Wednesday, August 31

Something plus Something

Rosemary had another dinner date, a birthday party for a member of the company.  Dick ran into Collis Clay in the lobby, but he wanted to dine alone, and pretended an engagement at the Excelsior.  He drank a cocktail with Collis and his vague dissatisfaction crystallized into impatience - he no longer had an excuse for playing truant to the clinic.  This was less an infatuation than a romantic memory.  Nicole was his girl - too often he was sick at heart about her, yet she was his girl.  Time with Rosemary was self-indulgence - time with Collis was nothing plus nothing. 
Part II, Chapter XXI, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published 1934. 

I love that his dissatisfaction crystallised into impatience and the idea that time with Collis was nothing plus nothing.  They're two very lovely little thoughts, one begetting a prickly visual and the other just a funny sort of phrase to muse over. 

We found out about the shortlist for school captain today.  We've been waiting on tenterhooks for days and days, disappointed as it's been postponed and postponed again.  But now we know.  I was in music and one of my best friends, (one of the male candidates), came in and told us that all four of the guys got shortlisted, but he didn't know about the girls.  And so we waited, flinching whenever the door moved.  Then the year level coordinator came in and I jumped out my skin.  My friends told me afterwards that I immediately flushed bright red.  I skipped out after him and in the privacy of the hallway he told me that I was shortlisted!!!  I was so delighted.  After I thanked him and asked a few questioned, he went off to finish telling the other candidates and I returned to my music room in silence.  I was very unsure who to lock eyes with, and no one locked eyes with me straight away.  I think that they were all scared that I hadn't got it.  But then I stuffed all and exploded and we danced and screamed and laughed and hugged and it was a wonderful little moment of heaven.  

Of course, others were disappointed with the results and it felt a bit as though it was awful and insensitive to stay so cheerful and bouncy.  But where congratulations were due, we gave them, and where support and compassion were needed also, we hugged and back-patted and complimented.  All-in-all, it was a great day, and I'm excited to my core about its results.   

Tuesday, August 30

Shamelessly Skinny-Dipping

My dog is a ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which is, in my opinion, one of the lovliest looking small dogs ever invented.  She's bright red in a slightly blonder way than an Irish Setter, with saucer-sized chocolate button eyes, a perky little smirk and a feather-duster tail.  She has the funniest personality, like the charm of a talkative toddler caught in a bottle.  She prances rather than trots and shambles rather than walks and her enchanting ways and whims and mannerisms are utterly delightful. 

One of my earliest photos of her. 
She really doesn't look much different now, just taller.
(No more maturity however.) 

Her name, unimaginatively enough, is Ruby.  She cops nicknames like:

1.  Rootbeer
2.  Rubix Cube
3.  Roo-busy
4.  Roobzy
5.  Roo-ble
6.  Boobzy
7.  Roobz
8.  Timothy (when she's wearing her yellow banana sweater Dad says she looks like a Timothy or a James)
9.  Dogger
10.  Puppydoggy
11.  Dog-Dog
12.  Nub-Nub  (after a Star War's Ewok endearment...?)
13.  Ziggerette
14.  Wooble
15.  Woobley

Yes, we compensate well enough for the unimaginative name. 

But alas, imagine my horror when I came home one day to find she'd been taken to the doggy-parlour and shaved.  And not all over so as to create the effect of puppyness.  No.  Head, front legs and tail were left on like those awful cats you see made fun of in lolcats photos.  Uuuughh. 

She's cute still, but in a kind of awkward, slightly embarrasing way.  She is so skinny and fragile now, with such a big, fluffy, baby face, and her rolls of  puppy skin that somehow she never grew into are so lovely and funny.  She seems nearly more fragile now, because she's so skinny and short-haired.  We put her into her yellow banana sweater to keep her warm, but it looks ridiculous on her now, if it didn't before.  Major fashion faux pas.  Really wrong.  Really embarrassing to look at. 

She's got a bit of a phobia of thunder, and as it was storming this afternoon, she huddled herself up in the corner of the kitchen while we put away after dinner.  We eventually went our own ways to finish homework, watch TV etcetera, but when I came back to make another cup of tea, there she was, still in the corner, with one leg out of her sweater and the other one caught up inside like a stubby yellow peg leg, and she beseeched my compassion with her saucer-big eyes. 

The funniest part, though, is the new nicknames she's starting to cop. 

1.  Skinny Magee
2.  Gillette (after Gillette raxor blades of course)  and then, my all time favourite...

Skinny Dip. 

It was all worth the mortification for that one. 

Monday, August 29

Tommy and the Squirrel

Tommy Barban was a ruler, Tommy was a hero - Dick happened upon him in the Marienplatz in Munich, in one of those cafes where small gamblers diced on "tapestry" mats.  The air was full of politics, and the slap of cards.

Tommy was at a table laughing his martial laugh: "Um-buh-ha-ha!  Um-buh-ha-ha!"  As a rule, he drank little; courage was his game and his companions were always a little afraid of him.  Recently an eight of the area of his skull had been removed by a Warsaw surgeon and was knitting under his hair, and the weakest person in the cafe could have killed him with a flip of a knotted napkin. 
Part II, Chapter XVII, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1934.

Once when we hopped in the car with the radio on, in the rare instance that we drive with it on, we became mesmerised on one station on which a middle-aged woman was reading a novel to an audience.  I have never been able to learn what that book was, and indeed, I've searched on the Internet for ages trying to find the smallest clue to it's title, but one little thing that she read from it has never left my mind since.  It was about some men, maybe some sort of military men, who were so clever with their knives that they could skin a live squirrel so tenderly and precisely that afterwards the poor creature could walk away unharmed, shivering slightly with cold. 

What an grotesque but mesmerising image of vulnerability.  When I read the above passage from F. Scott Fitzgerald, it reminded me so much of the skinned squirrel, because of how strangely and frighteningly vulnerable Tommy Barban was so that the weakest person in the cafe could have killed him with the flick of a knotted handkerchief.  It makes you sit up straight, shudder and think.  I won't ever have either image out of my mind.

Saturday, August 27

A Profound Sigh

The last chamber was devoted to bead-work, weaving and work in brass.  The faces of the patients here wore the expression of one who has just sighed profoundly, dismissing something insoluble - but their sighs only marked the beginning of another ceaseless round of ratiocination, not in a line a with normal people but in the same circle.  Round, round, and round.  Around forever.  But the bright colours of the stuffs they worked with gave strangers a momentary illusion that all was well, as in a kindergarten. 
Part II, Chapter XIV, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1934.

This is a very poignant passage, isn't it?  I can just visualise "the expression of one who has just sighed profoundly".  It kind of appears to me like a melting wax mask or silk mask, even, pale and softly, sadly slumping downwards. 

That is such a truthful statement, about the bright colours giving you the illusion that everything was well, as in a kindergarten.  It's completely true, and I don't want to talk about it because you already believe it, don't you? 

Friday, August 26

Three Very Funny Things

OK.  I think it would be a cruel injustice if I was to neglect to tell you about school captaincy, so I'll hurry up and get it out.  They didn't tell us.  They just completely failed to tell us at all.  But when I went and asked about it, they said that the teachers hadn't gotten their votes in on time, and so they'd let us know early next week, hopefully Monday and Tuesday.  It's very unsatisfying, though, isn't it?  It was such an anti-climax, especially after all the suspense and anticipation.  Ah well. 

I've noticed three very funny things about myself just in the last few hours, and even though I have a passage from Tender is the Night that I could share, somehow I feel more like talking about this. 

The first very funny thing is that while I have been typing up this post, I have been battling the urge to embellish every noun with a great, big, flowery adjective.  As in, every noun I come across I have literally had to fight myself to resist adding a "tremendously", "insurmountable", "profoundly" before it.  I was going to say "profoundly unsatisfying" before, and "tremendously funny things" and "insurmountable urge".  Why on earth am I doing that for?  That doesn't usually happen.  I'm beginning to feel very Anne Shirley. 

The second very funny thing is that just in the last little while, I've begun to adopt some of my brother's little mannerisms.  For one, he saying "pouping" before a word in place of "freakin'" eg.  "that was pouping cool", or "it's pouping cold today" etcetera etcetera.  I've noticed that I've said that a few times this week, and I don't recall ever having used it before.  The other things is that I've started to laugh like him.  Not the sound, duration or manner of laughing, but just this thing that he does half way through a laugh where he momentarily scrunches his eyes tight shut.  Since when have I started doing that?  I didn't even notice that he did it.  It's uncanny.  It's like what they say - couples begin to resemble each other. 

The final very funny thing is that I've been crying a bit more than usual.  I'm not fully angst and emotional and hormonal.  But I've enjoyed a couple of very relieving, albiet very short, little cries in the last three days, and I've really liked how relieving they've been.  There has certainly been a mixture of contributers: assignment I hate, sad part in movie, romantic part in movie, anti-climax, appreciation of best friend.  It's probably just a girl thing, right?  I don't mind it at all.  And it's not a constant thing, either, anyway.  It just helps to kind of go "uughhh crappety crap crap crap" and then be done with it.  Two minutes is all it took on the aforementioned occasion.  And then I'm a happy chappy again.  Gosh.  Not too much information?  How about you?

Wednesday, August 24

Bitten on the Bum

Assignments assignments assignments!  Oh the horror of being a student! 

My extreme case of burn-out last term I think has led me to be very lazy this term.  My teacher always warns us of our assessment coming and "biting us on the bum" if we don't jump to it lickety split, and I've never been in that position before.  But everything has slipped past me this time.  My reality only caught up with me the last couple of days, and I have a draft due tomorrow, an exam on Monday, two exams on Wednesday, and exam and an assignment due on Thursday and another exam on Friday, not to mention two exams sometime during the week following that.  And I am not ready. 

Getting my draft together for tomorrow has been stressful, but a routine of cheerfully chatting to myself and refilling my cup of tea every quarter hour has helped me to get down almost a full draft, and note the questions that I have for that class's teacher.  But there is still so much to think about. 

I'm never a leave it to the day before, or even the week before kind of person at all.  Usually, even two or three weeks before this point I would be devoting up to four hours in the afternoon and evening studying, but there has been an uncanny lack of motivation and drive behind my efforts.  What is it?  Will my rebound from the next holidays be any better?  I just want to be my usual springy, satisfied self.  I'm getting a taste of typical teenagerhood.  Night before assignment work.  I'm not programed to cope with this sort of routine! 

Anyway, Friday will reveal the shortlist for school captaincy.  Is there something else I'm excited for?  Not really, no, I don't think so.  There's so much anticipation in the air!

Tuesday, August 23

The Sacred Air of Jane Eyre

I can't go on for too long, because I've got to get into bed, but I was desperate to tell you about the movie I went to tonight, so I'll cram it in as artistically as possible. 

Mum and I have had a pact to go and see Jane Eyre together almost as soon as we knew it was coming out.  I read the book only once, perhaps two years ago, but Charlotte Bronte, like her sister, is one of those truly marvelous, awe-striking writers, and I was excited about the idea of an adaption.

Now I never have very high expectations for film adaptations, with a few exceptions like The Hobbit, but for some reason, I had quite low expectations for this one.  There is something so pristine and wonderful about Charlotte Bronte that it seemed physically impossible for Hollywood to reach anything like a respectful portrayal of her story.  But oh gosh!  Was I wrong!  I've never been happier to be wrong! 

I am pleased to proclaim that Jane Eyre was very possibly the best novel to film adaptation I have seen.  And by far the most accurate.  I don't believe there was as much as a line in the film that wasn't in the book.  Nothing added, nothing omitted.  It was sacredly respected and exalted in a stunningly beautiful manner. 

It was daring.  Everything about the story and the era is daring.  It has a completely seperate playing field of its own to waltz on, but it had the power of silence and darkness to wield, and how it brandished its powers!  The silences, and the ethereal atmospheric mistiness of dawn and the ice blue flutter of lace curtains and the intense suspense of dark corridors.  It was everything I loved in the book made whimsically alive.  It was the sort of film that you live and breath every moment of, even if you are not aware of doing so at the time. 

You know how it ends, don't you?  Well.  What a great ending.  I thought I was going to keep from crying.  But then Mum was crying.  And so then we were walking out to the carpark positively sobbing.  And then we were driving home, sobbing and laughing and exclaiming.  That was beautiful, and what a beautiful thing to share with my mum. 

Monday, August 22

What the Deuce is Dickens?

The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards, as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there.


He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again.

Stave One: Marley's Ghost, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843.

These are two of the little wonderful Christmas delights Charles Dickens sewed throughout his story.  I listened to the audio book while I was going blind for the 40 Hour Famine, and when the narrator read these parts aloud, I just sat in silence warmly tingling with excitement. Charles Dickens is one of those marvelously underrated, quiet, witty men.  He has a great deal of things to point out, but though his wit is just as vibrant and glorious as other writers, it's many times more discreet, and sensitive, and vital and pulsating with the humanity of a wonderfully authentic person.  What he was like in real life, how the 'deuce' will we ever really know?  The glimpse of his being that peeps unabashedly out of his writing is as lovely a thing to get acquainted with. 

Sunday, August 21

With Great Power Comes Great Disability

Well.  That was interesting. 

I finished the 40 Hour Famine exactly two hours and forty-eight minutes ago.  I went without sight to raise money for people in East Timor, and it was certainly a very interesting experience. 

To effectively blind myself, I wore a sleeping mask.  I slept away the first twelve hours of the famine, and then the next morning I had breakfast, brushed my teeth and got straight into my bed, kept toasty all the while by my electric blanket.  I had asked my next door neighbour to borrow some of her audio books, and instead, she lent me her iPod Touch with all the audio books loaded on, so I nestled it into my iPod dock and began to listen in rapt anticipation to Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  It was one of those Focus on the Family dramatisations, of which I have the entire Chronicles of Narnia.  I don't normally listen to audio books, but in my state, listening to the dramatisation was fantastic, and I quickly forgot that I was blind, because lying in bed with my eyes closed seemed a very normal thing to do while listening to a story. 

But alas, she had only loaded on the first CD of the story, and as there are usually three or even four CDs to one book, I was left hanging a quarter of the way in.  So I went on to listen to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which, believe it or not, I had never heard before.  I will go nuts about Dickens tomorrow as there is too much to be said on the topic.  But I did very much enjoy it, and Dickens' writing gives me delighted thrills. 

Anyway, after finishing that I started listening to bits and pieces of things, but nothing really caught my attention.  The dramatisation of Robinson Crusoe consisted of a mundane back and forth between the growly narrator and a state-the-obvious-why-don't-you Irish actor, which became inexcusibly boring after half an hour.  So I decided to go back to my old beloved Chronicles of Narnia.  The Magicians Nephew is definitely a treat for the ears, what with all the orchestral background and quality sound effects, and that took me all afternoon yesterday and all this morning to listen to.  I really enjoyed that, and the memories surrounding that Focus on the Family jingle and Douglas Gresham's warm voice at the epilogue left me tingling for ages afterwards. 

Walking about was interesting.  I obviously had nowhere particular to go, but even just walking from my room upstairs to the dinner table and to the bathroom was a bit of a game.  Not a struggle, but rather a joke.  I found it quite entertaining.  I admit that a few days before I started, I felt around my room to make sure I knew where my hands would fall when I was to be fumbling around blindly, but perhaps I should have done that downstairs as well.  I figured it out soon enough, though.  I would walk from my bed to the knob of my my bed end, then to the other knob, then to the bathroom door, then to the bedroom lightswitch, then to the bedroom door.  Then I was traveling down the landing to the knob of the staircase railing, round the corner, down the twelve steps feeling for the end of the left wall for the last step.  Then to the fridge.  Then to the bench.  Then to my chair.  That was the most common of my flight paths for the weekend.  Unhappily, however, my sister thought it would be a good idea to leave her travelling suitcase in the middle of the lounge room and I fell over that with a fairly loud "ooouuuufffff!!!" 

Also, my brother, though definitely my most delightful and considerate helper for the weekend, was not brilliant at directing me, and I bashed into the bottom step of the staircase before he had a chance to say "step!"  Ah well.  Such cases as these and when everyone left me and I couldn't find anyone or anything to show me where I was...  Though being blind gave was a great excuse for everything, as my brother would say "with great power comes great disability". 

For the rest, I basically dozed, thinking all the while, not about things I should be doing, but rather about things that I might do some time long into the future just for the fun of it.  It was a very valuable time for thinking things through at tortoise pace.  It was a time of slow, warm, dark, hibernation, or rather dormancy, like a chrysalis stage for a butterly, rumination or germination.  It was quite unconnected to life as we know it.  

Ending it was interesting, because I expected the contrast to be greater.  But asides from a sort of glowy, strobe-light-like buzz, I was completely fine.  Since Dad had folded tissues up in front of my eyes, I couldn't even complain of itchy eye gunk farming yeast in my pupils.  I really feel as though nothing happened - as though the whole experience was just a dream. 

Friday, August 19

Blinded by the Truth

Please my dears, don't expect to hear a peep from my tomorrow.  I'm participating in the 40 Hour Famine this weekend, to raise money for the needy in East Timor by going without something for forty hours.  I have chosen to go without my sight.  Most people go without food, or talking, or technology and other things like that, but last time, when I went without technology and furniture at the same time, I managed to raise only $5.  Obviously, that seemed like a fairly poor effort.  My idea was that going without something crazy like sight would be cooler, and then more people will sponser me, but I proved that theory wrong.  I mean, $35 ish isn't bad at all, but I had a much more ambitious goal.  Ah well, every dollar counts and all the five cent pieces eventually add up. 

Anyway, I start at 8 o'clock tonight.  It goes until midday on Sunday.  I got myself a sleeping mask to effectively keep me from peeking, but obviously, the whole business will keep me from peeping too.  I won't be blogging, or studying (silent praise), working (silent praise x2), reading or movie watching.  I will be sitting about in my room, listening to audio books, (once my neighbour comes home so I can wrangle her for her collection), listening to music and talking to whatever friends of mine are home to call me. 

I can't say I'm going to have fun, but I think it will force me to take a valuable time out.  Thinking.  What about?  We'll see.  We'll also see how many things I manage to break/run into/trip on etcetera.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 18

A Surprise in Holmesian Taste

Alert!  If you are my brother and you are reading this, you have got to stop!  Click off, turn around and keep on walking, pal.  Secret information will soon be disclosed here and it is definitely not for your ears. 

Alright, I think the coast is clear.  I'm quite excited.  It's my brother's birthday next Thursday and as I did last year, I am planning a fun surprise leading up to Thursday morning - a clue hunt if you will, but completely Sherlock Holmes themed.  It is extremely cool, slightly complicated and will take three days to complete- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - Thursday being the day on which I draw it to an end and conclude the hunt. 

If you are anything at all of a Sherlock Holmes fan, you will certainly pick up on the subtle references.  OK.  Hear we go.  I will talk you through it. 

1.  On Sunday afternoon, I will give him the instructions, but these instructions will be encoded in the Dancing Men script from The Adventure of the Dancing Men.  Example:

If he remembers the story well, this will be easy for him to crack, and if not, some common sense and research will soon have him reading the following message:
In three days, find three Garridebs.  One a day.  Tell no one. 
You will of course remember the three Garridebs from The Adventure of the Three Garridebs.  I will also give him three pages photocopied from Sherlock Holmes stories to use later on to crack ciphers. 

Now, the plan is that I will speak to three of his teachers, one that he has in first period on Monday, one that he has in first period on Tuesday, and a final one that he has in first period on Wednesday.  One a day, you see.  I am going to give them a little name tag to put on their shirt just for that lesson. 

2.  When my brother finds Monday's Garrideb, he will give him a little message.  It will read:

Time is of the essence my dear Holmes. Once you get this message, you must hurry to decrypt it to find the name of your confidant and follow my instructions to the letter. The code runs thus: page, line, word.

35 8
35 9    
(Note: This code, derived from The Valley of Fear refers to one of the words in a line on one of the pages I gave to him earlier, and it reveals the name Shinwell Johnson, a confidant of Holmes' in The Adventure of the Illustrious Client.)
You might recall having met and liked this gentleman in my drama class. Tall? Blonde? Funny? Yes, well, you will find he is an ex-criminal and agent for me, and you shall rely on him for your information. You must contact him at first break and address him with the aforementioned name. You will find that he uses some vulgar alias amongst the commoners. I refuse to wish you luck, but I doubt a man of your intellect appreciates such superstition anyhow. Moriarty.
This note refers my brother to one of my friends, to whom I will have given another message.  He will use the name that he decoded as a password.  The message will contain five orange pips, like those used in The Five Orange Pips, and the following:

Good work, Holmes.  You far exceed my expectations to have made it this far.  You must present these to me in person on the morning of the 25th.  That’s enough for one day.  Moriarty. 
3.  On Tuesday, my brother will find the second Garrideb and receive the following message:
So you continue to pursue this hopeless case? Your stubbornness will be the death of you someday, Holmes. Once again, you must hurry to decrypt this message and follow its instructions to the letter.


14 1
14 2
(Note:  This is the same code that I used on Monday, but it now reveals the name Fred Porlock, from The Valley of Fear, who actually isn't the same guy as Shinwell Johnson, even though I'm using the same friend fr convenience's sake.)
You met my man yesterday. However police movements of late have required him to assume a new alias. You must hurry to contact him at first break and address him with the aforementioned name if you insist on trying to beat me. Don’t get your hopes up, my fellow. Moriarty.
Same as on Monday, my brother will go to my friend, use the name as a password and will receive a new message.  It will contain the Freeman Society mark from The Valley of Fear (which I sadly couldn't find a picture of) and the following: 
You must present the Freeman’s Society mark to me in person on the morning of the 25th.  Call it a day, will you, Holmes?  Moriarty.
4.  On Wednesday, my brother will find the third Garrideb and receive the following message:
You really are too much, Holmes, but your stupidity is amusing, nonetheless. Who do you suppose will walk away the winner, at the end of this? For the last time, hurry to decrypt this message and follow its instructions to the letter. Moriarty.

31 14
31 15
(Note: This is the same code that I used on Monday, but it now reveals the name Langdale Pike, from The Adventure of the Three Gables, and of course I'm using the same friend again.)
For the last time, it may be, Holmes, you must trust to my confidant for your key. Once again he has assumed an alias for the protection of his identity. Rumours spread like the plague, he has found. I certainly hope you were not the gossiper responsible, though being secretive I have heard is a favourite trick of yours. At first break, hurry to contact him and address him with the aforementioned name.

No surprise, my brother then goes to my friend using the name as a password and receives the last message.  It contains the passwords and counterseign sequence used in The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual:
PERSON 1:  'Whose was it?'
PERSON 2:  'He who is gone.'
PERSON 1:  'Who shall have it?'
PERSON 2:  'He who will come.'
PERSON 1:  'What was the month?'
PERSON 2:  'The sixth from the first.'
PERSON 1:  'Where was the sun?'
PERSON 2:  'Over the oak.'
PERSON 1:  'Where was the shadow?'
PERSON 2:  'Under the elm.'
PERSON 1:  'How was it stepped?'
PERSON 2:  'North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two and by two, west by one and by one, and so under.'
PERSON 1:  'What shall we give for it?'
PERSON 2:  'All that is ours.'
PERSON 1:  'Why should we give it?'
PERSON 2:  'For the sake of the trust.'

And then the following message:
 I shall see you on the morning of the 25th.  Pray you are prepared to meet me and perhaps your end.  Moriarty.  
5.  That's practically it.  The next day is Thursday the 25th - his birthday.  He will present me with the five orange pips, the Freeman Society mark and perform the password and countersign of the Musgrave Ritual.  Then I give him his present - Sherlock Holmes the movie, (which happens to be his favourite movie), bound in brown paper and string. 

Now all that remains to be done is make the messages, make a couple of seals for the envelopes and eat an orange for the pips.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 17

A Meal of Moments

There is something purely and compulsively wonderful about foreign films.  It's sometimes indescribable, and sometimes obvious, but there is always a refrain of some hidden and secretive joy and delight that we can only snatch a glimpse of. 

Foreign films are definitely an acquired taste - something that some people will never find quite palatable.  But I've grown to enjoy foreign films by watching them scandalously late on week nights with my dad, and they have been perhaps not my favourite films, but some of my most memorable and fondly recalled. 

There are several things that stand out to me as components that contribute most to that incredible effect that foreign films always have:

1.  The lack of background music or otherwise very strange and wonderful foreign music.  Silence is a powerful tool that is scarcely utilised in Hollywood films because of the profound power and risk involved.  Foreign films weild this tool beautifully. 

2.  The slow pace and attention to processes e.g. walking from one place to another.  This is something Hollywood films will not and probably frankly cannot do.  You will never spend ten minutes, or even five for that matter, watching an elderly woman climbing a hill with a chair in a Hollywood film.  They can't afford it and most people wouldn't appreciate it anyhow.  But it is definitely something well worth appreciating, or leaning to appreciate. 

3.  The narration.  In French films, this is something that I have always noted.  That narrator becomes a dear friend as well as the voice within your mind as you live everyday.  Foreign films are often no more than just living, but they 'live' so clearly and well, so that, even when watching nothing in particular, you are challenged by their thoughts, values, actions etcetera etcetera.  It's quite incredible. 

4.  The language.  For me, listening to the dialogue even without reading the subtitles is entertaining.  I love the French language particularly.  It is so very lyrical and confident and expressive, and just having this music of voices to break the silence is music enough to my ears. 

I cannot wait a day longer to unveil to you two of beautiful things I have come across in foreign films.  Now, you will probably notice quite quickly that these scenes are from the more 'known' of foreign films, but I assure you that this is only because it is nigh impossible to find the particular scenes I love most out of the smaller ones. 

I encourage you to make some time in which you can completely relax and savour each of these scenes like a meal. 

For the main course, a short film from Paris Je T'aime. 

I feel so ridiculous rambling, trying to find the right words to say what I mean, but really, in apologetically frank terms, this just makes me feel thoughtful and happy.  And I love that about it. 

I'm so glad you've made it this far.  Perhaps I have saved the best for last.  To my delight I wish to present to you a decadant and glorious dessert, Amelie.  Please be prepared so a shockingly sweet aftertaste.

It can take a long time to find the ones that make you sigh pleasantly in memory of them for the rest of your life, but you find one, and something, somehow is lovlier in life. 


Monday, August 15

Singing in a Sardonic Shower

My bathroom, just in general, is currently not being very nice to me.  The light is blown and it is a game of waiting that no amount of polite reminding can hasten.  My 'regime' includes a daily/every second daily shower to wash my hair.  I don't have time to do this in the morning, so my general practice is to do it just before or straight after dinner, after three or more hours of assignment work/blogging/reading etcetera etcetera. 

Now.  Surely you have noticed the Dilemma.  My light is blown.  This means that if I have a shower after 5:00 in the afternoon, I am showering in nearly complete dark.  And I seriously dislike the idea of being naked shut in a glass box full of water in the dark.  There is something a lot less than appealing about this idea.  So now my afternoon routine is lopsided, which irks me. 

Oh, while we're on the topic, I'd also like to add that my shower door doesn't close properly, and only one of the three panels can still roll in its little sliding track, so that you have to manoeuvre this and squeeze through the gap to even get in.  And then, once you're inside, trusty ol' gas heated water system has an absolute field day spraying you with searing hot and chillingly cold water at intervals.  My shower is an extremely kind-hearted, old thing, as you can doubtless see. 

I was never a fan of the "singing in the shower" stereotype, but this year has been an awakening for me on that topic.  Why wouldn't you sing in the shower?  The glass doors and the rushing water act as a barrier against eavesdropper's ears, and the box itself has terrific acoustics. 

This last month, my favourite Shower Tunes have been:
  • Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
  • Wouldn't it be Nice (Beach Boys)
  • Good Vibrations  (Beach Boys)
  • Pocket full of Sunshine  (can't remember, but I only know the chorus anyway)
  • Take a Chance on Me  (ABBA)
  • Slipping Through My Fingers (ABBA)
  • Honey Honey (ABBA)
  • Mamma Mia  (ABBA)
  • The Safety Dance  (Men With/Without Hats?)
  • Wuthering Heights (Great Britain Ukelele Orchestra version!!!)
  • Just You and Me (Zee Avi)
And probably heaps more that aren't jumping into my mind right now.  What are your favourites?

Oh, and before I forget, there is an inexcusibly funny reference to Lord of the Rings in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film.  There's an old couple driving their ute back to their farm house (soon to find Hugh Jackman completely nude in their barn after escaping the bad guys), and there is a sticker on their back window reading: "Not all who wander are lost".  Made me smile. 

Sunday, August 14

The Blinding Belladonna

"I'm in love with Rosemary," he told her suddenly.  "It's a kind of self-indulgence saying that to you."

It seemed very strange and official to gim, as if the very tables and chairs in the Cafe des Allies would remember it forever.  Already he felt her absence from these skies: on the beach he could only remember the sun-torn flesh of her shoulder; at Tarmes he crushed out her footprints as he crossed the garden; and now the orchestra launching into the "Nice Carnival Song," an echo of last year's vanished gaieties, started the little dance that went on all about her.  In a hundred hours she had come to possess all the world's dark magic; the blinding belladonna, the caffein converting physical into nervous energy, the mandragora that imposes harmony.

Part II, Chapter XI, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published 1934.

I don't really have anything intelligent to say today.  Funny.  Except that a coconut macaroon cake will be involved today because it's my dad's birthday.  I can hear the electric beaters whipped up the meringue this very moment!  Suspense!

Saturday, August 13

Metaphorically Speaking

My drama teacher tried to explain the symbology in the play we're reading by Henrik Ibsen with this statement:

"It's like a metaphor."

This is the most hilarious example of savage irony I've encountered in months!  I guess it might be a acquired taste of anecdotal comic relief required to appreciate this phrase, but I've spent ages enjoying it.  I hope you can too. 

Friday, August 12

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." 

Believe it or not, this sentence is 'grammatically valid' in the English language.  It's an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constucts.  It's been discussed ever since William J. Report, professor at the University of Buffalo (funnily enough) used it in 1972. 

The sentence contains no punctuation and uses three different meanings of the word "buffalo" to make any sense.  The three meanings are:

1.  Buffalo - the city of Buffalo, New York in the United States (used as a noun adjunct)

2.  buffalo - the animal (used as a noun)

3.  buffalo - to bully, confuse, deceive, or intimidate (used obviously as a verb)
In the sentence, the "buffalo"s are used thus:

Buffalo (1) buffalo (2) Buffalo (1) buffalo (2) buffalo (3) buffalo (3) Buffalo (1) buffalo (2).
So theoretically, the sentence when 'parsed' reads thus:

In the city of Buffalo, bison who are intimidated or bullied by bison are themselves intimidating or bullying to bison.

Does this make any sense?  Ahhhh.....  Not really.  But it's infinitely cool. 


Wednesday, August 10

Soft Pink Glittering Kisses

"Give me a chance now."

The voice fell low, sank into her breast and stretched the tight bodice over her heart as she came up close.  He felt the young lips, her body sighing in relief against the arm growing stronger to hold her.  There were now no more plans than if Dick had arbitrarily made some indissoluble mixture, with atoms joined and inseperable; you could throw it all out but never again could they fit back into atomic scale.  As he held and tasted her, and as she curved in further and further toward him, with her own lips, new to herself, drowned and engulfed in love, yet solaced and triumphant, he was thankful to have an existance at all, if only as a reflection in her wet eyes.

"My God," he gasped, "you're fun to kiss."
Part II, Chapter VIII, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published 1934.

Once again I successfully pull off the one-handed typing trick.  I have to hold to book open with the other, you see, and it's so easy to make crazy mistakes when you're typing with just a couple of fingers. 

This book is a great one for romance.  I love Fitzgerald's little pink, soft, glittering romantic moments like this and the one I posted under the title of The Essence of a Continent.  There is something wonderfully strange but perfect about Fitzgerald that I'm sure you have heard me mention before.  He writes so that we can tell he knows and he's been there, done that, heard, seen, tasted, smelt, felt whatever, becaues he puts it in a terrifically authentic and beautifully wise way. 

As he held and tasted her, and as she curved in further and further toward him, with her own lips, new to herself, drowned and engulfed in love, yet solaced and triumphant, he was thankful to have an existance at all, if only as a reflection in her wet eyes.
You couldn't write a line like that unless you knew.  And because he knows, and because he can tell us gently and secretly about this glorious and sacred second of love, I feel very much in love with Fitzgerald in turn. 

Tuesday, August 9

A Perfect Anne Shirley Moment

Well.  The school captain candidate speeches were today.  I sang my speech with the help of my ukelele, and I feel that I couldn't have done anything better, given the circumstances.  I was surprised and delighted by the amount of response that I got afterwards, and I was constantly approached by people throughout the day, some of whom I do not know at all, wishing me 'well done' and telling me how cool they thought it was.  It was very lovely, and I'm so pleased that I was even game enough to go through with it.  I'm pretty chuffed.  Actually, I'm  very chuffed.  Hang it all, I dare to be extremely chuffed.  (I have my beautiful, rapscallion friends to blame for it all - without them I couldn't, and wouldn't, have done it.) 

But I would just like to put out there, also, that the other speeches were great, most better than I expected, and I'm so proud of them all for not conking out and what's more, for actually do extremely well. 

I think that it's quite amazing how good it feels to have finally emerged at the other end of this crazy rabbit hole.  There's nothing left to think about really, because it's entirely out of our hands.  The votes will go in, the three highest will be shortlisted for interviews and after the interviews and teacher votes have gone through, two school captains and two vice captains will be announced.  There is not an ounce of effort that can be put in by anyone until we find out who's been shortlisted.  So we can happily congratulate ourselves and feel relieved.

You know what?  I'm having a bit of a little dream for the future...  In Anne of Green Gables when Anne is at Queen's college and is waiting anxiously to learn the "who had won the medal and who the Avery" - she hides away and tells Jane to please read the announcements and tell her quickly and brutally whether she got one or not.  But then, there is a procession of students down the hall crying out, "Hurrah for Blythe, the medallist!" and then "Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery!".  And so she, the girl we love so much, wins one, and Blythe, the boy Anne sort of hates, but we all know will end up loving, wins the other.  And it was such a wonderful moment.  I wish I could find out just like that - getting the girl's position and my first-preference boy getting the boy's position.    That would be just the perfect Anne Shirley moment to top everything off with!

Monday, August 8

Cliffhangers and Cadbury

I'm delighted to profess that my last few days have been pretty lovely.  First of all, someone I really wanted to follow my blog finally did.  You might have noticed.  He has a very thoughtful and clever username.  (Let's just hope that this is one of the posts that he'll neglect to read.)  Then I made cupcakes for my best friend's birthday morning tea and got to eat the excess freckles that I bought for decoration, (not to mention lick two bowls of icing, a beater and two spoons and humanely end the misery of two very deformed cup cakes who definitely wouldn't have made it...)  Then, I got to sing my best friend the birthday tribute song that I wrote for her (and it went extremely well... after I discovered that the introduction I had begun playing was actually for an entirely different song).  And there was plenty of chocolate involved - chocolate cupcakes, chocolate icing, chocolate freckles on top of my cupcakes, and then Cadbury to top it off.  Three whole blocks of it that we shared amongst ourselves.  That in itself was wonderful. 

But also, this lovely day started out off with an English lesson that I will probably never forget.  I will try to explain it, but this might require some mental stretching on your part. 

1.  We were divided into groups of four, and each person in that group was given a number (1, 2, 3, 4.)

2.  Each person was given a corresponding sentence.  Sentence 1. was along the lines of Bradley shrieked and ran....  Sentence 2. was along the lines of "Oh no!" said Kayla.  Sentence 3. was along the lines of "Quick!  Stop!" Tyler said.  And sentence 4. was along the lines of "Why?" Samantha sobbed

3.  Each person then had five minutes to start writing a short story with their sentence as the starting point.  They had to finished writing with a cliffhanger, so that the next person in their group could continue from that hanging point. 

4.  When the five minutes was up, that person would pass their story onto the next and that person would continue writing, ending also with a cliffhanger. 

5. The fourth rotation is different.  This fourth and final person has the job of completing and resolving the story. 

Now, this was fuel for the grossly bubbling brains of us four little writers.  Never before have I enjoyed English so much.  There was a great deal of laughing and "oh my gosh, you're kidding"ing because of the strange, grotesque, funny, and brilliant things that worked their way into those stories. 

We actually ended up with four very similar, fairly dark, but fantastically interesting short stories.  Funnily enough, all four of them involved dying in some way.  One was nearly being stabbed on a film set.    One was dying a slow but romantic death after falling through the floor of a burning house.  One was being stabbed by an undercover agent while parachuting.  And the last was being brutally torn to shreads by a giant wolf.  Hmmm.  That says a lot about teens nowadays, doesn't it? 

But seriously, it was one of those times when you think, if you just stopped now and never did anything else, and the world ended, you would be so extremely pleased with yourself, because I don't think that I've ever really felt so wonderfully excited about writing like that and of course, to laugh in that little, lovely four was by far the lovliest of all. 

Sunday, August 7

The Essence of a Continent

She smiled at him, making sure that the smile gathered up everything inside her and directed it toward him, making him a profound promise of herself for so little, for the beat of a response, the assurance of a complementary vibration in him.  Minute by minute the sweetness drained down into her out of the willow trees, out of the dark world.
She stood up too, and stumbling over the phonograph, was momentarily against him, leaning into the hollow of his rounded shoulder. 
"I've got one more record,"she said.  "Have you heard 'So Long Letty'?  I suppose you have."

"Honestly, you don't understand - I haven't heard a thing."

Nor known, nor smelt, nor tasted, he might have added; only hot-cheeked girls in hot secret rooms.  The young maidens he had known at New Haven in 1914 kissed men, saying "There!", hands at the man's chest to push him away.  Now there was this scarcely saved waif of disaster bringing him the essence of a continent...
Part II, Chapter V, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published 1934.
I certainly never realised what a gorgeous and moving passage this was until I had to press open the book with one hand and type it all out slowly and tortously with the forefinger of the other. 

There are so many lines in this that are so poignant.  And I feel that I know the first half of the first paragraph from myself.  Smiling a smile that gathers up everything inside.  And the contrast of the girls from 1914 feels so brutally frank, doesn't it?  I know what he means because I've seen it.  Never experienced it, mind, but I've seen that sort of unemotional, meaningless coquettishness, and to then think of something deeper and lovlier, sweet, with the essence of a continent...  It's a moment made for a movie that will become the best loved romance, but then yes - the very subtle and fragrant beauty of this passage will slip between the craps in a movie.  Pity. 

Friday, August 5

You Must Not Lose Your Streak of Madness

New establishment on my school captain speech.  I've decided to sing it.  And play ukelele while doing so. 

Now is definitely not the time to judge me, because it has taken me all day to be completely happy with the idea, but I think that doing it this way will be beneficial for me in several manners. 

Firstly, the kids will actually notice my speech.  I think that it will be a very good thing for boosting the student votes.  And I actually don't believe that the teacher votes will be negatively affected, because they know me so well that a moment of fun will be just a nice balance. 

Secondly, if I don't get the role, I can go down happy and satisfied, rather than being plagued with feelings of regret at my efforts, or competetiveness.  If I get up and sing a song, have fun, be sincere, say I will try to listen so that they, as individuals, can come together and express themselves, excel, and grasp the oppertunities given them,  then really I've done my best and risked a lot, and will obviously understand what excuse the teachers have for not giving it to me.  I can step back down again or straight up to the role with a lot more comfort.  It's like a happy cushion. 

Thirdly, won't it be a story to tell!!

Thursday, August 4


When I randomly stumbled upon these pictures, I could not still my wildly beating heart!  How wonderful is this?  This is the Kansas City Public Library.  It absolutely delights me that they would do something so incredible.  Possibly the only way to describe it is in the wise words of the stern and vain but lovely lady, Mary Poppins.    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!  We'll all have sweet dreams tonight, I think!

Kansas Library Book Building
Kansas City Public Library  (Photos by David King)

Kansas City Library


Wednesday, August 3

Sherlock Holmes in a Whopping-Big Nut Shell

Thankyou extremely, Tangled Up In Blue, for your comment.  Everyone, new and exciting information has been leaked by our lovely correspondent.  Following on from the topic of The Hobbit and wonderful Martin Freeman, a man we have adored from the BBC series, Sherlock and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, we now know that Benedict Cumberbatch, Freeman's partner in Sherlock and the man who plays the enigmatical Holmes himself, has stepped into The Hobbit to supply the voice for Smaug and Sauron.  For all it's worth, this fact has been vouched for by Wikipedia.  I am both surprised and delighted. 

Since we're on the topic, I have a few things I'd like to say about Sherlock Holmes in general - a few misconceptions to clear and opinions to confirm. 

When it comes to the movie, I have to admit that it is one of my favourites, but arguably the characters are only portrayed from their rougher sides.  Sherlock, the BBC series, however, focuses a lot more on the more tender side of them both, and Watson particularly.  After being slightly disenchanted by the hard, grim and gentlemanly poise of Jude Law's Watson, the sweet, slightly baffled, boyishly enthusiastic manner of Martin Freeman's Watson came across as not only more endearing and real, but as an emphasis on the lovely tenderness hinted at throughout the books.  Well done, well done, I congratulated Sherlock

As for the question, who do you like better - Holmes or Watson, the answer is at once both simple and abtruse.  My answer is abtruse because it is Holmes that possesses all the powers of deduction, the mind-boggling (a word I have enjoyed stealing from Hitchhiker's) ease and simplicity to his style at the same time as his eccentricity, frantic quirkiness and theatricality.  Yes.  I know.  Theatricality.  But while Holmes is being quirky and clever, Watson is being just the right sort of background character.  You all know that he narrates the stories, right?  And his narrative style is so characteristic and so humorous.  It's his voice that you learn to love the sound of through all sixty-four short stories and four novels.  He is the one you relate to, rely on, care for.  And you learn to relate to, rely on and care for Holmes through him.  Holmes is like the strange best friend.  Watson is like yourself.  He becomes much a part of yourself through the reading process. 

When I finished reading it, and by 'it' I mean all of the stories, I cried.  It was very painful for me.  I think, now, looking back, and I can't be a hundred percent sure, that when I cried, I was crying more over Holmes than Watson.  It was like going to Holmes' funeral.  But Watson is still alive.  He's never really passed on from my imagination.  Holmes intrigues me, frustrates me, delights me, enchants me, but he does all these things through Watson.  It is Watson I am in love with the most. 

(Disclaimer.  This does not by any means actually mean that I do not love Holmes.  His quirks, peculiarities, theatricalities are utterly endearing, and though slightly sociopathic is nature, hints of his appreciation of Watson are worth their weight in gold whenever they pop up.)

As for the books.  Should you read them?  Which ones should you read?  Where should you start? 

Alright.  Here we go.  The deep breath before the plunge.  (Lord of the Rings quote.) 

The first book is a novel, A Study in Scarlet.  That is where you start.  It takes a page to be interested, so reading it will not be hard.  I would just like the say, though, that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle does a bit of a funny thing when he writes the novels, (very unlike what he does in the short stories), and that is that he breaks half way through the novel and commences the narrative from the bad guy's point of view, and this is usually a flash way back.  This segment can be very boring, but bear with it, and it will get better. 

If you enjoyed A Study in Scarlet, you will also enjoy the second book and novel, The Sign of Four, but realistically, it is not hugely important to read this book in the grand scheme of things.  If you seriously can't be bothered, don't.  Onto the next. 

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and then The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes are compilations of short stories, or cases.  It may take a couple of them to really get into the swing, but once you're in it, it becomes positively addictive.  Like coffee, they give you a great buzz that you remember and crave between readings.  Once and for all, it is actually very important to read the short stories chronologically if you expect to enjoy any long term committment, because as the stories unfold chronologically, not only do you get the oppertunity to marvel at the development of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing style, you also get to delight in the timorous but joyously fulfilling growth of Holmes and Watson's relationship. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the next book and novel.  It is definitely worth reading, and I think that it's the best of the novels as it is the only one not to diverge into a long drawn-out narrative split midway. 

The Valley of Fear is ingenious but does the diverging thing.  Yeah.  Incredibly clever, though.   

Then The Return of Sherlock Holmes, the first case of which is one of the greatest and wittiest of all.  Then His Last Bow.  I think this short story book contains some of the strongest cases of all, but of course, by this time, your judgement is so affected by your undying curiosity and enthusiasm that nothing would deter you now.  The final book is The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.  Contrary to my ordinary philosophy, I would implore you not to read the final case last.  Read the third last or second last case last, because the final case wasn't much of a bang. 

This experience is one of the greatest I have ever enjoyed.  If you allow yourself to become immersed in the plots, enamoured with the characters, even give yourself allowance to try and figure out the case before Holmes reveals the ending, this succession of stories will give you something that feels like a lifetime.  It is so valuable and so worthwhile.  I am beginning to crave it again!

Tuesday, August 2

Tissues of Rainbow and Moonshine

Hello, my dears.  I'm very aware that I haven't had anything to share with you from F. Scott Fitzgerald recently, and this is because I haven't managed to read anything in the last little while.  If you read my post yesterday, however, you will have heard how a workshop in drama prompted me to rediscover how much I adore Anne of Green Gables, and I thought it would be lovely to share with you a passage that I have always loved from it.

In all essential respects the little gable chamber was unchanged.  The walls were as white, the pincshion as hard, the chairs as stiffly and yellowly upright as ever.  Yet the whole character of the room was altered.  It was full of a new vital, pulsing personality that seemed to pervade it and to be quite independent of schoolgirl books and dresses and ribbons, and even of the cracked blue jub full of apple blossoms on the table.  It was as if all the dreams, sleeping and waking, of its vivid occupant had taken a visible although immaterial form and had tapestried the bare room with splendid filmy tissues of rainbow and moonshine. 

A Good Imagination Gone Wrong, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, published in 1925.

It's beautiful, isn't it?  It's incredibly simple but very sincere, and very vibrant, quite like the room that it so gorgeously describes.  L. M. Montgomery is to me very much like Anne herself, weaving wonderful thoughts together to delight us with at every corner.  Isn't it so very feminine and magical?

Monday, August 1

Mrs Rachael Lynde is Surprised!

For our unit in realism in drama, some of the workshops, activities and conversations that we've participated in as a class have been exceptionally eye-opening and thought-provoking.  I have enjoyed every second of it so far, especially when we acted in pairs as newlywed couples the morning after their wedding, making breakfast in the kitchen, and reaching for things over each other, in clumsy, awkward, charming sweetness, but to say anything further on that topic would be horribly exposing if anyone I knew was to read it.  At times, I am grateful that the people I really want to read my blog don't.  Funny, isn't it?

Anyhow, for tomorrow's lesson, we have each been asked to bring in an object that is significant to us.  After much deliberation, I have decided upon my object.  I am bringing my copy of Anne of Green Gables

This book means a lot to me, and it has taken this little prompt to nudge me into the realisation of how important it is.  I was given it on my first birthday from an aunt who I really haven't talked to or thought about for the last five years. 

Until I was about nine years old, every year or so that we remembered, Mum would sit down and read the first page to me, so I could tell whether or not I was old enough to understand it.  I always found the first few chapter names funny.

Chapter 1: Mrs Rachael Lynde is Surprised

Chapter 2: Matthew Cuthbert is Surprised

Chapter 3: Marilla Cuthbert is Surprised.

For a couple of years, I forgot it even existed, enraptured instead with animal stories by every author.  When I was eleven, I took it up and read it, and enjoyed it, but attached no special meaning to it.  I read it several times in the next three or four years, and it became to me a thing of utter joy and beauty, and I sat and wondered at it.  I refused to read the sequels.  I was horrified lest the charm be broken by a sentence more than what I deemed perfect. 

A couple of years ago, I sat down with my dad and read Anne of Green Gables to him.  I was just young enough to speak Anne's voice with the same naive and glorious chatter and skip, and just old enough to lift shadows from every other character at the same time.  For me, it was the epiphany of my reading-aloud life.  It was my grand performance, and yet it was my grand experience, too.  It has stayed that way for me ever since.  My dad still talks about it.  He still says... "it was great, but not like that other one with the talkative girl.  What was it called?  I loved that one".  It marks for me several things. 
  1. A milestone in my growing-up as a reader and a book-lover,
  2. A moment when I realised that reading aloud to people made me happy,
  3. A moment when I realised that I was good at something valuable, and
  4. A beautiful experience that I shared with my dad.
Please, what is something you own that is important to you?  It's a lovely thing to think about, and it might just be the prompt to make you realise how much you value something or someone, just as it was to me.