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    Favourite and less-favourite things

    Posted in blogjune
    June 26th, 2016

    “When I’m feeling sad / I simply remember my favourite things…”

    Favourite things

    Despite the hype: Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, warm vegan mittens (especially with a baked potato in each pocket to keep hands warm, then, potato breakfast), brown paper packages with non-work books, cream coloured ponies and animals in fields, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, pussywillow, bunny rabbits, chocolate icing, no school, pillow fights, and presents…

    Bits and bobs: Lots of personal space! (conversely, high-quality massages) …cute decorations on food or anything else, patterned socks, flannel flowers, clothing with good textures or thumbholes or French seams, cleaning ears, watching pimple-popping videos, list-making, pruning daisy bushes, seeing butterflies, good-quality green tea, lifting heavy things, Dawson’s Creek, Barbie & the Rockers, Amy Sedaris, Sophie Calle’s art, and the best book on libraries: Bob Usherwood’s Equity and excellence in the public library: why ignorance is not our heritage (2007).

    Time: The 90s! But only for nostalgia, I wouldn’t want to be back there.

    “In many ways I am possibly still too close to see the 1990s clearly. It felt like a distant cousin.” (Rochelle Robshaw).

    Remember, the 90s was the decade of a lollipop advising kids how to respond to bullies! (don’t push me, push a push pop!)

    Paper flamingo, young coconut jelly and fruit

    Favourite and less-favourite

    To read: Margaret Atwood, YA, and more.

    To watch: Bad, cheesy or critically-panned movies. Troll II is my top pick (number 7 in the esteemed eonline’s 20 worst movies of the 90s). From that list – I’ve only seen Troll II, The Blair Witch Project, Anaconda, Spice World, and Super Mario Brothers (so there is some catching up to be had!).

    I enjoy most trashy TV shows, Gogglebox is an efficient way to catch up. I wish there was a way to summarise dating and tattoo shows, Adam zkt Eva, Dinner Dates and Come Dine With Me.

    To play: Shape games like Tetris, Pokemon Shuffle, and especially Hexic. And the classic Bloodsuckers.

    I’d like to pay more attention to Read Watch Play each month to more easily adhere to the themes!


    Less-favourite things

    Too much hype: Bright copper kettles, crisp apple strudels, doorbells, sleigh bells, animal schnitzel with noodles, wild geese flying at night (till I’ve actually witnessed this one day), girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, silver white Winters that melt into Springs (no melting! Spring all the time! No Winter), dog bites, bee stings…

    Food: Jelly, flummery, pumpkin, goji berries, persimmon, pistachios, licorice, tiramisu, Florentines, marshmallows, tapioca…

    Watched and read list of 2015

    Posted in Books, Lifestyle
    January 31st, 2016

    My annual book and movie list!

    My tally for the year was: 46 movies, 42 books, 1 play, 2 web series, 1 comedy show, and 1 short online movie (a big book-reading improvement on last year’s tally of 55 movies, 17 books and 2 TV series).

    As for games, I spent a lot of time playing Pokemon shuffle, but that’s about it (I usually only like games with shape-matching but no characters, so it’s a bit limiting – although I had a go at Trials fusion and new Tetris). I didn’t visit the library as often as I’d like, but I bought a lot more books than I would normally (i.e. more than zero), and made sure that at least one other person read my copies to make them a bit greener. I also forgot to note which art exhibitions I saw, but that’s a goal for another year.

    2015 was definitely my year of reading Richelle Mead’s series: Bloodlines, Georgina Kincaid, Age of X and Dark Swan (Eugenie Markham). But now I need to read Soundless (from late 2015), and The Glittering Court is coming – when all I want is to petulantly demand another Age of X or Dark Swan book (they are pending/unknown). It was really pleasing to read the concluding book of the Bloodlines series – a colleague once said I was a “completionist”, and for sure, I do like it when things are done, I hate waiting on book release dates.  I was delighted to read the next Jewel series instalmentThe White Rose, but now have to wait for the next one, The Black Key, to be released this fall (in America – autumn is in late September, so maybe 235 days?). Yuck. This is why I read things after the hype is over and there is no waiting, but I guess it is good to support art and culture in-process, but sometimes I can’t stand the anticipation.

    It was also a big year of reading Cassandra Clare’s series: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices. And now to wait for The Dark Artifices. Life is just waiting for more books, it seems.

    I’ve continued my love of trashy movies, but made them a bit more educational with Norwegian subtitles, it would be so helpful if subtitle language availability was made clearer across library catalogues and other listings. And I read the very worst book in the world, Zelda’s cut, which was so frustrating and depressing. I made my mother-in-law read it so that we could bond through our mutual dislike of everything about the characters and storyline.

    Just browsing, thanks

    Arnold in library in Junior movie


    • Trolljegeren (Troll hunter, Norwegian movie with English subtitles)
    • Bloodlines series: 3, The indigo spell, 4, The fiery heart, 5, Silver shadows (books)
    • Jo Nesbo’s Jackpot (Norwegian movie with English subtitles)
    • Men in black (English movie with Norwegian subtitles)

    “Goddamn bugs.” = “Fordømte insekt.”

    • Ickle Pickle’s Cinderella (play)
    • Junior (English movie with Norwegian subtitles – DVD busted 40 minutes in)
    • Age of X series, 1, Gameboard of the gods (book)

    “Seeing the outside of her body was nothing compared to seeing the inside. Even now, he was probably analysing her outburst, and she already felt too raw and exposed. If she kept her back to him, maybe she could hide the hole in her that she felt he’d ripped open.” p. 300

    “She’d never heard of lingonberries but Nordics seemed to love them.” p. 358

    • Headhunters (Norwegian movie with English subtitles)
    • The boyfriend dilemma by Fiona Foden (book)
    • World class trains: the Polar Express (movie – I thought it’d be about Santa but it was about Sweden, this was probably due to my very general keyword search of Norway/Norsk/Oslo/Norwegian, which is why I also watched the DVD Sissel in concert: all good things)
    • Sweet land: a love story (movie)

    “Different kinds of happy”

    • Mortdecai (movie at the cinema)
    • Georgina Kincaid series, 1, Succubus blues (book)

    “The sweater and khakis combination looked both respectable and subdued, though the color scheme blended a bit too well with my light brown hair. It was a librarian sort of outfit. Did I want to look subdued? Maybe.” p. 43

    “I could still feel where his power had touched me, rather like a tactile version of the afterimage one sees with a camera flash.” p. 321.

    • Georgina Kincaid series, 2, Succubus nights (book)
    • Georgina Kincaid series, 3, Succubus dreams (book)

    “It twinkled like starlight, seeping into me.” p. 102

    • Georgina Kincaid series, 4, Succubus heat (book)

    “A flower of agony and euphoria burst open in my chest.” P. 356


    • Georgina Kincaid series, 5. Succubus shadows (book)

    “She was still using that librarian voice, but I had to admit she looked more like a succubus than the last time I’d seen her.” p. 80

    “Out here in the middle of nowhere, stars clustered the sky, and night insects rained down a symphony of chatter.” p. 177

    • Georgina Kincaid series, 6. Succubus revealed (book)

    “Our souls are like …oh, I don’t know. It’s like they’re encased in amber. They’re there, and I can see them inside us.” p. 253

    • The butcher’s wife (English movie with Norwegian subtitles)
    • Immortal: love stories with bite (book)
    • Pitch perfect (movie)
    • Bloodlines series, 6, The ruby circle (book)
    • Confidence (movie)

    “See this? That’s your love line, that’s your money line, and that’s looking very, very good. And that’s your life line going all the way down – uh-oh. See that little gap there. It means that at one point, you could have a little trouble. But it’s up to you to make it better.”

    • Asterix and the Picts (book)
    • Bleak: the web series
    • The Katering show episodes


    • Taffin (movie)
    • Age of X series, 2, The immortal crown (book)

    “You’re too entrenched in mortal thinking if you think this is a coincidence. Don’t you know I’m looking out for you?” p. 181

    • Norwegian wood (movie)

    “If I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your wound but mine as well.”

    • Eugenie Markham/Dark Swan series: 1, Storm born, 2, Thorn queen, 3, Iron crowned, 4, Shadow heir (books)
    • Little big man (English movie with Norwegian subtitles)

    “…it would’ve been deliciously wicked.”

    “Something snapped in my head. I decided life wasn’t fit to live, and the only thing to do was to mingle with the twinkling stars.”

    • Blue caprice (movie)
    • A somewhat gentle man [En Ganske snill mann] (Norwegian movie with English subtitles)
    • The Mortal Instruments series, 1, City of Bones (book)

    “…you’re an artist… That means you see the world in ways that other people don’t. It’s your gift, to see the beauty and the horror in ordinary things. It doesn’t make you crazy – just different. There’s nothing wrong with being different.” p. 29

    “The face of the angel was fierce and beautiful and sad.” p. 169

    • The world is a playground, comedy show by Chris Endrey
    • Zelda’s cut (book)

    “She had her hand clamped over her mouth as if to hold the kiss and the power of the kiss inside her. …Still she kept her hand over her mouth, still she felt, under the unconscious grip of her fingers, the heat and the power of his kiss.” p. 75

    “The messages became more and more of a ritual, a sacrifice to an unresponsive god…” p. 396

    • Worms in the night (book)

    “…if anyone saw me I’d look normal – not like a bogan or anything.” p. 1

    “…our sunroom: seagrass matting, cane furniture with lime-green cushions…” p. 14

    “He’s such a spunk, but he’s always distant.” p.17

    “The worms will come.” p. 22

    “The worms will get you,’ the voice said clearly. ‘The worms come in the night.’” p. 22

    “Look out for the worms. They’ll get you,’” p. 23


    • Before midnight (movie)

    “I don’t know where I’m from, but I’m very hairy.”

    “I just naturally feel bad about everything, and you give me that look, like it’s my fault.”

    • The Mortal Instruments series, 2, City of Ashes (book)
    • The tale of Desperaux (movie)
    • The Duff (movie at the cinema)
    • Leviathan (Russian movie with English subtitles at the cinema)
    • The Mortal Instruments series, 3, City of Glass , 4, City of Fallen Angels, 5, City of Lost Souls (books)
    • The Mortal Instruments series, 6, City of Heavenly Fire  (book)

    “Simon didn’t need a mirror to know he was wearing eye-liner. The knowledge was instant, and complete.” p. 133

    “And when I die and they burn my body and I become ashes that mix with the air, and part of the ground and the trees and the stars, everyone who breathes that air or sees the flowers that grow out 707 of the ground or looks up at the stars will remember you and love you, because I love you that much.” pp. 706-7.

    • Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray (movie, but unsure which version)
    • Cinderella (movie)
    • Maleficent (again! movie)
    • The Infernal Devices series, 1, Clockwork Angel (book)

    “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” p. 93

    “He didn’t know what books 103 meant to her, that books were symbols of truth and meaning, that this one acknowledged that she existed and that there were others like her in the world.” pp. 103-104

    “…a lot of vampires were beautiful. Their beauty had always seemed to him like the beauty of pressed flowers – lovely, but dead.” p. 197

    “There was a clear picture in her head of the sea. It had drawn back entirely from the shore, and she could see the small creatures it had left gasping in its wake, flapping and dying on the bare sand.” p. 470

    • The Infernal Devices series, 2, Clockwork Prince (book)
    • The Infernal Devices series, 3, Clockwork Princess (book)

    “There were still flecks of dried blood around his collarbones, a sort of brutal necklace.” p. 78

    “…she had understood-oh, she had been told it before, had known it before, but that was not the same as understanding…” p. 159

    “Life was an uncertain thing, and there were some moments one wished to remember, to imprint upon one’s mind that the memory might be taken out later, like 372 a flower pressed between the pages of a book, and admired and recollected anew.” pp. 372-3.

    “She held his face between her hands as they kissed-he tasted slightly of tea leaves, and his lips were soft and the kiss entirely sweet. Sophie floated in it, in the prism of the moment, feeling safe from all the rest of the world.” p. 373

    “I feel like you can look inside me and see all the places I am odd or unusual and fit your heart around them, for you are odd and unusual in just the same way.” p. 412

    “’What you are, what you can do, it is like some great miracle of the earth, like fire or wildflowers or the breadth of the sea. You are unique in the world, just as you are unique in my heart, and there will never be a time when I do not love you.’” p. 537

    • Testament of Youth (movie at the cinema)


    • The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, Notes by Robert Mighall (book)

    “If thought could exercise its influence upon a living organism, might not thought exercise an influence upon dead and inorganic things? Nay, without thought or conscious desire, might not things external to ourselves vibrate in unison with our moods and passions, atom calling to atom in secret love or strange affinity?” p. 103

    “He went towards the little pearl-coloured octagonal stand, that had always looked to him like the work of some strange Egyptian bees that wrought in silver…” p. 120

    “…getting the dainty Delhi muslins, finely wrought with gold-thread palmates, and stitched over with iridescent beetles’ wings…” p. 133

    • Not suitable for children (movie)
    • The unbecoming of Mara Dyer (book)

    “I was a goldfish without a castle to hide in.” p. 54

    “My shoulders sagged as if someone let all the air out of the smiley-face balloon that was my heart.” p. 274

    • The evolution of Mara Dyer (book)

    “I’ll walk forever with stories inside me that the people I love the most can never hear.” p. 258

    “The papers flutter when I open or close the door, like the walls are breathing.” p. 305

    • The retribution of Mara Dyer (book)

    “I love you. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever. If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If I were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.” p. 453

    “…it feels like we’re alone in a sea of beating hearts and breathing lungs.” p. 466

    • Kung fury (online movie)
    • Rabbit Hole (movie)

    “Oh! I like the way it cracks.” “Mmm-hmm. Of course you do.”


    “My anxiety mushrooms; this deal could all go to shit.” p. 90

    “I undo my bow tie. Perhaps it’s me that’s empty.” p. 292

    “Anxiety blooms in my chest.” p. 379

    • Orange is the new black (book)

    “…I understood that these stories held their own accuracy.” p. 141

    “Lack of empathy lies at the heart of every crime…” p. 298


    • Fanny och Alexander (Swedish movie with English subtitles, at the cinema)
    • The skin I live in (Spanish movie with English subtitles)

    “…there’s a place where you can take refuge, a place inside you, a place to which no one else has access, a place that no one can destroy.”

    “I breathe. I know I breathe.”

    • Summer Coda (movie)

    “…I don’t really know you. But I feel like I do.”

    “…and we all have stuff that we wanted to say that we could’ve said. …we never put a time-limit on these things. They’re just so easy to put off. But just because he didn’t say it, doesn’t mean that you didn’t feel it. It just means that you’re the only one that will ever know.”

    • Angel (movie)

    “What in tarnation would I be doing with toys?”

    • Homesick (Norwegian movie with English subtitles)
    • St Trinian’s 2 – The Legend of Fritton’s Gold

    “I’d rather cover myself in jam and sit on a wasps’ nest.”

    About a puppy: “I bet if he could talk, he’d be trying to tell me just how much he loves me.”

    • Remember Me (movie)

    “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.”


    • Ironman (movie)
    • Faberge (movie at the cinema)
    • Hansel and Gretel (movie)
    • Jackass 1 & 2 (movies)


    • Mazerunner: The Scorch Trials (movie at the cinema)

    “People in the mountains? Mountain-people? That’s your plan?”

    • The children’s Bach (book)

    “That’s what they should have on TV every night… Not that violent American rubbish. They should have the Sunset Report. Brought to you by the Federal Department of Nature Appreciation.” p. 35

    “There was no way he could have known that her heart, for the thousandth time, felt as if it had turned into a sharp splinter.” p. 77

    • The Bane Chronicles (book)

    “…her remembered face like the distant familiar beauty of stars, not to be touched but to shine in front of his eyes at night.” p. 17

    “Magnus had learned to be careful about giving his memories with his heart. When people died, it felt like all the pieces of yourself you had given to them went as well. It took so long, building yourself back up until you were whole again, ,and you were never entirely the same.” p. 34

    “This was what humans did: They left one another messages through time, pressed between pages or carved into rock. Like reaching out a hand through time, and trusting in a phantom hoped-for hand to catch yours. Humans did not live forever. They could only hope what they made would endure.” p. 42

    “Everything about this exchange was wrong. This was not how the reunion should have gone. It should have been coy, it should have had many strange pauses and moments of double meaning.” p. 283

    “The heart had its reasons, and they were seldom all that reasonable.” p. 331

    “…a trouble sundae with dark secret cherries on top.” p. 331

    “And silver, though few people knew it, was a rarer metal than gold.” p. 396

    • Heart of Darfur (book)

    “seeing the overwhelming needs and fears in the world we can all be excused for wanting to withdraw.” p. 106



    • The Dressmaker (movie at the cinema)
    • Sex and the City 2 (movie)
    • The White Rose (book)

    “I wish I could unzip my skin and show him the place inside me where Ash lives, tangled up in blood and bone and muscle, impossible to separate or remove.” p. 117

    “I rub my eyes. There’s too much in my head, and not enough space for it all.” p. 172

    • Mockingjay Part 2 (movie at the cinema)


    • The Good Dinosaur (movie at the cinema)
    • Murder by the book

    “…the big cabinets where rare old books and memorabilia grew silently older and rarer behind glass.” p. 70

    • The Eyre Affair (book)

    “The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think: a bit like a frozen lake. Hundreds of people can walk across it, but then one evening a thin spot develops and someone falls through; the hole is frozen over by the following morning.” [didn’t write down the pagination!]

    • 50 shades of grey (movie)
    • Magic Mike II (movie)
    • Death of a Butterfly (a Detective Sigrid Harald mystery)

    “The backs of his hands were lightly sprinkled with brown age marks, but the hands were still capable – a craftsman’s hands, strong and square, yet with the promise of lyrical, gentle touch.” p. 10

    • Magpies, squirrels and thieves: how the Victorians collected the world (book)

    “His relationship with his employer was edgy and barbed, liable to erupt in furious explosions.” p. 22

    “…Robinson was suggesting that it was not only beautiful objects themselves that were important, but also the very ‘pursuit’ of collecting them. Tracking down objects, studying them, comparing and treasuring them…” p. 69

    “This portrait… …was showing off the part of him that mattered – his collection.” p. 189

    “He became a collector of stories.” p. 343

    • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (movie)

    Looking in on The Visit movie

    Posted in Lifestyle
    October 18th, 2015

    A few weeks ago my parents saw The Visit film. They thought it would be just a nice movie about grandkid/grandparent visits. They got a surprise. I suppose the blood on the poster looks like something less sinister, strawberry jam, maybe. We went along to see it later, to understand just how much it would have varied from their expectations.

    Don’t continue reading this if you still want to watch it! (although, Mr Sonja says that everyone has seen it now and we are completely off trend). And what I have to say might put you off anyway.

    The Visit movie ticket with cross-stitch tree

    Embroidered woodlands

    Unfortunately The Visit was a little bit ruined for me as someone commented on the youtube trailer: “Those aren’t their grandparents, they killed the real ones and hid them in the basement. Spoiler alert.” (argh you put spoiler alert at the wrong end of the sentence and ruined my experience! I think if a movie is being so heavily promoted on youtube, that the front-up spoiler comments should at least be managed). Like Brent McKnight, I assumed that there would be some sort of body-swapping or possession – I guess body-swapping did happen in a sense, though. I also wondered if there was a cult in the mix, given the description on the official website“Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home are growing smaller every day.”

    I missed quite a few parts of the movie as, like at Melissa King’s screening, there were some very disruptive movie-goers talking throughout the film with phrases such as “What the-!” and “Don’t go in there!”. I was really hoping they might walk out, and if I’d sat above them (rather than the row below), I would have touched their shoulders at a jump-moments to help them understand the impact you can have on someone’s viewing experience.

    Becca and Tyler’s visit to Nanna and Pop-pop was bound to be unpredictable as a week-long hazing of “getting to know each other”. At one point, Tyler says “I hope things don’t get any more awkward, because I’m at my limit.” That was my feeling throughout, even though I love critically panned movies. Glimpses of the driveway on the way to “Grandma’s  house in the woods” was reminiscent of the scenic twists and turns of Manderley’s driveway in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (very apt given they both feature characters with the same name). The foreboding underscore of the whole film – what lies beneath – was offset by the meant-to-be-comedic elements such as the expansive vocabulary of the children (eerily similar to the teenagers in Dawson’s Creek). The tension of the red chapter markers as a count-down to the finish mimicked Sophie Calle’s count-down of “days until unhappiness” in her work of art, Exquisite Pain.

    The Visit movie with the well

    Well, well

    Of M. Night’s films, the only other two I’ve seen are The Sixth Sense (another movie beginning with stopword -the) and Lady in the water. Perhaps because of my viewing of Lady in the water, I really thought that The Visit had a shared, consistent theme – water. Water featured as the rising damp that would have created the faux “toxic mould” in the basement (a Bluebeard-like forbidden room), the story of sleeping underwater, aliens spitting into a lake, Nanna’s fascination with the well, her history of drowning her children and the rainy weather in the final scenes. If there was a lake beneath the house, that could be why the bodies of the actual grandparents were placed in the basement, for a “deep, really beautiful sleep” (strong burial, ground hibernation themes consistent with alien incubation). Nanna could have been almost excavating down to the underground lake when they were playing hide-and-seek in the labyrinthine setting beneath the house.

    Could Nanna be from the Lady’s Blue World? She does have a mermaid-like habit of shedding her clothing, but that could also be the persistence of that traditional role of women being naked for art, as exposed in the Guerrilla Girls’ “weenie count” of male vs. female nudes.

    To balance the prominence of water, Nanna is also skilled in the use of fire – the fairytale elements (highlighted in Sheila O’Malley’s review) of Little Red Riding Hood’s surprise host, and fattening up children with biscuits and putting them in the oven. My friend K asked me if The Visit was the “fairy bread movie, you know the Hansel and Gretel one”:

    “The film unfolds like an urban myth, a variation on the Hansel and Gretel tale. Is there more to Nana’s fixation with baking cakes and cookies than meets the eye?” (Nick Dent’s review).

    Baked goods are a weapon throughout – as a beguiling introduction/welcome at the train station, but then as a burnt walnut lure for Becca to venture downstairs like a breadcrumb trail through a darkened forest, a trap to leave the room after bedtime. Even in a raw state, biscuit dough acts as a barrier on Becca’s computer, hampering communications with the outside world. Based on the movie poster, and the focus on Nanna as being skilled in stereotypical home-crafts, I wondered if her intricate (yet still managing to remain rustic) dishes were going to be poisoned (like the welcoming hospitality of Troll II). Even Nanna’s appearance was “cookie cutter” Grandma stereotype.

    Sean Roberts (Reel Time episode 73) has described the third act as “More of a revelation than a twist”, and that the grounded organic nature of it, rather than being shocking, unfolds with the chronic waiting throughout the movie, just like a visit with family.

    Paired with the build-up towards the ending, was an increasingly uncomfortable perspective on ageing, and the final blow, a treatise of fear towards mental illness. While Becca hunts for the elusive elixir (forgiveness for her mother to act as a salve for a fractured family), the entire movie warps the idea of treatment, salvation or rehabilitation for psychiatric patients. Brian Truitt has noted that the movie touches on themes of “…redemption, forgiveness and the passage of time”, but it seems that redemption is only available to absent fathers or a mother who didn’t share the whole story of a traumatic family rift.

    Much of what is happening is about clinical behaviours, but also playing on the idea of “elderly people are weird” and the director’s “…deep-seated fears and insecurities” about the elderly (Shyamalan has openly acknowledged this in Yeap, Sue. Shyamalan tale takes on primal fears. Kalgoorlie Miner, 26 September 2015, p. 38 via Factiva), also highlighted by David Chen.

    While The Visit is a horror-comedy, a lot of the “funny” bits are generally about a “demeaning senior-citizen freakshow”, as described by Tim Robey:

    …the movie’s fear of the elderly is pathological, and barely even satirical… Essentially it treats old people – not these grandparents in particular, but old people generally – as if they’re already dead: smelly nightmares looming up at you in their soiled nightclothes. The black-comic hysteria of the tone doesn’t let this kind of point-and-gawp callousness off the hook, when what we’re beholding is a prime candidate for the most gerontophobic film ever made.”

    The classic fairytale elements of visiting family-as-strangers in a remote location, “…edged with fable and nightmare” are not enough to overcome the demonisation of ageing and mental illness.

    As the action pepped up, Becca and Tyler were able to overcome their blocks from their father-abandonment issues. Becca’s fear and horror at her own reflection is subverted in her stabbing of Nanna with a mirror shard, and Tyler’s frozen terror at a sports game morphs into tackling and kicking Pop-pop to death (who, before anointing Tyler with his own scatalogical concoction to mitigate a spell, tells him how much he disliked him from the start). The power is given back to the victims (the children), and the [first set of] murdered grandparents are written off with the mother’s observation that they were caring, and nothing is made of the failure of the mental health system. Christopher Campbell has put it best:

    “They’re not robots or aliens or pod people or villainous masterminds or anything fantastical by any means. The twist is that they’re insane. So then it’s not just elder shame, which it is still, but it’s also mental illness shame.”

    I know someone who strongly believes that the conclusion of the movie was that Nanna and Pop-pop are genuinely aliens. Perhaps they were watching a different Visit movie, but to be honest, a supernatural twist would have sat more comfortably.

    Homesick festival

    Posted in Lifestyle
    July 17th, 2015

    The Scandinavian Film Festival is only running in Canberra for 9 more days (it opened on Tuesday), so it’s a short time to see all the Norwegian features. It has four Norwegian films: Beatles, Homesick, Out of Nature and Underdog. Apart from enjoying the movies, hearing the Norsk pronunciation really helps to get a sense of the language (and I need all the help I can get!).

    Tonight I saw Homesick (De nærmeste) (it screens again next week), you may have seen an intimate shot from it in the Festival’s promotions.

    Poster at Palace Electric

    Poster at Palace Electric

    Before I saw the movie, I was really thinking of the concept of homesickness, and how it relates to my heritage. The story was a lot more confronting than I expected – and I had planned to see it again as Norwegian practice, but I won’t be doing that and definitely not with family! I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll just say that generally I thought that Charlotte had a unique vulnerability and an abandonment pattern. The motif of family jewellery was really powerful, with the circle of a necklace symbolising group membership. It was very challenging, I felt more awkwardness in it than a satisfying “Nordic melancholia”. I noticed a few different words though, so it wasn’t without benefit.

    SKI jumper

    SKI jumper

    One good thing about the movie was seeing another moviegoer in this wondrous and totally relevant home-knitted jumper. He said a friend made it 20 years ago. The front had SKI knitted in navy, little Vs picked out on the white woolly snow expanse. He didn’t understand why I was so enthralled with it, I can’t really explain it either.

    I’d like to have a proper immersion experience in Norwegian culture – I guess the point of this is that not every part of a country will be what you want to watch. It is odd to feel homesick for a place you don’t really know – a sort of hiraeth. My family is Norwegian, and having grown up in Australia, I’d like to have a better sense of Norway to help resolve my anaemic cultural identity. It’s existing in that interstitial space between, when your name means people regularly ask about your background but the answer never satisfies, it’s the pieces that don’t match up. When I worked in hospitality (15 years ago), an older colleague said he gained such a feeling of connection when he went back to the “mother country”, seeing behaviours in context which then increased his self-understanding. I didn’t grasp the significance at the time, but he said that one day I’d be overcome by a nostalgic longing for my heritage. He was right.

    Fiona Watson has said that homesickness can be triggered by anything: “You see an image and it immediately goes straight to your heart.” Mary Jaksch highlights the importance of visiting the landscape of your parents and grandparents: “I now know where I come from, and have reconnected with my roots.”

    City News' Canberra Confidential

    City News’ Canberra Confidential

    Recently the City News’ Canberra Confidential column chortled at Visit Canberra being a bit “excitable” for tweeting about resources for researching the wartime experiences of relatives (family history research and geneaology). They must never have felt the satisfaction of discovering how your ancestors met (on an overnight boat trip, and married the next day), gaining knowledge about future propensity for medical conditions (sitting at a table-full of people, all with intense party tricks due to hypermobile joints), the spookiness of seeing your features in an ancestor’s portrait or learning about your namesake. Perhaps documenting and preserving your family story isn’t what everyone would choose in a holiday, but for some it’s a definite drawcard for visiting Canberra (the AWM, NLA, AIATSIS, ACTHL, NGA and more). Increased traffic to these institutions shows that for many people, family history and genealogy IS exciting. Genealogists (tourists and locals) contribute to Canberra’s economy and have a deep appreciation for our cultural institutions, collections and their services.

    If  it’s not exciting to learn about the past, the success of Who do you think you are? as a television program must be an anomaly.

    I have a searing hope that I might visit Norway again soon. I like the idea of carrying places within us, “…keeping the old environment alive inside…” (this quote was in a very different context, but it’s from van Tilburg, M. & Vingerhoets, A., Psychological aspects of geographical moves: homesickness and acculturation stress, Amsterdam University Press, 2007, p. 106). In the meantime, I’ll hope to enjoy the other movies in the festival and keep watching Desperate Housewives with Norwegian subtitles.

    Watched and read list of 2014

    Posted in Books, Lifestyle
    February 1st, 2015

    A bit late! Oh well. I only read two books and a trilogy in the first nine months, and then I caught up with twelve more books in the remaining 3 months. Which makes this really more of a movie list, with 55 movies and 2 TV series (I didn’t see many movies growing up, I’m catching up). I didn’t count non-fiction books, because they’re work-related (but in hindsight, perhaps not an optimal decision). In making this list, I’ve realised that I’ll watch and read basically anything that’s available. This isn’t a highly sought-after superpower, but if a book or DVD feels neglected in a 1 km radius, I will give it some attention. I am still recovering from watching all of Dawson’s Creek over several months in 2013 (I loved it).

    Kate has a good, measurable goal of a book a month (plus many other “real person” goals) and to note them on Goodreads. As a binge-reader/watcher, my goal is to visit the library at least once a fortnight so I always have a pile of books or DVDs at home, ready for when I get the craving.

    Credit for reading list tracking to E, who got the idea from another archivist, and of course Read Watch Play.

    My word of the year (milquetoast) was from the movie Extra Man. I didn’t really have a favourite from the list, but I find that the more I enjoy something, the more I want to remember quotes so that I can keep it close (like pinning a butterfly to remember the colours, even if it is still faded from the real experience). Maybe it was Maleficent as I watched it twice. Magic Mike was fun but I forgot I had the DVD in the computer drive, so I spent ages trying to work out which internet tab was playing an interminable melody until I realised it was the DVD intro auto-play.

    I’m excited to read the rest of the Bloodlines novels (last one out in February) and the sequel to Jewel (White Rose), but it isn’t out till 6 October! Ugh. At least it’s a little closer with each passing moment.


    • Little red riding hood (movie)


    • 50 shades of grey trilogy (books)
    • Rewatching seasons 1-3 Game of Thrones (TV series)
    • I saw the devil (Korean movie with English subtitles)


    • Orphan (movie)
    • Män som hatar kvinnor (Swedish movie with English subtitles)
    • March hares (book)

    [in the British Museum reading room] “It was as indeed as good as a play, this marvellous aggregation of human dramatic possibilities surging tirelessly before him. He wondered that he had never thought of seeing it before.” P. 4

    [various notations about Pale flaxen hair picked with lemon in its lights and a Dainty rose-leaf of a chin]

    “Placing her elbows on the table, and poising her chin between thumbs and forefingers, she bestowed a frank scrutiny upon his face, as intent and dispassionate as the gaze which a professor of palmistry fastens upon the lines of the client’s hand.” P. 30

    “David piled up in reverie the loathly epithets upon the over-large bald head of his friend with savage satisfaction. “You preposterous clown!” he snarled at the burly blond image of the absent nobleman in his mind’s eye. “You gratuitous and wanton ass! Oh, you unthinkable duffer!” p. 139

    “Who the deuce could it be?” p. 156

    • Doughnut by Tom Holt (book) (lots of fun quotes)
    • The Hunger Games: Catching fire (movie)
    • Filth (movie)
    • The people next door (movie)
    • The gods must be crazy II (movie)
    • Lego (movie)
    • The hunt (Danish movie with English subtitles)


    • The other woman (movie)
    • Now you see me (movie)
    • Miss congeniality 2 (movie)
    • Butter (movie)
    • Jackass 3 (movie)
    • Magic Mike (movie)


    • Maleficent x 2 (movie) The first movie I’ve ever enjoyed enough to see twice at the cinema! I wrote about it twice during blogjune, perhaps my double-consumption was symptomatic of having to write as a daily habit.
    • Bruce Almighty (movie – couldn’t get through it)
    • Horrible bosses (movie)
    • Beasts of the Southern Wild (movie)


    • How to train your dragon 2 (movie)
    • The day of the triffids (series, 1981)

    Ep1: “You’ve got eyes, use them goddamnit”

    Ep 5? “The trouble with triffids is what we don’t know” “All the knowledge is there, in books, if only we’d take the time to read them.”

    • Midnight in the garden of good and evil (movie)
    • Café de flore (movie)

    “Antoine radiates happiness from every pore.”

    “Everything you touch turns to gold.”

    “Dickwad! Quit busting my balls! I’ll rip out your eyes, scumbag! I’ll rip out your eyes… scumbag! And kick your teeth out your ass!” “I’m proud of you, tiger. Don’t smile. Let’s go home. Don’t smile. You did great.”

    “Never wake up the monster who leaves its lair to eat little children!”

    “Do you believe in soul mates?” “I’m not sure”. “I like it. I like the idea. That someone, somewhere is made for you, forever.”

    “I just want to know more about my dreams. …I often dream about a little monster.”

    “We can’t give in to setbacks or the opinions of so-called fat cat specialists.”

    “It develops from the inside. It’s a matter of love, faith. Everyone can develop their paranormal abilities. It’s a question of desire and will.”

    • Extra man (movie featuring Katie Holmes as a vegan!)

    “It’s at a magazine. An environmental journal.” “I’m sure it’s all just a front for po***graphy.”

    “Don’t be such a milquetoast.”

    “I’ve never told anyone this, but sometimes, in my head I actually imagine there’s somebody narrating my life as if I’m the protagonist in a classic novel.”

    “I need to put on my eyemask.”

    • Finding Amanda (movie)
    • Blue is the warmest colour (movie)

    “A worm crawls out of a plate of spaghetti and says: “That was some gangbang!””

    Art school truth

    Art school truth

    • Straight As (movie)

    “Katherine alluded to the fact that you’re unreliable, so you have to promise.”

    “Wow. Just so you know, you’re kinda being a c***.”


    • Lucy (movie)
    • Prometheus (movie)

    “Nah, I’m out of here.” “Hey, Fifield! Where are you going?” “What? Look, I’m just a geologist. I like rocks. I love rocks. Now, it’s clear you two don’t give a shit about rocks…”

    • My life in ruins (movie)
    • Her (movie)

    “The past is just a story we tell ourselves.”

    “You’re failing your children! Lose 2000 Mom points!”

    “The point is to get there first ‘cause then you get extra Perfect Mom points because the other Moms then know you’re a perfect Mom.”

    “You’re always going to disappoint somebody.” “Exactly. So fuck it. I feel good. Ish. For me, I feel good.”

     “You think I don’t know that I’m not a person? What are you doing?”

    • Bernie (movie)


    • The Woman in Black  (movie)

    [looking at drawing] “Why do I look so sad?” “That’s what your face looks like.”

    • Rainman (movie)

    “Of course, I don’t have my books and, cos there are no bookshelves, I’m definitely going to be bookless.”

    • Mr and Mrs Smith (movie)
    • The Hot Chick (movie)
    • The Labyrinth (movie)

    “I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.”

    • Snow White and the Hunter (movie)
    • Season 4 Game of Thrones (TV series)


    • The door in the floor (movie)

    “…because of how it must feel against your skin.”

    “Don’t expect any mercy from me. I’m going to grind you into a fine powder.”

     “The whole rest of your life, whenever you need to feel brave, just look at your scar. Your hand will grow bigger, and your finger will grow bigger, but your scar will always stay the same size.”

    • Is anybody there? (movie)

    [on death:] “What happens is, you think the last thought you’re ever going to think.”

    “You accumulate regrets, and they stick to you like old bruises.”

    “You spend your life accumulating stuff, and then you can’t find anywhere to put it.”

    • The reckoning (movie)
    • The secret of Dorian Gray (1970) (only first 30 minutes as the DVD busted)

     “Ah, Mr Business and Miss Pleasure.”

    • Bliss (movie)

    “It’s got nothing to do with the doctor.” “He’s got sausage fingers.” “Yeah, I know.”

    “This was written in 1649.” “Yes.” “Well, it’s a bit out of date, isn’t it?” “We’re talking about eternity and you’re quibbling about 350 years! If it was true once, it must always be true.”

    “Didn’t I notice you lift your eyebrow in a disagreeable way?”

    “Only a crazy man would write a love letter that takes 8 years to arrive.”

    “…and the trees …were not too busy to take this sigh back through their leaves.”

    • Gone girl (movie)
    • The glovemaker by Stacia Brown (book)

    “Sometimes, when Walwyn was working on something, he would read a sentence or two out loud, and she could hear where her thoughts streaked across the horizon of his words, like old stars that light up the night sky as they are falling.” p. 238

    “The words were beautiful. They swam toward her; they slid up onto the bank. the words became flesh and then the flesh took on wings and 337 then the wings made a picture; she could see things in her mind as she was going along. The words tapped at her, a woodpecker drilling a trunk. Then the tapping became new words and the new words grew, and what was grown was love.” pp. 336-7


    • Bad neighbours (movie in English with Norwegian subtitles)
    • X-Men: days of future past (movie)
    • The internet’s own boy: the story of Aaron Swartz (movie)
    • Canterwood crest series, 15: Comeback, by Jessica Burkhart (book)

    “He was wearing one of my fave colors on him – a fire-engine-red tee. The color looked amaze against his pale skin.” p. 121

    • Deliver me from evil: a sadistic foster mother, a childhood torn apart, by Alloma Gilbert (book)
    • Pan’s whisper, by Sue Lawson (book)

    “Sorrow swoops in my chest like a swallow.” p. 135


    • Life after Beth (movie)
    • W.E. (movie)

    “Your majesty, you certainly know your way to a woman’s heart!” “I wasn’t aiming that high.”

    • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (movie)
    • Vampire Academy (movie)
    • A Little Help (movie)

    ‘You’re pretty sassy for a hygienist, aren’t ya?’

    • The Inbetweeners 2 (movie)
    • Sightseers (movie)

    “What were you like at school Chris?” “I wasn’t like anything, I was like, invisible.”

    “It’s a bloody heritage place! …They’ve not been preserved for hundreds of years so that wankers like that can use them like a bloody toilet!”

    “…That tree won’t involve itself in low-level bullying.”

    “Poor boy. Those cheap crisps are full of horrors.”

    “No, no, no, you don’t want clutter. You just want some plants and cushions and pictures and a tablecloth there…”

    • Cold hands, warm heart by Jill Wolfson (book)

    “What little social know-how I did possess came by analyzing characters on TV shows like reruns of Degrassi (both classic and Next Generation). I figured that if I 50 decided which character I most resembled, I’d have my social blueprint for knowing how to talk and act.” pp. 50-51

    “So did he think I was nice at least? Being nice wasn’t a bad thing to be. No, nice was awful. the worst. Nice was coddled eggs and applesauce. Nice was totally bland and forgettable.” p. 58

    “Everyone keeps talking about finding a heart for me, as though one were hidden behind the couch in a game of hide-and-seek, or it had been misplaced along with someone’s cell phone.” p. 60

    “…the exposed heart beat back and forth like a small animal that had been chased and was breathing hard, cornered in a cave of strange red rock.” p. 80

    • Bloodlines series, 1, Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (book)
    • Bloodlines series, 2, The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (book)

    “Was he supposed to kiss me? Was I supposed to let him? Had that been the real price of my salad?” p. 88

    • Ondine: the summer of shambles by Ebony McKenna (book – pleasant but with some clear anti-vegetarian rhetoric, p. 182 and a steak rant, p. 166)

    “Laundry duty washed away another layer of skin, so really, all she had were memories.” p. 82

    “He gave her a grin hot enough to melt her slippers.” p. 256

    • Maze runner (movie)
    • Bonechiller by Graham McNamee (book)
    • The memory keeper’s daughter by Kim Edwards (book)

    “A film closed over the past as she spoke, a barrier as brittle and fragile as ice forming. It would grow and strengthen. It would become impenetrable, opaque.” p. 88

    “…for an instant she stood again amid the sound of rushing water form the mill, happiness as full around her as the night.” p. 89

    “The geode was warm and damp. He gave it a sharp crack on the rock, splitting it open to reveal its crystalline purple heart. “So beautiful,” Norah murmured, turning it in her hand. “Ancient seas,” David said. “The water got trapped inside and crystallized, over centuries.” p. 111

    “And the distance between them, millimeters only, the space of a breath, opened up and deepened, became a cavern at whose edge he stood.” p. 115

    “…she was excluded from the conversation: object, not subject.” p. 181

    • Magic bunny series, Holiday dreams by Sue Bentley (book)
    • The year my voice broke (movie)
    • The Jewel by Amy Ewing (book)