I spy with my little eye.

Something beginning with D…

Growing up, Dad was always right.

There’s probably one parent you become somewhat more mentally attached to. Mine is my Dad. I wanted to be just like him. I remember not going to church, because I wanted to stay home and join ‘the dark side with cookies’ as he jokingly suggested. But without that, I would have discovered reasonable thought at a much later stage in life (or possibly, never). I remember him leaving super early for work, so I’d get up just as early to watch the crappy morning TV on Sky. But without that I would have a lazier work ethic than I do today. I remember fishing for hours and listening to Dad say his thoughts openly to the ocean, and me. Without that I would not have this urge to speak out for myself, or my slight addiction to arguing for the purpose of hearing the whole story (and not just believing my own interpretation of events).

My father deserves more credit than he has ever been given, and don’t be fooled into thinking I don’t respect/value/love him (because I do with all my heart). Growing up in a low socio-economic family bracket in a time when virtually no handouts were available (compared to today) he now supports a family who live in the high socio-economic bracket. Without my father (and mother, of course) working and saving as hard as they did, my life, quite frankly, would be an entirely different story.

But sometimes, we learn lessons without the influence of our parents.

Enter a short acronym that has been of great concern to New Zealand: GCSB.

Four little letters that hold a lot more power than their syllables suggest.

What I think I know/feel about the proposed GCSB Amendment Bill.

  1. It will allow the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens (they have allegedly been doing it for years, but a clause found last year has shown it is currently illegal for them to do so).
  2. It will allow metadata from all technological communications to be stored in one ‘universal cloud’ system.
  3. This cloud system has the potential to be used/hacked by foreign agents.
  4. Without an independent third party authority reviewing cases regarding New Zealand citizens, there is no way to show justifiable means of surveillance authorised from either the GCSB or the Prime Minister.
  5. The ‘I have nothing to hide or fear from the current Government’ argument is only applicable to the current political rule. A more tyrannical/evil Government could take huge advantages of these proposed changes.
  6. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commission, and Law Commission all show strong objections to the current proposed changes.

A small summary, yes, but huge impacts nonetheless.

I don’t blame or condemn my father’s approach to the proposed bill. He is a huge National supporter, and growing up in my father’s shade meant so was I. I didn’t want our family to become poor. I didn’t want my father’s hard work to go unnoticed. I didn’t want to see worthless system abusers get a free ride.

For the most part, I still agree with my father’s intentions.

For the most part.

He supports the proposed GCSB Amendment Bill.

Watching the GCSB protest today I learnt that we have it very lucky in New Zealand. We don’t need to use violence to show our disappointment. We can gather peacefully and express our frustrations and thoughts. Sometimes it’s used for good, when the speaker actually understands the impact this protest can deliver. Sometimes it’s used for bad, when protests are hijacked by people wanting to express an idea not consistent with the aim of the protest.

To get New Zealanders to pay attention towards protests (and ideas) is the key, and I’m unsure as to whether this protest achieved it. It was my first time attending one though, so my emotions were not fully engaged toward the content, but spread about between content, emotional response, and crowd fascination.

 

What I think I know/feel about my own intentions, after witnessing a protest.

Sometimes little children grow up exactly like their parent/s.

Sometimes, they don’t.

 

 

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with D…

Dog.

Doctor

Door.

Dairy.

Display.

Dad.

Difference.

 

 

E.

 

Parliament dress up. I spy. Crowd shot. Acronym redefined.  Sign for support. Every number counts.

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Review – Coffee and food|establishment.

11:30am on a rainy Friday I met with a very dear friend at coffee and food establishment aka c.a.f.e (smart name, eh?) After scoring a free parking spot around the corner, I made my way into the cafe where my friend had already secured a two person table near the door.

It’s aesthetically clean, with a whitewash outdoor/indoor colour scheme. The highlights of colour are found in some large modern canvas pieces, which have fluro orange and green designs (they are supplied by artists and are for sale, some are new to me as I haven’t been to c.a.f.e in about one year). I especially enjoyed the charcoal grey/fluro orange collage inspired piece. On two low benches, near the front, are an array of newspapers and magazines available to read, so if you are an early bird to a meeting/catch-up, you can enjoy some articles and forgo the awkward solitary sitting.

The seating is a mix of booths and stand alone chairs, with a reasonable amount of space to walk between either (frequently I have seen mums and prams make their way in with little hassle). At the back is the kitchen and cashier, with a small display cabinet of your general muffins, paninis and mixed salads (though some of the muffins sounded quite exotic and were made to a reasonable size, noted for next time).

I ordered a long black, my friend ordered a cappuccino (you can choose cinnamon, chocolate, or both as your topping for that drink). Hers came in a relatively wide cup, mine came in a decidedly short one. One small plus was the little pitcher of hot water I received to top up my drink, so I gained an extra half cup on the side. The coffee bean used was alright, a rich earthen taste to it. After one sugar (raw, not white) it became quite easy to drink.

For food I ordered a half portion of ‘La Tuti Tuti’, a mix of potato, baby spinach, kranksy, chorizo, oil, and a poached egg on top. My friend ordered curly fries with tomato sauce and aioli as sauces. The half portion was rather small, but meat made the largest percentage of it, which I guess levels the cost. Slightly oilier than I anticipated, but the taste of each item of food was allowed to compliment the entirety of the dish. As to my friends dish, curly fries are always going to be more delicious than standard cut fries (the curl enhances the flavour, I swear). The curls trapped the flavoured salt in between its delicious potato outline, and the aioli provided was one of the best I have tried in Hamilton, not too runny and full of taste.

The service was absolutely charming, and provided an at exceptionally quick pace. I received my coffee in under three minutes and my meal in under ten. Genuine smiles and small banter were provided for free.

If you’re looking for a relaxed part run-of-the-mill cafe, part quirky vibrant establishment, to compliment a dull grey Hamilton day, I’d recommend perking yourself up at c.a.f.e for an hour or so.

E.

If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it?

For the record, I am a white, early twenties, female. I have a tertiary education. I am, for all intents and purposes, healthy. I come from a financially stable family, with parents who are celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary today. I have freedom of choice and freedom to marry whomever I want. I probably have no voice worthy of these following comments, but this is my blog so =P

 

 

 

 

 

Today I read this article – http://www.3news.co.nz/Forced-to-drink-drain-cleaner-alleges-young-migrant/tabid/1771/articleID/306180/Default.aspx because it came up in my Facebook Newsfeed. It’s a reporter’s article about a woman allegedly abused by her husband, to the point where she is physically disabled, because of dowry and subsequent arranged marriage abuse (there probably is no dissimilar abuse found in unarranged marriages, but for purpose of writing I say arranged marriage abuse).

 

Within the paragraphs there is this quote, “In 2011 more than 8500 were killed because of dowry – that’s one bride murdered every hour. Incredibly though, the practice of dowry is not illegal in New Zealand.”

 

The practice of dowry is not illegal in New Zealand.

 

A dowry is payment for a bride. It is money, goods, or property the bride (and family) give to the groom (and family).

 

Initially I was very angry. What goods quantify a marriage? What set price do you reach for a woman? One cow? Two cows? What stock market are these prices set against? Is it more valuable if one party does not want the arranged marriage? If inflation for women goes up, what sort of abuse will follow if she doesn’t meet this elevated price tag set upon her? And you can’t really return human goods, can you?

 

Then (after posting my outrage on FB) a friend, Kyreena, gave me this nugget,” To be fair, the traditional (straight marriage) system we utilise is very much a dowry system: man must pay for rings and offer to woman in order to propose marriage. The rings are dowry.”

 

Holy crap, she’s right.

 

I have always wanted to fall in love, and give someone a ring, and make them mine. And now I hear myself say ‘make them mine’ and I feel as dirty as a dowry accepter. But the thought that rings=marriage is so ingrained into me, thinking of it as a dowry feels wrong.

 

I didn’t think a ring would quantify marriage.

But it bloody well does.

 

I want to have a partner, but how do I feel like I’m not paying for them now?

 

Is the feminist voice inside that preaches ‘women have irreplaceable value’, actually making me choke on my own words?

 

Do I have a right to argue that I don’t want marriage? Probably not, considering the recent law change in NZ allowing for me to marry anyone (well, anyone who’s consenting, haha).

 

Do I have a right to say a dowry feels dirty and disgusting, knowing that I find the idea of giving a ring attractive and substantial emotional investment?

 

 

 

At what point are you allowed to be angry at ideas, when the horrific outcomes of some don’t actually affect you?

 

 

 

 

E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind map.

Tonight I attended the Hamilton Slamdown Poetry workshop.  I’ve always been a lurker of the spoken word, and rank ‘George Watsky’ as one of the greatest youtube persons I could ever hope to meet.

I went in with the idea that it would help me improve my writing.  And my comfort zone limit. 

My comfort zone is quite small, filled with large square pillows and a shaggy rug.
It’s cozy.
It’s safe.

I showed up 6pm on the dot. A total of four other women joined me. We introduced ourselves by attempting to find out what we had in common, and what interesting background stories we shared. It was designed to show us it’s easier to start with what we know, and what we know may not have an interesting internal dialogue, but to an outsider it sounds captivating.

Then, we were given one word and its definitions written next to it. We had eight minutes to use five words from the definitions and write a small poem. My word was ‘inequality’. I wrote about the recent marriage change.

Then we had to say it aloud.

Ruh roh.

I went second (ain’t nobody got time for first) and, after a wee stutter plus bright red face I am known for, finished with a smatter of obligatory applause and freebie compliments.

Our homework (a foreign concept to me) is to mind map the word ‘dream’ and write a poem in about 15 minutes maximum. The mind map links are to encourage obscure connections relating to the root (we were advised not to use the word dream in the poem, but encourage the emotion of the word).

Wish me luck!

E.

Momentary variation from the norm.

I want my own Dead Poet’s Society.  

I want a few friends to disappear with into the night.

I want a couple bottles of whiskey.

I want a cigar or two.

I want a beach clearing.

I want battered poetry books of old.

I want a Kindle filled with poets new.

I want paper and pens strewn across the picnic towel.

I want lifeless poems sacrificed to the drift wood fire.

I want unafraid voices carrying the survivors.

I want exhaustion.

I want self-consciousness dead.

I want myself alive.

The daily post prompt asked a question similar to ‘do groups of people inspire you?’ My answer is a resounding yes, and it made me miss the feelings I had at tertiary.

The late-night working sessions,

the coffee induced craziness,

the comfortable sigh of completing something magical.

It seems so out of reach now. 

E.

Being a DJ is the closest thing to a modern day God.

Here we have one lone individual (well, usually, sometimes there are more to cater to the polytheists). S/he is surrounded by a vast network of electronic equipment, booze, and their inner sanctum of disciples, aka friends. Looking out over this control zone, you see a veritable wave of mashed bodies, writhing in an audio induced feeding frenzy; almost all have their arms raised to the sky. They wait for their new Messiah to preach the warbles of bass and distortion.

It’s an almost zen-like moment, when you realise that everyone in the crowd with you has come together to combine his or her sins into one mosh-pit of repentance. The DJ box beckons you to confess your wickedness; your feet ache to show them.

You pray the bass will save you from a moment’s sobriety.

You pray ‘the drop’ will fill your newly discovered emptiness.

You pray the DJ will speak directly to you, and guide you with their strobe lighting into a new resonance.

And if you’re lucky the beautiful climax will resolve you of all wrongdoings, well, at least for a night.

This is how I like to think of modern electronic music events. I’m not conventionally religious (atheist if you ask me however I won’t preach that to you), but sometimes it’s nice to think there’s more to music than mere sound waves.

My feet are tapping as I write, seems like there’s still some sins in me unresolved.

Sidenote: If you are in Hamilton next week there is a great dnb event raising money for kids who, due to circumstances they cannot control, are living with minimal necessities. If you want good food and a couple of karma points please join in –

https://www.facebook.com/events/396305697148313/?fref=ts

E.

“It worked”.

These two words were uttered by Julius Robert Oppenheimer, aka ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ at 05:29:21 July 16, 1945. At this precise moment the very first atomic bomb, Trinity to its makers, exploded above the Jornada del Muerto desert and announced the atomic evolution of humankind.

I’m from New Zealand, a very well known passively aggressive country, whose stance on nuclear weapons is proudly summed by NZ Prime Minister David Lange’s near opening lines of “there is no moral place for nuclear weapons”. (A full audio recording is available here http://publicaddress.net/2424). So, why would a Kiwi choose to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in such a removed historical setting that which she is not accustomed, nor affected, by.

I would want to be a fly on the wall at the very instance of 05:29:21 July 16, 1945, in the Jornada del Muerto desert, because it is the very moment where humanity realised its absolute power, and shook hands with mutual destruction. It is when we overlooked the fairness of war, and gazed upon a singular ultimatum. It is when we looked at the pureness of energy, and turned it into something ultimately, and undeniably, horrific.

I would want to see the men and women responsible for the knowledge we all have been burdened with. The knowledge, that there are some countries out there with power far beyond their measures. There are countries with a red button, that if having a bad day, can single handedly start the greatest destruction we can only as yet imagine. There are countries, which by possessing this madness, dictate to others through fear and intimidation, leaving peaceful resolutions blown apart.

I would want to see the eyes of the men and woman responsible. I want to see if any shine brighter than their creation does. And do they shine with doubt, with regret, with fear? Or were they all shining with power?

And would my eyes shine at such a sight also?

If you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ for any moment of history, where would you choose to go?

E.

Review – Wonder Horse.

First time writing a review, feedback is always appreciated =)

Hamilton is a very unusual city. It’s rather small, so if you have intimacy issues you probably shouldn’t move here. Because it is small everything gets smooshed together, which is very convenient when navigating the city centre, as you really don’t have to walk far for food. Side by side the main street is lined with little café’s, eateries, restaurants, bistros and so on. You name it, and chances are it’s next door. This can make dining out and socialising somewhat frustrating though, as it becomes hard to distinguish the good from the bad from the what the actual o_0

Tonight however, I was lead by my friend Jenna down a mysterious alley way and through a narrow doorway into what can only be summed up as a paradise land.

Its official name: Wonder Horse.

From past memory the site used to be an old Mexican joint which was notoriously hidden behind the first layer of restaurants (think alley-ception, to find gems in Hamilton you must always go deeper). Now it has been converted into a bar. But the word ‘bar’ tarnishes the true value this establishment has built for itself.

From walking in you are met with a dimly-lit, yet warm opening area. The large bar top nestling against your left side bends around to guide you across the width of the room.  Deeper in you notice leatheresque couches, each with a small table or two in bright colours of aqua and red. There is also an upstairs area, though it sounded rather full and convinced us to stay downstairs (near the bar, naturally). Overall first impressions are ‘this is a place many call home’ because the construction holds such dignity worthy of that title. Gazing to the front you then see the vast array of alcoholic ingredients filling the shelves, everything from absinthe to zambuca (well, it feels like it, though I will happily report there is a very liberal supply of whiskey). I say ingredients, because what the gentlemen behind the bar accomplished is less drink making and more Heston Blumenthal inspired magic (if you don’t know HB then please direct your attention to this Wiki article – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heston_Blumenthal ).

Jenna ordered a Mojito, and convinced me to order an Old Fashioned. Now I know of many people with their own interpretations of what constitutes an Old Fashioned, but to be honest if the drink respects the whiskey involved, then it’s okay in my books. We settled onto some squared bar stools and watched our gentleman/bartender twirl his enchantingly long spoon, beginning the initiation process.

Nothing was flawed.

The glasses were brilliantly balanced, the alcohol generously measured, the sugar lovingly heaped, the mint clapped gently (no hurting the poor leaves now). Even the ice received special treatment inside a hand-cranked crusher that churned out delightfully small, rounded ice pieces. The prices are very generous considering the showmanship that goes into every artwork. It genuinely feels like the drink you receive underwent a transformation, from mere mortal alcohol to liquid infinite passion. The emotions infused send you into a euphoric state impervious to social blunders.

These drinks don’t just start small talk, they infuse conversations.

Universe, if I were so lucky to acquire a date in the next five weeks, I promise to treat them to this magnificent establishment. It is the perfect place for getting together, getting cozy, getting intimate.

Wonder Horse, you win the title of ‘Hamilton’s best bar’ by a full length, from now on I place my bets on you.

E.

Sorry New Zealand.

I grew up on the right side, politically speaking that is. My Dad was always the most vocal in our family, and my thinking would sync with his, cause I thought it was a well-known fact that ‘Dad is always right’. I am also privileged to come from a family who are financially better off than your average ‘Ma and Pa’. So the right side heavily influenced my thoughts about money and financial protection. I thought if you’re stupid enough to not work hard, or save hard, then it was your own damn fault for being poor.

 

The last New Zealand election, I voted National, the centre-right, and now dominant party in NZ Government.

 

I am sorry New Zealand that I did.

 

I have learnt, through watching some outrageous sufferings, that my family is in a tremendously lucky position (though my parents do deserve all the credit in the world for their hard work), and vast majorities of people worldwide are simply not afforded such opportunities.

 

I vow to vote with my own conscience now. No longer will I support –

 

Needless environmental destruction.

Needless child hunger.

Needless financial inequality.

Needless economic failures.

Needless Governmental restrictions.

Needless inequality amongst fellow beings.

 

No longer will I look at the colour of the flag, the smiles of the rats, the polished promise of change. I have seen flags burn, rats bite, and promises left in ruins.

 

I am angry at politics, but not angry enough to leave it up to others. Every vote counts, every voice counts. I have one year before the next elections to study up, before I will allow my voice heard again.

 

Next time, it will roar.

 

 

 

 

E.

“It’s many hundred miles and it won’t be long”.

I wonder who/what took the first step.

 

Like, literally, the very first step.

 

That one singular motion which moved said ‘thing’ from one place, to another. Was it aware of movement, of space, of time, of anything? From that movement though, the travel bug was born. A wide spreading contagion lasting the millennia’s, it has lead to such diseases as civilization, human development, and travel agencies.

 

Why do I travel?

 

I was a very lucky kid; infected early at the age of ten my family and I went to the magical land of Australia for a holiday (thanks Nan). After that initial dose, I then scratched the bug, and nine other countries off my list, to now count (in travel order) –

 

New Zealand (North and South)

Australia

Singapore

England

Ireland

France

Canada

United States of America

China

Thailand

 

Nowadays I travel because I grew up in a small area. Small cities had their benefits when I was growing up, they were clean, concentrated in friends and family, and you got to know your surroundings very intimately.

 

Now that I am 22, small areas don’t cut it for me. Small areas represent a lull in development. If I don’t see the landscape changing, then I don’t see myself changing either. So I itch for big places, big ideas, the ‘bigness’ in people. There is too much of the world to see for me to justify staying in one place. No job, no house, no possession, is worth missing these moments.

 

And it saddens me that I will never see everything. No matter how much effort I make, their will always be something I miss. Something I will never see. Something I will never taste. Someone I will never know. This fear grips me and drives me to insane things, like going out of my comfort zone a lot. And the bug knows this. The bug thrives off this. The bug will eat at my heartstrings, my sanity, until only death can cure me. So before I meet this decidedly unfortunate end, I will feed the bug until it cannot consume me anymore. A bittersweet cure, no?

 

I thank the bug though, without it I would never feel like I will someday contribute to history.  The bug has taught me how diverse the world is. The bug has taught me how diverse I am. The bug is responsible for a lot, but above all it is responsible for my world-view, a view that sees far beyond the horizon line.

 

Where do you want to go?

 

 

 

 

E.

 

 

Title is from this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AGD78mWcss