Movie review

MrPloppy and I went to the movies the other night, to see 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous, which was filmed in Omakau (where Dad lives) and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great film – the acting was pretty ropey (understandably, considering most of the characters were children, but a lot of the time it felt like a school play), and the gorgeous Central Otago landscape didn’t get much of a chance to shine, because they’d filmed it to look like an old home movie, all yellow and grainy, presumably to up the nostalgia level (and there was plenty of that – that was the best thing I could find to say about the film, really – it felt totally authentic – it was set in the late 70s, which was when I was at primary school in nearby Alexandra, and all the clothes, houses, cars, hairstyles… everything really, were exactly how I remembered them). Aactually, thinking about it, maybe having the children act in stilted school-play fashion was deliberate, to add further to the nostalgic sense – unfortunately, for me it just detracted from the story (which was kind of sweet). MrPloppy said he enjoyed its weirdness, and when I commented on how authentic it all was, he said “that explains a lot about this country”!

Order status, palm-fringed

Dad and Stepmother came back from Australia on Saturday. They were staying the night at Stepsister’s house this time instead of with us, but they dropped in at our place to pick up their car (which they’d left at our place to avoid paying for long-term parking at the airport – what with Brother’s car and their car parked in our backyard, we were starting to look like one of those houses surrounded by wrecks of cars up on bricks (except Dad’s mercedes is a bit too nice looking to fit that image!)) and stayed for a cup of tea so we got to hear all about their holiday.

Our lack of a log basket came up in the conversation, so of course Dad immediately offered to take us to get one, and we set off on a fruitless search in all the obvious places along Blenheim Road (which is where most of the big hardware and homeware shops are, and which is one of those annoying places that’s really only accessible by car), but it seems most sensible people buy their log baskets at the beginning of winter, not the end, so nowhere had any in stock (well, Mitre 10 had small ones that looked like they’d fall apart in a few minutes anyway, and Four Seasons had some of those stupid little metal rack things that hold about three decorative logs, but we couldn’t find any decent baskets). Finally, just as we were about to give up (and resign ourselves to carrying on using an old cardboard box like we have for the last couple of winters) I vaguely remembered seeing some baskets once at Impulse Imports in town. So we raced into town and managed to get there just as they were closing, and lo and behold they had a huge range of baskets of all shapes and sizes, so we managed to find a perfect one for a log basket. So we are now the proud owners of a large sturdy cane basket, and the old cardboard box has been consigned to the tip, so our lounge is looking much nicer than it was.

Once we and the basket had been delivered safely home, Dad and Stepmother headed back to Stepsister’s place, and MrPloppy and I did a quick last-minute tidy up before our next lot of visitors arrived. I’d decided it was my turn to host a games evening, so we’d invited lytteltonwitch, gwilk and Mrs gwilk (who brought along a friend of theirs who it turned out knew lytteltonwitch through tramping club – Christchurch is a very small town), and one of the women from Chick Flicks (who brought along her neighbour, who I’ve met at previous games evenings at her house). The gwilks had brought some of their games along (luckily, because we’ve only got a few games), so we were able to play all the usual suspects: PDQ, Alhambra, Category 5, and Bean Bonanza. It was a really fun evening, and I think even MrPloppy enjoyed himself.

Yesterday we’d planned to go into Riccarton to look for a gift for a friend (I can’t say any more than that, because they might read this). Things didn’t quite go according to plan – we couldn’t find some things, other things didn’t look right, a shop we wanted to try was shut – but despite not ending up finding a suitable present we had a nice morning wandering around the shops anyway, and somehow ended up buying a few presents for ourselves instead – a couple of DVDs (season 1 and 2 of Scrubs), one of those little one-cup teapots with matching cup and saucer (MrPloppy has been drinking a lot more herbal tea since he’s been cutting down on caffeine, so we’d been thinking of getting a teapot anyway, and we spotted this one with a cute cat design so couldn’t resist it), a mug that caught MrPloppy’s eye, and a useful little jar for the bedside table. Oh well, we don’t go shopping very often, so the occasional splurge won’t break the bank. And we’ve still got another week or two to find that gift…

After having our fill of shopping, we wandered down to Ground Floor for lunch and sat out in their courtyard enjoying the sunshine, so it was a very pleasant and relaxing day overall.

Saffy is showing a vast improvement after only a couple of days on the antibiotics. She’s stopping licking and biting at her back, and the sore has already dried up and started to heal. She’s looking much happier, and doesn’t even mind taking the antibiotics – I think she quite likes the taste of the paste, because when I squirt it into her mouth she just licks her lips a bit and doesn’t seem too concerned. A lot easier than trying to force pills down her!

Still currently reading In Custody by Anita Desai – it’s really not capturing my attention greatly.

And the diagnosis is…

She’s allergic to fleas. I didn’t even know she had fleas (despite what I said above about thinking it was a flea bite – I hadn’t seen the other two scratching, and thought it was still winter enough that there wouldn’t be any around, so wasn’t that worried about fleas) but the vet found flea droppings in her fur, and said the redness looks like an allergic reaction. So she’s had a steroid injection to stop her itching so much, a flea treatment, and a dose of antibiotics, and we were sent home with flea treatments for the other two cats and more antibiotics to give her for the next week or so (luckily in a paste form, not pills, so it shouldn’t be too difficult getting her to take it). And the bill was only $110 (“only” being a relative term when it comes to vets!).

Oh, and she was remarkably well-behaved in the taxi – she hardly yowled at all. A big improvement on the last time she travelled by car.

Currently reading: In Custody by Anita Desai

Feeling Sorry for Saffy (and Pluto)

Poor Saffy! She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s off to the vet today. I noticed a few days ago that she kept licking and biting at a spot on her back, but thought she must just have had a flea or something and didn’t think anything more of it. But last night MrPloppy noticed that she now has a nasty looking sore on her back – she’s pulled a big lump of fur out, and the skin underneath is all red and weeping. And the redness seems to extend further down her spine, and she’s obviously been licking there a lot too, because her fur’s all matted.

So we’ve made her an appointment with the vet today. I know fur-pulling can be stress related, but she hasn’t been any more stressed lately than she normally is (she’s a pretty nervous cat in general, and although George has added to that, we’ve had him for a year now, so it would seem strange that she’s only now having this reaction), and it looks pretty uncomfortable, so I want to get it checked out. She’s going to seriously hate us for it though – she hates being put in her carry cage, hates going in cars (this will be our first experiment with transporting a cat by taxi – I hope the driver can stand the yowling!), and really really really hates it at the vet’s. So by this afternoon we should be pretty unpopular.

And poor Pluto! It’s no longer a planet 🙁 I can see the logic in downgrading it, but as a long-time astronomy geek I’ve always had an affection for poor little Pluto, way out there on the edge of the Solar System. As the definition of “planet” is just a convenience, it’s a pity they couldn’t make an exception for Pluto for the sake of history. And think of all those school science textbooks that are going to have to be re-written to say we’ve got 8 planets again instead of 9… plus they’re going to have to re-write all the mnemonics…

And talking of Pluto, on Tuesday night I went to see Breakfast on Pluto with the Chick Flicks group. A weird film (it’s about a transvestite growing up in very conservative rural Ireland, and is filmed in a very imaginative style), but great fun, and quite a sweet story. I’ll have to see if I can track down the book.

You are feeling sleepy…

Actually, who cares about you, I’m feeling sleepy! After Dad and Stepmother left for the airport yesterday morning, I played around on the internet for a while, then tried going back to bed, but by the time I finally got back to sleep I only got about an hour before I had to get up again to go to breakfast. Otakuu was in Christchurch for the weekend, so we’d arranged to meet her at Trattorie for breakfast (we picked a breakfast meetup because originally rarsberry and VivaRichie were going to be in town too, and that was the only time they had free, but it turned out rarsberry had to work, so they didn’t come up after all). Luckily it was a lovely Spring morning, so MrPloppy and I had a pleasant walk through the park over to Trattorie, and were almost awake by the time we got there. Lytteltonwitch arrived, looking as tired as we were (although in her case it was because she’d been up late the night before – I think she was going to bed about the same time as we were getting up!), and we tidied the OCZ shelf (and grabbed a few interesting looking books – I picked up Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding, and MrPloppy found The Gold of Exodus by Howard Blum, which I think appealed to his “mad people espousing weird theories” sense of humour). Otakuu and Mr Otakuu arrived, and we had a very enjoyable breakfast, chatting about hug boxes, juicy bookcrossing gossip, upcoming conventions, and life in general. Oh, and of course a few books changed hands – I passed on A Tangled Web by LM Montgomery and Love, Charlie Mike by Kate De Goldi. Overall a very pleasant way to spend a morning.

By the time we got back home, I’d totally run out of oomph, so the rest of the day was spent in a semi-catatonic state reading and playing on the internet. Not the most constructive of weekends, and despite the lazy day yesterday I’m feeling more tired now than I was on Friday… at least I don’t have a Spanish class this morning!

Currently reading: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding

4.30 am and all’s well

Dad and Stepmother arrived in Christchurch last night (bearing gifts of blue cod and wild pork – we’re going to be eating well this week!), on their way to Australia. Their flight is at 7 am, which of course means a 5 am check-in, so they’ve just left for the airport. And of course after seeing them off I’m now too wide awake to go back to bed. Only another 4 hours until breakfast… (we’re having a breakfast meetup with otakuu, who’s in Christchurch for the weekend)

I had a catch on Friday for one of the many copies of Tom Sawyer lytteltonwitch and I released on our way to Dunedin at Show Weekend last year. Looks like it was picked up exactly where I left it, and since then has languished on the finder’s bookshelf forgotten about. But it’s off on exciting adventures again now, in Germany!

Answers for PixieKitten

PixieKitten’s question was:

Give me the reader digest edition of where you stand on all the big issues – religion, politics, sex, drugs and music =)

Wow, you don’t go for the trivial, do you? Ok, here goes.

I’m an atheist. I was brought up as a vague sort of Christian (I think we were technically Presbyterians, but as we didn’t go to church other than weddings and funerals the exact denomination we were wasn’t exactly a big feature of my childhood spiritual life), but somewhere in my early teens I started questioning the existence of God. As I learnt more about science I came to the conclusion that the universe works perfectly well without needing a God to look after it, after which the application of Occam’s razor led inexorably towards atheism – basically, my universe doesn’t have a God-shaped hole in it needing to be filled.

However, just because I’m an atheist, I don’t think everyone else has to be. I strongly respect everyone’s right to their own beliefs (as long as they show me the same respect – I don’t take kindly to proselytisng), and when I am in a church or mosque or other place of worship I always try to act with the appropriate respect.

Mostly Green, with a hint of Labour. I don’t really agree 100% with the policies of any of the parties, but the Greens are probably the closest match. How I actually vote depends on the issues of the day and the best voting strategy (e.g. since I’ve been living in Gerry Brownlee’s electorate I’ve given my electorate vote to the Labour candidate, because that seemed the most effective way to register a vote against Brownlee, who I seriously dislike).

Um… yes?
Basically, as long as it’s between consenting adults, I’ve got no problem with any of the myriad forms sex comes in (although I might not want to partake in *all* those forms myself). I think I’ll cry privacy on any more details than that 😉

I don’t partake myself (with the exception of alcohol (in moderation)), but that’s mostly because I value my mind too highly to want to risk ruining it. But I have no particular objection to other people’s drug use, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. So if you want to use marijuana I don’t care, as long as you’re not blowing the smoke in my face or driving under the influence.

When it comes to harder drugs, especially the really addictive ones, my criteria of not harming others includes the financial harm of my tax dollars having to pay for your health care after you’ve destroyed yourself, so I’m less tolerant. For the same reason, I’m not particularly tolerant of tobacco smokers.

This is the tough one to answer! I don’t listen to a lot of music, really – MrPloppy is a huge music buff, so tends to hog the stereo (and occasionally mock my choice of music), so in the last few years I’ve got out of the habit of putting my own music on. What I do listen to when I get the stereo to myself depends greatly on my mood. My rather sparse CD collection includes (off the top of my head, because I can’t be bothered going through to the other room to make a full inventory) Catatonia, Extreme, Timbuk3, Aerosmith, Split Enz, Mr Big, Talking Heads, Crowded House, Guns n Roses, Pulp, and a few classical composers.

Phew! That question took a lot of answering! Just be glad I didn’t go for the uncondensed version!!!