blacklilly: (Default)
<table cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" style="width: 472px; height: 323px;">
BOOKS
MOVIES
  
Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood  Brothers
Cormac McCarthy - The RoadThe Time Travellers' Wife
Russell Brand - My Booky WookInglorious Basterds
Eckhart Tolle - A New Earth  Precious   
Michael Chabon - Wonder BoysUp In The Air
Steig Larsson - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo500 Days of Summer
 Friday the 13th (2009)
 The Hurt Locker
 The Lovely Bones
 Bright Star
 An Education
 District 9
 The Road
</table>
     Next up:  China Mieville's "The City and The City".
blacklilly: (books)
      Books                                                           Films

Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood                 Brothers
Cormac McCarthy - The Road                          The Time Travellers' Wife
Russell Brand - My Booky Wook                       Inglorious Basterds
Eckhart Tolle - A New Earth                               Precious                                       
Michael Chabon - Wonder Boys                        Up In The Air
                                                                           500 Days of Summer
                                                                           Friday the 13th (2009)
                                                                           The Hurt Locker
                                                                           The Lovely Bones
                                                                           Bright Star
                                                                           An Education

I enjoyed "Bright Star", mainly because it's about tragic Romantic poets and an even more tragic doomed romance - appeals to the little Gothic teenager in me who used to hang around Thomas Grey's tomb in Stoke Poges churchyard.  I can still quote chunks of that poem.  Reminded me of reading my massive English Literature anthology in the laundry room at Vanburgh College at York University - all rhyming couplets, nightingales and the smell of washing powder.

Currently reading Steig Larsson's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", which is found out in a Guardian podcast today was entitled "Why Men Hate Women" or something similar in the original Swedish. Which makes the statistics at the start of each Part a little more understandable.  I seem to be surrounded by all things Swedish ever since I saw Opeth in Tokyo back in November.  Really must get over there sometime.
blacklilly: (Default)
                                  
      Books                                                           Films

Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood                 Brothers
Cormac McCarthy - The Road                          The Time Travellers' Wife
Russell Brand - My Booky Wook                       Inglorious Basterds
Eckhart Tolle - A New Earth                               Precious
                                                                           Up In The Air
                                                                           500 Days of Summer
                                                                           Friday the 13th (2009)
                                                                           The Hurt Locker
                                                                           The Lovely Bones

I'm pretty certain there's another book in there somewhere, but surveying my books is bringing up nothing else, so maybe I imagined it.  Currently reading Michael Chabon's "Wonder Boys", the film of which is one of my 'comfort movies' along with Amelie, The Lost Boys, and The Goonies.
blacklilly: (Amelie)
Today was a national holiday - a holiday to celebrate the founding of Japan.  Not quite sure when that was, as today is different to Constitution Day, apparently.

So, as the weather was rubbish, and I needed a rest, I decided not to go out.  Well, I went out on my bike to Shintakashima and bought some baked beans from Tesco.  It was freezing cold and raining.  When I got back, I had a fit of the grumps, lay about in bed for a bit and then after feeding myself beans on toast (suspect the grumps were brought on by not eating), got down to typing up a little story I've been working on, and then re-writing a poem that's been kicking about for almost a year now.  The story needs to not be a first person narration, so I have to reword the whole thing, but it's only 1100 words so far, so nothing too strenuous.

I watched "The Lovely Bones."  I haven't read the book.  People were raving about it when I worked at the bookshop in Slough, and I had a policy or avoiding reading anything that was recommended to me more than twice in one day, because back then I was an idiot.  It was a pretty good movie - very tense in parts, very sad in others. I liked the whole fantasy-heaven part as well, particularly the ships in bottles smashing up on the beach. The music was good too, and made even better by the fact that I recognized Brian Eno, The Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil in there.  Go me with the music knowledge.

So,  an update on movies and books is due I guess...
blacklilly: (Ero ero ero)
So I began the year by reading Murakami's "Norwegian Wood".  Having heard so many people rave on about this book I had high expectations, so I was quite disappointed when it basically turned out to be a love story.  I expect to be pleasantly befuddled by a Murakami novel, not puking in my mouth from post-pubescent wallowing.  Toru Watanabe is another example of why I loathe Murakami's male protagonists - they're all passive, weak-willed "men" who retreat down wells/hide in their rooms/run away to Kyushu as soon as the slightest thing happens  to upset their selfish, navel-gazing little existences (which is usually their wife leaving them, and quite right too).  I spent the first half of the book wondering when the Murakami trinity would kick in - weak-willed man (evident from page 1); hiding in well/room/Kyushu (about half-way through); cat - just after half-way through, so I wasn't let down in that respect. 

This time I found reading "Norwegian Wood" just as depressing as when I read "Dance Dance Dance", though perhaps the violent suicidal thoughts didn't present as they did last time.  And yet, by the end of the book, I had made my peace with it, and I am able to appreciate why it was so popular upon its release.  However, in my opinion, not his best. 

So, I move on from one depression-inducing book to one which I was warned would be thoroughly misery-making, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road".  It has been sitting on my shelf for about 7 months and my inner masochist decided now would be time to read it, what with the disappointment of the Copenhagen Climate conference fresh in my mind.  And strangely, so far I find it totally riveting, only slightly misery-making and less irritating than "All The Pretty Horses".  When the world goes to shit, which isn't far off, I can see this as a very credible projection of how things will end up.   Anyway, more on that when I've finished it.

So, on to other things.  Given the extremely bad mood I've been in the past week, I'm not sure what possessed me to watch "The Time Traveller's Wife" on Saturday night.  Perhaps because it seemed to be the only functioning movie on Ninjavideo, or was it the half a bottle of wine I'd consumed by myself?  I haven't read the book, and I really knew nothing about the movie.  I liked the idea of time travelling, and I also empathized with the wife of a guy who is genetically unreliable (maybe that's just me reading my own issues into things), but it's just a saccharine, nasty love story with a devilishly impish-looking little girl chucked in towards the end for cute factor.  I could see her with a big kitchen knife in her hand, that would have been a better ending.  

I made up for this torture by watching "Inglorious Basterds" on Monday night, which was much better.

So books and films this year:

Books                                                   Films

Murakami - Norwegian Wood              Brothers
McCarthy - The Road                          The Time Travellers' Wife
                                                            Inglorious Basterds

On Sunday, Chelsey and I ventured to Akihabara to get her a new power cord for her laptop.  I spent 20 minutes lurking in the station counting otaku before she turned up.  Our quest took us to different shops, the first two of which were totally useless as none of the staff were very interested in helping us out.  Coming out of Yodobashi Camera, our second stop, we walked though a crowd of people standing and sitting outside the store.  They were totally silent. Then I realized that everyone was crouched over a Nintendo DS.  So there was a massive silent crowd of geeky men (and two pre-pubescent girls) playing on their DS's on sunny Sunday afternoon in Akihabara.  Sometimes I love Tokyo.  Which is why I live in Yokohama.

So, I'm currently sporting a particularly fetching purple-black bruise on my stomach from a little bike accident.  I publicized this event on Facebook, fishing for some sympathy as I was quite achey and pissed off at the time, but only one kind soul expressed their concern for me.  Thanks a lot everyone else, remind me to punch you in the face next time I see you.  I received said injury whilst cycling up an overpass on my way back from the Tesco in Minatomirai.  It's a steep, curving slope to the top and you need to put a lot of welly into getting up there, which is why having a bag jam in the forks on the front tyre is not quite what you want to experience.  I ended up in a sort of reverse wheelie, and it took a lot of balance and muscle to keep the bike from tipping over.  So I came crashing back down to earth, upright, but ended up slamming into my handlebars. 

Hmm, so, next time I'll walk the overpass.
blacklilly: (Angsty)
Curses!!!  I just wrote a veritable missive about my day today and then I hit delete to correct a typo and the whole bloody thing disappears.  Shit!!!!!!  Bloody hell, that just took me 15 minutes to write.  Can I be bothered to re-write it all again?  Probably.

So last night, craving not the company of my students, who had invited me out for a drink (for which read copious amounts of money spent), I went to my local and sat drinking beer and sake.  I taught everyone how to swear properly, which is another sign, in addition to this morning's sore head, that drinking sake should only be done in moderation.  My friend Gen-chan came up to me just before he left the bar and blurted out "Son of a bitch!" I hasten to add that I didn't teach him that one.

This morning's hangover was miraculously cured by scrambled egg burritos and cups of tea, so I was ready for action by 11am.  In the bar, I had been told about Gen-chan carrying a portable shrine through Umeyashiki, the next train station down from mine.  Given how tiny he is, I was rather concerned that he might end up getting squished, and thus decided that photographic evidence was needed.  So I jumped on my bicycle and took my Holga and Canon EOS out for some exercise.  I haven't used my SLR since January, so it was nice to use it again.  Having the Holga has made me appreciate what my SLR is good, and made me a little more confident in taking more "from the hip" candid shots of things.  We'll see how they turn out.

Tonight I met up with one of the guys from school and we went to see "Star Trek".  We had been listening to the two other guys ar work having a long debate about "Transformers", and turned to each other.  "Geeks," I muttered. 

"So are you coming to see Star Trek?" he asked.

"Of course," I replied.  "We're geeks of a different kind."  I should have offered the Vulcan salute, but I may have been eating at the time.

I honour of how much I liked the movie, I decided to use my icon with the lense flare, which was grossly overused in the film, though I must admit to rather liking it.  It reminded me of "Firefly" in that it was trying to capture a feeling of nostalgia about early Star Trek.

Hmm, surely it must be time for bed now.  My brain thinks otherwise, it seems...

I'll post my first Twonnet tomorrow.
blacklilly: (Default)
Owing to the fact that I have 13000yen to play with until the end of the month, I'm staying at home again.

I plan to not do as little as I did last week.  So far that means I will actually have to get out from underneath the kotatsu (which I stupidly forgot to turn off last night) to wash myself, and wash my clothes, and wash some plates.  Then I plan to cook up some beans so I can have Mexican for dinner tomorrow night. And I'll make a curry, and some other stuff as part of my grand plan not to have to buy lunch all week.  Not having money to play with is good as it forces to me to think about what to do with the random stuff in my fridge.

I'm still dead excited about getting my Holga, and I'm dead excited about getting a social life back next month.  I'll be heading to Omotesando on February 1st to get the camera, then heading to a nearby store which sells European designer glasses (I need a new pair, and most Japanese frames are far too small for my massive Western skull).  Afterwards, I'm meeting a few people for lunch in "Korean-town", Shin-Okubo, for lunch, where I plan on testing out the camera by  photographing Korean BBQ and other spicy (vegetarian) delights.

Last night I watched Coppola's "The Conversation" and "Shikoku", neither of which particularly impressed me.  "The Conversation" was an interesting film, but I didn't have the patience for it.  Meanwhile, "Shikoku", which was recommended to me as being a horror movie, turned out not to be a horror movie at all.  Next time I'm watching "Tokyo Gore Police", at least that's guaranteed to be grisly.

Anyway, more later, when I've stopped wearing my pyjamas.
blacklilly: (Default)



It's chucking down with rain outside. There were some rumbles of thunder earlier, which I was quite glad for. I'm heading into Shibuya to meet Lou's sister Catherine for people watching, a bit of shopping, book swapping in Ebisu, and a Vegan-Macrobiotic Dub Cafe (!) for dinner.

The cake above was from school. They tried to find me the blackest cake they could. It was so rich it took me 3 hours to eat it.*

Last night I sat in a bar until 10pm babbling in Japanese and drinking free red wine (it is my birthday after all). Then I came home and watched "Day Watch" and "The Fountain". The former was...OK. I didn't enjoy it as much as "Night Watch", possibly because I've read the book and know the story, and possibly because it didn't have quite the same character that the first one had. The SFX were excellent, as expected, but it just sagged a little. "The Fountain", despite a few flaws, was great. The three-story lines were treated a little messily, I felt, and we didn't really have much opportunity to really get to know the characters. However, it was visually stunning, especially the scenes in space and travelling through the nebula. I'm being bad and ripping it so I can watch it again (he he)!

The rain is gearing back up to full downpour again. I wonder if I'll get to the station without getting soaked??

Thanks to all of you who emailed, Facebooked or sent me birthday wishes in the post. It's nice to know I'm not forgotten. :)

* I hasten to add that I didn't eat the WHOLE thing! It took me three hours to eat one fat slice.
blacklilly: (Default)
Can anyone give me some advice on getting the susbtitles to work on a film I downloaded?

I downloaded "Pan's Labyrinth" and started watching it with Quicktime, but no subtitles. So I switched to my DivX player, which normally plays everything Quicktime won't, but no joy. So I've been reading up on this little problem since yesterday and it is starting to take up much more time than I would like. I've also tried downloading the VocSub and VCL programmes, but they don't appear to be compatible with my Mac.

Am I being a dumdumb?

As I couldn't watch this lasy night I watched Ep2.1 of "Life on Mars" instead. Ah, one of my favourite British shows, and just as good as I remember. I'm downloading Ep2 now, though I may have to do all of the first season as well.

Now, to do something constructive. More later... tabum.

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