Archive for work

no job for me

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 17, 2010 by Cara Marie

So, I didn’t get the full-time job at the place I was contracting at earlier in the year. Which, okay, was not that exciting but it’s not as if there are heaps of opportunities at the moment, and I would really like to be able to move out of home at some point in the not-to-distant future.

And okay, they did mess me around for three months on the application, but: not drowning in job opportunities here!

On the other hand, if I am mostly-unemployed in January, I will have the time to go to the beach on holiday. Which does sound rather nice, if I’m able to co-ordinate it. I’ll just think about that.

Today in the world of essays men wrote in the 40s

Posted in Books, Non-fiction with tags , , on May 24, 2010 by Cara Marie

Having finished all I can do today on the volume of A.R.D. Fairburn’s poems that I am digitising, I thought I would start cleaning up his book of essays.

The title essay is called ‘The Woman Problem’. It is a charming anti-feminist tract, with bonus homophobia. Lovely. It is a relief, therefore, to find where people have scribbled conversations in the margins. Things like: ‘You are full of shit’, ‘Hear hear!’

Thank you, people! I completely agree, and am grateful that unlike you, I do not have to actually read these essays, only mark them up.

Help, little Suzy will only read Jackie Wilson books!

Posted in Books with tags on February 4, 2010 by Cara Marie

Dear Concerned Parents,

You really don’t need to worry about the fact your child will only read Beast Quest/Jacqueline Wilson/whatever else is hot right now. It’s a stage. You don’t need to force them to branch out, it will happen on its own, I promise. You know why? Because when they’re reading their formulaic little novels, they’re learning something very important. They’re learning that reading is fun. That it’s something you do for pleasure, not just because you’ve been assigned some book for class.

It doesn’t matter if your nine year old has a reading age of twelve and these books aren’t extending them – they’re obviously getting that ability somewhere, and they don’t need extending. They’re enjoying reading. What are you so concerned about? You should be grateful; you’re damned lucky.

So how about you stop suggesting your child’s taste isn’t good enough, and let them get through their series addiction themselves?

Yours truly,
Your friendly children’s bookshop assistant.

P.S. When you’re talking about how you try and encourage your child to read a wide range, particularly to get away from those fantasy and adventure stories, maybe you should consider that you might be talking to someone who has long survived on a diet of sci-fi/fantasy and my vocabulary is just fine, thank you!

Why should I reassure you that I read Sweet Valley Twins obsessively when I was eight/nine and I turned out okay – I obviously haven’t, because now I’m reading all these awful genre books instead of Good Literature. Clearly the girl at the bookshop is a warning, not an example.

Action-adventure + girls = ??

Posted in Books with tags , , , , on September 13, 2008 by Cara Marie

A couple of weeks ago, children’s author Robert Muchamore was touring New Zealand. He did a signing at a bookshop where I work, and a talk at Scot’s College that evening. Robert Muchamore writes gritty child-spy series CHERUB, of which the tenth volume has just come out. (He’s also quite lovely, and a very fast signer.) He told us the impetus behind the series was to give his too-cool nephew something to read. It’s one of those series known to be good for getting boys to read.

Today one of our regulars who’d attended the talk commented that he’d been surprised by the number of girls there. I’d noticed that too, only I wasn’t so surprised. Because the action-adventure stories that have ‘boy’ written all over them also have ‘Cara’ written all over them – along with the names of thousands of other girls. And it’s depressing that audience goes greatly unacknowledged. Or doesn’t matter, because a) everyone knows that girls don’t mind reading “boy’s books”, but a boy won’t touch a book with a female main character. So b) if it’s not utterly, irredeemably girly, better make sure the main character’s a boy.**

I’m exaggerating. Probably because it’s discomfitting to think that I too have fallen for such truisms – whenever someone asks for a recommendation, the first information I get is age* and gender. And that dictates which books I go to. A ten year old girl will get Eva Ibbotson, a ten year old boy Alex Shearer. Unless the girl likes funny stuff, in which case she can have Alex Shearer too. I’m way more likely to recommend a ‘boy’ book for a girl than vice versa. Who knows if a is actually true or not. Apparently Twilight was a real hit at all-boys Scot’s College.

So even though gender-stereotyping the audience of a book pisses me off, I do exactly the same thing. Which is even more disturbing when I realise I even do it for picture books.

Obviously I’m going to have to think a lot about that.

Gosh, and I actually wanted to talk about action-adventure books.

Now I will ramble on CHERUB for a bit

Book aimed at getting kids outdoors without ignoring girls!

Posted in Books with tags , , on June 1, 2008 by Cara Marie

Yesterday, we received a reader for a book called ‘How to Eat a Huhu Grub’, by Nick and Conrad Turzynski. It’s an outdoorsy type book, with advice about bush survival and knife upkeep, guides to identifying native birds, trees, and fish, and activities like bottle rockets and making paper from sheep dung. The publisher’s description calls it a Kiwi version of ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’ but for me it has a clear advantage above being New Zealand-specific: it’s not gendered.

It is such a nice change, after such titles as ‘The Outdoors Book for Adventurous Chaps‘ and ‘Boy Mechanic’ to have a book that could’ve gone the boys-only route but didn’t. Asides from being fun, it also turns out that things like knife care really are useful to know. Even if the most commonly used component on my leatherman is the file…

Every district plan needs a council seal.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 4, 2008 by Cara Marie

Working at the Ministry for the Environment requires being able to make conversation with people who clearly remember you, even if you don’t know who they are. I think one of them might be a second cousin once removed.

Here is a poem for you:

The council seal bobs up and down,
Up and down, as he travels the town.
The townspeople cheer to see him go by:
The council seal, with a wink in his eye.

I suppose I’ll never learn to tickle a fish then

Posted in Books with tags , , on November 4, 2007 by Cara Marie

How to work me up, for book publishers:

    Publish something called ‘The Outdoors Book for Adventurous Chaps’
    Have a spread on finding fossils. Have a picture of a trilobite. Call it an ‘ammonite fossil’

Ammonites and trilobites look nothing alike, but what would a girl like me know?

I hate how essays loom over you

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 19, 2007 by Cara Marie

I am in a bad mood and just need to complain. You’ll have to excuse me.

I hate…

Should I point out that this is the floor IT is on?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 24, 2007 by Cara Marie

Something gross:

Going to make yourself a milo and finding milk in the fridge so old that it’s curdled.

Not impressed, guys.

I’m traumatised.

Posted in TV with tags , , on December 9, 2005 by Cara Marie

Oh my God, Veronica Mars. Tonight was the season finale, and it was… wow. It was intense. And by intense, I mean freaking hardcore. And… what about Logan? Aargh! How am I supposed to cope with waiting till next year?

At least I get to order myself the DVD box set for Christmas. Mmm. Isn’t life great?

Except for the whole having to work thing, so that I don’t get to oh, sleep in in the morning, or stay out at gigs all night. I might be too scared to try and get in again anyway. We were going to see Ricky Boyd and the Boom Shack Band again last night… and so we go inside, and William and Ania pay their money and go through, and then it’s Selina and Isobel – I’m behind them, and they get asked for ID. Isn’t it lucky then, that they’re the two that have it? And then it’s may, and I don’t have ID, so I can’t show it to her… so I just press the money into her hand and she doesn’t ask me.

It was a great adreneline rush, I tell you. But it’s so bloody stupid, not being able to go and see bands just because they play in bars! I have no desire to bloody drink anything, but that doesn’t matter, does it? I think it’s mean. Hmph.

I didn’t even get to stay for very long; they didn’t start playing till twenty to eleven, and I had to go… Mum was picking me up because I had to work the next morning. Work is sucky like that. I don’t get a day off till Tuesday, and then I have to go to my other work!

But I get Thursday off as well, so I think I will have people over on Wednesday night, so we can watch Velvet Goldmine, and stuff. Yeah. Sounds like a plan. Man, they get to have a picnic on Monday, but I don’t get to go… on the other hand, I will have lots of money. But sometimes you’d rather just get to have picnics, and see people. Ha, I saw Alex’s Mum today, that was fun. And Kim was very not impressed with her. It was funny.