sad to happy

I was feeling pretty sad today, missing my sister and generally feeling melancholy.

Nothing makes you feel better than having your belief in magic restored.

I can’t recommend Cirque Ici strongly enough. It is astounding. I was gasping out loud, I kept having to remind myself to breath because I was so caught in suspense. I kept asking myself “what is he going to do next?”

Please, if you have the money and the time, you must see this show!

It was as if we were in another place, as if magic was real. I realised early on that the man was a sluagh and then the show made perfect sense.
Just take a cushion if you do go, the show’s nearly two hours and the circus seating is unforgiving.

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roleplaying

My Tuesday night roleplaying group has been playing one-off TV based games.

A couple of weeks ago we tried out a game called “It’s Complicated”, set it in a small ‘Stars Hollow’* like town, but populated with old Gods and Goddesses in human form, some retired, some there for other reasons.

The characters were:
Dr Thoth, the town doctor, hiding from the town the fact that his wife was dead and resurrected.
Serena, the token sane person and Athena working hard to be an ordinary diner owner.
Bacchus, owns a vineyard and inn just outside of town…constantly drunk.
Kelly/Kali, the exceptionally grumpy meter maid, obsessed with consuming blood.
Zeke, the mighty Zeus, trapped in the body of a teenager with no power at all. Hyperactive and entrepreneurial.
Lyle/Loki, in town under witness protection from the Norse Gods. Highly paranoid and loopy.

We based the game on quirky gentle comedies like Gilmore Girls and Pushing Daisies, and had a great deal of fun choosing scenes with each other and playing off the strange quirks we’d all developed. I was Serena, and I felt something like the mother to them all as I tried to understand the actions they took and keep the town from descending into chaos.

Dr Thoth doing a bit of a psych test on Lyle: You find a turtle upside down. What do you do?
Lyle: Is it looking at me?
Thoth: Let’s say…..yes.
Lyle: I hide. Until it goes away. It could be some days but at least I know where it will go.

We’re going to play another session of it I think. I hope so anyway.

The game we played last week, and one player short was a game of Primetime Adventures, which I have had a love hate relationship with in the past. This time the game came through for me and I got why everyone raves about it so.

I wanted to play some sort of documentary and then someone else pitched monster hunters and magic being commonplace in the world and from there we invented the show with no name as of yet.

It’s a TV show about the people who make a documentary about hunting monsters, kind of like Most Haunted but a bit more dangerous with actual results.
The characters were mostly crew.

Alistair Dowd, a big game hunter type with Daddy issues, expert for the TV show.
Johnny Thunder, the pop idol elf who wishes people would look beyond his shallow exterior to find….the shallow interior. Co-presenter.
Amy Orwin, director/producer/costar of the show. Control freak, stress bunny who cares more about ratings than possibly anything else.
Daff, the dwarf equipment guy who is fantastic at his job and completely undermined and overlooked and is very very bitter about it.

We played the pilot episode.

Lord Dowd, Alistair’s father came into the show and loudly took over. He was incredibly good at making Alistair feel terrible. It was incredibly chaotic, but I think we got all the characters established and set up some dramatic loads of bricks.
Daff had fun pranking Johnny and losing out in coolness stakes and his psychic girlfriend will be a firm fan favourite I think. I did some good shrieking as Amy and impressed everyone with the levels of panic I can get to when I want.

Also introduced were a rival monster hunting TV show group, Los Gringos, who drove me insane with anger.

Lord Dowd: Good help is hard to find.
Johnny: Yes, and hard help is good to find.

Los Gringos to Amy: Little American Girl, you are in Mexico now!
Amy: No I’m not! This is east LA!

Amy to Johnny: don’t worry about fighting the monster, we’ve all got that under control. You just do your thing with the camera.

Lord Dowd: Look son, the weakness of the Hydra is in the brain carapace! (goes to stab it)
Alistair: I KNEW that!!! It’s my monster!

*setting of Gilmore Girls

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

I’m re-reading the fourth one now and really enjoying the arcs that the four books map out for all the characters. Here for no apparent reason, I recap the stories so lovingly rendered by Ann Brashares.

Book one sets the scene, all the girls have their big issues mapped out.

Tibby, grouchy older sister: left alone by others makes friends with Bailey, a ten year old dying of leukemia. Bailey teaches her to be good.
Bridget, whose mother committed suicide: recklessly falls in love with older soccer coach Eric and throws herself at a boy, goes too far and loses her grip on herself.
Carmen, only child: visits her father, is surprised by his new family and acts like a giant brat.
Lena, painfully shy and a devoted artist: goes to Greece where she falls desperately in love with Kostos and bonds with her grandfather.

Book two expands on these issues, and introduces some more. A huge focus on reconnecting with their mothers, and mother figures.

Tibby: at film school tries to impress some cool kids that she doesn’t really like with a humiliating film about her mother, has huge guilt and remembers Bailey. She ends up making a film about Bailey and apologising to her mother.
Bridget: after being depressed all year she goes to Alabama and finds her Grandmother, remembers happy summers and rediscovers her roots.
Carmen: bratty, sabotages her mother’s new relationship with David. She is jealous and angry and uses her jealous anger to destroy her mother’s happiness.
Lena: after yearning for Kostos for so long, she has broken up with him so that she can stop thinking about him all the time. It doesn’t work. He shows up in her town and they reunite, then he disappears into a forced marriage and breaks her heart for real.

Book three revisits the main themes for each character, deepens some relationships and revisits some things too.

Tibby: Starts a romance with Bailey and her mutual friend Brian, who has loved her for long time. Scary romance is reflected in the story with her little sister being injured because Tibby left her window open. Tibby learns to care for other people, culminating in helping with a birth.
Bridget: coaching at a soccer camp, Bee is thrown back together with Eric. Bee learns self control and self denial, then discovers that in fact Eric loves her back. He takes care of her very tenderly when she gets a high fever.
Carmen: David and her mother have married and Carmen discovers that they are expecting a baby. Carmen acts like a brat, but agrees to look after Lena’s widowed Grandmother, who is miserable and angry. Carmen learns to look outside of herself and be a good person. She has a little romance with a guy called Win who makes her want to be a good person.
Lena: Defies her father to pursue her art, loses herself to improving her skill and then uses that to recognise her family’s true feelings. Gets herself a scholarship to art college.

…and now I’m on the last book.

Tibby: has a pregnancy scare with Brian and shuts him out.
Bridget: goes on an archeological dig in Turkey and falls for her professor.
Carmen: having lost her identity when seperated from her friends and family by college is subsumed into a relationship with a glamourous new best friend.
Lena: falls in love with someone new and finally moves beyond the ghost of Kostos.

PoF: Do I ever blog in anything but my Pjs?
CO: raptor safari

awesome things

…in no particular order….

*Marine life in Wellington harbour…I saw a little stingray and a huge grey ghosty metre wide stingray this week. Spotted on my way to and from work.
*The game Off Road Velociraptor Safari. You play it online and you’re a jeep and you have to hit velociraptors. It’s amazing.

*New Empire magazine with Heath Ledger on the cover and a big long interview with him.

*Lee sent me a Katamari themed Valentine. Awww!

*Ka Pai salads with bacon and herb and garlic dressing and pinenuts and all yummy raw veges. And served in a container made of potato starch, fully biodegradable!

*The new season of American Gladiators. Hulk Hogan is the host. There is a Gladiator called Toa who is a Pacific Island warrior, and another called Hellga. Amazing!

*My new hat. It’s warm and black and white checksy and cute as anything. I love it.
(ETA)

*This group of cosplayers who did the Justice League steampunk style. Guild of Justice Minded Individuals. Although when I think about it is a little strange that no one did Batman or Wonder Woman. Martian Manhunter would have been cool though. Still, hugely cool effort from all of them, and they look incredible. (Want the Batgirl flying helmet so bad!)

PoF: pre tennis
CO: steak dinner

Movies I’ve seen

Sweeney Todd: the demon barber of Fleet St
It’s a dark Tim Burtoney massacre of a musical. I had a great time, although the gore and the slashy blood was a bit cringe-worthy. Lee found the musical numbers a bit off putting. The costumes were gorgeous, the acting wonderful, the whole experience very very Tim.

Priceless
Audrey Tatou is very very pretty. This is a funny little French farce with her and a gaunt looking guy playing opposite her. The story is simple; she’s a gold digger, she mistakes him for a millionaire and sleeps with him, then cuts and runs when she realises he’s a waiter. But it’s too late, he’s in love with her….it was adorable.

Juno
Sweet and sophisticated, this is simply a lovely movie that makes you feel all happy and warm after you’ve watched it. More or less.
The lead is the same girl from Hard Candy, and she is just as fantastic as in that movie, although much much nicer. Jennifer Garner was great in it too, although she’s looking scarily gaunt at the moment.

In other news, The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang which I loved so much in the film festival two years ago is finally getting a DVD release. I’m gonna order it from amazon, it comes out in about a month. Exciting!

PoF: singlet
CO: nothing much

Books I read

I got through lots of books on holiday. Many of them were re-reads.

By the shores of silver lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These are the books when Laura is beginning to grow up. I think she is 14 in this one, and taking a lot of responsibility for helping Ma and Pa when she can.
I love the descriptions of food and the way the houses are built up. I love the evocation of the prairie and that certain time when the settlers were just beginning to make a town.

Buffy Season Eight volume one by Joss Whedon. I dunno…I want to see how this pans out. It feels a little bit convoluted at the moment, too many threads or something. I liked the story about the fake Buffy going into the underworld, but the whole Dawn-is-giant thing kinda reeks of “Look! We couldn’t do this on the show!”
I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it.

Extras the unexpected fourth book in Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series. This is set in a city in Japan where instead of currency they have a ‘Reputation Economy’, everyone has a digital feed and are trying to be popular. The more people watch your feed, the more benefits you get in society (housing, pretty surgery, clothes, etc).
I loved it, he’s just so good at doing the future which is at the same time completely out there and completely plausible.

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was both looking forward to and dreading re-reading this one. It’s very scary how hard that winter was, and how desperate you feel for the whole family.
I love the way Laura describes her own feelings “Laura felt numb and stupid, she felt like the winter would never end”. The tragedy when it is simply too cold for Pa to play his fiddle to cheer everyone up, and the pay off at the end when spring comes and they finally receive their Christmas barrel.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares.
I think I’ve watched the movie too much, I kept getting confused when the story diverged from that of the movie.
I can see why they changed Lena’s story, filmically it’s not very interesting to watch someone be paralysed by fear for several months, but the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ slant made sense for her romance storyline.
The girls are all the actresses from the film in my head though, which is fine. I think I still love Bee the most of all.

Second Summer of the Sisterhood the first book ends so sadly I wanted to go on to the second one straight away. I’m still only part way through it but I see why I can’t remember much about this volume. It’s a lot of filler…Bee’s story develops but Lena and Tibby are pretty much dealing with the fallout from the first book and Carmen’s Mother finds love is not exactly thrilling. That said, it’s all very involving somehow. I guess you care about these characters so much by now that you want to know what happens, even if it isn’t Earth-shattering.

Next on the list is Outcast, the new Michelle Paver pre-historic action adventure.
PoF: sporty/slobby
CO: Giffy’s slow cooker