Monthly Archives: March 2006

my dreams don’t fit in your formats

It’s 14:00, Thursday afternoon. Marica and I picked up Trevor Romain and his lovely wife from the airport this morning – 9:30 on the dot. I’ve been a big fan of Trevor’s writing for a long time now – I don’t recall any other writer who has so often moved me emotionally: happy, sad, yay-the-goody, boo-the-baddy – the entire gamut of responses…

And after some recent experiences where digital reality and 3d reality has been rather mismatched, while I was waiting for a little by myself, I wondered whether the image in my mind in would in any way match reality. What would Trevor Romain be like in reality?

One word: Gooderer.

We’ve had a traumatic few weeks – couple of years really.

But we’d got to a point today where we were sitting with two new friends (that felt like two old friends), having Scram’n’sam (scrambled eggs and smoked salmon), in the most astounding pin-sharp light of the midmorning at Chocolate Fish, the water was clear, the wind just a slight breeze, and do you know? Not one of us missed work at all.

So, after all the hits of the last couple of years, two words: Worth it.

So, where to from here? We’re still working it through, but something profound happened this morning. Birds began to flutter their wings a little, waves began to splash differently, and the light changed. Magic.

We drove back around the bays, and as we scurried back into the city, Trevor spied a grafitto which summed up the morning for me.

My dreams don’t fit in your formats.

Slight update, March 30, 2006. Sorry to all the people upset by my use of the word ‘gooderer’. I will try to use betterer English in the future.


the tinderbox

//hca.heindorffhus.dkI was weaned on H C Andersen. Mr Ugly Duckling himself. Mr deny who you are so you can camoflage yourself so you don’t frighten the natives into thinking you’re anything other than just like them. Unfortunately I was never that good at camo, and always was the stranger in a strange land.

Tonight my dining companion was a stranger in a strange land, the very urbane and charming Mark Berstein. Yep, Mr Tinderbox himself. I’d like to give you a potted picture of Mark, but he’s not that easy to classify. Resistant to pins through his chest, little lable kind of guy. Instead you find yourself in the company of someone with a broad based bundle of wit and wisdom, at once encouraging in push you to better, think harder stretchy your mind out kind of way. How nice is that?

We ate malaysian, I tortured Mark by walking him all over downtown Wellington. He blogs the next day how his shoes were destroyed. Coincidence? I think so. If you get the chance to dine with Mr B, you’ll come away with eyes the size of the Round Tower.


writer’s workshop – register now!

Register for the writer's workshops now!Internationally acclaimed children’s author, Trevor Romain will be facilitating writing workshops in Wellington on Sunday March 19; after his speaking engagements at the upcoming Blog Hui (March 17-18) weblog conference.

Workshop programme:
9-12, How to write memoirs
1-4, Writing, publishing, and marketing books for children

$49 per half day session, $90 per full day session.

Venue: Turnbull House – an architectural period piece managed by the Department of Conservation. It’s located in Bowen Street (opposite the Beehive), between the Terrace and Lambton Quay; in downtown Wellington.

You can register online at, or email

Trevor Romain:
Best-selling author and illustrator, Trevor Romain sees himself as Monty Python meets Dr. Seuss at Jerry Seinfeld’s house in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. He currently has more than 30 published books with over one million copies in print that have been translated into 14 languages. Now, five of Trevor’s most influential books are part of the Comical Sense of Trevor Romain video collection which will eventually include 15 original titles.

Besides writing, illustrating, speaking, drinking tea, and avoiding trouble, the South African-born Romain cares a lot about sick children. Much of his motivation comes from the experiences he had at the Children’s Hospital at Brakenridge. “I learned more from those children than I ever learned at school,” says Romain. “And I have taken what I learned from them and woven their compassion, bravery, humor and love of life into the books I write.”

Trevor has won many awards for his books and videos with six of his non-fiction books receiving Parents Choice and Parent’s Council awards and two of his videos receiving the Cine Golden Eagle award for 2005. He has appeared on numerous television and radio talk shows throughout the United States and overseas. The new videos have been endorsed by “Kid’s First!” in terms of their appeal, content, production quality and developmental benefits.

Trevor is well known for his work in the community. He is a Board member of the National Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation. He has served on the board of Any Baby Can and has worked closely with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for many years. He has presented at hundreds of elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States and overseas on topics such as homework helpers, death of a loved one, dealing with bullies and facing your fears. Trevor is often featured as a keynote speaker at some of the largest medical, educational, and corporate conferences nationally. Trevor’s web site is


whale watchers

Even though I was feeling very unwell, we spent pleasant hours with friends at the Backbencher this evening. You know the place – famous for its political bloggers and other puppets. Not surprisingly the food was over-priced and oily, and the drinks were over-priced and watery. Obviously they have far too many patrons used to dining at the public trough, and figure they can serve accordingly.

Our friend (New York-based) is very instrumental in publishing comment on the work of the UN’s Security Council, and it was very interesting to learn about the challenges of publishing, writing in a authorative and clear manner, and the impacts web publishing can have for developing and smaller countries. After listening to Andrew Thomson, it’s interesting to hear kiwis – in particular ex-pat Wellingtonians – punching well above their weight in the world arena. It’s great, and encouraging to hear that people are watching the watchers, and publishing what they see, even when some of what they’re watching is on the whale scale.


he’s pining for the fjords

Apparently John Cleese finds Palmerston North is boring.

As he slides ever into his dotage his vocabulary becomes increasingly spartan.

Boring? He should be damn grateful he found it anything at all. He must’ve been there on a good day.

Obviously he’d never had his nappy changed in McD’s on the Square.

At least he (Cleese) has lemurs on his web site. I should frinking-well think so. I can forgive a lot if there are lemurs.


writer’s workshops

I’m pretty much jumping for joy to have Trevor Romain facilitating writer’s workshops at Blog Hui, March 19th. Absolutely outstanding. Workshop 1 – How to write memoirs. Workshop 2 – Writing, publishing and marketing books for children.

Trevor Romain has published more than 30 books, with over a million copies in print, translated into 14 languages. Now that’s what I call ‘experienced’. The USA would represent a fairly large market – hmm tempting…


emergency sex at the national library

Andrew Thomson was a sharply articulate speaker tonight at the National Library theatrette. Of course, his book, Emergency Sex (and other desperate measures), is a catchy title, and as apparently his mother observed, ‘that’ll help it sell’.

We ended sitting on the floor as the place was crowded and a particularly snipy librarian loudly clicked her pearls and said, ‘No, you can’t use a chair, they’re fire hazards’. I wanted to light a cigarette immediately to find out if it was true, but Andrew was on, and I sat on the floor.

Note to librarians: in the old days, during story time, we sat on a mat. Like a carpet. I know we live in a posthospitality age, but…

Andrew. If you get a chance to hear him speak, he is worth the moment. He’s a man who has clearly looked over into the abyss and come back to tell about it. The audience seemed completely engaged, and I guess there’s a certain frisson about hearing stories of how the seemingly good – the UN – are not quite as good as we imagine. We quite like things a bit flawed. I think it’s because the predominant post-compulsory education in New Zealand is delivered by that most august of distance learning institutions, Woman’s Day. As an aside, I note they claim a 1:8 readership, (I don’t doubt that) but I wonder how many educational designers even approach achieving that figure…

Oh, but they wouldn’t – they’re *snif* academic…



Wrestler-mania!Last night was something of a cultural shift – I think – for all of us. We went to the WWE Smackdown Wrestling. I was a bit surprised that D., wrestling’s greatest fan, didn’t really seem to engage as much as I’d expected. He was completely numb with joy, and the multi-media, multi-sensory overload was phenomenal.

I’m not wrestling’s biggest fan, really couldn’t give a rat’s nono about it, but you’d have to be a complete nono if you didn’t engage while there. We’d paid huge bucks to be front and centre and actually, that was money well spent. If you weren’t front and centre you might as well be in the stands, where the big screens would’ve delivered views without mad fans jumping up in front of you.

I think I liked the crowds the most – we were sitting in a kind of neutral zone between two bands of chanting fans. I particularly liked the speedy response – one group started (good naturedly) baiting the continuity guy, ‘You’re a fat f*ck’, ‘You’re a fat f*ck’; where upon the other side jumped in with ‘He’s our good friend’, ‘He’s our good friend’… The guy moved over to the friends’ side of the ring and bowed and smiled, and snubbed and waved to the other side, and everyone laughed. And the chants moved on to new subjects.

Theatre in the sweat zone.


all that glitters

gary glitter img from man has been ordered by a Vietnamese court to pay the families of the children (girls, aged 11 and 12) he is accused and convicted of molesting, the princely sum of UK £ 180.

£ 180?

That’s about $NZ 455. He should be fined that much for having hair like that.

Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1 rocks!

It may well be the only village FM radio station on the Asian sub-continent. It is certainly illegal.

The transmission equipment, costing just over $1, may be the cheapest in the world.

But the local people definitely love it.

And clearly, clearly the bloated budgets of TVNZ/RadioNZ still don’t provide anything like that level of engagement.

Let me try it:
I definitely love TVNZ.

I definitely love RadioNZ.

Thinks: perhaps it needs to be said with a Bihar accent…