Monthly Archives: November, 2004


Just about to finish a bio of Caligula, which I have quite enjoyed – which is a good thing, since I recently bought a book on Agrippina (the Younger) by the same author. I had to laugh, though; I don’t know whether he did it deliberately, but I thought he was aiming for a dispassionate account, or as dispassionate as an historian is capable of being, but there’s a great line about Caligula being condemned by historians through the ages largely because he deserves it! Ah, Objectivity; how we worship Thee. As well, i’m not entirely convinced by his treatment of the sources, who are basically Suetonius and Dio, with a bit of Philo and Seneca thrown in. He says they’re unreliable, and totally dismisses some stories – and I think I agree with his rationale in those cases – but I wasn’t always able to follow his logic for the stories that he accepted as likely to be basically true, or containing some useful historical nugget.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting read. And the above issues are always interesting for an historian, and perhaps especially a history teacher, to be reminded of.

National Treasure

We saw this on the weekend. It was about as silly as expected; attempting, in some ways, to mimic Last Crusade – but at least there, it was clear where the treasure had come from, and the clues made a modicum of movie-sense. The same cannot be said, alas, for this movie. It was entertaining, I’ll admit, and Nic Cage was not nearly so painful as he might have been; Sean Bean was a lot of fun and could have had a lot bigger part, in my mind. I might watch it again… in maybe 5 years, when I’m in the mood to be mildly amused.


I don’t imagine my Ajax committed suicide after going mad because he didn’t get Achilles’ armour, but the end result is the same.

Dungeons and Dragons, and Dark Crystal

With J out tonight, I’ve got a couple of flicks I want to see but J probably wouldn’t: at the moment I’m watching D&D. I’ve never played it, but I’ve wanted to see it since it came out – love those dragons (it has made me more determined to, at some stage, actually get around to writing my survey of dragons in literature, and maybe to extend it to films…). Anyway; enjoying it so far. I thought I recognised Ridley, the main character, and turns out it’s Jimmy from Lois and Clarke – I did think he was a spunk when I watched the show.

Later that same night
“So talented, eh Mr Ridley”… love a bit of movie-within-movie referencing. Speaking of which, they obviously couldn’t think of a more impressive way of doing magic swordfights than the lightsaber trick.

This was a pretty crap movie, as expected. Dagomar was probably the one redeeming character – a far more interesting villain than Profean, who was such a waste of Jeremy Irons. Thora Birch was a try-hard version of the Empress in Neverending Story; tell me, how would a teenage empress get to hearing about ideals of democracy and be convinced that they were a good idea? The dwarf was pathetic; the elf had potential, except for that breastplate, which was exactly that. And Marina… well, we won’t even mention her.

I guess I was anticipating a fairly average movie, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Yet later that same night
Seems to be the night for similarities to Neverending Story: the nasty chitinous beasties in Dark Crystal seem to be very similar to the equally nasty chitinous beasties in the sequel. I’m guessing that this might be the original, though, actually, because I think this is older even than the original.

I am enjoying it still – I think the last time I watched it was on the eve of my 19th birthday while I was at college. The main reason I remember that is because the next morning when I got up I discovered a remarkable portrait of Fizz-gig under my door, courtesy of Krick. I still think he is one of the cutest pets yet invented.

As the Chamberlain says, MMMmmm…

SHE has died

Yes, She has died. It could have been old age… it could have been the yurk water she was swimming in the last couple of days – it’s been a fair while since we’d done a water change (we did one today, albeit belatedly). So that’s a bit sad – she’s been a standard for almost our entire tank career.

Is it callous, in this same post, to mention that I am looking forward to getting new fish? The tank has been clear for almost a fortnight now, and I feel that it would be ok to add more in a coupleof weeks, which is what it would be after a week or ten days of quarantine. I’m thinking more tetras, at the moment, like serpaes and so on. Have to see what Coburg has… it’s a bit sad the other aquariums are so far away, it would be nice to be able to compare both stock and price.

Movies of the last few weeks

Hmm, do you get the feeling I really haven’t blogged here in a while, and have a lot to say as a consequence?

I watched a little bit of Batman and Robin the other night. It just made me feel contemptuous. It didn’t even manage to be camp. Urgh.

Collateral was… well, a bit weird. A bit motion-sickness-inducing, actually, what with all the hand-held camera, let’s-make-it-feel-as-if-you’re-there action. An interesting storyline – a fascinating one in a lot of ways, actually – and Tom Cruise really was quite good; so was Jamie Foxx.

Finally saw Pitch Black, having seen The Chronicles of Riddick at the movies. To be honest, it must have been Vin himself pushing for the sequel, because the original really was nothing special except for his character, who I really quite liked. About the most interesting thing was that half the cast were Australian; probably it was filmed here. Oh, the lighting for the surface of the planet was also quite cool – might have been a result of a low budget, too, though.

Murder at 1600 was really nothing much to write about. Wesley was entertaining. I think the most interesting thing was them making him a Civil War buff, with his battle sets, and then it being incorporated into the film. That, and the fact that the next day I found out my Yr12 history teacher is also into doing those sorts of things, but possibly even more extremely.

Flowers, hoorah

I have roses almost coming out of my ears; the icebergs are doing very well indeed, thanks I think to Mum’s massacring of them in winter. They’re starting to die off now, but for a while I also had white climbing roses almost overrunning the front of the house. The dahlias a friend from school gave me are coming up – much more happily now that I laid down some snail pellets, nasty little buggers – and some of the succulent cuts I got from Robyn are also about to flower, which I guess means they’re happy enough where they are. Which is nice to know, really.

The State of the Tank Address

We’re happy little fishies again, and there will be no betta moving in for the foreseable (one e or 2?) future. After three doses with some green stuff, there are no more white bits hanging off my Colombians, and they are almost back to eating like piranhas. There is only one rasbora, of course, and no rainbows… guess they must not have been very strong. Fido the catfish is well (J – who says that I write more about the fish than I do about him, but really, what am I going to say here that he really wants the world to know? – thinks he is getting fat) (did you follow that parentheses-within-a-parentheses?), as are all the angels. And in other news – in the other tank – Ajax seems to be happier now than he ever has been; regularly cruising around with his second, enormous set of feelers out, galloping around the tank. I think the holes in his shell might still be getting worse, but I can’t be sure.