Monday, September 30, 2013

Movie Monday: Twister

Remember when I said that I delved all the way to the back of my movie collection last week? Yeah, I discovered this piece of 90s genius languishing back there, and felt the need to rewatch it because it's kind of stupid but also sort of fabulous.

Reasons why Twister is awesome:
1. Helen Hunt. She's hilariously sassy.
2. The crew singing "Oklahoma" as they drive towards a twister.
3. Bill Paxton.
4. The synopsis on IMDB: "Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes." AMAZINGLY AWFUL.
5. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Genius.
6. The hilariously dated CGI.
7. Cary Elwes.
8. The technology. LOL FOREVER.
9. Alan Ruck. If you don't love Alan Ruck, I'm not sure we can be friends.
10. Jo repeatedly judging Bill's driving.
11. Jami Gertz.
12. It was written by Michael Crichton and his wife, and was edited by (among others) Joss Whedon.
13. The awesome sculptures at Jo's aunt's house.
14. Booing Jonas' TV interviews.
15. Lois Smith. She's fabulous.
16. Driving out of the cornfield just as Jonas' team drive past.
17. Cows.
18. Bill going back into the house for the dog.
19. The petrol tanker of explodingness.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "Kansas is a mess, there's a big crease right through Wichita. ROLL the maps."
- "There's only been Melissa since you." "Wow, not much for browsing, are you?"
- "The Suck Zone. It's the point, basically, at which the twister sucks you up. That's not the technical term for it, obviously."
- "Hey man, what is your major malfunction?"
- [as the truck drifts off the road] "Can I drive?" "No!" "Then would you?"
- "She didn't marry your penis! ...Okay, she didn't ONLY marry your penis."
- "He really is in love with himself. I thought it was just a summer thing."
- "Cow... 'Nother cow..." "Actually, I think that was the same one."
- "In a severe lightning storm, you want to grab your ankles and stick your butt in the air."
- "Honey, this is a tissue of lies. See, there was another Bill, an evil Bill. And I killed him."
- "Have you lost your nerve?" "Tighten your seatbelt."
- "Don't worry about me. I know my way home."
- "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you!"
- "What was it like?" "......Windy."
- "I can drive myself!" "Honey? Your car is in a tree around the corner..." "........Oh."

Have you seen it recently? If so, what did you think fifteen years on?

K xx

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pasta wars

There was a little gem in the papers today that you may or may not have seen - the chairman of Barilla has announced that his company will never feature same sex families in their advertisements, because he sees his company's audience as "a classic family". When questioned on potential backlash, his response was that "If gay people disagree, they can always eat pasta of other producers." (Quotes from the article linked above) Obviously, there's been backlash and calls for boycotts all over the place, and the US branch of the company has been forced to distance itself from its Italian parent.

Now, the problem I have with this - beyond the bleeding obvious - is the idea of the "classic family". Many of Barilla's adverts, even in Australia, feature a woman serving pasta to her husband and children, all of whom are usually white. Which is all well and good, but in saying that their audience is "a classic family" and in advertising their products in that way, the company are automatically discounting not only same sex couples, but all of the following:
  • Childless couples.
  • PoC families.
  • Mixed race families.
  • Widows/widowers and their children.
  • A married couple, their teenaged children from previous marriages, and their young child.
  • Grandparents and the grandchildren they take care of while their parent/s are working late.
  • Divorcees and their families.
  • Families with adopted children, especially those who have adopted children from overseas or from outside their ethnic background.
  • Families with foster children.
  • Extended families living under one roof. 
  • De facto couples and their kids.
  • People with guardianship of their younger siblings or nieces/nephews or dead friend's children.
  • Single people.
  • My own family, because my mum works, and my dad's retired and does almost all the cooking.
  • A million other permutations that I can't think of right now. 
By saying that they only cater to the traditional family, Barilla are cutting off huge swathes of modern society in favour of a 1950s ideal that's increasingly rare. 

And don't even get me started on the "same sex couples with families are destroying society" bullshit. Please, explain to me, if you can, how this is destroying society.......
.......but it's perfectly acceptable for Britney Spears to be married for fifty five hours without being told that she's destroying society? I would take one same sex couple and the children they've fought tooth and nail to have over a million couples who drunkenly decided to get married in Vegas and then stayed together when they found themselves pregnant a month later. I don't know about you, but I would rather live in a world where every child is wanted and loved than a world where a chunk of the population is miserable because they can't have kids while another is miserable because they have more kids than they want. 

And let's just stop for a second to appreciate the ironic fact that Barilla make a millionty different types of pasta, but can't appreciate diversity. As Deidre's husband, Inspector Climate, said this afternoon "Do they only make spaghetti?? You know, straight pasta?!"

If I worked for one of Barilla's rival pasta manufacturers, I would be instantly springing into action with a brand new marketing campaign. A campaign that featured a street party. A party in which families of all ethnicities and genders and relationship statuses and age brackets and employment statuses and levels of blood relationship have come together to eat and talk and laugh over giant bowls of pasta. A campaign, in short, that shows Barilla everything they're missing out on.* 
Something like this, only less 1970s. Also, source.

Because at the end of the day? Family doesn't always mean what you're born into, family doesn't stop with blood. It's about the people you love and who love you back, no matter what. And a company that recognised that, rather than some antiquated ideal? That's a company I'd want to support. 

What do you think?

K xx

*Dear pasta companies who aren't Barilla: please feel free to use my genius idea for your marketing campaigns in exchange for a small pot of money. Kthxbai.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yeah, not so much...

Ranganathan's Third Law of Library Science is as follows: "To every book its reader". Periodically, I come across a book for which I am most definitely NOT its reader. Last week, I came across one such book. The premise sounded fascinating - a gender-bent modern adaptation of Jane Eyre - and it had good reviews. Plus, the Kindle edition was only like $2. So I bought it. It started out pretty well, but the further I got into the book, the more problems I had with it. Problems of the this-is-hilarious-but-isn't-meant-to-be variety.

The book? "Eyre House" by Cait Greer.

Let's start out with what I liked, so as to make sure that you understand that I didn't set out to hate this book. On the contrary, there were parts of it that I liked a lot:
  • The setting. Transporting Jane Eyre to a creepy old plantation house on an island in South Carolina? Genius. It's the perfect setting for a story that's got its fair share of creepiness.
  • The trip around the colleges. You guys know that I loves me a roadtrip, and having Evan get to know his family along the way was pretty cute.
  • The gender-bend. It had some issues at times, but I think leaving it as is would have been worse in a modern setting - Rochester would just come across as a total creep.
  • That ultimately, the story wasn't paranormal. Let's be honest here - having a mad relative locked in the attic REALLY wouldn't fly in the modern world, let alone having the Jane/Rochester hearing each other's voices from miles away part.
  • The writing style. I think the author nailed the 18 year old male voice pretty well. 
Now to the moderately problematic:
  • Ginny. She's meant to be assertive and charming and sexy, despite all her deep-seated issues. Instead, she comes across as irritating and a little bit rapey. Evan repeatedly asks her to stop touching him, but she continues to run her hands up under his shirt and across his stomach at every opportunity. If the roles were reversed? TOTALLY NOT OKAY. Having her say things like "All I need from you is that pretty face and the body attached to it" didn't help. I get that she's using him, but seriously? Ouch.
  • Blanche Ingram. She's pretty much another Ginny, only we know that she's gross because Evan tells us she's a bleached blonde and she looks "anorexic". And yet, she still manages - according to Evan - to wear a dress that's two sizes too small...
  • Evan's reaction to finding out that he's heir to two substantial fortunes. Where Jane Eyre is thrilled because it means she can share her fortune out to her new-found family and be an independent woman who doesn't have to marry to ensure her financial security, Evan's reaction is basically "I'm rich now, therefore Ginny will want me for more than just my body". 
  • Ginny had a dead twin brother named Jaime. With that spelling, I kept thinking the characters were talking about a girl, which meant that all I could think of was this:

  • The number of people who badmouthed Evan for being an orphan. Including the villain of the piece, who utters the priceless phrase "Hush your fuckin' mouth, orphan boy." I can understand the rich snobby types being all "Ew, he's from the foster system" or informing him that he's from the wrong side of the tracks. But orphan shaming? (Who knew that was even a thing?!) It's a little weird. 
The downright strange:
  • Ginny is described as having "honey-gold eyes". Either she's possessed by the demon Azazel, or she should go see a doctor, because that's not normal. 
  • Evan's (female) cousin repeatedly tells him how hot he is, and that he should be showing off his body.
  • Evan's (middle aged) uncle refers to Ginny as "an auburn haired wildcat". 
  • Ginny and Evan kiss in the sand. IN the sand. 
  • Part time SWAT teams.
  • Overuse of the word "sugar" as a pet name/term of endearment.
  • As far as I can remember, everyone is white. 
  • Evan periodically sees a giant dog wandering around. While some of them can be attributed to Ginny's cousin's dog, others are just random and left unexplained by the end.
YOU HAVE THE GRIM!!! Also, source.

The sex scenes:
  • Ginny somehow manages to get her jeans off while straddling Evan on a motorbike. Homegirl's got skills, yo. Or tear-off jeans.
  • "My lips caressed the back of her jaw". Um. Unless her jaw unhinges like a snake, I'm not sure how you're doing that. 
  • They have sexy times on Evan's motorbike and he revs the engine throughout. It's meant to be hot, but it was mostly just hilarious. 
  • Ginny "shoves" Evan's jeans off without undoing them. This is both impressive, and bizarrely violent.
  • Every sex scene consists of about two minutes of kissing, and then "I...drove into her with a single thrust".
  • "her tongue slid along mine, pushing in time with our heartbeats". As a (former) clarinetist, I found this especially hilarious. And not even remotely swoony.
  • "My hand slid up the skin of her back, pulling her as close as I could." It may just be me, but that wording makes it sound like his hand is UNDER her skin. Which, ew. 
  • Any time they have sex, Ginny screams. It's meant to be hot, but mostly it makes her seem like she's in pain...
Also, the situation wasn't helped when I read a review which said that Evan "has a vintage motorcycle between his legs". Because that may not be how the reviewer meant it, but I started giggling hysterically and couldn't stop...

This is by no means the worst book I've read this year. It's not even remotely close. Hell, it warrants an extra star just for how much it made me laugh, even if it wasn't supposed to. I guess my point is simply that Ranganathan was right way back in 1913, and that I wasn't the ideal reader for this book. Well, that and it's important to have a good editor, even if you're self-publishing... 

K xx

Given the new policies on Goodreads, I've been far more vocal here than I was in my review over there. That doesn't mean I'm bullying the author. Far from it - she's published books and is therefore light years ahead of me, so I give her a million rounds of applause.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels

Okay, so it's Wednesday in Australia, but I was busy last night and didn't get a chance to write a post.
Said busy-ness MAY have involved making chocolate chip cookie pie...

It's still Tuesday in the US though, so it totally counts, right?! RIGHT. Time to link up with The Broke and the Bookish!

Redwoodian - Alysia Gray Painter
OH MY GOD, THIS BOOK. I enjoyed Wilfair, but Redwoodian was what had me squeeing all over the place like a deranged fangirl. Fabulous from start to finish.

Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
Yeah yeah, I'm totally cheating here. But they just keep on getting better and better. There's a reason why (with the exception of the epilogue) Deathly Hallows is my favourite.

Where She Went - Gayle Forman
I enjoyed this a lot more than If I Stay, which I felt spent far too much time detailing who Mia was before her accident. Plus, I went into it knowing that there was a sequel, which made Mia's decision pretty clear. This, on the other hand? Focusing on the aftermath and how serious accidents affect the people AROUND the victims? So much ugly crying.

Discworld - Terry Pratchett
Yes, I'm cheating again and going with an entire series. But for me, the first book - Colour of Magic - is actually one of my least favourite of the series. I didn't fall in love with it until Guards, Guards, which I think from memory is book 8.

Lirael - Garth Nix
I love Sabriel, but this sequel is so amazing. Lirael has no idea what she's doing, and has to muddle through as she goes along with only a sort-of dog for assistance.

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
I loved The Hunger Games, but this book? OMG. I read it in a couple of hours and then spent the weekend raging around the house because my copy of Mockingjay hadn't arrived yet.

The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien
Much as with the films, The Fellowship of the Ring features a lot of set up for the books ahead, and The Two Towers is where stuff starts getting REALLY good.

The Lollipop Shoes - Joanne Harris
Published as The Girl With No Shadow in the US, I loved the sequel to Chocolat SO MUCH MORE than the original book. It's completely and utterly fabulous, and I really wish they hadn't done the weird date change in the film version of Chocolat so that they could make this into a movie as well.

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder
I got the complete box set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books for my sixth birthday, and while I remember enjoying Little House in the Big Woods, it was this that made me obsessed with pioneer stuff to the point where I spent the next couple of years wearing a bonnet everywhere I went during summer (thank you, Black Creek Pioneer Village for selling bonnets).

The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness
It wasn't an easy read a lot of the time, but this book was phenomenal. The relationship between the two main characters is handled so brilliantly, and while they often make infuriating mistakes, it's a nice reflection of the fact that everyone makes mistakes, even if they're fictional.

What are your top ten sequels?

K xx

Monday, September 23, 2013

Movie Monday: The Wedding Singer

I delved riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight to the back of my DVD collection yesterday, mostly because I'd forgotten what was back there (it's arranged alphabetically, and anything after my Star Wars box set has been languishing for quite some time now). I *may* have squealed with excitement when I discovered today's installment. Because it's FABULOUS and I hadn't seen it in years.

Reasons why The Wedding Singer is awesome:
1. Adam Sandler. This was pretty much the peak of his career as far as I'm concerned.
2. The music OMG.
3. Drew Barrymore. She's brilliant.
5. The song Robbie writes Julia.

6. Wedding dress trying-on montages.
7. Billy Idol. I cannot explain how much I love the fact that he was willing to play himself in this film.
8. A string quartet version of Don't Stop Believing. Ahahaha.
9. Steve Buscemi.

10. The awful wedding dresses. This includes the bridesmaids dresses. And hell, the men's frilly shirts too.
11. Ellen Albertini Dow. Holy mother of God, is she phenomenal. And if you say you didn't like seeing a little old lady rap, then you're lying.
12. George and his one song.
13. Jon Lovitz.
14. Robbie's "The Cure" influenced song.
15. I think of this movie every time I have to pull my elbows in on a plane so the drinks cart doesn't hit me.
16. Christine Taylor.
17. The Flock of Seagulls airline employee.
18.  Sammy's Michael Jackson outfit.
19. Glenn's Delorean.
20. Locking Glenn in the toilet on the plane.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "I don't think anybody could puke more than that kid, I think I saw a boot come out of him."
- "Aunt Linda! You're a bitch."
- "Get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up."
- "Sir, one more outburst, I will strangle you with my microphone wire. You understand me?"
- "Is it true you're in the middle of a nervous breakdown?" "What? No!" "Nervous breakdown! Nervous breakdown!" "Who said that?" "Everybody's been saying that." "Everybody? You're eight years old... the only people you know are your parents!"
- "He's losing his mind. And I'm reaping all the benefits..."
- "I vomited in my hair."
- "Oh my God, she made me a present. I *am* an asshole!"
- "Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!!"
- "I got a confession to make: that song was about you."
- "Well, don't be ashamed. You know, when I got married, I wasn't a virgin. I'd already had intercourse with eight men." "Now, that's something I didn't wanna know about." "That was a lot back then; it'd be like two hundred today!"
- "I don't even know your last name." "It's Guglia." "Guglia? Oh, so Julia's last name's gonna be Guglia. Julia Guglia! That's funny!" "Why is that funny?" "I - don't know."
- "We're living in a material world and I am a material girl. Or boy..."

So, have you seen this piece of 90s genius recently? Or is it time for a rewatch??

K xx

Thursday, September 19, 2013


The past week or so has been...a wee bit trying.

Last week, I had a delightful cold in which my nose was simultaneously blocked AND running constantly, and went through three boxes of tissues in as many days.

Then on Saturday, I reached for a tissue and managed to knock over my water bottle. Of course the lid was off, and the contents went all over my keyboard. Of course my computer was ON at the time, and promptly shorted out. I've been using my dad's laptop since then (thankfully, my parents are in Vietnam at the moment so I don't have to fight him for it!), but it's incredibly slow and the mouse is indescribably sensitive - pretty much any time I try to move it to the right, it decides to adjust the zoom to 90%, and it has a tendency to hover over the favourites bar and randomly take me to other pages when I'm in the middle of doing something.

So on Monday morning, I phoned a computer repair place to get a ballpark figure of how much it would cost to fix. The answer? $44 to diagnose the actual problem, and then between $270 and $350 for the actual repairs. And that was just to sort out the motherboard. The fact that the battery light doesn't come on when I plug it in makes me suspect that there's something weird going on with the battery as well. So I think it's going to be more cost effective to go and buy a new one rather than repairing it. Especially seeing as it's been nothing but trouble since day one!

Then on Monday night at about 7pm, the power suddenly went out to the entire neighbourhood. I spent a good ten minutes wandering around the house by the light of the laptop screen locating candles and matches, and the following two and a half hours sitting by the light of about twenty tealight candles struggling to read my Kindle and dying of boredom. I honestly think the worst part was that I'd been planning on thawing something from the freezer for dinner. With the microwave out of commission, I had to change my plans a little.
A small selection of the candles I had on hand

Have you ever tried to make cheese sauce in the dark? For some reason, I decided that I should make macaroni and cheese, which turned into spaghetti and cheese sauce when I discovered that we didn't have any macaroni. Yeah, it was a terrible plan. Because it turns out it's really hard to make cheese sauce when you can't see what you're doing. It was probably a good thing that the lights were out, because I'm fairly certain it looked like vomit. Or Clag. Or both. It was lumpy as hell, at any rate. Plus, it turns out it's really hard to eat spaghetti that's covered in cheese sauce, because you twirl the fork and end up with the entire bowl in one big blob.

I had a job interview yesterday that I thought went pretty well. This afternoon, I got a rejection email. When I told my cousin, who's staying for a few weeks, she immediately decided that we needed to break out the ice cream and chocolate. I am one thousand per cent okay with this plan.

In completely unrelated news, I vlogged for the first time since finishing VEDA. I think we can all agree that my editing skills have improved as a result of making a video every day for thirty one days, yes?

This is random and filled with first world problems, and kind of has no logical ending. Sorry not sorry?

K xx

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall TBR List

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish again for Top Ten Tuesday this week!

The theme this week is the ten books topping your TBR list this season (which, for me, is spring rather than autumn). I'm not great at keeping up with TBR lists, partly because I'm reliant on the library for most of my books and they rudely refuse to buy the books I want, or I go to get them on my Kindle, and they're like $15, which seems completely ridiculous for an e-book, so I wait around in the hopes that they'll go on sale and then forget all about their existence.

ANYWAY. That's a really long winded way of saying that I'm 10,000% sure that I will not read all ten of these books between now and the end of November (summer starts on 1 December here, so I'm using that as the cut off!). But I *do* have several of them on preorder, so I'll at least cross off a few!

Allegiant - Veronica Roth
OMG SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK. Especially now that the Divergent movie trailer has been released.

Curtsies and Conspiracies - Gail Carriger
I'd prefer if it were a new Parasol Protectorate book - the first book in the Finishing School series was good but not great - but I love Carriger's writing so much that I'll take whatever I can get!

Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding
I adore the Bridget Jones books, perhaps because I relate a little too much to Bridget's special brand of crazy. So I was crazy excited to see that there was a new one coming out. Although given that it's been the better part of fifteen years since The Edge of Reason, it will be very interesting to see if Fielding can still deliver the same hilarity without making Bridget seem a wee bit pathetic...

Raising Steam - Terry Pratchett
Every Discworld book automatically gets added to my TBR list, and they've always delivered in spectacular fashion. I have high hopes that this will be no exception.

More Than This - Patrick Ness
I've adored every single Patrick Ness book that I've read, even when they've made me ugly cry like a lunatic. This one sounds completely intriguing.

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh
The minute Allie announced that she had a book coming out, I went and preordered it. I've missed her blog so much over the past year or so, so I'm insanely excited about her book.

Never Fade - Alexandra Bracken 
I had a few niggling problems with The Darkest Minds, but I'm still dying to know what happens next!

Wild Justice - Kelley Armstrong
I've been a little dubious in the past about the Nadia Stafford books. I've enjoyed them, but they've always lacked a little bit of the readability that I loved in Armstrong's other books. That said, it's been a long time since Armstrong's added to the series and I'm interested to see where she takes it.

A Study in Silks - Emma Jane Holloway 
Steampunk and magic and a dose of Sherlock Holmes-y stuff? Um, YES PLEASE.

Two - LeighAnn Kopans
I really enjoyed One, despite having some initial hesitations about the insta-love-ness of the relationship between Mer and Elias, so I'm really looking forward to this coming out next month.

What new releases are you excited about over the next few months??

K xx

Monday, September 16, 2013

Movie Monday: Enemy at the Gates

So I was complaining on Twitter last week about how many war films (or films set during a war) are included in the AFI's 100 Years, 100 Films list. And yet here I am, voluntarily putting myself through another war film that's not even on the list. GO FIGURE. That said, I love this movie. It's brutal and it's bloody and it's painful to watch. But it's brilliant, and if I had to pick a favourite war film, I think this would be it.

Reasons why Enemy at the Gates is awesome:
1. Jude Law. He's astonishing.
2. The cinematography at the start. It's like a National Geographic documentary it's so gorgeous. (The cinematography throughout is stunning, but the opening scene stands out)
3. Joseph Fiennes. His character is so ridiculously complex, and yet he handles every scene flawlessly.
4. The brutality of the arrival scene, right down to there being one gun and a handful of bullets for every two soldiers. (Okay, so the insufficient guns part is historically inaccurate. The shortage of ammunition, on the other hand........)
5. Rachel Weisz.
6. It's based on actual events.
7. The music. It's beautiful, as it usually is with James Horner at the helm.
8. The juxtaposition between the German hospital train and Major K├Ânig's insanely opulent train. It's like something out of The Hunger Games.
9. Ed Harris. His character is almost the polar opposite to Vassili's - he's cold and hard and withdrawn from what he's doing - but he still manages to seem human.
10. Danilov standing up to Khrushchev and telling him that they need to give people hope rather than death.
11. Female soldiers of BAMF-y proportions.
12. Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev.
13. The way some many scenes are done with almost no dialogue, relying on the actor's expressions instead.
14. Bromances.
15. The scene in the tractor factor. Holy hell.
16. The recognition that sometimes citizens who are stuck in the middle have to play for both sides, even if the outcome is sometimes horrific.
17. The evacuation scene, even if it leads to ugly crying.
18. The final scene in the train yards.
19. It may seem weird, but I really love the font they used for the credits. It's really blocky and Cyrillic-looking and it's a fabulous extra touch to set the scene.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "It's a sign the Germans are starting to shit their pants!"
- "The whole country is looking at you."
- "Son of a bitch! These are new pants. I just took them off a captain from the 251st yesterday..."
- "I knew you weren't dead." "How?" "Because we've only just met."
- "You won't give up the river bank. I don't care if you lost half your men. Lose the other half. Lose yourself."
- "He isn't dead, and do you know why? Because I haven't killed him yet."
- "You've promised people a victory I can't deliver. I don't stand a chance against this man."
- "Sad to have a dream you know won't happen."
- "I've been such a fool, Vassili. Man will always be a man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love."
- "A sniper who doesn't relocate isn't normal."
- "Do you know how to shoot?" "A little."
- "He doesn't know you exist. But at that moment you're closer to him than anyone else on earth, you see his face through the sign. You see whether he shaved or not. You can see whether he's married if he's got a wedding ring. It's not like firing at a distant shape. It's not just a uniform. It's a man's face. Those faces don't go away. They come back and they get replaced by more faces."
- "The one with the rifle shoots. The one without, follows him. When the one with the rifle gets killed, the one following picks up the rifle and shoots."

Have you seen it? What did you think?

K xx

Friday, September 13, 2013

101 in 1001 #16

I realised a couple of days ago that I managed to cross another item off my 101 in 1001 list without even realising it - I've now been to twenty restaurants (of the non-chain variety) that I'd never been to before!

Mamasita, Melbourne 25/7/2011
My first meeting with the lovely Deidre. It's hard to believe it was only two years ago! I recommend going for lunch if you don't want to wait in the queue for a hundred years.

Russian Tea Time, Chicago 20/8/2011
With Hello Wisconsin and her husband, when I was in town for the 20SB Summit. I pretty much didn't need to eat for a week afterwards.

Mister Bianco, Kew 27/1/2012
A "thanks for letting me stay with you for, like, ever" dinner courtesy of a family friend. The food was pretty great.

Chinese Jin Dumpling House, Kew 30/5/2012
In which Char and I went out for lunch and ate pretty much all the dumplings in the whole of Melbourne. They were delicious. And, unlike the infamous Shanghai Dumpling, didn't give us food poisoning. WIN.

The Curry Club Cafe, Richmond 27/6/2012
Dinner with uni friends en route to a very awkward evening of inadvertent hilariousness.

Hairy Canary, Melbourne 11/8/2012
Catch up with school friends. Delicious pizza, amazing cocktails.

Cider House, Fitzroy 6/8/2012
Blogger lunch with Deidre, Katie and Ruby. As discussed previously, deciding between the 120 possible options of chips nearly killed us.

Chocolate Buddha, Federation Square 18/12/2012
Dinner and cider and awesome conversations (yes, Pacey Witter was involved) with Pretzel Thief.

Mitsitam Cafe, Washington D.C. 11/1/2013
The cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. Incredible. I wish I'd had the time and money to try everything.

Pedro's, Phoenix 30/1/2013
Mexipalooza with Gina and M. AMAZINGNESS.

Mimi's, Canterbury 8/3/2013
Friday night dinner with the parentals. Good food, but really noisy.

Miss Chu, South Yarra 23/3/2013
A post rehearsal lunch with my little brother C and a few others from choir. Holy crap, it was good.

Cafe Gaia, South Yarra 30/3/2013
Breakfast with C and Paulie. The quinoa porridge was kind of incredible.

Amigos, Melbourne 27/4/2013
My birthday dinner with friends. How can you go wrong with happy hour, nachos, fajitas and churros?!

The Quarter, Melbourne 29/4/2013
With my BFF, Nikki, after a morning of traipsing around the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's exhibition of Hollywood costumes.

Tazio, Melbourne 29/6/2013
Dinner with the parentals and family friends prior to C's farewell drinks. Great antipasto.

Rockpool, Melbourne 30/6/2013
C's farewell dinner. Holy hell, the food was amazing. It's insanely expensive, but totally worth it. I highly recommend the potato and cabbage gratin as a sidedish. It was DIVINE.

Fred Young's, Kew 3/7/2013
We had a family brunch here en route to drop C off at the airport for his flight to London.

Geppetto's, Kew 3/8/2013
Friday night dinner with the parentals and Little Miss A. The Nutella pizza is to die for.

Cafe Republic, South Yarra 28/8/2013
Dinner for my uncle's birthday. Average food, terrible service.

39 tasks down, FAR too many still to go before 1 April. EEK!!

K xx

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Belated Top Ten Tuesday

Last night, at a point in the evening when it was FAR too late for me to even contemplate writing another blog post, Angie posted a Top Ten Tuesday post that I knew I had to jump in on. The topic? The ten books that you'd love to see turned into a movie/TV show. I mean, come on. How could I not get involved in that, even if it were a good 24 hours late?!

Without any further ado, here are the ten books/series that I'd love to see on some form of screen:

1. The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
I love the crap out of these books, and I particularly love the fact that Carriger ended the series on a high note. It would be pretty intense when it came to special effects, what with werewolves and all, so perhaps it's better that we see this one on the big screen rather than the small, even though it would inevitably mean losing some spectacular scenes.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I'm not entirely sure how well this would work as a movie, considering how much of it is caught up in feelings and internal thoughts and things that can't necessarily be conveyed effectively outside of the written form. But I just loved this book SO MUCH that I desperately want it to be a movie. I mean, the soundtrack alone would make it completely worthwhile!

3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I know a lot of people participating in the link up mentioned wanting "Anna and the French Kiss" to be adapted into a movie. But personally, I squeed over Lola's story much harder, and I would LOVE seeing her eccentric taste in fashion and her amazing dads and the adorableness that is Cricket turned into a movie.

4. The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris
While I love the crap out of the Chocolat movie, I'm a little disappointed that they made the decision to set it in the 1950s, because it means that it's really difficult to adapt this completely and utterly brilliant sequel into a film. Published in the US as "The Girl With No Shadow", it follows Vianne and Anouk to Montmatre, where they meet a mysterious girl named Zozie who has a spectacular collection of shoes, but isn't all that she seems.

5. The Wilfair series by Alysia Gray Painter
I know, I'm unashamedly fangirling all over this series at the moment. But I just love the crap out of these books. SORRY NOT SORRY. And I think they'd make the most spectacularly zany TV series of awesomeness. Bonus points to anyone who can work out a way to reverse age Tom Hiddleston so that he can play Gomery. And, ya know, if you want to reverse age me to play Fair at the same time, I'm totally on board with that! I have yet to figure out who would play Monty...

6. The Jane Austen Mysteries series by Stephanie Barron
Okay, this is a total guilty pleasure series in which Jane Austen gallivants around the countryside solving mysteries with the roguish Lord Harold Trowbridge. The books are told through Jane's diary entries, but I think any important dealings contained therein would work nicely as a voiceover. Definite TV series material!

7. The Diviners by Libba Bray
Another one that I'd love to see as a TV series. It's kind of hard to determine at this point, given that only the first book of the (presumed) series has been published, but mysterious murders, superpowers, and a weird museum with a dose of 1920s flapper outfits? PUT IT ON MY TELEVISION NOW PLEASE.

8. The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
Oh my God, I would LOVE to see these books as movies. There'd be a crapton of CGI involved to make the beasties and the clankers come to life (and hopefully not look completely horrific). But there's so much action and depth and general fabulousness involved that I think these would be spectacular movies.

9. Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
I have a bizarre level of love for this weird little mystery series. This, the first book, is hands down my favourite, and I'm not sure I've EVER laughed as much over a book as I did this one the first time I read it. The characters are fabulous, the misunderstandings between certain characters are fabulous, and pretty much anyone can relate to the dramas of being involved in the planning of a wedding. I'm less certain about adapting the rest of the books into movies, but this one would be MAGNIFICENT. You know, provided they actually cast someone as Meg who looks like she could wield a blacksmith's hammer...

10. The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
The Napoleonic Wars with dragons? Uh, YES PLEASE. I feel like this one would work best as a mini-series, perhaps because the first I heard of it was when a friend referred to it as "Hornblower with dragons", and Hornblower is a mini-series, so...yeah. If they could get the CGI right for the dragons, it would be completely and utterly amazing, if a little gory.

I'm also going to add in a series that I really DON'T want to see adapted - Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. There've been a couple of attempts at turning various Pratchett books into mini-series, and they've all - from my perspective at least - failed to capture the magic that is Discworld. On one hand, it seems like something that would work better as an animated series. But on the other, animation couldn't quite fulfill some of the awesome scenes that Pratchett creates. And live action, as has been shown with Hogfather and Colour of Magic, has thus far fallen short. Much better, I feel, to leave them as books and let readers rely on their imagination to bring the Discworld and its characters to life!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and features a new top ten list each week.

What books would you love to see turned into movies/TV shows? Any that you WOULDN'T want to see adapted?

K xx

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A long time ago, we used to be friends

Hey, remember that time I rewatched all the TV shows and had a lot of thoughts about them? It's time for another installment! Except this time, it's a show I'd never seen before. You may remember this post from July in which I'd just started watching this show and was loving every second of it? Anyway, I've now finished all three seasons of Veronica Mars and am now eagerly awaiting the movie. So here's my thoughts on season 1:
  • Amanda Seyfried, whaaaaaaaaaaaat??
  • PUPPY!!
  • Okay, I think I love this show, and I'm only one episode in.
  • How can you not love a show with flashbacks?!
  • Paris Hilton, WTF??
  • Why the hell does everyone call Veronica by her full name all the time?
  • "Dude, where's your car?". God, I adore the pop culture references in this show.
  • Dating a teacher? AWKWARD.
  • Oh, Troy. You ridiculous bad boy.
  • I want to punch all these rich kids in the face.
  • Ahahaha, Jane Lynch! And she's playing a non-coach version of Sue Sylvester. AWESOME.
  • Seven episodes in, and I just realised that Veronica and Keith don't live at a motel.
  • I pretty much adore the friendship between Veronica and Weevil. 
  • Wow. Fakest pregnancy belly EVER.
  • Mr. X from The X-Files!
  • OMG. Parker Abrams from Buffy as a possibly murdery douchebag.
  • Jo from Supernatural!! And her name is Meg. Awesome.
  • Did this show just go somewhere incesty? Because EEEEEEEEEEEW.
  • Christmas stabbing, how cheerful!
  • Lame secret society is lame.
  • Veronica nagging Keith is adorable.
  • Holy shit, Logan has a tough life. Like, seriously.
  • Best history test ever. Er. Or not. Awkward... 
  • The Veronica/Leo relationship kind of squicks me out...
  • Help, I think I have feels for Logan.
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas, WTF.
  • Okay, Keith chasing Duncan down in Cuba? AWESOMENESS.
  • Veronica and Duncan = EW EW EW EW EW EW EW EW EW EW
  • Wow. Most awkward surprise party of ever.
  • Well, that was an anticlimactic resolution to the murder investigation.
  • Jesus. Logan really lucked out in the family department... O.o
  • OH WAIT. Not the end of the murder investigation. HE TRAPPED HER IN A FRIDGE, WTF??
  • Wow. Veronica's mother is basically the devil... Neptune seems to have an overabundance of TERRIBLE parents. With the exception of Keith, obviously.
Please tell me I'm not alone on Team "For the love of God, someone give Logan a hug"? Or the "Duncan sucks" club??

K xx

Monday, September 9, 2013

Movie Monday: Can't Hardly Wait

So I had plans to do a movie of slightly more substance this week, but I spent two and a half hours last night watching Saving Private Ryan, which - while excellent - is completely traumatising and not Movie Monday material. As a result, my brain (and my tear ducts) cannot cope with movies of substance, so it's time to delve into the teen movie vault again. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Reasons why Can't Hardly Wait is awesome:
1. Seth Green. Hands down my favourite thing about this movie.
2. It's completely and utterly ridiculous.
3. Ethan Embry. Giant buckets of awkward adorableness.
4. It's so freaking 90s.
5. The year book style introductions to each character.
6. Lauren Ambrose. She's brilliantly sassy.
7. Descriptive flashbacks.
8. It's pretty much a "before they were famous" slideshow - Peter Facinelli, Jaime Pressley, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tamala Jones, Donald Faison, Jason Segel, Selma Blair.
Yes, that's Carlisle Cullen shoving Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Source.
9. Insane cameos - Jenna Elfman, Melissa Joan Hart, Jerry O'Connell, Breckin Meyer.
10. Nerd plans.
11. Teaching the exchange student to say really awful things.
12. The soundtrack.
13. Denise sitting by herself on the sofa. That's pretty much me at a party.
14. At least half the random background characters turn up in Buffy at some point. Seriously.
15. How the letter ends up in front of Amanda.
16. Acting out Star Wars on the roof.
17. Reunion tours before they've even played a gig.
18. The on-screen "Where are they now?" stories.
19. The kid who randomly steals stuff throughout the duration of the movie.
20. Charlie Korsmo. He's pretty hilarious. (You may know him better as Jack from Hook)

Plus, the following quotes:
- "Oh, I'M the weirdo? You're the one calling Barry Manilow from a phone booth at 2am!"
- "You know what? My retainer kind of looks like a Klingon warship."
- "That is a "Fragrance of Love" scented candle, bitch!"
- "His wardrobe alone leaves him open for public mockery."
- "I can't feel my legs. I HAVE NO LEGS!!"
- "I did not write 'Denise Fleming is a tampon' on your locker."
- "Nobody drink the beer, the beer has gone bad!"
- "Damn, she's gonna think I've got that premature evacuation!"
- "You see the salt on this pretzel? Look at the stars. Some people, they say the stars are billions and billions of tons of hot gas. But I think maybe, maybe it's just God's salt. And God's just waiting to eat us."
- "Hey dude, did you hear? I'm naked under my gown!"

Have you seen it? If so, what do you think?

K xx

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

VEDA hangover

So as you may know, I spent last month participating in Vlog Every Day in August, hence the almost complete lack of content around these parts. Yes, I spent August making and editing and uploading a video every single day, as well as watching what felt like millions of videos from my fellow VEDA-ians (VEDA-ites??) and commenting and participating in ridiculous conversations on Twitter, and basically? It was exhausting but completely and utterly awesome.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat, and there's actually a group of us on Twitter discussing the possibility of vlogging on a weekly basis. I'll definitely join in on that one provided someone who's not me comes up with topics for us to discuss, because no topics = Kirsti rambling uselessly for a millionty years, and no one wants to watch that!


I hereby present to you a list of things I learnt during VEDA:

  1. Youtube is an evil bitch. A two minute video will suddenly decide it's going to take three hours to upload. It will randomly decide that you don't need to see all your subscriptions in your subscription feed, meaning that you have to go to each individual channel to check if someone's made a new video. It will one day decide that no, you don't need to watch this particular video and refuse to load it for three hours straight. And it will give you 31 days of consecutive unflattering thumbnail options.
  2. Youtube's captchas are the most illegible things on the face of the earth.
  3. Some topics will take you five minutes to film. Others will take an hour, and most of your footage will be of you trailing off mid-sentence and then staring out the window for five minutes trying to work out how to get your point across. And sometimes, you'll do the perfect take only to realise that you didn't actually hit record. Sigh.
  4. Never underestimate the importance of editing. 
  5. If you make a video about the importance of thinking before you vote, don't let your mother see it, because she'll cackle hysterically because she thinks you sound like a newsreader... (HI MUM)
  6. VEDA brings all the feels. You will cry at least a dozen times.
  7. Blooper Day will take you approximately a hundred years to pull together. Start early.
  8. Everyone loves Harry Potter. EVERYONE.
  9. The quality of your gear does not dictate the quality of your videos. 
  10. This community is made of solid gold awesome.
If you missed out on seeing my videos this month and happen to have a spare hour and a half, the full playlist is here. You're welcome. 

K xx

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dessert Day - oversized lemon edition

On Friday afternoon, Deidre and I met up with my IRL BFF, Char, for a spot of Dessert Day magic. Our first step was to source ingredients and, considering we'd taken over Char's parents' kitchen for the occasion, we headed out into the back garden to check the lemon tree. We came back in with the most ridiculous lemon any of us had ever seen:

It was absolutely ENORMOUS.

Anywho... Following a trip to the supermarket (and then another trip because we forgot to buy caster sugar. FAIL), we pressed on with the actual baking part. Our first challenge was to recreate a version of Deidre's wedding cake from this recipe. Except we decided that it wasn't sufficiently challenging, and that we needed to make a bunch of changes.

Obviously, we weren't about to make a tiered cake, because EFFORT. Instead, we decided to change things up a little and make one lemon cake and one raspberry cake. So we followed the recipe, except that we left out all the lemon-y stuff. We divided the batter into two equal parts, and added the following:

Cake 1
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1 large pinch lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Cake 2
- 1/8 cup raspberry coulis (cook 1/2 cup raspberries with a couple of teaspoons of caster sugar for a couple of minutes, then push through a sieve and allow it to cool)
- 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract

While the cakes were in the oven, we made the lemon curd exactly as it appears in the recipe. Except, you know, the eggy version not the vegan version. Because the vegan version sounds DISGUSTING and I suspect it would result in something that looked a lot like lemon flavoured snot... *gags repeatedly*

I split the cakes, which caused rather a large amount of stress, and then we pressed on with making the frosting. We decided that it might end up too overwhelmingly lemon-y if we used the frosting from the recipe, so we used the basic butter, sugar, milk and salt quantities it lists, and then just added a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract. It was pretty amazing, I have to say.

The assembly process was MUCH more straightforward than the chequerboard cake - we alternated layers of cake and put about 1/3 of the lemon curd between each layer. Then we smothered the whole lot in frosting. There was a reasonable amount of frosting left over, and the cake looked a little plain. So we added the leftover raspberry coulis to it, and I grabbed the piping bag and went to town!

It was pretty fabulous cake. It doesn't taste or look like it's gluten free, and the frosting didn't make it soggy, which is sometimes a problem when it comes to gluten free stuff. Plus, it got the seal of approval from two of Char's younger brothers, so it must have been rather spectacular! I think in future though, I might stick with straight lemon and some kind of cream cheese frosting. Or straight raspberry with coulis or jam in between the layers and the vanilla frosting we used here. It was amazing, but there were so many flavours going on that it was all a little overwhelming.

Our second recipe for the day was these apple fritters. We followed the recipe exactly, except that it turns out that one and a half apples was enough to give the required quantity. Which was a bit of a bummer because we'd already peeled three apples. Womp womp.

These were completely fabulous, but I strongly recommend using a candy thermometer to check the temperature of the oil - the first lot we did ended up too brown on the outside and not quite cooked in the middle. But once the oil had cooled down a bit, they came out perfectly!

Cake: Would definitely make again but with some alterations to give a more uniform flavour.
Fritters: Would definitely make again, but would double the recipe so that there are more delicious tiny doughnuts in my life.
Giant lemon: Completely delicious, unlike most oversized fruits.
Things I would change next time: Being insanely awkward when one of Char's brothers came home while she was out buying sugar, because OBVIOUSLY it would have been the only one of her brothers who wouldn't recognise me...
Deep frying: Not nearly as terrifying as last time.
Splitting cakes: Forever terrifying.

So. Would you take the lemon option, the raspberry option, or the All the Flavours option?? I need opinions so I know what to make next time!

K xx

Monday, September 2, 2013

Movie Monday: Enchanted

This is one of those movies that crops up time and time again in gifset form on Tumblr, and after scrolling past my tenth Enchanted gifset of the day today, I figured it was about time for a rewatch.

Reasons why Enchanted is awesome:
1. Amy Adams. She's pretty much perfect.
2. The mixture of animation and live action.
3. It pretty much takes the piss out of regular Disney movies.
4. James Marsden. He's kind of fabulous.
5. Assistance from the local wildlife.
6. There's a dragon. All epic stories need a dragon.
7. Patrick Dempsey and his magical hair.
8. A six year old with a credit card as Giselle's fairy godmother.
9. The ball.
10. Susan Sarandon. She may be evil, but she's also a BAMF.
11. The songs.
12. Giselle rescuing Robert from the dragon.
13. Timothy Spall.
14. Giselle's outfits. OMG.
15. Pip the chipmunk.
16. Idina Menzel. Sadly, she doesn't sing.
17. All of Robert's "no, seriously, how do you all know the words??" stuff when people start breaking into song.
18. Pip's escape from the motel room.
19. This scene:
20. Julie Andrews as the narrator.
21. The end credits, which reference a bunch of different Disney movies.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "You...are NOT a very nice old man!"
- "Is this a big habit of yours, falling off stuff??"
- "Oh, I hope you had nice dreams!" "...I think I'm still in one."
- "He knows the song too? I've never heard this song before! What the hell is it?"
- "Would you like me to call someone for you?" "I don't think they would hear you from here."
- "Any last words before I dispatch you?" "You have GOT to be kidding me." ".......Strange words."
- "Remember, when you go out not to put too much makeup otherwise the boys will get the wrong idea and you know how they are... They're only after one thing." "What's that?" "I don't know. Nobody will tell me."
- "The pizza is breathing."
- "Thank you for taking care of my bride, peasants."
- "Now if only I can find a place to rest my head for the night." "What kind of place?" "I don't know. Maybe a nearby meadow or a hollow tree." 'A hollow tree?" "Or a house full of dwarves. I hear they're very hospitable!"
- "Where do you find live doves in New York?"

So. Thoughts?

K xx
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