Friday, December 28, 2007

Auckland, Ho!

I'm now in Auckland, and will be for several days in case any of the residents would like to get in touch, catch up, or generally socialise. ;-)

Mum is out of hospital and was looking OK when I saw her, although she's on a restricted diet for a while.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Holiday Special

You know how in soap operas just before the Christmas shutdown they have lots of exciting (and usually bad) stuff happen to people so that the audience will be interested to find out what happens when the show restarts? I had a Christmas Holiday Special a few years ago - lots of people around me were having a lot of drama in their love lives, and from my safe seat of audience I was interested in a sympathetic kind of way. This time round, lots of people are being sick, ill, depressed, or otherwise miserable, and it's pretty sucky. Mum has been admitted to hospital for the second time in three days, and we're off to visit as soon as we know what ward she's going to.

To everybody else who's ill: Get Better. And Happy.
To the people who aren't ill: Merry Christmas.
Actually, to everybody: Merry Christmas.

ETA: Mum's still in hospital, but seemed relatively chirpy when we visited. To add some, she's ill, but as far as anyone's saying, not in danger, and expected home tomorrow. And there's nothing like walking through a hospital on Christmas Day to know that there's always someone with a worse story than yours. Merry Christmas, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Missing, Presumed ???

I can't find the sugar jar. I saw it this morning, and now it's just ... gone. Did I accidentally tidy it away in the freezer? (I've already checked the fridge.) Did it head off hitchhiking to see the wide world? Did we have a very polite burglar who made sure to lock all the doors behind him?

ETA: In the cupboard with the tea cups. In hindsight, it's surprisingly obvious.

I Have the Sinus Infection That Never Ends...

Or rather, the bally thing just keeps on coming back. My latest visit to the doctor netted me antihistamine tablets, a different kind of nasal spray (which interestingly uses the same active ingredient as my asthma inhaler), a sinus wash and a script for a third round of antibiotics if the above doesn't help after a couple of weeks. I feel like a lily-livered hypochondriac never happier than when laden with pills, except I'm not imagining the symptoms. Bah humbug. Actually, sinus washes are fairly weird to use - they squirt salt water up your nose in a more controlled imitation of dunking your head in the sea, and although most of the liquid runs out just as soon as you squirt it in, I found it took a good five minutes for my nose to stop running.

And in a note of surrealism, here is a music video by a group of fresh-faced, probably mild-mannered, possibly inbred folks singing in praise of a god who, if he exists, strikes me as a deity to be hated, feared and resisted with all one's being. Kind of weird to see this stuff 2000 years after the lynchpin of Christianity stood up and said "Hey, why don't we all try being nice to each other for a change." Scarily, I don't think it's a parody.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

La la la.

The dress of awesome pinkness is now finished, down to the last hem, hook, untwisted strap and hat with matching ribbon. And it looks pretty damn good, too. :-)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Windmills in the Mist

Wellington is not an easy city for a novice cyclist.

For firstly, the geography hates us: while there are some fun whizzy bits, you spend far more time trudging up a big hill than enjoying the freewheeling speed. And that's not even counting the days when the wind slams into you like a brick wall and swings you across to the other side of the road in the middle of traffic and makes the uphill bits even more of a misery. A pox on it, I say.

For secondly, the motor traffic is generally unsympathetic. There are far too many drivers of gaz-guzzling behemoths who are crippled by poor depth-perception and the conviction that one inch of clearance is all I really need as they pass me. Bastards. Just remember, you ecological lepers, that in a world with a finite oil reserve my actions keep your monsters on the road just that little bit longer.

For thirdly, there are all those other cyclists. The ones in the skintight sports clothes and the muscly bodies. The ones that glide past me effortlessly with a cheerful wave. The ones that don't have to explain to shopkeepers that they're not having heart attacks, they've just been cycling. I hate them, mostly because I wish I was just like them.

There are, however, a few compensations. Like yesterday, f'r'instance, when I cycled up into the clouds and felt like I was on an island floating away into space. There's this landmark, see, that is up on the horizon everytime I go into town. I've walked down from there a couple of times after Repton and I had walked around the bird sanctuary, but never cycled the distance before, and it's been lurking in my subconscious for a while - I can take you, I was thinking, I'm sure I can. And yes, it turned out that I can. Brooklyn Wind Turbine, you've been ticked off my list.

Maximum elevation: 299m
Minimum elevation: Dunno. My Google-fu is weak. Brooklyn shops or Kingston - I'm not sure which is higher.
Round trip distance: ~11.6km.
Trip time there: ~1 hour.
Trip time home: ~1/2 hour. (One of the attractions of the wind turbine, I confess, was knowing that the trip home would be easier than the trip there, a rare commodity when you live in Kingston.)
Hardest bits: Todman St just out from Brooklyn Shops and the beginning of the narrow road that's dedicated to the wind turbine. That was pedalling so hard the front wheel was jumping off the ground, that was.
Lunch afterwards: Toasted bacon sandwich. Yummy.


Monday, December 10, 2007

I Hate Christmas Shopping...

It makes my feet hurt, I get fed up with dodging people, and on days like today the humidity just makes me want to wilt. Fortunately, all the retail staff I talked with today fully understood my pain and were duly sympathetic - I suspect they'll be less so in two weeks time, however.

Also, it's frustrating when no item in particular leaps out and says "Me, Me, I'm perfect for So-And-So" and I'm fairly tempted to include in all my packages a friendly note instructing the giftees to pretend to like it lest I wail and gnash my teeth upon them. OK, I found some things that I think people will really like, everyone else can just do the pretending part. ;-)

Grinchingly yours,


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Christmas Carol

My sister has just asked me to translate a carol for her from her Medieval songbook. It's quite pretty so I'm passing it on.

Quem pastores laudavere
Quibus angeli dixere
Absit vobis jam timere
Natus est rex gloriae

Ad quem magi ambulabant
Aurum, thus, myrrham portabant
Immolabant, haec sincere
Nato regi gloriae

Christo regi, deo nato
Per Mariam nobis dato
Merito resonet vere
Laus, honor et gloria

The king, the king whom the shepherds praised,
The king with whom the angels spoke,
He is separated from you now, with awe,
The king of glory is born.

To he whom the wise men travelled,
To whom they carried gold, incense and myrhh;
They burned these things with sincerity
To the born king of glory.

To Christ the king, the born God,
Given to us through Mary,
He resounds truly with merit,
To Christ the king: Praise, Honour, Glory.

Translation notes: This poem is holding back the subject to the last line of each stanza as an intensifier. This works well in Latin syntax but less so in English, hence some of the repetitions of 'Christ the king' inserted where there were none before: they aid comprehension and I think add to the poetic effect. The third line of the first stanza I'm not terribly sure about, it doesn't quite seem to fit the rest of the verse and 'timere' could be a form of verb. I'm choosing to translate it as adverbial by comparison with the equivalent line in the other stanzas.

Pronunciation notes: (Cat asked how to pronounce it, with particular reference to 'c's.) Bah humbug. 'c' is the worst of the lot. In the Classical period it's believed to have sounded like a 'k' does now. In the Medieval period it could be like an 's' or like a 'ch' depending on where you live, and that's before you take into account the spelling confusions between 'c' and 't'. I refer you to someone with more knowledge on the subject and suggest you go with the Southern Continental / Church Latin instructions, hence pronouncing 'c' as 'ch' and 'g' as 'j' when coming before most vowel sounds.

Scansion notes: The poetically inclined will have noted that this poem is both rhythmical and rhyming, developments in Latin poetry which were pretty much concurrent with the rise of Christian poetry. Classical Latin poetry is quantitive, the music that comes out of recitation is based on patterns in the length of the vowel sounds, not in patterns of stressed syllables. Rhythmical techniques did exist in part, but were mostly reserved for rhetorical prose. I suspect that one of the drivers in the early days of rhythmical poetry in the Christian Church was its use in singalongs - rather than performance pieces that one speaker presents to a crowd, many of the early hymns were written as group pieces for use during services and to keep people's spirits up in the middle of a purge. Later on, of course, when Latin was only ever learnt as a second language, rhythmical poetry became a lot easier to write than quantitive, it's easier to hear stressed syllables than vowel quantities that you have to look up in a book because nobody pronounces them that way anymore. There were still people writing the latter, but I don't know of any really good pieces.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Am Making A Dress Of Awesome Pinkness...

Although interestingly, my perception of the colours has changed from "Oh, those look nice" in the fabric shop, to "My word, that's rather intense" when I modelled the partially completed dress whilst wearing a white t-shirt, to "Oh hey, that does look nice" when modelling the more completed dress in bare skin. It's very summery.

Several people have been telling me over the past few months that I ought to watch a comedy series called Black Books. They were right, it totally rocks, although hearing the voice of a mad Irishman shouting in my head as I'm trying to go to sleep is rather worrying.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On Being An Unemployed Bum, Part Two.

Today I had an interview with a recruitment company, which I think went well, and the lady I spoke with said she'd be passing on my application to her client so fingers crossed and so forth.

I did have the slightly amusing experience of meeting ReptonInfinity for lunch afterwards, and having gotten to the cafe first I read a book while I waited. After a few minutes I looked up to find him looming next to me scanning the room, wondering where I was. He's never seen me in work clothes before. It showed.

ReptonInfinity however has now one-upped me in the "The Fire Alarm's Gone Off, And I'm Not Wearing Clothes Fit To Be Seen In" Dither. I'm callow enough to find this extremely amusing. (Sorry. I know that being in a cast sucks.)

EDIT: And apparently the client decided to put the vacancy on hold, just before my CV could be submitted to them. [Sighs]

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I feel like I've had a borrowed weekend.

It's not just the cat. Yesterday, I meant to go to frisbee practice and didn't, I went to the library and did some fabric shopping instead. Today, ReptonInfinity meant to go to his training camp and didn't, so we biked around Oriental Parade and Frank Kitts Park and had ice cream instead. (Repton is not so slack as I, he's out due to an injury. :-()

It's been ... nice.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I am borrowing a cat.

His name is Sammy and he normally lives with my brother Edward, who is spending the weekend doing masochistic things involving running in the South Island. Sammy's doing pretty well in settling in, actually. He's graduated from lurking under the bed, through hanging out under the bed but letting people visit with him, to exploring the house, and in fact sat in the living room and watched TV with us this evening. He still wants a lot of reassurance, but seems fine.

Life as an unemployed bum is progressing. I'm sending out job applications and getting depressed about it, and so far there are a couple that I'd really like to get, so fingers crossed that I at least make the short list. I'm walking more than I used to, and it's a good time of year to do so, because there are a lot of flowers out right now. I particularly like the purple daisies, because they're everywhere and they're cheerfully refusing to blend in with anything. I'm also noticing birds more than I usually do. Does anyone know what kind of bird it is that looks mostly like a sparrow, but with a body that's a bit redder, and with a yellow head? I don't think I've ever seen one like that before.

Also, I have now watched Mr Smith Goes To Washington, a movie rather similar in plot to Mr Deeds Goes To Town, which uncoincidentally has the same director and leading lady. They both have lots of funny bits, and happy endings.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yesterday, as I sat upon the bus...

A gentleman eyed the book I was reading and asked me if I had an English exam coming up. I said no, so he asked why I was reading the book (1) when I didn't have to, and I replied that I liked Jane Austen. Then he said that he'd always found Middle English and the Medieval period difficult to read. I said the book was written in the early 19th century. He said "Oh" and ceased to converse thereafter.

(1) Penguin Classics have this sober design of a period picture over a narrow white strip and a wide black strip, with very formal san serif fonts. It looks very dignified is all I'm saying.

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Being An Unemployed Bum...

This morning I had my last exam, which I think went well, although I was finding that I was pretty tired. (I didn't sleep well last night, for no particularly good reason.) On the other hand, I'm now free, free as a bird (or will be until I find my next job) and it's quite disorientating. I'm thoroughly used to the idea of holidays having set time limits and for there to always be somewhere something that I need to be doing, and someplace that I need to be. Right now, I don't. I haven't been in this position since the first half of the 90s, when I had long hot summer holidays and afternoons of hanging out after school. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

In other news, I hate the Student Health Service with a white hot passion, and will henceforth attempt to fill out the numerous forms that go into applying for aegrotat only if I think I'm dying. It involves lots of fluffing around talking to people who tell you different information and make you hang around their office for ages and come in for multiple appointments in which you say pretty much the same thing all over again, but you have to turn up for the sake of their precious damn forms. Bah! (I had a cold last week for my last exam and applied for an Impaired Performance Certificate. I suspect now that my exam would have gone better if I hadn't been stressed out by all the fluffing around.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Diary...

On the weekend I went to NAAMA, one of the biggest re-enactment camps in the country.

There was hanging about:

There was fighting:

There was a fort:

Which was fun to play in:

But then we burned it down:

Also, I visited my sister Catherine and met Spider the Zombie Cat, who is missing much fur on his rear half, but is slowly growing it back under Cat's care:

(He's on stress leave from his previous home which had two noisy children and a dog. I suspect sometimes that he's pulling a Blighty to avoid having to go back.)

(I have more photos on Facebook for those who can see them.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Last Essay.

All done and handed in.

I somehow managed to pick the three hour period of today in which the weather was soaking wet to swim into town to hand it in. I feel that the Gods of Academia are punishing me for my lateness or something. :-(

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Love The Smell Of Clean Washing In The Evening...

Particularly when it's been line dried on a nice sunny day like today.

As a study break, this evening I watched a movie called Music & Lyrics, which is light and silly and fun. It has a spoof 80s pop music video in it, but I feel they let the side down on that one. They just didn't get the hair big enough.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Last Class

Today I had my last class as a BA undergraduate. It was oddly anti-climactic, actually, probably because I have some exams to get through before I cease to be a student altogether. Also, I have to work on my Last Essay, which is going to be about Janus, God of the Gates, which epithet I find aesthetically appealing given the timing.

Also today, I finally finished the dreadful Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence. It's very highly thought of, and I hate it bitterly. I only kept reading out of bloody-mindedness, and I feel that any book which requires you to read the first three chapters twice, the Introduction and look it up on Wikipedia before you have an idea of what's going on has some essential problems. That, and every now and then I felt like I was reading what the Eye of Argon could have been if Jim Theis had been able to spell. F'r'instance:

Gudrun was as if numbed in her mind by the sense of indomitable soft weight of the man, bearing down into the living body of the horse: the strong, indomitable thighs of the blond man clenching the palpitating body of the mare into pure control; a sort of soft white magnetic domination from the loins and thighs and calves, enclosing and encompassing the mare heavily into unutterable subordination, soft blood-subordination, terrible.
D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love, (London: Penguin Books Ltd, 2000), p113.

Note the use of the word 'loins.' It's Lawrence's favourite word, and I mean favourite, and I'll grant that many men have nice bottoms to look at, but if it's eye candy he's interested in, he could stand to give us a slightly broader view of men's other nice features also. Bah humbug.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

On Frisbee

A number of people I know are off this weekend playing in the Ultimate Frisbee Indoor Nationals. I just head from ReptonInfinity. He says his team won three out of four games and he's going to have an ice bath. I think that means he's having fun.

In other news, I've been fairly depressed lately but life seems to be looking up. Sorry for being a wet blanket and all.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Toast

This has been a very strange weekend, the normal parts of which would have made an interesting diary entry in themselves, but have rather subsumed themselves into the good news and the bad news.

The good news was visiting Ayla, the very new daughter of some friends, who is cute and sweet and very Awwwww-worthy.

The bad news is finding out that Steve Hodgson, a good friend, has suddenly died of a heart attack. Steve was one of those really neat guys that form a place in your psyche that belongs to them and them only. He was cuddly and kind, and would occasionally giggle at a particularly good joke. He was one of the most lethal people I know, all with a twinkle in his eye. He was technically very knowledgeable, and liked passing his knowledge on. He was exceptionally good at helping people overcome what they had thought were their limits, and helping them find out that their limits weren't nearly so bad after all. He looked out for people. He was one of a small group of people who knew my father, and a big link with the past feels broken. As I write this, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that he isn't around any more.

Anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, please raise your glasses and drink to old friends gone too soon, and new friends to whom everything is new and exciting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Have Done A Dreadful Thing.

First off, a big Happy Birthday to Ed and Fraser who both celebrated their natal days yesterday.

On the other hand, since I gave a little music box to Fraser, and he's been playing it intermittently all day, I'm beginning to wonder about the wisdom of my actions.

Monday, July 09, 2007


My cat Babe has just died.

She'd been having a little trouble eating for a while, and a lot of trouble eating recently, and it turned out to be a cancerous growth underneath her tongue, for which the long term prognosis from treatment was virtually non-existant. The vet was very nice about it - he let me sit with her for a while alone before he put her to sleep, and after, and gave me lots of tissues and things. I know that this was the best thing for her, but I still feel really bad about it.

She was both the sweetest and most stubborn cat I've ever known. I inherited her from a flatmate about eight years ago, and through that she turned from an incommunicative scaredy-cat to one that thought that cuddles, and play, and purring was the only way to go. She's been the most constant thing in my life through three moves, a new city, a new job, and giving up that job to go to University again, and she took all that disruption in her stride. She's taken her various health problems, the most serious of which was blindness, also in her stride, and despite everything has always managed to be happy about life.

The funniest thing I ever saw her do was claw open a bag of catnip on my bed. I found her a little while later sprawled in approved Take Me Now position, with little green leaves spread all over her and the bedspread. The second funniest thing was when she fell in a fish pond - she was the most dignified bedraggled cat I've ever seen. She used to decide that it was time we went out into the garden, she used to decide that it was time we went to bed, and when she'd decided these things she'd jump up and run to the door everytime I got up, and keep on doing it until I followed her. She had the most delicate paws. Since I've been home I keep expecting her to wheeze into the room and expect a cuddle, or thump down the stairs after me because she wants me to let her out the back door.

Catherine once said of her that she was like a dreadfully polite old lady who yet managed to indicate to Cat that she was less than the chewing gum beneath her shoe. She also said this: To My Sister's Cat. She liked sitting on computer keyboards and boxes. She liked sleeping next to something warm. She liked to purr.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I have this Thing about posture. Basically, I've had trouble standing up fully straight for, well, as long as I can remember, and it's been bugging me for, not as long as I can remember, but certainly since early adolescence when all that self-critical self-examination kicks in. In my case, this wasn't helped by my mother's well meaning bullying about seeing physios and doing exercises to help straighten out - basically I, and I think my sister Cat, got stronger bodies but serious emotional issues out of the experience. To the couple of people I know who have Things about eating and food, yeah, I get it. I don't give a toss about breast size, don't mind (much) if I have a stomach and bum that aren't the flat feminine ideal currently prevalent, but I really really mind having a curvy spine. I also get the whole suite of self-destructive behaviours that go along with having a Thing, in my case slouching, or sagging, or not getting any exercise, all of which would help the thing that I have a Thing about.

I have a tendency to go through phases of trying to help myself out, and letting it slide, and I'm currently in the upslope of the former, brought on by my mother getting bad arthritis in her feet. I tend to inherit body type stuff from her, so I went to see a podiatrist for advice on preventative measures, and instead of examining my feet (well, he did a little) he gave me this big big talking to about using my abdominal muscles to support the rest of me, and walking more softly (hey, sore ankles are linked to a tendency to stamp when walking. Go figure!), and yet a new set of exercises which he said would make the postural stuff easier.

I have to admit that the guy has a point. I had some very weird days when I was trying to start the whole suck-tummy-in-thing, walk-softly-without-losing-all-forward-acceleration-thing, sit/stand-up-straight-thing and everything else in my body was complaining about being out of wack, but things seem to have settled down and I'm noticing more flexibility and definitely more airflow, which is cool. But it's still a bother having to remind myself of what I ought to be changing all the time - some advice I was given for meditation once was that the mind is like a cat tied by a string, the cat will keep wandering, so you have to notice that it's gone walkabout and gently draw it back by the string to where you want and sit it down quietly, and then again and again and again until the cat settles down. And so my example is sitting on an hour long flight, with an hour previous in the waiting room because the plane was delayed, with my back straight and my feet well-balanced on the floor spending the entire time thinking about how much I just wanted to sag. Stupid cat. Stupid string.

Love to all.

Commonplace Book

There is an obvious danger in the business of examining a labyrinthine world such as that of the Confessions from the kind of perspective I have assumed. Any optic one chooses risks setting certain features into a prominence that may turn out to have been exaggerated; it may at the same time minimize the importance of features which, examined through a wider lens, turn out to be far more prominent than the narrower vision could allow. Every scholar fears the moment when he may have become prisoner to a point of view he has cultivated far too long than was good for his objectivity. And yet, his only therapy is to present the findings that his point of view enabled him to uncover, even at the risk of being premature. Others, then, may succeed in widening his vision before it is too late. In presenting his findings, he must (for sweet clarity's sake if for nothing else) suppress the ever-nagging temptation to resort to the subjunctive: "If my view of the matter be correct, then it would follow that Augustine means this." But the indicative mood, habitual in English exposition, tends to convey an air of greater confidence than the writer himself often enjoys: give me a scholar and he will know what I mean. My hopes are that whatever features of the Confessions' landscape I may have left in the shade were not deliberately ignored, or half-consciously excluded, because their message positively militated against the thesis propounded here, and that the Augustinian scholar will be sensitive to the number of hesitant subjuntives that still tremble behind my regular use of the indicative mood.

O'Connell, Robert J. St Augustine's Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969, pp viii-xi.

Well it made me laugh. I know the feeling.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Exams all done

La la la.

Now I just have to write this Augustine essay and go to a party. Christine Franzen, who is lovely, is giving a party for her Old English students to celebrate the end of the exam. And she brought around apple and St Swithin's cream for good luck this morning before we all started.

I'm on the downhill slope gaining speed. :-)

(Oh, and pack for a work trip up to Auckland. To all the people in Auckland [waves], I'll be there for two and a half weeks from Wedensday evening, catching up would be cool.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Phone Is Dead. Long Live The Phone!

I am now in mobile communication again, having gone out to buy a replacement phone in my post exam celebration phase. It has a light. And takes photos. And will hopefully not forget what time it is anytime I should acidentally jar it, all of which are features which my old phone did not have. The shop assistant at Vodaphone was weird though. He had this thing about not meeting my eyes, and seemed in general not particularly interested in selling me anything. Seriously, ReptonInfinity who had come along with me did most of this guy's selling for him.

In other news, has anyone had the experience of studying really hard for an exam and then realising just before it starts that they ought to have been studying for a different exam entirely? I just have - I twigged halfway through yesterday that it wasn't Old English today, it was Latin. So Stupid! Argggh! And it isn't like people don't tell me these things anyway. In the aftermath, and despite the panic, I think I did OK. There were some bits that I didn't do as well as I'd wanted to, but I remembered a lot more of the course work than I was afraid I would. Phew. And now I'm well ahead in study for Old English on Monday. Now that's a relief.

Hang on, my new phone has just rung from the other room...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

RIP Phone

My cell phone has died. Or at least it's refusing to charge despite all my efforts, and it isn't a nice enough phone to worry about repairing. (And I never liked it much anyway.)

I'll get a new one, probably next week when I don't have exams over my head, in the meantime don't try to call me except on the landline.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cold Enough To...

So on the weekend I went up to Rotorua with ReptonInfinity and a nice American chap called Sam who hitched along for the ride so that Repton and Sam could go to the Brass Monkey frisbee tournament. It turns out that Brass Monkey is for Repton what SF conventions and NAAMAs are for me - he goes every year, hangs out with the same group of people from all over the country (with some new additions), and they all have a bunch of traditions about what they do, like always going to the same Backpackers, and counting the seconds for a new person to figure out how the lock to the hot pool works.

On Saturday, the two of us were straight out tourists and went to visit a thermal area called Waimangu, which over a hundred years ago held the eighth natural wonder of the world, the Pink and White Terraces, and now has lots of cool landmarks and features left over from the explosion of Tarawera in 1886. What I thought coolest, (well not coolest literally) was the lake that looked like someone had dug out a footpath around it. In fact, they hadn't, but the lake fluctuated in water level a lot, and the silica rich water had built up the ledge just as high as its overflow level. Also, we found out the joys of off-season tourism - a 4km walk, and no-one in sight until we got to the boat jetty. Also we did gondolas and luges at the Skyline Skyrides place, which had nice views and whizzing around fast and that.

On Sunday, I started off as a proper groupie and watched Repton being a black ninja spider out on the field for a while on a Very Cold Day before losing groupie status and buggering off to a cafe to get warm and do some study. Yes, there are people that enjoy running around all day in the cold and wet, but I'm not one of them. I think it's highly relevant that all the players got a scarf with their registrations. Last year it was wooly socks and the year before beanies. Not a co-incidence. :-)

I think we all enjoyed ourselves...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So there was this guy...

...called Sejanus. He did pretty well for himself, in 1st C AD terms, came from a poor family (with some decent breeding), was liked by his boss Tiberius (the emperor), got a lot of power and prestige, had it off with the emperor's daughter-in-law even. Good going for a small-town hick. Then it all went wrong and he crashed and burned. And everybody hated him then, if they hadn't hated him already, and lots of historians said really nasty things about him, especially a chap called Cornelius Tacitus.

Then the Middle Ages happened, and people pretty much forgot about Tacitus, and Sejanus, until some guy called Boccacio found an old manuscript and thought that old Cornelius was pretty cool. Soon, lots of people thought that Tacitus was pretty cool. Not Sejanus, though. They really really hated him. Lots. Even when they'd changed their minds from Tiberius being a shifty dissembler to being a cool and cunning planner, they still hated Sejanus. You could even go to prison for suggesting that someone, like perhaps the King of England's country-bred pretty-boy favourite, was just like Sejanus. Lots of hatred, and even more comments about the thunder of heaven's rage crashing down on those pesky social climbers. Sounds like a lot of rage. But hey, this is the Renaissance by now, and there's lots of political stuff going on that no-one can do anything about, maybe it makes people feel better to have a nice simple villain to rage at. And they can even point out how he died, horribly, so they can feel all righteous about the existing social order. Gosh.

2000 words, somewhat less eloquently expressed, all handed in. Yay! (I am such a hack.)

Another project to hand in tomorrow, another due in two weeks which I've...kind of started, and then all I have to worry about is exams. Phew. It's not so much that I'm on the downhill stretch as that I can see the top of the hill. To all the students who have made it to the end of the semester in somewhat better order: I hate you I hate you I hate you.* That's the favourite phrase of my Latin teacher. Clearly, I'm learning something here. :-)

(*) The fact that many of my woes are entirely self-inflicted is entirely beside the point.

EDITED TO ADD: The Old English project is now done and being printed. My, it's a wonderful view from the top of the hill...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Now I Have A Bicycle. Ho. Ho. Ho.

So for my birthday, Mum gave me a certain sum of money and told me to buy something I wanted with it. Directly I repaired to Pennyfarthings the Bike Shop, with ReptonInfinity as technical advisor, and got myself a bike.

It's very shiny, and has front suspension, and lots of gears, and lights, and a pannier rack, and a Cool Helmet as opposed to a plain old boring one. It's all good, in fact, except for getting home up Brooklyn Hill. I needed lots of rest stops, and in fact, just after Brooklyn walked part of the way because my legs had given out, my lungs had given out, and my arms were pretty shaky as well. Zooming down the lesser hills up around the Ridgeway was lots of fun to make up for it, though, and Repton says that the distance up Brooklyn I can get without a break is a good measure of how fit I am, so I'll keep plugging away at it.

To harp on a theme, in case anyone hasn't gotten the news that I'm having a birthday party tomorrow, you're invited, assuming that you know me well enough to know my address (or my email address to ask what the physical one is. :->) It's from 7pm until whenever.

Cheers all,


Sunday, May 20, 2007

The 48

So the reason I've been mostly incommunicado this weekend is my excursion into the 48 Hour Film Competition, with my team the Flying Monkeys. We had to make a movie in 48 hours with the following random elements:

Character : Jerry/Gerri Reed, a hypochondriac
Prop: A rope
Dialogue : "What do you call that?"

We made a serious War movie, with serious issues, in Lego. Will load it into YouTube after the whole business with heats and finals and stuff is done.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Medieval Manuscripts

The National Library of New Zealand has a medieval manuscript collection. Most of them are gifts plus the odd rare purchase, and sadly the library isn't really sure what to do with them - they don't have enough volumes in any one area to form a decent research library, so often they're stored away in a climate controlled room or occasionally brought out for display.

On the other hand, if you're lucky, one of your lecturers will arrange a class visit and you can go in and drool over them, admire the pictures, and even read them. (They're actually unrestricted books, so anyone can go in and read them, usually visiting scholars or people from Vic.)

The stars of the collection are both by Boethius, De Consolationes Philosophiae and De Musica, the first of which is very famous, and the second of which has ancient musical theory combined with a work by Guido of Arezzo who invented the current musical notation system. Very cool.

Things to be surprised about:
1. Exactly how small and how neatly scribes can write when they put their minds to it.
2. What good nick the manuscripts are in. Vellum is really tough and it holds its edges well. Interestingly, this is why some fragments have survived, they were cut up and used in the binding for printed volumes.

Never trust anyone over thirty...

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me-eeeee (and Cat)
Happy birthday to me!

(Ahem. Moving right along.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I have discovered...

That my mother, at the tender age of sixteen, once dated a Dutchman named Arnaut Groenevelt, whom she met at a ballroom dancing class. As the days and weeks passed in her pursuit of the Foxtrot and the Maxina, the length of her skirt migrated upwards from a demure knee length to the heady heights of the 60s undie-huggers. My grandmother no doubt noticed but, to the immense gratitude of my mother, did not comment.

That I should have a relative who dated someone with such an interesting name is, I feel, an instant source of family prestige. I have been to Palmerston and back this weekend for a family dinner, which was fun, but I'm fair exhausted from hanging out on buses so much. I should really go to bed now. G'night.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Feel Really Awful

Take your pick as to what's a cause and what's a symptom:
- crashing with a cold yesterday afternoon, right when I thought I'd finally gotten rid of it.
- not enough sleep for the third night running, along with the joys of the Mysterious 1am Impossible To Sleep Through Beep that nevertheless took me 40 minutes to track down
- crying all the time
- being angry all the time
- picking fights with a friend and even when I know I ought to be sorry, somehow I can't make myself feel that way
- bursting into tears when Mum called to see how I was
- bursting into tears when Cat called to cheer me up
- thanking whatever powers may exist that I have a cat that likes company and emergency cuddly toys

Catherine has just suggested hiring myself out as a zombie or vampire. The idea has some merit. And now my nose has started running and my room is out of tissues. @#^$$#

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Alter Egos

Well not actually. Just that I got a random message from someone living in Michigan who happens to have the same name, and happens to have a daughter called Catherine (actually Kathryn, but close enough for government work.) [Waves]

Friday, April 13, 2007


My cat's new favourite spot to perch is a box of books in my room. I have no idea why: it isn't the nearest she can get to the heater, there is no sun beam handily situated there, and I challenge any feline bum to find books more comfortable than carpet or a cushion. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Review: The Company

Easter has just been and, in the dollop of free time preserved by my assiduous refusal to go to things, I did a certain amount of movie watching. My local video shop is the estimable Aro Video Shop, and so there was a wide selection of 'thinky' movies available, and I ended up with the serious art world's answer to Center Stage: The Company.

Happy escapism, this is not. It's about the Joffrey Ballet Company of Chicago, except it isn't set inside the company, it's starring the company. It shows glimpses of the working and personal lives of the company members over a period of time, roughly the amount of time it takes to produce a new ballet from the first meeting with the choreographer to the first night, with frequent interspersements of the performances that the company is working on in the meantime. It's not at all linear - the fragile threads of story that you end up seeing are built out of a mosaic of small private moments, often of people you don't know the name of, and will never know the endings of. The mosaic style of movie (or book), I confess I find quite tiring to watch, all the information comes out of small details and you need to pay constant attention to keep track of what's happening. It was also filmed in an uncomfortable manner. There were lots of long and medium shots with very few closeups, often dark lighting, or shots looking straight at the stage lights, the view was frequently obscured by other people and various furniture, and I realised after a while that we never got to see anyone's eyes or feel that the people filmed were looking at us, which added to the uncomfortableness of it. As with other works that are built as a mosaic, somewhere between a third and two thirds of the movie I found I was wondering why I was still watching.

In this movie, the answer is the dancing. It's absolutely gorgeous. There are no body doubles or camera tricks to make people look better than they are, this is pure unadulterated magical movement, and the nett result of the camera and lighting weirdness is the closest experience to actually being at a live performance that I've seen. The company has a wide repertoire, from the opening (to an electronic soundtrack) of dancers in a weirdly abstract sequence with the rustle of long ribbons and the pat of the dancers' feet as the main sounds heard, to the excursions into classical ballet, exquisite solo pieces, and the final production number of the Giant's Mouth, it's all wonderful. Often the dancing pieces appear without comment or explanation, simply as the performance that the company is working on just then, often we are shown the progression from rehearsal into final performance.

Just lovely.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Walking the Skyline


I just got back from walking the Skyline track with John. We didn't do the whole track, just the part from the Northland Cemetary to Mt Kau Kau then down to the train station in Khandallah, so there's a section around Karori and Makara that I haven't seen yet. I had a good time, but I'm rather tired now.

Length of full track: 12km
Length we walked: Dunno, exactly. 9ish? 10?
Time: Four and a quarter hours.
Hardest part: Walking up onto the track from the cemetary to Johnston Hill. There weren't any horrendously steep bits, it just kept on going and going and going. The section after that was a nice undulating amble over the top ridge of someone's farm, though, so it helped for getting my breath back.
Steepest gradient: Near Mt Kau Kau, but we were going down hill for those bits.
Difference in fitness between John and me: Lots.
Easter egg encounters: A victory egg at the top of Mt Kau Kau, and an egg encountered in passing that someone had left on a survey marker at the top of Mt Johnston. A libation for Easter, maybe?
New Foodstuffs 1: Kellog's All-Bran Baked Bars. Yummy, filling, and full of things that are actually good for you! (Bran and molasses, and things like that.)
New Foodstuffs 2: Nashis. A kind of fruit with a flavour and texture sort of like a cross between an apple and a pear. First bite was sweet and kinda bland, but with interesting tart flavours coming through near the centre of the nashi.
Highest point: Mt Kau Kau at 445m.
Second highest point: Johnston Hill at 360m.
View: Absolutely stunning. It's another reminder, actually, of how compact Wellington is. I don't know of many capital cities where you could stand in sight of the port on one side, and someone's farm on t'other, all at the same time.
The bacon sandwiches we had when we staggered home: Priceless

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On Oral Presentations...

Today I had to give a presentation to my class on the play we've been studying, by a chap called Plautus, called Amphitruo, which is about Jupiter and Mercury disguising themselves as human and arranging an elaborate scheme that allows Jupiter to have it off with the general Amphitruo's lovely and virtuous wife, Alcumena. I hadn't actually picked the topic of my talk with any care, just seen out of a list of suggestions the title "Roman Comedy / Roman Construct" that had a recommended reading on 'Roman street theatre' and figured, "Hey, it'll be something to do with how Romans put on plays, that'll be interesting."

I should have chosen with more attention. The reading turned out to be about triumphs and Scipio swanning around implying that he was a quasi-Jupiter, and I ended up going rather off the beaten track and heading into the surreal world of grotesque realism and whether Alcumena was a stand-in for Juno in the play. It's always worrying when your lecturer suddenly sits up and pays extra close attention to what you say. (Hoping I pulled it off.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

On Suicidal Birds...

About 40 minutes ago, a wax-eye flew straight into the window and landed with an enormous thump. When I peered out, it was still twitching, at which point I had a huge dither fit and ended up calling half a dozen people and their dog for advice. Well, maybe not that many, but I wasn't sure whether it was better to kill it or leave it and hope it gets better. Fortunately, the SPCA came through with a positive answer and said to stash it in a dark place for a while until it gets over the shock of the affair. It's gone from limp and looking like it had broken its neck, to sitting/hunching up, to sitting all the way up on its legs. Still shivering, though.

ETA: 5.40pm And it's rather bedraggled, but just flew off looking reasonably happy about the state of affairs. I found it rather disturbing that Babe, blind as she is, chose that particular moment to sniff around in the bushes and hauled her inside, though.

Commonplace Book

A Martian Sends A Postcard Home
Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings -

they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.

I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.

Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:

then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.

Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.

Model T is a room with the lock inside -
a key is turned to free the world

for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.

But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.

In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.

If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep

with sounds. And yet they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.

Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room

with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises

alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.

At night when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs

and read about themselves -
in colour, with their eyelids shut.

-- Craig Raine

For Lucy, who asks good questions.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I have just completed the first of my class assessments, an oral presentation on religious poetry in the Middle Ages. It was actually quite interesting to research - the rise of rhythmical verse over the Classical quantitive variety (ie all about vowel lengths) and when people started sticking music to it, and what the Franciscans did and so forth, but I'm very glad it's over, I spent most of my weekend fuming over it, with occasional breaks to translate Aldhelm and Bede as my regular homework.

I'd love to say I have a life now, but sadly I have a passage analysis, another oral presentation, a class test and a draft edition of a an Old English Psalm, all coming due in the next two weeks. I'll say Hi, when it's all over...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Winter is coming

Late dawn, early sunset, and a chill in the air.
I was quite glad it rained yesterday, actually, the grass needed it, and the air feels clearer.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Free to a Good Home

Today I did a purge of my bookshelves, and have two boxes of books that I'm unlikely to want to read again, along with a couple of inadvertant duplicates. I can't be bothered posting a list, but anyone who visits is welcome to fossick and take happy finds home.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Blog With A Cat In It.

Yesterday I got home around 8.30 and wondered where the heck my cat was (she's usually camped out in my room or the living room and was unusually not in sight.) Then it occurred to me that I hadn't seen her when I left the house earlier in the day which was a little worrying. It turned out that she'd gone into the back garden and been stuck there for around 8 or 9 hours because the gate had swung shut in the wind and she can't jump over it anymore. She was sitting in a corner of the garden in the dark, very meekly, when I came out to find her. Poor Babe. Resignation is one of her virtues, but I could wish that she doesn't need it quite so often.

On a slightly more optimistic note, I've started giving her cod liver oil, and not only is her coat looking less scruffy, but she seems to be moving less stiffly as well.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

There are three printers in the library,

and none of them are working. I must be back at Uni. :-(

Friday, March 02, 2007

First Week Back At Uni

And I've spent enough time on campus to long for the halcyon days of summer when there aren't all those pesky students hanging about getting in the way. It's mainly first years I think, they have things they need to queue for and they get lost easily.

Apart from that things are going well enough. Im having a bit of a problem in Latin right now in that translations are taking ages and I'm not understanding things as well as I want to, which will hopefully come right soon when I get into the right mindset again. Old English is in fact going better than expected - the three week swot before the class started has paid off, and Christine (the lecturer) is really nice. She seems to have given me and the other couple of newbies temporary immunity from being called on in class. I have slightly more news on the Mystery of the Head - other members of the class tell me that it's all in the Life of St Edmund, which they translated last year, so when I get through reading it, I'll update people on the story.

And Alasdair came down from Northland to have lunch with me today. This was something we did practically every week last year, when we were both on campus at the same time. Felt just like home.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Apparently, I Write Like A Boy.

One of the internet widgets I've recently found is the Gender Genie, which implements an algorithm tracking keywords that are, according to the creator, indicative of gender.

Blog posts, essays, fiction... only one of them thought I was at all girlie, and that was a retelling of Sir Gawain in not at all colloquial English. I wonder what it would think if I wrote a short story about barbie dolls...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've been tagged by a Commonplace Book meme...

As per Mark's instructions, , quoting from the book that's nearest to hand right now, p123, sentences 5, 6 and 7.
She looked then to Ukiah, curled in the rental car's backseat. "How do you feel?"
"I'm fine, Sam. I just want to go to sleep."

which isn't very interesting. Personally, I liked this bit better:

Sam picked up her coffee. "What I would love is a picture of Ukiah's father, so I know all the players."
   Max looked at Ukiah, puzzled.
   "Rennie," Ukiah said. "Indigo says he flew into Portland yesterday."
   "Oh, shit! That's the last thing we needed!" Max pulled out his PDA and played with it for a few moments. "Here. This is him."
   Sam viewed the picture a moment, sipping her coffee, and then suddenly spit it all back out. "This is the FBI Most Wanted list!"
   "Yes, it is." Max reached for his PDA. "I don't have any other picture of Shaw."
   Sam leaned out of reach, scrolling down through the entry. "Wanted for arson, assault with a deadly weapon, auto theft, burglary ...kidnapping...manslaughter...murder - oh my god, you weren't kidding! He is a homicidal lunatic! And he's coming here?"
   "See, I'm not the only one he has that effect on," Max said to Ukiah.
   "He's not that bad," Ukiah said meekly. "Once you get to know him"


Wen Spencer, Tainted Trail, New York: New American Library, 2002.

And I tag Starfire and Repton Infinity, because I think there'll be some interesting stuff coming out of their libraries.

That's a quote from your physically nearest book, p123, sentences 4, 5 and 6, and because that isn't necessarily the most interesting bit, I'm adding "plus the extract of your choice" to the list. :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On Health, Part Two

I'm back from surgery, which actually went pretty well. The worst part so far has been trying to find a liquid I can keep down as I'm the statistically 1 in 50 whom morphine makes really nauseous. I've been stuffed full of anti-emetics, am wearing Cat's motion-sickness acupressure wrist bands, and was given a unit of saline via intravenous drip when the recovery room nurses got worried about how dehydrated I was getting. I also have the most appalling cotton mouth, which made trying to eat a piece of toast an interestingly unpleasant affair. Also, I'm feeling very spaced and tired, but that's entirely normal. And for the record, all the nursing and surgical staff were very friendly, even the specialist who scared the heck out of me last time around.

On the plus side, I don't have endometriosis, which the surgery today was supposed to find out, but does beg the question of why do I get the aches and pains I've been having. More tests are probably on the way, but I decline to worry about that now.

And a Happy Valentine's Day to John who has reminded me that come the 26th of February we'll have been going out for an entire year. Gosh, time really does fly. (And no, to answer your question, I'm still not sick of you. ;-))

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Last night I edited some old posts and I've just discovered that this means the LJ feed has vomited out a lot of them. Sorry.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

On Language Learning

So, this trimester I'm signed up for the 300-level Old English course. Since I haven't taken the 200-level Old English course that is its prerequisite I have the next two weeks (plus this past week) to pick up enough vocabulary and grammar to not totally drown in the class. (1) It's mostly going OK, but I'm noticing a certain trend in the example sentences. See, whoever wrote the 200 study guide really wasn't interested in whether Horatia snatched the food off the table and ate it greedily, or even where the pen of my aunt is. Let's see some examples:

- Hi woldon stelan Pa mathmas. (2) -> They wished to steal the treasures. (3)
- Pa weras ferdon hergiende and sleande. -> The men went devastating and slaying.
- God aelmihtig is ealra hlaforda hlaford. -> God almighty is lord of lords.
- Hinguar Pa leode of-slog, weras and wif and Pa unwittigan cild. -> Hinguar killed the people, men and women and the innocent children.
- ...and hine swungon langlice mid swipum. -> ...and flogged him with whips for a long time.

There's also the continuing saga about Where the Head Is. Somehow I think that when I get to translating actual texts there's going to be a certain preoccupation in the subject matter.

(1) I meant to start earlier, but was rather distracted by writing my site essay and that whole earning a living thing.
(2) P is being used for 'thorn', th for 'eth.'
(3) Anyone wishing to correct my translations is entirely welcome. :-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I can't believe I spent two years at Vic without knowing about this site. It has scans of Journal articles. Lots of them, including several that I personally pursued into the bowels of the Uni library looking for. That's dust, poor air conditioning, and big shelves that you have to move with a winder and look like they're about to Squash you, folks.

Dammit. 8 months ago I asked the librarian at the Information Desk about journal databases and the only one he knew about was the National Library's one, which is lovely, but exceedingly poor on Classics.

(Thanks for telling me about it, Naomi.)

On the plus side...

I'm finished! Huzzah! No more site essay for me! It's even printed. :-)

The only downside is that it's Sunday and I can't hand the bally thing in straight away before I have a chance to change my mind about something.

Friday, February 02, 2007

On Health

I have a good GP. One of the reasons I know this is because when I wander into his office to wail about whatever happens to be wrong with me, I can confidentally expect that he'll ask me how my study is going, how the trip to Greece was, things about my social life, in fact, the things you'd expect someone you know quite well to ask. Since I hate going to see doctors, this cuts down a lot on my intimidation and fear-of-incredibly-personal-questions issues. Does the good doctor have a super dooper memory that retains small talk from every patient he's met ever? Probably not, but he does keep copious notes. I've seen them, whilst peering over the man's shoulder.

One of the items written down a little over a year ago was from when I was explaining exactly why I hated being on the pill. I had mood swings up to my ears - happy sad happy happy Sad - and in my peering I found out that the doctor-speak for that is 'emotionally labile.' That's a good phrase. It's a good way to describe how I feel right now, bouncing with joy about how good life is right now (and life is very good), then suddenly wanting to cry, and then just as quickly being happy again. I think this sucks, and wish I could level out some, or even better, get to stay at the happy level All the Time.

There is one thing I'm worried about. On Monday, I have a preop appointment with a different doctor who is very busy and not nearly so nice, and on Wednesday the week after I'm scheduled for day surgery. All of this post is actually linked. The surgery is to investigate why I've been having horrible periods, the first step in the process being, over a year ago, to stick me on the pill to see if that changed anything. It did. It made things a lot worse. Stupid body.

Also, while all this is supposed to be routine, I find I've watched far too many hospital TV shows in which things go horribly wrong, and I have far too good an imagination for my peace of mind. Bother it all.

Did I mention that I hate seeing doctors?

Monday, January 29, 2007

When The Zombies Rise...

The house will look much as it does now. There was a Phoenix party here on Saturday that I'd completely forgotten about and there's still detritus lying about. I should really do some tidying...

It left a poor impression for Mark, our former flatmate-who-went-up-to-Auckland-for-a-fortnight-and-ended-up-staying-for-nearly-a-year-but-is-now-visiting-us-for-a-week-while-he-observes-some-tidy-up-sound-recording-for-the-movie-he's-just-finished-editing-which-I've-forgotten-the-name-of-or-I-would-link-to-it-in-IMDB. He's taking it all in his stride, I think and is very welcome, despite the fifteen minutes notice of his arrival we got from Norman-the-Landlord.

Also, many thanks to Mark-the-Latin-Teacher-Dude, who not only answered my question about the bit in Statius where Tydeus eats the head of his not-yet-dead enemy, but found an Illustrative Picture in the process.

And finally, I have had my Zombie Movie Cherry popped. Yes, I finally watched Shaun of the Dead. Everyone who told me to watch it, yes, you were right. It's a very funny movie and a zombie flick, all at the same time.

I can hear muffled shouting from outside my room. Maybe Norman and Fraser are pleased to see Mark. Or...
Night all.

Friday, January 26, 2007


I can remember this time last year, quite well actually.

There was Kapcon, and the free concerts in the Botanical Gardens, and lovely summer weather, and playing frisbee in the park. It was also about the time that I was thinking that that John fellow was rather lovely and wishing that he'd notice me.

I also met Morgue right about now, and read his rant on the problems involved in trying to maintain plausible deniability about whether you liked someone or not. It took me a while to follow his advice, but it all worked out rather well in the end.

Thanks Morgue.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Not Poetry, This Time.

In television, what is the difference between a Soap Opera and a Drama?

I've been having a discussion with my flatmates on how to class Norman's favourite addiction, ER. I've always thought of it as a soap, because it's focusing on internal story lines between the characters, but Norman says it isn't, because it's not full of people wailing about having just married their brother by accident. Also, there was some discussion of overarching story lines.

What is the actual distinction? Was Babylon 5 a soap?

Yet more poetry...

Because if people are going to have interesting conversations in comments to your posts, you might as well memorialise it. :-)

Psyche to Eros

Do you think of me then, waiting on the rock?
It was cold – the wind bellied my red mantle, embroidered
with suns and wheels and dandelions. Their
warmth was only pictures; my bare feet bled
on the ragged stones. From the dark hills cold glints
of trumpets bid farewell: they were leaving me, though
my mother had clung like lichen clings, had wept
like water gushing from blank granite.
A beautiful sacrifice, I.

In this dark place – all softness, as a scrap
of thistle-down, as the fluff
of a wild-cat nursing kits – my eyes
are shut with your kisses, your murmuring
willow-voice all I hear. I drink you,
as night drinks blindness from a bowl.

Ah, love,
I dreamed that I married a falcon,
and slept in his feather-soft nest in the cliff
but I looked in his eyes,
and knowing me, he fled.

I might travel the hills to find that bird,
and cut my feet on the rocks,
and wear the wind for a mantle.
Until I see you,
you will never know.
--Cat Pegg

Monday, January 22, 2007

Commonplace Book

Consider this:
      A man who feels for the people.
      A friend to the ill-favoured.
      Never a word against the bar-
barians assuming Roman dress.

Reconcile this:
      A believer in man's potential.
      A voice raised against the games
      where human flesh is sport.
A man whose eyes fill at music.

You might at least concede:
      No man went hungry from my door.
      No woman was molested.
      No child was imposed on.
Humanitas inevitable as breath.

I who might have, have
      never raped, pillaged, extorted;
      abused office or position;
      concealed; interfered with art;
stood between any man and sunset.

And yet as you say,
      I have killed a god. I have made
      of impartiality, a farce.
      I have dabbled in chaos. I,
Pilate. Who vote as you do.
-- Vincent O'Sullivan

Vincent O'Sullivan, in An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English, (eds. Jenny Bornholdt, Gregory Brian, Mark Williams), (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1997), p228.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Because I Was Asked To Inflict Poetry...

There was a young king from Uruk
Whom Enkidu thought was a pillock
They fought a great war
And broke down a door
Then made mighty love on a hillock.
-- Cat Pegg

(Er, I think Catherine wrote it. She's certainly the person who told it to me...)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Burglar Alarms...

The burglar alarm from the house two doors down went off earlier this afternoon, and did not turn off immediately thereafter in the classic "Oh poot, I forgot to punch in the code" fashion I'm more used to. I found out later that a couple of neighbours also heard it and independently went to check things out, but I was very unheroic and called the police instead. They were prompt, friendly and efficient, a credit to the New Zealand Police Force.

(What happened is that the lady who lives there had hired a minion-for-the-day from Student Job Search, left the garage open so that the minion could access tools, and forgotten to give him the alarm code, so it was actually an entirely innocuous alarm. The policeman I talked to said that it's always best to call in these situations, though, just in case.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

One Day at Tourney...

This weekend I shall be at the Grail of Chivalry World Invitational Jousting Tournament. It will be Very Cool. In fact, I shall be there with bells on. (When I agreed to be part of the entertainment, nobody said anything about the bells.)

It's open to the public for $5 a pop. If you're interested, or would just like to go out to the park on a nice sunny (I hope) day, come right along.

Monday, January 01, 2007

On New Year's Day I Muse on the Incongruity of Wearing a Winter Coat and Gloves...

I understand from Neil Gaiman's blog that the weather in North America is unseasonally warm. Give us back our summer, damn your eyes!!!

Happy New Year.

EDIT: I have changed from Old Blogger to New Blogger. This means that the RSS feed into LJ has temporarily gone haywire, sorry for spamming you guys with old posts.