It’s gonna be May

Books:

I haven’t read much as work is insanely busy at the moment (also the reason this is so late, stupid Lions). I read ‘Feminist Fight Club‘ by Jessica Bennett. I’ve read a fair few of these books recently but I still found this interesting as it was mainly focused on the workplace. A quick, easy read with humorous and informative bits. Not world changing, but a good read.

Music:

Thoroughly enjoying the 1D spin offs, good on them all. Harry Styles’ album is pretty sweet listening, highlight is definitely ‘Kiwi’. Also ‘Malibu’ by Miley Cyrus is an absolute tune and was on heavy rotation this month.

Movies:

Didn’t see everything I wanted to but still got through a bit.

Bright Lights: Caught this at the Edge Documentary Film Festival with a friend, and it was thoroughly captivating. This film paints an intimate portrait of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, and also Todd Fisher. It explores their relationship and their eccentricities and it is especially poignant in light of Carrie and Debbie’s passing last year.

Get Out: I don’t actually like horror/thrillers but I had to go see this after the insane rave reviews. I’m glad I did, even if it was mentally scarring. Basic premise: Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parents for the weekend. Weird shit goes down. That’s all I’m saying. The cinematography and imagery work double time, and the score is sensational.

A Dog’s Purpose: This film follows a pup trying to discover its purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners. I went to see this with my work wife as we’re both obsessed with dogs. I cried once, laughed multiple times, and got particularly overwhelmed by the cuteness of the corgi. Dogs are the best. We don’t deserve them.

King Arthur: I love a good Guy Ritchie film, judge me all you like, I don’t care. This plays out like a heist film, is a complete bastardisation of Arthurian legend, has Charlie Hunnam  playing cockney Jax Teller and Jude Law hamming it up and I am here for it. Lots of women get fridged, sadly, and there is an all too brief cameo by the delightful Katie McGrath who should just be in all Arthurian things. But I enjoy a bit of popcorn action and this fit the bill, even as I sat there quoting Monty Python to myself.

Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

April is the cruelest month

Books:

I read two books in April, yay, go me! The first was ‘Americanah‘ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I started it last month but had to return it to the library shortly after as someone had reserved it (ugh) and I anxiously waited for its return so I could finish it. I. Loved. This. Book. It is magnificent. Some really powerful commentary in there. It was one of those books that set my soul on fire when I finished it, and made me want to write again and do all these things I’ve always wanted to do. I particularly enjoyed it from the point of view of an ex-pat aching for something but not knowing what it is, and thinking maybe a return to home could fix it. Would recommend every time. The second book I read was ‘The Silkworm‘ by Robert Galbraith, which is the second Cormoran Strike novel. Like the first, I enjoyed it, just really solid detective fiction and great for a Saturday afternoon finish-in-one-sitting type of read. Solid genre fiction and I’m not complaining.

Music:

Kind of a dud month to be honest. Found myself relying more on old favourite albums rather than listening to mixes. New Fall Out Boy song though which is…interesting. I’m not sure it’s for me but I wasn’t really on board with ‘Centuries’ either and ended up loving the album. So who knows.

Movies:

Only two this month, bit sad. But gird your loins as blockbuster season is upon us and it’s the Doc Edge International Documentary Film Festival is in town. See all the things!

Beauty and the Beast: This is my favourite Disney film so I was a bit skeptical about a live-action take on it, but you know what, it was fine. You know the story, was the same deal. Songs were on point, Gaston is amazing (and awful) and I think they actually did a good job explaining some of the things people have always wondered about this story. Like how does an entire village not remember there was a prince in a castle not that far away? Costumes were a delight. Lord how I love good costume design.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: I know I’m in the minority here but I did not rate the first one of these and was expecting more of the same lameness from this one. I actually enjoyed it a lot more, maybe because I knew what I was getting in to. Some really good humour in there and a genuinely touching ending, I’m ashamed to admit that I even got a wee bit teary eyed. Petition to put Nebula in everything though because she was my favourite thing in this #TeamNebula I do wonder though, if you don’t have 80s nostalgia, is this film’s aesthetic any good?

 

Only for now

I’ve been feeling restless recently, resentful, like I’m missing something. I thought maybe it was my job – that it wasn’t “right” for me. I browse job ads obsessively, looking for something that will spark enthusiasm in me, something that will make me stop and say, yes, this is what I need to do. I love my job, really, but I also hate it. There’s something not quite right and I don’t know what it is. I want something more, something else. I want to reclaim something that I feel I lost.

Thing is, so many of my friends feel this way. So many. I loathe using the M word but I think it might be a millennial thing. And I think it might just be choice. There’s too much of it. The internet and social media have given us access to too much. So we’re always chasing, always searching, never sure if we’re in the right place or doing the right thing and feeling like we’re treading water.

I’m sure previous generations had these issues too (mid-life crisis anyone?) but it feels more acute, this existential self-awareness. Back in the good old days, more often than not, you got a job and you stayed with it and you didn’t expect it to provide you with anything other than your pay.

Not so much now. It’s not good enough to just have a job; you have to do something that fulfills you. It has to give you meaning and purpose. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Thanks for nothing, inspirational quote. We spend so much of our time at work, of course you want do something that matters to you. But dear god, what is that something?

I attended a leadership summit a few weeks ago and one of the key things that kept coming up was know yourself, your values, your strengths and your purpose. I just keep thinking of Avenue Q. Lots of talk about how once someone figured out what their values and purpose was, everything became a little simpler, they made better decisions. Very little insight into how one might actually find said purpose.

I like my job, for the most part. I find certain things frustrating but that would be the same in any other job. I just know that there are certain parts of my role that I’m not strong in, and it would be better if there was someone else who could do it. But since my role is the only one doing the kind of work I do, I’m stuck doing things I think I’m no good at, which in turn makes my poor perfectionist heart want to cut itself into bits. So what do you do? Wait it out and hope that they’ll eventually expand the area so you can get someone to work with you who excels at the things you’re bad at? And then there’s the paranoia about being replaced.

Every personality quiz or work placement quiz I take tells me I’m in the right role for my personality and style. Is it just accepting that you’re not always going to be great at everything and you’re never going to enjoy everything you do? Thing is, it’s fine now but my role needs to grow into something else, it needs to become something else to deliver real value for the company, and that role that I’m driving it towards is not a role I really want. It’s going in a very Business Intelligence direction and I can do it, I just don’t really want to.

At the end of the day, the things I truly enjoy doing are not things that will pay bills. And I’m usually too knackered coming home from work/gym to do anything I enjoy doing. But I think this is really the crucial point here. Maybe it’s unfair to put all that expectation on a job, to expect it to fill a void on its own. The things I dislike about the role would perhaps not grate so much if it wasn’t bumping up against an absence of something I can’t articulate. The frustrations and petty grievances perhaps say less about the job and more about me, and a need to add more to my life, beyond work and home and work and home and work and home ad nauseam. I need to find a new wholeness. I need to find the version of myself that belongs completely to Wellington.

Or maybe I should just become a librarian. Fuck it.

March madness

Books:

March was pretty hectic with unexpected moving and whatnot so I unfortunately didn’t have much (see also: any) free time. So I only read one book in March, Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘. I really like Tina so I enjoyed this easy-to-read glimpse into her thoughts. I particularly relate to the whole “blorft” thing, or “completely overwhelmed by proceedings as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the topor of a possum.” Hoping April will be a better month for reading and general R&R.

Music:

Enjoying the return of Lorde 🙌🙌 Also a big fan of the Selena Gomez/Kygo track. Suspect Ed Sheeran’s ‘Dive’ is about Taylor? Discuss.

Movies:

Despite the aforementioned lack of free time this month, still managed to see two films and, of course, attend the Harry Potter Movie Marathon.

Logan The X-Men are probably my favourite comic creations so I’m always down for anything related to them. I’m also a huge Hugh Jackman fan so there was no way I wasn’t going to see this asap. It’s a wonderful film, one that really tells a story about regret and struggle and coming to terms with your failing mortality. Hugh Jackman gives a masterful performance that is somehow trumped by Patrick Stewart’s broken portrayal of Professor X. A great example of what can be achieved when the story and characters are put first, rather than the need to set up a bunch of sequels and spin offs. Also a great example of just telling a story and applying a rating that fits (R18 in this case) rather than trying to make a film fit into a specific rating, or just being gory for the sake of it. I did think it was a bit long in the middle, but overall really recommend it and its melancholy soundtrack.

Ghost in the ShellI’ve never read the manga or saw the original animated film. I had no idea really what it was about it but I like Scarlett Johannsen and spec fic, and it was filmed in Wellington, so I really wanted to see it. I liked it. It was weird, but I liked it. It reminded me a bit of The Matrix, except the action was way slower and it wasn’t as mind-bendy. The story seemed weirdly simplistic, I felt a bit “That’s it?” about it. I guess I was just expecting there to be more philosophical angst over what makes you human, and robot v human existential issues. More Blade Runner, you know? There’s obviously been a lot of criticism about the casting of Johannsen to play a Japanese character, and while I think it would be amazing to see more diversity on screen, in this instance it didn’t feel obtrusive, considering the story centers around body modification and the blurring of artificial and natural states. Regardless of everything, the cinematography is beautiful. Just an incredibly pretty film.

Hogwarts will always be there

A month or so ago I made the wonderful discovery that The Roxy was hosting a Harry Potter marathon. All eight films across 24 hours, with food and snacks and themed nonsense. Naturally the bf and I were all over it, and were both very excited when the blessed weekend finally arrived.

Excited, and maybe a little apprehensive. It is a very long time to sit in a cinema. But then I figured all the long-haul flights I’d taken in my life had prepared me. Also did I mention themed nonsense? Motivation right there.

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Shenanigans started at 1.30pm on Saturday and wrapped up 1.30pm on Sunday. So yes, literally 24 hours. The first two films were a breeze but I realised just exactly what we’d signed up for during the third film. It wasn’t going to be quite as easy as I’d anticipated. But hey whatever, it was still a boat load of fun. There were full meals and random entertainment, including a quiz that was surprisingly difficult for a sleep-deprived mind, and some Quidditch training drill run by the local Quidditch club (of course). And of course there was butterbeer and like most butterbeer it was an indistinguishable butterscotchy concoction, although this one had the added drama of bubbling foam thanks to tactically employed dry ice. 10/10 for theatrics.

Now I have to admit I did not make it through all eight films, I had a tactical nap during Order of the Phoenix as it’s my least favourite. Cinema seats aren’t very comfortable for curling up, in turns out, but nevertheless, it was a solid two hour nap. I may also have had a wee nod during the Half Blood Prince but other than that, 100% paying attention. And it was delightful seeing these films on the big screen again. I’ve re-watched them countless of times but somehow there are still things I missed. For example the Fat Lady calling the students plebs during the third film when they don’t appreciate her singing. Always a fan of a good pleb joke.

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It was a genuinely fun weekend. The crowd were relatively mellow, and mostly in the 18-30 age range. Everyone was quietly having a good time and while words were exchanged while enjoying games or standing in line for the lollies (free all night, and yes I did get a stomach ache), but overall everyone kind of minded their own business. It was just lovely and homely and comforting. And props to the people who changed into pjs, wish I’d thought of that! The bf and I both got wands made by a local as a souvenir of the event, and they’re delightful and just as good for poking someone when you want a cup of tea as any of the official wands. I tested that for you, you’re welcome.

It was very strange to emerge to a sunrise while you’re in a cinema but The Roxy is so lovely , it really was a pleasure to spend the time there. And the staff did an excellent job looking after everyone, even though the ones working the graveyard shift were obviously exhausted.

There has been such a reaction from people who didn’t realise this was a thing, so I think they’re going to have another marathon in the future. I don’t think it’s something I’d ever do again, but I’m glad I did it. And I’m particularly glad that I’m with someone who was excited about it as I was. HazPotz for ever!

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Moving time

Guess who is moving in with her boyfriend? Yep, this idiot. In a ‘that happened quicker than anticipated’ moment, we found a place we both loved a couple of weeks ago and now we’re moving this weekend.

Flat hunting in Wellington is a nightmare and I’d had a tentative agreement with my current landlord that we’d wait for one of the flats he’s busy refurbishing. But he couldn’t give me a date when it would be finished and it made me anxious, so I kept looking for places anyway. We went to see a townhouse, not thinking for a moment we’d get it and then next minute, we’re signing a lease. I don’t even know.

The last week has been a whirlwind of admin and paperwork. Getting everything set up, sorting utilities and vans, scrounging boxes from work, moving the bf’s stuff out of his place as his tenancy ended, and sorting end of tenancy stuff with my lovely landlord. Fuck, I am exhausted. But I’m thoroughly looking forward to moving in to the new place. I have loved the 2 and a bit years in my flat, it’s gorgeous and it suited me perfectly. It’s just a little more space is needed with two people, especially since friends/family visit fairly regularly. Also, it means we have a place that’s ours, rather than mine, so we’re on more equal footing.

But you know what I’d like? A registry. I have contributed to so many wedding registries and baby showers over the years, and no doubt will continue to do so in the future. I have no intention of ever having a massive wedding or having a baby, and it seems grossly unfair that I’ll never have a chance to create a registry and get some shiz, yo.

All the packing and making lists of things that need to be acquired or replaced made me think about this. Would it be terribly bitchy to just create one and send it to my family and friends? My mum says yes. It’s selfish. But life is expensive! And I like nice things! Damn it.

So in lieu of it being socially acceptable to have a “cohabiting for the first time” registry even though that’s exactly what the traditional point of the wedding registry was, I’m just going to make a list of things I want here scratch the itch…

  • A new dining set, preferably this one because we both like the colour
  • A nice new set of sheets, and a duvet set
  • Harry Potter House posters (or travel posters)
  • Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit
  • Settlers of Catan
  • A sofa bed
  • A nice new woollen throw of some kind
  • One of those over-the-sink cutting boards
  • Nerdy candles/melts so the house smells delightful

Sigh. This is why we can’t have nice things.

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Feb Fallout

Books:

Another three books checked off this month, with a fourth almost finished. The first was ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here‘ by Patrick Ness. I found it generally enjoyable and easy to read, polishing it off in two burst.I enjoyed the idea of being disaster adjacent, of kids just minding their own business while shit goes down around them. Following this, I finally got round to reading ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling‘ by Robert Galbraith. I  grew up on Nancy Drew books and loved reading mysteries, and this book reminded me why. Thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters and I liked that the ending wasn’t really drawn out over multiple chapters. I also read ‘On the Jellicoe Road‘ by Melina Marchetta. I have a friend who always raves about it and I’d read two Marchetta books in high school, so I figured I’d give it a go. It completely destroyed me. I’m not even joking. There were tears. Very Australian, with moments that felt supernatural  and genuinely made me uneasy, and just all-round heartbreaking. Finally, I’m almost finished with ‘Rewire: Change your brain‘ by Richard O’Connor which is fascinating from a psychological point of view, but not really that helpful in a general ‘give me some tips, I need to stop doing this shit’ sense.

Music:

I’ve really been enjoying the return of the Mack. I’m not apologising.

Movies:

Got a lot done this month because my work wife and I were trying to see as many Oscar nominated flicks as we could before the awards.

Jackie: The film takes place immediately following JFK’s assassination and I found it pretty harrowing to see it from Jackie’s perspective. I cannot imagine being in that situation, or how I would act. It felt more realistic to me than a traditional biopic, more psychologically real. Much like the glamour of the Kennedys, the film could easily have fallen into the trap of superficiality, but it maintained a balance and dignity that never felt forced. Like most biopics, I had to resist the urge to google a thousand things while watching it but overall, I thought it was a good little film and Natalie Portman did a phenomenal job of not only capturing Jackie’s mannerisms and quirks, but also capturing a real sense of emotion. The outfits were also on point.

Lion: I know this is based on a real story but I had somehow completely missed the whole media coverage around this and had no idea how it was all going to turn out. Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel were both captivating as Saroo. Nicole Kidman also turned in a great performance. And Dev’s Australian accent was surprisingly good! Loved the use of food as a trigger for memory, very Proustian. It’s a very powerful story that really hits you in the feels.

Moonlight: Maybe it was just because I was tired but this didn’t do anything for me. I’ve read these amazing reviews for it since I saw it and I wish I could have had that experience but for me it felt like the film your friend makes for his final film project that you try to be supportive of but don’t really get. It’s too arty for me, is what I’m saying. I wanted it to be shorter, and quicker paced. I found the camera work jarring and annoying. I also found it really odd that the story starts with an adult basically just taking in a kid he finds loitering around to lunch – just doesn’t seem like a reasonable thing to do when you find a kid somewhere it shouldn’t be. But I completely appreciate what it was trying to do in telling a story about sexuality and masculinity, and I’m 100% for telling more stories about different communities and experiences.

Manchester By The Sea: I didn’t know what this was about when going to see it and if it had been described to me (man has to return to home town after his brother dies to take care of his nephew, also: traumatic past) I probably wouldn’t have gone to see it. But it is by far my favourite out of the four. Just a phenomenal piece of storytelling, perfectly paced and with genuinely funny moments despite quite a bleak outlook. And the main scene with Michelle Williams was devastating. A well-deserved Best Original Screenplay Oscar winner. I loved this so much.