Friday, March 31, 2006

How to declutter your life

1. Store a whole bunch of stuff at your parents' place for 5 years
2. On a visit home, go through all that stuff and wonder why you stored half of it. Get rid of that half. Box up the rest* of the stuff which is useful, gorgeous or brings back all kinds of memories, which is why you stored it in the first place.
3. Send the box to yourself at great expense.
4. When the box arrives, get very excited at the thought of unpacking all this useful, gorgeous, memory-provoking stuff.
5. Unpack box
6. Throw away everything that broke. Voila, decluttered.

Here's the ratio of broke / didn't break:
Wineglasses: 6/4
Cups: 1/5
Plates: 3/4
Bowls: 2/0
Shotglasses: 0/4

Things weren't just broken. They were crushed. I'm rather upset but I don't know who to be upset with. I had two gorgeous fish plates, both broken**. Beautiful wineglasses. I'm bummed.

I could have saved a lot of time and money and just smashed it all up 5 years ago.

But, it's just stuff, I guess.


*OK, so there's still a couple of boxes at my parents' place. I'm getting there though.
**Also upsetting because I only own 2 dinner plates, so this would have doubled my dinner plate count and allowed me to think about having a small dinner party.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A meme

Ms Mac said it was OK to pinch this, and I believe everything Ms Mac says.

1. How did you get the idea for your profile name? I'm a kiwi and I fly sometimes
2. What song are you playing now, or wish you were playing? For some reason, I have Quizas, quizas, quizas in my head. I only know some of the words, so I make them up as I go along (in Spanish).
3. Has the death of a celebrity ever made you cry? Not that I can recall.
4. What colour underwear are you wearing? I had to check. Black. Today my knickers and bra actually match.
5. Do you want a baby? I liked Ms Mac's response (baby panda or polar bear - but remember, a baby panda or polar bear is not just for Christmas). Yes.
6. What does your dad do for a living? Computer geek, croquet tournament planner and player, organist, competitive sudoku-ist (against my mum), teller of jokes and convoluted stories
7. What does your mum do for a living? Volunteer for all kinds of things, chorister, croquet player, competitive sudoku-ist (against my dad), laugher at jokes and convoluted stories
8. What is/are your pet's name(s)? Don't have a pet, but I'm thinking of getting a cat. Just as soon as I figure out whether I'm staying here for a while.
9. What colour are your bed sheets? Gold
10. What are the last 3 digits of your phone number? 511
11. What was the last concert you went to?
What's her name. Sings about a parking lot. Mia Dyson, that's it. Although Opera in the Alps (which was neither opera, nor in the alps) may have been after that. Oh, I tell I lie, I saw some jazz the other week, they were called The Wizard and Oz.
12. Who was with you? Friends from work.
13. What was the last film you watched? L'Appartement. It's the French film that Wicker Park was based on. I saw Wicker Park the other week and thought it was ok. But now I've watched L'Appartement I can confirm the Americans got it completely wrong with their adaptation (surprise, surprise). I wish I'd seen L'Appartement first. Way better.
14. Who do you dislike most at this moment?
Can't really think of anyone. Lindsay Lohen's a bit annoying.
15. What food do you crave right now?
To be honest, a glass of water. But that's only because I've already had my dinner and I'm going to bed soon.
16. Did you dream last night? Don't think so.
17. What was the last TV show you watched? The Glass House. Fantastic Australian standup comedy.
18. What is your fav piece of jewellery? I don't wear jewellery a lot. But I guess my favourite piece is my raw opal and silver bracelet that I made myself.
19. What is to the left of you? A blue thai silk handbag with gold elephants on it (not real elephants, you understand).
20. What was the last thing you ate?
Lindt Intense Orange Dark Chocolate
21. Who is your best friend of the opposite sex? Huh. Good question. There's a few contenders in various countries. But I think I'll go with nephew #2. Because he fights for his right to sit next to me in the car when I visit.
22. Who last MSN'd you? Chris in San Francisco
23. Where is your significant other right now? No idea. I'd like to think, just around the corner (metaphorically speaking - otherwise that's just creepy)

24. Do you have a crush? I have a few mini crushes
25. What is his/her name? Not saying.
26. When was the last time you had your hair cut? 3 hours ago.
27. Are you on any meds? Nope
28. Do you have a mental disease? Not that I'm aware of.
29. What shirt are you wearing? Orange stripey thing I've had for years.
30. Are you sexy? What kind of question is this? What kind of people say no? Yes, dammit.
31. What's your favourite store? Anything that's not a chain store. Markets. Independent music and book shops.
32. Are you thirsty? Yes. I think I'll go have that glass of water now.
33. Can you imagine yourself ever getting married?
Yes. I mean, there's still space for a photo on my mother's wall by the stairs...
34. Who's someone you haven't seen in a while and miss? Oh, so many people. I've seen the NZ contingent of my family relatively recently (i.e., this year), so, my niece and nephew in Bangkok.
35. Where do you work? At a university.

Isn't it annoying how you think a meme is a lazy blog entry, that it won't be much work, and then it ends up taking so long.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

What's the time mister wolf?

"Parliament has legislated to extend daylight saving in 2006 to coincide with the Commonwealth Games by one week to 2 April 2006."

Aside from being a poorly constructed sentence, it's just stupid. It means random computer systems will be out by an hour because they think daylight saving happened this morning. My computer seems to know the time, as does my cellphone. Outlook calendar, however, does not. On the plus side, maybe I can use this an excuse to be an hour late to all my meetings tomorrow. Which would be useful, cos I have a 9am one.

I only just realised that because NZ has just done the daylight savings thing, they're only one hour ahead for this week. I wish I'd known that when I thought about ringing my sister at 7.30pm my time but then thought, nah, it's probably too late there.

I'm confused.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Conversation with a student

Student: "I wish you taught this other subject. The guy who teaches it makes us all fall asleep"

Me: feels rather smug about my teaching ability

Student: "Yeah, cos when you talk we stay awake waiting for you to say fish and chips or something in your funny accent"


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bar the car

Tomorrow is "Bar the Car" day. I will be cycling 12km to work. I would find this prospect daunting, except for the fact that on Sunday I cycled 52km from Myrtleford to Porepunkah (tee hee, place names around here are so cute - have I mentioned Burrumbuttock?) and back. With stops at a nut shop (mmm, macadamias), a winery (mmm, shiraz viognier), a tavern for lunch (mmm, Indian curries) and a berry farm (mmm, raspberry sorbet). I don't think we have any of those on the way to work, so maybe it will be tougher than I anticipate. And then there's the bit where I have to cycle home again at the end of the day.

Part of the point of Bar the Car day is that climate change is a personal responsibility. So remember people: buy locally grown, organic food; reuse and recycle; plant trees; spend creative time, rather than spending money; increase quality of life, rather than standard of living; and a stranger is a friend you haven't met yet.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Where the kiwi has flown - #4 USA '98

Eight years ago, in February 1998, I was working in the corporate world. I was part way through my part time Masters degree, and I was working with the lovely Violet. I had just celebrated my 27th birthday with a 70s themed party. I was flatting with The Editter in Hot ‘n’ Spicy Kiwi’s house (Hot ‘n’ Spicy and hubby were living in Bangkok). And I had enough money, and enough leave, to take off to the USA for a month.

It wasn’t my first time in the States, but it was my first time on holiday there without my family. Oh, except for that holiday in New York in ’92. OK, so it wasn’t even my first time on holiday in the US without my family.

When kiwis leave their homeland, they tend to make the most of it. Unless you’re going to Australia, it costs so much and takes so long to get anywhere, that you may as well stay for a while. If you’re going to Australia, you may as well stay for a while too, because the pay is better, the beaches are sunnier and you can always go on the dole. But that’s beside the point.

My plan was to join Rosie Cheeks and some other friends at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Then I thought, what the heck, if I’m going all the way to New Orleans I may as well visit Rosie afterwards in DC. Then I thought, what the heck, if I’m going all the way to New Orleans and DC, I may as well visit a friend in San Francisco. And then I thought, what the heck, if I’m going all the way to New Orleans, DC and San Francisco, then I may as well go and visit my aunt and uncle in Anchorage. Then my travel agent said what the heck, if you’re going to all those places it’s actually cheaper to buy a return ticket to London which allows you four stops in the US.

First stop was San Francisco. You remember, of course, that ’98 was an El Niño year. It rained the whole week I was in SF. I experienced umbrella rage (a motorist threatening another motorist with his umbrella). I spent a lot of time indoors – I remember watching an eyeball dissection at the Exploratorium. But I also walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and rode the cable car and did other such touristy things. I adored SF. When I was offered my postdoc position in Berkeley a couple of years ago, I had no idea it was just across the bay from SF. It was rather exciting to discover this geographical serendipity (serendipitious geography?).

Next I flew up to Anchorage, with a stopover in Seattle. It also rained in Seattle, but I believe that is to be expected. Alaska was cold, it being February and all. And it being Alaska and all. I went cross country skiing with my aunt and saw a mother and baby moose and fell on my arse. The next day I attempted snowboarding, but my sore tailbone prevented me from making much progress. It’s a bit difficult to learn to snowboard when you’re paranoid about falling over. There was some kind of festival on while I was there – Rendezvous or something? – involving dog mushing and other Alaska-themed happenings. That week with my aunt and uncle was very special (they have both since died, sadly).

After a week I was plenty cold, so I flew to the relative warmth of New Orleans. There were 8 of us (including 4 kiwi friends who had flown over from London) staying in a guest house not far from the parade route. It was a little far from Bourbon St but we made the trek multiple times nonetheless. The week is a bit hazy, but I remember beads. Lots of beads. Some beads I got just for being from New Zealand (it’s that adorable accent, gets them every time). I also remember hurricanes (the alcoholic variety, not the Katrina variety), a Texan wearing a Waikato rugby jersey, a yard glass, getting crushed in the crowd, some old biddy snatching some beads off me that I had caught fair and square when they were thrown from a float, Jerry Springer on a float (I had no idea who he was at the time, if only I could have kept my innocence), and being cleared (along with everyone else) off Bourbon St by cops on horseback at the stroke of midnight on Mardi Gras itself (as Lent begins at midnight, apparently). We also did a swamp tour (complete with alligators and marshmallows - the latter for feeding to the former) and other touristy things. I would like to go back to New Orleans sometime when it’s not Mardi Gras. Although somehow that plan isn’t so appealing anymore…

My final week was in Washington D.C. I particularly enjoyed Georgetown and the plethora of squirrels. And the fact that there is a suburb called Foggy Bottom.

Then I flew to London for a weekend. I have no idea what I did in London that weekend.

And then I flew home and back to my corporate job which paid for all my gallivanting around the US.

The end.



Where the kiwi has flown # 3 Lake Titicaca

Where the kiwi has flown # 2 A vignette of Cali

Where the kiwi has flown #1 Tsunami diving

Monday, March 13, 2006

This morning, outside my bedroom window*

A jackhammer.

Bidididididi bidididididididididi bididididididiidididididididididiidididididi

An electric saw.

Nyiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii nyiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Workmen shouting over the ruckus of the jackhammer and the saw.

"Tjfieakejh!" "What? I can't hear you!!!"

A hammer.

Tonk tonk tonk tonk tonk tonk tonk tonk.

Ok, turns out that last one was my clock striking eight.

Practically every morning since I moved here in November, workmen have been arriving on the building site next door at the crack of dawn, to beat the heat of the day. The concrete mixer a few weeks back was bad enough, but that jackhammer. Grrrrr.

I can't wait until the house next door is finished. It will probably be the same day I decide to move.


* Readers will, of course, recognise this as an oft-used post title in a world famous blog

The ideal female leader

Germaine Greer said her 'ideal female leader was New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who had kept her country out of the Iraq conflict. She's done things that you would have thought for a little tiny nation hanging off the bottom of the Pacific you couldn't get away with," she said.'

- The Border Mail, Saturday March 11 2006

Although I'm not sure how I feel about her calling my homeland tiny and hanging off something's bottom.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Regional Australia vs Wellington

Cost of parking at the airport in Wellington for 4 hours: NZ$22

Cost of parking at the airport in this town for 4 days: $AU0