“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Better to be...

Darin and I bought beer on Friday. So what else is new, right? Tui Beer is having a promotion, where they put $10, $20, or $50 bills in empty bottles in cases of beer. We got a case with $50, check out the photo. Cool, getting paid to drink beer. By the way, the $50 bill has a mushroom on it.
What did we do with our free money? Well, we bought an Xmas tree for one. Choice is pretty much limited to pine, but price was right- $30, for a 7 footer. Barb and Eric came over for dinner and helped us decorate it. We were pleased to see all our ornaments made it to New Zealand safely. We had to borrow Barb's tree stand though, because we got rid of ours before the move from San Diego. There are so many things we got rid of that I now regret, especially the wood folding chairs. Well it's fine anyway.

We also spent some money on fresh strawberries, now in season and grown locally. There's a place north of us that sells fresh strawberry ice cream, mmm. We're also enjoying fresh lettuce from our garden. I spent several hours in the garden weeding and mulching. It should be good to go now, at least until the bugs get it. I have been taking a free class called "gardening for migrants", and I learned of an organic pesticide: 1 litre of water, a squirt of dish soap or vinegar, and 3-4 smashed garlic cloves. Let sit in a sunny location for about 10 days, then load into the sprayer. Should be toxic to pests but safe for people.

Last weekend I took Fargo on a hike around Piha. Piha is a west coast beach community about 40 min drive from our home, very popular with surfers. As you can see from the photos, it was a beautiful day. The hike was challenging in parts, but the views were the payoff. Fargo still had energy at the end to chase the tennis ball into the surf. A playful dog I called David Bowie (one brown eye, one blue eye) hung out with us.

Book update:
The China Study was didactic, preachy, and depressing. I returned it to the library. Now I'm reading (when I have time) Collapse by Jared Diamond. Good, gritty stuff. Also on the agenda is Stephen Colbert's I Am America, and So Can You! Obviously, Americans are suffering tragically from the writer's strike- I refer of course to the mall and church shootings. What, you think they're not related? Bah.
Movie update:
We saw This is England at the swish Rialto cinema, and it was great. It reminded me of American History X, the brilliant and gruesome film starring Edward Norton. I like him almost as much as Johnny Depp. This is England is great for the 1980's noir and realistic acting. Another movie I've watched recently is Fido. This was ordered on eBay from Singapore or somewhere. It was released on DVD in the US in November, and no one seems to know when it will be available in NZ. So I imported it because it's about a pet zombie. Funny and dark, it is well worth a watch. The father is played by Dylan Baker, who is another great actor. He reached the highest "creep factor" in Happiness.
I've also re-watched Donnie Darko. Wow. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? It is a classic in the vein of Repo Man.

Music update:
The most recent CD purchase was a 3 CD set of Queen's greatest hits. Ok I'm a geek, like I care. The other CD I've bought is I'll Be Lightning by a NZ artist, Liam Finn. Nice, mellow. The title of this post is the title of one of his songs, and I chose it because I'm planning some changes, I hope for the better. Let me elaborate.

I mentioned in my last post that my work is unsatisfying. My sister Barb has been working as a Clinical Trials Coordinator for a few months, and told me they have another position open. She said the work is interesting, the people are nice, and that I should apply. So I sent my CV and got an interview. They wanted my current supervisor as a referee (reference). I told them that he doesn't know I'm here. After the interview, I was told they'd offer me the job if my references checked out, and so I had to tell my supervisor that I wanted him to give me a reference. I was nervous about this meeting with him, but he was understanding and nice. Whew! I knew when I accepted the job I have now that I was taking a big risk and was prepared for a challenge. The challenge took a different form than I had expected, and this position has pushed me into a new direction. A direction which I think will be positive, a new learning experience, and I'm always up for that. The pay cut will be a drag, and it will be strange to work in the same office as my sister. I'm ready though for a change, for the better.