Wednesday 30 January 2013

I wondered in the Addendum to the post-before-last if "maybe some things are best photographed from one particular angle - that any other angle is not impossible, but boring and a little pointless". This is an exploration of that.

1. The response to the last post was very complimentary. Thank you to the nice people on Twitter who said nice things! I was quite drunk and only took those photos on my iPhone, so I really think the space deserves the compliments more than I.

2. The space has been opened up before. It has served as a gallery. 

(I heard of this scheme in - 2005, 2006? The talk was memorable because the guest lecturer forgot to state what it was about. He spent twenty minutes drawing threads of thought together, without ever having given us a subject to group them around. He spoke about history, and access to public spaces, and a dozen other things illustrated with slides of maps and architectural concept drawings. He stopped abruptly: "But I never told you the best bit! It's meant to be a gallery.")

The exhibition was Picture Perfect In A World Of Chaos.

3. You should click through and look at the images - there are some more here. I enjoyed looking at the art work very much, and also thinking how a few of the shots mirrored my own. This is partially because of ego, and partially because of the ticklish thought that maybe some things are best photographed from one particular angle - that any other angle is not impossible, but boring and a little pointless.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Silo 4

Silo Park, or 'The Tank Farm' is a part of Auckland's waterfront which has only recently-ish been opened up. It used to be a placed that was industrial, chained off, closed. Now you enter it via a promenade lined with cafes and bars made out of shipping containers, which opens up onto a large space with fountains, grassy bits, and people sprawled in the sun. The tank farm proper looks over the harbour - in summer evenings, movies are projected onto the tanks, brighter than the lights on the bridge beyond.

Laneway was at the tank farm this year. Me and K. were sitting on the steps of Silo 4, half-listening to the band on stage, when some hipsters marched up and asked us to move. We picked up our beer cups, shoes, bags, and shuffled aside. I asked, why, what were they doing? The hipster - he was wearing jean shorts and a checkered shirt. In my memory, he is a foot shorter than me and had a terrible moustache, but those flourishes might be imagined. He flashed a set of obviously-pilfered keys and said, "We're going in there." The other hipsters - another boy and two girls - nodded earnestly. They said, no, we couldn't see too.

I pulled faces at their backs, but they were back out a few minutes later, obviously disappointed that it was empty inside.They neglected to lock the door, so I took my chance and went in. K. protested: "Rules are there for a reason!" but - the door was unlocked, I didn't touch or harm anything, and, with the city's habit of locking parts of the waterfront for decades at a time - I wanted to see it.

I am so glad I did.

It wasn't empty inside - inside there was space.The tanks were bare, intoconnected by archways. Were they like that originally, or have they been opened?

I thought, "I want to throw a party here."

It reminded me of a cathedral. It was hushed: the band outside was muted, and I could barely hear my footsteps. The ceiling was immensely high, and the light fell in in bands over concrete so smooth and aged it looked like stone.

There were still the scars of industry. What did these tanks use to hold? Fuel?

I think Silo 4 should be opened. Like the rest of the tank farm, it is beautiful. Let's enjoy it.

Friday 25 January 2013

Update - if you are looking for resources to access abortion in New Zealand, click here.

It's sometimes easy to forget that abortion is illegal in New Zealand. It's pretty accessible, at least for people I know, who tend to be middle-class and urban. That's not the case when you move out of the city, or, for that matter, income bracket.

I've never been pregnant, but I've been having this argument for a while. I remember being seventeen and talking with the Christian group from school. We were all as idealistic as only seventeen year olds can be. They insisted that abortion is always wrong. Always. Even when the mother cannot afford to keep the child (as if there are no social or financial implications of carrying a pregnancy to term). Even in cases of rape (they argued, "the rape is not the child's fault." The law is on their side here - rape is not a legal grounds for abortion in New Zealand.). Even in cases of incest ("God will have a plan for that child." I asked - what if the plan is abortion? thereby ending the conversation.)

They held their beliefs strongly - and that's why we need to lobby to change the law. People like my erstwhile pals make accessing abortion difficult, in small towns, in conservative families and communities, and increasingly, in entire regions.

Anti-choicers seem to have the opinion that the people having abortions are sluts who choose them as birth control. Actually, nearly half of people seeking an abortion are already mothers. To suggest that a parent doesn't know the implication of having a child is arrogant at best.

What can we do? We can talk about this. Most New Zealanders are not aware that abortion is illegal. We're doing that now. We can also write letters.

I wrote out the form letter below (a lot of the content is lifted directly from ALRANZ), and took it along to feminist drinks. We meet monthly at the bar, and mainly bask in the safe space and support: this is the first vaguely political thing we've managed to do.

There were about ten of us there that night - we filled in 46 letters, taped them shut, spilled beer on them, blotted it off, and posted them off. We were all rather proud of ourselves.

I made a list of people you might like to send them to:

  •        Sue Moroney – Labour Spokesperson for Women's Affairs
  •        Hon Jo Goodhew – National Spokesperson for Women's Affairs
  •        Bill English – Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Leader of the National Party
  •       John Key
  •       Your MP –

    • Auckland Central - Kaye, Nikki - National Party
    • East Coast Bays - McCully, Murray - National Party
    • Epsom -  Banks, John - ACT New Zealand
    • Mangere - Sio, Su'a William - Labour Party
    • Manukau East - Robertson, Ross - Labour Party
    • Manurewa - Wall, Louisa - Labour Party
    • Maungakiekie - Lotu-Iiga, Peseta Sam - National Party
    • Mt Albert - Shearer, David Labour Party
    • Mt Roskill  -  Goff, Phil  - Labour Party
    • New Lynn -  Cunliffe, David Labour Party
    • North Shore  -  Barry, Maggie  -  National Party
    • Northcote  -  Coleman, Jonathan - National Party
    • Pakuranga - Williamson, Maurice - National Party
    • Papakura - Collins, Judith - National Party
    • Rodney - Mitchell, Mark - National Party
    • Tamaki - O'Connor, Simon - National Party
    • Tamaki Makaurau - Sharples, Pita - Maori Party
    • Waitakere - Bennett, Paula - National Party

And printed parliment's address on the reverse of the paper.

Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

All the group had to do, was pick a name, write it in the salutation and over the address, and sign.

This is the letter. Feel free to use it.


I am writing to urge you to consider the decriminalisation of abortion.

New Zealand women do not yet have the right to choose to end an unwanted pregnancy: that decision is made for them by certifying consultants. More than 98% of all abortions performed in New Zealand are approved under the mental-health ground. This is proof that the current law is not working, and urgently needs changing.

As well as being outdated, costly and ineffective, the law is hypocritical and demeaning to women. Abortion – even on mental health grounds – can be expensive and difficult to access, especially for rural women. Sexual violation is not a ground for abortion but only a matter which can be taken into consideration. It is a matter of discrimination that women are not entitled to make a decision on having an abortion. This is in violation of international treaties to which New Zealand is a signatory, especially the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

When the law was passed in 1977, politicians had a ‘conscience vote’ on abortion. I believe that New Zealand women deserve to make their own decision on abortion.   

I urge you to consider this matter and do what you can to move towards the decriminalisation of abortion.

Yours sincerely,

Thursday 24 January 2013

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Friday 11 January 2013


Short rows are a knitting technique which add more fabric to a piece. They're used to make heels of socks and add shaping in cardigans and all sorts of useful things.

To knit a short row, you knit halfway across a row, turn your work, and purl back. This can leave a gap, which is where you'd wrap and turn: the wrap and turn hides the gap. 

I learned short rows before I knew what I was doing and didn't have the sense to be intimidated by them. This is the best way to learn anything.

A friend who is a much better knitter than I am is having trouble because most of the instructions out there are written for English knitters (who hold the yarn in their right hands) rather than Continental knitters (who hold the yarn in their left hands, and scoop it up. Any newbie who wanders into G Unit is taught to knit Continental it's a wee bit more efficient and more importantly makes transitioning between crochet and knitting easier).

Here's a list of short row tutorials for Continental knitters:
My advice for my friend was bugger it - if you can't manage to wrap and turn, you can always darn the finished product.

Thursday 10 January 2013

On Privacy

Privacy isn't a thing I'm too worried about. I Tweet under my real name. I have a Facebook, and I haven't even met some of my "friends". But I've been thinking a lot about privacy here.

The way I deal with privacy online is by omission. There are things - some things that are quite large parts of my life - that I simply do not speak about.

This may surprise Twitter followers, but it's true.

Some things are too long-form to discuss coherently. Some things I find triggering when others talk about them, so I avoid talking about them myself. Some things are to protect other people's privacy. Some things are simply too personal.

Writing about myself is one thing - but can I write about my friends? How about friends of friends? Strangers?

On my Twitter, there's a cast of characters, as well as real-life people I interact with. I live with Flatmate, and work with Boss and Coworkers 1 through 5. There's also Pal, Paramour and Flatmate's Girlfriend. Some of these people are real people with identities that don't shift (like Flatmate), and others are just a convenient marker (like a conversation between Coworker 1 and Coworker 2). Some of these characters read my Twitter - some don't. There's privacy issues there, and I make an effort to obfuscate things where people aren't aware they're being talked about (like Flatmate - I honestly don't think you could identify Flatmate. I've never used their name, or even precisely pinned down their gender). When a person doesn't know they're being talked about, it's important to me that I don't insult them or identify them.

When a person - like Paramour - is reading my tweets - well - that's a little different. Their identities aren't very secret. They're often sitting right there as I tweet, and I can ask "Is this okay?" or they can ask me to delete it.

I have deleted things on request.

There are things I cannot post about. Things that I have been a part of but belong to other people. Things that would break their hearts to write about, which is a shame because they're just so damn funny.

Ask me about those things in person instead.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

  • Affenpoo
  • Alusky
  • Bullhuahua
  • Cadoole
  • Cadoole
  • Daug
  • Daug
  • Dorkie
  • Doxiepoo
  • Ewokian  
  • Flandoodle
  • Floodle
  • Giant Schnoodle 
  • Goberian
  • Hug
  • Huskimo
  • Imo-Inu
  • Imo-Inu
  • Irish Doodle
  • Jafox
  • Japillon
  • Kobetan
  • Labahoula 
  • Lacasapoo
  • Lacasapoo
  • Mastador
  • Muggin
  • Newfypoo
  • Ori Pei
  • Papi-poo
  • Peek-A-Pom
  • Pugapoo
  • Puggle
  • Puggle
  • Pugwich 
  • Rat-A-Pap
  • Rattle
  • Schnoodle
  • Schnoodle
  • Snorkie
  • Spoodle
  • Spoodle
  • Toxirn
  • Ultimate Mastiff 
  • Vizmaraner 
  • Wowauzer
  • Whoodle
  • Yoranian 
  • Zuchon

Friday 4 January 2013

A picture of white sand, blue water, a sky scattered with fluffy clouds and a black headland in the distance.
A shot of a beach. Two small children play in the waves.
This beach picture is washed out: the colours are off.
This beach shot is all sand and sky. It is over saturated with colour.
A shot of the roof of a tent from inside. It is all blues.
A shot of three old china plates on a picnic table.
A picture of a BBQ.
A shot of three boys, taken from the back, walking down a beach.
A picture of a dead stingray in the sand.
A shot of fluffy grass that grows along the shore. When I was a child, we called it "bunny tails" because that's what it looks like.
A shot of a stage, from a distance. It is washed out, and no details are visible.