Saturday, January 2, 2010

One Hundred Down

This is my 100th blog. It's a milestone, I suppose. But it is, after all, just a number. If we lived in a Mayan society (which, I believe, used 14 as their arithmetical base) 100 wouldn't mean spit. 14, 28, 42, 56, 70, etc would.

It's a lot like the celebrations for ticking over a new decade. Again, arithmetically speaking, we won't do that 'til next year, just as the so-called millennium didn't start until 2001. But these numbers are totally arbhitrary, and mean absolutely nothing. They merely give us a base for the momentum of our society, and our history. Our social book-keeping, if you will. Some time ago a lotof fusty men wearing dresses sat down and got things organised. We need a calendar, they said, or else we'll never know when to celebrate our birthdays. So, they kicked one off, basing it upon a handy Sky God myth that thed majority of them used to keep the populace under control.

We went to the beach after work yesterday: Long Bay. We live in a city with, oh, 780 beaches within an hour's drive. That may be a slight exaggeration,and the drive may depend on peak traffic. But no matter where you are in the greater Auckland area, you're never far from a beach. Long Bay's about 20 minutes by fast Mitsubishi from our wee cottage in Northcote.

We sat on nicely tended grass, and ate our salad and sausage sandwiches, drank a glass or two of a nice Chardonnay, went for a dip - the water was nicely crisp, thankyou, and I didn't suffer from too much shrinkage - and then we came home and watched a movie: Appaloosa.

Ed Harris starred in and directed the movie. I do enjoy a good Western, and this one was based uoin an extraordinarily good book, by Robert B Parker. It's an excellent adaptation. Viggo Mortensen plays Ed harris' sidekick,with Renee Zellwigger (sp.?) as the love interest. Actually, th movie's broad focus is on her character. Very good, very violent, very matter of fact about the violence.

The previous night we'd watched the Clint Eastwood-directed movie "The Chosen". Angelina Jolie stars. Excellent flick.

I've just noticed (amazing what pops up when you've done something 99 times before) a little icon that says "Add Image" when I roll the mouse over it. Is this going to be the moment when I meet a New Year's resolution head on, and learn how to add a picture to my blog?

YES! Well, it didn't go where I expected it to, but hey: I've got a picture on my blog! You will have noticed it already.... I took it some time ago, when Jenny and I lived in Reporoa: it was a foggy morning, and I was out on the deck, watching the neighbour's cows walk by. I hadn't truly appreciated how silently cattle walk until that morning: they were quite ghostly.

READING: Larry Niven & Edward L Lerner, "Destroyer of Worlds". If you're a sci-fi fan (as I am) then you'll have read the Ringworld cycle. This book covers the years before the Ringworld's discovery.
LISTENING TO: Ennio Morricone's film themes, as played by the John Blackinsell Orchestra.

Word of the Day. Melancholy. It's one of those days, and the tone of last night's movie was quite melancholic.

More Rats:

It won’t crack, but it will wear. It’s a balancing act, ma’am.”
“Miss Jayne,” she replied, allowing her smile to broaden.
“Right. Miss Jayne. Sorry.”
“’Sorright. And how do you know you have the right temperature?” Her interest was genuine. She’d seen many a smithy pounding away at his anvil, but this was the first time she’d been invited in to watch the process.
“It’s the colour, Miss. See the metal now? Sort of straw colour, in there with the red? That’s about what we’re after.” And he dropped the shoe into a bucket of oil, and watched it splutter away. “This should be ready in a few minutes, Miss Jayne.” The name was coming more easily, now. “Would you like a cup o’ tea? I’m fair parched, I am.”
“That would be very nice, thank you, Arthur.”
“Be with you in two shakes of a dead lamb’s tail, then.”
He disappeared into the cottage that the smithy had been built against, and came out with a kettle, which he filled at a pump, then dropped into a grate that he set into place over the furnace. He reached up to a shelf, took down a green enamel teapot, and spooned a couple of teaspoons of tea leaves into it. The kettle boiled briskly enough over a fire that only moments ago had been hot enough to bend steel, and he poured the water into the pot. He set it down, and went back indoors while the tea brewed. He came out, hands and arms cleaned, and bearing a tray upon which he had set two china cups and saucers, a small jug of milk, a sugar bowl, a dollop of butter he’d scooped from the churn, a small jar of plum and rhubarb jam, and three huge scones. In his back pocket he had three carrots. He set the tray down on the anvil, and asked “Milk?”
Jayne, smiled, and said “So there’s a Granma Smith, then?”
The boys stopped, and looked at her, brown eyes aglint with amusement. “Well, Miss Jayne, Grampa Smith’s always tried to drum it into my thick head that if it’s all right for a woman to buy the General Store, then surely it must be all right for a man to make a batch of scones, and churn some butter, and to dust the sideboard. I reckon he’s probably right. An’ I reckon you probably would, too. Wouldn’t you?”
For the second time in less than half an hour this boy had put her in her place. Jayne smiled. She thought she’d like living here in Northridge. She’d already been committed to coming here, of course: she couldn’t bear to be anywhere else. Now, she knew she could also be here and enjoy herself.

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