webcowgirl: (Default)
I'm still sick, which is boring. On the other hand it doesn't appear anyone wants to actually do any work this week, so the speed I'm going at at the office seems to be about right for the rest of the crew. I busted my nuts getting some paperwork together so I was "ready to go" the first day back to work; the people I was supposed to meet with (from our parent company) didn't have time to bother with me for THREE WEEKS. It both pisses me off and makes me glad I didn't try to work any harder over the holiday.

On the other hand, it has all made it clear that there will be no work being accomplished until after the reorg, which is supposed to officially kick off at the beginning of February. So I've booked a trip to the Red Sea, where I will do the open water diving part of my PADI beginner SCUBA cert, for the last 5 days of January. The first half of the diving certification course I'm going to do here in London, a week from Saturday, as a matter of fact, and as it's a one day course instead of two I'm going to have to pack a bit of studying in over the next several days. I've got the book and DVD at hand thanks to the guy who sits next to me at work, so I'm all ready to go with the home study. I'm also planning on making a day trip to see Petra, the rock city in Jordan featured prominently in one of the Indiana Jones movies. It's been on my life list of places to go for ages, and it's the thing that pushed me to just do this trip despite the fact I am having to go by myself (and I hate travelling alone, it frequently does my nut). But look at this post I wrote in 2008 just after coming back from Egypt and still not seeing everything: I can always go back, after I visit Greece and Turkey and Morocco and ... and somehow I actually have visited all of these places in the last two years! It seems kind of amazing! Anyway, so sunshine and pretty fishies and Petra and rah. :-)

I've also been to two shows the last two evenings, both of which were excellent. Get Santa!, which I seriously went to see because tickets were available for only 5 quid (and still are for tomorrow evening's performance) was a brilliantly fucked up play about how a 10 year old sees Christmas and what they would do if they Ruled The World - or, worse yet, if their TEDDY BEAR ruled the world; it actually wasn't cute at all but rather sinister and completely awesome. Then tonight I went to see this silent live action animated movie musical called The Animals and Children Took to the Streets which also fully inhabited the world of dream logic and was pretty well awesome (though not as good as Get Santa!). It was sold out but we got there at 6:30 and queued for tickets, and I do feel our time was well rewarded despite the very crowded conditions inside the theater. I loved it, but full details will have to wait for my write-up, which I think I will do soon.

Anyway, so that's my new year trying to get off to a better start. Pretty much when I picked up the book of Charles Stross short stories and went to see the Big Sleep (a perfect film) at the BFI, things started improving.
webcowgirl: (Ozu)
My "keep yourself busy" strategy for the month of February has really kept me hopping this week. Fortunately I've still been seeing lots and lots of Ozu, which means going out but not coming home late. This week we saw Late Spring, which was really just quite a Japanese movie. It had a tea ceremony, a trip to Noh theater (have never seen it before!), and lots of visits to sake bars. It also really pointed out some very Japanese attitudes that I'd never conceived of before, such as that getting remarried (even after being widowed!) would make you unclean. I especially enjoyed the scenes set in Kyoto, which reminded me of J and mine's trip back in 2001, right before I started that horrible job at the insurance company. (The icon is from Floating Weeds, by the way.)

Wednesday, then, was a trip to see Bette Bourne of Bloolips in A Life in Three Acts. Bette had a lot of great stories to tell (the play was about her life, basically a reenactment of a series of interviews) and I really enjoyed the insight into 50s-80s London. Whoda thunk that being an actor could be just as much of a trade as being a printer? And also it was great to hear someone who felt so strongly "I just gotta be me."

Last night was a Fado colored dance show at the Linbury called "God's Garden" (which I haven't written up yet). It was a little incoherent but pleasant enough - they did give out wine to the audience and there was a very hunky man taking off his clothes. Beforehand we went to Kitchen Italia, which unfortunately has gone for those bench seats I hate so much. They also made their waiters upsell you to "filtered" water when you ask for tap specifically. I was aggravated, and to make it worse the risotto was chalky (read: underdone). But I ran into my old coworker Ken there, and he didn't snob me off. We'll see if he really wants to hang out and play games.

And if there are any Faulkner fans out there, this New York Times article about a notebook that influenced much of his writing is well worth reading.

Off to work now ...
webcowgirl: (Naruse)
The BFI is having an Ozu film festival. It started yesterday but wisely I decided not to make any kind of strong plans for that day. Instead, I started the festival today with a silent movie double feature, "I Flunked, But ..." and "A Straightforward Boy," with piano accompaniment promised.

Well, this was really one for the Ozu collector, as "Boy" was missing part of the beginning and the end and generally seemed lacking in plot. A young boy is kidnapped and gets the better of his kidnappers, forcing them to buy him toys, attacking him with them, then setting his toy-hungry friends after them.

Next was "Flunked." This was supposed to be quite the comedy, but while I got a bit of a kick out of watching the five students do coordinated moves and realized there was a comedy moment in that the one guy who didn't pass was the only one who got a job, still, there was nearly a total lack of character development or other interest in this movie and I had a hard time not dozing off.

Still, I'm excited about the series as a whole, and am looking forward to my next trip back to the BFI to see more movies by this Japanese master. However, I may choose to see more talkies in general.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Work. Um. 2 hour long meeting in which we were being "listened" to? And other stuff. Not okay for non f-locked post. Had enough time for lunch and walked all the way to Tay Do, a Vietnamese restaurant recommended by a food blogger. Had soup. Yum.

Night: went to see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and found it boring. Movies need to exist as more than an excuse for visuals, and the acting, dialogue, and story were all lacking. We were quite disappointed. Not so bad as to send us out of the theater, but the near total lack of payoff made it seem tempting. Afterwards we went back to Tooting and broke in a new dosa restaurant right near our tube stop. Yum!
webcowgirl: (Default)
Last night we went to see Insane on the Brain after work, a show that rated for me because 1) Clement Crisp liked it and 2) it was supposed to run about 90 minutes, thus letting me get home for my now much earlier bedtime. Review writing was challenging though due to, well, needing to get some freaking sleep and then this strange thing that's been happening lately where I'm working my ass off at work. It's so bad I don't leave the building and I'm going to have to work hard to start getting a gym schedule back (think my stamina is up for it even though I'm still snotting and coughing). Anyway, I did my review of the show IN THE MORNING when I was hardly even awake and then finished it on my phone while walking to the tube and then to my work from the station nearby. It's dedication, I tell you. That said, I'm expecting readership of my blog will go down.

Anyway, tonight we went to see a movie, which means all entertainment and no writing duties (other than voluntary LJing). Cloudy with Meatballs was light and fluffy and the kind of thing I'd imagine psychedelic drug users would enjoy immensely (especially the bit with the gummy bears, which had just a bit of an Akira feel to it). 3D is really so much better than it used to be: it even worked for [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy!

Uh ... I'd like to write more about work but will only do it in locked posts. Also, the only reason I'm really writing right now is because I'm working at one of the remote sites and can sleep in a bit as I don't need to be at my desk at 8:30 ... I just need to be at Waterloo at 9:10 or so. Thus I can be online at 10:30 at night, but I'm so tired I don't even want to be online anymore! I'm actually kind of relieved there's so little content on LJ these days, as to catch up between what I read before I went to work and what was produced between then and now didn't even take a whole page of flist reading. Anyway, night all ....
webcowgirl: (Default)
J and I are going to see Star Trek tonight at the Odeon Tottenham Court Road (near Goodge Street Station).

The show starts at 6:10 but I don't expect the movie will start until about 6:30, giving you additional time to get there.

If you'd like to join us, please let us know! I suspect we'll be grabbing a quick pizza at ICCo right before the show and not walking into the theater until about one minute before actual showtime - I've had it with watching ads for 15 minutes before even the movie trailers start - but we can probably handle ticket buying activities so as to ensure we can all sit together.
webcowgirl: (flower)
It should be no surprise to me that Barry Lyndon (which we saw Sunday as part of the BFI's Kubrik retrospective) was also (along with Brideshead Revisited filmed at Castle Howard, near York.

But looking at a list of the places it was filmed, it also appears locations in Dorset, Oxfordshire, way north Scotland, and elsewhere. It does inspire me to travel. If only I could guarantee a sunny day when I could actually enjoy walking around an estate instead of getting rained on!

Meanwhile, for a moment or two of comic fear, modified My Little Ponies. I like the Cthulu one.
webcowgirl: (Blythe)
I've done a little review of Helium, the show that J and I saw at the Barbican this weekend. It was really worth going to and I probably had more fun at it than I would have at Goths On A Boat, though doubtlessly in part this is because I was too sick to dance and GOAB was sold out, anyway.

For my friends who like tea: a fun article [livejournal.com profile] booklectic sent me from The Guardian about drinking fancy tea.

Movie tonight, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, described as "a witty tale of love, faith, jealousy, desire... and cross-dressing." Sounds great to me!
webcowgirl: (Default)
Went to see a brainless, silly movie with [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy tonight ([livejournal.com profile] wechsler was invited, but no go) - Wall E. I figured I needed something light to pick me up after a thoroughly exhausting week, and this seemed like the way to go. I decided to splurge (thanks to this morning's windfall) and bought premium seats (ooh ooh), but due to my naturally tight-fisted nature I also brought my own freshly made, freshly buttered popcorn (let's mention that my stuff is 100 times better than what they serve in the theaters here, since it's actually FRESH and BUTTERED).

Anyway, the movie was a total delight, except for the fact that the 40 minutes of commercials and previews before it actually started pretty much wrecked the patience of the many small children in the audience. I wonder if it will do for cockroaches what Ratatouille did for rats? "Mommy, mommy, can I have one as a pet, they're so cute!"

I liked that I had absolutely no idea where the story was going to go as I hadn't seen a preview for it and didn't read the reviews other than the five stars at the top. I'll extend the same courtesy to you: fun, go see.

Now we're watching what I call Thames TV ... the clouds slowly rolling over Bishops' Park. It's lovely. I think in a quick bit I'll whip us up some dinner and then see about drinks and a game.

[livejournal.com profile] weegoddess, thinking of you, and wish you were here.
webcowgirl: (Default)
So ... I'm reading the New York Times this morning, and I decide to look at an article called, "Should doctors lecture their patients about their weight?" This is of interest to me, firstly because it hits a point a friend of mine recently raised in their blog, and secondly because it hits upon a cultural thing I've been tracking for a while. And I saw this quote, which confirms my opinion: "Obese people are the new pariahs in our culture; it used to be smokers, but now it is the overweight."

Well, smokers are still kind of pariahs, but I don't think they get nearly as much crap on a daily basis, whereas fat people get to see it in nearly every bit of media that they are not okay, in addition to getting sneered at on buses and made fun of in school. This is despite the fact that their issue doesn't affect other people like smoking does; it's not like your risk of a heart attack rises from having dinner next to someone who is overweight.

The article continues: "The idea that their personal worth lies on their BMI is extremely damaging." Mm mm. Go Dr. Rob.

Anyway, this leads into my evening, which was spent watching Hairspray with [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgingirl and [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady (as well as, and of course, [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy). This was the most amazingly fat-positive show I've ever seen. By this I mean it wasn't about gaining weight; it actually addressed the issues of anti-fat prejudice straight on, and had the message, "You can do it! Be yourself!" This was great. I mean, it's one thing to be overweight and have health issues, but why should feeling like a failure be so much a part of the experience? Doesn't everyone feel so much more like a person who, say, is in a wheelchair and is upbeat is a person to look up to? And yet, if you remember highschool, "gimps" and "crips" got all sorts of hatred and attitude thrown their way.

The play also dealt with (in a not heavy way) the issues of race at this time in history. I really liked seeing racism handled head-on, showing both the good and the bad and, well, just the fair amount of subtlety in terms of how the race issue existed/exists in America. Unfortunately none of the black characters really had a whole lot of dimensionality to them, but, well, I guess that doesn't really reflect the author's experience.

Anyway, the songs were really fun (I like the 60s musical style), the costumes were great, and the big dance scenes were awesome. I can now see why [livejournal.com profile] booklectic has been again and again. Clearly she's not the only one, as a plaid-shirted teenager a few seats over was singing along to the final number. I bet all of the actors in all of the other musicals on in London right now are wishing they could get into this show - the energy was really high and the quality of the performers was tops. It was, as ever, sold out. Now I'll have to see the Hairspray movies, but I'm glad I went into it knowing nothing, so it could all be one fun suprise.

I should also say that on Tuesday night I made it out to see Nina Paley's animated movie Sita Sings the Blues, on recommendation from [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden. Although there were serious technical issues with the copy of the DVD we were watching (too horrifying to go into in great detail here, it's really just not what you want happening for the London premiere of a film), the art and storytelling were great and I highly recommend it, though since it doesn't have distribution I don't see how you could see it yet (though you can watch the trailer here). J and I are fans of the Ramayana (and the Mahabharatha) and have seen several different versions of it, including dance/shadowpuppet and marionette versions. In some ways it seems to come down to this question: why does Sita stay with Ram when he's such a poop? At any rate that was Nina's take on the story, and with the lovely singing and variety of animation styles, it was really a pleasure to watch. (Note to self: find music by Annette Hanshaw.)
webcowgirl: (Movie reel)
I enjoyed "My Winnipeg" quite a bit. While Guy Maddin doesn't have a particularly mellifluous voice, I enjoyed the peek into his mind that actually listening to him speak as his movie played gave me. Watching the movie was like taking a tour through someone else's memories; in this case, someone who was able to recreate the ones not available on film and also create new ones that I felt illustrated some of the parts of the brain where recollection is distorted by time and the overlayer of dreams. I was also able to get insights into his movie making process, both the mental thread/s that power/s his scenography (I think that's the right word, I'm trying to say the way he strings images together) and some of the personal iconography that powers his choice of what to film (specifically beauty parlors and ice hockey a la Coward Bend The Knee).

Anyway, recommended, and now I want to see as many of the remaining films in the series (at least the ones I haven't seen) as possible. I reupped my membership to the BFI; expect to see me at the BFI weekly for the rest of the month. (Anyone else want to come with? Just let me know ...)
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I'm shocked to say I finished a chapter of The Fugitive - I had no idea there was more than one! Last night, the narrator got published. I'm quite suprised about the turn the book has taken for a few reasons. First, I had just read about 500 pages in which he not once discusses actually doing any writing. Second, it's his mom that hands him the paper in which his article is published. Now, the whole time he had his fancy bit living with him, his folks were not once at home. How is it that they suddenly returned right when he got the girlie to head out? It's all just too ridiculous, making the entire Albertine episode seem even more like something that only happened in his imagination. Perhaps it's all a big metaphor - but for what? At any rate, I'm on page 536, and he's going to be going to Venice soon, and I'm quite excited to see how that goes - should get me psyched for my trip in October with my sister.

I am feeling more cheerful today, by the way.

Tonight: I get to hear Guy Maddin narrate My Winnipeg! I wonder if it will be good or if it will be unbearably twee? I need to buy tickets to see his other movies but it hasn't happened for most of them ...
webcowgirl: (Movie reel)
Wow, they're doing a Guy Maddin movie festival at the BFI in July. I am chuffed. Furthermore, I'm about to make plans for about a third of July in one fell movie ticket buying sweep. SCORE!

Read more... )

Also, I need a recommendation for not too expensive accommodations in York ... ideas?

PS: Slept great last night, shall have to try going to bed before 11 on a more regular basis.
webcowgirl: (Queen Apple)
We had a great evening tonight. First, [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I went to the NFT to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with [livejournal.com profile] interior_lulu. While in years past I might have hated this movie for being overbearing and overacted, nowadays I found it witty and funny and a complete blast. I really think I need a black, haltertop, backless pantsuit like Jane Russell was wearing during the "men in flesh colored swimsuit" routine - I basically wanted to run into the film and steal every outfit they had on in every scene. It was FAB, darling.

Afterwards we had a good appetite going and we drug Miss I with us to Snazz Szechuan for some killer food. As her lips burned and tingled, she admitted that yes, it was delicious, and yes, you could taste all of the different flavors through the peppy hot spices. We wiped out two of the four plates of food but slowed down midway through the "fragrant spicy beef slices" and then just sat around smacking our lips and going yum yum. God, it was great, and it was wonderful to go there with someone who could really appreciate it.

Anyway, great night, great food, great company, great movie. I did this day right, and it does feel DONE.
webcowgirl: (Default)
I have made biscuits and "red eye gravy" (ham base with a bit of coffee in it), along with (surprise) ham and (because I could) soft boiled eggs. I had my egg in my black cat egg cup, and with the top of the egg sawed off, it looked like I was eating BRANEZ! It was funny and wrong and I should have taken a picture of it so that you could all have a laugh.

I finished reading Living Dead in Dallas yesterday and it was GREAT. Charlaine Harris rules! I'm actually deliberately waiting to start book #3 so I can ... hold off the enjoyment.

It does seem that today is rather another lazy Sunday in the making, but what with the sun outside, I'm determined to go out, only I want to take a nap first. I have to go to Goodge Street to pick up a case of enchilada sauce from a friend of mine, and I'm feeling inclined toward a walk in a park. Perhaps we'll join [livejournal.com profile] jhg at the Ritzy ... I'd enjoy a movie today, and since Still Life appears rather painfully sold out, Be Kind, Rewind might be a good replacement ....
webcowgirl: (Movie reel)
I had an invigorating trip to the BFI with [livejournal.com profile] booklectic last night to see The Killers - story by Ernest Hemingway, evil glamour by Eva Gardner ("gown supervision by Vera West"), black heart by Robert Siodmak. Wow. It was like Pulp Fiction meets Memento but with better cinematography. Apparently this movie went on to influence a lot of other films - I can see why.

The evening continued nicely with Curry Night at the Railway Pub with [livejournal.com profile] wechsler and two pints of cider, then home to meet up with the freshly-networked [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy. I ended the evening feeling very relaxed and much better than I had at work.

This morning I arranged the purchase of [livejournal.com profile] tonyawinter's tickets to London. It'll be great to see her! September 4-15th, mark your calendars!

Otherwise, tonight we're off to some fun Chinese performing arts "spectacular" at the Southbank with [livejournal.com profile] robot_mel, work is work, and I need to start going to the gym and getting off of my computer in the middle of the day.
webcowgirl: (Movie reel)
Well, I do like silents, but Pavement Butterfly didn't hit the heights I was hoping for. Yes, Anna May Wong was lovely to watch, but the plot was thin on the ground and there just weren't enough subtitles. The piano player who accompanied wasn't bad, but compared to the genius of the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Paramount Theater (and pre-created scores, and sound effects), this was just ... accompaniment. It wasn't a bad movie, just ... not great. Oh well, it was pleasant enough to get out.

That said, [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I are throwing the towel in on tomorrow's entertainment, a three and a half hour opera we booked tickets for back in December. Whatever, we can get our money back for these, but the thought of getting back home at 11:30 after what might or might not have been a good night's entertainment is more than either of us can bear. Benjamin Britten: better when you've got actual stamina, which we don't. We'll save our energy for other nights.
webcowgirl: (Default)
On the fifth day of Christms, my Ebay got for me ...
A pretty cashemere sweater for cheap! )

(Also, the trailer for the movie No Country for Old Men has been giving me nightmares and "flashbacks" for the last three days. Yuck. This movie will be a big old "pass" for me.)
webcowgirl: (snow)
There is nothing that says Christmas like watching androids dying in the rain.
webcowgirl: (Movie reel)
Ah! It was Sir Ian the noble polar bear encouraging Lyra to walk across the ice bridge yesterday!

And check out this quote from The Guardian: "Nicole Kidman's glamorous and arresting turn is what gives the zip and the swish to the story as it powers along: you can hear the faint crackle of her stockings as she sashays threateningly on to the screen, an arresting mixture of Darth Vader and Veronica Lake." (Ooh!)

Anyway, off to meet [livejournal.com profile] booklectic and [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy at Thai Silk before seeing A Christmas Carol at the Young Vic ...

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