When I was eight my teacher Mr Wright gave me the Hobbit to read. I only got about half-way. I hardly recall any of the plot but I remember thinking runes were cool. The copy of the book was a fine physical specimen: at least A4 size with colourful pictures throughout.
Twenty-five years on, here I am in Hobbiton. The centre of Wellington has gone Hobbit crazy in the run-up to tomorrow's world première. On Sunday I went to the Hobbit market; the summery weather brought people out in droves. It was very well done, with bamboo poles and cloth bunting adding a certain authenticity, and great for kids.
I'm now on my last carton of soy milk: my dairy-free experiment is almost at an end. It hasn't made any difference; I'm still coughing up thick phlegm. But as I go back on the dairy, it's time to cut out something else.
I'm talking online poker. It's really started to take over again. I've been cooking meals while playing, which can't be clever. The money isn't really the problem, it's the time spent staring at a screen when I really could be doing something more constructive. I did quit once before: in the middle of last year I cashed out my bankroll, leaving behind just some tournament tickets. But I was back in no time. Before long I'd turned those tickets into cash and was grinding away again. This time I want to give up for good, or at least a very long time (I'm talking years), so all the cash, tickets and everything else must come out. I've got about US$4500 which will be useful money anyway. It will feel good to draw that line in the sand.
Last night I went to the autism group. It went reasonably well. A woman from WINZ came in to talk about plans to make it harder for people on the spectrum to claim sickness benefits. Those of us who weren't currently getting a benefit split off from the rest of the group; perhaps that made things easier as we were generally at the milder end of the spectrum. Tracy said she tried to be an extra in the Hobbit but was too tall (the first time in her life she'd been too tall for something). I'll be meeting Tracy for lunch on Thursday.