Saturday, December 24, 2011

Movie drought.............

Who has had time to do any movie going in the past few weeks, with Christmas and end of year events taking much of my diary time?  However, I look forward to some movies - in the next week there are quite a few that I wish to see.  Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady starts on Boxing Day, 

and I will be among the crowd I think hoping to get a seat.

The other movie I am keen to see is War Horse.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

War Horse Puppets

The movie War Horse is due to open in Brisbane and I look forward to seeing the movie. Meanwhile I found a show on the ABC this afternoon about puppets used to show the story.  Found this video, where the puppets went to the Sandown Races.

Friday, December 2, 2011

You can't burn an e-book.

I read these words somewhere on the internet and it made me smile.  Once certainly can burn a 'real' book, and one can burn an e-book reader.  (I wonder if any e-book reader has been destroyed by fire?)  I guess one can destroy an e-book if the only copy is languishing on someone's computer and fire takes it away?  However, you'd want to hope that any manuscript is safely backed up somewhere?  Mmmm.  Reminds me - I must do this with some of mine.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sounds wonderful - but where do I go?

I read the advertisement for the film "The Orator" in Sunday's paper (yesterday), a nice ad  which announced the name of the movie and in smaller letters it said "The Internationally Acclaimed First Feature Film from Samoa" "Compelling.  Deeply Moving" and then it said "Exceptionally Beautiful" and then the words that have got me a little miffed.  "PG NOW SHOWING"

I quickly trolled through the theatres programs and could find no mention of the movie.  Grrrr.  I'd love to see it but it is not showing anywhere near me - I've checked with all the theatres that I would go to and those a little further away, but no mention of the film.

I eventually discovered that it is showing in the Logan area - probably makes a lot of sense as there are a lot of Pacific Islanders living in that area.

So I will have to wait.....  Hopefully it will move closer to me in the next few weeks.  Meanwhile I have to check with YouTube.

 And here is some info about the making of the film.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Papercutting Storytelling

I have a small  collection of paper cutting art work - it is an ancient Chinese art and is sold in many places in China, so it is no surprise that I was fascinated by this creative art that is done with a sheet of paper, a pencil, scissors or a knife.

Yesterday I discovered Beatrice Coron, who is a paper cutting artist in the US - she was born in Lyon France, and has lived in many places of the world.  She makes the most extra ordinary pieces of artwork which all tell a story.  

You can see a video of a presentation she did - which shows the amazing ways in which her art work has been used around New York.

Click here to see a 20 minute video of a talk she gave - complete with awesome coat that she wore on stage and many examples of her work.

Below is a video to show how to create very simple paper cutting works


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peony in Love - More on Chinese Women Writers

I was so enchanted with the first part of the story of Peony in Love, which was so wonderfully written by Lisa See - but when the story ventured to describing Peony's world in the afterlife - which certainly was very strong in Chinese life in the past, and still has some influence, I found it a little boring and considered giving up and not finishing the book.  I persisted and am so glad I did.  

The whole book was extra ordinary - and at the end of the book, The Author's Note explained more not only about the afterlife, but of the extraordinary women writers in early history of China.  Just as in other countries around the world women were regarded as little more than chattels, mens' property and totally discouraged from writing or doing anything artistic.  I can't imagine how that would be to live in such restrictions.  We know that many women wrote and that women's writing groups were around hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and women wrote in secret - hence the secret women's language as Lisa See wrote about in Snowflower and the Secret Fan.  

I am so much a fan of Lisa See now.  I look forward to reading more of her writing.

It would also help so much in understanding the story of Peony in Love to have seen,  or read about the famed "Peony Pavilion" written by Tang Hsien-tsu (1550 - 1616). 

You can read the synopsis of it here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another Movie about Qiu Jin

After discovering that there was a movie made about this amazing Chinese feminist, in the last few days I find another movie also about her.  

 I also received an email from the couple who produced "Autumn Gem, and they have just spent two weeks in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra promoting "Autumn Gem"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chinese Feminist

I have been reading about the life of famed writer Lu Xun from Shaoxing, and came across mention of Qiu Jin, also of Shaoxing who was famous as China's first feminist. She was born in 1875, had her feet bound as was the custom for women of wealthy families, but later fought against that custom. She did marry, and had two children, but left them to fight for changes in China. She was beheaded when she was about 32 years of age. I have just discovered that there has been a film made about her. I will see if I can find it somewhere.

Read more about her  here and here.  

I think there have been two movies about Qiu Jin released recently.  One is Autumn Gem, which is the one this trailer is about.

I found another video too - which tells about the making of the film.

Click here

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Peony in Love

After seeing the movie "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" I set out to read another novel by Lisa See, "Peony in Love" - I absolutely loved the story of Peony in the first part of the book, and the tragic twist in the tale.  I continued reading, but gave up as it goes into great detail of the Chinese culture of the afterlife, and I found that to be quite boring in the end.  

I loved the first part of the story and recommend it.  It is quite an awesome tale.

I note that it is available on Kindle now, too.  

For more information and reviews on Peony in Love click here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

War Horse in London

Wouldn't it be great to see this - need to be in London though. The life size puppets of horses are awesome.

Check the website. London National theatre

Postcript -  The movie is due to be released in Brisbane just after Christmas 2011 - and I note that an Australian horse trainer was used to train the key horses in this film.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where's Colleen?

It was good to see the interview on Channel 7 tonight, with Colleen McCullough.  Despite her health challenges she's still on fire - and I love her laugh. 

She's still hard at her writing - and clearly she is still loving life over there on wonderful Norfolk Island.   You should be able to watch the interview here.

Remember Thornbirds?  There's a few videos on Youtube to bring back memories. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hugh Jackman singing in Chinese???

I set out to see the movie "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" - in part because it was a Chinese story, and I love reading or watching stories about China.  I'd not seen any publicity about it other than a rather off the cuff remark by Hugh Jackman in a recent interview, and I couldn't see the connection with him a such a movie.  As it turns out he does not appear until near the end of the movie.

The director of the film was Wayne Wang also the director of films such as Joy Luck Club, and starring actors Bingbing Li, Gianna Jun and Vivian Wu, who were unknown to me, and surprise surprise, with his listing (in order of appearance) well down the list as there were many others who appeared before him.

I thought the acting was excellent, and the drama's of 19th century China with the apalling tradition of binding the feet of little girls, so that they would make better prospects for marriage made one wince more than once as you almost endured the pain of the binding with the little girls. 

I loved the colour, and the scenes of life in China, with spectacular colour of traditional clothing.  Modern Shanghai was on show - and brought back quite a few memories for me. 

I'd recommend the film - I guess it will have less appeal for guys, it's not a 'girly' film, but women would appreciate the elements of the friendships of the women. 

An interesting aside is that Wayne Wang was born in Hong Kong and was named after John Wayne.

Go see the movie!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

And Kate Grenville......

I've not managed to see a movie lately, but I am excited as the Brisbane Writers' Festival is on - and today I am going for most of the day.  I have some tickets to events thanks to my friends at Metropolitan Funerals who put on an event last night with author Kate Grenville - and we all received a signed copy of her latest book, Sarah Thornhill.

Hopefully I will be able to spend most of the day there at various sessions - but having the dreaded Shingles and with the weather turning cold and Arctic-like, the pain may get the better of me and I might have to retreat back home.

Still, I'll try and make the most of it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No time for movies

It is sad to report, but I have had no time to go to the movies since I saw Red Dog.  I must say I am pleased to see it doing so well in the box office.  It really is a great Australian production.

I have found time to read though, and finished Sunshine and Oranges - that is a must read.  I continue to feel very uncomfortable and often outraged about the treatment of these kids who were lied to by successive Australian and British governments, and were so badly treated in Australia.  Shame, shame, shame. 

Subsequently I read Journey of a Thousand Miles - the story of the wonderful Chinese pianist, Lang Lang.  You can also listen to him at his own website here - Lang Lang's website.

He is a remarkable young man and his story is truly inspirational.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another book about China

I had gone to the Brisbane City Library to pick up the book "Sunshine and Oranges" that I had been waiting for, and as I was leaving the library with it, I saw another book.  I'm keen to read books on China, and the title caught my eye.  "My Life as Emperor" - a novel written by Su Tong, author of Rice and Raise the Red Lantern.  I had not heard of this author, nor his books, but I quickly took it off the shelf and registered it.

As it turns out I read Su Tong's book before the Sunshine and Oranges book, the latter I have only just started.  "My Life as Emporer" was quite an interesting book, about a 'pampered and naive fourteen-year-old prince' who became Emperor after the sudden death of his father.  It was a fabu7lous read, and I was rivetted to the pages over the last week.  I found it hard to put down.  It would probably be of greater interest to someone really interested in Chinese culture, and it does describe the cruelty of le3aders in days past in ancient Chinese history, and thre treatment of concubines.

Red Dog is doing well

I loved the movie Red Dog and as you can guess from the previous post I've told a few people about it!!  Yesterday's newspaper reported on the success the film has already had in Australia, and that it is being released overseas soon.  You can read the article here.  It is currently showing in 246 venues in Australia and is about to be launched overseas.  I wonder what non-Aussies will make of the Australian humour?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Movie mix up

I am back in Adelaide - this was something that had been on my agenda for some months, and despite having been here several times recently, I knew there were things to do as a result of Dad's death, so here I am.

I arrived on Sunday and spend much of the day discussing family matters, filling in forms etc.  My sister works so during the working week I 'do my own thing.' Yesterday however, the electricity was going to be off all day due to some electrical work in the street, so I chose to go to the movies.   I had wanted to see Mr Popper's Penguins, which seems rather fun, and I went up to the Box office and purchased my ticket.  I did show my Seniors card, but it cost me $12.50, and as the movie was about to start I headed to the theatres.  The lady collecting tickets briefly looked at my ticket and said "Are you over 60?" I was rather surprised by her questioning but with a smile admitted it.  She told me I had been overcharged and sent me back to the Box Office with a message.  I did as I was told.

The girl at the desk was rather put out - but duly gave me my ticket.  I returned hurriedly to the theatres, and in the somewhat dim light read that I was to be in theatre 13, and I went in.  One thing that amused me was that there was set seating, though I didn't climb up that far to the row and seat that was allotted to me. 

There was already things happening on the screen - there was a short preview of a movie, and then what I thought was the trailer for the movie "Red Dog".  It took a while before I realised that I was watching not a trailer but the movie.  I wondered what I should do?  Clearly I was in the wrong theatre - I couldn't read my ticket in the dim light.  I knew also too that even if I did exit the theatre, and go back to exchange my ticket I would have missed the first part of "Mr Popper's Penguins" - so I sat tight.

And I am glad I did.  What a fabulous movie was "Red Dog".   What a great Australian movie.  There are a couple of books detailing the story of this dog that wandered the Pilbara in the 1970's, and it is quite famous in that part of the country even with a statue of it at Dampier.  You can read about it on Wikipedia.

There were lots of laughs as the story of Red Dog unfolded, and the most wonderful photography of that part of Western Australia.  I wonder about the potential for international audiences - but certainly anyone understanding the Australian history and humour would enjoy it.

I certainly laughed out loud often.  Loved it.

I will see it again - it was wonderful.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life and Death

The past few weeks have been very stressful - two trips to Adelaide - and another next week.  Sadly my father passed away on July 14th, just two days short of his 92nd birthday. 

So I've not been interested in reading, or watching movies.  And also now I am behind with my studies.  Yikes!!!!

However, last week, I did get to the movies.  We (MM and daughter) went to see Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks.  It is an enjoyable movie - and Tom had many roles including leading actor, director and co writer I think.  It was a good feel-good movie - however, I was a little disappointed in it.  It wasn't rivetting.

He's an amazing man, Mr Hanks.  Very clever, and I congratulate him on the movie.  I wonder though, if any lesser actor had wanted to film such a story, if they would have been so lucky to have it produced.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Life's Twists and Turns

Just when you think you've got your life in some sort of order - things change.  Things you didn't 'see' impinge on your life and your direction is forced to change.  It is like driving a car with a destination in mind, but a range of road blocks or challenges jump out and you have to detour.

I have been house sitting for some time, and this weekend I was moving from one house in the western suburbs of Brisbane (Paddington) to one in the eastern/bayside suburb of Wakerley and all was on track but my father's health has deteriorated in Adelaide, so midst moving I have had to change plans and fit in a trip to Adelaide.  This week all air traffic in Australia has been disrupted by the volcanic ash which floated across the skies from Chile and made air travel unsafe.

As well I had other events - speaking at a forum, doing some research on Literacy and Numeracy - along with some family issues that were disrupting.

Meanwhile I try to focus on my studies too - and finish of my China Story and the Irish Story.........

Plus I have been doing the 31 Days Blog Challenge and sleep is evading me at the moment.  My head is spinning with the overload. 

But that is life's twists and turns.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A book about Nurses and Nursing

I'm still working on doing something - but someone else has written a lovely book called "What I wish I knew about nursing" - Allie and Marty Wilson are the authors and I was pleased to be asked by Allie a long time ago to contribute.

So, inside the book - which features photos and stories about nurses - there is a photo of several nurses in rather strange outfits - a group of us performed for the Nurses Ball - way back in 1965 I think, at Mt Gambier.  We were all nursing students at the time.

Go to this website to read about it.  What I wish I knew about nursing

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The film "33 Postcards"

I certainly look forward to seeing this movie which had its world premiere at the 57th Sydney Film Festival which finishes today.  It will be featured next week in the Shanghai Film Festival.  I certainly look forward to seeing it - and hope it is released to the movie theatres here in Australia soon.

Australian Guy Pearce teams with Claudie Karvan and the little Chinese girl is played by Zhu Lin.  It was filmed in Australia and China - with  Portal Pictures and Zhejiang Hengdian Film Productions in association with IFS Capital Limited and Screen NSW.

(Information from Film Ink - read the full article here.)

You can see a trailer here

The Hengdian Film studios are in Zhejiang province - an hour or so drive away from where I lived when I was in China.  Friends had the opportunity to go there, but I did not.  Wish I had.  They have totally recreated the enormous Forbidden Palace there, and I believe it is one of the biggest movie studios in the world.

You can see more here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Celebrating the Queen's Birthday.

The celebration of the monarch's birthday goes way back to 1748, and we don't celebrate on the monarch's actual birthday.  Queen Elizabeth II was actually born on April 22nd, and her consort (husband) the sometime crabby Duke of Edinburgh, celebrated his 90th birthday a few days ago - he was born on June 10th 1921 - the son of Greek monarchs.

Queen Liz as she may (unofficially) be called was born in 1926, so she has another 5 years to go for her 90th!

We celebrate her birthday around the second Monday of June and it is a public holiday - Queen's Birthday Weekend - a loooong weekend. 

The main official recognition of this event are the Queen's Birthday Honours - where people are honoured in some way.  The media gets to put up a list of the many who have won and feature key ones.

As for the people?  It is a good day to get together with the family.  A BBQ perhaps, or a picnic (weather permitting).  Our family are meeting and having lunch together.

I have also taken the time to reflect on my life 12 months ago.  I was still in Shaoxing China, preparing to finalise exams, and student reports, as I left China on June 30th, 2010.  It seems a long time ago

I was reminded of this a couple of days ago as I chatted with the owner of the house where I am 'house sitting' - she is finalising exams, student reports ready to leave.

I am still in touch with students - some from way back in 2008.

I'd love to go back - just need the $$$'s for a visit next time.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chinese Bakeries here in Australia

I remember when I lived in China, that we longed for 'real bread' as the Chinese variety was very sweet.  We would occasionally find something to our liking in a supermarket but their turnover of product was so high, it could be there one day, and not the next.

However, we did enjoy some of the baked items -though it took us a while to get accustomed to some of the products. Some of the savoury buns with meat in them did not appeal, but some of the sweet things were just so yummy.

Imagine my surprise a few months ago to find a Chinese bakery right in the heart of the city - in the big Myer centre!  And there were one of my favourites - sesame balls.  They are filled with a rather strange paste (green bean paste I think) but coated with a type of batter and rolled in sesame seeds.

One of my favourite Asian items were rice cakes, perhaps found more commonly in South Korea, and I used to buy some every shopping trip to the supermarket.  I don't know how they are made, but they were in different colours - white, pale green, pink.  And so yummy.

I have found that there are a few Breadtop stores in Brisbane, but I have learned that they have been in Australia since 2002.

Their decorated cakes are amazing - no doubt high in calories, but just so wonderfully decorated.  I remember being in awe of the cakes in shops in South Korea and China. Awesome.

Sesame Ball

On Blogging

As some of my friends know I have been blogging for a long while - I started originally in 2005 I think, when I went to Ireland and I though it would be a good way to communicate with family and friends back home.  I thought it would be easier than emailing and it was.  I used Typepad which I had to pay for so eventually I found sites where I could blog for free.  Over the years I have been active in a number of blogsites including BlogEvolve (I abandoned that after there was no support from the site owner, Hub Pages (which I still visit occasionally and write an article or two), and various other sites.  I found Blogger easy to use, and rather like Wordpress but I always found that a challenge for some reason.

I've not found that many of my friends (even the writers) have been keen to use blogs though I have taught some the rudiments of blogging, indeed have set some up with Blogger which I think is the easiest for those who have few skills in the IT Department. 

Strangely I have not connected with bloggers in Australia - my readers are more likely to come from US or UK.  I don't know why.

Somehow through Facebook I found the 31 Days Blogging Challenge, which is currently underway having started on June 1st.  There are only a few Aussies listed in the Challenge and from what I have seen they are not as active in the Challenge as they could/should be.

So I went searching to connect with other Bloggers in Australia.  I found a couple of interesting sites.  One is called All for Women and another is Blog Chicks.  I will register with them both, and see what happens.

One of my aims is to make some money from my blogging.  Easier said than done I think.  So I am out to learn all I can.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ballet - Puyi

I attended the ballet last night of the Laoning's "The Last Emporer" which was based on the story of Puyi.

The ballet was wonderful.   Below is the promotional video.

I was disappointed that there were so many empty seats in the theatre. 

I met up with two single older men (don't worry, I wasn't 'looking' and clearly neither were they.  One of them told me he attends performances at the QPAC 3 to 5 times a week.  Oh, to be so lucky.  Even consession tickets are expensive!

I was glad to escape the cold of Brisbane - 10 degrees below normal and it felt it.  I wore for the first time, the coat that the students had made for me in China - complete with the dog fur fringe on the hood!!

I was still so cold that I had to have the coat over my knees in the theatre.

To read a little about The Last Emporer of China, click here.

Puyi wrote his autobiography.  You can get it at Amazon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

About Oranges and Sunshine

I was fortunate to receive free tickets to attend the movie "Oranges and Sunshine" which is based on the story of Margaret Humpreys, a social worker in Nottingham, in the UK, who discovered that many English children were transported to Australia over a 30 - 40 year period, to a life in institutions. Margaret's book "Empty Cradles" tells some of the stories of those children so cruelly taken from their mothers.

 Many were told their parents were dead, which was in fact not true.  Various organisations with government approval (UK and Australia) were part of this horrible program that saw these children shipped to Australia in huge numbers, to a life of violence, drudgery, and for many physical and sexual abuse.

David Hill wrote about it in his book "Forgotten Children".  The truth is a very sad indictment on the treatment of these children, by religious and non-religious groups.

A search will discover many stories including those about the children at Bindoon, and other orphanages and there are details of the perpetrators of those cruel acts agains the children here.

The movie is excellent, and quite confronting at times, and tells the stories of several of the children, then adults, who related the horrific experience.  Some were reunited with their families.  It is a movie worth seeing, if not to learn the truth about some of our Australian and UK history.  Full marks to Margaret Humphreys who was able to help find some closure for those adults trying to come to terms with the horrific lives they had, when they were promised 'oranges and sunshine.'

I wrote a story about my mysterious knife here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Make my own movies?

I am currently looking at a program to create my own movies.  I have a plan and this program looks easy.  I am currently working with the free model - but no doubt will purchase.  I can see a number of possibilities with this. Check it out here.

Here's one I have just done - took me all of 5 minutes, and now I know I can do better ones.

Create your own video slideshow at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Movie

I had procrastinated about seeing the Australian movie "Snowtown" because I knew the story - about a serial killer in South Australia, who hid the bodies in barrels in the vault of a disused bank in the town of Snowtown which is north of Adelaide.

I knew it would be gruesome and confronting and it was. I could use the word "dark" to describe it in more ways than one.  Dark in that the filming was done in poor light - no doubt deliberately and there were moments of blank screen as well, and dark in relation to the topic of the film that endeavoured to tell the story of these dreadful misfits, the lives they lead, and the crimes that were committed.

It is a movie that I would not recommend to anyone, other than perhaps some of my fellow Scriptwriting students to assess for themselves the value of the film.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What can I do with a Can of Crabmeat?

I bought a can the other day, and used it in one of my favourite recipes - Avocado and Crabmeat (I fill the hole where the big seed was, with crabmeat, and then cover with a cheese sauce and then bake it until the cheese has turned golden.)

However, not all the contents of the can were used.  It had sat in the refrigerator for two days, so I knew I had to do something with it.  I looked at a few recipes, but in the end decided to 'do my own thing.' My family hated me creating, because I seldom remembered the EXACT ingredients, etc. They'd tease me because they knew I could probably never recreate it.

I was going to make a quiche, but I chose not to use pastry - I could make it - usually do, as I am not a fan of pre-packaged stuff.  But I figured I could do without the extra calories, so I whipped up a couple of eggs, some pepper (some folk add salt but I seldom do), a spoon full of plain flour, the crab meat and some shallots and parsley, and a handfull of grated cheese.

It is in the oven cooking and should be great.  I can see it rising and am waiting for it to brown on the top.

So it is Crab Quiche (without the pastry) for lunch, and a variation of Maggie Beer's Chook Legs with Vino Cotto for dinner tonight. 

This past week The Courier Mail has run a promotion with a mini cook book each day.Famed cooks such as Jamie Oliver, Stephanie Alexander, Donna Hay, Matt Moran, Maggie Beer, and more have each contributed a small book of wonderful recipes.  I have them all.  Though I cook for only one, I can manage most, but am happy to vary things a little.

Friday, June 3, 2011

History remembered

Readers may know of my love of China - having spent just 3 semesters there in 2008 and 2010.  I have been to Tiananmen Square - not far from the awesome Forbidden City in Beijing.  My friend and I stood in the huge square and remembered what had happened there in 1989, on June 4th.

Many Chinese even now know nothing about it, and those who have heard about it find it hard to believe.  You cannot access any material about the massacre  on Chinese internet.  There is no reference to it in Chinese history books.

I still watch these videos in awe with tears streaming.  There are other videos on Youtube.  These two will tell you the story of what happened there, and how a government turned on its young people to show is might.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Australian Movies for Release in 2011

Australians have a love/hate relationship with Australian movies.  We have some very very talented movie makers in our country, a small population many of whom are besotted by American movies.  Our Australian film industry languishes – especially as there is more money available for investing in film and the publicity of such film in America than there is here.  One challenge is our small population – just 21 million people live here, and they are not all English speakers.

Still each year, we have our successes.  I like to encourage Australians to take a greater interest in Australian movies.  Here I list some of the movies due for release in 2011.
  •  Wasted on the Young
  •  Dreamland
  •  Hail
  •  The Eye of the Storm
  •   Happy Feet 2
  •  Mrs Carey’s Concert*
  •   Here I am
  •   Mad Bastards
  •   Snowtown*
  •   Griff the Invisible
  •  Oranges and Sunshine*
  •  The Reef

Three movies have been released or are about to be released, and I have marked them '*'  - Oranges and Sunshine is due for release next week, and I will be in attendance at the morning session.
I am not sure about seeing Snowtown - it is a story of a partiscularly gruesome series of murders in the South Australian town of Snowtown.  I will have to be in a very good mood before I venture into the theatre to see it - but I will.
Mrs Carey's Concert is in the theatres now, and I hope to see it soon.

There is also another movie not included in the list above about Cane Toads, which is due to open shortly.  Sounds rather fun and I will endeavour to find out more about that film.  Sometimes information about the films is not readily available until shortly before the film's release but I will endeavour to get more information. 

For more information read the longer article here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A short documentary

Aren't we lucky!  I do believe that despite some challenges in our countries right now, most of us do not have to deal with the horrors on a daily basis that folk in Europe endured in the 1930's and 1940's.  This film was made by a student I think, a wonderful short documentary about his grandfather.  Very clever.  And lucky that now many of us have the resources to record such wonderful and not so wonderful history for future generations.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A great reading list!!

I have so many books to read - so look forward to curling up under my 'throw' and  checking them out.  I have almost finished one of my Kindle books, the very sad story of the children in the orphanage in China, and I look forward to reading Cindy Vine's book, but today the postman delivered the last of my Amazon order from a couple of weeks ago.  It is "The Last Days of Old Beijing" by Michael Meyer.

Readers will know now of my passion for things Chinese - so I am really keen to explore within the covers of this book, but it will have to wait.  Semester II has started and my reading for that is huge too, so I will work my way through the study books, and relax in the evening provided all assignments are up to date, by reading my novels.

I am a passionate e-book reader on my Kindle, and I find myself in 'arguments' with some folk who are passionately against this technology.  The idea of not having a 'real' book to hold is hard for some to comprehend.  My reading has increased since I have had my Kindle.  I can't imagine not reading 'real' books, but I find my Kindle so very useful.  I can read so much more in the bus/train than I would with a 'real' book, as it is easier to find one's place - easier to close and reopen when it suits me.

It is lighter and smaller than most good books too - and as an inveterate traveller, I find it awesome to keep me amused for long trips or waiting in airports.  And I can read it when it is dark as I bought the cover with the light.

I have found it easier to use - and yes, the one in the illustration above is the one I purchased, and I am in awe at the speed at which it downloads books for me.  So easy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lucky Winner

I don't enter many competitions as I find it is a waste of time, and I don't win anything, but a small comp came my way the other day and I sent my details.  It was on-line, and there were 10 double passes to see the movie I had written about "Sunshine and Oranges."   Yesterday an email arrived in the in-box saying 'Congratulations - you have won a double pass to the movie Sunshine and Oranges.  Yipee!!  The tickets will be posted to me.  I am hoping my daughter can attend with me.

Yesterday I met with some friends to organise the next Bayside Women in Business luncheon for mid July.  Seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the new year and it has already almost the middle of the year.  We met at the newly refurbished RSL Club at Wynnum, and there was a bit of a mix up.  One of the ladies had emailed that she could not attend, and for a while there were only 2 of the four of us.  I'd left my phone in the car, and when we were concerned about the the non-attendance of the other, I went to my car and sure enough, there was a message.  Apparently she had arranged to meet the lady who was unable to attend. She suggested we all meet at her house later.  I sent a text message "We have just opened a bottle of wine." and her response was "Don't drink it all, I am coming."

So eventually, a little later than planned, we did have our meeting and our bottle of wine.  Sorted out all things we needed to sort out, nice food, nice venue (maybe our next event will be here), mid afternoon set off on our Friday afternoon tasks.

After some shopping (oh, I didn't buy anything - could not find what I wanted), I went to my daughter's, and eventually she and the girls arrived.

Theirs is a busy house hold - they were late because the girls were at hockey practice, and then later the youngest and her father went to play/watch squash.  The eldest and I had some fun - we read some of the limericks from my book and I tried to teach her how to knit. She is left handed, and I am not, so teaching her is challenging.  I found this video which should help.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Day for Books

I met a friend this morning at The Black Cat Bookshop - and bought a book which is simply called 'flood' - Stories and images from the ABC of survival, loss and courage during the Queensland floods. I've yet to read much, but I see it (a) as a way to remember this awful event that occured earlier this year in the city in which I live and (b) all royalties will go to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.

Even flicking through a few pages in the shop brought tears to my eyes - some people have been through so much - and for some the pain continues as they are not back in their terribly damaged houses.

I caught a bus into the city after we left The Black Cat as I had a couple of things to purchase.  It is so close from where I am house sitting, I am thoroughly spoiled, and it wasn't long before with my purchases I headed back home.

Not long after I returned home, there was a ring on the front door bell, and it was a delivery lady with more books.  I had ordered some from Amazon. 

A few weeks ago I had attended a workshop on Limericks - I use them occasionally, in the ESL classroom, and they can be a lot of fun for the students to create, and I thought I'd get some joy out of reading some more. So I now have a copy of "The Mammoth Book of Limericks".   Over 500 pages of  them should keep me amused!!

The other book was by Linda Aronson - "The 21st Century Screenplay" - I had ordered it as I am doing Scriptwriting at university this semester.  This should keep me busy for a while too.

I am happy to have a copy of this and another one, on screenplay, that arrived from Amazon a couple of days ago.

Next Monday the semester starts - so I have plenty of reading to do.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Australian Story on the ABC

The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) has wonderful programs and no advertisements (except for their upcoming programs.) and last night I watched "Australian Story", a regular Monday night event.  It is a program of some 30 minutes that tells the story of someone in Australia.  The variety of subjects is awesome, and unless you do some research it can be a mystery to the viewer.

I had been watching Master Chef, which started at 7.30 pm and had to remember to switch over to the ABC1 station at 8 pm, but I was engrossed in the cooking competition and was a few minutes late, so I missed the first few minutes.  However, I will later, go to the website and see the whole program again. 

The focus last night was on the Sherman family - on the website it says

"Brian Sherman achieved the kind of success every migrant dreams of after arriving from South Africa with only $5000 to his name.
He and his business partner sat around a kitchen table and set up a funds management company called Equitilink. Five years ago they sold the business for $150 million."

The program was enlightening about Brian Sherman and his extra ordinary business, and also spoke of the rest of the family in particular Emile Sherman.  I had heard the name, but was about to be really education about Emile and the rest of his family. 

Emile was an Oscar winner in the recent Academy Awards for the movie "The King's Speech" - he was the producer.  If one does some research he has been very busy in film making since 2000, when his first effort was a documentary about his uncle in Lithuania.  His list of credits is awesome. 

Australians are accused for having what is called a 'cringe mentality' - as if we are embarrassed about the efforts/successes of Australians.  We don't embrace Australian movies or talents, but on the whole seem infatuated with all things that come from the US. 

This wonderful young man should be more well known in Australia - he is clearly so talented.

I would suggest that anyone (especially Aussies) sit up and take notice of the work of Emile Sherman, and I would also suggest watching last night's Australian story program here.  As I write this it has not been uploaded, but should be soon - perhaps after it is repeated on Saturday. 

One of his films "Sunshine and Oranges" is about to be released and I am looking forward to seeing it.  I have learned quite a lot about Emile Sherman (and his family) from last night's program, and I shall follow his career with renewed interest.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What am I reading now?

 I have a habit of reading every night before I go to sleep.  This is where my Kindle comes in handy, as I usually read with that in bed.  I set up a big pillow, and make myself comfortable while I read.

Oh, and the music.  I have a radio/cd player with remote control on the dresser and I usually set it to turn off after 40 - 60 minutes.  I figure I can read for a while and then turn off the light, and as the music is going, I waft off to sleep.  It works for me!!!

What music?  Mostly it is the ABC Classic radio, however sometimes I might play some jazz or Chinese music.

Last night it was the ABC - I had finished off Xinran's "What the Chinese Don't Eat" - I love all Xinran's books and this one was very enlightening.  It is rather amusing as I can relate so much to her stories as she tries to explain some of th Chinese culture that we 'westerners' find difficult to understand. 

I started on another one last night (and found 30 minutes to read it this morning) - again on my Kindle. It is called "Silent Tears - A Journey of Hope" by Kay Bratt, about the time she was a volunteer in a Chinese orphanage.  It is hard to comprehend that the Chinese often do not have any compassion.  I know that when I was negotiating at one stage to teaching nursing subjects in China, to encourage Chinese students to help fill the big shortage of nurses in Australia the issue of "compassion" was discussed. We were to do some basic training to enable them to come to Australia to complete their training, but it was very difficult for them as they did not have a 'natural' compassion that westerners seem to have. In the end, the program that I was considering working with ended.  (Some political issue.) Reading the words from Kay Bratt's book, give some indication of what we were dealing with at that time in terms of the students.  South Australia, at the time was recruiting from China for their aged care facilities, but the program did have some problems.

Movies, Books and Life

I have spent some time in deep thought, endeavouring to consider the right niche for the blog I am going to use for the 31 Day Blog Challenge.  I'm not a movie buff as such, but I do like to go to the Movies, but if any reader expects to read about violent, weird, X-rated movies here, they are in the wrong place.  I believe there is enough violence in the world without going to be 'entertained' by seeing more.  I try to choose my movies wisely, and I do favour Australian movies (more about Australians and movies later!).   I read.  My arms are often weighed down with the pile of Books I buy or borrow from our city council library (for free - although I do pay a small fee for them to hold certain books for me, and I have some overdue fines too!).  I am also an avid Kindle reader - have bought 3 Kindle books this week, and have read one, and in the middle of number two, and I found a book by a writer I know from blogging about China, so I bought that too!

I try to live Life to the fullest.  I am ageing (aren't we all?).  I wonder how much time I have left on this earth, so I try to make the best of every day.

You can read about me in other blogs so I am not going to do much of an introduction, but for those who are visiting one of my blogs for the first time, I will tell you that I am an Australian, born in Adelaide, South Australia before the end of World War II, have a husband, two adult offspring, who are married and each have their own children. We all live in Queensland, Australia.  I've had many careers, but they key ones are (a) I was a nurse - completed my general nursing training in South Australia eons ago, and worked in various positions as a registered nurse and later aged care trainer up unti 2004 (b)  I was a trainer and educator for many years and completed my Ba of Adult and Vocational Teaching at Griffith University in 2002 and (c) I was a gerbera grower/picker for several years in the family business (d) I have been teaching English (ESL) in China and South Korea and Australia since 2008 and (e) I am now a full time student at Swinburne University of Technology doing a Master of Arts (Writing), and I enjoy life.

I have always enjoyed writing.  And I enjoy a challenge, so hope to make some headway for the 31 Day Blog Challenge.