the year that was

It has been an intense and unusual year, with much change. Selected stuff I did/that happened this year:

– watched my brother die
It is only in the past month or two that the full dimensions of the loss have become apparent to me. On reflection, I can see how withdrawn I became after his death. Haven’t seen much of anyone this year.

– filmed a documentary
A thoroughly demented experience. Dissatisfied with the post-production progress. Would have liked to be done by now. Ain’t nowhere near.

– moved house four times
Stability for 6 months now!

– This Charming Mystery broke up
The timing of this was particularly heartbreaking, occurring just when we had three gigs booked on Saturday nights at Happy, Bodega, and Mighty Mighty, playing support to good bands, and it seemed we were just about to start getting somewhere after a year getting good and playing a handful of underground gigs. (Download us free here.) It’s a shame we couldn’t hold it together.
Ach. I miss being in a band.

– wrote a bunch of songs and played them live, solo
Something I needed to do in my process as a “musician”.

– wrote two drafts of the non-fiction book
What has eaten the last six months. The most hardcore intensive process of my life. Awesome.

– learned how to do home recording; recorded some random as songs
Hahaha. Fun.

– read fantasy
Partly a way of taking a vacation in another world, but also a pleasure to rediscover fantasy as an adult, and find stuff that is satisfying as an adult. (Steven Erikson: recommended.) Though there are limits. Oh yes.

– went on outward bound
Did a bunch of shit out of my zone, and learned some useful stuff about the limits of my body.

– started capoeira
Amazing how much your arse hurts the first time.

Looking back is like a time warp. This was one year? Even six months ago feels like another life.

I feel different.

crikey

It seems that it is only when I release myself from my self-discipline that I notice its effects.

There was nothing which I had to do today.

How does this work again?

100,000 words

Somehow the 2nd draft weighs in at approximately 100,000 words. Seems it grew by 1000 words a day for the past month or so, in among the cutting.

Anyhow. I am calling it there for now. It needs a read-edit-polish and an introduction, but the substance seems done. I hope.

merry christmas

Previous years, I’ve written enormous christmas emails to people, and mused at length about god knows what that seemed relevant about the occasion.

This year all I have to say is “be good to people.”

Peace and love, and Merry Christmas, from the dancing moose.

(Oh, and thanks for reading, y’all.)

Industry: The New Zealand Game

Stumped for xmas gifts? How about a board game age 8 and up based on New Zealand history, economics, geography, and famous New Zealanders?

(As a disclaimer, some loose acquaintances of mine have made it. But it looks worthy. I mean, it has pictures of cows on it. How cool is that? Fuck monopoly.)

cows i tell you

Currently only available in Wellington at Dymocks, Unity and that Wargaming place. Be the cool kid with the new kiwiana toy.

Review: Chinese Democracy (Guns´n´Roses)

So, perhaps inevitably, I bought it. Finally found a use for the Borders vouchers my brother gave me, and I think he would have approved.

Anyway. It´s really really good. No filler. A bunch of really well constructed and performed songs. Heavily produced – everything is in its place – but doesn’t feel over-produced/sterile/artificial about it. Most tracks are pretty much instantly appealing, which is unusual for my experience of music. Amazing vocal performance throughout.

Strangely lacking in the lyrical department. Seems Axl’s got some gunge to work through rather than wider insight, though there are flashes of brilliance, and his trademark attitude is in evidence. We’ll see. Maybe some meaning will grow on me.

So far, Better is the unearthly catchy track, being stuck in brain after a bare handful of listens. (I’ve only listened to the album three times so far, and it has been in my head for weeks.)

On the whole, it is a really diverse mix of sounds, styles and moods, and bears no real resemblance to any prior GnR release. But then there is no reason it should. Most people´s problems with it would probably be solved by it being released as The Axl Rose Experience. But people who can´t see past the name to the music are twats. Cos the music is good. If anyone else released this under normal circumstances it would be acclaimed as the new Tool or something.

freedom fightin', baby

If you are local, and at all creative, or like creative works made by others, or like the internet being free, then the Campaign Against Guilt Upon Association will be of interest.

The Creative Freedom Foundation’s first campaign is against a proposed law in New Zealand: Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act. S92 assumes ‘Guilt Upon Accusation’ – cutting off internet connections and websites based on accusations of Copyright infringement, without evidence or even a trial.

This is a really negative limiting use of copyright law, with frankly alarming applications. Any idiot with a grudge, or the actions of a virus hidden on your computer, can get you shut down on the basis of “accusation” with no proof.

The law is slated to come into effect in NZ in February 09 unless opposition occurs now.

You can sign a petition here, and generally spread the word…

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Of course, if you want to know what real opposition looks like, check out these amazing photos from the Greek riots. 😛

John Key´s A Donkey (part three) – Country mix

Here is the third installment in the John Key’s a Donkey Project.

This time out, the genre du jour is country. Actually, it’s probably fairly blues tinged, too. But what the hell. I don’t know nothing about either genre.

All these were recorded before all this neo-fascist bullshit-urgency fire-at-will-bill showing of National’s true colours, by the way. (Which is another way of saying I’m much better at the recording process now than these tracks would reveal :P)

But yeah. John Key’s a Donkey – Country mix is up over at the tinekaamos myspace page. It is short and sweet, clocking in about a minute thirty, and is a poignant country lament for the nation after electing a donkey Prime Minister. And probably way easier going than the last installment 😉

the people, they go crazy

Yesterday I bought the paper for my flatmate. The front page was screaming about how there had been over a thousand calls to the police on Saturday and we are all a bunch of drunken crazies.

There was a full moon on Saturday, coinciding with the astronomical event of the moon coming the closest it ever does to the earth. (I was tempted to go off and take photos of the huge moon rising but was movie-marathoning.) Despite the correlation between the full moon and increased emergency calls/crazy shit going on, this wasn’t mentioned in the article, which did however take the opportunity to launch into a bunch of conservative ranting.

Also, just while we´re peripherally on Courtenay Place, home of drunken troublemakers; Courtenay Place has got a new set of lights down the middle of the road that light everything up all hyper-real and energised. This was the first weekend they were operational. It looks kind of cool. Less cool is apparently CCTV cameras were put in as part of that refurbishment.

a change is as good as a holiday

So the obvious break from an intensive period of disciplined writing and thinking is to go to a 24-hour movie marathon, stagger around in the sun, and then sleeeep. This year I made it through without any caffeine, which amazes me a little, only fading in and out a little during the boring/slow/crap 2nd to last film. They are definitely getting easier. I reckon the sprinkling of pre-showings of new releases makes the difference. Even if they are uninteresting and crap, their pacing and sensibility makes it more tolerable, whereas an uninteresting and crap movie from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, say, is usually painful. Though as a purist, I reckon they should bring the carnage.

Joey has a useful run down of what showed with added youtubey goodness.

Here are random comments on all of the movies shown.

King Dinosaur: nuking shit is the definition of civilisation for 50’s scientist-heroes.
The Taking of Pelham 123: excellent. see the original before they remake it.
Role Models: patchy but enjoyable comedy. amazing how there is such a clear Formula for modern comedy.
Ninja Turf: lots of action, crude yet amusing attempts at character and plot. 80’s fun.
Krull: way better than I remember, way better on the big screen, still not much good. film is just not the medium for fantasy.
Dying Breed: modern horror can be really fucking lame and pointless.
Vigilante: the vigilante point of view is really tempting; so are checks and balances to prevent atrocity. basically, life would be simpler if people weren’t dicks.
The Time Machine: in the far future, everyone will be blond, beautiful, and stupid. actually, you can kind of see the selection pressure for that, can´t you? anyway: this was like the original adaptation, and actually pretty awesome.
Torture Garden: you can grab a camera and your camp gay friends who can´t act and shitty costumes and make a better movie than this. far beyond awful.
Ruins: horror for american teens – amazing how that is a genre in itself. takes a remarkably stupid idea and does pretty well with it, considering. startlingly nasty.
The Last Dragon: 80´s motown kung-fu comedy. um. yeah. that’s what it was. fine for one of them.
a reel of some Godzilla movie: you really do only need to see the climactic fight scene in any godzilla movie.
Moonshiner’s Daughter: uniquely ineptly made black and white early 1960´s “drugs and people involved in crime are bad and evil so you’d best avoid them or die” movie with more narration than dialogue, and as much random scenery as footage of the actors.
The Road Warrior: actually a good film on the big screen.

Right. Back to the writing.

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