We have been spending the last couple of days walking the downtown neighbourhoods, getting a feel for the different architecture and people. It is, however, very COLD. It's so cold that we need to stop every 20 minutes for a hot chocolate. Bliss.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We have been spending the last couple of days walking the downtown neighbourhoods, getting a feel for the different architecture and people. It is, however, very COLD. It's so cold that we need to stop every 20 minutes for a hot chocolate. Bliss.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Eleanor from your commentbox xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Monday, December 21, 2009
However, in the interests of brevity at this very moment, I just want to say that the 2-D beauty of "Bright Star" (story aside for now) surpasses James Cameron's digitally enhanced genius, and nobody is more surprised at this than I am!
There is a scene in BS when Fanny's mother walks into her room, which Fanny has been using as a butterfly "farm," and she swats at the butterflies as she makes her way towards her daughter who's laying in her bed and pining for her beloved John. All of Avatar's stunning scenes of Pandorian jungle beauty (and it is beauty of the most wondrous sort) do not even come close to that butterfly scene.
But then, I don't really think that I'm the primary target audience of Avatar.
Mr. CB is!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I was, at first, excited by the type of audience this film had attracted. "How wonderful," I said, "to see both girls and elderly women enthusiastically waiting for the film to start. And just look at all the men," I pointed out to Mr. CB, "why...there's several gentlemen here wearing ties, and the younger men seem to be quite happily accompanying their arty-looking wives." As the lights dimmed, however, the girls' pleasant chatter continued, becoming annoying and rude. The booming voice of an anonymous man was heard - "Settle down now girls, settle DOWN." I nodded happily in Mr. CB's direction, I had predicted that many of the audience members would be English teachers.
The movie started, and there was Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) sewing, I smiled happily to myself thinking of all my crafty blog-friends who would enjoy this scene. Each of the following scenes made me swoon with delight - the fabrics of her dresses, the colour combinations, the hats, the ribbons, at one point she wore a tiny jacket which seemed to be made out of a multitude of tiny granny squares, exquisitely precious granny squares mind you. The photography, the colours, the light, such a shame that Ben Whishaw (Keats) isn't really my type, but hey, I'm not a young woman now I am? That's when I noticed that the young women in the audience were not particularly enthralled either. The girls began talking and giggling, a few turned their phones on and I wondered if they were already texting their friends "CRAP FILM, KEATS FUGLY" One of the elderly women hissed at them quite aggressively but this just made them giggle even more maniacally, and then half of them left the cinema while the other half made their way to the very front of the cinema where they lay down beside the first row and continued to chat.
Not that the elderly Hungarian women sitting behind me were much better. They were coughing so often, and so loudly, that they made poor Keats look like he was merely suffering from a common head cold. During the scenes which were clearly meant to be heartbreaking, one of the Hungarians sighed dramatically, and although I am unfamiliar with the language, I was pretty certain from her tone that she was telling her friend that this film was not meeting her expectations. During the very last scene of the film that same woman let out a loud, sharp snort. There was no doubt whatsoever what that snort meant - "I've lived many years, I've loved and been loved and I KNOW some things about love, and this, right here, this is not the real deal."
So here's a film about the beauty and passion of first love, and it seemed to have failed to touch both the young and the old members of its target female audience. And what about ME you ask? What did I think of the film? Well.
I do think that I am the target audience Jane Campion had in mind when creating this film, and I did enjoy it, but it was hard work to do so. What I mean by that is that there is really no story here, he loves her, she loves him, and we all know he's going to die. This means that the film is an artistic meditation on young love, not a gripping story, not a multi-faceted characterisation, but a very very beautiful painting which just happens to move along a screen. If I had a bit more of a backbone perhaps I might say that "Bright Star" is boring, slow and dull, because that IS what I thought for two thirds of the film. But at the very end of the film, when Fanny is told that Keats has died, I found myself crying. Yes, I know, tears were POURING down my face and it came as a complete surprise as I hadn't, up until that scene, really cared at all about that pale, simpering, egotistical young poet. But it seems I did care a great deal about Fanny, and I cared even more about the feeling of loving someone with such passion. When she kneeled on the floor and sobbed, pointing to her heart and calling for her mother to come and help her because she couldn't breathe, well....I really believed her. Thank you Abbie Cornish, actress extraordinaire.
P.S. Miss CB and I would like to thank you all very very much for your kind comments and good wishes regarding the last post. It means so much to me to have this circle of encouragement and support and I send you my love in return!
Friday, December 18, 2009
As Miss CB finishes one stage of her education, her mother (that would be me) is beginning a new stage of her own. I have been accepted into the Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting and will begin my studies next year. I'm literally shaking with excitement as this is a dream come true for me in many ways.
But I may have lied to you about something in a previous post, and I must set the record straight. Poirot was NOT my first love, oh no, indeed, despite the beauty of his little grey cells. My first love was in fact Christopher Plummer (although Anthony Hopkins will also always have a place in my heart).
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I'm afraid he really is, and always will be, a literary man and not a simple man. I can understand your sadness and, in spite of it all, I am not surprised by this letter which reeks of self-obsession. Well, in his defense, he does things properly: "disquiet" (not bad), "masquerade" (tragic), "irreparable" (solemn)...
He certainly has literary talent, and what a blessing that is!
Applicant with a convoluted form of speech.
To translate "tell you what I have to say out loud" I write: "say, I present you to present," as a pastiche of the famous formula used by Suetonius (Life of Titus, VII) when Titus leaves Berenice: Berenicen dimisit inuitus inuitam (he dismissed her against his will, against her will).
(in text message)
He thinks he's cool!
The first thing that struck me about X's letter is that he opted to express his unilateral decision in writing, as if he was worried that a discussion or confrontation with the protagonist might undermine his determination to put an end to a relationship that seems to be important to him, but that he can no longer cope with.
French Intelligence Officer
Encoded the letter using the Vigenere encryption system, keyword chosen for the encryption was "Rupture."
At the end of the debate we say:
"Teku." It cannot be decided. Cowardice or sublimity?
[The Talmud uses the word "teku" to indicate that the rabbis could not reach a decision on the matter under discussion. Derivation uncertain, possibly from "tekum" meaning "it will stand/remain a question." May also be an acronym of the Aramaic phrase "Tishbi yetaretz kushiot v-abayot" - "The Tishbite [Elijah] will answer all unresolved questions" [when the messianic age is proclaimed].
Some responses to "Take care of yourself" (which ends the break-up letter)-
Consultant for savoir-vivre and protocole:
At last, he is thinking about someone other than himself.
Graduate of the Ecole Normale Superieure:
"Since you have not taken care of me"? "Since I am incapable of doing so?" "Do what you can with all this"? The lexical field remains admirably consistent: care is the only avenue in this viral climate, in which love is like an incurable sickness.
Linguist, semiologist, medievalist:
Has it occurred to you how a woman might feel when you tell her that?
And the final murderous sentence: "Take care of yourself." Here we grasp the brutality of the vacuity of this action...The nerve! Of course, because I will no longer be taking care of you.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Their apartment is walking distance from this shop. Needless to say, a package is on the way. Dad says it'll arrive on Friday, and I believe him. Dad loves tracking parcels and often calls me 5 minutes after I have signed for a package to tell me: "You just received the package, I know."
Another package arrived yesterday, and Mom (I write the American "O" in Mom, but only for my mom, because she's American and hates being "Mum") had already told me that "It's a book from the most wonderful exhibition, well...we liked it...but we kept saying that YOU should have been there." See what I mean, spoilt rotten. Sigh.
This is the exhibition, and this is the book. Mom and Dad were quite right, I really should have been there, I ADORE this project by Sophie Calle.
I believe that my experience of blogging is equivalent to Sophie's collection of 107 interpretations. Every time I publish a post, I receive in return interpretations of the words I have sent out to the world. Each interpretation is unique, and each has something to give and something to teach. At times, my words may be misunderstood, just as I may misunderstand my commentboxes, but the free flow of communication continues and everything is better understood in the process.
Some of the women who interpreted Sophie's break-up email:
Translator in SMS language
Nursery school teacher
French intelligence officer
If you like, tell me which one interests you and I might post a few quotes.
Oh, and out of interest, what do you think of letters which end with the phrase "Take care of yourself" ?
Monday, December 14, 2009
David Suchet's Poirot almost always wears a tiny vase as a lapel pin, with a miniature flower in it, usually white, but often red and even purple. Is it called a boutonniere? It's more than just a flower, it's a tiny water-holding VASE. Miss CB and I want one each, we have decided Poirot will now be our fashion icon.
Now, where was I? Ah. Yes. I first met Poirot when I was 10 years old and I came across an entire shelf of Agatha Christie books in my local library. I proceeded to read every single Christie starring Poirot, I tried Jane Marple but it just didn't feel right. Only Poirot would do.
I also liked to read Poirot's dialogue out loud, and I often did, so often in fact that my family took it for granted. "Oh, that noise from Eleanor's room? Why, no, she doesn't have a deep-voiced friend with a French accent, that's just Eleanor reading Poirot. To herself. Out loud. It's nothing."
Poirot actually helped me learn English, because a little Israeli girl with a thick Hebrew accent needs to practice reading English quite a bit. That can be pretty dull and often frustrating and difficult, and sometimes a little Belgian friend with a thick accent and a disdain for British pomposity is just what is needed. N'est-ce pas?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Last night I attended Mr. CB's company Christmas party, a small gathering organised by a lovely young woman who sat next to me, anxiously looking around the table to check that everyone was having fun. She had placed a small box beside each plate, and inside were three gorgeous little chocolate truffles. We all peeked inside and then continued talking, drinking and eating. Tea and coffee was served at the end of the meal, and I shocked Mr. CB by ordering an espresso (guaranteed to keep me up all night) but it was an Italian restaurant and I had to drive us back home (designated driver). As I began to sip my coffee the lovely young woman beside me leaned forward and whispered to me "I made the truffles myself". I turned and looked at her in surprise. "One is Turkish Delight, and the other is Eggnog," I smiled at her in amazement. "They would go very very well with your espresso." She MAKES CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES and modestly offers them as gifts to co-workers, I know I don't have to tell you how amazingly wonderful that is!! I announced this to the group gathered around the table and suddenly everyone turned to this lovely woman who had worked so hard behind the scenes to make the evening a success. She blushed quite a bit, but it was praise she so rightly deserved.
At the end of the evening she gave me an extra box to give to my daughter, because I had mentioned to her how much Miss CB enjoys baking. She also whispered to me:
"The recipe is from taste.com.au, your daughter might like to know that." I thought that you'd like to know that too. So here is the Eggnog Truffle and here is the Turkish Delight Truffle. Something else I'd add to a Christmas present recommendation list, if I was putting one together.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
We all walked down to the beach once again this morning. It felt good to get out into the bright sunshine and stroll hand-in-hand through the quiet Saturday-morning streets.
Here is the cafe where we stopped and ordered our take-away lattes, because we were celebrating coffeelady's birthday. Happy birthday my little caffeinated friend!! See that little blue container on the pavement? The cafe owner leaves it filled with water, for Blue, Bryn, Tex and Clover to enjoy while they wait.
Look at that!!
This was our view from the shack.
It was a wonderful day.
Friday, December 11, 2009
To derive pleasure or pride (especially from one's children)
This Yiddish phrase summarises my feelings today.
Miss CB returned last night from a four-day camp for children with disabilities. Miss CB decided that after finishing her final exams she wanted to volunteer as a carer at this camp, and she came home glowing with happiness, completely exhausted, and impatient to share her experiences with us.
Upon opening her mail, Miss CB then began racing around the house shouting with joy. She had just opened a letter announcing that her HSC artwork has been chosen to be exhibited in next year's Artexpress.
I'm really shepping nachas over here.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I'm not sure that it's possible to review this film while sticking to my rule. You know the rule, the one about not comparing a book to a film. I'll give it a go, because I'm a stickler for rules, but it'll be a challenge.
This is a film which is best enjoyed by adults in the company of other adults. I suggest seeing it at an evening session on a weeknight so as to ensure that no children are in the audience. Just as the best time to appreciate childhood is after you've grown up, just as the best time to appreciate your own children is when they are fast asleep, so is this film best watched in a peaceful, silent cinema. This will allow you to envelope yourself in the fantastic world of Max and his wild friends, and it will ensure that the images of his tiny boat, his massive nest-like fort, and his feathered and furred comrades in arms, all reach their mark.
This film enters new, uncharted territory and it will take patience, concentration and an open heart to understand and feel it, much like parenting, and more specifically - much like parenting boys. Also very much like the creating, developing and nurturing of a young family. Yes, the protagonist is a young boy, yes, most of the other characters are dressed in massive monster outfits, but this is not a film for children as much as a film ABOUT children.
If there's a boy in your life that you loved or love or dream of loving, then you're guaranteed to find a connection with this film. If you are still a novice to the many mysteries of childhood then this may not be the film for you, but that's all right, perhaps you'll meet a Max one fine day in your still-unmapped future, and this film will be there for you, quietly biding its time until you sail onto its shores.
Final word: You'll walk out of the cinema mesmerised and a bit disoriented. You know that saccharine Hollywood taste in your mouth? The one that you get after seeing a Hollywood film starring children? Well, this is its antidote.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This is a film to enjoy when you're tired of THINKING. You've been reading and writing and analysing all week, and now you'd like to switch off and forget about anything meaningfully deep. You'll be able to buy that extra-large popcorn because the film's soundtrack is so loud that nobody will be bothered by your jolly opened-mouthed munching. Every so often you'll turn to your partner and repeat a funny bit of the dialogue and share a laugh, and if you look around you the cinema will be packed with happy film-watchers getting what they paid for - a big, bold, fabulously ridiculous disaster film.
This film is best enjoyed in a huge cinema complex on a very busy Saturday night, the atmosphere is half the fun with this type of film. It is also helpful to have a good sense of humour, because taking the end of the world seriously is NOT what this film is about. You should be the kind of person who thinks it's hysterically funny to see the Queen of England shuffling along with her two corgis, making her way towards a huge, metal ark which will survive a tsunami. It would also be helpful if you thought fake Russian accents are very very funny, because there's a lot of that. However, most importantly, you need to be able to appreciate the cunning ingenuity of a scriptwriter who chooses to make the protagonist of the film a negligent and disorganised father who's recently divorced. This is a man who will reconnect with his children and his estranged wife only because the WORLD is about to END. That's what it takes for this family to live happily ever after.
The secret treasure at the end of this film is that you realise it's really "The Parent Trap" for adults. Like I said, take this film seriously at your own risk.
Final words: You'll come out of the cinema a bit dazed, giggling and reminding each other of the silliest scenes (so many to choose from). You might also hearken back to the 70 odd times you watched the original Parent Trap film, and make your partner laugh by singing your very own rendition of "Let's get together, yeah yeah yeah."
Monday, December 7, 2009
There's something in this film for the woman looking for a romantic experience, just as there's something for the man she'd dragged along with her. But it's not what they were expecting, not even close. She won't have a really good cry, and he won't tease her about it, instead they'll both sit quietly and UNDERSTAND the story rather than FEEL it.
She'll understand that Rachel McAdams' relationship with Eric Bana is really the secret poetry of her own experiences, men are by definition absent from so much of their women's inner lives. She will understand that Eric Bana's empty clothes and shoes are much like the wardrobes of men she has known and loved and lost to death. The experience of losing an unborn baby as shown on the screen might even make her nod in wise understanding, yes, babies do travel through time far too soon sometimes. He will see the story through a man's eyes, feeling a kinship with this husband who can never fully be everything, all the time, for his beloved wife. But neither of them will lose themselves in the story, because there's something just a little too plastic, a little too simplistic and a little too neat about this film.
Rachel McAdams is not truly convincing as an artist, she's far too calm and rational and perfectly beautiful in an unappealingly airbrushed way. Eric Bana is not truly convincing as a time-traveller, sure he's sad and serious and confused, but have you ever met a traveler (whether spatial or temporal) who looked so clean and white-washed? He needed a hat, and a scruffy beard and some attitude; just as poor little Rachel needed a halo of crazy-mad, curly red hair and a curvaceous figure and a glint of madness in her eye.
Final word: You'll walk out of the cinema desperately wishing that it had been more emotional, more moving, more romantic, but you won't go so far as to say it was a complete disappointment. There was something there, it simply wasn't enough.
P.S. I've decided that all films which are based on books should be reviewed solely on their own merit. Comparing a film to a book is akin to comparing a piece of music to a painting which was inspired by that same music - an impossible and unhelpful comparison.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
First of all, they are usually written by film buffs who are enthralled with film culture and the "art" of it all. That's just fine, if you're a highly-educated film buff yourself, but the average movie-goer is not. These so-called academic/ arty/ cultured reviews usually contain a plethora of snide remarks about popular culture. I classify these as "snob reviews", and (as Kim would say) they make my neck itch. Secondly, film reviews have stopped having any effect whatsoever on the film-going public. It's all about word of mouth these days, and in this modern age word of mouth is lightning fast. It used to be the case that if you had a lousy movie to distribute you'd be able to get at least one good week out of it before word of mouth killed it off. But nowadays, the audience is busy texting their opinion of the film while they're still sitting in the cinema.
Film reviews might be more helpful, and more accessible, if they tried to determine who the target audience for each film might be, and then tried to determine whether this type of film was well-made enough to appeal to the audience for which it was made.
Now I'll give it a go. I don't think it's as easy as it seems.
"A Serious Man"
This one's great for after-movie dinner conversation. Go with your partner and another couple, and you're guaranteed to be able to steer the conversation away from their kitchen renovation, their children's school fees and their baby's adorable cuteness. You might not be able to agree on what the first scene with the dybbuk means, or how it's connected to the plot. If you're not Jewish you might not be able to understand why some of the audience found certain scenes hysterically funny, then again, even if you are Jewish you'd probably disagree on the humour. Is it funny? Depressing? Self-hating? Meaningful? Meaningless? It's all up for interpretation. This is a thinker's film, you won't lose yourself in the characters or the story, but you'll have a lot to ponder afterwards. It's entertaining in the way a well-written book is, you don't love it, but you'd recommend it to your friend the Professor of Literature.
Final word: You'll walk out of the cinema with a bemused expression, stifling a yawn, but reticent to say exactly what you thought of the film until your more clever friends tell you their opinions.
"The Invention of Lying"
This is great for a Saturday night when you need to get out of the house and detox. You don't care that it's not really that funny, and that it's not really well-acted, you want to see comedy on that big screen for at least 90 minutes. You want to eat that packet of Maltesers in a dark, air-conditioned cinema, sitting next to your partner who's munching on his choc-top like it's his last meal and he's gonna be executed tomorrow. You want to forget that you need to pay the bills, that your son is playing too much Xbox, that the dog hasn't been washed in a month and that you need to start eating more healthy shit and exercising more. You just want to tune out.
Final word: You'll walk out of the cinema with a small smile and chocolate smears on your t-shirt. You'll agree that it was an original concept, that it had some very clever moments but it just wasn't that funny. One of you might find the Pizza-Hut-box-10-commandments scene funnier than the other, but hey, that's what makes it interesting.
Coming...next post...reviews of "Time Traveller's Wife" and "2012"......
I'm rushing off now to see "Where The Wild Things Are."
Sunday, November 29, 2009
So you see, I braved the hot dust for you, my dear blogging buddies. I just knew that you'd love to share this morning with me.
I stood near the finish line and managed, by sheer luck, to capture these two friends as they greeted each other at the finish line. The pure joy on this woman's face actually brought tears to my eyes, it was just so honest and fresh and full of life.
Friday, November 27, 2009
They've all gone up to the local DVD rental place up the road and they promised to bring me a Magnum, hopefully they'll have the one with almonds. I'm sitting here thinking that I might eat it in the bath, if I have the energy to run a bath. It was a long day at the library today, I think scriptwriting is like patchworking, once I write down the basic "look" I start cutting things up and moving them around. I'm not a patchworker, so it's been a long day. I've been drinking a lot of water lately, I think I've been dehydrated and that's why I've been lethargic and headachy, or maybe it's just life.
Had such a wonderful dinner with a group of Sydney bloggers on Wednesday night. I'm too lazy to link, sorry, I know I'm terrible, but I only have energy to type, not click. It was Kim, Duyvken, Mary, Fe, Fifilastupenda and Easternmax. I looked at these women and they glowed with such beauty, and I felt such a calm, warm feeling - these women whose words I read and whose art and craft I admire, live, around a table, laughing and laughing and laughing. Bloggers are my safe place to fall. Kim is at Sewjourn this weekend, I'm so excited and happy for her that I can't contain myself, yipeeeeeeeee!!!!
Tomorrow Mr. CB and I are planning a movie-going marathon, we'll try to see as many new films as we can in one day. I'm telling you, having older children is the BEST!!! They are, however, taking a very long time returning home with my ice-cream. Oh, wait, I hear footsteps outside....I do believe the ice-cream deliverers are here!!
I was going to write a post about Christmas, but I forgot. Just remembered now. Oh look!! Almond Magnum has landed, so I'll quickly finish off. Where was I? Oh yes, Christmas. Thought I'd give you a few titbits about what it's like growing up in an Orthodox Jewish school. We weren't allowed to write "Christmas," we wrote "Xmas" because Christ means "the Lord" and we don't believe Jesus is The Lord. Also we always wrote BCE and CE instead of BC and AD for the same reason. I don't remember ever feeling left out of the presents and celebrations, but then again, my parents spoilt me terribly! Really, and they continue to spoil me to this day. And the last Christmas trivia of the day: I absolutely love reading all of the Christmas posts from all over the world. Love them.
Off to run my bath, eat my ice-cream and plan movie-marathon-day xxxxx
Monday, November 23, 2009
It fascinates me to see how passionate commenters are as they either attack or defend the Twilight phenomenon. I can't help but laugh at the commenters who are shocked that such "trash" should be so universally loved. They're missing out on so much fun!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I adore the way Bella wears plain jeans and sweatshirts, while the men walk around shirt-less for much of the film. I loved watching Edward's loving, conflicted gaze, his sparkly skin, the shadows under his eyes, his self-control in the face of strongest temptation. How wonderful is Jacob too, with his long black hair which is then cut as he grows into the man/wolf he is meant to be. When I first saw the wolves in the forest (oh the forest, such a divine setting for it all) I giggled like a schoolgirl, loving every minute of this modernised, teenaged version of the very best fairytales ever written. Bella doesn't want to grow up into a grandma, she wants to remain fair and young forever.
I don't understand the terrible reviews which have been written about this film. It's perfect for what it is - a fantastic romance accompanied by violins and shivers of sexual excitement, an innocence hardly ever seen in cinemas any more. Oh, for goodness' sake, we have a heroine who knows who she loves, proves her strength and the power of her conviction, and still has hardly been kissed. Surely there's something gorgeous about that concept?
Of course it's silly, but the best things in life are often silly aren't they? I mean, really, are the stories of Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood not silly? They're absolutely ridiculous in the most wonderful, enjoyable, entertaining and subversive way.
Long live Edward and Bella, for if they can't, then what hope do we mere mortals have?
You cannot argue with results like this. You can criticise the story, the adaptation, the directing, the acting, the message, but the truth lies in the results.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I cannot abide the many snide, snobbish reviews which have popped up around this film. These reviews seem to have grown overnight like noxious weeds, obliterating the obvious beauty of this rose of a story. Life is hard enough as it is without having to defend the power a story can have on its audience. I wish the film experts would at least admit, if only briefly, that the Twilight series has captured the heart and imagination of a global audience, and that this is good.
Several months ago I purchased the first book of poems published by young emerging poet Emma Jones. I wasn't in the right frame of mind for reading poetry at that time, but I was intrigued by her story and so I kept the thin volume on my night-table. Last night I couldn't fall asleep, so I picked up the book of poems and started to flip through it, looking for a flash of comfort, or inspiration, or joy. The poems spoke to me in a different way last night, and it felt like many of them had changed completely since I had last attempted to read them. Half the battle with reading poetry is, I think, to wait faithfully and patiently for the proper frame of mind to visit you, even if that might be at one o'clock in the morning.
Isn't it exciting to discover a new young poet who, a mere 8 years after graduation from the University of Sydney, has already made a name for herself? Well, apparently it isn't very exciting because the critics are busy dissecting her words until all that's left is a pile of polished, sterile bones. Emma Jones' target audience could very well be young women, those same young women who rush to see the Twilight films, but it seems she's been hijacked by a group of academics who are far too busy asking each other about Emma Jones' "voice" than Emma Jones' ability to connect with her readers. How much more wonderful is this one review which I found here. This reviewer actually wrote "Thank you Emma Jones." That's exactly what poetry, film, art should be about really. It's all very well to study all of these art forms in universities, but at the end of the day, or in the very middle of the darkest night, it's just you and the artist and a collection of imaginative images which might be useful in the most wonderful, meaningful and non-academic way possible. Or they might not.
Here is a sample of Emma Jones - which I type from page 9 of her book "The Striped World":
The sea's not wide but it is full.
I have my castle and my load of gold.
See how the chest flips up to show
its plastic pennies and its bouldered hearts
with each great current, while in droves
we follow close the circular turret -
The sea's not wide but it is full.
Thank you Emma Jones.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This is how I discovered Eurolush's blog - via her commentbox in blackbird's blog...look for Eurolush's comment and my commentbox a little bit further down. It makes me laugh, like looking at old school photos of myself and my friends. If you know what I mean. And I bet you do.
This is my first commentbox from Eurolush, I was very very excited!
This is my first commentbox in Eurolush's blog, little baby steps...
This is the very first time I courageously teased Eurolush, I'm even better at it now.
This is when blackbird mentioned both of us in a post last year, and we're still have fun with it, thanks bb. Mwah!
This is how I celebrated Eurolush's birthday this time last year.
I know that you have a very busy day planned, what with all of that beer-drinking and pastry-eating on the agenda. However, please take just a moment to think of all of us - the members of the Eurolush Fan Club (President - Eleanorfromthecommentbox, secretary - The Bluemeister) who are gathered in your commentboxes today, celebrating with you.
Thanks for the good times, and may they continue for many years to come.
In what is now an annual birthday tradition I am once again disabling my own commentbox (sharp intake of breath, shock, amazement) and sending everyone to Germany for the PARTY OF A LIFETIME.
Love, E xxxx
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
You may remember that my grandfather shipped me his entire library a while ago, and I dedicated several posts to the beautiful books I received. Since Grandpa's death it has been hard to look at the books, and what should be a comfort is still a reminder of the loss. However, herhimnbryn reminded me with her short quote from the Rubaiyat of the joy my grandfather spread with his love of poetry and books. So, without further ado, I bring you Grandpa's (and my) "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam", Heritage Press, 1946, illustrations by Arthur Szyk:
Sunday, November 15, 2009
If you want to get a real feel for the content and quality of a film you should really talk to a film distributor, not a film reviewer. You see, a successful distributor must always put aside personal opinion and think only of the film's target audience.
Have you ever read a scathing review of a rom com and then noticed that the reviewer was a 50 year old man? How about a review of an action-packed movie about giant transforming robots written by a 40 year old woman whose favourite film is "Casablanca". It would be silly to take any notice of such reviews, and the general public is not silly.
So how about the latest Australian film "The Boys Are Back"? Here are two reviews. Would you like to see the film now?
I saw this film at an industry screening, and here's what I saw:
One man in his late forties, a hardened businessman, crying so passionately that he was unable to hold a conversation following the screening.
A woman in her forties who proclaimed loudly to all around her (and the director was present at the screening) "This is the worst film I have ever seen."
Now do you see how difficult it is to properly review a film? A distributor, however, would have absolutely no problem with this situation. He/she would probably realise that the target audience for this film is a certain type of middle-aged male. Then he/she would start thinking of how publicity and advertising can target this quadrant, he/she might also keep in mind that it's women who usually make the decision about which film to see, which complicates the marketing of this movie.
My own personal opinion about the film? My initial gut reaction as the film ended? I felt very resentful and sarcastic. Here was a film which I had expected to be aimed solely at me as target audience, the trailer made it look like a type of chick flick, and yet it made me seethe with rage. Then I noticed the man who was weeping, and I realised that my personal opinion was not as important as the realisation that I was simply not the target audience for this film.
As "The Boys Are Back" begins, we read the line "inspired by a true story." Throughout the film I kept waiting for something momentous to occur, that elusive something which would astonish me and make me say "Wow, and this is based on true events!!! Unbelievable! How inspiring!" But nothing, nothing happened......a man manages to care for his two sons following the death of his wife....was THAT IT??? Is that the "true story"??? That's when I started talking sarcastically to myself "Stop the press, read the headline, man is able to parent his children, all by himself." Then I started talking to the film's protagonist in my head "Erin Brockovich looked after THREE children, without an education, without a fancy-shmancy sports journalist's job, without a loving mother-in-law who lived up the street...what did you do buster? HUH??? Did YOU then discover a huge cancer-causing cover-up??? No. You didn't. Didja????"
But this film makes men openly weep in cinemas, truly it does. That man I saw at the screening was the first of many who have been moved by this film. It would be unforgivable to discount the ability this film has to touch its target audience, and I so wish that film reviewers might be able to take a step back from their own world of high-brow, film-as-art philosophy and watch the film with an audience in a packed cinema on a Saturday night. Or better still, watch the FACES of the audience members as they LEAVE the cinema after the film has ended. If a film manages to move grown men to tears then it's a great film, end.of.story.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Now I can't stop humming it.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I think I'm going to do a live-blog every Day One, it's better than a couple of Naprogesic, hot wheat-bag, Imigran, vodka and staying in bed all day.
For sure. It's the CURE.
Now, Book Club.
My BC is not the usual BC. We pool our resources to purchase 1 or 2 newly published books every month, then take turns reading them. The suitcase is the accumulation of several years' books, with many many cullings along the way. Each month one of us gets about a dozen books out on spec from the local bookstore, we vote, and then return the rejects the next day.
What I ate:
Strawberries & cream lollies
Snakes (but not the green ones, I hate those)
A slice of lemon tart
I can't remember much about any of the books. I told them that I had read "Her Fearful Symmetry" and loved it, but they told me that they agreed with Badger and that I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about. Did that use of the f word sound convincing?
Na. I know. I'll keep trying.
Then I told them how I also read "The Neighbour," and that it was a piece of crap, but a really great read. It was kind of like those banana lollies, highly addictive, fake, not especially good for you and leaves you with a strange aftertaste. Then they talked about a few books, can't remember them. Honestly, I can't. It was after my bedtime!
I chose a book,which I'm quite excited about. Then we argued about how to parent teenagers, different nail-polish colours, and whether we should cull any of the books.
I was the last one to leave, it's the only way I can be sure they won't gossip about me. I'm a professional Book Clubber my dears, profesh.
Good night all, and thanks for being there for me on Day One. Mwah xxxx
Here is the Book Club suitcase before I pack it up and heave it into the Noddy Car and trundle along to the hostess's house.
Please tell me if you see anything you recommend (hopefully you can double click to enlarge the photo). I have read very few of these books. You see, I am an HONEST blogger.
I am celebrating by getting my hair coloured and cut, and my appointment is in 15 minutes.
I shall continue to check in every hour or so with the latest trivialities of my day. I call it "live blogging" although it really isn't.
It's Day One (hello Badgerxxx), plus I have taken my migraine medication which makes me feel a little light-headed.
I have never written a post like this before. I'm discussing menstruation and medication. I truly do not feel like myself.
But I still can't type the F word, although I know it makes Kim so very happy when I'm "bawdy". If I did type the F word here, you'd all burst out laughing, really, you would. Even typing WTF is hysterical when I do it.
As I type this I can hear Miss CB rummaging through the papers and books in her room, it sounds like the demolishers are in. There may be a bonfire in the backyard tonight.
Also, roast chicken. I actually COOKED A CHICKEN for dinner. Already.
I'm making my family very nervous, and I feel terribly out of sorts.
Off to get my hair sorted. I may be trying something radical.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Thanks RW, you WIN!!!!
I immediately went to YouTube to see what else Pomplamoose has out there, and look what I found!! Small world, hehehe:
Ran 10 laps of the beach today and thought of each of you the entire way. I pictured all of your commentboxes encouraging me to carry on. Thanks everyone!
Monday, November 9, 2009
As the song reaches its conclusion, the sister slowly raises her left hand from the steering wheel, and it looks exactly like Beyonce's robot hand with a huge diamond ring on the fourth finger. She waves it at the Lady and winks and then they both burst into hysterical, happy laughter.
You've gotta keep your sense of humour.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I hereby proclaim that I have succeeded in reaching the pinnacle of jogging-related happiness.
Should I never slip on a pair of runners again, I will still die happy in the knowledge that I succeeded in fulfilling my jogging dreams.
Last night I found myself feeling quite unexpectedly cranky. I felt that the weekend was a disappointment. Family members were not doing what I wanted them to do, when I wanted them to do it.
Weekends have always been a challenge for me. There, I said it (I must feel very safe in this bloggy environment).
You understand, as a stay-at-home mother I never knew how to view the weekend. Is it my time of rest and relaxation, or is it my time to embark on an even more hard-working attempt at organising, feeding, pleasing and humouring all family members? In addition, I love schedules and time-tables. Nothing makes me happier than waking up on Monday morning and knowing that the children MUST be in school by 8, Mr. CB must be at work by 9, and I must be at work by 10. This is why I could never, ever home-school my children. It is also why I cannot work from home, and have therefore set up permanent camp in my local libraries.
Where was I? Oh, yes, so now the weekends have changed because I have two teenagers in the house. But I'm still finding it incredibly difficult to match my weekend expectations with reality. Last night I wanted to organise a family activity, but we couldn't all agree on on one. I wanted to have a family dinner, but I wanted someone else to cook it. Then I started becoming highly irritated at the smallest gesture made by any one of my "people." Was that an insolent shrug? Was that an offensive rolling of the eyes? I began to pace from room to room, suddenly noticing all the jobs which still need to be done by my people, dirty clothes, mildewy towels, dog-hairs, overflowing recycling bin, shutters which have been broken, missing toilet paper, bowls left in the kitchen sink with hardened cornflakes stuck on them.
Stop. Breathe. Yoga pose. Ommmmm....
SO THAT'S WHEN I GRABBED MY SHUFFLE, PUT MY RUNNERS ON AND LEFT THE HOUSE.
I did not slam the door, but I almost did.
I ran 8 laps of the beach instead of the usual 6 and I felt like a champion. A CHAMPION I say. I was floating, and I was blasting the music very very loud. I listened to this, and this, but I really got going with this song:
I may have even done some of those sexy dance moves, and a couple of elderly gentlemen walking their dogs got quite a show. Best Saturday night ever.
I returned home to my people energised and buzzing with joy. My people greeted me at the doorway with apologies, hugs, a huge salad and steaks cooking on the barbecue.
MY JOB IS DONE.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Me: "Oh, yes, I've started walking every day...sorry...didn't see you.
Me (inside): "WHAT THE??? POWER-WALKING??? I WAS JOGGING, and I probably didn't see you because of the sweat pouring down my face."
But you know what? Disco makes everything better.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Step aside, Euromush, 'cause The Bluemeister is keeping his eyes on Lil T.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So I hit the wall pretty quick.
Blue, on the other hand, whined miserably in the car all the way home. He had barely warmed up.
One thing is certain, Blue now associates my Shuffle with running so I have to hide it and be very careful if I ever want to listen to music without having to...you know...run.
Now, down to business:
- Today I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.
- I made a peanut butter sandwich for Master Commentbox and put some crackers in a little bag for him. This is his school lunch. Judge me at your own peril.
- I talked to the nanny next door about one of her past babies who is now all grown-up and pregnant.
- I filled petrol in my car.
- I went to work and the library. At the library I told 2 of the librarians who had each put aside a book for me that they were officially my "library mothers" and that made them laugh.
- I took Master Commentbox to an interview at a different school (shhh...it's a secret) because we might be switching next year to a smaller, more "homey" school environment.
- I decided that when Master CB returns from his tennis training I will give him cash to walk up to the corner Thai take-away place to buy us dinner.
- Seeing as Mr. CB is away on business I like to live on the edge a little bit and not pretend to cook and then claim to be too tired and THEN pretend that the family is TALKING ME INTO getting take-out.
It has come to my attention that several of my November birthday fitness challenge competitors mention "doing the laundry" and then add "plus drying, folding and putting away said laundry." This comes as a huge relief to me because I now realise that I may NOT be the only person who might possibly have family members who are not aware that "doing the laundry" BY DEFINITION includes the drying, folding and putting away of said laundry.
I would like to say a HUGE thanks to the "anonymous" who left such a lovely comment for me earlier today. I have a soft spot for all anonymice because that's how I started off in blogland.
Which reminds me...Laura...are you still out there? I miss you, and I still have the photo of Ellie's castle on my screensaver.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I almost got whiplash, twice, when Blue attempted to race after a bicycle.
I spent the rest of the day at a Melbourne Cup party. We had champagne and pavlova.
I know what you're all thinking...that's it? That.is.it?
I also heated up some chicken for dinner....which my mother cooked for me because she knew I'd be exhausted from the party.
Shush, Paola, please...calm down...I'm still WAY AHEAD OF THAT PASTRY-MUNCHING, BEER-GUZZLING, RAP-LISTENING GERMAN GAL.
Because of the time difference.
She's so way behind me she will NEVER catch up.
But just to be certain, I'm doing a bit of extra preparation for Day Three of the November Birthday Challenge. It's late at night, and I should be in bed, but NO. I will not rest until I have:
help Master Commentbox with his upcoming debating competition,
Monday, November 2, 2009
Ran 7.4 km.
Was overtaken while running by a pregnant woman pushing toddler twins in a stroller. She was talking on her mobile phone at the time.
Listened to "Ms New Booty" 3 times.
Listened to "Lipgloss" 3 times.
Drank 3 very strong coffees.
Filed/deleted old emails (all 678 of them).
Did 2 laundries.
Made perfect soft boiled eggs with vegemite soldiers for Miss Commentbox's brekkie.
Did the supermarket shopping.
PEOPLE, I AM ON A ROLL.
A ROLL I TELL YOU!!!
4 miles = 6.4 km
Oh look, it's 7am Monday morning and I'm just about to take Master Commentbox to school and then go for my 7.4 km run.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I have just waved goodbye to my lovely librarian friend, he must have been given the afternoon off as he usually leaves at 6. Earlier this afternoon he joined me with his cup of tea during his break and we chatted quite loudly in the "Quiet Study Area." That's about as naughty as I ever get.
Something remarkable has just occurred. A young woman walked into the library, and I know her, well...I don't really know know her...but there's a story.
This young woman walks down the street where I live every so often, and every so often I notice her and admire her from afar. She must be in her early twenties, pale pale skin, dark red long and straight hair, and perfect posture. She wears wonderfully inventive clothes, items that look like they might have been found in an op-shop and each one with a perfect quirky twist. In the height of summer I have seen her holding a small parasol. She lost her tortoiseshell cat a year or two ago and she asked me if I'd seen her. I told her that I love her style (doing that, as we all know, is called "blackbirding") and she thanked me. The way she spoke matched the way she looked, quiet, fascinating, confident, peaceful.
The woman sitting at the desk near me is sharing the one electrical outlet with me. Every hour or so we swap our laptop plugs around...it's like we are plugging into the Muse...taking turns listening to her whispers. When I said that to the woman she looked at me strangely. Oh well. I know that you understand.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
For afternoon tea,
The invitation was signed by
R, A, E, J, K and me.
"Please darling sister
Do walk through the door,
Please sit at the table
And tell us some more.
For last time you did visit
You told quite a tale
About women and men
And some artwork for sale.
Your tale had arrivals
From faraway lands,
And a quite dizzy spell
And two strongly held hands.
Your tale had a castle
Which pierced the blue sky
With that most joyful laughter
Of earthlings trying to fly.
Now invited once more
To our small kitchen table,
Please sip tea and begin
For us a happy new fable."
"Please my sweet darlings,
Neither wonder nor fret,
For united you make
A quite wondrous sextet.
Share your woes with each other,
Tell each other your rhymes,
And I promise you'll greet
Many more fruitful times.
You may think that you need me
But truth is -I need you
For your tea does me good
On the days I feel blue."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Callie Khouri (writer of the screenplay "Thelma and Louise") was asked in an interview here what was her one piece of advice to give beginning scriptwriters. She said "Just show up for the Muse."
I think that's good advice for bloggers as well, because sometimes you just don't really feel like posting anything...and yet....you have a nagging suspicion that you really should. Maybe you DO have something to say, but you just won't know it until you're sitting down in front of that blank "new post" page?
It's also good advice for anybody undertaking a new exercise routine, especially me. I've been meaning to start training for the upcoming Eurolush Challenge and yet here I sit, refusing to show up for the Muse. Meanwhile, I have a nagging suspicion that Ms. Muse has flitted off to a little village in Germany where she's trying on some popping lipglosses and snacking on some fine baked goods.
Generally, showing up for my Muse means getting out of the house. You'd think I would have learned that by now, yet I still thought that I'd be able to order a house-call today and not have to brush my hair or put on shoes. Bad bad idea Eleanor. Tomorrow, I'm hauling my ass back onto the jogging track and then straight into that library.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Last night I attended a screening of a film (well, really 4 short films) produced by both AFTRS and NIDA students. It's the first time they have collaborated in this way, so there was a great buzz in the air. There were also many many young, beautiful actors and actresses in the audience. They were obviously all NIDA students and I just could not stop staring at them. I kept marvelling at how attractive they all were, and they had this aura of confidence and joy which was infectious. Actors need to have charisma, I had forgotten that.
I was introduced to the producer of "Starstruck" and I found myself gushing quite a bit about how much I loved it when I was a teenager. We talked about how cool it would be to re-market it to women who are now in their 40s and look back on it with nostalgia. I posted a song clip from it a while back and I remember a few of you remembered it too. What do you think? Which do you reckon came first - Jackie from Starstruck or Cindy Lauper?
Here's the original trailer for your enjoyment:
Monday, October 26, 2009
If you can possibly remember that the bit where the doctor saws through his ankle is all plastic and ketchup make-believe, then you really have a very compelling film. I'm still a beginner so Mr. CB has been instructed to pinch me every few minutes and remind me that it's all make-believe.
Now that's another thing - isn't it amazing that film can be such a powerful medium that we can watch actors pretending to be hurt and we feel absolute revulsion and horror to the point of not being able to distinguish reality from fiction?
My friend Sarah, during the last days of her rather awful illness, was reading this book. I was at first shocked at her choice of reading material, I was still a ridiculous romantic in those days who believed that a very pretty piece of poetry might be the sort of recommended reading material for someone nearing death. But now it makes such perfect sense. Fictional worlds of death and dismemberment go a long way to take our mind off the TRULY horrific fact - that when we die there is just nothing, no "me" any more. Much more fun to think of blood, guts and mysterious clues.
A few months ago I heard an interview on the radio with Dorothy Porter. It was repeated from the previous year, when she had been feeling well enough to talk. She mentioned that what gets her through her bad days, those endless days in the hospital and in her bed at home, is reading Agatha Christie. She said that when things really got bad, nothing but Agatha Christie would do! It made perfect sense to me - the plotted murders, the poisons, the cunning animosity, the striving for justice. That's just what makes you feel better about everything.
So I'm now shedding one more prejudice, one more cliche, and I am embracing the horror and celebrating a creative life which need not be hemmed in by lovely rhymes, romantic embraces and soft-lit sunsets.
For who knows what tomorrow may bring.
I thought this photo might amuse you. Blue and I had a walk in the rain on Sunday:
Some other things I did on the weekend:
Watched the first "Saw" movie on DVD and learned that it was written by a couple of Aussies.
Watched "The Final Destination: Death Trip" in 3D at my local cinema. I can safely say that I am not the target audience for this film.
Watched "An Education" and thought to myself that my blogging friends would LOVE this film. A great film and I highly recommend it!
Had an Indian dinner here.
Not a bad weekend at all really, although somewhat confusing.