The longer I don't post, the harder it is!
2012 so far has been a bit of a shocker, what with the sad loss of Zizou, which I'm still not really getting over. I miss his wee face around the house all the time, and every time I put my key in the door coming home I expect to see him.
Also, it turns out that living in a city where an earthquake WAS (actually still a few rumbles but nothing hideous for a while) is almost worse than a city where an earthquake IS. They're slowly knocking down a. all the heritage buildings, and b. all the multi-storey buildings that remain (there's a ruin on every street corner) also a few old trees that are a bit precarious. The central government has taken over the rebuild (actually nothing's really been rebuilt yet, we're still knocking down and talking). The central city is like a wasteland. There are a few buildings left but it's very hard to know where you are/would have been in the city of the past.
Also the university has decided to close my department (again!) and so I've been pretty busy trying to defend it (again!) - some of you may remember this almost happening in 2008 - that time we won but this time I'm not so sure. OH WELL, LIFE WILL GO ON. Yesterday was the last day for submissions, so we'll see. Around the department everyone was looking pale and drawn and exhausted. I'm not sure what will happen next. I was actually a bit shy about posting about this, because one disestablishment could be bad luck but twice seems careless (or that somehow we're actually crap, which I don't think we are). Management really don't like us, I think partly because we're outspoken and opinionated, but that is what I thought academics were supposed to be (the critic and conscience of society, etc). Ay. Very disheartening.
2012 has been a bit of a bitch, so far.
I had a nice letter today saying that a funding application that I put in was successful, so the intellectually-disabled theatre company that I produce for will live another year. So today I'm feeling a little less cursed, and found my way back here. I miss you all. I actually miss MYSELF - I feel like I'm old and serious and sad and boring instead of interesting and alive. But I'm pretty sure that's only tiredness speaking.
What I'm doing this evening is downloading the latest two eps of Supernatural. I will read some fic, I think. I may watch the new Muppet Movie again, aha, it reminds me of how I felt when I used to watch the Muppet Show as a kid. I had the Muppet Show Album and the illustrated book. I can sing all the verses of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady", for example, and at times I to this day rhyme "encyclopedia" with "Lydia".
Anyway, I'll try and be around more and not just crash in for "woe is me" updates, as that is TIRESOME of me.
How are you?
Sorry for the radio silence, life is insanely stressful and stupid. I am however quite all right. I'm sitting down tonight with chicken stir-fried with ginger, garlic and prunes - I don't know if that sounds nice or not, I just threw in all the things, but it tastes pretty good - and spinach salad. I actually think there might be some alcohol involved at some point. I don't drink a lot but there's some Cointreau in the cupboard for cooking reasons, that sounds like a recipe for disaster but I am GOING THERE.
There may or may not be an episode of Supernatural at some point. Things I've also been enjoying lately have been "Uncharted 3" the PS3 game (EPIC for the gameplay and the bromance), also Tom Hardy in his several cinematic achievements. I'm currently writing one or two bits and pieces, while work is just going crazy. I'm getting to be an expert at writing funding applications. Some are even successful! But there's a certain satisfaction in writing a great budget and back-up materials and doing it properly even if it's unsuccessful, if you know you did it okay. Kind of like writing a fic which no one really reads, but you personally like very much.
Much love to you all. I'll try and be around more but can't guarantee as life is really just shocking on some level in its busy-ness. I get to the point where something interesting happens and I think "hm I should post about this" but then I just don't. So I will try to. You are all in my thoughts OFTEN.
Ugh just got massively spoiled for SPN from the front page of LJ. DON'T LOOK THERE. I was so ENRAGED. Expletives were heard.
Anyway I came on in the midst of busy work day to tell you this story which is very cheering-upping about my work-colleague Jan.
On Friday, Jan and Bob her husband went to the Supermarket. They park the car outside and run in for a few items of groceries, leaving Walnut, their corgi, in the car, as it is a cool day and he's a well-behaved sort. Anyway, when they come out, the car is GONE. In its place is a mobile home which has rear-ended the car, pushing it out of its carpark, and crumpled the entire back end of it. Walnut is fine, not even a little bit perturbed. It turns out that the distressed drivers of said mobile home have arrived in the country (from Dublin) not two hours before. They're insured etc, but don't quite have the handling of the motorhome sorted yet, it seems. TThe police come, and are very rude to the Dublin mobile-home drivers "treating them like criminals" (to quote Jan) (as you or I might think was actually quite appropriate). Jan is horrified that the visitors might think all New Zealanders are this horrible, surmises that they won't be able to make their proposed destination (Lake Tekapo) this evening, and INVITES THEM TO COME AND STAY AT HER PLACE. SHE MAKES THEM DINNER, AND BREAKFAST in the morning, and then sends them on their happy way off to the Lakes. After they trashed her car.
She is the kindest nicest person. She has been taking great care of me the last couple of weeks when I have been so sad, and I just think she is amazing. I said to her "I would have said, WTF IDIOTS, and she said, no you wouldn't, you would have done what I did" but I must honestly say I think I would not have. But next time I will try to be that nice, because it really made me feel nice about human kindness and decency.
Thank you all so much for your comments and messages about Zizou. It really meant a tremendous lot to me. I'm coping okay (but the house is very empty) but in a bit of a quiet phase, so I'll reply later.
I really appreciate the love and support, it makes this bearable. I'm missing him terribly and remembering all the lovely things he did, and I was lucky to have him. I just wish I had him for longer.
Love to you all.
On Wednesday evening, Zizou my dear cat had a terrible attack of not being able to breathe, and convulsed and started to turn blue in his mouth, and we rushed him to the emergency vets and just made it there in time. Since then he's been at his usual vet. X-rays showed a mass in his neck which had affected his breathing, so we put him on lots of drugs for pain and to clear the fluid that had gathered in his lungs. He improved a little bit, but the vet recommended a scan of his heart. Yesterday this showed that his heart was very bad: he had a thickened ventricle and also a clot there that could have dislodged at any time, causing another attack, or paralysis. This may have been a congenital problem made worse by his other issues, or the stress from the earthquakes, or a number of causes. The sonographer said there was really no course of treatment that could be expected to work given his other problems. He was in cardiac failure, basically, and his heart could not pump the blood around his body.
Because of this, and because of how much distress he was in, and sure to remain in, I made the decision to euthanize. The vet gave him an injection while he was nestled on my knee, and he slipped away. We buried him in my mum's garden.
I've gone on and on here about what a wonderful cat he was. He was truly one of the loves of my life and everyone who knew him was delighted by his affectionate, intelligent, grouchy, beautiful personality. I don't know what I'm going to do without him.
Anyway, I thought I should let you all know.
I am still alive! (I have to stop delaying so much between posting that I feel like I have to reassure on that account first thing, I think).
Thank you belatedly but from the bottom of my (quite inflated with joy) heart for all the birthday wishes, virtual gifts and texts from Canada. Nothing much happened on the day, but it still was one of my happiest ever, I felt very loved and appreciated.
Life is incredibly busy at the moment. Not only have we lurched from one (really intensive and large-scale) performance to another (hugely technical and acrobatically difficult) performance, I have gone from teaching during the second semester of the year STRAIGHT into teaching summer school. We have a brand new course called "Puppetry, Animated Film and Gaming" and I'm pretty much responsible for teaching the puppetry component of this. If I remember later I'll share some of the links to the material, it will make you laugh and cry.
Anyway, so I'm kind of working night and day seven days a week at the moment, but Christmas is on the horizon, so I'm holding out for that.
ALSO - AND THIS IS PROBABLY THE HEADLINE NEWS: Tony and I are going to San Francisco in January for a holiday. It's been a really hard year what with the earthquakes and everything (status of house= still a big hole in the ceiling, still a bit hole in the wall, landlord still musing about what to do about that! status of city= still wrecked and largely off limits: they're going to demolish the cathedral :( - status of earthquakes = much quieter, a little shake last night was the first I'd felt for about a month ) so we decided to go to a place where neither of us have been but where both of us wanted to go. I'm very excited, or at least I will be when I get a chance to take a breath. Question: I'm a confident driver. I'm accustomed to driving on the left. Should I hire a car to go up the coast and to see the Redwoods etc or will I crash and run over kittens? There will be more and more questions coming about all aspects of this trip!
UM... My mum is good, she's presently in England visiting the grandchildren. Work is insane. Tony is very busy also (but successfully so, he's been invited to contribute an article to the main journal in his discipline). I'm doing some writing but it feels sloppy and haphazard, so I'm trying to find time in each day to sit with that properly and give it the attention it deserves!
We have a general election coming up. The present PM is a DOUCHE (oh, you wouldn't believe how much!) but will probably get in again no problems, because he's a smiling congenial DOUCHE.
Anyway, I have not even been lurking the last three weeks. So please, tell me about your exciting life events? And sad ones. I will henceforward try and be around more, because I miss it, and you guys give me a perspective and sense of balance that I really lack otherwise and I so notice when I am away from it.
Much love to all and see you HERE, SOON.
New Zealand just won the rugby world cup. By one point over France. It's hard to explain to those Americanish people among you what a big deal that is to New Zealand (we last won in 1987, but still kind of think of it as some kind of bizarre national birthright). Right now it's half past eleven in the evening and there are youths driving around honking and shouting "All Blacks" around the city.
I watched the game (I think almost everyone did, I don't even like rugby that much). It was a horrid experience, because you know so much hangs on it. To be honest, part of me didn't want us to win. Because it's overrated and a stupid macho part of our culture and SO MUCH funding gets put into it, instead of, you know, the arts, and hospitals and so on. But now everyone will be happy tomorrow (it's coincidentally a public holiday) rather than depressed. People will be self-congratulatory instead of as usual the endless rounds of recriminations and self-analysis. There won't be a spike in domestic violence tonight, unlike other times when we lost. Our right-wing government will be healthily reelected in November. And so on. UGH. It's a good thing! I felt proud of the team, and as usual a bit meh about being represented by a "fine team of men".
It's better than losing but still better would be if no one cared, or if it were just a sports game, or if people didn't live in fear of how their husbands might react if we lost. If it was just an enjoyment, rather than this national identity weirdness!
There are fireworks in the park now! We had no games here because the stadium was destroyed in the earthquake. But there's a "fanzone" in the park (with the pantless dudes on it as discussed earlier). And the sounds of great celebrations are forthcoming.
I'm a bit bah humbug, but I'm secretly pleased as well. It's hard not to be, in a weird way, even though I really don't care that much. DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN. Bloody nail-biter of a game, as well. I HATE THAT I CARE!
As you all know by now, Steve Jobs died: I was pretty sad about it.
Steve Jobs, for me, made Apple successful because he respected the consumer. He understood what we find seductive about technology. He respected that his market was made up of regular people, and that regular people have dreams: we want to write, we want to communicate, we want to make films, and take photos and record the beautiful small crazy details of our lives. We want to parent creative, ambitious, caring children, we want to travel, we want to imagine the world as a place that will be better in the future, rather than worse. We celebrate creativity, and hard work, and intellect, but we also celebrate things that are fun. We celebrate community, but we also celebrate individuality.
I think Steve Jobs really got that, which is why he was so successful, and why Apple was so successful. I'm sad to see him go, because he was still young; because it was a hard way to go; because he was kind of a magician. He wasn't a hero, he was an arrant capitalist, and the bad things that go with that are pretty profound. But the good.... are pretty good. Thanks, Steve, for making technology something that we could feel affection for, for making our lives more human, for seeing us as who we'd like to be.
I'm writing this from my MacBook Pro, which is like a weird kind of handbag. Post-earthquake I take it with me everywhere I go, in a backpack, because it's the container for some of the best work I've ever done, the ever-ready recorder of writing and thoughts, my connection to the world, to you guys, my photo album, my diary, my journal: not quite my most prized possession, but high, high on the list.
So, that's why I was sad about that.