zip is dead…really this time

It finally happened. Zip, my old, old ISP, is well and truly dead; connections started failing early June and none of the URLs work anymore. Email doesn’t work and no matter what URL variations I use I can no longer reach the old blog. They announced they were killing it off a year or so back and I haven’t been charged since but some things continued to work. No more.

cropped-5278187613_df96b4a56b_b.jpgThankfully I still have a couple of backups of my offline development environment which includes a full copy of the blog and the wayback machine has grabbed a copy too. Sadly, this post of mine from 2010 still needs to be done. Perhaps while film remains on my mind I could at least migrate over all my movie ratings. Or radically, add ratings for the films I’ve seen this year.

New things to do now include updating the email profiles on a couple of my devices to remove zip altogether. That should stop the error messages I get every time I start up. Proving yet again I prefer shiny and pretty over any work of depth, I have instead updated the theme and changed the banner pic :-)

bookish avoidance

I have lists of books to buy, kept in different places: books bookmarked, saved, noted, vaguely recalled, or simply listed. Recommendations from friends online, random stumblings, some p some e, a conversation there, an article, unrelated mentions elsewhere. Lists of books to buy, and some to read. Some are pretty, some are scary, some need to be read.

nicely bound books on a shelfSome years ago, I started blogging lists of books as a way to reduce the rate of purchase. I have a certain addiction to collecting books, their possession, ownership. Books have lined the corridors of my life, physical and mental; I can find it hard to distinguish between book as object and book as reading matter.

Upon seeing a book I liked, in a bookshop, or online, or other places, I forced myself to add it to a list on my phone. Then I would blog on new additions to the list every few weeks. Look upon my almost purchases ye mighty and despair for behold there was nothing as acquisition had been avoided.

The making of lists continues to be effective some of the time. I am buying much less these days though some of what I buy is nicer. I continue to seek nicer editions of my grotty paperbacks. I also look for new things and new authors.

a few things I have listed and managed not to buy include:

Looking at them again for this post, I am tempted by once more…

filmfest 2019

Filmfest is done and dusted for another year. Saw 25 films altogether of which but two were documentaries. Unsurprisingly documentaries aren’t really my thing. I think I had a reasonable festival this year seeing a a bunch of good movies, a few fab ones and a dud or two. In choosing my films I tried to go for stuff I either wouldn’t otherwise see, or were unlikely for a later release. This did mean I missed some good stuff but it was good to push myself into less familiar territory.

No festival is really complete without seeing something too long for a regular cinema release and this year that film, at 7.5 hours (with 2 ten minute intermissions) was Sátántangó, a restored 1994 Hungarian movie. It was long and slow, yet interesting. It played with techniques, particularly around multiple perspectives and jumping around in the timeline. At the same, it spent a lot of time on observational shots, many minutes watching a character, or characters, go about their business. There was a sense of larger metaphors and indeed, the blurb referred to it as an allegory of the decline of Hungarian Communism. I sorta feel I need to read an essay or three to fully appreciate it.

Surprisingly for me, the film that won best picture, Parasite [Sth Korea], was also one of my favourites. I tend to find my choices out of sync with the broader audience and it is rare for my favourites to appear in the top bunch for festival goers. Parasite by Bong Joon-ho, who also did Snowpiercer, had a nice, warm flow which was never going to end well, yet took some surprising twists in narration as it spiralled down toward the end. It mixed genres deftly, and with humour, while remaining consistent in its social critique.

My faves

Other interesting titles

Things I missed and hope to see later

ten years

Realised today that this is the tenth year of #blogjune. Ten Years! Ten years ago, inspired by a post from Bookgrrl, a bunch of library folk, including myself, started blogging every June. Looking at my stats, the first three years were strong after which it slowly died down though perking up a little in 2017. Here’s the annual figures for my blog for the last 10 years:

10 year graph of blog usage

I’m a bit surprised we’re still going though numbers continue to decline. Looking at this year’s effort, I’m currently blogging around once every 2 days on average. I’m happy enough with that and the posts I’m making are sufficiently substantial. Got a few more ideas churning around in my head though filmfest is playing havoc a little with my ability to keep up.

Looking through my wordpress admin, I note that I have over a dozen drafts for posts from previous years. I suspect a few of those could still be used and I have various notes here and there on things to say. I am not lacking for content, just will and mojo.

a few fillums

It’s cold and wet in Sydney which means it must be time for the Sydney film fest. Not sure how many movies I’m seeing this year though starting tonight with a thriller from Michael Winterbottom, The Wedding Guest.

A couple of weeks ago, we went through the programme working out what movies we wanted to see. That was the easy bit. The hard bit was going through the schedule and choosing amongst all the timetable clashes to emerge eventually with a list of films and tickets.

Then the other day, filmfest announced a few more films that were at Cannes including a new flick from Ken Loach. Alas I can’t squeeze it in as I’m already seeing other films at either of the two screening times including a Russian splatter-fest. The Loach at least, should get a release later in the year so I can stick to the splatter this time round.

Splatter and me are sorta weird. I’m not fond of horror and feel faint and queasy at the sight of realistic depictions of surgery and wounds. Somehow I can handle splatter and zombies and even love them. Speaking of zombies, Jim Jarmusch has a zombie movie in fest but alas I couldn’t line up a screening so will wait for its commercial release.

the humble spittoon

For the recent Hunter trip, I volunteered to be the designated driver. In part because I wanted everyone else to relax but also because I wanted to be able to taste everything and appreciate the taste. While getting tipsy can be nice as you continue to imbibe throughout the day, it can cloud your judgment and inhibit your sense of taste. Consequently, the wines tasted at the end of the day always seem amazing and we must buy lots! :-)

small spittoonThis meant that at each winery we went to, I kept out an eye for the nearest spittoon. Curiously, the wikipedia article focuses on the use of spittoons for chewing tobacco, however in Oz at least, they’re usually used for spitting wine into, also called a spit-bucket.

Spittoons come in various shapes and sizes though the large ones felt awkward to use, especially while sitting down. Of course, it was challenging to spit cleanly every time. There was a lot to be said for a small, handheld version with an inward slope for preventing embarrassment.

large spittoonI was mostly successful in taking a sip of wine, chewing it over in my mouth for a while, then spitting it into the handy receptacle. Once I had a couple of sips, I usually tipped the remainder of the tasting glass into the spittoon as well.

Sometimes I’d swallow as some wines change as part of the process eg Chardonnay may taste ok swirling in the mouth but frequently, too frequently, has an icky aftertaste when swallowed. Also, when drinking a really nice wine, it seemed a waste to tip it.

We still bought a lot of wine but I think I’m a little more confident this time of the choices made. Maybe :-)

a trip to the hunter

I recently had a weekend away in the Hunter Valley and was shocked to realise it was my first trip in five years. I used to visit annually and so much has changed: new roundabouts, new buildings going up, feels like there’s more restaurants, some wineries I hadn’t heard of, plus a few wineries under new names.

We did a couple of tastings on Friday, a couple of long member tastings on Saturday as between us we had memberships for a few wineries. Finished off on Sunday with a couple more regular tastings. This trip for me, like most trips, was a mix of old and new and enjoyed wine tastings at Ernest Hill, Tinkler Family, Tulloch, Briar Ridge, Usher Tinkler, and Tamburlaine.

signs summarising annual wine vintages

sign detailing the 2014 wine vintage in the Hunter Valley.A nice feature at Briar Ridge was a wall full of wooden signs which, on closer inspection turned out to be a summary of each year’s vintage. They provided a breakdown of number of litres per wine type (gallons on the early ones), as well as a summary of the vintage, conditions and weather. A few of the wineries talked about 2014 being a great year for Hunter wines and this reflected in the summary too.

I was curious that Usher Tinkler had opened his own winery as I was visiting the Tinkler family vineyard around the time he won Young Winemaker of the Year in 2007. I particularly liked his work at the time with Poole Rock and now with his own winery he seems to be experimenting with various blends, some of which worked rather well.

We managed to buy some wine at all the wineries we visited and I like being able to buy wine directly from the people making it. Interestingly the weather was significantly different outside the Sydney basin; cold enough to wear a jumper and enjoy a wood fire. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to return next year.