We had a great weekend. Friday was interesting for me, as I went out to the Esplanade with my boss, a colleague, and my boss’ friend to see “We Will Rock You,” a musical based on the music of Queen. It was really good fun. Enjoyed that, went to Chinatown to a salsa club, left after a while and went home. Yay.

Saturday we mostly hung around the house and I did some studying with Zen. We went downtown in the afternoon for Zen’s first Kodomo Club lesson after a long break. It was nice to see the kids and the parents again. After that Naoko and Zen and I went to eat downtown. We wanted to eat Japanese food at the Esplanade, but then we found out that the restaurant had closed!! So we ate at “Makan Sutra Glutton’s Bay,” which is a bunch of food stalls with an open-air eating area. It was rowdy and good fun, and nice to eat in the open air with a picnic feel to it. We went down to the harbourfront just next to where we were eating and saw a local band play at the grandstand there, London Fog. Nice “retro” rock. Went to walk around the Merlion area, then back to the bus stop to go home. Zen fell asleep halfway there, we had to carry him from the bus stop into the home. Wow, he’s getting heavy…

Sunday we mostly just hung out at home. The most interesting thing that happened was that I played Monopoly with Zen for the first time. It was Spider-man Monopoly, so it is “theme Monopoly.” I bought lots of property while Zen was more prudent with his money. He ended up paying me a lot of rent. I would have done very well if we’d played another hour, but we stopped playing after three hours. Zen went to his swimming lesson, and I continued to read Harry Potter. Nice weekend nice night.


We Will Rock You! – The musical was really great fun. Besides the fantastic music of Queen, which needs to be appreciated in a grandiose setting, the musical featured a libretto by Ben Elton, who is the guy behind a lot of Rowan Atkinson projects like Black Adder and Mr. Bean. So it was funny as well. The plot is about a day in the future when music is outlawed and people have forgotten how to rock. But a savior arrives like Luke Skywalker/Neo/Harry Potter to inexplicably teach everybody how to defend people from the clutches of the killer queen. Yes, the plot isn’t fantastic and it seems to have been lifted from Styx’s “Kilroy Was Here” (which was probably lifted from somewhere else), but it is good fun for all of the jokes and musical references. And of course the music is fantastic. Unfortunately, the lead dude is not very commanding, but plenty of the other cast were really good. Yes, they did rock me.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – The book’s been out for a while, but I finally got a copy from my colleague and gave it a read. Yay, good fun, the seventh and final Harry Potter book. After a not-so-great fifth and sixth book, I didn’t have my hopes up too too high, although there was a lingering suspicion that she was using those as vehicles to set up a really awesome ending. The general consensus has been that the series ends quite magnificently, so I knew that there was hope. It didn’t start off very well, with a lot of bloody attacks and hopelessness, and our three heroes setting out on an aimless quest in the wilderness. One of the worst things about Harry Potter is that, despite the fact that we’re all rooting for him and sympathize with his terrible plight, we still have to settle for the fact that he’s really not the brightest bulb. This is displayed amply in the first part of the book where he just sort of stumbles along, and has to get rescued, repeatedly, by others. Poor kid. Another irritating thing is how so many things in the story begin to remind of other stories. There’s the aged mentor struck down by an enemy, there’s the point where the sidekicks fight and split up only for the disillusioned sidekick to come back in the nick of time to save the day, as well as the whole thing about the evil magical relic that they must destroy so that it doesn’t flood the world with evil. But it is nice to finally be reading a Harry Potter book that doesn’tfollow the pattern of other books – finish a Durley summer then go to Hogwarts and meet the professors and then have an adventure involving Hagrid and magical creatures. There’s also no more of this tiring “nobody believes me when I say that Volemort’s come back” stuff because he’s obviously come back, which is nice. The book picks up remarkably about two thirds of the way through when the mysteries that Rowling has set up throughout the first half of the book – and throughout the series, for that matter – start being explained. The ending is more or less satisfactory, although in the end Voldemort is somehow made to seem like the one who’s not a very bright bulb, which is also somewhat disingenious. I also found the last chapter a bit corny. But in the end it doesn’t really matter, because IT’S OVER!! IT’S OVER!! IT’S OVER!! IT’S OVER!!. Now I just have to start reading the series from the beginning with Zen, that’s all…


Monsters Inc.

– good fun. It takes a while to imagine a world-on-its-head situation where horrible monsters are terrified of cute little kids, or to comprehend a world where baby screams can produce electric power. The monster world is as charming as Bedrock in many ways, and the voice actors are all fine – John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn (James Coburn! Flint!!) and others. Happily, the film is not too long, and picks up after the first 30 minutes or so. Sure, 30 minutes is a long time to sit through intro, but other films take even more time to get going. But this film is really more for the kids, with very little for adults to dig, unfortunately, since Pixar films usually specialize in having something for both.


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – I thought that this was just about the most repulsive movie I’ve ever seen, and not just because it was a musical! The blood and guts were a bit much and all of the throat slitting and waterfalls of blood was repulsively excessive, not to mention the awful, soulless “songs” that they sang! I thought it would be good fun watching Sacha Baron Cohen in a movie where he wasn’t Borat or Ali G, but the “duel” that he “fought” with Sweeney Todd just didn’t make any sense. Helena Bonham Carter, who is very attractive, is difficult to look at when she’s made up in Marilyn Manson corpse make-up. I thought that Tim Burton would try to infuse at least some sort of dark humour into this story of a sort-of-sympathetic serial killer, but I’m not sure he even tried this time around since the film is really as gothic as it wants to be. Not recommended.

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