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Nov. 19th, 2008

mermaid's little sister

Russian Fantasia: A Photo Essay

We went to see two films at the 'Russian Resurrection' film festival in Adelaide last night. It was "Russian Fantasia" night, which focused on classic soviet fantasy and scifi films -- how could I not see both?
The first film, Letters from a Deadman (1986) was set in Moscow post-nuclear holocaust. A history professor and a handful of his colleagues survived the holocaust by living in the bunker beneath the museum in which they worked. Meanwhile, the world above ground has been blown to smithereens--gas masks abound, food is scarce, medical treatment has to be obtained on the black market. The main character spends his days searching for his son above ground, and trying to obtain medicine for his ailing wife. By night, the professor writes letters to his son in the unlikely hope that he is still alive. This was a very dark film: the music score was at times chilling, at times harrowing, and the imagery matched. I actually wouldn't mind seeing this one again (I have a fascination with films and books that suggest humanity might have to live below ground...)

But I promised you a photo essay! Enough of this dark, brooding stuff!

The next film we watched was Amphibian Man (Russian: Человеκ-aмфибия) and this movie ROCKED! Filmed in 1962, this film is a GEM of cheesy fantasy goodness! It was based on the novel by Alexander Beliaev, and has since become a cult classic -- and I can totally see why. If you like your men with eye makeup and wearing too-short shorts, if you like bedazzling Technicolour washes, if you like completely implausible science, if you like doe-eyed starlets and dashing (but stupid) young heroes, if you like evil villains (also wearing too-short shorts and mascara) who don't know how to hold their plastic guns, if you think continuity between scenes (or in general) is overrated, and if you'd be tickled by a random gypsy dance number, then Amphibian Man is the film for you! 

Here's the film, in brief, in photo essay style:
Amphibian Man tells the story of a boy named Ichthyander (played by the lovely Vladimir Koronev)
who was surgically altered by his father to survive under the sea. The father saves his ailing son's life by replacing his defunct lungs with the lungs and gills of a shark (Yeah, totally believable science!). The father, a millionaire doctor, lives in a fabulously decorated 1960s villa in Argentina (the setting of our tale) which is conveniently riddled with secret passage ways, and thereby provides easy access to the sea. Every day, Ichthyander leaves via the underwater duct, swims around in his sparkly silver wetsuit, and then performs some synchronised swimming routines while his father watches from the comfort of his fancy basement:

Meanwhile, the local Argentinian pearl divers have seen Ichthyander, and have begun to fear the 'Sea Devil'. Two of these pearl divers -- the evil Pedro and his soon-to-be father-in-law -- decide to catch the 'Sea Devil' so that they can force him to work for them, making them millions with his aquatic capabilities. One day, evil Pedro is in the process of haranguing his crew because of their fear of the 'Sea Devil' when our doe-eyed heroine, Gutiere, enters the scene. Disgusted with Pedro's advances (and knowing full well that her fathers debts to Pedro mean that she will have to marry him as compensation), Gutiere dives into the water, claiming she's going to swim to shore.
Instead, she nearly drowns:

Ichthyander, our amphibious young hero, sees Gutiere while he's frolicking about with the sea horses. He instantly falls in love with her, rescues her by flipping her up into Pedro's waiting boat, and then he proceeds to brood over her while Pedro takes the credit for her rescue. Part of this brooding love involves Ichthyander mooning about in his father's house while pondering over this hilarious 'wet dream' sequence:

Come frolick beneath the waves with me, Gutiere!
Alas, trouble ensues. Ichthyander is no longer happy living a solitary life in the sea -- so he tracks Gutiere down, it's love at first sight, and Pedro is none too happy about it. He manages to abduct Ichthyander, takes him to sea and forces him to dive for pearls (Oh, poor Ichthyander!) Not to fear! Dr. Father comes to the rescue in the most outstanding 1960s submarine ever created! Pedro retaliates by getting Dr. Father and Amphibian Man arrested. The jailers keep Ichthyander in a water tank while he is incarcerated, which subsequently ruins his 'air-breathing' lungs!
Oh no!

What will happen to our young hero? Have they gotten him back to the sea in time?

You'll have to watch it to find out!

Oct. 16th, 2008


(no subject)

I think I jinxed myself with yesterday's post:*
  • Slept in this morning (it's now 10:30 -- half way into my 'best writing time')
  • Milk had gone sour in the fridge (a chronic problem in our house...) so there was no caffeinated goodness to be had, no bland fibre to be consumed in cereal form (had to make due with toast and a cup of chai green tea instead -- I usually save the tea for my mid-morning procrastination beverage... Well, I suppose it's fitting that I started off the day with chai, the way things are shaping up...)
  • Internet connection is so slow today (working on Citrix from home is a bitch, even on the best of days. Slow internet makes connecting to the thesis even more painful than usual)
  • Hayfever. Need I say more on this one?
Still, I'm aiming for 1,000...

*I had a very productive short story writing night last night, however. So half of my post was accurate at any rate.

Sep. 19th, 2008


Me and a Velociraptor

Thanks to Cat Sparks...

I could survive for 1 minute, 19 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor
dark crystal

Happiness Forum

So a few of my girlfriends have decided that they want to run a 'Happiness Forum' a couple of weeks from now. I know, it sounds like a load of new-age wishy-wash, but I think it might be fun (especially since plenty of splurgundy will be imbibed while we gush about happiness. If alcohol doesn't make us gush, then at least it will insulate us from the sickeningly sweet sentiments that will undoubtedly be spewed forth that night.) However, when *P* warned us that there could be many tears shed at the 'Happiness Forum', I wondered if my idea of happiness (i.e. an emotion that doesn't generally lead to uncontrollable sobbing) would match up with her idea of happiness (i.e. an emotion that may or may not cause the beholder to burst into tears).
At any rate, I'm not quite sure what a 'Happiness Forum' involves. I imagine that we'll be sitting around chatting about things that make us happy in an attempt to share goodwill (and/or to make our auras glow with shiny pheromones of joy, whereupon we will break out into a round of Kumbayah, and then I will be forced to slit my wrists, ruining everyone's happiness.)
Anyhow, I decided I would practice here, and make a list of things* that make me happy. (Bear with me.)
  1. Reading and writing (Tied for first. I can't do one without the other. I am equally addicted to both, and can't imagine picking one over the other for first place on this list.)
  2. Singing in the car.
  3. Reading in the bathtub (I know, this is partially connected to #1. But still, it's the location that's important. Especially if there are bubbles.)
  4. A well-made cup of coffee.
  5. 18 degrees and sunny, with a fresh breeze blowing.
  6. Having two weeks' worth of clean underwear folded up all nicely, ready to be worn.
  7. The Greenbelt forest around my mom's house in Ottawa, and walking therein.
  8. Wood fires (preferably not wood taken from the forest mentioned in #7).
  9. Surprises.
  10. Smoked salmon.
OK, I'll stop there for now. We all know that the unwritten point on this list is "Not writing my thesis" but unfortunately that is a delight I will have to deprive myself of for the time being. In other words, procrastination break is over...

*Chad, if you are reading this, you may wonder why you are not on this list. This omission is because you are not a thing (well, apart from 06:50 - 08:00 hours on weekday mornings. Then, occasionally, you are a version of yourself that might, in some circles, be considered 'thing-like'. But still. This list is about things that make me happy, not lovely people like your kind self.

Sep. 10th, 2008



Things are busy, and exciting. I still haven't gotten over the buzz of being accepted into Clarion -- in fact, I've started dreaming about it already. (Literally. I had a dream last night that the whole thing came and went, and it felt like I missed it all because it went so quickly. Somehow I don't think the real deal with be quite like that. And then I dreamt that I was helping Buffy kill a horde of ballerina-vampires... uh ... I really don't think Clarion'll be like that.)
Dr Sexington and I are going to see Bill Bailey tomorrow night -- can't wait! The bug-eyed druid troll-progeny actually looks remarkably like Dr Sexington (although Chad hates it when I point that out, mostly because BB has an impressive receding hairline and is about 15 kilos heavier around the waistline. Still. The resemblance is hilarious, especially after Chad's had a few.)
I've got a meeting with the Writing Quartet on Sunday, which means I have to get a draft done of one of the stories I'm preparing for submission by Thursday, so that the Quartet has time to read it (and comment on it) by Sunday. Which also means I've got to chop about 1,500 words out of this massive story so that they don't die of (1) boredom, (2) eye-strain leading to head implosion, (3) a renegade strain of tendonitis from holding such a weighty story, or (4) a combination of all (or none) of the above.
Plus, this morning I received an email from DF about my Canterbury 2100 story -- it's nearly all done and dusted, and I'm incredibly impressed with the amount of work he's put into this project. I can't wait to see the final thing! I've just got to send him a few changes (and my bio) by tomorrow and voila! I can bid farewell to that story and watch it makes it ambling way out into the world.
I've got to review Kim Westwood's The Daughters of Moab for the ABR -- stay tuned for that one (I only received the book two days ago. The jacket is stunning; can't say what I think of the book's guts yet though.) I've also got two reviews to do for the Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association (Actually, since that is my evil twin's domain, I won't say much more about them here.)
On a more frivolous note, our parcels arrived from Canada this week! Now I've got lots more to read (bless those cheap Canadian bookshops!) and a hearty supply of maple syrup and maple candy to see me through until my next jaunt to Canada (which may be sooner than I think, if the hints my mom has been dropping about my sister's impending marriage are more than mere speculation...)
Now I just have to wait for about, oh, 11 more boxes to arrive and I will be a happy (and impoverished) book nerd for the rest of the year.
Right. Enough procrastination... Time to get back to Old Iceland...

Apr. 10th, 2008


Things to do while not writing your thesis... Part Two

Rant, at considerable length, about things that bug you. For instance, Rant the First:

  1. I hate people who eat yogurt while driving
  2. I hate sitting on any communal office chair and discovering that the seat is still warm
  3. I hate the phrase ‘camel toe’ and those who sport it
  4. I hate advertisements that contain incorrect grammar or punctuation
  5. I hate it when people scrape their teeth on their utensils
  6. I hate touching warm money that has been held too long in a sweaty hand
  7. I hate people who own anything with the Playboy™ symbol on it
  8. I hate it when people bite the ice cream on their ice cream cones
  9. I hate making banal conversation with check-out chicks
  10. I hate the expression ‘take a squirt’ and feel sorry for the girls whose partners have to use it
  11. I hate it when people say “You look tired” as if that statement is meant to instantly inject you with a shot of caffeine
  12. I hate hearing swallowing noises through the phone.

Jan. 17th, 2008


Things to do while not writing your thesis... Part One

1) Watch the sugar-replacement tablets dissolve in your cup of tea. Time how long it takes for them to fade into the surrounding tea gloom (17 seconds)

2) Rail inwardlly at the incompetence of the inventor of Blu-tac. Shake your fist at the heavens (or, more accurately, in the Blu-tac inventor's general direction) as the pictures on your office walls drift to the floor, while lurid blue gobs are left behind to mock the world with their resilience. Mentally compose a letter to the Blu-tac inventor, and suggest that he makes it an irrevocable policy that all future Blu-tac packages are tested for durability against the heat of an Australian summer. If said packages can't even hold the weight of a bloody 8.5x11 piece of paper when the mercury rises higher than, say, 18 degrees, then the Blu-tac should bloody well be recalled, never to be seen by man nor beast ever again.