Thursday, October 01, 2009

how many roads must a woman drive down?

According to Wikipedia,

Douglas Adams was asked many times during his career why he chose the number 42. Many theories were proposed, but he rejected them all. On November 3, 1993, he gave an answer on
“The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought '42 will do.' I typed it out. End of story.”

Adams described his choice as "A completely ordinary number, a number not just divisible by two but also six and seven. In fact it's the sort of number that you could, without any fear, introduce to your parents."
Stephen Fry, a friend of Adams, claims that Adams told him "exactly why 42", and that the reason is "fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious." However, Fry says that he has vowed not to tell anyone the secret, and that it must go with him to the grave.

Another reason why I think Fry would have made the ULTIMATE Dumbledore. *Sigh*


How do I love thee? Lots. I've always thought that 42 would be so much better than 40, and much much more fun than 43 and counting. And so here I am, and the last year was pretty good, so let's hope this one lives up to its promise.

Thank you to all those lovelies who sent me birthday greetings on Facebook, a place I very rarely haunt anymore, because life is just too short. It's hard enough writing here, and I'm trying to keep away from the computer as much as I can these days.

In fact, Bumblebee and I decided to take the shortness of life into our hands and run away to the beach yesterday so that I could wake up on my birthday to the sound of the sea...

In fact, I woke up on my birthday to the sound of Bumblebee clutching me and hissing


at 4:00 am this morning. We were sleeping side by side in our sleeping bags on a shared large airbed, and the noise did indeed sound like a zipper, but not a tent door zipper.

Groggily, I patted him and said 'no, it's not, go back to sleep'.


Good question. It did stop. I knew it wasn't a zipper, more likely a lyrebird imitating a zipper, but he'd woken me up enough to be aware of every. fricking. night. noise. including mosquitoes and possums. And so we didn't go back to sleep for HOURS, no matter how much I tried to lull B into relaxation. I think I slipped back into blissful unawareness at about 5:30, but Bumblebee got out the Gameboy and stayed awake... guess who is going to bed early tonight?

happy at Pebbly

Here we are, in our utmost favorite spot, in the pebbly cove between Depot Beach and Pebbly Beach on the NSW south coast. It is a slate beach covered in rocks and pebbles, and when the water comes up and covers the rocks and pulls down again going out, the pebbles hiss as they push together and the rocks get up an amazing rolling rattle as they tumble and smooth themselves. The place is covered in gorgeous perfectly round smooth rocks that you can't take home because it's National parkland.


Bumblebee can skim stones here for hours. I can sit and read for hours. It's perfect. On this trip I started reading The Jesus Man by Christos Tsiolkas (a Lifeline find): absolutely unbeachy book, but fascinating so far...

I also made some friends.

beach friend

And I had a quick dip in the sea today, just before coming home, so that I could feel the beach on my skin and hair for the rest of the day. It was very cold. I can still feel it on my skin, and if I lick my arm... mmmm, salty!

When I got home there was an answering machine message from one of my lovely aunties wishing me the best and hoping that I didn't feel too bad about the anniversary. It took me a moment to realise that she was talking about my grandfather's death last year. It's funny, I hadn't thought about it until that moment. Doesn't mean I don't miss him -- I do, badly, but I've been missing him for a long time, and dying when you're old is different to a young, tragic death. So I'm grateful that she reminded me, but it isn't going to kill the day, I think.

There was also a parcel from my mother-in-law containing the new Margaret Atwood novel. SQUEEEE! How excitement! Other pressies are apparently waiting until tonight, when I have dinner with BB, Dr Sista Outlaw and Zoe, which is about as much excitement as I will be able to manage before a better sleep than last night.

Can't go without a chuckle:

funny pictures of cats with captions

Love the fact that the Lolcat mirror image is just someone typing the words backwards, not flipping the speech bubble... other presents were some gorgeous smelly flowers, a graphic novel of Coraline, and a fabulous Patsy Payne artist's book (Murmur)... just had an extraordinary drunken scrabble game with Dr Sista Outlaw and Zoe that is documented on crazybrave's twitter thread. Great birthday. You're all beautiful, trooooly.


TimT said...

Happy birthday & Duck! Sounds like it'll be a great year!

Paper Chipmunk said...

I turned the same age this year. I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that I'm well into this decade. Whoever would've thought it? May you have a wonderful year.

(You don't know me, but I peek at your blog now and then. I thought I'd sort-of introduce myself, especially now seeing that we share this 42 number.)

Anonymous said...

Happy B Ms D.

Saw this and thought of you:

fifi said...


One of my favourite beaches too!
So lovely a place for a birthday. Sounds like a great day...wishing you many many more, love fifi

genevieve said...

Oooh, I feel like packing up for Wye River after seeing those pics. Hope you had a lovely day, and many more...

Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh, happy late-ish birthday, Duck! It sounds like you had a fab time, except for the scary tent moment (!), and that photo is just lovely.

Michelle said...

Happy birthday! Love that photo.

Penthe said...

Happy birthday for your day at the beach. Very tempted to wag school and hit the sea.

elsewhere said...

Happy birthday! Hearing of your age makes me realise how long I've been reading your blog...

My theory about the whole 42 thing is that DA chose it because it's the age when one can no longer admit to not being middle-aged. Supposed end of fertility and all that.

43 is a bit of a weird age, like 37.

Ampersand Duck said...

Well, yes, elsewhere, I guess I am middle-aged. I hope I am! 84 is a pretty respectable life-span, don't think I'd like to be much older than that.

I've always thought there were more interesting age numbers to be -- like 33 for men (I had an ex who would groan that by 33 Jesus had died and the Beatles broken up -- and what had he achieved? Classic bloke).

Thanks everyone! I'm feeling a bit squidgy today, too much drunken scrabble.

Anon: that was a great link to the ampersand brooch. I'm sad that there were no black ones left, but I bought a red one anyway. Fun!

And Paper Chipmunk: Yay! Thanks for delurking! Do it again sometime!

Paper Chipmunk said...

And likewise A. Duck, thanks for paying me a visit and for your kind compliments.

As for that 84 thing... my husband says that as long as you can double your age and imagine still being around and lucid, it's not so bad. 84...yeah, reasonable. 90? He didn't personally care for 90. We'll find out...

Btw, I have two black cats too. The one who most seems to look like Mr. Pooter has been known to eat chipmunks, alas.

Kirsty said...

Happy Birthday for yesterday. Sounds like you had a great day.

jac said...

Happy birthday! The beach was a great idea.

Mummy/Crit said...

Belatedly, happy birthday. Baterz used to have a thing about the number 37, but not in relation to age specifically.

dogpossum said...

Happy Birthday, ducky.
And: BB is a giant. It's strange looking at photos of a boy I don't know and thinking 'my, he's getting tall and grown up'.