Monday, September 27, 2010

war: it ain't good for entertainment

After stringing out the finale of True Blood Season 3 over 2 weeks, I thought I could get my fix of Eric Northman on Generation Kill. I'd heard so many good things about it.

Every time I watch I feel like curling up on the pavement like the guy in Radiohead's Just video. It seems all too real to dismiss as fiction, without rhyme or reason or justice or redemption. I know it's good television - excellent, amazing, exemplary television - but.. but I feel like crying. But not. Is that what good television is? I don't even know any more.

I'll just lie here a little longer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

on paper heart

I love the Onion AV club so much that sometimes I forget that like any review site, its reviews are always going to be subjective. When a friend clued me onto a film by Asian-American stand up comedienne Charlyne Yi featuring Micheal Cera, it sort of felt like a match made in heaven. It was like there was no way I couldn't like this film. And then the AV Club review was scathing. Like really scathing. And then I remembered Love Actually. And somehow I was convinced to dismiss the film.

Taking a break from work, I noticed that the film was playing at the Rialto. Almost a good year since it was released. I didn't feel like Iron man 2 yet, Prince of Persia was reserved for a more vacant frame of mind, and A Single Man wasn't on at the right time. I even forgot to check if the film was playing in one of their dreaded digital projection suites. And you know what? It didn't matter.

The film roped me in. Despite its 'twee-ness'. Despite its obvious contrivances. Despite the occasional irritation with the heroine - an unsurpassible obstacle to liking the film if I were to believe the AV Club reviewer. Admittedly, being a short awkward Chinese girl myself, there are probably biases.

The thing I liked most about the film was that even though there was the figure of the white male 'director' in film, the whole thing felt very much driven by a girl. I chose to read it as a feminist film of sorts, way more empowered than the drek Sex and the City has sadly become (and which I will sadly watch, like an automaton). Or maybe Sex and the City was always materialism dressed up in a very fetching feminist suit. I digress. I've read multiple reviews of Paper Heart since and most of the negative ones hinge on the opinion that Charlyne is an irritating, high-pitched, whinging ninny. She mugs for the camera, she squeaks like a pubescent boy and looks like a nerd. In essence, it feels like the reason that people don't like the film is because 'she ugly'.

The film seems to polarise people - those who think Charlyne is cute and charming and kind of cool in an offbeat cynical kind of way, and those who don't like the film because she's a funny-looking weirdo. I'm hitting myself now - because the AV club review really feels like it was written by a man who simply didn't find her attractive, and maybe he's that kind of sublimated misogynist who needs his heroines big-eyed and elegant. I'm not accusing him of being uncommonly down-on-women - I think most audiences, including women, are probably the same. And maybe I'm wrong, but maybe I'm not. Which is all the more reason to hit myself for taking his word against well... hers. And as a self-proclaimed feminist, I should know better.

breakfast: japanese chicken curry and rice from last night's dinner
a little bland, unfortunately.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

stocktake 2010 (way belated)

all good on all fronts.

breakfast: chicken and wintermelon chinese broth

verdict: soul food

Monday, December 28, 2009

My friend? My friend!

Dear roseanne,

Thanks for donating to Chicago Public Radio and This American Life!

Your employer might double or even triple your contribution. Search for your company's policy and forms via MatchFinderOnline.

Also, if you didn’t check the box requesting “periodic updates and communications from Chicago Public Radio,” you won't be put on mailing lists of any sort. If you did check the box, however, we'll add you to the weekly This American Life e-newsletter.

Thanks, again!

Your friend,
Ira Glass


Dear Ira and crew,

No, thank you.

Thank you for making me fall in love all over again with the simple art of a good story. You manage to do it several times every week and make it look effortless. I know it isn't, and I know you work really hard. I am humbled, honoured and amazed that something this good could actually be free.

Thank you for making me believe in humanity again. And love. And life. The gentle spirit with which you extract people's words serves as the perfect counterbalance to the meanness I see inherent in most of the media I consume. And it's not just that. It's the humour with which you do it. It's wicked, sometimes, but it's never done with spite. I'm not sure how you pull it off.

No thanks to you for the increasing number of conversations where I will go "Oh that's exactly like this episode of This American Life when...", swiftly followed by "Oh, it's an amazing radio documentary series, not really just about American stuff, I mean it could just as easily be called 'This Life'... oh, you don't listen to the radio? Well, it's free on ... OK, see you/[get interrupted]/[person looks interested but it's clear they are just being polite]".

In this season where there is so much to be thankful for, a nice radio documentary series seems like an odd thing to put on the list. Somehow though, this radio documentary series and everything it stands for sums up the festive, complicated feelings I have at this time of year, and so it seems apt.

So thank you, thank you. Sorry for the schmaltz, but thank you.

from a happy listener.


a swig of Royal Crown Draft Cola, some cherries and a bierstick.

not good. I was stressed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

should a punch as part of good wife-ly correction be a criminal offence?*

I was feeling horrible after The Chaser last night. I was so sick of seeing brutality against women. I mean, that's not what the film was about, but it was a theme that was there, and that really bothered me and seemed to be appearing everywhere. I saw Firaaq earlier in the week and I was trying to understand how wartime atrocities always involved a sort of default of rape and what Jane Campion said about how women gave birth to the whole world, and what hope any civilisation has that treats women this way.

I was suddenly so grateful for Stephen, and this society where I could expect nothing less than an equal relationship - no, maybe not even equal, because I feel cherished, and loved. I feel like a queen, and I have no reason to believe that every woman in this society can't enjoy the same thing. I will never again take for granted this time and place where men who change nappies are simply normal, where I can say and feel and think what I want, where my husband is my best friend, and to have that relationship with him be so expected that it's boring to even talk about it.

And the reason I'm feeling so loved up right now is because I just saw Adventureland in the best seat (middle, back row all to myself) at the Civic, and even though it's a fairly predictable romantic comedy, it was perfectly rendered, and totally what I needed. I walked out in a simpery haze, I even gave the busker another dollar (I'd given him a dollar on the way in) and smiled at strangers. It seemed good and right for the film festival to fix the funk that the film festival had caused - and thus, balance was restored.

breakfast: no breakfast, just lunch at the new cafe under Stephen's office. The chicken and mushroom pie tasted great, though I attribute a lot of that to the company.

*the referendum is stupid, yes. Stephen's take on the ridiculousness of it all...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

stocktake 2009

The word for this year's stocktake is: content. Or in 18 words: content happy where I want to be challenges ahead hardships ahead but what is life without these things?

It's pretty boring but I think it's true.
Physically, I'm where I always thought I would be at this age.
Financially, we're doing better than I thought we would be.
Career-wise I could be doing more, but at the same time it continues to be fulfilling. I realise it's a luxury to be doing passion projects, even though they may be moving along slowly.
Family and friend-wise, I think I'm blessed. I feel connected, supported, loved. This could have something to do with moving closer to town!

It could be hormonal, but right now, today at least, I'm remarkably mellow and content, and I think that's a wonderful thing to be on a birthday. Maybe it's the birthday that causes such contentment, because when I look back at past stocktakes, I feel like I'm repeating myself. Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever it is, this stocktake, this moment, is another keeper.

A friend who was into astrology told me earlier this week that my saturn was rising, and I didn't quite get it, but apparently every 28 years (give or take a few years) in a person's life, there will be a big shift, a change, something involving life and/or death. I got a little shiver, because he was right - big things are afoot for me, and I feel on the edge of some great happening. It's not a precipice, it's not necessarily threatening or scary, nor is it completely exciting and wonderful. It's all these things and it's such a strange feeling because it is inevitable. This is big picture stuff. This is life. I'm alive, and I think I feel more alive now than I have for a little while.

Another year older, another year on this incredible mortal coil. I'm not a religious gal, but amen to that.

BBQ duck congee from Love-a-Duck

mm comfort food.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hmm - overdue for a musing. Once I get here I never know what to write though, so this time I'm going to list something easy and utterly mundane over the course of the day, but which will probably be interesting to me (and noone else) in a few years time: what I ate and drank today in boring detail!

1100 - banana and Milo

Just waiting for feedback on the draft (after 3 months of a horrible writing and procrastination spiral - I am finding new and dastardly ways to distract myself) and visited Neil Gaiman's blog for the first time in a while - have decided that the word of the day is peregrination - as in, 'with the inclement weather, peregrinations to the shops are not advised'. It just sounds cool!

1420 - rice and night flower soup - the night flowers came from my Dad's plant, and when there wasn't any chicken or chicken stock in the house, I went out to the local Chinese noodle place and tried to get just plain chicken soup/broth, and after a lot of "no I don't want any corn in it, or egg, or veges, or other meat, I just want the chicken soup", they gave me some but had put cornstarch or something in to thicken it (sigh). How hard is it for a girl to just get a nice clear broth around here? Anyway. Diluting the soup 1: 1.5 parts of water, bringing to the boil, then adding 2 night flowers chopped up and bringing that to the boil.. ahh. Yum.
1 peacharine
1 white flesh nectarine
1 mini moro gold
handful of roasted caramelized almonds
water and ice with Barkers Blackcurrant syrup

a strawberry Freddo (not sure when I ate this - I just saw the wrapper in my bin)

Can I bring myself to watch Kevin Smith's latest film Zac and Miri make a Porno? Seth Rogen is still sort of OK, but I'm getting sick of the Apatow schtick, even if it is done well (and it's increasingly less, of late). If this is Kevin Smith's way of saying 'Well I did it first', then I'm not interested. I just can't get over how shit Clerks 2 was. The Onion AV Club seemed to think Porno was alright but... there's something in me that's leaning toward mainstream fare like Marley and Me, or even the reportedly horrible he's Just not that into you. I'm not really into dogs though. Well, I'm not against dogs, but I'm into cats more. Choices, choices. Maybe I should see the Chinese film on offer, even if it does look cheesy. Watchmen looks like a big style wank off. I am extremely skeptical, even though there's no question about whether I'm going or not.

Amazing how easy it is to burble on about nothing when I haven't sat down to blog about something 'specific'.

1900(ish) - taro and sago pudding from Grand Park - had a massive craving for this pudding, and only Grand Park does it like this. Had to sit in my sandals, shorts and tshirt as a big crowd of Chinese wedding guests filed past and stared at me while I waited for it to be ready, but oh well - it was worth it.
also some of my Dad's beef broth with a spoonful of rice thrown in. Ginger-licious!

2115 already and I haven't had a proper meal - pudding first might have been a mistake.
Just had a small glass of milk

2230 made more flower soup with what was left of the beef broth. Threw some rice in. Yum. Probably a bit late to eat but oh well.

Ended up watching my newly acquired DVD of Dr Horrible's Singalong Blog... ah, bliss.