a little east of reality

Monday, July 30, 2007

she wins again!

DVD + tickets
to see Brisbane
band Small
Mercies live
= my latest
contest winnings.

Yah me!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

concert tickets i've bought recently

Alice Cooper
July 19, Canberra
5th row

Old school shock rock and lots of fun. Great crowd, too!

Side note: Eric Carr is drumming on this tour, but had to return to the US to play with KISS before the tour reached Canberra. Shame, because he's an awesome drummer.

Powderfinger + Silverchair
September 11, Canberra
General Admission

My birthday (Sep 7) present to myself. Two awesome rock bands and the chance to look at Daniel Johns for two hours. I may break under the weight of all this glee.

Carole King, Mary J Blige, Fergie
November 13, Tokyo
6th row

I can't believe I finally I get to visit the 伝奇的な (legendary) Budokan and I have to sit through Fergie in order to do it. Really looking forward to the other two.

The Police
January 28, Adelaide
12th row
Speaking of legends, the Police were my second ever concert and I've pretty much been waiting ever since to see them again. This ticket cost me the Earth...observe my blatant not-caringness.

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saying things out loud

I'd quite like to get married one day.

(Click to enlarge.)

I'd definitely prefer it to sitting in some dude's boat anyway.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

outraged over austen

This story just has me floored ~ not the fact that they would reject the work (plenty of good authors get rejected) but moreso the fact that 17 publishers couldn't recognise Austen's most famous works at a glance. Good grief, this is their industry, and even if they (amazingly) aren't well read, there have been several movies made of these works. Have they been living in a cave?
Modern publishers 'reject' Jane Austen

She might have sold millions of books in the past 200 years, but a daring experiment has found Jane Austen would struggle to secure a book deal today.

David Lassman, a frustrated author and director of the Jane Austen Festival in the English town of Bath, sent off manuscripts featuring several chapters of Austen's most famous work to 18 publishers and agents, claiming it was all his work.

To his amazement all publishers rejected the manuscripts, and most failed to spot that he had ripped off opening chapters of Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

"I was staggered," Lassman told The Guardian newspaper.

"Here is one of the greatest writers that has lived, with her oeuvre securely fixed in the English canon and yet only one recipient recognised them as Austen's work."

Lassman decided to send off the manuscripts, which contained only slight alterations to Austen's words, in frustration at having his own original thriller rejected.

"I know it isn't a masterpiece but I think it is publishable," he said.

"Yet nobody wanted it. I was talking with some friends and we wondered if Jane would find a publisher or agent if she were around today."
Apparently not.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

benefits of blogging

I’ve been asked to post what I think are the benefits of blogging. I’ve been thinking it over for a few days and here is my attempt to sum it all up.

1. The Social Benefits

When I started this blog I had no intentions of writing for anyone but myself. It was kind of like keeping a diary that I didn’t mind people reading and I never really thought beyond that. But after a few weeks I realised that a blog isn’t really a diary, no matter how much it might sometimes resemble one. A blog is a conversation, because you’re deliberately sending something out to a potential reader, and it’s hard to sustain a conversation with yourself.

So I started making myself a part of the blogosphere, reading across the broad spectrum of blogs until I found something I felt like commenting on, and slowly I built up a group whose blogs I like to read and a group who liked to read my blog. I don’t think I’m ever going to be like Waiter from Waiter Rant, with his 200 comments per post, but I don’t really mind that. I just like getting enough comments to know that I’m not speaking into the void.

2. The Analytical/Introspective Benefits

I analyse everything. I always have and it’s a process I enjoy. I also like explaining things or writing them out. I often find that I make sense of things as I’m doing this, as if being forced to put words to what I’m thinking actually helps me understand what I’m thinking, or to see the flaws in it and where it needs to change.

3. The Wider Benefits

I know, I know, there’s a thousand truckloads of rubbish being added to the internet via blogs every day, but I can’t help but feel that as a whole the blogosphere still represents freedom of thought and expression. And there must be some truth to that, or China wouldn’t be trying so hard to control the access its citizens have to blogs.

It might seem a bit paranoid, but I sometimes wonder if the explosion of myspace drivel is an attempt to create white noise that distracts us from blogs of real substance, kind of like the big TV screens in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. People would rather be entertained or distracted than prompted to think, and those who have an agenda use that opportunity to control information in a way that’s useful to them. Bradbury was worried that TV would be the end of books, making people feel full of information, while actually giving them no real intellectual nourishment. The scariest part is that it is the people themselves who choose the pudding over the vegetables.

My own blog falls in both camps. I like to think, I like to make other people think, but some of my posts are pure fluff. The day that’s all the blog is might just be the day I finally quit it. Until that happens I’m adding my idea to the ocean of thought out there and collectively we sway the tides of opinion. I don’t overestimate my influence, but I do like being part of it.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

why, why, why...

Someone has leaked the new Harry Potter book via digital camera pics of every page. I just got a heads up from jojo, who rightly guessed that I would want to avoid the inevitable spoilers that will float around the net as a result. I don't plan to rush reading the very last Harry Potter book that I'll ever read for the first time, and I certainly don't want to know what happens before I even pick the thing up.

A few days after I get the book, I'm going home to Adelaide on holiday for six days. I think I'm going to pick several of the tangy delicious oranges off Mum and Dad's tree and go sit on the rocks down at the beach nearby and read it in blissful solitude. The beach should be deserted and I won't be there early enough to see the winter surfers.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

just rocks and cacti, mostly

Ahhh, intelligent obervation on porn. What a rare and lovely thing. If you want to read the whole thing follow the link to the original post, just be aware its language is non-PG and don't say you weren't warned.
I couldn't be more fed up with people who keep insisting that porn is about "sexual freedom" and that the mainstream porn industry "explores" and "breaks sexual taboos" and yada yada yada. Are you people kidding me? Is there anything more stereotypical and less taboo-breaking than mainstream porn? I mean, how can you watch your typical porn and NOT see the blantant age-old, traditional Victorian theme? Did these people perhaps also miss the zombie-pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean? Did they go watch Titanic and somehow not see the big sinking ship in it? Just because porn is not something you wanna watch with your grandma, doesn't mean it's revolutionary. It's impossible to discover your own burgeoning sexuality through mainstream porn, because porn has an agenda, and a pretty boring, unadventurous one at that...

Taboo-breaking, my third-wave feminist ASS.

And while I am linking you to stuff I have to put a warning on, thank you jojo for sending me the link for these mostly funny but not all work safe replacement covers for the new Harry Potter, for fans who aren't ready to come out of the closet yet (which is insane because there's probably a boggart in there). Here's my favourite (click to see larger):

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Monday, July 16, 2007

movie review: hp & the order of the phoenix

I don’t think this review contains any spoilers. Of course most people will be seeing the movie already having read the book, but I also didn’t want to spoil any cool movie surprises. I may edit this post after I see the movie again on the weekend.

For me watching Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix was kind of like watching Lord of the Rings. Whenever something I really wanted to see wasn’t there, I had to remind myself that the book is just too, too long for everything in it to make it to the screen and then add that moment to my “hope it’s in the deleted scenes” list. I would have liked more of almost everything we got…Tonks and the rest of the Order, the deepening of the relationship between the main characters as they become older and more complex people, the memories of Severus Snape and Harry’s realisation through viewing them that his father had done some disturbing things when he was young that pointed to a reckless and not always compassionate nature.

I also would have loved to see more of Lupin, who is my favourite character. David Thewlis plays him so perfectly that he’s one of the few people I’ve ever wanted to write a fan letter to. Anyway, my conclusion was that although the film felt a little choppy to me, it was only because just when I was starting to enjoy some part of it they would move on to the next. But in reality the editing aspect, and the task of turning way too much story into less than three hours of film, was very well handled.

There were also things I would have found powerful to see on screen, but which would have been too scary for the younger part of their target audience. For example, I have always wanted to see the part where Mrs Weasley tries to deal with a Boggart by herself and ends up seeing her greatest fear – the members of her family being killed one after the other. I think that scene shows the depth of her commitment to the Order – it is her greatest fear, but she doesn’t want to run, she wants to fight. Visually however, it would be a pretty harrowing scene for younger fans. And it’s superfluous plotwise, so it’s out. That's film-making. Fair enough.

Things I liked and thought were well done:
George & Fred’s departure (though I’d hoped they’d include the swamp they created on the third floor), the DA training sessions (and Filch), all the stuff that takes place in the hall of prophecies and after (including some very cool fight scenes) and definitely Delores Umbridge. In the posters I didn’t think she looked toady or evil enough, but in the cinema I was just itching to smack her one for most of the film ~ which means she was being played perfectly, saccharine sweet while delivering the nastiest pronouncements and most cruel of punishments. E.v.i.l. The kittens on her walls made me laugh out loud, as did Luna Lovegood who, just as in the book, manages to be both a little vague, random, and yet lovely. The thestrals were awesome. That kiss...was it a magical movie kiss? No. Was it the first kiss of two nervous fifteen-year-olds? Yes, it was.

Things I didn’t like: Mrs Weasley in this one seemed almost like a characature of herself ~ too much of what used to be a good portrayal. Michael Gambon gives more energy to the character of Dumbledore than Richard Harris did, but somehow to me he always seems also a little clumsier of movement (and it shows in this movie when he fights) and even in scenes where the story would benefit from it, he never shows that wonderful calm assurance that Dumbledore exuded in the first two films. If he screws up the incredibly important scenes he is going to have in the sixth film, I’m sending him a howler.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

and in other potter related news

Here is the new wallpaper on my work computer:

Is it just me, or is Harry looking a little more...buff than last time? I mean he's no Vin Diesel (which is fine as that guy is scary level buff), but still. I guess you have to get some muscle tone going if you're going to appear naked on stage, hey? Actually I think this gratuitous, shirtless eye candy shot below probably shows better just how much our Dan has been working out. It just seems wrong that a seventeen-year-old boy can look that hot. Makes me feel like a bit of a perv. (Oh, and in Australia that word means you're just looking. It's not quite as skeazy as the US meaning.)

Movie review coming, by the way.

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harry potter and the previously mentioned locket

Ooh, I think one of my theories just got a little backing from JKRowling. Here's the new adult version cover for the 7th Harry Potter book, featuring a locket. Hmmm.

I have three theories on what will happen in the third book. The first two I've had since I read the 6th book, the third is more recent.

1. In book 5, when they were clearing out the Black house, they found many kinds of items. One was simply described as "a locket they couldn't open". Now Kreacher was quietly pilfering items from the house so they wouldn't be destroyed or gotten rid of. I think that locket is going to turn out to be the last horcrux. In fact, beyond that, I think this is going to play out into a similiar scenario as the one created by Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, where it is Frodo's mercy towards Gollum that brings success to the mission in the end. Gollum's leap into the fiery pit couldn't have happened if Frodo had not spared his life. That previous act of kindness saved Frodo from destruction when he was unable to save himself (being now fully under the spell of the ring). Now I don't think Harry is going to be under any spell, but I do think that the ties to Kreacher that he chose not to sever are going to become important in what happens in regards to finding that locket and in Harry gaining possession of it.

2. I think Snape is good and loyal to Dumbledore. I think that it will eventually be revealed that Snape told Dumbledore about the unbreakable promise and that Dumbledore asked him to, if the time came, be the one to kill him, because he believes that Draco can be saved from becoming like his mother and father.

3. I think Snape is going to be one of the characters that dies, and I think that his death will occur either just after we discover the truth about him, or as a result of him saving Harry. I agree with the people who have speculated that Severus was in love with Lily Potter and that even though he hates Harry for looking so like his father, he feels compelled to save him because Harry has Lily's eyes.

Any of you Potter fans out there have any theories of your own to share? It won't be very long until we can find out whether we guessed right or not. ^_^

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

but enough of these quasi posts

Youtube is fun, but time for some real news from the life of chosha. Today, after several long weeks of waiting, I finally found out I was successful in getting a level 5 position (I was officially a 4 before, though I've been acting at a 5 level for several months). So, basically, same job, more money, a little more responsibility. Exxxxxcellent.

And while I'm blowing my own horn (would that sound dirty if I was a guy?) let me just add that there were several positions on offer, but when they ranked the applicants I came first! They said that both the application and the interview were impressive. Pretty sweet to know that even if there'd only been one job, I'd have gotten it anyway.

So yeah, feeling very buoyant at the moment. Elated even. Yah me!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

that's a...ukulele?

Forget that big Hawaiian guy in the Elvis movie. Jake Shimabukuro makes the ukulele sound so beautiful.

And here's some surprising news on the ukulele market that you probably weren't dying to know, but might find interesting anyway. Who knew the ukulele was so big in Japan? Not me.

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how does the mouse work?

Okay this is funny. Just move your cursor around after it loads. It's even funny when you stop.

Another of life's mysteries solved.

This is also funny. And clever.

Not quite as funny, but a clever idea.

And while we're having fun with youtube: this was fun, too.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

i realise this is a bit snotty on my part

...but sometimes I wonder how people write (and say) stuff like this with a straight face:
This site was established in November of 2006 by Virginia L. Beach, better known in the Pagan Community as Reverend Ocean - a Wiccan High Priestess and ordained Pagan Clergy from the Midwest of the USA.
I know I couldn't listen to someone introduce themselves this way without snorting. Much as I adore Marion Zimmer Bradley books, I often laughed out loud while reading her novels where some of the central characters were Celtic priestesses. Of course that kind of connection and obsession with nature and ritual made more sense in the historical context, but there is something about the way some modern pagans (particularly Wiccans) take themselves so seriously that makes me roll my eyes. Maybe I'm just not sufficiently in touch with the Goddess...

On a side note, this woman is deaf and that makes me wonder if she chants/incants in sign language or in voice. Both maybe. It's not like it matters, but it made me curious.

She does have this very cool picture on her site. It's like they caught the dryad inside the tree on camera while she was busy being glorious and didn't see them. And yes I realise there's a good chance it's photoshopped, but don't spoil the magic. ;)

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look at the sidebar

Just one day left until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix starts. I can't believe that it premiered in Tokyo a freaking week ago ~ lucky bastards!

I won't be seeing it on opening day, because one of the people I'm going with has to work and can only go on Thursday. Recently I watched the first two movies and in the next couple of days I'll be watching the third and fourth. Obviously I've seen them already, but it's nice to recap before seeing the new one.

I love watching them all grow up before my eyes, too. One of my greatest joys with this series of movies is that they've managed to keep the same cast. There are only a couple of parts being played by new actors ~ Dumbledore obviously, due to the death of Richard Harris, and the fat lady in the portrait outside the Gryffindor common room ~ and I'm desperately hoping that the rest stay. It's been wonderful to have that kind of continuity, and there are only two films to go, so hopefully they can keep everyone on board the Hogwart's express a little longer.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

i just like the way this guy's mind works

And his drawing style. (Click the pictures to see the full-sized comics.)

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

triumph may be too strong a word

However, at the Roadshow on Saturday night...

1. Everyone remembered their lines, including the ones they were singing.
2. All props were in place at the right time.
3. The audience laughed, and at the right stuff.
4. They remembered to slow down and project their voices, things they were still not doing even at the dress rehearsal.
5. The disco dancing chorus were awesome!! And the disco ball, lowered by way of a string by yours truly, fell at just the right moment.
6. One of our actors won an award for 'best personality'. The character was a servant who was ever-alert and prepared to save the Prince's skin when things went awry. We just loved him because he was the key player in a number of staged moments - stuff like catching the glass that the hero drops when he springs forward to catch the sister doing the fake swoon...and he managed them all without a single mistake.
7. They all had a good time and came off stage bubbly and pleased with themselves!

Woden ward won the night, and deservedly so. They did this fabulous Bollywood style 'star-crossed lovers' type story, complete with colourful Indian costumes and dancing. My other favourite thing, from a different play, was this kid dressed as a tractor. They'd somehow set up the box around him so that depending on which way he turned the steering wheel, the tractor would either smile or frown ~ so cute! They used a lot of kids in that play and had them dressed as chickens and pigs and all manner of farm animals. I didn't actually watch the play, though, as that was when I was assembling our props ready to go on.

In the end it was a fun thing to do, but I'm glad it's over, because it's taken over my life the last few weeks. Now my main goal is to get some eBay listings up and do a couple of new t-shirt designs. The last is a great way to de-stress, which is weird in a way, because drawing when it's NOT on my drawing tablet has the opposite effect on me. I like drawing ~ I just suck at it ~ and the drawing tablet makes it easier to make things look the way I want them to look.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

more quizzy things

$5340.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth

Online Dating

(I'm not sure that rating tester read my Tarantino-related posts.)

76%The Movie Quiz

I'm kind of surprised it was this low.

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i wish i had one of those virtual reality rooms

...so that I could test myself in a zombie uprising without, you know, actually having to be in one. Anyway, this is how the quiz I just took thinks I would do. I lost points for going back for my loved ones, but what's the point of surviving a zombie uprising if you just end up having to shoot your mother in the head because the zombies got to her before you did? It's not like she can run very fast.


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Thursday, July 05, 2007

roadshow countdown

Two days till the performance and I am quietly flipping out on the inside, which calming running lines with nervous people on the outside. I always seem to have an armful of props, whether I'm at rehearsal or not, and I still have to make a big pretend fairytale book for our narrator kid to read from...argh! I'm actually starting to enjoy it a lot, but I'm also living on toast and getting about 4 hours sleep a night.

Someone asked for the song lyrics. Here they are. The situation is that Sarah has just faked tripping so she can fall into Williams arms and say things like, 'oh you're so strong!' while Brittany (I didn't choose the names), Mary's other evil sister, is telling Mary, 'oh dear, it looks like you've lost your date'. Mary is devastated, throws her shoe at William (little Cinderella moment there) and storms off to the end of the stage so the audience can see her cry. William drops Sarah (very funny) and tries to think of some way to explain. His trusty servant, James, appears with a CD, and it's game on for apologetic beaus. You also need to know that William is being played in an over the top posh British type and hammed up to the nines in the process, which is why his lines in the song are so ridiculous - they sound right in his mock-upper crust accent.

To the tune of 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor

William: I know that what you just saw didn't look so good.
Made you think I hadn't acted quite the way I should.
But you have to know that you're the only one that I adore.

Mary: I should have known.
You've never let me down before.

Brittany: Oh William, please!
Don't give us that.
You had your arms around our sister soon as Mary turned her back!

Mary: Don't worry dear, I know the truth.
And you two better understand,
In all future conversations, talk directly to the hand.

Chorus (every else on stage except these four) bursts into big disco dance moves as they sing (a disco ball descends from the ceiling, hit by a spotlight):
And just like that.
Their plot's revealed.
Brittany and Sarah
Couldn't keep their jealousy concealed.

Sarah: I still don't understand what she sees in that guy!

Mary: His heart is pure.
And he's a really funny guy.

William: Oh no, not I.
You're much too kind!
Oh as long as I have you my dear
I'll always wear a smile.

Mary: They tried to make me love you less.
But I'll always love you best.

Sarah: (sob) I'm gonna cry!

Brittany: And so am I!

Chorus: Hey, hey. (They've been moving subtley while the others sang, but now burst back into big disco moves as they dance in formation around William and Mary as he returns her shoe (using James as a stool for her to sit on) and they embrace.

We didn't go for a second verse, for time reasons. I know the lyrics are a little corny, but trust me, that makes them fit right into the play as a whole.

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