What I did at the weekend

(What do you mean, it’s Thursday already? So I’m keeping up my long tradition of never updating my diary on time…)

Underneath my desk there are now four boxes:

Box 1: Registered books, all labelled and ready for release.

Box 2: Books still waiting to be registered (I needed a MUCH longer weekend!)

Box 3: Books for lytteltonwitch‘s Halloween party, the BC Christmas tree, and other special release occasions. All registered and labelled.

Box 4: NZ books for the convention. All registered, labelled, and released to the convention bookshelf.



And now, a question. I decided this year to sign up for TexasWren‘s Ornament Exchange. And thought I’d make a couple of ornaments myself as a more personal gesture than buying one. But while making them, I discovered they really really want to be fridge magnets, not hanging off the tree type ornaments.

So my question is, if you were in an ornament exchange, and someone sent you some Christmassy fridge magnets, would you be disappointed, or would you think they still fitted within the broader definition of “ornament”. In other words, should I let my ornaments have their way and become fridge magnets, or should I force them into hanging off the tree status (which I could do easily enough, they just wouldn’t look as good)? Or should I start again with a different design more suited to hanging from a tree?

Hospital visitor

Went to visit lytteltonwitch at the hospital tonight. She’s looking about as well as can be expected after surgery, which by the sound of things was a bit more complicated than they expected. She was hoping to get out tomorrow, but it looks like they’re going to keep her in for a few more days. So I passed on everyone’s good wishes, made sure she had plenty of reading material within easy reach, and left her with instructions to give me a ring if she runs out.

I just hope she realises what extreme suffering I underwent in order to visit her. She’s at a hospital in Merivale, so my original plan was to go straight to the hospital from work, then afterwards to walk up to Papanui, where I could grab something to eat and catch the bus home. But when I got to the hospital, I discovered visiting hours weren’t until 7 (really should have checked first, I suppose…). So that necessitated a quick change of plans. I’d find something to eat first, then go and visit her, then I’d still be able to get home before it got too dark. Except I was in Merivale. Well known for posh shops and pretentious restaurants, not so well known for cheap places to eat. And walking all the way up to Northlands and back would take too long. So I wandered forlornly around Merivale for a while before finally coming to the conclusion I’d been trying to avoid: the only affordable place to eat in the whole of Merivale is McDonalds. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike McDonalds? But much as I wanted to just give up on the whole visiting idea and go home for real food, I forced myself to have McDonalds for tea. Aren’t I a good friend? :-)

(My big question though is how is it that no matter what flavour of burger you get at McDonalds, and no matter what type of meat it supposedly has in it, they all taste exactly the same???)

Anyway, I took advantage of being in a hospital to do a few themed releases: Josie Smith in Hospital by Magdalen Nabb, and The London Doctor and The London Consultant’s Rescue by Joanna Neil.

Oh, and something that amused me at the hospital. As you enter the grounds, there’s a whole row of mailboxes for the various clinics and things attached to the hospital. On one of the mailboxes was written “SPECIMENS AND MAIL GIBBONS”. That one kept me giggling for ages :-)

Meetup report

Ok, so I’m a bit late with the meetup report, but I’ve been busy. Work mostly (it’s end of term, plus we’re in full-on planning mode for our exciting new structure next year (wow, you can hardly even hear the cynicism in my voice when I say that, can you?)), but also more fun things like starting the process of PMing every Christchurch member to invite them to the convention.

Anyway, Tuesday was meetup night, and we had our usual small gathering at Cafe Bleu. But whatever the numbers, we always have a fun time. Much hilarity this time round designing a game for the Friday night of the convention – the details are top secret, but I can reveal that the title of the game is “Where in the World is Skyring” and that tim-tams may well feature. You’ll just have to come to the convention to find out the rest of it :-)

Books galore, of course – I picked up the very well travelled Inheritance by Livi Michael, and re-acquired Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult with the view of taking it to our meetup with the Auckland bookcrossers next month. And I passed on Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs, The Annotated Alice edited by Martin Gardner, and Outside Valentine by Liza Ward.

After dinner, Lytteltonwitch took us to see Darwin, the giant purple sperm currently residing in the Square (it’s Art, apparently). If only I’d thought, I’m sure I could have found a suitable themed release (hur hur). Oh well, all I had on me was Nemeis by Catherine MacPhail, so that had to do.

I still don’t do memes

…but sometimes I do :-)

1] Who was your FIRST prom date?
Harry Johnston. The Number 1 Geek of our class (I was Number Two). I didn’t really want to go with him (we were friends, but that was definitely it as far as I was concerned), but it obviously took him so much effort to ask, that I didn’t have the heart to say no.

[2] Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
I consider MrPloppy to be my first real love (I had crushes previously, but nothing serious), so yes.

[3] What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
Probably wine. Alcohol was never a big deal in our house – it was just something you enjoyed with dinner, so I assume my first drink would have been at the family dinner table sometime in my teens.

[4] What was your FIRST job?
Apart from working in my father’s shop (which involved too much slacking around and reading in the stockroom to be a real job), it would either be an after school job I had tutoring kids at a Social Welfare home, or a weekend job in a sandwich bar. Both were while I was at high school, but I can’t remember which came first. My first proper grown-up job (as in full-time, permanent), was teaching maths at a high school on the West Coast. Bad mistake on all counts.

[5] What was your FIRST car?
Um, it’s grey? And we haven’t even got it at the moment, because we lent it to a colleague of mine. It’s really MrPloppy’s anyway – I don’t drive.

[6] Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
Nobody, so far. My phone’s probably off anyway :-)

[7] Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Myself, probably 😉

[8] Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Didn’t have one. However, my Primer One teacher was Mrs Bell. She was my uncle’s wife’s mother, and I remember insisting that there must be some sort of familial term for that, and that it should also give me some sort of advantage at school.

[9] Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
Dunedin, I think. It was when I was about 8, and as a treat, instead of having to go all the way from Greymouth to Dunedin by car, one time Mum and Dad put me on a plane in Christchurch, and met me at the other end (actually, I assume my grandparents must have met me off the plane or something, because otherwise I would have had a very long wait at Dunedin airport!). All I really remember about the trip is that I got lollies :-)

[10] Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them?
Fenella Jefferson. Our mothers were friends when we were toddlers, so of course we became bestest friends forever and stayed so right through primary school. Then sometime during high school we realised we had absolutely nothing in common other than history, and drifted apart. I was going to say we do still get in touch when we happen to be in the same city, but thinking about it, the last time that happened I was living in London, so it’s got to be 10 years ago at least. So no, not still friends.

[11] What was your FIRST sport played?
No idea. Something horrific we were forced to do at school, probably. I always hated sports at school, a feeling that wasn’t improved by the barbaric practice of letting kids pick the teams (so of course I was always picked last – don’t PE teachers realise how many kids have been put off sport completely by that sort of continual rejection?).

[12] Where was your FIRST sleep over?
Don’t remember, but probably at Fenella’s place. We slept at each other’s house all the time.

[13] Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
MrPloppy (unless you count the cats, who were awake before he was)

[14] Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
I think I was a flower girl or something at my uncle’s wedding. I don’t remember it, but I vaguely recall seeing a photo of me with the wedding party.

[15] What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
Woke up?

[16] What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
Another I don’t remember (I’m really good at this meme thing, aren’t I? See why I don’t do them?). Seeing as dad used to work in radio, there’s a fair chance I was taken along to concerts as a child (my parents were into giving me as many experiences as possible, and I do remember being taken to the ballet, and various plays, so a concert wouldn’t be unlikely). The first one I actually remember was a NZ group (possibly Peking Man?) when I was at high school. Though I didn’t strictly go to the concert – I was actually working on a concession stand, but we had a great view of the stage from where we were.

[17] FIRST tattoo or piercing?
Ears, sometime in my early teens. I got them as a deal with Dad – I had long hair at the time, which he didn’t like (probably because knowing me it would have been a mess), so he said if I got it cut short, I could get my ears pierced. Of course, I’ve got the last laugh now – my hair is long, AND my ears are pierced! (only took another 20-odd years… :-))

[18] FIRST foreign country you went to for vacation?
Australia. But just to be different, the second foreign country I went to was Zimbabwe.

[19] What was your FIRST run in with the law?
I’ve never had one (having a mother who works for the police helps inspire you to stay out of trouble, knowing that she’ll be the one to type up the report on you! Though I’ve always been a goody-good anyway, so it probably didn’t actually make that much difference). I have been waved down by a police car with lights and siren though – a colleague of Mum’s who thought it was a great joke to scare me as I was walking home from school.

[20] When was your FIRST detention?
I don’t think I had one (see above – I’m a goody-good). Though I think our whole class got detention once, when the teacher couldn’t be bothered figuring out who the rowdy ones were. I don’t know if I ever actually had to do the detention – I just remember feeling it was all incredibly unjust.

[21] What was the FIRST state you lived in?
I’ve never lived in a state. The first province I lived in was Otago, though. And the first state I visited was Victoria.

[22] Who was the FIRST person to break your heart?
My heart is remarkably intact. A few chips round the edges, maybe, but never broken.

[23] Who was your FIRST roommate?
I’ve never had a roommate as such. I shared a room with my brother for a few years when we were kids, does that count? At university, my hall of residence had individual rooms, and then when I went flatting I had flatmates (ORNOT was one of them in my first flat), not roommates.

[24] Where did you go on your FIRST limo ride?
I’ve never had one. I feel deprived!


Right, time to get back to work. Meetup tonight, so I might have something more substantial to write about.

I caught a book yesterday

(FutureCat slinks back into the room after a long silence. Life’s just like that sometimes.)

Yesterday a very rare occurrence happened – I actually caught a book in the wild. I of course pick up books at meetups and conventions all the time, and through various forms of controlled release, but if I can’t count the number of wild releases I’ve caught on one hand, then it doesn’t take much of the second to complete the count.

And this one is only the second that I’ve actually gone hunting for. I don’t normally bother with hunting books – they’re normally too far away, or have too vague a release location, and anyway by the time I see the release notes they’re probably long gone. But yesterday I was sitting there registering books (in an attempt to break my no-release drought), and saw a release pop up – a book had been released in Burnside Park, just around the corner from me. And from the description in the release notes, I knew exactly where it would be.

Just as I’d decided to go for a walk and see if I could spot it, lytteltonwitch arrived at the door. She’d been out for breakfast, so decided to pop in on her way home. She was up for a book hunt too, so I quickly slapped labels in a few of the books I’d registered (on the principle that if we couldn’t find the book, I’d leave one in its place anyway), lytteltonwitch grabbed a few books from her car, and we wandered down to the park.

It was a lovely day (is again today – finally spring has got its act together), and the park was full of people, so I didn’t think we’d have much chance of the book still being there, but when we rounded a stand of trees, I saw a plastic bag lying at the base of a power pylon, just where the release notes had said it would be. There was a moment of doubt when we thought it might just be someone’s discarded lunch, but no, there was the yellow post-it, and inside the bag, a book! At Your Convenience.

I left a book in its place (Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marlillier), and then we wandered the park a bit more, releasing the rest of our books (King’s Oak by Anne Rivers Siddons in an oak tree, and Mr Standfast by John Buchan on a rock).

So, my releasing drought is officially broken, and so, it seems, is my blogging one. Let’s see how long it lasts…



And now, an update on all the catches I’ve had in the month or two since I last posted:

Age Defying Lifestyle by Denyse Saunders (Once again, the most unlikely book is the one that gets caught)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (Found its way from Christchurch to Hanmer)
Samsara by Alexandra Jones (Perhaps caught twice? It’s hard to tell for sure from the journal entries)
Being a Teenager: Top to Toe Grooming and Confidence by Denyse Saunders (What is it about Denyse Saunders books???)
Beloved Soldiers by C.L. Skelton (Great journal entry!)
In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard (Another catch from our war memorial search)
The Dream Maker by Alison McLeay
Forever, My Lady by Jen Holling
Malibu by Pat Booth
Remember by Barbara Taylor Bradford (A very quick catch!)
Matters of the Heart by Charlotte Vale Allen (Caught and then re-released in the UK)
Maiden Voyage by Graham Masterton (Caught and re-released by the same person as Matters of the Heart, but this one was caught again!)
A Plague of Angels by Sheri S Tepper
Let’s Investigate: Mapping the Night Sky (Maybe on its way to Germany?)
The Liberators by Nathan Elliott
Judy and the Martian by Penelope Lively
Almost Night by Ann Prospero
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart (Nearly a year between catch and journal entry)
A Gift from Artemis by Willow Tickell
The Moscow Club by Joseph Finder (Two catches, and now in Sydney)
In a Marmalade Saloon by Patrick O’Connor (Another one with two catches)
Stories and Texts for Nothing by Samuel Beckett (Another very quick catch)
The Hahnemann Sequela by Harold King (Caught and re-released)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (Caught by someone who thinks my screen-name is “fishy” :-))
The Group by Mary McCarthy (A second-generation catch, now in Australia)
The Running Mate by Joe Klein
After the Fall by Arthur Miller

Now if that list doesn’t inspire me to get the rest of these books registered and released, what will?