Monday, October 21, 2013

September Round Up

Well, September started pretty ordinarily with all the political kerfuffle but ended great with a mini break to Burleigh Heads!
I really need to review my 42 things in terms of what I haven't done, but I find it much nicer to accentuate the positives!
5. Read more of my own books. I tend to purchase these, but they get pushed aside for books I bring home from work

Yes! See Books read below.
15. Spend more time outdoors and less time indoors
Yes, lots of walks after work and spent most of my Queensland holiday outside. I've also been watching a couple of families of ducks with ducklings at Green Point.

17. Mini breaks to my favourite places - Melbourne (not been since 2011!!), The Blue Mountains, Mid North Coast, and try new ones
I had the loveliest mini break, when my sister A and I flew into Coolangatta to spend a long weekend with our other sister, K and her family. They were holidaying at Burleigh Heads, much like we did as kids. We arrived early Thursday and had a relaxed day of pool lazing, shopping, the beach, and a lovely walk to the North Burleigh Surf Club for a seafood dinner. Friday we headed to Sea World as Miss C turned 6 and she wanted to see the penguins. We got there a little after opening, and waited roughly an hour to get in. It was hot and there were a lot of people, it made the day a little rough, but we managed. Miss C loved the penguins, Mr 10 tried out some rides but looked decidedly grey after disembarking the corkscrew roller coaster. I'm not a ride person, so I enjoyed the animal and people watching. Miss C wanted pizza for her birthday dinner, so we tried a local  gourmet pizza place, the pulled pork, scallops and cashew pizza was delicious. Saturday was a little overcast which made for a more pleasant day, weather wise, at Dreamworld, Mr 10's early birthday choice. There is much more to do there, we got there early and it was really quiet. Miss 6 surprised us all by just being tall enough to go on most of the rides and showed not the tiniest bit of fear on any of them, with awesome and again being the top words of the day. Sunday was a bit more laid back, with a sleep in, some Putt Putt golf and a visit to Sizzler for lunch before flying home.


19. Eat and drink out more/20. Get through my list of local restaurants and cafes
I finally checked out Three Bean at Hamilton for lunch to celebrate M's birthday, we had a leisurely long lunch and I was rather impressed. L scored us an early look in at the new High Tea setup at Wests, New Lambton and we drowned our election sorrows on champagne and delicacies. I joined A & L at Quint Cafe for another lovely lunch. We also checked out MoneyPenny, a new cocktail place on Honeysuckle.

23. Spend more time with my niece and nephew
Did lots of that while I was away in Queensland.
33. Go to lots of fun social events
I attended the two amazing gallery openings. The first was the Now and Then Photography Exhibition at The Lovett Gallery. And the following week, the After Five, Darnell Collection Opening at Newcastle Art Gallery. Later in the month we checked out Parking Day at Darby Street, which was a lot of fun. I celebrated V's birthday with N & K at Bolton Point for afternoon tea and a fabulous BBQ for Father's Day. As always our Bibliotweeps Book Club met at Talulahs.

34. Make sure those that mean the most to me know that they do
Between birthday celebrations for friends, Father's Day, family events and assisting friends in need...I think I have been sharing the love around this month!
36. Take time to do nothing and daydream more often
As always I take the opportunity on my walks to incorporate photography and chill out spots, great for the soul.

DVDs watched
I watched a trio of french films, The Well Digger's Daughter, Women on the 6th floor and Father of my children. They were all really good, but the stand out was The Well Digger's Daughter, which was the directorial debut of my beloved Daniel Auteuil. He starred as the father of the daughter who gets swept up in a romance with a wealthy young man prior to the war. It was based on a story by Marcel Pagnol, which I found fitting as Auteuil became famous staring in two Pagnol films, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring. I loved those films and this one has a similar feel and stunning cinematography.

I was blown away by Soderburgh's Side Effects, a twisty and turning thriller with Jude Law, Catherine Zeta Jones, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum. This is a must see psychological thriller. I also was quite taken with Margaret about a teenage girl, Anna Paquin, who witnesses a life changing event and the aftermath of it. A post 9/11 film, this was held over from being released for a long time, I saw the directors cut, which is long and at times rough going, but really worth it. It is a character piece and Paquin is stunning.

The best two films I saw were Dave Grohl's Sound City and Julie Delpy's Skylab.  Sound City is about a famous recording studio in LA, and the amazing bands that cut their records there. If it were not for Sound City Fleetwood Mac as we know them today would not exist, nor would Nevermind, the album. This is an absolute must for music fans, it gave me goosebumps. I've always been a huge fan of Julie Delpy, as an actress and director. Skylab is about a family get together over a long weekend on a sprawling property in the French countryside. It is based on Julie's childhood, and Julie plays her own mother. The family are mesmerising and ecclectic. It has the best 'disco' scene I have seen in a long time, and features some great scenes with the children of the family. This is a must see French film.

I also saw a few episodes of Tim Rogers's Studio at the Memo. It's a Cabaret style TV show, with a whole range of musical styles and hosted by Tim. He acts the role of a charming bon vivant very well. The first episode had Tex Perkins, Dave Graney, Todd McKenney, Virginia Gay and Baby et Lulu, so you get the picture.

I finally caught up with the first season of The Newsroom and I'm sold. I saw the first episode on the plane last year, but had not gotten around to the series. I have always loved Jeff Daniels, since The Purple Rose of Cairo, and he is fabulous as the hard hitting anchor, Will McAvoy, of News Night, a cable news show. The show is very Aaron Sorkin, political, controversial, walk and talk action with personal relationships thrown in. The supporting cast are superb, with standouts being Olivia Munn as Sloan, the sexy yet awkward economist, Alison Pill as Maggie, the earnest associate producer juggling her job with a range of personal issues, and Sam Waterson as Charlie Skinner, the news division president. Add in Jane Fonda in a small, but recurring role as Leona Lansing, owner of the media company that oversees the show and it's simply wow! Can't wait to devour Season 2.

The French Friday Film was La fille coupee en deux which translates to girl cut in half, and about a young weather girl who 'loves' two very different men, both much wealthier than her, one her age with a few issues and the other an older man, a writer. This is a very French film but was a little cliched in parts, fabulous sets and costumes, the storyline left a little to be desired!

I also saw Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and the fabulous Frances Ha:

Both reviews can be seen here:

Books Read
We read Marieke Hardy's You'll be sorry when I'm dead for Bibliotweeps Book Club. I had read it before, but enjoyed it as much as the first read. Some stories are very funny and well written, some a little bit too 'look at me' and some are rather confronting. It's an interesting memoir, and gave us a range of topics to discuss.

I have listened to two talking books. The first was, Stardust by Neil Gaiman and read by Neil Gaiman. I think by now everyone knows my love of Neil Gaiman, I love this story, and hearing him read it in his hypnotically sexy reading voice almost caused a few accidents whilst driving I must say! Stardust is an adult fairy tale, paying homage to The Princess Bride, and started as a graphic novel, then regular novel and movie. It is on the surface a sweet love story about a young man looking for and finding a fallen star and their magical relationship, but it is also quite dark and rather sexy in parts. He is a gifted wordsmith and to hear him read with his own nuances as intended was a delight. 

The other was The Art Forger by B. A Shapiro. The Art Forger is fiction and set in the art world of Boston, with varying threads of storyline. There is Claire a renown forger of paintings but specialising in Degas. She has a murky past that is revealed as the book proceeds and is asked to copy a painting that could be one of the many paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I am a huge fan of Art Crime - yes sadly this is a genre and a true genre at that. The heist mentioned in this fictional book happened back in 1990 and I have read a lot about it. I really enjoyed this interesting angle of what may have happened. There were times it needed a better editor and the reader was a little annoying, but ultimately this was an excellent ride!! 

I loved Grace: a memoir by Grace Coddington, 70 year old fashion editor for American Vogue and ex British model. Anyone who follows proper fashion or has seen the documentary The September Issue will know Grace. She is very outspoken, and is a true maverick, if that word can be used in such a vacuous vocation. It was a great read that follows her rise and rise in the fashion world and is full of her delightful illustrations. A true role model!

I took away with me to Qld, Venice is a fish: a sensual guide by Tiziano Scarpa and Life at the Marmont: the inside story of Hollywood's legendary hotel of the stars, Chateau Marmont by Raymond  Sarlot and Fred E Basten. Venice is a fish was superb, a small book written by a young man who has lived in Venice his entire life. Rather than write a regular travel story of you must do this, he describes his city as he knows it. Each chapter is divided up into a body part, his philosophy being your entire being is taken over when visiting the city. Having been there, I totally agree. His prose is poetic and rhythmic and incredibly sensual. I could have devoured this book in one city, but I spaced it out taking in a chapter at a time and found myself back in that glorious city...sublime! Chateau Marmont was the perfect holiday book, lots of gossip and outrageous stories of the goings on at the famous hotel in LA from the moment it was built in the 20s until now. 

Not much of a musical month, my go to album has been Nick Cave's Lyre of Orpheus which I adore.

The other excitement of the month was my favourite customer/borrower Doug (96) being featured in an ABC Open video. The talented and wonderful A, filmed Doug in our library and attending our 500 Words Online Writing Group and the results are brilliant, so much so it will be shown on ABC TV in October and November!

You can view the video here:


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