Monday, February 28, 2005

Mislaid mountain lion, anyone?

The kind of emails you get when you work in a research museum, as I do:

And, if there happens to be a mountain lion specimen (bones) on the bottom shelf, please return that too. The mountain lion is in a large curatorial box with a couple of trays in it. If anyone happens to see that lying (lioning) around, let me know.

Monday morning - I'm with Garfield on this one

So not only did I sleep through my alarm this morning (that's not unusual for me, mind), I then managed to spill a full cup of coffee that was on my bedside table. It's a sign of my paranoia regarding my landlord that I dealt with the floor before my electronics - luckily it was only my speakers that copped a bit. Coffee sure does travel - there were little splats all along the skirting board under my bed. But the upside is that my bedroom now has a pleasant coffee aroma.

And then I get to work to find that my kind-of-boss has moved into the office next to me (it's been empty for the last few months), so instead of being able to play loud music and just get on with things I now feel like I'm being somewhat watched. Luckily we get on well so it should end up being a good arrangement.


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Oscars frenzy

I'm sitting here watching the Oscars (at my old house) and we each have printed ballots. So far I have 3 out of 14 correct. The others all have 7 or 8 correct. I think it's because I didn't pick the Aviator for anything because I haven't seen it and because I don't like Leonardo much. So that accounts for 4 so far that I didn't get. Oh well.

This isn't a very exciting post, because, quite frankly, I'm getting distracted by the Oscars.


Friday, February 25, 2005

What's it all about?

This blogging thing I mean. I think I've figured out the self-absorbed musings bit. I need to work on the interesting links side of things. For me, it's also a way to keep writing - so maybe it's not as creative as it could be, but it's better than nothing.

So I was wondering why other people blog. I clicked a few links and discovered that, on blogspot alone, 360 people updated their blogs in the last 60 seconds. At that rate, it's over half a million people in a 24-hour period. That's rather a lot! Who on earth reads it all? But I won't let that fact deter me. I'll assume I have a loyal fan base who just can't wait to hear what fascinating gem I will come up with next. The alternative is depressing, if more realistic.

Also, I took note of some of the more interesting blog names. No links, as I can't vouch at all for the content. Here they are:
-insert title of blog here-
my blog
it's a new year for funquita and her nutter butter
take a dip in lake me
chainsaw panda welcomes you
i think not scooter

Obviously I have a penchant for the nonsensical. At least, I'm hoping chainsaw panda isn't literal.


He swears he's not normally a note person

This morning I walked into the kitchen to find post-it notes everywhere. On the cupboards, the walls, the fridge, in the fridge. Apparently my landlord/housemate couldn't sleep last night, so decided to organise the kitchen. It seems I'd inadvertently stashed some of my stuff in his special shelf, so he'd put it on the bench with a note saying "Who's is this stuff?". The other housemate, amusingly, had put a post-it note on every single item saying "Not mine".

Anyway, despite being a little funny and a little weird, it's actually mostly very practical, as I'd been wanting to know which spaces I could claim as my own, and since I moved in on Monday I've only seen him in passing, once.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

old house / new house

So, I moved house the other day. Actually, the same day as I flew to Australia, which caused unnecessary stress, but meant that I didn't have to deal with it when I got back on Monday. Now the only things left at my old house are some wine and the worm bin. So, a comparison.

Location - Old house: 1 mile north of campus, up a hill. New house: 1 mile south of campus, on the flat.
Closest coffee shop - Old house: 7 blocks. New house: 1 block (along with restaurants, cute shops, etc).
Closest washing machine and dryer - Old house: in the laundromat, 6 blocks. New house: off the kitchen.
Bedroom - Old house: not big enough to swing a cat in, nice enough but a little dark. New house: big enough to swing any number of cats, big window with view of the bay.
House itself - Old house: big, wonderful view of Golden Gate bridge and bay, ready to fall apart in an earthquake (and apparently the faultline is just behind the house). New house: remodelled 1916 villa, everything eco-friendly and gorgeous (downside: no shoes in the house, have to be careful not to scratch the granite benchtop in the kitchen, felt feet on the furniture).
Flatmates - Old house: fabulous people (why did I give them the url for this blog?), mostly 20-something students, oh, and, there's 6 of them. New house: the landlord and one other, seem nice but I don't know them yet, both work and are my age or older.
Rent - Old house: pricy (by most standards, average by Berkeley standards). New house: expensive (by Berkeley standards: reasonable).

On the whole, I think I made the right decision. And there is the bonus that when I go back to my old house, for example tonight to watch the final of Project Runway, I'm not just blobbing at home in front of the tv, I'm socialising.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

possibly my favourite beach in the world

Ah, Cottesloe. For a start, it's on a west coast. I've discovered I much prefer west coasts for sunsets over the sea - and I'm infinitely more likely to be awake for sunset than for sunrise. Secondly, this time of year, the water is warm (certainly compared to the Bay Area of San Francisco and New Zealand waters). Thirdly, it's got decent waves to frolick in.

I arrived in Perth last Tuesday to 40C+ heat - that's well over 100F, for the metrically (or sensible temperature system-ly) challenged. I was too jetlagged to make it to the beach that evening, but in the morning I went for a swim, even though the air temperature was down to around 25C. Then I had breakfast at a lovely little cafe near the beach. It reminded me of my romantic image of thesis writing, sitting in a cafe by the beach sipping coffee and writing scholarly thoughts. I think I did writing in a cafe exactly once.

As I was swimming, I realised it was my first time in the ocean since 26 Dec, when I was scuba diving off Phi Phi island in southern Thailand during the tsunami (but that's for another post).

I rounded up my visit to Perth with a drink at the OBH and dinner at Barchetta, both at Cottesloe beach. I think my dream come true would be to pick up that stretch from Blue Duck down to Paradiso and plonk it down just north of Berkeley marina.

This was possibly my last time in Perth, at least in the forseeable future. And as much as it hurts me, as a kiwi, to say this, I have a defininite soft spot for Western Australia. I don't even mind that they laugh at the way I say fish and chips and beer / bear. At least they know where NZ is, and that it's not part of Australia. And that a carpark is somewhere you park your car, and not a place for Minis to play on swings. Ah, but blank looks on American's faces when I use certain words - that's also another post.


Another airport, another huge hassle

So I get to Perth airport about 1 1/2 hours before departure, plenty of time. But no. First my check-in agent determines that because I don't have a return ticket out of the USA, they can't let me fly. Oh but I do have a return ticket, I say. Where is it? she asks. Um, well, I gave it to my mother a couple of hours ago so that she can take it to NZ to send it to my travel agent to have it reissued. So it transpires I can't get into the US without a physical paper ticket proving I will leave again. Then they figure out that I actually have a visa to be in the US, so that's OK. But it expires in March so that's not OK. But then they find my ticket out in the system so it's all OK. Phew.

Then I have 3 pieces of baggage - I mean, how was I to know that I would receive my degree already framed? By this time I've been at the check-in (with side trips to the ticket counter and to the guy who decided it was ok for me to fly) for about half an hour, so thankfully she takes pity on me and doesn't charge me the $110 they were going to.

And there is my boarding call.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Lest people think I'm a two-post wonder...

... like Dave, I thought I'd better try and get a post in. I'm in an internet cafe in Bunbury, Western Australia. Graduation was last night, I'll write about that later. I'm now on my way to the Margaret River wine region with my parents. Who are waiting for me to finish on the internet.


Monday, February 14, 2005

4 hours in Sydney

I was supposed to have 6 hours in Sydney, and my cousin was supposed to meet me, but turns out he's in Brisbane. So I was trying to decide whether to go shopping in Sydney or use my Qantas Club pass (I get one a year), and then I managed to get an earlier flight (plus it's direct, so I don't have to stop in Adelaide en route to Perth). So by the time I got over to Domestic I had 3 hours to kill and so the Qantas club it is.

This place rocks! I've been in before, but usually only for an hour at the most and usually with the student mentally of quaffing a few free wines or beers and loading up on cheese and crackers. This time I found the showers and the free internet access. I'm on to my second coffee and feeling much better than I ever have after a 14 hour flight with the prospect of 4 more hours to go. The only downside is that the bar doesn't open until 30 mins after my flight boards.

There was a lovely Aussie woman on the plane next to me, we talked for ages and even ordered the exact same drinks (a gin and tonic plus a glass of water), but of course never actually exchanged names let alone contact details. And there were actually good movies, Sideways was very funny and I Heart Huckabees was good in a wacky kind of way. I tried to watch Vanity Fair but couldn't stay awake. And I wanted to rewatch Motorcycle Diaries (I highly recommend it - and it has the added bonus of Gael Garcia Bernal), but ran out of time.

I have just over an hour to go, so I need to decide whether to spend the time a) finding random links for my blog, b) eating, drinking and reading magazines, c) proofreading a thesis or d) doing some work (hah! this is the second time my journal article has traveled round the world with me...). Option b seems like the least effort.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

I guess I have to start somewhere

Today I'm moving house across town and flying half way around the world, so it seems like a good day to start a blog. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I'm still not sure whether it's a good idea or not. Will I become hopelessly addicted to blogging? Will anyone ever read my blog? Will it be even more annoying, for my friends and family, to get an email saying "read my blog", rather than a group email?

Before starting blogging, I had to think up a blog name. So I did a bit of a search online to get some inspiration - I found some funny ones, I wish I'd noted down the link. I'm already failing as a blogger. I loved ScaryDuck's tagline (not scary, not a duck).

There are 2 blogs I take my inspiration from. One is my friend Short and Sweet (ooh, a link), who appears to be becoming somewhat of a celebrity in the NZ ex-librarians-in-training-who-are-now-preggers blog scene. The other is my friend Dave, and I would post the link to his blog, except he only ever made two entries and then deleted it. After emailing everyone he knew to announce he was starting a blog.

2 hours until the movers arrive, I'd better pack some more.