Saturday, 29 November 2014


As well as legally requiring you to fill out a census form every four years (when not interrupted rudely by earthquakes in Christchurch) Statistics New Zealand also embark on little side-projects such as keeping an eye on the levels of unemployment, the average salary and wages, and some other thing no doubt that I'm not familiar with but which I have to mention because my sentence structure follows the rule of three.

Last year we were picked on selected to participate in the earnings information portion, and we will have to provide answers to intrusive questionnaires about out income from all forms of employment and investment for two years - reporting quarterly. We've done two so far. That means we have another six to go. We're not even close to halfway through.

The first interview was in-depth and conducted in the dubious hospitality of our dining room. Not by choice.

The second (as will be all subsequent ones) was conducted by phone. There were a lot fewer questions, and a lot less teeth-gritting. It's still all a bit invasive. And no I don't want to see the examples of articles based on your research, I just want to be left alone. Bah-humbug.

First one early June 2014. Second one early September 2014. The visits and phonecalls have been on the weekends so far, since we're hard to catch hold of during the working week.

We get a lot of cold calls at our house. Lots of people asking am I Mrs so-and-so and me genuinely replying no I'm not due to the benefit of my darling and I living out of wedlock. Speaking of whom, when my darling answers the phone to a cold caller he lets them get a sentence out and then says 'I'm not interested, thanks for calling though,' and hangs up the phone.

The only variation to this is when he can hear the call connecting through the automated dialing machine in the call centre. The pause is usually long enough that he says 'Hello,' waits a moment, and then puts his finger down on the disconnect button before they even begin to speak.

So he went through the palaver of option A this afternoon, and then went back to cooking his tea. A moment later he came back out of the kitchen with a puzzled look on his face.

'What's the matter?' I asked.

'The phone-call,' he replied. 'The woman said she was from Statistics New Zealand.'

Neither of us has had the courage to answer the phone again. They might send up to jail.

Irish Blood

No, not spilled over the driveway. I have some. In me. Still. Of course with genealogy if you go far enough back you can find relatives anywhere. Apparently my haplogroup is H3 which makes me predominantly Basque. Yip - some of those separatists running around terrorising France and Spain are my rellies.

That got off-topic quick, didn't it?

I mention the Irish blood in me only because of my deep love for potatoes. I've given up on much of the gardening I took up with wholehearted enthusiasm about 6-7 years ago - most of my garden survives only because it thrives on neglect - but I still love planting out potatoes each year.

For the past three years I've been particularly obsessed with Pink Fir Apple potatoes. Don't know where the Fir and the Apple came into it, but I can verify that they are definitely pink. They're also the best waxy potato in the world IMHO. Sometimes I can even be tempted into eating them as a potato salad, and I'm a salad averse woman.

On the whole though, I tend to scrub them down, boil them up, and slather them with butter. Does adding butter to things make it a recipe? If so, I have a lot of recipes. Maybe enough to write a cookbook. Katherine's guide to cooking with chocolate and butter. Guaranteed bestseller.

Today was my second mounding of the little darlings. One more and then I can leave them alone to flourish. Truth be told they're not the type of potato that does flourish. Not like the urinika potatoes that I planted once six years ago and have decided they'll live here until I die. They'll probably live on after that, but at least I don't have to see them.

I still love the bright purple colour of those potatoes, but my palate is never going to get down with a fluffy potato when there are waxy potatoes lying around, or being forced encouraged to grow.

And now onto the blog tour.

HA-HA. That was a trick. It's the weekend so there ain't one. Feel free to peruse the blog links out to the side to catch up on old stops, or see the ones I'll be appearing in shortly.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thank God that's over

There are some weeks that speed by, some weeks that drag, some that pull you into a dark pit of despair. And then there was this week.

This is about work only - my home life is sweetly predictable. Apart from the wireless on my laptop suddenly deciding to disconnect itself for a couple of hours there was nothing out of character. And that was really quite well timed because I needed to swear a lot and it's nice to have an excuse.

The only blessing out of the sorry mess is that I actually like the break of the roadshow despite all my earlier protestations. It got a little slow in places, but turned out to be quite interesting. I learned a lot about some people; the best ones were the things that I don't think they would want me to learn.

I now feel like a bus has run me over, then picked me up, sat me at the bus-stop again, and made me wait another two hours for the next bus.

Or I think that's how I feel. I'm not willing to try out the experiment to test it all scientific like - but if you're game let me know how you feel after and I'll compare it legitimately. Where legitimately means to continue to hyperbolate the hell out of it.

Well that's my moan over. It's now the end of the day on Friday - yes I know it's not yet eight-thirty but some of us haven't slept this week because our little brains have been turning little conundrums over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and hello it's five-thirty - and I'm winding down to go to bed for a change instead of winding myself up.

Tomorrow at the supermarket I might buy a few little bits and pieces of things that I probably would live longer not eating but would live unhappier not eating and mix them up into a pre-Christmas treat. That's the sort that you mix up at the beginning of December to test out and make sure it'll be okay for Christmas day but then you end up testing it so many times that you get sick of it and end up bringing something else.

And what wondrous recipe am I going to whip up tomorrow? Vanilla Ice-Cream, Lemon Curd and baby Meringues. Lazy woman's summer lemon meringue pie. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

On that note it's time to catch up with Ye Good Olde Blog Tour.

First up we pay a visit to Nickies Views and Interviews which is ironically not doing a review or an interview, before heading onto the foreign shores of Italy with Libri Amori Miei who is.

Visit them and I'll catch you up again in the beautiful release of the weekend. Saturday, here I come.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

EOM Accounts

Since starting my online business (as I refer to my book being available on Amazon) I have been keeping to a strict regimen of end of month accounting to keep track of my income losses.

It was going great guns at first - I put in a cash injection to get the whole show rolling so was immediately in profit. I just needed to sell a few copies here and there, and I could legitimately claim success. Then I decided that I wasn't generating as many sales as I thought were warranted (damn you competitive streak!) so instead of investing in more physical stock to flog around the office, I would start to advertise.

The downfall was sudden. That s**t costs money you know. And you'd be amazed at how high a figure you have to reach before you're due a royalty payment. And then you'd be amazed how long the retailer can hold onto a royalty payment before remembering that it belongs to you and sending it along.

It's hard to say that you've earned out your investment when it's still three months away. But when I get it...

So every month I sit down to the grim news that there is much bill and little no income. If I was running this as a legitimate business instead of a wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-I-could-make-a-success-of-this-hobby business I'd be sorely disappointed.

Luckily you expect to tip a never-ending supply of funding into your hobby because it's what you enjoy. And on that score I'm definitely a success.

Another drawback to this soul-destroying hobby of mine is that I spend a portion of every day looking at work accounts. That means when I do accounts at home, even though theoretically it's part of my play-time, it feels distressingly like work.

Still, when it's your time of the month, it's your time of the month.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


I have the pleasure of attending a roadshow tomorrow. I don't remember getting or accepting an invitation but I've been told that I'm going so I've chosen to believe for the time being that this is true.

Looking back I've been counting up the hours that I've spent at roadshows throughout my life. Time that I've spent being too warm, too cold, absolutely so cold that my nipples were in danger of cutting through the front of my blouse, and hungry.

I've deliberately left bored off of that little list. Is this because I don't start vapidly staring into space and pondering the mysteries of the universe after ten minutes and then trying to chew my fingernails off after twelve? No. It's because I just anticipate that when everyone read the word Roadshow they took boredom as a given. And boy do they deliver.

Even worse than the gnawing discontent of boredom is the group activities. Someone always tells the exec that these will liven up their deadpan audience and really get them involved in the message. Someone should stop telling them that. Someone is lying, or such a bad judge of human emotion and interaction that they shouldn't have a job. Certainly not a job where they can talk to people of influence. Not when they're been dropped on their heads as kids.

A couple of years ago we had to get together and generate ideas for new apps. Awesome. Kids are making a fortune for the same, and we're getting rewarded with half a club sandwich (the soggy half) and a bottle of water. I didn't contribute a lot to that one.

Another time we had to move rice between bowls with chopsticks. That was a tad more amusing. In our team there were two pairs of chopsticks available. We handed them to the Japanese woman and the Malaysian man. People from Christchurch are so not racist.

A Long Time Ago, in a Company Far Far Away there was a man who was legend. He created a roadshow that people enjoyed so much that they willingly signed up for the roadshow the following year. Sadly, it wasn't as good as the first. And then he was fired left the company to attend to family commitments.

Because of him there exists a little spark of hope in every employee in our company's bosom. A little spark that tends to be extinguished halfway through the first sentence of a roadshow, but reignites the following year nonetheless. I can feel its glow sparking up now.

But onto other things you could be doing right now - after you finish reading this...

One stop shop tonight at Hope. Dreams. Life. Love... Toddle along there to get a load of my book full of hopelessness, broken dreams, the end of life, and the loss of love. A good fit, right?

Long spring nights

Right at the moment it's lovely outside. It rained earlier, but then it cleared up completely and the sun came out and the air warmed up.

When we go to bed at night there's still plenty of light outside. When we wake up in the morning it's already light outside. If there weren't occasions where I wake in the night to see it's dark I'd almost believe we were living at a pole in permanent light.

On nights like this in the past, my darling and I used to sit in the dimming light and talk for hours.

We haven't tried this in a while. Now when we go to speak we not only know what we're each going to say but what we're going to respond to it with and what we're then going to say to that along with the joke that we say together which amplifies the funny.

Yeah. That stage.

It makes it easy to communicate information when you need to, but it sure makes for dull conversations.

But at least we get to read in bed longer.

It's still a month till Summer and the solstice is far away in the future. It's 21 degrees outside (for lovers of fahrenheit that's warm but not hot) and the birds are singing their way to bed and the sun still has a half hour before it's fully set.

Peace out.

Today we're going the minimalist route with one blog tour stop. The lovely Owltastic Promotions is hosting me tonight, and it's already up if you want to go and check it out RIGHT NOW!

Find out my favourite joke (that still makes sense when you read it rather than relying on being said aloud) and whether I am turned on by the things I write. Or really, really not because that's inappropriate given my subject matter. Get on over there now.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

One month till Christmas Eve...

Isn't that enough to have you running scared?

I've only just gotten used to writing out the year as 2013 2014, and it's about to change. I remember when a year took years to get through. Time moved so slowly that I had to measure out my life in quarters, and halves. How old are you little girl? I'm four and three-quarter years old, ma'am.

Now I'm lucky to remember the decade, while the precise year is a pot-luck based on what feels most familiar in my mouth. Occasionally there's a complete hiccup in my brain where my mouth tries to say twenty-eight, while my head says 'that's not it' but fails to supply anything else.

Still, on the bright side at least these days I can easily afford Christmas presents, and have enough forethought to know that I need to get it organised sooner rather than later. Therefore I have done my Christmas shopping, and booked my flights and accommodation and now can sit back and watch the last weeks of the year fly by.

In other news...

Blog tour is recommencing after the weekend break with a whirlwind two stop date. First drop by Fiction Zeal and have a bit of a nose around, and then if you're still up for more have a late night drink at Tina Donahue Presents before falling into bed completely satiated.

Yeah, that's the stuff.


The other day my hundredth blog post came and went without much fanfare. Truth be told I didn't even realise that it was my hundredth until after I'd published, and then noticed the number.

So - hooray for my hundredth blog post. Rah, rah, rah and all that jazz.

Now that it's had time to sink in I've decided to release something to celebrate the occasion in style because it's not going to happen again, is it? These little milestones have to be noted otherwise my life will be gone before I notice and nothing will have been done about any of it.

So guess what it is that I've released? Guess what it is that I've done in order to mark the occasion of my hundredth post?

Give up?

I've released a book of collected blog posts called "One Hundred Days of Noise." Yes that's right. No longer will you have to click out to the side of a main blog post in order to see the others. No longer will you have to curl up in bed with your laptop or PC while you catch up with what's been happening in the world of Katherine. Now you can handily download the collected nonsense onto your favourite e-reader. And if you don't have an e-reader you can download it onto your laptop and curl up in bed with... hang on.

If you want to download it onto a Kindle you can do it through Amazon and pay only $4.99. That's right. Only $4.99. For something that you can read right here on blogger for free.

If that doesn't tickle your fancy you can download it from NoiseTrade for the same price as blogger charges. That's right. Nothing. It's available in Mobi, E-Pub and PDF format so should fit onto any reader you happen to own.

No, thank you.

And here's a link to a blog tour post that went up a little sooner than expected. I love and appreciate promptness in any shape or form, and you can find an excellent example of it right here on Writer Wonderland.

Get on there to read my take on critique groups and other assorted jewels of wisdom. And when you're done download the free e-book and read through any blog posts you've missed. Or read them again and see if they stand up to repeated scrutiny.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Little Birdie McNugget

For the last few days we've had a slightly wild pet keeping us company. A fledgling blackbird fell out of its nest (or flew out of its nest) and now is in no position to fly back to it.

Either its parents, or other unrelated birds who are taking pity on it simply due to species affinity, are turning up every once in a while to shove a couple of beakfuls of food down its gullet. Otherwise, it's on its own.

Except for me and my darling. That little bird is now our favourite part of the garden. No matter in which part of the garden it happens to be.

It still has a few fluffy feathers. And it doesn't emit any sounds, so when it opens its mouth for food it has to plead soulfully with it's cute little eyes. When they connect with you, you feel it. You feel this little bird's pain.

Just in case you thought I was kidding about the full extent of little birdie's beauty here are the clips of proof:

Am I right, or am I right?

Okay, maybe he just looks like a little bird to you, but me and my darling both work long hours and can't reasonably expect a pet to amuse itself all day long while we're out of the house so we are sadly lacking in animal companionship. Therefore a pet that comes with it's own caretakers is the epitome of all that is adorable.

In homage to South Park we've even gone so far as to name him McNugget. Yes we have. Yes we did. Cutey wutey little birdie McNugget.

Just dropped in to type this up before I get back to cat duty. They're not laying claim to him on my watch.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Art imitating life

I can't drive. Not even a little bit. I'm not one of those people who can operate a vehicle but don't have a license - I'm hard core. I don't even know how to turn the things on or put petrol in them.

I do sometimes wonder what life would be like if I learned to drive. Usually when I'm sitting at a bus-stop in the rain. But these small miseries are temporary - my dislike of the open road is long-lasting.

But I didn't expect that my aversion would make itself known when playing a game. Granted, GTAV was not in my top list for purchase otherwise I would've bought it back when I was using my forgotten-in-the-front-room PS3. Still, I've always had it in the back of my mind as I thought it must be pretty good otherwise it wouldn't have beaten out The Last of Us in so many awards last year.

When the opportunity to redeem some points for the PS4 version presented itself I took the plunge and ordered it. Having today off on leave (because I got used to long weekends and don't want to let them go) I managed to peel the clingfilm off in little pieces that I then had to vacuum up off the floor, opened the case, stuck it in the PS4 and got ready to rumble.

An hour later it had installed, and I'd been distracted by Farm Heroes instead. Farm Heroes never takes an hour to install - it's ready when you want it. Large gaming companies could learn something from this.

Eventually I ran out of lives and went back to the PS4. I wasn't too bad in the first couple of scenes, but then the trouble began. I got in a car.

Maybe it's easier with a steering wheel, or if you don't have your finger glued to accelerate, but these things are hard to steer. And I've never noticed before that cars have a propensity to turn in the opposite direction to where you want to go when you drive them through snowbanks, hay bales, tractors and trains. What's that about? Does that happen to anyone else?

It did not help one bit that I didn't know that there was a reverse on the other side of the controller (in the logical place) and was attempting to do three point turns without the backing up bit in the middle.

And I must admit to being slightly disappointed that when I hit some pedestrians (which I'd kinda thought was maybe some of the point of the game) that police started chasing me. I managed to turn the car off the main highway and straight over a bank (which I'd naively hoped would be another road shaped perfectly in the same direction that my car was aiming) and landed on the roof. I managed to right the vehicle, and then promptly steered it over another bank and landed on my roof again.

When I righted the vehicle for the second time I found myself in the Los Angeles river which was the most fun that I've had so far in this game. Why? There was nothing else down there to avoid. As long as I steered between the pillars of the bridges I was sweet. But all good things have to come to an end, and I managed to end mine by manoeuvring into a tunnel. A thin tunnel.

My car didn't look great when I finally pulled into the dealership lot. No one really noticed except for me. There wasn't a panel of that beautiful sports car that I hadn't dented and scraped. I hoped they were pulling that puppy into its disparate parts because it was no longer a real car.

I have a feeling that if you put me in a real sports car right now and said GO it would end up in a similar state. Except I think I would come out of it slightly worse off than my character in GTAV. I was still walking and talking. Scratch that in real life.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

SAW on the West Wing

We're watching an old series of the West Wing at the moment, and it's strange all the people that keep turning up in it as people other than what you know them now to be.

Yip. Pretty sure that sentence made perfect sense.

I'm currently watching the weirdo out of the Saw franchise - the main serial Sophie's Choice killer weirdo, not any of the other ones - wearing a military uniform. It's not pleasant. And it's hard to take him seriously.

I also think that the President's men shouldn't be hanging out with a slutty weed dealer, and Peggy Olsen just needs to grow up and stop hanging around with college kids.

There's a nice twang of nostalgia seeing Ron Silver on the screen again - I miss him. I loved it when he was in Chicago Hope and kept bringing out the x-ray showing the instrument his ex-wife left inside a shortly-thereafter-dead patient.

I'm not actually sure what he's doing here now, I've lost track of everybody. Now I'm just playing the game of pointing and saying "he/she was ***** out of ****!" I love IMDB in these situations. My memory isn't up to the game much anymore.

And now Christian Slater has walked onscreen. In a slightly darker uniform. Is anyone in The West Wing named Heather?

Funniest of all is seeing the same virtuous morality that a bunch of newsmen currently own spilling out of decade old mouths as though it was fresh material. I may have that backwards, but that's the way free TV rolls.

Onto my attempt to "break the internet" one blog at a time.

Another solo star hosting me tonight. Pop along to Jane Reads later tonight for a guest appearance by... (drum roll please) ME!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Better than FREE

Today I've had my book approved for launch on Story Cartel. So I launched it.

For the next three weeks it'll be available for free download in formats for Kindle, Kobo, Nook Book and whatever knock-off branch of e-reader you've managed to get your hands on. Or their tablet app equivalents.

Free download. What could be better than that?

Well, the better bit is that once you've read my lovely though harrowing book Found, Near Water, you get to toss your opinion of it about willy-nilly. In fact if you pop a review on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks or another digital bookstore that takes your fancy you will earn entry into a draw for a whole lot of excellent monthly prizes which I can't be bothered to list here but you can find on the Story Cartel website.

Interested? Check out the FAQs here then sign up and download your free copy of my book here

Or, you could help out a starving artist and purchase a copy. Up to you. Even if you do pay for it you can still feel free to toss around your opinion of it - people will probably pay it even more attention.

And onto my tour of the wild, wild, inter-web.

There's only one stop on the tour tonight, so all the attention goes to Megan's Blog. Yahhhhhh Megan! Drop by later to say hi, or ask any of your burning questions and I'll try my best to deflect them with humour.

It's just my way.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Password Changes

This morning I changed my password at work.  My computer is now secure - even from me. Every time I sit down to get to some real work I instead elicit a series of  beeps informing me that I am locked out.

It also informs me that I have no memory, and I'm resistant to change.

My computer is a bit lippy.

And before you suggest it, yes I do only change the last digit in my password each time. If I changed the whole thing I'd have to keep the helpdesk on speed dial.

Even worse is when I sit in front of my computer at home trying to access a user only website, with a repeated error message thwarting my efforts. And I go through the whole rigamarole of resetting my password - waiting for a good twenty minutes for a reset code that never arrives - until I finally twig that I'm using the wrong email address.

But the worst of all is when I receive a message from microsoft, or paypal, or my bank, kindly informing me that even though I can't remember my password, someone in China can.

Power Breathing

As I was struggling up a steep hill (okay, okay, a gently sloping incline) the other day I lamented the days where I didn't struggle for each breath.

It reminded me vividly of the time where my doctor and I thought I may have asthma, but turned out that my lungs just objected to clean air after years of breathing in increasingly expensive smoke.

This further reminded me of a torture device that I'd briefly used until I was able to suck in a full lungful of air (and stopped panicking that I would die full-time - back to part-time baby.)

It's called a power-breathe. There's a mouthpiece that encourages salvation just looking at it, and some plastic and screws and coils.

The handle screws around to different levels, each providing a new level of resistance. You place your mouth at one end, and attempt to breath in thirty breaths in one session.

It's harder than it sounds.

Here's a picture.

That was so I could say it's also harder than it looks.

In theory by using it twice a day you build up the muscles around your lungs so they have an easier time getting air into you. In practice too.

I promise to have a session with the machine religiously morning and night until my ability to breathe while walking improves.

And by religiously I mean I'm an atheist.

My first two stops on the blog tour are out of the gate (or will be shortly.) Our Wolves Den is first out of the block, also kindly providing a review, and Isabel Roman is following a close second. Please take the time to drop by, and if you comment you'll be in to win a $50 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Links to these blogs can also be found on the right-hand side of my blog posts.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Virtual Book Tour is almost here

Hooray. My virtual book tour starts tomorrow. Or the day after depending on where you live. Or three weeks in the past depending on when you read this.

Or just the 17th November for ease of having a common point of reference.

For those unfamiliar with the term a Virtual Book Tour means instead of going from town to town and sitting in bookstores, I'll be going from blog to blog and checking in at virtual towns around the world. Much more fun because I can do it all from the comfort of my sofa.

The only drawback is that most blog owners are on the wrong other side of the world, so I'll be dropping by in their early morning to say hello, then being out of contact for nine hours while I have a nice sleep.

So if (or when) you see the following banner in the middle of my blog in the coming weeks...

It means there'll be a link to a blog post or two which you can follow to find out what horrors joys another blogger has put me through that day.

Attitudes and Lifestyle Survey

My, how the year has flown. Once again it's time for the New Zealand Attitudes and Lifestyle Survey. I've been doing this for six years, according to the website, but it always seems such a short time between the surveys that either I'm getting old and time is flying or they're sending it out more frequently than I imagine they are.

Just checked their website again. I'm getting old.

I do now think that I should've taken a note of all the questions and answers over the years, and then I'd be able to see where my answers have changed. Certainly I earn more money, have a better job, have developed a hobby into a completely non-lucrative business, have a wonderful and steady relationship, and take a lot more pills. That must have been an improvement?

They should certainly be less mopey. I had angst for a lot longer than the usual teenager.

But to do that would require effort and commitment to data-gathering, and although I'm happy to type it out on a blog for ten minutes, I'm not about to put the same effort into recording my answers twice. And I think a lot of the questions change.

They used to have quite a weirdly offensive one about how I felt about obesity-related diseases eg heart disease. Really? Heart disease. Because prior to the "obesity epidemic" heart disease was unknown in the Western World. Just like cancer. No one ever used to die of cancer. Or bollocks. Prior to the obesity epidemic there wasn't nearly the same amount of people dying of bollocks in the world.

It also amusingly lists fat people as an ethnicity. I'm not kidding. It asks you how much you feel anger or don't feel anger towards certain ethnicities and then lists NZ Europeans (always first - no they don't reveal their own prejudices), Maori, Pacific Islanders, Arabs, Asians and Fat People.


Maybe I should try listing that one on my next passport application form and see if it makes it through.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tigers in Paris - oh my!

Such exciting news this morning. A tiger loose in Paris. PETA said that this should show to the public the dangers of keeping wild animals in captivity, but they seemed to have missed the main point of the headline.

The very idea of a tiger taking a lazy stroll around Paris - napping in the branches of a strong tree in the midday sun, chasing small puppies who'll grow up to have a very complicated relationship with cats in the neighbourhood - fills me with warm joy.

And there was even photographic evidence. Such a rare thing in these cases, but whomever first thought of including a camera in a mobile phone must have a warm place in every newsman's heart.

I've seen that photo. It looks like a cat. Quite like the tabby that was lolling on the front lawn this afternoon and which I had to shoo away before my darling fetched a gun.

I'd quite like to know why that woman and her fuzzy photo was believed when the twenty years of eyewitness reports about the Canterbury Cat are mocked.

This is her picture...

And these are the pictures that local Cantabrians have captured over the years...

Don't you think they look exactly the same? Yes?

Ha. That was a trick. Of course they look nothing alike. The Canterbury Cat is a panther, not a tiger.

So the woman in Paris gets showered with glory, and the poor men of the Canterbury Plains are afraid to come forward with their stories because they'll be pelted with ridicule.

The truth is out there.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A list of things I found funny today

This morning we drove past a service station with a sign out front announcing:


The entire sign should have been put up backwards, and then it would have been completely in reverse. I do understand the need to provide clarity when an abbreviation is used, but using an abbreviation as clarification for the full description?


And that's it. I started this list off this morning with great hope and excitement, but either I haven't been paying attention or everything else in Christchurch is going just as it should.

Oh well, plenty of time over the coming long weekend to spot more nonsense that takes my fancy. Or I could put the time to better use and go looking for the 99 giraffes that have been let loose on Christchurch. This is my favourite one:

Not that I've found it out in the wild yet. I've only driven past a gold one at the Casino, and a serious looking giraffe with a tool belt who looked like he was definitely in on the rebuild effort.

Stand Tall Christchurch.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Twitter - a love story

Katherine Hayton,
You have a new follower on Twitter.

Follow back
08:02 PM - 11 Nov 14

Hello...thanks for following back. dave Collins, may I know your name?
09:04 PM - 11 Nov 14

Course you can Dave... but that was an hour ago so in the meantime I've gone to bed. I won't be able to read your message until tomorrow.

Hi..thanks for following back, am dave. May I know your name??
09:34 PM - 11 Nov 14

Now I'm asleep Dave, so you're out of luck. But I'm sure I'll get to your message tomorrow.

Hi ??
02:32 AM - 12 Nov 14

Still asleep Dave. Give me a few more hours, eh?

Hi Dave Collins, you may know my name. It is Katherine Hayton :)
06:11 AM - 12 Nov 14

Nice name, I like That
06:13 AM - 12 Nov 14

Seriously Dave. Are you sitting in front of your computer waiting for people to reply to you on Twitter? Are you sitting in front of your computer waiting for me to reply to you on Twitter? You're starting to creep me out Dave.

Would like to know more about you, if you don't mind
06:14 AM - 12 Nov 14

I'm sorry; I can't do that Dave.

06:18 AM - 12 Nov 14

Block or Report?

Goodbye Dave.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Bad news on cup day

This morning I got dressed up in my fancy clothes, found out my fascinator was now called a hatinator on account of it having a brim, and set off to work in a reasonable mood.

A couple of hours later I was fighting tears in a meeting room while the leadership team learned that we're losing the best boss we've ever had.

And it was a good four hours before we could reasonably break out the strawberries and bubbly for cup day.

The day was rather on the skids from that point on. The restructure that we've all been trying to ignore for months on end has finally started to bite.

Like most people, I've been down this road before. There's the restructures that you barely noticed have happened; the ones that leave swathes of destruction in their wake; and the ones that you wake up hoping that a depression ain't about to hit New Zealand because you need a bouncy job market to find new employment in.

Of course now I'm a famous writer - cough, cough - I needn't worry about these things (snigger.)

And yes we're all told that change is good, and to embrace it, but that's hard when it's spiky all over and has razor sharp teeth.

But those berries were good when we finally got around to them. Even if I drew a loser non-placing winner in the sweepstakes it's still Cup Day and there are things that demand to be celebrated.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


I've been having an amusing time over the past hour looking through people's twitter descriptions. Lots of occupations, even more hobbies, a whole city worth of twitter spouses and children, and a collection of instantly favourite phrases.

What I don't get is the diseases.

I have my illnesses, chronic and acute, physical and mental, but I tend to think of them as annoyances that you just get on with (after the suitable complaint period.) I'm giving a free pass to the cancer survivors who then go on to list the loves of their lives; I count that as perspective.

There's one twitterer I came across whose description comprised of one acute physical disease, one chronic physical disease (a very popular book-of-the-month type at that) and then one mental illness. That was it.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. How can a person define everything about themself in such terms? I could get on board with celebrating some aspects maybe; the community spirit of lice and their incredible feats of reproduction say, or the way the little patch of eczema near my elbow makes the rest of my skin look unblemished. But the entirety of your description?

It reminded me of a tweet that I saw earlier in the year. A hashtag was viralling around the place gaining supporters, as they do. It was nice and empowering and non-threatening all at the same time. This tweet was mixed up in the middle of it. I thought it was irony. Now I'm not so sure.

"As an OCD sufferer #Iamnotmymentalillness"

Yeah. Good on you love.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The relative merits of bludgeoning

Tonight on Olive Kitteridge there was reference made to how Chris may be a complicated boy but at least he's never bludgeoned his girlfriend to death. No, it's no use explaining, you should watch it if you're not already.

Anyway that got my darling and I onto the subject of how nice it was that neither of us had ever bludgeoned each other to death.

I explained that even if I felt the need to, my arm is particularly sore this weekend so I wouldn't have the strength. My darling said he had the strength to do it, but only 'cause it's easier to bludgeon girls.

I hastened to point out that we would have to be talking about a little girl - like five or six - and who wants to be the town pariah?

It all petered out a bit after that. I considered that maybe I could try with my left arm - not much aim but far more strength - and my darling just seemed to stop thinking altogether.

If they do find my battered body anytime in the next week do me a favour and pass this onto police.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Cup Day Dress-up

It's only a couple more days until Cup Day. I'm not foolish enough to actually go to the races and be thrown up on by young girls who are wearing little more than belts and high heels, but I always reserve the right to dress up as though I am.

Saves a lot on the dry-cleaning.

Evil clothing elves have even afforded me a genuine reason to purchase a brand new dress for the occasion rather than just making do. There's been a little bit of that going on lately - it's far more difficult to get inspired to try to lose my sudden-change-of-medication weight pile-on when I'm getting a new wardrobe out of the deal.

A talented woman at work has even fashioned a fascinator for me. It matches beautifully to my shoes and my handbag, which is lucky because my dress came from a completely different colour spectrum. Can't have everything going together though, can you? Or is that in this season? Who can keep track?

There'll be strawberries and bubbles for breakfast on Tuesday. The bubbles in question will be of the non-alcoholic variety, but the strawberries will be the real thing. And then I believe later on in the day there might be something else happening. Aside from the best-dressed competitions I mean. What is that again..?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Expired food

Our office held an expired food party today. Yeah we're cheap, what's it to ya?

I happily poured out some Coke Zero safe in the knowledge that nothing can ever make Coke taste bad. I've seen You-tube videos where it melts coins. Time isn't any match to that power.

It turns out that my knowledge was belief, and faulty at that. It was flat. I can handle that - sometimes I even prefer it. It wasn't sweet. Say what?

Yeah, you heard me right. The Coke Zero wasn't sweet any longer. The vast array of chemical symbols that adorn the fine print of the ingredient list have no staying power. A mere year after the best before date and it was almost undrinkable. I could only manage three glasses. Ugh.

The chips fared a lot better. I thought at first the Doritos had gone off as well, but it turned out they were Salsa flavoured and were meant to taste like that. Why would anyone buy Salsa when they could buy cheese? I didn't even know you could buy a flavour of Dorito that didn't include cheese. Maybe they were a limited edition?

I only realised when I reached home that I'd forgotten my cans of cream. Again. They only expired in July and September respectively so I'm confident that they're still good to go. I sprayed a couple of handfuls into my mouth the other day and I haven't died so I'm backing myself here.

There is a weird sense of urgency to consume it as soon as possible. But I hope it can last the weekend. It's made it this far.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Better Communities Together

The night before last there was a very large explosion from somewhere deep in our suburb. Louder than a car backfire, louder than a shotgun blast. I cringed on the sofa and thought it may be a good time to go to bed early. My darling bounced outside with joy to see what the hell had caused it.

I'm not taking him to live in a war zone.

He met a fair share of the neighbourhood while he was out there. They formed in small gaggles and had a good sniff of the night air to try to work out what had happened. Some of them, two women, set off further up the street to see if they could work out something more from the next corner.

I continued to tremble on the sofa.

He continued to talk outside for a half hour. He was invited to a party on Saturday night. My darling hasn't been invited to a party he wants to attend for at least ten years. He still hasn't. Saturday night we have a burning appointment with the TV.

Meanwhile, I got over my fright enough to sit up straight and start to search for information on the internet. There's a surprising lack of information on the internet about explosions in Christchurch. Surprising lack.

When he came back inside the neighbours had jointly agreed that the noise was probably down to a kid setting off a firecracker in a drum.

Fireworks. Building Better Communities Together.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Ringing off the hook

The phone is ringing off the hook tonight. Three not interesteds so far, and a hang-up before the long-distance connection to India could fully traverse the distance.

If our phone was any smarter or younger we could always just set it to mute in the evenings because it's never going to be anyone we want to talk to. I don't want to buy life insurance, sell my home, donate to dying kiddies, or change my electricity company. Believe me folks, if I wanted to do any of these things I would phone you.

Or, more likely, I would find a webpage and sort it out for myself. I'm not entrusting anything to the sorts of people who think that my evenings recovering from the day by lolling on the sofa are a fine opportunity for them to practice sales techniques.

If I hadn't been raised any better I would tell all you telephony people to go away.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Go Away.

Once, when I was in standard two, I was severely remonstrated by a teacher for telling another girl to go away. It hadn't seemed like such a bad thing at the time. I was eight years old, I was planning a secret surprise with my friend, and we didn't want to let the cat out of the bag.

I was called out in front of the class, and had to stand there while my teacher listed to all of my peers my many flaws. I also wasn't allowed to talk to my friend for the rest of the week. I got the message; this was the worst thing that you could say to another human being.

Worse than a b***h, worse than a b*****d, worse than calling the slow kid in the class a r****d.

For skipping school you got the strap; for pushing someone into the sharp edge of the jungle gym you got a talking to, and then the strap. Quick and easy and over in less than a minute. But for daring to tell someone else in the school yard to go away when you didn't want to play with them - that earned you a week long punishment.

Corporal punishment has faded into the past since then; for all I know everything now involves week long psychological torture rather than a short, sharp assault by a full-grown adult on a small child. Or you get a "time-out" whatever that new-age stuff means.

Never mind. Back to the point.

I still have days where I'm busy or I'm grumpy or I just don't want to be dealing with you lot of humans today thank you very much. I still have days where I want to tell everybody on earth to sod off to another piece of the planet and don't make any noise while you're at it.

And yet I would still rather bite through my lower lip rather than just tell you politely to GO AWAY.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Going out

We're going out tonight. Bill Bailey's Limboland is on in Christchurch, and we intend to be there seated when he walks out on stage.

It's very stressful. I haven't been able to change out of my work clothes into my home clothes. My home clothes being the comfy ones with all the food stains on them. It would be irresponsible to change clothing when I'd just have to change back in a few hours. It would be a waste, and we don't put no truck with waste in these here parts.

There's also a level of stress about the timing of the car-ride there. It's a difficult route to work out, you know. The venue is next door to where we both work. Next door. There's a gate we have to go through. Or, even more stressful, rather than parking at the office we could park at the venue and not walk through the gate.

Geez. Bill better be on good form tonight to make up for all this worry. And he'd better not go on too late. Don't get me started on our plans if goes on too late.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Morning walks and weird thoughts

This morning I once again climbed a hill. I know, will I ever learn?

Once again I piked out before completing half of our old trail. On the bright side my heart rate got really high and my breathing got really laboured. Why's that the bright side, you ask? Because someone in a gym once told me it was, that's why.

Yeah, okay you caught me. That's a total lie. I've never stepped inside a gym! Someone who enters gyms came out of one once and told me that.

It got me thinking of an article I'd read years ago. It was about a woman who was stabbed as she was jogging around Nunweek Park. Nasty bit of business. The police said you should never exercise so much that you couldn't run away.

That's stayed with me, that has. Often, when I'm walking down Condell Avenue I think of it. I think of it then because that's when I'm so knackered from walking home that I probably couldn't run away.

And, out of breath on what's meant to be a nice morning walk, it buzzed around in the back of my mind like an Aussie fly.

The bright side these days is that I no longer need to worry about this piece of advice. I tried to run for the bus a few weeks back. I hadn't exercised at all prior to it. Not at all. That's also a fair description of how my attempt to run worked out. Not at all. Unless the point was to entertain and amuse the bus driver that is, in which case it worked a treat.

It turned out in the end that the woman in Nunweek park stabbed herself. Not a random "truck driver" at all. That's also a bit of comfort to my strained and aching heart.

No matter how fast you can run, you can't outrun yourself.

Kirkus Review

I don't usually reprint my reviews (if you wanted to see them you could look them up yourself!) but this one is truly the most wonderful thing I've ever seen so I'm taking a liberty.


In this novel, a victim-support counselor in New Zealand finds that the case of a missing girl takes a bizarre turn when a self-proclaimed psychic gets involved.

Christine Emmett, who was once a psychiatrist until she “realized how futile the entire field was,” is close to burning out in her volunteer work as a victim-support counselor for the North Christchurch region working (uneasily) with police. She also runs a support group for mothers with sick, missing or dead children; her own young daughter died, though readers don’t learn exactly how until the end. She’s increasingly distant from her husband, Gary, who drinks heavily.

Christine drags herself to her next patient, Rena Sutherland, who woke from a coma to find her young daughter missing. Amid the media glare, a woman, claiming to be a psychic, provides police with valuable information. Meanwhile, one support-group member is falling apart because her daughter’s killer has been released. Could he have taken Rena’s child?

As old crimes and tragedies surface, Christine must confront her own past. In her debut novel, Hayton wisely stays away from exploiting her subject for shock value. Rather than describing the disgusting details of crimes against children, she focuses on her characters and how they cope. Her characters are well-drawn, with believable and often heartbreaking histories, warts and all. The portrayals are multilayered. Christine’s cynicism, for example, is clearly a thin mask for her depression, self-hatred and grief but is also bracingly unsentimental, with a side of gallows humor.

Hayton draws subtle, interesting and fruitful parallels between the Christchurch earthquake of 2011 and emotional recovery as her broken characters work to navigate the twisted streets of their broken city. It’s a study in surviving disaster as much as it is a mystery novel. One episode perhaps parallels too closely a scene in Tom Perotta’s Little Children, but it’s a minor fault.

Taut and engrossing, with a tough humanity.

Isn't it beautiful? Or is that just me?

BTW I would like to state for the record that although I have seen the movie of Little Children (more than once - it does hold up well to re-watching) I didn't actually remember the scene referenced even after reading this review. I had to trawl through a synopsis on Wikipedia to pinpoint which scene it was.

However, if you'd like to judge for yourself please avail yourself of this fine opportunity to purchase Found, Near Water on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Fishpond or iBooks.

It's a great book - if you don't believe me then read the above!