Thursday, December 31, 2009

Surprising Things

So, a couple of weeks ago, Repton and I went to New Plymouth to watch the Fleetwood Mac concert (1) and, as you do, went for a walk up Mt Taranaki. We didn't make it to the top by any means, stopping at the transmitter tower just before the track gets really hard, instead of just really steep, chatted with the unicyclists coming down the path, that kind of thing. I'm not kidding about the unicyclists. One of them even had brakes.

It turns out that they were in the country for the World Unicycling Championships, one event of which, Freestyle Pairs, Repton and I went to see tonight. It was nifty, and pretty scary the amount of skill involved. There were dancer unicyclists, acrobat unicyclists, bishounen unicyclists, Swiss stripper unicylists ... pretty damn awesome. And I'm not kidding about the Swiss stripper unicyclists; there were other teams that took the opportunity to fling off a bit of costume at an artful moment, but these guys really took that idea to heart and were, moreover, wearing suspender socks (who the heck wears those anymore?). Despite my kibbitzing (and discreet leering), their performance was Awesome and they won that section. Good for them etc.

In other tramping news, my Christmas toy was a GPS so I can go geocaching. Dragged Repton out with me to find a couple of caches on Tinakori Hill which, even with getting lost for reading the map wrong at one point, was a pretty awesome walk. Also found a geocoin, which is trying to visit every cache in NZ and has a code deciphering wheel.

(1) Which was awesome by the way.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Corset Photos

Ta da!

And a closer look. I got the silk for this at a fabric sale run by the Mary Potter Hospice, where you can get bits and pieces left over from other projects. So 1m of brocade silk was suprisingly affordable.

As you can see, the lacing was quite loose for my first session. Keira Knightley's opinions in the Pirate movies aside, it was quite comfortable, although it rather encourages good posture and restricts bending over.

Look! Cleavage! (Not something I can usually brag about.) Note that Cat put some little bumble bees and 'moonstone dew drops' as decoration - this is an outer wear fashion corset rather than one that discreetly stays under my ball dress.

The chemise I'm wearing under this is way out of period (made to an Elizabethan smock pattern and quite heavy linen.) My next project is to find some nice floaty lawn or muslin and make a semi-transparent shirt that makes people even more interested in my cleavage. It's a girl thing.

Merry Christmas!

I was woken up by two extremely enthusiastic cats this morning. One of them jumped on my face, the other one brought me tea and had a loud cellphone alarm. Still, I got to try on my new personally tailored pure silk Christmas present corset...

(Pictures to follow)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wicked Thoughts

I am writing an essay on St Margaret of Antioch.

It probably says bad things about me that I'm trying to subvert the structure of the essay so that I can have Jane Austen-ish puns in the subtitles. ("Pride and Public Exposure," "Sight and Sensibility," that sort of thing. Now, if only I can think one up for the section on the dragon and the devil...)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Adventures in Cookery, part something or other

Today's new recipe was Hungarian Goulash, which to the uninitiated is a kind of casserole/stew made with paprika, black pepper and capsicums. The recipe I used also said to put in tomatoes, but I'm not sure how authentic that's supposed to be. And, er, apparently proper goulash is more like a chunky soup. But anyway, you get the idea.

It was quite nice, but took a while to make, what with having to make a trip to get some stewing steak because we didn't have any, spending rather longer than I'd like trying to get the can of tomatoes open and opting for puree instead (stupid can opener), and generally doing the messing about prefrying the steak, as you do. And the two hour cooking time, although we shortened it a bit because I was getting hungry. On the other hand, the recipe didn't quite use the last of the cooking wine, so I felt duty bound to finish it off while I waited for dinner to cook. I really am a cheap drunk. Whee!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

On being a published author

Er, kind of, so long as being a part of a Lulu collection counts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Got some exam results back

A+s for me! La la la. (Still got a research essay to finish up, mind.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

And so it begins...

Christmas shopping has started. Granted, the first item purchased was of a utilitarian and modest nature, nonetheless - I've Started Being Organised!

Today I went to a book signing by Emma Hart and David Haywood. The former wrote a book called Not Safe For Work which Repton brought home a week or so ago, and he wanted signed since they were in town doing a joint book launch. She showed me her scar. (Read the book to find out why this is important, it's very entertaining. Not the reason why she has a scar, but the book in general.) I also picked up a copy of Haywood's My First Stabbing, which is not actually the book he's launching, but I'd heard about by means of the hilariously funny article of the same name, which someone had linked me to a while ago. Both authors were nice, friendly, and did readings of each other's books and then made each other do readings of their own books. A surprising amount of coercion was required.

Also, I got a long overdue haircut. This turned out quite short, owing to my hairdresser having a funny idea of what "Shoulder length, please" means. It still looks good, but I'm a bit sorry because Cat chopped off most of her hair recently as well, and we've been Cox and Boxing our hair cuts since forever. Eh well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Event

And the last of this is done:

Bwa ha. Ha.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Tonight's new recipe was Vegan Nut Rissoles, via a recipe in the paper. This meant an expedition to get tofu, which really doesn't taste of anything at all. Took quite a while to make - prime offenders are the precooked brown rice (which takes bloody ages to do its thing), and the imminent demise due to non-nonstickiness of our large frypan. And there were lots of rissoles. If we make it again, I'll probably halve the mixture. (And throw veganness to the winds and mix some cubes of cheese in, so there's something solid to chew on.)

Tiki Touring

Yesterday I went for a walk along the Sanctuary fenceline up to the wind turbine. It's an interesting walk, because you spend most of it going uphill through bush, trees, and a steelmesh fence, until right near the top you break out of the bush and see the panorama of south Wellington. This really is a beautiful town to live in.

Also notable is that getting up all that way left me tired (but not exhausted), only 1 hour 10 minutes (less time than I expected), and with absolutely no asthma attacks (yay!) And today, the post walk stiffness isn't in my legs, it's in the muscles stretching across my ribs. Er. Some pilates artifact, maybe?

Other things for yesterday were meandering down to Brooklyn to look at the fabric sale there and going into town to have lunch with Repton. Interestingly, since I started up at Uni again, I no longer have to go into, through, or nearby town everyday, or even every week, and it's taking on a very exotic kind of Field Trip air.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More cooking

Tonight we tried out rice risotto made from scratch. This entailed a shopping expedition to procure a bottle of wine (the first time I've been IDed in ages) and some saffron (which costs how much? Eep.)

The result was a bland looking glop that was really nice. Yum.

I went to visit Cat on the weekend and she made a point of making me deviled sausages and broccoli in cheese sauce, also made without the aid of premade assistance, in part because: "you made me such nice food last time I visited." I suspect there may be some cooking one-uppery in my near future...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yet More Adventures in Cookery

This time round we tried an onion tart. The recipe book rhapsodized about how nice and sweet white onions are compared to the normal kind. I'm not sure I've ever seen them as a distinct foodstuff in NZ supermarkets, and Wikipedia wasn't very informative, so we used shallots instead. 700 grams of them. (Took a while to peel and chop.)

The result was very oniony, but OK with cheese on top. Overall feeling is that it was OK, but I'm not going to rush to make it again.

I am very pleased with the performance of my kitchen knives after getting them professionally sharpened. Nice Sharpener Guy does dressmaking shears as well. Yay!

The True Tao of the Cheddar Monk

is not the Tao that can be spoken. So you have to blog about it instead.

In other words, I'm taking part in a web competition called the Cheddar Monk Academy which is honouring the second anniversary of the Darths and Droids webcomic. I'll be narrating my quest for spiritual enlightenment, nifty outfits, and free cheese over here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More Adventures in Cookery

This time, we tried a Thai stir fry, although with some omissions and substitutions (no baby corn or tamarind paste because we couldn't find any, and no bird's eye chilli because we don't like it.) It was nice, but very very hot. Can the members of the audience who actually know how to cook give me some advice? The recipe said to take 7cm of ginger, grated and squeezed, "and the resulting liquid reserved." Does that mean to just put the liquid in? Or just put the ginger in? Or do both? I'm wondering if that was the cause of the very intense flavour...

Evidence Based Decision Making

There's a dating website called OKCupid that, among other things, has had a lot of interest among my social group for its personality quizzes. You know, what's your dating personality, how would you survive in a zombie apocalypse, that kind of thing. They've also realised that they're sitting on an enormous pile of data of people talking about themselves and communicating with each other, and have started publishing statistical analyses. Some of them are pretty funny, others are practical, and still others head into the territory of a bit disturbing. (My gender and ethnicity is apparently one of the most stand-offish when it comes to replying to first messages from people on the site. Er, sorry?) Even with (or because of?) a self-selection bias out the wazoo, these articles are really interesting if you like thinking about what makes people tick.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Carpet Offcuts

Does anyone want some? I've just rehabilitated Macca's scratching post, courtesy of a kind gentleman at Christie Flooring Ltd who gave me some free offcuts, and now I have a superfluity of same. Free to a good home.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Larping News

So, things have been happening in the Larping world.

1. Chimera was awesome. I should probably have written a review at the time, but no matter, I highly recommend it. People who are interested in what it was like, might profitably check out 20/20 this Thursday.

2. Larpers in Wellington are getting organised, which is all good. There's still some paperwork stuff to do, but hopefully that will be cleared out of the way in good order and leave more time to make kit, organise games, go down the pub with agreeable company, and generally have fun pretending to be someone else.

3. As part of this, I'm running a game about a 5-year old's birthday party, But Nobody Loses An Eye! on Sunday, 18 October. I ran this up at Chimera, and it was quite well received, and I hope to see what Wellingtonians will do with it. There are still spaces left, so get in touch for some crazy silly fun.

4. I finally decided what game I want to run at Kapcon this year, The Book Club. It's going to be on the weird/eccentric side, and I'm worried that a) noone will turn up, and b) lots of people will turn up with high expectations and it turns out to be crap. This is pretty normal for me and running games.

Love to all,


Adventures in Cookery

I've been trying to broaden my palette of vegetarian recipes, partly because dairy farming is, as is becoming increasingly apparent, quite environmentally intensive, but also because there's a heap of interesting food that I'm missing out on, especially as most of my officially vegetarian range of meals usually relies heavily on eggs/dairy. Also, I have several friends with lactose or gluten intolerances, so going vegan makes it a bit easier to serve them nice meals.

Anyway, tonight was an experiment into the arcane ways of the Cranks Fast Food recipe book. This has tasty recipes and swears blind that everything can be served up in 30 minutes or less (as far as tonight goes, ha bloody ha, but I digress) which limits the complexity. (Incidentally, I really like the spanakopita and potato rosti recipes it has.) Tonight's try out was Moroccan Potato Pastelles, which involves making a mashed potato and egg mixture, a separate filling with mushrooms, spring onion, egg etc and then wrapping the potato around the filling and frying. (Not yet up to vegan, but at least less milk.)

Everything was going fine until the wrapping the potato around the filling which turned into such a hideously mushy collapsing exercise that I ended up tipping the filling in and mixing it all together. It was pleasant, but the pastelle that survived my clumsiness and was made as directed was jolly nice - a lesson to me to try harder. If anyone reading this is of Moroccan ethnicity, I apologise sincerely for messing up your cultural foodstuffs, but I'm glad I had a go, because it tasted nice.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

On pot plants

In the front garden of the property where I live, there's normally a pot of daisies, which I put there. Sometime in the last week, it got stolen. Not the daisies, just the pot - whoever it was took the plant out and left it tucked in by a bush with the roots left to fry in the sun, in a glorious display of thievery, pettiness, and anti-environmentalism. We have horrible neighbours downstairs, and I'm guessing that they or one of their friends probably had something to do with it. Their tenancy runs out in a week and a half! Oh boy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Death By Chocolate

Is jolly good fun.

Am too hyped to sleep. Off to the secret website!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Because Drivers Are Dicks

OK, not all of them, but the ones that pass with a bare inch to spare between their wing mirror and cyclists certainly are.

There is a cycling safety petition asking for a 1.5m passing distance written into law here: with a press release here:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dear Diary

Today, I benchpressed Hazel. My wrists are sore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Climate Change and the Attack of the Wet Bus Ticket!

So, National and the Maori Party have finally come to an agreement about what they want to do with the Emissions Trading Scheme, which is to make a token nod at climate change mitigation while not actually doing anything that will cause behaviour change in the major emitters. Because that would, like, suck. (For them, anyway.) Instead of polluters being expected to pay the cost of their pollution, and the costs being passed on to the beneficiaries of the pollution, the proposed scheme is focused on how to raise money for Kyoto obligations with minimum impact on the people who are actually causing the problems.

Some key points:
- Agriculture, our biggest emitter, stays out until 2015, two years later than currently legislated, and five years later than everyone else.
- Intensity based allocation. Basically, if you pollute more, it's OK as long as you're also producing more and the average amount of pollution per unit stays the same. How this idea is supposed to combine with the need to reduce national emissions given the drive to always 'grow the economy' is beyond me.
- $25/tonne fixed price option. (Currently, carbon prices are currently estimated at ~$22/tonne, although this is likely to change a lot. NZIER/Infometrics considered scenarios with world prices ranging from $25/tonne to $100 and $200/tonne in their macroeconomic impact report to give an idea of the market range that's being considered.)
- 2 for 1 deal. There is a 'transition phase' until the end of 2012 in which polluters only have to pay for half of their carbon pollution. The rest comes out of the tax take (No Right Turn estimates this at $428.5 million/per year). That would pay for a lot of hospitals and schools. Or tax cuts.

And for fun and games, there's been no attempt at reaching consensus with the other big party, so next time Labour gets in, they'll probably change it. Hopefully, in a meaningful, environmentally friendly way. What's also notable is that, despite this being John Key's latest attempt to sell out the country, it's slipped off the headlines of the major newspapers remarkably quickly - because whining about lightbulb standards and the right to whack one's offspring is so much more interesting.

I doubt that those fellows in government actually care about what I think, but just in case: You Bastards.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Event

Gosh, it really has been a while since I posted an update. Stuff has been happening, I promise!

Anyway, part four of The Event is mostly up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Andrew Edward Ross Pegg

My brother recently reminded me that it was the 20th anniversary of our father's death a few days ago. That's almost two thirds of my life; more than that, if you count the years he was dissapeared geographically instead of temporally.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My guy is in a cast again

No crutches this time, because it's a broken scaphoid , which means that I'm going to be washing dishes for a month at least. Sigh.

Last night we had The Talk. Actually, two The Talks: one about the weight of his arm and how annoyed I'd be if I get accidentally clipped on the head with it, but the other one was regarding his congenitally cold hands and how to make or adapt a glove to keep his fingers warm. Will update with a progress report...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Child Beating Referendum

I'll be straight about with my prejudices: I don't like Family First.

I don't like the hysterical tone of their press releases, I don't like their consistent painting of children as non-rational chaotic devils, I don't like that their list of instances where s59 has gone out of control turns out to be a series of incidents where concerned neighbours, CYFS workers and police officers took sensible and considered actions to protect young people. I do respect their right to raise their concerns in a civil referendum, and encourage everyone to vote in it. Preferably voting Yes, so FF will have to stop whining about the loss of property rights over their children, but just voting at all is an important thing: it's a public statement about the way you want the next generation to be treated, which makes it a public statement about what you want the future to be.

The Yes Vote campaign has a bunch of reasons on why you should agree with me, but I also note a handy flow chart for people who are as yet undecided.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shared World Project

So I joined a group writing project called The Event. The premise is that everyone in the writing group tells the story of a character on a regular day, during The Event, and in the days following. It has to be set in Wellington, and we don't decide what The Event is until everyone's written their first piece. Part One is here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A bit more about Saint Margaret

Y'know, the thing about the study of English Literature, is that the field is pretty damn huge, and people tend to pick periods and trends to specialise in. As an intergenerational note to all the Modernists, Post-Modernists, Post-Structuralists and Post-Colonialists out there, all of whom will find that the books they want to read are either still in print, or in a library in the same city as them - Hah! I sneer in your general direction!

I currently have a loan order in for one of the two microfilms in Australasia of the 1910 reprint of a book first published in 1480(1), and it's a work of criticism on my subject. Not to mention another key reference source published in 68 volumes between 1643 and 1940.

All those people who study books younger than they are - [Yorkshire accent]Luxury!!![/Yorkshire]. Although it's certainly being interesting pushing the limits of what the Vic library service can extract for me...

(1) Mombritius, B. Sanctuarium seu Vitae Sanctorum (Paris, 1910).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Love the Smell of Interloans in the Morning

So today was my last day at work. For various reasons, this has overlapped with my first week at Varsity, and I've been running around a lot over the last two weeks, both trying to get the last thing I was working on done as far as possible and handed over in good order, and get my courses sorted out. I'm currently working on the Chaucer paper that's continued on from the previous semester, started a course on Margaret Mahy and Maurice Gee (at 15-20 students, we're filling out the Honours common room like crazy), and have mostly finished my research proposal for a 489 on St Margaret of Antioch. She got et by a dragon.

Have finished my day by sitting in Cuba Mall for a bit watching people wander round, coming home to cinnamon toast and warm milk with vanilla, and have plans to expedition out to Burgers Wisconsin. Two things are pretty evident about this evening: I'm feeling very deflated and wiped out; I stress eat.

Love to all, etc.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Sword of my Grandfather

You know that story about someone who fetches down the sword hanging on the wall and says "This is the sword of my grandfather, exactly the one he had. Oh sure, we had to replace the blade a couple of times, and that's the third handle - but it's definitely his sword."

My 2-year old bike is starting to feel that way. I'm now on my second set of brake cables, my third back tire, my 3 1/2 set of brake pads and have been told that I should really change the drive train and chain by the end of winter. Interestingly, I've become familiar enough with it that my response to this last (along with "How much? Ouch.") was "My baby!" I also found out that the bike I got was at a certain 'price point' at which the parts that can be seen on the outside are good quality name brands, and anything internal is a cheap Taiwanese knock off. Hmm.

In other news, I am pleased with the service I've been getting at my Local Friendly Bike Store, Capital Cycles. I switched there from Pennyfarthing after being fed up with the consistently poor service, and found the new place a big improvement, like for instance: being called if the mechanic feels that servicing will require a large cost for replacement parts, staff explaining what they did to my bike and why as a matter of routine, and staff giving me advice on maintenance and care. And they're generally nice people, too.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Another update on 48 Hours:

Nice encode on vimeo:

or if for whatever reason that doesn't work the rather crappy quality youtube standard clip:

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Things to be happy about

So anyway, I'm taking this Honours level course on Geoffrey Chaucer, and the first assessment of the year was due about 3 weeks ago. I'd known about it for months and been putting it off as only a master procrastinator can do, and finished with an end result that was really truly apologise-to-the-professor crappy. For which I got an A+! :-) Ahem.
(Seriously, scheduling the 48 Hour Film Festival for the weekend before an essay is due is seriously inconvenient - those organiser guys should totally do something about that.)

Other things to be happy about:
It's sunny.
My sister has been having grief in her dealings with a government department, which seem likely to be almost over, thanks to a snarky letter written by our stepfather. Go snarky stepfathers for the win!
Riding out to Johnsonville with my beloved, and obtaining an electric blanket and draft excluders for the windows in the process. Death to feeling cold!
Did I mention it's sunny?
Further to a previous post, yes, my job is now scheduled to evaporate like morning dew in about 7 weeks. Anyone looking for someone with good writing and analytical skills with a good background knowledge in technical fields is very welcome to get in touch. Plan A, which is to be redeployed at my current place of employment (assuming they find a place for me to go) is currently being investigated, Plan B is to spend 4 months finishing Honours and comes with a warm reception from previous lecturers who all remember me well and are saying welcome back. Will see how it turns out - feeling less depressed about it all, anyhow.

This post is brought to you by a cup of tea and the exclamation mark.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ho ho ho.

I won half of an award!
Operative bit is "Best Fan Publication, also presented by Russell. The winner is The Girl Who Asked for Wisdom and Other Stories, edited by Catherine and Stephanie Pegg." I feel I should be a bit cagey, after all a live blog transcript isn't exactly official, but still pretty happy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bwa Ha. Ha. Um.

So, it's official, I'm now signed up to run a larp at Chimera, called But Nobody Loses An Eye! set at a 3 year old's birthday party. It'll be totally awesome! Now I just have to, er, do something about writing it.

Note to other Wellingtonian Chimera attendees:
Registration for the con is now open at, I'm told that game selection will come a bit later.
If you're on the same flight home as me (7pm), you might want to arrange with Anna the Larp Goddess to trade in your hour of mandatory packing out of the site to an hour of helping in the kitchen or alternate cleanup.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Christmas Holiday Special

You know how when a soap opera is getting ready to close down for the holidays they put in a lot of big dramatic unpleasant events so the the audience will be raring to start watching when it starts up again?

I'm having one.

The restructure fairy has turned up at work and sprinkled her little fairy dust around. They're not reducing head count, but my particular job is one of the ones deemed unnecessary. At this point, I can make a submission about how I think they should do their restructure instead, apply for one of the new jobs being created (seeing some job descriptions would sure be handy for that), wangle a spot elsewhere in Council, or leave. Things could be a lot worse, but yet I'm still feeling very uncertain about the future.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

48 Hours Update

Team got 90% of the footage in the can yesterday and I stayed up until about 2.30 doing the rough cut, while Svendelmaus, my fellow gnome, messed around with sounds and backing music.* Really liking what's coming through. (If anyone is interested, we managed to write a script that's valid for 3 of the 48 Hours Approved genres, plus one that isn't. And it works. Go team!) Looking forward to the screening on Thursday.

Am now in Sunday morning lounging in my pyjamas mode, trying to stay awake so I'll sleep alright tonight. Also, there's a builder coming in about 40 minutes to fix a window sill - should probably get dressed for that.

* Day not without frustrations, like working out to get the DOP to cough up the first tape so I could start downloading footage, then having a panic attack trying to work out how to get the camera I'd been given to work and remembering how to use the software and working out why the new import method we were trying to speed up data entry wasn't working. Ah. Good times. Happily, my fellow gnome watched me typing in the shot entries for the second tape, said "That's inefficient!" and whipped up a specialised data entry program that took the job from 30-40 minutes of fiddliness to done-before-someone-has-finished-making-me-tea. Go Svend!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

48 Hours

I'm in Jenni's Angels again this year, this time as one of the writers, and assistant editor.

We got Revenge Movie, which we figured is easy to do cornily and hard to do well, and we wanted to do it well. The brainstorming with everyone took ages, and then the writing team: me, Morgue, JenniTalula and Amphigori repaired to my house and motored through into a script that we really liked, and got it finished about 2.30am, far earlier than expected. I've had about 6 hours sleep and am feeling a bit spacy, but not at all too bad - my work for the afternoon is to start downloading the first tape. I'm quite looking forward to it, as I'll get to see what they've created with my night's work. [rubs hands in anticpatory glee]

Oh, the movie? It's a Film Noir Revenge Flick in which FraserByProxy gets beaten up lots. It's sure to be a winner!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

My weekend

I haven't updated in absolutely ages. Alas etc.

The main thing is that my Gran is dying. I don't mean that she's been diagnosed with something icky (that was about a year ago), I mean that people are now saying hours or days but not weeks. I spent time with her yesterday and in the few weeks since I last saw her at Easter she has declined rather a lot. One of the things they don't tell you about old people whose bodies are starting to shut down is that their faces get very smooth and lose their wrinkles because the muscles in their faces start relaxing. Anyway, there's not much anyone can do now but keep her warm and pain free and keep her company while she sleeps. There are very many relatives flocking around right now, along with a full time carer called Kelly who is lovely and thinks Gran is neat. And I'm feeling sad, but at the same time all the regular parts of my life are ticking along as well.

Good night all.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Xi Shi

I am now the proud owner of a splendiferously lustworthy doll of Xi Shi, one of the legendary Four Beatiful Women of China. According to the doll's creator, the amazingly talented Catherine, Xi Shi "was sent by the king of one small kingdom to [the king of] another small kingdom as a concubine, with the secret brief of destroying his kingdom through distraction and other secret agent tricks. Once this was accomplished, she ran away with her old handler, ... married him, and lived happily ever after. Moreover, history remembers her as 'that daring and beautiful lady who was very loyal to her country, which she helped greatly' as opposed to less complimentary epithets that [are] applied at times to beautiful women. A very successful lady. (Oh, and her father grew tea.)

Pictures, so that others can envy my good fortune, are below:

(There is a seriously huge amount of detail in this doll, which is fully undressable, with complete hand made jewellery and craft accessories, and several layers of precise and exact detail which the casual viewer wouldn't see but I know are there for added gloriousness.)

Fully assembled lady is here:

Bonus picture of me and Macca, pursuing one of her favourite hobbies:

Saturday, March 21, 2009


In the bookshop I found the new Temeraire book, Victory of Eagles, and I've been spending much of the past two days reading it. It's a good 'un, and includes the entrance of one Arthur Wellesley, known in the book as General Wellesley, and in the real world becomes the 1st Duke of Wellington, and he goes around being pragmatic, efficient, and extremely ruthless. It's a nice change, as in previous books the heroes have been stuck working for bumbling, close-minded and annoying people and get stuck trying to decide where their real duty lies - following incompetent and self-serving orders, or being recalcitrant and achieving something. Wellesley is also causing people to question where their duty lies, but at least by following his orders people know that they'll be looking after Britain. For the greater good?

With all historical novels, there's always a certain tension between one's knowledge of real world events and the alternate version presented by the author - in this case, by the inclusion of dragons as air force and the change in tactics and historical events that would mean. At this point, Novik has completely gone off the map, there is no history book that will tell you what's more or less supposed to happen, as there was in Black Powder War; from now on we get to find out how the Napoleonic Wars are going to turn out when she's ready to tell us and not before. It's very exciting.

My main negative point is this: the proof reading in the edition I read is just plain careless. The spelling is correct - automated spell checkers can give us that at least, but there are many places throughout where words are missing, or shouldn't be there, or the pronouns are messed up. It's annoying having to break out of immersion in order to work out what the writer meant, and I would have expected a professional publisher to do better.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The guns, they go boom.

This afternoon/evening, I took Repton out to be cultured. To be precise, we went to the Summer Symphony at the Basin Reserve, which had the Vector Wellington Orchestra doing their thing, together with a brass band, the Footloose dance company, and some soloists.

It was neat. John lay in the sun reading a book, and I sometimes read a book, sometimes sat and listened, and sometimes went up to the stage to dance. They were playing favourite orchestral tunes from the 19th and 20th C, so things like Nessun Dorma and William Tell and the drinking song from La Traviata, but also the themes from Harry Potter and Indiana Jones, and a famous tango. The conductor/MC was a hoot - in his introductions to each piece he'd be as lurid as possible about the lyrics, or list all the movies it had been used in the soundtrack of - "So this piece, the flower duet from Lakme, has been used in this movie and that movie, and also that really cool British Airways ad, but also most importantly a computer game called Kill Zone 2. Oh yeah, it's technically about two Indian girls picking flowers by a stream, but remember, Kill Zone 2.

And of course, they finished up with the 1812 overture, bringing the brass band back for extra trumpets, having a carillon going behind the orchestra, and a bunch of cannons behind the audience. Oh yeah.

(Sorry for missing your party Adrexia, I'm feeling a bit overstimulated to go and chat with people right now.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lo the Mighty Hunter

Macca caught a bird.

We got it out of her mouth and it flew away, hopefully nevermore to hang around our cat infested property. Cats think differently to people, though. We got the bird away from her while we were outside, but she spend a good long while investigating the top of the book case (a temporary resting place in her romp of glory) trying to work out where it had gone.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Today I was a Best Girl

Turned up as crew to Evinshir's Winding City project and spent the day helping out the Assistant Director/Gaffer/Guy Who Knows What He's Doing. He was very kind about explaining what he needed to me and my co-best boy - hopefully, next filming day I'll be able to be a bit more efficient.

Shoot went well - we wrapped over an hour earlier than expected, and fitted another scene in.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I have finally finished reading The Canterbury Tales. It's only taken me four months (it felt longer.) Next up: The Book of the Duchess and The Parliament of Fowls, both of which are considerably shorter, which is good, because I'm supposed to have them read by this Wednesday. (Honours course on Chaucer starts this week.)

But first, some goofing off. :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Internet Blackout

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!

Things I did expect today...

Frogs underneath the waterfront. (They were wearing wetsuits and goggles.)

It was a production of Aristophanes' The Frogs (with, er, updated text) that took atmosphere really really seriously. When Dionysos (played by a guy who was channeling Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent) headed across the lake in Charon's boat, all the audience were loaded into a train of paddleboats and headed underneath the pier with him. It was very neat. :-)

Things I didn't expect today...

"On behalf of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand Inc. we write to advise that [cat-th-adage and] you have been nominated for the Sir Julius Vogel (SJV) Award for:

Best fan publication: The Girl Who Asked for Wisdom and Other Short Works"

Thank you to whoever made the nomination! :-)

(Cat did all the hard graft on this, my contribution was to let her make free of my hard drive.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Clicky Boxes!

(This is a brief plug for work.)
The Wellington City Council is in the early engagement phase of a simply enormous document it has to produce called the Long Term Council Community Plan. It's a big deal, because it sets the high level budgets and levels of service for the next three years, and has a lot to do with what things are available and how much the rates next year are going to be. If you're going to talk to the Council anytime in the next three years, this is the best time to do it.

Fortunately, they're trying to make it easy for internet-bunnies, with the provision of a website with Genuine Clicky Boxes, Calculators, and Voting Buttons. (Plus there's Councillor-staffed phonelines, and documents available through the libraries and all that regular stuff.)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mmm. Hot banana cake.

A couple of days ago, I realised that I was due and past due to give my cat a worming pill.

One towel, two attempts, a strapping young lad, butter, a pill popper, and a lot of hurt feelings all around (except, I think, for the strapping young lad) later, and the job is completed. And no-one's bleeding or has lost an eye or anything!

Have heard a rumour that it's possible to find topical dewormers, much like the defleaing liquid I already use. Really really must investigate.

Banana cake was Repton's first baking excursion that doesn't involve a bread machine. It's very yummy, and I'm sure he'll be keen to do this some more. :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sitting Shiva

At KapCon I ran a live game called Sitting Shiva. Writeup is here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back From KapCon

Have just staggered back from KapCon, had a really good time, but Very Tired.

In brief:
- ran a game called Sitting Shiva which didn't suck. Actually, I got very positive comments from the players, along with helpful comments about things to tinker with on reruns. Am really glad that I got a strong set of roleplayers who threw themselves into the concept, even the new guy who had hardly any gaming experience. Will do a proper writeup in a bit, post to Gametime for them that are interested.
- had a jolly good time at the Mafia larp. Set dressing was awesome. Costuming was awesome. My character was awesome. Spent a lot of my time running around scheming on behalf of friends and/or faction members, with occasional business deals on my own account. Helped save my true love from self-inflicted death, and arranged appropriate revenge on the conniving former friend who'd told him I was dead, thus triggering the self-infliction bit. (It got very Romeo & Julietish for a bit, there.) Good times.
- Won something! I got one of the spot prizes at the prize giving. Some kind of miniatures game. I shall treasure it as the First Time I Won Something At Kapcon.
- General happiness of hanging out with people I hadn't seen in ages. Met some new people I like. Found out that a friend of mine has started going out with the cousin of another friend of mine, think this is excellent, everyone should look that happy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funny things to look at

One's cat crouching on a sloping bannister, facing downwards, realising that actually her claws are in the wrong direction to stop her inexorable downwards slide. The scrabbling noise was quite amusing, too.

Tonight I played in the first game of the new frisbee league, which is about four months since I last played a game of frisbee, and rather longer since I played outdoors. Asthma much less than feared, lovely sunny evening, friendly people to play with, and am now very stiff as I've done no running in a very long time.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Embarassing Things To Do On Buses

Have your laptop fall from the overhead luggage on to your head. Fortunately, my skull cushioned its fall and it doesn't seem to be damaged.

(No meaningful harm to me, either, just lots of swearing and meeping for sympathy at the time.)

Happy New Year!!!