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The Waparian Slog
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Date:2008-01-10 17:51

As ever, I have returned from the yearly Family Summer Beach Holiday.

For a simple rundown, I spent the first week sleeping and the second visiting obscure relatives, with some breaks for swimming, reading, and watching and listening to assorted electronic media. Thanks to a cyclone further North, there were fewer swimming breaks than I had hoped for, but what the hell. I do this every year.

Minor things of note include a girl who worked in the bakery where I got lunch on a regular basis and the fact that my father has outdone himself in losing my respect by taking zoom-lens shots of bikini-wearing girls from our cabin. But there you are.

The book of most note that I read while I was gone was one by Greg Egan, Schild's Ladder.

With the exception of H.G. Wells, Greg Egan is the best science fiction writer. Or possibly the writer of the best science fiction. Certainly he writes the purest science fiction. And it is good. I challenge you to read Teranesia, Schild's Ladder, and of course the Big One, Diaspora.

Another revelation is that Egan's shit is the exact opposite of the science fiction that English departments enjoy. See, science fiction is great at showing how technology can negate certain aspects of human nature, and the average Humanities person loves that bullshit, but most of them forget how fucking evil human nature can be. Greg Egan's stuff tends to remember this point. No doubt they react the same way my old Fundie friends did when I made the logical point that, if it was okay for us to see something as violent as The Matrix because movie violence didn't effect us after years of exposure, it would be better to expose our hypothetical future children to as much nudity and sex as we possibly could so that they wouldn't have to worry about sinning if they wanted to look at naked people having sex.

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Date:2007-12-25 22:10
Subject:A belated gift from me to you~

I didn't make this, but then you don't think your parents made you that [insert favourite childhood present here], do you?

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Date:2007-12-24 15:20
Subject:2007 In Review: A Long, Good Year. Also, Qualified Bullshit Artist

There's lots of things everybody gets wrong. Clarke's 3rd Law has become my favourite example - technologies indistinguishable from magic may be developed, but they won't go very far until they stop looking like magic and start looking like technology because almost every fairy tale's moral can be boiled down to "DO NOT fuck around with magic", but another one is the idea that time flies when you're having fun and drags when you're bored.

This is bullshit. I've spent most of my life terminally bored, and it flies by. It's one of the reasons I'm determined to avoid boring work; I wanna live as long as I can, and I'd rather that be subjective.

On that note, since I've fallen in with interesting people, this year's been a long one, in which I've fallen in lust, fallen in love and had relationships - not necessarily in that order, mind you, but at least now I know what I'm dealing with. I've found people who I can roleplay with, again, and more importantly people I can loan and discuss books with. THAT is a rare thing, and excellent for my funds [Insert generic bitching about the ridiculous price of books in Australia here].

And most of all, I've finally graduated (I would do that the first year I've had what you'd call a proper University Experience).

So I let The Sister shave my head (not going all the way - after my mother gave me a look of such utter pitiable dejectedness, I just didn't have the heart) and rocked up to the ceremonies. I then discovered two important facts:

1) While the mortarboard is a cool hat, it is nothing next to the ones they give PhD's - those bad-boys are mortarboards designed by and for pimps, and I almost want to keep going just so I can get one.

2) H.P Lovecraft's exact double is one of the faculty in the University of Wollongong.

Merry Christmas, all.

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Date:2007-12-10 00:25
Subject:Why I go to flea-markets

So I'm not really as big a fan of all that is kitsch and tawdry as some might think. But every so often I find something like this:

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My God, the pulp, it's like eating a pomelo! All it needs is an exclamation mark at the end of every block of text and a scantily-clad woman with a pageboy haircut, and it would be perfect.

So naturally I brought it home, sat down and read the whole thing.

Hahahah, those WACOs!

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Date:2007-12-05 08:08
Subject:Graduating for sure.

Well, it's finally happened, and I'm set to graduate on the 18th of December.

Um. Yay?

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Date:2007-12-04 00:05
Subject:Almost certainly graduating... shit?

Well, it's one day away from finding out whether or not I graduate, but there's a good chance. Somehow I comfortably passed the subject I thought I was failing, got a credit in the one I didn't actually study for and got a conceded pass in the one I liked, possibly because I was so puppy-dog-esque in my enthusiasm. I'm now about 24 hours away from finding out if that's enough, but since the numbers I counted up a while back say I'm good so long as I pass one subject, it looks like I'm set to be a B.A. Now what the hell do I do?

Hey, if all else fails I could go be an assistant English teacher in Japan (did I hear somebody say "weaboo"...?). That'd give me another year or so to figure shit out, and I'm still regretting not taking a year off in the first place...but then that one was all because of the stupid government upping the stupid uni fees, possibly imperiling my ability to get through debt-free. (This is why I voted for the Communists...well, this and the fact that the choice was between the chubby, bald and bespectacled Howard and the stocky, balding and bespectacled Rudd, with their respective parties looking about as different.)

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Date:2007-11-13 12:17
Subject:On the Writings of Harlan Ellison


This is a man who can write. Read his works. READ THEM!

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Date:2007-11-09 09:06
Subject:Now what?

So I'm done with another semester. If I went well enough I get to graduate this December, and figure out what the hell I'm meant to do now. If not, well, I've got another Semester. C'est la Vie, as they are thought to say in France.

Now what?

Well, there's my shiny new Social Life of course. But until the parties start next week, I shall probably be doing a spot of reading, maybe a little writing. Next week there's a good chance I'll head to the city to see about getting some more nonfiction. Otherwise, my laziness abounds.

Have fun, all~

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Date:2007-10-24 09:00
Subject:No NaNo for me

No, really, I just don't feel the need for it. Not out of a lack of inspiration, mind you. After chasing my flighty little bimbo of a muse into the city or reading those interminable, expensive cultural studies or history tomes (the academic stuff, worse luck) she refuses to shut up. If I keep this sort of thing up, I won't be setting time aside to write, just to do other things, things like eating, sleeping and socialising. NaNo is just not all that interesting this year.

Now back to the Essay of Lateness. For once my bimbo muse is willing to work with me rather than against me, and the only unrelated thought that keeps sneaking into my head is the fact that that Interesting Girl seems to be Interested, at least according to my more observant friends.

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Date:2007-10-16 12:26
Subject:Did You Know...?

That this country's poultry business is in the grip of what I like to call The Australian Chicken Cartel?

It's true.

One may find parallels to the Dutch East India Company, if one remembers to avoid bothersome, impractical things such as fact and research.

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Date:2007-10-14 22:15
Subject:You know what sucks?
Mood: aggravated

Seeing an old friend for the first time in years, and discovering that in your absence they've turned into a complete tool.

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Date:2007-10-02 22:20
Subject:Spring: Awkward and bothersome but otherwise cool, and a time for reflections on divers media

Ah, spring. Season of transition. The days are getting longer, the flowers are out, and my head has swelled to the size of a small car.

Spring is all contradictions. Theoretically it's all the good bits of summer with none of the bad (to wit: the sure and certain knowledge that winter will arrive, heatstroke, and suspiciously cancerous moles digging up the garden). In practice, it's all-day headaches because you slept under a big, feathery doona, hay fever, and above all else, bogon moths.

Ye gods, the moths are back. A year was almost enough to forget how horribly annoying those little bastards are this time of year. Try staying up to finish that last chapter, and you'll hear them, fluttering and bumping around in their mad idiot bid for freedom. Turn the light off, and they'll land on your pillow and crawl all over your face. The only sure way to extract them is to turn off the light, turn on the light in another room, shoo them out, and repeat the process until they reach somewhere safe, like the toilet. Then you creep and curse and trip your way back to bed in darkness and close the door, and if you are a fool you turn on the light and pray the bogans don't find their way in until after you have become safely unconscious.

The daylight is different, too; it has that hard bright purity I usually only notice further up the coast, the kind that outlines every one of the many pores and imperfections in one's horrendous and prematurely-aged-by-reasons-of-acne skin (not the best thing to note when every animal in all creation seems to be getting laid but you, especially when one's sex drive has finally been turned on, with interest). The kind of daylight that stabs you in the eyeball from a million places on our ever-so-shiney automobiles, at least until you shell out for another pair of soon-to-die sunglasses.

And in spite of all that, I really love spring.

Also -

Gurren Lagann episode 27 merits another bout of THIS FUCKING SHOW!!, though only with two exclamation marks due to a lack of certain wicked-cool things being continued for no reason, and a bit of a downer ending. Still, whoever brings it over here's got my money barring sudden crushing poverty or similar.

Stardust is Good, and should be watched by anybody with Taste.

Just as an aside, I happened to download an episode of The Dragon Page to hear what they had to say about Robert Jordan's passing; Michael A. Stackpole mentioned his theory that it is no longer possible to be a Genre God due to the changing circumstances of publishing, meaning that Mr. Jordan could only get to the foothills of the proverbial Olympus as a demi-god. In this, I think Mr. Stackpole is wrong. Jordan's stuff is indeed not Olympian (still a hell of a lot of fun in my opinion), but I'd be willing to put Neil Gaiman up there. William Gibson is certainly there as well, and both of these guys were writing at a similar time to Jordan. The lesson? Those who write like their own selves win.

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Date:2007-09-25 17:34
Subject:Meme: Tarot?

Thieved from ffejle, who apparently ganked it from his aunt.

You are The Sun

Happiness, Content, Joy.

The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.

Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.

The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

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Date:2007-09-24 18:09
Subject:Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Episode 26

THIS FUCKING SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Date:2007-09-17 23:46
Subject:Lessons From Procrastination: Gene Wolfe, ya little scamp!

Book of the New Sun: The Sword of the Lictor (Fantasy Masterworks double-barrelled paperback version with the cover that would be on book 2 if it weren't for the fact that book 2 is in volume 1) Page 241:

"We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last."

Now back to the damn essay of lateness.

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Date:2007-09-14 14:46
Subject:When Clouds Attack!

As words suggest, a gigantic cloud decided to perform a pile driver, right on Sydney. Seriously, a few minutes ago I couldn't see five metres out the window just from the rain.

Well, back to my late late essay...

[editus lateness: It was a hailstorm. I raked up piles of the stuff and threw it into the bin we've been propping open every rain to catch that little bit more water.]

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Date:2007-09-14 09:26
Subject:meme thieved from ffejle

1. Go to http://www.careercruising.com/.
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the top ten results

2.Director of Photography
4.Set Designer
5.Costume Designer
9.Special Effects Technician
10.Desktop Publisher

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Date:2007-09-13 22:07
Subject:Caffiene-free last-minute essaywriting: Same as before, only not unpleasant any more

My experiments in caffeine-free living have generally ended in failure around essay time; this time around I've decided to go without the go-juice the entire time, because it can't be healthy to hammer one's brain up to gibbering madness and back again on a regular basis.

The results are...almost exactly the same, really. Still doing the work incredibly late; still going to bed hideously early, so I can't get a full night's sleep. Still getting the burst of creative insight at the very last minute and burning through the night while I try with varied degrees of success to keep on track rather than write up that fun little fairy tale or speculate on the other implications of what I'm reading there. Still doing fun little things like locking myself in a dark room wrapped in a blanket listening to the same song over and over and over while I type. The only real difference is that I'm not totally insane with legal mind-altering chemicals.

Okay, so this evening after class I slapped one of my male friends on the groin, but that was the punchline to a joke that involved female friends playing gay chicken with one another.

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Date:2007-09-10 21:22
Subject:Free Hug Day, apparently.

This morning when I get to uni, there's a girl with a sign offering free hugs. I go to get a sorely needed notebook, return intending to claim my offered hug, and discover that the girl has gone. Oh well.

Then later that day a bunch of guys are commenting on Free Hug Girl. Today is Free Hug Day, apparently; so I joined them in going to obtain cardboard and a permanent marker, and spent the rest of my break wandering around offering free hugs. More people obliged than I'd expected. I was accused of plagiarism five times, tackled once, and one guy declared me his "hero".

In any case, it's a good warm up for Talk Like A Pirate Day, which is next Wednesday. Oh, there will be much fun that day.

Additionally, I'm rereading The Book of the New Sun. I've been looking forward to this ever since I read it the first time through; it's one of those books that I find only sort of okay the first time, but know that if I open it again it will be one of those "[Author] is HAVING SEX WITH MY BRAIN" experiences. Needless to say, this time through I'm having a ball.

Ultra-minor spoilers that I don't consider really spoilish - the scenes with Jonas in the House Absolute, Jolenta's secret, Morwenna's execution - wow. In this book nothing is exactly what it looks like, and everything seems wrong but when you think about it becomes steadily more fucked up.

Also, it really seems to work with the soundtrack to The Fountain.

But of course I've no time this week to read on from where I've paused, the end of book 2, due to a simply hideous conjunction of Presentation and 2 Essays. Ugh.

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Date:2007-09-04 22:22
Subject:I Do Not Gamble

Monday. I had assumed that there was some manner of essay due this week. I discovered that rather than being able to spend one course's Reading Week playing Munchkin with friends that afternoon, I had in fact already spent it putting together an essay, last week. Furthermore, I was feeling mildly sick - the kind of cold that's just bad enough to put me out of sorts, but not bad enough to complain about in any legitimate fashion. The internet hadn't worked for over a day. And to top it all off, my wallet had vanished.

It turns out that there is no really strenuous uni stuff this week. Reading week for a different course, if I remember rightly. Internet is back, perfectly timed for my desired torrents. I'm still sickish (but again, it's not "my head's full of razor-wool", just "my head is slowly pumped up to three atmospheres of pressure over the course of twelve hours."

And of course, my wallet was found out the back of my workplace. Completely intact and full of cash, in spite of being located near what is apparently a sort of highway for Dubious Teens.

I do not believe in cop-outs. Any story in which they appear will get an immediate frustrated sigh. You know the sigh, it's the one your mother did when you were six years old. "I am irritated and disappointed and frustrated and underwhelmed all at the same time, I cannot slap you for such a minor infraction but very much want to, please just go away!" in a single exhalation.

Right. That's how I feel about cop-outs. I realise that I've been lucky. I realise that cop-outs akin to being Shot In The Cancer have happened to me on a regular basis since I was born, much bigger than just the wallet incident. I still don't like it, trust it or believe it when I see it in serious fiction, and the same goes for a growing number of well-known cliches.

There's something in that.

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