“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Palestine, the comic book

I bought a “comic book” titled Palestine by Joe Sacco because I’ve heard good things about it, and I’ve enjoyed similar books: Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Based on his research, interviews, and personal experiences in Palastinian Occupied Territories in 1991 and 92, the artist's comic takes you there and gives you a first-hand account of the atrocities and suffering in the conflict with Israel. He gives you a close up visual rendering of the physical and emotional conditions of the people, who struggle daily for survival. One of the old women in his story said to him, “How is talking to you going to help me? We don’t want money. We want our land, our humanity.” Sacco has rendered the terrible conditions of life into a compelling and sympathetic artistic documentary. It is sad, but most good stories are sad. The author acknowledged his giddy voyeurism: “Scars? I’ve seen scars! And scabs! What’s next? The Egyptian frontier? The family whose home’s been demolished?” and “…another authentic refugee camp experience… good for the comic, maybe a splash page…” I totally respect him though for showing and telling the story of the Palestinians to people like me who would never think, much less dare to go there. What’s better, his drawing is detailed and realistic, very approachable and interesting.

I had a special birthday recently, so I had a special dinner at one of the best restaurants in New Zealand: The French Cafe. We had the 11 course tasting menu with matching wines, and it was absolutely amazing. It took 3 and a half hours. I was impressed by the service as well as the food. The people I could see working in the kitchen did their jobs with virtually no talking and no noise. I didn't like all the wines, but I liked all the food. I was just tired by the end of the dinner, so would do the 7 course instead next time I've got a special occasion.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Put some more wood on the fire

It's winter, and I'm so glad we have a wood burning fireplace. The cats like to warm up during the day on a pillow in front of the windows. That's Latte on the left and Jazz on the right. I had to move this table into the back room to put my new sewing machine on it. It's a nice sunny room, but it's separated from our lounge and wood burner. I've put an electric oil heater under the table to keep warm while I work.I bought this because my mom encouraged me to (well she paid for it). I'm short and I'm always needing pants hemmed. It's been a learning experience. I did a little bit of sewing as a kid, but I'm a total novice. This machine does a lot of things for you, but I've made plenty of mistakes already. I'm taking the "learn as you go" approach. It's really flexible, and does 70 different stitches. I started with trying to make a dog bed, but that was a bit too much. I had a lesson last Friday and learned how to put in a zipper. When I tried to do it myself, it took 4 attempts and about 4.5 hours. I did get the zipper installed in a pillow finally. It has been rainy and cold, and I didn't have anything else on my agenda, so I made this cat pillow this morning. I got the felt cat applique from the website Felt, which sells all sorts of crafty stuff in NZ. Latte approves.Jazz is in the hospital, and might be able to come home tomorrow. He's been at the vet's for 6 days now, and has been catheterised 3 times. He has Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), and had a blockage in his urethra that caused some tissue swelling and stricturing. So even though the stones seem to have been cleared from his bladder, and he's on anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, Jazz is still having trouble passing urine. He had this problem twice in 2004, and I thought I had it fixed by feeding him a meat only diet. To read about the disease and diet is an exercise in frustration, because the biology is complicated. One of the vets who talked to me said that there's no evidence that the raw meat diet is any better for pets than the commercial foods. This is true, but it doesn't mean that the commercial foods are better, it just means that no one had the money to pay for the research to compare raw or homemade pet diets to commercial pet diets. I'm considering a veterinary nutritionist consultation, if Jazz comes home and recovers.

Since the weather has been so cold, I've been watching a lot of movies. I love horror movies, and finally rented Planet Terror, by Robert Rodriguez. This was really great, I was totally screaming and laughing in my lounge. Darin even watched it. I also saw a NZ film, Second Hand Wedding (good), The War Within (good, sad), and watched Hellboy (the first one) again (great).