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Los Angeles: the darker side

December 29, 2013 Leave a comment

This is my first time in Los Angeles. It is a startling place of about 22 million people – about the population of Australia. There are a lot of things to love about it, but they are for another post.

Personal injuries lawyers advertising their millionaire dreams on the Metro bus …

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So many people fishing in rubbish bins (aka trash cans), looking for food. Here, a man is up to his armpits outside the LA Science Centre. In Australia, this happens, but on a tiny scale by comparison. Today’s news is that 1.3 million Americans will be having their unemployment benefits cut and returning servicemen and women will have their benefits reduced. According to Volunteers America, 46.2 million Americans live in poverty. Skid row may grow.

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Another advertisement, inside a Metro train this time, speaks of desperation without calling it out. In Australia, we have ads calling for the surrender of firearms.

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Bail bond services are advertised on benches across the road from the courthouse and public service signs are mostly bi-lingual.

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I was speaking with a private driver about how terrible it was that eight Americans had died from carbon monoxide poisoning, because their power was out (due to a recent ice storm) and they’d used BBQs and generators to warm themselves up. The driver may have revealed too much about himself when he said that in his experience, you could warm yourself up with candles.

This is the dark side of the glitzy dream. Still, no matter what, the locals love this place, fiercely. And good on them.

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Cake Girl WOWs Daffodil Day

September 16, 2012 1 comment

Friends and co-workers know I can disappear cake faster than you can say ‘Seconds?’ But this Daffodil Day, I was met with stiff competition from my fluffy-walled podmates who didn’t PAUSE while I went to get my camera-phone. I HAD to share this day with you, because it was so inspirational and involves lots of cake.

Gillian Bell aka Cake Girl

Gillian Bell of Cake Girl wows Daffodil Day in our office yet again. And makes us all forget our diets.

Cheesecake *faints*

How gorgeous and what a great idea.

Lemon cake

Red velvet cake, anyone?

Lucky ginger is so good for you…

Thank YOU, Gillian. What you did for this cancer fundraising morning tea was astonishing.

Cake Girl is a Brisbane-based business.

 

 

 

Bridesmaids: movie review

July 3, 2011 4 comments

Funniest movie of the year?

Bridesmaids was a great movie; unexpectedly so. I was anticipating Hollywood same-same, but what I saw was a more mature (and simultaneously, immature) group of fantastic comedy actors blitz a script and win over a cinema full of women. I counted only seven men in the audience. The humour was face-splittingly good (although, I would issue a warning about course language and crunchy blankets… Don’t take your son with you to see it. Might be awkward.)

So, what do you do when your life is falling apart, romantic relationships seem hopeless and your best friend gets engaged and asks you to be maid of honour? What happens when you’re thrust onto a bridal party of people you don’t know, who seem alarmingly weird (the bride’s future sister-in-law), competitive in a sociopathic way (the bride’s other, newer bestie) and are otherwise wrongly-wired in a more harmless way? Well?┬áRose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper made for the funniest bridal party.

I, for one, have been on such a bridal party (although, they weren’t intentionally funny). I’d bonded to the best of my abilities with people I’d never otherwise come across in life, through strip shows and arguments over dresses, heels, hair and makeup. The movie allowed me to laugh about it, in retrospect. Call it therapy. Every girl should go through it. It’s character building.

Annie (Kirsten Wiig), is asked to be Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) maid of honour. Annie is stuck in a sex-with-no-strings-attached relationship and is privately devastated that her best friend is getting married. However, she does her best to be supportive. Unfortunately, everything she does goes horribly, horribly wrong. Some scenes are dry-wretchingly reminiscent of American┬áPie. Everything the new, other best friend does, trumps poor Annie’s thrifty and well-intentioned attempts.

Being Hollywood, there is a happy ending. Go see it with your best girls.

Categories: Life, Love, Movies, Review, Sex, Uncategorized

LOL: Crimes against language – dot dot dot

April 3, 2011 1 comment

I make a living from using words as well as I can. People pay me to make their words work for them, not against them. I see all sorts of crimes against language and clarity which make me want to rant, but laughter is more fun…

Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke

Mini People were spoiled for choice with movies this holidays. All of these kids’ flicks were entertaining and were universally loved by the Mini People as well as their keepers.

In order of preference: Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke. Why?

Toy Story 3 was the favourite. The story was great, the animations were as we’ve come to expect and there was no bagging out of stupid parents (other than “mom” accidentally throwing out the toys). Kids think their parents are stupid by the time they’re teenagers as a matter of natural progression – paying Hollywood to bring this process forward into the tween and early years is just an assault on parenting. This is why movies are a sometimes treat, to be enjoyed with a parent present, even if G rated. Toy Story 3 was good clean fun and it had useful messages about loyalty, care, friendship and anti-bullying. Admittedly, I was leaking from the eyes within minutes of this film starting. A word of caution however: this film’s marketing and tied in merchandising is very effective – hold onto your wallets.

Shrek Forever After was well put together, although the Mini People probably responded more warmly to the Marmeduke movie, simply because this edition of Shrek was darker than the previous movies. Children don’t really get why Fiona and Shrek were not as nice as they were in the earlier movies. Visually, the animations were fantastic and the story-line held together better than Marmeduke. Parents will get more out of Shrek than Marmeduke, as it’s cleverer and speaks to things that adults in relationships (particularly with kids) understand. For the kids, it’s just a revisiting of loved characters and easily digested humour. This is probably a good film to send dad to, with or without kids, to head off any impending mid-life crisis revolt against domesticity. While this does in a way, bag out dads, at least it’s a dad’s own journey toward contentment, rather than a movie which is narrated by a dog who’s cleverer than the owner. The simple moral of Shrek is to appreciate your family.

The Mini People loved Marmeduke as did die-hard dog-lovers who were able to ignore jarring plot issues, awkward character development and poor quality CGI. Marmeduke was a dog’s version of a high school teen angst movie. The parallel human plot was about the family’s growing disconnect because of the work-obsessed, clumsy, goofy father. There were plenty of nifty things for kids to learn from this film, like how to roll eyes every time one’s father speaks, how to write snide text messages about your family, how if your dad’s too busy to notice – sneak off to the skate park instead of soccer training and how talking to your dog instead of your parents somehow makes it all better (because of course, the dog fixes everything in the end). There was just a bit too much cheesiness in the rushed ending. Also, why does the cat need a Spanish accent like Puss in Boots? And why do all the dogs dance in the end like in Shrek and Garfield? Marmeduke, the movie, just felt like it had been pushed through production too fast and was roughly hacked together in the editing room. On a brighter note, the menace of merchandising wasn’t an issue and the Mini People thought the moral was to take better care of the family dog and to fight against bullying.

It’d be great if there were more stories about the resourcefulness of kids and less said about unhealthy family dynamics.
What’s that Skippy?
A bushfire? Where?
At the ranger station?
Let’s go, Skip!

The kids in the movies of my time were so clever, they even understood kangaroos. Enough with the eye-rolling, already!