forests and jungles

A few weeks ago, I was at a friend’s place with a few other friends. After lunch, it was somehow decided that we should watch a horror movie. I think the rationale was that it was broad daylight, and we were in good company, so any horror film was likely to be more tolerable (compared to watching one in other circumstances). A particular friend in the group also seems quite interested in this genre (JS!) Continue reading

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the unexpected tear-jerker

I have this kind of vague, kind of vivid memory about a conversation I had with a friend back in high school. I think it was the last day of grade 8, or the last day of semester in grade 8 or 9; and I remember this because there weren’t really any classes or, at least, we weren’t doing any learning. Instead, in one class, we watched a movie – something sad and poignant like The Notebook but not that.

In this particular conversation, this friend and I (and perhaps a few other friends who were around) were talking about movies that make you cry. The Notebook was one of her suggestions. As for myself, I’d never been moved to tears by a movie. Some time after this, I got around to watching The Notebook, and I didn’t cry. Don’t think I even felt tears welling up in my eyes. I appreciate the beauty of the story and all, and I’m sure I would’ve felt the emotion of the characters, but… no tears.

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come back

When ‘Atonement’ first came out in cinemas at the end of 2007, I went to watch it with a few friends. If I remember correctly, it was New Year’s Eve, and we watched it some time in the afternoon before heading over to South Bank to secure a good fireworks-viewing position. I don’t recall knowing anything about it before watching it, but I remember that I actually really, really liked it. In fact, I probably liked it the most out of all the friends I went to watch it with.

The following year, I had a uni placement out in Cleveland. One day, I arrived early so that I could explore around before heading over to my assigned pharmacy. Unsurprisingly, I ended up in the local library, and it was lucky I did because they were selling off some of their old books. Usually I don’t expect to find anything good in these sorts of sales because they usually just get rid of random old books that no one reads (or has ever heard of), or books that are just about falling apart. I had a look on my way out, and I cannot tell you how delighted I was to find a copy of ‘Atonement’ (by Ian McEwan) among the sale trolleys! And it was in pretty good nick, and was only 50 cents! What good fortune!

It's not very clear in this photo, but the receipt is dated 28/08/2008

It’s not very clear in this photo, but the receipt is dated 28/08/2008

I didn’t think twice about buying it, but it has since sat on my shelf for seven years before I finally decided to read it. Well, to be honest, I did pick it up a few years ago, but I mustn’t have been in the right mindset for it, or I must have just finished some epically draining novel, so I just didn’t have the mental energy to read it, and just put it down after a few pages.

I was prompted to read it by the same friend who had lent me her copy of ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’. I suppose there are some similarities (themes of war, suffering, relationships, etc) but they are still such different books. Both amazingly well-written though!

‘Atonement’ is one of those books where you have a lot of moments when things just click – when the puzzle pieces fall into place and it’s like a lightbulb has gone off. I had wanted to leave enough space between watching the movie and reading the book so that the former didn’t influence the latter too much, but hadn’t expected to have forgotten so much. Nor had I expected to remember as much as I did. There were parts that certainly sounded or felt familiar, and others that I could not remember at all from the movie (and I’m not talking about small details, but about huge chunks, like the entire part about Robbie going to war).

As soon as I’d finished reading the novel, I decided to re-watch the movie (which I haven’t seen since that NYE all those years ago) so that I could wallow further in the sadness of the story. And what a journey this story has taken me on! Watching it now, almost eight years on, I wonder if I really understood everything that happened in the movie when I first watched it. I mean, I’d just finished high school – there was a lot about the world I was yet to learn.

Watching the movie so close to finishing the novel also made all the omissions so much more glaringly obvious. Really, it just reinforced the reasons why I read: you can get so much more out of a book than a movie. It must be such a challenge for film-makers to adapt books into movies and try to maintain all the feeling and tension and history, let alone trying to decide which scenes will and won’t make the cut.

To describe ‘Atonement’ in a word, I’d probably call it “heart-breaking” (that still counts as one word because it’s hyphenated) or maybe “devastating”. Perhaps “devastatingly beautiful” if you allow me two words.

big picture

We finally got some rain today, a day when I’m at home the whole time. Just my luck, ey?

Nothing quite like rainy days at home with a good book or movie (or both – it’s a whole day, after all) and the hum of rain and traffic in the background. Sure, I would’ve liked to have gone for a walk this afternoon, but this alternative is ok, too.

Watched ‘Juno’ today because I’d never seen it before, so I sort of just randomly decided that I felt like watching it today. I think it’s the sort of film that most people will either hate or love – not really something you’d watch and just be like “meh, it was ok”. And, yeah, I liked it. Thought it was good. Don’t like that Mark guy, though, or whatever his name was.

Watched ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ on SBS1 last night. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it seemed kind of pointless. Nothing really changed in any of the characters – some distance was covered, but in the end there’s no displacement (one of the most useful physics concepts I ever learnt).

I don’t think I’ve watched a movie at the cinemas since November last year (someone correct me if I’m mistaken). Would like to go out for a movie, but since I’m working lates this week (8pm finish counts as the late shift where I work), looks like that’s not going to happen for a while…

precious days

Just over a week of holidays left. How sad. Still so much to do, and so much nothing-ness to fit in, too. If I’m counting correctly, I’ve only stayed at home for the entire day four times so far these holidays. Of course, sometimes I "go out" and don’t really do anything at all, but, as has been defined by others, if you set foot outside the house, then you’re "going out".

(If you want to be pedantic about semantics, you would say that stepping outside your house and into your backyard would then count as "going out" when, of course, realistically, it hardly qualifies. But, because it is holidays, and we should not look so far into these sort of things, we are going to ignore that. Please do not get pedantic about semantics here. I have not the time to debate trivial matters.)

I have watched six movies in three weeks of holidays. I’d say that’s quite above my average, but I’m not sure what my average is exactly, so I won’t make unsupported claims here. Don’t know if I want to single out a favourite of the six, but I suppose ‘Ice Age 3’ was pretty funny. ‘The Proposal’ was also quite funny, and quite sweet, too.

Yes, I did watch ‘Hannah Montana’. And, no, it was not unbearable or lame or whatever. But I did see some parallels between the movie and the episode of ‘Hannah Montana’ this morning. I would discuss further, but I highly doubt that anyone reading this has watched both, so it would hardly be worth my time. (Yes, time is so precious now.)

The other three I’ve watched are (in chronological order): ‘Year One’, ‘Bruno’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’. I would expect that enough people have seen those and talked about it to not require me to give further comment here. Yes, I am being quite lazy by not bothering to include more of my opinion and whatever, but I’m tired, and it’s good that I’m even bothering to write anything at all. Not that I don’t like blogging, but I just keep thinking of all this other stuff I could be doing now (sleep included).

I had actually intended to type up some of my notes from last semester. And I am glad to say that I have actually typed up some notes. However, it does fall a bit short of the amount I had aimed to accomplish. But, no matter. There is still time, and there is still intention to type up more notes.

Of course, because I’ve been "going out" so much these holidays, I’ve been eating out a lot, too. And, as that essentially means that meals are my own responsibility, they have been rather inconsistent and sugar-biased. (I’m not totally sure it’s correct to use "biased" in that context, but it just seemed to fit, and I can’t think of a better word at the moment.)

I’ve had so much sugar. It doesn’t help that sugar, in all its many forms and guises, is so tempting – ice-cream, cupcakes, milkshakes, waffles, cakes, tarts, pies, coffee, chocolate, biscuits, cereal, pastries, donuts – the list goes on and on. Of course, my salt and oil and whatever else intake can’t have been so great either. But how can one refuse something that’s just asking to be eaten? I’ve been eating at places I’ve never eaten at before, though – broadening my culinary experiences.

I’m too tired to write more now. Sleep deprived even in the holidays. Now, that is not quite right. But it is not completely wrong either. There is simply too much to do. A little sleep can be sacrificed here and there.