Saturday, July 31, 2010

Windy Welly


Cold rain.

More wind.

Yep, welcome to Wellington. They don't call it the Windy City for nothing.

After a lazy weekend of reading, sitting and watching the rain, and watching new friends dance tango at a local pub, I started my research at the national library today.

I was prepared for a new round of getting lost in the city, trying to maneuver through library registrations and request forms, and making plans for the next (and final) few rounds of interviews. Despite my fears, though, the research librarians were very helpful, and I spent a long afternoon in a gorgeous, airy reading room browsing through 19th century diaries and handwritten drafts of lectures on New Zealand theatre in the 1940s.

Let's face it: I have no idea what the collective state of this project will be when I finally get around to sorting and typing up my handwritten (gulp!) notes. Lots of fascinating moments and sketches, but not looking much like a five-act play at this point; however, for the moment, I'm just enjoying the process.

Cheers to a non-rainy day, although spending it inside felt a little bit like cheating.

More tomorrow!

Goodbye, Auckland (take 2)

To my dear (now-ex) roommates,

Thank you for apologizing when you turned on the lights at midnight and entered en masse. No thanks for subsequently continuing to party for another hour.

Thank you for not "waking me up" to show me the pictures in your porn magazine. No thanks for narrating the pictures in a loud voice.

Thank you for not spilling vodka on my bag and leaving the room before lighting your cigarettes. No thanks for sitting on my weet-bix (cereal) box.

I'm honored that you think of me as a "whole/old" person. On the whole, shall we say, it was a pleasure knowing you.



Friday, July 30, 2010

Goodbye, Auckland

After a great two and a half days in Hamilton visiting classes and talking to professors, students, and tutors at Waikato, I'm back in Auckland for one more night (in a definite partyers hostel) before heading south.

I think my public transportation usage is permanently cursed.

Allow me to explain.

At least one sick person within a 3-seat radius on all flights and buses since arrival. At least one crying child within a similar, if not smaller radius. And as of today, welcome to the GGSGG zone, also known as the gum-popping, giggling, shrieking, gossiping girls region of the bus. We are talking about some serious vocal chord endurance on their part.


Auckland, congratulations on (excepting tonight) redeeming yourself substantially. You and your rainy-misty-cloudy-hot-sunny-cold-windy-ness are all right in my book.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Romeo & Juliet, NZ-style

Yesterday's lesson: If I ever propose visiting New Zealand without an umbrella again, someone stop me. (Sub-lesson: puddles form in low places on the street. Sub-sub-lesson: puddles are bodies of water that, when stepped in, cause dampness in denim and canvas. Sub-to-the-third-power-lesson: jeans take a lot longer to dry in cold weather.)

After a full day's research at the library, I saw a performance of Romeo and Juliet last night. Lots of cool thoughts to sort through, including why there had to be large men in gold short-shorts and a night club scene, but overall, an interesting show.

Friar Lawrence was by far my favorite character, with a much stronger emotional draw than I've seen before, which in part made up for Romeo's excessively arm-y acting and consequentially weak emotional connection.

Wandered around the city today, as the weather was gorgeous. Lots of pictures, museums, friendly research librarians, a chocolate boutique, and 4 hours of walking later, and I'm about ready to crash.


P.S. Mission "find a good fish 'n' chips spot" still incomplete.
P.P.S. Mission "redeem Auckland" a success thus far!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 1

Spending large amounts of time on an airplane It also means that your sense of time becomes completely skewed. Today, after arriving, my body is convinced it is in Los Angeles, North Carolina, and New Zealand, all at the same time. Besides that, no confusion whatsoever.

Today's highlights:

Walking around the park where I once slept under a highway overpass, and noting the new wall now separating said overpass from said park.

Exploring the university campus and getting completely and utterly lost. Then getting un-lost. Taking comfort in the similarity of library catalogs worldwide.

Discovering that the window in my hostel room does not shut, and enjoying the mildly wintery gusts of wind sneaking in through the 4-inch (9-centimeter?) gap, plus the beak of the inquisitive sparrow perched on the ledge.

Mince pie from a small coffee shop called Seattle Espresso, where I met a man whose brother is currently doing research in North Carolina (related to me with no prior mention of my homeplace).

New Zealand accents. And attractive New Zealand men in line at customs.

Good stuff, all. Research proper to commence tomorrow. I forgot that everything closes at 5 p.m....

Monday, July 19, 2010

1 day to Aotearoa

Today is packing day. After submitting my work project at 1:15 this morning, everything is a bit fuzzy on the uptake, but things are going in my bag, and they're probably things I need.


Thoughts of the morning

It feels strange to be digging out my polypro and wool socks and gloves while it's a steamy 95+ degrees outside.

I am going to New Zealand tomorrow.

Very glad I realized the passport I had copied for my parents was the (expired) temporary one, not the one that's current. Would have been bad to get to the airport and realize I had the wrong passport. *shudders*

I am going to New Zealand tomorrow.

There are a thousand and one things I "should have" read to prepare for my research. And have not read. And I'm still going to New Zealand tomorrow.

I know I will forget things. And I'm still going to be in New Zealand.




And there you have it. Pre-trip mental state 101. Gotta love it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Life in 10 seconds

New Zealand: Tuesday! Still haven't packed. Spent 11 hours in the same chair yesterday, working. Switching it up to work at the winery today. Might not get to the last 20 pages of Ah, Wilderness! before I leave. Heat! Sleep! Coffee!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Today, in a Nutshell

Want to play frisbee.

Need to work.

Need a time-turner.

Very aware of New Zealand, T-minus 6 days.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Sporting Question

Freakonomics: Why Doesn't ESPN Cover Women?

Ermphsh. I'm so torn on what I think, and the comments really play that out (c.f. #4, 11, 18, 21, 25), even if some of them are frustrating...


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Words, words, words

I love words. So just for a moment, I want to exercise my geekiness rights and point out something fascinating.

Reading an article for my NZ research today, I stumbled across a new word I didn't know: pleonasm.

It refers to an excess of words used to express a sentiment, sometimes as a rhetorical device, other times evidence of prolixity (tee hee).

At first I thought I was confusing it with another word I did know: neoplasm.

Neoplasm is another word for a tumor, an excess of cells, sometimes benign, sometimes malignant.

Both words are of Greek origin, but not the same Greek origin, pleonasm stemming from pleon (more/enough, from ple-, a similar prefix to poly-), and neoplasm from neo (new) + plasma (formation).

My observation of these two words is completely irrelevant both to what I was reading and to any other functions in my life; however, it is exceptionally fascinating. N'est-ce-pas? it's really bothering me that I don't know a term for the relationship between those two words. It's not homophone...what is it???

You are failing me, Google. You are failing me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Research - T minus 15 days

I think today for the first time, it hit me that I'll be traveling to New Zealand on a research grant in just over two weeks.


Can I say that again?



All of a sudden, "plenty of time" means very little. The stack of books I was supposed to have read seems very large. And my relative ability to speak coherently to individuals in an informal interview setting seems extraordinarily low.

Nonetheless, I will be departing in 15 days. Ergo, the map-examining, timetable-plotting, and various document-copying becomes as rampant as slouching teenagers in the mall in July. Ergo, the reading list is undergoing a transformation. No more of this science fiction business.

-Said, On Exile
-Shakespeare's Drama of Exile
-New Zealand Drama
-A Theatre in the House
-Post-colonial Drama

The list goes on. And archives. Lots and lots of archives. Stay tuned for more information. Aaaaand....Go.



You mean these things don't absorb into my brain while I sleep and produce a fascinating and brilliant commentary that is pre-packaged in a thesis-sized envelope?

Dang it.

I think I'd better think it out again...
I am reeeeviewing...duhdle duhdle duh...the situation...