December 21st, 2006

October Edge II

(no subject)

The last couple of days have been good. I'm certainly not feeling all doom and gloom like I did when I made my last entry. I've gotten out and done some Christmas shopping, and I must say that I love living in Brisbane. It's not that I love Brisbane itself - in fact, anyone who knows me well should know that I rather dislike the place - but instead I love the independence I have here, and I'm sure that is only going to get better once I'm in Melbourne. I guess moving to Brisbane has been my equivalent of what getting a car and a driver's licence is for people who actually have decent vision. If I hated one thing the most about living on the Gold Coast the most, it was not the actual city itself, but my total dependence on others if I wanted to go anywhere. I lived on the edge of the city in the foothills of the Hinterland where literally nothing was within walking distance and there was no readily accessible bus route, so I had to hope that my mother or a friend wasn't busy or was going in the general direction I wished to go. I certainly couldn't just pop down to the library on a whim and stay as long as I wanted. But here in Brisbane, I'm just a few minutes from a ferry stop and just about everything I need is either accessible by ferry, or within walking distance on UQ's campus. I get so much pleasure just from getting out and doing simple things that it's not funny. It really picked up my spirits yesterday. Plus, on a warm day, it's quite refreshing to stand up the front of one of the CityCats and cruise down the Brisbane River with the wind blowing in your face.

Anyhow, yesterday, I went to pick up a book for my father as a Christmas present and hopefully something for myself. I found something for my father, so I'm happy about that, but the local bookshop really was pretty dismal. I hoped I would find something interesting in the classics/literature section, but the best I could do was a copy of the Communist Manifesto, and I can get that for free online or from the uni's library. The political section was thoroughly dismal: I hoped there would be some fantastic commentary on something other than "inside al-Qaeda" and mass-market literature on the War on Terror, but I was sorely disappointed. I love UQ's library all the more now. It's a shame academic literature doesn't sell all too well. The religion/theology section was the biggest disappointment of the day, except for the fact it had an entire shelf of Korans, more than I usually see. Otherwise, it was just Bibles, children's Bible stories, "inspirational literature", and a few throwaway apologetics books. Not even anything by C. S. Lewis! Now, I don't go walking up to a theology section expecting to find books by Søren Kierkegaard in abundance, but I thought it would be safe to expect a few copies of Lewis's Mere Christianity to be there at least!

Ever since I visited the States, one thing I have realised rather acutely is how inferior our bookstores are here. I don't know if Franklin is representative of the entire US or not, but its Borders and Barnes & Noble outlets struck me as huge for suburban outlets. The shops here are so pathetically small. It disappoints me, really. I know there's a huge Dymocks in central Sydney, and I recall visiting a bookshop that struck me as quite large when I was in Melbourne in 2003, though I don't recall where it is. But I don't recall ever encountering anything particularly substantial in New Zealand (though the central Wellington library is fantastic), and Queensland's bookshops certainly reflect that it is not a shining light of culture. If there is some nice, huge bookshop in central Brisbane, I haven't seen it and no-one's pointed me towards it yet. To get pretty much anything I want, I either have to go online and order it or hope the university library's got it. I love bookshops so much, too. I can spend hours in good ones, as Kate certainly learnt last year!

Anyhow, that's enough rambling about nothing in particular from me. Life isn't all too depressing. The Melbourne stuff should even hopefully work out soon enough, hurrah! I should also get off my lazy arse and see Borat, though perhaps not until the new year so that I can say with a chuckle that Snakes On A Plane is the only movie I saw in 2006. Have a good one, folks.

PS Excluding Sorrow, Summer '68 is the best song Pink Floyd ever made. It deserves more appreciation. What an absolute gem of a song!