Wednesday, 28 February 2007

words for the week - 1847

A better effort this week, although I'm disappointed I didn't make it to 2000. I would have pushed a bit harder on Monday, had I known I wouldn't get to it last night. Instead, I spent the whole evening developing that Page Turners preliminary reading list for 2007 (posted yesterday). Took a bit longer than expected!

Oh well, nevermind. I'm still pumped up for the home stretch as I embark on Act 3!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Page Turners 2007 - preliminary reading list

Here is the preliminary reading list for Page Turners 2007:

February 1st

March 1st
Batavia’s Graveyard
Mike Dash
Maritime history

April 4th [Wed]
Suite Fran├žaise - Dolce
Irene Nemirovsky
Fiction (WW2)

May 3rd
Lost Language of Cranes (Penguin 1987)
David Leavitt

June 7th
Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

July 5th
Short history of tractors in Ukrainian (Sound Library, Dec 06)
Marina Lewycka

August 2nd
The Arrival
Shaun Tan
Also - Harry Potter and the deathly hallows (optional)
JK Rowling

September 6th
Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner
General interest

October 4th
When god looked the other way (May 2006)
Wesley Adamczyk
Fiction (WW2?)

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Rant about a bank

I received in the mail today a new credit card. But this wasn't just any credit card, it was a mastercard debit card to replace the visa debit card I currently use. It has a new card number, a new PIN number (which I don't even have yet) and new rules.

I did not ask for this new card. I have had absolutely no say in the replacement of my visa debit for a mastercard debit card. Moreover, I have had aboslutely no prior warning that this was about to happen.

I am really p*%$#* off about this!

The accompanying letter tells me that I should just go cut up my existing card and throw it away. This is before they even provide me with a new PIN!

AND, I now I have to redirect every single automatic payment coming out of my current account. I will also have to change all payments going IN (including my salary).

Just where is my money right now? Which account is it living in? Will I have to change my Internet banking details as well?

I feel a really mad phone call to this bank coming on. How dare they make such radical changes to my banking without prior consultation or even notification.

I am seriously considering changing banks all together as a result of this. After all, I will still have to redirect everything, learn a new PIN etc.

I can barely express how irate I am feeling right now.

words for the week - 0

So it's once again a big fat zero.

This is entirely due to two things: excessive heat and excessive work. Both have completely thwarted me. Work is about as busy as it's ever been and I'm just too tired at the end of the day. Walking to and from the office isn't helping either. Fact is, when I walk I'm rarely arriving home before 7:30 or 8:00. By the time I've unwound (de-sweated), eaten etc it's past 9pm. It's just not happening for me.

Another problem is this habit I'm developing of going to work on the weekends. Two weekends in a row now. Better get out of that one quick smart.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Movie: Miss Potter

Saw this about a week ago. A family girls' night. It was an engaging enough film about Beatrix Potter (Renee Zellweger) and her early career. It focused mainly on her relationship with her publisher (Ewan McGregor), to whom she became secretly engaged.

The film had some cute little animations as Beatrix's illustrations came to life in her eyes, but these seemed a little incongruous in what was a fairly conservative movie. I found it fairly predictable, but not annoyingly so. It was a typical, enjoyable costume drama, with absolutely gorgeous Lakes District scenery, but not much of a 'gee whiz' factor. (There was a very sad moment, however.)

It's always interesting to read up on these people after seeing a movie of this sort, so of course I googled Beatrix Potter. I found the published online biographies very scant on the subject of her romance with the publisher (which made me wonder how much of it was made up). Instead they focused more on her purchasing of heaps of farmland in the Lakes District to save it from developers. This was also in the film. One aspect of her life that was not mentioned in the film, though, was her expertise in botantical drawing. I find that fascinating. It was also interesting how they muddled the years and her age in the film -- no doubt wanting her to seem younger (32) than she really was (36) when first published.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

words for the week - 2226

Very pleased with this as a total. It mostly stemmed from the weekend, when I wrote 1800 words!

I've found that working in short regular bursts works well for me, but it's not particularly time-efficient overall. For example, on Sunday, I did three short (1-2 hour) stints: one from about 11:30, the second from about 6pm, the last from about 9:30pm. In between I fluff around eating, watching TV, wandering down the street etc. Sounds strange, but it's productive for me. The key is to have nothing on, and to get that pre-lunch stint out of the way. Then I'm in the groove and it's easy to come and go. In this way I wrote 11oo words on Sunday.

I started "Act 3" this week. Very exciting! It's the final section, the build-up to the climax. OMG. After more than ten years of writing various versions of this novel it seems remarkable that I am so close to actually finishing a draft. I have many friends and family who will breathe a sigh of relief and the words "thank god!". When I finish this draft, I will throw a party.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Red Phoenix

I finished Red Phoenix (by Kylie Chan) almost a week ago, so I thought I'd post a brief comment on it.

I was so excited to be starting this book, that I guess it was probably inevitable that I'd ultimately be disappointed. (It still kept me reading to all hours!) But the thing is that it was more of the same (as White Tiger). I wanted/expected it to go off in a new and exciting direction, but it really felt like a repeat of the first book. For the most part, the same characters were chased by the same demons . . . There was only one major "mystery" for the entire novel. Whereas the first book held my interest as I discovered this new and exciting world, the second just didn't present anything new. Very sad. (OK, so there were a few new characters . . . .)

I will still undoubtedly persevere with the series, because I do enjoy the characters and the world, but gee I hope the next book take me somewhere a little bit unexpected and different!

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Six cucumbers

This evening I picked six cucumbers. How cool is that? I won't be able to eat them all before they start to go off (I already have some decaying ones in the fridge -- what a waste) so I guess I'll give some away.

I've been quite impressed with the cucumber vine. It had a very slow start when I planted it back in about October, taking over two months before it even grew. But once it started growing (when the weather got warmer), it's done fabulously well. It's amazingly prickly too. I never knew cucumbers were prickly! My hands hurt from picking them.

The difficulty with grewing fresh produce is that it's either glut or famine. Somehow, staggering doesn't seem to work, no matter how you plan. I tried it with tomatoes this year, planting four different plants at different times. The rate of growth and ripening seems to be entirely random.

I've been quite disappointed with the tomatoes. My first plant had one early batch (months ago) of about five tomatoes, and it's barely grown since. It has one lone green tomato on it now. I can't even be bothered watering it. Another of my tomato plants -- a creepy-crawling cherry tomato plant -- has HEAPS of ripening fruit on it, but it's all brown and diseased. I have no idea what's wrong with it, but most of the fruit isn't edible.

My remaining two tomato plants are actually doing quite well. I've been impressed with the "tumbler", which has grown nicely in its pot and is producing nice cherry sized fruit. The last is a reggae roma, which has grown incredibly tall. It's overshot its stake and is now grazing the top of the screen. This plant has quite a lot of fruit on it, just waiting to ripen. I think I've picked one early ripener so far. I suppose 2/4 isn't too bad for harvesting. It just kills me to see all those diseased tomatoes!

My snow peas have been going along at a rather slow pace. They're growing, but not nearly fast enough to preclude me buying them. So I have to wonder whether it's worth it. Last year, my sister had so many snow peas she was giving them away. I confess her success had inflated my expectations.

My capsicum plant has performed very ordinarily. I've seen a few fruit grow on it, but the first was destroyed when its branch broke. I think Jeddah might have eaten the other two when he was staying here recently. I don't think I'll bother with capsicum again. I've decided this week that I don't really like them much anyway.

My columnar apple trees seem to be growing in height. They have lots of leaves, but I haven't seen any blossum. Perhaps that's to be expected the first season. Who knows? At least they're both still alive, and they look quite attractive.

Another thing to mention is the lettuce and rocket. My latest batch of lettuce is finished and needs pulling out, but it has been good. My rocket is going to seed now, although there's still plenty to harvest. It seems to have been eaten by something though, which has been a bit sad. I think I'll stick to cos and rocket in future. Might try some spinach next summer and see how that goes.

Not sure whether I'm going to plant any more. This drought is making watering a really pain. I might just turn the patch into a herb garden. There's rosemary, mint and parsley there already. Seems logical.

words for the week - 0

Oh dear. It's been very busy both socially and workwise. Didn't even get close to writing. This stuffs my 2007 average from 1314 down to 1095. Very disappointing. :-(