30 Days of Film: Bel's day 27

| by Bel | 7.41am NZ time |

A film that you wish you had seen in theaters

I am fortunate that I have seen a lot of the films I love in the cinema - and many classics which deserve the big screen treatment. With all the developments in 'home theatre' recently, you still can't convince me that there isn't something magical about that shared experience of sitting in a dim room together.

By example, I have seen A Streetcar Named Desire twice at the cinema! First time was in France, when I was a teenager. We went as a school trip for my English class and it was subtitled.

Other than the film itself, there are two things I remember clearly: 1) our teacher bumming a smoke off a student afterwards, when there was a mass exodus to quickly go and light up on the footpath, and 2) having to try and explain to my classmates that Blanche is raped by Stanley off screen.

More recently, the glorious Embassy cinema here in Wellington screened a lovely looking 35mm print. I went on my own, sitting in the cushy premium seating and loved every minute of it!

Ok, but what is a film I wish I had seen in the cinema? It's Star Trek, a film I mentioned way back at the start of this '30 days'.

And my main reason is because I chose to see that godawful Terminator Salvation instead. Gahhhhh.

To think that the torment of sitting through that P.O.S. movie could have instead been the gleeful experience of seeing Star Trek for the first time! Woe!

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 27

| by Lou | 1.30pm UK time |

A film that you wish you had seen in theatres

God bless both the New Zealand International Film Festival and the British Film Institute for allowing me to see so many films on the big screen that I had missed first time round (mostly due to Not Being Alive Yet). The Marlon Brando BFI season was particularly glorious in giving me the bonus of allowing my virgin screening of Apocalypse Now to be done right.

One film I have never seen on the big screen that I would love to have seen in its full glory is:

The Piano

Mostly because it is The Most Beautiful Film Ever, but also because it would be giving the price of a cinema ticket towards an unbelievably talented filmmaker of both my gender and nationality.

Alas at the time I was 12 years old and my mother deemed it "inappropriate". When I finally saw it a couple of years later I said "Oh. Right." and decided to remove the quotation marks from inappropriate.

NB: I can't accompany this with an image as I can't find a photo of her sinking into the mud with her skirt billowing around her, and nothing less will do.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 26

| by Lou | 9.00am UK time |

A film that you love but everyone else hates

One might think that I could put The Notebook as my answer here. However one would be entirely wrong as many women of intelligence and fine taste love that film. Just none of them seem to read this blog. But one day... one day you'll see it again, and it will win you over. Oh yes, it will win you over!

So, to a film that actally everyone except me hates:


I should hate this film. I should hate the Mel Gibsonness, the overt preaching, and the laborious denouement. But I just can't.

It's because I saw it back in the era when Joaquin was my one-and-only, and he's so adorably average-guy in this that I found him and it irresistable, and felt myself viewing the film with all sorts of good-will and suspended judgement.

But I promise I'm much harsher on Mel Gibsonness, preaching, and bollocksly convenient plots in any and all other contexts.

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 25

| by Bel | 11.11am NZ time |

The most hilarious film you’ve ever seen

Dang it, Lou's already nabbed Wayne's World hasn't she??

Ok, well, here is a clip from a TV show that always makes me laugh. It's I Love Lucy! I really do love Lucy!

(I actually remember watching this on TV (repeats after school on TV1) because Mum explained to me that Lucy had red hair and that's why the crysthanamum joke is so funny!)

Strangeness in a strange land.

| by Bel | 2.14pm NZ time |

Hotel room in Auckland. The sign was on some kind of enormous free-standing air conditioning unit hogging up a corner of the room. I was too scared to look at it, let alone do anything with the air intake.

Conference venue in Auckland.

Business card of taxi driver in Auckland.

(It says "Historian, Writer, Gourmet, Cook, Wine Connoisseur, Raconteur and Experienced Traveler at You Service". It does not mention that he is a taxi driver.)

And this, from Ashburton in Canterbury. We saw this woman drive in and "park" her car and I nearly fell over on the footpath laughing.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 25

| by Lou | 9.00am UK time |

The most hilarious film you’ve ever seen

Wayne's World! Wayne's World! Party time! Excellent! Woo-woo-woo-woo-woooooo!

A sphincter says what?

Game off! Game on!

Hi Wayne! Hi!

Hi, we're in... Delaware.

It's sucking my will to live!!

Wait a minute!... No... Wait a minute!... No...

Oops, I dropped my pen.

Cream of some-young-guy.

If you're gonna spew, spew into this.

You could really hock a loogie from this height!

Excuse me, I'd like to get by now.

Did you ever find bugs bunny attractive when he put on a dress and lipstick and acted like a girl bunny?


Am I supposed to be a man? Am I supposed to say "it's alright, I don't mind, I don't mind" ? Well I mind! I mind big time! And you know what the worst part of all is... I never learned to read!

Okay, sorry, I'll stop now.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 24

| by Lou | 4.26pm UK time |

That one awesome film idea that still hasn’t been done yet

There is a comic book hero dying to light up the screens.

He is:

Historical Accuracy Man!

He pins this to his pale clammy chest:

and fights the fight against factually incorrect information!

Whenever somebody claims that the Maori ate a distinct race of people called Moriori, he will be there!

Whenever people discuss the kilt-wearing William Wallace-led fighters of the Scottish Highlands, he will be there!

Whenever Americans commemorate the thanksgiving feast of their forefathers, he will be there!

Please note I have a paper-trail for this billion-dollar idea going back to the year 2000 so don't even think about trying to steal it!

101 things 1001 days: #29 Get heart/pen tattoo

| by Bel | 11.19am NZ time |

This, my fourth tattoo, was done by Capilli at Sacred Tattoo in Auckland:

My attempt at taking a photo of my own back, which doesn't show the new tattoo at all:

A slightly more helpful photo, also showing part of my swallows and banner tattoo done by Jane at Chapel Tattoo in Melbourne:

Here is the design in its original incarnation:

It is based on a traditional Mexican fortune telling card, and the Bic biro.

Completed on July 2nd, with 898 days left of my Day Zero Project

101 things 1001 days: #2 Renew my Learners licence

| by Bel | 9.53am NZ time |

My (yes, Learners) driving licence expired last year, and with my passport coming up for renewal too, I was in the awkward position of having no current ID whatsoever. Whoops.

I was fretting pretty hard on the assumption that because it had expired, I would have to resit the practical test. Ok, sure, it's just a paper exam thing but my anxieties around driving are so freaking out of proportion these days that even that seemed a terrifying task.

FORTUNATELY I was alerted to the detail that two years have to lapse before they make you resit anything. I was in the safe zone just to do a reapplication. Yay!

(Truth be told, even that got my hands all sweaty as I stood in line. FEARS!!)

Completed last week, with 908 days left of my Day Zero Project!

I sent this text message last night whilst under the influence of alcohomol.

| by Lou | 5.40pm UK time |

"Whoa I got on train & the guy next to me was spoken to by his friends in several diff languages & I don't think any of them were English as no-one seemed to say 'haha you're wearing pink trousers' (he was) & overall I felt like between us we were more Germanly gay than them & maybe they were french. Yuck."

101 things 1001 days: #12 Journal every day for a month

| by Bel | 8.49am NZ time |

Bought myself a 365 diary and cranked through the first month - writing about each day, if not on the day itself!

My avid journalling has dropped off in recent years, so it feels good to get back into the routine of writing something each day. Perhaps creative inspiration may even be a result, as well as the thrilling record of what I've eaten for lunch and who I was momentarily furiously angry with.

Completed last month, with 916 days left of my Day Zero Project!

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 22

| by Bel | 4.10pm NZ time |

Favourite documentary

Hmm, too tricky.
How about 'most recently viewed documentary'?

Restrepo was filmed over the course of a year in Afghanistan by embedded journalists, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger. It was nominated for an Oscar and, sadly, gained more attention when Hetherington was killed in Libya earlier this year.

The combination of gut-wrenching hand-held footage from the war zone and follow up interviews with the harrowed soldiers filmed in extreme close up makes for a very powerful film.

The futility and absurdity of America's war on terror is hammered home by seeing the devastating personal impacts (and deaths) felt by not just the soldiers, but also the locals of the Korengal Valley.

This documentary is brilliantly made, but I would warn it is a gruelling watch. (I bawled.)

The time that I actually replied to a so-called "news" item.

| by Lou | 1.00pm UK time |

I saw this "NZ women promiscuous - doctor" item on NZ Herald in the weekend, which goes along the lines of:

"Oh hai guys, this gynaecologist in Timaru who has a conservative right-wing Christian woman-hating agenda basically thinks that Kiwi women are sluts who have slept with everyone in the world and don't know who their baby-daddies are. He has some ridiculous and patently untrue so-called statistics that I am going to quote verbatim and not bother doing any further research on. And I'm certainly not going to offer any other opinions as that would lessen the impact of this story that is designed to get myself some internet hits by further contributing to the sexual judgement placed on women by society."

(Oh and guess what - 63% of people think NZ women are too promiscuous! And guess what else! 63% of people should mind their own fucking business!)

And I reacted something like this:

And having already been boycotting stuff.co.nz for over a year now didn't want to lose my other main source of NZ current affairs by adding NZ Herald to the list, even though they've had an increasing number of entirely redundant and agenda-pushing so-called "news" items of late. So I clicked the "email the writer" link and fired off this:

Even by the appalling low standards of journalism plaguing New Zealand, your article quoting a misogynist gynaecologist with an inflated sense of importance is utterly abhorrent.

You've given an entire article to a doctor who talks of personally having women tell him they don't know who they slept with to become pregnant, and that this occurs "thousands and thousands" of times - without having researched any actual statistics or given any space to alternative points of view (or seemingly even bothering to question him about his baseless extrapolation).

Would it not have made sense to question him on the role men are playing in this? To have looked at trends over time? To have question him on his obvious judgementalism in relation to medical ethics?

Your article is proof that there is still plenty of stigmatism going on in New Zealand towards sexually active women. And provides proof that you probably, like the doctor, hate women.

The only sensible course of action this article prompts is for all Timaru women to boycott this doctor - who wants to show their vagina to a medical so-called professional who is more concerned about moral judgements than medical health?

And he replied with this:

Dear Lou,

Thanks for your feedback. I certainly did question him on how often he saw women who couldn't remember who they had slept with the night before and his response about "thousands and thousands" was his reply. I am a reporter of this story, but it is not the last word on the issue - more stories have been written since and will be written in the future. You may like to send a letter to the editor to: letters@nzherald.co.nz

With best wishes,

And then this "Sex poll only half the story" appeared on NZ Herald and I realised with joy that I wasn't the only one to fire off a FUCK YOU and I think (hope) they may have learnt a lesson.

Review: Simple 'Satire' shoes from Nature Shop

| by Bel | 11.04am NZ time |

Check it out - comfy casual shoes which have been created ethically and sustainably. Simple shoes are stylishly made from natural and recycled products and you can have them delivered to your door thanks to Natureshop.

It was my dear friend Melissa who tipped me off about Natureshop and it's her here modelling the shoes, which they sent me to blog about.

Mel's a big fan of the online store and each year buys a pair of snuggly warm sheepskin boots to wear in the winter months. This New Zealand company has sourced their stock from brands which have a commitment to environmentally sustainability, ranging from Icebreaker clothing to Green Baby organic skincare.

As a vegetarian, I always feel in a dilemma about buying shoes. Wearing leather made from animal skin feels like such hypocrisy! But have you ever walked into a #1 Shoe Warehouse and been overwhelmed by the stink of plasticky evil? Uggggh.

Many synthetic shoes which could be considered vegan and therefore animal-friendly, have been created from an unholy mess of fossil fuels in sweatshop conditions. And you and I both know that as a general rule, cheap shoes fall apart very quickly.

Rather than regularly spending money on new shoes, I'm choosing to buy better quality products which I aim to eventually get repaired and restored (like the Skechers mary-jane shoes I blogged about last month). My winter boots have been resoled twice and are still going strong! The culture of 'fast fashion' where we snap up cheap versions of latest trends is dangerous to our environment - it's estimated that in the UK shoppers are each sending 30kg of clothing and textiles to the landfill each year.

A brand like Simple takes the angst out of the equation. They call themselves "your stereotypical, anti-stereotype brand" and their business has been run sustainably for over 20 years. Simple are inspirational to those us trying to dress green when doing so can often seem like just another fashion trend.

This environmental focus is held by Natureshop too. Their environmental policy shows a commercial attitude which goes beyond just making the big buck.

Natureshop is carboNZero certified, purchasing carbon credits to offset the footprint created by posting things around the world. The items they post out are packaged in 100% biodegradable materials. I know Lou and I have both raged before about the ludicrous wrappings that go into many modern products! This kind of change is such a basic thing, yet has so many benefits.

The shoes photographed here oh-so-artily are Simple's 'Satire' style in a women's size 10 US / Euro 41. I'm guessing that the satire comes from their fastenings, which look like tidy shoelaces but are actually just a front for elasticised slip-ons. How sneaky! And convenient.

The lining is very sweetly floral with the practical dusky blue exterior colour balanced by the cute strip of pink running round the trim. The sole of the shoe is black, made from recycled car tires.

I found them too small for my feet, but there were a perfect fit on Melissa. An open lace style might've been okay, I just found I couldn't squeeze my foot properly in the opening. (Sigh.) I'd suggest going a size up if you're unsure - and Natureshop makes returning items very easy with free shipping and a 365 day returns policy.

Melissa told me that she's worn these Simple shoes all weekend from breakfast til bed and that the "comfort is unsurpassed"!

Comforting as well to know that the shoes are good for our world as well as good looking.