Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Unknown Author Questions

Supposed to be writing assignments for uni. Slightly daft questions this week so mainly monosyllabic answers.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.


1.      If someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?

Read: Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Slaughterhouse Five, The Moor's Last Sigh
Watch: Six Feet Under, Orange is the New Black, the Harry Potter Movies
Listen to: Doolittle and Surfer Rosa by The Pixies

2.      Have you ever found a blogger who thinks just like you? if so, who?

No.

3.      List your fandoms and one character from each that you identify with.

No idea what a fandom is. Next.

4.      Do you like your name?  is there another name you think would fit you better?

Being so banal and boring it allows for anonymity in an anglo-saxon world. I write under Pandora Behr and Trellawney Thom.

5.      Do you think of yourself as a human being or a human doing? do you identify yourself by the things you do?

Human being. You finish doing after a while. I write and read. Yay.


6.      Are you religious/spiritual?

Spiritual. can't see a point in being religious. Too many wars have been faught in the name of religion - like the one going on now in America - and don't try to tell me it's not.

7.      Do you care about your ethnicity?

Not really. White Anglo-Saxon of Cornish, Welsh, English and Scottish extraction - nothing exotic.

8.      What musical artists have you most felt connected to over your lifetime?

The Pixies and Alt-J

9.      Are you an artist?

I write. does that count?

10.   Do you have a creed?

No,

11.   Describe your ideal day.

Lots of sleep, sex and ice cream - and throw in a great meal a good movie and some reading that is not uni work.

12.   Dog person or cat person?

Love both, but I identify with cats more. More independent. Less allergic to dogs too.

13.   Inside or outdoors?

Both

14.   Are you a musician?

No. I can sing and play the flute - but not terribly well.

15.   Five most influential books over your lifetime.

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson.
The Secret History by Donna Tarrt
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
The Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (The book I would like to write)

16.   If you’d grown up in a different environment, do you think you’d have turned out the same?

There would be some differences, but generally I would be me.

17.   Would you say your tumblr is a fair representation of the “real you”?

What is tumblr?

18.   What’s your patronus?

A cat.

19.   Which Harry Potter house would you be in? or are you a muggle?

Probably Griffyndor, but maybe Ravenclaw.

20.   Would you rather be in Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, or somewhere else?

Hogwards - haven't read Narnia or the Lord of the Rings.

21.   Do you love easily?

I fall in love with every dog I see in the street.

22.   List the top five things you spend the most time doing, in order.

Today: Procrastinating, cleaning, writing assignments, walking, drinking.

23.   How often would you want to see your family every year?

I see them 2-3 times a year. They live interstate. That's enough.

24.   Have you ever felt like you had a “mind-meld” with someone?

Yes, and it's scary.

25.   Could you live as a hermit?

Very easily. Some say I do in some ways.

26.   How would you describe your gender/sexuality?

That's a bit personal. Female, cisgender, 95% hetero. The other 5% is up for discussion.

27.   Do you feel like your outside appearance is a fair representation of the “real you”?

No. But there are good bits and I'm not ugly so I deal.

28.   On a scale from 1 to 10, how hard is it for someone to get under your skin?

Depends on the day but normally a 6-7.

29.   Three songs that you connect with right now.

Where is my Mind? The Pixies


Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede



Reckless - Australian Crawl



30.   Pick one of your favorite quotes.

Be the change you want to see - Gandhi.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Part 2

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 - Four Stars

Okay, action is not my genre, but strangely, I can do the odd bit of Marvel. Yes, I'm hooked.

See, I am Groot..

A bit like Deadpool, I can do these strange, fun, featherweight action movies. They're fun. Take  out the brain at the car park and go and go enjoy them for what they are films.

I am Groot.

So, when my Punjabi kid brother (and everbody needs a Punjabi kid brother) said lets do Tight Arse Tuesday movie night and I asked if he wanted to see this, he was thrilled. After all, it's a movie you'd take your kid brother aged 12 or over to quite happily.) First of all, I needed to catch up on Guardians of the Galaxy  - the first part. A little bit of downloading and I hit pay dirt. What a great film!

I am Groot.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two takes off a couple of months after the end of the first movie. Peter Quill / Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) continue their adventures out in space, where Peter's parentage is explored.

I am Groot.

There are plenty of explosions and fights for the boys to enjoy (and the girls too). The CGI and special effects are fantastic. The script is tight and funny, even if it lacks the 'road movie' feel of the first movie.

I am Groot.

The soundtrack is equally as awesome as the first movie as it is based around the Awesome Mix Tape #2 - and as a child of the seventies, I loved every minute of the music.

I am Groot.

This is a silly, funny, action-packed movie. The characters are lovable as they are flawed. Baby Groot is one of the highlights. There are also cameos from some pretty famous actors, including Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki and Glenn Close, among others.

I am Groot.

As somebody who is quite averse to violence, I sat through this with a smile on my face and a level of comfort that  the violence is what I call "Bang-bang you're dead" violence and thankfully nothing too malicious (says she who got freaked out over last night's episode of Law and Order: SVU).

I am Groot.

I think Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is my new happy place movie. There are purists who say that you have to know about the Infinity Stones. I don't think so. If you're looking for two hours of fun an entertainment, not requiring a brain that is very funny in places, this is your film. It delivers.

Also, Baby Groot steals the show.

I am Groot.


Oh and I have to put this here too: Ouga chaka, ouga ouga ouga chaka... bet you're singing this for the next two days.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Film Review: Their Finest

Their Finest - 4 and a bit stars

Okay, I am a sucker for English films. A big sucker for English films, but if all films were a bit like this, I think the world would be a much better place.

So Their Finest (released in Britain as "Their Finest Hour and a Half") is a historical comedy set during The Blitz. One Mrs Catrin Cole, from somewhere deep in the valleys of Wales is called up by the Ministry of Information to assist in writing the scripts for their "Keep Calm and Carry On" propaganda films. The film tells the story of a British Ministry of Information film team making a morale-boosting film about the Dunkirk evacuation during the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.

Okay, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain. Romantic Comedy. Well, yes - and it works delightfully as we embark on a two hour journey into what it was like to live in through the Blitz and be a part of the spin machine that operates during wartime (Funny, it feels a bit like that now).

The cast are excellent. The film's prtoagonist, Catrin Cole, played by Gemma Arterton is just the right mix of plucky, resolute and fragile and the rather downtrodden screen writer. Her love interest, Buckley, is played with ablomb and a stunningly awful moustache by Sam Claflin - who seems to be doing a great line in playing redeemable arseholes of late (Think Me Without You and The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Stealing the show, in his own inimitable way is Bill Nighy, who plays Bill Nighy. Other notable mentions include Eddie Marsan, who plays Nighy's crotchety manager, and Helen McCrory, who ends up being his manager. Lovely cameo parts which bring warmth and humour into what could have otherwise been a heavy film.

The direction of the film is another of its strengths. Lone Scherfig, who is responsible for wonderful British Films including An Education and One Day. She has a steady hand and knows how to milk the British psyche for its wonderful nuances and failings.

Part farce, part romantic comedy, part look at the horrors of war and just what the British put up with during world war two, I will be recommending this movie for a long time.

I also love it when you have a film that has you doing spit-takes for most of the film only to have you crying buckets for the last ten minutes. (I haven't sobbed like that in ages)

Set in the back streets of London as well as somewhere concocted as "Devon" (it was filmed somewhere off the Welsh Coast) this is a film which you can take your Mum along to and know she's not going to be offended. I know I got out of the cinema and called my Mum, telling her to go and see it.

This is a marvelous film, with just enough lightness to make a war story very human and very enjoyable. It's also a fantastic insight into the propaganda machines which drive our world today.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Mommy Time Questions

Despite the dodgy title of these questions, they are not too bad.

I'm in assignment mode - for which I am not doing too badly. 2000 out o a 3000 word story is complete and the planning is done for the monster 5000 work paper due on 8 May.

So I'm not in a bad place, but I have a LOT of work to do - thank goodness for ANZAC Day on Tuesday.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

1. What are five passions that you have? (If you have less than five, tell us what you do have interests.)

  • Writing
  • Travelling
  • Cinema
  • Movies
  • Reading

2. List up to ten random facts about yourself.

  1. I topped my school in Chemistry and French.
  2. I have webbed toes on my right foot
  3. The scar in my eyebrow comes from when my sister donged me over the head with a golf club when I was eleven.
  4. I lived in London for eight years
  5. I love the smell of dog's paws first thing in the morning.
  6. I would love to run a writer's retreat one day.
  7. I have a birthmark on the back of my left calf - my niece had the same birthmark.
  8. I have never worn my hair shorter than a bob.
  9. I am a passionate fifth-generation South Australian.
  10. I am VERY proud of my five uncles who participated in the trenches of World War One (Gallipoli, Alexandria and the Western Front - all support crew - drivers, ambulance men, signalmen and a bugler)

3. List five people (personal, historic, living or dead) who have had a major impact on your life or the way you think.

  • JK Rowling
  • Dr Spencer Johnson - author of "Who Moved My Cheese"
  • Thomas a Becket
  • Leon the hypnotherapist
  • Shakespeare

4. List 5 things you'd tell your 15 year-olds self, if you could.

  1. Things ARE going to get better.
  2. Exercise more - you will learn to love it.
  3. Just shut up - pick your battles - there are some not worth fighting.
  4. You are not fat. Seriously.
  5. Learn to let go with grace. It is a skill you will learn to love.

5. What is a major strength that you have? (You can list more than one. Staying with our no rules approach.)

I am loyal, kind and tenacious. I think these are wonderful strengths.

6. What is a major weakness that you have? (You can list more than one. STILL staying with our no rules approach.)

Other than ice cream?  I get bored easily - and it can get destructive.

7. Describe the family dynamic of your childhood versus your family dynamic now.

Passive-aggressive. It wasn't a particularly happy home.

8. What popular notion do you feel that the world has most wrong?

Other than that trickle down economics works (For fuck's sake, it doesn't) Conservative values are really not a good thing at all - they're a crock of shite - particularly where it comes to women's and reproductive rights. Get your hands off my ovaries and go find something of your own to fuck up.

9. Name three things that always cheers you up when you are down.

  • Cuddles
  • Ice Cream
  • Movies

10. Name three things would you like to be remembered for?

  • The fantastic novel that I will write
  • My kindness
  • My sense of humour

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Place for Pumpkins Questions

Happy Easter / Passover / Insert your public holiday here.

I'm trying to have a nice and peaceful Easter, but the hacking cough going on at the moment is not helping matters. After a week, I think it's time to go see a doctor.

Anyway, no idea why these are called "The Place for Pumpkings" questions but I will give them a go.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

1. If "happiness" was the global currency, what kind of work would make you a gazillionaire? 

Probably being a fiction writer. I do like the thought of that. Breeder of Bernese Mountain Dogs - that would be very cool too.



2. Would you break the law to save someone you loved?  And, if so, how far would you be willing to take it?

Probably not. I'm not made up that way.
   
3. Is it possible to really know the truth without questioning it first?

I think so. Some things you just know. Matters of the heart you have to trust your gut. Everything else, question it. Especially the news.
   
4. Do you remember that one time . . . oh, about 5 years ago or so . . . when you were really, really upset?  Does it really matter now? If not now, then when?

No, it doesn't matter. I've moved on.

5. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

No. As somebody who is not a Christian, with the possible exceptions of Hitler and maybe Donald Trump ( who's ignorance is evil) I'm not that sure. Not sure I believe in good and evil.  The goalpost move too much.
   
6. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Nothing. I really don't give a crap what people think.
   
7. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

More work I enjoyed doing. I don't mind work, but I like to be productive.

8. Would you rather be an anxious genius, or a tranquil fool?

Rather be a tranquil fool. Anxious geniuses are very, very concerning.

9. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Much prefer to do the right thing. Doing things right is good, but it is always better to do the right thing.
   
10. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Young enough to have fun without knowing better.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Sassiest Questions

Well, I am quite proud of myself - I have done my two tutorial responses, I'm about to do my ironing and make my lunch for the week - and even better - I'm off to see Book of Mormon tonight. Yay. I feel like I've done some stuff this weekend.

Questions, as always from Sunday Stealing.


1. If you could say anything you wanted to say to Donald Trump, what would you say?

Resign, NOW. Before you lead us into World War III, you orange fucktard.

2. If you had to be the mother of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who would you choose and why?

Britney Spears. Despite some very hard years and some rather awkward decisions, she appears to have turned into a reasonable human being.

3. You get to be Queen for a day. The kids are all taken care of, and you can spend as much money as you want. What do you do all day?

Probably go and have a massage and spend a lot of time (and money) in a book store. If not that, buy a last minute First Class Ticket on Emirates Airlines - and go somewhere for a few hours that way. That is supposed to be amazing.

4. Is there a song that brings tears to your eyes every time you hear it? If so, which one?

This. Every. Freaking. Time.



5. A fairy taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you can either have a perfect face or a perfect body for the rest of your life. Which do you choose?

A perfect body. One that doesn't break down and get old and cranky. I don't mind a few wrinkles but I would love to be as flexible as I was in my 20s. I promise I'll look after it.

6. If you could live any place in the world and money was no object, where would you live and why?

Probably London. I love London. But you need money. Rome would be great too.

7. What is your biggest regret in life?

Not getting therapy sooner.

8. If you could go back and visit one person in your life who is now dead, and ask one question, what would that question be and why would you ask it?

I would love to talk to my paternal grandfather - who has been dead nearly forty years. I would love to get his perspective on things. There were always a lot of things never said on that side of the family. Lots to talk about.

9. If you had the choice to age forward (like we are now) or aging backwards (think Benjamin Buttons) which would you choose and why?

Age backwards - and get all these middle aged grungy thinks I'm feeling over and done with. Middle age is not for sissies.

10. What will the epitaph on your headstone say?

Nevertheless, she persisted.  (It's a bit of a feminist battle cry - and I do live to persist) I doubt I will have a headstone as 1) I want to  be cremated and 2) I want my ashes scattered somewhere where a headstone would look out of place.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast - 4 Stars




Okay, so I must be the only one on the planet not to have seen the original Disney “Beauty and the Beast”. Seeing that it came out in 1991 when I was moving myself to London, I like to think that I had better things to do at the time. Besides, I was aware of the general story, why did I need to see it?

So this new Disney live action film come out and I’m a bit interested. I do like Emma Watson. It’s been great to see her grow out of Hermione Granger’s shadow and into a decent actress. I’m rather fond of Luke Evans. I sort of like Dan Stevens even if he will never come out of Lady Mary Crawley’s pall after that car crash on Downton Abbey – besides, he has lovely blue eyes.

Sam and I took ourselves off to see this on our semi-regular girls night out – not the animated version, but the 2017 Emma Watson, “gay-scandal in Malaysia” version. 

And we loved every minute of it.

The story is quite simple. Belle, a bit of a misfit in her village is the daughter of a local merchant. The Merchant goes off to Paris to sell his wares. Belle asks him to bring back a rose for her. On the way back from the trip, the merchant strays off course where he ends up at the castle of a once handsome prince, who having pissed off a local witch.  The witch has turned him into a beast – and quite a gnarly one at that. He has until the last petal falls off of a rose to find somebody to love him as he loves her back. (Yeah, not the greatest feminist message out there and as I have written this word thirty times today it is front of mind) While picking said rose for Belle, the Merchant the beast captures him – he’s not very happy about his roses going missing – even if nobody has been around the place for years.

Back in the village, a vain git called Gaston is trying to win Belle’s hand. She sees him for the rubbish suitor he would be and tells him to go get stuffed. When her father’s horse returns without him, Belle goes to search him out. Finding him inprisoned, she takes her father’s place. You'd think he'd like a visitor.

Okay – they you have the middle bit of the movie, the Beast and Belle fall in love, Gaston comes to search her out, but not after being rebuffed by her father. There is a big fight scene and then the witch reverses the spell and they all live happily ever after.

Okay, you don’t think about the slightly creepy through that there is this bloke – turned into a beast, who is keeping a woman against her will (though thinking about it, he does treat her well in captivity). You also overlook the fairly bad case of Stockholm Syndrome which Belle appears to procure. And you can forgive the overacting by most of the cast as this is a Disney Musical.

We loved it. It was a fanstastic film to just sit back and enjoy. Emma Watson is the quintessential Belle. Kevin Kline is both believable and fun as her father. I was quite taken with Luke Evans as the dreadful, arrogant and redemption-less Gaston. He was superb. And Josh Gad was brilliant as Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick.

Much has been made of the homosexual overtones from Le Fou’s admiration / love for Gaston. Malaysia banned the film because of this. In my honest opinion, stupid move. There is nothing to it. It’s very fun to watch, completely inoffensive and could happily be construed as one many admiring another, if you wanted to. I was shocked at Malaysia’s over-reaction to some fun scenes.

Other cast members who provided voices, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Ian McKellen, to name a few, were great as the CGI furniture and cutlery who keep the beast company.

This is a fabulous film to take kids to, or bigger kids. It’s great fun. There isn’t an over commitment to the songs and you leave with a big smile on your face, even if you do wonder why Malaysia was having such a hard time with the fact that two guys are dancing on screen. And they weren’t even twerking.