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Rucking hard from behind

Okay, so the other night Tony and I decided to go for a post-dinner walk. It's pretty nice actually, it means it's heading into Spring. We walked through the park! To clarify: at the moment, New Zealand is hosting the Rugby World Cup. This is an incredibly big deal (unfortunately, there are no games in Christchurch because the Stadium is munted, so it feels a little bit like we're the child with measles who hears the birthday party going on downstairs but has to stay in bed). I'm not a big rugby fan (actually I resent greatly the focus on rugby over spending on other sports, or more important to me, arts, or... you know, basic social services, on occasion) but it's an international event, and there are lots of parties everywhere and celebrations. In our park, there's a "Fanzone" where Christchurch people can go and sit on fake stadium seating and watch games on a huge screen together. There's also a couple of temporary bars and cafes. And there's also a Dome. Kind of looks like a plastic igloo, with art on the outside.

I took photos of these for you... they may be pertinent to your interests. The images behind the cut are actually completely worksafe (or are they?). I'm not sure how this construction got all the way from planning to execution without someone noting that the emperor is wearing no clothes: or rather, the players pictured look like they're wearing no pants.

I giggled so hard at these that the security guy came over to check if I was all right.Collapse )

Anyway I thought I'd share...
Hope you're all enjoying the weekend!

Chimpanzees!

You may have all seen this before: I cried rather an embarrassing amount over it, but in a good way.

Chimpanzees see the sun for the first time...

I hope you are all having nice days in the sun also.

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State of the me

Hi everyone!

I've been really crap at posting lately; I'm not quite sure why. Things are going okay, but a little bit stressful on the work front. The VC of the University has said in a public forum that 300 jobs have to go - this is because the roll of the University has dropped since the earthquake. While this has not really affected our student numbers in TAFS (our students being super dedicated and, majoring in Theatre and Film Studies, not really prone to sensible life choices anyway!) but we're as usual the littlest department in the University regardless and therefore the easiest to cut. I'm kind of low in the food chain, as well, so ....well, we'll see. Watch this space!

At my video store job we had a "team-building" exercise of almost Ricky Gervais-like ineptitude. Ack, I'm not even going to talk about it. Bygones!

Meanwhile today is exactly one year since our first big earthquake - September 4th. There was a little rumble while we were eating dinner, but nothing too major (everyone immediately touch wood!). The cat looked up, paused, and then fell asleep waiting to see if it was going to get any bigger. He is so lazy!

Things have been... yes, stressful, but I will concentrate on the good, here:

1. Today I was sitting in the car, and saw a whole little flock of sparrows having sand/silt baths. The cutest thing you could ever imagine! I don't know why they do that.
2. I've been trying to reduce my milk drinking, and have switched to long blacks instead of crazy yummy drinks, like Starbucks make. Today was the first day I went "Oh GOD that's a good cup of coffee". It makes me feel tough like Dean Winchester, as well.
3. I've been experimenting with lots of new breeds of apples. They're not GM, just bred: the latest is called "Lemonade" and it does taste a bit like a glass of Sprite in apple form, kind of light and crisp and lemony and sweet. I'm pretty sure Dean Winchester would NOT GO NEAR IT.
4. I finally caught "Never Let Me Go" on DVD. I really liked it, but have not sobbed so insistently at a film since "Brokeback Mountain". I really liked the book, so I was surprised and delighted to like the film adaptation so much.
5. I've been reading some Big Bangs. I might do a rec post: there has been MUCH delight so far. I just have found the quality almost amazingly virtuosic. I LOVE THEM. I was just reading killabeez's one, and I cried hard, but then wiped my eyes with hands which had sore joint rub on them, which has cayenne pepper in it. And my eyes were streaming and it was so annoying, not because it hurt so much as I COULDN'T see to finish reading. But I made it. READ THAT RIGHT NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T. But more later!
6. I just watched "Rome Open City" again, as part of preparation for my big ass two hour lecture on it on Thursday. I'm as anxious as all-get-out about it, but Italian neo-realism is just so historically interesting! The film was made in 1946, where the events around the Nazi occupation and Fascist collaboration were "just last year" to its audience. That's very powerful, I think.
7. Tony won $300 of shopping vouchers for giving a paper on his thesis at the research week at his workplace. He took me out and bought me perfume and books and a new wok. It is not my birthday or anything, it was just to cheer me up with retail therapy and shopping. He also hates shopping, so the actual going was a gift as well. He's very stressed at work at the moment. We're a little marital unit of stress. I've noticed though that Zizou the cat is going over and sitting on his lap lots more than usual: I think it's because he senses Tony's not feeling great and is comforting him. I know that's probably BS, but I still can't help but believe it. The nice thing generally though is that being married is still very nice. Everything else might suck a bit, but we're pretty happy with each other still.
8. We're learning some songs for our next theatre show (which is from a short story by Kleist called "The Earthquake in Chile"). It's set in a church. We're singing from Paco Pena, and de Machaut, and Arvo Part. It's hard but it's nice.
9. I'm also learning "The House of the Rising Sun" on the guitar. For no reason. I have not yet mastered this!
10. I'm beginning to not be a terrible cook. I'm nowhere near the standard of regular folks but I've made a few things lately that have been quite alright. This is a vast improvement.
11. The other day I was walking and I stood on a stick and it went "crack" just like in the movies, when someone is creeping up on someone else. This is not so notable, but yet, it was. Because I've never heard that happen: you get shushing sounds of leaves, or little creaking sounds, but hardly ever an isolated dry CRACK. I thought it was a fictional thing, up until then.

*hugs you all*
Okay this is random, so I will stop. As usual I owe emails, specifically to Lex. I have questions forthcoming!
Also I have been thinking of you all with your earthquakes and your Irenes and so forth. I'm hoping you're all okay and keeping safe and dry, and that there are lots of little pleasures from day to day. Sometimes it is really worth concentrating on the small things, don't you think?

Once in a Lifetime SNOW EVENT

So, we're officially snowed-in! Aha. AWESOMENESS. This is the SECOND DAY.

The thing is, there's not THAT much snow. But there's about... I don't know 30 cm or so which is enough to make the roads tremendously unsafe, because we just don't really get snow like this: except for that other week. Huh. CLIMATE CHANGE OMG. So we don't have shovelers or salters or... Northern Hemisphere type snow-removing agencies. Anyway, the university is SHUT which is kind of great, actually, since I'm not missing any classes. I'm just sitting reading awesome Big Bangs and sitting by the heater with the cat (who's most pleased at everyone being home) and eating crumpets. There's some reading of the academic sort I might get around to. In a wee bit. Because I'll probably be back at work for Friday at least, when I have a class to give on Todd Browning's Freaks.

Right now I'm getting into watching my S5 DVDs which just arrived on Friday in time for SNOW DAYS. I'm watching that bit where demon!Bobby says to Sam to lose his number and Sam's trying not to cry and it's HEART-RENDING.

I have so few days off, I want to do everything at once. Huh, every now and then a big pile of snow falls off the roof, it totally sounds like people jumping off. Creepy. But Awesome!

I had to go out last night, because I'm supposed to be performing in this live music accompanied screening of Theodore Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc on Friday. And luckily we were rehearsing in a church just round the corner so I could walk there in the beautiful peaceful snow. I came home about ten o'clock and it was still as anything but still snowing gently and it was so, so, lovely.

Okay this episode confuses me. On the one hand, we have Becky, who's (at this point at least) ridiculous in her slashing of Sam and Dean, and then there's lines like this:

Dean: "We can't be the way we were before." WHAT IS A GIRL TO THINK?

*sighs happily*

Snow Day!

Aha and the snow arrived!
And work is cancelled!

Photobucket

Actually right now it is more snowy than this: it's all blizzardy and we shall send out Cap Garland and Almanzo to get the wheat! It probably doesn't look that impressive to those of you from North American and Scandinavian climes, but it's the most snow we've had for 15 years. And we don't have snow tractors or salters. So the city has shut down for the day! I'm hoping everyone is warm enough - I know that the government has been working really hard to put electric heaters in for people (ie almost everyone) who lost their chimneys in the earthquakes.

Note in the picture, our next door neighbour's house. They're not living there any more - which is good because you can see right in their kitchen at the back of the house there. They will have to knock down their house and rebuild it from scratch.

I really wanted to take a day off work, because of tiredness, but I had too much to do! So this is spectacularly awesome timing, on a purely selfish level. I LOVE IT.

In which it doesn't snow

I just read on the internet news: "Heavy Snowfall in Christchurch." I ran to the window: and there's NOTHING. It is damn cold though. DAMN COLD. Oooh, even as I type this I think I heard an icy blast. Hail probably, if I can hear it.

I would like snow! I know it's bad for stock and for people with cracked houses, but the government has been going CRAZY trying to get heating into everyone's houses for winter post-quake. So if everyone could be warm at home and safe on the roads, and if the farmers have got the sheep down, I WOULD LOVE a bit of snow.

Speaking of heating (aha because you're all on the edge of your seats to hear about my utilities!) I have been anxious about our power bill for this winter, since we've had the heat-pump in and have been using it A LOT. And because we don't have a lot of insulation and missing brickwork in the chimney... a lot means A LOT LOT. Anyway happily the power bill came today and was about three quarters of what I would usually expect at this time of year. YEAH MAN! Perhaps the heat pump IS more efficient! I have been doing other energy saving things to compensate as well (such as switching all the appliances off at the wall when not in use). So it's all good!

I probably should take shorter showers as well, but seeing as hot water is probably the only thing that wakes me up of a morning, this is unlikely to happen. Seriously, I find it difficult to even open up my eyes properly before soaking my face under the shower head. I think I was a sponge in a former life.

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Ay ay ay ay ay

Today was made of suck! Too many meetings! Too many aggressive bastards! Too much... too much!

I'm sorry, I owe at least three of you emails of various kinds (including one epic one!) and I will get to these very soon.

I'm developing a black coffee habit, but I think this may be impacting on my amount of relaxation in a negative way! ARGH! And I have a Croatoan eye, all red and horrid. It doesn't hurt, though, except for my vanity.

Have you seen a dog come out of swimming in the sea? The way they stand on the shore and just shake themselves (usually right next to your picnic blanket)? I want to do that now, just shake everything out of me. Perhaps literally!

AAARIIIIIIOOOOUUUUUUUUUGGGAAAAAAAAA! *shakes*

I apologize for the vaguely hysterical tone to this post.

Work has its good points. BUT ALSO ITS BAD POINTS! I don't know what to do with myself, today. I have a great itchiness of spirit. Soothing spiritual witch-hazel of the spirit is also necessary, perhaps.

In more cheerful news:

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I think I may have a good cry, and that will improve things greatly. But I am not sad, today, I am just a little bit crazy in my head.

Tell me interesting things? Please?

Well, I guess it's soothing for ME

Things I can play* on my guitar:

1. "Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel from the Rabbit movie that I may or may not be slightly obsessed with.
2. "Hallelujah" (the Jeff Buckley version). Let us just say that there is a very very secret chord that I play there, and I'm pretty sure the Lord is putting His Hands over His Ears. But there you go.
3. "Blowin in the Wind" (the Joan Baez version). Aha. I would have been an awesome hippy if I had been born at the right time in history.

I'm feeling quite pleased about it.

*If by "play" one means "strums chords out of time and drone along out of tune with a goofy smile on one's face."

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