Of worms and poop

It’s called vermiculture, my environmentalist friends tell me.  You take some worms and put them in a small plot of earth with some dead leaves.  The worms eat the leaves, then climb to the top to poop.  Then they burrow under the earth where they reproduce quite quickly.  After a while, you can take the poop (called vermicast) and sell it.  You can also take the worms, of which you would have quite a lot more of than when you started, and sell those too.  After another short while, you can take some now-rich soil and plant vegetables in it.  Then you can sell the organic vegetables too.

That’s three ways to earn.  They tell me the demand is much greater than the current supply, and they will gladly take my produce and sell them for me.  There is also apparently an export market for them.

So what do you think?  Should I make my fortune on worms and poop?

When your escape sends you back to reality, say thank you

Because the first season of “A Game of Thrones” was such a cliffhanger, I promptly borrowed the 5-book series from my sister to read.  It was so engrossing, it managed to pry me away for good from the Facebook game “Cityville”, which I had been obsessively playing for over a year.

Books and the Internet are my escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life (Ha! I seem to imply I lead a hard and complicated existence when in reality, my life, though not simple, is not too bad at all!).  They help me relax at the end of a tiring day, easing me into sleep at night.

Then came this book series.

I get to know the characters and their families, their values and fears.  I accompany them through forest and desert and snow for days on end.  I see them through hunger and a thousand moral dilemmas.  I cheer them on to battle.  Then before they (and I) can even straighten up to savour a victory (not to mention gloat), it’s taken away by a host of foes or a scheming fiend who turns all their dreams and hardships to naught.  Dang!

But, fine.  Sometimes, that’s just the way it goes, even in fiction. I tell myself, you just have to plod on towards that happy ending made much sweeter by everything that went before.

And THEN (and this is really the thing that gets me), the author decides to snuff out my most loved characters, just when I’m already so emotionally invested in them.  I scream – What kind of warped thinking is that?! Did he have a childhood deprived of fairytales?! Doesn’t he know the rules of fantasy writing?! Aaargh!

My escape is leaving me spent and sad.  I am on the fourth book now (Yes, I’m still at it — I WILL see my heroes avenged!).  When it gets too much, I put it down for a bit and reach for a brief I have to read, or that project bid I’m supposed to be writing, or the budget that needs sorting out.  Aaaah, that’s so much more relaxing.  Thank you.

The Quiet Magpie: My list of must-see films

I learned that a lot of young people have never heard of many of my must-see films that succeeded on plain old good writing, direction, lighting, music and cinematography, and without the benefit of today’s effects technology.  Here’s my initial list.  Got any to add?

  1. Gone with the Wind (even with today’s technology, can’t think how this can be improved)
  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (one of Jack Nicholson’s best)
  3. Babette’s Feast (love this!)
  4. Heavenly Creatures (not a pleasant film to watch but very good nonetheless; based on a true story, starring a very young Kate Winslett)
  5. The Color Purple (a little too long for me, but worth it; Whoopee Goldberg’s first major film, but NOT a comedy; try to spot Oprah Winfrey)
  6. Remains of the Day (quiet is perhaps the best word to describe it — i’ve seen noisier silent films!)
  7. Camille Claudel (wonderful Isabelle Adjani!)
  8. Steel Magnolias (superb ensemble cast)
  9. Fiddler on the Roof (lovely lovely)
  10. The Godfather (I like the second one best, but you can’t see it without having seen the first first.)