It's a completely cool, multi-purpose blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Retroblogging: The Ashes

I am quite enjoying the one day series between England and Australia ( a good start in game 2 as I write), but it is as nothing compared to the all-consuming, life-enhancing, tantric joy that was the Ashes.

I have suffered a couple of dismal series since I’ve been living in Oz, and there’s no more drawn out misery than coming in to work from the end of November through to early January to a mixture of smirking derision and patronising pity. Test cricket is agonising to lose, but I was reasonably confident at the start and even retained a quiet smugness after Australia drew level in Perth.

I guess Boxing Day 2010 is one of the greatest days in the history of English cricket. The Ashes in the balance, a huge crowd at the MCG, and we roll the Aussies for ninety-chuffing-eight and proceed to 157/0 by the close. Joy unconfined!

The icing was getting along to Day 4 at the SCG with a collection of Aussies (M, Lou, Dani and Todd). By this stage the home crowd’s mood had slumped to jaded resignation, but we had a good time nevertheless and I tried to soft-pedal the gloating as much as I could. Question of the day: Why Is Hilfenhaus?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Retroblogging: New Year at the Q Station

We spent New Year at the wonderful Q Station (nee Quarantine Station). In fact we stayed there for four nights. The kids had a whale of a time playing on the beach and in the sunshine, while I grumpily holed up in the cottage with a big fat Trollope or headed into Manly for a browse at the divine Desire Books.

The Q Station offers a magnificent view back along the harbour towards the city, so the view for the New Year’s Eve fireworks is tremendous. The kids stayed up for the 9 o’clock show and then collapsed into bed gratifyingly quickly so we could get on with the main business of the evening.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Retroblogging: Christmas

We had a fine Christmas, lots of in-law based family fun and the Bs generally having a splendid time.

Favourite conversation:

B1 – “Where am I going to see Grandma sing in a choir?
Me – “In a church.”
B1 – “What’s a church?”

Favourite gift (given to B2 by Greg and Julia):

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 Reading Review

(Cross-posted from the book blog)

I've read 133 books this year, but that number is vastly inflated by the 33 books of the bible in there, many of which are barely more than poems. Once I'd set the precedent of Genesis, Exodus et al counting I was stuck with it. 100 is good, though.

Best Book: Revolutionary Road, with honourable mentions to Cannery Row, Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, The Woodlanders, Brooklyn, Bad Science

Worst Book: I'll go with The Slap because it's been so highly praised

Longest Book: The Last Chronicle of Barset

Shortest Book: One of those poems from the Apocrypha

Non-Fiction Books: 20

Australian Authors: 8

Female Authors: 12 (oh dear, oh dear)

The Complete List

The Autograph Man - Zadie Smith
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons - Bill Watterson
Cannery Row - John Steinbeck
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
My Name Escapes Me - Alec Guinness
Oblomov - Ivan Goncharov
Traffic - Tom Vanderbilt
The Sign of the Four - Arthur Conan Doyle
Changing Places - David Lodge
The Small House at Allington - Anthony Trollope
What Is History? - E.H. Carr
Another Country - James Baldwin
The Sound of One Hand Clapping - Richard Flanagan
Helena - Evelyn Waugh
Parrot and Olivier in America - Peter Carey
The Spare Room - Helen Garner
The Small Back Room - Nigel Balchin
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel
Why Evolution Is True - Jerry Coyne
Solar - Ian McEwan
Flatland - Edwin Abbott Abbott
The Leopard - Giuseppe di Lampedusa
Asterix and the Soothsayer - Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and six other stories - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Martin Chuzzlewit - Charles Dickens
Heat and Dust - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Preacher: Gone To Texas - Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov
Offshore - Penelope Fitzgerald
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
Unweaving The Rainbow - Richard Dawkins
King Solomon’s Mines - H.Rider Haggard
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Red Queen - Margaret Drabble
Anglo-Saxon Attitudes - Angus Wilson
The Shortest History of Europe - John Hirst
Rites of Passage - William Golding
Preacher: until the end of the world - Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Staying On - Paul Scott
Chocky - John Wyndham
Hitch 22 - Christopher Hitchens
Anvil! The Story of Anvil - Lips & Robb Reiner
Last Chronicle of Barset - Anthony Trollope
Deaf Sentence - David Lodge
Voodoo Histories - David Aaranovitch
A Positively Final Appearance - Alec Guiness
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz
The Rachel Papers - Martin Amis
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
Hunger - Knut Hamsun
Dry Store Room No.1; the secret life of the Natural History Museum - Richard Fortey
Breath - Tim Winton
Preacher: proud Americans - Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
The Woodlanders - Thomas Hardy
Small World - David Lodge
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
Black Mischief - Evelyn Waugh
1 Esdras
City Secrets: books, the essential insider’s guide - Mark Strand (ed.)
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Metamorphoses - Ovid
2 Esdras
The Book of Evidence - John Banville
The Brothers Rico - Georges Simenon
Additions to Esther
The Little Friend - Donna Tartt
The Idea of Perfection - Kate Grenville
Diary of a Provincial Lady - EM Delafield
Prayer of Mannaseh
Wisdom of Solomon
How Late It Was, How Late - James Kelman
The Secret of Father Brown - GK Chesterton
Trouble With Lichen - John Wyndham
We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
The Iron Staircase - Georges Simenon
The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson
Wisdom of Sirach
Darkness At Noon - Arthur Koestler
Prayer of Azarias and Hymn of the Three Children
A Mathematician’s Apology - GH Hardy
Chess - Stefan Zweig
Bel and the Dragon
Bad Science - Ben Goldacre
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
Tommy Cooper; always leave them laughing - John Fisher
The Razor’s Edge - W. Somerset Maugham
The Beautiful and the Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
The Scandal of Father Brown - G.K. Chesterton
The Hard Shoulder - Chris Petit
Trick or Treatment?: alternative medicine on trial - Simon Singh & Edzard Ernst
Travels With My Aunt - Graham Greene
The Heather Blazing - Colm Toibin
The Ginger Man - J.P. Donleavy
The Age of Revolution; Europe 1789-1848 - E.J. Hobsbawm
The Siege of Krishnapur - J.G. Farrell
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
Appointment in Samarra - John O’Hara
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A tale of the Antilles - Patrick Leigh Fermor
Greenmantle - John Buchan
Just One More Thing - Peter Falk
The Reader - Bernard Schlink
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
The English People - George Orwell
The Conversations at Curlow Creek - David Malouf
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates

Top-grossing movie meme

A meme to kick off this year's blogging, as seen at Ruminations.

Top 25 Box Office of 2010 (as of December 13, 2010)

1. Toy Story 3 ($415M) Excellent, but not the masterpiece some have called it
2. Alice in Wonderland ($334.2M) A massive disappointment
3. Iron Man 2 ($312.1M) As with the first movie, first half good, second half tedious
4. Eclipse ($300.5M)
5. Inception ($292.5M) The best Hollywood movie of the year by a mile
6. Deathly Hallows Part 1 ($259.2M) Pretty good, exciting sighting of the Dartford Tunnel
7. Despicable Me ($250.3.7M)
8. Shrek Forever After ($238.4M)
9. How to Train Your Dragon ($217.6M) Some good jokes, sweet-natured
10. The Karate Kid ($176.6M)
11. Clash of the Titans ($163.2M)
12. Grown Ups ($162M)
13. Megamind ($140.6M)
14. The Last Airbender ($131.6M)
15. Shutter Island ($128M) Interesting enough, but the twist was a damp squib
16. The Other Guys ($119.2M) Some good gags
17. Salt ($118.3M)
18. Tangled ($117.2M) (Planning on taking the kids to this over the weekend)
19. Jackass 3-D ($116.8M)
20. Valentine’s Day ($110.5M)
21. Robin Hood ($105.3M) (Saw the first half on DVD, rubbish)
22. The Expendables ($103.1M)
23. Date Night ($98.7M) Low-key jokes excellent. set-pieces embarrassing
24. Due Date ($95.4M)
25. Sex and the City 2 ($95.3M)

9 out of 25 is not great, but I have to say this is a lame list. I suppose my taste and that of the teenage masses are not in accordance. I managed to see 37 movies at the cinema in total.