Month: May 2011

The Decemberists – Musical loveliness

Ahhhh The Decemberists.  Discovered on Saturday afternoons on National Radio with Kirsten Johnstone.  This totally gorgeous video gives you a taste of their music.  This is one of the most gorgeous looking videos I’ve seen in ages, those faces are just so clear and poignant.  They play great music make cool fun videos and I really like them.

The Decemberists

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The Facebook Sonnet – Facebook as a Xmas card list

The Facebook Sonnet

Welome to the endless high-school

Reunion.  Welcome to past friends

And lovers, however kind or cruel.

Let’s undervalue and unmend

The present.  Why can’t we pretend

Every stage of life is the same?

Let’s exhume, resume, and extend

Childhood.  Lets all play the games

That occupy the young.  Let fame

And shame intertwine.  Let one’s search

For God become public domain.

Let church.com become our church.

Let’s sign up sign in, and confess

Here at the alter of loneliness.

Sherman Alexie

Words to ponder on.  I decided to post the poem above onto my facebook profile and to see if anybody amongst my 107 ‘friends’ on there would comment.  Nothing!  This was a bit disappointing because I think that Sherman Alexie has a point.  While Facebook does give you a connection with people you are sorry you don’t have contact with in any other way anymore, and whom you miss.  Facebook also connects you with a bunch of people you don’t ever need to be connected to anymore.  People  you might be delighted to be connected to, but by the same token might feel duty bound to accept a ‘friend invitation’ from if they send you one, not accepting implies that you don’t wish to be friends with them, this by implication makes you mean.  Facebook is fraught!

What do you do about the friends who post constantly, inane trivia that does your head in, more than once a day sometimes.  What about the ones who send constant links to things that really don’t interest you, do you make it so that you can’t see their posts, will they know?  Maybe I am this person to some of my friends.  Do I post too often?  Do I put on too many links?  Am I talking about my inane ridiculous life?  Who knows? 

  • As for the reconnection with school friends and friends from previous times in your life.  This can range from the, frankly disturbing – how could I have been friends with this person, surely they weren’t like this when I knew them?  Who has changed me or them?
  • To the this person is too cool for me, I’m not the funky hip person this person thinks I am.
  • To the I’m only friends with this person because they are a newby on here and dear god if they send me another update on the Farmville or Zuma they are playing incessantly I will reach down the interweb cable and throttle the very life out of their mouse finger with that cable! 
  • To the deeply christian churchy types who tell me how awesome their church services are – why did I click the confirm friendship button I knew this particular relationship wouldn’t work out.  Why the hell did they want to me my friend anyway?
  • To those poor souls who search for meaning, happiness, and a purpose to life – you are just too lost for me.  I am too intolerant to be your friend, well I’ll be your friend but I don’t want to see your posts.  Actually you don’t like me anyway and don’t want to spend time with me, so why are we pretending to be friends on Facebook?

The last point is actually key, it is possible to be friends with all manner of annoying and irritating past friends etc if you can’t see what they are doing.  Block the buggers! I work on the principle that if they have something I need to know (I use the term need loosely here obviously) they will message me.

So, just like a high school reunion, people who knew an early version of you, feel like they still know you, and feel the need to catch up even though you have all moved on, and who don’t have anything in common with you any more, except memories of the previous you, want to rekindle something and befriend you in a Facebook kind of way.  Not in any kind of deeply connected real friend kind of way.

Facebook friendship is not the same as real life friendship.  It is a virtual friendship.  These are not the people you can pop round and have a coffee with at their houses, or go for a drink with on a Friday night.  These are not the people that you get together with at the drop of a hat.  These are a bunch of people, some of your nearest and dearest, and some who you will never see again but with whom you once had a connection.  These are the people that in the old days you would have been sending Christmas cards to and receiving them from.  Really once a year was enough!

So, go on, send me a friendship invite on Facebook.  If you know me well enough to go to coffee with me, if we have connections professionally and are actual friends.  If I would go for coffee with you.  We could be friends!  Or not!

Feijoa Cake

This is moist and yummy.  Only for those who really like feijoas of course, but if you like them you really like them.  The season is so incredibly short and they go off really quickly, so best get them inside you quickly!

Credit for the recipe goes to the lovely Michael.  He is in Year 11 at school and this is his Mum Alison’s recipe.  Michael gave me a piece of this cake one morning because he is a kind hearted young man and I have been dying to make it ever since.  I can thoroughly recommend it.  it certainly went down a treat at Bookclub last night.  The recipe originally comes from somewhere called Top of the dome, but I don’t know where that is.

300g self-raising flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnnamon

Photo from teara.govt.nz

1/2 tsp salt

250g demerara (or brown) sugar

125g butter, melted

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

175ml milk

250g feijoas, peeled and chopped

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Line your cake tin with baking paper and grease lightly.  Works in round or square but it is quite a big cake.

Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.  Stir in the sugar and you can put in some raisins or cranberries at this point in you want (I don’t want)

In a separate bowl mix the butter, eggs, milk and feijoas and mix until smooth.  Combine the two mixtures and pour into the cake tin.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until the cake is springy in the middle when you give it a little poke with your finger.  Take out of the oven and let it stand in the tin for a good 5 minutes.  Then, when coolish tip it out and put onto a wire rack to cool.  Serve it warm as a desert with cream or yoghurt.  Yum.

There is no dog by Meg Rosoff

There is no dog is about God, whose name is Bob!  He is a teenager (he is 19) who has been given the responsibility of creating and then the ongoing maintenance of Earth.  Unfortunately like most teenagers he takes his eye off the ball fairly regularly and chaos ensues on our planet.  He is minded by Mr B, my favourite character in the book, who spends his time trying to juggle the catastrophes which God causes, a lot of which involve God being irresistibly  attractive to young women, and being consumed with himself, his dislike of his interferring mother, who won Earth in a poker game in the beginning which is how Bob came to be God, and who also has now carelessly lost Bob’s pet in yet another poker game.  Mr B, is responsible for whales being on earth and has his hands full ensuring their continued survival what with Bob being all involved with himself and his lovelife.  Confused, I was! 

Meg Rosoff is one of my favourite authors but this book seems like a good idea that just ran off with itself and left the author with not enough places to take what remained.  It seems a bit disjointed, a bit loopy and underdone.  There are tone changes which don’t sit quite right, there are disjointed chapters and the resolution is – weird.  I kept reading because I really wanted it to be fabulous, and I always enjoy the cleverness in a Meg Rosoff book, and that is there in this book but not in big enough doses to keep me hooked.   The book is good natured, and has heart which Meg Rosoff always brings to her books, her sense of humour really is great.

I have adored every single previous novel by Meg Rosoff  here is what I thought of The brides farewell,  (loved it) and I will certainly await the next one eagerly but this one is one I’m glad I didn’t have to spend my library dollar on.  I was loaned a proof which is fabulous and exciting and always a thrill, it feels like you are in with an early look at a treat before anybody else gets hold of it.  I enjoyed parts of the book but I’m really more looking forward to the next one.

Meg Rosoff has been in NZ for Auckland Readers and Writers Week and I have been so jealous that she came south as far as Nelson, but not to Dunedin, and it is so nice here!  Come a bit further next time Meg and we will look after you – and we have far more excellent water than Auckland down here!  Read this post on her blog to see why I wrote that!