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Archive for January, 2011

New website addiction

It’s weird how these things happen.  My colleague was looking at the artwork of a friend of a friend and we agreed the paintings were impressive.  The website was deviantart – a website I was familiar with as my daughter submits her photographic work to it.  As it happens, by coincidence this painter guy friend of the colleague had added a photo of my daughter’s to his favourites.  Small world or what?

As I browsed the website and looked at photos I thought “here would be a good place to upload some of my better photos” as mine seemed comparable to many.  I uploaded a few photos tonight and was astounded that almost immediately I received messages about my photos being added as others’ favourites.  Almost as soon as I uploaded another photo I received a message that someone had added it to their favourites.  Are they indiscriminate or what? (Sorry just watched “Weird or what”).

The link to my page is here and under links.

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I shouldn’t have moaned about gloomy skies. Now there’s rain and gale-force winds. Just great. Tomorrow is a brief reprieve and then it’s 9 days of this rubbish.

Further update on weekend (as if my previous post wasn’t long enough).

Got my Warrant of Fitness for the car on Saturday morning. It passed, thankfully. Should have too after paying for 2 new tyres.

While tidying up the junkroom on Saturday I came across the kids’ Tonka truck and decided to give it away. Advertised it online and almost immediately got a response. The woman lived nearby and, as it happened, lived in the house that used to belong to a friend of older daughter’s. Small world. By Sunday morning it was gone. If only all junk could be got rid of so easily and quickly. Also got rid of (believe it or not) notes from 3rd form German classes – why the hell I’d been keeping them for 37 years I do not know. They are now in the recycling bin.

Daughter came back from boyfriend’s and I told her the good news about Nubi and showed her a photo of Jasmine and Nubi curled up together on a chair. Success.

Daughter had brought a friend back with her who was staying the night. They’d brought 2 DVDs with them so we watched them. They were Ong Bak 2 and 3. The first Ong Bak was a good movie, one of the best martial arts films I’ve seen. The story of the second one was totally unrelated to the first and was average. The third one followed on from the second one and was a huge disappointment. They also used elephants in the fighting scenes which I thought was totally unnecessary. Poor elephants.

Belly dancing. I did another couple of sessions of dancing to two songs in a row. My shoulders hurt like buggery for the last lot. It doesn’t pay not to do dancing for a month – the body gets slack. I’ll try to continue dancing to 2 songs at least once each night. I have plenty of CDs for music. I should perhaps re-watch the DVDs I have…

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Why is it, when the weekend comes around, I can’t think what it is I wanted to do and those that I do remember, I can’t dredge up the motivation to actually do it.  On gloomy days like today, I don’t want to do anything, which is a problem really because it’s gloomy about 200 days of the year here.

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Nubi, the kitten is now growing to what we term a “catten” – half-grown between kitten and cat.  Up to now we haven’t let him outside unsupervised.  I was a bit worried about doing so but in the past week I changed my mind.  Daughter feels we should wait until he’s a bit bigger.  I don’t remember delaying that long for previous kittens/cattens.  Well today he got out and I followed him.  He was fine, doing the usual then went under a bush, one of his favourite places.  When he didn’t come out I discovered he’d gone.  I wasn’t too worried about it.  Sure enough, a few minutes after daughter and I had a half-hearted look around, he reappeared in the house.  In spite of that, daughter repeated that we shouldn’t leave him unsupervised just yet.  She then left to visit boyfriend.  I left the back door open and let Nubi go out and in to his heart’s content.  He reappeared two or three times and is now flaked out beside me.  His supervised outings are over, in my opinion.

Part of my change of heart about letting him out is that he has recently got on my wick by being too aggressive with Jasmine.  He just won’t leave her alone.  It’s made worse by the fact that he was cooped up inside in the last week (daughter was away while I was at work) while Jasmine preferred staying outside and when she came in he wanted to play and she didn’t.   He’d had a good sleep while she’d been out and when she reappears he’s ready for action.  Poor Jasmine just wants to turn around and go back outside.  I don’t blame her.

So, I think it was a good decision to finally let him out and wander.  He won’t be so bored and will probably (hopefully) be less aggressive with Jasmine.  She, in the meantime, can go in and out without having to ask to be let in (or out).

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Have done basically nothing about my second New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  I need to cut down on the alcohol but I do like a beer or two (or a G&T) in the summer months.  I haven’t exercised or done any belly dancing.  There have been no classes yet but they have been meeting casually just to dance together.  I would’ve thought about it if the price had been cheaper.  I object to paying the same amount for a casual dance-off as for a class.  I figured I could dance at home instead.  Of course, I haven’t.  I did, however, go along last week because I’d been told we were performing for the Chinese New Year celebration in town tonight and thought I’d better get practising and find out what we’re dancing etc.  Well, I got there at the usual time only to discover that the casual get-togethers were an hour earlier.  I’d wasted a trip coming into town (I’d had the day off).  To make matters worse they’d already arranged that just three of them would do their trio dance.  I felt shitty – angry at myself for apparently forgetting the changed time and being rejected for a group performance after being asked if I would.

Today, however, I put on a CD and danced to the first two tracks – about 12 minutes’ worth.  I felt good about my improvisation to the music.  Quite often at dance class when we’re asked to improvise, I just do the same old boring moves that everyone does.  But at home I often feel I’m doing better, with flowing moves and graceful arms.  Ask me to repeat them for a choreography or for class, though, and I can’t.  I guess it’s about feeling relaxed.  Anyway, I took a break and thought I’d go back to doing the next couple of tracks, etc.  I put the CD on but felt hungry and sat down to eat a piece of German stollen that daughter brought back with her yesterday (from my brother’s place).  The music played and I continued sitting down browsing the net.  Old habits die hard.

Just before she left, daughter expressed an interest in learning Arabic as she had been listening to some songs and wanted to understand them.  (This was probably the impetus in playing some belly dancing music.)  So part of my browsing was looking up free Arabic classes online.  I had a brief look, listened to pronunciation and read about how you should learn to read the script first and it all looked a bit much for me.  I haven’t revised my Spanish since classes finished in early December.  The teacher offered to mark exercises he left for us over the summer.  I haven’t done them.  Learning a new language at this stage would be a bit much, I think.

If the weather were brighter, I might feel inclined to tidy up the junk room. As it is, the gloom presses down.  It’s those damned stratus clouds which form a featureless grey blanket over the sky that depress me the whole year.  Summer is so short and we see so little of the sun…  Ho hum.

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Movies: I watched another four which I rented from United Video.  Over the past week I’ve watched “Over the hedge” (which I’d been told was funny); “Daybreakers” (about vampires); “Dorian Grey”; and “Zombieland”.  The first was not funny.  I found it rather tedious.  Daybreakers was awful and I can’t even remember the main character (what he looked like, what his name was…) – very forgettable movie.  Dorian Grey was better but not outstanding.  Daughter had said Zombieland was funny.  I didn’t find it so.  (Is there something wrong with me?)  I enjoyed it up until the duo met a couple of females and it all went downhill from there.  Why do American movies always have to have some element of romance in them?  Even though the older female character was bolshy and could look after herself, the two men ended up rescuing them.  All very predictable and rather boring.  “Shaun of the Dead” is way funnier.

I should now rack my brains for something constructive to do…

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Bloody Norah

You’d think a straightforward flight to Australia and from there to Singapore would be easy wouldn’t you. Apparently not. Because we want to stop off in Brisbane to go to my aunt’s 90th, it appears no option is straightforward.

For some bizarre reason Qantas does not fly direct to Brisbane from Wellington – they fly via Sydney. What a fecking pain. If I don’t want to use Qantas (considering their constant mechanical faults, who would?) I would have to go via Auckland (missing out Brisbane completely) or fly via a cheap airline for which you have to pay extra for baggage, food and entertainment. That wouldn’t be a problem for going to Aus, but for a 7-8 hour flight to Singapore that’s a bit much. I’m not getting any joy from the travel agent I’ve been speaking to. It appears Qantas is the ‘best’ option unless I want to spend a great deal more. This doesn’t make sense when you read about cheap flights everywhere online. Perhaps I have to buy the ticket online? It’s a bloody nightmare. Why should I waste hours of my time changing planes in a city I don’t want to visit. Bloody Qantas!

I need a friend who’s a travel agent who can find me something better. There has to be, surely.

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Ah well

Never look forward to anything as something is likely to cock up your plans.  So I felt yesterday about the long weekend of shit weather.  I’d been looking forward to this four-day weekend for some time, as I had plans for several things.  But they were out the window, as there were gale force winds and non-stop rain from Saturday evening until Monday morning and it got so cold it was tempting to drag the heater out.  It was so miserable and wintry that I didn’t feel like doing anything except watching DVDs.  I recommend “Dean Spanley”.  The best value of all the DVDs we got out.  “The Last Airbender” was rubbish.  Night Shyamalan’s movies are always a huge disappointment.  “Black Death” starrring Sean Bean was ok but a bit strange.  He does look good with long hair and beard on a horse though. 🙂 “Exit through the gift shop” about street artists (including Banksy) was interesting.

Older daughter came up from Wellington on Saturday afternoon.    She went off with younger daughter to play bowls that night with friends while I stayed back and watched said movie (Black Death).  The following day we returned overnight loans and got out another couple of movies and an Xbox 360 game.  The weather was appalling so we stayed indoors and did bugger- all (playing games, basically).  Daughter drove back that night as she had only left enough cat food for one night.  Yesterday was also pretty crap weatherwise and younger daughter spent much of it with her boyfriend while I played games and watched Dean Spanley (over red wine and sherry).  It would have been a huge disappointment of a weekend if I hadn’t taken today off from work.

Today was just beautiful – hot and sunny, as it should be.  Nubi, the kitten (short for Anubis) had a bit of an adventure, exploring further afield.  Luckily he comes when called (or miaows) so we can locate him.  He’s explored the back and one of the side neighbours’ places now.  He’s still a bit little and I feel more protective of him than I felt for previous cats, for some reason.  Younger daughter headed off to my brother’s place for a few days (lucky devil) while I headed into town for mundane chores (like returning DVDs).

I stopped by my favourite tyre man but he was absent (at lunch?) so headed to Tony’s Tyre Service around the corner and left the car there for two new tyres and wheel alignment while I walked to the Flight Centre to look at options for travel in June/July.  The young guy was probably in primary school when I did a one year travel course (when I had no idea what I was doing).  Anyway, he put forward a couple of options.  Nothing is ever straightforward, it seems.  It’s a great pity there are no longer Australian flights from this town as there used to be – so handy!  I’ll consult with daughter then we’ll decide on exact dates.  Best to book as soon as possible while specials are on.

After I’d finished at Flight Centre, I walked back to the tyre place and the car was ready.  Very handy.  Then returned the game and DVD and decided to get more DVDs out while daughter is away.  I’m going to have to cook dinner for the next few nights (nearly forgotten how!).

So today was quite successful.  I didn’t get done what I’d hoped over the weekend but at least I enjoyed some sunshine.  Back to work tomorrow, but at least it’s a short week.  Unfortunately, it’s back to rain next weekend.

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A weekend of some achievement

I hadn’t planned anything for the weekend but thought I should make an attempt at re-arranging (at least) the sunroom (aka junk room) and some more decluttering.

Saturday:

First thing in the morning daughter told me friends were coming round to pick up the firewood (from the felling of 2 dead trees) and chairs (left over from older daughter’s birthday in November). They arrived mid-morning and I helped them load the trailer. I then got invited to the 21st birthday celebration of one of them, starting at 1pm. Ah – that was my day sorted then. I then helped daughter make dips and offered to buy some chippies and bread on the way.

Daughter then reminded me that the Warehouse had a sale on curtains and that she needed new ones. The curtains themselves were actually fine – it was the string in the track that was broken but she no longer wanted them anyway – they were pink. Fair enough. It was time to replace them. The net curtain she had up was also torn.

I arrived about 2.30 and saw the birthday girl chatting away in the kitchen. No-one else was around. “Where is everyone?” I asked. “Good question” she said. Daughter arrived about 20 minutes later. Anyway it was about 3.30 before most showed up and they sat outside. A band was being set up in the garage. I looked around, feeling old, and everyone was wearing black. Daughter’s boyfriend didn’t come but was going to a “Zeitgeist” movie being shown in the evening at the university. I thought I’d go as well.

I headed home at about 5pm to feed the cats. I realized I’d forgotten the curtains so headed to the Warehouse on the way to the movie. Burgundy-coloured curtains duly bought, onto the movie. There were more people there than I expected. The movie was long and could’ve done without some of the dramatic stuff. I also noted two typos. Got home about 11pm.

Sunday:

I put the curtains up and fixed the problem with the track. I then realized I hadn’t bought net curtains. I went into the second bedroom (aka junk room number 2) for something and spotted a substantial hole in one of the curtains. Oh dear. Time to replace them while the special was on. A children’s bike I was giving away was being picked up in the afternoon so I did other stuff like washing. There’s nothing like expecting a visitor to get me tidying up (just in case they came inside to go to the toilet or something) so I tidied then let kitty out for a play in the wind. He loved chasing leaves and running up trees. Jasmine showed him how it was done. I took a video and wanted to show it but it was going to take one hour to upload it to Youtube.

After the bike was picked up I headed back to the Warehouse, noting the petrol was now low after so many trips back and forth. I bought curtains for the second bedroom and a net curtain for daughter’s bedroom. Once home I put them up and saw how shoddy the walls now looked (after all the posters and pictures had been taken down after boyfriend left). The walls need repainting. Hmm. Paint sales are on at the moment…

Watched TV – Joanna Lumley on cats and the movie “In Bruges”. Daughter arrived back home halfway through it. She liked the curtains but wondered why I bothered with the ‘junk room’. She had said she was going to tidy it up but the psychological link to ex-boyfriend has prevented her, I think. I’ll have to do it.

That was that . The weekend over already. Luckily next weekend I’ll have four days off with which to do more.

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Dreaming in the sun

It’s too nice out there. I went for a wander outside in my work lunch hour, the blue sky beckoning. I sat on a hill and read for a while and then just looked up at the fluffy white clouds and watched them change. They change shape so rapidly. One went from the shape of a hand reaching out, to a scorpion, or possibly the starship Enterprise and then gradually into a dragon. I had my camera in the bag but by the time I’d focused the dragon had just about disappeared.

I love clouds. I remember watching with awe the castles and caverns formed by clouds as I flew to Melbourne one year. Alas, I didn’t take photos. A photo never does them justice anyway. Remembering that then got me thinking of flying to Australia later in the year.

My aunt turns 90 in June. She’s in good health so there’s a good chance she’ll still be alive then, which is perhaps a horrid thing to say but one has to think of these things when booking airline tickets. From Australia, older daughter and I plan to travel to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, as we’ve been wanting to do for some time. She gave me a travel voucher for my birthday, so naturally I have to use it this year. So far, it’s just a vague desire, but I’ve started making enquiries. Luckily my passport is still valid.

Alas, it was time to get up off the hill and head back inside to work. The sky and clouds still beckon though, so very little work will be done this afternoon, I imagine. I’m just not here.

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