17.6.04

My sister-in-law, whom I mentioned some months ago, died early this morning from liver cancer which was a secondary from bowel cancer which she had 30 months ago. Sh etold my brother that she was looking forward to the next part of her journey. I'm not too sure what she meant but am glad the suffering is over here. I commend her to a merciful God.

My brother is relieved too. It has been a long hard time. Their son, 11 1/2, will have a hard time, I think. She insisted to him that she was recovering and he has not accepted what his father said. The deception ha increased the anger, fear and grief he feels.

The funeral will be on Saturday. My brother has a friend who went through Arts/Law with him and who was later ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. He will conduct the service. Margaret was brought up as a Catholic and her parents attend mass each Sunday. However, she and my brother were married by a civil celebrant and I don't think she put much store by her upbringing. What I find amazing is that my sister, who would call herself an atheist, asked to be allowed to do one of the readings.

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We've been suffering computer problems here but think we have finally managed to fix most. Like Bene Diction, I have been extremely frustrated. We still have one major problem with net access, due to the mp3 download my husband did for a friend. When we have tried to contact our provider, Optus< their billing program has been down and they can't tell us the state of the account. This has gone on for three days now. So I can load some pages quickly, others not at all, and some veeery slowly. We've had such good service from them for several years, but this is annoying. I've had problems getting into BLOGGER too.

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15.6.04

Troy
Last week I went to see Troy with a friend. He's an Ancient History teacher and I'm classics trained. We often go the the Swords and Sandals evenings arranged by Macquarie Uni Ancient History Association. Old films on ancient history are shown, sort of spaghetti westerns but history. Some are hilarious, with dreadful special effects and wooden acting, even from people such as David Niven.

We'd been reading the reviews of Troy and having a bit of a laugh, so went one morning. I liked the credit - "based on The Iliad." Well, there were characters with the same name as characters from the epic. That's about as much as there was. We both commented that the high school students from the Greek Drama Festival would have probably done a better job of acting than most of those in the film. Those students do an amazing job every year and I'm always amazed by their ability to portray emotions from scenes which they could never have participated in.

We saw large amounts of Brad Pitt. Actually very large amounts of Brad Pitt. Even discounting the scenes with women in his tent, there was plenty of exposure of chest and muscly arms. Perhaps this was just as well. He certainly didn't display any acting talent that we could see. It was all smouldering glances and fighting.

To me, the fighting scenes were very ordinary. It was obvious that large amounts of money had been spent on the film but that it produced only a ho-hum result. The Lord of the Rings series had similar battles. While I knew the outcome, having read the trilogy many times, there was still a sense of dread about the battles. Not so in Troy.

There was ample scope for character development. It was a pity that it wasn't taken. It was quite plain that there were issues between the kings and Achilles. Why and what were never mentioned. Most of the characters had shallow roles with no depth. This is particularly true of the female characters. Orlando Bloom was colourless playing the spoilt and selfish Paris. I thought that the only one who showed any real feeling was Eric Bana as Hector. Priam came across as weak too.

There were the usual historical quibbles. Agamemnon and Menelaus spoke often of "the Greeks." The Greeks at this time were a loose confederation of city states, not a political entity. I don't believe they practised smallpox vaccinations either. Brad Pitt appeared to have one high on his left shoulder. Surely a bit of concealer could have been used? Mexico where much of it was shot bears little resemblance to the actual location. The role of the gods was basically totally discounted.

While we had a good morning which we both used as a bit of stress relief, we both decided that the film was like a wine. With a bit of cellaring it will prove a good candidate fo a Swords and Sandals eveing in twenty years.

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13.6.04

We must have had a spike last week about Monday. Somehow our router and hardware firewall were fried. So, no net access till yesterday when my eldest son called with a new D-Link firewall and router and we are back online. Talk about withdrawal symptoms!

Another problem is that my husband downloaded a massive mp3 version of the KJV Bible (free) for a friend and has well and truly blown our limit. Never done that before in several years net usage. Everything is now very slow.

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