Half-way through January

Looks like 2009 is going to be another year of great intentions as far as my blog goes. Usual story – too much interesting (and “interesting”) stuff going on in life to spend time sitting at the computer writing about it.

Anyway, what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks:



The bookcrossing picnic was a great success. The numbers were low, as predicted, but we did have a new member come along, who was very keen, and has since signed up to come to the convention. And the weather even held out long enough for us to do a bit of a release walk through the gardens (though it was a good thing we had the forethought to put the books in plastic bags, because not long after we left there was the most enormous downpour of rain and hail).



Back at work on the 5th, and back to extreme chaos. The mess that management had created before Christmas hadn’t been sorted out in my absence, of course, so guess whose desk it all landed on when I got back? It’s taken most of the last two weeks of running round frantically to get things reasonably under control.

And this is just the start – there’s more changes planned that will keep things similarly chaotic until at least the middle of the year. Fun fun fun. I’m trying to keep a philosophical attitude to it all…



Christchurch has been the place to be in January, with visiting bookcrossers popping up all over the place. First we had alkaline-kiwi and earok passing through on their way back to Auckland the weekend after New Years, so we had a meetup for them, to which TheLetterB and TheLetterC came too, being up in Christchurch for a few days.

Then last weekend Sherlockfan was down from Wellington to watch her grandchildren’s skating competitions, so we went out to New Brighton for lunch with her and lusks.

Then otakuu came up for a few days, so she was at Tuesday night’s regular meetup (which actually turned into quite a big one, because as well as the regulars, lusks and her friend were there, and otakuu’s cousin came along for a wee while too).

And next week boreal is going to be here, so we’re having another meetup for her.

It’s been great catching up with all these old friends (even if the credit card is looking a little worn after all that eating out!) – makes me look forward even more to April, when I get to see not only these friends again, but even more friends from even further afield.



Lytteltonwitch and I have been having fun doing the weekend challenges that libbybook set up on BCNZ. Last weekend’s theme was mountains, so what more excuse did we need for a day-trip up to Arthur’s Pass so we could release our mountain-themed books (Climbing Olympus by Kevin J Anderson and The Everest Hotel by Alan Sealy) in the mountains?

Of course, we released one or two books along the way too 😉 and even finally got to try the pies at Sheffield (which were definitely worth the hype).

For a change, I remembered to take photos of almost every release, so you can track our travels through the release notes:

West Melton:
On the Lion’s Side by Ann Pilling

Kirwee:
Act of Darkness by Simon Shaw
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Darfield:
Cyber Quest: Pharaoh’s Tomb by Sigmund Brouwer
Executive by Piers Anthony

Sheffield:
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
A Crack in Forever by Jeannie Brewer

Springfield:
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Christine by Stephen King

Lake Lyndon:
Slumber Party by Christopher Pike
The Rendezvous by Evelyn Anthony

Craigieburn:
People Might Hear You by Robin Klein (caught!)
The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden
Angel Baby by Lindsey Dawson

Arthur’s Pass:
The Cabbage Patch Fib by Paul Jennings
Birdy by William Wharton
The Return of Nathan Brazil by Jack L Chalker
A Maiden’s Grave by Jeffrey Deaver
The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
A World Gone Mad by Clark Darlton
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke
Tron by Brian Daley

Klondyke Corner:
Peeling the Onion by Wendy Orr
Animorphs: The Message by KA Applegate

Cave Stream:
White Jazz by James Elroy
Dinner at Alberta’s by Russell Hoban

Castle Hill:
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
The Yellow Book of Bedtime Stories
Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey

Porter’s Pass:
Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte

Springfield:
Chain Reaction by Elise Title
Dojo Rats: Entering the Way by James Raven

Sheffield:
The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted by Harry Harrison

Darfield:
Fighting, Teasing and Bullying by John Pearce
Night Shift by Stephen King



All that releasing had an unexpected effect: I’m now in the top 100 list for the world for number of books released! Number 97, in fact. The stats in that list must include controlled releases (because according to my bookshelf I’m still another 50-odd off reaching 3000 wild releases), but still an exciting moment.

Screenshot in case I get bumped back down below 100:

(Of course, we all know statistics aren’t important… but pretty cool, eh?)



And of course lots of releases = lots of catches. A few recent ones:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: sometimes a book and a reader were just meant to be together.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles: 7 unexplained months between release and catch

The Dragon at Noonday by Edith Pargeter: a second-generation catch. Pity none of the finders have enjoyed it so far, but at least it’s travelling.

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat: one of the books released at the picnic survived the rain, at least.

The Party Wall by Annabel Dilke: a catch from last year’s Festival of Lights in Lyttelton.

7 am and watching the weather

The worst bit about having been on holiday is that you get yourself into a nice lazy rhythm of late nights and even later mornings, which is always so hard to break when suddenly your holiday is over and it’s Monday morning. So I thought I’d be sensible and try and ease myself back into my normal waking-up time for a couple of days while it doesn’t matter too much if I’m in zombie mode all day.

And so far it’s kind of working (the zombie part is, anyway! :-)) I set the alarm last night for an hour after I’d normally get up for work (like I said, easing myself into it), but amazingly I actually woke up at my normal time – an hour *before* the alarm was due to go off. It’s weird; I’ve got dreadful time-sense normally (I never know what time of day it is), but if I go to bed thinking “I have to get up at x am”, that’s when I’ll wake up, usually to within about 15 minutes. And it’s not just a habit thing, because I’ve done it many times when I’ve had to catch an early flight somewhere – I’ll set the alarm for 5 am, and wake up at 10 to 5.

So this morning I woke up just before 6.30. Ok, so I didn’t exactly leap out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed, but my eyes were open. If I can do the same tomorrow, then by Monday it’ll be a doddle(ish). That’s the theory, anyone. Some would say that I’ve just doomed myself to wasting the last couple of days of my holiday feeling tired and grumpy :-)



Instead of a last-weekend-of-the-month meetup in December (which would have fallen in the Christmas weekend, so not been ideal for most people), we decided to postpone for a week and have a picnic meetup this weekend instead. Of course, it’s still not ideal for people who get more than the statutories and are off on holiday (and I’ve had a few RSVPs declining for exactly that reason), but if we left it any longer it would be getting a bit tricky to call it a December meetup :-)

Plus, of course, despite having brilliantly hot weather all week, last night was pretty stormy. So far this morning the sky is looking reasonably blue (though with the odd ominous grey bit), but the forecast is still a bit iffy. We’ve got a wet-weather plan (basically go to a café instead), but what the weather’s like will affect my plans for the rest of the morning: if it’s fine, then I’ll leave here 9.30-10ish, and walk over to the supermarket in Fendalton (probably stopping to release a few books along the way) to buy some picnic-y type food, then catch a bus from there into town. But if we’re going to a café I don’t need to buy food, so I might as well just catch a bus straight to town from here, in which case I don’t need to leave until after 11. So I’m sitting here with one eye out the window trying to guess what the weather will do.

And of course the forecast will probably put people off the picnic idea anyway. So I can see this picnic turning into just me and lytteltonwitch sitting in a café… (not that that won’t be enjoyable, of course).



I realised last night that I’ve been very remiss about reporting catches. When I get a notification email telling me a book has been caught in the wild, I flag it so I can come back later and report it here. And checking my flagged emails, they go back to November… oops. I was going to write them up last night, but of course Bookcrossing‘s servers chose that moment to play up again, so I couldn’t get in to remind myself what the catches were. It seems to be working ok again now (touch the superstition-related object of your choice), so here goes:

Wow, you don’t realise just how many catches you’re getting until you see them all listed like that, do you?



Currently reading: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult and The Island of the Colour-Blind by Oliver Sacks (yes, I’m doing the “can’t make up my mind which book I’m reading” thing again)
Currently listening to: Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan

(and now my title is a complete lie, because it’s taken me over an hour to write this, so it’s nearly 8.30)

What I read in 2008

Total: 154 books

January (14)



February (10)



March (12)



April (18)



May (13)



June (10)



July (15)



August (7)



September (12)



October (11)



November (15)



December (17)


What I read in 2007 (123 books)
What I read in 2006 (140 books)
What I read in 2005 (168 books)

What counts as a book?