Well, that’s what it feels like!  There was no Midweek Mashup last week because I was way too tired.  For someone who hadn’t even been to a game before three weeks ago (and barely knew anything about rugby before this all started),  I’ve been pretty full on.  There was me, in a bar with Steven and friends watching last Saturday and Sunday’s quarter-final games – so tired, I could barely watch the big screens (Saturday, I’d gone a little all-out, so Sunday, I was just knackered but still there, rooting for the All-Blacks).  Here’s the haka from the All-Blacks vs. Argentina.  I love this one, because it feels like they practiced and practiced until they got it tonally correct.  And, I love that sound.  This weekend’s semi-final games  (tomorrow and Sunday, respectively) are France vs. Wales and New Zealand vs. Australia (EPIC).  I’ll be in some bar watching with friends.  Lol!

1.  Haka from the Argentina vs. New Zealand game last Sunday. (crank it up!)

2. Can you guess which two teams I’m rooting for this weekend? [I had an old shirt embroidered – design it yourself and you get exactly what you want].  This picture was taken with the cooperation of Owain (whom you’ve met before).

3.  Speaking of designing clothes: Did you know you can make clothes from milk? [Click on screencap for full article.]

4. Speaking of milk, here’s the first few paragraphs of one of the first short stories I got published, entitled “Milk” – to read the rest of it, go HERE.

Every morning, my mom makes me eat a huge breakfast – toast, fruit, corn flakes, and milk. One whole glass of gross, Elmer’s Glue-colored stuff that comes out of a cow. Fortunately, I’ve found a way out of it. As I eat my cereal, the milk level in the bowl goes down. I gradually refill the bowl with the milk from my glass, making sure to eat just the cereal. Then, I go to the sink, dump all the milk in the bowl down the drain, and rinse the bowl.

My best friend, Winnie, is always warning me that my bones will get so weak and stunted that I’ll never be able to play any sports because I’ll be too busy tripping over my own deformed feet. Although I’ll never admit it to her, she could be just a little right. I’m on the basketball team at school, but I never get to play. I guess I could use the excuse that I’m too short. But honestly, I don’t think I’m very good. Winnie says maybe I should give another sport a try if I want to play on a team so badly. Winnie is not a team player. She’s obsessed with archery and has been taking lessons since the beginning of the year. She wants to be on the Olympic team one day. She’ll do it, too.

Winnie was my next-door neighbor all the way through elementary school. Our moms used to swap watching us so they could run to the store and stuff. But even though Winnie and I were often stuck together, we only said things to each other like, “Can I have the blue crayon?” or “Do you guys have any ice cream?” Then, her family moved across town the summer after fourth grade. All of the sudden we weren’t seeing each other all the time any more and it was really weird. We’ve been best friends ever since.

So, Winnie and I are sitting in English class one day. We have a sub and the class is watching a movie. Well, some of the class is watching. I’m already 20 pages into my book and Winnie is doodling on her desk. Behind me, Jared and Matt are whispering about something going on in the field behind the water tower a few streets away from me. I get interested and eavesdrop…

5. A few months ago, I went to a film festival movie called, “Miss Representation”.  It’s a documentary about how girls/young women/women are portrayed in the media.  As you might imagine, it’s heart-breaking, sobering, and frustrating, but I thought it was also uplifting because the women featured in it – who spoke up about the subject – were amazing.   I thought the film was pretty fantastic.  It airs in the United States on Thursday, October 20th at 9pm on OWN (I think that’s Oprah’s network).  I highly recommend it.  HERE is their website.  The movie has gained momentum and the site is basically now for an organization spawned by the film.  It’s pretty cool.

The trailer follows.

6. Last, but certainly not least, a RAVE.  I heard this guy on a tv show last week.  I don’t remember which tv show, but I ordered this guy’s CD right away.  He’s called Fink.  He’s English.  I think he’s gonna be big.

My favorite song from the album.  A slow burn, and good – like one of those songs you can crank up and lie down on the floor, close your eyes and a 2 and a half minutes into the song it seems that you’ve already synched your heartbeat to a bass beat that just appeared.  I like those (the deep bass beat doesn’t come out so well on YouTube, though – maybe use headphones and crank it up?)  The second is my other favorite song on the album.

I linked to them below, because I can’t get them to appear in my post for some reason.

Fink: Warm Shadow

Fink: Perfect Darkness



Well, I had to skip last week because I just ran out of time.  Seriously, I need more time in the day and the ability to run on two hours of sleep.  Also, I would like to be able to text faster, and not have my thumb hurt so much afterwards, but I digress…I’ve been so damn busy,  between German classes and extra German tutoring, ballet, pool night, guests, bass learning, the Rugby World Cup (which is CRAZY – Go All-Blacks!), spending time with my friends before we move at the end of the year, life has been insane.  This post is a mix of pictures, videos and musings from this week:)

1. A sunset from last week.  We were on our way to pick up a friend on our way to the US vs. Australia rugby match last week, and I had to stop.  You can see the South Island in silhouette.  It was totally gorgeous.

2. Ballet.  I may have been a little too excited about ballet.  I think the word I’m searching for now is terrifying.  Perhaps 14 years was too long to be away from it.  I am struggling.  Not with posture, or form (luckily), but with the steps.  I thought it might be easier since I’ve been doing kickboxing for many years, and I’ve gotten pretty good.  I thought the ballet would come back to me, but I seem to be a total klutz.  On the whole, ballet has been already been beneficial for me and my muscles, even though I have to work on my ankle strength.   Honestly, I don’t remember it being this hard!  Last class, I had to completely take myself out of one of the floor exercises because I just couldn’t handle doing the whole damn thing on the left side, going across the floor in the other direction.  My mind blanks.  The teacher (who is quite good) goes through the steps, and in the second before we’re supposed to actually do it, I can’t remember a thing I’m supposed to do.  At least I can still do a friggin pirouette.  I’m much stronger than I was in my 20’s, which is a good thing.  I have to stop myself from over-rotating on a single pirouette.  I don’t think a double would be a problem, although I’m so not chancing it now.  I convinced a friend of mine to attend with me, and because of her, I have the courage to go back.  I swear I was so frustrated I was going to quit after this past Monday.  But, due to her support and my teacher telling me I am not hopeless, I’m going back for more.  Gah.  Besides, I’m no quitter.

3. I’m not sure I ever told you guys that Steven and I met in grad school, at a *grad school* bar, playing pool.  Lol!  I was pretty good, but never very technical.  I mostly went on instinct and a good eye for shots and a steady aim.  But, I never really had any idea how “spin” worked or how to do a bank shot.  Since we moved here 10 years ago, I’ve barely played, but earlier this year, I started up again – slowly.  And, I found that I actually have a better feel for pool.  I convinced my friend who works for WETAFx (who, obviously has a good technical eye and can play pool) to teach me exactly how to go about figuring out bank shots.  He was a good teacher, and now I can at least see how to do them, even if I can’t do them.  And, I understand spin.  After some thinking about it.  Lol!  I still hate geometry, but physics, I can handle.  So, anyway, I’ve been trying to find other women who play pool.  As a woman who plays pool, you always come across a doofy guy (or guys) who take one look at you and think – ah, easy mark.  So, ask to play you and assume they are going to win.  I am happy to report, I do really well in these situations.  Pool is the one game I actually might play better under pressure.  Lol!  I realized I know a lot of women who play pool or would like to learn (well, I may have coerced a few into learning, including my German teacher), and several weeks ago, I started an All-Women’s pool night (well, for my friends at least) at one of the pool bars in town.  I know all the staff.  They are very nice.   And, it’s very interesting getting my different female friends together in the same place.  Lol!  We’ve kind of split into factions already (although we play together very well).  The Kiwi women don’t use the bridge because when the men play, they call it the “bitch stick”.  Kiwi men apparently do not use this term when playing women, nor to they use it when they are playing women who use the bridge.  They only use it to taunt(?) their fellow fellows when they use the bridge.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I can see a shot I’m going to need the bridge for, I’m going to damn well use it, rather than miss it, or do some contortion with my body in order to get it in.  I mean, the men call it a “bitch stick” but they do use it.  I think it’s interesting that it is enough to convince the Kiwi women never to use it.  The women who do use it are me (I’m under 5 ft. I have little choice), my two Malaysian friends, and my German friends.  We could care less.  Culture stuff is weird.  Thoughts?

4. A Tale of Two Kitties

So, back in June, while we were in Europe, we stayed for a few days in Fribourg, Switzerland.  Here is a video I took for you guys, specially of a very nice spot along the river.

In Fribourg, every day, walking down our street to wherever we were wandering, we ran into this kitty.  Isn’t he cute?

Equally as cute (especially when sleeping) is our next door neighbor kitty here in Wellington.  We love him.  He is giant a fluffy puffball.  It’s time overdue for us to get a new kitty, but we can’t until we move to Dunedin then go to Switzerland for two months and then come back – that will be sometime in March.  The giant fluffball seems to want to be part of our family.  He greets us every day.  He wanders into the house with us.  He loves to be chin-scratched.  I think he does not get enough love from his family, but what to do.  We will just be his friends and give him as much love as we can until we leave.  His name is Oscar.  Here he is in his little box in front of his house, next to our staircase.

4. So now that this post has returned back to Wellington, I’d like to share some pictures from my first rugby game.  10 years we’ve been here, and I’ve never been to one.  As some of you may know, New Zealand is hosting the Rugby World Cup this year.  As a result, it is CRAZY here right now.  Go, All-Blacks!  New Zealand is a rugby mad country, and I have a rugby mad husband (he played in college – both our colleges in the US had rugby teams, actually).  The following is something called the Haka, which the All-Blacks (as well as the Pacific Island Nation teams do before their games).   This is the haka which was performed before the NZ vs. France game, which was also played last week (in Auckland).  It’s pretty awesome.

We went to the US vs. Australia match last week, and I took some pictures.

The national anthems being sung.

This was early on in the game, before US got one try and Australia got lots of tries and kicked our ass.

That teeny white thing in the air in the upper left hand corner of the picture is the ball.  Even though we were getting slaughtered, it was pretty fun. Rugby games are only 80 minutes long!

I think there was some sort of pile of men that happened before whatever this is – I think another pile.  I have very little clue what the rules are.  Mostly they pass (backwards) and pile and repeat the whole thing several times.  Sometimes they kick.  The game does not stop for much of anything except when players get hurt.  Notice the lack of armour.  I’m really glad Steven does not play anymore.  To be honest, I vacilliate from being very bored to being very excited by rugby, but I figured if there was any time to make an effort to be excited about it (for Steven’s sake and to join my new country at this time), it was now.  And, I’m having a good time:)

I especially liked the game, because even though we were sure to lose, Kiwis all supported the US, mostly because we’d pretty much rather anybody win but Australia!  Lol!

5. This last set of pics was from a few days ago.  Our friend from France was heading back after being here for several months, and we went for a walk around the bays – our usual loop walk from our house.  Spring has sprung here, and I were lucky to get some really great pictures.  Here are a couple of my favorites:)

It was a clear day, and you can see the snow-caps on the mountains on the South Island.  My friend and I sat on that bench for an extra 10 minutes, so I could get the ferry crossing right there!

This dog emerged from the sea (with a tennis ball in his mouth), looking like a wet seal.  That water is not warm, mind you.  But when his man threw the ball in the water, he made a beeline for it with no hesitation!

Here I am, playing around with the macro on Little Blue.  I’m pretty proud of the result!  Also, the pink blossoms look like they’re about to smack you in the eye.  Lol!  Spring has sprung.  I hope I survive this allergy season, but what a perfect day this was!

Well, that’s it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed this Mashup!  It’s about 2:15 am here, so I’m going to leave you with one last thought.

You can never be too old for Pop Rocks.

‘Til next time:)

for my birthday.  Lol!  Which is today.

I’m not one of those women who really gives a damn about getting older.  Once upon a time – 38 years ago – I was a girl baby in an orphanage in India .  I’m lucky to be here at all, so every additional year I spend on this planet is one I may not have gotten at all.   White hair?  Whatever.   Laugh lines?  Bring ’em on!   Not as skinny as I was once?   Pshaw.  I’m physically stronger than I ever was, and know my mind better than I ever did.  That only comes with age.  Who wants to be in their 20’s forever?  Not me.  If I had to be frozen at one age, I expect it would be at 40.

I’m not going to spend my birthday being annoyed at politics.  To this end, I have two things to share with you this week. 

1. This beautiful seal pup living in Russia was abandoned by its family and fellow seals.  It has red fur and is practically blind – too different to fit in and ill-equipped to survive in the wild – so, it was left to die.  But, luckily for this little orphaned guy,  he was found by a photographer and was given a second chance at life.  He now has a new home and family at a dolphinarium.  I love happy animal endings.  Because, seriously, who among us could look at that face and say, “You don’t deserve to live.”  Sometimes, humans don’t suck.      

[Click on the pic for the article.]

2. As some of you know, I am trying my hand at being a writer.  One of my inspirations is the author, Tamora Pierce.  In my opinion, she is one of the finest authors around.  She writes YA fantasy.  I read her first book, Alanna: The First Adventure, when I was in fourth grade and was hooked.  I read the series every few years to remind me what an impact a writer can have on a person – and, because I love her characters.  When I decided a few years ago that I really wanted to be a writer,  I thought I could do no better than be a writer like her.

Back in 1997, when I was still in grad school (and not thinking of being a writer yet), I wrote Tamora Pierce an email and to my great pleasure, she wrote me back!  Since it was still relatively early days for email, I expect she didn’t get that many – at least not as many as she must get now – and I got lucky:)   I have  never shared this letter with anyone except for Steven, but today, I’d like to share it with you.  Below is the email I wrote to Tamora Pierce, and her reply.

My email to her:

Dear Tamora Pierce,

i was in fourth or fifth grade when i first discovered your book, alanna:
in the hand of the goddess. my parents had just gotten divorced, and i
can honestly say that the years which followed, especially through junior
high and high school, were some of the most confusing and hardest years
of my life. when i read your book for the first time, i was plunged into
alanna’s world – the world of a determined girl who was driven to become
a knight. when things got tough, i immersed my self in that book to get
away from the difficulties in my life. after that, i waited through the
years for the rest of the series to become published. and when it was
completed, i read them over and over again. they seemed to give me
strength to get through things. i am now a graduate student in russian
studies at the university of washington in seattle, and i recently got
married to a wonderful man. i want to thank you for getting me through
all those years. i love books, and i especially loved yours. and now
that i’m going to finally get around to purchasing them, i will read them
all over again.

thank you ever so much.

natasha j. stillman


Her reply:

From : hedgewitch@aol.com
Re: your Song of the Lioness series
6/19/1997 4:42 pm
Dear Natasha,

Thank you so much for your e-mail. I am honored beyond my power to expressthat my books meant so much to you and that they helped you through such aterrible time. My parents too were divorced when I was a kid (seventh and eighth grade), which is when I began to write heroes like Alanna for myself, to escape all the confusion and sorrow of those times. Since my chief aims are to tell girls that they can do whatever they must, if they want to do it
badly enough, and to help kids who are going through bad times in their
lives, your letter was a *deeply* appreciated sign that I’m accomplishing
what I set out to do. I will prize it always.

I am also glad to hear that you are outside that time now, making your own
life (I know how tough a language Russian is) and finding happiness. I hope
that your adult life continues to improve on your adolescence, and that each
year is better than the last!

With my very best wishes,
Tamora Pierce


It’s never too late to be the person you want to be, to live your life exactly the way you want and to realize your dreams.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently, no matter who they are.   Life is too short.

Until next week:)

p.s.  Also, get out of your comfort zone once in a while.   You’ll never be bored.  Speaking of … I didn’t crash into anyone in ballet class on Monday.  Woo hool!

[I know.  I know.  I’m not very good at getting my Midweek Mashup out in the actual middle of the week.  But, I’m still going to call it Midweek Mashup because it’s a catchy name and I just don’t want to come up with another one.]

Here goes:)

First things first.  Politics.

1. While I didn’t watch the Republican debates earlier this week, I did read a live blog of it.  Here’s that for you – courtesy of ThinkProgress – so you don’t have to watch it either!  My take is that Jon “can’t run from science” Huntsman is the most sane and rational one of the bunch.  But, let’s be honest. Since he’s Mormon, he hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being a real contender – which means we can go back to being frightened at our other prospects.

2. Any of you get those annoying emails from members of your family or even friends, telling you Obama is the Root of all Evil or The Next Coming of Satan and that things were so much better off under Bush, Paragon of Virtue that he was/is?  Well, just email them this.  It probably won’t shut them up.  Facts sometimes have the opposite effect.  But, at least you can be pleased with your charity,  having sent them some instructive “spam”.  

And on that note…

We move to my new acquisition.

3. My Preciousssssssss…

I love my new Kindle 3G.  I can’t say enough about it.  Someone just told me I sound like I work for Amazon, I’m so raving about it (as you all know, I don’t).  In addition to it being a super kick-ass reader, The Kindle 3G comes with free roaming anywhere in the world.  This one comes with the experimental browser, which isn’t half bad (even though it is in black and white).  I want this to read, not necessarily surf the web the whole time.  But, I can get on and check my mail, get on FB, and reads and so forth pretty comfortably.  Also handy for when I’m stuck taking the bus and forgot to write an email – even typing on the chicklet keys is not too bad (the keyboard is QWERTY and I have small fingers), although I have to work on my three finger peck.  And, should I ever run out of reading on it, I can download a book or three whether in Wellington, New Zealand or Wellington, England.  I love it, and am going nowhere without it.  Of course, this means that in addition to my mp3 player, my sound-reduction headphones, I have to put these in my carry-ons when I travel as well.  Along with the accompanying cords.  Obviously, should I get stuck somewhere for longer than I want, I’m set for at least a year.  Lol!

4.  So, I took my Kindle and my “Little Blue” camera here…

earlier this week for two nights.  “Here” is Mount Ruapehu, where Steven goes skiing.  It’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive.  I went with him this time.  What could be better than a cabin, me and my Kindle for two straight days and nights.  I read and read and read.  I haven’t done that for a while.  It was a blissful two days!

5. Finally, the Rugby World Cup ’11 just started.  New Zealand is hosting it this year.  Steven has tickets to several of the games (for those of you who don’t know, he played rugby in college, so he’s truly a fanatic).  I still have yet to get into rugby.  I like soccer more (I’d say US football also, but there’s not much of that going on here.)  But, living in a rugby mad country, I am supporting my team!

So, I made this banner for my Facebook profile.

And, for your viewing pleasure, here is the Tonga Haka and the New Zealand Haka from yesterday’s game between NZ and Tonga (which we won – woo hoo!)

Just in case you’re wondering what a haka is, read this and then watch this (let me know if it’s been taken down – I’ll find another, hopefully).

Until next week:)


Well, just when I thought no one was reading and I could skip another week of Midweek Mashup…lol!  I was kind of exhausted last week and I’m a bit preoccupied with my new Kindle 3G, which I’ll rave about (ad nauseum) next week.

I started going to an adult ballet class once a week.  I’ve been to two classes and while I’m NOT happy getting back into a leotard, I am happy to put my ballet shoes on.   I’ve always liked ballet.  It’s been a while since I took ballet – I last took classes  grad school back in the 90’s.  I was kind of afraid I wouldn’t make it through a class still-standing, but I survived.  I think I was in a bit of pain the next day, but not overmuch.  I guess the kickboxing DVDs that I’ve been doing have actually been helping:)  Taking a ballet class after so long was terrifying.  I did ballet when I was very young, but my body shape has never been that of a ballerina, and it certainly isn’t now.  But, it has been comforting to note that I am at least flexible and I retain the ballet posture (even if things stick out more and when we get away from the barre and start stepping across the floor, I crash into people because I’ve almost completely forgotten what the hell I’m doing.  The rest of the class probably thinks I’m the proverbial bull in a china shop.  They’re probably going to start keeping far away from me unless I can remember the steps soon.  However, I guess I’d rather be the bull than the china.  Lol!). I turn 38 in two weeks – I figured if I’m going to try to get back into ballet again, I’d better do it now.   I’m still scared to go back next Monday for the third class.  Although, I will.  But, why do I always have to be the shortest and roundest person in ballet class?  Lol!  Well, at least I can have the biggest muscles:)

So, here I am.  It’s almost midnight on Thursday night here in NZ, and we’re ahead of most of you reading this, so I’ve got time still.  (Well, now it’s 1:45am!)

1. In US Politics:  Among the Republicans with an eye on the Presidency – Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann.  Be very frightened.  I certainly am.

2.  In a not unrelated matter, something a Florida pastor wrote a year ago on his blog (and more recently to his Facebook) has been making the rounds on the interwebz.  Apparently, this guy wants to create a registry of atheists – you know,  just like a registry of sex-offenders – and wrote this whole post about it.   Unsurprisingly (although perhaps more of a surprise to him), once he posted the thing on his FB, it didn’t go down so well.  Lol!  Since then, he’s privatized his blog and his Facebook.  What an idiot.  The scary part?  He’s probably not the only one.  (I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that at least one of the two stellar candidates above may agree with him.)   Eeeek.

3.  Enough with the scary.  Let’s move to the cool.  Perhaps a little scary in the metaphysical sense.  Lol!  I found this site called “Astronomy Picture of the Day”.  It’s the coolest site ever.  (Here’s their FB page.)  They have pictures  I’ve never seen before – of amazing things like this: something called a Pileus Iridescent Cloud.  It’s so beautiful!

(click on the image for more info:)

4. And finally, some pictures of my own.  These were taken last week at the seal colony down a few bays over from us.  It’s an area called Red Rocks and the seal colony is at Sinclair Head.   I still find it amazing that we live in such a fantastic place – a place where I can see orca whales from my bedroom window (of course, my camera was broken) or where I can drive 15 minutes down the block and then off-road it for another 10 to see hundreds of seals several months out of the year!  We take people to this spot a lot when they come visit.  This time, we had one of Steven’s colleagues visiting and luckily it was a very nice day.  So, I got a few pictures to share with you:)  You may click on them to get the big ones.  That way you can see the seals better.

(Please keep in mind the Copyright message down the right side of my blog.)

One of my favorite things about going to see seals, is that it’s like looking at ants on the ground.  You spot one, and all of the sudden you see dozens more! Can you find them?  In this picture, you can see the South Island in the background – it was a beautiful, clear day.

Here’s a seal clearly mugging for the camera!  How nice is it to be so effortlessly photogenic!

Let sleeping seals lay, I say!

Especially this one:)

(These were posted earlier this week as part of MKirkD’s/WPG’s Photo Quest.)

‘Til next week:)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t a clue where this week went.  It could have been because I tried to pretend the rest of the planet didn’t exist.  Time goes much faster when you’re not worrying about the state of the world.  Also, I don’t know about you, but when I’m snotty and am on my third tissue box, the last people I want to read about are Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry. [Notice, I haven’t linked their names to any articles]

Hmm, what have I got for you today…

1. I read this book.   If you guys read – a lot – and know many of the classics, Jasper Fforde writes books with that in mind.  They’re wonderful.  Start with his Tuesday Next books – she’s sort of a time-bending, book-traveling, literary detective.  The books are quirky, different, engrossing and tons of fun.  They’re also hard to explain, so I’ve linked this one to its page on Amazon.com so you can read all about it! [Hint: I know it’s called The Last Dragonslayer, but it’s not your usual book about Dragonslayer…as such.]

2.  I couldn’t help it! Did anyone else LOVE this show?

3.  Did you know that learning a language can help you stave off Alzheimer’s?  Apparently it’s like kickboxing for the brain.  I think it’s fabulous because I have NO idea whether I’ve got that particular time bomb in my genes (being adopted and all), but I’m all for doing just about anything to keep it away.  I did French (and Latin) in school, Russian in uni and grad school, and I’m currently torturing my brain with German.  (My tutor has me writing essays now.  Help!)   After I get to the point where I’m decent enough with German, I’ll brush up on my Russia, French and add Italian.  I’m making damn sure I’m not going to lose my mind.  It won’t matter if I’m not super fluent, as long as my brain is firing on all cylinders.  And, apparently, even if you’re terrible at learning languages, the process is really good for your brain – so, GO!

My step-grandmother has Alzheimer’s.  It’s at the point where I can’t call her anymore, because she doesn’t know who I am.  Never mind that when she speaks, it’s in gibberish.  I can’t even send her a card with a picture.   At some point, she had moments of lucidity.  I think that would have been so awful.  To know.  I think she doesn’t anymore.  She’s in pretty decent health otherwise,  but what’s the good of hurtling towards 90 without one’s faculties?  My grandmother was an English teacher and a voracious reader.   I’m not ending up like that.  I’m just not

4.  The slow loris.  One of my favorite animals.  Not as harmless as it looks.  I can get behind that.

5.  I had an unexpected ultrasound on my leg on Tuesday.  I did something to my leg on one of our flights to Europe in June and it’s been sort of  a botheration – one of those weird little spastic injuries that flares up when you least expect it.  So, I finally decided to go to the physio, and he was a bit worried it might be a blood clot.  So, they booked me in for an emergency ultrasound to check for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).  I’ve never had an ultrasound before.  You know what struck me?  At one point, the technician picked up my leg at the calf and shook it.  I could hear the *glug, gurgle* coming from the machine.  It really came home to me how we just big bags of water and bones and guts which happen to be attached to a really kick-ass nervous system.  We can’t possibly be the center of the universe.  We’re just so squishy and far too incredibly…mortal.  Perhaps there are slightly more hardy beings out there?  Ones that are slightly less destructable.

Oh, yeah.  I do NOT have a blood clot in my leg. *phew*  Tomorrow, I’m going back to the physio so he begin to deal with whatever IS wrong with my leg, though.  He’s the same guy I went to when I hurt my other ankle, falling down stairs a couple of years ago, so I know he can fix it!

6.   Last night, when I was supposed to go to bed (at 2:30am),  I ended up on YouTube – as you do.  And, I ended up watching the Christmas Special of Yes, Minister – the one in which Humphrey’s maneuvers Hatcher into becoming Prime Minister.  I watched it on YouTube – even I have the whole series on DVD – both Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister – because I wanted to keep my fireplace DVD in (yes, you read that right).**  Yes, Minister rocks.  It is my favorite show of all time.   I love LMAO.  And, I spent the first 15 minutes of this episode literally keeling over on the couch, I was laughing so hard.  Just brilliant.

And, thanks to some kind soul, the rest of this episode, entitled “Party Games”, is on YouTube, for your enjoyment 🙂

** The second time we went to Switzerland (a couple of years before we ended up living there),  I was flipping through channels in the middle of the night *shocker, in know* and stumbled onto a channel that was showing a crackling fireplace – for two hours – btw. 1:30am-3:00am.  I was hooked.  It was cold and snowy outside and in combination with the wonderful central heating (something you take for granted until you move to a country without it, or double-paned windows, or proper insulation *New…cough…Zealand…cough*),  it was perfect.  I had it on every night.  So, when it’s cold outside,  I now have my own fireplace in my tv – smoke free and perfectly safe to leave on all night!  I also have a fish tank DVD.  I know.  I’m horribly easy to entertain.

Is it August already?  Sheesh.  Time goes fast.

Here goes…

1.  I still, inexplicably, find myself surprised at how little justification it takes for humans to treat each other so badly.  I found out this week that female gamers are, more often than not, virtually harassed, hounded, and taunted into hiding or leaving altogether from gaming sites – gaming sites, which are largely male dominated.   This is likely old news for many of you, but not for me.  I only know a few gamers – and they are all men.  I never really got into gaming – probably because having a Ph.D in Procrastination, that would have been fatal.

Apparently, the harassment of female gamers goes mostly unchecked and the males invovled remain unchastised by some moderators, who are clearly  completely devoid of common decency.  You should read what these men write (or not).  It’s pathetic how threatened they are by the mere virtual presence of women.   This is unacceptable.  Moreover, I dare any of these males to say such things to these women in real life.  I doubt they would.  The cowards.  I’m not a gamer, and I don’t know what’s involved, but it seems to me that the longer this is allowed to go on without checks, the worse it’s going to get.  The closest I ever came to multi-player anything that didn’t involve my husband and Area 51 or Cryptic Quotes was playing Jeopardy online back (around 1995-1997) which was fun, and I didn’t get any guff.  Also, I beat men (who were most of the players) on a regular basis.  Keep fighting, my sisters.  Many women who came before you fought within an inch of their lives for the right to exist in the same spheres as men and to be seen as equals with equal rights and privileges.  We can add the sphere of cyberspace to that list.

What would the Pankhursts make of this?

Frankly, it’s bad enough that women are still dealing with this shyte.  Do you really want your daughters, grandaughters and future generations of women  struggling just to play with these imbeciles (who, frankly, should know better?) Let’s not kid ourselves.  We’re not in the Middle Ages anymore.  We’re not even in the 50’s.  We’re inthe 21 century, for f@#$’s sake and these males need to grow up and learn how to be real men.  Real men treat women with respect.  Real men don’t resort to threatening women online just so they can have their games all to themselves.   Real men ≠ misogynistic weenies.

Be Visible.  Be Strong.  Be Relentless. Be Fearless.  Be Legion.

We are Women.  Hear US Roar!

2. Well, I fought a cold and lost this week.  Windy Wellington + year round  NZ pollen does tend to kill me sometimes.  More importantly, almost everyone I’ve seen this past week has had the sniffles, so I was bound to get it.  Funny what medicines are available in different countries.  When I had the crap allergy cold in Spain this last trip, I went to the pharmacy and they gave me this awesome sea water solution pump bottle thing.  Best. Non-medicine. Ever.  You shoot sea water solution up your nose in the shower, while you’re steaming your head, and things aren’t as bad as they could be. [i.e. I don’t lose my taste and smell for a week+]  This particular brand has a special nozzle that blocks things from going back into it, so with 300 sprays in it, you can keep it for a while.  And, luckily there’s still solution in it, because it certainly isn’t available in any volume here.  One of the pharmacists I asked had no idea what I was talking about.   Luckily my usual pharmacy had a clue of what I was talking about – they had to call three places to find some – and they did – two left.  It sounded like that was all that was left in NZ – they’d only had one order for it the whole year!  Now, I don’t know how many of you have allergies, but this sea water stuff is just about the best thing for my nose when I get these things.  It’s bad enough, I have to watch out for my breathing and take extra inhalers, but then I generally lose my taste and smell – that’s the worst.  On the other hand, it does give one the opportunity to know what that would be like.   And, it’s so not pleasant.  My smell and taste are totally hypersensitive – and I feel the loss keenly.  I think I read somewhere that women have a better sense of smell than men.  Think about the things you can’t sense when you can’t smell or taste.  And, with my IBS, not having taste, well, that could cause me to eat something that would lead to a whole set of other issues.  As you can see, having a cold can be a minefield when you have allergies, asthma, and IBS, but I’m hoping to be done with this one in less than a week – thanks to Berocca, the sea water rinse, and lots of tea!  Plus, the Taste of Wellington is on for the next two weeks, and if I want to do any degustation menus at either one of my favorite restaurants, I’d really prefer to keep my taste:)

3. I got a new kickboxing workout DVD today.  Woo hoo!  It looks painful.  I am looking forward to working out the choreography, which looks a bit harder than my current one (which I love).  I had to peruse through it today before I attempt it (after I lose some more of this sniffy.)  I am not looking forward to the pain, but I am looking forward to the day where I can cakewalk through it (meaning it’s still a workout, but I don’t have to think about which side is what and what punch or kick I’m doing every second.)  I like these workouts I’m doing because they’re not the kind where you add one section on top of another for a half an hour and then spend the rest of the time doing the whole thing over and over again.  These do the workouts in smaller segments – so you’re doing one combination of punches, kicks or punches and kicks for about two minutes each.  The workout goes faster, and you’re less bored.  Also, on the plus side, there are no bouncy, smiling, perky people in sight on my favorite kickboxing DVDs (in low cut workout clothes, no less.  Being forced to stare at heaving cleavage when I’m trying to work out!  Uh.  No.)  That’s just wrong.  I don’t want to be looking at people with idiotic grins on their faces as they try to look like they’re having so much fun!!  Kickboxing is a hell of a workout.  If I see they’re sweating along with me and not grinning like a pack of hyenas, then I feel much better about cursing while I am punching and kicking.  If you guys like kickboxing and would like to know which ones I’m doing, I’ll be glad to recommend them to you, although they are definitely at an intermediate level and for people who know the correct form already (in which case, I can steer you to the best videos for learning the right form so you don’t hurt yourself, which is very important.  Obviously.)

4. I read this week (and had to re-read it to believe it) that the US is going to make insurers cover birth control and other preventative measures in women’s health. this is big news, because there’s been a huge assault on women’s health care in the US (along with everybody else’s, but I think women’s health has particularly suffered).  Of course, when I also learned religious organizations were going to be exempt from this, that brought me back down to earth again.  Wow, religious organizations in the US are so special, they can continue putting women’s lives in jeopardy with no one to stop them, not even the federal government.  Can they start paying taxes now, please?  Because this undeserved privilege has gone on long enough.

5.  Contemplating our mortality today, my good friend, Fiona and  I decided that the idea of reincarnation just wasn’t good enough.  The concept has several flaws we just can’t let go:  a) You can’t learn from your past, if you don’t retain the memories of who you were in your previous life and remember all the mistakes you made. b) How do you gain enlightenment, if you don’t know what you’ve learned from your previous life? c)  How wise can you really be if you can get all the way up to the highest rung of enlightenment/nirvana or whatever without retaining all the wisdom AND mistakes of your previous lives? d)  So, then you’ve basically really gone when you died in the first place and that’s it – you basically only live once if you don’t retain any of that, except in some sort of metaphysical manner and it’s not really REincarnation if you aren’t mentally REincarnated.  So, what’s the point?  Fiona and I finally decided that even if we got the wrong end of the stick, explanation-wise about reincarnation, that no explanation would satisfy us, and that dead is dead.  We only have one life, so we should just live it.  This conversation all came about because I was getting sad that I wouldn’t be around when space travel finally became commonplace.  NOT happy about that.  Probably won’t live to see it unless aliens are stupid enough to come see what’s up on this planet.  And, if they have any brains at all (or whatever their equivalent of brains is), they won’t.  At least not overtly.  And, at least not while humanity is still in the state its in.  ANYWAY…

6.  Speaking of humanity.  You know the Oslo thing?  (Well, you do, unless you’ve been hiding underneath a rock.)  Well, it seems like there have been some unsung heroes of the whole tragic episode.  A married, lesbian couple managed to save 40 kids.  What.  You haven’t heard about them?  Quelle surprise.   It’s not like they’ve been talked about in any of the MSM.  Or much of anywhere else, really.  So, I will.  Here’s one of the blogs that tells the story of these brave women – Talk About Equality.

[Click on the screenshot.]

7.  Finally, here’s a humpback whale rescue video I watched.  Granted, the reason it had to be rescued was because of the thoughtlessness of humans, but at least these humans acquitted themselves admirably:   Enjoy.  (8 min)

Well, that’s it for this Midweek Mashup!  I had something else, but I think that’ll make a post on its own.  So, talk to you again soon:)

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