31 December 2010

Books Read [2010]

16 Books Read in 2010

01 Jan: Her Fearful Symmetry by, Audrey Niffenegger
07 Jan: The Host by, Stephenie Meyer
22 Jan: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1) by, Stieg Larsson
25 Jan: Keeper of Light and Dust by, Natasha Mostert
04 Mar: John Dies at the End by, David Wong
10 Mar: Angel Time (The Songs of the Seraphim, #1) by, Anne Rice
01 May: The Library of Shadows by, Mikkel Birkegaard
10 May: Shutter Island by, Dennis Lehane
19 Jun: The Summer Psychic by, Jessica Adams
07 Jul: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2) by, Stieg Larsson
08 Aug: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3) by, Stieg Larsson
24 Nov: The Villa in Italy by, Elizabeth Edmondson
25 Nov: Harry Potter #1 by, JK Rowling (again)
27 Nov: Harry Potter #2 by, JK Rowling (again)
15 Dec: Harry Potter #3 by, JK Rowling (again)
31 Dec: Harry Potter #4 by, JK Rowling (again)

24 December 2010

Happy Holidays

Love the Google 'Happy Holidays' icon today!

18 December 2010

Best of Lists: Top Music Videos of 2010

Pitchfork have compiled their top picks for best music videos of the year. There are a heap of great songs on this list... and I have NEVER seen the videos!

Challenge accepted (I will watch them all!).

Here is the complete list over at Pitchfork (with links to the clips themselves for your viewing pleasure)

I've simply listed them song/artist/director here, and my comments in italics. It looks like they've used alphabetical order (no preferential sorting):

Arcade Fire, Suburbs (Director: Spike Jonze) - loved the story telling of this clip; scary mix of innocence & sinister.

Baths, Lovely Bloodflow (D: Alex Takacs & Joe Nankin) - hauntingly beautiful.

Best Coast, When I'm With You (Director: Pete Ohs)  - too cute!

The Black Keys, Tighten Up (D: Chris Marrs Piliero) - adorable kids & Black Keys. Love sucks hehe.

The Books, I Didn't Know That (D: Nick Zammuto) - cheesy fun, but not really a fan of the 'song'.

Caribou, Odessa (D: Video Marsh)  - weird video. Shot really cool though, & I like the track.

ceo, Come With Me (D: Marcus Söderlund)  - not bad. Concept not that original, but a nice watch.

Das Racist, Who's That? Brooown! (Thomas De Napoli)  - again, not a fan of the song (rap), but the video was awesome - I used to play old school platform video games :) Fun to watch.

Die Antwoord, Zef Side (D: Seem Metelerkamp) - LOL

Duck Sauce, Barbra Streisand (D: So Me) - fun; amusing clip.

El Guincho, Bombay (D: Nicolas Mendez [NSFW]) - so much going on in this one; interesting to watch. I couldn't help but wondering why a topless girl would dance with sparklers so close to her nipples - but, hey, what the hell hehe

Fang Island, Daisy (D: Carlos Charlie Perez) - so much *fun*. Loved this - looks like it's all one shot too. There aren't enough capes in the world.

The Flaming Lips, Powerless (D: Wayne Coyne, George Salisbury) - visually done well, but a little boring I found.

Flying Lotus [ft. Thundercat], MmmHmm (D: Special Problems) - extremely trippy!!

Grinderman, Heathen Child (D: John Hillcoat [NSFW]) - wow... so crazy to watch. Cool bananas.

HEALTH, We Are Water (D: Eric Wareheim [NSFW])

Hot Chip, I Feel Better (D: Peter Serafinowicz)

How to Destroy Angels, The Space in Between (D: Rupert Sanders)

How to Dress Well, Decisions (D: Jamie Harley)

The Hundred in the Hands, Pigeons (D: DANIELS)

Insane Clown Posse, Miracles (D: Paul Andresen)

James Blake, Limit to Your Love (D: Martin de Thurah)

Janelle Monáe [ft. Big Boi], Tightrope (D: Wendy Morgan)

Jonna Lee, iamamiwhoami (D: Viktor Kumlin)

Kanye West, Runaway (D: Kanye West)
.
Klaxons, Twin Flames (D: Saam Farahmand [NSFW])

Lady Gaga [ft. Beyoncé], Telephone (D: Jonas Åkerlund)

LCD Soundsystem, Drunk Girls (D: Spike Jonze, James Murphy)

Liars, Scissor (D: Andy Bruntel)

Male Bonding, Year's Not Long (D: Vice Cooler)

Massive Attack, Splitting the Atom (D: Edouard Salier)

The Morning Benders, Promises (D: Aaron Brown, Ben Chappell)

Rihanna, Rude Boy (D: Melina Matsoukas)

Röyksopp, Senior Living (D: Noel Paul, Stefan Moore)

She & Him, In the Sun (D: Peyton Reed)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Bottled in Cork (D: Tom Scharpling)

Vampire Weekend, Giving Up the Gun (D: The Malloys)

Wavves, Post Acid (D: Patrick O'Dell)

Yeasayer, Madder Red (D: Andreas Nilsson)

Zola Jesus, Sea Talk (D: Jacqueline Castel)

My Favs of 2010

I've spent time sharing others opinions on 2010's music etc, so I thought it was about time I weighed in. I hate ranking, but I will give a list in no particular order.

Albums
Yeasayer - Odd Blood
Beach House - Teen Dream
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz
The National - High Violet
Glasser - Ring
Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
The Black Keys - Brothers
Broken Bells - Broken Bells
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast

Movies
The Fantastic Mr Fox
Kick Ass
How to Train Your Dragon
Inception
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Social Network

TV Shows (not necessarly new to 2010, but what I think have been the best this year)
Sons of Anarchy - well and truly growing; S02 was great, S03 was awesome!
Boardwalk Empire - intriguing and dirty. Love it.
The Walking Dead - I'm not a zombie fan (vamps all the way!), but this show is about more than the undead.
Modern Family
Party Down
Weeds
Entourage
30 Rock
Bored to Death
How I Met Your Mother
(Dexter, Fringe - I am cheating with these ones, as we have yet to watch the latest season. I've been saving them up and I *know* they will be awesome!)
Special mention: Pillars of the Earth (mini-series)

I watch way too many TV shows; ones I didn't list here that I still watch religiously (like Gossip Girl, Cougar Town, Castle...), and ones that were a little disappointing (like True Blood, Lie to Me...). And people keep the recommendations coming (I've yet to watch The Good Wife, Mad Men...)

Flicks - Top 20 Films of 2010

Flicks.co.nz's movie critics name their 20 favourite films of 2010:

1. Animal Kingdom
2. The Social Network
3. A Prophet
4. Fantastic Mr Fox
5. Toy Story 3
6. Boy
7. Inception
8. Shutter Island
9. The Ghost Writer
10. Winter's Bone
11. The Hurt Locker
12. Kick-Ass
13. The Secret in Their Eyes
14. A Single Man
15. Exit Through the Gift Shop
16. Monsters
17. Up in the Air
18. The Disappearance of Alice Creed
19. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
20. How to Train Your Dragon

(Updated: 27 Dec 10) I've still got to see: 1,3,5,13,15,16,18. I don't agree with: 8,9,17

The list, with comments is posted here.

16 December 2010

Happy 235th Bday Jane Austen

I used to swoon over igoggle, but I've been darn slack for the last couple of years. Today's igoogle icon made me post though. It's preeety!

15 December 2010

Chicken Dance

I heart 'Arrested Development'

Golden Globes 2011!

All the nominations are out for the 68th Annual Golden Globes Awards! 'The King's Speech', starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush, leads the way with seven nominations. 'The Figher' and 'Social Network' sit just behind with six a piece.

The Awards will be held January 16. UPDATED: winners in *bold

Here is the complete list, with my comments in brackets:

Motion Pictures
Drama:
Black Swan (I am *dying* to see this)
The Fighter
Inception (I'm not surprised this was nominated, but I don't think it should win)
The King's Speech (Saw the preview for this and will definitely be going to see it)
*The Social Network (I did really enjoy this film)

Musical or Comedy:
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque (WTF?! Well, it did pique my curiosity...)
*The Kids Are All Right (My vote would be for this to win - it was a very good film)
Red (Seriously?! I mean, sure, it was enjoyable...)
The Tourist

Actor, Drama:
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network (He was pretty impressive)
*Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Actress, Drama:
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
*Natalie Portman, Black Swan (I haven't even seen this yet, but would love for her to win!)
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Director:
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
*David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O Russell, The Fighter

Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
*Paul Giamatti, Barney's Version
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack

Actress, Musical or Comedy:
*Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right (I don't know how they could pick Annette over Julianne or vice versa in this category!!)
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway, Love & Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Emma Stone, Easy A

Supporting Actor:
*Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town (I still haven't managed to see this film)
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Supporting Actress:
*Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom (Wow, nice nod to Australian cinema!!)

Foreign Language:
Biutiful (Mexico and Spain)
The Concert (France) (Want to see this...)
The Edge (Russia)
I Am Love (Italy) (...and this - both The Concert and I Am Love were on at the NZFF, but I missed them)
*In a Better World (Denmark)

Animated Film:
*Toy Story 3
The Illusionist
How to Train Your Dragon (I loved this! It's the only one I've seen from this category)
Despicable Me
Tangled

Screenplay:
Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David Seidler, The King's Speech
*Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Original Score:
Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
*Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Social Network (I'd love to see Trent win! I did love the score)
Hans Zimmer, Inception

Original Song:
"Bound to You" (written by Samuel Dixon, Christina Aguilera, Sia Furler), Burlesque
"Coming Home" (written by Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges), Country Strong
"I See the Light" (written by Alan Menken, Glenn Slater), Tangled
"There's a Place for Us" (written by Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
*"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," (written by Diane Warren), Burlesque


Television
Series, Drama:
*Boardwalk Empire, HBO (Adore!)
Dexter, Showtime (Also adore)
The Good Wife, CBS
Mad Men, AMC
The Walking Dead, AMC (I am watching this at the moment - very good!)

Actor, Drama:
*Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire (Adore!)
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (He is sooo bloody brilliant in this role)
Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Brilliant)
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House

Actress, Drama:
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs
*Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy (Please please please!!! She is incredible in this)
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Series, Musical or Comedy:
30 Rock, NBC (Love)
The Big Bang Theory, CBS
The Big C, Showtime
*Glee, Fox (Enjoy watching this, but would rather see Modern Family win)
Modern Family, ABC (Love)
Nurse Jackie, Showtime

Actress, Musical or Comedy:
Toni Collette, The United States of Tara
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock (For the win!)
*Laura Linney, The Big C
Lea Michele, Glee

Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (For the win!)
Steve Carell, The Office
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matthew Morrison, Glee
*Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Miniseries or Movie:
*Carlos, Sundance Channel
The Pacific, HBO
Pillars of the Earth, Starz (Only one I've seen in this category - was very good!)
Temple Grandin, HBO
You Don't Know Jack, HBO

Actress, Miniseries or Movie:
Hayley Atwell, Pillars of the Earth
*Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
Judi Dench, Return to Cranford
Romola Garai, Emma
Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Client List

Actor, Miniseries or Movie:
Idris Elba, Luther
Ian McShane, Pillars of the Earth
*Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack
Dennis Quaid, The Special Relationship
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos

Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie:
Hope Davis, The Special Relationship
*Jane Lynch, Glee (Adore!)
Kelly Macdonald, Broadwalk Empire (She is very good in this)
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family (Love the show, but I don't think Gloria can beat Sue!)

Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie:
Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-0
*Chris Colfer, Glee
Chris Noth, The Good Wife
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family (Wow, Cam over the other cast - he is funny.. But, what about Phil!)
David Strathairn, Temple Grandin


Honorary
Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert De Niro

Salad Days: Top 40 Albums of 2010

Salad Days is another blog I read (when I have the time!). Here is their opinion on which 40 albums are top for 2010.

Their full list is posted over 3 posts (40-21, 20-11, 10-1), with an mp3 off each album!

40. Spoon | Transference
39. Blitzen Trapper | Destroyer of the Void
38. Harlem | Hippies
37. Paul Cary | Ghost of a Man
36. Perfume Genius | Learning
35. Twin Shadow | Forget
34. Janelle Monáe | The ArchAndroid
33. Toro Y Moi | Causers of This
32. Sleigh Bells | Treats
31. Local Natives | Gorilla Manor
30. Suckers | Wild Smile
29. Broken Social Scene | Forgiveness Rock Record
28. Big Boi | Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
27. The Black Keys | BrothersFoot: The Son of Chico Dusty
26. Tame Impala | Innerspeaker
25. Yeasayer | Odd Blood
24. Surfer Blood |Astro Coast
23. Los Campesinos! Romance Is Boring
22. Matthew Dear | Black City
21. Frightened Rabbit | The Winter of Mixed Drinks
20. CEO | White Magic
19. Flying Lotus | Cosmogramma
18. Beach Fossils | Beach Fossils
17. Nobunny | First Blood
16. Phosphorescent | Here’s to Taking It Easy
15. Vampire Weekend | Contra
14. Beach House | Teen Dream
13. No Age | Everything In Between
12. Gorillaz | Plastic Beach
11. The Walkmen | Lisbon
10. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti| Before Today
09. Titus Andronicus | The Monitor
08. The Radio Dept. | Clinging to a Scheme
07. The Tallest Man on Earth | The Wild Hunt
06. Arcade Fire | The Suburbs
05. Sufjan Stevens | Age of Adz
04. The National | High Violet
03. LCD Soundsystem | This Is Happening
02. Deerhunter | Halcyon Digest
01. Kanye West | My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

10 December 2010

Best of... TV drama

More lists! Eonline have posted their 'Top 10 TV Dramas of 2010' list, and here it is:

10. Mad Men (AMC)
09. The Walking Dead (AMC)
08. Fringe (Fox)
07. Grey's Anatomy (AMC)
06. Sons of Anarchy (FX)
05. True Blood (HBO)
04. Dexter (Showtime)
03. The Vampire Diaries (CW)
02. Friday Night Lights (DirecTV 101)
01. Lost (ABC)

I'm totally down with 9, 8, 6, 5, and 4. I *adore* Sons of Anarchy! Now, I watched Vampire Diaries, but I don't believe it should be at number 3 - that's just crazy talk.

I never got into 'Lost' - but one day I will start the process of watching the complete series. Maybe then I will understand what all the fuss is about.

The list is posted here, with photos and comments.

09 December 2010

The Kids Are All Right

I went and saw 'The Kids Are All Right' (IMDB) last night at the Rialto. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it (hence taking the time to note so here!). It stars Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, with Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson.

Brief synopsis: Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) are born via artificial insemination to lesbian couple Nic (Annette Bening as the doctor workaholic, wine-drinking "Gorilla" of the family) and Jules (Julianne Moore as new age hippy-esque landscape gardner Mum) respectively. Their donor dad is Paul (Mark Ruffalo as an easy going, serial flirter Restaurateur), making them half-siblings. After turning 18, Joni tracks down their Dad for her brother (who is clearly craving a male role model). After a nervy initial encounter, they grow to like each other. However, everything changes when Paul is introduced to Nic and Jules...

This is a small quote from a review at salon.com (by Andrew O'Hehir), that I agree with 100% about the film: 

"This is one of the most compelling and rewarding portraits of a middle-class American marriage in cinema history, as well as one of the funniest. The fact that the people in this particular marriage are both women is important to the story, of course. But perhaps, Cholodenko suggests, it isn't all that important to the universe." Read the full review here

If you like family dramas, mixed with witty comedy, when you'll like this.

Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums Of 2010

More music lists! I am a fan of the Stereogum blog, and those of you that are reading this who are also lucky enough (:P) to receive my mixed-tapes have their blog to thank for a few of "my" (aka their) finds.

I'm keeping the same comment colour code as previously (red: I'm there; green: maybe I should be there - although saying that, I trust Stereogum enough that I probably should probably give all the albums/artists I am unfamiliar with a try!)

I've summarised the list below, but if you check out their list at Stereogum there are mp3 downloads!

50 Emeralds – Does It Look Like I Am Here?
49 Small Black – New Chain
48 Sharon Van Etten – Epic
47 Baths – Cerulean
46 Frank (Just Frank) – The Brutal Wave
45 Perfume Genius – Learning
44 Field Music – Field Music (Measure)
43 Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
42 Lower Dens – Twin-Hand Movement
41 Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal
40 Glasser – Ring
39 Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner
38 Avey Tare – Down There (I have heard a single that I liked, and I do love Animal Collective, of which Avey Tare is a founding member of)
37 jj – jj nº3
36 the morning benders – Big Echo
35 Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (I keep hearing their name! I must listen!)
34 Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
33 MGMT – Congratulations
32 Twin Shadow – Forget
31 Warpaint – The Fool
30 Das Racist – Shut Up, Dude
29 Matthew Dear – Black City
28 Delorean – Subiza
27 Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
26 Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
25 ceo – White Magic
24 Tamaryn – The Waves
23 SALEM – King Night
22 Marnie Stern – Marnie Stern
21 Liars – Sisterworld
20 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
19 Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
18 Abe Vigoda – Crush
17 Owen Pallett – Heartland
16 The National – High Violet
15 The-Dream – Love King
14 Yeasayer – Odd Blood
13 LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
12 Crystal Castles – II
11 Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
10 Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
09 Wild Nothing – Gemini
08 Antony & The Johnsons – Swanlights (I have other albums, but not this new one! Must buy!)
07 Vampire Weekend – Contra
06 Sleigh Bells – Treats
05 Robyn – Body Talk
04 Sufjan Stevens – The Age Of Adz
03 Beach House – Teen Dream
02 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
01 Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

BFI Top 12 Films of 2010

The first end of year film list I have stumbled across so far: BFI (British Film Institute), Sight & Sound, Top 12 Films of 2010. I've only seen number one on this list - it always makes me feel bad when I haven't seen more, of what others consider to be, great films! I have heard of most of the others though and I will certainly be renting them.

"...What the most important films of the last year were depends on what you want from cinema in a time of austerity. That’s the conclusion we’ve drawn after canvassing 85 of our contributors for the top five new films they saw in the course of 2010, and their other highlights of the year. Some will argue that the phenomenal success of James Cameron’s Avatar (released worldwide in December 2009) shows that a big spectacle can be an effective antidote to hard times. Some will even reduce Kathryn Bigelow’s 2010 Best Picture Oscar win for The Hurt Locker (released earlier in 2009) to a mere snub to Avatar. But in this magazine, Avatar doesn’t feature in anyone’s list (our critics’ antipathy towards CGI spectacles is just as pointed in regard to that other huge box-office phenomenon, Christopher Nolan’s Inception, which gained just one vote). The Hurt Locker, by contrast, came joint second last year. The sort of cinema the wider public flocks to see, then, bears little relationship to what our 85 contributors want to celebrate..."

I've summarised the list below, but full details and introduction can be found at the BFI site here

1 The Social Network, David Fincher, USA
"Like Fincher’s most exacting film Zodiac, this is a forensic study of an enigmatic outcast remaking the world according to his own desires and specifications – and of the people left behind him to clear up or make sense of the mess." — Ryan Gilbey

2 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Lung Boonmee raluek chat), Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand / UK / France / Germany / Spain / Netherlands / USA
"Weerasethakul’s breakthrough smash has the uncommon virtue of trusting its audience to furnish its own commentary and explanations – a virtue made possible by its magical realism." — Jonathan Rosenbaum

3 Another Year, Mike Leigh, UK
"The latest of Leigh’s studies of happiness and the lack of it. Generous yet not indulgent to its characters, it’s a film during which one can find oneself changing one’s mind about which characters are most to be pitied and most to be admired." — Edward Buscombe

4 Carlos, Olivier Assayas, France / Germany / Belgium
"Assayas skipped the psychology of terrorism in favour of depicting the Marxist assassin-hijacker as the star of his own 21-year action movie – a man whose need for sex and liposuction confounds the notion of revolutionary asceticism." — Graham Fuller

5 The Arbor, Clio Barnard, UK
"A brilliantly inventive escape from the dead end of British social realism, Barnard’s film tells the tragic story of Northern playwright Andrea Dunbar and her children. Fortuitously, alas, it has also turned out to be the first real British film of the Cameron era." — Jonathan Romney

=6 Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik, USA
"Not least because of Jennifer Lawrence’s riveting lead performance, this was one of the best quest movies I’ve seen in years, its dark fairytale tests all the more compelling because they are faced by a 17-year-old girl in a dirtily real Ozark mountains setting." — Lee Marshall

=6 I Am Love (Io sono l’amore), Luca Guadagnino, Italy
"Guadagnino’s Tilda Swinton vehicle is the best portrait of crumbling aristocracy since Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard – and also has a delirious homage to D.H. Lawrence as the cherry on the cake." — Naman Ramachandran

=8 The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceausescu), Andrei Ujica, Romania
"Ujica’s reconfiguration of archival propaganda material, quietly needling out its intrinsic irony and the seeds of its own unravelling, is stunningly innovative in the realm of documentary." — Carmen Gray

=8 Film socialisme, Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland / France
"Like many friends, I’m still figuring this one out – and the effort has already been well worth the trouble. Even when Godard’s pet notions are unduly solipsistic, the work (and play) with sound and image are too dazzling to ignore." — Jonathan Rosenbaum

=8 Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la luz), Patricio Guzmán, France / Germany / Chile
"In Chile’s Atacama desert, astronomers examine the origins of the universe. Close to the observatory, families of the disappeared search for vestiges of their loved ones, victims of Pinochet’s regime. An extraordinary film about the unknown and the unknowable." — Maria Delgado

=8 Poetry (Si), Lee Changdong, South Korea
"The title tells all, evoking both the story (a woman takes to writing verse as her grandson is implicated in a girl’s suicide) and tone of Lee’s exquisite film. Seamlessly conjoining many themes, it benefits from one of the year’s best performances, from Yun Junghee." — Geoff Andrew

=8 A Prophet (Un Prophète), Jacques Audiard, France / Italy
"A Prophet has some of the virtues of the prison dramas Hollywood made in its heyday, like Riot in Cell Block 11, but updated to the present where the prison’s racial mix generates a particularly pungent aggression and tension. Tahar Rahim is brilliant as the young criminal who, through intelligence and grit, works his way up the criminal pecking order." — Edward Buscombe

The Tempest

Across the Universe/Frida director Julie Taymor's movie version of the Shakespeare play The Tempest hits USA cinema's December 10, and the movie's digital soundtrack album, from composer Elliot Goldenthal, is out now via Zarathustra Music.

The soundtrack features contributions from the Secret Machines' Benjamin Curtis and Helmet's Page Hamilton, and final track 'Prospera's Coda' is a long, sprawling orchestral work with a haunted vocal from Portishead singer Beth Gibbons.

Across the Universe pleasantly surprised me - enough that I did get the soundtrack. Yes, the original Beatles songs will always be better, but I enjoyed his film as the musical it was. So it's not just that fact that grabs me about The Tempest - it was also the mention Beth Gibbons that grabbed me. I've been a Portishead fan for years.

And, to top it all off, you can stream the entire Tempest soundtrack, including Gibbons' appearance, at Goldenthal's Facebook page! Take a listen here

08 December 2010

Rolling Stone mag - 2010 Singles & Albums

Rolling Stone have posted their Top 30 Albums of 2010, and Top 50 Singles of 2010. I think the list is a bit 'meh'; I'd say: they've given us what they THINK we want... (My comments: red: the albums/singles I like too)


Rolling Stone: Top 30 Albums of 2010
30 Rick Ross – Teflon Don
29 The Roots – How I Got Over
28 My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
27 Peter Wolf – Midnight Souvenirs
26 Yeasayer – Odd Blood
25 Superchunk – Majesty Shredding
24 Maximum Balloon – Maximum Balloon
23 Elizabeth Cook – Welder
22 Spoon – Transference
21 Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
20 Neil Young – Le Noise
19 M.I.A. – Maya
18 Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
17 Beach House – Teen Dream
16 Kid Rock – Born Free
15 The National – High Violet
14 Robyn – Body Talk
13 Taylor Swift – Speak Now
12 John Mellencamp – No Better Than This
11 The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
10 LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
09 Eminem – Recovery
08 Robert Plant – Band Of Joy
07 Drake – Thank Me Later
06 Vampire Weekend – Contra
05 Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song
04 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
03 Elton John and Leon Russell – The Union
02 The Black Keys – Brothers
01 Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Rolling Stone: Top 50 Singles of 2010
50 Ke$ha – "We R Who We R"
49 Elizabeth Cook – "El Camino"
48 Das Racist – "hahahaha jk?"
47 Kid Rock – "Born Free"
46 MGMT – "Congratulations"
45 The Rolling Stones – "Plundered My Soul"
44 Neil Young – "Love and War"
43 B.o.B. (Feat. Bruno Mars) – "Nothing on You"
42 Surfer Blood – "Floating Vibes"
41 Junip – "In Every Direction"
40 Kanye West -"Power"
39 The Gaslight Anthem – "The Diamond Church Street Choir"
38 Spoon – "The Mystery Zone"
37 Lloyd Banks (Feat. Juelz Santana) – "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley"
36 Drake (Feat. Nicki Minaj) – "Up All Night"
35 Massive Attack (Feat. Hope Sandoval) – "Paradise Circus"
34 Gorillaz (Feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack) – "Stylo"
33 Wavves – "Post Acid"
32 Die Antwoord – "Enter the Ninja"
31 Gil Scott-Heron – "I’m New Here"
30 Jakob Dylan – "Nothing but the Whole Wide World"
29 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – "The Trip to Pirate’s Cove"
28 Band of Horses – "Laredo"
27 The National – "Bloodbuzz Ohio"
26 Robyn – "Dancing on My Own"
25 Nicki Minaj – "Did It On’em"
24 Eminem – "Not Afraid"
23 Jamey Johnson – "Macon"
22 Rick Ross (Feat. Styles P) – "B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)"
21 Sleigh Bells – "Infinity Guitars"
20 Best Coast – "Boyfriend"
19 The New Pornographers – "Your Hands (Together)"
18 Jenny and Johnny – "Scissor Runner"
17 LCD Soundsystem – "I Can Change"
16 Cold War Kids – "Coffee Spoon"
15 Drake – "Over"
14 Big Boi (Feat. Cutty) – "Shutterbugg"
13 The Dead Weather – "Hustle and Cuss"
12 Mark Ronson and the Business International (Feat. Q-Tip & MNDR) – "Bang Bang Bang"
11 The Black Keys – "Everlasting Light"
10 Kanye West (Feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver) – "Monster"
09 Broken Bells – "The Ghost Inside"
08 Janelle Monáe (Feat. Big Boi) – "Tightrope"
07 Vampire Weekend – "White Sky"
06 Mavis Staples -"You Are Not Alone"
05 Arcade Fire – "We Used to Wait"
04 Katy Perry – "Teenage Dream"
03 Sade – "Soldier of Love"
02 Cee Lo Green – "Fuck You"
01 Kanye West (Feat. Pusha T) -"Runaway"

All and all quite an average list. There are a couple of entries I didn't highlight - good songs or bands I like, but I'm just not sure they really should've made it into the list...

02 December 2010

Coldplay do Xmas too!

Coldplay have called their's 'Christmas Lights'.

Stereogum comment: "The video is directed by Mat Whitecross and filmed in London on Thursday November 25th, 2010, a working day because British people don’t believe in Thanksgiving. Coldplay wrote the better song, made the better video (those violinist Elvises are delightful), but the Killers had the good sense to go the charitable route."

Yeah, I dig the Elvises too :) (And the popping fireworks at the end!)

Watch the video on YouTube

The Killers do Xmas again

For the fifth year running The Killers have released an Xmas song :)

The clip for this year's, 'Boots', is directed by none other than, Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre). Starbucks will donate 5¢ for every time the video is viewed via the Starbucks Share program.

I think the song is actually really good! And the clip, sweet. Enjoy (and donate at the same time).

New The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

A new single by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “The One”! Listen to it online here:

http://stereogum.com/589952/the-pains-of-being-pure-at-heart-the-one/mp3s/

I've really enjoyed their EP and LP. This new single is lovely :)

01 December 2010

Best of Lists: Albums

The first of the 'Best of...' lists - NME's. I've made some comments/highlights (red: I'm there; green: maybe I should be there; blue: really??!!!)

Top 75 Albums Of 2010 according to NME

75 The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Blood & Fire
74 Sufjan Stevens – The Age Of Adz (Love this album - can't wait to see him live next year!)
73 Interpol – Interpol (I've not got my hands on this yet - must do!)
72 Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts
71 Field Music – Field Music (Measure)
70 Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (I have a few albums, but never really got into them - will try this album...)
69 Happy Birthday – Happy Birthday
68 Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep
67 The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis
66 Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
65 Robyn – Body Talk Pt 1
64 Walls – Walls
63 Perfume Genius – Learning
62 Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here
61 Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
60 Belle And Sebastian – Write About Love (I have always liked them - another album to seek out)
59 Errors – Come Down With Me
58 Crocodiles – Sleep Forever
57 Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
56 Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers
55 Ikonika – Contact, Love, Want, Have
54 First Aid Kit – The Big Black and The Blue
53 Kelis – Flesh Tone
52 Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be
51 Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM
50 Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks (I did start to get into them; must put back on rotation!)
49 Surfer Blood – Astro Coast (I've listened to this a few times & enjoyed it. Must put it back on rotation)
48 My Chemical Romance – Danger Days
47 Pulled Apart By Horses – Pulled Apart By Horses
46 Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation
45 Four Tet – There Is Love In You
44 Manic Street Preachers – Postcards From A Young Man
43 Everything Everything – Man Alive
42 Mystery Jets – Serotonin
41 Steve Mason – Boys Outside
40 Sleigh Bells – Treats (<3)
39 Magnetic Man – Magnetic Man
38 Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty
37 Lonelady – Nerve Up
36 Hurts – Happiness (My brother actually got me onto this album; it's pretty epic; reminds me of a soundtrack)
35 Glasser – Ring
34 Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
33 Marina And The Diamonds – The Family Jewels
32 Islet – Wimmy
31 Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (I've not given them much of a listen, but heard a track the other day that I love)
30 Klaxons – Surfing The Void (Yeeees... though I still feel the single/first track is the strongest... time for a relisten maybe)
29 No Age – Everything In Between
28 New Young Pony Club – The Optimist
27 Best Coast – Crazy For You
26 Les Savy Fav – Root For Ruin
25 Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo
24 Vampire Weekend – Contra (<3)
23 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
22 Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (Curious to check out the Swans)
21 Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
20 Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
19 MGMT – Congratulations (??!! Do I need to have this album another chance?)
18 Warpaint – The Fool
17 Factory Floor – Untitled
16 Grinderman – Grinderman 2
15 Yeasayer – Odd Blood (<3 - can't wait to see them at Laneways festival!)
14 The Fall – Your Future, Our Clutter
13 Gayngs – Relayted
12 Caribou – Swim
11 The National – High Violet (<3 <3)
10 The Drums – The Drums
09 Liars – Sisterworld
08 Salem – King Night
07 Zola Jesus – Stridulum II
06 Foals – Total Life Forever (I've been getting into them more in prep for the Laneways fest - surprised it made #6 though)
05 Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
04 LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
03 Beach House – Teen Dream (<3 dreamy; adore Beach House - again, seeing at Laneways fest next year!)
02 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (<3 <3)
01 These New Puritans – Hidden

30 November 2010

U2 26 Nov 2010

The fab setlist for Friday night's U2 concert!

AUCKLAND SET LIST
Return of the Stingray Guitar
Beautiful Day
I Will Follow / New Year’s Day
Get On Your Boots
Magnificent
Mysterious Ways
Elevation
Until The End Of The World
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
One Tree Hill
Pride (In The Name Of Love) / Angel of Harlem
In A Little While
Miss Sarajevo
City Of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Scarlet
Walk On

ENCORE
One
Where The Streets Have No Name

ENCORE 2
Ultraviolet (Light My Way) / Hold Me Thrill Me
With Or Without You
Moment Of Surrender

Mobile photos:

Waiting for the opening act, Jay Z on in 45 minutes.
 


Jay Z 



Time for U2!


Bono



Bono



Cellphones lighting up the night

25 November 2010

The first of the LISTS!

As we near the end of a year, and the start of another, the LISTS start a'coming. Even I start up with the lists!

Here's the first one I've stumbled across so far - Stereogum's 50 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2011

Click here for the full list

Otherwise, here are my picks:

Death Cab For Cutie – TBA (via Atlantic)
The Decemberists – The King Is Dead (1/18 via Capitol)
Fleet Foxes – TBA
The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts (2/14 via Memphis Industries)
Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean (1/25 via Warner Bros.)
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (3/1 via LL Recordings)
M83 – TBA
My Morning Jacket – TBA (ATO)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – TBA
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong (March via Slumberland)
Panda Bear – Tomboy
R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now (2/07 via Warner Bros.)
Radiohead – TBA (via Teh Internetz)
Santigold – TBA
The Shins – TBA
U2 – Songs Of Ascent

Honorable mentions & Speculations 2011:

Bon Iver – TBA
British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall (via Rough Trade)
Coldplay – TBA
Deerhoof – Deerhoof Vs. Evil (1/25 via Polyvinyl)
Islands – TBA
Jane’s Addiction – TBA
Noah & The Whale – TBA (via Lost Club/Mercury Records)
Beth Orton – TBA
White Lies – Ritual (1/18 via Fiction)

22 November 2010

Busy Weekend

What a weekend! It was a good'un.

Friday night was dinner at my one of my fav local Japanese restaurents, Sakanaya http://www.sakanaya.co.nz/). Food and drink was divine as always, the highlight being the dessert we ordered - I hadn't tried it before: Chocolate banana spring rolls with Vanilla Bean icecream, and cream. Heavenly! I have added that to my fav must-orders!

That was followed by a trip to the cinema to see 'Red', which I thoroughly enjoyed; it was entertaining and funny. It was just what I needed after the week.

Saturday was Roller Derby with my bro - the final between Mascara Massacre and Dead Wreckoning. I am a complete fan now; I'll be following it religiously in the new season. The Auckland league here is the Pirate City Rollers (http://piratecityrollers.com/), but there are leagues spreading in other places: Northland Nightmares, HELLmilton Roller Ghouls (Hamilton), Mountain City (New Plymouth), Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington), Dead End Derby (Christchurch).
There were some exciting moments, and some really boring disappointing 'non-skating' moments - not impressed with some of the tactics at all.

Afterwards it was beer and delicious food-on-sticks at Ken's Yakitori (http://www.kenyakitori.co.nz/); great to hang with my brother too. We may flat together, but we hadn't been out like that for a long time.

Sunday I went shopping by myself; knocked a few things off my Xmas list. I had a lovely time browsing, though I bought something in the first shop I went into, and it was crazy heavy!! So I was stuck lugging it the rest of the time.

Today, I spent most the morning at the hospital - it was a follow-up to see if the treatment is working. The good news was: it's not worse than last week... Soooo... I get to keep up the treatment. Down to 15 pills a morning!

Lunch, Niwa (on Lorne Street); their Chicken Teri lunch bento box is fab!

Somewhere in there I've done some work...

Tonight I'm off to see 'The Social Network', which I am really looking forward to!

Not bad for a Monday, not bad at all.

PS: My goal is to be finished ALL Xmas shopping before December 1st

16 November 2010

Movie Wish List #13

I haven't made one of these lists in a while - thought it might be a good idea to look forwards 2011 and see what choice flicks are coming!

Last Updated: 30 December 2012

The Next Three Days [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Paul Haggis; Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson
The Plot: A married couple's life is turned upside down when Lara Brennan (Banks) is accused of murder. Three years into her sentence, Lara's husband John (Crowe) is struggling to keep their family together and, realizing his wife's deteriorating condition, he decides to break her out of prison.
Comment: This is a remake of the French film 'Anything for Her' - I really liked it... I'm not so keen on remakes, esp when the original is on the money - I like the casting though.

Morning Glory [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Roger Michell; Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton.
The Plot: An upstart television producer (McAdams) accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts (Keaton and Ford).
Comment: Again, it's the cast that's grabbing me about this one... And also the fact that JJ Abrams is the producer!

Burlesque [imdb] - NZ Release 13 February 2011
Director: Steve Antin; Starring: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming.
The Plot: A small-town girl (Aguilera) ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer (Cher).
Comment: What can I say?! Burlesque is fun to watch - Christina and Cher seem perfect for this. Maybe more of a DVD renter though... We'll see.

Black Swan [imdb] - NZ Release 27 January 2011
Director: Darren Aronofsky; Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel.
The Plot: While vying for the coveted lead roles in a production of Swan Lake, a veteran ballerina (Portman) enters into a twisted friendship with a promising new dancer (Kunis) that threatens to consume her.
Comment: I am *dying* to see this one! Cast, Director, the preview. I am completely sold.

How Do You Know [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: James L. Brooks; Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson.
The Plot: Feeling a bit past her prime at 27, former athlete Lisa Jorgenson (Witherspoon) finds herself in the middle of a love triangle, as a corporate guy in crisis (Rudd) competes with Lisa's current, baseball-playing beau (Wilson).
Comment: Comparisons have been made to 'It's Complicated' for a younger generation. Once again, it's the cast that has me. Paul Rudd AND Owen Wilson?!

All Good Things [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Andrew Jarecki; Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
The Plot: A missing-persons case might spell doom for the heir to a New York real estate dynasty (Gosling), who fell for a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks (Dunst).
Comment: Intrigued. This will be a quality film for sure.

Frankie and Alice [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Geoffrey Sax; Starring: Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgård, Phylicia Rashad.
The Plot: A drama centered on a woman with multiple personality disorder (Berry) who struggles to remain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality.
Comment: Lots of buzz around this. I'm not a big Halle Berry fan, but I do like Stellan Skarsgård

True Grit [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin.
The Plot: A young girl recruits a tough U.S. Marshall to track down the man who killed her father.
Comment: *swoon*. They had me at 'Coen'.

Somewhere [imdb] - NZ Release 26 December 2010 
Director: Sofia Coppola; Starring: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning.
The Plot: A hard-living actor (Dorff) holed up in the Chateau Marmont gets a reality check when he's visited by his 11-year-old daughter (Fanning).
Comment: Love Sophia Coppola's films, and this one looks fantastic. Yay for a Stephen Dorff come-back.

Country Strong [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Shana Feste; Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leighton Meester.
The Plot: A drama centered on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow). Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer (Meester).
Comment: Ok, I am a sucker for Paltrow and Meester. I haven't seen a preview yet, so again, this could be a renter. On a country music note - I did see 'Crazy Heart' - Bridges was great in it, but the movie itself didn't wow me (what the hell was Colin Farrell doing in it?!)

Blue Valentine [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Derek Cianfrance; Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, John Doman.
The Plot: A look at the idyllic past and troubled present of working-class couple Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams).
Comment: More Oscar buzz over this one. I am a fan of both Gosling and Williams - I'm looking forward to this one.

Unknown [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra; Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones.
The Plot: Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one -- not even his wife (Jones) -- believes him. With the help of a young woman (Kruger), he sets out to prove who he is.
Comment: Preview and plot sound a bit old hat, but I'm liking the cast. And the director did 'Orphan', which makes me a little excited (for a tense, dark movie)

The Roommate [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Christian E. Christiansen; Starring: Minka Kelly, Leighton Meester, Cam Gigandet.
The Plot: College student Sara (Kelly) finds her safety jeopardized after she's assigned to a dorm room with a new roommate, Rebecca (Meester).
Comment: Described as a 'camp-thriller', this makes my list because of Meester (I am hopeless 'Gossip Girl' fan). Perhaps another to add to the DVD list.

Gnomeo and Juliet [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Kelly Asbury; Starring: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith.
The Plot: An animated version of Shakespeare's play, where Gnomeo (voice of McAvoy) and Juliet (voice of Blunt) are would-be lovers from rival garden-based families.
Comment: This just sounds so cute - rival garden gnomes?! We all know how it will end... Or Will it be 'happily ever aftered' for the kiddies?!

I Am Number Four [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: D.J. Caruso; Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron.
The Plot: Nine alien teens come to Earth after their planet is destroyed by an enemy species. But soon discover that their enemy is now after them on Earth.
Comment: Sounds very Disney (and it is). But the cast is looking really cool.

Happythankyoumoreplease [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Josh Radnor; Starring: Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman, Zoe Kazan (Full Cast)
The Plot: A look at the lives and loves of six friends in New York City, and how their existence is changed when struggling writer Sam (Radnor) finds himself the unlikely guardian of a boy who becomes separated from his family in the subway.
Comment: Sounds right up my alley. Awesome buzz at Sundance. Gooooo 'Ted'! (also a hopeless 'How I Met Your Mother' fan).

Drive Angry 3D [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Patrick Lussier; Starring: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner.
The Plot: A felon (Cage) breaks out of hell for one last chance at redemption: to prevent the cult who murdered his daughter from sacrificing her baby in three days' time. He's aided by a young waitress (Heard) and her ex-boyfriend's muscle car, and together the duo will have to face down the leader of the cult, the police, and a killer known as "The Accountant" (Fichtner) -- who wants to return him to the Devil.
Comment: This sounds like cheese-on-toast fun. Parallels could definitely be drawn to 'Ghost Rider' though (not necessarily a good thing in my mind).

The Eagle [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Kevin Macdonald; Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland.
The Plot: In 140 AD, Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Tatum) embarks on a quest to restore the reputation of his father, the one-time commander of Rome's Ninth Legion, who disappeared in the mountains of Scotland twenty years earlier.
Comment: Swords and sandals fun.

Rango [imdb] - NZ Release 14 April 2011
Director: Gore Verbinski; Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant.
The Plot: The story of a chameleon with an identity crisis.
Comment: The trailer totally sold me. Looks cute and quirky.

The Adjustment Bureau [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: George Nolfi; Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt.
The Plot: A rising politician (Damon) falls for a ballerina (Blunt), only to be stymied by mysterious forces keeping the would-be lovers apart.
Comment: 'Bourne Ultimatum' co-writer George Nolfi, and Bourne himself (Damon). This is a loose adaptation of a Philip K Dick short story. Sounds very promising to me!

Jane Eyre [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Cary Fukunaga; Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell.
The Plot: A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.
Comment: I know this has been told and retold - but the cast is great, and the director did 'Sin Nombre' (which I thoroughly enjoyed).

Red Riding Hood [imdb] - NZ Release ?
Director: Catherine Hardwicke; Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Lukas Haas, Gary Oldman.
The Plot: Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl (Seyfried) falls for an orphaned woodcutter (Haas), much to her family's displeasure.
Comment: Yes, the director of 'Twilight', but this sounds *awesome*. Love the idea of a dark Red Riding Hood with a werewolf twist.

15 November 2010

Paper Heart

Personal Disclaimer

-start of rant
So, there was this thing a while ago, and it made me think about warning someone - like: "hi, you might want to read this before you get to know me..." or "thank you for your inquiry re: friendship, but before you go any further you had better know this..."

I thought about disclaimers - on websites and with programs.... Why not with people?? so I wrote my own - the disclaimer on this disclaimer is, that it is a work in progress. Maybe.

Personal Disclaimer:
1. Very sensitive - this has pros and cons.
2. Can forgive, but will never forget.
3. Defensive; I get my back up for myself and others.
4. Emotional - the good, and the bad.
5. Stubborn and prideful.
6. Moody - my moods swing.
7. Insecure.
8. Low self-esteem.
9. Stress bunny.
10. Intense.

The Good:
1. Caring.
2. Great friend - I will always be there for you.
3. Thoughtful.
4. Creative/Imaginative.
5. Good sense of humour.
6. Fun, when I'm not being a drag.
7. Listener and advice giver.
8. Helpful, and Supportive.

I wanted to make it 10 all - balance out the bad with the good, but I just can't think of the final two...

When it comes to people, you can have a conversation for hours, but a lot can go unsaid. I've come a long way in sharing my thoughts and feelings - I have found that, depending on the situation or the person, writing is my medium; I can get it all organised on paper. I've done a lot of writing lately, to myself that is. I made the decision that even though I could share what I've written, that it was best kept just for me. Holding some of it back has been hard, but I am waiting (for what exactly I am not sure...)

I wonder how different things would be if we all carried a personal disclaimer... "ah, but you can't be upset - you signed a waiver when you read my disclaimer". Forewarned.
-end of rant

06 October 2010

The Talk

Ok, so balance has been returned to the relationship scale for now. We talked... I didn't say everything I was going to share, because I realised emotional and verbal vomit wasn't going to help here. And there will be time to drip-feed hehe
But I did say the important stuff. He listened and shared too. I don't feel completely ok. I feel better though. Things will be ok - if words were taken to heart.
Thank you for your support peeps - you know who you are ;)

02 October 2010

Fighting

It turns out you can't really cruise along... without hitting the rocks at some point. In this relationship we've never fought - we've snapped at each other, and had minor grumps that just fade. There was the One Year Anniversary debacle, but that wasn't a fight.

So last night we got to celebrate our first one (fight that is) - in the true tradition of fights it started with something small... almost a misunderstanding... that ended up opening a huge can of killer vipers (worms would've been a piece of cake!).

There was crying (by me of course, boy can I cry - even if I don't want to), shouting (also by me), storming off (yup, me again)... And, back at my place alone in my room I cried some more; until after 2am... Not much sleep was had, and it certainly wasn't sound.

Today, a continuation of the Talk went better - I managed to keep the crying, and extreme emotions, at bay. There were realisations, but no solutions or conclusions... because it isn't as black and white as that.

Now it's the "I need a few days" phase... who knows where that will lead?

All I know is I've been sporting for a mature discussion on our relationship for a few weeks now, but hadn't brought it up yet... I feel like that might have made the fight happen... Perhaps a bit of sub-conscience sabotage? It wasn't all me - it was a joint thing, but... I just can't help but wonder if my heart's 'solution' to the questions I've been having is just to ruin everything...

Because, I still don't know what I want, or how I truly feel. Who knows, I might not have a choice in the matter after a few days...

26 September 2010

Why I should be positive

1. I had a lovely Friday night with my honey - we went to Tanuki's Cave, then saw a movie in a Gold Class cinema.
2. I bought 2 tickets to go see Wolf Gang, for 7th October!
3. The National are coming in Jan 2011!!! I swear I have been listening to all their albums on repeat of weeks.
4. All my blood tests came back normal. That's right folks I am normal. (Which doesn't help answer why my eye is the way it is, but it's a relief nonetheless)
5. I am getting my haircut/styled at an *actual* salon this Friday!
6. My usual hair-guy is still going to do my cheap colour for me on Saturday - so my hair will be all pretty :)
7. My brother has been given my parents' old car, so now our household has transport again.
8. Donuts
9. Had a great Saturday night with friends - Project Runway marathon. The new series is great.
10. Daylight savings has started - losing an hour is horrid, but it means summer is on its way :)

12 September 2010

It never ends

I feel so let down. Why does it often feel that way? Is it my fault? Because, maybe time after time I have unrealistic expectations of everyone. Perhaps I put people high on a throne and then when I get disappointed, it's more my fault than theirs. I know I am too emotional most the time, but I don't think I can change that. Is it unfair to hope people care as much about you as you do about them? Maybe I am under the illusion they care more about me than they actually do...
It makes me so sad and angry at the same time... And I am sick of it - is the answer for ME to no longer care about them?! Honestly, fuck it all right now. I am over feeling this way.
That's all.

03 September 2010

It's a triology of pain

Well, I shouldn't be writing when I am in this mood - completely and utterly miserable and furious at the same time.

This is due to the fact that for the 6th since I've been at my job, I have been moved. I always go with the flow... This time the move made no sense, and I was/am unhappy. So, for the first time I put up a resistance. Despite knowing I was unhappy no one cared. So, I tried again - I wrote a logical and reasonable email to the two bosses concerned (not emotive at all)... And one of them sat down and talked with me... And it made no difference. None. I am furious and disheartened. And am now sitting in my 'new' seat. It's bullshit.

But that aside, I got out of Jury Duty - well I attended one half day (for the whopping payment of $32). But, I got out because I got a call from the hospital giving me an appointment for my eye at the retina clinic - I had been told I would have to wait 2 weeks, but this was 5 days later.

I went, my mum came too, and it made me feel like shit - my 'doctor' didn't even introduce herself (I assumed she was the name on my letter, but found out this week it wasn't her at all!). She hardly said I word. She didnt' explain what she was doing - not even a 'you are about to see a bright light' - nothing! When I dared ask a question she barked an answer, then turned her back on us... THAT was our signal to go.

2 weeks later I go for my next appointment - I get the doctor I was supposed to the previous time. He is nice, explains what he is doing, and gets his registrar to look at my eye too. Turns out I have something COMPLETELY different to what the previous 2 docs said (white blood cells in eye and inflammation). But of course HE couldn't help me, because what I have is not his specialisation. Sooooo now I have to wait for an appointment with a different doctor. What a fuck up. Let's cross our fingers I don't go blind in that eye in the meantime, ok?!

August was supposed to be the end of all this hell. But, September is brining its own pile of crap.

I'm supposed to go to a friend's tonight. I know it would make me feel better once I got there. I just don't think I can face it.

15 August 2010

Whinge of Pain: The Sequel

Ok, downer time again I am afraid.

I did go to the doctors and Optometrist on Friday. The doctor was a waste of time really - more blood tests, and I had to ask for antibiotics (I've been feeling yuck for a month; it's time for the drugs to do some work).

The Optometrists was... scary. My right eye has (and continues) to bug me - it had started to go blurry and there are a heap of floaters that I can see. Sure enough she could see the floaters, as could her colleague - suddenly she was on the phone to a private eye clinic, and when there were no appointments there, on to Greenlane hospital.

I was pretty much stunned as she told me to urgently go to the eye department there, complete with a referral letter, and 5+ hour wait. The fear was my retina was detaching - and this is serious. Here was me thinking the bad news would be that I needed glasses.

So, I ended up at the hospital around 2:30pm... and saw the doctor at 9pm (finally). After many eye-drops, and bright lights, and mirrored contact lenses so he could see further into my eye, NOTHING was found. No one can see anything but the huge amount of floaters (which must be coming from somewhere). He did see some jelly (ick)... but no tears, and no detachment... yet.

So, I was sent on my merry way with the order to come to the retina clinic in two weeks... or to call if I notice my vision going!

Thankfully, my wonderful wonderful mother cancelled her flight to Christchurch (Dad went), and came and waited with me from 5pm onwards :) And, I ended up staying the whole weekend with her, which was lovely - just want I needed in fact.

So, I just have to deal with a blurry eye that makes me nauseous, and in two weeks they look again...

And folks, tomorrow I report for Jury Duty.

Let's hope this doesn't turn into a trilogy...

12 August 2010

Whinge of Pain

This is a long overdue update – and one I didn’t really want to write, but might as well get it all out. Prepare for some major whinging!

Basically, August has been horrid. Though there has been a balance of the normal and the bad, the bad tend to outweigh and overtake the normal. It all started on 1st August; my first anniversary with my man. I’m not going to go into details, other than to note that I set myself up for disappointment (the day was a disaster; crushed). I was an emotional mess for a few days.

Not helping this was another long story that ended up with a broken-into car and vandals that might’ve had our house keys. Cut through the panic and frustration (and a visit to the car myself to try and see if the keys were still there), to the fact that the keys were handed in.

In the middle of all this stress was the Band of Horses concert on Tuesday 3 August – this didn’t suck at all – the opposite. It was a brilliant concert, and my first concert by myself. Still, I sang my heart out and had a blast. I am pleased I didn’t let being alone (or my emotional state) stop me from going.

On top of that has been some frustrations with work, namely people not following the data entry protocols (I know, it sounds wanky and stupid) – but it makes my job suck when people come and ruin the data that we all use. However, I have to say, other than that issue, work has been ok.

Via some well written email, my relationship was saved by around 4th... About when I started feeling really ill. Our work conference was held on 5th and I missed most of it (including the big booze-up 80s themed party due to all the stress and illness).

I should mention at this point, about 2 months ago I woke up and my right eye was funny – a bit blurry, like I needed to blink something away... It’s only gotten worse . I’m getting my eyes checked tomorrow for sure (I’ve had such great eye sight up until now).

Friday I went and got a follow-up blood test – my test from 2 months ago threw up a red flag around my thyroid (I was 4.0... and normal is 0.3 to 4.0, so I was right on the end of having an underactive thyroid).

Saturday 7th I finally got to see ‘Inception’ at the IMAX screen; movie = awesome... throwing up after = baaaad (attributed to me feeling ill and I *think* to my bad eye not agreeing with the huge IMAX screen).

Sunday I spent with my mum, which was lovely. I was still feeling sick – she arrived with a new box of tissues, grapes, mandarins, a calzone for lunch, and 2 bottles of V! We watched ‘Bright Star’ together while knitting and cross-stitching. Lovely.

Monday I stayed home sick. Tuesday I got my results back – 5.2, so I have to go back to the doctor (which I should be doing anyways with the way I am feeling lately).

The rest of the week has been quiet – quiet night at home last night with my man (who turned up with pink roses, which was sweet)... Tonight I am going to see the symphony orchestra play Mozart... But honestly, I just feel miserable.

I just hope that seeing the doctor and having my eyes tested tomorrow will help.

End of Whinge of Pain.

04 August 2010

Band of Horses 03 Aug 2010

I went to the concert by myself at a difficult time, but I managed to lose myself in the music. Loved it!

Setlist:
1. Detlef Schrempf
2. Laredo
3. Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
4. Factory
5. Marry Song
6. Older
7. The General Specific
8. The Great Salt Lake
9. Is There a Ghost
10. NW Apt.
11. Weed Party
12. Islands on the Coast
13. Blue Beard
14. Compliments
15. 13 Days (J.J. Cale cover)
16. Our Swords
17. Dilly
18. No One's Gonna Love You
19. Our Swords
20. Monsters

Encore:
21. Evening Kitchen
22. For Annabelle
23. Wicked Gil
24. Ode to LRC
25. The Funeral

30 July 2010

Florence and the Machine 29 Jul 2010

The Cosmic Love Tour. Florence is a Goddess!

Setlist:
1.Drumming Song
2. My Boy Builds Coffins
3. Girl With One Eye
4. Cosmic Love
5. Howl
6. Blinding
7. Between Two Lungs
8. I'm Not Calling You a Liar
9. Hurricane Drunk
10. You've Got the Love
11. Strangeness & Charm
12. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Encore:
13. Heavy in Your Arms
14. Kiss With a Fist
15. Dog Days Are Over

28 June 2010

Last Week is over

Last week was really horrible for me (just work, stress etc), and by Friday I just wanted to crash with some wine and my PJS...

BUT I went to this dinner at Rob's school (where he also lives). I warmed up once the stress started to melt away (but I wasn't in a good way when I arrived!). Rob had been involved in a Quiz since 4pm - I joined in for the dinner. I had a nice time there for an hour or so (his work colleagues seem nice - mostly outgoing and friendly English teachers), then back to his place for some 'Sons of Anarchy' (I've introduced Rob to the series, and am watching it again with him. We have ONE episode left in season one, before we can move onto the very awesome season two).

Saturday we had brunch together (Trinity of Silver organic deliciousness!), before he dropped me home - that's when all the fun cleaning, tidying, and cooking started! Because, at 5pm-ish, a crowd of four were to descend on Rich and me for nibbles, dinner, and old school vs. new school games :)

We all had a blast! (even if 30 minutes before they were due, the lounge was still a bomb site thanks to my two brothers assembling a TV unit and drilling on doors! Good work, but bad timing!). We played board games first: Cluedo (Mrs White, with the Candlestick, in the Billiard room if you will), Boggle, and Operation (though strictly speaking it wasn't 'old school' as it was the Shrek version!).

Then on to Wii Mario Party 8. I'd never played Mario before - I was more a Giana Sisters gal. We played four player Mario Party games- frickin random stuff!! I think the programmers were surely high when they thought up EVERYTHING! Lots of laughs though :)

Sunday was more of a chill out day - more Wii goodness (in the form of shooting zombies in a gore fest retro-esque game), and a drive over the Shore (it's like another world :P).

Also, it was self-imposed New* Music Sunday, with a heap of new tunes for my listening pleasure, including (*new to me, or new new): Frightened Rabbit, Passion Pit, Sarah McLachlan, Chemical Brothers, She & Him, The Black Keys, LCD Soundsystem, Karen Elson, and Dead Weather.

Anyways, happy Monday - I have a new conditioner to try out... yes folks, that's right - I am excited about this. But remember, it IS a Monday, and I am currently stuck at work... It's the small things...

18 June 2010

Another Update

I thought it's about time I wrote an entry. I'm just back from Rob's - he took me to dinner last night, bought me roses, and chocolates, and a bottle of wine :) Really sweet. So, I'm in a good mood!

It's been a busy month or so - obviously had my week away in Argentina. I also had a day trip to Napier for work (with my boss for the first time ever - it went well).

Even though it's felt busy, and the time has simply flown, I'm having trouble accounting for all the days!

There has been a lull in concerts - I've got a few bookmarked as ones I'd like to go to, but unfortunately my money tree still hasn't appeared (Band of Horses, The Temper Trap, Passion Pit, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club...). I believe I am getting a Florence and the Machine ticket for my b'day though, so yay! I didn't go to the Laneways Festival here, so I missed seeing her.

As far as new music goes, I've been a bit slack. I haven't managed to get the new Band of Horses, The Dead Weather, or ... goddamnit I can't remember the other new album... Anyways, I haven't got them onto my mp3 player yet. I've been listening to them a lot on my PC though - THE EDITORS!! That was the other new album - I really love their new album. It's awesome :) Out of the three aforementioned albums, I think I always end up back on The Editors.

I only just managed to listen to the new Trent Reznor EP, the 'How to Destroy Angels' project - I downloaded it free (thanks Trent!), then forgot where I saved it to. It's fab (I eventually found it) - I've listened to it four of five times; just keep hitting repeat.

I haven't updated my TV page, but I've chewed my through all of season 1 of Fringe, and most of season 2. I like it! Yes, it does have a distinctly 'X-Files' feel, but I liked the 'X-Files', so any comparison is a good one.

The short-lived, 10 episodes, show 'The Unusuals' was another I watched - I seriously dig Amber Tamblyn, and she was great (although always felt slightly too young...) as Detective Casey Shraeger

I've also clocked through a number of season finales lately (of shows that I follow): Glee, Bones, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, United States of Tara to name a few. I'll miss them, but it frees up my time to catch up on all the movies I've been missing.

Welcome back True Blood and Lie to Me - I've missed them both, so glad to have some new episodes to watch.

The 2010 NZ International Film Festival is just around the corner. I have only flicked through the first 20-odd pages of the guide, and I've already booked about 15 films!! I always get extremely over-excited about the nzff :)

Misc section
My favs: [Simunovich Olive products - the one and only hand cream I use is theirs (I have a tube in my handbag, one at work, and one at home!). I've moved onto their body lotion, and now their shampoo. I recommend it] [Dove Cucumber & Green Tea antiperspirant spray - just a brilliant subtly scented product] [St Ives Apricot Exfoliating Body Wash - delicious and a good price] [Elizabeth Eight Hour tube - every girl needs a tube on hand!] [Stoneleigh Sav Blanc - often on special, but a good buy regardless for a tasty Sav] [Russian Fudge - my fav kind of fudge. Chocolate fudge can go take a flying leap. The thing with russian fudge is, it is really hard to find a good one - the consistency needs to melt in your mouth, and the flavour has to have that golden syrup/brown sugar tang. Problem solved: 'The Sweetest Little Chocolate Shop' on Queen Street stocks the *perfect* russian fudge at 80c a piece. Needless to say I buy in bulk... but only as a special treat of course ;) ] [Scarves - one good thing about winter is its easier to wear scarves, and I don't just mean the warm kind, but all kinds. Mum gave me this gorgeous indian cotton type green scarf that has threads of silver, and other colours all through it. I love this scarf!] [Brand new flannelet PJs - I don't care how unsexy these may appear, but a brand new set of fluffy, cuddly, PJs are simply the best. I just bought a set for half price: white with coloured cats all over. I will wear these proudly. Tease away. It also means I can though away the now-stiff and thread bare old PJs, which are the opposite of awesome.] [Random on my mp3 player. For example: The View - Coming Down, Bodyrockers - I Like the Way, Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance, Fink - Six Weeks, Phoenix - Run Run Run, The Decemberists - The Crane Wife, Outkast - Hey Ya!, Bob Dylan - I Want You, M83 - Graveyard Girl, Ladyhawke - Danny and Jenny, Grizzly Bear - Colorado. I couldn't come up with such a playlist!] [Castle Age - wh-wh-what?! Yes, for someone as anti facebook as me, what the hell am I doing playing a facebook game. Unfortunately I like it... ugh.] [Twitter - I really like to tweet, no matter how geeky that sounds. I like it waaaaay better than facebook] [Hugs - can I say that hugs are often underrated? Going without a hug for 2 weeks sucks ass. I like a good hug, especially from my parents - it feels soooo safe. Cheesy I know. Bite me. Rob-hugs are pretty awesome too.]

Ok, enough gratuitous random ranting for one blog entry! What I should be doing is cleaning the house... which is why I am here doing this hehe

My Travel Journal - Buenos Aires

I've been meaning to post my notes on my recent trip to Buenos Aires for a while now (I was awarded the trip from work, and went with a group of staff and their partners). They are brief, but go with my facebook photos nicely.

Thursday 20th May
Flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires, 6:30pm. Airline generally bad – rundown look about seats etc. Air Hostesses more like guards – lucky to get fed!
Plane seats were in this formation mostly: (window) two seats, aisle, four seats, aisle, two seats (window). Rob and I had a seat of two seats both ways, which was great.
No real in-flight entertainment – a couple of screens did show our flight plan, and a couple of movies (which were dubbed to Spanish, with no English subtitles. One was ‘Avatar’).
I didn’t sleep much at all on way over.

Landed 5pm, Thursday 20th. Bus took us to the Plaza Marriott hotel in the Retiro neighbourhood (big for leather goods, and near shopping). We checked in, then all Colliers staff and partners met for cocktails at one of the hotel’s bars at 7pm (keeping in mind I am running on little sleep and it's approx 10am in Auckland - great time for Vodka hehe).
All rookies on the trip (first-timers) were then invited out to dinner at a grill/streak house called ‘Las Navarenas’. Locals eat late (after 9am, and tend to head to work at 10am). Always start with complimentary baskets of bread/crackers. Tried my first Empanada (yummy meat pies that are look like turn-over pastries), and steak (HUGE!). Rob and I left around 11pm, as I was exhausted!

Friday 21st May
Breakfast at the hotel (great buffet: pastries, hot food including a chef to make you an omelette to order, fruits, yoghurt, bread, cheese, meat etc).
Brief wander around the local shops. Hotel is super close to Florida Avenue, which is lined with shops.
Half-day tour at 10am – small cost, but only our staff on two buses. Mostly driving, with a couple of stops. Drive past Plaza de Mayo (famous square, with government buildings around it, including Casa Rosa – the Pink House), 9 de Julio Avenue (widest Avenue in the world, also home to the Obelisk), Recoleta Cemetery (stop to see Eva Peron’s tomb), La Boca (with a stop at its famous Caminito Street).

Staff group dinner at ‘La Estancia’. Dinner and a tango show until midnight.

Saturday 22nd May
Took a van with a four or so other staff couples to a leather outlet store. Rob bought a leather jacket and shoes. I bought a pair of green leather ankle boots. While waiting for the van to take us back, we played foosball in the back court yard of the building with one of the shop's staff/owners (he was VERY competitive!).

Back to the hotel for a brief coffee break, then more shopping down Florida Street. Lunch at Galleria Pacifico (fancy shopping mall – shops too expensive).

Back to hotel around 5pm, then off to dinner at ‘Broccolino’ (just the two of us). Great Italian food.

Sunday 23rd May8:25am – Staff “conference” breakfast (aka informal gathering to allow tax benefits).
9:10am – Partners joined us for breakfast.
10:15am – Full day Gaucho Fiesta tour. Rob and I were the only staff to go on it, and the only non-Spanish speakers in the tour van (made us feel like a hassle, but oh well).
We made our first stop in the San Telmo neighbourhood to spend ½ hour at the famous Sunday markets (antiques and flea market).

Then on to Santa Susana, in the district of Campana. 1200 hectare farm, originally started by an Irish Argentine. Homestead and Chapel (now a museum of how they lived 200? years ago), horses, park, and main tourist centre.
Big dinner for all the different tour groups (more grill), dancing/music/tango show, then outside for a horse show. There were two different horse shows: Tropilla – mixed and matched horse herds (gauchos herds them), and Carreras de Sortijas - ring race (Gauchos on back of horses race towards/under arch, from which hangs small rings. They hold a small stick between their teeth and have to get the stick through the ring to pull the ring off. The ring is then given to the girl they want to marry). You'll be happy to know I was given a ring by one of the Gauchos.

Started to rain! It ended up pouring by the time we were back into the tour van to head back to the city by 6pm.
I went for a walk by myself and got soaked (also tried a McPollo – McChicken. Not as yummy as in NZ).

Monday 24th May
9:15am – Half day Tigre (river) tour. Bus through the suburbs of Vicente Lopez, Olivos (where the President’s residence is), to Maipu train station for a scenic ride to San Isidro. There we had ½ hour of so look at the shops, Cathedral (neo-gothic), and flea markets (where I found this jewellery stall that I WISH I had bought more from. I bought myself a ring and bracelet).
Back in the bus (which met us there) through San Fernando to Tigre. From Tigre we got on a tour boat (with many other tourists) for an hour cruise of the Parana River Delta. Awesome sights – no roads on the delta (all houses use river/boat access).
Back home along the Panamericana Highway.

I went for a wander alone (browsing shops), then back to hotel where the pair of us went to ‘Las Nazarenas’ for dinner (again). Around 10:20pm we walked to 9 de Julio Avenue for some of the bicentennial celebrations (which had been going on for the last few days – 25th May is a public holiday to celebrate independence). We went to the Obelisk (big concert going on around it, along with fireworks), and past the Colon Theatre, which was having its grand re-opening – exclusive inside, but all opera/ballet etc, going on inside was played live on big screens outside. Home around midnight.

Tuesday 25th May
Checked out at noon, and moved our luggage into one of four rooms work kept for us to share. Walked to MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (the National Fine Art Museum). Stopped at a flea market along the way. Spent the morning browsing the gallery (first floor has international artists, including pieces by Monet, Picasso, Pollack, Modigliani... Second floor is Argentinean or South American works). Lunch at the gallery restaurant.

Back to the hotel to sort ourselves out for the flight (shower, hotel bar of drinks, dinner). Then a bus came to take us to the airport at 10:30pm for our 2:15am flight. BA departure lounge – lots of duty free stores.

Rob and I got a two seater again (I had the window seat this time). We were served dinner at 3am-ish, then I slept (thank you sleeping pills!). Breakfast served around 2 hrs before landing. In-flight service just as crappy (no movies etc).

Thursday 27th May
Landed back in Auckland at 7:30am (13-14 hr flight).

~

All in all I (we) had a fabulous time. It was a long way to go for 5 days however - I really wish I could've afforded to stay a little longer (though, time of work etc would've been more of an issue, esp for Rob).
BA is a wonderful city, and I really hope I get to go back and travel to all the places in that neck of the woods that I didn't get to see this time.

12 May 2010

Whinge in a-minor

It never fails to surprise me, how I can travel around to all the same offices, and train most the same people, and surprise THEM with the same things I showed them last time...

That's my minor whinge - obviously I smile and nod and say "Your welcome... isn't it great?!", while my brain is actually going: "You're kidding me right?! It's the SAME thing I showed you?! I'm a frickin broken record!!"

Anyway, it's only 1pm, but with the early start and taxis and flights, it feels like my day should be over... instead I have two large training sessions to go! At least I have a great view of the Wellington Harbour, complete with giant container ships coming and going. The weather is much better here than in Auckland... though I hear it's due to turn to custard too.

27 April 2010

Wilco 27 Apr 2010

Magical drunken night!

Setlist:
1. Wilco (The Song)
2. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
3. Bull Black Nova
4. You Are My Face
5. One Wing
6. A Shot in the Arm
7. At Least That's What You Said
8. Deeper Down
9. Handshake Drugs
10. Impossible Germany
11. I'll Fight
12. Poor Places
13. Reservations
14. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
15. Hummingbird
16. Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again)
17. Via Chicago
18. Jesus, Etc.
19. Heavy Metal Drummer
20. Hate It Here
21. Walken
22. I'm the Man Who Loves You
23. Monday
24. Outtasite (Outta Mind)

Encore:
25. California Stars
26. You Never Know
27. Hoodoo Voodoo
28. I'm a Wheel

22 April 2010

BIG Update

I actually started this entry a while back... saved it as draft and didn't get back around to it. So, here goes my how-ever-many-th attempt to get an update online.

And when I did start this, it was Earth Day - awesome igoogle logo:



TV Shows
Keeping up to date with: HIMYM, Castle, Bones, Glee, USOT, Vampire Diaries, and Gossip Girl. Have to admit the second series of USOT is not grabbing me as much as the first did - Toni Collette is still awesome, mainly as Tara or Buck so far... but it just doesn't have the oomph it of the first season. Rich is keeping up with Nurse Jackie - I did like the first season, but it was kinda take it or leave it for me. I'll catch up with a marathon session I think.
Speaking of marathon session, over the weekend I watched the first season of Starz 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' (13 episodes). After spotting familiar faces and accents, a trip to IMDB told me this series was shot in Auckland, NZ. The pilot was cheese-on-toast, complete with '300' knock off effects... but I kept going. Something about it was strangely compelling or addictive (and no, it wasn't the extreme nudity, violence, or language!). Lucy Lawless is deliciously devious, as is John Hannah. Anyways, marathon viewing allowed me to almost complete a cross-stitch of Jane Austen's house (for my mum, who bought the kit in the UK for me to do for her. Side note, she also bought one of Wordsworth's house, so I am going to be sick of stitching houses very soon!).

Movies
I have been very lax with movie going. Whether it a time or cost issue, I just haven't been as much as I normally would. It hasn't been for lack of good movies - I've missed some goodies! I'm doing my best NOT to miss 'Kick Ass', 'Iron Man 2', and 'How to Train Your Dragon 3D'. I fear it's last days for the third listed, but where there is a will, there is a way.
The last movie I did see was 'Date Night' - Rob's choice. I had read some mixed reviews, but you know what? I enjoyed it! Last thing on a Friday night, after a long week, watching Steve Carroll and Tina Fey improve it up was fun (and I didn't have to think! Plot definitely is secondary). And just that fact that Rob still chuckles at the mention of robot sex made it worth it!

DVDs
Though it did made me squirm, I really enjoyed 'The Informant!' (discomfort/embarrassment on screen, makes me anxious too). It was really well acted and funny. Go Matt Damon.
Also watched lately, quick fire: The Edge of Love (ok, but meh), The Duchess (more Keira Knightley. This one was better, but sad), White Noise 2 (Not even Nathan Fillion could save this one), The Thing (I was REALLY enjoying this, then the DVD crapped out - I've yet to see the end of this John Carpenter classic), and The Visitor (great film - bitter sweet and touching).

Books
I FINALLY managed to finish my overdue library book - I'm not talking 30 cents fine here, I'm talking over $10. Yeah, I know. Why the hell didn't I return the book and get it out again (or just buy the book!)? My answer to that is: I'm lazy and now I must pay the price. Anyway, it was called 'The Library of Shadows', and it was ok. Yeah, I know, for that much fine I should've been in love with it. It was enjoyable and interesting.
I'm now onto 'Shutter Island' (one of the movies I missed and wanted to see). So far (and we're talking a few pages) I really like it!!

Concerts
I've come to the end of what was a hoard of gigs. Last week I knocked off the last two (I'm getting old - two in one week was hard work), Wilco and Vampire Weekend. Both were lots of fun, but Wilco wins - incredible!! What a performance.

Theatre
Well... it was IN a theatre - SkyCity Theatre that is. A friend decided she wanted to go see 'High Tease', a show with a selection of kiwi burlesque performers, for her birthday. So we all bought tickets (a very reasonable $38) and enjoyed a 2 hour show. It was titillating, funny, full of talent, and entertaining. We all had a FAB time, then headed to Ponsonby afterwards for some drinks.

Improvements
Or Added Value... or maybe not added, because I am referring to a hair cut... Anywho, whatever the subheading, I got my hair done last week. It was long overdue, but the ultimate reason was for a pick-me-up. And it worked (even if only one or two people noticed!). I had been growing it - I can never stick it out. I had the longest layer chopped off (above my shoulders), and some colours put through - including 'chestnut' (aka red!). It looks good though IMO (and really, that's the most important one right?).

Food
I've been eating out a bit lately - I blame the concerts (yay concerts!). Last week I managed Japanese twice (at the same restaurant - Sakanaya is awesome), Italian once (Gina's), and Thai (take out, thanks to Richard).
However, I did cook for Rob for the first time the other week. It wasn't anything special, just a simple Monday night dinner that I whipped up (no recipe required). It was received well by all (Rich ate with us) and seemed to go down a treat (fresh ravioli and tortellini, with a tomato sauce that included mushrooms, 3 kinds of capsicums, egg plant, garlic, onions, herbs, 2 kinds of pesto, courgettes... Simple but tasty).

School
Yes, I've been doing a short database course. The course itself has three parts - I signed up for the first part (and plan to take up the second after a wee break). It's based around Microsoft Access, and is run just up the road from my work. The database at my work isn't Access, but the fundamentals of the course - basic understanding of DBs, and DBMS, data types etc - can be applied in many DBMS, not just Access. The easy access of Access just means I can practice what I've learned on most PCs.
Basically you log in hours (this course allows 50 hrs) and work at your own pace from a work book. This has pros and cons, one of the major cons being I never met anyone else doing my course! It's graded on a project (worth 30%) and a three hour exam (worth 70%). I passed with flying colours, and with eight hours to spare.
It was great to be back learning again - some parts were challenging, others easier.

Travel
I haven't been on many office trips lately (had one a week there for a while), but I am off to Wellington overnight next week. Seeing a heap of people in different divisions, so hopefully I have enough steam to stay awake for all.
And of course I have Buenos Aires on May 20. Can't believe it's almost here. I have done no preparation, other than getting a new passport (essential).
A few weeks ago I took a Monday and Tuesday off work so I could go away up North with Rob (he had two whole weeks school holidays). We drove up to Baylys Beach to stay with Rob's friend. As well as us, another friend was staying, along with his four year old daughter (who attached herself to me from the get go). After a night there, Rob & I headed to Paihai - caught the ferry to Russell, walked around - ferried back and had a divine meal at a restaurant called 'Only Seafood'. Tuesday before driving back to Baylys Beach, we went to Waitangi. Then headed back to Auckland!

People
Well, trying to stay in touch! Got to catch up with Mel (over from the UK) briefly, along with Evette, which was lovely.
Rob and I have made it through nine months together. Nothing to do with a baby.
Mum and Dad had a fab time in England. They missed Paris due to ash cloud, but still had an awesome time. Great to have them home though!
While returning my overdue library book I ran into my old boss - almost literally. We had a five minute catch-up in the library's lobby; he is still the same old flamboyant character.

Music
There are some great new albums out there. I am digging the Fatboy Slim and David Byrne 2CD album 'Here Lies Love'. Also enjoying the new Yeasayer, Turin Brakes, OK Go!, and Broken Bells.
I've put together my latest mixed-tape, but have yet to send it out to many of you (ha, many...). The track listing follows. All are tracks I've been really enjoying (some aren't particularly new):

1. Doubt ~ Delphic
2. Radd Pitt ~ Egyptian Hip Hop
3. When I'm Small ~ Phantogram
4. Ambitions ~ Donkeyboy
5. No Fucking Around ~ Rafter
6. WTF? ~ OK Go
7. Something I'm Not ~ Penguin Prison
8. The King & All of His Men ~ Wolf Gang
9. Angel ~ Mr. Little Jeans
10. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National
11. Don't Really Know Me ~ Snowden
12. The High Road ~ Broken Bells
13. Hide it Away ~ Retribution Gospel Choir
14. Stranger ~ Dr Dog
15. Red River ~ Rocky Votolato
16. False Alarm ~ The Wooden Birds
17. Here Lies Love ~ David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim, feat. Florence Welsh (Florence & The Machine)

I am itching to get the new The National album - I've heard great things about it, and I really like the track 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'.

In Summary...
Busy busy busy. Seriously, how did it get to May already?! Generally, it's all 'good busy', not 'bad busy', though I could use some more sleep! Lot's to look forward to (Mum's B'day, Rob's B'day, Buenos Aires, the weekend!). Many books to read (stack on my floor), DVDs to watch (there are never enough hours), cross-stitches to do (while watching the DVDs), and lists to complete (one list has the three things I just listed on it).