Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long weekend in pictures

Leaving Wellington

Anita's exhibition, Tender Chaos - Cyanotypes on Fabric, in Hamilton. Look at all those red stickers!

Browsers bookshop on Victoria Street is amazing.

I noticed these trees everywhere, their leaves are a strange washed out pinky grey. I kept thinking the leaves looked like they'd been dipped in bleach, or washed and scrubbed so much they'd faded.
Photo by Anita

Anita and I drove to Hamilton to see Alex in Hotel. This is Anita and I lurking in the corridor at the hotel in which the show was performed. Anita took the photo, as you can see, so I hope she doesn't mind me using it, because I really love it. It's like 'Me in a Mirror' all over again.

We stayed at the YHA, extremely clean and tidy with the added bonus of a 'Herbal Teapot & Cups'. On Friday, Alex and I went to Midnight in Paris. So good. The story and performances were great, but I loved seeing so many parts of Paris I saw only a few months ago and internally going, 'I've been there!' It's easy to get caught up in the beauty of Paris when you aren't being reminded of the beggars in the Metro tunnels and when you can't smell that strange, urine-like smell that hits you in certain places. Still, Paris is amazing and looking back it was definitely a highlight of my holiday.

When I got back to Hamilton, Anita and I went to a YUM Mexican place for dinner. They gave us a giant pitcher of Sangria. Anita noted that her face has never before been revealed on the blog, despite having been the star of many posts - so today as double whammy, as well as the hotel photo, her angry face.

When we got home we made ginger crunch. I have never made it before. Guess which one is mine...THE SMOOTHEST. This may have something to do with my finicky dedication to following instructions vs. Anita's 'I don't bother creaming the butter and sugar, I don't sift anything, it takes me ten minutes to make and it always tastes fine.'

I didn't taste hers but I'm sure it tasted more than fine. I don't really care though because mine tasted AMAZING. Who knew ginger crunch was so easy?! We used the Edmonds Cookery Book recipe.

On Saturday night I was living the solo Hamilton dream so I went to see The Trip. I want to marry Rob Brydon; this is because he is both Welsh and very, very funny. I laughed so much in the movie I think the people next to me regretted their choice of seats.

When I arrived back in Wellington at 9am this morning (Grabaseat, you may be cheap but you are not kind), it was a beautiful day. This afternoon I walked to Island Bay. Why have I not done this before?

I wish every weekend was a long weekend that ended with a walk to the beach and cider on the front porch with flatmates. But not sunburn. That was silly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rain on the parade

The parade finished across the road from could I not pop out and have a look?

The cup. I had to majorly zoom in - luckily, while small, the cup is so shiny it's hard to miss. Even in the rain.

Although, to be honest, I have had quite the change of heart over the last few weeks, from 'I hate the All Blacks' to 'I want to marry Stephen Donald.' I doubt it will last very long, though, after all the fuss has died down. Plus, my allegiances aren't that strong - towards the end of the final I did start hoping France would win. They were so close and it would have made fools of all those arrogant people in the days leading up to the game who so confidently wrote France off. But as so many people have said, it would have been unbearable had the All Black's lost, and it's nice seeing people being brought together by something positive for a change. And parliament looked nice with all the New Zealand flags out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Feed me, Seymour, feed me

I keep going places and people just keep feeding me delicious food.

On Sunday night Alex cooked me a roast (it was amazing and for classic movie Sunday we watched Paper Moon, a great father/daughter duo con movie, released in 1973 but set during the Great Depression and filmed in black and white; it stars the real life father and daughter, Ryan and Tatum O'Neal). I did also go and watch the rugby - what has happened to me? I'm not sure, but I blame my newfound love of Wales for changing my feelings towards the World Cup.

Last night Simon and Gabe made mint and walnut linguine accompanied by an extreme salad:

Followed by a berry almond crumble combo that far surpassed any chocolate, even the new Whittaker's Berry and Biscuit.

I love Gabe's apron, it's a proper full one (as opposed to a half one); you can see it in the top right hand corner of the photo.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting serious

Following my date with myself to La Prima Cosa Bella on Wednesday night, I presented myself with a red rose on Thursday (it was the Red Cross' street appeal this year - a gold coin donation and you got a red rose). I said at work that I'll probably be proposing to myself pretty soon, to which someone quipped, 'You might want to try living with yourself first, just to make sure.'

The Italian Film Festival is on at the moment and you can't really go too wrong with Italian films - either the actors are beautiful, the scenery is beautiful, or both. I really enjoyed La Prima Cosa Bella, especially the scenes set in the 1970s. The characters were all very endearing in their own complicated way. Especially the mother and the son, who, as a child, had a constant frown on his face. I'd say it was more a drama than a comedy but there were lots of amusing moments.

Last night, Kelly and I went to Happy Family. I was a bit unsure as to whether I'd like it that much as it seemed like a concept that's been done quite a lot (a writer whose characters start to appear in real life and try to influence his writing). While Kelly and I agreed the parts we liked least were the parts where the characters appeared to Ezio and complained to him, the rest of the film was very funny and a bit Amelie-ish in terms of the aesthetic.

Everything seems better in Italy. Although I'd just like to point out how great my divider at work is and that's only part of it. It's like sitting in a tiny Cherie curated exhibition. I love seeing pictures of people's workspaces; one of my flatmates has a design magazine out from the library and it has an article in it about British 'artist-designer' David Gentleman (best last name ever) which includes a photo of Gentleman's desk with all his brushes, pencils, sharpeners, chalks and pastels sitting in the grooves of long strips of corrugated cardboard and the bits and pieces stuck on the wall above it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Frogs and films

Mr. Four Square was much happier about this state of affairs than I was (the dining room table at the house I babysit at on a Tuesday night is made from a giant old Four Square sign - I don't know if I've linked to this before but there was an article about the house in NZ House and Garden a few years ago, it's a bit more child-friendly now, e.g. no more vases at two year old height, but still full of heaps of cool retro NZ things).

I decided to frog the scarf I started knitting a few weeks ago because something I had thought I could live with when I first noticed it became too annoying. What's more annoying is that I'd done the same thing before and forgotten that lesson (it was over a year ago though). Basically if you want to do a border and you're doing some kind of alternate pattern inside the border (like rib or moss stitch, which isn't so much a pattern but whatever) you need the amount of stitches inside the border to be uneven othewise the border is going to look wider on one end. I had 34 stitches and I was knitting K K (the border) K P (x15) K K (the other end of the border). Even looking at it written down, it's obvious that there are three Ks in a row on one end and ultimately that makes it look like the border is 3 stitches wide on one end and only 2 stitches wide on the other end when it's supposed to be 2 stitches wide on both ends. Are you asleep yet? I'm not, I just have a headache. I am not good at maths or imagining how things will look. Hence the ripping out. Now I need to start again and make it go K K, P K (x 14), P, K K.

In unrelated news, it seems like it has been movie o'clock lately, so in brief:

The last two classic movie Sundays have actually been Saturdays. One was Cry Baby which I didn't know anything about except that a young Johnny Depp was in it. It was strange and funny.

The other was Kramer vs. Kramer. This had a young Meryl Streep in it and she was a total babe. I also really like Dustin Hoffman, although the first scene with him and his son made me worried he was just going  to do a toned-down version of his strange character from The Graduate. I had a few secret tears towards the end when he's telling his son the outcome of the court case, even though I had already guessed what the actual ending was going to be.

On Sunday Kate and I watched Like Water for Chocolate which we had been meaning to do for ages, ever since we realised earlier in the year that we'd both recently read the book. I'm not sure what the movie would be like if you hadn't read the book first and didn't know that it's style is basically magic realism. But it's very beautiful - the landscape, the colours, some of the costumes - and in Spanish which adds to the exoticism of being set in Mexico. The trouble with seeing a film based on a book is I immediately went, 'I didn't imagine Mama Elena looked like that at all' and kept thinking that the whole way through. But it's a very faithful adaptation of the book - the book's author wrote the screenplay which always helps - and I loved the actress who played Tita. The hair of the actor who played Pedro was ridiculous.

And I can't remember when, I think one night two weeks ago, but I saw The Help at the movies and really enjoyed it. It's pretty long but even I, who am a chronic watch-checker, didn't feel like it dragged at all. I can't believe Emma Stone is only 22. She was great. Her costumes were an excellent contrast to the shiny, bright, florals of the Southern belles. And I loved the character of Minny. As for giving a child the first name 'May Mobley': Why? Whyyyy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

John Bob

Today we farewelled my grandfather, in his 80th year. There were a couple of photos, two of which I hadn't seen before, that I really loved.

This last one is he and I. Quite a long time ago, obviously. He lived with us for a very short time when I was quite little and this was when I started calling him John Bob after my young ears misheard 'Good night John Boy' (which is apparently from The Waltons) as 'Good night John Bob'. It caught on and all his grandchildren have known him as John Bob, until the littlest ones adapted it to Bob Bob.

As was said during the service today, he could be a pretty gruff man, he had a short temper, and he didn't suffer fools gladly, but he also had a great, dry sense of humour, worked incredibly hard his whole life, loved whiskey and the sea (hopefully not at the same time if he was captaining...), and while he might not have been very vocal about it, his family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things people other than me have made

An amazing cake - Shane the Train - made by Erin and Paul to farewell Hannah. Truly a magificent creation that took the original Woman's Weekly Cake Book inspiration to the next level.

A drawing of me by Nova who is eight. The two giant red circles on my face are particularly accurate.

I did have a hand, well, a head in this.

Once again the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra was amazing. I think I had a giant smile on my face the whole time on Friday night, except for when I was singing along. So many great moments but the torch-lit onsie zip assistance, the pink togs, and a man from the audience getting on stage and performing a song he had requested on Facebook but that they hadn't learned were definite highlights. And their new EP is GREAT. I love 'This Charming Man', 'Boogey Man', and 'Raylene' especially. As Abbey said, you just want to take them all home and force them to drink cups of tea with you and be your new best friends.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spreading joy

I have been passing this on my way to work each morning for the last couple of weeks (although, not so much this week because it has been raining too hard).

There are a whole lot of images hanging in the window of a picture framing shop on Cuba Street (I don't know the name, I think it's The Workshop, but it's near the intersection with Abel Smith Street; I'm not going to bother trying to say upper or lower Cuba Street because what I think of as upper Cuba is what everyone else thinks of as lower Cuba, I've had the discussion with people so many times and I still get confused as to what's up and what's down). A sign says you go in and choose your image, then go away and do something nice for someone, come back, write down what you did, and replace your chosen image with the note.

It's to 'spread joy' throughout Wellington apparently. Some of the notes are a bit cheeky ('I gave pop tarts to children!') but it's a cute idea. Maybe I should choose an image and spread some joy...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Classic movie gush

Sometimes I read what I last wrote and I regret it. For example, in my last post, I sound smug when really all I wanted to say was, 'The Engine Room was really amazing and I hope lots of people go to see it.'

Anyway. Last week while buying a birthday card, I glanced to my right and saw something that immediately filled me with joy. It was the 40th Anniversary Edition DVD of The Railway Children movie that I had watched countless times when I was younger. I didn't care that it was ridiculously over-priced, I had to buy it immediately. One of the reasons being, I had never seen the first 15 minutes or so of the movie because my Mum had videoed it off TV and had missed the start, so when we watched the video it always started from when they arrived at Three Chimneys.

I loved this movie so much when I was younger, along with Little Women, and so wished I lived in a time when there were candles and lamps and long dresses, that one day when my Mum happened to make apple pie, I made her and my sister dress in shawls with me, close the curtains, light a candle, and pretend we were like the family in the movie when they arrive at the house and have the apple pie left for them by the housekeeper. One of the best things about my Mum is that she actually went along with many of my amazing ideas ('Can we dig a hole in the ground by the tree hut and make a little fire in it and cook things over it?' What kind of mother says yes to that? An AWESOME one).

I had told Alex this story when I was suggesting we watch The Railway Children for classic movie Sunday and explaining how excited I was to be able to watch the movie again and see the start for the first time. And because Alex is potentially the best person ever to live, look what she made to accompany the movie:

It was outstandingly delicious.

Someone at work had warned me watching the movie again would ruin it for me because it wouldn't be as good as I remembered (because obviously, having bought the DVD at lunchtime, I went back to work and talked a lot about how much I loved the movie, and how I wanted to go home right then and watch it, and told the apple pie and shawls story, and generally added to the ever growing number of reasons people at my work think I am unhinged).

I was adamant seeing The Railway Children again could only reinforce my love for it and I was right. The movie was just as amazing as I remembered, but better because it was even funnier than I remembered. Some of the comedy is intentional, some of it is the result of being 40 years old. I still love the station porter, Mr Perks, the best. And the Mum is such a babe.

Because of such modern conveniences as Wikipedia, I learned that the actress who played the middle child, Phyllis, was actually 20 when they made the movie and she was playing an 11 year old. Crazy. She's a pain in the movie anyway. Which was great for classic movie Sunday because we tend to shout at the TV screen and talk to the characters when they're annoying. Naturally.