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Today I am taking annual leave as I have a specialist’s appointment tomorrow in relation to the strange pain I got a month or two ago.

Last night Nick and I watched The Grudge 2 – Japanese version – and spent a good part of the evening scaring ourselves silly. The director of The Grudge really knows how to wind his audience up.

I do feel that the best horror builds on your fears by faking you out. The Grudge franchise is all about the fake out. It is a sign on the director’s skill that even knowing what’s coming doesn’t protect you from being freaked out by creepy reflections and cruel misdirection.

In other news, just as I was planning to shelve Setting it Straight, another actor contacted me regarding the show. I’m still fleshing out the changes – but it looks to me that everything will still be go.

I’ve been having a bit of an inner struggle recently regarding dating. Some of you may be aware that my last date was nearly a year ago. I seem to suffer from perpetual fussiness and a but of low self-esteem lately.

Not super depressed, just not feeling that I’d be that attractive to the kind of guys I’m attracted to. Le sigh.

Last night kind of brought these feelings up again, because as much as I do love Nick’s company, sometimes you need more than a mate to shoot the shit with. Would have been nice to have someone to snuggle up with while watching a great horror movie. 🙂

I think part of SiS is my way of showing what it’s like to be gay and single in your early to mid thirties. Lots of guys my age either want younger bfs or want to just settle for whatever they can get.

Love seems to be not based on the person, but the exterior or physical need.

Maybe I am over thinking it all. Wouldn’t be the first time. 🙂

I have to admit, walking in from home everyday is helping. I feel fitter, and I am losing weight, which is good. Not quite ready to return to the gym, but making baby steps to get there. 🙂

Anyway, I’m in town now- catch you all later.

Conan

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Well Winnie is up to it again – claiming to be above political showboating by being a political showboat. As many had predicted, the recent police raids have set off a storm of political huffing and puffing across the country.
The thing is that while the Maori party is trying to decry racist actions on behalf of the police and government, the evidence on the ground is rather light. It seems to be a case of trying to pre-empt any backlash that may arise.
What they haven’t counted on is Winston Peter’s ability to spot the political hot topics that mainstream New Zealand is concerned about and then exploit it to gain their support. Darn it if he hasn’t hit upon a formula and knows how to use it.
Some of what he has said has a certain agreeability to it – and his Maori heritage wont be hurting his cause either. Here is Winston standing before White Middle Class New Zealand saying “look, I learnt to join the group and be a New Zealander first. I understand you.”
His party may look dire in the polls – but this is not uncommon for NZ First. What the Maori Party needs to learn is to play the MMP game the way Winston does. He’s a survivor and knows how to negotiate to keep in parliament.
Personally, I find him an odious man – but I do think that he’s got it right. This is not about racism, but rather it is about generating a new kind of racism.
What I don’t agree with is his view that there shouldn’t be a Maori Party. I feel that Maori have genuine issues culturally and historically, and we live in a country where certain promises were made by the founders of our nation. The Maori need to have someone who represents their concerns in parliament. But they need leaders who will negotiate and talk. Not stand up and threaten or demand. The Maori Party could benefit from finding some allies to help build a future for Maori that is inclusive with the rest of the country.
Winston is no stranger to playing the racism game in politics – if Pita and Turia think they can win by taking on his comments, then they seriously have underestimated his understanding of politics. Their current statements are feeding seperatist thinking and worrying a large number of New Zealanders. Winston Peters knows this and is willing to manipulate it to get his party back in the spotlight.
Rather than targetting the police, Winston Peters or Government – maybe they need to look at how Tame Iti and friends have damaged Maori Mana. Regardless of their guilt, Tame Iti and his friends actions were stupid enough to stir up a hornets nest of trouble that has lowered views of Maori activists and environmentalists across the country. Hell, more people marched for Destiny Chruch’s anti Civil Union protests than for the Urewera 17.
That should be concerning. Most New Zealanders want resolution, regardless of race. For that to happen, we all need to stop going to the knee-jerk reactions and start thinking about how to help each other and compromise. The Maori Party is in the position to start the move to reconciliation – but for that to happen they need to stop trying to play the racism argument at every opportunity, and start thinking about how Maori interests can unify with the rest of the nation rather than work against it.
This can be aided by working to educate NON-Maori in Maori culture. Learning to communicate why such issues as the Foreshore and Seabed aren’t necessarily a threat to non-Maori. Show how money from treaty settlements have helped Iwi become a part of the nation – for example, my boss is involved with several groups that have wisely invested money to generate Maori owned and operated businesses that benefit both Iwi and the country.
Conan

Currently Reading: Promethean: The Created
Currently Playing: Nothing yet.

Mood: Worried about the state of the country…

Henley and I went and saw the much talked about NZ comedy film Eagle Versus Shark last night, finally.

For those not in the know, it is the story about drippy-but-cute Lily and her romantic adventure to find love with Jarrod, the absolutely useless and seemingly irredeemable twat who works in the video store up the mall from her. Initially blinded by love, a trip to see his family becomes a subtle battleground between the two of them for attention.

Ultimately we find what it is that Lily sees in Jarrod, but I have to admit that for the majority of the film I just hated the guy unconditionally. He was the epitome of self-centred, arrogant and deluded. But he does come around in the end… kind of.

So what did I think of the film. Well it suffered from the awkwardness that so many NZ films deliberately aim for. Not so pretentiously as it could have, but what it ended up doing was making the film less appealing than it could have been. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it mostly, and there were funny moments – but good comedy it wasn’t. More often I found the best moments were not carried by the leads but some of the secondary cast – and the awkward tone of the film made the first half almost agonising to sit through. In fact, if it hadn’t introduced Lily’s brother when it did, I was getting tempted to just walk out of the cinema.

This whole aim at making the audience uneasy and uncomfortable was great back in the day when NZ film-making was all self-reflecting and searching for an identity – it worked for such serious films like Sleeping Dogs, Vigil, The Quiet Earth – but NZ comedy has always fallen flat on cinema because of this style of film-making. Via Satellite, Goodbye Porkpie, even Came a Hot Friday (one of my favourites…) – NZ film-makers need to understand that there is more to comedy and, frankly, more to NZ’s identity than this.

Eagle Vs Shark felt, to me, like a great big step backwards for NZ comedy films. Seriously. It just wasn’t as funny as it could have been. But maybe I’m just being a bit harsh – I just felt that with the amount of characterisation given, there could have been a better way to tell its story.

Maybe I feel that it is time for NZ film-makers to grow out more – redefine what it is to make a film in NZ.

I think one of the reasons that comedy suffers in New Zealand lies in how we train our actors. I’ve been watching Freaks and Geeks, by the brilliant Judd Apatow – who knows how to get the most out of performances. Most importantly his films and shows identify that the visual media is not a stage. Stage acting is the anathema of good film.

To act on screen a person needs to either be natural or hyper natural. People need to talk like real people, and not annunciate every word. New Zealand television and film performances are a bit of a mixed bag – with many good actors, and a lot of bad television actors who are better on stage.

There is a fault in the mannersims given – on television you get NZ actors who either do nothing but deliver their lines with minimum facial reaction, or go too over the top and look terribly uncomfortable and self-conscious when they do it. As if to apologise to the viewer.

Not that Eagle Vs Shark suffered too much of this – if anything it was too awkward and understated, and I feel that was a lot to do with the director and the style chosen.

All in all, I just wish I could see an NZ comedy that kept me laughing rather than squirming in my seat during the obligatory “serious bits.”

Maybe I’ve just become a serious Apatow school of comedy guy – where humour is found in the everyday, and where even during the most serious and heart-touching moment we still find something to laugh about. That is good comedy.

Conan
Currently Reading: Sidereals 2e
Currently Playing: Nothing
Mood: Getting ready to write his own scripts…

August 2019
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