Geek chick

Monday, 10 September, 2007

Sorry for the extended silence. I've been deliberately starving the internet beast to devote time to other pursuits. (But you've probably noticed I made a few cosmetic changes to this blog, including indenting for subsequent paragraphs [just like books!], right and left justification, and 1.25 em line spacing. I'm not sure if I can be bothered going back and fixing all the old entries though.) Last week was the mad rush (well, not that mad, really!) to get the October Briefing done (and there's some excellent articles in there by Ben Underwood, Ben Pfahlert and Al Stewart on the subject of mammon [‘mammon’ meaning worldly wealth and possessions, not just money]), Ben and I attended the New College Lectures with Professor Oliver O'Donovan (well, I attended on the first evening and nodded off in the middle of it. How ironic to have to be woken up in the middle of a lecture on ‘Waking’!), I worked from home on Wednesday because of APEC and because I was behind (which means I'm now halfway through the Guidebook for Life on Faith!), and I finished off my encounter with Aeon Flux with the movie which I watched with Judith for company. (I now understand Paul Byrnes's SMH review a lot better [that's the review that made me want to watch in the first place] and he's right:

In short, a cryptic, non-linear, mysterious and original piece has been made comprehensible, linear and conventional for a mass audience, largely by altering what made it notable in the first place. No wonder Chung says, in the same interview, that the movie is “a travesty”.

(I will add this entry to my ongoing fascination with adaptations. However, I did not completely hate the film. It had some terrible scripting problems—it started out well but then tended to sag towards the end—but the design work is just beautiful. It amazed me that so much of their location work was shot in Berlin because they made the city of Bregna look so elegant and almost otherworldly—as place where you'd actually want to live [if it weren't so oppressive and stringently government-controlled].

(An aside: the non-linear incomprehensibility of Aeon Flux really messed with my head. I appreciated Peter Chung saying in the series special features that he made them like that because he knew they would be aired repeatedly on MTV, so the ‘open loops’ [to steal a phrase from GTD] would compel viewers to watch them repeatedly. It certainly made the series interesting and even refreshing to watch because you couldn't predict what would happen. But it also made me think of the whole nature of narrative—how certain shapes generate satisfaction with stories [beginning, middle, end ... problem, transition, resolution ... or, in the case of The Prestige, the pledge, the turn and the prestige]. The narrative shape of the Bible is an interesting case: we start with Eden, Eden is lost and the rest of the Bible progresses towards a sort of Eden regained—only it's heaven. Good triumphs over evil, enemies are vanquished, and the bride [the Church] married the groom [Christ]. It's the stuff of fairy tales [meaning their narrative shape, not that it's fiction]. But does the narrative shape of the Bible have implications for our storytelling [i.e. anti-Aeon Flux and a little more Hollywood]? Should it?)

Friday, despite being the APEC holiday, was still filled with work but it was rather fun. (I know I am displaying my nerdishness/geeky-ness here.) Ben worked on the new Briefing site and, apart from going out to buy Hans a belated Father's Day present (I meant to walk to Leichhardt but of course, as soon as I stepped out the door, it started raining so I went back and got the car), I helped him with it. The two different search functions have annoyed me for a while, but after Friday, we were able to synthesise them. On the new site, you'll be able to search for past Briefing articles as always, but if they do exist online (and a number of them do—I've spent the weekend trawling through the archives and converting the old web extras over—cleaning up their HTML and putting them into the database), you'll be able to click on them and view them in full text. Joy of joys!

Friday night Cameron and Lara invited everyone from church over for dinner. Of course, not everyone from church could make it, but those who did have a very nice night together.

Saturday Ben went out for breakfast to plan his high school reunion with friends while I stayed home, wrapped presents and kept working on the new Briefing site. We went to lunch with the Beilharzs and very foolishly I had brought the wrong present for Cathy (which was a shame because I'd been looking forward to giving this to her for ages). We watched The Prestige together in the afternoon and once again I had to admire Christopher Nolan's brilliance.

In the evening, we had planned to go out for dinner and a movie (Once, which stars the lead singer from The Frames), but ended up joining the video store down the road, hiring out The Illusionist (which is certainly not as good as The Prestige and is nowhere near as interesting), and watching that and the week's television. (That Law & Order episode about reality television was interesting, wasn't it!)

And Sunday was filled with laundry, more Briefing work, band practice and church.

Posted in: Writing

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