Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Last night the fog rolled in and covered Greymouth. From our balcony, it looked really neat with all the town lights glowing faintly under it all. The fog has blown in again this morning, turning what was a warm-ish, sunny start to the day, into an icy-cold, foggy day. That's okay, because we're leaving this afternoon, to go back to sunny Nelson. In the meantime, we've been to the Warehouse (there's one in every town or city, like the ubiquitous McDonalds) to shop for cheap clothes, and now we're lounging about in a trendy/grungy cafe with cheap Internet facilities. This cafe must be okay if they hire out art film videos, eh?

After a bout of introspection, I've worked out the guts of the difference between the way I holiday and the way my boy holidays - I relax by doing stuff and he relaxes by doing nothing. I've already started to get used to periods of doing nothing, and I did manage to get him out for a walk in the bush so I suppose he's getting used to doing something.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A sunny afternoon in Greymouth

We arrived at Greymouth this afternoon, via the Tranz Alpine train. As promised, the views were very pretty; if there hadn't been so much low cloud around the mountains, they would've been stunning. I supposed it's a characteristic of mountains, especially those of the snowclad variety. It's a bit like Milford Sound in that way - all the postcard shots were taken on sunny days, but these places get rain about 300 days of the year...

What I wasn't expecting was that it would be fine in Greymouth. This is the West Coast of New Zealand after all, known for it's humoungous precipitation. We're lucky I guess. We went for a bit of a walk, but had to turn back after twenty minutes because the boy had put on his dress boots instead of his hiking boots. Never mind, we both got warm and sweaty and saw some of that lovely temperate rain forest along the way.

It already feels as though our holiday is ending, even though there're about five more days before we head back over the Strait. Maybe because after today, we go back north.

Monday, June 28, 2004

A great Asian stereotype to be

woohoo! you're a F.O.B...Fly Oriental Being! you're
cool, fashionable, you keep it real, and you
have non-asian friends as well as asian ones.
you set a great example for all the other girls
out there.

What's your Asian Stereotype? (girls)
brought to you by Quizilla

I found this at No Milk Please (see the link down on the right somewhere).

alarming the other hotel guests

We've been moved down the hall into another hotel suite, because we'd decided to stay a couple of nights more than we'd booked for. The 'new' suite is nicer in some ways because the bedroom and bathroom aren't connected to the lounge, or each other, except via a little foyer. In other words, it's mostly set out like a normal house (but smaller). But we've found two disadvantages of the new place - 1) it doesn't have a hotplate, so we have to use the microwave oven or grill oven; 2) the overhead extractor fan doesn't work very well.

There we were, cooking our strips of pork in the grill oven and watching television in the meantime, when the smoke alarm went off. We searched in vain for that little button which turns off the horrible sharp, piercing sound. I rang reception, who took so long to answer that the boy decided to run downstairs and ask them in person, 'How the hell do you turn off the smoke alarm?!'.

When reception picked up the phone, they asked whether we were causing the smoke alarms to go off in every single suite on the first floor. On the defensive, I told them we probably were, but assured them we'd detected no smoke. They turned off the alarm, and the boy returned, suffering from the effects of having hotel guest open their door and stare at him anxiously, ear-splitting wails in the background.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

How an American breakfast can take up your day

I'm getting so used to having the heater on full blast in the hotel room, I fear that when we're home again I'm going to freeze like the proverbial brass monkey. We only have a singe 7-fin oil column heater at home you see, which is used to heat the whole lounge (well it attempts to, anyway). While we've been on holiday, we've taken advantage of the fact that we can use as much heating and as many tea bags, towels and little shampoo sachets as we like. It's very easy to get used to.

I was up relatively early this morning, so I went for a walk while waiting for the boy to finish his slumber. Faced with deciding between a walk around the large and green Hagley Park, or a boyfriend-free trip around the clothes shops, I chose the latter. Green-ness, I can get when he wakes up.

There is a breakfast restaurant nearby, called Drexels, which specialises in American-style breakfasts i.e. pancakes, waffles, everything with eggs and in huge portions. So we went there for a very late breakfast - I think it was after 1pm by the time we sat down and ordered. Unfortunately for the boy, he isn't used to eating eggs these days (due to my allergy to them); he's been having eggy breakfasts every day since we went away, and today he paid for it. While we were in the Information Centre arranging our travel and accomodation for the next few days, he had to rush to the nearest public rest room and hasn't been particularly energetic since. The promised stroll through the shops turned into a quick sprint to the comic shop (he must've spotted it on our first day - funny the things that imprint on our minds, eh?) and back to the hotel. I sent him off 'home' without me, which meant I was free to return to the Christchurch Art Gallery. I do like the place, it's so full of art.

p.s. I wonder whether he thinks I'm a bit of a control-freak, wanting to book the train, bus and accomodation already rather than just taking it day by day. I just see such organisation as getting all the questions asked and answered at one time, rather than having to do it every day.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Christchurch, city of white folks

Isn't it great to have complementary Internet at one's place of accomodation?

Christchurch is supposed to be New Zealands' most English city. There is a River Avon, several stone buildings which are Oxford University-looking (most of which were designed by the same architect, which makes it risky to use one as an orientation landmark), and a population which is mostly white. In fact, a few Asian students were beaten up in Christchurch a little while back, so I'm glad I'm here with a tall, scary, protective guy.

The place is quite pleasant; there are large green areas really close to the city centre. The Arts Centre is fun, too - though more slick than it was when I visited it years ago. There are artist's workshops where you can watch them paint, carve bone, turn wood or whatever. The new art gallery is good; the building is one of those arty farty designs which make traditionalists shudder. I thought it was like being in a grown-up version of Te Papa (NZ's national museum which has gone out of it's way to appeal to kids - at the expense of being interesting to adults).

We rounded off our day with a visit to the cinema. Shrek 2 in fact. I really enjoyed it; Puss in Boots is disarmingly cute when he needs to be, the bad fairy godmother is so obviously Jennifer Saunders and donkey is still amazingly expressive for a computer-generated cartoon animal. And the ending was quite satisfactory too.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Kaikoura - Christchurch

Okay, I lied about not posting for another two weeks. We've just arrived in Christchurceh, and saw this Internet cafe so..y'know.

The one bad thing in this holiday was yesterday morning, in Kaikoura. We'd booked ourselves on a whale-watching boat ride, and because I have gotten extremely sea-sick on past boat rides, I'd taken a couple of locally brewed seasickness capsules. I don't remember being advised to take them with food, but now I'm sure that I should have. From the time I took the capsules, right up until I got on the boat, I felt really queasy.

Seasickness is the closest thing to wanting to die, that I know.

I even threw up a couple of times while waiting to board. I contemplated not going on the boat after all, but went ahead with it because the boy said that if I didn't go he wouldn't either. Fortunately, the nausea cleared up soon after we boarded the boat. I still kept my sights on the horizon most of the time, but I was well enough to enjoy seeing two sperm whales (when they dive you see their tails flip up, just like on the postcards), a pod of Dusky dolphins (leaping about playfully as you'd expect) and various sea birds.

I felt sorry for the people who hadn't had the foresight to ingest pre-trip drugs; they spent the whole three hours hunched over in their seats and probably didn't see past their vomit bags. Even the boy threw up once, so it must've been moderately rough.

Yesterday we were at Hanmer Springs. We got ourselves a really lovely place to stay, with a spa bath, so we could have a dip before bedtime. Of course, we had a dip in the mineral pools too, though the only advantage these pools have over the hot pools near Taupo is the gorgeous alpine view.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Nelson - First day of the holidays and I'm already impatient

I'm the kind of person who, when she goes on holiday, wants to suss the place out as soon as she gets there. I like to find out what there is to do, where everything is, and where I can go next. I like to have an idea of what I'll do today, tomorrow and the next day. I'm not inflexible; I'm open to changing my plans if and when something more interesting comes to my attention.

The boy, however, is much more relaxed and unorganised that this. He likes to sleep in, take his time waking up, and ease into the day. If that means missing out on events that only happen early in the morning, so be it. It it means not having enough time to see much, so what.

I knew this might happen, so I'm not surprised. I'm determined though to change our difference in styles over the next two weeks. I don't want to look back on this holiday as a time when I wanted to do lots and didn't get to. Over the time we've been together, I think I've already moved a little to his way of doing things; it's high time he did a bit of changing too!

I've found a great little bakery for rolls, croissants and pies; it's the Tasty Tucker bakery, right next door to this Internet cafe. Strangely, I didn't come across any McDonalds on my morning walkabout. This is surely a very good sign.

Friday, June 18, 2004

OK just this one last post before we leave town...

I found an interesting little write-up about the Angel series, which I found on Whedonesque. He talks about how the show is so much darker than BtVS, and how the development of Wesley mirrors that.

Oh yeah, I got my very first computer virus yesterday. It was Bloodhound.Exploit.10, which is very annoying because whenever I started up the Internet Browser, the page which loaded was some dumb advertising thing with silly porno popups. I got rid of it, only to get it again today. I'm wondering whether one of the list-serv e-mails I get regularly, is re-infecting the computer every time I open one up to read.


I'm just starting to relax, though I still have this afternoon and tomorrow to get through before I'm off work for two whole, lovely weeks. It looks like the roster will be in my favour when I get back, too; I only do one evening every two weeks, and on the week I don't do evening, I man the branch library which means I get to go home at 4.30 instead of 5.30. So that's quite cool.

I just spent the last ten minutes reading a 'new librarians' discussion thread, in which most postings were about MLIS graduates who were having lots of trouble getting jobs (some of them entry-level). It kinda makes me feel good about my own work situation - even if I end up staying at this place until I graduate, at least I'll have four years of experience in display management, reference, bus-driving, web content management and generally being nice to people 'cos that's in my job description.

And its nice to be able to tick off things on my list-to-do. I guess thats because I have a 'completion' leadership style...

Oh yeah - this will most likely be my last post until I get back, on July 4th. I will be cruising for Internet cafes, but don't hold your breath. Just come back for the next update.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Whacked. And worried.

That I am.
I had to make up two hours at work, due to the 'emergency' described in the previous post, so I worked through my lunch break. I managed to remove and replace two displays though, so it was probably worth it. My list of things-to-do, before I can relax and holiday, has shortened considerably.

A while back, I e-mailed a Letter to the Editor, to the editor of a Library and Information magazine. The subject was the issue of crap pay in librarianship. I was admittedly feeling a little cynical at the time, but I did try to keep everything seemly. Once I'd sent it, I got a little nervous; I'd mentioned something about potential librarians leaving due to pitiful salaries, and may look as though I'm intending to do just that. So I asked the editor if it would be possible to omit my name. She said she'd omit my surname.

Well, that magazine arrived in the post today, and I was thoroughly disappointed to find that, not only had the editor not stepped in with a red pen and moderated the letter, but she'd printed my full name under it. I only hope no-one takes the letter the wrong way.

a morning of absurdity

For the last few days, we've been careful not to set the security alarm on before we leave to go to work in the morning. It was because I hadn't gotten around to giving the builder a PIN to get in the door without setting off the alarm.

Well, yesterday the builder finished building our fence (and a wonderful job it was too), and he rang to say he'd be in today to pick up the cheque.

If only I'd remembered to remind my boyfriend...

This morning, half an hour after I'd got to work, I received a call from the alarm monitoring company. Apparently someone had set the alarm off. It didn't take much brain to work out that the boy had set the alarm on before leaving the house, and the builder had triggered it off in his attempt to get in the house to retrieve his well-deserved payment. So I rang the boy, who hadn't yet arrived at work; he was pretty annoyed, but agreed to turn back and let the poor man in the house (or at least check that no-one was trying to break in).

Thirty minutes later, my brand-new mobile phone was ringing hot. It was the boy. The builder had flown, probably in panic 'cos the alarm had gone off. The boy had broken his key in the front door keyhole, possibly through brute force resulting from extreme feelings of annoyance. This is the new spare key which was only 2-weeks old. He'd managed to get the remnants out of the lock, but now had no way of locking the front door (its a deadlock) - he couldn't leave the house. He was all stressed out, with the prospect of tons to do at work and no possibility of getting to his office to do it.

There was no way around it. I would have to drive all the way back home (30 mins on the motorway and 15 mins in inner-city traffic), just to lock the front door and enable him to get to work.

Now, one round trip each day is bad enough to make me go all tight around the upper back and shoulders. Two round trips in one day, plus no lunch hour because I now had two hours to make up at work, is not a nice way to start the day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I can feel a hassle-attack coming on...

With only 3 1/2 more days of work, including two half-days driving the bus, I'm feeling sooo busy. Before the end of Friday (about 4 half-days), and between desk duty periods of up to 1 1/2 hours at a time, I have to:

1. Take down a messy Arbor Day display (one staple at a time), and replace it with one about Matariki (Maori New Year)
2. Organise for someone to put up a Genealogy display on Monday
3. Remove a D-Day Anniversary display and try to avoid volunteering myself to put up a Montana Book Awards display
4. Collect all the library stats for children's desk, the branch library, the mobile library, the phone log and the information desk
5. Familiarise myself with the my new Monday night mobile library route, which starts the day I get back from holiday
6. Find various Large Print books for twenty well-read old folks who have nothing to do but read all day
7. Find some books on traditional Fijian houses for a kid's school project
8. Tell the unofficial children's librarian about some Library Week stuff I've volunteered her to do
9. And call five celebrities before breakfast

Actually, the last one's isn't quite true. I have to call two celebrities before they lose interest in participating in Library Week activities.

And then there's the non-work stuff I have to do before I go away, like:
1. call alarm monitoring place to tell them my new mobile number
2. call my brother to remind him to collect our mail while we're away
3. call my mother, 'cos she'll worry if I don't
4. return all my library books
5. make a packing list
6. pack
7. go to the gym twice
8. pay the builder

I have a poster of Munch's Scream beside my computer. I can sort of relate to that...

No more Assignment

Finally, finally, I have done with and finished with my assignment. It's taken me about six hours just to get the referencing to my satisfaction and for a final proof-reading. I'm not going to look at it anymore, even though I won't hand it in for another hour. I feel reasonably good about it, but I can't say it was easy (or exciting, for that matter).

The boy's birthday was low-key. We went out for Peking duck, then came home where he played computer games and I worked on the assignment. The we watched part II of I, Claudius (where Caligula kills Uncle Tiberius to claim emperorship, marries his own sister and ingests her unborn child) while he gave me a back rub.

Meanwhile, have fun looking at the Four Word Film Review, which I found at the Gateshead Library Weblog.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Just a few disconnected points...

It's very disconcerting, when one is sitting on the toilet, to hear loud grunting just on the other side of the wall.

It's the boy's birthday today. I'm getting him a tattoo. My assignment is due tomorrow, but of course finishing it tonight is out of the question. Just as well I"m working on Saturday, because that means I have a few hours off tomorrow morning to finish the report.

I'm in charge of the displays at the library - booking of space, that is. Apparently someone took a booking for this week (a month ago?) and didn't bother telling me, except to write it down on a portion of wall-planner which I never look at anyway. I've got a double-booking and I'm stressing.

We rented out I Claudius parts 3 and 4. That's five hours of DVD to watch before the weekend. Thank goodness I'm in the middle of a study break.

Only five days to go till we go on holiday!

Sunday, June 13, 2004

The end of Angel

We watched the final episode last night. It was a good way to finish really, with Angel, Ilyria, Spike and Gunn in a last-gasp fight against a mob of ugly, hooting demons. I was a bit disturbed about Lorne killing Lindsay though; the latter may have been an evil dude, but Lorne's a singer not a fighter.

It really does feel as though the show's had been canned came all-of-a-sudden (and just as it was turning out to be good and dark). There's a flurry of loose-end-tying in the last four or five episodes, so even though I didnt know what season we were watching it became quite obvious it was heading towards a final.

I'm going to have to re-watch them all, I think.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

A love affair with...stationery?

This might sound weird, but I really like those little spiral-bound, hard-back journals that you see in the stationery shops. They're about A5 size, usually have lovely designs on the covers, and the pages are lined but otherwise empty. I remember when I was a kid, I loved books like this even though there was nothing in them to read. Maybe it's the possibility of creating a great written moment that it represents. Maybe I'm just a little strange. But I know I'm not on my own, because I mentioned it once to a fellow library school student (an archivist), and he did that nodding-in-recognition thing.

A bit of fresh air and exercise

The new fence is looking good, with just one section to go plus a 'cap' (the bit that goes on top to give it a finished look). There has been a large pile of dirt outside my front door for the last few days, due to the builder digging holes and putting posts in; I'd decided we could dispose of the dirt by transferring it to the back yard (thereby filling in the big dip that's been there ever since a plumber dug it up to fix the sewer pipe of a house two doors up).

Because we're going away next weekend, I realised we'd have to get moving on this task, or have a big pile of dirt/mud/concrete remnants outside my front door for at least the next four weeks. So I had to interrupt my Saturday morning activity of reading the paper in the sun and looking at the job ads, in order to shift dirt.

We don't have a shovel, and we don't have a wheelbarrow.

I started out with a plastic dust pan and a plastic bucket; after five or six trips though, I could imagine how someone watching would utterly crack up with the silliness and inefficiency of my methods. So I borrowed my sister-in-law's shovel and got another bucket. By this time, the boy was up and only slightly hung over; he took on the role of transporting the buckets. It still took about two hours in all, and by the end of it my boots were so caked in mud I was probably wearing a significant portion of the dirt pile.

But it's not over. Tomorrow we're going to put the concrete bits around the dirt bed we've created, so that it looks as though we have a bordered vege garden-in-waiting rather than a shallow grave.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Till my holidays

one more week to more week to go... one more week to go...

The new fence is looking really good. I just have to buy a new mailbox now, because the one I bought six months ago won't fit the new fence. At five feet high, it's almost high enough to stop anyone my height from peeking in - unless they really want to. I suppose the main thing is that it'll stop rubbish from blowing over into my front lawn, and into the porch (which is cleverly designed to trap any in-blown rubbish, leaving the front doorway very un-auspiciously untidy).

The boy is out tonight getting plastered with his friends and workmates, so I suppose I'll make use of the free time to finish my assignment.

Time for cake I think.

personality profiles

This morning the whole library team (minus the team leaders) attended a Team Development course, which just finished an hour ago. I was surprised when the course leader took out a pile of paper and told us they were our personality profiles. These must have been gleaned from our answers to a questionnaire which we'd filled in a couple of weeks ago; I thought they were only supposed to show what we, as a team, thought of our performance.

We each had a graph showing how we scored in leadership styles like:

Complete - likes to get things done, and on time
Coordinate - delegates
Direct - authoritative (bossy?)
Evaluate - analytical
Explore - searches out information and ideas from lots of places
Harmonise - likes to keep everyone happy
Implement - good at getting started on tasks
Innovate - creative, ideas person

Anyway, I scored high on Evaluate (no surprise, since I have a science degree and used to be a computer programmer), Complete (I do like to get things done), Harmonise ('cos I'm so nice and sweet) and Direct (this was the big surprise - I don't see myself as the order-giving type).

Sadly, Innovate was my worst score, confirming my fears that I would never have made it as an artist or designer. It also makes me wonder whether my ideal occupation might have been 'accountant'...

Thursday, June 10, 2004

a mid-life crisis or something

The boy is turning 35 next Monday, and I think its making him a little depressed. I keep telling him he'll always be my toyboy, but that doesn't seem to work. So he's going out for a boy's night out tomorrow evening, leaving me at home to cough my guts out, surf the 'Net, work on my assignment (which is due next Tuesday), and possibly watch Zoolander again.

He seems restless, though fortunately he's made no mention of shiny red convertibles or dressing like a teenager.

He did threaten to move us to Silicon Valley and get a top job at Microsoft, though. While I'd miss my friends and family, I'd probably get over it if I get to be a lady of leisure...

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

bad biscuits

I've decided it's safe after all, to eat the biscuits provided by one of our Mobile Library customers, a nursing home.

It's something they do just to be nice; the bus turns up just before afternoon tea time and a woman brings a tray of tea, coffee and biscuits.

The first time I did this bus run, I drank some tea and ate one of their homemade cookies. This resulted in a careful, yet brisk, walk to the toilets at the next stop. I thought it was a coincidence, or perhaps that something I'd had at lunch had been a bit off. The other library staff member who was doing the bus run with me was dieting, so she hadn't been eating their biscuits for weeks - she was fine.

Then it happened again the following week and I knew something was up. I stopped eating the biscuits, and stuck to the tea. Once I stopped eating their biscuits, I stopped having to mince sheepishly to the toilets at the medical clinic an hour later. I checked it out with another workmate. She warned me not to touch their biscuits.

Then something happened a few weeks ago which made me rethink the whole bad-biscuit thing. I had a work-experience schoolgirl on board for the afternoon. I forgot to warn her about the biscuits. She ate two of their Mallowpuffs (that's a big marshmallow on a biscuit, covered in chocolate). I watched her really carefully, waiting for a change of complexion or a desperate urge to get off the bus....but no. Nothing happened to her at all. So I had one. And I was fine.

Since then I've been scoffing their afternoon tea biscuits without physical discomfort. Perhaps it was only the homemade ones and the stale ones. So it's safe after all...I think.

(Update on my cold - like you really wanted to know - I'm a little tired of sounding like a drowned man when I talk.)


We decided to spend out time off in Nelson, so I've had a first time go at booking flights on the Internet. It wasn't so bad, and hasn't hurt yet (wait till the credit card bill comes in).

My cold is still thriving - every time I cough I have to quickly and surreptitiously check out my clothes in case something has landed on them. Its going to be one of those long-lasting ones, I think. But I still have a couple of weeks to get better so thats good.

Oh.. and I still have to book us a room for at least the first two nights...the boy says that homestays and bed'n'breakfasts are out because the rooms won't be sufficiently sound-proofed :-)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Goodbye to smoky kitchen

Finally, my builder friend has gotten around to rebuilding my fence. He's also going to put a hole in my kitchen wall so that we can install the extractor fan. The old blown-down fence was an eyesore, but at least it wasn't literally an eyesore.

Whenever the boy used the overn (roasted kumera - yum), the whole kitchen would fill up with smoke. Pretty soon, we'd have to get the kitchen door open to let the smoke out, which led to the adjoining lounge going icy cold.

My builder friend is an interesting guy. A builder most of his life, one day he decided to take singing lessons. Now he's an amateur singer and actor, and a photographer as well.

I call it a Chinese work ethic

I've had a cold all weekend. Its not surprising, because a) it was a long weekend, b) it was beautiful weather all weekend and c) it's coming up towards my two-week holiday.

I was in a quandary over whether to ring in sick this morning, or brave it out like the thoroughly reliable and conscientious little worker I am. I didn't want to cough and splutter over the customers. I didn't want to have to lift crates of books with a fever. But I didn't want to miss the very last (morning) class of the trimester, nor take a sick day only about three weeks after the last time I did it (although that was only a half day, and I took that time to take my mum to the doc).

Against the boy's protests, I got dressed for work and got in the car.

I rang in sick during the mid-class break, managed to contribute to the discussions without spluttering over anyone, and came straight home.

But now I feel guilty, because I've started to feel a whole lot better. This might be because I'm just quietly sitting around, mostly outside in the sun. But the fact that I feel okay now, but am taking a sick day, makes me feel a bit of a fraud. Maybe I have to make myself hoarse for tomorrow, so the workmate's will be convinced...

Monday, June 07, 2004

Its been an Angel weekend

Due to the normally inconvenient combination of me having a cold and it being a long weekend (Queens Birthday, that is), I was able to get through the Twin Peaks DVD (the pilot and episode one) in plenty of time to get into our newest batch of Angel episodes. I don't even know for sure which season we're on to now - Four, maybe?

Anyway, the two favourite episodes so far:
1. Spike becomes fully corporeal again. We find out more of why he and Spike hate each other so much (its a father/son kind of thing). Both realise that either one of them could be the champion mentioned in the Shan Shu prophesy, in which it is predicted that a vampire with a soul saves the world from an apocolypse and is given life as reward. Angel and Spike have a big fight, and Spike wins (more of the father/son thing). Now Angel has something else to brood about...

I like how this episode really brings the Spike vs. Angel rivalry to the fore. In a way, Spike really is a better person than Angel; firstly, because he was capable of feeling love even before he got his soul;secondly because when he does 'good' things it isn't because he wants salvation. On the other hand, I feel sorry for Angel because he really is cursed by his soul, and besides he never tried to rape Buffy.

2. A young woman with super-human strength and a large cleaver (this is not a typo and I didn't mean 'cleavage') escapes from a mental institution. She turns out to be a Slayer, one of the ones 'created' following Buffy and Willow's trick in the very last episode of Buffy (in which all potential Slayers become actual Slayers - I wonder if I can keep capitalising the 'S' in Slayer if there are lots of them?). I was overjoyed at the presence of a Slayer in Angel, albeit a mentally unhinged one. Geeky Andrew, along with small contingent of Slayers, has been sent by Buffy to claim psycho Slayer as their own. Angel realises that even Buffy doesnt trust him any more now that he's working for Wolfram and Hart.

I think it would be great to have more of a Slayer presence on the show; now that the Angel gang are corporate grey-area good guys, it might play out like a Buffy vs. The Initiative scenario (without the mad scientist). Plus it'd be good to have a powerful female on board.

Interesting that Fred is now not only a theoretical physicist, she's also a coroner. Like the Professor in Gilligian's Island, she's the architypal (and higly unlikely) super-polymath - hey, just because a person's really brainy and good at one thing doesnt mean she's good at everything else you know. It's not like they don't have the staff, is it? Surely such a big firm would have it's own supply of specialists, right? I was a little disappointed with this turn of events.

And now for something completely different...we've actually had sunny weather most of this weekend. Bitingly cold, yes. But sunny.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

I'm in the mobile phone club

After all these years, I now own my own mobile phone. I did have one in a previous job, but it was for after-hours support so it certainly didn't have pleasant associations for me. But I decided it would be nice to have one. Why? Because I don't have my own phone at work, and I'm never at my desk anyway - so it's really hard for friends and family to contact me. Because without one it's virtually impossible to have a private conversation during work hours.

Another reason I didn't get one before now was the imagined cost of buying and using one, too. But the boy bought one for me, because I'd mentioned several times in the last week. And now I have a teeny tiny Motorola and twenty five dollars of Prepaid talk time. I wonder how long that's going to last me.

'Classics', it is not

We went to see Troy last night, though not out of any genuine desire to see the film (not even the promise of shirtless Brad was sufficient could do that). It was a social thing, to catch up with a couple of old friends. I do sometimes miss those days when the gang would meet up most weekends for dinner, movie and coffee - mind you, in those days I usually chose the movie and it was usually an arty film rather than a Hollywood film.

Anyway, I haven't read The Iliad, The Eniad, nor The Odyssey, so I wasn't in a position to do any comparisons between the movie and the text it is supposed to be based on. I did know, via the newspapers, that the movie was devoid of actual divine beings. They also informed me that Achilles had been transformed from a man deeply in love with another man, to a ladies man. I also knew that the time scale was drastically compressed. So I tried to view it as just a story (although I would've liked to see Cassandra, the prophetess whose curse was that no-one would ever believe her, in there somewhere).

I found it a really frustrating story. When the Trojan priestess fell in love with Achilles, I wanted to yell at her for siding with the very guy who was instrumental in the ruin of her city state (yeah yeah, he saved her life). I wanted to shake Achilles and tell him to make his bloody mind up - fight on Agamamnon's side, or don't, but just stop being so damned fickle. I wanted to kick Helen and Paris in the shins for their extreme lack of foresight in running off together. I wanted to slap Priam for putting his belief in the astrologer and his bird signs, instead of the recommendations of a highly experienced and successful general (Hector, his eldest son).

Sometimes it felt like I was watching a tribute to the Lord of the Rings movies; this was during all the cast-of-thousands scenes of soldiers marching in formation with high volume stomping.

The best things about Troy? One is the that the film makers managed to avoid using any Matrix-style special effects in the fight scenes (makes a nice change). The other is the fight scene between Hector and Achilles.

It wasn't a bad movie, but it didn't have the hero-overcomes-all feelgood resonance of Gladiator (which I didn't love), its closest comparison.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Good names for girls

Unless my brother has not been keeping me up-to-date with family news, my new-born niece still has no name.

The boy reckons that Morgan would be a good name. He's a pagan and well-read in the old English beliefs, so it didn't surprise me; to me, Morgan was the sorceress who succeeded in defeating King Arthur. Outside of the Arthuric legends, she was probably an extremely powerful woman - perhaps a demigod. For some reason, when I try to picture her I get images of Medea (also an extremely powerful sorceress of divine parentage). A good name, I think.

I also think Josephine would be a good name. It's because her brother is called Benjaman, which is also an old-fashioned, multi-syllabic name. But I didn't choose it because of any association with historic or mythic Josephines (the only one I can think of is Napoleon's lover, and she doesn't sound like a particularly strong character); maybe it's because there aren't any negative associations - with me anyway.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Wickedness in Rome, weirdness in small-town America and vampires in LA

I have a bit of an entertainment overload going on this week; last Sunday we got out Parts I and II of that ultra-fab BBC tv series from the Eighties, I, Claudius, plus Parts I and II of Twin Peaks (of which I saw only the pilot, which I loved).

I've only just finished watching the I, Claudius (based on the book by Robert Graves) episodes, which culminate in the death of the cunning and evil Livia - she who poisoned most of her family in order to ensure her son's rise to the position of Caesar. It was so very cool to watch when it first aired (I can't even remember how old I must have been - young), and just as cool to watch it again now. Those Romans sure were nasty folk.

Anyway, the boy came home tonight with the recordings of the rest of the Angel series, which had been screening on TV4 before it was rudely pulled from air (the tv channel, that is). So, not only do I have to watch several hours of Twin Peaks before the DVDs are due back at the video shop on Sunday (that gives me only two days because we're going out to see that Brad extravaganza, Troy, tomorrow evening); I also have to (really, really, have to) watch the Angel episodes because..well..because I'm a fan and I want to know what happens.

This is making it very hard for me to find time to study and do my assignment.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

All hyped up

When I arrived at work this morning, I thought 'hmm, M had better get his '60th Anniversary of D-Day' display up. It's already 2 days off schedule'. I also thought that my boss had better get her A into G regarding her display for Arbor Day/World Environment Day. Ten minutes later, I'd somehow agreed to do put up both displays for them.

I was supposed to be on desk duty from 10-11, then spend the next hour selecting a ton of books for the mobile library customers (each with their very own taste in literature).

Instead I spent both hours:
-picking staples out of two display boards with a dinner knife
-staple-gunning a stack of photos, maps, flags and D-Day stuff onto a curved, overly-hard display board (plus a display of large and unwieldy books on the subject)
-sorting through a dozen posters, photos, and Maori-language leaflets for the Arbor Day display
-creating a last minute banner for the latter, and printing off some explanatory text which I plagiarised from the Department of Conservation website (sorry DoC, I will add a citation when I can get around to it)

I was all hyped up, so much so that even my bladder was getting into the swing of things (provoking severe anxiety about a possible UTI - not very convenient when I'm due to be on the toilet-less bus all afternoon).

By the time I took an early lunch break, that feeling of urgency was mingled with those low-blood-sugar shakes I get whenever I let myself get too hungry. Six heated up won tons later, my stomach was full but I still felt all hyper. So instead of doing some study, or surfing the 'Net, I did some more work.

The afternoon bus round was much more relaxing, but by the time I'd got to the gym...My fifteen minutes of warm-up on the stationery bike was more like a long sprint.

Now, finally, at 9.37pm and after several minutes of frantic typing, I think I'm almost relaxed. I just have to do an hour of study first.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Cheap DVD players

We've had a few instances at the library where the patron returns a brand-new DVD (say, Finding Nemo or Pirates of the Caribbean), claiming that the product (which he paid five bucks to rent) won't play on his perfectly functioning DVD-player.

Well I know from experience that it's probably because his player is a cheap'n'nasty. We used to have a cheapie one at home, and encountered the same problem - always only with the brand new DVDs. The boy always fixed it by spitting on the DVD and rubbing on it with a bit of cloth (whatever he was wearing at the time). Now that he's splashed out on a more expensive Sanyo, we don't get this problem at all.

Well, I wasn't going to tell today's complainant to spit on the library's DVDs - who knows what abrasive fabrics he'll be wearing when the occasion arises - but I did try to find out whether he was the owner of an el cheapo DVD player. Perhaps he was just proud, or maybe he really does have a 'good' player, but he wouldn't own up to having a cheap'n'nasty.

So the result was that I'm taking two copies of Pirates home to try them out on the DVD player at home. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that his copy was a replacement copy; he'd already found the previous one faulty in exactly the same way.

What a pity it wasn't a movie that we haven't already got a copy of. I wouldn't mind seeing The Office again, and the boy refuses to buy it on DVD because watching it makes him squirm and stress. He reckons its too real to be funny!


Driving from the main library to the branch early this evening, I encountered an absolutely gorgeous sunset. The sky was still a vivid azure blue, and the feathery clouds were all orangey, yellow and pink, with purpley bits. Just before I turned off into a different direction, the sky and clouds were offset by the dark hills directly in front, and all I could think was - wow.

I thought all the best sunsets were caused by air pollution.