Friday, September 30, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Schlock

All the signs were good. Cute title. Great reviews. Solid cast, including Julianne Moore who I really love (or at least loved deeply in The Hours....but come to think of it I'm not sure what else I've loved her in...hhmmmm). A rare kid-free night out at the movies and a movie Big Jay was reasonably happy to see though it is definitely on "my" side of the movie choosing ledger being a chick flick.

Before the movie even started I experienced two conflicting emotions. Happiness at being in the comfort of VMax, which has a huge screen and super comfy "couple" seats, and an ice cream in hand. Anger at the ridiculously cold air conditioning which was blowing a full scale icy gale above my head. I sent Big Jay out to complain and he was assured it would be turned down once the movie started (???). Well it was and it wasn't. The a/c kept cycling between freezing and off meaning I was constantly aware of being uncomfortable.

Anyway, I've put off talking about the actual film long enough. Maybe it's me but I feel like I've written a variation of the same review too often in recent years "good idea poorly executed". Basically it was the usual "love is tough but conquers all in the end" schmaltz. I can stomach that concept if it has something else going for it. I want some wit, some great dialogue, some brilliant acting, a "twist" that I don't see coming from five minutes into the movie. Something, anything...

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" had none of these things. The script was cliched, the acting and directing clunky and dull, the story uninspired and unbelievable. I didn't "feel" anything and I didn't believe any of the motivations in the storyline. It was just plain boring.

If it wasn't for Ryan Gosling's Jacob and Emma Stone's (my goodness she has beautiful green cat eyes) Hannah I would have been tempted to walk out. They were the only two characters I vaguely cared about, the only ones that were remotely interesting. Even the minor part of Hannah's friend Liz was more interesting (and had better things to say) than the major characters of Steve Carrell's Cal and Julianne Moore's Emily.

I just didn't "buy" any of it, it didn't say anything to me... I am so sick of unimaginative dross being hailed as something new and wonderful. Speaking of saying anything Big Jay is away for the weekend and I feel I might have a date with John Cusack and Ione Skye coming least I know that Cameron Crowe could write movies which mean something to me.

Friday, September 09, 2011


This is the weekend for big anniversaries. The date 11 September has a lot of significance for us for two reasons.

On the Australian 11 September 2000 we arrived home from Guatemala with Will. It was exactly a week before the opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games and we shared our flight from LA with the Brazillian Volleyball team. I'll ever forget the group of giants crammed into their cattle class seats, their knees awkwardly sticking out into the aisles.

Getting off that plane I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions. Mainly exhaustion. Long distance travel with a 16 month old baby we had known for less than a week was a totally new experience for me. I was probably bordering on hysteria, if I'm honest.

However coming through the gates was amazing. My family was there and a whole bunch of friends, especially those who had recently brought home their own boys from Guatemala. In some ways we were all the walking wounded; survivors of an ordeal which had left us all exhausted, frustrated and confused. Yet we had all come through and triumphed....

It is hard to describe how I felt holding my gorgeous little boy, my longed for, dreamt of son. The little boy who had waited for us for 16 months, neglected in a dirty cot in an orphanage in Guatemala City. Disbelief that he was real, that we were together, that bureaucracy had been overcome and we were home.

There is a photo of our group at the airport, holding our children, beaming. I adore that photo. It is meaningful and poignant.

My dad drove us home to our little house in Lisarow. It was clean and peaceful and quiet. And strange. We had been fighting a battle over three long years and now we had returned with the "spoils". It was hard to accept. The anti-climax was enormous. How to live in peace when you have been slowly conditioned for war?

A year and one day later, in a different house, our new house, we awoke to the horror of what was to become 9/11. September 11 changed our lives and the lives of most people around the world.

What a surreal day it was. To this day, despite 10 years going past, I can't accept what I saw that day. I so clearly remember turning on the early morning news that day and looking straight into an image of the first plane flying into the first tower. My brain reeled, at first thinking they were showing something from a sci-fi movie, but knowing instinctively that something was terribly wrong.

The next few weeks went by in slow motion. I became addicted to CNN, staying up until 1, 2, 3am... then rising at 5 am to watch again. I felt I needed to see what would happen next. It felt so important to see, to know...

So for us 11 September has a double meaning. It is the day our family changed forever and the day the world changed forever. The day our dream came true and the day the world woke to a nightmare.

Lest we forget.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The heartbreak of a sad old cow

One of life's little pleasures for me is the Pocket Profile section in the AFL magazine "AFL Record". At each game we attend Big Jay buys the magazine and flicks through before the game. Will has also started reading it end to end.

I have a brief look but always look forward to the Pocket Profile, enjoying a moment to read about the selected player.

Well imagine my thrill when this week's player was none other than Jesse White. It's a well documented fact that I have turned into a dirty old perv in my old age, with a specific weakness for young Swans. This year ex-champion basketballer Jesse is my drool worthy object of choice. His tattooed arms often feature...oh, never mind.

Back to the Pocket Profile. Imagine how pathetically pleased I was when I read this:

How would your best friend describe you? Honest, caring and fun.

Oh, how sweet.

Three things you would like to do after your footy career. Travel the world, start a family, catch up with old friends.

Oh my goodness, where have you been all my life? In kindergarten... oops.

Can this man/god get any better? Well, no. It was all downhill at that point.

Best book read: The 50th Law by 50 Cent.

Holy shit. From such highs we hit the lows. 50 Cent! Really?!

But wait, there's more.

Favourite band/recording artist: Lil Wayne.

Bloody hell. Talk about a major bummer.

Luckily there's not a lot of literary criticism going on in my fantasies.

To quote Dianne Weis' character in the wonderful "Bullets Over Broadway": "Don't speak..."

That syncing feeling

Syncing has been on my mind a lot just lately. Mainly because I just can't get my damned iPhone to sync with my damned work PC. Technology is amazing except when it fucks up and leaves you bemused, confused and downright frustrated. One thing I've learnt though is that one way or another it will get resolved and life will go on.

But that's only one sort of syncing I've been pondering. Human syncing... now that's a much harder thing to achieve. Have you ever considered how difficult it is for any of us to connect, both in the bigger, deeper sense of the word but also just in the day to day to way?

I am sometimes awe struck by how it is that we meet the people who will become our significant others and also our precious friends; how those connections are made is a concept that never ceases to amaze.

Fate. I guess that's what human syncing is. The alignment of the planets so that two people can meet and not just pass each other by in the fast moving stream of our busy lives but acknowledge each other, connect, see their commonalities and develop a desire to explore who that other person is. It's a chemical reaction that is magical and intangible. Why this person on this day and not that person on that day?

But on a day to day basis, with the people we already know, syncing is a different sort of challenge. It's tough being on the same page at the same time. Each day we go through a myriad of different emotions and energies.

You want to talk, I don't. I want to have sex, you don't. I want to stay home at the end of a long week, you want to go out to party. Each day we compromise, we make a supreme effort to sync or we withdraw and push away, the effort to sync beyond us at that moment.

I'm surprised by how much significance the word "sync" has in life. It's not just about iTunes and iPhones. It's about people connecting, and after all, what else is life all about.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Just saying "no".

I've been following Nancy Regan's advice and just saying "no", a lot... And bugger me sideways it's hard. Welcome to my pity party.

Big Jay and I are on a concert fast and it's driving me bonkers bananas. We've let ourselves go, concert-wise, the last few years and this diet is hard to tolerate. We have spent the gross national product of a small African nation (or roughly half of the money wasted on ridiculous Labor party schemes in recent years) on entertainment and it was time to reign in that wayward brumby.

In the last couple of months or so I've had to (so very reluctantly) press DELETE on emails offering tickets to the following performers:

John Cleese
Alan Davies
Dylan Moran
Eddie Izzard
Alan Ball
Tim Minchin
Cold Chisel
Joan Collins (just kidding)
David Sedaris
How To Train Your Dragon (for the kids of course)
Any number of events at Crave (Food Festival)
A few others I have forgotten

I have even forgotten to buy tickets for Taylor Swift which I had promised Little Miss M and now there are only single tickets or seats in the high altitude section available (and I refuse to pay $140 each for those).

I know the Chili Peppers will tour sometime early next year and I won't be saying "no" to those particular tickets... Except if they tour in the first three weeks of April when we embark on the re-named MEDIUM sized trip to Guatemala and Orlando.

Which is the main reason we are counting the pennies... Harry Potter World won't pay for itself you know.