2015 by Distance and Virtue

The Wood
A sliver of The Wood — not exactly part of the new five kilometre running route but indicative enough.

I’m nowhere near approaching the crossfitness heights of a certain Mr Tripuraneni but I’m doing okay, if I don’t mind saying so myself.

I logged a far-too-modest 45 weight-training sessions this year which is obviously less-than-once-a-week (and my belt notches certainly show this). I’m trying to console myself with the thought that it could have been worse (previous years have logged paltry single digits).

As for the running, thanks to a (personally) epic 12 kilometre run earlier today, I’ve managed to clock just over 300 kilometres in 2015, though this was only achieved on an average of one run per week.

I wouldn’t say 2015 has been busy; it’s been more… eventful. I turned a year older and my appetite — once a shameless point of pride — has shrunken to bird-like European dimensions. Maybe I’ve reached the point where my exercise goal of shooting for the moon and glorying in my pain tolerance should be moderated to shooting for the moon and being grateful I can still shoot for the moon.


Mild vs Mild

A while back, Amit made the mistake of posting one of his mouth-watering recipes and, after a sustained campaign of a little arm-twisting and a lot of cajoling, he kindly allowed himself to not only travel all the way across town to have lunch with our family, but make it for us, too.

(Hell, if you’re gonna post your fave recipes, some prey-driven reader’s gonna catch you up, bud. Anyway.)

He arrives with lunch, we half-joke that he can go now, we get stuck in to lunch with noises of anticipation… then appreciation – it’s a damned fine meal we tell Amit, pooh-poohing his modest protestations. And then —

— The Girl excuses herself to get a glass of milk —

— The Goddess excuses Herself to blow Her nose —

— The Boy grovelled to his sister for a glass of milk for him, too, puh-lease —

— and, unable to control my sinuses any more, I whipped out my hanky and blew as discreetly as I could.

A bit hot, is it? our guest chef ventures with a straight face.

The thing was, in consideration of our non-Indian palates, he’d made the meal ‘mild’.

We thought we knew ‘mild’. We have monthly family outings to Asian and Indian restaurants where we order and enjoy meals that ranged from ‘medium’ to ‘hot’. How spicy could our very considerate Indian-born guest’s cooking be?

We learned a few things that day:

  • one person’s mild is another’s medium-hot;
  • Amit has so made himself this family’s curry king;
  • and the local ethnic restaurants have been taking our palates for a ride.

Buried somewhere in this post is a moral about knowing your audience. Or the juggling of thinking you know your audience when your audience has their own idea of what you’re presenting them with.

Thanks to The Goddess, the moral is: pushing your audience means you’re engaging with them. Engage with them and they’ll look forward to your next presentation.

(And Amit lives a whole lot closer now. We look forward to his next recipe posting.)


Point & Click

Ah, winter. That time of year when staying inside with as many DVDs as your video library memberships will allow would be So Right

Ah well.

(Courtesy of Mr Tripuraneni, The Goddess and I have been ripping through his copy of Battlestar Galactica Season 3. Such focus might be at the expense of the excellent Mad Men but that’s what VCRs are for.)

(And riffing on things television, I’m looking forward to tonight’s premiere of The Jacquie Brown Diaries, from those freakishly talented BunkerMedia boys.)


Point & Click

Yay, we’ve been back home a week, back in our own beds, eating the kinda food we usually eat. And even though I’m long overdue to explain how/why The Boy and I hobbled Amit in a friendly game of front lawn-cricket (he did it to himself) (he did) (and then we made him dinner), instead I offer some scriptwriting-related distractions:

  • Across the ditch, Lynden Barber‘s Eyes Wired Shut blog has a great series of posts about why Australian films have been lacking lately (the scripts suck). And he just might have put romantic comedies back on my viewing list. (Fedora-tip: Canberra Rob, friend of the recently-wed webmistresse DeborahK.)
  • American public radio station KCRW provides two must-download/listen podcasts: Claude Brodesser-Akner‘s The Business is a witty and acerbic look at Hollywood; and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell scores some of the coooolest interviews in The Treatment. Download. Listen. Enjoy. (Fedora-tip: Leonie who requested that I share.)
  • Seeing that Rambo IV has just hit theatres in the States, it looks like the Kimbo film will have to be pushed back even further (not that it’s going anywhere anyway, but I thought I’d work it in). (Yes. Rambo. IV.) As critics review it with tongue in clenched cheek (and, possibly, NRA memberships secretly renewed), James Berardinelli summed it up rather nicely: If what you want from a movie is a lot of Stallone looking morose and pensive before suddenly going apeshit and slaughtering a bunch of people, then Rambo is your kind of experience. Guess where I’ll be heading when that opens in New Zealand?
  • And here I was thinking I’d cornered the local blogging-scriptwriting market (being the youngest of five, I was uh, doted on a little more than the other rabble siblings): Stephen Hickey, writer of Hopeless and Love Bites, has been blogging since 2004 at multi-dimensional. He’s quite open and generous about his writing process – and has just set up a wiki. (Fedora-tip: Leonie).

Post-premiere Debrief

Last Friday night we watched a psychological horror unfold and then, somehow, fold back in on itself like some Moebius strip. And despite having seen the rough- and fine-cuts of the film, I found myself pulled into it. It moved. It flowed. It made sense.

Of course it makes sense, I hear you cry. You wrote it, silly! Well… yes, but the film that was on the big screen was a very different creature from what I’d originally envisaged. I’d found the process of watching the earlier cuts much, much harder than I’d expected, making mewling noises about it at the time. It was time to confront the finished film as an independent entity, rather than some excuse to whine, Well, if I’d done it…. I hadn’t ‘done’ it. I’d merely provided a blueprint.

By the time the credits rolled, I was experiencing not so much relief but… – bloody hellpride that I had been part of the Five production. I was buzzing. There were back-slaps and hugs. There were drinks and debriefs. It was cathartic.

Big thankeroonies to the cast and crew (they know who they are), in particular Mr Amit Tripuraneni for making it possible real.


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum is here. I’ve prepped by watching its predescessor and enjoying it the second – or third? – time around. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what John Rogers means by nested sequels.

Roger Ebert enjoyed it – and has received a flood of complaints about its visual style.

I was a bit concerned about the ‘herky-jerky hand-held’ camerawork until I remembered The Blair Witch Project. I remember complaints about it inducing nausea and vomiting. It didn’t stop me from being scared out of my wits. As I’ve told anyone who’s asked me whether to watch Blair Witch: if you can get over the shaky-cam, and the contrivance that the characters obsessively shot everything, it’ll scare the bejesus out of you.

I think (and hope) that what’ll save my brain and stomach from Bourne‘s visual jazz will be the story. If I’m pulled into it sufficiently, I shouldn’t notice the two-second average shot length. I’ll be too busy sitting on the edge of my seat going, Oh my g-, what th-, wait – don’t -, which’ll be just what I want.

(Fedora-tip to Amit for the heads-up.)


Letting Go

I first started drafting this post way back in November 2006:

There’s a point in every writer’s career where they have to let go of their baby.

I got no further than that. I think my now is not the best time to think aloud alarm went off, and it collected virtual dust on the hard-drive.

Not that long ago, the insufferably unstoppable Amit (previously referred to as Mr T but I’ve since regained my manners) asked me to have a look over the locked cut of Five. That DVD sat on my desk. Then it went onto a shelf. Then back onto my desk.

Every day for a month I saw that disc and thought, I must watch that. I must.

But I couldn’t.

Of course, I did watch it. I made some notes and fired off an email that included:

you may have surmised from the extreme delay […] some reluctance on my part to sit down and watch it. i plead guilty. i can intellectualise that the transfer from paper to screen involves a loss of ownership and is How It Is. but the actual experience was quite a lot harder that i expected. but i’m okay now. (i think putting the dvd in the player, handcuffing myself to the couch and tossing the key across the room helped. it was… cathartic.) (having to wait several hours for someone to come home to release me wasn’t so cathartic but that’s the price of personal development.)

of course, if you thought the delay was because i [am a] lazy slackarse, then forget the previous paragraph.