Friday, November 30, 2012

gentleman's wound

I took Bela to the vet today as he had a problem with one of his back legs. He was walking with it inwards and very slowly and did not seem happy - also there was a bit of blood. The vet said it was just a gash from a fight and reassured me that Bela had not been a provocateur or aggressor in this. Had he had a cut on his face or front paws, that would have been different but this was a 'gentleman's wound' - he was leaving the scene and got a jab on the way out.

I mean I am not sure where you draw the line between gentleman and coward but I don't need Bela to be a hero. (This is three days after taking Butterball to the vet for his outrageously swollen lip which, FYI, is just a thing that happens and probably an allergic reaction no-one really knows).

In the afternoon I minded Ernie (aged, erm, not sure - 1 1/2? I am bad with people's ages at ALL levels) while Liz went to the hairdresser in Westmeadows. I was a little worried that he might get weirded out by me, as though we had seen each other at the Broadmeadows Festa a few weeks ago, it had been a long time before that. But no. He was entirely unfazed. At first I thought we were just going to watch tv, because that was what he wanted to do, and it was ABC3 and quite fun. He only acknowledged me a couple of times to point at the TV. Fine.

Then the power went off! He thought I'd turned it off. But everything in the house was dead. So I just made the executive decision to go outside. Liz had told me he likes watering things in the garden and it's true, he does. He watered most of the plants and also made a mud puddle, which was a problem because he also doesn't like having dirty hands or feet. Luckily he does like washing them under the tap, and detaching the hose from the tap to do this. And putting the hose back on the tap to watch the water coming out of the hose, etc.

Then he grabbed Jeff's Galapagos Duck soundtrack to The Removalists (he is obsessed with LPs) and was kind of doing this taking the record out of the sleeve, putting it back etc, and I was thinking, 'I should try and replace this record with something else because that's probably a pretty valuable LP'. But he wouldn't hand it over, at all, or swap it for anything else. Yes, the power was still off. But then Liz came home, much earlier than I expected. He had shown little concern about her absence (except possibly once when a woman was speaking in the street and he wanted to go out into the front garden - he was certainly looking for something there, or someone) but he was really happy she was back.

All in all, I really enjoyed that little time I spent with him. And now I have made paella. From an online recipe labelled I think 'Cheat's Paella' or something similar.

* Later: I had a thought. When I was at the vet's they offered me a receipt for Bela's treatment and I said no, it's not tax deductible why bother. Then I thought (and said - god I was chatty yesterday) I suppose if I used my pets in ads or as animal actors then I could deduct their treatment, and the receptionist (Ashley or Ashleigh) said, some of our clients actually do that. So then I thought, if I 'monetized' this blog as blogger is always inviting me to do, could I then claim all kinds of shit - including vet bills - as tax deductions? If a tax accountant is reading this, and s/he can give me valid advice leading to my monetary gain, I will compensate. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

100 reviews # 5 The Dictator

So the Westmeadows DVD rental place is great, because (I suspect) it is going out of business, or at very least for some reason that its owners can’t be happy about it is running at a very slender profit margin. Last week I tried to borrow three DVDs and was told that if I borrowed 4, instead of $9 it would be $7. So I got 4. One was This Must Be the Place which, peculiar as it was, I actually enjoyed, particularly Sean Penn’s character’s giggle. The other one we watched was The Five Year Engagement which had its moments. Also, I borrowed The Dictator and Hunger Games, but we didn’t get round to watching those. But I was intrigued by The Dictator, and went back on Tuesday night to borrow it again. It was Tuesday so it cost $1.

I don’t want to just review things that are bad, but I have consumed a lot of bad things lately. I have to tell you, The Dictator is a seriously terrible film. It is one of those films that are so bad that the one decent thing about them – the extended speech at the end where SBC’s character lists all the things that are good about dictatorships and bad about democracies, except all the things he’s listing relate to recent US history, is ruined by the fact that the speech itself is a sad, hollow imitation of/tribute to Chaplin’s Great Dictator.

The real, genuine, absolute problem about The Dictator, however, is (I seem to recall this as a criticism from when it hit cinemas a few months ago) there are no sympathetic characters. We are apparently somehow meant to have some kind of empathy with the SBC character (sorry, I can’t be bothered looking his name up) when he loses his status and power but why would we? It only confuses matters that his one ally in New York, the scientist he thought he had executed a few years previously but who only bears him ill-will in a slapstick kind of way, seems to be the ‘sensible one’, only he wants to restore SBC’s character to dictatorhood again, for no real apparent reason (well, it will allow him to continue his research into nuclear weapons – I can relate to that). The only person in the film we might have reason to empathise with is the wholefoods store manager Zoe, but since she apparently falls in love with SBC’s character, why should we trust anything else about her? Ultimately she is mainly to be a source of jokes about armpit hair.* Beyond these it’s a stretch to think of anyone in the film who is an interesting character.

When it comes down to it, the script is ridiculously – I won’t say predictable – but it is thoroughly unimaginative and uninteresting. As Mia said, we did watch it to the end (a couple of times I suggested curtailing this activity with the underpinning sentiment that I was easy either way, and we agreed to keep going a little way longer, then it ended).

There were some other films I wanted to write about. Any Questions For Ben was kind of engaging, in a disappointing way. I can’t even remember the others we saw recently so they must not have been very important. 

* Armpit hair is not suitable for grossout humour because it's not gross enough. I'm more disturbed by a cinematic trope that armpit hair is gross, than I am by armpit hair. It makes me feel like someone's trying to manipulate me into finding something gross that is actually pretty nothingish.