Monday, August 30, 2010

Music Monday - Saint Etienne

A bit of old pop music. I needed something cheery tonight!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Impact Man - Colin Bevan

No Impact Man - Colin Bevan (2009)
Colin, and his family decide to spend a year doing less harm to the planet. They live in New York, and give up the takeaways and try to eat locally, trade the taxis for bikes, turn off the tv and the electricity, and he never reveals what he uses instead of toilet paper.
I think in NZ we live with green guilt all the time, we think it funny that people never cook or eat fresh fruit and veg grown locally, surely this is how most people are living nowdays?
Anyway I enjoyed hearing about his journey, and felt he changed a lot of things in his life, and maybe we could all make changes for the better. A good stocking stuffer for Christmas. 3/5

Three Quotes from a Plumber - Sally White

Three Quotes from a Plumber - Sally White (2009)
Sally White is a young wife and mother to two young sons, when she discovers that she has a grade II brain tumour. Her mother had only recently died, of a brain tumour two, so understandibly all the family are traumatized.
A nice patient journey about her initial surgery in Melbourne, and then further surgery by the famous Dr Charlie Teo in Sydney. Nicely paced and written, a very personal journey.


Precious - DVD (2009)

It was a bit of a hard watch I must admit. The cruelty and violence made me cringe inside, but I have to say that I did enjoy it. Precious Jones is 16, and is pregnant with her second child after being abused by her father. He however is not around, and she is left to live with her horrible abusive mother, who seemed to not have one redeeming feature, except maybe rocking the curly wig. How awful was her mother, oh my goodness, words cannot describe.

Precious is thrown out of school, and adviced to try a special school where she begins to find some kind of acceptance and family, and begins to discover herself. What a stunning stunning performance, one that I must say is far worthier of an oscar than most over the past few years. She truly did a good job.

Makes you grateful for your own upbringing, seeing how much some kids must go through. So not an easy or cheerful watch, and I hid my eyes a few times, but I will remember it for some time. 4/5

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dreamy Art

This is Sleeping Ballerina by Misty Mawn............

and this is Dreamer. Both would look lovely on my wall. I do have a lotto ticket, and a girl can dream. I am so into these light grey colours at the moment - the whole muted look is just perfect, and striped stockings are just the business.

I can't seem to paste in her website address - stupid microsoft, so I am going to have to type it in. it is full of beautiful art and lovely pictures , all very dreamy.

Wouldn't you love a large airy house filled with beautiful original art - oh well, back to my little dark house.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Life With My Sister Madonna - Christopher Ciccone

Life with My Sister Madonna - Christopher Ciccone (2008)

Madonna seems like one celebrity sister you wouldn't really want to annoy, she looks like she might get angry, and slap you around. If I was the big megastar I would be happy to share my millions with my dad, and my brother and his family, coz really, who can spend $60 million a year without being over the top, but I guess my needs are simple.

Christopher is Madonnas brother who throughout her career has worked with her in various roles, all of them apparently quite poorly paid. We get a bit of goss - I didn't know that she went to bed by 11pm every night!! But I think, he has pulled back a bit and not really let any juicy stuff out. You know I can see on one hand how he is peeved off by the way he is treated, but on the other hand I see that she was trying to help him out in her own way, and for her it must seem that she is paying a huge entourage to keep her in business. However, if you are uber rich, and you invite your family to your wedding, surely you would shout them the airfares and accomodation?

Miss Madonna, I hope you have a good life, and retire to the county where you can go to bed early, and adopt a rainbow of orphans from around the world to come and frolic with you.


Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart (2009)

Bad Blake is a country singer relegated to filling bowling alleys and bars and living a nomadic life wandering from town to town. When he meets a young reporter and his son, he realises that his hard drinking lifestyle is leading him down a dead end.

Jeff Bridges does a great job, I was impressed with his singing and he felt real as this character. I always like Maggie G, as she too lends a realistic quality that so few Hollywood actresses pocess. I think I much prefer movies where the actors look like real people, and real faces pepper the background, something that US tv shows lack.

I am almost tempted to turn the television off altogether as the programming is apalling. Yet another crappy frat house movie is playing tonight, one which I believe must have been aired three time this year already. Shame on you TVNZ and TV3 - you all suck.

3/5 and roll on the DVDs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bed Love

Just a few of the simple bedrooms I have stored in my picture file. I do need to declutter more and make my bedroom a more restful space.
I wish I could give my job up and design bed linen, or be a bed linen buyer. Our shops seem to be filled with tacky duvets - who wants a playboy duvet on their bed? Who buys that stuff? Or it is cheap shiny polyester which some of it looks ok, but the shiny look is not me. I like simple cottons, and layered quilts.

I do have a pile of quilts and duvets already, so in truth I do not need any more!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Music Monday - Sting - Desert Rose

I'm so excited - after my computer was a pain in the arse on Saturday morning, I managed to finally get on and get tickets to Sting playing at the Mission Winery, in Napier in February. I had been sitting at home on Friday night about 11pm and thinking when the tickets would be going on sale. When I checked, I found out it was 9am this morning, and as it was late, there was no-one I could ring to ask if they wanted to come. So, I bought four, and my one of my besties was super pleased, as she really wanted to go.

So after no concerts for a couple of years, there seem to be a good couple of ones in the next few months, Jack Johnson in November and possibly Brooke Fraser in October. Yippee!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Mask of Troy - David Gibbins

The Mask of Troy - David Gibbins (2010)

I haven't read any of David Gibbins other books, but that didn't make this 5th in a series book difficult to read.

As in most adventure thriller books it tells three stories at once. Jack Howard a present day Marine archeologist, discovers a shipwrecked war galley in the Aegean sea.

Back in 1946, Heinrich Schiliemann finds the golden mask of Agamennon, in Mycenae Greece. Then in 1945, a special team discovers hidden chambers as they seach for clues to lost antiquities, hidden by the Nazis in Concentration camp.

I enjoyed the back and forth of the story, and it held my attention to the end, when usually so many of these stories get muddled and stupid. 3/5

Endal - Allen & Sandra Parton

Endal - Allen & Sandra Parton (2009)

Allen is a young man in the navy, when in a foreign port is given leave to visit with a local family. On the way to their house, he is involved in a car accident and suffers a moderate head injury. This injury however leaves him with a vast range of disablities, making him eventually unfit for work, and places huge stress on his wife and children.

Allens wife Sandra alternates chapters with him, and through her work volunteering with disablilty dogs, Allen gets to meet Endal a lab who changes his life and independence.

I enjoyed reading the family story from both points of view,and thought it was an easy read.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's Complicated

It's Complicated - DVD (2009)

It certainly is complicated. On one hand I loved Meryl Streep, she is so gorgeous and fun and has great hair. Alec Baldwin, is still dishy, in a dad sort of way, and he looks a fun sort of guy if you can ignore the screaming at his daughter tape, that keeps playing in my head everytime I look at him. I love that they left some grey in his temples and didn't Grecian 2000 it out, and let him be a bit pauncy and real. The chemistry between them was great, when they were dancing and out at the bar of the hotel in New York, I loved that, that's the kind of love you want.

Also memorable is Meryls house, job and life - I want it all. I want the kitchen crammed with appliances, lamps and flowers, the cosy bedroom, the swimming pool and oh my goodness, that garden, with the unreal weeding job - freaking awesome!!

The kids - well I think I would have rather had a scruffy little dog and a couple of cats, but that's just me.

It did make me smile, but somehow I felt a bit let down, a bit short changed by the story like I missed he point, or didn't get the joke. Also Steve Martin, I love your work, but buddy you seemed a bit distracted, like you were wondering what happened to you in Shopgirl, you just seemed distant.

Still it beats NZ tv (because NZTV sucks), so a 3/5.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bridging the Gap - Kelvin Cruickshank

Bridging the Gap - Kelvin Cruickshank (2010)

So, I like to read books about psychics, and as this one had me intrigued, I dragged it along to work to read while I had my lunch. A couple of colleagues asked about it, and asked me if I believed. I am not sure, I think I do, and I want to, but until you get the sign, the story maybe we will never know.

I like to think the folks hang around and help out, and I always ask their advice. I asked my mum to come and get me when it's my turn, which makes me not scared to die, and if that is the only thing that believing manages to do for me, than I am happy to believe.

For me, I enjoyed this read and it's a solid 4/5.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Objects of Our Affection - Lisa Tracy

Objects of Our Affection - Lisa Tracy (2010)

Lisa and her sister find themselves with all the family furniture and artefacts, when their mother has to go into a nursing home. Each piece reminds them of parents and grand-parents, and many from further earlier generations. As they each have their own homes, they decide that they must auction off several of the bigger pieces.

Saying good-bye to the family history is hard, as we learn about their importance and how hard Lisa and her family find it to let the pieces depart. I've encountered this in my own life, as grandparents and parents die, it is hard to see all of their things broken up and gotten rid off, and I often wonder what will happen to my own treasured things when I die. What second hand shop they will be relegated too, and who will pick over my trinkets.


Saturday, August 14, 2010


Welcome (2009)

I don't spend my entertainment dollars on much these days, movies are about it and as television sucks, and eating out at most restaurants is too expensive, I don't have sky and borrow my books from the library, I feel it is my often my only treat for a night out.

A misty day meant washing and chores this morning before meeting a bestie in town. I like to browse the bookshelves, so I know what to request next to read, however even after a two week break from looking, there was nothing new to entice me. So it was off to Sweet Mamas Kitchen for curly fries, and extra spicy chicken bits. Oh and a lemonade - twas in a tiny bottle and a hefty price, but is my only drink of the week - I enjoyed it.

Welcome is a movie about a teenage boy from Iraq, who travels across Europe hoping to get to London to see his girl. We meet him in Calais where, stuck with other refugees it looks desperate and hopeless. Then he meets Simon, a swimming instructor as the local pool, and both begin to form a friendship, learning and helping each other out.

It was a good look at the treatment of refugees, especially in the French system which seems particularly authoritive. My mind kept thinking of how easily this same story could have been translated into the second world war time frame, and would I have thought differently about a Jewish protaginist trying any way possible to reach his love.

A good solid movie, worthy of a 4/5 as I am sure I will remember it for some time.

Another 4/5 is the icecream from Cafe Eis in town - oh my gosh. Even though the bloke got my order wrong, and they had none of my fave (mint choc chip), the one I did get was great!! Lemonade, movies and ice-cream and home by 10pm - it's a good night out in my book.

Alone - Poem

Blundering across someone elses blog, I became mesmerised by this poem Alone. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Red Thread - Ann Hood

The Red Thread - Ann Hood (2009)

I had picked this book up on my way out of the library one day, but with a big pile already I returned it to the trolley, but spent the evening thinking about it. So I was glad it was still there when I went back the following week.

We get to meet several American families who are wanting to adopt babies, their stories intertwined with Maya, the main protaginist who runs the Adoption Agency. Her job is to help match families with Chinese orphans. Particularly touching were the stories about these Chinese babies, and how they came to be at the orphanage, each story so sad and tragic.

I could have done with more focus on the Chinese stories, but I must say overall that I enoyed the book, each character had depth and emotion and the author brought it all together in a smooth and readable way. 4/5

Monday, August 09, 2010

Miss Austen Regrets - DVD

Miss Austen Regrets - DVD (2008)

I LOVED this DVD, it was the perfect thing to watch on a cold and rainy weekend. In it, we get to meet Jane Austen in her thirties, writing her novels and trying to help support her sister and mother. Looking back at her life, she sees that she has missed her own chance at marriage and happiness and is saddled with being poor and unloved. In trying to guide her loved niece Fanny on her own love life, she realises that she is just as interfering as many of her characters.

I loved the portrayal of Jane as extremely witty, sarcastic and playful, all the things that she must have been in order to write such timeless books, all now two hundred years old. How hard life was, when men were relied upon to make the money and decisions about your life, and that living alone or being unmarried were frowned upon.

Hurrah for making Jane and her family real, with naturalistic hairstyles, makeup and costumes. I also applaud the use of a real actress to play Jane herself, much as I like Gwenyth, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, it is all a bit too Hollywood Hot roller for me, I prefer the characters to look like they get dirty and do their own hair.

4/5 because I could watch this one over and over.

Watermark - Vanitha Sankaran

Watermark - Vanitha Sankaran (2010)

Set in the Middle Ages, in Norbonne France, we meet Auda, an albino girl who has been maimed at birth and is mute. Living with her father, she assists him in his business, making and selling paper. It's production begins the threaten the stronghold of the church, as the rich are now able to buy paper and copy stories and the Bible, causing anger and accusations of witchcraft in the town.

I enjoyed this book, at the authors ability to make Auda believable and one that I cared enough about to find out what happened to her. I feel a bit over the Tudor historical fiction genre, and are keen to read about other periods of history, and the combination of a good story and some historical facts about papermaking make it an arresting tale. 3/5

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Why? Why is this the most popular tv show here in NZ, what is wrong with people? Is it just me? I feel it is about two dysfunctional men boys, and the script seems to be have been written by a couple of 12 year olds.
I know we all need some humour and something funny in our life, but do we have to be fed this drivel, and worst of all repeats of repeats. In my youth, tv consisted of repeating repeats of Mash and Happy Days, now it is Two and a half Men and Friends. Enough already - please.
I did watch some quality tv on sixty minutes tonight, where they looked at the state of the oceans and the over fishing of the seas. Did you know that huge numbers of whales are beaching themselves on NZ beaches, dying due to a lack of water and food caused by the lack of squid that these great mammals rely on for sustanance. In december last year there were 107 whales in one mass landing, and many more. So, so sad.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Music Monday - Beth Orton

Music Monday - Beth Orton, she rocks. I still love her CDs and to me they sound of summer.

Music Monday - Eddie Vedder and Mark Seymour - Throw your Arms Around Me

Just one of the most beautiful songs ever, Throw Your Arms Around Me sung by Mark Seymour and Eddie Vedder. I LOVE this version!!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

We worried a little bit about this movie, as going in to be seated the previous viewers were slow to leave and two ladies told us they were still shaking. Now I haven't read this book yet, it's sitting on my to be read pile. I tried to read the first one, but got a little annoyed with it and never finished it, but I did enjoy the movie.

In this movie, Elspeth Salander seems to be being framed for the murder of three people and the police are gathering evidence that links her to all of the victims. Meanwhile she is getting chased and I did see a couple of women in our row jump about four feet in the air a couple of times. You can't help the antisocial woman, for being tiny she is pretty kickass and a great female lead in a world of Hollywood leading ladies, who all seem a bit vapid and souless.

Once again, this movie is very adult content and not one for the kids, but if you enjoy thrillers although it is not up to the tension of the first movie, it far outways watching Rob Schnieders Saturday night rubbish repeat movie on TVNZ. 4/5

Homer's Odyssey - Gwen Cooper

Homer's Odyssey - Gwen Cooper (2009)

I guess the animal loving genre of book is usually pretty predictable. Owner acquires new pet, and finds how their life is changed, and made better by their new friend.

In this book, Gwen Cooper already has two cats, when the vet asks her if she will help out with a new little kitten who is completely blind. Expecting a helpless cat, Gwen ends up with a rumpuctious bundle who doesn't need much help in his new life.

As well as enjoying the stories about Homer and the girls, I enjoyed hearing about Gwens life too. Her move from Miami, and living close to Ground Zero on 9/11. Her romance and finding love was a nice ending to the story, without the usual teary farewell that most of these books offer.

A pleasant and easy read. 4/5