February 2010


Listening to: Burn Black – Hole

Ooh, the Guardian‘s a bit more interesting than usual today (it’s my homepage and there’s been fuck all worth reading lately):

Ten rules for writing fiction. I particularly like Jonathan Franzen’s advice, even though I despise his fiction (Strong Motion? Oh, how I rue the day I picked that up), and Geoff Dyer’s:

If you use a computer, constantly refine and expand your autocorrect settings. The only reason I stay loyal to my piece-of-shit computer is that I have invested so much ingenuity into building one of the great auto­correct files in literary history. Perfectly formed and spelt words emerge from a few brief keystrokes: “Niet” becomes “Nietzsche”, “phoy” becomes ­”photography” and so on. ­Genius!

Maybe I should start writing fiction again. I saw my friend R. yesterday (we went to see this) and she asked me if I still did – god, I like the idea of it, anyway. (I can only seem to write when there’s something else I should be doing instead – assignments to write, books to shelve. I’ve never been more prolific than when I worked at the uni library – all those afternoons crouched down in the stacks, scribbling furiously in my notebook when I should have been paying closer attention to the 8-digit call numbers…)

Can you make society more ethical? I can barely bring myself to skim the answers – Comment is Free so rarely brings out the best in people – but what a great conversation to try to have! Oh, and okay, I don’t think anyone reading this actually lives in London, but who wants to come to the panel discussion at the British Museum?

I’m thinking about chartership (everyone seemed to be going for it when I was volunteering at the LL and my boss mentioned it as an option the other day). As someone who didn’t even bother to join ALIA, it’s a strange thing to be thinking about, but maybe it’s time to be more of a careerist – I definitely need to find a way to be more a part of the London or UK library community. Or maybe I should just get another hobby.

P.S. Knit the City – !!! How wonderful!

Listening to: New Teller – Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers

I have a knitting question, to which I should really just look up the answer myself, but anyway: if I want to block a hat to make it a little bit bigger, do I just do it flat? Will that create weird side creases? I don’t know what else I’m expecting – some sort of papier maché hat-blocking solution? Should I just find someone with a bigger head who wouldn’t mind wearing it for a bit? The first Saartje’s Noro Hat I knit is completely lovely and fits nicely, but I don’t like it quite as much as the second one, which had five extra stitches and is that little bit roomier.

Today: Shepherd’s Bush (I’ve missed it! I got a bit nostalgic for that first London house), a haircut (I look so weird with my hair blow-dried straight – there will be no pictures) and sunshine (I had to take my coat off on the walk home!).

Listening to: Night of the Wolverine – Dave Graney & the Coral Snakes (ah, definitely one of the twenty sexiest songs of the ’90s)

This book intrigues/excites me – Flow : the cultural story of menstruation. Not only the subject matter, but I’ve heard/read universally good things about it so far (unlike, say, Cunt, which could also have been cool but which no one in the world – including me – actually liked).

Today it was too rainy to go walking…but I went, anyway. My poor sneakers are never going to dry. The lure of the closed bridge was too great:

<img src="Closed to traffic but not feet.” alt=”” />

I think I’ve given up on being London’s foremost super-explorer, though, and am settling into using my week for crafty/reacreational-academic endeavours. I’ve been studying today – I decided the best way to teach myself Dutch (that again – I know) was to throw myself in at the deep end, so I’ve started translating (from Dutch to English) a Henning Mankell book I got when we were in Bali a million years ago. It’s quite fun and I expect the funness to increase as my vocabulary improves (I had to look up 27 out of 77 words in the first paragraph, although some of that was just to get confirmation). I have no real use for the ability to speak Dutch, but there is something satisfying about softening all your consonants (or whatever the linguistic term is) and I don’t think it gets enough credit for how pretty a language it is.

I have been trading off Battlestar Galactica episodes with Freaks & Geeks (rewatching), which is a nice balance.

Remind me, remind me that I need to go to the Women’s Library at some point – their Women’s Liberation exhibition has been on since October and I still haven’t seen it.

Listening to: The Rest – The Pines

Oh, the downside for all of you is that I have nothing better to do than blog about my days during half-term.

I’m quite into this whole walking thing, and after faffing around for most of the day I took myself off to Sheen this afternoon (I did not see Daniel Craig or Rob Brydon – I did see someone who looked a lot like Richard Ashcroft from the Verve in my street the other day, though), which is another one of my neighbouring suburbs by the river. It has the best op shops! They’re cheap but stocked with the spoils of the quite wealthy, which is a rare thing in London charity shops. (The Octavia Foundation one in Barnes is full of boring designer rubbish and will charge you twenty pounds* for a pilly jacket.) I scored a long blue A-line corduroy skirt (with pockets!) for four pounds, which was pleasing (one of those pristine, perfectly pressed vintage finds), and will be back to think about a bunch of Japanese stoneware plates.

I also discovered Mortlake Cemetery, which almost made me get lost because it spans both sides of the street and I was halfway to Kew before I realised that was not where I meant to be. I was going to say it was a bit dull (or a bit too new, anyway), but maybe I was in the wrong spot – apparently, Charles Dickens’s son is buried there, along with a bunch of other “notable” people.

It snowed for a minute, which is still thrilling. (Oh, but I wish it would settle! I haven’t yet built a snowperson.)

This evening I will be watching episode 4 of Battlestar Galactica (“Act of Contrition”). It’s kind of growing on me.

*I changed my keyboard settings back to Australian (otherwise the ” would be above the 2 and the hash key would be where the \ is…madness, I tell you) and it’s a bugger doing the whole £ thing.

Listening to: Fucken Awesome – Spiderbait

Ha! I just tried googling where to find dried persimmons in London (never going to happen in a town that doesn’t really even do proper bubble tea, but you have to try, don’t you?) and came up with a bunch of scientific journal articles on their viscoelastic behaviour instead.

I went for my walk, through the western bit of Barnes to what I think is Mortlake and up to Chiswick Bridge (the site of those photos from my walk home a few months ago) – god, the Thames is picturesque. It’s filthy, but not like the Torrens or the Derwent are filthy – it’s tree-lined and boaty and pretty. I leaned against the railing/wall and wrote in my diary as I looked across to the next bridge but then I started to worry that I looked like a potential jumper, so I gave up and walked the long way home instead. There’s a particular curtainless house along the river where you can see into the study as you walk past – it’s my dream home. Wall to wall bookcases, an enormous desk (in the middle of the room!), a bankers’ lamp (?), general cosiness… Barnes is an excellent place for casual voyeurism (not in a creepy way! But it’s a good place for evening strolls and one can’t help what one sees if people will not shade their windows. Lots of bohemian red living rooms and stainless steel kitchenware).

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwzWajyWzsw]

Listening to: Amoxycillin – Magic Dirt

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I need people to bake for – the Eighth Day Café’s vegan cheesecake recipe is online, calling to me (I had my first ever vegan cheesecake there and it was a revelation). I can’t eat a whole one and all of my London friends are so disparate (which always makes me feel like I’m saying “desperate” in a New Zealand accent)! I miss groups. What to do, what to do?

I have completely forgotten how to amuse myself. What on earth am I going to do all week when I am so flummoxed by a solitary Sunday? I used to be really good at this; I used to crave this! Time for another walk, I guess?

Who wants to come over and play Boggle?

Listening to: Safari – The Breeders

Whoa. My old Livejournal still exists. Oh, I miss being a student, even though I sounded so miserable about it at the time!

Today I walked and walked and it was good (although I wish I hadn’t had the bright idea to go grocery shopping two hours before home – my poor shoulders).

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd7ILa_mhgA]

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