About Me

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Jakarta, Indonesia
I lose important items constantly, and am a failed teetotalist.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Wackness

In case anyone was wondering, I'm not dead, just had extremely limited net access of late and not too much time as well. Since I last updated, I've properly moved into my new flat -- which I love, and this evening or tomorrow evening Sketchy will be coming down! :) The dissertation is coming along ok... I mean to have it mostly done by the end of next weekend.

Friends have been coming and going all summer, but lately it seems that more are coming back, as university beckons. I saw my friend Pooh last night, who's recently returned from a year abroad in Thailand (she was there with Cranberry). It was great to see her and we ended up chatting ourselves to sleep, after going to the cinema and sharing a bottle of wine at hers.

We watched The Wackness which I was quite excited about after reading some glowing reviews. For those of you who haven't yet heard about it, it's basically a 'period piece' set in the summer of 1994 in New York, focusing on Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck), an 18 year old pot dealer, his friendship with his client and therapist Dr Squires (Ben Kingsley) and romance with Squire's stepdaughter Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby).

I don't really have too much to say about it... I did enjoy it but not as much as I expected to (as with Juno). The acting was good all-around, particularly Ben Kingsley who was compelling. I found Peck vaguely repulsive (he had his mouth hanging open way too much), but that might have been the point. The film generally felt natural and didn't succumb to predictability. Some of the 'period touches' and dated language felt a tad forced -- certain shots lingered too long on things like Gameboys and mix-tapes and occasionally the young actors seemed to be unconvinced when they proclaimed things were 'dope' or 'phat' (kinda like, omg, what am I saying??). However there were also some little things that suddenly made everything seem so magical, like Luke dancing on the street after kissing Stephanie, and each pavement slab he touched lighting up like a dancefloor. You may also want to experience the total bizarreness of seeing Mary Kate Olsen being fingered by Sir Ben Kingsley... or not.

So I'd recommend it, but I think you can also wait for the DVD!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Wall-E

Wall-E has been getting some truly outstanding press, and being touted as the best film this year... possibly the best film ever. And I usually love me a bit of Pixar, ever since being totally captivated by Toy Story. Toy Story 2 was even better (I especially liked the Barbie sequence). I wanted to snuggle that odd blue furry thing in Monsters Inc. I cried when they found Nemo, much to my little cousin's disgust. (However, I was totally uninterested in Cars -- erm, a movie about talking motors? No thanks, Herbie was bad enough). So I was rather excited about finally seeing the new Pixar film, even more so because I was going to watch it with the often elusive, occasionally flaky Amphibia, who seemed to be just as eager as I was.

While I can't agree that this is the best film ever made, I did find Wall-E utterly charming. The beginning of the film was incredibly absorbing -- Wall-E's lonely, dusty, trash-filled world was wonderfully rendered, I think they must be the best graphics I've ever seen in an animated feature. The eponymous robot was immediately appealing -- his camera lens 'face' was infinitely more expressive than the mugs on some live action stars these days. He rather reminded me of ET, but less creepy (I've always found the glowing finger thing quite disturbing). The developing relationship between grubby Wall-E and iPod-esque Eve (a 700 years younger model) was innocently romantic -- I think I could watch those two interact with each other endlessly.

However, once the human characters entered the narrative, the film lost some of its oomph. I can understand why the shiny, rubbery Axiom spaceship environment was so different to the Earth's desolate landscape, but after being treated to that spectacularly imperfect visual feast, the former just felt garish and like something I'd seen before (like in The Incredibles, particularly). The humans were 2-dimensional, especially compared to the sensitively realised robot protagonists, and even the robot supporting characters. Perhaps they were meant to make the audience feel uncomfortably self-reflective, but they were too bland to effect this.

In addition, the central moral of Wall-E, that our consumerism is turning us into lumpen isolates and that we must take care of our environment, is commendable but also obvious and simplistic. I really don't think we need a film to tell us this, or that it will change anything. Then again, I am a wizened, 22year old cynic and Wall-E may well make a more profound impression on younger minds.

Obviously Wall-E could never live up to the hype, although the extremely reverent audience seemed to have bought it -- I've never watched a film with such spellbound mass of people. There was no commentary, only delighted giggles whenever something amusing happened (which was frequent) and noticeably held breaths when something worrying happened. Wall-E seemed to transform the crowd of mainly adult Orange Wednesdayers into rapt kiddlywinks. I found their behavior almost as fascinating as the film itself.

I would definitely recommend Wall-E -- it has timeless appeal and truly captivating leads. I just feel they ought to have focus more on the lovely romance between Wall-E and Eve than making obvious moral statements. For your money you'll also get to enjoy the traditional Pixar short before the film, Presto, which was adorable, and the gorgeously hand-drawn images over the end credits, ranging from cave man scratchings to Impressionist artistry.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Mamma Mia!

This is my little sister's final week in England before she returns to Indonesia, and I'd planned fun for every evening, so that we could both make the most of the rest of her time here. Sadly, when I got home, she wasn't there. I charged up my constantly dying phone and found that she'd actually be staying down south until Wednesday morning, as its one of her best friend's birthday celebrations tomorrow. So I found myself alone and at a loss. Also pretty much broke, as I've been having bankcard issues and although I've finally got a new card, I'm still waiting another "5-7 working days" for the fricking pin. What fun can be had without a pin number or cash? I went on a wander around my little part of London, and it seems that you can feast at Pret a Manger and go to the cinema. So I did. I decided to watch Mamma Mia -- I've been oddly excited about this since I saw the trailer months ago, despite my until now ambivalence towards all things Abba.

And it was... (mind the pun)... Abba-solutely Fabulous! :) It's been awhile since I had so much fun at the cinema. The theatre was oddly packed for a Monday night and the audience was already in giggles even before the film started.

I'm not sure that this was exactly a film... it was more a series of rather surreal musical numbers strung together by lots of hysterical running around by the female characters. But all the better for it. Mamma Mia knew it was camp fun and totally embraced this. There was Meryl Streep pretending to be a boat figurehead with yards of fabric billowing about, warbling Money Money Money like her life depended on it. Pierce Brosnan honking SOS very oddly and endearingly at various points, much to the audience's utter mirth. Colin Firth in a dog collar and eyeliner, strumming a painted guitar. Julie Walters chasing Stellan Skarsgard like a woman possessed. Christine Baranski bringing dozens of young men to their knees. I don't know how they got all these respected thespians to do these bizarre things (money money money?), but I'm glad they did.

I want to watch it again. I'm forcing Sketchy to come. And I want to go dancing afterwards!

The Nicest Rejection Letter Ever...

My rejection feedback from the Guardian:

Firstly may I take this opportunity to thank you for the time taken in your application for the Guardian Training Scheme. We had an incredibly high volume and exceptional calibre of applicants this year. It was an incredibly competitive process and I should like to reiterate that your application form was very strong, hence why you made it to the group of sixteen (out of five hundred) invited for assessment.

In respect to your interview, the panel felt that you were clearly motivated and enthusiastic about working for The Guardian. However they felt that your experience was not as relevant as some of the other applicants and that perhaps you would benefit from continuing to secure work experience placements on national newspapers.

Regarding your participation in the group exercise we did feel that you contributed some well articulated points, however we did feel that you could have pursued ideas until picked up by the group.

I hope this feedback proves useful and that this does not discourage you from applying for future roles with us. Although you were not successful in being progressed further for this scheme we do feel that you have the potential makings of a reporter and we wish you every success in the future.

Kind regards

Anne

Monday, 14 July 2008

Limbo Bimbo...

Well. A lot has happened since I last deigned to update my blog, and currently I am too tired to write about it in depth. I didn't have to heart to write previously, as I was still in limbo regarding the Guardian job. I didn't get it, which I knew, but it didn't stop me being dreadfully disappointed to have this finally confirmed Monday just past. Le sigh. I'll post up the feedback shortly.

However, almost two weeks ago now, I got offered a job as a Publishing Assistant for a small company that produces business and finance publications. I accepted it even though I was still waiting to hear from the Guardian, and madly entertained a flicker of hope that I might just get it after all. I started last Monday (the same day I got my Guardian rejection, which may mean something), having completed a final week at the gift company. It's all going very well. I was sad about the Guardian, but I feel like a weight has been lifted, in terms of the future. I know where I'll be for the next year, unless something crazy happens.

Now I just need to find a new place to live!

Already, despite my still looming dissertation (basically untouched so far), I've already been finding London a new place in itself. It's so much better as a nonstudent, aside from the lack of discount I'll have to endure post-September. This weekend was very quiet for me, but wonderful. The London Litfest is on at the moment, and I went to Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's discussion of their erotic graphic novel Lost Girls. I recommend you look it up, and possibly purchase it from Amazon. It was fascinating listening to two people talking about creating something they both loved (this particular project took them 16 years!). They were both utterly charming and amusing. I got to talk to them afterwards, whilst pathetically getting them to sign my ticket, instead of splashing out on a new book. And I've just spent the rest of the weekend cleaning and writing articles for Treat, they're paying me a pittance to continue generating a basic level of content (how glam!?).

Anyway, it's time for bed. This newly permanently employed working girl needs all the rest she can get!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Weekend at Granny's

My minibreak from London, in Winchester and Southampton is coming to a close. It's been quite pleasant. I met up with A (one of my best friends, who I've known since college) in Winchester straight away, after my epic coach journey (four hours!!) from Victoria. Then most of our old girls -- D, K, F and E -- also joined us. We were only short of T, I and A, who are respectively in London (I see T all the time), East Anglia and Edinburgh at present, out of our old college gang. We were referred to as The Mothers as we seemed to be standing around all the time, having mother's meetings.

So Friday was quite nice, with lots of wine. I got to meet D and K's boyfriends, who were both lovely, and made sure our wine glasses were constantly topped up, which always scores lots of points in my books. I did overdo it tho, entering that horrible gray area where you totally embarass yourself but unfortunately don't drink so much that you haven't forgotten everything. Argh. As usual, I bumped into old faces from the past -- one boy I'd adored when at primary school and one I'd always had a secret crush on at college, because he looks quite a lot like Jack Davenoport, in my opinion. I kept asking them if they found me attractive, which they did, and then demanded to know why they hadn't done anything about it before. Um, because I was seven, in the case of one? Sigh. I also saw the media studies teacher from college, who supervised our very naughty Classics trip to Greece back in 2002 I believe. I never drank so much in my life until I went on that school trip -- we spent every night drinking to oblivion and everyday grumpily trying to sleep off the hangovers on the coach as we got carted to various sights such as the Parthenon and Acropolis. He was only 24 at the time! He seemed quite pleased to see us, I left K and E to reminisce with him, while I... well I'm not sure exactly. Wandered around the bar, blagging cigarettes, rollies and drinking rum and coke I guess.

I ended up staying at K's house, as I wanted to stay out longer than midnight (my last train back to my gran's). It was great catching up with her properly, I love that we're all still friends. I'll do my best to come back in a couple of weeks, with little sister in tow (she's arriving in London next Tuesday!).

I was meant to go and see my friend Tristan's band on Saturday night, but after clocking my rather unhealthy bank balance on my way back to my gran's, I decided I need to tie up the purse strings for as long as possible. I got a bit carried away with my spending, as I was so entranced by the drinks prices in Winch compared to London. £10 for a bottle of wine??? Amazing! £6.95 for a bottle of wine?? Even more amazing! £5 for two rum and cokes!! Wow. Poor cardy. It needed a rest. And so did I.

So I spent the rest of the weekend lounging around my gran's, being fed copious amounts of food, reading books and offered various tipples. She's really sweet. We used to have a terrible relationship, particularly when I lived with her for a year while at college. There was too much of a generation gap. She does tend to monologue at me rather endlessly, but I figure its a fair trade off for some much needed familial affection and delicious food.

Having a break gave me some time to think about stuff. The book I finished this weekend -- Stephen King's "On Writing", part memoir, part guide to creative writing -- was really inspiring. It makes me want to start/continue my writing projects right away. But I probably won't start until mid-September, to be honest. I like to totally immerse myself in writing projects, whether academic or personal, and it would be a bit pointless to get myself going and then stop in a couple of weeks when I have to start the dissertation.

I have also decided to start applying for other jobs, instead of putting all my eggs into the Guardian traineeship basket. I would like to be in a position to stay in London, if I choose to, so I better widen my options. If I get a fulltime job, not necessarily in journalism, I can still attempt to freelance as well as regularly work on my novels in the evenings or at the weekends.

When I come back to Winchester though, I am always struck at how stagnant some people I went to college with can be. Especially the boys. The ones I talk to are generally interesting and intelligent, yet they seem content to not go anywhere in life. To work in shops or in bars, despite having good university degrees. Maybe its just a phase. I always wonder why people bother settling though... if they were content I could understand it... but they don't seem happy, they seem bored. The girls are often more ambitious, more gendered. Is modern Britain making middle-class males feel placeless?

Something to ponder at length at another date. I've got to catch a bus soon!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Sex and The City

I finally got around to watching this last night, along with Pygmy and Doc. Unfortunately I don't have the time now or in the next couple of days to give it a proper review (I'm dashing off to see my grandmother in less than an hour), but I did really enjoy it. Its what you want from a night at the movies sometimes, laughs and slight tugs at heartstrings. Pygmy kept welling up, which I found highly amusing. I thought that it had lost its edge a bit, which was odd because I thought the big screen would allow them to push even more boundaries (as with The Simpsons Movie) and there was a bit too much toilet humour (poor Charlotte!). Charlotte was obviously designated as the comic relief in the film, probably as they couldn't figure out what else to do with her character.

The whole thing though felt weirdly culty, I haven't experienced anything like that when watching a film, even when I went to the world premiere of Enchanted (Patrick Dempsey! Lush!). When we got there there were mile-long queues of exciteable women waiting to get in, and there were signs all over encouraging us to buy bottles of white wine to enjoy with the movie! We didn't though, but I was tempted. Pygmy had to pee twice as it was. There was also a very strict bouncer, letting us in ten at a time. Evidently they don't trust hoardes of women to act sensibly, especially when it comes to designer heels and cocktails.

Anyway I better make a move... I'm going to see lots of the old girls from college tonight which should be great fun!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

I spent yesterday evening doing pretty much the best moolah-making activity ever, and naturally, one I also feel a bit guilty getting paid for. I babysat my favourite professor's daughter, Daisy. Basically, I went there straight from work, got given free food and copious glasses of white wine (yes yes, I had no choice though! My reputation as a young soak precedes me, particularly with my teachers), played Thai monopoly for a couple of hours (and got totally whupped by Daisy) and then fell asleep at about 10.30, in a bed my teacher had made up for me. And made tea and breakfast by an extremely hungover teach when I got up this morning. It's a hard life!

I wish I could refuse payment, but I could really use the extra dosh at the moment, particularly as my regular job made a mistake on my paycheck this month and has yet to rectify it. Bah humbug. When I have a proper job I will happily babysit Daisy for free.

I love spending time with children. I remember clearly what it was like being Daisy's age (seven), and I think I was pretty much the same as I am now, minus all the regrets, heartbreak and stretchmarks. I used to get irritated with adults who insisted on talking to me in a patronizing manner, as if I had the mental capacity of a worm. The best ones were the ones who actually had conversations with me or, better yet, whizzed me around on their shoulders. The main difference between adults and children is experience, not intelligence. Plus kids are usually refreshingly honest, a quality that seems to wane as people get older, more cynical and more eager to present themselves in a particular way. I talked to Daisy about love as we rolled the dice and snapped up prime Thai locations. I told her about Guitar Boy and she told me about this ten year old she likes at Stage Coach. She told me I should act a little less fussed even if I felt like jumping up and down. We agreed that you can't control who you get interested in, only how you act, and that can be pretty difficult sometimes.

I don't think I'm the greatest babysitter in the world though... before bed I made a huge faux pas of bringing my glass of wine with me, which caused Daisy to look at me oddly. I have a habit at home of sipping wine when reading in bed. I then realised how awful it would look if teach or her partner woke up before I did and saw me passed out next to Daisy, glass of wine on the floor. So with a heavy heart I tipped it down the sink. Also, in the morning, while we were watching the news, Jose Mourinho came on, and teach mentioned he was number 2 on Her List. Next to Johnny Depp, I asked? Yep. I asked her if she thought Alan Rickman was sexy (as I do) and she pondered it. Daisy suddenly piped out, what's sexy? And then followed a cringe-inducing conversation where teach had to try and explain what 'sexy' was, alluding to special hugs and the like. I felt terrible... my children are going to be so messed up!

Anyway, my short lunch break is almost over... I'm due back at Daisy's place this evening, for a dinner with my masters' class.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Who is the Crazy Lady?

For future reference, the Crazy Lady is an aspect of my personality that I have the habit of referring to in the third person. As in, "it wasn't me, it was the crazy lady"/"Oh no! What did the Crazy Lady do?" Miss Anne Throp'ist has asked me to stop doing this, as she finds it disturbing.

There is something intoxicating about letting go completely and letting your unihibited side completely take over. I'm sure everyone has a Crazy Lady or a Crazy Lad.

My Crazy Lady often appears when I combine alcohol with uneasiness. Uneasiness because I am stressed out and/or in the presence of someone I find immensely attractive. Woe betide those who are around when both of these factors are in play. I usually don't know she's appeared and wreaked havoc until I suddenly wake up in a long-suffering pal's bed the next morning, having lost the entire previous evening after that third glass of wine, and am soon confronted with cringeworthy tales of her antics.

The Crazy Lady is extremely forward. In normal mode, I tend to be quite straightforward and confident anyway, the Crazy Lady possibly takes these qualities to the point of obnoxiousness. I've been informed that she's very emphatic and repetitive, with the memory of a goldfish. She has drowned many a hapless acquaintaince with profuse praise, alternated with the telling of the same initally funny and interesting anecdote over and over again. This extreme forwardness also obviously translates into shameless flirting. I can barely make eye contact with any of the barmen in my regular haunts anymore. That is, of course, until I've had a few glasses of the old vino...

The Crazy Lady loves dancing, but is probably more passionate and flamboyant rather than rhythmic. She especially adores twirling, resulting in extremely sore legs, battered ankles and bruised toes for me to endure for the next few days. She never seems to feel any pain, unfortunately I always do!

If I repress the Crazy Lady for too long... she is everything that she always is, but at at a rather frightening intensity. It's best to let her come out now and then, in short bursts, within fairly harmless environments. Such as a slightly cheesy club with rock music and rather timid indie boys, rather than say, the evil Spanish bar and its unavoidable lecherous men. I believe the Spanish bar has more sleazy men per square metre than anywhere else in London.

This year, due to work, academic and voluntary commitments, I've had to keep her fairly wrapped up, and I have been paying the price of this repression for the past few weeks. The combination of the relief of handing in my last pieces of coursework and the shock of finding out some fairly devastating family news caused her to run on the rampage rather relentlessly, night after night. It would be tedious to go into detail about this particular set of crimes, as they became a nightly rerun and her standards seemed to drop alarmingly. Bleurgh. Thank god there are hardly any pictures!

This weekend I've frankly had no energy for her to feed off of and have decided to shut her down infallibly for at least three weeks, by completely depriving her of alcohol. There's an added motivation to this, besides wishing to be more energetic and less bruised all over. I've got something very exciting to look forward to on 20th June -- an interview with the Guardian, for a one year traineeship. It's something I want more than anything else I've wanted in recent times. It may sound mystical but I believe that if I sacrifice something I really enjoy (ie alcohol) until the interview, it increases my chances of getting it. The fate gods will look kindly upon my foregoing of the Crazy Lady's lifeblood. I guess there's a practical side -- less Crazy Lady means more time to focus on things beneficial to nabbing the internship, such as reading all the broadsheets, reading more fiction and writing articles... we'll see.

So goodbye for now dear Crazy Lady! Hopefully won't see you again until after the 20th!
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