March 8

The Zuman Race

I went to Taronga Zoo today. I don’t generally make a habit of going when it’s a) a weekend; or b) sunny because then there are likely to be people around and I wouldn’t want that, would I? However, as I’d bought a yearly pass (which expires at the end of this month) and hadn’t used it at all, I thought I’d go at least once so I didn’t feel as if I’d wasted $80 (or whatever it is now… I forget). I may even be able to squeeze in another visit during the Easter break. I found out that the entrance fee has gone up to a phenomenal $37 for an adult, which is $10 more than it was five years ago so I may only need to visit one more time to get close to what I paid.

Anyway, part of the reason I went is because I have writer’s block. I have so many ideas running around in my head on things to write that not only am I not writing any of them, I’m not furthering the most important project ie my novel. Going to the zoo, I believed, would be a great idea because sitting on the lawn in front of the aviary of my South American friends, the Andean condors, has yielded quite a lot in the past. Besides, I thought the concept of captivity would rub off nicely to aid my novel.

Instead, I managed to think of two solid plots for short stories and an ephemeral one for a novel. Sigh. And I took lots of photos. Here are a few of my favourites:

Zebra

Meerkat acting as a sentinel

Giraffes in a row

Dingo contemplating a nap

As you can see, I like when animals look pensive. I would also like to note that it is the first time I’ve ever seen the Clouded Leopard at Taronga. Every time prior to this, the enclosure has either been empty or I couldn’t find the beast. It’s a lot smaller than I thought (no pics, sorry), about the size of a medium dog, but very prettily patterned.

On the way home I remembered to buy laundry liquid but forgot to buy myself a Creme Egg.

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November 24

The Original

I had a go at Soccer Chief earlier this week for his attempt at a Tropfest script. If you know that Douglas Adams story about the packet of biscuits, that was basically the same plot he had but it was a girl on a train. Actually, I think there is also a Jeffrey Archer story that was rather similar (‘Broken Routine’ in his collection of short stories ‘A Quiver Full of Arrows’). Basically I told him flat out that it was unoriginal.

Then I felt really mean so I conceded that he writes well (which he does, not just lip service on my part), but it was just that the punchline was obvious for half of us who knew the story and it follows that if we made a film of it, it would feel unoriginal to some of the audience. Then I felt like I was patronising him, like I was the authority on good writing and he was there to soak up whatever praise he could get from me (which is NOT the case at all – I don’t think he really rates my opinion either way).

*Sigh* I can’t seem to get it right with him. I either inadvertently insult him and feel the need to apologise afterwards, which further insults him because it seems like I see him as not being able to take a joke or I tiptoe around him trying not to tip the apple cart. At the same time I don’t want to come across as treating him any differently from anyone else.

It seems that a lot of people reckon I have a crush on him, too, which is also not the case. When I first met him I didn’t even notice what he looked like, I just knew him as a little bit quiet. It wasn’t until about a month later, when a bunch of us caught the train together after a few drinks at the pub after work, that I realised he was gorgeous. He’s also very nice, intelligent and cool. Unfortunately I also saw him pashing his girlfriend in front of the coffee kiosk outside work one morning and since she was almost completely opposite to me (long blonde hair, petite, fashionably dressed) it killed all romance for me. But it doesn’t stop me from admiring his pinchable, bedimpled cheeks and gorgeous green eyes.

Anyway, this entry is not about Soccer Chief, it’s about originality. My flatmate and I went to see ‘The Prestige’ on Tuesday (excellent film, by the way) and there was a concept in the film that ruined any thought that my current novel is 100% original.

*** here be spoilers ***

Okay, so ‘The Prestige’ is about a pair of rival magicians in 19th century London and their sacrifice for their art. Christian Bale’s character, The Professor, is the better magician but not much of a showman, whereas Hugh Jackman’s The Great Danton has panache but not the nous to invent. The Professor invents a magic trick called The Transported Man whereby he bounces a ball across the room gets into a cupboard on one end of the stage, then comes out of another cupboard at the other end of the stage and catches the ball. Danton can’t figure out how he does it, which obsesses him for the rest of his life (several years – until he gets killed, anyway).

ANYWAY, it turns out that all along The Professor is two people, a pair of twins, who share one life – one family, a mistress and a profession. The Professor’s assistant is also The Professor sometimes etc etc. SO I’M ANNOYED because I’m currently writing a novel about a pair of 16 year old twins who, because their parents are in a cult that is paranoid about the erosion of freedom, have been brought up as one person so that if one of them got caught, the other would still be able to live freely. It’s hard to explain, but the point is that I came up with the ‘twins brought up as one person’ concept independently and now everyone is going to think that I stole it off ‘The Prestige’ seeing as in film format it is more accessible than the book (which my flatmate has read but I have not – she thought the film was excellent too, by the way). Gaah!

*** here ends spoilers ***

Apart from that, I’ve had a few weird days, let me tell you. I don’t even think I could point exactly what was weird about it but there has been an atmosphere of oddity over my daily activities this whole week. I also had a strange flash fantasy (maybe fantasy isn’t the right word because that implies purposefulness, let’s call it flash daydream) about pashing a guy at work, better known as Punk Pirate. He smokes, so no way. But there it is. Strange days.

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