Thursday, March 22, 2007

Urgent Question

Is it just me, or is the dance and the accompanying music danced by Emma and Mr Knightly (Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam) in the movie Emma exactly the same as the dance and the accompanying music for the first time Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy dance together in the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice?

I was just watching Emma, but I don't have a copy of P&P here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quirky Darwin TV

TV is strange here.

There is no Channel 10 - we have already established that...

If you watch late night tv - as yours truly does sometimes - rather than those ads with writhing half naked women telling you to call them now, and phone/internet dating ads, you get a nice selection of religious messages. Did you guys get the one calling for people to attend a prayer conference in Sydney for the drought?

Then there is the liking for repeating things. There seems to be a habit of playing charity advertisements twice in a row - I've seen that happen at least three times. Particularly the Barnardos ads with Paul Mecurio in them.

Then a week or so ago, Channel 7 (I think it's Southern Cross), who has been showing some older episodes of NCIS, played the exact same episode they had shown the week before.

Then Top Gear (Fantastic show on SBS) has been showing episodes that were only on a few weeks before - but I'm not sure if that is the programming, or just the fact that Top Gear was doing best of shows which ended up being pretty much a repeat of a previous episode.

Gideon's home - so this is one very happy girl - although it's only for 3 days. At least I'm not the one stuck in Darwin this time!!

Only a few days time and I'll be in Melbourne to see all of your bright and happy faces! Looking forward to it. It's going to be a busy and exciting week!


Movie Review

Pan's Labyrinth: 3.75/5

Cast: Sergi Lopez (Dirty Pretty Things), Ivana Baquer
In a Nutshell: A very dark, serious and adult Alice In Wonderland

Brief Description: Set towards the end of World War II and after the end of the Spanish Civil war, a young girl, Ofelia, and her mother go to live with her tyrant stepfather, an officer in the army. Ofelia embarks on a quest in a fantastical world.

There is no disputing this is a quality movie. It has imagination and richness, accompanied by a harsh reality that you don't find in a lot of movies. The creatures in the fantasy world look amazing, and the characters in the "real life" story are brilliantly played by the cast. The way the two worlds run in tandem and intertwine is extremely clever. However, I think I enjoyed it maybe a little less than most. I found the reality extremely gruesome in bits - it wasn't necessarily gratuitous - just not to my taste. I am not sure why, but I just didn't get drawn into this movie as much as I thought I would.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

*Sigh* - I'm In Love again

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

Robbie Williams is in rehab and Take That are back in Australia doing a promo tour. Who would have thunk it? It has been a decade since the boys...ahem, men... split up. The youngest, Mark Owen is now 34 years old, and the oldest, Howard Donald is now 38 years old, and yet they are, for all intent and purposes, still a boy band.

After an afternoon of listening to their Australian radio interviews and watching clips and come back interviews on You Tube, I have to admit that this thirty year old is as infactuated as she was 1o years ago when she chased TT that from Melbourne Airport to their hotel.

Here's a link to their new filmclip for the song Shine.
It's a great song, I like it more than Patience (which incidently won best single at the Brit Awards this year), and the film clip is fun. I found it amusing that if you read the comments on YouTube under this footage, it is mostly from 11 to 13 year olds professing their love for the band and their favourite member! I'm not sure if that makes me feel ultra old or young.

Here's another link to a live version of the same song.
This one's funny for the dance moves. Watching thirty something guys doing really lame dance moves in synch is somewhat laughable. :D

But anyway, welcome back Take That! I've been waiting for 10 years, and it has been worth the wait!

Argghh.. Burning knees...

Ow.. hot, hot, hot, knees...

Must be the dencorub. After a Pump class and then 2-3 hours of Salsa followed by an hour of clubbing, in heels... well, not the Pump class, my knees are sore - definitely a sign I'm getting old. The feet are too, but that is more a factor of wearing heels that are too high and narrow. What I would do for my own little house elf that would massage my feet. Next best thing, a 3.30am swim. Only in Darwin.

Have a great weekend everyone! I know I will. I have two potential movie dates and there are only 4 more days to go. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Something to give you a laugh.

I locked myself out of the apartment this evening. Am I totally blonde?? Don't answer that.

That's the problem with those damned doors that you can lock by just pulling them shut. That, and the fact that your housemate is away. :p

Was on the way to the DVD shop ($1 Tuesdays - bargain!). Even remembered to grab the car key because I had misplaced my gate remote and wanted to check if it was in the car. Left my bunch of keys inside the apartment - really no use in there - with my Video card attached to them. Doh!

My kind neighbours let me use their phone and watch the Simpsons (on Foxtel) while waiting for the locksmith. When he finally arrived it took at least an hour to unlock the door, because he was unable to pick it, and ended up having to drill a hole through the lock in the handle (breaking a drill bit in the process), and then replace the cradle inside the handle. Oh what fun to be had on a Tuesday night! Who would have thought it?

On a happier note, rode out to Casurarina again today to catch Bobby (see review below). On the way home, some kind soul took the trouble of sticking their head out the car window and yelling at me "Ride on the footpath!!". That's not the first time either, I've been honked at least once on one of the few rides I've done here in Darwin. I was admittedly going quite slow, maybe only 25 kmph, but it was a 3 lane road that wasn't particularly busy. It's so rare that you see riders out on the roads here, you mostly see people riding on footpaths without helmets (it's legal), I guess cars don't quite know what to do around cyclists here.

Here's a highlight from the Oscars that I missed in my earlier write up. Thanks to my sister for pointing it out. It's probably bet best bit of the night! A little musical skit by Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C Reilly.

I do believe I now have at least one baby bud for each of the 7 herbs I planted! Yay!

Oh - and I did make it to the DVD shop in the end and rented 7 DVD's to keep me busy until next Tuesday! 3 x Enterprise discs (=12 episodes - get into them if you haven't seen any, they are sensational! Probably more so if you've seen any of the previous ST series), The Departed, John Tucker Must Die, She's the Man (What can I say, I am reliving my teen years) and 3 Weddings & a Funeral (after reading the article in this month's Empire, I thought it was worth checking out whether the hysteria when it first came out was worth it - I remember I hated it th first time I saw it).

Before I get into the review of Bobby, I thought I'd mention a few of trailers, posters, and up & coming movies.

About a month ago I saw the trailer for the new Transformers movie. Can't wait. I was such a fan of the Transformers back when I was a young kid getting up at 6 or 7am on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons! The trailer looks awesome.. although not sure if it will be for the kiddies, maybe it's aimed at us late 20's/early 30's people who were kids back then.

On a similar note, also saw a poster for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I think the turtles are going to be computer animated this time round. AWwww... and those turtle suits were so realistic too.

One trailer that I've seen at every movie for the last month is Mr Bean Goes on Holiday. Is this for real?? I have to say that it potentially looks like the worst movie ever. I'm sure it won't be (there has been a pretty good precedence set by the likes of Freddy got Fingered, Basic Instinct 2 and Head over Heels!; )), but I really wish they would stop showing the trailer.

One final one - I can't wait to see Becoming Jane. This is one for the girlies. It's the story of Jane Austen, and the inspirations behind her books. It stars Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy (*sigh*, what a hot little stud muffin!). So far, early critical reviews have been good!


Movie Review

Bobby: 3.75/5

Cast: William H Macy (Fargo), Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct), Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Lindsay Lohan (Freaky Friday), Demi Moore (St Elmo's Fire), Emilio Estevez (St Elmo's Fire), Martin Sheen (West Wing), Ashton Kutcher (Mr Moore & Punk'd), Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Laurence Fishburne (Matrix), Freddy Rodriguez (6 Feet Under), Helen Hunt (Twister), Christian Slater (Heathers), Heather Graham (Boogie Nights), Joshua Jackson (Dawsons Creek).

In a nutshell: Very good job Mr Estevez, somewhat classier than Men At Work (although I did love that movie!)

Synopsis in brief: Follows the day in the life of 22 people who were at the Ambassador Hotel the day that Robert Kennedy was assassinated.

As it has been said in most reviews, this is a very Altmanesque effort. Personally, all respect to the man, but I have not really enjoyed the few Altman movies I have seen - too many characters, too much going on and a lack of focus. This is in that vein, and similarly I felt like there were so many interesting characters in the movie, but you never really go to know who they were and why they did what they did in the little screen time they had. I wanted to know more, but perhaps that is the beauty of it. As a result, around the middle of the movie, I found myself wondering where this was headed, even though I knew full well the result of the movie - its based on a true story after all. However, with cleverly interwoven authentic footage, the movie really hits the mark in the end. Powerful and moving.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Beehives and Honeypots

Here's a quirky detail I discovered the other day in my mini adventures around Darwin. The Supermarket - more like very large milkbar, down the road from here has some very random prices. Try on a can of Lite Spam for $5.73!?!

Was feeling a little down earlier in the night, coming home to an empty apartment that is not going to get any fuller in an hour of so is not a nice feeling. But what works like a charm to get one feeling better again?? Dancing of course! I almost didn't go, but am extremely glad that I did, am feeling 100 times better.

Tonight was the first weekly Friday night social salsa for the year. It's held at plush lounge with a dance floor/stage called the Beehive. The Beehive is actually a large room at the back of a venue called the Honey Pot, through which you have to walk to get to the Salsa. The Honey Pot is also a strip club. Very classy! Only in Darwin. Hey, at least maybe it encourages the guys to go dancing... or maybe the women too - whatever takes your fancy!

Ended up being a good night, had a few dances, talked to some people. And of course it was raining heavily on the way home, lucky it is only a couple of very short blocks away!

Friday, March 09, 2007

"Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" - Travis

He has been gone for about 12 hours, and wouldn't you know it, there were black clouds, thunder, lightening and pouring rain... just when it was time for me to go home. Not having the forethought to carry an umbrella, I braved the rain and got home in one big lump of wetness. And wouldn't you know it, the rain stopped about five minutes later!

They way home is where the heart is, and well, that seems to be true.

Hope all you lovely people down in Melbourne have a wonderful long weekend! Think of us up here slaving away... well, those people who actually have jobs!

xoxo g

It's always better when the sun shines

Hi Everyone!

Must apologise for my very sad and sombre blogs over the last week or so. Feeling much much better now!

Maybe it has something to do with the weather, or maybe it had something to do with Gideon being home for a whole 31 hours... Funny that since he came home the sun has been out - in a literal sense. Anyway, he disappeared again this morning for another 10 days. At least there were no tears this time, and ten days doesn't seem too bad. All in all, I'm in a very positive mood about everything at the moment, back to my usual self, almost :)

Wednesday night was a bit of a mixed night. I decided I was going to surprise Gideon and drive out to the airport to pick him up. So I hopped in the Mini, revved up the engine, and moved about 30cm before stalling the car and hearing a loud popping/snapping sound. After having a look at the car, I got back in to try again, hoping that I hadn't done something to the car! This time I managed to get out of the gate before stalling! Then finally I was on my way, be it in only in first gear! Started to do a lap around the block, actually quite proud of my driving prowess, only to hear a recurring flapping sort of sound, as if there was something attached to the wheel that was hitting something everytime the wheel went around. Plus it was exaccerbated when I put my foot on the brake. I was totally convinced I had broken the mini.

Finally Gideon got home - it was so wonderful to see him. And this time, despite the long wait at Sydney Airport, he had made the flight home without getting vomited on by a little kid... that always bodes well for a good flight. :) With a very heavy heart I told him about the car, so he went down to check it out. After a bit of a drive, the sound went away, he thinks it may have been because of the humidity and the car being undriven for 11 days, the wheels had developed flat spots! So all seems to be good, and I'm looking forward to attempting to drive to dance class on Monday. :D

I have also been actually doing some work for the last couple of weeks which definitely does some good for the soul. Legal secretarial work for most of the two weeks, which while interesting in some respects, has been a little boring as well (JC, I don't know how you do it). There's one more career to cross off the list! Yesterday and today I have been on reception, and given it is a small firm I've had lots of time for e-mailing and now blogging!

Here's a flash update from my garden!
After replanting some seeds and keeping the garden beds inside, 3 of the 7 plants have been sprouting furiously! Seems bringing them inside was a good move. So far the basil seems to be a winner, closely followed by what I think is mint, and then possibly the blue flowers... I'm not sure because I didn't mark them. Hopefully they will continue to grow so that I can confirm!

Not much else to report, except that things are also gearing up for my flying visit to Melbourne. It's only two weeks away! I'm extremely excited to see all of you and do some dancing and celebrating!

love gayle



The Illusionist: 3.5/5

Cast: Edward Norton (American History X), Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Jessica Biel (Blade III), Rufus Sewell (Dark City)

In a Nutshell: A great atmospheric character piece, not quite as impacting as The Prestige.

Brief Synopsis: Magician incurs the wrath of the Emperor's son who sets the Chief Inspector on him to shut down his show.

I was a little disappointed with Edward Norton, my favourite actor, in this movie. As the title role, he feels quite distant and unobtainable, possibly that was his intent, but it means a slight disconnection with the audience. The accent was a contributing factor, as it seemed to wibble wobble between American, British and possibly German or Italian - I couldn't tell. But I guess all of the actors struggled with the accent, not quite knowing where to pitch it. Biel and Sewell are ok, but it is Giamatti who makes the movie. As the police inspector doing the dirty work for the Crown Prince you would think that he would be a hateful man, but there is something subtle about him that is likeable and almost humourous. The movie is not quiet as intense or suspenseful as The Prestige, and you can sort of spot what is going to happen long before it happens, but there is a very nice mystical atmosphere about it, it is not in your face, and rather it beckons you to watch closely.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Quiet Sunday Afternoon

Sitting here sipping my vodka lemon lime (it's aleady going to my head), with some raisin toast and Take That Beautiful World playing in the background. It's still raining outside. A very pleasant Sunday afternoon alone, contemplating the meaning of life. Hahah... no, not really, just contemplating whether to go read a book (ie. have a nap) or play computer games.

Did anyone read the blog where I talked about my notorious black thumb, and how I was going to give you regular updates as to the state of my budding herb garden. Well. It pretty much died. So I'm starting all over again. Not sure what happened, but I think it was probably a case of too much direct sun - most of the buds kept shrivelling up and dying. So now the garden is moving inside and I've just replanted some seeds. Hopefully things will work out this time... stay tuned!

Have also been doing a bit more reading that usual recently. It has been great. Loving Darwin City Library! Here's a quick rundown on he last three: A Wise Woman - Philippa Gregory (no where near as good as some of her others, eg. The Other Boleyn Girl), Blast From the Past - Ben Elton (quick read, amusing, very good), The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracey Chevalier (just as good as Girl With a Pearl Earring).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Love a sleep in!

Good Morning all! So luxurious to be able to just lie in bed and enjoy how soft the pillow is and have nowhere to go and nothing to do. Must give big kudos to my man for foiling the bedroom windows, because up until a couple of weeks ago, the sunlight had kept getting us out of bed by 9 on the weekends.

Well now...

The rain has just eased up for about the first time in 20 hours! According to BOM, at 9am this morning, at Darwin Airport, they measured a whopping 152mm of rain for the previous 24hrs! I think surely the pool must have overflowed during the night!

TV, TV & more TV

Haven’t been to sleep before 1am since Gideon has been away (well, apart from last night). Back to old habits – how fickle. It’s strange, I’m both bored and restless (probably reflected in the length and directionless ambiance of this blog entry), it’s as if there is slightly less incentive to do things, including sleep… go figure. I hate being dependant on anyone, but I think I sorta am at the moment. I guess it doesn’t help that I can’t really keep myself busy catching up with people – usual remedy for feeling a little down.

Tonight was going to be a big night. I was going to go to the monthly Dance Social, and dance and socialise (what else do you do at a dance social?). It was also going to be my first time driving on the roads in a manual. I ended up chickening out. :( I’m using the weather as an excuse. :p

I think today has been my first experience of real proper monsoon weather here. The skies turned a dark grey just after lunch and it has been storming, windy and raining consistently since the middle of today. My sneakers were mini pools by the time I got home. It really hasn’t stopped since after lunch. Will have to check the 24 hour rainfall tomorrow morning. They are saying that there is a chance of a cyclone this weekend… I really hope not. The idea of hiding out in the windowless stuffy shoebox storeroom is not at all appealing. Anyway, I figured that having to concentrate on the wet roads and the heavy rain was probably a bit much on top of having to remember how to change gears at the same time. Might give it a go in the next few days instead.

Tomorrow will try and make an effort to go to Casuarina to do some window shopping, and must go to the post office to pick up a mystery parcel that has turned up. Very cool!

What I have done in the last week is watch a lot of TV. Monday night was a very busy night. Not only were the Oscars on, but some DVD’s from my sister arrived in the mail. So during the ads and the boring bits, I managed to fit in the final two episodes of American Idol and some of the finale of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). TV heaven, in the land of Gayle. Here is my wrap up of a very long night!

The Oscars:

Was a pretty good show mostly. Ellen was a reasonable host. Mostly told jokes that people understood (unlike Letterman) and didn’t seem to offend too many people. Has she had work done? There were a couple of slightly off kilter jokes that didn’t work, eg. The vacuum cleaner.

Highlights for me were:
1. The Start, introducing every single one of the nominees was a really classy and fun way to start;
2. Alan Arkin, the dark horse winning best supporting actor for Little Miss Sunshine;
3. Little Miss Sunshine winning best original screenplay *Yay*;
4. Al Gore
5. Melissa Etheridge (she’s starting to look old!) winning for best song, beating no less than 3 songs from Dream Girls and the token Randy Newman song – and I did think it was the best song.

And of course it wouldn’t really be an Oscars night without talking about the fashion! There weren’t any real shockers for a change, although I have to say that I quite disliked what Gwyneth was wearing, and the annoying one sided hair in her face when she was presenting.

I thought Helen Mirren looked gorgeous and classy, and very suitable for the Best Female Actor.

Jodie Foster was a surprise, she looked about 25 years old and the dress was quite nice apart from the bit under the bust. Usual honourable mentions were Nicole Kidman(although maybe that big bow was a bit contentious), Kate Winslet and Kelly Preston. Must also give a special mention to Robert Downey Jnr for looking extremely sexy. Reece Witherspoon looked stunning, if not a bit on the too skinny side.

But my favourite of all, and it seems to be the same almost every year, was Cate Blanchett – she is pure class.

American Idol:

We have just finished watchin Season 5, and in America they are already down to their finalists in Season 6. Geez we are behind. Having not seen much of the rest of season 5, it is difficult to comment. And yet, why not? One thing is obvious, that is the talent in the US Idol is definitely higher than Oz Idol. I guess they have many more star struck wannabes to pick from. Of the top 3, Elliot was probably my favourite – very soulful white boy…although fairly dorky and not so much stage presence. He only came 3rd. The guy who won, Taylor Hicks, was somewhat unconventional, especially for a US audience – looks a bit like a 40 year old accountant – I guess he won the hearts of the viewers with his personality, but I didn’t find him completely convincing unfortunately.


I had already looked up the results on the net, so it probably wasn’t as exciting as it should have been. Still it was cool see some of the dances I had missed, and some of the awesome ones that I really wanted to see again (still can’t get over that Mambo by Benji and Heidi). What amazing talent. I challenge anyone to start watching the next series and not get hooked. And it doesn't hurt that there is a very cute judge on the panel (Dan Karaty - who incidently had a cameo on Music & Lyrics).But seriously, learning one type of dance is difficult enough, but having to perform professionally in everything from Paso Doble to disco to hip hop with the energy they have, is just amazing. And my favourite won! Go Benji! Always nice to have a happy ending. However, I question whether “winning” a year’s contract dancing in Las Vegas in the Celine Dion show is really all that good. Surely there are better gigs?

Oh. And must make special mention that Dancing with the Stars is back on. Love it. But Darryl Sommers… is he for real??