vostoklake: (joss)
If there was no struggle - if the world was fine and people were happy and we could do what we wanted - I would be a composer/performer/singer/songwriter, especially interested in musical drama. I mean, I'm fascinated by cultural studies and socio-economic research, but that's not really what I want to do. I just thought I "should" do it because it would be helpful to The Struggle.

I think I've got to get into the habit of doing things for one of three reasons: (a) because it really is my Bliss and my Passion; (b) to keep a roof over my head, food in the fridge and little treats appearing occasionally; (c) to make the world a better place for everyone. If I think of getting back into academia/writing, it would be for a combination of 2 and 3, which is the same reasons I do indexing. The question really boils down to a financial one.

But in the meantime, I have to impose a discipline of at least doing some songwriting/composition every day. And eliminate the secret reason (d): to control my anxiety by doing things to make other people like me.
vostoklake: (otterly)
... with one blindingly obvious exception, 2010 has been a pretty damn good year. SO FAR.
vostoklake: (plath)
I love my little place but they're jerking the rent up to just under the ceiling of affordability. I don't really want to move, but if anyone out there has a largish room in a cat-friendly house with a bathtub, somewhere between Pt Chev, Mt Eden and the CBD, for under $200 a week which would be compatible with, well, me... let me know.
vostoklake: (emo)


vostoklake: (punch)
I just had to defriend someone on FB for querying suspiciously why Tyler Clementi didn't murder his bullies before killing himself; and then going on to suggest that "being a victim is a personal choice". My stepfather also believed in "natural victims". He used to tell me I was one. And then beat me up, mock and humiliate me, and occasionally "jokingly" threaten to rape me. (That last one he apologised for, at least.)

That discourse, in its self-congratulation for lack of compassion, is very closely aligned to right-wing and libertarian ideas that bad things happening is a sign that people have made wrong choices, and therefore compassion is inappropriate (and we should let their houses burn down). ("If failure had no penalty then there would be no point striving for success" - such a capitalist notion.) Generally the people who're saying this are trying to suggest that their lives are great solely because of their own choices. Pure egotism, and defence of privilege, bordering on solipsism.

Although there's one point in the left-liberal response to all this that does strike a false note with me - the idea that homophobia in modern society is due to fundamentalist Christianity (or Islam, or Judaism - some religion we don't like, anyway). There was no-one religious in any serious way in my immediate family, but the bigotry against homosexuality was still palpable. It was a "small town petty-bourgeois" thing, not a God thing.
vostoklake: (wayne)
If you examine the Newton/Arch Hill/Eden Terrace/Grafton area of Auckland on Google Maps, you can see that the map retains the outlines of the old streets that they knocked down, or bifurcated, to make the motorway (where they're not directly under the motorway, of course).

This is my neighbourhood, more or less, and I find myself wandering the old streets still remaining trying to imagine what this was like when it was a thriving working class / Polynesian / bohemian / "slum" suburb, before the motorway went in and the Polynesians went out to Mangere and Otara. For Wellingtonians, imagine if they'd gone ahead and put that motorway up Aro St to Karori in the 70's. That's precisely what it's like.

This is the kind of thing that my odd quasi-aspie brain finds obsessively interesting - call it "retro-urban geography". The most interesting thing is to examine the parts that still remain (Arch Hill, Eden Terrace and the back lanes of K' Road in particular) and imagine how, once, they all joined up as an organic whole.

ETA: Oh, I see I'm not the first to notice this.
vostoklake: (KATE)
This may amaze some of you. It certainly amazed a woman with whom I had an appointment this morning. "??? Gale-force wind and sudden downpours?" Me: "The rain alternates with brilliant sunshine, and as for the wind, bitch, please, I'm a Wellingtonian." Although I may have spoke too soon, considering I was actually blown off my bike on Williamson Ave and the Silver Machine will have to visit the repairman on Tuesday. But she was due anyway.

Biked slowly down Ponsonby Road for the markets. Mainly people watching, although I did drop $40 that I didn't think I could afford at the Women's Bookstore. Turns out that my AECT dividend had arrived and I could afford it after all. As I can afford my trip to SaveMart in Onehunga tomorrow - on the brand shiny new Onehunga train. :D

After that, tomorrow, hope to see the Phoenix murderise the Melbourne Heart (aka the Jam Tards, in reference to their red strip and to distinguish them from the Melbourne Victory who are simply the Tards) before khaniqah, at which I'm told there'll be a big ol' Persian-style feast.

Finally finished reading Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory. It was actually better than I was expecting. The author kept the self-indulgent verbal masturbation to a minimum - always a bonus in the field of cultural studies - and only seemed stupid when she argued that it was "cultural appropriation" to use Madagascarian instruments on "Eat the Music". (It's cultural appropriation to play rock music at all, since it comes from the blues which was lifted wholesale from African-Americans.) And her arguments about the "Bushian Feminine Subjectivity", its flirtations with nationalism and boy-drag, its shamanic journey in "The Ninth Wave", and its self-dissolution in the birdsong and light of "A Sky of Honey" seemed spot on.

Even better, it made me think... a lot of this stuff could be said about Small Group Psychosis. Maybe what I'm doing really is bringing something back from The Better World after all. I kind of feel like being a witch, or perhaps a shamanka, again, but only to the extent that it doesn't interfere with my Sufi practice which is working very well right now, thank you.
vostoklake: (Default)
Further to this: last night I dreamed my mother was married to Leonard Cohen. :-$

analysis under the cut )
vostoklake: (punch)
Don't know how many of you read my electrobiking blog (updated hardly ever), but there was some drama that some of you heard the beginning of last night... and now we can tell the full shocking story.
vostoklake: (otterly)
Last night I dreamt that I found out that my mother had worked as a roadie for The Sisters of Mercy in the late 80's. That would have been an easy job, as that incarnation of the Sisters never played live. Except that my mother's name is Patricia, I think she has nothing in common with Patricia Morrison.
vostoklake: (Default)
FRIDAY: After high and heavy drama involving the promoter just about coming to blows with the lead singer of one of the other bands, Vostok Lake finally took the stage for an abbreviated 5-song set and blew all the bad vibes away. Heavy cred goes to Scarlett Lashes, who followed up their fine contribution as performers by leading the audience participation for VL. As we always say, we are as good as our audience's attention allows us to be, and we had a lot of attention. The Sigue Sigue Sputnik cover worked; as did the new original song with the half-written lyrics. Going back on June 11! Let's make it a big turnout!

SATURDAY: A satisfying and productive counselling session in the morning, followed by an hour and a half bumming around the library, like I used to do before I started having important things to do with my life. Evening's entertainment: Terminator 3 with Rifftrax. Kevin Murphy does the best Governator voice.

SUNDAY: Three football games worth mentioning:

a) Serbia 0 - New Zealand 1. XD XD XD Glad I forced myself out of bed at 3 am to find a dodgy internet feed.

b) Auckland Womens Div 3: Mt Albert 0 - Otahuhu 3. Otahuhu, for those of you with long memories, was my old team, and while they haven't had a great season since they lost their goalie, she said modestly, they came out to play against our reserves. Fantastic goal from a long-range free kick from Emily, Polly was unstoppable in the midfield, and in general the girls in yellow and green owned our girls with strength and pace. A few cries of "traitor!" went up when they saw me at the game, but it was all good. My old coach told me to keep yelling and screaming on the field because it's my best feature.

c) Auckland Womens Div 2: Mt Albert 2 - Onehunga Sports 0. The O-Sports girls weren't very tactically advanced - they relied on what football nerds refer to as "route one", i.e. kicking it as hard as possible downfield and hoping your forwards beat their backs. But our backs had a fantastic game and covered it all the time - I didn't have to make a single crazy run out of our penalty area. The O-Sports striker attempted to troll the Mt Albert keeper by making loud comments about how she "couldn't kick" (half true - my ground kicks are nigh non-existent, but I have a very large punt kick). This only made the keeper more determined to keep a clean sheet. Which she did.

Then: off to Farmers to buy a few essentials, such as big pillows and facewash. Evening's entertainment: first two episodes of "An Unearthly Child", the first ever Doctor Who serial.

I don't mention the fine company I had all through the weekend, because I prefer not to make my readers violently and copiously sick. But... *smooches*, anyway.
vostoklake: (emo)
My boss died today. He'd been diagnosed with liver cancer about a year ago, far too late to do anything about it. Thank heavens he had all the time to get his life finished properly before the time came for him to go to see Ceiling Cat.

He was a very good man, a leftish political activist in his day, a radical Catholic who actually tried to act like Jesus, not like a self-righteous dick like most religious people. He gave me a chance when I had no real trackrecord and precious little self-confidence, so now I have a trade.

I don't think anyone really dies as long as what they've done in this world keeps bearing fruit. In that sense, Gerard may well be immortal.
vostoklake: (lolassrape)
Coffee is to food and sleep what a credit card is to money. It enables you to survive without what you need... as long as you pay it back with interest, later. I have two days of solid sequencer programming interspersed with rehearsal to go, and yet also to spend 8 hours a day making an index. Stimulant drugs of the legal, dissolved in hot water and mixed with milk variety are a necessity in this situation (and it's probably good for my personal health that I wouldn't know where to get stronger stimulants if I wanted to). But come Sunday I fear I may fall to bits a little, or at least need to sleep all day.
vostoklake: (Default)
[personal profile] mermaid: Your present should be there in time for your birthday.
[personal profile] factioncat and [personal profile] callie: Yours I'll give to Crazy Cat Lady personally.
vostoklake: (Default)
ME: So where are you from?
HER: France.
ME: Ah, oui. Je croyais que je pouvais entendre la langue Française...
HER: ... yeah, especially when I'm telling off the kid!
ME: Well, when that happens, vous parlez trop vite pour moi à comprendre... but I get the general idea!
vostoklake: (crazy)
... because I now have hard proof, which I never had until this day, that there really was a band called Harmony Sold Her Dragon in Wellington in around 1990. I saw their graffiti and thought it was a great name. I was actually hoping I had hallucinated it so I could use the name myself for a band or an album or something.


Nov. 23rd, 2009 11:38 pm
vostoklake: (Default)
Little Miss Pictured-In-Icon has proved litterbox competence, and is thus free to roam the house. She has been very affectionate, which is totally out of character for her and I put it down to worry.

But seriously... perhaps in this great wide world there are pleasures more refined or intense than sitting in a piping-hot bubble bath by candlelight, an ice-cold beer in hand and Type O Negative on the stereo (album with "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend" on it). But really, I honestly can't think of them right now. Life is good if you pay attention to what's actually happening.
vostoklake: (Default)
The wireless internet is finally working in The Tower of Murder*, and I have a staggeringly large and yet weight-losing bowl of udon, tofu and bok choy miso soup. Myfanwy is still in the laundry until she proves that she knows what the litterbox is for. The weather is up to Auckland norms of Freakin' Humid, and I only get 1 TV channel, but life is good.

* Official name for the Grey Lynn flat. Because it's where I hang out. (ref: the cool claymation dude from Flesh Gordon)


Nov. 20th, 2009 08:00 am
vostoklake: (wayne)
While one part of my family tree were cattle drovers from Nottinghamshire, I was always told that the Lawlesses were actually scions of nobility from somewhere called "Cloncurry" in Ireland. And today I just found the first evidence of that:

CLONCURRY, a parish, partly in the barony of EAST OPHALY, but chiefly in that of IKEATHY and OUGHTERANY, county of KILDARE, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (W. N. W.) from Kilcock; containing 2299 inhabitants.
The manor became the property of the Aylmer family, whose ancient seat, the castle, was defended for the parliament, in 1643, by Col. Monk, who was at length obliged to abandon it for want of provisions. From the Aylmer family the estate was afterwards purchased by Sir Nicholas Lawless, subsequently created Baron Cloncurry. During the disturbances of 1798, a skirmish took place at the foot of Ovidstown Hill, in this parish, between the king's troops and a party of the insurgents who had effected their escape from the county of Wexford

Here's more on several-greats-granddad Nick.
vostoklake: (crazy)
Highlights from a travelling weekend:

- atrocious coffee at the railway station at Tongariro National Park, served by one American and one Central European of some description (backpackers have to make a living somehow);
- a righteously pissed-off train conductor threatening to put off a bevy of drunken soccer fans in Levin (a fate worse than death for anyone who knows the North Island)
- chez Crazy Cat Lady / Tofulope, meeting my ex-cat Vega (was she always that hairy?!?) and her skittish but pretty little sister Turtle;
- a delicious meal of tofu and pasta;
- remembering one of the reasons I continue to live in Auckland, viz. the fact that apparently winter lasts all the way into November in Wellington;
- remembering that, while there are many things to love about Welly's public transport, the 60-year-old trains on the Johnsonville line are too noisy to have a conversation in;
- buying a white scarf and hat at Farmers Lambton Quay, and explaining to the clerk exactly where Bahrain is;
- reliving my young adulthood, wandering vaguely around town with [personal profile] mermaid all afternoon trying not to spend money;
- dinner at one of the glorious Middle Eastern restaurants on Cuba Mall (staffed by Assyrians, I believe);
- the kind and courteous fan who agreed to swap seats so the Mermaid lady could sit by me and have the offside rule explained to her;
- lustily singing the National Anthem in Maori, since the English lyrics suck;
- the fantastic cheering effort by the Yellow Fever/White Noise boys, including having the brass nads to take their shirts off with ten minutes to go, on a freezing evening in Wellington;

... and, lastly, being there, and shouting myself hoarse, the day Rory Fallon put the ball in the Bahrain net; my new boyfriend, Mark Paston, saved a penalty; and the mighty All Whites went to their second ever World Cup. I'm only just old enough to remember the last time, so I hope Brazil don't beat us 4-0 again. For the sake of my flist, I do hope we end up in the same pool as Australia, Germany and the US so we can beat you all. XD