Thursday, September 28, 2006

intellectuals + Christians

Forget-me-nots in flower under the trees by the little Anglican church.
The trees on the edge of the graveyard.

Today I went to see my history lecturer (my favourite lecturer), who also happens to be in charge of the History Honours programme at my university, as I want to find out everything about doing Honours, which I want to do in 2008. Well, all that sounds great, though a lot of work, but somehow we got talking about other things and it turns out he's a Christian. Then we talked about novels! It was so nice. I'm not quite sure why but yesterday I was feeling a bit upset and sick of life in general - not in a suicidal way or anything, just thinking about stuff. This was possibly because another lecturer made a comment in a lecture that made me feel a bit under attack. I know I should probably not react this way and usually I manage just fine, but for some reason, by yesterday, I had just had enough of being attacked for a while. I don't know how people cope who are being really and truly persecuted every day. I just get sick of insinuations that people who have faith in something higher than themselves are not intellectual enough, or are slightly deluded.

So it was so lovely to find out that someone I really respect as an intellectual, as a lecturer, and as a person in general is a Christian too. Funny how things like this can really cheer one up.

We also got to compare Pig Latin dialects in Linguistics, which could account slightly for the improved mood... :)

Photos: went for a wander yesterday in the domain near my house. Spring is a really beautiful time of year. I don't want it to end.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I think that the better I get at writing, the less able I am to do it. Whenever I get an idea now, it's not long before I realise how corny it would be - or, even worse, I forget it because it was about 1am and I can't be bothered getting out of bed and writing it down. I've always thought that one day The Idea or The Character would come along, would just arrive in my head and voila! Everything would be easy. Perhaps it will but I doubt it. I've come to the conclusion that everything you love doing is hard, hard work - because you love it so much, you want it to be the best and you're not happy with okay, whether it's writing, music, photography, sports, painting, etc etc. So even if you get a great idea, it's not going to realise itself automatically. Most of the work will be done by you. Ugh. How depressing. There's a quote I've heard somewhere that goes something like this: Writing is easy. All you have to do is go over to the typewriter and open a vein.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Congratulate me - I have just cut 1200 words off an essay. I feel like I can do anything now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Today in church we had a speaker who is the loudest man I have ever heard. It was very peculiar, it wasn't like he was some fire-and-brimstone speaker who shouts everything. He actually speaks everything at the volume someone else would shout, and when he gets excited about an important point his voice goes up, up in a crescendo until the crucial word exits his mouth like a torpedo. Definitely means you can't go to sleep in church. Luckily for me my ears were shielded slightly as I sit behind the piano but still it was rather awe-inspiring. He's actually a very interesting person - but what tends to stick with you is the memory of The Voice.

On the church notices today there was a quote from a little boy who thought the Lord's Prayer goes "Our Father who does art in heaven, Harold be your name. Amen." :D Kinda cute.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

bad day

I am having what I am sure will turn out to be a bad day.

1) Woke up hearing scratching somewhere in or close to the vicinity of my room. Am worried it's another mouse.

2) My dad used up the whole table to read the newspaper so I had to eat breakfast standing up.

3) I ran out of real coffee.

4) On the car radio on the way to uni, they said that Richard Hammond off Top Gear has been in a car crash and is in a critical condition [see here]. I love Top Gear and I love the presenters and I am more upset about this than about Steve Irwin.

5) I forget to ask for a double shot in my flat white at the cafe, so my caffeine intake is sadly lacking.

6) I now have to go and write and write notes and develop RSI.

Let's hope my day improves from here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

now let the pessimism shine through

Things I dislike:

1) Using a public toilet someone's just walked out of. I prefer pretending they are reserved for me alone. On a similar note, I hate it when the bathrooms are so busy you can't choose which toilet you want to use.
2) People peeking at your computer screen to see what you're writing when you're in a uni computer lab. Uh-huh... that's you. Girl in the green t-shirt.
3) Narrow-mindedness or very very very strong opinions... even if I agree with them, this is likely to annoy me.
4) People who talk very loudly and make me want to shrink.
5) Name-dropping/talent-dropping/asset-dropping... except when I do it.
6) "Mature students" at university who ask too many questions and annoy everyone by sharing their "knowledge".
7) People who take the lift down one flight of stairs. I mean, even I am not that lazy.
8) People who say "Let's pray," give you about a nanosecond to drop whatever you're doing before plunging headfirst with them into what Adrian Plass has aptly named the "shampoo position" of prayer.
9) Seeing people who made me feel uncomfortable at school and still do.
10) Criticism.
11) Work. Especially the hard variety.
12) "Worship" music.
13) People who sing slightly out of tune or bang a tambourine slightly behind the beat.
14) Choir conductors who forget themselves and start yelling at/singing along with/shushing their choirs in the middle of a concert... no, actually, that's funny. I like them.
15) Preachy songs that come out every now and again from some annoying band who spend the rest of their time writing songs with titles like "Let's Get Retarded". And yes, I have a particular band in mind.
16) International students who think it's okay to talk loudly in the library at exam time just because we can't understand them.
17) The rule against bringing coffee into the university library.
18) University of Canterbury Arts department staff cuts.
19) People who always greet you the same way. "How's Alison?" "ALISON!!!" "Hiiiiiii Alliiiiiieeee!"
20) Making my bed.
21) People who don't understand the concept of personal space.
22) Songs like "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam".
23) People who say, "so you're doing Arts?..." [disapproving silence] "But what are you going to do with it?"
24) People who dance in church or raise hands with ecstatic close-eyed face and shout "Hallelujah, yes, Lord." I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. It just makes me feel all hot around the collar.
25) People who insist on telling you the story of their weekend in all its dissipated glory. "I got so pissed I couldn't walk! Haw haw haw!" Please listen to me - tell it to someone who cares! Please! I don't give a toss that you're the biggest loser since the pastel-colour-suited Richard Clayderman!
26) On a similar note: engineering students. Most of them.
27) Names like Engelbert Humperdinck. (Is that how you spell it?) Actually, that's just kind of funny. I think his parents should have bought fish instead. You can call fish anything.
28) Books like The Da Vinci Code which everyone says are works of genius and then turn out to be terribly written and bollocks.
29) People who don't get funny people/books like Flanders and Swann or Adrian Plass or Jasper Fforde and look at you like you haven't grown up yet.
30) People who tell you the tragic endings of books you haven't read yet but were planning to. Hello Dad. Hello Viv. Someday, vengeance will be mine.

That's all I could think of at the moment. Yes, this is how I spend my precious free time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I am a studying machine

I am feeling rather efficient, useful and mechanical at the moment. It serves me right. I put off studying/researching for certain essays and tests and now I am paying for it. It was worth it, though, having that gloriously lazy holiday for two weeks... Luckily, I have tidied my desk so I can actually work at it; this is such a novelty that I actually am doing work.

If anyone who reads this is in the habit of studying for essays and taking copious notes, have you ever noticed there are a few key words that you find yourself writing again and again, and they change every essay? I don't mean words that are actually related to the essay topic, but random buzz words that all the historians who specialise in a certain subject seem to like. For me, this time around, it's words like determined.

Sorry, no photo today as the university computers are being temperamental. I'll try and add it on later tonight.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

going crazy on blogthings

Okay - so I was looking at Stacy's blog, and I tried out one of the blogthings she had on there, and then I got going on a whole heap of them and couldn't stop! It was terrifying. Here are some of the results.

If you were born in 2893

Your Name Would Be: Umori Vuis

And You Would Be: An Evil Space Warlord

What Will Your Famous Last Words Be?

"I can pass this guy."

You Should Rule Saturn

Saturn is a mysterious planet that can rarely be seen with the naked eye.

You are perfect to rule Saturn because like its rings, you don't always follow the rules of nature.
And like Saturn, to really be able to understand you, someone delve beyond your appearance.

You are not an easy person to befriend. However, once you enter a friendship, you'll be a friend for life.
You think slowly but deeply. You only gain great understanding after a situation has past.

You Are Barney

You could have been an intellectual leader...

Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer

You will be remembered for: your beautiful singing voice and your burps
Your life philosophy: "There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem."

What fun :)

I'm feeling pensive

I have been thinking about my mum's death. She died on the 27th of December last year. Christmas seems to be coming along pretty quickly - we're all going away for it this year, just so we can have it in a completely different setting than last time, which was really quite a surreal experience.

I have come to the conclusion that a year seems to be the acceptable, unwritten mourning period. For about a month, one is allowed to be inconsolable. After that, you start making people feel too uncomfortable, so you're allowed to have a wistful look in your eyes and command respectful silence for a few moments whenever you make a remark like "How I wish Mother were here!" - but no histrionics, please. Within a year after the death, you can explain bad moods by saying your mother died some months ago. But once a year has gone - somehow it's a thing of the past. Saying, "My mother died two years ago," or even a year and a few months, doesn't seem to command the same awe.

I'm not being bitter here, though it may sound like it. It just seems to be how things are, and it makes sense. I just never realised before I experienced a death myself that the longer someone is gone, the more you miss them. I'm not sure that grieving is something you do and it's done, over. It changes and fluctuates.

Right now I'm not unhappy. It's something more complicated than that. You're supposed to be the happiest you've ever been when you have kids or get married or things like that, but I know there will be a part of me that's really, really sad my mother's not there if that ever happens to me. I find it weird thinking that if I do ever give up my wild bachelorette lifestyle (haha) and find the proverbial One, chances are he will never have met my Mum.

How weird is life.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

halfway down the stairs

As you may or may not know, I am the senior fiction editor for a writing e-zine called Halfway Down the Stairs. We have just published our third biannual issue! Yippee! The theme is "Kaleidoscope". Check it out; I like it a lot. We have a new website design that looks very cool, in my humble opinion, and of course, the writing is of the highest standard. :)

If anyone who reads this is a writer, our next issue will be themed "Earth, Air, Fire, Water" and we accept outside submissions!


Some of the railway workers were very interested in the train. :)
A local boy riding his bike up and down the side of the tracks while the train waited to go.
Leaving the station, with a scream of the horn and huge puffs of black smoke.
The driver.

This morning I got up early and went with my dad to the train station to see a steam engine take off to Arthur's Pass. They've started doing this every two months, apparently, instead of the normal modern engines. I've never been into trains and machines and things like the boys in my family tend to, but steam engines are pretty cool bits of machinery really, and my grandfather used to drive one, so I found it pretty interesting! Lots of good photo opportunities too! My father was disappointed because it was a J engine and not a K engine (whatever that means) but he still enjoyed himself very much. I don't think males ever grow up in some particulars.