Thursday, January 31, 2008


My latest art work is now a 2 piece installation. It was a pillar with a metal frond on. Today I discovered the pillar was blown over and in two pieces. This is becasue basically the pillar was made out of that cheap imitation concrete concept. Unfortunately, this was purchased to symbolise my new job. I hope this is not a symbol of my new job - because effectively that would mean my new job is F***** and a v. bad investment. I can probably recycle in shape and form but definitely not worth the $300 I spent on it for it to break in two. Maybe thats the lesson of the day. Learning how to make my investment work for me no matter what happens.
Today my boss assigned me a new piece of work for my portfolio. She didn't actually define what it was and then told me I had to live with "ambiguity". Um, I don't think I like ambuguity. But my strategy within the work environment will be to say "yes, I am working on the "*%"£?>" strategy, smile and be very p.o.s.i.t.i.v.e about it all. But fuck, its like saying I work on world peace. And actaully theres another whole division within my new govt dept working on this strategy. I hope they do their job well ;-) because that will mean I am doing my job well. My whole team had a meeting on this strategy this afternoon. Goodness knows what they talked about but it seemed to make sense to them. Maybe I do find some aspect of trying to work out how you can talk for an hour or so "estorically" challenging - challenging and frsutrating at the same time. Oh what the fuck is "esotoric" and if you are "estoric" do you need to use the word in any case.
As for my new job today I had drinks with the "managers". I met a group manager from another divsion who happens to be the sister of a well known MP. I knew who she was but I said "oh, so where do you work and what do you do and she described what she did without having to use the words "Group Manager" - so from that I assessed that she was Ok and we would get along fine. And then my manager goes "she's the Group Manager". And I'm like, like so???
I like my new people but sometimes I find them arrogant and quite intellectually snobby - and very openly so - which is not to say that I can't keep up or engaged with them - I just question why they feel the need to assert and proclaim their knowledge! I guess theres aspects within that I find both yuk and attractive.
Unfortuantely I had an OMG that is so not funny moment at the end of drinks. My boss goes "so, will we see you next week?" when I left. And I said "definetely.... its only after 3 months that you need to worry" Ummmm. Not funny. Welll, it is defintiely funny but not in the Group Manager context.

Anyway, the Group Manager, who is the sister of the well known MP is HOT. Can only disclose that becasue I have a readership of 3 people!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Accommodation - aspects of familarility

One of the things I like about my new accommodation is that in some aspects it is like a certain floor on a certain building I knew very well in Molesworth St through lived experienced and having spent a long time there.
The main difference is that I didn't have a choice of 4 lifts or to have to have to elevate myself seven floors to reach my desk at Molesworth St.
A key thing I find comforting is when I walk through the doors to my new accommodation I look down a long corridor. It is almost identical in layout to my Molesworth reference. I walk through the door and to the right the research team sit and then there are offices, open plan and couches etc. Sometimes I blink and if the topic area wasn't different, the people weren't unfamiliar I could be back on old territory.
But I am not. And will never be. I am the relocated catapillar.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My new boss

Today I had my first meeting with my new boss. Apparently these are called "bilateral meetings" because they are held every two weeks. I noticed she has four ear piercings in one ear. I did notice that at my interview but I noticed it again today. She also wears her hair up - like posh doktor. Apparently my job is all about influence and facilitation - like hello, as if that is a new concept. One of the skills I need to develop given this is the charm factor. Sometimes I lack it. Today I made a lot of bad jokes. Its what I do when I am nervous. Like at the end of our "bilateral meeting" I said "thanks, I'll see you in two weeks time then"...omg that is so not funny....

I had my first "pod" coffee meeting today too. That was nice. I like my pod members - so are trying to align my work programme with theirs.

I have a distressed fejoa tree. I could let it die a natural death. I could do that. But then all those watering moments when it was in a pot from a few seasons ago would be lost so I will do my best to give it intensive care.

I have a trademe bid in play. Its for a new oak table. This would mean if I win I will be able to invite you round for dinner and you can be confident that the chair you sit on will hold you up all evening. The bid closes tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me becasue its a nice set and would go well in my home.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


There are baby Deer at Matarawa. It is the first time I have noticed them. They are in a seperate paddock with their mothers. The fathers having done their work are in a seperate paddock. This is the first time I have noticed the baby deer - Does? They must have been there this time of year the last two years in a row but I did not notice. I'm not sure why lambs, calves and does are all born at different times of the year. But that seems to be the case - and in that order. As for my catapillars they really are gone. I will try again next year.

I am contemplating improving my sustainability and buy local factor which already has got a pretty good self assessment rating. Tonight I ate Moki from the fish shop in Wellington. It was "fresh". Maybe. But it tasted nothing like the Moki I get from the market. I also wathced the eco gardening programme and with a bit more refined planning in my garden I should be able to eat out of it full time. And anything I can't grow get from the market.

Also my driveway needs rounduping to get rid of the weeds. If I can find a way to do this without the roundup I could seriously be getting my garden on the way to being truly organic.

My only pitfall is water consumption...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day Two

Now I have to agree on workplan. That is a little harder than day one. I have to engage in intellectual debate. That is a little harder. It's all about influence. That is a little harder. But noone said it would be easy.

Heaven on the 7th Floor

That's an old seventies song. Well, today I started my new job - it's how I pay for my gardening habit. So far all augers well, this is despite being located in the corridor once more - even though located on heaven on the 7th floor. Ah yes, yes once again my seat outlooks onto the corridor. But this time there are a four critical points of difference to note:
1. My desk is not immediately opposite the main entrance door to the floor.
2. My desk is not immediately opposite "Rambos" changing room/wardrobe and the snack store cupboard - even though I grew to like Rambo.
3. My desk is in a strategic location, does get nice natural sunlight and a view of some very happy happy people posted on a wall
4. Most importantly, my desk is located within an arms length of the "dog and phone" filing cabinet. What is the "dog and phone" filing cabinet - well, its a take off of the "dog and bone" pub. It is loaded with wine, chips and top shelf achohol that reminded me of the early days of the alcohol and drugs policy team at my former work place and indeed of one of the managing directors of one of New Zealands utmost policy and regulatory specialists. Oh, woops, possibly too much detail - but given the apparent average reading length of my blog is 30 seconds you may not have got that far - and in any case I have not disclosed names - if you can draw together the dots then you are a genius...

Anyway, I think my new team is quite "quirky". That is another name for eccentric. Especially my new manager who much reminds me of Chinese version of Posh Doktor. But, this is the crunch - they are passionate about what they are do, they are fun, and best of all I do not feel like I am back at school and in a classroom or tutorial - I feel I am in a policy shop. This of course means I have to grapple with big P policy. And actually I think a lot of the policy is quite abstract. But I may enjoy that.

My new manager is a woman. Her manager is a woman. And her manager is a women.

Highlights of the day were:

1. Meeting my Group Manager and my Group Manager cutting to the chase and saying she wouldn't ask me where I had worked because she had read my CV and approved my appointment. I liked that direct approach. She asked me what I was working on. I told her to come back and ask me next week!
2. The team meeting and introductions. The key thing being what kind of cat you have. How could I loose on this one with Ali the beautiful black gifted cat. I nearly lost them when I said he was was named Ali because he was black, but when I backed this up with the boxing interest there seemed to be hushed approval.
3. My "buddy" offering suggestions for my "survival pack" such as muesli bars, shoes etc should there be an earthquake etc. My "buddy" hilarious in nerd way.

I have advised all newbies have to complete a nerd/geek test. I suspect I will fail this.

There are lots of quirks I have observed about my new team environs, but I will post more in the days to come.

There is a full moon. And there is wind. I am almost tempted to say tonight is the windiest night in my personal history of the Wairarapa. Windy.

Lowlight of the day: spending the first 20 minutes on arrival home, coaxing a tortured bird out of my bedroom window. Its part of Ali's sustainability commitment. eg catch play but do not kill. I don't enjoy it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Catapillars - Kaput

The caterpillars have GONE. Just DISAPPEARED. No more swan plant = NO MORE CATERPILLARS. It makes me quite SAD because they were getting quite FAT. I have no idea where they have gone.
I have gardener's hair. Dry and sunburnt. I probably should have got it cut before I start my new job - which is tomorrow. I tried to blowdry it today as a practice run for tomorrow. It was a futile attempt. I haven't had it cut since my interviews - over 4 months ago. I think I will get it cut on Friday.
I googled how to impress in your new job or something like that. Advice included carrying a suitcase. I'll probably settle for a handbag. I fear I may be very hot in work clothes tomorrow.
I need to stay more than three months in this job I start tomorrow. I need to make it work in more ways than one for me.
Third series of Prison Break starts in seven minutes.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bark burn

I have bark burn. This occurs when you transport a truckload of bark with a bucket because you do not have a wheelbarrow. In any case if I had wheelbarrow I probaby would have used the bucket as it allows for precision when downloading the bark onto the soil. Bark burn occurs when you hold the bucket - full of bark chips in the one place against your leg. The good thing about bark burn is that once you stop holding the bucket of bark against your leg it does appear to begin to heal. - Yes, the bark pile is now all on the garden.
I also have lip burn - and fear turing up at my new palce of employment with stuffed lips on both sides so are trying to heal them retrospectively with lip balm.
The caterpillars have all descended to the bottom of the swan plant. There is not much swan plant left. Although some of them are now quite fat I fear my science project may be doomed. I tried putting some nice big juicy vine leaves and rubarb leaves to save their lives. I am not sure what will happen once they run our of leaves....and if they don't take to the vine and rurbarb leaves.
Also, catapillars have heads and antlers at both ends! - still this wont be much good if they die fo stravation.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My new PA and lawnmowers

My new PA left a message on my cellphone today. It instructed me to arrive at my new workplace at 9am "sharp" on Tuesday. If I had any problem with that I was informed to ring her back. In part I was relieved to have it confirmed that next week I would be back in the paid workforce, especially as my new manager is on leave next week but assured me that arrangements would be in place for me to start work. But part of me objected to
the instruction of arriving at 9am "sharp". Especially when this PA got the time for my first interview wrong and especially when actually I an anally punctual. I don't know why I object to the word "sharp" but I do. Anyway, next week I am back in the heart of the Labour workforce. I'm ambivalent, nervous and angry all mixed into one for various reasons.

Today I received $11.00 for my Dad's old lawnmower and rotary hoe. The trademe guy came in a little hatchback and dissembled them. I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old and trusted friend letting go of the lawnmower. Boy, have that lawnmower and I done some mileage together. But I kind of like that both the mower and rotary hoe will be recycled and not just lay dormant in my garage.

In other breaking news, the single woman living alone next door had her lawn mowed by Mr Green today. This required a ride on lawnmower due to the height of the lawn. This means she can now meander on her lawn. So, I suspect I may be seeing more of her.

In a brief conversation yesterday on lawnmowers and Mr Green I volunteered that once she had her lawn mower under control I would be happy for her to borrow mine.


Today I counted 8 caterpillars on my swan plant - which is now looking a little worse the wear for hosting the caterpillars. They just appeared. Those monarch butterflies must have been doing the business on that plant.
Now I await the further developments - and must remember to carefully hose where the swan plant is located. I could google (and probably will at some stage) to find out all the technical details - but for now I am just enjoying watching the rapid progress without any need for scientific detail.
Having never did fifth form science I am enjoying my swan science project. It would be my top tip to encourage young children to take interest in the garden.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Announcing death while I am in the garden

Today I learned in the garden that Hone Tuwhare had died. Last week it was Sir Edmund Hilary. Both were in their eighties and both were legends in their own way. But legends die too. And when they do, who follows in their footsteps? This meant that I got to listen to lots of cool tribute Tuwhare music. My favourite being Don McGlashans version of Rain.
As the National Radio announcer said Hone Tuwhare was lots of things to different people. For me, what I remember most is him coming to Wainuiomata College when I was in Moana Jackson's class in the fifth form. I now get the connection but didn't at the time. For each of those men words are powerful because they use them wisely, each in their different ways.
I think at the time it was some poets in schools thing. So, Hone Tuwhare was the first real life poet I saw perform. He was funny. He was an entertainer. He was real. Sam Hunt followed and he too was great.
I've seen them both perform in recent years, and enjoyed their ability to perform. But those first performances I saw will always hold something special in my memory.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Have you ever noticed how council gardener's wear boots? Well, there is very good reason for this. Jandals and gumboots are fine for a quick sojourn in one's garden, but when you are doing a full days work in the heat of summer and midday sun if you wear jandals or gumboots your feet sweat and you begin to slip. You also after awhile not only get dirty feet but cracked feet.

I have resorted to wearing "boots". I am sure this is good idea because it means my feet are supported. But in wearing boots one has to wear socks. The socks get incredibly dirty and now I have to soak them in Napisan. It's hard work being a gardener.

I am about half way through my barkchip pile. Tomorrow I will make significant progress and hope to reduce what is left by half again. My truckload of bark has become my Everest. I will be glad when I have knocked the bastard off - not of course to undermine Sir Eds achievements - which because I listen to National Radio - I heard about five times the day he died.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The cost of a visit to Wellington

Yesterday I went to visit someone in Island Bay. On face value this should have cost me $26.00 for the train fare plus the bus fare. It turns out the bus fare cost $3.50 each way. It would have been cheaper had the bus driver reminded me that day trippers were cheaper off I was travelling off peak. So, all up this trip cost to Island Bay cost me $33.00 for a cup of coffee with a former colleague. Ok, now I have defied the rule of putting a price on friendship. Now normally I have no problems about my commuter costs. Its the price I pay for living in the Wairarapa. Having worked this out the reverse is also true. If someone visits me it costs them $26.00. If not in public transport then petrol/car costs. My actual day yesterday though ended up costing much more than that. Hence, the remainder of my unemployment period will be spent in happy hibernation.

How to attract butterflies into your garden
Inspired by a young boy at the plant centre I purchased a swan plant. It works. Plant a swan plant and the monarch butterfly goes straight for it. I'm not sure how this works. But it works. I like monarch butterflies. There is something quite majestic about them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

How to attract native birds into your garden

1. Buy a Telecom cellphone.
2. Download native birds to your ringer tones.
3. Press play repeatedly.
4. Vary bellbird, tui, and morepork "bird calls" alternatively. You will soon discover morepork is best used in darkness. Although it may also attract attention from your neighbours.
5. Native birds fly around and around and around - quite confusedly but around and around nevertheless.
6. Vary your "bird calls" by moving around the garden and pressing "play" from various locations. Close to trees works best.
7. Repeat until you think "this is not really fair to the birds - but it's amazing how well it works."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The bark man

The bark man came at 8.00am or so today. I was having a shower. It was a little embarrassing for both of us. I said "oh, I didn't think I would be your first job". He responded " your not, I start work at Your my second job of the day." I paid him cash. He gave me a receipt. This is how you deal with tradesmen or anyone in fact. Cash goes a long way.
Now, shovel by shovel I deposit the bark on to my garden in various stages. This is not as as easy as it sounds. Well the shovelling of the bark is.
However. I have to prepare the soil first. Fertiliser it with blood and bone, sheep pellets, potash, epsom salts. Then I have to water this in. Followed by the ritual layering of the recycled newspapers. More watering and then the layering of the bark.
There's a long way to go. I have to intersperse little afternoon sleeps because it gets so hot. The trick I think is to get up early do a few hours and then do the key work beginning and end of day.
It will be worth it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bark chips

Today I ordered a truckload of barkchips. To be technically correct not actually a truckload of barkchips but a truckload of amenity garden bark. This is to put on my amenity garden. Heck, I may as well have ordered a truck load of gold. It costs $75.00 to deliver and so much per square metre. That is, $75.00 delivery for a 10km or so distance and back from Oldfields. I can't remember how many square metres fit in a truck - I think it was 10. Anyway, all up this is costing over $400.00. The alternative is hiring a trailer at $20.00 but then that only takes a cubic metre or so. So, its actually cost efficient in the scheme of things to order the bark. It will also reduce labour hours, make my garden look nicer and be more sustainable in terms of water retention. Its not cheap being sustainable.
The amenity bark will be delivered tomorrow. My garden is not quite ready for it. But I figured get the bark and that will spur me in to more action. This is the theory. I hope the truck fits and tips down the driveway.
The barkman sounded on the phone a bit rough and ready. I need to perfect a technique for dealing with suppliers and tradespeople. There's an art to it. And I haven't quite practiced it enough.
As someone is now officially unemployed and therefore no money going in to my bank account this week or for another three weeks or so I don't have money to be spending on barkchips.
But I need to get my garden in to shape.
In quite tragic news the tree fern I purchased with money from my last employer has been going brown and I have to chop some leaves off. It needed much more water - so it has suffered a bit of a rocky start. I hope it survives and that new leaves grow.
In other financial news I rang the Tax Department today. Yes, my student loan is payed off. In fact I am in credit by about $400.00 or so. Unfortunately, it takes them 10 days to send a tax form to me to change my tax code! Still, at least this should mean when I do become employed again I have about $300.00 or so each pay extra.
Money is on my mind.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Maori potatoes

Yesterday I harvested my first Maori potatoes that I had grown myself - these were even sprouted by me having been left over from the "Ellis Freidman" barbecue last year. When you dig them up its like finding black gold. When they are cooked though they go super and penetrating purple. They are nice but I quite like the basic standard old spud. They do they make a superb contrast in colour on the plate with fresh pan fried groper and tomato salsa.

I had groper at Stokers, vineyard the other day. That restaurant is good value and nice people - plus Gladstone vineyard is making an effort to be sustainable. Sometimes the Stoker lady sells Irish soda bread at the market. But one reason for this is she and her husband are Irish. It's nice to eat out but I reckon my groper is pretty dam fine when I pan fry or bake it. Probably helps we have the same fish source.

Speaking of the market yesterday it was packed. There were also numerous morris dancers in attendance. Hmm. I don't get morris dancers.

My village is being invaded with summer tourists. The market is packed and then go Moise's for coffee as I usually do at the weekend and a read of magazine - and the people at the next table are discussing their holiday home and how their wife appeared the hot section of the Sunday Star last weekend. I now consider myself a "local". Although really I am a Wellingtonian too, I guess, just not when I'm being a local.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I've been weeding today. My roses are doing Ok given they survive amongst weeds for periods of times. But I can grow better roses. I have grown better roses. I can grow show roses that are as close to perfection as you can get. This is beginning to annoy me that my garden is not as good as I can get it. I let my life get like that sometimes too. Well, things are going to change. I'm going to improve the state of my roses and the state of my life.
The annoying thing is that the four new roses are on their way to being of the standard I expect from my roses for their age. Maybe I can use that positively, and they can set the benchmark. I purchased them from the californian garden centre in mirimar. I need a few to replace a couple I have lost. I willl be going back there next year.
The only constraint I have with the roses currently is contravening the water ban. But I'm going to. Apparently there are water meters in place so the council will have evidence i Have exceesive use. This is my only sustyainable flaw. My excessive water usage. But flowers need water to grow. Mulch does help but its not enough.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Yesterday on the train home I had a victory with George. George is a train guard. He would be mid fifties possibly late fifties early sixties. He wears his hair shaved short. He wears oversized shorts. His manner is abrupt to say the least. When he asks for tickets he says "Tickets pleeeeeeeeeessssssssssse" in a Hitler type lisp. The key thing is the please ends with a defiinite hiss. I would be kinder on him if I thought it was genuine lisp but I do not think it is. It's just something he's developed. I have one positive thing to say about George and that is that he is consistent. However, this consistency applies to his rudeness to all Tranzmetro customers on all services. He is consistently rude to all customers whether they are regular or not, whether they are abled or not, and whether they are young or not.
George seems to think he rules Tranzmetro and the railways. He is in fact a train bully. I really should lay a complaint about him, but I'm trying not to buy in to the culture of complaint. Although this entry is a little contradictory to that. Ironical. However, I want to publicly savour my minor victory over George while alert potential customers to him should they be travelling on public transport.
On New Years Eve he was extremely rude to an elderly passenger who clearly doesn't travel that often insisting she had the wrong ticket. The moment was saved when Jenny (the lady guard - and who deserves her own entry) came along and said yes, she had sold the lady a ticket. He never apologised for his rudeness. Although Jenny did to the old lady. The point was that it should have been George that apologised.
The thing I've noticed about George apart from his consistent rudeness is that he also seems to get the Sunday and Public holiday shifts. I suspect this is so I can get the increased pay.
Anyway, George was on "guard" on New Years day on my return trip home. As I passed him before I boarded he advised me that I needed to put my bag in the bag section of the train up
the front of the train. I didn't see that this was really necessary as the train was not full but thought I would comply so handed it to the "other man on duty" (who also deserves a separate entry) and answered his question that I was getting off at Carterton.
When I arrive at Carterton I went to collect my blue bag. George insisted it wasn't there. I said it was. He asked me to show him which was my bag. So I did. It was the blue bag. He then said it couldn't be my bag because it was was in the Masterton luggage section of the carriage. So, quite pissed off and not to be intimidated by George on the first day of the year, I said
"Well, I told the other guy I was getting off at Carterton. As you know, I get off at Carterton every day, so why you think I wouldn't be getting off at Carterton today beats me. And besides, you saw me carrying this bag before I got on the train"
It was a small moment of victory over George. He smirked. But I knew it was smirk of defeat. I knew I had verbally beat him and this small verbal victory felt very sweet as I walked off into the Carterton sunset with my blue bag.
I realise that I am supposed to adhere to anonymity, least I be charged with slander or whatever, but George needs to be named and shamed. If you encounter him, please fight the cause and stand up to his rudeness!

Happy New Year "Anyone"

To celebrate the New Year I have enabled the feature "anyone" can comment. That is, you can comment anonymously. I didn't realise that this may have been inhibiting freedom of commentary until Homeperm alerted to me to this fact. So, "suck it up" as Strongerlight has advised me and comment! I helps me know that I have a readership out there.

Well, 2008 is here at last. It promises to be a great year. Last night I watched the moon set at Hikoi over Kapiti. I also had the delightful experiecne of enjoying a Morgue organised event. That man Morgue knows how to get the people and the sounds together. DV3 and the Scotsman provided superb sound grooves. Even though I never danced, I did enjoy the music. It was also nice to be invited into the wider Morgue clan. There were fireworks and converstaions with people who know how to catch paua. It was nice to share the end of the 2007 and the begining of 2008 with such good company. I'm still adjusting to that moment when you meet someone from the blog community in real life. But thats I first met Morgue! Oh, its was a tough call between the Nash lady and the great downward sand dune race - but I thing the sand dune race won for highlight of the last day or so. It reminds me that its the free simple pleasures and the ability to play as adults that remains important - and sharing friendship.

So, I've decided it would be good to list eight things that I will do (or not do) in 2008 - eight coming from the 2008. Here they are not necessarily in sequentila order, but eight things I will be able to place on the 100 things I need to do before I die. Eight seems doable. SO, here I go:

1. Learn to scuba dive so I can catch crayfish and paua.
2. Get fit and loose weight.
3. Resume boxing.
4. Wear a size 14 black dress.
5. Go for a Hot air balloon ride.
6. Allow myself to get in a loving relationship
7. Increase my annual salary by at least $15,000 within the next 12 months
8. Read 15 books and write at least 500 words per day.

There you go. I will achieve that list of eight by 31 December 2008. This will mean significant change in my life of proportions I have not achieved for some time. But I've decided its time for this amount of change.

Here we go......Happy New Year. Let's enjoy the year. It will be awesome, energising and invigorating.