a little east of reality

Sunday, May 31, 2009

blow-by-blow of the weekend

Friday night I saw Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past. The first half is quite funny, but the second errs on the side of sappiness. Still, better overall compared to my expectations on seeing the trailer. (Not however, inspiring enough for me to do a movie review.)

Saturday I hit the road in the new jalopy to head for Sydney for Good News Week and a catch-up with my ex-housemate, Phi. His girlfriend Hadid, who I met for the first time this weekend, is lovely. Seriously. I like her by herself and I like them together. I'm looking forward to going back and catching up sometime in a place where we can actually hear each other (restaurant was a bit noisy). It was good to catch up with Phi after so many months and see him in such a good place in his life.

As a whole the roadtrip was great, though being gridlocked in a multi-storey carpark for almost an hour is not on my list of things to do again. In fact it made me so late for the show that I didn't get in for the audience. (NB: the reason for the trip...aargh!!!) However, thanks to the kindness of no-longer-strangers I instead got to watch the show from the Greenroom backstage and therefore to also say a quick hello to the people on the show before I left. Nice. :) Still would have preferred to be in the audience with my friends, but not a bad second best.

I learned a lot about driving in Sydney, including how to get back if you accidentally get onto the road that takes you across the Sydney Harbour Bridge...oops. The car ran beautifully. Riding with Blueberry Boy (new Japanese homestay student, 21-years-old, been here a month, very carpe diem attitude, loves blueberries) was good - very easy and relaxed - but I'm really looking forward to the roadtrip back to Sydney with Dancer Boy in two weeks to see P!nk. My sister is going to the same concert so we'll be having dinner with her before the show. I seriously love having a car that I can go to Sydney (or the coast, or the snow if I use chains) in. Been a long time coming.

Speaking of DB, he had an informal performance last night to end the dance workshop he's been doing for the last few weeks. I went with his 'rents to watch. It was pretty low key, but I always enjoy seeing how his dancing's improving. There's only so much he can show me in my kitchen. :)

And that was my weekend. Hope yours was good, too!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Normal: movie review

I just watched the movie Normal. It's a movie about a transexual person (male to female), Roy/Ruth shown from the time she first explains her gender identity disorder to her wife (just after their 25th wedding anniversary) and over the next year as she transitions in preparation for reassignment surgery. In some ways I found the movie very predictable, not so much because it was really, but moreso because over the last year I've learned so much about this topic that I knew the kinds of steps she would go through and could predict some of the emotional processes her family would go through, too. Still, the final outcome was always a little uncertain, so the movie wasn't boring just because I was familiar with the topic.

There are a number of things I liked about this movie. Tom Wilkinson as Roy/Ruth is in appearance about as 'typical middle-aged American male' as you can get. I liked that there was no real attempt made to cast a man who could easily 'pass' as female. I found this made Ruth's reality so much more honest and straightforward. Her transition was never about the task of convincing anyone else that she was a woman, but rather about acknowledging what she felt and needed to do to feel right in herself.

There is a poignant moment early on where she puts on a simple pair of gold clip-on earrings she found in a thrift store. As she looks in the mirror the person she sees is masculine in appearance - the hair is not styled, the clothes are mens, she's wearing no makeup. But she stares at her image with the earrings on and there's a subtle but obvious lifting of the spirit. Later (after an adverse reaction to 'Roy' wearing the earrings to work) she explains simply that they made her feel pretty. It's so simple, but Wilkinson acts it just right. Jessica Lange is equally good throughout the film as Roy's wife.

There's also a scene between Ruth and her son (for anyone who's seen the movie, the moment on the stairs) who is not coping with the transition well, that made me cry at such a great outpouring of honest emotion. Each person had their own issues to deal with as how they perceived Roy as their husband or father changed in order for them to understand Ruth and how she was (and wasn't) the same person as before.

Normal isn't a perfect movie. It's trying to cover a huge topic in a small amount of time and some things are done very well, and others in a more superficial manner and that can't really be helped. But it showed the complexity of human relationships in relation to transition without trying to have (or provide) all the answers. I hadn't heard of it before this week and I'm glad I happened upon it. I agree with the Amazon.com review which said:
Normal explores Roy's gender dysphoria with empathy, but also has an eye for the social and familial absurdities that come up. The humor, far from trivializing the issue, steers it away from cloying sentiment or politically correct sanctimony. The movie captures the confusion of Roy's friends and coworkers with realism and without judgment, and the stressful changes of Roy and Irma's relationship aren't sugarcoated or made into a moral lesson.
Good movie.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5 things that have happened since I last blogged

1. I bought a car. My old one has been on the way out for some time and I've been driving it (oh so gingerly) with dogdy, grinding brakes and the engine stalling at every traffic light.

2. I won a camcorder and a camera (thank you Hoyts cinemas), the latter which I will use to show you my new car once I get it charged up (the camera, not the car). The cool thing is that it's an SLR camera, so maybe I can finally do a proper photography course.

3. My best friend at work moved back to Victoria. That was sad. On the bright side I do get to catch up with him sometimes as I work in Melbourne about once a month lately. Also I think he'll be happier there because he's training for a new job he likes and is now located in the same city as his (really nice) girlfriend.

4. Work has stepped up a notch. I'm much busier than before, but with interesting stuff. I also went up a pay increment which means a small pay rise. A promotion would be better.

5. I got into Twitter. I'm already defriending people who twit every ten minutes, but generally my favourite thing is watching people I like, like Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, or Rove and P!nk twitter between themselves. I also love the fact that when I'm right in the middle of something great/terrible/annoying/boring I can send a twit from my phone. Like sending out a message in a tiny bottle from whatever deserted island I'm on. And it appears on the sidebar of my blog, too, which was my original reason for signing up.

So it goes. Now, how's life with everyone else?

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