Monthly Archives: November, 2008


I am watching Rome!

That is, I’m into the second episode of the first season.

I still hate Octavian. Sorry. I like James Purefoy and Marc Antony, so that’s a lovely combination. Although I hadn’t expected him to be quite so… brutal… I like my Richard Burton view of him…

I also hadn’t expected the interest in the common people, which is cool. Nor the quantity of sex. (And the full-frontal nudity, too.)

For a TV show, this is a glorious production – as I had heard; it looks like a high-quality film! HBO must be rolling in it.

Iron Man

I’ve seen Iron Man, finally.

And it was brilliant, as I’d heard. I know nothing about the comics, so obviously I can’t comment on its authenticity. But the opening – how he gets the idea, creates it – very clever! Ridiculous, but clever. Tony Stark is one hilarious hero, and hugely enjoyable to watch. I hadn’t expected Robert Downey Jr to be nearly as good as he was! Infinitely watchable. I had expected Gwyneth Paltrow to be a bit painful, but actually I thought she fit the character quite nicely.

The story was interesting enough, without trying to be too ambitious, which I think can sometimes be a failing in films that really, should be all about the action. (OK, I don’t really mean that, but I think directors do sometimes forget that there are lots of us who are happy with good solid stories, and lots of action, and don’t need more convolutions than The Wheel of Time.) There were a couple of points where I was surprised, which is really all I ask for!

The effects were also brilliant.

Dangerous chocolate cake

Courtesy of my sister comes this gob-smacking recipe:


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional… ha! as if it would be an option to put them in!)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

I made it last night, and did go the ‘virtuous’ option… it was tasty, but I think I over-mixed it; it had that texture that overmixed muffins sometimes get. Still… I’m trying to decide whether I really ought to post this, or if I should delete it and the email and try to forget that chocolate cake could be so accessible!

Aliens walk amongst us

I found out tonight that Mondo Rock sang “State of the Heart,” which I adore.

I found out a week ago that Ross Wilson fronted both Mondo Rock and Daddy Cool.

Tonight, I went to see Wilson at the Spiegeltent here is lovely, wonderful Melbourne. And it was very cool! He’s got a new album out on the Liberation Blue label – which is doing some awesome things for Aussie music – it’s basically all old stuff, reworked: imagine a honky tonk Eagle Rock, for example. It’s a lot of fun. He was a good enough showman, bit of banter with the crowd, obviously a good vibe with the band – there was a lap guitar! I love lap guitar! – and it was all a really great night.

I love that I don’t have to work tomorrow.*

*We worked for our day off tomorrow, don’t worry: it counts as time in lieu.

On the Beach

I’ve finally got around to watching it: the Gregory Peck version.

The opening credits have a delightful orchestral theme. It took me a while to realise it was Waltzing Matilda. It continues as a theme throughout the whole flick, which gets a bit distracting for those of us who know the words.

It’s the most glorious black and white. Colour doesn’t allow for the lovely use of shadow that b&w does, or contrasts; I’ve seen a coloured version of Casablanca and it just doesn’t have the same mood.

It’s set in Melbourne! There’s the Post Office!

I adore Peck. That voice!

Filmed in 1959; there’s a dramatic moment when the calendar reveals that it’s 1964. Dum dum dum.

This is quite a different post-apocalyptic film from what we have tended to get more recently. It’s a peculiarly old-fashioned view of the apocalypse: no anarchy. It’s complicated – in its relationships, its view of causes – and it likes being complicated. It also likes thinking about the causes, which perhaps results from its Cold War origins.

It’s also a lot more forthright than I was expecting, perhaps because it’s based on an Australian book? Example: Lt and wife having a kiss near the beach, stranger walks past and says “Give ‘er what for, mate.” The Lt just waves.

Also: no petrol. Lots of bikes! And horse-drawn buggies.

Ah yes… blame the scientists… there’s even a hint of blaming computers. Fred Astaire is not, so far, as bad as I had feared. Ava Gardner is good; Donna Anderson is marvelous, as the somewhat naive, innocent young wife. Anthony Perkins is utterly fabulous as the young Lt.

My darling has always said we should move to the east coast of NZ’s south island, because the prevailing currents and winds would make it the safest place in the event of a nuclear disaster.

Oh, I really think I’ll have to read this. I’ve never read any Shute; A Town like Alice is really not my thing; this, on the other hand, is right up my alley.