Okay, I retract what I wrote yesterday — tonight’s match between Safin and Federer was so awesome, it made up for every single not-so-cool match of the Open, and for last year’s final too. ’Twas an epic four-hour battle of wicked volleys, enormous serves, and even random blurts of Russian! And despite losing, Federer made it oh so very clear why he deserves to be the world number one.
So I’ve been watching the Aussie Open every now and again, and there have been some cool moments (like when Molik trounced Venus Wiliams, which was awesome). But I must say, I’ve been somewhat disappointed so far by the supposed “big games” of the tournament.
Last week there was Rusedski vs. Roddick, which was supposed to be The Awe-Inspiring Game Of Super-Fast Serves, but was actually one-sided as Roddick walked all over his British opponent. There weren’t even that many big serves! And tonight there was the game that was supposed to be the biggest of the tournament — Roger Federer vs. Andre Agassi — and again, the younger guy just out-classed the older one. So much for these being awesome drawn-out battles of strength and courage.
Speaking of drawn-out battles, my goodness, the Premier has finally called an election. Since my last post here about state politics, Colin Barnett doesn’t seem to have become any less dodgy, although there does at last seem to be something being done about our archaic retail trading rules. Maybe the campaign will contain enough boundless excitement to convince me to post here more often?
So I arrived at work today, for the first time after our two-week Christmas break, only to discover that my normal entrance was blocked. And to think, these guys were supposed to have been finished last week, taking away their horrid mess with them.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered Toby’s handiwork outside of our storeroom. I call it Rat Central B, or the Stuff We Want Someone To Steal pile.
So I have just witnessed our oh-so-endearing Prime Minister address the nation, with that deer-in-headlights facial expression that he always uses in front of TV cameras (is the man capable of showing any emotion?). At least there was some taste in the choice of background, subtlety in the use of the flag (unlike the in-your-face nationalism of the “we are sending troops to East Timor” address), and some acknowledgement of the severity of this disaster.
That said, I have to hand it to John Howard. If I’ve learned nothing from eight years of Howardism, it’s that the little man knows how to play the game, and he knows how to win. Not only does this billion dollars represent a long-overdue shift in foreign policy to our own region (albeit at the expense of others), but it’s just the ticket for scoring political points, particularly with folks who were doubting his humanity (vis-a-vis asylum seekers, and all that). And it’s a strong boost to Aussie patriotism, what with it being the largest government donation so far.
As for myself, I’m still recovering from Daniel’s big LAN, even though it ended days ago. Apart from being accused of being a massive nerd (oh wait, hang on …) and leeching more Red vs Blue than I could possibly ever download, I also learned a new respect for network hardware makers, after the utter thrashing we dished out to Daniel’s switches.
Insanity, funky lights, and (of course) plenty of gaming do normally characterise LAN parties, and this one is no exception.
I am a bit concerned that my inner geek is indeed making a break for freedom. Oh well …
So yay, it’s now 2005! Alas, ’tis not a happy new year for everyone (though fortunately, my family in that part of the world are OK). Anyone who hasn’t already donated to one of the many charities trying to help out — what are you waiting for?
I spent the evening at Laurie’s NYE party, which was most entertaining, particularly when we scared her dogs with sparklers (oops!). Earlier in the day, another friend and I went off to see The Phantom Of The Opera, since we were both curious to see what it’d be like as a movie.
These things I liked:
- Emmy Rossum. Hot dang, she can sing. And she does a good job playing the innocent, sweet, pure, unattainable stereotype called for in her character.
- The costumes and the set design, both very impressive. One of the things I noticed at the Perth production of Phantom was that although it was pretty cool overall, it was a bit rough around the edges, particularly in areas like sets and make-up. No such problems in this big-budget film.
- The orchestra. Whoever they were, they were awesome.
These things I didn’t like:
- All the missed opportunities — such as the chandelier scene, which wasn’t as cool as it could have been, and the lack of creativity in camera angles. It often felt like I was just watching a recording of a stage production, rather than an adaptation designed to take advantage of a different medium.
- The make-up effects on the Phantom. When he took his mask off, I was hardly shocked. Heck, that face didn’t look much worse than mine does when my acne becomes unusually severe …
- Gerard Butler. He needs to learn how to sing, although he did get better towards the end.
- The sound system at Millenium Cinemas. I suspect they bought the cheapest gear that did what they needed, since it was clearly unable to handle opera (I heard clipping! clipping, I tell you!).
Overall, though, Phantom is a pretty good film. Anyone who hasn’t seen a stage production of Phantom will be impressed (and rightfully so), although anyone who has may be disappointed.
But anyway. I should go off and proceed with my other major plans for today, one of which is to commence preparations for Daniel’s LAN gathering, which starts on Monday. My hidden inner geek is getting a dangerous opportunity here to see the light of day …