Monday, December 28, 2009


Finally: a "current affairs" show at 7pm that actually has no pretensions.It is blatantly entertainment, and it's very good. I am referring, of course, to "@ Seven" on TV3. It's funny, it's post-modern, it's self referential (as opposed to the usual self-reverential schlock on both 1 & 3), and it really helps to have a glassof bubbly in hand.

Finally: a bubbly that's not only affordable, but is also really, really good. And it is... Lindauer's Sparkling Sauvignon. I've always thought the regular Lindauer bubblies were great value for money: this is excellent. Taut, full of flavour, t'riffic. And we got ours on special before Christmas at $8.60. I understand it'll normally be between $12 and $13, and worth twice that.

Finally: proof that I'm not only a codger, but I live in a land that's nicely 5 years behind the times. Observe the following list, cut and pasted from an American person's blog I follow:

1. classified ads in newspapers

2. dial-up internet

3. encyclopedias

4. CDs

5. landline phones

6. film and film cameras

7. Yellow Pages and address books

8. catalogs

9. fax machines

10. wires

11. calling people on a phone

12. hand-written letters

These are, apparently, a things that have become obsolete in the past 12 years, in the USA. Of the 12, there are 9 that I still happily use. The ones that I don't use - because they are, in fact, obsolete - are 2, 6, and 9.

Finally: A wannabe mass murderer gets his come-uppance before he can get to kill a few hundred people. At least it seems that the foolish child's bomb mis-fired, and he only succeeded in burning his own balls to a crisp. What's the betting that he won't see the irony? Could it be that Allah finally took a stand in these unholy acts. Well, no, of course not. But will he ask himself why Allah wouldn't allow him to kill a plane-load of people? Betcha he won't.

Finally: Proof positive that the American knee-jerk security people are stupid. Following the afore-mentioned idiot's escapade, the powers-that-be decided (a day late) that no-one will be allowed to stand up in the final hour of any flight. I can see that baffling any more would be bombers. Actually, it would also have meant that the incredibly brave young man who tackled ol' Dimi el Walnut on the Delta aircraft a couple of days ago would have been breaking the law... and could have been tossed into jail on suspicion of terrorism. Sigh.

Finally: Jenny's re-filling my glass with the last of the bubbles. Woo hoo!

LISTENING TO: Antony & the Johnsons, "I Am A Bird Now". It is ridiculously beautiful.

READING: Comic book. A MARVEL one! "Wolverine: origins". It's actually quite good.

WORD OF THE DAY: Writing. It's bloody hard work. I added around 2,000 words to RATS yesterday (otherwise I'd start catching up with my additions here), and I started another thing (because I have no disclipline) ... about 1500 words. I was knackered!

More RATS.

“I think,” she said, “that I’d like to have you do the job.”
“Good oh, ma’am,” he replied.
He took the piece of string, and measured it against a few horse-shoe blanks, and selected the one nearest the measurement. It was short by little less than a ½ inch. He tossed the shoe into the coals, and pumped the bellows a few times, flicking the steel over and over to ensure an even heat distribution. Within minutes the horseshoe was cherry red, and he removed it from the coals with long-handled tongs, and dropped it over the anvil’s horn. He picked up the 2 ½ pound hammer, and went to work. Bip CLANG, bip CLANG, bip CLANG, bip CLANG, a steady rhythm, with every second blow a little harder, but precise. He called out to Jayne, showing off. “I noticed the hoof’s not quite right, ma’am, a bit flat on the inside, so I’m re-shaping the shoe.” He tossed it back into the coals, and worked it around as he pumped the bellows. He swiped the sweat away from his eyes, and took the horseshoe back to the anvil. “I also need to stretch it a wee bit, or she’s going to have a bit of trouble. That stone I took out was a big bug – big one, ma’am, and she’s going to be tender for a while. I’d suggest she has a few days off work if you can.”
Jayne’s smile was broadening to a grin, and she shook her head in amusement. “We’ll be stopping here in Northridge, Arthur. I’m buying the General Store.”
“You, ma’am? But you’re a wom -.” The boy caught himself, and said “Sorry ma’am.”
“Apology accepted, young Arthur,” she grinned. If there was anything that fascinated her, it was watching someone do something, expertly. Of course she’d seen blacksmiths before, but never one so young, or so naturally adept. Bip CLANG, bip CLANG, a bit of temper in the sound.
The boy looked at the shoe, gripped it in the tongs, and went out to the horse. That was stupid, he raged at himself. Grampa Smith’ll not be thanking me for insulting a new customer. His anger didn’t show in his voice, however, as he soothed the horse again, and had her lift her hoof. He compared the shoe with the hoof, and made a mental note of what he’d have to do to finish shaping it. He was still blushing when he went back to the furnace, and tossed the shoe into the flames. He worked in silence for a while, bip CLANG repeating, then looked at the shoe. It was as good a job as he’d ever done. Jayne Francis watched him, a half-smile at her lips.
“It’s all right, Arthur. I said apology accepted. There’s no need to go all quiet on me. Most people would have just carried on to say ‘But you’re a woman,’ and given no further thought to it. I can see that your Godfather’s been a fine tutor.”
“Aye, ma’am. He’s a good man.” He shot her an open grin. “Thankyou, ma’am.”
“And you can knock off the ma’am business. As I told you, my name’s Jayne, and you must call me that.”
“Right you are, Ja -.” He stopped, and thought a moment. “No ma’am, I can’t. Would Miss Jayne be all right?” Not really asking the question, but instead making it a non-negotiable issue. This was a tactic that Arthur learnt from Grampa Smith, and it served him well here, as it did a lifetime into the future when he was to volunteer for the Army.
Jayne could see by the stubborn set of his shoulders that there was only one answer. “That would be lovely, Arthur. Miss Jayne it shall be. Now tell me – what’s next?”
Of course, Jayne Francis knew perfectly well – or thought she did. She was wrong.

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