Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Coolest Job Ever

My sister has just found me what is officially The Coolest Job Ever!!! (Except for being a tyrannical dictator, of course.) If only I were in New Zealand and free to take it up. Feel free, any other grammar geek readers, to emigrate to Aotearoa and compete for this stellar job.

Seriously, I love that there are actually jobs out there that I would never think, gee, I'd love to be a captioning producer, but which would suit me down to a T. (Except for the fast touch-typing bit but I could fludge my way through that bit I think.)

If you were one of those who prayed for the woman I mentioned on my God is Nice blog, I've posted an update on there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

karrakatta cemetery


Yesterday I took the train to Karrakatta Cemetery, which is huge. My sister thinks I'm morbid because I enjoy visiting graveyards (and sure, I wouldn't tell everyone that it's a favourite pastime of mine), but this was a really beautiful cemetery, more like a park or like gardens than a plain graveyard. It just goes on and on and on, with beautiful graves, trees, birds - including at least one kookaburra (above)! How exciting. Apparently kookaburras are pretty common around here, but never having seen one before, it was thrilling, and I couldn't get the song out of my head for the rest of the afternoon (...kookaburra sits in an old gum tree...). The one thing I thought was slightly weird about the cemetery is that it's so big that it has its own cafe. Hmmm.

Anyway, I am going into town for the first time today, to find my way around and to buy textbooks for my German language course that is starting tomorrow. When I take the train now, I am mostly able to look like a native of Perth - my first time on the train, I didn't know you had to push a button to make the doors open, and panicked. Now, I am much more knowledgeable.

Does anyone else like cemeteries? Or is it really just me?

Edit: By the way, do take my poll! Which is the best cake flavour? A crucial question for our times. See on the menu.

Friday, July 20, 2007

beware - SPOILERS!!!

I have successfully penetrated the security surrounding the release of Harry Potter #7 tomorrow, and it is with sadistic pleasure that I announce I know what happens! And I will reveal it to the world! [wicked laugh]

This is it - the ending of Harry Potter #7 (brace yourselves) -

Voldemort realises the error of his ways and repents. He opens a school for difficult children and compensates all his victims, or their families, in a billion-Galleon settlement. He and Harry join hands on the front cover of the Daily Prophet, and make a joint statement that violence never pays. For the rest of his life he will atone for his sins, volunteering in pet rescue homes, appearing alongside Bob Geldof and Angelina Jolie as a hero of the oppressed, and write his own self-help book.


[ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A PHOTO OF A PARTICULARLY GORGEOUS BABY HERE - but I feel sure now that this would definitely break the strict censorship my brother-in-law has over who gets to see pictures. Sorry!]

Babies are:
1. Scary. What if they don't like you? What if you drop them and they are scarred for life? What if you feed them the wrong thing? What if they just won't stop crying? Oh the responsibility!

2. Smelly. Especially after vomiting three times. Enough said.

3. Noisy. In this particular case, especially when having their nappies changed or having a bath or in the middle of the night (I have earplugs, to be fair, and she has actually slept through the night three times in a row since I've been here - amazing, apparently).

But (and this basically cancels out all the bad stuff):

4. Insanely cute. I defy anyone to frown when a baby is laughing.

5. Fun to play with.

6. Amazing to watch. This one is just about to learn to crawl, besides other things, and it's incredible to watch her slowly grasping how to do something.

In other news, tonight I joined a recorder quartet which has now become a quintet. So much fun! We are playing really meaty music and they are all really, really good. I'm not bad enough that I find it scary, but it's exactly challenging enough. We have a concert in September!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

world domination

The World Domination Meme, thanks to Stacy:

You are offered one superhero power to help you take over the world (or the country of your choice). What would your superpower be and why?

My superpower would be the power to appear to each person as their greatest ideal, eg to be a sort of reverse Boggart. This would make everyone vote for me and think that I was democratically elected rather than a tyrannical dictator, and if I was careful, it would prohibit all forms of resistance.

Where will you establish your capital and why?

Unfortunately, I believe local domination is too small an aim; world domination alone can satisfy. Therefore, Christchurch is just too small and far away from everywhere to be the capital of my global empire as it is. All the same, I don't want to have it anywhere else because that would be an insult to the glory that is Christchurch. Therefore, I will have the South Island of New Zealand dug up, and towed to a more convenient location.

What would be your first official decree as a brand new dictator? Why?

I would announce a ban on rogaine, because it is a fallacy of a sport and a crime.

As a Great and Fearsome Leader, you will need to have the best people working for you. Who would work for you? (Feel free to use famous people, fictional characters, friends and family, or other people from the blogosphere in your answer.) What would their jobs be?

My Deputy will be Stacy, because she is obviously adept in handling minions and dominating the world. She will also understand that I am ruthless, can read minds, and that the moment she starts considering usurping me, being sent to the gulag will be the least of her worries.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice will be my Chief of Police because she is a seriously scary and ruthless old woman.

My entire family will be given high-paying jobs in government departments which involve hardly any work, because what is the use of dominating the world if you can't be a nepotist?

My niece Ruby will be my PR person because she is so cute that everyone will take one look at her and forget about the thousands toiling in the gulag that they had come to complain about.

Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey will be the chaplain, because he's the coolest clergyman that has yet been seen in a novel.

Peter Jackson will be in charge of Propaganda. Bono and the Edge will set pro-Allie rhymes to music. Rachmaninov, Grieg and Mendelssohn will collaborate on pro-Allie symphonies and operas.

If you could make one annoying habit illegal in your empire, what would it be?

Wearing those condom-like hats that rappers wear in music videos.

Monday, July 16, 2007

i'm not in kansas anymore

I arrived last night in Perth, Western Australia. Eight hours by plane!! Australia is one big place. I haven't done a whole lot so far but I've just got back from a walk down to Cottesloe beach, where I:

a) got a feeling for the local climate.
It's hot! It's supposed to be winter! I've just come from Christchurch's negative five degree (celsius) frosts, while in Australia if it gets below ten degrees they feel the need to give it a decimal point - eg 7.8 degrees. My sister's house is pretty cool, but it is very sunny outside, probably about twenty degrees, and when I wasn't getting the sea breeze it was pretty darn hot.

b) experienced the local flora and fauna.
Ravens, parrots, sounds in the trees which I haven't identified as certain birds yet. As you may have seen above - and although I haven't seen any - SNAKES.

c) tasted the local cuisine.
Well, maybe that phrase is going a little too far. I bought a bag of Twisties, chips we have in NZ, that turned out to be totally different here - and in a much bigger bag. I can't understand it because every single person I have seen is slim (and more often than not, blonde and tanned).

It was great to see my sister Janet and her husband John again, and to meet my nine-month-old niece Ruby for the first time. She is ridiculously cute and at an adorable age. I can't wait to get to know her. Will post photos eventually.

Tomorrow: getting a sim card, getting a bank account, doing Stacy's World Domination meme!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I have been tagged by the talented Stacy (if only her name began with a T) and this is the result!

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was a ten year old obsessed with my new niece and getting over an obsession with Enid Blyton! (Actually this niece has just turned ten - scary!) I was in Mr McDonald's class at Hoon Hay Primary School, I had recorder and piano lessons, and I played Bad Bill in our school's play 'Granny and the Pirates'.

What were you doing 5 years ago?

Five years ago I was fifteen, and visiting Malaysia with my parents to see my brother. I was at Middleton Grange School, taking Maths, English, Science, French, Art and Music. I had two best friends called Sarah and Hayley, and we did not have any major dramas that year, unlike the previous two.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Studying hard - History, English and Linguistics. Trying not to spend money. Trying not to eat too much junk food. Agonising over a boy I had met.

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?

1. Chocolate (no surprises there), especially Nestle Coconut Double Blend, and Whittakers Almond.
2. Jelly. (As in Jello???)
3. Yoghurt. (Or, jelly and yoghurt mixed together!)
4. Rice crackers and salsa.
5. Cruskits (a type of cracker) with Marmite and cheese.

What are 5 songs that you know the lyrics to by heart?

1. I Have Confidence, from The Sound of Music (I was singing this in the car last night all the way home from the movie theatre!)
2. Sixteen Going on Seventeen, from The Sound of Music, again (funniest song EVER to sing)
3. When Peace Like A River, the hymn by Philip Bliss
4. Pride (in the Name of Love), U2
5. Stranded at the Drive-in, from Grease (again, a very funny song to sing)

What are 5 things you would do if you were a millionaire?

1. Travel. Anywhere. In so doing, find worthy causes to give money to.
2. Build up an extensive library all of my own.
3. Buy a grand piano.
4. Volunteer with Amnesty International full-time.
5. Learn to play a ridiculous amount of musical instruments.

What are 5 bad habits?

1. Being judgmental of Austen movies and ruining them for my friends, who can sense my displeasure radiating from me. However, you will be glad to hear that before I went to see Becoming Jane last night, I made up my mind to look at it merely as a movie rather than a historically accurate record, and found myself enjoying it very much.
2. Getting crushes on inappropriate people.
3. Being a bit snobbish about people with different interests.
4. Whinging whenever I get tired/wet/cold.
5. Forgetting to stop talking about myself to certain people. You know the type, who are so caring that they always ask you about yourself and you suddenly realise you didn't ask them about their sick mother or something.

What are 5 things you like doing?

1. Playing the piano loudly.
2. Friendly arguments.
3. Childish things like going to zoos, watching children's movies, making sand castles.
4. Drinking coffee.
5. Fast and efficient but extravagant shopping.

What are 5 things you would never wear again?

1. Grey tracksuit pants with a matching sweatshirt.
2. Skivvies.
3. Denim waistcoats.
4. Crushed velvet.
5. Teddy-bear hat.

What are your 5 favorite toys?

1. I'm going to copy Stacy here - my laptop.
2. iPod.
3. Playmobil. I haven't played with it for ages, but I wish I was still young enough to get it out at any opportunity.
4. Hair straightener.
5. Book case. Sounds weird, but I love arranging and rearranging my books. :)

Who are the five people you're tagging?

They've all been taken already, so ANYONE!

Monday, July 09, 2007


My niece feeding the eels. Eek!

As you can see, I went to a zoo on Friday - Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is a fantastic little zoo in Christchurch. They don't have any big animals like lions or giraffes or anything, but they have this cool farmyard with hilarious creatures like the kunekune pig pictured above and an attention-seeking goat, which you get to feed. They also have the best kiwi house I've ever been to. Usually you have to peer through dirty glass and darkness to see kiwis at other zoos, but in this one, they have a really big building in which it looks like the kiwis can actually have fun, and although you have to be as quiet as possible, you can actually get really close to them, and see them quite clearly. It was great. A few came literally right up to where we were at the fence and were snuffling round for grubs by our feet.

Anyway - I don't usually go to zoos just for fun although I wish I could - my niece and nephews from Dunedin were up for the weekend with their parents for a family gathering, as well as my sister from Auckland with her husband. On Saturday night we had a kind of early 21st for me (my birthday's in October but I'll be away), with Indian takeaways and LOTS of dessert. It was really great, despite the fact that five children can make a lot of noise, especially when they've been drinking Coke.

Aaaand - I've been given a rather wonderful early 21st birthday present from my siblings, dad and grandmother. In November, I am going on a two week trip to Penang, Malaysia, where my brother lives! I might get to go to Krabi, Thailand as well, or Kuala Lumpur, or Langkawi, or somewhere fantastic like that! I am very excited.

It's only a few days now until I leave for Perth, Western Australia, where I will be a nanny for my smallest niece for five months. I'm actually a bit nervous but also am excited. It's starting to sink in now that I'm actually going. The next time I blog, I will probably be in Australia!

Just wanted to share something else - I recently joined Facebook and I searched the groups available there for both U2 and Jane Austen, naturally. I had no idea how many people dislike Jane Austen!! High up on the list are these groups:

Coalition Against the Reading of Jane Austen's Madness
Damn You, Jane Austen!
English Majors Against Jane Austen
I ardently detest and despise "Pride and Prejudice"
I don't care what you say - Jane Austen should never have been published!
If I had a time machine, the first thing I would do: Kill Jane Austen
Jane Austen gave me unrealistic expectations of love
Say No to Austen; Say Yes to ABBA
I Peed in Jane Austen's House (IPJAH)

Still, there are many more that make me feel much more happy:

Jane Austen is my homegirl
Jane Austen Tea Party
Jane Austen books are ruining my sense of reality - and I love it!!
Jane Austen's Biyaches
Real Men like Jane Austen
Jane Austen or bust!
Stalking Heroes of Austen
Jane Austen Novels Explain The Universe

And I loved this - someone has created the Anti-Jane Austen Book Club - so someone else has responded with the Anti-Anti Jane Austen Book Club! Take that!!