Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gasp! The doctor told me my Hypochondria has become exaggerated!!

I´ve had some bowel issues since Sunday and I thought I would share some of the explanations my warped (I prefer "imaginative") mind has come up with:

1. I have been "over-scooping" (drawing my traverse abdmonial muscles in too far) in Pilates, causing undue pressure on parts of my digestive system.

2. There is toxic mould in my apartment (evidenced by three flies which strangely prefer to hover in my bedroom rather than my kitchen - explain that!!)

3. Cancer.

4. I am subconsciously nervous about starting teaching next week.

5. The curry I made for myself and G on Saturday has given me gastro. I am too shy to text G to ask if he has gastro too, because I fancy him and texting means I will agonise waiting for his reply, just like the central character in "Hes just not that into you" a movie which was scarily autobiographical.

6. I have suddenly developed irritable bowel syndrome which will of course afflict me for the rest of my life.
It had to happen eventually...

I asked the secretary for some pins today and she went to get some pens.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Freudian Slip

I was in a lift with a gay friend yesterday when I asked him - "Do we get off on the Ground or the Bottom floor?" He replied - "Nick I think that B stands for Basement, not Bottom".

He's Just Not That Into You

My kveeny German friend S and I snuck into a screening of "He's Just Not That Into You". Hey - we weren't the only men in the cinema - although the one other man didn't look like he was there voluntarily. The movie was a little too long but a good deal more entertaining than I expected. Drew Barrymore had a small role but managed to steal the film - she's just so cute (see previous post).

It is indeed exciting that there's such a renaissance of women- (and thus, to some extent, gay-) oriented films of late. (Interestingly, gay men are highly involved in writing these chickflick scripts.) Indeed I don't think there has been anything like it since the thirties and forties.

The "chickflick" genre in the 80s/90s was restricted to romcoms and weighty "friendship" dramas (eg: "Fried Green Tomatoes", "Beaches"). Such films were sometimes great but often had predictable outcomes - girl gets the guy we knew she would get all along, friends fall out (over a man) but eventually patch up their friendship because friendship is what counts.

"He's Just Not That Into You" is not without silly and simplistic moments, and is hardly intellectually challenging. However, it is part of a complex and new genre of chickflick, which blends friendship and romance in a fresh and fun way.

Probably the most remarkable thing about this film is that there is no central character - no heroine and hero! Think for a moment how radical a departure this is for a mainstream romantic film! Instead, we get a peek into the lives of a vaguely connected network of friends and lovers. In this sense the film is somewhat in the style of Robert Altman, except that the approach is much more light-hearted and thoroughly frothy. Perhaps, though, television drama, in which there is frequently no central character, is the chief influence.

The scenes in this film are almost _entirely_ in close-up. This makes the film unashamedly women-oriented. The way this film indulges in intimate conversation is analagous to how some action films indulge in car chases and explosions. Hollywood has suddenly figured out What Women Want and realising it sells.

Having an ensemble cast allows for more unpredictable romantic outcomes without breaking totally from traditional mainstream movie narratives. Who will end up happily ever after with whom? Who will end up "single, for the time being, having a relationship with themselves?" The message of the film isn't so much "He's Just Not That Into You", but more that human interactions are complex and unpredictable and that in the twentieth century there are satisfying outcomes which include, but are not limited to, "happily ever after".

Drew and I

I have no huge desire to meet famous people, when I see someone famous in public I usually discreetly ignore them. (Of course its all academic now I live in Hamilton where no-one famous ever goes.) However I _would_ like to meet Drew Barrymore. She's just so cute!

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 random things about me

This was a thread on facebook. My ego could not resist....

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged (optional!)

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I am allergic to carpet, mould, pet hair (actually the dust mites that feed on these), I am intolerant of cream and milk, and I am allergic to egg but not as much as I used to be - I can now eat cake!!
2. I think intelligence is an attitude and I dream that noone is afraid of knowledge.
3. I have deep fantasies of voyeuristic sadism, which go back to an illustrated Bible I had as a child that showed graphic violence.
4. I am intensely romantic - this and my loathing of domesticity is my biggest barrier to being seriously involved with someone.
5. My biggest emotional frustration is not being able to save someone in my life who is self-destructive.
6. My biggest political dream is that Australia stops digging up coal.
7. I loathe the ethos of Christianity - I strongly believe that we should do nice things because it feels good to do them, not to make ourselves "better people".
8. I have very hairy feet - in fact they are just as hairy as my legs, which are really quite hairy.
9. I have found my dream job and at least for the time being it is making me very happy.
10. I hate the Australian flag, particularly on Australia day.
11. One way I deal with neuroticism is to exaggerate it to the point of comic absurdity.
12. If I ever tease you it means I like you very much.
13. If I could get soy cappucino in a drip, I would probably not get out of bed in the morning.
14. I am biased: women are the superior gender.
15. My favourite contemporary actresses are Annette Benning, Meryl Streep and Kirsten Dunst.
16. The song "Vogue" changed my life.
17. I really can't do a Kiwi accent.
18. I don't need everything to be neatly resolved at the end of a book or film - in fact I often prefer when it isn't.
19. My only grievance against my upbringing is that my parents didn't force me to do ballet!
20. Kate Bush is a genius and The Dreaming is her masterpiece.
21. I believe in free love and safe sex.
22. I once won a breakstroke race at a school swimming carnival when I was 12. Unfortunately puberty was not generous to my muscular development.
23. German gay men are cool - especially the kveeny ones.
24. If I insult you I may be expressing deep affection. Then again I could just be insulting you.
25. I adore my friends! Unfortunately you aren´t one of them....

But I'm a lady! I do lady-like things.

I just finished reading Henry James' "Protrait of a Lady". There's something soothing to the ego about finishing a 600-page 19th century classic novel. It was a good read too. Below is my synopsis from "goodreads":

Those who disliked the film version of this novel should not be put off reading it - the novel is far superior. However those without the disposition to tolerate loose ends may be displeased.

Like many great classics, reading this book is a journey in itself. Henry James was clearly fascinated by people - how they appear to others, what motivates their behaviour and what consequences their actions have. Few nuances are left unexplored in James' analytical style of writing - for someone like me who is hungry for rich characterization, this novel is a feast. One of the themes the book explores is the meaning of freedom and independence. Isabel Archer is dsecribed as literature's first feminist - unlike some heroines she doesn't always win, but in the end she takes responsibility for all her actions - is this perhaps the essence of liberation?

Some further comments: I thought Ralph was gay and perhaps the closest to Henry James' real persona. Certainly he seemed to admire more than desire Isabel. In a sense though he was trying to manipulate her like just about every other characters in the book - but at least in a very generous way. I grew rather fond of Ralph, and his mother.

It is possible to read the story as a "punishment" for Isabel's liberation and quest for freedom, but only if you ignore all the subtleties. For me the morals of the book are more that money can't make you happy and can even cause you some grief, and that marriage isn't usually all its cracked up to be.

But the sheer joy of Henry James' writing style gave me more satisfaction than any of the moral messages. I'd like to see an adaptation of this book into a TV serial, with enough time to do it justice, rather than a movie.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some knutting from Nuck

I knitted the ladies of my family some washcloths for Christmas. Here are some of them.

Baby Loch Ness Monsters spotted

I spotted some baby loch ness monsters in lake waikaremoana. Ian thought they were black swans. Phwah! What would he know?

A Hamiltonian conversation

Him: "So you are from Brisbane?"

Me: "Yes but I lived in Sydney for a few years."

Him: "I've heard the gay scene is really bitchy there."

Me: "Indeed - I fit right in."