Wednesday, September 30, 2009


While I'm housesitting, I do not have wireless broadband, in fact, at present I only have dial up. Very painful.

Which is why I'm sitting at Takapuna library using their broadband wireless system and catching up on blogs, and emails etc.. I'm at a window overlooking Takapuna Beach watching stormy weather blow over turning the sea green then blue, then gray, then blue again. The sea isn't calm, but it's not rough either.

I've been sitting here imagining what a Tsunami would be like as I'm looking out the window towards South America! I was at the museum on Sunday and learnt about a tsunammi in Japan that was 37 metres high that killed a lot of people a long time ago. I imagine that 37 metres high would wipe me out from my vantage point here.

Then my friend Lia messaged me from MSN...

'Did you hear about Samoa?'

'No' I said. 'I haven't had a chance to read the paper or look at the news yet.'

'8.3 earthquake, 100 people killed, Tsunami on Samoa and Tonga, and warnings throughout the Pacific.'


I logged onto immediately to our TVNZ website

I look at Samoa - devastated by this and really feel for them.

Then I read about small waves reaching our coastlines, and police asking people to leave Takapuna beach with the civil defence warning still in place...

'Coastal tsunami monitors in the North and South Island have recorded waves three or four times larger than normal.

Civil Defence says there is still potential for waves up to one metre across New Zealand for the remainder of Wednesday. People are being warned to avoid the beaches and any activities on or in the water.

"There is still an ongoing threat of strong currents affecting coastal areas. People should remain clear of beaches and refrain from boating activities,"

I haven't seen anything untoward while I've been sitting here. However, I think I'll leave now and go and find somewhere inland to have some lunch and get on with my day. Besides - I've added 3 blogposts to my blog today and don't want to bore you for a while!

Booklist - My first 50 Books since 1 March, 2009

Books I've read sice 1st March, 2009... I'm using a rating of 1 to 10, where 1 is bad and 10 is great!

1. Marley and Me by John Grogan - Non Fiction
My rating - 10

2. Don't Postpone Joy by Peter Taylor - Autobiography
My Rating - 10

3. Dreaming of Jupitor by Ted Simon - Armchair Travel
My Rating - 7

4. Still Missing by Scott Bainbridge - NZ Crime
My Rating - 7

5. Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child - Fiction
My Rating - 8

6. Accusation - A Wife's Story - NZ Crime
My Rating - 10

7. Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill by Mark Bittner - Autobiography
My Rating - 8

8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - Fiction
My Rating - 10

9. Zone 22 by Tig Hague - Autobiography
My Rating - 10

10.My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picault - Fiction
My Rating - 10

11.Heart Full of Lies by Ann Rule - True Crime
My Rating - 7

12. Getting away with Murder: The Jennifer Beard Enquiry by Mark Price
NZ Crime - My Rating - 5

13. A Rip in Heaven: A Memoir of Murder and its Aftermath by Jeannine Cummings
True Crime - My Rating - 10

14. The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time by Mark Haddon - Fiction
My Rating - 10

15. Look me in the Eye: My life with Aspergers by John Elder Robison
Autobiography - My Rating - 10

16. Salem Falls by Jodi Picault - Fiction
My Rating - 8

17. Run for you Lives by James Patterson - Fiction
My Rating - 10

18. Daddy's Little Earner by Maria Landon - Autobiography
My Rating - 10

19. The Secret Life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd - Fiction
My Rating - 10

20. My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor - Autobiography
My Rating - 10

21. Debunked by Richard Roeper - Non Fiction
My Rating - 8

22. The Whole Truth by David Baldacci - Fiction
My Rating - 10

23. Persuader by Lee Child - Fiction
My Rating - 10

24. Gone tomorrow by Lee Child - Fiction
My Rating - 10

25. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Bryne - Fiction
My Rating - 8

26. Broken by Shy Keenan - Autobiography
My Rating - 10

27. Under Two Dictators - Stalin and Hitler by Margarete Buber-Neumann
Autobiography - My Rating - 10

28. Twilight by Stephanie Mayer - Fiction
My Rating - 10

29. Missing by Susan Lewis - Fiction
My Rating - 8

30, Agatha Christie Reader volume 3 by Agatha Christie
Audio CD - My Rating - 8

31. Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray - Fiction
My Rating - 10

3. The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan - Fiction
My Rating - 7

33. Through a Glass Darkly by Donna Leon - Fiction
My Rating - 7

34. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman - Fiction
My Rating - 10

35. The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen - Fiction
My Rating - 10

36. Beyond Ugly by Constance Briscoe - Autobiography
My Rating - 8

37. Dewey - The small town Library Cat by Vicky Myron - Non Fiction
My Rating - 10 (But I like cats)

38. Escape by Carolyn Jessop - Autobiography
My Rating - 10plus - wow!

39. Torn Apart by James Patterson and Hal Friedman - Non Fiction
My Rating - 10

40. What is the What? by Dave Eggers - Autobiography
My Rating - 8

41. Monsoon Rains and Icicle Drops by Libby Southwell - Armchair Travel
My rating - 10

42. The Secret River by Kate Grenville - Historical Fiction
My Rating - 7

43. Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler - Fiction
My Rating - 9

44. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown - Fiction
My Rating - 7

45. Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott - Autobiography
My Rating - 9

46, New Moon by Stephanie Mayer - Fiction
My Rating - 10

47. Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington - Armchair Travel
My Rating - 4 ( he way it was written and English used was terrible!)

48, The Lost Boys by Brent W Jeffs - Autobiography
My Rating - 10

49. The Caller by Alex Barclay - Fiction - Thriller
My Rating - 10 Audio Book - 8 CD's

50. The Covenent of Genesis by Andy McDermott - Fiction - Action
My Rating - 10

(I'll put my next lot of 50 books up in 6 months :) )


I've always read a lot. And somehow, I learnt to speed read. This was apparent when I was about 11 years old and read the Lord of the Rings in one weekend. That was the whole three books. I didn't do much else though!

My love of reading has never waned. I love the smell of new paperbacks, and I used to buy all my books. However, I can no longer do that as the price of books here in New Zealand has become prohibitive. Between $25 and $35 for a paperback. Some sort of tax I believe that the government receives, which I think is terrible. Books are educational and should not attract any government tax whatsoever.

I recently rejoined my local library, and have a system which is great. I go to the books stores with a pen and paper. Browse in the sections in Borders that I love. Write down the books and authors that I wish to read. Then go home and log into my library website and order the books online. They email me to tell me they are ready to pick up, and when I pick those up, any books that aren't in the library system, I put in an order for them to buy them, and they then also go onto my library list and I get to be the first person to read them when they come in. Not a bad system.

I recently started a book list and I want to read 1000 books in 5 years. I started 1st March, 2009. Today I finished my first 50 books so I'm well on the way.

Reading is not that easy for me now. Both my balance nerves have been destroyed and now I deal with a condition called Oscillopsia. Basically, when I move, everything moves with me. Much like watching the world through a digital camera with no image stabiliser. If I concentrate too hard while everything is moving, I get 'seasick'. Sometimes quite rapidly. I cannot watch car racing or any 'moving' computer games for this reason. If I do, the seasickness will happen within about 15 to 30 seconds, and I will be sick for about 12 hours. Very much not worth it.

If I try to read while moving, the letters jump off the page - it's impossible. So to read a book, I have to prop my head in a certain way and make it immobile for the duration of reading. The best place is in bed with my head immobilised on a pillow. Like any disability, you learn to deal with it, and live with it, and work out ways to get round it. There are still lots of things I can't do, but reading was not one that I was going to give up.

Now that my house is sold, and I'm waiting for my new house to start building, I have quite a lot of time on my hands so am reading much more than usual. However, some of my reading is audio books - I'm teaching myself to listen with the implant. Initially I had to have the book with me to help me follow, but I'm now able to follow a whole book without the need for written material. That's a real improvement!

I'll sign off here for now, but will post up the first 50 books I've read in the next blog shortly...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Word Mispronunciations!

I've always done it. Right from when I was young. I still do it now. Mispronounce words. You know as soon as the word has left your mouth, and people look at you with that strange look on their face, that you committed that terrible sin of not saying a word properly.

You get mixed reactions. It could be....

The rolled eyes. Those are the worse. It's confirmation that not only do people think you might be stupid, they now know you are.

Or you get the blank stare. The 'Is this for real' look' Same explanation as above.

Then you might get derisive laughter. These are the people who not only know you're stupid, but now want everyone else around you to know as well.

I read a lot. I always have. Just to give an indication of how much I read - I have read 14 books in the last 14 days. I don't usually read that much, but I'm on a roll at the moment. What this means is I learn a lot of words, and their context, but I might not have actually 'heard' them before. Then I might decide to use the word, often with disastrous results. I should really learn to use the KISS approach!

Anyway - not all mispronunciations are embarrassing. Particularly when you're with good friends. I was telling my friend how I've just read this amazing book. It was called Escape, by Carolyn Jessop. It was about a splinter mormon group who practised Polly Gammy (polygamy) and how she escaped from the cult wtih her six children. As soon as I said pollygammy, I knew I had committed that dreadful sin of mispronunciation.

Fortunately my friend laughed then explained how to say it. Then she said gammy was a leg with a limp. I then explained that's right the book was about people with multiple legs, all with limps! Our imagination went wild and we had a big laugh about it.

I wish all people would treat mispronunciations this way. It's much more fun and can be downright hilarious.

Oh yes - the book is a great read - I fully recommend it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Audio Visual - My Very First - On You Tube!

I attended our North Shore Photographic Society's monthly workshop last week. It was on a subject that I've been interested in for a while, and one that I have dabbled with in the past, but never gone very far with it.

It was on Audio Visuals, or AVS, another route to go on with your photography, putting themes of images together to music. You can have a theme, or make a story. It seems to be a lot of fun.

Armed with about 10x the knowledge after the last workshop than I had, I rushed home and started searching the web for programs. I decided Pro Show Gold would be the best one so downloaded it and have started playing already.

This is the first slideshow I've done. To edit the music I downloaded a free program called Audacity. You MUST remember that I only hear with a cochlear implant though, so any editing I have done will never be perfect as I can't hear it properly.

Please watch the slideshow - it's 3.50 minutes long, and let me know what you think... All comments will be gratefully received. I won't be changing this one, but will take all critiques into mind for future slideshows.

Here it is..

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Blonde Day

I think I should go back to bed before I do something so dumb that I won't ever be able to show my face again!!

I'm at present housesitting and looking after two cats. One is totally white, the other totally black. It really does look like the Black and White Minstrel show round here at times! Coco and Chai!

This morning when I got up, I went to turn on my laptop, and noticed that the white cat must have slept on the purple sofa all night because she had shed, as only white cats can do, nearly all her fur in this one spot. This meant I couldn't sit down as that would mean I would end up with white fur all over my black trousers. I had to sit in that place though as that's the only place that I can get onto the internet. Any other place means instant disconnection.

This is the same cat that I rescued as a kitten - you can read and see her at my blog... "The White Kitten"

Anyway - I got breakfast out of the way, then went down and got the vacuum cleaner and vacuumed all the white hairs off the sofa. Then I noticed there were white hairs all over my laptop so clever me decided to vacuum my laptop as well. Then I put the vacuum cleaner away, and sat down on the sofa to download my emails and chat to a good friend of mine over skype via text.

All was well and after a lengthy chat I finally noticed that I was missing a key off my laptop. The \ key, no less. Gone. All that was there was a little white square with a piece of rubber that you press to make the \ work. Why it took me an hour to notice this missing I don't know.

Getting it fixed at the computer place is out of question. I would be without my laptop for 3 weeks while they replace the key - definitely not worth it. So - down to the vacuum cleaner, got the bag out of it. It was full. There was nothing to do other than emptying all the dust and dirt into a plastic bag and going through it all to find this little black square. This is dust, hair, rubbish that's not mine - this is someone else's dust and dirt I had to go with through with a fine tooth comb - or rather my hands. Ugh. I did find it - right at the end. Cleaned up, washed the key, and proceeded to place it back on my laptop. My conversation with my friend now went something like this...

me: \\\\\\\\\\ \\ damn
friend (not to be outdone: \/\//\/\/\/\//\/\
me: \\ \\\\\\\ \\\\\ shit
friend: - try alt-92 that will work
me: groan, moan, grumble

I ended up finding my IT friend online and I'm going in to see if he can place the key back on my keyboard so 1). it works and 2). it's not wonky.

While moaning to my friend on skype about how blonde I was, I noticed a button on my laptop I had never seen before. Never - I had never noticed it. I've only had my laptop for 2 years. I'm wondering if buttons can grow overnight??

So I pressed it.

Boom - I was suddenly disconnected from the internet. Yep - it was the wireless button - you know the one with the squiggle that looks like "|" !!

Duh. Double Duh

I reconnected.

Friend: Where did you go?
me: No where
me: Wellllll actually....

I'm actually wondering where my brain is today. I think I should go back to bed.