Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lord Sunday, by Garth NIx

The Noodle has his hands on Lord Sunday, the final in the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix.

We had to interrupt his reading for dinner, and I don't think we would have been able to do it successfully if dinner was not spag bol (although pizza probably would have worked). The Noodle has always been a keen reader and he has always had favourites that inhabit his imagination, but this is something else. I don't know how anything is ever, ever, ever going to live up to this reading experience. I think it may be the pinnacle of his life.

I have to wait until post-Noodle bed time to get my hands on it. Curses.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I am feeling very whiny and complainy and at the same time very intolerant of other people's whiny behaviour at the moment. In fact, I hate nearly everyone.

This is largely because I have had no coffee for three and a half days. So either the withdrawal is very nasty, or caffeine covers up a very high level of misanthropy. I'll tell you which in a few more days.

Friday, January 22, 2010


'Boy's disenchantment with the North complete'.

My disenchantment with Canberra is far from complete, but I am none too thrilled about the temperature. Especially not on my epic, un-airconditioned bus trip from Barton to Weston Creek this evening, in which a fifteen minute drive (if one were in control of the vehicle) took one and a half hours because of the desperate need of Action buses to drive past every single front door in any given suburb.

Dear ACT Government - people don't use your bus service because it is intolerable.

The End.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things I did today

Watched a man clean the carpets.

Marvelled at how amazingly clean a carpet can be.

Got my student card from ANU.

Marvelled at the science type things that go on at ANU - gravity waves anyone?

Had damp feet from clean carpets.

Was as affected by gravity as I usually am.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vietnam, and you know, stuff

So the husband, being the kind of guy he is, has been awarded an Asialink grant to go to Vietnam for 8 weeks and do some research and hang out thinking thoughts and generally talking to bookish Vietnamese people. And my first thought is 'huzzah' and suchlike and my second thought is ' my husband is so ace' and all those kinds of things. Which is all true. He is ace, and it's a well-deserved thing.

Somewhere down the line of thoughts arrives the one that goes something like 'I'd like to go to Vietnam too' and then the thought that either the Noodle has to stay in Australia with his relatives while I go to visit the husband in Vietnam for a week or two or he has to come too. And the Noodle's strongly expressed preference is to come too. Especially given the international travels of his class mates over the past 12 months.

Which all seems like a fine idea, thousands of dollars notwithstanding.

But the things is, I'm a bit nervous about travelling in other countries where I don't speak the language with the Noodle. Because of What Ifs and It Could Happens and Oh Noes and so on and so forth. Last time we were lucky enough to find ourselves in one of the best hospitals in the world for the kind of thing that can happen to the Noodle, and it was still a bit touch and go. So it seems a bit, well, very, to expect that we could be that lucky again if anything bad happened this time.

So. The husband will be going to Vietnam and doing fabulous stuff. The Noodle and I may stay home and do more ordinary, but doubtless still fabulous stuff. Or we may go to visit Hanoi and see the 1,000 year anniversary of the city. Which is a wonderful thing and one that I am sure the people of Hanoi will celebrate with both enthusiasm and style.

But either way, what an ace husband I have!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mog, the very thing

A lovely interview with Judith Kerr over at the Guardian for those who loved Mog and probably also When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which were two of my favourites although not entirely at the same time.

My favourite Mog is Mog's Christmas, but it's the look on the cat's face at different times that lives on in memory.

I don't remember reading The Tiger Who Came to Tea until I was an adult though.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Parlour Games for Modern Families

So here is a book review. What do you know, still some bookishness going on after all.

This one is Parlour Games for Modern Families by Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras. I have seen it about a few times over the past couple of months and thought to myself, 'hmmm, that seems like a good idea' but I didn't buy it because it costs $35.00 and frankly that seemed a bit much for a book that was going to tell me to play charades.

I would like to take a moment to note that this is one of those annoying book reviews that start with a narrative about the reviewer. But hell, this is my blog and not a proper newspaper review and somehow this blog seems to be all about me me me at the moment instead of stuff with actual content or informaiton or insightful analysis, so yah boo sucks to you all I suppose. Moving on.

Now, I can tell you, the $35.00 was most well spent. Thinking back upon other $35.00 spent on family entertainment - movies tickets, zoo entry, museums, trips to Paris - I can say that we have had our money's worth this afternoon alone.

First we played numerology (or numberology as the Noodle preferred). This game involves making up a cateogory (ours included Australian Prime Ministers, flowers, entrees, newspapers and Australian cricketers past and present) and then every player has to choose an example. The tricky part is that then you count how much your example is worth on a scale where A = 1 and Z = 26. So our PMs, Robert Menzies and Gough Whitlam did quite well, with the z and a w and other late-alphabet letters. Sadly, rabbit roulade did not beat spring rolls, and so I lost the game. That's what you get for being pretentious. I blame Masterchef.

We also played 'The Minister's Cat' which is a game that Peter Carey's Ned Kelly would have been a whiz at, because it is all about adjectives. The Minister's Cat, for example, could be an adjectival cat, an angelic cat, an anabaric cat. And in the next round it could be a big cat, a beautiful cat, a bizarre cat or a beatific cat (depending if it belongs to minister of religion or a government minister I suppose). X proved challenging, but we came up with xenophobic and xenobiological. Which is only strictly accurate, I suppose, if we were playing the game on another planet, although I suppose cats are rather xeno in Australia. Z was likewise challening.

The book also explained what crambo is, which was frankly a little disappointing because I always thought that capping rhymes implied a massive arsenal of poetry at your fingertips, rather than just being able to think of rhyming words and clues simultaneously. But now that I know both what tombola and crambo is, I feel I can take my place in English Edwardian society proudly. Obviously I'll need some new frocks.

Anyway, the book is chock full of fun, etc. If I now turn into one of those annoying people who insists on making you play games after dinner, well, it could be worse (which is another parlour game in the, book - the Noodle is such a talented catastrophist that he aces this one every time, because his disasters all end the same way - complete annihilation of the solar system).


Today I:
  • drove myself to work (and my pod-mate too, since it was her car - no full license yet, alas)
  • contributed to the big-time work morning tea
  • drank coffee
  • photocopied one, two, three, four copies of things (one on nice paper)
  • nicely invited people to write stuff
  • nicely invited people to a meeting to talk about stuff
  • visited the National Archives and looked at Cabinet papers about the bombing of Darwin and saw Stanley Melbourne Bruce's privy councillor uniform
  • ate a vegemite roll
  • cut and pasted
  • wrote
  • chatted
  • accidentally left my law textbook at work
  • thought about buying a two-storey town house, but not for very long
  • ate schnitzel
  • cleaned out the Noodle's ears
  • chatted some more
  • read part of Chapter X of The Fellowship of the Ring to the Noodle.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Things, such as they are

So our esteemed PM has written a children's book. Well. In collaboration with Rhys Muldoon (from Playschool). Well. About his pets. And his spokeswoman says that it is 'cute'.

While holding off on making any kind of judgement there is a tiny, passionate piece of my soul screaming, screaming with pain.