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Feb. 13th, 2011

part of your world

The Time I Went to New Zealand and it was Nice

(If you have issues with the pictures in this post you can go straight to the gallery to view them all.)

My first impressions of New Zealand were that old cliche: there are a lot of sheep. I even drew a picture to illustrate.

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Jan. 24th, 2011

St Francis

BOOKS

It hit 36 degrees today, so when I went to swim laps after uni the pool was massively crowded and even in the slow lane I had people bumping into me by swimming on the wrong side of the lane, or being asshats and walking and talking in pairs instead of swimming. My laps were therefore not as relaxing as usual, but afterwards I went and floated about in the free play lane, and all was well. Not sure if I'll get the chance to go again this week, sadly.

And now, a book meme taken from podsnappery:

1. Favorite childhood book?
Oh, goodness. I read so much as a child. My favourite author was Enid Blyton, from her fairy tales to school stories to mysteries. I also loved classics like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.

2. What are you reading right now?
Destination: Saigon by Walter Mason. I asked my boyfriend to lend me a book, but he has a thing about lending books and apparently I'm not exempt, plus we have quite different literary tastes, so... this is what I ended up with. It's an engagingly written series of Vietnam travel vignettes.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None at the moment. I don't currently belong to a library other than the university's, and I don't usually look for fiction there.

4. Bad book habit?
Judging them by their cover and/or blurb. If there's no blurb on the back, just some lame quote instead, I rage.

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Jan. 11th, 2011

part of your world

(no subject)

Goodness, is it 2011 already?!

I'm finally back from my epic Queensland sojourns. First things first: I escaped the flooding. My hometown is not underwater, and my adopted hometown of Brisbane is alright, or at least it was while I was there. Things are looking worse now. The casualties in other parts of the state are tragic, and my thoughts are with all those affected. But if there's one thing that I do know? It's that we'll pull through. Queenslanders are stoic and hardy, as well as community-minded.

Ever since I moved to Sydney I have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about the differences between New South Wales and Queensland. My recent trip to Brisbane included a wedding, which several of my Sydneysider friends also attended, and it was extremely gratifying to have them confirm from the opposite direction what I've been saying for the last two years. Queenslanders walk slowly. They have a very casual approach to public footwear. "And strangers keep talking to me in the street!" one horrified friend exclaimed. "It's called being friendly," I explained. Oh, Queensland. I love you.

My Christmas was good. I hate New Year's Eve so let's not even discuss that one, except to say it was fine. All my travel and family-time and friend-time has been good, but I've barely had time to reflect on the last year or prepare for the year ahead. So now I'm back in Sydney and it's time to get to work, for I have just a couple of weeks before I must travel again.
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Dec. 24th, 2010

Tina Fey

(no subject)

I went to the shops three times yesterday. What is wrong with me?! First I did the big grocery shop for Christmas. I got in early, at five to nine, but the place was bustling. It wasn't too bad in the supermarket to begin with, but then I had my usual moment of being unable to find a key item and had to wander the aisles bleating ineffectually until I stumbled upon it, while the crowds slowly swelled. The shopping itself only took me about an hour. The check-out? Twenty minutes. Slowest check-out dude ever.

Then, of course, on the way home I remembered I had left something we needed off the list entirely, and there were a couple of things I couldn't find, so I went out again, this time with my dad, and we also went to Uncle Dan's and bought the alcohol. AND THEN, my sister came home from work and convinced me to go clothes shopping with her. Foolishly, I did. But we survived.

Today, though? My main tasks are washing my hair and perhaps some light cleaning. I ain't going nowhere except church this evening. Bro's arrived, so the whole family is here, and we're looking forward to our first Christmas at home together in a very long time.

A very merry Christmas to all who are celebrating. <3
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Nov. 28th, 2010

sleeping after the feast

(no subject)

Moved! In unpacking hell. New house much better than old apartment. Can even tolerate the cats (they miaow at me, I miaow back. Everyone wins) and allergies not too bad yet.

Nov. 25th, 2010

emo!Darcy

(no subject)

Packing. In packing hell. With real boxes. (Last time I moved I used suitcases begged and borrowed from everyone I knew, because the boxes I ordered never arrived.) Why do I have so much stuff? My room here is tiny! WHYYYYYYY.

(Moving day is Saturday. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.)

Nov. 1st, 2010

sleeping after the feast

(no subject)

I had a good weekend, perhaps a better weekend than I deserved, with the spectre of unmarked essays looming, and the little voice in my head whispering, "You should be resting." I did rest. A bit. I also went to a party or two, and the theatre (Gutenberg! The Musical!), and out for good eats. And then tonight I sat in front of the television for six hours and finished marking. Except for the late essays. I'll pick those up tomorrow. Thanks, students, for drawing out this painful process for both of us.

There's this tension in my life and it hasn't eased off as teaching has finished, like I thought. I guess I can keep hoping that I will stress less as the year winds down, but of course the holiday season brings its own stressors. My life is too full, I think. That's a ridiculous thing to complain about, but the fact is that I've never been good at compromise. I just want to do it all. And this time, my problem isn't my job or my extracurriculars, it's my social life. The problem is balancing Boyfriend Time and Friend Time and Alone Time (and rare Family Time), and weighing all that against my bank account. Boyfriend understands when I need Alone Time, but Boyfriend Time may as well be Alone Time, because usually it's pressure-free.

However, socialising in larger groups often still drains me. I feel like I have to put on a show, like I have to 'act normal' so that I'm not constantly being asked if anything's wrong. And I try to explain this to my friends, but I don't think they get it. I went to two parties in one night, while still battling the virus, and therefore I do not have the energy to go out to lunch tomorrow. That's the trade-off. Oh, sure, I seemed upbeat at the party. It's called overcompensating. The choices I make are about my wellbeing, and not about not wanting to hang out.

I don't know how much of my current state of mind is related to depression. I can never tell. I know I've been more anxious lately, but there's clearly been good reason for that.

Halloween, eh? Makes me feel guilty that I didn't go to church today and won't go tomorrow for the All Saints' Day. Catholicism: invented Holy Days of Obligation just to feck with you.

Oct. 28th, 2010

I wish I knew how to quit you!

FML

So, IDK, this is a super-busy time of year for me. I was all, "just hold on until teaching is over and last weekend is over" and then the weekend was over and teaching finished and I've still got so much to do but my body thinks it is time to get sick now. I've had a cold ever since getting back from Melbourne, and this week it escalated into 'huh, what is this, perhaps a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine*? Or the beginning of chicken pox itself? Wait, no, the doc thinks it's some freak bug and we'll just treat the symptoms with drugs that make me fall asleep WHOOOOO'.

Then in the midst of me staying home and trying to rest and being bored and not marking essays, my flatmate sends an email (classy dude) in which he once again makes his money problems my problems, by offering me a choice between switching rooms and then paying much more than I can afford or the place is worth in rent, or moving out. So I am going to move out. To his credit, he is being flexible about dates etc, but dudes, I hate moving. I know that pretty much no one actually likes it, but as long-time readers know, sharehousing is a mystery almost beyond my understanding. And then I wish I could live alone, but probably can't afford it, and cue depression about how I'll never make it onto the property ladder, and my scholarship pays barely a living wage, and I'll never get a real job anyway, and blah blah blah let me cry onto your t-shirt. Sorry, got a little snot on you there. Here's a tissue.

So it's been fun.

There are some positive points I can think of: This flat sucks. It has all kinds of problems. It's in a dodgy neighbourhood and it will be nice to get out. But the timing! Oh, the timing. If it was any later in the year I would be screwed. I'm travelling way too much over December-February, so I need to move before then. Gah. My annual review is coming up and I'm acutely aware of how little work I have accomplished while teaching, and how much more I need to do, and the summer would be the perfect time to catch up except for 1) family obligations and 2) conference travel. On the plus side, I'm going to New Zealand in February. I KNOW! Commence Kiwi and LOTR jokes now.

The end.

*No, I've never had the chicken pox, to my knowledge. I'm aware that it can sometimes occur asymptomatically. And yes, I was recently exposed to the virus.

Oct. 19th, 2010

born to be wilde II

Theatre

Recently I saw the STC's production of Our Town. As the script directs, the play was performed on a bare theatre stage, with no set, and chairs and ladders forming the majority of the props. The directions of the Stage Manager character and the audience's imaginations supply the rest. Does the story suffer for all this? Hell no. It's such an effective theatrical device that it seemed almost too modern for the 1930s date of the original production. I'd never seen the play before, but I loved it, and for once had no complaints about the STC's traditionalist approach.

Then I went to Melbourne this weekend past and saw Hairspray. Happily, the Australian version is not a carbon copy of the show I saw in London in 2008. Like Our Town, the show has a minimal set, but unlike that play, the set is replaced by a garishly coloured animation that changes to mimic each setting. It was ugly, distracting, and wholly unnecessary. In fact, it looked tacky and cheap, and it certainly was not technically impressive. Anyone can make an animated background -- they do it on TV all the time. It's certainly not good theatre.

When that hideous background was combined with some tedious ham acting from some of the younger cast, it was one of the most irritating shows I've ever seen. Happily, I didn't hate the whole thing. Jaz Flowers was, as my companion remarked, the very definition of what reviewers call 'winning' as Tracy, and Trevor Ashley was delightful as Edna. Cle Morgan was the unexpected heart of the show with a nuanced portrayal of Motormouth Maybelle. Overall, I didn't find the pacing of the show as relentless as I did in London. The singing and dancing were fantastic.

Yet again, the matinee audience was full of young children. This is a plea to parents everywhere: please think carefully before you take your child to the theatre. Musicals are not automatically family fare. Catchy songs and colourful costumes (and horrible background animation) do not mean this is a show for children. I mean, there's a joke about prison rape, as well as a visual blowjob gag. Mary Poppins is playing just down the street, and I'm pretty sure it has neither of those things. If you must take your kids, teach them how to behave -- i.e. not to talk during the show.

Standing ovation report: Are you kidding? Shows with fake sets don't get standing ovations, but apparently most of the audience did not share my opinion on this matter.
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Sep. 29th, 2010

dreaming in the south

What I've Been Doing

Reading, but not posting. Only occasionally commenting. Teaching. Marking essays. Travelling. Going to the dentist and having lots and lots of fillings. Supporting my family from afar through various health crises (don't worry -- everyone's okay). Being tested for diabetes (I don't have it). Rewatching Arrested Development and 30 Rock. Waiting for the summer weather. Planning trips. Trying to save money (and mostly failing). Not doing uni work. Eating out way too much. Spending lazy days with the boyfriend. Being happy.

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