Thursday, September 30, 2004
In my mind, your stereotypical hens' night would include:
1. a sign around the bride-to-be's neck, which reads 'Kiss me I'm getting married' (or similar)
2. fried eggs (i.e. a rude display of mammaries squashed against restaurant windows)
3. loudness, drunkenness and shrieking
4. pashing at least one strange (but grateful) man
But tonight's, I think, is going to include:
1. intelligent conversation (perhaps descending occasionally into talk about offspring and home renovations)
2. really good food
3. small amounts of wine
It might be because the women are all in their mid-thirties or older, well brought-up Cantonese girls, and expecting to turn up to work on time in the morning.
Actually, I don't mind.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
This afternoon I had to deal with four teenages who were bored (it's the school holidays) and didn't want to read (...so what the hell were they doing in a library, you ask? I'm just about to tell you...). They'd been sitting at the non-Internet enabled computers all afternoon, using Painter to create silly pictures (including a remarkably good one of me wearing a frown) and then setting those pictures as wallpaper for the computers. They also found ways to make annoying beeping sounds come out of the computers. These guys are computer-literate to really make a nuisance of themselves; eventually I had to send the library manager out for a walk around the library so scare them off (he's not a scary guy, but then I'm only five feet tall and a conflict-avoider).
It's no fun being the killjoy.
I used to be a regular swimmer, but gave up for two reasons:
1. I used to colour my hair (blue-black was my favourite) and the chlorine would've killed it.
2. I get terrible goggle marks; they used to disappear soon after I got out of the pool, but my skin is no longer as elastic.
I went to the pool tonight, for a spot of aqua jogging, and re-discovered an ugly truth - at certain times of the month, when you're feeling a little bloated, avoid any activities which involve wearing something skin-tight (like a swimsuit) - unless you're okay with looking a little pregnant.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Anyway, I thought it would pay to have a list of our DVDs since they'd be amongst the things which most likely to get taken.
If the boy saw what I was doing, he'd tell me to stop being a librarian.
(But if I was being librarian-like about it, I'd be cataloguing them as well. It's hard enough work just listing all the titles.)
Not just an ex-biker and sportscar driver, nor just a geek with personality; we've been together for over three years now and the boy still surprises me with new and unexpected sides to his personality. Next I'll probably find out he once turned down a scholarship with the Royal Ballet or something...
Friday, September 24, 2004
The facilitator was one of those women with soothing voices; maybe it's a prerequisite for a job like hers. Under her guidance, we spent an unnecessarily large proportion of our 2 1/2 hours on the basic stuff i.e. what stress it, what it's physiological symptoms are, and what everyone in the room has done to alleviate stress. Absolutely nothing new there. About fifteen minutes before our time was up, we got to leaf through our handout, which turned out to contained quite a lot of promising material about how to deal with stress in the workplace (as opposed to stress generally) - what a pity she didn't bother to go through it with us.
Well, if there is one thing I have learned from this course it's that at least one person in the world doesn't get stressed when she's stuck in traffic. She's obviously quite abnormal.
On a sadder note, when I got back to work I found out that our designated IT Help guy has cancer and the prognosis isn't good. Sure, I could never understand anything he said, and he had a habit of doing stuff to the network without telling anyone, but that isn't enough for a death sentence. Poor guy.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
I really like Thursdays; on Thursdays I only have to spend ninety minutes at the Information Desk and I don't have to drive the bus. This leaves me plenty of time to work on updating the Library website, currently my favourite work task. Funny how you leave a career/place behind in search of something different, only to veer back towards the career/place you left behind. I also like Thursdays because it's the one day of the week when I'm always home by 6.30pm - all the other days I'm either working late, doing my class, or trying to make my 3 gym visits per week.
I got my first Management assignment back today - the one where I had to write a strategic plan for a make-believe public library. I was relieved to find that I'd not only passed, but almost got an A. I'd like to believe that it means I'm management material, but that's like saying that all business graduates would be good at business.
Apparently, earlier this week in the bus I cut someone off. This kind of thing normally leads to a few swear words on the part of the aggrieved tail-gater, but when the bus is painted all over with the library logo you just can't get away with it. I had to back down with my tail between my legs (so to speak), and promise to be more cautious next time. Fair enough, one can't be good at everything, eh?
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
The library stocks quite a few scrapbooking books and magazines, an indication of just how popular a hobby it is, for the locals at least. I found myself leafing through a stunningly-illustrated book on scrapbooking travel photos and seriously considering giving it a go:
- I have a thing about books, especially beautiful books. A good scrapbook is a little like an artist's book.
- I have a ton of photos, including about a thousand taken during the year I back-packed all over the place, travel journals and scrapbookable mementoes.
- It's a creative outlet which might be as satisfying as writing a memoir (and has more chance of being looked at, even if only by one's mother).
Perhaps if I stick to travel themes and avoid cutesy stuff (like baby photos) I could produce something to be proud of. It'd also be an excuse to unearth my yellowed travel journals and re-read what could be embarrassingly poorly-expressed thoughts.
Or maybe it'd be too time-consuming and cost too much in fancy acid-free paper and decorations.
If only I had the time to find out (sigh).
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
And sure enough, we have a book in the library called Airlines of the World, complete with pictures of airline insignia. Truly a book for plane-spotters.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Balzac is a French/Chinese collaboration, based on the novel by Dai Sijie; he also wrote the film's screenplay. It's set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and is about two young men from Chengdu who are sent to a remote village in the Phoenix Mountains for "re-education".
Their daily duties include lugging enormous lidless baskets of human excrement from the village latrine to the fields, to be used as fertiliser. They fill those baskets pretty full, and the path to the fields is more than a little steep and slippery...
They befriend, and eventually both fall in love with, a girl of the same age - a seamstress who lives with her tailor grandfather. She knows of a guy just completing his re-education who has a hidden stash of foreign (and therefore anti-revolutionary) books; the lads steal it and the books turn out to be by the likes of Balzac and Dumas. They read the books to their new friend, whose mind soon turns to curiosity about the world beyond the mountains.
Amongst the horrible bits (one of the guys gets malaria and the local cure is a good thrashing with a choice of sapplings) and sad bits (the girl gets pregant; she's under the legal age for marriage and abortion is only legal for married women so she gets an illegal one) is a bit which is both horrible and funny - the village chief has a rotten tooth and demands that one the boys, whose father is a famous dentist (albeit a counter-revolutionary one), fix his tooth. The scene in which the fledgeling dentist is trying to drill the chief's tooth, with a home-made drill powered by a sewing machine treadle, is priceless.
And best of all - unusual for a Chinese movie, Balzac doesn't have a weepy ending. After the desperate tragedies of stories like Raise the Red Lantern and Red Sorghum (you have to be in the mood for Zhang Yimou), one in which nobody dies is quite a nice change.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
I had the afternoon off today, to make up for having to work this Saturday; I took the opportunity to go into town and pick up the evening jacket which was being fitted for me. To tell the truth, the jacket may not have been altered at all. The staff had clustered around me at the time, pinched bits of fabric and pinned them, they charged me eighty dollars for the labour and I had to wait a week and a half before I could bring the jacket home. But, now that I'd tried it on, I don't know whether it fits any better than it did before. So to make up for the disconcerting idea that I may have been scammed, I bought a black lace sleeveless tanktop with red underlayer to go with it. And some perfectly fitting jeans (except they're too long of course). And some foundation and concealer.
When I got home and told the sick boy I'd been shopping, the poor guy thought I'd been looking for Interview with a Vampire on DVD (which is on his list of must-haves). I momentarily felt bad that all my retail therapy this afternoon had been completely selfish, but moments don't last long.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Well, not the article per se, but the whole situation. It kinda makes me think "they made their bed, let them lie in it - let 'em die out 'cos it's all their fault for believing girls to be so worthless".
Of course, what'd really happen is that females are kidnapped to be sold into wifery and it could be their fathers who reap the (monetary) benefits. Reminds me a little of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale.
I found it at Angry Asian Man.
- That the sentence ‘Violet caught a bogey today’ means different things to different people
- That it takes a lot of patience to clarify with a confused old person as to what the hell she’s talking about
- That, sufficiently distracted, I can forget to eat
- That I’ll be picking my boss up from the airport again next Wednesday, and driving her to work (but I did get a petrol voucher so that’s okay)
- That the staff at Christchurch City Libraries get paid time off to attend library school audio-conferences (and I don’t)
What I did, in actual fact, was rescue the bus, the customers and ourselves from being splattered by a two centimetre long nasal bogey hanging from the right nostril of a differently-intellectually-abled (or whatever the politically correct term may be) man. Two centimetres doesn’t sound all that long, but in snot terms it’s practically half way down the guy’s chest.
Thanks to quick action (reaching for the box of tissues and thrusting one into the perpetrator’s hand, whilst at the same time not getting close enough to get anything on my hand), the man left with a dry face and a dry bus interior.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Unfortunately I wasn't organised enough to get an imaginative display together, so I had to rely on colour photocopies of pages from computer books. Most computer books don't have attractive pictures.
I did find a really interesting, slightly disturbing image which looked like the result of some careful merging of old, young, human and animal faces, using Photoshop. Too bad that the other members of my team thought it too scary to display, and replaced it with black and white photos of ancient accounting machines.
I had the idea of blowing up a circuit diagram to use as the background to a bunch of smaller pictures and random computer facts. I thought that a picture of a propeller-head would be tongue-in-cheek and amusing. None of that has gotten off the ground 'cos I've been busy.
And why was I too busy? The city council wants the Library to contribute dates of events to their community calender for 2005, so my boss asked me to present her with a calender of every single (weekly) Story Time, baby-play and adult reading event for the entire year.
But I'm not bitter.
Monday, September 13, 2004
I'm on the phone to our Help Desk guy. I think he's trying to start up some services, but because of his general unintelligibilty I can't be sure. I wish I had a babel fish.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
From The Life of Brian to Flying High, The Man with Two Brains to Zoolander; if it makes me snort with mirth then a copy of it on DVD is welcome in my house.
I am going somewhere with this.
We hadn't been to the movies in a couple of months, and I was keen to catch up on some films which I'd heard about but hadn't gotten around to seeing. Touching the Void, Supersize Me and Fahrenheit 9/11 are still on my list of must-sees. But the movie we decided to go to today was...Dodgeball. I can't help it - Ben Stiller makes me laugh. It was a totally predictable plot, but Stiller playing super-vain owner of an exclusive gym/cosmetic surgery clinic was really pretty fab (check out his clingy lycra one-piece with inflatable cod-piece). Guest appearances by Chuck Norris, William Shatner and Lance Armstong were a bonus.
Watching Dodgeball lifted my mood and made me grin and chortle; I'll even blame it for making me giggle at the sign in the cake shop which read Dutch Custard Ring (well it sounded like a sex toy to me).
Friday, September 10, 2004
Anyhow, it's certainly been an afternoon of mishaps.
On top of the problems we've been having with various computers and printers at the library, we also had a hiccup in the printer on the library bus on Wednesday. It was on and off between then and last night. So when I started up the laptop on the bus this afternoon, I wasn't terribly surprised to find that the printer wasn't working. I just apologised to my customers, saying that on top of the wireless connection being painfully slow, they weren't going to get a receipt either. In the time it took for a book's barcode to fully register on the system, I was able to place a sticker on the back of the book and put a datestamp on it.
It wasn't until around 4pm, just before the last bus stop of the day, that I realised I had forgotten to flick the power switch on the bus. Without the power on, the printer was effectively turned off and the laptop was running off its battery. I only cottoned on when the laptop screen went blank and stayed that way despite my frantically moving the mouse about, and the flat battery light went on.
It was only a couple of days ago that I'd confessed to having knocked out the side lights when I nudged the bus into a tall rubbish bin, while pulling over at the kerb.
Not to mention the time a pre-schooler got stuck in the bus door...I'd forgotton to twist the toggle which locks the step and the door; it ensures that if some button-happy tyke presses the (unforgiveably accessible) close button on the side, we don't end up having to deal with knocked-out teeth, concussions or tears.
And now for something completely different...there is this wonderful author/illustrator of children's books called Shaun Tan. He's written and illustrated a book called The Red Tree, and also illustrated a book by John Marsden, called The Rabbits. His illustrations are not just gorgeous in a kid's book kind of way - he really is an artist. The stuff he did for The Rabbits originated as oil paintings, for instance. The other distinctive thing is that the stories are really different from other kids' picture books - they aren't really cute. The Rabbit is a thinly disguised telling of the effect of white colonials on the native Australians (the Aborigines); The Red Tree, although it has a sweet ending, reads like a day in the life of a clinically depressed child.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
The vagaries of foundation-buying
Which is better – foundation which is perfect for your skin but is a shade too dark, or foundation which is the perfect colour for your skin but becomes dry and cakey after an hour? I can look like either a Mediterranean wannabe, or a fish-woman.
It’s hard being the first level support for when printers stop working and computers won’t connect to the network, especially when I can’t even get my own printer to work…In yesterday’s class we talked about stress and stress management. I had no trouble coming up with a long list of symptoms:
2. Negative feelings
3. Tiredness even first thing in the morning
Although one of the items on my list of stress relievers may have been slightly inappropriate for a management class:
1. Go on holiday
2. Look through the job ads regularly
3. Go shopping
I say, thank goodness for the three B’s - the boy, the blog and the Buffy.
Speaking of which, I just found out that the guy who played Scott Hope in BtVS (her post-Angel, pre-graduation almost-boyfriend) is that really boyish dark-haired guy on Queer Eye. I read it in The Girl's got Bite.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
For the last half hour or so , I've been crawling around under a table, uplugging five computers and a printer. The table was cleverly designed to maximise the chances of banging my head on in it when I'm underneath (twice, to be exact). By the time I'd done that, and helped out with a massive registration party of foreign students, I was more than a little hot and sweaty. To add to the comfort was the shrill music of twin electric drills accompanied by the pungent smell of fresh sawdust.
It was almost enough to make me break out in a combined headache and asthma attack (but not quite).
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
1. put a pile of books about the Olympics on the a table in the Childrens' area because after four weeks of it - the schoolkids...are...still...doing projects on the Olympic Games
2. inhaled a sandwich because I didn't have time for an afternoon break
3. tried unsuccessfully to get anything on our new computers to print out. Of course, the IT help desk guy came over and it worked fine.
4. muttered about all the fine-tipped pens on the desk which didn't have their caps on (some of you may think that's anal - I think it's common sense)
5. done a subject search on 'Ontario' which resulted in a book about Quebec (!)
6. been to the vehicle testing people, who won't give my a car a Warrant of Fitness because it needs work. Again.
7. finally fixed that darned library webpage - I have to edit it using a content management tool and it translated fonts and things really wierdly (wysiwyg my bloody foot!) - much frustration and puzzlement later, I got it so that it looks professional
Now I'm safely home and awaiting the Hell's Pizza delivery; then I'll sit down to watch Six Feet Under. Yeah, and perhaps read the a chapter of the Management textbook.
1. rejected the offer of French-language psychology books from a
gypsy homeless guy called Adolphe
2. Found a history of the French in New Zealand, but not a history
of gypsies, for the same gypsy homeless guy
3. Listened to an irate patron tell me that she definitely returned
those books, absolutely, she can even remember the time of day when she did it
4. Found three classic novels for a teen who referred to them as 'classical'
5. Helped that little old lady on the Internet, the one who keeps trying to
use her Paradise login to log in to Hotmail
6. Fixed a computer's funny error messages by removing a library patron's disk
from the drive before restarting it
7. Miraculously fixed that sodding Library web page which was mysteriously publishing in a different colour, a different font, and with different spacing (WYSIWYG my foot!).
Monday, September 06, 2004
There'll be locker checks and anti-Goth folks'll be looking for fantastical weaponry.
Want to know more? Have a look at SF Goth, a San Francisco website devoted to Goth-dom.
Yesterday I took my mum out for her weekly shopping trip; at the morning market she bought enough vegetables and frozen chicken to feed a houseful of flatting students for a week (though of course, students live on beer rather than meat and veges); later, at the supermarket, she bought FIFTEEN 500g packets of frozen beans and the same number of packets of pasta.
Sometimes, she buys TEN frozen chickens at a time, and returns for more in a fortnight.
She used to buy toilet paper in monster-sized 72-roll cartons, and laundry detergent in similarly-sized boxes. Mum has enough packets of Thai rice noodles for more than a year's worth of her churches pot-luck lunches.
Mind you, her rationale for this super-stocking-up behaviour is something along the lines of saving money by buying in bulk, and the security of knowing she isn't going to run out any time soon. She was, after all, a child of the turbulent decades when China was first invaded by the Japanese and then taken over by the Communist Party.
I don't have those excuses. For me it's probably just a self-rebellion against my normally sensible spending habits.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Saturday, September 04, 2004
The boy was sleeping off his hangover from last night, which meant that I wouldn't have his style advice (which is actually mostly quite good), but it also meant I would be free to roam around as I wished i.e. I could pop into sales to look at jeans and boots.
Starting at one end of the shopping district and making my way south, I shopped non-stop for three hours. I found a great pair of burnt gold pointy-toed ankle boots for ten bucks at the Number 1 Shoe Warehouse (dumb name, but actually a fit description - I'll be returning to that one), but every jacket I saw was either too office-y or too Spring-y (and hence not a year-round item).
The last hour was spent at a designer shop, one which I'd never entered due to it's anticpated high prices and slightly snotty-looking atmosphere. The shop assistant was really helpful and patient though - not pushy as such but willing to show me whatever I asked for. Amidst the winter sale items and the spring non-sale items, I found a fitted jacket in a deep red textured fabric which really suited my skin tones but didn't suit the silver top.
I figured that a jacket or coat is pretty expensive and should last a while, so it doesn't make sense to run around looking for one which especially matches a relatively cheap shirt (one in a colour which won't go with anything else I have except my black pants).
So I bought the jacket, and next weekend I'm off to look for a top to go with the jacket!
Shopping is really hard work - all that walking, looking closely at clothes, trying clothes on...now that I'm home I'm all tired out.
Friday, September 03, 2004
My boy is out for the evening, at a work do. It's not that I mind him going out and having fun without me; believe it or not, I'd prefer to stay at home and catch up on my study most Fridays. However, it would be nice if he gave me a bit more notice when his boys' nights out are planned i.e. more than a day and a half. If I knew a week ago that I had a 'free' Friday night, I would have had time to call up my own pals and arrange a catch-up dinner or movie or drinkies. Hummmph..
Eliza Dushku shows this vulnerability (coupled with athleticism) which reminds me of Buffy; even her makeup is kind of reminiscent. So far the story is really interesting - a scarier Groundhog Day.
I was planning on watching the first half and then flicking over to TV One for What Not To Wear, but I think I'm going to have to stay for the whole show. And that's saying something.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
11. Learn not to be hard on myself for being a flawed human being
12. Learn not to be hard on other people for being flawed human beings
That's all folks :-)
1. Travel Europe and the UK again
2. Have a home which is warm even in winter
3. Have a child
4. Own an evening jacket which goes with an evening outfit and evening shoes
5. Be able to express exactly why I like a particular film or book (currently I just say it's the coolest thing ever)
6. Exhibit my paintings (and be happy with them)
7. Write something really really well
8. Something scary and brave, like save someone's life
9. Learn to ski
10.Understand abstract art
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
It's the one where Mulder and Scully investigate the discovery of a dead, malformed infant in a shallow grave...and are lead to the Peacocks - a family which has, for generations, played together, stayed together and bred together.
The sight of Mrs Peacock, limbless from a car accident a decade before and strapped to a board under the floor of her home, creeps me out even before she shows her deformed face.
The 'brothers' (the eldest of whom is also the father of the other two) are pretty ugly in a neanderthal kind of way. Listening to the eldest and his mummy dearest plot the family's regeneration in the boot of their car at the episode's end, is almost as appalling as watching the mother give birth in the opening scene.