Monday, 15 November 2004

story of, er, ...

My weekend. It was a 4-day weekend, courtesy of armistice (Remembrance Day in Australia) on Thursday and RTT (RDO in Australia) on Friday.

I spent Thursday mostly reading Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson, a kind of environment novel halfway between "normal" fiction and his usual cyberpunk stuff, and somewhat reminiscent of the Doctorow stories I read earlier this year.

In the evening, I went and watched "Un Long Dimanche de Financailles" (A Very Long Engagement, according to IMDB), Jeunet's latest film. I think it was the first French-language film I've seen at the cinema this year, and I was OK, but not complete, in my understanding of the dialogue, in particular, the southern (almost spanish) accents gave me a bit of trouble. The film itself is OK, but lacks the "je ne sais quoi" that made Amelie so good. The performances are good but not great, the director's fascination with reconstructing the Paris of yesteryear continues (in this case, I recognised a few places, notably the Opera and the Musee d'Orsay, which was formerly a train station), but the story is only adequate, and not really heartwarming enough. Also, the principal characters are a little thin, particularly the simpleton (I assume) boyfriend, who has little or no personality at all.

Oh, and before that, Jacques, Sophie and I went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. A bit expensive, but it did me good to smell all the spices again. I ordered poorly, an impotent vindaloo, and watched in envy as Jacques and Sophie hopped into a fluorescent butter chicken on my recommendation. Dessert was on me, Anzac bikkies that I cooked that afternoon.

Friday morning I went into work for a teleconference that had in fact been postponed the day before. I was not amused, and bludged on the net for a while before going home and finishing my book. In the evening I cooked a massive plate of lasagne, which should cover my dietary requirements for the next week or so.

On Saturday I slept in, finished off my book, and then took care of some administrative stuff. A replacement bank card for the one I left in a shop a couple of weeks back, my plane tickets back to Australia, and a new book. The library was closed for some reason, so I had to head to the used book shop instead. Was tempted by some Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but figured I could probably find them on Gutenberg, so I opted for The Potato Factory, for its proximity, perhaps, to one of my ancestors. I need to ask mum for more information on that.

Saturday evening I went out to Jacques and Sophie's place for dinner and to watch the rugby match between the Wallabies and France. I had bought a jersey the day before, but it didn't help - our attack never really had any effect on the French defence, which was pushing up very quickly. Oh well, the pizzas were good, as was the company.

Sunday I read about a half of the Potato Factory, and then went and watched Mondovino at TNB. I thought it was crap, but seemed to be in the minority. More than Michael Moore's films, I felt it wasn't a documentary, in that it painted the Americans like clowns and the more traditional elements like sages, using music, camerawork, and what I reckoned must have been pretty selective editing. Globalisation bad, old french farmers crushing grapes in their undies good, all that stuff. Some others left half-way through, and I was tempted, and a bunch of people clapped at the end, so perhaps I lost something in the translation, but I was pretty disappointed in all. I consoled myself with lasagne, a glass of PĂ©charmant, followed by camembert and ice-cream. I thought for a moment about who I'd paid for the wine, but quickly dismissed the thought.

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