zeborah: Zebra in grass smelling a daisy (gardening)
Yellow is a cheerful colour but still subject to gravity.

After the summer solstice the sun begins to sink a little lower every day in the sky. By autumn it hangs predominantly in the leaves of certain deciduous trees, and from there it falls even further so that you see the sun not in the sky (which has in the meantime turned grey with clouds) but rather scattered on the ground around the treetrunks. The rain may also wash finer particles into cracks in the pavement, or drifts lining the gutters. From this point, all the yellow leaches deep into the ground to hibernate.

When winter is over it springs up again, first as daffodils still near the ground, then in the gorse shrubs and kowhai trees. And from these flowers the honeybees collect it and fly it still further up, and once more the sun rises higher every day into the summer sky.

This is why you should never eat the yellow snow, because doing so will leave less sun for the new year.
zeborah: Zebra standing in the middle of the road (urban)
In Christchurch, even on an overcast day I have to wear sunglasses against the glare. (Not on all cloudy days; there's just a certain kind of high cloud.) In Melbourne, it seems to be frequently very comfortable for me to not wear sunglasses even when it's perfectly fine.

Also, at the conference I was at yesterday the air conditioning had been turned on a little too well, so at lunchtime when I was talking to someone we went out and talked in the sun. We were there about half an hour. In the full summer sun at noon. What was I thinking? --And yet I didn't get burned.

--

I bailed on the conference early due to the last session being of no interest to me whatsoever, either professional or personal, and instead took the opportunity to go find the Koorie Heritage Trust which otherwise would have been permanently scheduled against all my other conferences. Unfortunately baggage allowances these days limit you per bag as well as by weight, which I hadn't paid attention to before choosing the bag I'm travelling with, but I got a few books I should be able to squeeze in.

Got back to the hotel and changed shoes, then met my co-traveller who had hired a car and conceived the notion of going around to see the penguins come in from the sea at sunset. I'm not yet used to the scale of things here, which is not a reference so much to the rush hour traffic out of Melbourne or the two hour trip (although I did eventually realise that the reason my backbrain was convinced that we were heading north, even though the setting sun was on my right at the time, was because in Canterbury if you've got the sea to your right then you're heading north) as to expecting there to be a couple dozen people hanging around on a beach watching these penguins come in. Instead there were a few hundred, sitting in actual amphitheatres and well outnumbering the penguins.

The penguin place keeps calling them the "little penguins" which I thought was just, you know, being cute for the tourists, until I saw them next to the seagulls massed on the shore. In the end I'm not sure which of the two species were actually bigger, but the penguins would definitely collect in little groups before venturing through the gauntlet of seagulls. So tiny.

(No photos of penguins allowed, though jerks kept trying. So I got a blurry sunset photo on the way, and then a blurry photo of a bird which my backbrain promptly decided was a cassowary. Was my backbrain right? Is it possible to tell anything from this photo? Maybe it's a moa.)

--

Woke this morning with a sore throat which I'm going to treat like it's dehydration rather than early onset con-crud, because the latter would be a blasted nuisance given that I've got three conferences still to attend next week.

So far have visited/attended things at three separate universities, two of which are in walking distance from me and basically next door to each other. Monday is at a fourth, and then I think the next ones are back at universities I've already been at. [ETA: Oh no, just realised Monday's conference isn't at the university, it's at the university's conference centre here in the CBD. So disappoint!]
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
It was originally predicted to be Snowpocalypse 2: Worse Than 1992!!!! and the supermarkets accordingly are all out of bread. Therefore all of yesterday it merely rained.

When I got up this morning it was raining particularly miserably so I took some extra clothes to change into at work if I got too drenched. Normally I shut Boots out of the living areas during the day, because she has a tendency to accidentally set off the burglar alarm (I don't even know how but she does), but when she saw I was going she said, "Yeah, not today, bubs," and went back to the bedroom to curl back up on my warm waterbed.

This seemed fair enough.

It started snowing on the way to work. By the time I got out there it was thick enough (though not yet settling) that the bus driver was saying if it kept up they'd be off the road within an hour. So (having shaken a quantity of snow to the floor) I relayed this to the boss, and about quarter of an hour later she decided to send home anyone who doesn't live in the local township, and offered me a lift back.

By the time we got back into town it was definitely sticking, in a slushy way. I've brought in Boots' litterbox, swept my porch, and turned on the kettle and the gasfire. Boots remains curled up on the waterbed but she'll probably exchange it for my lap once it's warm enough here in the living room.

Now to catch up on a few hundred journal articles and do some planning for that rapidly-approaching conference paper....
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (New Zealand zebra)
I do feel for those with no heating or indoor plumbing (portaloos in this weather, eek!) but it is quite lovely to have a snowday myself and be able to spend it with friends (who I stayed last night with, and would have gone to work with) and their baby and young cats. (In fact I'm basically snowed in with them, since public transport is stopped until further notice.)

The cats have been playing in the snow with adorable enthusiasm, running in it, pouncing on it, hiding in it, batting it around. The baby has been watching it fall with wide eyes, the way he likes watching screensavers or the flames in their woodburner. And we had a snowfight and made a snowman and my friend made a snow angel. And then we came inside and shook the snow off (I had to comb out my hair again) and had hot chocolate in front of the fire.

Typing from my friend's laptop, having left mine of the dodgy battery at home. Shame I can't see how my own cat is dealing with the cold stuff, but this is lovely company to be spending such a day with.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
It looks like my water is in fact settling into the "works at night, is turned off during the day while water folk work on faults" routine. Before I was quite certain of this, however, it started raining and I grabbed the bits of fencing that the neighbour's chimney had knocked down:

New Water System

At first the rain was light but it grew heavier; I emptied one bucket a) doing some non-essential cleaning b) with the byproduct of cleaning the bucket of accumulated dirt the rain had washed off the fencing into it. I've put the bucket back out and am hopeful the resulting rainwater will be clean enough to wash dishes in (I wouldn't drink it - I don't know what's in that paint). The other bucket wasn't quite full and I had nothing to do with it right then and it was dark, so I left it there while pondering the opportunities overnight. Maybe wash my hair? [livejournal.com profile] kyhwana also suggests the addition of a tarp for cleanliness and greater coverage; I've got a good sheet of plastic in the garage which I'll dig out tomorrow if it's still raining.

In other news, I'm disappointed by the Sandbaggers DVDs: every time I try to convert the DVDs to my region I get told the disks have "Bad Sectors". I know, I know, I'm supposed to be playing them on my all-region DVD player which just happens to not have a working TV connected to it. I'll try them on my parents' tomorrow and see if it's a general error or some cunning new DRM technique.

This evening continued to gather data on the relative startlingness of big vs small aftershocks.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes falling off (stress and confusion)
It's midday, and already 33°. Forecast for 36°. Australians may laugh, but 32° was the highest I ever knew through my teens; we've maybe had 34° a few times since; 36° is “Wait, what? Here?" The air is thick and heavy to breathe

My painter, who I swear told me he could use plastic to pull my plants away from the house himself, has now left a message that I need to trim them back. I got the message last night and thought “I guess that's what I'll be doing tomorrow afternoon," but it looks like I won't be doing them until evening at least.

Doing my grocery shopping, I picked up an ice block and ate it in gulps waiting for the bus. it was a five-minute bus trip home, during which time I heard the bus radio dispatch guy gives instructions to two bus drivers about cooling down their engines. My bus driver wouldn't open the roof hatch (apparently some of them end up blowing off) but drove with the doors open instead.

Currently I have my curtains closed, and a damp cloth wrapped around ice around my neck. (This is far more effective than my method, last hot day, of differing the cloth in a bowl of water and ice: the cloth's water evaporated and the ice melted. This way the melting ice keeps the cloth wet and cool.)
zeborah: Zebra in grass smelling a daisy (gardening)
In battling with my RSI I've resorted to a mixture of wonderful amounts of catch-up reading, ridiculous amounts of TV, and rare amounts of gardening.

I've nearly finished weeding the cracks in the bricks that run a path around the roses in my back garden. Granted the cracks I weeded first are now sprouting new grass again, but in the meantime I've discovered bricks I didn't even know existed for being buried under the encroaching lawn. Also in the meantime the plums, peaches, and grapes are ripening - I even ate a particularly early plum yesterday. But it got to 32 degrees outside (my thermometer claims 29 inside) so even my usual practice of going out for a few minutes then coming back in seems insufficient to avoid sunstroke.

(A flannel with cold water helps, though it dries amazingly quickly.)

So I read more than usual today, lounged on the bed in the coolest room in the house while the cat attempted to aestivate on the windowsill. I finished two books (an easy and fun YA and a classic that alas didn't have a plot to my taste but nevertheless told its plot extremely well) and... well, one gets tired of reading. Especially because holding the pages open anything less than carefully actually places a certain strain on one's wrists which one doesn't notice when one isn't battling RSI.

And unfortunately today I ran out of Boston Legal DVDs (need to visit my sister to borrow the next season) and the TV's marathon of Queen Seondeok has expired so I only get one hour a day instead of four. (I could rave about both series but even with my microbreak software on high my wrist is protesting.)

I would also love to be writing right now, but, well, I may have overdone it a bit yesterday.

[Software-enforced break during which I make the bed]

<remembers some video files my brother copied for me>

<on reflection, turns microbreak software up even higher>
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
I have this cunning plan that if I go to bed when it gets dark (currently around 9pm; my cunning plan is not suited for winter time) and then get up early (I think it's getting dawnlike not much after 5am and I don't need much light to shower) then I never have to turn on the lights and I can save about 20cents worth of electricity or something. The main problem with this is that I'm constitutionally uninclined to go to bed much before 11pm, so two weeks of attempting to implement my cunning plan has met with limited success.

Last night however I didn't go to bed very late, so this morning I got up at 6am instead of 6:45 and:
  • washed my hair
  • hung out the laundry
  • made breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • caught up with DW/LJ/other RSS feeds
  • fought crime
  • and left at 7:39 for my bus to work.
On the downside, my laundry seems to be summoning some serious rainclouds.
zeborah: Vuvuzela concert: This is serious art. (art)
Four little starlings sitting on the gutter:
Cat jumps up and sets them all aflutter.
Four little starlings sitting on the aerial:
Cat jumps up and they fly to realms ætherial.

(No aerials were harmed in the making of this verse. The cat in question was actually sitting, oblivious, on my lap.)

Hey, everyone, it's sunny today! The wind's still coming from the vicinity of Antarctica but the sky is blue and the sun is casting shadows! It makes me look at a car and go, "Squee, it's so blue!" and look at rhododendrons and go, "Squee, they're so red!" It's probably for the best that there are no double rainbows in evidence or I might explode of squee.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Before I begin to calibrate it I need to decide which will give the more accurate results:

a) measuring from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail; or

b) measuring from the front paws to the back paws?

Also, how do I get the cat to hold still?
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
It's all the fault of the petrol companies.

Don't be silly, Zeborah, say the sceptics. What does global warming have to do with the gallons of rain pouring down on the country, closing roads everywhere except in Stewart Island, causing power outages, and necessitating evacuations?

Well, that too. But no, my discovery is subtly different. You see, I finally went to clear my mailbox today, which I hadn't cleared since before this rain started a few days ago. I found two Stars, a Christchurch Mail, a bunch of soggy fliers, and, right above the wistful real estate agent's flier, so soggy I had to scratch it off the bottom of the mailbox, was a car-shaped card labelled, "half price megawash at BP Connect Edgeware".

Oh you fools. You poor poor fools. I understand those sceptical of global warming, but never, ever underestimate the power of Murphy's Law.

(Video of a tree being blown over at a Nelson street intersection.)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
This is an annoying kind of lethargic where I feel perfectly fine up until the point where I'm half-way through the chill rain to the library, at which I decide I wanna go home. I don't go home because my books are due today and it's impossible to renew one's books; I believe they've even gone back to calling the "extended loan charges" an oldfashioned "fine".

So I returned my books and got new ones and decided to stay in the warm mall for a bit because The Warehouse had DVDs on special and I wanted to buy a card for a friend. Only it turns out that when I'm feeling tired I'm even less likely to buy anything because I don't have the energy to tell myself, "Yes, you really *do* want that and it really *is* a good price." (This is like how alcohol does not release my inner creativity, it only suppresses my ability to suppress the Internal Editor.)

I did manage to get some juice, a Danish and some lollies from the supermarket, but I fled when my disquiet at the gradual dismantling of the pick 'n' mix grew ever more anxious, wan, with every additional "Special" sticker I saw. Fortunately the brand spanking new equipment at the cash registers relieved any lingering paranoiac fears that They were secretly closing down the entire supermarket.

On the way home I fancied that the rain was rather thick and white. Gradually I became aware that it was in fact snow. O Antarctica, why?

If I call in sick again on Monday I'll miss the 'on-track chat' with my boss, which would be good because I haven't been in long enough since we set the appointment to prepare for it. But most likely I'll feel good enough to go until I've been there for two or three hours and am looking forward with dread to the rest of a long week. Gah. Dear body: sick or not sick; make up your mind.

Hmm. I don't appear to have a tag for "wangst". Shall I add one? Too lethargic to decide.

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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