Monday, September 29, 2008

Editing difficulties

Something is wrong with Blogger and I can't put in certain text features, like italics and special characters. I am trying not to let this rile Ms Perfectionist Proofreader Ren.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Lake House

Once in a while... for me, that while was perhaps about 10 years long... you'll find a movie that you know you're going to love watching, again and again, for the rest of your life. The sort of movie that, when you're happy and relaxed, or blue and upset, or in the mood to do cartwheels in the attic before sitting down to a dinner of blue ice-cream with sprinkles – any sort of mood, you know? you'll put on and watch as avidly as if you didn't know if they were going to end up happily ever after, as if you didn't have every line replaying in your head a second before it happens on the screen.

I've found it, my once-in-ten-years discovery. In it, Sandra Bullock (without the snorting laugh and unnervingly familiar tripping scenes of Miss Congeniality) and Keanu Reeves discover the joy of old-fashioned, pen-and-paper correspondence, made necessary by their separation. Unlike in the good old-fashioned love stories my grandmother would have grown up on, they're not separated by war, feuding parents, or his unbreakable engagement to the Emperor's daughter (hmm...).

My first response to their uncanny situation of living two years apart, but being able to write to each other, wasn't "How illogical!" because I am, after all, able to live with one foot in the real world while the other dances nightly with elves and tiny chipmunks under toadstools in the back garden. But I did wonder, "Why only two years?" Why not, say, 50? Or 500? How exciting to have a pen-pal who wrote in Shakespearean English because he was Shakespeare... or something. But that would be a different movie, I guess, like Kate And Leopold Go To Stationery World. Or... something.

Yeah, so what's so exciting about two people writing to each other? So sue me, I love writing. As you may have guessed. I love handwriting, especially, and I like the idea of the unselfish, easygoing friendship that develops without the pressures of physical attraction and premature commitment, unlike in just about any other movie. Of course, I was thinking it might be interesting if one or both of the leads weren't so attractive in the conventional sense, just so you could see that it really was on the basis of character that they fell for each other, but evidently Hollywood sensibilities differ. In any case, I have no prejudices against attractive people. Just thought I'd get that out in the open.

And I like the very subtle underweave of the story, the theme of how connection between people is really such a simple thing, yet so difficult. That even without being separated by two years, you can have walls around you to keep people from coming close. They say those things we're drawn to when we see them are the ones we recognise in ourselves... I need help breaking some glass.

Anyway, it's a beautiful movie. I love it, and that statement never comes easily from me. So take my word for it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

One more thing to be thankful for...

One of my close friends remarked a few months back that I have a thankful attitude... I take that as a compliment! I can't seem to run out of things to be thankful for, and today's random thanks would be for my extremely good eyesight. Being able to see in great detail up close has helped with my sewing skills and my various jobs in publishing/PR that needed "sharp eyes" for proofreading. And thanks to the long-range vision I have, I don't often have to keep doing the "Stand up, walk two paces forward, squint at approaching bus, walk two paces back, sit because it turns out not to be the bus you're waiting for" dance. I can just lean forward and peek, without squinting, while the bus is still more than 1km away. It comes in especially handy when there are old people nearby who ache from having to stand and sit so many times, since I can tell them to just stay seated until I see their bus coming. So, yup, thank you, God, for my eyes, optic nerve and brain!

Monday, September 08, 2008


Sometimes I think that only a child knows how to run with abandon, for no other reason than that she wants to.

There comes a point when we begin to run only if there's a purpose to it: to get away from something, to reach something before it goes away, to burn calories, to achieve that which will make people clap us on the back and give us medals and flowers.

Will we ever again run for the joy of running itself?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Poetic justice

It had to happen one day.

Ever since I first had a book to call my own, I have been pathological about not opening books too wide so that creases appear down the spine. That is why almost every book on my shelf looks as if it's hardly been touched; the rare creases can mostly be attributed to book-borrowers who didn't understand how very in earnest I was about not bending the spines.

But I knew it. It had to happen. Somewhere, sometime, the Crease To End All Creases would come along and shake my attachment to well-kept, pristinely uncreased book spines.

The very first time I open my brand new DSM-IV-TR, and...

This isn't just a crease, it's a crack. One that formed with an audible ripping noise that echoes through my mind till now.

Told you I was pathological about book spines. And of all the books it had to happen to...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I think I need to learn to stop friends from gushing their approval over movies I haven't watched. It sets up such unrealistic expectations in my mind, which then makes a way for crashing disappointment when I finally get around to watching the movie.

Spoilers and this writer's honest opinion ahead.

This one goes like this: boy meets girl; boy and girl enjoy prolonged relationship that is, from where I'm standing (or lolling in blue bean bag lounge, as the case may be) mostly dull, verbally abusive and sexually promiscuous; boy and girl split up and separately undergo procedure to have all memory of each other erased from their minds; boy and girl meet again, with no clue that they've ever met before, much less yelled profanities at each other in a crowded market. And other endearing little "couple things"; boy and girl fall for each other all over again; and so, pretty much, ends the show.

As you may have guessed, I really hate to hear people swearing, especially when it's people who are supposed to love each other. By the end of the movie, I could not understand why they'd even been sorry to see the relationship end.

On the plus side, it is a very artistic movie with some interesting shots (including some very repugnant ones), and it does make one think: about the gifts that memory offers us and the painful cost often attached to enjoying those gifts; about the subjectiveness of remembering; about how very strange it is to hear Kate Winslet with an American accent and totally buy it.

Would I recommend watching it? Well. All things considered, no, unless you're one of Michelle's film production students, in which case she'll probably have all manner of interesting technical things to point out that will help you make a million as a big deal director before your 30th birthday. Otherwise, go watch Titanic for the umpteenth time instead; it's predictable and you can get sick of Rose "flying, Jack, I'm flyyyiiiiing", but at least it doesn't try so painfully hard to be profound.
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