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Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

Excuse the TMI:

September 15th, 2011 (09:44 pm)

Warning Will Robinson: Girly Business.

Look, I know these new pads I got were from a free train station sample giveaway, to get me to try them.

But I won't be buying any more of them.

The underside of the pad features a blue line colouring, that reminds me of a wet baby nappy marker.

All my mind is thinking, as I use this pad: "Congrats! You don't have three years of changing nappys to look forward to! So I will resemble a nappy as closely as possible!"

Yeah nah. Periods still suck, even with the "You're Not Preggers!" reminder.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

Clearing Out the Drinks Cabinet

September 14th, 2011 (12:01 am)

Mum put her foot down a few weekends back. The undrunk clutter on the drinks cabinet needs to go. Sarah and I can keep some of it, but it needs to be downsized.

She didn't say anything about the wine racks, but they're at least out of sight, and I've got pretty good tabs on what's there.

I dumped the remainder of the butterscotch schnapps in my Milo that night. :D There was only about half a shot left, anyway.

Our drinks cabinet has the following:

On the "Keep and replace" list:

  • Bottle of Campbell's Topaque, recently opened (Yummy, though I'll go for a different Topaque next time)
  • Half a bottle of Muscat (from a random winery near Bega. Nice, though)
  • Around half a bottle of Grandfather (Penfolds. Yeah, this is not on the "guzzle down now" list)
  • Bottle of Baileys
  • Bottle of Angostura Bitters
  • Bottle of Bickford's Lime Cordial (It's a mixer, it lives here, even though it's non-alcoholic)
  • Bottle of Midori

On the "Needs to go" list
  • The ends of a bottle of Bacardi
  • 1/2 bottle of Galliano (which is at least as old as I am)
  • 2/3 bottle of Creme de Menthe (which is definitely older than me)
  • 2/3 bottle of Strawberry Liqueur (fairly new)
  • 2/3 bottle of White Creme de Cacao (newish)
  • 1/2 bottle of Blue Curaco (same age as the Strawberry)
  • Small bottle of Bundaberg Rum
  • Bottle of Peach Absolut Vodka (It just isn't getting drunk)
  • Bottle of Strange, Polish Vodka With A Bison On The Label and Grass In the Bottle (Yes, another delightful "abandoned after a party" Mathom gift)

The needs to go stuff, well, needs to get drunk, donated at a party, or in the case of that Creme De Menthe, poured down the sink (in the absence of any better alternative...) If it doesn't ALL go, well, okay, but needs to be seriously downsized.

Unfortunately, Sarah forgot to take bottles with her to abandon at the most recent big bash, and we really need to get this sorted out by the end of the month. There are probably going to be two smallish parties here in the next 3 weeks, plus whatever we drink in evenings to get through stuff.

Suggestions on what to drink, anyone? And how to drink it?

The Strawberry Liqueur is probably getting turned into a Pink Champagne Lemonade punch for my next party. Strawberry, lemonade, real strawberries and mint leaves, some spare bubbly we have that's getting old for its price (needs to be checked before going in the punch), maybe a bit of Galliano?

I'm pretty lost on everything else, apart from Ye Olde "Add Lemonade and Drink" options. That's part of the problem - there's TOO MANY choices in the "mix with lemonade" route.

The sooner this is all sorted, the sooner I can take myself to the wine shop friends have told me that I'll like, in Summer Hill.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

Heartless, by Gail Carriger

August 23rd, 2011 (07:41 am)

Just finished Heartless.

Now, this will be slightly spoilery.

But. When you build a giant mechanical octopus and then take it on a rampage through London? Then you're writing Gaslight Fantasy, and the character is a Spark. Agatha Heterodyne herself would be proud of your engineering.

On the other hand, the last chapter of the book, in regards to the infant inconvenience: I think that the vampires are clearly batty. The II being of the female persuasion, shouldn't a skinwalker be a good thing? Especially if she can reproduce? Akeldama's going to be all over this, if so. With heaps more angst about Biffy.

Also, the image of not-at-all maternal Alexia menacing Countess Nasdasdy by threateningly rocking the infant inconvenience in her direction? Ha!

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

No, SMH, That Doesn't Count As An Article

August 16th, 2011 (10:17 am)
Tags: ,

Silly SMH 'Journalist'. Yes, when you write an article, I expect to see some actual work involved.

This is not real work. Writing an article about how Coles and Woolies are the same in consumers minds due to their advertising campaigns... and then interviewing George Patterson Y&R and Leo Burnett Sydney? Fail.

We all know you just watched Gruen Transfer two weeks ago. You even fricking 'interviewed' Todd Sampson, though I'm pretty sure that quote could have come from Gruen. Now, admittedly, you didn't talk to Russell Howcroft, but someone else at George Patterson Y&R, but it still doesn't count as hard hitting journalism.

This is fluff. From the TELEVISION you've been watching. You're writing an article about a tv episode you saw last fortnight.

Feel the shame, and actually consider doing some research next time, or discussing a slightly different point to the show.

Or, alternatively, make it a review and comment on Russell's amazing defence of the self awareness of consumers everywhere. Because Russell started this series with a gonzo Russell-argument for why advertising is everything right about the world.

Yours not-so-fondly,
The Girl Who Likes Gruen Transfer, but Thinks Stealing Articles From It Kinda Defeats the Purpose of Writing About Advertising.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

A Rising Thunder:

August 8th, 2011 (10:54 pm)

Thoughts on what's going to happen over in Maya Sector during A Rising Thunder:

Admiral Roszak: Dammit! Stupid Battle Fleet! Whoever back on Old Earth thought initiating the Second Battle of Manticore was a good idea?

Governor Barregos: Plus, you know, now Haven and the Manties are allies. While Shannon Foraker and Sonja Hemphill have been collaborating to make those new missiles even nastier.

Hey, Roszak, isn't Erewon the site of one of their new combined shipyards?

Admiral Roszak: Well, you know the Erewonese. Life's so much easier for them now that they're tentatively allies with both sides again now. Plus, you know, they have their Deals with us.

Such a pity we're officially at war with Manticore.

Governor Barregos: No, but I'm concerned about Torch and Queen Berry. Since Mesa might consider retaliating against Torch for the Queen's father blowing up Green Pines and all.

Admiral Roszak: Well, their two sponsors aren't able to commit enough ships to keep an eye on Berry and Torch. Plus, you know, if anything happens to Berry, Thandi will be pissed.

Governor Barregos: And we can't let that happen. Admiral Roszak. Go deploy the Maya Sector forces to keep watch for more pirate raids and attacks on defenceless planets like Torch.

*The Maya Sector official and unofficial Frontier Fleet forces go off showing the flag, stopping piracy, and keeping an eye on Torch. They deflect another Mesan attack on Torch*

Governor Barregos *receives blistering message about supporting their enemies from Old Earth*

Admiral Roszak *receives blistering condemnation of his failure to stop the Manties and Havenites doing whatever they want in Maya Sector*

Barregos and Roszak: But we stopped another unprovoked attack on Torch! What else do you want us to do?

Solarian League: ...Stop supporting Torch? I know that Beowulf will kill us if they hear us saying this, but ignore Torch and fight some Manties, dammit!

*extra ships built by Erewon arrive*

Roszak: Mwahahahaha all mine. We can now fully defend ourselves with our very own MDMs and SuperPodNaughts.

Barregos: Solarian League, we're really very sorry, but we don't like you. Plus the Manties offered us significant trade benefits if we decide to defect now. We're going our own way, and allying with Erewon. We're calling ourselves the Smoking Maya Frog-Erewon Confederacy.

Maya Sector: Failed to shoot a single Mantie, Grayson or Havenite before defecting. But the piracy numbers were significantly down whilst training up their new crews, so it's all positive!
Right? Right?

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

John Wyndham

July 16th, 2011 (10:47 am)
Tags: ,

I've just been reading a bunch of John Wyndham books.

And, good god, it never ceases to grab me how very 1950's they are written.

Now, to be fair, he's not terrible on the feminist front. The only truly incompetent female characters appear in the Midwich Cuckoos - possibly because he was faced with having to write about more than 2 women at a time. Basically all of his lead women are competent, clever women - though with that nasty aftertaste of being that way "despite their gender", and they tend to be married to very clever men who congratulate themselves on their wonderful wives.

I mean, The Trouble With Lichen has a female main character! And she's not only, visibly, on page told she's not really a proper woman as she's not interested in getting married or having children, but despite all that she still cares about her appearance and uses her formula of long life in a high end beauty salon to extend the lives of rich and powerful women, who then form a power bloc to get knowledge of this life extension therapy generally available. And all that sounds really good and empowering back in the '50's in a "woman working within the system to make things happen" way... except it comes with that lovely taste of paternalism from Wyndham and the male characters. (Plus, she's marriedish by the end of the book, which never ceases to piss me off).

Oh, I like the book, and it's got some very feminist discussions of how life might change if women aren't expected to be married at 20 and dead by 70, but could expect to live to 300 or so, but many of the changes talked about have already happened so that from a 70 year perspective the feminist good stuff disappears a bit into "well, yes, boys", and the paternalism and misogyny just grates. (See me telling the book, when it raises the "what happens to women who marry at 20, grow up, and realise they married the wrong man" and "will marriages last 250 years often" questions with "the current answers to those questions are divorce and serial monogamy, John Wyndham". The 2011 world's already dealt with these ideas for a while).

On the other Very 1950's Theme of John Wyndham's writings... attitudes towards The Bomb.

I don't think I've yet read one of his stories where he didn't have characters gung ho about nuclear bombing the shit out of anything that scares them. The USSR? Bomb them. Kraken beasts living in the Deeps of the world? Bomb them! Giant walking plants? A nuclear bomb will sort them out. A village of small scary alien children? Time to blow the village up with a nuclear bomb...

Okay, The Chrysalids isn't crazy about nuclear bombing anything that scares them. Because they live in an irradiated world after a nuclear holocaust, with high mutation rates. But I really have to laugh that the "on the street" opinion to ANY of the disasters in most of John Wyndham's writing involves characters wanting to drop nuclear bombs on the problem until it goes away. (And the do! The number of nuclear bombs used in The Kraken Wakes until everyone gets it through their thick heads that Nuclear Bombs Are Not Working, Try Something Else, is amazing. And America and the USSR take a fair while longer than the UK to figure it out).

Reading characters saying "It worked on Japan! Let's bomb it!" looks really, really weird from the 21st century.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

Okay, that's just WEIRD.

June 25th, 2011 (09:47 am)

current mood: amused

Now, everyone my age or older's come across Surprise Soviets in their SF reading. People just weren't expecting the Berlin Wall coming down, for some reason (and yes, that link goes to the Bad Place). Considering two of my longterm favourite SF series feature them - Ender's Game and The Galactic Milieu, if you're curious - I'm pretty good at blinking and passing them by.

But I'm reading a collection of John Wyndham's old short stories, and I just came across Surprise Nazis. In what I'm assuming is about the far future of 2000, where the Nazis still apparently run Germany and accuse World Jewry of attacking the Reich.

Yup. Not neo-Nazis, or 'on-the-run' Nazis, but Real Live Been In Power For 70 Or More Years Nazis.

Sorry 1939 John Wyndham, but your storyline just got HEAVILY Jossed.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

Bizarrely, Is Not Feeling Guilty

June 4th, 2011 (08:51 pm)

current mood: cheerful

I've been going through and weeding my bookshelves over the past 2-3 days. And I'm not currently huddled in a little ball on the floor, sobbing about destruction and desecration, which is pretty much an absolute first for me. (I've weeded before, but mostly only in a half hearted manner where books got banished off to a little pile in my cupboard, or "donated" off to my parents/siblings shelves)

Of course, I wasn't absolutely ruthless. Pretty much every title I picked up I looked at, flicked through, and listened to see if there were any second thoughts. Second thoughts gets you put back on the shelf, even for "it might be nice" or "I'm still not ready yet".

I removed a bunch of duplicates - all the ones I had unknowingly (damn you, UNSW Book Fair and your 50c paperbacks!), and a couple of ones I very knowingly had. The starred Harry Potters are going. It's all right, I still have my copy of Sorceror's Stone, the 4 original adult edition covers, the original cover paperbacks up to OotP and all the hardcovers.

I also have ruthlessly removed pretty much all of the random paperbacks I bought at the Book Fair and thought might be interesting, and discovered I really didn't care for. And the old Star Trek novels I've got got cut back to "actually have plots I like" or "are hilariously slashy" or "are the ST:TMP novelisation, and thus contain Roddenberry's own Slashy Comments".

A bunch of my old school books I was holding onto for sentimental reasons went too. There're still some left, but they're the ones I actually like. That weeding had happened previously, but I never had to do it to my HSC texts, so they were all still there. They're all gone now - the only HSC text I've 'kept' is Brave New World, and I actually used Dad's school copy for that.

It very odd, but I actually am quite happy. And a bunch of books have suddenly acquired Shelf Homes which did not have them before (mostly new ones, but also a couple of old ones that got bumped last time I rearranged). And my 'to read' pile is down to only 20-something books, and I'm already on top of the reading for the next two months of review groups.

Donation. It's good for the soul.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

Last Remnants of Imperial Measurement

May 27th, 2011 (07:39 am)

Australia. Home of utterly confusing social rules.

We're a metric country. Extremely metric - we switched over 40 years ago, and good luck getting half the population to admit they even know all the names of the old measurements.

However, there are just a few tatters still holding on...

You can still buy a pint of beer. However, most places around here you buy a schooner, instead. It's a glass name, which is a crazy-filled jargon over here.

Athlete heights are still in feet and inches, especially if the commentator is old. Unless they're over 2 metres, when every centimetre over is proudly noted.

Newborn babies are reported in pounds and ounces, and cm of length. However, young people are functionally unable to tell you how much that baby's absolute weight is in a real measurement, only whether it's a big or small baby.

Zahri Seb Melitor [userpic]

(no subject)

May 23rd, 2011 (07:28 pm)
Tags: ,

current mood: excited

I've joined the exciting ranks of car ownership (see my carbon footprint explode).

It's a Blue Honda Jazz, and very cute. I got it this weekend - I spent Sunday frantically going around websites trying to sort out insurance and rego and the loan and roadside assistance and Sydney tolls.

And I looked up the nearest RTA centre to work and went down there at lunch (much to the surprise of my boss, who didn't even know there was one in the area) and got my rego transferred.

I've got Third Party Fire and Theft insurance, since I'm under 25 still and paying full car insurance would be a massive chunk of my annual income.

I've got NRMA Roadside Assistance and an E-Tag coming in the mail, for Sydney driving.

My car's in my name and the Rego and Greenslip aren't due till February (Yay!).

I've calculated approximately my annual costs for rego and insurance and set up a fortnightly debit into a savings account to cover it.

I set up a hangar in my file box for all my car documents.

I've reworked my budget in greater detail and set up direct debits for my board and paying off this loan.

I've already stashed a blanket and full change of clothes in a bag in my boot, and bought a street directory for the car. I'm still in the process of setting up a first aid kit and jump bag.

I went ahead and set up a First Home Buyer Savings account because they have awesome interest, and have done a super detailed budget of my next three pays so that I can juggle getting $1000 into this account by the end of the financial year (30 June) as well as make my first car repayment. I've also set up a fortnightly deposit for all of next year to maximise the government contribution next year.

I'm desperately hanging out for July so that I can lodge my tax return (I should be getting a decent wad back to put on the loan).

I'm very busy being oh so good about this car, yes, but every time I think of it I smile. Once I get the loan paid off I can stop fretting, and that should be achieveable by Christmas.

Next project: Moving Out.