onion identities

I’m a few days behind and feeling sleepy so I’ll let a meme do the talking for me.

Layer One – Outside

  1. What’s your preferred name? snail (with a lowercase “s”), though fine that some people prefer to call me Sean
  2. Do you wear glasses? Yes. Since first class. I have a stigmatism in one eye and the glasses are to keep my eyes balanced. I’m long-sighted in one eye and sort of short-sighted in the other. I can get by without my glasses altogether.
  3. How would you describe your fashion style? somewhat casual. I mostly wear jeans and sneakers. I prefer tshirts though am picky. For work I have a nice selection of shirts I wear with an open collar. I like variety and colour.

Layer Two – Inside

  1. What do you fear? Dying in a slow and horrible way eg drowning or burning.
  2. What is your guilty pleasure? dodgy scifi movies and soppy romance flicks. I also have a weakness for bland, poppy top 40 music.

Layer Three – Thoughts

  1. What was your first thought when you woke up today? Where’s the snooze button on the alarm. Stayed up too late reading last night, and thought a little sleep in was in order.
  2. What you think about most? Deep and meaningful…oh look, shiny thing :-) I think I think about just everything except what I need to think about.

Layer Four – Better?

  1. To be loved or respected? I’ll take both thanks.
  2. Dogs or cats? Neither. Like both, had cats at home for most of the first half of my life but I’m not good at looking after animals so I don’t have any.

Layer Five – Belief

  1. Believe in yourself? Some of the time. I also have occasional anxiety about my ability to get things done and no doubt have the occasional bout of imposter syndrome. Yet I know I can get stuff done and can do good stuff.
  2. Believe in love? Yeah, even when it hurts.

Layer Six – Talents

  1. Do you play a musical instrument? Nope. Also, I suck at singing. I have been accused of being tone deaf. There may be some truth to that accusation.
  2. Do you enjoy cooking? Not particularly and it needs to work according to instructions. I can fudge some but find it hard to tell when meat is cooked for example. With that said, I make excellent, restaurant quality mash.
  3. Are you any good at gardening? I’ve heard of gardens but generally refuse to acknowledge that it is a thing connected with me.

Layer Seven – Favourites

  1. Favourite animal? Duck, particularly in a slow cooked confit…when the meat is so tender that it can be spooned off the bone. Goes well with a good pinot noir. Very fond of lamb too and kangaroo is probably my third favourite – rich and tender, cooked right it melts on the tongue.
  2. Favourite movie? So many possibilities including Love Actually, The Great Escape, Blade Runner, The Sound of Music, Four Weddings and a Funeral and there’s likely a bunch of others.
  3. Favourite book? Horrible question, even worse than movies. I refuse to answer.

Layer Eight – Age

  1. How old are you? 46 – rapidly approaching 50. Fun times behind, fun times ahead.
  2. Does age matter? Meh. Irrelevant. Though I think it’s easier to say “irrelevant” now rather than 20 years ago. It may matter again in another 20 years.
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back to the photos

One of the tasks that I have been putting off for a long, long, long time is sorting out all my photos. I did some of the job a few years ago and winnowed out the duplicates and reducing my photo archive from around 25 odd gig to about 6 gig if I recall. I also need to add a lot more photos to my public space on flickr, which apart from the occasional upload from the phone has been almost nonexistent. I have a few local holidays to add and I’m sure there’s at least one European trip I haven’t documented via flickr.

My photo archive is stored on my ageing mac pro, managed with iphoto, and backed up to the NAS. As the development of both has halted I had been wondering whether to upgrade to better options or fudge on. The mac itself still runs beautifully and is quick enough for my needs. I wouldn’t mind some better software and had initially considered Aperture (now discontinued) but think if I go down that path I’ll probably get Adobe’s Lightroom. However Lightroom is mostly sold as a sub these days ($10/month) and not so much as a standalone package. I’m undecided on this though am curious around the potential of running it on my various machines and devices. Running on stationary computer and mobile gadgets is only available via the subscription path.

snail at Keith Tulloch Wines For now at least, iPhoto continues to suffice. I’ve just finished loading all remaining photos from the multitude of SD cards I have accumulated, including this photo from my Hunter trip last year. Unfortunately the mac is not recognising my samsung galaxy s5 phone though it used to recognise the s2. I suspect I’ll need to transfer the files to my windows lappy, from there on to a USB and then on to the mac and into iPhoto. Now that I think about it, I have to do that anyway as my phone archive is stored on the laptop. I could also do the transfer from the lappy straight to the mac via the NAS but suspect sneakernet will be faster and more efficient. I will never escape format wars.

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filmfest done

A week and a half later, filmfest is over. I failed to be healthy but didn’t get too sick, though had nasty sneezing/sniffles/watery eyes for much of last week. 15 films that were mostly good; the Greenaway was disappointing, the Maddin was good but could have been a little tighter. “Foodies” was ok though didn’t really explore food blogging “culture” to any great depth. “People, Places, Things” was rather enjoyable and better than expected.

I loved Palio, and Sherpa. Mother was fabulous (this version was remastered in black&white though the original had been in colour) and I enjoyed Love & Mercy and Mr Holmes. Seymour and The Red Light Bandit were good.

I managed to chat to most of the folk I used to sit with, and chatted to some random strangers here and there. I am having to adjust, alas, to the glow of mobile phones as people regularly used then to check the time during movies, and in a few cases message people.

Though I saw less films than I used to with my subscription I enjoyed having to read the programme and choosing what I saw. I enjoyed the negotiation of making selections and working out what could fit and what couldn’t. I felt more engaged with the festival and saw films in several venues. Dashing between the Event cinema in George St and Dendy Quays was a little challenging particularly as it also involved navigating the crowds in town for Vivid. Still fun.

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sort of now

Borrowing a meme from Con and Kate, though it’s more in a general now-ish rather than an immediate, “right now” sort of thing.

  • I’m reading – working my way through the complete works of Feist. Also some Capt America comics.
  • I’m watching – aside from filmfest, at the insistence of Ms14 we have watched the first 2 phases of Marvel movies (10 movies) in order, so we could then watch Age of Ultron (which we saw just prior to filmfest).
  • I’m cooking – this is mostly a fail though I do good mash and I do excellent rice in a rice cooker.
  • I’m drinking – I drink occasionally these days and not every day. I have recently taken a liking to Malmsey, a sweet dessert wine.
  • I’m thinking – about happiness. Workwise I have made it through a restructure, and home is a happy place too.
  • I’m taking – time to stop and appreciate where I’m at, and what I have.
  • I’m missing – decent cold weather, or at least a decent Sydney winter :-)
  • I’m enjoying – life and family
  • I’m planning – a family holiday to New Zealand later in the year
  • I’m listening – I don’t listen to much music these days. I like it loud which is ok when you’re living alone but not so great when there are other people around.
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odd moment in film

I caught a couple of movies last night at filmfest, a good doco/recreation on Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and the other, a re-mastering by Korean director, Bong Joon-ho of his 2009 movie, Mother. It turns out that it was originally in colour however the director has re-mastered it in black and white and it looks absolutely stunning. I didn’t see the original version but loved the look of the new version; the framing and cinematography looked amazing. The story too, was strong, emotional and well played.

However there was an odd moment at the start of the film. The opening scene is of the main character walking across a field, stopping, then breaking into a dance. There is no context at this point, that comes later, and a chunk of the audience burst into laughter. I found the reaction jarring and couldn’t perceive any humour, and as we discovered later, there was no humour in that moment. I’ve come across this elsewhere too, moreso for non english, or culturally diverse movies. I sometimes wonder if it’s some sort of audience reaction to the unfamiliar, removed from the expectation of western devices and approaches.

[spoiler] I recall seeing The Truman Show many years ago and experiencing a similar sort of thing. Jim Carey’s character had grown up in a reality TV show but didn’t know it wasn’t real.  There’s a scene toward the end of the movie as he’s beginning to realise that his world may not actually be real and he’s on a boat sailing to the horizon. The boat reaches it, and cracks a hole in the “sky” – the sky being the painted wall of the set. I burst into tears every time I watch it as it’s a moment of truth for Carey’s character, the proof that his world is not real. However the first time I saw it in the cinema, the audience laughed and found it hilarious. That reaction too felt wrong and jarring.

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bread products

I rather enjoyed Mr Shaddow’s toast review recently, both it and the associated chat on the twitters. I also like taking the piss out of my initial “is blogging a thing” post. Admittedly, I like taking the piss out of most things; I am amused and curious and happy with all the conversations that have happened this last week. But particularly I am liking toast and #toastjune though I have another post brewing on defining blogging, or the need to define.

Right now however, I have a need to talk about toast.

I do not ascribe to Mr Shaddow’s preference for wholemeal; I am a white-bread man. Much to the disappointment of some, perhaps many, who know me. No grains here. Even worse, I love the very commercial tiptop sandwich bread. I used to demolish half a loaf each day after school, usually plain though I would go through margarine phases – to be consumed upside down with the margarine side on the tongue. I can still happily devour many such slices.

However, toast. I liked Mr Shaddow’s description such

…the inside light and fluffy. Coupled with the perfect crunch of the outer toasted layer…

and thought yes, that describes how I like toast. When I just have toast that is. Toast alone and unadorned is a sublime pleasure. I do not usually apply condiments and such, though occasionally I may spread butter so long as the butter is soft and spreadable; not hard. It goes without saying, though I have said it often, that vegemite is the sacrament of satan.

However, when I break fast while out, I take a different approach. These days, I like turkish bread, lightly buttered, with poached eggs resting atop. I used to have sourdough but these days turkish is my preference. Sides I prefer either sausage or chorizo, sometimes one, sometimes the other. However cafes will do one, but rarely both. There was one cafe that did neither and I moved on quickly. My local cafe does very nice mushrooms so I now add them to my order whenever I visit.

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a long weekend

A long weekend almost over. Been fun. Chilled. Saw a few friends, caught a few movies. Ate toast.

Usually by the end of the long weekend, I will have hit double figures for number of films seen, this time I made it to 8. A very relaxing 8 at that, not an exhaustion induced marathon. I have managed to run into friends each day of fest, some only fleetingly alas. I’ve caught up on the seating politics of the group I used to sit with, close to a schism no less though friendly enough.

The Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, was disappointing alas. I was really looking forward to a new Greenaway as I have loved some of his earlier films including Prospero’s Books and The Pillow Book. In this one, as always, I enjoyed his use of, and experiments with, framing in order to tell a story. Visually delightful but the story, while it continued along, lacked depth, and even interest.

Curiously, the two standout films for me so far were both documentaries. I enjoy documentaries but they’re not my preferred sort of film either. Yesterday was Sherpa, which explored the nepalese community that they make their living from supporting the Everest climbing industry, and “industry” is the right word. There’s an early shot of of climbers, effectively queued mid ascent. Hundreds of them, their colourful jackets bright against the white of the snow.  The doco was initially going to be about one of sherpa who was likely to attain a new record by reaching the summit 22 times, and of their clients on their first trip. Instead, an avalanche resulting in the deaths of 16 nepalese, which became the heart of the movie.

Tonight, I saw a doco called Palio, about a horse race in Siena. I read a book of this race as a child and loved it, reading it many times. I even have a pennant for the contrada of the snail, one of 17 contrade that compete in the race. Beyond that I knew little of the race. Thanks to this doco, I have seen it, and the Square in Siena where it is held. It looks amazing and this is no ordinary horse race, representing hundreds of years of culture. In some ways, not dissimilar to the history of bull-fighting in Spain. I don’t follow sport and am rarely excited by racing but was on the edge of my seat for the racing portions, and felt both the good side and the bad. It is not an easy race, either for horses or riders. One day, I would love to visit Siena and watch the Palio.

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