Movies


So today in an effort to combat my increasing laziness (and size of my waist) I (and indeed K as well) went out and bought a pair of running shoes.  My first ever.  I don’t really like running but there are very few excuses to be made for why you shouldn’t be compared to almost any other physical activity that involves leaving the house.  I do get painful shins and my right knee can sometimes be a bit gammy but I figure I’ll give it a go.  I’ll update on progress.

It was quite fun all told – they watched me run up and down a short track in the shop and then they stuck me on a treadmill and recorded me running.  Buying shoes is much more high tech than it used to be.

We saw Sunshine Cleaning last night which I thought could have taken things a bit further (in terms of comedy and blackness) creating a great movie rather than just a good one.  The performances though from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt were fantastic.  I’ve really enjoyed every Amy Adams performance I’ve seen.  Very natural, very engaging.

A relaxing weekend has been much needed.

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So it comes that time when we all compile pointless lists of what we enjoyed throughout the year.  And I’m feeling it this time so make no exception.  So some top lists (in alphabetical order):

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No country for old men
  • Son of Rambow
  • Wall-E

A quiet year for movies on reflection.  If I had to choose only one it would be Wall-E.  As much as The Dark Knight is perfectly accomplished and astonishing in its brilliance and Iron Man is just brilliantly entertaining, Wall-E is just a wonderful combination of stunning visuals, gorgeous sound design and heartbreakingly staged story.  I love it.

Albums:

  • Crystal Castles
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Foals – Antidotes
  • Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
  • Los Campesinos! – Hold on now, youngster
  • Lykke Li – Youth Novel
  • Metronomy – Nights out
  • Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Did, Lazarus, Dig!
  • Remember Remember
  • Vampire Weekend

Picking a favourite from these is extremely difficult.  Or very easy, as since The Hawk is Howling was released I’ve listened to very little else.  It’s a truly stunning Mogwai album and feels fully formed, like it’s existed for years.  And I love it.  However, choosing Mogwai as my favourite of the year is kind of cheating as they’re my favourite band.  So before that was released it was Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing.  I’ve been listening to this all year and still love it.  Powerful and compelling.  Regardless, all  the above have been on constant repeat since release and are well worth listening to.  Interestingly, my favourite album of last year: Low – Drums and Guns is still on heavy rotation.

Songs:

  • Black Francis – The Seus
  • CSS – Rat is dead (Rage)
  • David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange overtones
  • Elbow – One day like this; Weather to fly
  • Fleet Foxes – Blue ridge mountains
  • Fuck Buttons – Sweet love for Planet earth
  • Gotye – Hearts a mess
  • Ladyhawke – Paris is burning
  • Lambchop – Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Lykke Li – I’m good, I’m gone
  • Metronomy – Heartbreaker
  • Mogwai – Scotland’s Shame; Devil Rides
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – More news from nowhere
  • Noah and the Whale – 5 years
  • Pete and the Pirates – Mr Understanding
  • Remember Remember – Fountain Mountain
  • Santogold – You’ll find a way
  • Those Dancing Days – Hitten

Rather an indiepop-tastic selection this year (getting old?) but fuck it.  My favourite?  Hmmmm.  Fountain Mountain probably (the original version rather than the split version that appeared on the album).

Books:

I managed to get through an impressive 53 books this year (not including comics) and out of those my favourites were:

  • We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • The Murder of Roger Akroyd – Agatha Christie
  • I am Legend – Richard Matheson
  • Regeneration – Pat Barker

My favourite was ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ – an incredibly powerful and compelling story.  Plus this was the year I discovered Agatha Christie and more importantly, Poirot.  The full list is at my Goodreads site on the right.

So, that’s it for the lists.  Not a bad year all in all.

It’s been a sparse month or so aside from Bond but there are a few things coming over the horizon that are getting me excited.

I wouldn’t class myself as a Trekkie; I’m a geek in many ways over many things but Star Trek has never been a huge one.  I mean I enjoyed Next Generation and I was quite partial to Voyager but only if they happened to be on when I sat down with nothing to do.  I’ve never really seen the orginal series aside from a few episodes (and I think nearly everyone has seen the Tribbles episode, fan or not).  But the new trailer that came out a week back for the new film looks stunning.  It’s made me really quite excited to see what they’re done and (much to K’s amusment) did make me spend more than a few hours on Wikipedia reading about Star Trek continuity.

And today the first proper trailer for the new Friday the 13th movie was released.  To me that is a very cool thing.  Regardless of their actual artistic value I love the Friday 13th movies.  I have them all (aside from Jason goes to Hell which I couldn’t find) and they sit side by side with my complete Nightmare on Elm Street collection and the orginal Hallowe’en (one of my old time top 10 movies and a classic of the genre).  F13th was all about schlock horror, amazing deaths and good old fun.  The new film is a reboot and is taking elements from the original 3 movies.  It looks awesome, visceral, fun and most of all scary.  Plus the trailer is a wonderful homage to the ‘death count’ trailers for the orginal movies.  

Also about to hit screens is the Day the Earth Stood Still remake which intially never really got me but has slowly got me interested.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button looks like it’s going to be well worth seeing and despite my feelings about Sin City and the like, I’m still interested in seeing The Spirit.

Bring on the popcorn.

Ah nights.  Barely have I started before going back onto nights.  Still, I quite like the solitary, dark nature of a week of nights.  I was awake from 9 to 18.30 which was pretty stupid – I’m going to be suffering for that soon.  Plus, daytime sleeping’s going to be tough as it’s so damn hot.  May have to sleep downstairs on our sofa bed as I can turn the AC on.  And tonight there’s no coordinator meaning I can be bleeped by anyone, for anything.  Potentially bad.

Got my first pay cheque this week which was nice and necessary.  I now owe K a huge amount of money so will be her bitch for the next month or two until that’s paid off.  It probably would have just been simpler to transfer my English money here but then if I always did the simpler option I’d have nothing to keep me occupied.

So we also saw Four Holidays the other night.  Now before you say anything, K got free tickets from one of the local radio stations.  Someone rang her to say they had got them so she should ring, which she did, only to be told by the DJ you had to ring when a certain song was playing.  Then he just gave them to her anyway!  Film was mediocre at best.  Occasionally funny but a lot of the characters where genuinelly unpleasant.  Glad I didn’t pay for it.

I’m gradually getting through a huge number of photos from Nepal and New Zealand (the latter number are steadily increasing just by being here) so will post some here once organised.

As described:

How traditional!  Just like I remember as a kid.

I am indeed still alive.  Just been having fun.

Our trip around parts of the South Island a few weeks back was wonderful.  The scenery and landscape was great.  Photos are being sorted out as we speak and I will post them up here soon.

Started work last Monday and so far things are going well.  I’m on one of the respiratory teams and my consultant is about the nicest man you could ever meet.  It’s very quiet though which is a bit annoying.  Right now I’ve got 2 patients and nothing to do for most of the day, and that’s after being on call all of last week.  Acting as a house officer again is a bit weird too as I want to get a bit more involved.  However, with so few patients it’s not really possible.  I’m hoping things will improve on that front – I want to get stuck in and learn something.

I’ve been on call twice and those have been for the most part really quiet too – I cover respiratory, cardiology and renal.  And it’s quiet!  I’ve not known it like that before.  Well, I start nights this Friday so we shall see how that goes.

Good things include days which finish at 4, free meals every day, nice people, fast and efficient service and a nice walk home through the park in the sun.

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This weekend just past we went to the Coca Cola Christmas in the Park concert which was extremely cheesy but turned out to be quite good fun.  Picnic in the park, scorching sun, drinking wine, listening to Pop Idol wannabes singing christmas carols.  Plus we watched Santa arrive on his flying canoe.  It’s true.  See:

Funny night and they had a decent firework display to finish off the night.  The first photo takes you to the whole album.

Sunday I went to the beach with K and the girls while they all had a surfing lesson.  I stayed on the sand (it’s becoming increasingly common that I’m having to explain to people just why I don’t like being in the sea).  Weather wasn’t too nice though.

And tonight we went to see Ghost Town which I wasn’t fussed about seeing (just going as we were out for dinner and the girls wanted to see something).  However, it was really good; funny, Ricky Gervais is entertaining and easily carries the movie and for a RomCom (which it kind of is) it’s not too cliched.  Worth checking out while waiting for the release of the Spirit.

Anyway.  Later.

K left the country yesterday for New Zealand (via LA) which is sad but exciting.  Sad as we don’t get to see each other for the next 3 months but exciting as it’s the start of a new life.  Exciting also because I got my job in Christchurch so now can buy my plane ticket.  Add to my ticket to Nepal I bought last week and life is very exciting.  Well, apart from today which is just ok.

Paid in a check, bought some books, then fought a massive desire to just read my book rather than do anything ‘constructive’.  Meh.  Plus the weather is switching from baking sun to pounding rain and back again at the touch of a random button.

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An interesting video for the new Mogwai single Batcat has been released.  It’s an odd tune, very metal.  I need to hear this album as a whole as none of the recent tunes seem to fit together.  Watch it here.

We saw The Dark Knight again the other day at the IMAX – it really does look great on such a huge screen and is worth the journey.

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