Weekend of Labor
Man, I nearly forgot the folks back home were having a holiday weekend. End of summer, huh? I celebrated the start of Spring this past week by putting away the heaters and the thick duvet… only to drag them back out in the middle of a single night as the temperature suddenly dropped. It rained all day and it’s frickin’ freezing here, Mr. Bigglesworth.
Anyhoo, the Snook had Friday off so we decided to check out the lunchtime “Kickboxing Cardio” class. This was our first official visit since our Beginner’s Pass expired and I decided to celebrate the occasion by buying my own pair of gloves. Check out K-How’s new mitts over there on DeskCam. Pretty sweet, huh? My hands are still gonna smell but at least now they’ll smell like ME. The class was totally killer. The Snook and I ended up taking turns holding a big round pad while the other wailed on it with punches and kicks. I was heartened to see some very big girls in the group and I’m proud to say we both kept up with everybody else. I was having some hair-related difficulty though: Despite wearing a ball cap and pulling my hair into pigtails, my bright pink sweat still flew all over the place, discolouring my own sports bra and the T-shirts of some of my classmates. (It always runs a lot right after I get it redone.) I looked like I really had gone ten rounds in a fight. We felt energized and excited afterwards, but as you might imagine, we pulled up pretty damn sore on Saturday. The Snook was feeling it in his abs and calves, while I felt like my ass had been sprained. (Damn squats.)
After the class we headed to the George Street cinemas to catch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which has FINALLY opened in Australia. I felt sorta conflicted at first, like I was trying to reconcile my professional critique with my personal opinion, but in the end I decided they were the same. I absolutely loved… 95% of it. The sets, the Bucket family, the music, the acting, even Helena frickin’ Bonham-Carter-Burton… They all rocked. I was blown away by the Oompa-Loompas, and I even liked the scenes in Loompaland. (I especially thought it was interesting that Burton went back to the original conception of the Oompa-Loompas as pygmies from the jungles of Africa and didn’t feel required to make some sort of modern PC apology for it.) I LOVED that Burton put Prince Pondicherry back in. That chapter is entirely pointless but it was still always one of my favorite chapters of the book, and it definitely made me feel like he was being true to Dahl’s original work. The look of Wonka’s boat… That was 100% Joseph Schindelman’s illustration. The Nut Room! Hair cream! Fudge mountain! It was all just too cool. The four kids were really great and I liked that they believably updated the characters without changing them too much (though I didn’t quite get the bit about Mike Teevee “hacking” the contest). The songs were wonderful; I just bought “Veruca Salt” (my personal favorite) from the iTMS. As for the new additions to the story (and the re-written ending), I’ve decided to make my peace with it. Burton had to do something; the original has no dramatic arc whatsoever. Nobody learns or changes. So I even grudgingly like those bits (and I’m still giggling whenever I think of the “Puppet Hospital and Burns Unit… It’s a recent addition” line). So what didn’t I like? Willy goddamn Wonka. As much as it pains me to say it, Depp really missed the mark with that one. I just don’t see why they had to make him creepy. Why did he talk like that? What was with the hair? What was with the crazy frock coats? The only explanation is the one everyone else jumped to – they were consciously mimicking Michael Jackson. Otherwise there’s just no point. There’s no explanation in the movie plot, and there’s certainly none in the book. He just weirded me out every time he spoke. So there, that’s the bit I didn’t like. And now you know.
After the movie, the Snook and I joined his co-workers for beers before heading over to Wagamama for dinner with none other than Miss Alison Kriegel, fellow Domer and Purple Weasel. Kriegel’s been living in Sydney all year but this is the first time we’ve gotten to catch up. And catch up we did, over many, many beers. It’s so fun (and yet so weird) to meet somebody from my old life back home. It feels so far away sometimes.
And that’s not even the whole weekend! Saturday we headed across town to check on Rob and Amy‘s cat Sparky while they were away and ended up spending the afternoon in Chatswood picking out a kegerator for the Snook. Plus I’ve spent every spare minute finishing a pair of gloves for a nice old man named Bruce who visits our shop. I need a vacation…