Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rinse and repeat

It's been a bit like deja-vu all over again round here lately...

In a carbon copy of July's snowstorm, we were inundated once again with massive amounts of the white stuff. Just like July it arrived on the Sunday night and carpeted the city once more in a massive white duvet (that's a doona for you Aussies). There didn't seem to be quite so many snowfolk this time around, but there were plenty of people who put in the effort, with some impressive results.
Some great snowfolk in these pictures from The Press - the Dalek is my favourite (of course!)

This time round, the storm covered much of the country and - to the amusement of any Southerner - even Aucklanders were running around in delight as a few snowflakes (or just sludgy sleet?!) fell in parts of the city. Check out the segments on Campbell Live from the 15th & 16th - great shots from around the country, and an acknowledgement that the excitement levels in the city of sails greatly outweighed the actual amount of snow. That's ok, we'll forgive them... but I thought this was a great t-shirt idea in response to Auckland's two big 'nature' moments of this year:
So that was Rinse&Repeat #1: Massive snowstorm forces the city to shut down completely once again, meaning more cancelled lectures, more rescheduled teaching, & more disruptions to our already chaotic lives...

Another repetitive moment recently was the announcement that about 850 homes in Kaiapoi are now red-zoned, meaning their land is not going to be remediated nor are their houses going to be repaired or rebuilt. Cue the same issues as have happened in Avonside, Bexley and other city areas that have already been red-zoned. Those people are now months ahead of the Kaiapoi folk and none of the arguments over house/land valuations vs govt/insurance payout amounts have made an inch of progress. The city red-zone residents are now starting to receive their official government offers, and hardly anyone feels like they've been looked after. It will soon be the turn of homes in Brooklands, Spencerville & Southshore to find out their land's fate, no doubt sending another wave of broken-home owners into the reluctant house/land-hunters market.
Rinse&Repeat #2: Red zone = dread zone

It's been reasonably quiet on the home front lately - in terms of earthquakes I mean. Over the past few weeks, there haven't been terribly many noticable aftershocks. There would be whole days, sometimes even two days in a row, when we wouldn't feel anything at all (ok, so then we had a little cluster). However, these days my brain throws up a warning sign whenever I think those kinds of 'quiet-earth' thoughts. After all, the earth had settled into a similar pattern of stability by mid-February, and again in early June... and we all know what happened shortly afterwards.
Rinse&Repeat #3: The calm before the storm? I sure hope not.

They grow up so fast...
...our little bundle of fluff is now officially old enough to have his nads lopped off, and was duly packed off to the vet's this morning. Having totally cuted out all the female vet staff with his smoochiness (pre- & post-surgery), he is now back at home purring & snoring as he sleeps off the anaesthetic. We've had a bad run with kittens over the last 20 years... at least 3 have let us spend hundreds of dollars getting them de-sexed and vaccinated before promptly throwing themselves under passing dogs or vehicles. Which is why we picked Autumn as an adult cat from the Cats Protection League 10 years ago - we figured if she'd made it to adulthood, she might just have a vague idea that dogs & cars were best avoided. So, we're hoping that Blue doesn't live up to his predecessors' legacy, and follows Aunty Grumpy's (aka Autumn) example of a long & catty life.
Rinse&Repeat.... better not!! He's cute, we wanna keep him round for a while yet :)

Repeats are not always a bad thing though, as the reason for my recent lack of blogging has been a very productive repetition indeed. I've previously mentioned the doco I made about Harbour musicians, which played on RadioNZ National in November 2009, and how it was originally a submission for my first-ever university paper. Well, earlier this semester, the lecturer for one of my current Honours papers mentioned that our second/major essay could be a piece of alternative media that we made - like an ezine, website, video or radio programme - with an accompanying shorter essay on some aspect of the theme explored in the media piece produced. You can imagine I was immediately taken with this idea, and started thinking about the possibilities.

My eureka moment came when I thought back to the earthquake/s of September 4, 2010, and the fact they happened on a Saturday... which meant that this year that date would fall on a Sunday... which is the day that the programme that played my first documentary, Spectrum, is on... After running the idea past my lecturer, I contacted the show's executive producer and he liked my idea for the show, so it's been all go for the last three weeks. It's funny but seeing what I've just written, I cannot believe I actually got it done in that timeframe, especially considering I've been teaching, attending & reading for lectures & then I got stuck at home for two crucial days thanks to that last snowstorm.

The self-imposed exile was worth it though... after a weekend of editing (welded to my computer chair, headphones glued in place, with bits of audio constantly running through my brain), and then another evening of tweaking & fine-tuning, it's finally all finished. I'm really pleased with the end result - the words of my interviewees & the music of the Harbour Union have been woven together to make something that I hope will resonate with Cantabrians and help explain to the rest of NZ/elsewhere just what it's been like for the last year... in a non-memorialising, artsy, quirky, honest & interesting kind of way.

If you're in NZ, you'll be able to hear my doco - Entertaining Shakeytown - on Spectrum, Sunday September 4th, on RNZ National just after the midday news. If you miss it (or live offshore) it will be available on the RNZ website shortly after broadcast and I will even post a linky here on my blog to make it super-duper easy for you to find it.

Rinse&Repeat #4: Radio documentary beats essay writing any day :)

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