Rachel's Blog

Sun, 31 Dec 2006
Happy New Year!

Hope you all had great night last night doing exactly what puts you in the best possible mood to start the new year. Richard and I shared a bottle of sparkly, slightly too much chocolate and five episodes back-to-back to get us to the end of season two of Veronica Mars. We also tried out Anti-Monopoly, which seems fun, but really doesn't work with just two players. (In other words, I lost.)

It worked for me, I'm feeling unusually chipper this morning. The rain helps too.

You know the Internet is quite zippy at 9.00am on the 1st of January.

Sun, 31 Dec 2006
2006 - that's it?

Well I was going to do a year-end wrap-up thing, but you probably all know by now that my memory is shite, so I have no idea.

Next year I resolve to have more fun. It's going to be serious enough with leaving the house at unholy o'clock three times a week.
So - fun. I can totally do that.

Fri, 29 Dec 2006
Our books are much cooler than this. I swear.

I've been using Delicious Library for quite a while now, and I still recommend it for maintaining a private collection. But I thought I'd take a look at LibraryThing today and the more social side to book hoarding. I like the idea of tagging books, reviews, recommendations and of course poking around other people's stuff. So I signed up. Fortunately it has a universal import capability so I set it to upload from the convenient Delicious Library export feature and left it chugging away. Four hours later I come back to discover there is a 200 book limit on free accounts.

LibraryThing has uploaded 200 random ISBNs from the 1300+ it had to choose from. It now looks like I have a completely moronic collection, largely based around Mr Men books. Ay Carumba.

Night at the Museum

This is such a disappointing film. It almost works in so many ways, but then just flaps vaguely at the exciting moments before returning to the boring plot of divorced dad must prove his worth to his only son.

What Night at the Museum should have been is a cross between Jumanji and The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler (more the book in that case). An adventure story set in a common place that is naturally infused with mystery and excitment (such as an old house with an unsolved mystery or, hey, a museum!). To have this opportunity wasted is such a shame.

The main character, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a middle-aged guy with no direction in life and no particular interests (except for his son to play ice hockey and WTF was up with that?). For a kid's film, the main character should have been the son, Nick (Jake Cherry). A nine- or ten-year-old boy, bouncing between his mum's and dad's houses, one of whom can't hold down a job and the other engaged to the lamest guy on the planet (Paul Rudd). This is the character the film should have focussed on. Nick instead is portrayed as being perfectly balanced - only getting upset when he witnesses his father being fired. This is played out as though he feels sorry for his dad's misfortune, when really it should have been about the fact that a)his dad let him down again and b)two of his friends also witnessed the unceremonious sacking and proceed to tease him (half-heartedly) about it.

But what about the night-time shenannigans, you ask? Well I think I'm giving as much attention here to them as the plot did. The whole, thrilling idea of having every exhibit of a natural history museum come to life between sunset and sunrise is merely a macguffin. An impressive and at times very funny macguffin, but obvious and pointless nonetheless.

The cast put in adequate performances, but not all of them were having as much fun with it as I would have liked to see. Owen Wilson was great as an inch-tall Jedediah, and it was historically nifty to see Mickey Rooney and Dick van Dyke acting together but other cameos are wasted. I kept expecting Ricky Gervais as the Director of the Museum to be funny, but he was hobbled completely by the unfunniest writing I ever cringed at. Robin Williams plays the wise man/old sage/Yoda of the film (disguised as Teddy Roosevelt), but it's nothing special.

It's easy to dismiss a film like Night at the Museum as just a kid's flick, but I don't belive that children should have to suffer second-rate entertainment. Especially when it uses up such imaginatively-valuable material. Who now will make the film I want to see where two kids sneak into a museum at night only to find that "history is coming to life"?

Sun, 24 Dec 2006
Maybe it's the reindeer...

Santa brought us a thunderstorm! This is awesome!

Sat, 23 Dec 2006
Christmas Good Beer!

Clearly the whole Xmas thing has affected me. Not only did I run out of wrapping paper and gift tags and sticky tape, I managed to lose two different presents. They refused to be found, even by me, so skillfully were they hidden. And I'd only bought them a week ago. Eventually after 30 minutes dedicated searching they were located, in two entirely separate, entirely unlikely places. (My underwear drawer? Oh, honestly how tragic.)

Now I've just realised that I've beautifully wrapped a gift that was intended for a stocking inside another gift, which is now in plain view under the tree. I'm going to have to get up at the pre-crack-of-dawn to remedy that one.

The only cure at this stage, I'm afraid, is more beer.

Have a great one, everybody, and I'll be back here after all the feasting.

Fri, 22 Dec 2006
50 Greatest Cartoons

Got some time off over the next few days? Try this - a compilation of video links to the 50 Greatest Cartoons as voted by the animation industry.

And because this is twice-removed, can I assume I'm exempt from prosecution? Oh, probably not.

(via Boing Boing)

Wed, 20 Dec 2006
Kinder Present

I don't care if I don't receive another present this year*, as Abbey just scored a place in the local kindergarten for next year and I grabbed a spot on our preferred day for her in swimming classes.

No big deal? Abbey was on the waiting lists for two kinders - in fourteenth place for one of them (and that was after filling in all the forms correctly and returning them on the earliest day possible). There were only two places available for swimming as apparently another swim school in the area has just closed down.

Now I just need to get back into the swing of school terms, labels on drink bottles and, before you know it, the politics of best-friends, second-best-friends and you're-not-my-friend-anymore.

*I say this knowing full well that presents have already been procured for me.

Sat, 16 Dec 2006
All I want for Christmas is...

.. my two front teeth, my eyesight, the third and forth fingers of my left hand and my little brother back. Mummy won't stop crying.

Radar magazine has assembled a list of the ten best toys that maim, including the one that chews.
(via Gillian Pollack)

Mon, 11 Dec 2006
Three of these memes are exactly like the other one.

Just when you thought that blog memes never told you anything about a person, note that these tend to support each other.

You Are Bert
Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

You Belong in 1971
If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

What Year Do You Belong In?

You Are Jan Brady
Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.
And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.

What Brady Are You?

Your EQ is 67
50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!
51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.
71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.
91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.
111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.
131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.
150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

What's Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient)?

*sigh* It's all true. I'm off now to dig out my flares, light some incense and count my bottle caps. All alone.

Wed, 06 Dec 2006
Scary Mary

While Neil Gaiman quotes the New Yorker to make sure we understand the fearsome beast that is Mary Poppins, fan Chris Rule has constructed a visual aid.
YouTube link.
(via Neil Gaiman and Boing Boing)

Mon, 04 Dec 2006
Let's Go, Lego!
Wonky Little Red Bus

Abbey and I both have bad sore throats at the moment, but I had one moment of genius today and dragged out the "real" Lego. That is - the original, small sized, no fancy-pants pieces, town Lego. Within seconds we were going kkrrrrshhhh, kkkrrrrssshhhh through the box and I was transported back a couple of decades. (yikes.)

Abbey isn't quite up to building with it yet, but she made herself a little green park with a blue pond, trees, flowers and some ducks that we found pre-assembled in the box. Unfortunately the park did not stay static long enough for a photo. I managed to freeform this little red bus after ten minutes krrrsssh krrrsssshing to find a second set of wheels.

I also found a fair number of pieces of Scala - the first Lego jewellery set. Way cooler than Clikits.

And here is a neat slideshow of how a Lego brick is made. (via Null Device)

Above all, I impressed upon Abbey the Two Fundamental Laws of Lego Building.

  • The plural of Lego is Lego.
  • Thou shalt return every piece back to the box from whence it came.
And another thing...

If you're interested, I'm inciting Alex to further argument regarding last night's "Someone's Favourite Album" show at the partially disassembled blog.

Sun, 03 Dec 2006
Not My Favourite Album

The ABC just screened My Favourite Album, a follow-on from the My Favourite Film and My Favourite Book surveys of the last two years. I'm twice disappointed.

Firstly, it was the worst produced show I've seen anywhere on television for years. The editing was shocking, the sound indecipherable and the panel of "experts" boring.

Secondly, it's the most tedious list imaginable. Unlike the Fav Film and Fav Book lists, which each revealed a wide variety of genres and styles in their Top Tens, this list relies way too heavily on the concept album and the white man. (Quite a number of whom are dead. And not in a good way.)

It's a pity that the ABC did not collect data that would shed light on the question of whether it's because women produce fewer albums than men (less than 10% of the top 100 entries are women solo artists or bands with even a single female member) or did only the male population* of Australia (plus me) bother to vote?

*Taking the not-so-gross assumption that men prefer listening to male musicians.