I’m back in Auckland now and it’s a lovely day up here – too nice to be stuck in an office, which of course I no longer am. In fact I plan to have lunch soon and finish my latest book at the beach. I’m most of the way through Vroom with a View, the Vespa book. It doesn’t lack humour, and gives a flavour of Italy useful for anyone planning to go there, but I feel it could have been much better written. Over Christmas I finished Jen Birch’s account of life with Asperger’s, Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open (an excellent read, thoroughly recommended to anyone with a passing interest in tennis) and Joe, a fascinating book about one boy’s severe autism which raises some interesting questions about what makes us human. I’ve often wondered whether my humanity is compromised by my limited social life.
New Year’s Eve was as uneventful as I’d hoped. The concert didn’t reach the heights of the one earlier in the week; at 11pm I tried my hand once more at the darts game, this time breaking even (which was better than I managed on the chocolate wheel). At midnight we watched the fireworks display which was impressive even if it lacked a rousing finale (or rather there seemed to be so many false finales that by the time the real end came I was still expecting more).
On Saturday Dad and I saw the new half-billion-dollar blockbuster Avatar. Only nine cinemas in New Zealand are showing it in 3D and of course Timaru isn’t one of them. But even without the fancy glasses (which by all accounts can give you a headache after watching a 2¾-hour epic) I didn’t need any more visual stimulation. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It seemed there was no special effect that they couldn’t pull off. Dad and I agreed that the film carried a political message, but while Dad thought it was “save the planet”, I thought it was more of an anti-war message, i.e. don’t go into Iraq just because they’ve got all that oil, or in this case, “unobtainium”. Whatever, it was refreshing to see America painted in a not-so-flattering light.