Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Song - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

I love the Andrews Sisters - just put on one of their songs and I can't keep my toes from tapping.

The Andrews Sisters were a group consisting of three sisters: LaVerne Sophia Andrews, Maxene Angelyn Andrews and Patricia Marie "Patty" Andrews. Throughout their long career, the sisters sold well over 75 million records.

Patty, the lead singer, was just 7 years old when they started to perform. Interestingly enough, they started their careers as imitators of the "Boswell Sisters". They shot to fame with their recording of Bei Mir Bist Du Schon. During WWII, they also entertained the troops.

Their 1941 hit Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, which you can listen to below, may be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues. Well, it always makes me want to jump up and start dancing!

The song is ranked #6 on Songs of the Century.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Review - To Kill a Mockingbird

So for about 2 weeks now, I've had the real urge to watch an old black and white movie. I don't know why - I just have. Maybe they had to be better actors back then, and now we're so distracted by colour and spectacle that we don't mind so much if the acting is second-rate, or perhaps we don't even notice.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there are no fine modern actors, because there are - plenty of them! But I don't know, there's just something about the old movies, don't you think?

So Luke's parents bought me the movie To Kill a Mockingbird for my birthday last year. I read the book in school, and had always meant to get around to watching the movie. Well, now I can say I finally have.

I was always the kid in school who, generally speaking, actually really liked most of the books on the reading list. However, at the time it was incredibly uncool to say, "I really enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird." So I kept my mouth shut, and would instead have discussions over cups of tea with my mum, who also read it in high school.

For those who haven't read it, To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper Lee. She won the 1961 Pulitzer prize for it, and interestingly enough it's the only book she ever wrote. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbours, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. 

 The main character is a 6-year-old girl named Scout, and most of the story is told from her perspective. There is so much warmth and humour to both the book and the movie, despite the heavy themes of race, prejudice and justice.

The movie itself was shot in 1962, but it was shot in black and white for stylistic reasons. It stars Gregory Peck, who plays the part of Atticus Finch wonderfully. He also looks extremely handsome in those glasses, and now I kind of want Luke to get a similar pair. 

As always, the book is better than the movie, but if you've never read the book or seen the movie then you really should do one or the other. Luke (who hasn't read the book) thoroughly enjoyed the movie, so that goes to show you don't have to have read the book to like the film.

Atticus: They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.

On a side note, I also really love the emphasis on the importance of a father figure in the book. However, I did at times wonder how on earth the kids got away with running into town every 5 minutes unaccompanied. Well, I guess the world was different back then.

So have you seen or read To Kill a Mockingbird?

As always, here's the trailer:

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Holiday - Easter Break Part 3

Yes, my Easter break posts continue. I hope you like looking at pretty buildings, because there are a lot in this post.

So on the Monday, the four of us - Mum, Dad, Luke and myself - drove out to the Wairarapa. You have to drive through the Rimutaka Gorge, which is really tortuous. You can kind of make out the road in this photo, snaking along the side of the mountain. Someone commented to me the other day how Pacific light is different - that it's brighter. It's something I'd never really thought about before, but it's certainly true, and you can definitely see it in this picture.

We stopped in Martinborough and had a walk around the township. My mum bought me an awesome bag in an antique shop - I'll have to show you some time. By the way, how cute is this post office?

We then drove on to Greytown, which I had heard was particularly nice. There were soooo many gift shops - I think we got a bit gift-shopped out after a while. We also found Marilyn Monroe.

So many beautiful old buildings... the main street seems as if it has been practically untouched since it was originally built.

We stopped for a bite to eat. Dad and Luke went for the chicken burger. This photo makes me smile.

Then I found a moa. :) The orginal "Big Bird" - man, I wish these were still around; they were such awesome creatures. And I would also like to ride one. 

More cute buildings.

Note to self: must one day own a house with window pot plants - is that what you call them?
There was a small roadside store selling strawberries - which became our mid-afternoon snack.


This tree is a gum tree. Make that a very, very, very big gum tree all the way from Oz. I think it was about 150 years old.

Our new home - I wish. So cute! If only we could find something like this here in Wellington. 

Until next time :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Verse - Job 1:20-22

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

So as Luke mentioned in the last "Verse" post, we have started a new chronological Bible reading plan. We've been doing it for just over a month, and I've already read Genesis and Job. I know, I know - reading the Bible isn't just about "get through it", but it's a nice little accomplishment since my last "read the Bible in a year plan" began at the start of 2009 and finished, well, just over a month ago. Forgive me if I'm a little prideful at having already knocking down two books. If you're interested in doing the same thing, I'm using a plan written by Skip Andrews (I'm sorry, I just didn't realise people were called that - I'm sure he suits it to a T). You can check out this plan here. Anyway, it's a totally amazing way to read the Bible; you end up jumping around all over the place, which is great because you really can't predict what tomorrow's reading is going to be. Plus the Bible is written like that - it's so interconnected! And I love how this reading plan really brings that out. 

I've also started reading the Bible on our Kindle. Am I the only person who doesn't like reading in columns? Just me? Okay. Well, I digress. On to today's verse.

So, as you may have guessed, I have recently been reading the book of Job. To be honest, this book has always been something of a mystery to me. No one knows who it was written by; some say Moses, while others think Solomon. Job is thought to have lived around 2000 BC, after Babel but before or around the time of Abraham. The book begins with a scene in heaven where Satan challenges God that that there is no one righteous on the earth. God protests and points out Job, who is "upright and blameless" (verse 8). However, Satan argues that this is only because Job has been blessed, whereas if God were to curse Job and take away his blessings, then he would surely turn against God. So God says to Satan that he can do what he likes to Job, apart from attacking him physically.

Satan takes away all of Job's oxen, donkey, sheep, and camels (his livelihood), destroys his house, kills all his sons and daughters, and kills all of his servants except the ones who escape to tell him of each individual catastrophe.

What does Job do in response? Verse 20 tells us:

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.

This really blows me away, and I think it can also show us how to respond in times of hardship. Job doesn't push aside his feelings; as the text says, he demonstrated his grief by shaving his head and tearing his robes, as was the custom. However, he also worshipped God. Let's recap: he had just lost everything, except his own life and his wife's life, and he worshipped God. How difficult we find it to worship and give thanks to God for the blessings and grace he gives us every day - yet Job did it even when God took everything away. Job obviously understood that he could respond in two ways; he could worship God or curse Him. Job's response confirmed that God was right about Job's heart as it says in verse 21: In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Then Job says in verse 21: “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

How often do we remember that everything God has given us belongs to Him anyway: life, breath, health, shelter, food, clothing, work, money, possessions, family, friends, safety, children, EVERYTHING. Yet how little we thank Him for it. This passage challenges me with the question: if God took every good thing in my life away, would I still be able to praise Him? My honest answer is that I don't know. But I hope and pray that God would give the strength and grace to do so. After all, He doesn't love us conditionally; He doesn't say, "I will only love Hannah as long as she keeps all My commandments all the time." And I thank God for that! Then why should I be conditional with my love for God? After all, He is everything that I need. He has given me salvation, the hope of eternal life, and grace every day. All He asks from us is to love Him and trust in Him. What an amazing God!



Monday, 14 May 2012

The Dress - Stripes, Skirts & Shoes

So I actually took these photographs a couple of months ago (or should I say, my lovely photographer aka Luke did). The other day, whilst looking at a post by one of my favourite bloggers - Lillie from frocksandfroufrou - I realised that I had never actually posted them!

Top: Frutti
I've probably already ranted about my love of Frutti on here, but after all it is probably my favourite shop in Wellington, if not my absolute favourite. All the colours, the patterns, the fabrics, the designs... it's pretty much clothing heaven. Plus, it's pretty reasonable - not so much that I go shopping there each week, but enough so that when they have a sale I know it's not going to break the bank.

Skirt: Modcloth
Love this skirt, despite it being a serious hazard in the Wellington wind. The double-tiered drape is beautiful.

Shoes: Keds

Necklace: Thomas Sabo
My sister bought me this necklace for Christmas, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to post about it, since I really do love it. I'm not a huge necklace fan, but when it can incorporate my love of the Wizard of Oz, how could I not adore it? This was such a thoughtful gift, and every time I wear it I think of my sister, and of the Wizard of Oz and how I still want a pair of ruby red slippers. Thomas Sabo jewellery is very well made; the chain of this necklace alone is stunning. The clasp that connects the shoes to the chain is like the clasp normally used to join a necklace, meaning you can add or swap your charms! Such a clever idea.

Anyway, until next time :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Song - Honeysuckle Rose

I have to say thank you to my dad for this one. When I was about 14, he introduced me to the American singer Eva Cassidy. If you haven't heard her before, then you're most definitely missing out. She had one of the most amazing voices of our generation. Eva had an incredible talent for singing absolutely any musical style, and she lost record deals for refusing to stick to one genre. As the Washington Post commented, "she could sing anything — folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel — and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered."

Unfortunately, in 1996 she passed away from cancer at the very young age of 33. However, the music she recorded lives on.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy her rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose".

Until next time :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Outing - The Last of Summer

There was a weekend a while back when the weather felt like it was back to summer. The sun in New Zealand is so bright that on a fine day everything almost seems to sparkle and shine, especially down by the Wellington waterfront. 

Luke and I took the opportunity to pack a picnic and read a bit of Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit". It was a truly glorious way to soak up what felt like the last days of summer.

We could also watch the children on the playground nearby, and got very clucky together. :)

Luke is a great reader, and I maintain that he has a very good radio voice.

We then went to our favourite gallery, New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Luke and I like to pretend that we know something about art, in the same way that we pretend to know something about wine. However, when it really comes down to it, we just like looking at pretty things.

This gallery is the perfect size for us - just two rooms, and it only takes from 40 minutes to an hour to get around the whole thing. They always have a great selection.

When you live in a place for long enough, you forget how beautiful it is, but it's nice from time to time to pretend to be a tourist and look at your home with fresh eyes.

And surprise! The circus was in town!

Until next time :)


Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Review - It's Kind of a Funny Story

So about 2 months ago, or maybe 3 (time goes so fast these days!), Luke and I watched a movie that our friend Carolyn brought and which had been recommended by her parents. To be honest, it's probably one of those movies that I would glance over at the video shop, think "meh" and put back; however, I'm actually really glad I watched it, as it was quite enjoyable.This film came out in 2010 (don't worry if you missed it, because I certainly did!) and was based on a 2006 novel by Ned Vizzini (Who? My thought exactly). 

The story is pretty basic, and really it's more of a character/life study, so don't expect the plot to take you places - just enjoy the ride. Anyway, so the movie centres around a burnt-out teenage boy who suspects he might be crazy. As luck would have it, the young adults' psychic ward has been shut down, so he is forced to spend a week in the adults' ward. Yes, by the way, this is a comedy. And there are some fairly humorous parts, especially if you're into that awkward kind of humour.

Although the main actor Keir Gilchrist is good, I think Zach Galifianakis does an absolutely outstanding performance, and his character really stays with you long after other parts of the movie have died away in your memory. He also had what has to be one of my favourite movie lines:

Bobby: That's not fun. That's propaganda, man. All those Madison Avenue types telling you how to live your life. Fast cars, hot chicks... Reese's Pieces... Gucci... Werther's Original. I don't buy into that bullshit!  (okay, maybe you have to see the movie for that to be funny...)

As always, a trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Until next time :)