Finally the house is quiet, glass of wine poured, a perfect sunset happening just outside my window, the new (well, I guess it’s not so new now) Radiohead album playing at an acceptably mellow volume, all child paraphernalia hidden from view. And it feels like my head is full of sand. Or sawdust. (Yes, I think sawdust… that horrible, fibrous, cork-coloured stuff they used to heap on top of spew in the playground back in the day, although it never seemed to do the full trick of masking the spew’s uneven chunkiness or its eyewateringly foul odour…) 

I have planned this time all day, pictured it, right down to the detail (wine glass to the left of me, baby monitor to the right (here I am, stuck in the middle with you… um, what?), dishwasher purring in the background… okay, the dishwasher’s sloshy accompaniment didn’t actually feature in the original plan, but I don’t begrudge its presence one bit — it just adds to the texture of the house’s glorious quiet). I even pre-loaded images to pay it forward to myself — no pesky blog admin, just pure, unadulterated typing. Imagine it! And I am a sublime two-finger typist, if I do say so myself.

And now I’m here and, well, I’m not sure I’ve got it in me. This old night owl is a night owl no more. I never thought I’d say that. The wall has been hit. Just a soft hit, mind you, a limp-ish, anticlimactic thud, nothing bone shattering. It happens every night around this time. Too tired to put my brain to anything useful, too light outside to sleep.

So, some stuff, all inside-out and back-to-front, piecemeal and probably a bit phoned in and/or abbreviated…

mass loquacity

I’ve had this phrase stuck in my head since the weekend. Reading Martin Amis’s Experience, he proclaims this the age of mass loquacity. The old fifteen minutes of fame now passé when any old Joe with an internet connection can spark themselves up a blog and start unleashing on the world their laundry list of passions, peeves and peccadilloes. So much noise, so many gems, and a hundred thousand digital landfills’ worth of untold rubbish.

Found stuff

My brother recently unearthed this story, written by seven year-old me to mark the passing of my grandmother, Dorothy.

This is Dorothy, better known to me as Granny. I didn’t inherit her legs. (I mean I didn’t get those leg genes passed down to me… that sort of came out weird and got me to thinking a bit about the be-socked-and-be-shoed prosthetic limb that lived in Matt Couper’s room once upon a time… I’ve forgotten the leg’s particular back story, though.) I remember Granny as a gentle woman. She taught me how to tie my shoelaces by pretending they were bunny ears.

Speaking of grannies — this time not mine — today the world farewelled Nana Morrow. I only met her a couple of times. She was an awesome woman and a huge part of my brother in law’s life. And as far as final requests go, to ask for a Black Russian, take a few sips and then go to sleep is pretty awesome, too. Right up there with Mr Wilde and his famed wallpaper ultimatum. Cheers, Nana Morrow.

my backyard voyeurism

In my last post I might have mentioned a spot of backyard voyeurism and then not gone on to explain myself. Which may or may not have left you wondering about my moral character. (Or not. It may have actually done something for my blog stats, considering the most commonly searched on thing on my blog is a variation on the words: LITTLE GIRLS IN BATH. Which never ceases to make me feel fucking sick and dismayed about the internet’s grubby underbelly, although I still haven’t pulled down the photo of me and my sisters and brother in the bath some twenty-six or so years ago. It’s a cute photo. Perverts be damned.)

I shall explain myself. It’s perfectly legit. (Or legit enough.) At the bottom of our garden is what I presume to be a student flat. One young tenant, a male in what I presume to be his early twenties, has a room overlooking our garden. I cannot help but notice him. I spend a lot of time at home these days, you see, and he also probably cannot help but notice me (doing baby front-pack aerobics to Viva Hate up loud at 11 on a Monday morning, even… which is probably only just preferable to glimpses of me hiding behind a strategically-placed Christmas tree hooked up to a breast pump). His daily activities have become kind of curious to me. He has become symbolic of a much younger me. So — there we have it — my voyeurism is purely symbolic, which immediately removes my fascination from the realm of the pervy and gives it pseudo-mythic status, which is perfectly acceptable, I reckon. During the day he sits on his window sill with the windows open, smoking cigarettes and playing his guitar. I think the guitar is more of an accessory than anything else, though, since I’ve never witnessed much more from him than the guitar equivalent of Für Elise. By night he cranks a whole lot of video games (do you still call them video games in this day and age, or have I just gone and exposed the closet luddite in me?). To me he embodies all the unencumbered, idle luxury of youth… the durries, the aimless breeze-shooting, those heavy-headed day-long sleep-ins. It takes me back to what really does seem like a lifetime ago.

And that’s all there is to it. No photographic evidence or anything like that.

my domestic spaz-ness

I can’t think of another word for it. Motherhood is most excellent. Cleaning is not. I had hoped that by right I would have got a package deal where, along with the new mother starter pack, you also got the clean freak/suburban housewife on crack module as well. But not so. So, accepting my lot, I then tried to trick myself into thinking it could be fun!!  Bull. Not fun. Cleaning the house from end to end/top to bottom took the better part of a week all up (with all the requisite baby things and a little bit of sleep interspersed) and cleaning the toilet in particular had me seriously considering punching someone. I channelled Mary Poppins, sucked it up, thinking that when everything was spic ‘n span it would all be worth it. Total let-down. I felt like I had wasted time that could have been better spent on the internet/in my head.

And when I say in my head I just mean doing the lifetime’s worth of stuff I’ve become accustomed to doing, which has more to do with my head than my new mop (which still remains in its box, although I sometimes look over at it and fantasise about how I might fall in love with it and how it might completely revolutionise my life).

I have just enough head stuff to be getting on with. Mostly just for sanity’s sake. Just so I don’t wind up punching someone in a fit of toilet-rage (?!). And my current editing task is conveniently chunked up into 1000 – 1500 word pieces that can be slotted, one at a time, in between the occasional feed cycle. Nothing like weilding a red pen to make the synapses sizzle, 15 minutes at a time. 

In my last post I also — semi flippantly — mentioned dusting off the 73% complete second novel. This comic from Sarah Laing says it all, really, about Confronting the Beast. It cracks me up.

I did dust it off, and now the manuscript lives in the bottom of the pushchair, along with my new walking jacket. One day last week Oscar and I walked down to Aro Park, found a shady spot under a tree, and I did the unthinkable: cracked it open and actually read some of it. It’s not a beast, not exactly. More like perfunctory and aimless. I handled this realisation just fine.

The next day we walked down to Aro Park. We settled in a shady spot. I pulled out the manuscript. But Oscar was just too cute and far too awake to be concerning myself with booky things! So we played on the rug in the grass as the world walked by, I managed to earn myself about five huge grins, and then we walked back home, happier than either of us would have been if I’d ditched playtime for a ten-page stretch of wincing averageness.

But to return to domestic life, just quickly, to qualify… It’s really just the cleaning part that blows big time. There are big upsides. Like discovering Ellen (who, I just found out today, dances in the aisles at the start of her shows — so liberated, so liberating!) and the mere idea of opening the bottle of Rosé in the fridge at three in the afternoon and drinking it, by myself, on the deck in the sun (I’ve yet to actually do this, but the fact remains that I could). Emotionally charged laundry sessions with Lighthouse Family at high volume. And opening the door in my dressing gown with a small person attached to me and watching as the door knocker immediately resolves not to sell me anything. (Especially good was the Telstra guy coming round, although I wasn’t holding Oscar and I wasn’t wearing my dressing gown, because I got to unleash about the astounding total shitness that is T-Box and pretty much everything Telstra-related by association. But that is another story.)

And the best part of all is the Oscar (here featured at bathtime).

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Last time I weighed in here (precisely a month and one day ago) I said something about making an appearance once a month, thinking that was cutting myself enough slack. Being one to honour my commitments, I have been toying with this post all week, pushing it forward in the tiniest of increments, managing a small handful of sentences at a time before being called away to more pressing things (usually involving milk).

Now I have exactly 20 minutes (or possibly 24) to wrap up and hit publish or this is going straight to the blog trash heap. So I may resort to note form, which probably isn’t a bad thing.

Tonight holidays end. Not mine (having no paid work to do for a wee while yet), but real life resumes first thing tomorrow. It has been lovely. It has felt like a holiday. There has been family and friends, some snatches of sunshine, road trips, kids, good food, broken sleep, books read (but mostly haphazardly dipped into), laughter, common illnesses and the day-by-day adventures of a small person who only gets more beautiful by the day (I don’t know how that’s even possible, but it is). 

Tonight there is Andrew Bird (who, I have concluded, is a very clever man and probably also ace at Boggle), much housework and unabating rain.

I think I have more than what follows to talk about. Like my backyard voyeurism (maybe next time) and my full-blown exposition on happiness (maybe one day when I have time to write at leisure). But it’s a start. So, for now, some unrelated thoughts.

On pottering

Nothing like a sleeping baby whose bout of shut-eye is about to come to an end to force some haste upon a hopeless potterer. (And the small hours ahead may or may not include projectile vomiting, but it doesn’t pay for me to dwell on that now.)  I had hoped that dearth of free time that comes with motherhood might have given me a belated dose of what in my family we have come to call forward thrust (a quality possessed chiefly by my mother and to this day woefully lacking from my, um, skill bank). But not so. I make lists, just like I always have. But I amble my way through them. I treat certain items as optional. I do the best stuff first and, because there’s just so much shiny and fun stuff to concern myself with — these days just an ever-replenishing supply of domestic distractions (although I may be using the word ‘domestic’ far too liberally) — the bottom of the barrel never quite gets seen to. I write down things to do like ‘internet research’ (which effectively = unbridled web browsing) just so I have something to cross off my list. I like pottering. I can report that motherhood has done something for my slow reflexes — all it takes is the merest hint of a baby-mewl for me to bolt upright — but nothing at all for my inability to achieve anything whatsoever at speed. Including, it seems, this post. So…

On Oscar (abridged)

Oscar is almost nine weeks old. He looks like a real boy and an old soul. That’s the general consensus, anyway. When he was born and we first met each other he looked up at me with an expression I can’t really explain. It said: There you are. Like, I’ve been waiting for you, and now here we are. There was nothing babyish about the look. It was entirely knowing and sort of wise. That probably sounds dumb. And every so often, when he’s not giving his gummiest smiles to a dangling orange animal of unspecified nomenclature, he still gives me the very same look. It’s unnerving in the best possible way. And he’s awesome. Projectile vomit and all. (It was just the once but it scared the bejesus out of me. To quote my brother in law, it was like he was spewing up a lightsaber.)

Sylvie’s still coming around to the idea of it all. And also trying to emulate baby behaviour (crying, coveting any available baby blankets/toys/transportation receptacles, prostrating herself at any opportunity) in the hope of being mistaken for a baby and winning back some attention, however she can get it. (As we [I] speak she has fashioned a hut by burrowing under Oscar’s play gym.)  Baxter went on strike for a bit and then, realising the pointlessness of even bothering, threw in the towel. Now he just looks at Oscar with all the cat disdain he can muster, as much to say, You again, you little fuckwit.  

On parking and grammar.

This note, placed under my windscreen wiper outside my house, kicked off our summer road trip. It was a fair call… I was pretty much parked in the middle of the road. If I had been able to identify the car of the note’s anonymous author I might have reciprocated with a note of my own, saying something like, I will indeed practise my parking. Perhaps you could also practise using practise as a verb. Note the ‘s’. [Smiley face.] Actually I would never do anything of the sort. I would only entertain vague fantasies about it. Besides, if my said parking manouevre had a literary equivalent it would be much, much worse than a misused practise. It would probably involve the incorrect use of several apostrophes, to instead of too and the word ‘alot’. So I didn’t have a leg to stand on. Plus I liked the civic concern. It felt neighbourly.

My father in law proclaimed the note “very Aro“. I think he maybe meant non-confrontational or diplomatic… or pacifist with the slightest streak of passive aggression.

On happiness and resolutions. Or resolutions and happiness. (Or just whatever works, really, when it comes down to it.)

I could go on about this, and possibly one day I will (when I tackle my aforementioned exposition on happiness). I made some resolutions. Not many (I can count them all on one hand) but they’re sizeable and just scary enough to be interesting. But mostly I just wish for happiness, for loved ones and myself and the world in general. And achieving happiness, it seems to me, is no small feat. Better than dramatic weight loss or life-altering upturns in material fortune. So as well as making my list, I spent some time thinking about what does and doesn’t constitute happiness. Because grand to do lists in themselves are sort of silly, especially when they’re penned, individually but en masse, just because we’re all looking down the barrel of a new year hoping that a woolly and yet predictable plan will see us right. Until all the resolve wears off a month or two in, just like every other year. Or maybe that’s just me being cynical.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to dust off the unfinished novel and crack back into it. So I got Lily straight onto it. I figured a two year old would bring a much-needed freshness of perspective to proceedings. She accepted the challenge, put my yearly word count to shame in a matter of minutes, and took things in a whole new direction.     

I wrote my resolutions down on my I HAVE NOTHING TO DECLARE EXCEPT MY GENIUS notepaper. I thought that was funny. I have wedged them inside my diary along with this month’s bills. I figure it’s a good way of keeping things real. Or at least making sure I can’t help but keep bumping into them. 


Oscar!

08Dec11

So I have written what follows in between feeds and am posting this in anticipation of the next — imminent — feed, in the calm before the next milk frenzy. One needy cat sulkily blocking access to most of the keyboard (= one handed typing) and one eye on the clock (= a semi-permanent limbo and state of distraction).

It has been a month (well, a full calendar month yesterday) since Oscar came into the world. And this is where, with a head somehow full of so much and so little, all at once, I write about everything and nothing, go off on strange tangents, share some photos and then bugger off again to hang with Oscar (along with the stuffed toy brigade, the Very Hungry Caterpillar et al) for another month or so.  

A lot can happen in a month. Right now we measure progress in grams. Since time began in the outside world for Oscar, he has got a double chin, a birth certificate, his first Christmas decoration. He experienced his first earthquake, huddled nude with me under a doorframe. He outgrew his first onesie (although his granny later pointed out to me that we had in fact shrunk it in the dryer). His repertoire of whimpers and gurgles grows by the day and his signature gesticulations become ever more determined and insistent (some of them even have names… the Randy Orton, the woodpecker, the homie…).

I don’t really know who he looks like. Mostly I just look at him (for hours on end, it seems) and just see him. But in itemising the possible flickers of genetic resemblances, so far we’ve ascertained he has my mouth, Simon’s colouring and Didy’s chin. There’s an air of Poppa Dennis about him. But it’s in the darkest, smallest hours of the morning when I really know he’s all mine. It’s when I’m forced to cajole him into wakefulness for food only for him to unequivocally resist my ministrations – expressively and with every ounce of his being – that I see our greatest similarity so far. Being woken unnecessarily, prematurely, is an outrage. I have felt this strongly all my life. Full, complete and unbroken sleep is one thing I have always fought hard to protect, and I’m proud to see the same force is strong with the little one. (Funnily enough, though, given life’s new Oscar-ness, these lifelong sleep rules have now been rendered null and void. And oddly enough I’m almost completely okay with it.)

There was so much I was going to write about. Like being blindsided by the blizzard of love and anxiety and sheer confusion that comes with new-parentness. Like staring out the hospital window looking at the rain in a state of teary awe, wondering how I would ever explain to Oscar how rain happens, or even what it is. How I would ever explain to this perfectly uncreased blank canvas in my arms what anything is. How for a week, choked up with wonderment and an exquisite sort of pain I’ve never before felt in such madly high doses, I cried just to look at or hold him. (And then when one day I stopped crying, feeling guilty for not crying.) How, in the dead of night, having talked Oscar to sleep by translating a BBC News story on the European financial shitstorm into an allegory about the modern-day fall of Rome (mostly gibberish — a conflation of stories of Trojan horses and grapevines featuring toga-clad heroes and 21st century greed and collapse), the electric breast pump spoke to me. It did. It said the same few words over and over in its whiny motorised incantation — some sort of proclamation about a universal currency (the antipodean equivalent of the Euro, I think… heaven forbid). But it’s all a haze now. And, besides, there isn’t time.

Amidst the chaos, venturing out into the world is a big, big deal. Leaving the house means I get to see great things, like this particularly animated television set, a mere 10 metres from my front door.

 

And my favourite other discovery, in the week before Oscar was plucked, wrong way round (coming into the world like a rotisserie chicken, according to Simon) from the area below the oilcloth partition (I’m sure there’s a medical name for it, but it looked like good old fashioned oilcloth to me): Salamanca Road artwork.

In the face of so much change, it was wisdom well-timed.

Getting out of the house is good for other reasons, too. It stops me from turning into the Breastpump Whisperer, and from staring at The Sound of Bread album cover and wondering what bread — actual bread — sounds like.

It also gives me more to think about than my extremely prosaic dreams (the best recent examples of which include me finding a rockmelon in the freezer and wondering why anyone would ever think to freeze a rockmelon, and someone referring to Seinfield and me yelling SEINFELD! SEINFELD! at them).

Other distractions have come in the form of Christmas merriment and an attempt to create as many opportunities for reading/story-related media consumption as possible. I have craftily hand-picked magazine articles I always meant to read in my working life, but never found the time (although my relationship with time of late has got particularly strange… so much of it and yet so little), and have positioned the magazines at various stations around the house. I have at the ready on my Kindle a Cleopatra biography (ordinarily I’d find the link for it but I just don’t have the stamina or inclination) and an audio book of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, which I listen to on the night shift (purchased mostly because it’s 19 hours long, which I felt represented good value for money… although I’m four hours in and starting to wish I’d spent my credits on something a bit more fast paced). By my bed I have Jeffrey Eugenides’ new book, The Marriage Plot (most excellent so far, and a nice wind down from/antidote to a year of studying heavy poststructuralist argument) and Garth Cartwright’s Sweet As, which looks like a good kiwi summer read. Although 30 pages in I’m already wondering if his editor has taken their kiwi summer holiday early and gone fishing… It makes me twitchy and wish I kept a pencil by the side of my bed. But interesting subject matter, nonetheless.

And in the interests of Oscar beginning to appreciate the delights of storytime (poor bugger has no say on the music front though, and has already been forced to take in a random array of musical concoctions), we have been reading stories to him. Not kids’ stories, so much. Things like David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries (from Holidays on Ice). Which has made me remember and start to dig out some of my all-time favourite read-out-loud stories. Like David Foster Wallace’s Girl with Curious Hair (from collection of same name), Rick Moody’s The Mansion on the Hill (from Demonology) and Emily Perkins’ Barking (from Not Her Real Name).

And I think that’s all. I know this has no discernible structure. But Oscar stirs and I must away.

Happy Christmas!


T -4

02Nov11

 

Okay, Nik, this one’s for you. Checking in here was on my remaining things to do list (but probably wouldn’t have happened without Nik’s prompting). T -4 days and I can’t be bothered with the list. Today mostly consisted of sleep and Bejeweled and a bit of walking from room to room. Also my mother vacuumed and did washing while I lay there in my elaborately constructed pillow fortress. So productive things did happen under my roof today, but they were in no way of my making.

Friday I finished work. Yesterday I sat an exam, my first in 12 years. (Strange, very strange — I felt like younger me but with a much duller, woolier mind (but probably better organisational skills) and then the blue lino got me all confused into thinking I was actually at the hospital… something so same-y and — I don’t know — institutional about institutions.)

And today I entered my five-day window of empty-headed pottering. No more confusing epistemology and episiotomy or having to wade through ringbinders of Very Serious photocopied material, reading each page three or more times only to realise a day or so later that nothing whatsoever had stuck. Now I can while away minutes upon minutes of idle time studying the backs of bottles in the shower and making the words mean whatever I want them to (for example, just now: rincez abondamment should really mean rinse with abandon rather than just boring old thoroughly). Plus I can watch blackbirds frolic in hedges.

And come Monday it all changes. No more eating chalk in the small hours of the morning.


I realised today that I originally started writing this a year or two ago so that I could write about things I like and endorse wholeheartedly. After writing the post before this one (now three weeks old), I feared it was turning into something else altogether: a forum for my petty grievances and inconsequential gripes. Fortunately it seems the unstoppable compulsion to rant has gone now and I can return to mulling and pottering at my own slow leisure, unearthing pretty things that I like to look at. So, above: 3 x bird plates (well, I know only two are featured… but that’s what you get when you point and shoot using a pinhole camera) I bought for myself in the weekend for my birthday. Especially likeable because they cost a grand total of $17.95. The plate hooks were going to cost me more than the plates themselves and were on the other side of town. And then I stopped in to see my parents on my way home and my mother produced a handful of plate hooks, just like that. Total cost $0.00.

And this is one of our household’s two Andy Warhols. The other one is a plate. This is a Velvet Underground record framed in a special vinyl frame that allows you to unhinge the front piece and interchange your record art. Speaking of Insanely Saleable Artists, we also have a Damien Hirst, signed and all. I think I paid £10 for it and he (aka his minions) sent it to me from somewhere that looked like Eastern Europe, judging by the postmark. I was mostly just curious about the process. The package reached me a bit dented. I think I might have preferred a shark in formadehyde. Although fuck knows where I’d put a shark in formaldehyde, even if I did have a few million in change rattling around.

And this watercolour got my vote for the prettiest thing I saw all day.

And the other day the internet found me this charming NZ font. One day I would like the whole alphabet, but for now I’m going to appreciate it one letter at a time.

That’s heaps of stuff I like. There’s more as well, but maybe I’ll save that for my October post. Plus I got Simon to order me 2 x Bowerbirds albums and he picked them up today, so we’ve just listened to those (in our recently re-ordered study with its most excellent shelving). And just now he bought me the new Laura Marling album on iTunes, which will round out my evening’s musical entertainment.

Now I am going to start running a bath, which should help me to wrap up here in a timely fashion. That’s the theory, anyway. But it’s a shallow bath, so things could also go quite badly wrong.

Today there was a ranting woman standing on the street outside my building. She had a good set of lungs on her and a few axes to grind. I don’t know what she was soapboxing about — although I did peer down at her from the eighth floor and try and work it out — something about the DHB. Not being of the public ranting persuasion (August’s blog notwithstanding) I wondered what would drive a person to lone ranting in the middle of the CBD in broad daylight. I then wondered if I should worry for her, or at least attempt to understand her plight before moving onto the next thing in my day. But then I decided that sometimes selective oblivion is best. Sometimes it pays to have a Very Good Filter.

For example, as far as I’m concerned Happy Feet has slipped his tracking device and swims free. Maybe the glue came loose in all that salt water? Whether that’s true or not, that’s my story and it will behoove me to stick to it.

And if I’d chosen the path of selective oblivion last week, I wouldn’t have wondered off and on for days on end about the crying girl on the bus. I wouldn’t have wondered why she was crying or if, days later, she was feeling better. When all of it was for nothing anyway, since this morning on the bus she was there again, with the exact same expression. She was never crying at all. She just looks like she’s crying. I think it has something to do with the reddish eye makeup, having big, glassy eyes and a fixed and very blank bus-stare. But now I know.


This is my August post. I just had my hair cut short. Mostly because it will be the last haircut I have for some time, so I figured I should make it worth at least two regular haircuts. Then I had popcorn for dinner because it seemed the perfect bookend to my cupcake breakfast. There was a kind of logic to it. And now I am listening to The JPS Experience and find myself back in a boarding school cubicle in the early 90s, hauled back in time about 19 years. Weird how that happens.

In the past five-or-so weeks, since my coming here last, I’m sure I formulated some vague points of interest (conversation starters, mental cue cards, call them what you will…) for my monthly blog extravaganza. Turns out they can’t even have been interesting enough for me to remember what they were. So.

I have been spending a not insignificant amount of time looking out at the pink magnolias. Figure 1 (above) is one of only two remaining flowers on the whole tree. And with a sense of time running out I finally felt the urgency I needed to document it and offer it up here. I have also been spending a not insignificant amount of time peering out at the empty branches (in the spaces where the pink magnolias were) waiting for the troupe of rainbow-coloured parakeets to swoop in. They only come sometimes, and not for a while. But they are absolutely real, and not a figment of my imagination in any way, as first I thought. I have had them corroborated and have ventured some way to validating their origins (as you do when your sanity is in question). Turns out there’s a whole heap of them (not sure of the correct collective noun, so whole heap will have to do), resulting from a minimum of two of them (I’m guessing, going on my limited understanding of how these things work) escaping into the wilds of Wellington and proliferating.

In the past five weeks I have also spent a lot of time with Baudelaire and some tortuous late-night hours with W. Benjamin. And a lot of time with myself. And Sylvie and Bax.

Today at work I started a list of expressions I have heard (at work) within the last week, including:

declaring email bankruptcy (apparently a legitimate way of helping achieve the zen state of “zero inbox”)

productive procrastination (akin to weilding an empty clipboard in the hopes of looking/feeling vaguely efficient or useful)

real-time osmosis (because all this goshdang technology and there’s still no everywhere-all-at-once-sponge-it-all-up button on any of these shiny contraptions)

I have also been thinking a lot in the past week or so about the state of corporate PR, sort of bemused as to how I ended up here.

I am not one for rage but all of a sudden I am suffering it in large doses daily. So much indignation I don’t know what to do with. So many new counterproductive urges (like the urge to slap politicians or tell people they’re stupid) and bugbears (Rugby World Cup debacles, for one… and second hand books costing more than new books ordered via Amazon, for another. Bungled/disingenuous marketing efforts, Bianca on New Zealand’s Next Top Model making it into the next round every week… all important stuff). My rage is one of the reasons I’ve been putting off checking in here. The internet is full enough of ranters and flamers. I just want to take photos of flowers and arrange tiny clothes into tiny piles and whinge happily about my aches, but all this fucking rage gets in the way.  It’s exhausting. Simon seems to love it, though. He gives me this proud look whenever I unleash. He thinks it’s his influence finally rubbing off on me. 

The business card scene from American Psycho reminds me of work. It’s my favourite thing at the moment. I watch it and it makes me laugh out loud, even though I’m pretty sure it’s not laugh-out-loud funny. It’s just apposite. Yes, I think that’s the word. It’s the perfect embodiment of pretty much everything right now, as far as I’m concerned. The end.

And what’s going on in these pictures? (You can find more of them here.) Also very amusing. Is he embracing the seal because in French it’s a phoque? And what in God’s name is going on up her skirt?

 


I didn’t have a winter holiday this year (unless you count three days on the Massey campus in Palmerston North as a holiday), so I stole a friend’s winter holiday picture (see above). Then I happened to be listening to Ralph Towner at work the other day and noticed his album cover (see below).

It has been nearly three months since last I wrote here. I have HEAPS of excellent excuses but I’m not going to make any of them. I’m just going to proceed as if I’ve never been away. I forgot my password but my computer remembered it. And in three months the whole WordPress blog tool has gotten itself all souped up and fancy. (But not fancy enough to stand in the way of my comeback. Although when I say comeback I don’t want to be making it sound like a regular thang.) Goes to show that technology is where it’s at, even if I’m far, far away from the technology, basking in my own sweet spell of digital oblivion.

TV is good. I’m writing this in front of it. Watching the wrestling. Or waiting for it to finish, more like. For a while there some girl twins bitch-wrestled some other girls. And then some oiled-up guys bashed the shit out of each other with ladders. Then I drifted off and decided on this.

Palmerston North ‘holiday’ was interesting. It felt grown up, in a drab kind of way. The two of us holed up in a hotel room on the square, both working — in close confines but each with our own tiny desk — until the small hours of the morning. Then getting up and doing it again. I made Simon come with me. I spent a bit of time in the evenings drifting off from my reams of photocopies and staring out at the clock tower’s morphing fluoro. It was quite striking, especially when underlit by a shock of violet (not so much the green).

At one point I spent about 10 minutes staring at the hotel room ceiling and thinking how it could be a room anywhere in the world. That’s the thing about hotel decor, and postcard-y nightlights. I imagined being elsewhere so well that I totally disoriented myself.

Then I finished up my time sitting in a room with a bunch of other postgrad students (mostly wondering what I was actually doing there and how it will be possible for me to sit the end of year exam when I will be approximately the size of a small house by then, and how it is that I have become a mature student… one of those pitiable, humourless creatures sitting up the front of the class asking stupid questions, fawning over the lecturer and lingering for one-on-one bonus time after class has been dismissed). And then we came home.

And now it is time for us to revolutionise this house with bookshelves. It might even be like one of those home renovation programmes, but for people with major book hoarding tendencies. I might even have a mini breakdown halfway through, flanked on all sides by boxes of books, crying for the camera, saying but I just always loved books… while some interior decorating minimalist cocks their head to one side and tuts quietly at me, as if my salvation is borderline… still possible, but hardly guaranteed.

Or not. I’m predicting the new shelving situation (three whole rooms!) is going to be better than television though, that much I can say. And that’s saying something.