Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cupcakes for Christmas!

I hope you had a nice christmas. I called my family in Palmerston North, and had lunch with Gina and her family. It was really nice. In the late afternoon, I went pasting with some friends. It was still light and I wanted to give the city a present. The City Council has erected a number of very helpful information signs and maps about the city centre. Quite fortuitously, I found that a cupcake pasting I'd made perfectly covered the council logo at the bottom of these signs. I made up a new 'batch', and went about giving all the signs we could find a fun addition.

















I think the council do a generally good job, though cupcakes make for a nicer logo. Christchurch City Council = CCC = City of CupCakes.
Thanks to Jasper for the photos

Monday, December 27, 2010

Relate

I work in customer service, as a 'Cinema Attendant' at Rialto. It's a cool job, and I like dealing with people. I often get annoyed when treated like some kind of automaton, and it's surprising when people don't even respond to something personal, something more than 'here's your ticket', because it seems outside the realm of a typical exchange. So of course it's great when customers are personable, and treat you like a person. Customer conversations can lead to respective favourite movies, and much else. It doesn't have to be much, or too deep, but we are all people.
Tonight at work, a man said he was enjoying the music. It was Belle & Sebastian, and one of the big perks is being able to select the music played. He complimented my taste, and said that he always tries to tell people when he enjoys something, which is about a good as rule to live by as any.

Friday, December 24, 2010

In the city

I really enjoy spending time in the central city, as you probably could've guessed from a number of my posts. It feels like there's always the possibility for discovery: you can see people living their lives, evidence of their previous actions, or completely serendipitous moments. The thing that continually surprises me is that everything, everything, is the result of human action. All the buildings, every sign, each piece of graffiti - all were done by a person, at some definite point in recent history. Adbusters often talk about the disconnect with the natural world, which is certainly a problem, but being able to connect with people, directly or implicitly, in an urban setting, is something I will never want to stop.
To that end, about a month ago, Simon and I were exploring a carpark, when we found a basketball hoop on an adjoining rooftop. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we settled on Christmas Eve as the date for court action. Today, he and I and six other friends squeezed through a gap in the fence, and shot some hoops on a lovely day, in a place that just seemed perfect.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 10 Gigs, Songs and Albums of 2010

Like last year, I put together a list of my favourite gigs, songs and albums from 2010. No surprises to see Seth Frightening at #1...

Gigs of the year
*Honourable Mention – Jordan O’Jordan @ GBM
10 – The Ruby Suns @ Campus A Low Hum
9 – The xx @ Laneway Auckland
8 – Ponytail @ San Fran Bathhouse, Wellington
7 – Kidz in Space @ The Bedford
6 – Grayson Gilmour @ The Dux
5 – Parking Lot Experiments @ Campus A Low Hum
4 – HEALTH @ UC Orientation
3 – Rufus Wainwright @ James Hay Theatre
2 – Jeffrey Lewis @ The Log Cabin
1 – Dudley Benson @ Gaiety Hall, Akaroa


Songs of the Year
*Honourable Mentions – Panda Bear – Slow Motion, Wet Wings – Running Like a Man
10 – Holy Fuck – Red Lights
9 – The Mint Chicks – Say Goodbye
8 – of Montreal – Coquet Coquette
7 – So So Modern – Dusk and Children
6 – DOM – Rude As Jude
5 – Nas & Damien Marley – As We Enter
4 – Caribou – Odessa
3 – Cults – Most Wanted
2 – Disasteradio – Gravy Rainbow
1 – Atlas Sound – Doctor

Albums of the Year
*Honourable Mention – Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love
10 – Jon Lemmon – Kindling EP
9 – Disasteradio – Charisma
8 – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
7 – Dudley Benson – Forest: The Songs of Hirini Melbourne
6 – Grayson Gilmour – No Constellation
5 – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
4 – Beach House – Teen Dream
3 – Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring
2 – Owen Pallett – Heartland
1 – Seth Frightening – The Prince and His Madness

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to paste

As you may have gathered, I really enjoy wheatpasting pictures around town. It's so much fun to be up town at night, with a friend or solo, and doing something that makes the urban environment a more interesting place. I'd like to think that most things I paste beautify the city, and perhaps to that end, I've never had anyone try and stop me or get upset. Most encounters have been complimentary or curious, though generally ignored. I usually paste around 10pm in normal clothes, and without spray paint, people don't seem to consider it vandalism.
It's such a thrill to see something you've pasted still up months later, and to know that countless people must've seen it. Pasting is a fun, cheap and easy way to interact with your environment. Here are some tips:
-Paste is very easy to make, and essentially free. I use this recipe, but play around. I sift the flour first, and add a bit of cornflour for added stickiness.
-Use a paint brush to apply the paste. T'nealle came up with this incredible idea to keep things tidy - cut the corner of a zip-lock bag and tape the brush in.
-You can put the paste in a tight closing container, or a drink bottle with a sipper lid. Apply the paste to the surface, and place the picture, smoothing as you go (no one likes air bubbles). Put another layer of paste on top, and smooth around the edges.
-Lately I've been taking a damp cloth in a plastic cup. You can clean your hands, and also wipe away any excess paste surrounding the picture (which can look messy on glass/metal/plastic).
-Use your discretion. I tend to paste on to things like bins, street lights, seats, and tend to avoid personal and business property, though chain stores are probably a more valid target than the local dairy.
Get creative - you can paste anything on to anything! I don't think I'm a very good artist, but practice makes perfect. Or you can find cool pictures online, make stencils, write messages. There's plenty to keep you occupied. Be warned though: it's pretty addictive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New layout

I've changed the layout on this blog for the first time (have a look, Reader readers!).
Beth took the photos, which were mostly taken on a trip to the Botanic Gardens. She used a technique called redscale, which is quite clever, and gives the pictures a really nice look.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Day That Was - December 14th, 2010

Alright. It's back, and necessarily so I feel. It seems like I've not been up to much, or had as much direction as I'd like, so I'm going to chronicle a few days, get motivated, and see what happens.
I woke up at 8am, and had to really force myself out of bed. Normally I doze 'til 9 or 10, and feel lazy, so was up and about at 8:15: 6/10. I had two pieces of toast (peanut butter, and marmite), and a cup of tea for breakfast. I kind of straightened up the lounge in light of a possible early morning flat inspection, but it didn't eventuate: 8/10. I checked the internet: 8/10, and got on to a few things I'd been meaning to -  pitching some music story ideas to Radio New Zealand, and burning a CD of sets from the RounDUp band final for Bill from Human Pleasure. I started figuring out my top 10 songs, gigs and albums of 2010 (the last two are easy, struggling with the first: 6/10). I had a second cup of tea, re-using the teabag (it's a different, less bitter flavour), and got ready to head in to town.
My outfit for today - black canvas shoes, cut-off jean shorts, black polo-shirt: 9/10. I wheeled my bike to Cycle Trading for a repair (broken spoke: 2/10). Really nice service: 8/10. I walked in to the Square to meet Gina for lunch, and both places we went to weren't open yet (why was I up so early?!) ...but Krishna Cafe opened after a short wait. I had the vege burger: 10/10 (my god, sooooo good!), and we shared an apricot muffin. Gina went to get some things to make christmas cards, and I found some cheap A4 stickers: 8/10. I walked home and made a mixtape (sounding 9/10), and made the cover. My feet were tired from walking, and I made some rice and got ready for work. I typewrote some messages on some stickers (positive stuff/Seth Frightening lyrics: 8/10) and walked through town. I bought a ready to eat curry from the Indian Supermarket which was tasty, and work was slow, but I read Cabinet: 10/10 (man I love Cabinet).
The walk home was nice, and I stuck the stickers around. It was warm, and a few street workers chatted to me. Rose was over, and her and the rest of the flat and I stayed up talking for a while.
A nice day, and I felt really motivated to get things done.

Streets

I went out pasting for the first time in a while (well, maybe two weeks). I'd been a bit bummed out at failed attempts, and windy evenings, and really needed to get out and get some stuff done. It feels like I need to do something grand and definitive, I'm just not sure what that something might be yet. I've nearly finished a large project, which I'm quite excited about, but tonight I stuck up a bunch of leftover cupcakes (I'd made ~40).
It was such a warm evening, and felt so peaceful. I made some paste and biked in to town. There were plenty of amazing night smells, and people were walking about. Some tourists were pointed in the right direction, which made me smile. Simon was cycling to work, and I bumped in to him in Victoria Square.
Down Cashel Mall, some people came and talked to me. They were really friendly, and we did a bit of pasting together. It's really great meeting people under such nice circumstances.
I felt in a pretty good mood about things.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Parade

Hannah and I went to the Christmas Parade in town today. It was overcast but warm. I'd been looking forward to attending; I'd not been to the Chch parade before. And I had a really great time. I couldn't stop smiling, for so many reasons. It was great seeing lots of kids happy, and most of the floats were really colourful (especially the groups from various Asian countries). I was really pleased to see a group advocating buying less, and spending more time with those you love. Conversely, floats for corporate fast food chains, radio stations and car yards can fuck right off.
I often feel pretty negative about the latter, and end up fantasising about illegally damaging property, or making grand vitriolic statements. But really, I'm not sure what that would accomplish. I think it's a lot better to try and take a positive, alternative route of action. Don't support those you despise in any way. Shop locally and communicate with your friends. Act in a way that inspires others - they're usually more receptive to a flower than a stick.
I hope you'll be having a nice christmas. I'll be in Christchurch, with friends. If you'd like a christmas card, let me know your address - superchai@gmail.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dudley Benson in Akaroa

On Sunday I went to Akaroa for the first time, to see Dudley Benson perform. It was an incredible day. I went over with Gina, Rose and Hannah. We walked around town, explored the wharf, ate chips for dinner, and met up with some friends of Gina's.
The concert was in Gaiety Hall, and the crowd of about forty were in for a treat. It was the most amazing show I've ever seen - the best concert I have ever attended. I'm a big fan of Dudley's, and he was just spellbinding; so heartfelt and talented, and a fantastic performer. The show was entirely a capella (he was accompanied by a four-part choir and a beatboxer) and all the songs from his new album Forest: The Songs of Hirini Melbourne were performed, as well as a few from The Awakening. The older songs were amazing, as they were re-arranged especially for the tour, and sounded incredible.
Dudley was such a warm, earnest performer, who clearly loves what he does. It felt like I was covered in shivers for much of the show, and tears welled up occasionally. At the end of the show, the audience were invited to share a tea or coffee with the performers. I'd interviewed Dudley in the previous week (recording online soon), and he was so nice to meet

The drive home was dark and quiet. We stopped near Little River to look at the stars; the sky was incredible. It was such an enjoyable day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flying

I was sitting on the porch. It was hot and clear, and I looked up at the sun overhead. The awning obscured its orb, but it was radiant, and illuminated a large part of the sky in a pale blue.
To my amazement, I could see angels. An uncountable amount, gliding in all directions, interacting with each other. They were tiny and white - the closer you looked at them, the harder they were to perceive.
Way way way higher up, they moved around the sun in slow circles, and in that moment I knew that everything was going to be okay.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Denouement

Last night I was in town, and it was warm and I was wearing short sleeves. And I biked around by myself.
I like being in town. I really enjoy the urban environment - it feels like it's all filled with so much promise of things to discover, people to meet, and occasions to stumble upon.
I made a couple of pastings that I wasn't happy with, and I started feeling really bummed out. It was frustrating because the rational and irrational parts of my mind were at loggerheads, and I knew which part should've won, but it's never that simple.
I rode home as fast as I could, listened to Matt and Kim, read Shoplifting from American Apparel and fell asleep, still not feeling quite right.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Paper Heart Project

This has been going for a long time, though it's taken ages for me to actually post about it. It's pretty straight-forward though. A bunch of hearts, with nice messages, on the streets of Christchurch.
The two in the middle column were the first I put up, months ago. A few are left for people to add their own touches, like those on the right ('I Belong To Johnny -Bianca xoxo'; 'Dear Tracey... Love, Vincent').


Oh, love.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Authors

Note: this post is a bit different. First, listen to the story in this post if you've not already. Then, when you get to the triple asterisk (***), please stop reading, click on them, and listen to the story.
With uni finished, I've been reading a few books that I've been wanting to get in to. I find that the author I read always have a strong influence on how I write, and how I think. The style of their writing that I hear in my mind tends to carry on after I've closed the book.
I'm making a start on Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, a book I've read once in the distant past, but is so wondrously interesting that it's drawn me back for further inspection. I'd highly recommend this book - I thought I had a handsome grasp of science, but Bryson is more than proficient at explaining lofty subjects.
Another I'm revisiting is Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves. It's a multi-faceted book, with narratives that frustrate and lull the reader. And a structure that                 tries                      to                      re   flect                  the
e
v
e
n
t
s           in the book. Plus - Short punchy sentences. And ones which are long and drawn out like an old tangled rope winding their words around your brain and holding it, transfixed and unmoving with a thrum of ideas in the background that can't emerge, but no, no rope at all, there never was a rope instead a pile of ancient dirt surrounding and ultimately compressing your body until with no other option, your eyes follow these words, my words, in a hypnotic stream.
And then Tao Lin, who I've been reading recently, and who's had a big impact on the way I think ***

And I wonder if this kind of post will eventually catch the attention of Tao Lin, and I realise that 'hey, the internet is a pretty connected place. It seems like there is a reasonable possibility that it will'

Monday, November 8, 2010

Falkor!

I recently bought a large roll (100m!) of newsprint, so large scale pastings are pretty much imperative. First up was Falkor, the luckdragon from The Neverending Story. I was really impressed with how he turned out. I first found some pictures online, and traced it from the screen to a transparency, before using an overhead projector to get the image on to some newsprint I'd stuck up on my wall. Then out to the driveway to poster-paint the lines, and cut him out.
T'nealle and I stuck him along the edge of a carpark building. Neither of us are very good at heights, so it was quite exhilarating, but it turned out so well!
If you'd to see him, head to the Lichfield/Madras corner, and look up Lichfield (he's above The Bedford)





















We've made a dedicated paste blog at PasteCity. I guess there are questionable legal issues regarding pasting, so check in there for future updates (though I'll certainly be letting you know about the other awesome projects as they unfold!)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

University completed

My exams are finished, and for the foreseeable future, I am done with uni. It's been quite a long path (briefly: I went to Massey in Palmerston North when I left high school and studied bio, dropped out for a number of reasons, got a degree at The School of Life, moved to Christchurch to study astro, and finally swapped over to bio (bless cross-crediting)), but I have finally completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Neat.
In the days following my last exam, I felt a number of inevitable feelings: what now? what is my degree good for? how to occupy the days?
I guess the main one is that I feel very 'open'. All sorts of things can happen, though I guess I'm quite scared that inaction will be the winner. At the moment, I'm trying to occupy myself with creative endeavours, and I know that things will work out okay. To sum up and try deal with these feelings, I made a wee zine. It's nothing much, but if you'd like a copy, send me an email at superchai@gmail.com (I need to use my uni printing credit)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy birthday Daneila

Today is my friend Daniela's birthday. She's a pretty great person, and seems to be able to express herself in ways that I'd like to. She's fun to hang out with, and is wonderfully conversant; things just seem to flow so nicely.
Daniela lives in Dunedin, and a while ago she had to read White Noise, by Don DeLillo. I offered to record myself reading it aloud, but fell through because, well I don't think I had the commitment to dictate an entire novel.
For her birthday, I read her a few short stories, which were more interesting, and wholly more achievable. My favourite one is I Am Unemployed, by Tao Lin. I was very happy with how it sounds, and if you'd like to listen to me reading it, click here (and read along with it here).
Happy birthday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Love Police

This was my first large scale wheat-pasting - it's based on a screen shot from this video, a montage of activity from The Love Police. It's pretty cool; some pretty inspirational and awesome quotes from a guy talking through a megaphone.
I used a bunch of sheets of A4, 6x4 of them. The paste was probably too thick, but overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out. Thanks to T'nealle for being my Wing-Paster. I was going to make a speech bubble, but wrote in chalk - I intend to change his message nightly.
You can head down Aberdeen St in Central Chch if you'd like to see him...



The last few days

I'm in my last week of uni, ever. I'm very close to finishing a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science, and I don't have any plans at the moment to do any post-grad work. I think I shall write more about uni another time; for now, here are a few things I've done lately.
-The other day, cycling to uni, Kim caught up to me on her bike. We cycled the rest of the way, then I bumped in to her as she was leaving, and her, Eamonn and I cycled home. It was a perfect day for a bike ride, and Kim and I used our bells, which just seems like the most cheerful, spring-like sound ever (Eamonn has no bell, but squeaky brakes).
-Gina and I have been meeting up at uni. It's been nice spending time together, but more specifically, we've been partaking in Don't Forget to Write - writing letters to strangers in the library at uni. I've received some interesting ones, and I think I may just start writing to strangers in the phone book.
-Hannah, Eamonn, T'nealle, Jono, Melinda and I went and saw Spirited Away at the Academy Cinema in the Arts Centre. It was a free screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival, and was much better than I remember.
-Eamonn, Melinda and I watched Donnie Darko. It was about as good as I remember.
-I made a large pasting which will probably go up tonight. Out of newspaper, I also made a few pictures of little tufts of grass, and flowers, which I pasted around the bottoms of power poles etc near my house. A man walked by and said 'you're doing a great job'.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flying/falling

Have you ever seen a horse running? At a gallop, for the tiniest moment of time, it is airborne - flying with nothing touching the ground.
Have you ever seen a bird flying? In the air, some passerines flap a few times, before retracting their wings. For the tiniest moment of time, it is coasting - ready to fall through the air like a rock
Horses flying; birds falling. Sometimes I feel stuck in the middle. Stuck between flying and falling.

Street workers

I've lived in Christchurch for about four years now. The first two were spent in the dull, student-centred suburbs around uni. Then I moved in to town, and discovered real Chch. Which includes prostitutes. I live on a street parallel to Manchester, the main street for such business. It was an odd thrill seeing these women - I could conceivably pay them for sex. Walking home at night, I've found most of them to be very friendly and polite, and I return the courtesy.
For the most part though, things seem pretty terrible. Hearing people yell things at them from their cars is disheartening, as is seeing single men driving past, doing U-turns to reevaluate their options. Knowing that substance abuse drives a lot of women to the street is also really sad, and though it's decriminalised, it still seems very dangerous.
Most of the action takes place between Armagh St, and near Bealey Ave. One night, friends and I counted 17 women along this stretch. T'nealle and I pasted some messages last night, which read '11: Love Thy Street Worker'. I think it's a nice message (to clients, and the general public (they are part of our city)), and perhaps also suggested being an 11th Commandment - I'd like them to be treated nicer, and judged less.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seth Frightening

I enjoy music, and I also enjoy making lists. As I host a radio show, I like to present a list of my favourite albums of the year (here is 2009's). And I'm sorry to spoil it for you, but my favourite album of this year is Seth Frightening's The Prince and His Madness. It's just incredible, and has been a daily listen for the last month at least.
I wasn't that in to it at first - it's haunting, fragile, and repetitive. But these are the parts that have really grown on me. As an album, it's an astonishing piece of work.
I don't think I can recommend this enough. You can have a listen here, and buy a physical copy from here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Message

Saturday nights up town in Christchurch are generally pretty unbearable. Loud, awful people everywhere, and that smell which always seems to be present outside clubs. T'nealle, Rose and I met up for some wheat-pasting, which meant the night would be great. I like being up town, but not a part of Town.
I made a long banner at work. It was quite motivational I guess; an amalgamation of a few ideas. We put it down Woolsack Lane, home to some amazing graffiti, and a lot of lighting

'You are the only example of you there'll ever be. Therefore, you are a piece of art, making history. You can do anything you want.'

Friday, October 8, 2010

Get well soon cards

I suppose I could say that this is part of my ongoing series of street art in response to the Chch earthquake. I was walking through town yesterday, and thought that some cards would make the city feel better. I didn't have any Chch-related images, so just used old National Geographics. T'nealle and I went pasting, and once again, these photos were taken by her (I really need to get a camera...). I don't expect them to last very long, but they say nice things like 'Dear Christchurch, Sorry to hear about the recent tremors. I'm hope things will be back to normal in no time, and we'll be amazing again. Best wishes.'
It was signed by stickboy, which I'm going to use for pastings in the future. It was my high-school nickname - partly (I'd like to think) due to my playing field-hockey, but mostly due to my rather slender build. I think it's a good pun now, what with all the sticky paste I'm using.




I also put this face on a light in the ground in the Square



I went for a walk up town the following afternoon. Four of the five cards had been removed (the card in the third pic is still there)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stickers

Here are some photos of some stickers I put up around town back in June/July. My friend Daniela took the photos when we spent a really nice day together, eating lunch and walking around. Most of them are gone now, but I was really pleased to see one that said 'you are art' was still on Flour Power.




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweetener

As hinted at in this post, I've met a pretty amazing girl, and things are wonderful. Her name is Gina, and things seem pretty perfect. Eamonn played match-maker (in that he shoved us together, and told me she was vegan), and we really hit it off.
It's all been really nice, and I like how things are so natural. Often, I'd start crushing on someone (or fall for a friend), and let it carry on for weeks or months. But this just works, straight away. She is sweet and funny gorgeous and smart.
One of the strangest things I've found is that sometimes, I kind of forget what she looks like, and when I remember, I'm left a little breathless at how pretty she really is.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kiri

I'm really excited, because one of the greatest people ever (and one of my especial favourites) is coming to Christchurch! Her name is Kiri, and as I've mentioned before, she means more to me than I could ever hope to really explain here. Regardless, here are some thoughts:
We met when I was 17. I was in my last year of high-school, and we started going out.We were together for three and a half years, and so many things happened in that time. I think the biggest one was that Kiri really helped me 'open up', and become the kind of person I wanted to be - I always found it difficult to express myself. A lot of our early relationship felt up and down, but things really worked out, and we lived together for two or so years. She just has the biggest heart, and... I don't really know what else to say. I was just listening to God Only Knows, which really made me think of her.
Together, we experienced: elation, miscarriages, terrible decisions, love, many kittens, caring for a two-year old, making things work from nothing, serendipity, death, wonder, late nights, illness, togetherness. She changed my life in so many ways.
And she's in town for a few days this Sunday. I can't wait.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Urban

It was a Saturday night spent with a pretty girl. She picked me up from work and we walked town. Standing on a rooftop, you could see the lights of the city, and take your pick of which concert to eavesdrop upon. It's spring, and the air was warm and richly fragrant. We avoided the people yelling and lining up for clubs, but were entertained by a possibly homeless man who was drinking, and had been 'on the run from the police for five months'. We explored the art of my favourite alley-way, and I planned my own additions.
It felt like a perfect night, and it makes me feel a little giddy that someone so wonderful could come so out of the blue.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Experimental

On Tuesday morning I partook in a psychology experiment. It was called First Impressions and Romantic Relationships, and basically you met a stranger of the opposite sex (heterosexuals only, apparently) and spoke with them for 10 minutes, before evaluating them. It was like an academic speed-dating, and was... an interesting experience. I met a girl called Sarah. I don't think we hit it off - different kinds of people and all. It felt a bit odd I guess, knowing that there was the pretense of possible romantic chemistry, in a lab setting.
The whole thing was filmed, and then you were required to watch footage of yourself, and recall 10+ moments when you thought or felt something, and write it down. Then, you were given some times when your partner felt something, and you had to guess, or intimate what they felt after watching them in the recording. It was incredibly tricky.
Her first 'feeling' etc was at 0:14, just after we'd shaken hands. I think she looked really disappointed. Towards the end though, she did call me 'a really well rounded young man', which sounded awfully patronising.
All in all, a bit of a lark, and I received a $20 mall voucher. I'd assumed I'd meet the girl of my dreams, but I suppose the search continues.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sticking together

This song from Los Campesinos! features the lyric 'On the back of a natural disaster, fixed with parcel tape and with kids sticking plasters'. I was doing the dishes, and it hit me - yes! That's how to rebuild this city.
I sat down and sketched a few sticking plasters on pink paper, and made about 50. Last night, I made some wheat paste, and T'nealle and I went pasting around town. We hopefully made the hurt buildings feel better, and they might heal quicker.

















Barricades could not stop our repairs





















It was a really fantastic night. We were patching up a crack in a paving stone in the Square, and a man walked past and said 'great stuff guys - really cute. Thanks'. Which is the right reaction. I think they look great, and I hope they make people smile when they see them. T'nealle took plenty more pictures.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You, and you

I enjoy writing this blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it. A few readers have told me how positive and happy it seems, and as it's a reflection of real life, that's how many people also describe me. I know that that's the truth, but I do find it a bit strange. I'm happy, but feel a bit weird being known as this really happy person. It's certainly not a bad thing, I'm just not too sure how to accept such praise.
At the same time, it feels like some of my favourite people are unable to see how amazing they are. It's so sad (and inexplicable) when I find out that someone I really care for and admire has such a low sense of self esteem. That they're unable to see all the special things in them is surprising, and feels like quite a shame. At the same time I seem unable to fully appreciate myself as much as others. Objectivity can be a difficult task. Addendum: In the end, you're probably better than you think. Which is a nice thought.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Christchurch Earthquake

As you're probably aware, a large earthquake hit Christchurch early on Saturday morning. I was in Wellington, so missed out on most of the terror, but my room took a bit of a beating. Both the brick chimneys at our flat fell down, and there were plenty of bricks around the place. I kind of wish I'd been there, if only to spend time with my flatmates, and make sure they were okay (they were, thank goodness). Apart from that, our flat was fine, which was nice, though really sad to see the effect on other houses.
It was strange to come back to Chch; it was really eerie. Many buildings were fine, but others right next to them were badly affected. Our local dairy and fish n chip shop were destroyed (plus others in the area - The Chipocalypse).
There are a lot of cordons up town, and it's quite sad walking about. I think the best site about the situation is James Dann's.
I wanted to try and make people feel a bit better about things, so last night I went up town and did some chalking.
These are in the Square
'They'll never shake my love for you, Christchurch'






'Christchurch: Let's spring back!'












I also drew some sad faces on fallen bricks, but wasn't able to photograph them today due to salvage work

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Swinging

I passed back through Wellington after being in Palmerston North. It was a flying visit, but absolutely brilliant. Beth and I had planned to explore around Mt Victoria, and though the forecast was horrible, it was a gorgeous day. We walked around, taking photos, exploring, using swings, and making our own from a skateboard. It's above the bus tunnel if you'd like to use it

Twenty Six

Yesterday was my 26th birthday. It was a really nice day, beautiful weather, spent with great people. The sky was incredibly clear, and there was a strong nor'wester blowing. I went to the Botanic Gardens and had a picnic with some good friends. Later on at the flat, we began a Bill Murray-thon, and watched Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day. I think I liked each more than the previous one, but Murray was pretty consistent.
It doesn't feel like very long since I posted about being 25 last September. In the last year... I think I've become more 'me', or at least more like the kind of person I want to be.
At the same time, it sort of feels like I'm slowing down the ways in which I'm improving. I've got an incredible group of friends, but I'd still like to meet some new people, and it seems like the rate at which I'm meeting people is slowing. And it seems that maybe I'm doing fewer interesting things, or just getting used to the things I do. I guess I want to keep getting better, I'm just not sure how to keep doing it

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My poppa

I spent this afternoon with my poppa - my dad's dad. It was absolutely fantastic - I think he's one of the best people I know, a real patriarch to the family, and an all-round amazing person. I'd been wanting to find out more about the life of this man I admire so much, and it was just magical. I had shivers when he said he felt like 'king of the world' once he'd bought a tractor; building a house, he thought, 'yes, this is me'; talking about being a missionary in Ethiopia, he said he 'learnt about fear'.
Sometimes, I had to hold back tears which were welling up.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Radio, et al

I was in Wellington over the last week, and as usual, it was great. Beth and I had some groovy times, and I'm heading back down again on my way to Christchurch this weekend.
Probably the best part of the trip was heading in to the Radio New Zealand offices, and meeting the lovely people behind Music 101.  It was really great to meet them, have a look around, and check out the music catalogue (wowza). It seems like I was everything they were looking for, so I'll be making stories for the show with a bit of a Christchurch spin. I was ecstatic.
Now seems like a good time to check in on some goals for the year:
Budget well - Going pretty well. Though it seems to take ages to 'get started' on the savings front
Read more - Hmmm, about the same
Get involved with RNZ - Yay!
Complete my degree - Pretty close... and grades have been good
Spend more time outdoors - Hmmm, outside, maybe not 'outdoors', like in 'nature'
Kiss a stranger - Still waiting... It feels like it's been close a few times
Keep living - Check

Spring

It's the first day of spring! And it's been a good start in Palmerston North. It's so nice to see daffodils and blossoms out, brightening up the world. I wish I was able to place exactly why they are so amazing, why they can make people feel so good.
I went to some of my favourite places in town today. The public library is possibly the best in the country (I read a book of the best World Press Photos 09, and there was a girl playing amazingly on the piano). The art gallery is great, but always seems under-appreciated. The Square is lovely, and in fact square-shaped. I went to a new art gallery called Zimmerman, and talked to the owner about public sculptures. And I bought a kebab from Ahmed Zaoui's caravan The Desert Rose - it was great.
The sun was warm, and I ate a popsicle on the walk home.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Seen

This evening I went for a walk to buy some razors. I was in a pretty weird mood, feeling a bit confused about a few things. I walked the long way home from the supermarket, and it felt like I was going through a series of rapidly changing micro-emotions; different feelings scintillating, up and down.
Across the road I noticed a brightly coloured house with its lights on. Each room was a different colour, and someone was vacuuming. There were some small flowers beside me. At the stop sign behind me, two large trucks were carrying parts of a house. A plane flew overhead.
Further down the road, a road sign caught my eye. It said 'Albert St', had arrows pointing both ways, and faded numbers. Beneath it, there were two spiders with large webs which overlapped.
It felt like these observations popped up when I was on a definite high. It seemed to enforce the good feelings. The more you look, the more you see

Media

My family are television watchers. The kind where television will be watched each night, regardless of what's on. At my flat, we don't have a television, and I like it that way. It's not he focal point of a room; it's not the default activity. I remember a few months back, there was a television in my flat's living room for some reason. During a commercial break, we all cried out in offense as we were bombarded with aggressive words and images. I don't like being shouted at. Last night, I got the horrible feeling I usually do - watching television feels like waiting for death.
Also lately, I've listened to a bit of commercial radio, such as on the ride home from Kaikoura. I was really surprised at how many commercials there were, and how the hosts seem compelled to share 'wacky' anecdotes. Plus, I knew none of the popular songs, which is a little odd. The kinds of songs where people say 'oh come on, you must know this song'. It's interesting what you don't hear when you don't watch television, don't go to the mall, and you're a host on student radio, and listen to Radio New Zealand. I like it this way.

Home

I'm back home in Palmerston North for five days. It's nice to be home. I unexpectedly found myself at a family 21st on Saturday in Wellington, and it made me really miss my parents. And five years on, parts of me miss being 21.
It's always interesting to see the parts that have changed in your family home. My room looks about the same, but parents' had been painted. Windows had been double-glazed. Living rooms had been rearranged.
I guess apart from my parents and family, and a handful of friends, it feels like there aren't too many reasons for me to come to Palmerston North anymore.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Expectations

As mentioned, I went on a field trip. And I was not looking forward to it. However, it was fantastic. So much of it was really enjoyable:
-Getting to know class mates and teaching staff. People were nice, and it was fun socialising (and learning names...)
-The beautiful weather. It was mainly warm and sunny, and more importantly, didn't rain. Rain would've been a real downer.
-Exploring tidal areas. We studied the tidal zone (the part from the high to low tide lines). Seaweed was the main focus, but it was pretty neat, and surprising how quickly you learnt the scientific names. I felt a real sense of wonder during most of the experimentation.
-Designing and conducting an experiment. I worked with a girl, Breeze, and we looked at how sedimentation was determined by wave exposure, and how it was affected community composition. Design, testing, analysis, and a formal presentation all happened in two days, so it was occasionally frantic, but really great to be discussing ideas, and feeling like a scientist.
One of the best parts was when I was asked if I'd like to help collect some bull kelp samples at night. It came up quite quickly, and the demonstrator Stacie said that it would be fun, an adventure. The tide was out, and it was dark and still.and exciting.

So, it was a great time, and far better than I was expecting. Which really leads to something I've been thinking about lately - how expectations stack up with reality, and whether it's better to set them high or low. The day before I left, Harriet and I had tea. She was of the school of thought that if you didn't expect much from situations, you would always have your expectations exceeded. I generally disagree. I know what it's like having hopes dashed, but having low expectations would seem to lead to little to look forward to. I know I sometimes have unattainably high expectations, so a degree of realism is necessary.
I'm not sure what the right outlook is. It's probably person specific. I'm sure you know mine - what's yours?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Field trip

Tomorrow I'm going on a field trip. It's for Marine Ecosystems, and we're going to Kaikoura for 5 days. I'm really not looking forward to it. I'm sure it'll be enjoyable, but I don't know many people in my class, and I think we're mainly looking at seaweed, so not really all that glamourous. I bought some gumboots. It's the only time I can imagine wearing gumboots in the immediate future.
The day after I get back, I'm going up to Wellington, which I'm looking forward to greatly. It should be an awesome trip.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My birthday

I'm in my last month of being 25. It's been a pretty good age I think. I'm having a party in Christchurch on September the 10th (and turning 26 on the 6th).
If you read this blog and would like to come, send me an email, and I'll give you some more details. I made this picture too - pretty clever huh? (It's me holding my Snoopy lunch box at Camp)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Things I Love Friday - Billy

Sanne Schaap is a person. I don't know much about them, but they obviously know some computer programming, and enjoy simplicity. Schaap has a website called Sheep Friends, where you can download some of the applications he's made.  The main one I love is the music player, Billy. It's described as a lightweight, no nonsense audio player that allows you to quickly play an entire directory of mp3 files. And that's exactly what it does.
Billy is tiny - about half a MB, or there's the run-only version (no setup), which is even smaller. It loads all your mp3s in next to no time. If you want to find something, just start typing. There are keyboard shortcuts for everything. And it's super minimal.












It's been my preferred player for the last five or so years, and I'm always harping on about how much better it is than iTunes. Billy can't burn or write CDs - it does mp3s, and it does them very well.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Representation

Whenever I take photos, I find that they can never fully capture what I want them to. It seems like there is so much missing. I hope you liked my recent pics, but I think they're a great example - I went for a walk to feel better, and the photos show some of the things I saw, but don't even come close to showing what I felt.
I don't really mean to bring about existential representations of life through photography or anything like that. I know photos are good at capturing moments, and scientifically can show  us so much. But it just seems like most can never come close to conveying everything I want. Everything else that I experience that can't be captured on film, or in pixels.
T'nealle once said that one thing she can't stop thinking over is 'how to make a camera see the world how I do?'

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Headlines

These are newspapers and the like which I found in and around people's mailboxes today.










































Walk

In the previous post, I said I was feeling pretty average. One of my favourite pick-me-ups is going for a walk in a new part of town.




The sunlight on the screen suggested I should get outside.













All sorts of things were in the river. I made a boat from a receipt, and the HMS Customer Copy sailed okay.









I found some cool buildings, with great edges.





























"The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nose bleeds if I kept my finger outta there"


























This is Eternal Delight, a raw vegan cafe on High. The people are lovely, and the food is great!







































In Best Sushi, the best sushi shop in Chch (it's on Hereford)

Death

Last night I had a dream about someone I knew who had committed suicide. It was not long after the fact, and the person was in the morgue. He began twitching, and then sprung up and left the room. I was quite concerned, and wasn't sure how I'd tell his children that their father had become a zombie of sorts (and looked decades younger...)
I was also told that my bike Sally would 'once have been a good bike to ride', implying that she was past her prime.
And tying this together is the fact that I finished reading The Virgin Suicides. It was a great read, but boy, it left me feeling pretty down. Which I guess shouldn't be that surprising. I wasn't in a good mood this afternoon, so went for a walk.
I ended up in Barbados St Cemetery. Never before have I felt so aware of the dead surrounding me.

The Best of Christchurch

The university student's magazine Canta is currently running a competition called the Chur Chur Awards, where students nominate the best things to do in the city. I feel like my list is quite definitive, and that I know the city far better than the students who live near the uni (I love city living). Here are my nominations:

Best Video Shop - Alice in Videoland. Hands down
Best Live Music Venue - Dux de Lux
Best Music Store - Galaxy Records
Best Burger - Vege burger at Krishna Cafe!
Best Men's Clothing - Toffs
Best Op Shop - Toffs, or any of the City Mission ones. Plus the free shop!
Best way to spend Course Related Costs - High interest savings. Or... sexy new wardrobe
Best Movie Theatre - Rialto
Best Supermarket - Pak N Save Moorhouse
Best Pizza - Spagalimi's
Best BYO - Osaka
Best Bookstore - Scorpio, or Smith's, or UBS
Best Cafe - Soul Food
Best El Cheapo - ummmm - Good to Go? The one behind Whitcoulls on Cashel
Best Dairy - Laxmi Dairy, cnr Edgeware/Barbados
Best Takeaway Place near Campus - Captain Ben's
Best Recreational Activity - exploring the central city
Best Way to Occupy Your Time for Free - Chch Art Gallery. Or the library. Or exploring the central city

If you live in Chch, what are some of your favourites?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Day That Was - August 8th, 2010

I got in to bed around midnight, and for the first hour of today, read The Virgin Suicides. I had a false start on it a while back, but am now really enjoying it: 8/10. I had a good sleep, and while I feel I had a real meaningful dream, I can't remember it. I woke up around 8, and lay in bed for a while. I listened to Media Watch on RNZ; it's one of my favourite shows, and Colin Peacock is a great radio host: 8/10.
I got up and had some oats for breakfast. I use jumbo oats, and soak them in a cup overnight. This morning they were a bit watery: 6/10. I also had a cup of tea, and checked things on the internet: 5/10. I had a shower, and trimmed my nails. The weather was quite bleak, but I went for a walk to the supermarket. Rain was in my face on the way there, and I walked silently and determinedly: 4/10. I went to New World Richmond, and it was rather quiet. I spent a bit of time looking around for things (I hadn't really checked what food I needed), but bought Jif and a dish-brush: 6/10. The walk home wasn't as bad.
I also bought some Marmite and bread, and had four pieces of toast. The flat's been lacking for a long time, delicious: 9/10. We have a flat inspection tomorrow, so I cleaned the bath after toast. I'd cleaned the toilet yesterday, which was a bit unpleasant: 3/10. The bath though was good, a real satisfaction in making it nice and white (thanks Jif!): 8/10.
Matt came home in the afternoon, and we lit the fire. We ran out of firewood some time ago, but Matt had 'acquired' some trelis, which made great kindling. I think I may have acclimated to a cold lounge, but if was great to get it going: however - smoke was coming out of the log-burner (blocked chimney?), so the lounge got so smokey that Matt had to extinguish it. Bittersweet: 2/10.
We had decided to have a roast for dinner, so Eamonn and I walked to get a few things. We bought 'pipe bread' from KB's, and got a few things from the supermarket. Pooja served us, and she was really friendly and helpful: 9/10. Matt, Eamonn and I prepared the veges; we boiled everything a bit first, and when roasted, they turned out fantastically. Eamonn made some garlic bread, and I made gravy from scratch. The roast: 10/10.
Brian, Aine, and Rosie came over for dinner. It was really nice.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rugby

Tonight I had work. It was very quiet; New Zealand were playing Australia in a game of rugby in town. Because this was a 'big deal', some roads in the central city had been closed, and there was a parade to the stadium.
When I was younger, I cared immensely about rugby. In fact, at the corresponding NZ/Aus match in 2000, I cried and sulked when we lost. I was 15 - how embarrassing. I'm glad I 'grew out of it', to the point where I don't know most of the team members, or care about the results. Well, care only to the point of how those results affect the 'national psyche': elation or despondency depending on eighty minutes.
I cycled home from work, through the road closures. There were more people, more yelling, and more police than a usual Saturday night. Why don't people get this excited about art? Or music? Or touching moments of beauty?
I'm lucky that while most people don't, my friends do.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Art of the Mix CD

I really enjoy making mix-cds. They're a great gift, and are fun to put together. When I make one, I try to think about what music the person may know, and then combine that with things that I really like, and would like to share with them. Then play around with the 'flow' until I've got a winner.
Then comes the decorating, which I love. Lately, I've been using National Geographic magazines for the front and back covers. I also try and decorate the disc, either by drawing on it, or gluing a picture on top. To name it, I pick a lyric from one of the songs on the cd.
This is the last cd I made, for Ashleigh. I think it may be the best I've yet made.

Things I Love Friday - my bike, Sally

The bike I ride was given to me by my granddad. I'm not sure where he got it from, but it's a Legnano, an Italian brand, and it's pretty awesome. Given how awesome it is, I was pretty stupid to repaint it white (before I learnt of its heritage). I dubbed the bike Sally - you can read of our biggest adventure here.
For the last wee while, Sally had been left a little deflated, as it were. I was using my flatmate Melinda's bike, but finally got around to patching a puncture, and I've fallen in love with Sally all over again. She and I zip along like a rocket

Monday, August 2, 2010

Radio interviews

I'm a radio host on RDU in Christchurch, and I really like interviewing people. I was pretty lucky to talk to a few bigger names recently, Ben Power from Fuck Buttons, and Florence Welch from Florence and The Machine.
I arranged the chat with Ben myself. They're not touring here any time soon, and haven't released an album too recently, but I really wanted to talk to them. In spite of their questionable name (which I initially baulked at), they make fantastic music. It was 10am for Ben in London, and 9pm for me. He was a great guy, and you can listen to our chat here. It was my first go at using the editing software, and I was kind of learning as I went. I also wrote an article based on the chat for Einstein Music Journal.
I was asked a couple of weeks back if I'd like to talk to Florence. She played a show in Auckland last week, and I spoke with her that morning. I'd only heard her album once, but it sounded quite nice. Florence probably has the sweetest voice of anyone I've ever spoken with. Swoon. Have a listen for yourself here. I put an intro and outro on this interview, and now have a much better idea of what I'm doing in terms of editing.
Possible upcoming dream interviews: Miranda July, and Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crushes

Crushes. I enjoy having crushes on people. They're fun, and usually innocent. And happen to me all the time. They're probably best to have on people who are unavailable, just to spice things up.
In the past it seems that people always find out when I'm crushing on them, probably because I'm far more obvious, and less subtle, than I'd like to imagine. Therefore, to clear it up, I've made a handy guide. Do I have a crush on you? Follow the chart to find out!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Things I Love Friday - Cabinet magazine

So, of the few TILFs I've actually done, two have been about magazines, which would make it seem like I have a short attention span. BUT - Cabinet is amazing, and it's been absolutely consuming my life in the best way for the last few weeks.
It's a quarterly from Brooklyn, and is so engrossing to read. Their stories cover a huge range, and it's the kind of magazine you'd read cover-to-cover, simply because everything is fascinating; even if you didn't think it would be. In the last couple of days, I've read stories about amatuer spectroscopy, a history of fire-escapes, plaice, Pampas architecture, strange attractors (!), and an account of how Soviet nuclear tests were detected by a cautious US. Seriously.
The writing is so engaging. Also, each edition comes with a postcard and a bookmark. Check out your local library.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Goodbye Tumblr

I use Google Reader. It's a pretty handy way to navigate the internet (though does white-wash all the websites you read), and it's nice to keep a track of Tumblrs. However, I've recently removed a whole bunch, as they offer me nothing. Perhaps even less than nothing.
Tumblr touts itself as 'the easiest way to blog', which it indeed is. The ease of this, as deemed by most users, seems to be appropriating images and quotes from other Tumblrs. Who get them from elsewhere. It leads to a whole culture that is very disingenuous, especially when the source isn't even stated.
Of course, there are Tumblrs that I enjoy, the authors of which provide a lot of original, worthwhile content. See at: Timmy, and Lucy.
Are there any Tumblrs that you would recommend reading?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Titles

When I was cycling to uni this morning, there was a man walking his two sons to school. He was walking with a bike, and was wearing a high-visibility jacket. On the back, it said 'driver' 'cyclist' 'person!' As I passed him, I said, 'I like your jacket', and he smiled and thanked me. It got me thinking about social roles, how we change, but also how easy it is to label people, based on a glimpse of their actions.
As a 'cyclist', I've felt the anger of motorists; conversely I've been angry at how stupid 'motorists' can be. Of course, we're all just people, but things seem to change once someone's in a car, or on a bike. It feels harder to reach out and make a connection to the other person you're interacting with.
As I cycled home, I crossed a bridge over the Avon in Hagley Park. There was a family of four playing 'poohsticks', and it made me immensely happy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Feedback Sought

The mini-craze of blog questionnaire posts seems to have died down. So now it's my turn. I'd like to find out a bit more about you, and garner your thoughts about this blog.

-The basics - age/sex/location?

-How did you come across this blog?

-Do you think you've ever been in love?

-What makes you happy?

-What is beauty?

-Would you like to see more photos/stories/advice/days in review/poems/different things on this blog?

-Is there anything else you'd like to share with me?

Comments appreciated below...

Look

From the streets of Christchurch...





















This was in the Central Library - 'an exercise in sharing with strangers'














An addition


























Edges

It's been quite overcast in Christchurch lately, so I wanted to share these pictures with you. One of my favourite things ever is seeing the outline of a building against the backdrop of a really blue sky. It's such a crisp contrast, and I like the difference between the man-made, and the eternity of the sky.






























































These were all taken on the same day. I love the depth of colour in the last one.

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