Sunday, December 30, 2007

After a 40 degree day, a 30 degree day feels almost pleasant in comparison...
(That's in celsius, by the way, and zipping over to a temperature conversion page I see that 40C is 104F. Well, there you go. Hot, damn hot.)

Xmas was good, a relatively quiet and relatively stress-free bbq at Mum's with Soulsis and her chicks. I think everyone liked their gifts. I know I liked mine. My niece, Miss Raven, painted me a gorgeous picture of an otter! It's going to be framed. :) The cubs gave me the OotP dvd, and from their dad I received a pair of lovely blue/white fish-themed Japanese bowls. Mum gave me a gift voucher (cos that's what I said I wanted) plus a pair of bendy flamingo plant-ties. [grin] They might even be inspiration enough to plant some tomatoes or something. Eventually.

Not sure if it's the same in other countries, but here in Aus the tending of the bbq - the last of fire rituals - is generally a man thing. Well, for various reasons there were no men as such at our family xmas so Soulsis drafted one of her boys in to service. He did an excellent job, no charred meat and only 2 sausages lost to the ground! He was justifiably pleased with himself but I'm not sure if he realises that now he's going to be the man-elect for future bbqs.

After the bbq the cubs and I stayed overnight at Mum's, but only overnight as they were most anxious to get home and play with the new xbox their dad had given them. [rolls eyes] I've given them fair warning that they have to brace themselves for separation from the machine cos we'll be going up to visit Mum for a few days later in the holidays...

Now for a small socio-political rant. Feel free to skip.
At the cubs' school graduation thingy the chairperson of the Parents' Association got up to say a few words. Those words however, got right up my little proletarian nose. In effect he was congratulating us - the parents, students and teachers - because some of the kids were going on to private secondary schools.
It was an implication that first, it was somehow an unusual effort for a government-funded school to produce such quality and second, that it was some sort of achievement on the part of the students.
Those kids are going to private schools because their parents can afford it. There were no scholarships won: believe me, we would've heard about it if there was! True, the private schools have 'standards', whereas State schools can't refuse anyone, regardless of their academic results, but bloody hell, just cos a child's been accepted to one of these elite institutions does not automatically speak of an innate superiority! [ruffles feathers] Hmph.
Is it just sour grapes? If I had the means would I send the cubs to a private school? I don't know. Their dad would, but then he's a grammar school boy himself and the effects of the differences in our socio-economic backgrounds has been a subject we've mutually skirted-around for years. :) If anyone tells you Australia is a classless society they're talking out of their arse.

Okay, </rant>, now that I've revealed my leftist pinko tendencies.

HappyLucky New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Xmas. Yes. More amusing details later, I suppose, when I could be arsed but right now here's a photo of the knee rug I knitted for my Mum. I started it while she was in hospital over a year ago and she finally received it this xmas. :) It's about 1 metre square.

grape pattern,knitting

([blink] Is that a really big image? Might have to go and dabble with Photobucket and see if I can resize it. Tch, Flickr's much easier to use but Photobucket doesn't have the same sorts of limits.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

So, xmas eve, eh? You know, I think I've just about had enough of chocolate...

Awww... My little geek cubs' fingers are streaked with paint from where they've been preparing their new Warhammer 40k figures for play. They've got one of the starter set kits, that they paid for themselves. Sort of - a combination of a small amount of accumulated pocket money and trading their big plastic D&D Blue and Black dragon figures to their dad.
Their dad meanwhile - who's been assiduously avoiding the WH40K money trap for years - has thrown himself in with equal enthusiasm. The three of them have been happily researching and planning their armies. :) I can see I won't be getting much table space for the time being.

Couple of interesting dreams recently. In the first I was helping someone dismantle the top storey (or just their bedroom?) of their house. This was interesting because the person was the teacher I liked who has just retired.
In the second dream I was revisiting houses/places that I know from previous dreams. There were 3 this particular time, two of which were the most fascinating, but impractical dwellings...
Though thinking about it now, the 3 places are linked, not logically, but in that way only in dreams things can be related.
Heh, and in another part of that dream I was following a pilgrimage of sorts, performing almost-forgotten fannish rituals, the details of which came back to me as I worked my way along the route. (Rolling in a mud puddle? Ookay...) Though there's nothing particularly deep about that section, I know exactly what triggered it. I'd just finished reading Dianne Wynne Jones' Deep Secret. A good chunk of the story happened at a Sci-fi and Fantasy Convention and though it's been years since I went to one the book jogged my memory about the sorts of ritual peculiarities one can encounter. [grin]

Sunday, December 23, 2007

... why did Firefox start up in Spanish today?

The cubs' father spotted this on a t-shirt:

Dear Santa,
I can explain...

And so Badger and Rocket's primary school days come to an end. I did get a little emotional at the final assembly but not in connection with the Grade 6s. One of my nephews, Tinny [snerk], is a sympathetic vomiter - seeing someone vomit sets him off. I, on the other hand, am a sympathetic cryer. Two of the teachers leaving got emotional, and well... yes. It didn't help that one of them I really liked and had worked closely with this year.
I was very glad when the assembly finished. I hung around long enough to exchange very brief goodbyes then I fled. Yep, I'm such a wuss. Besides, it's not like I'm going away forever - I'll be there helping out in the library at least one afternoon a week next year.

I picked up our 'xmas lay-by' the other day, the one that's been lurking since June. It came in a huge box which, naturally, the cubs couldn't fail to spot on the front passenger seat of the car. Perhaps I should've prevaricated when they asked what it was, but they were enthusiastic when I asked if they wanted to open it now as an early xmas present. Which was all to the good cos it meant I didn't have to a: remember who had what, and b: try and find somewhere to hide it all. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"I'm here. Let joy be unconfined."
[snerk] That's a quote from Dougal, of the Magic Roundabout.
I've always had a soft spot for the show - even as a five year old I knew it was ludicrous, but I loved the simple flowers, and Ermintrude. :) I remember in one of my children's book Annuals there was a 'make your own Dougal' craft project. It involved the inside tube of a toilet roll; a ping pong ball; quantities of yellow wool; a felt-tip pen, and glue. Ah, good times, good times...
Imagine my horror, then, when I discovered there'd been a CGI movie remake! [Shudder] I saw a picture... And then... and then I read the 'plot' and ran away screaming. It seemed to be the same sort of buggering attempt at an 'update' that'd made the Thomas The Tank Engine movie such an eye-watering abomination.

[...and now, an awkward segue...]
But speaking of movies, I saw a good one last night. My niece, Miss Raven, won tickets to a preview of The Golden Compass and invited me along.
I read the books last year for the first time and was bowled over. The movie...? It was a good, if scant, overview of the world but felt rushed and consequently the subtle, slow build to horror was lost along with the layers of almost incidental information that made this such a rich read. Great cast, though, and fantastic spfx (love the bears! and the dirigibles!) The cubs want to see it now, and I have no objection to watching it again.

That was a numberplate I saw today, on a flashy sort of sporty car. The ambiguity made me laugh. Was it sposed to be an '18 oh, sexy!' sort of statement? Because it looked to me like '180[degrees]sexy', which would the complete opposite of sexy, wouldn't it?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

All right, I have to admit that the xmas music being piped through every bloody shop is starting to even get to me. It must be hell for grumpy people.
"... don't you know that it's christmas...!"
No, it had escaped my attention completely, thank you so much.
It helps somewhat that a lot of what I'm hearing has been covered in various South Park episodes. Having images of Santa and Jesus doing a duet alleviates the grrrness. :)

Badger and Rocket now have their own email addies. I thought it was time I organised that, before the school year ended, so they can keep in touch with the friends that are going to different schools.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I enrolled today, to study Library and Info Tech full-time next year. Go me :)
A couple of the lecturers recognised me from my previous attempt a couple of years ago, and seemed pleased to have me back. Always an encouraging sign.
What did amuse me, though, was how much one of the admin staff reminded me of a Blythe doll. Seriously - skinny little body with matchstick limbs; a 'bobbed' hairstyle that made her head look huge on that skinny body; and large, slightly protuberant eyes that seemed waaay to big for her face. O_o I tried not to stare, and honestly I think I did very well resisting the urge to whip out my 'phone and take a photo...

[giggling] Penny sent me these:

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed.

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder -- - Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,

9. I can identify with 9.
And 5. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trooped off to Badger and Rocket's school xmas concert last night.
This was the cubs' last primary school concert and I think their father and I deserve kudos for not having missed any of these... events over seven years. Well, kudos to me for not having missed any of them - or the bloody 'Twilight Sports'. No, no shirking of parently duty on my part, no crying off attendance or leaving early cos of 'work'. Hmph.
Anyway, back to last night's entertainment.
Okay, I've seen worse, but I can't honestly say our school is bursting with musical talent. Penny commented how it always seems to be the tone-deaf kids who end up closest to the microphones.
The program was late getting started and it did drag a bit - by 8.30 we were only half-way through. It probably didn't help that, for some reason, all the school awards and things were dealt with last night instead of at the year's final assembly. I was very restless by the time grade 5/6 finally got 'round to performing their versions of 'Have yourself a merry little xmas and 'Feed the world'. But, I did video all of it on my woodgie wee camera phone so the cubs' father can see what he missed. [smirk] Or hear, rather. The vision's not very good but the tone-deaf melody is excruciatingly clear...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A mystery. I has one.
I picked up a set of 4 glasses in an op shop the other day. The glass is vaguely green - always a winner with me - and they're a nice shape. I think they're also quite old, 70's at least perhaps, but I didn't notice 'til I got home that they had a logo or something printed on them. The print is completely missing on 2 of the glasses and partially obscured on the others. What I could make out though, was it appeared to be a crest of some kind with the words "The -arwhal Rifles".
Neat!, I thought, The Narwhal Rifles. Could be a Norwegian regiment? Which is silly, cos surely then the text would be in Norwegian?
Google failed me - admittedly I couldn't be arsed doing an indepth search so that was probly my own fault - but I'm still curious. Are the glasses military memorabilia? Souvenirs? Hell, I don't know, The ?? Rifles could be/have been a gun club; a theatre company; a joke! (No comments, please, about the last two being so very similar.)
I might ask the resident military expert for his opinion. Or I could keep searching, checking every letter of the alphabet against that missing one. That should waste me some serious time...

On Thursday I donated blood for the second time: the first time was over a decade ago.
Aside from experiencing a fleeting moment of 'wrongness' when my vital essence began to flow, it was fine. No faintness, no nausea. Mild boredom for having to sit there for 10 minutes with nothing to watch but Oprah, but on the whole it was a doddle. Didn't enjoy the experience, especially when instructed to squeeze a rubber ball. That action made the muscles in my arm move and I could feel the needle under my skin (are you still with me, soulsis? :) but even so it was nowhere near as bad as having an IV put in to the back of my hand. [shudder]
Afterwards I was rewarded with an orange juice and a couple of cheese portions. I reckon I could do this regularly, if only for the cheese.

Yay! My Snupin Santa gift has gone up on the site! 'Gold Moon'. 's very cool. Thank you, mystery writer. :)

And lastly, Soulsis found this site - Free Rice. For every word you get right, you donate 20 grains of rice. The vocab levels go up to 50 and I've cracked 48 [is smug]. Mind you, that would be noticeably lower if I wasn't as widely, and eclectically, read as I am!
Be warned, though, it's addictive. Just one more word then I'll do something else... oh goodness, I've been here an hour...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blimey. It has been a while...

Yesterday I watched a DVD of the BBC's 1978 teleproduction of Romeo and Juliet.
I wonder, is Mercutio always played as a bit of a poof? The best Mercutio I've seen was Harold Perrineau in Baz Luhrman's version of the play. So playful and cute. :) Not a whiney brat who - after receiving a mortal wound in a duel they goaded someone in to - goes all wangsty and casts curses with his dying breath... For god's sake, you started it!
Oh, should I put a spoiler warning here?
Too late.
And speaking of Tybalt (which we were, honestly, 'e's the one wot dun for Mercutio) he was played by Alan Rickman. A very young Alan Rickman who was nowhere near as attractive then as he is now, with a haircut that was pure Romulan.
Nice long legs, however, even if his arse wasn't the best I've seen. Ah, costume dramas - men in tights. [snerk] Sometimes it works, sometimes... it doesn't. Like the 'fight' scenes! They're enough to make you weep!
Realistic? No.
Choreographed? Laughably. [shakes head] Seriously, I giggled during those bits...

Heh, the end of the school year looms. Next year, when Badger and Rocket start High school, I'll be going back to full time study as well.
Gosh, I finally have an excuse for the kilos of stationery I always buy in the 'back to school' sales.