PAAAR-TAY!!!! Or something.

I had a frightening experience last night. I turned on the TV (without checking what channel it was on) and found myself watching a whole bunch of people renovating someone’s garden. The thing is I couldn’t tell if it was Backyard Blitz, Ground Force, Burke’s Backyard, or Renovation Rescue. It was only when Joanna Griggs put in an appearance that I realised it was Auction Squad.

There are way too many renovation shows on Australian TV.

Anyway it’s been a while since I last made an entry, so I suppose I’d better say what I’ve been up to. A fair bit (for me anyway) all things considered. Much of it to do with Michael and Nat getting engaged, and holding a party to celebrate said event last Sunday.

(Oh, by the way the Waifs won at least three Arias, and 28 Days Later is of course a British film – just thought I should clear that up 🙂

So, when we last left off the fascinating saga that is my life I’d taken a Wednesday off work. In retrospect this may not have been a fantastic idea as it meant having to work two nine-and-a-half hour days Thursday and Friday to get all the changes on done in time for the weekend. As you can imagine this left me fairly wiped out, and instead of going over to the Galleria Saturday morning I slept in and went over in the afternoon instead.

Why you ask? Two reasons. I’d decided to buy some new clothes for the party, and I needed to get an engagement present. For the present I’d conferred with Ryan and decided to go for booze, specifically Wild Turkey which he assured me Michael liked (he on the other hand went for vodka which Nat likes – always trying to impress the ladies is Rybo 😉

So, I had to negotiate a bottle shop. This was more difficult than you might think because…

a) I don’t drink and am therefore unfamiliar with the layout of such places and can’t find anything without a detailed sector to sector search, and…

b) I was wearing my large, bulky backpack in order to carry everything home and have a tendency to forget I’m wearing it and crash it into things, which can get pretty expensive around wine and liquor displays.

There was also the vague worry that the counter staff might (against all common sense) mistake me for a teenager and demand some photo ID, which of course I do not possess. However in the end it all turned out OK. I found the Wild Turkey with little trouble, didn’t knock anything over and didn’t get carded, although the people in front of me did which momentarily raised my stress levels sky high.

Then it was off to K-Mart for clothes. I have to admit that I buy most of my clothes from either K-Mart or Target, fundamentally because they’re cheap (and because I refuse to wear anything with a label as a matter of principle – I’m not paying an extra $120 for some stupid Nike tick on my jacket damnit). Sure, it makes me extremely unfashionable, but I seriously doubt wearing designer clothes would have the slightest affect on my popularity or sex appeal anyway – they’re both well beyond help 😉

I’d decided to go for a new, slightly more sophicated look than my usual black t-shirt and jeans – namely a Johnny Cash/Coffee-Shop-Waiter type of thing. Black trousers, black button up shirt, I even threw a black tie into the basket just for completeness’ sake. Naturally I didn’t try any of this on, as I have an aversion to taking off my clothes in public with only a flimsy half length curtain for privacy. This was to bite me in the backside quite firmly later on…

So, with my shopping done I had an hour and a half to kill before the next bus (the weekend bus service in this city is appalling). So I went for a wander around – to Sanity, the ABC Shop, Dymocks, but was suddenly sucked in by the massive gravitational pull of a discount book sale on the top floor.

Ah! Discount book sales! Is there anything like them to provoke questions like “Do I really need a copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle?”. This one was being held in the shell of a closed down sports-clothing store, the irony of which made it even more enjoyable than usual. I spent the next fifteen minutes wandering from table to table glutting myself on rejects and remainders before finally whittling my pile down to $54 worth (not, sadly, including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which was very impressive but fairly overpriced for a “discounted” book).

While waiting at the checkout (behind one woman who seemed determined to have a lengthy conversation with the clerk despite the book-shoppers piling up in a holding pattern behind her and her friend who couldn’t remember if she’d got a receipt for her tarot cards so could she please have another one?) I had time to reflect on why some of the books hadn’t sold first time round. Particularly obvious were two of them 50 Ways to Find a Lover – Proven Strategies for Meeting a Partner and No More Head Lice! – A Natural Solution. Someone would have to be pretty desperate to walk up to the counter in a bookstore holding out either of those. Making matters worse they both had extremely bold and colourful cover art – the words “HEAD LICE” virtually jumped off the cardboard – so you couldn’t just conceal them in a pile of other books and hope the clerk wouldn’t notice. Honestly, who designs these things?

So, heavily weighted down with clothes, books and alcohol I staggered off to find somewhere to sit, which isn’t easy since Westfield ripped out most of the benches and replaced them with body piercing booths, feng shui vendors and nut sellers when they took over the Galleria a few years back. I eventually found one they’d missed (probably because it was concealed behind a table loaded down with discount John Wayne videos) and spent the next half hour flicking through my new acquisitions before heading over to the bus station.

On arrival back home I went to try on my new ultra-cool clothes, which is where I ran into problems. The shirt was fine – fit like a very loose glove – but the trousers… Embarrassment precludes me from mentioning my actual trouser size, but these turned out to be a full 15 centimetres too small, which was odd since in the store they were hanging from a coathanger clearly marked as being my size. I ranted and raved about the infernal incompetence of K-Mart employees for a bit (hopefully the bogans were in downstairs and got a taste of their own medicine) but eventually got tired and watched some TV instead.

Luckily I did have another pair of black trousers that I could wear, even if they were a bit shorter in the legs than I like, so it wasn’t as big a disaster as it could have been. But I’m never going to trust K-Mart again!

At least not on their sizing.

So, Sunday rolled around. I got all dressed in my black attire and examining myself in the bedroom mirror thought I looked quite adequate (when it comes to looking cool, stylish or attractive ‘adequate’ is about the best I can hope for :). I wrapped up the Wild Turkey and waited for my lift to arrive. I’d been fairly smart all up and managed to get a lift with Mum up to Michael’s place in the valley via an art exhibition in Mundaring – curated by Travis and featuring my brother Andrew, currently living it up in Vegas. There was a bit of confusion actually finding Michael’s place because I haven’t been there for several years, and not only had a large limestone wall been built around the house, concealing it from the road, but they’d abandoned said house (at the front of the property) and built a fancy new one down back, above the river (it’s pretty fantastic, only one storey but with fantastic views up and down the river and across the fields all the way to the DOLA offices in Midland).

Fabian was already there, and Ryan arrived soon afterwards (bearing vodka and cranberry juice – most of which he was to consume himself as the afternoon wore on). So we settled down at a table with Fabian’s folks and a ridiculous quantity of snack food, most of which I was to consume as the afternoon wore on 😉

As parties go (and keep in mind that as a Geek I have a natural aversion to the things) it was pretty good. The weather was fantastic (once I changed chairs out of the sun anyway), the music was good and the food was laid on in quantities sufficient to sate a small force of invading visigoths (they’d killed and spit roasted two whole sheep and done in at least one entire flock of garlic breads). The flies were a bit of a problem, but that’s just the time of year and couldn’t really be helped.

Ryan (as usual) provided much of the entertainment, once sufficiently lubricated. His first comedic triumph was to suggest that Nat resembles Joanna Lumley. This provoked much ribbing, although to be fair there are some noticeable similarities. They’re both women for instance, and they’re both tall. Not long afterwards he mistook Don’t Mug Yourself by the Streets for 77% by the Herd (understandable since 77% is angry political hip-hop where Don’t mug Yourself is poppy, British, ‘Geeza’ hip-hop – they’re both hip hop you see 🙂

After some small scale melodrama involving people stealing his chair whenever he went to get another drink (which was actually true, people did keep stealing it) he continued by comparing Michael to comedian Paul McDermott. This wasn’t as funny as it could have been since (particularly with Michael’s current haircut) there is a resemblance, he really should have compared him to Mikey Robins instead. The moment was saved however by Fabian’s dad (who was matching Ryan’s vodkas two for one with beers) stepping in to say he though he’d meant cricketer Craig McDermott.

The best was definitely saved for last though. When the conversation strayed onto the problems facing smokers trying to quit Ryan suggested that the real addictive feature of cigarettes wasn’t so much the nicotine, but the ‘power to hold fire in your hand’ and the ability ‘to blow smoke out your nose’. This was widely regarded as a tour de force, particularly when he started making demonstrative hand gestures. “You see, I’m holding fire in my hand” – holding up imaginary cigarette then taking a deep puff – “And now I’m blowing smoke out my nose” – exhaling heavily through nostrils and waggling fingers to indicate smoke. Fabian’s dad’s description of a boab tree as “a big fat trunk with bugger-all on top” just couldn’t compare.

So, a good time (and obscenely rich mud-cake) was had by all. I got a lift down to the railway station with Fabian (who managed to make about the only wrong turn possible on the five minute drive, seriously confusing Ryan who was following on his motorcycle despite the ridiculous quantity of vodka he’d consumed) and caught the train back home.

So that was my weekend. Last weekend.

Since then I haven’t been doing much. A fair slab of time over the last few nights has been spent recoding the Wyrmlog – again. The new version may or may not be up and running as you’re reading this (if everything is majorly messed up then it’s a fair bet it is active and I’ve screwed something up) depending on how active I’m feeling after writing this epic *g*. I’ve done my best to do away with tables and convert everything to CSS, since I figured out how to get Doctypes working properly while wrestling with the Dyslexia-SPELD website design this week. It’s amazing how easy CSS layout is once the browsers actually agree where to put borders and padding, made my job a whole lot easier I can tell you! Anyway, Wyrmlog version 3.0 should load faster and look slightly better than it’s predecessor, as long as you’re using version 6 browsers (and if you’re not, why not? Are you some kind of robot? And if so, what kind of powers do you have?).

As well as that I’ve been wasting a bit of time analysing the examples of the Dalek language detailed in Ben Aaronovitch’s Remembrance of the Daleks and putting together a webpage on such subject (it was obviously a mistake to start watching those re-runs of Doctor Who – my dormant fandom is suddenly becoming active again). I’ll probably get it finished sometime this weekend and upload it, thus making myself appear even more of a Geek to anyone who stumbles over this site 🙂

Finally, I suppose I’d better post that list of books from Helen’s and Ali’s blogs. The ones I’ve read are in italics…

Top 21:
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Damn that’s embarrassing, only 25. And a good slab of them kid’s books. Why couldn’t I have read Ulysses when I was eight instead of The Magic Faraway Tree? That’d look far more impressive 🙂

Anyway, better go. Got cleaning to do. And cooking. Sooner I win the lottery and can live a life of indulgent luxury the better!

Intransigent DNA Influenced Cute Woman of the Week: The redheaded suspect who got killed halfway through this week’s episode of CSI. Who cares if she arranged for a murder, she was pretty! ;-D

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