Things I Love Thursday

Quicksilver in Days of Future Past. This is possibly my favourite Xmen movie sequence ever, even surpassing the excellent ‘Nightcrawler attack on White House’ from X2

The Jem and the Holograms comic is so much fun, and the art is gorgeous and I love that they are representative and interesting with the characters. I adore it.

Awesome friends: I’m super stoked to have Jarrod in the same town as me for the first time in many years, and that I get to see him for gaming and stuff.

In the last few weeks I’ve had a Creativity overload and it’s pretty magic, I have three first drafts of new taletop games in the works, lots of ideas for improving my manuscript and not enough time to do it…

Looking forward to Wellington, I’m flying in tomorrow morning so I get to catch up with all my work friends and then I have heaps of social stuff on the weekend as well, so lots of catch ups! Plus just generally excited about seeing Wellington city again.

Honourable Mentions: My lovely Anna, reading good books, snuggly warm blankets, hotel rooms, clean pjs, doing washing, watching 500 movies and getting them blogged and done and hot chocolates.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Grosse Pointe Blank
Directed by George Armitage
Written by Tom Jankiewicz, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink & John Cusack
(number 439)

I remember seeing this movie pretty soon after it came out, I don’t remember if I saw it in the cinemas or on video but it’s always in my mind intrinsically linked to The Big Hit, which I certainly did see at the cinema. It’s such an artifact of the late nineties, from the flashback soundtrack to the fashion to the stars of the movie. John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Piven and Dan Ackroyd. It’s pretty sweet to watch, if grainy and a little cringey. Anna had never seen it and was a bit suspicious of it being a romantic comedy/black comedy but she did laugh during it at various points.

I am tempted to try and track down the soundtrack. I really like the start of this movie but at some point it lost my interest. I think it’s actually when the reunion starts and things start falling apart, which generally should be interesting but I just kind of… ehhh. To be fair though, there was a thread on facebook I felt I had to contribute to so it was pretty distracting.

Does it make me love the people? Yeah it does, John Cusack is cute, suave and stylish (again, it’s the American Psycho template, but this time he’s a lost soul, paving the way for the Garden State breed of sad white men). It’s very hard not to be on his side, because he’s just so charismatic. Debi is an interesting character because she is pretty much the love interest, but she’s a sassy soul who doesn’t just fall in line meekly with Martin’s plans to rekindle the flame.

That said, Debi is shown to be ‘better than’, the other women in the movie. She is idolised, the ultimate girl that Martin left behind and who hasn’t exactly been waiting around for him but she is conveniently single when he arrives. She’s sarcastic, bitter and snarky, as well as playful and funny but she does still let Martin back in, and fulfills the proper love interest role. Ultimately this movie is about embracing the American dream of marrying the highschool sweetheart, settling down and having babies. So… meh.

Marcella is pretty fun as Martin’s receptionist/P.A, she’s funny and concerned.

Bechdel test: Sadly no. Marcella is shown on the phone to women she uses the names of but it’s only her side of things. Debi is in a conversation with a couple of the women in the reunion, but Martin is always there too and whatever the other women say it is generally treated as pathetic/ridiculous usually followed by Debi turning to Martin and saying ‘let’s get out of here’ or ‘let’s go somewhere else’. So, she still talks to him rather than to women. It also emphasises the ‘cool girl’ persona she has where she’s categorically better than the other women portrayed because she’s not like them.

Best line:
Dr. Oatman: Don’t kill anybody for a few days. See what it feels like.
Martin Q. Blank: Alright, I’ll give it a shot.
Dr. Oatman: No, don’t give it a shot! Don’t shoot anything!

State of Mind: It’s a cute enough movie, very much a child of it’s time. Not sure what it’s doing on the 500 list as I don’t feel like it’s particularly seminal or game changing in terms of genre, but… eh. It was a nice watch for a Saturday morning.

Watched movie count

Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

Electra Glide in Blue
Directed by James William Guercio
Written by Robert Boris based on a story by Robert Boris and Rupert Hitzig
(number 431)

Jarrod and I watched this on a Thursday night right after he arrived in Auckland. It’s a cop movie…but it’s a 70s cop movie, which means it’s full of long slow pans across the desert, funk music and dubious treatment of hippies, women and black people. Actually there was pretty much no black people in there, but characters did use the n word.

Starring Robert Blake as a very short but very self assured cop who is straight and narrow in a world where all the other cops were willing to be a bit or a lot corrupt. John Wintergreen, who is always referred to by his full name, apparently, even gives a speeding ticket to an L.A. detective, so we know how very by the book he is. The story is mostly a mystery, John is so keen to be in homicide he gets involved in a seeming suicide and partners up with rugged mentor detective Harv Poole. It’s all a little Life on Mars-ish with Harv being totally fine with beating information out of people and John concerned more with the actual truth.

It’s gorgeously shot, beautiful images of the highway and the desert and it made me want to drive in America quite a lot. I also dug the soundtrack quite a lot, nice mix of rock, country and funk. I wonder how I could track down the soundtrack… heh.

Does it make me love the people? Yeah, it’s hard not to be on the side of the good cop after all. I actually really liked Zipper, although he was a bit awful at his job he was a total geek.
Jarrod reckons he was sympathetic to John but disappointed that he didn’t do more to fight the corruption of his partners. There’s a drug planting scene with a hippy and John just kind of disapproves and lets it happen. The character set up at the start of the movie was astounding though, showing John exercising and having a lot of sex with a very happy/satisfied Jolene. And the camera never shows his whole face until he’s suited up in his highway patrol uniform. It was very cool.

Bechdel test: Nope. We had one named woman, Jolene, and she had plenty of lines but they were only to men. There were also some unnamed hippy women and a woman police officer, but if they spoke it was only to the men.

Best line: Every time someone referred to the main character by his full name. You could make an amazingly rough drinking game by taking a drink every time you hear ‘Wintergreen’.

John Wintergreen: I think I’ll go over and check out the Black Canyon.
Zipper: Aww, there ain’t no action over there!
John Wintergreen: Zipper, that’s the story of your life… there ain’t no action, at no time, at no place… I’ll see you later. Somebody’s gotta be doing something bad somewhere!

also Zipper’s continual insistence on doing nothing and staying in the shade. Unless there’s ice cream. Or women.

State of Mind: Overall it was pretty good, it wasn’t too slow, the mystery was pretty twisty and I didn’t guess it all. That said, I’m not going to rush to watch it again and I suspect that there’s better examples of the genre out there. Jarrod was less impressed than I.

Watched movie count

Things I Love Thursday

Today has been a day of exceptionally good feedback. The kind that takes your imposter syndrome and kicks it in the stomach and it goes flying out the door. I mean, it’s a slightly panicky feeling but it’s also a very good one. I had a very good performance review at work, which emphasised that I am actually good at my job and enjoying it and then I came back from lunch to an email from my manuscript assessor with 9 pages of useful notes, and the comment that it’s worth putting in the work because this story is interesting and engaging and she enjoyed reading it! And of course, the assessor is a high profile Young Adult novelist who I happen to be a fan of, which just makes it so much more awesome.

I am very happy 🙂

Friends who make time to see me when they visit Auckland, last weekend it was James and this weekend it’s Blair! So lovely.

I really love this literary road trips of America map

Baby gets glasses and smiles so wide when she sees her mama, so freaking cute.

Sometimes you just need to watch For the Birds:

Honourable Mentions: Old friends moving up to Auckland, wrapping up my Monsterhearts game with the praise of the players, strawberry milk, antibiotics, sharks, chocolate, ice creams and heaters.

Spotify is slowly winning me over, mostly with lovely curated playlists. I’ve been in there saving songs and making my own playlists that I guess they know me well enough for a weekly curated playlist just for me. Anyway, it gave me this gorgeous song this week and my goodness. It’s so lovely.

Anything for You ~ Ludo

Fantastic kinetic sculpture (esp good to watch with Brian Eno’s 1/2 from Music for Airports playing, which makes sense since the sculpture is in an airport)

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Natural Born Killers
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by David Veloz, Richard Rutowski & Oliver Stone based on a story by Quentin Tarantino
(number 372)

Okay well this movie opened with ‘waiting for the miracle’ by Leonard Cohen so I was instantly hooked, I freaking love that song.

The last film I saw Juliette Lewis in was Whip It, and I have to say, it’s not a hugely different character for her. Woody Harrelson is always a good time, I think this was the first ‘out there’ character that he played, though. These days it’s easy to associate him with True Detective or The Hunger Games, or his whacked out character in 2012 or Tallahassee in Zombieland. I suspect this movie opened him up to those roles.

It’s filmed like a psychedelic Tarantino fever dream, with scenes flicking between colour and black and white when violence happens, showing visions and going to a fucked up sitcom sequence for a flashback. That sequence is very messed up, lots of sexual abuse and incest and grossness. Looking at how it’s told and knowing that it’s told from the point of view of two characters who do not care about human life, it’s hard to know how much is ‘true’ and how much is psychosis.

There’s a huge amount of Tarantino in this movie, from the 70s filter its to the random anime, to the casual use of rape and violence. The message is unsubtle ‘too much TV = serial killer’, and it’s hard to take seriously, but at the same time it is pretty disturbing. I’m not sure exactly what the purpose of this movie is, because it’s drenched in style for the sake of it, not to aid the story telling or the exploration of the characters.

Robert Downey Jr plays the TV journalist who is obsessed with the two killers and runs the whole gamut of emotion while talking to Mickey, therefore making Mickey look like the reasonable one. It’s a great performance from RDJ but there’s no sympathy to be had for that character, at all.

Does it make me love the people? Nope. This movie isn’t about understanding humans, or furthering the empathy that the viewer has for the people around them. Instead it’s a confused mish mash of images, talk and music set to extreme Americana, which it both celebrates and derides.

Bechdel test: Straight away Mallory talks to Rosie about pie, so yes, it’s passes. But I don’t think it passes again at any point, for the most part Mallory talks to Mickey and he does the talking for both of them to others.

Best line:
Mickey: You know, the only thing that kills the demon… is love.

State of Mind: Urgh. That was pretty dumb. I just didn’t really see the point in it. That said, putting ‘the future’ by Leonard Cohen over the end credits was all kinds of perfect. But meh, not watching that again. By the time the prison riot started up I was so sick of all the violence and death, the casual background torture was just gross to me. I was totally over it, and ready for the film to end.

Watched movie count

Crafting – Sea to sky baby quilt

When I heard that my dear friends Svend and C were having a baby I knew that the baby quilt I made had to be pretty special. It was the first baby quilt I’d made in a while, and the first proper quilt project I had started since moving up to Auckland. I wanted something I hadn’t done before.

Between scouring Pinterest for cute baby quilts and pinning lots of ‘generic-ish quilt with cool appliqued image over the top’, looking through mum’s quilting books and generally musing over Easter I came up with an idea. What if there was a quilt with little squares or strips in different graded colours, like deep blues and purples at the bottom and that would be the sea, and then greens in the middle for the land, and pale blues for the sky? Then I could design applique animals and things to signify each area.

Mum and Anna both agreed this idea had merit, so I got to cutting. It turns out I have a lot of fabrics and a lot of in theme fabrics… I cut many strips.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

My sky went from pale blue to stars and planets, I had so many strips of differing widths that it covered my whole trestle table… Thankfully when you sew things together it all kind of compresses.

jennitalula quilt

Octopodes! Then it was time to design, iron onto bonding stuff and cut out little applique things. Here’s a close up of my alien piloted UFO, rocket ship and butterflies in the sky section.

jennitalula quilt

Once they were ironed on, I blanket stitched around them with embroidery floss. As C is a librarian and Svend an avid book collector I knew I could reference some children’s books. Here’s the bear from the brilliant ‘I want my hat back‘ by Jon Klassen in the bottom corner of the wide purple border.

jennitalula quilt

I also put a Totoro in amongst the houses.

jennitalula totoro

I’m pretty pleased with this little yellow hedgehog as well.

jennitalula hedgehog

One that was done it was sandwich it up with the batting and the backing and sew the thing, which was nice and quick because baby quilts are pretty small. Apologies for the crappy cellphone picture, must remember to use the tablet for craft images from now on as they come out much nicer.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

and here’s the back. I had a nice big panel of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, but had to pad it out with some Olivia, Firefly crew, dinosaurs, obscure animal alphabets and Where the Wild Things Are.

jennitalula quilt back

I’m pleased to say that the quilt was well received by the expectant parents and I look forward to seeing pictures of it being used by the wee niblet.

Things I Love Thursday

I am really over being sick and tired all the time. I have made a decision that I will immediately start getting better, please wish me luck. On the up side, I have lovely caring workmates, discovered a great (new for me) medical centre and panadol is really good.

Visiting dear friends and catching up/playing roleplaying games is a good time. Kapiti is as lovely as it was cold. Happy Birthday Sam!

Batman toy wars is really pretty fun.

I also enjoy this randomised dialogue Calvin and Hobbes strip Calvin and Markov

Honourable Mentions: Netflix, snuggles, friends, brunches, heaters, blankets, cold medicine, best friends and people being excited about the game I’m running.

Google translates Bohemian Rhapsody is pretty great

Lazy harp seal is probably the best song of the week.