Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Saw Mamma Mia with a whole group (mostly female) from our church. Somewhere between a musical and an excuse to play Abba songs, it actually did have a half-believable plot and was certainly a bundle of laughs. I don't remember the original (if I ever saw it), but this version was well cast, full of energy and life and (of course) outrageous outfits. Good fun for any Abba fan! (And I wasn't the only man in the cinema! I think I counted about 4 others…)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Get Smart

Yesterday (cheap Tuesdays!) we went to see Get Smart. Yes, it's a little different from the original TV series, but it's a great movie nonetheless, with all the classic Get Smart humour and awkwardness. Everything you'd expect from a spy movie spoof! And Anne Hathaway was gorgeous and very sexy as 99, she got the old “Oh, Max!” just right.

Recommendation: Definitely see it if you like the original TV series, spy movies, spoofs, technological gadgetry or romantic comedies.

Prince Caspian

On Sunday (yes, I have been seeing a lot of movies lately) we went to see Prince Caspian, the next instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia. Not quite the same as the book (for example Caspian was only 12 in the book!) but not enough to seriously matter. Decent acting, beautiful scenery, superb cinematography.

The subject matter, on the other hand, I find uncomfortable. Does God really leave us to our own devices at times? Yes, he will never leave us nor forsake us; but when he doesn't immediately answer a cry for help, well… what then? How do we know what to do?


On Saturday, at Laetitia's suggestion, we went to see Hancock. It was funnier than I expected it to be. Not entirely believable, but a welcome change from the usual super-hero fare.

Recommendation: Worth seeing, it's good fun.

The Band's Visit

Saw this movie in Brisbane, at the Palace Centro. Simply wonderful! It could almost have been an Australian movie: quiet, filled with awkward pauses and meaningful silences, cultural conflict and satire, real believable characters.

An Egyptian band travels to Israel to play at the grand opening of an Arab Cultural Center, but due to a confusion with consonant aspiration they end up in a tired backwater town in the middle of nowhere. And of course the Arabs and Israelis have a long-standing cultural antagonism…

Recommendation: Beautiful, poignant, funny. See it if you can!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Other things I did in Brisbane

  • Took some photos of the Gateway Bridge duplication works.

  • Went for a walk in Daisy Hill State Forest.

  • Saw some old friends, most of whom were either pregnant or had just given birth.
  • Went to the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens to take some photos.

  • Went to Mt Tamborine with my sister Ruth, who was also in Brisbane.

  • Visited my friends Toby and Anna at Simply for Strings, and took some photos of the beautiful instruments in their new shop.

The Moving Finger

Another book I borrowed while in Brisbane was The Moving Finger, an Agatha Christie murder mystery. I found it hard to read: slow moving, thick with details, … Suffice it to say that I gave up reading it before Miss Marple (apparently it's a Marple mystery) even arrived on the scene.

Recommendation: Don't, unless you like slow, boring books.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Heavenly Pleasures

While in Brisbane I borrowed a few books from the library. It was very satisfying to relax into some serious reading for pleasure, which I don't get much time for now that I'm a full-time teacher.

The first book I read was Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood. I found it really delightful! Actually the second book in a new series, the story is technically a mystery but also includes some romance and comedy. The book's title derives from the chocolate shop in which the mystery occurs. The main character, Corinna, is a baker, whose shop is called (no surprises here) Earthly Delights (also the title of the first book in the series, which I haven't read).

The book is so full of great quotes that I gave up trying to keep track of them—you'll just have to go read it yourself. But I hope you like cats, because there's quite a few in there.

Recommendation: Good fun. Read it!


Last weekend (actually Thursday-Saturday) was the annual conference of the Queensland Association of Maths Teachers. I flew down to Brisbane to attend, missing the athletics carnival on the last two days of term.
QAMTAC 2008 (by Ian B-M)
The conference was held at UQ, based mainly in the Hawken Engineering building. The conference theme was “My Way or the Highway: Reflections on the Distance Travelled in Mathematics Education”. As well as three interesting keynote speeches, there were four elective sessions each day with no less than seven offerings each session—a real smorgasbord of workshops and seminars!

Casio offered us all a free graphics calculator! Not wanting to be out-done, TI began giving away their new multi-line scientific calculator too.
QAMTAC 2008 - Conference Dinner (by Ian B-M)
But for me the highlight of the conference was definitely the dinner on Friday night. This was in the Burke & Wills rooms at the Mercure in town. Not only did the chef feed me very well, it was a great night of fun and friends (my cold notwithstanding; I picked up a cold somewhere between Mackay and Brisbane, and it was fairly chilly, so by Saturday I was feeling rather unwell). And the band, made up of conference delegates, were simply fantastic! They played and sang beautifully.

More photos on Flickr.