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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Ready to play the 10,000 Pyramid ? Here are the clues:
– Edward Scissorhands.
– James Franco, was Peter Parker’s friend and later nemesis.
– James Dean, the actor, not the sausages.

This is my first movie review on this blog. Normally I don’t like reviewing movies aimed toward a younger audience, for reasons I shall write down, then just as discretely, delete.

This is all I knew about the movie going in.
1) Teen flick.
2) vampire movie
3) Big book tie in

That first one alone would make me run screeching toward the other end of the movie theatre. I’ve been a fan of good (not mediocre) vampire movies, since Dracula, starring Frank Langella. And my daughter likes the book series.

Somehow I found myself watching a pretty funny Youtube parody of Twilight, and was intrigued. A user uploaded the entire DVD movie in 12 parts. vive la internet. So I sat and watched that, out of sheer curiosity. What was the fuss all about?

These were my thoughts.
1) She’s utterly depressing, which this movie translates to “attractive” to lumbertown high school guys. Does this actress have any other expressions besides sullen heaving and muttering through her clenched teeth?
2) One of the female characters describes Edward Cullen as extremely good looking. I had to search high and low on screen for him. Oh — he’s in the centre of the shot. Pale, yes? Devastating? Uh, nee man.

The two of them flip-flopped between like/hate/like/hate. Yeah, whiplash is exactly how I would describe it also. So I just got off the merry-go-round, and let the characters have at each other, while I chomped on my popcorn. I never got fully vested in their interactions and relationship.

I was one of those fortunate few who weren’t jaded by the book, and I didn’t expect much, which was good, because “not much” was exactly what I got from the movie. It was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet meets
Beauty and the Beast.

I read the novel later in the evening, just to see what it was that made the series so popular. Maybe I was missing something. Turns out, I didn’t miss much there, either. The movie is fairly close to the book, only with more action. Too bad. I was hoping the series was an improvement.

In at least one way, the book was far worse than the movie, in its Mary Sueish depiction of Bella. Every boy in school was attracted to the main character. And she was beloved by an Adonis of an eternally young and undead boyfriend. I think at one point she even exclaims in typical Sue-monologue “I can’t believe this Adonis is in love with me.” I don’t know how that escaped the eyes of the publisher. But more power to the writer of Sues. At least the movie didn’t push the Sue-ish aspect of Bella. Bella – Belle (from Beauty and the Beast?).

If I’d read the book earlier, I would have been greatly disappointed by the casting of Edward Cullen, again no Adonis. But then, as the actor himself explained, maybe he was only an Adonis, in the eyes of Bella. That’s a much better explanation of why Adonis turned out to be a lookalike to Peter Parker’s best friend and nemesis, Harry Osborn.

Again, as a testament to the actor’s craft, without having read anything beforehand, I felt he came across as James Dean-ish, with the attitude, and — mostly the absurd flair of troll hair. I later discovered that’s the American icon’s accent he was aiming for.

The movie could have been better, but it could have been worse. I think the only saving grace was that it plays better the second time around. Overall a three out of five, if only for the novelty of vegetarian vampires who sparkle like diamonds in the sunshine … as opposed to Tolkien elves that glow like nighsticks in the dark.

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I am learning two foreign languages at the same time. Well, not exactly at the same time. I started with Afrikaans over seven months ago, and I’m using Pimsleur Russian just this month. The Russian is coming along very slowly. Not because it’s particularly difficult, just because I’m lazy. The Pimsleur comes in about 25 minute doses, which is just compact enough to tackle per sitting. I should but I don’t study it daily.

The Pimsleur site says that if I know about 80% of the material in the current lesson, it’s okay to move onto the next lesson. Otherwise review this lesson again. I was stuck on Lesson 1 thinking I had to master it, but I forged into Lesson 2, which repeats much of Lesson 1. Then it was onto Lesson Three and Four. It’s like eating chips. I could not stop.

For a day, I sidetracked at looking into Cyrillic , so that I might read the words I was pronouncing. Once I got used to seeing the different types of letters, it didn’t seem too hard to read, but the writing of the letters is intimidating.

Afrikaans is relatively easy, given the relationship of English to Dutch. Russian is as far a language as I can imagine and is for me, rote memorization. But Pimsleur makes it amazingly painless. This is an excellent system of interval teaching. The first few lessons were straightforward, “excuse me, do you speak English.”

Then there’s a bit that had me cracking up, toward Lesson Three. The narrator says “tell her you understand Russian”. I say it in Russian. The Narrator says “but you’d better add ‘just a little.” I say that too, in Russian. Finally he says “and ‘not very well.'”. I don’t know why this made me laugh, but it seemed like a twist of humor they inadvertently injected in what was otherwise a dry dialogue.

Also, at this point, I was getting a touch of mental fatigue, and instead of Russian, I answered back automatically in Afrikaans. “but you’d better add ‘just a little'” To which I answered “net ‘n bietjie.” The mind is a terrrible thing to waste.

At 11PM I set my cellphone alarm to go off in five hours. I tell myself I’m just going to hear the alarm, ignore it and go right back to sleep. My sleep time is a sanctuary. I camp out on the couch by the computer so I can’t give myself a reason not to get to it. Zzzzz.

The pulse of “Funky Band” ringtone filters through my consciousness. What the? I grope for the phone, and the time reads 3:00AM. Did I misprogram the alarm? Nope, it’s a phone call from my son in the other room. I hear dead air on the line. He must have butt-dialed me. I go back to sleep.

Chirp chirp chirp. That’s the 4AM alert. Amazingly, since I was wakened from deep slumber at 3, I was not too groggy at 4. That, plus the fact that I had to use the bathroom, prompted me to easily roll off the couch. Note to self: if I ever have to rise before the chickens again, remember to drink tons of liquid before bedtime.

Brêkvis met Derrich, indeed. Derrich may be brêkking his vis, but I’m still digesting my pre-midnight snack. If there is no law against waking up in the dead hours, there ought to be one — with a life sentence and no parole. Was my brain parked on “stupid” when I set that alarm? …Grunt.

“Cut the whinging, suck it up and stick it in gear, Grant,” barked the pushy Wakeup Angel as she mercilessly whacked me with her wand.

I fire up the computer at 4:02. Geez, I hope they didn’t start the show without me. The last time I watched a TV show a few minutes late, I missed Josh Groban’s entire opening performance. I quickly log onto RSG, and I hear a woman announcer reading the news. Well, this is not the right sound. The host, Derrich Gardner is male. Did I miscalculate the time difference? If I don’t catch any hint of David in a bit, I am back to REM in a snap.

I start up my audio recording program, Audacity. I hit the record button. I should see spikes of sound, but it’s flat lining. Blast. I’ve got no input sound. Now that’s just ducky. My hubby fixed the sound card just yesterday, and the settings may have changed. For a few sweaty panicky minutes I poke around the system’s audio settings, hoping the newscaster continues to stall for me until I figure it out.

Drawing on the three brain cells active at this godforsaken hour, and some sheer luck, I get the recording working. Just in the nick of time as they cut to Pretoria and the Kolonnade Centre announcement for David Fourie. Hmm, I thought it was to be an interview, not a concert. What a delightful surprise! He starts off with my favourite Jy Soen Soos ‘n Engel and follows shortly with my other favourite, Vir ‘n 100 000 Jare.

David Fourie - Vir 'n 100 000 Jare

David Fourie - Vir 'n 100 000 Jare

As I’m listening, I had an epiphany … this is my very first David Fourie concert! I’m huddled in front of the keyboard and soft glow of the computer screen, like the proverbial gathering around the family RCA listening to The Voice of Firestone.

David is actually singing live, a coupla thousand miles away, on a whole other continent!!!! A little chill of excitement rushes through me. I am nearly as much a part of his audience as the people standing in front of him. Though I can’t give the same immediate audience feedback, I can do so electronically. All this, thanks to a personal invitation from a new friend to kom luister, through the magic of the internet, and a radio station that reaches its tendrils throughout the world.

Radio Sonder Grense

Radio Sonder Grense

Music from a CD has its own beauty and perfection, and sounds the very same on every play. But there is absolutely nothing like the raw energy of a live performance. I like the audience interactions. He had the audience sing with him on Lucky, and I think he had some girls dance along to Kaboemielies. He sang some songs from his new CD, and returned to some of my favourite standards, Land in die Suide, Hou My Vas, Stywer Vas. That latter was cut short for some reason, but he soldiered onto the next song just fine.

Sandwiched between David’s numbers (after all, this is David’s concert! :)), I half-listened to some cool acts and guests: an office band, singer Bianca le Grange , the manager of the Centre, a contestant winner(?), and a rep from the zoo. Once in a while the RSG feed would skip out, and has to reconnect and reload the buffer for what seemed the most excruciatingly long amount of seconds.

At noon Pretoria time (6AM NY time), I crawled back into bed, and slept another four hours. Good thing it was a weekend. As I am no college student, partying up til the wee hours, and bouncing back in the AM, this body will surely pay me back today.

For a David Fourie concert, it is quite worth the price!