March 31, 2005

Keep Your Legs Crossed

President Bush is focusing his program against AIDS in Africa on sexual abstinence and marital fidelity, relegating condoms to a distant third. It's the kind of well-meaning policy that bubbles up out of a White House prayer meeting but that will mean a lot of unnecessary deaths on the ground in Africa.

The stark reality is that what kills young women here is often not promiscuity, but marriage. Indeed, just about the deadliest thing a woman in southern Africa can do is get married.

Take Kero Sibanda, a woman I met in a village in Zimbabwe. Mrs. Sibanda is an educated woman and lovely English-speaker who married a man who could find a job only in another city. She suspected that he had a girlfriend there, but he would return to the village every couple of months to visit her.

"I asked him to use a condom," she said, "but he refused. There was nothing I could do."

He died two years ago, apparently of AIDS. Now Mrs. Sibanda worries that she and her beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Amanda, have H.I.V. as well.

In theory, everybody agrees on how to prevent AIDS: the ABC method, which stands for abstinence, being faithful and condoms. But the Bush administration interprets this as ABc. New administration guidelines stipulate that U.S.-financed AIDS programs for young people must focus on abstinence or, for those who are already sexually active, "returning to abstinence." -

I wonder if Bush realises that these aren't people having casual, fun, birth-controlled sex. These are people living in such poverty that the difference between paying the rent and living on the street is a matter of $3 or $4. If I had to choose between sex with a condom for $1 or sex without a condom for $4 - I don't think I'd take the $1 option too often.

And what happens when partners just refuse to "have sex in a raincoat"? God knows, it's hard enough to practise safe sex in a loving relationship with enough money to purchase condoms by the bucketfull. It's almost seen as a sign of mistrust - "you want me to use a condom?! do you have something you need to tell me?"

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March 30, 2005

1.7 Million Nappies Every Week!

And they think that's a good thing?!

I'm staggered that Pak N Save thinks that's a good thing to advertise.

Just before people think I'm hassling mothers who use disposable nappies, let me say two things:

1) No, I've never had a kid. But I have changed many, many cloth nappies in my time.
2) No, I don't use manufactured sanitary products either. I use rags, and I wash 'em. So I'm not talking entirely without cause.

I do think it would be a good thing to promote disposable nappies as a convenience, rather than a neccessity. Use them when you're travelling, or the babysitter's coming over. Just like if I'm going swimming, I'll use a tampon. A pack or two a year is acceptable, but other than that, it just feels incredibly wasteful. To me.

... don't hit me, moms!....

I'm also mildly amazed that cat food is now advertised as containing "real meat!" ... I mean... ! cats, meat... eh. Insert your own tirade. You know what I'm getting at.

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March 29, 2005

X-Rated Lynx

The ad for Lynx Touch is a bit on the overly-sexual side, wouldn't you say? Particularly the young man undoing the woman's shirt with a book - and then the envelope-licking postscript - do we really need that sort of sexual content advertising a deodourant?

Did you know that Police Ten-7 deals with Law Enforcement? It's true. The warning before the programme says so. Lucky they cleared that up for me.

And god, doesn't this completely-misleading food advertising get to *anyone* else?! Coco-Pops are now being touted as having "seven vitamins and minerals" and no added colour or preservative... not to mention the fact that it doesn't need preservative because it is sugar. And the McDonald's "New Fact" disinformation campaign continues unabated.

I have some fat-free candy-floss and some sugar-free cooking-oil if anyone would like to improve their diet...

... man, who'd be a cop. You're semi-admired as long as you aren't pulling me over, or hassling my mate over something trivial when you could be 1)pulling over someone else or 2)snapping some real dealer....

Damn creeping reality. It makes me a hypocrite in so many, many ways.

Hmmm. For some reason Police Ten-7 beeped a swearword but left "fuck" - as in "what the fuck was going on" in. Odd.

Why is it called Police Ten-7? And why do I persistantly put the dash in when the program titley clearly omits it?

And why did I call it titely?

That Optimum cat-food ad makes me want to manufacture a defensive cat-food called Average. Or perhaps That Damn Neighbour Cat.

TDNC. The Traditional Kiwi Cat Food. (Poison, Poison, Tasty Fish!)

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March 28, 2005

No, It's Not a 'Personal Massager'

It's a hair-clipping razor thing, ok? It just sounds a lot like a vibrator... and the dog is addicted to it being used on her tummy.

I bought a $12 hair-clipper from the warewhare today. It simulataneously solved my dog-grooming and leg-hair-removal problems. (Some would suggest an new category: 'Bitch Maintenance'). For twelve bucks! Sweet. I can't believe I didn't think of it before. I never have to spend money on waxing or endure cuts from 'safety' razors. Bwuhahahaha! Free from the tyrrany of razors and tweezers! Free I tells ya!

Also, it came with 3 length guides which means I can cut Sock's coat properly - short on the head and V into the chest, feathering on backs of front legs, not on hind... I will probably screw it up right royally the first few times, but humiliation is a great teacher so I will learn fast. A semi-bald-in-places dog is not a good look unless it is a poodle (and not even then. Urrgh!)

I don't know why the placebo effect is deemed to be a bad thing. I think it's a wonderful thing! I have decided to give my Tiger's Eye and Jasper crystals to Leon to take on his trip. Tiger's Eye is associated with digestion and the abdomen, and also with laughter. Jasper is a high-energy stone associated with tissue regeneration and sex. I might see if I can get a wee piece of moss agate as well from somewhere, cos I think it's to do with intergenerational harmony and family.

It might sound fruity but I don't care. I get a lot of comfort from my crystals, even if it's just from their beauty. Science seems to accept the whole "bubble-gum-pink for prisons" thing, so why would the beauty and colours of precious stones be any different?

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I'll Kill You, Murderer!

The Terry Schiavo mess in the States grows more hysterically irrational every day. Conservative Christians are now issuing death threats to the Mike Schiavo supporters. Thou Shalt Not Kill! (except when God says it's ok. I found his divine message in my alphabettios this morning. He wants us to save the brain-dead woman and kill her husband. That's what I call divine justice; incomphrehensible and violent!)

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March 26, 2005

It Wouldn't Be Easter Without A Little Blasphemy

I picked up Alex and Eden in Dunsandel (6 pies later) and on the way back to Chch Alex told me that he was going to leave out cookies and ginger beer for the Easter Bunny, just like cookies and beer for Santa. Since Deb and Keith are both pastors, I wonder if they'll encourage him to leave it out for Jesus instead?

I think it's sick that I can't buy wine on the holiest day of the Christian calendar. What if I were an absent-minded pastor searching for vital communion wine? What then?!

... ok, so really I wanted a nice savvy, but I would have bought red if that was all that was going. It's stupid having these archaic laws about Christian holidays that are really pagan in the first place. What's the good of a day off it you can't do anything except go to church or watch tv and drink pre-purchased alcohol?

If you're suffering from an overload of said church, or said alcohol, read this: Skeptics Annotated Bible, and then this.

My thanks to my heathen and hilarious brother Matt for the links. Save me a spot in the hot-tub if you get to hell before me, ay?

--- and this, from This is True ---

After a recommendation by a panel of 15 "eminent theologians and linguists" chaired by Biblical translator Ronald Youngblood, the International Bible Society has reworded its Today's New International Version of the Bible to make it clear that being "stoned" means being beaten to death with rocks. "We wanted to keep it from being confused with drug addiction," Youngblood explained.

You'd think it would be clear enough from the context, wouldn't you? ... unless you were stoned... or a Flanderistian.

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March 25, 2005

Movin' On

As some of you will be aware from my email, I've changed my contact numbers. It's part of a broader shift away from contact with my parents. Our relationship is at a point a breakdown, so I sent them a letter and just said: let's take a break from each other. It causes me too much pain and emotional damage to try to pursue the relationship I would like to have with them and know I can't achieve it.

It's a strange feeling. I feel like I should feel guilty, and I do a little bit - it's so "fiction" to estrange yourself formally from your parents. But on the whole I think this is the right thing to do. I've thought about it for years and it's just gotten to the point of "why wouldn't I do this?" I couldn't find a good reason.

I'm planning on changing my name as well, but given the amount of hassle with changing ID/bank cards etc, that can go on the long-term list.

I will find a way to keep in touch with my siblings, probably birthday and christmas presents. It's tricky with the younger three still living in my parents' home. I'm sure I will resolve it eventually.

Strange feeling. Emotionally I feel like an orphan, but it's more comfortable than feeling like a reject.

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March 24, 2005

Puppies As Promised





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Humiliation For Food

Things are so bad in Zimbabwe that people are crying out for a return to white rule.

"If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we'd do it," said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. "Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job."

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that. -

How absolutely heartbreaking.

Is it because this is black-on-black oppression that the world is ignoring it? We got all upset by the white farmers losing their land, but we don't seem to care about the thousands of people who can't leave.

One of the women in the story was a few days off giving birth. The last time she had protien of any kind was "a morsel of goat meat" at Christmas. And before that? Over a year.

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March 23, 2005

Sock Factor

She was just in an unreasonably cute mood today.


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March 22, 2005


Those McDonald's ads are masterful, in an underhand sort of way. Made of "100% Premium Beef", you say? Would it interest anyone else to know that the International Beef Grading system does not include the word 'Premium'?

'Prime' beef would mean something specific that is a measurable standard. Premium is just a good word that doesn't mean anything particularly. Like calling it "wonder beef".

In fact, Krusty did the same thing: "We come down South America way to buy only the best beef for our customers. Did I say "best"? Remember that "best" is not a recognized USDA grade, so feel free to use it anytime."

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Turnip For The Books

Dammit. The painting that was sitting on the fence between turniphood and triumph is... a turnip. A *large* turnip. Dammit. I'm unsure of how salvageable it is. The good thing is, I can't make it much worse, whatever I do.

*Grumpy sigh*

I went to Animates yesterday to return a chew toy I got for Sock. It's a Nylabone toy that is designed for "powerful chewers" - she broke it the first day she had it! I think it's a bit of a design flaw - she essentially detached one end of the 'bone' from the rest, which is a choking hazard in my opinion - and certainly a $17 chew toy should withstand chewing for longer than a week or two!

When I tried to return it, the girl behind the counter said "Oh, yeah, my dog's one of these is in three pieces, that's just what happens." I gave her a bit of a hard time over it - and pointed out that I'm a loyal customer and that Animates could just return the broken toy to Nylabone and get a refund, so *gimme a new toy!* Eventually she did, but I'm still kinda peeved that she tried to tell me that they're supposed to fall to pieces!

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Well, I Liked It

The Campbell Live show was, I thought, pretty good. (Which is lucky, seeing as it replaced my beloved Simpsons!) It was a little rough in places, but hey, what first-night isn't? The website is good too - one of the few genuinely interactive tv-show sites I've seen. You can submit questions that you want asked, as well as suggest topics etc.

Wellington is foggy and the airport is closed. Again. I think the development of Paraparaumu Airport is a good idea. At least that way you can get domestic flights going and connect international travellers in Chch and Auckland.

Sock is behaving oddly - surely she can't be back in season! - I'm not sure what's going on with her. If she keeps it up I'll take her to the Vet, she might have an infection or something. She doesn't seem to be any pain or anything, and there's no vaginal discharge - I guess one way to find out is to take her over to Deb's and see if Charlie Brown is interested.

I must go over and get puppy photos, too - it's been a stressful few days for them I think, so I didn't want to go over in the middle of it. But I'll see how she feels today.

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March 21, 2005

Death By Disruption

In Africa, so often torn by civil war, there are two ways to die - through violence, or through disease.

A recent study in the Congo concluded: Most deaths, the survey found, were due to maladies that are easily preventable and treatable in other parts of the world, such as malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections and malnutrition. Less than 2 percent of the deaths were caused by violence. (nytimes)

Flight is one of the major causes of the disruption - people flee their subsistence plots and move into the forests and refugee camps. The old and young and sick die from the conditions, neighbourhoods and family support systems are scattered. The militias loot the hospitals and pharmacys and take whatever food and equipment they find. Doctors and nurses flee along with everyone else.

And then once the fighting stops, and people begin to return to their villages, they are poorer than ever - land has gone uncultivated, houses are destroyed, livestock gone. They start again with even less than they had before - and wait for the next round of fighting.

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March 20, 2005


I just read a very interesting wee book called “The Terminal Man” – it’s basically the true story of the new Tom Hanks movie ‘Terminal’. It’s this Iranian guy (who keeps insisting he was born in Sweden, with no evidence whatsoever) who because of Catch-22-like situations with papers (Belgium has document A, but in order to travel to Belgium to get it you must have document B, which you cannot obtain with document A) has been living in Charles De Gaulle Airport’s Terminal One for 16 years, and counting. It’s by Sir Alfred Mehran, if you ever get the urge. Bizarre tale.

I'm painting a stange picture that will either be a triumph or a turnip. At the moment I can't tell which outcome is more likely.

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March 19, 2005


In southern Baghdad, the hazards of life have come to this: gangs of militant Islamists are warning barbers that it is haram - forbidden - to shave men's beards or do Western-style haircuts. As many as 12 barbers have been killed, Iraqi officials say, including five in one day in late January. With little hope of police protection, most now refuse to offer the offending cuts, and have placed prominent signs in their front windows saying so. -

That's pretty extreme. The strange thing is that the photos of the 9-11 highjackers show them clean-shaven with short hair. All's fair in raging jihad, I guess. Bit like smacking your kid to teach them not to hit their sister.

The weather is definitely turning and *sad*: Daylight savings ends tonight. The good thing about that is that dogs are allowed on the beaches again in Brighton.

My great-aunty Helen (mum's aunt) died recently - not entirely sure when - the funeral in Dunedin is Tuesday but I have a major ACC assessment that day so I won't be able to go down. I would have done otherwise, even though, I'm pretty sure I've never met her.

This is a very funky website called that you shouldn't visit if you are easily tempted by really, really cool stuff!


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March 18, 2005

Falsifying For Your Peace Of Mind

Government employees assigned to predict how water would flow through a proposed nuclear waste repository in Nevada, a crucial part of estimating how fast the radioactive material would leak, may have falsified some of their work, the Energy Department said on Wednesday.

The rate at which the waste packages decay depends on the flow of water around them, Dr. Garrick said, so "that's kind of where the analysis starts" and "that's a very important part of the whole modeling process." -

I'm glad I don't live in Glowing Nevada.

I'm kinda down at the moment. I'm sick of EDS and the mental health system in general... well, I'm more sick of going round and round being told that "It's all up to me" which is no help at all! Long-term, yeah, psychotherapy is the way thru this, but in the short term, things are crumbling way too fast.

At the four appointments I had yesterday - anxiety disorders, case manager, EDS doctor, EDS psychologist - everyone seemed to spend ages telling me about how well I (supposedly) had been doing, which felt rather dismissive of how I feel I'm doing now. If the 'progress' I made in the program is so demanding and fake to keep up, I don't see how it's remotely tenable to maintain it long-term, or even medium-term.

Then again, these guys are the experts, so if their opinion is that I'm well enough to carry on blindly for however long, who am I to contradict them? It's just a depressing and frustrating way to live, cos I don't see things getting any better despite however much effort I put in.

And then I get grumpy and decide that I'm going to petulantly fold my arms until life becomes fair and the skies rain bed-socks and plum jam.

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March 17, 2005

We've Done Your Homework

The Department of Homeland Security, trying to focus antiterrorism spending better nationwide, has identified a dozen possible strikes it views as most plausible or devastating, including detonation of a nuclear device in a major city, release of sarin nerve agent in office buildings and a truck bombing of a sports arena.

The document, known simply as the National Planning Scenarios, reads more like a doomsday plan, offering estimates of the probable deaths and economic damage caused by each type of attack.

They include blowing up a chlorine tank, killing 17,500 people and injuring more than 100,000; spreading pneumonic plague in the bathrooms of an airport, sports arena and train station, killing 2,500 and sickening 8,000 worldwide; and infecting cattle with foot-and-mouth disease at several sites, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Specific locations are not named because the events could unfold in many major metropolitan or rural areas, the document says. -

It seems very generous of the USA to develop this document - I never would have thought of a pneumonic plague one. I wonder if the terrorists are interested? The foot-n-mouth thing would be a cunning economic attack and almost impossible to detect early enough to contain.

Also, just another snippet on those "video news releases", this time from a nytimes editorial:
Most of these tapes are very skillfully done, including "interviews" that seem genuine and "reporters" who look much like the real thing. Only sophisticated viewers would easily recognize that these videos are actually unpaid commercial announcements for the White House or some other part of the government. Some of the videos clearly cross the line into the proscribed territory of propaganda, and the Government Accountability Office says at least two were illegally distributed.

Bizarre. In NZ, we seem to make MP's resign at the first whiff of publicly-known impropriety. Can you imagine Question Time after the Govt. got nicked for illegal video/propaganda?!

Precious right for the TV News crews to film QT must be preserved. If the Govt. is the only one allowed to film proceedings, we've got the fox watching the hen-house.

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March 16, 2005

ACT Without Knowledge Or Forethought

ACT has come out against the Pathways To Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) scheme run by WINZ, claiming that it leads to people just sitting around on the dole, dreaming of being artists or musicians, when they should be getting a job and "doing their art in the weekends and after work".

Well. The PACE scheme has 1,200 participants. There are more than 80,000 people on the benefit. So basically, ACT has decided to villify the less that 1.5% of people on the dole who are actively entrepreneurical!

The PACE scheme just allows people to legitimately say "I'm looking for work and training towards being a graphic artist" rather than WINZ saying "Well, too bad, you've been assigned systems analyst." You still have to front up with your jobseeker plans and regular updates of your efforts.

ACT should be getting in behind these people, the majority of them young, creative and talented, and saying: these are our up-and-coming creative sensations who are trying to establish small businesses and exploit niche markets. Encouraging them might just stimulate ACT's precious economy!

Just on those church shootings (I find the connection morbidly fascinating, which is why I'm going on about it):

So while they remain unable to explain why Mr. Ratzmann stormed out of services two weeks before - or even whether the sermon that upset him was given via videotape by the church's international leader, Roderick C. Meredith, or by Mr. Gregory - the police see the little-known church as the key.

"We believe that the motive has something to do with the church and the church services more so than any other possible motive," Capt. Phil Horter of the Brookfield, Wis., Police Department said at a news conference on Monday. "We're looking at the church totality, whether it's members of the church, members of the hierarchy of the church, the sermons of the church," he added.

The Living Church of God, an offshoot of a sect seen by some as a cult, the Worldwide Church of God, is a fringe group that advocates literal adherence to the Bible, observes a Saturday Sabbath, rejects the Holy Trinity concept and frequently focuses on a coming apocalypse. - from the

I'm amazed it doesn't happen more frequently in those types of churches. They are so rigid and self-righteous that it can build up frustrations and guilt and anger within people that either breaks their spirit or breaks their minds. Particularly, I think, if you are a more sensitve and emotional type of person, who finds dealing with rules and expectations stressful and guilt-ridden.

The church for me, having been 'born into it', left me always feeling like someone was watching me to catch me out for all the terrible sins I committed every day. Certain things, like "God views all sins as bad as each other" sunk into my kiddies brain and left me too scared to go to sleep some nights unless I died without confessing all my sins and then God would be very, very angry with me.

Yes, ok, I was a silly kid and I took it all very seriously - but I was being told all the time that this was the one true church and the one right way and it terrified me because I could never, ever be good enough and I felt that inadequacy deeply.

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March 15, 2005

Thought So

The shootings at the church I mentioned yesterday have an interesting twist. The church is a splinter group of a splinter group from the church I was brought up in, Herbert Armstrong's "World Wide Church of God".

Ah, nasty nostalgia. This all sounds so familiar:

The Living Church of God was founded in the mid-1990's by Roderick C. Meredith after he was kicked out of one of the many groups that splintered from the Worldwide Church of God upon the death of its leader, Herbert W. Armstrong. It claims 7,000 members in 288 congregations. Many of them, like the one here, meet in hotels or other public spaces with itinerant pastors.

The Living Church holds that people from Northwest Europe are descendants of the Bible's 10 lost tribes of Israel, "possessors of the birthright promises and accompanying blessings" of Abraham's descendants, according to a statement of beliefs from its Web site. It observes the Sabbath on Saturday and counsels members to remain apart from the secular world by not participating in juries, politics or the military.

The church's view of history, which asserts that humankind is moving inexorably toward the "end times," when the world will go through a series of cataclysms before the second coming of Christ, is not uncommon among evangelicals. While most evangelicals eschew specific predictions about "end times," however, Dr. Meredith preached in a recent sermon broadcast internationally that the apocalypse was close, warning members to pay off credit-card debt and hoard savings in preparation for the United States' coming financial collapse. -

I remember that... I wonder if they keep all the Holy Days and FOT, and keep 'clean' etc. I can't keep from being slightly impressed by the way HWA managed to predict the end of the world several times and yet people didn't call his bluff as each date came and went. I rememeber Mum telling me that when they joined the church, people were saying how lucky she was because the world was going to end before my older brother started school!

I think I should start a religion that caters to people who prefer punishment and guilt to love and happiness. The World-Wide Church of Pain. You must fast 3 days every week, and abstain from any activities you particularly enjoy. You must give me 30% of your income (that's gross income, not net, people. Don't force me to audit) and make career-limiting moves as often as possible. You may have sex but only if you don't enjoy it.

And in this way, the glory and love of the Lord may be witnessed throughout the earth...

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March 14, 2005

This Could Cause Problems

At Book City, shoppers face an entire floor of English-learning materials. One, ''Love English,'' offers pick-up lines and pillow talk with cultural hints. Among its instructions: that '' 'I'm bored' really means: 'Do you want to have sex?' '' Practice cassettes are included. -

It reminds me of a dictionary/phrase-book I read about and I can't remember the author of - it was called "English As She Is Spoke".

I found a neat quote from a book I am reading called "The Saint of Incipient Insanities" (Elif Shafak): I've been watching myself change. Now, I've started to think that falling in love is pretty much like falling for a miracle. Love, too, is about expectations and beliefs. You hope that still is a salvation for you and that someday someone special will make this possible. Isn't that longing for a miracle? Even when you know you should not expect much from this world, still something inside wants to resisit... and keep hoping... that you might be loved by the person you love.

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Sad Way To Start

The gunman in Wisconsin that killed 7 and wounded 4 before shooting himself at an evangelical church meeting was remembered by his neighbours: "He said he never even shot a thing in his life," Mr. Colwell said. "The guy caught bunny rabbits in a humane trap and drove 20 miles to release them, because he didn't want to kill them."

I was thinking of this yesterday as I went for a drive around yesterday - through Prebbleton and Lincoln through Tai Tahu and Greenbank to Leeston and out to Rakaia. There were all these Cabbage White butterflies - hundreds of them - and I was trying not to hit them. I say a butterfly lying motionlesss on the road and another one fluttering around it. I wonder:

Was the butterfly
killed by a thundering car;
is the other flutterby
a butterfly bereft?
Or is her body
stretched now in welcome;
awaiting with eagerness
her butterfly kiss?

I purchased some blackcurrant honey from an apiary on the way. It's good honey, because it's not overly sweet - it's actually kind of like malted sweetness. And I stopped in at the free-range poultry place and got 6 eggs - I wanted a couple of nice big ones with strong shells because I'm going to give Alex a set of blown + painted eggs for Easter. It's almost impossible to blow a battery egg, their shells are like paper.

I found an article on curling in the nytimes that makes it sound like quite a neat sport. So maybe in the winter I will see if Canty goes curling. I really love ice-skating too, so I will see if there are rinks nearby. There is an outdoor one past Dunedin but that's a bit far to go.

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March 13, 2005

Subtle Word Play

I love the new vocabulary coming out of the States. Extraordinary Rendition means you can be grabbed and held without charge for as long as the government pleases. Video News Release means covert propagranda segments disguised as news footage.

The Bush admin didn't start the VNR juggernaut; that honour belongs to Mr. Clinton. But the Bush admin certainly knows a good thing when they see it, and want to make sure the voters see it too; Bush's first term spent $254 million on PR contracts.

If you're interested in the journalistic independence thing, you can read about it here. It's worth a look: How a television reporter in Memphis came to unwittingly narrate a segment by the State Department reveals much about the extent to which government-produced news accounts have seeped into the broader new media landscape.

The interesting thing to me is that the State Department is is moving away from producing narrated feature segments. Instead, the department is increasingly supplying only the ingredients for reports - sound bites and raw footage. Since the shift, even more State Department material is making its way into news broadcasts. So I wonder how much of this stuff is making it into NZ broadcasts? I should imagine a reasonable amount, because I can remember seeing some of the segments and footage described in the article.

I found an op-ed piece on the Death of Environmentalism. It's worth a read.

And this one on Excessive Caution In Stupid Ways was good too, and funny. I thought this was particularly good: I blame the arbiters of virtue. Sometime over the past generation we became less likely to object to something because it is immoral and more likely to object to something because it is unhealthy or unsafe. So smoking is now a worse evil than six of the Ten Commandments, and the word "sinful" is most commonly associated with chocolate.

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March 12, 2005

Looks Like Hell To Me

Every Saturday I watch the end of that fishing show that's on before 3 News. Every time I see it the waves are choppier and the boat pitching more violently. I can't think of many jobs I would like less than filming endless fishing shows in ever-more-remote corners of the sea.

I could be the dude in the kitchen at the end, except for the part where I really don't eat any seafood except fish and even then it's gotta be of the fins 'n' scales variety. I ate lobster once. Caviar is nice. But prawns and other spindly-leggy things are not on my personal menu. They remind me of little embryonic alien babies.

Today I've been painting snakes and dots on a big (over 1 a metre square) red canvas. I rather like snakes. I'd rather be in a locked room with a free snake than a free spider. Snakes make sense like rational animals, whereas spiders are just scritchy jumpy things with too many legs. Bleh.

However I realised through mentioning this painting to several friend that many people are quite likely just as uncomfortable with snakes. So if you don't like snakes, think of it as a painting of Your Sperm On Acid.

Also, from the email files, here is a very artistic Most Painful Tattoo nominee. Not For The Kiddies.

Posted by phreq at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fish Farts and Bank Robbers

A bank robber in NY tried unsuccessfully to hold up two banks without a weapon. A couple of days later, a man walked into another bank to open an account.

Staff decided that the customer was the spitting image of the composite sketches of the bank robber, so the customer was held at the bank and interviewed by police.

As it turned out, the police had already solved the failed robberies - they arrested their suspect later that day. The customer was released after his interview with police.

And did he open an account? According to the bank manager, he said "Goodbye. Have a good day." and left.

I'm amazed he was so polite!

Also in NY, a woman was killed in a busy dentist's waiting room. Her ex-boyfriend tracked her down and shot her in front of her 11-yr-old daughter. He was already a convicted killer - in 1974 he killed another ex-girlfriend.

A housefire started by candles killed 11 people in a townhouse. They had moved in only a day or so beforehand and hadn't got the electricity connected. There were so many kids involved - 9 under the age of 18; the youngest, just 6 months old.

(from the

And in the UK, a 12-yr-old boy was convicted of raping his teacher at a special needs centre for kids with severe learning disabilities and social problems. After raping her, he stole her car. He was given a non-parole period 21 months, but the judgement is that he is to be detained for life.

If it seems bizarre that serious scientists in Scotland should publish a study of farting in herrings, how improbable is it that they were almost beaten into print by a team of Swedish researchers who had discovered the same phenomenon? But that's great minds for you.

And finally... you know those movies that are so bad they're good? Well, a new broadcast called Bad Movies will feature from 9pm - 9am in the UK. It's devoted entirely to... well, Bad Movies!

(from the

Posted by phreq at 06:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2005

Stop Thinking, You're Here To Teach

An education student in NY State has been rejected from his next year at the college because he wrote a paper that advocated the use of corporal punishment.

He's a transplant from the conservative Christian South and claims that he has been discriminated against by the more liberal NY. Apparently, in the same paper he also wrote against 'favouritism' of special-needs children, against multi-culturalism and in favour of corporal punishment (with the parent's approval, and administered by the Principal).

Bizarre! Liberal old NY is kinda conservative in reverse.

Also. Have people been following the emergent Avian Flu in Asia? The mortality rate in Vietnam is 75%. For some reason, NZ is complacently saying that they have anti-viral medications and the mortality rate here would be in the low thousands.

Odd, when you consider how hysterical everyone got over SARS, which only has a 10-15% mortality rate. And it might just be me and my spotty understanding of science and medicene, but wouldn't the anti-viral stuff have to be administered to everyone all at once? Cos otherwise, won't the virus just mutate and become anti-viral-drug resistant?

Posted by phreq at 07:55 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 10, 2005

So. Did You Save For Your Funeral?

I'm too tired to write anything particularly brilliant or even coherent. I wish I could just sleep for a couple of weeks. My life needs a fast-forward button. And a mute.

I took something of an OD on Saturday which was... I don't know. It was what it was. Don't remember a lot of it, to be honest. There's just such an awful sense of disappointment when you wake up.

Anywho. I can't even really be bothered getting mad at my parents. Deb rang them and talked to mum. She was kind of blown away (in a bad way) by her reaction. She said to me: Jen, your mum's a bitch. She's so damn neutral. She didn't even ask if you were ok.

It didn't surprise me particularly. Mum and Dad are beyond "un-emotional" and through into full-blown inertia. Mum called me a couple of days later to see how things were. I didn't know what to say really. "I'm dying" would be a favourite and probably the most accurate but I'm pretty sure that if I'd said that she would have just closed down completely. Painful and/or negative emotion for them is like touching a butterfly mine, and they'll go to any lengths to avoid it. So I just told them things are really hard and I'm trying to work through it.

I'm so sick of this. I'm sick of the pain in the relationship between my parents and me. It's so bloody awkward. It feels constantly like I'm doing something they disapprove of deeply but will not verbalise. I just don't know what to do, every contact with them just seems to hurt and hurt and hurt. I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them back and forth while yelling at them "FEEL SOMETHING! For fuck's sake, I nearly die and you don't even bother calling me for days. Tell me you're scared or angry or glad I pulled through. Tell me you want to help me, rather than giving with one hand and taking away with the other."

Mum asked me for my therapist's name so they could talk to her. I get the distinct feeling (and so did Deb, so it's not just my paranoia) that my parents think that I have somehow managed to successfully con psychotherapists, psychiatrists, ACC, mental health services, friends and police - in fact, everyone except them - for years and years and years. I don't know what they think my motive would be. Having no money? Having no job? Having no self-respect and seeing no future?

Who knows. My life is obviously pretty damn sweet, since I go to such lengths to maintain this lifestyle.

Stupid life. Sleep is good.

Posted by phreq at 05:32 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 08, 2005

Shop-Lifting and Other Crimes

It is a crime to shop-lift and it costs companies millions of dollars a year.

It is a crime to purchase alcohol as a minor and fines apply of thousands of dollars to both parties in the transaction.

When I go to the Warehouse, Large Signs inform me that my handbag, pushchair and person may be required to be opened for search at any time. I have never been asked to stop by security though. If they did, they would be accusing me of shop-lifting, basically. And I would be offended.

When I go to Countdown, Large Signs inform me that it is a crime to purchase alcohol as a minor and I may be required to show proof of age. I get ID'd about 70% of the time. And I find it offensive. They are accusing me of committing a crime.

I do not appreciate being informed by a Large Disembodied Voice to please, take it as a compliment! either. Fuck you! I am not a criminal (well, I don't shop-lift or buy alcohol under-age, let's put it like that) and I damn well will not take it as a compliment when you treat me like one!

Posted by phreq at 08:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Unintended Consequences

The USA has had a ban on live imports of Canadian beef since May 2003 because BSE was found in the herd. Recently, another case was discovered and a Montana judge upheld the continuation of the ban.

The ban is crippling the US meatpacking industry in the Pacific Northwest because they depend on Canadian cattle to make up their seasonal shortfalls. Many packing plants are down a quarter of capacity and reducing hours and staff.

So you'd think that if things were rough stateside, the Canadians must be hurting worse. But no. The ban only covers live imports. So the Canadian ranchers have been investing in meatpacking plants and sending boxed beef over the border. Because of the tight US market, US beef is expensive compared to the imports, so the Canadian market is growing.

The thing that really gets me about this is that it's almost certain that BSE is within the US herd anyway. It's just that the USA have incredibly slack oversight and testing measures and so they don't officially have a record of it.

Posted by phreq at 07:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2005

How Very Odd

The chief of Ukraine's security service said Saturday that the country's former interior minister, Yuri F. Kravchenko, had shot himself twice in the head on Friday, refuting speculation that he had been killed by someone else.

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone committing suicide by shooting themselves in the head twice. That's determination!

Posted by phreq at 05:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arrest The Men

I've been following the BTK killings and now the arrest, and once again, everyone comments on how normal he seemed. Married, family man who is a regular church-goer and holds a steady, bureaucratic job. Oh, and occasionally, he likes to murder people using a signature method: Bind, Torture, Kill.

It seems like every single serial murder is committed either by a drifter "with a strange look in his eye" or a family man who "seemed so normal" or a "nice young man who kept to himself".

I'm more into prevention than cure when it comes to murder. So as a preventative measure, next time there is a grisly murder or similar outrage, all males over the age of 10 will be rounded up and put in preventative detention until the case is solved. I know that seems harsh, but I'm willing to lay money on a massive drop in crime.

It's probably going to be a bit tricky to incarcerate all those men at once, so some men will be allowed to work and live in the community if they are "bought" by a woman or a consortium thereof. We don't condone slavery, of course. It's more about an enforced symbiosis.

The rest will be snap-frozen for freshness and thawed as fashion dictates.

The thing about being melodramatic is you can never be sure until *after* you make a fuss whether the crippling chest pain is heartburn or a heart attack.

Posted by phreq at 04:35 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 03, 2005

Insanity Peppers

I feel like rambling. Be ye warned and pull up a cushion. That's it. Plump it gently and rest your aching buttocks. Ahhh. Doesn't that feel good?

Right, now let's begin.

I really like colour. We should all take time every day to be grateful that insects can see in colour and have a keen sense of smell and like sugar. If it were different, we wouldn't have flowers, except for stinkblossoms and crapweeds.

I wish I could see in ultraviolet. Are there filters I can wear on my glasses? That would be cool. Let me open a new window and google it... ok. I know what I want for Christmas! A portable blacklight flashlight! It is super cool and would improve my life enormously.

Seriously, it would be *very* cool. Maybe Svend will buy one and let me borrow it. He likes gadgets 'n' stuff.

Just *think* of all the interesting stains and so forth you could find in a new house with a blacklight flashlight!

God, the evil that men (and women) do. The child sex abuse case in France (more than 60 defendants, around half of them parents of the abused kids) is disgusting and heartbreaking. Child sex abuse ruins lives. It is not forgotten. It is not "gotten over". It rots your soul and spreads acid and distrust right throughout your life and poisons and distorts your future relationships. To overcome that rot is an almost insurmountably painfull task. So don't anybody out there dare think that you can touch a kid and it "doesn't really matter, they won't remember".

I wrote to an MP, Lynda Scott, the other week. She's National's Food minister. Apparently, she has a PHD. Can you find the $40,000.00 investment in her reply? (Reproduced, entirely unedited except for the italics, for your grammatical and punctuational analysis):

dear Jenny, thanks for these articles and links. I am always interested in these topics. You are correct we do have an obesity epidemic and getting people to eat less fat of all sorts is necessary. I think the old saying " you are what you eat " has a lot of truth to it.
yours Lynda Scott.

And my reply...

Dear Ms. Scott,

Thank you for your reply but I must say I am rather unsatisfied by it. The “Obesity Epidemic” in NZ was not my point.

My point was that since the FDA has demanded labelling changes for ALL food products except fast food by January next year, why are NZer’s going to be kept in ignorance over the amount of trans-fat in their food? Trans-fat (as you will know, from reading the articles) is dangerous not in that it makes people fat, per se – it is dangerous because it lowers good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterol simultaneously. Trans-fat is a big factor in heart disease and stroke.

Also, I am sorry to be picky, but your grammar and punctuation leave a lot to be desired. I don’t think you would pass NCEA with that standard of communication.



Remember Kids! You can't spell analysis without anal.

Sorry to be picky my ass. It's the only reason I wrote back. I don't care if y'all wanna eat trans-fat plasticky crap. It's probably better than existing entirely on juice and water.


So. Hem. Wine counts as juice, ay? Well, it does now. Mmmm. Juciyness.

I stole a couple a rollies off Deb today. Bad Phreq! Bad! They tasted about as I remembered. Really gross. And yet, I want more! Stupid addictive soot inhalation tubes! "Mmmm, smooth and cool, like hot pollutants", as Kodos (or was it Kang?) said.

Never mind, I am rational enough not to buy any of my own. I'll just nick other people's from time to time.

The weather is slowly turning towards autumn. Do you reckon, if I chucked a sheet over the windscreens at night, would it stop 'em frosting over? Or would I just end up with a sheet frozen to the windscreen? Both scenarios seem equally likely.

You know what I enjoy? Rambling.

I wonder if anyone is reading this? Just to see, I will add some incomprehensible filler - There is a brown cow walking down the street. I wonder if it is any relation to Mrs. Secombe's cow? - or something like that. Does anyone recognise this rather obscure literary reference? I can't end a paragraph with a question mark, they attract attention. A nice dot works well. Like beige.

I'm watching a Kiwi Blue bottled water ad. A raindrop fell... on green ferns unfurling... it sank deep beneath the earth... where it became purer still...
then we put it in a plastic container that will outlive you by 30,000 years... and we truck it to a supermarket that exploits its workers... and we sell it to you... for $3.50 a bottle...

Ah, pure, natural water. Nothing more essential to life. Isn't it absolutely phenomenal that people are willing to pay that much for bottled water?! Coca-Cola and Pepsi executives are running around in their offices with their t-shirts over their heads and giant foam hands with slogans like "You want water with your Whopper? That's an extra 60c, please!" and "Just how dumb can we assume you are?"

If you had told anyone 20 years ago that everyday, non-super-rich people would buy bottled water, they would have assumed the rider "... after the post-apocalyptic breakdown of society."

That's enough rambling. It's time for The Simpson's :)

Posted by phreq at 05:41 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Tit For Rat-Tat-Tat

I am having a snippet morning, since I woke up at 3.30 and couldn't get back to sleep.

U.N. peacekeepers killed at least 50 militiamen in a gunfight in northeastern Congo on Tuesday, five days after nine Bangladeshi U.N. troops were killed there, the United Nations said Wednesday. - (

A commercial for Cadillac about a teenage girl swiping one of the family cars to run away with her boyfriend seemed headed in a predictable direction: Her mother discovers she's missing, her father chases after her in a second car, her father catches the couple. But, oh, the delightful finale: As the daughter embarks on a spirited defense of her elopement, the father interrupts to declare: "It's O.K. Just take your mother's car." - (

There's a new reality show in the works, this time auditioning aspiring artists:
The artists who are selected will be given a group show at Deitch Projects. And in the true spirit of reality television, one could emerge as the big winner and be given a solo show at the gallery, which has shown such established art stars as Mariko Mori and Jeff Koons. - (

Other than that, I have a mtg with various dr's at 10.30 so I might post again afterwards.

Posted by phreq at 03:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2005

Matt, You Might Want To Skip This One

Because it's about our parents and it's only fair to warn you.

Mum and Dad have been giving me $20/wk for several months, and so often it's been a lifesaver - enough money to pay the therapist or get some power. The 'condition' with that was that I write to them once a week or so, because they said that they don't want to be viewed as an ATM. Fair enough.

Well I got myself in the shit a few times over the last couple of months and I owe them $300. Mum sent me a text yesterday to say that she had cancelled the $20 AP.

I was a little bit shocked - she signed off the text "lol mum" which either means lots of laughter (i.e. I'm joking) or lots of love (i.e. I'm joking). So I sent Dad an email this morning and he confirmed that this was indeed the case:

Yes, that the plan – the $300 is in advance to help sort your cash flow problems. That will also be assisted by WINZ and the bank coming to the party, so you should be right now.

I just want to ring them up and scream at them "I AM DYING!!!"

My therapist wants me admitted to hospital yesterday and I will hear from my GP today I expect. Another $50. I'll need to put petrol in the Scud because I'm not meant to be walking much at the moment. Another $20. I am running the heater because I'm really cold, so I'll need to get another $10 of power too.

I mean, I don't think I'm extravagant. I don't go to the movies or drinking (more than once in a blue moon). I don't buy new clothes except to replace decade-old underwear. I'm not buying alcohol or drugs. It's just that being sick introduces all sorts of expenses that people just don't think about.

I am really, really hurt by them. Do they want me to die? Or do they just think I enjoy begging them for money because:
1) It's so non-humiliating; and
2) They're so generous?

I can't get over the feeling that they think I'm trying to fleece them. It's hard to match up this behaviour and email with this other one from Dad 3 months ago:

Good on you for doing the eating disorder programme – getting well is your full time job at present and the most important thing you could possibly be doing. You don’t get many chances. Take all the help you can get and let us know what we need to be doing to help you.

Posted by phreq at 08:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack