Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Well, to continue the Chaffy news, I do now officially have a Regular Column for Chaff. Which also means I'm on my way to completing that task — two down, ten to go. Kinda sucks, since there aren't ten weeks left of the Massey year, but that's OK... I'll just finish it next year. I've made a start, which is the important thing. Or the first important thing, anyway.

The only problem, in fact, that I'm having with the column so far (I know, second week and already I'm having issues!) is that I'm not serious enough. Chaff, being a student magazine, is pretty much full of juvenile crap and retarded humour. I'm writing this column with a view to learning how to do it "properly" in case I ever want a job as a reporter, kind of a preparatory thing, learning experience, all that good stuff. And so my poor editor is going through and inserting silly jokes at random places in the column — which sucks for him to have to do that, and sucks for me to see my column thus maligned! So this week I had to try to turn perfectly serious subjects into causes for ridicule and juvenile humour. Ugh, it's hard.

And on that note, I totally sold myself out this week. I have an assignment due on Monday — a travel writing story — which we had to do a draft for and then the final thing. So I wrote the draft, we workshopped it in class, and people reckoned I was too harsh on Sarah, a character who was a complete bitch and quite stupid in real life. So I rewrote the story, and portrayed Sarah in the light of something approaching angelic — I showed a couple of my classmates the rewritten story, and they much approved. I showed Dan the rewritten story, and he read it without comment.

"I kinda sold myself out, didn't I," I said shame-facedly. He just looked at me.

"Yeah, you really did."

Damn it. Oh well, hopefully my lecturer likes it more now. I care more about getting good grades than keeping the story true to life and true to what I wanted to show. I did consider changing my story to show why I thought she was such a bitch, but it would have taken a lot more words and I was way over the word limit anyway. Ah well.

In other writing news, it's that time of year again! NaNoWriMo is now a bare month away, and foolishly as usual I signed up to be ML for Palmy again. I've already asked my editor if I can write a feature article on NaNoWriMo — he's more than happy — but I still need to write to "real" newspapers and see if I can get a bit more publicity than we achieved last year.

I wonder if we could get NZ Book Month to promote it? Damn, probably a bit late for that now, considering NZ Book Month (3-30 Sept) finishes on Sunday. Still, that's an idea for next year. We'll see.

But on that note, if you haven't bought the Six Pack Two, go buy it now! Currently Number One on the bestsellers list in New Zealand, available from all major bookshops, and best of all it's only six dollars for six excellent short stories from six up-and-coming New Zealand writers — some unheard-of, some well-known, but the point is you're supporting New Zealand talent and writers for six measly dollars.

Disclaimer: I haven't actually bought it myself yet, but I do hear the stories are excellent — better than last year's one. Plus I haven't heard of any of the writers previously so I'm not actually sure if any of them are well-known. Although I'm pretty sure Dave Armstrong is.

But I can tell you that (a) it definitely is six dollars, (b) it definitely is numero uno on the bestsellers list, and (c) it definitely is supporting new New Zealand writers. Those are the key factors, so go buy it now! (I will buy it, I just have no money right at the moment. No, not even $6. But I'm gonna buy it when I do!)

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

In recent news...

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles... my car is back, and both Anna and my car remained safe and sound (or so she'd have me believe) for the duration of the trip — with the exception of a chip in my windscreen, which is fixed for free under my insurance.

Thursday was an awful, stressful day though, which had little to do with waiting for the return of my car (at 8pm in the end, but only because my considerate little sister had taken it to her friend's place to vacuum it out first!). I had a job interview and a practical assessment for another job, both of which went horribly. Easily my worst day this year.

That's all good though. I didn't even want the practical-assessment job, as it was more hours than I was looking for; I went along for the practice, and I'm glad I did. If I apply for a similar job, I'll now be that little bit more experienced, that little bit less wracked with trauma.

Sadly, I did want the other job; but since the interview I knew I hadn't got it, so thankfully the stress ended then. When I got my rejection call I was disappointed, but not surprised — went back online, applied for another job, and was rung up within four hours to ask if I would come in for an interview! That interview went well, so I'm back and happy and, well, still applying for other jobs since honestly I don't have a chance in hell of getting this one. But I like that they think I do.

On another positive note, I did get offered one job. I didn't actually want it, in the end, so I turned it down; but it was good to have the option. I'm not too desperate for a job, thankfully — my student allowance covers all my basic needs, and while it would be nice to be able to have a bit more to spend on luxuries, I'm easily surviving without. So I'll still keep avidly job-hunting, but it's a good feeling to know I'm financially stable without one.

For possibly the first time in my life, I've actually been sticking to my budget this year — that's gotta make life a lot easier. I've started a student loan this semester — not because I can't afford tuition fees, but because student loans are now interest-free, and it makes far more sense to stick my moolah in the bank. If the government ever change that policy, I'll just pay my whole student loan off at that time. I understand the reasons they initiated that policy, but I don't think it'll serve to keep as many graduates in New Zealand as they'd want; and anyone in New Zealand with a student loan no longer has any incentive to pay off more than the bare minimum.

In non-financial study-related news, I've handed in all of my assignments on time to date, not even taking advantage of offered extensions (go me!), and now I'm well on my way to completing two out of my three next assignments, all of which are due next weekend. (The lecturers conspire against us, they really do.) But thanks to my once-in-a-lifetime organisational skills, partly to Angela's wonderful help and partly to my workshop group, I' ve nearly finished the first two, and have made a tentative start on the third. I gotta say, it's a good feeling. I should do that more often!

In Wellington news, Dan and I are meandering southward this weekend, for the first time in... well, a week and a half, but still. That was just a flying visit; this will be (drumroll) an overnight stay. I'm meeting up with quite a few people so far; should be good times.

And now, having covered the car-related, study-related, work-related and money-related aspects of my life, let me retire gracefully from the lists. Although I have a feeling that that was originally boxing cant, which is singularly inappropriate. Oh, and in Chaff-related news I may be starting up writing a regular column. Don't I rock? Oh yeah!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

She's taken my car

She's gone.

With my car.

My car's gone and she's taken it with her.

I am so very worried and so very stressed. And unsure as to how I'm going to get to my upcoming job interviews, especially if it keeps raining like this.

I hope she drives safely and is back and happy with my car on Thursday!

And I hope she doesn't get lost — poor girl had to rely on my directions.

And I hope she remembers all my instructions. No alcohol in car, no drugs in car, no speeding, no food in car, if she gets a speeding ticket she pays for it, take the face-plate out every time she leaves the car, even if it's just at a rest-stop for two minutes, no drinks apart from water in car, no luggage left in backseat, no maps left in car, no bags left in car, nothing remotely valuable left in car, turn the lights off when leaving the car, fill up before leaving the Naki, no hitchhikers, no crashes, take the key out of the ignition when you leave the car (which she didn't do at the petrol station... OK, I was still in the car, but still!)....

I hope she's OK.

I'm worried.