Sunday, July 17, 2005

Possums and Moby Dick 

It's been a quiet weekend, apart from our neighbours unbelievably loud music from about 5pm until about 3am on Saturday night.

J had a friend over Friday night so I went out to get fish and chips, and nearly ran over a ringtailed possum! I swerved to avoid it, but when I got out it was sitting near the tyre looking as though it might run under the car, so I had to talk to it to get it to go off the road and into the bush. The young ringtails in particular can be pretty silly - I remember J being tolerant of a really small one chewing her one time when I handed it to her (it had been stretched out on the road but was apparently unharmed).

This afternoon, we found ourselves watching a documentary, Moby Dick: the True Story, one of those Discovery Channel efforts. Whaling's always been a grisly industry, and just as bad in 1820, but this documentary worked a lot from records of the time, putting the story it told into context, with plenty of human (and whale) interest. My favourite part was the cute cgi reconstruction of the massive grey male sperm whale ramming the whaling ship, The Essex, complete with mathematical calculations of the damage :).

After that, I just knew it was going to end up with the guys in lifeboats eating each other - I tried to warn J and L off at this point, but it seems they're old enough now to deal with this stuff and find it interesting. Probably it's as well they know these things if they're going to read any maritime disaster or Polar exploration accounts, as most of them end up along these lines at some point. All in all, this film didn't have all that much to do with Melville but was an interesting enough tale, without too much Hollywood dramatisation. If you're interested in a different view to mine, see the Film Freak Central review.

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