January 2007


Listening to: I Kicked a Boy – The Sundays

I just received a bizarre random “Do you remember me?” email from the boy who used to pass me love letters in the hall when I was eight-years-old and we lived in England. I assume this is a Schoolfriends thing. How odd.

Listening to: Divine Hammer – The Breeders

The resource centre is back open after its extended Christmas break, and it has saved me from myself – I have spent the last few days assembling our new shelves (this may not sound exciting, but they’ve been on C’s wishlist forever and we’ve never had the funding)! The local library community has been extremely generous, and as well as our (very nice) new shelves, we’ve received something close to 3,000 new-to-us books, which are sitting in boxes all over the place, waiting to be catalogued. (Many of them were published this decade!) The cataloguing’s going to be a slow process – in between returns and answering phones and whatnot, I managed to do about 10 books over the course of four hours last Thursday. (We copy-catalogue a lot, but we usually have to come up with new call numbers for everything [or else our entire collection would be contained within 305.42], and we’re all still pretty new at it.)

The shelves, though, bring almost-instant gratification. We had lots of fun trying to figure out a new floorplan (space is still pretty limited, so we’ve had to be creative), and I spent this afternoon banging them together with a rubber mallet while C dealt with all the usual library stuff out the front. They look very smart.

I sent my scholarship application off to Oslo this morning – please remind me not to get my hopes up (I have already planned my new life in Europe down to the last detail).

I’m making my first dress – it’s been a bit of a challenge, and oh how it’s made me wish I knew what the proper rules were when it came to sewing, but I think I’m going to end up with a wearable garment! I’m quite pleased with my progress so far. It’s an amalgamation of a couple of patterns and a couple of my existing dresses (I tried to find a nice easy commerical pattern to follow, but I couldn’t find anything perfect). I’ll post a pictre when it’s finished!

Listening to: Suck My Left One – Bikini Kill

Things to read:

Why Women Aren’t Funny – Christopher Hitchens. It’s not even worth critiquing, because it’s a cheap attempt at being controversial, but for fuck’s sake. (Link courtesy of The F Word blog.)

Eh, that’s all, really. I just emailed my scholarship application to my lecturer for proofreading (she offered), and I don’t have to go to work, and I’m bored. Which is so ridiculous – there are loads of interesting things I could be doing. I am going to have to give myself a stern talking-to. I have a million craft projects to start/finish, a very thick book to read and I haven’t seen my bedroom carpet in about six months. Ooh, and lots of Late Night Live podcasts to listen to (actually, the last one I listened to featured Christopher Hitchens talking about Thomas Paine…).

I need a better job (even though I still really, really love the public library experience). The structurelessness of the on-call casual’s life is not working for me (although when I did it last summer I got stacks of work – maybe I should encourage some of my colleagues to quit at short notice or break their legs or take off on round-the-world trips). Or I need to go to Norway. I would prefer the latter. (Sorry about all the whingeing.)

Listening to: Deep in the Woods – The Birthday Party

Despite my impression that there’s nothing on at the moment, I’ve been going to see lots of movies lately. Today it was Pan’s Labyrinth, which was just brilliant. It looked magnificent, the post-Civil War setting was really interesting (and even though the circumstances and location were completely different, it put Colm Tóibín’s The South in pictures for me [if that makes any sense at all]), and some of the fairy tales told were fascinating and lovely. There were also some pretty big flaws (I don’t know how to handle spoiler tags or LJ-like cuts, so I probably shouldn’t go into what I thought they were here), but they didn’t detract too much from the good stuff. The violence was pretty graphic, too, and I couldn’t watch a lot of it. But really – go and see it. (Also, I really liked the costumes.)

Listening to: Urge for Going – Joni Mitchell

I finished Cal by Bernard MacLaverty the other day (it’s very short), and now I’ve dedicated myself to The Brothers Karamazov. (Rad, you’re a big Chekhov fan – how are you on the other Russian classics? Have you read Dostoyevsky?) I quite liked Cal – there are a couple of complaints about the ending on the Amazon page, but I thought that was where the story finally paid off. I was starting to have my doubts about it before then. Also, it’s described as a love story both on Amazon and the book’s own back cover blurb, but I think that’s really misleading – it’s very much a story about Cal himself, as an individual (and to the extent that it is a love story, it’s not a very romantic one).

Volver was good, but not brilliant. The sort of film you’d enjoy if you stumbled upon it on SBS one night, but not something especially memorable.

I am applying for an international scholarship that I will never in a million years get, and I am driving myself crazy trying to write a Statement of Purpose. I have been staring at a blank Word document for about a week now. I have no idea what these people want to hear, but I really, really want them to give me a place, and the whole thing is paralysing! But I paid an outlandish amount of money to my university for an academic transcript yesterday, so I’m committed. I have such itchy feet.

Listening to: Oxford Town – Bob Dylan

Argh! Fucking mosquitoes!

The worst part is when you can hear them, in the dark. Bzzz…

We are all out of white vinegar, and Tiger Balm isn’t helping. What to do? I am covered in red lumps.

Listening to: Parentheses – The Blow

I saw The Holiday the other day, because I’m not getting nearly enough work and I am bored out of my head. It sucked. Really hard. There is a really good blog entry here (which is a response to another good blog entry) about its embodiment of the attractiveness double standard in Hollywood, but that was only one of my complaints. Kate Winslet’s character makes all these ridiculous statements about the lack of well-written and gutsy female characters in modern cinema, whilst being a simpering idiot. Cameron Diaz’s character’s social and romantic dysfunctionality is used to off-set and make less threatening the fact that she is an incredibly successful businesswoman (which is a boring convention in itself – the level of wealth and privilege in this film makes the whole thing so uninteresting). And it snows in Surrey for the entire fortnight surrounding Christmas!

Mainstream films invariably offend me. I should’ve stuck to my post-Wedding Crashers vow not to watch them anymore.

Has anyone seen Volver? I think I’m the only person left in the world who hasn’t yet. That’s this week’s project. It has received unanimously excellent reviews in my house.

In other news, I finally altered and made wearable this very cool black velvet skirt that’s been sitting in my basket for a year and a half (it used to be bizarrely and exaggeratedly teardrop-shaped). But where does one wear luxuriously soft black velvet pencil skirts? It is now the one item of clothing I own that seems too fancy for everyday.

I am a little bit obsessed with The Blow at the moment. I’m sure I’ll be sick of them soon, but they are very good for dancing around the kitchen to.