Tap tap… is this thing on? So while LJ has dramas like Strikethrough 07, and Let’sAllVoteForTheGuyWithTheSillyBanners 08, DD just has the Great ArggghTheNewServer’sBroken Disaster of 2008. And just when I actually had stuff to write about, and time to write it – isn’t it always the way? (Ok, so I could have just posted it in LJ and linked it here once DD was back up, but the momentum to write was lost in the panic that all my entries and photos were gone (really really must get round to backing stuff up one day…))

Anyway, normal service seems to have resumed, so on with the entry:

The most important thing I have to report is: I’ve still got a job!!!!

And I didn’t have to go through a stupid and demeaning interview process either. Basically, what happened was that the organisation managed to %@$& off enough people that a couple of them decided to just take the redundancy money and run, which left enough jobs for those of us who were left, so (after the union stepped in and talked some sense into HR) we had our positions confirmed. Big Phew!!!

The other big news is that it’s snowing! When I got up this morning, I decided to go up to Northlands to pick up a few bits and pieces I need for my costume for tomorrow (Gwilk‘s having a themed birthday party). At that point, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, but by the time I mucked around registering and labelling some books to release in the mall, it had clouded over and started to drizzle.

I spent a couple of hours in the mall trying to find what I needed, and finding good locations to release books (The Dream Maker by Alison McLeay in a cafe, Dr Beale’s Wednesday by Liz Falkner in Body Shop, Glamourous Powers by Susan Howatch on a seat, and Low Fat by Jenny Pausacker in a health food shop), and when I came out, the promised southerly had picked up, and the rain, while still only drizzle, had become icy, and on the bus home I noticed it splattering against the windows in a particularly sleety sort of way.

I must have been home about half an hour when I looked out the window and saw that the drizzle had turned to big white flakes. We didn’t think it would settle, because everything was wet from the rain, but obviously the ground temperature was low enough to overcome that, because this is what it looks like out there now, about an hour later:

And it’s still snowing!

I know this doesn’t look like a big deal to those from countries where you get proper winters, but for Christchurch this is our equivalent to snow up to the eaves. We only get one or two snowfalls a year (if that), and hardly ever enough to properly settle except up in the hills. And it’s usually much later in the winter. To get real snow in the first week of winter is a bit of a shock to the system.

So, other news. Where to start? The filming went fantastically well, and I’m now well-versed in things like blondes vs redheads (they’re types of lights), how to avoid looking at the camera (easy when the lights are in your eyes and the only direction you can look without being blinded is at the interviewer), and what a B-reel is (that’s all the random shots of cats, books, more cats, bookcrossing labels, the cats again, and other stuff that they can cut to so they don’t just have a talking head on screen for 8 minutes).

We went over to Jellie Park, and I was filmed with a night vision camera as I released books in various spots and tried to act naturally and as if I wasn’t very aware of being filmed (did you know how difficult it is to walk like a normal person when you’ve got someone walking backwards a couple of feet in front of you with a camera giving you instructions like “walk a bit faster, but not too fast or I won’t be able to keep up… oh, and tell me if I’m about to walk into the duck pond”?). I’m sure I ruined half the shots by bursting into fits of giggles.

I released seven books all together, though probably only one or two releases will actually end up in the finished documentary (the main thing I learnt about film-making is that it takes several hours to set up for half an hour of filming, which will then be cut down to about 30 seconds of useful footage): The Season by Bob Ellis and Roy Masters (by the soccer goals – it’s actually a book about rugby, but I got there to discover that they don’t play rugby at Jellie Park, so the themed release wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped), The Deep End by Joy Fielding (by the duck pond – I’d actually hoped to release it at the swimming pool, but forgot they’re still doing construction work, so it’s all fenced off), and White Poppy by Margaret Gaan, Half the Day is Night by Maureen F McHugh, The Invisible Country by Paul J McAuley, Looking for the Mahdi by N Lee Wood, and Lords of the Golden Horn by Noel Barber on random park benches and in trees.

Afterwards, we came back to my place and the crew proceeded to demolish the lounge (why did I tidy up again?) so they could get the camera and lights into the right positions for my interview. It was a bit of a tight squeeze (and poor Scarlett-CH ended up sitting on the hearth while interviewing me, in extreme danger of falling into the fire, just so I’d be looking in the right direction for the shot to look good), but we managed to get through the interview ok (apart from one startling moment when the fuse blew on the lights and I was plunged into darkness mid-sentence). I didn’t find it as difficult talking on camera as I thought I might, and managed to mostly ignore its presence (and that of the sound woman lying at my feet with the big fluffy microphone), so I don’t think I embarrassed myself too badly 🙂

They’re having a screening for the “stars” (actually, I think the cats probably got more camera time than I did – the film crew fell in love with them, especially George) on Monday night so we can see how the documentary came out, and then it’ll possibly maybe one day be shown on one of the more obscure digital channels. Scarlett has promised me a copy on DVD, so I’ll be able to “bookring” it around the NZBC community (and maybe a bit further afield if there’s a demand).

The next night we had a meetup so the film crew could get some more B-reel shots of us talking and swapping books. My worries that nobody would turn up and the film crew would have to pretend to be bookcrossers (actually, I think all three of them have joined now :-)) were unfounded, and we had a good turnout: me, rarsberry, keenreda, and huge surprise of the evening, Cathytay and daveytay.

After a bit of initial awkwardness while we all tried not to get caught on camera mid-mouthful, we eventually relaxed into animated conversation (we even ended up talking about bo
oks occasionally!), so the film crew should have got some great meetup footage. The most difficult thing about the evening was that instead of our usual practice of immediately pouncing on any book we took a fancy to and whisking it off the table, we had to leave them there for the sake of the camera (but as soon as it was switched off, the table was quickly cleared! :-))

I released The Best a Man Can Get by John O’Farrell, The Bethlehem Murders by Matt Rees, and The Touch by Julie Myerson, and picked up Nineteen Minutes by Jodie Picoult.

At Queen’s Birthday weekend, Sherlockfan was in Christchurch, so I invited her and rarsberry and VivaRichie round for dinner on the Saturday night. Sherlockfan was very excited to get the chance to raid my “to be released” box, and nabbed Death By Chocolate by G.A. McKevett, The Narrow Corner by W Somerset Maugham, A Fatal Legacy by Hazel Holt, The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, as well as Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife a bookring I’d set aside for her. In return, she gave me All Things Bright and Beautiful by Susan Mitchell, a book she’d picked up in Australia.

Then the next morning, another meetup: our usual last-weekend-of-the-month meetup postponed by a day to accommodate lytteltonwitch, who’d just arrived back from the UK, full of exciting stories of her travels, and bearing plenty of books (I grabbed The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini). Another good turnout – Cathytay and daveytay turned up again (hopefully this means they’re going to be regulars at meetups again), Sherlockfan was there of course, and rarsberry, angela7715, and MarcieNZ. I gave lytteltonwitch her birthday present, Bonk by Mary Roach (otakuu, buffra and bookczuk can vouch for the fact that when I bought it in Charleston, I really did say I was buying it for lytteltonwitch, even if I did then succumb to temptation and read it myself!), and passed on two books from the convention that I’d promised her, Soft Voices Whispering by Adrienne Dines and A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard. Also onto the table went The Old Age of El Magnifico by Doris Lessing, Survivor and Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, and Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs.

My renewed enthusiasm for wild releasing has continued, and I’ve managed to keep up a steady stream of a few releases a day, usually while walking to or from work, or wherever I happen to be during the day. As well as the releases mentioned above, I’ve released:

Wednesday 28 May: The Silicon Mage by Barbara Hambly, Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, God: The Ultimate Autobiography by Jeremy Pascall, Fiddler Fair by Mercedes Lackey, The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy by Penelope Lively, The Struggles of Albert Woods by William Cooper, In-Laws and Outlaws by C Northcote Parkinson, The New SF edited by Langdon Jones, Hell Has Harbour Views by Richard Beasley, and Manhattan Nocturne by Colin Harrison.

Thursday 29 May: Never Too Rich by Judith Gould, Limehouse Lady by Irene Roberts, The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, and Spectrum 1 edited by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest.

Friday 30 May: Goodbye Mr Chips by James Hilton, Who Fears the Devil? by Manly Wade Wellman, Tono-Bungay by HG Wells, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles, The Rescue by Joseph Conrad, Spencer’s Mountain by Earl Hammer Jr, The Trouble Twisters by Poul Anderson, and The Best Short Stories of the Modern Age edited by Douglas Angus.

Saturday 31 May: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett, Planet of Fear by Patrick Moore, Beyond Tomorrow edited by Damon Knight, Machines and Men by Keith Roberts, Earthwind by Robert Holdstock, Nightwings by Robert Silverberg, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, The Naive and Sentimental Lover by John Le Carre, The Lost Girl by DH Lawrence, New Writing 7 edited by Carmen Callil and Craig Raine, and Peace by Gene Wolfe.

Sunday 1 June: The Best from
Galaxy Vol IV
edited by James Baen
, Contact Twoedited by FES Finn, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, and The Wrong Set and Other Stories by Angus Wilson.

Monday 2 June: Macroscope by Piers Anthony.

Tuesday 3 June: The Last Refuge by John Petty, After the Fall by Arthur Miller, and All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.

Wednesday 4 June: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, The Song of Roland translated by Dorothy L Sayers, After Doomsday by Poul Anderson, Nebula Award Stories 10 edited by James Gunn, Foetal Attraction by Kathy Lette, and The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury.

Thursday 5 June: Bad Debts by Peter Temple, The Pride of Chanur by CJ Cherryh, The Space Machine by Christopher Priest, Andromeda Breakthrough by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot, St Mawr and The Virgin and the Gipsy by DH Lawrence, New Writings in SF 4 edited by John Carnell, and Toxin by Paul Adam.

Friday 6 June: Brontomek! by Michael Coney, Polar City Nightmare by Katharine Kerr and Kate Daniel, and A Bit Off the Map and Other Stories by Angus Wilson.

Today: Afternoon by Anthony Powell and Till We Meet Again by Judith Krantz.

And of course, all these releases are rewarded by lots of catches: The Pride of Chanur, The Last Refuge, Machines and Men, The Vampire Lestat, and The Naive and Sentimental Lover have all been caught. Plus a few older releases: Parkinson’s Lore by Michael Parkinson, released a couple of weeks ago, The Modern World: Ten Great Writers by Malcolm Bradbury, released in Fairlie on an expedition with lytteltonwitch, and The Keep of Fire by Mark Anthony, which is a bit of a mystery, because it was caught in Stewart Island, but I never made release notes for it. I don’t remember releasing it, or anything about it at all, really, so I presume it’s been out in the wild for a long time.

Ok, I reckon that’s me pretty much caught up (yeah, I know, apart from all the trip stuff, but I’ll get to that eventually…)

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  1. A huge HURRAH about the job! I love happy endings 🙂

    I secretly hoped we might have seen snow when we were there; we didn’t miss it by much 🙂

    The filming sounds a fun thing to have been part of.

  2. You have been busy! You had an actual copy of the Pride of Chanur???? *sigh* I love that whole series but came into it late so could only manage to get the omnibus edition of the first three books.

    Yay on the job front. But if thats a big snow in chch then Im wondering why the chch branch at my old firm was constantly closed in winter as no one could get in due to heavy snow :/

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