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Watched three episodes of the new Doctor Who at the weekend. So I have caught up. Part of the fun was spotting British acting talent popping in to play a cameo. In one episode Simon Pegg (Dead and Shawn of the Spaced) and Tamsin Greig (Black Wing and Green Books) appeared, playing to type. It was the episode that confirmed the axiom that technical support are promoted to management so that they are relegated to prevent harm, until it’s too late and they can’t prevent the emergency that will damage the company’s reputation.

Posted a translation exercise on my palm. Quite pleased with myself.

There is a problem with parking at the college. The cars overflow out of the carpark onto the driveway.

Library office is rearranged week from week. The office doors are kept open even when the heating fails, as it already has happened. The Hewitson Librarian is determined to re-arrange the office, uncovering new floor space to clean, much to the cleaning staff’s frustration.

The National Party: a vote short of a political party

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Went looking for this week’s listener on Friday. I went to three stationers before I found a copy at a 24-hour dairy. Very strange, they had all sold out. I would have prefered to have bought it at PaperPlus so I could have got an extra FlyBuys point. If I decide to go visit my brother in Wellington again over the holiday period I have enough points to fly one way for free now. Weee!

Went to Gymeez in town for a new pottle of meal replacement shake. They had changed there shelves around and it took me some time to find the brand I usually buy. In the meantime the shopboy showed me the Metamax brand. Supposed to be better than the Horleys stuff, but twice the price for a third extra(!) I might be tempted in the future. I expect I will stick to the Horleys while I can get it.

Adult Study Group at church decided to go visiting new church groups around Dunedin. Two of us chose Dunedin City Baptist, or DCBC as it seems to be widely known. Its evening service met at the Teachers College Auditorium. It was about two thirds full. Mostly younger people, only a few third-agers. Like Presbyterians, Baptists are inclined to sit at the back. The music was all choruses, about half of which I recognised. The sermon was not a recruitment drive so much as a recruiter’s talk, by a man who admitted to being ineffective at recruiting due to shyness. I’m critical of this kind of service because I’m not sympathetic to it.

I have been chasing a spider around my bedroom all weekend. I first found her nested in the collar of a shirt on my rack. I peeled two shirts apart that crackled with thick webbing. There she was, a big black round spider. I left her where she was and she quickly made her own way into hiding. When I found time I took one of the shirts outside and brushed it down. No sign of Li’l Shelob. She turned up in a fold of the curtains when I closed them in the evening. She was high enough up that she could be discreet and slip away. The next day I found her sitting in the middle of my bed. That was the last straw. I swept her up into the dustpan and took her outside. She may have been a little stunned to be so treated.

Heavy rain when I went to the gym this evening. It looks like that it has set in for the rest of the week. I need new shoes as my current pair of walking shoes have passed beyond comfortably broken in to letting in water. Time for winter shoes. My workouts are good at the moment. Fifteen minutes on the rowing machine is setting the pace of my workout and I’m jogging short lengths on the treadmill.

Pentecost 2

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One visitor to the archives left us with a box of Roses chocolates. It’s very nice when most of the staff decline to eat chocolates for various reasons. I have no reason to decline to eat chocolate. I notice that boxed chocolates don’t have any hard chewy chocolates in their selections nowadays. That’s disappointing. I have good teeth, I can manage them!

Graeme had his hernia operation this week. The difference is noticeable. He sat through the church service today without having to duck out and relieve himself once. He loves going in to the hospital, presumably for all the unsolicited attention. At morning tea the congregation farewelled one elderly member who is moving to Alexandra to be closer to family.

property

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Q. What does ‘taonga’ mean in Maori. This week’s competition question on ConcertFM.

Bought volumes 2 and 3 of The Walking Dead from Bag End Comics. Sat up last night reading them. Need to read them at leisure now. Sorry to see that illustrator Tom Moore has left the creative team. Since I now have three volumes I’m tempted to cancell my reserve for new comics and just buy them when the trade paperbacks come out.

Archivist away to St. Denney’s for her son’s booklaunch. Back next week.

Book meme

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It is not true that I was disappointed when Southern Dave didn’t tag me for the film meme. I would hard pressed to come up with answers for that one. Books, on the other hand….

1) Total number of books owned: I looked in at my catalogue and I have 400 books listed. Maybe I have a third to a half as many for various reasons that I haven’t listed.

2) Last book I bought: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. Have yet to get a copy of The Amber Spyglass or Lyra’s Guide to Oxford.

3) Last book I read: Rocks of Ages by Stephen Jay Gould.

4) 5 books that mean a lot to me:

The Lord of the Rings, by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. I used to read this yearly. If I dedicated all my spare time to it I could read it in a week. Now the only volume I own is The Fellowship of the Ring and it took me half a year to read it last time.
Agent of Byzantium, by Harry Turtledove. An alternative history where the Eastern Roman Empire survived the end of the Middle Ages. The point of departure is historic within this collection of stories: Mohammed converts to Christianity, dies as a bishop and is canonised by the eastern church as the patron saint of changes. It is the book I always cite when I’m discussing science fiction with others. I have lost my original copy as I forgotten to whom I had loaned it. Sadly I find I have diminishing returns from Turtledove’s most recent novels. Good alternative history ideas don’t necessarily mean good writing.
Broken God, by David Zindell. This book influenced me by introducing the Fravashi philosophy of sympathy in understanding opposing ideas. The writing is beautiful, an insight into human suffering. The story about how new religions can emerge in future histories means that for me this is the book Dune should have been.
Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. The author’s first novel set in the fantastic city of New Crobuzon, my favorite so far. It’s shocking in its grotesquerie, a flight of language. In a city where science and thaumaturgy co-exist an inventor accepts a commission that releases a danger on the city that could ultimately destroy him and his company of friends. Despite the author being avowedly allergic to Tolkien the endings are similar in consequence. New Weird Fiction.
Wordcraft, by Stephen Pollington. One non-fiction book to complete the list. A dictionary of English-Englisc translation. Before I started blogging I used this dictionary to write a journal in a language based on Old English. I sometimes miss it. I am no longer currently writing in it. I write faster in English although I can still parse my journal when I read it, especially common words.

That leaves out about the same amount of books I could have chosen.

5) Tag 5 people and have them fill this out on their LJs:

Hmmmm….

That’s a diverse choice.

Now, the comics meme….

Jesus Whiskey: Distill the Tempest

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One of our regular volunteers at the archives, a retired headmaster, did not come in last week. He had heart problems over the weekend and was in hospital for half a week.

At the start of this week we were visited by a former staff member of the School of Ministry and his wife. They are Australians and had retired there. She had been a volunteer for the Archives and coming down the stairs again she felt that she was coming in for a day’s work.

I have had a second attempt at getting my pda working again. I put it aside for a week and let it power down. Now I have restored it, although there is some features that are not working, and some files that haven’t loaded. Never mind. I can start using it again.

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The mist covered ‘n Edwin for half the day like a giant duvet. Underneath that duvet the cars snored, and above was a blue dome sky.

I didn’t mention the songs from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The credits opened with a new song “So long and thanks for all the fish”. Very jolly, very hummable. There was something about all those super-sized murkanoids sitting around aquariums oblivious to the dolphins’ friendly warnings – were they supposed to be precedents of the Vogons? It was a funny set piece. The Journey of the Sorceror appeared later in the movie as an introduction to the Book. I don’t think that they could have got away with leaving that out.

I wonder if I can convince somebody to buy me the dvd release for Eczemas.

Collected my glass case from the gym. I had left it there last Wednesday. I knew when I had gone down a flight of stairs that I had forgotten it. I couldn’t be bothered walking back up. This was the first chance that I had to find them again. It was at the counter and I had to find a staff member who knew where to look.

Trinity Sunday

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Watched the final episode in the first season of Battlestar Galactica. Yes, the twist in the end caught me by surprise. Afterwards Joe, Dave and I went into town to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The movie was more amusing than funny. Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent was an inspired choice. I suspect it is a movie to be appreciated over several viewings, picking up details from Douglas Adams’ masterpiece. The role of the Vogons was played up in this version, stupid oafish bureaucrats. My first feeling was that this could have been a much darker interpretation. In hindsight I realise that it is, particularly in the added scenes with the diversion to the Vogsphere. This is not any earlier version and I’m not entirely convinced that it was necessary. I liked the crab-smashing and the squashed gazelles (both details from the book version). The landscape of the Vogsphere could have been out of Brazil. I found myself liking all the characters, which is impressive. They really are two-dimensional, not really fleshed out. This version played up that fact that they are silly, artificial, and yet sympathetic, even characters like Zaphod, Ford, and Marvin. The ending was slightly whimsical. I’m not quite sure if it works. Roll on The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Trinity Sunday. There was a guest preacher from the School of Ministry. The trinity was likened to a person being in multiple relations: a grandmother, a partner, and a mother; a dance to be experienced by the believer. The Adult Study Group has been discussing religious terrorism and extreme fringe religious groups. It has been decided that each of us should visit the weirder fringe churches around Dunedin and report back to the group. As a counter-piece to this I printed the Unitarian Jihad Manifesto from the San Francisco Chronicle and read it to the group, which was well received. Apparently this article touched a cord, as there is now a community on LiveJournal. Remember: Sincerity Is Not Enough!.

Dave left in the afternoon to return to Leavewell. Perhaps we will see him again before the end of the year. He took us to the supermarket before he left. I spent part of the afternoon relaxing, doing some translation. It was enough as the day would allow, a cold heat-sucking mist has covered Dunedin all day. In the morning I could not see across the valley to Pine Hill at all. After Dave had left I walked into town to buy the new Maramataka/Calendar which starts in June at the start of the Matariki, the Maori New Year, and runs through to May 2006. I needed to note a few days for the start of the new month.

24-hour Book Sale

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We had pizza on Thursday. Dave and I went to collect them. I took some books with me for the book sale. The theatre was closed so we stopped on the way home at BP station. The man saw me coming and held his hand out in front of himself, all his fingers pointing him the same direction. I didn’t know what he meant. “On the boxes,” he said. He was indicating where the books were to go. Apparently they had people dropping off books all day and recognised them when they arrived.

Friday was busy. After work I went into town to the gym, home just after seven for the first meeting of the Pastoral Care and Community group at church. I was getting impatient at the end when the meeting approached nine o’clock in the evening. After having something to eat at home, Dave took me into the book sale. I was there for four hours, but it proved to be disappointing. I found nothing that I really wanted to take away with me. Dave and Joe came for me about half past one in the morning when I called them. The town was full of revellers.

this week's comics

ophicleide

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It’s brass, the other options are woodwind.

If anyone knows of a New Zealand distributor for these publications would they let me know.

Can you tell the difference between _here_ and _hair_ when you speak normally? I don’t think I distinguish between those diphthongs in New Zealand English.

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