the view from the tower

arcite's day

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Well, the wave breaks. I'm way behind now with my work as I'm finding the Social Studies Unit assignment extremely time consuming. English assignment yet to be done. And I know Aurora Floyd also has her papers to be written. And then yesterday, two dense books on education I've been asked to review for NZ Books. An honour, sure, but more than a little scary. Then this morning, I've just found out that I'll be teaching a Business Communication course starting on Thursday and I haven't read the material yet. The crazy co-ordinator actually asked me if I could start today! Er, no, I actually like to have read something about the course before I teach it. I mean, how screwy is that? Never mind, I need the cash and any course on a CV helps here in NZ. Brittle's compilation sings in my ears as I get back to it: It's a hit by Rilo Kiley is a wicked little song that Elvis Costello himself would have loved to have penned. "Any chimp can play human for a day, use his posable thumbs to iron his uniform and run for office on election day, fancy himself as a real decision maker." So, back to the grind but at least with some holiday money in sight.

...arcite at Tuesday, November 30, 2004...

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Driving around /Strawpeople
No-one like you /Strawpeople feat. Pearl Runga
The andy warhol effect /Strawpeople
Love my way /Strawpeople
Isabele /Greg Johnston
Talk in the town /Greg Johnston
Passion /Trinity Roots
Winds /Rhombus feat. Raashi Malik
Stoned to the bone James Brown
You've got her in your pocket White Stripes
Wouldn't have it any other way The Streets
Burma road /Group 5
The heinz gene /(Ekto(nz)
Husband house /Sneaky Feelings
Parihaka /Timm Finn & Herbs
E te kai /Whirimako Black
Twist top /The Clean

/=nz music
This is for brittle who sent me another wlecomed compilation yesterday. I am tired; Tiger (aka rory) and I have a bug. I just slept 12 hours. I can't complain as this is the first bug I've had here since Christmas Day when I got hobbled by a nasty one needing a doc and antibiotics. I can feel this leaving my system now but I'm taking tomorrow off to work on assignments. I think the college is exhaustting me.

...arcite at Sunday, November 28, 2004...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

First off...this was taken from Kat's Paws:
(A) First, recommend to me:

1. a movie
2. a book
3. a musical artist, song, or album

(B) I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.
(C) Then I want you to go to your blog/journal, copy and paste this allowing
your friends to ask you anything & say that you stole it from me.

(This is all taken from her. A meme doing the blogsphere. Ask me anything you want. That's a highly charged sentence, yea. Speak to me. Call my name. Tell me what to say...a meme fit for bloggers.)

Well, I'm bogged down in the library again, hungry for distractions so I did the recommendations but didn't ask the questions. I recommended Donnie Darko, the book Feed by M.T. Anderson (please note that an + by my read books indicates highly recommended. There's no one star, two star system, y'all) and some early John Coltrane.

And today's music? Listened to Black Box Recorder's The Facts of Life. Fantastic graphic design; very Common People by Pulp. There's an oddness about the music; the word embattled comes to mind though it all sounds sedate, disappearing world... fresh oudda Croydon.

OK back to my exercise on helping ESL kids in the classroom. This is 1/5th of the work of the Soc Studies one and I should have it finished all in one day. Then just two more to go....oh yea, watched a good BBC doco on the Kennedy Assassination. No conspiracy, no spooks, Oswald acted alone. Great. Now we can all get some sleep.

...arcite at Thursday, November 25, 2004...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bit fed-up with Teachers' College, really. Nothing much interesting here at all. Looking forward to the break. Worked on my English assignment this mornign and finished it for class. It was a creative exercise so I worked on polishing a poem called 'Zeus' we'd began as a response to the tale of Zeus and Tantallus: looking good and sits nicely with the dark that is the poem I wrote on Yom Kipper 'The Good Shepherd.' Then 2 hours English class, a little lunch, an hour's online Art History and into the labyrinth of social studies jargon.

Minor point (reprise). The Oxford Dictionary of Art has no entry for 'effects'.

Tried listening to Hayley Westenra's 'Pure' CD: almost unlistenable for me; just not my cup of tea.

Roishan has been grumpy and violent for weeks now at home after school. I just don't want to go home after college and be with him--I know that sounds horrible but often he just fights so much. I really do dread going home. And then I have the school holidays. I asked my father-in-law on Sunday if he would look after the kids during the mornings so I could work on the book on Autism and Pop. Culture. But he wont do it as he's writing so. . . so no book.

...arcite at Wednesday, November 24, 2004...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

So much jargon at Teachers' College when it comes to Social Studies. God, you wouldn't believe the mumbo-jumbo they spout and how convoluted & removed it seems from what you'd do in the classroom. I'm having a wee break after 4 hours of classes and a good two hour odd stretch working on Social Studies (with Sunday's good belt before declining into anger meltdown I reckon I have only another 9-10 hours to go). I'm handing in assignments late coz I don't have time or energy to do them and attend classes. And I'm not going to grovel for extensions. I'm tired of being the good boy; stuff it. See, I actually have a life now and I'd rather go to bed and read with the word-girl than work late on assignments.

While working on Soc Studies I listened to The Best of REM. God, it all sounds a bit crappy and overblown now--lots of twanging about. I want to read that Da Vinci Code as I reckon that a good number of art history students--if they ever let me in to teach the subject which is a bit iffy--may have read it.

Minor point. I incorrectly defined 'effects' (as defined by NZ's NZQA) for an assignment and my online tutor never even noticed or corrected me. I've just now noticed that the term 'effects' is not even defined by the venerable Edward Lucie-Smith in the Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms. So typical of NCEA to think that spouting crapola jargon is more important than thinking about how Dada could be linked to the Sex Pistols but such is the Ministerial mind. Oh yea, the library is giving away books here--probably all part of the process of being gobbled by Victoria University in two weeks who just love giving away, destroying, burning books (arf) so I scored the hardback of 'Little Wilson And Big God': Vol 1. of Anthony Burgess's autobiography. Hey back to my long-winded, meaningless assignment. Just another two hours more then I'll go home. I'm listening to the Dave Brubeck Quartet's 'Park Avenue South' which sounds very fresh after REM's yawnish retrospective.

...arcite at Tuesday, November 23, 2004...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Even though I drank and smoked too much last night at the barbie--Col & Mandala brought Saporro, yum--I woke up this morning feeling clear-headed and energised. It's a gorgeous day outside. I've moved the front lawn with the handmower, done a little weeding, put down some woodchip at the front. What I want to do is just spend all day in the garden and create a large flower bed at the back where I can grow pansies galore. Drats, though, sheeet. I have a bloody horrible social studies unit plan to do that is going to take hours. I 've already been working on it for an hour and three quaters. I hate social studies and I hate being a bloody student. Grrr. Still, the end of term is in site. I'm going to have a break now and eat some instant noodles, Laksa flavour.

...arcite at Sunday, November 21, 2004...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

crash course for the ravers

Introducing the band * suede
the air near my fingers * the white stripes
the andy warhol effect * strawpeople
bright future in sales * fountains of wayne
drive-in saturday * bowie
girlfriend * the modern lovers
ghost riders in the sky * johnny cash
ludwig * the clean
point that thing somewhere else * the clean
stoned to the bone * mr. James brown
some girls * rachel stevens
talk in this town * greg johnston
passion * trinity roots
twist top * the clean
winds * rhombus feat. Rashi malik
utopia parkway
prole art threat * the fall
wouldn't have it any other way * the streets

Intro the band: what happens when baroque cockney lads throw away artful dodger phil. Daniels and the kinks, hit the whack and know how to play guitar. Echoes of wagner. Excessive, infantile, off-centre and to my ear unforgetable.
The andy warhol effect; counting backwards from ten is less frosty and bummed out in a white neon light than listening to your call minder telling you that you have no new messages. I think the playing here owes a bit to fripp and summers.
Bright future in sales. I once read or heard, overheard, that foubtains feature losers. Au contraire mon frere! It's the real little pockets of resistance, the resilience of everyday folk that I like about fountains who I now find sort of strangly political in the sense of polis and how we live in them. “I had a black wallet in my back pocket.” Killer lyrics.
Drive in saturday. Forget ziggy AS was always the next plateau: “with snorting heads that gazes to the shore/once it raged, a sea that raged no more.” Now, I heard this as a kid in England and was thenceforth transformed. Wonderous language, mighty strange. Un glace sans tain.
Stoned to the bone. “I got got a good thing—ain't gonna give it up!” Boy oh boy does that thing sound good on this. And it's relentless, the funk must go on. Neither am I.
Some girls. I can't listen to this without dancing and trying to practice co-ordinated dance steps. My family sort of acept it now and no-one argues with the weight loss. Thanks to brittle lemon for one of the best tracks I've heard in years. So 70s with not a touch of retro. You must move when you hear this yea?
Twist top. “three million people can be wrong.” I have no idea what this is about aside from it being a passionate call for silliness and individuality.

Winds. Welly's so small word-girl knows this singer. great work she delivers too.
Barbeque time kittens.

...arcite at Saturday, November 20, 2004...
Well the show went well from all accounts. I didn't see it as I was acting in it. I stayed up very late last night after a long game of Risk (I didn't win--my forces were in the Ukraine when they needed to be on the USA/Asia border, darn) so I stayed up and watched music videos. Does anyone else love the new Gwen Stefani video 'What ya waiting for?' I loved the song, her acting, her dancing--which is often only sort of half-choreographed (not like Britnay, Beonce etc), her melodrama, the ecstacy of the video, the dark underbelly of it, the mania. Robbie Williams is trying to get all ironic in the 'radio' song but this does wobble out a shakey rail. I have to go now as Roishan (who has been hard work this week) is screaming at me to get off the blog.

...arcite at Saturday, November 20, 2004...

Friday, November 19, 2004

The poetry reading went well despite my feeling exhausted from the day’s long rehearsal for today’s two performances. The book looks fantastic—great typesetting and a brilliant photograph on the cover. Turnbull House was packed. As the competition has a junior section, I got to talk to some of the young poets. Some out-of-towners had come for the launch with one family staying overnight after driving down from the Waikato.

I’d memorised the poem and stood a little to the left of the podium so my entire body was visible. As I was the winner, I was first on which is never easy. My reading went well though there was a pause as I had to look at my poem to prompt me forward. Word-girl also said that I changed a word somewhere in ‘Diwali.’ I was very happy with the reading and I’ll certainly try to recite some more of my poems from memory at the next reading. Even if you pause or swap a word or two reciting from memory has an immediacy and power that holds your audience. Risk is good and worth it for small readings. Wulfraed then read his two poems and I was struck by how good a poet he is—I’ve known him for so long I just tend to take his work for granted. I’d advised him to dump one of the poems that was selected on the grounds that it was ‘just another poem about birds’ but thankfully he had enough good sense to ignore the advise. Few familiar faces at the reading—a bit of a relief, really—but Jamie, a fellow student at Teachers’ College was there—along with his famous young wife poet Anna Livia, her face heart-shaped, shining, as if she’d stepped out of a Botticelli—and we talked about work. He’s thinking of dropping out as he’s so exhausted from the silly workload. As I was leaving the poetry society asked if I’d like to join the committee and I said sure. Afterwards we went for a pint and a bite and then headed home, the kids over at the in-laws, for a reasonably early night for today’s performance.

...arcite at Friday, November 19, 2004...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I have the anthology launch on Thursday night so I read through Diwali again and lo and behold I spot a very minor correction that I’d like to make. On the very last set of tweaks to the poem—of which there were a great number—I changed all the ‘ands’ to &s. Unfortunately, one of these ands was not changed because I was obviously too stupid to use find and replace on word. Duh. I was never sent a proof of the poem to check so now it’s gone to press with this very minor inconsistency. Still it’s not such a big deal and you could say that it’s not strictly speaking an error so much as a break or deviation from the set pattern.

...arcite at Wednesday, November 17, 2004...

Monday, November 15, 2004

This week is Performing Arts week at Teachers' College. All classes are cancelled as the musicians, dancers and players work all week to stage a show by Friday. The college empties out as other students either go on a camping trip in the bush or just have a week off. The College has two intakes per year one in February and one in August and for the show we all meet up and work together. Our instructions were very simple: on Friday we will perform a 50 minute show twice. That’s it. The entire theme, content, script, music, dance, choreography, production, sound is all up to us. A painful selection process followed but we’re all working on a series of skits that parody reality TV shows and focus on teaching, such as ‘Queer eye for the teacher guy.’ You get the general idea. I’m not really that excited by this concept at all but it’s just an exercise, a hoop through which to jump. Rain all day; strong winds.

...arcite at Monday, November 15, 2004...

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Lovely weather today. Otaki and the Kapiti Coast were gorgeous.

Me & the word-girl have just had a night out after such a long time. So we went to the Bodega and watched Ghostplane and The Lahars. Interesting bands, just starting out. The place was slowly filling-up coz the ultra-hip bands The Black Seeds and Trinity Roots--oh so reggae and a little too crispy-critter hippy for me tonight at any rate though they are both good and I must see them—played a benefit gig at Phoenix tonight for the Wellington City Mission (led by cool foodie cum tv chef cum priest D. Britten). The music in Wellington is so fine nowadays. Spoilt for choice.

I have a nerve-wracking poetry reading next week at the The Poetry Society coz I won the competition. So who will be in the audience when they launch the book anthology featuring the poem? And I’m sure that I’m supposed to read only the winning poem. The small parts are always the worst—never play the gatekeeper in Macbeth, etc.

And I sent off nanosphere for the SF Poetry competition.

Tomorrow: ride bikes, finish Maori assignment, hope the weather stays fine.

...arcite at Sunday, November 14, 2004...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Well, we wont be going to Goldenhorse coz the in-laws have dinner plans. Fair enough. Perhaps they are one of these bands I'm just not fated to see.

I had that very odd and very common thought that I see reality much in the same way that an ant sees reality: our sense of our lives and the universe is bound to our intellectual powers and our senses. In this sense I am an agnostic rather than an atheist. I mean how do we know what forces and purposes are at work? How can we say what the big picture of our life and the universe adds to when seen with a more powerful mind? We can't; we just can't. And any concept we have of ultimate reality, nirvana, god, enlightment, x, what-ya-ma-call-it has a certain limitation, yea? Maybe from another far shore this all looks so different. Maybe we all look interconnected. I've had this odd phrase going through my head: the valency of water. I don't know what it means at all.

And then I wondered if I'm a good parent and thought I must try to be a better parent. Our house just seems so chaotic sometimes. I'm sure all parents have these thoughts. Maybe it's all the changes here with word-girl starting the new job. I must do better, I can do better: that old 'right effort' that Buddha was so keen on. Keep thinking it and the thinking of it has effects that ripple out forever. What I normally do is think it a little and then slip into automatic as I play the circle game. Another dharma conundrum I constantly struggle with--we are trapped by our cycles as our thoughts make up our lives. Change your mind. Is that possible though?

Can you really change your own mind?

You see I am turning into Carrie Bradshaw.

Truth is: I'm an excessive character not very good at balance and calm. Addictive personality I guess you'd call it. So many of us are nowadays. But I'm ok. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not on the skids or anything-- there is an weird type of equilibrium. It's just that I see this side of myself as a bit of a nuisance. And I'm bored at school. I have another assignment. I have to create a 'Maori resource' by Monday. I think I'll create a blog and try to get the macrons right.

It was sunny and warm when I came home so I mowed the front lawn with the handmower and did some weeding. And I thought that I have a lot to be grateful for: word-girl, rory, roishan, canopus, our house. That old chestnut: count your blessings. Yea, I kind of believe that and you have to remind yourself. We are not always going to be here: just passing through.

Enough deep thoughts with Jack Handley for today. Goodnight Hairy Mellon, goodnight John Boy...

Cue mouth organ.

Going to Otaki on Saturday for Dad's birthday.

...arcite at Thursday, November 11, 2004...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Oh yea, Siddh & Seeta, my in-laws, are back so babysitting is back in style. We've been cabin bound for seven weeks and, yipppeee ya yea, the lovely on record Goldenhorse are playing the Bodega this Friday. Well, this town is swamped in roots and fusion music, our very own avant-garde comprising of mercurial bands who all play in all the other bands. So poppy old school kid friendly Goldyhorse are seen as commercial sell-outs to purists. Well, I don't care. I love Riverhead and I'm very keen to hear this band. Yea for Wellington.

...arcite at Tuesday, November 09, 2004...
So how was school? Download major details (DMD).

10.30 AM: I’m in social studies, I’m listening to a presentation from the class on critiques of social studies units we can access online from TKI. The class started at 8.30 am and I need coffee badly. The air is clotted with education jargon: Learning Objectives, Achievement Objectives, Strands, Processes, Perspectives and Essential Learning Areas.

10.50 AM: I’m in my second class of the day (I have a four hour 8.30-12.30 block, plus one hour online then a two hour lecture from 3.30-5.30 that usually finishes a bit early). I got my kawfee and I’m in Language and Lit across the Curric—the worst class after my second to worst class. It’s meant to help us teach kids with low literacy skills but is just monumentally pointless and dull. We’re using a technique called levels where you take a story and then asked student to agree or disagree with a number of propositions stated in a list about the story. The levels move from factual statements to statements involving inference and analysis. In the class we read local author Patricia Grace’s story Butterflies.

Te Moko

11.20 AM. Above the title of the story there is an ink drawing of a moko. I copy the moko into my exercise book with my coloured uni-ball pens.

11.25 AM. I wonder about the word moko. The moko here is a woman’s moko, a kuria’s moko, tattooed between the lower lips and the chin unlike the full moko often tattooed on a man’s chin, nose and forehead. And I wonder ‘does this specific type of moko have a name’?

11.34 AM. So I ask around. Apparently, it’s just called a moko which I find strange.

...arcite at Tuesday, November 09, 2004...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Hear NZ poets read their work.

...arcite at Sunday, November 07, 2004...

Saturday, November 06, 2004


all aboard
tally-ho. the clean
now’s the time. charlie parker.
minuet in g. bach.
from the art of fugue. bach
hip chops. roland kirk.
cuckoo clock
stoned to the bone. james brown
also sprach zarastustra. deodata.
at the bottom. the clean
franz kafka at the zoo. the clean
husband house. sneaky feelings
passion. Trinityroots feat. stephanie hearfield
winds. rhombus feat. raashi malik
dream. u.srivinas feat. jane siberry
while my lady sleeps. john coltrane
knock on door
twist top. the clean

...arcite at Saturday, November 06, 2004...

Friday, November 05, 2004

Separated at birth?

First spotted by kiran word-girl. Hey yea I finished the assignments. Today I learnt how to mix on an 8 track. Cool. Firework display tonight? Not with this cloud.

...arcite at Friday, November 05, 2004...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Arcite is tired and a little strung-out this morning. Bush got back in, damn it. Didn't Larry do well staying up so late on CNN? I am behind in my work. Roishan had a meltdown at the swimming pool yesterday. Remember how I said that we've arrange Ellie to go and pick Roishan and Rory up from school and to give them a snack or take them to the park untilI get home? (I have 22 hours of classes not counting online forum participation and most of my classes finish at 5.30 PM). Well, Roishan doesn't like this routine and he's fighting with Ellie a lot. Yesterday he got into a state and started fighting with the pool attendants--they sent a 'report' on him back home. There was talk that he might be banned from the pool. Well, I'm sure we can sort it out. I'm behind in my work now. I have so many assignments due: lesson plans, educational rationals, explanations of the curriculums, teaching exercises. They aren't difficult at all but they are very time consuming. All in all, I have about 18 assignments--include online forum tasks for Art History--this term. My performing arts assignment is due tomorrow. I wanted to work on it last night but there was so much drama and tension in the house that I never got started. Kiran's (aka word-girl) folks get back on Saturday so maybe everything will settle down. I have to skip class to pick the lads up now and they are so uptight about attendance and take the roll at every class. So it's all getting a bit sticky. I'm going to have to really see if I can write the bloody paper today.

...arcite at Thursday, November 04, 2004...