the view from the tower

arcite's day

Sunday, October 31, 2004


a fistful of dollars. e. morricone
time is tight. booker t and the mgs
my life. dido
spooky. dusty springfield
i’m the urban spaceman. bonzo dog band
a hard day’s night. peter sellers
tales of brave ulysses
action. st. etienne
brand new friend. lloyd cole
peg. steely dan
te whanua e tamanui e ra. ebb
mad world. gary jules
she left on a monday. bic runga
complicated shadows. elvis costello
in the cold, cold night. the white stripes
bad babysitter. princess superstar
waiting for the miracle. l. cohen
the wanderer. U2 (feat. J. Cash)
adventures of robinson cruseo
downtown. mrs. miller

...arcite at Sunday, October 31, 2004...
Well thanks for your nice comments, guys. I appreciate the way you left comments so quickly. It's not important to me that Arcite's Day has a large readership just so long as I'm not blogging to myself in the dark. I'm going to keep blogging for another year. I might blog more fragments, shards, lists, images or whatever. But I'm also going to keep this a regular 'this is what we did today' sort of blog so it doesn't become too abstract. Yesterday, we bought Roishan and Me our Christmas presents: two mountain bikes. Roishan needed a bigger bike (he's now on a 22 inch wheel) and as he was buying one from the local bike shop just down the road I decided to buy one too and so got a good deal on a bike. I used to bike a lot when I was younger and lived in Palmerston North (where I wrote an M.A. thesis on Derrida). So I got on the bike yesterday and was somewhat relieved that I hadn't wrecked my body so much that I could ride back home--but I guess performance arts has helped me not to completely degenerate into a blob.

Today there is sun! I have to work on adolescence assignment today on Asperger's (I'm summarising the book) and start my art history assignment. We're also going visiting to see my friend HR (well known biographer, poet, theatre critic, academic, good friend) and his wife Bee (art history teacher at correspondence school), then I'm going out trick or treating with Roishan, Rory and one of their friends. All very American, I know, and I'd rather they didn't but hey, let's not be ideological here and there's nothing wrong with a bit of American culture coming over here--it's one big sloppy bloggy world out there. I like the costume element anyway. Back to work now on assignments...

...arcite at Sunday, October 31, 2004...

Friday, October 29, 2004

Arcite's Day is one. I'd like to experiment with the blog a bit. Mash it up. Thru the sieve or the mixer. Beautiful sea green boats, owl and pussycats sailing out to unsung shores. You know. But would such experiments and excesses become tiresome? That's what I need to know. Was the Dogen sequence a yawn of blogs to come? So, shall we dance and experiment or should I keep it within the bounds of the everyday blog? Or is enough really enough for us all and the party's over? Any comments from you are welcome.

...arcite at Friday, October 29, 2004...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

If you're bored and have nothing better to do than look at some contemporary NZ art, go to and do an image search on Robyn Kahukiwa. I've chosen her as the subject for this week's art history assignment. (So many assignments, alas.)

...arcite at Thursday, October 28, 2004...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Barbeque scallops
Just a little olive oil
yum--good kai moana here eh?

And those large black country mushrooms

...arcite at Tuesday, October 26, 2004...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

So we have a long weekend here. Cold winds, rain, never much sun. Global warming? This is the coldest sprint on record. We tidy Rory’s room and I work on my assignments. I have so much work due—the College screwed up our schedules so that all the assignments for all subjects are due at the same time. I may have mentioned that due to another botch-up all the art history students are one month behind on our weekly assignments. Never mind it will all be sorted. Besides, at least I enjoy art history. The assignment I’m working on is on teaching specialised terms to senior students (technique, process, theory, style, context, content etc). Since the six weeks Kiran’s folks have been away Kiran and I have had no babysitters so there’s been no pub, movies, meals out, chill-out time. Tiring. Writing is going OK: I’ve finished Nanosphere for a SF poetry competition and I’ve been reading some interesting American poets (Merrill’s ‘Lost in Translation’ a found gem). I’ve been quite productive with a whole batch of new unfinished and unpolished poems. I’ve also switched the background from piss yellow back to white to stop Ikrek going into a Pavlovian ultraparadoxical phase. I’m cooking veggie lasagne tonight. Watched Sex in the City: you know that Russian should have showed Carrie his art but perhaps if Carrie hadn’t behaved like an airhead when he was reading her poetry—even if he is a prat—and complained that it was ‘so serious’ and that Vogue was her poetry (so sophisticated, these NYers) then perhaps he might feel that he could actually talk to her. See, these problems weigh on my mind. Oh yes.

...arcite at Sunday, October 24, 2004...

Friday, October 22, 2004

bubblegum jeans. rate your rack. what we talk about when we talk about love. interpretative dance

At college, I’m working through the dance class and we’re developing an interpretative piece we could teach using the witches from Macbeth. As you know, I’m reasonably disgruntled with the college—all donkey work and boring—but I love my performance arts class. Why? Because they really throw you in deep but give you interesting situations to work through. Today I learnt E and A cords on the guitar before being thrown into dance. In dance, I cherish being taught choreography: dance is comprised of repeated moves made with spaced intervals. Revelation. So my dance training is tied in with my actor training. Don’t get me wrong most of my classes at the Teachers Colege are pedestrian but I have this confidence that I’m being taught by totally brilliant actors, choreographers and musicians who instead of bickering amongst themselves have a shared sensibility as to what needs to be taught and what needs to be learnt.

...arcite at Friday, October 22, 2004...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Yesterday the new 'two burner' BBQ arrived: the old one had been left outside by tenants and was beyond repair. When we bought the barbie on Saturday we found out that they only charged $30 for assembly, so we jumped at that offer. I remember me and dad spending a hellish four hours building the old one—they had even left out a nut for one of the burners! So last night we had meat sausages (for the lads), chicken sausages, lovely large country mushrooms, onions and a few yams (experiment.)

Back to college: god, aside from Performing Arts—which is physically demanding and stimulating—I am so incredibly bored. I'm currently working on a ten page assignment, due Friday, which asks me to provide evidence of what I learnt while on Teaching Experience. Talk about pedantic, dry, meaningless paperwork: "but sometimes I’d feel more fulfilled, making Christmas cards with the mentally ill." Thank you, Mozza. I sat through two hours of pointless English yesterday (a class on 'storytelling') and also found that I was three weeks late joining the Art History online class because I hadn’t been given a password and no-one had told us to go online during TE 1. So I guess I’m not going to do that well in Art History. I’m too old to be a good student. I just want to get through like those students I had in Singapore that I used to moan about who were all smiles and just cruising on automatic all day. L'automatique: C'est moi.

Of course, one of the great pleasures of student life is buying stationary and supplies. I'm in love now with Uni-ball Vision Elite pens. I written quite a few poems in Uni-ball black and yesterday, while buying exercise books, I splurged and bought a blue one. Now I'm dreaming of red and green to have the entire set in my pencil case. I'd also like a new pencil case—say a Spongebob one to match that Spongebob backpack that I’m so keen to buy. Can't you see how exciting my life is nowadays? War, what war?

Speaking of poetry, I’ve been invited to write an alphabet poem for a book of poems, aimed at kids, written by twenty-six poets. I was asked to pick one of the available letters so I chose 'W'. The book hasn’t got a contract yet but it seems to be taking off so I better get writing—I was asked to come on board by Jen of the Poetry Society. Not that I’ve forgotten about my current book contract but...well, studying at home and trying to write on AS isn’t working out. Too much work. Did I tell you that I wasn’t even interviewed for the Polytech job? I think that I did. I have like a million assignments due and I don't feel like I'm learning anything at all from them. A lot of tertiary education--especially in the Arts--is really rubbish, isn't it? Or maybe I'm just cynical now or has something happened to universities? I mean, I was on an intellectual buzz last time I was a grad student--even working for the Elite Corp in Singapore didn't dampen my encyclopedic interests. I'm bored and I'm the chairman of the bored. I really think I should settle down and try to do more meditation practice and just take everything just a little bit slower, life is too short for all this crazy racing around.

...arcite at Thursday, October 21, 2004...

Monday, October 18, 2004


A fistful of dollars. E.M
Bad babysitter. Princess Superstar
Brand new friend. Lloyd Cole
Pithecanthrus erectus. Charles Mingus
Goldberb variation no.1. Glen Gould
Hungry freaks daddy. F. Zappa
In the cold, cold night. The White Stripes
Leslie Ann Levine. Decembrists
Let Time Be Still. Greg Johnston
Mad world. Gary Jules
Some girls. Rachel Stevens
Song of the years. Dave Dobbyn
True colors. Cyndi Lauper
Take this longing. L. Cohen
Te Whanau a Tamanui Te Ra. Ebb
Waeroa. W. Black.
Wake up brother. Goldenhorse
Wouldn’t have it any other way. The Streets
Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Robert Mellin Orchestra

...arcite at Monday, October 18, 2004...
A novel that begins "What shall we do with the demons?" Ha Ha Ha. "—snapped the President." A novel beginning; "But my ass still feels dirty...”

Captain says
put your hands on your head.

Motormowers...let me tell's like the Mekong Delta out here. NZers and the environment. Motormowers, chainsaws, mulchers. The hills are alive with the sound of powertools. The spring sun brings diesel-powered cicadas. Me, I use a an old-fashioned handmower; I love the clack clack clack and the refs to Genesis and besides Keran tells me it’s good for my heart. Ha ha ha. There’s always been Ethel, Jacob wake up it’s time to tidy to room now. Then Mr Lewis---

Captain says

Often on those sultry spring nights, Jed sat out on the veranda twiddling his breeches thinking about his blog—

Why? Coz I’ve got eyes in the back of my head

...arcite at Monday, October 18, 2004...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

At 17 my teeth were green
I gorged myself on tangerines
And when my once fair-hair turned red
I cried all night and stayed in bed

We all pick our nose and should we choose
to flick the spoils back at our shoes...

When the I’d shut him in the carry cage
he cried in a language not broken by babel’s fall
let me out of here, help!
The vet unpicked his stitches
as if she was fixing a novice’s seam.
He’s hungrier than ever
so perhaps the tumour took all his second feeds.
At home, happy that he’s back and all’s well
I run my hands over the soft pelt of fur
light moss on a newly mowed ginger tom
know with surety that not all my children are human.

Oh look what you've done you've drawn a monkey on your bum. When you bend over a great ape greets everyone...

...arcite at Sunday, October 17, 2004...
So Friday night stayed up way late and listened to the songs of Leonard Cohen and read Lowell and Bishop and the printed ones did not speak to me, not one word, as I chain smoked and listened to Leonard and read and thought. Such a distance: why are their words dead to me and is it any fault of them alone? So I also went and typed up four poems. Notebooks are good coz they encourage drastic editing whilst revising. Waiting for the third part of this Shakespeare doco to come on—a detective hunt. I missed part one. Bill's family Catholic; aligned with Lancashire. Just how much politics is in there and what do we miss and is it significant? Watched Enterprise last night with the boys—they seemed so interested in why I liked the show, like this was Dad's show. They stay up so late on Friday nights sometimes—Roishan would not turn in last night until 11.15PM. And there are times that you want the house to yourself. I did not even get shortlisted or interviewed for the Polytechnic job so I guess my tertiary teaching career is over. At least the performances by the drama class went well with a couple of the hard, mohawked kids even saying ‘thanks’ which I appreciated. Back to college on Monday.

...arcite at Sunday, October 17, 2004...

Friday, October 15, 2004

Last day at school. 'My' drama class perform in front of the principal. They do well: good group voice and good group movement. Memorisation, costume, props. Poster in the staffroom: Do you know the signs of drug abuse? Exactly to whom is the addressee, see? Lunchtime slave auction as the 7th formers are sold to the junior school. The idea of a slave auction appeals to my perverse side but it's all theatre. Last year a group of junior school kids pooled together $200 and bought a seventh former. When she became their slave they asked her to don a swimsuit. Which she did.

...arcite at Friday, October 15, 2004...

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Parihaka. Hone Tuwhare
On the Air. L. Anderson
Big Science
Born Never Asked.
On the Sunny Side of the Road. Van
Street Theory. Van
Brand New Friend. L. Cole
Take This Longing. L. Cohen
Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine. The White Stripes
Girlfriend. Modern Lovers
Modern World. “
Leslie Ann Levine. Decembrists
Tales of Brave Ulysses. Cream.
Parihaka. Elizabeth Smither

...arcite at Thursday, October 14, 2004...
Driving down the Hutt motorway with Roo, past Petone when the whole harbour swings into view, he'd just asked me where the name Avalon—a suburb in the Hutt Valley—had got its name. Joking, well he's into science, not much so literature, so I tell him of Arthur, the blessed isles, older stories of Faerie. I glad that my evaluator from the teaching college gave me a fairly good assessment. I guess everyone hates being evaluated. The principle will visit the year 9 drama class on Friday where my class will finally perform their performance poetry. That's my final day at the school. I was also told today that as we graduate next July we’'l emerge in a scarce job market as schools don’t plan until the summer so we'll be out of season.

...arcite at Thursday, October 14, 2004...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I read in the paper that Derrida is dead, had died and that a full obituary would follow shortly. Well, I took some pleasure from his books especially in my 20s. I just hope that the next MLA doesn't feature at least two deconstructionists who start their papers with speculation on the trope of the pancreas in Derrida's corpus. Sure, that would be retro-80s but they could be tenured and foppish enough to think that donning Wedding Singer jackets would render the retro hyper-ironic. I did find Of Grammatology exciting, perhaps still do, it's been so long since I visited —such a vast architecture, broad baroque tropes, Escher stairwells, balconies, galleries and hinged doors from which you swing from one room to the next listening to the mythic history of the word become presence and the struggle for dominion through law. Then the rent’s due.

...arcite at Tuesday, October 12, 2004...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

'Where one good among many is already performing, the whole body of the total teaching and the ground of true reality are together being performed' (Dogen). Not void, not emptiness, change or plentitude: the ground of true reality comes to be the chance of a fine thing; that there might be realised a fine thing rather than a no-thing. That you can see that chance in the soft purrings or your cat as he contemplates hunting. Wulfraed drops of a package and a fantastic compilation. The cover shows a young girl in a cleared bush walking to huts which clot the village like the sticky buds of the wildest grass. My drama associate—smiling, smiling, yet ever the knave—halts my drama lesson, asks the students to put the desks back in rows, sits them down and has them write lines. Walking in the pouring rain, walking with Jesus and Jane.

...arcite at Saturday, October 09, 2004...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

'Good is not in the class of existence or nonexistence, form or void; it is just performance' (Dogen). For us to be here, now, our being would be before concepts and the datum of that chance of being-here rather than nothing is about to be a potential good that still requires an action outside of any isolated agent: performance one step before or beyond no-thing. Entering the design studio (loose offer of freelance work) I wondered how much they spent on the custom-made tiles all showing mathematical and algebraic signs demonstrating variations of the corporate name. Back home Canopus taps the cat-flap, patrols the window-ledge and watches the doors all in hope of the lucky break that would let him out into the garden where a soft light rains falls. Cat black the wizard's hat.

...arcite at Thursday, October 07, 2004...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

'Although doing good is performance, it cannot be measured' (Dogen). I awake before 6.00 AM to get Canopus ready for his operation as the test showed that his tumour must be removed. So he's already been under the knife and a phone call to the vet tells me all is well. I call the HR guy at the Polytechnic job as I've decided that retraining is really a polite way of saying unemployed at a tertiary institution: the point for me isn't to get more qualifications but to find some work in education. The Polytechnic job, to my surprise, requires a full-time 'lecturer' to teach and grade all assignments online. You never get to meet a student IRL. Call me old-fashioned and tied to the meatspace but I'm not buying this for one minute. School's been blown to pieces.

...arcite at Wednesday, October 06, 2004...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

'Although good is performance, it is not known by self, not other, not known by other' (Dogen). A black start to the new term. I'm fighting off a stomach bug and my drama mentor doesn't agree that I can be assessed during the rehearsal periods for drama as rehearsals aren't 'real teaching.' I see her point. I feel unwell all day and can't believe it's nerves as I don't feel nervous. My drama class goes very well but given I spent a large part of the weekend planning this week I guess it should. I drive down the Hutt motorway, drop of Nicky (Chinese trainee music teacher) and Andrew (south island trainee science teacher) and then promptly go and fill my Mother-in-Law's car with diesel (not a diesel car). So now the car is at the garage. I'll never make that mistake again.

...arcite at Tuesday, October 05, 2004...

Sunday, October 03, 2004

'Good does not arise from conditions or perish from conditions' (Dogen). Canopus returns shaved and sleepy from the anesthetic, the strange knotted lump a gizzard yet to be removed. The vet doesn't know what this tumour might be so we hear the dreaded words 'we took a sample and sent it to the lab for a test.' I suspect that it's nothing. Daylight saving returns to our stressed home as we wake to the last Sunday of the holiday; tomorrow I return to teaching drama—a subject I enjoy but about which I know nothing—Kiran begins her new job, Rory and Roishan return to school with Maggie, our new after-school helper, coming to pick them up. But we're keeping it in and we all work together for now. Thought about extending 'Leaving Singapore' into three very different poems. Is it really so really so strange?

...arcite at Sunday, October 03, 2004...

Saturday, October 02, 2004

'Although all that is good is formless, accounting in doing good is faster than a magnet attracting iron.' (Dogen) I’m not going to smoke today; I'm not going to drink. Our cat cries in his cage on the way to the vet. I found an abscess under his right foreleg, a hard clot beneath his armpit. So now he's going to go under the knife. Ko Canopus taku ngeru. Posted an epistle to Peter enclosing two CDs: mirrortain 5 and yom kippur. Began Dogen Bogan. I fretted over teaching performance poetry as I have eight classes to plan and I feel that I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm getting some welcomed advice from a drama teachers NZ egroup I just joined. Coz if we hold on we can find some new energy.

...arcite at Saturday, October 02, 2004...

Friday, October 01, 2004

You are dreaming. 'Do not do any evil' (Dogen). It is ourselves who entreat us so to awaken. The esoteric nature of dreams as a philosophy of time-travel and as an imperative: What calls to us is a now marked by future memories. I remember A Spike Lee Joint where this guy rings the school bells and calls everyone to wake-up. Not as a rupture or fissure (Husserl, Derrida) but rather as a call to being; an ethical imperative outside the law. But you said that you were going to punctuate the writing and call a stop or make an arrest. But that was then & this is the new start I promised last year. I see Ikrek's face at Harvard flushed with wine; her wild excitement at being there. You are dreaming, you do not want to believe.

...arcite at Friday, October 01, 2004...