Saturday, December 22, 2012

A ramble about God and his teaching

Two days out from Christmas, and I usually wake up feeling pretty happy. Not wistful, like I did this morning. I had rolled over, picked up my phone, and noticed I'd slept later than I planned. Then, rather than getting out of bed and making the most of the hour I'd almost slept through - or a the very least, pick up my Bible and finish off a couple of readings - I turned back over and hid under blankets.

In my warm cavern, I knew exactly why I was feeling like this. Hopes get raised, you let yourself get unnaturally excited - and then the things fall through. It's a pattern that everyone would be used to (or at the very least have experienced). I curled deeper under the blankets, wanting to sit and wallow. My mother used to howl at my teenaged self for wallowing when I was in the throes of depression, so I knew it probably wasn't the best option. But for once this year, especially seeing as it's nearly over, I felt like dwelling on just losing something - again - that I thought would come to pass by now. I deserved an epic time of wallowing, and my gosh, I was going to wallow and it was going to be glorious.

God, however, had other plans for my extreme wallowing session. As I lay there, possibly scowling at the body pillow I had shamelessly pilfered from my father's room, I remembered verses I was reading last night. It wasn't a case of "open Bible and pick verse that makes you feel better about the situation without any Godly guidance" (something I was guilty of doing as a 15 year old). Last night's reading was a set of Psalms, with a Proverb as well.

The Psalms, I can't remember where I started and where I finished. But as I read - these were Psalms I'd clearly gone over before, considering how little space there was to underline - one verse just sung out to me.

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord! 
Psalm 113:9.

Searching for it right now, the NLT seems like it fits me more.
He gives a childless woman a family, making her a happy woman. Praise the Lord!
When I was younger (and only a few years ago, when I count back), I didn't want anything with family and children. I would be suave, would marry when I'd had a chance to travel and work on an illustrious career as a writer, and definitely wouldn't be having children - I mean, really? Why do it? The guy I had in my head as marrying was definitely not interested in children either. We would, much to my father's distress, live a life without children, and it would be pretty fun. Even as a child, I don't recall wanting to start a family the way I remember my cousins did. I remember looking at my height in comparison to a baby's and going, "Well, that's just too small. What is it going to do if it's that small?"
Yet almost overnight, this changed. I suddenly wanted this, and the only way I can see it is that God wanted it for me. Robyn - my lovely Sunday School teacher - used to tell us that God would work in us as we grew in Him, and that our desires would change to reflect His desires for our lives.
Last night, God was reminding me of that. This morning, He did the same. It's going to happen, daughter. Be patient.
Upon occasion, I regret asking God to teach me patience. I regret not being specific and asking him to teach me it in a textbook manner, rather than by experience. This was one of those times.
I don't want to wait, I protested. I want it now. SIAGAUONGONAIJOWR,QPWOMOIM. (Yes, I now frustratedly-babble as though I'm slamming my head against a keyboard. It's a fun way of doing things.)
No reply at this point. I closed my eyes, really not wanting to get out of bed. But I did. I dragged my feet out, reminded myself that in lieu of church this morning, I would be listening to music and praising, and I would be getting my heart in it.
I opened my phone, and the last app open had been YouVersion, still sitting there glowing at me. And the verse there?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

One that most every Christian would have engraved on their hearts. But God reminded me of it again. Trust me. Rely on me. Things will happen when they're meant to.

The awesome thing about God is that His timing is always perfect. The frustrating thing is waiting for it sometimes. But patience, they say, is a virtue - one that I am lacking. (I mean, it's a complete shock to me that I still haven't opened Trina's Christmas present to me, considering how it's meant to make me fangirl. Which makes me think God's slowly cultivating patience in me. Huh. Nice to see things growing, when I consider it.) Time to start praying that I stop being a goose, and just let God have it. In my far-future (which is probably where family and all that come); in my near, where I wonder if I'm meant to stay in Brisbane or go to Melbourne, or if I'm even meant to continue studying. All of it is His.

Why? Because He is truly amazing, and learning from experience has shown me that if I keep a hold of my problems, I just freak out all over the place. Best to give it to the Father who knows all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Communication is a strange and lovely thing.
At the moment, I am craving it. I find I crave communication less when I'm in Brisbane, where it's busier. Still, in two weeks Daniela finishes school, and this will keep me sane for the ensuing two weeks I'm stuck down in Ballina.

Because it was playing on my mind, the conversation naturally turned to communication tonight at dinner. Tata, moaning about how he wouldn't always be my favourite person in the world, prompted a sharp smack from Nana.
"But it'll happen soon!" he protested, rubbing his arm where Nana's talons had connected. "She's twenty now, vieja, and she's been away from Brisbane for two days and is already missing it."
"Ay, viejo, stop it. There are different sorts of affection," she retorted. "She loves you like a granddaughter is supposed to love a grandfather. Of course you're not going to be her favourite forever."
Tata scowled.
"And niña," she said to me, "if you miss your friends, call them. You have a phone, no?"
"I don't usually talk on the phone."
"I can talk in person." Occasionally. When I'm comfortable. When I'm not overthinking my idiocy. "I text."
She sighed, and pushed some flan towards me.
"I don't like texting," Tata announced. "I do it because you do it, nieta, but that's the only reason."
"Niña," said Nana, "what do you expect to do when a boy wants to talk to you?"
"Don't give her ideas, vieja!"
"What if he's far away?"
"I suppose I won't hear his voice for a while," I said, "not until I see him."
Nana whirled to face Tata. "Ay, amor, listen to her."
"I'm okay with what she says."
"When your Tata and I were - ¿como se llama, niña? - dating? We were far away. I wanted to hear his voice all the time."
Tata didn't reply, instead choosing to dig into his flan.
I chose to change the topic.

On the way home, I asked Tata about how he preferred to talk to Nana when they were dating.
"She lived in Concepción, and I lived in Santiago," he said. "I couldn't really call her, not often. I did. But I would write her letters."
"Did you prefer to write letters?"
"Of course not, niña," he replied. "Then again, it was easier to convince her I was brilliant that way. I wrote a lot of lies."
"Well, not lies exactly," he said, for once remembering to put his indicator on. "But you write, and you remember it differently, with more heroics in the story. Then you reread it and you realise you wrote complete bull."
"But you send it anyway?"
"Por supuesto."
I asked him how they met.
"She was walking past me," he recalled. "Visiting someone, I remember, someone I knew. My friend stopped to say hi, and I met your grandmother."
"So how'd it continue, then?"
"I agreed to go dancing to impress her."
"You can't dance."
"Yes, but I was a stupid boy who did something I despise doing so I could make a girl fall in love with me."
"When did you fall in love with Nana?"
He turned to me. "The third time I looked at her."
"The third?" I clarified, wondering if he was toying with his expressions as he's so fond of doing.
"The third. I knew by the third glance."

In my family, communicating is a big thing. My Nana will steal my phone every time she sees me, flicking through the photos, demanding backstory on every person there. ("Y la Katrina? How is her job? Who is that boy? Where is this? Does this person live in Brisbane with you? How did you meet people from the Sunshine Coast?") We are loud and crazy, speaking over each other in English and Spanish and Spanglish. I am the most quiet in my family, it seems, though the loudest when I'm not overthinking. But as a result, I don't  share much with them unless prompted, or unless dealing in the written word.
In comparison, the other half of my family - the farming family, my mother's family - are quiet. Conversations with Nana on the phone are rife with questions about every single thing in my life; those with Grandma, on the other hand, will inevitably start and end with the weather. One question, that is it. We don't say much; we write more, perhaps, but still with an extremely stiff upper lip, one that I'm still not used to adopting.

When I am by myself and communication is lacking, it surprises me how often my conversations with God are held aloud, and how often I'll triple my conversations with Tuscany. Those two don't judge my stumblings and meanderings; perhaps that's why I stick to texting instead, because I can edit my words far easier.

But my conversation with Tata shows me something - when you're speaking in a foreign language, the literal is beautiful. "I knew by the third glance," he said. To me, there's something absolutely gorgeous in that.

God is amazing for creating languages, for giving us that longing to be heard and to share.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just a spot of story.

This morning I was playing on my laptop and listening to Rick Astley. 
But anyway. Was playing on the laptop, listening to the Astley, and decided, "Hey. I might write something that isn't an assignment!"
So here you go. Very silly, very short, but I do also need to get out of bed and do things.

I don’t remember why I agreed to this.
I’m panicking.
I mean, if he likes me and decides that he wants this infernal thing to continue then I’m going to have to marry the guy because there’s not a chance on this sweet sweet earth that Nana will let me get out of it and then I’m going to have to escape my own wedding to flee to Mexico and start a new life under a new name –
Carmen, calm the flip down.
Though it is probably still best that I have my getaway name planned. There’s no way I can pull off any South American or, eugh, Spanish accents, but that doesn’t stop me from pretending I’m the love child of two hippies in the Australian bush somewhere.
I turn to look at Lorena. “Chakra Sunrise Bloom.”
“Are you high?”
“No. It’s my getaway name.”
“Okay. One, you have getaway cars, not getaway names. Two, it’s a little early to be thinking about your escape to Mexico. Yes, I know you have an escape to Mexico planned,” she says in response to my wounded look. “But there is every likelihood you’ll say something ridiculous and he will want the getaway car.”
“What? I’m a perfectly lovely person.”
“You do have the tendency to blather on about directors and films that no one has heard of. That’s another thing – don’t subject him to your idiotic rambling about Bollywood movies. Yes, I know there are so many genres within Bollywood, and that no one appreciates that, but something else? That never improved my life the way you thought it would. I daresay he’s in the same boat.”
Younger sisters. They go out a few times before you do, and suddenly they’re the ones slinking into your room and offering advice before you date.
Then again, it could be vastly worse. It could be my mother in here offering advice.
Or Nana.
“Where is Nana?” I say, just to be on the safe side.
“She’s coming over for dinner, so she’ll be here when you get back.”
Suddenly, fleeing to Mexico becomes appealing for so many other reasons. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

♪ she paints pictures on the wall, she eats all of the garden ♪

I was talking with my brother yesterday about a number of different things, and as Dragon's Are You Old Enough? played on the TV, we wondered about the possibility of escaping, and whether escaping is different to running.
He told me that he would like to 'escape', to use my word, more for the sake of change. To get out of ruts.
Me? I'd like to escape for the sake of escaping. Just to go somewhere else and find out if I'm different when I'm elsewhere.

There are two main places where I'd love to go, and Melbourne is top on my list for it not being too far away, and for it being so very gorgeous. What has crept into my mind, though, is that it's actually a possibility. Melbourne could happen sooner than I think. I sit here, typing away and carefully avoiding assignments, and the realisation hits me that in four weeks, I'm in my final year of study at QUT. After that, I'm free, really. I can go to Melbourne if I want. I can study there if I choose to. I can decide against that, go and get a job, start working full time in media somewhere. It's sort of frightening, really. 
But there's the thing. Part of me wants to embrace the fear.

At the moment, I don't have much going on, and I'm fully aware a year could change that. My life is sort of in limbo at the moment. I'm not sure what's going where, and figuring that out is requiring too much headspace and worry settling in my belly. (Signs, again. People can't we just use flipping signs it would make all of our lives easier and dealing with everyone would become simple. I'm going to make this a thing everywhere.) I wonder if two months at home will clarify that, or if two months at home will make me more confused. 
Who knows. Life is just confusing.
And if it's confusing, shouldn't I just shake it up some more? Adding more confusion to the mix can hardly be a bad thing.

But one day I want to be sitting in Melbourne, in my apartment or in my house, with a job I love and - if God chooses to bless me in this way - a family. Pipe dream perhaps, as much of a dream as London is. Maybe I'm meant to stay in a city (I don't think I could ever go back to Ballina-like surrounds). I don't know. 
This coming year, though - let's say from now til September next year - there's going to be a lot of thought going on, and a lot of things that might change.

Monday, October 1, 2012


So today I left the house for the first time in two days.
I know, miracle. It's a bit weird being in the house by myself. Either I wake up with the desire to do something and it's raining, and no one is here to motivate me to leave, or I wake up with the desire to sleep for days.
Today, I woke up with more of a necessity to do something, and no rain. So I went.

Anyway, it's weird leaving the house after you haven't for two days, and also after you've had no real contact with anyone for the same amount of time. I did have human contact on Saturday, and I think I must have forgotten how to pleasantly converse with another human being in the time that I'd spent alone. Really, it's quite embarrassing and traumatic. It took me a little while to remember. I was quieter than usual as I remembered how to converse. 
That... that probably makes me seem really special.
After spending nearly a week by myself, the amount of people who had flocked to Southbank for Riverfire was just... astonishing. I think I must have forgotten that people all flock for fireworks, and that there'd be plenty of them. I really am quite forgetful. You could hardly move anywhere. We got an absolutely amazing view, though, quite by chance.
Oh man, oh man, I can't even write now. This is just embarrassing.
To sum it up before I start blithering like an idiot even more than usual, I had quite a lot of fun. This fun is a good fun and I like it and repeating fun like this is probably good. Wheeeeefunnnnn! (Really did not accomplish the 'not blithering' part. My career as a writer is fading rapidly.)

To the next point.
My parents have ventured down to my grandparents' place - the one that I sell so well - and thus, have no reception. Sometime between 1am and 8am, Sirius kicked the bucket, and so I called my father at my grandparents' house.
My grandma answered the phone, as is her custom, with a muffled, "207."
"Grandma?" I said. "It's Tash. Are my parents there?"
"Why would they be here?" she asked indignantly.
"Aren't they visiting you?"
She sighed. "I'll go and ask Grandpa." I heard her leave her room and shuffle to the kitchen, where I could hear my mother's voice plain as day. "Grandpa, have you seen Colin?"
Colin is my uncle.
"No, Grandma," I tried to say. "It's Tash."
Evidently, Grandma did not hear me. "Elouise can't find Colin."
"GRANDMA!" I shouted. No luck.
"I don't know why she thinks Colin's here, anyway." She must have put the phone back to her ear. "Elouise? Your father's not here."
I gave up. "Can I talk to Aunty Merrilyn, then?"
My mother came on the phone. "Ellie? Can't you find your parents?"
"I can. I'm speaking to my mother."
My mother hooted. "Mum," she called. "It's Tash, not Ellie."
"Well, why didn't she say so?" Grandma said, affronted.

I seem to be going well today in the realm of phone calls. I called my other grandparents, searching for my cousin, and instead reached my Nana. Expected, and all good.
Nana is not subtle when it comes to presents, however.
"Nana," I said in my best Spanish. "Can you please, somehow, find out which James Bond books Tata has? I am going to buy him some as a present."
"Okay, niña. Viejo! The nieta wants to know what James Bond books to buy you!"
Tata immediately wrenched the phone from her. "Nieta, don't buy me James Bond! I've read them all."
"I wasn't going to buy you James Bond," I said in English. "I just wanted to know which books you have, so when I buy some for me I don't double up and then I can borrow yours."
"Nice try. You don't like James Bond. You like silly novels."
Which is, unfortunately, quite accurate.

Now Teddy is staring at me from the iPod dock I have shoved him into, Sirius being unavailable to play music. (There's an ominous scent coming from him. I'm a bit worried. Dad also sounded worried, but pretended otherwise. Nice try, Padrecito, but I know your wow Tash you've really screwed up your computer this time voice very well now.) In between playing Joe Anderson's cover of I Want You and Split Enz's Message to My Girl, Teddy has decided charging is a violation of all he holds dear. Yet... somehow... there is no battery power being lost.
I don't think I will ever understand this technology thing.

Yeah. That's about it. I think I'm done rambling for the day. I should really do some form of uni work.

In attempting to format this post, I found a half-finished, non-rambling post that I could possibly have uploaded instead. Did I do that? No. It seems even now I prefer incoherence to brilliance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have a crazy father.

I'm not writing this because the said crazy father has done anything in particular, but mainly because I've written about the crazy grandfather and, heck, I really need to write more.
And by 'more', I mean anything that doesn't involve QUT-Harvard style references. 
Anyway, I will alternate between calling him Dad and Papi, but they are one and the same person so no confusion.

My Papi's childhood was in Chile. He had large glasses, because that's all he could get to deal with his blindness, and he had a dog named Minnie.
I don't really know much about the time in Chile. I know about it from my uncle's perspective, and from my grandmother's, even bits from my grandfather's. Dad, however, doesn't sit down and talk about it. He doesn't speak Spanish unless it's necessary. During my HSC, I asked him to speak Spanish with me.
"I don't want to."
"Dad, I really need to practise."
"Practise at your nana's."
"Papito! Please."
He sighed, I took it as my cue.
"Hola, me llamo Natasha. Como te llamas?"
"Don't be silly, Natasha, you know my name."

 I have gleaned bits of his childhood from passing comments he makes. "You still have to make your bed. Why? Because even though we had a maid in Chile, I still had to make my bed."
Yeah, my dad had a maid in Chile. We asked why we didn't get a maid here. "You don't need one." Well, he didn't need one there. "Tell that to your grandmother. She insisted."
He spouts off things like that to encourage us, I think, or perhaps make us feel dread. "School? You think school's hard? I had to go to school on Saturdays. We all did."

When he was 18, he came over to Australia with his family. 
We hear more stories about that time than we do of anything prior. "I'd learned a bit of English at school, but of course it wasn't anything you need when you come to another country." My uncle had apparently learned nothing, so Papi used to force him to talk to people at the train station and the like to get him to speak more. "You say it like Bondee Jooncshun," he told Uncle in one story. "'Can I plizz have a tickeh to Bondee Jooncshun'."
He started working somewhere, with my mother. Apparently it was something to do with computers. My mother was his boss. To everyone who knows my mother, this is hilarious. She only recently learned how to operate a computer ("Tashi! Tashi! The computer's not turning on!" "Press the power button, Mum, not the CD button"). My uncle worked in the same place, and he says that upon seeing my mother, my father decided he was going to marry her.
Which pleased my Nana no end. (My mother was also a bit concerned by this story, saying she was glad she'd not heard this earlier as she possibly would have ran.)
However, the man did not know much English, so any attempts at wooing would be fruitless. He decided to stay mute until he knew more English and thus could seduce my mother appropriately. My mother didn't quite like that, and apparently used to pick on my father and constantly ask questions to make him talk more. (We seem oddly similar in that sense, my mother and I.) Somewhere in this story, my parents started dating, my mother quit her job, and moved on to possibly go on the trawlers or something. They're a bit vague on the timeline here. Meanwhile, my father lived at home, receiving boxes of Balmain bugs from Mum, and being followed around by his little brother. 

Continuing on the vague timeline, my mother returned at some point and it became the 90s. My brother was born when my dad was the ripe old age of 23; I was born when he was nearly 25. We've got videos of that time, and for a guy who had come out to Australia less than 10 years earlier, he speaks English perfectly and is able to scold people pretty darn well.
For example:
Chris is running around the backyard and notes that Dad and Tata are playing soccer.
He promptly steals the ball.
Dad: Christopher! Can I please have the ball?
Chris continues running around like a lunatic, clutching onto the ball.
Dad: Christopher! [more stern now] Please give me the ball.
Chris races around the front of the house with the ball.
Dad: [chasing him, lost all patience] CHRISTOPHER ENRIQUE YOU COME BACK HERE.
Apparently from an early age, Chris looked like my parents smooshed together, and I perfectly resembled my father. He still gets offended if anyone says I look like my mother. Apparently one of my old teachers saw me at work once, and told Papi, fondly, that "Tash looks so much like Merrilyn now." Dad still continues a vendetta against her.

He also refused to call Chris and I by anything other than our full first names. 
As a comparison:
Mum: Will call me Tash, Tashi, or Tasha Carolina. Will call me Natasha when I am in trouble. Will call Chris: Chris, Christopher, or Henry. He didn't get in trouble much with Mum.
Dad: Will call me Natasha. Will call me Natasha Carolina when I am in trouble. Will call Chris: Christopher or Christopher Enrique when he is in trouble.
I don't know why, but he does this with my cousins too.

When I was growing up and hit my teenage years, I did not get along with Dad. He and I have very similar personalities, and they were practically identical when I was 14 or so. Both of us had very quick fuses, set to explode whenever the two of us said anything to each other that could theoretically be taken the wrong way. (My mother used to roll her eyes at us, saying that she could tell us exactly what we'd been saying to each other and not take it the wrong way.) This continued throughout high school and until I left home, and God taught me to, for the most part, control my temper. I remember just after I left home and my reactions were still set to go off when Dad said something, he called and asked me who I was voting for. I said Labor. He went off at me, which turned into an all-out argument, and both of us hung up. I immediately called Mum, as was my custom. She was perplexed. "I don't understand you, honey."
"... yes, but he's also voting Labor. He lectured me last night about voting Liberal."

 Basically, the only thing that we bonded over was music. For as long as I can remember, my father has been attached to his guitar, and I can remember Silvio Rodriguez being coaxed from the strings and Dad singing in Spanish. Because of Dad, my first tape was Crowded House's Woodface; because of him, the first CD I bought was Ben Lee's Breathing Tornadoes. He take poems I'd written and put them to music, recording the attempts so he'd remember what chords he'd used. Last night I called him to tell him about awesome shenanigans, and told him Ben Folds Five is out in a few days.
"Oooh. Really?"
"Really really. It's already been leaked and it's amazing."
"Mumford and Sons is out too, probably on the same day."
"WEH. I'm going to be broke."
"You buy Ben Folds, I'll buy Mumford and Sons, and we'll do a swap."
Most of the CDs I buy, he ends up getting a hold of. Because I keep most of my music in digital form, I pass them onto him. The same with him - if he buys a CD, he gives it to me first so I can copy it for the two of us, and then it lives in his car forever.

It's weird now I've left home that he and I are quite close. If given the opportunity to tell someone about my news, I go straight to him. I never used to.
Mum called me on Monday to ask about a few things. I was evasive. I didn't feel like sharing with her.
Dad calls yesterday. He asks the same. He gets the full story. I don't know, there's just something different about sharing with Dad than there is with Mum. And he's become the same, where he just calls to tell me extremely random things (such as the other night he wrestled the phone off Mum mid-sentence to inform me that the bank had told him he was paying too many fees and he was convinced he'd stumbled on a conspiracy). I love it now, because he's an excellent man and so similar to me that we exist on the same wavelength. He usually reads all my stories first, because he's honest but also knows where I'm trying to head at - and can find faster ways to get to my point.

And just on a final note, my father is insane.
He enjoys making people bite. He especially enjoys making me bite, because Mum and Chris have learned to ignore him. We went out for dinner a few weeks ago and he spent the entire meal poking me, eating steak one-handed, just because I stupidly told him I bet he couldn't be annoying for an entire meal. He also hides and tries to scare people. I can't even count the number of times that Chris and I have been going up the hallway, seemingly with Dad in tow, and suddenly there's no Dad. We always flee back to Mum and scream and refuse to go down the hallway until Mum marches down there and pulls Dad out of his hiding place, sternly. (He really is like a child.) Once, Mum and Dad were looking after this awesome kid, Ollie, for a few months. Ollie was watching TV, and Dad decided to sneak outside and wait to scare Ollie.
I was walking through the living room and saw Dad outside the window.
Ollie said, "Hey. Where's your dad gone?"
Dad slashed his throat at me.
Feeling extremely bad, I lied. "Got no idea, sorry."
Ollie screaming and running up to my room to hide a few minutes later let us all know the prank was indeed a success.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The weekend and the assignments.

So I've been looking at a lot of blogs today. It's an unfortunate side effect of researching opinion-based things. You find one blog, decide that the voice is lots of fun, and then it's a slippery slope into distraction and all the similar things.

The studious part of me was not one for continuing. "Come on," she coaxed. "Close the blogs. Close Failbook. Close Liam's Tumblr. Get something done for once."
The more prevalent part of my head, the one that seems to enjoy dancing to extremely bad music when I'm trying to concentrate in a lecture, replied with a very sharp, "No! Shan't!" and now here we are.
Typing a blog.
When there are quite a few essays/speeches/things to prepare for.
Oh well; when the words want out, they want out, and there's nothing much you can do to stop it.

I've got to do an assignment on some form of media policy. Turns out that Googling 'media policy Australia' returns the results of the ABC's social media policy, closely followed by government policies for the same thing. Upon seeing this in our tute a few weeks ago, I nearly died of disappointment. I'd done a 2500 word essay on the ABC's social media policy last semester, and had conveniently forgotten everything/my laptop had died and had lost everything on its hard drive. Our tutor asked us to get into groups to discuss which area of the media we'd like to focus on. I chose print media. I like me some books.
When our tutor came over, I mentioned that I enjoy the occasional (by which I mean frequent) book, and he said, "Oh, cool! So you're thinking about parallel import restrictions and the like?"
I was not. I was thinking about... well, dancing to really bad music and going home to take a nap. "Yeah, something like that."
"That'll be really good to write about. It's a pretty recent debate."
Thanks to my tutor being a lovely, kind fellow, I have now got a decent topic. I had to outline my arguments today in a speech (the most casual speech I've ever had to do) and hand over a bibliography with at least 5 references, annotated.
I handed over 5 pages. Hooray for research and references being done before the assignment's due.
There's also the global media assignment/speech (researching theme parks and products ahoy), and the research one (why they're asking first years to deconstruct someone else's research is beyond me), and the communication one where we're talking about QPAC.
Tonight and tomorrow will be productive *shakes fist*.

Over the weekend we had a party. That was fun.
I started the night off as Zorro, and ended it as all the things. I'd kidnapped my fedora from a friend, some Batman gear from two other friends, and then somehow came across a nerf gun (with no knowledge of how to load the thing). I also had a samurai sword and a quiver. It was a good night, a good housewarming, and we did lots of happy things.
Also, our bathtub is still full of drinks because we have nowhere else to put them.

I got proposed to over the weekend, too. That was a flipping amusing. I have a friend who asked me for my number a few months ago. I was feeling particularly stubborn when he asked (because of reasons), so I said no, he had to work hard for it. I was probably also in my let's see how this social experiment turns out mood, which really crops up all too often for my liking.
The day after the party, he informs a few of us that he had a plan.
The few of us who were there scoffed. Mere moments earlier, he'd actually had my number, due to my failing at life and losing my phone, and thus needing to call it. The other plans he'd mentioned had also come from us, so we decided that the plans weren't going to be too successful.
We went out to Rosalie later that day, and had gelato. Gelato at Rosalie is always nice, and also resulted in us coming across the following sign:
Rosalie's in the flood zone. This building would have been underwater
when the 2011 floods hit.
Anyway, after that we were wandering back to the car. He'd been threatening to unleash his grand plan since we'd been shopping elsewhere earlier that morning, so I figured that he wouldn't actually go through with it.
Outside a park, next to the car, where I tried to slink into it before he could do anything (you know, just in case), he actually got down onto one knee, phone in hand, and asked me for my number.
Another friend of ours, having twigged earlier what he was going to do, screamed, "OH MY GOSH THAT'S SO CUTE" just before he did it, which made a group of people close by stare at us the whole time. I was laughing my head off. It was a solid plan, and definitely counted as working hard for my number.
So I thought, until I realised he'd spelt my name wrong.
"YOU SPELT MY NAME WRONG!" I was laughing at the same time; it was a pretty easy mistake to make, considering how weird my name is at the best of times. I've had it spelt Paveq. Paveq. "You don't get my number now!"
He groaned and changed it, trying to get me to give it to him again. When Trina suggested that he yell out to the people who were staring at us, "SHE SAID YES!" I decided that if he did, he'd get the number.
So as we drove away, he bellowed at them, and I gave the number.
Brilliant afternoon.

It's now pretty quiet in our house. Friday we had 5 people; Saturday jumped to 11 people staying (part of the 30-odd people there for our party), and suddenly Sunday night, Trina and I were quietly at home on our laptops like any other night. I miss the people. They're all from down home, and my gosh I wish they lived up here. 2.5hrs isn't that far, but being smack in the middle of all the people I love is something I quite enjoy.
There's your command, people I love, move to Brisbane (then follow me to Melbourne. And then London. Just follow me, okay?).

I saw my parents on Saturday, too, and I saw a picture of my Binca lying in the boot of the car, dead. Ugh, I hate that word. I don't like associating it with things I love. She looked like she was sleeping, but there was something in her face - you could see that Inca, whatever it was that made her, her, was gone. I think the wall of photos is a better reminder of who she was, as my crazy bird of a puppy.

That's about all for today. Back to the assignments (and back to waiting for people to reply to things; my impatience really is not the best trait).

Friday, August 24, 2012


When I was 7, we got a puppy.
I remember finding out about her. It was late afternoon, and as was custom in my family (not custom in anyone else’s family, I used to grumble), my brother and I had been down for naps. I’d crept out of my bed – sometimes my mother used to decide that we had to sleep for longer, possibly depending on her level of patience with us – and curled myself around the wall, peering at Mum on the phone.
She had a piece of paper, gently torn from the newspaper, in her hand. I can’t remember what she said, probably discounting it as something that wouldn’t impact me. She was smiling. She hung up the phone and saw me.
“Did you have a nice nap?”
I didn’t say anything at first. I stared at her, tired. “Can I have some juice?”

The next day, we were bundled into the car. Chris and I were not happy. He preferred to spend his days in front of the computer. I preferred to avoid Lismore at all costs.
We turned just before Lismore, and instead went to a breeder’s place in Goonellabah, up and down lots of winding roads along steeply formed hills. And that is where we got Puppy. She was, without a doubt, the most beautiful puppy I had seen. There were so many other puppies around, but this one was mine.
“What will you call her?” the breeder asked us.
We all shrugged. “We’ll figure something out.”

On the way home, I begged to hold Puppy. “She’s too little to be in the boot, Mama,” I protested. “Please?”
Mum, possibly swayed by how pretty Puppy was, agreed. I clambered over the back seat and grabbed her.
Puppy was a bit confused. This was her first time in a car, and having some crazy seven-year-old grab her round the waist and squeeze wouldn’t have helped matters any. Puppy promptly threw up on me.
“Oh, Tashi,” Mum groaned. “Mauricio, get her a towel!”
I still loved Puppy.

We took Puppy home.
“We’ve really got to name that dog.”
We couldn’t figure out a name.
“Tash, you can go feed her.”
I put her in the old garage, the one that Mum had painted ‘terracotta’ and ‘slate’ in one of her artistic moods. The stuff looked much like what she’d vomited on me, and gingerly I opened the lid and plopped it in front of her on a plate. “There you go, Puppy,” I said. “Go and eat.”
Puppy ate, and I wandered over to the bookshelves, looking for something to pass the time. I looked over my shoulder to check on Puppy. No Puppy.
Where on earth was she?
A lick on my leg solved that question.
Puppy was sitting at my feet, waiting for me to go back to her plate so she could eat.

As puppies are, this puppy was a bit of a menace. She chewed through Dad’s roses, thorns and all. She dug holes. She ate socks, shoes, anything she could find. She loved soccer balls, so she would always steal them when Dad was trying to play with Chris. You’ve not seen anything funnier until you’ve seen a puppy, gangly paws and all, playing soccer.
“We’ve really got to name her,” Dad said, again. We called her puppy; Dad varied between that and mierda.
The Internet was Dad’s new toy at the time, and so he went to Google to hunt out a name. He returned, valiant, with Inca. I don’t know the reasoning for naming an innocent Golden Retriever puppy after a civilisation butchered by the Spaniards, but they went for it. Dad promptly went outside to test the new name, where Inca was sitting eating a stick.
“Inca!” he yelled. She lifted her head, looked around, and continued chewing on her stick.
Dad wasn’t one to give up, though. “Inca!”
She peered at Dad, as though saying to him, I don’t know who this Inca is, but do you need me? She must have figured not. She returned to the stick.
Dad went over and put his hand on her. “Inca.”
Inca blinked, confused. I’m not Inca. I’m Puppy. Or Mierda. What’s going on?
“Good Inca.”

Inca wasn’t impressed when we got Tuscany, a little round ball of fluff that, for the podgy belly she had, couldn’t move much faster than a waddle. Chris, similarly unimpressed with Tuscany’s lack of athleticism and possibly noting the similarities between the new puppy and I (lack of athleticism, podgy belly, preference to lie down in a corner and ignore everyone), he decided that Inca would be his puppy, and Tuscany would be mine.
Inca didn’t care whose puppy it was. She knew it was a puppy and that we all were wooed by her cuteness and her waddle. And so Inca devoted her waking hours to tormenting Tuscany. One of the earliest photos we have of Tuscany (and possibly of Inca, too) is where Tuscany is clambering up onto a chair, trying valiantly to escape Inca, yet seeming to forget that where the chair looks massive and cliff-like from her perspective, Inca could just pluck her off thanks to her gangly legs giving her new height.
Inca seemed to thrive on Tuscany’s stupidity. Tuscany has always been a glutton, and one day decided that Inca’s bone should be hers.
Inca did growl and give fair warning, so no one should have been surprised when she bit her on the eye.

Inca had a penchant for rocks, and would grab them no matter where you put them. On a chair? On the table? In the back corner of the garden? Always, the dog would find them.
I tested this out one day, and dropped the rock in her water bucket. She dove in with gusto, grabbed the rock, and blinked at me, water dripping from her face.
We started this as a routine (one I’d get scolded for, plenty).

She would always run away, leaving the geographically-challenged Tuscany in her wake. She loved her adventures. One time, some kind person found her and called my mobile (it seemed everyone in Wollongbar knew that if a white Retriever came running around their place, it was 99.99% of the time, our dog). I went over, leash in hand, to pick her up.
She beamed at me, big eyes peering out from under wet, muddy fur.
“Where on earth have you been?!” I shouted.
I scolded her the whole way home, hosed her off and stomped inside. There were messages on the answering machine.
“Your dog’s been in my pool,” said the first.
“We just saw your dog on the highway,” was the next.
“Your dog’s just been in the highway construction site, I think,” was another.
We decided it best to repair the fence.

I’ve written about her before, and honestly – at 1000 words already, I could go on. There are so many crazy memories about this dog.
I got to see her on Sunday. She was happy. I picked her up, her old body, and sat her on my lap where we just relaxed for such a long time. She was moulting. My mother was shouting at me that I’d be covered in fur (and I love being covered in fur, it makes me feel so close to them). I kissed my puppy, remembering how she used to have fur all over her tail and her back, but now that she’s old she’s not growing it as fast.

I didn’t think much of it, really – I didn’t do the maths, that she’s 13.

On Thursday, I was at uni. 6pm, and I didn’t want to be there anyway.
My parents called. I texted back, I’m at uni. Can I call at 7?
Dad replied, As soon as you can.
I replied, Is it bad?
I’ll tell you when you call.
I want to know now.
He didn’t reply.
My brother came on Facebook; I’ve copied and pasted the conversation.
Did Mum call you?
No. She tried but I'm at uni. What on earth is going on? They won't tell me over text.
Because you’ll be sad.
And I fled my tute. I called Dad. There was screaming, in the middle of campus. There was crying. I made my Dad cry because of my reaction. He told me to call him back when I got home.

Thursday was just… horrid.
Yesterday I was bawling my eyes out too much to see, too much to go anywhere, and I stormed off to the shops to get some pictures printed of her to put up.
And there is still a part of me that’s convinced she’s around. But she’s not.
13 years, of being Chris’s baby, of being such a gorgeous dog.

I wrote on Twitter when I first moved up here this year. If the dogs die while I’m up here, I’ll be really mad. And I am, I honestly am. Not with God – he gave me so many opportunities to see her before she died, and I’m so thankful for that. But I’m mad at myself. I wish I’d been there. And now, stupidly, I’m making plea bargains for Tuscany. Asking him to keep her alive and let her die while I’m there.

So that’s that.
Inca Indian Summer, according to the breeder.
06.05.1999 – 23.08.2012.

To lighten this up, let's have some crazy photos of a crazy dog.

She's death staring me. She hates cameras.

In my room, because it was freezing last year 
and the poor puppies were shivering. 
I lost sympathy the minute they tried to climb onto 
my bed for snuggles.

Love her big eyes. Gah, they're gorgeous.

Beach trip. 

Even more beach trip. She loved the beach.

Her best 'please let me in' face.

More beach.

We had a toddler over at our place and sat him on the floor
to look at the dogs.
Inca was not very impressed. She's pretty confused.

Sulking because camera and no pats.

Their bed, which is actually my couch.

This is the most recent. Couple of weekends ago or so.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I am so completely terrible at keeping this thing up.
Let's just say uni got in the way again. I mean, by now we all know that's a complete lie, but let's just go with it.

I'm back down home this weekend (hooray!) for a friend's engagement party. Shenanigans were had, by way of car rally around the Lismore/Ballina region (which is, in all honesty, the most beautiful area I've ever experienced ever; Lennox was particularly beautiful). After all the cake had been cut and the prizes awarded, Daniela and I scurried over to her mother's car to go home. Both of us are without our licence, me pitifully so. Daniela's only 16 and has already started driving.
Me? I've had the thing since I was sixteen. One hour in my log book.
Daniela's family listens to pretty awesome music, and 99% would have to be Spanish. They definitely have stronger ties to that side of the world than we do in my family. I don't know how they find their music, either, because this isn't music that my dad and uncle would have listened to when they were over in Chile. That was the time of, apparently, Madonna and Silvio Rodriguez (and Silvo is pretty darn awesome).
On the way home, we listened to a song called Amarte Bien, by a charming fellow known as Carlos Baute. The version we listened to was this remix version including Juan Magan, and my gosh do I already love it to pieces.
Now it's your turn. Go forth and love this to pieces.

Just an aside, I'm extremely sorry that it took so long to get to the point, and that I started telling stories only to not finish them. Shoddy work, but I am tired and such. That car rally was effort. I promise I'll be an excellent writer soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trailers trailers all the trailers

It seems that there are quite a few awesome novel adaptations coming out this Christmas and during the New Year, and my goodness me am I excited. 
In honour of this, trailer posting/synopsis time, as well as adding "must buy these books" to my growing list of books.

I just saw the trailer for this today, and basically any ideas I had about being productive (putting on a load of washing, sewing another curtain, etc) have just gone out the window. I am now watching the trailer again, going through the cast list, and all that.
I wrote about this last year, and now the trailer's come out I'm doubly excited. The cast has changed somewhat from what I read on The Guardian, from memory, but who cares. Teddy Lupin/Luke Newbery is in this! The Potter fans got what they asked for. Maybe. I don't know. WHO CARES TEDDY LUPIN GETS SCREEN TIME.
Right, okay, definitely not the only reason I'm watching this. I'm watching this because the book was magnificent (which I already own, thanks to the challenge last year), and because Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay. I don't know about you, but that is just instant joy to me. Joe Wright also makes me extremely happy, and I'm looking forward to another game of 'count how many symbolic hand shots he uses'. 
The general plot is, as follows, stolen from my previous post because I am a lazy sod.
The sensual, rebellious Anna renounces a respectable yet stifling marriage for an affair that offers passion even as it ensnares her for destruction. Her story contrasts with that of Levin, a young, self- doubting agnostic who takes a different path to fulfillment. 
For more about the plot summary, Sparknotes has it down. Or, you know, read the book. Even though it's daunting, it is well worth it.
The film is apparently out next January for the Australian folk (17th, to be precise).

I have not seen the musical, I have not read the book. Everything I know about this comes from the recently released trailer. 
But... wow. Wow does it look good.
I've sneakily read what it's about (I love me some spoilers) and I am currently buying the book.
The cast looks awesome (okay, Russell Crowe perhaps not but he could always surprise me) and I am just so excited.
Plot premise, as stolen from Wikipedia. (I could have put the entire plot summary, but that thing spans for miles).
Jean Valjean, a Frenchman imprisoned for stealing bread, has broken his parole and must flee from police Inspector Javert. The pursuit consumes both men's lives, and after two decades on the run, Valjean finds himself in the midst of the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris.
For a longer summary, Sparknotes again. Want to buy the book, as I am doing?
This copy also lives at Booktopia.
The film is set to be released on the 26th of December this year, for Australian audiences.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (adapted by Baz Lurhmann and Craig Pearce, directed by Baz Luhrmann)
I am a huge, huge fan of Baz Luhrmann. Even after the epically long 'epic' that was Australia, he does no wrong in my eyes. Why? He made Moulin Rouge. He made Romeo and Juliet. And he made Strictly Ballroom. For those three, I can forgive him Australia. I'm hoping for this film, he's going back to the more red curtain style that he did for his good films - they were the reason I became besotted with anything made by him, and partly why I'm so excited for this.
As I said a couple of days ago, I haven't read Gatsby, because I have a small fear I won't enjoy the movie. But you know what? I don't care any more. I'm buying the book and I'm reading it before the movie comes out, because I have at least a 6 month wait and that is too darn long.
Everyone probably is aware of the cast already, but for those who are unaware, Leonardo DiCaprio is Gatsby, and Carey Mulligan is Daisy, and Tobey Maguire is Nick, our illustrious narrator.
Plot summary, stolen from
The Great Gatsby follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
As before, a detailed summary lives at Sparknotes.
I adore this copy of the book, from Book Depository.
However, if you want a similar one from a local retailer, Booktopia's is here.
Australian audiences, you'll be able to see the film around the 10th of January next year.

I don't think I've ever been so excited for December and January.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

30 Days of Writing, Day 4 (or I'm posting again, except I'm not being contemplative and whatnot).

It's nearly midnight, which basically means I am going to hit the tired mark in about 15 minutes and start writing complete and utter nonsense.
So, because my story is sitting there glaring at me, I'm going to do another one of those quiz questions I started ages ago before assignments hit. You know, when I naively thought I could write daily without issue.

Describe your inspiration and message you want to bring across
For anyone who says their family is not inspiration enough, I challenge you to live a week with my family. They are fantastic, and are just absolute gems for inspiration. They also don't seem to care when I blatantly steal their qualities and smoosh them around with other qualities.
As an example of what you'd experience in my family, the following happened the other night.

SCENE: The living room.
I am on my laptop, and Mum is watching TV.
MUM: Tash, can you please type this recipe up and email it to me?
ME: Yeah, sure. To your school email or your home one?
MUM: The home one.
The recipe is typed and emailed. Mum wanders into the study where Dad is sitting.
MUM: Sweetie, did you hear anything print?
DAD: ... no.
MUM: Tashi, I don't think the recipe printed.
ME: You told me to email it to you.
MUM: Oh, yeah! That's right!
She comes back and logs into her school email.
MUM: No, honey, it's not there.
ME: It's at your home email address.
MUM: What? Why? I told you school!
Dad especially came in from the study to give her a withering stare and a "And you say we've got memory problems".

My mother is gold in general. She was on the SBS website the other night and had multiple tabs open. One of the tabs had a video that automatically played. "Tashi!" she shouted at me, panicking. "Someone is haunting my computer!"
I fell off the lounge laughing.

As for the message I want to get across, I wouldn't say there's any message I'm actively trying to convey. I don't like overly didactic texts. Seven Little Australians springs to mind here, and that text was just

I'm sure something will end up coming through and I'll end up being all horrified with myself yet won't be able to find a way to remove it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


So here's a bit of a strange post, which I should apologise in advance. It's ramblings that I really should get out of my head so I can get back to being a functioning human being.

I have never been one to pursue things that can run.
Melbourne, I pursue as a dream. Melbourne cannot exactly run (unless, of course, the city is made out of nomadic robots who are currently in a two-hundred-year-old hibernation), and I like the concept of it. It's something I don't want to let go of any time soon.
London, I pursue as a dream, because I want to escape overseas and experience life from a different hemisphere.
But other things, I'm not really the best at pursuit. I second-guess myself, others, my skills, my attributes, others' opinions, and I let that form my actions. There is a small part of me, whenever someone tells me my story needs to be changed, that sets fire to the writer idea. A small part of me that, when deadlines stack up and I feel about ready to explode, that I'll never be able to cope, never be able to juggle. Something inside me, whenever I am interested in someone, makes me say that they wouldn't ever be interested and I find myself not giving things over, not allowing myself to be happy or to risk anything, because the chances I could get hurt are high and I don't want that hurt.
I don't like to let others hurt me, intentionally or not. I can deal with inflicting pain on myself quite easily - if Melbourne and London and writing and love was taken away by my own choosing, I would get over that easily. I would say, fair enough, you've got this other thing in store instead. But if the hibernating nomadic robots decided to wake up from their excessively long slumber, and if I put my words on the line to have them rejected, and if I put my heart on the line for it to be squashed, I couldn't cope with that. I find a way to bring it back on myself and never really experience the anger or disappointment I should, because it's my fault again.
Which is stupid, really.
I don't take risks often, and I probably never will. I am emotional, but I don't let emotion make my decisions for me now. It used to, and it didn't work out for me - it led to a whole lot of disappointment and a whole lot of regrets. Reason judges things for me, except I wonder - is it too harsh, too rational?
I don't know.
When I was in my first year of uni, I applied to go to London to study for a year. I got my hopes up for that far too early, and due to lack of money that failed miserably. Reason, rather than emotion, sent me home for a year. I had no home, no friends nearby, and no money - it was the only choice. Reason sent me to Brisbane this year rather than Melbourne, and I so wish at times I was in Melbourne now, if only to get it out of my system. But Brisbane would let me finish my degree in a shorter time than Melbourne would, so it was only normal to go there. But I could go, eventually.
I want to say that right now I was looking at life rationally and taking stock of good and bad. Right now, I am taking stock of bad only, and I believe my rational self is trying to dissuade me from doing something or other that could hurt me. I can't write the novel, I can't take a risk. And this will probably be better in the long run. It usually is.
So the risks in my life at the moment? Until I know for sure, I'm staying firmly on the ground. 
I was not born to be a hunter; I always seem to come back to that. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Random quiz post

For once I'm not doing a quiz to trick y'all into thinking I regularly post. This one interested me.
Behold! A fully completed quiz.
If there are American typos that I've not picked up on, I apologise profusely.

1. Favorite childhood book?
Agent Angel, by Annie Dalton, and Harry Potter, by JK Rowling. Both of these series followed me well into my teens.
2. What are you reading right now?
From Notting Hill With Love… Actually, by Ali McNamara.
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I don’t have any at the moment, due to awfully high overdue fees. I liked re-reading my books.
4. Bad book habit?
Starting one, flicking to the middle, and flicking to the end to decide whether or not I’ll read the whole thing. It was a smart move with Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star, though I can’t imagine what possessed me to read it to begin with.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Again, none, due to the aforementioned overdues.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
I’ve downloaded the iBooks, Kindle and Bluefire apps on my phone – it makes for easy reading on the train trips to uni.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several if I’m going to draw them out; if it’s a good enough book, I usually have it finished in a few hours so there’s no chance to have multiples.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really, except I’ve tried branching out a bit more. There’s a lot more that I’ve found through trawling review sites. My blog isn’t 100% devoted to books, obviously, so there you have it.
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Regaud, or Unsticky, by Sara Manning. Can’t figure out why I read them. They were vapid reads, and Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star just ruined Pride and Prejudice. Ruined it. Unsticky seems to be the book version of Pretty Woman, and Pretty Woman didn’t appeal to me either.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not very often, though a notable exception was The Godfather – and that was awesome. Awesome in all the ways.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
YA, adult fic, classics, historical fic and chick-lit.
13. Can you read on the bus?
Oddly enough, I can’t read books, but I can read on my phone just fine. Trains are easier to read on.
14. Favorite place to read?
My bed, or my parents’ lovely corner couch. The hammock used to be great for reading in too, before the dog claimed it as her own and broke it.
15. What is your policy on book lending?
I share, occasionally. If I like you I share.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Not intentionally, ever.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
*gasp* Get thee out of here. Get out. No. You do not do that to books.
18. Not even with text books?
Okay, yes. I do this to my textbooks (well, more highlight). I also do it to my Bible.
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. I’m working on Spanish, I can understand bits but not enough to make my reading experience smooth.
20. What makes you love a book?
The characters have to draw me in. For instance, I just read The Jane Austen Marriage Manual (Kim Izzo) and The Wedding Season (Su Dharmapala). Both very generic chick lit formulas – I needed something very simple for post-op, and I was sick of slogging my way through big texts courtesy of uni. JAMM had nothing to offer in the way of characters – why anyone would go for Kate is beyond me, and every character was two-dimensional and boring. The Wedding Season, however, was brilliant – because of the characters. Heck, even the four-year-old was realistic.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
Friends, covers, and my old school librarian, Gloria.
22. Favorite genre?
YA, primarily. Chick lit is just not as good as it used to be, whereas YA just goes from strength to strength.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Fantasy. When I find the right fantasy, I get into it to near Potter levels, but I don’t know enough authors to keep my reading up.
24. Favorite biography?
David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Okay, it’s memoir, but it’s amazing and brilliant and why can’t I be David Sedaris unghhhhhh
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
I don’t think so. Self-help books are hilarity.
26. Favorite cookbook?
Marie Claire Kitchen, and anything Donna Hay. Donna Hay is a complete genius and I want to become the monster that lives in her kitchen devouring all her baked goods. Sort of like Cookie Monster, except baked goods are an always food.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. It made me realise that my gosh, my life is good.
28. Favorite reading snack?
Tomato soup. Odd, I know. Also enjoy two-minute noodles.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Could not understand the appeal of Eragon, nor the Sookie Stackhouse series. Both of them were boring as anything and, in the case of SS, was filled with way too much sex for me to consider it normal. Why does vampirism equal higher-than-average sexytimes, as opposed to the far more rational fleeing?
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Very rarely read critical reviews.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
If the book is horrifyingly bad, I am vocal. Actually, no matter what, I’m vocal. Thankfully I’ve not read a lot of books that  I openly despise.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Spanish, because I want to read Neruda in Spanish. And The Shadow of the Wind (which I actually own in Spanish but is taking forever to get through). And Marquez. Spanish-language authors really are magnificent, and that’s reading a translation. Imagine how they must be in Spanish, which is an infinitely more beautiful language than English I do believe.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? 
Anna Karenina, because it was huge. Worth every page.
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
The Count of Monte Cristo, because I’ve heard so many things about it that are magnificent and I don’t want to be disappointed.
35. Favorite Poet?
Neruda. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that before, ever, because – I can’t keep up the sarcasm.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
As many as they allow (so for the Richmond-Tweed libraries, that’s 20).
37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Never. They all are read, repeatedly.
38. Favorite fictional character? 
I’ve covered this here.
39. Favorite fictional villain?
Voldemort. Oooh. I also like Wickham.
40. Books you’re most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever’s on my phone, and whatever I can afford while I’m away.
41. The longest you’ve gone without reading.
Never more than a week or two.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Beastly. I liked the movie and the book was just blerghhhhh.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
My thoughts, and occasionally story ideas.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Atonement, The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice 2005 (I await the rocks and spears)… and Beastly, because it was awesome and way better than the book.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Goblet of Fire and A Walk to Remember. GoF was way too rushed (so much awesome they missed). And, A Walk to Remember? Come on, whoever directed that. The book was amazing to begin with. Why did you have to make it so… painful?
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Probably a hundred or so. Would have been on a box set or just going all out and buying happiness.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Quite a bit. Voice is important for me.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Boredom. If the characters are just irritating, or the plot is ridiculous, or the writing is just atrocious, I’m ready to put them away.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I group by category (fiction/non), then by genre, then by author within genre.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep. They be my books.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Right now, just The Great Gatsby. The film’s coming out soon and I want to enjoy it as a film, before falling happily into the book.
52. Name a book that made you angry.
Atonement, Ian McEwan. But it was a perfect and brilliant anger, and I love that it made me angry.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Technically, not a book, but The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Also Nineteen Eighty-Four by the brilliant Orwell – dystopian fiction was not my thing at the time.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Asking for Trouble, by Elizabeth Young. I read it because it was meant to be the inspiration for The Wedding Date (Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney I think?), which I adore and have adored for years. It just wasn’t as punchy.
55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Chick-lit all the way. Apparently, being a media and communications student/vaguely literature student/writing student, I’m meant to be all high-brow and whatnot. Genre fic is brilliant though, and shouldn’t be discounted.