Thursday, August 28, 2008

if you read this post (and give me a million bucks) I'll give you free chocolate

Driving down Blenheim Road on the way home from university, I pass a certain shop which has put up a sign that says this:
*contented sigh* I would like to thank that shop from the bottom of my heart for lightening my evenings and putting a smile on my face.

Monday, August 18, 2008

and the winner is...

[Before you read this, see my last post, the Honours Room murder mystery]

The murderer is... Bella.

After a stash of skewers was found in her second desk, which was not originally searched (the police aren’t really all that smart), Bella confessed to the heinous crime.
“That b**** stole my coffee” she thundered. “A crime of that magnitude cannot go unpunished.” Psychologist Dr. Phil has diagnosed a nervous breakdown, due to caffeine deprivation, and Bella will spend the rest of her days at a spa in the Maldives.

Liz went on to be highly successful in her career as a P cook. George is one of her best customers, due to the shock of finding out that the unnamed man Liz and Allie were fighting over was in love with him. (Amendment: George has just gone on a killing spree…cue Murder Mystery No.2 ‘Why did George Finally Lose It?’)

Eric is now fluent in German, and has found, in contrast to Dr. Phil’s beliefs, that bat heads and heavy metal can cure cancer. He is a multi-trillionaire, and lives on the moon, because the acoustics are better.

Posthumously, Allie’s half-finished thesis has become a best seller, and she has been awarded a Pulitzer, a Booker Prize, and a Nobel Prize for Peace. The movie version (staring Tom Cruise as Stalin, Tom Cruise as Churchill, and Tom Cruise as Roosevelt, and Produced by Tom Cruise for Scientology Productions Ltd.) has been given an Oscar for best screenplay, but bombed at the box office, because people hate Tom Cruise.

Michael and Tom are on trial for the murder of Gillian, who took credit for Allie's thesis inspiration.

Allison has changed her name to Helga after she was denied copyright of the names ‘Allie’ and ‘Allison’.

Nathan has published a 30,000 word rebuttal on why Wittgenstein is not a load of c***. It has been critically acclaimed, and is written in post-structuralist form.

Tim was spotted by the CIA outside the engineering library, in Switzerland, and possibly on the Moon, visiting Eric.

Andrew now has dominance over the pie market.

Friday, August 15, 2008

who killed Allie?

This blog post is the product of:
- boredom
- all the detective novels I've been reading lately
- my tea tasting odd, leading to the obvious question of "who has poisoned me?"
- my friend Bella (not her real name), whose gracious permission has been given to publish this product of her boundless imagination.

The Honours Room Murder Mystery

Students: Bella, Liz, Eric, Allison, Nathan, Tim, George
Historians: Michael, Tom, Andrew, Gillian
* Most names changed

At the end of a long, dark, rainy day (its Christchurch in the winter, after all), Gillian went down to the Honours Room to speak to Allie about how wonderfully she did in her essay, and to offer her a life time job as an academic… But, oh dear, she found poor Allie dead over another 700 page book...

Autopsy Report:
The primary cause of death was a skewer, stabbed through the back of the neck. Also present in her blood were high levels of sodium-methaline-something-a-rather, the most deadly poison known to man (created by the University of Canterbury Chemistry department, which was recently broken into). However, she was stabbed before the poison could take effect.

The Suspects:
Allie arrived at Uni at 7.30am, attended her 10am class on European History, had sushi and a bar of chocolate for lunch, went to her 1.20 class on New Zealand history, and then went to work on her marvelous, stupendous thesis at 3pm. She was found dead at 5pm. The autopsy-person was highly intoxicated and originally put her death at 11am; this has since been amended to between 3.34 and 4.45. Each of the suspects were quick to dob in each of their colleagues for approaching Allie's desk, however, none admit to talking to Allie after the last class.

Police originally searched her desk as they had had a fight earlier in the day, over the use of kitchen items. Or possibly hand cream, priced at $12.99 (what, we’re in the middle of a recession, that’s pretty pricey…)

It is well known that Liz and Allie were in the middle of a very large fight over the possession of a boyfriend (the fact he actually wanted George instead apparently doesn’t matter). Liz has a key to the Chemistry Department, as she is secretly starting up a P lab with one of the Chemistry lecturers….

We couldn’t get a coherent statement from this young man, as he kept yelling in German and head banging. However a search of his desk revealed several bats with their heads bitten off. Psychologist Dr. Phil believes that this is because the evil metal music, and lack of meat, has gone straight to his head. “Y’all need to lock up your children now.”

In amongst John’s German ramblings it has been revealed that Allie and Allison were in the middle of a dispute over copyright of the names ‘Allie’ and ‘Allison’. Both women have death threats in their desks from the other.

Allie was overheard telling Nathan that Wittgenstein “was a load of c***”. Nathan is reported to have had steam coming out of his ears. [For the uninformed: Wittgenstein is a German philosopher.]

Tim is described as the dark wolf of the Honours Room. His desk is mysteriously empty, and yet he is challenging Allie for the title of Queen of Honoursland. “How is this possible,” Allie was overheard saying. “I spent 32 hours here yesterday, HE CANNOT BEAT ME.”

Rumours are abound that Allie was about to disown Michael as her supervisor as she was about to publish her thesis, and credit someone else as the inspiration behind it.

A message on Allie's phone from three days before reads as following:
“I think your thesis is awful, and refuse to have my name linked to it.” In response Allie began blackmailing him with the knowledge that he cheated his way into his PhD by bribing the external examiner.

There was only one pie left on campus… Allie got it.

She did find her, after all...

Vote now! The murder will be solved on Monday.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

yes, I am that person

So, in New Zealand most urban roads have a speed limit of 50 or 60 kilometres an hour. However, it's generally accepted by most drivers and also the police that you won't be stopped or fined for going up to about 58 km/hour in a 50km zone. Which means that if you go at 50km exactly, now, you're seen as holding people up, even though you are following the law to the letter.

I usually drive between 55-58 km/hour although my foot has been known to "slip" sometimes. I try to keep within the limits because I hate being fined and anyway, there are speed limits in certain areas for good reasons. But I usually wouldn't drive at 50 or below because I know how much it annoys people.


When you come up behind me, desperate to keep driving at 70 km/hour in a 50 km zone, inches away from my car and I am already driving 8 km over the speed limit, I will slow down. That's a promise. Nothing makes me happier than slowing down to 50 km when an impatient dangerous Neanderthal goon is shadowing me. I especially love it when you eventually pull over beside me at an intersection, or you pass me, infuriated, and I look sideways with a smug grin, just to rile you.

Seriously! I noticed no heavily pregnant wife in the back seat. If you're late to something, that's your fault and it doesn't mean I have to speed up and risk getting fined or, worse, hitting someone or something because I was going too fast to stop in time. Think about it - do you really want to annoy me in future?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

happiness is...

...finding an Agatha Christie novel that I haven't read before! Just when I thought life with unknown Christie plots out there was over, up pops Death in the Clouds at a second hand bookshop. I'm going to savour this one, along with Why Shoot a Butler?, by Georgette Heyer. Once there are no more new Christies for me, Georgette Heyer's 1920s murder mysteries are definitely next on the list. Then there's the books written by Christie under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott, or G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown Stories. My life is not, in fact, over.

Is anyone else addicted to murder mysteries? What does it for you? Which ones would you recommend?

For me, I think it's the utter pleasure I get out of them. I am not ashamed to admit I read them for pure entertainment. They're not completely mindless because I do have to figure out who I think the culprit is, but they're such welcome relief from the tomes I read at university. I love that I start thinking I've figured out Christie's pattern, and can predict who the murderer is, and then suddenly she changes her pattern again and I'm completely shocked at the end. I love the characters, who are so strong and interesting and distinctive.

My favourite Christies, for anyone who's interested:
The Man in the Brown Suit
Ordeal by Innocence
They Came to Baghdad
The Moving Finger
(although it really is difficult to pick out of the long list of books she wrote...)