a little east of reality

Monday, March 31, 2008

so much to tell you

I am writing a quick post just to let you know that my computer died last night. I'll blog before work a little, but things will be infrequent. Which is a shame actually, because there have been some interesting developments in chosha's life recently.

More soon.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

all fridays are good

Maybe we should call it Great Friday instead.

I'm not going to get into a big post on Christian belief or the doctrines surrounding Easter. But I was thinking today about one aspect of the Atonement that I find beautiful and that is the concept of 'hope for redemption'.

There is nothing worse than that feeling that comes when you realise that you've done something terrible and that there's no way you can fix it. You've said something that can't be taken back, broken something precious that can't be replaced, or destroyed someone's trust in you. There's no hope in a feeling like that. Some people feel like that about themselves - that somehow they are so lost, so bad, so defeated, that there isn't any hope left in them to turn things around. They don't believe that they are redeemable.

It reminds me of a particular scene towards the end of Pretty Woman. Edward and Vivian are lying in bed talking about how she came to be a hooker.

Vivian: First guy I ever loved was a total nothing. Second was worse. My mom called me a bum magnet. If there was a bum within a 5-mile radius, I was completely attracted to him. That's how I ended up here. I followed bum number three.
Edward: Oh.
Vivian: So here I was: no money, no friends, no bum.
Edward [Chuckles]: And you chose this as your profession?
Vivian: I worked at a couple fast food places, parked cars at wrestling. And I couldn't make the rent. I was too ashamed to go home. That's when I met Kit. She was a hooker and made it sound so great. So one day I did it. I cried the whole time. But then I got some regulars and, you know... It's not like anybody plans this. It's not your childhood dream.
Edward: You could be so much more.
Vivian: People put you down enough, you start to believe it.
Edward: I think you are a very bright, very special woman.
Vivian: The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?
What I love most about that movie (moreso than any other Pygmalion adaptation, though it does keep the basic theme that makes a lady a lady is not how she behaves, but how she is treated) is not that he saves her from a hard life like his character carrying Debra Winger out of the factory in Officer and a Gentleman. It's that he makes her realise that she is worth more than the life she is living. She's not irredeemable because she's a hooker, or because guys left her and didn't treat her right. She just believed all the bad stuff and lost her hope. It isn't enough now for him to hand her a better version of her current life, because she can't live that life any more. She finally understands that she is too precious for that.

I also love how once she knows that she passes it straight on to her friend, Kit. When Kit refuses to come to San Francisco with her, she gives her some money.

Kit: Whoa. Whoa. What is this ?
Vivian: It's part of the Edward Lewis scholarship fund. We think you got a lot of potential, Kit De Luca.
Kit: You do ? You think I got potential ?
Vivian: Oh, yeah. Don't let anybody tell you different, okay ?
Kit: Okay.
People need hope. We all need to understand that second chances exist and that mistakes we make don't define us. Hope in Christ is just one form of that and actually quite a beautiful one - not only the promise that we can be forgiven of our mistakes, but that there is someone who loves us, always, in spite of those mistakes or anything else we might dislike about ourselves. I wish people treated each other that way more often, instead of just seeing it as something God does.

I wish I treated people that way more often. It's something I find easy to do when I'm in a good place myself. It's one of my favourite things about teaching: getting to know students as individuals, helping them to understand that they are interesting and worthwhile people, with potential beyond what they currently see in themselves. But when I'm down or stressed I'm not spreading any hope or joy at all. I know a few people who are great at the whole 'glass is half full' thing, no matter what life throws at them, and it amazes me.

Anyway, I see a tangent happening, so I'll break it off here. Happy Easter, Everyone! Whether what it means to you is church or just chocolate, I hope it's a good one.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

here's a hint for the newly hitched

If your wife sets you on fire, the honeymoon is over. And wash your feet.
"Wang and his wife, Luo, were married on February 2. The couple, however, frequently fought over trivial things while still on their honeymoon," the official XinhuaM news agency quoted a local newspaper as saying.

The couple, from the central province of Hubei, had another fight on the night of March 4, "and in frustration they together drank a bottle of liquor to ease their anger".

"At about 10 pm, Luo watched her husband get into bed without cleaning or washing his feet. In a fit of anger and intoxication, she set fire to the sheet he was sleeping in."
"When he awoke, the two began fighting before a very drunk Wang collapsed. As fire engulfed the bedroom. Luo escaped to the living room, leaving her other half to burn."
Seriously, how dirty were his feet? She s.e.t. .h.i.m. .o.n. .f.i.r.e.. Good grief!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

lines I like from buffy

Recently I insulted the scriptwriting in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Industrial Athena threatened to use my kidneys for ping pong balls (or, you know, something like that) unless I retracted said vile statements and checked it out properly. Hence I am now watching all seven series. What I have discovered so far is that while (as IA herself conceded) the first season does suck as much as I remembered, there is some pretty witty banter in there. I also discovered that while Angel, by the time I saw him in his own series, was fair to middling in the hotness department...in the first six episodes of season one, he was 'I think my knees just melted' hot.

Anyway, I'll be posting some Buffy quotes from time to time for your reading pleasure. Here are some snippets from the first six episodes:

Ep 101

Giles challenges Buffy to 'spot the vampire' in a nightclub and she does...by his terrible fashion sense.
Buffy: Deal with that outfit for a moment.
Giles: It's dated?
Buffy: It's carbon-dated.
Ep 102

1. They're trying to work out where the vamps went.
Buffy: As soon as I got clear of the graveyard they kind of just...voom.
Xander: They can fly?
Buffy: They can drive.
2. Buffy's at the nightclub the next night, doing the slaying thing. She holds a mike stand, ready to throw it.

Macho vampire: You forget, metal can't hurt me.
Buffy: There's something you forgot about, too...sunrise.

She throws the stand, breaks a glass panel and light streams in. The vamp reels from it, then stops, wondering why he isn't burning. We see the source of the light...a regular globe on the ceiling. Buffy stakes him.
Buffy: It's in about nine hours, moron.
He dies.

Ep 103

Nothing jumped out at me. A few things did jump out at Buffy, but sans snappy dialogue.

Ep 104

Giles is explaining the modus operandum of the scary she-mantis, who incidentally has Zander.
Giles: Basically the she-mantis assumes the form of a beautiful woman and then lures innocent virgins back to her nest.
Buffy: Virgins? Well Zander's...not a... I mean, he's probably...
Willow: Gonna die.
Ep 105

Giles and Buffy are in the library researching. Superfine boy (Owen) walks in and Buffy turns into starry-eyed girl. Giles is...less than happy about this.

Buffy: Ooh, Owen. Hi.
Giles: What do you want?
Owen: Uh...book?
Giles(Remembers he's the librarian at this school.): Oh.
Buffy (to Giles): See this is a school, and we have students, and they check out books, and then they learn things.
Giles: I was beginning to suspect that was a myth.

Ep 106

Zander has become hyena-like and mean (it's a curse thingy). Buffy consults 'the expert on weird', Giles.
Giles: Zander's taken to teasing the less fortunate?
Buffy: Uh huh.
Giles: And uh...there's a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanour?
Buffy: Yes.
Giles: And...well, otherwise all his spare time's spent lounging about with imbecils?
Buffy: It's bad, isn't it?
Giles: It's devastating. He's turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. Of course, you'll have to kill him.
Buffy: Giles, I'm serious!
Giles: So am I...except for the part about killing him.
It's late, so that's all for now. The next episode is called Angel. Seeing as he's been mysterious and hot (but not told anyone he's a vampire) so far, I'm guessing that's the episode where Buffy finds out. Should be good. ^_^

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

i got nothin'

Well, I got something, but no time to blog it today. Which is why I'm sending you over to see Arwyn, who's got something extemely fun (check out the link she posted to the flickr group, too ~ lots of gems in there). I like this one, too, from pep010:

At some point this week I will definitely be creating (and posting) a song chart of my very own. Because it must be done.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

checklist for happy harry potter news

Podcast featuring JK Rowling up at Leaky Cauldron.

Leakycon happening in May 2009.

HP Book 7 being made into two movies...yah! For once no complaining about how much they've cut out.

Return of David Yates as director for both films.

Return of Steven Kloves as screenwriter for both films.

Being filmed at the same time. No odd age differences...good.

Part One due November 2010, and Part Two, May 2011

Excuse me? We have to wait TWO YEARS after movie 6 to see number 7??? Have they lost their minds?
It's TOO LONG, dagnabbit!

2010 release date did NOT make the cut!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

i have not the words

...to describe my exact reaction to this story.
Teenager Jessica Knight had been lying in a coma for six days in a UK hospital after a stabbing attack on the way home from school. She'd been completely unresponsive until a visit from Geri [Halliwell...Ginger Spice] brought her back from the brink of death.

Visiting the girl's bedside at the request of her family, Geri belted out a few lines of a Spice Girls song and young Jessica immediately started moving her arms and legs. The next day she opened her eyes for the first time.
Good she's out of the coma, I guess.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

gosh but I hate waiting


And the reason I must immediately make plans to go to Melbourne in May:

Hi Neil,

Is it true you will be in Australia in May, 2008?



It is, it is. I'm out in early May for a conference on children's literature in Melbourne, and I'll do a couple of signings while I'm there. Details to come very soon.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

wil anderson

More and more I find myself loving stand up comedy. The latest gig I checked out (last week) was Wil Anderson's A Work in Progress. Each year before he tours he does a series of small shows to try out and play with his new material. I love these shows. This guy is not just funny; he also hosted a really popular TV show called The Glass House ~ excellent ~ so he's very well known and he can (and does) sell out really big shows, yet there am I at the WIP show each year seeing him perform five feet in front of me, in a venue that holds around two hundred people. Each performance is different. He covers basically the same territory, but the tangents tend to be different. And how do I know this?
Sky: That was great!
chosha: I know! I feel like I could just turn around and go back for the 9pm show.
Sky: [wide-eyed and excited] Do you wanna??!!
chosha: Sure. Let's see if there are any tickets left.
[We enquire.]
Couple at counter: Actually, we have to leave suddenly and we were just asking if there was anything we could do to recoup our ticket price...do you want to buy our tickets?
chosha and Sky: [thinking: how freaking written in the stars was that?!] Hell yeah, but if we're paying cash we need to run to an ATM first.
Couple at counter: No problem.
chosha [to Sky]: Okay but we really have to run, because I've been to four of his shows now and I know exactly what joke he's going to use to give us crap if we go in late!**
Ticket seller: [laughing] Just hurry and I'll ask Wil to wait a few more minutes.
And off we ran to the nearest ATM (about a block away) and back, bought the only available tickets and slipped into the audience. Wil did wait till we arrived and the second show was just as awesome. Yah!

This is the third year he's done the WIP show and the third year I've seen it. A lot of his comedy is social comment and political satire, but he also tackles religion and a little observational humour on life in general. So imagine my surprise when the guy comes out and does almost an entire two hour show on love, relationships and the end of his seven year romance with the love of his life (so far), Amy. The show was hilarious, but it was also poignant and heartfelt. I was in the front row and there were times when he looked right into my eyes and said something, and it was like the comedy show was paused for a moment and all I wanted to do in that moment was give him a hug. One of the friends I went with expressed exactly the same feeling about it the next day at work.

I really admire the honesty and courage it takes to do material like that. Even more impressive is that he managed to talk about someone who completely broke his heart without shredding her or encouraging us to think ill of her even once. I found out a lot about dealing with pain through comedy the first time I listened to Julia Sweeney's God Said 'Ha' show. It's her retelling of the most terrible year of her life ~ the year when both she and her brother contracted cancer. The facts of that year are heart-breaking, but the show is fantastic and very funny.

Even though cancer and love lost are quite different challenges, they're both hard to deal with emotionally, and to be able to take hard times and find the humour in them (as opposed to being defeated by them) is an amazing strength. Because in the process of doing so, you have to not only face your feelings, but be willing to reveal them in all their vulnerability and embarrassment and whatever else those experiences make us feel, to an audience who are then (hopefully) going to laugh about them. But I think when comedians do this, they tap into something that is very human and vulnerable in the audience as well as themselves. I'm sure that anyone battling cancer would feel cheered and comforted by listening to Sweeney's show. Similarly I felt like I connected with Wil's material in a whole new way last night because some of it was personal and was painful and because most of us knew from personal experience exactly the kind of feelings and scenarios and emotional processes he was describing. I've never had to personally face any illness as serious as cancer, but I've certainly had a couple of broken hearts.

I certainly don't need all this from a comedian in order to laugh or enjoy a show, but going to a show like that delivers quite a different night out than does the usual fare. We went out for a very late dinner afterwards and there was just so much to talk over and think about. It branched out into one of the best conversations I've had in ages. Great night.

To any Aussies reading this, I highly recommend checking to see if there are tickets left in your area for Wil's 'BeWILdered' tour happening March/April. But please don't let my emotional little spiel over-hype the show, because it's great and I don't want anyone to be disappointed because I made it sound life-changing, haha. There's nothing heart-wrenching about his impression of his cat typing letters to the editor or his description of mishearing an adult talking about sex when he was ten and then trying in vain to work out what kind of sexual act a 'hedgehog' could be. This post is more about my reaction to parts of the show than about the show itself. All you have to go there with is the intention to laugh your ass off.

**Hi there. No, it's okay, come on in, sit down. Can I get you anything?...like a @#$%ing watch..."

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