nature walk home.

Walked toby into Letchworth today, to have a substandard coffee before he went to work. substandard because there is no Starbucks in Letchworth and apparently no other coffee chain (in any hemisphere) properly trains its staff, or finds it extraordinarily necessary to make good coffee and coffee-related beverages.

I took my time on the walk home, and photographed some everyday flora that usually goes unnoticed.*

*Really it was just an excuse to play around with my macro function and pretend I have a good camera…


tea, cupcakes and ‘Romanitas’.

toby just called me saying he was finished work and heading to the library, and did i want anything?

i am rather lucky.

also it was good timing as i just finished a long and undeservedly lauded book.
Romanitas was a book toby had bought on the strength of its blurb and the incredible premise: basically, that the Roman empire never fell, and survived and strengthened through all these years, completely rewriting the history of the entire world.
he warned me, though, that the actual book doesn’t live up to its promise, but i was still interested to read it, despite us having similar tastes in basically everything (we both loathed Benjamin Button the movie, for instance, and really enjoyed the book…). as a historian, something like this thrills me intensely.

he was right, though, the book was shockingly average. weighing in at an appallingly unneccessary 575 pages, the entire premise is revealed on the back cover, and from there on out you’re left to guess at the history of the world Sophia McDougall has imagined. one conversation about foreign policy in a palace sitting room is not enough to keep the incredible idea afloat, unfortunately, and i was trudging through the storyline before i was halfway through.

for some reason, the author has decided to basically ignore her basic (brilliant) framework, filling the pages instead with a run-of-the-mill fantasy storyline involving two escaped slaves, siblings, with strange mental powers, a plot to assassinate heirs to the Imperial throne, and a band of rebel slaves and Roman citizens running an escape route in the mountains of what is present-day France.

this is the crux of the matter for me: a lucky stroke of genius gave McDougall the idea for her book, but her imagination couldn’t stretch far enough to realise it fully, or at all. her characters and their relationships are mind-numbingly cliched, picked out of any number of the last 50 years’ worth of fantasy fiction novels. even in her one brilliant idea, she can’t see past what is already in front of her; for instance, the modern Roman citizen watches their news on a ‘longvision’, calls their friends on a ‘longdictor’ and watches as police ‘spiral-wings’ fly overhead, searching for escaped slaves. i don’t know how much you have thought about this, but in my opinion, given the relative advancement of Roman civilisation 2000+ years ago, society might have progressed quite a lot further than we have today, with Western civilisation as we know it based upon both Roman and the less civilised Saxon societies.
i would have loved to read about a society where ‘longvision’ and ‘longdictors’ were relics, leading inevitably on to new and better inventions.

McDougall, however, repeats this flaw in her actual history of the last 2000 years, relegated to the back of the book. in it she lists all the achievements of the Roman empire – people who, at the time of their decline in world influence, had basic medical equipment and practices strikingly similar to our modern versions,  indoor heating and toilets, an understanding of how important and civilised cleanliness was, complex political structures and a monetary system – in terms of colonisation, expansion, enslavement, and technological development. disappointingly, she has stuck almost identically with the real-time version of technology, having ‘magnetways’ (railways) invented about 50 years before trains were, having ‘longscript’ (telegraph) lines invented and installed a few years later, with longdictors (telephones) coming 30 years after that.
this blatantly uninterested logic kills me. how hard would it have been to have them invent such things three or four hundred years earlier, since by her own calculations they have 770 years on us? how much more could have been invented in that time? how many more advances in communication and mobility could have occurred, using what we know as a starting point? the possibilities are endless, and yet none of them are explored or even touched upon.

toby says he wants to read the second book, in which apparently the threat of a war between the Roman and Nionian (Japanese) empires escalates. i, on the other hand, am supremely uninterested. since every shred of praise on the cover of that book was for her ‘elegant, lively writing’, which i actually found unneccessarily drawn-out, plain, and basically boring, i don’t think the next installment holds much interest for me…

i just pulled cupcakes out of the oven and toby is home: time to find out what literary treats he’s found for me!

so it’s been a while…

and i’ve come back, finally.

this has been kind of at the back of my mind for a long time now, and i tried starting a blogger blog when i got home and toby left for england (the month in between was nothing less than a perfect summer holiday, with no jobs and housesitting near the beach and outdoor cinema) but it didn’t stick once i got here too.
mostly because it is ridiculously badly formatted, and although i see why the fashion bloggers use it for its stylistic simplicity (i get the feeling there may be a certain amount of herd-mentality now), i couldn’t handle having to individually upload photos in the reverse order i wanted to see them posted, amongst many other frustrating problems.

anyway, i read through some of this blog and i realised there’s quite a lot of me in here already, and i should just keep going, and let it develop how it will.

this is my re-introductory post, so i’ll end it here, but i plan on adding things like the photos of me in (and my impressions of) London on my 22nd birthday, and other things.

trying to get into WRITING things, you know? i email, but it’s not the same. much as i don’t miss uni, i do miss being a structured writer.

unti then…


that’s me.

dining hall was closed tonight. which i assume means that it’s not going to open again during my stay here, and therefore i have two meals i have wasted.

how annoying.

so i had no dinner tonight, after having no breakfast this morning, and sat in front of laszlo watching NCIS and reading newly-discovered blogs.

and eating dry cereal cos i ran out of milk yesterday.

i could send secret messages through these hover texts

maybe i will.

you know what's great?


it's so fun.

i never thought i'd be saying that.

i always thought i'd go through life just getting on with it.

as you can see, i got a little bored of laszlo-TV.

thinking i might buy some matte-coloured nailpolish from urban outfitters tomorrow, as a leaving present to myself. i’m thinking grey. the idea appeals to me. it’s like black, but stealth. no one will see it coming.

so much for ‘last post from america’. i am a sucker for the melodramatic impressions.

broken down like a war economy.

ok, so that title’s not exactly descriptive of me right now.

i just really love los campesinos. der.

today was incredibly boring. i had my last exam, scheduled for two hours. i got there late for a 12 o’clock start and finished 20 minutes later. to be fair, i didn’t read any of the chapters we were supposed to have (see my much earlier posts about them and the ‘review sessions’ for some good old-fashioned leah rants), because i couldn’t get my hands on the book. not that i tried very hard. i find in situations like that, a-b-c-d answers are the easiest way to go. yes, the entire exam was multiple choice. no, i don’t know if the professor is actually university educated, but i do seriously doubt it.

words really can’t express how little i care about the results.

i haven’t thrown away all my essays and returned exams yet. i imagine that will be mildly cathartic.

i really hate this place for taking away the last semester of my university education. i at least wanted the satisfaction of saying goodbye to UWA for good, just so i could say that i’m never coming back.
and it would have been a semester i would have been proud of. because however i have felt about it over the years, my classes there have never been easy.

anyway. about today. i don’t have much else to do before the final packing session, when everything will either go into my new bag or the remaining space in my suitcase, so i spent the rest of the day watching NCIS on laszlo.
my favourite moment so far: second episode of the first season, not only did dashboard confessional get a mention (this was 2003, after all), but it was identified as emo by dinozzo. he rocks.

tomorrow, however, is a different matter. i have to sort out my money and bank situations, pack, wash things.
get excited about going home.
i will never have to be alone again.

empty drawers and someone else's luggage

should probly take those liberry books back

oh my gosh i love these tights

new bag for $10 from kmart!

scotty dog tag

bag as big as leah


this is my new bag. i went looking for a backpack but kmart only had crappy/heavy/tiny ones. and this was $10 on sale. it will fit everything comfortably. i have to say i’m quite proud of myself for getting all that stuff in my suitcases.

i got my last letter from toby this morning. he sent me his latest mix cd, a letter, cute cards he buys when he thinks of me, and a little bag charm:

miss claus

santa skirt and sack

she brought me jewels!

hanging around...

miss claus love you!

she is a friend for the bag charms i have on my two suitcases, one i bought in sydney before i left, and one toby sent me after i’d been here a while. in order.

sydney string man

little heart man

peace out. this may be my last post from america. i will be on a bus from the 18th to the 21st, and on a plane/in a hotel/on another plane from the 21st to the 24th. of course, i am crossing the international date line at some point during that, so it’s not quite as long as it sounds.

nearly home…

road trip.

i am catching a greyhound bus across the country, starting next thursday.

this is where i’m going:

long way, no?
it’s going to take me two days and 15 hours, and then i have to wait for something like 12 hours in LAX because there was no other way to do it. which is remarkably like the way i started this whole journey, when i stopped in LAX to transfer to domestic.

i’m going through las vegas at 2am or something on one of those days. let’s hope i can stay up to see it.

i am very excited to be leaving, and slowly working my way back to my toby.

this is a good way to see the country while still actually heading home, and not having to wait for two days in LA, which is not my idea of fun on my own.
also its cheaper than flying and staying for two days.

nearly home time, people.

i’m already out of here.


i realised that writing another post about the lack of candy canes may actually just have exacerbated the problem.

from now on, the c-c word is banned from the blog. my top searches are now exclusively c-c related.

hardly anything to report. except that i’m so very close to leaving that i can taste it. i planned to start packing today after my exam (a monumental effort that was given two hours and took me 30 minutes), and to at least tackle my non-essential things, that i can live without for the next two weeks. most of my tops/tshirts, shorts, skirts, dresses, some of the thinner tights etc.

instead i am basically finished. i have left one cardigan, my winter coat and a thinner one because the weather is annoyingly humid today and who knows how long it will last, five tops, the two pairs of shoes i wear most (flats and cons), toby’s slouchy jeans and his red hoodie, my own jeans, and underwear, and toiletries.
and that’s it. everything else is packed, except for the few bulky things that are making themselves difficult, and will go into a backpack or something similar that i will buy as hand luggage.

i’m pretty confident that i can fit the other things into my remaining suitcase space, or the hand luggage.

it’s a pretty awesome feeling. one step closer!

in not-so-fun news, i FINALLY got to make an appointment for my UK visa interview, and turns out i have to send my info to CANBERRA to have it approved. it’s going to take longer than the four weeks im back in perth.
needless to say we are both pretty devastated. leaving your love at the airport is one of the hardest and most unhappy things it is possible to do in life, and i seriously warn against it if you like your sanity.

to have to do it twice in the space of six months just isn’t to be borne.

we have a plan in the works, depending on how useful the live-action people at the perth consulate are, because the websites are just plain confusing and give you more than one answer and link around and round in circles.
we’re thinking of me going on a tourist visa (which apparently i don’t actually need a visa for…) and then applying for the work permit while in the UK.
and we’re crossing our collective fingers that it’s doable, because i just don’t know what i’m going to do if i have to watch him leave and wait for another two weeks or so.