31 December 2005

Better be better than the last one

I'm going to be in the wilds of Wanganui for the evening and next day, visiting my brother Ben, who's the Tylee Cottage resident at the moment (followed by Mr Couper), so here's to you, hope you have a good one:

28 December 2005

Truly unbelievable

The two things I really can't handle at the moment are noise and people. I was woken this morning by our neighbour putting up scaffolding right next to our bedroom window, from where the bastard can look in the window and down into the (previously private) courtyard where I like to smoke cigarettes (which I'm smoking a lot of at the moment), and now no matter where I go I can't escape the extremely loud, continuous noise of hammers, drills, scrapers, etc.

Good news

Daniel Johnston is home from hospital:
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

My consciousness returns like a bloated corpse to shore

She's been a full on couple of days. Not all bad, even pleasant moments here and there, but I'm beginning to suspect the gods are conspiring to drive me completely insane - one thing after another, it's unbelievable. There's been synchronicity aplenty and a few bizarre touches as well, not least the craziness in the car park at Nana's retirement home and all the old people lined up waiting at the door when we went to visit and do the family thing on the morning of the 25th.

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

Here's to a consumerist frenzy based on a Christian myth slopped on top of a pagan ritual

Sun going down through the Pohutukawa tree in the back garden where we had dinner:

The wild beast enjoys her spoils:

23 December 2005

Back in the world (sort of)

Rose came and picked me up this morning. An unexpected visitor, setting off the car alarm inadvertently, and a guy having pump rage behind me while we were getting petrol on the way back have not helped. Neither did leaving stuff behind and forgetting to do other things. Needless to say I haven't even thought about doing Xmas shopping till I was confronted with the tree in the corner (this is what happens when I'm not here to maintain ideological rigour). I don't think I can face the madness that town will be either, so will just have to incur yet more utu obligations.

22 December 2005


I had a brief period of consciousness this morning, but I've been asleep all the rest of the time. Last day here as well. I need to suss out what I need to do before departing - this might take some time.

21 December 2005

Waikanae views

View from McF's lounge, with Kapiti in the background:

Garden and cat:

And if you feel like something else to look at, you can't check out Couper's drawing of Mark E Smith but you can admire his one of Jad Fair, among others.

20 December 2005

Start the programming now...

I found this in my sketchbook, which I'd been meaning to do for Ben's 1 yo twins' room for some time, and today seemed ideal, seeing as I can just leave it here and all. It's called Word painting (ABC):

And to use the title of this post in a completely different sense, check out Simon Sweetman's blog.

19 December 2005

The here and now

It's been a fairly harrowing day, but I'm now feeling pretty good. I'm ensconced in McF's place in Waikanae up the Coast, and very pleasant it is too. Rose drove me up and helped me suss out the 20 point instruction list for 'bare maintenance' of the household that's been left for me before leaving me to it. I want to see the full maintenance set, with maps and diagrams and all.

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

Random thoughts

Isn't it funny that the contradictory phrases 'free as a bird' and 'pecking order' both make sense?

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


I've had a very strange last few days. I find being around people extremely difficult. I'm going to house-sit for my friend Ben and feed their cats for a few days next week and try to get my head together.

16 December 2005

Titahi Bay and environs

Looking back from left to right. Radio mast and Pauatahanui Inlet:

Porirua harbour and city:

Titahi Bay:

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

The views from the hill next to my olds' place...

This hill here in fact:

On the way up. Looking out:

Looking down:

Looking back at the entrance to Porirua harbour:

At the top. The entrance to Titahi Bay:

Mana Island:

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

Strange weekend

I've had a strange weekend. Friday night was not so good. Saturday and Sunday nights were. I've had some really good conversations with friends old and new.

I'm going to stay with the olds for a while, probably from tomorrow.

09 December 2005


This one's in response to gothamimage's suggestion:

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

And then my magic art powers failed me...

No pictures today. I did try to sit down to do some drawing but couldn't work out where to even begin. I tried lying in the sun and reading, but that didn't work either - just couldn't take it in. For most of the last couple of days I've been smoking lots of cigarettes and listening to Daniel Johnston, the Fall's new album, the Beatles, selections from Johnny Cash's American III and IV albums (one song in particular over and over), Bonnie Prince Billy's I see a darkness, some Bongwater I used to be into and only recently rediscovered, and lots of classic NZ music from my youth.

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).

Bloody life.

05 December 2005

Don't know about this one...

Update on previous post

Okay, so I went to the doctor, and he looked pretty freaked out and immediately said we're stopping the medication and trying something else in a few days' time with sedatives for the interim. Apart from that, all I remember of the ensuing conversation was getting really confused and totally losing the plot at one point and him using the words 'acute case' and 'hypomania' somewhere in there. Good thing Rose was there.

Some documentation

I think the term side-effect's a bit of a misnomer. Surely a drug has a range of effects, and what we call side-effects are simply the set of unintended effects from the particular combination of effects a particular drug that's been designed to perform only one or two has. I've started some medication recently and am now about to attempt to document the unintended effects I've been experiencing the last few days.

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

This morning

I couldn't sleep last night, so stayed up all the night doing this:

Then I went for a walk to watch the dawn:

Dreadful news

Daniel Johnston's been hospitalised for what appears to be poisoning from the medicine that's allowed him to be so productive recently.

(Pic nicked from here.)
visitors since 29 March 2004.