Friday, January 27, 2012

it's all happening here

Today is my last official day of holidays. Cue sad face. It's back to work on Monday. I really don't know how I am going to manage to get out of bed before 8am and be at work on time. The first week might be a bit of a wrench I'm guessing. Still, it's been wonderful to have an extended break. I truly feel more relaxed than I have done in months. I've read lots of non-work type books. I've watched lots of TV. I've been to the movies. I've drunk coffees. I have napped in the afternoons. I went to Tasmania. Some days...I didn't even think about work at all. Amazing right? So, I know you're desperate to find out how I shall spend my last official day of holidays. Well, this morning I shall do some work on my LIS project. Then I shall luncheon, chat with my project supervisor, perhaps nap, watch some tennis, read some more of The Secret Garden and pretend that it isn't the last official day of my holidays. Yep, it's all happening here at Wendy's place.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thinking about the Muppets

On Sunday I went to see The Muppets. Being a Generation X child who was six years old in 1979 when the first film was released I had high expectations. I had been following the stream of trailers leading up to the film's official release. I had been sad when I realised it would be at least a week before I could get to a cinema to see the movie. I had heard that Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords was doing the music. I am a big FOTC fan so that was okay by me. I had spent much of my childhood watching the television series. I quite like Jason Segal and Amy Adams. So here's my verdict after a few days of mulling the whole thing over in my mind. I enjoyed it but I won't go to see it again. There were lots of lovely moments, there was fun, there were winks to the audience, the songs were good although they sounded like FOTC songs rather than Muppet songs, there were great choices of cameos, Chris Cooper made an admirable villain. This was all very well and good. But for me, it didn't "feel" like a Muppet movie. While I think the love of the Muppets that ran through the narrative was genuine, it was for me, too nostalgic. It relied on Muppet history so much that there was a sense that there was no moving forward. It was treading the fine line of when good postmodernism goes bad. And although it asked the question as to why the Muppets might have been forgotten with their yesteryear vaudevillian charms, it didn't quite recapture the tone of the Jim Henson glory days, thus providing its own answer. Perhaps Frank Oz was wise not to be involved. Perhaps he realised that there was no going back. My reaction to the movie was different to my sister's. She is 12 years younger than me. She didn't spend her childhood watching the tv show, or listening to the original movie soundtrack over and over and over on the cassette player in the car. She doesn't like it when I sing Rainbow Connection in my faux opera voice. She doesn't know the joke about the fork in the road. She doesn't have the same relationship with the Muppets that I do. We are of different generations. Many of our pop culture references are the same but in terms of Muppets we seem to be different. I vaguely remember reading once someone (it may have been Neil Finn) saying that the music you love when you are 25 stays with you for life. The same might be true for the pop culture of your childhood. It stays with you in a way that is unlike anything else that follows. And I think this explains my reaction to The Muppets. I didn't not like it. I appreciated the effort and the sincerity that had gone into it's production, but when the nuances of the voices of Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Kermit and Rowlf (to name a few) jar, when you find yourself wishing you were watching the original Rainbow Connection, not a do-over, you realise that you are pining for the original experience, but by the same token there is no way you can recapture that moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

what I did on my holidays

I had a beautiful holiday in Tasmania and it was sad to come home last Friday evening to stinky, hot Queensland. We had one hot day in Tassie where the forecast was 33 degrees. The locals were talking of nothing else but the weather. We Queenslanders felt a little like Mick Dundee, "Call that hot, THIS (humid and 35 degrees) is HOT". Not to say it wasn't warm, but it was dry and there was a breeze blowing all day. We ate dinner next to the beach at Randalls Bay near Cygnet. Some brave souls swam. I contented myself with paddling in the icy water which was plenty cool enough for me. By bedtime it was storming and colder. So you know, swings and roundabouts type weather. That's the boring weather talk over. My Mum and I left Bundaberg on the baby Qantas plane and changed in Brisbane for a direct flight to Hobart. We had to get up Very Early which meant by the time we arrived and added daylight saving it seemed like we had been up since 4:30am. This didn't stop us having a lovely lunch at the IXL building on the waterfront in Hobart. Then we went to the movies and saw the Women on the 6th Floor. This was a very nice film. What was even better were the leather lounges in the small downstairs cinema at the State Theatre. I may have dozed off at a couple of points. They were so comfy. Then it was "home" to Cygnet where we spent the next day planning our Thelma, Louise and friend road trip to the north. Unlike Thelma and Louise we did not commit any crimes or drive off a cliff to freedom from patriarchy. Instead, we stayed at a world heritage convict settlement farm stay at Brickenden outside Longford. Then we went to the Sunday morning markets at Evandale which are Excellent! I found some very cheap Carltonware to add to my little collection. There were also homemade scones and jam. Then it was off to Latrobe via Westbury and Deloraine. We visited astonishing shop which, if you have a phobia of dolls coming to life, should perhaps be avoided. They are everywhere. Dinner in Deloraine was a beautiful vegetarian pizza made from flour from the mill at Oatlands which we had toured on the way up the Midlands highway. The next day we drove down the Great Lake Road (I don't think that's its official name but it follows the Great Lake) and enjoyed the alpinesque scenery and brisk air before descending once more to Hobart and then home. Wednesday saw a visit to MONA which was both excellent and fascinating (and deserving of its own blog post elsewhere), a little bit of shopping and then back to the State Theatre for Hugo in 3D. What a stunningly beautiful film about film history. I lurved it and definitely agree with Margaret and David. Five stars all round. By then it was Thursday. We went for a little drive over to Franklin, at lunch in Huonville, bought some Valhalla caramel fudge ice-cream for our dessert and went home for final dinner. The next morning we trekked to Hobart with much heavier bags than when we arrived, had brunch at Jackman and McRoss, bought some home made chocolates, made sure the kilo of fresh blueberries were safely packed in my carry on luggage and hopped on the plane. We were sad to leave our wonderful friends. Here are some random photos.
(excuse my hair and weird expression...)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The weather is...changeable

In what is becoming an annual habit (three years counts as a habit doesn't it) I'm off to Tasmania on Thursday. The stinky Queensland summer has arrived just in time for me to be looking forward to this even more than I already was. The trouble is....the packing. I believe I have posted on this before but I can never decide what and how much to take with me. Lucky for me I still fit into my jeans (it was touch a go there for a few weeks) but it's the coat, cardigan, jumper, top situation that has me baffled. Last year I spent some days in a summer skirt and t shirt, and another freezing in a southerly gale in a polar fleece coat with a hood. The weather is...changeable it seems in a Tasmanian summer. So, wish me luck as I attempt to stuff everything into the suitcase, and fingers crossed that I have room for my pillow. Yes, that's right...I'm one of those people who is attached to their own pillow and takes it with them whenever they travel if possible! (This year I also have the added dilemma of whether to take my iPad as well as my iPhone. And of course the Kindle goes with me as well. So many cords and chargers!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

He got rhythm

Ah the first Wednesday of 2012. How exciting! Well not that exciting actually but I had to start this post somehow. What's Wendy been doing I hear you wondering? Not very flipping much to be truthful. I have been doing bits and pieces on my assignment. Although part of me is wishing I hadn't taken a summer subject I know that in the long run I will be very glad to have it completed. Apart from that there has been a fair amount of sleeping and reading. Of course there has been TV watching but that's no different to any other time of the year. I am very happy that ABC2 is rerunning Doctor Who from the beginning of the Christopher Eccleston series. The story lines were a lot less complicated back in 2005 weren't they? I mean, honestly, I could barely follow all the time-travellin' hijinks in the last series. Also watching Billie Piper emphasises just what an ordinary companion the Amy Pond character is compared to the previous gals - Rose, Martha, Donna. I am not sad to hear that she is leaving. I actually prefer Rory. How about a cool male companion for the Doctor? Any enough of that Doctor Who talk. What else have I been a'watching? On the weekend I found I had recorded An American in Paris so I watched that. Firstly, Gene Kelly is an astonishing and amazing dancer. Sure, he did like to get carried away with dream/fantasy dance sequences but that's forgivable. The music of Gershwin is timeless and one of my absolute favourite things in the whole world. I had missed the dry genius of Oscar Levant the first time I watched this movie (which was some years ago now). Here's a little treat for you: - you'll have to go to youtube I'm afraid as "embedding is disabled by request". Here's another absolute treat though! Such joy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What should I read first?

Hooray for me! I made it to 100 posts in 2011. As I wrote yesterday I resolve to do much better in 2012. I mean look at the years before that. I must have done nothing else but blog. I blame twitter actually which has gradually taken a much bigger part in my online activity. So the goal this year is to find a balance between the two. New Year's Eve was suspiciously quiet in my neighbourhood. Usually there is at least one party on the go that I can hear. But last night - nothing at all. I felt extremely noisy because I was watching the television until I went to bed at 10:30. I watched Graham Norton who I enjoy immensely. He interviewed Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law about their new Sherlock Holmes film. I didn't mind the first one but after seeing the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman Sherlock I much prefer it and am waiting for the new episodes. Then I FINALLY finished the biography of Steve Jobs. What can I tell you about it? It was very long and detailed. He was a man of contradictions who probably should have got some proper treatment for his cancer earlier. Although they may not have made any difference in the long term. We will never know. What I do know is that it has given me a whole new perspective on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook in terms of their design and operation. Anyway, I was glad to finish it before the start of 2012 because I had been plugging away at it for some time. I wonder what my first book of the New Year should be? It is the Year of Reading after all.