Things I Learned Recently

  • Most politicians and journalists would rather spend time arguing about total trivialities than important stuff. No, I do not care about ute-gate. Not any of it. Could you please get back to governing and how about actually doing something about climate change?
  • In the Heights is every bit as wonderful and entertaining as people have been saying. Especially when seen with Robin Wasserman. Musicals make me so happy!
  • Never go anywhere with Maureen Johnson where cockroaches may show up. She told a story about dining with me and Scott and our good friend Alaya Johnson. The way she tells it is very operatic and entertaining but not exactly how I remember it. A cockroach landed on Scott’s shirt, I leaned forward to flick it off, and then something terrible must have happened because MJ started screaming. Alaya leapt up, me too, our hearts pounding, looking in the direction that MJ was pointed, while still screaming so loud my hearing is probably permanently damaged. There were no zombies shambling towards us. It took several seconds to realise that she had screamed down an entire restaurant over a cockroach. Mental note: no camping with MJ. EVER.
  • Sarah Rees Brennan and Diana Peterfreund do not know how not to spoil books and tellie and movies. I’m thinking of starting up a spoilerer re-education camp for them. Perhaps I will use MJ’s screams as part of the aversion therapy . . .

What have you learned this week?


  1. Diana Peterfreund on #

    Oh, no, what did I spoil for you lately?

  2. Sarah Rees Brennan on #

    Oh Diana, it is not you but me who made her learn things this week: I am a shameless spoiler ho.

    I do not MEAN TO. I simply wish to say ‘dear Justine, pray read this fine volume, I am sure you will enjoy it’ and then I become CARRIED AWAY.

    I say ‘So in Duchess by Night the heroine is dressed as a MAN, but the hero accepts his attraction to a man with unusual aplomb!’ Justine says ‘Sounds great!’ I say, gathering enthusiasm, ‘AND IN THIS ONE SCENE WHERE THE HERO AND HEROINE ARE FENCING’ and Justine says ‘Wait, stop’ and then I say ‘When the heroine kisses the stable boy, it results in’ and Justine says ‘WHY DO YOU WANT TO HURT ME?’

    … In conclusion, mea maxima culpa.

  3. Malcolm Tredinnick on #

    It was hard to work out what happened at that dinner from Maureen’s version. Your version makes sense.

    I learnt (only this very morning!) that wallabies in Tasmania are getting high on poppies, creating crop circles and then falling over. I have spent the morning sharing that tidbit with everybody:

  4. Patrick on #

    Wow! MJ is the reason they invented rubber bugs. You should be having sooooo much fun now. It’s the only way to desensitize her. You must – MUST I say – surprise her daily with rubber bugs. It’s the only way.

    Well, there is the other way, but I doubt you will find the Spring Well of Purity in Antarctica. Many try, few ever do.

  5. Benjamin Solah on #

    Utegate bored me to tears too! The revolts in Iran are much more interesting.

  6. Heather Tomlinson on #

    I learned that banana baby food is surprisingly tasty. Also got a “you must read this” book rec for Lily Koppel’s The Red Leather Diary. If you’re still in 30’s reading mode, you might check it out. From the Booklist blurb:

    In 2003, Koppel, a novice writer for the New York Times, stumbled upon an amazing discovery: the decades-old diary of a privileged teenaged Manhattanite penned between 1929 and 1934. Fascinated by entries detailing theater expeditions, shopping sprees, love interests, and grand ambitions, she put her journalistic skills to good use, tracking down the original owner of this faded and cracked red-leather treasure. Elated to discover 90-year-old Florence Wolfson alive, alert, and eager to share her memories of a bygone time and place, Koppel began interviewing Florence, interweaving the brief diary entries with more detailed personal anecdotes infused with the type of glamour and sophistication associated with a 1930s romantic comedy.

  7. Diane on #

    OMG… I just about died laughing when I read MJ’s version of the bug story. I just giggled incessantly for about 5 minutes straight. Maybe you should put something like that in one of your stories, it sounds like something out a book anyway. Especially the dramatic way she tells it.

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