my houndstooth universe

So last night I wrote a grand total of 305 Frankie words. Tonight I was going to do the same — maybe I still will (unleash myself on an unsuspecting world 305 words at a time… look out) — but then I got caught up colouring in my houndstooth universe [figure A] and listening to old old Radiohead and drinking wine (if you look very closely you can see one or two watery sav patches… entirely deliberate and added purely for the sake of authenticity, of course… sort of like newly ancient tea stains).

The other half of this back-of-last-year’s-diary map is all decked out in polkadots (my polkadot planet — too twee?). Part two isn’t pictured here because a) my pen ran out, and b) such fripperies as these actually take a fucking long time — it takes more than just an evening of ad-breaks to fashion a houndstooth universe, in case you’re wondering.

(Really my pen running out is the main reason for me being here right now. Once I get started on my globe-crosshatching quest it’s quite hard to stop. It’s extremely peaceful, even if my inner calm does come as a direct result of me systematically wiping out entire villages — whole countries — with an ink pen.)

Speaking of peaceful, today I realised something quite important. I don’t really want to use my head any more. My head and I have reached a bit of a stalemate (supposing for a minute that I can be detached from my head… but let’s not get so granular about it). At the moment my head hurts a lot. It’s not like a headache; it’s more like dragging a tired old mule to a trough of brackish water and wondering why it keeps on saying nuh-uh with its legs locked rigid and its hooves clinging for dear life in the dirt.

I’m putting it down to end-of-year-itis. But if 2011 rolls around and nothing’s changed, I’m thinking maybe I’ll work in a map shop or sell slightly modified atlases door-to-door.

this is not to scale

Sleep FTW.  Three-day weekend FTW. I woke up at 9pm tonight and made this out of old stuff and a bit of Photoshoppery. It felt awesome. I drank wine and put music on. That felt awesome too. It felt a bit like the good old me back again.

A few notes for my own personal operating manual, as witnessed in the last couple of weeks. (Not that I will learn from or pay any heed to these notes, of course… that would make far too much sense.) >>>>>>>>

1. I need pottering time, big time. If I don’t get it, I start making up nonsensical lyrics to songs. Like the fonts song I started making up today to the tune of Kokomo (a sure sign I’m spending too much time in Microsoft Word), which so far goes: Tahoma, Verdana, Gothic and Lucida…

2. I can do late nights or early starts. But not both at once. Actually – who am I kidding – early starts and me are pretty average and probably not to be advised under (m)any circumstances.

3. I like agreeing to stuff. And helping. And then I get to about 2 in the morning, the bones in my neck locked rigid, and I’m staring, possum-like, matchstick-eyed, at piles of A3 scribbles and a junkyard of an inbox and going ohfuckohfuckohfuck. 

4. The internet has absolutely screwed my attention span. But the internet is part of my job (and I love the internet!), sooo… sayonara attention span… I never liked you much, anyway.

The other thing I noted today – which doesn’t really fit in my life manual but seemed noteworthy all the same – is how much of a giant crush I have on Hugh Laurie. It’s quite weird, really. It’s probably on a par with the crush I used to have on Richard Greico once upon a time. 

I also spent a bit of today writing about dog shit and what to do with it. It was one of those what the hell am I doing moments. But Sylvie and I cracked up about it (she is being just the most playful little sprite at the moment… totally out of character) and put it down to being character forming.

(Seriously, though, you can ask me anything about what to do with dog shit in public spaces and I can tell you.)

Tomorrow I get to see Caroline, who I haven’t seen in ages. She’s getting married. I was just now thinking about us years ago, traipsing around Melbourne buying every secondhand sex manual we could get our hands on, along with old 70s recipe books (for their pictures of gelatinous puddings, mostly). We knew exactly what we were after back then. We were singleminded and utterly resolute in purpose.

I was also thinking of my Melbourne poem, which probably makes reference to the Kama Sutra and Angel’s Delight. But the poem is purely a paper-based artifact, and it is currently living in the Sweetman archives, so maybe some other time.

Oh, and some other things. We just bought a house and little old katyink is one year and one week old. They grow up so fast. Over and out.

something tells me you would’ve taken off without me

Another thing I found the other day in the papery region of our house: some of the comic cards I used to make. Hopefully you can read the captions from here.

If not:

All right, all right. I love you kid.

Television… That and a booster shot of HOPE. Everything’s going to be fine.

Something tells me you would’ve taken off without me.

That was graceful… honey? Are you all right?

I felt your pain through our psychic rapport and —

I have kept these quite a long time. They’re a combination of card, cut-up comics, Duraseal and Scandinavian textile design, transported in cardboard boxes all the way from Stockholm and kept all this time.

I’m listening to the new National album, just back from Regina Spektor. My hair is so straight and sleek and unboofy I’m struggling to recognise it as my own (picture Marge Simpson morphing into Jessica Simpson and trying to logically explain to herself the physical transformation, not to mention account for the sudden lack of follicular volume…). 

I mentioned the kumara thing last time. Here’s what I meant:

I had today off. I don’t want to go to bed, because as soon as I do, my day off is no longer. Like I imagined the whole thing. I didn’t, though. I really didn’t. As pointless as it all might have been (magazines and Maltesers in bed), I wouldn’t change a thing.

wrapping paper for the jinxed and jilted

I elected not to go out tonight. Or today (apart from errands, which are hardly social). I got up this morning and cooked extremely. It was a bit strange and out of character. It wasn’t extreme that I was cooking. I love cooking. It was extreme that I got up on a Saturday morning to cook four things at once.

Midway through my culinary mania I even took a photo of the intricate purple heart of a spliced kumara. I won’t show it here though because it looks sort of hematoma-ish, like something from a petrie dish that can’t but render you goosebumpy (and make you consider the bloody watery fleshiness of your own mortal bones).

Tonight, in our quest for the magazine-ready unlived-in home, I tackled the office area. I may just talk about this tomorrow. It’s a disaster area. In the course of my initially industrious excavations this evening I found things that made me cringe – nay – cry out with inward humiliation. But still I couldn’t relegate them to the gone forever heap.

I found all kinds of stuff, and then I found what remained of my stamp and ink collection. It’s just one stamp, and it says: REFUSED. I don’t know where I got it, but it’s always been my favourite (until LP and Mr America gave me my very own stamp, saying: from the library of…).

[As an aside, I have been promised Indian printing stamps if I am very good. I’ll show you what I mean once I have been very good and obtained them as my reward. They are really beautiful, pretty much too beautiful and ornamental to use. But rest assured I will sully and butcher them with ink and generally make a mess with them, however beautiful they may be. I don’t labour under the katyink *brand* by accident, you know.]

Weary from box-lugging and nostalgic distractions, I sat down at the desk, listening to crackly jazz, and proceeded to muck around with my REFUSED stamp. I was only taking a few minutes out to rest my packing-fatigued (bloody, watery, fleshy) bones. But then I got carried away (as you can see from image A), and then the night got away on me.

As I was doodling (I considered calling this post my giant doodle, but then thought better of it), I came up with what I think might be a winner of a plan. WRAPPING PAPER FOR THE JINXED AND JILTED. The anti-Hallmark stationery.

Imagine it… you want to return some scratched emo CDs to a former lover. How better to do it than to wrap them up in REFUSED wrapping paper?

Next I will work on the other wrapping paper designs, including:

I’m sorry I didn’t love you enough

It’s not you (but you could have done better)

Take a good hard look at yourself


When I said I was sorry I only said it because we were in public and you were crying


Okay so most if not all of these will end up on the cutting room floor (along with most of the contents of our frickin house and about half a million $4-a-pop super-fortified boxes), but I think I might be onto something here.

As I idly scribbled, I called on Simon to provide me with symbols of rejection. He said the fingers.

Which put me in mind of these sweet things by Paul Maysek, which take pride of place on our newly-arranged mantel-piece.

I am over packing. I think borderline offensive wrapping paper might be where it’s at for me from now on.

late night at the Igloo Diner

Imagine this photo is all one perspex panel. It is, but I couldn’t get it into the one frame because it’s jammed in the stairwell. (Directly under our Damien Hirst, but that’s tomorrow’s post, entitled I buy things off the internet in the dead of night & don’t know what the hell they are).

So, Igloo Diner.

The downsizing is not going so well. Mainly because I discover things and get sidetracked. Then I try to re-find things and I can’t, because they’re stuck in piles of much-loved junk. Then I either

a) sulk

b) feel claustrophobic

c) feel defeated

d) feel tired

e) find something shinier to play with

or f) a combination of any or all of a – e

I think what I like about going to resorts and hotels and stuff is that there’s none of your stuff cluttering them up. But I couldn’t live like that.

I worked out tonight that I don’t have copies of most of the things I ever wrote. It doesn’t actually matter much. Some things I can find stuck in old notebooks (which I happen to chance upon when I’m supposed to be packing things up), or framed unevenly in perspex, as above.

Late night at the Igloo Diner does hold a special place in my heart though. I think it was the first poem I ever read aloud in front of a crowd. (And probably also one of the last, ha.) I made it with scissors and glue and My First Laptop (the one I blew up), late at night, Hawkesbury Ave, St Albans, Christchurch. Pretty much exactly eleven and a half years ago. October ’98.

So, as a gesture to the echo of my 21 year-old self (although I am still making stuff with scissors and glue, so not too much has changed since then), and in the interests of preserving a thing or two, I am going to type it out now, from a musty old journal, and here it will live. In perpetuity. Or at least until WordPress crumbles into a busted shell of gone no address pages, or until I get bored and forget about it. (Just kidding, but only kind of). Here goes.

Late night at the Igloo Diner


I paid my money, I want to see what happens (late night at the Igloo Diner)

we are regulars
here's a laminated menu & a tired
handshake           a milkshake maybe
vanilla & gingham & elvis
your eyes are red
under neon &
goldfish swim
against your silhouette
in forgetmenot blue water
you almost speak but
the jukebox sadsong voiceover
says everything you ever wanted to
although you never did
get round to saying it
it is hard to be so lyrical   to string up your karaoke heart
like fairylights
when all the lovesongs
have been written
in the next booth along from us       the boy & girl
are going steady
& burntout through weird halo smoke rings
you eye up
their sitcom sentiment   the drive-in move cuteness
of it all
it's just about your idea
of utopia
looking into blue eyes
across a formica surface    forever in bluejeans/sweet
in a carpark     in the back of the car
caught up in buttons & bra-clasps & first
fixed beneath a panorama of stars     with the country & western
from the radio playing so sad
& slow
as the streetlights slip silver over
virgin skin
we are regulars
all we want     is to be regular
like them    walking home from the diner
through the fairground    making it to third base
behind the sideshow tents
while the wooden clowns revolve
openmouthed & painted
with loneliness
each refuge fails us; each danger becomes a haven (late night at the Igloo Diner)
3am cushioned in red vinyl like an outsized vulva
       on a cocacola rollercoaster I play easy to get
& footsie with you    under the table
because it's better than nothing   because it's almost as good
                                            as watching
the way the skin on your bottomless coffee
is luminous as an oil spill on a wet road
all the while Marilyn in monochrome & two dimensions
leans down at us with cleavage & melancholy
in the bathroom   the girl who just walked in
with her sugar daddy
sums herself up puckered lipped & adorable
in a compact mirror
& soon the gunman will come in with rubbermask/carrybag & say
everybody be cool this is a robbery

we will get down on the floor     our lives
will flash before our eyes &
at the end of the trauma we will be better people for it
& until then we will watch carlights go by
filterinng yellow through a dirty wall of windows
sitting pretty in the interim
just you & me   boy     just like it was
in the matinee movies
in the good old days   black & white     cleancut
heroes with chiselled jawlines      just
you & me & five bucks
it's different now     like waiting at a llaundromat
for the cycle to finish    although it is set
at infinity &
the gunmen in floral print shirts down come & we
can't look each other in the eye no more   & all we've got
is small change
for the slot machines
& you spend the evening looking at the tits of Nancy
the waitress    although I'm too busy wondering
whether or not it's Nancy Drew     to care
                                  whether it's my tits or hers
& wondering how it could be that my
girl wonder with miracle torchlight & corkscrew curls
      ended up foresaking adventure
to work the graveyard shift in a frilly apron     at the Igloo Diner
although I guess we're all hanging out
for a touch of drama              even here
but there are only so many times you can shoot up in a cubicle or tap your
notsolucky last cigarette to some kind of screwy drumbeat mantra on the side
of your golden softpack while tallying up the colours of passing cars     too scared
to go home    only so many times you can order more fries with ketchup all the while looking up
at James Dean driving cooly down a suave highway to death    watching Elvis all the while
thinking of how he got so fat & too fucken depressed to even get out of bed
& now I can't help but get to thinking
how in eighth grade you said
I was Shirley Temple    I don't know why exactly
& how
I wasn't like all the other girls
that was a long time ago & now
I am just like all the other girls
you burn the formica
with your lighter      you say
I love you but I just don't like you
of the great escape         the remarkable getaway
you will never make       not
in these trampled bluesuede shoes
& as we get up to leave in our shirtsleeves
Nancy stops us at the door to say    you'll catch your deaths
& you say
talking all the while to her breasts
thank you for your concern Nancy    but
I reckon we already have

the world at my kitchen table

I just like making stuff. It’s Friday night (the best Friday night of the year, I’m told).

We are scaling down. Winter cleaning, or whatever you call it. Planning to ship out. So tonight  I got out my old suitcases full of paper and spread them out on the kitchen table, in semi-random arrangements, like so (exhibits a, b and c).

I was tidying up. Out came all my old ripped up National Geographics and dismembered scraps of OHP-printed poetry. Now I am in bed with the [more doting] cat on my feet and my headphones on and all of downstairs is an abandoned disaster zone. I achieved nothing this evening but these photos and a whole heap of mess.

In between times we watched A Complete History of my Sexual Failures and I believe I also coined the expression knee-deep in needy, but not about anything in particular. Just because it sounded funny.

I love the colours in old National Geographics. And I love the photo captions.

Things like —-

thrusts concrete fingers skyward

The Man Who Made Time Stand Still

and, perhaps best of all —

It fired bullets through lightbulbs, pieces of chalk, soap bubbles, radishes, and bananas, as well as innumerable apples. Live subjects – shot only with a camera – include hummingbirds, bats, dolphins, dancers, cheerleaders and acrobats.

The thing is, by the time I arrive at these captions they are just fortune cookie-sized strips, orphaned, captioning nothing. I can only guess at the thing they’re supposed to be giving explanation to.

It’s kinda true to say that tonight I had the world spread out on my kitchen table. City fires. Nighttime rollercoasters. Mud huts. Skyscrapers, illuminated from within. Timber wolves running through snow. Neon signs and wild dogs. Aerial cities, purple with dusk. Ice floes. Lichen. Winter trees. Coral reefs.

Friday is maybe the best night of all nights. Just maybe. Empty carboard boxes are daunting, but – for now – an untouched weekend beckons.

the contact sheets

I wasn’t going to turn on my computer tonight. But I did. And here I am.

I have just started work on two new screens – one of which is my parents’ long overdue Christmas present.

I’m at the collation and printing stage, pulling together all kinds of stuff, scanning it, cropping it, digitising old photos, sticking them all onto contact sheets so I can print them all off on A4 and (in theory) save time.

It’s kinda surreal, seeing bits and bobs from your family history quickly bunged onto a piece of paper, in random order. It’s cool digging through old stuff. Like the telegrams from Mum and Dad’s wedding and the letters we wrote when we were little. It’s a privilege, I guess. The older I get the more I can see how family history can become addictive.

Went to see Liquid Stone this evening in the Documentary Edge Festival, about Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. That thing is far too epic and out of this world for this bear of little brain to get her head around. Sometimes I wish I were good at maths. Who knew you could make elaborate curves out of millions of straight lines, intricately manipulated?

Anyway, I’m not going to be here long. I need to keep cutting things out, and I also have plans to paint my nails. But I thought I would share a poem by Brian Turner – one of my old favourites – which I just found when I was delving into things and making a mess. (NB ‘du’ = ‘dusk’)

separate in a shared space again

So it has been a while. Some things don’t get any easier. Some things get better with time. Perspective is all. Trouble is, sometimes you’ve got to go somewhere far, far away to get it.

Woke up in my own bed again this morning, smiling. It was not the blissful blacked out sleep-of-the-dead I had in the hotel room bed over the weekend, waking like a stunned mullet amidst skyscrapers, remembering almost nothing at all.

I think autumn is coming. Everything feels different, but it’s not just the weather. It must be the season for merciless mouse slaughter. We ate cheerios for dinner.

Whatever you have in front of you is what you make it. Funny how we grow into the cliches. They are comfortable and true. But give me an aphorism over an aneurysm any day.

Laughter is good, and so is the kind of love that gets bigger and bigger as time goes on.

Today I wondered if it was normal for grown ups to have the impulse to just up and run away, just like we did back then (whether or not we acted on the urge). And you know what, I think it is completely normal.

I have a place I think about running away to, and I take my buddy with me. It’s like the desert island thing. I have a picture of it in my head. It is a real place. But for some reason I can’t get there. All the barriers are mental, in all senses of the word.

Anyway, this wasn’t what I was going to write about. In my absence the blog traffic spiked dramatically and it didn’t even have anything to do with mentions of s*x as I had naively anticipated. In my absence the cats got on with their sadistic business and the bills kept coming in the mail.

I made the thing above partly in the Auckland Koru lounge yesterday (the words came from a magazine there, and I happened to have pens on me) and partly the other night when I took a photo of a light in the Town Hall. And tonight I muddled them all together into this. Bungling Photoshop/wrangling with borrowed words is the perfect Monday night distraction. And now I might go right ahead and watch some TV.