Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ways to feel better

Take a walk
Touch things as you walk past (fences, trees)
Catch some of a strangers' converation and imagine what greater story it was part of
Skip as you walk!
Imagine a random item as being a piece of installation art. What does it say about its surroundings?
Catch a falling leaf
Walk along a fence or beam
Think about the moments leading up to a first kiss

Care to suggest your own?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The guide book

When I moved over, my friend Fran gave me her copy of the Melbourne Compact Street Directory (6th ed). It's a solid 500+ pages of information. I enjoy flicking through the pages, trying to orient myself in this new city. Occasionally I spot something interesting - it told me that one block from my house, is a velodrome. I went to check it out, and it seemed pretty disused, but I found a way in. Many of the map symbols it uses are unexplained, and I think tomorrow I'll try find out what a flag with 'Indian' signifies.
It's been a handy tool to have as I make my way around the city. It helped me get down to Brighton where I bought a bike from a guy who had studied in Christchurch. I trained to Flinders before cycling home (~15km). I'd planned to buy a smart phone, but the combination of the book, my willingness to explore, and the kindness of strangers has been all I need to get around.
As I'm (slowly) becoming more familiar with the streets, I'm becoming rather familiar with the book itself. Waiting at a stop, a girl asked me if the 55 tram went down Flemington. I had a look at the tram map, before expertly flicking to Map 369, confirming that yes, it did. 'You're pretty quick with that map book', she said. 'Well, I do use it a lot' I replied.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Saturday

Yesterday I caught the train in to town. I was off to Footscray to have a look at a bicycle. The public transport is great here, but I'd much rather zip around on my own. I had a bit of time to kill, and found an all-you-can-eat vegetarian restaurant (called 'Om'. It was om nom nom), and walked around the CBD. I headed to Flinders St station, and was asked if I'd like a Free Stress Test. I said Yes, and was tested by Helen. The test consisted of me holding two cylinders which was attached to a machine with dials. The machine sat on the table next to a large pile of books by L. Ron Hubbard. I asked how the test worked, and she said 'it could detect if I was feeling stressed', which seemed a little tautological. Despite an initial spike when she asked about people I knew, I was one cool customer. She seemed vexed that nothing in my life (no job, moving to Aus, family, social problems etc.) was causing me stress, and really struggled to find a line of questions to get me worked up. I smugly asked if I'd passed the test, and she said yes, but I took some information about Dianetics anyway.
I jumped on the train, and waited for the person with the bike to arrive at Middle Footscray. It turned out to be the guy's grandmother, and though it was a nice bike (and I did want to say Yes), I decided not to take it . Which was a shame, as I was really looking forward to cycling home. With an afternoon to kill, I went to the museum. On the tram there, my friend Annie hopped on! It was really cool to see her (and felt right - she has a blog about trams), and we chatted until my stop.
The museum was great, but I wish I'd had more time. There was a pretty amazing dinosaur exhibition, and the stuff on geology was incredible. There were some imperative displays: 'touch these teeth, imagine it biting a branch'; 'touch this rock' (which was more than four billion years old. I teared up a little, it was all very overwhelming). I then headed to Brunswick to meet Riki for a beer.
While I waited to him, I explored some alleys off Brunswick St, and was absolutely amazed by the quality and size of some of the wheat pasting. It was a little off-putting but also really inspiring, and it's something I'd really love to do more of. It was great (as always) hanging with Riki, and after I while, I caught the tram home

Friday, May 20, 2011


Simon gave me a copy of Yes Man by Danny Wallace as a leaving present for Melbourne. It's really enjoyable, and quite inspiring in its own way. Danny basically says 'Yes' to every opportunity, and that's that. It worked out well for him, and it's something I'm trying to embrace more.
I've moved in to a new flat in Coburg, and it's nice. It was quite impulsive, but it felt right, so I just said yes. It's with nice people, in a nice area. And the nearest train station is called Batman. Brilliant. I was out and about looking for jobs yesterday. I dropped by Australian Geographic, which is a science/cool stuff toy shop for kids (and big kids), and the guys seemed really cool. They said I was off to a good start by having a beard, awesome. Another maybe is Cinema Nova, which seems very similar to Rialto. Fingers crossed.
Leaving the cinema, I was stopped by a man who asked if I'd like to be in a photo essay which 'infers youth'. His name was T (he made a 'T' with his hands), and of course I said yes. In a bookshop across the road, I also found a copy of my beloved Cabinet, hurrah!
On my way home I stopped at Office Works to use their free internet (that's where I am now), and two young teens sat next to me. 'He's using Facebook, too' said one of them; 'Do you want to add me?' said the other. 'I add randoms all the time: I've got one thousand, two hundred and forty friends'. 'You're very popular', I said, 'but no, thanks'.
Rats, that was a definite Yes Moment! I'll try keep it at the forefront of my mind

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Gina and I drove to the airport (with The Lion King soundtrack playing), and found our way to the new, futuristic/completely sterile terminal. We saw Kim, and after checking in, it turned out she was sitting behind me on the flight. We had a wander around, and I felt sick with the feeling of what was coming up. We made small talk about the nature of flying, before walking down to the departure gate. It was heart-breaking, but in the midst of tears and hugs, we exchanged a 'bye for now', as well as plenty of 'I love yous'. It's hard to say the right thing when you're choking up.
I passed through Customs with no problems, and a few sympathetic looks (crying might be the secret to successful smuggling). In the departure lounge, I just felt empty, and waited for the plane to board. I thought of a lyric from Polka Dot Dot Dot – 'it's not the leaving, it's the never coming home again'. It felt appropriate, but for the opposite reasons; I know I'll be back, but leaving is tough.The flight was fine, and as I had a window seat, I witnessed an astonishing site: a circular rainbow. It happened not long after take-off, a beautiful complete oval of colour, floating just above a cloud. I wanted to shriek, but remained silently transfixed as the plane banked and it fell from view.
Things felt a little better.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Last paste in Chch

On my last night in Christchurch, Simon and I did a bit of pasting. A few days earlier, he and I had quite impulsively taken a trip to the West Coast. He'd asked if I was happy with what I'd done in Chch, and when I said I'd never been to the Coast, we seized the moment. It was a long day of driving (top marks to Simon), and we managed to check off some great sights.
The drive to the Coast was good, and Arthur's Pass was okay. We stopped for lunch in Greymouth, before heading north to Punakaiki. I was really amazed by the Pancake Rocks. I was probably a touch sceptical as to how incredible they would be, but they exceeded my expectations a hundredfold. It was then further up to Westport, before heading home via Lewis Pass.
I don't think I can really convey how great a friend Simon is. We talked the whole time, sometimes deeply; often just quoting The Simpsons and joking around. He writes a fantastic blog, and has been a very close friend since the start of high school.
He has also gotten a good taste for pasting. We went along Bealey Ave and put up some colour swatches T'nealle and I found in an empty office. I'd had the idea to brighten up all the plain black power boxes, and I think this was a good start.

There were also these cryptic messages: 'We conduct many of these'

Wish 7

'New bike tyres :P KJ, YMCA'

I had my old pair still lying around the flat, and saw this as a good way to do a good favour. I left this note: 'Hey KJ, here are some tyres. Sorry they're not new, and I hope they fit. Best wishes! Wish box'

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wish 6

'Wish there were less cops on the rd pulling people up for nothing'

This one seems pretty subjective. Though I didn't want to waste her time, I did send Police Minister Hon Judith Collins an email to get her thoughts on the matter. No reply as yet.
I also checked the ever-reliable Yahoo Answers for a possible answer to 'Do Cops pull people over because they have nothing better to do?'
In the end I don't think this is a wish I could grant, but I did have a look around to see what was going on. The Police say that road crashes are 'the leading cause of death to children and of disability to 14-44 year-olds', and Safer Journeys is the governmental strategy toward 'a safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury'.
This wish may have been written by a 'boy racer', so I had a look at that too. The Land Transport (Unauthorised Street and Drag Racing) Amendment Act 2003 (aka The Boy Racer Act) has been law for a number of years and bans certain types of driving behaviour and illegal modifications. With those in mind, it seems possible that the police may have just cause to pull over the wish maker, or their friends.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Day That Was - May 5th, 2011

I went to bed at about 12:30am after staying up talking with my flatmates. We were all home and it was really nice. I slept in my bed with a hot water bottle, and got up at 8am. We had a flat and EQC inspection, so I wanted to be prepared. It seemed like a nice day, and I had toast for breakfast (two crusts: marmite and peanut butter: 8/10). I checked the internet and went to use the portaloo across the road (the sewage system is fragile in Chch, and while our toilet works, it really feels you're 'doing your part' for the city); patriotic toilet break: 10/10.
I cycled down to the doctors to pick up a new prescription. I have a few infected cuts on my feet (2/10), but they're being treated (9/10) though based on tests, I'd been told I needed a different kind of antibiotic (I guess that's a good thing, right?). The staff at the clinic and the pharmacy were really friendly, and I cycled home to straighten up my room a bit.
Two guys from the EQC arrived, and they were meeting our property manager. We hadn't mowed the lawns for a few months, so I was expecting trouble with property manager. She seemed in a really good mood though, and didn't appear to notice (10/10), and instead focused on changing the tenancy agreement. She didn't stay for long, and the earthquake inspectors had a good look around. They were really friendly, and allayed any fears we had as to the structural soundness of the house (10/10, it was great to be given an all clear).
That made everyone feel good, and the sun was out. I had some porridge for lunch (6/10), and a cup of instant noodles (9/10). I phoned the power company and got the account sorted for my moving out. I had missed a call from an Australian bank, but called them back, and got my bank account sorted (10/10). Then I cycled to the post shop to withdraw my Bonus Bond savings. They weren't able to check how much I had (2/10), so I cycled to the bank in Merivale who informed me that I had more money saved than I thought: 10/10!
After I got home, Hannah and I walked to the supermarket. It was really nice, and we bought ingredients for nachos (as well as honey-roasted peanuts: 9/10). Her and I made dinner, which was really yum: 9/10.
After dinner, I cycled to the mall to see Gina at work. The store was really quiet, and we goofed around: 8/10. I helped close the store (and did the vacuuming!). When work had finished, we drove back to her place. She had some dinner, and we lay in front of the fire doing a code cracker (I love them: 10/10). We talked in bed for a while, and then went to sleep. It was a really nice day: 10/10

Wish 5

'I wish that Chris would realize that he missed out on me and get in touch and try again with me' (b/w 'I wish to be loved. Thanks heaps')

Without knowing anything about the two people in this relationship, I sided with the writer of the wish, and made a few notes like this:

Perhaps Chris will see it, and reconsider.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wish 4

'That the aftershocks would stop :( '

I was expecting this kind of wish, and I'm sorry to say that it's rather outside my abilities. However, doing a bit of research online, GNS say 'the rate of decay (of aftershocks) from Feb 22 is much sharper than at Darfield (September quake)' and that aftershocks 'had since tailed off sharply and they were now less frequent than aftershocks at the equivalent time after the magnitude 7.1 earthquake' (link).

I know that this isn't exactly reassuring, but I guess it might be helpful to have faith in the science and know that things are improving. We had a tremor this morning which wasn't fun, but they are infrequent, and things are getting better.

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