Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Day Before My Trip

After quite a hiatus, I have had another dream with mega-fauna in it. This time it was a crocodile that metamorphosised into an anaconda. The anaconda arranged itself in an odd position, but someone learned informed us that it was a way for it to maximise the number of us that it could snare. I managed to survive, as my dream transported me to another space and time. I have no idea what happened to my colleagues back at the zoo. The next phase of the dream was a curious one that is hard to put into words.

The recent earthquakes; a huge deep sea earthquake a few days ago south of New Zealand, and just now a huge South-East Asian earthquake (8.9 on the Richter scale) have made me a little cautious about going to Te Anau, which has had been struck numerous times in the last few years. I haven’t noticed the earthquakes or tremors that I have been in the position to feel. As much as I would like to experience one, a huge earthquake far from home is not the way that I have in mind. Or maybe if such an earthquake were to strike it is better that it strikes as far from home as possible... Either way, it should be an interesting trip. ;-)

Friday, December 24, 2004

I wish you, I wish you, I wish you, Merry Christmas~

And so I have come to the 26th Christmas of my years, and I have almost fallen over the top of it. Like a hiccup in the road. It seems sad that it has that feeling attached to it now, after years of meaning attached to it. I hope in the enthusiasm of my step-sister I will see the joy and anticipation. Maybe that's the whole purpose of children, to remind us of things gone by.

As for the title of this, if you were trying to match it to a carol or song, it is quite difficult to know unless you have a broad lingual range. It is the chorus of a cantonese pop-song by Aaron Kwok. Christmas is really taking off abroad. Mindless consumerism and a reason to party? Why not! Xin was telling me Chinese people have their parties on Christmas Eve, something we would never do. It would intimidate Santa too much to have people staying up into the wee-small hours of the morning while he is trying to quietly deliver.

So, I wish you all the best of days, to meet the family and maybe give something useful and receive something useful. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Every job I apply for I need to mentally accept. I have been applying on and off all morning. Yesterday I wouldn't have considered applying for the ones I applied today. The difference is the time spent musing in the back of my mind that brings me to think that I should apply.

Sometimes I read the job description ten times on different days before accepting it mentally. Of course this is a time-consuming way of doing things, especially considering the number of rejection letters I have been receiving but probably a sensible way of making sure I am prepared for that which I am applying.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Don't they know its summer time at all...

Three sheets of hail,
Downpours at will,
Wind gusting blustfully,
Indoor drafts with a chill.

Heat the Wo~rld~
Let them know its summer time~
Heat the Wo~rld~
Let them know its summer time~

Friday, December 17, 2004


Another interview, and again my hopes have risen. I think it went exceedingly well, and wowwed the three interviewers. The preceding interviewee was from the same course as me. Unnerving to know you are competing against someone you know.

Anyway, the job itself sounds interesting. Providing I get the job, I will be teaching the basic core subjects but not art, music or technology. I will be teaching four different classes science, while other teachers teach particular areas too. The school population is 66% Maaori, which means I will need to put a lot of effort to bring that up to level.

One drawback is that I will only find out on the 24th of January whether I have got the job.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A simple rule

Collectivism harms the Individual.
Individualism harms the Collective.
There is no end to the harm, no matter which way the pendulum swings.
There is no golden solution to resolve the age old discussion.
I have had a good day.

Dense Life Prose No. 1

Maybe this is the first day since term end that I have finally been awoken..
Maybe I nodded off a couple of times, but any signs of will and mind are a delight for me.
We are all teachers, yeah-no?

The Purpose of Disappointment rang out at 7:30am. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
They say that but even without a Lord or Tao, everything is a holistic connection to itself.
When at one extreme, the other beckons. Yin and Yang. Inaction and Action.
I moved swiftly between activities and pressed onto my conclusions. Action.

A call to arms. A fit for feet. I'll give them the Benefit of the doubt.
I'm indestructable. Try me. I am moving. Stop me. My money drains away but I won't starve.
I will ask and I will know, because nothing will stop me now.

My refrain for the day ran through my head: We are all teachers.
Don't teach, learn. Don't take it for Granted: I was too academic and not confident enough.
I failed in my homework. But those who spoke, spoke well of me.
I missed for I didn't Try.

Fear is the acknowledgement that something or someone may, could or does have power over you that contravenes your will. So do you fear yourselves, or fear what others will think? Freedom, Goddamnit! Try!
I charged out of the backline, the line was open to the backs. But they were standing passively far behind.
Did they want to play, but not run? Trussed in ties. Corporate lies. Employed only in firms?
I hate the apparent reliance. Or is it all in my mind? Am I not learning again?
My choice to run through the gap, to play, to win. To Try. We won of course. 29 sealed the win.

I danced once more. Just like I did at a time once before. An Asian den with a DJ din.
Retaining a motif, while stylising it. Then retaining the style while randomising the outer actions.
Letting chance create the form, while the essence remains central and controlled.
Maybe that was the way of Pollock. The way of a storm. Circular.
Using left and right sides, is it any surprised I feel more together?
Is it any surprise that dance coincides with the rise in my spirits?

A kiss sealed the win. You told me you were embarrassed. I instructed you that you shouldn't have been.
I was wrong. I should have listened to you, my teacher. So I could hear your perception and feelings.
Chemicals erode me. They may erode you. There is no need at all. The Lord provides for the sparrows, why wouldn't he provide for us? There is no morality at all, except in my mind. Just hit me in the face and you will see.

I walked home with the clarity of the sky. Will I wake tomorrow morning?
My refrain ran again: We are all teachers. That is my: Amen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Back up again~

I am back to applying at full-power~ With all new tricks like calling the school directly and asking them if positions have been filled! So creative, yet saving money! (I was going to print and send applications to some of them). Some of them said: "We're interviewing right now. Just e-mail it in now we'll have a look," which is comforting to know! Anyway, back to work.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Got chocolate?

While I was swimming tonight, I was called at home and on my mobile phone by the Principal of Royal Oak Primary, the school I had been most keen on. My application did not succeed. So it is back to the drawing board... and maybe an anxious wait over Christmas. I am hoping more desperate schools call me for interviews...
Crawling them Mountains

The 3rd Annual Mountain Crawl was completed at 6:10pm last night (Sunday, 12/12/04) with four very weary suburban trampers plodding ecstatically onto the summit of Northhead. The 7 mountains done were:

Mt Mangere
Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill)
Mt St John
Mt Hobson
Maungawhau (Mt Eden)
Mt Victoria
Maungauika (Northhead)

My delight was Mt Mangere, which I had not climbed before, and was even more fun than Mt Eden (although not as iconic). It has a varied terrain, multiple peaks, a large area, and virtually no people.

Now I am feeling post walk tiredness. The day after every muscle is a little tender, especially the soles of my feet. It is good to awaken all of these muscles because when I do the multi-day tramp Kepler's Track, they will need to be ready for several straight days of exertion.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Linguistic Relativism

On Kim Hill this morning she interviewed a linguist who raised all sorts of interesting topics.
She was Kate Burridge who was the author of a book, Weeds in the Garden of Words.

She raised the fact that bought/brought were merging as past tense of buy and bring. Apparently she has seen bought used as a past tense to bring in the newspaper!

Apparently it is the case of mongrel grammar were a verb steals from another. It is a common phenomena in English. Go and went (which comes from the verb 'wend') and the Be family (is, are, am, was etc). A long time ago "will" replaced "shall". Will "gonna" now replace "will"? She thinks that is a possibility. Will "Would of" replace "would have"? She thinks no, it is ungrammatical. of not being an auxiliary verb. "Gotten" is older than "got" rather than an American neologism. "Gravytrain" originated from a misprint. Only 10% of slang words survive beyond its error. "That is just semantics" is not a proper statement. Where are your "loins"? Do women have a "groin" or just male sportsmen?

Here is a transcript of another interview with her:

Before that I listened to Max Cryer's segment on the origins of words (usually 9:05ish on Saturdays). There the origin of strange pronunciation such as "colonel", the origins of "corporal", how silly the phrase "a rate of knots" is.

Ah, how I love to ponder words.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mistaken Day of Promise and Loss

All sorts happened today. Possibilities opened and others snuffed.

My language exchange in Japanese went very well, and she was blown away by the fact that I was more accomplished in Kanji (chinese characters) but struggled with the word for "tell" (a rather simple word). Of course there are obvious reasons for it. I forgot two characters though.

Taking advantage of Kathmandu's sale I took time finding some nice shoes, only to find that they wanted to charge me full price, I said I was mistaken and would go back to looking, but then the man who helped me said that he had not corrected any misunderstanding on my part, and even pointed out on the shoe box that it had a sale sticker, so they sold it to be with 50% off. Not bad!

Then I was a little bit confused where to go, and then I suddenly remembered my bus pass, which was deficient in bus-fares. No place could seem to add them onto my card since I still had one final tertiary pass. So annoying. I will lambast the idiocy of Stagecoach tomorrow, if they have someone on... Anyway, I jumped on the bus using the last pass I wanted to be rid of and then got home. That was when I realised I was no longer carrying my new shoes. Arururururururururururururururururururururururururugtfr fr fr fr fr q340y8hifvoiasjfptrtrtrtr53.


Anyway, calling up StarMart resulted in the recovery of my purchased items - I will pick them up tomorrow.
Then to cap it all off, it went and rained out the cricket match.

Good night one and all.
Dental Standards

I went to the dentist for the first time in about two years and was in and out in 15 minutes for $60. Other than my teeth being stained by a food colouring (possibly tea!), and therefore needed a bit of a polish, there was no other cause of alarm. Of course, I started to doubt the diligence of the dentist, thinking that every other dentist I had been to at least scrubbed and picked for a while and did all other sort of abuses to my open mouth. But then again maybe my dental hygiene has improved. I started to regularly floss after my last visit to the dentist (I had only done so on a whim before) and I modified my brushing technique the visit before. I have switch completely to Oral-B toothbrushes too because they feel so effective. Anyway, I had better not complain.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Faced with a Face to Face

Finally, after 99% of other student teachers have gotten jobs, schools with vacancies have finally come to the conclusion... They need to possibly accept the possibility of interviewing Daniel Goudie for the position... well two schools have come to that conclusion, so I have interviews (finally) on Wednesday and Thursday.

This has been a good boost to my motivation.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


I am well started on my Bible reading programme as well as having talked a friend into being a Bible Consultant. The way the programme is set out is quite good, giving a different theme for each day, so Sunday will be one of the Gospels, whereas yesterday was the Epistles and Friday was a Prophecy book. It is also broken up into parts so everyday you need only read a few chapters. There are many advantages to this and the only disadvantage being that it may be a bit disjointed reading 7 different sections simultaneously. This doesn't both me much as I usually read books simultaneously (I am reading a Chinese book and Nietzsche at the same time too!). I am highlighting the sections I read so that I can have a bit of a progress meter.

One of my side interests is to watch TV evangelists (or broadcast sermons). Today I saw most of a Christian one and then changed channel and saw an African-American Islamic preacher.

Recently, on an online debate I discussed Free-Will with some others (as well as related religious issues). One of the people sent me a link to a web-page Thinking about Free-Will and suggested that I write to the professor author. Breaking down his discussion and finding what parts I agree with and the parts that I think are logical flawed is quite an interesting task and also clarifies my own stance on this particular debate. The more I consider the more deterministic I think we are. Initially I also had some disagreements about the way he described the Christian side of things (negatively so), although now that I am reading the Bible, I might relent because some of the criticism seems increasingly valid. Formulating a logical essay is quite fun.

The last couple of days I have found myself falling way below the productivity line, not achieving much at all. I will start a more aggressive approach to organising myself today.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Am I an existentialist?

With the few bits of knowledge I have garnered, I thought my philosophies might be related to existentialism. So to check I decided to construct a test. According to an interesting website the Dividing Line there are six themes of existentialism. So I checked to see if my philosophy accords to those themes.

1. Existence precedes essence.

I take this as a logical place to start. This simply means you work with the basis of your own existence as place to work from. You don't take any suppositions on essence (e.g. the nature of being, the creation of yourself, value or morality etc.) before this.

2. Anxiety

I was amazed that this was the second theme raised. Anxiety over existence itself is not something I suffer from often. So I would have to disagree that it is an aspect of my own philosophy.

3. Absurdity

"To exist as a human being is inexplicable, and wholly absurd. Each of us is simply here, thrown into this time and place---but why now? Why here?" I don't think that because something is inexplicable, that it must follow that it is absurd. I take my own being as arbitrarily as I do the sun rising in the east. The sun rises there because it does, and I am because I am. There need not be any great sighs of discontent from me on either point.

4. Nothingness

I disagree. "If no essences define me, and if, then, as an existentialist, I reject all of the philosophies, sciences, political theories, and religions which fail to reflect my existence as conscious being and attempt to impose a specific essentialist structure upon me and my world, then there is nothing that structures my world." Our world is mostly a blank canvas with a few squiggles here and there. There is an essence but there is a lot of creativity within that essence. A person who senses nothingness obviously has been lazy on the creative side of their life. You have a world full of experiences, ideas and thoughts. Paint as you will.

5. Death

"Nothingness, in the form of death, which is my final nothingness, hangs over me like a sword of Damocles at each moment of my life. I am filled with anxiety at times when I permit myself to be aware of this." I am very comfortable with the idea of death and don't have much of any anxiety about my own mortality. So again, I most likely disagree.

6. Alienation

I know what this word means, but the explanation at the website was too deep and obtuse for me. I will "pass" for now.


I think that I have some characteristics of an existentialist and I make similar conclusions at times. But I lack the negativity towards existence of an existentialist.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Not quite so prosaic~

Reading Nietzsche provides difficult but compelling reading. The prose is denser than even any of the eccentric divergent descriptions I do on a crazy day (making my Magenta story seem like child's play).

I must admit that I find myself on a similar wavelength as some of his ideas appear (sometimes I cannot say for sure whether what he means is how I see things though). And then suddenly a little barb of thought that seems relevant to my current motivational predicament shines through.

It is also highly quotable, here is my favourite section for today:

Let your virtue be too exalted for the familiarity of names: and if you have to speak of it, do not feel ashamed to stammer.
Thus say and stammer: 'This is my good, this is my love, just thus do I like it, only thus do I wish the good.
'I do not want it as a law of God, I do not want it as a human statute: let it be no sign-post to super-earths and paradises.
'It is an earthy virtue I love, there is little prudence in it, and least of all common wisdom.
'But this bird has built its nest beneath my roof: therefore I love and cherish it - now it sits there upon its golden eggs'

There was a rather thought provoking article in Tuesday’s Herald by Gwynne Dyer, “Gentle Monsters offer a lesson,” that raised some past thoughts in my mind.

It discusses how the public are very unwilling to see infamous dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot as human. The magnitude of their carnage means that it is necessary to push them outside the realms of what it means to be human. And to try and understand those individuals is a “small step towards forgiving them and admiring them,” which could be seen to be a serious mistake.

It then goes on to raise another person, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, whose image was made famous by Andy Warhol and in the movie Motorcycle Diaries. He was seen as a warrior of romantic revolutionary hero who eventually died for his cause. But he also advocated “relentless hatred of the enemy that… [transforms] us into effective, violent, selective and cold killing machines”.

Is the difference between the humanity of Che and the monstrousness of Stalin merely that one got into power? The main thrust of the article is that if we always regard those that commit acts of inhumanity as monsters, then it will preclude lessons being learnt from our history, that those in the past are all human.

My follow-up to this is to think about the lessons learnt. For me, the cause of the greatest “malevolent” acts and the greatest of “benevolent” acts comes from excessive idealism or values. Soon as your value for anything exceeds the value of human life, then genocide, matyrdom, assassination, suicide and murder will appear. Hitler was well known with his ideals of an Aryan nation and the purging of the Jews. Communists also had their idealist vision.

I don’t think you can separate these ideals into Good and Bad ideals. They are just ideals held by people, to varying states of zeal. A zealot for whatever purpose can be a martyr or a murderer.

Then I think I have my rejoinder to a Camus quote that bewildered me:

“There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”

This might be a serious question to some, but as I take it as a given that life is worth living, then it is not relevant to me. To me there is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is martyrdom or sacrifice. Deciding whether or not your life is worth giving for your values or the people in your life.

Of course, anyone who says yes, me included, could be potentially a Monster in another context. But I would also say that all change agents too would answer yes. Of course, this is all morally ambiguous, but immediately it reconciles the labelling of heroes as terrorists and vice-versa. We'd all be safe if we lived in a passionless world of grinding life, as Camus may have thought with his thoughts on suicide, but then suicide would be a palatable option. Or we can live in a dangerous, vibrant hopeful world where people actually hold onto ideals, values and beliefs and meaning is freely given as well as lives.
The Root of Political Downfall

Unaddressed disaffection will be the root of political downfall. Regardless of my opinions on the legislation of the last 3 years, the building disaffection with legislative reform is growing ever stronger.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Blogger acting up. I thought I lost a post but now it has appeared. Another post is somewhere in limbo or has been returned to oblivion. A rather good post that one. So if you are blogging anything soon. Make a copy before pressing Publish. You may never know where it will go.
Learning New Habits, Instincts and Routines (Shitiao)

Some people live their lives quite solitarily or independently. As a result it is their routines and habits that result in their productivity.

When one such person (or two) is suddenly spending large proportions of their time with another person then suddenly habits and routines are suddenly thrown into disorganisation. Personal routines cannot work well with another person being foremost in your mind and life. So adaptation has to occur.

Spending several days with Xin, I have found myself unable to get myself organised. My body doesn't know when to wake, sleep or hunger. Around other people I am quite reactive, rather than active. What happens when two primarily reactive people wait for each other to move onto the next thing to do?

I find some lessons of life in this predicament. But it is these challenges that prompt personal progress.