The funeral is tomorrow and I think I may feel differently during and after that.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
The funeral is tomorrow and I think I may feel differently during and after that.
Friday, December 23, 2005
I am back from Dunedin today--not that I told you I was there to begin with. I stayed with my big sister and her husband and three kids. Compared to home, it was very noisy and chaotic but I had fun. It was such a relief to just leave home for five days and not have to face what's going on.
This is a photo I took of their front door which I thought looked nice and red and Christmassy. It's freezing in Dunedin, today it was absolutely pouring, and it's supposed to be summer, but apparently it was gross here too. Boring bus trip back up. When I went down, I was sitting next to a really nice Irish guy called Jay, from County Mead, who doesn't particularly like U2 and was friendly and chatty, and we got seats right at the front of the double decker bus, so had excellent views. This time, coming back, the bus ride was boring and dominated by teenagers a few years younger than me, who I am scornful of, still being very immature myself, and I didn't have to share my seat with anyone. Undoubtedly more comfortable but a lot less interesting.
Christmas is in two sleeps. I'm starting to get excited; I thought I had outgrown that, but I admit it here and now, I love Christmas like I love chocolate. My sister and I went through the Oxford Book of Carols last night, singing by the piano. There are some incredibly cool carols in there that I've never heard of before, from all over the world, some really old, some relatively new. It was just so nice to sing them with someone like Viv who also loves carols and feel happy that it was Christmas time and then drink coffee and eat chocolate and brazil nuts afterwards. Yum. Merry Christmas to anyone who may read this blog. I sincerely hope it's a good one.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
So I have resolved to be a person who doesn't have to put on this face to go to church. Some churches make me feel guilty for feeling unhappy. "What a beautiful day this is! Let's just praise and praise and praise the Lord!" (or something like that) I don't see why I should be expected to be perfectly peaceful and content with life as it is now. I firmly believe that my every desire and need is not going to be fulfilled on this earth. 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for.' Some people look at that perspective as if it's sacrilege but if we were just honest and admitted that we're not in heaven yet, there'd be a lot less depressed people who think they can't be Christians because they haven't managed to deceive themselves into thinking that everything's candy floss in their lives.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Hello again. I realise I haven't been on here for ages. Just with Mum sick and everything, it's been kinda stressful and I don't really want to talk about or even write much. She's not too well, really, it's been horrible seeing her sick and it can only go downhill from here. Yeah. Well.
I haven't been working like most other uni students. It's probably part laziness, part that I can't find anything that suits travel/hours-wise, and part that I just don't need any more stress right now. It annoys me, however, that I meet people, say from uni or something who are all working their butts off, or people from elsewhere, and they ask me if I'm working--I say no, and you can see them pegging it down to pure laziness in their minds, which drives me INSANE, because it's not like I'm going to fish for sympathy off random people I hardly know and so I can't justify myself for bludging off the government. Oh well. I might be doing some busking after Christmas, I hope so anyway because that would be lots of fun! And I'll be doing some babysitting in January for my sister.
BIG NEWS, anyhow: I GOT U2 tickets!!!!!! Triumph. At last. Sweet victory. They are coming to Auckland, New Zealand on March 17 next year, supported by Kanye West (of all people). I thought I'd be ecstatic but I keep worrying that something will go wrong and I won't be able to use my ticket or something horrid like that. :( I got access to a presale, because my friend and I joined U2.com for precisely that purpose earlier this year! So there were no problems getting tickets! I am so lucky. Thank you God. The horrible thing about getting so worried about getting tickets (cos I was panicking I wouldn't be able to) is that I was thinking, can I pray to God for tickets? or will that kind of jinx it because I'm being materialistic? And I wanted them SO badly. But I was so happy to finally get them because I think it shows that God isn't like that, he doesn't mind if I get things sometimes that make me happy, especially at a time like this. So big fuzzies to God right now.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
My last exam was yesterday, hooray for that. It was horrid, but I don't care anymore really. I think I managed to bluff my way through allright, and I actually managed to answer all four essay questions, which was more than I expected.
Have had a great last week and a bit--my brother and sister-in-law have come from Malaysia with their three kids. It's been so much fun. They just left for Dunedin today but will be back in Christchurch in about a week. The kids are soooo cute, so well-behaved, so friendly. One of them I have never seen before, he's only five months old, and he's LOVELY. I think I'll kidnap him before they leave.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Minor setback in otherwise glorious day encountered about 6:00pm, when my music conductor told us he wants to film us playing corny jazzed-up version of Good King Wencelas, wearing Santa hats, and saying "Merry Christmas New Zealand!" at the end. On the news last night they asked people to send in Christmas greetings they would play at the end of every 6.00-7.00 show. Of course he had to take part. :( However, was already in a good mood, so managed to laugh about it.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
I got a headache and a really sore throat last night so I was lying in bed panicking, thinking I had meningitis or something, wondering if I should tell someone or if I was just being paranoid. Turns out: just being paranoid. I've never really done that before; one of my friends used to do it all the time. She'd be like: "I have a headache! Oh NO I've got a brain tumour!" I wonder if I'm becoming more highly strung as I get older and she's chilling out...
It's my 19th BIRTHDAY tomorrow! It's kind of depressing that I don't get so excited about them as I used to, I guess, but it's also quite nice that I can just relax. Well, relatively relax, I have an exam the day after. Sigh. :( But I'm meeting up with friends at a really nice cafe in the afternoon, have said no presents, don't mind if people can't come... etc etc --> I'm getting very mature. It's turning out to be a bit bigger than I expected - I invited about 27 people and a lot of them can come. Hmmm. I wonder if I should try and book a table(s). Mum and Dad have ordered a big cheesecake there for us to share, which is really nice. Hope it goes well.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
The first is this: go visit the website some other hopeful authors and I have made! We accept outside submissions...! You know you want to...! It's under my official links, but I'll put a link on this post as well: www.halfwaydownthestairs.net It is an e-zine of fiction, poetry and non-fiction... in the words of Mr Cliche, there's something for everyone.
Second thing: I've been missing my school hymn at the moment. These are the words. It is to the tune of the slow bit from Finlandia, by Sibelius (one of my favourite classical pieces):
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender,
We got not forth alone against the foe,
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.
Yes, in Thy name, O Captain of Salvation!
In Thy dear name, all other names above!
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of Glory, and our King of Love.
We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know,
Yet from our hearts, a song of triumph pealing,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender,
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise,
When passing through the gates of pearly splendour,
Victors, we rest with Thee through endless days.
U2 Austen: 112 (and my posts made up a large percentage of these)
Colin Firth: 7,927
I wonder if U2 will have the same sort of amount of hits as Jane Austen in 200 years time, even though they have more? Something in me doubts it. That's the problem with electronica. There's something so perfect, so lasting, so permanent in a book.
This is an excerpt that interested me, from the Bono on Bono book:
Essence has to manifest itself. It's inevitable. Love has to become an
action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an
incarnation. Love must be made flesh.
Just in case that's illegal, I will cite this for you... in a very tentatively professional way-- Assayas, Michka (ed.), Bono on Bono (London, 2005, Hodder and Stoughton), p.125
Sorry about how random this post is. I'm having an enjoyable evening rambling around doing nothing of importance.
I had my first exam today, it actually went pretty well. So I'm feeling quite good about it. I was worried that if I'm not be able to get an aegrotat I'd completely bomb out, but I don't think I have. It also feels good to be able to make a good effort and do allright despite probably getting an aegrotat--I don't feel conscience-stricken.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
My sister gave me a gorgeous necklace for my birthday. It's a big round paua pendant (paua is a shell you find in New Zealand that is bright blueish and kind of shiny and swirly, like how petrol goes when it drips on the ground), with black beads. It's really nice, I wore it properly last night for the first time and I love it! It's v cool.
I'm so annoyed, I lost my Coldplay X & Y CD. I have no idea where it is. I still have the case! Last time I remember listening to it, I put it in the stereo in the lounge while I was cooking something, and from then on, I haven't seen it. I really miss it. Luckily I taped it, for driving in the car, so if I'm desperate I can always listen to that.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I do not want to talk about it
I do not want to confront it
I do not want to think about it
Quite yet, anyway.
A lot of my immediate family have turned up this weekend from elsewhere in the country which has been great. It was two of my sisters who actually told me about It. They thought no one had told me how serious It was (they were right) and that I needed to know. My brother is coming next weekend from Malaysia. My sister was coming from Australia in 3 weeks anyway, but she will probably end up coming earlier. So I suppose that's nice, although a little depressing.
This is definitely not a time for study. If I don't get that aegrotat I'll be screwed. But I don't really care. Three and a half days till my first exam, and I've only done half my notes. A week till my birthday; happy birthday to me.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
He actually is. When I got home yesterday, I found a package waiting for me -- I had won a competition with the local newspaper and I am now the owner of a big book of photos of my region, Canterbury. It's a beautiful book, and the thing that made me enter was that some of the sample photos they showed in the review of it were of the very same things I took photos of when I went on my road trip with Eva in the Easter holidays. The one time I win something, it's when I'm feeling really really down and need to be cheered up, which makes me think that God had something to do with it and maybe there isn't such a thing as luck and chance.
This photo here is one of the photos I took on our trip that is featured in the book -- well, the little hut is, not MY photo in particular. That was an incredible day, we went to Mount Cook, which was so much more amazing than I had expected, not having seen it for about ten years. On the way back, there was the most beautiful late afternoon light, and we stopped and took this photo on the side of the road.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I had a pretty good day yesterday considering. I went to see the new Pride and Prejudice movie. Didn't really like it in comparison to the book and the BBC version. They tried to make it too moody and emotional, it moved too fast which meant it wasn't believable really, and they made the Bennets look quite poor, in a totally run-down manor, which I just couldn't fit into the Jane Austen squares in my head. My friends liked it, and accused me of being biased. Of course I am. I did think that Mr Collins was good, and Mr Bingley, but Mr Bennet was terrible -- they missed the whole POINT of his character, in my opinion. And they totally misinterpreted some characters such as Georgiana Darcy. I thought Mr Darcy and Elizabeth were okay, but just not as good as the previous ones. I don't think anyone could play it as well as Colin Firth. Matthew MacFadyen lacked subtlety, in my humble opinion. He mistook 'proud' for 'wooden' too much. So yeah, that's my opinion. It was only the genius of Jane Austen that had to come through somewhere that made it tolerable for me.
Then in the evening I went round to someone from my small group's house for dinner, with the rest of the small group. Fantastic food! Annette is a marvel. I don't know how she does it. Then we all did Singstar, which was fun fun fun. I wasn't really in the mood for it all, but it was nice to be distracted.
I'm really looking forward to this weekend, which does not bode well for my study, because Viv and Greg + kids are coming up from Dunedin, and Felicity and Mike are coming down from Auckland (and Rachel and Tony are already here!). I think it's mainly to see Mum, but I'll be so happy to see them again. I miss my sisters and brothers a lot at the moment.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Two of my sisters emailed me yesterday asking me how I was, what with Mum and everything. One even offered to fly me up to Auckland after exams for a bit of a holiday with her, and her husband. I'm actually fine, I think, but I really appreciated that they emailed me. I love my family. Can't wait for Christmas, when they're almost all coming back, and the only one who isn't is visiting in November.
My school friends and I had another prayer meeting last night, at Marielle's house. We've started having one every Monday. They're so fantastic, calming, etc... also means we get to see each other outside of birthday parties, and we hear everything that's going on, which is very nice. But it was just so great praying with everyone-- encouraging, peaceful, all that stuff... It's after times like that when I really don't get why some people don't think they could ever become Christians - you know, the type of people who go, "well, it's great you've found something to live for, and you've found your truth, but it's just not for me." Tosh. (Tosh is a great word!) It's for everyone. That's the coolest part. Or one of the coolest parts. Anyway, I just don't think people realise the contradictions they live under. The idea that truth is not absolute, that anything you believe is a truth is the scariest idea. And as soon as someone robs them or rapes their daughter, they're shouting for justice. It doesn't make sense, they say things because they like the sound of them, and then, at the times when they are being most true to themselves, they contradict things they've previously said. I also think karma is a scary thing. Sure, I believe that when someone does something, good or bad, they will generally get some sort of compensation or punishment for it, eventually. However, the reasoning that this is entirely a good thing escapes me. You've got to be entirely convinced of your own perfection to believe that and think it's a good thing... and I am so not perfect. I wonder if I wasn't under grace, what things would come round to me in the future? I shudder to think of it. Eugh. That's why I love the U2 song called Grace. She travels outside of karma ... grace makes beauty out of ugly things ... I love those words.
Another U2 song I love that I've only discovered recently... Wake Up Dead Man. And Running to Stand Still, and 40, and that one on The Joshua Tree whose name I can't remember right now that talks about the hands of love. :) Whenever I ask myself what U2 song I like the best, I can't quite decide. It's different with Jane Austen, Persuasion is definitely my favourite novel of hers, although obviously I love all the others. But I think if I had to choose five or so U2 songs, they'd probably be: All I Want Is You, Desire, One, Bad and In A Little While (yup, the slow ones mostly, I'm sorry to say!). The only song that I would be REALLY disappointed not to see live in concert is Where the Streets Have No Name. But once I've chosen those five favourites, all the others kind of blur. If I think of one over another, I feel guilty. There's ones like Pride that I just think are so classic, so amazing musically, so different. That chorus is just so different to anything else that's around, in its chords and its majorness and everything... if that's understandable. Then I think about the less famous ones like Numb or Discotheque that are just so cool. They're so surprising, they sneak up on you before you realise how cool they are. I love the Rattle and Hum movie. Apparently a lot of people hated it, the band included, but I love it a lot because it's so cool to see U2 back in the day when they weren't quite yet this fully established, mega-band that I've only recently come to love. I had only seen the Elevation tour on DVD before I saw Rattle and Hum. The energy's still there now, but I think having seen something of them in the 80's, I can now understand them a bit better now. Especially Adam.
Anyway I'm going to stop waffling and go and do some study. Sigh. I read in the Bono on Bono book, this weekend, that Bono was going to do an English and History degree like me, but got kicked out of uni for some reason two weeks into the course. So I guess I'd better take advantage of my education... :) I feel responsible.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Alex got some really cool presents. One of them was these dinosaur bones encased in plaster, and you have to dig them out so you can make the dinosaur! So cool. I always wanted to be an archaeologist. Another present was a cheap camera with a film; that would have been my dream present when I was a kid. I gave him this voice distorter which I thought looked really fun--and it was, but just really loud and high-pitched, with heaps of background static, so I hope my sister and her husband still like me now. :)
My mum has just been in hospital for a couple of nights which hasn't been nice, exactly, but she's back home now, and seems pretty good. It wasn't anything majorly dangerous, but the issue is what could be causing it. (She's had cancer for the last five or so years, with it coming back lots of times, although most of the treatment has been pretty successful. So whenever something's weird with her, they need to check it out pretty thoroughly.)
I'm having a lovely blob weekend. Uni has finished for the year -- apart from exams, of course. I handed in two essays on Thursday and Friday, and there was NO way I was going to get straight into studying. I'm trying not to think about it, actually. The depressing thing is, as soon as exams are over, I'm going to have to get a job. Sigh. I went round town and a few malls dropping off my CV at various places yesterday, actually. I hope I can get something that isn't too many hours because most of my family is coming back to Christchurch for Christmas and I don't want to be working my butt off while they have fun. Anyway, wish me luck.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I'm feeling a little anxious about work and study and everything; I have two essays due this week, on Thursday and Friday, and exams start pretty soon--my first is on the 26th. It's weird, both of the essays this time I'm writing on women issues, which I usually find really boring and overdone, but I'm finding them really interesting this time. Granted, they're both set a few years back in history (one in Shakespearean society, to do with Othello, and one in 1920-1940 in USA), which is probably the reason. I get so hacked off with feminists today who make everything a big deal. Someone told me that in a textbook he has, someone says that the words "broadcaster" and "master copy" are sexist terms, on a par with terrible words such as "chairman" and "mankind". Puh-lease. Get a grip. Life's too short. I think the really extreme feminists must think everyone else is always thinking about them and how they can most insult them. THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU, YOU STUPID FEMINIST LADY.
Having said that, I consider myself a feminist in a moderate sense. I am quite happy to use the terms "master copy" and "chairman" because I personally do not invest any sexist meaning in them. But I very often think that men are very silly, and that women come off a lot better in history. Look at some of the most important characters in the history of Christianity: King David, Peter, Moses. All of them made pretty huge mistakes at points. Compare that with Esther, Ruth, Mary. Of course everyone makes mistakes. But some of these people made them on a much grander scale than women. :) I take great pride in that.
Friday, October 07, 2005
For all you heathens, Flanders and Swann are British comedians from the 50s. They wrote a lot of songs that are fantastic - Swann was a great pianist/composer and Flanders wrote the words - and they also did a kind of stand-up comedy, well, Flanders did. They're very British, very 1950s, but I love them. :) When we learnt about the first and second laws of thermodynamics in Biology, I didn't bother listening because I knew it all already - from them. It's scary as well, the more I learn at uni, the more I see what it was they were talking about - they make plenty of references to Shakespeare (Flanders calls Swann 'Caliban' at one point, for example) and history. So that's all very exciting. Shows how useful a university education can be!
Monday, September 19, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Personally I'm hoping that Labour will win.
Monday, September 12, 2005
On Sunday I went to a lunch at someone's house for the small group from my church that I am in. Of course I ate way too much... as did three other people there, and then one of them made us all laugh really hard and it was incredibly painful. When one is hungry, one forgets how painful food can be.
This week I have decided to START PREPARING for essays that will be due in three or four weeks. I've spent the last week cruising along doing nothing except tutorial homework and now I regret that I will have to get down to business. Sigh. I am so lazy. I also have to finish reading Hamlet. Double sigh. It's actually great but I just can't be bothered anymore.
Friday, September 09, 2005
There's something about getting to uni early and printing tutorial homework off the computers that I still haven't done and is due in two hours time that makes me very tired. I am one of the laziest people I know. I love to procastinate. But from NOW ON, I am going to do my homework at least two days in advance!
I was on the cover of a lift-out from the newspaper today, for the local TV station. How embarrassing. It is from the school choir competitions last year, in which my school's choir did a jazzy piece called Putting On The Ritz, which would have been okay if we hadn't done a particularly embarrassing dance with sparkly hats. I am pictured with several other choir members waving my hat in front of me looking bizarrely happy, given the circumstances, with my mouth wide open, bursting forth in song. What a great way to wake up this morning.
I was flicking through a book in the comedy section of the university bookshop yesterday which was called 'The Little Guide to Social Avoidance'. One of the tips was, wear a t-shirt that says 'Cannibals have rights too'. :) Haha!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Just so you know: U2 might be coming to NZ!!!! I am very excited, because I had been planning to go to Australia to see them, if I could get tickets. So yeah, IF I can get tickets (which is a big if, even though I've got membership at U2.com) I will be so happy. Apparently they're going to Wellington if they come, which isn't my home town, but that's okay.
I guess the biggest issue with me right now is that I'm thinking about changing my major to Linguistics. I went to a women's missions evening last weekend, and I chose as one of my options to hear a Bible linguist speaking. She went to Papua New Guinea for a year and worked on analysing one particular language so a Bible can be translated for it. Apparently there's still 800 languages there that don't have any of the scriptures whatsoever. I found it SO exciting because it is definitely the sort of thing that I could do! I just don't know though; I had been planning to be an ESOL teacher, and I could still do missions work with that. So basically I really have no idea what God wants me to do right now, and it's kind of different, because I think I'm going to have to trust him to show me the right way a whole lot more than I normally do. So much for cruising along doing a BA with no big decisions... that was how I felt less than a week ago.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Rest assured that time has not decreased my love for U2 - nor for Jane Austen. The more I read books at university or anywhere else, the more I appreciate Austen for making her writing so enjoyable. I've been hiding a dark secret from the world for a while, but have decided to come clean on it: I don't like Dickens. I think his writing is extremely hard to read; I would never manage to read a book of his more than once; a lot of his characters are ridiculously overblown and I could never imagine meeting them in real life - Miss Havisham for example. I think he's only so well-known as an author of classics because people are too scared to admit they find him boring; like the Emperor's new clothes, if you will. I'm sure I have a totally biased viewpoint, but there is something satisfying about unloading your spleen on the internet.
Jane Austen, on the other hand... how could she write books that were so set in their times but so characteristic of people of any time? I think she tapped into some essential part of us when she created characters like Mr Collins, like Mrs Norris, like Sir Walter Elliot, like Mrs Elton. I love them so much. Every time I read them they astound me even more. The detail, the thought...
On the other side of the coin, I have really come to respect Bono. I didn't realise how many people hate it when celebrities start trying to be humanitarian. Someone told me the other day, "what do they know about it? They're just an actor/a singer!" True enough, in most cases. But Bono knows a lot about it. He's not afraid to lose some element of coolness, or being accused of publicity-seeking, or whatever, in fighting for the cause he's taken most to heart. I really, really admire him for that.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
This is the question:
"Explain how Kate Chopin's treatment of nature identifies The Awakening as a romantic novel and how it complicates this description of it."
Don't get me wrong, I like the book. But I just find this course so hard. I'm sick of all these mega-intellectual literary movements. I have a feeling it will end up like Calculus did last year - by the end of the year, I just wanted to pass. I didn't care about high marks. And passing wasn't such a huge big deal to me after a while anyway, because I had no desire to do any more Calculus in my life. But I suppose this is different - I'm definitely doing more English at uni. And I do want to do well. BUT. At some point I'm sure I'll begin asking myself if I really care that much, which is BAD BAD BAD. I must be optimistic. This is an opportunity for me to SHINE.
(Have you noticed I like colours today?!)
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Monday, March 28, 2005
It's this: All these shops in NZ are going all up in arms because they are not allowed to open on Good Friday unless they're 'necessary', like a petrol station or something. This annoys me. I even wrote a letter to the newspaper, first time ever, and I'm going to show you the letter. Yes, I know that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, and this is sodden with it. However, here it is.
I'm glad to hear that some gardening centres (March 28 - A23) and other businesses like Paper Plus in Wanaka (March 26 - A5) are so committed to fighting for their religious rights. Naturally, they and their families will not be touching a single Easter egg or hot cross bun over the Easter weekend. Naturally they will not give or accept a single present at Christmas time, and many New Zealanders will be happy to know that their shops will be open for custom on Christmas Day. If not, it seems like maybe - just maybe - their heroism in opening on Good Friday is just a little bit hypocritical, and really is not so much about religious freedom as the money.
Terrible, isn't it?! I hate being so sarcastic but I was just so annoyed. I'm so sick of hearing waffle from business people about how tuned in they are spiritually and how they really care about the community when all they really care about is MONEY.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Weird thing is, I'm home alone for the weekend because my parents are on holiday somewhere random. Almost all my friends are at Easter camp or busy, almost all my family are on holiday, etc, so I feel actually a little bit alone. That's okay though; I'm just watching heaps of DVDs and eating. :)
I went to hear this Christian author from England called Adrian Plass speak the other day. It was so SO exciting. He's SO funny, and one of my favourite authors - his probably most famous book is The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Aged 37&3/4, of which he is the main character but everyone else is fictional. I got him to sign one of my books too - SPOKE to him close up - which was very very odd. I actually started crying when I walked out the door. Yes, I know, it's pathetic. I guess it was because it was so exciting, and because he's really helped me through his writing; meeting him face to face was just so cool.
Of course I managed to make a fool of myself though. This is what happened.
Me: "Hi, can you sign my book?"
Him: "Of course. Who is it for?"
Oh well, he doesn't exactly portray himself as a brain in his books. :)
Friday, March 25, 2005
It was a nightmare, in fact.
You longed to be blind instead. At least if you were blind you could listen to Bono, sitting in your ear, telling you to walk on and be strong, the same way he always had when something went wrong. You would be able to close your eyes and pretend that if you opened them you could see. The moon would illuminate the darkness in your head as you listened to Clair de Lune; you would cry along with Chopin’s saddest étude and feel lucky, as always. It would be good for you; you would learn to play by ear properly at last.
But you were not blind. You were deaf. Trapped in the nightmare, you wanted to die, because it didn’t feel like you were living properly, without music. Sight was torture because you saw everyone else playing music, fiddling with the radio, whistling along to a tune, and every part of you tensed as you tried to hear it. But you couldn’t. There was no pretending because in the life before, hearing was like the blood running through your veins. And all you could look forward to were years and years of silence, because you were young and deafness is apparently not fatal. Not even degenerative.
You felt like Beethoven, trying so valiantly to conduct his orchestra, so much more of a genius than anyone in the audience ever would be, but at a disadvantage to every single person there.
You did wake up. And you could hear. But now you are perpetually terrified that you will lose your ears. You make bargains with God, and you ask Him, if He has to take away one or the other, please let it be your eyes. You feel even more absent from your friends. They don’t understand music. For them, music is something one can use or create; they don’t understand that the notes have always been there, that you are merely unlocking a door and freeing them, that in truth the music is using you and bewitching you. You are disgusted, incredulous when they say they don’t listen to music much; you try to understand and to tell yourself that everyone is different and what does it matter if they prefer mountain-climbing to Mendelssohn. You hate the way they look so unaware when you talk about good acoustics and how they come away from Andrew Lloyd Webber saying there was too much singing. Yes, you know you are being irrational, snobbish, unfair. And you don’t care. Instead you worry incessantly.
But even through all of this, you are aware of a dim understanding that should you lose all you are afraid of, music could never quite desert you. Music is in everything.
Hopefully that worked. Hope you enjoyed it! I hope the photos came out!
This has no relevance to Easter at all: I'm going to post another short thingy like my U2 short thingy... hang on... should be on here soon.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Monday, March 07, 2005
U2 is my favourite band because.
They don’t contrive. They just make music. They are seriously into it, too – if you saw Edge discussing the different chords they could have used for Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own which didn’t quite feel right, on the DVD that came with the album, and then you saw my brother-in-law unable to tell the difference between the chord sequences, and unable to figure out why it was all so important, even when he played that part over three times, you’d understand. They don’t just slap some words on top of some music. Everything is significant. They stretch the boundaries of effort; they are sitting on a fence that runs along the field of trying-too-hard and the field of not-quite-there.
Their music is not a template. Slow songs, fast songs; happy songs, sad songs; inspirational songs, who-cares songs. There is always a song by U2 that can fit my mood, unless I need utter silence. U2 effortlessly goes right to the extreme of dramatic/melancholy and boomerangs back to ridiculous/pointless. And they’re credible every place they go.
Bono appears to sound like he can’t sing that much better than Joe Bloggs, but then he’s live and an opera singer. Edge’s guitar riff is nice, but then it’s live and it pushes the blood through your veins. You don’t really notice the bass until you hear Adam live and realise how useless the music would be without it. Then you hear Larry drumming in Desire on stage in Boston and wonder how you could ever have not noticed that song.
You have to like U2 by principle as well as by taste. Any band that has been together for so long and continued to make such music, doing it their own way, differently every time, has to be admired. Then there’s the fact that you can’t actually fully understand the ideas behind every song because Bono’s so bloody intelligent he can be unintelligible. You never get some boring, immediately understandable lyric with bad rhyme and dull ideas. I have to admit that one can never know, but it seems to me that they are totally genuine people. Bono especially. Maybe he smokes and drinks and swears, but I feel he’s a lot closer to Jesus, and more willing to go out of his way for Him, than a lot of ‘godly’ people who have never touched a cigarette in their lives.
They make me feel better. On moving house, I was a wreck. Then I heard Walk On. Everything Bono sang felt like it was directed at me, sitting there with a headache from crying too much. They don’t laugh at me for feeling the way I do about things. They change the way I think and live; generally, I hope, this is for the better. They feed me. Perhaps I’m going mad, but I feel like I could tell Bono all my secrets and he might understand some of them. They’re so fun. What other band have I heard of that does cool stuff like coming onto stage in a giant lemon, and what other lead singer can pull off pretending to be a fly or a devil called MacPhisto, then have discussions about third world poverty with George W. Bush?
Sometimes I like them just because I do.
On the other hand, I'm depressed. Because the competition on the radio that my friend and I were destined to win - trip to London to see U2 live, plus $10,000 - was won by someone else. Some stupid woman called Julia. She probably doesn't even like U2. What is most frustrating is that I left the radio to go have breakfast, came back ten minutes later, and the competition was all over. After I'd been waiting by the radio for hours the last few days.
Oh well. That's fate. I'll just have to go see them in Oz. (As in, Australia.)
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Secondly, although I am very much enjoying playing recorder in a quartet for background music before an outdoor performance of The Merchant of Venice for a week, the guy who's in charge of the music is driving me INSANE. He is just so pretentious. One of those people who think they're a maestro but can't keep in tune. *boils in anger* I have got to stop thinking about this or I will become very bitter.
Oh well, on the bright side of things, I joined four university clubs today!! Amnesty International, United Future (a political party who has a university club), Navigators, and International Christian Fellowship - the last two are Christian groups, which should be obvious, at least for the latter one. I'm excited about getting involved! I'm also going to join the choir, yay!
Writing this blog felt like a massive mood swing.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Here I am at university. I'm hopelessly confused most of the time. Still trying to figure out how to get myself to places without arriving half an hour late or something. I love most of my classes - this semester I'm doing Medieval Europe, American Literature, and The English Language (a Linguistics course). Next semester I'll be doing Shakespeare, American History, Roman History, and French Film. <--- that's my fun one. Luckily I have friends in all my classes which makes me very happy and much more relaxed. I'm even enjoying homework; pathetic eh?
Sorry if I've been through that before, I can't remember doing so but I'm pretty sure I haven't.
I had better go, I have an appointment with the Careers Advisor but I will be back soon now that I feel like it!!
Saturday, February 05, 2005
I was really quite a wreck on the day. I think that it was truthfully one of the worst days of my life. I know it sounds pathetic when you think about all the sorrow there is in the world, but that's how it felt.
U2 helped. I got into the car after my second bout of tears and coincidentally, Walk On was the next song to play on my mix of U2 songs that I always have playing. It helped me so much; everything Bono sang seemed to be directed straight at me. Everything he said was relevant. It was really what I needed to hear. He understood how hard it was but he told me firmly that I needed to walk on and be strong. Sounds corny and trite when I try to explain it now but it was unbelievable. That is an example of a song changing someone's life, even if in a minor way; since then I've been okay, if sad.
Just to bend in a completely different direction, I finally bought the Live from Boston DVD - from the Elevation tour. It's amazing. I love it.
Had a scary experience tonight when a friend told me someone else told her that U2 are splitting up. I actually started crying; pathetic, eh? But I've had a look on the internet and haven't seen anything to do with it, not even rumours, so it must just be a very local rumour. If it is true... I'll be so upset. I'll HAVE to go to their tour, fly to Australia to see them live, if it's the last chance I've got. I've seen the Slane Castle and Boston concerts a few times and every time, I know that someday I HAVE to see them live.
Friday, January 21, 2005
ON MOVING HOUSE
The worst part about open homes is not the tidying-up. It’s not the fact that you’re being kicked out unceremoniously for half an hour. It’s when you come back before it has finished and sit waiting outside in the car and watch people walking brazenly into your home as if it were just a house, wandering around checking out your wardrobe and flicking their eyes over your bookshelves, criticising your wallpaper and letting their kids play on your bars. You didn’t know that seeing it would make your stomach clench like this.
It makes you think about how much you love your house. There is something about it; you don’t know if it’s just because you’ve been there forever or if there really is something magical and safe and alive about it. And the memories flash through your mind like a slideshow. Fragmented orange light through the leaves of the hideaway; daisy chains in the long grass; red currant picking of a summer evening; tall, personable corn dominating the vegetables; hanging upside down off the bars with your head touching the grass; violets at the bottom of the garden; leaving gifts for the fairies under the Halswell Quarry stone; plum blossom and daffodils; hot potatoes in tin foil and ash; tennis against the red brick wall; screams through the sprinkler.
And then there was the huddling around the fire with marshmallows; the candlelight games of Snap when the power failed; lying on your stomach gazing at the flames and feeling like you couldn’t be more comfortable if this was Buckingham Palace and you were the Queen; the sprints up the stairs in the freezing cold with two extra blankets; Mum’s lemon and honey drinks when you’re dying of a runny nose.
Still more images attack you, and you can’t get up, smile, and think about something else. Getting up at 6:00 on your birthday and groping around in the dark for your presents; waking up your teenage sister at 6:15 to say thank you; being sick and lying on the couch looking through the window at the mountain beech leaves and the patterns they make with the clouds and feeling like you’re the most special person in the world; the way you come down the stairs and open the door and are suddenly hit with the smell of the roast chicken or bacon or whatever it is that’s for dinner; the house full of people and noises and smells and laughter at Christmas; songs in the new-lounge with everyone playing a different kind of instrument or making do on a tin whistle; bookshelves exploding with every kind of book; your sisters and brothers coming home and you being so excited to see them come and so miserable when they leave; returning from holidays in the old blue van and the house being so pleasingly familiar and solid.
No house can ever compare. Suddenly it feels like leaving the house will be like betraying your best friend. You’ll drive past in the future and everything about the house will say, ‘I’m not yours anymore. You have no right to look at me.’ They’ll cut down the deformed silver birch that Dad annually mangled and install a second bathroom with tasteful wallpaper, or they’ll dig up the vegetable garden, filling it up with manageable concrete, and they’ll transform the kitchen into a symphony of stainless steel. You hope the dodgy gutter falls on their fat heads. You hope they freeze upstairs in winter. You hope the roof leaks on their beds. You hope the mice plague them.
You never want to leave.
I've been a little bit busy I suppose... maybe not though. We're moving house on the 25th. Which I don't want to do. So I've been packing and so on. Then I suddenly decided I was going to go to university this year. So I enrolled. Now I'm panicking that my student loan won't go through in time or I won't get a student allowance or something, because I left it too late!
Here is what I am doing: (in case the internet spirit cares)
A Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and History.
English papers: Shakespeare, and American Literature
History papers: American History, and Medieval Europe
Linguistics: The English Language
French: France and the French through Film (<--- my fun one!)
Classics: Roman History
So, as you can see, immensely practical. But I think I'll enjoy it!
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
VINYL RECORD BOWLS
Adults need to supervise in making this craft.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
You will need:
Vinyl records (as many as you want to make)
Oven safe bowls
Place one vinyl record over an inverted oven safe bowl and cook for about 5 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the record starts to drape the sides of the bowl.
Remove from oven and flip the gooey record into the bottom of another bowl, making sure the record label sits flat in the bottom of the bowl. Press the record against the sides of the cool bowl until it is smooth. You may want to use a small glass jar to smooth it out.
The record will start to cool almost immediately, so work fast. Tailor the bowls to the musical taste of your recipient. They're great for snacks, candy, coins or pocket debris or any other kind of item you might put things in.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
I just feel more independent without them, I suppose.
Anyway, the West Coast (of the South Island) is beautiful. I would recommend it to anyone coming to New Zealand. You can't expect it to be great weather constantly, even mid-summer, but even when it's pouring with rain it's beautiful. And there are lots of lovely days as well. We stayed at my uncle's bach in Moana, by Lake Brunner, which is definitely worth seeing; Punakaiki is fabulous, one of my favourite places in New Zealand, although we didn't actually go there this time; Shantytown near Greymouth is great if you have kids (it's also pretty fun for adults anyway!). Hokitika is a nice town as well, with a lovely beach.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
I went to a cafe yesterday with a friend, and the waitresses told us Josh Hartnett had been there 20 mins before us!!! I'm not a fan, personally, but it's still like WOW someone famous! At least I wasn't too upset. If it had been Bono or someone I would REALLY have kicked myself.
The funny thing about New Zealand is that if anyone of that sort of fame comes here everyone gets very excited, even if they aren't really that keen on them as an actor or singer or whatever. It's because we hardly ever see famous people. I'm sure it's a different story in LA or New York or something. Thus, we aren't very cool or smooth about meeting famous people. We're more likely to be either totally out of our heads and make them really scared with our excitement, or, be so nervous at the prospect of approaching them that we stare at them, stalk them, or hide when we see them. :)