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Pretty much all I use my dreamwidth/lj for any more is yuletide. I'm not
signing up this year, on account of being 90% certain that I wouldn't
actually have time to sit down and actually get things written.

(Consuming media? Not a problem. Baby only naps on me during the day. I'm
watching lots of TV. CREATING media? Hahaha no. I'm excited when I'm able to
do the dishes; anything beyond that is an unlikely bonus.)

Look at this face. Is this the face of someone who wants to let mummy do
yuletide? No, no it's not. X-D
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You know what's more awsome than a Middleman (Middleman!)/Doctor Who crossover fic?

One that's written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach.

Yes, that totally means that it's canon. <3
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Richard Burgi to be on Castle

This means one thing to me, and I'm not posting the link on Facebook because I don't think anyone there would understand me squeeing that OMG THE SENTINEL IS GOING TO BE ON CASTLE.

Is there a Sentinel/Castle crossover yet? Because I would read the hell out of that.

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Can any Auckland folks recommend a celebrant/person legally entitled to perform marriages? Need to be comfortable performing a secular ceremony, although we're not fussed if their right to marry folks comes through a church or similar.
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So, yesterday I bought the Zombies vs Unicorns anthology - which is awesome so far, by the way, it has a sense that it is written by My People - and I got to the Naomi Novik story, and something struck me.

Does anyone else thing that the unicorn in that story is characterised really, really similarly to the way she characterises Adam Lambert in her AI8 stories? I really felt like I was reading an "Adam Lambert is a shiny unicorn no really!" story.
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RIP Diana Wynne Jones :-(
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I am racing the library hold system with the NZ release date for the paperback of the new Tortall book.

(I am currently 30 of 32 holds, although I can see more copies have been ordered. The book is due for retail on, I believe, April 4th. Excitement!)

Also, was I the last to know that Naomi Novik has written a manga series? I swear I've seen NO mention of it anywhere, and I'm not sure whether my flist has failed me or if there's just been no buzz.

(I've pre-ordered it. Alan regularly goes through "Previews", the monthly cataloge put out by comic book publishers of everything they're doing. We went past all the superhero stuff and the horror stuff and got to the manga and then I squealed a lot and stole the pen from his hand to add the first volume to his order list.)

ETA: I also decided to try this "Hunger Games" trilogy, and I'm 241 of 241 holds for the first volume in the series. *facepalm* Anyone who's read it: is it worth me going and buying a copy?
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So, kiwis: The Almighty Johnsons!

For people who haven't seen the ads: the premise is that the youngest of four brothers turns 21, and discovers that his family are the incarnations of Norse gods, who when persecuted fled to Norsewood. Hijinks ensue!

Potentially spoiler-y blather )
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I am waging a war with my cat.

Anyone who knows cats knows right now this is doomed to end badly.

After nearly a year of happily using Outside as her toilet, Deeves has decided that our bathroom is her bathroom too. True, that used to be where her litter tray was kept originally, but now there is nothing there to suggest that this is a good place for a kitty to contemplate the universe.

The cat door isn't blocked or anything, so it's not a case of her not being able to get outside. She's not peeing EVERYWHERE so it's not a medical problem. She doesn't seem unduly stressed so I don't think it's that. I believe that she has developed a habit, which needs to be changed.

It's hard enough to change my OWN habits, let alone a cat's.

I devised a multi-pronged attack:
  1. Clean the bathroom floor REALLY REALLY well (disinfectant one day, bleach the next) in the hopes of removing all traces of any smell that makes her think that the bathroom is a toilet. Also using Odarid, which I've used with success in the past as it's pretty much the only thing that really dissolves animal smells.
  2. Buy more feliway, just in case it is stress. If not, hey, kitty harmony is always a good thing.
  3. Feed Deeves in the bathroom, since apparently cats don't like to toilet where they eat.
None of this has worked so far. (I even caught her in the act once and hoped my loud noises and chasing her out of the bathroom might help make here think she ought to find somewhere else, but nope.) When just feeding her in the bathroom didn't work I thought, well, maybe she thinks that THIS side is the food side and THIS side is the toilet! So I scattered the food over the whole floor and waited for her to hoover it up. She did so, and them promptly left something in its place.

Now, I know that cats are not known for being quick to change habits, or even very smart, so I will persist with this approach for a while longer. But it's frustrating. I believe I'm doing everything right. WHY WON'T MY CAT'S BLADDER BEND TO MY WILL?!?!
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Sooo....anyone got a life-sized replica TARDIS sitting in their garage? (The real one would be fine as well, of course.)
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I'm googling the Name Change Debate.

(Yes, I've been engaged for about twenty-four hours. I'm getting ahead of myself. Should probably organise, y'know, a WEDDING first.)

(OMFG, wedding websites. This is a large and complicated world. Should elope or go to the registry office.)

(Parents would kill us. Also, want cake and a pretty dress.)

Anyway, the whole name change thing: he wants me to do it, I'm not keen on the idea of going double-barrelled and I'm happy to do it, and now I feel like a Bad Modern Woman. This is confusing!

I want anyone reading my journal (which has, I admit, been sparsely updated recently) to give me a gigantic kick up the pants if I get too bride-y. I can tend to obnoxious enough as it is without adding bridezilla to the mix!

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Alan asked me to marry him so I obviously said Yes. This is The Ring. Now I get to plan a wedding! I'm going to be a totally awesome bridezilla. But first I'm going to enjoy being happy and excited and smug and having a fiance. Eee!

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Dear Universe,

While yes, it is true that my laptop is old, doesn't hold power withought being plugged in, is sllooowwww and filled with irritating quirks and foibles:

THAT DOESN'T MEAN I WANT IT STOLEN. Replacement via insurance will NOT make up for that.

(Not to mention Alan's laptop, old jewellery, fireworks, my iPod touch, the fountain pen Alan gave me for Xmas...)

No love, me.

Dear 2010,

Mostly, you've been great. House! Study! Alan! All good things. Not such a great job with the car situation, but I can live with that. But couldn't you find a better way to end, really? Only consolation is that I have someone I love a lot to smooch at midnight.

Love, me.

Dear 2011,

I know we won't meet til later tonight, but let's start off on the right foot? What bribes will you take?)

Love, me.
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On Monday TWO people expressed interest in buying my car, which has been sitting on the road for the last couple of months after failing its WoF. (One man enquired of the couple across the street about who owned the car, and they'd been vaguely wondering about the car too so were spurred on to ask me too.)

I explained the situation to both of them: that the car was in need of approximately $2000 of repairs, and I was looking at getting $300 for it from a wrecking company so I guess I'd sell it for that. Both sets of people knew or were panel beaters, which I guess makes the repairs much more feasible than it would be for me.

The first man was asking me if I would take payment in installments (no) and was a bit waffly, but I said I'd text him before I got it towed. (Which I haven't done before now because these companies can only come during work house, so I was going to arrange it for when I have leave next week. I should also mention that when I say "wrecker" I mean "happy farm with puppies".) The couple from across the street seemed a bit more likely, and said they'd come back the next day when I had found my list of EXACTLY what was wrong and the costs I'd been quoted for repair.

So yesterday they came back, I told them the details, and they said yep, they'd take it. Did I have change of ownership papers and did I want a deposit? I said no bother, and that I'd get those papers tomorrow.

After they left, I started feeling a bit odd: $300 was actually less than I wanted for the car. Taking such a low price from a wrecker was offset by the convenience of having it towed away. Had I made the effort to sell it as-is, where-is on TradeMe I could probably got more - not enough to have made it worthwhile to get around to paying to list it, but still. Plus the petrol was nearly full (another $70 or so worth) and the registration is good until March.

Plus, I didn't know how happy I was with the idea of someone else driving my car - it would have been okay if it were far away, but if it's right across the street...? I phoned Mum and Dad to ask if they thought it would be unethical to tell them that I had just received a quote back from another wrecking company for $400 and would they match that? Dad quite rightly said that that would be silly and that I should just phone them and tell the truth and ask for $400. Worst comes to worse, I can still get the tow next week, but wouldn't it be better to have the car driven and looked after rather than wrecked?

He also put his finger on the fact that I did not want to let go of the car and didn't like other people having it.

Anyway, I left a message on the buyer's phone explaining that I'd felt rushed - which I HAD, I'd never anticipated anyone just asking to buy the car and it happened so fast I didn't think about the price I was asking for - and saying I'd feel happier with $400. They asked if I'd do $350 (no), thought about it, and said we'll still take it, can you have papers tomorrow.

So, my car is going to be sold. Although it will be a relief to have it gone (and not getting another $200 no-WoF fine, ouch) I still feel wibbly. So I thought I'd try articulate a tribute to my little blue car:

The car is a 1995 Holden Astra. My parents bought it in the late nineties. I learnt to drive in it - its poor clutch put up with two teenagers figuring out this whole "manual" thing. It was the car that I was first allowed to go out by myself in, that little bit of freedom that meant I could go visit my friends in the evenings and not worry about buses. There were also moments like being allowed to drive on my first big road trip on my own - it was trust from Mum and Dad, and that meant a lot.

In about 2004 or so, Mum got a new car. My brother was disqualified from driving at the time (plus I'm the oldest, HA!) so I was given the little blue car. (Not that it was very little, but Dad's car was big and blue, so.) I was flatting with Zanne in Wellington and even though I used buses every day, it was a lot more freedom: grocery shopping became a lot easier. I was a car owner, whoo!

It meant moving to Auckland - and LIVING in Auckland, damn the public transport - was possible. I had my first car crash in it. (Just a fender-bender). I learnt basic car maintenance. I paid for insurance and registration and WoFs. It took me up and down and across the North Island. It got new wheels and a new exhaust bit by bit and new windows when it was broken into.

I think, basically: I've had the car in one way or another, for ten years. It's been through a lot with me, cost me a bit, but generally been such a good little car. I guess it's a symbol of becoming an adult in a lot of ways, and I'm going to miss it a lot. I'm sentimental, and I'm going to cry over it, but it's MY car.

Goodbye, little blue car. I'm going to miss you. :-(

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It's only five sleeps to go \o/, I am all geared up for Christmas and am at the stage where I want it to come NOW, please. I will be in Wellington for about four days before returning home to do pretty much NOTHING, which will be awesome. (For nothing, read: books, housework, and hiring a hardcore weedwhacker again.) I feel a bit bad about leaving Alan to fend for himself over Christmas, right up to the point where I think he is looking forward to doing a horror movie marathon (sorry Malu, if he hogs the TV you can tell him to go watch things on his laptop) and eating all the food I don't like. (Fine, go ahead, be perfectly able to function without me, SEE IF I CARE.)

I'm sort of resolving that I am going to try and review the books I read, on account of a) I am back in the habit of visiting the library regularly and b) I would like to get better at articulating my thinky thoughts about what I read. I have about three books at home which I want to talk about and will do so when I've got my yuletide done and dusted, but first:

Has anyone read The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y S Lee?  Because I'm about a third of the way in and I want to know if it gets better. It OUGHT to be Just My Cup Of Tea: Victorian London! Young ladies being awesome, and also spies! A girl who is Selected To Be Special! And yet...the story I want to read isn't there, and the characters I want are kind of flat instead of fun and there is a lot of telling rather than showing and a wee bit of Mary Sue-ishness. But I want so badly to like it and be excited for the rest of the series! So please, if anyone has read it, let me know if I should go on.

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+ I got the house mostly clean for my brother and his girlfriend coming to stay. Most importantly, the spare bed. AMAZING.

+ Spent most of Saturday playing Magic (where I lost two games, and then won the third, where for "win" read "get to a point where everyone else quits in disgust because I have the most awesome card combination EVER".)

+ Then Alan and I went to a friend's birthday party, where there were like six varieties of home-made cookies, and a bunny for me to pat and movies. Whoo!

+ Nick and Cynthia arrived from Aussie on time and we spent the evening hanging out. Nick gave me a super sharp knife as an early Xmas present (this is possibly symbolic, but I don't care. So sharp!) Cynthia gave me a USB drive with watchable goodies on it. I adore Cynthia, who is awesome, and I will be very disappointed with my brother if they break up EVER. (Nick's previous girlfriends: nice, but slightly skankalicious. Cynthia is gorgeous, polite, smart, keeps my brother in line, and is also a total GEEK.)

+ Dad has given me an old weed whacker. <33333 My lawn should be trembling in fear right now.

+ I also got dad's old iPhone. It's a 3G where upgrades to the software over the years have caused it to slow down a bit and drain the battery faster than it was planned to handle. I think Dad was looking for a reason to upgrade to an iPhone 4. So, now I have a slighty slow but still awesome phone. (My old phone was a 21st birthday gift, so it's five and a half years old. It's stubbornly kept working perfectly, giving me no excuse at all to replace it with something Shiny. My gadget-greedy heart mourned!)  I find there is something that satisfies me on a very visceral level to have internet EVERYWHERE. Plus, now I only need to carry around one gadget rather than phone+ipod touch. (On the downside, I was DETERMINED to get it working last night, where "working" means transferring all my ipod data and apps across. This took hours when I should have been in bed. BUT I WON.)

+ Spent most of yesterday at the island with my parents, aunt and uncle, Nick and Cynthia (they're staying for a few days), and Alan. The weather was absolutely perfect in every respect, and I am pleased to announce that I went for My First Swim of the Season. It was the absolutely most perfect way to spend a Sunday.
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Here we go again! I'm EXCITED.

This is my fourth year doing yuletide, and you can see my previous letters here, here and here. Some of the fandoms are the same, and many of the general details about my wants/do-not-wants.

Read more... )
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My journalling has been so super slack lately. For weeks! And I've been DOING STUFF. Like:

Going to the Adam Lambert concert, which was AMAAAZING and perfect. The jackets! The dancing! The pimp cane! The hair! The boys making out! The lewd gestures! And also the music. Basically, everything I hoped and totally justifying the extreme squee I got on when his NZ visit was announced.

Armageddon. I spent all of Labour Day weekend helping to run the Magic: The Gathering tournaments in the trading card game area. Day one was busy, day two was bigger, and day three was nearly as big as a Nationals event. Happily, I got some time to get out and see a bunch of the vendors, but didn't spend too much - just one of these lovely LOTR pendants, and the entire Buffy for $140. That's only $20/season. SCORE.

And then today, the Auckland Half-Marathon. I've been working up to this for MONTH, with varying degrees of commitment to training. (Amount in last few weeks? Almost none. Was sick. WORST. TIMING. EVER.) Anyway, I spent a lot of time feeling confident that even if I wasn't jogging as much of it as I could had I trained consistently for the last few months, I could do it - I mean, I know I can walk about 6-7km an hour, and so that's only three hours, right? Easy!

Then yesterday we went to register and I looked closely at the maps and there were all this hideously fit people walking around and I got all o_0.

But! I'm actually really pleased with how it went. Mum and Dad came up to do it too (the whole thing was Dad's idea) and even though they're both super fit they went at my pace. We completed the course in 3hrs 18mins which I'm happy with. We were far from last, but definitely in the end section of the half-marathon entrants - we had to get to the start of the harbour bridge (13km) by 9am, or we would be bussed over. We got there at 8.56am. 

I managed to do a lot more jogging than I thought myself capable of - helped by disgusting but terribly effective energy syrup sachets mum and dad plied me with - although the last five km or so were a real slog. (Well, the first 7km were the hardest. Then the next 7km were worse. Then the last 7km it just got bad.) I was down to walking only and just happy to be keeping up a good pace at all. The last 2km were really, really hard - my shoes felt too tight, my hips were really sore, and my back and neck started aching too. About 200m from the finish line I surprised myself by early getting a bit teary, I was just so happy to have done it. And then I managed enough energy to sprint the last 50m to the finish line, which was awesome and mum and dad could hardly keep up. And then I did this: \o/

My favourite bits were: crossing the finish line, the view from the top of the harbour bridge, taking my shoes off after finishing, and the hot shower. Not necessarily in that order.

But, yeah. I'm really happy I did it. It may be quite a while before I do it again. And in the meantime, walking is...problematic.

Now I just need to wait until Alan, currently doing his own endurance event (the 24 Hour Movie Marathon) texts to say he's ready for a pick up. Until then, I'll be sitting. Just...sitting.

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Things I did this weekend:
  • Went to Underpants on the Outside, where Alan squeed a lot (in a very manly way, of course) over the various vintage and new action figures and comics and books, and I bought a cupcake, an Eleventh Doctor figurine (and proceeded to horrify Alan by TAKING IT OUT OF THE PACKAGING. And then posing it next to my Tenth Doctor TARDIS. So wrong!), and a copy of White Tiger, the graphic novel Tamora Pierce wrote.
  • Did some gardening, because the weather was SO NICE I had to go outside. I managed to mostly mow bits of the lawn (some of the grass isn't so much "cut" as "mushed down by repeated passes of the mower, so I'll leave it a week to perk up and go at it again), and to my great relieve the jungle that was my lawn at no poin, gained sentience, rose up, declared itself my lord and master and told me it didn't like being mown, thank you very much. I also planted things - two dietes, because if they are the plant I think they are they're very pretty and I've been trying to find their name for years, and two cape gooseberry bushes. I LOVE cape gooseberries but only eat them once every couple of years when I happen to be at the island when the bushes there are in fruit, or if I pay exorbiant amounts for a tiny punnet at the supermarket. Then I had a brainwave - I COULD PLANT MY OWN. Genius!
  • Of course, gardening as far as I'm concerned is putting things into holes in the ground and crossing my fingers. Or if it's grass (such as one might need to grow if one has managed to cause a large muddy bare patch on one's lawn) you just throw it on the ground! So easy!
  • Played my newly constructed Magic deck (I made it!) It's defining attribute is that it is purple - that is, all the pictures on the cards are predominantly purple - and it is in purple sleeves, with a purple playmat and purple dice and counters. It is, of course, terribly underpowered and will lose every game, but people seemed to think it LOOKED cool, which is the point. I shall lose in style!
  • Whimpered a lot about how much gardening makes my legs and butt ache, apart from the various scratches on my hands. Ow.


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