Monday, 20 July 2009

Ask me another
We happened to be listening to Radio 6PR (Radio West Coast Eagles, as we call it) a moment ago, and the announcer was running a phone-in quiz to give away tickets to see the new movie, My Life in Ruins, the sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Listeners were asked at what famous Athens ruins the main character worked as a tour guide.
The first phone-in contestant replied: "Um, is it the Apocalypse?"
No. Next contestant: "The Hercules?"
No. Let's go back to the first contestant.
"The Necropolis?"
He got it in the end, but only when the announcer told him it rhymed with necropolis and began with an A.
I'm not making it up.
David reminded me of the time he heard Yorkie (famous white-haired Perth radio celebrity of the 1970s), quiz a listener: "What's a puma?"
And she answered: "Is it something you get in your head?"

Saturday, 18 July 2009

My best friend Laura has always tickled me pink with her adulation of the Harry Potter books and fillums. Over at her blog today there's a review of the latest film, with an analytical explanation of why she rated it eight out of ten.
Harry is something I cannot get into at all. I thought the first book was brilliant. After that, I was bored to tears. I couldn't even tell you what happened in book three, or five, or eleven. It was all immediately forgettable and wiped itself from my memory as I closed each book. Yes, I did read them all!
But I doubt I could even tell you the title of each book, even less what order they were in after the first one. I am full of admiration for the way Laura can recall and even tell you who delivered what lines and when the film got it wrong!
I have tried to love the whole Harry phenomenon, as my two youngest kids have been, like Laura, h-u-g-e fans, and through them I have found myself caught up in all the excitement and hype as each book was launched; and I thrilled to see them so absorbed in book after book.
But I have failed to love any of it since book one.
I particularly failed to love any of the three main characters as portrayed in the films. All three are profoundly irritating, Hermione especially.
A review in today's NY Times actually homed in on what has so annoyed and disappointed me about the previous films when it described Harry as "... a callow student with prodigious wizard gifts and little discernible personality."
And: "Mr Radcliffe in particular proves incapable of the most crucial cinematic magic. Namely the alchemical transformation of dialogue into something that feels like passion, something that feels real and true and makes you as wild for Harry as for all those enticingly dark forces."
I won't go to see the film, but if I happen to notice it on Foxtel, I'll probably drop in for a look.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

More settling
We've spent the morning hanging paintings, and I've got rid of the ridiculous piddly little desk I thought I'd be able to manage with, and have (above) installed a pretty glass-topped one I sourced from a local Scandinavian furniture boutique. As they say.
It's a lot bigger, so I can surround myself with all my familiars and have room to write and room for the keyboard. Much better.
Feeling even more settled.
:: That Tracey, from Peppermint Patcher, is a red-hot Scrabble player, I have to tell you. We are competing in back-to-back tournies on facebook. I start off thinking I've got her, and then she kills me. I think it's three games to one in her favour so far.
:: This arvo, our household is torn between watching West Coast play (and, hopefully, being beaten to a pulp by) the mighty St Kilda, and listening to Triple J counting down the Hottest 100 of all time. I've actually just herded Dave (West Coast hater who just winked at me and promised to behave) and my mum (big West Coast fan) off to the front room to watch the game so I can listen to the Hottest 100 through Foxtel out here in the back.
Digital radio through Foxtel is simply amazing. In the US, I was a huge fan of Pandora, which was a sort of personalised radio that I'd play through the computer. I miss it terribly, but here we have recently discovered the ABC's Dig radio, which is just as good. And you can listen online as well as through the telly, find out what's playing as it's playing, with some interactive component as well.
:: Lily just dropped in to borrow the big car for the afternoon and immediately put her fingers in her ears and started humming — turns out Foxtel's Triple J is two hours ahead of normal radio and she doesn't want to wreck the surprise.
They've just played Imagine, followed by Stairway to Heaven, so I'm outa here. Need to concentrate! Oooh ... Foo Fighters ...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

At the movies
I went with my best friend Karen last night to see the French film, Mes amis mes amours.
We were glad of a chance to catch up, and, afterwards, even gladder we hadn't had to pay for the tickets.
Directed by Lorraine Levy from the book written by her brother, Mark, it's a very light (as in lacking) French romantic comedy set in an apparent French enclave somewhere in South Kensington.
Is there really a community of French people living in London with their own little shops and restaurants and even tradesmen speaking French? More poignantly: if you were from Paris, which is at least slightly grand with decent food and elegant residents — despite the rudeness, the toilets and all the spitting — why would you choose to live in grotty old London?
The plot is watery: Mathias (on the left, played by Vincent Lindon), a loser bookseller, decides to move from Paris to London to be with his best mate, Antoine (right, Pascal Elbe), the ever-so-anal architect who is (unsurprisingly) divorced and lives with his young son.
Mathias's daughter also lives in London with Mathias's ex-wife, who is cool, coiffed and soignee, and appears to have a high-powered career as a cultural attache to the French consul (the usual partners of loser booksellers, bien sur). She's also bonking the boss, we later learn. The signs are all there: she is not Une Bonne Personne.
Poor old Mathias still has the hots for her, but as soon as he turns up in London, she high-tails it back to Paris.
The rest of the movie involves Mathias and Antoine's moving in together, sharing child-minding and housekeeping — think Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple, with more than a heavy handful of Notting Hill. And falling in love with attractive French girls also adrift in London.
There's a supporting cast of wacky, colourful and friendly French characters all living and working in the same picturesque street. With very few cars, pedestrians, and little litter or dog poo. Work that out!
Mathias looks like Lou Reed crossed with a basset hound. Antoine is absurdly neurotic. They are both heavy smokers, very silly, and get their girls in the end.
One plus: it's set mainly in winter, so there are some nice woollen scarves to look out for, and some pretty cool boots.
2.5 stars out of 5.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Friday in the hood
These pics are for Shelley.
She told me off today for not doing any more of these picture posts.
They weren't taken today (cos we were lunching and yacking).
But still taken on a Friday.
:: I am obsessed with this guy singing this song in his pink shirt. This long version, with the orchestra. Fab. (Will, who has for years patiently taught me about the music he loves, and who has introduced me to so many amazing bands and performers, is unimpressed. "Mum! It's so hideous! This is SO bad!")

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hanging in there
It's been three weeks since my last post.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
But I have good reasons for my absence.
I've been:
:: down to Albany for a week to look after my mum after shoulder surgery.
:: playing host, off and on, to Lily's boyfriend Nick's mum, Christina, and his younger brother, Carson. Christina took her boys and Lily on a two-week North-West adventure that started in Kununurra and ended in Exmouth, with helicopter flights over waterfalls,
camping' on beaches,

small plane trip over the Ningaloo Reef,
and diving with the whalesharks.

Lucky them!
I've also been:
:: thrilled to see Nick, and Lily's friend Jo, help Will to (negotiate the unnecessarily arcane process and) enrol at TAFE for the next semester. Will and Nick are both doing some fabulous art classes as part of a visual art course. Yay! Will's doing sculpture and drawing and digital art, all of which he excelled in at school in the US, so I'm expecting he'll be loving it. Yay! It's not San Francisco, but it is h-o-m-e! Even better!
:: trying (not very hard) to shake off a big addiction to online Scrabble on facebook, in which I have been soundly beaten by a man called Thor in Iceland, and Nick in Melbourne, and Tracey from Peppermint Land in NQ! Brilliant fun! I have won a game or two as well.
Hey — I'm in my mid-50s, it's good to find ways to exercise the little grey cells, isn't it? I also downloaded Bejewelled to my iPod this morning, while reading Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey (review later). More serious addiction problems soon to befall me.
:: burgled — some low-life walked into the back of our house one evening while David and I were watching telly in the living room at the front, and before the dogs started barking, stole Will's iPod Touch, my purse, David's wallet, and David's mobile phone. Nauseating. And there followed days of cancelling bank, health and insurance cards, ordering replacements and new PINs, and re-scheduling automatic payments and all that tedious stuff.
:: helping Lily and Nick, back from their Kimberley trip, to find a house. Which they have done. Today they move into their cute cottage just a 20-minute walk away. Since they got back from up north, they, and Carson, have been staying with us, along with all their s-t-u-f-f, so the house has been fairly crowded and jam-packed.
I'm planning a weekend of cleaning and spreading out again once it will be back to just David, Will and me.
I've loved having my girl and her fella here with us, though, and will miss all the comings and goings. Today is actually a big day for her and Nick. Bet they'll be glad to be off the sofa-bed and into their own house! Exciting!
I've also been:
:: knitting, and finished Mack's jumper (see the post before this) and a second clapotis which is almost identical to the first one. I had an awful lot of that wool. Still have. the colour is, um, special, but it's a blend of alpaca and silk, which is irresistible.
:: sewing, and made a cuddly, rosy throw-rug for my dear friend Maggie:
It was the perfect job for the weekend we've just had here in Perth, with gale-force winds and torrential rain — wonderful! I missed real weather all those years in San Diego, where it was either grey and overcast with another bloody marine layer (spring there is trapped beneath what locals tellingly call the May Grey and the June Gloom), or sunny. Never too hot, never too cold. Never rainy. And they r-a-v-e about their climate!
Got to get off my rear and help with the moving.
More later ...