highlyeccentric: Divide by cucumber error: reinstall universe and reboot (Divide by cucumber)
Bought a hat for Pride Fribourg, after losing the previous in Morocco. Wore it on plane to UK. Left it on train Leeds-London, didn't realise until yesterday.

Got vr burned at Duxford airshow (plaaaanes!). Went and bought a hat in Cambridge today; lost it within five hours. Hopefully I left it in Michaelhouse and can pick it up from there tomorrow before we head to Bath via Oxford.

Traveling with parentals is tiring (they are inexperienced in the big wide world, but also now old enough that they are slow to intuit things or recognise patterns). Travelling with Brooke is very tiring. Not just the usual over-tired kid thing, although that's bad enough (the sun gets up early and so does miss six! Even if she didn't get to bed until eleven!). I have never met a child so paranoid. I spoke to her loudly today- "Brooke, you're walking INTO PEOPLE" - when she skittered across the pavement, and that bought us five minutes of hiding her face in mum's and my legs, and big crocodile tears. Absolutely convinced she's going to be In Trouble and, i dunno, banished forever? This happens 2-3 times a day.

She's also having difficulty with the idea that I am, in fact, travelling with them. "Amy, can you eat with us today?" Where else do you think I'm gonna eat, kid? We're in the same car! On the same holiday! Being paid for by the same parents!

In addition to the hat crisis, I accidentally bought tickets for Duxford Flying Legends 'Meet the Fighters' in September instead of regular Flying Legends. [personal profile] liv, if you see this, please enquire of your people if three adult and one child ticket for the 10th of Sept would be of use to them. I think young B would be into it.
highlyeccentric: The pevensie siblings in the sun (Four pevensies)
Shortly after my arrival in the parental abode, I've been updated on Dad's adventures in family history. He's recently:

- tracked Brooke's ancestry back to one Isabella Tyson, convict
- established Brooke's relation to James Tyson, son of Isabella, and Australia's first self-made millionaire. Said James and his brothers sound as if they owned half the grazing land in the country by the 1890s, and James was eulogised by Banjo Patterson. He was also a major benefactor of The Women's College, USyd, as it happens

- reasonably established the identity of the unnamed ancestors he found a photo of when pulling apart a photo frame he 'borrowed' from my grandmother, and, in so doing, revised the previously-assumed identity of another set of ancestors in another photograph. This endeavour involved identifying a distinctive chair present in both photographs, also present in a photograph of my great-grandmother age 18; identifying the photo studio to which the chair belonged, and the date of its establishment as a business; and cross-checking ages of various ancestors and blowing up images of faces of great-great male relations. Probably-cousin-Jack and his wife are currently gracing the parental living room bookshelf, while previously-thought-to-be-Jack/now-assumed-to-be-Henry and his family are, I think, at my Uncle's place.

Dad likes ancestor puzzles. It's like detective stories, he says. I told him I know historians who do this for a living, only with charters. He said he likes the internet-enabled versions better.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (shock!)
ZOMG BEEEEEACH. I know I say this every time I go to a proper beach (ie, once every couple of years, these days), but OMG I NEED TO GO TO THE BEACH MOAR. SRSly. I've almost forgotten how to body board, I spent ages tentatively bobbing over waves, skeered to get tumbled, and I have no strength anymore. I miss being able to just fling myself at the surf and, well, sink or swim as the case may be. And I know, because I have at least two LJ entries declariing this, that BEEEEACH is just about the best thing there is for the mental health of the Amy.

So. Some waves were caught. Toddlers were given joyrides on the board I'd borrowed from cousin R. Little B. took a face-first tumble off the board and may not yet have forgiven me. She had floaties on and I plucked her out at once, so the worst she got was a facefull of water. Facefull of water never hurt anyone! Bit rough on your first encounter with a surf beach, though.

Also I did manage to catch some waves, but I still haven't figured out how to stop. So I did a lot of skidding right into shore. Somehow my father, despite being Chief Cameraman, failed to get a photo of me skidding right up to Mum's legs. I kind of wanted one to match the one we have of me doing the same thing at five years old. On Boxing Day, in fact.

Dear Northerners: what do you do on Boxing Day without the Boxing Day Test and the Sydney to Hobart to distract bored family members? Christmas in the winter I can understand, but the true meaning of Boxing Day is veeeerrry slow sporting events. And surfing, if one is lucky enough to have surf available.

I have decided that my Christmas decisions next year will be based on whatever option provides me the best beach-going opportunities. The parentals will have a head start, due to being in Perth...

Ed. for HTML fail. Also, I am reeeeeallly hungry. Staying in other people's houses is not good for my tendency to eat small meals and then get hungry again. Eg: if you are the only person who eats a moderate serving at Christmas lunch, you're the weird person who's actually hungry at dinner time.
highlyeccentric: Lucy and Peter Pevensie hugging (Lucy and Peter)
One of the lovely things about small children is that they’re not, usually, self-conscious about physical affection.

Sometimes my little sister doesn’t want to be picked up or snuggled or attacked by the tickle-monster (and that’s OK; and maybe I’m not always the greatest about not pestering her). But mostly, if I go home and ask her “can I have a cuddle?”, I get cuddles. For no good reason. She wants to snuggle in next to me while we read stories, or climb on my lap to play with my laptop, and so on and so forth.

It’s really nice. Kids don’t expect much from you, except that you give them attention and affection.

My little cousin gives, according to my mother, “the best cuddles”. And it’s pretty true. She often needs to be carried when she’s tired, more than other kids her age, because of her physical mobility problems. And if you say to her “can I have a cuddle?” or you snuggle into her a bit when you pick her up, she just goes flop into your shoulder, all boneless. It’s really sweet.

I’ve noticed, though that adults - even adults who aren’t normally touchy - really love that about her. My mother tells me how excellent my little cousin’s cuddles are; my father crows over her when he picks her up; both of them encourage other people to cuddle her as well, because she’s just that excellent at cuddling.

Now, my little cousin loves everyone and everything and really loves cuddles, so it’s not like we have one of those oppressive “give your aunty a kiss” situations which become the bane of family gatherings, at least not yet. And my little cousin has communication problems as well as mobility problems, so in many ways, it’s great to all celebrate one of her stand-out communication talents.

Me, I love hugs, but I have since late childhood felt weird about hugging adult members of my immediate and extended family. And I think that’s because children are expected to provide physical affection to their adult family members. Adult (dominant/white, Australian) society is not a particularly snuggly social group to be in. Many adults, I think, suffer a bit from this: and they (we) absolutely relish the freely given affection of children; to the point where we turn to children to fill a need which doesn’t fit neatly into adult social rituals.
highlyeccentric: Book on a shelf, entitled "Oh God: What the Fuck (and other stories)" (Oh god what the fuck (and other tails))
I don't think ANYONE expected a flood disaster like this one (just like no one expected bushfires like the ones Victoria got in 09... perhaps we should start expecting super-sized disasters).

But for the last couple of years, one of the stories I tell people about my Uncle R, as proof that he is the only person in my family who's as dorky as me, goes like this:

Uncle R and I, sitting around at some family gathering or other, talking about conferences (this must've been in 08, I think?), and how we were both looking forward to attending them. He listened to me blather about Archbishop Wulfstan II of York, and I listened to him blather about civil engineering concerns for small shire councils.

He had just finished working on a traffic management project, and his next big thing was When Is It Time To Revise Your Flood Management Plan? Apparently, Flood Management Plans were very exciting in the mid-to-late 90s. Everyone made Flood Management Plans, just in case! And then, he said, they became old hat; there was a drought on, you already *had* your Flood Management Plan, no one wanted to work on Flood Management Plans anymore. But, says Uncle R, people should really reconsider this! A lot can change in ten years. Droughts eventually end. You never know when Flood Management Plans might become really important! You should revise your Flood Management Plan in advance.

I've been remembering this story as evidence that I'm not the ONLY person in my family who has really obscure interests.

Doesn't seem so obscure anymore, though. Ten points to Uncle R and his concern for the revision of Flood Management Plans by small shire councils. I should ask him, next time I see him, if he thinks his presentations on the topic had any impact on the disaster response patterns in small shires affected by the current crisis.
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
I am not doing very much study.

My mother rescued a whole pile of cookbooks from my grandmother's infestation house (they used to belong to my cousin). I have acquired a steak cookbook and a microwave cookbook and a bundle of recipe cards for all sorts of things including "what's wrong with my baking?". Also at some point she is going to rescue (and then sterilise) a whole range of really good quality food storing jars and parcel them out between Joel and I. YAY JARS.

My mother is giving me tomato plants, and pots to re-pot them in. We should be able to grow them up the balcony railings. She is also giving me a pot suitable for [personal profile] kayloulee's parsely-growing ambitions. And I have plans to grow CARROTS. And maybe petunias, mum has petunias and they're really scarily bright. I could get a rectangular pot and grow a petunia rainbow?

Mum also has a possibly-capsicum and a probably-some-kind-of-melon which she thought of giving to me, but they'd be too hard to carry on the train. We also came up with an exciting gardening plan which involved just grabbing some compost and watering it and seeing what happened (that's how come she has possibly-capsicum in her petunia bed), but compost would be kind of weird to carry on the train.

Why yes, I do intend to carry tomato plants on the train. I shall carry them with dignity and aplomb and all the ceremony they deserve. Tomato/Train FTW.

It is a bad sign for my gardening ambitions that I forgot to water the nom nom plant before I left. (Known to Lucy as Chronos and to K as Godiva, and to me as The Nom Nom Plant, it is carnivorous, and has a delicate constitution.)

highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)

Had a talk to Joel - we're going home together the weekend before Dad's birthday. Flying visit, but if I've got Joel to meet me at Central and, uh, ostensibly "protect" me (why do I get the feeling he's more likely to be harrassed than I?) on the late train, I can reasonably pull off a seven hour journey on public transport on a friday night after work. No taking a day off, no bottoming out my flex balance, and slightly less of the Extremely Boring Solo Public Transport Experience.

Subject to parents agreeing to pick us up at midnight from a train station an hour away from their house, we have a PLAN.

Everybody pray that CityRail don't decide to put trackwork on the 17th to the 19th, ok?

Also, ahaha, I'll be going straight from Parliament House (grad seminar). If I can't feasibly take luggage to Parliament House (I wonder what the interstate grads are doing? Do they have luggage storage at Parliament House?), I'll be going off for the weekend with the clothes on my back and a change of underwear. Things I do not have at home anymore include: spare clothes; spare pyjamas; spare anything at all. OH WELL. That's what they call an adventure!


Feb. 15th, 2009 08:57 pm
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
Le brother has a job. At my favourite cafe in the Bay. Full time waitperson. These are very difficult jobs to land in the Bay in the off-season, doubly so in an economic crunch. Three cheers for le Brother.
highlyeccentric: (Beliefs and Ideas)
This was my favourite song when I was about ten:

Ridiculous late-nineties pop, yes? When I think of Savage Garden (which, in fact, I try to do as little as possible), I think of that song. And when I think of that song I think of the second and last verses. The last because it was the verse which caught my attention on the radio:

I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse tv evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity.

God only knows what the second line means there, but even at ten I had a healthy objection to TV evangelism in all forms, and thus Savage Garden cemented their place in my ten-year old heart.

The second verse became my favourite after a couple of serious interpretive conversations with my mother.

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I can't really remember exactly what my mother said about the sexuality line- I do remember that I'd never heard the word before. I assume I got a sensible grown-up explanation, and I did the same thing with that information which I did with all information I wasn't old enough to properly process: more-or-less forgot about it. I didn't REALLY understand what 'gay' meant until I was fifteen and one of my teachers told me that the Uniting Church wasn't Christian because they had gay ministers. I held my head high and declared "yes we do and I'm proud of it"; and then went home and asked for a proper explanation of what gay was and why some people couldn't be ministers. (I seem to remember that explanation included "you know a lot of churches won't let women be ministers? Well, this is sort of like that".) But well before then, the idea had been cemented into my head that Savage Garden were right, you can't control or choose your sexuality.

The thing that, in my mind, makes this particularly notable is that I know my mother is personally uncomfortable with homosexuality. All these explanations by stages over the years always included her prancing, hand-bag carrying coworker when she worked on Oxford St, and so on and so forth. I think people messing with the binary gender system freaks her out, perhaps. It'd be easy, if you felt like that, to sit back and be homophobic, or preach "love the sinner hate the sin", or all the variants thereon. And yet I was always taught that gay people ought to be treated just like everyone else.

Next line in the verse talks about monogamy. I'm fairly sure my mother's never HEARD of polyamoury, so I think we read 'monogamy' in Catholic terms (one lifelong indissoluble heterosexual marriage) for the purposes of interpreting the song. Never suggesting that marriage or monogamy are BAD things (well, duh, she's married, and last I heard monogamous therein), I was still raised on the belief that love and trust are more important than legal pieces of paper. I can remember going into many many doomed battles with the conservative elite at school over that one...

The verse goes on to talk about inequality and financial imbalance, and I know that I was definitely taught that the way money and power get distributed in society is unfair. I usually like to blame (or thank) Easter Camp and UCATSA for prodding me into having a social conscience, but I forget how much groundwork my mother did before I ever got to an Easter Camp.

Now the awesome part: you know where I can remember this conversation happening? Sunday School. My mother bought the Savage Garden album, and took it to Sunday School and played it for the older class, and sat around while church was going on, with a bunch of other people's children as well as her own, and talked about not letting the sun go down on arguments, about trust being more important than legal bits of paper, about sexuality, about social justice, and about TV Evangelists being awful.

Some churches would have strung her up by her toes just for playing something which references the principle of Karma, let alone these dangerous social and moral views.

The moral of today's lecture is: even dodgy nineties pop can be important; my church was pretty awesome for letting us do whatever Mum wanted; and my mother's pretty awesome, all things considered.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (waltrot)
Thanks to this post on elephant camoflauge, i just remembered a terrible joke of my father's, which I ADORED when I was about twelve and have been trying to remember for years now.

1. How do you put an elephant in the fridge?
Well... )

2. How do you put a giraffe in the fridge?
Groan )

3. The King of the Jungle is holding a parliament. Which animal isn't there?
Snort. )

4. You're hiking through the jungle and you come across a river. You absolutely have to cross this river, and there isn't a bridge for miles around. You could ford it, but the river is infested with crocodiles. What do you do?
shoot me now )

DREADFUL. But it's been bugging me for YEARS.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (purple)
Y'know, my Dad's not much of a talker. He'll talk your ear off if you ask him about, oh, the second world war or the invention of the assembly line or the works of Steven Jay Gould, to say nothing of installation-free software, vintage aeroplanes, and guitars. Personal questions, though, never really come onto the radar. This has at times annoyed or frustrated me, although right now I can't remember when or why. The speed at which he used to flee if he should chance upon Mum, Joel and/or I discussing such educational matters as condoms or menstruation was highly entertaining- faster even than the speed of retreat should he stumble upon a theological conversation, which is odd, Dad being a lifelong atheist.

At some point it occurred to me that our schooling must've been particularly tortuous for Dad, an atheist of the leave-well-enough-alone variety, given how much religious shit we copped. Mum was always justifiably proud of me for standing my ground, but it must've been extra infuriating for Dad to stand by and watch one lot of religious nutters give his daughter shit for not being the right *kind* of nutter.

Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. Point of this post was supposed to be that my Dad has always spoilt me to high heaven and let me do my own thing. While I always appreciate being spoilt, I don't always remember to appreciate the other half of the equation. Then I read about things like this, and I realise how very lucky I am. Thanks Dad!


May. 20th, 2008 01:51 pm
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (shock!)
this in an email from Dad just now:

a JW just came knocking on my door. But no, he wasn't out visiting the heathens with pamphlets of enlightenment, he wants to buy my BMW!

How odd.

It's a BMW motorbike, incidentally, not a car. Just so you don't get overrated ideas about my family.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (purple)
So, every year for the last three years a formidable old lady from my church has seen fit to bestow upon me a cheque for a respectable sum of money. Said funds are apparently a dividend from an investment made back in the day when she was an exiting scientist-y type of person, and they paid her godchildren through university, and, after me, they will be contributing to the education of an unknown Master's student through a scholarship fund of some sort.

This is all very nice, but a little overwhelming, since I've never done anything *for* my benefactress, and it is quite unlikely that I ever will. So, rather than develop a sense of indebtedness (leave that up to my mother) I decided that instead, one of the things I would do in my life would be to bestow fundage upon some young person or persons, as a Respectable Grownup Helping The Next Generation. Where i would *get* funds to do this is somewhat vague- in my brain, fundage just drifts in with adulthood.

Recently, my best friend and his wife had a baby boy. I don't think he was baptised with godparents, if he was baptised at all, but he's more-or-less my godson. Somewhere between a godson and a nephew, i guess. Thus, since Keenan came on the scene, it has been my vague intention to contribute in some way to his higher education- be it university, tafe, or whatever it is he chooses to do.
In the shower this morning, I realised that this period of Keenan's life may be as little as seventeen years away. Then I thought about *my* life, and, in seventeen years time, I will hopefully have a PHD and a job, but I can't see me having much more than that. And there's little space in the intervening years for a substantial injection of finances. Whereas if I were to put two hundred dollars in an investment, every year that I could afford it for the next seventeen years, I might come out with enough money to cover his textbooks/ equipment for three or four years.

It feels very strange to be looking at 'Education Savings Accounts- for parents, grandparents, relatives and friends' when I haven't finished my own undergraduate degree.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (grammar time)
Me: Hey Mum, guess what [livejournal.com profile] goblinpaladin taught me?
Mum: What?
Me: He taught me to cleft a Gerund!
Mum: that sounds disgusting. Tell him he's not to teach you those things any more.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Tonks)
Melanie Duckworth has tagged me for this meme, for reason of it being my birthday. (Said birthday was actually earlier in the month, but as I got a birthday present yesterday, it still counts.)

My earliest memory is of the Duck Man. Unlike most of my early memories, I have no photograph to prompt it, and while I can remember the story being discussed afterwards, it wasn't one of those great family legends.

The Duck Man was a workmate of my father, and we were living in Wagga. So I would have been around about two at the time. The Duck Man had been invited over, possibly for dinner, and was being taken around the house in the usual welcome tour. He was introduced to my room, where I had a free-standing wardrobe. I don't remember the details of the house at all; my mind fills in the memory with the image of our house in Perth, but I know that's not native to the memory, since in Perth said wardrobe belonged to my brother.

This wardrobe had a large yellow duck on it. The Duck Man, as you do when faced with a curly-haired toddler on the one hand and a picture of a large yellow duck on the other, crouched down to my level and asked me if I knew what noises ducks make. I think I answered with "quack".

No, said the Duck Man. That's not the noises ducks make. And he proceeded to make duck noises. I imitated said duck noises. I can still make duck noises, and take great delight in doing so on request.

For those curious, duck noises sound like "squrbsqurbsqurb", and are made by
*pursing your lips
*pressing the tip of your tongue against your lower teeth, and the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth
then the air passes between the sides of your tongue and your teeth/cheek. The sound is modulated by flexing the side of your tongue and making fake-kissing sort of movements with your lips.

I can only assume this particular memory has stuck with me because the wardrobe-with-duck provided the visual cue, and its presence gave me reason to remember how to make duck noises.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (shock!)
Every summer, since I was about seven, our household has been the battlefield for the Great Ironing War. All throughout my schooling, the annual battle was to ensure that we progeny took responsibility for our own clothing, by ironing a minimum of two items of clothing per day, with six handkerchiefs being equal to one item of clothing. We fought long and hard against this yoke, with the household laundry pile becoming a battleground.

After my first year of university, I returned home armed with a new weapon: I no longer desired pressed clothing. If I didn't want it ironed, I reasoned, I wouldn't have to iron it. So T-shirts, jeans, and sundry other items of clothing, ought to have been consigned to the ready-to-wear pile.
Except that my mother disagrees with me about what constitutes creases. What to me is a little crumpling which will soon hang out is to her a Sign that the entire garment needs devoted ironing. Preferably by the owner of said garment.
Said summer degenerated into a long-drawn out series of skirmishes over the laundry pile, with my poor father, the Sorter of Washing, bombarded with conflicting orders from either side. I made desperate raids in the dark of the night to rescue old jeans from the ironing pile, while my mother continued steadily on designating items creased or uncreased according to her exacting standards. Dad got his own back by terminally confusing our underwear, leaving us exchanging hostages at odd hours and making forays into each other's drawers.
The summer ended as a stalemate. Desultory engagements have occurred over the last two years whenever I have been home.

This year, my mother has a new plan of attack: RELENTLESS IRONING.
Says I: you ironed my jersey?
Says she: yes, I had to examine the stain anyway.
Says I: you know I don't iron anything, you're under no obligation to iron my clothes.
Says she: but i'm going to anyway. you're not going out from this house looking like you just got out of bed!
Says I: half an hour on and no one can tell!
Says she: your mother can always tell.

What can I do against an attack of relentless ironing?
Should I do anything at all? After all, if I don't care either way I've no reason to iron anything, and meanwhile my clothes are vigorously ironed for me. (This is, after all, the state of affairs I was seeking during my school years. Unfortunately, the relaxed ways of university life have revealed to me that it is silly for anyone to iron old jeans, and thus it does not feel like a victory if someone else only ends up ironing them.)

N.B: this story may be somewhat exaggerated for purposes of comic relief. I love you mum :D
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (up to no good)
This amusing story from Dad the other day. A perfect opportunity for some black spoof, methinks.

I had to go to Sydney again the other day.
Yeah, we buried another old digger. Had never heard of this guy, and he was heavier than the last one. It came at really short notice.
Well, funerals are always at short notice, but we didn't hear about this one until the day before. So there was no time to form a new funeral party. We just went "ah, what the heck, call up the other one". Now we're the official funeral party of *X* Squadron. Two of our members had moved on, so we had to train up some new guys. Turns out one of them used to teach funeral drill.
well, someone's gotta. So our officer was out there, muddling it up, and this guy was correcting him: "nono, sir, you've got it wrong. The call is (*readers, assume fake military tones here*) COFFIN- LEFT!
nice work.
as it turned out, when we got down there we discovered something we hadn't planned for. The church had not one aisle but two. Tiny little church, two aisles, one on either side of the door.
So you had to pull a Coffin Right and then a Coffin Left?
There wasn't any room. We had to go up some stairs, and then there was no room for a coffin right, so it was a matter of Coffin Snake. And then we hit a problem- each aisle had a pillar on either side. The blokes on the left of the coffin saw that there was suddenly a pole in their way. I could see that there was a pole on my side too, so i just kept on going. But then they all execute a neat step right, driving me into the pole and the coffin into the side of my head. I saw stars. I nearly fell down, except that if i had fallen down I would've taken the whole column with me and the coffin would've ended up on top of me.
So really, it's a good thing I stayed on my feet.

and this from an email he just sent me:

3. I learned a new weasel word today. I asked a rupert* a question. He
e-mailed me back to say that he had "socialised" it with his boss, and
would get back to me. I replied and asked if that meant that he had
workshopped it while networking over lunch. Rupert replied that it
meant getting a verbal agreement while his boss was a) occupied with
other matters, and b) not aware of all the facts. Later, his boss will
most likely sign the paperwork, on the basis that he had already
agreed to it, although he may not clearly remember why he agreed to
it. I replied that this was a sneaky and low tactic, and I would like
to use it some time.

An officer, a la Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Grey Lady)

I promised [livejournal.com profile] phrasemuffin an account of my introduction to the wonderful world of Neil Gaiman. This is really a tale of Dad and I reaching an agreement regarding the sharing of literature, and it begins with Terry Pratchett.

I was exposed to Terry Pratchett fairly young, with Dad reading me Truckers/Diggers/Wings, and giving me The Carpet People to read. I was fascinated by Dad's bright and colourful Discworld collection, and nagged for many years to be allowed to read them. When I was about twelve, he gave in. I started with The Colour of Magic, which was a fairly good read but nothing on the later books. The pitfalls of sharing books with your daughter soon became obvious to Dad:
The Colour of Magic: describes the Gods on Cori Celesti as enjoying "warring and whoring".
12 year old Amy: Daddy, what's w-hor-ing?
Dad: what's what?
12 year old Amy: W-HOR-ING, Dad. The Gods on Cori Celesti do it!
Dad, going mysteriously red: oh, um, er... fighting over women!
12 year old Amy: nods, accepting this explanation. Within a year a Tamora Peirce book makes it perfectly obvious to her what w-hor-ing actually is. The shock! daddy lied!

Having adjusted to Terry Pratchett, I read Pratchett & Gaiman, Good Omens, with little drama. Then, when I was fourteen or fifteen, Dad got hold of Smoke and Mirrors. He adored it. It was cool. He read me bits aloud- "Nicholas Was" being one, and he permitted me to read one to myself- i think it was the one where Mrs Whittacker finds the Grail. And he proceeded to rave about the Snow White interpretation at the end of the book. But would he let me read it? Oh no. Whyever not, i wonders? No explanations was I getting from him... the book went back to the library. The second time he borrowed it, I badgered him endlessly. Why couldn't I read it? Hadn't Mum given up censoring my reading years ago? The problem, it turned out, wasn't the idea of me reading it, but the idea of him giving it to me.
Problem solved. Smoke and Mirrors placed on order from library, to arrive while Dad was away on a work trip. Smoke and Mirrors read. Smoke and Mirrors turned out to include Sci-Fi Porn. And the Snow White story was darkly sexy. My Dad read this????
Dad came home, found Smoke and Mirrors on the table. Looked at it. Looked at me.
Dad: you been reading Neil Gaiman?
Me: yeah. Thought you might like to read it again, so I left it out.
*a Look is exchanged*
Dad: did you like it?
Me: yeah, it was great! I liked the one where the old lady got the Grail...
*and the conversation is steered into safe territory, and Sci Fi Porn is not mentioned at all until last year*

with that out of the way, Dad and I proceeded to form the Dad and Amy Book Collective, for the mutual sharing of the works of Mssrs Pratchett, Adams, and Gaiman. Only one further interference was made into my reading habits, when Sue Woolmer was going to lend me Clan of the Cave Bear and then had second thoughts, because of a rape scene, and leant it to my parents, who read it and all its sequels with great enthusiasm but wouldn't let me touch it. I found this rather annoying, because I knew I had been reading Anne McCaffrey with her telepathic dragon orgies and enormously well endowed aliens, and I knew I had been reading JV Jones, which had all kinds of odd things in it, but if I trotted these out to support my point, it might have backfired and resulted in more book bans. So I bided my time and I still haven't got around to reading Clan of the Cave Bear.
I did take great joy in telling Dad, as I handed him Sara Douglass' Crucible series (the first of which was so well written from the point of view of its mysogynistic-come-gynephobic protagonist that it took me a month to finish it because it kept convincing me that I, was a woman, was evil; and the second of which has that lovely episode where the two husbands hand their wives over to be gang-raped), that he should under no circumstances let his wife read them, and that he should bear in mind that this was the sort of thing I was reading when they were trying to keep me away from Jean M Auel.
He enjoyed the Crucible immensely. He never commented on what I'd said to him, and that's the way it should stay.

highlyeccentric: A character from silentkimbly.livejournal.com, hiding under a lampshade (hiding)

this series of emails from Dad:

robbie brown: Tonight I sent Joel an email asking him if he wanted a cup of tea.
We've now had our cup of tea, and he still hasn't got my email! Damned
internet. I should have engraved the question on a snail's shell and
turned it loose in the hallway and said "shoo"!

miss amy: you working from seperate computers, then?

i'll take tea, thanks

robbie brown: Oh yeah, it's important for parents to communicate with their
chilluns. We is wired and wirelessed for interfamily communications
now. But since email is so outdated and ssslow, Mum and I will have to
get a MSN address to save walking to the hallway and shouting
"Dinner's ready!"


highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)

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