Saturday, July 14, 2007

Enjoying oneself

Gosh, a few days away and I'm bursting with tales to tell.

I'm feeling much better, thank you very much. It turns out I *was* having a hormonal overload, but that doesn't excuse the shite I was dragged through early last week. It just explains the complete lack of my usual ability to take a hard situation reasonably well and walk away cheerfully.

Anyhoo, let's move on. Here's the latest:


Knit 1 Blog 1 opened last night, as part of the ACT Festival of Contemporary Art. It was great to see a different crowd -- obviously knitters and bloggers -- from the usual opening suspects! There's some very cool knitted stuff in the show; go and have a trawl sometime.

An apology to the lovely person who I met who confessed to having read my blog for ages -- I was completely vague last night! I'd had a very near-hit car accident on the way to the first venue (don't tell BB!), sculled a glass of wine in shock, and I don't think I was really paying much attention to any one thing in particular. It was nice to meet you, though, and if you ever see me again, please reintroduce yourself!

Actually, there were a few things I paid particular attention to at the School of Art Gallery show, before the wine hit the shock (it was the first venue of the FOCA opening crawl): Kate Murphy's video 'Going Out Together' (I hope I got that right), and Charlie Sofo's series of self-portraits, both of which were resonant and evocative.

One of Charlie's works involved him carefully pulling apart a yellow- and green-bristled toothbrush and reassembling the bristles, poking them into cardboard to produce a hairy silhouette of his head, front-on, with the yellow and green stripes intact. Lit from above, the bristles cast very fine shadows, making the portrait even hairier. It sat up on a plinth, with the remnants of the original toothbrush sitting at the front. I kept thinking was a great comment on masculinity, especially when it was across the area from another self-portrait, this time a video.

The video starts with a picture of Jean-Claude Van Damme taking up the whole screen, but then it starts smoking and shifting downwards. It is burning from the bottom, and as it sinks downwards it reveals Charlie himself, sitting quietly behind the picture, staring straight into the camera with the same intense gaze as the Van Damme picture, but in a very neutral, non-threatening pose.

Brilliant. Well, I thought so, anyway. I guess you have to be there. So go there, if you're in Canberra. And that means you can see Kate's video as well. There's also more excellent work by Waratah Lahy, exploring Australia's BIG THINGS, Lauren Simeoni's gorgeous pieces, and Peter Volich's take on sports adoration. That's at the ANU School of Art Gallery.


I took B to the movies the other day, to see Transformers, a film that despite Harry's warning (sorry, you have to scroll down, I can never select individual posts on For Battle), I still snorted incredulously so hard that my brain nearly split. B was so testosterone-charged afterwards that I applied a hasty poultice of Sense and Sensibility to try and calm him down again. That has been my policy for years, and it's become a wonderful form of damage control. For every overly-masculine thing he's subjected to by his father, stepfather or grandfather, I make him sit through something completely opposite, like a romantic comedy. And bless him, he loves a bit of celluloid, so he's equally happy in front of Spiderman or Notting Hill. In this case he thoroughly enjoyed Emma and Kate romping through the English countryside, and discovered a new softer side to Professor Snape (aka Alan Rickman). And by bedtime, he was completely neutralised, and able to sleep soundly.

But then, the next day, he discovered the wonderful world of Warhammer, thank to his For Battle hero, Harry:

amassing the armies

This amassing of armies is only the tip of the iceberg; he pulled out about half the figures and a few machines, and almost swooned with excitement.


He spent most of the chilly winter's afternoon plotting, scheming and battling (no rules, no dice, only his imagination!) and then it took him two days to put them all away again...

I'm certainly not averse to miniature things, and these figurines are amazing. I think my favorites so far are the Beastmen, saucy little animal hybrids:



Bumblebee has always been a costume lover -- he saw the new Harry Potter movie this afternoon in full HP garb, complete with wand -- but this has now extended through to his everyday clothes. He's adopted a hat, bought in January at the Byron Bay markets, and it very rarely leaves his head, even during school. A few weeks ago we found a tracksuit top in Big W that is black with a sunburst of sewn ridges across the front, like rays of energy, but all in black, and he begged me to buy it for him. Now he seems to have formed a personal uniform -- the hat, the jacket, and a medallion covered in Arabic script that Colonel Duck found on the street in Bega (I'm hoping it's not some secret society marker, but it's more likely to be a coin of some sort). Here's a taste:


I call this 'Sith casualwear'. Without the lightsabre it looks more 'bad-ass gangsta rappa' but in the worst white-boy way. Sigh. I guess he'll grow out of it, literally. He's growing out of jeans faster than I can buy them for him, but he never grows sideways. I'm saving all the out-grown jeans to be cut-offs in summer, and he'll have plenty of pairs!


I got yet another email from Reverend Tim Todd today. He has really got his knickers in a twist about HP5:

My primary objection to the film and the story is the very strong and central theme of witchcraft. This is condemned clearly in Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Ephesians 5:11 says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” says Evangelist Tim Todd, President of Revival Fires International. I plead with parents to use strong discernment regarding this film. Matt. 18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” My cautions are underscored by the fact that we are living in a day different than The Wizard of Oz. We are technologically “not in Kansas” anymore.

“While Harry Potter is popular even among many Christians, it presents a Godless universe, one in which the most powerful wizard wins,” says Todd. “The hero is a wizard who shows no evidence of belief in God and does not use the power of prayer to combat evil. This is not the vision of the universe that Christian parents should want to instill in their children; nor is “white” magic an appropriate response to evil.”

Todd explains, "The Internet, (which has numerous fan sites hyper-linked to Wican and Witchcraft sites), and this compelling visual film experience could be powerful enough to engage young minds to ponder the "dark side". Many of the toy tie-ins promote spells (55 mentioned so far in the series) and witchcraft. Parents may want to wisely choose their 'potter'."

My response was to take Bumblebee and BB to see the movie today. Of course it was lots of fun, and I can't even begin to tell you how much I fancy Lucius Malfoy and Sirius Black. But the main thing I wanted to say, something that will not be a spoiler in any sense, is that I LOVE the way they've played with traditional broadsheet typography. Absolutely mouthwatering.

Oh enough for today. I need to cook dinner before Dr Who starts. BTW -- did anyone notice the HP7 reference in Dr Who last week?


The Shopping Sherpa said...

Lovely person was Caffeine Faerie who can be found here:

Ampersand Duck said...

Oh, thanks, SS! I was hoping you'd do that!

Kirsty said...

"BTW -- did anyone notice the HP7 reference in Dr Who last week?"

Yes. Out of curiosity: if you had a Tardis, would you use it to find out what made the Doctor cry?

Bumblebee looks very cool.

Enny said...

He looks like a gangsta rapper - I wouldn't mess with him :o)

Pavlov's Cat said...

That child has amazing eyes.

Cozalcoatl said...

Haven't seen the new Harry potter yet..this week for sure.

We gave most (we chucked alot of stuff out....i weep) of our Warhammer stuff to my nephew and niece when we left the country. Not all though, we have a lot of painted figures which we never use but....we have kept safe.
They love them,nothing wrong with geeky roleplaying.

Yay Harry ya big nerd ;)

fifi said...

That child is just too cool!

Don't think my woolly bear could cope with those small things but I myself would certainly play with them quite cheerfully.
I was in Canberra yesterday, wish I had seen the knitting show, where is it on and do you know when it ends?
I took the cubs to the Nat. Museum Of Australia on route back home here. Much discussion about the braille messages.

Ampersand Duck said...

Pav -- just like HP, Bumblebee looks like his father, but has his mother's eyes. And he loves that fact. As do I!

Fifi -- it goes until 26 August.

Coz -- let us know if the neflings ever want to get together with B for some grand Warhammering!

Kirsty -- not if it involves Daleks. They scare the bejeezuz out of me.

enny -- heh

harry said...


If he only knew just how many hundreds of hours working at KFC that pile of miniatures represent.

I mean, Reprazzent. 'Shahrl!

Let the nerdiness live on.