Keep my head above water

reducing the amount of clutter on my scrapbooking desk is difficult. So difficult that I am putting it off like crazy. Hence blogging 🙂

Last night I saw Sherrybaby a film in which Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a woman just out of prison trying to rebuild her life and reconnect with her daughter, who has just spent three years being raised by Sherry’s brother and sister in law.

It was terribly good and sad and moving and you got to see Maggie’s breasts a lot.
****Vague spoiler alert for various movies******
I was pondering while I watched it though, (and bear in mind this is based on a small sample) that when I see movies about men acting all messed up, they are acting that way generally because they have made a bad choice along the way and can’t really get over it. (Machinist, Woodsman). Whereas when you see films about women acting messed up, it’s because they have been the victims of abuse…(Black Snake Moan, Sherrybaby).

I was wondering about this whole women as victims thing, but Svend pointed out that in Mysterious Skin it’s men acting messed up as a result of abuse, and I’ve just remembered that the girl in Hard Candy was reactive to something that happened to a friend. She was kind of insane, and going for revenge.

Meh. Something to ponder, but I don’t think I’m exactly going to get a PHD out of it.
****** spoilers over ******

Sherrybaby reminded me of a more hard edged Pieces of April, and similar in tone to In America, although the subject matter is very different.
I really really liked it, but I felt sad afterwards.

This morning I talked to my mum and read some more of Twilight which is an exceptionally good Young Adult vampire romance.

Tekkonkincreet was very pretty but very boring. I nodded off several times. Eh.

Jesus Camp is likely to be the scariest movie I’ll see this year. It follows the Evangelical children’s preacher Becky Fischer and her ‘kids on fire’ camp in which they indoctrinate children into a very narrow set of beliefs.
I have trouble watching children be told they are bad people and made to cry about it. I have a big problem with children younger than five being preached hellfire and brimstone to. I don’t understand Becky at all.
I am officially freaked out. The bit where the guy passed around tiny little plastic babies to show the children how bad abortion is….I think I stopped breathing.
I had to go to the supermarket after and buy comfort food.

In other news, there’s just a couple more days of Not Buying Things. I have failed once with the tea, once with putting some money down to buy Singstar 90s when it comes out on August 10th and once to buy a plushie Totoro pencil holder for my desk at work.

I am pleased with my overall success in Not Buying Things, although it has been hard. My bank account is looking very healthy now.

The urge to buy things is still with me though. I went into Glassons the other day and nearly bought jeans and two tops. I forced myself to walk out again and afterwards realised that I don’t need new jeans or new tops. I just wanted them because they were new.

PoF: warm Sunday
CO: sore throat

Further reading

On Thursday night we saw Death of a President, a fictional documentary about the assassination of George W Bush. It was so very slickly made that I had to keep reminding myself it wasn’t real. Fantastic.

Friday was Day Watch, sequel to Night Watch. It was brighter, stranger, funnier and more surprising than the first and that’s all I really want to say about it because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I liked it a lot.

This morning I went to Animation for Kids which was more crack-smoking than it has been in gentle years. Highlights for me were the underwater sheep, the Toy artist and Jaime Lo, small and shy.

After a yummy pizza at Calzone it was off to enjoy more French cinema. My Best Friend is about a successful antiques dealer who discovers he has no friends. He places a bet with his partner and then has to produce a best friend in ten days.
After a few false steps he enlists a gregarious Taxi driver to help and they start a friendship. It was very good, not as gentle as Conversations With My Gardener, more city-focussed and a little harder edged. Incredibly tense climax set around ‘who wants to be a millionaire?’

I loved it.
House cleaning and clutter-diminishing is underway.

PoF: Ravenclaw Harry
CO: chips


They might be making Y: The Last Man into a movie! I hope so I hope so I hope so! Tiny article.

I have seen two more film festival movies.
Retribution. A Japanese horror about a ghost that is completely different to Ring, Dark Water, et al. I loved it to bits, and I don’t want to tell you why because it’s all spoilers.

It was awesome, and creepy but not too creepy and although I had to check the back seat of the car before getting in I didn’t have nightmares.

Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man is a fantastic documentary that is mostly coverage of fantastic performances at a Leonard Cohen tribute show and a bit history of Leonard Cohen told by himself and his fans.

It started powerfully with Nick Cave covering “I’m your man” and then had some interviews with various people. Had to physically stop myself from ‘squee’ing when Nick Cave talked in his normal voice (quiet, pleasant, gentle Aussie accent.) I fell in love with Rufus Wainwright because he sang ‘Everybody knows’ with such flair…and then they had him do ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ and then Beth Orton sang ‘Sisters of Mercy’ and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of did beautiful covers as well and oh! I want to own it on DVD so I can rewatch it now please.

*Jenni subsides into Cohen fangirl bliss.*
In other news Harry Potter prevented me from getting to the ultimate word count on kiwinowrimo, but I’m sitting pretty on 41,434 which is what…four times the word count I had at the start of the month? So I’m happy. The book is coming together and may even have a structure sometime soon. I am a bit sad, but mostly pleased with myself.

Film festival, first weekend

Friday I saw Smile, a strange and wonderfully cynical movie from the 70s about beauty pageants. Think Drop Dead Gorgeous but thirty years back. Lee found it too cringeworthy but I loved it to bits. Especially some of the random throwaway jokes.

Saturday, first thing was Conversations with my Gardener. A French film about a man who moves back to his childhood home and hires a gardener who it turns out, is a childhood friend. The pacing was perfect, the humour sharp and fun, the emotions deep and moving. I loved it to bits, and recommend it for everyone, especially since Lee loved it too.

Tales from Earthsea. The latest from Studio Ghibli, and not the best. It was good, beautiful and fun and sweet although the end became kind of nonsensical, but then I haven’t read the Ursula Le Guin books it was based on.

Forever. Well, this one let me down. The old song from The critic
“I like French films
pretentious boring French films
I like French films
two tickets s’il vous plait!”
This one was just not very good. It was a doco about a cemetary in Paris where a bunch of famous people are buried, but it was unfocussed and long and the director had too many long lingering shots of everything.
It wasn’t helped by the fact that I had the latest Harry Potter in my bag waiting to be read.

Sunday I saw U. U is a French animated movie about a Princess and a Unicorn, but it was mostly about growing up and the loss of innocence and falling in love. I loved it. I was watching it and trying to think how I could make my book feel more like this movie somehow. I found the trailer for it on youtube, you can see it by clicking on my youtube favourites link on the sidebar there.

The art style was rich and painterly, very impressionistic and the jazzy folky music was incredibly catchy. The characters were simple and the design was very French….Ah, I loved it.
I went home after seeing U and read Harry Potter for a few hours straight and then back out to see Animation Now!.

As ever, it was a mixture of breathtaking animation and stuff that was so boring I wished I was asleep. I found a couple of my favourites on youtube…follow the link for ‘The Story of How’ at least. It’s a very lush musical fable that reminds me of the Hunting of the Snark kind of. It loses a lot in the low-res world of youtube but is still cool.
I am now finished with Harry Potter. I won’t say anything except that I loved it.

PoF: cold
CO: why is winter so very very cold?


I’ve been feeling petulant today.
I think getting up an hour earlier is good. I start work an hour earlier and I get home an hour earlier, but changing my sleep pattern is still hard and I feel exhausted today.

I also feel aimless and weird and grey and useless.
I went to Te Papa at lunch time to get some writing done, like I did yesterday with great success. Today was hopeless. I wandered aimlessly through the museum and got one paragraph written. I stared at a Colin McCahon painting so long I started to like it.

My novel writing has lost velocity and my scatty brain can’t handle it tonight. My legs are still stiff and sore from the weekend (although much better than they were on Sunday and Monday) and I am not even very excited about the film festival.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is out on Saturday. I am cursing myself because I have a film festival movie booked at the same time as the release of the book and another movie right after it. I’ll have to high tail it to Unity books after seeing Tales from Earthsea and have scant hours to read it before we have another movie at 6ish.
I wonder how long it will take me to read HP. I usually like to be super fast so that no one can spoil it for me.
I am going to sleep in tomorrow. It is going to be grand.

PoF: Tiger hoodie
CO: frustration with myself

potted reviews of Graphic Novels I’ve read lately

Banana Sunday by Root Nibot (words) and Colleen Coover (pictures) is about a girl starting at a new high school. But she has three talking monkeys to look after. It’s light and fluffy and funny and Gogo is the best monkey ever. I loved it and I forced it on Sok and she texted me to confirm that Gogo is in fact the best monkey ever.

Fair Weather by Joe Matt. This is a biographical graphic novel about one weekend in the author’s childhood. It’s surprisingly frank about how much of a brat he was, and I found I liked the best friend much more than the main character. It’s a bit nasty, and a bit funny and very evocative of a certain age and place and time.

The Quitter by Harvey Pekar. Harvey wrote American Splendor which there’s been a movie about now which has him in it as well as the actor playing him. Anyway this is his novel about his childhood and basically why he is such a bastard and so unhappy. I really liked the art in this book, as I haven’t liked some of the American Splendor art so much. It’s pretty honest, which is what I like about his work, so I liked this.

Serenity Rose by Aaron A. Eh. I couldn’t get into this. It was all a bit derivative of Jhonen Vasquez and Gloom Cookie and Courtenay Crumrin without having its own hook. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it. That is a distinct possibility when it comes to Goth comics.

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick. I don’t know if anyone remembers that the Real World once had a gay guy with AIDS on it. This is the story of that gay guy from the point of view of the guy who roomed with him on The Real World, and it’s a fantastic piece of work. It makes you care about all the characters, it informs you about AIDS, it shows the decline Pedro went through and his incredible work informing people. It made me cry. Loved it.

Kill me, kiss me by Lee Young Yuu. This is a Korean manga which is like a weird Shakespeare romance set in a high school. Kinda. The main girl is in love with this teen model, when she finds out he goes to the same (all boys) school as her look-alike cousin she convinces him to switch places with her for a week.
So, she goes to the boys’ school and gets in trouble with a gang leader who begins to feel strangely attracted to this ‘boy’. Her cousin goes to her school and begins to enjoy girls’ fashions and the teen model, well. He has secrets too. It’s a weird, fun gender-fuck adventure with laugh out loud moments and yeah. I’ve only read the first volume but I have 2 and 3 out now, just waiting for me to get to them.

Gotta love the Wellington Library’s adult graphic novel section.

some articles

Here’s one about the new torture porn movie Captivity which explains why these sorts of movie are awful, but especially this one…Scathing review.

I don’t like torture porn movies, and I’m sure that will surprise none of my readers. And yes, I can say that I don’t like gorenography even without seeing any of them. I just think “is this part of the problem or part of the solution?” and I think “what kind of person finds watching other people being tortured entertaining?” and I think “I don’t want to be desensitised to pain and suffering.” and I know I am happy with my decision in that respect.

on the other side of the blogging about Hollywood spectrum, the best and worst celebrity blogs are reviewed courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.
Huh, Pammy got a B+
And the fantastic 11 movies that are saved because of Historical inaccuracy. via

So true, so true.

I spent the day changing my clothes to appear in our Moviefest entry “Flaregun in the wind” it’s a TV show about the late Princess Consuela (me), a cross between Paris Hilton and Princess Di. Lee plays the sleazy Prince who claims to have dated Consuela, Fraser plays Mr Miyagi my sensei, Margie played the host of the Good Morning show.

List of shots I did today: stumbling out of lift in party dress, clutching wine bottle and fleeing from papparazzi.
Martial arts training with sensei
an encounter with a tiger
fighting a giant bear
punching Fraser in the groin
interviewed by Margie
pose for a car magazine cover
photo shoot at parliament
reporter hounding Fraser “Mr Peterson Mr Peterson! What’s five times nine?”
having a party on the balcony.
My legs hurt and I’m sleepy. Tomorrow must be a big writing day, as I have been slack all week kiwinowrimo-wise.

PoF: warm at last
CO: is it can be sleeps time now?


Weather this week: rain, cold, wind. I’ve been catching the bus to work instead of risking being blown into the harbour by the vicious Southerly.

Work this week: I’m in a strange half-way place of knowing quite a lot, but having a hard week of left-field problems. The phones are very busy and at the end of the day I want to not speak. Drink a lot of fluids and not speak.

Writing this week: seriously stalled; I had a body/sleep disfunction on Sunday night and couldn’t brain all day Monday, I had roleplaying on Tuesday so couldn’t write, last night I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I did get a little out at lunchtime on Tuesday and conferred with Jackie to get a seriously cool idea for the next chapter.

Harry Potter this week: the movie is awesome, I like Luna and I like Harry and I like Sirius. There were only two directorial decisions I disagreed with, and they were both towards the end. The characterisations were all perfect, and the scary stuff was very scary.

Craft this week: working on a jeans quilt, slowly but surely. Just working on the borders before I safety pin it to some polar fleece and get to work on quilting the thing. I also made a cushion cover for a workmate out of some lovely silk.

Roleplaying this week: Mountain Witch. I created a monster of a character, a devastatingly pretty boy samurai who was kicked out of his dojo for arrogance and is now taking the job to free his sister from prostitution. Wayne and I were playing zodiac sign enemies and no one else had an enemy so we were rather antagonistic. Towards the end of the session I started a confrontation and split the group. Go me! That isn’t supposed to happen until the end of the second session or later!

Movie making this week: went to a meeting for Conan’s Winding City project. I’m going to be a main character so I’m happy.

Moviefest filming this Saturday. I get to be a lead character, although the short film is going to be a retrospective as I play a dead princess. It’ll be good fun, low pressure shooting so I’m pretty happy about it.

PoF: duvet makes me warm
CO: doing better, at everything.

first failure

….hours after posting about my dedication to not buying things I bought some tea from Tleaft, because they have a sale on.

Clearly the mind is willing but the taste buds are very weak.

Had brunch at Roxy again. I thought of more things to recommend it: One. They state they use free range eggs, this makes me a happy bleeding heart liberal. Two. the hot chocolate is chocolatey.
Unfortunately it was “Everybody be loud in the cafe!” day, and that wore on my nerves some. I am quite sleepy from being out late last night and I don’t like loud noises on a Sunday.

On the other hand, I got a thousand words written this morning and my characters exploring a city should get me another thousand if I am dedicated and stop blogging.
and ordering tea online.
and generally being a slacker.
and not giving in to the urge to watch Independence Day…

PoF: star hoodie
CO: Mmmmm yummy tea.

Do not buy

I signed up to Cal’s pledge bank pledge to not buy anything I don’t need for a month. Cal stressed that each person chooses their own definition of what they ‘need’ is, and what they are not allowed to buy. The pledge bank page is here.

The reasons I am doing it include: wanting to support Cal, you will see I am the first person to sign up to it, and I wanted to encourage others to do so; wanting to save money. I am terrible with money, as I have mentioned previously on this blog it slips through my fingers with alarming alacrity.

I wanted to try and not be such a consumer. I love to buy things, and I frequently don’t need to buy the things I buy.
I have chosen to interpret it the following way…I am allowed to buy:
Food. Grocery shopping and lunches. Lunches at cafes with friends and Burger King if I want to. I figure if I try and make myself only eat leftovers, etc as much as I can but I’m allowed to buy lunch too then I won’t make myself crazy.
Movie Tickets. Ok, so obviously no one *needs* to see movies, but I love movies, and the film festival starts this month, and there’s Harry Potter coming out and yeah. I won’t deprive myself of that.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because I must know.
A bus ride once a week, only if it is raining a lot. The rest of the time I must walk.

I am not allowed to buy:
Any other books.
Clothes. I have enough clothes. I want more, I really do but I do not *need* more. It might be really really cold outside but I can wear the polar fleeces I have instead of buying more from the Ezibuy shop in different colours…and I don’t need the cool new vintage tees from Jay Jays. I don’t!
DVDs. Obviously this is a challenge for me. More so than clothes? Hard to say.
Toys, craft supplies, bags, magazines, stickers, notebooks. All the little things that I just can’t resist. Although we get Empire delivered via subscription and that’s the only mag I really read so it’s a bit of a cheat really.
It’s incredible just how much I am driven to purchase. I just want things a lot, new things. New shiny cool things that will make me happy.

So far, I’m doing fine. I’ve bought food and that’s pretty much it for the month of July. So far.
More reports on this as the month progresses. Most of my laptop writing time is devoted to my novel just now, I am trying to get to 30,000 words in the next couple of days. Wish me luck yeah?

PoF: pajamas
CO: cold feet! it is cold today!
PS: next time I want to procrastinate on writing my novel I shall review the many and varied Graphic Novels I’ve been reading from Central library.