Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The Libran Librarian

Too late, I've thought of a cool name for this blog. The Libran Librarian. Hooray for the sign of the scales! You are charming, attractive to the opposite sex and an incorrigible flirt (the first half of the horoscope personality profile found on a joke coffee mug).

p.s. the second half is negative and, or course, completely untrue.

The attack of the wheezies

It's the middle of the hayfever season, and I've come to realise that my hayfever medication is not working very well any more. I take a nasal spray every day, and it used to stop me from getting those horrible sinus headaches.

However, this morning I woke up with one of those horrible sinus headaches - they sometimes last three days, in spite of regular doses of paracetamol. And apparently I'd spent all night snoring, snorting, choking and fighting for breath, too.

Not particularly attractive, I'm sure - so I'm utterly grateful that he loves me anyway...

Monday, March 29, 2004

Difficult requests, a fitting curse for book thieves, and a break from televised Buffy

I had a bit of a challenge today, when a teenage schoolboy came to the Information desk to find 'anything' on New Zealand alpine plants. Specifically, he was after two plants known colloquially as mountain carrot and pink heather, respectively. Even more specifically, he wanted to know about biological control of those two plants. The two books I could find on NZ alpine flora weren't useful to him, so I gave him the phone numbers of the Department of Conservation. I had the biggest difficulty not calling it the Department of Conversation! As is usual in cases like this (where I couldn't find anything straight away), I spent the rest of the afternoon looking on the Internet for likely information sources (including the DoC site). It felt pretty good to eventually find some, too.

I found a website which collects curses, to be put on those fiends who steal books. The library's been the victim of a vicious DVD thief - we lost our extended version of The Two Towers a mere months after it was made available for lending - so these curses may prove well worth a try at my library...

This one which follows is supposedly from the Monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona

"For him that Stealeth a Book from this Library,
Let it change into a Serpent in his hand & rend him.
Let him be struck with Palsy, & all his Members blasted.
Let him languish in Pain crying aloud for Mercy,
Let there be no Surcease to his Agony till he sink to Dissolution.
Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not,
When at last he goeth to his final Punishment,
Let the flames of hell consume him for ever & aye."

I just realised yesterday that SkyOne has stopped screening re-runs of Buffy and Angel, so I'm now going to have a minute of silence to pay my respects to the last (for now) of the Buffyverse re-runs.

Oh well, at least I still have seasons 1-4 of Buffy on DVD to watch, and anyway they were clashing with the latest series of What Not To Wear.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Shotguns and Weddings

There's a big hoo-ha over an advertisement, in a hunting magazine, for rifles especially designed to be handled by children. Having grown up in the city, my own reaction to this news was probably similar to that of the people to complained, saying that the product encourages children to think it's okay to kill. While you have to be sixteen to legally own a gun, it seems that its now okay to get your grandad to buy you one instead. Surely it'd be cheaper for kids to get their kicks by killing things 'virtually' (and it's legal and doesn't leave bloodstains for your mum to puzzle over).

We went to a wedding yesterday, that of a close friend of my boy's. The bride alternated between nervous giggles and huge grins during the ceremony, while the groom cried when it was his turn to say his vows. Apparently he got a bit overwhelmed before the start of the reception too. I knew him from my old work, and had always thought of him as a bit of a smartass. So it was kinda sweet that he turned out to be such a big softy. Not a huge surprise, really. I've worked with several men who were rough and tough on the outside, and ever-so-slightly marshmallow-y on the inside. In fact, I live with one.

Friday, March 26, 2004

What the hell is Turkey bacon?

I don't know what it is, I just read about it in Last Page. It sounds kinda nice, though.

Money, oysters and boots

Yum. It's Bluff oyster season in two days. Contrary to the opinion of most gourmets and foodies, I prefer them deep-fried in batter. And here's a yummy-sounding recipe for deep-fried oysters in coriander and chilli dressing which I found in stuff. I'll do my best to get the cook - I mean, the love of my life - to use it.

We had a bit of good news at our work meeting this morning. I was lucky not to miss it actually, because today the traffic was truly atrocious. It took an hour and a quarter of mostly idling and crawling, for me to get to work - normally it's 45 minutes of pretty reasonable travelling speed. To my slight irritation, the only other workmate who lives in the same city as I, was not late for work. Turns out he'd decided to get the train in.

But the good news was that the City Council, who runs the library, are prepared to subsidize library-related study to the tune of up to $1000 per financial year. That means that if I do the MLIS over three years I'd get over half of my course fees paid for. But, there was a big but. If the subsidized employee leaves her job less than one year after she passes the course, then she'll have to pay the money back.

Which is fair enough I suppose...we'll see.

After the dizzy joy I felt at being able to get my previously muscle-y calves into a pair of mid-knee high combat boots, I've decided to go shopping for a pair of dressy knee-high boots. This is despite the fact that, after paying all my bills for this month, I now have a measly $400 until my next pay day - which is almost exactly one fortnight from now. It will, however, probably take me weeks or months to find the right pair of boots - not too high-heeled, not too casual, elegant yet comfy (impossible?).

Thursday, March 25, 2004

A desperate-looking guy came into the library today, looking for a particular book. When I looked up that title, I found that 2 of the 3 copies were out, and the other was being held for someone.

Desperate Guy asked whether it would be possible for him to take that copy for ten, very short, minutes, so that he could photocopy some of it. He needed it for an exam on Monday.

'Sorry', I told him, 'we can't let you take that book out of the library because we can't check it out to you. That book is being held for someone else. But since you're so desperate, I'll let you photocopy some of it here on the library photocopier at 20c per copy'. But no, he wanted to take it to a shop where it would cost only 10c per copy.

'Well, exactly much photocopying are you planning to do?', I asked.

'The whole book', he replied.

'Do you realise that would be breaking copyright laws?'

'Yes, I know the law. I work for [a Government department which I won't name]. Please - I need it for the Police entrance exam. It's on Monday'.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

When I don't enjoy reading, and when I do

Some of the stuff I've been reading for my MLIS course is sooo dry. Things I've found interesting were:
1. Positivism vs Post-modernism as applied to information managementm,
2. Public libraries as a symbol of democracy (or is it really just a typically American thing?) and
3. Whether public libraries should deal in pop culture, or restrict themselves to the 'serious' stuff.

What I've found boring includes very long articles on models of communication, and scholarly communication respectively.

I don't think it's impossible to present complex ideas in an interesting way - Carl Sagan did it really well. But most scholars don't write like Carl Sagan. Most seem to want to prove that they know lots of really big words, and can write really long sentences. Articles like that make me reach for the Buffy books. Even scholarly Buffy writing is usually readable.

On a happier note, I've finished two of the four novellas which make up Volume III of Tales of the Slayer.

The first is about a Slayer from an Anasazi community, who is disadvantaged by a complete lack of Watcher-ly knowledge. And she dies too soon for me to get to know her.

The second one I liked better - it's about a Chinese Slayer, set around the time of the Boxer rebellion. Of course, I immediately thought she must be the one of the two Slayers whom Spike killed. But this isn't ever made obvious, so maybe there were two successive Chinese Slayers? This Slayer gets more chance to develop, and probably the fact that she's Chinese made her more interesting to me. There's also a very strong feminist theme to this story - not surprising considering how oppressed Chinese women were at the time.

I'm looking forward to the next two tales, plus getting on with the other four books I'm in the middle of (and those are just the fun reads!).

Monday, March 22, 2004

Single-serve friends for a lifetime

It's funny how you can stay friends with some people for years and years even though you only see each other a few times in that whole period.

Like Claudio, for instance. I know Claudio from about 10 years ago, when I was on a backpacker bus tour of the South Island. He was travelling the world with his mate John, both scientists living and working in Newcastle, England. John was the chatty, flirty one, so it's a little ironic that Claudio's the one who kept in touch over the years. Claudio and his new wife are coming over to New Zealand for their honeymoon, and so it's pretty cool that we'll be able to catch up. I'll get to see whether his taste in spectacles has changed, and he can ascertain whether I ever got my growth spurt.

Or Mike, whom I've known since my OE backpacking days. We hung out together for 3 days in Florence, then I stayed with him for a week about 3 years later, when I went to Seattle for a holiday. And after all this time, we still send other longish Christmas e-mails. Most likely we'll never actually see each other again, but it definitely feels like I have a good friend in Seattle.

That's a long way from to the "single-serve friend" referred to by the protagonist in "Fight Club".

Imagining the pitter-patter of tiny feet

I'm at the age where, if we want to have kids, we have to do it now or else it will be too late (if it isn't already).

If we do it now, then my library career will be on hold indefinitely. But as long as my other half is happy to support me financially for at least the next 5 years, then I'd probably be happy to play housewife (and catch up on the reading and painting?).

If we don't do it at all, we'll be able to maintain a reasonable lifestyle, I can get qualified, and maybe improve our lifestyle. I may end up regretting not having kids, but I'd have a nephew and niece to lavish attention on.

I think what would be the worst would be to decide to go for it, get all psyched, then find that it's no longer possible.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

They're everywhere

I went to the park this afternoon and had a very cool time just being with my friends - Vinod has just started studying law part-time, Liz is organising her wedding, Sharmilla has been enjoying the perks of being in the travel industry, and Pravin had his nose in the Property section of the weekend paper again. In the background were the smooth sounds of Jacinta, a lounge singer who calls herself the "Singapore girl", followed by a reggae band and their grooving fans.

So I was rather surprised to find that my boss and her husband (who live 45 minutes away by car), had been sitting about four feet away from us the whole time. Don't get me wrong, she's very nice. It's just that I'd already finished work for the day and wasn't in a hurry to see my workmates again. And she just happened to be loitering about, just half a block from my house, two Sundays ago.

It's as though Fate is tossing us together like an unusual salad recipe.

She's not the first boss who's unintentionally trespassed on my free time, either. A few years ago I was on holiday in Canada and the U.S. I'd just spent a week in Vancouver getting to know the Siegal's Bagels guy (platonically), and had landed on Vancouver Island. It was a three-hour stint before continuing on to Seattle, to visit my friend Mike. In that three-hour period, who should spot me but my manager Pat and his wife-to-be?

Or maybe it's just a truly small world.

Work and Saturdays don't mix

It's a really gorgeous day, and it's Saturday, so I'm not so pleased to be working. However, I do finish at 12.30, so I'll be able to quaff lunch (yummy banana cake bought at the local Asian bakery) and go home in plenty of time to go out for the rest of the afternoon.

My boy's out with a bunch of other boys. They're going to a stag day (that's like the more traditional stag night, but for guys who're too old to stay out really late), leaving me free to do what I want most of today. So I'm going to the park for an afternoon of free Arts Festival gigs with a girlfriend, followed by a gym session and then study.

It's not that I don't like spending time with my other half - just that there are lots of things I don't end up doing because he's not interested. Mmm...I could even go to a foreign-language movie this evening...

Friday, March 19, 2004

Niggling Nasties

Tara's post reminded me of my own thoroughly unpleasant experiences with the dreaded ... cold sore. There've been a couple of times in the past when I've had to deal with continous cold sore attacks (it really is possible to get one attack after another) which lasted months or more.

This is the reason why the word 'crusty', for me, is not synonymous with the word 'baguette'.

The first time I had the continuous nasties, I thought it was because I was dying to go overseas already. Funnily enough, I was completely free of them about two months after I started my first job in Edinburgh, until I returned to New Zealand two years later.

Personally, I believe world travel cures a range of maladies from acne to loneliness and boredom.

The next time it happened, I couldn't figure out what stress factors could have caused it. I was happily in love, had just left my much-loathed (by then) IT job and was a full-time 'artist'. I'll probably never find out. Anyway, the thing that saved me from everlasting nastiness was a year-long course of Acyclovir.

Now I can do all manner of front-line customer service tasks without scaring small children (that's semi-sarcasm).

Thursday, March 18, 2004

So many displays, so little time..

I was supposed to get a display for the library, about Race Relations Day (on March 21st). I'd rung the Human Rights Commission for posters, started gathering books, and thought about what else I could put on the display board. Turns out it's only going to be up for a maximum of three days after all, due to the need to use that space for another display on Monday. But I got the posters up, put up some pretty pictures of people looking all ethnic, and laid out some books on racism, biculturalism (in New Zealand, it's not just an attitude - it's law), and immigration on the table. I think it'll do, though it's nowhere near as fun-looking as the St Patrick's Day display around the corner (how can you beat little stickers that read 'Kiss me, I'm Irish' ?).

I went to apply for my new driver's licence today, now that I'm legal to drive the library bus. I was shocked to find that I nearly failed the eye-sight test. The test I'd done at the doctors two months ago was fine - one eye is a bit short-sighted, but the other makes up for it. Today, when I tried to read the letters on that side, they were quite hard to read and I kept getting them wrong. So, I tried again only this time with much more squinting. That seemed to work. I'd better keep my (rarely worn, only at the movies) glasses handy...

no cliches on me - I hope

I'm so glad that this blog doesn't contain the words 'rave', 'rant' or 'musings'.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The quest for misinformation

I've decided that the essay question I'll do, for my assignment, will be on misinformation - what it is, who's vulnerable to it etc. I thought I'd be able to find examples all over the place e.g. the output of the Minister of Information in Iraq, political propoganda in just about any country you can name, scientific hoaxes...

Although I thought I'd be fine with finding material in the university library, I have to admit I have been a little lost there. I haven't used Library of Congress call numbers for many many years, and that's the first unsettling bit. The next is the fact that the library is really huge compared to, say, the public library I work in. Even compared to the public library in the City, which covers three floors. So navigating the place requires, at the very least, a directory. I found it necessary to get help from the library assistant, actually. But hey, I'm not proud. Any place is intimidating for the first (or second) time, eh? Anyone got any ideas on infamous broadcasters of misinformation (plus supporting journal articles) ?

Monday, March 15, 2004

A book is a delicate treasure...

There is a post in The Spectator regarding the view of books as semi-precious objects. He gives the example of a guy who buys cheap paperback versions of classic novels - then rips off their covers so they'll fit better into his back pocket. The Spectator goes on to defend this attitude, with the fact that books are no longer made by hand and hard to come by. Therefore it's not necessary to be so precious about them.

I'm one of those people who really hate marking books with pencil, much less tear pages out of them. In general, I just love books as objects (even notebooks and other stationery - but that's another fetish story).

Well, there was one exception...
Once, I went to Bolivia and Peru, with a short break in Buenos Aires, for a 5-week holiday. I wasn't able to find a Lonely Planet guidebook which covered only those two countries. Eventually I decided to buy their guidebook on the whole of South America, but it's a really thick book. So, after much agonising, I cut the book down the spine into four sections. This meant I could take just the portions which applied to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, and saved me half of the original bulk. And I did get disapproving gasps from people who saw how I'd mutilated a Book.

On the whole though, I really hate when people borrow books from the library and fold down the corners instead of using bookmarks. Or even worse, cut or tear out pictures or whole pages from library books and magazines.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

It's all about keeping the Dead from coming back

I finished reading ‘Sabriel’ today. It took so long because I’m also reading ‘The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy’, ‘Fighting the Forces : what’s at stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home’ (the one about the history of Chinese migration to the US) and, of course, the thick wad of readings related to my MLIS study – all at the same time.

Anyway…I thought it was pretty clever to add Chapter 1 of the sequel onto the end of ‘Sabriel’. The ending of the book was quite abrupt, prompting me to want to know what happens to her next. Discovering an excerpt of the next book was at first a pleasant surprise (because I might find out), then a slight feeling of disappointment (because Sabriel appears to be not in the sequel). That makes me want to read ‘Lirael’ anyway, just to find out what the situation is.

I’d never known what necromancy was, and ‘Sabriel’ gave me quite a good idea of the gist of it. (Obviously, fantasy writers are going to make the details of necromancy very different from each other’s.) What intrigued me were the tools used to put the Dead in their rightful place – bells. It must take a lot of practice to avoid ringing them accidentally, eh?

It’s also a bit of a coming-of-age tale, with our heroine (at the relatively ripe old age of 19) learning about her destiny, her powers and responsibility, and boys. I like Mogget – the Free Magic creature who is really clever and useful when trapped in his cat body, but dangerous and hateful when released. He kind of reminded me of the character of Angel in BtVS, actually.

Yesterday I came home with 'Tales of the Slayer : Volume 3'. Yes, I've succumbed to reading tv series-based fiction.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

To sleep, perchance to breathe uninterrupted through the night...

I have sleep apnoea, I think. It's happened to me several times before in my life, and it happened last night. I'm not talking about snoring either - I usually wouldn't know it if I'm snoring at night.

What I'm talking about is having a fine 'ole sleep, then starting to wake up to the fact that I Absolutely Cannot Breathe. When this happens, I know that I have to change the position of my head and/or body, in order to be able to breathe again. But I don't want to, because I'm sooo sleepy. But I have to, or suffocate. So I force myself to wake up enough to move, and finally I can gasp all that precious air again.

It's bloody scary, actually.

Several years ago, a doctor told me to try elevating the 'head' end of my bed. So I brought home some wood off-cuts from a local timber yard and propped up my bed. This seemed to work for a long time. However, it happened last night and now I'm worried again. It's not like my partner is going to notice when and if it happens again, and help me:

a) he'll be asleep and
b) I won't be able to tell him.

Maybe I shouldn't worry - after all, every time this has occurred in the past I've managed to get breathing again. But there's always a first time, right??

Friday, March 12, 2004

Bus-driving and legal

I passed my class 2 driving test today. That means that I'm licensed to drive the mobile library.

The test went quite well, apart from a screw-up at the very first intersection I came to. It's one with a Stop sign, and I never really notice it - I always stop there, but mostly because there's always traffic to give way to. This morning, I got to the Stop and there was no traffic around - so I sailed on through. Oops. But he let me off that one, because it was the first time he'd seen me do it.

So from next week I'll be spending at least one half-day per week on the mobile library.

The Shane Cotton exhibition opening turned out to be in the form of a traditional Maori powhiri. That meant an hour of welcomes, blessings, singing and speeches in Maori, before we were allowed to eat, drink, converse and peruse. There weren't enough chairs around, so most of us stood through the whole thing. So it was a little tiring, especially as it was 10 pm by the time I got home. And I was too shy to go up to the great artist himself and talk to him. What was I going to say - 'hi, I love yer work' ?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The cultural devolution of me

There's a giant Festival of the Arts on at the moment. In my IT days, when I could afford to buy tickets to the shows, I would have booked seats for several. But now I'm constrained by a combination of little time (due to study and late work nights), little money (due to the fact that I'm in the library industry), and a partner who gets a whole lot more excited by movies based on graphic novels and computer games.

However, I did get to see the wonderful Osadia at work - briefly - today. They are a pair of kimono-attired creative hairdressers/makeup artists, and their act consists of giving volunteers highly colourful, abnormal, smile-inducing hairdos. With matching makeup. I was only there for 20 minutes, since it was sleep-inducingly warm in that particular venue. It's probably the only Festival event I'll get to this time around.

There's an exhibition of Shane Cotton's paintings opening tonight. I'm such a fan of his work from a few years ago that - when I was doing my brief stint as an art student, I unwittingly made several paintings using exactly the same colours (dark, red ochre, a glowing sepia yellow and a little bit of red-black). I didn't realise the influence until my tutor pointed it out to me. So I'll be going to the opening, and I've already put up a little display his work and life (he's a local). Maybe I'll even get to talk to him and tell him I love his work ;-)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Gettin' to know you...

I had my first MLIS class today. It was pretty good to be able to discuss the stuff in the readings with my classmates. However the most productive time to do this was before the lecturer actually arrived. Once the actual class started, I found out which three or four students were going to be doing the most talking...

One, who shall remain unnamed (because she's actually quite nice and reasonably intelligent), had a habit of speaking up quite often, but taking a hell of a long time to get her point across. It was a combination of slow enunciation, and simply too many words. I couldn't help but tune out after the first couple of minutes, every time she spoke.

Afterwards, I discovered that I'd chosen the most expensive car parking building in the entire city to park in. I paid $15 for the 2.5 hours that my car was there. Next week, I'll either try the place down the road (further from school), or cruise the back streets looking for that elusive free parking space.

So tonight I'm working late at the branch library, to make up for the time I took off to go to school. It's surprisingly quiet. I'd always got the impression from the previous person who did this shift, that it was always pretty damn busy. Either the customers got wind of the roster change, or she's just a slacker :-)

And I've just remembered that the life drawing session in town will have just started...without me in it, trying furiously to get it all down in two dimensions.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Experimental insult #1

" He's so ignorant he pronounces 'banal' to rhyme with 'anal' "

(I didn't have anyone in mind when I thought of it. Really.)

It's meet your personal tutor day...not

I arrived at the university nice an early for my 8.30 am appointment with my personal tutor. Hmm.. the door's closed, the lights aren't on, and there's a notice on the door which reads 'Student apointments 10am-12am'...
Well - that's a trip into town, plus a $3 parking fee, I could've been saved.

Luckily, complaining nicely does help - the admin person promised to book me in for another appointment and throw in a (free!) Visitor's parking permit too.

I'd already told my boss on Friday that I'd probably be maybe 20 minutes late to work, so I was pretty relaxed about cruising in at 9.15. Only to find that she'd forgotten, and thought I'd gotten mixed up with the roster changes, and had rung me at home to check. She's a little like my mother actually, in a mildly worry-wort kind of way (but she does her own shopping, is quite a bit younger and prefers Malaysian food to Cantonese food. And she's white).

Anyway, I just hope that this morning's no-show won't turn out to be a bad sign for the future. And tomorrow is my first class (they call 'em seminars), when I get the chance to find out whether I'm the only one to have hastily read through screeds and screeds of academic articles on the nature of information (should we take the Positivist approach, or the Post-Modernist one?).

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Summer in the City

Summer's back - since last Friday we've had the weather that we should've had all of February (that's the month when we had wind, rain, flooding and the resulting loss of homes and incomes, all over the lower North Island). As a result I was on a bit of a high right up until this afternoon :

1. I had a great bus-driving lesson on Friday (I got up to 80km/hr on the motorway and wasn't scared witless)

2. I got some good news at work (more at a later date)

3. It was lovely and sunny and warm

4. We caught the Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition (a New Zealand artist who started out as a retired ikebana practitioner and ended up making her name in 'found' art)

5. I saw 'Nowhere in Africa' on video and loved it (think 'Empire of the sun'/'Out of Africa' but about a Jewish girl in Kenya during WWII)

6. And I found that, so far at least, the course materials for my first MLIS paper are actually not too hard to understand (for someone who did her undergraduate degree back when tertiary education was almost free)

There's this quiz called 'Which is Worse?' (see the link down on the left), which asks you to decide the worse of two nasties. Well, today it was - 'Which is worse, being trapped in traffic on a hot day with no air-con or being your aged mother's taxi-driver and grocery-carrier for three solid hours?' Actually, today was both of those at the same time.

But I've left that grumpiness behind again, because I strolled down to the local street festival to have a look around. There was live music, busking, stalls selling useless knick-knacks and food. I bought a painting for myself, and a Maori-inspired pendant for my boy, who's feeling a bit under the weather today.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Short heroes

I'm about half-way through the fantasy novel Sabriel, and the heroine happens to be tall and slender. Initially I thought -why are heroes of books and movies nearly always tall?

Traditionally, heroes are always tall (slender if female, athletic if male).

So it's nice to come across short heroes. Buffy (of BTVS fame) is, of course, always referred to as short. She's probably average height for a woman, and her lack of lankiness is always exagerated by the presence of tall male characters such as Angel and Riley. But then, that's all part of the whole idea of having as the Slayer someone who looks like a good victim i.e. small and delicate.

Then there're the hobbits. It would've been too easy for Aragorn, or Legolas to be the main heroes. But it's the halflings who save the world, eh?

Mini-me, from the Austen Powers movie, was evil, so he doesn't count.

Children don't count, because they're supposed to be short, and anyway it's only until they grow up.

I can't think of any others. Can you?

Friday, March 05, 2004

If you're overseas Chinese and you know it clap yer hands...

It's one of those things which come upon you when you get to a certain age, I suppose - the desire to know more about one's cultural roots (along with an increasing interest in opera and jazz as opposed to boozing and bars).

Whilst browsing around in the university library the other day I found a book about the history of Chinese in the United States. I promptly put a request on it of course, and eagerly await the e-mail telling me when it's mine to borrow. I already have a copy of a really interesting book on photographs of San Francisco's Chinatown by a German guy called Genthe. The photos date from 1895 till around 1927, showing not only changes in appearance of the Chinese but also in the streets and buildings that made up Chinatown. Umm.. it's actually a helluva lot more fascinating than it sounds...

So while I've been able to read a bit about the experiences of Chinese in New Zealand, from the gold-mining days to the present - now I can look around for information on what Chinese immigrants got up to all over the world. From what little I've found so far, they definitely had similar prejudices to deal with.

I actually found a blog for, and by, Irish-born Chinese. I wasn't particularly excited about most of it, but I was particularly excited to discover that there are Chinese in Ireland. Do they have green eyes and drink Guinness and sing sad songs?

There's also a site on Chinese in Britain, which was packed with interesting news and titbits. Nice title too.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

The end of the almost-holiday and the start of student-hood

It was the last day of my four days study leave, and tomorrow I go back to work. At least it's only for one day before the weekend.

I met Diana today, who is one of the new MLIS students. It turned out that we had grown up in the same suburb and gone to the same primary, intermediate and secondary schools. It's funny how you can remember a teacher from well over thirty years ago, as soon as someone mentions her name.

My course book for the paper I'm doing this trimester is enormous. I'm just doing the one, but those fulltime students who are taking four papers at a time are busy organising wheelbarrows for the forest of paper they have to take home. I have 20-30 pages to read and think about before Tuesday morning - I hope that doesn't mean I won't have time to watch ER on Monday evening...

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

It's a long way from the tramping club to the philosophy club

Day 3 of the MLIS orientation and I'm finally starting to remember people's names, and getting to know which ones I like talking to. Dan, who is one of the several Canadian lecturers, is friendly, easy to talk to and got my jokey remark about getting photocopier-rage. And there's a Korean girl whose name I can't spell - she's cool because she acts like a local and is learning Italian (which is surely the sexiest language in the world).

In the Quad were dozens of on-campus clubs, as there are in every university during Orientation Week. I got to compare and contrast the variety of clubs on offer this year, with those available when I was an undergraduate (umm - its been a few years).

Probably not too much has changed, but I'm noticing different things.

Back in my day...

the tramping club was king, and there were two karate clubs. Today I was drawn to the diving club (I can't dive due to my asthma, but the guy there was pretty friendly) and a philosophy club. Finally a sociable way for me to ask people what the hell Thomas Aquinas was talking about.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Quickly losing my career focus

The problem is that we've been advised to plan our courses for the whole MLIS programme, especially if we plan to study part-time over 3-4 years. Okay, that itself is not the problem. The problem is that, I don't know for sure which elective courses will be scheduled for which trimester, after 2004. And of course I have to ensure that I don't select two courses which are on at the same time.

I am going to contact the programme director, for sure. But actually I'm no longer sure which electives I want to take (we can take four) i.e. what kind of librarian career I want to aim for. I'm keen on the Reference course because I think I want to be a reference librarian. But I'm also interested in the Digital Library course because I like using electronic resources, have some IT background and am interested in web content management. And I really want to do Art of the Book because I've always been interested in books as objects. But I should really do the Business Information course because it'll be useful in most corporate library jobs. What about Cataloguing? Surely it's important in all library jobs? Arrgh!

Monday, March 01, 2004

Christian humour exists

I know this because I saw an example of it this morning, on a sign outside a central city church.

The sign reads "The Super 12. Weren't they the disciples? Yeah, right'

But you won't get it unless you know that Super 12 is a highly popular rugby competition in NZ (that's all I know about it, I'm sooo uninterested in sport), and that 'Yeah, right' is Kiwi-speak for 'Go on, pull the other one' (if you're English). I can't think of an American equivalent.

If you have come across a better Christian joke (one which doesn't simply make fun of Christians, that is), you're welcome to comment...

First day of the MLIS orientation, and Peter Jackson gets what he deserves

I attended my first day of orientation today, and came out of it dehydrated but well-fed. It appears that most of this year's intake is part-time, and there are quite a few international students as well. Despite my (possibly unreasonable) paranoia about getting mistaken for an international student, I ended up chatting with several women from China and Singapore, and sitting with most of the Asian students for the big photo.

This paranoia comes from years of being mistaken for a Japanese tourist whenever I go overseas, even to cities with sizable Chinese populations. And I'm sure that sometimes no-one came and talked to me because they assumed I didn't speak English. (I did bathe every single day, by the way.)

Most students I spoke to said their respective employers did not pay for their studies, and everyone wanted to know which employers did. So far, the Ministry of Economic Development does. I now want to work there.

The day ended with free pizza and orange juice. I was particularly impressed that it was Hell pizza, surely the best commercially made pizza in the country.

I'm so pleased that our Peter has won an Oscar for best director, and that LOTR got best picture, and that the Weta crowd received an Oscar too. No doubt our PM will organise a ticker-tape parade, and so will Wellington's Mayor - and so they should.