Monday, August 30, 2010


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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)


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


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

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