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.
Posted in flotsam, june | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in film, june | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in books, film, june | Leave a comment

bit of a sucker

Targeted advertising: sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it, sometimes I both love and hate it at the same time. Was just on facebook and “scored” an ad for a new edition of Dick’s The Man in the House Castle by The Folio Society. I used to love Folio Society editions and have quite a few. Dad used to be a member and I inherited some of those and have picked up more of my own in second hand bookshops both here, in London and in the famous book town in Wales, Hay-On-Wye. I’ve never actually joined myself and they always had an odd, regional based approach to pricing eg it was more expensive to order the same book from the UK, not including postage, as an Australian than as an American or English.

Dunno where that’s at these days but the prices do seem a little better. Looks like they even have a bunch of SF books. Which brings me back to Man in the High Castle. It looks nice and isn’t too expensive. On the other hand, as you can see from the photo, I already have a nice edition of it from Easton Press in the US. Still a little tempted, and I may well add it to a general order as I’d quite like their set of Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. I loved the Foundation books and have ageing, smelly paperbacks of them, purchased no doubt from the SF piles at Ashwood’s in the late 80s.

Thankfully I already have an extremely nice edition of Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles from Subterranean Press so have no problems passing on the Folio Society edition. I do have a cheaper leatherbound edition of the first 4 Hitchhiker’s books and would like nice editions of them someday. I missed on their first print run of Dune, which does look quite spectacular, on the other hand it is $150 and the Easton Press version is very nice too.

Posted in books, june | 1 Comment

festing away

For me, Sydney filmfest started today though opening night film was earlier in the week. Saw two films, The Shore Break and The Postman’s White Nights, neither at the State Theatre. I have started filmfest in a place other than I usually start. On the way to the first film in Circular Quay, I passed one of the people I used to sit with. She screamed out “I miss you!” as she dashed past and I screamed “I miss you too” :-)

We had a couple of hours between films so we caught a ferry to Mosman and back. 45 minutes cruising the harbour in the late afternoon sun for free on our opal cards. I could not have done that in my old subscriber days. There wasn’t that sort of time available between films and the State Theatre was just a bit too far from the Quay. We still had an hour to kill when we returned so had white wine and oysters on the promenade. Felt rather grand on a gorgeous winter’s day in Sydney. Even got to watch the sun set over the Harbour Bridge :-)

Posted in film, food, june | Leave a comment

reading bits

I had an idea of spending a week or two or three of blogging rants except I can’t remember anything else I was going to rant about. Instead here’s what I am reading at the moment…and it’s not blogs. Well ok, I’m currently ruminating on Mr Shaddow’s post on the role of electronic services in libraries and think that’s worth a wider conversation. In recent months I’ve been focusing on reading…actual books, no wait, actual novels in electronic form. Not physical books. I decided I should revisit Raymond E. Feist and read his entire oeuvre. Some have been fun to revisit, and there’s a few I missed as well.

When I do get round to reading my feeds it’s mostly tech and gaming and these are the things I’m reading, if not regularly, but at least dipping into from time to time:

One site I used to enjoy until it disappeared was Download Squad. It was good for finding out about new software and updates without getting too heavy. I haven’t really found a substitute for that.

Posted in june, tech | Leave a comment