Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This could be the start of something bag. Er, big.

After living in the same rented house for nearly eight years, we have finally saved up enough money to buy a house outright.

Alright, well, not exactly, we had to borrow some money, obviously.

Our new house is in Fairfield. I'm not insane enough to broadcast the address on the mad wide internet, but please email me if you want it.

Here is a picture of the outside:
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You can click on it to make it bigger if you like.

Here is a picture of the lounge:
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Please be aware when viewing the large picture that the carpet pattern may trigger seizures.

Comment as to whether you think we should stay with the current minimalist theme, or if we should fill it with all our crap.

Here is a picture of the kitchen:
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It is powered by gas. The water is powered by gas too. What a gas.

No, I'm not sure why the cupboards all look burnt around the edges.

Here is a picture of the back yard:
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That is possibly a child's ball in the middle there, or maybe a gigantic grapefruit. You tell me.

Other features include:
  • a two-door garage
  • a two-door toilet
  • a bathroom
  • one bedroom
  • another bedroom
  • a third bedroom
  • upcoming suburb according to the real estate bullshit
We look forward to lowering the tone of the neighbourhood in two weeks' time when we start carting all our junk over there.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Annoy, tiny blonde one. Annoy like the wind!

You seem to care a bit what I think
Hey, watch me!

So, have I raved at you yet about how great Veronica Mars is? I have? Well, here I go again:

Veronica Mars is great, you really should watch it. I only stumbled across it by accident - the first season was screened here on Friday nights. As a person with a small child, I am generally home on Friday nights, and on those occasions when I can still see through the veil of tears created by crying for my lost youth, I look for crap TV to watch.

There've been many memorable loads of crap that I've hurried home from the pub to watch. A couple of years ago, it was LAX, starring Heather Locklear as the bizarrely-named Harley Random, and the bizarrely-named Blair Underpants (OK, that's not his name) in what was presumably meant to be a comeback role, one billion years after LA Law.

Predictably enough, it wasn't renewed for a second season. I think Veronica Mars may have replaced it, or was possibly screened in the timeslot immediately before it.

I wasn't interested at first - I mean, a pretty blonde teenage amateur private investigator? Just doesn't sound that interesting. However, I'd made that mistake with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The intelligent few who watched it tried to convince me, but I wasn't swayed until the last couple of seasons. I kicked myself then, for having judged the book by its cover.

So I only missed about the first three episodes before taking the advice of various reputable internet sources and watching it. Since then, I've been hooked.

Veronica (the character and and the show itself) is a worthy successor to Buffy. Like the older programme, Veronica Mars make itself watchable largely because of the dialogue. It differs a little from Buffy in that the world Veronica inhabits is a little more believable, although due to the phenomenal wealth of some of the characters, it does sometimes take on a fantasy quality.

There are some pretty good plotlines too. The show uses the now standard device of a major, overarching plot, with shorter stories contained within each episode. I don't know where this mechanism was first used, but I first noticed it in the good old X Files (also another show enlivened by great wisecracking dialogue). Whoever did it first, I still find it a winning formula and am not sick of it just yet.

The actors are all spectacular too. Kristen Bell, as the title character, strikes just the right sarcastic tone, as well as providing the cliched-yet-useful detective voiceovers. She's a bit of an overachiever by the sounds, starring in both the stage and film-musical modern versions of the 1930s insanity that is Reefer Madness. Can't wait to see it.

Jason Dohring is another one to watch (and looking around the web, many many girls are watching him!) - if anything, he has better lines than Veronica does. I also note with interest that he's a Scientologist, so I'm sure we'll see more and more of him. At least until he jumps the couch . . .

There's a great supporting cast, including more bizarre names, like Percy Daggs III and Francis Capra. Best of all, though, is Enrico "you may remember me from such shows as Just Shoot Me and, er, Whoopi" Colantoni as Keith Mars, Veronica's PI and sometime town sherriff dad.

Anyway, they haven't screened the second series in NZ yet, so the old bittorrent has been doing sterling service.

There aren't many women on TV that I'd be happy to have as a role model for my daughter, but Veronica Mars definitely makes the grade.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Little Eye

I remember picking this one. It looked like an interesting idea - a horror movie based in a Big Brother-style house.

It was OK. The best thing was the use of a multitude of fixed cameras, just like in real Big Brother. This was done well, and gave the opportunity for shots and editing that just couldn't be got away with in normal film.

However, this effect was ruined a bit by the addition of normal film cameras as well. I think it might well have worked out better if they just stuck with the fixed cams, and edited the whole thing to look like a real reality show. Would've been more scary I reckon.


I can't remember why I picked this one out. It's great, though. I haven't read the book, although I intend to now.

Steve McQueen is brilliant as usual, although I wonder if he worried about being typecast into prison break movies? Probably not.

Not only is this a great story (based on truth, but no doubt embellished a bit), but the film is beautifully shot as well. Almost every frame seems like it could be printed up and hung on the wall as a piece of art, and the techniques used are striking in both their simplicity and their brilliance.

It's a bit of an epic, but absolutely well worth the effort.

Barton Fink

A rare miss from the Coen brothers. Boring, long-winded, and a little unintelligible.

Still, they had to do something wrong to contrast with all the brilliance I suppose.

The Wild One

A classic, deserving of comparison with the contemporary Rebel Without A Cause.

A bit melodramatic in places, but then that's how they did things in the fifties.


One of those films that's so legendary I just had to see it at some point in my life. It was absolutely huge (both in terms of box office and production costs) for its time, and looks it.

It's very long, for a start, and there are more extras than I remember seeing in any film apart from Metropolis. The story is another epic one, and as such it starts out a bit slowly. I didn't realise it's also the story of Jesus, but apparently that's one of the main points of the whole thing. Seemed like a bit of a sideline to the whole Ben-hur thing to me, though.

Another thing I didn't know was just how homoerotic the thing is - lots of semi-naked men looking longingly at each other, having long, lingering embraces. Watching the documentary, it seems this was intentional in at least one of the scenes. The initial reunion between Ben-hur and his childhood Roman friend was scripted as an actual lovers' quarrel. The unstated subtext was that they'd had some kind of relationship before the Roman went away, and the Roman wants to renew it now he's returned.

Ben-hur's spurning of him is the catalyst for pretty much all the following events in the movie. I'm not sure if this was commonly known when the film was contemporary, but it certainly makes things a bit more interesting!

Anyway, once things speed up a bit, this is quite an enjoyable, if simple film. The chariot race is renowned as one of the greatest movie action sequences ever, and justifiably so.

Batman Begins

Ah well it was a bit of a while ago that I saw this now. I've pretty much hated all the previous Batman movies, but this was heralded as something a bit different.

It is - for about half the movie. I really enjoyed all the Bruce Wayne backstory, but the other half of the film seemed to be pretty much the same old superhero ballax.

May well be remembered as one of the last few movies featuring Katie before she went a bit mad.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When I first heard about this, I was very excited. Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, and the promise of something a lot closer to the book than the original movie was.

Then I saw a pre-release trailer, and I went right off the whole idea.

Now I've seen the movie, and while it was definitely better than the trailer indicated, it wasn't as good as I'd originally hoped for. Mr. Depp's Willy Wonka character seemed all wrong to me, and I didn't like the new Wonka backstory too much, didn't really seem necessary.

I'd also forgotten just how annoying Tim Burton's style can be, especially when it's combined with Danny Elfman's trademark intrusive and overbearing score.

Still and all, it wasn't too bad, but I'd have to say that I prefer the first movie.