a little east of reality

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

tagged: years ago & five things

10 years ago:
Still working in the office of a small paint brush manufacturer. It was a good company with nice management, but my direct supervisor was a bit of a harpy, bitter at the world because she had been stuck in the same rut for over 20 years. Exactly 10 years ago was a turning point for me actually. I had been there for a decade, but had secretly applied for university and was waiting for the result. By January I had given notice and was finally jumping out of my own rut and into a Bachelor of International Studies.

That supervisor's reaction on finding out I was leaving?
"Oh, how exciting for you!" ??
"Gee, Chosha, we'll miss you." ??

Uh, no. Her first response was, "Great, now I have to hold bloody interviews."
My next thought: "Goodbye, and good riddance!"

4-7 years ago:
Seven years ago I was loving life as a student; working my butt off, but having enormous fun doing it. I worked a few part-time jobs - things like research assistant, tutor, editor, plus some random stuff like child care and car-counting. I got really good marks - much better than in high school - mostly because I had the feeling that I'd given up work and become poor for this, so I better do it right. This was good for me. It made me feel like I could tackle anything.

Four years ago I'd been living in Osaka for almost 18 months working as an English teacher in a senior high school. My favourite indies band had just broken up (in August) and I was just about to randomly come upon the wondrous information that the lead singer and drummer (my favourite two members) had become part of a new band. Delivering that news to my fellow fan-girl friend Roofshadow was rocking good fun. I was seeing a lot of school baseball and soccer, enjoying drum club, not studying enough Japanese and shopping a lot for secondhand CDs.

Working as a policy analyst for the public service. It's good, I like it, but I miss teaching. I've been home in Australia for two years and am living in the cold capital, Canberra. It's a little too quiet. I'm getting used to it, though I'm still glad it's close to Sydney. (Might move to Sydney in a few years.) Sharing with my flatmate Phi, who's generally adorable and cool. Sorely in need of a new hobby. Main goal in life is to be debt-free.

Five yummy things:
1) Wiener schnitzel with mashed potato
2) kakigori with tangy lemon syrup in summer
3) Japanese band boys
4) cherries (no, the fruit, smart alec)
5) Orlando Bloom

Five songs I know by heart:
1) Torn, by Natalie Umbruglia (my favourite karaoke song in English)
2) Say the Word, by Namie Amuro (my favourite karaoke song in Japanese)
3) Believe, by Cher (which I'm going to do at karaoke when I get my voice back)
4) Chatanooga Choo Choo (which my dad and I used to sing when I was little)
5) pretty much any other song I've ever sung more than ten times that has a catchy tune

Five things I would do with a lot of money:
1) buy a house and stop paying rent
2) travel
3) make life a lot easier for my parents
4) do work that I want to do that doesn't pay much, like an internship with David Korten's Yes! magazine, for example. Writing full-time also appeals.
5) hire a personal trainer

Five places I would like to escape to (I'm going to take that as "visit"):
1) Japan (always)
2) LA (to visit friends)
3) Prague (for the centuries of unbombed architecture)
4) Nepal (to see the roof of the world)
5) Thailand (to see the elephant hospital...elephants are so cool)

Five things I would never wear:
1) pocket protector
2) six inch heels
3) pimp daddy bling bling
4) Louis Vitton
5) white jeans (this would be like me wearing a t-shirt that reads: Hi, spill things on me!

Five favorite TV shows:
1) Stargate SG-1
2) Whose Line is it Anyway?
3) Numb3rs
4) Family Guy
5) Will & Grace

Five things I enjoy doing:
1) seeing live rock
2) photo-journalling
3) dinner parties
4) dissecting movies
5) swimming in the ocean

Five Favorite toys:
1) Computer
2) Samsung YH-J70 (mp3 player with video and stuff)
3) Gloomy, the bloodthirsty bear
4) Bratz pirate girl, Raphael
5) digicam

Five people who get this meme:
1) ? Anyone
2) ? in the
3) ? mood
4) ? to
5) ? share.

Bonnie added a 5 things bonus, so I thought I would too. Here are five church signs that made me laugh out loud:

Staying in bed shouting, "Oh God!" does not constitute going to church. (Could be quite a transcendent experience though. ^_^)

Stop, drop & roll does not work in Hell. (Ouch!)

A 4-inch tongue can bring a 6 foot man to his knees. (Uh-huh. How did the preacher not catch that? How?)

Ask us about our vow of silence. (We'll smile and nod and...yep, that's about it.)

Don't give up. Moses was once a basketcase, too. (Cute.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

wow, not burning in hell after all

This was a surprising result. I was honest in my answers and quite expecting to be about as damned as anyone else, but lo and behold, I'm merely being sent to Purgatory, with a promise of Heaven beyond. Whew!

Bit disturbing, though, scoring so high on level 8. Fraudulent? Malicious? Panderer? That's all a bit harsh. I'll freely admit to my other high score - I can be a bit wrathful and gloomy. But the level 8 stuff was a surprise. I saw myself more as slinking in somewhere between levels 2 & 3. But there you go.

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!

You are one of the lucky ones! Because of your virtue and beliefs, you have escaped eternal damnation and made it to Purgatory, a place where the dew of repentance washes off the stain of sin and girds the spirit with humility. Through contrition, confession, and satisfaction by works of righteousness, you must make your way up the mountain. As the sins are cleansed from your soul, you will be illuminated by the Sun of Divine Grace, and you will join other souls, smiling and happy, upon the summit of this mountain. Before long you will know the joys of Paradise as you ascend to the ethereal realm of Heaven.

Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Saturday, November 26, 2005

christmas shopping & a play

Thanks to so many for your get-well messages and encouragement. I really appreciate it.

Today was a great day. I finally seem to be kicking this chest infection in its wretched little butt and so I ventured out to do some Christmas shopping with Phi. I already have his (may I just say, totally kickass) present, so it doesn't matter if he's around to see what ends up in my shopping trolley. I'd tell you what I got him, but he occasionally reads this blog, so shhh...mum's the word. I'll tell you later. Anyone who knows and puts even a hint in the comments will be vaporised. *stern look*

We did some pottering in Autobarn and then headed for a new shopping centre that opened last month, with no idea that torrential rain was waiting. It was absolutely bucketing down, and I was watching so carefully for any kind of break in the rain (so we could run from the car to the shops) that I totally forgot that small, but rather important thing of turning off my headlights. Ack! Needless to say, we spent the half hour after shopping waiting for the roadside assitance guy to come give me a jumpstart. The rain was still crazy and we drove home slowly through streets awash with rainwater. I have to say though - I love the rain. In spite of the hassles it caused us, it also broke the heat and humidity and left us with a cool, pleasant night to sleep in. If I'd just a tad more visibility I would have enjoyed the drive home, splashing through the huge puddles that covered the road, sending water flying.

Speaking of water, one of today's buys was three huge water guns for Gangsta Girl, Drummer Boy and the Keyboard Kid. The weather's so hot at Christmas time that I'm sure they'll immediately be put to good use. My shopping's moving along. It isn't even December yet and I already have more than half of the presents I need to buy. I do need to post a couple of presents overseas this week, but apart from that I am way ahead of schedule. This has NEVER happened before! (To illustrate the point, for Christmas this year one of my friends is getting the present I never got around to posting last year!) Heck, the way I'm going, I may actually get Christmas cards sent this year. That's how weirdly organised I am! I'll make the most of it while it lasts.

Tonight I went to a performance at church that some people put on for the kids. It was a pantomine style production called, 'The Real Story of Thor'. It was actually pretty funny. Prince Charming was hilarious. He explained to Thor that unless someone sings a song about you, your exploits will be forgotten - which is why he has three minstrels following him about in case he has an adventure, so they can write a song about it. Sadly though he was a total coward and an inept fighter, so he stopped often during the adventure to tell a minstrel, "don't write about that." Thor fights trolls and makes his way through thick fog to the dwelling place of the immortals, facing their 3 challenges to receive immortality. There's a princess (Rapunzel, whose hair they put to good use getting down a cliff face) for good measure, who ends up in love with Thor because Charming is so useless. Good fun.

Monday, November 21, 2005

update from the missing blogger girl

Hello All

Wow. The month that was supposed to be all about writing for me has turned out to be the month where I wrote almost nothing - not even on my blog. I can't replace every day I've missed out on blogging, but here's an attempt to fill in some gaps:

In terms of the ultimate goal of NaNoWriMo ~ a novel of 50,000 words ~ I have completely failed, and the remaining nine days of November are unlikely to change that. However, I have written some 6000 words; sadly not all towards the same story. Out of my two seperate attempts to start, though, I have one piece that I think I can actually send off as a short story with just a little extra work, and an idea that is good, but needs a lot of development. But then that idea is for a novel-length story, so it's not much of a surprise that 4000 words doesn't really cover it. This was my first attempt at writing so fast and furious, and I really wasn't very good at it. But I'm glad that something workable is emerging from the effort, and there's always next year.

The main reason I've not been blogging:
I've already written how sick I was on my recent holiday. That cough lingered even after I had made most of my recovery, and I just couldn't shake it. About a week and a half ago it developed again into a full-blown chest infection. It was difficult to breathe fully without coughing and it's been impossible to get any good sleep. I've missed some work, and shambled through life tired all the time. I did get a little reading done, but most of my time has been spent either trying to get through the day-to-day (cooking, laundry, work, church), or doing brainless things that require no effort or input from me, like watching seasons 3 & 4 of Family Guy.

But the good news is:
I've gotten hold of a strong anti-biotic and am on the mend. Last night I got my first good night's sleep in several days, only waking up twice during the night. This was because yesterday the congestion in my chest finally started breaking up. Sure, it's disgusting to cough this stuff out of your system, but I feel SOOO much better today, because I've had some proper sleep and because I can breathe normally.

Friday, November 11, 2005

remembrance day

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


There's a thunderstorm raging a little in the distance. Here we are getting the heavy rain and seeing a great show of sheet lightning , followed by the crash boom of the thunder. We had the doors open to let that fresh new rain smell come through on the breeze. I love the sound of the rain falling, especially when it's pouring down like tonight.

Sorry for the lack of posting over the last few days. I'd love to say it's because I've written so many words in my NaNoWriMo challenge, but it isn't. Just busy and tired. Still, I have a few posts in draft that I'll post over the next few days, as well as updating my word count. I can't believe how many words some people have already written - hopefully I'll catch up somewhere in the middle when their fingers get tired. ^_~

It's late. I best hit the hay or I'll fall asleep right here in this chair. And that won't be good.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

all hail lewis - html god & all-round nice guy

Well here I am with my NaNoWriMo button and word counter up and ready to go just in time for the start of National Novel Writing Month, and I owe it all to Lewis and his excellent html advice. I also used his HTML FAQ's for Bloggers post to change my template so that now my links open in new windows.

I'm very much the trial-and-error queen when it comes to html. I started with a ready-made template and then played with the hex numbers until it had the colour scheme you now see. Other changes are more tricky, because you have to figure which bit of someone's source code relates to the bit of their blog that you think is uber-cool.

In this case it was Lewis' word counter and he was kind enough to let me use his code. I know that technically I could have just taken the 'view source' route without asking, but I appreciate not having to do that. I changed it a little, but mostly for colour and alignment...nothing snazzy.

Thanks Lewis, and good luck to everyone who's taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge! I can't wait to get started. Unfortunately it will have to wait another six hours or so until work is finished. Dratted work - always inconvenient. :)