Friday, April 30, 2004
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.
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.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
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
Monday, April 26, 2004
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Photograph by Shoichi Aoki from FRUiTS.
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.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
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.
Friday, April 23, 2004
Thursday, April 22, 2004
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.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Sunday, April 18, 2004
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.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
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.
Friday, April 16, 2004
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.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
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.
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?
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
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 then....it will be nice to read him again for a while.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
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.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Sunday, April 11, 2004
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.
Friday, April 09, 2004
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.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
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!
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
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..."
Sunday, April 04, 2004
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.
Saturday, April 03, 2004
And I'm going in for the competition at poetry society. Lovely day today. Carpal all better now!
Friday, April 02, 2004
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.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
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.