Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 25th of September 1981, just a little after 2pm.

On Friday it was my birthday. I turned 28. It was a busy day and offered little chance of reflection, but I’m just another year older. So there’s not much to be said about this (which is just as well because my Blog Guru tells me I need to keep things short).

There was nothing out of the ordinary about my birth. I arrived on my due date, at a leisurely hour (sometime after 2pm) in Gisborne Hospital. When my mother started having contractions my father drove her the hour’s drive from their farm into town. I was born, given four names, and went about crying, drinking, sleeping and so on.

A couple of years ago my mother told about this time in one of our rare honest conversations. She said that her and Dad had this feeling that here was something they had created, it was just theirs, and now they had the job of looking after it.

I have no idea what it is to be a parent, or if I ever will, but I loved and respected her just a bit more when she said that, because that thing was me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nicola's Supermarket Bag has at least two uses.

This post is so that the reader can be informed on the copious (two) ways in which NSB can be used. As you can see, like RBB, it can be used to hold a musical instrument. Unlike RBB (and this it what makes NSB superior) it can hold groceries in a convenient and easy to manage way.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A week of bits and pieces.

I thought I might start a blog today. There are a lot of reasons why this is a stupid idea. However, Richard (my colleague) said that I should start a blog, like him. Both he and John-Paul (another colleague) blog frequently. They used to say all kinds of stuff, but now they write with a lot of wisdom and insight, therefore, I’m going on the theory that writing blogs makes you wise.

I have no idea where to start so perhaps a list of things I have experienced in the last week will do.

Last Sunday I wrote my reports. I had to write comments for my Year 11 form class. I found it hard, trying to sum up the connection I’ve had with them for three years, knowing I won’t see them through until they finish. A lot have matured, one has been thrown out of school and has worked hard to come back in, but it is a few others I feel despondent about. They had seemed so full of promise when they started high school; I’ve tried to help, and I’m finding it hard to let go.

On Monday I struggled through the day. I’m worn out from trying to be a good teacher but feeling like I’m failing dismally. I went home and fell asleep on the couch. Then I woke up and bought tickets on the internet to a Justin Townes Earl gig next month. He writes some interesting lyrics, I’m looking forward to hearing him play.

On Tuesday I got my two Year 9 classes to have a competition to see who had learnt the most from the Shakespeare Stories unit we had been doing all term. I realised that one of my classes is full of extroverts and one is full of introverts. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, they talked through a lot of it, some said it was boring (which I didn’t like as I’d put a bit of time into it), but one boy shone. He’s on daily report to the principal so I was able to write a good comment.

On Wednesday nights I swim with a Masters swimming club, afterwards we go to the pub. There are some interesting, and some not so interesting people in the club. One of the interesting people is a marine ecologist for DOC. She has a lot of great stories to tell. That night she told us about the Falkland Islands, where after the Falklands War every animal on the beach that weighed under 100kg thrived because they couldn’t set off the landmines or be eaten by predators over 100kg (who were blown to a thousand tiny bits). She also spends summers on the Auckland Islands studying sea lions and last summer a six-star cruise ship came down for a cruise and they hit rough seas. Unfortunately, she told us with glee, no one had thought to tighten down the furniture so the grand piano went straight through a window and out to sea.

On Thursday I took a whole bunch of teenage girls into the bush to build a bike track. The girls bitched about each other, to each other and about the tasks they were asked to do. The peer mentors were frustrated and ended the day not liking me. I had to talk to them all and swore to only enjoy nature with the cooperative in the future. That afternoon I stayed behind after school and spent six hours proof reading reports. I felt sorry for kids who had bad comments all-round, it wouldn’t be pleasant reading that about yourself, and I certainly don’t think it would incite a pupil into good behaviour. I suspect there are too many other factors involved.

On Friday night I went to a dead celebrity themed birthday potluck dinner. The host was Hunter S. Thompson, his partner was Katherine Hepburn, and the other guests included Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. I was Lucille Ball because that was the result of the internet ‘Which Dead Celebrity Are You?’ quiz I had found. Plus I happened to have a 1950’s dress. I was very tired, drank a bottle of wine, yawned a lot, and took myself off to bed in the spare room. It was not a nice thing to do to my hosts, but I didn’t have the energy to tell them about the week that had led me to this point.

On Saturday I went to a talk at Te Papa by Emory Douglas, the former Minister for Arts and Culture for the Black Panther Party who presented a slide show of his artwork. It was interesting in many ways. He said that there was this misconstrued perception that the Black Panthers all had guns, yet quite a few pieces of art had a guns in them. He described Richard Nixon as the 36th puppet of the United States. Like I said, it was interesting.

There we go, not much of a start, but if the theory is correct, I should only get wiser from here on in.