Monthly Archives: November, 2007

Stargate – the movie

We watched the original Stargate movie for the first time in a long time the other night. I must admit to a little fangirl flutter of the heart when the theme music started: I had either not realised, or forgotten, that the theme music is the same in the show as it was in the movie. Not surprising, of course. It did give me the giggles to realise just how much I loved SG-1 – we finished it ages ago, and I miss having more episodes to watch. More than I miss FarScape; perhaps not quite as much as West Wing.*

A couple of things I noticed, post-viewing of SG-1:

# Michael Shanks and James Spader – very cool, very similar, at least in playing Daniel. sigh.
# Richard Dean Anderson kicks Kurt Russell as Jack. Completely.
# I had never thought about the fact that they must store sets – in the hopes of re-using them at some stage. Either that or they worked really, really hard at being true to the movie for the show, and I just doubt it.
# There was a three year gap between movie and show. Is that a long time? It seems like a long time.
# The movie was a bit… well… boring. Especially compared with the show. Am I getting old and jaded?
# I cannot wait for the SG-1 movie to be made. There’s nothing on IMdB about it, but seriously… it has to happen.

*Of which we must retrieve seasons 2 and 3 from the in-laws. I love the first season, but there’s only so many times you can watch it with only season 7 as your other option. Oh, and season 5, but that gets a bit depressing.

Movies and books

So I went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age the other day. I loved it, and will post more about it soon. For now, this has amused me:

Do I have a book about Walter Raleigh on my shelf?
Yes
Have I read said book yet?
No
Will I now always think of him as Clive Owen?
Hell yes!
Is this a problem?
Hell no!

Tee hee. I thought it was funny. It really is a bit like seeing the movie before reading the book.* I also have a bio of Elizabeth – the Alison Weir one, I think – which my darling bought for me on a whim once and who was subsequently devastated when I informed him that I was a bit over Elizabeth, because she had been done to death. I think I am also at the point where I can read that book, too.

*Which I have only successfully done once: I saw the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice before reading it, and it made reading it much easier, for me.

The teachers are revolting!

Ha ha; at least, that’s one of the quips we made about ourselves on Wednesday. Cos we were striking, and I’m sure a lot of people thought that was either wrong of us (be thankful you have a job, shut up about the crappy pay and conditions), or that we would tear down our darling Premier’s office in a re-enactment of Russia, 1917.

Anyway, I striked (struck? maybe just went on strike). I’ve done this once before, but that was a whole union ‘we hate the new IR laws’ thing. This time, it was me and several thousand teachers, all sitting together in Vodafone Arena, most wearing red (I cringe a bit to think why the AEU chose red…). It was a mostly interesting meeting – our president is not the world’s greatest speaker, although apparently she has improved! Some people decided to use it for some public political grandstanding – and before you start laughing, and pointing out that union meeting for heaven’s sake, this grandstanding was completely irrelevant to the topic of discussion and so was not appreciated by many people at all (someone told me the dude was actually standing for election for one of the very minor parties).

Eventually, we managed to vote almost unanimously in favour of striking again next Feb if the govt doesn’t hurry up and negotiate properly (we’ve been at this since March), and then rolling 4 hour strikes after that, if necessary… I really don’t want to do that, so I hope both sides compromise with regard to pay and we can get on with, you know, developing the leaders of the next 10 to 20 years.

The one thing that’s got me riled about the whole thing is the government’s attitude that, like the police and nurses, we have to create some sort of productivity outcomes, or something like that. And from us, they seem (at least, as the union portrays it, and of course it might be skewed) to expect $$ savings. Since when was education meant to be profitable?? Or even cheap?? Education should be massively expensive – for the government. Victoria already has the best Yr12 retention rates, and on average we meet or exceed national benchmarks for readin’ & writin’ & numberin’, so what more can they ask??  Anyway… is annoying. When we’re the lowest paid teachers in the country….

Star Trek VI

So all that stuff about odds and evens of Star Trek movies is, I have decided, crap. I just watched VI (man I love BigPond Movies!), and it was great. Right from the start it was obvious that it was made much more recently than V, because the effects were infinitely better. And the plot – there was one! And it was a good one! No faffing around at the start; an unexpected double-cross (for me to be surprised by a double-cross is quite unusual); and the acting was probably a bit better than it had been previously.

Kirk got emotion and a turn-around, Spock got devious, Bones got insulted… and Sulu got his own ship.

This one I am happy to recommend to most scifi buffs.

Oh – and Klingons quoting Shakespeare – brilliant! An interesting touch to make them more civilised, which throws the whole Klingons-as-brutes questions into the air and pushes Kirk, and the audience, into questioning the relationship between ‘civilised’ and not, and indeed what ‘civilised’ means.

I liked it.

And there’s a new Star Trek coming out next year, with Karl Urban as Bones! It’s set in the space academy, as a prequel – the original gang learning how to be the insubordinate types we know and love. I’m not entirely convinced, but I’ll probably go and see it.

Free rice! and time wasting!

My friends, I have found the most wonderful, nerdy, and actually-almost-useful time waster.

Free Rice

You get the word’s meaning correct, they donate 10 grains of rice to the UN. Don’t ask me how it works – haven’t read the FAQ – and I choose not to think about the ins and outs of this. Because they’re words, man! And they want me to define them!!

I donated 1520 grains tonight. What I particularly like – and this is where my competitive side comes out – is that it records your vocab level, and if you get a word wrong you go down. The highest I got tonight was level 47.

Free rice love!

Star Trek V

As part of my ongoing effort to watch all of the Star Trek movies, I finally saw this one a few days ago. I think I’ve mentioned before the odds/evens thing with them, and after the craptacular nature of IV I had hopes for V, although with some trepidation. Fortunately, it was most certainly better than IV – although that wasn’t hard. What felt like about the first third was a weird, let’s-get-to-know-the-characters-outside-of-the-ship thing… maybe their audience polling said that would play well? Me, I don’t need to hear Kirk and Bones singing “Row, row, row your boat.” And am I the only one who thought the suggestion of romance between Uhura and Scotty just a bit weird??

Anyway, the storyline was bearable; I quite liked the emotion-mad Vulcan, although most of the twists were predictable. I thought he was a good character, and they used him well. I also liked the way they managed to get yet another ego-tripping maniacal Klingon in there (and all the while reading subtitles, I couldn’t help but think of those people who ‘speak’ Klingon – figuring out syntax from subtitles is hard work!!). As always, I think Bones was my favourite. His acerbic wit and delight in calling Spock out as a nutter are highly enjoyable.

Probably not one for the casual movie viewer. You have to be a bit nuts to watch it, I think.

House

I’ve thought this vaguely in the past, but watching the end of season three on DVD solidified it in my head.

TV’s Dr Gregory House is Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

No wife/girlfriend; drug habit; musical; detective; slightly antisocial; bizarre techniques.

This can’t be accidental, surely. The writers didn’t have to make House musical, for instance.

What is it about dysfunctional people that make them so fascinating to watch or read about??

Assyria, and lectures

Went to another public lecture the other day, this one the eleventh Marion Adams Memorial Lecture, for the Arts Faculty at Melbourne Uni. It got me thinking that I would like to have a lecture named after me, or possibly a book-buying bequest… I might have to set aside some money right now for that to be possible.

Anyway, the lecture: was very interesting. I won’t describe the whole thing here, because if you are interested in hearing it you can – gasp! the technology! – actually download and listen to it. Actually, it wasn’t there when I checked today, but I am sure they’ll get it there. If the microphone was good enough you should be able to pick up Dr Andrew Jamieson* thumping the desk and getting very excited, which was quite worhtwhile. Of course, you won’t get the visuals – unless they upload those too, which I would have thought unlikely – they were really great. The gist of his talk, anyway, was that far from the Assyrian heartland being the sole arbitrator of taste and refinement in the Neo-Assyrian period, there definitely seems to have been toing and froing in cultural borrowings and acquisitions between the heartlands and the conquered periphery. Just makes sense to me, but I take it that this is a new idea in the field.

*Whom, if memory serves, I heard speaking at another lecture last year – this one in conjunction with his brother, who is a physics lecturer also at Melbourne Uni. The whole thing was very good, but Andrew was definitely outshone on that occasion by his brother. Maybe he was sick then, because this particular lecture was brilliant.

George Takei

So, apparently George Takei – who played Sulu in Star Trek and, unbeknownst to me, also had a part in Heroes – has had an asteroid named after him. That’s very nice, and appropriate and all. But what I really want to know is whether there is a lump of rock out there with the sobriquet Shatner? How about Nimoy? or Kelley? (Bones is one of my very favouritest characters, if I as a non-Trekie had favourite Trek characters…). I’ll bet there’s not a Koenig (Chekov), and would bet an even greater sum that there is no Nichols (Uhura – the girl, remember?).

Anyway, this post is brought to you courtesy of my viewing yesterday of Star Trek V, in my ongoing quest to see all of the old Star Trek movies, which is quickly approaching completion. I’ll post more on numero 5 later… since I really ought to be writing reports at this precise moment.

(It started off lovely and warm today, is getting cooler with approaching rain; I have music and the cricket on – which I notice has just been stopped for rain, in  sunny Hobart – so if I have to be writing reports, it’s a pleasant way to do it).

Revolutions

My darlings had their exam yesterday. I wasn’t as nervous before it as I had expected – which sounds weird, the teacher being nervous, but remember two things: a) this is my first Yr 12 class; b) before their first piece of school assessment, I felt really quite ill. Anyway, I got emails from two of them last night, and one this morning, saying they felt all right about it. Then I got hold of the paper today and did a little dance – one of the China questions was quite similar to a piece of school assessment we did (at which I did a little dance), and most of the other questions we had covered – I think – fairly well in class. So even the weaker students should have been able to write something… as long as they didn’t just completely flake, which I guess is always possible.

So… an acceptable end to the year, I think. Although it doesn’t actually end until Dec 17, when the results come out. Eek.