Monday, February 21, 2011

The Golden Tardis

It started when I gave a friend a kobo e-reader back in July.

“Ooh!” she said. “It’s great! Can you knit me a cover for it?”

I forgot her birthday in December. I rang and apologised profusely and invited her to lunch……..


I started knitting……

…..Last night.

I found this great free pattern on Ravelry. Tardis Kindle Case

“Kindle. Schmindle” I thought. “She’ll be right.” (Australian for “I don’t know what I’m doing but trust me.”)

I didn’t have any blue wool - well, some, but not enough.

“It will be a golden tardis.” I thought to self.

I think it was worsted weight. I think I might have been a bit worsted too. It was very hot yesterday.

I didn’t have a 7mm needle. “6.5mm is close enough”, I thought.

And yes, you guessed it….I didn’t have time to do a swatch.

“What’s Judy’s Magic Cast On?…..” I thought. Three You-Tube videos later, much sucking of teeth and four false starts and I was away. Just like a pro.

”I’ll just go up to Row 40” I thought “and leave the Argyle-y stuff til the morning.”

But that’s the fun bit right?

And it was after midnight, so theoretically, it was morning.

I got the windows done but then I started to run out of yellow wool…..

“It will be a Golden Tardis with a blue roof.” I thought.

I finished it. 2:30am.

Then I measured it.

Then I googled “Felting”….

What should I do? Should I call it a hot water bottle cover and omit any references to Dr Who?

Should I felt it and carry on bravely?

Should I just buy her a book and be done with it?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I'm a bit late reviewing this movie for which I apologise.  It released in Australia 3 February.

I took good movie buddie Deb, who is up for most things, even though she does pale at the thought of vampires but, to her credit, grips her seat handles with white knuckles, keeps calm and carries on!

We were a smidgin late for the start of this movie - traffic in BrisVenice of late has been excruciating - so we may have missed some vital background information.  I suspect not.

The screening was in the Myer Centre and I was rather off-put by the smell that assailed the olfactory senses the further I went into the cinema. Nevertheless, the cinema, and it was a big one, was packed to the gunnels.  I was impressed.  No-one else seemed put off by the public toilet smell, so I rebuked myself for being a ninny, kept calm and carried on.

Two minutes later Deb whispered into my ear...."I don't think this is a chick flick."  Never were truer words spoken.

I suspect that this movie is for blokes a kind of secret guilty pleasure  - a bit like those silly blowsy, shopping type movies are for girls sometimes - ridiculously impossible romances, fabulous clothes etc etc.
And the title says it all really doesn't it?  It's like an ironic pun on the battle of the sexes really ...Faster, he wishes....slower, she wishes....

And I could leave it there but of course I won't.  I had to do my research and I feel obliged to convey the results to you.

This movie, to me, sums up just how much I don't know about the industry and probably never will.  I was, for example, surprised to discover that the lead is really somebody quite famous....Dwayne Johnson.  I'd never heard of him but he really is somebody.  Of course it depends how you define somebody but you should know that he entered the Guinness Book of World Records because his salary was the highest for any actor receiving top billing for the first time for the part he played in Scorpio - he earned $5.5million.  He used to be a big football star, then turned wrestler.  He's known as The Rock.  There's a wax figurine of him at Madame Tussaud's for goodness sake.  And yes, the poor chap cannot put his arms beside his torso - they are so bulging with muscles - he must walk with arms akimbo like one of those ghastly toys Caspar used to love so much growing up.....Last but not least he earned a 0.7 grade point average in college.  As he says,  "It's pretty hard to get a point seven. You have to do close to nothing." His co-star Carla Gugino earned straight As at high school.  It takes all sorts. 

The movie opens with Dwayne aka Driver getting out of jail.  And then he starts to you do when you get out of jail.  And run.  And run...and run....and I'm thinking...they look like steel capped boots to me....must be bloody uncomfortable...he'll get blisters if he keeps going.  After he's run...oh I don't know....a long way...he finds the car of his dreams in a scrapyard (for those that care it is a Chevelle...okay okay - a photo)

He opens the door, pulls out a leather jacket and...puts it on.....Deb and I looked at each other in disbelief...would you run ten kilometres in the heat of the day dressed in army clobber and then put on a leather jacket?

But see...that's what I mean....I'll just never get this movie.  It's not for me.  It's got impossibly good-looking women in very little attire or very tight revealing attire, lots of guns and lots of fast cars. 

Who was I rooting for in this movie?....well, Billy Bob Thornton I suppose even though his character was incredibly questionable...

What have I learnt?  That the movie cost $24million to make and that it has just about made it back already since it was released in the states in November.  Australia probably gave them that last $1m they needed last week at the box office.  Let's take bets on how much it will have made by next year - $50million?  A $100million.  I could cry for the state of humanity.....

I have learnt that Dwayne Johnson is frightened of spiders just like me so he can't be all that bad...we have something in common I guess.  

This was certainly an accomplished piece of filmmaking if you like stunts and action.  George Tillman Jr. was the director.  He is according to IMDB a native of Milwaukee Wisconsin.  So, a bit like Ben Affleck's The Town, I wonder if this is a bit of a tribute to Milwaukee...which for a while ranked among the ten most dangerous big cities in the USA.  George won the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Student Academy Award and the Black Filmmakers' Hall of Fame Award in the early 90s with his short film Paula.  I would like to see some of his earlier work.  I suspect it and his next project Men Of Honour may be of more interest to me and that Faster is just popcorn for the masses or Mills and Boon for the other half of this great big gorgeous world.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Less than Angels

Less than Angels by Barbara Pym

I think it's important to have small comforts in life, particularly at bedtime.  I am always intrigued by people's night-time rituals.  When I was a child it was always fun staying with friends and seeing what their families did.  Little friend Deborah's Dad, known to me as Uncle Warren, would bring each child (including guests) a cup of hot cocoa at bedtime and would soothe ruffled feathers, sibling rivalries and over-excited munchkins with firm but loving admonitions.  Another friend would literally rock herself to sleep. She urged me to try it but I found it too exhausting.  My mother always had a Georgette Heyer by the bed - somewhat guiltily - but it did the trick after a hard day of being a domestic goddess.

I think I have found my "blanky" in Barbara Pym.  God's in his Heaven (or hers) and all's well with the world when I read Barbara Pym. I am using her books as relief from some of my more worthy and good for you (like multi-grain bread) reads.

Less than Angels is my second Barbara Pym.  I was delighted to find a reference to some of the characters from my first - Excellent Women - but it is not necessary to have read it to follow the story.  It just deals with a different group - a bit like those multi-layered films that are so popular these days like Short Cuts - where storylines slightly intersect.

A friend from bookclub has lent me four books from her Barbara Pym collection and lest I "forget" to return them, I assiduously returned this as soon as I had finished, so I'm sorry but I can't quote from it.

All I need say to encourage you to read it is that I laughed out loud and snorted on several occasions.  Ms Pym has that marvellous ability to describe characters forced to live closely together in straitened circumstances - usually family members...and the way they carve out a modicum of privacy, self-determination and/or sanity in shared households.  Her descriptions of the two sisters living together with one sister's adult son and daughter is classic.  I'll leave it to you to guess which sister I wanted to smack on frequent occasions.

There's so much more I could say but doubtless others have waxed enthusiastic before me...if you haven't read Barbara Pym yet, don't waste another moment.

What's your nighttime ritual? It's a bit too hot for cocoa in Queensland at the moment.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Lacquer Lady

I started reading this for Virago Reading Week hosted by the wonderful Carolyn and Rachel a couple of weeks ago but have only just finished it now.  It is my first F Tennyson Jesse and what a great introduction.

Tennyson Jesse is described as a criminologist, journalist and author.  There is an interesting biography of her life here  and she sounds like a character straight from a novel in her own right.

This was published in 1929 and is beautifully written.  My copy is now flagged with lots of sticky notes and underlining of particular passages. 

It is set in Burma in the late 19th century and gives an account of the reign of King Thibaw and his wife Supayalat.  I don't normally go in for historical tales of royal courts but found this an intriguing account of colonialism, of male and female relationships and the pursuit of liberty - personal and national.

I found this photo of King Thibaw and Queen Supayalat and Princess Supayaji here.

The author tells the story of court life - warts and all. There is a chilling account of massacres during King Thibaw's reign which rivals modern accounts of reigns of terror.

Ultimately what impressed me most about Tennyson Jesse's writing was its contemporary tone...there are of course many politically incorrect phrases reflective of the times but perhaps a quote will give you an idea of what I'm trying to convey....

"Lyric ecstasies ...why are we all brought up to expect them, why is the whole convention of the book world a convention accepted by the world of living beings, based on the idea that sooner or later life is transmuted by something wonderful that is supposed to make everything different?  Life is never quite round like's all sorts of funny shapes, not enough here, too much there...."

See what I mean?

It's not any easy read - the characters are challenging - but I couldn't put it down and I've been reading about the history of Burma ever since.

If you'd like to check out more photos of Burmese costume et al, check out this blog.