Category Archives: 100 things

pigs in (cyber) space!

Dream a little dream of youI’m not a big fan of personality tests – psychobabble at best, guess work by the HR team with nothing better to do, attempting to justify their existance by enshrouding the whole with scientific respectability. As if. At least the draw a pig personality test doesn’t require me to score it myself. And it’s fun.

give the direct oval a half hour’s practice each day…

Image from http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.comThe first time I saw this kind of penmanship was in an old “Speedball” lettering book, long since vanished. Speedball made the nibs, and the book was a combination instruction manual, and of course, if they inspired people, somewhere along the way nibs were sold.

I love this kind of work, and knowing that it is done by hand makes it even more mind boggling to me – if I can find the time and patience that I didn’t have as a kid, it might be possible. I had forgotten about it and then thanks to the amazing BibliOdyssey I not only rediscovered the idea, but found some great examples as well.

Now, all I need to do is find 30 minutes a day, and a direct oval, and I’m in – well, if not business, then helping the ink and nib business along.

eating out

View The Story About Ping product details at AmazonValentina, Steve, and kids washed up on our beach today, fresh from the cultural delights of Sunday yum cha. Their youngest is four. He probably has popped in and out of restaurants since the age of – well – conception…

They mentioned another member of their party didn’t eat anything – not holding with that foreign fare. I noted that we were brought up thinking exotic food was good, and strangely I remembered (I think) the first meal out I’d ever had was in a Chinese restaurant in Wanganui. I was about 5 or 6 years old. Eating out in New Zealand, specifically in Wanganui, back in those days, eating lunch out on a weekend would’ve been restricted to a fairly limited range of choices I would’ve thought – chinese, fish and chips, perhaps hotel fare if you were sufficiently la-te-dah. I’m not sure if the restaurant is still there, but I can remember both the restaurant and the meal clearly – my sister Carol and her man took me – how and why I was with them I cannot imagine. I’d read/been read the Story of Ping at school – a story set in China, and so, I ordered and had a duck (stir fry, I guess) and Carol ordered me a glass of milk. An unusual combination, even then, I believe. I was excited to eat duck, it seemed good to be inspired by the story, and very exotic.

It’s strange how I can remember the luncheon I ordered all those years ago, but missed I and the Bird #46. Perhaps it’s because a few hours later the oilyness of the meal (perhaps in combination with the milk) found me downloading the meal – urgh – I was one of those kids who wasn’t too good with overly rich, fatty, or oily food. Never-the-less, the love affair with things of a Chinese nature (particularly the food) was started and continues to this day…

017 – talks to animals

I’ve always felt a connection to animals. Birds, plants…flora and fauna – crittars. I don’t talk to them, it’s more a commune thing, and they talk to me. Prince Charles apparently has discussions with various forms of vegetation – and I don’t just mean within his royal circle. I’ve never thought that much about it (we’re talking about ME now, not Charles), however at the end of a series of clicks I found that while I’ve heard a lot of talk about multiple intelligences (and wondered why I’d seemed to miss out on them all) there was an answer.

I’ve been told while in my previous teacher-y lives there are multiple intelligences. ‘You know, some people can do languages and music and maths and stuff, and [hint: you can’t] therefore it’s all about appealing to the student’s native intelligence [hint: the kind of which you don’t appear to have].’

I should’ve known better. I tend to forget the ‘truths’ of my past. The truth is, when someone tells you a factoid it usually means they’ve heard it somewhere from someone who has got the story wrong in the first place. Check the references, sources, and try stuff out for yourself. Your reality is the reality.

So, what I found today is Harvard professor Howard Gardner has identified eight [note: that’s eight, (8), not a couple you can vaguely recall slightly] different types of intelligences that each individual has the capacity to possess. And one of them is as follows:

Naturalist – Involves understanding the natural world of plants and animals, noticing their characteristics, and categorizing them; it generally involves keen observation and the ability to classify other things as well.

I love it when I learn something that feels like coming home.

[Note to self: Remember to check their referencing, it’s usually shite.]

can’t get it up part II

Way back when, I blogged about how annoying it is to love doing something, but that it can’t support you. I called it, ‘can’t get it up‘.

It’s still a dream, I guess of others as well, to pack in my day job and go pursue more interesting, and more lucrative roles. But I’ve been there, and given the choice about being ‘free’ but broke, the ‘leash’ of economic security gets more comfortable by the day. But I still pursue ideas on the chance that the opportunity will present itself, and I’ll have the preparation to be able to take full advantage of it.

I’m not entirely alone in this idea of keeping the day job while trying to plant seeds for a new, brighter future. David St Lawrence says: Don’t give up your day job, and again, and again. Not always as comforting as I’d like, but at least realistic.


016 – words fascinate me

I’m often fascinated by words – it’s part of my job, I guess, although there’s little fascination in that respect there.

I’m interested in words that are the names for things. Like aglet. It’s the name of the metal or plastic sheath over the end of a shoelace or ribbon.

One of my most recent favourites is ‘tittle’. Tittle is the correct name for the dot on a lower case i.

I also really like words within words. Like manslaughter – which I tend to see as mans laughter. And the here in there.

The most economical word in that respect that I can think of is ‘therein’.

Therein. The. He. There. Here. Ere. Rein. I. In. Herein. Ten for the price of one, and not even needing to reorder any letters.

I was talking with my friend, Taffy and she mentioned the here in there. Taffy’s favourite word(s) within a word is the title of a Swedish book, done in four different colours, looks like this:

NÖDVÄNDIGHET. It means necessity. The colours split it into four three letter groups nöd vän dig het.

Nöd means need, but only the noun, vän means friend, dig means you, as an object in a sentence, eg jag alskar dig, and het means hot. It really makes her wish she’d thought of it first, and she and I’d like it on a T-shirt.


no earth tones

image of duckling - no earth tones, water tones only
Oh yeah
Still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

(turn and face the strain)
Don’t want to be a richer man
(turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

(turn and face the strain)
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
(turn and face the strain)
Where’s your shame
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Ah changes are taking the pace I’m going through

(turn and face the strain)
Oh, look out you rock ’n rollers
(turn and face the strain)
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time

David BowieChanges

No earth tones, they’re water colours. Today’s my birthday. Missing my dad, and bestamor – we shared the same birth day.


portrait of a young woman

Harriet Jennings - photo made in about 1886-87My sister, Gillian, recently sent me this picture of a young woman. She was the 5th child, born on the 5th day of the 5th month of 1875. The photo was taken in 1886 or 1887, probably in Nelson. Nelson, at that time, had a population of about 7,300 according to an e-document entitled ‘New Zealand’s Burning — The Settlers’ World in the Mid 1880s’ from Victoria University.

Harriet was destined to leave Nelson and travel north to Wanganui. She married in Wanganui, bore ten children, and lived the life of a pioneer woman. Today, the home would be quite distinctive – not as a cute pioneer cottage. It had no running water, it had a long drop toilet (strategically located a quick walk away), cooking was done over an open fire, and the walls of the house were corrugated iron, lined on the inside with native timber boards.

As for the home life – in our civilised context, it would be seen as dysfunctional and some government social worker would step in. Harriet’s husband was very hard working, but poverty, isolation, and desperation took its toll, and his depression showed in drunkenness, anger, and violence.

Despite this, Harriet retained a love of life, of reading, and she especially valued poetry throughout her life. She loved tinned herrings in tomato sauce. She used to say that she wished she was a cat so she could lick the last of the juice out of the tin, she loved it so much. Harriet adored oysters – which in those days also came in tins – and she would eat just one or two a day to eke the luxury out to the very last.

She saw her children grow and lead lives more filled with comfort than she experienced. The children carried on her values and the things she loved – they were gardeners – flower and fruit growers in particular – possibly hinting at memories of Harriet’s Nelson childhood. They were creative and innovative people, readers, with an interest in the wider world, and humble yet very skilled, hard workers. They made her proud.

The night Harriet died she had just returned to the little cottage that had been the family home for so many years. She had just seen on television the first photos from the moon. Not man landing on the moon, this was an earlier exploratory landing. She had seen the images at her son’s house – she had no television of her own – televisions in those days were still new and uncommon. Harriet had commented how she’d lived in a wonderful age – the Victorian times where people walked or rode a horse, and then bicycles came in and then the car. Sailing ships gave way to steamers. The telephone arrived. World War I and II, the Depression had been and gone. New Zealand was entering a phase of prosperity – and now man was closer than ever to landing on the moon. ‘I feel as though I’ve seen everything’, were the last words she spoke.

None of her children are alive now – it’s over to us – the grandchildren, our children, and our grandchildren, to carry the values and ideas forward. I think my grandmother would find our world as wonderful as she found hers – and I wish I could share some of my poetry with her.

‘…That is where our heredities come from – from experiences and needs and desires and habits long and long known to us and long and long met with our best efforts. Heredity is nothing but stored environments – the sum of all our past environments.’ Luther Burbank

015 – fulfilling the promise

Instead of writing up my research I’m writing my blog. Grrrreat use of time. Still it’s about gathering thoughts and getting in that meditative wave ready for the teasing out of research into lucid earth-shattering documentation. I’m still waiting for the web (aka the internet) to deliver the promi$e of untold riche$ beyond my wilde$t dream$. Sure, I’ve made a few $$$ on the web, but I’m still waiting…altogether now: ‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?’

I might just have to continue mining the rich veins of information that people have so kindly shared over the years. Ultimately everything that can be digitised is available, on the net, for free. I’m not sure how that equates with anything Milton Friedman or Adam Smith had to say, but I suspect they spent their thoughts about mere money.

I’d still like to be able to run my profitable business while wearing a dressing gown (Hugh Hefner led the way), which of course could be upgraded for a smoking jacket for those all important sunset cocktails on the verandah. Now, back to my research…


014 – can’t get it up

One of the great frustrations in life, and I think one of the great character-builders that a person can face in life, is when you realise that what you love can’t get it up.

I’m not talking about sex here, although that might be true in your case. What I’m referring to here is when you have had a chance to explore an activity which you love doing, but it can’t earn you a decent living. I have seen it often in others, and know it from my own experience – the things I love doing can’t get it up – they don’t earn me a living.

This becomes slightly more frustrating when you see someone else doing exactly what you’d like to do and some how – miracle of miracles – they’re earning a living from it. What completely drives me to the point of intense character building is when I see someone doing it badly, but still managing to stay in business.

And if it is a job or business I’ve personally been involved in, particularly if it is one I’ve worked hard in to stay in – just don’t ask.

Althought there are books about ‘do what you love and the universe will reward you with cash’ I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling somehow cheated and at the least, annoyed, because someone is doing badly what you’d like to do well. And somehow it works for them. I can remember as a kid, my brother’s friend talking about a mutual acquaintence of theirs, and how something had gone well for the individual – Terry’s rueful comment was – ‘It always happens for the people you hate’. He only slightly laughed.

Like many people I’ve given up doing many of the things I love doing, and things I’m good at doing, in order to earn a living. I think everyone has a gift of some kind – something they can do particularly effortlessly, or simply just works for them. Lucky the person who has been able to convert that skill, talent, or gift – call it what you will – into a cash generating activity. But most don’t have that lucky knack.

So people try to manage this – it becomes character building – to balance up the economic needs with the emotional, spiritual, heart-of-heart needs. Desire lines and maps – I see this as the ideal concept of earning a living. When you can follow and do what you do naturally and well.

Sadly, for most people, the need to earn money outweighs the natural flow.