Monday, August 31, 2009

Hey Monday...look over there

Hey Monday
Not sure if you remember last Monday but I sure do. You seem to have arrived back again with suspicious speed. I do hope you're not stealing time from any of the other days of the week. (Not that I'm accusing you of anything underhand. No Sir or Madam). However, with those events in mind I'm asking if you could perhaps work your special patented brand of wizardry on someone else today. All I would like is a fairly smooth day that gets the week off to a pleasant start. Not too much to ask I'm sure even you will agree.
Have a good one
Kind Regards

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Wendy Watched: It's your Australian Idol

Thank goodness for the fast forward. Just got through 2 hours of Idol in 1. I'll spare you the revolting song choices and awful stage presences and keep it short this evening.

My picks are:

Tim, Teneille, Toby and Hayley. The rest were all a little bit ick.

And remember to get voting because it's your Australian Idol.

See you next Sunday Orstraylia.

Bookclub report: Rapper, flapper...whatever

We just never know where our bookclub choice is going to take us. Yesterday we had all watched Quiz Show. Some of us had seen it a few times, others never before. (We alternate between books and films). Reasons for never watching it before seemed to range from an ambivalence to an outright dislike of Ralph Fiennes. Fair enough. I don't find him to be the most scintillating of actors, but that seemed to suit his character in this film. That got us on to The English Patient. Two of us had seen it. One was vehement that it was highly overrated and way, way too long. This gave them something in common with Elaine Benes which is no bad thing. I haven't seen it because of my ongoing suspicion of movies that get rave reviews and look dull, long and boring. (See Forrest Gump, Titantic, Apollo 18 and many more). Plus I couldn't get through the book.

Back to Quiz Show. Everyone agreed that John Turturro was excellent as Herb Stempel. This lead us to a lengthy discussion of the Coen Brothers and some recommendations for further viewing. I wondered why Robert Redford had cast English actors in the leads - Paul Schofield, along with Fiennes. And we all thought Rob Morrow's accent was highly distracting. I also thought his eyebrows were a bit much, but forgot to mention that at the time. There was a lengthy discussion of the American Dream, memories of the introduction of television, the intersection of race, class, stereotyping in the media, spelling bees, knowledge for knowledge's sake, how much has changed or not in the quiz show genre, and the general working of television. We are indeed fortunate to have a real live American as one of our members for extra insight.

Then the highlight. Over afternoon tea somehow we got on to movies we had recently seen. Two of us recommended Ghosttown with Ricky Gervais (me being one of them). And two of us had recently watched The Changeling with Angelina. One had loved it. The other thought it slow, boring and in her eagerness to get her point across described Angie as being dressed a rapper (rather than a flapper). Cue much hilarity. I made a joke about baseball caps. I haven't laughed that much in an age.

(N.B. You probably had to be there)

Next time: Song lyrics. I'm excited about that!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Wendy Watched: dead good, dead sexy, dead annoying

And now we turn our attention to Australian Idol. I'm proud to say I haven't yet watched the 7pm Project. Am I missing anything?

Mr G is recapping last night's semi final. UGGGHHH... that Whitney impression really was cringeworthy. Such a shame.

The last six tonight. Tim, Kim, Tenille, Ed,Lucie and James. Looks exciting!!!

Last night's six are lined up awkwardly on the stage. That Sabrina is really really tiny. Here we go. Mr G has the big announcement of who are into the final 12.

Sabrina - WOOOOOOOO. That's the crowd.Not me.

Yes she does look like Fran Drescher.

And now...Scott. Good choice. Although Scott looks like he might drop over in shock. Typically inarticulate and genuinely surprised. That's nice. (I'm not being sarcastic)

Bye bye to the losing four.

My goodness Dicko is wearing a bright shirt. Marcia's happy apparently. JD has gone for yellow. Brave TV shirt colour if I do say so.

What the freak is Rikki Lee wearing? I'll leave that question right there.

Looks like Kim is up first. What dross will she have chosen?

Waking up in Vegas. I'm old. I don't know it.
Too shouty for me.But the judges loved it, in spite of Dicko's weird Vamp/Sandra Dee comments.

Now Ed. Oh he's serious, studying music at university. He sang the dreaded Hallelujah in audition. That goes with Nessun Dorma and I will always love you into the "never cover anywhere ever again" bin.

Foreign Land by Eskimo Joe. Not a fan. Let's see what Ed does.
At least it's not Roxette I guess. A bit of microphone stand action. Not a good look.Ick... falsetto screeching. I'm thinking awful. But what do the judges think? At last JD speaks some sense "not a great vocal". Agreed. Now Mr Pink shirt. Dicko's new favourite word seems to be "dead" - "dead good"/ "dead sexy" etc. It's already a little dead annoying Dicko.

Lucie. Beyonce. Oh spare me. This one has a better voice though. And at least she's not running all over the stage. Apparently Lucie needs to "find a destination". Thanks Dicko. Now Marcia is asking a question. Run away.

Next is Tim. (BTW Stan has the big glasses back).
AT LAST A DECENT SONG CHOICE: Signed, Sealed Delivered. Not easy to sing though. Come on Tim. Oh dear,last note out of tune. Noticeably.
And the judges say: Dicko isn't buying it. Harshness. BOOO...Marcia Mrs Nice Lady. JD agrees with Dicko. That's boring. Oh now we're having an argument between Mr G and Marcia about race. Interesting. More political than the 7:30 Report.
"Tricky" yes insightful comment Mr G.

Tenille: SInging...something I didn't understand Mr G say. At last someone who isn't pushing their voice. That was pretty. Marcia liked it. JD gave a backhanded compliment. Dicko taking on the strange comment mantle. Oh so they're asking her to ruin her vocal chords by pushing it. Bad advice.

James is last. Gnarls Barkley. Interesting choice. He can sing. Command of different registers is good for 18. Hey,I sound like I know what I'm talking about. Not sure about the stage presence though. Wasn't very exciting. Dicko liked it. Hmmm. Marcia loved the song. If she says "know what I'm sayin' much more I may scream.

That's it. Wildcards next.

What Wendy Watched: Those camels really are prettied up with ribbons

Running a bit late tonight so I'll spare you the recap of "previously on the Amazing Race". And now it looks like we're leaving the chilly climes of Northern Europe for India. As you may recall (or not) no one was eliminated but the flight attendants were last and that means this week they'll have to do a "speed bump". AMAZING.

Mr Phil Host Man is explaining something about a Russian theatre. He's recapping, the recap basically.

Margie and Luke are first off to Jaipur, India. Apparently they're looking for a clue at a sacred tree. Surely, that can't be too difficult. Tammy and Victor are next. Victor's telling us how fantastic he is. Boring. Tammy is sitting quietly. SHOUT AT HIM.
Jaime and Cara cheerleaders are next- "aggressivity" - no Jaime and Cara - that's not the greatest word. Mike and Mel leave quickly followed by the short stuntmen Mark and Michael - oh and they're brothers as well. I didn't realise that. Nice.

Everyone's at the airport. These scenes are particularly unamazing and repetitive. Back to Kisha and Jen sisters who are just leaving. So the flight attendants must be last to go looking for flights.

All teams flying to Moscow and then to India. Looks hot and colourful so far. Now the usual fight for the taxis.Victor is heading for "victory" apparently. I sense impending doom for Victor. At least I hope I do. Crazy scenes in the taxi car park. Doesn't seem to be any kind of rank. Mike and Mel are having trouble with their driver. Oh nice - he's going to do his best to drive very fast. Margie's noticing that India is "quite different to what we're used to". REALLY? What's amazing about that is that she felt the need to articulate the obvious. Oh now one of the cheerleaders is crying at the poverty. And so's Luke. Emotional, sad, poignant. Come on people, focus. You're looking for a tree. Get it together.

Thank goodness Ad Break time. I can drink my tea.

More taxi driving looking for the tree. Tammy and Victor arrive first to look for the clue. Little twist - a red phone under the tree with the next clue. They use the taxi driver to interpret. Is that allowed? Calling for Tammy and Victor to be disqualified. The rest of the teams arrive at the tree and fail to notice the obvious RED PHONE. Now that is amazing.

Still with the wandering around the phone...oh now someone thinks to look at it. And noone is using their driver to understand the phone message. Not like Victor and Tammy. The taxi drivers are really getting into the race with some wild driving. Amazingly the flight attendants notice the phone straightaway. Just as well because they're really far behind.

Oh Road Block. Care for Camel. Surely nothing can go wrong here. Those camels really are prettied up with ribbons and such like. They must know they're on the telly. Victor goes first.

Ads again already.

Victor's really exhausted. Or so he tells us. The camels are just chewing away waiting for their food and water. Everyone else is arriving now. Now there's just lots of running with buckets. Not sure why Mike and Mel picked Mel for such a physical task. He's suffering. Mike quietly wonders if it was a good idea after all. You think??

Darn it. Victor and Tammy are done and have their next clue. Next they're going to a puppet store.

Flight attendants have arrived at the camels. Meanwhile we focus on Mel huffing and puffing. I'm hoping there's an ambulance nearby.

Here's Livio explaining the weather. 16-28 in Bundaberg tomorrow if you're interested (which you're probably not). He's not in India. He's in the ad break.

Oh and by the way. Don't panic anybody. I'm recording Idol to watch next.

Back to the camel park. For goodness sake Mel get with the water. Now everyone's on to the grain. Mel is the only one bright enough to work out to use the baskets for the hay. The others are using their water buckets. Amazingly stupid.

Tammy and Victor now have the Detour choice: Movers or Shakers. Both look rather dire I have to say. T and V choose Shakers which involves traditional dancing in the street, in costume for money. I do wish Victor would stop emoting out loud.

Oh more of Mel puffing. Because we can't milk that enough. Amazingly now the others have discovered the baskets. About time too. Back to T and V dancing. Mel is puffing away with the hay. Suddenly Mel is in the lead. That's ridiculous. Cheerleaders are next. Then Margie and Luke and Kisha and Jen. So still left with camels Mark and Michael and the flight attendants who have made up quite a bit of time. Or so the editing would have us believe.

There's far too many ad breaks. 8 dollar thongs at Rivers. hmmm. Rivers stuff always looks better on the ads than it does in real life.

T and V are still scrambling for their 100 rupees.They're off to the pit stop. Bum.

Everyone else still has to do the Detour. Mel and Mike are going to dance.

Oh Mark and Michael...I think the rickshaw is a bad choice. The dancing seems a cinch. Good choice Kisha and Jen/Margie and Luke/ Jamie and Cara. What will flight attendants do. OH NO IT'S THEIR AMAZING SPEED BUMP. Decorating an elephant. Well that sounds simple everyone doesn't it?

Tammy and Victor you are Team number One.

Mike and to the pitstop. The flight attendants are making the elephant beautiful.Oh Christie and Jodi are their names. The attendants not the elephants. Jamie and Cara off to the pit stop. They're also throwing a tantrum because they've lost their taxi. It's got their bags in it. Now they're shouting at the taxi driver. Clearly they've read up on how to win friends and influence people.

Short stuntmen are still driving their rickshaws packed with tanks. Kisha and Jen are on their way to the pitstop while Mark and Michael stuff up a little more in unpacking the rickshaws. They're looking for a needle in a haystack. Or rather a little silver elephant in a pile of hay. Yes, because that will be easy. Christie and Jodie are up to the dancing already. Oooooh it's going to be close for last place.

Ads: I've never been to Aldi. Now that is amazing.

Mike and Mel you are Team number Two.

Flight attendants have finished the dancing and on their way to the pitstop. Somehow Mark and Michael short stuntmen have found the tiny silver elephant. Everyone is racing to the pitstop. Running, running, such amazing running.

Kisha and Jen - three

Margie and Luke - Four

Jamie and Cara - Five

Oh the suspense - will it be flight attendants or stuntmen in last place.

Mark and Michael you are team number six. Poor Christie and Jodie. They are last. Again. Eliminated.

Oh some crying now. Sadness.

New time next week: 8:30. Be there or miss out on...well not that much at all really.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Wendy Watched: Idol viewers repeat after me....

Repeat after me....

I will always love you is the pop music equivalent of Nessun Dorma.
I will always love you is the pop music equivalent of Nessun Dorma.

No-one should ever attempt to sing it again - in public or private
No-one should ever attempt to sing it again - in public or private.

Why that lovely little girl Aliqua thought that would be a good choice tonight on Idol I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA. It was cliche-a-rama. Pity really, because she can actually sing.

Curly haired boy no. 1 Daniel sang something I didn't know. All very pleasant, popsville, and unmemorable.

Then the Whitney/Dolly impersonation which was just awkward and embarrassing for all concerned.

The Jason sang Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven. That is a very pretty song...I just think again BAD SONG CHOICE for a glitzy competition like this. And what is the fascination with Coldplay? Nicole with red hair sang some piece of blandness from them. I don't like Coldplay. (Can you tell?). They saved the big ones for last. The bricklaying boy who had never sung in public before this....apparently. I hate that hippity-hoppity big cap, basketball singlet look. But I found him really entertaining. And Sabrina, the littlest pixie in the competition sang a big song that Dicko kindly told her could make her a Mardi Gras star. I'm not sure she was too thrilled with that. But she kept smiling anyway.

Oh and through from last night - two huge voices - Ashleigh and Nathan. Nathan had a hat on which hid his awfully big fringe. Oh and Stan had ditched the big glassess and returned to the beannie. However, there were two girls in the audiences in big glasses. Could they be the bunny ears of Idol 2009? Let's hope not.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Wendy Watched: SONG CHOICE PEOPLE

Is it too early to hang my head in my hands and sob uncontrollably while watching Australian Idol? SONG CHOICE PEOPLE.

You know there have been some decent songs written in the history of pop, rock, blues, folk, country etc etc. I would not include on that list All Fired Up (Pat Benatar), It Must Have Been Love (Roxette), whatever that Christina Aguilera thing was, anything by Rob Thomas or Alanis Morrisette. But that's just me. The Elton John sun song is okay but really...a little bit dated. It was like a bad night at a karaoke bar.

Who stood out? No-one really. Although the Roxette young lady was noticeable for her inability to sing in tune and all round blandness. Not sure what was going on there. And Ashleigh Aguilera and Lauren Morrissette are going to ruin their young voices if they continue to push them like that from the back of their throats. Well, that's what it sounds like anyway. Young Nathan (Elton)John has the truest and most techinically sound voice I think. But I really want to brush that hair back out of his face. He was probably the pick.

In judging news, Marcia's hair was nicely wavy tonight, while Dicko and Mr DJ continued to try distinguish themselves from each other without much success. Mr G did a nice job of hosting solo. And Ricki Lee is a giant. (in case you hadn't noticed)

Oh and Stan and Kate got through to the top 12 from last night. Stan - predictable. Kate - a little bit of a surprise. Toby Coldplay looks like it's back to the classroom. And tall Seth pretty eyes didn't make it either. hmmmm.

What Wendy Watched: Dicko kindly described you as bonkers

Australian Idol Semi Final One was full of feel-good comments from the judges, lots of screaming and home-made support signs. Dicko had a hair cut, Marcia was wearing an odd kind of white collar shirt contraption and new judge JD/ DJ was trying to establish a personality of his own. It's going to be difficult Mr J since you and Dicko seem to be record company clones. Still I didn't miss the unmentionable Mr Sandilands, because quite simply he always seemed like a tactless oaf. Perhaps he and Shane Warne could have a beer together sometime. I'm sure they'd hit it off.

Now because I had choir I had to record and watch later. This meant I didn't watch Dr Who but it didn't really matter because I have seen the first Martha episode very recently and I was recording it as well. All this recording meant I had to get my Mum to record Big Bang Theory which I will watch tonight. Phew, television is a logistical nightmare sometimes.

Right - now for my verdicts.

Hayley - Dicko kindly described you as bonkers in his own special endearing way. Not sure why you chose that boring Diesel song. I'm sure the words were easy to remember given they were so repetitive. You have interesting hair. I'm not sure what else of substance there may be.

Seth - As everyone pointed out you are very tall. You also play the piano although did not do so last night. Perhaps you should have (or is that not allowed?). Anyway, being an old person I'm didn't recognise your song and because I was fastforwarding through all the recaps and boring bits I missed Mr G introducing it. Seth, you have very pretty eyes but I don't know you have the "best voice in the competition". Still, the prettiness may get you a lot of votes.

Jamila - big risk singing Stevie Wonder and in a lower key as Marcia musically pointed out to us. Do you have a higher register? Time may tell. Dicko was right- the earrings were distracting. There is no need to drape thyself in quite so much jewellery. Let the singin' do the talkin'.

Toby - You are my favourite. But Coldplay? Boring. Pick a better song if you get a next time. And lose your Mum. It makes you look like a bit of a nerd. And just who are these "soccer mums" that are going to vote for you?

Kate - Rockin' and rollin'. "Lots of energy" - (If Dicko didn't say this I'm sure he should). I don't like the hat. But there may be a huge rural country music vote that will start texting. I don't know.

Stan - The judges are in lurve with you. I liked you much better in the heats. Plus the song, while very lovely, took too long to get going. So I was a little bit b-o-r-e-d spells bored. Please don't make the beanie thing your signature.

Wendy's words of advice: Stop walking all around the stage for no reason while you are singing. It's distracting and some of you looked very awkward. Still, early days. It's been a few seasons since I've bothered with Idol but I was impressed with some of the singing (and no for once I'm not being sarcastic).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Redeemed by Bach

Monday, it's me again. You have redeemed yourself somewhat with the above. (via Colin on fb)
Kind regards

Dearest Monday

Dearest Monday

I wore my happy red shoes with silver buckles and my shiny red bracelet in an effort to ward off the listless ennui of you, the first day of the week. However, it seems your magical Monday powers are strong. Stronger indeed than some cheap shoes and blingy accessories. For you threw me a great number of challenges - some tasks, some technological, some people, some financial - without any thought of whether or not they would make for a good day.

Here's a little tip Monday, free of charge from me to you. If you want people to like you, and say things like "Oh bliss and glee, why can't every day be Monday?" (instead of complaining bitterly every time you arrive) you might want to try treating us all with a little more respect. You could even throw some happy happy joy joy moments in there.

Just a thought.

Your sincerely


Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Wendy Watched: wuthering, wuthering, etc etc

I have now watched two episodes of the 1978 BBC serial adaptation of Wuthering Heights. I have some concerns, mainly revolving around the fact that I don't think this is a novel that would adapt well to any visual medium. Despite that fact it seems people can't leave it alone.

Why couldn't they do better with the lighting. In episode one where Mr Lockwood rides over to visit Heathcliff and co it is a beautiful sunny day. Then suddenly - BOOM - massive rain event and all is darkness. I know storms do sometimes come out of nowhere, but this was extreme to the point of ridiculous. (The rain machine sends the rain almost horizontal. I have been to Bronteland when it was raining. It seemed to rain vertically like most other places. And the horizontal rain continued into Episode 2). Also, Mr Lockwood was standing in a nice bright firelight kitchen. Cue attacking dogs, who were clearly filmed in another dark location altogether and then the editor stitched the scene together. And then, let's not even go to the supernatural, freaking out Mr Lockwood appearance of Cathy at the window. Basically, it looked like a white light, the was too bright for the interior lighting so strobed across the scene. And if that branch had knocked against the window I would have reached for the fast forward. We get it! Tap, tap, tap - let me in. The same lighting problem goes for any scenes with the big fireplace in the Wuthering Heights kitchen. Everything is drowned out in orange. I can't believe they did this on purpose.

For overacting, see the drunken Hindley, heaving himself about the kitchen on numerous occasions. Excessive indeed. And quite frankly Cathy appears to be a right pain - biting and slapping people. Why Edgar Linton even bothered with her is terribly unclear. And if there had been one more scene of Heathcliff and Cathy running together about the moors, hair flying, in bare feet, it would have fast forward time again. Yes, right, they are one soul, whose love for each other transcends the formal rules of society etc etc.

Anyway, I'm up to the bit where Isabella Linton falls for Heathcliff, now that he has returned from his absence and tidied his hair up. She keeps herself busy flinging herself on the couch in tears as people warn her against him. And Cathy is being a manipulative little minx. Hindley continues to drink himself away in between whipping his son Hareton. So all is as it should be.

So far, I don't really recommend it, however I shall persevere. I think I need to check out the Ralph Fiennes version. Or watch this:

Read the book though. It's much better.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Wendy Watched: amazing undie running

Everything is in place for my viewing of The Amazing Race. I have chamomile tea (in case the amazingness gets too exciting and I need calming), I have eaten a yummy piece of a chocolate brownie (only the second piece today - very restrained), I'm sitting on the new comfy lounge and I am watching Morag and Alf have a little spat at the end of Home and Away. I wonder when Pippa will appear. Or Bobby. Or Milko. Hmmmm. It has been some time since I watched Home and Away. Oh dear, someone seems to be throwing themselves into the sea. I'm sure it will all be fine. Gee teenagers do have a lot of problems don't they?

Moving on now. Hurry up Channel Seven.
Previously etc.....Siberia, the wood piles, the shutter challenge, the spelling of Chekhov. It was less than exciting.
Where to tonight dear host man Phil?? ooops...nearly forgot Amanda and Kris got the blind u-turn from Margie and Luke. This update is taking WAY too long. I am so addicted to capitals when watching these reality shows. Once again I stress, they are emphasis not shouting.

Exciting theme, strings, etc.

Still in Russia to start with. Wooo..check that swift cinematography. Here is host man Phil with some Russian dancers. And not very annoyingly he is recapping the recap. Pretty, it's snowing outside. And the teams are getting on a train. Amazing. The flight attendants get to leave first. Then the sisters. The snow is cold apparently. Who'd thunk it?

Oh only one train. So everyone gets on together. Mike White is quoting the Bible to delight of his Daddy. And we pull out of Siberia. Margie and Luke are chatting on the train.
Right still waiting for something amazing. Here's Tammy and Victor the siblings. They're smiling - I wonder how long that will last for.

(Geez that TV Burp looks chronic. And Here's Curtis with his 10 dollar meals he's cooking for the corporate supermarket devil down at the crossroads. Wendy sips her tea, calms down and marvels at the number of ads)

Back to Russia at the other end of the train journey. Running, backpacks, shouting. Taxis. The nice cheerleaders work together with Margie and Luke. That's cute. Because I reckon Margie and Luke will stab anyone in the eye to win. As well they should.

The short stuntmen catch a cab. (Unlike the Channel 7 promo dept I refuse to call them midgets). Again with the Stravinkyesque score. Without it, this would all look a whole lot less amazing.

Detour! Choices - Russian Bride or Russian Snow Plow. Both involve driving a Lada. One to take a bride to her groom, the other to find a plow and do some plowing. OK...I'm waiting for some amazing here people. Everyone stops for directions. Victor gets some instruction but doesn't tell anyone else. HAHA...everyone is following them anyway. Now Victor is scabbing off Margie's directions and then took off. Nobody likes you Victor. Especially Margie and Luke.

(More ads...more tea)

Back, still with the taxi-directions dilemma. Margie's worked out they can't trust Victor. Too right Margie. The flight attendants have chosen the bride, the short stuntmen the snowplow. Kisha and Jen the sisters have chosen the brides - and driving the whole way in first gear. Mel and Mike are going for the brides as well. Oooh they've found the bride. Now they're all in the Lada. The cheerleaders and MArgie and Luke have now CAUGHT UP to Victor and Tammy. Good!
Everyone's running for the snowplows. It's like a monster obstacle course.

Back with the brides, Mel and Mike and their bride are looking for the church. The cheerleaders got distracted by some drunken Russians. Stereotype anyone?

Now we're back on familiar ground with Victor bossing Tammy around as she takes her turn in the plow.
The cheerleaders are having their turn, as are Margie and Luke. Margie did quite badly. Kisha and Jen and the cheerleaders have found their brides. Darn it back at the plows Victor and Tammy are winning. So they get to go to.....the amazing library! Amazing. Closely followed by Margie and Luke and their cheerleaders.

Now the short stuntmen have arrived at the snowplow while Mel and Mike have found the church and the grooms. They're off to the library as well. The flight attendants have picked up a guide. Lucky because i think they're almost coming last. Amazing, the short stuntment did very well with the plows. Maybe they've done some plow stunt work before. And we go to the ads with the flight attendants at the WRONG CHURCH.

(Ads...Livio! Yay!)

Lost flight attendants asking for direction. How did they get so lost. That bride must be freezing in her wedding dress. MEanwhile back at the winning end of the race Margie and Luke and the cheerleaders have found the library. Oh and everybody's unfavourite pair of sibling lawyers - Tammy and Victor.

Oh no! Some underwear running in the snow. Running in their underwear to the ballet theatre pit stop. Now this is a little bit more amazing I guess. I imagine that cold weather would make you run pretty quickly. Is anyone surprised that Victor got out of this one. Tammy takes over Cara but I think Luke is in the lead. Dear me Mike is going to run. Which of the stuntmen will choose the undie run? Well one did but I can't tell them apart.

(Ads...double take looks a bit poor as well. Has anyone tried the new vegemite. Looks pretty yucky)

Oh Kisha and Jen sisters are still looking for the church with their bride as well. Looks like the plow was the best choice. At least these sisters are in the right place. They don't know about the underwear racing yet though. And now the flight attendants have managed to land themselves in last place.

And the cheerleaders are doubting Victor's integrity as well. YAY Margie and Luke have made it to the ballet first! Where's host man Phil.Here. Margie and Luke you are team number ONE! Cue screaming and jumping up and down. Can someone give that poor boy some clothes?
Right let's see who comes in last. The flight attendants and the sisters haven't even made it to the library to start of the race.

(ads...leaving Kisha and Jen stuck in a broken car in crazy Russian traffic. Don't fret. I'm sure they'll make it. Or not.)

See, the car started right after we got through all those ads. Mel and Mike you are team number FOUR.

Mark and Michael (short stuntmen) Team number FIVE.

Kisha and Jen you are Team number SIX

Flight attendants you are the last team to arrive. Oh TWISTAROONI...a non-elimination round! They're still in but they will have a speedbump next round.

The end!

Amazing-ish I guess.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Wendy Watched: Pedantic nerdery

I am just loving The Big Bang Theory at the moment. It's been so long since I've enjoyed a traditionally styled sitcom and this one appeals particularly because it draws its comedy from the world of research and academia. The character of Sheldon is a delight in his pedantic nerdery. And Leonard (who was once Darlene's boyfriend on Roseanne) is cute as the boy in love with the girl across the hallway. If you're skeptical about its joys then I urge you to watch this - a gem of a moment from a few weeks ago (here in the Australian showing):

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What Wendy Watched: We didn't do amazing things

This belated Amazing Race update is brought to you by the fact that on Thursday evening I had to watch Quiz Show so I could get it back to the library by Friday, thereby avoiding a fine on someone else's library card. It's our next bookclub choice selected by yours truly.I like it because it's about telly. Anyway, to The Race.

The show seemed a little bit less than AMAZING this week. Although, for one thing Tammy and Victor amazingly were not sniping at each other. Probably because they were safe in the knowledge that they weren't coming last. What was amazing was the fact that the producers couldn't come up with any more interesting challenges in Siberia than 1. stacking wood 2. building and installing wooden window shutters 3. going on a roller coaster and finding the letters that spelled out Chekhov. It wasn't even amazing that only Victor (of Tammy and Victor) seemed to have heard of Chekhov - oh and of course Mike White's Dad Mel. But then he's old and probably had a decent education (tongue firmly in cheek there people). It was pretty funny when just about every couple's wood pile fell over just as they were getting to the top. And it did seem that the short stuntmen pair were amazingly unobservant in not being able to find the house that needed the shutters. Perhaps, the only really mildly amazing drama was that Margie and Luke decided to U-Turn Amanda and Kris (I think that's their names - the barbie doll dating couple anyway). So, surprise surprise they were eliminated. AND THEY DON'T EVEN SUSPECT MARGIE AND LUKE. That's not amazing either. Because Margie and Luke don't seem like the blind-u-turning kind of racers.

However, in really amazingly stupid news I mistakenly taped half an hour of law and order instead of United States of Tara. Amazing and annoying actually.

Forward ho to a changed life through education!?

One of my "iss-ewes" teaching in a division, outside of faculty, and my research area, and in a university preparatory program is the question of research workload. Officially, the word has been 20% of an academic's workload at my institution was to be devoted to research. (I shall pause for some of you to fall about on the floor with hysterical laughter).

When I became employed permanently, I rather naively thought that this 20% would be a reality, time in which I could pursue my research into television. Sad for me, at that time my division had decided that its academics would only be supported (time wise and financially) if they were researching "teaching and learning". Although, clearly I was involved in the practice of teaching and learning, I had little interest in researching it. Also, I didn't see why there was no recognition of the contribution I could make to the division's research profile with my own work. This was not to mention, that as one of the minority of academics in the area with a research higher degree, I couldn't quite make sense of the division's refusal to recognise that it might be helpful for preparatory students (who we were teaching write and research academically) could see someone modelling that behaviour. Let me say, that I was not the only one in this "boat" as it were. There were few of us who had come into teaching the preparatory program who had PhDs in other disciplines. As we began to express our frustration both at the mythical 20% research workload, and at the ridiculousness of constricting research support to some areas and not others, things have slowly begun to shift and become more flexible. This is good. The 20% still doesn't exist, and "downtime" in our non-teaching term is also a mirage, however, we have been allowed to return to our disciplines, albeit with the condition that we do "some kind" of research into teaching and learning.

With this background in mind, two of my colleagues and I have begun a project looking at the role of the contemporary academic, particularly in preparatory/ enabling programs. We have all come from elsewhere, we have all taught in undergraduate courses in our own disciplines, and for various reasons have found ourselves teaching in a preparatory program. Questioning assumptions as to how our work as academics (teachers and researchers) is viewed by ourselves, our colleagues, and others further afield is the overall aim of the project. At the moment, the "project" consists of a paper in process. I have spent the morning reading and writing about the practice critical reflection in adult education. Contrary to my assumption about research in teaching and learning, it is surprisingly interesting, and much of it, particularly writing by Stephen Brookfield, resonates with many of our sometimes skeptical views. The main issue we are trying to pull apart ( I shall refrain from using the "d" word) is the theme of transformation. In our program, transformation, through developing self-awareness and reflective journalling, is a key element, one that it is assumed all students will successfully engage in. Forward ho, to a changed life through education! It is explicitly scaffolded into the curriculum. However, what of those students who resist the notion of "transformation?" - touchy, feely as it can sometimes be. And what of the teachers who are teaching this curriculum who are slightly uncomfortable with telling students "thou shalt transform and this is how thou shalt do it?". That is what we are really interested in. For it's my view that education certainly has a transformational potential, but surely we can't insist or guarantee that it will happen. And then, what of those of us teaching it with slight reservations? Does this tension also transform us or our teaching of the curriculum in any way? - good or bad? How do we balance this in our teaching practice?

As you can see at the moment we have a lot of questions and not many answers. It's only the beginning. If you have any thoughts they would be most appreciated.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday shopping list

Scrambled eggs and coffee
Vegetable Lasagne for Wednesday's lunch at work ordered from Rosiblu Gourmet deli (6-8 serves)
Brown skirt
Stripey grey top with cowl neck
Purple top also with cowl neck
Boring groceries
Weekly supply of strawberries
Four pack of jumbo sized pumpkin scones from the bakery
One pair of red shoes with silver buckle (backless slip-on)
One pair of black strappy sandles (peep toe with a back)
One Flight of the Conchords Series 2 DVD

I think I have all the essentials in place.

Friday, August 14, 2009

you may find this amusing

This has brightened my Friday morning no end. Thanks to Murray for sending it to me.
If you love cats and hate opera, or if you hate cats and love opera, or even if you are ambivalent towards both cats and opera you may find it amusing.

Needless to say, I did.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday question time

1. Where has the week gone?
2. Why do research applications take so long to conjure up?
3. Why do they have to contain so many weasel words?
4. Why is dealing with challenging people so damn challenging?
5. Why do I never remember The Amazing Race is on Thursdays until the very last moment?

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Wendy Watched: Daryl Somers for Idol judge please

Firstly, The Einstein Factor which was a series final. I know I harp on about this a fair bit but without Matt Parkinson and Barry Jones the brains trust is just not that good. Still, I made do with the lawyer fella, Liz Ellis and the other guy with glasses who is apparently on the radio somewhere. In the end Hitchcock films managed to squeak past FDR while the man with the Zulu Wars clearly had answered all the questions he knew in the preliminary because his score was dismal.

Then I started my flipping between Idol and Dancin'. Helen Ritchie was wearing a blue sheer curtain if you're interested. Sonya Kruger was wearing what looked like a bath towel. Do the channels conspire to both be on ad breaks at the same time. If not, it worked out that way most of the time by unfortunate accident. This meant I missed out on the tiny Russian dancer giving it to the judges about exactly what West Coast Swing is. Yes I know, dancin' controversy. I did manage to catch an appropriate number of embarrassingly bad singers. Fame and celebrity induced delusions are rife throughout our culture it seems. There were some good ones though - the school teacher from Adelaide, the abattoir workin' girl, the young shop assistant. Sadly, it seemed they were few and far between. I worry for those who are rejected. And the poor girl who had been rejected once before and thought singing karaoke for three years was the best training for improving just made me a little bit sad. Anyway, back over at the ballroom blitz Gerard the blind dancer made the cut again while Fiona O'Loughlin got the thumbs down. And she was wearing such a fringey dress as well.

Other random thoughts: Where has the goggly eyed host gone to? Still Andrew G is easy on the eye. What is the go with Rikki-Lee? Marcia's hair is pretty this year. Dicko does actually know what he's talking about. (BTW he was one of my favourites on Dancin'). My opinion of Kyle remains unchanged. He seems to be a tactless oaf (and this was my opinion before "the incident"). Forget calls to bring him back. I'm starting a campaign to bring back Daryl Somers to Dancin'. OR (here's an absolute genius thought) perhaps he could be the third judge. He can play the drums you know. Surely, all those years on Hey Hey count for something. He'd combine Mark Holden dagginess with a geniality that is sadly lacking. That'd be a nice poke in the eye for Seven as well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What Wendy Watched: I really have to look away for the forensicky stuff

For those of you who have been on the edge of your computer keyboards waiting for my verdict, I did watch the United States of Tara again this week. My comments about Toni Collette being absolutely fabulous still stand. I'm still less sure about is the overall tone of the program. Is it meant to be funny? Dramatic? Melodramatic? It seems to have a toe in every paddling pool. (What the hell is that writing's Sunday afternoon pls forgive me). In the effort not to provide a patronising portrayal of the dissociate identity disorder I find myself wondering if they've gone too far the other way. Surely, it can't be just so everyday and ordinary for her and her family living the life they have. I know there is angst and trouble depicted but still it's feeling a little awkwardly pitched. That might just be me. I shall continue to watch with interest.

And now this evening I am in a total television watching dilemma. Finding myself without the means to record anything (HURRY UP LG WITH MY DVD RECORDER) there's going to be a whole lot a flipping going on. The Einstein Factor is cuddly early evening Sundy night viewing which is non-negotiable. I'm nuts for trivia (and make an excellent trivia night team member if I do say so myself). But then where to turn? To my shame for the last few weeks I have returned to Dancing with the Stars, even though I swore once they got rid of Daryl and Paul Mercurio I would no longer grace it with my television gaze. But you know, the glitz, the glamour, the awkwardness, the blind contestant, Helen Ritchie's increasingly bizarre's sucked me back in. But then there's Australian Idol starting. Although I can probably miss the audition shows and just get up to date once there's a top 10 or 13 or whatever they choose. And then at 7:30 Stephen Fry in America. Will he be as entertaining as Billy Connolly? Probably not fair to compare them really - such different styles. But still I guessing it's eminently watchable for a Sunday night. So what to do? (And it's thanks to Mr Fry that I've started glancing at Bones, against the advice of my mother who is an aficionado of the books and says the TV series is rubbish). Even though I really have to look away for the forensicky stuff. Because I am so much a wuss.

Hmmm...this post seems to have taken a wayward turn. Oh well.

I haven't even mentioned the cricket where it looks like Australia actually might win! And Little Miss Sunshine - which I love but probably don't need to watch in a long drawn out ad-infested way on television.

Watch, Listen and Singalong: Part 27: Smiley Sunday Song

This song always make me smile. (Even while I'm spending Sunday reading articles about critical reflection and adult education.) That's some powerful music right there.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Accusation by cat

The cat is looking at me in a most accusing fashion. How dare I remove it's beloved blue corner suite and replace it with this brown ("raisin") monstrosity.

It keeps walking to the spot the blue reject lounge used to occupy and lolling pathetically on the floor. I fear our relationship may be cool for the next few days.

Meanwhile, I get to sit, lie, nap, read, watch TV in comfort.

Take that sulky cat.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Wendy Watched: Gypsy Moves or Vampire Remains

Ok in celebration of what should be the final evening watching TV on the crappy blue lounge, now ripped to pieces by the fat cat, I am attempting to live blog The AMAZING race. Because it's AMAZING.

At the moment we are reliving previous episodes "Previously on the AMAZING race....etc"
I missed the first episode due a tv program reading malfunction (i.e. I forgot to watch it) so had to catch up last week with the cream pie fights and the parasailing. And the very sad, yet AMAZING elimination of the yokels.
Here we go with the AMAZING credits. Looks exciting...whoops I mean AMAZING.
The AMAZING race is like when you start with a new class to teach. It takes a couple of weeks to learn all their names.

This is Salzburg...the birthplace of Mozart. It's like a history lesson isn't it?
Tammy and Victor - siblings - are off to Bucharest...Romania. There's a clue there apparently...and gymnastics. Tammy seems to spend her life being bossed around by Victor. Victor is a little bit annoying actually.

Here come Mel and Mike - father and famous son. Well, one movie famous - but it is School of Rock. Yeah. cool and dagsville at the same time.

Now for Luke and Margie - son and mother. Luke is deaf so they kindly subtitle his signing.They don't know where Bucharest is - Hungary? Oh Poor Lukeand Margie...come on.

Here's Brad and Victoria...oh he's sharing...emotionally. Lovely.
Everyone's getting on the train to go to the airport? Mystery couple whose name I missed..they're going run really fast apparently. That will be AMAZING.
Here come Kisha and Jen. Siblings of whom is bossy. And now Mark and Michael who are short. And the blondes..whose names I have missed. They've come last nearly last every week. That's probably all we need to know. It's not amazing in any way.

Tammy and Victor are on the plane..but's having technical problems...they're turning back. AMAZING drama and tension.

(I wonder how they got Stravinsky to write the Rite of Spring like soundtrack. Certainly makes the whole thing appear more exciting than it really is). Now all I'm noticing is the music.

Flight delays now holding couples up. that's not really amazing at all is it. The last half couple losers are still all at the airport.
Escalators, dodgy camera work, lots of standing at the ticket counter and pretending to be polite.

Ad: my that True Beauty looks like an interesting program. I think I shall not watch it. Optus...I've never understood the significance of the little animals in their marketing. Is Optus supposed to be cute and cuddly? Oh and the Army Reserve. Yes that's definitely convincing me to join up. I definitely haven't got what it takes. And KFC. Mmmmm amazing chicken. I don't eat chicken so that one is wasted on me. Woolworths Everyday Rewards. Yes I am a member. I am yet to find out what it does for me though. Optical Superstore. I already have glasses thankyou very much. Obligatory Channel 7 program promo. TV Burp. "the boring bits made fun". No the boring bits inserted in between other boring bits actually.

Back to the AMAZINGNESS. Still trying to get to Bucharest. Hurry up for goodness sake. How hard can it be?

Oooh cut to Bucharest. The smart ones have managed to make it. Off to do some AMAZING gymnastics. This should be fun. Here is Mr host man whose name I never can remember. They have to learn gymnastics for the AMAZING Road Block. Small children demonstrate how amazingly easy it is. Amanda and Kris (dating) are now in first place and they're going to Transylvania. Ooooohh. Scary.

Now Mike White on the balance beam. The gym wear is not flattering. Nuff said...yes?!
Mother Margie is done. She and Luke are on their way.

Oh this is the ad for Double Take. Sketch shows are so 1980s. You she goes, she goes, she goes, she just goes...
I'm drinking my chamomile tea now so you'll just have to imagine the rest of the ads.

The short stuntmen brothers have now arrived with the second gang of pairs to do the gymnastics. Oh there is a cheerleading pair and a flight attendant pair. Surely that's overkill.

AMAZING Tammy and Victor have now gone from first to what looks like last. They're still looking for the gymnastics roadblock. Hopeless. Tammy's really stressing, Even Kisha and Jen are now ahead. Tammy doesn't know how to do a cartwheel. Victor is certainly full of slightly unsupportive advice. Lots of dissonant brass underscoring. Victor quite rude to poor Tammy. I didn't see him volunteering to do a cartwheel.

Everyone else has left to get on their way to Transylvania. Oh and now Tammy is crying. Good let's get the crying over and done with early.

Ads. Oh it's Livio. For those of you who don't live in the regions you're missing the most excellent and pedantic weatherman ever. He's from our local Wide Bay News. Livio Regano. Everyone loves him. He's just told me the weather. Thank you Livio. You are AMAZING.

Back to Bucharest. On the train with the first gang of pairs. They're looking for the Black Church! Sounds AMAZINGLY scary. Cue shot of a full moon.

Brad and Victoria are still back in Amsterdam. Not sure why. It's an AMAZING feat of concentration to try and keep track of everyone. I don't think they've even made it to the gymnasstics.

Detour: Gypsy Moves or Vampire Remains. Well there's no choice really is there?
Oh and there's impaling. It's all getting a bit AMAZINGLY gory really. Some choosing gypsies, others the vampires.

Goodness poor Brad and Victoria are remainingly AMAZINGLY optimistic given they haven't even done the Bucharest gymnastics.

Mel and Mike are now regretting the gypsy detour. They have to move a heap of stuff including half a car on a cart. Yes I can hear you. It is AMAZING. They do get to do it accompanied by some nice gypsy accordion playing though. The gypsies are laughing. A lot.

More ads. They're packing them in tonight. Is that a wombat dear Optus? A groovy dancing wombat? And now Curtis Stone has sold his soul to Coles. If it's good enough for Jamie Oliver I guess our Curtis can do the same. (Was Jamie Tesco's or Sainsbury's? I can't remember)

I have an irrational dislike of Johanna Griggs. She's right up there with Shane Warne.

Here come the vampire teams. Spooky into the woods dear friends.A cute wooden sign "To Coffins" or "To Impaling". How civilised.

The cheerleaders and Margie and Luke are still in their cabs on their way to the Detour. Frustration with the Transylvanian cab drivers. Oh they've made it FINALLY to the vampires.

Amanda and Kris (dating) are in 1st place. They are on their way to the Pit Stop. Mel and Mike - go darlings you're in second place. Looks the gypsy challenge was the best choice after all. The vampires are mucking about with keys and locks and coffins. Looks fiddly.

Tammy and Victor are lost in the woods, yet to even find the coffins while Brad and Victoria have only just finished the gymnastics. Oh no AMAZING DRAMA. Amanda and Kris have lost their bag with ALL THEIR MONEY AND PASSPORTS. That's not amazing that's just careless. Oh they've found it. Crisis averted. Phew. But they did lose their first place. Sad face.

Man Mel is really huffing and puffing. He just keeps on trucking though. "Mel and Mike: You are team number one!". Oh they've won a little prize. A trip to Costa Rica. And now Mel is telling us how special Mike is. And not just because he is his son. Shucks.

Amanda and Kris: Team number 2

More AMAZING is that Tammy and Victor are still lost in the woods. They're lawyers. So now they're arguing with each other. Cue cymbals. And ads. Corinne Grant must be hard up for a gig if she's hosting "Airways". That really looks like a quality, entertaining program. (But then she was on The Glass House. Which I hated. Wil Anderson..another of my celebrity irrational dislikes). So she's used to being on crap TV shows. Pity.

(Oh Wendy do tell us what you really think)

Tammy and Victor I think you might be overanalysing the whole situation. What if you just went back to the beginning and started again. There's every chance that Brad and Victoria might catch them up. AMAZING.

Meanwhile back at the short stuntmen. They've done with the gypsy challenge. Victor is now crying. In the woods. And won't let Tammy make a decision. Oh now he agrees that they should go back to the beginning!

Oh there's a hooded villainous like character at the coffin challenge. Cute.
Everyone's arriving at the pit stop. Except for sniffling snuffling Victor. NOW he finds the arrows. I don't understand why Tammy just didn't leave him in the woods.

Now Victor is being a leetle bit overdramatic "I don't care if I die!" Really. It's A GAME. Now they can't find the keys. Victor might throw a tantrum soon. That would be AMAZING television. Oh, instead he found the key. I refuse to believe the cameraman didn't help him. Or the scary hooded man with the directions to the Pit Stop. I think Tammy and Victor might hate each other right now. Cue more crying. "We're alive and that's what matters". Puh-leese Victor. Give me a break with the pop psychology. Yes Tammy, please speak up a little bit more. For example. Tell Victor to shut up occasionally.

Now we wait for Brad and Victoria. They have chosen the vampires in the dark. And seem to be covered in fake blood. No-one else got fake blood. Oh no. They're eliminated. Bye.

They're actually calling the short stuntmen "midgets" in next week's promo. Is that acceptable? I'm not sure....

When will I ever learn?

I ate a Freddo frog for afternoon tea.
When will I ever learn that I hate milk chocolate?
Perhaps the answer is blowing in the wind.
Yes...I did manage to segue from milk chocolate treats to a Bob Dylan reference in the space of two sentences.

Sorry everyone. My gantt chart is giving me trouble. Normal posts will resume as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let's get this Wednesday started

Two for the price of one. Subliminal plus It's Kickin In.
Go Wednesday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gallimaufry Monday

So like, I'm applying for a early career research thingy ("fellowship" is the technical term I believe). I've written aims, objectives, a research program, drawn up a colour coded table of activities, matched objectives with KPIs, used words like nexus, strategic, diversity, productive, collaboration, cross-institutional, stakeholders, leadership, networking and more. Somewhere in among all of that is what I actually want to research. My brain is tired with all the thinking up of the stuff to write and the using of the clever research application type words.

In other late-breaking Spiralling Shape news I have got the new Wilco album from iTunes and am listening now. Indulging in a little alt-country for a Monday. They will never surpass the brilliance of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but then who could?

This post is a bit of a gallimaufry really isn't it. I'll continue. Today, was funny thinking hat day in our lecture. I got to wear a peroxide blonde wig which was fun.

Oh and I had soup for lunch. Again. No surprises there. I highly recommend the campbells microwave slow cooked beef and tomato with cracked pepper.

(Gallimaufry was our first word of the week with our students. They love using it whenever they can now.)

Oh and last night I started watching The Devil Wears the Prada. What was the big fuss here? I turned off before the end because quite frankly I was bored.

That's all. (see the little Devil Wears Prada joke there. Is that postmodern? I'm just not sure anymore. If I have to ask does that make it post-postmodern. Do the posts cancel each other out meaning I am just modern? Do I even exist - in modern form or otherwise?)

See what writing grant application thingys does to you.

Or is it "thingies". I'm sure there's a nexus between Meryl Streep, postmodernism and writing applications, but I couldn't be bothered to even try and begin "strategically negotiating their diverse tensions". And how would I ever measure the KPI of this objective? What would it produce? Perhaps some kind of chameleon like, ironically reflexive soup made according to an annoying template? Would it have to be microwavable or is that optional like a timeline or gantt chart?


(shuffling off to choir now...)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Woeful with a capital W

I miss my dvd recorder.

I think I am going to have try and get all technical and hook up the old one. Last night's TV viewing was Woeful with a capital W. I need to be able to at least watch DVDs even if I can't record stuff.

Just sharing.

As you do.

On your own blog.

Even if noone else is interested.