31 December 2005
28 December 2005
As recently as last week, family members were advised that Daniel would require long-term medical care and permanent dialysis for kidney failure. But early this week that prognosis changed drastically and the artist is now at home with functioning kidneys and a renewed zeal for pursuing his songwriting and art.
Family members describe the episode as a serious infection that caused kidney failure and resulted in dangerous distortion of prescription medications in his system. The infection proved to be highly resistant to antibiotics and prolonged the uncertainty of the cause and his recovery.
In the hospital, Daniel had a wall covered with cards, pictures, letters, and emails from supportive fans, which he reportedly packed up to take home with him on Friday. "I didn't know where I was or how I got there," Daniel is reported to say after weeks of semi-conscious state. "But this has happened to me plenty of times before".
This is a both a reference to memories of waking up in a mental institutions and that he sometimes wakes up in some part of the world performing on tour and is uncertain where he is, his brother explained.
On the ride home, Daniel was exuberant. "Hallelujah! Freedom! I feel like an escaped mental patient."
27 December 2005
Speaking of synchronicity, I'd stayed up late and had got up early (before the kids even) cos I wanted to finish this drawing while it was still in my head. It's a first stab at what I call a pscychocosmological map. Later on I discovered Rose had got me a book on imaginary maps that's going to be very useful indeed. She hadn't realised it, but it even had an essay on the maps of Arthur Ransome from the Swallows and Amazons books, which I've been getting into a lot recently.
24 December 2005
The wild beast enjoys her spoils:
23 December 2005
22 December 2005
21 December 2005
20 December 2005
And to use the title of this post in a completely different sense, check out Simon Sweetman's blog.
19 December 2005
I have a ridiculous amount of stuff with me. Snide remarks such as '300 books for 3 days' were made as we were leaving the olds. My answer was that you never know what you're going to want to consult, but I didn't let on I'd picked up more from Rose's. I can't conceive how I'm going to begin considering how to sort my life out at the moment, so I'm not going to worry about it, relax, and do stupid drawings (i.e. not worry how they come out either), hence the need for reference material.
I went to see the doctor today and he's upped my dosage to 'a more therapeutic level' (I think is what he said (my memory is shot, along with other basic cognitive functions, so I s'pose 20 point lists aren't entirely out of order)). It may well zombify me again, but I think I can cope with that.
Oh yeah, I've sussed how to deal with these panic attack things. Part of it is you start to breathe rapidly and shallowly, so you just breathe in deep slowly and measuredly through your nose, hold it for a sec, and then let it out slowly and measuredly through your mouth a few times till your heart rate's come down. Sweet as.
Of course you don't think of these basic things when you're spinning out (which is partly why I've written it out in full like this - to help fix it in my head).
18 December 2005
I've been up the hill again, watching the birds and finishing off a drawing. I also managed to fluke it so that I could watch the leaders duel round the first mark of the local yacht club's race.
Look out from the top and it's apparently all wild and free. Turn around and it's all tame and suburban. Both sets of views, however, show clear signs of the land's use (and abuse) by people. We don't see what's objectively there (otherwise everything'd be upside down). We see what our brain's made of the signals it has received based on its previous experience. We see what we've learnt to see.
Patterns on the water can indicate a gust coming, a bunch of clouds on the horizon can indicate land over there, the shape of trees can indicate the direction of the prevailing winds, but they don't necessarily do so. There is meaning in everything, but it's all dependent on context. Not only do two different people see two different versions of the same thing but so does the same person at two different times.
Sitting in the sun can addle your brain.
17 December 2005
16 December 2005
Porirua harbour and city:
The olds' place is down there somewhere, a short walk from the beach. People drive their cars on to it, the boathouses seem to be more full of fridges of beer than boats, and at low tide you can see and stand on the petrified remains of a forest. The whole area's got an interesting history.
15 December 2005
On the way up. Looking out:
Looking back at the entrance to Porirua harbour:
At the top. The entrance to Titahi Bay:
The Marlborough Sounds are off there in the distance.
On a vaguely related note, the effects of the new pills are quite different than the old ones. At first I was a real zombie - couldn't read, couldn't draw - but that's been getting better. I tried posting a couple of days ago but couldn't.
I get these full on panic attacks but (brought on by any kind of stress it seems, even the smallest amount). My hands shake heaps, my heart races, I get all confused, and I can't remember anything. It doesn't help that the vast majority of human beings seem to be selfish assholes.
Oh, and for boring technical reasons I can receive email okay, but sending it is a real pain. There's an easy fix I think, but I'm not up to working it out at the moment.
12 December 2005
09 December 2005
Pencil, pen, watercolour, and blood. It's all jiggly at the top cos I was holding it at the bottom above the scanner and my hands were shaking a lot. Fight the fockers with sorcery I reckon.
08 December 2005
We've got people putting up scaffolding around the house. I find being around people difficult at the moment and might have to find somewhere else to hide tomorrow (oh right, it'll actually be later on today).
05 December 2005
I haven't been sleeping. I've been stumbling a lot and all jittery and agitated. I've been raving a lot but also really forgetful, often completely forgetting a conversation minutes after it's happened. I've been replacing words with others that sound similar but bear no other relation to the one I meant in that context. I've been making all sorts of stupid spelling and punctuation errors, which is very uncharacteristic. I've been getting obsessively focused on one thing for hours at a time. It's been quite fun to be honest, and useful, but I'm extremely difficult to be around and interact with. I'm putting Rose through the wringer. Hopefully it'll settle down soon.
Paul and I went to and tidied up the studio last night, which was a particularly good thing to do - getting rid of the piles of chaos and beer bottles.
03 December 2005
01 December 2005
29 November 2005
I, Cuauhtencoztli, here I am suffering.
What is, perchance, true?
Will my song still be real tomorrow?
Are men perhaps real?
What is that will survive?
Here we live, here we stay,
but we are destitute, oh my friends!
Here's part of one by Nezahualcoyotl, tlatoani (king or lord, literally 'spokesperson') of Texcoco and famous poet:
Ponder this, eagle and jaguar knights,
Though you are carved of in jade, you will break;
Though you are made of gold, you will crack;
Even though you are a quetzal feather, you will wither.
We are not forever on this earth;
Only for a time are we here.
I've sussed out how to email posts. I've changed the date format from the barbaric American system to the proper logical one and've added a couple more links to the right there (funnily enough, they're both Yanks, but it's sweet as - they both seem cool).
Update: Okay, added another link to balance things up a tad (this one's from Denmark no less). I need to learn some new languages. Being a monoglot's getting me down. Nahuatl'd be good.
28 November 2005
Oh yeah, and the way they don't put spaces after the colons in the 'About me' section really annoys me.
|This Is My Life, Rated|
|Take the Rate My Life Quiz|
It's silly, but it's still pretty dismal. Of course they've got an agenda going on - but that'll be me showing my low spirit score by being cynical and distrustful no doubt.
I'm below the average score on everything but the two things they reckon our materialistic (in the sense of being consumerist rather than the philosophical sense I assume, though given their religious bias they probably don't distinguish betyween the two) society lacks - actual connections to human beings. Not bad for a nihilist, eh?
27 November 2005
I did venture out for the Mary Newton first birthday bash yesterday, which was really good. I spent quite a bit of time chatting and comparing notes with Bryan Dew, who I liked very much. He gave me some technical tips as well that I'm keen to play around with when I get back into the studio.
I've been reading The Conquest of Mexico by Hugh Thomas, a truly brutal and horrific tale. I started it just after reading Discoveries: The Voyages of Captain Cook by Nicholas Thomas (I assume the authors are not related). The contrast between the two is pretty full on.
22 November 2005
19 November 2005
15 November 2005
The modernist project, tied in with the growth and rise to dominance of the art market, sustained itself by bringing the margins to the centre whenever the centre got played out. Unfortunately, there's no distinction between the margins and the centre any more. Pluralism's seen to that.
In this situation, image and networking are what determines who gets taken up. The connection with late-capitalist business is obvious: identical products are distinguished by branding. There is no truth or essential meaning any more. That is axiomatic. All that is left is irony. Both art and advertising favour word games, paradoxes, juxtaposition, and cheap attention-grabbing tricks.
I'm a very strong believer in doing stuff for your own benefit. Ignore the one-trick ponies and gimmick art. Don't worry about who's hot or not. Stay away from what PKD called reflex-arc machines (people who've turned themselves into things). Just do what you like and get it out there, and hopefully you'll make connections with other authentic human beings.
14 November 2005
MIT scientists test aliminium foil hats and conclude the craze among conspiracy theorists was actually started by the government to improve the efficacy of their mind control rays.
A Japanese primatologist reckons mobile phones are making the young behave like chimpanzees.
13 November 2005
10 November 2005
Stephen's playing Happy tomorrow night. I haven't been to the Walters influence show at Pataka yet (I was going to go to the opening on Saturday but wasn't feeling well enough), but it definitely looks worth a visit or two. Also check out White Fungus if you haven't already.
05 November 2005
03 November 2005
01 November 2005
The main aim of editing is to remove any barriers between the reader and what the writer wants to convey. Editing ensures the text is clear and consistent; has good grammar, spelling, and punctuation; and has a sensible structure. The reader usually only notices editing when it is lacking.
Strictly speaking, if something is not inconsistent, grammatically wrong, or factually incorrect, it should not be changed. A common error is for an editor to rewrite in their own style. Every change must be justifiable and must not affect the author’s intended meaning or voice.
Types of editing
Structural editing, which is sometimes called substantive editing, involves clarifying or reorganising the text’s content and structure. The editor may suggest changes for the author to make or may rearrange and rewrite the material in consultation with the author.
Copy-editing involves detailed editing for sense and checking for consistency. It is sometimes called line editing. When editing for sense, the editor looks at each sentence to clarify meaning, eliminate jargon, and ensure that it meets the requirements of house style and English grammar and usage.
Every element in published material follows a style. Spelling, punctuation, capitalisation, etc can be rendered in different ways that are equally correct. In order to be consistent across publications, most publishers have preferences on which variant they use. These preferences are known as the publisher’s house style and are usually documented in a style guide. A house style is distinct from the generally accepted rules of grammar, spelling, and usage (which are usually inviolable in good writing). Editors apply both when carrying out their work.
Some common misconceptions
Put commas where you would pause when speaking or to break up a long sentence
Commas are arguably the most abused form of punctuation. Although there is great latitude in their use, there are some circumstances where including or omitting a comma is mandatory.
A common error is to use a comma to join two unrelated main clauses. This causes a comma splice and can be fixed by adding a co-ordinating conjunction, replacing the comma with a semicolon, or separating the clauses into two sentences.
A comma must never be used to separate a restrictive (defining) word, phrase, or clause. A restrictive word, phrase, or clause cannot be removed from a sentence without affecting the meaning. In the sentence “The man who was wearing a suit stood up”, “who was wearing a suit” defines which man stood up.
A comma must be used to separate a non-restrictive (non-defining) word, phrase, or clause. A non-restrictive word, phrase, or clause is not essential to the meaning of the sentence but comments on, or adds information to, the main clause. In the sentence “David, who was wearing a suit, stood up”, “who was wearing a suit” adds information about the man who stood up but could be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
A comma must never separate the subject and verb of a sentence. This is a common fault in sentences where the subject is long and there would be a natural pause when speaking.
The semicolon is a “super” comma
There are only two legitimate circumstances where you can use a semicolon. One is to separate two unrelated main clauses that could have been joined by a co-ordinating conjunction or treated as separate sentences. The other is to separate elements in a list that themselves contain commas.
Never end a sentence with a preposition
Nineteenth-century grammarians, in a misguided attempt to make English more like Latin (which they considered more logical than, and hence superior to, English), made up some rules that have proved remarkably resilient despite their patent silliness. This is one of them. The artificiality that results from slavish adherence to this “rule” is exemplified by Winston Churchill’s cutting observation that “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”
Never split an infinitive
This is another pseudo-rule taken from Latin by nineteenth-century grammarians and inappropriately grafted on to English (which is a Germanic language). The only thing wrong with Captain Kirk’s injunction “to boldly go where no man has gone before” is its sexism, which leads me to…
“They” is not a singular pronoun
“They” has been used as a singular pronoun since at least the fourteenth century, until those pesky prescriptivist grammarians from the nineteenth century naively interpreted Latin-based rules of grammatical agreement and ruled that “they” should be used only in the plural. Therefore there is no need for cumbersome new constructions such as “he or she” when a perfectly good old word will do.
George Orwell’s rules
In his classic essay “Politics and the English Language”, George Orwell set out six rules for effective writing:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
31 October 2005
Sums up the night really.
In other news, I've not been at the studio since Thursday. I got a bit stuck on stuff and wanted to take a bit of a break so I could come back to it with fresh eyes. I've been drinking beer and reading William Burroughs (big cheers to Stephen) and Arthur Ransome. They might not seem to go together to the casual eye but they do. I should relate my theory that Arthur Ransome, despite being an MI6 agent, was one of the great anarchist heroes of the 20th century at some time.
27 October 2005
Here's what's on the wall at the moment:
Astute observers will notice the same painting in two different states in the two pics.
The four canvas thing has been giving me gyp, but I think I've got the compositions sussed. With any luck, I'll have them nailed this evening. I want to get them all drawn up before starting on the underpainting - do them as a group.
23 October 2005
These first two are new. This one is what will be the first of four related ones (the start and the finish):
This one will be The first word: the nothingness:
And, finally, this one is coming along nicely:
Oh, and I thought I should remind you that you can click on any of these suckers to see 'em bigger.
20 October 2005
16 October 2005
As well as hangovers to contend with, we had Mum and Ben and Ang round for lunch on Saturday, so I didn't actually start moving stuff in till Saturday arvo. I spent most of today there and got heaps done. It was really good. The two small ones I was working are shaping up nicely, and I've started another. I'm thinking of painting over the new one though. I think the composition might suit a bigger canvas, and have something else that will fit this canvas better.
I was expecting to be able to post some photos of the nice sun streaming in the skylight and the nice view out the window, but they haven't appeared in the old email yet (even though the crappy photos I don't want to post and sent at the same time have - typical).
12 October 2005
Oh yeah, and Rose has finally got around to updating her blog.
08 October 2005
Went to Enjoy last night, for the closing thing of Mike Heynes' Schlock Horror. I really enjoyed Dragstrip. He reckons he's used to hiding behind a PA but having this direct and immediate relationship with the audience really worked well.
Paul, Matt, and I ended up drinking beer back here and listening to records while Rose tried to do some work (good eh?). She's got a ridiculous amount on, which is why her blog's been interrupted indeed.
04 October 2005
03 October 2005
On Sunday, Sandra, Paul, and I went to see Dutch Light at the doco film fest. I really enjoyed the film, despite some people in it saying some annoyingly stupid things. It was good to see an artistic subject being treated seriously. I won't be going to anything else at the fest but.
We hooked up with Stephen afterwards. He should've come to the film with us, and would've too if I'd knocked on his door when I was standing right outside it. But I'm stupid, so I didn't, so he missed it. We drank beer in a couple of different dives around town before heading back to Paul's (and hopefully soon to be my) studio to make plans for laying out the space to maximise usable wall area, usable bench area, and viewing distances. Sweet mate. I can feel it in my bones. It's going to be good.
Of course yesterday was the first day of daylight saving, so getting up this morning was grim, especially as it was raining to boot.
Quote of the day:
Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and exposing them to the critic. - Ambrose Bierce
01 October 2005
At 11 am this morning we will apparently have the official final election results. That will be interesting.
Update after 11: Ironically enough, the Nats lost a seat to the Maori Party (they don't get an extra seat though - because the Maori Party's share of the party vote went up, the overhang is reduced at the Nats' expense). The Greens' position seems unchanged.
27 September 2005
In other news, I've surprised myself by really enjoying my new job. I'm also really getting into the old oil painting. I think the trick is not caring about having a finished art work at the end of it but just playing around for playing around's sake. Ironically, I've flicked out the pingers for some flash materials for it.
I've been a bit down recently, and am feeling a whole lot better now. There's one thing still on my mind that's somewhat distracting, but I'm trying not to worry about that now and will deal with it in a wee while. I need to concentrate on work (in both senses of the word) at the moment.
21 September 2005
I started painting in oils again for the first time in years again on Saturday. I'm just playing around, getting the Skeleton Guy out of the studio and into the landscape. It's been really good, except my garage cum studio is not exactly well ventilated and I've ended up making myself quite sick. I'm about to head up there for some more now.
16 September 2005
The Kaikoura coast (including seals):
Looking towards Portobello on the Otago Peninsula from above Port Chalmers:
And towards the heads, plus a couple of things from Oamaru and Portobello: