Read all about it

Yesterday I enjoyed another glorious outing in my favourite city – Sydney.
It looked a little something like this.

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Over the past few weeks I have experienced so much and learnt so many things from numerous sojourns into that country called culture. I’ve seen essayists, drama, symphonies and now philosophers, and had them open my eyes to the world in which we live.

The sad thing is that I can’t remember everything they said or did, and all that I am really left with is a sense that I should know more and be more (in a good way).

The lecture at the Opera House was given by the ‘pop’ philosopher Alain de Botton. He spent a lot of time talking about how he is ok being called a populist and it did make me wonder why his naysayers equate his success with a lack of importance. Surely all philosophers would like their ideas to become popularised so that they may actually influence their world. If we could change people’s thinking we could really change the world.

Everything de Botton had to say was so illuminating. He was there to promote his new book, which I haven’t read, but will be now. Basically he said we must be more savvy in our consumership (it’s not a word I know but it fits with how I want to phrase the sentence) of the news. It’s all about recognising what types of stories we are being given and building resilience against the 24 hour news cycle and its wish to overwhelm us with too much information.

He gave voice to some of my own fears too. Especially being caught up in envy. Those Sunday supplements and celebrity stories are meant to make us envious and we have to acknowledge that and figure out what it is that we are actually envious of. He said he even keeps an envy diary now (which he writes in at least five times a day) to figure out who it is he wants to be. I really like that idea.

And he has offered an alternative to the current news machine.

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I have tried to read his work before but failed. At times I thought it was dry and a little repetitive, but I suppose that is how philosophy in its written form is. I suppose that people wanted to listen to Socrates, not read what he had written. However, I am inspired now to try again after seeing de Botton in person. He is a great orator. So passionate and with excellent PowerPoint skills. Now that I have heard his voice I feel like I will be able to imagine it as I read his books and therefore be more engaged in them.

Coming up on my next blog: I become a better friend.

A long time ago, we used to be friends

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This is the greatest movie of all, continuing the story of the greatest tv show of all time.

I only arrived at Veronica Mars last year. I had watched it when it was on TV all those years ago (I can’t believe it is ten years old, Kristen Bell looks like she hasn’t aged a day) but then the Australian programming gods took over and it switched time slots before eventually disappearing. It’s probably better that it did. Binge watching it now that I am older has made me appreciate it so much more.

When I watched the first time all I was interested in was the high school drama. The who was going out with who, the relationship hook ups and break ups. What I missed then, and what I love now is its cleverness. It is so self aware, so on the money pop culture wise, that you can’t help but laugh and every piece of sardonic dialogue.

And the film is no different. There is still all the intrigue, romantic and crime wise. It’s just that little bit more grown up.

My favourite type of mystery/crime fiction is set in the American boarding school world, and Veronica Mars is just an extension of that. I love the mix of intrigue and bitchiness.
After watching the film I just want to go back and watch all the shows again. I know they could get another series out of it. And if not, I’ll settle for another movie.

Coming up on my next blog: I’ll be busy watching Veronica Mars again.

Art and about

It’s been another Sydney filled weekend, which makes it another good weekend by my standards.

On Friday night I ate my weight in Lebanese food at El Phoenician at Walsh Bay before going to see Travelling North at the STC. As a result of having such a great night I have decided that Williamson is my favourite playwright for watching. He is just so funny. My other favourite playwright, Stoppard, has been relegated to second, because I find his only funny to read. They are so drawn out and verbose that I find myself willing the intermission to come early. Not so with Williamson. Intermission took me by surprise, and instead I was willing it to be over so we could get on with things. I think it is his Australian sensibility that makes his work so endearing to me. The vernacular and hilarity is comforting and really subscribes to the Australian attitude of not taking yourself too seriously. The jokes about children’s names alone were worth the price of admission.

I returned to the city on Saturday with my family. It was my Mum’s birthday this week and my sister and I said we would buy her shoes from Peter Shepard. My Grandmother and Aunt came along for the ride and we made a morning of it. I spent more money on books that I shouldn’t have, but oh well.

The other thing I did this weekend was go see The Monuments Men or is it just Monuments Men? I can’t remember and it isn’t really worth looking up on the Internet. You know the one I am talking about anyway. It’s George Clooney (though all I see when I hear him now is a fox in a tweed suit) saving Art during WWII.
It was ok. A bit suspenseful, though I should have figured that out because of the context. and of course, if you didn’t have a reason to hate the Nazis before, you sure do now. It was pretty much a history by numbers where the Americans are made to look awesome and if you’re another nationality you can be sure you end up dead.

Coming up on my next blog: About half a dozen book reviews I need to catch up on in order to justify my purchases.

Gamer Chic

You will probably only ever catch me saying this once (though, if I’m writing down on the Internet it will probably outlast the cockroaches) but I have found that I actually like some video game music. I suppose it seems like an odd thing to admit to, let alone bring up, but I say so because I went to see Replay.

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And yes, of course I was sceptical at first about going, and a little more than scathing in my commentary about the prospective clientele, but in the immortal words of one Popstars contestant (do you even remember that show. I feel I may be revealing my age with that outdated pop culture reference, or at least my terrible terrible taste in reality television).

Who am I to judge?

After all, I was going too.
What I do love is the symphony, though I find some classical music repetitive and overly long.

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Replay was great because video game music is epic. There is no real filler, nothing you would call a musical interlude, it’s all just drums and crazy violins.
I liked it too because the show was produced like a video game. It revolved around the heroes’ journey and had chapters opened by narration so you knew what you were in for.
Of course most of the music was accompanied by scenes from the games themselves, and for the first time that I have ever scene at the symphony, the conductor turned around and spoke with the audience.
All in all I had much more fun than I thought I would and I even came away thinking I would like to play one or two of the games.

Coming up on my next blog: I think a food round up is in order.

I’d like to complain

So it seems like Wednesday swimming is a bust. And also that I can’t read a simple timetable.
Last night I went to the pool around five thirty and could barely find myself a spot in a lane.
It miffs me a little that so many lanes are given over to swimming lessons and squads (who I know also pay to be there) but that only two are given to the fee paying public. The problem really is that not only do I have to pay to get into a pool I can barely use, I also pay rates that built and maintain the complex. I think there is a great imbalance.
I know kids need to learn to swim but does it have to be every day? Surely, there could be one day for the public? Or if there are only two lanes open I should not have to pay full price to get into the pool, I should only be paying a quarter of that for quarter access.

The class I also want to go to is actually on a Thursday, not Wednesday.
So I guess I will just be swimming on Sundays, and saving myself a little money by going for a walk on Wednesdays instead.

Coming up on my next blog: Time to have fun in the city.

Say it Loud

Did you know that today is International Read Aloud Day?
I didn’t until yesterday. But that didn’t stop me from jumping on the band wagon and exercising my vocal chords.
I shared one of my favourite books aloud today.

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My grandmother bought is for me a year or two ago (she was afraid that I was going to permanently borrow a copy from my work and so got me one of my own). I love this book because it is so funny and I like reading the voices.

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My favourite joke is the mouse.
I also read a little of In Cold Blood and I Capture the Castle, just a few pages to get my audience hooked.

I find reading aloud a great way to get people to want to read something. I am of the

judge a book by its cover

school ad so often don’t know what I am missing. And often it’s not enough to say

oh this book is about such and such

I don’t know if I will like such and such. I need to know what it sounds like or feels like.

But you have to have someone who reads well. Or at least with passion. There is nothing worse than a monotone drone to ruin even the most exciting story.

Coming up on my next blog: I can prove to you I have taken up swimming.

Closed Captioned Subtitles Avaliable

Don’t read this is you are anti- Ageism. Or if you are old.

On the weekend I went to the movies. I saw August: Osage County. It was ok, not a bad movie, but not great either, even with some great performances in it. You can just tell it is a play. And therefore I would have rather seen it on the stage than in the cinema. This led me to a great realisation.

I really can’t go to the movies anymore.

And not just because this movie should have been a play. I can understand why people download their films, not because they don’t want to pay for it, but because they don’t want the experience ruined by other cinema goers.

I made the mistake of going to see this film at old people time. And I guess it was kind of an old person’s movie too.
It started at six.
There was lots of rustling and talking during the previews which I can handle, because hey, we didn’t pay to see these bits.
But it’s the conversations during the film that I can’t abide by.
In old people filled cinemas the usual conversation goes some thing like this

what did he just say?
He’s her brother.
What?
Brother!

It’s not hushed because old people have forgotten how to whisper.
They also laugh in the oddest places at the loudest volume. We can all see that the writer is trying to be funny but did it seriously warrant a guffaw?
And then they take forever to leave the cinema. They want to stay and watch the credits, whereas I want to get out and not get stuck in the car park behind them.

The other problem though is that I can’t see young people films either because they all have their phones out, and you know my vampiric tastes about lighting.

So I guess I won’t be seeing any more movies.
What a pity.

Coming up on my next blog: I’m thinking about going back to writing everyday. It seems it was keeping me sane.