Monday, February 25, 2013

Club Celluloid

I'm on supper at Bible study tomorrow night, so while a big batch of brownies cooks in the oven, I'll sit down with a cup of Melbourne Breakfast (people have all day breakfast) and tell you about Club Celluloid.

It came about when a tender hearted member of my book club asked whether other book clubs were also allowed to have their movie nights at the library. All of the library staff in the book club were horrified - there are over forty book clubs in Wagga, sixty in the region, we'd have to pay staff to stay late every night! No, we are allowed to watch the film of our book in the library, on the comfy tub chairs, with a glass of wine and much Crust pizza, because the library manager is in our club. But, it got me thinking. We had thought about hiring the cinema to show certain films over the years, but perhaps we could have a movie club, a bit like our book club.

We had organised screening rights for a few kids' films before, so I had some contacts for getting the rights to play the films. There was paperwork to fill in and lots of questions to ask, and while I was sorting the logistics, I asked people what they would like to see. I asked our facebook likers and customers in the library and ended up with a long list of suggestions. I decided to keep it simple, at least in the first year, and only seek screening rights from one company. There were quite a few films that I wanted to get, but the company didn't have rights for them.

It would be fair to say that quite a few of the final ten films for 2013, are amongst my own favourites. Tim suggested one via Facebook, others were direct requests from customers or other staff. There are four that I haven't ever seen. Can you guess them, Phil?

My brother Phil is the film buff of the family, I'll bet he has seen them all. The point of the film club is not to see films you love, but to make social connections in the community and to broaden your watching horizon. That is what makes it similar to our book club service, which is about so much more than the books. To join Club Celluloid, people pay $100 and get a card that entitles them to see all ten films over the year. You also get a glass of wine and some nibbles. You can also choose to come to only certain films, and pay $15 per film.

When the film is over, we chat about it. What we liked, or didn't like about it, what we might have done in the characters' place, whether we think the performances were any good. As it happens, I never got around to deciding exactly how the discussion part would work, before I left my job. Poor Jeannie and Jess had to sort that out. For our first film (I have been showing the posters in order), they found some questions online, and we discussed them, as well as other that we posed ourselves. Sometimes we talked as a big group - there were around 26 people there- and sometimes in smaller groups.

Phil suggested that I join Letterboxd, which looks to be like goodreads, but for movies. I have put a review of Stranger Than Fiction there, but will repeat it here: I watched this with my library film club and it was almost universally enjoyed. Not your typical Will Ferrell movie, Stranger Than Fiction is clever, engaging and thoughtful. I laughed and I cried as I became attached to the characters and came to know their fate. There was plenty to discuss with the club members - how would we have reacted in Harold's place? How could Professor Hilbert put a masterpiece of literature before his friend? Did Karen Eiffel's new ending compromise the film, as well as the book?
Most of us found it life affirming, encouraging us to make decisions as if we could die tomorrow. It brought up great questions about God and the greater good while being a funny and sweet film.

The one fellow who didn't love it said that he might have liked it if he had watched it at a different time, but after a long day of work, he just found it too much to follow. There were a few people who thought it was complex and required concentration. I thought that, because I was enjoying it so much and found the characters so engaging, I was fully immersed in the story and didn't find it a strain at all. 

Two people have confused the name of the club with dimply thighs. Oops, it's too late to do anything about that! Annoyingly, I have finished telling you all about it, but haven't put all of the posters up yet. You'll just have to pretend that I have written something fascinating in between these last ones!

Are any of your favourites on this list? Which films would you like to see in a movie club? Can you guess which ones I haven't seen yet?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blue sky

Oops, it has been a few days since I was here. I have had people over for stamping, have been to Deniliquin for a meeting (three hour drive each way), Toby has had extra cycling training and last night, Joss looked after Toby and Bethany while Andrew and I went out for dinner with the band he plays in, the Groove Factorie, and their wives. We went to The Oak Room and it was fabulous. It's definitely somewhere to go with visitors.

Not a  great picture, but this was my barramundi with gnocchi, olives, spinach and roasted capsicum pesto
Toby and Andrew ride and I run, so Bethany, Joss, Milo and I went walking this afternoon so that we can be a fit(tish) family.

We went up to the house today and were able to go in because a fellow was in there cutting door frames. There were cool things inside, but I really loved the sky.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cycling Update

Amy mentioned that I might do an update on the 'Golden Wheel' carnival in Wagga so here it is.

Toby did well in his first carnival, winning his 2 lap handicap race and placing well in all others, but it was probably the last race of the weekend that made his coach most pleased. It was the U13 6 lap scratch race, and he got the tactics right, getting himself in a perfect position and holding it. He was up against kids from Canberra and other NSW clubs (some of whom have been competing for years) and although he finished mid-field, he was only 10 meters from the guy who won - who, I discovered later is the current U13 state champion. Pretty good for a boy who's only just turned 11. Thus he has now been asked to "ride up", racing with the U15s late into a Wednesday evening (he sleeps very well on Wednesdays now).

Anywho, back to the Golden Wheel...

The day gets started

Some of the Juniors ham it up for the camera

Tobes and Lauren contesting their rightful place

The Golden Wheel race was remarkable - the speed of Jack (triple Australian track champion) was something to behold, and the commentator added beautifully to the atmosphere as Jack just blew the competition away in the final 250m. The senior races (especially the A grade races) were just amazing, and the juniors - actually everyone - loved watching them.

Rolling around

Jack takes off from scratch - some seriously nice gear there!

After it was all over it was back to training again - but the first night was a recovery night with a whole bunch of fun races like the Helmut race, which is where they start as per the picture below, go find their helmut (they always put Toby's miles away!), put it on and race a couple of laps.

We could have gone to Goulburn last weekend for another competition, however when it was time to register we had no idea that Toby would be riding so well, so hadn't considered it. As consolation, we now travel to Dubbo early March to compete in the NSW Championships as Toby has been selected. He's not expecting to win, but is keen to get the experience. Meanwhile we hit the road to clock up some kms.

Preparing for Road Season

So that's the update - makes for a happy boy and a proud dad. The best thing is that he loves it, and if I wasn't getting requests to go riding every 10mins, I might begin to question if it was worth all the time. But the requests come thick and fast and on Mon and Wed nights he doesn't want to leave the track! So take that Sony Playstation and iPod etc - fresh air, exercise and some good friends thrown in for good measure beats sitting in front of a screen any day.


We popped up to the house last night, with a suspicion that the laundry cabinets were in. We found a lot more than that! I'm sorry if this is boring to you, Mum and Dad really want to see them!

There is cardboard protecting the bench tops in the laundry and bathrooms. The kitchen bench tops are waiting for their final layer of granite.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Joss has just started hip hop dancing classes, Toby is in the Wagga Cycling Club and Bethany does dancing at school. I suppose Andrew is kind of in a parents' cycling club and he, Shep and Monique go riding together. It seems that everyone's into very physical sort of clubs, but I like to exercise alone, except for walking, when I like Milo and/or Jane. I do belong to two clubs that I absolutely love, though. Book club and Club Celluloid.

Last week my book club met to talk about The Great Gatsby (to varying degrees, we all liked it - that's pretty rare!) and we had a little photo shoot because it's very hard to find an image that conveys all that a book club is. There are lots of images of people reading, but they make it seem a solitary things, or when there are groups of people, they are uni students, studying. We're making a new brochure and decided to get our own image, so, we had a little mock picnic. The jollity was not mock.

I spent a long time at the end of last year asking people on facebook and in person, what they would like to watch if we had a movie club. Then I had to choose films I could get screening rights for and organise the dates so as to get the rights. I had a logo designed and did some advertising and then I left the library for my new job.

Last Thursday night was the first meeting of Club Celluloid, and it was super. There were 26 people there, we watched Stranger Than Fiction, drank wine, ate antipasto and chatted about the film. Almost everyone enjoyed the movie and the discussion was significant, even though we had never met together before and weren't sure how the discussion part would work. Next month we watch Blue Velvet - I have never seen it so am looking forward to that. The clubs are all about so much more than just the bikes, the books or the films. It's the connections, the relationships that make them so good and so important. I love my clubs!

Monday, February 18, 2013


When I had my last day at the library, it was just before Christmas and not at all a good time to organise a farewell dinner. Last Saturday night, some of my colleagues and I (they are still my colleagues, though we don't work in the same building) went to the Magpie's Nest for dinner. The Magpie's Nest is my favourite restaurant in Wagga and you can see it from our new house! In fact, a few of us met at the house beforehand for a little tour.

Of course, I took no photos of the delicious dinner, or the rest of the people, but snapped a few on the way out. Here are Jeannie and Kristy. They are also in my book club.

The restaurant is on a hill with an olive grove and vineyard and the building is beautiful. The sky was brilliant at sunset.

It was a lovely setting for fun with my old work friends, I do miss seeing them every day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Running update

Did you think I had quit? Nope, I am still running! I have just completed week two of the Get Running app. Week one had me doing 8 lots of running for 1 minute and walking for 1 1/2, with 5 minutes walking either side to warm up/cool down. This last week I did 6 lots of running for 1 1/2 minutes and walking for 2. In only 2 weeks I am able to run much more easily, the difference is obvious. By the last 2 runs, I began to feel a little like I couldn't wait to stop, but that beats being able to run for 20 seconds and having enough!

 On Monday morning I'll start with 2 runs of 1 1/2 minutes, then 1 1/2 minutes of walking, and then I go for 3 minutes of running. Three minutes is a very long time! I have given the lovely English lady who tells me what to do, the name Lucy. She is very encouraging and I am sure that while I am not going to enjoy it, I'll be able to do it.

The nights before I run, I make lunches for the following day, and this week I decided to do that every night and walk with Milo on my non-running days. I can assure you that I am unable to take photos while doing the running app (my phone is strapped to my arm and is playing music, the Get Running app and Runkeeper),but I only take the phone for telling the time when I walk with Milo. It would feel rude to listen to music in his company. I took this photo of the sunrise on Thursday. Silly phone doesn't capture the colours.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

House update

We're locked out. A new milestone has been reached, and we can no longer wander through our house at will. All of the cornices are up and they look to be ready to paint. Actually, I have no idea what comes next. It looks great, though.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On the go

I never thought of looking for a Blogger app before, how very handy! I am sitting in the airport with a Toby's Estate flat white, trying to tune out the game show playing on the television. I have an Anne Tyler book (A Patchwork Planet) and Miranda Hart's book, Is It Just Me? To read and nearly three hours to wait. In other words, the time for blogging is now, not when I get home at 8.30 this evening.
The two meetings I came up for were very good and I very much appreciated time to do some other Sydney things. Yesterday afternoon Janice and Sarah organised the afternoon and evening off from family duties (thanks to the babysitters!) and we hit the town. We had Japanese for lunch.
We went to the Art Gallery, spent a long time in Newtown's Berkelouw Books and had proper pizza for dinner, chatting all the while.
After a weekday sleep in, I caught the train to Ashfield. I have not been to that part of the city before and was very pleased to have another member of the Reader's Advisory working group get onto my train so we could go together. Ashfield is very multicultural, but none of the predominant cultures appear to be coffee drinkers, so I had to get a coffee from Michel's!
This afternoon I stocked up on T2 and Nespresso pods and had onigiri for lunch while reading my book. It has been very pleasant indeed. Until next time, Sydney.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I'm in Sydney today and tomorrow, for work. I love how, after a very early start, I can be sitting in the gentle sun, listening to lots of traffic amongst the old and new buildings of the city.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Golden Wheel

Toby is in the middle of the Wagga Wagga Golden Wheel competition. It's his first ever big cycling competition. The Australian champion was there as well as cyclists from all over NSW, Victoria and the ACT. Toby has only been racing for one season so he was expecting to get nothing but a good experience out of his racing. He came away with an early win! He even got $15 prize money, which more than made up for not placing in his other races. He's back for more tomorrow.

He has to be at the velodrome at 8am, which I would think was a bit rough if it wasn't for the fact that I have to be at the Muddi markets to set up at 7am! I'm really not sure, at the moment, that I can fit in all my stamping commitments; markets, classes, a couple of shops. It has been a race to make things to sell tomorrow. We are down a contributor, I hope we have enough stuff! Here are a few of the things I have been making.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Catching up

I took Toby and Bethany over to Oasis the other day for a swim with the Mills kids. Bethany's good friend Hannah appears to have grown over the summer. They are the same age!

Will Bethany's legs ever catch up?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

House update

Lots has been happening with the house but I have found it hard to photograph. When I try and take photos of the walls inside, the light from the windows makes everything inside dark. Now my camera and computer are not speaking to each other, so my phone photos are all I have. Sorry about that.

This is the sunset from the from of our house. The other side of the road is lower than our side and falls away even further so we may keep some of that view when houses go up.

The sunset made a lovely reflection on Toby and Bethany's windows.

The brickwork and, um, under roofish bits are all finished out the back!

Terrible photo, but three quarters of the back door is in. Once that last panel goes in (you can't see, but there is plasterboard on the walls!) the building will reach lock up stage.