Anyway, the play last night, Oresteia. I liked it. I'm glad I picked it and I'm glad I went. I enjoyed the walk through the Rocks, I enjoyed sipping wine at the end of the wharf with a glorious view of the harbour and the boats all lit up gliding across dark velvet waters.
And I'm glad I saw the play which offered much to think about, and I'd never really seen any of the classics staged before, or even been allowed to read them (it was all cooking and cleaning at my domestics school) so it was good to finally realise 'so that's where that came from'. I liked the staging, with the violence happening off stage - and all the more unsettling for it, imho, and the lighting, costumes and acting, all grand except for Orestes. He was atrocious. Stick to soaps, son, seriously. So, Orestes ruining the second act notwithstanding, it was a good production.
And I had no idea I was being so Electra, but yeah, no fan of the mother from hell, no. Especially one who killed my father. But enough of that. Let's not get overly Freudian on the old Freudian template. Perhaps that's why I found the violence so shift in my seat confronting. Whatever, I enjoyed it, and it got me out of the house.
Been a lot of getting out of the house of late. It feels so claustrophobic and the opressive mess is beyond depressing. Yes, I should stay and try and do something but the chronic hoarder has had a month unsupervised and I'm just at the throw my hands up in despair phase. And go out, a lot.
Speaking of cluttering up the place with crap, I forgot to mention I also bought (up in the mountains) an old melmac picnic set, missing some pieces, (oh yes, been on ebay already but can only find the green set, darn it) but good enough. It's so ducky. Also bought a pile of vintage vinyl, all from the $5 cheapies bins in this great old, classic down in the basement dimly lit trip over milk crates record shop. To be honest. it was just a treat to flip through lps, the way I (mis)spent so many hours of my youth. Very down on my generation, as you might imagine, with a lot of albums I own (and some I still treasure) assigned trash status, but never mind. Picked up some very ecclectic k-tel compilations because they cracked me up so much, and I figure music from the olden days should be listened to with all the cracks and pops to go with. It's proper, somehow. Anyway, that was fun, too.
And the pink flamingos? Well, out with mother's miserable tat, in with my hilarious and colourful campery on the old display cabinet. Some of my pieces I might have got away with, just, but the flamingos do tip it right over into 50s-60s tat whore, and I don't care. I wuv them lots. Should I be buying my antiques with a "what would John Waters do?" criteria? Most definitely.
The other reason I've been all over the place is because, if I can't have White Collar, and I seem to have every indication that it's not going to be an easy fandom for me, heartbreaking, in fact, I need something else to distract me from the soul crushing misery and tedium that is work. Aside from the whole having the bulk of my job description outsourced to others, there's that co-worker who drives me nuts, well, just by breathing now, really, such is the pressure cooker level of my antipathy. Her latest thing is to leave half chewed biscuits in the communal biscuit tin, and as, being government employees, the bickies are all byo, this is so not on on so many levels. Arrrgh. I need distraction. I need distraction now.
Went across to the park. It was cold and damp and kind of depressing and full of school kids so there was nowhere I could sit without being accused of being a pervert (as any person sans pram is these days). Sigh. And I really wanted to get back into the fic good and proper again, especially as the whole idea of 'oh no, I couldn't possibly' is completely off the table. Oh yeah, anything goes. I may not be able to string Bomer up by the goolies in real life (more's the pity), but there are no such restrictions or niceties about inflicting mayhem on poor little fan fic Neal. Cue manical evil laughter.
This Monday: Yes, a whole bloody week since I've had time to even think of a blog entry. Still, I knew it was going to be one of those weeks (and this week, more of the same). Still shoulda stayed that extra week, though, cause, honestly, the insane jet lag might have helped render it all into bad dreams. Oh well spilt milk and all that.
Anyhoo, the week? Wednesday I was out at the branch office, which was one wretched meeting after another and my hot desk pc was nothing but a desk and a dangling blue network cable (and nobody had even noticed the PC had gone). Still, I did get to spend the morning in a cafe. No wifi though (nobody has even heard of it in these forsaken backlots). My wee pc has even given up checking for wifi. It's so sad.
New York: survival kit
Saturday I spent doing the washing and ironing. That was it. All day, sun up to sun down. I did at least get to catch up on some telly while I was doing the ironing, sorting, folding, etc. Nearly took my pinkie off by attempting to snap open the ironing board with a flourish (no flourishes from now on) and that iron is a non ironing fiend. I want a new one (but I feel uncomfotable replacing it until it carks it). Ended up watching Robin Hood. I have completely lost the plot (not that there was much to begin with) but Toby, oh dear, how am I to take you seriously after this?
Sunday? Watering, hanging out washing (aka giving the birds a second shot), sorting out old papers (some, anyway) and weeding. It's sad to say that only a couple of hours will fill the green bin to overflowing. Sadder still that if I don't get rid of some weeds in the back garden soon I'll need council permission to cut them down. A lot are weedy trees shat in by the birds and they just shoot up, while so called proper 'trees' I bought five years ago remain tiny shrubs. I'm begining to think that weeds are just plants that will grow in my garden, and proper plants are ones that won't, and aren't for the likes of sweaty creatures like me. Nice plants for nice people only, that sort of thing. At least, that's the way I feel. A very tame fig bird is keeping a beady eye on the fig tree, but it's only a tiny wee twiggy thing with no figs so that bird is out of luck. It was very tame though. I worry that it was emotionally attached to some of the weedy branches I was cutting back. Oh well.
Oh, I had the whole flock of corellas in on Saturday morning. Hundreds of them. Bit daunting. More fun was when my regular family of cockatoos stopped by for biscuit treats on Wednesday.
Saw some pretty sunrises and sunsets and enjoyed catching the train. It's something like $30 more expensive these days, but less crowded because of that, so it was nice. Okay, nicer.
Watched Dr Who on Sunday. It was the Vincent one. Oh my. Shamelessly emotionally manipulative, but still, it ticked so many boxes that I really quite loved it and Tony Curran, whom I adore, was a perfect Vincent. One minor quibble: not sure how much art would have been on the walls of the M. d'O. in 2010, as stated explicitly, when I've seen a lot of their swag in Canberra and San Francisco this year. I'm just sayin'. But telling myself it's just a show, and I really loved it, sniggered at the "that's the troble with Impressionists" line and was bemused that several more of my art print fridge magnets have ended up explicitly part of the plot of a favourite tv show. And got really verklempt at the damn. Damn you, you outrageously manipulative telly show.
Also found Leverage on telly. Yay. Timmy! I love that show so much. It was the swweatshop one. Fortunately I've got the S2 dvd so I can catch up, sans ads. Yay.
Oh, and because Himself had to work a four day week last week (the poor dear, and wasn't I just snarled at on the phone on Friday) it was real, real quiet on Saturday morning so I even got a few pages scrawled out. Yes, still working on the fic even though I can feel my interest in White Collar waning just a bit, which is probably wise and sensible.
I actually had a whole blog post written out in my head but I've since forgotten all of it, except some vague notes that Peter finds Neal's quickness exciting and challenging, and something about Peter's essential Gary Cooper style old school uprightness that just works on Neal to an almost unseemly extent. Not that the characters follow the same path as canon. Peter becomes more and more compromised and Neal gets more and more unhinged as stuff happens. Bad stuff. Especially as the gloves are off and twisted ideas I'd shelved, all the 'Oh no, Mr Flibble, we couldn't possibly do that. Who would clean up the mess?' stuff is now back on the table, because hell hath no fury like a woman rescheduled (and it really would have been useful, just to see them, but never mind). Cue evil manical laughter.
Poor little Neal. And he is so the femme. Oh, that's what I was going to say. Usually when I write I try not to assign roles but as the White Collar boys are nothing but assigning, taking, co opting and trangressing roles (crminal/lawman, hero/villain, good guy/bad guy, friend/enemy) there a strong gender bias there that I rarely see in other shows. I dunno where it comes from, but you've got Peter being all Gary Cooper and ex-joke and the sheriff and protector and all that ultra masculine old fashioned hero what it means to be a man stuff. Then there's Neal, primping, preening, eccentric, sensitive, emotional, devious, untrustworthy, crminal, dangerous, sexy, femme fatale Neal. Sometimes it's like they're stuck in a Chandler novel and we all know which one is Bogart. The gender bias is the one role hey never really trangress (Peter's sudden outing as a wine ponce notwithstanding). I'm not sure why, or even if I'm watching it right, but it's just a sense I get from the show.
Further to White Collar, I don't know why they keep wanting Matt to get on Twitter. He won't. For one, I understand that he's trying to work on a writing career for when the pretty fades, which is wise, and Twitter is the most fiendish time waster yet invented by man, as we all know. Secondly, I don't think you'll ever find someone with such a carefully constructed public persona, shall we say, ever volunteer for such an immediate medium as Twitter when one unguarded comment could bring down the whole pack of cards.
That's one of the things I don't like about Matt, that he's a fraud, essentially, playing a fraud, which is a bit of a head trip. Matt Bomer playing Matt Bomer playing Neal Caffrey. It's what he has to do to get on, I get that, really, I do, and it's so bloody heartbreaking. It strikes a rather ruthless and false note though, in what seems like, otherwise, a very nice guy. And jarring false notes bother me. They're like a crack in a mirror. I see small things like that, and they bother me. It's just one of those things you notice, like a warning sign. Or not, whatever, it's his business, in a ruthless business, and he obviously knows how to play the game.
Oh, one other thing, while I'm putting the boot in (and I had a bad night and it's Monday and raining so why not), is that gushing quote from Tim about how Matt is such the coffee aficionado because he knows all these ways to order coffee at Starbucks. Now, out here, nobody would conflate coffee aficionado and Starbucks in the same sentence, at least not without a lot of tittering and smiling down sleeves. Here, Starbucks is considered the worst of the worst, so bad in fact they had to pull out of Australia but for a few stores in the CBD for the tourists, and to say you buy coffee there? Social death, man, seriously. Just not done. So it was such an unintentionally funny (as in laughing at you, not with you) statement to make. Oh dear. How sweet. That's nice Matt. You just carry on, and maybe, one day, when you're all growed up, we'll introduce you to proper Italian coffee or something.
Sorry, it was such a, well, social death in Sydney thing to say (and even worse in Melbourne), breathtakingly so, that I still can't help myself smirking over the very idea of saying such a thing out loud, and in public. That some folks find Starbucks the height of sophistication, well, it's endearing, is what it is.
That said, the girls in the Starbucks round the corner are sweeties and you should have seen the camelia this year - I take their giveway grounds and use them on the garden. The camelia at the gate is a Starbucks aficionado, that's for sure.
And it's not to say I never set foot in a Starbucks while I was in America, either, but it was mainly in a rent your restroom, now, please, style transaction. Especially that day I decided to start of my walk with a nice big pot of tea from my fave (non Starbucks) cafe. Error...error...
Oh my gosh, yes, I think I peed in every Starbucks from Union Square to the Woolworth Building that day, and then some. Btw, did you know there's a Dunkin' Donuts across the road from the FBI building? It amuses me.
Oh, and while we're on local opinions, I was telling a friend in Seattle how alien I felt in Australia, having grown up in the liberal 70s and 80s, now that it's all gone prudish again. She was of the opinion that it was just because I wasn't getting invited to the cool parties any more, but I feel it's more than that. There's a chill wind in some of the legislation coming our way (below) and I haven't even posted articles about the Bill Henson controversy, new art censorship laws ot the closing of nude beaches in Sydney (because such searches aren't net nanny friendly). But you get the idea, I hope.
US concern over Australian internet filter
A return to wowserism in the name of politics
TV's steamy ads may get cold shoulder
Conservative groups push for movie to be banned
Web snooping policy shrouded in secrecy
That's just a quick round up of recent news, none of it good. I feel like a knees up Elizabethan suddenly under the frowning scutiny of puritans. Yikes. I always knew I'd end up burnt at the stake.
Speaking of cultural and languages differences, well, I didn't have too many problems, except the woman in that deli who couldn't understand me no matter how many times I asked for a bottle of water until, as a queue formed out the door, her co-worker went nuts and screamed "all she wants is a bottle of water!". Don't know what was up with that.
I was also getting a lot of cheesburgers because I asked for a 'hamburger, please'. I know, but I was on a really, really tight budget and it was days before I found a place that sold wee takeaway salads. And whatever happened to that obesssessive dressing on the side thing that used to so bemuse me. Every salad I ordered came out as some sort of blancmange of mayonaise (or some weird orange allegedly Mexican dressing, on a caesar salad no less) with a few bits of grated vegetation on top as bouquet garni. I was safer sticking to burgers.
Speaking of which. I am still quivering with grief and longing at being parted from the ShakeShack in Madison Square Park. That became an evening treat for me if I was walking back from downtown, is it (the bottomy bit of Manhatten island, anyway)? Possibly because it was the first cheeseburger and chocolate malt shake I'd had since 1980 so it hit the happy zone fairly hard, and, oh my, yes. I tell ya, look no further for proof of Neal and Moz's utter amorality and disregard for all niceties than their shameful, selfish taking up of valuable ShakeShack real easte for all day surveillance. Saving Peter's career? Piffle, do it from a park bench, sheesh.
Anyway, cultural differences. Americans tend not to say please or thank you as a matter of course, so one quickly learns to judge my tone of voice and mannerisms as to whether they're really being rude or not, and, for the most part, I found Americans lovely, and, despite the rep, New Yorkers the nicest and most helpful and chatty of the lot. I just loved being extra special polite, just to see them smile. Not that Australians are polite, and my use of social nicietes tends to be very pro forma prefix and suffixes, so much so that I think a few dear Americans might have heard, once of twice and usually only in transit at airports, stressful places, phrases like "Excuse me but will you please move out of the bloody way, thank you." Heh.
Oh, and chatty Americans. I wasn't there long enough to get over the way they'll just march right up to you and say something. Complete strangers, no less. And usually it was something nice, like cool t-shirt, or cool boots. That was the other weird thing. I'm so used to being verbally and even physically abused for being so uncool down here that I guess the laws of physics decree that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction, but for whatever reason, I was weirdly and inexplicably cool in America. My t-shirts were cool, my hat was cool, my coat was cool, my boots were cool, my bag (the stickers survived!) was cool, my choice of hotel, books, music, it was all cool. Either Americans get me, find me non threatening or their standards are really, really slipping.
The hotel? The Hotel Bijou in San Francisco. Amazing place. You must stay there. It's so sweet, all art deco with a wee little theatre in the lobby, with velvet curtains and everything, that screens San Francisco themed films every night (like The Birds). The area can get a little exciting at night, but it doesn't matter when you're tucked up in the old fashioned seat with a hot chocolate. Staff brilliantly friendly. I knew I was onto a good 'un when I went to the info place and asked for a map and the guy kinda lit up when I said the name of my hotel, instead of the usual frown, pursing of lips and muttering and instructions to run six blocks past the burning cars, that sort of thing. Oh yeah, like a block from the BART and the cable cars. Perfection.
The hat? Well, it was hot in New York. Blistering (literally) hot and of course I'd left my cloth hat in my work bag, so lobster girl desperately needed a hat. Alas, there were only three choices available (and I went on a very winding walking tour through Chinatown as recommended by my way cool map book so trust me, I checked): the serial killer truckie baseball cap, the Hyacinth Bucket (or something like one of Bertie Wooster's formidable Aunts would wear to a wedding) or the Leonard Teale. I looked and looked and there was nothing else, and sucumbing to heat stroke, I finally gave in. Only I'm not cool enough to own a hat Leonard Teale might have worn. George Mallaby yes, but never Leonard. Hence it became George (even though it wasn't brown). Any resemblence to hats worn by other persons is a complete coincidence and a shameful suggestion.
I became very attached to George as we wandered about, sliding it back and up and down and flipping it on and off as required. Somehow I managed to get George home (I was going to abandon George, but I just couldn't). Alas, he sits abandoned atop all the rest of my hats, because to wear a hat like that here, well, it'd mark you out as a bit of a ponce, to be honest.
Oh, that was the other thing. I was so caught out one day, after a smashing Thai feed, waiting for the good old Number Eight bus (alight at the pink elephant) I spotted a mini zoom past. "Oh, a mini," I say, remembering how other American friends were so thrilled to see a mini because they were meant to be rare in America. Oh, I was informed, lots of people drive them on Capitol Hill. "Of course they do," says I, in my best Jeremy Clarkson, which my friend immediately spots as snide and British and demands to know what I meant by that. Well, I stammer...oh, well, how does one explain it, that I found Capitol Hill very, very Newtown, very Surry Hills, very inner city, very, well, black glasses wearing, black turtlenecked, French book reading plonkers, basically (not that I can talk re glasses). It just slipped out, I swear, but yes, I do have an two shoulders worth of chips from all the snide remarks sledged my way from inner city types daily, so yeah, it just slipped out. Jezza would have been proud, though. Because my points still stands - grin.
Hmm, what else? Oh the language differences, you know, innocent word in American equals the worst kind of flith in Australian and vice versa. Oh the hilarity. And the size and price of food. When travelling, and no hotel room equipped with a bar fridge, it became annoying to have to pay's a week's wages for a week's worth of wood in a single serving and just waste so much. Morally wrong, if nothing else. Never mind my shock and awe when I stepped off the plane and ordered a sweet tea in Maccas and instead of it arriving in an Australian sized cup it came out in a bucket that was three times the capacity of my teapot, and thus nine times the capacity of my bladder (and that wasn't going to be a problem with another six hours of flying to go, oh no).
Oh yeah, and the unhappy circumstance of having to buy food on the plane and only being able to pay with an American credit card, which I didn't have. Made that Mars bar last all night. Apparently the Yanks operate on their own special credit card system, ditto the phone system (my phone would only text on the East Coast) so never the twain, etc, etc. Lots of me having to pay by cash, which is rough when most places in America now only accept American credit cards. A touch tourist unfriendly (and that's after being searched, photographed and fingerprinted).
No wonder I could just go up the Empire State Building any time I wanted. I went up at night, twice. I'd just sit there, watching it through my hotel window, and before I knoew it I'd have my boots back on. Straight up, no queues, only a couple of liftloads up at the top (always, always pushy Italians or lippy Brits). The no queues bit was surreal, cause I remember the last time I tried to get up it. It was like camp out three days before and hope for the best. Freaky.
Also, probably why I'd never gone up at night before. Unfucking believable. Best view ever (and I've been up a lot of towers, oo-er, so I know something about views). So glad I went up. It reminded me of a book I used to adore as a child, about New York at night, and suddenly it all came back to me, finally, I was seeing what I'd wanted to see as a wee tiny tot. Magic. Proper view, that. Not at all like the view from the hill I used to have to settle for.
Oh, before I forget, I watched #9 and #10 of Justified (which just about brings me up to the episode I saw SF) and I must agree with a friend, I really, really prefer the stand alone episodes that show Raylan at his best and most deadly cool rather than the arc stories where he turns into a pathetic mess up (the same criticism can also be levelled at White Collar. Don't get me started on how much I loathe their arc episodes, for the same reasons, and worse, as they always have Peter and Neal working against each other, but I digress). I also find Boyd weaselly, but I suppose he's supposed to be, and at least it can be said that Raylan hangs up his brain as much as the girls do in the arc episodes, but still. I can't get over how much I love this show, how cool Mr Olyphant is, and how I squal over the snarky one liners.
Favourite moments (it'll have to be moments as I usually watched several episodes at once at 2am while under the groggy influence of jetlag so they're all mushed up in my head) include the way the bar keep just eyeballs the business card when Raylan returns for his hat after a bar brawl, the requisitioning of the fried chicken, the gay elf reference (screamed at that, as we have a dubiously treasured biscuit tin with that gay elf on it, mainly because he is, like, so gay, and up until now, nobody had ever mentioned it before), the comment about not being able to stop staring at Raylan's nipples and, oh, so many other one liners that have me snorting tea in a most dangerous fashion. So there's that, and the fact that Mr Olyphant just exudes sex everytime he struts into view.
The rednecks are a touch confronting, but only because they're so accurately drawn. Those two guys in the bar, the arseholes Raylan didn't order with his whisky? I have to but up with guys like that on the bus, for hours, every morning and every night. So when Raylan called them on it, even though he took a beating, my hero (flutter flutter).
Justified is cool. That is all. But my, she says, by way of an aside, they sure seem to be a nexus for mafia, cartels, hillbillies and the like. Who knew Kentucky was such a hotbed, eh?
As an aside, Australian hip hop. It still cracks me up. No whores or guns or violence, it's all so sweet, rhapsodising about fish and chip shops (ah, scallops!), summer concerts, crushing on a girl in a cafe, the house burning down and the nose bleed section. It's all so Banjo Patterson bush poetry. It's so...Australian. It's so delightfully sappy.
There's your cultural difference, right there.
What else? Paper money that all looks the same (a friend thought it was quaint that I sorted by presidents), that bloody sales tax so you can never have the right money and things are always way, way more by the time you've fronted the cashier so there goes your carefully considered budget.
Plus you end up with bags and bags of coins - most of which I used up in that fabulous and freaky arcade machine museum in San Francisco, down by Fisherman's Wharf. It is full to the brim of insane and freaky 19th and 20th machines, some hilariously elaborate and others just plain freaky and creepy and it was so straight out of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, you no idea how much. I loved every minute of it and I certainly got my money's worth. I seriously want to go back there and play some of the machines I had to leave behind. Some lovely disaster porn with several 1906 earthquake sterescopes in full working order. Also good old fashioned porn ones, but I ran out of coins, so I never will know what belly dancers do on their days off.
And can I see the sign for Fisherman's wharf without hearing The Streets of San Francisco theme music? No, I cannot.
Okay, that's enough of a post for today. Clearly this is turning into a travel diary of sorts, but it's all over the place and thematic rather than chronological. Sorry about that, but I'm sure you can cope. You's stuck with me this far...
Elephant Car Wash
The Frick Collection
De Young readies for Impressionist masterworks
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Jeffrey Donovan, Matt Bomer and Mark Feuerstein The Boys of Summer
Behind the Scenes with USA Network's Boys of Summer
Matt Bomer joins cast of White Collar at Paley Center
the pics w/Matt from the TV Guide 'Boys of Summer' photoshoot bts....
Here it is, folks this weeks celebrity shot
TV Guide Magazine Celebrates Its First Power List And Upcoming 3,000th Issue
TV Guide Celebrates "The Power List" And 3,000th Issue
TV Guide Magazine Celebrates Its First Power List And Upcoming 3,000th Issue
TV Guide Magazine Celebrates Its First Power List And Upcoming 3,000th Issue
hi-res scans of the 'Guilty Pleasures' issue of TV Guide
Season Two Promo Pics
Jeffrey Donovan, Matt Bomer and Mark Feuerstein ? The Boys of Summer
Matt Bomer: TV Guide Cover with USA Stars!
High-flyin' USA Network mounts really cool Emmy campaign
White Collar Set Visit: My Day with the White Collar Characters
Burn Notice! White Collar! Royal Pains! The Boys of Summer!
Behind the Scenes with USA Network's Boys of Summer
'White Collar' Season 2 Premiere Photos
TV Guide photoshoot bts - screencaps....
Screencaps from the "Boys of Summer" video
larger pics of Matt at the TV Guide celebration....
other pics from THR
EMMYS: USA Holds Ice Cream Voter Drive
Picspam: Peter Burke, White Collar
Jeffrey Donovan, Matt Bomer and Mark Feuerstein The Boys of Summer
'White Collar' Season One On DVD July 13th
White Collar Comes Clean The Paley Center Event PART II
'White Collar' Cast: Matt Bomer's Always Singing On Set
Batman & Robin didn't kill my career, says Chris O'Donnell
To act in 'Justified,' Timothy Olyphant climbs inside Elmore Leonard's head
Exclusive: Denmark's Finest, Mads Mikkelsen
The boys of USA cover TV Guide Magazine!
Import This! Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising (DVD)
VIDEO: Spoiler Alert! Leverage Stars Reveal Season 3 Secrets
Sergeant/Inspector Lewis Appreciation Week
I'm done explaining to people why fanfic is okay
Anti Fanfic Bingo Card
The Truth About Bloody Sunday
Whale poo fights climate change: study
TVGuide.com's In Focus: Timothy Hutton's Big Breakthroughs
"Jonah Hex" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals
"Jonah Hex" Los Angeles Premiere - Red Carpet
Warner Bros. Pictures Los Angeles Screening of "Jonah Hex"
Doctor Who writer Moffatt rejects Fry's 'British TV' criticism