Archive for November, 2009

TV trial

I actually watched TV last night and wasted a few hours. A movie was on – “Man on Fire”. I started watching it and thought it might be good because Denzel Washington usually does an ok job. I had doubts when I realised it was yet another helpless-kid/woman-gets-kidnapped storyline, this time, of course, set in Mexico among toothless brown people. But naturally the Mexican rich guy had a white American wife and a precocious white daughter. The white wife liked Denzel’s bodyguard character because he was “American” unlike the useless Mexican bodyguards, presumably. (Don’t ya just love the insidious racism in yank movies?) Then the next half hour or more was all about the bodyguard bonding with the cute kid before the inevitable kidnapping. All that could have been wiped – all the mush and sentimentality that yanks are so good at with the soppy music. Oh please. Just get on with it. Then the rest of the movie was about the bodyguard being ruthless and unnecessarily violent. Incredible how yanks can mix mush and violence so casually.

I gave up to watch “e.r.” on the other channel but even that had mushy meaningless musical interludes. It seems I can’t watch American shit anymore – I just can’t stand it. After “e.r.” had finished I flicked back to the movie (overlong with numerous ad breaks) and again gave up, at about 11pm (the movie had started at 8.30 but still looked like it had another half hour to go.) What a complete waste of time.

Back to reading books and playing Sims 2, I think.


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I’ve realised that I’ve been moaning a bit lately – particularly yesterday. I’ve moaned about the new work website, the proposed work function for Christmas, blogging, biscuits produced by Griffins, and probably other smaller things. I blame the weather – I’m so very fed up with grey skies and cold winds. It’s the worst spring I can remember. We seem to have a couple of days of sun and then it’s back to the gloom. It’s extremely depressing.

I’m also not getting adequate sleep, I don’t think. The older cat had an annoying habit of miaowing loudly at 5am. He seems to have shut up now that we’ve locked him out of the main part of the house. But now the younger cat, who looks so cute on my bed when I’m ready for sleep and so is left there, is waking up at 5am wanting to go outside. I’ll have to chuck her out as well.

Then there’s my waking up about 4am, roasting. It’s either the new bed or hot flushes. I had a couple of hot flushes in the old bed but woke up sweating. When I’m waking up these days I’m not sweating just very hot. The trouble is, it’s cold when I go to bed so I wear layers and then get overheated. I’m wondering if the top layer of the bed is nylon – it was a cheap bed (all I could afford). I wish warmer weather would hurry up. I’m so sick of it all.

I’m feeling rather glum and nothing is cheering me up. To add to the annoyances, daughter’s father won’t cough up for her car oil leak to be fixed but tells her to drive to Wellington to get a cousin’s husband to have a look at it. Just great.

I can’t concentrate on work this morning. Had a gutsful of the whole working year.

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100 best novels

I looked at Time’s 100 best English-language novels (from 1923-present).  My reaction was basically “pfft”. I’ve read 9 of those 100 and tried to read a couple more from the list (without success – just too awful). Of those 9, I only enjoyed 3 and one other was ok but I wouldn’t rave about it, but the rest – na. Is it my imagination or is the list dominated by American authors?

It reminded me of an article by Jenny Colgan about Booker Prize books.  The books everyone calls classics or that win prizes might be technically brilliant (or whatever criteria they judge them on) but the vast majority are, in my mind, boring or depressing (or both).

A book is worth reading if it grabs your attention and holds it all the way through. The label of a “good book” is totally subjective. My daughter’s boyfriend is currently really enjoying the books of Jules Verne, whereas they don’t interest me at all. I’ve enjoyed books generally viewed with contempt (eg Dan Brown) and found classics or Booker prize winners impossible to read after the first page.

What are your favourite books? What do you think should be on the top 100 list?

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