Friday, December 20, 2013

6 months in 6 pix (Pt 5)

November went from this:

 Through the looking window glass...
Book clearance shop in Cashel St, opposite the CTV building site 
Untouched since February 2011.

to this:

 Bougainvillea walkway, Southbank, Brisbane 
(hooray for conferences! IASPM-ANZ this time)

View of city from Southbank

Sunday morning market

More building jewellery! Even carparks can be pretty

 4ZZZ , Fortitude Valley, Brisbane 
You just know that any organisation with this kind of seriously funky artwork has an attitude to match... no wonder this community radio station has been rocking since the 70's
creative communities FTW!
My visit coincided with the Valley Fiesta - great atmosphere & fantastic local talent
if only they could turn down the temperature a notch or two...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

6 months in 6 pix (Pt 2)


Any day above ground is a good day

Unbelievably good 

Amanda Fucking Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra, rocking The Enmore, Sydney

Awww... gone but not forgotten

Our first significant landscape feature planting: future shade
(Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate')

Self-sown feline

Friday, November 29, 2013

6 months in 6 pix (Pt 1)

Life: it got busy.

Too much to write up so I'm going to let the pictures do the talking :)

JULY - Seattle, WA

EMP and the Space Needle, Seattle

Musical sculpture, EMP (aka hog heaven)

'Poetree' at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Queen Anne Hill, Seattle

Funky artist's studio, Queen Anne Hill, Seattle

Jewellery for buildings! Fremont, Seattle

The troll under the bridge... Fremont, Seattle

Friday, June 14, 2013

Time for ABCs at CCC

There's a song for every moment and today's post is no exception. In fact, I highly recommend that you click play and hum along as you read.

"Communication let me down..."

Truer words have never been spoken in Shakeytown. 
In fact I'd like to nominate this song as the theme tune for our troubled city council.

image credit: @James Hayden

Before we begin today's lesson let's recap the last few months shall we?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Home Sweet Whare

Winter came a little early this year...
May 29th, still officially Autumn. Yeah right. Tell that to the polar blast that ripped through, chilling us all to the bone and dusting us with snow/hail/sleet. Mmmmmm, tasty. NOT!!

Hope it's not a sign of things to come this winter... I'm kinda over snow dumps to be honest. Although I must admit to a slight feeling of smugness when I read articles about how to keep your home warm this winter. There are many advantages to a new house - insulation, double glazing and a complete lack of cracks should make this winter a good one to stay at home with me on the inside and the weather on the outside.

I've spent most of my life in Christchurch and this winter will be the very first one I've ever spent in a new house. Our previous home - a gorgeous, character-filled, dark wood-interior bungalow could equally have been described as draughty, poorly-designed, amateurishly built, and well past its prime. Often colder inside than out, it was similar to many homes built in the first 50-100 years of Christchurch settlement. I loved it to bits but now that I'm here on the other side of that physically & mentally exhausting process, I'm no longer sad that the earthquake/s munted my cute but dodgy old home.

If only everyone was in a similar happy place.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Considering Desiderata & Disaster

There have been many occasions recently to ponder the vague randomness of the universe, to collect my thoughts on various things, to seek out those whose opinions or interests echo my own. It is always nice when your gut feeling is explained or reinforced by experts, and such was the case recently when an opinion piece appeared in The Press (22/4/13).

In 'Dance through disaster's small joys', clinical psychologist Gini McIntosh and psychiatrist Caroline Bell extolled the benefits of appreciating life's little joys - things like humour, exercise, feeling connected, engaging in hobbies, trying new things - as a way to improve coping and wellbeing after a disaster. These were the types of activities or mechanisms utilised by local residents who rated themselves as coping well with the stress of the last 2.5 years.

McIntosh & Bell were commenting on results of a recent survey, conducted as part of a wider mental health campaign called All Right?, in the greater Christchurch area. While many respondents reported that the double-blow of earthquakes and EQC/insurance had made life difficult and that they were struggling to cope with it all, there were some who, despite the adverse effects of the quakes, felt that their lives had been positively impacted overall. It was these people who were more likely to have been engaging in activities with a positive, feel-good factor.

This has long been my theory about going out to see live performances - not just music but also poetry, theatre, comedy, dance and magic shows* - they make you feel happy to be alive, whatever the circumstances are outside, beyond the venue doors. Just like a good book, a live show can take you to a different place, enabling you to lose yourself in the moment while sharing it with those around you.
*all this and more have taken place just this year at the darkroom bar

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Confessions of a trainee academic

Any day now I am sure I will be outed, exposed as some kind of pretender to the throne of academic thought. So I’ll get in first with a confession: I’m making it all up as I go along. Or at least it feels like it.

In conversation, I often struggle to remember the names of those authors whose writing speaks to me. My head sometimes feels like it’s so full of ideas that crucial information just doesn’t stick. Sometimes I feel like a total fraud, unsure of my own fledgling arguments and wandering lines of thought.

But it's okay, because I am not alone in this.

One of the best things I did at the start of 2010 was to attend a short course run by the Learning Skills centre at uni. It was called ‘Making a first class start to your Honours year’, and one of the first things the presenter said was that each and every one of us sitting there probably felt like a bit of a fraud. That we somehow weren’t worthy of the expectations associated with postgraduate study and couldn’t attain the levels of discipline and knowledge required, but that we were also quite wrong. I can still remember the audible sigh of relief that rippled around the room as we turned to the person next to us and gave them a nervous, understanding smile.

We’d been rumbled – but it was okay, it was normal, we weren’t alone in having these anxieties. Maybe we could do this after all.

And yet, the self-doubt remains.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blue's views

Oh, hai there :)

Thanks for dropping by. As you can see, I really like the new pad - especially the deck. I think the humans have done rather well.

But, I have to tell you, there have been some strange things going on lately. Firstly, mum spent ages putting up all these little marker flags on the walls & ceilings, and then she got grumpy at me when I proved to be awesome at catching them. I liked the ones halfway up the wall... they were especially fun.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Every smile counts

Today is census day here in NZ - it was supposed to happen 2 years ago but a rather disruptive earthquake sequence put paid to that. It was quickly realised, by the powers-that-be, that any data collected was going to be horribly skewed by the mass exodus of people escaping Shakeytown, and tracking down everyone left behind would be near impossible. So, we do it today instead.

I filled out my census form online - quick and easy! I really liked the fact there was a helpful explanation on how to account for time spent off-site due to earthquake issues. It's a good feeling to be back on our little plot o'land - taking into account the two years spent away, we've been living here for 11 years.

There are a number of other things that have made me smile in recent times so, in no particular order, here's a few:
 Cafe in Hobart, Australia
(the name was waaay better than the coffee)

Cat busting out Tetris shapes on the bed

Friday, February 15, 2013

In the key of B

Bad blogger

Naughty, irresponsible, slack-ass blogger. Yep, that's me.
By the end of 2012, after about 2 years of almost-constant deadlines & responsibilities, I took total advantage of the lack of external deadlines in January by ignoring all the self-imposed ones as well. It's not that I wasn't doing anything - I got all sorts of stuff done over the Xmas break - I just became temporarily averse to writing of any kind.

So, to make up (a little) for the deafening silence of late, here's a rather long and rambling update in the key of B.*

(*Why? No reason really, just 'cos)