Thursday, 28 April 2011

"My Wedding And Other Secrets"

Tonight I went with my wife to see the movie My Wedding And Other Secrets. It has a number of points in common with my life story, starting with "nerdy white guy meets Chinese girl(s) at Auckland University". It was fun watching scenes in Albert Park, Continental Noodle House, and the university Science Building --- exactly where I used to hang out with my Chinese friends. (At least it looked like the science building, but it was dressed up to look like a film school. I'm pretty sure the Auckland uni film school doesn't look like the science building.) It was also fun to spot HP8, the Viaduct, downtown Queen St, and various other Auckland locations.

Although I enjoyed the movie, I was not over-impressed. Like a lot of romantic stories, much of the drama seems to depend on the protagonists being foolish. The dramatic arc of the last section of the movie seems unfathomable. James stakes the whole relationship on insisting Emily "choose him over her family" ... but she already has, because she's confronted her family and they've obtained her parents' permission to marry; his demand is that she move in with him immediately instead of waiting until they're properly married. To me that just seems pointless, petty and self-serving. Partly that's because I'm against sex before marriage, but even aside from that, it doesn't make sense. Plus I don't understand how Emily's mother's opposition to their marriage is motivated or is resolved.

Even more distressing, there is a major error in the Dungeons and Dragons scene. Emily is holding a d4 and announces she'll attack with her dagger, but then the DM tells her off for using the wrong die! But Emily was right, daggers do 1d4 damage!

Lastly, why is it that in movies, nerd girls are always actually gorgeous, just disguised? Is it impossible to cast a woman who's not beautiful, even if you're planning to ugly her up for most of the movie?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Gangly, Bespectacled And Cerebral

Unlimited Magazine ran a profile on me a while back. It's finally come out online.

Maybe I should change the title of my blog!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


I've always been shy. To this day I find it difficult to talk to strangers face-to-face; over the years I've learned to do it reasonably effectively when necessary, but I'm still queasy in an adversarial situation. Large groups also freak me out, even amongst people I know --- two weeks of constant social contact with Mozillians just about exhausted my social energy. At least with technical people I don't have the confidence issues I have with other groups.

And yet, it doesn't seem to bother me getting into conflict situations on-line, when that's necessary. It's probably the Internet making the other person seem less than real. Overall I think that's a horrible feature, but it works for me here I guess.

I'm just thinking about this as I grapple with my fear of having to interact with car mechanics, while I'm not afraid to take on mega-corporations :-).

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


I saw four movies on the plane today. For once they were all good:

  • True Grit (the new one) ... really good genre piece. I love the crisp, precise, snappy dialogue, which you usually only see in pre-1970s films. Great characters. Well worth seeing.
  • Black Swan Disturbing but intriguing. Worth seeing, unless you have kids doing ballet in which case, avoid.
  • Winter's Bone Brilliant! At one level it's a noir-ish thriller, at another level it's just a young girl trying to keep her family together against the odds. It exudes gritty realism (the depressed and depressing countryside reminds me of some areas outside Pittsburgh), and has honest yet sympathetic characters played by astonishing actors. Riveting at every level. See it.
  • The King's Speech Formula drama that follows a well-worn pattern: character with defect seeks professional help, gradually builds trust with professional, relationship punctuated by periodic crises staged for dramatic effect, character overcomes defect. Yawn ... no wonder it won the Oscar. The weakest of the four movies, but I'll still call it "good" because what it does, it does very well, and poking fun at class structures warms the heart even if it's obvious and crowd-pleasing.

None of these movies are better than Toy Story 3 though. Rusell Baillie agrees, and so does Christianity Today.