Monday, May 30, 2005

That's quite enough of that.

Ok, no more of that political nonsense. Now we're onto some serious issues.
I was inspired by comments that evolved on Grace's site, and I think its time to ask some real questions. The hard questions, if you will, in the manner of a very serious investigatory journalist type of person.

Who would win:

1) Buffy vs. Xena
2) Wolverine vs. Superman
3) Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Blade
4) Danger Mouse vs. Hong Kong Phooey
5) Batman vs. The Punisher
6) Elektra vs. Mystique
7) James Bond (Mr Connery or Mr Brosnan) vs. Jason Bourne
(more to come, as soon as I think of them)

I know who my money is on.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

In which Claire disagrees with the leader of the Green Party.

Today on campus, as part of the department's election year carry-on, we had some MPs talk about foreign policy. Given that I study international relations, I thought it might be interesting to have a wee listen, so I toddled off to do some learning.
There was one MP from the Progressive party, one from United Future, and the co-leader of the Green Party. They all had interesting things to say, especially about NZs relationship with China (the official one-China policy versus the unspoken-everybody-knows-it two-China policy), and relations with the US; from our nuclear free stand in the 80s, to our refusal to go along with the invasion of Iraq. Admittedly the group was heavily leaning towards the left of things, and while I'm a bit of a lefty myself, I also believe that you can use institutions to your own advantage, rather than completely disregarding them.
Rod Donald, co-leader of the Green Party, was talking about the Green's vision for foreign policy in the future, and he had some very good points. I think a lot of what he had to say was founded in good intentions and strong principles, unfortunately I can think of several arguments against him, especially regarding trading ties with China and their history of human rights abuses, poor governance and occupation of Tibet. I think he was arguing that we sever ties with them until they sort themselves out, but admittedly when he was talking about that I was writing notes to the person next to me.
One thing he talked about as the foundation of the Green's foreign policy was the concept of "peace through development", which is something I think has huge potential, and is a far more valuable approach than post-conflict engagement like peacekeeping and reconstruction. Everybody knows that prevention is better than cure.
I asked him how the party planned on implementing this policy, as in what sort of bodies they would work through for this development to occur. He listed various UN bodies and bilateral organisations, and when I asked about the WTO I was met with a shocked expression, as if to say "get out of my sight you damn corporate drone". He pretty much said he would completely discount the WTO as providing any useful development structure, and then when I asked him about the World Bank he looked even more horrified and said that now Wolfowitz was taking over there would be pretty much no hope for any of the Bretton Woods institutions to do any good for anyone ever, except multinationals and governments of rich countries. Then he started on about structural adjustment so I left.

The thing that I disagreed with was the whole notion of discounting these huge organisations with buckets of money, that have all the infrastructure in place and most of the resources required to enable development to a level sufficient to achieve the Millenium Development Goals, to make trade fair, to put an end to hunger, to give people jobs so they are less inclined to join a militia, to increase their wages so they aren't inclined to steal from their neighbours.
The WTO has conditions attached to membership that relate to workers rights and protection of industries. If these rules were strictly enforced, it wouldn't have nearly as bad a reputation as it does.
The World Bank has billion of dollars available for development, it has more influence over most economies than anyone likes to admit, and if it were staffed with willing bodies, it could be a force for change unrivalled.
These organisations are huge, they are global and they are rich as fuck. They're not going away any time soon, so lets use them to our advantage.

Here endeth the rant.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The theory of relativity explained. Or not.

Tuesday night I left my office about 10pm. Got loads of work done, and all was well. I went home, had some kai and watched Angel. Yay.
Wednesday night I left my office about 6.30pm. I felt like I had just climbed a mountain, and I could barely make it around the supermarket without collapsing in the bananas.
Fucked if I know.
The good news is that I've managed to clear some of the crap out of my office, and have now got my papers down to 10 file boxes.
Speaking of ten, its that many weeks today until I depart these shores for my New York adventure. Oh fuck.

News just in: LTSA are dicks.
I have had my sexy beast of a car for three and a half years now, and so I reckon this was the seventh time I've taken it in for a WOF. On the windscreen, there is a tiny little chip that hasn't grown whatsoever in the whole time I've had the car, not even when I got all those chips in the paintwork driving up the Huka valley and to the Rob Roy glacier. This time however, the car-inspector guy busted me on it, and said not only do I have to get the windscreen chip fixed before he can issue a warrant, but I have to get a new seatbelt in the back of the car. Theres the most miniscule amount of fraying on it, barely noticeable, but because LTSA are being such dicks, it has to be replaced. Suck.
I went to the windscreen shop, and the nice man there called my insurance company and got me a free brand new windscreen. Yay for him.
Then I went to get a new seatbelt, and $120 later, I get my warrant. Plus $90 odd dollars for the warrant itself and three months registration. I might have to take a stroll down Manchester St to raise money for my airfare.

I'm kind of looking forward to not having a car when I get to Syracuse. Plus, they drive on the wrong side of the road, so I'd crash in about ten minutes.

Backward bloody nations.
What have I got myself in for?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Its only forever, not long at all...

Things I am doing this week:
(and yes, I am developing somewhat of a list fetish)
1) Finishing writing a chapter for a book. Yes, that same chapter I have been going on about for weeks.
2) Starting to pack up my office. I took 7 boxes of books out to the hangar on Sunday; get to my office on Monday morning to discover another 30 books. Plus theres about 20 file boxes of papers, three stacks of papers about a foot high each, and three drawers full of miscellaneous but I'm sure also very useful crap.
3) Finding a home for my sofa and dining table. Any takers?
4) Finishing one research project so that when the essays arrive next week I can mark them without feeling all guilty.
5) Finding out where I can get adapter plugs/transformers for all my stuff so that when I get to America it won't all explode because of the different current.
6) Doing a little dance. (check.)
6) Learning to count.
7) Discovering cold fusion.
8) Doing the Coast to Coast.
9) Walking on water
10) Winning the Nobel Prize for Economics.

I'm aiming for a 50% strike rate. Who wants to bet?

Friday, May 20, 2005


do I not have any money
are my arms so freaking long
do I get indigestion at the same time every day, no matter what I had for lunch and no matter what time I had lunch
do birds suddenly appear
is abbreviation such a long word
doesn't Viggo love me
are my socks wet
are we here
am I not at the pub
is Blogger being a cunty bastard
does my computer try and play me the same songs every day
does my hair go all boofy
do mean stupid people run the world
do nice guys finish last
does it cost so much to fly anywhere
can't I get a puppy
do people make computer viruses
am I not in Fiji
do people buy white sugar when it is nasty and raw sugar is so much nicer and healthier
do restaurants insist on putting raw onion in, and thereby spoiling, a perfectly good salad
is my office such a mess
are tampons taxed as a luxury item
does nail polish never stick to my fingernails or toenails
is Monty Python still funny when I have seen it all loads of times
did the Beatles split up
are some people just so damn ugly
do I have so many books
isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds
do people take themselves too seriously
isn't everybody smiling
can't I buy trousers that cover my bum instead of those skanky hipsters that leave half your arse hanging out for the world to see
am I not Prime Minister of the world
am I hungry when I had lunch an hour and a half ago
are schoolchildren not taught formal grammar anymore
are people who are mean to dogs not tortured with hot pokers
can't I offload information that still lives in my head but that I don't need anymore


Thursday, May 19, 2005

The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven....

Dave has got the shits at me for comparing Star Wars characters to Shakespearean characters. I think he thinks I compared Episode III to Shakespeare.
So, it got me thinking about Mr Waggledagger ( get it? pretty funny...ok maybe not.)
Hence the title of this post.
Poll time: favourite quote from The Bard?

My own favourite:
Juliet: Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Romeo: I am here, Juliet, in my shoes of vinyl,
to take you to see the grand final.

Also, I got one of these.
Yay for shiny new toys.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Help me Obi Wan, you're my only hope...

Last night: Revenge of the Sith.
The verdict? I thought it was cool. Admittedly when I go to the pictures I tend not to be too critical, given that I am such a big fan of the whole experience, in fact nine times out of ten I get so excited about the previews that I forget what I have come to see.
It was a bit violent, and pretty dark, but really, what did one expect. Its the one where the baddies win. The good news is the dialogue is better. No more "I don't like sand" type bollocks.
And Anakin is good. Anyone who claims that the lovely Hayden cannot act needs to go and rent Life as a House, in which Hayden is not only impressive under his own steam, but is especially so given who his co-star is. Who remembers when Ally McBeal got Robert Downey Jr on to boost their ratings? It was a self-defeating move, because he is such a good actor that all the others on the show ended up looking fairly average.
Kevin Kline is another of these actors who is so understatedly brilliant, that those around him pale in comparison. In Life as a House however, Hayden holds his own, and proves that the woodenness of Episode II was not due to any lack of talent, but rather a rubbish script. Given that the script of Episode III is better, Hayden is better too. And yes, he is well fit.
But there is more to Episode III than Anakin, and the fight scenes are cool, and the movie is not bogged down in FX, and Ewan McGregor is an awesome Obi Wan, and Padme is so pretty and tragic she's like Ophelia, in fact Anakin reminds me of some sort of Shakespearean figure too, some cross between Othello and Hamlet.
Grace has got the rats at me for seeing it before her. Blame the time zones.
Anyway, I'm off now, hopefully to buy one of these.
Birthday presents are cool.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Today is the greatest day of them all....

....or, Memorable Burpdays I have had...
(in no particular order)

Gold Coast, Dreamworld, and overindulgent parents. Nuff said.
25th: Thanks to a public service type strike, I was stranded in Athens, which was closed, when I was supposed to be arriving on a most delicious Greek Island. Memorable for all the wrong reasons.
26th: To make up for the previous year's birthday, I got myself a most yummy present. He was 20 and gorgeous.
19th: Bianca gave me a hickey. Yes, thats right. My first, and hopefully last, girl hickey. Actually hopefully last hickey fullstop.
21st: 60 of my closest friends, three course meal, an open bar, and the 14th floor of the Grand Chancellor Hotel. Sweet.
22nd: For the first time in my life I had to go to school on my birthday. Damn those changing university terms.
14th: I thought I was so grown up.
1st: Actually I don't remember it, but others do, and apparently it was a blast. Of course, I was too busy pooing in my nappies to pay much attention.
29th: I only remember it so well cos it is today. Yay for birthdays. Especially birthdays that coincide with midnight screenings of Star Wars.
I'm thinking I should really make a song and dance about this birthday, seeing as how its my last birthday in my 20s, and probably my last birthday at home for ages, but I have a cold and really can't be arsed. Plus, I already had a party. And its raining and cold. Oh well. Time for a cuppa, and then back to work.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Two things....

1: This is where me Da is going to play with toys.
2: It is only two days until my Burpday.
In other news...

Your Political Profile

Overall: 15% Conservative, 85% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Time away from me will get you down

I'm sitting at my desk, and I'm really not sure what I should be doing. I've checked my email, sent a most luscious picture of Dave a bit pissed on Saturday night to him (I want to send it to his mum too), read a bunch of blogs, and now I'm sitting here wondering what to do.
I have to write a chapter for someone's book, so maybe I should get started on that, but I really can't be arsed. I could write this weeks classes that I have to take, but I don't know what I'm supposed to be teaching them this week. I could go and find out, but that involves a bit more effort than what I'm prepared to commit to at this hour on a Monday morning.
Perhaps I could compose a report of Saturday night's party action. I don't think there was any scandal, I'm sorry to report. Ben climbed the tree in the back garden, but thats fairly normal.
I took a bunch of photos, but I'm yet to figure out how to post them.
I got quite drunk on a most scrummy blend of Absolut Citron, orange juice and lemonade. Most moreish, but I just got nicely drunk, and was reasonably sensible on Sunday. I didn't fall off my shoes, which is always a good sign.
Why is it that when one is a little hungover, one has an incredible ability to eat one's own weight in food? Man, I ate like a complete bitch yesterday. There were corn chips, cheese sticks with aioli, eggs on toast, chilli stirfries, more corn chips, and about a litre of the Dark Master, aka the nastiness that is coca cola. Usually I barely touch the stuff, but the day after a night on the turps, I can chop my way through a goodly amount. Ick.
Its raining and I have a cold.
I just saved several hundred dollars by not going to the so-called cheapest travel agent. Haha, I went to the nice one with the flash offices, and now my flights to NY are about five hundred dollars less. Suck on that.
Right. Back to it then.
Whatever it was.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fun with toys.

Ha. Look out earthlings. I am armed, with my Mum's digital camera. I've loaded all the software onto my pooter, I have a whole new memory card thingy thats completely empty (except for a most charming self-portrait in my jim jams) so perhaps very soon, there will be the New and Improved Planet Claire, featuring Real Pictures.
Soon as I've figured it out (read: soon as Tim has taught me).

In other news, my Daddy, who is awesome, is coming to America with me to help me get all set up and settled in. Yay for him.

Why do I still have tonsils? Do they serve any purpose, save for giving tonsilitis a place to live?

These are the questions that keep me awake at night.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

We won't use guns, we won't use bombs, we'll use the one thing we've got more of, that's our minds.

I was driving to work this morning, and was thinking about the things I would blog about. I'm not sure what that means, but hey.
Who watched "Lost" last night?
More to the point, how good did Sawyer look?

I tried to post a picture of just how good he looked, sadly my previous Luddite tendancies have won out, and I find myself unable.
Anyway. I have decided that Sawyer is well hotter than Jack.

That is pretty much the level at which I am operating at the moment. My brain is going "must get visa must move house must sell stuff must fix car must clean out office must pack up stuff must see friends must choose courses must save money must buy presents for people must do work must write this chapter must plan next week's classes" etc... so theres not a whole lot of spare brain activity for, you know, making sense.

Excrement does indeed occur.

Am having dinner tonight with the parental units to try and sort out how much money I will need to steal from the bank to live in Syracuse. I get a stipend in return for doing research work, and it sounds like a lot of money, but in reality, I have very little idea just how much it will cost me to live day to day. So I emailed my future flatmates to ask them. Yay for them.
Incidentally, it looks like we will have four nationalities living in the one house, which could be interesting. One is Indian and one is from Pakistan, so at least we can watch cricket.

I have also set up a parent-friendly type blog for the whanau to keep up with me while I'm away. The problem is, it must also be child friendly. And I'm going to need to learn how to post pictures. And I'll need a digital camera. Add that to the list. It is my birthday in less than a week, however, so if anyone's got a spare digital camera lying around, preferably 4.0 mega pixel+, with video capacity, and maybe with a second memory stick...

Only two days left until the "Claire and Dave have similar birthdays so we may as well combine our birthday parties" party. Yay. I'm hoping that my cold goes away before then.

This really isn't a very interesting post, so I'll be off now, before I lose the already small audience that I have.

Ok. Bye.

P.S. Nobody seems too keen on the "Guess what song the title of this post is stolen from" game. At least you know it won't always be Radiohead.
Actually, its never been Radiohead.
Shut up, Claire.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky and tell the sky...

What does it mean when your computer makes a weird sound at regular intervals that sounds like theres a rattle snake inside it trying to get out and having given up all hope of rescue rattles its rattly thing for attention?
Most strange.

Anyway. Grace loves me.
Its important that you all know that.

Today has been an 'appointment' day. I had the chiropractor this morning, then a couple of crap boring useless waste-of-my-time things, then I got my eyebrows waxed. Oh yeah. I'm so pretty now. Cos not only do my eyebrows get waxed, they get tinted, and so do my eyelashes! So once the pain of having half your facial hair ripped out has passed, and then the burn of the eyelash-dye-in-the-eye trick passes, and you can see again, you look fabulous!!
Actually I mean me. I look fabulous.
Cos right now we're ignoring the whole 'I'm nearly thirty I shouldn't get pimples anymore' thing, and the fact that my stomach could be be lot flatter than it actually is, and that my legs have gone beyond spiky hairy to fuzzy hairy and that my hair could use some serious attention.
None of that is important right now.

In other news....I suck at maths stuff. I'm like one of those Barbie dolls that says "maths is hard. I like shopping" Except if I was proportioned like Barbie, I wouldn't be able to stand upright. Haha Barbie, suck on that, you plastic bitch! I can stand up! Look at me, STANDING!!!!

Where was I? Oh yeah, sucking at things mathematical. I'm trying to code stuff for the dataset, and for the purposes of future statistical analyses the coding rules need to come from the spread of data, rather than coming up with the rules independently and applying them to the data. So I came up with some stuff (i.e. completely pulled it out of thin air) and one set works perfectly (the scale needs to increase exponentially, because there's such a large spread of data) and the other one is COMPLETE BOLLOCKS. So I wasted valuable tv watching/friend seeing/dinner eating/arse scratching time last night trying to work this stuff out, and now I have to start all over again. PissArseShitFuckCuntyBollocks.

I think I should be a professional swearer.

Also today I got to warp some more young minds I mean teach some first years, and today's topic was authoritarian government. The reading was "1984" which is an awesomely awesome book and so we got talking about the culture of fear and how just like democracy, it must be constantly nourished or it will fail, so needless to say we got on to Fox news and their "terror alert" (tonight's terror alert level: beige corduroy!!).
The point being, it was very interesting, and some of them aren't complete morons. Shocking revelations, I know.

Am going to crank up the tunes in my office now and leap around like a complete twat.
Just for a change.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Its the terror of knowing what the world is about...

I just saw the Prime Minister. In fact, a car full of her Men In Suits With Ear Pieces nearly ran me over. No bloody manners. That was a bit exciting though. Not the nearly being run over bit, but seeing Helen. Yay.

I was doing some note-taking today in a classics class, and they were talking about the introduction of coins into the Greek Empire etc, and then the lecturer put up a slide of some coins that were from where I used to live!! Again with the exciting.
OK, bit of background: for nearly six months in 2001 I lived in Rodos (Rhodes), which is a small island in the north east group of the Greek Islands called the Dodecanese, a couple of hours away from Turkey. I lived in a proper Greek village on a hill called Kalitheas, and worked on a beach (not on the hill. At the bottom of it) that was crawling with British tourists.

I got to throw them from great heights.

Unfortunately, the company made sure the bungy cord was firmly attached to their feet before they jumped, and I didn't so much get to throw them, as sign them up and take their money, but still.

Anyway, these maps of Ancient Greece that the lecturer was showing had Rodos in some detail and I could have pointed out for the benefit of the class the old town that was walled in by the Knights of St John in the Crusades, to keep out the Turks, and the Acropolis of Lindos, which is where I used to go on my days off cos they had really good icecreams and the beach was much nicer and had less tourists, and the part of Turkey that I went to which in ancient times was part of Lydia but is now a really crappy town, and another island called Thera which is now called Santorini where I stayed for a few days and theres still a village there called Thera but they call it Fira and theres another one up the road called Firastefani, and a volcano across the Caldera that I walked up and the ground was warm and steam was coming out of it.

It made me think a bit.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong (yeah, right!) but I think there have been people in NZ for about a thousand years. Its difficult for me to comprehend the age of some of the places I've been to. The Acropolis at Lindos is about three thousand years old, and thats just a minor thing. This lecturer was talking about places that I've been to, that I can tell you stories about, and they are part of history. Ancient history, even. These kids were studying it, and paying attention to all these interesting stories about these places, and I wanted to jump up and yell out "I've been there, and don't waste your time in Athens cos its a messy dirty city, go out to the islands and you can sit on monuments that are literally part of history".
I've been to the temple on Kos where Hippocrates used to teach, and while its not exactly standing, there remains the outer walls of the temple, and the accomodation quarters, and a lot of the columns and sculptures have been excavated and restored, and this is the birthplace of medicine as we understand it.
I find that extremely hard to get my head around. Three thousand years. The oldest thing in this country I can think of is only about two thousand years old. And thats a tree, not a civilisation.

What will they marvel about in another three thousand years, do you think? The way we managed to completely roger the planet up? Our primitive machinery? That we lived only on one planet?

Personally I always think its the buildings, being in the physical presence of something that has seen more history than we can comprehend.
Walking around the stone walls of the Old Town in Rodos, you truly understand the meaning of the old cliche: "Man, if these walls could talk".

Although, they'd probably talk in Greek....

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Well then hook me up and throw me, baby cakes, cos I like to get hooked...

It is currently six minutes away from 8pm, and I am still at work. Yay for me. I figure I had better do as much work as possible in the next three months, work that I get paid for, because when I get to the US, I'm only allowed to work a set number of hours a week in the department as part of my Graduate Assistantship thingy, and one must find a way to keep oneself in the manner to which one is accustomed.
But the real bastard of it is that there are still a few things I need to do that I won't get paid for, and once I've finished them then I get started on the things I do get paid for, and then get saving said pay.
Does anyone want to buy a car? Its shiny and blue, and goes very fast. I've got the demerit points on my licence to prove it.
I have also been emailing government type people to see if they can give me some money to go to 'merca. There must be a lot of money in this country, and I think that some of it should come to me. I'm quite prepared to work for lots of money, its just that theres not enough hours in the day, what with sleeping, blogging, drinking tea, hot showers etc. So I'll ask pretty much everyone that gives away money if they can share the love with me. Do you think I could register myself as a charity?

I think I'm getting a cold. Arse.

It is 13 days until my birthday. Which means only 9 days until The Party, and 14 days until Star Wars. Oh, what an exciting time.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"Ali in the ATF, Ali in the ATF"

"Ain't it a bit racialist, getting only black dogs to sniff out da bombs?"

Man, this guy is a fucking genius.
The people Ali talks to have absolutely no idea that hes taking the piss out of them. He has just asked ATF dog handlers why they don't have get the senior dogs to interview the new recruits, instead of the humans. Perfectly sensible question, if you ask me, cos obviously the dogs would have more relevant questions than the humans, but before we can even query the philosphical ramifications, Ali is asking the dog handler if he has ever smelled a dog's bottom.

And the good thing about this programme is that not only do we get Ali, but also Borat and Bruno.

OK, there is really no purpose whatsoever to this post, just to share with you all how utterly brilliant Ali G and associated characters are.

Bruno has just asked a Christian fundamentalist minister if he wanted a lapdance.

You all need to go out now and watch some Ali G.

Also, in a google search, I found this.

OK, I'll go now.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Listen to more Concord Dawn and your life will improve

Theres an awful lot of "ohfuckohfuckohfuck" going on at the moment.
I don't think I have properly processed the enormity of Thursday's news, but one thing I am coming to terms with is the amount of stuff I have to do from now until August, and the amount of money I am going to have to earn to even pay for my airfare. Maybe I'll start taking collections. I wonder if there's some people out there that will give me money. I've tried offering a kidney for sale, but I don't seem to have many takers. It works perfectly well!
There has to be money out there somewhere.
Any ideas? Preferably ones that involve me keeping my knickers on.
Suggestions in the box, please.