beautiful monsters: February 2004 Archives

February 26, 2004

Damn weather

Yesterday and the day before it was all sunshiny and glorious (I can’t believe “sunshiny” gets the ok from my spell checker) and today we were going to have a picnic. But now it’s all grey and gloomy and damp. Plan B is a picnic in the Begonia House at the gardens...

Today I woke up to the sinking realisation that there were no more episodes of Buffy awaiting me. The end has finally come. So I figure there are several options from here.

a) Go back to season one.

b) Watch Angel

c) Start reading fanfic (no spoilers now!)

d) Petition The Powers That Be for more Buffy.

e) All of the above.

I’m kinda leaning towards e).

Posted by Fionnaigh at 07:12 AM

February 23, 2004

Thoughts on Buffy

Tonight's entry has spoilers for seasons 5-7, so if you don't wanna go there, don't click the link.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 02:22 AM

February 21, 2004

When will I learn?

(Late contribution to the Friday Theme).

When will I learn that procrastination is not a long term solution. Most of my energy at the moment seems to be devoted to avoidance, in the form of Buffy, chocolate, or going back to bed. All of these methods lead to a build up of guilt and an ever expanding To Do list.

Today, just for a little variation, I’m returning to blogging as a form of procrastination. Mostly because my blog is doing that ugly thing it does when I haven’t been posting enough. It must be stopped.

It’s just that I have nothing to say. No, really, I have no life, and a lack of life equates to a lack of things to say. Of course I could say things about other people’s lives but to do that I’d actually have to have some contact with other people, and that would require having a life.

What I do have is lots of used Buffy DVD’s. Also a nasty cold, which I keep thinking I’ve thrown off and then finding out that I haven’t. But today it has been more gone that not, so I’m hopeful.

My flatmate is making apple pie. Again. We have a bit of a pie thing going on here, it’s like our nightly ritual. Pie and Buffy.

Mmmmm… pie. Such good food for the wintry weather we’ve been having lately. My heater is broken – the fan jams and it makes alarming burning smells and sparks. Normally a broken heater wouldn’t be a problem in February, I mean, it’s supposed to be the warmest month of summer. It’s the time of the year when it’s safe to go on holiday, cos it’s sunny and fine. But not this year.

As well as pie, soup is also a good comfort in this stormy weather. But not the gigantic amorphous kind of soup.

I had a great theory about the meaning of life, but, yeah, I forgot. It had something to do with the ashes of dead stars... I’ve probably rabbited on about it on stonesoup before, maybe I should do a search.

If you want to avoid thinking about the meaning of life, try here.

See how I cunningly broke these ramblings into lots of little paragraphs, added interesting links, and put in some photos, thus temporarily stopping my blog from doing that ugly thing it does when I haven’t been posting enough…

go me.

Did someone say something about procrasination? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 11:02 AM

February 19, 2004

Obsess much?

I had a dream that I was Willow, and Tara, Xander and I were fighting these nasty hell beasties, and there were these little glowy orb things lighting up the room, and then we realised that they used to be living glowy orb things but…

I need some fresh air.

Yay for holidays which bring guilt free Buffy viewage. Unfortunately my usual supplier is unavailable due a burst of sudden productivity, and so Alex and I have had to resort to paying money for Buffy. Only that supply is about to dry up too… arrrgh!

Meanwhile have acquired soundtrack, and Buffy Theme for Windows, plus pretty Spike pictures for the walls, and other paraphernalia to draw out the Buffy-induced happiness.

Note to other innocent viewers: DVD special features can be dangerous. They may contain spoilers. In fact, they may contain spoilers not only for the season you are currently watching but also for three seasons ahead. I guess they don’t figure anyone could really be watching for the first time.

I have a nasty nasty cold. I’m retreating to bed. Maybe when I wake up a kind fairy will have left more Buffy under my pillow...

Posted by Fionnaigh at 01:07 PM

February 15, 2004


I don’t usually go for ageing rockstars. Except for... oh, and then there’s... um... ok, maybe I do sometimes go for ageing rockstars. Eeeeeep! I need help!

But seriously, I’m not the only one who thinks David Bowie is still kinda sexy… am I? I think, as Jareth, he must have been one of my first crushes, but it was his role in Basquiat that really cinched the deal.

Anyway, scored a free ticket, and the gig was great. Ok, so it was a little soggy. The mud gradually seeped up the legs of my jeans, and the rain dripped down my nose, but I had fun. Lots of it. Actually, I didn’t realise how many of his songs I liked, because I didn’t know that some of them were his.

Comment left on a reviews page for the Labyrinth; eyes just dont grow on walls... they just don’t.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 02:03 PM

February 12, 2004

Many farms

This one is for Tracey.

Fun facts about IOWA

Iowa is a state.

In the USA.

Iowa has many farms.

Quaker Oats, in Cedar Rapids, is the largest cereal company in the world.

Iowa has an increasing proportion of people who are aged 60 and over. The group that is 80 and over is increasing more rapidly than any other age group. Iowa's proportion of older adults in the population exceeds that of the United States as a whole. In fact, Iowa ranks second in the nation of percentage of persons aged 85 and older.

Iowa has lots of farms.

Campers and motor homes are manufactured in Winnebago County. They're called Winnebago's.

I-80 runs through Iowa.

Iowa is the only state name that starts with two vowels.

Fenlon Place Elevator in Dubuque is the world's steepest and shortest railway.

Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are 100% formed by water. Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Iowa is the nation's third most productive agricultural state, following only California and Texas in the value of its yearly farm output.

Kalona is the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi River.

Wright County has the highest percentage of grade-A topsoil in the nation.

Eskimo Pies were invented in 1920 in Onawa, IA.

Maynard Reece is the only artist to win the Federal Duck Stamp competition five times.

The nickname for Iowa is Hawkeye State.

In 1989, Iowa ranked first nationally in production of corn, oats, and hogs; second in production of soybeans; third in production of alfalfa hay, and fifth in total cheese production.

Delaware County in Iowa is the largest pork producing county in the world.

Skunks can shoot their bad-smelling spray only about two yards, but you can smell it up to two and a half miles away.

On average, there are 34 tornadoes each year in Iowa.

And there are farms. Lots of them.

Oh, that one about Skunks? That has nothing to do with Iowa – I just thought you might want to know.

Ok… going to class now…

Posted by Fionnaigh at 09:08 AM

February 11, 2004


The service was really lovely. Mostly. Except for the school chaplain, who harped on about how Sunny was the exact replica of all the other students at the school, and so proud of the school motto... yeah right. And then there was that other religious guy, who seemed to think that Sunny’s death was caused by the lowering of the drinking age. Or possibly Metallica.

In fact, the Reverends weren’t the only ones blaming rock and roll. I overheard several parents talking about the “dark” music the kid had listened too, and how unhealthy it was, the way boys shut themselves up in their rooms with such morbid music. And did you see his sketch book? He’d been drawing pictures of death.

In my experience, many teenage boys will, at some point, spend their time doodling images of the Grim Reaper. The vast majority of them will also listen to rock music. That doesn’t mean that Marilyn Manson made them do it.

I like Metallica. Sometimes they fit my mood. Sometimes I can relate to the sounds, to the lyrics. Actually no, mostly I think the lyrics are pretty much lacking in poetry, it’s just the music I like. But, the point is, it doesn’t make me want to rush out and kill myself. In fact, sometimes it helps me not to. I put on some loud, dark music, and jump around a bit, and it gets stuff out of my system.

I guess it just makes me angry, when people fixate on something like that, as though we could put the drinking age back up, and ban rock music, and the youth suicide would just disappear. It’s not that simple. Actually, speaking of drinking, did you know that the youth suicide rate in New Zealand has been dropping? Yeah, that’s right, since the drinking age was lowered less young people have killed themselves. Go figure.

The causes of suicide are complex, and there are many things that come into play. But I really, really, don’t think music is one of the big players.

Having said that, I don’t know what the causes are. Often it’s got something to do with depression, or addiction, or some other illness. But not always. For me it has been utter hopelessness that has made me want to escape. Not believing that things could ever get better. Not thinking that the slim chance life might get better was worth the risk of it getting worse.

Maybe it’s got something to do with the way we treat each other. The way live on little islands. Not even islands, rafts, and logs, drifting around. And we pass hundreds of people every day – sometimes we smile at them, sometimes we don’t. We have problems, and sometimes we talk to our friends, but we don’t want to be a burden on them. We have to look after ourselves. Don’t we? Well, some of us can’t get through on our own. And some of us need more support than others. And I know from experience that real support is damn hard to find.

Maybe the problems is that we’re so focussed on finding The Cause, a tangible problem that we can tackle, preferably an evil that we can beat to a pulp. Like some demon that is using music to lure young people to their deaths, and all we have to do is... oh no, wait, this isn’t an episode of Buffy.

Maybe facing the real problems will be scary. We might even have to give something up. Change the way we live.

But then, it would be so much easier to just burn a couple of musicians at the stake and try to forget.


before you judge me take a look at you
can't you find somethig better to do
point the finger, slow to understand
arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand…

...and my ties are severed clean
the less I have the more I gain
off the beaten path I reign
rover wanderer
nomad vagabond
call me what you will
but I'll take my time anywhere
I'm free to speak my mind anywhere
and I'll never mind anywhere
anywhere I may roam
where I lay my head is home
carved upon my stone
my body lie, but still I roam
wherever I may roam

- Metallica

Posted by Fionnaigh at 10:22 PM

February 10, 2004

by request

We met at Uni-Q, the queer group on campus. I think that’s why it lasted for as long as it did. Growing up queer at the same time and in the same part of the world meant that we had a hell of a lot in common. We’d had similar experiences as kids, realising we were different, then first putting a name to our feelings, then speaking that name to friend and family. The kinds of experiences that shape who you are and how you see the world. We hang out with the same kinds of people, shared the same politics, and laughed at the same jokes. We spoke the same minority language, and understood the same underground symbols. But, despite these shared bonds, no one would have predicted that we’d become a couple. I’d had a crush on the same girl for five years… and he’d been sleeping with boys for almost as long.

I have a photo of him, at a dance party soon after we met. He’s wearing a skirt that he made from woven flax matting. He almost burned the house down when the glue gun malfunctioned. He has black gloves past his elbows, a black beehive wig, and ridiculously long lashes.

One night out dancing we both got bored with the monotonous beat of the music and the bitter taste left by the smoke machines, so we ditched the others and headed up to Midnight Espresso. I don’t remember what we talked about that night, I only remember I didn’t want it to end. It felt like we were alone in the world, just the two of us, and we would never run out of conversation.

It must have been about 2am when he said, “I want to keep talking, but I’m getting tired.” So, somehow we ended up in a taxi, and then curled up in armchairs back at his place, and then lying on the bed, talking until just before the dawn.

He maintains that I initiated it. I still swear that he placed the first kiss, gently, on my forehead. I do know I was the one, much later, who timidly asked if he had any of the free sex packs left over from the dance party. “Are you sure?” he asked me. Of course I wasn’t sure; I was terrified. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. “Are you really really sure?” he said again, pulling away to look at me intently. The morning light was beginning to leak into the room, and I blushed under his gaze. “I want to,” I whispered.

The earth didn’t move, but it was pleasant. Warm and comforting. He was slow and gentle, and talked me through everything. I think he was as nervous as I was. “It gets better,” he said. “Really it does…”

For the first few weeks it was like being in a reverse closet. We didn’t know how to break the news to our friends – none of them would believe us! He still lived with his parents, but we had to hide the relationship from them. After years of being told it was just a phase, he couldn’t bear the smug expressions that would surely greet us if they believed they’d been proven right. And neither of us wanted to show affection in public – it had taken years to convince the world that we were queer. Years of people saying, “but you don’t look like a lesbian,” or “maybe you just haven’t met the right person.” Finally we’d fought our way to a place where we were taken seriously, but it would only take one kiss, one moment of holding hands, to undo all of that.

But really, what defines sexuality? Does it take into account fantasies, what we do with each other, where and when and how we define our sexuality, or is it only about what’s between the legs of the person we’re currently shagging?

Once we did start coming out to other people, we had great fun stretching their minds. “Is it queer if I’m in drag, and he isn’t, or if he’s in drag, but I’m not? What about if we’re both in drag, is that straight?”

I was terrified of him when he was in drag. Not only did he tower above me in his high heels and huge hairstyle, but also his personality seemed to grow along with his height. Suddenly (s)he was loud, and bossy, and seductive, and I was still a timid little first year. But before long I was a timid little first year who knew how to use a strap on. The first time we used it we were up in my loft bed, blankets thrown aside cos it always got so hot up there. I was nervous as hell, and scared that I’d hurt him, but of course, he’d taken far bigger instruments then my puny little attachment. (It was called a “Darling” - purple and green marbled colours with “slender classic curves for increased sensation” available from D-Vice for $89.95).

There’s a poem by Anne French called “When I Die I want to be Canadian.” I know what she means. When I die I want to be a gay boy. I want to come back to this earth through a haze of glitter, drinking Absolute Vodka and singing Madonna. I want to be able to get away with wearing tiny hot pants and a sequinned shirt to parties. I want to get all the best parts in drama school, loose my virginity to an older boy at scout camp, and say “dahling” without sounding ridiculous.

That night he lay down on his stomach, I lay over him, and he guided me in. It was perfect. I ran my teeth over his shoulders and tugged gently at the curve of his neck. He cried out as I rocked against him. Afterwards, he gasped that it was the best fuck he’d ever had. I was radiant. For half an hour I’d been able to live out my fantasy. For half an hour I was a gay boy. We were beautiful. And I was the best fuck he’d ever had.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 07:26 AM

February 09, 2004


There are no rules
no quota of tears to squeeze out.

Grief builds suddenly
as rain clouds

or settles
gentle as dew.

It may pass through
like a storm

branches bare

a deluge of spring
petals on the lawn

while deep
in the new wetness of the earth

tiny seeds

Posted by Fionnaigh at 01:57 PM

February 08, 2004

Not waving

You see, the lightning refuses to strike me - that is where the defect is. We have to do our own striking. But nobody ever gets the courage till he goes crazy.
– Mark Twaine.

Lots of people talk about how cowardly suicide is, but really, it takes a certain bravery. I wasn’t that brave. I wanted to die, and I tried to, but I never had the strength to cut deep enough, to swallow enough pills, to jump. I tried walking out into the sea, but at the point my lungs felt like they might explode, my body took over, wrestled the reins from my mind, and reached for the surface.

People also say it’s selfish, taking your own life. But how can we value life if we don’t have the right to choose not to live? To choose how and when we leave... Yes, it is selfish, but only because the pain is so great that it’s impossible to see the impact on others. Anyway, sometimes we have to be selfish, don’t we?

This is were hatred comes from, too many people thinking about themselves and not letting others go, making them live a life they don't want to live anymore. Or maybe, the suicidal people are the selfish ones, only thinking about themselves and trying to escape to a better place.
- Ida Mehrnoush

My friend’s little brother killed himself last week. His death was both dramatic and romantic; the thunder rolling as he walked out into the lake from the mouth of the river he’d played beside from infancy.

After the initial reaction, which was “how can this have happened, he was just a kid,” my next thoughts were about how he did it. Did he use a weight to hold him under the water, or did he somehow have the strength to just float face down, and not turn up for air? How long did it take? Did it hurt? Am I being morbid, thinking this?

My next thought was, “maybe if I’d stayed in touch, maybe I would have realised what he was thinking, maybe I could have talked to him...” But then, I blame myself for almost everything, from the corn seedlings dying to the war on Iraq. Really, it’s all my fault. I should have done more.

In my mind, Sunny is still a little kid, with a wide smile and beautiful eyes. I haven’t known him as a teenager. He was a legend to his mates - when they brought his body home yesterday, the whole long driveway was lined with solemn young men.

Sky (his sister) and I were talking about how he saw 25 as the beginning of the slide to old age and decrepitude, so he never wanted to live that long. He never planned to have a long life. He commanded attention, and he always got what he wanted, even in death.

It’s actually lovely to be back in Rotorua, although it’s a sad time, it’s good to be together with old friends and family, people who have been a part of my life for as long as I remember. I just wish it didn’t take a tragedy to bring us all together in one place.

The house was filled with people, coming and going. There was a marquee outside, and a couple of boys carting another fridge into the garage to accommodate all the food people had brought. Sunny was in his room, his fishing rods hanging on the wall above him, music playing quietly in the background On a dark desert highway / Cool wind in my hair / Warm smell of colitas / Rising up through the air / Up ahead in the distance / I saw a shimmering light / My head grew heavy, and my sight grew dim / I had to stop for the night ...

For a boy who owned guns (he was a hunter all his life) he could have chosen a more violent death. I’m glad he didn’t. I can’t help feeling that it must have been beautiful, the lightning, the dark waters. I think, as I sat with Sunny in his room, I was crying not only because he was in the coffin. Part of me was crying because I wasn’t there instead.

Sunny J
February 1988 – February 2004
He came into the world on the wings of a storm, blew through our lives like a whirlwind, and left as the thunder rolled. God speed, our storm boy.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 09:37 PM

February 03, 2004

fragments from a notebook found at the back of a cupboard

like tides
the steady breathing of the sea

tugs at her shore


she has become
so fragile
the wind might lift
her away

so pale
he can almost see the bones
under her skin


a grandma who gets lots of calendars for Christmas?

Ria’s brother is autistic and
he sees dead people


ARD Fairburn?
CK Stead?
Kevin Ireland?
- Frank’s parties


Polite, reserved.
Slightly quizzical demeanour.
Said odd things.
A bit eccentric.


drops of rain slide down his glasses
the landscape swells
and glistens

he rubs his glasses between his fingers
tries to make out her
face through the blur


he finds her cardigan
sprawled on a rock

her sandals
tossed to one side
grains of sand sticking
to the brown leather


the wind snatches away her voice

she gathers the weather around her
like a cloak


the way you ran your hands
along the wall

I could almost feel the rough
texture of plaster


I wanted to run my fingers
over your spine


the glossy skin
of rain on the streets

she walks
on the other side


who is Sophie Moleta?
she shines too bright


someone finds a set of false teeth
a bridge breaks
floating rocks
someone who has met Bill Clinton
one huge yellow eye
set em straight


boundaries in hospital

where do the names come from?

this is all very well, and
no one is going to rescue me.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 09:03 PM

February 02, 2004

Baby blue

How is it that I can find an online translator for English to Swedish Chef but I can’t find one for Swedish to English?

Guess what? I’m an auntie! To a very long baby indeed.


Förälder: Tomas Elvstad Catarina Fredriksson
Datum: 26 Januari 2004
Tid: 13.17
Vikt: 4660 g
Längd: 57 cm
Kön: gossebarn
Hemort: Hudiksvall
BB-ort: Hudiksvall
Först var han lite blå, sen blev han så fin så.Stora fötter, stolta föräldrar.

Finally found English/Swedish Translator, which enlightened me thus:
"parent Tomato Elvstad Catarina Fredriksson date 26 January 2004 term 13.17 weight g 4660 length 57 cm sex man child domicile Hudiksvall BB-ort: Hudiksvall Only was he few blue , late stayed he so delicate fötter , proud orphan. isle"

My brother the Tomato has a delicate blue son.
Hee – cool.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 10:01 PM

February 01, 2004

Spot the difference

I’ve been writing an article for the festival issue of Booknotes, and Kate sent it back a few days ago, with some comments. When I read through them, I realised that I’d said a few things automatically, because they seemed like the things I should say, but I hadn’t actually thought about them.

For example, I’d said “Poetry was completely different to architecture.” In her comments Kate had put “(WHY???? THIS IS AN INTERESTING STATEMENT – TEASE IT OUT A LITTLE)”. But when I tried to put my finger on it... they actually had a helluva lot in common.

Down at the architecture school I struggled with abstract and incomprehensible briefs, while up at the Institute the briefs were... er... often abstract and incomprehensible.

At the architecture school we had to present our work to the class, and brace ourselves for a barrage of criticism, where as at the institute... we had to face a classful of critical editors.

Architecture seemed to require the impossible: making something from nothing. Writing, on the other hand...

Well, at architecture school we spent a ridiculous amount of time and money creating models which had no real purpose or usefulness, or even relevance. While at the Institute, we didn’t spend so much money on materials.

See? I told you they were different.

Wanted to give Kate something, to thank her for reading my manuscript, but couldn’t afford wine, and freesias are out of season. It’s almost time to plant them, so I rang around some garden centres, and the woman at Palmers cheerfully told me that the freesia bulbs had just arrived... but they wouldn’t be on sale for a week. Grrrr.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 07:56 PM

(incomplete) notes for a poem

For Jim, who died on December 23, 2003.

After receiving the news I
plunged my hands beneath
a scum of bubbles.

The dishwater cooled
as I watched
leak through a hole
in the hedge
and the links of the chain
flowed over my hands like
paper chains
for a child’s party.

The weather
couldn’t make up its mind
as we drove towards Pukerua Bay
a red tide of harakeke flowers
swelled over the swamp.

I said goodbye to you
while the country rolled
underneath us, and darkness
rushed all around.

In the BP station at midnight
the man’s voice was muffled.
I pushed my money onto the tray
as he handed me my purchases
- two cans of V and a map
of the North Island - our fingers
touched over Hauraki.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 06:49 PM

Because I don't have time to write a new entry...

Light…too much…it aches
The whole world is light… and pain.

Sunlight glances off the water and shatters against the glass. Even though I’m squinting, the brilliance is painful. I try staring at the stones rushing past beside the train but I start to feel sick.
The folder is lying on the seat beside me. I haven’t even opened it since it arrived in the mail last week. As the train pulls into the station I pick it up and hold it against my chest.

White ceiling, white walls… pale faces… so bright… Heaven?
No. Surely heaven doesn’t hurt like this.

I make my way through a maze of corridors and lifts, shoes squeaking over the lino. Then a waiting room. I’m early. I find a chair in the corner, and flick through a pile of magazines. I’m hoping for a Reader’s Digest; the funnies might help me relax. No luck, they’re all Women’s Weekly or Time.
I don’t know if I want to go through with this. My whole world could disintegrate in a few minutes. I could disintegrate. I hold the folder tightly closed.
I already know what it says.

You’ll call the child Mahu.
Mahu? He doesn’t need a Maori name, he’s white.
You’ll call the child Mahu.
His name’s Jamie. I’ve already decided. Mahu can be his second name.
Write it down. The child’s name is Mahu.
Alright. Jamie Mahu. What does it mean, anyway?

A door opens and someone comes towards me. My heart tries to make a break for the exit - I feel as though the world is tilting and I can’t get my balance. As I stand up, the folder slips from my hand and papers slide across the floor. I’m shaking.
I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to know.

Now the world is the colour of blood
and the sound of a small child screaming.


My name is Mahu.

In Tahiti, it means two spirit person. My grandmother gave me this name, because even when I was a baby she knew who I was.

In Aotearoa, it means “Healed.”

I whisper my name over and over.
Like a promise.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 04:16 PM