Monthly Archives: January 2009

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Mood: Inspired

My movie reviews dropped off at the end of last year, mainly due to my sheer laziness. Then there was that whole "got made redundant" thing, and then there was that whole "had to have some hip surgery" thing.

My last review was for WALL•E, which we saw way back in October last year. In that review, I noted that we saw Journey to the Centre of the Earth in 3D after WALL•E. I remembered that movie being fun – I love Brendan Fraser and seeing the movie in 3D was fun, although the extra costs they slugged us for the 3D experience was something I’m unlikely to want to revisit again any time soon.

I can’t remember if we saw another movie between Journey and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. And again not sure whether we saw something between Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Bedtime Stories. In any case, both were good and both were seen with J and M.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa had a lot of catchy tunes and was fun enough to keep everyone entertained. Bedtime Stories was a nice little flick as well – I enjoyed Adam Sandler playing an almost straight character. But at 99 minutes, it was a little bit long for an almost 4 year old, who in the final 10 minutes of the movie very loudly asked Daddy "Can we go now? I don’t think I can sit here any more."

Somewhere in the haze, I recall seeing the new James Bond flick Quantum of Solace. I loved that movie – it was Bond at his brooding best. Loved the action. Loved the cinematography. Thought Daniel Craig was fab.

J and I resumed our Tuesday Movies routine this week with Slumdog Millionaire. Below is the synopsis written by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love.

This has to be one of the best movies I have ever seen. I will openly admit that I cried in this movie. Not just the polite sniffle as tears gentle cascade down my face – the all encompassing, body shaking, ragged breathing, loudly wailing kind of crying. From about half way through the movie. Yes, it was a joy to be seated next to me that night.

One of the truly amazing things about this movie is the steeliness of Jamal’s character and resolve. Life did not exactly deal him a fair hand, and every time he was kicked and stomped to the ground, he would pick himself up and dust himself off and try to make the most (if not a better situation) out of it. It was with a sense of triumph that I watched Jamal face adversity upon adversity, and still remain a fairly grounded, mostly sane young man who never lost sight of his ultimate prize.

I loved the relationship between Jamal and Salim. Although Salim did not always make the best choices, he always had Jamal’s best interest at heart. Salim was a constant guide and leader and protector for Jamal throughout their youth, and even after a period of estrangement, Salim returned to his role as protector by way of apology.

The power of first love was beautifully illustrated by Jamal and Latika. Jamal’s devotion to Latika knew no bounds, and his relentless efforts to be with his one true love deserved gold medals.

Jamal was played by three very talented individuals – Dev Patel as the adult Jamal, Tanay Hemant Chheda as the adolescent Jamal and Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as the child Jamal. All were completely utterly brilliant.

Salim was also portrayed by three talented actors – Madhur Mittal as the adult Salim, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala as the adolescent Salim and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail as the child Salim. The camaraderie and the closeness that existed between the pairs of actors throughout the three stages of the brothers’ lives was easy and totally believable.

Latika was very much a supporting character, but a pivotal character nevertheless. The three actresses who gave Latika life were Freida Pinto (the adult Latika was luminously beautiful on screen), Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar and Rubiana Ali as adolescent and child Latika respectively.

Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan played key roles in the film as the host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and the Police Inspector interrogating Jamal throughout the film respectively.

Rating:

This year, I’m going to play the Bacon numbers game only. Most of the cast has a Bacon number of 2, as Kevin Bacon was in New York, I Love You with Irrfan Khan. Nevertheless, the Bacon numbers for the main cast members are below.

Dev Patel has a Bacon number of 2.
* Dev Patel was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Madhur Mittal has a Bacon number of 2.
* Madhur Mittal was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Freida Pinto has a Bacon number of 2.
* Freida Pinto was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Irrfan Khan has a Bacon number of 1.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Anil Kapoor (I) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Anil Kapoor (I) was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

We are due to see Choke next Tuesday at the Moonlight Cinema. I will definitely try to put up a review as soon as I’ve formed an opinion.

Stairway to Heaven or Highway to Hell???

Mood: Speechless

And they say Chinese women can’t drive!

HOLY SKODA! DRIVER CRASHES INTO CHURCH ROOF
Article from: The Daily Telegraph
January 27, 2009 09:40am

A MOTORIST missed a bend in the road, broke through a barrier and hurtled up a bank, crash-landing on a church.

The bank acted like a springboard, propelling the black Skoda about 35 metres forward and straight into the church’s roof frame, where it remained wedged 7 metres off the ground.

"We’ve never ever had a case of a car landing in a church before," said Frank Fischer, a spokesman for Chemnitz police in the German state of Saxony.

The 23-year-old driver suffered serious injuries. The damage to the car, which was extracted from the roof by a crane, amounts to about 10,000 euros police said. The cost of damage to the church has not yet been estimated.

Police said speed was a possible cause for the accident, which happened late on Sunday.

More photos below.





SHHH! We’re Hunting Jobs!

Mood: Job Hunting

Today is Day 4 of my search for a new job. And I’m over it already.

Back in early December last year, I was made redundant from a company into which I had poured the last 4 years of my life. The redundancy was a bit of shock, but truth be told I was getting itchy feet anyway. I had served my time and it really was time to move on.

The only thing that stood between me resigning from the company and getting a new job prior to December was my complacency. I was happy enough with the company and was fairly content with my job, which had long ago stopped being challenging for me. The division in which I belonged had stopped winning projects, and with work drying up faster than a drop of water on a hot footpath, the decision was made to downsize their operations.

The parting was to be amicable – I was assured and reassured that I had done nothing wrong and the redundancy was in no way reflective of my hard work over the years. Very simply, the company was struggling, and the senior execs made the decision to cut staff.

I was given an acceptable redundancy package, although it is interesting to note from some who have heard about my plight that more have been paid to ex-staff leaving on bad terms. Never mind. It was blessing in disguise – I was able to have a breather and focus on my surgery, and this really was what I needed in order to get myself further in my career.

In any case, the company cut over 30 staff from their 200 total during the month of December, with cuts impacting all divisions and offices across the board. And this was supposedly the first round of redundancies.

Initially, I was worried about finding another job. After all, it had been over 4 years since my last job interview, and my CV looked like a school child had cut-and-pasted the whole thing together. But my concerns were allayed within the first week of my unexpected unemployment, when I was contacted by an old client telling me he had the perfect job for me and he was only interested in me.

We met up for a coffee and a chat, and he all but gave me the job right on the spot. It was perfect. All that was needed was his boss’s signature on the dotted line and I’d start in late January.

Unfortunately, his new boss had other ideas. The new guy had only been in the job a fortnight by this point and was still getting his head around the corporate structure as well as his new portfolio of work. So negotiations came to a grinding halt for the time being.

My old client told me that things may change in late January, given that hopefully by then, the new guy will have had enough time to understand everything. I told him I’d contact them again in late January / early February to see how things are travelling. I’m not holding my breath.

So, on Monday this week, I started looking for a job in earnest. There is so much work out there!!! After hours of viewing, I’ve come to the conclusion that my skills are half way between the really great jobs and the fairly junior jobs, but that hasn’t stopped me from applying for quite a few jobs already. My CV is looking a lot better than it did – I’ve been editing along the way to include more things, things that I had forgotten to include in the past. Fingers crossed something comes off soon – this whole exercise is exhausting!

Hip Update

Mood: Glad

It’s been a week since I had my hip surgery. I’m glad to report that I’m definitely on the road to a full recovery.

Last Friday, bright and early, J took me to The Mater for my surgery. We were told to arrive by 6.45am, and by the time we arrived, several other patients were also there waiting to be admitted. The admission part was easy – they asked a few questions, printed off a few things, got me to sign a couple of things and then took me to my bed. I was only suppose to be in for the day, but as Day Surgery was closed, I was admitted to a ward.

After helping me to settle in, J left to go to work with a promise to be back later in the day. I nervously waited to be attended to. Gargon the nurse came and took my blood pressure, and then I was visited by Dr Egan the anaesthetist, who told me to relax as I looked very nervous. Most of the next few hours were fairly uneventful. I had the pleasure of showering with the special scrub and then got into my beautiful backless blue gown – so sexy.

And I waited, nervously.

In the meantime, I chatted on and off with my roommate for the day, Phyllis who had had a hip replacement. She was in her 60s, from Wollongong, mother of 6 who had had 2 knee replacements already – a regular bionic woman. Phyllis was easy to chat with and our banter helped to keep my mind off the impending operation.

Around 10am, I was finally being prepped for my surgery. Noel the orderly took me for the short trip to the theatre, where I had to answer more questions before they placed the IV cannula. They wheeled me into another area where I waited some more. Dr O’Sullivan popped out of the theatre and had a quick 5 second chat with me before he disappeared. The chat did very little to make me less nervous, so a few tears were had at this time.

Thankfully, a few minutes later, Dr Cross popped out of the same theatre and had a long chat with me. He stayed for about 10 minutes, making sure I understood everything and answering all of my questions. Turned out I was having a bigger surgery than the "norm", which meant my recovery period would be a bit longer than the "norm" as well.

I don’t remember anything much after Dr Cross left me. I don’t remember being wheeled into the theatre, I don’t remember counting down to anything. I guess the drugs worked.

I must have cried when I came to, because I felt someone wipe the tears from my eyes, and then push the tissue into my hand. I felt the hard plastic oxygen mask on my face. The pain in my leg wasn’t that bad – it was sore, but manageable. I felt the big thick bandage over the incisions and tried to shift in the bed a little. A nurse sprang over to see if I was ok, and I looked around the room to see there were 3 others in Recovery with me.

For the next hour, I stayed in Recovery until they thought I was well enough to go back to my room. I was glad to see Noel when he came back for me.

Phyllis was dozing by the time I got back, so I read and listened to Jackson (my iPod) for a bit. Gargon came and took my blood pressure every half hour – it was pretty low for quite a while, so I understood why she kept coming back.

I watched a bit of TV for a while and read some more (got stuck into Twilight, which was a Christmas present). I had no idea what time I was suppose to be discharged, as no one seemed to know what the procedure was. Shift change saw Gargon leave and Sarah arrive. Dr O’Sullivan popped in for his express check up – 30 second pit stop and he was gone again. By the time Dad and Mum called to see how I was doing and what time I was being discharged, I had no further news and told them not to worry.

At 5pm, I was still no closer to being told about discharge. So I waited. J finished work and came back to wait with me for discharge instructions. By this time, I’d already asked Sarah twice about leaving the hospital, only to be told "I’ll just write up the paperwork". And then dinner arrived, so I thought I’d stay and eat the free meal. Note to self: free doesn’t necessarily mean good.

Finally, at 6.30pm, we got the paperwork and the all-clear to head home. I noted with a wry smile that I was being "discharged to Home, accompanied by Husband".

J got me home and settled comfortably before popping downstairs to grab us some real dinner. I had some trouble sleeping that night because of the pain, but the Panadeine Forte® helped.

I’m now off the painkillers, and have started physio. I am still using one of my crutches, but more for support than anything else. I still can’t fully bear weight on my right side as it is still painful, and I’m needing to learn how to walk again – apparently, I always had it wrong! Slowly but surely, I am getting better. The incisions are itching now, which is a good sign. Can’t wait to change the dressing!

My family has been wonderful throughout this whole ordeal. Dad and Mum have been calling every day and offering to bring me food – J and I accepted some takeaway once, but we’ve been quite self sufficient. My sisters have been checking on me too with text messages. And my friends have been fantastic – everyone has been a little worried about me and I feel so loved with all the messages and phone calls I’ve received.

J has been the most beautiful man. He moved in with me for the past week to look after me. The first couple of days were not fun for him, but he was patient and kind and loving. J moving in acted as our trial living together as well, and I’m happy to report that he is definitely comfortable with the idea. I’m really looking forward to June, which is the milestone we have set for moving in together.

The incisions are still a little sore, but I’m really looking forward to being able to curl up on my right side. A few more days and I think I’ll be able to do it!

A Lady Who Lunches (And Dines)!!!

Mood: Sheepishly Sluggish

What a complete blow out day yesterday was, resulting in my feeling sluggish today.

Angela, Karina and I had arranged to meet up for lunch yesterday. Over a bottle of wine, we leisurely caught up before Karina had to return to work. Angela and I tried to convince her to stay on for another drink, but Karina took the responsible route and headed back to her office. As Angela was on holidays, we decided to have a few more drinks at another establishment. One drink led to another, and lunch finally concluded at around 5pm.

It was great to see the Shipway girls. They are amongst my oldest friends – I’ve known the girls for almost 20 years and whenever we catch up, we pick up where we left off the previous time. We agreed that it was far too long between catch ups recently, and made plans to see each other more often this year.

After such a salubrious lunch, I came home to my enticing couch and dozed for a time. At around 6pm, I received an unexpected phone call from Cameron who wanted to pay a visit.

I love catching up with Cameron. We don’t see each other nearly enough. Cameron is so busy these days – he has his own business and is splitting his time between Newcastle and Sydney. He only had one day off during the festive season – Christmas Day – he even had clients calling him on New Year’s Day!!!

Catching up with Cameron often involves far too much alcohol. And last night was no exception. Cameron was only going to stay for a couple, but a couple turned into 8 beers, a couple of Bacardis and a few Bombay Sapphires. At some point in the night, I realised that I had been drinking since 12.30pm and had had no dinner, so we made up a platter of smoked salmon, Brie, capers and crackers and tucked into the food at 10pm on the balcony.

I learned a few things last night, like trying to catch a cockroach while slightly inebriated is hard! And Bombay Sapphire Gin and Schweppes Ciata is a very refreshing mix!

Before long, we realised that it was well past midnight, and Cameron still had to work today, so we took ourselves to bed. I think Cameron might still have been talking to me at one point when I passed out and started snoring.

At 7am, Cameron’s all singing, all dancing iPhone started making all sorts of noises, and so began our day. Cameron didn’t really want to go to work today, so I told him to have the day off. But alas, he packed up his laptop (which was out charging overnight) and left me to fuzzily find my way around my apartment.

If he had decided to take the day off, Cameron could have used any of the following Top Ten Out-Of-Office messages. I especially like #4 and #10!

#10: I am on holiday. Your e-mail has been deleted.

#9: I’m not really out of the office. I’m just ignoring you.

#8: I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.

#7: You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.

#6: Hi. I’m thinking about what you’ve just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

#5: I will be unable to delete all the emails you send me until I return from vacation on 5th Jan. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

#4: Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 11 weeks 3 days.

#3: The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again.

#2: I’ve run away to join a different circus.

#1: Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

It’s Hip To Be Scared

Mood: Scared

With only 4 sleeps to go, I am now getting more and more anxious about my impending surgery on my hip.

About two months ago, I was diagnosed with an anterior acetabular labral chondrolabral junction tear with some free edge fraying (but no para-labral cyst) in my right hip, 12mm osteochondral change of the central weight bearing acetabulum, separate from the labrum, with full thickness cartilage defect and a 4mm loose body in the acetabular fossa, as well as ligamentum teres thickening, and mild distal insertional gluteal tendinopathy and overlying subgluteus maximus bursitis.

What does that all mean in layman’s terms? I have extensive cartilage damage in my right hip joint. Some of the cartilage is torn, with a bit of it clean torn away, and some of the cartilage has completely worn through. And there are some issues with the tendons and muscles around the right buttocks area too.

In order to get it all fixed, I will be heading to the Mater Hospital for some surgery on Friday. The procedure is a hip arthroscopy to debride (cut away) the damaged cartilage and I’m expected to be in and out in the one day without have to stay overnight.

My wonderful sports medicine doctor, Dr Tom Cross will be assisting in my surgery. I all but demanded that he be in the operating theatre with me as the recommended orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Michael O’Sullivan is not one I was completely confident with. I had previously seen Dr O’Sullivan – in 2005 – for the same problem. Back then, the consultation was short and sweet – he spent 5 minutes with me and sent me on my way to the physio. Had he sent me for an MRI at the time, they would have picked up my problem even back then, and I could have lived with much less pain over the past 3 years. But as it was, he didn’t send me for the MRI, so you can imagine my cautious approach to seeing Dr O’Sullivan again when Dr Cross referred me to him.

My most recent visit with Dr O’Sullivan did nothing to instil my confidence in him. We sat, and chatted for a bit, and he looked my X-Ray and MRI films, and promptly told me that I was ok. Just as he was about to send me on my way, he realised that he hadn’t read the MRI report, which was somehow separated from my patient file. The bumbling doctor went in search of the report, and after briefly glancing at it, retracted his earlier statement and abruptly told me that I needed surgery. And he is the one wielding the knife???

The visit ended with Dr O’Sullivan’s office manager trying to comfort me whilst booking me in for surgery. Yes, that’s right, after upsetting me to the Nth degree, he left the comforting to his office manager.

I was so distressed by the consultation that I called Dr Cross to ask for another referral. After much discussion, with Dr Cross trying his best to convince me that Dr O’Sullivan was the top surgeon in Sydney, I was still reluctant to keep my surgery date. In the end, I kept the date, and my appointment with Dr O’Sullivan, but only after finding out Dr Cross was locked in to assist in my surgery. At least this way, I will definitely have a friendly face to see when I wake up from surgery.

I’m thankful for my family, who is trying to keep my spirits up over these next few days. And my friends have all been terrific too – everyone has been sending me well wishes or getting me out and about doing things to make me forget about the impending surgery. And most of all, I’m thankful for my gorgeous man J, who has been so supportive and loving throughout these trying times.

I’ll try and keep a diary of my recovery process, but am not sure when I’ll be back online after Friday. Here’s hoping everything will go according to plan.

Happy 2009!

Mood: Cheerful

Happy New Year!

To celebrate the new year, J and I had a few friends over at my place for a small NYE party. Suz, Matt, Daniel and Fi came by for plenty of food, drinks and fun on J’s X-Box. The evening was a very easy one – we sat around and chatted and played games on the X-Box. The drinks flowed easily and the company was sparkling, and overall, the evening was thoroughly enjoyable.

We somehow managed to miss all the fireworks this year – both sessions. The 9pm session came and went very quickly while the gang was busy playing something on the X-Box and I was in the kitchen getting more food ready. By the time someone decided to pause the games, the fireworks were over.

The midnight session was a different story. We switched over to live TV at 11.45pm, but stupid Ten HD "Live" – not so live was it??? At midnight when we could hear the fireworks, Ten HD was still advertising "15 minutes to go". The remote was commandeered by others, so by the time the channel surfing stopped, we had missed most of the fireworks.

Really not happy about missing the fireworks – I love fireworks and was really looking forward to watching them on the new big TV – but I suppose there’s always Australia Day and next NYE. In the meantime, here are some spectacular shots taken by other people.