 12, 2008

intertube moofies

Posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 4:35 PM | Comments (5)

Because we are queen of media, and because our local video shop sucks arse, I am considering an online DVD ordering arrangement. It's terribly old school - DVDs coming in the mail. Just like ordering seeds from a catalogue (my favourite thing ever), and I guess as soon as the internet becomes a superhighway rather than a single lane (covered) central Queensland highway it'll be superseded by downloads. But for now, it's about the most exciting thing I can imagine.
So does anyone use any of these things? We've looked atquicklix and bigpond, but quickflix is winning at the moment. Once you get to the $36 per month plan, you get unlimited DVDs per month, 3, 4 or 5 at a time. It's a bit cheaper on Bigpond (especially as we have a Telstra phone account for our internet), but Bigpond don't do the unlimited DVDs and they have some slightly dodgy small print. Both offer free trials.

I'm not sure which account we should get. I'm a massive DVD renter, so I think there's definitely the potential for unlimited DVDs. When we had a halfway decent DVD shop, I'd get DVDs out every other day - 2 and 3 at a time. So we're looking at a family who'd hire about 10 DVDs a week, possibly 5, and that's about 20 a month. That's $46 on Bigpond or $36 on quickflix. The issue would be how many you can have at a time - only 3? Would 4 be better? It'd depend on your turn around time and how good you were at putting them in the mail. We're weak on returning DVDs round here.

And you have to keep 20 DVDs in your list to be hired on quickflix. There are no overdue fees, but you are paying for the service, monthly, so you're losing money if you don't return DVDs.

... I guess we'd take advantage of the films (especially the older, harder to get arty ones and others that I think of as 'weeklies' - musicals, classics, foreign, etc), and would really benefit from the telly. It's easier to get through multiple discs of a telly show than multiple movies, because you watch them in 30 minute, 45 minute and 1 hour blocks, rather than committing to one and a half hours at a time. That's good for me because I like to watch an episode of something over lunch, to take a break from work.

So, does anyone use any of these services? Which? What's good about them?

"intertube moofies" was posted in the category fillums and television

January 10, 2008

let's say no to perforations

Posted by dogpossum on January 10, 2008 11:25 AM

Three interstate trips in one month. No more, thanks. Conference, christmas and a funeral. Brisvegas was interesting and I quite liked seeing it - it's changed, I've changed, so it's kind of nice that we could get together again after seven years and find that we had lots to talk about and quite liked each other.
Acclimating to mega-humidity? Tick.
Family visited, without incident? Tick.
Old mates visited. Tick.*

It is hot today, and I have cleverly booked in an appointment with the doctor for another ear inspection. It's becoming an annual thing. Well, something I do a few times a year, actually. I have had enough of not being able to hear properly - it makes me irrationally furious, inciting Shouting, Stamping and Offensive Language. So I will have them irrigated today at 3. When the ambient temperature is about 40 degrees C. I'm hoping it will soften the wax and aid its removal.

I have plans for films to see, and I have started thinking about redoing the thesis. I have decided that it will now be known as The Book rather than The Thesis. I will start thinking about fonts immediately, as that is obviously the most important part of the process. Pav articulates my current feelings about the project quite nicely. As an ob-con type person, proof reading and editing is really the best place to site my natural abilities and interests. Serious Tidying will commence in a few hours, once this post is written, a cup of tea made, and a little clothes mending completed.

What fillums have I seen lately? Well, one of the most pleasing was Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers. I hated this when it came out, but now, after a few years of Howard government, it makes a lot more sense. It's also part of a recent spate of early 90s sci-fi fillum delightfulness, after we watched Total Recall the other night. In discussion with a fellow nerd yesterday afternoon, I realised that they're both actually Verhoeven fillums, and that's probably why they're both so wonderfully specrappular. Having read this type of SF as a Young Person, first discovering the Adult part of the family bookshelves (at about the age of 11, when carefully scanning the Adult stuff for the least hint of sauciness), these two fillums really capture the mood of terrible authors like Peirs Anthony. It's lovely, teenage stuff, and absolutely low-brain. So that's a tick tick and a V.G. from us.

Last night on SBS I also stumbled over In the Mood for Love, a Kar Wai Wong film that I absolutely love. I keep hoping their relationship will end well, but it never does, no matter how many times I watch the film. I love the obvious stuff - the colours, the framing of shots, the slo-mo, the soundtrack, the almost-love-affair ness of it.
Let's have a look at a couple of PR shots:
And just in case that's not enough, here's the trailer:

I think I might have a Thing for Tony Leung. My Thing for Maggie Cheung continues.
This new Thing is only fuelled by the immanent arrival of Ang Lee's latest film, Lust, Caution, which I've heard has heaps of hot sex, which I know will be an absolute visual feast, and which I'm terribly excited about. I'm thinking about special preview sessions on Friday day. It also stars Leung, which is very nice, and Joan Chen, who I also love (you might remember me crapping on about this stuff a little while ago in this post). I have rewatched Lee's Sense and Sensibility in preparation. Because no one does suppressed lust and caution like Austen.

The nicest part about catching this film last night was discovering it's part of an SBS series screenings of films by the cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The worst part was realising I'd missed Hero. Dumplings is on Wednesday 23rd January. I'm not sure if the others have already been on or not, but the SBS search function on their site sucks a bit, and I can't be bothered figuring it out. Guess I'll have to go to the video shop. Oh wait, our video shop SUCKS, so that won't work. Guess I'll be the last kid on the block to get into it, and use Netflix/Quickflicks.

Additionally, I also missed the first episode of Skins, a new series by the doods who made Shameless. And that's a big poo.

Well, think of me as I make it by PT (it's probably too hot to ride) to the doctor this afternoon, and pray for my ear drum. Let's say no to perforations.

*twice in a year! Dang, we'll have nothing left to talk about next time!

"let's say no to perforations" was posted in the category academia and brisbane and fillums and television

October 17, 2007

hello, low-brain.

Posted by dogpossum on October 17, 2007 8:59 PM


Everyone loves the baddy. This is Zachary Quinto, and he's apparently slated to play Spock in a new Star Trek thing. I like him playing a baddy on Heroes.

"hello, low-brain." was posted in the category television

May 13, 2007

eurovision 2007 finals: bulgaria and turkey and armenia and moldova

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 11:00 PM

TS: Urgh, the drum people. They were shit. Couldn't sing for nuts.
dp: better outfits tonight, though.

(Shut up Wogan)
dp: you can see their nipples through their shirts (here).
Brief argument on the couch about whether or not one of us would review the entries.
TS: I dunno. It's good. Conventional.

TS: The drummer girl from Bulgaria was truly crap.
dp: What do you think of this guy?
TS: Dull.

...I guess there's a reason The Squeeze doesn't blog.
Bring on Moldova (but I like the bleeding heart bit at the end of Armenia's act).

dp: You were right. They even use the same camera angles with the semis and finals.
TS: She's actually got worse.

You can see her here.

Ooooh, that's a nasty note.

Ok, so it's pretty much done... what will they do for the last hour of the program?

I think I like the scarves in this act. But it's no Turkey, that's for sure.
Terry Wogan sucks so much.
Eurovision rocks. But I can only take one night of it. I should have started with tonight and not bothered with the semis.

I like Mokko a lot. And I like the lady's green dress.
Ok, now they're getting santa out I need to stop watching.

Ok, West Wing time.

btw, Serbia won. Watch it here.

"eurovision 2007 finals: bulgaria and turkey and armenia and moldova" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: romania

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 10:57 PM

The Squeeze has decided he's sticking with eurovision. I want West Wing. He feels he's made a commitment.

Romania sucks.
I suspect that all of the remaining entries will make me angry.

The Squeeze will now review the remaining eurovision acts.

Final verdict for Romania?
TS: dull.

"eurovision 2007 finals: romania" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: serbia and ukraine and united kingdom

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 10:45 PM

I can't take any more.
Terry Wogan is ruining it for me. The doods last night at least sounded like they really liked the whole eurovision thing. But Wogan seems to despise and spends far too much time being derogatory.

And Serbia wins, so there's no point watching past here. Even though there are seven to go.... though there are 2 hours left.

Shut. Up. Wogan. You suck!

... no, wait. Ukraine has captured my attention.
Glitter? Check.
Synchronised choreography? Check.
Not a band act? Check.
Piano accordian/baziki/other novelty instrument that isn't a bhodran? Check.

United Kingdom. No freakin' Bucks Fizz, that's for sure.

"eurovision 2007 finals: serbia and ukraine and united kingdom" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: france and latvia

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 10:29 PM

France. Apparently Gaultier did their costumes. Nice job, John-Paul. That guy's kitty nearly fell off his jacket and he had to grab it. On camera!
I don't much like these joke acts. I think eurovision entries should be serious.
And band acts are dumb. Though it is up-tempo. Not disco uptempo, though. And there are no ladies. Nor is this a boyband. Dumb.
Thumbs down.

Latvia. Ok mates, I'm off to shower. I'm sure I'll miss some.

"eurovision 2007 finals: france and latvia" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: adbreak

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 10:26 PM

Ad break.

I don't know if I have the strength to do the rest of these acts.
It upsets me that cadburys sponsor the SBS and they sell their old gold dark chocolate like it's worth eating. It's not. We like Lindt for everyday eating round here. And Koko black for fancy. Another good thing about lindy hop is that there are lots of Swiss dancers. And they give good chocolate.

"eurovision 2007 finals: adbreak" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: greece and georgia and sweden

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 10:10 PM

If you go here, you can see which countries played in which order.

1. Bosnia & Herzegovina Maria ŠESTIĆ Rijeka Bez Imena
2 Spain D'NASH I Love You Mi Vida
3 Belarus Koldun Work Your Magic
4 Ireland DERVISHThey Can't Stop The Spring
5 Finland Hanna PAKARINEN Leave Me Alone
6 FYR Macedonia Karolina Mojot Svet
7 Slovenia Alenka GOTAR Cvet Z Juga
8 Hungary Magdi RÚZSA Unsubstantial Blues
9 Lithuania 4FUN Love Or Leave
10 Greece Sarbel Yassou Maria
11 Georgia Sopho Visionary Dream
12 Sweden THE ARK The Worrying Kind
13 France LES FATALS PICARDS L'amour À La Française
14 Latvia BONAPARTI.LV Questa Notte
15 Russia SEREBRO Song #1
16 Germany Roger CICERO Frauen Regier'n Die Welt
17 Serbia Marija ŠERIFOVIĆ Molitva
18 Ukraine Verka SERDUCHKA Dancing Lasha Tumbai
19 United Kingdom SCOOCH Flying The Flag (For You)
20 Romania TODOMONDO Liubi, Liubi, I Love You
21 Bulgaria Elitsa TODOROVA & Stoyan YANKOULO Water
22 Turkey Kenan DOÄžULU Shake It Up, Shekerim
23 Armenia Hayko Anytime You Need
24 Moldova Natalia BARBU Fight

We're up to Greece at number 10. Good start:
"first off, she's a lady,
this is a lady's world"
Which is, speaking as a Brunswick chick, exactly the sort of talk I like to hear from a good Greek boy. I like using the term 'lady'. The Squeeze calls us (us being crink and I and D) ladies.

I think I'm voting for Greece!! I like all the freakin' shimmies! I like the shitty syncho backing dancers! I like the song!

Georgia. Great. I like the dress. I like the dancing guys with swords. It's an up-tempo disco song, so it's go my vote. It's a bit like Madonna, except with lyrics by someone whose first language isn't English so they have that A-ha feel.
"This precious moment of my life,
holds me excited!"

I really have to go have a shower. I shaved The Squeeze's head earlier and have prickles all over me.
I have to watch this entry - Sweden is the national home of lindy hop in the twenty first century. And Abba.
And this entry is worth embedding.

I'ts ok, I guess, but it's too obvious choice for me.

"eurovision 2007 finals: greece and georgia and sweden" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: former yugoslavic republic macedonia and slovenia and hungary

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 9:58 PM

F.Y.R. Macedonia.
I blogged them last night. Tonight the girl is miming and it sucks. The Squeeze points out that it's the same camera angles, though. She's wearing the same dress too. I'd have made her a new one. That ballet dancing is dumber tonight.

Maybe I'm just a bit more cynical tonight.

We liked her last night. The Squeeze liked the glowy thing on her hand. I like her frock. And the opera pop. I think she's actually singing. But, really, I can't be sure any more.
I hate Terry Wogan - why is he ruining the surprise by introducing them before the begin?
(The Squeeze just gave me a really excited grin as she shone the light thing on her face).
See her sing here or read my other post about her here.

Hungary. Put some freakin' shoes on. She's singing for real.
I don't think I can sit through all of these shitty songs again.
I might go and have a shower now.

"eurovision 2007 finals: former yugoslavic republic macedonia and slovenia and hungary" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: belarus and ireland and finland

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 9:48 PM

Belarus. I like to say bell -ar -us like an SF character. But The Squeeze says it's Bell-a-roos.
I like this one because there's awesome synched dancing action and girls velcroed to the props. the singer guy is really crap but he has fabulous makeup and a big, crazy smile.
Youtube (or my 5 second youtube search) has come through with the goods for Belarus!

Ireland. Boring. But it's kind of distressing to hear an Irish chick who can't even hold one single note. Surely it's some sort of cultural and genetic imperative? Or perhaps not. No stereotypes here. Pft. Nice head mike (bet she doesn't say "fuck!" into it the way I did during the first dance class I ever taught).
Borrin! Aaargh! I had a friend who was into that freakin' instrument and we nearly shoved it up his arse. Bu-dumba-da-dumba-dee-dumba-dee-dumbda-da-dumb!

Finland. Go Finland! Go! Could there be any more goth acts in this year's eurovision? But I have to admit I like that goth action. Though a bit of choreographed dancing would have helped.
I just have to say here, that it's not a good idea to read the comments on the eurovision clips. There's some scarily racist/homophobic crap on there.

I hate Terry Wogan. He sucks arse.

"eurovision 2007 finals: belarus and ireland and finland" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007 finals: bosnia and herzegovina and spain

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 9:41 PM

Bosnia and Herzegovina: I like this one because of the lady's big seaweed dress and the baziki. And it has kissing.

Spain: hawt boyband action. With tight white shirts.

The Squeeze (who has entered into this eurovision thing with enthusiasm tonight) has suggested that the eurovision doods are pre-recorded. I don't think anyone could be as crap recorded as those guys were last night. But tonight.... there's more synch action.

I am having trouble finding the clips on YouTube. I think it's because it was only on last night. So I'm sorry, friends, but I can't provide linkage. But I'm sure it'll be there next week. :(

"eurovision 2007 finals: bosnia and herzegovina and spain" was posted in the category television

live blogging eurovision 2007: the finals!

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 9:33 PM

I didn't think I could cope with any more of this stuff, but the opening sequence is inspiring. I'm not struck on Terry Wogan (dumb dumb dumb - where's the nice couple from last night?), but I really, really like the opening bit with last year's winner Lordy opening the show.

Aside: The Squeeze could remember the name of last year's winner from last year. I have no clue - I'm a goldfish with names, which is actually quite nice.

I think I need to go to the eurovision finals next year.
I am in love with the presenters.
He's pretty and a bit dumb. She's clever but hiding it with a pretty frock.

But now - on with the finals!

"live blogging eurovision 2007: the finals!" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: slovenia and turkey and austria and latvia

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 12:21 AM

I like the goth ones the best. Sort of opera goth. That's great. Chicks with dresses made of rags with glowy bits stuck to their hands doing Hitler arms up in the air and wearing leather bodices.

5 seconds into Turkey and I know I love them already. Gold, gold, gold and men in red jackets with gold embroidery.
"Shake it up, shake it"
This one goes out to all the girls in Brunswick!
I am definitely won over by uptempo songs with lots of dancing. Really poor singing is also a winner.

Austria has a man in a silver glittery mesh coat climbing out of a giant red vagina made out of red feathers and drag queens. Awesome. Go Austria! Go Austria!
Maybe that's not a giant red vagina but a big AIDs ribbon? I like the red faceted cod pieces.

Latvia: more opera-pop. Boring. Dull. Boring. Plus it's dress jackets over jeans and I don't approve. Though their fake medals are interesting because they remind me of a bloke I met at a wedding recently who owned his own business where he remounted medals onto strips so diggers can wear them in marches. Really.

Mikko Leppilampi = hawt.

Acts I didn't blog:
Bulgaria: awesome drums and chain mail.
Israel: joke band singing about bombs.
Cyprus: I must have missed this one - another glittery one.
Belarus: boring boyband action.
Iceland: hair.
Georgia: girly in a red dress shouting a bit with some guys dancing with swords (extra points).
Montenegro: boyband. Boring.
Moldova: more shouting and leather.
The Netherlands: orange, shouting lady with other ladies in lame.
Albania: sort of goth. Dull.
Denmark: awesome drag queen action with quick costume changes on stage.
Croatia: more big hair and shouting.

and then it's back to Poland.

I think I'm voting for ... hm. The vampire song is too obvious. I liked Malta because it sounded like a James Bond song. But I also liked Belgium because it was really really crap. But Turkey man had the goods. Austria did have the vagina thing happening (and we're all about gynocentrism here).... Well, that's my shortlist.

I'm sorry I blocked up your feedreaders with all these silly eurovision posts. But if you were watching and you loved it too... then you rock, and your love gives me ...


"eurovision 2007: slovenia and turkey and austria and latvia" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: belgium

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 12:17 AM

Two thumbs up for Belgium: satin, disco dancing, really terrible singing. Go here to feel the love power coming your way (today is not a bad day).

"eurovision 2007: belgium" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: norway and malta and andorra and hungary

Posted by dogpossum on May 13, 2007 12:02 AM

Norway was boring. So it's not worth it's own entry (plus I'm getting a bit bored with this).

Malta has a weird 'oriental' theme, and lots of shouting about how loving you gives me vertigo. More fans. I think this is my favourite song, though. "Your love turns me blue, my anger (?) is red... i'm ..something... turns me indigo!"

I don't even know where Andorra is. I don't like them because the the lead singer really sucks. Can you say monotone? We like lots of notes with our eurovision. I know they're meant to be a punk band, so they need to suck a bit, but booooring. Where are their dancers?!

They do win for ending their show with "Thank you everybody, we can still save the world!"

Brief pause: can you imagine being on eurovision in the semi finals (that's what I'm watching on SBS by the way)? Would it be great or crap? It'd be scary, though.

Hungary. Missy Higgins in Europe. Nice suitcase.
These conventional ones suck. We want costumes. Not stupid suitcases, fake bus stop signs and singlets that say 'thank god I'm a VIP'.

It is just like rage. Just one more. One more song.

"eurovision 2007: norway and malta and andorra and hungary" was posted in the category television

May 12, 2007

NERDS FC! second season!

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:54 PM

Seeing my first ad for the second season of Nerds FC is the only good thing about ads on SBS.

"NERDS FC! second season!" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: former yugoslav republic macedonia

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:51 PM

More partner dancing, this time ballet dancers, and not quite as crap. Still not great.
But I like the way he's picking her up and turning her around while she's singing. But not enough sparkles for me.
Song? Bah, dull. though
"music is the only world for me
ni ni-nah nah, nah nah ni ni nah"

"eurovision 2007: former yugoslav republic macedonia" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: portugal

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:47 PM

A little conservative for our tastes, but I like the really big fans (though I liked the really big fans flapping around the Danish drag queen more).
This one gets points for men in skin tight, white with glitter ballroom dancing outfits and really, really, really terribly bad 'ballroom dancing'.

"eurovision 2007: portugal" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: czech republic

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:43 PM

Last year we really liked the 'metal' monster guys.

We're not sure about the 'death metal' czech republic doods. I don't like all the hair. But I like the gravelly voices.

"eurovision 2007: czech republic" was posted in the category television

eurovision 2007: serbia

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:40 PM

Androgyny is go.

I don't like the slow songs - I like the ones with dancing and crazy costumes, not reeeeally slow Washington hand dancing and faux lesbians.

"eurovision 2007: serbia" was posted in the category television

eurovision: poland

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:36 PM

she: "don't get crazy"
he: "Let's party,
you got the right to party!"

Red leather, really short skirts, tartan pants, ladies in cages.
And, as The Squeeze points out, 'crazy' rhymes with 'party'

"eurovision: poland" was posted in the category television

live blogging eurovision

Posted by dogpossum on May 12, 2007 11:14 PM

I thought I'd have lots to say, but I don't. I'd like to think I watch this tongue-in-cheek, but I'm afraid I just think it's wonderful. The lyrics are weird, but the costumes are fabulous. No one can sing, but they can all dance. Mostly.
And holy moley there are a lot of people there. Eurovision Helsinki.

Crap, the website is busted so I can't provide excellent links. But you can see bits and pieces on the BBC Eurovision site.

I can't look away. Eurovision does this to me every year. It's like Rage. One more song... just one... more...
I love the costumes.
I love the dancing.
I love the (freaking amazing) light and sound action on the stage.

I think I'm voting for Switzerland's Vampires are alive because they had mannequins on the stage with the five (or was it six?) singing/dancing group members. And because they sang a song as vampires. And of course, YouTube saves our lives with some truly fabulous clippage. Go here to see some amazing clips - filmed on mobile phones, Simms versions...

"live blogging eurovision" was posted in the category television

April 4, 2007

telly update

Posted by dogpossum on April 4, 2007 12:44 PM | Comments (1)

I've been watching a fair bit of House lately, and while I've decided Hugh Laurie is about as hawt as hawt gets, it's getting a bit wearing. Lots of dramatic blood and far, far too much miserable middle aged man for me.
So I've replaced it with some of this action:

gilmoregirls.jpg The video shop has about six seasons all on DVD so I'm set for a while. The Squeeze is disgusted, but I'm enjoying it. I like it that no one dies. I also like that it's really all about the ladies. The few male characters in the program are really just props for the female characters - Rory has an attractive young thing who's flitting in and out of the narrative, and whose only purpose seems to be admiring Rory's choice in reading matter. Laurelai has a couple of blokes who drop into the story now and then, but they really don't seem to do much except ask her on dates and be knocked back (especially if they're only interested in her for her body), be grilled and then perhaps taken on a date (if they're interested in her brain). Or they make her cups of coffee.
I like it. Nobody dies. I know it's trash, but it's better than Smallville, and there's lots of it.

We are still mowing our way through West Wing - just started season 4. I have to say, I was really disappointed that the CSI secret agen guy was killed off at the end of season 3. He satisfied my inner chick-flick fan.

I care about telly at the moment because I'm on an ob-con fuelled craft kick. I've been quilting like a demon (I do have some lovely photos to put up - I'll get on it STAT), I've been doing some crocheting (I like the complicated patterns, and really get more pleasure out of figuring out how it works than in creating a final product - there's been lots of undoing and redoing), and I've just finished a queen sized quilt thing. The Squeeze hasn't decided whether he wants it to be a quilt cover or a light weight quilt for summer. So I'm waiting on that. That one's lovely - all shades of blue, and lots and lots of different types of Hawaiin print fabric. The patchwork design isn't one of my best, but it was satisfying to put together and actually looks pretty ok.

I've also moved on from the recent rash of thriller/murder mystery books to some restorative Dianne Wynne Jones:

The Pinhoe Egg is lovely children's fantasy, and I'm enjoying it very much.

"telly update" was posted in the category old sew and sew and television

February 22, 2007

24 sucks arse

Posted by dogpossum on February 22, 2007 11:15 AM

I am up to episode 10 of the first season of 24 and I think I'm beginning to hate it. I can overlook the dumb story line. But now that the whole 'real time' thing has become more familiar than novelty (I was a bit interested in the way a meta story arc would develop over a season if we're talking one hour at a time - a season one day long... though soap operas have been into that shit for years), I've had time to notice other things.

1. The black presidential candidate David Palmer. I'm sorry, but I'm just not accepting the idea that the US would have a black candidate as a realistic presidential hopeful. I certainly don't dig the idea that he'd have so great a chance as to prompt a complex, expensive and utterly unrealistic assassination project. But perhaps there are other issues I haven't yet met, seeing as how I'm only up to episode 10. But I'm afraid I'm just not buying it.

2. The gender stuff. Holy fuck. Rape, rape, rape. And then, most wonderfully, male vengeance for female victims. It's beginning to make me insanely angry. I hated the Crow for this little narrative element. What is it with people writing media? Can't they imagine a woman avenging her own rape? Can't they imagine a woman who is not a victim, a potential victim or man-bitch-who-you-wouldn't-fuck-but-can-kill?

While 24 no doubt thinks it's being clever, it's no I Spit On Your Grave - there are no ambiguous gender politics or opportunities for resistance here.

The rape stuff:
Let's see. First we have Palmer's daughter, who was raped seven years ago, but then avenged by her teen aged brother. Even more wonderfully, her mother Sherry colludes in covering up the brother's vengeance. Sherry is increasingly painted as a deceitful, ambitious, nasty, emasculating harpy who doesn't do as she's told. There's bad stuff in their family generally - a father with a secret (and inability to love his family properly, hence making him responsible for the daughter's rape, the son's having to avenge her and the mother's having to take control of the family), a damaged daughter, an angry murdering son and a harpy mother. It's not good. It's certainly no Bartlet family.

Then we have the hero Jack Bauer's daughter Kim's friend who is apparently date raped, or at least drugged and drunked to the point where she'll have sex in a furniture store (I'm not buying the 'safe sex' clue - the used condoms helping the mother figure out they were there. These are not condom boys). She ends up getting killed by someone the rest of the characters think is her father. Nice. No one punishes a whore like the patriarchy, right?

Then we have the daughter Kim's 'faked' rape while held captive. The male abductor(who is now her 'friend') lies to his fellow guard, telling him he's going to assault Kim, while really he uses this as a cover to sneak her out and help her escape (though she doesn't escape).
This rape story then serves as a plot device, with the implication that this character's story about having his way with Kim placed the idea in his fellow guard's mind. This guard, apparently aroused by the daughter and mother's terror as they're on their knees with guns at their heads, awaiting execution, then decides to assault the daughter.

This is the bit that makes me fucking furious. The mother, Terri, volunteers to sub in for Kim and 'allows' the abductor to rape her. Though this is revealed as her using the chance to steal his mobile phone, she is later punished with some nasty cramps.

Meanwhile, Jack is rushing to save the 'family' - the vulnerable mother and daughter - save them from... whatever. And the point is repeatedly made in episode nine that all this is to preserve their family. Their nice little nuclear family.

This whole 'mother subbing in for daughter as rape victim' thing makes me so fucking angry. I just don't see it serving any narrative purpose other than disturbing titillation. And the old 'protect virgins', 'women who've had sex don't mind being raped' thing drives me wild.
I know that that the narrative relies on the mother and daughter needing rescuing (which sucks, but well, what can you do?), but why can't they make Terri a dangerous captive whose actions mean that she is more likely to be killed, and so making Jack's speedy completion of his mission all the more important?

2a. The gender stuff - general female characters.
Ok, so now I'm seeing some serious misogyny. What female characters do we have left?

1. Jamey. Asian/Latino (I'm not sure, though Latino is implied, and one of the dodgier characters, Tony, makes a muttered (and presumably racist) comment to her as she's tied up in episode... eight or nine (I can't remember which)). She's a traitor, she 'commits suicide' (I haven't seen enough to be sure of this - it looks like it was set up by Tony, who could be a baddy, but I don't think he ends up being a baddy. I can't actually predict this show, which tells me it's either cutting edge, genre-bending plot action or just a bit messy. I suspect the latter), she's a single mother. She has to die. Quite bloodily and nastily. She was a technical wizz as well, and of course, had to die.

2. Nina. Skinny, dark hair, the hero's number 1. Is told by a nasty bloke that she used to have a good reputation, that she was 'going somewhere', but her affair with Jack has left her a low-status has-been lapdog for Jack. I'm not sure how or why, and while this male character is kind of unreliable, Nina apparently believes him.
Nina and Jack had an affair while Jack was estranged from his wife Terri. Nina is punished by Jack when he shoots her and shoves her down a hill (she's not really dead or shot, but it's suitably emblematic of their relationship). Nina is also continually jostling with the unreliable Tony for Jack's attention/the number 1 position.

Nina sucks. She's pathetic. She gets bossed around by Jack and Tony, refuses to think for herself and gets into deep shit.

3. Nina is pushed aside by the pale skinned black woman Alberta, Jack's replacement as boss of the department. The pale skinned black woman thing is important - all the 'black' female characters are very pale skinned, while the black male characters are darker skinned. This shit is so fucking old school racist it's like I'm at the Cotton Club watching the 'tall, tanned and terrific' show girls. Alberta is also painted as a bit of a ball-breaking vagina dentata. Lots of red lipstick and well-fitting suits, but nasty.

4. Lauren, the girl Jack kidnaps as a hostage.
I can't even go into this one. But she's the deceitful, morally bankrupt working class stooge character. And it makes me ANGRY because I just BET her weight (ie she's not a super-skinny stick like all the other women) is deliberately intended as a signifier of her untrustworthiness.

5. Terri, Jack's wife, Kim's mother.
Dumb. It's her fault she and Jack separated (she couldn't deal with his post-traumatic stress syndrome after a nasty secret mission). She was sucked in by the pretend father of Kim's friend. She couldn't escape properly. She's too skinny.

I really do think I hate 24. I will see out the season, though, to see if this stuff turns around. But I am really having trouble with the fact that the mother and daughter Terri and Kim are held captive in a barn (with bales of hay, no less), and there's such a nasty undercurrent of sexual tension surrounding them. It really, really makes me angry that they're just waiting there to be rescued.

There are no decent female characters in this show. It sucks.

In direct contrast, West Wing has interesting gender politics. We are up to episode five or six of season 2, and I had had some concerns about CJ's character. She was the only character who doubted her abilities/appearance and her repeated stuff ups were given lots of plot time. But the most recent episode, The Lame Duck Congress deals with that in an interesting way. We see CJ deal with a difficult general - she nails his arse (though her decision is later countermanded by the president...which is a bit disturbing, but works within the context of the show's premise - everyone has to kowtow to the president, not just chicks) and is super-clever and brilliant. I feel better about WW's handling of gender stuff because it's more complex. It's not cut and dried. I think I need to read and think more about it, because I haven't made up my mind yet, but for now, it's really interesting me and keeping me on board. It certainly kicks 24 arse.

"24 sucks arse" was posted in the category 24 and television and west wing

January 17, 2007

youtube = great

Posted by dogpossum on January 17, 2007 7:16 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, homies, has anyone seen Birds of Prey? The telly series from 2002? It looks like exactly my cup of tea. I suspect it's supercrap, but if I can watch Aquaman, the Smalls spin-off, I can certainly handle a little Batkid action.

I gots a look at the promo thing here (and here with the alternative, hawt Sherylin Fenn action) but haven't managed to figure out which clip comes next.

Youtube = great.

...but dang this media convergence thing. Is it still telly if it was never screened on telly, but you watched it on youtube? Does the form determine 'tellyness', or is it the mode of reception?

"youtube = great" was posted in the category clicky and television

telly update

Posted by dogpossum on January 17, 2007 2:20 PM | Comments (4)

I need to get you all up to date with the telly I'm watching.

As you know, I'm a big fat Smallville fan, and cannot justify this passion with any sensible reason. I don't find the protagonist (or anyone else in the program) particularly hawt (though Lana's real-life athletic ability blows my brain. I LOVE that she's far more athletic and body-aware than Clark's actor). I don't much care about the story (though I do like the idea of a pre-superman Clarky, and have speculated at length about his eventual superhero/secret identity split, not to mention the relationship between Clark and Lex as possible motivation for their falling out - slash-gone-wrong!).
I think it's a combination of speculative fiction-ness + bright colours + teen telly + serial narrative.

We are still waiting on season 3 of Deadwood. Now that's the fushizzle.

We have just finished season 5 (or is it 4?) of The Sopranos, and while I'd really like to see the next season(s), I do find it a bit dark and distressing.

We have given up on rewatching Buffy and Angel, but you know.

supernatural-1.jpg Forced to the point of desperation, I decided to start on Supernatural. Browsing my local video shop, it was either that or Party of Five (goddess forbid). It's ok, I like it. It looks good (though there are some dodgy moments - don't pay too much attention to where the window frame is when the boys are talking while driving in their car), the characters are hawt (Lana's boyfriend is here, as Dean - and much better cast), we keep running into people from Angel (Angel's son, Fred and - most fabulously - Darla, in a top episode about faith healing) and there's a big fat muscle car that would make Glen weep.


It's the big fat muscle car that kind of set up my viewing for me, really.

Does anyone else remember Good Guys Bad Guys? I think, more importantly, does anyone remember a) the car? and b) Marcus Graham, gay man extrordinaire? Watching Supernatural, all I can think of is that excellent Aussie drama, particularly when the boys slip into their eternally-shiny muscle car.

supernatural.jpg Maybe it's just that I'm geared towards romantic comedies with a supernatural twist, but I need to see a little unrequited lust action. As with Lex and Clark, I just know that Dean and Sam are suppressing deep, reciprocated, yet repressed desires. The whole being brothers thing? Ah, we all know it's a sham, a cover up. And I'm sure I'm not the only one noticing this relationship - the doods are continually checking into cheap motel rooms together. And remember that episode Bugs, where they were mistaken for a couple investing in a property on a new housing estate (not once but a few times)?

I don't really know what I like about this program. I'm easily scared, and get a good scaring each episode (sad but true). I get a bit annoyed by the excessive contrast - too much dark. Too much blue light. I know that's the point and that this is a semi-horror show, but...
I'm also a bit annoyed by the sloooow meta-arc (is that the term - you know, the overarching story arc that links all the episodes in the season together). These are in part problems resulting from my binge-viewing (man, who watches telly one episode at a time any more? That's crazy talk!), but perhaps also part of the first-season problems that happen with most of these programs. I'm also a bit yeah-yeah, monster of the week, but that could improve - look where buffy went from there.

I'm also a bit unsure of the gender stuff. So far (I'm only part way through season one), girls are to be ogled (usually by Dean, though surreptitiously by Sam on occasion... though he spends far more time looking at Dean), saved and then left behind. Except for that hitchhiking wicca chick. But I just figure, this whole program is so mega-masculinity it kind of topples over under its own weight, crumbling into delicious homoerotic subtext. No one does uber-macho like a gay man.

But if you're looking for beautiful fannish stuff (and we are, of course), then you have to check out the Supernatural action on Misplaced Moments. If you're a Buffy, Firefly of other supernatural fan, you'll find plenty of other lovely things on that site.

heroes4.jpgAnd beyond Supernatural, we've also gotten hold of the first eight episodes of Heroes, which we're... hm. I want to say enjoying. But goddamn, that's some gorey shit. I don't much like guts, and Heroes is riddled with it. I'd definitely not let a kid watch it, so I'm not sure what Channel 7 (or is 9?) are thinking with their advertising. I'm not sure about the gender stuff there yet, either. All fairly traditional stuff, and the writing is a bit ordinary (at episode 3), so I'm not expecting anything particularly subersive. I've also noticed a few too many continuity errors, which does not please me. But I need some good, solid telly action, on DVD so I don't have to fool with ad breaks and not seeing the whole thing all at once.

, however, rocks the free world.

[EDIT: I had to add that pic of the Heroes doods because I'm a bit fascinated by the whole 'ensemble cast' thing in these sorts of telly shows. I remember Joss Whedon explaining that Firefly wouldn't have really worked long term because the cast was too small - too few major characters to sustain a program over a long period of time. This is an interesting thought, and makes me wonder if it's a marker of nowen days telly. Did programs like, name blank. That 70s cop drama with the two women cops. Anyway, did it have a big ensemble cast? Is it a drama thing, because shows like Raymond (gag) manage with a small cast. If you have too small a cast, do you end up in monster-of-the-week territory (poor Sam and Dean. Destined to travel the deep south scuffling with monsters til someone discovers they need a few more characters. Sigh)?

2nd EDIT: I forgot to mention. The thing that I REALLY hate about Supernatural is the way the supernatural stuff is always really evil. There's no sitting down at a poker table to gamble for kittens with these doods.

3rd EDIT: Link to official Supernatural via Glenn's interesting post. I am so five minutes ago.]

"telly update" was posted in the category television

November 14, 2006

i'll never get to sleep

Posted by dogpossum on November 14, 2006 9:41 PM

I'm sitting in front of the telly watching a Blur concert on ABC2. If you don't have ABC2 - get a digital set top box so you can. They have heaps of great concerts. Last time I tuned it was Radiohead (wasn't that a dreary waste of my time).
Tonight it's Blur.

I saw Blur live years ago, and thought they were bloody great live. I know all the songs, but I wouldn't have a clue who the bandmembers are. I do know that when I was at the concert (Festival Hall in Brisvegas btw) the lead singer guy threw himself into the crowd halfway through that woo-hoo song and I thought I was going to burst. They were so young and British and rude.
That concert and the two They Might Be Giants shows I went to were the best live shows I've ever seen.

So I'm sitting here in front of the telly, getting all excited (I'll never sleep tonight) and thinking about how long it's been since I saw a live show that wasn't a jazz band. I miss the rudeness. The adolescent posing. Radiohead were too much for me, though - dang they're boring, miserable sods. We like jumpy rock n roll types here. Not sulky, broody I'm-so-serious tossers.

I wish I could remember that lead singer's name. The Blur guy.

"i'll never get to sleep" was posted in the category music and television

September 29, 2006

the hamranos

Posted by dogpossum on September 29, 2006 3:42 PM


Prompted by marking quite a few essays about The Sopranos of late, I brought home the first few discs of season 1 from the video shop.
The Squeeze was instantly enthralled, and I was more than happy when he brought home our very own copy the other night. We are enchanted.

It seems we are bound to adore all gangstah action, after our brush with the Godfather, Raging Bull and assorted others.

So it seems strangely fitting that Laura posted this Sesame Streets clippy today:

"the hamranos" was posted in the category digging and television and the sopranos

September 27, 2006

scary stuff

Posted by dogpossum on September 27, 2006 12:12 PM

The other night there was a story about the Exclusive Brethren on Four Corners which we watched all the way through.

This was mostly a story about people who had left this very conservative relgious group, and there was much discussion of the Brethren's equivalent to 'shunnning', where 'excommunicated' members were excluded from the community. This meant that they weren't allowed to talk to, touch or interact with their families or any other Brethren after they'd been excommunicated. When you take into account the fact that this group do not allow their members to eat or drink with non-members - effectively 'separating' them from the rest of society, being 'excommunicated' is a devastating practice.

One of the things that I noticed was how passive and unaggressive all the former Brethren members were. They spoke of experiences which made us cry, but their manner remained largely 'flat' - definitely unaggressive. And while there was reference made at one point to one man's 'aggressive' response to being excommunicated, it wasn't really in the range of 'normal' aggression, as I'd put it.

It was frightening stuff: to see people who's lives had been devastated responding calmly. It made me wonder if perhaps they were all seriously depressed (though they probably were - suicide rates for excommunicate Brethren are frighteningly high), but it also made me think about how such controlling religions encourage passivity. It also made me think about what it would be like to teach students who'd been trained so thoroughly not to think critically, or to question.

Scary stuff.

"scary stuff" was posted in the category television

July 17, 2006

it's ok - don't panic

Posted by dogpossum on July 17, 2006 1:48 PM

To all those who've checked up on me after the sicky bubs post:



I'm ok.

Status report: as per usual, the second wave of serious head cold (which, incidentally, also struck down my father this week - in two rounds - no doubt an indication of the vulnerability of small-nostrilled people to this sort of thing) has settled in comfortably, and almost a week later, while I have now been out of the house all of 3 times, I now have the horrible ear thing again.

While it mightn't sound so terrible to have blocked ears, it's kind of awful for someone who relies on their ears as much as I do. It's difficult to dance when your balance is screwed and your awareness of your surroundings stuffed by unreliable hearing. It's bloody difficult to judge sound levels when you're DJing through an ear's worth of goob. And riding your bike is terrifying when you can't hear approaching cars or balance properly.
But I have a doctor's appointment booked for tomorrow, so either she'll look inside and be frightened enough by what she sees to syringe me to blessed unimpededness, or she'll see nothing and I'll have another day on the kick-you-on-your-arse decongestants. The latter is always a joy for someone as responsive to these sorts of drugs as I am. I am sure The Squeeze is looking forward to mildly-psychotic and scarily insomniac speed freak girl as much as I am.

On (un)related fronts, Angel and everyone else are dealing with the Darla/Drusilla fallout (don't you just LOVE those episodes?) and Buffy is freaking out under a pile of narratively excessive dramas: Glory's nabbed Dawn/the key, Spike is hot for Bot-love (and yes, he is kinda small, but pretty compact and well-muscled, Xander), Tara has been brain-drained by Glory and of course, Joyce has just passed away.

"it's ok - don't panic" was posted in the category buffy and angel and domesticity and television

July 11, 2006

I am John Travolta

Posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2006 8:37 PM

In our house The Squeeze is convinced that BB is not only foul, but also immoral. He leaves the room if it's on. I don't care much either way, in fact I'm watching it now. I'd prefer it if it was unedited, and just a bunch of people in a room with no 'tasks' - just like watching a bunch of sharehousers who're on the dole. No money, so they can't afford to go out. No imagination, so they don't go do free stuff. Eeeexcellent.

But I do have a problem with the new program 'Honey I'm killing the kids'. Ostensibly a program committed to 'helping' parents with overweight kids, rather than focussing on positive reinforcement for the parents and children, I suspect the tools are guilt, guilt and more guilt. Nice. I won't be watching that.

I've watched very little telly lately - beyond the eternal Buffy and Angel (seasons 4 and 2 respectively) - but I have my eye on tonight's OC. Nice.*

In other, more important news, I have a John Travolta obsession. I am convinced, when I'm dancing, that I am the man. It doesn't help that I think I'm funny when I strut it, Saturday Night Fever style. It's particularly unhelpful that lindy is built for strutting. Or, more importantly, blues dancing is built for strutting. A keen balboa fan was asking "you're into this blues stuff - what's the deal? I just don't get it," and of course, the only response is: "strut. You need to strut. Either take it incredibly seriously, or incredibly unseriously. But strut." It's true. Blues dancing is all about strutting.

*NB Willow now has an ibook. An oooold one.

"I am John Travolta" was posted in the category buffy and angel and lindy hop and other dances and television

July 5, 2006

BB again. wherein i justify spending half an hour writing this post rather than rewriting chapters

Posted by dogpossum on July 5, 2006 12:07 PM

While I'm almost ready to drop this particular bundle (dang I'm carrying some thesis-anxiety), the BB discussion continues.

There's another article by Mark up at Lavartus Prodeo (where I'm quoted a bit, as are a few other interesting items by people like Galaxy (also here) and Ms Fits and others).

One of the heaviest heavy weights, Ms Greer, has chimed in, which must have the BB people "hugging themselves with glee" (to quote this article), PR-wise. This is an article which addresses the sorts of issues I'm most interested in, yet when Greer writes:

When Camilla heard that Ashley and John had been evicted, her response was baffling. "I'm really sorry, guys," she wept. "I feel so bad."
I'm surprised. Surely she can understand why this woman felt this way at that moment? I mean, it's nothing new to see a woman ladened with guilt for the actions of male sexual misbehaviour... If only we could all be as robust as Germaine, strong enough not to carry that guilt*.
Perhaps more interestingly, surely its not so baffling that Camilla's having a bit of a cry, when it's been made so clear that she (of the three) was not expelled from the house? I imagine I'd be up there in the crying stakes in such a strange, pressure-cooker situation even without mysterious suprise 'evictions', public humiliation and implied guilt-by-exemption.

And as this story continues, part of me wonders why it's so simple for BB to evict difficult housemates, when it always took us weeks and weeks to get rid of difficult housemates when I was share-housing? If we could simply have whisked them away, perhaps I'd still have my copy of The Mists of Avalon.** an aside, I wonder if it's worth thinking about the context of this 'sexual harassment' (I use quotes because the status of the incident is still in doubt in some minds... not mine, though). These things happened 'in the home'. Yet this is a very public private space. Am I pushing too far when I wonder if this issue, the entire BB program, offers a fascinating opportunity to think about the perormance of public and private space, the sexual relationships between young people in public/private space?
Of course, we can't really say that BB offers an 'authentic' view of private domestic life, but it does offer us an opportunity to think about the way particular types of men and women live and behave together under trying circumstances. And while the issue of sex seems foremost on everyone's minds (anyone who objects to mixed-sex showering should avoid Herrang... hell, any dance camp), the gastropod in me is always wondering what exactly they're cooking for dinner, and who will do the washing up.

Though not to forget Ms Greer's points:

Every picture tells a story, but no picture tells the whole story. No word is more abused by Big Brother producers than "live", unless it is "uncut". Perhaps universities should start running courses on how to watch Big Brother, teaching students to discern how, when and where the mix is being manipulated, and what insultingly tatty television it is, in terms of production values.

Setting aside the whole issue of 'taste' (something Galaxy and others could no doubt discuss more cleverly than I), is anyone else kind of digging the fact that all of this online bloggage (rather than 'news') on the topic is conducted by people who are engaged in teaching the 'BB demograph' (ie young men and women) about media and cultural studies and gender and so on, as made particularly clear on Moment to Moment?
Speaking as someone who's had to explain why feminism is important in a media studies subject, to a group of young(er than me) people who are training to become media producers, I think that the comments and ideas we're sharing online are kind of important. After all, these bloggers are the sorts of people who are on the 'front line' of these university courses Greer suggests. And many of us will go on to do the sorts of jobs that Lumby is doing.

Really, if anyone's in a position to ask the sorts of endlessly nitpicky questions, or to spend hours thinking about and talking about this issue, aren't we postgraduate/early-career academic types the one(s)?

Even if we really should be off editing chapters.

Speaking of guilt...

*This is kind of a joke. If were speaking about this, in person, you'd have been cued in by tone of voice.

**Was that too frivolous a joke? I mean, we are kind of talking about feminist readings of history, ideologically informed narrative and all...

"BB again. wherein i justify spending half an hour writing this post rather than rewriting chapters" was posted in the category television

more BB talk

Posted by dogpossum on July 5, 2006 11:08 AM

Since my first post there have been some responses to the BB thing on other blogs:

Moment to Moment

Pavlov's Cat (and here)

A Wild Young Underwhimsy

Reasons you will hate me


I'm not the only one who read this episode as a bit of sexual harassment designed not so much as an 'authentic' sexual advance towards Camilla by two men, but rather as an act designed more to engage in a little man-man posturing through humiliating a woman (AWYUW and MtM echo that point).

And some more online commentary rolls in:
Mark @ Larvatus Prodeo

tubagooba (and here) who, interestingly, writes

I haven’t been exposed to these attitudes much in my day-to-day life, which might say more about my day-to-day life than it does about either BB or Australian society in general
I don't know tubagooba, but I was surprised to read this: have I overgeneralised my own experiences?.

Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony

armagnac'd (who makes some unsettling comments about breast-enhancement surgery and feminism which I'm not sure are all that helpful, considering...)

what the cat dragged in

There's a comment by Lumby on crikey, but I can't be arsed with that (I think you have to pay..?)

Over at The Road to Surfdom there are panopticon references.

Hoyden about town contributes.

Andrew Bartlett comments on the Bartlett diaries... though I haven't yet had a chance to read it.

There's some pretty serious artillery up there, so I'm not going to step up and get involved.

Having waded through all that, though, (esp the scuffling on LP), you may want to rest your eyes over here, or perhaps just start with this little sproinger:

"more BB talk" was posted in the category clicky and television

July 4, 2006

go O.C. go

Posted by dogpossum on July 4, 2006 10:20 PM

Ok, so watching the OC, the brown-haired boy with all the 'witty one-liners and pop culture quips' and the dumb ex-barbie girlfriend is hanging out with a blonde girl in the city where Brown Uni is.

They totally have to be a couple - they have matching novelty voices.

"go O.C. go" was posted in the category television

July 3, 2006

big brother 'scandal': preliminary thoughts

Posted by dogpossum on July 3, 2006 10:59 PM

We've just seen a short statement by the Big Brother people on channel 10 re the 'events of the weekend'. Apparently, one man held a woman down while another rubbed his groin in her face. While the woman didn't want to press charges, the two men were removed from the house because their actions breached the program's rules.
The opinion in online news is that this was a case of sexual harassment.

Here's what the Big Brother site had to say:

For legal reasons we were not able to provide you with coverage of the events following John and Ash's removal from the House on the weekend as they happened. For the sake of clarity here is a summary of the events that followed their departure.
On Saturday night, John and Ashley were removed from the House following an incident that breached one of Big Brother's most fundamental rules. John and Ashley left via the Diary Room unbeknownst to the other HMs who thought they had been called to the Diary Room for a standard visit.

While the surprise performance by the Rogue Traders in the garden initially distracted the HMs from the whereabouts of Ashley and John, eventually some time later they started wondering what had happened to the boys. The HMs were then called to the Diary Room where BB told them: "Last night's incident was very serious. Camilla did not request nor want any action taken by Big Brother, however Big Brother had no option but to act and remove the two Housemates."

The HMs were shocked at the news and several of them reacted tearfully. Camilla, who was involved in the incident, sobbed: "I feel so bad, I'm sorry." But both BB and the HMs assured her that she had nothing to be sorry about.

Following BB's announcement, discussion of the incident wasn't broadcast on the live web streams or covered in the BB Diary for legal reasons. However, Camilla did speak to her HMs about the events of the previous night.

"It wasn't the right thing to do and even though Ash meant it as a joke, it wasn't good behaviour," she told the group. But she added that she has no hard feelings towards the boys whatsoever. "There was no malice intended, they were doing it in a playful way and when I said very specifically to John: 'Don't. No,' he didn't do it."

On Sunday Camilla was interviewed by the Queensland Police and she told them she didn't wish to take the issue any further. It is no longer a police matter.

Despite the upsets of the last 48 hours, the HMs are moving on from the incident and vowing to continue enjoying their time in the House.

It's interesting stuff because the two men, interviewed by Gretel a few minutes ago, obviously felt that they'd simply been involved in a joke that went too far. One of them said "we read [Camilla] wrong". Camilla has been filmed saying that she felt that it was just a joke.

I missed all the media coverage over the weekend, what with my lying on the couch at the parent's place in Tasmania, asleep. But there've been a few different comments, from an ALP member suggesting that the BB producers should donate their earnings from the weekend's coverage to charity, to the PM calling for the axing of the show .

I don't know much about the incident, but from what I've seen...
As someone who grew up in a society where that sort of behaviour was not only common but expected of young men, on the one hand I'm delighted to see the BB program calling attention to this sort of behaviour, suggesting that it's simply not appropriate and will not be tolerated. And more importantly, doing this on a massively popular television program... On the other hand, I'm interested in how each of the three people may really have just considered it a joke that might have been in poor taste - they're an example of how this sort of behaviour is so normalised in Australian culture.

It's interesting stuff. Personally, I don't think it's appropriate. And I think it's interesting the way this program, set up as 'just filming ordinary people doing ordinary things' has filmed this sort of behaviour and taken a clear stance on it as sexual harassment. On the other hand, I have a feeling that our Fearless Leader has read the behaviour as an example of how BB is 'peddling pornographic/immature/stupid smut or silliness'. Simply 'boys will be boys'.
I really want to hear some feminist comments on this - I'd like to think it's an important opportunity for a public discussion on how patriarchy is complicated - how sexism or chauvinism or perhaps 'gender' is so deeply entrenched in our culture that we - men and women - do feel ok about dismissing it as a joke.

As a woman who grew up in city, in a suburb, attending a school where far worse behaviour was an everyday part of life, I can imagine how the experience could have been regarded as nothing extraordinary. As a joke. I can also see how this might have constituted a bit of homosocial 'slumber party' titilation - a bit of play between the boys at the woman's expense (where she became a vehicle for the men's 'flirting' with each other).

But perhaps, more worryingly, I can imagine how she might have felt: Trying to play it cool, to behave in a way which the 'viewers' would value, so as to secure her place on the program/in the house. Trying to pay it cool so as to maintain her status with her fellow housemates. Perhaps trying to play it cool as a woman who has been very doubtful of her own sex-appeal, in the company of two conventionally attractive and popular men.

But a the same time, her own, less intellectual response might have been anything from a little erotic tension to that kind of deep-stomach panic, where you're held down and can't get away, by two men who are obviously interested in a little power-play, sexual play, and you simply can't get free physically, or muster the words to persuade them to let you go.

I mean, what was she to do? What is she to do? Would she be voted off the show if she did take the matter further?

I really want to see what happens from here. I'm excited to think that the program has so clearly made the point that this is NOT appropriate behaviour. A point that is perhaps even more relevant to an audience which is dominated by young women.
And now I want to see how the response is handled. Will there be clearer discussions of sexual harassment in the media generally? On the program?

BB in itself encourages this sort of sexually charged behaviour, to attract viewers and sell advertising dollars. How will it now manage this aspect of its program?

And perhaps, even more interesting, why is it that I have such a problem with this aspect of sexual 'play', yet I haven't previously found the more risque Late Night BB difficult? I think that it is because of the element of violence or coersion, the way this event emphasises the issues of power at work in sexual relationships, or more importantly, in sexualised 'play' or other social interaction.
The thought of a woman coerced in this setting upets me. Angers me.

But at the same time, I'm also worried by the way these men might have only been able to engage in homosocial/homosexual play via the coersion of a woman. That they could only secure their masculinity (their masculine/phallic power) in homosexual play by supplying a woman as the object/passive/victim/disempowered vehicle.

And of course, when you add the issue of voyeurism and exhibitionism at work in BB...
The issue of performances of masculinity and feminity is immediately more complex.

I am interested in other people's comments. And I'll have a bit more of a think and perhaps post again when I've managed to put together a more coherent, thought-out response.

Can I just add: that this woman is asked to comment on the issue, really, really makes me uncomfortable. Like I said, I'd like to read some feminist comment on this issue.

And what makes me REALLY FUCKING ANGRY is that The Age has posted pictures of the incident online (you'll have to go look - I'm not hotlinking to that). Can they not understand how that might perhaps be even worse than the original event?

You might also be interested in reading Galaxy's post on Sarsaparilla.

"big brother 'scandal': preliminary thoughts" was posted in the category television

June 24, 2006


Posted by dogpossum on June 24, 2006 10:31 PM

the first disc of season 2 Angel is missing from the video shop. What will we do?

"tragedy" was posted in the category television

June 20, 2006

yes please

Posted by dogpossum on June 20, 2006 6:18 PM

In the spirit of mildly euphoric post-thesis-completion blogging... and too much Buffy.
Found here.

"yes please" was posted in the category television

that big fat bottomless pit of uncritical critical theory (wherein Buffy, ibooks and a horde of cyberdykes take on The Man)

Posted by dogpossum on June 20, 2006 5:10 PM

I think this series of entries is really me logging in my reading process, as I go through an article in a journal. Tedious stuff if you're looking for a coherent, sensible argument. Interesting stuff if you're into active readership... dang. Did I give away the punch line?*

If you've already read my last entry (who am I kidding?), you might be interested in reading this - it's the McKee text I quoted. Interestingly, McKee notes that

I'm trying to encourage people to break out of their normal habits, to think about the culture they consume. I'm thinking that maybe we shouldn't just do the same thing, every day week in, week out.
....a global campaign encouraging people to boycott books for one week and to challenge you to explore new ways of passing time.

You could try talking to friends, or dancing to some music. You could even watch some television!'

Do you like the way McKee lists some of my most favourite things there? And how, for me, these are the cultural practices in the forefront of my mind? Will I dance? Will I stay home and watch telly? Will I talk with friends while watching telly? Will I read? Oh, dilemma, dilemma.

I still feel, even though I love telly and understand all those arguments about high/low culture, loving mass culture for its own goodness, that perhaps encouraging people to 'turn off their telly' for a week is not a bad thing. And not just because it saves power.**

Look, I'm getting off-track now, and I still haven't read that article, but really, why am I so bothered by McKee's comments? Surely it's not just because it seems to have toppled into that big fat bottomless pit of uncritical critical theory which seems to dogg me at every conference***?

Geez. I wonder if all this confusion and brow-furrowing on my part is really just a result of watching too much Buffy and Angel, where there seems to be an eternal tension between 'old knowledge' and 'new knowledge', namely in the persons of Willow (read: Witch/feminist/lesbian/macslut****/hawt young thing with irritating approach to slang English) and Giles/Wesley (read: Watchers' council/patriarchy/booknerds)?***** Probably.

and CRAP, where is the INTERNET in all this book v telly crap? I mean, geez, hasn't anyone read that thing about media convergence yet?****** Or is that as totally uncool as globalisation/global media now?*******

*this was meant to be a joke where I linked to a post by a local Aussie acblog, but I can't find the link now. Sorry. It was funny and clever. Was.

**this is where I link to what I'm thinking of as the 'sequel' to the save water campaign in Melbourne. I'm kind of interested in the ramifications of this power campaign. I like the whole 'you have the power' plug (so to speak) - it makes me laugh to think of how this switching off unnecessary power soures is kind of functioning as an incitement to quit consuming... vig gov goes socialist? I wonder how origin feels about all this?

*** Hell if I'll name names - these doods seem to be so online I'll totally get busted. But you know who I'm talking about. Don't you? They tend to be a bit slow to engage in any satisfying way with issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc, beyond glib book titles and throw away lines. And they love that new media.
Though, frankly, who doesn't love that new media?

****Go on, tell me you didn't find Willow's steady progression to the world of macdom just a little bit signficant to her appeal as thinking-woman's-hero/hawt-young-dyke/Wicced-kewl young thing? Go on, admit it - you just love to see a slightly-undernourished-young-academic-sexually-ambigious-mildly-androgenous-gingah sporting those sexy safety-corner apple products. you bet your i-life you do! know that we've been sitting here on the couch the past few months quietly noting her progression from ugly, clunky pc desktops in Ms Calender's class to her clunky oldskool macbook, and now are waiting (somewhat breathlessly) for her ibook to appear. But be assured - I will blog it as soon as it appears.

*****off-the-top-of-my-head reference: Blind Date in Angel season one, where Cordy scoffs at Wesley's slooow old school bookteck, while kicking his arse in the research stakes with her computer, and yet also spending 1 hour and 40 minutes on the phone to Willow who has also been decrypting files all day (ref for the Buffy parallel eps where that goes down - the Yoko Factor and Primeval). Though, really, if I was Cordy at that moment, and considering Willow's recent Outing at that point in season 4 of Buff, there's plenty to talk about - at least 1 hour and 40 minutes' worth.

******Wait til you read my thesis. It's right there in Chapter 5:DJing as the convergence of media forms and practices in embodied dance discourse

*******Chapters 2 through 6.

Post Script

You might be interested in this issue of the CSAA newsletter, three articles down, where Greg Noble writes about "A cultural studies anti-canon?" Speaking as someone who did an MA on newspapers (how uncool! how ...analogue of me!), this caught my attention...

NB the whole mac thing - you know that I'm making a joke about how mac has so totally scored with its marketing towards my demographic with the whole white/safety corners/block colour thing, right? Right?

"that big fat bottomless pit of uncritical critical theory (wherein Buffy, ibooks and a horde of cyberdykes take on The Man)" was posted in the category academia and books and clicky and lindy hop and other dances and television

June 19, 2006

media watch

Posted by dogpossum on June 19, 2006 9:17 PM

It's been quite a few years since I watched television regularly - share housing and going out late most nights made it impossible. But the thesis has demanded I take early nights in the last few weeks. So I've been watching some telly.
First. The O.C.. On some commercial channel, at some time. I have no clue.
Why, why, why am I interested in this? What is going on? It's crap! But not good crap - pretentious crap. But I can't watching it.

Second. Jericho. ABC. Some time, some night. I love it. I love mysteries, and I love crime drama without all the bullshit sciencey crap. It's just straight detecting. And I love it.

Third. Spicks and Specks ABC. Some night, some time. I love it SO MUCH. I think I need to marry Myf. It's great telly, really great telly. I love the way everyone on it has a great time and really enjoys themselves. I like the singing and the silliness.

Four. Absolute Power. ABC. I think it's after Spicks and Specks on the ABC. Wonderful. Oh man, I love Stephen Fry. And I love PR/media satires. For obvious reasons.

Five. The news. ABC and SBS. Because.

Look, I don't know what's going on here. I mean, we have a digital set top box (go get one - it cost us $49 from JB) so we get not one, but TWO ABC channels. And two SBS channels. So we watch a lot of aunty. It's great.
I'm also getting into the ABC online. I've gotten into podcasts. But nothing cool - Radio National, News Radio, and that John Safran show (but I can't listen to much of it because he's a bit annoying). It's great. Now I know stuff.

And, in addition, we're up to season Five of Buffy. Don't you just love that last episode of season 4 with the Last Slayer? And I think the producers are right - it was the most disjointed season, but it had some of the very best episodes. My favourites would be:
Living Conditions, where "Buffy becomes convinced that her annoying roommate is evil, but her friends think she is mad."
Beer Bad, where "Buffy drowns her sorrows in beer with some upperclassmen; Xander grows concerned when they start to get in touch with their primordial roots."
Pangs where "Angel secretly arrives in Sunnydale to protect Buffy, who is attempting a perfect Thanksgiving." (I loved this one for the whole postcolonial metanarrative thingy)
Something Blue where "A spell by Willow goes awry, blinding Giles and causing Buffy and Spike to fall in love and get engaged."
Hush Where "After the residents of Sunnydale lose their voice, Buffy fights the deadly assailants alongside an incredulous Riley." Scariest episode ever.
This Year's Girl and Who are You?, the Faith-wakes-up episodes (!!)

...hell, I'm just listing them all. Basically, I love them all except the boring Initiative ones. I especially love the ones with Tara and Oz in (I think Willow and I have the same tastes in partners...).

We're also watching Angel Season One, which i also love, even it if it's not quite as good as it will get.

SO we're just drowning in telly right now.
Needless to say, my dancing is nonexistant. I am still yoga queen (1 or 2 times a week, depending), but this indoors stuff. YEAH.

It doesn't help that it's very cold and dark. 3pm is late afternoon, So why would we want to spend our nights out?

...remind me to write about Stick It, will you? It was great.

"media watch" was posted in the category television

June 2, 2006

yoga fc

Posted by dogpossum on June 2, 2006 8:57 PM

It's world cup time in Melbourne, and even I'm getting a little bit excited. SBS is the world cup channel, with stacks of neat little films on the soccer theme, games, and novelty shows like the one about the socceroos theme song, and of course, Nerds FC. Tonight was the final show (though you can catch it repeated every night at 8pm on SBS from Thursday on), and it was so exciting!

But perhaps my favourite soccer story is actually another yoga story.
My Wednesday morning class is really fun - I'm the youngest yogi there by about 30 years, and usually the least rowdy. We're not just talking silly jokes and heckling. We're talking people physically jumping on each other and doing physical comedy (isn't yoga wonderful?).
One of my favourite people is Rosa, who's pretty much representative of half the nannas in Brunswick - short, Italian, pushy, friendly and fun. Our teacher Frank is Italian as well, and excellently wicked. Rosa is just a noob yogi, but as per Frank's general approach to yoga (whether you're the 10 year old daughter or the 90 year old nanna) is 'have a go'. It's nice because he's careful to work with you if you're a little bit fragile or scared or cranky.
Last time I was in the class Frank took care to tease Rosa. With one leg up on a table, Frank exclaims "Rosa! You're not swearing at me in Italian are you?" and she wasn't - but Frank can lip read.
Then, as we did the kneeling thing (which I don't like at all), she exclaims "Ah! I don't even kneel down in church!" and we laughed and Frank responded "bit stiff there, Rosa? Too much world movies" and she swore at him again.
This week, once he had her balanced upside down on a pair of chairs in a headstand (truly amazing - Rosa isn't young, and she's pretty round - we were all suitably admiring and she was justifiably proud), Frank declared "now she's up there, she's going to make us all spaghetti" and we laughed, because none of us doubted she could.
And later again, doing the kneeling thing again,
"There Rosa, now you'll be able to stay up later watching World Movies"
and Rosa said "if I can't sleep tonight because it hurts..."
"ah, no, Rosa, we're getting you into practice for when the World Cup starts - it doesn't start til 1am you know."

And more laughing.

I love that yoga class, because it's not all quiet meditation and seriousness. It's fun and friendly and with lots of laughing. So we all feel comfortable and brave enough to do stuff that scared us.
There are quiet times for being in our bodies, but there are also silly, laughing bits. And lots of partner work and hands-on stuff from Frank. There's also only a small number of poses, but we make sure to do them properly and then hold them for ages.

... the only thing better than my yoga classes would be going to the kids yoga classes. Can you imagine?

and i'm not the only one who likes silly yoga jokes - so do the patriarchy and fussy

"yoga fc" was posted in the category television and yoga

June 1, 2006


Posted by dogpossum on June 1, 2006 7:15 PM

look at this:

pretty, huh?

and i lifted this: . god i suck. it's not like i think angel's hot or anything - in fact, he infuriates me. i find buffy herself utterly irritating - all that 'meee, i hate being the slayer. it's so haaard being a slayer. meeee' whinging. but i'm obsessed by angel's terrible, terrible posture. so when i see him with his shirt off (flaunting this tat), i can't help but be fascinated. how could his trainer possibly let him get so hunched? didn't anyone ever say "dood - you need yoga"?

it's even messing with the line of his jacket in that last one.

you know why he looks out from under those low brows? because he's so hunched, his face looks doooown, naturally, so he has to look up from under those brows.
there's no way he'd be able to kick arse in fights with that sort of terrible posture.
that's some serious upper body tension.
looks like half the leads in melbourne.

look, i have to stop. i don't want this to end up being one of those weirdo-fan unicorn sites.

"enough" was posted in the category television

Buffy and Angel

Posted by dogpossum on June 1, 2006 7:07 PM

Season 4 Buffy, Season 1 Angel. You cannot watch them as independant series.

look at this interesting thing:

Manga 'Angel Buffy'. The site is defunct, though... :(

"Buffy and Angel" was posted in the category digging and television

May 22, 2006

i'm going to get you scott tennerman

Posted by dogpossum on May 22, 2006 9:46 PM

Every now and then I catch and episode of SouthPark and it makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.
Pony jokes, Radio Head and Cartman's first pubes. 10 out of 10.

"i'm going to get you scott tennerman" was posted in the category digging and television

May 21, 2006

Buffy season 3

Posted by dogpossum on May 21, 2006 5:53 PM

Season 3 of Buffy has us in hand. It's my sixty millionth time through the Buffy series, but The Squeeze hasn't seen them all. We're enjoying them very much, though our viewing has synchronised with someone else who's borrowing them from the video shop*. We watch them faster than they do, but they keep them out for the whole week and won't let us get ahead - whenever we make a preemptive strike and borrow the couple of discs ahead of them, they retaliate and take the next two. Which sucks, as we're done with ours in less than a week, while they keep them for the whole week.

We're nearly at the end (just one or two discs to go), and then we'll start getting Angel out as well. I have convinced The Squeeze that we have to watch the two in conjunction. Personally, Angel was the only thing that kept me with Buffy at the end there. Buffy herself craps me to tears - she's such a whingey little ho...

*I want to make a dumb joke about female fans, woman-friendly telly and synchronised menstrual cycles, but I can't quite manage it...

"Buffy season 3" was posted in the category digging and television

February 1, 2006


Posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2006 10:26 AM


Cranky out-of-towner in the breakfast queue: "Is it crowded in here, or does this town have a lot of fat fucking people in it?"
Charlie Utter: "either that or some lethal combination of the two"

ianmcshane.jpgAl Swearengen
We are watching season 1 of Deadwood on DVD from the video shop at the moment, and I'm really enjoying it. Well, I don't know if enjoy is the proper word - it's dark, it's super-violent, every second word is cocksucker (or cunt), there's a lot of mud, a lot of drugs, a lot of whoring and no healthy personalities.
It does, however, have one of the most excellent scripts I've seen on telly for a while - I'm finding the late 19th century lingo pleeeasing, when I'm not dodging cusses. Excepting hoopleheads - we're liking the cuss hooplehead round here.

Deadwood is an American telly show set in the mythic Deadwood city from western lore. I have fond memories of Deadwood and sang every song from Calamity Jane I could remember* when we first starting watching the show. One episode later and I realised how innapropriate it was to sing about the joys of Deadwood city, as sung by an abstinant Calamity Jane.

The Squeeze isn't really enjoying Deadwood - it's dark and violent and depressing, though I've noticed that it lightened up after the first two episodes (the pilot?). There's still lots of nasty violence (seems you're likely to end up fed to pigs if you're not careful - particularly if you're the nasty bit of work Kristen Bell played one episode**), the women seem to be either dopefiends, whores, gimps, frighteningly ingnorant widows, con artists or some combination thereof.

ebfarnum.jpgE.B. Farnum
But I like it. I like the dialogue and I like the complicated relationships between the characters. I'm interested in the way the town 'has no law' and yet still has an equilibrium maintained by the 'upstanding' members of the community - the Gem's owner Al Swearengen, Cy Tulliver, the Hardware Boys (Bullock and Star), the unspeakably vile E.B. Farnum, etc etc etc. I'm interested in the development of Deadwood as a township, and of the USA as a federation of states.

doccochran.jpgDoc Cochran
I like the Doc Cochran's complexity - he's the most sympathetic and sensitive of the characters in Deadwood, though his sensitivity seems strange and excessive in this harsh landscape. He's not as attractive (this is him - he's the crazy science dood from Alien Resurrection) as Bullock, and while Bullock can be extremely, irrationally violent (NB the episode with the Indian dood, and the opening scene of season 1), he seems more appealing because he's better looking and cleaner than the Doc. Which is, of course, nuts, because the Doc is (as I've just said) the 'better' person.

sethbullock.jpgSeth Bullock
Bullock's attraction to the Widow Garret is the best demonstration of Bullock's dissatisfying nature - he's attracted to this selfish, self-obsessed woman who chooses to stay in Deadwood to pursue her gold mine's bounty, rather than taking the Metz child and Trixie to New York. Trixie is a whore from the Gem, Swearengen's 'woman', and with a nasty history of laudenum addiction. Her incipient relationship with the eminently sympathetic Sol Star is quashed by her comment "I don't want what I can't have", indicating the permience of class even in the 'lawless' Deadwood.

almagarret.jpg the Widow Alma Garret
The issue of class is dealt with in an interesting way by the program when Garret tries to send Trixie to New York by herself. Trixie cannot face a new life in a strange city by herself (as the Doc has to point out to ignorant Garret), but is keen to accompany Garrett to New York as a servant. Escaping Deadwood means escaping violence and regular beatings (ample of evidence of which is shown in the first episode and later, when Swearengen brutally knocks her down and stands on her neck to teach her a lesson for shooting a client who'd beat her nastily).
sophiametz.jpgSophie Metz
When the Widow Garret chooses to stay in Deadwood to manage her claim, rather than choosing a proxy, she commits the child Sophie Metz to a life Deadwood (she is the only other child we ever see onscreen beyond the Chinese quarter), and Trixie is forced to leave Garret's employ as a nanny and return to the Gem, Swearengen and whoreing.

solstar.jpgSol Star
Trixie's return to the Gem is made all the more blatant by her costume change - from 'respectable' women's clothing (the costume she wears when Sol first meets her) of dress, corset, petticoats, coat, shawls, etc etc, to 'whore' costume of undergarments. Trixie's character also changes as she returns to the Gem - she no longer smiles, she smokes more, she will not allow Sol to see her at work "like this", though his interest seems to overlook this issue. She also returns to Swearengen's bed, and we see her naked more than once. As Garrett's servant and companion, Trixie is never naked and her confidence and knowledge of things like laudenum addiction give her strength.
Trixie and Garret share an uneasy relationship - Trixie has a better rapport with the traumatised Metz girl, while Garret seems cold and unable to relate to people - bound by her tight, black silk dresses and high collars, impeded by her utter ignorance of the reality of people's lives in Deadwood, or outside her own priveleged class, despite her continual presence at her window looking out on the street - and that's another interesting thing.
The importance of looking and surveillance in Deadwood - characters are always observing each other, and we are invited into this voyeurism by sharing their line-of-sight and through scenes such as Farnum's 'free touch' from one of the whores at the Gem - she masturbates him in the main room and the spectacle is remarked upon by the observing Swearengen (and others).

Sex and whoring in Deadwood are not romanticised. There is a matter-of-factness about sex and the sex industry in Deadwood, and we often see women's naked or revealed bodies, from full-frontal nudity to exposed breasts. The women who work in the Gem are also ''revealed' and 'exposed' in the Doc's regular trips to care for their health (which includes vaginal examinations). While they are apparently 'comfortable' with their state of undress in the Saloon and on the street, there is a marked contrast made between the clothed bodies of Garret and the Madame Joanie at the 'better' quality Bella Union Saloon, and the revealed bodies of the Gem's whores.
There is also a distinction made between the 'gimp' Jewel and the other women she works with at the Gem - Jewel is not a whore but a 'char woman' (to use my nan's phrase for a cleaning woman) and is also physically crippled, hence her positioning as an 'undesirable body'.

Gem whores
I'm not sure how I feel about all these images of women. I'm inclined to the feeling that it's a complex representation of gender, where we don't see the madonna/whore binary where the madonna (Garret for the most part) is pure and virginal - she is not sympathetic and the whore (every other woman but Jewel) is evil.
cytolliver.jpgCy Tolliver
The female sex workers in Deadwood vary in character from the 'hooker with the heart of gold' Trixie, to the lesbian Joanie in a difficult and maschistic relationship with Cy which echoes Trixie's with Swearengen, but is perhaps more disturbing for its patina of 'civility'. The least sympathetic 'whore' character was the Veronica Mars character who dropped in briefly then was murdered - horrifically - by Cy for stealing. This female character, while there were suggestions of vulenerability, was bloodthirsty.

As I said, I'm not sure how I feel about these characters - I've watched about 11 episodes and there are lots of characters with a range of story lines. There's a lot of violence, a lot of unpleasant stuff (people shitting themselves, vomiting, pissing in public, having nasty sex, getting very ill, everpresent mud, disease, etc) which distracts me from much of the major character development.

If you get a chance to see it, and can handle the nastiness, tell me what you think.

*and that's quite a few, as I was in the musical at school and loved the songs.
** the veronica mars site says she had a recurring role on Deadwood, but unless they get her back in via flashbacks, a la Buffy or Angel, then there's very little chance that we'll be seeing any more of that character beyond the tattered remnants of her dress half-buried in the pig pen's mud down at Mr Wu's place.

"swearengen" was posted in the category television

January 9, 2006

yes, don Hamleoni

Posted by dogpossum on January 9, 2006 11:38 AM

I have tired brain. I'm not tired physically, I just suddenly become tired when I start reading this chapter I'm trying to edit. The words sort of blur together and I realise how frequently I repeat myself. It's humid and warm today and I'm hiding inside. It's not really working, as my sinuses have reminded me that humidity is good for mould. Not Bob Mould, but the other type.
I have this chapter to finish, then the other difficult one (DJing) to finish, and all before the end of the month. 20 days, with weekends off. Meanwhile, the date for submitting my application for extension draws closer and closer (loom is the appropriate word here), my panic ebbs and flows. It's given me strange dreams, a combination of the hardcore inter-species war being conducted in the Judas Unchained universe and my sudden Lost bingeing.

I hadn't watched Lost ever before, but an impulse added it to my trawl at the video shop last week. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 4 episodes or so, but it's kind of losing its appeal - it's getting silly. I keep noticing things that could either be continuity errors or clever plot lines. If this was David Lynch, I'd be overjoyed and suspecting the latter. But it's not. One thing I want to know: how is it I can never find half a dozen functioning bobby pins in my own home, when the blondey asthma chick can find at least 20 every day on a desert island? I also want to know how the Korean chick managed to explain to the black guy which type of leaf she needed to do a little eucalyptus naturopath action on blondey. And why she didn't punch him when he came back with an armload of wattle* instead. That's not to mention my disbelief at his success finding this particular type of indigenous Australian plant on a tropical island which does not show any other plants from the same family or micro-climte group at all.

Ok, so it could all just be woo-aliens or wooo-government-conspiracy, but please. Respect the bounds of my belief!

On another television front, I think I could be interested in Carnivale on the ABC, but seeing as how I only ever watch telly on DVDs now, that could be difficult...

Meanwhile, we continue the Godfather Experience with Godfather II this week, prompted in part by our delight with phrases like "would I make my sister a widow?" and threatening Crinkle with waking up with the severed head of one of her beloved bunnies in her bed if she gave us any trouble. And no, despite first impressions, it wouldn't be just like waking up with your period in the night, it would be horrific and she'd scream and scream and scream. And then come on a night time revenge visit with half a dozen henchmen and a machine gun.
In our house, if you displease don Hamleoni, you're offered a trip to Vegas.

But back on the thesis thing: surely I'll find my focus again soon? Surely?

*it could have been a particular alpine eucalypt indigenous only to alpine Tasmania, but please.

"yes, don Hamleoni" was posted in the category television and thesis

December 12, 2005

telly update

Posted by dogpossum on December 12, 2005 7:09 PM

It's ten past eight, and still way light outside.
I've spent the day divided between the couch and bed, dealing with serious goobs.
What else to do but watch telly?

We're watching Veronica Mars on telly and I'm kind of not really digging it. I know other people really dig it, but me... not so much.
It's been a while since I watched some Dead Like Me, which I'm holding as the main contender for decent teen tv... though it probably doesn't count as teen tv, seeing as how the protagonist is 18 or even a bit older. It's certainly a bit less mainstream than VM, seeing as how the protagonist is not only 18 and finished with schoool, but also dead.
Do the characters have to be at school to make it a teen flick?

"telly update" was posted in the category television

October 24, 2005

fan attack

Posted by dogpossum on October 24, 2005 3:57 PM


and we're done.

We watched the last episode of Firefly last night, and that's it - finito. I am definitely going back to the cinema to see the fillum again, though.


To help me get over the loss, I'm watching masses of episodes of Dead Like Me which I'm quite enjoying. It's no Firefly, but it's passing the time.
We also have some Veronica Mars to watch, but I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about it - it looks a bit glam. It better be as dark as the other stuff we've been watching.

"fan attack" was posted in the category television

October 20, 2005

drama, soap opera, cereal

Posted by dogpossum on October 20, 2005 12:38 PM

My obsession with Firefly continues. Maybe I'm understimulated - and that's why I like it so much...
Last night we went to see Night Watch/Nochnoi Dozor, a Russian vampire/woo scary fillum. I didn't mind it...sorry. I know I should have something more interesting to say, but David and Margerate said it all. I mean, I should be going nuts for this flick, what with it being a really interesting Russian contribution to Hollywood (there are 2 more to come and a big fat Hollywood budget for the last one at least, so I've heard), but ... meh. It was ok, and there were bits I quite liked (it was interesting to see something like this set in Moscow), and there were some pretty interesting and unique approaches to cinematography/CGI/subtitles, but... Maybe the next one will blow my pants off. Thing is, being such a fan of vampire/supernatural/sc-fant/sci-fi stuff, my standards are quite high. Well, I'll watch any old woo crap, but to be impressed, I need more.
It was certainly no Fireflly.

On other filmic fronts, Pride and Prejudice is out now, which I'm quite keen on seeing. I'm a bit of an Austen fan, and Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility pleased me immensely (that could just be the Ang Lee factor, though). I'm also a huge fan of lovely period costume and sets.
There's actually a stack of lady-movies out at the moment: In Her Shoes (or whatever it's called), Must Love Dogs etc etc etc. eeeeexxxceeellllent. Though of course, this sudden bounty happens just as I get back into the whole thesis thing. Dang.
Similarly, last night I saw a copy of The Truth About Cats and Dogs in a clearance bin at Kmart for only $11. I should have bought it.

Should I be ashamed of this passion for ladyfilms?
I mostly like them because they're dialogue driven, so you can 'watch' them while you quilt/sew/crochet - it doesn't really matter if you don't watch the screen the whole time. Unlike action films where it's all about watching the screen*. Interestingly, Firefly is about half and half: I could quilt while I watched it (as if!)...

Right now I've taken a break from Diana Wynn Jones (after a million zillion wonderful books) to read Alexander McCall Smith's book 44 Scotland Street which was originally written as a serialised novel in The Scotsman newspaper. Here's a story about that. I quite like it - and I'm facinated by the idea of the format. How GREAT. How oldskool - I keep thinking about how the 'soap opera' or serialised drama format is as old as Dickens.

So it's oldskool to love Firefly.

*I know I should have used the word 'spectacle' here, or made some reference to masculinity and scopophilia but really. That would would be wanky. And kind of dumb.

"drama, soap opera, cereal" was posted in the category books and fillums and television

October 14, 2004

even The Squeeze watches it

Posted by dogpossum on October 14, 2004 5:26 PM

ok, so now i need to know why every bloggging woman in australia is obsessed with chanel (which i keep reading as channel).

why do people like her? she really irritates me - she's a bit smug. and not nearly as 'out there' as she'd like to think. just because ms hines thought that portishead song was really obscure, doesn't mean it actually IS. i mean, it did rank in the mainstream charts for quite a while, if i recall (possibly incorrectly).

in fact, i don't know why people watch this show. even The Squeeze watches it. he who declared that reality television was 'amoral' before stomping out of the room mid-way through big brother last season.
my mum even watches this dire program.


it's not like they do anything interesting. they just go on telly and preen and sing songs and cry. even the boy-toy hosts suck.

having said all that, that star search show is actually the closest i've come to teenager fashion in a while. i'm continually shocked by the toyboy hairdos.
and at uni yesterday (after giving my lecture TRIUMPHANTLY and triggering spontaneous applause and moderate audience participation) i saw a guy whose fashion was so ludicrous it made me laugh out loud.
now, i do have a history of laughing inappropriately, but gawddammn. WHAT is with this 70s surfer boy fashion revival? it was ridiculous in the day. and now, on the bodies of young wipper snappers who were born, like less than two decades ago (that means they were born in the EIGHTIES), it's absolutely ridiculous.


yes, i am turning 30 next month. no, i do not have any 'issues' about it.

"even The Squeeze watches it" was posted in the category television


About dogpossum

i live in melbourne sydney, australia, like jazz music and dance, swear too much, sew, drink a lot of tea and adore puns. ask me about my phd.