techie librarian; meatier than a seahorse


Tag lines…whatever do you use for your tagline: the subheading of your identity, the punchline by which people establish a connection. Mostly I pay them lip service, smiling occasionally at a clever one. My own tend to refer to variations of: techie, librarian and eclectic, sometimes all 3 at once.

In a rather wayward conversation, spinning down a rabbit hole of curiousity, as things are wont to do when Matt Finch is involved, a recent conversation turned from roasting penguins to eating seahorses.

I participated in a workshop as part of NLS8 and the first activity was for everyone to sketch a scene, in 90 seconds, on a piece of A4 using at least one of three figures on a screen: 2 humans (or human-like) and a penguin. As is my wont, I immediately gave into the dark side and sketched the two humans roasting the penguin. The second half of the activity was for each table to construct a cohesive story using those scenes as panel. They were two quick activities that worked really well as an icebreaker and got you thinking at how easy it was to come up with ideas under pressure.

The seahorses came later…or rather many years earlier:

to which I responded with my “meatier than seahorse” remark and commented elsewhere that while I have never eaten penguin, I have actually eaten seahorse.

Many years ago, 2003 I think (really must upload those photos to flickr), I spent a few weeks on an Intrepid trip in China with friends. We started in Beijing and went to the Beijing night markets, a place where you can eat just about anything including silk worms and even scorpions on a stick. Scorpions were a wee a but scary but we figured had to be ok as noone was dropping dead. As far as we can figure, they’re bred without their stinger.

While trying to order something else, there was a language issue, and I ended up with seahorse on a stick. I think the scorpions were about 20 cents for five whereas the seahorse was a few Oz dollars for one. Our tour guide tried to talk our way out of it but the shopowner insisted. So I paid for it and ate it. There wasn’t much flavour as it was primarily shell with perhaps a tiny morsel of meat.

Matt suggested “meatier than a seahorse” as a bio and it immediately rang the right sort of bells, both physically and metaphorically. I am now using it for all my taglines :-)

george r.r. martin is not your bitch

Sexual politics of the title aside, I think Neil Gaiman’s comments on the nature of the muse and writing are well worth a read. I recently subscribed to Gaiman’s feed and am finally after many, many years reading The Sandman properly. In his blog, there is a down to earth honesty that appeals. He is a writer first and foremost; and human being too. I subscribe to feeds based on my interest in the content, and I like what Gaiman writes. I also like his physical stuff:  Sandman and The Graveyard Book and so forth; stuff that’s published. In print and nice bindings. I’m currently midway through Vol. 3 (of 4) of the Absolute editions of The Sandman. Beautifully bound, enlarged, etc…mmmm. As a bookaholic, or bibliomaniac or other such term, the 4 volumes of The Sandman are some of the best in my collection. They sit well.

While my life is spent, or not spent…I am spending on books at least. Living still, in the home of my childhood, surrounded by boxes, depressed by many things, not least, my inability to gain a home in my favourite neighbourhood. I missed out on a house and was gazumped on a warehouse conversion. I’m in the running for another conversion that is above the one I missed out on. Though I don’t feel sufficiently lucky at the moment

My own writing has faltered as has my reading much. Just in time I squeezed out a dodgy abstract for VALA, I suspect it’s even dodgier than my last effort. That last one was accepted and I think this one would bookend it nicely. Oh well, if it fails to make the grade, that’s ok. An attempt was made. I have time but no mental space for writing. I miss my words; I have confidence they will return though I know not when.

In the mail today arrived yet another purchase, perhaps I should blog about my new arrivals as they arrive. That might inspire other things, other thinking. Today’s acquistion is a new work, of old, by JRR Tolkien, edited by his son, Christopher. This one is “The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun” which I think is based on the old Norse myths of the dragonslayer. Wanker that I am, I have the deluxe edition, nicely bound, and in slipcase. There is a satisfaction in holding a nicely bound volume in your hand. Paperbacks rarely come within cooee. I’ve mostly avoided the Tolkien publishing industry but I’m happy to have acquired this edition. It cost about AUD $80 delivered from the UK, and will be available locally for about $150. A score.

Speaking of Gaiman, I was recently in Kinokuniya, and scored a first edition, also nicely bound with artwork on the cover (once the paper cover is removed), of his Anansi Boys, for AUD $41. There is one more in the shop.

I refuse to buy the OED, though it is still a mere AUD $1,300. It will not be bought until I have my own place to put it in. If I get the place I want, then too, I will get a large painting for the wall…as that is how I want to honour my father…something larger than life, something that dominates the room, something that brings pleasure, something that is looking for a reaction, something that encapsulates the ol’ bugger.

“deliberately barren”

The annual Ernie awards (2007 being the 15th year) were announced last night, and emerging from a strong field, was the eventual winner, Senator Bill Heffernan, for his comment that Julia Gillard was unfit for leadership as she was “deliberately barren“. The Ernies, while mostly going to blokes, have on occasion gone to women too, for comments unhelpful to the sisterhood, such as Blanche D’Alpuget for saying “I do” with Bob Hawke.

After 15 years, they’ve compiled some of the best examples into a book, The Ernies Book: 1000 terrible things Australian men have said about women, that goes on sale this month. As part of the launch the authors are participating in a debate at Gleebooks on 21 Nov, on the age old topic: “Are Australian men still male chauvinist pigs?” :-)