Steamboy

I really loved Steamboy.

We saw it at 10.15 in a film festival showing in which I knew roughly half of the audience. (I exaggerate because I love….). Since it was a school night what i did last night was this: Got home. Checked emails. Played Civ3 (War on Russians, War on Aztecs. A German city converted to my culture. Good. Good.). Visited by Giffy and given Card Captor Sakura books (lovely new manga!). Eat dinner. Nap (an hour of thinking I wasn’t managing to sleep, listening to Lee playing Battlefield 2 and trying to avoid having the light in my eyes). Woke up, checked emails. Went out into rain and cold to watch movie.

As I say I loved it, and now I will give you some reasons: Gorgeous designs, especially the steampunk machinery and the English countryside. Wonderful likeable characters including the blond dude I really wanted to believe was good. Exciting nail-biting action sequences in which I gasped and worried and was amazed. Funny jokes and a great script.
Most of the audience didn’t seem to understand about Anime though, as they left as soon as the credits started rolling…thereby missing the rest of the story told in stills under the credits. Ah well. Their loss.

We got home at about 12.30 and I slept pretty deeply. I dreamed I was at a shared lunch/dessert with workmates and all the food was delicious looking but made with repulsive ingredients. The one I had the most trouble with was strawberries in blood jelly. I was clenching my teeth very hard when the alarm went off!

Thrill of the fight

Civ3 is effecting me again. Last night I waged war on the Russians. Tanks versus riflemen, I took two cities including the capital. Then Germany declared war on me because I didn’t want them in my land. Tanks versus archers is never a fair fight. I squished the archers and swordsmen and then I took their capital.

About this time my people all started rioting because they don’t like being at war. I was tempted to switch from democracy to Nationalism because then they’d all be happy about being at war, plus they work faster but I chose the path of peace instead. I’m only at war with the Iroquois people now. I’m sending a galleon over with tanks in it. They have horsemen.

I’m reading Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. It’s good. Kinda sexy. I was not expecting it to be sexy at all. It’s about a guy who finds a princess asleep in the forest and wakes her up. She then takes him into her world (970 ad Russia) where everyone thinks he’s a weak weirdo. They have to get married to break Baba Yaga’s curse on the Princess and just now they’ve run away and travelled into the present. There’s a whole thing with magic bridges between worlds and you can’t take things from one world to another. Hence: nakedness. There’s more to it than that obviously, but I’ll let you read for yourselves.

It’s bad to read things at work during lunch hour that make you feel sexy.
That is all.

Frivolity

Bought myself a plushie My Little Pony yesterday. Oh yes. The awesomeness.

Lee and I also succumbed to the lure of DVDs at the Warehouse. He bought Hero, I bought High Society.
I am listening to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds Rock Opera from 1978. Richard Burton’s voice over is spookily haunting. The music is great, sorta reminds me of ‘America’:

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one he said
The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one….
but still they come!

I love it.

Yesterday I saw two Documentaries: A Decent Factory which follows the efforts of Nokia to bring a factory into ethical compliance. It was amazing how obvious it is when people are lying. Simple misunderstandings too, like when an inspector expressed concern about chemicals being stored near drinking water in the bathroom the manager said ‘yes yes, we’ll move them’ and then turned to a lackey “Move those into the kitchen RIGHT NOW!”

Grizzly Man is pretty cool. I could have done without Warner Herzog’s sometimes purple narration but the subject matter of Timothy Treadwell was so compelling…he’s a real character as my Mum would say. His footage of grizzly bears didn’t disappoint, but I think I hold the belief that the native Alaskan expressed: By getting to close to the bears he has habituated them to humans. This makes them more vulnerable. Worth seeing although a little overlong.

Dracula ballet on Saturday was fantablulous. Everything I had hoped for. Loved it to bits and had fantastic company to enjoy it with.
Lessons I have learned at the ballet: Boys are Sexy. (I actually learned this one at the ballet years ago, but it was positively reinforced on Saturday.)

Working late tonight, so starting late. I wish I could be on holiday forever.

Since I’ve been back

I’ve seen four film festival films and one mainstream.

Godzilla: Final Wars is an epic crazy disaster movie with everything. It has giant monsters, aliens, mutants, kung fu, gun fu, well known landmarks being destroyed, Godzilla, hot Biologist babes in vinyl dresses and lab coats and extra cheese on top. I loved it to bits.

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is a fantastic adaptation of the book and unlike most (all?) of the people I saw it with I don’t have any baggage about any of the actors so I liked all the main characters. I especially loved Tibby who is apparently Joan of Arcadia. So good looking, and a good actor to boot!

On Thursday I woke up ridiculously early and full of energy so I made myself a skirt from old jeans. I loves my skirt. It has polar fleece lining and it’s warm like wearing a blanket.

5000 Fingers of Dr T must be purchased on DVD. It is teh awesome. Dr T is such the fantastic villain…I want to see it again so badly! This is even after a projector broke down during the screening. It was an archival print of the film so they couldn’t splice it so during the film we’d have a minute gap between reels while they switched from one reel to another. It was Old Skool movie watching. Awesome.

The Edukators is a very well made and written movie but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have. I was hungry and my stomach was crampy and it reminded me too much of certain other movies I’ve seen. Other people laughed much longer at the jokes than I did. The main actors all reminded me of other actors too: It starred German Claire Danes, German Jake Gylenhaal and German Boone-from-Lost.

Howl’s Moving Castle. I wish he’d stayed closer to the book. Instead of having Howl trying to make lost of different girls love him they had a war. And Howl would go and fight in the war. I don’t understand. It just seemed to overcomplicate the story which made the ending quite abrupt and somewhat unclear. That said I enjoyed the movie immensely and will want to own it on DVD. In it’s own right as a Miyazaki it’s very good, although I think Kiki is still my favourite (and Spirited Away).

After the movie The Lovely Rachel and I went to the Holbein to Hockney exhibition at Te Papa and I fell in love the Michelangelo sketch they had. Several Leonardo Da Vinci’s but only one which is “classic” Da Vinci. There were two of plants which were neat and one of a building collapsing or something which I thought was somewhat naff. The rest of the exhibition was pretty darn cool and I especially like the idea of taking artists on holiday with you instead of cameras.
“Yes, make a painting of that view, I find it rather lovely. Later you can make a sketch of me and this stag I’ve just killed.”
Someday I will be that rich.

Then I showed My Neighbour Totoro to Rachel. It was well received.
Tonight? Dracula!

Jenni and Lee’s amazing holiday in Rarotonga adventure!

This is going to be a brief potted verison because I don’t think you want to know every last detail and besides, I want stories to tell In Real Life too.

Lee and I took our longest ever International flight together all through Monday night. The movie was Robots and I couldn’t sleep.

Rarotonga is such a beautiful Island. Hibiscus bushes are used as hedges, and they were all in flower, lovely deep reds mostly but some pale pink and purple too. Because of the hurricane earlier this year there were lots of uprooted trees and there was next to no fruit available. Most of the food is imported from NZ anyway so I didn’t get much exotic fare.

We stayed in a rental house which was dirt cheap and really nice. It had lovely high ceilings and tiled floors so it didn’t get too hot inside. It also had a large gecko population, and I have some neat photos. They’d surprise you coming out from under bags or from behind things and scurry up the wall. We had some teeny weeny ones and a couple of rather large ones, I didn’t see any that were longer than a paperback novel for reference.

Mostly we lay about in the sun or went snorkeling. Rarotonga is entirely surrounded by a coral reef so the beaches are all quite shallow and the water is warm. On the other hand the sand is strewn with broken bits of coral so it’s hard to walk on and there’re lots of mini-coral rocks in the lagoons. This means regualr swimming is kinda hard but it’s great for snorkeling. I saw lots of neat fish including these really long thin needle-nosed silver guys that would pretend they were sticks. They’d look at you approaching with their big eyes and when they saw you weren’t fooled that swim off like eels.

I saw a white eel with markings like mystic runes painted down its sides in brown. I saw fish coloured like a bad 80’s t shirt and some in really quite fashionable colours (white with lime green and pink spots darling. Gorgeous!) I saw a weirdo flat fish with both eyes on the top of its head laying in the sand almost completely camoflagued. I think you could go snorkeling and see very little if you weren’t patient, a lot of the fish are very well hidden and you just have to look harder until you see what’s *really* there.

We ate dinner out at restaurants nearly every night and if anyone’s heading that way I especially recommend Tamarind House (where sister girl got proposed to) and the Island Night at the Edgewater Resort. They had this huuuuuge buffet dinner, a huuuuuuuge buffet dessert followed by dancing and this guy husking a coconut with his teeth. That’s hard core.

I wish I could have found a tshirt that said: Rarotonga: Replete because all the meals were very generous!

I bought some very beautiful pareu (sarong) fabric and pretty carved pearl jewellery. The town is lovely and small and hot and everyone’s on “Island Time. ” Wellington seems huge and rushed in comparison. My biggest complaint (now that the Raro Belly is mostly cleared up) is that I’m back home in the cold place. I was wearing short shorts and a singlet a couple of days ago and I was too hot. Now I’m in a zillion layers and woolen accessories and I’m not warm enough!

I have some gorgeous photos to show you. But later. Oh and there was also the giant spider attack, but I’ll tell you that IRL if you’re lucky.

ETA: I’ve had some questions about where we stayed. It was Ava Lodge and I really recommend it.

Home now

Just flew in half an hour ago, and I had to check my email, lj peeps etc before having a soothing bath. More later, but a quick sum up to tide y’all over:
International flights in the night suck, during the day good.
Sister now engaged to her Hive Mind. (yay yay!)
Geckoes in the house are surprising, but neat.
snorkelling is better when the mask does *not* fill up with water.
Pretty things purchased.
Have been sick with the “Raro Belly”* since Friday night.
Tacky tourist tshirt purchased and I plan to wear it often in the next month or so.
Bath now, then maybe nap. Reading new Harry Potter which I picked up in Auckland. Film Festival tomorrow!
*Think Dehli Belly but from Rarotonga.

Leaving on a jet plane x 2 (similar to lj)

At 6pm Soon-to-be-Mother-in-Law will collect us and deposit us at the Airport. So will begin Jenni and Lee’s Amazing Rarotongan adventure.

I am feeling completely wrecked after getting up at 4.30am to drop my sister at the airport. She’ll be picking us up at the Raro end at a similar ungodly hour so it’s fair.

There ain’t many people on the roads at 5am. 5.30am is much busier. It’s also freaking cold at that time in the morning, and I bless the Lovely Rachels’ knitting needles for creating me clothing items of warm.

I’m gonna spend the rest of the day packing (actually my packing is mostly done. Lee is yet to start) cleaning, watching Dr Phil and maybe accompanying Lee to Rebel sport for last minute snorkeling supplies collection. I’ll be a bit freaking out too. You know how it is.

So, no updates til after I’m back next Tuesday. See y’all later!

Huzzah for holidays!

…and now I am at home and work is over for two blessed weeks. *le sigh of relief*

I suspect my customer service levels weren’t at their normal levels today. I was pretty grumpy inside my head, just a combo of trying to get everything done, being tired and sick of working and wanting the day to end as quickly as possible.
Home, roast chicken, holidays = bliss.

Also somethings that make me happy to counter-point the squickiness earlier:
New long finger-tip-less stripey gloves from the Lovely Rachel
New ‘geek’ wrist band which keeps my wrist pain-free also from the Lovely Rachel
two edges bound and two to go on the quilt for the Lovely Rachel
interesting book “Why Gender Matters”
seeing my parents tomorrow
*fingers crossed* the Lovely Matt and the Lovely Debbie drop a copy of “It’s a Wonderful Library” off to my parents so I can see it again and show it to a bunch of people
seeing friends tomorrow and actually looking forward to watching the rugby (don’t tell Lee!)

Things that make me go squick

Carnivale is a great show but it is constantly pushing the boundaries of what I am OK with watching. I have rarely had to stop looking at a TV show becuase I’m too upset, but Carnivale forces me to do that every second episode or so. It really goes to show how fantastic this show is that I keep watching it, even though it upsets me.

I think it’s also a testament to how much desensitizing works that it’s not the punch-ups or the people falling to their deaths that bothers me. It’s the things I’ve never seen before that really freak me out.

This entry will be a kind of catalogue of things I can’t stand to watch, but have seen. I am making this list to see how other people react to it and also to get it out of my head in the hopes that I’ll feel a bit better.

Slightly Spoilerific for Carnivale (both seasons), The Piano Teacher, Kill Bill Vol. 2 and The Gift
Last night in Carnivale we watched an episode in which a character is tarred and feathered. Now, obviously I knew that this is something that has happened in the world, but I’ve only ever seen it in a cartoon context, as a joke. It never occured to me that when it’s done “in real life” the tar would of course, need to be hot. It was boiling hot…so it burned the skin. Then the character yelled something at the people torturing him and they put the brush of boiling tar in his mouth. At that point completely on their own my arms leaped up to shield my face, I shouted “Oh My God!” and I refused to look for the duration of the scene.

It was a purely physical reaction that I had no control over. I couldn’t stand Lee to talk about what was happening and I could barely deal with the subsequent scenes with that character. As I said to Lee last night “For some reason this really bothers me. Please don’t talk about it.” This morning I was relating this all to C and I felt very emotional, almost as if I’d start crying.

This is the first time I’ve had such a very extreme reaction, but this show has upset me before. As in Kill Bill Vol. 2 there is a scene of someone being buried alive that I couldn’t cope with. In Kill Bill I hated QT for making us really experience that along with the Bride character. Some things I never want to experience!

Another Carnivale incident was with ‘the mask maker’. He drugs the main character and makes a ‘death mask’ of him while he is awake, but paralysed. Obviously this doesn’t kill him but the scene of the plaster being spread onto the face with no breathing holes was very upsetting. It was a fantastic episode though, and very well made.

A few years ago I saw The Piano Teacher, going in I knew the main character was a sado-masochist so I thought I knew what to expect. What they didn’t warn you of was that she was also a sociopath. I went to this movie with my soon-to-be-Mother-in-Law because she wanted to hear the fantastic music and we were both very shell shocked after it. A lot of people left the screening and one woman had some kind of panic attack. The scene I found the most upsetting and the one that haunts me still involves the main character cutting her own vagina with razor blades. Some things are so horrendous that you never even conceive of them.
(I just realised I’m going to get some weird search term matches after this entry.)

Sometimes it’s not a specific action but the quality of the violence that really squicks me out. I like a certain kind of action movie: the ones were the violence is stylized/super-cool/jokey. One of the main problems I had with the Bourne Identity was that I felt the fist fights were very realistic. Same with The Gift, it includes a scene of torture which I found to be just too believable, like watching a documentary. It was too realistic and so I couldn’t watch. To this day I can’t say that The Gift is a good movie, because that one scene disturbed me too much.
These images and the descriptions I’ve made here cause me to react physically. My teeth clench, I get stomach cramps, my eyes close and I feel updet like I might cry. These feelings are the same as those caused in me by stress.
I guess it’s good that images of torture upset me, and I guess what I’ve just described can be lumped together under that category I just wish I never had to see these things in the first place.

Movies

Ice Princess is a fine example of magic/White Wolf Mage/mutant powers in a movie. Dawn played a girl with the power of Physics, she used her Physics powers to ice skate better and make amazing motion-capture computer programs with nifty transparent dialogue boxes over the top of the pictures. She helped other girls to skate better too, plus at the end she got a tiara.

The movie itself was quite well made. We’re all pretty onto the formulas they use so there were few surprises story-wise and a particularly odd Joan Cusack mother who was so feminist she didn’t want her daughter to wear make-up. I think it could be improved by telling us how much time passes between each scene but otherwise I enjoyed it immensely.
We only had girls turn up for this girly movie screening. Sad Jenni.

I also watched Shall We Dance? this week which I love to bits. I am interested to see how much it is changed in the re-make as I can’t see them making J-Lo do the whole “snooty bitch” routine. I am also interested to see how they handle the whole embarassment-over-dancing thing that seems so natural in the way the Japanese buisnessmen act. It was funny and lovely and made me cry a little. Lovely.