Friday, April 30, 2004

Eats, shoots and leaves

I'm reading this book by self-confessed punctuation geek, Lynne Truss. It's really quite funny - fascinating too. I wouldn't have thought that a book about the right and wrong ways to use commas, colons etc would be so readable. I've learned a bit too - now I know when to use semi-colons and when to put an apostrophe in 'its'.

No, really - it's a bloody good book. And I'm not just saying that because I'm the sort of person who finds stationery attractive (only some kinds, and only platonically).

More library stuff.

I read an article today about a possible future of British libraries, which was interesting mostly because a consultant predicted that they would die out in 15 years. I, myself, use public libraries less that I used to. This is down to the fact that when I'm researching an essay for whatever course I'm doing, it's always so much easier to look for it on-line. You can get really good material in on-line databases; I do rely on a library to give me access to those, but physically entering the library building for a book seems to me to be more appropriate when looking for entertainment reading.

When I read a novel, I want to relax and take the time to read it properly. When I'm researching, I just want to find stuff which I can read quickly - and I want to be able to find it easily.

So perhaps the future of libraries really is one without walls. Maybe librarians will be like Database Administrators but with more interesting databases. But first we'll have to get more a reliable communications framework. At the library where I work, a large number of databases have recently become available to library members. However, almost every time I go to show a patron our new whizz-bang electronic information sources, there's some problem with the server or something. It's a little embarrassing.

Gift-giving in Samoan culture

Well, the original request was for 'information on gift-giving across all cultures'; luckily we got the patron down to specifics and it turned out she just needed information on how it is in Samoan culture. I couldn't find any appropriate subject headings in the catalogue (I looked under 'etiquette'), so I had to turn to the Internet. Isn't it interesting how so much stuff about Samoan culture is based on culture in American Samoa (as opposed to Western Samoa - I don't know what the difference is; maybe there are more McDonalds' or something)?

Thank goodness I found a couple of links for her; it took all afternoon (though I did have to fit it in around helping the other patrons).

If you're interested in the subject, have a look at this one and this one.

Thursday, April 29, 2004


This morning, it was a rush to get the Mobile Library ready for the morning. It takes ages to get the laptop logged on and connected to the main server, get the bus engine going, load it up with crates of books, etc.

I was a little annoyed to find that I wasn't able to get connected, even though I re-tried continually. I kept getting 'Aircard not in action'. I went to the Systems Librarian, because I hadn't come across this one before, and she told me to just keep trying. So I did, until it was time to reverse out of the garage and make for my first stop.

I kept trying after I got there, and no luck. Then I decided to check - again - that all the cables and stuff were plugged in. This time around, I realised that the antennae wasn't plugged in. Now, if the Systems Librarian and the IT guy (who was standing next to her at the time) had come on board and found this, I would've been sooo embarrassed. Especially because I'm supposed to be the unofficial Systems Librarian-in-waiting due to my IT past. In my defense though, this is a new antenna which we are trialling, and the usual one is semi-permanently plugged into the laptop....

I wanna travel again

We were watching one of those Lonely Planet shows on tv last night - Ian Wright travelling around Nepal. Nepal is one of the places I never got to, and often wanted to see. It really made me miss that part of my old life; the travelling, the backpacking, working out how to say things in foreign languages etc.

There's not much chance of it for the near future - a pitiful salary, draconian annual leave rules and the effort of coordinating leave with my parner's, puts paid to that idea.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Back to school, and deaf as a doorknob (almost)

When I arrived at my first class after the Easter break yesterday, I couldn't help but notice one thing; it felt as though, during those two weeks off, everyone else in the class had become great pals with each other except me. This is probably a load of insecure rubbish. I just had that feeling, you know? Apart from one, people whom I thought I was really friendly with didn't seem to want to talk to me. Yes, it's probably paranoia and insecurity.

I only realised yesterday that my essay (which is worth 50% of the final assessment) was actually due today - which was a bit of a shock because I had it in my head that I had until the rest of the week. So I was in a very slight panic because I still had to finish my reference list. Finishing the references was only a big deal because I hadn't kept the URLS for several of the online articles I'd cited, and I've been having problems accessing those databases again to get them. I did manage to book a database-only computer at the library, then kick someone off it at the appropriate time, then e-mail all the URL's to myself, then buy five bucks' worth of printing credit, blah blah blah....

I've been a bit deaf lately. When I got my medical check-up around the time I was going for my bus licence, I was told that my ears were about 95% full of wax. I didn't notice it much of course, because I couldn't hear what I was missing out on. So in preparation for the big syringing, I've been putting wax-dissolving drops in my left ear. (My right ear is just as bad, but it makes sense to me to do one ear at a time, to avoid having the stuff pour out as soon as I turn my head to do the other side.) As a result, all the wax in my left ear seems to have softened up just enough to fill in any gaps or crevices which had previously been left unfilled. In other words, my hearing in that ear is now much worse and I feel as though I'm bodily only half there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

on a volunteering roll

I think last night's comment about my potential in a marketing role must have gone to my head. I've just volunteered to join the library's marketing team i.e. painting walls, writing up promotional material, ringing up people...

All in work time, I hope.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Not networks. Networking!

Not networks. Networking!
Last week I put my hand up when my boss asked for volunteers to attend a Library Week project meeting. The meetings would be in town, they were timed so that I would have to leave work early in order to attend, and they seemed like an excellent chance for me to network. Networking, as they say in recruitment circles, is the name of the game. Apparently 70% of all positions are never advertised. Perhaps I will get my dream job that way.

I think one thing I'm good at is getting along with people (but VCRs, photocopiers and computers hate me). So I'm finally getting around to using that ability, to get myself known amongst the people who have the power to offer me the dream job. Something like that anyway.

The other people there were: senior members of LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand something.. something..), staff from the National Library, staff from various public libraries etc. I think I was the only one there who was a mere library assistant.

We were drumming up ideas for possible themes for Library Week, which is in August. Surprisingly, two ideas which I tossed on the table for all to jeer at were really well received. Somebody told me I was in the wrong job, and should be in marketing (nah, too old and too practical). In the end, it was a toss-up between one of my ideas and that of one of the women next to me. I didn't try to push for my idea though, because I was still getting over the fact that it was even being considered.

By the end of the meeting, I'd been 'volunteered' for the job of receiving and formatting e-mailed ideas, and encouraged to stand for Regional Council. I'm not sure what it's all about, but it might look good on my CV...

But maybe it’s all just a scam to get eager newbies to do lots of unpaid work…..!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Partying with geeks, and Starsky and Hutch

On Friday we went out for drinks with my boy's work mate and friend, Doug. Doug is being sent off to Belgium for a while, so his whole work-crowd was there. Although I used to be in IT, I've never been a geek - that's probably why I'm not in IT any more. But sitting amongst all those intimidatingly clever-geek types with relatively massive salaries made me feel slightly inadequate. If they'd all been ugly and socially hopeless I would've at least felt smug in my (relatively) attractive and sociable self. But most of them were quite normal, and some of them even pretty and chatty. Predictably, I chose the least attractive and least interesting person there to talk to - that is, until my boy sent his Columbian friend to distract me and give me an 'out'.

We went to see Starsky and Hutch last night. It was my idea too. And yet I still call myself a film buff...hmmm....Actually, ever since the brilliance of Zoolander I've become much more conducive to films starring Ben Stiller (as long as it doesn't also feature any of the cast from Friends). Stiller and Owen Wilsen are very funny both together and apart, so I was keen to see Starsky and Hutch. I'm definitely old enough to have watched the tv series that the film is based on, though I can't actually remember much of the series apart from the wraparound cardigan and the fact that one was blonde and the other was brunette. I do remember, though, that the song Hutch sings to the cheerleaders is the one which David Soul (the original Hutch) made a minor pop hit of, back in the 70's. My boy and I were the only one's who laughed at that - surely someone else in the movie audience was as old as we were!

It's not as funny as Zoolander or Meet the Parents, but still a bit of a laugh. The highlight for me was probably the part where they go to visit a man in prison for information, and are coerced into 'compromising' themselves ...

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Ancestor worship can be such a drag

Twice a year, the family goes to the local cemetary to say hi to my dad and my step-brother. The timing is something to do with the seasons, but I've never really been interested enough to remember the details. It's either the equinoxes, or something similar. Being, inconveniently, both highly superstitious and strictly a fair-weather worshipper (i.e. no wind, no rain), my mother always insists on waiting for a fine day which is not a holiday (religious or otherwise). Please note that my hometown is known for it's highly unpredicatable weather.

In effect, this is how it all happens...

One or two weeks before the date we should really go, my mother will tell my brother and I that it's coming up.

During the week, we'll be reminded that if the weather's good on Saturday we must drop everything and go to the cemetary with our flowers, water bucket and our prayers. If it's not fine on the Saturday we must be prepared to drop everything on the Sunday etc etc.

During the week, my brother will have organised to be very busy during the weekend, without letting the rest of us know. In the meantime, I (the good daughter) will have assumed we are going on Saturday and will have made sure I am free for the morning.

Come Saturday, if is has turned out to be a lovely day, there will be a flurry of phone calls before we all realise it's not going to happen. I will have wasted a whole morning, Mum will be all stress-y and frustrated, my brother will be...I don't know, I make sure I'm not around when they bellow at each other.

Friday, April 23, 2004

on the run from an irritating customer

A kid got on the bus at the last stop (I'm on the Mobile right now) and pestered me with completely unnecessary questions which he wouldn't have had to ask if he'd read the timetable I gave him. He's taken away a registration form for a library card and told me he'll meet me at one of the next stops. I hope he doesn't catch up, or else I'll have to 'get lost'...

Actually, I did park on the wrong side of the road just now. My first customer at this stop stood under the bus stop sign, waiting for me to turn the bus around for her. As if.

scary boy

When I got home last night, my boy was in a funny mood. He gets that way sometimes. He has this scary, stern look on his face and a manner which seems to say that he'll squash you if you get in his way. It wasn't anything I'd done, apparently he'd been mightily pissed off at work yesterday and was trying to decide between being a 'manager' and being a scary bastard. What makes it all the more effective is that he can be so marshmallow-like sometimes.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'm starting to like being a bus driver

Maybe its because its still the school holidays, so its nice and quiet. I've decided I like being on the Mobile Library. Mostly because when I'm on the bus I'm pretty much my own boss and don't have my boss (or anyone else who'd care) looking over my shoulder. Not that I'd do anything bad, but if I feel like a sit down I don't have to worry that I don't look busy enough.

How ironic, considering the amount of stress I felt coming up to this. I still haven't had to drive the bus at night though, so thats a new stress for me to look forward to.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Just what I need is a bit of TLC and flattery

I was woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of a car's brakes squealing, followed by a medium-loud crash. I didn't bother getting up to have a look, because I just wanted to get back to sleep. (My guy looked though, and there was no drama). As Murphy's Law would have it though, I became more and more awake until I was in exactly the right condition to start worrying about all those things one worries about in the early hours of the morning.

As a result of that interruption to my beauty sleep, my mood today was not particularly pretty. The headache set in soon after my arrival at work, and didn't go away all day.

So it was just as well that I'd been recruited for the morning's face-painting session. It was my second ever time at trying to paint animal masks on hyperactive children, and the results were much more to my liking the second time around. After all, I am an artist (though only a relative beginner), so the pressure was on to produce competent faces.

I forced myself to go to the gym, motivated by memories of what I look like in lycra, and was fairly tired by the time I drove out of the carpark.

What could've been the last straw was when I didn't give way to a police car. It wasn't my fault, since he'd indicated left and I was going right (i.e. I had right of way) - it was only just as I started turning that his indicator went off. The police car lights flashed behind me and I was feeling indignant that I was going to be a victim of shoddy police driving and a costly fine. When the cop drew up behind me and got out, I started yelling (with humour - I always seem to temper my anger with humour) that he was in the wrong. He took it pretty well, told me he only wanted to check my alcohol level and went back to his car smiling. It could've been worse I suppose.

I now feel good again. My boy has brought home a large chocolate mud cake and is busy making dinner for us as I write. And this link told me I was just wonderful.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

the ear-drum piercing shriek of little kids

I sure as hell don't want to be a children's librarian. The opportunity to do arty-crafty stuff in work time just isn't enough to make up for having to constantly put up with high-pitched noises and humungous amounts of mess.

Come to think of it, I wonder whether prospective parents ever think about just how much picking up they're going to be doing? I get annoyed just picking up after my guy, and that's not including discarded underpants.

There must be some hormone injection which people get, so all they can think of is tiny wee clothes and tiny wee frisbees and tiny wee versions of themselves.

Monday, April 19, 2004

The secret of stress-free library study

It's been confirmed i.e. both my library school friend and an aquaintance who's just finished her MLIS agree - you don't have to do all the readings.

It seems a waste of paper not to read them, but you don't have to. This is because a) you aren't necessarily going to be assessed on it, and b) the professor is going to mention the main points of the module at the next weekly seminar anyway.

This is actually an enormous relief. So many of the readings are frustratingly boring and mind-numbing. It's so hard trying to read them well enough to make notes. Instead, I can relax, knowing I won't really miss anything crucial as long as I turn up to class and listen.

Perhaps I get to watch Zoolander repeatedly after all...

Bus-driving solo

This afternoon I went on my very first solo bus drive. That probably doesn't sound like a huge deal, but I was a bit nervous. Perhaps it's because my mother didn't eat enough chocolate when I was just a foetus in her belly - I'm just a worrier. I've only had my HV licence for about 6 weeks, and since then I'd always had a passenger to make sure I was going the right way at the very least.

Today's Mobile Library run went off into some fairly rural areas (cows and horses, no sheep or barns), places I've only ever been in once, two weeks ago. I was mostly worried about getting lost, actually. I'm an ex-traveller who's been lost all over the world - even Kuta, Bali which is a very small part of a very small Indonesian island.

As it turned out, I worried for nothing. I did go slightly astray at my first stop (ironically, quite near the centre of town), but after that I was fine. There's bit of slightly scary narrow, winding and steep road I have to go down at the end of the day, but there wasn't enough traffic to make me feel pressured. I remember the mantra, 'This bus is bigger than those cars, I am safer than they are'. Yes, I can do this...

The battle of the displays

There are competing displays just up this morning in the library, right next to each other. On the left we have NZ Idol, an homage to the Kiwi version of Australian Idol, American Idol etc (an aside - we Kiwis actually invented the concept but the Aussies and the Yanks were the ones who made it the big fat success it is today). On the right we have the ANZAC Day display which commemorates all the New Zealand (and Australian, if pushed) soldiers who died in war - organised by your own short and sweetness.

The military memorabilia which features on the ANZAC display is getting a bit of attention, and well it should - after all it's our history. But I have been aghast at the amount of attention which the Pop display is getting. I haven't been watching it on the telly, but a quick skim through the Sunday papers tells me that most of them can't even sing in key (I can't either, but at least I don't try to inflict myself on the telly-watching public).

Surely intelligence, nationhood and history are of greater interest than badly-manufactured pop-singers!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Nephews and Novels

My boy (MB) and I took my three-year-old nephew out this afternoon, apparently to get him used to being with people other than his parents. This is because I'm going to be an auntie again soon - my brother and his partner are expecting their second child at the end of May.

I'm curious as to what she's going to look like, partly because my nephew started out looking really Chinese and now looks kinda European. Partly because I wonder what our own kid will look like (if and when it happens). My nephew is so cool. He loves fish and other sea life, which makes a nice change from his other obsession - trains. And he so walks like a boy. MB is really good with him too, which brings out all the soppy he'll-make-such-a-good-daddy feelings.

But don't worry, I'm not kiddie-enthralled to the exclusion of all else...

I'm enjoying Garth Nix's 'Lirael' heaps, more so than 'Sabriel'. While I can't say that Nix is a master of dialogue and character development, he certainly tells a good story. Scary dead creatures, evil necromancers, nasty monsters all putting me metaphorically on the edge of my seat. And I really care about the two main characters too. So Book Two is better than Book One, and I've been told that Book Three (the last) is better than Book Two. Even better.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Big Brother

Oh dear. I see from my stats that I've been read by someone at the Department of Internal Affairs.
Thank goodness this isn't America.

Surrealist compliments and the cool-ness of making new friends

"You have the vocabulary of an aspidistra in panic."
hmm.. sounds like an insult to me. Aspidistra don't have a vocabulary... This compliment comes to you via The Surrealist Compliment Generator, brought to my attention by The Warrior Librarian, a repository of strange and interesting things.

It's been a long time since I last made a friend. I've made lots of aquaintances over time, but friends are different. Friends are people I can feel a rapport with; they're the ones I feel I can just call up, the one's I can bitch to and know it won't go any further. They're the people I think connect with me, to use a new-agey, touchy-feely term.

So I am pleased to announce I have a new friend. (I still have my old friends, but I somehow got out of the habit of making new ones when I stopped being single, well-paid and free most evenings). My new friend works at the university library - but I like her even before she became my very useful new friend. She's one of the few Asian students in my class who isn't as quiet as a mouse. Needless to say, she's intelligent (I don't have time for stupid people). Also, I figured that anyone who wants to learn Italian must have something going for them.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

An exercise in frustration

My friend at the university library helped me out in my quest for the original research on the affect of chocolate on babies, by sending me the direct link to the article.

Great, I thought, until I found that I couldn't access that particular on-line database from home.
So tonight, after work, I drove to the campus and logged on to one of the computers in the PostGrad lab.

Nope, no good.

Remembering my friend's advice that I may need to get a login and password from the reference desk, I went across the courtyard to the university library.

The reference librarian had gone home, leaving a sign directing me to the general information desk.

The girl at the general information desk told me it was really a reference thing, but I should try one of the computers next to the reference desk which were set up especially to access the online databases.

I went to that computer - hooray! I was able to access the article. It was 7 pages of hardcore scientific jargon - no way was I going to be able to read that without at least printing it out and taking it home, or emailing the whole thing to my home address.

I tried the 'e-mail article' button, however I succeeded only in e-mailing the link.

Okay, the next step was to print it out. Seven pages shouldn't cost me much.
I couldn't print it out, because I had no money in my student account.
Off to the general information desk I went, with a request to load up my account.

Sorry, said the girl, only the Computing Help Desk can do that, and they are not open after hours.

Copy and paste wasn't an option, because the article was a PDF file.

I drove home, with no article. My boy tells me there are ways I could've gotten around all that. But I'm not geeky enough to know.

And you know what? It's all for one or two paragraphs in a 2200-word essay.

Bring on the Deep Heat

I shouldn't have done those shoulder press exercises at the gym last night. My neck and shoulders, always a little vulnerable to stress-related tightness, had just gotten over the worst of the muscle-crunch they suffered on Monday. Too optimistic, I thought it'd be okay to get them working again. I was wrong. I can barely turn my head more than 50 degrees each way, making it hard for me to do the hair-flick thing which I sometimes do (to get hair out of my eyes, not as a flirtation device).

I've been preparing for an ANZAC Day display starting next week, and it's looking pretty good:
- There's a guy with his own museum of militaria, who's coming in on Monday with some rare memorabilia for our display case.
- I've got posters, poppies and reproductions of old ads from 1915, from the RSA.
- I've got a recipe for ANZAC biscuits
- I have a copy of the McCrae poem, of which one verse is always read out during the Dawn Service (its an anti-war poem, but they managed to find the verse which dwells on the heroism of our fallen).

I was one of the many who disapprove of the US's invasion of Iraq. That doesn't mean I can't support the Kiwi lads who've gone over there to help bring back stability to the country though.

Meanwhile, it's school holidays and I'm occasionally having to put up with smart-alecky kids with loud voices. Only fifteen minutes to go before home-time...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Extreme makeover possibilities part deux

How could I have forgotten two really obvious ones? Liposuction and dental work.

Liposuction I wouldn't bother with, only because I've made lots of effort (on and off) over the years to get into some kind of respectable shape. While I wouldn't exactly give my bod a 10 out of 10, at least it's what I've made it (sort of). So I wouldn't want to wreck all that hard work by simply getting a bucketful of fat sucked out of me.

Dental work. My teeth are victims of the classic Asian mouth-too-small-for-teeth condition. From the time I was a teen, it was always a possibility that I'd get braces. But back then we couldn't afford it, and by the time I could I was grown up and wasn't keen on having a mouth full of wire. Now I'm so used to having crooked teeth I forget all about it.

Extreme makeover possibilities

It's fascinating in a similar way that car crashes are fascinating, but less morbid because none of the players get killed (although there was that chinless Scotswoman whose cheek went all fat and yellow for a few months). I'm talking about the television show 'Extreme Makeover' of course.

If I were given the opportunity to go on the show and get 'done', what would I ask for? Well nothing, actually, because I don't like what I've seen of the in-between stage they go through (it's kinda ugly, not to mention the possibility of things going wrong).

- eye laser surgery. I'd had this done already. I went from obsessively wearing my contact lenses in order to avoid the milk-bottle bottom look, to not having to wear corrective lenses at all. So okay, if I hadn't already had the operation this is the one I would have chosen.

- leg-lengthening operation. The fantasy operation for me. Apparently over in China heaps of young Chinese women are undergoing some form of this operation in their quest for jobs. I haven't heard of it in the West though, and I couldn't be bothered with it by now, I've come to accept that my bum is far to close to the ground for a modelling career.

- anything to do with breasts. Nah. I'm okay there I think

- hair. It must be an age thing. I'm quite okay with my hair too - unless there is some way to stop hat-hair.

- fashion and makeup. As above, but if Trinny and Susannah were to offer me two thousand pounds to spend on clothes according to their rules, I'd probably go along with it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A dream revisits

I just had a flash of a dream I had last night or early this morning. I dreamed that my bum had become smaller through all my gym efforts and was now too small...

First impressions of 'Lirael'

Well first of all, I was pleasantly surprised that our heroine (at age 14) decides to get a job in the library. Lirael the Third Assistant Librarian. If only more libraries were as magical and dangerous as hers. I was also surprised that the boy hadn't told me this, before I started reading the book - but then he's pretty good at keeping plot twists to himself.

Unfortunately, all the heroes in this tale are quite tall; this is the thing about 'Sabriel' which annoyed me mildly.

Anyway, I've found 'Lirael' a more exciting read than it's predecesor (I'm lots of trouble spelling that word!). So far at least, I can identify with the heroine slightly more just because she's felt like an outsider in her community, since she's the only one there who isn't a seer.

Now I'm going to work on my essay for another couple of hours, so I can reward myself with another spell of reading 'Lirael' later...

Monday, April 12, 2004

Science can tell you what you want to be true

New Scientist is such a good magazine - it's almost a pop-science journal, because it's relatively easy to read and full of interesting stuff which actually means something in everyday life.

I was looking for the source of a newspaper article which says that if you eat chocolate every day while pregnant your child will be a smiley happy one. I traced the information as far back as New Scientist.

I'm including it in my essay, as an example of how information is modified for general readership, so it would be nice if I could get hold of the previous source (Early Human Development Vol 76) - however I couldn't find it in the University's library catalogue...maybe I'll try to Interloan it.

Anyway, I like chocolate but I'm not a huge fan of it - but this article just might convince me to make it part of my diet. And that's just to ensure that I'm as sweet as can be.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Just a pawn of The Fates

Finally, after lunch in town and a browse through the shops, my boy decided yesterday that we would go away for the weekend.

I'd been in a dilemma over whether to make the most of the last long weekend before Queen's Birthday, or catch up with my old mate Claudio whom I haven't seen for ten years. Maybe it's the Libran in me, but I couldn't decide - so the boy decided for me. For an hour or so after we hastily packed, got petrol and left the city, I tried vainly to enjoy myself. What's the point, after all, of choosing between two options and then agonising over the one I didn't go for? He must have sensed the tension, because I sat up in my seat rather than going all relaxed and collapse-y while he drove.

Then, at Raumati, we hit a nasty public holiday weekend-style traffic jam - and that was it. He decided he wouldn't bother, and we turned around and came home again. I still can't be sure if it was the traffic that did it, or whether he was sufficiently tuned in to me to notice I'd really wanted to stay in town.

So we met Claudio and Hannah for dinner. We went to Chow, possibly the coolest eating establishment in town. Not cheap, but not expensive. Cool and trendy, but friendly and not at all snotty. Exciting cocktail menus and tasty Asian-fusion food in a grown-yum char kind of way. I got to hear about how Claudio and Hannah met (he was teaching a wine appreciation course and she was taking the class) and caught up on mutual friends and aquaintances. We were charmed by each other's mates.

Afterwards, I knew that it was a damn fine thing that the traffic at Raumati was so horrible.

Amazingly, the weather's been really nice since Friday afternoon. Which makes it a little frustrating that my neck went out overnight and now I feel like that girl in 'Sixteen Candles' who spent the whole movie with her neck in a brace (but older and shorter).

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Ole' Square Eyes am I

I've only been ticketed for speeding once in my life, so I have no personal stories about attempting to avoid the fines. This guy argued that he can't have been speeding because he was only a few days old at the time.

So far this holiday weekend I've managed to:
1. watch five episodes of The X-Files, Season 2 (including the wonderful episode about murder in the freak show town. You know, the one with Conundrum/Jigsaw Man and the guy with the detachable Siamese twin)
2. take my boy out for a much-needed walk
3. consume three large pieces of gateau
4. watch Trinny and Suzanna re-style a 40-something Indian woman with a taste for yellow gypsy skirts
5. spend a couple of hours each, on study and the essay on misinformation
6. worry about whether to stay home and meet up with my friend from the UK whom I haven't seen for 10 years (and make me happy), or go away for the rest of the weekend (and make my boy really happy)

Friday, April 09, 2004

Isn't 'Happy Easter' an oxymoron for Christians? Happy Easter !

I'm happy, because I don't have to go to work for four whole days. And it's still 10 days before I starting driving the mobile library around ALL ON MY OWN. This is a big deal for me, because I have never, ever driven the bus without either a driving instructor or fellow library-person on board (to remind how to drive the bus, or to tell me how to get to the next stop). Thank goodness I can distract myself with study, assignments, whether or not to start a family in the near future, and how to replace my fence which got blown down last month.

We watched 'Cypher' on DVD last night. This SF/alternate reality movie spent very little time in the cinemas, and we hadn't gotten around to seeing it until now. Despite the fact that Lucy Liu was in it, it was good movie with an interesting plot. Shades of 'The Matrix' without the special effects and fancy kung-fu, and some similar themes to that of 'Total Recall' (without the special effects and the violence).

In other words, 'Cypher' is a plot-driven movie. There's a twist, which surprised me as much as that of 'Vanilla Sky'. My boy claims to have picked it up less than half-way through the movie, and but he still really enjoyed it. I ,myself, am Ms Gullible when it comes to picking out plot twists, so I didn't get it until 'Cypher' made it pretty obvious.

Probably the best part was watching our hero re-invent himself from nerdy boring guy to attractive, risk-taking guy - and there's a 'Clockwork Orange'-esqe scene in there too. An you know what? It's a love story too.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Toes of ice

Geez, it's cold today. The temperature is probably not that low (I'd guess around 11 C), but I really felt it this morning. What makes it worse is that the library building is a little over-heated, while the bus is mostly unheated. Dressing in layers is helping (t-shirts at my desk, add the jacket in the public area, zip the jacket up and stomp the feet when on the bus).

I've finished reading all of the novellas in Tales of the Slayer Volume 3. They were enjoyable, and the fighting scenes were well-written. However, the one thing which I felt was missing was character development. Of course, this is a hard ask for a novella or short story, especially when comparing it to a whole television series (BtVS). I'd thought at first that the combination of familiar setting (the Buffyverse) and unfamiliar characters would work really well for me. But I never get to really know the Slayer, nor follow her growth as an extraordinary human being. So I don't know whether I'll try reading any of the other Tales, or any of the novels about Buffy.

What I do want to get around to reading is Phillip Pullman's 'Northern Lights', and probably the Garth Nix books 'Lirael' and 'Abhorsen'. After I've finished my essay on misinformation.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Meetings, academic frauds and funny stuff

I went to a library association meeting last night, in which the two speakerd were library managers who'd gotten themselves sent to Seattle for the PLA (Public Libraries Association I think, rather some Palestinian organisation) Conference. I'd been hoping to hear their thoughts on the discussions about the Patriot Act, amongst other things. So I was pretty disappointed when they said they'd been advised to withdraw from the discussion group - apparently the room was probably bugged and a non-American voice wouldn't have gone down well with the 'buggers'.

In my research for my essay on misinformation, I've found quite a few examples of scholars who've been caught falsifying evidence in order to get published. In my library training, I've been taught to trust university-linked/scholarly information more than Joe Blogg's - but obviously even the most well-respected scientist or historian can't trusted(this is an old article from 2002).

Courtesy of the Laughing Librarian, I found this site page in which people have combined two book titles to make one. My favourites have to be:

Go Ask Alice in Wonderland
Teen girl becomes drug addict, takes the trip of her life.

Lord of the Ringflies
Three-book fantasy epic about rectal parasites.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

a day on campus

I've got a day off work today. My boss very nicely let me have the day off when I asked to attend a library association meeting early this evening (normally I go to work right after my class, then work till 8pm). So I was so busy getting ready for doing study stuff after my class, that I forgot half of the stuff I needed for the class itself - like my course notes.

It's nice and quiet now, because most of my classmates have gone to their afternoon class (I'm only taking one course). I'd been having trouble accessing the university's online databases from home, so one of the things I'd hoped to do was to spend time looking through the on-line journals. I'd forgotten how slow the process of downloading e-journals is, and waiting for articles to appear is frustrating.

At least I have all afternoon this time.

Ever since I started really looking into my essay topic of misinformation, I've become more aware of - and more paranoid about - the prevalence of misinformation in every source. I can no longer read a non-fiction book or article and just take it at face value (this is something I've gotten away with most of my life). It's now so much more work reading stuff, because I have to be actively sceptical and maybe even check the writer's sources.

Now I know why most people read novels in their leisure time.

Monday, April 05, 2004

lapses in the mind

I seem to be experiencing an annoyingly large number of 'blond' moments these days. I've never been blond, and if I ever was then I'm definitely old enough for the hair colour to have darkened to non-blonde by now anyway. Perhaps these 'blond' moments are actually grey moments...those lapses of memory or momentary confusion which accompany old age. Not that I'm really old, but I'm only six months away from the big fore-oh.

Once again, I forgot to lock my car door this morning when I left it. Last time it happened at work, I got my gym gear stolen. Getting my stuff nicked, did not stop me from forgetting to lock the car door at least three more times since then...

As well, I seem to misunderstand what my boss tells me - frequently. Some of it I put down to her. For example, she tells me I'm going out on the mobile library with so-and-so, and then thinks that so-and-so already knows. My workmates have similar stories. But sometimes it must be me. Or...and this is scary...we both share this trait of not being quite accurate in what we're being told or telling others - and this is what happens when two like-minded people try to communicate to each other.

Either way, it's a worry. I might have to increase my fish intake or something.

busy busy busy

It was pretty busy this morning - I was on Info Desk most of the time, while trying to help someone put up an enormous amount of Road Safety display stuff. She'd brought enough posters to cover every display board in the library, but we'd only assigned her one small one.

And it's going to be a busy and nerve-wracking month for me I think. One of the mobile-library drivers is going on holiday for six weeks, so the rest of us have to cover for her. I was most worried about a particular run which includes a very difficult 3-point turn, but enough whinging resulted in that run being 'offered' to one of the other (more experienced) workmates. I guess the old 'Asian woman driver' thing isn't going to let me off my responsibilities...

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Clash of the holiday activities

We decided last night that we'd definitely leave town for the long weekend over Easter. So I was a bit put out to find that my friend Claudio, who is in New Zealand on honeymoon with his new wife, is only going to be in town for one day - and that day is in the middle of the weekend.

I'm a little bit tempted to stay at home after all, so that I can catch up with Claudio, meet his wife and introduce them to my other half. But on the otherhand, my boy really really needs a break and I was quite looking forward to getting away (at least as much as I was looking forward to seeing an old friend).

So I've decided - if Claudio really wanted to catch up, he would surely have allowed for more than one measly day in town, right? So he's probably not going to be devastated if his day in my town coincides with my much-needed trip away, is he?

Great knee-length boots = rapture

I’m so rapt. Yesterday my boy and I went shopping, for boots. I needed to replace the ankle boots which I’ve been wearing for the last three winters, plus I wanted to see if I could find some knee-length dress boots (anything to be able to wear skirts, while avoiding those horrible pantyhose). And we actually found a pair which had enough heel to look dressy, but not enough to impede my walking ability. Not only could I fit my legs into them, but they looked damned fine on me AND were a nice price too. So we went out last night, so I could show ‘em off.

In the process, I discovered that my boy is like most males in this respect – he prefers me to look girly.

W went to see Lost in Translation. I enjoyed watching Bill Murray’s character having a hard time understanding the locals’ English. It made me sad though. Even though both of the characters had found a friend in each other, they were both basically unhappy people. It had a real Indie feel about it, which I like – but it wouldn’t have struck me as an Oscar-winning film though.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Look out - public holidays ahead

Easter's coming up, and with it a four-day weekend. Cool.

My boy's been complaining lately, that he hasn't seen much of me. That isn't surprising, because our normal week looks like this (bear in mind I'm usually in bed by 10.30/11pm):

Monday - he goes to an RPG (role-playing game) evening, and doesn't get in until I'm about to head for bed
Tuesday - I have a class in the morning, so I work late until 8pm to make up the time. It's nearly 9pm by the time I get home
Wednesday - I go to the gym after work, so I don't get in until 8pm
Thursday - no gym, though it's Dinner at Mum's night. We get back home around 8pm
Friday - If I have to work or go to a study workshop on Saturday, I go to the gym again today, so I don't get in until 8pm
Saturday - The boy sleeps in till noon, I go to work or to the gym in the meantime. This is the only full day we have together (see Sunday).
Sunday - It's Take Mum shopping Day . We go to the market, then to Church, then to some supermarkets (maybe just one, maybe 3!), before a late lunch at her place. Losts of driving, waiting and lifting involved. I get home between 2pm and 3pm, in a grouchy mood and in the need for a long walk alone.

So I'll pretend we're going away for the weekend (to avoid the major-ly stressful shopping Sunday), and we'll just hang.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

...and a tough afternoon it's been too...

1. I had to rescue the printer (and paper) from trying to produce 500-odd copies of a map, because some kids entered a really big number in the Copies field.

2. Another kid who didn't really know what he wanted to read kept asking me to find books for him on ..I dunno.. in circuses...and whenever I found him a book the little bastard said he'd read it already.

3. I was rostered to be at the Information Desk for an hour and a half, from 3pm. This was bad enough, as it meant I wouldn't get my tea break until 4.30pm. What made it worse was that my boss - who not only made up the roster in the first place, but was supposed to relieve me at 4.30pm - didn't get around to relieving me until 5pm, when I reminded her. After a fifteen-minute tea break, she came and got me to take over again so she could send a fax. I was there, mostly doing photocopying for patrons, till the end of my day - 5.30pm.

4. The traffic was worse than usual. I don't know why, but ever since I started working at this place last July it's been taking me longer and longer to get to and from work. It's not seasonal, becase it was mid-Winter when I first started. In this part of the world (except Auckland), a one-hour commute is pretty bloody ridiculous.

5. Someone keeps parking really close to my driveway - less than the legal minimum distance of one metre - so that I can't just swan into my garage at the end of the day. It also makes it harder to get out in the mornings. And that car was parked really close this evening.

Just as well my boy brought home a large bottle of wine, and there's chocolate mud cake in the fridge.

Nesian Mystik

I've decided I'm just going to have to buy the Nesian Mystik CD. They've been around a little while, and one of their songs even features on a Coke ad on television. I heard a song of theirs while I was driving to work this morning, and it was about the first thing to put a smile on my face today.

It's a mixture of Pacific Island music and hip hop, all very accessible, danceable and kinda irresistable. It's the first bit of music I've shown interest in since my discovery of Bach's cello music about four years ago. And to think that once I used to spend all my money on records...(I was fifteen and mad about Jackson Browne and New Zealand Dunedin bands).

The warm fuzzies

Remember the other day, when a baby-dreaded teenage schoolkid came in looking for information on mountain carrot and blue heather? Those are alpine plants, by the way, and apparently are regarded as pests by the Department of Conservation. I managed to find a few websites which had information on blue heather at least, and had the list of URLs printed off for the dreadlocked pupil to collect.

He came in yesterday, five minutes before closing time, for the list. He looked so pleased at my efforts that it just gave me the warm fuzzies. It's nice to see school kids interested in doing their homework, and it's even nicer to get warm expressions of gratitude.