March 24, 2004

makes me think...

Man it's been another hectic week. The family I'm boarding with have 2 adult sons, and their 27-yr-old has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The poor guy has gone from being told he has pneumonia to being told he has cancer and starting chemotherapy within the space of 5 days.

Everything is pretty crazy here, as you can imagine - Deb and Keith are spending most of their time up at the hospital and I'm just trying to help out as much as I can in a practical way with housework and meals and stuff like that. It's really hard to watch people I care about struggle like this and not be able to do anything.

The guy's attitude is amazing, he's quite inspirational. He said a 20% chance is betting odds and he'll take this on and get through it. He said to me the other night that this is just another hurdle, but it's one that makes each day and each moment seem precious, sweet and significant. I can't imagine myself approaching something like this with anything like that degree of insight.

I'm not doing much myself, except a bit of sketching and painting etc. I am 3 paragraphs into a story, and have been for a few days now, so I don't think this is going to be a brilliant literary work! Never mind. I just like stringing words together, so it's satisfying in the same way as kids find their hand-painted macaroni necklaces satisfying.

Speaking of which, someone told me that kindys don't use macaroni anymore for some strange politically correct reason like it's insensitive to play with food or some such. Does anyone know if this is true? I've been out of the kindy loop so long I don't have any independent verification :)

Posted by phreq at 09:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 16, 2004

Pics for a change

Just taken a whole bunch of photos off my camera, some of them have been on there since new year so it was quite fun to look back on them.

These ones are from Kimi Ora resort spa in Nelson where I spent a couple of days in January:




And these are pics of some of the dogs I'm living with:



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March 11, 2004

Simpsons Lament

The Simpsons are utterly amazing, let me be the first to admit. I have the videos, DVDs, CDs, comic books, plot guides, calendars, and other merchandise. I watch it religiously... and tape it. I can quote scenes from heart, and I usually get the answer to the daily trivia question correct.

But... Oh man, I have to say it. They are definitely on the way downhill. As the quality of the animation and guest stars increase, the quality of the scripts is going down. They are running out of ideas (hardly surprising in what, 15 seasons?!) and I've begun noticing distinct similarities between new animated episodes and older comic-book plots.

For example, the comic-book episode where the town divides into two (lower and upper springfield) over water supply. They build a wall through town and are only reunited by the timely words of Bart. This episode is annoyingly similar to the animated episode featuring The Who, where the town divides into two over a change in area code. They build a wall through town and are only reunited by the timely words of The Who. It's annoying because the similarities mean the episodes get muddled in my mind.

Last night's new episode, where they went to England, almost made me cry. It was so poorly constructed. I mean, compare that to the episode made a few years back, where they visit Australia - brilliant plot, funny yet subtle jokes and send-ups of stereotypes, a "believeable" story. Yet last night's episode felt like "hey, we got Tony Blair to do a guest voice! Someone come up with an episode featuring England, quick!". Mentioning stereotypes just on their own does not count as humour. There has to be a point to make it funny.

Sigh. So now I am mildly depressed. I will keep watching the Simpsons, of course, right to the bitter end. I am a fan to the core, right down to my hand-painted Simpsons jeans and Simpsons-brand replacement liver.

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March 10, 2004

torrential dogs

I am surrounded by puppies. You know when people say "She has 3 kids under 5!" - well this is 3 puppies under 3 months old and they are just terrors. Chewing, slobbering, barking, fighting, rampaging torrential dogs. The terrible thing, of course, is that they are so cute they are difficult to tell off. Plus, these are cocker spaniel puppies we're talking about - the most neurotic, sensitive dogs with the hugest, shimmering-with-unshed-tears eyes you've ever seen. I tend to spend a lot of time apologising to the dogs for taking their seats, not wanting cuddles, and standing on them.

I actually have some photos of the dogs, I will take them off my camera and post them later. Ruby (the cat) has settled in astoundingly well for a 13-yr-old moving from a 4th-floor bedsit to a house with 6 dogs, 4 adults and a part-time kid. She has started going out into the garden for walks (after the dogs are shut in the other garden, obviously) but I have to say that eating and sleeping still dominate her schedule.

Ooh product endorsement: Cyclops yoghurt, in particular the one that comes with coffee flavour. Mmmmmm - it's like this really velvety unsweetened yoghurt and these yummy toppings (raspberry and coffee are best, imho) - GE free and organic etc. A real pity it comes in a plastic container though. I must write to the company and see if they would consider a more environmentally-aware packaging. They're a NZ (Chch, even!) based company so who knows, worth a shot. Anyway, back to my original point - good eating!

Christchurch has a fantastic public library system - their internet use is amazing. I've found my way to the local and central branches, so feel much happier now. I never feel completely settled unless I know books are close to hand. Hmm... question. Is the central library a branch?

I'm thinking about making the trip down to Dunedin this weekend to see some mates there, but I will need to get the car warranted and rego'd first. I hate the way the two are in synch on my car - it makes it so expensive all at once. Looking back on it, I should have gone down last weekend, since the weather was so nice, but fingers crossed for a fine one twice in a row!

I have been getting all these great ideas (well, they seem great at first glance) for businesses and products. Unfortunately, if Fate is trying to change the world she needs to redirect the old inspiration ray, since I have no means for developing the idea into the next stage. So I tend to get very excited about something, realise how good it would be to have that product or service, see the whole thing in my head... and then realise that I'm 23, female, under-educated and under-connected and have no way to use the idea. Is there an Idea Database somewhere on the web, does anyone know? It seems silly for all these little lightbulbs to go untried. Someone else may as well use 'em.

Heh heh. Ruby is trying to catch moths attracted by the bedside lamp. She's so cute when she's torturing and killing things... Hey that reminds me, I read this neat article in New Scientist ( about an artist who has produced asymmetrical butterflies and moths by manipulating the scales on the developing wings with a very fine needle while the insect is still in the chrysalis. The results are really quite striking. She raised an interesting point in her interview about what is natural - nothing has been genetically altered, so there is nothing unnatural about the butterfly, but the pattern is induced and therefore not natural. It's almost unsettling to see the photos though - I'm so conditioned to seeing symmetrical butterflies that one which is subtly "off" can really play on my mind before I click to what's wrong :)

Posted by phreq at 05:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 09, 2004

Spalding Gray is Dead

I see that Spalding Gray has been found dead ( Awesome artist. ihm.

Very glad that Martha Stewart was found guilty, because I felt she was and I like to be right ;) Predictable cries of sexism, of course, but that would have happened regardless of the outcome.

I'm reading a bunch of books on future trends at the moment, which is really interesting. Thinking a lot about careers and positioning myself in a career path that provides information rather than a service. What was overlooked with the whole service-based economy thing was that many services involve a great deal of process that can be rendered obsolete by technology. Get hold of Gerald Celente's Trends 2000 if you can :)

Posted by phreq at 11:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

gah it's march...

Man it feels like I have missed a month in there somewhere. Things kind of got off to a rocky start here in Chch since I wound up spending so much of the last few weeks in hospital cos I had to have some unexpected surgery. But anyway so now it's March. I can tell you where the local supermarkets are, and how to get to 2 different hospitals and a specialist clinic, but that's about it. :)

Am feeling a little bewildered by it all somehow. My times are far too interesting at the moment! But things are starting to sort themselves out slowly. Wish I could sleep a bit better though, I woke up at 3.30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.

This is kind of rambling, I know, since I don't have much to say except man, what a stressful year 2004 is becoming! Um oh the Oscars - very nice, but no red carpet shots so I didn't get to examine the dresses. Great for lotr - grinning all over my face :) I was quite glad Charlise Theron (spelling, sorry) got best actresss because she was really good in the role. Talk about drawing on your pains to make them strengths. Did anyone else find it all a tad predictable though? I don't think I was surprised by anything really, very light on the old fingernails. Really disappointed Fran Walsh (again, spelling, probably) didn't get to/choose to speak from the stage, I think she's a great writer.

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