Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Its was a dark and stormy night (kidding). The first bottle of red wine seemed to evaporate as they watched; the second slightly less so. Full of good will IG and Mark J headed to Beer King's for a BBQ and a date with a bottle of 42 Below vodka.
The evening was young, yet they were old - thus the balance of the universe was maintained, at least for one more day.
There would be stories - oh yes there would be stories; yet to be told obviously, but stories never the less.
Stay tuned - while those of you in the northern hemisphere huddle around your mass lunches - we will carry the flag of New Years "Eve-ship" until you are ready to take over. Be ready - it's coming, and it's not going to be pretty folks :)

Best wishes to all for 2008!

P.S. God it's hot out!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sounds good to me

Seen in the City today...

Life is short
Break the Rules
Forgive Quickly
Kiss slowly
Love Truly
Laugh uncontrollably and;
Never regret anything that made you smile.

Granny J has left the building

I'm not sure how to start this one.
Mum called me this morning at 7am and told me what I already knew before I picked up the phone; my last remaining grandparent passed away last night.
We all knew that it was going to happen; with a trip to the nursing home early yesterday morning came a realization, and a mere twelve hours later she is no longer with us. I can't help but think it was a pretty good move on her part.
All this may sound callous, but if you read a much earlier post here you'd realise that she hasnt been herself for the longest time. I hope she's much happier now, especially with the knowledge that her declining health is no longer a concern to her surviving children. Perhaps the perpetual fog that clouded her mind of late has now also lifted, and she is herself once again - telling her old stories over and over to anyone who would care to listen. One suspects that all hell would break loose if anyone dared to correct or interrupt her during the best bits - she could be awfully determined at times :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just block out the 70's vibe.

At the risk of being flamed for my choice in music today - I dedicate this song to NFG.
I wish I was there with you girl. :)

Everynight I walk around the city.
Seems like I'll never know,
That feeling of being together when I go.

Retaining water

Suddenly bereft of anything important to do, I find myself a little on the fragile side this week. Even today, while IG trundles off to the Gym full of vigor, I find myself wanting to curl up on the couch for a little sleep when no one's watching.

I might otherwise attribute this malaise to too much food or/and wine, but I can assure you that this is not the case either. Rather than follow the previous Christmas dogma of too much food and wine, I have have decided to be "good" over the break; I even have a packet of rice crackers lurking somewhere should the need arise to prove my point.

Upon reflection my lethargy is most probably related to a lack of (bad) stimuli; and the resultant nap-wanting, a poor substitute for a sugar packed, fat laden, old fashioned chocolate bar. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately I must report a distinct lack of junk food within arms reach. Life is so unfair!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Self help Me

Wandering around Dunedin bookstores during the Boxing Day sales, I couldn't help but notice all the self help books on the shelves.

In a world where it seems more and more that one size must fit all, I wonder why there are so many self help books. Surely if one or two worked then there would be no need for others. At the same time I cant help but think that the whole self help industry is surely a corrupt one; secretly wanting a sicker society for a bigger market share.

Every time I see another self help Guru like Doctor Phil, or Jerry Springer on the TV, I treat them as I would any other evangelical minister preaching; I change the damn channel.
I find the whole requirement for these shows to be morally repugnant - like Captain James T Kirk, I believe that we are all a product of our life experiences; both good and bad. Why people insist on polishing all the rough edges off themselves makes little sense to me.
Not that I don't take mental illness seriously. Dooce wrote a lovely essay on mental illness just the other day. It's a serious business, and one not to be trivialized with by buying a self help book - I often wonder if people try to self medicate with these, instead of seeking out the real deal. It's time like this that I realize how much admiration I have for people who put their hands up and ask for help - they are the strong ones.

Then again, all this angst was gone after one Belgian biscuit, so what do I know :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Cute is not enough sonny boy!

The horror of the pickles aside, I would like to take this moment to wish all that lurk and post here a very Merry Christmas.

Take care out there, but remember; I need you all back here on the 27th, or the kid (above) doesn't get a present. Do not test me people - his needy manner will not sway me :)

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

~Author Unknown

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hold the "you know whats"

Hot on the heels of my ham-less toasted sandwich post, I now have to put my hand up and admit I am a difficult bastard.
Why? Because it turns out I can even hate it when I get something I don't ask for. No one is more surprised than I!

Christmas shopping has been a little better than expected this year. Two new Mega-malls at Albany and Sylvia Park have opened up, so by taking a trip to a less hip, established mall, crowds are actually not too over the top. I managed to get a park on the first attempt. I must admit to getting out of my car and walking around it twice looking for towing signs or handicapped zones - but there were none. Un-fricking believable!

After the last minute Christmas shopping was done and dusted, I decided to drop in for a bite at the local Robert Harris Coffee shop, but as expected it was full to the brim with espresso drinking caffeine heads. My disappointment held in check, I decided to down-size to the mall's Burger King: big mistake.

Crying babies and mindless children running amok, the joint was almost moderately clean, so I decided to brave the elements and order a Double BBQ Bacon Cheese burger - just to tide me over until dinner. I wasn't shocked when my burger was luke warm - you more or less expect that, but when I took my second bite I felt a profound disturbance in the force.
In the universe I live in, finding a pickle in a Double BBQ bacon cheese burger, is akin to finding 7 McNuggets in a 6 pack - it just doesn't happen.
I guess the combo of screaming children, too many people, a luke warm burger, and a damn pickle was too much for me to stomach.
I put the burger down, lifted the top, not willing to admit the truth; yet there they were. Not one, but two pickles that had no right being anywhere under that luke warm bun.
Concerned that the world was teetering on the outcome of my actions I quietly put the burger top down again. No one had noticed. No one had seen the horror. Burger King were down two pickles and they didn't know it yet.
I had now convinced myself that the best course of action was to deny knowledge of the existence of the missing pickles. I folded the offending burger back into its hellish paper wrap and put it back on the tray.
As I grabbed my coke and slowly made for the door, I realized that we must never talk of this again. These two pickles swim with the fishes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

2 minute challenge


Courage is a lie,
will tempt you
and flay,
If you fear it

Courage has a scent
and a sweat.
Under your skin,
when the wind blows
Courage is cold.

Courage is a sword
that cant be unsheathed
without tasting blood.

Courage hungers
for failure,
and is never sated.

Thanks NFG

It's never that easy in real life - but sometimes courage can be found when or where you least expect it.

[click image to enlarge]

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tell me something

Why are we here?
Is there a point to all this?

I wonder if this has happened before, and will happen again. Wikipedia has a page on something called Eternal Return which ties a few interesting ideas together.

Some days I wonder if our time here is simply one of growth. If we repeat our lives over and over do so in order to grow, evolve in some way? Do we end up learning and relearning the same lessons, before finally understanding and moving on. To where? - I have no idea.

There are so many ways to be more spiritual in nature, so many roads to get to the same point; one no more correct than another. For some the journey is easy, for others, less so. I think some may like the ride too much to bother getting off and moving on at all. More power to them.

No matter where you are on the journey to self discovery, an important step might be self acceptance. And that may involve more than a few rides on the ferris wheel of life.

This is all a sudden thought - out of nowhere really. Maybe a conversation with a like minded person has opened my eyes to a different view of the world. Not really the world I was living in, but it just goes to show - you cant always judge a book by it's cover.

Much like this clip I suspect...


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

18 April 1987

I remember you at my 21st
(yes - thats you on the floor)

I'm sorry that we lost touch
(I'm pissed that we had to)

I'm really glad we're close again
(I couldnt have it any other way)

And it's great that you get me
(even if I don't)

But did you ever notice the world's a lot less interesting
When we're not across a table talking like there's no tomorrow?

Especially when my tomorrows may truly be numbered.
If you ever see this photo. :)

The light that burns half as long, burns twice as bright.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


For some reason I find this sad; perhaps the realization my whole life thus far would be rendered in a mere 11 minutes.

I need to get out more :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The potential in us all

A nice Christmas story, found in full here.

When Sammy Gitau, a child of one of Nairobi's most notorious slums, discovered a Manchester University prospectus languishing on a rubbish tip, he kept it as a talisman and reminder of what his life could be.

Like thousands of other children living in the squalid conditions of the Kenyan capital's longest-standing slum community, there seemed little means of escape.

But yesterday Gitau, 35, who spent almost a decade gazing in hope at the precious prospectus, became the university's most remarkable graduate.

Maybe, if we want something bad enough - sometimes the impossible is possible after all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Whats going on?

Bugger Waldo - Wheres the baby Jesus?

God - Christmas is really getting to me this year.
So much so that I broke with tradition and got out of bed before 9am on Saturday morning; all to beat the Christmas rush. By ten thirty I'd had enough, retreating far from the zombie shoppers, back to my fortress of solitude. It was a close thing - the innocuous Christmas music in the background almost trapped me with its sweet dulcet sounds. The tinsel, almost hypnotizing me - leading me by the hand to the next sale: almost, but not quite.
To think this is what Christmas has become to so many here. It's sad that in this country Christmas is rapidly becoming a time for Santa, instead of a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
The funny thing is, I shouldn't really care. As an agnostic I sit on the fence here. The thing is, I am increasingly disheartened by the shift from religious holiday to retail commercialism; because this isn't what Christmas should be about.
The whole gift giving thing bothers me as well. Expressing your love for a friend or loved one should be a daily occurrence, small actions over time; a hug here, a kind word there - you know, the small stuff that adds up to something over a whole year.
I don't see my friends every day; some I see only once a year, others - too far removed, but regardless they are all seldom far from my thoughts.
The money changes may not be in the temples yet people, but if you're starting to think like me, you cant help but notice the malls seem to have a lot of worshipers this time of year.

Music is my life.

It seems to me, that I have been posting a lot of music lately.
Sandra pointed out this is not a bad thing - but it is a step away from where i was here.
I think primarily, this has been caused by a self imposed lack of life experiences of late. I've been contemplating a next step for some time now, but have been enjoying the calm before the storm entirely too much.

Time to move ahead - at least one step. I suspect next weekend will show me the way.

The Feelers - Stand up.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bob has a message.

Sums up so many little things of late; some small meaning in this time and space.
Ten minutes, hours, days, or years later - who can possibly tell.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Bob Dylan - Most of the time.

Most of the time
I'm halfway content,
Most of the time
I know exactly where I went,
I don't cheat on myself, I don't run and hide,
Hide from the feelings, that are buried inside,
I don't compromised and I don't pretend,
I don't even care if I ever see her again
Most of the time.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mosgiel Intermediate Pool

I cant believe I actually did this all those years ago.
Now kids are tied up in cotton wool by parents who enjoyed a freedom they in turn deny their own kin.
That and lead paint. Tasty, tasty lead paint. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Because I'm a Sap

Sometimes I think this way - but I try not to.
More often than not, however, I lose the battle.

Eva Cassidy - Autumn Leaves

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cuz I'm complicated

Smooth jams from classic Lionel and Co.

and as someone posted on Youtube...

Whatever happened to excellent music that told a story? Now it's all grab your glock and kill your Mom.

Why it's not easy

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another.”

-James Matthew Barrie

The Days of my Cows

Warning : This is a long post, but worthwhile in my humble opinion.

I read this article, or one much like it, many years ago. Although it is perhaps culturally insensitive to buy your wife with cows in this day and age, this love story made me smile. If only we could show the world how much we loved our partners by showering their parents with cows. I'd very likely bankrupt myself for the woman I loved.

Condensed from Woman's Day Patricia McGerr. Reproduced in full from here

When I sailed to Kiniwata, an island in the Pacific, I took along a notebook. After I got back it was filled with descriptions of flora and fauna, native customs and costume. But the only note that still interests me is the one that says: "Johnny Lingo gave eight cows to Sarita’s father." And I don’t need to have it in writing. I’m reminded of it every time I see a woman belittling her husband or a wife withering under her husband’s scorn. I want to say to them, "You should know why Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for his wife."

Johnny Lingo wasn’t exactly his name. But that’s what Shenkin, the manager of the guest house on Kiniwata, called him. Shenkin was from Chicago and had a habit of Americanizing the names of the islanders. But Johnny was mentioned by many people in many connections. If I wanted to spend a few days on the neighboring island of Nurabandi, Johnny Lingo would put me up. If I wanted to fish he could show me where the biting was best. If it was pearls I sought, he would bring the best buys. The people of Kiniwata all spoke highly of Johnny Lingo. Yet when they spoke they smiled, and the smiles were slightly mocking.

"Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and let him do the bargaining," advised Shenkin. "Johnny knows how to make a deal."
"Johnny Lingo! A boy seated nearby hooted the name and rocked with laughter.
"What goes on?" I demanded. "everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. Let me in on the joke."
"Oh, the people like to laugh," Shenkin said, shruggingly. "Johnny's the brightest, the strongest young man in the islands, And for his age, the richest."
"But if he’s all you say, what is there to laugh about?"
"Only one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!

I knew enough about island customs to be impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair-to-middling wife, four or five a highly satisfactory one. "Good Lord!" I said, "Eight cows! She must have beauty that takes your breath away." "She’s not ugly," he conceded, and smiled a little. "But the kindest could only call Sarita plain. Sam Karoo, her father, was afraid she’d be left on his hands."
"But then he got eight cows for her? Isn’t that extraordinary?"
"Never been paid before."
"Yet you call Johnny’s wife plain?"
"I said it would be kindness to call her plain. She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow."
"Well," I said, "I guess there’s just no accounting for love."
"True enough," agreed the man. "And that’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact that the sharpest trader in the islands was bested by dull old Sam Karoo."
"But how?"
"No one knows and everyone wonders. All the cousins were urging Sam to ask for three cows and hold out for two until he was sure Johnny’d pay only one. Then Johnny came to Sam Karoo and said, ‘Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter.’"
"Eight cows," I murmured. "I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo."
"And I wanted fish. I wanted pearls. So the next afternoon I beached my boat at Nurabandi. And I noticed as I asked directions to Johnny’s house that his name brought no sly smile to the lips of his fellow Nurabandians. And when I met the slim, serious young man, when he welcomed me with grace to his home, I was glad that from his own people he had respect unmingled with mockery. We sat in his house and talked. Then he asked, "You come here from Kiniwata?"
"They speak of me on that island?"
"They say there’s nothing I might want they you can’t help me get."
He smiled gently. "My wife is from Kiniwata."
"Yes, I know."
"They speak of her?"
"A little."
"What do they say?"
"Why, just..." The question caught me off balance. "They told me you were married at festival time."
"Nothing more?" The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.
They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows." I paused.
"They wonder why."
"They ask that?" His eyes lightened with pleasure. "Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?"
I nodded.
"And in Nurabandi everyone knows it too." His chest expanded with satisfaction. "Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita."
So that’s the answer, I thought: vanity.

And then I saw her. I watched her enter the room to place flowers on the table. She stood still a moment to smile at the young man beside me. Then she went swiftly out again. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right. I turned back to Johnny Lingo and found him looking at me. "You admire her?" he murmured. "She...she’s glorious. But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata," I said.

"There’s only one Sarita. Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata." "She doesn’t. I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."
"You think eight cows were too many?" A smile slid over his lips. "No. But how can she be so different?"
"Do you ever think," he asked, "what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two?" This could not happen to my Sarita."
"Then you did this just to make your wife happy?"
"I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands." "Then you wanted -"
"I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman."
"But —" I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bullrush Girl Revised

Just a snap from my cellphone.

"Why do you always do that?", she asked. (sighing a little under her breath afterwards)
And you know?
She was right....

So it turns out that it wasn't always a case of life always putting me in these situations after all!
Seven words from a close friend, and finally it's a little clearer. That's what having kids must do for you - the uncanny ability to cut through the bullshit to the heart of the matter. :)

That I would continue to put myself in the same situation beggars belief, and although in fairness the situations haven't always started identically - the end has been suspiciously similar.
The scary thing is that it is entirely possible that the outcome will always be the same, and that Green Street Girl's sister might have hit the nail on the head; all whilst sitting ever so calmly in a lounge chair, one warm Friday evening in Anderson's Bay.

Not the most obvious place for an epiphany, but the girl was always smart beyond her years.

But to my credit - I've always known that fact :)

The missing post.

One of the Knopp girls

The verdict is in - and the grass is greener on the other side of the fence - or perhaps, just at first glance.
Today I find myself in front of my brothers computer in very hot and sunny Dunedin. Last Wednesday I flew home on the quiet to catch up with IG, who just happened to be 40 yesterday, surprising my parents in the process.
As usual with a trip home I find myself spread a bit thin - wishing I had more time before my flight back to Auckland on Sunday. But all that said, since Wednesday I have had a serious job offer, registered my Capri, taken photo's of the Knopp ladies at play, eaten a shed-load of BBQ meals, and enjoyed myself far too much.

Even with this all going on I managed to write a post down on a piece of paper last night. The thing is - I've lost it - and it's really started to bug me. It said exactly what I wanted it to say, and now the words I write just aren't enough. I just hope I can find that damn bit of folded A4 paper before I go home!

So - until then - I'm having to retrace my steps. Grrrrr

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas in Wanaka

I never know where this stuff comes from - but when it does I'm glad I'm near a computer.

Trees bent at impossible angles
Gaggles of children pulling adults for popcicles
As the central Otago Sun beat down without mercy
We sat on the grass outside the pub
Waiting for New Years Eve,
riding a sea of Speights.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Christmas wish

At his time of the year one could be excused for wanting to pack your bags and run away from home.

Unfortunately, finding that ever elusive off switch somewhere on your kids body is just another pipe dream.
I have a dream people - a dream of a life without complications, mortgage payments, or responsibilities. Imagine all the people - we could join our friends, and run away together with copious bottles of wine and great conversation, with nothing but time to burn - what a wonderful world that would be. Ask not what you can do with your dreams, but what they can do for you.

Hangovers and plagiarism optional, obviously. My dream - my rules - ok? :)

I've been talking drunken gibberish
Falling in and out of bars
Trying to get some explanation here
For the way some people are
How did it ever come so far?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not your typical Wedding Song

...but a lot more realistic than a lot of the other "drivel" out there.


I guess I'll always be an incurable romantic. I love this song - Chrissie Hynde is amazing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Talking to a Stranger

I'm sorry
but if you think you know me
You don't

The things I say
mean as much
as the things I don't

You cant see inside me
read my mind - make me something else.
I exist - regardless

I seem - as I project to others
unknown even to myself
The things we hold back
make us complete - give us balance, you see

If you take the time
You'll realise
that even though I'm different
In reality - I'm just like you.