"Nothing Serious"

I was still half-drugged when the doctor spoke to me after the endoscopy on Monday, so I can't remember most of what he said. I do remember him saying that he found a hernia, some pockets of something, and something else. I was too addled at the time to ask him to repeat himself, so I won't learn the details until our next appointment in early March. The important thing is he said that it was "nothing serious".

It's a relief to know that all this pain and discomfort I've been feeling hasn't just been in my mind, and that we may be able to do something about it.

The endoscopy itself was relatively hassle-free. The two hours (or so) of preparation that morning wasn't much fun (and the day before was awful), but the sedative they gave me was so effective that when I woke I almost asked the nurse to make sure that I'd actually had the procedure done because I couldn't remember a thing.

The best part was when they started pumping oxygen directly into my nostrils. Yum.

Oscar Nominations

Okay, how on Earth did Hellboy 2: The Golden Army not receive Oscar nominations for Art Direction, Costume Design and Visual Effects?!?

And how was Wall-e not nominated for best picture? On Metacritic it has an average rating of 93%, putting it a good 11 points higher than anything else (The Dark Knight at 82%) and even further above the films which did receive nominations. On that note, why no best picture nomination for Dark Knight?

I don't get it.
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Movie reviews

Here are some mini-reviews of DVDs I've seen over the past few weeks (yay for holidays!):

The Golden Compass - 6/10
I haven't read the books and came to this film with very few preconceptions, but I was somewhat underwhelmed. Visually the film is gorgeous, with some wonderful location and vehicle designs, and there are some memorable moments, but for the most part the film felt rushed, disjointed and unengaging. It should have been an hour longer to properly develop the story, or should have simply dropped certain plot points which didn't seem to serve the story at all. Most likely, this is the result of the dangers inherent in translating a story from book to film. With such a stellar cast, it must have been the Director/Screenwriter, Chris Weitz, who dropped the ball as most of the characters feel empty and lifeless.

Curse of the Golden Flower - 5/10
I had high hopes for Curse of the Golden Flower, directed by Yimou Zhang who also directed Hero, one of my favourite films, but was both surprised and dissapointed by this bizzare film. What starts as a somewhat interesting (though slightly melodramatic) story of court politics and family intrigue suddenly transforms into an epic martial arts splatter-fest with little of the artistic flare of Hero. While the entire production is lavish and grand on an almost obscene level, it failed to draw me into the world of the Forbidden City. Curse of the Golden Flower ultimately felt empty and meaningless, and the ending left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Stranger Than Fiction - 9/10
A wonderfully crafted and incredibly clever story which manages to be funny without being crass, cerebral without being heartless. Great performances all around,  excellent direction, and full of rich ideas which you'll continue to think about long after the credits roll. Strongly recommended.
Human Error

Let's be honest

Every day I wake up with good intentions, bold plans, ideas that will change the world. Every night, however, I fall back into the same dark well of loneliness and despair.

I lie in bed lamenting the harm I have caused others, all the unintentional cruelties and betrayals, and it eats away at me like acid. Am I a better man than I was ten years ago, than that wretched, pathetic little slip of a man-thing that I used to be? When I think of the people whom I called friends back then, I am astonished by how patient and tolerant they were of me.

And yet, whenever I think of how far I have come, I also think of how wretched I am still. I am short-tempered, impatient, intolerant, selfish, lazy, greedy, lustful, bigoted and arrogant. I want to be loving, I want to patient, kind, generous and humble, but every day I fail. I feel like a mountain-climber who, at an altitude of fifty-feet, is already sucking down oxygen canisters and advancing at a rate of three feet per day - if I'm advancing at all.

I'm weak, and tired, and so very much afraid that my sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

But in this dark well there is one single light: The knowledge that my salvation depends not on my strength, but on the grace of Jesus Christ. Where I would willingly run from God into destruction, Jesus came and pulled me back against my will, his hands burning me like brands. This is an extraordinary injustice, that a stain on the world like myself should be forgiven and brought home.

Praise Him.

That time of year again

Remember that episode of Buffy where Tucker trained a pack of Hellhounds to savagely attack anyone wearing formal dress?

I wonder if the same principle could be applied to santa hats...

College and tattoos

Third trimester has just begun, and the awesome news is that it now seems very likely that I'll be able to transfer to Game Design next year, from Animation. I originally enrolled in Game Design this year, but transferred to Animation when it became clear that the GD course wasn't going to run. So far I've been mostly happy with my grades. Okay, when I say mostly happy, I mean that there was one subject where I only got a Distinction instead of a High Distinction, and I'm a bit upset about that.

Favourite subject this trimester: Game Level Design
Least favourite subject: New Media Business Compliance

Meanwhile I received an e-mail last week from someone who had a piece of my artwork tattooed onto his shoulder. While it's flattering to know that some guy thinks my artwork is worth forking over $700 to a tattooist, plus seven hours of pain, I'm a little disappointed that he didn't consider sending any of that cash my way.

(no subject)

From jocelyncee 

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)

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Steven Moffat and Doctor Who!

Every now and again a news story comes along which restores my faith in television producers, and makes me think that maybe some of the people in charge actually *do* know what they're doing. Earlier this year, the announcement that Fox has renewed the Sarah Connor Chronicles was such a story.

Now another such story comes along: Steven Moffat will take over as Showrunner for the new series of Doctor Who once Russell T Davies steps down at the end of 2009.


Moffat's episodes are, IMO, the only ones worth watching in the entire new series - he *gets* Doctor Who in a way which Davies has completely failed to do. Furthermore, after watching Moffat's six-part mini-series "Jekyll", I am now firmly convinced that this man is on course to be the next Joss Whedon*.

Finally, my grim outlook on Doctor Who has been replaced with optimism!

Now I just need to pester the ABC about airing season 4 down here. Sometime this YEAR would be nice :/

ETA: *Not that there's anything wrong with the current Joss Whedon...
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    jubilant jubilant


I'm now a week into my three-week holiday, following the completion of my first Trimester of college. I think it's time for some reflection.

Overall my feelings about college are somewhat negative. The Sydney campus of QANTM is still relatively new, and it shows. Of all the lecturers/tutors I had this trimester, one was genuinely good, two were competent, one was less than adequate and one should never be allowed in a classroom again. And, of course, the only one who was genuinely good ended up leaving halfway through the trimester. So far the quality of teach has done little to inspire confidence.

Furthermore, I've been very disappointed by the college's failure to go through with the promises/threats that were made on orientation day regarding attendance and behaviour. If the college had been serious about carrying out its policies, then less than half of the class would have made it through to the end of the first trimester - leaving only those who are actually serious about learning. To my utter frustration, the college seems more concerned with helping students pass, rather than actually *teaching* them - driven, no doubt, by a hunger for tuition fees.

But that doesn't mean that college is without its merits. The course itself is quite well structured, and most of our teachers are more than happy to work with us one-on-one if we're having any trubles. Some of the material we've covered has been genuinely enjoyable, as well as informative. Plus some of my fellow students are a pleasure to work with.

Hopefully the second trimester will be an improvement. If not, I may have to consider other options. At least my scholarship means that I'm not actually paying for this tripe.

One of our final assessments for this trimester was to shoot a short film in groups, and then individually edit the footage together. For our group, I was writer and director (as well as editor), and here's what I put together:

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