Category Archives: Life, huh?

Juxtaposition inspiration

These are the things that are making me think today.

– Tim Minchin’s Nine Life Lessons – in which he gives advice about a bunch of things that when added together are a pretty good basis for building communities.

– Harvard Business School case study: gender equity – about how difficult it is to change a culture of behaviour. Sometimes the people in it won’t even talk about it. Sometimes the people in it will resent you. Sometimes they will actively fight you. (Particularly resonant for me as the place I work has an organisational culture that is so different from mainstream, and the industry most of our students will be going into. Are we training them for now, or for the (possible) future? I know which I’d rather be involved in.)

– Five takeaways from the written version of a charming talk given by Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski. A slightly dangerous game to link to something that is about something that I haven’t read. I particularly like the poetry in the header.

– Nightingales/Bombs/Beethoven A beautifully written piece. Ostensibly looking for a word to describe the serendipitous wander from story to story, down the rabbit hole of internet links and pages. Includes “strangely profound audio documents of the British air-war.”

– Erebus voices by Bill Manhire. (Who is on Twitter.)

– Golden Years by David Bowie. More than the sum of its inspirations.

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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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When will I learn?

Had a bit of a moment today when I recognised that I’d learned the “If you don’t like it then fucking do something about it, you dick” lesson again. Why is this so difficult to hold to? In this case it was a small thing – computer cables all over the place. I’ve looked at those cables for six months and they’ve irritated me for six months. Today I took steps to sorting them out. Six fucking months! Good grief.

I can feel things changing and ramping up again. Good.

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Managing time

Time management. Such a tricky concept when time is flexible (and arbitrary*). Sometimes the clock moves quickly, and I am filled with purpose. Other times it moves quickly, and I am filled with despair. Or the time barely seems to change, and I am as languid as a summer afternoon. There is also the way the clock never changes, and nothing I do seems to make any difference. (Except change the batteries in the clock. That worked once.)
The times I accomplished the most were also the times when I was busiest. There was simply no time to faff about unless I scheduled it in. (Which I did. I love my downtime.) It meant that extraneous options slipped away. This or That? It had to be THIS now to hit THIS deadline, and THAT later to hit THAT deadline. (Deadlines are wonderful things that I find quite focusing.) Multitasking – TV and ironing, instead of reading. Or reading and eating, while the washing machine was going, the biscuits were baking, and photos were uploading. Sorting things out NOW, at 3 minutes to midnight rather than waiting until the morning because I'm a night person – if I was tired now, there was no way I'd be able to do anything but the essential stuff in the morning. It helps if the tasks that need doing are finite rather than ongoing, but it is possible to break the ongoing tasks down to finite ones.
When there is no need for me to be as focused then I am not as clear about what needs to be done now. If it doesn't need to be done today then why not tomorrow? And if it doesn't need to be done tomorrow then why not in a week? This sometimes leads to the terrible situation where I want something for the next day but have realised it too late.** I still hold some of my habits from when I was busy – I don't dutifully read library blogs anymore (I figure if it's important it will come to my attention somehow); the flat is at a level of tidy and clean that is never quite tidy or wholly clean; I get things sorted in the evening no matter how tired I am. I've given up the thrill of being the first person to link to an interesting post, or being able to eat at the table without having to shift something first. What I have is a sense of the things that I value. And that helps me work with time instead of trying to bend it to my will.

* I believe that time is a human construct that varies too much to ever be accurate. This is why I'm late. Or early. Sorry.
** "Be prepared" the Guides motto is one of the principle ways to sort out one's time, especially if one is busy. Calendar everything. Think about the detail of those things and organise accordingly.