Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chu Chu Trains

It's the end of an era; the train service from Auckland to Wellington is shutting down at the end of September. According to Toll Holding's (the train service's) spokesperson Sue Foley, it's due to falling passenger numbers: "The reality is, people talk about rail, they love rail, but unfortunately, not many people use rail." Yet I can't help thinking that Toll Holdings have brought this on themselves. That train is notoriously late and unreliable, particularly in summer. They have problems with derailments and keeping their tracks repaired, meaning that passengers can find themselves loaded onto buses for part or all of the trip, which rather takes away the point of travelling by train in the first place, and to top it all off, the tickets are expensive. I'll also add that except for my recent trip on the Overlander, where the train manager was cheerful and very helpful, the staff have tended to be downright surly, which doesn't particularly work as a selling point.
Anyway, all this is a real pity, because I like travelling by train, despite TranzScenic's best efforts to stop me. Bother them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Because I realised I haven't posted for a while.

I am well except for this stupid two and a half week cough, which today I went to see a doctor about. He gave me some pills, which I suppose is the point of doctors. Also, I got my ears syringed, which is a very odd sensation, and since then a lot of sounds have been both louder and much crisper, like the sounds of the keys as I'm typing right now, for instance. I wonder how long I'll notice the difference for. What I'm also thinking about is the fascination we have with the gross bits of our own bodies - I made a point of checking out the huge lumps of wax pulled out of my ears; several years ago when my Mum had abdominable surgery she got great joy showing people pictures of her insides despite all protestations to the contrary; people who've had appendices removed sometimes keep them in jars on mantelpieces... Why do we care so much?

I've been trying to learn basic Greek - the modern kind I mean, which Victoria University doesn't teach, although it has a thriving department for the 2000 year old variety. So far I've been watching some video tapes called "The Greek Language and People", but the only word I can remember when I'm not watching the video sounds something like "parakalos" (thank you), so I'm not entirely sure how much good this is going to do me.

Also, today I got some new stripy pyjamas because my old stripy pyjamas have developed a whole in one knee and you can't have that.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hooray For Being An Unemployed Bum

Well, not that I'm actually unemployed, just that I've finished up my holiday job, and I have the rest of the day to enjoy it.

Things that have been happening lately:
-I went to a Haunted House. It was very noisy, with lots of heart pumping frights along the way. I find it interesting, though, banging things and blood spatters will give me a fright, but for true serious fear it's generally the quiet psychological getting-into-your-imagination that really creeps me out. There are some photos.
-I went to a leftover party at Malcolm, Judy, Gordon and Lisa's house. The food and company were lovely, as always. Then we climbed Mt Albert. I can remember back when I thought that that was a big serious hill...
-I've been having royally awful computer problems all week, which is why it's taken me until Friday to clear out my workload. Grrrrrr.
-I went to see the new Pirates of the Carribean movie with John on Monday. Premieres are interesting. On the one hand, they decorate the theatre and have actors dressed up as pirates having fights, clambering out on ropes, and generally haranguing the audience. On the other hand, you have to hang out in Very Long Queues and then sit in the theatre staring at a blank screen for half an hour before the movie starts. The movie itself was great, lots of sustained and well executed silliness, combining gorgeous stunt scenes, well timed acting, photo realistic CGI and the ever pressing question of "Will Keira Knightly get to kiss Johnny Depp?" I loved it.
-I went to a frisbee training session on Wednesday which involved teaching us the basics of speed mechanics. It was lots of fun, and now I have sore muscles in unusual places in my legs.
-I have worked out the precise cutoff temperature at which Babe will cease to be a hunched up miserable cold feline, and start being a lolling relaxed happy warm cat. It's 16.5 degrees. The pair of us have been hanging out in my room for most of the previous three days because it was easier to heat, and the new clock that Cat gave me happens to have a thermometer on it. It was fascinating watching the change that half a degree in air temperature can make on my cat.
-It's nice and sunny today. I think I'm going to go have a walk.