Sunday, December 30, 2007

Remote control

Howdy from blowy Brisbane.

With Jack being cared for by my generous and kind housemate, Steve, here I am coming to you live from Brisvegas, which has been transformed into the Windy City today by some rather gusty breezes that are blowing all the surfers off their boards over on the coast.

I flew up here last Sunday - hurray for Virgin Blue's print-it-yourself boarding passes - and wisely choosing to travel lightly (no phasers; only carry-on luggage, Christmas gifts, a few Star Trek novels to read, and a box of those deadly Krispy Kreme donut bribes for my hosts). Thus, it was a very pleasant trip, with no queues whatsoever, and only a slight flight delay.

Christmas Day was spent with friends, Maria and Peter and little Ben, with lunch at Maria's Aunty Patti's, and dinner with Peter's parents and Aunt Ngaire. An extended family to stand in for when one's own family members are scattered to the winds (and ironic typing that line today, that's for sure). I was very grateful for the hospitality - and nothing beats watching a thirteen-month old kid in a red Christmas elf suit ripping wrapping paper off his presents, and helping everyone else with their own as well!

Yesterday was a reaquaintance with the wonderful Eumundi Markets, travelling there with my now Brisbane-dwelling friend, Stephen, who was seeing them or the first time. I managed to spend only $12, which I thought was quite amazing: a $2 battery-operated led light "tunnel" pendant for the next K-2 school disco, and a very cool stainless steel pinkie ring with two lizards carved out of it ($10). I did see a few other bargains, but I'd rather not buy a new piece of luggage and have to queue to get home again. A previous trip to a shopping mall saw me return with only a snowman ornament for $1.50, and a trip to the CBD netted me only a batch of spare Star Trek Minimates, so I'm doing rather well. So far.

Last night, a group of us (Star Trek buddies from many ConQuest conventions of the past) went to see the new Coen Brothers' movie, "No Country for Old Men". Certainly not my usual movie fare - I was expecting something more black comedy-wise, such as "Fargo" or "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" - but this was more of a dark crime thriller. Lots of brooding, soul-searching, drama. Beautifully shot, but that may be a poor choice of words, considering the "drugs 'n' cash 'n' retribution" storyline.

However, we all agreed we'd had a more fulfilling experience with "No Country..." than our choice of film for Boxing Day: the tediously overblown, snowbound, epic trilogy wannabe, "The Golden Compass". Considering its theme, we still can't believe that Nicole kidman chose to celebrate her latest film with a bevy of sick and disadvantaged Aussie children with a red carpet gala a few weeks ago. Despite many fascinating ideas in Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" novels, a kids' film this isn't. Ick!

Sunday's magic number: 91.2 - Not too shabby, eh?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Frantic times, ho ho ho *

I was worried I hadn't posted this week but since everyone else is probably frantically doing last-minute Christmas things, too, I'll assume no one's looking for new blogs.

In case I don't get back to this until the New Year, Merry Christmas everyone!

I just finished reading the new "Star Trek: The Next Generation" novel, "Before Dishonor" by Peter David. It's a sequel to "Vendetta", which was written many years ago, and allows the author to flex his authorial muscle over the Borg and some key characters from "Star Trek: Voyager", a show Peter David was often very critical about.

I really enjoyed the fast pace of this book; it was only my busy end-of-year work commitments that kept me reading it in more isolated, one-hour chunks - otherwise this was easily the kind of ST novel to which I used to lose an entire weekend. (I recall, with great affection, "The Entropy Effect", "Final Frontier", "Metamorphosis", "Vendetta", "Sarek" and "Stone and Anvil"!)

I've also been updating my web page which celebrates the recent IDW "Alien Spotlight" comic, "Andorians: The Old Ways".

Sunday's magic number: 90.1 - not too bad, especially considering all the yummy party foods on offer this week. Wish me luck with Tuesday's pork crackling.

* Who cares if it's supposedly politically incorrect!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pavlova magic

Well, I promised myself that if, after eating all manner of naughty stuff on Friday to celebrate my birthday, my mass was still under 89 kg this morning, I would celebrate further with a huge piece of Friday's leftover pavlova.

Guess what I just ate?

Sunday's magic number: 88.9 (Slurp, gulp!)

Santa's Aussie Boomers

Just put all the decorations on the Christmas trees - inside and out. Not too many sleeps now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Junk Food Day to me

Yesterday had to be declared an emergency Junk Food Day due to the timing of the staff Christmas luncheon at school - yummo - and my birthday dinner at Victoria's BYO restaurant in Warrimoo in the lower Blue Mountains last night.

At school we do a Good Taste/Bad Taste Kris Kringle gift exchange - two raffle tickets at the door upon entry. I did rather well: a package of body massage creme and other pampering goodies for my Good Taste gift, and a "music of the 70s" Karaoke DVD for Bad Taste. A colleague had no need for her Bad Taste gift of pooper scooper and doggy poo bags, so Jack scored well too.

I've been to Victoria's twice before for staff dinners: once when it was sub-leased as a French restaurant, for a short while and again when it reverted to Italian with the return of the original owners. They run a birthday scheme at Victoria's, whereby on your birthday you're invited to take $25 off your meal. A deal too good to ignore, I reckon. Last night was a cosy group of four friends celebrating my last year in the fourth decade. I had the chicken pancake and the veal, with some BYO Pieroth red. Superb! (I understand they do weekend breakfasts in the summer months. I'm very tempted.)

I hope too much damage hasn't been done to my waistline. I shall know tomorrow. That's when I'm also planning to devour the huge piece of leftover pavlova I was bequeathed from the Christmas luncheon. 'Tis the season to be greedy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Birthday on the horizon

Friday is my birthday. Thanks Mum and Dad for the parcel which arrived by overnight mail from Perth yesterday. It felt a bit like a shirt through the packet, so I opened it early (to save choosing an old one to wear today).

Yes, it is a shirt, but one with thin horizontal stripes! (My Mum saw me last October and I guess she's had faith that the weight would continue sliding off.) It's been ages since I could get away with that particular pattern (ie. vertical stripes having a wonderful "optical illusion" slimming effect). Being able to pick up compliments all day was a great ego-boost, especially knowing my belt has run out of belt holes, too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The last notch

Last Australia Day, while heading into the CBD for dinner in a restaurant, I discovered that I'd picked up grease all over my trousers. Luckily, there was a nice menswear store still open in Darling Harbour and I found a good deal on a pair of casual pants and a very cool orange and green leather Mambo belt.

The belt has become a favourite, although I slowly ended up using all of the holes for the buckle, at various times of the year, as my waistline grew larger.

Today, I'm happy to report, I've used up the last hole instead! Now there's a huge flappy bit I keep hitting with my arm as I walk - and if I lose any more on this diet I'll be pulling out the old carving fork, and punching a new hole in the belt. Haven't done that in a loooong time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Christmas meme

My friend The Other Andrew did this meme over on his blog today and his answers were hilarious. I don't think I can promise the same level of humour but I was suitably inspired to have a go at it:

Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper, usually on the roll from the supermarket, but I've been known to re-gift those gift bags in an emergency, especially if I'm required to bring nibblies to a party.

Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial cypress pine, IIRC. It's about twelve years old and not too tall, but is a fairly good facsimile for its day, and withstands a good hosing in the yard to rid it of any dust. I saw some very impressive, ceiling-height, realistic artificials the other day in Myer. Sigh. I've also been known to inhale deeply if passing the real pine trees in the supermarket. I wish they could bottle that fragrance. Magnificent!

When do you put up the tree?
About now. Or Christmas Eve if the spring cleaning hasn't been done. School used to break up around the 14th (my birthday) when I was younger...

When do you take the tree down?
The 12th day of Christmas. Epiphany. January 6th. Especially if it falls on a weekend. (If Epiphany falls on a weekend, that is, not the tree.)

Do you like eggnog?

Favorite gift received as a child?
A hand-knitted red and yellow gonk - in 1965. My friend Jean had a sewn one, made of red, white and black satin fabric, and I pestered my Mum and paternal grandmother - for months! - for a gonk of my own. My brother received one in reverse colours to mine, and our younger brother received a similar hand-knitted Humpty Dumpty. I think it must have been in the same pattern book. My grandmother knitted my gonk in secret (and sent it to Santa to bring back on Christmas night).

Gonk and Andorians at Christmas

Do you have a nativity scene?
A miniature plastic one from my childhood, and I inherited one of the two larger sets once owned and displayed by my grandmother. But I don't usually have room to display it. It looks bizarre next to a Muppet Show "Pigs in Space" playset of the starship Swinetrek.

Hardest person to buy for?
Me. I buy everything I collect (books, DVDs, action figures) the moment it gets released. Just give gift vouchers for Galaxy Bookshop, people!

Easiest person to buy for?
Um... Buy?

Probably my parents. Whatever I find has to be light enough to mail to Perth, but also throw in chocolate Clinkers or honeycomb for Mum and black jelly beans for Dad. It's a tradition.

Mail or email Christmas cards?
I used to be very good sending out gossipy news and personalised cards I'd made on the computer, usually me posed outside Number 96, or in some wacky Star Trek costume with a Christmassy theme. But the last five years or so it's tended to be a bulk cc-ed email to everyone on my guest book. Sigh. Guilty! This year it might end up being the mobile phone.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Mmmmmm. Dunno. Maybe an el cheapo tie with matching coffee mug? I have a huge neck and I can never find shirts that permit me to wear a tie comfortably. Biggest blown surprise: my grandmother was going to give me JRR Tolkien's "The Hobbit" for my birthday one year, but ended up wrapping Book 1 of "The Lord of the Rings" instead, meaning I correctly assumed that Books 2 and 3 (and "The Hobbit") were in the Santa sack waiting for Christmas Day.

Favorite Christmas Movie?
Mmmmm. "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York"? I watched it being filmed on the streets of New York, January 1992, over several night shoots, and it was then released for Christmas the next year. It was fun looking for "my" scenes.

When do you start shopping for Christmas?
About now. The last two years, I've been on the fundraising shopping bus trip (organised through the school) to the factory outlet stores, so: late November. Any food bought then is already eaten, though. Guaranteed.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Our school Kris Kringle is traditionally both good taste & bad taste - and it's traditional to recycle the worst of the really bad ones!

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Mmmmm. Glace fruit. Dark fruit cake. Roast pork crackling.

Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Coloured, but no flasher bulb because I have a Star Trek shuttlecraft that has a Spock audio message, and the flasher would wreck it. However, the shuttlecraft's memory chip stopped talking three years ago and then the light string blew last year! (I just found a working string in the tossed-out ragged old Christmas tree, across the road, when the neighbours moved out on a moonlight flit.)

Favorite Christmas song?
Definitely The Chimney Song, as sung by Lorna List. Track #2 of "Twisted Christmas" (1987) by the Bob Rivers Comedy Corp. Took me many years to track it down. The old 2UW radio station used to say it was by little Personality Plus, the fictitious sister of the breakfast announcers' resident mascot, Peter Plus.

Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Every second year it's Christmas at my Aunty Pat's in Malabar Heights, Sydney. Every other year I either entertain at home or go away on a break somewhere.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Yep. And his seven dwarfs, too.

Angel on the tree top or a star?
Well, don't say you didn't ask for it:

Spock angel

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning. Unless I'm not seeing certain people on "the day".

Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The school year goes right up to Christmas Week most years now. I used to have a whole week up my sleeve for spring cleaning.

Favorite ornament theme or color?
I buy two rather eclectic ornaments for the tree per year: one quite expensive and one el cheapo but very cute. Been doing so since 1983, so have over 50 ornaments now. Makes the tree look tinier every year.

Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Traditional English roast dinner, even on the scorcher days!

What do you want for Christmas this year?
Dunno. Already bought Star Trek Season One boxed set on combo DVD/HD, Season Three of "Lost", and all the Star Trek novels and action figures for the year. Typical.

Please feel free to chime in with your comments, or let me know if you do your own. Thanks for the tip, Andrew!

A novel argument

Over at TrekBBS, the old chestnut of stand-alone versus serialized Star Trek novels has again arisen.

Some fans seem to yearn for simpler times, when they never feel tempted to read beyond one tie-in product to truly get the gist of one particular adventure. They don't want any sharing of original characters, which essentially puts an end to any continuing characters past the credited headlining stars of a series. Some have speculated that Pocket Books is no longer soliciting manuscripts that tell self-contained Star Trek stories.

Of course they do! Happens often enough. There's no ban on stand-alone adventures at all. I take it some are not enjoying some of the so-called "relaunches" and serialized stories, even though the authors seem (to me) to tell a complete story within their instalment. A great recent example is the "Crucible" trilogy by David R George III. The first one, "McCoy", is totally stand-alone, even to its trilogy mates, if one so chooses.

First-time authors following Pocket's official ST submission policy must submit a stand-alone novel that makes no reference to existing novels. (Mind you, that's to prove that they can write in the genre, and can follow guidelines.) But even in the supposedly "good old days" of the 1980s, a stand-alone novel could become so successful that it spawned a sequel. So one might say that today's readers would be hesitant to pick up AC Crispin's "Time for Yesterday" if they hadn't already read "Yesterday's Son" - but neither the editor nor author knew that the first adventure would extend beyond one book. The first ST novel I ever read was Bantam's "The Fate of the Phoenix", a sequel to "The Price of the Phoenix"!

I say, trust the authors to make every ST novel as stand-alone as possible - which they do! There are very few novels, except perhaps a few early duologies and trilogies that were designed as duologies or trilogies, that can't stand alone.

Many readers also don't want any novels to ever conflict with another. And that becomes harder and harder to achieve every month. I recently chatted with a high school student who has to write a science fiction short story for an assignment, and he wants to imply that it is part of an arc of stories that might eventually lead to a novel. It's essential, for the assignment, that the short story actually also be self-contained.

You know, I've met many Star Trek fans over the years who seem to be always looking for a chance to opt out of something, ie. so they have an excuse not to read/see it. "Oh, this novel requires a knowledge of the one ST film I hate so I won't be reading that one." "I heard that book had too many unexplained in-jokes." "The books aren't canonical, so I refuse to read them." "I only read novels written by people who have direct connections to canonical ST". Etc.

If readers truly want stand-alone ST stories, then they are going to conflict with all the others. We also end up with hundreds - thousands! - of interesting guest crew characters who never get to grow beyond one story. A volume of "The Best of Trek" had an article where somebody tried to do a definitive list of original Enterprise crewmembers who had appeared in the novels. Initally I was excited as I remembered there'd been a small amount of character sharing and sequeling in the Bantam and early Pocket novels (Dr Ruth Rigel, Ingrit Thomson, Mahase the Eseriot, Naraht the Horta, Harb Tanzer, Lia Burke, etc), but the resulting list seemed totally useless and pointless, since most other characters received one appearance only - and often it was for a redshirt whose entire contribution to the plot was "Please sign this" or "Aaaargghhh!".

And whenever an author decided to make use of minor TOS guest crew, such as Freeman ("The Trouble With Tribbles"), they'd give him a different first name anyway. I can't see why some readers say they lack of character-building across novels something to celebrate? If an author tried to give every character in his/her ST novel equal time to get a story arc happening for them, and each arc completed in the one novel, most of it would be described by most readers as "wasted filler". The arcs they complete in a single novel ultimately contribute to the plot of that novel. Also, the authors would eventually exhaust the 420 or so TOS crew, or the 1000 or so TNG crew in just a few years of novels, because some readers say they don't want any minor characters ever being shared between books.

Minor characters don't have to have a story arc at all, of course - that's why they are minor characters - but if a new author can add a dimension to a few of them in some future novel, that's good. But you still don't have to read every instalment to get resolution of the major arcs of the first novel. It's an Easter egg for those who notice it.


For example, we learn a tiny bit more about hortas each time Naraht (above left) appears in a novel. (I guess you don't want to know that he's also popped up in a computer game and a few comics, and each time we learned more about the oddities of silicon-based life.)

Referring to JJ Abrams' upcoming TOS movie, they say, "An ambitious and risk taking studio would be making a new space opera, instead of remaking Trek."

Sorry, I don't want "a new space opera". I want more Star Trek, and the thought of a new TOS adventure, where the characters are all young and virile again, is very exciting.

I was also asked, "Have you ever invested in something, be it books, music, movies, TV, whatever, that you collected eagerly as it was being released, experienced it once at the time of purchase, then never looked at it again? Did that collection wind up in a yard/car boot sale twelve months later?"

Nope, not really. But even if I did only see/read/hold it the once (and a lot of my books await unread), it was the buying of it that had some exhilaration, and was probably worth the price of purchase. A bit like seeing a live stage show. I usually buy the souvenir program, but the memories of going to and seeing the actual performance is what I paid the initial ticket price for. I could live without the program, I guess, but it's handy for later reference.

If they do all end up in a car boot sale or eBay someday when I'm 90, so be it. I've had a lifetime of memories from the initial outlays of money. But I agree, any collection you choose to stop adding to eventually risks falling from grace, and the collector must go in search of new thrills. Human nature. Enjoy it!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How does your garden grow?

It's a little bizarre that the grass is growing so wonderfully in the middle of a drought, but we've been getting a combination of frequent storms, that can dump a month's rainfall in ten minutes over parts of Sydney, followed by days of gorgeous sunshine. You can practically watch the blades of grass growing!

I'm particularly thrilled about my gardenia bushes, which are blooming extremely well this year. Gardenias were my paternal grandmother's much-treasured flowers, due to her daughter Elaine's fondness for them (Aunty Elaine died at age 17, although she has ben an influence over several generations who never met her). I once bought my grandmother a potted gardenia for her balcony as a gift and it was an annual celebration whenever that first fragrant bud burst open. When I bought my own flat in 1984, a gardenia for the balcony was one of my first purchases.


Since moving to the house in 2000, I've made a point of picking up a new greenhouse-reared, ready-to-bloom gardenia plant each year, mainly because they have had more promise of many blooms than the ones here, which have traditionally granted only about ten blooms each per season. The last few years, despite careful spraying for pests, some little caterpillar has been tunnelling through the tiny unopened gardenia buds and this either mutates each bud as it grows to full size, or causes it to not open at all.

This year, anticipating disaster again, I bought a new, ready-to-bloom gardenia plant - which has started performing well - but all of the other plants are covered with buds and flowers, too! Mind you, there've been some black caterpillars threatening to start munching but so far so good. (I squished one in the centre of his body the other day - and his brains shot right out of his head. If that's where a caterpillar keeps his brains.)

I'm also enjoying the development of this year's agapanthus blooms (but so far no action from my two Black Panthas), the gorgeous self-seeding portulacas, and the amazingly hardy pigfaces (first time this year) in their numerous colours.

Black pantha agapanthus
Fingers crossed for a black pantha!

Sunday's magic number: 88.6 I'm so excited! It was a difficult week, watching a friend tuck into Krispy Kreme donuts when I had a skinny milkshake, and I even refused to partake of free Christmas cake at work. Sigh... I guess it's been worth it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

St Andrew is cross

St Andrew's Cross spider

I watched this St Andrew's Cross spider construct his web on my front veranda over several days last week. Check out the amazing markings on his abdomen! The finishing touch was the set of zigzagging, white, diagonal lines which - when he was centred in his web - appeared to make his spreadeagled legs look even longer. The day I decided to take a photo, he'd moved up slightly from his usual location; I noticed he was busy wrapping a hapless, trembling insect with spider silk - for later use... as lunch.

It was only a few days after the arrival of the new lounge suite that I suddenly realised: the large pot plant the spider had used to anchor the web had been quickly slid out of the way of the front door in the dark, to make room for the removal of the two old lounges and the delivery of the big new one.

Wherever St Andrew the spider is now, I'll bet he's very cross!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Showing restraint

When I first moved here in 2000, I made myself a promise that the lounge room would be a "Star Trek-free" room, since I had a spare room to gussy up as a Star Trek Shrine, and a family room (with no family to put in it) for the overflow. But it didn't take long for the Star Trek videocassettes and CDs, and then DVD boxed sets, and even my wonderful "Piiiiiigs iiiiiin Spaaaaaaace" playset (with First Mate Miss Piggy, Captain Link Hogthrob and Dr Strangepork of "The Muppet Show"), to creep into the lounge room and help to clutter it up.

Well, now that the new lounge suite is here: the dust has been eradicated, for the time being, at least; the two caged birds have been banished to another part of the house; the walls, ceiling and skirting boards are all freshly painted; and I've shown great restraint by bringing out only the Trek CDs, DVDs, and just a few VHS tapes. And the antennaed blue mannequin dressed in his authentic "It's a Wrap!" Andorian outfit from "Star Trek: Enterprise", of course. Only the essentials...

Andorian plus Tellarite jacket

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Allow me to be the best judge of that!"

Thelma Scott

At tonight's L'Oreal Paris 2007 AFI Awards (for the Australian Film Institute), the late Thelma Scott will be honoured in a montage of recent passings. The Australian actress and radio star was also beloved by "Number 96" fans as "Mrs Claire Houghton of Point Piper" and the screen mother of Bev (portrayed by Abigail, below left, and later by Victoria Raymond), during the 70s. The b/w picture of Thelma (above) being used in the montage was supplied by yours truly.

I was fortunate to meet Miss Scott several times. The word "formidable" always comes to mind, but only in the nicest ways. She was also a delight to talk to, and very articulate on a range of issues. I know she is missed by her many friends and fans.

Thelma Scott with cast

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lounging around again

Well, the new lounge suite arrived tonight. It looks very comfortable. Perhaps too comfortable; recliners send me straight to sleep and this corner suite has two of them. And its such a pretty medium blue.

The delivery truck was due at 6pm, but a thunderstorm held them up and they didn't arrive till after 8.30 or so. I ate dinner sitting on the floor in front of the TV, the only furniture left in the front room.

The room has been freshly painted (making the rest of the house look shabby by comparison). And no sooner were the modules slotted together than Jack was up on one, and settled in for the evening. Looks like I'm testing out the suite's resilience to dog hairs much earlier than expected.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Shatner's collision course

Poor ol' Bill Shatner is having a hard time of it. JJ Abrams hasn't asked him to be in the upcoming Star Trek movie, and now the reviews for his hardcover ST novel, "Academy: Collision Course" have been harsh - and for the first time in ten hardcovers, there's been no simultaneous audio release.

Someone had better call in Denny Crane!

Collision Course
Shatner: "Where's my audio book royalty this year?"

Shatner's main complaint seems to be in answer to a fan question of "So where is the audio book?"

Simon & Schuster Audioworks - not Pocket Books itself - seems to have abandoned the abridged Star Trek audiotape novels. Shatner's own "Captain's Glory" was its last one, and that audio title was delayed because the book itself was delayed for over two years. That's also been the only one to come out as a CD-only release, magnetic cassette tapes seeming to have finally fallen out of favour.

S&S got burned on quite a few ST titles, due to poor sales, and eventually concentrated mainly on hardcovers - but even some of those were lacklustre (eg. "DS9: Warped"). I saw the writing on the wall for the simultaneous releases when even highly-anticipated, non-Shatner ST hardcovers, such as "DS9: Unity", "New Frontier: After the Fall" and "NF: Missing in Action", failed to get an abridged audio production.

Maybe Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz's "Vulcan's Soul, Book 1: Exodus" failed to do well (in audio) for Simon & Schuster Audioworks, too, because it's been left to a company called Recorded Books to do (expensive) unabridged versions of the three volumes in that series. Interestingly, Amazon offers these as audio downloads, and has recently slashed the Recorded Books' prices from around $46 each to $12-$25. But you have to download (and burn them to CD?) yourself.

So Shatner's complaint is reflecting a drop in interest/sales in abridged Star Trek audios altogether. He needs to talk to Recorded Books. "Vulcan's Soul, Book 3" has supposedly only recently come out as an unabridged title, so there's still time.

Captains Log: Supplemental. Shatner is still crying!

Judy & Garfield Reeves-Stevens incorporated the plot and ramifications of "Nemesis" into the Shatner "Totality" hardcover trilogy ("Captain's Peril/Blood/Glory"). Sherman & Shwartz did a similar thing with their "Vulcan's Soul" trilogy - and they did it after their instalment was already out. Surely it makes sense for Shatner and Pocket to wait for the Abrams movie to come out, then incorporate whatever ideas Shatner and the Reeves-Stevenses have for "Academy" Books 2 and 3 into novels that will gel with the storyline of that ST movie.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Breaking through


I had to move the scales around the bathroom floor a bit this morning, because I was getting some very erroneous readings - the scales were insisting I was heavier than the previous night, and I hadn't eaten anything! However, finally, to my joy there was the magic 89.9 glinting up at me. Now, that's more like it!

It had become very important to me to get past that dreaded 90 kg mark. I just checked back through the old Sunday postings and reminded myself that this diet started on Sunday, August 05, 2007. It really feels longer - much longer - than that, but I'd actually forgotten that, on that day, I was 99 kg. (I'd been telling myself it was 98, so it's actually been nine kilograms lost in four months. The last few weeks I've been quite strict about grazing on wicked things.) Slow progress, but at least it's progress. My body is simply used to all the walking I do, and I really don't want to start doing any other form of exercise. So I guess I'm stuck with slow progress.

The first time I did this diet, way back before "Fat Free Forever" was actually even published (the authors had promoted it at one of Selwa's seminars), I was losing a very comfortable one kilo per week. Wonderfully predictable, highly motivating... and I achieved my goal mass in (seemingly) no time at all! I started at 90.2 kg, at about this time of year, sailed through Christmas 1995 without too much anguish and, by Easter 2006, I was 75 kg and grinning like a Cheshire cat (with just a little bit of chocolate on its lips). I even bought one of those slimline, expensive white T-shirts to celebrate.

I wonder whatever happened to that shirt? I think it became a dust rag, because I only fitted into it as an actual T-Shirt for a few months. Sigh.

Then in late 2005, I needed to try again. This time, I was a hefty 104 kg - I still can't believe I was ever that big - but I managed to shed eighteen kilograms. As soon as I boasted about it online, I ran out of puff and returned to my old eating patterns (and avoided looking at the scales for about a year). Thirteen kilos went straight back on, seemingly in no time at all. It's extremely easy to add a kilogram per month. I know; I've proved it several times now. I can do it standing on my head. (Actually, doing that might stop me from opening chocolate wrappers.)

Ah well, 89.9 is better than 99, just as 99 is much better than 104. It's still a bit disheartening that I'm back at the same mass I was the first time I attempted "Fat Free Forever". That "forever" is the sticking point, you know. Because Junk Food (and its advertisers) cry out for it to be eaten every day! Somehow society is going to have to come up with a solution for that.

I don't think I'll ever be 75 kg again somehow, but even 85 kg is looking pretty great from here. So wish me luck for the next stage of this game/chore/necessity.

Sunday's magic number: 89.9 - Yay!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Brissy birthday boy, Ben

Happy birthday to little Ben, whose first birthday party is about to begin in Brisbane. I was invited, but I'm not able to get back to Brisbane till later in December. But no matter, Ben and his parents are due in Sydney this week, for a flying visit, so I can catch up then.

"It's 2.30am on a Saturday morning, and I must lick your face!"

You know, by cleverly judging the time between heavy rain showers, Jack (my Jack Russell terrier) was taken for a one hour walk last night. There's no way he should have been awake enough to demand to go outside to post an urgent wee-mail at 2.30am this morning.

But he did.


Welcome to summer. No wonder it's raining.

(I cheated and peeked at the scales a day early; if I walk heaps today I can be under the magic 90 kg again tomorrow. Whew! I thought I'd been really tough on myself this week, but there hasn't been a lot of change at all. Last week, i knew there'd been a sudden two kilogram drop. i could just tell that i felt lighter, and skinnier. There are mornings when I get dressed and feel amazed at all the extra room in the waistband of my pants, and how they'd fall down without a belt holding them up. There are other morning when i catch myself side on in the mirror and am horrified that the tummy ain't never gonna look better without some exercise beyond walking. (My thighs always look muscular, but that's because a life time of walking builds 'em up. Such is the life of a pedestrian.)