Monday, March 31, 2014

Movie Monday - The final AFI edition

Tomorrow is the last day of my 101 in 1001 (WHAT?!?!?!?!?!), which means that tonight I'm watching my last movie from the AFI list. All in all, I've made it through 66 of the 100 movies on the list, which I think is fairly impressive considering I basically only started crossing them off last year! (I've also seen but not rewatched another 7 of them, meaning I've seen a total of 73. Definitely not too shabby!)

So, let's talk about the ones I've watched since January, shall we?

Excellent, as most of Hitchcock's stuff is. But also kind of insane? I mean, he basically brought every single event in that movie on himself. Plus, that whole "I'm going to turn you into a copy of a dead woman" thing is creep-tastic.

City Lights
Mostly fun, but some of the gags went on for a little longer than was strictly necessary. The ending was cute.

All About Eve
Holy crap. Eve Harrington is kind of the epitome of a creepy fangirl. Bette Davis' acting was pretty excellent throughout. Good, but definitely not one I'd rewatch regularly.

Double Indemnity
Kind of great, and (rather unsurprisingly) reminiscent of playing LA Noire.

The Godfather Part II
Booooooooooooooooooooooooooored. It probably didn't help that I'd basically forgotten about all the events of The Godfather so I had very little idea of who any of the characters were or how they were connected... Plus, any time there was dialogue in Italian, I'd mostly tune out. At least The Godfather had that whole horse's head in a bed thing going for it...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of Disney movies. This one was no exception. The girl who voiced Snow White reminded me FAR too much of Lena Lamont from Singin' in the Rain, which just made her dialogue and songs bizarrely hilarious. Also, it's a little creepy having her live happily ever after with a dude she saw once for like two minutes...

Annie Hall
OH GOD SO BORING. And not even remotely funny. But then again, I hate Woody Allen with a fiery passion so this probably never stood a chance with me...

The Deer Hunter
FAR too long. The wedding scene could have been cut down by at least half an hour for starters... The Russian roulette scenes were tense, but the special effects used for the blood were rather laughable, which took away some of the shock value. As far as Vietnam War movies go, it was by far the least traumatic.

North by North-West
At least three-quarters of the movie is just Cary Grant going "The fuck is happening? The fuck is this? The fuck are you? The fuck am I?" and it is MAGICAL. Especially his facial expressions while drunk driving.

Ugh, more boxing. Although nowhere near as painful to watch as Raging Bull.

American Graffiti
Basically Grease without the singing. Weirdly plotless. Although at least it introduced the world to Harrison Ford.

BORED BORED BORED BORED BORED. And then like ten minutes of Clint Eastwood being a BAMF.

All The President's Men
Excellent. Robert Redford has fabulous hair. The ending was kind of odd though, having all the events happen exclusively via news updates on a typewriter...

The Apartment
Jack Lemmon is always excellent, and Shirley McClaine was rather spectacular too. Kind of a genius idea to make extra money by lending out your apartment. But I'm not sure I'd call it a comedy. It was pretty damned depressing...

SO EFFING LONG. Would have been infinitely better with decent editing. I mean, you could easily have edited an hour out of that movie without damaging on the plot... Aside from that, Kirk Douglas' haircut was HILARIOUS.

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. I made it as far as their arrival in the village and then abandoned ship. I'm not willing to spend my life watching the "good guys" torture and massacre people. Add in rape jokes and you honestly couldn't pay me to watch the rest of this movie.

The French Connection
The chase scene was great. The rest of it was a little on the slow side.

Pulp Fiction
I LOVE the segmented plot and how it all joins together in the end. Genius.

OH MY GOD THE LONGEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. And basically nothing happens except that Jesus turns up at convenient moments, and Charlton Heston gazes adoringly at other men.

Have you seen any of these? What did you think? And, perhaps most importantly, should I watch the rest of the movies on the list to finish it once and for all??

K xx

Friday, March 28, 2014


If you follow me on Twitter, you probably will have seen me using the above hashtag a lot in recent months. Because when you borrow books from the library, you have a tendency to pick up pretty much anything on the basis that the blurb sounds half way decent and it's not as if you're paying money for it anyway. And yet, once I'm 250 pages in, I feel the need to finish the remaining 100 pages even though it sucks. Other times, I've bought a book on Amazon for $0.99 and feel the need to finish it because I PAID $0.99 FOR IT, DAMMIT.

The book that I'm currently #stupidbookisstupid-ing is the former. It's a Pride & Prejudice sequel, which is one of my guilty pleasures. The blurb sounded interesting, and like it filled in the gap between Rosings Park and Pemberley from Darcy's perspective. BUT NO. Instead, it has delivered me with a Caroline Bingley who's apparently shagged half the ton, a Mr. Darcy who's possessive and jealous and emotionally abusive, a Lizzy who throws things and screams and stamps her foot, and is mostly focused on Colonel Fitzwilliam falling instantly for some random American woman.

So obviously, the plot is pretty terrible, and the author has more or less ignored everything Austen told us about her characters. But I think a big part of why it's making me headdesk as much as it is has to do with the writing. And not just the plot or the way the characters are portrayed, but the choice of words.

The author is American, which I have no problem with. Many wonderful authors are. But if you're writing a book set in Regency England - or England in general, for that reason - you should REALLY have a) a deep understanding of the language of the time, or b) an English person read it and check the language for you.

My high school French teacher once told our class that "You should never swear in another language, because you'll never quite get it right. Just ask the French tourist I saw recently who dropped her coffee in the middle of the street, and went 'Oh, sheeeeeeeeeeet'. It just doesn't work." Admittedly, Mrs. R was probably trying to ensure that we made a good impression with our host families on the French Study Tour. But her point remains valid here - there will always be words that have different meanings depending on where you are, even if both places in question are English-speaking.

This book has included a range of these. One of the first to stick out was "trash", which is rarely used outside North America. This was closely followed by one character asking another if they want cream in their coffee, which is not only uncommon in Commonwealth countries, but which would have been very unlikely at the time, especially in London where milk was apparently so expensive that many people used only a few drops in their tea or coffee. Given this, the use of cream in coffee seems enormously unlikely.

And then we had my personal favourite - the use of the word "fanny". There have been two occurrences of this to date - one in which Colonel Fitzwilliam is telling a story about his friend Patrick, who got shot in the fanny during a battle, and one during sexytimes in which we are told that Colonel Fitzwilliam "kneaded" his love interest's fanny. The former made me laugh so hard that I nearly fell out of bed. The latter? That just made me cringe, because NO and OHGODWHY and OW.

And to think, it all could have been easily avoided simply by asking an English person to peruse the text prior to publication...

Still, I suppose then I would have been deprived of the entertainment factor, so I suppose after all that, #stupidbookisstupid was good for something...

Have you come across any awkward terminology in books that means something totally different to what the author intended?

K xx

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Zealand - the "OMG LOOK AT THE KIWI" edition

Previously, I flew to Wellington to stay with Kim, and there was much rejoicing.

The day after we went to Te Papa and to see Thor: TDW, it rained. Like, a lot. All. Freaking. Day. And not even the kind of summery rain where it's still warm enough that you don't object to walking to the bus stop and going to do something indoors. Nope, the wintery kind where the rain is horizontal and it's freezing cold and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa under a blanket. Obviously, we stayed home, played Lego Marvel and ate an awful lot of junk food. We may also have watched an episode of Agents of SHIELD and mocked it for being terrible and contrivance-ridden.

My last full day in Wellington, luckily, featured no rain at all. Instead, it featured sunburn. Because when we left the house, it looked like it was about to pour with rain, so I put sunscreen on but didn't bother to take it with me. THEN THE SUN CAME OUT. Sigh...

Anyway, we caught the bus into the city, picked up some sandwiches, and walked the 4-ish kilometres to the zoo. We started out with a visit to the otters and the penguins, neither of whom were anywhere to be seen. So we headed up through the kiwi enclosure - also nowhere to be seen, but this was probably due to an extremely loud small child. Luckily, some of the teeny monkeys were more accommodating:

From there, we went to a display by a red-tailed black cockatoo who was zooming all over the arena and who could do little puzzles with stackable cups and things in order to get treats. Sadly, there was a VERY screamy small child present who desperately wanted to steal the cockatoo's toys and kept running across the floor towards it. This made the cockatoo and the zoo keepers very nervous, but apparently small child's parents had no fucks to give because they basically did nothing...

Our ears needed a break after that, and it was almost time for the chimpanzee talk, so we headed up to the top of the hill to eat our sandwiches and hang out with the chimpanzees and a great view of the city for a while:

We were basically the only ones there until about 30 seconds before the talk started when an entire class of unruly grade 1 kids turned up and swarmed all over the place. YAY... Luckily, the chimps getting their lunch was entertainment enough to shut them up a little. Said lunch consisted of the keeper tossing out pieces of fruit one at a time and the chimpanzees having to catch each piece. And let me tell you, those chimpanzees were EXCELLENT at it. They could easily play cricket with catching skills like that!

Other highlights of the afternoon included my all time favourites, the red pandas:

And the sunbear, who looked incredibly shocked about something:

We also saw a moronic 20-something guy banging on the glass of the baboon enclosure, causing a lot of the juvenile baboons to hurl themselves at the glass with their teeth bared. He thought it was hilarious. I'm still convinced that one day, he's going to wake up at 3am to find a baboon ripping his face off, because they were NOT impressed...

Eventually, we headed back to the kiwi house for the keeper talk. And it was FABULOUS. The kiwi that they had out only has one leg because he got stuck in a trap meant for feral cats (I think...) and it broke his leg so badly that it had to be amputated. They made him a prosthesis, but apparently he prefers to hop, which is basically the cutest thing ever. If you're interested, you can read more about Tahi here. Anyway, he was about a foot away from me and he was so stinking adorable that I probably could have watched him all day. So if you're ever in Wellington, you should go to the zoo and check out the kiwi keeper talk!

Also, you should go to the zoo because they have FABULOUS signage:

After a detour through the gift shop where I bought a kiwi shaped cookie cutter and a stuffed toy kiwi with wonky legs (I bought him for Little Miss A, but ended up keeping him myself because REASONS), we caught the bus back into town, grabbed ourselves a couple of scoops of ice cream, and walked around to Oriental Bay to sit on the beach for a little while. In keeping with my curse, there was naked New Zealander there, although this one was at least a small child rather than a creepy grown man...

We wandered back through the city and took a few obnoxious selfies on the way, because OBVS.

My flight the next day was at around lunchtime. It was insaaaaaaaaaaaanely windy so walking down the hill to the bus with my suitcase was a rather interesting experience - rather like being dragged along by a very enthusiastic dog... Still, we made it to the airport in plenty of time and, after getting rid of my suitcase and checking in, we headed to Donut King, because of reasons.
Stolen from Kim's Tumblr.
And then we sat there listening to flights being cancelled because the wind was reaching insane levels... Fortunately(??) for me, they were only cancelling the propeller flights, not the jet flights, so my flight wasn't cancelled. Takeoff, however, got a little bit interesting. Especially as I was trapped in a middle seat and the woman on the aisle demanded like 14 sick bags "just in case"... O.o

Eventually, I made it to Auckland, found my luggage, walked the million miles (read: 1km) to the international terminal, checked in, had lunch, abused the free wifi as much as possible, and flew back to Melbourne. THE END. And only four months after my trip ended! ;)

K xx

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Macbeth - William Shakespeare

It had been a whopping fifteen years since I last read Macbeth - we studied it for year 11 English - so it seemed appropriate that I revisit it for Classics Club.

I think everyone knows the plot of Macbeth. Three witches tell an already rich and powerful dude that he's going to get even more rich and powerful, and then become king. He (or, more correctly, his wife) takes this to mean that he should kill the current king. He does so, and the king's sons flee for their lives, which inadvertently makes them look guilty. Macbeth rapidly becomes a tyrant, killing off anyone who he thinks has a chance at overthrowing him, even children. Macduff goes to track down one of the old king's sons, who's hanging out in England, to persuade him to stage an invasion and overthrow Macbeth. Macbeth is all "Pff, whatevs" because the witches told him that he could only be killed by someone who wasn't "of woman born". Except PLOT TWIST! Macduff was born by caesarean. He kills Macbeth, and the old king's son takes the throne.

(Yes, that's vastly oversimplifying things, but you probably knew the basics anyway.)

It took me a while to get into the knack of reading Shakespeare again, simply because I haven't read any of his plays since I studied Hamlet at university in 2001. Thankfully, I was using my year 11 textbook, which is still filled with all my scribbled translations into modern English! Still, I found it much easier to read if I muttered the lines under my breath.

Macbeth is possibly my favourite Shakespeare play. It's filled with murder and spooky supernatural nonsense and ruthlessly ambitious characters. Lady Macbeth is an absolutely brilliant female character, especially given that she was created in the early seventeenth century. She's ruthless and calculating and manipulative. When her husband freaks out about killing Duncan, she tells him to suck it up. When Macbeth can't bring himself to smother the guards in Duncan's blood, framing them, she takes over. And she gets FABULOUS speeches of badassery:
"Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,/ And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full/ Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood,/ Stop up the access and passage to remorse, /That no compunctious visitings of nature/ Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between/ The effect and it!" (Act 1, Scene 5)
Macbeth is an interesting character, too. He starts out full of disbelief at the witches' prophecies. Then, when he's made Thane of Cawdor, he sees a little glimmer of possibility, and grabs onto it with both hands. He justifies things to himself time and time again, whether it's the murder of Duncan, or of Banquo, or of Macduff's family. He's convinced that the three prophecies about his downfall can't come true, and stares in astonishment when they do.

There's some interesting historical narrative involved on Shakespeare's part. First we get Banquo's kingly descendants appearing to Macbeth in Act 4, Scene 1, who are widely accepted to represent the new Stuart monarchs who finally - in the form of James VI/I - united England, Wales and Scotland under one crown. Though James I had only been king for a couple of years when Macbeth was written, his descendants are still on the throne today.

Then there's a (rather long-winded, to be perfectly honest) section in Act 4, Scene 3 in which Malcolm and Macduff are at the court of Edward the Confessor and discussing how he could cure scrofula by touching the sufferer. Apparently when James I came to the throne, he declared that he wasn't going to practice the whole idea of curing the plebs of scrofula with the king's touch because EW GROSS with a side of THIS SOUNDS TOO CATHOLIC FOR MY LIKING. Though whether Shakespeare was having a sneaky dig at his patron or not should be left to the academics and not the likes of me!

It's not always an easy read - without the descriptions of the character's facial expressions or emotions that we'd get in a novel, and with only limited stage directions, the reactions of some characters to certain events (the death of a child, for instance) seem cold. There's also some serious artistic interpretation of history on Shakespeare's part (really? They had cannons in Scotland in the 11th century?? How interesting, considering the British Isles didn't have gunpowder prior to the 1300s!). It's definitely not a perfect play - some scenes drag longer than necessary while others seem a little short - but it's still excellent.

What do you think? And are you excited by the new movie version coming out next year starring Michael Fassbender as Macbeth?

K xx

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TTT - Bookish Bucket List

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

Today's topic is about the things that are on our bookish bucket lists.

1. Own every Discworld book. 
It's no secret that I adore Terry Pratchett's books. I have about half the books in the Discworld series, and my brother has about ten that I don't have. (Given that he's moved to London and left them in my wardrobe, do you think that means they're mine now??) But I'd really like to own them all. And to replace the two I have in US editions, because the covers are AWFUL.

2. Have a floor to ceiling bookshelf.
From the time I was a little kid, I've secretly wanted a floor to ceiling bookshelf, preferably with a slidey ladder. ONE DAY, SLIDEY LADDER, YOU WILL BE MINE.

3. Read all of Charles Dickens' novels.
I'm not doing too badly on this one - I've read Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, Our Mutual Friend, A Tale of Two Cities, Hard Times, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and David Copperfield. But I still have Barnaby Rudge, The Old Curiosity Shop, Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, and The Pickwick Papers to go. 

4. Stay at the Library Hotel in New York. 
One of my lecturers told us about this place during our cataloguing subject, and OMG I WANT TO STAY THERE SO MUCH. A hotel based around Dewey numbers where each room has its own little library? AMAZING. I don't care how much it costs, I have to stay there at some point. 

5. Read 200 books in a year.
I've been tracking how many books I've read for the past three years thanks to Goodreads, and I don't seem to be able to get past 175 in a year. I'd really like to hit 200 though. It's such a nice round number... I'm on track to do so this year, so hopefully I can keep up the pace and break through that 175 barrier! 

6. Visit Jane Austen's house in Chawton.
Because of reasons. 

7. Read War and Peace.
Mostly because I want to be able to say I've read War and Peace. I'm torn between reading it on Kindle so that I can actually hold it (I reread Les Miserables last year, and carting it around was a nightmare!) and getting the Penguin Classics edition and all its associated helpful end notes...

8. Own a card catalogue file. 
I have a weird obsession with little drawers that's been going on since I was a kid. Having an old card catalogue file would be the perfect place to stash all kinds of stuff.

9. Own a first edition of something well known.
And I'm not talking about stuff where I own a first edition because I bought it two days after it came out and then it became well known. I'm talking the classics.

10. See a Shakespeare play at the Globe. 
Preferably not standing room seats, because good LORD that is a long time to be standing. But the experience would be a little more authentic that way, so I'm not going to turn my nose up at anything! 

What's on your bookish bucket list?

K xx

Monday, March 24, 2014

Movie Monday - Veronica Mars

Okay, so the VMars movie has been out for just over a week now, which seems a sufficient length of time for us to talk about our thoughts, yes? Still, I'm going to stick things below a jump cut for the sake of anyone who still hasn't had a chance to see it. YOU'RE WELCOME, SLACKERS.

Friday, March 21, 2014


I had plans to write a proper post today, but I spent two hours this afternoon cleaning tape residue off book shelves at work using nothing more than eucalyptus oil and paper towels. As a result, I smell like a eucalypt forest, I have a terrible headache, and my brain has melted into a puddle.

So instead, I shall present you with this, which I discovered while putting out the new books display at work today:

Yes, that's what you think it is.

And yes, it's 100% as cracked out as you would expect.

It is MAGICAL. And I kind of wish I could be a fly on the wall when various small children take it home and insist on it being their bedtime story non-stop for the next two weeks... I also wish that Norway would make Ylvis their contestant for Eurovision. Because that would be BRILLIANT.

What's the weirdest thing you've seen today?

K xx

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Marvel vs. DC - the Lego edition

I make absolutely no secret of the fact that when it comes to superheroes, I am one thousand percent a Marvel fangirl. I've never found Batman or Superman even remotely interesting in any format and, as discussed previously, I've mostly found the recent crop of DC movies to be far too serious and as a result, a little bit shit.

Last year, my brother C got me an XBox for my 30th birthday. And one of the games that he got me was Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes. I played it, and it was fun and all. But there always seemed to be something missing for me. It wasn't until Lego Marvel Superheroes came out that I was able to put my finger on exactly what it was. Obviously, I vlogged about it.

And I'd like to once again thank Youtube for offering me a selection of delightful screencaps - two in which I had my eyes closed and one in which I looked like I was about to sneeze... Some day, decent screencap, you will be mine. SOME DAY...

Have you played these games? Would you agree?

K xx

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review - Side Effects May Vary


Side Effects May Vary
Julie Murphy
Penguin Australia

2 out of 5 stars

It seems inevitable that this book - about a teenage girl with cancer - will be compared to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. But the two books couldn't be more different. I was really excited about reading this, because I'd heard good things, and the blurb made it sound like it was going to be all about Harvey helping Alice cross things off her bucket list and then Alice having to process the aftermath of that once she goes into remission. And to some extent, that's what I got.

For the most part, however, I got a book about an angry, confused and - to some extent - self-destructive teenage girl. The narrative is split between Alice and Harvey, and also split between the past ("then") and the present ("now"). The split narrative worked well, and the story unfolding gradually throughout the book kept me interested. The writing flowed well and the two voices were sufficiently different and authentically teenaged.

Let's talk about the characters though. Alice is NOT a likeable character. Yes, she's dealing with a lot. But she's horrible to everyone around her. Her bucket list is less "things I would like to accomplish before my life is cut short" and more "I want revenge before it's too late". There's not really any other way of putting it: Alice is a bitch.
Something like this. Also, source.

I tried to understand her, to put myself in her shoes, to see WHY she acts the way she does. But I couldn't. When she's sick, she loves Harvey. But the minute she's in remission, she pushes him away because it's too much pressure. When he's single and following her around like a puppy dog, she's annoyed by his presence and his neediness. But the minute he has a girlfriend? She's brushing her boobs on his arm and suggesting they go skinny dipping. She doesn't want Harvey, but she doesn't want anyone else to have Harvey either.

Harvey, for the duration of the book, is a doormat. And he just goes with it almost every time.
Alice says jump, he says how high. Alice says "I want to destroy people's lives", Harvey says "Hmm. I don't really agree with it, but OKAY." Alice tells him she hates him and Harvey says "I'm here all the same". Sure, he's loyal to his friend. But he's loyal to the point of pathetic. Not to mention the fact that he's watching her fade away before his eyes as a result of her chemotherapy, and he's still focusing on how much he'd like to have sex with her. And the worst part? He *knows* that he's a doormat but does nothing to change it:
"I didn't know what was worse: the fact that everyone could see that she was using me or the fact that I could so readily admit it."

Alice does change over the course of the book and eventually sees the error of her ways. But for me, it was too little too late. Yes, she's got cancer and is in excruciating pain a lot of the time. (Which reminds me, why on earth was she still being sent to school most days?!?!?!) Yes, she's afraid that her life is going to be over well before she's ready for it to be. But that doesn't give her a free pass for ruining people's lives and abusing her friends and family members.

Still, despite all of this, it was an interesting take on the whole teenagers-with-cancer concept. Getting a second chance isn't always a good thing. She's still dealing with uncertainty, as her doctors tell her with every visit that she's in remission FOR NOW and that things could change at any moment. Perhaps, with a little therapy, Alice would have been a different character. Perhaps, if her turn around had started earlier in the book, I would have had a different reading experience. It's not a bad book - it's well written and something very different in YA. But it is a frustrating book, if only because you can't reach into the pages and shake some sense into Alice... 
K xx

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Side Effects May Vary will be available in Australia on 26 March.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TTT - Top Ten Spring TBR List

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

Today's topic is the books that are on our TBR list for spring. Or, you know, autumn if you live all the way down here in the southern hemisphere like I do! I'm sticking with new releases, because if I included stuff that's already been published, there's no way I'd be able to keep it to just ten. (All cover images from Goodreads)

1. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line - Rob Thomas

I am SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK. I mean, Veronica Mars novels??? That follow on from the (wonderful) Veronica Mars movie??? What more could you want!! 

2. Fairwil - Alysia Gray Painter

While this isn't due for publication until June, Alysia's been dropping hints about having ARCs ready in late spring, so I'm totally counting it. And I am SO EXCITED OMG MORE FAIR AND MORE GOMERY AND MORE DIVING BOARD AND AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor

I can't wait to see how this series finishes, and I'm still sulking that I didn't get approved for an ARC.

4. We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

I've heard excellent things about this from friends who were lucky enough to get ARCs. I'm excited to finally get my hands on a copy! 

5. Sea of Shadows - Kelley Armstrong

I love Kelley Armstrong's books, and I'm pretty intrigued by this new series.

6. The Girl with the Wind-up Heart - Kady Cross

I haven't always been the biggest fan of this series - I love steampunk but this sometimes seems like a modern novel set in the 19th century just for the sake of pretty dresses - but I'm still looking forward to reading the last book in the series to see how it all ends. 

7. Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

One that was on my list of debuts for 2014. The world sounds AWESOME, and I'm really excited about reading it. 

8. What I Thought Was True - Huntley Fitzpatrick

I read My Life Next Door last week and absolutely loved it. So I'm really excited about another Huntley Fitzpatrick book being published so soon! 

9. Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira

A really interesting sounding concept. I can't wait to see if it's as good as it sounds! 

10. Pointe - Brandy Colbert

A thriller-y thing involving ballet? Uh, YES PLEASE.

What's on your autumn (spring) TBR list?

K xx

Monday, March 17, 2014

Movie Monday - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Based on how much I was fangirl flailing on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, you probably all thought that today's movie would be Veronica Mars. But no. It seems a little unfair to talk about something so soon after its release date, especially when I know of several people who were busy all weekend and haven't yet had a chance to watch it. Sure, you can make something as spoiler free as you want, but that doesn't mean that the comments will be spoiler free. So I'll hold off for another week or so.

In the meantime, let's talk about a film that I watched for the first time last week, shall we? Because it was fabulous, and I feel like everyone needs to see it.

Reasons why Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is awesome:
1. Spencer Tracy. He died about two weeks after they finished filming, and he's completely and utterly phenomenal.
2. The priest turning up and having precisely no fucks to give and instead being all "Awesome, congratulations!"
3. Katharine Hepburn. She's fabulous.
4. Dropping millions of truth bombs all over the place. Seriously, just check out some of the quotes below.
5. Sidney Poitier. He's brilliant. (And the scene in that gif? Gave me so many feels, some of which may have been Obama related...)
6. The scene at the drive-in restaurant.
7. Katharine Houghton. Considering it was her film debut, she's pretty incredible.
8. The phone call informing them of all of John's achievements. HILARIOUS.
9. Christina telling Hilary to GTFO. Perfection.

10. Isabel Sanford.
11. The final monologue.
12. The music.
13. Katharine Hepburn crying for real during the final monologue. ALL THE FEELS.
14. That it's almost 40 years old and - sadly - still enormously relevant today.

Plus, the following quotes (a lot of which will be long):
- "You listen to me. You say you don't want to tell me how to live my life. So what do you think you've been doing? You tell me what rights I've got or haven't got, and what I owe to you for what you've done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you're supposed to do! Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don't own me! You can't tell me when or where I'm out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don't even know what I am, Dad, you don't know who I am. You don't know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life you will never understand. You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it's got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs! You understand, you've got to get off my back! Dad... Dad, you're my father. I'm your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a coloured man. I think of myself as a man."
- "Now I have some instructions for you. I want you to go straight back to the gallery - Start your motor. When you get to the gallery tell Jennifer that she will be looking after things temporarily, she's to give me a ring if there's anything she can't deal with herself. Then go into the office, and make out a check, for "cash," for the sum of $5,000. Then carefully, but carefully Hilary, remove absolutely everything that might subsequently remind me that you had ever been there, including that yellow thing with the blue bulbs which you have such an affection for. Then take the check, for $5,000, which I feel you deserve, and get - permanently - lost. It's not that I don't want to know you, Hilary - although I don't - it's just that I'm afraid we're not really the sort of people that you can afford to be associated with. Don't speak, Hilary, just...go."
- "I don't think I'm going to faint, but I'll sit down anyway."
- "I happen to believe they wouldn't have a dog's chance... Not in this country, not in the whole, stinking world." "They are this country. They'll change this stinking world."
- "What happens to men when they grow old? Why do they forget everything? I believe...those two young people need each other... Like they need the air to breathe in. Anybody can see that by just looking at them."
- "You're the last person I'd have expected to take such a silly attitude. You know I've always loved you, and you're just as black as he is. How could it be all right for me to love you and wrong for me to love him?"
- "Have you given any thought to the problems your children will have?" "Yes, and they'll have some. And we'll have the children. Otherwise, you couldn't call it a marriage." "Is that the way Joey feels?" "She feels that every single one of our children will be President of the United States...and they'll all have colourful administrations. Well, you made her, Mr. Drayton. I just met her in Hawaii." "But how do you feel about that problem?" "Well, frankly, I think your daughter is a bit optimistic. I'd settle for Secretary of State."
- "Now Mr. Prentice, clearly a most reasonable man, says he has no wish to offend me but wants to know if I'm some kind of a nut. And Mrs. Prentice says that like her husband I'm a burned-out old shell of a man who cannot even remember what it's like to love a woman the way her son loves my daughter. And strange as it seems, that's the first statement made to me all day with which I am prepared to take issue... cause I think you're wrong, you're as wrong as you can be. I admit that I hadn't considered it, hadn't even thought about it, but I know exactly how he feels about her and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that you son feels for my daughter that I didn't feel for Christina. Old? Yes. Burned out? Certainly, but I can tell you the memories are still there. Clear, intact, indestructible, and they'll be there if I live to be 110. Where John made his mistake I think was in attaching so much importance to what her mother and I might think... Because in the final analysis it doesn't matter a damn what we think. The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel, for each other. And if it's half of what we felt? That's everything. As for you two and the problems you're going to have, they seem almost unimaginable, but you'll have no problem with me, and I think when Christina and I and your mother have some time to work on him you'll have no problem with your father, John. But you do know, I'm sure you know, what you're up against. There'll be 100 million people right here in this country who will be shocked and offended and appalled and the two of you will just have to ride that out, maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You could try to ignore those people, or you could feel sorry for them and for their prejudice and their bigotry and their blind hatred and stupid fears, but where necessary you'll just have to cling tight to each other and say "screw all those people"! Anybody could make a case, a hell of a good case, against your getting married. The arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them. But you're two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happened to have a pigmentation problem, and I think that now, no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse, and that would be if - knowing what you two are and knowing what you two have and knowing what you two feel - you didn't get married."

If you haven't seen it, you really really should. Like, immediately.

Have you seen it?

K xx

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Bill Pullman School of Acting With Your Hair

You probably haven't noticed, but over the past couple of weeks, I've been going through all 775 blog posts and cleaning up the tags. Why? Because I had so many freaking tags that they were threatening to take over the planet. I had no idea what tags I had, I had no idea what I'd tagged and what I hadn't. The whole thing was incredibly half arsed. Not to mention the fact that I had 167 tags just for individual actors, most of which only had one or two posts attached to them.

When I started doing Movie Monday posts, I had this great idea that I would create tags for the lead actors in each movie, therefore allowing people to easily find all my Movie Monday posts for a particular actor. Except that I inevitably ended up tagging people who had really minor parts solely because I already had a tag for them, and forgetting to tag people who had major roles. Plus, it got completely out of hand with ensemble casts. I mean, where do you draw the line with something like The Avengers? Obviously, you list the actual Avengers, but then I had to tag Tom Hiddleston (because of reasons), which made me feel like I should also tag Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders. And then Blogger would start yelling at me because you can only have 200 characters worth of tags and ARGH.

In short, my tags were a ridiculous trainwreck. I had 12 posts with the tag "airport" and 14 with the tag "airports". I had about 10 things tagged as "cookies", 5 tagged as "biscuits" and several tagged as both. I had a tag for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I had, bizarrely, a tag for "sarcasm", which had a whopping two posts under it. I had tags for magnets, mashed potato, fluff, old lady, linguistics, and 1993. I had, in what was quite possibly the most useless thing ever, a tag for food. FOOD. And of course, I'd used it in completely nonsensical ways.


It's still not perfect - I have to do a second round to clear up some stuff that got missed the first time around. But it's definitely a lot better. Plus, I've added new, important tags. Like The Bill Pullman School of Acting With Your Hair. I would explain it, but let's be honest: it's pretty self explanatory.
Just look at anything Bill Pullman's ever been in. His hair has magical powers and deserves at least 50% of what he earned for being in the movie. Other graduates of this school include Orlando Bloom:
Hugh Grant:
And Patrick Dempsey:

And now I have no idea how to end this post. Obviously, I've deleted my "vagueness" tag, so can't even use that. Oh well.

Who would you add to the Bill Pullman School of Acting With Your Hair? (This is by no means a sausage fest school. I just couldn't think of any ladies who fit the bill...)

K xx

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Zealand - the flailing with excitement edition

Previously, Ness and I hung out with glowworms in Waitomo.

The day after our great glowworm expedition, we were on the road bright and early because we had an almost three hour drive to Auckland ahead of us, and planes to catch. After some slower-than-intended travel due to crappy weather, we made it to the airport with enough time to have lunch - at 11am! - before heading to our respective flights. Ness was bound for Christchurch and the south island, while I was heading for Wellington and Kim(!!!!).

The flight was relatively unexciting, which is interesting because apparently Wellington landings can be a little on the...unexpected side. But ours was pretty chilled. I met Kim at the airport with much excited squealing and hugging. It was something along these lines:
After a quick detour through the terminal to see the giant Gollum, we headed out to the bus and back to Kim's. Once there and prepared with copious quantities of snacks, we spent the afternoon snarking our way through the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, which was even more terrible than either of us had anticipated. Thanks a lot, Moffat... Then we decided to watch Captain America as a palate cleanser.

That was followed by a few levels of Lego Marvel Superheroes, because we're cool like that. And because we're nerds awesome, our playing went something like this:

Me: Who am I? Oh, I'm Tony. Okay. Whoa, I can blow things up, wheeeeeee!! *flies around randomly*
Kim: Shit, I accidentally turned back into Bruce. HULK OUT, BRUCE, YOU LITTLE SHIT.
Me: I'm stuck in a corner. Why am I stuck in a corner??? Oh, because Abomination breathed on me and his bad breath knocked me across the room. Okay. Sure.
Kim: Oh my God. I just made Cap twerk. I'm just going to stand here twerking for the rest of the level, okay?
Me: Ugh, Reid Richards, nobody likes you. OH MY GOD. KIM. KIM. KIM KIM KIM.
Me: I think he just turned himself into a pair of pliers. I AM DEAD.
Kim: Of COURSE Clark Gregg is the voice of Coulson. Of COURSE.
Me: Oh shit, I just shot Clint's hair off. Aaaaaand he fell off a cliff. Whoops?

So yeah. It was awesome, basically.

The next day, we headed into the city and wandered around the shops for a while before heading to Te Papa. We started out looking at the creep-tastic giant squid and the other natural history stuff before heading upstairs to the special exhibition of Aztec awesomeness, which of course is now coming to Melbourne for the Winter Masterpieces. (It's awesome, you should go) Then we wandered around the rest of the museum, looking at art and cultural stuff and a small child who had light up gumboots that we both immediately decided we wanted.

And the sun decided to come out for approximately five minutes YAY:

On our way out, we went through the gift shop where I found this rather spectacular Christmas decoration. I was half tempted to buy a whole bunch of them, but ultimately decided that would be overkill:

We headed back to the city centre to buy tickets to see Thor: The Dark World (because OBVIOUSLY. Also because Tom Hiddleston), and then ended up at a pub/brewery/thing on the waterfront with a few drinks and a highly nutritious dinner of chips and wedges. We met one of Kim's friends from work there, who hadn't seen the movie before. Which is how we ended up spending a lot of the movie laughing over all of her reactions to the things we knew were coming. It was magical, and someone needs to hurry up and invent teleportation before Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out so that Kim and I can see it together.

Next up, the rest of Wellington, featuring noisy children and a lot of kiwis. (The birds, not the fruit)

K xx

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dessert Day - pie edition

Monday in Melbourne was Labour Day. And to honour all those who stood up and complained that working more than eight hours a day is a suckfest, we had a day off. WHEEEEEEEEEE. Obviously, said day off led to to the making of Dessert Day plans.

Perhaps the most significant revolutionary event to happen at Dessert Day was that Deidre and I decided to revolutionise the way in which we select which movie to watch. Prior to now, we've had a "watch all the things that we collectively own by one actor" approach, which means that the last...three? four?? Dessert Days have been accompanied by the works of Hugh Grant. But NOW? We're going to play a game of leapfrog, where we pick one actor from the previous movie and watch something else that they're in. As a result our viewing will now look something like this:

Two Weeks Notice (Monday's selection) --> The Proposal --> 27 Dresses --> Enchanted --> Sweet Home Alabama --> Legally Blonde.


ANYWAY. We decided to make gluten free apple pie, on account of Deidre and Inspector Climate recently went to Tasmania, and he tortured her by eating apple pie that she couldn't have on account of gluten. Plus, everybody loves pie.
Too right, Dean. Also, source.

We used Smitten Kitchen's all butter pastry recipe, but made it in the food processor because we're lazy time was at a premium. We made it exactly as per the instructions in the book, using White Wings gluten free flour (by weight, not cup measurements) and drizzling the water in slowly, as gluten free flour often doesn't need as much liquid (which proved to be the case here).

Once the pastry was in the fridge thinking about what it had done, we set to work preparing the apples. Smitten Kitchen's recipe for deep dish apple pie (which I can't link to because it's only in her recipe book) required five pounds of apples. We decided against using the springform tin and crumbly/streusel-y topping in favour of a pie that had a full pastry lid, and we adjusted the amount of apples accordingly. We started with somewhere around the 1.75kg mark, and 1.5kg probably would have been about right as it turned out.

We broke out a peeler, corer and slicer that Deidre and Inspector Climate received as a wedding present, which was both terrifying and excellent. I suspect we would still be peeling and slicing apples otherwise...

How the apples came out of the magical doohickey.

From there, we mixed the apple slices with the juice of one lemon, 100g of sugar, 30g of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a decent sprinkling of cinnamon. Then we rolled out the dough for the base (read: mostly Deidre. I suck at dough rolling. It always ends up totally wonky shapes) and flipped it into the pan. Once we'd done that, it was starting to get pretty soft, so we chucked it back in the fridge for five minutes to firm up a little.

It looked pretty promising once it came out again. Then we filled it and it looked even MORE promising:

And then we rolled out the lid, put that on, and added some decoration and an egg wash so it would brown nicely:

We also had enough apples left over to fill three ramekins, although not enough pastry to make lids for them. So we just cut out shapes instead and placed them randomly over the top. Then it was into the oven at 180 degrees C for half an hour, followed by a further hour at a little over 160 degrees C. An hour and a half (and some Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock ridiculousness) later, we had a pie!

The recipe recommends letting it cool to lukewarm, then putting it in the fridge, but that was FAR too much waiting, considering we'd already waited an hour and a half. So we let it cool for as long as it took to watch an episode of Will & Grace, and then cut into it.

It wasn't pretty, but it was DELICIOUS. The pastry was nice and flakey and the apple wasn't too sweet (the original recipe said 200g of sugar for 5lb of apples. We used 100g for a little under 4lb). In the future, I'd probably add some nutmeg and a pinch each of allspice and cloves just to give it that extra-autumn-y flavour and smell.

In short, pie is delicious. And this will give you just enough time to get all your supplies together for Pi Day! YOU'RE WELCOME.

K xx
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