Monthly Archives: September 2013

Revist #thethreeoclocksilentdiscoclub

I’ve been doing the #thethreeoclocksilentdiscoclub since May. (Reminder of the tag: 3pm + quiet in the library = chair-dancing time.) It has been fun but all good things must come to an end. I’ve decided that will be when Daylight Saving Time kicks in (last Sunday in September, when 2.00am becomes 3.00am.) I’m pretty sure that people are listening but without any way of assessing that, I fear that it will become annoying. (Like the fitness updates or 4square checkins or that hashtag that just won’t stop.)

Most of the tracks are available on the playlist. Every so often a video goes dark or is removed from the playlist by the owner. Sadly my calendar had a melt-down, so I’m not actually sure of the names of all the tracks. I quite like this as a philosophy –  #thethreeoclocksilentdiscoclub is ephemeral, only existing when it can. (I know that’s technically not true since I’ve collected them into a playlist but please, work with me here.)

Since the focus has been on tracks you can dance to, I’ll point you to Russell Brown’s Friday Music: Dancing Fool. It’s about dancing. I love dancing. I don’t do it much now – lack of opportunity mostly. My desire to dance has always been outweighed by my lack of specific knowledge about dance moves. The music tells me to do one thing, but I can’t figure out how to do it physically. My favourite dancing memory is hanging out with the cast of The Arrival and watching them dance in the Festival Club at one of the NZ International Arts Festivals. Those guys can move. They have the skills plus they look full of joy while they do it.

I’m not sure about the “Dance as if nobody’s watching” thing. I try to dance in relationship to the person I’m dancing with. This means watching for balance, counter-balance, interaction, lead, follow, etc. And space. I like lots of space to dance in. Sardine-style is not my favourite way to dance. Unsurprisingly, I also can’t abide formal or slow dancing. Give me room to move! Give me room to be in control sometimes! I tend towards literal interpretation, or “Old school” as my niece calls it. I think I could do “Dance as if nobody’s judging” instead.

Here’s the final track for 2013. Well, maybe not the _final_ track. There may be some special episodes 😉

C & C Music factory – Everybody dance now

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Characteristics which Kura Kaupapa Māori aim to develop in their children

At te reo classes we’ve been learning about a way of looking at identity, individual health, and well being, known as the Tuakiri. It was written by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira. It’s a way of looking at health holistically – everything that you are and experience, goes towards your mental and physical health. Last night we discussed child development (among other things). Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira also wrote (or contributed to, I’m not sure) Te Aho Matua o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, a foundation document for Kura Kaupapa Māori.

The very last page had this description of the sorts of kids they wanted to develop. Our discussion moved into “Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was a thing for everyone?” (Better articulated than that though. #IWasSick) It’s so amazing I wanted to share it.

This part of the document focuses, however, on the whole person in terms of a fully functioning human being whose personal attributes are recognised, nurtured and brought to fruition.
In summary, then, Te Tino Uaratanga defines the characteristics which Kura Kaupapa Māori aim to develop in their children, that they:

  • develop free, open and inquiring minds alert to every area of knowledge which they choose to pursue in their lives.

  • become competent thinkers, listeners, speakers, readers and writers in both Maori and English.

  • advance their individual talents to the highest levels of achievement.

  • delight in using their creative talents in all feats of endeavour.

  • are receptive to and have a great capacity for aroha, for joy and for laughter.

  • are true and faithful to their own sense of personal integrity while being caring, considerate and co-operative with others.

  • assimilate the fruits of learning into the deeper recesses of consciousness where knowing refreshes the spirit.

  • manifest self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline and well-developed qualities of leadership.

  • value their independence and self-determination in setting personal goals and achieving them.

  • radiate the joy of living.

  • manifest physical and spiritual well-being through the harmonious alignment of body, mind and spirit.

  • are secure in the knowledge of their ancestral links to the divine source of all humanity.

  • are high achievers who exemplify the hopes and aspirations of their people.

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Sick day thoughts

I’m at home sick, reading the Helen Oxenbury illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because it’s Banned Books week. I’m not 100% sure if this is just a US based thing or a worldwide thing but I told Dylan Horrocks I would read it so I’m reading it. I’ve made it onto the second page where the “Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket and looked at it” but I’ve got some thoughts running around my head about censorship, surveillance, community, education, society, the fall of Troy, and Joseph K. They’re distracting. I was going to wrangle them into some sort of proper thing but y’know, sick, and I can’t seem to form sentences properly, so I’m going to do a linky thing instead.

In no particular order…

  • Orwell and the Librarian, a Love Story by Alex Brown. It’s US based so YMMV re the legalities. “The library is a free, public space, which means it’s my job as a librarian to make sure you have the ability to exercise that freedom. I may not like your opinions, but you have the right to express them. It’s my job to not judge you and to make sure you have access to all materials you may need, unless they’re detrimental to the public as a whole. A public library is funded by your taxpayer dollars, so it’s our imperative to use that money responsibly and fairly. This sounds like a slippery slope situation, and sometimes it is. But most of the time, it’s a system that works relatively well. For a lot of people, particularly kids and teens, the library is the only place they can go where they have access to the things they’re interested in without judgment or mockery.” (My emphasis there because I love it so much.)
  • David Herkt’s vivid description of Parnell punk 78-79  Juxtaposes “Music from the punk heartland of the UK was hard to get, New Zealand’s precious remaining overseas currency reserves were guarded ruthlessly. Getting a postal order to send away to a company that advertised in the back-pages of a three-month-old copy of NME was a major bureaucratic mission. Forms had to be filled in. Larger postal orders required government approval. Like petrol, new records were rationed.” with “…they definitely were overdose years. The potency of the heroin and the fine line between “good time” and “death” meant experimentation could be tricky. Mouth-to-mouth was necessary knowledge.
  • In the UK, former home secretary David Blunkett talks about why he backs a plan for “UK service providers to impose “default” filters to block pornography.” From an earlier law But he admitted to early “hiccups” with the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which was initially abused by local authorities to spy on householders. When asked why things had gone wrong, he said: “Because we are human and we are frail and when we pass something we can not guarantee that other people won’t misuse it.“” (My emphasis again.)
  • Transcript of Seeby Woodhouse’s speech at the Stop the GCSB meeting in Auckland, August 2013, followed by the news that “since he spoke out against the Government’s GCSB legislation he was stopped entering America and questioned about his business and shockingly he was pulled aside and questioned by NZ officials when re-entering NZ.” Information that interests me here the connection between the GCSB and the Telecommunications Intercepts bills.
  • One of my favourite writers, Giovanni Tiso, on Michael Clarke, surveillance, and the emperor penguin that washed ashore at Pekapeka. (And a bunch of other things.) “The case of Michael Clarke is a refutation that society works as a Panopticon, keeping a constant and watchful eye on its subjects: all that it took for this lonely retiree to move into the shadows was a sufficient flow of funds and effective banking arrangements. Based on the evidence that he continued to be an economic subject, the system simply assumed that he was also a living one (I leave the biopolitical implications to those who care to pursue them). With Happy Feet, the reverse has happened: since his GPS transmitter stopped sending signals, it was quickly speculated that the penguin must have died a gruesome death, however unlikely that eventuality might in fact be. So of Michael Clarke we said we can’t see him, therefore he must be alive; whereas of Happy Feet we say we can’t see it, therefore it’s probably dead. And of course it very much matters that we wish to look at one and not the other. Surveillance is also a spectacle onto which desire and pleasure are projected.”   (Update on the penguin: Happy Feet the Penguin has been found.  Excitement at Caroline Bay palpable.)

Okay, I’m going back to the Rabbit now.

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Fictional

I wrote a story last night. Based on a dream. I know, I know. *shakes head* It wasn’t exactly how I’d planned to spend my Sunday night. Anyway, I wrote it planning to focus on the locations in the dream. They were vivid.  I wanted to capture their essence before I forgot. (I also dream about a sprawling building frequently. I wanted to see if I could figure out whether the buildings in this dream were part of the usual building. They were not. #strange) Instead what I got down on paper was the emotion of the dream. The disconnectedness. The invisibility. The quiet confidence that I was good at my job. That I was seen by the people that mattered. I didn’t quite manage to capture the hopeful resignation I felt (in the dream) but I think with a bit of tweaking I could get there.

I guess I should have expected this. I’ve been trying to capture the feel of a thing (painting, character, show, object, day, landscape etc) using metaphor or simile. It is not meant to capture the look of a thing. It captures how it makes me feel. I find it a really interesting process to go through. Sometimes what I think is the description changes as I spend more time with the thing. Twitter is very good for sharing this sort of thing. (I do it without context which is a bit of a cheat I guess.)

I haven’t written a complete fiction for a very, very long time. It feels weird.

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Housemousepixiewixie

Cat nose paw

This is a cat who used to live with me.  He arrived in a cardboard box with his sister when they were very tiny. I’m still not sure why my then boyfriend, J, thought it would be a good idea to bring two kittens into a household that already had a cat. I think he got to see a lot of kittens when he went on his rounds and finally caved in to the suggestions that he take some home.

Original Cat was named Milly. I wanted to call the two new cats Max and Mouse after a song – Maximillian Mouseby Rolf Harris. That was vetoed by J, so Max was renamed Midget. To be fair, she was a very small kitten.

For a while we had three felines in the house. Milly was not particularly happy with the newcomers. She was used to being the only cat in the house and resented the two interlopers. Then one day there were two more – Midget had kittens.

So for a while we had five felines in the house. It was a bit of a juggling act – trying to keep Milly from the kittens, trying to keep Mouse away from the kittens, trying to keep Midget and the kittens in the house. Around this time Milly disappeared. I was devastated. She’d moved houses with me several times. I was terrified that she’d been hit by a car on the busy main road. Actually, no. It turns out that she’d moved in with someone just up the street. The woman’s cat had died and she was overjoyed to find another one so soon.

So for a while we had four felines in the house. Then Midget finally managed to break out of the house and take her kittens to the garage next door. Those neighbours were thrilled. When they moved, they took her, and the kittens.

So then there was Mouse. J had a dream about a fancy function where he was trying to meet important people but they were always pointing behind him saying “Ooh, who’s THAT?” He felt obliged to introduce the cat. “This is Housemousepixiewixie.” It went on. “This is Housemousepixiewixie.” And on. “This is Housemousepixiewixie.” And on. “This is Housemousepixiewixie.” And Mouse was renamed.

Housemousepixiewixie was a tricksy cat. He’d plead for breakfast when J got up, then plead again when I got up an hour later. He’d do the same in the evening. Eventually we clocked that he was probably being fed six or seven times a day, instead of the three or four recommended. We set up a checklist system so as not to be outwitted. Housemousepixiewixie stayed with me when J took contracts to work in Vanuatu, then Australia, then moved out of my life.

So for a while it was just me and Housemousepixiewixie. He did all the usual cat things. Came to say hello when I got home from work. Followed me around the house. Sat on the book I was trying to read. Crept onto my lap paw by paw when I didn’t want him there. Slept on the bed. Threw up on the kitchen floor. Etc, etc. When I moved to Wellington I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take him. Luckily for me a very kind friend offered to take him. One weekend I packed up all of his things and handed him over. In a car park of all places.

Every so often over the past three years I’ve had updates on his behaviour.

  • ‘He left half a rabbit in the kitchen and hubby stepped on it.’
  • ‘He walks down to the mailbox with me.’
  • ‘He is sleeping with one paw on my book. (Claws in.)’
  • ‘He has lost 5kg and the vet is pleased.’

Then yesterday I got a txt to say that he had diabetes, there was nothing to be done, he was at the vet’s, he would be buried in a favourite spot in the garden.

I thought I’d cried all my tears, but apparently not.

See ya, Housemousepixiewixie. You were a pretty cool cat.

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Unpacking the process

I’m on my second LIANZA revalidation round. One of the things I really appreciate about going through the process is that it forces me to look at what I’ve been doing over the previous three years. The first time I did it, I was regularly blogging about what I was doing. I’d looked at the BOK areas, and had picked out the areas I needed to concentrate on. I worked strategically across the three years and all the BOKs. I ended up with more activites in the areas that I was concentrating on. Not surprising – my focus was on those areas in the fear that I might not get to anything, so I ended up going to everything!

This time round I have been much less strategic about the activites I’ve been going to. I haven’t been blogging as much so consequently I don’t have as many ‘pre-canned lessons learned’ paragraphs. I’ve changed jobs to something that is much more operational than strategic, so a lot of my focus has been on refining the operational tasks that we do. As a consequence of this, although I have the all the BOK areas covered, the things that I want to include are often the same thing (e.g. orientation for students) once every year. I think this demonstrates my ongoing learning and refinement, but it’s not really appropriate for the specific requirements of revalidation.

There are other activities that I’ve been doing that a very relevant to my role in the organisation. Some have been over almost two years (te reo classes) while others have been over a couple of months (working in groups). I’ve also been going to a regular breakfast meeting with a group of peers (known as #WellyLibBfast). I wanted to set up something that was informal, not associated with LIANZA, where the people who were interested in the same things I was interested in, could meet and chat over food. It’s been a very interesting experience having that as an ongoing practice.

Since I wasn’t as organised as last time, this has been my process for this revalidation round.

  • List all the activities for each of the three years.
  • Assign a BOK to each one.
  • Sort by Year, by BOK.
  • Assess the three years. Aim for the required coverage for revalidation.
  • Select the ‘best’ activities for each year.
  • Write the document.

I am a compulsive note-taker so I have notes from each activity. What I’m struggling with is keeping it to a snapshot of what I learned then, at the time of the activity. The way I work is to draw strands from many different areas then combine them into something new. This means that I’m constantly mulling things over as new information is added. Therefore I’m finding it a bit tricky to stall my thinking at the time of the activity.

This teaches me that I need to work strategically over the next three years for revalidation. In fact, you may have noticed that I’m blogging more. Again. I’m also trying to blog during the process (see the projected 6 steps to redesign orientation) even if the writing is rough. ‘Think, then test, then refine, then test’ is a process that is being worked with the students at the kura and one which I’m planning to adhere to more. I’ve also been influenced by this article on keeping a diary. I’m not interested in going back and keeping a daily diary (yet) but it’s reminded me to blog more.

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Books for a 7 year old

Yesterday

And then

And best of all

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Joseph K

Poster for Joseph K by Phoebe Morris. My Accomplice are performing “a darkly comic modern adaptation of Franz Kafka’s THE TRIAL written by award-winning writer and comedian Tom Basden” at BATS Theatre. I got my ticket as a reward through their PledgeMe campaign. (Selling discounted tickets as a reward? Sounds like a good idea to me!)

I also got a haiku which I like very much.

The Spice Market, part 2

Rereading The Spice Market made it sound as if the benefit was all for Brendan. That the library was acting as a kind of guide to his personal epiphany. It definitely wasn’t all for his benefit. So what does the Library (staff and resources) get out of it?

There’s the tangible – we get suggestions for items that the library could/should own. Some were independent suggestions relating to curriculum. Some were from what I like to think of as the fairytale path of research – this book leads to this movie leads to this artist leads to this other movie leads to this director etc. We get a discussion on why those people or products.

Then there’s the intangible – we get insights into the way the industry works and how individuals in the industry work. (There may have also been a few rumours [REDACTED] but I couldn’t possibly comment on that.) I personally understand a little better how an artist could work. It’s certainly helped me to understand better how the students at the kura are being encouraged to work. From that it’s let me look at whether the library has changed along with the rest of the kura to accommodate that. I’m not sure it has, but talking with Brendan has let me see a potential way to change. He said that the library is a place to ‘stop’ for him. A small rest stop. I’m not quite sure how this meshes with my ideas that a library should be both “fucking awesome” and “fucking exciting” but we’ll see.

I guess the thing that feels most important to me about our conversations is that we are both working the thing we need to work while enabling the other to do the same. Which is a slightly wanky way of saying that I actually don’t know what the path is to get to the place I want the library to be but by talking to Brendan I’m getting closer to defining what that might be. And that is fucking exciting.

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The Spice Market

Currently showing in the library space is The Spice Market by Brendan (aka. Design Guy). Our shelves are green so the drawing is a dramatic statement against that background. It’s visible to everyone walking into the building as it’s positioned facing out towards the clear window/walls. (Where our display of new items is usually.)

When Brendan tentatively floated the idea that he would display the drawing in the library I was all for it. He said that The Spice Market has grown out of conversations in this place and therefore should be shown here first. He’s a regular library visitor. Sometimes he takes stuff out, sometimes he doesn’t. Mostly we talk about the stuff that he’s doing with his Art, the things that we’ve been watching or reading. [NTS: leave more comics on your desk to start conversations.] For me it’s a great example of how I want the Library (staff and resources) to work with the students.

In a weird way it feels very similar to the mentoring I’ve been doing. It’s the same process of discuss, question, research, explain, clarify, action etc. It’s not that the Library (staff and resources) are telling him how to be an artist, it’s that we’re facilitating the space he needs to work that out for himself. After that initial display conversation I tweeted “Don’t make art in isolation“, a bad reflection of the idea that art only becomes art when it is seen by someone else. @KiwiLibrarian responded “I make art while isolated in my art room, but I am not isolated in my art practice.” Yeah, I like that.

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