Time Traveler’s Teaser

I can’t describe the deep, deep pleasure I take from the fact that Eric Bana has gone from playing a time-travelling alien in Star Trek to a time-travelling librarian in The Time Traveller’s Wife. It’s those sort of neat parallels that provide a lot of joy in my life. Here’s a snippet of the book before the movie (which I hear is rubbish) gets released (here in SA):

“I bet I can guess your favourite bird.”

He shakes his head and smiles.

“What’ll you bet?”

He looks down at himself in his T-Rex shirt and shrugs. I know the feeling.

“How about this:  if I guess you get to eat a cookie, and if I can’t guess you get to eat a cookie?”

He thinks it over and decides this would be a safe bet. I open the book to Flamingo. Henry laughs.

“Am I right?”

“Yes!”

It’s easy to be omniscient when you’ve done it all before. “Okay, here’s your cookie. And I get one for being right. But we have to save them ‘til we’ve done looking at the book; we wouldn’t want to get crumbs all over the bluebirds, right?”

“Right!” He sets the Oreo on the arm of the chair and we begin again at the beginning and page slowly through the birds, so much more alive than the real thing in glass tubes down the hall.

“Here’s a Great Blue Heron. He’s really big, bigger than a Flamingo. Have you ever seen a hummingbird?”

“I saw some today!”

“Here in the museum?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Wait ‘til you see one outside – they’re like tiny helicopters, their wings go so fast you just see a blur…” Turning each page is like making a bed, an enormous expanse of paper slowly rises up and over. Henry stands attentively, waits each time for the new wonder, emits small noises of pleasure for each Sandhill Crane, American Coot, Great Auk, Pileated Woodpecker. When we come to the last plate, Snow Bunting, he leans down and touches the page, delicately stroking the engraving. I look at him, look at the book, remember, this book, this moment, the first book I loved, remember wanting to crawl into it and sleep.

“You tired?”

“Uh-huh”

“Should we go?”

 “Okay”

 

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100 Word Review: District 9

As a South African I feel immensely proud that a film with South African actors, accents and locales is doing so well in America. D9 is an innovative collision of comedy and Sci-fi action. Although the film contains an obvious apartheid motif, this is not a biting social commentary; it’s just a film that happens to take place in an apartheid-like setting, but with Aliens. There’s a lot of swearing (but in Afrikaans, so it doesn’t really count) and people explode. A slightly above-average sci-fi made better awesome by the “Hey, I live there” factor and a comical turned badass procrastinator protagonist.

Prawns Go Home

Prawns Go Home

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Why don’t you tell me what to write?

I don’t initiate well, but I do follow commands so I’ll do this: I’m opening up to the floor (that is, the comments below) for suggestions of topics for a series of posts of “My Thoughts on…” The suggestion will remove any feelings of awkwardness on my parts for the selection of topics.

If you’re just visiting the blog, feel free to let your relative anonymity be your shield and drop some contentious, obscure or incredibly deep topics for me to try and deal with. Comment on this note with your suggestions.

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Update – Spring 2009

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, not for want of things happening, but rather for an overwhelming amount of things that have been happening. Life has changed substantially over the last while. Big, exciting news is that I’ve got a job editing law articles at the University, which makes me sound way more grown up and important than I am. Still, it’s a salary and half an office. So, yeah.

Also, my column in the campus newspaper has been renewed which means another year of trying to be vaguely funny. I’ve started putting the archive up on the blog. (Carbon Copy Tab)

Additionally I have no home for next year. This is possibly the least exciting thing that has happened to me, but we live we learn and we pray that people cancel their residence places.

I worry (and worry is the correct word) that I’ll start to write more about how I feel and less about the TV and movies I watch: things (personal things) seem so much more important now than they used to. Or perhaps it’s that I’m a little more open to admitting that I actually have emotions. Well, I do. So much so that I think I might be the most emotional person in my family. So maybe you can expect a couple more revealing posts: posts about how much I’m anticipating my sister joining me in Stellenbosch, about how much my friends have meant to me over the past four years, about how I’ve grown. I’ll have to balance it out with a lot of irreverent humour, but perhaps it’s time to share a little more. This blog is supposed to be about me practicing my writing by focusing on things I enjoy and have experienced. And I’ve certainly increased my realm of experience. Maybe it’s time my writing reflected that.

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The Title of this Post could have easily been a Mike and the Mechanics Song

Struck by a particularly poignant piece of writing in our campus newspaper I descended into an unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome bout of nostalgia. This is my fourth year and university, my fifth out of school and the 24th year of my life and more than ever before I can see clearly the paths I have taken in the past; there is tangible experience of how far I’ve come. Whether it be in the dreams that I’ve accomplished or the hopes that have failed to materialise there dwells within me deep realisation of being a man altered. When I look back at university I’ll see how I survived fires and epidemics, how I’ve grown the deepest friendships of my life, how I’ve learned to laugh at the heartbreaking things and cry with joy at beauty revealed.  I’ve grown enough to write that last line without feeling like I need to make a joke to balance it out (okay, almost without feeling like I need to make a joke). I’ve learnt to eat residence food and how to cook decent food of my own. I’ve learnt that it’s nearly impossible to look cool while dancing and that not looking cool while dancing is awesome. I’ve travelled to Namibia and I’ve returned home and both felt good. While studying law and accounting I’ve sat in on History, English, Actuarial Science and Decision Making and Value Studies classes. I’ve danced until the early hours of the morning and I’ve sat by a fireside just talking. I’ve got my own column in the campus newspaper which I’m discovering is being read by more than just the three people who I assumed read it. Life is worthy of a smile of three.

While many things have moved in a definite linear motion some things have come full circle: Just like Grade 7 I have a pet rat who has managed to build a decent fan-base. Once again my life is filled with in-jokes to the point of being utterly incomprehensible. As always, God is a vital renewing force in my life.

Next year my sister joins me (an event I’m sure excites me more than it does her) and another year of Stellenbosch begins. As I prepare to go to class in a suit (it’s International Suit Day – probably not a real thing) I can take stock of a life filled with humour, randomness, irony (possibly, I’m not sure), complications and above all joy. That’s a good life to look back on.

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Outstanding Drama Series

A chunk of my excitement is being taken up with Emmy Season. The past six months has seen me taking a serious interest in television and the 61st Annual Emmy Awards will be the perfect culmination of that growing obsession. My excitement is due largely to the hosting of the event by former child star Neil Patrick Harris. NPH (as he is known on the Interweb) is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, a role which sees him nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Expect him to suit up for a legendary evening.

Three Letters: N.P.H

Let’s take a look at some of the categories; with all my experience in television I should be able to give pretty decent commentary:

Outstanding Drama Series

Ok…apparently I’m not that into television. I’ve only watched House and Lost. But I do know something about everything, so here we go:

Big Love is about the life and relationships of a polygamist, Breaking Bad is the story of a science teacher who starts producing drugs to make ends meet, Damages takes a look at the litigation section of a prestigious law firm, Dexter is about a cop who happens to be a serial killer in his spare time, House follows the life of a brilliant, but abrasive doctor, Lost is the tale of a magical island and the lives of those who crash there while Mad Men takes a look at and advertising firm in the 60’s.

House has had better seasons. The basic formula hasn’t changed in 5 seasons and every episode sticks to the exact same set-up: Opening sequence seems to indicate that one person will be sick, but it’s actually someone you don’t expect. House initially doesn’t want to take the case, but something intrigues him. He runs a differential. Sarcastic comment about Foreman being black. They treat the patient but s/he gets worse. Sarcastic comment about Kutner being crazy. There is a lumber puncture /CAT Scan. It’s not the second thing they thought it was. Sarcastic Comment about 13 being bisexual. Wilson talks to House about his being offensive to people. House is offensive to people. Patient gets even worser. Sarcastic comment about Taub being unfaithful to his wife. House eventually looks at his patient and discovers what’s actually wrong. Patient is thankful. House doesn’t care. End of episode. That being said, Hugh Laurie is fantastic. Still, it’s not enough to take home the title.

I have a Love/Hate/Love relationship with Lost. After its first season delivered some of the best television (best television) I have ever seen, it began to stretch my patience; as mystery upon mystery began to pile up, it felt as if the writers where merely stringing us along, purposely tormenting us. Recently, the spark is back, due in large part to actual answers being provided and some awesome additional characters (Faraday!). As the final season approaches and each shocking revelation reveals yet more questions, the conclusion will unveil the true value of this series: Lost will either be an ultimately disappointing journey or a phenomenal piece of television that I will watch again in its entirety on DVD.

Lost has never had much Emmy love and is unlikely to garner any this year. When it comes to who will actually take home the award, the smart money is on last year’s winner Mad Men.

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H1N1

I’ve been gone for so longs that it feels like as I write this I’m merely taking a hiatus from taking a hiatus. I’ve been enjoyably distracted with a number of things at University; classes, friends and even art exhibitions. I’ve been enjoying some interesting reading both on the internet and the ordinary hard copy format and even managed to get some writing in.  The return to blogging comes at a sad time: Swine Flu is in Stellenbosch and we were making jokes about never going outside ever again, an acquaintance passed away. South Africa’s first Swine Flu fatality was announced today. I didn’t know him well, but he was in my First Year group in Eendrag and was Bernard’s first year roommate. He was 22. Current report show that there are 34 cases of the flu strain in the Western Cape, but it’s probably more than that.

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