Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time for a couple of book reviews, methinks.

I'd like to say I'm making an effort to expand my literary horizons by actively seeking out and reading the sort of classic stuff that keeps appearing on 'My favourite/Most influential etc' booklists, but no, the 'right' books falling in to my hands is more serendipity than anything else. For example, I spotted Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray in an op shop, and as it was one of those things I've been meaning to read like, forever [valley girl head toss] I picked it up.

[spoiler warnings, perhaps?]

What an interesting little story. It was terribly coy about Dorian's 'evil' indulgences - except for the mentions of opium - and as for how he ruined all those women, and men...? Hmmm. My slash-heavy imagination was happy to fill in the blanks. I felt like smacking Henry, though. Self-indulgent git.
The abrupt ending threw me, I have to admit. Having vague memories of a couple of dodgy film versions I knew how it was going to end but still, I was expecting more of a debriefing. Though the abruptness did - and is still - keeping me happily occupied contemplating what might have happened next so perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

Next: Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls. (This one I spotted on a library shelf...)
It's trash, but it's historical trash. Not a favourite read - it bounced me between boredom and frustration. Boredom cos the 'plot' was very predictable and, omigod, het is sooo dull. As a seasoned purveyor of smut it really was quite tame though I could see why it was controversial in the '60's.
And frustration because narcissism and the consequent blaming of everybody else for your problems but yourself gets right up my nose. All right, yes, it was made abundantly clear in the text why this was happening (stress + drugs + being forced by the 'industry' to maintain an impossible ideal of youth and beauty ÷ fragile personalities) but even so... [grumble]
It was disappointing, too, cos the story started out with a promising feminist slant, but alas, all too soon it degenerated into, well, just another trash novel. I can see where Jackie Collins got her inspiration... :)

Coming up soon: My Class Presentation and How it Could've Been Better...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

[grizzle] Three days in a row of above 30c temperatures and I'm in a bit of a mood. I know perfectly well that Summer won't be done with us 'til end of March at least but I allowed myself to be lulled by the several days of quite reasonable weather. [grump] Eh well, cool change tonight, apparently...

Eheheheheh. I think my mum's bought me a life-size plastic flamingo for my birthday! It seems the stroke she had a couple of years ago has left her physically incapable of keeping a secret. :)

I was at the Salvos the other day, just browsing, as you do, when something on a distant shelf caught my eye. It was green - a good start - and appeared to be an acrylic paperweight, one of the things I tend to collect. I almost dismissed it, however, cos it just contained a weird looking dog...

eclectica, kitsch

But then...
"I know that shape!" quoth I to myself. "Isn't that Jeff Koons' 'Puppy'?"

I scampered over and was delighted to find it was indeed representative of that piece of seminal... art, but even better - the paperweight was a souvenir from the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain!
So exciting! I so rarely see tatt of that quality!


I'm easily pleased. :)
Just wait 'til I work out if I can post somewhere a video of the glorious plastic chicken Soulsis gave me!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

So, I've managed two whole weeks as a student. Still fun though I can already feel the slide in to 'routine'. :)

I'm enjoying myself and cos I have a little bit of background knowledge/previous study I'm feeling really smart. [smirk] My 'Literacy Skills' tutor complimented me on my searching skills. Dead chuffed, but I didn't want to tell how just how long I spend online chasing stuff up for fun, let alone what I do in the name of research or idle curiosity.
But, even though what I'm studying right now is familiar territory I'm still learning new things, which stops it getting boring, and stops me getting cocky. Little Miss Overconfident? Ooh, yes...

OhOhOh! Speaking of which found out some jolly useful things about the college's Library website! Alongside the catalogue record of an item is a 'Keep' tab. Click that and the computer stores the record for you (you have to be logged in for it to work). In the menu bar above the record is a 'Kept' tab. Click that and the record is emailed to you! Why is this a nifty thing? For building a bibliography! I won't have to keep written notes and I can c/p neatly from the screen - eee!

Had another early class on Wednesday (8am, gah) and the time until the break and my first cup of tea for the day was kind of weird. I'm easily distracted by shiny at the best of times but when I'm tired... The tutor's jacket was made of a subtly spangly gold-threaded pink/mauve check (actually much nicer than it sounds) and I repeatedly caught myself staring, entranced. [sheepish]

There hasn't been much homework so far but I've got [counting on fingers] 3 assignments to be getting on with. Not difficult tasks, just time intensive.
And there's an excursion next week! Down in to the city to have a look at a special sort of library! Cool!
Gods, I love this course... :)

Happy Chinese New Year, by the way. It's the year of the Rat, but for some inexplicable reason pineapples seemed to be part of the theme as well...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I've just been to see Sweeney Todd.
In a word: blood-soaked - and all right Mr Depp can only do one accent - but I certainly appreciated the movie. Enjoyed? Mm, no, but Mr Burton's awfully good at creating believable fantasy worlds, and the cast was fabulous! And I like musicals [shrug]. Someone mentioned somewhere Judge Turpin's trousers and now I quite understand the unholy fascination. Yerrss, indeed...
(The cubs' father has just asked me how closely it followed the original story. I had to say I didn't know. I first heard about Sweeney Todd when I was, oh, twelve, or something and like most horror stories it squicked me completely and I've mostly avoided it since then, but honestly, Mr Depp and Mr Rickman in one movie? Couldn't resist. Besides, in the journey from original to musical, things do tend to get buggered about. Even more so if The Holy Rodent Empire has a hand in it somehow. [glower] )

I seem to have survived my first week as a full-time student, though my brain's a little porridgey. (I was sposed to go and see ST last night but as I was falling asleep on the bus coming home I thought I probly needed the sleep more.) Friday was difficult - 5 hours of 'Use Cataloguing Tools' - but Wednesday was particularly tiresome. Classes started at 8am! Erk! I got there in time, and managed to stay awake but... Fortunately early start days also finish early. Just as well or I'd be useless.

And my weekend away was lovely - I even drank alcohol.
A leisurely seven hour road-trip with good long breaks in Camperdown (great op shop there!) and Port Fairy (soooo pretty! And another op shop, and a sweet shop. Mmm...)
True, the accommodation at Cape Bridgewater isn't the best but it is cheap and having the hall/kitchen for our use is wonderful for the social aspect. We cooked all our own lovely food, or rather, Pete cooked all the lovely food and everyone else helped with preparation and clean up.
On Saturday morning 4 of us went on an expedition into Portland to acquire the supplies we'd forgot to pick up the previous day (garlic and napkins, basically) and we found two more op shops! In the afternoon there was another expedition, in the opposite direction, to the petrified forest on the cliffs. Very cool. I'll get off my arse and get some pics up soonish. Probably. Homework, you know...
Niki and I came home on Sunday, very tired, to the sauna that is Melbourne in the Summer. It'd been lovely and fresh down on the coast. Eh well, that small inconvenience certainly didn't ruin the rest of a great weekend. :) Very glad I went. Thanks, Alarice for organising it!