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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Amanda S' LiveJournal:

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Friday, February 15th, 2013
9:34 pm

Urk! I suddenly became Twitter-famous tonight. That just freaked me out a bit.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
10:21 pm
At which point do you become crazy dog lady? Because I became proud owner of Dog 1 in August, which has worked out rather well for me. He's a spritely senior fox terrier x named Monty, aged about 11 and the most extraordinarily polite and well-mannered boy one could imagine (okay, there's an occasional issue with weeing on the lounge room floor, but it's tiled and we've sorted it out anyway and it was all my fault). He loves me to a depth and extent that's kind of vaguely disturbing on occasion - I am seriously the centre of his entire universe - but that kind of unconditional love is pretty nice to come home to.

So now dog number 2 is on the horizon. Also a rescue dog, also a spritely senior, but one that's had a bad life and needs a gentle loving home. I'm totally across that.

The problem was that dog number 2 is at a shelter and they have a list of dogs that need housing and now dog number 3 has turned up on their website and I'm trying to talk myself out of getting a THIRD senior dog that needs a loving home in which to spend their remaining years and he's not so spritely but completely beautiful and I DO NOT NEED THREE DOGS.

I'm going to hold out. Seriously. Three dogs is crazy dog lady territory, I know it.

Also, I'm learning to fly. And work has been insane this year. But I'm learning to fly.

Monday, October 1st, 2012
4:55 pm
I love the way that the first five paragraphs of a story involved two days of solid research on medieval Romanian history and geography. And now I'm onto Dutch shipwrecks. Soon, the death of explorers. Why, oh why, do I like my stories to be accurate? Also, wide-ranging. Kitchen sink dramas are so much easier.

Monday, March 19th, 2012
7:59 pm
Same-sex marriage survey - governmental
The government is asking questions about same-sex marriage bills and why you feel the way you do. Please, if you are Australian, please go and answer their questions.


Friday, January 13th, 2012
6:57 pm
Pick up the nearest book to you. Turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.

"Go anywhere, do anything."

Otherland Volume 4: Sea Of Silver Light

Okay, I laughed. A lot. I will refrain from comment on its likely accuracy.


Current Mood: entertained
Saturday, March 26th, 2011
3:17 pm
I'm making gluten-free chocolate cake starting in about five minutes. Will be interesting to see how it works out.

To be followed by spa, champagne and cake eating for a friend who's moving a long way away in a couple of weeks (and is gluten-intolerant).

In astonishing news, I've also redeveloped this thing called "spare time". I'm going to see how it works out for me.


Current Mood: curious
Saturday, September 18th, 2010
12:55 pm
Very quick update
Sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, waiting for the shuttle bus to take me to Moshi at 1400. It's currently 1240 and the net is cheap and fast, so I actually have time and capacity to do a post!

So far: well, I think you're all up to date on Cape Town. Then to Botswana, which entailed rhinos and elephants in profusion, the Okavango Delta, a small plane flight that crystallised the fact that I will learn to fly a plane when I get home, Chobe, which was astonishing and on to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Vic Falls is geology gone crazy and wonderful. I flew over them in a chopper, rafted down the Zambezi, walked with lion cubs and ogled the Falls close up. I would have loved to do the zipline as well, but time defeated us there.

On to Madagascar we went. Tropical islands first and lemurs galore, followed by rainforest and yet more lemurs. Aside from the policemen trying to shake a bribe out of us on our last night there (a process made infinitely less terrifying by the fact I speak no French and they spoke no English, so I just sat on the curb and ignored them until our lovely Swiss friend got us out of the situation), Madagascar stole my heart away. Ian, who got food poisoning the same night as the policeman, may be slightly less enthused. Four hours of continuous projectile vomiting will do that for you... I bought a heap of spices and soaps and vanilla, so at least my Macpac smells nice post-Madagascar, even when it's full of revolting dirty clothes. I plan to go back (more than once, I think), so learning French is also on the agenda.

Then back to Kenya, on to the Serengeti and the Ngorogoro Crater. Masses of lions, zebras, giraffes and buffalos (but no leopard, damn it!) and a sudden and unexpected love for hyenas, who I came to think of as short, fat giraffes with appalling table manners but lots of interesting behaviours. Why does no-one ever think to mention how dull lions are? Pretty, but they do just lie around a lot. For hours. While you wait for them to do something. Which they don't. I know I'd think differently if I saw a hunt, but with 18 hours of sleeping a day to get through, the lions had different things on their minds. Oh, and a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. My life is amazing sometimes :)

And now we have a short chance for a rest and regather before getting to Moshi and starting our trek up Kili tomorrow. A week of that, then back to Nairobi for a couple of days of luxury (5-star! Woot!) and then on to the long plane flight home.

I'll let you all know how I go on Kili :)


Current Mood: tired
Saturday, August 14th, 2010
7:48 am
In Cape Town
Survived 30+ hours of travel. Love Cape Town. LOVE.

So far have climbed Table Mountain from sea level, gone cage diving with gorgeous great white sharks, had glorious tapas, went to a jazz club, got climbed on by squirrel monkeys and contemplated owls, decided if I had a spare million dollars, I really wouldn't mind a house in Bantry Bay and already need a holiday from my holiday. Off to see penguins today and finish booking Nairobi hotels.

Thank goodness the first organised tour starts tomorrow, so I can hand my brain over to someone else and just go where I'm pointed and do what I'm told!


Current Mood: happy
Monday, July 5th, 2010
10:04 pm
You know, I don't really mind the husky voice that comes from having a (in nearly every other way) quite mild cold. I could probably make money out of it, if Fielding (or was it Harradine?) hadn't eviscerated the home-grown Australian phone-sex industry.

However, I would quite like it if, for once, my very mild cold wasn't accompanied by THAT cough. Yep, that one where I attempt to evert my lungs like frog do their stomachs. The one that makes people really seriously ask if I'm okay and not going to die soon. The one that makes me feel like I'm doing that thing the early Everest (not-quite) climber did when he coughed the lining of his trachea into his hand.

I would like to point out to the Universe that it was not my fault I got kicked out of the club on Saturday night into the freezing night air. I was not the one that set the club on fire, okay? It was probably a careless chef. Thus turning my very mild cold into the death cough was not my fault.

Also, glandular fever and the subsequent, permanent damage to my throat/tonsils is not a cool thing.

In most other ways (particularly those involving a month until Africa!) life is rather spiffing.

Also, Tour. To which I now hie to watch.


Current Mood: coughing
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
6:43 pm
Hurt. Owies. Not surprising considering that, technically, my immune system is currently rushing to fight off Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Cholera all at the same time.

Have decided that, on the evidence, it's the MMR shot that is causing the ow. Yellow Fever didn't hurt at all, but I now have a certificate that means I shouldn't be quarantined when I return to Australia. I quite approved of this.

Also spent a fortune on malaria tablets and have enough antibiotics to keep a battery farm hen healthy.

The holiday, in case it's not clear, looms! Two months and six days looming to be precise.

Next thing: visas for Botswana, Madagascar and Tanzania and booking internal flights and hotels. And paying for stuff. And training for Mt Kilimanjaro. And making sure I've got everything I need. And buying a septic tank (not so much holiday related, just really badly timed).

Except next thing is going off to read standard contract clauses for our Department because I unexpectedly got attacked by work again today *sigh*.


Current Mood: sore
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
7:34 am
Well, other than covering my kitchen in a thin layer of pumpkin puree (and I mean the entire kitchen including the floor, the splashbacks, the counter-tops, the fridge door - I've got to work out an easier way of get it blended), it appears my first attempt at pumpkin soup was mostly a success. It's too thin because I put too much stock in and eventually gave up on simmering it and decanted it, but it's workable. Now I just have to eat it all.

There is much pumpkin soup. It may take me some time. It may take inviting people over to eat it. It was a really big pumpkin.

I also made a chicken and bok choy teriyaki stir-fry in a random and spontaneous way and can't even begin to say how yum it was.

Fresh, in-season produce direct from the farmer. I get why. So seriously get WHY.


Current Mood: awake
Sunday, April 18th, 2010
11:40 pm
Whee! Just whee!

I love the Barossa.

Monday, March 29th, 2010
5:35 pm
Telstra is going to die. So I had an appointment scheduled for the technician to come and check the line today. I ended up taking the day off work on personal leave because I had a scheduled time of "between 1 and 5pm" and it ended up being easier to take a sickie (helped by the fact that I did wake up this morning with a headache and a neck spasm, so I was actually sick).

So I rang them at 1645 saying "is he turning up?". "Oh yes," I get told, "he's just late."

I just got a phone call saying "Oh, hi, I'm Amber from Telstra. Whoops no, the technician won't be turning up. There was extreme weather." It rained. A bit. A couple of times. Extreme weather, my butt. So I yelled at her a bit - well, a lot actually and basically said, "give me a time that he'll turn up, so I don't have to take another day off work." "Oh no, we can't do that - he can be there between 8 and noon tomorrow." I yelled a lot more. She eventually went off and rang their planning department and got confirmation that he'd be here at 8am. She asked if she could provide any further services. I hung up on her. Furious doesn't even begin to cover it.

And IF he gets here first tomorrow (wouldn't surprise me if Amber rings back the planning department and tells them not to send him here), any money he'll say it's because of the alarm. Then I have to take down the alarm company as well.

So now I'm off to research the Ombudsman for telephone companies (can't remember what it's called) and ask for compensation for my fruitless day off. Let alone the compensation I'm going to ask for from the alarm company. They are totting up a staggering bill so far.


Current Mood: Furious
Sunday, February 14th, 2010
9:34 pm
Sorry - lost your e-mail when the laptop got stolen but NZ Holiday photos are up on Facebook. Finally! Happy for you to nick any and all of them.

I totally love iPhoto 09 and it's upload facility. It's SO EASY!


Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
10:06 pm
Comments on style
From Stephen J. Pyne in Voice & Vision:

Style is not merely decorative or ornamental, any more than are feathers on a bird. Style performs work. Whatever its loveliness or ostentation, it is what allows the creatures to fly, to attract mates, to hide from predators, to be what it is.

From Julian Barnes in Flaubert's Parrot:

Form isn't an overcoat thrown over the flesh of thought... it's the flesh of thought itself.

Rene Daumal:

Style is the imprint of what one is and what one does.

I have to say that I agree with all of them. Style, to me, is what writing is. Words, language, content are all important. But it is style that shows the way in which you shape the thought; style that demonstrates that you have thought and not simply compiled.

I have been doing badly with my NY resolution to write every day. For those who are unaware, at least part of that is due to the fact that my house was burgled and both my laptop and car stolen last week. Thankfully, I have been able to borrow a friend's spare laptop (even if I have to use the dreaded Windows) and am getting a replacement soon. The replacement car will probably take rather longer to get (though thank you to the person whom I cannot remember who asked me if my car insurance would sort it out, giving me new for old - I love that thought but I don't think the insurance companies would love it quite as much!). I hate buying cars but I am dedicated to my purpose and start looking on Saturday.

Work is also insanely busy with huge deadlines coming along. Thankfully I'm down to writing the last (and now accepted as only needing to be very short) paper. I was thrilled today when someone asked me a question about a topic I wrote a paper on and when I answered the question, the other person in my team said, "you are so the expert on that now". Considering it's a topic that about four people in Australia understand and I'm really starting to get my head around, I was rapt!

I've also been reading Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale and am just in raptures of love with evolution and biology and genetics AGAIN. Sometimes I wish I had pursued that PhD in conservation genetics; if only lab politics weren't so soul-destroying. I am also very peeved that I couldn't get tickets to the Atheist Convention in Melbourne. By the time I was sorted enough to know that I could go that weekend, full weekend tickets were already sold out. I pouted a bit.

But I am going to get back into the writing, I promise! Well, writing that isn't on the topic of reforming the water market in Australia.


Current Mood: tired
Friday, January 8th, 2010
5:37 pm
The shiny shirt dilemna
Mmm, currently pondering the ethics/sensitivities of providing fashion advice to tranvestites (or possibly transgender - not sure at which point along the scale s/he identified her/himself). On the one hand: s/he has probably got more than enough to deal with, what with the whole gender identity crisis issue and probably having to deal with a whole bunch of shit from unenlightened and generally unpleasant folk. On the other hand: the shoes/skirt/shirt combination just was NOT rocking it. Shiny blue patterned shirt, short black skirt and gladiator heels - no way. Needed good open fronted stilettos to provide the leg-length to balance out the long-sleeved shirt/shortish skirt combination. And I'm really not quite sure about a shirt that shiny. With a bow at the front. Just - yeah.

Still doing better than the lady at the bus-stop this afternoon, because she was straight from peopleofwalmart.com. Too many bosoms, not enough PINK strapless dress to hold all the bosoms in.

On the whole, I think my current course of providing fashion advice to passing strangers by using my inner voice only is probably the wisest approach.


Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
6:56 pm
The Liberals have made my day
Really, since about 10am all I've been able to do is giggle. What on earth are they thinking? They do know women have the vote, right? Because we know how the women of Australia LOVE Tony Abbott!

Though I haven't recovered from the description on the ABC's forum pre-vote: It's three men fighting about who's going to take the dead cat to the vet.

Funniest day in Australian politics in a LONG time.

Thursday, November 26th, 2009
6:40 pm
Proud in a slightly sly way
Well, my pre-science worked. I said, anything the Federal government wants to announce that's embarrassing should be announced right now, while the Liberal party self-immolates spectacularly.

And while it's faintly horrifying that the Federal government wants to kind of pretend it's not happening - gay people in Australia can finally, happily, have their legally binding civil ceremonies. I do actually kind of understand as the Feds went in on a strongly Christian, no gay marriage platform so the fact they are allowing civil ceremonies is a big change in announced policy.

For those interested in the arcana, the ACT (a Territory, not a State) had laws allowing a legally binding civil ceremony for gay couples. It's not marriage but it's as close as Australia will get for a little while. Because the ACT is a Territory, the Commonwealth can overturn their laws (they can't overturn State laws). The last time the ACT made these laws, the Liberal Federal Government overturned them. They made them again recently and everyone was certain that the Labor Federal Government would overturn them (see above re: policy position).

Today, in a joint announcement, the two governments confirmed that the ACT laws would be allowed to stand. So finally, in this actually quite civilised and progressive country in which I live, my wonderful gay friends can have a ceremony in which they can confirm that they wish to make a legal commitment to each other. About damn time! Next - let's get over this thing and just let people who love each other and are that brave just damn well get married. Because if you're not doing it in church, then marriage is not a religious matter (it's a civil recognition by the state of a person's choice about their assignment of property and inheritance rights, if you REALLY get down to it) and I don't give a good god-damn what any religion thinks about a civil matter.

In other news, whatever the Liberal party are doing to themselves about the ETS is spectacular and spectacularly misinformed. The mad uncles have taken over and hoping the rest of us are just as mad as the shouty ones. The polls, of course, show that we aren't.

Politics is so much fun today.


Current Mood: chipper
Saturday, October 17th, 2009
12:01 pm
So, you know, not normally one for getting involved in the XP angst. It probably explains why I'm so bad at getting involved in the angst is that my reaction to today's news is "where the heck did he get the TIME?".

That's honestly all I've got right now (and may be based on the house-hunting, packing, busy at work, training, flailing full-on train ride that is my life at the moment). But yeah - time management skills are impressive.

Everything else, not so much.

But it's all too weird for me to deal with so I've decided that I'm just not going to deal with it and pack boxes instead. Avoidance is my friend.

Did I mention I have too many books?

Monday, September 28th, 2009
9:51 pm
There's a new Pratchett!
There's a new Pratchett! In 10 days! Waah - refuse to do hardback, but I want it so much....


Current Mood: covetous
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