we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small.

Eva K. Logue

At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

William Shakespeare

Monday, 22 December 2008

Le Lac

Ainsi, toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages,
Dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour,
Ne pourrons-nous jamais sur l'océan des âges,
Jeter l'ancre un seul jour?

Always pushed towards new shores like this,
Swept away into an eternal night, without return,
Can we never, on this ocean of days,
Throw down an anchor, for a single day?



It is ridiculous, at this very moment, how much I want an apple.

Crunchy - preferably cold.

I think that apples, for me, at this particular time, are the epitimisation of matarialism. I truly believe that a material object (in this case, an apple) could improve my life immeasurably.

Oh Wikipedia, tell me something esoteric about materialism...

"The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen."

This guy.

Thorstein Bunde Veblen was a Norwegian-American sociologist and founder of the institutional economics movement. This movement focuses on understanding the role of human-made institutions have on economic behaviour, the purposive decisions of individuals, what affects these decisions, and how they shape the economy.

Good on you, Thorstein.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

umbrella obsession


"He who has known the contentment that comes simply through being content, will never again be otherwise than contented." - Tao Tê Ching

Thursday, 11 December 2008

I have never felt
like just being
as much as I do right now.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Russian Dolls

They sit quietly within one another,
As though the steppe were not wide enough
For them all to stand alone.

With that hollowness inside of them,
I suppose it is natural
That they sought company in smaller versions of themselves.

Or perhaps
They did not want companionship,
But an anchor
So the wind would not sweep them away.

One day
They might grow tired of one another
And seperate a while, only to find themselves
Like the seeds of a silverberry tree.


It is incredibly difficult to find the name of a tree that lives around the Eurasian Steppe that has syllables that are: Stressed unstreesed unstressed (unstressed) whose seeds are spread by the wind. In the end, I settled for silverberry.

"And seperate a while,
Only to find themselves
Spreading like the seeds of a silverberry tree."

or what I used above?

I had a "Russia" phase a little while back - Russka, by Edward Rutherford, and Russian Empires, by Philip Longworth, are two books I remember enjoying.

I'm not sure if I'd ever like to visit Russia, but I love the idea of Russia.

I'm quite interested, now, in finding some Russian poetry. And reading a bit more Tolstoy.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

I am

A drop of water

In the sea.

A grain of sand

In the desert.

A needle in the haystack?

Not nearly sharp enough.

I think, therefore I am.

And yet

To many, I am not.

Does it matter?

I may be invisible

But at least I can see.

Monday, 24 November 2008

a poem

This is a poem I wrote when I was about eleven, with a friend at One Day School - a school I went to one day each week that was for gifted and talented children.

As you can tell, I had a cheese fetish.

What a strange child I was.

Bread's ever-faithful friend.
Never named,
As staple food or wholesome snack
But always there,
In slices or blocks or cubes.

What if cheese
Did away with mild reputation,
Displeased with second place.
No longer would he sit upon
Ciabata, baguette, or plain white loaf.
Demanded he, that noble cheese,
His own place on the plate.

How would such news be taken,
By cheese's glutenous chum?
Abandoned by the only one,
With the creamy capability,
To turn his blandness to pure bliss?

Deserted by a culinary world.
Yellow, now, is in vogue -
So different from bread's bland
White and grey and brown.

Cheese, now in the spotlight,
Recognized as staple food, as wholesome snack,
His creamy capabilities,
Looked upon with awe,
As he sits, content,
On his own place on the plate.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

Hone Tuwhare

Some books by Hone Tuwhare:

'No Ordinary Sun'

'Something Nothing'

'Sapwood & Milk'

'Piggy Back Moon'

Sunday, 9 November 2008

a sad day

'Tis a sad day for those who tend towards the left in New Zealand.

Helen Clark's resigned, and John Key is our new prime minister.
I don't care how straight his teeth are, you must admit, his inflection is shocking.


On a more positive note, Winston Peters is gone.
Gone gone gone!

If politicians were cars:

The 'John Key' – a flashy, sports model that was left over from an era of cheap oil and empty roads. Has loads of horsepower and a flashy exterior - but wears out fast if taken on longer journeys.

Aside from power, the John Key’s biggest selling point is a flashy front grill and comfortable seats for corporate passengers.

Prone to strange whining noises.

Initial reports suggest that the John Key’s steering is extremely vague and may swing to the far fight without warning. Unsuitable for beneficiaries.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


How are straws made?

By extrusion moulding, presumably, but what about the little red lines?

For that matter, why put little red lines on them at all?

The mysterious articles in question.

A very complicated version that is of no use:

A (very) short history of drinking straws:

I can find no answers.

Friday, 7 November 2008

the meaning of life

I'm never going to be the best.

Not the best cellist.

Or poet.

Or composer.

Or blogger, for that matter.

An aside for those who are semantically aware.

Should I have used nor?
Nor pianist.
Nor poet.

Nah. Reminds me too much of nori.

Take that, conservative prescriptivism.

We are all forever paled (dodgy word use blog of the year) by those who have gone before us, and will come after us.

We are specks.

Tiny, tiny specks.

Small, insignificant
(suspensive pause)

I continue because of God.

What would I continue for if I wasn't Christian?

What do you continue for?

If only I'd read more Camus...

He wrote a book about this, you see.

Labour vs National

Blue or red.

Liberal or conservative.

It's election time.

The Obama vs McCain battle has overshadowed NZ's own little democratic battleground, and some analysts are going so far as to suggest the liberal victory in the USA might cause voters here to follow suit - but I'm really not sure.

I'm firmly a Greens supporter, and would pick Labour over National every time.

In previous years, I have always shied away from political discussions, only having a very brief outline of different parties and their policies - but this year, I decided it was time a took a serious look at politics in Aotearoa. After several hours on the internet, I reached the aforementioned decision.

I found 'If politicians were cars' particularly enjoyable.

If only I were voting age...

Man as a Political Animal - Aristotle strikes again

Are we best served to follow cutlure or nature?

Or are we naturally cultural?

I, at first glance, I would side with Aristotle in that man is not an animal in cultural chains but a cultural animal. Our moral and intellectual faculties make it imperative that we live in a structured society.

At second glance I would observe that perhaps the kind of city-states, with under 100,000 people, that Aristotle spoke about made this rule more relevant then than now.

Is law really natural? Since the earliest times, man has formed a circle and judged criminals with the aid of a chief. So, yes.
But have we taken it too far, with our modern systems, to reliant upon written laws and too little on human judgment? I'm not sure if there is a way to have an ideal, or near ideal, law system for such large groups of people as we try to today. After all, is not any system of law based upon the fundamental moral values of a society? How, then, can we expect this to function for a society that has such a diverse range of value systems?
I don't think we can.

Aristotle - 1
Jessica - 1

Related books to read:

Aristotle's Politics
Alan Harding's A Social History of English Law

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

a thought from Lewis Caroll

Is all our Life, then but a dream
Seen faintly in the golden gleam
Athwart Time's dark resistless stream?

Languages, languages everywhere ...

Wouldn't it be amazing to be bilingual.
Depending on which theory you fancy, you are either able to experience the world in two completely different ways, or experience two completely different worlds. Which is the same thing, I guess.

That's a gourmet vegetarian sausage for thought, that is.

Friday, 31 October 2008

The Economic Meltdown

I have spent the last week listening to podcasts from the BBC featuring economists, not so much disappointed at the recent meltdown, but who seem thrilled at these exciting events which have turned the global spotlight on their once-obscure theorizing, and transformed them from the "chartered accountants" of Monty Python to pioneers in a field that is undergoing a "scientific revolution", as one economist put it.
I must admit, until recently, I have taken as little interest in the economy as everyday living will allow, cringing at the brief mumblings about how many points each company has lost or won that interrupts what is otherwise a perfectly enjoyable six o'clock news. I still have no clue what in the world they're on about. But I must say, behaviourist economics, happiness economics, networking economics... they are simply fascinating! It seems to me that as soon as economists break away from the traditional, and obviously false, assumption that consumers are perfectly informed machines making rational decisions, a much more lively subject emerges.
I do suggest listening to the BBC podcasts on the subject. Fascinating.