La Gata Encantada

La Gata Encantada is the name of a pub in a novel by John Varley. It means 'the enchanted cat'. I like cats, so I stole the sign (it just needed some revarnishing and - Look! Good as new!). The door is open, to an amber glow and the sound of music and good fellowship. Come on in.


Pure as a virgin and cunning as a rabbit!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Have a Sunburn

Right. I'm in Hastings, and have had my first day of thinning fruit. As I forgot to put on sun-block, I have a bit of a burn on my cheeks. Fortunately, it was a bit overcast today (my feet got soaked from the effluence of a rainstorm).

I'm a bit creaky from climbing up ladders, but otherwise fine.

My Mum's cats love me.

That's all I feel like writing.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Porco Rosso

Michael and I watched another Studio Ghibli movie last night: Porco Rosso. It's about a sea-plane pilot based in the Adriatic in the lead-up to the second world war. He spurns the Italian military service and instead makes a living hunting air pirates in his crimson painted plane, while maintaining a close friendship/closet romance with Gina, who runs a night-club on a tiny island in the middle of the sea. Despite his repeated assertions that he's a no-good kind of bloke, he is a man of honour and ends up getting into a sky duel with a goofy American (can't remember his name) who has ambitions to be a movie-star, to defend his mechanic (played by the same chick that played Nausicaa, in the eponymous movie)from having to marry the Yank (she bet her hand in marriage against the money to repay Porco Rosso's latest repair bill - it was a lot of money, okay?). Oh yeah, and he's a pig.

It's a nice movie - like most of Hayao Miyazaki's movies there's a lot of flying, and also a "Girls can do anything!" attitude. While a lot of movies have a plucky young girl with an unlikely skill (in this case, aircraft design), Mr Miyazaki brings in an entire workshop of women, holding down jobs bcause their men-folk are away, up to and including three little old ladies working for poker money. Speaking of flying, Studio Ghibli is named after a kind of Italian fighter plane, so the movie is certainly going back to the film-maker's roots.

The lead is a likable person, and the English voice actor had a wonderful gravelly voice (and I like voices). The goofy sky pirates are really similar to the goofy sky pirates from Castle in the Sky but that's okay - everyone needs comic relief. I liked the way that the romance unfolded slowly, like a beautiful flower.

And that's all to say. Just go watch it - you'll like it.

Now I just have to track down Kiki's Delivery Service...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Christmas Book List

What with that time of year coming around, I'm posting these up if anyone's interested in digging them up:

Seeker's Mask by P C Hodgell

Strange Adventures of Monkey Boy

The Tale of Despereaux because it looks interesting, and has good reviews

Books by Martha Wells. I currently own The Wizard Hunters and The Ships of Air (I have a feeling one of my flatmates is looking up number three in that trilogy). I'm particularly interested in City of Bones.

Books by Marta Randall. I have The Sword of Winter and am interested in reading more.

(I'll be making additions as they come to me. I should have posted this up at least a month ago - sigh.)

EDIT: And I am not at all prejudiced against second-hand books.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Unwanted Dress Needs Good Home

So, I've got this old costume that I never wear anymore. Since I just cleared out a lot of my clothes, I almost gave this to the Salvatian Army too, but I thought I'd let friends and fellow hobbyists have first option.

It's red brocade, size 14, zips up the back, attached petticoat, jingly bells strung to the sleeves. Easy maintenance - a little low in the bodice.

It can be yours for the price of postage, first offer accepted.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Final Portfolio

I thought, for completeness' sake, that I would post up the three revisions that I had to hand in for my poetry course here:

Walking Through Fields, I Consider Colour

The grass is green.
The grass is green with worms and mud and cowpats mixed in.
The mud is dark brown, fine-grained, very soft;
it gives under my feet, and the water mushing up shines in the after-rain light
that is pale and bright in the way that no other light is,
that remembers what greyness was,
that lifts, with a breeze, the dampness in my hair,
as I walk - no hurry - threading and skipping through lumps of grass
and cowpats, with their sour smell that layers the field,
a smell that's friendly with the petrol fumes of the paint-box cars
thrsshing through the damp and spatter of the gravelled
road curving around my field of
green grass.

I look up.
The sky is blue?

O Rose That Totters

O rose that totters leafless on my window sill
Why die?

You should be birthing beautiful monsters, tender-petaled fists of fire
wond from warm earth and clean water yet you,
my stick-bundle,
despite water, and fertiliser, and several very encouraging songs,
you crouch, keeping only bead-buds that never open.

Alas, you're too frail for much regret.
O let's be honest - if these words run
longer, you'll die
before they're done.

The Worm's Song

Rose, thou art sick! / The invisible worm / That flies in the night, / In the howling storm / Has found out they bed / Of crimson joy / And his dark secret love / Does thy life destroy.

William Blake

I'm watching from my secret place,
where the pine-tree's drip slithers under my collar.
The pine-tree sighs in the bitter night.
The birds are sleeping.

It is warm where you are -
through your window I see
on the sill amber lamps, and curtains
half-opened to the night, and you.

Tell me. If, walking in a shit-rubbish waste,
you turned an unexpected corner,
stumbled through garden-ways and saw,
unwilting, one dew-touched flower,

wouldn't you want to pluck it?

I wasn't greatly thrilled with the re-writes, I have to say. I got some very respectable marks back, though, so I must have done something right. I think he was impressed, or at least stunned, with the slash-and-burn approach used in the first and last...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Weekend At Steph's or: Who Makes Ironing Board Covers That Melt?

Actually, it wasn't a weekend: I bussed up from Palmerston Thursday afternoon so I could listen to my little bro sing in a concert. Gosh - solos. The skill-level of all the performers was very impressive, especially this girl that did my favourite song from Marriage of Figaro - very beautiful.

Mostly I just bummed around Steph's place while she worked at job. I've been doing a lot of sewing: I made Stephanie One-Cut Pants, which are very baggy but a lot of fun, and got the hang of French-seaming seams when there's a three-way join. Basically, you do the first line of stitching for each seam, and only then do the finishing line when everything is complete. This may seem very obvious to some people, but I'd been having trouble working it out. What the hey - that's me.

Also, I scored a pattern for a rectangular shirt that does very interesting things with gussets and pleats that I wanted to try out. The gussets have, so far, been a lot easier than I thought they would be, but pleating all that extra material into the collar is abominable. I just had to say. I'll quit talking about sewing now. For the laymen the talk must be a tad technical.

Anyway, I went to see Serenity with Ned, Steph, and some other people. I enjoyed the movie; it was good.

I am currently annoying Babe the Cat by occupying her favourite couch. There are several other open spaces in this room where she could curl up, but somehow she just can't get herself to settle. Oh, what a terrible shame!

That's all.

Oh yes, and I bought Steph's landlord a new ironing board cover, in a particularly gaudy yellow, blue, and green combination of cotton (hopefully it is non-meltable).

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Exam season. This
Went better than I deserved.
I have a headache.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The World's Fastest Indian

I liked it.

It was very strange to see Anthony Hopkins walking and talking just an older kiwi bloke. But wait, I thought in the first few minutes of the movie, his accent is good - hardly moving his lips, swallowing his vowels, deadpan, dry jokes but he keeps sounding his 'r's. Could he not quite get it right? Then I saw the Southland sign. Man - he didn't just speak in an NZ accent - he spoke in a regional NZ accent. Very cool. The way he moved was also very expressive - the slightly halting movements of an old man who is very good at what he does (and vey determined).

My two favourite quotes:

"Is that a cork?"

"Dirty old men need love, too."

And Tim Shadbolt appeared in it.