the view from the tower

arcite's day

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Well, I'm sorry to have been away for so long. I've been quite sick with an odd virus (the doc told me I was the third case of this virus he'd seen this morning and that was yesterday at 10 AM) so now I'm on antibiotics and painkillers. It's nothing more than a shocking form of strep throat.

Been working on a new poem--quite different--and revising Billy, Living Doll and The Diagnosis. None of the these poems, I fear, will ever be published in a magazine which provides more than enough incentive to get on with the book. But I have to give them a chance.

Boo hoo, Beagle 2. That sets us back what? 10 years?

Disturbing story of the day? Look no further than

...arcite at Tuesday, December 30, 2003...

Friday, December 26, 2003

Did you have a good christmas? I didn't get my present as the Beagle doesn't appear to have made it. Incredible disapppointment. I'm at my sister's in Otaki fighting off a virus which I hope isn't flu. It sure feels like flu. It's freezing here.

...arcite at Friday, December 26, 2003...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Noon. I meet Paul Morrison {hek! hek! beat those spiders!}, author of two books too expensive for anyone other than libraries too buy, a research fellow at Mcquarie, an old friend I first met in 1980. Very healthy: strict veggie and no caffeine. He’s working on book three, a massive project entitled violence and aesthetics, all modernism and high culture. We have a long conversation about research projects, music, poetry, relationships (he’s single again), theory, identity, you get the picture and go to the city art gallery, where he reminds me that I am entitled to a concession as I'm unemployed, to take in Wim Wenders exhibition of photographs, impressive due to sheer size of the prints but I thought often underexposed, he’s a texture man, and a Stephen Spender exhibition which I quite liked though found the later xtian paintings tiresome—no religion, no politics next year-- and also an exhibition, that we both laughed at, of Viggo Mortenson’s photographs, ha, ha, ha. How I wish Paul lived here.

...arcite at Wednesday, December 24, 2003...

Monday, December 22, 2003

Connectivity problems. Drivin' me crazy. Finished Greg Bear's
Darwin's Radio. Sound SF, good characters, good pacing. Bland style. So I can't for the life of me understand why the Science Fiction Writers of America, who dish out the
Nebula, would choose to give this to Bear other than for political reasons.

Today's songs: Days of open hand S. Vega (thanks Ashley; the more I play the more I like. Vega takes time). Bowie: 'Try some, buy some' (the tune sticks in my head).

I don't know where I am this morning
did i remember to fold my legs & journal
neatly under the bed? All that fog
about misunderstandings; all that smoke
about not understanding disagreements
when so much of Brief is a storm
thrown together, the poem as rogue
vacume cleaner sucking in stray
specks of language ~dad i've
finished building the railway track
all by myself! look, it's finished. done
~ the track doesn't loop, make a circuit
& thunder only happens when it's raining.
See? No, not really. I'm walking the supermarket
aisles changing watching humpty dumpties fall
to watching diamond pattern falls.
There must be more to reading than 'sounds like' and 'file
under M for modernism.' Joyce's Afternoon?
Sounds like late high modernism. Doesn't do much for
me but then I so rarely read poetry or anything not connected
to my work. Now why doesn't that surprise me?

We walk the loop to the hardware shop. Rohan on his bike
Taran on foot. My heels are sore from the virgin Docs
I wore to the interview on Friday. Each step is a burn,
an itch, not unbearable but always on the fringes of morning.
The high street is a station I'm not yet tuned to receive.
I'm ghosting other written events: Ikrek shredding secrets
in the ruins. The look on your friend's face when he decides
not to mention the incident of the dog, the coffee table
& his outstretched hand. How we make sense of the here,
the immediate, may call for storms but also for the simplest
of stiches if we choose to say something without the wild
flight of our thought jamming the pattern...

...arcite at Monday, December 22, 2003...

Saturday, December 20, 2003

So yesterday, I put on my suit and went for interview two with the agency. The interview went well and I was told that the university owned company want to interview me in mid January. After that I may need to give a presentation or review a research proposal before getting the job. I was also told that this isn't just a 'funding orientated' job in which you go out trying to score as much money as possible (a la 2020 trust) but was also research/academic in that you need to know, discuss and help with research initiatives. So why am I being considered for the job? Work and actions done in a previous life. They know my work with The Sun God Company as an information architect. They are interested in developing non-tree based reading platforms. My interest is piqued--before I was only interested in the money.

And we are now back in our old house. The painting and the moving is finished. All I need to do now is take photos for the egroup and get a regular net connection.

Met David for lunch and had an intense conversation about poetry--well, intense from his end. I told him that I don't really think that these feuds between poets are about poetry at all. How could anyone seriously argue about poetry? He is now reviewing poetry for Takahe and I tell him that poetry would be the most difficult of literatures to review (my own published reviews in the 80s are an embarrasment to me now). I mean you either like it or you don't and it's either like something else or it isn't. Why am I such a reluctant literary critic? The autism and representation project is different because it's not solely about the works but about culture, representation, power/knowledges (don't yawn!) and identity. I think my criticism would be speculative and surreal like the Ziggy piece.

Read Brief a sort of experimental poetry magazine. Actuially quite unreadble to me or maybe I was tired after the house warming drinks. All very 1980s.

The little chick in the bush right outside our windows are growing so quickly and Iwonder when they will leave the nest.

What do I want for Christmas? I safe landing for Beagle 2!

Song of the day? Bowie's New Killer Star. But Reality is just too gospel for my tastes. 'Never Get Old' is about going to heaven and Harrison's 'Try Some Buy Some' is a song about finding god. All my own readings of course. Don't want or need to try or buy. Reason is so undervalued these days.

...arcite at Saturday, December 20, 2003...

Friday, December 19, 2003

This has been quite a tiring week. The painters finished yesterday and our two feature walls are quite striking--we choose three pearl white walls and a bright wasabi green as the feature wall in R's room and for our bedroom three pearl white walls and bright seventies purple called eminence! We also had all the wardrobes painted. Now we can move in. I took Crasher--the PC from zingers--down to the PC clinic to be fixed as it starts up and shuts down and I also stopped by Wellington library with R and got a pile of videos for the kids (Paddington Bear, Aircraft Carrier (for T), Natural Disasters, Cosmos (not the sagan one) part two and my first DVD, Suede's 'Lost in TV.' Then we rushed back into town, I bought a cheap though reasonably passable suit, a good tie and begged a tailored to make alterations to the pants within two hours which he did though only at double the usual price (fair enough). The second job interview is today with one of the chief honchos of the employment agency so if I pass this then I'll get another interview with the university-owned company.

We're getting nice warm emails from the publisher who is very happy with the revised manuscript and we are now sorting out covers. She seems very keen for us to outline the next book. If I don't get this job I wont cry as it isn't related to autism--but these dream jobs are hard to score. I'd like them to sell me the job a little bit. Obviously they had someone lined up who has spat the dummy at the last round of contract haggling and have now called in the reserve.

Is it just me or does Saddam look better with a beard? Let's not think of these serious issues just now...

Too relax before bed I have a couple of Raj's whiskies and go and have a good look at Taurus which always looks like a crocodile to me! I have a good star atlas at home but would love to buy a colour star chart that matches the colour of the stars. I'm staying away from the binocs for now as I want to do no less than learn all the constellations but I'm pretty confident that i've located the crab nebulae (m1). Venus is a delight to see in the south after the late summer sunset and I hope to turn my eyes soon to Columbia.

With all this activity going on we've decided to forgo forking out lots of money to see Lloyd Cole play the Bodega and to skip the 40,000 odd people expected to turn up for the Cuba Street festival though I will be in very quick to buy tickets to see Goldenhorse at the Bodega (aka 'the bodge') when they become available. The gig isn't listed yet but it's been advertised on student radio.

...arcite at Friday, December 19, 2003...

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Very busy day yesterday. All the shipping arrived exactly on time--good on Collins who were very efficient. Massive amounts of unpacking. And we had furniture delivered: Taran's bed, two sofas, a coffee table. And the wide screen tv and dvd player. (I got frustrated because I couldn't get the dvd to go as I didn't listen carefully to the delivery guy's instructions.) And dad came down from Kapiti and brought another small sofa and a coffee table. And we have painters doing R's bedroom and ours. And the kids started their six week holiday! And it's cold.

This morning good email: the book is finished and is now go! And the publisher wants book 2 on theory, idenity and AS. I am so relieved. And the job I was phone interviewed is still go and I'm still in the running. Excellent.

...arcite at Wednesday, December 17, 2003...

Monday, December 15, 2003

Oh yea, video of the day? The mighty danger! high voltage! from electric 6. I thought that this was a Wellington band! More fun than a barrel of monkeys--good 'snog' on the video too.

...arcite at Monday, December 15, 2003...
We go back to clean the house we have not lived in for three years & I feel spooky, like I'm haunting my own life or, more accurately, I'm haunting a life I once had. I inhabit some remainder of my own past that is tied to the walls and gardens of this house.

Cleaning brings me back to reality and I recognize hooch flakes all across the bottom of the shelf above the fridge. Very sloppy, guys. Unfortunately the attic appears bare as mother hubbard’s cupboard. I clean the loose buds in my own sweet way. In the late evening I spy Aldebaran and clearly see Orion’s bow and running Lepus. Tomorrow I re acquaint myself with the little dog.

In the morning the painters come and after some haggling we agree on a price. Some minor parts of the house I will paint myself but for some of the major rooms I want a professional job as I haven't the time, energy or expertise to do it properly.

DB rings up just on the off chance that I might be back. He’s halfway through his project of 140 sonnets. Good grief. He wants to meet up to talk poetry.

...arcite at Monday, December 15, 2003...

Sunday, December 14, 2003

What is it about probes and Mars? Well, it's a long way away. Unfortunately, the Japanese probe is lost and gone.

According to the morning paper, Elvis Costello and Diane Krall have wed in a private ceremony. I think this is his third marriage.
As I write Bic Runga is on the radio singing 'a rare and precious thing' backed by the Christchurch Philharmonic Orchestra. Terribly overcast. We drive up the kapiti coast to Otaki to see Mum, dad and my sister Jayne who is four months pregnant with her second child. My folks have renovated the house which is right in the country across from the Otaki race track. The garden is amazing with pear, lemon and grapefruit trees (we pick lemon and grapefruit.) In the garden we carefully look into the nests of three fantails—one perched on a tiny short tree holding three lovely small yellow and blue specked eggs. I wish that I'd brought the camera. After lunch, dad takes some fish that T didn’t eat and some bread and stands on the little bridge that crosses the stream that runs through the garden. He throws the bread and fish into the slow running stream and within five minutes two gigantic freshwater eels are gobbling down our leftovers. Beautiful snakelike creatures; so gracefull in the water. The kids run around around playing with their cousin Campbell and require absolutely no watching so it’s all very relaxed. We drive over to Jayne's place and look at the sofa that converts into a bed.

...arcite at Sunday, December 14, 2003...

Friday, December 12, 2003

Not such a great day. I had half an hour to do a job application and suffered bad IT hitches. Yea, I was stressed. I ended up dropping off the application in person in the afternoon because they couldn’t open the attachments. So far I haven’t been short listed for a job.

Today's song: Last year's man. L. Cohen.

Went into town, walked around the botanical gardens with L. Lovely sun. Went to pick up the kids. Watched this duck and her ducklings swimming up the small stream you cross on a little wooded bridge to get to the school. The ducklings were so tiny and fluffy and seemed happy just to be following mum.

Changed my mind about the submissions. I think I'll try Takahe especially after Marjorie's poems appeared in the last issue. I need a little acceptance now and they have generally liked my work in the past, although these poems are a little odd. Decided to send Dyptych rather than 'Mark's Fall.' Fiddled with 'The Diagnosis.' Don’t like 'Billy' now but will send it anyway.

For the first time since I've been here we had a clear night sky. The Astronomical yearbook star charts threw me off but the large sky map I bought is wonderful. I saw Orion and his bow, the red eye of Taurus (Aldebaran), the lovely Seven Sisters (Matariki in Maori) twinkling like a necklace, what I'm pretty sure were Castor and Pollux (but will need to check) and, prize of my first viewing in an unfamiliar sky bright burning Venus on the southern horizon. It looked so bright, like a plane! And Mars is still a dull burning coal. Had to wait up though as it doesn't get dark here until about 9.30PM.

...arcite at Friday, December 12, 2003...

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Went up to PC recycling in the Hutt Valey to pick up a copy of Dos 6.2 from Dog. I'm sure that it has the Dos Shell on it. Had a good natter with him about the Trust and how it all seems to have fizzled out recently.
Then, after lunch at the Queensgate shopping mall, we popped over to the Dowse Art Gallery in the Hutt to catch the Don Binnney retrospective. I've always thought of Binney as a not very engaging painter but reprints don't do justice to his brush work or the subtly of light in his work. Obviously, he is pretty fixated on birds.
Worked on three poems: Diptych, Billy & The Diagnosis. Think I'lll look over 'Mark's Fall' tomorrow.
Drove us down to Makara beach. Few people there so we throw driftwood into the ocean and watch the tide pull them out to the far horizon.
I appreciate staying with my in-laws but I want to move soon into my own house.

Finished Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I first read this when I was 14 years old. You know, it's one of those texts that you read at school. It's so overread that you don't know where to begin. This time, I was struck by how it's a story not only about growing up and finding out about the socius but how it's also so much about the law and how the law works. Never trust a crowd.

Read an amazing poem by NZ's own Kevin Ireland:

Walking in the dark

You kick your shoes in a puddle at night;
somewhere a lone bird fractures the window
of a lake; wind crumples the gold-leaf bindings
of the sea. The constellations burst their lungs
to resurface beneath each step. You look

upside down at the sky and remark how
the ooziest waters offer startling reflections.
A gummy trickle of mud and rust and slime
strikes sparks across a matchless mirror
of the night, rubs glitter from the dark.

Your progress plays hazard with the stars
and each sheet of glass you crack
shatters the moon in chance images as it spins
out of the silver clouds that flipped it
from the ends of their thumbs.

And to think I once thought he was 'lightweight' when now I admire this lightness. A superb poem! Look how he doesn't worry that stanza two should start in lower case as we're halfway through--Kevin, I'll try to remember that tip. God, you're good.

...arcite at Thursday, December 11, 2003...

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Congrats to The Double One over at Ikrek Hava who has now become a net! I'm just a pathetic blogspot that nobody wants to sleep in. I'm just a blogspot dot cum.

...arcite at Tuesday, December 09, 2003...
Today's songs 'The School Song' : Black Box Recorder. R didn't go to school today--we gave him a day off--and he must have played it at least 12 twelve times.
I'm growing more fond of Bowie's 'Bring me the disco king' which has some fun word play with ageing: 'killing time in the 70s' & 'dead or alive.' I just wish all of Reality sounded like a slow jazz session featuring Garson's piano.
Went christmas shopping for the kids bought a large floor puzzle and a spirograph for T and some cars. Looked at a scanner for R.
Worked on chapter 9, the analysis chapter of the life stories. Sent it off to the publisher. We are sick of it! Mucked about with the Olympus spy cam with R and looked at some astronomy software.
I know the quality of the blog is a little low at present but you know how it is when you stay with people.

...arcite at Tuesday, December 09, 2003...

Monday, December 08, 2003

Bought a Toyota Corrolla (2001) with a two year full warranty and service. $15,000.
I went to Scorching Bay with the family and got, well, scorched. I must wear more sun block here. Fine cloudless day giving way to overcast dusk. Hmpph.

Songs I'd like Bowie to play in concert in Feb:

My initial impression of the Reality album is that it's really quite tragic and irritating except the interesting 'bring me the disco king' song.
Changed the title of 'Stimming' to 'Billy.' Still unsure about it.

Just went and arranged car and house insurance. The tenants move out on Friday so we've asked carpet cleaners to come in on Sat--the carpet will take at least 24 hours to dry.

L reckons that R would love Dos 4 or Dos 5 for xmas. Apparently, DOS has a cult programming following and he really does want to start writing scripts. So I called Dog over at PCRC and he said yea, give me a day or so and you can come up and pick it up off me. It's on about four floppies.

Dog, by the way, is his real name. He's Maori, covered in tats and I reckon is probably an ex-gang member (Mongrel Mob?).He insists on being called 'Dog': I fist met him when I used to run the trust.

...arcite at Monday, December 08, 2003...

Saturday, December 06, 2003

The weather here is windy and overcast—I haven't seen open sky since I arrived on Monday. So much wind.

Met Wulfraed for lunch at Roti Chenai. I ordered a mee goring—fat, soggy noodles with seafood. Not enough chili and not cooked on high enough heat. After living in Singerpore I am spoiled for life.

Over lunch, Wulfraed, who was a close friend when I was at Victoria but whom I haven't seen in 12 years, tells me that he has frequently left his wife only to returned to her; that he has left his well-paying career in IT consultancy to focus exclusively on becoming a published poet and novelist although he hasn't 'concentrated much on publishing poetry' (at which I groan—everyone with an art degree here seems to be a poet or aspiring film-maker); that he's trying to apply for an MA in creative writing; that his 16 year old teenage daughter tried committing suicide seven months ago so he decided to get back together with his 'long suffering' partner; that he has multiple scheloris.

That night I work on ‘in flight’. Extensive revisions but the poem's still not working.

...arcite at Saturday, December 06, 2003...

Friday, December 05, 2003

T brings me a hand written letter in a crayoned envelope from school. I open it with anticipation. It reads in his wobbly uncertain script 'Dad, I really like it when you act stupid.'

He grins.

'Act stupid'?

'Yea like when you do stupid voices and stuff.' Laughs.

Went to the school disco. Did the chicken dance. Kind of liked it--it reminded me of my attraction to line dancing (which I have never done.) There's something about these stupid dances which is off, decentred, trashed, unappreciated...It is incredibly stupid.

Bought a Phillips wide screen tv and a dvd. Had lunch on the south coast (the batch): salad and a nice Riesling, (forgotten the details), served ice cold. It did not strip my teeth.

...arcite at Friday, December 05, 2003...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Having another good day--just bumming around town. Had a good chat with my folks this morning. Spare furniture will soon be deivered to our home. We're going up the coast a week on Sunday. Mum and dad loved the handwritten later that master R sent them and just cooed over it. great. they sounded happy enough. All i need now are some clear skies. I just bought two southern sky maps from Dimocks book store. One very simple, the other detailed. I'm still learning the skies.

Other good news; we move into our house on wa*kere st on Dec 15. This morning government valuations came in and our house is now worth considerably more than what we paid for it. Of course this means more rates but given the strength ofn the kiwi this looks good.

Other good news: the baptists next door on Wa*kere St are moving out! I always felt it was only a matter of time before some sort of ideological clash broke out but somehow our goodwill and mutual respect for each other pulled us through. I just hope that the new neighbour don't have a large savage dog.

And check out the cool new brittle lemon blog by the master dj himself! ('Cool new'--see how relaxed I am at present. Jeez, don't forget to write Engleesh).

...arcite at Wednesday, December 03, 2003...
I feel so much more 'real' just being back in NZ. I just feel more tuned in here even though I'm still jet-lagged. Everything seems to be running at a different speed. It sounds so corny but I'm so grateful for just having my family here. I'm unemployed now and what not but I just feel grateful for being able to live here now. I know that this will pass and reality will come crashing down but I keep smiling because I don't have to go back. I think coming back was the right decision. And L & the lads seem so much happier here. And it's coming on summer. Big smiles all round! But I don't regret going to Zingers. I had to go and I had to come back. I'm just going to try to follow L's advice and just do a little writing with her in Wellington's lovely library and not try to job hunt too much over the impeding summer of kids, picnics, barbies, fine wine, art, good walks and starwatching. I'm just going to take it slow for a bit and I'll worry about everything else just a little bit later. I think I'll take a slow working holiday while I'm not working. I'll think I'll let myself enjoy not working for at least a month. Until I get bored anyway. I am in a very good mood!

...arcite at Wednesday, December 03, 2003...

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Yesterday was a great day to return to Wellington. I arrived back in Wellington to the Air New Zealand flight crews' announcement 'welcome to Middle Earth.' Fantastic weather for the premier--beautiful sun, not too much wind. The whole town is buzzing about the premier and reunited with L and the lads we settle down and watch Liv Tyler, Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood and all the rest traipse through the town--all of them saying that this is an odd premier, very un-Hollywood. This morning after a little sleep I go with R. to his school picnic in the Botanical Gardens & I meet an old friend Ralph as I'm going in the main gate. Kaleb, whose R's classmate, is having 'emotional difficulties' and I see him tussling with another parent helper and then run off into the gardens. (He's already been suspended for running out of the school grounds.) R & I find him in a dark spot under a small punga forest crying "I want my Mum, I want my Mum." His parents have really split-up and his dad, according to L., has also just lost his job and looks glazed and 'sedated.' So I just sit with him for a while until the teacher comes. And the he asks to join my little group. I think that I’m actually really good with kids and I can see myself spending lots of time at the school.

...arcite at Tuesday, December 02, 2003...