the view from the tower

arcite's day

Friday, April 30, 2004

just waiting

Well, I'll have to wait until next Thursday to find out whether or not I have the job I want. Bummer. Did I mention how cheap Tuborg lager is here in NZ? Go figure.

Today's songs: the ludicrous comic futurity of Zappa's winding up working in a gas station followed by the equally excessive sword of damoclese from rocky horror then the teutonic twilight of Bowie's station to station followed by lashings of Wagner. And the sombre opera of Bush's majestic running up that hill.

Oh yea. This morning Roishan cracked a joke about blondes with the quip that 'blondes are dumb.' My hair is fairer here coz of the sun. Dumb northern dad. Yes, many in my family are blond.

I'm enjoying Eddings. Yea for pulp fantasy.

...arcite at Friday, April 30, 2004...

Thursday, April 29, 2004


This morning I'm talking to Roishan in the kitchen when suddenly an large magpie flies from the cabbage tree in the back right into the kitchen window. Thunk! The glass held and the bird just sort of ricocheted back into the bush.

Then in the bathroom the tiniest money spider on the smallest thread hung from the windowsill.

After dropping the kids off I stopped by St. Mary's Anglican church for my morning vipassana session. The church was empty as always. I'm listening to the sound of a mower outside and noting thoughts "this is the sensation of hearing a mower", "this is the memory of my grandmother's place in Oldham, how I opened the drawers to play with plugs, the smell of the drawer", "this is my breath", "this is the mower" when my nose begins to tickle, as it does in an empty church, and "kachow!" The mower stops.

...arcite at Thursday, April 29, 2004...
According to Hello magazine, Bowie is being followed by a fan in a bunny suit. How weird is that? (Thanks to exclamation mark blog).

...arcite at Thursday, April 29, 2004...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

OK, Ok. Maybe I was a little hard on Faulkner. I can appreciate the technique but that doesn't mean that I enjoy reading him. We've also been watching the BBC's channel 4's first season of The Book Club on DVD. A lot more fun than Faulkner.

...arcite at Wednesday, April 28, 2004...

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

My job interview went well yesterday. I'll know on Friday whether I have the job. There was a technical hitch with their laptop but I'd printed out copies of my presentation so we sat around the table and I took them through it and then looked at the English/Maori web site I'd worked on a few years ago. The salary isn't as high as I'd have liked given that I have two kids but never mind. I like the company and feel I'd be happy working for an educational publisher. So fingers crossed.

I'm reading Faulkner for my next book and I'm finding him as unpleasant as ever. I read The Sound and the Fury as an undergraduate twenty-odd years ago and found it boring. As a graduate student, I was a correspondence tutor for a modern fiction course that had Light in August on the syllabus. I just couldn't get into it at all and ended up grading the two essays written on Faulkner without reading the novel. I wonder if I'm alone in finding Mr F difficult and somewhat overrated. What is all the fuss about?

I was going to go and sit Vipassana tonight with an insight meditation group in Island Bay. Before leaving for Singapore I was sitting with a local Zen group who met in a house just over the hill near the university. I'm going to give it a miss as Survivor All-Stars is on tonight and Kiran is a dedicated fan so if I scoot off to sit still for an hour with strangers she will have to wrestle with the kids. So I'll leave it until the end of the season before I pop in for a look. I smiled at Kiran's quip when I told I was going to go to the group "such a dire hobby--why don't you do something more cheerful if you're going to go out?"

...arcite at Tuesday, April 27, 2004...

Monday, April 26, 2004

Further evidence of the quality of Hungarian book design. Which cover of Stephen King's Carrie do you think is best?

...arcite at Monday, April 26, 2004...

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Photograph by Shoichi Aoki

Photograph by Shoichi Aoki from FRUiTS.

Photograph by Shoichi Aoki

Photograph by Shoichi Aoki from FRUiTS.

Photograph by Shoichi Aoki

Photograph by Shoichi Aoki from
FRUiTS magazine no. 36, May 2000.

So! Listen young people. You all must see FRUiTS exhibition to wipe away all notion of lost in translation clones. Remember where those Ziggy costumes came from, OK? Thanks to Dowse Gallery in the Hutt Valley for another totally brilliant show. I just hope that this fashion catches on. Very Nippon self-fashioning with your very own fashion ring.

For more see FRUiTS at The Powerhouse. Yea, I knicked most of the good images.

...arcite at Sunday, April 25, 2004...

Saturday, April 24, 2004

nosmo king

Went to see Dimmer at The Bodega last night. $25 to get in. Not to mention the pints...I said not to mention! Actually I think Dimmer as a live act are a little overrated. Anika Moa was on backing vocals and you couldn't hear her at all. All very prog rock with guitar solos etc etc. Shayne Carter, kiwi guitar hero. All a little too precious for me.

Then this morning I told Roishan that I wouldn't smoke any more even though he hardly ever sees me smoking. We were in the garden tidying up and I emptied a flowerpot of the old tenants' butts into a plastic bag only to find a mound of fag ends hidden under the bushes where they had emptied the massive flowerpot last time when it was full. Dirty rollies everwhere. Hundreds of dimps and butts. God, smoking is disgusting. Cleaned all the windows and spent three hours re-doing the web site concept. A lot less blah now and more punchy.

...arcite at Saturday, April 24, 2004...

Friday, April 23, 2004

Another great day here. I work on the presentation and then in the afternoon, sun blazing, it's time to play our own reality tv game NZ Idle. Then back for a little more work. Aurora sends a link to the shock and awe of Get Your War On. How Americans live with such dum-assed public figures is a mystery to me given national pride. At least that Kerry guy looks like he can walk and talk.

...arcite at Friday, April 23, 2004...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

on the cusp

You know, that feeling that all could go either way. Western Europe, 1932. Yesterday afternoon. The next ten years. My friend David has a poem selected for best NZ poems of 2003. So I call him and congratulate him. Excellent poem: I like nearly all the poems on the site and I aspire to write such verse. At least I'm not a bitter poet who dislikes everyone else's work. I don't feel resentful just a little frustrated at my limitations. I work on the concept for the job interview next week. But I'm not that confident about the concept--truth is I'm out of design practice. Then the contract for the next book comes with a delivery date of October next year and I don't feel anything at all. Funny because I remember how I excited I was when the first one came, how I rushed upstairs to ask Leo and Aurora to bear witness. Funny mood: Just clouds. I'll read a few more books and then I'll start writing.

...arcite at Thursday, April 22, 2004...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

just testing
For my job interview I have to submit a design concept for an interactive web page based on a set science text book as well as give a formal ten minute talk on a multimedia project I've worked on in the past. So I'm working on design concepts and I'm finding it challenging though not unpleasant (I have always enjoyed design problems.) All this though is just a test.

...arcite at Wednesday, April 21, 2004...

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The movie The United States of Leland is making waves in the autism listserve. This is clearly a 'must see' film yet I've heard nothing about it before this morning.

...arcite at Tuesday, April 20, 2004...
I would have loved to have seen the dimmer concert and celebration up in Dorkland. Did I tell you that Bic Runga is doing a church tour of NZ? Little ole unemployed me can't afford it this time.

...arcite at Tuesday, April 20, 2004...
Elizabeth Moon's great novel Speed of dark has won the Nebula Award for best novel in 2004. This novel is in my mind as significant as Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for the autistic canon. Moon gets less publicity because we all know that 'sf ain't real literature.' Moon's novel touches on questions of power, control and human difference without coming to any simple conclusions and without valorising autism.

...arcite at Tuesday, April 20, 2004...

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Oh yea, from now on, Gita will be called Kiran.

...arcite at Sunday, April 18, 2004...
Free will(y)

Late on Friday night, after a few drinks and a nice long Indian meal in town, Wûlfræd brought up free-will with myself and Kiran. Looking back on his life from the vantage of his mid-forties, he wondered if free-will really existed. How free was he after all to make choices? Weren't his choices just limited to begin with? He added that neurologists had done tests and they had found that the nerve signals to move a hand begin before the subject consciously decided to move his hand. Wasn't free-will really just an illusion created by the brain?

Kiran agreed that our choices are limited and that we probably don't have as much choice as we think that we have.

I countered his argument by saying that the critique of free-will is all a matter of perspective. To say that we have no free will works by establishing perfect free-will as a sort of straw man. No, we are not gods able to create our own universes and yes, our choices are constrained by genetics, history and our limitations. But this doesn't mean that we have no free-will, just that our will is limited. I think that humans have more free-will than any other lifeform we know. There are no displays of free-will on Mars. And genetics isn't all about limitation: genetics gives us more choices that Oak trees, lice, ants and mice. We are free to reflect on our actions and this reflection is entirely different from the motor system that drives moving a hand about which I'm sure is very mechanical. Rather than think about free-will as a matter of which choices I make, I choose to think of it as "I am able to reflect on what's happening to me and what I'm doing." Free-will is the space to reflect on mental events.

...arcite at Sunday, April 18, 2004...

Saturday, April 17, 2004

back 2 mac

Well, I have made the shortlist for the project management job. There's a specific web-development project exercise I must complete and submit to them along with a ten minute presentation during the interview on a recent web or multimedia project I've worked on. And we now have an i-mac in the house as Roishan has been crashing Nanaji's Mac and so he gave us money to buy him him a secondhand one from Magnum Mac so he can continue to learn AppleScript. Oh happy boy.

...arcite at Saturday, April 17, 2004...

Friday, April 16, 2004

still waiting

I find out today whether or not I'm on the shortlist for the e-publishing project manager job at an educational publisher. I'd really like to work for this company.

...arcite at Friday, April 16, 2004...

Thursday, April 15, 2004

ara unseen

I didn't get the phone company job. I didn't make the second interview. The publisher is sending us a contract for the new book. But what's the advantage to us of having this contract other than a deadline? There's no advance. Last night was clear so I looked at Scorpius—what a wonderful constellation. Carnt sleep. One eye on the star map and the other on the sky I try to discern Ara, The Altar. No joy. This morning I re-wrote three poems. I decide to work on the most difficult chapter of the new book first. Then the book arrived on Adolescence and Asperger Syndrome. So I looked at it and listened to The Scissor Sisters and bounced on the minitramp. I'm wondering now about the Project Manager job.

...arcite at Thursday, April 15, 2004...
the world wont listen
My brother calls from Sydney and I read Pema Chödrön. Both tell me exactly what I need to hear. Listen up: accept that the world's chaotic. Now, do you want to be open or closed?

I spent the sunny morning with my youngest, Te Wala. We go to Benburn Park, Island Bay Park and stop off at the Cambodian Wat in Island Bay. A Cambodian family are giving the two monks the noonday meal so we all stop and chat. I look at the elder monk and wonder what he might have had to do to survive.

By evening I'm more closed than open. A little heavy and serious. The Panorama documentary on Al Quaeda then an interview with a former US Security advisor on NZ TV. According to Panorama, Bin Laden's plan was for the US to invade Iraq and to fuel jihad. And the advisor shocked me in how his speech was all reason and "win the war" with "establish a government" sounding to me like "vietnamisation." The central fantasy here is one of command and control and it is a fantasy. Yet for all my tin pot opinions I really know so little. Why was Iraq so much on the radar? Was it oil, personal interests or a liberation fantasy? I don't believe that they ever thought that the weapons of mass destruction were there in great numbers. That I'm sure was a lie. (Why not just put in more weapon inspectors?) The Afghanistan operation at least makes military sense so I think that the invasion was sort of a 'while we are at it let's sort this out' affair. But Iraq doesn't seem to be connected to 9/11 other than the invasion fulfilling Bin Laden's objectives--that was clear in tonight's BBC documentary. Now we are all plunged into this crusade/jihad/command and control fantasy. All my friends in US, Europe and my family in Australia. You see it spiralling and widening and rippling out. How does this end? (Regime change in Iran? Syria?) When? This year, next year, five years? Does it flare up or does it slowly blow away leaving the dead in its wake?

...arcite at Thursday, April 15, 2004...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

What Classic Movie Are You?
personality tests by

Well well well. I rarely take these tests and I got the same one as Bitchen! Bitchen was the first blog I read, oh, it must have been two years ago? Things were different will be nice to read him again for a while.

...arcite at Wednesday, April 14, 2004...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

after easter

I know Americans tend to always have a kitter litter but in NZ and the UK, kittens are supposed to have a litter and then learn to go outside. When we had a litter, Canopus was a good little tom cat. It's only since the litter was removed that we've had a few problems. So far, fingers crossed, all seems to be going ok. We have two weeks of school holiday coming up which can be tiring. I have to get some work soon and that's the last I'm going to say about it aside from noting that it is really starting to get me down as I worry about the future. If it was just me and Gita it would be different--we've lived without much income before. Every since that meeting last May when Roishan was basically kicked out of school for no good reason my life has been spiralling in a chaotic fashion. I'm still waiting for the dust to settle.

...arcite at Tuesday, April 13, 2004...

Monday, April 12, 2004

tap, tap, tap
digital image. 2004.

thanks to ikrek for image hosting--such a pal

...arcite at Monday, April 12, 2004...
How do I stop our ginger cat from pissing in the house? We have a cat door and I'm at my wits' end. Is it true that ginger cats are thick?

...arcite at Monday, April 12, 2004...

Sunday, April 11, 2004

up country

We spent all day in the Wairarapa as Gita's sister, down from Auckland, wanted to catch-up with an old boyfriend Alan who lives in Gladstone. (She decided not to come back with us and to stay the night.) I mean this is country life. Electricity is on but there are power cuts in winter: sewage is handled by a septic tank. He cooks on a Victorian wood burning stove (no kidding!). Gorgeous property-- running stream with three very big eels. Apple trees, plum trees, herbs, lovely. Lots of space, no animals. He, like Dad, loves to feed the stream eels. Alan fed them catfood and told me that the big one was probably sixty years old as eels live for 30-60 years. When they mate, they all go back to the sea and swim the Pacific to a spot near either Tonga or Vanuatu. I told him that I wasn't necessarily buying any of this eel lore but he swore it was true. The house is Victorian and very delapidated. He's given up on Wellington and is a country boy now.

...arcite at Sunday, April 11, 2004...

Friday, April 09, 2004

good news

Funny day. Very slow, like looking through glass. Lovely email from the publisher: yes, we want the new book, we really do! The idea is very original. When can you give me the manuscript? Now I know another reason people write books--a good publisher is there with the authors. We haven't replied yet, nor have we seen our first book but one family we worked with on the book has seen the printed copy and is delighted. I'm jobless but happy today. I love the way we have worked on this together. This is more my project than Gita's but the first book was more her's than mine. Somehow both projects have become fused together and while it's scary it's also really thrilling.

...arcite at Friday, April 09, 2004...

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Thanks to incoming signals, this lovely collection of film noir posters. Just what I want to see with my morning coffee as my heels smart. Meant to write on autism but wrote a poem about The North. Noodling around in Photoshop making a cover for Ikrek Hava. Very plain abstract design, just fiddling with the filters which I always enjoy. Not real work just play. Cold weather. Getting good comments on the book from people who have received a copy of it before we have got ours. Bizarre. Listening to Orbital's Back to Mine.

...arcite at Thursday, April 08, 2004...

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

peeled heeled jack

I just had a long interview with the phone company. I thought it went well & if they don't engage my service I at least hope to be put on hold & called back for a second interview. I wore my new Doc Martins: I've worn Docs for years and new Docs have always been a real rite of passage but these lace-ups are just torture devices. I walked to the bus-stop, got off the bus, stopped at the bottle store for a can of lager, walked home, which all up took about fifteen minutes. Now my feet are bleeding and my socks soaked from the sanding off of the back of my heels. But after an hour long interview the lager tastes nice and I'm eating Indian tonight at my in-laws. The best thing about being in an Indian family? The food!

...arcite at Wednesday, April 07, 2004...

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Did I forget in my spin-drier dryness to forget to note how much Gita & I enjoyed the salford lads club at our local Bar Bodega on Saturday? Not home till nearly 2.00 am. Oh well, some blogs are drier than other.

...arcite at Tuesday, April 06, 2004...
Just reading the blogs, very interesting (as ever) to see what Neil Gaiman has to say about the Scooby Do 2 movie. What do critics expect? Last night was clear so I sat down and looked at constellations Crux and the Diamond Cross--which those silly northern star mappers don't recognise but call instead Triangulum Australis, thereby missing the top of the cross. I was tempted to get the binocs out to look at the southern pleiades in the Diamond Cross but instead tried to make out Centaurus which is one of those massive convoluted constellations devised by a crazed Greek tripping on ambrosia who convinced his good companions--& I'm sure it was a guy given those horns--that some beast was tramping up the sky. Then back inside from the cold night to watch the enjoyable folly Nip/Tuck.

...arcite at Tuesday, April 06, 2004...

Monday, April 05, 2004

Anyway, I'm pouring through the phone company's websites as I have an interview on Wednesday for a job. Talk about cycles: the policy in Iraq has totally failed. How will any government be seen as credible and not a puppet regime? What about the dead Americans? What was the point of the Vietnam war? What was gained by all that carnage? What was the point of that arrow? I know we're all tired of that topic now. So very very tired...

...arcite at Monday, April 05, 2004...

Change the cycles. Don't ask where the arrow came from or who put the poison on or whose to blame. Just pull it out of your eye now. You know what The King said: "Caught in a trap..."

...arcite at Monday, April 05, 2004...

Sunday, April 04, 2004

you're a great way to crash

The senior minister's paranoia strikes again. I wish that the SIA story in Singapore in which the govt just hijacks the media, (nothing new there) and kicks out a union representative as a insurgent not 'working for the country' was getting more coverage overseas. Singapore Girl, you will do exactly what one man tells you to do. Or you will get out. I have this sense that Singapore is going backwards, retreating into the 70s, rather than moving forwards. Am I alone in feeling that all this undermines the strength of SIA? Where are all the organizational psychologists and business academics here? Even my rabid father-in-law feels that this is a chronic mistake and part of a more systemic crisis as Singapore fails to adapt to the post 9/11 economy. The mood to me seems so different from early 00s when Singapore made the cover of Time. Look carefully at those reinforced concrete walls: the cracks are starting to appear.

...arcite at Sunday, April 04, 2004...

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Three small earthquakes in Wellington last night. The floor shakes, ain't no truck, HERE THE FUCK IT COMES, wobble wobble wobble when will it end? Then gone. ...The another shake and it's a little bigger and here it comes! And never mind shaking the waves and look at the pictures on the mantle are they going to fall and it's gone. Kobe? Not kobe! No......then again just a little one, little shake in little waves.

And I'm going in for the competition at poetry society. Lovely day today. Carpal all better now!

...arcite at Saturday, April 03, 2004...

Friday, April 02, 2004

links, lists

I think that I should explain how I've been using the links section on this blog. My very few regular readers will have noticed that some sites come and go while others stay the same. That's because I'm slowly trawling my way through the blogsphere and if I'm reading your site then I'll link to it rather than just read it without any acknowledgement. I do, however, have a few sites which I have remained linked to for a long time. Some of these sites (Ikrek, Brittle Lemon) are written by friends I met IRL. I also don't want to have an extremely long list of links --I'd rather have short and sweet rather than comprehensive. So my list of links tells you what I read over coffee each morning.

Although I've never received a 'hurt' email or comment--I've only a few readers, which is fine--I do worry that a blogger linked to from my site and then removed might feel rejection. For this reason I've decided to change 'links' to 'this week's blogs' so you all know that I'm pointing readers your way if I'm reading you rather than commiting to a permanent link. After all, I only have so much time to read blogs and I do want to traverse blogspace. All this sounds very precious, I know, but I don't want to piss off other bloggers.

...arcite at Friday, April 02, 2004...

Thursday, April 01, 2004

all that we see or seem

Recurrent dream motif: I'm flying with my friends on a very fast jet airliner which has large, cockpit-like windows. Outside the window I see a ticket, or a memo, fluttering beside the plane so I open the cabin window and jump outside to retrieve the ticket. I soar to the ticket, grab it in my hands and then do a sort of soaring loop so that the plane is now below me as plunge down to re-enter the cabin. Once inside, my friends all tell me that they too all have dreams just like this involving flying, tumbling and returning.

Unlike my time in Singapore and despite my troubles, I sleep long and deep here. I lie in bed and I imagine myself as a waka, sailing across the harbour, past Matiu, the dark waves hitting my prow and falling behind me as I journey past the blessed isles into the west to the other shore. It's my time to die.

...arcite at Thursday, April 01, 2004...