Sunday, October 31, 2004

More of the usual

Emotional torture
Today I spent a whopping 5 1/2 hours doing daughter-ly duties. That's two hours shopping at the market (including one hour of my mother telling me what was wrong with me), one hour at the cemetary and another half hour at the supermarket. I settled down after I got home and went for a long walk up the hill and back, but it's days like these which make me consider telling the boy to get a job in Seattle.

Yeh-yeh's garden
My brother and my nephew came along to the cemetary to do the ancestor-worship thing; my nephew calls it "going to Yeh-yeh's garden" (or "going to grandfather's garden"). I think it's a cute euphemism, since it's essentially what we're doing. We go to the grave, we replace the dried up flowers from last time with a fresh bunch, and we kow-tow.

Angel revisited
We bought Season One of Angel yesterday, and watched the first half of it last night. I'm enjoying it the second time around heaps more than when I first watched it.

Friday, October 29, 2004

The curse of the culinarily inattentive traveller

Reading through the old travel diary I wrote when I was in India (many years ago), it strikes me that I’d spent quite a bit of writing effort in describing what I ate, how much it cost and how delicious it was. You know, I’m one of the few people I know who actually gained weight in India. Not so lucky was Sarah P, who was in my tour group; she got sick after her first dinner in Bombay, and over the remainder of the three week trip she never got to ingest anything more than chai and moderate amounts of plain, white rice.

It’s not as though I have an iron digestive system though, because I’ve succumbed to variations of Delhi Belly/Bali Belly/Montezuma’s Revenge/[enter your euphemism here] all over the world:

1. Right after I graduated from university, I went to China with my brother and my mother. It was only for nine days; I got sick right after a particularly delicious vegetarian lunch and for the next week I couldn’t go anywhere near food without going a nice Kermit-green.

2. I went to Paris with my brother and stayed in at a mate’s place. Our thank-you to the friend was a pot of homemade won tons in soup, created from ingredients at a local Asian supermarket. Not used to central heating (it was mid-winter), I didn’t realise that it would be extremely foolhardy to reheat and eat the leftovers which had been sitting on the stove for three days. This was on the last day of my stay before returning to Edinburgh; I was so sick and miserable that when my male flatmate got home I rushed out to meet him and garner some sympathy, in my underwear. Also, I missed Hogmanay, which I have always regretted.

3. Before I went on the Inca Trail, I was told that water boils at a lower temperature at altitude. Boiling water therefore isn’t sufficient to kill all the germs that make a person hug her toilet bowl. I ignored this piece of information because I didn’t get around to buying purification tablets. While I didn’t get really sick this time, I did have a queasy four days.

4. Back at home, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve made myself sick with inadequately thawed beef and four-day old milk-and-sugar sweets which I bought from an Indian stall in a fit of nostalgia (yes, that was only this last week).

Meanwhile, Rough Guide has been a little harsh about various bits of New Zealand. I think the author's view is fair though, and I'm inclined to agree with him/her about Auckland and Wellington.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Habits, body fat, angry people and books (not at the same time)

It's got to mean something when just for one evening I can't seem to access my favourite blogs, nor post to my own blog, and I get all antsy and anxious in that tight-around-the-shoulders kind of way. What a relief when I tried again tonight and it was all a-ok.

After almost a whole year since my last fitness test down at the gym, I relented and said would get another one done. I haven't been particularly keen because, even though I've tried to go three times a week, I know that my exercise levels are lower than they were. What hasn't helped is that the boy, who is in charge of the cooking in this household, has been feeling a bit tired in the evenings and resorting to home-delivered fast food or supermarket pizza. My reluctance to have the results of the last ten months of gym attendance quanitifed was completely justified though - although I am much fitter than I was last time, I am also heavier and wider. I was not pleased.

I've been a bit unlucky with getting "difficult" customers in the last couple of days:

a woman who complained bitterly how bad she thought the library was (when pressed, all she could come up with was that it's not big enough and not open for enough hours on Saturdays);

a woman who somehow had two library accounts but only one library card (and so did her daughter. I didn't say so, but we blame her);

a woman who wanted to print off a file on a disk, and didn't realise that her Microsoft Works file would not open on the library computer because it only has Word etc., and doesn't have the Works-Word translator software loaded. She then spent the next hour re-creating a lengthy document on Excel, only to find that we couldn't get the file to print out properly (it's a long story, don't send me any fixes!). Red-faced and pissed off, she left in a huff.

I've only just realised that all those customers were women - I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Anyway, it was really draining.

I'm really enjoying Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, and Paul Linde's Of Spirits and Madness - the former is about a Greek family starting from the moment a brother and sister realise they're in love with each other, told from the point of view of their transgender grandchild Cal. It's really easy to read considering it's a literature award winner. The latter is a really interesting and well-written account of an American psychiatrist's time in Zimbabwe, trying to meld his own rationalist education and culture with the spiritualist one of the locals.

It's only a couple more weeks before I have to abandon the leisure-reading for the text books...

Monday, October 25, 2004

a little day out, a bigger day in

Despite my suggestions for a big long walk today, the boy once again turned our "big walk" into a stroll around the zoo. The zoo covers quite a large area, so there's a big of walking to do - but the Inca Trail it is not. Perhaps I was still feeling the grumpy after-affects of accidentally spilling my cup of hot water all over myself at McDonalds (why on earth do they put a tight-fitting lid on the cup of hot water and milk, but leave the teabag out?). The cutest things were the tamarin monkeys, little kitten-sized creatures with cream- or gold- manes, and the new red panda.

Afterwards I started to go into exercise-withdrawal, so I went for a walk to the video shop (in my defense, it does take about twenty minutes each way) to return the DVDs we got out last night. The Dawn of the Dead remake was okay, but I got bored.

The Station Agent was superb - it was a funny/sad film, not at all in the Hollywood tradition, with interesting, appealing characters: Fin is the trainspotting dwarf who moves to a tiny town, initially just wanting to keep to himself; Joe is a socially-starved Manhattenite (if that's the right word) who has moved to look after his sick father and temporarily take over his father's snack caravan; Olivia is the ditzy artist who accidentally runs Fin off the road. Twice.

Today I decided to make a start on doing something creative with my travel photos. I removed the best of the photos in the two albums which have that sticky back thing, then decided to leave them to flatten under a couple of acid-free pages of a sketchbook. In the meantime, I excavated a box full of my old travel souvenirs. Amidst the bags of shoes, a broken umbrella, an ancient Walkman and a small collection of never-used sex toys (they were a present, okay?), were the shopping bags full of old street maps and brochures around Europe and the travel journals from several overseas trips. I've decided to create some sort of illustrated travel diary, which will be a combination of stuff out of the original travel journals and the photos I've taken from that time. I doubt that, once it's finished, anyone will look at it except me. But the thing is to do it, so that I can remember what I did, what I saw, who I met, blah blah blah. This is important now that I don't get to travel any more.

Anyway, after typing out a selection from two weeks' worth of jottings in India, I discovered that - although last week's wrist injury doesn't affect my bus driving it sure as hell affects my typing.

on the news today

Play School was one of those kiddies' shows I remember pooh-poohing when I was a kid, just old enough to know it wasn't "cool" to watch it. Apparently a Play School reunion is planned, although Big Ted and Gemima haven't been answering their respective phones.

Horror of horrors, the British Navy has allowed a Satanist sailor to practice his religious beliefs at sea.

Aaargh! The first Hooters restaurant has opened in China, encouraging young Chinese women everywhere to ask for breast implants as well as the ever-popular leg-lengthening operation at the plastic surgeon's office.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

happy Diwali

All day today I'm been feeling unmotivated, un-energetic and listless - the perfect candidate for one of those multivitamin sales talks, I think. I'm sure it's the hayfever having it's effect on me, since I've been sneezing a bit too. A big mug of coffee mid-afternoon helped though, and we were able to go into town to have a look at the Diwali celebrations.

Despite my fears, it wasn't just full of non-Hindu tourists; there were Indian faces all over the place, including the guy who runs the corner dairy where the boy buys his cigarillos). There was a series of traditional dances on at one of the venues and we managed to catch the end of a men's performance, before the children took over. Those Hindi men sure know how to shake their booty.

Unfortunately, not only did we miss out on tickets to the Bollywood dance competition finals, but we missed all the heats too. I suppose that's what happens when you don't get hold of a programme early on.

Indian and Sri Lankan food stalls surrounded the competition venue. I took a chance on a roti and dhal combination which reaffirmed my belief that Sri Lankan cuisine is inferior to Indian cuisine (regardless of which part of the sub-continent the chef is from). I took home a box of Indian sweets, only on the way home I found out they are made by a local group of Hare Krishnas. I can only wonder whether the boy's Ganesh statuette was made in China...

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Let down by the weather

Today is the first day of the first long weekend since Queen's Birthday back in June. This is obviously the reason for the lacklustre weather today, compared with the gloriously sunny and summer-like day we had two days ago.

That chill moisture in the air has meant that the family's latest attempt to visit my dad's grave for a spot of biannual ancestor worship has come to nothing. Nothing that is, except grumpiness; grumpiness on my mum's part because she gets all wired up when it's to that time of year but the weather isn't playing along; grumpiness on my brother's part because I know he'd rather be doing something else; grumpiness on my part because the two of them will arrange some time to call each other and decide whether it's windless enough to make the trip, but leave me completely out of the loop so that I'm sitting by the phone thinking "What the f*?".

Finally, just after midday I got the phone call to confirm that it's all off until the next forecast sunny Saturday. So - and this is getting to be a foolish habit - the boy and I went out shopping. I found some "sensible shoes" (see my previous post) in a red leather with straps and rounded toes; the boy went one better and bought two pairs of bloke's shoes. Then we went to an upmarket department store (the kind most frequented by people who think they have "old money" or a lineage that goes back further than us common folk), where he bought a designer wool sweater. Which he has promised to handwash himself and never never put into the laundry basket (because after that it transforms into a garment which will fit only me).

The extended Return of the King will be out on sale soon, but - hey, as though we don't have enough stuff to spend our money on...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Shoes, buses and television

My recent flirtation with high heels may soon be over, to be resurrected only for nights out with the boy. It's ironic really, because mostly I've been wearing heels because he seemed to approve of them so much. After the umpteenth foot rub and re-location of dislocated toes (apparently, though they didn't hurt that much), he advised me to start wearing "sensible shoes". I already have some flat-soled combat boots that I wear on bus-driving days, as well as some unfashionable but perfectly comfy boat shoes for summer bus-driving - I may now need to shop for some library-style flat-heeled shoes. It’s just a pity that I don’t see the styles around like the ones Sensible Shoes proudly shows off.

I had my bus-driving assessment today. I was on my best bus-driving behaviour of course, but I’m sure he expected that. Apart from the fact that I don’t seem to check the side roads enough when driving, he said that I passed with flying colours. He even seemed impressed with my hill-starts on narrow curvy driveways, my ability to pull over to the kerb leaving only an inch of space between it and the tires, and the way I handled the tight roundabouts. I also noticed that my hurt wrist has not affected my driving, so my bus-driving days are far from over. From now on I promised to be much more shifty-eyed while driving…

After the last few Tru Calling episodes, I’m going to have to take back my earlier rave. The first episode was creepy, because of the dead people in the morgue who open their eyes and talk. It was weird, because of the Groundhog Day effect. But as I’d predicted, these aspects have long worn off on me. It’s still interesting to watch, but for a different reason – trying to figure out how the dead person really got to be that way, and what Tru has to do to save him.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

job hazard

Yesterday I hurt my wrist badly enough that today I've been feeling pain whenever I move it. Would you like to know how it happened?

It didn't occur during an altercation with a teenage computer geek overstepping the bounds of what's allowed at the library computers.

It wasn't caused by major haste to get outside of the olfactory zone of a particularly odorous patron.

I wasn't hit by a free-flying Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

I didn’t stumble and fall on the edge of the Information Desk during an alcoholic staff dinner.

It didn’t happen in ‘Nam.

I strained my wrist trying to push a teeny-tiny lever which is located underneath the driver’s seat of the library bus; a lever which is not only a long way to reach for me but which is also annoyingly stiff. All I was trying to do was push this lever so that I could swivel the driver’s seat around to face the back of the bus, so that I could sit down and face the patrons at the same time.

There will be an Occupational Health and Safety form to complete and send to the appropriate people, a doctor’s visit to make and possibly several subsidised trips to a conveniently placed physiotherapy clinic too.

I’m sure that in time it’ll heal almost completely, although on days preceding especially wet weather it will ache as though to warn me to pack my raincoat in the morning. But if I’m lucky I will get a week or two’s break from being a bus driver, allowing me to spend more time on other stuff (I’ll think of something).

"Home" again

We were watching the X-Files Season Four extras the other night, when I found out that the episode "Home" (the one with the chronically incestuous Peacock famil) had been banned in the States. So...did the Americans have to watch it on cable or what?

It is a personal favourite episode, though Small Potatoes is another favourite; that's the one where a less-than studly janitor is able to shape-change into any other person, including Fox Mulder, and nearly seduces Scully in the process.

And there are other favourites too, like the one at a freak show with a tattooed man called Enigma.

Make Tea Not War.: A business opportunity?

Make Tea Not War.: A business opportunity?

Now I know how law librarians are made...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

last-minute friends

One of my co-workers is leaving the library, and town, to work in an Auckland library. Although, like me, she's into computers and science fiction (and the original Star Trek, no less), we've never become friends. In fact, I remember once bumping into her at a geek shop (Dick Smith Electronics, to be exact) in the weekend, and feeling a little slighted when she ignored me after an initial 'hello'.

Someone told her last week that I have a blog; perhaps because she's relatively new to blogging, she was keen to talk about blogging with me. This morning she even complimented my blog, then eagerly described a funny story to me (about a recorded episode of Rainbow, a children's show, which apparently sounds hilariously suggestive to adult ears).

While I don't feel like we've become great mates suddenly, I now feel slightly sorry that I'll be missing out on a potential friendship. This isn't the first time it's happened. I can recall several people who I never got to know at all until just before their leaving parties, when I suddenly started having interesting conversations with them and liking them.

What the hell is it with that?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I bet I'm not the only one who has dreamed of her teeth crumbling in her mouth. Here's an interpretation.

Drinking seawater

I think I have the answer to whether and how drinking seawater can cause madness. Funnily enough, a similar question was already answered in The Straight Dope - "What would happen if I drank seawater?"; I managed to put in the wrong search words or something when I tried to find it.

That madness ensues is only implied though, in a quote from Bill Bryson which effectively says that the severe dehydration causes your brain cells (among other things) to break down.

Which leads me to think that the saying really ought to go "drinking seawater makes you really really sick and maybe die".

What're those books?

When I was chatting to Make Tea not War, she told me about her current favourite author who writes about a person who can enter books and change the course of the plots. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the author; I want to add it to my list of books/authors to read next time I have a chance to read for pleasure (that is, after I've finished Middlesex, The Da Vinci Code and The Simpsons and Philosophy).

Does anyone know the author or one of the books? Otherwise I'm gonna have to ask her directly.

Spare time

Last night I didn't sleep a wink. Well, maybe just a couple. But in the end I was sitting in the lounge at 4.30am because I'd gotten bored with tossing and turning in bed. I watched Six Feet Under which I'd taped from last Tuesday, had some toast and a hot drink, and eventually returned to bed when my feet got too cold.

So I was dead to the world when my alarm went off this morning. The boy was really concerned that I should stay in bed, so he rang my boss to say I wouldn't be in. But after I woke up again mid-morning I realised that if I let myself sleep right through I'd be hopeless tonight when it's time to go to sleep again. So I got up.

I do love web-surfing; it's like an easier way to browse countless magazines. I revisited The Straight Dope, and posted a question that bugged me over the weekend -

Does drinking seawater really make you insane, and how exactly does this happen?

While awaiting an answer, I offer you the reply to the question of how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood..., apparently a classic from the man's collection.

Monday, October 18, 2004

This is one of Vince's many demo displays. Note the lack of actual library books (those would go on a separate podium or table though). He's used the irrigation hose for hoops, and attached posters to them. Apparently you can stick brochures and things on the hoops in addition to the posters. Posted by Hello

This is what my library displays have tended to look like. Granted, it isn't easy to find exciting pictures of computer equipment, and no-one was willing to bring in their hardware. But basically it was up in an hour or so...  Posted by Hello

This is what my first "real" library display looked like. I had heaps of time to get stuff ready, and was encouraged to spend money to buy decorations. I was quite proud of it... Posted by Hello

a sigh of relief

I have my assignment almost ready for handing in tommorow, and then I'm academia-free for about four weeks. I'll be able to get stuck into Middlesex, which was one of my birthday presents (I also got The Da Vinci Code which means I'm going to have to read it after all).

It was an eclectic collection of prezzies, including CDs by Ray Charles and the Newmatics, a girl beach bag, an assortment of stationery and a belly-dancing kit. When the latter was unwrapped, there was a fair bit of encouragement on the part of the guests to make use of the equipment inside (a long, thin veil, four finger-cymbals, some forehead jewellery and a CD of appropriate music - and a set of instructions), but it's been too long and I don't think my hips would thank me for it.

It was a surprisingly sober event, though holding it in the afternoon may have had something to do with it. And one of the few people who did drink was horribly sick in the bathroom sink (you know who you are and it's okay).

But I have found a fellow-blogger in one of our visitors, and she's pretty cool so that'll be addition to my sidebar in the near-future. It's Make Tea Not War.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


This story of two lads and a peep show had me cackling in quite an unladylike fashion. Try it, it's the October 16 post at jazzyhands.

the worst thing about having a birthday this time of year

I remember the first time I held a party for myself in my own place. It was an outdoor day-time event, and I'd borrowed my best friend's boyfriend's barbeque for the occasion. Too bad that, as is usual in Spring, the wind was howling, the clouds threatened to open up and it was cold enough to keep the heater on.

The highlight of that party was when the neighbours thought putting the barbeque under the lemon tree constitued a fire hazard, and called the Fire Department. Fortunately I knew that the fireman knocking at the door wasn't the stripper I'd been warned about.

Last week the friend who recently got married rang me to say that she and her new husband were on their way to my birthday party. I was glad she rang, because she was a week early.

This afternoon, I was trying to finish my assignment which is due on Tuesday (talk about terrible timing), when the doorbell rang. Different couple, this time only one day early for the party. They left their juice and chippies with me, but didn't stay long - I suppose so that they'd have something to talk about when they come back tomorrow. Then again, they'd been unfortunate enough to turn up just when the boy was making funny noises in the bathroom so maybe they were a little uncomfortable...

We went out to dinner at a Singaporean restaurant, with a couple of friends. I ordered a whole fish (as you do - no, really you do. It's good luck or long life or something). Just to gross them out I told them about how the fish eyes are quite a delicacy. Then I flicked out the fish's left eyeball, dug around the socket and put some of the gooey stuff in my mouth. Well, S. was pretty disgusted - in fact she had her eyes covered - but P. was surprisingly keen to have a go at the other eye. I was impressed.

Anyway, the worst thing about having a birthday at this time of year is that:

a) it's Spring so the weather is really dodgy and my hayfever always threatens, and
b) it coincides with exams and assignments, so I can't really relax in time for the festivities.

So now you know.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Sex, craziness and real life

I'm the self-made editor of the library's book reviews page. My workmates send me their recommendations, and I publish them (judiciously edited, if necessary) on the web site. I've always intended to publish my own recommendations, of course - but mostly I've been reading textbooks.

Currently I'm reading a memoir called Running with Scissors, by Augustin something-or-other. It's really quite readable. I don't think it'd be a good choice for the website though, because it's about the thirteen year old gay son of a delusional poet who goes to live with her psychiatrist - who happens to run a very non-conformist household. The children are completely out of control, the psychiatrist invites his patients to live with his family, the place is a mess...

It's also got some really distasteful stuff in it too - like when the boy befriends the family's older, mentally unstable, gay adopted son - who rapes him and then falls in love with him.

I suppose that's where the book's title comes in.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

merchandising for libraries, being mistaken for 41

Vince showed us some pretty impressive displays - impressive because he used relatively ordinary materials, such as garden hose, balloons and gold ribbon. He showed us how to make our displays more three-dimensional and how to make podia (assuming 'podia' is the correct plural for 'podium') of different heights for the books. All very nice, as long as you only have three books to display.

Seriously, it was actually quite inspiring and made me wish I was given more time to do displays. Normally I have maybe two or three hours in the whole week in which I don't have to be at a desk, on the bus, or whatever. So I end up frantically photocopying pictures out of books and stapling them up on the board, fifteen minutes before opening time.

Surprisingly, we got morning and afternoon tea, and lunch provided - this is extremely uncommon at courses held for public service employees. My only criticism was the severe lack of fresh water in the room; I was pretty dehydrated by the end of the day.

We had a family dinner tonight at my brother's place. Mum supplied the food, my brother and his family supplied the venue, and I provided the reason.

As per normal, my brother's present to me was something he wanted for himself - this time it was a Tom Waites CD (last Christmas it was a Red Dwarf DVD). He also told his partner that I was 41, which later lead to the hasty replacement of the '1' candle with a '0' candle on the cake.

My nephew was very sweet - he played with me all evening, asked me to tuck him into bed, and said I could take one of his balloons home with me. Ahh...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

world famous in my little circle

I just found out that two of my workmates have blogs. One them was moaning that nobody leaves comments on hers, so I promised to be the first and had a perve in my lunch break.

Baby bloggers, don't be surprised that you don't get any comments, if you've only been blogging for a week.

The other workmate wouldn't tell me what her blog is called, because she's paranoid about anyone reading it who knows her. This actually makes sense - I've told taxi-drivers things that I've never told a good friend (nothing really spicy, mind).

So why blog? I do it so I can pretend to be Carrie on Sex and the City (except I'm not fashion-obsessed, don't look like her, don't live in New York, don't drink cocktails - any more - and didn't have to fall for an old guy with a foreign name who lives in a hotel).

yeah, that's me

(I found this at Sensible Shoes.)

philosophy works

Tony shares a secret to inner peace. You know, there's something to it which really appeals...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

training day

Yay - I'm going on a display training course on Thursday. The bad news is that my boss is going too, so I have to behave. The other bad news is that I've been volunteered to get a bunch of books and equipment together to take to the course (which is in another city). The good news is that one of my workmates, who is also going, agreed to do some of that. The bad news is that she didn't seem happy about it. The good news is that it's from 10am till 4pm, which means I get a sleep-in and an early finish to the day. The bad news is that one task which I normally do on Thursday mornings will have to be completed on Wednesday evening, after my last class of the trimester.

That's it, really.

Oh yeah, one of my workmates was surprised that I was younger than she thought >:-(

Everyone else nearly fell off their chairs at surprise that I was older than they thought :-)

Local boys make good

The Flight of the Concords have been signed up by a US television network - the same one responsible for Friends and Seinfeld. Nice one!

happy birthday to me

Today I am a (forty-year-old) woman.
Does that mean I now have an excuse to let myself go?

Monday, October 11, 2004

This is what I mean by cowhide... Posted by Hello

Cowhide fetish

- My CD tower is painted with a black and white cowhide pattern. It even has two little horns at the top.
- I came very close to buying a sofa on the basis of it's cowhide-patterned upholstery.
- I have a slightly furry mini skirt in a cow-hide pattern. I don't wear it any more, but I used to wear it a lot.

And to top it off, the boy has bought me a pair of fluffy house slippers in genuine cowhide, for my birthday.

It's only natural (gas)

For the last few days now, I've smelled natural gas whenever I'm outside the front door. In a potentially foolhardy case of "out of sight, out of mind" (or in this case, out of smell), I kept forgetting to do anything about it. It was particularly strong this morning though, and I could even smell it inside the house. So I called the city council, who told me to call 111 (that's the emergency number).

The Fire Service arrived a couple of minutes later, bearing two firemen (one of whom was the spitting image of that guy from the TV show The Guardian - yes Virginia, there really are cute firemen).

It turned out that the gas pipe which has been poking out of the front lawn all these years had somehow lost it's cap, and was leaking either gas or the odourant which is added to make leaks detectable. However, it wasn't a danger to the boy (who is in the habit of lighting his cigarillos as soon as he steps outside the house).

Solution? They plugged it up with bits of soap which I fetched from the bathroom, and promised to put some pressure on the local gas supplier.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Christians, eh?

The boy has come up with another doozie of a website. This time it's an article telling us that the pyramids of Egypt are in fact humungus monuments to "the Lord". I sincerely hope no poor schoolkid tries to cite it in his or her homework...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

more peculiar phrases

Yorkshire is a pretty cool place. It's the home of yorkshire pudding (a mixture of animal fat and flour which is baked and served covered in gravy), those cute and fluffy terriers, a brilliant and famous Monty Python skit ("When ah were a lad, we lived in cardboard box on middle'o'road...") and massive pig farms. I remember years ago I went to Wakefield (...which is in Yorkshire...) to visit a friend I'd met in Hawaii (you get that when you travel a bit), he asked me how I could handle travelling on my own and being "on my tod". I looked at him funny, until he explained that it meant "on my own".

These memories all flooded back to me this morning when I was perusing the news, and I read this article about a training course for foreign doctors who're practicing in this lovely and friendly part of the UK. Despite their excellent English skills, they were bemused by patients complaining of sore "lugholes", constantly feeling "jiggered" or an unreliable "doofer".

But he looks different in the movie...

We had lunch at an organic food cafe today - they do yummy sandwiches and the boy loves their corn fritters. So, evidently, does Andy Serkis, the man behind that crazy, tortured LOTR character Gollum. He and his entire family were seated at the table right next to ours. And I didn't even realise until after we left.

I bought the Star Trek DVD set, the boy found copies of Interview with a Vampire and Nosferatu, and we checked out the Buffy books (nothing I didn't already have except maybe the one about Joss Whedon).

On our way back to the car, I was busy rubber-necking outside the window of a designer clothing store I used to like browsing in (back in the days when I could afford to buy from there), when the boy nudged me and whispered softly in my ear, "We just passed Andy Serkis again and you didn't even notice".

The White House

Wanna see a spoofy White House website? I'd heard about this one a while ago and never got around to looking for it. Well, here it is - White House - found at No Milk Please: The Little Things.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Star Trek

Okay, I've decided - I'm going to buy myself the Star Trek Season One DVD box set.

The boy isn't going to watch it with me (which is hardly supportive, considering I've forced myself to sit through Star Wars DVDs with him), but I don't care. Captain Kirk without a shirt on is not a turn on (hey, that rhymned!), but that doesn't matter. Star Trek was a milestone in television history, and not only do I want to see all the episodes again (I've never been geeky enough to be a 'trekkie' so I don't know them all off by heart), but I'm really keen on seeing some of the background stuff - the interviews and so on. I very nearly bought it today, when I was on the scrounge for some lunch, but decided to wait until the weekend so I can go with the boy and watch him roll his eyes.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

library life

Most mornings when we pick up all the books that have been lying around the library, we find about six or seven books on cats. Often the same books turn up on consecutive days. We have a cat person.

I think the university library's distance service is great. It means that as long as I can use their catalogue, I don't have to go through the frustrating process of actually physically locating the books I want. I now have seven books on the subject of "work teams" from that library, to go with the four I borrowed from the library I work in. I have become the person I used to detest when I was an undergrad - the one who gets all the relevant library books out early on, thereby making them pretty much inaccessible to anybody else. I should hate me. >:-0

My day finished at 1pm today, as I'm working on Saturday. This meant I had to leave a challenging reference request for someone else to do (find a picture of a particular sculpture by a Wellington artist called Guy Ngan). Not only was I sorry that I couldn't finish the task (when I finish at 1pm, I finish at 1pm), but I felt like I'd let down the customer. Then again, I figured it's better than rushing him and kicking him out with a "Sorry we don't have anything on him" just so that I could leave on time, isn't it? So there was no call for the guy to tell my replacement that I was passing the buck. Right?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

a list to live by

The boy sent me this list; apparently a certain irascible US soldier was given a very long and detailed of things by his commanding officer, of things he must not do. The soldier's name is SPC Schwartz, and his list includes some real beauties. Some of my favourites are:

#26:Never tell a German soldier that 'We kicked your ass in World War 2!'

#106:I may not trade my rifle for any of the following: Cigarettes, booze, sexual favors, Kalishnikovs, Soviet Armored vehicles, small children, or bootleg CD's.

#156:I will no longer perform 'lap-dances' while in uniform.

#184:When operating a military vehicle I may *not* attempt something 'I saw in a cartoon'.

#210:Must not make T-shirts up depciting a pig with the writing "Eat Pork or Die" in Arabic to bring as civilian attire when preparing to deploy to a primarily Muslim country.

Apparently he is no longer in the US Army.

long distance pizza

The on-campus students in the MLIS programme are treated to a "pizza lunch" at the end of each trimester, to celebrate the end of, well, each trimester. So far I keep missing out, because the lunch is always scheduled for a day which doesn't suit me (since I work in a completely different city). All the same, it's not fair and we distance students should be able to celebrate too. If Interflora can deliver fresh, delicate flowers all over the world, surely Hell's Pizza can work out something similar...

Buffy galore

I quite like this Buffyverse discussion group, called Above the Law. It's got a philosophical bent to it, which is why I like it :-)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Samurai Girl??

Apparently there is going to be a movie based on a Japanese anime, about a blonde cocktail waitress who's the reincarnation of a Samurai warrior - called Samurai Girl. I agree with Angry Asian Man - it doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Mostly it sounds like a Buffy rip-off; the least they could do is make the heroine an Asian woman for a change (one who speaks perfect English and smashes all those tedious 'delicate Asian flower' stereotypes).

Daylight Saving part deux - Greg the Bunny

What should have been a minor adjustment to my bodyclock seems to be wreaking havoc on my sleep patterns;last night I was horribly tired and in bed by 10pm. Much to my frustration though, I couldn't get to sleep at all. I lie there listening to the deep booms coming through the wall from the boy's computer, filling in time by thinking of everything in the world which could possibly stop me from falling asleep (this wasn't on purpose, you understand).

Finally, even after the boy had turned down the bass on his computer and I had read another three essays in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy, I decided to get up and make toast. While I ate the toast, I discovered Greg the Bunny.

Greg the Bunny is the funniest thing since Family Guy. It's sort of a piss-take of showbiz, like a much more cynical and un-family friendly version of The Muppets (in fact, The Count from that show does guest spots on Greg). The wonderfully deadpan Eugene Levy plays the director of a children's television show, Seth Green (of Buffy and That Seventies Show fame) plays his layabout son, and Greg, the show's new star, is played by a cloth puppet - I mean, a "Fabricated American". It's chock-full of great lines like the one about how, even though there's much more tolerance in modern American society, humans "would still rather use us to clean their car than let us go out with their daughters".

It's so great that I may have to stay up until 1.30am every Tuesday morning to catch it (or work out how to programme the VCR).

It'd bad enough that you can't live forever

but you shouldn't have to worry that your coffin might not fit your grave...

Apparently there really is skill in gravedigging.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Daylight Saving

Daylight Saving is really hard work - especially when it starts on the day after a huge night (when I actually had a few wines and spirits for a change), and I can't have a sleep-in in the morning due to my daughterly duties (driving mother and groceries around town). So I had an early night last night (bed at 10pm Daylight Saving time, or 9pm real time). And yet I still wasn't able to get out of bed before 9 this morning. It's the first time I've been glad I have a late shift on the bus today.

I'm not sure about today, but Summer arrived yesterday; at least it arrived on my back doorstep, which must surely be the sunniest and most sheltered spot in town. I was stripped down to my singlet, but that walk by the beach had to be accompanied by two extra long-sleeved jumpers.

I think I finally have a handle on my assignment. Thanks to the boy, who is a senior manager, it became clear to me how much team dysfunction has to do with less-than-ideal management skills on behalf of the team leaders (and how much a manager depends on being able to get rid of employees who don't fit in). He then spent the next twenty minutes going through a chapter in one of my textbooks and telling me what a load of bollocks some of it was.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Wedding photos

Wanna see some photos from the wedding? Click here.

the magic of the Chems

My friend's wedding was yesterday - it was fab. I was dolled up in my best gears, the bride was gorgeous, the boy was on his best behaviour and my gang of best pals were all there. Being a half-Chinese wedding, there were over a hundred guests, and about seventy percent of them on the bride's (Chinese) side i.e. relatives. I'd been looking forward to the day for months, because I've been a bit slack with the socialising and hadn't seen my friends for ages. The joking around and yelling and insults made me come over all nostalgic - though not enough to wish to go back to that time. After all, time's passed and we've all moved on from being single and directionless to being (mostly) paired up and in the midst of multiple life changes.

I can understand why DJs at wedding receptions tend to play middle-of-the-road pop songs; they have to be sensitive to the tastes of a wide age-range and cultural-range, and it's safer to stick to Elton John, Billy Joel and Boney M than to risk alienating the guests by playing some of Prince's more risque numbers or anything that can be called drum'n'bass. Still, knowing this doesn't motivate me to get up on the dancefloor unless I'm hearing music I like to dance to. So we waited until one of the Grease songs cleared the dancefloor, then tapped the DJ on the shoulder and requested Abba, Tom Jones, Prince and the Chemical Brothers.

To my surprise, he actually played a Chemical Brothers number - Hey Boy Hey Girl I think it's called. Magic. It got the gang into boogie-mode, took the boy back to his E and rave days and even induced me to wave my arms above my head like a washing machine agitator.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Aren't colloquialisms wonderful

Tara's puzzlement over what the word 'pashing' means (see the comments in my previous post if you're curious) has inspired me to put together a short list of colloquialisms and their meanings:

hoon: a New Zealand term; generally a hoon is someone who likes to race around in his or her car and make lots of noise. A hoon is like a petrol-head, but petrol-heads are more serious about their automobiles. However, I like to use hoon to refer to a guy who's loud and jokey and probably a little obnoxious because he's drunk. When I was growing up, I had to distinguish between a hoon and a Hoon - the latter being a member of a Chinese family who still own a fruit shop just down the road from home.

your blood is worth bottling: I had never heard this phrase until today, when a co-worker boasted that she had received this compliment. Apparently it means that she's regarded as really quite valuable. The boy tells me that the origin of this phrase is in fact your sperm is worth bottling, which is probably English.

like throwing a sausage down Main Street:This one had me cackling all over the bus. It's basically an uncomplimentary remark about the state of a woman's pelvic floor muscles, and it's origin is bogun (see below)

bogun: a bogun is the same thing as a Westie if you're an Aucklander, or approximately a redneck if you're a North American. Characterised by tight stovepipe jeans, white tassled boots, stretch velvet and heavy metal music (which is as gross a stereotype as I'm willing to offer without getting beaten up next time I'm in bogunville).