feeling a little traumatised

by difficult French films?
There is only one solution:
Also having difficulty imagining the dissertation as a book, so rereading markers’ comments, just to remind me that I don’t completely suck. Academia = way great fun.
…and I’m finding editing the Transformers pages on wikipedia very satisfying. I know nothing about the Transformers universe, I can’t figure out what the articles are actually about because they’re so badly written, but I am feeling immense satisfaction in rewriting them. Soon, though, I will know everything about the Transformers. Just ask me.

intertube moofies

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as soon as the internet becomes a superhighway rather than a single lane (covered) central Queensland highway it’ll be superseded by downloads.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?

let’s say no to perforations

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!

nostalgia = go

Is it just me who’s really excited about this film coming out?

I really enjoyed the first one – I thought it looked lovely and lush, it was heaps of fun, and it actually seemed to make the gender stuff work ok. Perhaps I was blinded by nostalgia, but I thought it was neat. Probably because I thought the Lord of the Rings films were freakin’, shitfully dull, and the Narnia stories are heaps more fun. And with way less violence.
Which I think is appropriate for kids – I’m not one of these people who thinks kids should be reading and watching stories about the Holocaust, child abuse, dystopian post-apocalyptic societies where kids are left alone to battle nasty monsters, animal abuse, etc etc etc. The Narnia stories aren’t all sugar and sunlight, but I don’t approve of too much horribleness for kids.
And I’m a kid, and I don’t like that stuff. I like fantasy and flowers and kissing. Though I bet there won’t be much of that in the new Narnia film.
I’m also looking forward to The Golden Compass.

dvd crazy

I really like borrowing DVDs from the video shop, but lately our video shop has gone to shit. There are very few DVDs for hire, but zillions for sale. It’s the same story with a few other video shops in Brunswick. It doesn’t make me happy – I’d much rather pop in to rent something, pay $6 (or $3 or whatever) and bring them back for other people. I don’t need to own the things.
But I guess I’m in the minority in Brunswick.
But since I started teaching media so full-on-ly, using so much AV stuff, I’ve gotten interested in film again. I’ve been picking up cheap DVDs when I see them. I never pay more than $10 for a single DVD, so it’s a bit like renting them. And I have a list of priorities – not just any old shit. Unless it’s 80s shit. I’m on an 80s film binge. I think it’s because I’m working with teenagers who don’t know who Molly Ringwald is. And I just can’t believe them.
I also like anything SF. Anything. And I like lady films – chick flicks. Because chick flicks are dialogue heavy, so you can listen to them while you crochet (pink and green afghans are go at our house, though they’re all beige to The Squeeze). I also like the cheeriness of chick flicks. I know I should be suspicious of their gender politics, but I like the character-centredness, the predictably reassuring plots. And how could I take this heternormativity seriously? It’s so insistent it’s difficult to really accept. So it’s kind of like playing dress ups – putting on Barbie clothes for a hour or so.
I have also been hunting down all the films by the following directors:

  • Woody Allen
  • Jim Jarmusch
  • Robert Altman
  • Coen Brothers
  • Ang Lee

Going through the DVDs we do own, I rediscovered this one the other day:
Saving Face*, directed by Alice Wu. It’s a really lovely story about a young Chinese American dyke living in New York who falls in love with a lovely Chinese American ballet dancer. Her mum (Joan Chen!!!) gets pregnant and must come to live with her. The ‘saving face’ bit is about maintaining family honour.
I adore it.
It reminds me of Ang Lee’s Wedding Banquet.
I’m also very fond of films like The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love. Lady films with lots of dialogue, happy endings and kissing. I like the kissing bits.
I’m also watching the TV version of Tales of the City. I’d loved it when it was on telly, and I remember reading all the books/stories. It’s not quite as good as I remember, but I do like it. More kissing. Lots of boobs. Great 70s frock action. Tight pants. Big hair. Ace.
I found a whole bunch of DVDs in the second hand shop in Moonee Ponds for sale. I suspect some of them were films that someone forgot to return. Or just outmoded stock. It’s making me happy. $6 is what I’d pay for a new release, and when that gets you your very own copy of Gosfod Park, the world is a very lovely place.
I haven’t seen a film at the cinema in ages and ages. But that’s because I haven’t had time. But these DVDs are getting me through. Could be a bit ob-con (a bit like this rash of blogging), and I am doing a lot of crocheting. Also managed to squeeze in time to make a nice very dark grey zip-up hoody with black and white striped hood-lining and pocket and red bias trip around the hood and zip. It’s loose, very soft and very nice and warm. Made in that tracksuit fleece – looks like cotton knit on the outside, all fuzzy inside. Cheap fabric, only $4 a metre (150 wide) but all cotton and very, very pleasing.
I have been wearing it with long black shorts and my uncool converse sandshoes. No, not gym boots, but uncool cheapies. Black ‘velveteen’. The students are unimpressed. I am inordinately proud of them – I remember my first red and blue pair back in the early 90s when they were cool. I like the wide round toe. I even like the black velveteen. I am also wearing my one pair of ill-fitting home made jeans to bits. And threadless Tshirts. Unfortunately all this academia has led to very little dancing, so I’m getting really really fat. Luckily it doesn’t matter how big my arse is, because my brain is really big. But it does mean that I have a limited wardrobe atm, and no time to make more clothes. A conundrum. Guess all the sitting about on that wide, comfortable load watching DVDs doesn’t help.
*guess this made me think of it.

TELL ME i’m not the only one

You know that Scorcese film the Departed? When I went to see it at the cinema it struck me as so ridiculous I laughed out loud during the really serious parts. I mean, really – am I the only who thought that film was completely shithouse? I mean jesus, the RAT running along the (window sill? I forget) at the end – surely I wasn’t the only one who laughed out loud?
Any film with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson is heading for crapsville. I like Mark Whalberg, but Matt Damon?!
TELL ME I’m not the only one who thought that film was utter crap?!

she who dies with the most fabric wins

Bravery report
Ok, so I survived the dentist yesterday. The appointment took about 10 minutes, was absolutely painless and very effective. The dentist was all “Why didn’t you come in? There was no reason to suffer that pain for so long for such a little thing?” and I was all “I was scared,” and then he was “but I’m not scary, am I? You can talk to me” and then I went “it wasn’t rational. If it was rational I would have come in.”
But it didn’t hurt, he didn’t charge me and it doesn’t hurt any more. It was just a bit of sticky-out filling that was bumping out into my bite and needed filing down so it didn’t echo impact up into my jaw. So now it’s all nice and I am much braver about the dentist. He had to remind me: “But that last time was a root canal. That’s the most painful thing you can have done. Nothing else will hurt like that.” I can’t help these things.
I was pretty brave all up. I only teared up a bit when I told him I was scared. I don’t know what my problem is – I can get up in front of a few hundred people and do a bit of strutting and telling of shit. I can get up in front of zillions of people and dance like a fool (with authentic chicken steps and all*), do the worm and so on. I can deal with aggressive bullying blokes. I can teach groups of surly teenagers about the internet. I can run massive week-long dance events. I can play music to ensure a room full of picky dancers have a good time. But I can’t handle a bit of pain.
Sigh. Something to work on, I guess.
So I go back in a year for a regular check up. I’m sure I’ll be back to my pre-surprise-root-canal bravery by then.
Yoga update
On other fronts, I went to yoga again today. That’s two weeks since last time. I suck, because I love yoga, it makes me feel so good (though it’s hurting at the moment), it helps me avoid injuries and muscle strain in dance and it’s fun and social with lots of nice nannas. But I went, and that’s what counts.
Then I went to Sugardough and had a nice salad roll and a cup of tea followed by a nice brownie. Then I bought an olive bread thing (like a skinny french loaf, but not as skinny as those Italian bread stick things – help me out here, Galaxy, will you?) which I love eating toasted with fetta cheese on top.
Sewing news
Then I went to the-fabric-store-whose-name-we-cannot-speak and bought too much fabric. I will blog images if I can ever get them off The Squeeze’s camera (I have a backlog on there). I bought:

  • some black stuff to make a dress for The Squeeze’s sister’s wedding (two weeks away or something). It will have straps, a high waist (sort of empire-lined, but A-line skirt), a bodice that’s in three bits (I’ve forgotten the proper name, but it gives a more fitted look) and I’m going to make some little flower petals or some sort of shaped pieces to sew onto the front to add detail. I have a nice purple version I should also blog – I’m too fat for it these days, but it’s still one of my favourites. The shaped bits will be like petals (two pieces sewn together to give a bit of a 3D look) and are a black-on-purple paisley-esque print. Very tasteful.
  • some cream background craft fabric with nice green crocodiles printed. This will be a bodice for a dress with a high waist (again – it makes my body look longer), with the sirt made out of an interesting greeny patterned craft fabric. All crocodiles would have been fun, but perhaps a bit too unflattering. I like interesting prints, so I wouldn’t have minded the crocodiles all over. Just not the cream background. It will have the green as bias binding around the top of the bodice, and maybe the straps will be the green as well. I’m thinking a crocodile pocket as well. But I haven’t decided on the pattern yet. If I love this dress, it may be the wedding outfit. But it’s my first green dress ever and I usually don’t like any colour that’s not black, purple, pink, red, maroon or some other warm colour. I look shit in blues and greens and whites and yellows and oranges (because I am ‘olive’ coloured. Which means I look yellow when I don’t have a tan, which means I look a little jaundiced. I also have dark eyes and eyebrows)
  • two big pieces of white voile with black prints. One is a nice rose sort of pattern (like a line drawing – I know it has a real name but I’ve forgotten it). The other has a stronger black print and is William Morris-ish. I doubt I’ll ever make anything from them but I like looking them. And as we all know, she who dies with the most fabric wins.

Quilting news
Come on, summer, get over yourself. I have a new project to finish and it sucks to have to put the fan on so I can bear to work on it.
Remind me to post some pics of my latest (divine) job, will you? I am all about quilting using found or remnant fabrics, so most of my quilts are quite small, but also quite beautiful**. It’s nice to see vintage fabrics from which I made favourite dresses (which died ages ago) all matched up in one quilt.
Cinema review
Yesterday I saw Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man and really enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of Cohen’s music and I really liked all the music in the film. It’s a doco, but a pretty arty farty one (not much useful knowledge in there), and it’s mostly footage of other people at a concert singing Cohen’s songs. Rufus Wainwright does a freaking amazing version of Everybody Knows which blew my brain and made the whole film worth the entry cost.
It does, however have fucking Bono and The Edge talking about Cohen and performing with him. I wanted to scream profanities at them. I fucking hate U2. I fucking hate Bono. He sucks arse. And can’t sing half as well as he thinks he can. And the Edge? Shit, I could play guitar better than him. It was so pathetic to see them playing with Cohen after people like the Wainwrights, the Handsome Family, Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker doing these wonderful, interesting versions of Cohen’s music. And Bono is suck a wanker. I mean, Hallelujah is a wonderful song, but so freaking obvious.
But aside from thaose nasty little Irish moments, the film was neat. Go if you love Cohen, but don’t go if you don’t like him. It’d suck if you didn’t like him.
*the peck is a very Frankie Manning move. These days I am saying “what would Frankie do?” whenever I want to spice up a basic step. So I imagine I have a giant, 90-year-old-man arse, an interest in boobs and a really low centre of gravity. It really helps me get down off my toes and work it. Just like a dirty old man.
** not in a ‘man, you’re so talented! what a fabulous bit of patchwork/quilting!’ way, but in a ‘aren’t they nice fabrics?’ way.

quick film recommendation

We went to see The Prestige at the Astor (a double session! What excellentness!) and it was GREAT. I mean, it was AMAZINGLY GREAT. If you can get to this before it goes off the cinema (good luck), do so immediately – it’s really worth it for the mood of a big screen. And this film is all about spectacle, so it’s worth it.
Will write more when I have more time.