Archive for February, 2013

February 21, 2013

Tropfest Review: Great Day [SPOILERS]

Tropfest, the worlds largest short film festival, has long been one of my favourite events of the year. This year I bring you a review of all 16 finalist films. If you reside in Australia, you can view all the films on the Sydney Morning Herald website, or watch the all the proceedings via SBS On Demand. Outside of Australia you can view the films on the Tropfest Youtube channel.

GREAT DAY

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Great Day is allegedly the true retelling of a ‘little mans’ perfect day, which comes to a climax as he dishes out some ‘justice’ unto some homophobic hooligans.

The tale is framed by the man telling the story over a beer at a bar, which seems appropriate since the experience feels like an awkward coworker, who doesn’t quite understand what makes an anecdote interesting, rambling about their weekend at Friday night drinks. He talks us through a reenactment of his day in a light conversation way, providing a voice for the other characters in the story.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually quite liked the technique. The actor was just cute and interesting enough to pull off the way it was told, at it was a nice way to inject some unique stylisation into an otherwise relatively bland short film. Although in some moments he did go on a bit (you got an awesome milkshake – we get it!).

One technique that confused and frustrated me (perhaps because I missed some apparent Clockwork Orange references I’m told were present) was the “dramatisation’ of the moment he threw his milkshake at the bullies. Isn’t the whole film a ‘dramatisation’ of the story? They chose to do this part of the scene in a studio, in front of some curtains instead of on the street where the rest of the scene takes place. The only reason I could think of is so that the BMW the ruffians were driving didn’t get covered in milkshake (which is a total cop out).

But the main reason that this film simply missed for me is the suggestion that he achieved some kind of ‘justice’ by throwing a milkshake at some bullies. Firstly, he’s not convincingly the ‘little man’. He says that the story is a win for the guy who gets ‘shit on all the time’, but there is no evidence that he is treated badly day-to-day. He makes enough dough to live out of home, parties with friends on weekends, takes home pretty girls and is likeable enough to be buddies with the local corner-store owner. He’s exactly the kind of cute, ‘awkward’, nerdy guy that is totally chic at the moment.

Secondly, it seems the filmmakers were trying to achieve a message about homophobia but there is no real lesson to be seen. He throws a milkshake in some thugs faces and then runs away. He doesn’t even offer some witty quip to point out the wickedness of their ways – it’s just aggression in response to provocation (which is probably what the hoodlums wanted). The bullies are depicted far too lame and stupid for anyone to admit recognising themselves in them, and the chances of those thugs (or any bullies watching) taking a hard look at themselves and deciding that they should change their ways and their prejudices is very unlikely. It’s more plausible that the incident would have provoked them, and finding the storyteller gone, they’d seek out other weedy nerdling to take their aggression out on.

While most of the film has a nice cutesy styling to it and the lead character is likeable and interesting the conclusion of the film fell completely flat for me. I give it 2/5 stars.

February 13, 2013

Daily Prompt: All About Me | Hellcat Origins

Today’s Daily Prompt asked bloggers to explain why they chose their blog’s title, and what it means to means. 

Although I’ve only been posting for a short time, the search for the name of my blog started quite some time ago. I didn’t have a theme for what I would write about, I just intended post anything; from anecdotes, to reviews and opinion pieces, to works of fiction. It’s just a place to practice writing in all it’s forms. I really had no idea where to start looking for a name. To begin with I just looked at the things around me, and these were added to my shortlist:

  • Checkered Trunk: inspired by the blue elephant on my mug of tea and the checkered pattern on a calendar in my office.
  • Butterfly Mountain/Mountain Butterfly: inspired by the dress I was wearing, which has a butterfly pattern on it, but in my sleepiness I imagined the butterflies to be snow-capped mountains.

I tried to think of something that described me, but that proved difficult. There was nothing iconic that I really identified with. In my early high school days I considered myself a bit of an odd ball, and I used to wear one of those multi-coloured hats with a propeller on top that slack-jawed kids holding ice creams wear in movies. So I considered for a time calling my blog “Propeller-Hat Girl Grown Up” based on my nickname from the time. But I’d moved on from that identity, and for the most part the people I knew then, so it didn’t really feel like me any more.

I really like wordplay and especially anagrams, so I considered using one of my favourite anagrams “Dynamo Monday”, but I felt that I would feel obligated to post on Mondays and only Mondays. ‘Dynamo’ also conjured up various connotations in my mind, and I’m just not sure I’m ‘electrifying’ enough for a title like that.

This thought got me onto the path of anagrams. I started to explore anagrams of my name (both with and without my middle name), which is how I found “Miry Mosey’s Hellcat”. Some of the rejected short-listed names included:

  • Systemic Holler
  • Most Silly Cheer
  • Comely Slithers (what a combination, huh? So sexual and sleazy),
  • Lily Rot Schemes (for some unknown reason I really like the sound of this one, although it does come across more sinister than I consider myself to be)
  • Chilly Somerset (kind of sounds like a hideous suburban estate, don’t you think?).

But eventually I came to setting on “Miry Mosey’s Hellcat” mostly because I like the sound of it. I was also looking to move on from my previous online alias, which had been “somethingbetterthanmylastidea” (or “somethingbetter” for short) since I was about 9 years old. “Miry Mosey” and/or “Miriam Mosey” had a nice sound to it, I think it suits me and I checked that the username MiryMosey was available on the vast majority of websites I was likely to use (Twitter, Gmail, Tumblr, etc). I’m not a huge fan of my “christian” name anyway, so I liked that is sounds ‘real’ enough that I could use that alias if I am ever published as well.

Eventually I intend to adopt a cat, so perhaps at some stage the “hellcat” part of the title will have more significance, but for now it just has a fun ring to it.

February 12, 2013

Sink or Swim: My N00b Swim Training Plan

This year, it has become necessary for me to give up my gym membership. Why? In short, I’m broke. But instead of lamenting my loss I’m going to look at this as an opportunity to learn. In the last 5 months of 2012 I managed to loose about 8 kilos by watching what I eat and exercising, and I learned so much about how to keep myself motivated, how to push myself and my about what I can achieve. Now I have the added challenge of getting off my butt and moving without a class or instructor to guide or challenge me.

Last month we moved into a new apartment complex which it has a pool, so I’ve decided that swimming should be incorporated into my new fitness regime.

I’m a really terrible swimmer. We had to attend swimming classes in primary school but I never learned how. In the first swim class each they year they would assess your swimming skill. This would usually involve some token tests, like blowing bubbles or floating on your back, followed by each student attempting a lap of the pool (which seemed to be the only part they really considered). Since I hadn’t learned to swim yet I would keep my head above the water and ‘doggy-paddle’ my way slowly from one end to the other. Every year I was put into the lowest level swimming group.

In this group, the lessons involved developing the ‘basics of swimming’ which included treading water, blowing bubbles, floating and kicking while holding onto the side of the pool. All of these things I mastered easily (I was especially good at floating – I think the extra flab made me more buoyant), but even then I was never taught the strokes, let alone given pointers on how to improve on them. Every year I would once again doggy-paddle my way across the pool, be placed in the lowest group, and not learn to swim properly before the whole humiliating saga started all over again. It seemed ludicrous that the only students who got real swimming lessons at school were the ones who took lessons out side of school.

One school holidays my grandmother found out I didn’t know how to swim properly, and took it upon herself to teach me. I remember being shocked to see so much of my ultra-conservative, apple-shaped grandma in her polka dot ‘togs’ and floral swim cap. My grandparents lived in a different city to me, so she only had a week or two to teach me. It was in that short time that I learned all of my current swimming skills. I never practiced much after that, so it’s probably been about 10 years since I’ve attempted any “proper” swimming.

I searched for a beginners swimming plan, but unfortunately other people’s idea of ‘beginners’ is a little too advanced for me. In fact, I found a blog post by someone else who had the same problem, and even THEIR beginners swim plan is beyond my level. The best of plans I found assume that you can swim about 50 mitres relatively comfortably. The pool in our building is about 15 mitres long, and I can push through two laps before needing to take a break.

So I decided to make up my own swim plan, which I will start next week. I’ve decided on the first six weeks of workouts. I will repeat each workout three times a week, and I’m hoping to either jog or cycle on the alternating days. This is my current swim plan:

Note: Each lap is approximately 15 mitres.

Week 1
Warm up – 1 lap
Round 1 – 2 laps
Round 2 – 2 laps
Round 3 – 2 laps
Round 4 – 2 laps
Cool down – 1 lap

1 minute rest between rounds

Week 2
Warm up – 1 lap
Round 1 – 2 laps
Round 2 – 3 laps
Round 3 – 2 laps
Round 4 – 3 laps
Cool down – 1 lap

1 minute rest between rounds

Week 3
Warm up – 1 lap
Round 1 – 3 laps
Round 2 – 3 laps
Round 3 – 3 laps
Round 4 – 3 laps
Cool down – 1 lap

45 second rest between rounds

Week 4
Warm up – 2 lap
Round 1 – 3 laps
Round 2 – 3 laps
Round 3 – 4 laps
Round 4 – 3 laps
Cool down – 2 lap

30 second rest between rounds

Week 5
Warm up – 2 lap
Round 1 – 3 laps
Round 2 – 4 laps
Round 3 – 4 laps
Round 4 – 3 laps
Cool down – 2 lap

30 second rest between rounds

Week 6
Warm up – 2 lap
Round 1 – 4 laps
Round 2 – 4 laps
Round 3 – 4 laps
Round 4 – 4 laps
Cool down – 2 lap

30 second rest between rounds.

I’ve never written my own training plan before, so any feedback on my first six-week plan would not go astray. Otherwise, I’ll try to post updates on how it goes, and review the plan at the end of six weeks.

Wish me luck.

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